Archive for the ‘Obama and terrorism’ category

Comprehensive Terrorism Strategy Needed

December 8, 2016

Comprehensive Terrorism Strategy Needed, The Cipher Brief, Bruce Hoffman, December 8, 2016

(Please see also, Obama: “If we act like this is war between US and Islam, we’re going to lose more Americans to terrorist attacks”. — DM)

The Cipher Brief sat down with Bruce Hoffman, Director for Security Studies at Georgetown University, to discuss President Obama’s counterterrorism legacy and the outlook for the terrorist threat in the coming year. According to Hoffman, although the U.S. has achieved “tactical gains” against al Qaeda and ISIS during Obama’s tenure, the U.S. currently faces the “most parlous international security situation in terms of terrorism, at least since the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.”

The Cipher Brief: How has U.S. counterterrorism policy developed in the eight years under President Obama?

Bruce Hoffman: Clearly during the eight years of the Obama Administration there was an effort to shift from the deployment of U.S. ground forces for prolonged periods overseas to using other forms of engaging terrorists, principally unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones, as well as the increased deployment of Special Operations forces. Tactically, it was successful – it eliminated at least three-dozen senior al Qaeda commanders following the ramp up of drone strikes in 2009 – and it crystalized of course with the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in 2011. These tactics served to disrupt terrorist operations and keep these groups off balance. Tactically, it was unquestionably successful.

But strategically, the U.S. faces the most parlous international security situation in terms of terrorism, at least since the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. According to the National Counterterrorism Center’s (NCTC), despite our ongoing efforts in Iraq and Syria over the past two years, ISIS has expanded geographically. The NCTC reported that in 2014, when the U.S.-backed campaign against ISIS began, the group had branches in seven countries. By 2015, they had branches in 13 countries, and by 2016, this number had increased again, now to 18. So clearly the Obama Administration’s strategy hasn’t stopped the spread of ISIS.

Similarly, al Qaeda today is present in about three times as many places as it was in 2008.  Even if there have been significant tactical achievements in keeping both these groups off-balance and making it more difficult for them to attack in the U.S., for instance, except perhaps by mobilizing lone-wolves, we’re nonetheless still facing serious terrorist challenges in the future. This was the message delivered by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in his testimony before the U.S. Senate last February, when he cited a resilient al Qaeda that, he said, was poised to make gains in 2016 and therefore continues to pose a local, regional, and international threat. He also worried about the continued threat from ISIS, even despite the intense pressure that we’ve put them under in Iraq and Syria.  Clapper was especially concerned about the threat of terrorist attacks in Europe—outside the geographical locus of ISIS’ caliphate

While tactically the gains may only have been ephemeral and temporary, given that in the overall strategic sense, the terrorist threat is arguably greater now than it’s been at any time over the past decade-and-a-half.

Also, in 2001 we faced only one major terrorist adversary. Today we face two. Further, in 2001, we faced one terrorist adversary that did not have a raft of active affiliates, associates, and branches. We now face two terrorist groups with affiliates, associates, and branches variously located in west, north, and east Africa, the Levant, the rest of the Middle East, South Asia, and elsewhere.

TCB: What were some of the strongest elements of President Obama’s CT policy? What were the weakest?

BH: First, from 2011 until very recently, we were told by a succession of senior U.S. counterterrorism officials, including the President, that al Qaeda was on “the verge of strategic collapse.” DNI Clapper’s statements last February reveal something very different. His melancholy assessment at the Senate hearings suggests that a lot of the progress over the eight years was mostly tactical and may yet prove to be evanescent.

For instance, the 2015 U.S. national security strategy cites three pillars of U.S. counterterrorism policy: leadership attrition, training host militaries to take the fight directly to the terrorists, and countering the terrorists’ narrative and message.

Clearly we’ve eliminated a number of leaders, including Osama bin Laden, Anwar al-Awlaqi, and more recently Mohammad al-Adnani, but whether it is al Qaeda or ISIS, both these groups seem to have a deeper bench than we believed. In other words, they each have thus far shown an unfortunate ability to be able to continue to summon their forces to battle despite the loss of senior leaders and the damage otherwise inflicted on them in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, among other places. Both organizations appear to have succession plans that despite the loss of key leaders, they nonetheless are able to recover or rebound from those setbacks, hand over command authority to a new person, and carry on the struggle. I don’t see this changing—at least any time in the short term, unfortunately.

I’m not by any means implying that we shouldn’t be killing terrorist leaders, but what I have often observed is that we are confusing a tactic (high value leadership targeting) with a comprehensive counterterrorism strategy—and they are not the same. In this war, we shouldn’t in any event be looking at one, single metric as a defining variable.

So the first pillar has not fundamentally changed the war on terrorism to an extent where we are much safer than we were before.

Second, the training of host militaries has been a significant failure. Just a few years ago, Mali and Yemen were being touted as success stories where we had trained indigenous forces so that Western intervention wouldn’t be required. In both places, however, we’ve seen that we couldn’t train host-nation forces fast enough to keep pace with terrorist recruitment or terrorist territorial gains.

Third, is countering the narrative. DNI Clapper also spoke of upwards of 40,000 foreign fighters from at least 100 countries throughout the world who have gravitated to both al Qaeda and ISIS in recent years. That doesn’t suggest to me that our counter-narrative is really having an impact if we see this tremendous ground swell in the unprecedented number of foreign fighters drawn to the conflicts not only in Syria and Iraq, but also in Yemen, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, among other places.

Further, in contrast to a decade ago when the vast majority of these foreign fighters came from the Arabian Peninsula, the Gulf, or North Africa, we now see hundreds of recruits from Latin America and from places like Benin and Bangladesh, countries that had hitherto been unaffected by the process of terrorist radicalization but are nonetheless providing fighters.

