Posted tagged ‘Sunni states’

Reflections on Trump’s First State Visit to the Middle East

May 19, 2017

Reflections on Trump’s First State Visit to the Middle East, The National InterestAhmed Charai, May 19, 2017

King Salman of Saudi Arabia in 2013. Flickr/Secretary of Defense

The Trump administration, working alongside its Arab allies, should promote moderate or quietist forms of Islam, and not remain neutral on religious matters. This means working with Islamic leaders, many of whom are state-funded imams, to challenge jihad on a religious basis and offer a form of faith shorn of violence.

These strategic insights come together in Morocco, where King Mohammed VI has used his religious role as commander of the faithful to inspire religious leaders to combat jihadism and urge tolerance and peace.

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President Trump is visiting the Middle East. He will travel to Saudi Arabia and Israel, then visit the Vatican. Given the sequence of the first two, some observers speculated that he will attempt to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, perhaps within a broader, regional framework. But different potential outcomes for Arab-Israeli relations, short of a peace settlement, may also be in the offing.

Both Saudi Arabia and Israel have proven themselves to be invaluable partners to the United States in the struggle against ISIS. An American-brokered framework whereby direct cooperation between the two is formalized—rather than a reliance on the United States as an intermediary—may create a framework to broaden the cooperation. Heightened partnership to counter the shared threat of Iran would be an obvious next step. The Trump administration’s new strategy is the creation of a regional alliance, focused on the Gulf countries but also including countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Morocco. A multilateral approach in which Israel plays a more direct and visible role in the coalition would signify a breakthrough. It would bolster confidence among Arab publics that broader cooperation and conflict resolution are warranted.

Donald Trump made the eradication of the Islamic State a priority during his campaign. He has been criticized for his more muscular strategy, as well as the desire to augment intelligence, economic and communications measures to put the screw to the organization.

It seems possible that the president is making a clean break with the Obama administration’s policy of disengagement from the Middle East. For Trump, the rubric of a “war on terrorism” seems to be appealing. Arabs appreciate the fact that, unlikely his predecessor, Trump appears to be recognizing the Shia extremist terror threat as represented by Iran and its proxy militias alongside the widely recognized Sunni jihadist threat.

In the view of this administration, this alliance should function like NATO, as an alliance (perhaps supported by the West) with multiple objectives. The eradication of Islamic State is the main objective, but the containment of Iranian influence in the region is also on the menu.

The use of a massively powerful bomb against the Islamic State in Afghanistan provided a mighty demonstration of strength, but may also have been intended to send a message about the president’s commitment to confront his adversaries with some of the most powerful tools in his arsenal.

But of course, matters are not so simple.

At the geostrategic level, Russia and the pro-Iranian Shia arc cannot be ignored politically. The alliance between the two poses layers of complexity, whereby American and Russian accounts in the Baltic states and vis à vis NATO may be dragged into the diplomatic mix. Moscow cannot be excluded from the equation in any prospective political resolution in Syria. As for Iran, Russia wields heavy influence on its government and its security sector. Trump faces a Twister-like game of challenges in navigating the array of alliances, rivalries and hostilities among the players. Yet his aspiration to eradicate the Islamic State and block Iranian expansion in the region depends on his effective management of these quandaries.

Nor do Trump’s aspirations allow for neglect of the broader counterterrorism challenge beyond military action, intelligence work and even diplomacy. He must wage an ideological war, and challenge extremist strands within Arab and Islamic societies that guarantee the perpetuation of conflict—whatever the outcomes on the battlefield—unless they are addressed.

The Trump administration, working alongside its Arab allies, should promote moderate or quietist forms of Islam, and not remain neutral on religious matters. This means working with Islamic leaders, many of whom are state-funded imams, to challenge jihad on a religious basis and offer a form of faith shorn of violence.

These strategic insights come together in Morocco, where King Mohammed VI has used his religious role as commander of the faithful to inspire religious leaders to combat jihadism and urge tolerance and peace.

King Mohammed VI has demonstrated his commitment to deeper cooperation with neighboring countries by embarking on several state visits and signing an unprecedented number of economic-partnership conventions. He has also expressed support for joint efforts to combat radicalization, and officials from Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Tunisia, and Guinea have indicated a willingness to train their imams in Morocco.

If Trump is looking for a healthy example of Muslim leaders bringing peace through Islam, Morocco is a good place to start.

The Devil’s Triangle: At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah

May 19, 2017

The Devil’s Triangle: At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah, Israel National News, Mark Langfan, May 19, 2017

This weekend President Trump must make the stakes clear to the Sunnis gathered in Saudi Arabia to meet him.  President Trump must bring truth to Arab and Islamic fantasies.  He must tell them Israel, and the ‘West Bank’ are not the issue; the only issue is fighting Iran and controlling the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle.  The Arabs and the Sunnis themselves must contribute blood and treasure to securing this strategic triangle and killing the Iran monster before it can metastasize into an unstoppable one.

