Posted tagged ‘Obama and Islamic terrorism’

How Leftists Aid the Jihadis’ Deadly Cause

November 3, 2017

How Leftists Aid the Jihadis’ Deadly Cause, FrontPage MagazineLloyd Billingsley, November 3, 2017

(Please see also, Stop the “Diversity” Visa Lottery, Gateway for Jihadists. — DM)

As Robert Spencer noted, vehicular jihad has come to Manhattan, after stops in Nice, London, Edmonton and other places. The Muslim Sayfullo Saipov killed eight and wounded a dozen innocents by running them over with a rental truck, the first fatalities in that area since other jihadists crashed hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center, claiming some 3,000 lives.

That prompted cheers from Muslims living in New Jersey, also home to Sayfullo Saipov.  The jubilant jihadist, a 29-year-old Uzbek, acted on behalf of the Islamic State, which in turn is part of something much larger. Call it the Islamschluss, a global surge that should put things in perspective.

The West and the United States are dealing with a supremacist, expansionist religion that seeks to annex the entire world by any means necessary, especially violence. As in Austria, which the Nazis took over in 1938, the Islamschluss finds willing collaborators, like the weasely Herr Zeller in The Sound of Music. In America, the collaborators bring in Muslims by any means necessary, such as the “diversity visa” of Sayfullo Saipov.

The Diversity Visa program, launched by New York Senator Chuck Schumer in 1990, makes 50,000 visas available, on a random basis, to people from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Sayfullo Saipov is one of the lottery winners, though what he has to do with “diversity” is a mystery. Uzbekistan is part of the Caucuses region, so he’s a genuine Caucasian, like the Tsarnaev brothers who bombed the Boston Marathon.

Saipov had no skill America needs, but the Diversity Visa program is all about bringing in people America doesn’t need. The United States abounds in truck drivers and cab drivers, and has no need for Uzbek jihadists to perform those tasks.

Likewise, the United States abounds in Information Technology specialists, but congressional Democrats such as Debbie Wasserman Schultz chose to bring in Pakistani-born Muslim Imran Awan. He wasn’t very good at his job but Awan did prove adept at ripping off massive amounts of data from Democrats on the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees, and stashing it on a server controlled by Xavier Becerra, once on Hillary Clinton’s short list as a running mate.

Nobody seems to know what became of the data. Even so, the Democrats not only kept paying Imran Awan but brought in other members of his family, not exactly models of competence and propriety. So it’s clear that the Islamschluss has already annexed strategic territory in Congress and also made inroads in the military.

Those who join the United States Army pledge to defend the United States against all enemies. Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, openly identified himself as a “Soldier of Allah,” but nobody saw that as a reason to boot him out, even though he was communicating with jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki about killing Americans.

The authorities had his communications with the terrorist but did nothing to stop Hasan from killing 13 and wounding more than 30 at Fort Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009. Like Sayfullo Saipov, Hasan yelled “Allahu Akbar,” as he killed. Even so, the 44th President of the United States called the mass murder “workplace violence,” not even gun violence. He declined to meet with wounded victims of Hasan’s attack, such as Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford, who took seven bullets from the “Soldier of Allah.” Hasan was sentenced to death in 2013 but still awaits execution.

The President Formerly Known as Barry Soetoro also traded jihadis Khirullah Said Wali Khairkhwa, Mullah Mohammad Fazi, Mullah Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, and Mohammed Nabi Omari, all Taliban commanders, for deserter Bowe Bergdahl. It was like trading Private Slovik for the German high command, but no surprise.

In the ongoing Islamschluss, the previous president shapes up as collaborator-in-chief. He went to a “predominantly Muslim” school in Indonesia and told the world the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. So no surprise he can’t say “Islamic” and “terrorism” in the same sentence.

Likewise, the politically correct lack the guts to criticize Islamic savagery of the kind on display in New York. Their intellectual self-beheading renders them unable to distinguish fact from fiction, friends from enemies, and sensible immigration policies from what amounts to an Islamschluss.

Uzbekistan, a huge former Soviet republic, should be only a destination for Muslims, particularly Muslim refugees. As jihadist Sayfullo Saipov’s murder spree confirms, Uzbekistan is not a good source for immigrants to the United States. For the time being, a good ballpark figure for visas would be zero.

President Trump would do well to toughen vetting and extend the travel ban. The president should also end the Diversity Visa program, the collaborators’ highway for troops of the Islamschluss like Sayfullo Saipov. The time has come to take back the territory they have already annexed in government, the military and on the streets of America.

American Soldiers Died in Niger Because of Obama

October 23, 2017

American Soldiers Died in Niger Because of Obama, Gatestone Institute, Daniel Greenfield, October 23, 2017

Of all the accusations hurled at President Trump, a lack of aggressiveness isn’t one of them. It isn’t his policy to deploy soldiers without a direct combat mission. That’s the opposite of his policy.

