Posted tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

White House: Middle East Crisis Sparked By Trump’s Demand to End Support for Extremists Groups

June 13, 2017

White House: Middle East Crisis Sparked By Trump’s Demand to End Support for Extremists Groups, Washington Free Beacon, , June 13, 2017

(Please see also, Military crisis in Qatar may spark Gaza outbreak — DM)

US President Donald Trump (R) and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani take part in a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Riyadh on May 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A percolating crisis in the Middle East over a top U.S. military ally’s support for extremist terror groups was ignited by President Donald Trump’s demand that U.S. allies in the Arab world end their support for Islamic extremism, according to senior U.S. officials familiar with the situation.

Trump is seeking a more active role in mediating a growing dispute between leading Arab nations and Qatar, a U.S. counterterrorism ally that has long provided financial support to the very terror groups it has vowed to fight.

Trump’s recent trip to the Middle East—where he publicly and privately urged top Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia to crackdown on Islamic extremism—is said to have sparked a regional dispute with Qatar, thrusting the country’s issues with terrorism financing into the spotlight, sources told the Washington Free Beacon.

U.S. officials, both inside and outside the White House, have long avoided the thorny issue of Qatar’s support for terrorism in an effort to preserve military relations with the country, which hosts a major U.S. air base that is a central front in the war against terror.

Trump’s focus on Qatar is said to be part of a larger regional strategy that focuses on strangling financial support for terror organizations that long benefited from Arab governments turning a blind eye to the issue.

Trump’s push to crackdown on this type of behavior—not just in Qatar—is said to have fueled the diplomatic break with Qatar earlier this month, which saw several leading Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia ceasing all diplomatic ties with the energy-rich nation.

U.S. officials and administration insiders who spoke with the Free Beacon about the situation said that Trump is seeking to play an active role in helping to mediate the crisis and shutdown Qatar’s financing of terror groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.

“Look, last month President Trump visited Riyadh and gave a historic speech challenging America’s Arab friends and partners to do more to combat the violent radicalization that is growing within Islam,” one senior administration official told the Free Beacon.

“And the fact of the matter is that even though Qatar has been an important partner in some areas, they’ve also been a significant source of terrorist financing,” said the official, who would only speak on background when discussing the sensitive diplomatic issue. “What you’re seeing now is a regional response to the president’s challenge, and Qatar is going to have to respond as well.”

Trump’s stance against Islamic extremism and willingness to call out state backers of the movement has forced U.S. officials, particularly those in the Department of Defense, to address an issue that has been downplayed in pursuit of preserving diplomatic relations with Qatar and other Arab nations, sources said.

The hope is this will result in concrete change, which has been elusive in recent years as nations such as Qatar play both sides of the terror issue.

“American policy in the Gulf has been a bipartisan failure for over a decade. For different reasons, both parties found reasons to ignore terror financing coming out of the Gulf,” said one veteran foreign policy official who has been briefed by White House officials on Trump’s Gulf region strategy.

“Even when Obama officials did talk about terror financing, they used it as an excuse to pressure the Saudis and others to cut off legitimate anti-Assad forces,” the source said. “President Trump has been clear to our allies and adversaries that the incoherence has to end. He called on the Arab world to clean house, and what you’re seeing is the beginning of that.”

Trump discussed the issue in Monday remarks at a White House cabinet meeting, where he emphasized that terror-financing issues have became a central focus for the United States.

“One of the big things we did, and your seeing it now with Qatar and all of the things that are actually going on in a very positive fashion, we are stopping the funding of terrorism,” Trump said. “They’re going to stop the funding of terrorism. And it’s not an easy fight, but it’s a fight we’re going to win. You have to starve the beast, and we’re going to starve the beast.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has walked a more diplomatic line of the issue, in a move sources characterized as a “good-cop-bad-cop” ploy.

State Department officials would not comment on Trump’s latest remarks about Qatar, referring a reporter to Tillerson’s public remarks last week.

“Qatar has a history of supporting groups that have spanned the spectrum of political expression, from activism to violence,” Tillerson said. “The emir of Qatar has made progress in halting financial support and expelling terrorist elements from his country, but he must do more and he must do it more quickly.”

Qatar – the end of the road?

June 9, 2017

Qatar – the end of the road? Israel National News, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, June 9, 2017

(Please see also, Qatar, Trump and Double Games. — DM)

The Emirate of Qatar is a peninsula that juts out from Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf. The only overland route out of Qatar is by way of Saudi Arabia and if that route is blocked, the only way to reach Qatar or leave it is by air or sea. However, flights to and from Qatar pass over Saudi air space part of the time and ships from or to Qatar have to pass through Saudi territorial waters. This means that Saudi Arabia can in effect declare a total blockade on Qatar if it so desires. It has never done so before, but it began the process on June 5th.

In addition to a blockade, the Saudis, joined by the United Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, the Philippines and the Maldives, cut off diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar.  Egypt, Libya and the Emirates declared that they would ban Qatari plans and ships from their air space and territorial waters. In 2014, these countries took much milder steps in order to punish Qatar, cancelling them once Qatar agreed to accept the dictates of the Umma and signed the Riyadh agreement along with the rest of the Arab nations.

The reasons provided by the countries involved for the unprecedented severity of the current steps against Qatar included: “Qatar aids the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS and Jebhat al-Nusrah” and “The Emir of  Qatar has declared that Iran is a good nation” as well as “Qatar destabilizes our regime,” as well  as ” Qatar provides hiding places and shelter to Muslim Brotherhood leaders who fled there from Egypt,” and “Qatar is giving aid to  the Houthi rebels (read Shiites) in Yemen.”

