Posted tagged ‘Sunni’

Ben Carson exposes Islamic taqiyya and gets attacked for it by leftist media

September 25, 2015

Ben Carson exposes Islamic taqiyya and gets attacked for it by leftist media, Front Page MagazineRaymond Ibrahim, September 25, 2015

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Originally published by PJ Media.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz freedom Center.

Of all the points presidential candidate Ben Carson made in defense of his position that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation,” most poignant is his reference to taqiyya, one of Islam’s doctrines of deception.

According to Carson, whoever becomes president should be “sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran”:

“I do not believe Sharia is consistent with the Constitution of this country,” Carson said, referencing the Islamic law derived from the Koran and traditions of Islam. “Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution.”

Carson said that the only exception he’d make would be if the Muslim running for office “publicly rejected all the tenants of Sharia and lived a life consistent with that.”

“Then I wouldn’t have any problem,” he said.

However, on several occasions Carson mentioned “Taqiyya,” a practice in the Shia Islam denomination in which a Muslim can mislead nonbelievers about the nature of their faith to avoid religious persecution.

“Taqiyya is a component of Shia that allows, and even encourages you to lie to achieve your goals,” Carson said.

There’s much to be said here.  First, considering that the current U.S. president has expunged all reference to Islam in security documents and would have Americans believe that Islamic doctrine is more or less like Christianity, it is certainly refreshing to see a presidential candidate referencing a little known but critically important Muslim doctrine.

As for the widely cited notion that taqiyya is a Shia doctrine, this needs to be corrected, as it lets the world’s vast majority of Muslims, the Sunnis, off the hook.  According to Sami Mukaram, one of the world’s foremost authorities on taqiyya,

Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era.

Taqiyya is often associated with the Shias because, as a persecuted minority group interspersed among their Sunni rivals, they have historically had more reason to dissemble. Today, however, Sunnis living in the West find themselves in the place of the Shia. Now they are the minority surrounded by their historic enemies—Western “infidels”—and so they too have plenty of occasion to employ taqiyya.

Nor would making Muslims swear on Bibles be very effective. As long as their allegiance to Islam is secure in their hearts, Muslims can behave like non-Muslims—including by praying before Christian icons, wearing crosses, and making the sign of the cross—anything short of actually killing a Muslim, which is when the taqiyya goes too far (hence why Muslims in the U.S. military often expose their true loyalties when they finally reach the point of having to fight fellow Muslims in foreign nations).

For those with a discerning eye, taqiyya is all around us.  Whether Muslim refugees pretending to convert to Christianity (past and present), or whether an Islamic gunman gaining entrance inside a church by feigning interest in Christian prayers—examples abound on a daily basis.

Consider the following anecdote from Turkey.  In order to get close enough to a Christian pastor to assassinate him, a group of Muslims, including three women, feigned interest in Christianity, attended his church, and even participated in baptism ceremonies.

“These people had infiltrated our church and collected information about me, my family and the church and were preparing an attack against us,” said the pastor in question, Emre Karaali: “Two of them attended our church for over a year and they were like family.”

If some Muslims are willing to go to such lengths to eliminate the already downtrodden Christian minorities in their midst—attending churches and baptisms and becoming “like family” to those “infidels” they intend to kill—does anyone doubt that a taqiyya-practicing Muslim presidential candidate might have no reservations about swearing on a stack of Bibles?

Precedents for such treachery litter the whole of Islamic history—and begin with the Muslim prophet himself: During the Battle of the Trench (627 AD), which pitted Muhammad and his followers against several non-Muslim tribes collectively known as “the Confederates,” a Confederate called Naim bin Masud went to the Muslim camp and converted to Islam. When Muhammad discovered the Confederates were unaware of Masud’s deflection to Islam, he counseled him to return and try somehow to get his tribesmen to abandon the siege. “For war is deceit,” Muhammad assured him.

Masud returned to the Confederates without their knowledge that he had switched sides and began giving his former kin and allies bad advice. He also intentionally instigated quarrels between the various tribes until, thoroughly distrusting each other, they disbanded and lifted the siege, allowing an embryonic Islam to grow.  (One Muslim website extols this incident for being illustrative of how Muslims can subvert non-Muslims.)

In short, if a Muslim were running for president of the U.S. in the hopes of ultimately subverting America to Islam, he could, in Carson’s words, easily be “sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran” and “publicly reject all the tenants of Sharia.”  Indeed, he could claim to be a Christian and attend church every week.

It speaks very well about Carson that he is aware of—and not hesitant to mention—taqiyya.  But that doctrine’s full ramifications—how much deceiving it truly allows and for all Muslim denominations, not just the Shia—needs to be more widely embraced.

The chances of that happening are dim.  Already “mainstream media” like the Washington Post are taking Carson to task for “misunderstanding” taqiyya—that is, for daring to be critical of anything Islamic.  These outlets could benefit from learning more about Islam and deception per the below links:

  • My expert testimony used in a court case to refute “taqiyya about taqiyya.”
  • The even more elastic doctrine of tawriya, which allows Muslims to deceive fellow Muslims by lying “creatively.”
  • My 2008 essay, “Islam’s Doctrines of Deception,” commissioned and published by Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst.
  • Recent examples of how onetime good Muslim neighbors turn violent once they grow in strength and numbers.

Why the Iran nuclear deal will mean war

September 8, 2015

Why the Iran nuclear deal will mean war, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, September 8, 2015

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Iran . . . is not looking for a deterrent weapon against its neighbors. With the fall of Saddam, it faces no serious threat of invasion by Sunni forces. Today its nuclear program can have no other purpose except to expand its power and territory while forcing the United States out of the region. Nuking Israel would help seal its right to rule over the Muslim world while intimidating its enemies.

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Like a snake oil salesman trying to move a gallon of lies by promising that it’s either buy the bottle or die, Obama sold the Iran deal as the only alternative to war. In fact the deal is a certain road to war.

Or as Churchill said, “You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor, and you will have war.” Before long, the British and French were facing Czech tanks redesignated as Panzers that had been seized as part of the Nazi spoils of appeasement.

When Obama claimed that the Iran nuclear deal was the only alternative to war, he was lying in more ways than one. The United States has already been dragged into Iran’s war for control of Iraq. That war was one of the levers that Iran exploited to get its way on its nuclear program. Iran also came close to dragging us into its war in Syria and we are hovering on the edge of being dragged into Yemen.

Iran and ISIS have done a thorough job of carving up entire countries into Shiite and Sunni blocs. And there’s no sign that this Islamic realignment of the Sykes Picot borders is going to stop. If the process continues, the scale and scope of the war will expand and transform the region away from nation states.

Everyone will have a choice between backing a Sunni ISIS or a Shiite ISIS. Obama chose the Shiite ISIS.

This would be happening even without the deal, but Iran’s victory and Obama’s appeasement will speed up the process. Russia is blatantly joining the Shiite military coalition as part of Tehran’s victory celebration. And the Russians aren’t there just to protect Assad, but to push America out of the region. As areas of operations overlap, there will be incidents. And Obama will back off once again.

But it’s not just about Syria. Iran promised its Russian and Chinese backers that they will benefit from a major regional realignment. Nations allied with the US will be overthrown or suppressed. And once that process really gets underway and will begin to threaten oil supplies, even a Democrat won’t be able to stay out. But by then America will have little credibility, few allies and major strategic disadvantages.

The real test won’t be in Syria. It has already come and gone in Yemen. It will probably come in Bahrain. Bahrain has a majority Shiite population and is the home of the Fifth Fleet. During the Arab Spring the Saudis put down Iran’s “civilian” uprising in Bahrain using tanks. The next time, it won’t be that easy for the House of Khalifa or the House of Saud. If there’s one thing that Iran knows it’s how to arm and train insurgencies and this time around its bid for a takeover of Bahrain will have Russian backing.

Iran’s Islamic Front for the Liberation of Bahrain played a significant role in the Arab Spring protests under the umbrella of political Islam and human rights organizations. Iran’s ideal game plan would be for its front groups to win Western political backing for a takeover the way that the Muslim Brotherhood did in Egypt. Turning over Bahrain to admirers of the Iranian Revolution would seem insane, but so was turning over Iran to Khomeini or Egypt to Al Qaeda’s parent Muslim Brotherhood organization.

The Saudis have had to consider the possibility that Obama, Hillary or Biden would back Iran over the Saudis in Bahrain as they did in Iraq and Yemen. And they have been making their own plans.

Some months after Iran’s Ahmadinejad visited Cairo and met with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Morsi, the Saudis reversed the Qatari-Obama coup that had put the Muslim Brotherhood in power. As the deadline for last year’s negotiations with Iran approached, the Saudis began dumping oil to hurt Russia and Iran. A similar Saudi move against Iran had helped bring on the Islamic Revolution. The Saudis probably don’t expect to undo that disaster, but they were hoping to offset any Obama-backed Iranian recovery.

Instead of fighting to keep sanctions in place, the Saudis were instead poisoning the well.

Whether he understood it or not, by signing off on Iran’s Shiite bomb, Obama was also signing off on an Egyptian-Saudi Sunni bomb. Israel’s nuclear capability was tacitly understood as a defensive weapon of last resort that would not trigger a regional arms race. Genocidal military invasions of Israel came to an end and any weapons remained under wraps.

Iran however is not looking for a deterrent weapon against its neighbors. With the fall of Saddam, it faces no serious threat of invasion by Sunni forces. Today its nuclear program can have no other purpose except to expand its power and territory while forcing the United States out of the region. Nuking Israel would help seal its right to rule over the Muslim world while intimidating its enemies.

A Middle Eastern MAD with Iranians and Saudis in a nuclear standoff would be bad enough, but both powers have a long history of using terrorists to do their dirty work. And the transfer of nuclear materials to terrorists is a lot harder to track than ICBM launches.

Iran and Saudi Arabia getting the bomb won’t be the end. It will only be the beginning. A decade ago, Iran had already funneled a billion dollars into helping Syria get its own nuclear reactor. A nuclear Iran will expand its points of proliferation to the Shiite regime in Baghdad, to Hezbollah in Lebanon and any other Shiite allied states it can set up. The Saudis will expand their own nuclear capabilities to their GCC allies and Egypt so that instead of two nuclear powers, there may be as many as ten nuclear nations.

Imagine the Cold War in miniature with a lot more proliferation and Jihadists with nukes on both sides.

That is what the Iran nuclear deal really means. Every Sunni kingdom will be glaring out from under its own nuclear shield as petty tyrants keep one finger on the populace and the other on the button. A single popular uprising could see nuclear weapons in the hands of Al Qaeda or ISIS.

On the other side, Iran will be aggressively expanding its influence while engaging in escalating naval confrontations with America and its allies. It’s possible that Obama, Biden or Hillary will be able to run away fast enough to avoid a war, but they won’t be able to avoid the resulting economic chaos. And the war will follow them home as Muslim countries have a history of settling their scores by aiming at more “legitimate” non-Muslim targets. That is how 9/11 happened as part of a Saudi power struggle.

And if the United States stays, our people will be trying to keep the peace in a region gone nuclear where American bases will be prime targets for Iran and its terrorist allies. The United States will retaliate against a nuclear strike directly from Iran, but what if it comes from one of the Hezbollahs?

