Archive for April 12, 2017

Dr. Jasser discusses the Pope’s visit to Egypt in the wake of Palm Sunday attack

April 12, 2017

Dr. Jasser discusses the Pope’s visit to Egypt in the wake of Palm Sunday attack, AIFD via Fox via YouTube, April 11, 2017

According to the blurb beneath the video,

Dr. Jasser joins Fox Business’ Risk and Reward discussing the Pope’s visit to Egypt in the wake of the Palm Sunday attack and that the west is ignoring the Christian genocide that is occurring in the Middle East.

Also discussed are X-Men comic books in which the Muslim artist has insert subliminal opinions.

How US Airstrike on Syria Impacts Iran’s Presidential Election

April 12, 2017

How US Airstrike on Syria Impacts Iran’s Presidential Election, Iran News Update, April 12, 2017

What all of these viewpoints have in common, is that the U.S. attack on Syria rocked both of Iran’s factions and increased their political disputes. 

However, the main issue is that the entire Iranian regime has suffered a major blow after this groundbreaking development.

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The impact of the U.S. attack on the Shayrat airfield in Syria was immediately evident in terms of its effect on Iran’s presidential election.

In an attempt to take advantage of the airstrike, various factions are trying to spin it to their favor, and use it against their opponents.

On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani remarked, “Today, more than ever before, we must unite because it is not clear what visions the people in power now in the U.S. have for the region and the world. We must be very aware and plan very carefully, to be ready for a variety of probabilities. Good elections are the power of Iran and our nation…”

Controlled by the faction loyal to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran’s state TV censored these remarks from Rouhani’s speech. To understand why they were censored, one must look to an article published by the Kayhan daily, which is known to also be controlled by Khamenei. The piece reads, “A Western leaning current (referring to Rouhani’s faction) that has no achievements to boast about, legitimize their continued presence by claiming the possibility of a U.S. attack is very serious if others come to power and are not willing to engage with the U.S.”

According to the Arya website, Rouhani’s faction stated, “If Iran resorts to adequate political statements and refrains from providing pretexts to [U.S. President Donald] Trump, the government will be able to contain Trump’s America.”

The Aftab News website reported this statement, “Iran’s opponents seek a quick and emotional response by us to events such as the U.S. missile attack against Syria. However, Iran understand what its opponents are after and should prepare itself from within against foreign threats. No doubt this is why the Americans have scheduled their next measure against Iran after the May presidential election.”

Tasnim news agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, wrote, “[The U.S. attack on Syria] is a type of message meant to create a climate of fear, that with Trump in the White House all forecasted predictions have changed and the results will be changing. The necessary individuals able to prevent such developments must be elected.”

What all of these viewpoints have in common, is that the U.S. attack on Syria rocked both of Iran’s factions and increased their political disputes.

However, the main issue is that the entire Iranian regime has suffered a major blow after this groundbreaking development.

New Front in White House Civil War as Kushner Asserts Authority at NSC

April 12, 2017

Officials say Kushner taking unprecedented role to interfere in foreign policy matters

BY:
April 12, 2017 1:58 pm

Source: New Front in White House Civil War as Kushner Asserts Authority at NSC

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner is leading an unprecedented effort to meddle in the White House’s National Security Council, causing mayhem for senior staff who say the president’s son-in-law is interfering in key foreign policy debates, according to Trump administration officials who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

Kushner has taken aggressive action to micro-manage the NSC, overshadowing even recently installed National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, according to sources both inside and outside the White House who described Kushner’s behavior as highly unusual and damaging to the country’s national security infrastructure.

Never before has a White House permitted such a figure to intervene in the NSC, which is traditionally given leeway to investigate foreign policy matters and bring advice to the president.

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon described wide-ranging frustration at the NSC over Kushner’s influence over some of the most important foreign policy portfolios, such as Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and China, among others.

Senior NSC staff are finding their hands tied when it comes to performing even perfunctory duties, such as talking points and statements on high profile issues that must go through Kushner for approval. Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon described this level of involvement as kneecapping the NSC and contributing to its difficulties formulating policy.