You can almost argue that, going back to the first point about high value targeting, we basically kill terrorist leaders but it seems as if these groups have continued to spread and seize more territory and meanwhile also appeal to a broader constituency of recruits in more countries than before. Meanwhile, we’ve downsized our military over the past eight years while we’ve seen these terrorist groups’ numbers increase as a result of the flow of foreign fighters into their ranks. We see that even as we build up our intelligence capabilities, the terrorists are developing means to frustrate those same capabilities by using off the shelf, encrypted communication apps.

TCB: Is President Obama’s counterterrorism legacy defined by executive actions such as drone strikes?

BH: Yes. President Obama came in with a commitment to draw down U.S. combat forces on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. He did succeed in doing that, but what we’ve seen is that even while we were withdrawing these troops, the terrorist threats in both those countries and elsewhere as well hasn’t diminished.

The drone campaign emerged as the major means of addressing these threats and controlling the growth of terrorist movements. But, by definition this lone tactic can only go so far when you have organizations that over the past decade and a half have proven to be more dispersed, adaptive, and resilient than we’ve imagined.

Think of it this way, U.S. forces – the Joint Special Operations Command combined with the U.S. Air Force – were spectacularly successful in 2006 in killing Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. That knocked the group off-balance temporarily and significantly weakened it, but over time, it re-emerged and resurrected itself as ISIS, which has shown itself to be more deadly, more consequential, and more threatening than al Qaeda in Iraq had ever been.

TCB: Looking forward into the next year, aside from ISIS and al Qaeda, do you see other terrorist threats?

BH: Right now, our main challenge is that ISIS has completely preoccupied our attention and has consumed most of our resources in the ongoing war on terrorism during a time when, as I have argued in a previous Cipher Brief interview, al Qaeda has been quietly rebuilding. Our ability to focus on two preeminent threats, much less the range of potentially second or third order threats, has been seriously constrained, not least because of the geographical spread of both those movements and their stubborn resiliency.

Off the top of my head, I can’t see any other threats as significant as either ISIS and al Qaeda emerging in the near future, but that’s because both of these adversaries already seem too much for us to focus on simultaneously. But you are right that we need now to be thinking of the threats that might surface from a post-caliphate ISIS and a potentially resurgent al Qaeda.

Our track record in anticipating these threats has not been impressive. For the two years preceding the 2015 Paris attacks, for instance, ISIS build up a formidable external operations capability in Europe that largely went completely unnoticed by intelligence and security services around the world. We know that al-Zawahiri has attempted to constrain al Qaeda’s international terrorist operations since around 2013, so we perhaps also don’t have a clear picture of what al Qaeda’s capabilities and future intentions are. In many respects, the threats and the troubles we see right now may just be the tip of the iceberg given the proliferation of terrorist sanctuaries and safe havens in recent years.

TCB: As ISIS is pushed out of its stronghold in Mosul and possibly its headquarters in Raqqa, how will those CT campaigns affect terrorism here in the U.S.? Could there be an uptick in lone wolf style attacks as ISIS concentrates its efforts on conducting attacks abroad?

BH:  We are never going to be able to completely eliminate ISIS in the near term given its tremendous growth in recent years. It will likely retain some terrorist strike capability at some level even as it continues to lose men, materiel and territory in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. We need to anticipate what ISIS’s next steps will be in response to the dismantling of its caliphate and power and be concerned whether in desperation or otherwise this leads to an upsurge of terrorist attacks in Europe and beyond.

Accordingly, ISIS is likely to exist in one form or another. Just one year ago, ISIS unleashed the most consequential attack on a major European city in over a decade: shattering the prevailing analytical paradigm of the time, which held that ISIS’s violence would remain largely confined to Syria and Iraq. That caught intelligence and security services by surprise. And especially as the group becomes more desperate as it’s weakened on the battlefield, the danger of it striking elsewhere becomes greater. If the immediate past is any guide, I worry that we may not understand the full extent of that capability until it actually materializes.

Look at it this way. A little bit more than a year ago, we thought that terrorists’ ability to attack commercial aviation had been seriously challenged if not negated. Then came the October 2015 in flight bombing of the Russian charter plane in the Sinai, which killed over 200 people. And, the previous February, al Shabaab had been able to smuggle a bomb concealed in a laptop computer on board a passenger jet that departed Mogadishu. Fortunately, the plane had not yet reached cruising altitude when the device exploded so it didn’t crash, but they were still able to smuggle a bomb on board an aircraft, which is of course profoundly troubling.

Therefore, we need to be careful not to neglect the possibility that terrorist groups, including ISIS, have been deterred from continuing to attempt attacks on commercial aviation.

TCB: Under President Obama, we’ve seen the weakening of al Qaeda, the rise of ISIS, and more recently the decline of ISIS and the rise of al Qaeda. What should we expect moving forward in the next year?

BH: Both groups have successfully locked us into a strategy of attrition.  They understand that they cannot defeat us militarily but instead seek to undermine confidence in our elected leaders, polarize polities, and create profound fissures in our society that they believe will wear down our resolve to resist their depredations and threats. Too often in the past we have precipitously declared that we are on the verge of victory only to see our adversaries rebound from even the most consequential setbacks. We pay a price for that over time that inadvertently plays into the terrorists’ strategy of attrition.

Public expectations rise as we are told victory is at hand, only to plummet in the wake of some new attack, and therefore as the war on terrorism seems to drag on. Each new terrorist attack appears to generate not just new fears and anxieties, but tears at the fabric of our society creating an atmosphere where popular pressure can drive a liberal democracy to embrace increasingly illiberal means in hopes of enhancing security.

Accordingly, the main challenge that we face is in breaking this stasis and frustrating this war of attrition that terrorists seek to keep us enmeshed in. To do this, we have to more decisively engage, dismantle, and defeat these organizations and their networks.