Another and most subtle reason, whose source is a Kuwaiti commentator, appears on al Jazeera‘s site: “Qatar refused to meet Trump’s financial demands.” This odd remark relates to a rumor on Facebook and other social network sites claiming that before Trump agreed to come to the Riyadh Arab League Conference, he demanded the Gulf Emirates purchase US arms in the legendary sum of one and a half trillion dollars, to be divided among Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Emirates. The three agreed, but Qatar pulled out at the last minute, causing the Emirates to follow suit, and leaving the Saudis holding the bill demanded by Trump.   The falling through of this deal, the largest in history, may have been the reason for Trump’s noticeably grim face in Riyadh.

Claiming that Qatar causes the destabilization of regimes is a veiled hint referring to al Jazeera which broadcasts from Qatar. Every since it began broadcasting in 1996 from the capital city of Qatar, Doha, al Jazeera has infuriated Arab rulers because it constantly carries out a media Jihad against them also aimed at others such as  Israel, the US, the West and Western culture. The channel also promotes and supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots such as Hamas, al Qaeda and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel headed by Sheikh Raad Salah. Al Jazeera‘s media strategy is determined by Qatar’s Emir and is carried out down to the last detail by its very professional leading broadcaster and editorial policy setter, Jamal Rian, a Palestinian born in Tul Karem in 1953, who moved to Jordan where he was active in the Muslim Brotherhood until expelled by King Hussein.

Every so often other Arab regimes, chief among them Egypt under Mubarak, attempted to close down al Jazeera‘s offices in their countries after overly harsh criticism was aimed at the ruling government, only to reopen them when al Jazeera simply stepped up its attacks

The general feeling is that any government official – or anyone at all – who opposes a ruling regime (and there is no shortage of these people in any Arab country) leaks embarrassing information to  al Jazeera all the time, so that the channel is always poised to expose the information when the time is ripe and especially if the now-cornered victim has been unfriendly to it and to Islamists. The thought of this happening is enough to paralyze every Arab leader who would like to clamp down on al Jazeera in his country.

Every time a conflict erupts between Israel and Hamas, al Jazeera comes out in favor of the terrorist organization because of Qatar’s support of it. Hamas leader Haled Mashaal, makes his home in Qatar and the Qatari Emir is the only Arab leader so far to visit Hamas-ruled Gaza. The Emir has give billions to Hamas, enabling the organization to develop its  terror infrastructure.

Qatar has budgeted half a billion dollars to “buy” organizations such as UNESCO (whose next head will, unsurprisingly, be from Qatar), as well as media, academic and government figures to advance the goal of removing Jerusalem from Israeli hands. Al Jazeera runs a well publicized and organized campaign in order to ensure this outcome. This is the face of media jihad.

Saudi Arabia has never allowed al Jazeera‘s reporters to work from within the country, but does allow them to cover special events once in a while, mainly the Hajj. The Saudis know exactly what the Emir had up his sleeve when he founded a media network that would rule over Arab monarchs by means of recording their slip-ups, taking advantage of the Arab obsession with avoiding public humiliation by broadcasting from a satellite that can reach every house in the Arab world with no way of blocking it.

The last reports are that the Saudis blocked access to the al Jazeera internet site from their territory.  It is harder to block al Jazeera‘s satellite channel reception legally and it can still be accessed throughout the monarchy. Arab media attribute the blockage to declarations supportive of Hamas and Hezbollah made by the Emir of Qatar after Trump’s speech in Riyadh in which the US president included Hamas and Hezbollah in his list of terror organization, equating them with al Qaeda and ISIS.

Sorry, but I do not buy that story. Declarations about third parties (Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah) are ordinarily not the reason a public dispute erupts between Iranian monarchs. In my opinion, the reason for blocking the al Jazeera site in Saudi Arabia is a photograph posted on the al Jazeera site while Trump was in Riyadh.

This photo shows King Suleiman of Saudi Arabia awarding the Gold Decoration, the highest honor of the Saudi monarchy, to Donald Trump, but that is not the reason it was posted on al Jazeera. The reason has to do with the woman appearing in it and standing between Suleiman and Trump. I do not know what her name is, but she accompanied Trump during his entire stay in Riyadh standing just behind him and carrying a briefcase. Perhaps she is an interpreter. She is carrying a briefcase filled with important documents that have to be with Trump all the time in one picture as he, of course, would not be seen carrying a briefcase and standing be[hind her].

What is interesting about this woman is that she spent the entire time in the royal palace with her hair uncovered, like Melania Trump, the First Lady, did, even though women with uncovered hair are not to be seen in Saudi Arabia. In the palace, women are also not allowed to b e seen in the company of men. Al Jazeera posted this photo intentionally, in order to embarrass the king who granted Trump an award even though he was accompanied by women who, like those in the picture, who do not cover their hair. That photo of the king was the last straw and the Saudis blocked al Jazeera.

Qatar is now under great pressure. The nations that broke off relations with Qatar have stopped recognizing the Qatari Rial as a viable currency and have confiscated all the Qatari Rials in their banks. As a result, Qatar cannot purchase goods with its own currency and must use its foreign currency reserves. The supermarket shelves in Qatar have been emptied by residents hoarding food for fear that the blockade will not allow food to be imported. Long lines of cars can be seen trying to leave for Saudi Arabia to escape being shut up in the besieged, wayward country.

Qatar is trying to get the US to help improve the situation. The largest American air force base in the Gulf is located in  Qatar and it is from there that the attacks on ISIS are generated. Qatar also hosts the US Navy Fifth Fleet as well as the Central Command and Control of US forces in that part of the world. Qatari media stress the US concern about the siege that the Saudis have put on Qatar.