The question isn’t whether there will be a war. It’s how bad the war will be.

That is what Churchill understood and Chamberlain didn’t. While Churchill had fought in Afghanistan against the forerunners of the Taliban, Chamberlain had run family businesses. He saw the military as an unnecessary expense and war as something that could be negotiated away. Churchill knew better.

We are up against something similar today.

The Middle East has exploded before. It will explode again. All we’ve been doing is keeping the lid on. Obama’s surrender means that we won’t control how that explosion happens, but it won’t stop us from getting dragged in anyway once the bombs start going off.

Obama’s advisers have told him to outsource American foreign policy to Tehran. And that’s what he did. Turning over your power to your enemy won’t make him your friend. It won’t stop a war.

It will make the war much worse.

Nuclear Jihad

September 7, 2015

Nuclear Jihad, Gatestone InstituteDenis MacEoin, September 7, 2015

    • In the year 628, Muhammad, now ruling in Medina, signed the ten-year Treaty of Hudaybiyyah with his long-time enemies, the tribal confederacy of Quraysh, who ruled Mecca. Twenty-two months later, under the pretext that a clan from a tribe allied with the Quraysh had squabbled with a tribe allied to the Muslims, Muhammad broke the treaty and attacked Mecca, conquering it. It is as certain as day follows night, that the Iranian regime will find a pretext to break the deal. Already, on September 3, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene’i made it clear that he would back out of the deal if sanctions were not completely removed at once.
    • The Iranian regime not only despises democracy; it considers all Western law, including international law, invalid.
    • The Shi’a consider themselves underdogs, who are willing to sacrifice all to establish the rights of their imams and their successors. That was what the 1979 revolution was all about, and it is what present the Iranian regime still insists on as the justification for its opposition to Western intrusion, democracy, women’s rights and all the rest, which are deemed by Iran’s leadership as part of a plot to undermine and control the expansion of the Shi’i faith on the global stage. These are not Anglican vicars.
    • The Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “have responsibility… for a religious mission, which is Holy War (Jihad) in the path of God and the struggle to extend the supremacy of God’s law in the world.” — Iran’s Constitution, Article “The Religious Army”.
    • A Third World War is already taking place. The Iran deal strengthens the hands of a regime that is the world’s terrorist state, a state that furthers jihad in many places because its clerical hierarchy considers itself uniquely empowered to order and promote holy war.
    • Obama’s trust in Khamene’i’s presumed fatwa of 2013, forbidding nuclear weapons, rests on the assumption that it even exists. It does not. Even if it did,fatwas are not permanent.
    • Why, then, is this deal going ahead at all? Why is one of the world’s most tyrannical regimes being rewarded for its intransigence, and especially for repeatedly violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

“[Some] analysts,” writes the historian and former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, “claimed the president [Barack Obama] regarded Iran as an ascendant and logical power — unlike the feckless, disunited Arabs and those troublemaking Israelis — that could assist in resolving other regional conflicts. I first heard this theory at Georgetown back in 2008, in conversation with think tankers and former State Department officials. They also believed Iran’s radical Islam was merely an expression of interests and fears that the United States could with sufficient goodwill, meet and allay. … Iran, according to Obama was a pragmatic player with addressable interest. For Netanyahu, Iran was irrational, messianic, and genocidal – ‘worse,’ he said, ‘than fifty North Koreas.'”[1]

Since the signing of the deal at the UN, hot-tempered criticisms and defences have gone into overdrive in the political, journalistic, and diplomatic spheres. Acres have been written and are still being written about the deal, making it the hottest political potato of recent years. Expert analysts such as Omri Ceren and, more recently, Joel Rosenberg have cut through the deliberate obfuscation to show the extent of the dangers the deal presents to the Middle East, the United States, Israel, and the world.

The deal’s supporters insist that it will bring peace and calm to the region, while a host of denigrators — chief among them Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu — have exposed the enormous risks it entails. Already, a vast majority of American citizens are opposed to the deal.

Within the U.S. Congress, bipartisan opposition to the deal is high and mounting. Yet, on September 2, President Obama succeeded in winning over a 34th senator, enough that ultimate passage of the deal is a foregone conclusion. That does not, however, mean that the debate will end. In all likelihood, it will grow fiercer as time passes and true consequences become clearer to the public and politicians alike.

Recent revelations that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which oversees nuclear developments worldwide, has agreed that only Iranians will be allowed to inspect the most controversial of Iran’s nuclear sites, have raised anxieties about proper monitoring of the deal. The military complex of Parchin, where Iran is suspected of work on nuclear weapons, will be closed to outside inspection, making it certain that, if Iran decides to cheat (something it has done before), it will be able to do so with impunity. Sanctions will not be re-imposed. And, as we shall see, cheating on the deal can be justified by the Iranians who could always refer to the practice of the prophet Muhammad with the Quraysh tribe in Mecca.

Obama, his Secretary of State John Kerry, and the entire US administration are not merely behind the deal, but almost fanatically so. Many argue that Obama is more interested in securing his “legacy” as the world’s greatest peacemaker (or war-creator, as the case may well turn out to be), the statesman par excellence who alone could bring the theocratic regime of Iran in from the cold and shower the Middle East with true balance in its troubled affairs.

To bring this about, Obama has had to diminish, if not leave totally open to obliteration, American support for Israel, the single country in the world most clearly exposed to a possible genocide should the Iran’s Islamic regime choose to exterminate it, as it has so often threatened to do.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s words mellal-e Eslami bayad Esra’il-ra qal’ o qam’ kard – “the Islamic nations must exterminate Israel” — have been given renewed vigour now that it is highly likely that Iran, evading serious inspections by the IAEA, will soon possess the weapons to do just that.

Even if the treaty is a done deal, it is time to show yet another massive hole in the administration’s strategy. Already, Obama, Kerry and the tightly knit administration have shown themselves remarkably obdurate in turning a blind eye to the many concerns that surround the deal. At the end of the “sunset period,” if not sooner, Iran gets to have, legitimately, as many bombs as it likes. Other problems include breakout times; centrifuge production; centrifuge concealment; uranium enrichment by stealth; refusal to allow the IAEA to inspect military sites; the acquisition of intercontinental ballistic missiles — presumably to be used intercontinentally at guess who. It is no secret that the hardliners in Iran still speak of America as “The Great Satan” and consider it their enemy. That does not even include the implications of lifting sanctions on, and paying billions of dollars to, the world’s main sponsor of terrorism.

As Michael Oren has shown, however, the American president presumably thinks he is doing a deal with a logical and pragmatic regime. Barack Obama, an intelligent, well-read man of Muslim origin, knows almost nothing about Islam; that is the greatest flaw in the Iran deal he has fought so hard to inflict on the human race. With access to platoons of experts, to some of the greatest libraries with holdings in Islamic doctrines and history, and with the Mullahs and Iran’s public still daily promising to destroy America, Obama apparently still believes Islam is a religion of peace and that a theocratic, terror-supporting, medieval regime should have the power to make nuclear bombs. The obverse is that he might like, perhaps not wittingly, to see America, Israel and the West brought to their knees.

This author has previously exposed one aspect of Iran’s serious lack of logic, rationality, or pragmatism — namely the extent to which apocalyptic thinking, messianic prophecy, and dreams of Islamic transcendence through universal conflict pervade the clerical elite, a high percentage of the masses, and even the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. One might assume that this would be especially true when they are flush with cash and nuclear weapons, and the risk to their own survival is substantially lower.

On August 17, just over a month after the signing of the nuclear deal, Iran’s Supreme Leader, ‘Ali Khamene’i, addressed a religious conference, where he expressed his undying hatred for the United States. He said, for example:

We must combat the plans of the arrogance [i.e. the West, led by the U.S.] with jihad for the sake of Allah. … jihad for the sake of God does not only mean military conflict, but also means cultural, economic, and political struggle. The clearest essence of jihad for the sake of God today is to identify the plots of the arrogance in the Islamic region, especially the sensitive and strategic West Asian region. The planning for the struggle against them should include both defense and offense.

The deal has done nothing whatever to stop military threats to Israel, an ally of the United States (though treated with disrespect by America’s president). Speaking on 2 September, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp’s top commander in Tehran province, Brigadier General Mohsen Kazemayni, stated that, “… they [the US and the Zionists] should know that the Islamic Revolution will continue enhancing its preparedness until it overthrows Israel and liberates Palestine.”

There is a simple word for this: warmongering.

Why is the U.S. President insisting on a bad deal with a warmongering regime?

When a military force at its strongest fantasizes about the coming of a Messiah (the Twelfth Imam) to lead them to victory over all infidels, talk of logic, rationality and pragmatism seems acutely out of touch with reality.

Obama’s assumption that there is something solid about the Iranian regime that makes it suitable as a recipient for such largesse and the chance to enrich uranium until kingdom come seems to be based on false consciousness. The regime has been in place for almost forty years, quite a respectable time for a dictatorship. In part, that has been because it has mastered the art of suppression, giving its people a degree of freedom that is missing in several other Islamic countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Sudan, or Afghanistan. These partial freedoms, especially for young people, lull the population into risk-averseness, possibly helped along by the memory in 2009 of pleas for more freedom, which the United States ignored and the mullahs savaged.

Obama, in his ongoing attempt to portray Islam as benign — and a dictatorial regime as a sold basis for peace and understanding in the Middle East — ignores the religious element of the theocracy, as well as the sadistic repression, and in doing so misses a lot.

First of all, Shi’ite Islam is different from its Sunni big brother. It is deeply imbued with features largely absent from Sunni Islam. The most important Shi’i denomination is that of the Twelvers (Ithna’ ‘Ashariyya), who, from the beginning of Islam, have believed themselves to be not only the true version of the faith, but the group destined by God to rule in its name. Beginning with ‘Ali, the son-in-law of the Prophet and the fourth Caliph of the Sunnis, the Shi’a began as his supporters. (Please see the Appendix that follows this article: it contains material that even Barack Obama and his advisors need to know; without it, they simply will not “get” what the ayatollahs are about. It comes to an important conclusion that has considerable bearing on today’s events — and not the one you may expect.)

Beneath the smiles and banter lie the unsmiling masks and the taqiyya-flavoured lies. Beneath the wheeling and dealing and the refusals to compromise lies a sense of destiny for the regime, a belief that it stands on the brink of the realization of the centuries-old Shi’ite dream: that God will finally set his people on the pinnacle of the world and usher in the never-ending reign of the Imam Mahdi, with all injustice gone, the martyrs in paradise, the ayatollahs and mujtahids andmaraji’ in glory, and all the infidels in hell.

It is precisely because Barack Obama and his aides have never got down and dirty to take in hard information that they have remained utterly out of touch with the real springs and cogs of Iranian Shi’ite thinking.

Obama has, when all is said and done, let himself be deluded by the charm offensive of Hassan Rouhani and his henchman Javad Zarif. Obama may not believe in the mystical land of Hurqalyaor the white steed on which the Twelfth Imam will ride to the world’s last battle any more than you or I do. But the clerical elite of Iran, and those who follow them blindly — men and women brought up from birth on these tales, and who travel in the thousands every day to send a message to the Imam at the Jamkaran Mosque near Qom — believe these things with absolute devotion, and that is why this story matters, because it has political consequences.