The US and the US coalition forces have to move, and move fast to control the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle so as to avoid an Iran that will cause the death and destruction of millions of people for many, many decades into the future.

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You may have carefully read all the newspapers about the Middle East, but you will likely have never heard about the three Syria cities of At Tanf, Abu Kamal, or Ar Rusafah.  But the soon-to-be-determined military control of the geographic area bounded by these 3 Syrian cities in Syria’s south east corner will determine the fate of the entire world. 

To see the area on a US government map so that you fully understand this article, click here.

If Iran and its proxies control these three Syrian cities, Iran will have achieved its strategic goal of creating a topologic unbroken ground corridor from Iran through Iraq, through Syria, through Lebanon to the Mediterranean Sea.  If Iran fails to secure this geographic Syrian triangle, Iran’s tens of billions of dollars spent to mass-murder Syrian Sunnis to create the foundation of its neo-Safavidic Empire will collapse under its own weight, and Iran’s Khomeneist Shiite Regime will likely implode.

Therefore, next month’s military victors in the battle for this strategic triangle will dictate decades of future conflict, or future peace in the Middle East and the world.

What’s the first order of battle?  If the Islamic State leaders are truly Sunnis, American and US Coalition forces should convince the Islamic State to cede and surrender Raqqah immediately, so US coalition forces can focus on and secure the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah triangle immediately.  Otherwise, the US coalition will have to divert precious and scarce resources to conquering Raqqah, while Iran is redeploying its forces to steal the Triangle.

The question is simple.  Does the Islamic State want the Iranian Shiites to win the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle, to win Syria, and become the unstoppable Shiite hegemon?  Or does the Sunni Islamic State want the Shiite Iran to lose?  The catastrophic scenario would be for the US coalition forces to win the Raqqah battle against the Islamic State, only to lose the Syrian war to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The second order of battle?  Trump’s minions must convince the Russians that it is in Russia’s ultimate strategic national interest to allow the US coalition to quickly and decisively win the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle.  The US must convince Russia that an Iran with a ground corridor through Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean is as catastrophic to Russian vital national security interests in 2017 as Hitler’s acquisition of Czechoslovakia and Poland was to the Soviet Union in 1939.  Then, Stalin partnered with Hitler in building Hitler the highway for his Wehrmacht to invade the Soviet Union.

Once Iran militarily digests this Iraq-Syrian land corridor, Iran won’t need Russia anymore.  Putin will have created a unstoppable Islamic Terror Superpower.  Putin should remember Stalin’s exuberant celebration of occupying half of Poland was a short-lived delusion that soon came crashing down on his head when he had to face the ugly reality of Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union that came close to occupying Moscow itself.

Iraq is a modern-day Czechoslovakia, and Syria is a modern-day Poland.  It is the Iranian war that will lay the groundwork for the next Iranian-Safavidic violent expansion throughout the Middle East.

The third order of battle?  This weekend President Trump must make the stakes clear to the Sunnis gathered in Saudi Arabia to meet him.  President Trump must bring truth to Arab and Islamic fantasies.  He must tell them Israel, and the ‘West Bank’ are not the issue; the only issue is fighting Iran and controlling the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle.  The Arabs and the Sunnis themselves must contribute blood and treasure to securing this strategic triangle and killing the Iran monster before it can metastasize into an unstoppable one.

The US and the US coalition forces have to move, and move fast to control the At-Tanf/Abu Kamal/Ar Rusafah Triangle so as to avoid an Iran that will cause the death and destruction of millions of people for many, many decades into the future.

Sunni States’ Military Spending Sprees Could Fall to Radical Islamists

February 7, 2017

Sunni States’ Military Spending Sprees Could Fall to Radical Islamists, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, February 7, 2017

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Faced with an array of developing threats to their stability and survival, Sunni Arab states have gone on an unprecedented military spending spree, buying up some of the very best capabilities the West has to offer. This development holds the potential for danger should these states be overrun by radical Islamists.

As long as the Sunni governments, guided by concerns over Iran, ISIS and other extremist actors, remain firmly in power, possessing high quality Western weapons in such large quantities will serve their goals of defending themselves.

But should the Sunni countries disintegrate into failed states, or undergo an Islamist revolution – an unfortunate yet distinct possibility in the 21st century, chaotic Middle East – Israel and the West could face an explosively dangerous development.

An organized Islamist rise to power would see the military forces of such states come under the command of belligerent decision makers. Alternatively, a failed state scenario would mean that military bases in these countries could be looted, and deadly platforms taken over.