But Obama wanted to avoid triggering Islamic terrorists by fighting them too aggressively. And being in a war zone without a combat role provided the anti-war politician with plausible deniability.

American forces in Niger were there providing “advice and assistance to Nigerien security force counter-terror operations”. “Advise and Assist” missions were a staple of Obama era counterterrorism. Embedding American troops within local forces that may be unreliable or compromised carries obvious risks. But the Obama doctrine put public relations ahead of the lives of American soldiers. That doctrine cost countless lives in Afghanistan. And now it may have cost four more American lives in Niger.

If you want to look for the bullet that killed those men, look no further than Obama’s Cairo speech. 

Their deaths should be a reminder that appeasing Islamists always ends in war and death. If the Democrats don’t want war and death, they should end their backing for Islamists and empower our soldiers to defend themselves. 

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Congresswoman Frederica Wilson has come up with a new gimmick for getting invited on CNN. After exploiting the death of one soldier killed in an attack in Niger, she decided that if exploiting one soldier made her famous, exploiting the deaths of all the soldiers would make her even more famous.

Wilson has taken to calling the attack, “Mr. Trump’s Benghazi.” And she’s close. American soldiers died in Niger for the same reasons that Americans died in Benghazi. Both were fallout from the Arab Spring.

It wasn’t President Trump who deployed our soldiers to Niger. That was Obama’s doing. 

Congresswoman Wilson complained that they, “didn’t have appropriate weapons where they were” and that “they had trucks that were not armored trucks.” 

She is welcome to take up those objections with Obama. 

President Trump has been loudly criticized by Democrats for being too aggressive. It wasn’t his policy to have soldiers in Niger without a direct combat role.  It was Obama’s policy to put American soldiers in harm’s way without going on the offensive. And not just in Niger. American soldiers in Iraq and Syria were put in the same strange situation of being deployed in a war zone without a combat mission.

Except to defend themselves.

Or as Obama put it, “The recently deployed forces have deployed with weapons for the purpose of providing their own force protection and security.”

They were supposed to be playing defense, not offense.

Of all the accusations hurled at President Trump, a lack of aggressiveness isn’t one of them. It isn’t his policy to deploy soldiers without a direct combat mission. That’s the opposite of his policy.

But Obama wanted to avoid triggering Islamic terrorists by fighting them too aggressively. And being in a war zone without a combat role provided the anti-war politician with plausible deniability.

Obama could take credit for ending all the wars (he officially ended the Iraq War twice even before the rise of ISIS) while still keeping soldiers deployed in war zones. But soldiers in a war zone without an official combat role are far more vulnerable and more likely to be underequipped for a firefight.

American forces in Niger were there providing “advice and assistance to Nigerien security force counter-terror operations”. “Advise and Assist” missions were a staple of Obama era counterterrorism. Embedding American troops within local forces that may be unreliable or compromised carries obvious risks. But the Obama doctrine put public relations ahead of the lives of American soldiers. That doctrine cost countless lives in Afghanistan. And now it may have cost four more American lives in Niger.

The deaths in Niger also had deeper origins in Obama’s pro-Islamist policies and alliances.

Our forces were reportedly targeting the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. ISGS, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, is another Arab Spring baby. Adnan Abou Walid al-Sahraoui, its leader, had formerly served as the spokesman for the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) which was a splinter group of Al Qaeda. MUJAO was one of the Jihadist movements empowered by Obama’s illegal invasion of Libya. In the wake of the Libyan disaster, Jihadists seized control of large parts of Mali.

The French took the lead in fighting the Islamist forces. Obama led from behind by deploying American personnel to support the French effort. And that’s still the case. In Niger, we’re there to assist the larger French force. And so when our soldiers came under fire, they had to rely on the French for air support and evacuation. Those are the consequences of Obama ‘leading from behind’.

Our forces were outnumbered. French air support proved unable to offer useful help, but did succeed in evacuating the survivors. And the ambush raises questions about whether ISGS got lucky, or whether it was a setup. The Democrats suddenly seem very eager to find out exactly what happened, but whatever happened was due to policies and programs put into place by their own leader.

Obama’s Arab Spring regime change project and the illegal Libyan regime change operation that followed unleashed regional Islamist aspirations. Mali nearly fell because of Libya. American soldiers in Niger were killed by Islamist terrorists from a group led by the spokesman for that invasion.

But it’s not just about ISGS. One reason we’re in Niger is because we can’t be in Nigeria.

Boko Haram’s Jihadists have killed thousands of Christians in Nigeria. While the genocide continued, Obama officials worked hard to obstruct any effort to name Boko Haram a foreign terrorist organization. Only when the mass kidnapping of girls led to the #BringBackOurGirls awareness campaign, did some of the more overt obstructionism by Obama and his political cronies stop. But it certainly didn’t end.