Shi’i Muslim law enshrines jihad, holy war, as fully as does Sunni law. For Sunnis, jihad has always been possible under the authority of a Caliph, whether fought under his orders or led by kings and governors under his broad aegis.

The Shi’a, however, do not recognize the Caliphate and have often been the victims of Sunni jihads. They may feel impelled to fight a holy war, but under what authority could they do so?

The power of the clergy had waned under the anti-clerical reign of Iran’s Pahlavi dynasty (1925-1979), only to burst out more strongly than ever in the Islamic Revolution, which placed all authority in a new system of government: rule by a religious jurist, a faqih.[2] Overnight, a jihad state was brought into existence; a jihad state with vast oil reserves, modern military equipment, and, at first, the support of almost the entire Iranian population. The clerical hierarchy under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini did not just intend to prepare the way for the coming of the Mahdi. They were now his earthly deputies, in whose hands lay life and death for millions.

The new Shi’ism allowed the clergy to take on powers they had never imagined. More and more economic and legal power came to be concentrated in the hands of a narrow body of scholars, and sometimes a single man could be the source of religious and legal authority for the entire Shi’i world — in Iran, Afghanistan, eastern Arabia, Bahrain, and so on. Thus were the foundations laid for the revolutionary rank of Supreme Leader, taken by the Ayatollahs Khomeini and Khamene’i.

Look for a moment at the preamble to the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran.[3] You will see quickly that this does not read like any other constitution you have seen. The preamble sets the tone. Here, in an account of the circumstances leading to the revolution we read of the clergy as the ruhaniyyat-e mobarez, “the militant or fighting clergy.” These are not Anglican vicars at their prayers or rabbis studying Talmud. A mobarez is a warrior, a champion, a fighter. Not far down the preamble, one encounters a description of their struggle as “The Great Holy War,”jihad-e bozorg. We are not in Obama’s world of logical and pragmatic striving for political and diplomatic coherence. This is made even clearer in one of the constitution’s earlier articles, “The Religious Army.” Here, we read that the Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps “have responsibility… for a religious mission, which is Holy War (Jihad) in the path of God, and the struggle to extend the supremacy of God’s law in the world.”

How do you reach a compromise and a pragmatic deal with a regime that thinks in this way? Are the U.S. administration and the P5+1 blind to something the Iranians have never even bothered to conceal? Do they really take everything in the talks at face value? Perhaps they think references to jihad and fighting clergy are nothing more than pious talk “for domestic consumption,” as they tried to explain — as real and everyday as the myths and legends of other faiths. If they do, then they have far less excuse for their blindness, for the Iranian regime is already at war and is already fighting its jihad.

In Iraq, for example, a country with a majority Twelver Shi’i population, Iranian-backed militias have been at war for many years, first against the Americans, then the Sunnis, and now the hordes of Islamic State. In June 2014, Grand Ayatollah al-Sayyid ‘Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani issued a fatwa calling on Iraqis to fight against Islamic State, justifying their fight as jihad wajib kafa’i: a Jihad that is compulsory for those who choose it, but not for the entire population. The ruling calls for a struggle against ISIS’s irhab – their “terrorism.” Jihad is a religious and legal duty, and even though ISIS may call its fighting jihad, it is here condemned as terror.

Hezbollah, created and backed by Iran, is by far the largest terrorist group in the region. Hezbollah is considered a state within a state, with forces and infrastructure inside Lebanon and Syria. It has used the name “Islamic Jihad Organization” to cover its attacks on Israeli forces in Lebanon. In its 1988 Open Letter (Risala maftuha), it describes its followers as “Combatants of the Holy War” and goes on — in terms similar to those in the Hamas Covenant — “our struggle will end only when this entity [Israel] is obliterated. We recognize no treaty with it, no cease fire, and no peace agreements, whether separate or consolidated.”

Hezbollah and its creator, the Iranian Islamic regime, have a curious link to the Palestinian terror movement, Hamas, despite Hamas being exclusively Sunni. By financing, arming, and defending Hamas, Iran is fighting a strange proxy jihad that serves its own purposes of defying the West, achieving regional hegemony, and winning praise from all Muslims in the world for its own war against Israel. It also furthers the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood (of which Hamas is the Palestinian branch) in the same struggle.

I have dragged you through the briars and mud because it is important here to see another culture through its own eyes. If we insist in pretending that Shi’i Muslims think like Sunni Muslims or, worse still, like Jews or Christians — if we brush all that history and all those doctrines under the carpet of “any deal is better than no deal ” — we will go on making the same mistakes. We will believe that a purely political and diplomatic enterprise to bring Iran in from the cold and create a new trading alliance will transform an evil regime into a land of sweetness and light.

Members of the U.S. Congress must wake up and examine, in however cursory a fashion, these views that motivate the Iranian leadership, and must stop pretending that they are as logical and pragmatic as would be convenient for the wishes of the West.

Not that Obama and Kerry have ever sounded logical or pragmatic in how they have approached this debate and this deal-making process. In an act of supreme folly, the White House has dismissed Ayatollah Khamene’i’s recent call for “Death to America;” they pretend it is just empty rhetoric for the Iranian people.

1169Left: Senior Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani, speaking on July 17 in Tehran, behind a banner reading “We Will Trample Upon America” and “We defeat the United States.” Right: Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, proclaims “Death to America” on March 2

We are walking with a blindfold toward sure disaster. Forget the dreams of a Messiah if you will, but do not for one moment let yourself be lulled into thinking that only ISIS is serious about waging a jihad.

Despite their oft-expressed delusion that “Islam is a religion of peace,” President Obama, Secretary John Kerry and other leaders are, like it or not, already engaged in a war against jihad. They have already fought it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere. However much Obama wants to stand off from involvement in the jihad struggles of the Middle East, he cannot: Western states are fighting jihad, sometimes abroad, increasingly at home.

A Third World War is already taking place, a war the Islamists and Islamic states understand, but which many in the West still refuse to grasp. They are not even willing to respect the true motivations of the enemies against whom they fight. The Iran deal strengthens the hands of a regime that is the world’s terrorist state, a state that furthers jihad in many places because its clerical hierarchy considers itself uniquely empowered to order and promote holy war.

Let us for the moment ignore the nuclear aspect of this deal and look instead on what it offers the world’s leading jihad state. The removal of sanctions coupled with the business deals Europeans and others are rushing to secure, the delivery of perhaps $150 billion to Tehran, and the turning of many blind eyes to both Iran’s internal repression and its jihad wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Gaza, and Lebanon leave the ayatollahs poised to dominate much of the Middle East.

And that is not all. Obama’s belief in the stability of the Iranian regime seems to rest on its endurance since 1979. His trust in Khamene’i’s presumed fatwa of 2013, forbidding nuclear weapons rests on the assumption that it even exists. It does not. No one has ever seen it. Even if the fatwa did exist, fatwas are not permanent. They are always regarded as temporary rulings with Twelver Shi’ism. This is a crucial technical point that the White House seems incapable of — or ill-disposed to — grasping.

Further, Obama’s faith in Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as a reformer and moderate flies in the face of Rouhani’s devotion to the hardline clerical leadership of which he is a part. Here are a few facts:

  • ‘Ali Khamene’i is 76 years old, but his health is poor and he may not live much longer. Already, factions within the hierarchy will be jostling for the Supreme Leadership.
  • In the Usuli Twelver version of Shi’ism, once a Mujtahid dies, his fatwas are no longer valid. A new Mujtahid or, in this case, a new Supreme Leader, has to issue fatwas of his own. A new fatwa may confirm an old one or radically differ from it.
  • A new Supreme Leader is an unpredictable personality.
  • The Iranian nuclear program is already up and running.
  • The breakout time for weapons grade materials may be as short as three months.
  • Iran already has and is acquiring ballistic missiles with an intercontinental range.
  • Jihad is hard-wired into the regime’s philosophy.
  • Iran is already conducting a series of jihad wars abroad.
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has expressed a hope to return to the presidency in 2017. Ahmadinejad and his clique are bent on apocalyptic outcomes and actions to bring the Hidden Imam back to this world.

We only have to get this wrong once. Chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” are not narcotic iterations of slogans but sincerely felt expressions of intent.

Khamene’i last month praised the Iranian people for calling for the deaths of the USA and Israel, and said that he hoped God would answer their prayers because in at most ten years, the Iranian mullahs and their IRGC will possess the power to exterminate Israel, if they and their God so wish.

Why, then, is this deal going ahead at all?

Why are sanctions against the world’s leading exporter of jihadi terrorism being lifted, not strengthened?

Why is one of the world’s most tyrannical regimes being rewarded for its intransigence, and especially for repeatedly violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

Why has Israel’s Prime Minister been vilified and sidelined simply for drawing attention to the weaknesses of a deal that could lead to the death of all of his people?

Why have the P5+1 never taken seriously the Shi’ite rule that it is permitted to lie to infidels and conceal one’s own true intentions?

Why are secrets being kept — such as the contents of the two side-deals?

Why is the U.S. Congress being asked to vote without the benefit of full disclosure?

Why is the IAEA banned from spontaneously inspecting only declared Iranian nuclear sites, and why are military sites completely off-limits?

The questions are so many and so critical that we remain in the dark about where this will lead mankind. No one who has ever done a financial or political deal would ever sign on the dotted line until they had answers to all their questions. Far more hangs on this deal than perhaps any deal in history. Yet those who want to make it enforceable under international law are uninformed about the most basic contents of the deal, as well as the beliefs and historical roots of their enemy.

Such folly is almost without precedence, except possibly in the process of appeasement that endeavoured to placate the Third Reich and treat Adolf Hitler as the best friend of democracy.

The Iranian regime not only despises democracy, it considers all Western law — including international law — invalid. This view has several deep roots. For both Sunni and Shi’i Muslims, only rule under God is valid, under a Caliph or a clerical theocracy under a Supreme Ruler. Human beings have no right to interfere. Democracy leads to the making of human laws that may contradict shari’a law, and such effrontery is considered arrogant and presumptuous. The democratic elements in Iran are tightly controlled, and supremacy rests in all areas beneath clerical authority. The same principle applies to international law, UN resolutions, treaties and so forth.

Iran has openly genocidal intent, as well as a devotion to holy war that goes to the very deepest level.

Before we leave the subject of jihad, there is one other factor that everyone has overlooked. It is the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah, the most important agreement in early Islamic history. In the year 628, Muhammad, now ruling in Medina, signed the ten-year Treaty of Hudaybiyyah with his long-time enemies, the tribal confederacy of Quraysh, who ruled Mecca. Twenty-two months later, under the pretext that a clan from a tribe allied with the Quraysh had squabbled with a tribe allied to the Muslims, Muhammad broke the treaty and attacked Mecca, conquering it.

What is important about this is that Muhammad had made the treaty while he was still relatively weak. But in the months after signing it, his alliances and growing conversions meant that he now possessed superior military strength — and that was when he pounced.