This is not to say that what we’ve been doing so far is ineffective and has not been successful, but that it clearly hasn’t been enough. What is required today is a more comprehensive, more systemic and aggressive counterterrorism strategy. We have to very critically start asking questions about why the host nation militaries we are training are failing in their efforts to take the war to the terrorists. We need to step back and assess what we’re doing now and why it is not producing decisive results so that we can break this stasis once and for all.

TCB: Would a more effective counter-messaging campaign aid in this effort?

BH: The problem is that counter-messaging works best after you have first broken the terrorists’ power and you’ve diminished their allure by depriving them of their appeal. We need to better counter their narrative which is that they’ve survived the greatest onslaught ever directed against a terrorist group in history, whether it’s the decade and a half-long conflict against al Qaeda or the more recent one against ISIS. For them, the fact that they are still fighting is enormously evocative in terms of their appeal and propaganda; that they have stood up to this very formidable counterterrorism campaign and have not only survived but have even expanded geographically despite our considerable efforts.

Counter-messaging works best when terrorists are deprived of their power, which means they are deprived of their sanctuary and safe haven, their efforts to recruit are thereby diminished: that’s when counter-messaging is enormously useful in preventing the recrudescence or the reemergence of these movements. But in-and-of-itself, without weakening the terrorist groups’ power, the messaging is going to be ineffective, as we’ve seen today, as demonstrated by the current worldwide proliferation of foreign fighters.

House passes bill to let 9/11 families sue Saudi Arabia

September 9, 2016

House passes bill to let 9/11 families sue Saudi Arabia, Washington ExaminerSusan Ferrechio, September 9, 2016

The House on Friday cleared a Senate-passed bill that would make it easier for the families of the Sept. 11 terror attack victims to sue the Saudi Arabian government, which some suspect enabled the perpetrators.

The bill was approved by voice-vote, sending a strong signal toPresident Obama that votes are there to override a threatened veto.The House vote comes four months after House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., signaled it might not make it to the House floor because he disapproved of the bill. GOP aides said they decided to change course after consideration of the legislation and support for it by House lawmakers.

The vote occurred two days before the 15th anniversary of the attacks, which falls on Sunday this year.

The Senate passed the bill in May by voice vote, a signal that not one senator in the chamber opposed the bill.

Obama said he believes the bill would damage relations with the Saudis, who are key Middle East allies.

But with wide bipartisan support and sponsorship by the the top Democrat and Republican leaders in the Senate, Obama may lose this one.

The bill was authored by Sen. Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the No. 3 Democrat who is expected to become party leader in the Senate next year.

“We would easily get [the two-thirds majority] should the president veto it,” Schumer said when the Senate passed the bill.

Senate aides say the Obama administration has already tried lobbying Democrats to oppose the bill but has not switched a single vote.

What’s the Plan for Winning the War?

August 25, 2016

What’s the Plan for Winning the War?, Counter Jihad, August 25, 2016

Who is even thinking about how to win the war?  Will the legacy of the Obama administration be a shattered NATO, a Turkey drawn into Russia’s orbit, an Iranian hegemony over the northern Middle East, and a resurgent Russia?  It certainly looks to be shaping up that way.  Russia is playing chess while the US is playing whack-a-mole.  The absence of a coherent governing strategy is glaring.

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Michael Ledeen makes a clever observation:

Everyone’s talking about “ransom,” but it’s virtually impossible to find anyone who’s trying to figure out how to win the world war we’re facing.  The two keystones of the enemy alliance are Iran and Russia, and the Obama administration, as always, has no will to resist their sorties, whether the Russians’ menacing moves against Ukraine, or the Iranians’ moves against us.

The moves are on the chessboard, sometimes kinetic and sometimes psychological warfare.  Like a chess game, we are in the early stages in which maneuver establishes the array of forces that will govern the rest of the game.  Russia’s deployment of air and naval forces to Syria stole a march on the Obama administration.  Its swaying of Turkey, which last year was downing Russian aircraft, is stealing another.  Its deployment of bombers and advanced strike aircraft to Iran is another.  That last appears to be in a state of renegotiation, as Ledeen notes, but that too is probably for show.  The Iranians have too much to gain in terms of security for their nuclear program, at least until they’ve had time to build their own air force.

Iran is making strategic moves as well.  Ledeen notes the “Shi’ite Freedom Army,” a kind of Iranian Foreign Legion that intends to field five divisions of between twenty and twenty-five thousand men each.  Overall command will belong to Quds Force commander Qassem Suliemani, currently a major figure in the assault on Mosul, having recovered from his injury in Syria commanding Iranian-backed militia in the war there.  The fact of his freedom of movement is itself a Russian-Iranian demonstration that they will not be governed by international law:  Suliemani is under international travel bans for his assassination plot against world diplomats, but was received in Moscow and now travels freely throughout the northern Middle East.

Turkey, meanwhile, has been effectively cut off by Iran’s and Russia’s success in the opening game of this global chess match.  As late as the Ottoman Empire, the Turks looked south through Iran and Iraq to power bases as far away as Arabia.  Now the Ayatollahs are going to control a crescent of territory from Afghanistan’s borders to the Levant, leaving the Turks locked out.  One might have expected the Turks to respond by doubling their sense of connection to Europe and NATO.  Instead, the purge following the alleged coup attempt is cementing an Islamist control that leaves the Turks looking toward a world from which they are largely separated by the power of this new Russian-Iranian alliance.  The Turks seem to be drifting toward joining that alliance because being a part of that alliance will preserve their ties to the Islamic world.

