Posted tagged ‘Trump and Islamic terrorism’

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.

We want peace, not a peace ‘process’

May 22, 2017

We want peace, not a peace ‘process’, Israel Hayom, Boaz Bismuth, May 22, 2017

After 100 years of conflict, this is what we’ve learned: There is no chance to advance toward peace as long as there is no Arab-Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state. Sadly, the war against us will continue no matter how much we withdraw. This land was never a separate, sovereign entity for any nation other than the Jewish people. Even Jerusalem only became important religiously and historically thanks to the Jews. These are the fundamental conditions for fruitful negotiations. For once, we would also like to hear the Palestinians declare out loud what they would accept as a final offer, one that would end the conflict and after which they would make no more demands.

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“I love the people of Israel,” you told me in the Oval Office. Seeing as this wasn’t our first interview — I had already gotten to know you rather well during the campaign — I know you were speaking from the heart, rather than trying to curry favor with me.

I know you are sincere when you say you are committed to the security and future of Israel. You believe the United States and Israel are allies that share common values, and that America must not forsake old friends. Your powerful bond with Israel and the Jewish people was not imposed on you by your position. There are even those who say that your affection for Israel is a family affair.

The commitment and affection between Americans and Israelis is mutual. There is a great deal of love in Israel for the U.S. and its people. Throughout your campaign, Mr. President, you had many supporters here in Israel. Less in the media and more on the street — see? I told you the U.S. and Israel have a lot in common.

Here in Israel, no one burns American flags. Not now and not ever. The American flag is almost as popular here as the Israeli flag. For us, both flags symbolize liberty and hope.

Mr. President, you arrive here from Saudi Arabia with a passion to see Israel and its neighbors make peace. We thank you for this genuine desire and wish you, and us, success in this endeavor. But you must know that the last thing we need is another failed peace process. We are tired of futile diplomacy that only leads to more bloodshed, prompting us to adopt a more sober view regarding the prospects of successful negotiations and tempering our faith in peace. We want peace, not a peace process.

The country of the Jewish people

After 100 years of conflict, this is what we’ve learned: There is no chance to advance toward peace as long as there is no Arab-Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish state. Sadly, the war against us will continue no matter how much we withdraw. This land was never a separate, sovereign entity for any nation other than the Jewish people. Even Jerusalem only became important religiously and historically thanks to the Jews. These are the fundamental conditions for fruitful negotiations. For once, we would also like to hear the Palestinians declare out loud what they would accept as a final offer, one that would end the conflict and after which they would make no more demands.

In Riyadh on Sunday, we heard King Salman talk about the need to combat terrorism and warning of the Iranian threat that is jeopardizing the prospects of regional peace. Israel has been saying this for years. In your speech, you, too, sought to distinguish between good and evil. We need this distinction, after years of politically correct ambiguity.

You noted in your speech the need to combat the extremists; you mentioned Iran, al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Hamas. But this axis of evil claims the opposite: that Israel and the U.S. are responsible for terrorism around the world. College campuses across the U.S. are disgracefully portraying Israel as being responsible for terrorism.

But the sad truth is quite the opposite: For over 100 years, we have been subjected to murderous terrorism in various forms, long before the so-called “occupation.” Terrorism in Israel needs to be treated the same as terrorism anywhere else in the world. All terrorism draws on the same source.

There is no Zionism without Zion

Mr. President, you chose to visit during a festive week. Fifty years ago, Israeli soldiers liberated Jerusalem from foreign rule. It has been 1,835 years since Bar-Kokhba’s fighters entered the destroyed city in 132 C.E. They engraved coins with the words “To the freedom of Jerusalem” and commemorated King David, who made it the eternal city. Jerusalem is Zion. There is no Zionism without Zion. This is the place we yearned to return to for 2,000 years. Now that we have returned, nothing can ever cut out the heart of the Jewish people.

Israel welcomes you with blessings, Mr. President. We wish you a successful visit. We bless your arrival with these words: The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace (Psalms 29:11).

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

May 19, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But of course, matters are not so simple.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sebastian Gorka Speech at the Republican National Lawyers Association

May 6, 2017

Sebastian Gorka Speech at the Republican National Lawyers Association, C-SPAN via YouTube, May 5, 2017

(Dr. Gorka addresses the Islamic Caliphate, aka the Islamic State, its history and how to defeat it and its affiliates. Please see also, President Trump slams the book down on calumny campaign against Dr. Gorka. — DM)

 

Trump Takes on Terrorism in His First Hundred Days

April 24, 2017

Trump Takes on Terrorism in His First Hundred Days, BreitbartKristina Wong, April 24, 2017

President Trump made defeating radical Islamic terrorists a key part of his presidential campaign. So far in his first 100 days, experts say he is making good on that promise.

“Right now, I give him an A honestly,” Retired Army Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr, director of the Center for National Defense at the Heritage Foundation, told Breitbart News.

