Families of 9/11 victims file suit against Saudi Arabia

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New York Post, by Emily Saul, March 21, 2017:

Families of 9/11 victims filed suit in Manhattan against Saudi Arabia Monday, claiming the Arab country knowingly facilitated the devastating terror attacks.

The consolidated action was filed in federal court on behalf of 2,500 spouses, children, parents and siblings of those who died when 19 al Qaeda insurgents hijacked four airplanes and flew them into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. A fourth plane crashed into a Pennsylvania field after passengers tried to retake control from the hijackers.

In total 2,977 innocent victims were killed.

“It’s become much clearer for the American public that the Saudi government and Saudi officials exhibited a pattern of support for al Qaeda, and that 9/11 would not have been possible without their support,” said attorney Andrew Maloney, whose firm is one of the five behind the suit.

The papers claim Saudi Arabia raised and laundered money to support al Qaeda activities, funded terrorist training camps “where al Qaeda taught their hijackers the skills they used to carry out the Sept. 11 attacks,” and actively supported al Qaeda in its final preparations.

The suit give several examples of how the country — a longtime ally of the US — is linked to al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden, who was killed in 2011 during a raid on his compound in Pakistan.

Specifically, the plaintiffs allege:

  • Since 1986, Saudi Arabia used nine state-run charities to fund terrorism by collaborating with Osama bin Laden to establish al Qaeda. A “top ranking Saudi Arabia official,” along with close bin Laden pals, also joined in on this effort. One of those charities, al Haramain Islamic Foundation, provided funds to support al Qaeda, according to the US Department of Treasury.
  • The kingdom adopted Wahhabism, an “extremist version of Islam,” as the state religion and used the faith to “justify [al Qaeda’s] campaign of anti-American violence.”
  • Since at least the early 1990s, Saudi Arabia knew that “al Qaeda had begun to pursue and carry out terrorist attacks against the United States.”
  • The kingdom also knew that between 1988 and 1990, bin Laden made speeches at his family’s mosque in Jeddah and other Saudi locations where he “declared that the United States was the primary target of al Qaeda.” In 1990, he allegedly stated, “The Americans won’t stop their support of Jews in Palestine until we give them a lot of blows. They won’t stop until we do jihad against them.”
  • For years prior to Sept. 11, Saudi Arabia and its embassies, Ministry of Islamic Affairs and its Ministry of the Interior had a “relationship and communication with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s operatives, associates and activities throughout the world.”
  • Saudi Arabia had knowledge of al Qaeda’s previous terror attempts on the US, including the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that killed six people.
  • The Sept. 11 attacks were avoidable because since 1996, the US “urgently told Saudi Arabia that it needed background and financial information and other assistance regarding al Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden in order to disrupt or interdict the threat of al Qaeda terrorist attacks against the United States and its nationals.”

The suit follows a congressional override of then-President Barack Obama’s veto in September, which enacted a law allowing an exception to the legal principle of sovereign immunity in cases of terrorism on US soil.

While the first suits against Saudi Arabia were filed a month later, this is the first consolidated action filed against the Middle Eastern kingdom.

“We are grateful to our members of Congress for not only passing [the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism ACT], but also overriding the veto of former President Obama,” Maloney said.

“We would hope to continue to enjoy the support of President Trump, and we hope he meant what he said,” the attorney added, referencing Trump’s September 2016 statement that Obama’s veto was “one of the low points” of his presidency.

Neither the Saudi Arabian embassies in New York or in Washington, DC returned messages. ​

Also see:

Vets say they were duped into helping Saudi Arabia dodge payouts to 9/11 victims

Former US Marine Sgt. Timothy Cord Kim Raff

Former US Marine Sgt. Timothy Cord Kim Raff

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, March 5, 2017:

Agents of the Saudi Arabian government are using US veterans as pawns in a scheme to gut a new law clearing a path for 9/11 families to sue the kingdom for its alleged role in the attacks, several vets complained in interviews with The Post.

“I joined the Marine Corps as a direct result of 9/11, so to be wined and dined by the very people I joined to fight against, that was sickening,” said Timothy Cord, who served as a Marine sergeant in Iraq.

Vets say the Saudi scam involves soliciting them to go on all-expenses-paid trips to Washington — including lodging at the posh new Trump hotel near the White House — to help pressure lawmakers into amending the recently passed bill, Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

Trip organizers Qorvis MSLGROUP, however, are allegedly failing to disclose to participants that the Saudi government is funding the trips through some 75 paid foreign agents it’s hired across the US to oppose the law, which passed unanimously in September.

Vets complain they’re not only being misled but openly lied to. During one recent trip, an organizer denied any “Saudi involvement” in sponsoring the trip, even though federal filings show the organizer has a $100,000 contract with the Saudis and is a registered foreign agent for the kingdom.

In their recruiting pitch to vets, the Saudi lobbyists, who pose as veteran advocates, claim that JASTA exposes them as well as “150,000 [US] military personnel stationed in over 150 countries” to “retaliatory lawsuits” in foreign courts — even though international law experts note that JASTA deals only with the immunity of foreign states, and poses little if any risk to individuals.

Vets felt shock and anger when they found out they were duped into doing “the Saudis’ dirty work,” as one put it.

Thomas J. Hermesman, who was deployed in Afghanistan as a Marine sergeant, joined the Jan. 23-26 trip to Washington flown out of Durango, Colo.,with nearly 50 other vets. “The organizers were definitely keeping stuff from us,” Hermesman said. “We didn’t get the full story. It was pretty shady.”

He said organizers told the vets if they ever traveled again in Iraq or Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, they could be stopped at a checkpoint and taken into custody as a terrorist thanks to JASTA.

A briefing paper for the DC meetings drew some suspicion. In tiny print at the bottom of the second page, it reads: “This is distributed by Qorvis MSLGROUP on behalf of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia.”

Former Sgt. Cord said the trip leader, Jason E. Johns, shot down any concerns about Mideast sponsorship as soon as the vets arrived in DC. “He stood up the first night to announce that ‘there are rumors going around about Saudi involvement, and they absolutely aren’t [involved].’ ”

Johns’ bio describes him as president of No Man Left Behind Veterans Advocacy Group. But federal records also list him as a registered Saudi agent making $100,000 to mobilize vets to lobby against JASTA. The primary registrant on his disclosure form is Qorvis MSLGROUP, the Saudi government’s top PR firm in Washington.

“It really pisses me off that vets are being lied to by other vets that are in the Saudis’ pocketbook,” said Cord, who says he wants to alert others in the veteran community that they’re being targeted and set up by the Saudi government. Johns did not respond to requests for comment.

Cord calls the trips to Washington a form of bribery. All travel expenses were covered for his group’s four-day trip — including airfare and taxis, as well as meals and rooms at the $560-a-night Trump International Hotel, where the vets were welcomed with a “reception in The Patton Room.” Even “complimentary drinks will be provided,” the itinerary states.

In exchange, it says, vets were expected to storm Congress and “make members fully aware that veterans have serious concerns regarding JASTA and convince them that JASTA needs to be amended.”

Marine Sgt. David Casler, who was flown in from Sacramento, says a prime target was the House Armed Services Committee. Casler says he and the other vets were warmly received by lawmakers and their staff, some of whom expressed an interest in “fixing” JASTA. “Who is going to turn down a vet?”

President Trump, who strongly supported JASTA during his campaign, would have to sign any amendments into the law.

The head of Qorvis denies he or his Arab client are trying to hide anything from vets they’re recruiting. “My understanding is everything is fully above board and everyone is fully informed of the issues,” Qorvis Managing Director Michael Petruzzello said.

JASTA has cleared a path for two large lawsuits against the Saudi government that could end up in millions of dollars in Saudi assets being seized in a court settlement. The suits will be aided by the recent release of the classified “28 pages” documenting Saudi government officials’ funding and other support for the Saudi hijackers. Saudi Embassy spokesman Nail Al-Jubeir did not return calls seeking comment.

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

“Can I criticize Islam without fearing for my life”?

Sandra Solomon at Masjid Toronto mosque. Photo: screenshot video VladTepesBlog

Sandra Solomon at Masjid Toronto mosque. Photo: screenshot video VladTepesBlog

CIJ News, February 26, 2017:

A week after she protested against the “Islamization” of Canada outside of Masjid Toronto Mosque, Sandra Solomon, an ex-Muslim who became a human rights activist, took advantage of the mosque’s open house on Saturday, February 25, 2017 to deliver a direct message to the Imam Ahmed Shihab and the Muslim community.

Police are investigating possible hate crimes by the protesters who called for banning Islam and an imam at the mosque who recited supplications for the annihilation of the enemies of Islam and purification of al-Aqsa Mosque from the “filth of Jews.”