Either way, the scenario of jihadists seizing game-changing military capabilities is real enough for Israel to acknowledge that it is planning ahead for it as a necessary precaution.

Outgoing Israel Air Force Commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel spoke explicitly of this danger on Jan. 24 at the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

His air force must know how to act as a precise surgeon, Eshel said, able to conduct pinpoint strikes based on fine intelligence. But it also must be able to operate like a “big hammer” able to deal with large-scale threats. In the tumultuous Middle East, he said, it seems unreasonable to believe that the current situation will remain as it is. “In five, 10, or 15 years, states can fall,” he warned.

Eshel was referring to pragmatic Sunni states that, like Israel, are deeply threatened by Iran’s expanding radical Shi’ite axis, and by Salafi jihadist Sunni groups that are bent on destroying all countries that do not fit their vision of an extremist caliphate.

“Even if we have shared regional interests [with these Sunni countries now], we do not know what will happen in the future. Western military sales to these countries have reached $200 billion. This is state of the art weaponry. It is not just about the quantity,” Eshel said. It is the Air Force’s responsibility to assume that “something will collapse.”

Most of the Arab countries’ spending spree has gone into their air forces and surface-to-air missiles. The Israel Air Force must ensure it can deal with these capabilities, he added, in the event of future jihadist revolutions.

In the same week that Eshel spoke, the U.S. State Department announced the first weapons sales to Gulf states under the Trump administration, pending approval by Congress.

The sales reportedly include $400 million worth of helicopter gunship parts and air-to-air missiles to Kuwait, and $525 million for intelligence balloons to Saudi Arabia. ISIS has already built and deployed its own armed drones, according to reports, and if its goal of seizing control of state assets were realized, it could try to use some of the means on the battlefield.

Gulf Arab countries continue to break records in their rush to purchase military hardware. As part of its bid to deter Iran and boost its ability to hit the Islamic Republic’s capital, Tehran, Saudi Arabia modernized its missile arsenal in recent years, purchasing Chinese medium-range surface-to-surface missiles from China, in a deal reportedly facilitated by the CIA.

More recently, the Saudis, who are leading a coalition against Iran-backed Houthi Shi’ite rebels in Yemen, spent $179.1 billion on weapons in 2016, and intend to spend $190 billion in 2017.

Saudi Arabia in recent years has replaced Russia as the third largest defense spender in the world. Salafi jihadists would like nothing more than to topple the Saudi royal court, which they see as a Western puppet, and take control of Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina.

Last September, the U.S. approved $7 billion worth of fighter jets (F-15s and F-18s) to Kuwait and Qatar, and more than $1 billion in F-16 sales to Bahrain.

Egypt, too, has joined the shopping rush, becoming the world’s fourth largest defense importer in 2016, buying up arms from the U.S. and France, as well as submarines from Germany.

Egypt, which is in a state of deep civil conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood, is also fighting a stubborn ISIS jihadist insurgency in its Sinai province. ISIS’ terror campaign has claimed many lives among Egyptian security forces, and threatens to spread to other areas of the country.

After the fall and disintegration of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, the idea that the Middle Eastern map will remain unaltered in the coming years is far from certain.

Had Israel, according to international media reports, not bombed Syria’s nuclear weapons production facility in Deir Al-Zor in 2007, the area, now filled with ISIS, could have seen nuclear weapons fall into the hands of genocidal jihadists.

Should Sunni states begin their own nuclear programs in response to Iran’s own future nuclear efforts, the danger of atomic bombs falling into Islamist hands would increase.

There is no alternative but to plan for such contingencies in the current unpredictable regional environment, where today’s rational states could be replaced by sinister forces tomorrow.

Our ISIS Problem is also our Saudi Arabia Problem

March 9, 2016

Our ISIS Problem is also our Saudi Arabia Problem, WNDWilliam Murray, March 8, 2016

H/t The Counter Jihad Report

ISIL, or ISIS, now calling itself the Islamic State, is part of a continuing Sunni Muslim problem. Here is some real history to counter current media perceptions paid for by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

Ask the media or any Democratic or Republican senator, and they will tell you that Shiite Muslims (or Shia) are the greatest threat faced by Western civilization today. Besides Sen. John McCain, current presidential candidates Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have referred to the Shiite threat in virtually every stump speech, often citing the “Shia Crescent” that runs from Iran through Iraq and Syria and ending in Lebanon. Rubio constantly refers to “our Sunni allies such as Saudi Arabia” and has suggested the creation of a Sunni state in Syria. Apparently, the senator is, as is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, unaware that there is already a Sunni state in northern Syria, and it is run by the Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL.