As part of its efforts to enlist US aid, Qatar has begun a counterattack: Qatar media have publicized that the U.A.E. ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba , said on US election eve: “What star could make Donald Trump the president?” This is intended to cause a rift between the US and the Gulf Emirates, but will certainly not improve Qatar’s own relations with the Emirates.

Meanwhile, the Saudis and the Emirates have ejected Qatar from the coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, and there are rumors that they will also remove Qatar from the Council for Cooperation in the Gulf. The Saudis could suspend Qatar’s membership in the Arab League and other organizations if this dispute continues, raising the pressure on the Emir’s al-Thani clan.

The next few days will decide Qatar’s future. There  is a distinct possibility that the foreign ministers of Qatar and the Arab nations taking part in the boycott against it will meet in some neutral spot, perhaps Kuwait, Qatar will give in and new rules will be set by Arab leaders, that is by King Suleiman, to keep Qatar in line. They would include: toning down al Jazeera and perhaps even switching its managerial staff, ending the support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations, ending cooperation with Iran and above all, listening to what the Saudi “Big Brother” says about issues, especially those having to do with financial dealings with the US. Once the conditions for Qatari surrender are agreed upon, we can expect the ministers to meet the press, publicize a declaration on the end of the intra-family dispute, shake hands before the cameras and smile – until the next crisis.

There is, however, another scenario: Qatar does not give in, the Saudis and its allies invade, their armies eject the Emir and Mufti of Qatar, and also Jamal Rian, the guiding brain behind Al Jazeera’s  policies. They would then appoint a new Emir from the ruling family, one who knows how to behave, one who listens to the Saudis.  No one except for Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas would oppose this solution, and the soft-spoken condemnations will not succeed in hiding the world’s joy and sighs of relief if the Saudis actually carry out that plan.

UN to jailed Islamic dissidents: “You will love it”

May 12, 2017

UN to jailed Islamic dissidents: “You will love it”  Israel National News, Giulio Meotti, May 12, 2017

Now, the favorite to succeed Irina Bokova is a Qatari politician and a Saudi will be the spokesman for the UN agency conference, while an Iranian will be the head of its executive board. They call it the “Islamic Troika”. That is the purpose of these exclusive nights at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh whose slogan is: “You will love it!”. 

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Why miss a long weekend at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh, where “spacious marble bathrooms boast deep soaking bathtubs” and are waiting for you?

This is what the 2,100 delegates of 400 Western non-governmental organizations thought when attending last weekend’s forum on “Youth and their Social Impact” sponsored by the United Nations. Participants of the gentle sex were asked to wear the abaya, the long caftan-like robe that veils Saudi women. Men were asked not to give their left hand, impolite under Islam. 

The event was organized by a foundation of the Saudi ruling family and was attended by, among others, Unesco’s Secretary General Irina Bokova, the founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, the French intellectual Jacques Attali, and Bloomberg Media Executive, Justin Smith.

Obviously, to save face, all these humanitarian organizations had to ignore the fact that a few miles from their forum Abdullah al Attawi and Mohammed al Oteibi had been persecuted and found “guilty” of having founded a human rights organization.

The two stars of Western journalism present in Riyadh, the Wikipedia chief and Bloomberg executive, had to avoid thinking that a hero of freedom of speech and open sources of information regarding which Wikipedia pretends to be a pioner, languishes in a Saudi prison at this moment. It is Raif Badawi, a liberal blogger lashed by the Saudi rulers.

They had to silence the case of Waleed Abu al Khair, who was condemned to fifteen years in prison for comments he made on human rights. Or the journalist Alaa Brinji, sentenced to five years in prison for criticizing religious authorities and sustaining women’s rights. A year ago, the Saudis arrested all the leadership of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association for supporting pro-democracy reforms.

They did not have to talk about them at this forum.

One of the most courageous NGOs, UN Watch, condemned the event: “Regrettably, Unesco, the U.N. agency for education, science, and culture, mentioned nowhere at its 7th International Forum of NGO, or on the conference website, that Saudi Arabia prohibits independent NGOs and arrests, jails and even sometimes flogs human rights activists”.

The UN forum was sponsored by the wealthy MiSK foundation, a Saudi charity led by Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi defense minister who led the Yemen bombing that killed 10,000 civilians and imposed a naval blockade on medical supplies, resulting in twenty million Yemenites who now need humanitarian assistance and seven million suffering from hunger.

But the Riyadh forum tells more. It tells us about the level of penetration of Islamic regimes in the UN human rights councils and commissions. In fact, in six months, Unesco has approved two resolutions that have cancelled the Jewish roots of Jerusalem, while the Saudis have also been able to get re-elected at the UN Commission on Women’s Rights.

Two years ago, during the same hours that medieval Saudi justice flogged Raif Badawi, a delegation from the United Nations landed at Gedda to promote an international conference on religious freedom. No, it’s not a joke. Joachim Rücker, the president of the UN Human Rights Council, was photographed smiling at the side of the guardians of the Wahhabite regime. The Obama administration also sent two envoys to the Gedda conference: the Ambassador for Religious Freedom, David Saperstein, and Arsalan Suleman, the envoy at the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.

There was also Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Envoy for Religious Freedom, a well-known scholar of Immanuel Kant, who must have seen applications of his philosophical reason in the whip that slashed the blogger.

Now, the favorite to succeed Irina Bokova is a Qatari politician and a Saudi will be the spokesman for the UN agency conference, while an Iranian will be the head of its executive board. They call it the “Islamic Troika”. That is the purpose of these exclusive nights at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh whose slogan is: “You will love it!”.