In 1994, the treaty became crucial to the issue of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.[4]In September 1993, Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat signed the Oslo Accords along with Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and the following year the two leaders were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

However, even as he awaited that prize, Arafat spoke at a mosque in Johannesburg alluded to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and referred to “a jihad to liberate Jerusalem”: “I see this agreement,” he said, “as being no more than the agreement signed between our Prophet Muhammad and the Quraysh in Mecca.”

Non-Muslims may well have misunderstood this as a reference to some early Muslim peace-making. But Arafat made his meaning clear: “We now accept the peace agreement, but [only in order] to continue on the road to Jerusalem.”[5]

The nuclear deal that President Obama and his supporters have imposed will strengthen Iran considerably, removing sanctions and delivering perhaps $150 billion to the country. It is as certain as day follows night, that the Iranian regime will find a pretext to break the deal. Already, on September 3, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamene’i made it clear that he would back out of the deal if sanctions were not completely removed at once.

Whatever happens in the days ahead, the U.S. Congress, backed by a majority of the American public, needs to strike this madcap deal down before it wreaks a storm of tribulations on everyone.

Denis MacEoin has a PhD (Cambridge 1979) in Persian Studies and has written widely on Iran and its religious beliefs.

Appendix

‘Ali became the first in a line of twelve imams, all deemed the true leaders of Islam, but all denied their right to rule and all but one assassinated (or so it is claimed) by the Sunni Caliphs. From this comes the Shi’i sense of suffering, injustice, oppression by despots, neglect and rights — all of which played an important part in the 1979 revolution and continue to play out across society.

The Shi’a are the underdogs who are willing to sacrifice all to establish the rights of their imams and their successors. That was what the 1979 evolution was all about, and it is what present the regime still insists on as the justification for its opposition to Western intrusion, democracy, women’s rights and all the rest, which are deemed by Iran’s leadership as part of a plot to undermine and control the expansion of the Shi’i faith on the global stage.

The twelfth imam, according to Shi’ite legend, was a young boy, Muhammad al-Mahdi, the son of the murdered eleventh imam. Born in 869 in the Iraqi city of Samarra during the reign of the Sunni Abbasid Caliphate, his father, Hasan al-‘Askari, died when Muhammad was born.

It is said that young Muhammad, in order to avoid his enemies, went into something called Occultation (ghayba). Even if this originally was physical, he was never seen alive again and is supposed to have entered the celestial realm of Hurqalya, from which he will one day return as the promised Saviour, the Qa’im bi’l-Sayf, the One Who will Arise with the Sword to do battle with injustice and infidelity.

This belief is what waters modern Shi’i apocalypticism, something promoted intensely by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This expectation has considerable significance for Iran’s drive to nuclear power. But that is not why I raise the issue here. There is another, more mundane, aspect to the Imam’s disappearance and continued Occultation, and it may be even more relevant to the matters at hand.

The answer to what authority they could fight under was that only the Imam in each generation could order or lead jihad. But when the twelfth Imam vanished from human sight, was jihad to remain in abeyance until his return or could it be fought under another authority? The answer was not at first simple, but one thing started to happen: the Shi’a began to consider their religious scholars to be the intermediaries with the Imam, and this laid the basis for the possibility that they might have the right to order jihad. For some time, this was just conjectural, for the Shi’a had little worldly power.

In 1501, a new dynasty, the Safavids, came to power in Iran, forced most of the population to convert to Shi’ism, and created a line of kings under whom the clerical class became more and more powerful. The Shah could still lead jihad, but the clergy were needed to give permission. The Safavid dynasty lasted till 1722, and an interregnum was followed by the emergence of a new line of Shahs, the Qajars, who ruled from 1796 to 1925.

Under the Qajars, the Shi’i clerical hierarchy underwent deep and lasting changes, producing today’s version of Twelver Islam, the Usulis.

The newly powerful ‘ulama of the 19th century took on the mantle of deputies for the Hidden Imam and ordered jihads in 1809 and 1826 (against Russia), 1836, 1843, and 1856-7 (against the British). In 1914, when the British occupied Iraq at the start of World War I, the Shi’i clergy in the shrine centres there declared jihad to reinforce the call for Holy War by the Ottoman empire.

__________________________________

[1] Ally by Michael Oren

[2] As in Khomeini’s theory and book, Velayat-e Faqih, the Custodianship of the Jurisprudent.

[3] Here in English, here in Persian.

[4] For a detailed discussion of the treaty and its implications for making peace with Muslims, see Daniel Pipes, “Lessons from the Prophet Muhammad’s Diplomacy,” The Middle East Quarterly, September 1999, pp. 65-72.

[5] Natasha Singer, “Arafat Text Raises Ire,” Forward, May 27, 1994.

The Iranian Nuclear Deal Viewed Through the Eyes of ISIS and Iran’s Children

August 27, 2015

The Iranian Nuclear Deal Viewed Through the Eyes of ISIS and Iran’s Children, Accuracy in Media, Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), August 27, 2015

(Assume for the sake of argument that the Islamic Republic is only half as evil as the Islamic State. That’s hardly a persuasive argument in favor of the “deal” with Iran. –DM)

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As Congress votes next month on whether to support the nuclear agreement Team Obama has negotiated with Iran, two assessments are necessary.

One is content-oriented-looking to the four corners of the document to understand exactly what Iran is being allowed legally to do, as well as the impact it will have on our national security.

Fully understanding that, the other assessment is then to analyze Iranian intentions-looking outside the document to determine the likelihood of full compliance by the mullahs.

As Congress undertakes the first assessment, it seems, unfortunately, to pay less heed to the second. But, as the latter demands understanding what the mullahs’ ultimate goal is, in addition to their commitment to achieving it, it is most relevant.

Interestingly, to better understand the mullahs’ ultimate goal, we need only look to ISIS-a group in pursuit of a similar one.

Before we do so, however, consider the following hypothetical: based on what we know about the group today, would Congress even consider negotiating the same nuclear deal with ISIS that has been negotiated with Iran? We hope it would not. The very thought of any agreement paving the way for a nuclear-armed ISIS would be an interminable nightmare for the world community.

The blatant savagery of ISIS undermines its credibility as a candidate with whom to hold nuclear negotiations. A group whose sole creative contribution to society has been to develop increasingly horrific ways of executing victims (and proudly displaying them on video) does not make for a responsible nuclear negotiating partner.

We may have thought the burning alive of caged Jordanian pilot Mu’ath al-Kaseasbeh earlier this year represented the extreme of ISIS brutality. It did not.

We have seen other victims paraded out, hands tied behind their backs, forced to kneel in front of their ISIS captors who-unbeknownst to the captives had buried explosive devices where they were kneeling-move safely away before detonating them. The sight of flying body parts then met with cries of “Allahu Akbar” from among the ISIS savages.

We have seen videos of Arab Christians similarly being positioned and beheaded by ISIS captors.

We have reports of an ISIS leader who, by night, raped his 11-year-old slave girl and, by day, strapped her to the windshield of his vehicle to afford him concealment from snipers as he drives.

The savagery of ISIS knows no limits. Its soldiers, after executing a Muslim father, strapped an explosive device to the baby child he left behind, detonating it to demonstrate to trainees the weapon’s battlefield impact upon the human body.

ISIS justifies its savagery on a Quranic mandate to pursue Islam’s ultimate goal: a global Caliphate by which to rule all inhabitants under sharia-a system of laws stripping its own believers of human dignity and non-believers of their lives.

But it is interesting that the ultimate goal for Islam sought by ISIS is really no different than that sought by Iran’s mullahs.

The brutality of ISIS, the irrationality of its leadership, the darkness that strips it of any humanity, the avowed purpose of its very being-all of this is mirrored within the mindset of Iran’s mullahs. Iran’s mullahs are ISIS wolves in sheep’s clothing.

ISIS is driven by a virulent Islamic ideology, unprotected by state boundaries, seeking to impose sharia upon the world. Iran is driven by a virulent Islamic ideology, protected by state boundaries, seeking the very same global objective.

The two mindsets evolved from one Islamic tree, branching out into different sects following Muhammad’s death. While differences evolved in culture, political systems, eschatological beliefs concerning the “Twelfth” or “Hidden Imam,” the role economics plays, etc., what we should find disturbing is, regardless of which sectarian branch prevails, for us, the end result is the same. Whether a Sunni ISIS Caliphate or a Shiite Iranian one were to dominate, infidels would be forced either to convert to Islam or die-with death imposed by whatever means available.

It is the commitment to an Iranian Caliphate that should concern us more than the commitment of ISIS to one. The mullahs believe for theirs to evolve, global chaos needs to occur-with man a catalyst in triggering it. Thus, providing them with a path for a nuclear-armed Iran gives the mullahs the means to fulfill the prophecy of Islam to which they adhere.

The Western mind rationalizes Iran would never initiate a nuclear strike for fear of retaliation. But the concept of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) that prevented a Cold War from turning hot will have no impact upon Iran. Its mullahs see this life as but a means of ensuring their arrival in the next-a paradise of unlimited sexual desires with “recycled” virgins promised by Muhammad. Such is their reward for striving in this life to make the world an infidel-free one.

We see the evil of ISIS by the sins it commits. Why do we fail to see it in the deeds of Iran’s mullahs who mirror them? Perhaps it is because ISIS boasts about its inhumanity while the mullahs are less vocal about theirs.

To fully understand the mullahs’ commitment to their ultimate goal, we need view it through the most innocent of eyes.

The best insight into the soul of a nation’s leadership is examining how it treats its most treasured asset-its own children.

Peering into the soul of Iran’s leadership, one sees only darkness.

As Iran’s mullahs came to power in 1979, the violence against the Shah was soon redirected against their own people, claiming thousands of lives. Some were children who, lacking knowledge about sharia, were held accountable, nonetheless, for violating it and summarily executed. Sharia was to rule over all, even those of a tender age incapable of its comprehension.

For Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the sacrifice of children in this life was deemed acceptable to ensure ascendancy to the next. As he proclaimed in December 1979, “Could anyone wish his child to be martyred to obtain a good house? This is not the issue. The issue is (achieving) another world”-i.e., martyrdom of a child is justified in furtherance of Islam.

The extreme to which Khomeini took this was documented during Tehran’s eight-year war with Iraq.

Seeking to reduce Iranian army losses suffered penetrating Iraqi positions heavily defended by minefields, Khomeini issued a call for children to march through these fields to clear a route of attack. Each child was presented a plastic key beforehand, which, Khomeini promised, unlocked the gates to paradise. An estimated 500,000 children were so sacrificed.

A child’s life today in Iran continues to hold little value-children are still executed for acts deemed criminal under sharia. Accordingly, Tehran fails to comply with the Convention on Rights of the Child-an international commitment it made to protect its own children.

The virulent ideology of both ISIS and Iran’s mullahs merge on the common ground they share in totally devaluing the life of a child, evidenced by their unconscionable willingness to use children as weapons of war-whether it be to clear minefields, to serve as suicide bombers, or to execute prisoners.

The mullahs’ willingness to sacrifice the lives of their children should not be lost on us. If they, in pursuit of their ultimate goal, are unwilling to honor international commitments protecting their own children, only a fool can expect them to honor the international commitments set forth in a nuclear agreement.