The following is the message that Sandra Solomon read in Masjid Toronto Mosque (February 25, 2017):

My name is Sandra Solomon. I am an ex Muslim who lived in the Saudi Arabian society governed by 100% Sharia law.

I suffered a lot in Saudi Arabia from the teachings of Islam because of the lack of women rights.

I was neglected, ignored and forbidden to sharing my thoughts on Islam to the point where I was always under risk of being murdered by honor killing from my brother, who attempted to kill me just because I refused to wear the hijab [head scarf].

They forced me into a marriage. Islamic forced marriage is nothing less than institutionalized rape. Do not dare to think otherwise.

I took my child and escaped Saudi Arabia because of the imminent threat of my execution for not following Islamic Sharia [Islamic Law] without question and came to Canada for its freedom.

I came to Canada to live under secular and Constitution Democratic system of law. A law that respects me as a free human being that has the right to live and think and be critical of anyone and anything without living in fear for my life and my child’s life .That is why I am in Canada. I am a subject of Canadian law. Not Sharia [Islamic] law.

I am a victim of Islam and it is my duty to warn others of its true nature. But unfortunately Sharia law is not leaving me. I was surprised when I found that it has followed us here to Canada. There are three Canadian imams on Canadian soil calling for my execution. Their names are, Shahryar Shiakh [“Punishment for apostasy is death”], Ahmad Abdul Qader Kandil [who said that enemies of Islam to be killed, crucified or their limbs cut off] and Said Rageah [who said that person who insults Mohammad may face execution in Islamic State]. All three of them in Canada are openly calling for my execution. Relying solely on the teaching of Quran and Hadith plus the book called human right in Islam distributed at Dundas square [“Islamic Shari’ah decrees execution for the person who apostatizes”]. [For more information on “Quebec, Ontario imams say apostates to be executed by The Islamic State” click HERE].

Ladies and gentlemen, criticism of an ideology and political authority is the most important aspect of free democracy. And for this, the imams all call for my death they do so on the Islamic grounds that I speak truths about Islam, its founder, Mohammad, and that I no longer accept the Islamic ideology, all of which are death penalty crimes under Islamic law, and which Islamic States like Iran, Saudi Arabia, The Islamic State, Afghanistan, Pakistan and dozens of more convict and execute. We see it here in Canada when Muslim girls refuse the hijab like the Shafia girls.

I am standing here in your mosque today, asking for you to show me the tolerance you ask of all Canadians. To accept me for whom I am and the free choices I made to be something other than Muslim. My God, is a God of love and mercy. I offer it to you, and ask you for it in return .My criticism of Islam are [sic] of the ideology, the teachings and scriptures. Not any individual Muslim. Criticizing ideology is not just legal in Canada; it’s the foundation of democracy. Whether it is a religious authority, or political, no person, book, or ideas are above criticism and scrutiny.

I want to thank the Mayor of Mississauga Bonnie Crombie for her answer when she comforted me about my concern regarding M-103, when she said to me, “this is Canada. We have one set of laws there is no Sharia law. The beauty of Canada is that we are free to openly criticize anyone and anytime. We have one set of laws and there is no Sharia law in Canada and there will not be Sharia law in Canada.” [click HERE]

When I asked her if I’m I allowed to criticize Islam and Muhammad the founder of Islam without fearing for my life, she said “this is your right. This is Canada “.

Therefore I’m here to ask you the same question. Can I criticize the Quran and Muhammad the founder of Islam, without fearing for my life and my child’s life?

And I would love to get the answer form the Imam [Ahmed Shihab] and it’s really, I’m here with the message of love and peace. I don’t hate Muslims. I’m here to deliver these flowers to you with all respect and I’ll continue my journey in Canada. I have concern about my life and I would love to get an answer from you Muslims to tell me: Am I going to be killed, or my child is going to be killed or harmed by anyway for me openly criticizing Islam? I want to be comforted.

A member of the mosque congregation said to Sandra that she is free to choose her faith emphasizing that her problem is not with Islam but with the Saudi regime.

Sandra Solomon is planning a tour across Canada (click HERE) to tell her personal story and encourage women from all communities to speak up and fight for their right to live free from religious or cultural oppression.

Published on Feb 16, 2017 by Vlad Tepesblog

The use of the three short clips by imams in Canada are 100% WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF FAIR USE. Furthermore, exposing the crime of these imams calling for the deaths of law abiding Canadians who left the Islamic religion is not just legal, but is a moral obligation. To know about this, and not inform others is a moral crime, if not a defacto one.

And in fact it may be one. It could be aiding a conspiracy to murder to NOT expose what these men are saying once you know about it.

Trump Administration Intel – White Hats Confer With Reform Agents Within Political Islam…

The Last Refuge,  by sundance:

To understand the activity within any intelligence action any observer must do two things:

  • #1 You must stay elevated. If you try to get into the weeds you will be lost because your insight will be lacking specificity briefs.
  • #2 You must always reflect upon the recent historic context of the engagement you are observing. Including, most importantly, the engagements of the parties therein.

The recent example of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo traveling to Saudi Arabia last weekend, at the request of President Donald Trump, to personally present Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef with an award named after former CIA director George Tenet, is an example of the need for this approach.

pompeo-and-crown-prince

If you want to understand what’s going on, you must understand the recent relationship of the parties.  It begins with understanding modern political Islam.

Within “political Islam” there are various factions. However, again with the intent to remain elevated, let us just approach two larger congregations as: “Authentic supporters” and “Reform Agents”.

sisi

The modern extremist elements fall under the category of “Authentic Supporters” or Salafists (politically, The Muslim Brotherhood).   The “Reform Agents” are represented by people like Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah III.

Within “Political Islam” these two elements (Authentic -vs- Reform) are fighting for the heart, soul, intellect and -in larger measures- the future of Islam in a modern world.

All the various Muslim factions fall along a continuum of authenticity to the principles of Islam. The more authentic the expression, the more violent and confrontational the group. The more moderate the expression, the reformers, the less violent… etc.

Over the course of the past decade each political side has surged and/or retreated during the larger struggle for the heart of those who adhere to the Muslim faith. The so-called “Arab Spring” was a surge of the Authentic group, and was empowered/emboldened by the foreign policy activity of exterior nations. In particular, the ideological sympathy of former President Barack Obama.

In the face of the growth of the various Authentic expressions, the Reform elements were in a retreating position attempting to contain the internal damage being carried out by the extremist groups. Reformers and more moderate voices were simply trying to hold on to the construct of a civil society amid the growing crisis created by emotional demands of extremists requiring adherence to Sharia, the authentic political law of Islam.

On January 19th 2015, three days before Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died from a lung infection, Egypt’s President Fattah al-Sisi was urgently summoned to met with him.

It was only a few weeks earlier (New Years Day 2015) when al-Sisi delivered an impassioned speech to a scholarly audience in Al-Azhar University in Cairo comprised of Islam’s most important religious leaders.

As the most notable and visible reformer (<- important link) President Fattah al-Sisi made the case for “a religious revolution in Islam that would displace violent jihad from the center of Muslim discourse“:

“The corpus of texts and ideas that we have made sacred over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. You cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You must step outside yourselves and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.” –LINK

el-sisi-in-saudiPresident al-Sisi’s visit to Saudi Arabia to visit with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was a meeting specifically requested by an aging 90-year-old Saudi King to recognize Sisi for his courage and leadership.

King Abdulaziz was intent on honoring his friend.

Saudi Arabia had been coping with the same internal conflict as all other Muslim nations who were caught between the internal struggle.

President Sisi left Saudi Arabia with the full support of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, and upon his death a few days later the new Saudi King Salman; who  honored Sisi in a similar fashion as did his brother.

With the support of Saudi Arabia, the demands of al-Sisi to remove the extremism of the Muslim Brotherhood gained traction. The Gulf States finally, and collectively, pressured Qatar to stop aiding/financing extremism.

Under pressure Qatar conceded and expelled The Brotherhood along with the five leading voices of leadership within the Muslim Brotherhood. Recep Erdogan gave them refuge in Turkey.

This was the origin of the turning tide, when the Reform Agents began to stabilize and reassert their politics and internal domestic economies – the underlying wedge issue used by The Brotherhood to stir turmoil.

Unstable Yemen is to Saudi Arabia -> as unstable Libya is to Egypt -> as unstable Syria is to Jordan… and so it goes.

Each unstable nation being stirred by the extremist voices of various agents operating under the umbrella of the destabilizing politics expressed by The Muslim Brotherhood.