For now, the Obama administration seems blind to the fact that these moves are closing off America’s position in the Middle East.  This is not a new policy.  Eli Lake reports that the Obama administration told the CIA to sever its ties to Iranian opposition groups in order to avoid giving aid to the Green revolution.  Their negotiation of last year’s disastrous “Iran deal” has led to Iran testing new ballistic missiles and receiving major arms shipments from Russia.  Yet while all these moves keep being made around them, the Obama administration proceeds as if this were still just an attempt to crush the Islamic State (ISIS).  The commander of the XVIIIth Airborne Corps has been given a task that amounts to helping the Iranians win.  Our incoherent policy has left us on both sides in Syria.  Our only real ally in the conflict, the Kurds, stand abandoned by America.

Who is even thinking about how to win the war?  Will the legacy of the Obama administration be a shattered NATO, a Turkey drawn into Russia’s orbit, an Iranian hegemony over the northern Middle East, and a resurgent Russia?  It certainly looks to be shaping up that way.  Russia is playing chess while the US is playing whack-a-mole.  The absence of a coherent governing strategy is glaring.

Muslims Celebrate Bastille Day: 80 Dead, 68 Injured

July 15, 2016

Muslims Celebrate Bastille Day: 80 Dead, 68 Injured, Front Page MagazineRobert Spencer, July 15, 2016

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The response should not be to cower in fear, but to recognize that this is a war and act accordingly. France has just suffered a fresh attack in a war that is being fought by people in service of an ideology that France, like other Western countries, refuses to acknowledge even exists.

The reason why Obama offers these condemnations now after each jihad massacre is because he treats each as if it were an isolated incident, not as if it were one more battle in a long war. And he offers help in an investigation for the same reason: if U.S. officials do end up helping the French with an investigation of this latest jihad massacre, they will like come back with a characteristically Obamoid conclusion: they’re unable to determine the motive of the perpetrator.

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The truck was loaded with explosives and hand grenades as it plowed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, Thursday night. It was no accident: Nice authorities emphasized that it was a terror attack, which was fairly clear already from the fact that the driver exchanged gunfire with police after he rammed into the crowd.

At least eighty people are dead and 68 wounded, and Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi calls it “the worst tragedy in the history of Nice.” But given the harsh realities of the contemporary world, it probably won’t be the worst for long.

Jihadis have had their eyes on France for quite some time. The Islamic State issued this call in September 2014:

So O muwahhid, do not let this battle pass you by wherever you may be. You must strike the soldiers, patrons, and troops of the tawaghit. Strike their police, security, and intelligence members, as well as their treacherous agents. Destroy their beds. Embitter their lives for them and busy them with themselves. If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be….If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him….

Yes, “run him over with your car.”

Then again from the Islamic State in May 2016:

“The French must die by the thousands…. Towards paradise, that is the path….Come, brother, let’s go to paradise, our women are waiting for us there, with angels as servants. You will have a palace, a winged horse of gold and rubies….With a little rocket-launcher, you can easily get one of them… you do something like that in the name of Dawla (Islamic State), and France will be traumatised for a century.”

The French are already traumatized. The BBC reported last week that “more than 5,000 French police will be deployed at key venues in and around Paris ahead of the Euro 2016 football final between France and Portugal,” and that “there will be no victory parade if France wins.” Why not? For fear of jihad terror attacks.

The Bastille Day jihad massacre demonstrates that the answer to jihad attacks is not to curtail one’s activities and cower in fear. Even if free people do that, the jihadis will strike anyway. Even without a victory parade, the jihadis struck yet again in France. The response should not be to cower in fear, but to recognize that this is a war and act accordingly. France has just suffered a fresh attack in a war that is being fought by people in service of an ideology that France, like other Western countries, refuses to acknowledge even exists.

France, even as it is under serious attack by the warriors of jihad, continues to pursue policies that will only result in the arrival of still more Muslims to France – and with them will come jihad terrorists, and many, many more jihad massacres like the one on Bastille Day in Nice. French curtailing their activities for fear of being struck by jihadis did not save them. The Bastille Day jihad attack should be the last to take place under the regime of politically correct fantasy that forces law enforcement and intelligence officials to pretend that the threat is other than what it is, and that the remedy is to apply, one more time, policies that have failed again and again and again.

Bastille Day should be a day for the releasing of prisoners. In the war against the global jihad, the truth has been prisoner for too long. It is time to set it free – before it, too, becomes irrevocably a casualty of this war against an enemy no one dares name.

“On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians,” Obama said.

Question: did Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on behalf of the American people, condemn in the strongest terms every German and Japanese strike during World War II? Did he add that the U.S. administration was in touch with Hawaiian or Polish or French or Midway etc. officials and was ready to offer any assistance in the investigation?

The answer is no, because there was no need to offer such condemnations. The world was at war, and the world knew it was at war. The fact was obvious, as was which side each combatant was on. Nor was there any need for an investigation after each battle. Everyone knew what was going on, and why.

The reason why Obama offers these condemnations now after each jihad massacre is because he treats each as if it were an isolated incident, not as if it were one more battle in a long war. And he offers help in an investigation for the same reason: if U.S. officials do end up helping the French with an investigation of this latest jihad massacre, they will like come back with a characteristically Obamoid conclusion: they’re unable to determine the motive of the perpetrator.

In reality, there is no need for an investigation, because the jihadi’s motive is obvious. There needs to be an admission that we are in a full-scale war — not just lip-service as French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve offers, but a genuine acknowledgment, followed by a genuine war footing, and an end to the weepy memorials, empty condemnations, and po-faced get-nowhere investigations. This is not crime. This is war.

Defense Intel Head: I Was Sacked for Calling Out Radical Islam

July 11, 2016

Defense Intel Head: I Was Sacked for Calling Out Radical Islam, Clarion Project, July 11, 2016

Michael-Flynn-HPRetired General Michael Flynn

After a distinguished career spanning more than three decades in the military, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was sacked in 2014 as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

When he asked the director of national intelligence James Clapper, who came to deliver the news to him, if his forced retirement had anything to do with his leadership of the agency, the answer was “no.”