He, too, is a fool who accepts President Obama’s claim that the Iranian leadership’s cries of “Death to America” are simply made for domestic consumption, ignoring Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent warning, “Saying death to America is easy; we need to express death with action.” If Congress approves Obama’s nuclear agreement with Iran, Rouhani’s wish to replace hopeful words for America’s death with action to achieve it will take a deadly step forward.

Next month’s vote on the Iranian nuclear deal will reveal to us just how many fools we have in Congress.

Nuclearizing Iran, Sabotaging Arabs

August 6, 2015

Nuclearizing Iran, Sabotaging Arabs, The Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, August 6, 2015

(Please see also, Obama’s Strategy Of Equilibrium. — DM)

  • Obama’s solution? To let Iran have legitimate nuclear bombs in a few years, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver them to the U.S. — or perhaps from America’s soft underbelly, South America, where Iran has been acquiring uranium and establishing bases for years. Or perhaps launched from submarines off America’s coast, which would make the identity of the attacker unknowable and a response therefore impossible. Incredibly, America’s politicians do not even seem to seem to be concerned about that.
  • We have just sacrificed Sunni stability for American ideology: empty slogans fed to us by clueless, if well-meaning, American officials.
  • As we watched one stable Arab regime fall after another, we have allowed ourselves to be destroyed from within by these bungling diplomats — from America, Europe, China and Russia. Instead of keeping our eyes on the real threat, we exhausted ourselves in wasteful, unending battles against the Jews — meanwhile letting the Iranian menace slip out of sight.
  • Obama really does deserve a Nobel Prize, but it should have been awarded by the Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, in gratitude for America’s surrender.

“Nation building” seems to have fallen into disrepute in the West, but it should not. It is vitally important — as the successes of Germany, Japan and South Korea attest.

Over the past few years, in our foolishness, we in the Middle East swallowed the deceptive bait of “democracy” dangled before us, even though we knew that it could not, in the misguided way it was presented, be implemented in the Middle East.

The idea was superb, but here in the Middle East, possibly in being impatient to “get credit” before the diplomats’ term of office were over, no one ever took the time to establish the institutions of democracy — equal justice under law, freedom of speech, property rights, the primacy of the individual rather than the collective, separation of religion and state — to show us in the Middle East how democracy actually operates, and to allow those institutions to take rootbefore ever holding an election.

So eager were Western leaders to take credit right away that they refused “let the rice bake.” Had the West introduced democratic elections to Japan and South Korea (where they eventually worked brilliantly) in the same way it muscled democracy into Iraq, it would never have taken root in those countries either. Had the Germans had been asked to vote right after World War II, they would most likely have reelected the Nazis — that was what they knew. It took seven years to re-educate the public to understand and accept a Konrad Adenauer.

What seems clear is that we have sacrificed Sunni stability for empty slogans — and for clueless, if well-meaning, American officials. As we watched one stable Arab regime fall after another, we allowed American ideology to destroy us from within. Instead of keeping our eyes on the real threat, we exhausted ourselves in wasteful, unending battles against the Jews — meanwhile letting the Iranian menace slip out of sight.

If we try to look at the positive side of the Iran nuclear agreement, it is just possible that Obama looked at the Sunni Arab states, fractured and at each other’s throats, and at the ruthless terrorist groups gaining ground in the expanding battle zones, and decided that we were too fractious for the U.S. to protect.

Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have been worsening the situation in the Arab world by funding Sunni terrorist organizations, thereby putting it on a course of complete chaos. Despite Arab wealth and power, we have been dealing almost exclusively with the marginal issue of Palestine and the Jews, to excuse our inability to be effective in giving U.S. President Barack Obama what he really needs: regional stability.

Obama sees Iran and its terrorist organizations, which are all unified, organized and obedient, opposing the Sunni Arabs. Obama may be betting on Iran to bring order to the Middle East.

Imagine if we and our fundamentalist Sunni terrorist organizations had actually focused on stopping the Iranians in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. Imagine if we had abandoned, even momentarily, the dream of the Muslim Brotherhood (what the West calls “political Islam”) ruling the world. Imagine if we had stopped our stupid, useless acts of hatred, and could instead have focused on our common enemy, Iran. Our situation now would be immeasurably better. We would not be deviating from the teachings of Muhammad, because first we have to focus on the near enemy and then on the distant one. Iran is nearer and more dangerous than Europe and the United States, so Iran should have been — and still should be — the first Sunni target. We might have led Obama to adopt a different approach than allowing Iran to acquire a nuclear bomb in ten years or sooner — but we did not, because of our weakness and distraction with marginal “causes.” Thus Obama, from a desire to stabilize the Middle East, seems to be betting on the strong horse, Iran.

The truth, however, may be somewhat different. It is entirely possible that Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize, is employing a policy of “divide and conquer.” In the U.S., instead of trying to improve how children in the inner cities are being educated, he has been busy stoking racial and economic conflict. The Arabs are becoming increasingly suspicious that he is a historic “divide and conquer” manipulator. He may deliberately be creating fitna (civil strife) in the Arab world by whipping up conflict with Iran, so that America will one again look like the big power-broker — but at the expense of the Arabs.

We Arabs are expert conspiracy theorists, and interpret every political agenda as a hidden plot, but one only has to look at the Obama administration’s fawning support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey and Egypt, and how America supported the fall of Mubarak, and it immediately becomes obvious that the U.S. is trying to manipulate the fate of the Arabs.

Anyone following America’s rejection of, and now only reluctant support for, the reformist regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi understands that the Americans prefer what they consider “backward Arabs”: those controlled by regressive Islam.

That is the reason we see Obama’s policies as backing both the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and the theocrats in Iran. The ideologies of both the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s mullahs would lead to most dangerous and regressive fate of both Sunni and Shiite Muslims around the world, as well as Americans at home — and these are the Muslims most loved by the current American administration. Or maybe, as many of us say here on the street, Obama is just trying to “get even” with the West and bring it to its knees, for being white, “imperialist” and non-Muslim. Obama’s solution? To let Iran have legitimate nuclear bombs in a few years, with the intercontinental ballistic missiles to deliver them to the U.S. — or perhaps from America’s soft underbelly, South America, where Iran has been acquiring uranium and establishing bases for years. Or perhaps launched from submarines off America’s coast, which would make the identity of the attacker unknowable and a response therefore impossible. Incredibly, America’s politicians do not even seem to seem to be concerned about that.

Obama really does deserve a Nobel Prize, but it should have been awarded by the Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, in gratitude for America’s surrender.

1190Perhaps President Obama’s Nobel Prize should have been awarded by the Ayatollah Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, in gratitude for America’s surrender.

Obama’s Strategy Of Equilibrium

August 6, 2015

Obama’s Strategy Of Equilibrium, Middle East Media Research Institute, Yigal Carmon and Alberto M. Fernandez, August 5, 2015

(The conflict between Shiite and Sunni factions has been going on since shortly after the death of Mohamed. Obama is not likely to bring reconciliation. — DM)

This article will analyze the strategy of creating an equilibrium between Sunnis and Shiites as a means to promote peace in the Middle East. It will examine the meaning of the strategy in political terms, how realistic it is, and what its future implications might be on the region and on the United States.

“It is worth noting that the first Islamic State created in the Middle East in the last 50 years was not the one created in the Sunni world in 2014 and headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” Rather, it was the Islamic Republic of Iran created in 1979 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and currently ruled by his successor, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who maintains – even following the Iran deal – the mantra “Death to America,” continues to sponsor terrorism worldwide, and commits horrific human rights violations.

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Introduction

In an interview with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times (“Obama Makes His Case on Iran Nuclear Deal,” July 14, 2015), President Obama asked that the nuclear deal with Iran be judged only by how successfully it prevents Iran from attaining a nuclear bomb, not on “whether it is changing the regime inside of Iran” or “whether we are solving every problem that can be traced back to Iran.” However, in many interviews he has given over the last few years, he has revealed a strategy and a plan that far exceed the Iran deal: a strategy which aims to create an equilibrium between Sunnis and Shiites in the Muslim world.

President Obama believes that such an equilibrium will result in a more peaceful Middle East in which tensions between regional powers are reduced to mere competition. As he told David Remnick in an interview with The New Yorker, “…if we were able to get Iran to operate in a responsible fashion…you could see an equilibrium developing between Sunni, or predominantly Sunni, Gulf states and Iran in which there’s competition, perhaps suspicion, but not an active or proxy warfare” (“Going the Distance,” January 27, 2014).

In discussing the Iran deal, the President recalled President Nixon negotiating with China and President Reagan negotiating with the Soviet Union in order to explain the scope of his strategy for the Middle East and the Muslim world. President Obama seeks, as did Presidents Reagan and Nixon with China and the Soviet Union, to impact the region as a whole. The Iran deal, even if major, is just one of several vehicles that would help achieve this goal.

This article will analyze the strategy of creating an equilibrium between Sunnis and Shiites as a means to promote peace in the Middle East. It will examine the meaning of the strategy in political terms, how realistic it is, and what its future implications might be on the region and on the United States.

The Meaning Of The Equilibrium Strategy In Political Terms

Examining the strategy of equilibrium requires the recollection of some basic information. Within Islam’s approximately 1.6 billion believers, the absolute majority – about 90% – is Sunni, while Shiites constitute only about 10%.  Even in the Middle East, Sunnis are a large majority.

What does the word “equilibrium” mean in political terms? In view of the above stated data, the word “equilibrium” in actual political terms means empowering the minority and thereby weakening the majority in order to progress toward the stated goal. However, the overwhelming discrepancy in numbers makes it impossible to reach an equilibrium between the two camps. Therefore, it would be unrealistic to believe that the majority would accept a policy that empowers its adversary and weakens its own historically superior status.

Implications For The Region

Considering the above, the implications of the equilibrium strategy for the region might not be enhancing peace as the President well intends; rather, it might intensify strife and violence in the region. The empowered minority might be persuaded to increase its expansionist activity, as can be already seen: Iran has extended its influence from Lebanon to Yemen. Iranian analyst Mohammad Sadeq al-Hosseini stated in an interview on September 24, 2014, “We in the axis of resistance are the new sultans of the Mediterranean and the Gulf. We in Tehran, Damascus, [Hizbullah’s] southern suburb of Beirut, Baghdad, and Sanaa will shape the map of the region. We are the new sultans of the Red Sea as well” (MEMRITV Clip No. 4530). Similarly, in a statement dedicated to the historically indivisible connection between Iraq and Iran, advisor to President Rouhani Ali Younesi stressed that, “Since its inception, Iran has [always] had a global [dimension]; it was born an empire” (MEMRI Report No. 5991).

In view of this reality, this strategy might create, against the President’s expectations, more bitterness and willingness on the part of the majority to fight for their status. This has already been realized; for example, when Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen after facing the Houthi/Shiite revolution, which it perceived as a grave danger to its survival, and created a fighting coalition within a month to counter it. Similarly, Saudi Arabia has previously demonstrated that it regards Bahrain as an area where any Iranian attempt to stir up unrest will be answered by Saudi military intervention. According to reports, Saudi Arabia has been supporting the Sunni population in Iraq, and in Lebanon, a standstill has resulted because Saudi Arabia has shown that it will not give up – even in a place where Iranian proxy Hizbollah is the main power. Hence, the strategy of equilibrium has a greater chance of resulting in the eruption of regional war than in promoting regional peace.