Obama Inc. repeatedly hectored Nigeria for being too tough on Boko Haram. It refused to waive the Leahy amendment which meant that the United States (and even Israel) couldn’t sell weapons to Nigeria and had a great deal of difficulty in training Nigerian forces. While we couldn’t be in Nigeria because its soldiers insisted on killing Boko Haram terrorists instead of locking them up in a Cuban resort and supplying them with all the Harry Potter novels they could want, we could be in Niger.

And so we’re in Niger.

The Nigerien (as opposed to Nigerian) military hadn’t rubbed Obama the wrong way. And so the American presence in Niger grew. We now have some 800 soldiers there and a sizable drone base.

Deploying large numbers of personnel into a terror zone without a plan to take the fight to the enemy is a bad idea. When the Nigerien forces came under attack by as many as fifty fighters with RPGs and heavy machine guns, our soldiers were left exposed, with no one to rely on except the French. They were there officially for training and surveillance, but they were on the front lines instead.

Congresswoman Wilson and other Democrats would like to blame President Trump for the deaths in Niger. But the trouble in Niger has Obama’s fingerprints all over it from the Arab Spring to the “Advice and Assist” missions that aren’t technically combat missions, but often incorporate combat anyway.

The ambiguity was there to cover Obama’s fundament. It’s time to scrap it along with the rest of his policies. The Arab Spring genie may be hard to put back in the box and we need to seriously think about what we’re doing in places like Niger and whether we have a plan to win that isn’t dependent on the locals. Obama didn’t. Instead his counterterrorism policy marked time. From Africa to Afghanistan, it wasn’t about victory, but an inoffensive containment. And that meant not being too aggressive.

If we are going to have forces in Niger or any other war zone, they should have air support and the widest latitude for defending themselves. President Trump’s policies didn’t kill four Americans in Niger. Obama’s appeasement of Islamists and the anti-war left exposed American soldiers to harm.

If you want to look for the bullet that killed those men, look no further than Obama’s Cairo speech.

Their deaths should be a reminder that appeasing Islamists always ends in war and death. If the Democrats don’t want war and death, they should end their backing for Islamists and empower our soldiers to defend themselves.

Israel Takes on the SHIA Crescent

October 2, 2017

Israel Takes on the SHIA Crescent, Front Page MagazineJoseph Klein, October 2, 2017

At least, Israel has a more sympathetic ear in the Trump administration than it did in the Obama administration for raising its concerns about Iran’s growing threat, not only to Israel but to U.S. interests in the region and beyond. President Trump’s sharp denunciation of the Iranian regime during his address to the UN General Assembly represented a welcome departure from the Obama administration’s milquetoast approach to Iran. 

As the U.S.-led coalition continues to drive ISIS from its bases of operation in Syria, the Trump administration has proclaimed its intention not to allow Iran to turn Syria into its own satellite, as Iran has essentially done in Iraq. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that the “so called liberation of areas by Assad’s forces and Iranian proxies could actually accelerate the cycle of violence and perpetuate conflict rather than get us to a sustainable outcome.” He claimed that the Trump administration’s “objectives are to weaken Iranian influence across the region broadly,” without discussing the means to accomplish those objectives.

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Despite Israel’s repeated warnings, Barack Obama’s reckless appeasement of the Iranian regime has enabled its rise as a hegemonic threat in the Middle East region as well as a threat to international peace and security. In 2009, Obama turned his back on millions of dissidents in the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities, who were peacefully protesting the rigged election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. In 2011, Obama precipitously removed the remaining U.S. combat troops from Iraq, giving rise to ISIS’s re-emergence in Iraq from its bases in Syria. The radical Shiite Iranian regime purported to come to the “rescue” of both countries from the Sunni terrorists, turning Iraq into a virtual vassal state of the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the process. Obama’s disastrous nuclear deal with Iran legitimized Iran’s path to eventually becoming a nuclear-armed state, while immediately filling its coffers with billions of dollars to fund its aggression. 

Meanwhile, Syria has become ground zero for Iran’s execution of its regional ambitions, which is to establish its Shiite Crescent connecting with its allies, including Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. This plan has included the establishment of a land route that Iranian-backed militias secured in June, beginning on Iran’s border with Iraq and running across Iraq and Syria all the way to Syria’s Mediterranean coast. This road makes Iran’s job easier in supplying arms by land, as well as by air and sea, to prop up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and to equip Iran’s own forces fighting inside of Syria in support of Assad. This helps explain why Iran has placed so much importance on helping the Syrian regime establish control over the Deir ez-Zor area in eastern Syria, near the Iraqi border.

“Everything depends now on the Americans’ willingness to stop this,” said an Iraqi Kurdish official who was quoted in a New Yorker article. However, U.S.-led coalition forces apparently have done next to nothing to stop this major advance in Iran’s Shiite Crescent expansion. “Obama ran down our options in Syria so thoroughly, by the time this administration took over,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “The Iranian influence is spreading because they are so heavily involved in regime activities,” Tabler added. “It’s a new monster.”