The Sunni Islamic State does have a competitor in Syria, al-Nusra, which is part of al-Qaida and also a Sunni terror organization. The Army of Islam operating in Syria is also a Sunni terror organization supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey. During battles between al-Nusra and the Islamic State, American-led coalition aircraft have supported Sunni al-Nusra, which is al-Qaida. Which Sunni group to back in the Syrian civil war is always a question for the White House.

In 2015 most of the 17,000 civilians killed in Iraq died at the hands of Sunni terrorists. That is 10 times the number killed in the Sunni terror attack on 9/11. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were conducted by al-Qaida, a Sunni terror organization. The first terror attack on the Trade Center in 1993 was financed by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a Sunni cleric also associated with the Sunni terror group al-Qaida.

The 9/11 attack was planned by al-Qaida from Afghanistan, which at the time was controlled by the Taliban, a Sunni Muslim group dedicated to the elimination of Shiites and Christians.

Sunni groups, many funded by interests inside Saudi Arabia and Qatar, declared responsibility for the 2004 Madrid train bombings killing 191 and wounding over 1,800. A Sunni group took responsibility for the 2005 London bus bombings killing 52 and wounding 700. Sunni terror groups were responsible for the massacre of 334 people including 186 children during the 2004 attack on a school in Beslan, Russia, and also the Moscow theater attack in 2002. The various Paris attacks, including the 2015 Charlie Hebdo magazine and Jewish deli attacks over three days and a later attack in November on a theater and restaurants that killed 130, were conducted by the Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim organizations.

The Fort Hood terror attack in 2009 killing 13 plus an unborn child was conducted by Maj. Nidal Hasan, a Sunni Muslim connected to a “vetted” Sunni imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was allowed to speak at the Pentagon and Congress. Al-Awlaki and his son, both U.S. citizens, were killed by a drone strike though a death warrant issued by President Obama to shut him up lest he embarrass those at the Pentagon who had “vetted” him. He had been the imam at the Virginia mosque attended by some of the 9/11 hijackers.

There have been numerous “minor” terror attacks against Western targets, such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed “only” three and wounded 264. The bombers were brothers from a family of Sunni Muslims who had immigrated legally to the United States from Chechnya, Russia. Other “small” attacks by Sunni Muslims in the United States include the following: A Sunni Muslim convert killed one at a Little Rock military recruiting center in 2009, and four Marines were killed by a Sunni Muslim immigrant in Chattanooga in 2015. Other attacks such as against a 2002 El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport have been downplayed as only three died.

Most recently in the United States was the 2015 San Bernardino massacre, which was carried out by a Sunni Muslim couple connected to Saudi Sunni extremists and influenced by the Islamic State. A total of 14 were killed and 22 wounded.

In Asia the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 mostly Australian tourists was orchestrated Jemaah Islamiyah, a Sunni Muslim organization seeking Shariah law in that nation. Sunni groups have bombed numerous churches in the Philippians, and Thailand suffers almost daily deaths by Sunni Muslim separatist organizations that want a breakaway state under Shariah law. China suffers numerous attacks from Sunni groups every year.

The most noted attack in India by Sunni Muslims from Pakistan was in 2008 when 10 members of Lashkar -e-Taiba, conducted 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks over four days, killing 164 people and wounding 308. A landmark hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace, was nearly completely destroyed.

The mass beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya that outraged the press in the United States for a few days in 2015 were conducted by a Sunni terror group. All of the slaughter in this Hillary Clinton established “democracy” is being conducted by three Sunni Muslim factions.

Back to the “Shia threat” alluded to by Hillary Clinton, McCain, Cruz and Rubio as well as Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. The last large scale Shia attack against the West was in 1983 against a military target in Lebanon at the U.S. military barracks, killing 299 American and French servicemen.

I have left Israel out of this analysis because it faces a Sunni threat from the south in Gaza and a Shia threat to the north. In line with the theology of the two groups, Sunni-oriented Hamas normally attacks civilian targets while Shia Hezbollah usually attacks military targets.

With this history, why does the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, as well as both liberal and conservative members of Congress and virtually all presidential candidates, say the greatest threat is from Shia Muslims?

The simple answer is that Saudi Arabia is Sunni Muslim, and most of the financing for Sunni extremist groups has come from Saudi Arabia, which is “our ally.” The initial funding for the revolt in Syria, which handed us the Islamic State problem, came from Saudi Arabia. Over $2 billion in arms were moved into Syria from Turkey and prepositioned before the initial Sunni uprising that to this day Obama and McCain insist was a secular revolt.

Some contend that only private elements within Saudi Arabia supported ISIS and never the Saudi government. Although Saudi Arabia may not directly support or fund ISIS, Saudi Arabia gives legitimacy to ISIS extremist ideology. Saudi textbooks are used in the ISIS-controlled schools in Syria and Iraq.