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Lavish’ Gift to Indonesia: Radical Islam

April 29, 2017

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Lavish’ Gift to Indonesia: Radical Islam, Gatestone InstituteMohshin Habib, April 29, 2014

(A few days after I retired from the practice of law in 1955, my wife and I flew to Bali and stayed there for a couple of weeks. According to the article, that’s where Saudi King Salman spent six days “vacationing.” His total stay in Indonesia was nine days.

According to the 2010 Census, “83.5% of Bali’s population adhered to Balinese Hinduism,[3] followed by 13.4% Muslim, Christianity at 2.5%, and Buddhism 0.5%.[7]“. Most of the Muslims were on the southern coast and I can recall seeing none elsewhere. The Balinese Hindus we met were among the kindest and most welcoming people I have ever met. I wonder what’s happening there now. Please see also, Misogyny Meet Irony: Saudi Arabia Elected To United Nation’s Women’s Rights Commission.– DM)

 

Despite its pluralistic constitution, which says, “The state guarantees each and every citizen the freedom of religion and of worship in accordance with his religion and belief,” Indonesia — which declared independence in 1945 — has grown increasingly intolerant towards Christians, Hindus and Shiite Muslims.

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Prior to Saudi Arabia’s attempts to spread Salafism across the Muslim world, Indonesia did not have terrorist organizations such as Hamas Indonesia, Laskar Jihad, Hizbut Tahrir, Islamic Defenders Front and Jemmah Islamiyah, to name just a few. Today, it is rife with these groups.

A mere three weeks after the Saudi king wrapped up his trip, at least 15,000 hard-line Islamist protesters took to the streets of Jakarta after Friday prayers, calling for the imprisonment of the capital city’s Christian governor, who is on trial for “blaspheming the Quran.”

In a separate crisis, crowds were demanding that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known familiarly as Ashok) be jailed for telling a group of fishermen that, as they are fed lies about how the Quran forbids Muslims from being governed by a kafir (infidel), he could understand why some of them might not have voted for him. If convicted, Ashok stands to serve up to five years in prison.

Accompanied by a 1,500-strong entourage, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz arrived in Indonesia on March 1 for a nine-day gala tour. He was welcomed warmly not only as the monarch of one of the world’s richest countries, but as the custodian of Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina.

While appearing to be taking a holiday rather than embarking on an official state visit — the 81-year-old sovereign spent six days at a resort in Bali — the king had some serious business to attend to. In what was advertised as an effort to promote “social interaction” between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia — with His Majesty announcing a billion-dollar aid package, unlimited flights between the two countries and the allotment of 50,000 extra spots per year for Indonesian pilgrims to make the hajj to Mecca and Medina – it seems as if the real purpose of the trip was to promote and enhance Salafism, an extremist Sunni strain, in the world’s largest Muslim country, frequently hailed in the West as an example of a moderate Islamic society.

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia (foreground, left) meets with King Salman of Saudi Arabia (foreground, right), at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Indonesia. (Image source: Indonesian Presidential Palace)

Jakarta-based journalist Krithika Varagur, writing in The Atlantic on the second day of the king’s visit, describes Saudi efforts in Indonesia:

“Since 1980, Saudi Arabia has devoted millions of dollars to exporting its strict brand of Islam, Salafism, to historically tolerant and diverse Indonesia. It has built more than 150 mosques (albeit in a country that has about 800,000), a huge free university in Jakarta, and several Arabic language institutes; supplied more than 100 boarding schools with books and teachers (albeit in a country estimated to have between 13,000 and 30,000 boarding schools); brought in preachers and teachers; and disbursed thousands of scholarships for graduate study in Saudi Arabia.”

This Saudi influence has taken a serious toll on Indonesia, 90% of whose 250 million people are Sunnis. Despite its pluralistic constitution, which says, “The state guarantees each and every citizen the freedom of religion and of worship in accordance with his religion and belief,” Indonesia — which declared independence in 1945 — has grown increasingly intolerant towards Christians, Hindus and Shiite Muslims.

Prior to Saudi Arabia’s attempts to spread Salafism across the Muslim world, Indonesia did not have terrorist organizations such as Hamas Indonesia, Laskar Jihad, Hizbut Tahrir, Islamic Defenders Front and Jemmah Islamiyah, to name just a few.

Today, it is rife with these groups, which adhere strictly to Islamic sharia law, Saudi Arabia’s binding legal system, and which promote it in educational institutions. Like al-Qaeda and ISIS, they deny women equal rights, believe in death by stoning for adulterers and hand amputation for thieves, and in executing homosexuals and “apostate” Muslims.

The most recent example of the way in which this extremism has swept Indonesia took place a mere three weeks after the Saudi king wrapped up his trip. On March 31, at least 15,000 hard-line Islamist protesters took to the streets of Jakarta after Friday prayers, calling for the imprisonment of the capital city’s Christian governor, who is on trial for “blaspheming the Quran.”

This paled in comparison to the crowds — numbering about 200,000 at each violent rally — which flooded the city last November, December and February. The crowds were demanding that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known familiarly as Ashok) be jailed for telling a group of fishermen that, as they are fed lies about how the Quran forbids Muslims from being governed by a kafir, an infidel, he could understand why some of them might not have voted for him. If convicted, Ashok stands to serve up to five years in prison.

Sadly, such a jail term is nothing, when one considers the Islamist prison that the country as a whole has become — courtesy of King Salman and his lavish “gifts.”

