Posted tagged ‘Muslim Brotherhood’

Egyptian Islamist Uses New Jersey Base to Stoke Christian Hatred

November 9, 2017

Egyptian Islamist Uses New Jersey Base to Stoke Christian Hatred, Investigative Project on Terrorism,Hany Ghoraba, November 9, 2017

Most jihadists in the world regard Qutb as the ultimate scholar to follow. Qutb’s writings on Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) became the handbook of every jihadist from al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden to ISIS’s Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Qutb denounced the United States after living there for a few years as a decadent and immoral society. Yet Oraby refers to Qutb as the “martyr” and a great scholar whose teachings supersede any other. She advises her audience to teach their children Qutb’s books and biography.

Known for her abusive and foul language, she gloats over the deaths of Egyptian officers fighting terrorism in Egypt and she celebrates them with her followers. “Forty Egyptian police officer got hammered, may God increase it and bless it,” she wrote.

She also frequently promotes a conspiracy theory about dividing Egypt and creating a Coptic state with al-Sisi’s help. She claims the Egyptian president is an Israeli Mossad agent, and she calls upon every Muslim end to this “Zionist-Nazarene” plan.

As with most Islamists, the national borders of their home countries don’t matter in the grand scheme for establishing a global Islamic state, or caliph. They do not believe in political borders, but in borders based on the faith. Oraby is a staunch advocate for the return of Islamic caliphate and mentions it repeatedly in her articles. She even wrote a poem about it with a map of Iberian Peninsula, showing Islamic Spain factions while lamenting its demise.

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Inciting sectarian strife against Egypt’s Coptic Christians is not a novelty. Islamist propaganda targeting the Coptic Church, businesses and doctrine thrived for decades and often led to violence and prosecution. Earlier this month, a young Islamist killed a Coptic priest in the streets of Cairo.

A new incitement campaign was launched against Copts last year, but what is surprising is that it originates from a cozy home in a peaceful New Jersey suburb.

Ayat Oraby is an Egyptian Muslim immigrant, wife, and mother of two children. Her YouTube channel and blog are dedicated to attacking the Egyptian government and other Arab leaders who do not support Islamists. She uses precious free speech rights that she sought in a country like the USA to spew hatred and violence towards others. Generally, Islamists such as Oraby do not believe in freedom of speech except as a tool in western countries to provoke hatred, propagate Jihadist rhetoric, and fantasize about their Islamist utopia i.e. Sharia ruled caliphate.

“The idea of the Islamic caliphate,” she wrote in a September Facebook post, “is not a political rhetoric but a future that we believe in and a revelation by Allah to his Prophet.”

Before the January 2011 Egyptian revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, Oraby was unknown in Egypt and the United States. She introduced herself as a purported freedom activist who opposed Mubarak and allegedly carried liberal views. She promoted many Egyptian youth demands for freedom and democracy through her Vlog and other social media outlets.

Oraby kept her support for the Muslim Brotherhood hidden and worked as a news anchor for Egyptian television before 2011. She moved to the United States in 1993 and married Ahmed Ibrahim El-Naggar, an Egyptian-American biochemist who is reportedly affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, according to her brother Abdel-Qader Oraby, who also denounced her actions on an Egyptian TV network in 2014. “I don’t watch her videos and I don’t follow her news because I am very sad from what she says,” he said. “The entire family severed ties with her because of her views.”

She has become one of the most outspoken Brotherhood activists in the United States, with a growing social media following. She also started wearing a hijab to appease Islamists who previously condemned her for posting videos without the Islamic attire.

She incites violence and discrimination against Egypt’s Christians and calls for denying them equal rights to Muslims, including a limit on church construction. She publicly insulted Coptic Pope Tawadoros II by calling him a “puppy” of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

“The problem of the Christians in Egypt is that they follow the church gang,” she wrote. “They believe that (Coptic Pope) Tawadoros the criminal, or any other criminal who will replace him, was selected by the Lord and speaks on His behalf. The church gang deceives its followers in this despicable way, just like a thief or a swindler from the Middle Ages.”

She revels in labeling them as “Nazarenes,” the Quranic term for addressing Christians. It is considered offensive because it refers to an old Christian sect and it is unrelated to modern Christianity. She believes that Christians wield too much power in Egypt. In one of her YouTube videos, she urges her followers to boycott Egyptian Christian businesses and events. She created the “Campaign to Boycott the Nazarenes” with a slogan: “Buy from Houda (A Muslim Nickname) and snub Shenouda (A Coptic Christian name).

“You (Christians) supported the criminals of the Church and their efforts in killing Muslims. You came to revolt against the elected Muslim president (Mohammed Morsi) and you stood in the face of the will of the Muslims,” her introduction to the boycott campaign said.

“O Muslims, boycott them (Copts) and do not buy their products force them to understand the consequences of their actions. To understand that their Cross will not prevail over Egypt and that Islam is above all, whether they like it or not.”

She also frequently promotes a conspiracy theory about dividing Egypt and creating a Coptic state with al-Sisi’s help. She claims the Egyptian president is an Israeli Mossad agent, and she calls upon every Muslim end to this “Zionist-Nazarene” plan. The Coptic Church, she claims, illegally annexed lands next to its monasteries in Western Egypt to build a Coptic compound which will be the cornerstone of a Coptic only city.

“This church constitutes a gang,” she said, “striving to establish a Coptic mini-state. It has shared common interests with the military for a long time.”

Oraby quotes modern Islamic imams to condemn Christians and Jews. For example, she posted a quote on her Facebook page from the popular late Egyptian Sheikh Mohamed Al-Shaarawi: “We have to seek refuge in Allah from appeasing of the Jews and the Christians, and anyone the Jews and the Christians are content with him must know that he betrayed his religion. We need to differentiate between contentment and coexistence (with them).”

She also frequently quotes Islamic scholar Mohammed Al-Ghazali: “The demise of Israel must be preceded by the demise of Arab regimes that have thrived on mocking their people, and the destruction of Arab societies that have adopted illusion and weakness (instead of Islam).”

In Oraby’s eyes, anyone who opposes the Muslim Brotherhood is labeled an apostate or an infidel. She calls the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser a kafir [unbeliever] for executing Sayyid Qutb, the jihadist scholar and Brotherhood ideologue, and for refusing to upheld Sharia laws in Egypt. She also called Nasser’s successor Anwar Sadat a traitor who worked for the CIA and a kafir for signing a peace treaty with Israel.