“I knew then it had more to do with the stand I took on radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements,” Flynn wrote in a first-person account published by theNew York Post. The account specifically calls out how the “intel system (has become) way too politicized.”

Flynn, who is reportedly one of the names surfacing as a running mate for Donald Trump, outlined his strategy for defeating America’s “global enemy,” who he defines as an alliance of secular dictatorships (North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela) with Iran and other radical Muslim countries and organizations such as the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Of the alliance, he says, “That’s a formidable coalition, and nobody should be shocked to discover that we are losing the war.”

However, Flynn believes the enemy can be defeated. He says they must be fought on both the battlefield and politically, especially through combating jihadist doctrines.

“On military battlefields, we have defeated radical Islamic forces every time we have seriously gone after them, from Iraq to Afghanistan,” he says.  “Their current strength is not a reflection of their ability to overwhelm our armed forces, but rather the consequence of our mistaken and untimely withdrawal after demolishing them …

But defeat on the battlefield is not enough, according to Flynn. It is a known tenet of groups like the Islamic State that they view their battlefield successes as a nod of approval from Allah.

Flynn explains this doctrine, saying, “Defeat on battlefields does great damage to their claim to be acting as agents of divine will. After defeating al Qaeda in Iraq, we should have challenged the Islamic world and asked: ‘How did we win? Did Allah change sides?’ We need to denounce them as false prophets, as we insist on the superiority of our own political vision. “

In terms of the secular dictatorships that Islamists are allied with, the same strategy applies. “Is North Korea some sort of success story?” he asks. “Does anyone this side of a university seminar think the Cuban people prefer the Castro’s tyranny to real freedom?”

Flynn worked more than 33 years in Army intelligence, including coordinating on-the-ground operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. His colleagues included General Stanley McChrystal, General David Petraeus and Admiral Mike Mullen.

His book about the subject, The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, is due to be released Tuesday.

RIGHT ANGLE: Political Correctness Kills 49 in Orlando

June 15, 2016

RIGHT ANGLE: Political Correctness Kills 49 in Orlando via YouTube, June 14, 2016

How Obama’s Refugee Policies Undermine National Security

April 15, 2016

How Obama’s Refugee Policies Undermine National SecurityMichael Cutler, April 15, 2016

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The issue of the admission of Syrian refugees into the United States has understandably ignited a firestorm of protest by Americans concerned about their safety and the safety of their families. These Americans are not exhibiting “xenophobia,” the usual claim made by the open borders immigration anarchists. They have simply been paying attention to what James Comey, the Director of the FBI, and Michael Steinbach, the FBI’s Assistant Director of the Counterterrorism Division, have stated when they testified before congressional hearings about the Syrian refugee crisis. They made it clear that these refugees cannot be vetted. There are no reliable databases to check and no capacity to conduct field investigations inside Syria to verify the backgrounds of these aliens.

I focused on these issues in my October 7, 2015 article for FrontPage Magazine, “Syrian ‘Refugees’ and Immigration Roulette: How the government is recklessly playing with American lives.”

Further reports have provided disturbing information that ISIS operatives have seized blank Syrian passports and other identity documents, along with the printing devices used to prepare passports and other ID, and have sold these documents to reporters in false names. These identity documents are indistinguishable from bona fide documents because they are bona fide documents — except that the photos and biometrics do not relate to the original person but create credible false aliases for anyone willing to pay for them.

The challenges our officials face in attempting to vet refugees and others was the focus of my September 15, 2015 article for FrontPage Magazine, “The Refugee Crisis Must Not Undermine U.S. National Security: America’s enemies cannot be permitted to turn our compassion into a weapon against us.”

These multiple challenges, where failures may well cost American lives and undermine national security, are well known to the administration, yet the administration defiantly continues to press for the admission of thousands of Syrian refugees. Meanwhile, the administration ignores a commonsense solution to the refugee crisis that would be far more cost effective and not undermine U.S. national security or pose a threat to public safety: The simple establishment of safe zones in the Middle East for these refugees. This is a proposal made by a number of our true leaders, including Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

In an unsuccessful attempt to assuage the fears of Americans about the vetting process, the administration claimed that the screening process was thorough, noting that the vetting process for Syrian refugees was a lengthy process that took from 18 months to two years. (Of course without reliable databases or the ability to conduct field investigations in Syria, no length of time would be adequate.)

The situation in Syria and the growing threats posed by ISIS was the subject of an April 12, 2016 hearing conducted by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the topic, “The Spread of ISIS and Transnational Terrorism.” While it should be obvious, I want you to bear in mind the term “Transnational Terrorism.” This refers to terrorists traveling across international borders to prepare for terror attacks. The movement of people across international borders is the domain of our immigration system, which has arguably become one of the most dysfunctional of all of our government’s systems.

The multitude of failures of the immigration system can be traced to the failures of a succession of administrations from both political parties going back decades — but no administration has done more to hobble efforts to secure our borders and enforce our immigration laws than the current administration. Yet Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and other politicians refuse to accept the fundamental fact that our nation’s borders, including our 328 ports of entry, provide far too easy access to transnational criminals and terrorists who either enter without inspection or manage to enter via the inspections process and disappear into the “woodwork.”

Legalizing illegal aliens whose identities cannot be verified is no less dangerous than providing refugee status to refugees who cannot be vetted.

That was the point to my self-explanatory November 24, 2016 FrontPage Magazine article, “Entry Without Inspection = Entry Without Vetting: The dire threat to our national security and public safety.”

Now the administration, with the support of many politicians (mostly Democrats), is doing the unthinkable: running the already fatally flawed vetting process at warp speed. This is unconscionable and beyond any rational justification.

