Posted tagged ‘Trump and Islamic terrorism’

Qatar’s Comeuppance

June 15, 2017

Qatar’s Comeuppance, Gatestone InstituteRuthie Blum, June 15, 2017

Ironically, pressure from this new anti-Iran Muslim bloc in the Middle East has done more to call the world’s attention to Qatar’s key role in the spread of Islamist terrorism than years of cajoling on the part of previous administrations in Washington to get Doha to live up to its signed commitments.

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Putting Doha on the Well-Deserved Defensive

Qatar’s extensive ties to terrorism and abetting of financiers to bolster it are well-documented.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain issued a statement designating 59 individuals and 12 organizations as having terror ties to Qatar. According to the statement, Doha “announces fighting terrorism on one hand and finances and supports and hosts different terrorist organizations on the other hand,” and harbors “terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to destabilize the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh [ISIS] and Al Qaeda.”

Ironically, pressure from this new anti-Iran Muslim bloc in the Middle East has done more to call the world’s attention to Qatar’s key role in the spread of Islamist terrorism than years of cajoling on the part of previous administrations in Washington to get Doha to live up to its signed commitments.

A mere two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump delivered his first major foreign policy speech in Riyadh to delegates from dozens Muslim/Arab countries, Bahrain announced on June 5 that it was halting all flights to Qatar for being a sponsor of radical Islamist terrorists. Immediately, Saudi Arabia joined the boycott, as did the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Yemen, all of which also shut off access to Al Jazeera, the anti-American, anti-Semitic Qatari television network established in 1996 and operating since then to foment unrest across the Middle East and bolster the terrorist organization the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot, Hamas.

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and other officials in Doha fiercely denied the charge that their government has been backing terrorism, blaming a “fake news” report on the website of the state-controlled Qatar News Agency for the eruption of the Gulf crisis.

The report, which the FBI and other U.S. security agencies believe was the result of a Russian hacking attack, quoted Al Thani calling Iran an “Islamic power,” referring to Hamas as “the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people” and saying Qatar’s relations with Israel were “good.”

Although the report did turn out to be a hoax, Qatar’s extensive ties to terrorism and abetting of financiers to bolster it are well-documented. A Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) study, titled “Qatar and Terror Finance: Private Funders of al-Qaeda in Syria,” shows that while Doha has pretended for more than a decade to be partnering with the United States to defeat Al Qaeda, the monarchy, in fact, has taken no action whatsoever against the Qatari financiers of the terrorist organization’s Syrian branch, the Nusra Front, which continues to plot attacks against the West. One of the reasons that this group eluded U.S. strikes operating in Syria was that it, like America, has been fighting ISIS. Another was that it changed its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS or the Front for the Conquest of Syria), in an effort to distance itself from Al Qaeda. This effort was led by Qatar.

According to the FDD study, the second of a three-part document written by David Andrew Weinberg:

“…[I]ntelligence officials from Qatar and other Gulf states met several times with Nusra’s leader [in 2015] to suggest that his group could receive money, arms, and supplies after stepping away from al-Qaeda.”

While the first part of the study, released in 2014, revealed “Doha’s dismal record” during the reign of Emir Hamad Al Thani (the current monarch’s father), this one

“evaluates the publicly available evidence on Qatar’s record since then, focusing primarily on individuals sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2014 and 2015. All of these sanctions were imposed after Qatar agreed in September 2014, as part of a U.S.-led initiative called the Jeddah Communiqué, to bring terror financiers to justice.”

Weinberg concluded that Qatar has done little or nothing to comply. On the contrary, he wrote, “The funders of certain terrorist groups still enjoy legal impunity there. Nusra/JFS appears to be foremost among them.”

It is just as unlikely that a single news item was responsible for the banding together of several Arab states to impose a blockade on Qatar as it is implausible that these states, particularly Saudi Arabia — which itself has backed and spread radical Islamist ideology — are holding Qatar accountable for its ties to global jihad. Equally simplistic is the view, expressed by Trump on Twitter, that the embargo indicated the seriousness with which the above states took his call to “drive out the terrorists and extremists” from their midst.

“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!” Trump tweeted on June 7.

“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off. They said they would take a hard line on funding extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

This prompted pundits on both sides of the political spectrum to question whether Trump was simply being reckless in his response, or actually announcing a shift in decades of U.S. policy regarding Qatar, home of the Al Udeid Air Base southwest of Doha. Al Udeid is not only America’s largest military base in the Middle East — with some 10,000 troops, but since 2003, it has served as forward headquarters for CENTCOM (the U.S. Central Command), and has been crucial in America’s operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

The following day, Trump was accused of backtracking, when he phoned Al Thani and offered to “help the parties resolve their differences, including through a meeting at the White House if necessary.”

Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick pointed out that this was not a case of Trump reversing his position, but rather of proposing the most reasonable course of action available:

“With the Pentagon dependent on the Qatari base, and with no clear path for unseating the emir through war or coup without risking a much larger and more dangerous conflict, the only clear option is a negotiated resolution.

“Under the circumstances, the best option for the US to openly work towards is to diminish Qatar’s regional profile and financial support for Iran and its terrorist allies and proxies.”

Nevertheless, mixed messages appeared to be emerging from the Trump administration. On June 9, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the blockade was hindering U.S. operations against ISIS. On the same day, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis asserted that the isolation of Qatar so far has had no negative impact on U.S. operations in and out of Al Udeid. “All of our supplies are getting in just fine,” he told reporters. “The Defense Logistics Agency is certainly always looking at contingency plans if they’re needed, but for right now they’re OK.”

On the day that these conflicting claims began to circulate, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain issued a statement designating 59 individuals and 12 organizations as having terror ties to Qatar. According to the statement, Doha “announces fighting terrorism on one hand and finances and supports and hosts different terrorist organizations on the other hand,” and harbors “terrorist and sectarian groups that aim to destabilize the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Daesh [ISIS] and Al Qaeda.”

Bygone days of unity. The leaders of the Gulf states pose with British PM Theresa May at the Gulf Cooperation Council summit, on December 7, 2016 in Manama, Bahrain. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

On June 7 — the day of Trump’s phone call and two days before the release of the Saudi statement — Qatar hired of the law firm of John Ashcroft, former attorney general under President George W. Bush, to help counter terror accusations. This clearly was a calculated move, as Ashcroft had been instrumental in pushing through the post-9/11 “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001,” more commonly known as the Patriot Act.

According to the “Scope of Engagement” of the Ashcroft retainer, its “broad purpose,” for a “flat fee” of $250,000, is to:

“provid[e] the Client with comprehensive strategic advice, legal counsel, support, and representation related to confirming, educating, assessing and reporting the Client’s efforts to combat global terrorism and its support of and compliance with international financial regulations, including compliance with United States Treasury rules and regulations.

“The firm understands the urgency of this matter and need to communicate accurate information to both a broad constituency and certain domestic agencies and leaders…will advance, advocate, represent, and protect the Client’s interests as necessary, including but not limited to the development of comprehensive legal and government affairs strategy, coordination as necessary and in the interest of the Client, assessment of the pending news and certain nations’ claims that adversely impact the Client’s reputation and pose serious risk and consequences.”

Hiring Ashcroft is not the only indication that Qatar is running scared. Another is its leaders’ simultaneous attempt to assuage fears among its populace – reported to have begun “panic-shopping” at supermarkets — and threaten fellow Gulf Cooperation Council countries that they will suffer severe financial consequences as a result of their boycott.

“If we’re going to lose a dollar, they will lose a dollar also,” warned Qatari Finance minister Ali Shareef Al Emadi. Emadi added, “Our reserves and investment funds are more than 250 percent of gross domestic product, so I don’t think there is any reason that people need to be concerned about what’s happening or any speculation on the Qatari riyal.”

In spite of Emadi’s posturing and Doha’s assertion that it is not in cahoots with Iran, Tehran announced that it has begun sending hundreds of tons of food products to Qatar. Oman, too, is transferring goods to Doha. Turkey went a step further, authorizing the dispatch of 3,000-5,000 troops to its military base in Qatar, to assist Al Thani’s regime, should it be jeopardized by the Saudi-led initiative and internal power struggles.

This unfolding of events is creating what Middle East expert Jonathan Speyer called a “clear drawing” of the “lines of confrontation between the two central power blocs in the region…”

As Speyer wrote on June 10:

“The shunting aside of little Qatar… is ultimately only a detail in the larger picture. What is more significant is the re-emergence of an overt alliance of Sunni Arab states under US leadership, following the development of military capabilities in relevant areas, and with the stated intention of challenging the Iranian regional advance and Sunni political Islam.”

Ironically, pressure from this new anti-Iran Muslim bloc in the Middle East has done more to call the world’s attention to Qatar’s key role in the spread of Islamist terrorism than years of cajoling on the part of previous administrations in Washington to get Doha to live up to its signed commitments.

Ruthie Blum is a journalist and author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama and the ‘Arab Spring.'”

Egypt’s Battle Against Islamic Extremism

June 3, 2017

Egypt’s Battle Against Islamic Extremism, Gatestone InstituteShireen Qudosi, June 3, 2017

Sisi faces more than just militant and political extremists within Egypt’s borders; he is also walking a theological tightrope. Egypt is home to the regressive theocratic influence of the most revered Islamic institution in the Sunni world, Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, which openly views freedom as a “ticking time-bomb.”