Most jihadists in the world regard Qutb as the ultimate scholar to follow. Qutb’s writings on Islamic Fiqh (jurisprudence) became the handbook of every jihadist from al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden to ISIS’s Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Qutb denounced the United States after living there for a few years as a decadent and immoral society. Yet Oraby refers to Qutb as the “martyr” and a great scholar whose teachings supersede any other. She advises her audience to teach their children Qutb’s books and biography.

Known for her abusive and foul language, she gloats over the deaths of Egyptian officers fighting terrorism in Egypt and she celebrates them with her followers. “Forty Egyptian police officer got hammered, may God increase it and bless it,” she wrote.

Even dead Egyptian actors and artists get smeared, such as beloved Egyptian actor Mamdouh Abdel Aleem. Aleem opposed former Egyptian President and Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi. “It is not gloating, but we should all be happy that the “licentious slave” actor is dead,” she wrote in a January 2016 Facebook post.

She also celebrated the death of a former Egyptian television colleague who also had criticized Morsi. “The demise of the mercenary Fatma Al-Najdi who condemned Rabaa protests and saluted the Misraeli Army,” she wrote. “Misr” is Arabic for Egypt. Oraby calls the Egyptian Army “Misraeli” for holding peace with Israel.

In May, she joined a Muslim Brotherhood delegation that visited the U.S. Congress to lobby against designating the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The delegation included members of Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ), which has sponsored events featuring calls for Egyptian leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s beheading by Egyptian mujahideen.

The delegation included senior officials from New Jersey’s Islamic Center of Passaic County. Center Imam Mohammed Qatanani remains subject to deportation proceedings due to his connections to Hamas.

Oraby joined other U.S. based Islamists in mourning former Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Mahdi Akef’s death last month.

“To hell with Egypt, its flag, its army and their institutions, to hell with Egypt a million times,” she wrote in a Twitter post.

As with most Islamists, the national borders of their home countries don’t matter in the grand scheme for establishing a global Islamic state, or caliph. They do not believe in political borders, but in borders based on the faith. Oraby is a staunch advocate for the return of Islamic caliphate and mentions it repeatedly in her articles. She even wrote a poem about it with a map of Iberian Peninsula, showing Islamic Spain factions while lamenting its demise.

Ayat Oraby’s radical rants and conspiracy theories are nothing new, but her style and reach attract many young Islamist followers. With more than 600,000 Facebook followers, she should not be taken lightly by any security apparatus.

Hany Ghoraba is an Egyptian writer, political and counter-terrorism analyst at Al Ahram Weekly, author of Egypt’s Arab Spring: The Long and Winding Road to Democracy and a regular contributor to the BBC.

Talking to (and About) The Muslim American Society

November 4, 2017

Talking to (and About) The Muslim American Society, Power Line,  Scott Johnson, November 4, 2017

The Muslim Brotherhood founded the Muslim American Society in 1993. In 2003 the Muslim American Society of Minnesota was incorporated as an affiliate of Muslim American Society. The MAS-MN puts it this way: “[A] number of activists of the Islamic movement launched the [MAS] in 1992 [sic] to complement the work that has been accomplished in the last four decades and to lay the ground for the Islamic work needed to face the challenges of the next century.”

The Investigative Project on Terrorism has posted a useful account of the MAS here. The MAS-MN’s use of the term “activists” in its canned history is illustrative of the MAS approach to public relations for an American audience.

As Andrew McCarthy explains in his invaluable 2010 book, the MAS is engaged in The Grand Jihad. Looking into the MAS here for the Weekly Standard, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross “found that MAS–except in its most public of statements–is quite open about its agenda and allegiances.” Its agenda is the Islamization of the United States and its allegiance is to the Muslim Brotherhood. In his 2005 Weekly Standard article Gartenstein-Ross specifically discussed the MAS-MN.

Minnesota of course has its own growing core of “activists.” The MAS-MN puts it this way: “In Minnesota, Islamic activists began gathering in 2001 to lay the ground for the Islamic work needed to face the challenges of the next century. In 2003 the [MAS-MN] was incorporated as an affiliate of Muslim American Society.”

Readers with a long memory may recall the Islamic charter (i.e., public) school known as the Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy in suburban St. Paul. Based on the explosive reporting of then Star Tribune metro columnist Katherine Kersten, the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union brought a lawsuit against TiZA for operating a religious school with public funds.

TiZA had been founded by a pair of imams who doubled as top leaders of MAS-MN. One of them served as principal of the school and proved himself to be a voluble liar in conventional Western terms. See, for example, Greg Pratt’s excellent 2012 City Pages retrospective article “The truth about TiZA.”. I can’t find the officers of MAS-MN on its site but I think the former TiZA principal in fact serves as the MAS-MN’s executive director.

I mention this because one of the candidates contending for the GOP gubernatorial nomination (Keith Downey) recently spoke to the MAS-MN. Indeed, he was the only GOP candidate to accept the group’s invitation to appear at the candidates’ forum during MAS-MN recent Minneapolis convention. Downey’s speech was quoted in the daily email newsletter on state politics written by Star Tribune reporter Patrick Coolican. The text of Downey’s speech is posted in full on his campaign Facebook page and embedded below. Coolican quoted Downey saying this:

So what can the Muslim American Society expect from me as your Governor? First, I do believe in you. That stems from my Christian faith and belief that each of us is created in the image of God – everyone in this room, everyone up here, everyone out there – and as such you are infinitely valuable, with creative potential, morally relevant, and accountable for your actions. That is the foundation of America. It’s why Republicans and our first Republican President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and gave them the right to vote. It means that as Governor, I will treat you exactly the same as any other person in our state. Exactly the same. I will defend your freedoms: of religion, speech, and assembly. You will receive the exact same protections. And I will fight for you – and everyone else – every day, for your opportunity in life, here in Minnesota.