The administration has made this outrageous decision despite the fact that there is no reliable way to vet these refugees and even in the wake of the recent deadly attacks in San Bernardino, California, France and Belgium. These attacks have justifiably added to the concerns of all Americans about the threats posed to our nation by ISIS, al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.

While we have been told that the vetting of travelers at airports would likely take longer so that the TSA can more carefully screen passengers following of the terror attack in Belgium, the administration simultaneously announced that not only would the plans to admit Syrian refugees proceed, but that because of the “surge” of those refugees, the screening process will be slashed from two years to just three months.

On April 6, 2016 NBC News reported, “First Syrian Family in ‘Surge’ Resettlement Program Departs for Kansas City.”

Here is an excerpt from the NBC News report:

A resettlement surge center opened in Amman in February to meet President Barack Obama’s target of resettling 10,000 Syrians to the United States by Sep. 30. Every day, the center interviews some 600 Syrian refugees.

The temporary processing center for the surge operation will run until April 28, U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Alice Wells said. She traveled to the airport to greet the al-Abbouds before their departure.

The regional refugee coordinator at the U.S. embassy in Amman, Gina Kassem, said that while the 10,000 target applies to Syrian refugees living around the world, the majority will be resettled from Jordan.

“The 10,000 is a floor and not a ceiling, and it is possible to increase the number,” she told reporters, according to the AP.

While the resettlement process usually takes 18 to 24 months, under the surge operation this will be reduced to three months, Kassem said.

It is worth noting that once again the term of choice by the administration is “surge.” We have witnessed “surges” of what were described as unaccompanied minors along the U.S./Mexican border that overwhelmed the Border Patrol and caused the understaffed immigration courts to overflow with the human tsunami of that surge.

As a consequence, the immigration courts were compelled to put hearings on hold for aliens facing deportation (removal) from the United States. Often these aliens had been convicted of committing serious crimes that predicated that decision to seek their removal from the United States. Because of a lack of detention space and other such factors, most of these aliens were simply released back into the communities where they committed still more crimes — usually, ironically, victimizing members of the various ethnic immigrant communities around the United States.

Now we have a “refugee surge” that the administration is eagerly exploiting, claiming that the only way to deal with overwhelming numbers of such refugees is to take the two-year process and slice it down to just 90 days. Furthermore, the report noted that the 10,000 refugees heading to the United States is the smallest number of refugees that we can anticipate will be admitted into the United States, while apparently there is no limit as to what the ultimate number of refugees could be. As noted above, Ms. Kassem, the regional refugee coordinator at the U.S. Embassy at Amman Jordan, was quoted as having said, “The 10,000 is a floor and not a ceiling, and it is possible to increase the number.”

Perhaps Ms. Kassem should issue another statement: “Damn the terrorists — full speed ahead!”

As insane and reprehensible as this is on the federal level, we must also consider the issue of “sanctuary cities,” which involves local government. These municipalities provide shielding to aliens who have trespassed on our nation or otherwise violated the immigration laws that were enacted to achieve the fundamental and entirely reasonable goals of protecting national security, the lives of innocent people and the jobs of American workers — and in a particularly perilous era.

I have written about this madness and also testified before congressional hearings about the lunacy of sanctuary cities. In point of fact, on February 27, 2003 I testified before the House Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic, “New York City’s ‘Sanctuary Policy’ and the Effect of Such Policies on Public Safety, Law Enforcement, and Immigration.”

For those politicians who cannot understand the anger of the citizenry of the United States, they would do well to look in the mirror to see who our adversaries are.

The Unserious West and the Serious Jihadists

April 15, 2016

The Unserious West and the Serious Jihadists, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, April 15, 2016

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The Obama administration and the “nuisance of terrorism.”

Instead of paying the price of aggression, partly because of the Cold War, more recently because of Western failure of nerve and civilizational exhaustion, Muslims have been the beneficiaries of billions in Western aid, Western arms, Western defense against enemies, Western lax immigration policies, Western appeasement, and Western suicidal ideas like cultural and moral relativism. In short, Muslims have never accepted their defeats, and have never experienced the humiliating cost of their aggression, because the modern West has never forced them to pay for it.

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In Terry Gilliam’s dystopian film-classic Brazil, London is under assault from a 13-year-long terrorist campaign that Londoners won’t stop and so just live with. A bomb goes off in a restaurant, and the waiters scurry to screen off the mangled and dying so survivors can continue eating. When reminded by a journalist that “The bombing campaign is now in it 13th year,” the Deputy Minister laughs, “Beginner’s luck!” The West today is rapidly approaching the surreal insouciance of Gilliam’s fantasy.

Think about Obama, hanging out with head of terror-state Raul Castro at a baseball game during the Brussels attacks that killed 34, including four Americans. Obama told Chris Wallace that the terrorists “win” if we don’t go about our daily business, like the diners in Brazil ordering dessert among the screams and moans of the dying and wounded. After all, ISIS is not an “existential threat,” as the president keeps saying, and more of us die in bathtub falls than are killed by terrorists. Obama apparently thinks he has achieved John Kerry’s goal during the 2004 presidential campaign to reduce terrorism to a “nuisance” like prostitution.

I suppose the absurd security measures we endure every time we board a plane is the sort of “nuisance” Kerry and Obama are talking about. I guess we “win” when we dutifully take off our shoes and coats, put our computers and three ounces of liquids in a tray, and submit to aggressive wanding by surly TSA functionaries. Are such silly measures now part of the daily life we should just get on with? Of course Obama’s attitude is preposterous, and he should know that it is the terrorists who “win” every time an 80-year-old has to endure being felt up by a federal worker. Meanwhile, in breach tests of TSA inspectors in 2015, 95% of fake explosives and contraband sailed through the screening process.