Being held hostage intellectually by the grip of Al-Azhar University ensures that there is a constant supply when it comes to producing the next generation of militant and political Islamists.

President Sisi’s response to the brutal slaughter of peaceful Christian worshippers is being called rare but should not be surprising, considering the aggressive measures that need to be taken to hold extremism at bay, and to eradicate the threat that local groups pose to the Egyptian people. Coming out of the Riyadh Summit, where President Trump and a host of Muslim nations, including Egypt, agreed to drive out extremism, Sisi’s reaction was necessary.

 

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When it comes to regional interests in the Middle East, the priority is the most dominant and violent force.

Egypt stands out as a primary target, given the cocktail of challenges that position it as a center of radical Islam. Egypt faces political, violent, and theological militancy within its borders.

For a nation to do what it must to survive, it needs the steadfast support of world powers. Step one is annihilating all sources of violent Islam.

 

For a Western audience, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is a complex figure, who was shunned by the Obama administration. There appear truly pressing, immediate priorities in Egypt, such as developing the economy and combating the avalanche of extremist attempts to overthrow him. Among Middle East and North African territories, Egypt stands out as a primary target, given the cocktail of challenges that position it as a center of radical Islam.

President Sisi faces violent extremist hotbeds in the Sinai Peninsula, and the still-destabilizing influence of the Muslim Brotherhood (a political arm of violent radicals). Most notably, Sisi brought a reality check to the Arab Spring when he led the military overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, ushering a spiritual and cultural Islamic reformation with widespread popular support from Egyptians on a grass-roots level.

Sisi faces more than just militant and political extremists within Egypt’s borders; he is also walking a theological tightrope. Egypt is home to the regressive theocratic influence of the most revered Islamic institution in the Sunni world, Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, which openly views freedom as a “ticking time-bomb.”

Being held hostage intellectually by the grip of Al-Azhar University ensures that there is a constant supply when it comes to producing the next generation of militant and political Islamists.

Egypt also faces extremist infiltration from neighboring Libya, a nation caught in a power vacuum after the murder of its leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi. This vacuum has been readily filled by Islamic militants, including ISIS.

Upon returning home in April from his first visit to the U.S. since 2013, Sisi faced a series of domestic terror attacks that once again put Egypt in a global spotlight. On Palm Sunday, in April, two suicide bombings in Coptic Christian churches killed more than 45 people and injured another 120. For Egypt, one of the last regional strongholds that still has a vibrant non-Muslim minority population, violent eruptions on major Christian holidays have become routine.

In England, just days after the May 22 Manchester suicide bombing, attention was once again on Egypt where 29 Coptic Christians were gunned down on a bus traveling to a monastery near the city of Minya. The attack was launched by masked terrorists who arrived in three pick-up trucks and opened fire on the passengers, many of whom were children. Egyptian intelligence believes the Minya attack was led by ISIS jihadists based in Libya. In February, the aspiring terrorist caliphate also launched a campaign against Egypt’s Christian population. The Egyptian military responded swiftly with air strikes against terrorist camps, along with a televised warning against sponsored terrorism.

President Sisi’s response to the brutal slaughter of peaceful Christian worshippers is being called rare but should not be surprising, considering the aggressive measures that need to be taken to hold extremism at bay, and to eradicate the threat that local groups pose to the Egyptian people. Coming out of the Riyadh Summit, where President Trump and a host of Muslim nations, including Egypt, agreed to drive out extremism, Sisi’s reaction was necessary.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (front row, far-right) attended the May 21 Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, along with U.S. President Donald Trump (front-center). The problems of Islamic extremism and terrorism were much-discussed at the summit. (Photo by Thaer Ghanaim/PPO via Getty Images)

In a war that is equally ideological and kinetic, Muslim nations and others trying to survive the plague of Islamic terrorism will need to be as ruthless as their extremist counterparts. That is something that the warring political factions in the U.S. quickly need to understand. When it comes to regional interests in the Middle East, the priority is combating the most dominant and violent force. If that force wins, human rights are completely off the table. Beyond Egypt, President Trump has received considerable backlash in the U.S. for siding with what are seen as repressive regimes, whether it was hosting Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the White House or engaging with dictators and monarchs during the Riyadh Summit.

In order to bring security to the region, alliances need to look at the real instigators and agents of chaos. There is a metastasizing threat that requires a new coalition of the willing. For a nation to do what it must to survive, it needs the steadfast support of world powers. Step one is annihilating all sources of violent Islam.

Shireen Qudosi is the Director of Muslim Matters, with America Matters.