Furthermore, Iran has funded and armed its terrorist proxy Hezbollah, which has sent its militia from its home base of Lebanon to fight alongside Assad’s forces.  And Iran has used Syria as a transit point for shipment of sophisticated rockets to Hezbollah in Lebanon for future use against Israeli population centers. Despite the fact that Hezbollah has American blood on its hands, the U.S.-led coalition has chosen not to do anything about Hezbollah’s presence in Syria, bought and paid for by Iran.

While Israel chose not to take sides in Syria’s civil war with military intervention of its own, it has bombed weapons storage facilities and convoys inside Syria for its own protection. Just recently, on September 7th, Israeli jets struck a Syrian weapons facility near Masyaf, which was reported to have been used for the production of chemical weapons and the storage of missiles. Israel will also do what is necessary to repel Iranian-backed forces if they edge too close to areas near the Golan Heights, shrinking the buffer between Israel and Iranian controlled territories.

However, such tactical measures may not be enough to thwart Iran’s larger ambitions. In light of intelligence reports that Assad may be ready to invite Iran to set up military bases in Syria, Israeli leaders have concluded that they cannot wait until the Trump administration decides to deal more forcefully with Iran’s growing use of Syria as a staging area for carrying out its expansionist Shiite Crescent strategy.  “Their overriding concern in Syria is the free reign that all the major players there seem willing to afford Iran and its various proxies in the country,” wrote Jonathan Spyer in an article for Foreign Policy. As long as nobody else is addressing the concern Iran’s growing control raises in a satisfactory manner, “Israel is determined to continue addressing it on its own.”

At least, Israel has a more sympathetic ear in the Trump administration than it did in the Obama administration for raising its concerns about Iran’s growing threat, not only to Israel but to U.S. interests in the region and beyond. President Trump’s sharp denunciation of the Iranian regime during his address to the UN General Assembly represented a welcome departure from the Obama administration’s milquetoast approach to Iran.

As the U.S.-led coalition continues to drive ISIS from its bases of operation in Syria, the Trump administration has proclaimed its intention not to allow Iran to turn Syria into its own satellite, as Iran has essentially done in Iraq. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said that the “so called liberation of areas by Assad’s forces and Iranian proxies could actually accelerate the cycle of violence and perpetuate conflict rather than get us to a sustainable outcome.” He claimed that the Trump administration’s “objectives are to weaken Iranian influence across the region broadly,” without discussing the means to accomplish those objectives.

Whether the Trump administration follows through remains to be seen. In the meantime, Israel will have to deal with the fallout of Iran’s ambitions in Syria itself.

Former Gitmo Captive on Saudi Payroll Arrested in French ISIS Cell

June 2, 2017

Former Gitmo Captive on Saudi Payroll Arrested in French ISIS Cell, Judicial Watch, June 2, 2017

Despite his disturbing Pentagon document, the Obama administration released Lahmar from the top security compound at the U.S. Naval base in southeast Cuba in 2009 after France agreed to take him. This week he was arrested in Bordeaux as part of a terrorist cell that operated a recruiting network for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

As far back as 2010 former president Barack Obama’s National Intelligence Director confirmed that one in four inmates released from Gitmo resume terrorist activities against the United States. A year earlier the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, which gathers foreign military intelligence, disclosed that the number of Gitmo prisoners who returned to the fight since their release had nearly doubled in a short time.

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Surprise, surprise, another inmate released from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba has been arrested for reengaging in terrorism. His name is Sabir Mahfouz Lahmar and his Department of Defense (DOD) file says he has links to “multiple terrorist plots” and as a member of the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) plotted with Al Qaeda to attack the United States Embassy in Sarajevo.

“Detainee advocated hostilities against US forces and the international community in Bosnia, and is linked to multiple terrorist plots and criminal related activity,” according to Lahmar’s DOD file. “Detainee had intentions to travel to Afghanistan and Iran, and is reported as doing so prior to his capture. Detainee has demonstrated a commitment to jihad, and would likely engage in anti-US activities if released.” Lahmar ended up at Gitmo in 2002 because the Algerian government refused to take him into custody after Bosnian authorities exhausted the legal limits for detention. The Pentagon recommended continued detention and determined that he was a high risk that posed a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies. Lahmar was also labeled a “high threat” from a detention perspective and of high intelligence value.

Also of note in the DOD file is that Lahmar was on Saudi Arabia’s payroll as an employee of the Saudi High Commission for Relief (SHCR), a non-governmental organization (NGO). He was arrested and convicted in 1997 for assaulting an American Citizen in Bosnia but was released, “after the SHCR intervened on his behalf,” the military file states. “After his release, detainee returned to work for the SHCR in Sarajevo.” Authorities in Croatia believe Lahmar was involved in the 1997 bombings in Travnik and Mostar and that he served in the el-Mujahid Brigade conducting training for acts of terrorism in the 1990s. Other reports link Lahmar to car theft and document forgery and indicate he’s wanted in Belgium and France for his involvement in violent activities, the military file says.