These inefficient and intrusive procedures have been put in place mainly to avoid stigmatizing Muslims. Such obeisance to politically correct proscriptions against “profiling” is just one of the myriad ways in which we tell the jihadist enemy we really aren’t serious about the latest battle in the 14-century-long war of Islam against the infidel West.

Take Obama’s Executive Order 1341, which banned waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” of captured jihadists. Now only those practices in the Army Field Manual can be used to question detainees, despite the fact that the document is public and so jihadists can use it to train terrorists how to resist. Forget that one technique, waterboarding, is legal under U.S. law, and generated actionable intelligence––according to former CIA chief George Tenet, waterboarding a few high-value suspects helped foil over 20 al Qaida plots against the U.S. Those facts cannot outweigh Obama’s need to preen morally and gratify international anti-Americanism.

More recently, his notoriously political CIA director John Brennan displayed once again this administration’s lack of seriousness about the war against Islamic jihad. In 2009 Brennan “corrected” 14 centuries of Islamic scripture, practice, and law by calling jihad a way “to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral good.” Obviously, the most revered Shi’a Islamic theologian, the Ayatollah Khomeini, was wrong when he said, “Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers,” or “Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.” That’s also the “moral good” for which ISIS wages jihad.

Brennan apparently learned nothing since 2009 about the nature of this war. Responding last week to Donald Trump’s promise to bring back waterboarding of detainees, Brennan huffed that should any president revoke Obama’s executive order and allow waterboarding and other EIT’s, “I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about, because this institution needs to endure.” Only someone profoundly unserious about his duty to protect the lives and safety of his fellow citizens would promise to disobey the Commander-in-Chief just so the bureaucracy he oversees can “endure,” whatever that means. The CIA has one job, protecting America’s security and interests, and it will “endure” only by successfully doing so, not by moral exhibitionism.

This lack of seriousness is endemic in this administration. Refusing to call ISIS “Islamic,” even going so far as to censor comments by French president François Hollande that used the word, bespeaks a dangerous frivolity. So too do symbolic tactics like droning an endless parade of ISIS “number twos” instead of committing enough forces and dropping enough bombs to make a strategic difference in the region. Instead, the American-led bombing campaign has averaged a mere seven strikes a day, with 75% of the planes returning with their bombs. Meanwhile Russia was averaging 60 strikes a day, freed from the squeamish rules of engagement that inhibit our forces from taking out an oil truck because it would kill the driver. Obama’s war against ISIS is a symbolic one typical of unserious politicians.

Our problem, however, goes beyond the politicians. Too many of us have failed to understand that this war did not begin on 9/11. It did not begin when al Qaeda declared war on us in the 90s and attacked our embassies and naval vessels. It did not begin in 1979, when our alleged neo-colonialist depredations supposedly sparked the Iranian revolution and created today’s Islamic (N.B., Mr. President) Republic of Iran, the world’s premier state sponsor of terrorism. It did not begin in 1948, when five Arab nations, all but one members of the U.N., violated Resolution 191 and attacked Israel. It did not begin when after World War I the victorious Entente powers exercised mandatory powers, granted by the League of Nations and codified in international treaties, over the territory of the Ottoman Empire that had sided with the Central Powers.

All these acts of aggression were merely the latest in a war begun in the 7th century when Islam attacked the eastern Roman Empire and began its serial dismemberment of the heart of Christendom, the old word for the West. For a thousand years the armies of Allah successfully invaded, conquered, occupied, enslaved, and raided the West, in accordance with its doctrine of jihad in the service of Muslim domination, and in homage to Mohammed’s injunction, “I was told to fight all men until they say there is no god but Allah.” This record of success began to end in the 17th century with the rise of the modern West and its technological, economic, and political advantages.

But the war didn’t end with that Muslim retreat, even after what bin Laden called the “catastrophe” –– the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate, and the division of its territory into Western-style nation-states. The West won that battle, but it did not win the war. One reason is the Muslim nations of the Middle East never suffered the wages of their aggression. They sided with the Central Powers in World War I. They sat out World War II––apart from the many thousands who fought on the side of the Nazis––and received fugitive Nazis as guests after the war. Their serial aggression and terror against Israel has never been repaid with bombed-out capitals or punitive postwar reprisals. Their governments have never been punished for funding and proliferating mosques and madrassas teaching hatred of the infidel and terrorist violence in the service of jihad.

Instead of paying the price of aggression, partly because of the Cold War, more recently because of Western failure of nerve and civilizational exhaustion, Muslims have been the beneficiaries of billions in Western aid, Western arms, Western defense against enemies, Western lax immigration policies, Western appeasement, and Western suicidal ideas like cultural and moral relativism. In short, Muslims have never accepted their defeats, and have never experienced the humiliating cost of their aggression, because the modern West has never forced them to pay for it.

Thus they look at our unserious, godless culture of consumption and frivolity, of self-loathing and guilt, and these serious believers are confident that 350 years of defeat in battle have not led to defeat in the long war. And so the war goes on. The frivolous Western dogs bark, but Allah’s caravan moves on.

Obama Praises “Enormous” Muslim Contributions to Our Country

March 27, 2016

Obama Praises “Enormous” Muslim Contributions to Our Country, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, March 27, 2016

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No sensible person can doubt the enormous Muslim contributions to our country. I walk by one of them every time I pass the Freedom Tower. And the memorial at Ground Zero. Not to mention the TSA counters at the airport. And the rising body count of dead Americans.

It’s good of Mr. Obama to remind us of this.

During his weekly address on Saturday, Obama said, “[W]e have to reject any attempt to stigmatize Muslim-Americans, and their enormous contributions to our country and our way of life.”

Somebody sure thinks a lot of himself.