At G7, Trump Diverts Agenda Away from Climate and Toward Islamist Terrorism

May 26, 2017

At G7, Trump Diverts Agenda Away from Climate and Toward Islamist Terrorism, Breitbart, Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D., May 26, 2017

(Possible WaPo headline: Trump promotes terror to dodge climate change. — DM)

TAORMINA, Italy – At President Trump’s first major meeting with international leaders, his world influence has become evident as conversations shifted from the bogeyman of climate change to the real and present danger of Islamist terrorism.

Prior to the G7 summit of the leaders of the world’s wealthiest and most advanced nations, “climate change” constantly appeared on the list of priorities highlighted by the heads of state especially of European nations.

As one headline read, “Trump talks terrorism while Europe shouts ‘Climate!’” In this shouting match, however, the U.S. President has definitely gotten the upper hand.

Reality has imposed itself, as a major jihadist attack last Monday in Manchester, England, claimed the lives of 22 persons and gunmen massacred some 26 Coptic Christians Friday morning south of Cairo Egypt. The latter attack coincided with the first day of Ramadan, the holiest season in the Islamic calendar.

While the phantasm of global warming hovers over the misty horizon, the reality of repeated slaughters of innocent men, women and children by terrorists inspired by Islamist ideology is an elephant that insists on being recognized.

European leaders have also found themselves asked repeatedly to respond to President Trump’s powerful speech against Islamist terrorism before 55 world leaders from Arab and other Muslim-majority nations in Riyadh earlier this week.

In that speech, Trump called for unity in pursuing “the one goal that transcends every other consideration. That goal is to meet history’s great test—to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism.”

In this unique and preeminent task, Trump said, “Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combatting radicalization.”

“Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith,” Mr. Trump said. “Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.”

Asked for a reaction to that speech, the chairman of the European Union’s Council said he agrees with President Trump that the international community should be “tough, even brutal” on terrorism and the Islamic State.

EU Council President Donald Tusk said that he “totally agreed with him when he said the international community, the G7, the United States, Europe — should be tough, even brutal, with terrorism and ISIS.”

Tusk also recognized that “this will be the most challenging G7 summit in years,” because of President Trump’s independent views that do not always mesh with the European globalist establishment.

Throughout the day’s meetings in Taormina, Sicily, President Trump seemed eminently comfortable with his role as world leader and agenda-setter, one which his fellow heads-of-state appeared ill-equipped to counter.

Another lesson from Manchester

May 24, 2017

Another lesson from Manchester, Washington TimesTammy Bruce, May 24, 2017

People cry after a vigil in Albert Square, Manchester, England, Tuesday May 23, 2017, the day after the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande concert that left 22 people dead as it ended on Monday night. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The president’s remarks in Saudi Arabia and Israel, and no doubt through the rest of his tour, make it clear the United States and our allies must view ISIS, al Qaeda and other terror-mongers as something to be destroyed. The president’s approach is one that can bring both Islamic nations and Europe out of a self-imposed coma and back into a world that has dispatched mass-murdering fascists and their ideology before. 

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After the horrific carnage unleashed by the terrorist attack in Manchester, England, some of the reactions were inexplicable. We’re used to jihadis celebrating the horror of mass murder, but it’s still perplexing to hear Western leaders and media reissue their bizarre insistence that we need to get used to the sick and depraved.

For some, perhaps it’s a reflection of a sense of hopelessness in the face of a savage enemy that has been allowed to flourish; considering the passive and useless attitude of the previous American president and rhetoric of his admirers, it’s not surprising the left remains stuck in dangerous cynicism.

Consider BBC anchor and frequent U.S. news show guest Katty Kay. On Tuesday morning after the attack, the Daily Caller reported, “Kay told MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ … that Europeans have no choice but to get used to terrorists murdering their families because ‘we are never going to be able to totally wipe this out. … Europe is getting used to attacks like this, Mika. They have to, because we are never going to be able to totally wipe this out,’ Kay said.”

Ms. Kay continued, “As ISIS gets squeezed in Syria and Iraq, we’re going to see more of these kinds of attacks taking place in Europe, and Europe is starting to get used to that.”

Ms. Kay’s defeated sentiment isn’t new. While not her intention, she articulated not the reality of our situation, but the policy preference of failed western leadership.

In 2004, Sen. John Kerry, then the Democratic presidential nominee, was interviewed by The New York Times. When asked “What it would take for Americans to feel safe again,” Mr. Kerry answered, “We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance.”

Even with the Sept. 11 attacks just a few years earlier, making the nature of the Islamist terror threat clear, Mr. Kerry exposed the left’s surrender to carnage and chaos. The suggestion that terrorism should be viewed as a nuisance indicates an acceptance of it as a regular part of our lives.

All normal human beings reject the grotesque suggestion we simply adapt, but his comment wasn’t a lark. It ended up being one of the first articulations of liberal Western leadership’s strategy of management of the scourge, abandoning the idea of destroying it.