“Kushner is meddling in a lot of things,” according to one NSC official who spoke to the Free Beacon only on background. “Such direct control of foreign policy from the West Wing has never happened before. It just creates a lot of drama. People just don’t know how to deal with it. We’re respectful of his position, but it’s confusing the policymaking process.”

Officials working at the NSC, State Department, and Department of Defense “are not happy that Jared is so powerful in foreign policy,” said one White House official. “They are expected to implement the president’s agenda, but have no input or ability to get ideas in front of Jared. It’s a one-man show and that’s creating a lot of frustration.”

The installation of Dina Powell, a confidant of Kushner’s wife Ivanka, to the NSC is said to have been orchestrated by Kushner in order to solidify his power over the foreign policy organization, sources said.

This helps Kushner keep tabs on the NSC’s day-to-day operations, another move that is said to be causing conflict between the NSC and the West Wing.

Kushner, in many ways, has even overshadowed McMaster, who sources described as seeking to avoid infighting in the White House. This has only minimized his power on the NSC, officials said.

On the other hand, Bannon’s team is said to be more respectful and willing to defer to the organization as West Wing staffers have traditionally done under past administrations.

“Jared has been pegged as the ‘shadow secretary of state,'” said the White House official. “But in a way he’s kind of also the shadow national security adviser and secretary of defense.”

The situation has weakened the NSC and caused internal confusion as to what exactly the administration’s policy is when it comes to a range of key issues.

The Free Beacon highlighted this issue in a report earlier this year about the Trump administration’s inability to provide direction over key aspects of the Iran nuclear deal, specifically the U.S. sale of airplanes to Tehran.

“On routine issues, we still don’t know what our policy is,” said the NSC official. “So when we get basic requests from foreign counterparts, we can’t weigh in authoritatively.”

Tillerson says US-Russia relations at ‘low point,’ calls for improving ties after Putin meeting

April 12, 2017

Tillerson says US-Russia relations at ‘low point,’ calls for improving ties after Putin meeting, Fox News, April 12, 2017

(Please see also, The Real Winner in the Russia Investigations Is Iran.

The best interests of the United States would be to woo Russia away from these maniacs — and we very well could have.  We are, at least for now, still the world’s biggest GNP and control a great deal of the global economy.  Greedy despots like Putin know that as well as anybody.  They may not feel good about it, but to some degree they might play with us.  And if they wanted to enough, if we sweetened the pot enough, they’d even disengage from the mullahs, leaving them with no ally of value, no substantial defender.

Trump — or some people close to him — may have had this in mind when they started speaking with the Russians way back in the Paleolithic Era of the transition days.  They’d have been fools not to.  They wouldn’t have been doing their duty to the United States or to the civilized world for that matter.

Now Trump or his people can no longer even consider making such inroads. They would be accused immediately of treason or something close. The possibility of separating the Russians from Iran has been destroyed by these investigations — first by the House, now by the Senate, and always by the media.

— DM)

 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a hastily arranged meeting in Moscow late Wednesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin as he worked to ease tensions with the country over Syria and other global crises – even as he and President Trump, from afar, continued to pressure Putin over his alliance with Bashar Assad. 

Tillerson, speaking frankly during a joint press conference in Moscow alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, said U.S.-Russia relations have hit a “low point,” while stressing the need to improve ties.

“There is a low level of trust between our two countries. The world’s two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship,” Tillerson said.

Those tensions have mounted since Trump ordered a missile strike on an airbase controlled by the Assad government last week, in response to a chemical weapons attack.

Tillerson and Lavrov spoke after Tillerson met in private with Putin at the Kremlin for nearly two hours.

Tillerson, the first Trump Cabinet official to visit Russia, originally was only slated to meet with Lavrov but spoke with Putin after first sitting down with his Russian counterpart.

Tillerson traveled to Moscow just days after the Trump administration launched missile strikes on an airbase in Syria, angering Bashar al-Assad’s allies in Moscow. The strike was in response to a chemical weapons attack earlier last week.