Remove the destabilizing agents and the Reformers believe they will be able to stop the extremists. This is the longer-term objective of those within the fight inside political Islam.

Now look again at the nations of Trump’s visa restrictions and you’ll note the presence of the destabilizing agents: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran [and Sudan, Somalia].

This is the necessary backdrop to understand events as they unfold and relate to President Donald Trump and his own foreign policy objectives and engagements.

It is not accidental that newly appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo traveled to meet with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Muhammad bin Nayef, after a phone call between Saudi King Salman and President Trump took place.

trump4

Director Pompeo’s visit was to recognize the efforts of Saudi Arabia in the larger fight against Islamic extremism/terrorism.  However, based on internal consumption, Pompeo could not be seen publicly in this regard with King Salman himself.  The visible face of Saudi Reform is the crown prince.

  • Jan 20th – President Trump takes office.
  • Jan 26th – President Trump has a phone call with King Salman
  • Jan 26th – On the same day, State Dept. Nominee Rex Tillerson visits State Dept. HQ and the media report on the resignation of many existing State Department personnel.
  • Feb 1st – Secretary Rex Tillerson is confirmed by the Senate.
  • Feb 2nd – The three Muslim Awan brothers are terminated amid accusations they accessed congressional intelligence committee computers without permission.
  • Feb 8th – FOX reports administration considering labeling The Muslim Brotherhood as an official terrorist organization.
  • Feb 11th – CIA Director Pompeo travels to Saudi Arabia to deliver thanks.

By all appearances it seems the Trump administration was given a head’s up of sorts as to specific [Muslim Brotherhood] agents within the U.S. State Department. And also with key Democrat staffers, in highly sensitive intelligence positions, amid Congress.

Additionally:

To wit, Egyptian media announce that Fattah el-Sisi will be traveling to Washington DC to meet with President Trump:

[…]  Informed sources said that the presidency is currently coordinating with the US to arrange a visit next month. The sources referred to the visit as the first official one for an Egyptian president to Washington since 2009, as the last visit since then was paid by former President Hosni Mubarak.

Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will leave Washington next Monday going back to Tel Aviv. Israeli TV reported on Sunday that Netanyahu is planning to form the ‘Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian’ axis.  (read more)

It is ironic, but not coincidental, that no official Egyptian delegation has visited the United States since President Obama traveled to Cairo and started “The Islamist Spring” which led to the uprising of the Muslim Brotherhood extremism in Egypt.

dawn-of-the-muslim-brotherhood

Irony, because now the Trump administration is facing the internal extremist purging of the Muslim Brotherhood embeds remaining within the U.S. government leftover from President Obama’s aftermath…. and now, President Fattah el-Sisi, the destroyer of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt comes to officially visit President Trump in Washington.

I hope everyone can clearly see what’s going on in the bigger picture.

After eight years of Obama’s intense political embedding of extremist sympathy in every aspect of governance, and culture – President Trump is now tasked with removing it, all of it; and finding allies amid those who have already mounted the same effort.

sisi-trump

It is also important to remember the political enterprise of The Muslim Brotherhood not only employs congressional staffers, but also has key connections to elected officials within both parties.   Representative Adam Kinzinger and John McCain are two of the more obvious sympathizers on the right side of the UniParty.

Again, reference the seven states of turmoil/concern and you’ll notice a pattern:

Senator John McCain and Senator John Kerry in Cairo, Egypt – 2011

john-mccain-and-john-kerry-in-cairo-on-sunday-egypt-stock-exchange

What came next?…  The installation of the Muslim Brotherhood:

morsi-kerry

Senator John McCain and Ambassador Christopher Stephens, Benghazi Libya 2012

mccainbenghazicourthouse

What came next?…. The rise of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood

alqaedaoverbenghazi

Senator John McCain travels to Syria in 2013

john-mccain-isis

What came next?  Yup, you guessed it – Muslim Brotherhood (via ISIS)

Isis soldiers in Syria

 

CIA Awards Saudi Crown Prince Counter-Terrorism Medal

Saudi air force personnel at the King Salman air base. (Photo: © Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi air force personnel at the King Salman air base. (Photo: © Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia’s state sponsorship of the hardline Wahhabi ideology exacerbates global extremism, medal or not.

Clarion Project, by Elliot Friedland, February 12, 2017:

The CIA awarded Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, deputy prime minister and minister of Interior, with a medal for his services to “counter-terrorism.”

CIA Director Michael Pompeo presented the George Tenet medal to Prince bin Nayef during a trip to Riyadh in the presence of other senior members of the Saudi government.

Accepting the medal, bin Nayef told media that religion was completely separate from the actions of extremist groups, who misuse religion for their own purposes.

“We, God willing, continue to confront terrorism and extremism everywhere, and with thanks to God we have managed to thwart many terrorist plots from occurring,” he said. Bin Nayef and Pompeo also discussed many issues of mutual concern to the United States and Saudi Arabia, including but not limited to the fight against terrorism.

Clarion Project cannot comment on the specifics of this award to Prince bin Nayef, since we are not privy to the details of security cooperation against terrorism between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

However, Saudi Arabia has certainly been instrumental in spreading an ideology which gives rise to Islamist terrorism.

Here are three things you need to know.

1. The State Sponsored Religion of Saudi Arabia Is Very Similar to the Creed of ISIS

Saudi Arabia as described by Algerian writer Kamel Daoud in The New York Times as “an ISIS that has made it.”

The Gulf kingdom is a theocratic absolute monarchy governed in accordance with the puritanical version of Islam known as Wahhabism. This arrangement has been in place since 1744, before the creation of the state, when the Muhammed ibn Saud, the progenitor of the House of Saud, made a deal with the founder of Wahhabism, Muhammed ibn abd al-Wahhab, that the descendants of Ibn Saud would rule the political sphere, while the descendants of al-Wahhab would control theology. That deal remains in place today, with the Ash-Shaikh family controlling Saudi theology. The two families are closely intermarried.

This state sponsored form of Islam mandates the death penalty for blasphemy, homosexuality, sorcery and several other crimes. It prohibits women from going outside unless covered head to toe, prohibits women from driving, as well as a host of other activities such as working or getting a passport without permission from their male guardian. It also mandates the brutal hudud punishments, which include chopping off hands for stealing and lashes for crimes such as adultery.

Wahhabism preaches loyalty to the Saudi state. Jihadists differ in that they regard the Saudi state as a corrupt Western stooge. They adopt the puritanical ideology of Wahhabism, but merge it with a political revolutionary bent.

This synthesis is identified by scholars as salafi-jihadism. Groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS share this ideology.

2. Saudi Arabia Has Spent Billions Exporting Wahhabism Globally

Last year, German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel warned Saudi Arabia was funding mosques in Germany linked to extremism.

Since the 1960s, Saudi Arabia has spent an estimated $100 billion on exporting the ideology of Wahhabism. It has funded mosques, madrassas and academic fellowships and chairs in universities across the world.

These include grants of $10 million to top American universities such as Harvard and Yale.

This money has been used to smother local pluralistic forms of Islam and has fueled a global upswing in religious puritanism and conservatism. This money has created and continues to create the milieu in which extremism can thrive and grow.

3. Saudi Arabia’s Regional Power Struggle With Iran Is Fueling Terrorism

Sunni jihadi groups in Syria and Iraq refer to Shia Muslims (among other pejorative terms) as “safawi,” referring to the Iranian Safavid dynasty which once ruled the region. The confluence of Sunni-Shia sectarianism with a geopolitical struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran has seen both countries fund opposing sides in wars throughout the region.

Saudi Arabia has been engaged in a war in Yemen against the Shiite Houthi rebels in support of a Sunni president. Although the war is more complicated than that, it is being used by Saudi Arabia and Iran as an opportunity to fight against each other’s’ interests.

Saudi Arabia also supported Sunni Islamist rebel groups against Iranian-backed President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

This power struggle is fueling armed conflict across the region which creates a fertile breeding ground for more, rather than less, terrorism and empowers extremist groups.

In the light of these three things, whatever the personal and strategic merits of Prince bin Nayef, Saudi Arabia’s long-term commitment to countering Islamist terrorism should be questioned.

Also see:

Trump left countries with high terror risk off his banned list

Taliban militants train in a lawless region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2011. EPA

Taliban militants train in a lawless region along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border in 2011. EPA

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, January 28, 2017:

Afghanistan is conspicuously absent from the list of terror-prone countries in President Trump’s indefinite immigration ban, even though al-Qaeda has reopened terrorist training camps there and Afghan immigration factors into recent homegrown terrorism, including the Orlando and Chelsea attacks.