Fast forward to August 2016. Sensing that terrorism was an actual problem, Mr. Kerry had another idea. Speaking in Bangladesh he noted, “If you decide one day you’re going to be a terrorist and you’re willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise. … Perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on.”

Genius. Let’s just not mention it, and everything will be OK.

A month later, the viral nature of this menacing naivete was affirmed by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, a Muslim and son of Pakistani immigrants. Touring New York when the Chelsea terrorist bomb exploded, Mr. Khan blithely noted to a reporter, terrorism is “part and parcel of living in a big city.” Like riding the subway, going to a baseball game, enjoying the ballet? Sure, let’s add getting blown up by the occasional bomb pressure cooker.

Just a few months later, London suffered the horrific Westminster terrorist attack in which an Islamist used a car and a knife to murder people.

And now, Manchester. A terrorist attack at an event appealing to young people, as of this writing, killing 22 and wounding over 50. In every city where terrorists strike, local citizens transform into super heroes, as was the case in Manchester.

People coming together in the midst of horror to help one another is magnificent, and worthy of celebrating, but it’s safe to say everyone in the world who had to deal with terrorism wished they hadn’t had to face it at all. We still prefer our “part and parcel” normal to be safe and sound, void of mass murdering maniacs.

Breitbart reported, “Europe, the United Kingdom, and Russia have witnessed terror attacks or attempted attacks every nine days in 2017 on average, analysis of security incidents has revealed.”

“Attacks and attempted attacks have taken place in Austria, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Sweden, Norway, and Germany. Security services in Britain — population 65 million — are known to be tracking 3,500 potential terror suspects or persons posing a threat. Meanwhile Belgium, with its population of just 12 million, is tracking around 18,000 potential jihadists,” revealed Breitbart.

The importance of President Trump’s Middle Eastern and European trip is now even more clear. In 2015, then-President Barack Obama eliminated the word “destroy” when referring to actions against the Islamic State terror group, or ISIS. All that was left was the intention to “degrade” the terrorist scourge, as though our only hope was to try to keep in check a cancer that was metastasizing around the world.

Mr. Trump’s remarks in Riyadh made it clear that is not good enough. Accepting terrorism as a “nuisance” or simply a part of big city living is obscene and is rejected.

The president’s remarks in Saudi Arabia and Israel, and no doubt through the rest of his tour, make it clear the United States and our allies must view ISIS, al Qaeda and other terror-mongers as something to be destroyed. The president’s approach is one that can bring both Islamic nations and Europe out of a self-imposed coma and back into a world that has dispatched mass-murdering fascists and their ideology before. And we will do it again.

Gen. McMaster Squanders Tremendous Capital Trump Earns in Saudi Arabia

May 24, 2017

Gen. McMaster Squanders Tremendous Capital Trump Earns in Saudi Arabia, Front Page magazineKenneth R. Timmerman, May 24, 2017

(Ho, ho ho. McMaster gotta go. — DM)

The newly-created Center for Combating Extremism established by the Saudi government may be a step in the right direction. But as the President said, we also need the Saudis and other Arab Muslim leaders to drive the jihadis and the preachers who inspire them “out of the mosques” and out of the public square.

We cannot succeed in this monumental task when the National Security Advisor turns the President’s steely injunctions against Islamist terrorism into mush.

We are fighting an ideological enemy. We will never defeat him if we refuse to name the ideology that inspires him.

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President Trump did not shy away from calling an Islamist terrorist by his real name when he addressed the heads of state of some fifty Muslim countries over the weekend in Riyadh.

His language and his message were clear: the United States needs the leaders of Arab Islamic nations as partners. As non-Muslims, we can not eradicate the scourge of a terrorism that draws its source from authentic Islamic texts, nor can we cast out terrorist leaders who model themselves on Mohammad, the prophet of Islam.

Indeed, that is what the Manchester bomber did, blowing himself up in order to kill the children of the Unbelievers. (Quran 3:151: “Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers.”)

ISIS proudly draws on the Quran, and the Sura – the Life of the Prophet Mohammad – to justify its actions and its manner of imposing Sharia law over territory it controls.

In its training manuals and propaganda videos, ISIS regularly calls on young Muslims to join the ranks of the jihad, because it is their duty as good Muslims. How can they say this? Because Mohammad himself told them.

Indeed, there are 164 well-known versus in the Quran where Mohammad calls on Muslims to fight the Unbelievers and carry out jihad.

“I hear so many people say ISIS has nothing to do with Islam – of course it has. They are not preaching Judaism,” says Aaqil Ahmed, a Muslim who is the religion and ethics editor at the BBC.

“It might be wrong, but what they are saying is an ideology based on some form of Islamic doctrine. They are Muslims. That is a fact and we have to get our head around some very uncomfortable things,” Mr. Ahmed went on.