Implications For The United States

Moreover, this strategy might have adverse implications for the United States and its interests in the Sunni Muslim world: those countries that feel betrayed by the strategy might, as a result, take action against the United States – hopefully only politically (such as changing international alliances) or economically. These countries might be careful about their public pronouncements and might even voice rhetorical support to U.S. policy, as the GCC states did on August 3, but the resentment is there.

Realpolitik Versus Moral Considerations

The analysis presented here is based on principles of realpolitik: in politics, one does not align with the minority against the majority. However, sometimes other considerations take precedence. Morality is such an example: the Allies could not refrain from fighting Nazi Germany because it was a majority power – ultimately, they recognized the moral obligation to combat the Third Reich. However, with regard to the Middle East, the two adversaries are on equal standing: the Islamic Republic of Iran is no different than the Wahhabi Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. President Obama and Secretary Kerry would be wrong to think that Mohammad Javad Zarif, the sophisticated partygoer in New York City, represents the real Iran. Zarif, his negotiating team, and President Rouhani himself, all live under the shadow and at the mercy of the Supreme Leader, the ayatollahs, and the IRGC.

“It is worth noting that the first Islamic State created in the Middle East in the last 50 years was not the one created in the Sunni world in 2014 and headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.” Rather, it was the Islamic Republic of Iran created in 1979 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and currently ruled by his successor, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who maintains – even following the Iran deal – the mantra “Death to America,” continues to sponsor terrorism worldwide, and commits horrific human rights violations.

Report: Iran orders Hezbollah not to retaliate now because finalizing nuclear deal

August 5, 2015

Report: Iran orders Hezbollah not to retaliate now because finalizing nuclear deal, Jerusalem PostAriel Ben Solomon, August 5, 2015

Iran instructed Hezbollah not to respond to reported Israeli Air Force strikes last week because it wants to focus on finalizing the nuclear deal with world powers, a Saudi newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Tehran does not want an escalation now that could risk the release of funds that will flow in from frozen assets as sanctions relief kicks in as the deal is finalized, sources told Al-Watan.

The unconfirmed report could well be false and part of the ongoing media battle going on between Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia and the Iran Shi’ite axis.

Iran will get access to over $100 billion of assets frozen abroad, US officials say, equivalent to a quarter of its annual output. The inflow may start around the end of this year, after Tehran is certified in compliance with the deal.

The alleged Israel Air Force drone attack last week struck a vehicle on the outskirts of the Druse village of Hader, near the Golan Heights. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that five people were killed in the attack – two members of Hezbollah and three from the Syrian National Defense Forces, a pro-government militia.

The observatory added that the cell was led and supervised by Kuntar, who was traded by Israel in 2008 in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli reservists killed by Hezbollah in 2006.

A second strike targeted a Lebanese military installation near the Syrian border, wounding six, according to Arab media reports.

Other sources told the Saudi paper that the Shi’ite group aims to cover up its inability to protect its fighters in Syria and particularly from Israeli attacks.

In January, Israel carried out a helicopter attack in Quneitra province that killed a top Iranian Revolutionary Guard general and several Hezbollah members including the son of the group’s late military commander, Jihad Mughniyeh.

Meanwhile, Hezbollah recently arrested a Lebanese engineer who was allegedly an Israeli spy and turned him over to Lebanese authorities, a security force told the Lebanese Daily Star newspaper in a report on Wednesday.

He was recruited and trained in Europe by Israelis, according to the source,

Dispatch from Iraq: the Stealth Iranian Takeover Becomes Clear

August 1, 2015

Dispatch from Iraq: the Stealth Iranian Takeover Becomes Clear, PJ Media via Middle East Forum, Jonathan Spyer, July 31, 2015

1484A Shi’a militia billboard in Baghdad

Close observation of the militias, their activities, and their links to Tehran is invaluable in understanding what is likely to happen in the Middle East following the conclusion of the nuclear agreement between the P5 + 1 powers and Tehran.

The genius of the Iranian method is that it is not possible to locate a precise point where the Iranian influence ends and the “government” begins. Everything is entwined. This pro-Iranian military and political activity depends at ground level on the successful employment and manipulation of religious fervor. This is what makes the Hashed fighters able to stand against the rival jihadis of ISIS.

The deal itself proves that Iran can continue to push down this road while paying only a minor price, so why change? Expect further manifestations of the Tehran formula in the Middle East in the period ahead.

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In late June, I traveled to Iraq with the purpose of investigating the role being played by the Iranian-supported Shia militias in that country.

Close observation of the militias, their activities, and their links to Tehran is invaluable in understanding what is likely to happen in the Middle East following the conclusion of the nuclear agreement between the P5 + 1 powers and Tehran.

An Iranian stealth takeover of Iraq is currently under way. Tehran’s actions in Iraq lay bare the nature of Iranian regional strategy. They show that Iran has no peers at present in the promotion of a very 21st century way of war, which combines the recruitment and manipulation of sectarian loyalties; the establishment and patient sponsoring of political and paramilitary front groups; and the engagement of these groups in irregular and clandestine warfare, all in tune with an Iran-led agenda.

With the conclusion of the nuclear deal, and thanks to the cash about to flow into Iranian coffers, the stage is now set for an exponential increase in the scale and effect of these activities across the region.

So what is going on in Iraq, and what may be learned from it?

Power in Baghdad today is effectively held by a gathering of Shia militias known as the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization). This initiative brings together tens of armed groups, including some very small and newly formed ones. However, its main components ought to be familiar to Americans who remember the Iraqi Shia insurgency against the U.S. in the middle of the last decade. They are: the Badr Organization, the Asaib Ahl al-Haq, the Kataeb Hizballah, and the Sarayat al-Salam (which is the new name for the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr).

All of these are militias of long-standing. All of them are openly pro-Iranian in nature. All of them have their own well-documented links to the Iranian government and to the Revolutionary Guards Corps.

1559Shia militiamen are becoming a fixture of daily life in the Iraqi capital.

The Hashed al-Shaabi was founded on June 15, 2014, following a fatwa by venerated Iraqi Shia cleric Ali al-Sistani a day earlier. Sistani called for a limited jihad at a time when the forces of ISIS were juggernauting toward Baghdad. The militias came together, under the auspices of Quds Force kingpin Qassem Suleimani and his Iraqi right-hand man Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Because of the parlous performance of the Iraqi Army, the Shia militias have become in effect the sole force standing between ISIS and the Iraqi capital.

Therein lies the source of their strength. Political power grows, as another master strategist of irregular warfare taught, from the barrel of a gun. In the case of Iraq, no instrument exists in the hands of the elected government to oppose the will of the militias. The militias, meanwhile, in their political iteration, are also part of the government.

In the course of my visit, I travelled deep into Anbar Province with fighters of the Kataeb Hizballah, reaching just eight miles from Ramadi City. I also went to Baiji, the key front to the capital’s north, accompanying fighters from the Badr Corps.

1469Asaib Ahl al-Haq fighters operating in Baiji in June

In all areas, I observed close cooperation between the militias, the army, and the federal police. The latter are essentially under the control of the militias. Mohammed Ghabban, of Badr, is the interior minister. The Interior Ministry controls the police. Badr’s leader, Hadi al-Ameri, serves as the transport minister.

In theory, the Hashd al-Shaabi committee answers to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi. In practice, no one views the committee as playing anything other than a liaison role. The real decision-making structure for the militias’ alliance goes through Abu Mahdi al Muhandis and Hadi al-Ameri, to Qassem Suleimani, and directly on to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

No one in Iraq imagines that any of these men are taking orders from Abadi, who has no armed force of his own, whose political party (Dawa) remains dominated by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his associates, and whose government is dependent on the military protection of the Shia militias and their political support. When I interviewed al-Muhandis in Baiji, he was quite open regarding the source of the militias’ strength: “We rely on capacity and capabilities provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

1482Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis (right) with Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Suleimani

The genius of the Iranian method is that it is not possible to locate a precise point where the Iranian influence ends and the “government” begins. Everything is entwined. This pro-Iranian military and political activity depends at ground level on the successful employment and manipulation of religious fervor. This is what makes the Hashed fighters able to stand against the rival jihadis of ISIS. Says Major General Juma’a Enad, operational commander in Salah al-Din Province: “The Hashed strong point is the spiritual side, the jihad fatwa. Like ISIS.”

So this is Tehran’s formula. The possession of a powerful state body (the IRGC’s Quds Force) whose sole raison d’etre is the creation and sponsorship of local political-military organizations to serve the Iranian interest. The existence of a population in a given country available for indoctrination and mobilization. The creation of proxy bodies and the subsequent shepherding of them to both political and military influence, with each element complementing the other. And finally, the reaping of the benefit of all this in terms of power and influence.

This formula has at the present time brought Iran domination of Lebanon and large parts of Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Current events in Iraq form a perfect study of the application of this method, and the results it can bring. Is Iran likely to change this winning formula as a result of the sudden provision of increased monies resulting from the nuclear deal? This is certainly the hope of the authors of the agreement. It is hard to see on what it is based.

The deal itself proves that Iran can continue to push down this road while paying only a minor price, so why change? Expect further manifestations of the Tehran formula in the Middle East in the period ahead.

Column One: Obama strikes again

July 31, 2015

Column One: Obama strikes again, Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, July 30, 2015

ShowImage (5)US President Barack Obama (L) and Vice President Joe Biden. (photo credit:OFFICIAL WHITE HOUSE PHOTO BY PETE SOUZA)

Most of the antiquities that ISIS plunders in Iraq and Syria make their way to the world market through Turkey. So, too, most of the oil that ISIS produces in Syria and Iraq is smuggled out through Turkey. According to the US Treasury, ISIS has made $1 million-$4m. a day from oil revenue.

Instead of maintaining its current practice of balancing its support for Turkey with its support for the Kurds, under the agreement, the West ditches its support for the Kurds and transfers its support to Turkey exclusively.

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While Israel and much of oficial Washington remain focused on the deal President Barack Obama just cut with the ayatollahs that gives them $150 billion and a guaranteed nuclear arsenal within a decade, Obama has already moved on – to Syria.

Obama’s first hope was to reach a deal with his Iranian friends that would leave the Assad regime in place. But the Iranians blew him off.

They know they don’t need a deal with Obama to secure their interests. Obama will continue to help them to maintain their power base in Syria though Hezbollah and the remains of the Assad regime without a deal.

Iran’s cold shoulder didn’t stop Obama. He moved on to his Sunni friend Turkish President Recep Erdogan.

Like the Iranians, since the war broke out, Erdogan has played a central role in transforming what started out as a local uprising into a regional conflict between Sunni and Shiite jihadists.

With Obama’s full support, by late 2012 Erdogan had built an opposition dominated by his totalitarian allies in the Muslim Brotherhood.

By mid-2013, Erdogan’s Muslim Brotherhood- led coalition was eclipsed by al-Qaida spinoffs. They also enjoyed Turkish support.