If we want to cut off the real head of the snake, the Islamic ideology that threatens the world through al-Qaida and the Islamic State today, we must shut down the educational funding source – and that is Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia runs a close second to North Korea on human rights abuses and should be treated to the same sanctions and boycotts. All Saudi-printed literature and all funding of mosques and schools in the United States and Europe should be banned at once.

To stop ISIS, which is actually the second generation of al-Qaida, we must dig out the root which is Saudi Arabia.

Note: The preceding were William J. Murray’s prepared remarks for The Awakening, Orlando, Florida, March 5, 2016.

Dividing the Arabs: America and Europe’s Double Game

August 29, 2015

Dividing the Arabs: America and Europe’s Double Game, The Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, August 29, 2015

  • Iran is on its way in a few years to having nuclear weapons capability. The breakout time, according to President Obama, would effectively be “zero.” Iran could then make as many bombs as it would like, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles to delver them to major American cities, directly from Iran, from South America, or — making identification and retaliation impossible — from submarines submerged off the U.S. coast.
  • Obama with one hand allows Iran to glide to nuclear capability and encourage the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula — while with the other hand, he claims to support Israel.
  • Qatar’s role is duplicitous. It plays host to U.S. military bases at the same time that it funds and supports ISIS.
  • Hamas, since last year’s war, has chosen to use its scant resources to rebuild its kidnapping tunnels and war capability, instead of developing businesses and turning the Gaza Strip into a magnificent Arab Riviera, as Dubai has become. Hamas’s failure does not come from a lack of resources; it comes from a deliberate choice of how to use them.
  • The Iranians, in opposing American policy, which is a tissue of amateur plans and plots, are flexible and exploit Islam’s taqiyya [dissimulation] — religious approval to lie in the cause of Allah and to further Islam. However, they are not even bothering with that, they are telling the truth: “Death to America; Death to Israel.”

The United States is playing a double game in the Middle East: empowering Shiite Iran, while at the same time enabling Sunni ISIS to overthrow the moderate Arab regimes, as if to stop Iran.

The Americans are well aware that the Sunni Arab countries around Iran will now have to arm themselves to the teeth, thereby gutting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

America, despite its power and the image it projects of working against ISIS in Iraq, does not touch ISIS in its real headquarters, Syria, where ISIS actually could actually be hurt. So nothing really changes, and both Iran and ISIS continue to strengthen.

Even as the members the UN Security Council, eager do business with Iran, voted to allow Iran to build nuclear weapons, the Iranians continue to fund Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip — all Iranian proxies — in order to split the Arab ranks.

In other words, the hypocritical Obama administration, in backing the Iranians, keeps trying to sabotage the Arabs and provoke dissension.

The U.S. “divide-and-conquer” policy can also be seen in America’s ongoing support for Turkey and Qatar, both loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey and Qatar, however, do nothing but foment incitement and support terrorist organizations. Both countries have totally abandoned the real existential interest of the Arab nation: its historic battle against Iran.

Qatar’s role is duplicitous. It plays host to U.S. military bases at the same time that it funds and supports ISIS, which is working against the West and against moderate Arab regimes.

The worst, however, is Turkey, which supports ISIS — the enemy of the West — despite Turkey being a member of NATO. Turkey also expends inordinate efforts at retaining its control of occupied Cyprus. Above all, its hypocrisy is scandalous. While it claims to care about the independence and human rights of the Palestinians, Turkey is really nothing but a radical Islamist country now denying independence and human rights to its own Kurdish citizens. At the same time, it supports Hamas and Iran in their effort to crush the unity of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the PLO as the only legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people.

Turkey, like many other nations, including the countries that negotiated with Iran, is just waiting for the sanctions to be lifted from Iran, so that its dubious military and economic relations with the Mullahs will finally be acceptable.

Turkey and Qatar have also divided the Sunni Islamic camp and fragmented the Arab ranks. Both countries give the Palestinians political support, the deluded hope of “return,” and funding that is used for rebuilding Hamas’s military capabilities and kidnapping tunnels.

It is both folly and underhandedness for the United States to provide these countries with even a tattered umbrella of military aid.

Not only the U.S. but Europe, which supports Iran, would like to see Hamas — a terrorist offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood — become stronger at the expense of the Palestinian people.

Europe would like to empower Hamas even further by handing it diplomatic and political support. There are rumors that the UN is planning to grant Hamas observer status in the General Assembly, as it did the Palestinian Authority.