King Salman of Saudi Arabia knows this. Prime Minister Abadi of Iraq knows this. Egyptian president al-Sissi knows this. So does King Abdallah II of Jordan and all the other leaders President Trump met at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh.

None of them blushed when the President spoke these “very uncomfortable things” in his speech on Sunday. They know that it is up to them to lead the fight against the jihadis and “drive them out,” as the President said – not because the jihadis represent the true face of Islam, but because they are the forces of Evil in today’s Muslim world, whose first victims tend to be Muslims.

Enter Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster.

In a five minute interview with FoxNews host Bret Beier in Riyadh, Gen. McMaster swept away all the gains the President had just made.

He acknowledged that the President had used the term “Islamic terrorism” in his speech, then immediately tried to back away from it.

“These are not Islamic people. These are not religious people. These are people who use a perverted interpretation of religion to advance their criminality. It’s a political agenda,” McMaster said of ISIS. “And you saw great agreement on that in all the speeches yesterday. King Salman used almost the same language.”

But King Salman did not use almost the same language. Instead, he acknowledged that ISIS terrorists “consider themselves as Muslims” and that they drew their inspiration from periods of Islamic history outside the “bright eras… of mercy, tolerance and coexistence.”

Gen. McMaster returned to the Obama-era white-washing of Islam and denial of Islamic doctrine, bending over backwards out of fear of offending Muslim leaders whose support we need to fight ISIS.

While one can hope that the damage he did to the budding anti-jihadi alliance will be transitory, and that wiser officials with a more sophisticated knowledge of Islamic doctrine will be put in the forefront of our cooperation with potential Muslim allies, ISIS leaders must be laughing at the foolishness of McMaster’s words.

Of course their allure draws its source from Islam’s earliest days, when Mohammad and his armies put their enemies to the sword, pillaged their cities, raped their wives, enslaved any survivors, and plundered their crops.

ISIS has already claimed responsibility for the Manchester bombing. We will learn soon enough whether Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who murdered so many innocents, acted alone or was part of a larger cell.

But what we know for sure is that the ideology motivating him to mayhem wasn’t Judaisim or Christianity or some “perverted interpretation” of them. That ideology was Islam as practiced by Mohammad and his followers.

Sugar-coating Islam’s blood-soaked history will not end terrorism. It will not convince young wannabe jihadis to put down the sword of Islam.

Instead, we need serious, effective programs that attack the causes of radicalization, programs devised by Muslims that speak to Muslims, programs that convincingly reject the jihadi doctrines on which ISIS is based.

The newly-created Center for Combating Extremism established by the Saudi government may be a step in the right direction. But as the President said, we also need the Saudis and other Arab Muslim leaders to drive the jihadis and the preachers who inspire them “out of the mosques” and out of the public square.

We cannot succeed in this monumental task when the National Security Advisor turns the President’s steely injunctions against Islamist terrorism into mush.

We are fighting an ideological enemy. We will never defeat him if we refuse to name the ideology that inspires him.

 

 

 

Trump’s ‘Islam Speech’ Invited The Muslim World To A Renaissance

May 24, 2017

Trump’s ‘Islam Speech’ Invited The Muslim World To A Renaissance, The Federalist, May 24, 2017

Trump’s Riyadh Summit speech builds on common themes in Abrahamic faiths to advocate for human potential. One of those themes is the archaic but powerful idea of “good versus evil,” as we heard with the repeat phrase “drive them out” as you would drive out the devil that possess the hearts and minds of people, causing mischief in the land. It’s a language not only understood by people in that room, but also by the world watching. Speaking in simple binaries that break down the world into good and evil, President Trump created an opportunity that doesn’t shame Muslims plagued by terrorism. Instead it gives them something greater still to be a part of. That something is humanity.

The alternative is grim. The detriment and the high cost of doing nothing, as Trump points out, is not only the death of life under religious extremism, but also the death of dreams. Let’s give people something to work together for, whether those people are heads of states or those crushed under the weight of war. The speech also powerfully reframed refugees not as destitute victims, but as integral to building stable societies that give them not only autonomy but also dignity.

However flawed they still are, if Muslim nations are willing to come together in partnership with the United States for a common goal, then let’s work with them to secure all our interests

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President Trump embarked on an iconic first foreign tour this weekend to the Middle East that started with a stop in Saudi Arabia to deliver a much-anticipated speech on Islam. Americans sat at the edge of their seats in anticipation of what we all sensed was a defining moment in history.

The tour is described as resetting Middle East foreign policy, with President Trump as the first sitting president to embrace complex themes of faith tightly knotted in a rich and often violent regional history. Effectively, he’s channeled the most powerful seat in the world as a vehicle for the most burgeoning diplomatic struggle of the last century.