More Missiles Ready to Hit Saudi Capital: Yemen’s Army Spokesman

March 20, 2017

More Missiles Ready to Hit Saudi Capital: Yemen’s Army Spokesman, Tasnim New Agency, March 20, 2017

(There were reports at Fars News Agency and other Iranian or Iranian -linked media of a successful missile attack on Riyadh on February 5th. However, according to the March 20th Tasnim article, “The Yemeni official said it was the first such attack by the Yemeni forces on the Saudi capital.” A search at the Saudi media outlet Al-Arabiya produced nothing about either the February 5th or the more recent attack. Are such reports reliable?– DM)

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Yemen’s Army Spokesman Sharaf Luqman confirmed the firing of a Scud-type ballistic missile at a Saudi air base in Riyadh, saying that more missiles are ready to confront the invading regime.

“We have managed to boost our missile production capabilities and our missiles can now reach the Saudi capital,” Luqman told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen news network on Sunday.

His remarks came after Yemeni forces on Saturday night fired a long-range ballistic missile at King Salman Air Base in the Saudi capital Riyadh, inflicting major material losses on the kingdom. The Scud-type Borkan-2 (Volcano-2) ballistic missile hit its target.

The Yemeni official said it was the first such attack by the Yemeni forces on the Saudi capital.

Luqman further said that more missiles are ready to be launched against the positions of the Saudi regime, stressing that the new missiles will change the equation of the kingdom’s war on the impoverished Arab country.

The missile attacks are in response to the aggression launched by Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies in March 2015.

The Saudi-led coalition has been launching deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement for two years in an attempt to restore power to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

Some 11,000 Yemenis, including thousands of women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.

A new foundation for Saudi-US relations

March 18, 2017

A new foundation for Saudi-US relations, Al ArabiyaDr. Theodore Karasik, March 18, 2017

(A Saudi perspective on Trump and his policies. Saudi Arabia is a fierce opponent of Iran. To the extent that our interests align, we should cooperate. — DM)

Saudi Arabia’s support for Trump Administration’s Executive Orders is significant. Mohammed bin Salman supports Trump’s extreme vetting program calling it a “vital and urgent precaution” that Saudi Arabia does not see as discriminatory. The Deputy Crown Prince also vouched for the president himself, remarking that Trump “expressed his deep respect for the religion of Islam.” He called Trump “a true friend of Muslims” whose commitment to achieving the Muslim world’s interests is “unprecedented.” He also described negative portrayals of Trump’s posture toward Muslims as insulting.

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Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to meet with US President Donald Trump and his top advisors establishes a new foundation for US-Saudi relations. The visit occurred in extraordinary settings with participants from the White House to the Pentagon. The US State Department was, however, nowhere to be seen.

The visit to Washington is occurring during a full court press for Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and the drivers to bring that vision, mainly next year’s Aramco IPO and the growth of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), to fruition in a logical and timely manner. While King Salman is on a momentous trip to Asia focusing on energy, investment, counter-terrorism, and religion, and with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef coordinating with allies against a number of internal and external extremist and state threats, the Saudi defense minister is cementing with the Trump administration a robust binary relationship to not only counter Iran and extremism but to see both Trump’s America First and MBS’s Vision 2030 succeed.

The US and Saudi Arabia agreed that the new foundation with Riyadh could create up to one million American jobs, as well as millions more indirect American jobs, and an unspecified number of jobs in the Kingdom. The Trump administration and the Saudis voiced support for creating joint working groups on energy, industry, infrastructure, and technology, with the goal of generating $200 billion in new investments by the end of Trump’s term. 2020, of course, is the end date for the National Transformation Program (NTP) so Riyadh’s investments, in theory, will boost popularity for Trump’s economic plans.

To be sure, this new US-Saudi basis is notable. The Deputy Crown Prince said that the White House meetings were a “historical turning point in relations between both countries … which had passed through a period of divergence of views on many issues.” MBS of course was referring to the wreckage of the Obama Administration’s policies towards the Middle East. Now, the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince argues, that the US and Saudi Arabia “restored issues to their right path” and signal a “change in relations” between Riyadh and Washington D.C. when it comes to “political, military, security and economic issues.”

Clearly, the Trump Administration and Saudi Arabia see that they need each other now more than ever.

Dr. Theodore Karasik

To this point, the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, when asked about Saudi sending troops to Syria, replied: “We are ready to do anything that will eradicate terrorism without limits.”
Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to the Pentagon for a three-hour meeting between Saudi officials and a mix of Pentagon and Strategic Initiative Group (SIG) leadership was remarkable on a number of fronts. Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ comment to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir regarding his “survivability” from an Iranian assassination plot set the tone for the Pentagon meeting.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told his opposites across the table, including Senior Presidential Advisor Stephen Bannon and Jared Kuchner, thatthe Kingdom faces hostile activities as the Iranian regime supports extremists and terrorists in the region and around the world, and challenges posed by terrorist organizations. Mohammed bin Salman asserted “That’s why we need to work and cooperate with our allies. On top of the list comes the United States, the leader of the world. Today we are very optimistic under the leadership of President Trump and we believe these challenges will be easy to tackle under the leadership of the president.” The Saudi Deputy Crown Prince made very clear to his audience the view from Riyadh: Iran and its proxies, combined with terrorism, threatens the very core of the Kingdom.

The presence of both Bannon and Kushner at the Pentagon meeting with Mohammed bin Salman deserves special attention. Both senior presidential advisors represent the Strategic Initiatives Group (SIG) within the White House. The SIG is generating Executive Orders (EOs) for President Trump to sign as well as working on grand strategic vision for “American First” but also how the United States will partner with Arab allies to push back Iran and destroy ISIS. We do not know if other issues came up in the meeting such as Syria and Yemen safe zones or actual discussion on Saudi contributions to any future US-led force in the Levant. Nevertheless, for Bannon and Kushner to listen to MBS directly helps them to better understand where Saudi Arabia fits into Trump Administration’s plans and goals not only in the Middle East but also in terms of American economic nationalism and revival.