We all know that the issue of Palestine could have been resolved long ago by establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state next to Israel, and giving the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees living in the Arab states full citizenship. But the manipulations employed by the Europeans and Americans deliberately perpetuate the Palestinian issue by using “good cop – bad cop” tactics. (Emphasis added. — DM)

Europe and the U.S. whitewash not only Hamas’s threats to Israel, but also, more importantly, its deadly subversion of Palestinian Authority. Both Europe and America totally disregard Hamas’s planned coup against PA leader Mahmoud Abbas last year, Hamas’s war crimes in the Gaza Strip, and the unspeakable treatment of its own people at home. Only one year ago, Hamas was murdering its own citizens extra-judicially, and ordering them to be cannon fodder for the benefit of international television crews.

Hamas, since then, has chosen to use its scant resources to rebuild its kidnapping tunnels and war capability, instead of to develop businesses and turn the Gaza Strip into a magnificent Arab Riviera, as Dubai has become. Hamas’s failure does not come from a lack of resources; it comes from a deliberate choice of how to use them.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are now operating against Egypt and Israel not only from the Gaza Strip, but from the Sinai Peninsula as well. Thus, in addition to allowing Iran to sail to nuclear weapons capability, President Obama encourages the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula with one hand, while with the other hand he claims to support Israel.

After all is said and done, if we Arabs had joined ranks — even temporarily and even with Israel — we could have long ago put a stop to Iran’s plans for expansion.

But because of our own shortsightedness, we waited too long and now the Iranians have established footholds in the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, and are increasing their control of Arab states such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Iran is on its way in a few years to having nuclear weapons capability. The breakout time, according to President Obama, would effectively be “zero.” Iran could then make as many bombs as it would like, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles to delver them to the major cities of the “Great Satan,” the United States, directly from Iran, from South America, or — making identification and retaliation impossible — from submarines submerged off the U.S. coast.

The Iranians, in opposing American policy, which is a tissue of amateur plans and plots, are flexible and exploit Islam’s taqiyya [dissimulation] — religious approval to lie in the cause of Allah and to further Islam. However, they are not even bothering with that, they are telling the truth: “Death to America; Death to Israel.”

1225U.S. President Barack Obama (left). Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (right).

By this point, near the end of the process of Sunni Muslim self-destruction, a large part of the Arabs’ energy has been wasted on internal wars and the misallocation of resources to the barren, useless confrontation with Israel, even while many Arab states secretly collaborate with the Zionists.

All that will be left for the Arabs will be to continue to argue among themselves and with the Israelis about the Palestinian issue. We should instead stop the distractions and the wounds we are inflicting upon ourselves, and put the Palestinian problem behind us by granting equal rights and citizenship to Palestinians residing in Arab countries, in order to shift our focus totally, if belatedly, to the real battle: The Islamic Republic of Iran.

Resolving the Syrian war is not the silver bullet for stopping ISIS

August 29, 2015

Resolving the Syrian war is not the silver bullet for stopping ISIS, DEBKAfile, August 29, 2015

(Please see also, Pentagon Not Targeting Islamic State Training Camps. — DM)

jISIS_mobile_defense_of_SVBIED_8.15ISIS “mobile defense SVBIED” in action in Iraq

President Obama may likewise offer King Salman all sorts of assistance for standing up to ISIS, but he will find no buyers in Riyadh for his failed policy of reliance on Saudi Arabia’s rival, Iran, for liquidating the Islamist threat looming against the oil kingdom from neighboring Iraq.  Neither is US aid much use for stemming the tide of pro-ISIS radicalism spreading among young Saudi men.

As matters stand today, therefore, the Islamic State faces no tangible threat – even if Iran does go ahead and achieve a nuclear bomb.

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The war to stop the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has entered a dark tunnel. And with it the bottomless conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Iraq. The search for a ray of light moves next week from Moscow to Washington, when Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz makes his first visit as monarch for talks with President Barack Obama.

The three worried Arab rulers received in the Kremlin Tuesday, Aug. 25, by President Vladimir Putin could only talk in circles: Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi,is  embattled on three fronts, Sinai, his border with Libya and Cairo; Jordan’s King Abdullah II – is wedged between two wars; and UAE Crown Prince Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has sent his army to fight the Yemen insurgency alongside Saudi Arabia.

For them, resolving the Syrian conflict looked like the silver bullet, the key to ending all their troubles. But whichever Russian or Iranian plans and ideas they considered for a way forward, they were all forced to come back to the same impasse. Even Putin and Obama can’t get around or ignore two solid facts:

1. In the year since the US built an international coalition for fighting ISIS, the brutal Islamists have not been cut down; they have instead been empowered to seize more turf outside their Iraqi and Syrian conquests, such big oil fields in Libya, an ascending threat to Egypt and big plans for Lebanon.

2. A major letdown has followed on the high hopes reposed in Iran. The nuclear deal negotiated with the six world powers – and the elevated regional status conferred on Iran – hinged closely on US expectations that Tehran would put up effective military resources for tackling ISIS.