Yet what makes President Trump’s speech on Islam so iconic is that it wasn’t about Islam. It was about human potential. Presented at the Riyadh Summit, the speech paints a picture of the world that can still be created if nations unite in a common interest of security and advancement through mutual gain. That he spoke at the birthplace of Islam is symbolic because it points at the root of the problem: violent extremism linked to the most fundamentalist interpretations of Islam.

We Have a Common Threat Despite Internal Differences

As hinted in his speech, the last monotheistic faith is still awaiting its renaissance. While there are other issues including non-violent Islamic extremism (Islamism), government corruption, theocracies, autocracies, dictatorships, human rights violations, and failed women’s rights, and on and on, the greatest shadow darkening the future for a world of people is violent jihad that seeks to destroy all standing civilizations equally, including Islamic nation-states it sees as not being Islamic enough.

Back at home, Americans have questioned the authenticity of Muslim nations participating at the summit. American Muslims see the Saudi Arabia as hypocritical in its fight against extremism. Saudis are rightly accused of being both arsonists and firefighters in the fight against extremism.

What also rings true is the strong sense of survival and self-interest fueling the global coalition. Nations should be allies in a common fight, with the understanding that we will not agree on every front or tangential issue. We do not need to all agree; we just need to be aligned on the single greatest threat and work from there. That is how we move forward. Internally, each nation faces its own complications.

A common American reaction was petulant expectation that President Trump “tackle Saudi Arabia” short of going to war with the kingdom. Yet the man is not even allowed to effectively tackle homegrown Islamists in the United States without overwhelming opposition by media and interest groups using propaganda and disinformation.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is dealing with a house divided between Saudis who want progress and those reluctant to move into the twenty-first century, although both sides agree there is an existential threat coming from outside forces even more fundamentalist than they. They can also agree that it is in their collective interest to ally with the United States, something on which all representatives at the Riyadh Summit concur. President Trump understands the most direct path to effecting change is to work in people’s self-interest, to cater to advancement through mutual gain — a strategy that also won him the election.

Let’s Get Beyond Survival

At this exact moment in history, this is about survival. But it is also about what comes after survival. What does the next phase of human evolution look like, and how do we rally the world of people around it?

Trump’s Riyadh Summit speech builds on common themes in Abrahamic faiths to advocate for human potential. One of those themes is the archaic but powerful idea of “good versus evil,” as we heard with the repeat phrase “drive them out” as you would drive out the devil that possess the hearts and minds of people, causing mischief in the land. It’s a language not only understood by people in that room, but also by the world watching. Speaking in simple binaries that break down the world into good and evil, President Trump created an opportunity that doesn’t shame Muslims plagued by terrorism. Instead it gives them something greater still to be a part of. That something is humanity.

The alternative is grim. The detriment and the high cost of doing nothing, as Trump points out, is not only the death of life under religious extremism, but also the death of dreams. Let’s give people something to work together for, whether those people are heads of states or those crushed under the weight of war. The speech also powerfully reframed refugees not as destitute victims, but as integral to building stable societies that give them not only autonomy but also dignity.

In this way, not only was President Trump’s speech iconic, it was visionary for emphasizing humanity and what can still be achieved if we come together. As a Muslim reformer, I focus on getting us to the next phase of human evolution, something that cannot happen without uniting world powers for a common goal. It is a powerful move necessary to destroy the Goliath that’s draining our resources and diverting our attention.

That “Goliath” is the version of Islam that demands we forfeit our humanity. To defeat it, we will need everyone on board, including the people we see as enemies today. If we have to sit at a table with Saudi Arabia to do it, so be it. If Americans expect the Middle East to shed the skin of their tribal identities, then we too have to break out of the tribal mindset that only sees people and populations as one-dimensional. However flawed they still are, if Muslim nations are willing to come together in partnership with the United States for a common goal, then let’s work with them to secure all our interests.

Al Qaeda criticizes Saudi relations with West during President Trump’s visit

May 22, 2017

Al Qaeda criticizes Saudi relations with West during President Trump’s visit, Long War Journal May 22, 2017

Al Qaeda seized on President Donald J. Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia to once again criticize the royal family and call for an uprising.

According to bin Laden, these early Saudi dealings with the West led to the British capture of Palestine and, later on, the establishment of the Israeli state.

Osama bin Laden liked to argue that there is a “Zionist-Crusader” conspiracy against Muslims. His son, Hamza, has continued with these themes, making it one of his central talking points and accusing the House of Saud of being part of it.

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On May 20, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, As Sahab, released an audio message from Hamza bin Laden. The junior bin Laden follows in his father’s footsteps by blasting the Saudi royal family. His speech is the second part in a series aimed at the House of Saud. Part 1, in which Hamza called for regime change, was released last August.