Despite his disturbing Pentagon document, the Obama administration released Lahmar from the top security compound at the U.S. Naval base in southeast Cuba in 2009 after France agreed to take him. This week he was arrested in Bordeaux as part of a terrorist cell that operated a recruiting network for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). A British newspaper report says Lahmar was one of six people—four men and two women—captured as part of an aggressive crackdown on a jihadist recruiting network in the European nation that’s been rocked by multiple terrorist attacks in recent years. Just a few years ago a former Gitmo captive, 46-year-old Moroccan Lahcen Ikassrien, was arrested in Spain for operating a sophisticated recruitment network for the Syrian and Iraqi-based terror group known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Like Lahmar and Ikassreien, many of the captives released from Gitmo have predictably returned to terrorist causes and it has long been documented in military and intelligence assessments. Just last year a report issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) showed that of the 161 Gitmo detainees released by the Obama administration, nine were confirmed to be “directly involved in terrorist or insurgent activities” and that 113 of the 532 Gitmo captives released during the George W. Bush administration have engaged in terrorist activities. “Based on trends identified during the past eleven years, we assess that some detainees currently at GTMO will seek to reengage in terrorist or insurgent activities after they are transferred,” according to the ODNI, which is composed of more than a dozen spy agencies, including Air Force, Army, Navy, Treasury and Coast Guard intelligence as well as the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The agency also stated in its report that “former GTMO detainees routinely communicate with each other, families of other former detainees, and previous associates who are members of terrorist organizations. The reasons for communication span from the mundane (reminiscing about shared experiences) to the nefarious (planning terrorist operations). We assess that some GTMO detainees transferred in the future also will communicate with other former GTMO detainees and persons in terrorist organizations.”

Other examples of recidivism among Gitmo captives include dozens who have rejoined Al Qaeda in Yemen, the country where the 2009 Christmas Day airline bomber proudly trained, and a number of high-ranking Al Qaeda militants in Yemen involved in a sophisticated scheme to send bombs on a U.S.-bound cargo plane. A few years ago, a Gitmo alum named Mullah Abdul Rauf, who once led a Taliban unit, established the first ISIS base in Afghanistan. In 2014, Judicial Watch uncovered an embarrassing gaffe involving an Al Qaeda operative liberated from Gitmo years earlier. Turns out the U.S. government put him on a global terrorist list and offered $5 million for information on his whereabouts!

As far back as 2010 former president Barack Obama’s National Intelligence Director confirmed that one in four inmates released from Gitmo resume terrorist activities against the United States. A year earlier the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency, which gathers foreign military intelligence, disclosed that the number of Gitmo prisoners who returned to the fight since their release had nearly doubled in a short time. The assessment was made by using data such as fingerprints, pictures and other intelligence reports to confirm the high rate of recidivism among the released prisoners.

A Dose of Reality in Riyadh

May 22, 2017

A Dose of Reality in Riyadh, Front Page MagazineBruce Bawer, May 22, 2017

Early on in his speech, Trump addressed his audience as friends and partners; within a few minutes, without pointing a finger, and without abandoning the collegial tone or the complimentary language, made it clear he was lecturing them. He was the boss, the capo di tutti capi, and he was laying down terms. This wasn’t Obama, who naively thought he could change the world with groveling apologies for the West, praise for Islam built on sheer fantasy, and yet another retelling of his own supposedly inspiring personal story – all the while oozing beta-male deference and docility. No; this was a man of power who – never once talking about himself – made expert use of that power, wielding an iron fist in a velvet glove. His message was unmistakable: either set aside this stupid religion (or at least rein it in, and now), join the modern world, and set your people free to dream, hope, create, grow, and prosper. Or else face the consequences. When, at the end, he summed up the assets of the Islamic world, he didn’t even mention Islam: he cited, among other things, its “spirit of enterprise” and ambitious young people. Where Obama had falsely attributed all kinds of past wonders to Islam, Trump imagined an implicitly Islam-free future in which the region could finally enjoy “glorious wonders of science, art, medicine, and commerce to inspire mankind.” 

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On June 4, 2009, Barack Obama went to Cairo and delivered a speech, addressed to the Muslim world, that was full of praise for Islam and apologies on behalf of the West. In the address, entitled “A New Beginning” (“I’ve come here to Cairo,” he explained, “to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world”), he called the university at which he was speaking (which, if it were anywhere in the West, would probably not be able to gain accreditation) “a beacon of Islamic learning”; he blamed tensions between the West and Islam largely on Western “colonialism”; he said “Salaam aleikum” and kept referring to “the Holy Koran”; he asserted, in a ridiculous example of hyperbole, that “Islam has always been part of America’s story”; he served up a big wallop of revised history, giving Islam unmerited praise for centuries-old accomplishments in science, architecture, music, art, and medicine and even holding it up as “a model of tolerance and equality” (at one point, he seemed to imply that in some ways women’s rights are more advanced in the Muslim world than in the U.S.); and, with utter predictability, he quoted the the “Holy Koran” out of context, plucking out that favorite verse of all Western apologists that supposedly teaches “that if one kills an innocent, it is as if it he has killed all of mankind.”