Trump signed an executive order on Friday temporarily blocking entry into the US for immigrants and nonimmigrants from seven Muslim countries — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen — until the government can tighten security procedures to screen out terrorists under Trump’s proposed “extreme vetting” program. It would also completely stop the processing and resettling here of Muslim refugees from ISIS hotspot Syria.

“It’s countries that have tremendous terror,” Trump explained. “And it’s countries that people are going to come in and cause us tremendous problems.”

Leaving Afghanistan — as well as high-risk Pakistan and Saudi Arabia — off the list may prove shortsighted, however.

A new Pentagon report reveals that 20 terrorist groups, including ISIS, are now operating in Afghanistan, mostly along the Pakistan border. It notes that “the Taliban and other insurgents have gained territory over the past two years,” as President Obama withdrew US troops, and now control almost 40 percent of the country.

Al-Qaeda, meanwhile, has built massive new terrorist training camps — including one 30-square miles in size, the largest training facility the Pentagon has seen since 9/11 — signaling the group is gearing up to repeat its pre-9/11 horror of exporting terrorism from Afghanistan.

Lost in the noise over Syrian refugees and the terrorist threat they pose is the growing wave of Afghan refugees hitting our shores, as Afghanistan descends into its own civil war. As the security situation has deteriorated, Afghan immigration has surged.

Afghan refugees have fled the country as it’s descended further into civil war.Getty

Afghan refugees have fled the country as it’s descended further into civil war.Getty

Between 2013 and 2015, the last years reported by the State Department, the total number of Afghan refugees admitted to the US actually outpaced the number of Syrian refugees admitted: 2,324 vs. 1,823. The number of Afghan refugees resettled in US cities — namely, New York, Houston and Sacramento — jumped 21 percent in 2015, after increasing 14 percent in 2014. Afghans reported as admitted in the first three months of 2016 had already exceeded State’s projection for the entire year. Meanwhile, another 10,000-plus Afghans are seeking asylum here.

And these are just the permanent resettlements and do not include the thousands of Afghans that Homeland Security is admitting as “temporary immigrants.” US visas issued annually to Afghans have nearly doubled under the Obama administration, soaring from 2,454 in 2008 to 4,156 in 2015, the latest year for which data are kept.

Few in Washington are raising alarms about the largely uncontrolled influx of these Afghan immigrants, but the security risk is just as great.

Though their numbers are relatively small next to the projected flood of Syrians, “some may cause trouble,” as they have in Germany, which is deporting 12,000 Afghan refugees after some carried out terrorist attacks there, said David North, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.

It’s not that there aren’t legitimate refugees among these Afghan nationals. The problem is there’s no vetting procedures in place to reliably sort the “good guys” from the “bad guys.” As a result, the government’s screening system has repeatedly failed to ID jihadists and other turncoats who have betrayed the hospitality extended to them by this country.

Recent examples include: Afghan refugee Hayatulla Dawari, who got as far as naturalization before authorities learned of his involvement with an Afghan terror group and convicted him in 2014; and Afghan refugee Sohiel Omar Kabir, who was sentenced in 2015 to 25 years in federal prison for providing material support to terrorists and conspiring to kill Americans.

Chelsea bomb suspect Ahmad Rahami was radicalized after a 2014 trip to AfghanistanAP

Chelsea bomb suspect Ahmad Rahami was radicalized after a 2014 trip to AfghanistanAP

Nor does the government monitor these immigrants once they arrive. Investigators now believe Afghan-born Ahmad Khan Rahami, the accused New York City bomber, was radicalized after returning from a 2014 trip to Afghanistan, where his father reportedly once fought as a “mujahedeen.” Afghan-American Omar Mateen, the Orlando terrorist, also maintained Afghan connections through his father, an open supporter of the Taliban.

Our military exchange program is another major hole in security involving Afghan immigration that virtually nobody is talking about. The Pentagon can’t even keep track of the Afghans it brings here for military training exercises designed to help them go back and defend their homeland.

Alarmingly, at least 45 Afghan soldiers have disappeared in the US over the past two years while training at military installations. Many of these AWOL immigrants, who came here on special visas, have extensive training in weapons and explosives. Homeland Security has joined the military in the hunt for the missing Afghans.

Further raising security alarms, the Taliban has infiltrated the Afghan security forces supplying these immigrants. Penetration is so deep that, according to the Pentagon report released earlier this month, the Taliban obtain much of their weapons and ammunition, as well as gasoline, from US-supplied Afghan soldiers.

“Taliban commanders give instructions to their forces to buy weapons, ammunition and fuel from the Afghan army and police,” the report reveals.

It also disclosed that from January 2015 through August 2016, there were 101 insider attacks in which Taliban or other insurgents posing as Afghan security personnel turned on fellow Afghan security force members, killing 257.

Saudi nationals also get a pass under Trump’s restrictions. In fact, they may continue to be ushered in as “trusted travelers” and bypass the normal security process under a deal Obama struck with the kingdom that opened the floodgates to more than 709,000 Saudi students and other visa-holders since 2009. It’s as if 9/11 never happened and 15 Saudi terrorists never infiltrated the country on rubber-stamped visas.

Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

Obama Quietly Transfers 10 Guantánamo Prisoners to Oman

AFP

AFP

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, January 16, 2017:

Outgoing President Barack Obama has transferred 10 prisoners from the U.S. military detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba to Oman on his way out of the White House.

As of 10:30 AM Monday, the Pentagon had not announced the transfers as it has consistently done in the past. The identities and nationalities of the prisoners remained unknown at the time.

Nevertheless, the government of Oman announced it has received the 10 jihadists, saying in a statement it responded to a request from the Obama administration and acted “out of consideration for the men’s humanitarian situation.”

“At the request of Sultan Qaboos and the US government for a solution to the question of Guantánamo detainees, 10 of these detainees arrived today in the sultanate to reside here temporarily,” the state-controlled Oman News Agency (ONA) quotes the ministry as saying.

Oman, which sits on the eastern edge of the Arabian peninsula and is bordered by Saudi Arabia and war-ravaged Yemen, has been ruled ruled by Sultan Qaboos bin Said since 1970.

Obama’s recent move reduced the Gitmo prison population down to 45, compared to 242 who were still held at the facility at the start of his presidency.

Read more

Rex Tillerson Refuses to Label Saudi Arabia a Human Rights Violator

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Breitbart, by Frances Martel, January 11, 2017:

During his confirmation hearing for the Secretary of State post in the U.S. Senate Wednesday, former Exxon Mobil head Rex Tillerson refused to label the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a “human rights violator,” expressing fears that such a label would trigger a regression to more oppressive policies on the part of the Saudi ruling family.

Senator Marco Rubio asked Tillerson whether, in light of rampant human rights abuses against women and non-existent religious freedom in the nation, Tillerson would use the phrase “human rights violator” to describe Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Arabia certainly does not share the same values of America,” Tillerson replied. “However, American interests have been advocating in Saudi Arabia for some time and I think the question is, what is the pace of progress that should be expected for the KSA to advance rights to women and others in the country?”

Sen. Rubio asked Tillerson to evaluate Saudi Arabia’s current human rights status, to which Tillerson replied that he would “need to have greater information.” In response, Sen. Rubio noted that women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia and the government imposes Islamic Sharia law on its citizens.
In light of his context, Sen. Rubio then asked Tillerson what more information would make him comfortable on coming to a conclusion regarding the appropriateness of the label.
“In terms of when you designate someone or label someone, the question is, is that the most effective way to have progress continue to be made in Saudi Arabia or in any other country?” Tillerson repeated.
Tillerson’s response echoed his similar refusal to label Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” upon Sen. Rubio’s questioning, as well as his remark that he would need more information to assess the ongoing war on drugs in the Philippines. Tillerson repeatedly asserted that those holding high-ranking foreign policy offices in the United States are privy to pivotal information without which he would not assert a definitive opinion, and left breathing room for nuance in his approaches to global issues.
Saudi Arabia remains one of the world’s most egregious human rights violators, a liberal user of state force against Sharia violators, including those accused of adultery, apostasy (leaving Islam), “witchcraft,” as well as political targets such as human rights activists. Saudi officials have also implemented the death penalty against those with disabilities and minors. Those not sentenced to death can be arrested, beaten, and detained for extended periods of time for such crimes as dancing, “cursing the morality police,” or showing undue affection for dogs, which are considered haram.
Saudi Arabia is also a hotbed of radical Islamic thought, particularly the Sunni extremist ideology of Wahhabism, whose global spread the Kingdom is in part responsible for. “The Saudi Wahhabis regularly subsidize the organizations and individuals adhering to the militant ideology espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood and its murderous offshoots Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda, all three of which are designated terrorist 2 organizations,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s Matthew Epstein.
Tillerson later addressed Rubio directly, perhaps not only in response to the Saudi Arabia question but to tensions arising Wednesday morning regarding Tillerson’s views on Russia. “My interest is the same as yours, our interests are not different,” he told the senator. “There seems to be some misunderstanding that somehow I see the world through a different lens, and I do not, I share all the same values that you share.”
Tillerson concluded the questioning by calling Saudi Arabia’s a culture that is centuries old and noting that, while “the pace [of progress] has been slower than any of us wish, there is a chance underway” to improve the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. Tillerson expressed concerns of accidentally committing “some kind of precipitous action that would cause the leadership of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to change that” pace.
While Tillerson did not give concrete examples of the progress he claimed that begun in Saudi Arabia, some recent news articles do seem to indicate that some changes have occurred in the Gulf nation. In July 2016, for example, Saudi Arabia announced it would open a “women-only mobile phone shopping center,” allowing women to buy and sell cellular phones in an “appropriate” environment: one in which men would not see it happen. Saudi Arabia’s morality police no longer have the power to arrest people. At least one Saudi cleric has suggested women should be allowed to work in some medical fields in December, and a Saudi newspaper even challenged the nation’s ban on female drivers.
In his opening statement, Tillerson promised to put the right against radical Islam at the forefront of his work in the State Departmeent. “We need to be honest about radical Islam. It is with good reason that our fellow citizens have a growing concern about radical Islam and murderous acts committed in its name against Americans and our friends,” he told the Senate.
Also see:

9/11 Families Group: McCain & Graham ‘Stabbed Us in the Back”

911-hijackers-museum-ap-640x480

Breitbart, by Lee Stranahan, December 23, 2016:

Terry Strada, the National Chair of the group 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism says that her group was “stabbed in the back” by Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham, who attempted to cut key provisions recently in the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act aka JASTA, passed by Congress earlier this year after overriding a veto by President Obama.

JASTA, which took 13 years to pass, would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for their role in terror funding. U.S. intelligence has long suspected that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia financed terrorist groups.

After years of working to pass the JASTA, Terry Strada’s group believed they finally might receive justice when Senators McCain and Graham attempted to cut key provisions just before Congress adjourned for the winter recess. Strada told Radio Stranahan that McCain and Graham “were trying to sneak something in that would definitely turn everything around. It’s the defense the Saudis want to use.”

Strada explained that Saudis “want to be able to say, as you said earlier, ‘Yeah, we gave money to terrorist organizations—we’re not gonna deny it—but what they did with it isn’t our fault,’ and that’s simply not true.”

The 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism were also shocked because Sen. Graham was one of the early supporters of JASTA. Strada said, “Senator Graham was an original co-sponsor on the bill when it was introduced seven years ago. He’s been on the bill ever since. When it was being voted on to come out of the Senate back in May earlier this year he put a hold on the bill specifically to look at it close and make sure that everything was accurate and fine and when he lifted the hold, that’s sending a signal that ‘I’m fine with the bill, no issues here’. And the bill went forward.”

Strada added, “To come around now and try to do this is very, very upsetting to the family.”

Graham and McCain have been acting alone in their attempts to introduce a discretionary clause to the bill, added Strada, who said that neither Senator responded to the group’s criticism. “I haven’t heard anything from them,” said Strada.

Strada also spoke about her experience dealing with massive, wealthy foreign lobbying by Saudi Arabian causes that have opposed JASTA and repeatedly threatened the United States in the event of the bill’s passing:

So the Saudis have hired I think 14 lobby firms and PR firms in the Washington D.C. area, and they’re spending upwards of 1.4 million dollars a month to try and change our law that we already enacted. So they have this very strong lobby presence in Washington D.C.. And you know, economic warfare is always one of their threats. They threaten to not work with us any longer to fight ISIS. They’re empty threats, clearly the economic one, they would financially ruin themselves and we would barely be affected. And as far as the fight on ISIS goes they need us more than we need them, so I don’t see where that would ever come to fruition either. They’re desperate not to be held accountable for the 9/11 attacks so they are using every tool they have, which is pressuring people.

Strada makes it clear that the goals of family members of 9/11 victims working to put JASTA into legal effect are not primarily goals of retribution or revenge, but a forward-looking attempt to stem the tide of terror, saying that “even a lone wolf can be stopped if JASTA is effective and starts to stem the flow of money, because they will not have the ability to recruit like they do now. And that’s really what the families hope for in the long run, that we will see the tide turn and that Saudi Arabia, who is the biggest funder, will stop funding terrorist organizations.” [emphasis added]

Strada continued:

(Lone wolf terrorists) do not come out of nowhere. There’s a network around these lone wolves that’s never reported on. When they start investigating their laptops or their cellphones, they have been in contact with someone who probably a lot of times recruited them in a mosque. I’m not saying every mosque is filled with them but many, many, many are filled with people put in place to recruit and to incite, and it’s a very frightening thing. And again, if you go after the financing and the funders, eventually this lifeblood of money is dried up and gone. The ideology can’t live without someone financially supporting it, because terrorists don’t have 9-5 jobs, they don’t collect a paycheck, they are funded solely by their wealthy paymasters in the Middle East.

When asked about whether she felt Donald Trump’s presidency would be helpful to her organization’s goals of getting justice for the victims of the 9/11 attacks, Strada responded positively, “I do believe Donald Trump is on our side, he did vocally support JASTA during the election — it didn’t get a lot of coverage but he certainly was in favor of it,” and she added how disappointed she was with President Obama, saying, “We were hopeful when he took office, we thought okay, new administration. He ran on transparency, we thought we were going to get what we want — we didn’t. We barely got the 28 pages.”

In a recent article in Politico, Saudi Arabia admitted to a former U.S. official that they both funded terrorism and misled the United States about it in the wake of the 9/11 attack.

Follow Breitbart News investigative reporter and Citizen Journalism School founder Lee Stranahan on Twitter at @Stranahan.

UTT Throwback Thursday: General Petraeus Wages Civilization Jihad

Understanding the Threat, by John Guandolo, December, 8, 2016:

This week the Federalist published a scathing article about General Petraeus raising questions about his criminal actions by mishandling classified information, the possibility he is an agent of foreign powers – namely the Islamic governments of Saudi Arabia and UAE, as well as Kazakhstan – and that he favors silencing Americans’ right to free speech over offending Muslims.

petraus

The latter is where UTT will focus today’s Throwback Thursday article.

In an Op-Ed on May 13, 2016, General Petraeus spent a lot of time defending Muslims and their feelings, yet did not seem concerned about the liberties of Americans – specifically our right to free speech and expression without being beheaded, crucified or shot dead, as Muslims are prone to do.

Specifically, the General wrote:  “Those who flirt with hate speech against Muslims should realize they are playing directly into the hands of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State.”

Actually, if at some point since 9/11 General Petraeus had taken a few hours to study the enemy’s basis for all of their actions – sharia – and understood the driving force in the Global Movement – the International Muslim Brotherhood – has a strategy focused on getting our leaders to do the Muslim Brotherhood’s bidding for them, he might actually see that HE is one of those stooges doing the enemy’s bidding for them.

It’s called “Civilization Jihad by OUR hands.”

When the United States government wrote the Constitutions for Iraq and Afghanistan which created Islamic Republic’s under sharia thus giving Al Qaeda the objectives for which they were fighting, that was Civilization Jihad by OUR hands.  We did the enemy’s bidding for them.

When General Petraeus scolded a Pastor in America for burning a Koran (Sep 2010), that is Civilization Jihad by OUR hands – specifically, the General was enforcing the Islamic law of Slander by ensuring an American citizen would not take an action that would offend Muslims.

See the new 2 minute UTT video HERE on this very topic.

General Petraeus wrote in his May 2016 Op Ed:  “I fear that those who demonize and denigrate Islam make it more likely that it will be our own men and women who ultimately have to shoulder more of this fight.”

Actually sir, the commanding general not knowing his enemy is far more dangerous to the troops than those who speak truth about – and thereby offend – Muslims.

Know the threat. Understand the Threat.

Gitmo prisoner reveals that Saudi ‘terrorist rehab’ center is a scam

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, November 28, 2016:

Counterterrorism experts have long suspected Saudi Arabia’s “rehabilitation” center for terrorists does a poor job of de-radicalizing jihadists. But a Saudi detainee at Guantanamo Bay now reveals it’s actually a recruiting and training factory for jihad.

According to recently declassified documents, senior al Qaeda operative Ghassan Abdullah al-Sharbi told a Gitmo parole board that the Saudi government has been encouraging previously released prisoners to rejoin the jihad at its terrorist reform school, officially known as the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counseling and Care Center.