Tillerson ratcheted up his rhetoric en route to Moscow earlier this week, saying “the reign of the Assad family is coming to an end” and challenging Russia to reconsider its alliance with the government in Damascus.

Trump also told Fox Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo that Putin is backing “an evil person” in Syria, and it’s “very bad for Russia.”

At the same time, Trump made clear he’s pushing for peace in Syria. He said, “we’re not going into Syria,” but said pressure will be on Russia to ensure peace.

“If Russia didn’t go in and back this animal, you wouldn’t have a problem right now,” he said.

Earlier Wednesday, during a forum at The Newseum in Washington, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about what could be on the table at a Putin-Tillerson meeting. He spoke to their common interests.

“I think there is a shared interest in defeating ISIS in the region that we have a national security concern that should align with their national security concern,” he said.

Spicer had tough words for Russia’s alliance with Assad, however.

“Russia right now is an island,” he said. “It’s Russia, North Korea and Iran … Russia is among that group the only non-failed state.” He said Russia is “isolating” itself by standing by Assad.

Boeing Trying to Sell Planes to Leading Official of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps

April 12, 2017

Boeing Trying to Sell Planes to Leading Official of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Washington Free Beacon, April 12, 2017

(Please see also, Airplane Sales to Iran Put Under Critical Review By Trump Admin. — DM)

The Boeing logo on the first Boeing 737 MAX 9 airplane is pictured during its rollout for media at the Boeing factory in Renton, Washington on March 7, 2017. /  JASON REDMOND/AFP/Getty Images)

U.S airline manufacturer Boeing is coming under renewed criticism following disclosures that its latest deal with Iran is being inked with a senior regime official and leading member of the country’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, which has sponsored terrorism across the Middle East and is responsible for helping to kill U.S. soldiers.

Boeing’s latest deal—which the Washington Free Beacon first reported last week has been put under a critical review by the Trump administration—is being inked with Iran Aseman Airlines, which is owned and controlled by the state. The CEO of Aseman Airlines is Hossein Alaei, a “prominent and longtime member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” or IRGC, according to several members of Congress who are petitioning the Trump administration to cancel the sales.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) expressed concern that Boeing’s sale of around 60 new planes to Aseman Airlines will bolster the IRGC’s global terrorism operation and help the Iranian regime transport weapons and troops to conflict areas such as Syria.

The lawmakers called on the Trump administration to immediately suspend licenses permitting these sales and conduct a review of Iran’s effort to use commercial aircraft for illicit activities.

“Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, has systematically used commercial aircraft for illicit military purposes, including to transport troops, weapons, and cash to rogue regimes and terrorist groups around the world,” the lawmakers wrote. “The possibility that U.S.-manufactured aircraft could be used as tools of terror is absolutely unacceptable and should not be condoned by the U.S. government.”

Rubio and Roskam asked the administration to “suspend current and future licenses for aircraft sales to commercial Iranian airlines until your administration conducts a comprehensive review of their role in supporting Iran’s illicit activity.”

Instead of granting Boeing a license for these sales, the United States should take immediate steps to “revoke authorizations and re-impose sanctions on Iranian airlines found guilty of such support, and should bar U.S. companies from selling aircraft to Iran until the Iranian regime ceases using commercial airliners for illicit military purposes,” according to the letter.

The latest information about Boeing’s deal with Aseman Airlines and IRGC leader Alaei has only heightened concerns about the danger of the Trump administration approving the sales.

Alaei served as commander of the IRGC Navy until 1990. During that time, Alaei oversaw the harassment of U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf and efforts by the IRGC Navy to plant mines in international waters.

Alaei also served as the head of the IRGC’s general staff and a deputy minister of defense before assuming control of Iran’s Aviation Industries Organization, which is currently subject to U.S. sanctions.

Alaei serves as a lecturer at Iran’s Imam Hossein University, the IRGC’s national defense college, which also has been sanctioned by the United States.

“With his deep ties and service to the IRGC, Hossein Alaei’s position as CEO of Aseman therefore casts a dark shadow on the corporate ownership of and control over the airlines, and raises significant concerns that Iran Aseman Airlines is part of the IRGC’s economic empire and a tool used to support its malign activity abroad,” according to Rubio and Roskam.