And when last summer ISIS supplanted al-Qaida as the dominant Sunni jihadist force in Syria, it did so with Erdogan’s full backing. For the past 18 months, Turkey has been ISIS’s logistical, political and economic base.

According to Brett McGurk, the State Department’s point man on ISIS, about 25,000 foreign fighters have joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq. All of them transited through Turkey.

Most of the antiquities that ISIS plunders in Iraq and Syria make their way to the world market through Turkey. So, too, most of the oil that ISIS produces in Syria and Iraq is smuggled out through Turkey. According to the US Treasury, ISIS has made $1 million-$4m. a day from oil revenue.

In May, US commandos in Syria assassinated Abu Sayyaf, ISIS’s chief money manager, and arrested his wife and seized numerous computers and flash drives from his home. According to a report in The Guardian published last week, the drives provided hard evidence of official Turkish economic collusion with ISIS.

Due to Turkish support, ISIS has become a self-financing terrorist group. With its revenue stream it is able to maintain a welfare state regime, attracting recruits from abroad and securing the loyalty of local Sunni militias and former Ba’athist forces.

Some Western officials believed that after finding hard evidence of Turkish regime support for ISIS, NATO would finally change its relationship with Turkey. To a degree they were correct.

Last week, Obama cut a deal with Erdogan that changes the West’s relationship with Erdogan.

Instead of maintaining its current practice of balancing its support for Turkey with its support for the Kurds, under the agreement, the West ditches its support for the Kurds and transfers its support to Turkey exclusively.

The Kurdish peshmerga militias operating today in Iraq and Syria are the only military outfits making sustained progress in the war against ISIS. Since last October, the Kurds in Syria have liberated ISIS-controlled and -threatened areas along the Turkish border.

The YPG, the peshmerga militia in Syria, won its first major victory in January, when after a protracted, bloody battle, with US air support, it freed the Kurdish border town of Kobani from ISIS’s assault.

In June, the YPG scored a strategic victory against ISIS by taking control of Tal Abyad. Tal Abyad controls the road connecting ISIS’s capital of Raqqa with Turkey. By capturing Tal Abyad, the Kurds cut Raqqa’s supply lines.

Last month, Time magazine reported that the Turks reacted with hysteria to Tal Abyad’s capture.

Not only did the operation endanger Raqqa, it gave the Kurds territorial contiguity in Syria.

The YPG’s victories enhanced the Kurds’ standing among Western nations. Indeed, some British and American officials were quoted openly discussing the possibility of removing the PKK, the YPG’s Iraqi counterpart, from their official lists of terrorist organizations.

The YPG’s victories similarly enhanced the Kurds’ standing inside Turkey itself. In the June elections to the Turkish parliament, the Kurdish HDP party won 12 percent of the vote nationally, and so blocked Erdogan’s AKP party from winning a parliamentary majority.

Without that majority Erdogan’s plan of reforming the constitution to transform Turkey into a presidential republic and secure his dictatorship for the long run has been jeopardized.

As far as Erdogan was concerned, by the middle of July the Kurdish threat to his power had reached unacceptable levels.

Then two weeks ago the deck was miraculously reshuffled.

On July 20, young Kurdish activists convened in Suduc, a Kurdish town on the Turkish side of the border, 6 kilometers from Kobani. A suicide bomber walked up to them, and detonated, massacring 32 people.

Turkish officials claim that the bomber was a Turkish Kurd, and a member of ISIS. But the Kurds didn’t buy that line. Last week, HDP lawmakers accused the regime of complicity with the bomber. And two days after the attack, militants from the PKK killed two Turkish policemen in a neighboring village, claiming that they collaborated with ISIS.

At that point, Erdogan sprang into action.

After refusing for months to work with NATO forces in their anti-ISIS operations, Erdogan announced he was entering the fray. He would begin targeting “terrorists” and allow the US air force to use two Turkish air bases for its anti-ISIS operations. In exchange, the US agreed to set up a “safe zone” in Syria along the Turkish border.

Turkish officials were quick to explain that in targeting “terrorists,” the Turks would not distinguish between Kurdish terrorists and ISIS terrorists just because the former are fighting ISIS. Both, they insisted, are legitimate targets.

Erdogan closed his deal in a telephone call with Obama. And he immediately went into action.

Turkish forces began bombing terrorist targets and rounding up terrorist suspects. Although a few of the Turkish bombing runs have been directly against ISIS, the vast majority have targeted Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria.

Moreover, for every suspected ISIS terrorist arrested by Turkish security forces, at least eight Kurds have been taken into custody.

Then, too, Erdogan has called on AKP lawmakers to begin criminalizing their counterparts from the HDP. Kurdish lawmakers, he urged them, must be stripped of their parliamentary immunity to enable their arrests.

As Erdogan apparently sees things, by going to war against the Kurds, he will be able to reestablish the AKP’s parliamentary majority. Within a few weeks, if the AKP fails to form a governing coalition – and it will – then new elections will be held. The nationalists, who abandoned the AKP in June, will return to the party to reward Erdogan for fighting the Kurds.

As for that “safe area” in northern Syria, as the Kurds see it, Erdogan will use it to destroy Kurdish autonomy. He will flood the zone with Syrian Arab refugees who fled to Turkey, to dilute the Kurdish majority. And he will secure coalition support for the Sunni Arab militias – including those still affiliated with al-Qaida – which will be permitted by NATO to operate openly in the safe area.

Already the Kurds are reporting that the US has stopped providing air support for their forces fighting ISIS in the border town of Jarablus. Those forces were bombed this week by Turkish F-16s.

For their part, despite Erdogan’s pledge to fight ISIS, his forces seem remarkable uninterested in rolling back ISIS achievements. The Turks have no plan for removing ISIS from its strongholds in Raqqa or Haskiyah.

The Obama administration is presenting the deal with Turkey as yet another great achievement.

In an interview with Charlie Rose on Tuesday, McGurk explained that the deal was a long time in the making. It began with a phone conversation between Obama and Erdogan last October and it ended with their phone call last week.

In October, Obama convinced Erdogan not to oppose US air support for the Kurds in Kobani and to enable the US to resupply YPG fighters in Kobani through Turkey. In the second, Obama agreed not to oppose Erdogan’s offensive against the Kurds.

Two years ago, in August 2013, the world held its breath awaiting US action in Syria. That month, after prolonged equivocation amidst mountains of evidence, the Obama administration was forced to acknowledge that Iran’s Syrian puppet Bashar Assad had crossed Obama’s self-declared redline and used chemical weapons against regime opponents, including civilians.

US forces assembled for battle. Everything looked ready to go, until just hours before US jets were scheduled to begin bombing regime targets, Obama canceled the operation. In so doing, he lost all deterrent power against Iran. He also lost all strategic credibility among America’s regional allies.

To save face, Obama agreed to a Russian proposal to have international monitors remove Syria’s chemical weapons from the country.

Last summer, the administration proudly announced that the mission had been completed.

UN chemical weapons monitors had removed Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal from the country, they proclaimed. It didn’t matter to either Obama or Secretary of State John Kerry that by that point Assad had resumed chemical assaults with chlorine-based bombs. Chlorine bombs weren’t chemical weapons, the Americans idiotically proclaimed.

Then last week, the lie fell apart. The Wall Street Journal reported that according to US intelligence agencies, Assad not surrendered his chemical arsenal.

Rather, he hid much of his chemical weaponry from the UN inspectors. He had even managed to retain the capacity to make chemical weapons – like chlorine-based bombs – after agreeing to part with his chemical arsenal.

Assad was able to cheat, because just as the administration’s nuclear deal with the Iranians gives Iran control over which nuclear sites will be open to UN inspectors, and which will be off limits, so the chemical deal gave Assad control over what the inspectors would and would not be allowed to see. So, they saw only what he showed them.

Obama has gone full circle in concluding his deal with Erdogan. Since entering office, Obama has sought to cut deals with both the Sunni jihadists of the Muslim Brotherhood ilk and the Shi’ite jihadists of the Iranian ilk.

His chemical deal with Assad and his nuclear deal with the ayatollahs accomplished the latter goal, and did so at the expense of America’s Sunni Arab allies and Israel.

His deal last week with Erdogan accomplishes the former goal, to the benefit of ISIS, and on the backs of America’s Kurdish allies.

So that takes care of the Middle East. With 17 months left to go till Obama leave office, the time has apparently come for the British to begin to worry.

The Iran Delusion: A Primer for the Perplexed

July 8, 2015

The Iran Delusion: A Primer for the Perplexed, World AffairsMichael J. Totten, Summer 2015

Totten_Iran

US foreign policy in the Middle East is focused on two things right now: containing ISIS and preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. These are both worthy goals, but if sanctions are lifted on Iran as part of a nuclear deal, whether or not it gets the bomb, Tehran will certainly have more money and resources to funnel to Hezbollah, the Assad regime, Iraq’s Shia militias, the Houthis in Yemen, and—perhaps—to Saudi Arabia’s disaffected Shia minority. The region will become even less stable than it already is. ISIS and al-Qaeda will likely grow stronger than they already are.

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The chattering class has spent months bickering about whether or not the United States should sign on to a nuclear deal with Iran, and everyone from the French and the Israelis to the Saudis has weighed in with “no” votes. Hardly anyone aside from the Saudis, however, seems to recognize that the Iranian government’s ultimate goal is regional hegemony and that its nuclear weapons program is simply a means to that end.

What do these shatter zones have in common? The Iranian government backs militias and terrorist armies in all of them. As Kaplan writes, “The instability Iran will cause will not come from its implosion, but from a strong, internally coherent nation that explodes outward from a natural geographic platform to shatter the region around it.”

That’s why Iran is a problem for American foreign policy makers in the first place; and that’s why trading sanctions relief for an international weapons inspection regime will have no effect on any of it whatsoever.

Iran has been a regional power since the time of the Persian Empire, and its Islamic leaders have played an entirely pernicious role in the Middle East since they seized power from Mohammad Shah Reza Pahlavi in 1979, stormed the US Embassy in Tehran, and held 66 American diplomats hostage for 444 days.

In 1982, they went international. When the Israelis invaded Lebanon to dislodge Yasir Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Army, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commanders forged a network of terrorist and guerrilla cells among their coreligionists in Lebanon’s Shia population.

Hezbollah, the poisoned fruit of these efforts, initially had no name. It was a hidden force that struck from the shadows. It left a hell of a mark, though, for an organization of anonymous nobodies when it blew up the American Embassy in Beirut and hit French and American peacekeeping troops—who were there at the invitation of the Lebanese government—with suicide truck bombers in 1983 that killed 368 people.

When Hezbollah’s leaders finally sent out a birth announcement in their 1985 Open Letter, they weren’t the least bit shy about telling the world who they worked for. “We are,” they wrote, “the Party of God (Hizb Allah), the vanguard of which was made victorious by God in Iran . . . We obey the orders of one leader, wise and just, that of our tutor and faqih [jurist] who fulfills all the necessary conditions: Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini. God save him!”