The Obama administration has praised the effectiveness of the Saudi rehab program — which uses “art therapy,” swimming, ping-pong, PlayStation and soccer to de-radicalize terrorists — and conditioned the release of dozens of Gitmo prisoners, including former Osama bin Laden bodyguards, on their entry in the controversial program.

To date, 134 Saudi detainees have been transferred to the Saudi reform camps in Riyadh and Jeddah. Last year, nine Yemeni detainees were sent there, as well, and more are expected to follow over the next two months, as Obama strives to meet his campaign goal of closing Gitmo.

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Al-Sharbi dropped a bombshell on the Gitmo parole board at his hearing earlier this year, when he informed members that the Saudi kingdom was playing them for suckers. “You guys want to send me back to Saudi Arabia because you believe there is a de-radicalization program on the surface.

True. You are 100% right, there is a strong — externally, a strong — de-radicalization program,” al-Sharbi testified. “But make no mistake, underneath there is a hidden radicalization program,” he added. “There is a very hidden strong — way stronger in magnitude — broader in financing, in all that.”

Al-Sharbi is one of the longest serving, and most unrepentant, prisoners at Gitmo. A Saudi national with an electrical engineering degree from King Fahd University, he attended a US flight school associated with two of the 9/11 hijackers. He traveled to Afghanistan in the summer of 2001 and trained at an al Qaeda camp, building IEDs to use against allied forces.

Al-Sharbi was captured March 28, 2002, at an al Qaeda safehouse in Faisalabad, Pakistan, with senior al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah. According to his US intel dossier, he told interrogators that “the US got what it deserved from the terrorist attacks on 9/11.”

Given a chance at parole after 14 years, however, Al-Sharbi was surprisingly frank with the board.

He explained that Riyadh is actively recruiting and training fighters to battle Iranian elements in neighboring Yemen and Syria. Saudi views Shiite-controlled Iran as a regional threat to its security.

“They’re launching more wars and the [United] States is backing off from the region,” he said. “They’re poking their nose here and here and there and they’re recruiting more jihadists, and they’ll tell you, ‘Okay, go fight in Yemen. Go fight in Syria.’ ”

Al-Sharbi said the Saudis also are “encouraging” former detainees “to fight their jihad in the States.”

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

“It’s not like a past history,” he said. “It’s increasing.”

A growing body of evidence backs up his claims. Last month, for example, a Wikileaked e-mail from Hillary Clinton revealed, citing US intelligence sources, that Saudi has provided “clandestine financial and logistic support to” ISIS and other Sunni terrorist groups in the region.

Al-Sharbi said the kingdom is playing a double game.

“They will proudly tell you they will fight terrorism,” he said. “That means they will support it.”
Al-Sharbi told the Gitmo board he doesn’t want to enroll in the Saudi rehab program, because he would be used to “fight under the Saudi royal cloak.”

“This is in the cause of a king. This is not a true jihad,” he said. “And I’m not going to Saudi unless I am sure they’re not gonna be using me.”

The Saudi rehab ruse has carried a lot of weight with the Gitmo parole board. Earlier this year, it released “Saudi al Qaeda recruiter and fighter” Muhammed Al Shumrani after his lawyers insisted that repatriating him to Saudi Arabia and enrolling him in its “well-established reintegration program” would cure his admittedly “problematic behavior.”

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Photo: Kate Brooks/Redux

Last year, the defense team of longtime bin Laden bodyguard Abdul Rahman Shalabi insisted that the same Saudi rehab program would make sure he’s reformed. In approving his release, the board said that it was “confident about the efficacy of the Saudi program.”

In both cases, US intelligence warned the board that the hardened terrorists would more than likely “reengage in terrorist activity.”

By Riyadh’s own numbers, some 20% of the terrorist enrollees at its rehab club — which features golf carts, palm trees and an Olympic-sized pool — go back to the jihad, returning to the ranks of the Taliban or al Qaeda. US officials believe the recidivism rate is much higher, but Saudi does not disclose criteria for evaluation.

One high-profile failure was Said Ali al-Shihri. After his graduation from the Saudi program, he returned to Yemen where he ran an al Qaeda branch and helped plan the deadly bombing of the US Embassy and mastermind the failed plot to blow up a 2009 Christmas flight over Detroit, before a drone-fired missile finally caught up to him.

The Saudi center is more holiday resort than halfway house for paroled inmates. Jihadists are rewarded with gourmet meals, video games, ping pong, jacuzzis and newly furnished private apartments reserved for conjugal visits. They also are allowed unescorted visits to family members. In September, the center granted “beneficiaries” Eid al-Adha holiday vacation for 12 days.

Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

Graduates are further rewarded with young brides and new cars.

Lending credence to al-Sharbi’s charges, the three-month program includes a few hours a day of lessons in Islam from Saudi clerics and “Shariah specialists.”

“Beneficiaries spend 15 hours a week in the Shariah program,” according to a local Jeddah press report, which is triple the amount of time devoted to psychological counseling.

Al-Sharbi’s parole was declined; he is still in Gitmo, along with 60 detainees — down from the 241 who were there when President Obama started his term.

But with the administration rushing to reduce that number even further before the end of Obama’s term, how many more jihadists will be released into this highly suspect program?

Congress has an obligation to ask hard questions: Is this a preemptive campaign to prevent terror attacks or more likely an incubator for facilitating more attacks?

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

Iran’s proxy missile attacks

Missile Attack Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Missile Attack Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The Islamic regime seeks control of Middle East waterways

Washington Times, by James A. Lyons, October 25, 2016:

The recent missile attacks attributed to Yemeni Houthi rebels, with assistance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Hezbollah, demonstrate Iran’s classic use of proxies to promote its political agenda. The Houthi rebels denied any involvement in the missile attacks. However, they certainly were not fired by camel herders. The Houthis never would have launched an attack on the U.S. Navy without being ordered to do so by their Iranian sponsors. To think otherwise would be delusional.

Iran has the failed to honor the Obama administration’s nuclear weapons agreement. There is actually no agreement, since nothing has been signed. With Russia’s support in Syria, Iran clearly feels emboldened to challenge the United States directly. And with the $150 billion sanctions relief windfall, plus planeloads of hard cash totaling more than $33 billion, Iran can easily expand its role as the leading state sponsor of terrorism, which is what we are witnessing in Yemen. The Iranian use of proxies has cost thousands of American lives, but, fortunately, this time they failed.

Clearly, Iran wants to be able to control the strategic Bab al Mandab Strait, which would give it de facto control of the Suez Canal. More than 10 percent of the world’s maritime shipping passes through that strait on a daily basis. Such control, when combined with control of the Strait of Hormuz, would give Iran control of all Arab oil shipments as well as all Israeli shipping emanating to and from the port of Eilat in the Red Sea. Iran would also like to see our 71-year alliance with Saudi Arabia terminated.

With the help of the IRGC and the Iranian proxy terrorist group Hezbollah, two radar sites were recently constructed outside of Yemen’s two principal Red Sea ports, Mokha and Hudaydah, which are currently under the control of the Houthi rebels. These sites, according to various reports, were operated by IRGC and Hezbollah radar and missile teams. The missiles fired were an upgraded version of the Chinese C-802 anti-ship missile. It should be remembered that on July 14, 2006, Hezbollah successfully fired a C-802 missile against the Israeli missile ship INS Hanit, inflicting heavy damage.

Despite Iran’s assurance about not providing weapons, the Houthis received a delivery the week prior to the missile attacks, the largest shipment of Iranian weapons to date. Obviously, this shipment, apparently undetected by our intelligence resources, included Scud D surface-to-surface missiles with a range of 800 kilometers as well as the upgraded Chinese C-802 anti-ship missiles. The Scuds went to the northern border to be used against Saudi Arabia, and the C-802 anti-ship missiles went to the Houthi’s Ansar Allah faction, which is under the direct control of the IRGC.

The same day missiles were fired against the USS Mason, Oct. 9, the Houthis, with the assistance of the IRGC, fired Scud-D missiles at the Saudi town of Ta’if, which is 700 kilometers from the Yemeni border — but, more importantly, only 70 kilometers from the holy city of Mecca. The message to the Saudis was clear. Iran intends to challenge the Saudis’ control of Islam’s most holy sites.

The Red Sea is a very narrow strategic body of water. It is only 62 kilometers from the Saudi coast to Africa. All shipping can be threatened and easily attacked with the current inventory of missiles transferred to Yemen.

The Houthis have also landed and taken control of Perim Island in the mouth of the Bab al Mandab Straits. Since the main maritime route is only 20 kilometers wide at this point, it serves as a natural choke point and a threat to all shipping as long as it remains under Houthi-Iranian control.