Boeing also is pursuing deals with Iran Air, the country’s flagship carrier, and Mahan Air. Both have been sanctioned by the United States.

These carriers have been accused of using “commercial aircraft to transport weapons, troops and other tools of war to rogue regimes like the Syrian dictatorship of Bashar al Assad, terrorist groups like Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, and militant groups like the Houthi rebels in Yemen,” the lawmakers wrote.

Boeing could bolster Iran’s illicit activities and help the country revamp its aging fleet of planes, according to the lawmakers.

“There is no reason to believe Iran has ceased its malicious activity,” Rubio and Roskam wrote. “Compelling evidence indicates that commercial Iranian airliners remain pivotal in delivering military support to terrorist groups and dictatorships around the Middle East.”

“Iran’s commercial airlines have American blood on their hands,” they wrote.

Mission accomplished in Syria

April 12, 2017

Mission accomplished in Syria, Israel Hayom, Clifford D. May. April 12, 2017

(Accomplished or just begun? — DM)

Congress should send Trump the legislation it is now considering, seeking to impose new sanctions on Iran in reprisal for its continuing support of terrorists, its missile tests and its maintenance of more than 35,000 troops in Syria, including its own, those of its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, and Shiite fighters recruited from Iraq and Afghanistan. Suspending Iran’s deal with Boeing/Airbus would be useful, too. Only the willfully credulous believe that Iran’s theocrats won’t use such aircraft for illicit military purposes.

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If you’re still unsure about whether U.S. President Donald Trump did the right thing when he launched 59 cruise missiles at Syria’s Shayrat Air Base last week, consider the alternative.

He knew that Syrian dictator Bashar Assad had yet again used chemical weapons to murder Syrian civilians, women and children prominent among them. He knew that Iran and Russia had enabled this atrocity, as they have many others. He knew he had two choices.

He could shrug, instruct his U.N. ambassador to deliver a tearful speech calling on the “international community” to do something, and then go play a round of golf. Or he could demonstrate that the United States still has the power and the grit to stand up to tyrants and terrorists, thereby beginning to re-establish America’s deterrent capability.

In other words, this was what Sun Tzu and Carl von Clausewitz would call a no-brainer. (Well, loosely translated.) A mission was accomplished. Do harder missions lie ahead? Yes, of course. But I suspect Defense Secretary James Mattis and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster have made that abundantly clear to the new president.

We now know for certain that Russia failed to live up to its 2013 commitment to ensure that Assad surrendered all his illegal chemical weapons under the deal it brokered. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson acerbically questioned whether that was the result of complicity or incompetence or whether Russia allowed itself to be duped by Assad.

The strike ordered by President Trump was not “unbelievably small” — then-Secretary of State John Kerry’s description of the punishment then-President Barack Obama decided not to impose in response to Assad’s earlier use of chemical weapons. It was big enough to make clear that American diplomats are again carrying big sticks. (For Obama to insist that diplomacy and force are alternatives was patently absurd.)

Conveniently, Trump was dining with Chinese President Xi Jinping when the strikes occurred. It’s fair to speculate that Xi is today thinking harder about American requests to rein in Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator whose drive to acquire nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the American mainland has become what Tillerson called an “imminent” threat.

Having passed his first major national security test, Trump is now obliged to demonstrate firmness and consistency. What plans might the Pentagon have on the shelf to respond to further provocations? The next round of Tomahawk missiles could permanently ground Assad’s air force. That would make it easier to then establish no-fly zones. If such measures do not alter the calculations of Assad and his Iranian and Russian patrons, consideration could be given to leveling his defense, intelligence and command-and-control centers as well.

Another idea under discussion: setting up safe havens, or, to use a better term, “self-protection zones,” for those fleeing the Syrian regime and various jihadist forces, Sunni and Shiite alike. Israel and Jordan could help the inhabitants of such areas adjacent to their borders defend themselves. The Saudis, Emiratis and Bahrainis could contribute to the cost. Might this lead to the partition of Syria? Most likely, but it’s difficult to imagine a “political solution” that would not include such readjustments.