To be sure, Saudi Arabia’s support for Trump Administration’s Executive Orders is significant. Mohammed bin Salman supports Trump’s extreme vetting program calling it a “vital and urgent precaution” that Saudi Arabia does not see as discriminatory. The Deputy Crown Prince also vouched for the president himself, remarking that Trump “expressed his deep respect for the religion of Islam.” He called Trump “a true friend of Muslims” whose commitment to achieving the Muslim world’s interests is “unprecedented.” He also described negative portrayals of Trump’s posture toward Muslims as insulting.

Consequently, there is no doubt that Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) is likely to be dismantled as a hold-over from the Obama Administration and being too litigious. Pending US congressional action on the Muslim Brotherhood and IRGC terrorist designations may now accelerate.

Clearly, the Trump Administration and Saudi Arabia see that they need each other now more than ever. From Riyadh’s perspective, the Trump administration is the perfect strategic business partner. The two meetings illustrate that both sides succeeded in a “meeting of the minds” on strategic issues affecting both countries. There is much more binary cooperation in development between Washington and Riyadh on the way.

More citizens of Saudi Arabia have joined the Islamic State than from any other country

March 11, 2017

More citizens of Saudi Arabia have joined the Islamic State than from any other country, Jihad Watch

(Saudi Arabia is a hell-hole for human rights and its ideology is congruent with that of the Islamic State. However, we have allied with other bad regimes with which we have shared common interests. Russia during WWII comes to mind. Our common interest with Saudia Arabia, beyond defeating the Islamic State, lies in diminishing Iran as a world power and, perhaps, finding common ground with other Arab nations via a vis Israel. — DM)

Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State share a history in the Wahhabi movement. “The Islamic State’s religious genealogy comes from ‘Jihadi Salafism’, a theological current that is very old in Islam that is quite literalist.” Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab is the founder of Wahhabism, rooted in the Salafist tradition. He eventually connected with “the leader of the al-Saud family in 1744. That alliance had very strong and lasting effects,”: the Saudi state was and is based on Wahhabism.

President Trump’s anti-Iran coalition would bring together Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Israel, Egypt, and Jordan.

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The Sunni Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has boasted that key U.S. Middle East ally Saudi Arabia is the top provider of terrorists for the jihadist group in Iraq, reports Fox News, citing Iraqi military sources.

Reports of a Saudi Arabia/Islamic State alliance have been ongoing, despite the Saudi “friendship” with the West:

i) Slaves taken by the Islamic State are sold in auctions in Saudi Arabia;

ii) Saudi Arabia was caught funding Taliban forces in Afghanistan, and the Taliban’s former financial minister regularly traveled to Saudi Arabia to raise millions of dollars;

iii) A leaked intelligence report from Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence agency and Federal Intelligence Service (BND) revealed that Saudi Arabia (along with Kuwait and Qatar) was promoting and funding the growth of the jihadi Salafi ideology in Germany, where it has already attracted 10,000 followers and continues to expand.

Saudi Arabia and the Islamic State share a history in the Wahhabi movement. “The Islamic State’s religious genealogy comes from ‘Jihadi Salafism’, a theological current that is very old in Islam that is quite literalist.” Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab is the founder of Wahhabism, rooted in the Salafist tradition. He eventually connected with “the leader of the al-Saud family in 1744. That alliance had very strong and lasting effects,”: the Saudi state was and is based on Wahhabism.

Al-Wahhab “would appoint teachers to educate people in his version of the faith” once a town was conquered by his jihadis. “He wrote a number of short books that were the basis for the teaching, books that are used by ISIS today.”

Saudi Arabia has denied financing the Islamic State, and the Islamic State is not happy with the Saudis, either: “ISIS claims that the Saudi state has deviated from the true beliefs of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, and that they are the true representatives of the Salafi or Wahhabi message.” Nonetheless:

A high-ranking Iraqi intelligence officer said, “The Saudi presence in ISIS is very large. What we have left are mainly Iraqis and Saudis.”

Report: More Citizens of Saudi Arabia Have Joined Islamic State Than Any Other Country”, by Edwin Mora,  Breitbart, March 10, 2017:

The Sunni Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) has boasted that key U.S. Middle East ally Saudi Arabia is the top provider of terrorists for the jihadist group in Iraq, reports Fox News, citing Iraqi military sources.

Sunni Saudi Arabia shares an estimated 500-mile-long border with war-ravaged Iraq.

Nevertheless, Fox News reports that the Saudi jihadists crossed into Iraq over the border the country shares with both Turkey and Syria.

The news outlet learned from unnamed Iraqi intelligence sources that jihadist from the Saudi kingdom comprise nearly one-third (up to 30 percent) of all ISIS terrorists in Iraq, adding that “Saudis comprise the largest single contingent of ISIS fighters, with Russian Chechens making up the second-largest contingent.”

Speaking to the news outlet on condition of anonymity, a high-ranking Iraqi intelligence officer said, “The Saudi presence in ISIS is very large. What we have left are mainly Iraqis and Saudis.”

“The Saudis make up a large number of suicide bombers, as they already have the ground work of radicalization installed in their minds from radical sheikhs in Saudi [Arabia]. And we’ve caught important ISIS commanders,” he added.

Fox News points out that it has seen various ISIS-linked photographs and documents showing identification and credit cards of Saudi terrorists.

The report comes nearly a month after an article by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed that President Donald Trump’s administration is considering forming a military alliance with major Middle East allies, including the Sunni Saudi kingdom, to combat Shiite Iran.

President Trump’s anti-Iran coalition would bring together Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Israel, Egypt, and Jordan.