How did we get involved in this classic Sunni-Shia sectarian war? Very briefly, in late 2014, Shia Houthi rebel forces captured the capital city of Sana’a. The Houthis, backed by Iran, are fighting against the internationally recognized government of Yemen’s Sunni president, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. In March 2015, the Saudis led a campaign to overthrow the Houthi rebels. President Obama, in an attempt to get Saudi Arabia’s support for his nuclear weapons agreement with Iran, agreed to support the Saudi effort. We proceeded to provide limited intelligence, in-flight refueling, command and control guidance and some weapons.

The missile attack on our forces in the vicinity of the Bab al Mandab Straits is another manifestation of Iran’s contempt for America and disregard for international norms. Further, with little to fear from an Obama administration response, they clearly have been emboldened to further their hegemonic objectives by challenging our forces directly. While the Houthi’s missile attack on the United Arab Emirate’s HSV-2 Swift Catamaran vessel was successful on Oct. 1, their attack on the USS Mason was, fortunately, a failure. While it took us four days to respond, the USS Nitze’s tomahawk missile strikes destroyed the three Iranian radar sites, which eliminated the immediate threat to shipping in the area.

This was a minimum response — a tit for tat — which will most likely invite more attacks, since C-802 missiles can be fired without radar. When an enemy attacks one of our U.S. Navy ships, our response must be overwhelming. =We should have destroyed not only the radar sites but also any missile-launching sites and any associated ammo storage sites. Any known Iranian installations should have been destroyed. Electrical utility grids that provide power to support Houthi rebels and Iranian forces in the two areas should also be destroyed. The Houthi installation on Perim Island should be eliminated. The message must be clear: “Don’t tread on me.”

James A. Lyons, a U.S. Navy retired admiral, was commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

John Brennan is completely unqualified to be Director of Central Intelligence

john_brennan

Jihad Watch, by Michael J. Del Rosso, October 26 2016:

Robert Spencer wrote this yesterday:

Is it widely known that there is a top intelligence official in the Obama Administration’s CIA who has converted to Islam? Yes. It was reported in none other than the Washington Post in 2012. Why couldn’t it be Brennan? The movie Zero Dark Thirtyabout the killing of Osama bin Laden, for which the moviemakers gained access to classified material (the Obama administration was criticized for making it available to them) featured a top counter-terror official who strongly resembled Brennan and was shown performing Muslim prayers. Were the filmmakers hinting at something they knew? Did La Miere speak to Brennan?

Allegations that Brennan is a convert to Islam are based upon firsthand reports of those who served with him in Saudi Arabia.

  1. Those allegations include that Brennan was the target of a Saudi intelligence influence operation, one outcome of which was Brennan’s conversion to Islam.
  2. At that time, Brennan was chief of station, a billet that is designed for an operationally trained officer with experience in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, which Brennan was not. Brennan’s background is that of an analyst, which may explain why he lacked the sophistication and experience to understand that he was being played by the Saudis in an influence operation.
  3. Anyone so inept as to be oblivious to basic hostile intelligence tactics such as this influence operation is unqualified to be DCI.
  4. Furthermore, Brennan’s definition of jihad, “meaning to purify oneself or one’s community,” is incorrect as a matter of fact, since all four schools of Sunni jurisprudence say that the primary and paramount definition of jihad is kinetic war against non-Muslims to forcibly establish submission to Islamic law globally.
  5. If Brennan truly believes his fictitious definition of jihad, he is unqualified to be DCI, since he obviously is unaware of or indifferent to the fact that he is directly contradicting all published Sunni jurisprudence. Al-Qaeda’s bin Laden, ISIS’s al-Baghdadi (who has a doctorate in Islamic law), Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and all the other numerous violent jihadi terrorist groups all say that they are at war with us because Islamic law makes such war — jihad — obligatory for all Muslims. They also point out that Islamic law makes the funding of jihad obligatory, as well as lying to further jihad. That 15 years after 9/11, Brennan has yet to drop $40 on Amazon.com to purchase a certified English translation of an authoritative textbook on Islamic law, such as Reliance of the Traveller, is professional malpractice of the highest order for someone who has held the senior counter-terrorism and intelligence positions he has.
  6. Furthermore, the fiction that Brennan is espousing is not just any fiction, it is a deliberate propaganda lie by America’s enemies in our 15+-year war. It is designed to disorient us from understanding our enemy’s Threat Doctrine. If he is truly unaware of this, he is a useful idiot in espousing enemy propaganda in time of war, and is unqualified to be DCI.
  7. If Brennan does know the factual Islamic legal definition of jihad, then he is deliberately espousing enemy propaganda in a time of war, in which case Brennan is a traitor — and unqualified to be DCI.

The high-ranking CIA official who converted to Islam, who was called “Roger” in a Washington Post report, was outed last year, confirming that he is not Brennan, but another official named Michael D’Andrea. As the Washington Post reported in 2012, D’Andrea “married a Muslim woman he met abroad, prompting his conversion to Islam.”

Brennan just happens to be another Muslim. Where Spencer wrote of Roger, “Why couldn’t it be Brennan?,” more accurately the question should have been, “Why couldn’t Brennan be a convert to Islam, too?” At the time of the Washington Post article, Brennan was White House Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, and was not in the CIA, while “Roger” was running CIA counter-terrorism operations.

As far as Brennan’s conversion to Islam is concerned, a U.S. asset assigned overseas with Brennan in Saudi Arabia when he was station chief confirmed years ago their firsthand account that Brennan was indeed the target of a Saudi intelligence influence operation that led to his conversion. Brennan has also stated publicly that he visited Mecca, which is impossible for a non-Muslim to do unless he is a special guest of the Saudi King.

When John Guandolo wrote an op-ed in February 2013 to try to rally Senators to oppose Brennan’s nomination to be DCI, I advised John that Brennan’s conversion was de facto irrelevant, given the fact that the Washington Post had recently reported that “Roger,” the CIA’s chief of counter-terror operations, was a Muslim, and that was a non-issue to everyone.

A more compelling disqualifier for Brennan is that he consistently says that “jihad” is a good thing. For example, in 2009, Brennan said: “Nor does President Obama see this challenge as a fight against ‘jihadists.’ Describing terrorists in this way—using a legitimate term, ‘jihad,’ meaning to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal—risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve.” And in 2010, he said: “Nor do we describe our enemy as ‘jihadists’ or ‘Islamists’ because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenant of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.”

None of what Brennan says is true regarding the legal definition of jihad in Islamic law. The opening sentence in the Reliance of the Traveller chapter on jihad is crystal clear: “o9.0 – Jihad. Jihad means to wage war against non-Muslims, and is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion.” (Italic emphasis in original.)

Hence Brennan is either, as explained above, too stupid to live and shouldn’t be DCI, or lying about the true definition of jihad (which deception is also obligatory according to Shariah), in which case he is guilty of treason and again shouldn’t be DCI, but rather prosecuted.

This is not a religious issue. Americans believe in freedom of religion for religions that believe in freedom. Rather, it is a national security issue. It is a statement of fact that pious, observant Muslims are required to adhere to Islamic law, which is not scripture, but legal texts written by men. A cursory examination of Reliance of the Traveller will show that it uses the word “obligatory” hundreds of times, and enumerates mandatory acts for all Muslims which are felony violations of the U.S. Code, including terrorism, material support of terrorism, perjury, espionage, treason, making war against the United States, sedition, and misprision of treason. Please let that sink in.

Every American should have a problem with this.

And why don’t we? Because blame isn’t limited to John Brennan. America’s political and national security elites, and especially our mainstream journalists, are guilty of professional malpractice, dereliction of duty, and worse, for being willfully ignorant of these easily verifiable facts.

The net result is that America has not only lost this war, but we changed sides and are aiding our enemy. We need look no further than what Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration did to Libya, Yemen, Iraq and Syria, and tried to do to Egypt, for evidence of that.

Michael J. Del Rosso is a Senior Fellow for Homeland and National Security for the Center for Security Policy.

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Analysis: A new crack in the Sunni bloc?

showimage-3The vacuum left by America’s disengagement has thrown the Middle East into a dangerous state of instability, wherein extremist groups thrive and thwart any hopes for peace.

By Zvi Mazel, JPOST, October 16, 2016

There seems to be a growing rift between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the twin mainstays of the Sunni front against the major threats of Iran’s terrorist operations and nuclear building on the one hand, and against the rogue Sunni Islamic State on the other. The two countries no longer see eye to eye on a number of regional issues, although they deny it and insist that they are still coordinating their actions.