All this, while useful and perhaps even necessary, should be seen as insufficient. Syria is a major humanitarian catastrophe but only one piece in a much larger geopolitical puzzle. Sooner rather than later, the Trump administration needs to develop what Obama refused to contemplate: a comprehensive and coherent strategy to counter the belligerent, imperialist and supremacist forces that have emerged from the Middle East and are now spreading like weeds around the world.

The Islamic State group will of course need to be driven off the lands on which it has attempted to establish a caliphate. After that, its terrorists will have to be hunted, along with those of al-Qaida, wherever they hide (e.g., Egypt where, over the weekend, they bombed two Coptic Christian churches).

But — and this is crucial — accomplishing these missions must not serve to further empower Iran’s jihadist rulers, who dream of establishing an expanding imamate, the Shiite version of a caliphate.

Most immediately, Congress should send Trump the legislation it is now considering, seeking to impose new sanctions on Iran in reprisal for its continuing support of terrorists, its missile tests and its maintenance of more than 35,000 troops in Syria, including its own, those of its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, and Shiite fighters recruited from Iraq and Afghanistan. Suspending Iran’s deal with Boeing/Airbus would be useful, too. Only the willfully credulous believe that Iran’s theocrats won’t use such aircraft for illicit military purposes.

That the United States cannot solve all the world’s problems was one of Trump’s campaign themes. But the implication is not necessarily, as some of his supporters hoped, that he would turn a blind eye to all atrocities and threats not already within America’s borders.

In the last century, most Americans recognized, in some cases with enormous reluctance, that there was no good alternative to doing whatever was necessary to rout the Nazis and communists, enemies whose goal was to kill off the democratic experiment.

In this century, jihadists and Islamists harbor the same ambition. We can attempt to appease them. We can try to make ourselves inoffensive to them. We can keep our hand extended, hoping that in time they will unclench their fists. Or we can decide instead to plan for a long war that will end with the defeat of these latest enemies of America and the rest of the civilized world. If Trump has grasped that within his first 100 days, he’s not off to such a bad start.

Report: House Investigation of Susan Rice Scandal Expanding

April 12, 2017

Report: House Investigation of Susan Rice Scandal Expanding, PJ MediaDebra Heine, April 12, 2017

(Please see also, A Shoe Drops: Obama Administration Spied on Carter Page [Updated] — DM)

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

Fox News reported Tuesday night that members of the House Intelligence Committee have expanded their investigation into the Susan Rice surveillance controversy.

Appearing on The O’Reilly Factor, investigative reporter Adam Housley said the following:

They’re looking into allegations where Americans including politicians have possibly been unmasked and had their information collected into the files, similar to what they did to the Trump team.

Housley also said that both the House and Senate investigations are being stonewalled:

They say the FBI is being very difficult. We’re told [investigators] just want to know about the unmasking. How frequent was this? Who was doing it? Why were they being unmasked?

Housley added:

[A Committee member says the FBI is] going to have to turn everything over or we’re not going to authorize the congressionally approved 702 program which allows them to do this in the first place. This investigation is full-blown.

Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, is up for reauthorization in 2017. The program surveils non-U.S. persons believed to be located outside the United States, incidentally sweeping up the communications of Americans as well, in order to acquire foreign intelligence.

O’Reilly asked Malia Zimmerman, an investigative reporter working with Housley, if the FBI was investigating the case. Zimmerman answered:

There’s a big question about the FBI’s role in this and there’s concern in the House about generally how the FBI is handling this case.

She added that FBI Director James Comey has yet to come back to the Hill to answer the 100 questions the House Intelligence Committee wants answered:

The FBI claims to be “preparing the information,” but it’s been four weeks, Bill.

O’Reilly suggested getting Attorney General Jeff Sessions involved, “because he’s Comey’s boss.”

Housley said they were making progress on the story, but because of the sensitive and classified nature of the information, it’s been difficult work.

Zimmerman added that some of the whistleblowers who have been talking to them may come forward and provide testimony to the House Intelligence Committee:

That would really start to expand this investigation even further.