And of course, as always, he talked about himself: a descendant of “generations of Muslims” in Kenya; a man who, in his Indonesian boyhood, daily heard the beautiful Islamic call to prayer; a president who had “known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.” As someone with such intimate ties to the Religion of Peace, asserted Obama, he saw it as part of his job to “fight against negative stereotypes of Islam.” Yes, he spoke about the need to fight terror, but he was quick to maintain that “Islam is not part of the problem” but rather “an important part of promoting peace.” He defended U.S. ties to Israel and recognized the “reality of the Holocaust,” but quickly pivoted to the “suffering” of Palestinians, the “pain of dislocation” they experienced, and the “daily humiliations” of the “occupation” – preaching, in short, to Israel from a Cairo pulpit. He quoted from the Talmud, but was careful not to call it holy. He implied that the histories of the Jews and Palestinians were equally tragic. And he preached to America too, suggesting that when Americans criticize the “choice” of women – and girls (!) – to wear hijab they were disguising their “hostility” to Islam “behind the pretense of liberalism.” Similarly, instead of thundering against the evil of 9/11, Obama apologized for the supposed excesses of some Americans’ responses to that atrocity, saying with nauseating chagrin that “in some cases it led us to acts contrary to our principles and our ideals.” Oh, and he vowed to close Guantánamo “by early next year.”

This Sunday, almost exactly as far into his presidency as Obama was when he gave his Cairo speech, Donald Trump spoke in Riyadh. For some of us, the very prospect of this appearance had been, to put it mildly, dismaying. Trump won the election, after all, largely because of his tough and bracingly realistic talk about Islam. Now, on his first trip abroad as president, he was going to Saudi Arabia. It was bad enough that this was a trip to a Muslim country. But Saudi Arabia isn’t just any Muslim country. It’s the mother of all Muslim countries. It’s the single most backward of them all. It’s a state sponsor of terrorism. It, and members of its royal family, have bankrolled mosques and madrassas and university departments of Middle Eastern Studies throughout the Western world – places that are nothing more than centers of Islamic propaganda. Most of the 9/11 hijackers, as the whole world knows, were Saudis. And the whole point of Trump’s visit to Riyadh was to celebrate a gigantic sale of U.S. arms to the Saudis on the premise that they represent a major bulwark against an even more dire threat, namely Iran. Nor was Trump just addressing the Saudis: also in attendance were the leaders of most of the other Muslim countries on the planet – in other words, a whole boatload of really nasty customers. It was hard not to conclude that Trump, like Obama, was going to try to brown-nose his way into a “new beginning between the United States and Muslims.”

The opening minutes of Trump’s speech certainly did nothing to dispel this expectation. It was gag-inducing to hear him praise the “magnificent kingdom” of Saudi Arabia, “the splendor of your country,” “the grandeur of this remarkable place,” and so on. It was absurd to hear him talk about working together with the ultra-extremist Saudis to eliminate “extremism.”

But then something happened. Even as he continued to serve up the usual glowing rhetoric about Islam being “one of the world’s great faiths,” and to refer to this and that as being “holy,” he made a couple of exceedingly elegant transitions. First, he began mixing the ethereal praise with realistic businessman-type talk about the value of international partnership. “We are not here to lecture, to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship,” he said. “Instead, we are here to offer partnership” between the West and the Muslim world – a partnership that would bring prosperity to future Muslim generations. But he underscored the fact that in order for such a partnership to work, something would have to change. And it would have to change a lot. The Islamic world, he insisted, had to turn into a place where young Muslims could grow up “innocent of hatred.” And then he spelled out the results of that hatred, presenting first a roll call of some of the “barbaric attacks” on America – 9/11, Boston, San Bernardino, Orlando – and then a list of other places (“Europe, Africa, South America, India, Russia, China, and Australia”) where that hatred has manifested itself.

However delicately he worked his way around to it, it was nothing less than an accusation.

No, he didn’t explicitly charge Muslim leaders with funding terrorism – but he told them, in no uncertain terms, that they needed to cut off funds to terrorists. Nor did he explicitly blame Islam for terror or explicitly call it evil (as much as some of us would have loved to hear him do so) – but he came tantalizingly close to doing so, speaking bluntly about the “vile creed,” the “wicked ideology,” the “craven ideology”, that underlies terror. He did use the word “evil.” And, yes, he spoke of “Islamic” (not “Islamist” or “radical Islamic”) terror. And he made it clear he wasn’t just talking about terrorism – he was talking about Islam itself. He condemned “the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.” He warned: “barbarism will deliver you no glory. Piety to evil will bring you no dignity.”  Yes, “piety to evil.” Even as he continued to make flattering references to Islam, they felt increasingly pro forma, and it became increasingly manifest that he was identifying that religion as the root not just of terror but of all that is primitive and barbaric about that portion of the world in which it is most commonly practiced. In one remarkable passage, he listed a number of wonders of the Arab region of which his listeners should be proud. What was remarkable was that they were all wonders that dated to pre-Islamic times. In short, he was reminding these people that they had a proud history, a proud identity, that predated their prophet and that could, if they wished, help form the foundation of a new, free, forward-looking culture.