The Egyptian president has stated on a number of occasions that the security of the Gulf is essential to the security of his country, while the Saudi king wrote to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that any attack on Egyptian security would be seen as an attack on Saudi Arabia.

Simmering tensions came to the boil at a special meeting of the UN Security Council on Syria on October 8.

Egypt not only voted with Russia to defeat the French proposal calling for a stop to bombing on Aleppo, it also voted for the Russian counter-proposal opposed by the West. The Saudi representative strongly condemned the two votes, which led to a spate of acrimonious articles in Egyptian and Saudi media. Sisi had to intervene; he declared that though Egypt remained committed to good relations with Gulf countries, it had its own interests.

The so-called pragmatic Sunni bloc, which included the Gulf states, Jordan and Morocco, emerged during the Mubarak years, and enjoyed the powerful support of the United States. Israel played a significant role behind the scenes, because the Gulf states and Egypt believed that it would be able to pressure Washington into stopping Iran’s nuclear program, while at the same time hoping that Israel might bomb Iran’s nuclear installations and deliver the region from that threat.

Barack Obama’s gradual disengagement from the Middle East, while favoring Shi’ite Iran over Sunni countries, was a game changer. America jettisoned Mubarak, its long-term ally, and welcomed the Muslim Brotherhood; it turned its back on President Sisi and made a deal with Iran on its nuclear program.

Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states felt betrayed and lost their trust in the United States, while Egypt, losing political, economic and military American support, turned to Russia and China for sophisticated weaponry and to develop economic projects – including building a nuclear plant to produce energy with the help of Russia. The Russian and Egyptian armies are conducting joint exercises, further testimony to the deepening ties.

In short, deprived of the strong American backing which was the basis of their common policy, Egypt and Saudi Arabia took different paths based on their divergent interests. Egypt, fearing an Islamic takeover, believes Syrian unity must be preserved at all costs, and aligned itself with Russia with regards to Syria, whose goals are similar to those of Iran, which wants President Basher Assad to remain in place in order to ensure its continued access to its Hezbollah ally in Lebanon through Syria.

Riyadh is steadfastly supporting Sunni rebel groups fighting to eliminate Assad and set up a Sunni regime. These groups include Islamic terrorist organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and therein lies the crux of the problem. The Brotherhood is still manufacturing terrorism in Egypt, presenting a very real threat and hampering the country’s economic development. As to Saudi Arabia, although it expelled the Brothers following the 9/11 attacks in New York – 15 of 18 perpetrators being Saudi Muslim Brothers – and has declared that the Brotherhood is a terrorist organization, just as Egypt did, it is now in the uneasy position of forbidding its activities in the kingdom while supporting them abroad. In Yemen, it backs al-Islah, a “Reform” party which is an offshoot of the Brotherhood, against the Shi’ite Houthi rebels, in the hopes that they will rule the country after defeating the rebellion.

Egypt emphatically does not want that to happen. It reluctantly joined the Saudi-led coalition again the Houthis, but is not taking part in military operations beyond patrolling the entrance to the Suez Canal, which is in its own interests. The situation regarding Libya is similar. Egypt backs Gen. Khalifa Belqasim Haftar, who is battling extremist groups with great success, while Saudi Arabia helps Brotherhood organizations.

In short, for Egypt, the most pressing threat is that of the Muslim Brothers, which enjoy the support of Turkey and Qatar. Saudi Arabia is more afraid of Iran, and therefore reluctantly allies itself with Sunni terrorist organizations it abhors. It has even grown closer to Turkey, a country at odds with Egypt over the removal of Morsi and the overthrow of the regime of the Brotherhood.

Sometimes logic goes overboard: Sunni Egypt and Sunni Saudi Arabia should have been united in condemnation of the relentless bombing of Aleppo by Russian and Syrian planes, driving the Sunni population out of the town with the intent to replace them with Alawites – but Egypt voted against the French resolution to end the bombing.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has given Egypt $15 billion in outright grants, loans or deposits into Cairo’s central bank, in order to bolster the Egyptian economy and currency, and has supplied Egypt with natural gas and oil. Both countries will try to overcome their differences, but it will not be easy. Riyadh is sending conflicting signals. It suspended regular deliveries of refined oil in spite of the 25 year contract signed in May, estimated at $23b.; it also significantly raised the price of visas for the pilgrimage to Mecca.

On the other hand, it deposited $2b. into Egyptian banks in September to bolster the Egyptian currency. A high-ranking Egyptian delegation is soon expected in Riyadh to “discuss regional issues and the implementation of the cooperation agreements signed in Cairo, during the visit of King Salman in April,” as well as the Syrian issue. The Saudi ambassador to Egypt has been called home to prepare for the visit.

The vacuum left by America’s disengagement has thrown the Middle East into a dangerous state of instability, wherein extremist groups thrive and thwart any hopes for peace. The Sunni bloc is in disarray. It is every country for itself. This has led to a quiet strengthening of security and intelligence cooperation with Israel, and even greater economic exchanges. But this is kept under wraps. Neither President Sisi nor King Abdullah of Jordan dared attend Peres’s funeral, as this newfound collaboration does not bode well for the much-touted “regional solution” of the Palestinian issue.

The writer, a fellow of The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.

US strikes three radar sites in Houthi-controlled part of Yemen

07b471aabad84e558627fb4f9d68508b_18Long War Journal, by Thomas Joscelyn, October 14, 2016:

The US has launched missiles against three radar sites in the Houthi-controlled part of Yemen. The strikes came in response to two attacks on the USS Mason, which operates in international waters off the Red Sea coast of Yemen. The Houthis are also thought to have fired rockets at an United Arab Emirates military vessel earlier this month.

The US military “targeted radar sites involved in the recent missile launches threatening USS Mason and other vessels operating in international waters in the Red Sea and the Bab al-Mandeb,” according to a statement by Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. The Bab al-Mandeb is a strait located between Yemen and the Horn of Africa. “These limited self-defense strikes were conducted to protect our personnel, our ships, and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway,” Cook continued.

Cook added that the “United States will respond to any further threat to our ships and commercial traffic, as appropriate, and will continue to maintain our freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, the Bab al-Mandeb, and elsewhere around the world.”

Separately, the US Navy released a video, just over one minute long, of the USS Nitze launching Tomahawk cruise missiles at the radar sites. The cruise missile were fired just hours after the USS Mason was forced to respond to an incoming missile for the second time this week. No one was injured in the failed missile attacks, but the USS Mason had to employ “defensive countermeasures.”

The Houthi rebels in Yemen have been backed by Iran. And their rise to power in the country was a blow to the US government’s counterterrorism strategy. The Obama administration relied on President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s government as a key, on the ground partner in the fight against al Qaeda in Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

But in late 2014 and early 2015, the Houthis seized large swaths of Yemen from Hadi’s government. AQAP capitalized on the instability by launching its own offensive throughout the southern part of the country. The al Qaeda branch controlled contiguous territory along the coast from April 2015 until April 2016, when an Arab-led coalition moved to dislodge the jihadis. AQAP’s fighters slipped away from strategic locations, such as the port city of Mukalla, in order to fight another day. AQAP portrayed the move as an effort to protect local residents and civilian institutions, such as mosques and markets, from the ravages of war.

Subsequently, Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza released an audio message in which he accused Saudi Arabia of attacking al Qaeda’s men at a time when they were “preoccupied” with the Houthis. Hamza portrayed the ground assault launched by the Saudi-led coalition that entered Mukalla as boon to the Houthis, even though the Saudis are opposed to the Houthis’ expansion.

In addition to AQAP, the Islamic State took advantage of the turmoil in Yemen by establishing a small upstart branch comprised of AQAP defectors and others.

The State Department has formally accused Iran of backing the Houthis. In its Country Reports on Terrorism 2012, State said that “Iran actively supported members of the Houthi tribe in northern Yemen, including activities intended to build military capabilities, which could pose a greater threat to security and stability in Yemen and the surrounding region.” The report also cited an incident from July 2012, when Yemen’s Interior Ministry “arrested members of an alleged Iranian spy ring, headed by a former member of the IRGC” (Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps).

However, Foggy Bottom dropped the language about Iran’s sponsorship of the Houthis from the 2015 version of Country Reports on Terrorism. Asked why similar language was not included in the report for 2015, acting coordinator for counterterrorism Justin Siberell responded: “There’s a serious concern about Iran’s activities in Yemen, yes.”

In February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper delivered the US Intelligence Community’s “Worldwide Threat Assessment” to Congress. Clapper noted that Iran “continues to back the [Houthis],” has shipped “lethal aid” to them, and referred to the “Iranian-backed [Houthi] insurgency.”

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

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Russian media reporting:

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