Coolican commented, “That’s the carrot. There was plenty of stick, too,” quoting this:

I will defund sanctuary cities and freeze refugee resettlement until an airtight vetting process is in place and we can establish a resettlement volume that Minnesota can afford and assimilate….Minnesotans generally don’t know the Muslim community’s goals, and so our political discussion is hampered and inflamed. You can fix that by stepping forward to assure the people of Minnesota that the Muslim community embraces the American melting pot, that there is no interest to end our constitutional system and replace it with Sharia law, that the goal is to become American while maintaining Muslim communities’ ethnic and religious distinctiveness, and that like everyone else you simply want your chance at the American dream.

Coolican commented favorably on the two excerpts he quoted: “All in all, it’s admirable, for whatever you think of his message. He will win few if any Muslim votes at the GOP convention or in a GOP primary or in a general election — and yet he goes to the event and states his principles, even when they clash with the crowd’s. We don’t do much persuading in politics these days. Mostly, we just inflame our bases.”

I had a different reaction. I wrote Coolican: “Speaking as a core Republican voter, I would like to mention this. The Muslim American Society is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. That Keith Downey went to speak to them and said what he said tells me he is an idiot.”

Coolican asked for my permission to quote my email in his newsletter the next day. I gave him my permission, but I would revise my comment to say that Downey was on a fool’s errand rather than that he is an idiot. It is nevertheless late in the day to have to make the necessary points.

Yesterday Downey called me to talk in a friendly spirit about what he was up to. He asked if I had read his speech in its entirety; I hadn’t. I have done so now and I think Coolican fairly represented it. It is a speech expressing admirable sentiments in good faith, but it is apparent that the speaker doesn’t understand whom he is talking to. That was my point.

Downey told me that the MAS-MN has disavowed the Muslim Brotherhood. I can’t find the disavowal on its site. Maybe it’s there, I just can’t find it in a quick look around. I told Downey that the disavowal doesn’t impress me. One can see it in the well-known 2004 Chicago Tribune article on the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States. It is a familiar part of the MAS public relations package.

Downey told me he received a chilly reception from the MAS-MN but that he viewed the group as a local organization whose members he would serve as constituents if he were governor. He distinguished MAS-MN from CAIR (which also has a Minnesota chapter) in this respect. He said he would not speak to CAIR Minnesota if invited.

I don’t have a favorite among the declared GOP candidates for governor. I have nothing against Keith Downey. I appreciated his call. I would support him if he were nominated. In Minnesota, however, we have a serious problem that is aggravated by the Star Tribune. It is, moreover, a difficult problem even for knowledgeable and worthy candidates to discuss in a candid fashion. I think Downey misfired in this case by treating MAS-MN as a sectarian interest group like any other rather than by taking a pass or calling it out.

NOTE: This is the text of Keith Downey’s speech to the Muslim American Society of Minnesota:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you today. It’s a pleasure to be here.

I’m running for Governor for a crystal clear purpose…to Make Minnesota Work for Everyone.

I was born and raised in Minnesota, and our state provided great opportunities and a wonderful life. But so many people don’t see their opportunity here anymore. Minnesota isn’t working for everyone. And more and more we see a failure to thrive in Minnesota.

I’m running because we can’t just live in the past. We’re losing great people, farms, businesses, capital, and the vitality of our state. Government is coming at us, not from us. Liberal Democrat policies are destroying our inner cities’ schools, businesses, neighborhoods and families, and now they’re pushing their failed policies onto greater Minnesota.

I believe in you. And I trust Minnesotans, not bigger government, for our future. We need results, not excuses in state government.

I’m running to make Minnesota work for everyone – to grow new and better jobs, fix the schools that are failing, reduce state government, and get back to what works. And I’m asking you to join the cause!

So what can the Muslim American Society expect from me as your Governor?

First, I do believe in you. That stems from my Christian faith and belief that each of us is created in the image of God – everyone in this room, everyone up here, everyone out there – and as such you are infinitely valuable, with creative potential, morally relevant, and accountable for your actions. That is the foundation of America. It’s why Republicans and our first Republican President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and gave them the right to vote.

It means that as Governor, I will treat you exactly the same as any other person in our state. Exactly the same.

I will defend your freedoms: of religion, speech, and assembly. You will receive the exact same protections. And I will fight for you – and everyone else – every day, for your opportunity in life, here in Minnesota.

It also means that I will expect you – and everyone else – to live up to the same obligations to obey the laws, to live by our constitution, and to live peaceably in a pluralist society – E Pluribus Unum.

As Governor, my first duty is to protect our citizens. So you can count on me to work with you to prevent recruitment and radicalization by Islamic terrorists, to defend the rule of law and support our police, and to protect your communities from the horrendous impact of a religiously motivated terrorist incident and from illegal practices like female genital mutilation that violate your faith.

I will defund sanctuary cities and freeze refugee resettlement until an airtight vetting process is in place and we can establish a resettlement volume that Minnesota can afford and assimilate.

While not easy, my commitments on these issues are ultimately for the good of your communities and our state, and I look forward to discussing them here today and ongoing.

Let me leave you with this. You have an incredible opportunity right now as leaders of the Muslim community.

Minnesotans generally don’t know the Muslim community’s goals, and so our political discussion is hampered and inflamed. You can fix that by stepping forward to assure the people of Minnesota that the Muslim community embraces the American melting pot, that there is no interest to end our constitutional system and replace it with Sharia law, that the goal is to become American while maintaining Muslim communities’ ethnic and religious distinctiveness, and that like everyone else you simply want your chance at the American dream.

Please, don’t take the Democrats’ identity politics bait and reduce yourselves to just one more of their grievance groups, pitted against others.

My commitment to you as Governor is that I will be there, believing in you and working with you. And together, we can truly Make Minnesota Work for Everyone, including our Muslim community.

My sincerest hope is that you’ll join the cause!

Thank you again for having me.

The text of the speech is posted here on Facebook.

The Old Arab Fear Tactic That Came to Washington

October 17, 2017

The Old Arab Fear Tactic That Came to Washington, Gatestone InstituteNonie Darwish, October 17, 2017

After a year of being ruled by Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, the majority of Egyptians turned against the Muslim Brotherhood — a decision that understandably does not sit well with pro-sharia media. These, such as Al Jazeera, are dedicated to trying to save the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood, sharia and Islam itself, at any cost. Their number-one enemy has become critics of jihad and sharia, especially those who live in Western freedom. The Arab media’s “solution” to a mass defection from extremism is to accuse moderates and critics of sharia not only of being “collaborators” with infidels but also that they “collude” with terrorists.