Of course, even to express such thoughts, in some Islamic countries, is considered heretical, illegal; but Trump did it in such a masterly way that you could imagine some of these Muslim big shots sitting there trying to figure out whether they should be offended or not.

In fact, it was all quite masterfully done. Early on in his speech, Trump addressed his audience as friends and partners; within a few minutes, without pointing a finger, and without abandoning the collegial tone or the complimentary language, made it clear he was lecturing them. He was the boss, the capo di tutti capi, and he was laying down terms. This wasn’t Obama, who naively thought he could change the world with groveling apologies for the West, praise for Islam built on sheer fantasy, and yet another retelling of his own supposedly inspiring personal story – all the while oozing beta-male deference and docility. No; this was a man of power who – never once talking about himself – made expert use of that power, wielding an iron fist in a velvet glove. His message was unmistakable: either set aside this stupid religion (or at least rein it in, and now), join the modern world, and set your people free to dream, hope, create, grow, and prosper. Or else face the consequences. When, at the end, he summed up the assets of the Islamic world, he didn’t even mention Islam: he cited, among other things, its “spirit of enterprise” and ambitious young people. Where Obama had falsely attributed all kinds of past wonders to Islam, Trump imagined an implicitly Islam-free future in which the region could finally enjoy “glorious wonders of science, art, medicine, and commerce to inspire mankind.”

Yes, it would have been terrific to hear an American president spell out the truth about Islam in a less nuanced, less diplomatic fashion. And it was frankly bizarre to hear Trump, in his closing moments, singling Iran out as uniquely malevolent after having heaped praise on other equally nefarious regimes whose leaders were right there in the room with him. But we critics of Islam have our jobs and Trump has his. Given the occasion and the purpose, this was, even at its worst, an immense improvement over Obama’s Cairo oration, and, at its best, a convincing assertion of authority, a strongly pitched demand for radical transformation, and a perfectly calibrated use of the carrot-and-stick approach.

No, international Islam is almost certainly beyond meaningful reform. But history has shown that it can at least be contained and controlled in ways that give citizens of Muslim-majority countries a certain degree of freedom and that keep to a minimum the scale of violence in the West originating in those countries. (The rampant Islamization of the West, and the concomitant increase in home-grown Islamic terror, are separate questions.) And no, a single speech can’t accomplish much of anything. But Trump’s tough presentation in Riyadh, if followed up by equally tough interactions with our “friends” in that audience, may well get a few things, here and there, moving in welcome directions.

Full Measure: Sunday, March 5, 2017: War on ISIS

March 6, 2017

Full Measure: Sunday, March 5, 2017: War on ISIS via YouTube, March 6, 2017

 

What to Remember in Fighting Radical Islam

February 28, 2017

What to Remember in Fighting Radical Islam, Gatestone InstituteSaied Shoaaib, February 28, 2017

Religious reform in Islam did not find support, as it did in the West. What does Trump need to do? There needs to be a stop to any form of cooperation with the varieties of political Islam and certainly the terrorist organizations.

Add to that: Dismantle the ideology that produces Islamic terrorism by supporting the disintegration of the ideology of terrorism through Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic schools, mosques, books, radio stations and television stations. Dry up the external financing and private Saudi and Gulf Islamic institutions in the West. And thus give to the Muslims what is normal in the West. We need to promote other Islamic religious choices, completely out of the ideology of the Islamic terrorist prison, and to encourage being part of the building and development of human civilization rather than the cause of its destruction.

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In every Muslim-majority country, especially in the Middle East, the Islamic terrorist genie came out from under the ashes, built the Islamic state and threatened the West — both with terrorist operations and from inside, in a more surreptitious, seemingly peaceful manner, as the Muslim Brotherhood does.

It is important to understand that Islam is a religion that includes, in its structure, political power that governs and controls and spreads the force of arms.

US President Donald J. Trump has succeeded in naming a jihadi problem, political Islam, but it is hard to single out defective products from the factory without closing the factory — if one does not want them to appear again.

This does not mean that what Trump intends to do is not important; on the contrary, we need him after most Western politicians faced Islamic terrorism awkwardly, if they faced it at all. Sometimes they even cooperated with these terrorist organizations, invited their members to the White House; to Iftar dinners during Ramadan, and hugging what they falsely call “moderate Islam” — especially the Muslim Brotherhood, the incubator that most terrorist organizations come out of — instead of the true “moderate Muslims” who have been struggling to be heard above the crush of “influence,” infiltration and petro-dollars.