But the Revolutionary Guards, the popular Syrian and Iraqi forces the Guards established,and  the Afghan and Pakistani Shiite militias they imported – none have proved a match for ISIS and jihadi tactics.

In Syria, ISIS stands fast, unthreatened in the terrain, towns and oil fields they have captured, in the past year – excepting only on fringe fronts, where they have been forced back by local Kurdish rebel fighters.

Hizballah is a big part of the disappointment. It was supposed to serve as a bulwark against ISIS invading eastern Lebanon from Syria. Instead, these Lebanese Shiite fighters, allies of Assad’s army, are bogged down in a bitter battle for the strategic Syrian town of Zabadani, after failing to breach Syrian rebel defenses in forays from the south, the north or the center.

The door is therefore open for the Islamist State to march into Hizballah’s strongholds in the Lebanese Beqaa valley and head north to the port of Tripoli for a foothold on the Mediterranean.

Whether Bashar Assad stays or goes, which might have made a difference at an early stage of the Syrian insurgency, is irrelevant now that his army and allied forces are in dire straits.

In Iraq, the forces fighting ISIS are equally stumped. The jihadis are in control of a deadly string of  strategic towns, Ramadi, Faluja, the refinery city of Baiji, Mosul, and most of the western province of Anbar, including Haditha which commands a key stretch of the Euphrates River.

Here, too, the Islamist terrorist army’s lines remain intact, unbroken either by the undercover Jordanian Special Forces campaign 200 km inside Anbar, albeit backed by US and Israeli military and intelligence assistance; by the “popular mobilization committees” set up by the Iranian general Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy of the Al Qods chief Qassem Soleimani, or less still by US-trained Iraqi army units.

This week, the impasse spurred two combatants into chilling escalations:

— Iran began shipping its solid propellant missile, Zelzal-3B (meaning “earthquake”), across the border into Iraq, in the hope that this powerful projectile, with a range of 250km , would give the Revolutionary Guards their doomsday weapon for tipping the scales against ISIS.

— The Islamists, for their part, embraced a new tactic, known in the west as “SVBIED mobile defense.” Scores of armed vehicles are packed tight with hundreds of tons of explosives and loosed against military convoys on the move and static enemy positions and bases.

This tactic quickly proved itself by killing the 10th Iraqi Division’s chief, deputy and its command staff, as well as the deputy chief of Iraqi forces in Anbar.

In Moscow last week, Putin offered his three Middle East guests Russian nuclear reactors, arms, joint pacts for fighting terror and assorted ideas for the future of Bashar Assad. But he too had no practical proposals for bringing the Islamic State down.

President Obama may likewise offer King Salman all sorts of assistance for standing up to ISIS, but he will find no buyers in Riyadh for his failed policy of reliance on Saudi Arabia’s rival, Iran, for liquidating the Islamist threat looming against the oil kingdom from neighboring Iraq.  Neither is US aid much use for stemming the tide of pro-ISIS radicalism spreading among young Saudi men.

As matters stand today, therefore, the Islamic State faces no tangible threat – even if Iran does go ahead and achieve a nuclear bomb.

Our World: The anti-peace administration

August 12, 2015

Our World: The anti-peace administration, The Jerusalem PostCaroline B. Glick, August 11, 2015

ShowImage (9)President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and White House aides receive an update from Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz via teleconference in Lausanne. (photo credit:WHITE HOUSE)

The US has striven to achieve peaceable relations between the states of the Middle East for nearly 70 years. Yet today, US government is disparaging the burgeoning strategic ties between the Sunni Arab states and Israel.

In a briefing to a delegation of visiting Israeli diplomatic correspondents in Washington last week, a senior Obama administration official sneered that the only noticeable shift in Israel-Arab relations in recent years is that the current Egyptian government has been coordinating security issues “more closely” with Jerusalem than the previous one did.

“But we have yet to see that change materialize in the Gulf.”

If this is how the US views the state of Israel’s relations with the Arabs, then Israel should consider canceling its intelligence cooperation with the US. Because apparently, the Americans haven’t a clue what is happening in the Middle East.

First of all, to characterize the transformation of Israeli-Egyptian relations as a mere question of “more closely” coordinating on security issues is to vastly trivialize what has happened over the past two years.

Before then Egyptian defense minister Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew the US-backed Muslim Brotherhood regime headed by Muhammad Morsi in July 2013, there was a growing sense that Morsi intended to vacate Egypt’s signature to the peace deal with Israel at the first opportunity. Just a month after Morsi ascended to power in January 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood began threatening to review Egypt’s continued commitment to the peace treaty.

The main reason Morsi did not cancel the peace deal with Israel was that Egypt was bankrupt. He needed US and international monetary support to enable his government to pay for imported grain to feed Egypt’s destitute population of 90 million.