The current goal of the Arab media, especially Al Jazeera, is to portray critics of jihad and sharia, as well as apostates, as being just as bad as Islamists, if not worse.

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The true threat to the US, the West, and even stable Arab governments, as Egypt is realizing, is political Islam as furthered by groups such the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, al-Qaeda and their offshoots.

This real threat has become a terrible burden to every Muslim head of state and is behind all the political chaos, coups and revolutions currently raging throughout the Islamic world.

In a chaotic, propaganda-prone area of the world, Qatar’s Al Jazeera has always reported sympathetically about Islamist groups and promoters of sharia, and against moderate Arab leaders. No moderate leader could survive under such conditions.

It is unfortunate that the tactics of the Arab media — to accuse people of collusion in order to silence any opposition — have now moved into US mainstream media regarding Trump and Russia, which the US media would apparently like to regard as their new “enemies.” This the same media that defends sharia law and inaccurately insists that Muslim terrorists who shout “Allahu Akbar” have “nothing to do with Islam.”

Now that the note supposedly showing “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia has been outed by Foreign Policy as mainly an attempted Russian hit-job on William Browder, what is the true threat to the United States?

For months, the lawless FBI has snubbing subpoenas (is complying with subpoenas optional?), and avoiding transparency under Special Counsel Robert Mueller[1] and his equally lawless, crime-“challenged” “investigation.” The true threat to the United states — if not Mueller and the FBI itself — is not the president, his campaign or even the Russians. Moreover, it is not exactly a news-flash that many countries have been spying on one another for ages.

“Collusion with Russia” was just the newest dirty word in American politics created by anti-Trump political operatives and the media. It seems intended to confuse the public in order to tarnish Trump’s reputation and bring down his administration. It is an extremely old ruse.

Collusion,” or the “appearance of collusion,” has been a common fear tactic used by Arab media for centuries. Fear tactics are the only solution in cultures that refuse to deal with the truth in the open.

The major red line that no citizen of a totalitarian system can ever cross is engaging in behavior that might bring about an accusation of “collusion” — collaboration with enemies or perceived enemies. Arab citizens have learned to avoid any contacts, friendships, communication, shaking hands or even being in the same room with “undesirable” enemies of the state. Try asking any Arab diplomat on how he or she acts and feels in the presence of an Israeli official. For decades, when Israeli officials gave speeches in the United Nations, Arabs left the room.

In much of the Middle East, Christians, if they refrain from praising Islam and Muslims or blame them for their oppression, get the same treatment as Jews.

In Egypt, in the days of anti-Semitic tyranny when the mere appearance of any kind of friendship, or just being in the same room with a Jew, could mean death, Christians always had to keep their distance from the Jews: the price to pay was simply too high.

After a visit to the United Kingdom in my youth, after innocently telling a journalist college friend that I had met Jews in the UK and could not believe how nice they were, her response was: “You know what happens to those who collude with Jews? They come back to Egypt in a box.” Shortly after, when a few of us teenagers, speaking English combined with some French and Arabic — not uncommon among some Cairo residents — were stopped in a village on the way from Cairo to Alexandria, the villagers called us Jews and the police were called. It took a while to get out of that mess.

Reality, finally, has hit Egypt. Its enemies’ list had to change in the face of the constant challenge to the stability of moderate governments. The true threat to stable Arab governments, as Egypt is realizing, is not Israel; it is political Islam from groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and so on. This real threat has become a terrible burden to every Muslim head of state and is behind all the political chaos, coups and revolutions currently raging throughout the Islamic world.

After Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Arab nations developed the courage to demand shutting down Al Jazeera headquarters in Qatar. In a chaotic, propaganda-prone area of the world, Qatar’s Al Jazeera has always reported sympathetically about Islamist groups and promoters of sharia, and against moderate Arab leaders. In an atmosphere such as that, no moderate Muslim leader is able to bring his nation out from under the coercion of jihadist terror and sharia tyranny.

Every Arab leader knows that to bring modernity and serious reformation would be considered a violation of sharia. Islamists are not only feared because of their promotion of terror, but they are also considered the guardians of sharia. Islamic law dictates that every Muslim head of state must rule by sharia, wage jihad against non-Muslim nations and never allow himself or his citizens to collude with, or seek peace with, Islam’s enemies. No moderate leader could survive under such conditions.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia is to be commended for finally issuing a decree that allows half the population of his country, women, to obtain the paperwork to drive — but they usually still need permission from a male guardian to leave the home alone.

As the last thing the Muslim public is ready for is the truth, convoluted games and accusations are the only way that many Arab leaders think they can preserve their legitimacy. The war between moderates, who want less sharia, and Islamists, who want full sharia, consists — regardless of “truth” — of winning over the average Arab citizen and leading him to believe that they represent the “real Islam”.

All sides thereby play the game of “collusion”. When Islamists accuse moderate leaders of collusion with the West, moderates respond by accusing Islamists of being the creation of the West. On many Arab media outlets, ISIS is the creation of the West (as was Al-Qaeda before it).

As a moderate Arab leader, it is therefore not easy to survive without the constant threat of an Islamist uprising. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt and King Abdullah of Jordan are considered moderate leaders, and many want them to stay that way, but the pressure from Islamists is immense. Recently Sisi said that he wants to promote a new form of fear, a “phobia against bringing down the State.” One can sympathize with his attempt to put into words the obstacles to governing in a majority Muslim nation. Sisi seems to want to encourage Egyptians to develop a fear of succumbing to radical propaganda that aims to bring down moderate governments. What he seems to be telling Egyptians is that revolutions, coups d’état and assassinations are not the solution to every problem but rather, it is — or should be — the ballot box.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seems to want to encourage Egyptians to develop a fear of succumbing to radical propaganda that aims to bring down moderate governments. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

After a year of being ruled by Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, the majority of Egyptians turned against the Muslim Brotherhood — a decision that understandably does not sit well with pro-sharia media. These, such as Al Jazeera, are dedicated to trying to save the reputation of the Muslim Brotherhood, sharia and Islam itself, at any cost. Their number-one enemy has become critics of jihad and sharia, especially those who live in Western freedom. The Arab media’s “solution” to a mass defection from extremism is to accuse moderates and critics of sharia not only of being “collaborators” with infidels but also that they “collude” with terrorists.