The Israelis fought a grinding counterinsurgency against Hezbollah for 18 years in southern Lebanon before withdrawing in 2000, and they fought a devastating war in 2006 along the border that killed thousands and produced more than a million refugees in both countries. Hezbollah was better armed and equipped than the Lebanese government even then, but today its missiles can reach Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and even the Dimona nuclear power plant all the way down in the southern part of the country. 

Until September 11, 2001, no terrorist organization in the world had killed more Americans than Hezbollah. Hamas in Gaza isn’t even qualified as a batboy in the league Hezbollah plays in.

Hezbollah is more than just an anti-Western and anti-Jewish terrorist organization. It is also a ruthless sectarian Shia militia that imposes its will at gunpoint on Lebanon’s Sunnis, Christians, and Druze. It has toppled elected governments, invaded and occupied parts of Beirut, and, according to a United Nations indictment, assassinated former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

Hezbollah is, for all intents and purposes, the foreign legion of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. The parts of the country it occupies—the northern Bekaa Valley, the Israeli border region, and the suburbs south of Beirut—constitute a de facto Iranian-controlled state-within-a-state inside Lebanon. 

After the United States demolished Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime in 2003, Iran’s rulers duplicated their Lebanon strategy in Iraq by sponsoring a smorgasbord of sectarian Shia militias and death squads that waged war against the Iraqi government, the American military, Sunni civilians, and politically moderate Shias. 

Unlike Lebanon—which is more or less evenly divided between Christians, Sunnis, and Shias—Iraq has an outright Shia majority that feels a gravitational pull toward their fellow Shias in Iran and a revulsion for the Sunni minority that backed Hussein’s brutal totalitarianism and today tolerates the even more deranged occupation by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS. 

The central government, then, is firmly aligned with Tehran. Iran’s clients don’t run a Hezbollah-style state-within-a-state in Iraq. They don’t have to. Now that Hussein is out of the way, Iraq’s Shias can dominate Baghdad with the weight of sheer demographics alone. But Iran isn’t content with merely having strong diplomatic relations with its neighbor. It still sponsors sectarian Shia militias in the center and south of the country that outperform the American-trained national army. They may one day even supplant Iraq’s national army as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps has more or less supplanted the Iranian national army. Iraq’s Shia militias are already the most powerful armed force outside the Kurdish autonomous region and ISIS-held territory.

When ISIS took complete control of the city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, in May of 2015, the Iraqi soldiers tasked with protecting it dropped their weapons and ran as they had earlier in Mosul, Tikrit, and Fallujah. So Iraq’s central government tasked its Iranian-backed Shia militias with taking it back. 

On the one hand, we can hardly fault Baghdad for sending in whatever competent fighting force is available when it needs to liberate a city from a psychopathic terrorist army, but the only reason ISIS gained a foothold among Iraq’s Sunnis in the first place is because the Baghdad government spent years acting like the sectarian dictatorship that it is, by treating the Sunni minority like second-class citizens, and by trumping up bogus charges against Sunni officials in the capital. When ISIS promised to protect Iraq’s Sunnis from the Iranian-backed Shia rulers in Baghdad, the narrative seemed almost plausible. So ISIS, after being vomited out of Anbar Province in 2007, was allowed to come back.

Most of Iraq’s Sunnis fear and loathe ISIS. They previously fought ISIS under its former name, al-Qaeda in Iraq. But they fear and loathe the central government and its Shiite militias even more. They’d rather be oppressed by “their own” than by “the other” if they had to choose. But they have to choose because Iran has made Iraq its second national project after Lebanon.

It doesn’t have to be this way. At least some of the tribal Sunni militias would gladly fight ISIS as they did in the past with American backing. If they did, residents of Ramadi, Fallujah, and Mosul would view them as liberators and protectors rather than potential oppressors, but Tehran and Baghdad will have none of it.

“All attempts to send arms and ammunition must be through the central government,” Adnan al-Assadi, a member of Parliament, told CNN back in May. “That is why we refused the American proposal to arm the tribes in Anbar. We want to make sure that the weapons would not end up in the wrong hands, especially ISIS.”

That may appear reasonable on the surface, but ISIS can seize weapons from Shia militias just as easily as it can seize weapons from Sunni militias. The real reason for the government’s reluctance ought to be obvious: Iraq’s Shias do not want to arm Iraq’s Sunnis. They’d rather have ISIS controlling huge swaths of the country than a genuinely popular Sunni movement with staying power that’s implacably hostile to the Iranian-backed project in Mesopotamia.

The catastrophe in Iraq is bad enough, but the Iranian handiwork in Syria is looking even more apocalyptic nowadays. ISIS wouldn’t even exist, of course, if it weren’t for the predatory regime of Bashar al-Assad, and the close alliance that has existed between Damascus and Tehran since the 1979 revolution that brought the ayatollahs to power.

Syria’s government is dominated by the Alawites, who make up just 15 percent of the population. Their religion is a heterodox blend of Christianity, Gnosticism, and Shia Islam. They aren’t Shias. They aren’t even Muslims. Their Arab Socialist Baath Party is and has always been as secular as the Communist Party was in the Soviet Union (and it was in fact a client of the Soviet Union). A marriage between an aggressively secular Alawite regime and Iran’s clerical Islamic Republic was hardly inevitable, but it’s certainly logical. The two nations had a common enemy wedged between them in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and both have been threatened by the region’s Sunni Arab majority since their inception. 

Hezbollah is their first child, and the three of them together make up the core of what analyst Lee Smith calls the Resistance Bloc in his book, The Strong Horse. The Party of God, as it calls itself, wouldn’t exist without Iranian money and weapons, nor would it exist without Damascus as the logistics hub that connects them. And it would have expired decades ago if Syria hadn’t conquered and effectively annexed Lebanon at the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1990.

Every armed faction in Lebanon, including Hezbollah, signed on to the Syrian-brokered Taif Agreement, which required the disarmament of every militia in the country. But the Assads governed Lebanon with the same crooked and cynical dishonesty they perfected at home, and as the occupying power they not only allowed Hezbollah to hold onto its arsenal, but also allowed Hezbollah to import rockets and even missiles from Iran.

“For Syria,” historian William Harris wrote in The New Face of Lebanon, “Hezbollah could persist as both a check on the Lebanese regime and as a means to bother Israel when convenient.”

The Party of God is now a powerful force unto itself, but it rightly views the potential downfall of the Assad regime as the beginning of its own end. The fact that Assad might be replaced by the anti-Shia genocidaires of ISIS compelled its fighters to invade Syria without an exit strategy—with the help of Iranian commanders, of course—to either prop up their co-patron or die.

Rather than going all-in, the Iranians could have cut their losses in Syria and pressured Assad into leaving the country. ISIS would be hiding under rocks right now had that happened. Hardly any Sunnis in Syria would tolerate such a deranged revolution if they had no one to revolt against. But the Resistance Bloc will only back down if it’s forced to back down. If ISIS devours Syria and Iraq as a result, then so be it.

And while the Resistance Bloc is fighting for its survival in the Levant, it’s expanding into the Arabian Peninsula.

The Shia-dominated Houthi movement took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, earlier this year following the revolution that toppled former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, and its fighters are well on their way to taking the port city of Aden, in the Sunni part of the country.

The Houthis, of course, are backed by Iran.

They’re no more likely to conquer every inch of that country than Iran’s other regional proxies are to conquer every inch of anywhere else. Shias make up slightly less than half of Yemen’s population, and their natural “territory” is restricted to the northwestern region in and around the capital. Taking and holding it all is likely impossible. No government—Sunni, Shia, or otherwise—has managed to control all of Yemen for long. 

And the Saudis are doing their damnedest to make sure it stays that way. Their fighter jets have been pounding Houthi positions throughout the country since March.

Saudi Arabia is more alarmed at Iranian expansion in the region than anyone else, and for good reason. It’s the only Arab country with a substantial Shia minority that hasn’t yet been hit by Iranian-backed revolution, upheaval, or sectarian strife, although events in Yemen could quickly change that.

In the city and province of Najran, in the southwestern corner just over the Yemeni border, Shias are the largest religious group, and they’re linked by sect, tribe, and custom to the Houthis.

Not only is the border there porous and poorly defined, but that part of Saudi Arabia once belonged to Yemen. The Saudis conquered and annexed it in 1934. Najran is almost identical architecturally to the Yemeni capital, and you can walk from Najran to Yemen is a little over an hour. 

Will the Houthis be content to let Najran remain in Saudi hands now that they have Iranian guns, money, power, and wind at their back? Maybe. But the Saudis won’t bet their sovereignty on a maybe.

Roughly 15 percent of Saudi Arabia’s citizens are Shias. They’re not a large minority, but Syria’s Alawites are no larger and they’ve been ruling the entire country since 1971. And Shias make up the absolute majority in the Eastern Province, the country’s largest, where most of the oil is concentrated. 

Support among Yemen’s Sunnis for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula—the most dangerous branch of al-Qaeda on earth—is rising for purely sectarian reasons just as it has in Syria and Iraq. Iran can’t intervene anywhere in the region right now without provoking a psychotic backlash that’s as dangerous to Tehran and its interests as it is to America’s.

If Iranian adventurism spreads to Saudi Arabia, watch out. Everywhere in the entire Middle East where Sunnis and Shias live adjacent to one another will have turned into a shatter zone.

The entire world’s oil patch will have turned into a shatter zone.

US foreign policy in the Middle East is focused on two things right now: containing ISIS and preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. These are both worthy goals, but if sanctions are lifted on Iran as part of a nuclear deal, whether or not it gets the bomb, Tehran will certainly have more money and resources to funnel to Hezbollah, the Assad regime, Iraq’s Shia militias, the Houthis in Yemen, and—perhaps—to Saudi Arabia’s disaffected Shia minority. The region will become even less stable than it already is. ISIS and al-Qaeda will likely grow stronger than they already are.

We’re kidding ourselves if we think that won’t affect us. It’s not just about the oil, although until every car in the world is powered by green energy we can’t pretend the global economy won’t crash if gasoline becomes scarce. We also have security concerns in the region. What happens in the Middle East hasn’t stayed in the Middle East now for decades. 

The head-choppers of ISIS are problematic for obvious reasons. Their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, said, “I’ll see you in New York,” to American military personnel when they (foolishly) released him from Iraq’s Camp Bucca prison in 2004. But the Iranian-led Resistance Bloc has behaved just as atrociously since 1979 and will continue to do so with or without nuclear weapons.

US involvement in Syria and Iraq is minimal now, but even the little we are doing makes little sense. We’re against ISIS in both countries, which is entirely fine and appropriate, but in Iraq we’re using air power to cover advances by Shia militias and therefore furthering Iranian interests, and in Syria we’re working against Iranian interests by undermining Assad and Hezbollah. Meanwhile, the nuclear deal Washington is negotiating with Tehran places a grand total of zero requirements on Iran’s rulers to roll back in their necklace of shatter zones.

We don’t have to choose between ISIS and Iran’s revolutionary regime. They’re both murderous Islamist powers with global ambitions, and they’re both implacably hostile to us and our interests. Resisting both simultaneously wouldn’t make our foreign policy even a whit more complicated. It would, however, make our foreign policy much more coherent.