We can say that so far “Trumps’s recipe” for facing radical Islam had been tried before and failed. Dictatorships and military regimes in the Middle East, such as the presidents of Egypt Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak, and now el-Sisi, faced political and radical Islam. Russia did, and Saddam did in Iraq, Gaddafi in Libya, Bourguiba in Tunisia and others.

Perhaps the saddest failure is the Turkish model. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk built a dictatorship-state on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. He decisively confronted all forms of political Islam, and destroyed the military wing of the army that dreamed of restoring that Empire. Atatürk founded a dictatorship guarded by the army’s broad powers, but within a constitutional and legal framework, to deter Islamists who might want to change his modernist structure. It was also meant to stop any move to Islamic rule that might want to change the relatively open and pro-Western ideas of the Kemalist Republic.

Atatürk dominated the religious institutions, and made them work for him; they gave him a legitimate Islamic platform. He wanted Islamic culture to prevail, but under his control.

Unfortunately, this model also failed. Turkey’s current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, prosecuted the leaders of the army with trumped-up testimony; lowered the retirement age of the judiciary to force them out; fired educators, jailed journalists is building his Islamic state step by step.

1920-1Many Western politicians have cooperated with Islamists and Islamist organizations. (Image source: RT video screenshot)

In every Muslim-majority country, especially in the Middle East, the Islamic terrorist genie came out from under the ashes, built an Islamic state and threatened the West — both with terrorist operations and from inside, in a more surreptitious, seemingly peaceful manner, as the Muslim Brotherhood does.

Most of those who fought Islamic terrorism focused their efforts on the hunt for dangerous products from the factory of Islamic ideology, such as Anwar al-Awlaki or Osama bin Laden. This is important, but no one tried to shut down and destroy the factory itself.

Perhaps we remember that the West, in the fight against the ideology of communism, used weapons only rarely. The major part of the fight was against the ideology itself: encouraging and supporting its opponents, and disseminating ideas to counter those the Communists were exporting. There was a focus on the disadvantages of Communist ideology, such as oppression, tyranny and human rights violations. And suddenly the world woke up one day to find the Soviet Empire collapsed from inside.

We need from the West a positive energy to rebuild the civilization after the destructive energy that hollowed it out. And we need to dismantle the prevailing Islamic ideology that produces terrorism.

It is important to understand that Islam is a religion that includes, in its structure, political power that governs and controls and spreads the force of arms. First the Islamic prophet Muhammad published his call peacefully for nearly 13 years in Mecca, when the Quran verses called for tolerance, freedom of belief and other human values. But then Muhammad and some of his companions moved to the city of al-Madina and turned religion into a political authority aiming to expand and defend itself. It entered into a political and military struggle against its opponents within al-Madina and outside, especially with his tribe of Quraish.

At that time, Muhammad established what we might call political Islam. It was based on a new call: that Islam was no longer interested in the relationship between the individual and his God, as well as a good relationship with those around him, whether they agreed with his religious faith or not.

He turned the religion into a ruling political organization, undertaking to control — religiously, politically, socially and economically — Muslims and others. It builds on the culture of the tribe, spreads the force of arms and increases its numbers and the territories governed by them.

It became the religion of loyalty — meaning loyalty to the governor and vice-versa.

This structure continued after the death of Muhammad. Many ruled out of Quraish, the most prominent Turks, Al-Othmanin and the Ottoman Empire that expanded through force of arms to Persia; swept away the Christian Byzantine Empire; conquered by force North Africa, the Middle East, Greece, Spain and Eastern Europe

During this long history was established the Islamic culture that now prevails among the millions of Muslims in all corners of the world. It was founded on the sacred religious texts: the verses of the Quran and hadiths (the Prophet’s biography). Add to this a religious jurisprudence established during this imperial tide that swept the world. All of this, ordinary Muslims imprison inside them, unhappy. Some of them become potential soldiers for terrorist organizations and all varieties of political Islam.

This culture, prevalent in the West, is backed by money from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, especially Qatar, and often backed by money from the West itself — along with many politicians, often opportunistic.

What is the solution? From within. Islamic political power controls the Islamic world, whether military or in an everyday dictatorial form.

Religious reform in Islam did not find support, as it did in the West. What does Trump need to do? There needs to be a stop to any form of cooperation with the varieties of political Islam and certainly the terrorist organizations.

Add to that: Dismantle the ideology that produces Islamic terrorism by supporting the disintegration of the ideology of terrorism through Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic schools, mosques, books, radio stations and television stations. Dry up the external financing and private Saudi and Gulf Islamic institutions in the West. And thus give to the Muslims what is normal in the West. We need to promote other Islamic religious choices, completely out of the ideology of the Islamic terrorist prison, and to encourage being part of the building and development of human civilization rather than the cause of its destruction.