The current goal of the Arab media, especially Al Jazeera, is to portray critics of jihad and sharia, as well as apostates, as being just as bad as Islamists, if not worse.

Because the views of the critics of sharia and jihad resonate with average Arabs, radical Arab media outlets have no choice but to counter the enthusiasm for modernity and freedom of the public with false accusations: that critics of jihad and sharia are in fact colluding with terrorist groups. The Arab media evidently see such wildly false accusations against critics of jihad as the only way, in their minds, to save radical Islam.

Today, a segment of Egyptian society, especially the vulnerable and uneducated, have been lulled into believing the propaganda that moderates and critics of jihad and sharia are colluding not only with infidel enemies of Islam, but also with radical Muslim groups such as the unpopular Muslim Brotherhood.

A prominent Egyptian magazine, Rose El Youssef, in 2007, falsely portrayed Dr. Wafa Sultan and this author in their front-page as “alt-jihadists” — collaborators with the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood. Yesterday, a close friend in Egypt sent a warning of rumors in the Egyptian media, after the assassination of a journalist by the Muslim Brotherhood, that the Muslim Brotherhood has apostate “collaborators” in the West such as me. This shameless and reckless propaganda is intended to confuse the Egyptian public about who their true enemies and friends really are.

It is unfortunate that the tactics of the Arab media — to accuse people of “collusion” in order to silence any opposition — are now moving into US mainstream media regarding Trump and Russia, which the US media regard as their new “enemies” — the same media that defends sharia law, Islam and Islamic terrorism in the West.

Nonie Darwish, born and raised in Egypt, is the author of “Wholly Different; Why I chose Biblical Values Over Islamic Values”

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[1] Like the false investigation that wrongly accused Scooter Libby of a leaking the name of then CIA agent Valerie Plame, that they knew all the while had been leaked by Richard Armitage.

Saudi University Dismissing Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Academics

September 29, 2017

Saudi University Dismissing Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Academics, Center for Security PolicyJulia Sora, September 28, 2017

A university in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is dismissing academics who are believed to have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The university reportedly found evidence that a number of Saudi and foreign academics were linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.  The removal of these academics is an attempt to protect The Saudi educational system from Brotherhood influence.

In the past two weeks, Saudi authorities have allegedly arrested over 30 clerics and intellectuals in an attempt to crack down on dissent. The State Security Presidency arrested these clerics and intellectuals after monitoring their activities in the belief that they were acting for the benefit of foreign parties against the kingdom.

Three prominent clerics who were arrested were Salman al-Ouda, Aidh al-Qarni, and Ali al-Omary. Al-Qarni has advocated jihad in the past and has been described as influential among al-Qaeda followers.

Salman al-Ouda was jailed in the 1990s in Saudi Arabia for radicalism and his association with Osama Bin Laden. Al-Ouda has been a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood and also a founding member of the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign which is a coalition of Salafi, Salafi-Jihadi, Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas leaders.

In the 1950s, Saudi Arabia was a shelter for thousands of Brotherhood activists facing repression in Egypt, Syria and other countries. The Brotherhood soon became engrained both in Saudi society and in the Saudi state.

When Brotherhood activists fled to Saudi Arabia, many were given positions in Saudi schools by Saudi leaders who were sympathetic to their cause. The Muslim Brotherhood’s doctrine of education focuses on indoctrinating activists whose manners, way of thinking and sense of duty were aligned with the Brotherhood’s objectives.

In 2015, Saudi schools removed about 80 religious books including books written by Muslim Brotherhood ideologues Hassan Al Banna, Yousuf Al Qaradawi and Sayyed Qutb. Hassan Al Banna was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt and Sayyed Qutb was a leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s.

Saudi Islamist movements, specifically the Sahwa (Awakening), grew in Saudi Arabia. The relationship between the Sahwa and the regime was harmonious in the beginning until the 1980s when the Sahwa began criticizing the regime’s policies.

In the 1990s the Sahwa movement attempted a political reform campaign which led to a strain on the relationship, with the regime expelling several Brotherhood members. In the early 2000s, the relationship improved, allowing the Sahwa back into religious and social aspects in the country as long as they avoided criticism of the government. The Arab Spring encouraged the Sahwa to attempt political reform again but they were unsuccessful.

In February 2014, a royal decree was created to punish any person who was involved in, supported, or promoted a terrorist group. A month later, Saudi Arabia named the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The Saudi kingdom fears the Brotherhood seeks to topple the Saudi regime and has tried to build support inside the kingdom since the Arab Spring.

In June, Saudi Arabia was one of 5 countries to cut ties with Qatar over alleged efforts to undermine the stability of the Gulf States through Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and a variety of designated terrorist groups.

Academics have the capacity to exert great influence over students and are also capable of recruiting some students to support the Brotherhood’s efforts across communities throughout the Middle East and Africa. It remains difficult to determine the full extent of the effort by Saudi authorities to expel Brotherhood-linked academics from institutions in Saudi Arabia because it is unclear how many academics were expelled, and how many may remain.

CAIR Chief Among American Islamists Eulogizing Brotherhood Leader

September 28, 2017

CAIR Chief Among American Islamists Eulogizing Brotherhood Leader, Investigative Project on Terrorism, John Rossomando, September 28, 2017

It’s not uncommon for members of an immigrant community to mourn a prominent figure from their homelands. But Akef led a religious movement which seeks global dominance and which cultivated an Islamist ideology that inspires Sunni terrorist groups throughout the world.

His U.S.-based mourners can continue trying to deny their Brotherhood affinity, but actions speak louder than words. If the leader you pray God places “in the higher paradise with the prophets, the pious, and the martyrs” led a global Islamist movement, sanctioned terrorism and served in a secretive, violent Brotherhood branch, you’ve tipped your hand.

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A number of U.S.-based Muslim group leaders who vehemently reject evidence connecting them to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in public made a point of publicly mourning the group’s former spiritual guide, who died in prison Friday.

Mohamed Akef was praised as the “Sheikh of the Mujahidin” and received prayers that Allah place him “in the higher paradise with the prophets, the pious, and the martyrs.”

“What kind of tyrannical regime would imprison a sick 90 years old man?” Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) co-founder and Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote Saturday after Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Akef’s death. “Who resisted the colonizer, and raised generations on righteousness and the love of their country? #Mahdi_Akef, consider not Allah to be oblivious.” His Twitter post was in Arabic, so many of Awad’s U.S. followers may not have appreciated its significance.