The Sharia law-compliant kingdom Saudi Arabia is regarded as a hotbed and top global exporter of radical Islamic thought, namely the Sunni extremist ideology of Wahhabism, adhered to by ISIS and various other jihadists groups.

Saudi Arabia imposes extremely strict Islamic laws on its citizens.

“Wahhabism was born in Saudi Arabia. Saudi is leading those extremist organizations like ISIS,” an anonymous Iraqi official told Fox News. “They have high-ranking officials and fighters among their ranks. Saudi is nothing without U.S. protection; it is only a bite for Iran to eat.”

Sunni Saudi Arabia considers Shiite Iran its regional rival. Iran exerts tremendous influence over the Shiite-led government of Iraq where militias backed by the Islamic Republic are fighting ISIS.

Saudi Arabia is part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria…..

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

February 14, 2017

To understand the activity within any intelligence action any observer must do two things: #1 You must stay elevated. If you try to get into the weeds you will be lost because your insight will be …

Source: Trump Administration Intel – White Hats Confer With Reform Agents Within Political Islam… | The Last Refuge

 

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

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

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

pompeo-and-crown-prince

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

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

sisi and abdullah iitrump-el-sisi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

King Abdulaziz was intent on honoring his friend.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

trump-phone-banner

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

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

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

Additionally:

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

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

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

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

dawn-of-the-muslim-brotherhood

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

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

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

sisi-and-trump

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

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

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

John McCain and John Kerry in Cairo on Sunday - Egypt Stock Exchange

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

Morsi Kerry

Senator John McCain and Ambassador Christopher Stephens, Benghazi Libya 2012

Western Media / Libyan Propaganda (Disturbing Video Refutes State Dept)

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

Western Media / Libyan Propaganda (Disturbing Video Refutes State Dept)

Senator John McCain travels to Syria in 2013

John McCain ISIS

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

Isis soldiers in Syria

Trump’s game in Saudi Arabia

February 13, 2017

Trump’s game in Saudi Arabia, American ThinkerJames Lewis, February 13, 2017

Mike Pompeo, the new CIA head, just flew to Riyadh to give a medal to the reigning son of the king (who is said to suffer from dementia).  While some conservatives regard this as a travesty (e.g., a “Not the Onion” commentary from Zero Hedge), I think this is meant to be an open signal to support the House of Saud, whose help is needed against the Iranians anyway and who support President El-Sisi against Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

saudiaward

It’s not clear what the Saudis did in exchange, but they have been under the gun, fearing that Western media would expose their role in support of violent jihad.  So this looks as though the Saudis have done a lot to settle those debts.  It’s not the kind of public gesture the CIA does a lot.

The Saudis can shut down ISIS/AQ/Al Nusra, or whatever the worst gang of maniacs calls itself today.  They also have no problem with selected assassinations.  SecDef Mattis has a long record of talking about morality and immorality in warfare, and he does not like sadistic monsters.  I think the moral dimension of defensive war has been missing during the Obama years.

These moves may signal both domestic and foreign agreements to calm things down.  The Saudis know that their control of OPEC is waning, since Trump is aggressively opening up domestic traditional and shale energy production (again, something Obama never would do).  But the Saudis need to make a “soft landing,” which is not going to be easy.  So they have been talking peace with Israel, on the assumption that Israel can communicate with the U.S. – at least under Trump.

These are all calming moves in a very agitated international situation. I believe that Trump is going to move aggressively against Muslim Brotherhood infiltration, probably with Saudi backing.  The Saudis are ideologically aligned with ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the M.B.s, but tactically, they could abandon them.  Violent jihad arose with OPEC, and now that OPEC is declining, it would be smart to convince the Saudis that the jig is up.

We can see if there is a marked decrease in jihadist violence.  If not, then the hypothesis is wrong.

The possibility of public exposure of their role in 9/11 is still very real and can be used to ensure their good behavior.

This is Kremlinology, but it’s falsifiable.  There are many dangerous enemies in the world, including George Soros domestically, and the intelligence agencies can torpedo a lot of stuff.  It is smart for Trump to calm things down and focus on the hard parts first.

 

Are Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait Funding German Salafism?

December 21, 2016

Are Saudi Arabia Qatar and Kuwait Funding German Salafism? Gatestone InstituteGeorge Igler, December 21, 2016

(Please see also, Saudi Arabia Funding Extremist Islamist Groups in Germany? — DM)

The Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad al-Thani Charitable Association and the Saudi Muslim World League are coordinating a “long-running strategy to exert influence” by Gulf States in Germany, according to a report authored by Germany’s security agencies.

“This is about war, about children being indoctrinated, they are only in primary school and already fantasize about how when they grow up, they want to join the jihad, kill infidels.” — Wolfgang Trusheim, Frankfurt State Security office.

“For quite some time we’ve had indications and evidence that German Salafists are getting assistance, which is approved by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, in the form of money, the sending of imams and the building of Koran schools and mosques.” — Rolf Mützenich, German MP and Middle East expert.

Declining to assimilate in the West continues with the apparent, religiously mandated, preference to have the host countries become Islamic.

Salafism — from salaf, “ancestors” or “predecessors” in Arabic — urges the emulation of the first three generations of the Islamic prophet Mohammad’s companions, and Mohammad himself. It is often deemed the most fundamentalist interpretation of Islam.

Security agencies in Germany claim that 9,200 such Islamic extremists currently call the country home. Another intelligence briefing cited by Süddeutsche Zeitung, warns that “the ideology already has 10,000 followers” and growing, in the country.

“Almost all of the German nationals who have travelled to Syria to fight for Islamic State became radicalized by Salafis, who target low-income Muslim youths in German cities,” wrote the Los Angeles Times, adding that it is proving increasingly challenging for German intelligence officials, “to differentiate between those who identify intellectually with Salafism and those who espouse using violence to realize a radical version of Islam.”