It’s not clear when Hamza recorded his latest anti-Saudi message. He does not mention President Trump or the American delegation. Instead, he focuses on the early decades of the Saudi dynasty, portraying it as a corrupt regime that serves the interests of the West. Still, al Qaeda undoubtedly wanted to maximize the audience for Hamza’s audio by releasing it during President Trump’s visit.

Then, on May 21, al Qaeda published the 15th issue of its Al Nafir Bulletin (seen below). The one-page newsletter is devoted to Trump’s visit. “The Al Saud rulers and all apostate rulers appear before us today in wasteful ceremonies to offer loyalty and renew their allegiance to the hateful Crusader master of the White House, Trump,” the newsletter reads.

Just hours before Al Nafir was released online, President Trump attended a ceremony with King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi to commemorate the opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh. Unsurprisingly, Al Nafir’s editors criticize the move, arguing that the “rulers” had really committed to building “an apostate army to fight jihad and the Mujahideen in the name of fighting terror and terrorism.” The center will be used “to fight faith, purity, and commitment, under the call to fight extremism, backwardness, and intolerance,” al Qaeda contends.

In Al-Nafir, al Qaeda also argues that the Saudi government should give its money to the people instead of investing it in defense deals and other arrangements with the US. Al Qaeda uses these two issues — the Saudis’ supposed misuse of funds and the creation of the new center — to renew its call for jihad.

“So here are the Crusaders and the apostates, and they have stolen your money, fought your religion, shed your blood, and transgressed against your honor,” Al Nafir reads. “When will you return to your religion and do jihad in the cause of Allah?”

Hamza bin Laden’s critique of Ibn Saud

Al Qaeda has been raising Hamza’s media profile since the summer of 2015, when he was first introduced as a prominent jihadist figure. On May 13, just one week before Hamza’s new anti-Saudi message, As Sahab released another speech from Osama’s heir. In that talk, Hamza provided advice to “martyrdom seekers” living in the West. [See FDD’s Long War Journal report: Hamza bin Laden offers ‘advice for martyrdom seekers in the West’]

In his latest message, Hamza accuses the Saudi government of promulgating a false version of its own history, arguing that “generations have been raised” ignorant of what truly transpired during the first years of the 20th Century, when the House of Saud rose. Bin Laden is keen to undermine King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud’s (Ibn Saud) legacy, portraying him as a witting agent of the British. Only when the proper history is told, Hamza says, will Muslims “understand the magnitude of the injustice brought upon” their country and then work to “restore” their “stolen rights.”

Bin Laden accuses Ibn Saud of working with the British from the beginning, seeking their “approval” before leaving Kuwait (where the Saud family lived) and conquering the city of Riyadh in 1902. Riyadh and large parts of the Arabian peninsula were controlled by Ibn Rashid’s men, who were allied with the Ottoman Empire at the time. Bin Laden says Ibn Saud could only expand his power at the expense of the Ottoman Empire’s allies and he sought assistance from the British to do it. This, from al Qaeda’s perspective, violates Islamic law, as Ibn Saud attacked fellow Muslims while working with the British.

According to bin Laden, the Saudi telling of Ibn Saud’s early conquests omits these “sharia violations,” including the assault on the Ottoman’s ally “to serve the English” and the “unlawful killing of Muslims.”

In the period leading up to World War I, the Ottoman government sought to reconcile the opposing forces inside the Arabian Peninsula. And so a deal was struck between the Ottomans and Ibn Saud, which granted the Saudi patriarch territorial rights in exchange for military cooperation and an agreement to prevent “foreign powers” from expanding their influence in the region. But Ibn Saud broke this agreement as well, bin Laden says, after he again sided with the British. (Ibn Saud’s territory was declared a British protectorate as part of a treaty in 1915.) Ibn Saud moved on the Turks’ main client, Ibn Rashid, despite their previous understanding. In so doing, bin Laden charges, the founder of the Saudi dynasty paved the way for “the English and their allies to occupy the homelands of the Muslims.”

Bin Laden reminds his audience that Captain William Henry Irvine Shakespear, a British emissary, served as Ibn Saud’s military adviser and had “command” of the Muslim forces while organizing “their ranks.” This was part of Britain’s broader “financial and military” support for Ibn Saud. This is all “clear evidence” of English support, bin Laden says, and led to “Crusader hegemony” over the region.

According to bin Laden, these early Saudi dealings with the West led to the British capture of Palestine and, later on, the establishment of the Israeli state.

Osama bin Laden liked to argue that there is a “Zionist-Crusader” conspiracy against Muslims. His son, Hamza, has continued with these theme, making it one of his central talking points and accusing the House of Saud of being part of it.