Esam Omeish, a past Muslim American Society president who serves on the board of Northern Virginia’s Dar Al-Hijrah mosque, along with a fellow board member, are among the religious leaders and political activists who publicly eulogized the Brotherhood’s leader.

In addition to running an organization which ultimately seeks a global Islamic government, Akef left a long history of extreme rhetoric that his mourners didn’t mention.

Akef led the Muslim Brotherhood from 2004-2010. During his tenure, all members had to swear a religious oath of allegiance to him known as bayah. As supreme guide, his word was absolute for members. He signed a 2004 fatwa written by Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf al-Qaradawi which said Muslims had “an obligation … to kill American citizens in Iraq, since they are in Iraq in order to assist the soldiers and the occupation forces; it is forbidden however to desecrate their corpses.” Bombings against American soldiers in Iraq and against Israelis in the Palestinian territories were “religious obligation[s],” Akef said months before signing that fatwa during an interview with Egypt’s Al-Arabi newspaper that was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

He rejected calling Osama bin Laden a terrorist, saying the al-Qaida leader was “without a shadow of a doubt – a jihad fighter. I do not doubt the fact that he opposes occupation, nor that he does this in order to get closer to Allah, may He be praised and extolled,” Akef said in a 2008 interview with the website Elaph.com.

Akef was just 12 years old when he joined the Muslim Brotherhood in 1940. He worked closely with founder Hasan Al-Banna and spent more than 20 years in Egyptian prisons. Akef joined the Muslim Brotherhood’s “secret apparatus” that was involved in bombings and assassinations in the late 1940s.

Akef helped inspire the foundation of the Muslim American Society (MAS) during his trips to the U.S. in the early 1990s, a 2004 Chicago Tribune article said.

Brotherhood members founded MAS and continued to be inspired by Brotherhood ideology, Shaker Elsayed, imam of the Falls Church, Va. based Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, told the Tribune.

Elsayed generated controversy last spring after he endorsed partial female genital mutilation during a sermon. He remains on the job.

Omeish, one of Dar Al-Hijrah board members responsible for Elsayed’s continued employment, prayed that Akef be placed “in the higher paradise with the prophets, the pious, and the martyrs, whose company is exalted. The best of people is he who lives longer and perfected his deeds. I remember this giant man, I remembered his smile and the warmth of his faith, as a pious guide, a compassionate father, a decisive leader, and an ascetic laborer.”

Omeish acknowledged his past Brotherhood membership during a 2011 talk at American University, calling it a “wonderful experience.” He also lavished praise on the Muslim Brotherhood last December in another Facebook post.

Similarly, this was not Awad’s first time toeing the Muslim Brotherhood party line. “We congratulate the Egyptian people and their new president on this great achievement in Egypt’s struggle for freedom,” Awad said after the Brotherhood’s 2012 election victory in Egypt.

Other CAIR leaders defended the Muslim Brotherhood on social media against claims it engaged in authoritarian tactics before it fell from power in July 2013. Awad also defended Turkey following last year’s failed coup despite Islamist President Tayyip Recep Erdogan’s transformation of his country into a police state where dissent is illegal.

Awad’s past membership in the Muslim Brotherhood is documented in internal records seized by the FBI. A telephone list places Awad on the Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, which was tasked with providing political and financial support for Hamas in the United States.

Another pro-Brotherhood individual who serves with Omeish on the Dar Al-Hijrah board eulogized Akef. Akram Elzend, a co-founder of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Egyptian Americans for Democracy and Human Rights (EADHR), posted his own tribute to Akef on Facebook: “The Sheikh of the Mujahidin has died #Farewell_Akif,” Elzend wrote.

Elzend also alluded to supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in a March 2015 Facebook post emblazoned with the Brotherhood’s crossed sword-logo that linked to an article written by the group’s spokesman vowing to “liberate Egypt from the grip of this bloody coup.” EADHR co-founder Hany Saqr eulogized Akef as someone who could not be described with words.

“May Allah repose the martyr Mr. Mohamed Mahdi Akef and elevate him in the higher paradise and make his blood be upon them who did him injustice,” Saqr wrote on Facebook. Those internal Palestine Committee records which tie Awad to the Brotherhood network also identify Saqr as a onetime “Masul” or leader of the American Brotherhood’s Administrative Office for East America.

Osama Abu Irshaid, a board member of the United States Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO) together with Awad, joined in the chorus of Akef mourners.

“May Allah repose Akef and all the martyrs of injustice in Egypt; may Allah curse their killers, those who enslave Egypt and their supporters, may Allah reward the liked of Habib according to their malicious acts,” Abu Irshaid wrote.

Abu Irshaid has his own past connection with a Palestine Committee entity. He served as editor of Al-Zaitounah, a pro-Hamas Arabic periodical published by the now-defunct Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). IAP was the Palestine Committee’s propaganda arm.

Support for Akef showed particular intensity among leaders associated with Egyptian Americans for Freedom and Justice (EAFJ), who have shown strong pro-Brotherhood sympathies for years.

President Hani Elkadi eulogized Akef as a hero who “died holding his head high; he asked for no mercy, he did not entreat his jailers, or his executioners. The hero and the martyr died giving an example in patience, defiance, manhood, and steadfastness in truth.”

Elkadi made several other Facebook posts mourning Akef. EAFJ spokesman Mahmoud ElSharkawy hailed Akef as the “sheikh of the revolutionaries” who was martyred while in prison.

“May Allah rest the soul of the captive and the martyr, and we ask Allah to grant us the best of end on the path of truth and martyr without any alteration,” ElSharkawy wrote.

Elkadi and ElSharkawy’s support for Brotherhood-linked Egyptian terrorists is made clear by their numerous social media posts.

Formal memorial services for Akef were arranged by EAFJ-linked people in New York and in New Jersey. A banner at the New Jersey event called Akef the “Sheikh of the Mujahideen” in Arabic and described him as a martyr in both English and Arabic.

EAFJ co-founder Sheikh Mohamed Elbar of Brooklyn’s Islamic Center of Bay Ridge eulogized Akef as a martyr and a “mujahid” or holy warrior. Elbar belongs to the International Union of Muslim Scholars headed by Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue and EAFJ co-founder.