1360-2

Both Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) and Federal Intelligence Agency (BND) “have accused Saudi Arabia and Kuwait of funding religious groups and conversion groups, as well as financing the building of mosques and backing hardline imams,” according to the Daily Express.

Following raids of their offices throughout Germany the activist group Die Wahre Religion (“The True Religion”) has already been banned in the country.

According to the German interior minister, Thomas de Mazière, “translations of the Quran are being distributed along with messages of hatred and unconstitutional ideologies … Teenagers are being radicalised with conspiracy theories.”

A radicalized 12-year old Muslim boy was recently arrested in the country; he was accused of planting bombs aimed at targeting shoppers in Germany’s famous Christmas markets.

Police raided 190 locations nationwide, affiliated with Die Wahre Religion; authorities described the group as a “collecting pool” for jihadists, which had already sent at least 140 fighters to foreign battlefields.

850 people are thought to have journeyed, “from Germany to Syria and Iraq to join extremist groups like the Islamic State as fighters,” according to the Associated Press.

In a warehouse near the western city of Cologne, authorities seized about 21,000 German-language copies of the Quran. The ban came a week after security authorities arrested five men who allegedly aided the Islamic State group in Germany by recruiting members and providing financial and logistical help.

The German interior minister stressed that the ban does not restrict the freedom of religion in Germany or the peaceful practice of Islam in any way. However, he said the group had glorified terrorism and the fight against the German constitution in videos and meetings.

Terrorism is naturally an abiding concern in Germany, yet recent comments by Wolfgang Trusheim, of Frankfurt’s State Security office, point to where much of the Salafist influence is being focused, namely, the minds of the young:

This is about war, about children being indoctrinated, they are only in primary school and already fantasize about how when they grow up, they want to join the jihad, kill infidels. They refuse to play football with infidels, they say: “I’m not allowed to play football with you, but when I’m grown up, I will kill you, because you are an infidel.”

As cited by a recent TV report by Hessischer Rundfunk:

There were instances of radical Salafist parents, who are willing to teach their children the hatred of believers of a different creed by any means. A father who puts his children in front of the TV, they are forced to watch the most cruel decapitation videos, and will be questioned, and just as they have learned, they reply that the human who has just been burnt alive or decapitated, deserves it because he is an infidel.

Salafists, according to the New York Times, “are known for aggressive proselytizing and their sympathies for the Islamic State.” Much of the recent crackdown by German government agencies is aimed at preventing such extremists from targeting the country’s swelling “refugee” population.

Germany is already experience a boom in births as a product of its “unmanageable” population influx.

“Something must be done immediately. We cannot wait any longer,” says Michael Kiefer, an Islamic Studies specialist at the government-sponsored Institute for Islamic Theology at the University of Osnabrück, about the growth of Salafism in Germany.

Such warnings, quoted in an analysis by Gatestone Institute as far back as 2014, evidently fell on deaf ears. The following year, Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, permitted over 1.5 million Muslim migrants to swell her nation’s Islamic population still further.

According to Dr. Bernd Baumann, a representative of the populist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) from Hamburg, with Germany representing less than 1% of the world’s population, in the year 2016, the European nation had accepted more “refugee” applications than the rest of the world combined:

Public Islamist recruitment drives, however, are becoming an increasingly common sight on German streets, as Die Zeit reported on November 28.

The Daily Express reported on December 15, 2016:

“The Kuwaiti Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS), a non-governmental organization (NGO) banned by the U.S. and Russia for alleged links to terrorist group Al-Qaeda, has also been blamed for the rising support for fundamentalist Salafi groups in Germany.”

Missionary groups from the Gulf States, including the Saudi Muslim World League, and Qatar’s Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad al-Thani Charitable Association, are allegedly involved in a “long-running strategy to exert influence” on Muslims in Germany.

RIHS and the Sheikh Eid Bin Mohammad al-Thani Charitable Association have denied the allegations. The Saudi ambassador to Germany, Awwas Alawwad, also rejected the intelligence claims, saying his country has “no connection with German Salafism.”

Despite such denials, Chancellor Angela Merkel, “has confirmed plans rapidly to expand the scope and size of Germany’s intelligence services including its domestic spy agency.”

As the German MP and Middle East expert, Rolf Mützenich, has said, “The danger is real and should not be underestimated.” He added:

“For quite some time, we have had indications and evidence that German Salafists are getting assistance, which is approved by the governments of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait, in the form of money, the sending of imams and the building of Koran schools and mosques.

“The best way of preventing refugees from being radicalised is speedy and successful integration. To achieve that, we need professional prevention and de-radicalisation programs. That means more money and resources for specialists in schools, government administration, police, youth welfare organisations, prisons and reform schools.”

Critics might argue that that there is enormous pressure in Muslims not to assimilate. The injunction begins with the Koran:

O you who have believed, do not take the Jews and the Christians as allies. They are [in fact] allies of one another. And whoever is an ally to them among you – then indeed, he is [one] of them. Indeed, Allah guides not the wrongdoing people. (Q5:51, Sahih International translation)

And:

Let not the believers take the unbelievers for friends rather than believers; and whoever does this, he shall have nothing of (the guardianship of) Allah, but you should guard yourselves against them, guarding carefully; and Allah makes you cautious of (retribution from) Himself; and to Allah is the eventual coming. (Q3:28, Shakir translation)

Declining to assimilate in the West continues with the apparent, religiously mandated, preference to have the host countries become Islamic.

With Islamist double-agents working for German intelligence services now being arrested in the country, Germany’s security challenges clearly go far deeper.