During his year in power, Morsi used Hamas as the Brotherhood’s shock troops. He embraced Iran, inviting president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to visit Cairo in February 2013.

If Morsi were still in power today, with its $150 billion in sanctions relief Iran would have been in a position to support Egypt’s economy. So it is possible that if Morsi were still president, he would have felt he had the financial security to walk away from the peace treaty.

In happy contrast, under Sisi, Israeli-Egyptian ties are closer than they have ever been. Just last week Egyptian diplomats told Al Ahram that Israel’s support was critical for building administration support for Sisi.

Over Ramadan, Egyptian television broadcast a pro-Jewish mini-series.

Israel is closely working with the Egyptians on defeating the growing threat of Islamic State, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist groups waging a bloody insurgency against the regime in Sinai.

Last summer, it was due to the close coordination between Sisi and Israel that the US failed to force Israel to accept Hamas’s cease-fire terms, as those were represented by the Islamist regimes of Qatar and Turkey.

In part due to Israel’s critical support for Sisi’s government, and in part owing to their opposition to Iran’s rise as a regional hegemon armed with nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan have all joined Egypt in viewing Israel as a strategic partner and protector.

Last year Saudi Arabia together with the UAE and Jordan supported Israel and Egypt in opposing Hamas and its American, Turkish and Qatari defenders. Had it not been for this massive Arab support, it is very likely that Israel would have been forced to accept the US’s demands and grant Hamas control over Gaza’s international borders.

In June, as negotiations between the US and the other five powers and Iran were moving toward an agreement, the Council on Foreign Relations in New York hosted a meeting between then incoming Foreign Ministry director general Dore Gold and retired Saudi General Anwar Eshki, a former advisor to the Saudi ambassador to the US. The two revealed that over the previous 18 months, they had conducted five secret meetings to discuss Iran.

Although President Barack Obama harangued Israel in his speech at American University last Wednesday, claiming that the Israeli government is the only government that has publicly opposed his nuclear deal with the Iranians, Monday US congressmen now shuttling between Egypt and Israel told Israeli reporters that Egypt opposes the nuclear deal.

As for the Gulf states, according to the US media, last week they told visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry that they support the nuclear deal.

Kerry addressed his counterparts in the Gulf Cooperation Council.

But the fact is that the only foreign minister who expressed such support was Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah. To be sure, Attiyah was charged to speak for all of his counterparts because Qatar holds the GCC’s rotating chairmanship. But given that Qatar has staked out a pro-Iranian foreign policy in stark contrast to its neighbors and GCC partners, Attiyah’s statement is impossible to take seriously without the corroboration of his colleagues.

As for Qatar’s statement of support, Qatar has worked for years to cultivate good relations with Iran. It might have been expected therefore that Attiyah’s endorsement of the deal would have been enthusiastic. But it was lukewarm at best.

In Attiyah’s words, Kerry promised that the deal would place Iran’s nuclear sites under continuous inspections. “Consequently,” he explained, “the GCC countries have welcomed on this basis what has been displayed and what has been talked about by His Excellency Mr. Kerry.”

The problem of course is that Kerry wasn’t telling the truth. And the Arabs knew he was lying. The deal does not submit Iran’s nuclear sites to a rigorous inspection regime. And the GCC, including Qatar, opposes it.

In his briefing with Israeli reporters, the high-level US official rejected the importance of the détente between Israel and its Arab neighbors because he claimed the Arabs have not changed their position regarding their view of a final peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

But this is also nonsense. To be sure, the official position of the Saudis and the UAE is still the so-called Arab peace initiative from 2002 which stipulates that the Arabs will only normalize relations with Israel after it has ceded Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan and allowed millions of foreign-born Arabs to freely immigrate to the shrunken Jewish state. In other words, their official position is that they will only have normal relations with Israel after Israel destroys itself.

But their official position is no longer their actual position. Their actual position is to view Israel as a strategic ally.

The senior official told the Israeli reporters that in order to show that “their primary security concern is Iran,” then as far as the Arabs are concerned, “resolving some of the other issues in the region, including the Palestinian issue should be in their interest. We would like to see them more invested in moving the process forward.”

In the real world, there is no peace process. And the Palestinian factions are fighting over who gets to have better relations with Iran. Monday we learned that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas wishes to visit Iran in the coming months in the hopes of getting the money that until recently was enjoyed by his Hamas rivals.

Hamas for its part is desperate to show Tehran that it remains a loyal client. So today, no Palestinian faction shares the joint Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian interest in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear armed regional hegemon.

The administration showed its hand in that briefing with the Israeli reporters last week. For all their talk about Middle East peace, Obama and his advisors are not at all interested in achieving it or of noticing when it has been achieved.