“We ask Almighty Allah to elevate Mahdi Akef to the ranks of the martyrs … Oh Allah, he died as a Mujahid for your cause, so grant him the status of the Mujahideen,” Elbar said.

Speaker Hemmi Khairallah likewise described Akef as a martyr and warned that Muslims in America were under attack from “Zionists” and “Crusaders.”

Elbar’s mosque held a separate memorial service for Akef.

It’s not uncommon for members of an immigrant community to mourn a prominent figure from their homelands. But Akef led a religious movement which seeks global dominance and which cultivated an Islamist ideology that inspires Sunni terrorist groups throughout the world.

His U.S.-based mourners can continue trying to deny their Brotherhood affinity, but actions speak louder than words. If the leader you pray God places “in the higher paradise with the prophets, the pious, and the martyrs” led a global Islamist movement, sanctioned terrorism and served in a secretive, violent Brotherhood branch, you’ve tipped your hand.

Illogically Choosing Friends & Allies in This War

September 25, 2017

Illogically Choosing Friends & Allies in This War, Understanding the Threat, September 25, 2017

If the Bonnano crime family (mafia) initiated a turf war against the Gambino family in New York, does that mean the Gambino crime family is a friend to the New York Police Department?

If the Islamic State publicly condemns the Muslim Brotherhood, does that mean the Muslim Brotherhood is a “friend” of the United States?

In today’s illogical world, the answer seems to be yes to both these questions when you ask senior U.S. government officials.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s objective from its inception until today is to wage jihad to establish an Islamic State (caliphate) encompassing the entire world.  This is the same objective as Al Qaeda, the Islamic State, and all other jihadi groups across the globe.

Last spring the Islamic State called the Muslim Brotherhood out for being apostates.

Why would the Islamic State, many of whose members are Muslim Brothers, do such a thing?

Remember, this is much more a counterintelligence and espionage war than it is merely “terrorism,” and our enemy is primarily engaging us in the information battlespace – propaganda and the like.

Deception is key to how they fight and how they win this war.  And they plan on winning.

When Islamic leaders and groups come against each other, it is over matters of sharia or power.

When the Islamic State calls out the Muslim Brotherhood as “apostates,” the antenna of savvy UTT followers should go up.

At the same time President Trump was moving to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), the Islamic State declares the MB “apostates.”  The MB then turns around and uses this to prove they are “moderate” to draw American politicians closer to them.

This “contrast” between the barbarity of the Islamic State and the suit-wearing jihadis of the Muslim Brotherhood’s U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Hamas doing business as the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslim American Society (MAS), Muslim Students Association (MSA), Muslim Advocates, and all the others, is exactly what the Islamic Movement is after.

Our enemies use this contrast to appear more “moderate” to give the impression we can work with them. The problem is, our leaders in government, law enforcement, intelligence, and religious communities are falling for it.

Never forget, they all want the same objective and – per Islamic Law (sharia) – are obliged to lie in pursuit of this objective.

State Department Waging “Open War” on White House

September 17, 2017

State Department Waging “Open War” on White House, Gatestone InstituteSoeren Kern, September 17, 2017

“It’s not clear to me why the Secretary of State wishes to at once usurp the powers of the Congress and then to derail his boss’s rapprochement with the Israeli government.” — Foreign policy operative, quoted in the Washington Free Beacon.

Since he was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Rex Tillerson and his advisors at the State Department have made a number of statements and policy decisions that contradict President Trump’s key campaign promises on foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Iran.

“Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.” — Veteran foreign policy analyst, quoted in the Free Beacon.

The U.S. State Department has backed away from a demand that Israel return $75 million in military aid which was allocated to it by the U.S. Congress.

The repayment demand, championed by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, was described as an underhanded attempt by the State Department to derail a campaign pledge by U.S. President Donald J. Trump to improve relations with the Jewish state.

The dispute is the just the latest example of what appears to be a growing power struggle between the State Department and the White House over the future direction of American foreign policy.

The controversy goes back to the Obama administration’s September 2016 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Israel, which pledged $38 billion in military assistance to Jerusalem over the next decade. The MOU expressly prohibits Israel from requesting additional financial aid from Congress.

Congressional leaders, who said the MOU violates the constitutional right of lawmakers to allocate U.S. aid, awarded Israel an additional $75 million in assistance in the final appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017.

Tillerson had argued that Israel should return the $75 million in order to stay within the limits established by the Obama administration. The effort provoked a strong reaction from Congress, which apparently prompted Tillerson to back down.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) “strongly warned the State Department that such action would be unwise and invite unwanted conflict with Israel,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Speaking to the Washington Examiner, Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) added:

“As Iran works to surround Israel on every border, and Hezbollah and Hamas rearm, we must work to strengthen our alliance with Israel, not strain it. Congress has the right to allocate money as it deems necessary, and security assistance to Israel is a top priority. Congress is ready to ensure Israel receives the assistance it needs to defend its citizens.”

A veteran congressional advisor told the Free Beacon:

“This is a transparent attempt by career staffers in the State Department to f*ck with the Israelis and derail the efforts of Congressional Republicans and President Trump to rebuild the US-Israel relationship. There’s no reason to push for the Israelis to return the money, unless you’re trying to drive a wedge between Israel and Congress, which is exactly what this is. It won’t work.”

Another foreign policy operative said: “It’s not clear to me why the Secretary of State wishes to at once usurp the powers of the Congress and then to derail his boss’s rapprochement with the Israeli government.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) and President Donald J. Trump (right) on February 1, 2017. (Image source: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images)

Since he was sworn in as Secretary of State on February 1, Tillerson and his advisors at the State Department have made a number of statements and policy decisions that contradict Trump’s key campaign promises on foreign policy, especially regarding Israel and Iran.

August 10. The State Department hosted representatives of the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), an umbrella group established by the Muslim Brotherhood with the aim of mainstreaming political Islam in the United States. Behind closed doors, they reportedly discussed what they said was Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine and the removal of all Israeli control of the Temple Mount and holy areas of Jerusalem. Observers said the meeting was part of larger effort by anti-Israel organizations to drive a wedge between the Trump administration and Israel. The USCMO includes a number of organizations, including American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), which promote “extreme anti-Israel views” and “anti-Zionist” propaganda, and which support boycotts of the Jewish state.