“As we move forward in this fight, we have to wield another weapon alongside our airstrikes, our military, our counterterrorism work, and our diplomacy. And that’s the power of our example,” Obama said. “Our openness to refugees fleeing ISIL’s violence.  Our determination to win the battle against ISIL’s hateful and violent propaganda – a distorted view of Islam that aims to radicalize young Muslims to their cause.”

We’re battling ISIS by bringing Muslim terrorists to America. That’s like fighting fire with gasoline.

But we can really set an example for Muslims by bringing Muslims to America. Maybe they’ll follow our example and not kill the few remaining Christians and Jews in the Middle East. And even if they do kill them, maybe when they become the majority in Europe, they won’t kill all the Christians and Jews living there.

And if we really go all out in setting a good example by taking in millions and millions of Muslims, maybe they’ll stop killing us.

Or maybe they’ll just keep doing what they’re doing… and what they’ve been doing for over a thousand years.

Those who forget the history of Islam are doomed to be beheaded, enslaved, raped, bombed, terrorized, oppressed, stabbed and subjugated.

UK Review of Muslim Brotherhood: Top 13 Quotes

January 7, 2016

UK Review of Muslim Brotherhood: Top 13 Quotes, Clarion ProjectRyan Mauro, January 7, 2015

(All bold face print is from the original article. — DM)

Egypt-Muslim-Brotherhood-Supporters-Flags-IPMuslim Brotherhood supporters (© Reuters)

The U.S. government rejected the conclusions of the British government’s 18-month review of its intelligence and policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood, concluding that the Islamist group is linked to terrorism and extremism. The comprehensive study welcomed outside contributors, of which the Clarion Project was one.

The British government rejected the myth that the Brotherhood is “moderate” and the patently false notion that it is “non-violent.” The Brotherhood and its ideology are now rightly seen as adversarial and measures will be taken to counter its threat. While the UK stopped just shy of banning it as a terrorist group, Prime Minister David Cameron said it will “keep under review whether the views and activities of the Muslim Brotherhood meet the legal test for proscription.”

Here are the top 13 quotes from the British government review andPrime Minister Cameron’s official statement in no particular order:

1. “The Muslim Brotherhood’s foundational texts call for the progressive moral purification of individuals and Muslim societies and their eventual political unification in a Caliphate under Sharia law. To this day the Muslim Brotherhood characterizes Western societies and liberal Muslims as decadent and immoral. It can be seen primarily as a political project.”

2.  “Aspects of Muslim Brotherhood ideology and tactics, in this country and overseas, are contrary to our values and have been contrary to our national interests and our national security.”

3.  “From its foundation the Muslim Brotherhood organized itself into a secretive ‘cell’ structure, with an elaborate induction and education program for new members…This clandestine, centralized and hierarchical structure persists to this day.”

4.  “The Hamas founding charter claims that they are the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Muslim Brotherhood treat them as such. In the past ten years support for Hamas (including in particular funding) has been an important priority for the MB in Egypt and the MB international network.”

5.  “From at least the 1950s the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood also developed an international network, within and beyond the Islamic world. Europe became an important base for the growing Muslim Brotherhood global network.”

6.  “The wider international network of the Muslim Brotherhood now performs a range of functions. It promotes Muslim Brotherhood ideology (including through communications platforms), raises and invests funds, and provides a haven for members of the Brotherhood who have left their country of origin to continue promoting Brotherhood activity.”

7.  “[F]or the most part, the Muslim Brotherhood have preferred non violent incremental change on the grounds of expediency, often on the basis that political opposition will disappear when the process of Islamization is complete. But they are prepared to countenance violence—including, from time to time, terrorism—where gradualism is ineffective.”

8.  “Muslim Brotherhood organizations and associated in the UK have neither openly nor consistently refuted the literature of Brotherhood member Sayyid Qutb which is known to have inspired people (including in this country) to engage in terrorism.”

9.  “[The review] concluded that it was not possible to reconcile these [MB] views with the claim made by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in their evidence to the review that ‘the Muslim Brotherhood has consistently adhered to peaceful means of opposition, renouncing all forms of violence throughout its existence.'”

10.  “In the 1990s the Muslim Brotherhood and their associates established public facing and apparently national organizations in the UK to promote their views. None were openly identified with the Muslim Brotherhood and membership of the Muslim Brotherhood remained (and still remains) a secret.”

11.  “[MB fronts] became politically active, notably in connection with Palestine and Iraq, and promoted candidates in national and local elections…sought and obtained a dialogue with Government….were active members in a security dialogue with the police.”

12.  “The Muslim Brotherhood have been publicly committed to political engagement in this country. Engagement with Government has at times been facilitated by what appeared to be a common agenda against al Qaida and (at least in the UK) militant Salafism. But this engagement did not take into account of Muslim Brotherhood support for a proscribed terrorist group and its views about terrorism which, in reality, are quite different from our own.”

13. “Senior Muslim Brotherhood figures and associated have justified attacks against coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

The U.S. government, without even conducting any kind of review of its own, issued a statement to the Investigative Project on Terrorism rejecting any ban or even any “de-legitimizing” of the Brotherhood at all.

“Political repression of non-violent Islamist groups has historically contributed to the radicalization of the minority of their members who would consider violence…The de-legitimization of non-violent political groups does not promote stability and instead advances the very outcomes that such measures are intended to prevent,” the U.S. government statement claims.

In other words, the U.S. position is this: Be held hostage by the so-called “non-violent Islamist groups.” Sure, the Muslim Brotherhood has a wing named Hamas that the U.S. officially designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization but it could be worse—at least not allo f the group’s members are engaging in violence.

Accept them as “moderates” as they wish, even at the cost of better Muslim alternatives. Don’t confront them. Don’t even “delegitimize” them for their radicalism and ideology because that might push them over the edge.

That’s not a mindset that understands what the threat is and certainly is not one that can defeat it.