July 19. The State Department’s new “Country Reports on Terrorism 2016” blamed Israel for Palestinian Arab terrorism against Jews. It attributed Palestinian violence to: “lack of hope in achieving statehood;” “Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank;” “settler violence;” and “the perception that the Israeli government was changing the status quo on the Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount.” The report also characterized Palestinian Authority payments to the families of so-called martyrs as “financial packages to Palestinian security prisoners…to reintegrate them into society.”

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) called on the State Department to hold the PA accountable in State Department Country reports: “The State Department report includes multiple findings that are both inaccurate and harmful to combating Palestinian terrorism…. At the highest level, the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership incites, rewards, and, in some cases, carries out terrorist attacks against innocent Israelis. In order to effectively combat terrorism, it is imperative that the United States accurately characterize its root cause — PA leadership.”

June 14. Tillerson voiced opposition to designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, saying that such a classification would complicate Washington’s relations in the Middle East. During his confirmation hearings on January 11, by contrast, Tillerson lumped the Brotherhood with al-Qaeda when talking about militant threats in the region. He said:

“Eliminating ISIS would be the first step in disrupting the capabilities of other groups and individuals committed to striking our homeland and our allies. The demise of ISIS would also allow us to increase our attention on other agents of radical Islam like al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and certain elements within Iran.”

June 13. During testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Tillerson said he had received reassurances from President Mahmoud Abbas that the Palestinian Authority would end the practice of paying a monthly stipend to the families of suicide bombers and other attackers, commonly referred to by Palestinians as martyrs. One day later, Palestinian officials contradicted Tillerson, saying that there are no plans to stop payments to families of Palestinians killed or wounded carrying out attacks against Israelis.

May 22. Tillerson sidestepped questions on whether the Western Wall is part of Israel, while telling reporters aboard Air Force One they were heading to “Tel Aviv, home of Judaism.” Asked directly whether he considers the Western Wall under Israeli sovereignty, Tillerson replied: “The wall is part of Jerusalem.”

May 15. In an interview with Meet the Press, Tillerson appeared publicly to renege on Trump’s campaign promise to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem:

“The president, I think rightly, has taken a very deliberative approach to understanding the issue itself, listening to input from all interested parties in the region, and understanding what such a move, in the context of a peace initiative, what impact would such a move have.”

Tillerson also appeared to equate the State of Israel and the Palestinians:

“As you know, the president has recently expressed his view that he wants to put a lot of effort into seeing if we cannot advance a peace initiative between Israel and Palestine. And so I think in large measure the president is being very careful to understand how such a decision would impact a peace process.”

Critics of this stance have argued that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would, instead, advance the peace process by “shattering the Palestinian fantasy that Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel.”

March 8. The State Department confirmed that the Obama administration’s $221 million payment to the Palestinian Authority, approved just hours before Trump’s inauguration, had reached its destination. The Trump administration initially had vowed to freeze the payment.

In July 2017, the Free Beacon reported that Tillerson’s State Department was waging an “open political war” with the White House on a range of key issues, including the U.S.-Israel relationship, the Iran portfolio, and other matters:

“The tensions have fueled an outstanding power battle between the West Wing and State Department that has handicapped the administration and resulted in scores of open positions failing to be filled with Trump confidantes. This has allowed former Obama administration appointees still at the State Department to continue running the show and formulating policy, where they have increasingly clashed with the White House’s own agenda.”

A veteran foreign policy analyst interviewed by the Free Beacon laid the blame squarely on Tillerson:

“Foggy Bottom [a metonym for the State Department] is still run by the same people who designed and implemented Obama’s Middle East agenda. Tillerson was supposed to clean house, but he left half of them in place and he hid the other half in powerful positions all over the building. These are career staffers committed to preventing Trump from reversing what they created.”

Notable holdovers from the Obama administration are now driving the State Department’s Iran policy:

Michael Ratney, a top advisor to former Secretary of State John Kerry on Syria policy. Under the Trump administration, Ratney’s role at the State Department has been expanded to include Israel and Palestine issues. Ratney, who was the U.S. Consul in Jerusalem between 2012 and 2015, oversaw $465,000 in U.S. grants to wage a smear to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office in 2015 parliamentary elections, according to the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. Ratney admitted to Senate investigators that he deleted emails containing information about the Obama administration’s relationship with the group.

Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., a career foreign service officer who serves as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Shannon, the State Department’s fourth-ranking official, has warned that scrapping the Iran deal would lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. “Any effort to step away from the deal would reopen a Pandora’s box in that region that would be hard to close again,” he said. His statement indicates that Shannon could be expected to lead efforts to resist any attempts to renege or renegotiate the deal; critics of the deal say that Iran’s continued missile testing has given Trump one more reason to tear up his predecessor’s deal with the Islamist regime.

Chris Backemeyer is now the highest-ranking official at the State Department for Iran policy. During the Obama administration, Backemeyer made his career by selling the Iran deal by persuading multinational corporations to do business with Iran as part of an effort to conclude the Iran nuclear deal.

Ratney, Shannon and Backemeyer, along with Tillerson, reportedly prevailed upon Trump twice to recertify the Iran nuclear deal. The Jerusalem Post explained:

Washington was briefly abuzz on the afternoon of July 17 when rumors began to circulate that President Trump was eager to declare that Iran was in breach of the conditions laid out in the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (INARA).

Those receptive antennas were further heightened given the previous signals sent. After all, the State Department already released talking points to reporters on the decision to recertify Iran. The Treasury Department also had a package of fresh sanctions on over a dozen Iranian individuals and entities ready to announce to appease the hawks who were eager to cut loose from the deal.

But Trump didn’t want to recertify Iran, nor did he want to the last time around in April. That evening, a longtime Middle East analyst close to senior White House officials involved in the discussions described the scene to me: “Tillerson essentially told the president, ‘we just aren’t ready with our allies to decertify.’ The president retorted, ‘Isn’t it your job to get our allies ready?’ to which Tillerson said, ‘Sorry sir, we’re just not ready.'” According to this source, Secretary Tillerson pulled the same maneuver when it came to recertification in April by waiting until the last minute before finally admitting the State Department wasn’t ready. On both occasions he simply offered something to the effect of, “We’ll get ’em next time.”