 Underscoring that progress was the U.S. military’s announcement Friday that it had killed a close associate of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a ground raid in Syria.

The associate, Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, had planned the deadly New Year’s Eve attack at a nightclub in Istanbul, which killed 39 civilians.

In Trump’s first three months in office, there’s been a significant uptick in the number of airstrikes targeting terrorists in the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan.

U.S. military officials say Trump has not given the military any “new” authorities – in terms of long-standing rules and standards governing the use of force.

But what Trump has done is expand commanders’ targeting authorities in some locations, roll back restrictions put into place by the Obama administration, and encourage military commanders to exercise the authority they already have.

“We’re actually using the authorities that weren’t used before for political reasons,” a senior White House official told Breitbart News. “Theater commanders have been unshackled. Everyone’s been unshackled to do their job.”

Specifically, Trump has rolled back in some areas a 2013 requirement put into place by former President Obama requiring all counterterrorism airstrikes outside of a conventional war zone like Afghanistan be vetted by the White House and other agencies.

Under Obama, such counterterrorism strikes would undergo “high-level, interagency vetting” to ensure that the targets posed a threat to Americans, and that there was a “near-certainty” that no civilians would be killed, according to the New York Times.

About a week after his inauguration, Trump approved a Pentagon proposal to roll back those requirements in Yemen, to allow the military to step up the counterterrorism fight in Yemen against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) — considered the most dangerous al-Qaeda affiliate for its repeated attempts to attack the U.S. homeland.

The plan included the designation of three provinces in Yemen as “areas of active hostilities,” which allows commanders to strike when there is a “reasonable certainty” that no civilians will be killed, versus a “near certainty,” as reported by ABC News.

As a result, the number of strikes against AQAP has almost doubled under Trump, from 40 confirmed strikes in 2016, to at least 76 so far.

Similarly, President Trump in March designated parts of Somalia as areas of active hostilities, which granted U.S. Africom Commander Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser the authority to conduct offensive counterterrorism strikes and raids, versus striking only when Americans were under threat, and when there’s a “near-certainty” no civilians will be killed.

There have been no confirmed U.S. airstrikes in Somalia yet since the designation, but Africom is stepping up their advising mission. The command confirmed last Monday it were sending a “few dozen” U.S. soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division to Somalia to train Somali National Army and African Union peacekeepers – a doubling of American special operations forces there, according to CNN. Officials said the deployment was planned before Trump took office.

In the fight against ISIS, Trump during his first week on the job ordered Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to come up with a plan within 30 days on how to defeat the terrorist group.

Mattis submitted a plan, to be then fleshed out by the Central Command commander. The plan is in its final stages of planning, the senior White House official said.

In the meantime, the number of strikes in Iraq and Syria reached a record high in March since the U.S.-led air war began in 2014 — 3,878, according to statistics released periodically by U.S. Central Command.

Officials say the increase in airstrikes against ISIS has to do with the current phase of the campaign — simultaneous offensives in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria — rather than any changes under Trump. They also say Centcom commander Army Gen. Joe Votel in December allowed for the delegating of strike authority from a three-star general to a one-star general to speed up the approval process for airstrikes.

But U.S. strikes against al-Qaeda in Syria — which is separate from the ISIS fight — have also seen a “relative increase” since Trump took office, a defense official said.

The U.S. military in late February also killed al-Qaeda’s second in command in Syria, and in March conducted a strike against al Qaeda in Jinah, which U.S. officials said killed a “few dozen” militants.

And more is expected to come in the ISIS fight, as the administration finalizes its new plan. A U.S. military official recently told Breitbart News that the strategy of U.S. troops supporting local forces on the ground – versus taking a direct combat role – will be “enduring.”

More U.S. forces are expected to deploy to Syria, however, where they would likely support local forces in what is expected to be a hard fight for ISIS’s de facto capital.

The Trump administration is also reviewing whether to get rid of limits set by the Obama administration on the numbers of U.S. troops who are authorized to deploy to Iraq and Syria.

The Obama administration had placed strict caps on the number of U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Syria, in an effort to keep troop numbers as low as possible. Currently, 5,262 are authorized for Iraq, and 503 troops for Syria. But in reality, there were hundreds more deployed on a “temporary” basis that weren’t counted, making those numbers misleading.

“In the previous administration, the secretary had to check very often with the White House, and the president, to deploy forces, especially if they were bumping up the cap,” Spoehr said.

Commanders also complained that the troop caps led to the deployment of only parts of a unit, forcing them to rely on contractors abroad for logistical support and waste taxpayer dollars.

In Afghanistan, there has been a 270-percent increase in airstrikes under Trump – from 54 in January to 200 in February – the largest increase in at least six years.

Recently, Army Gen. John “Mick” Nicholson, U.S. commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, ordered the dropping of the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S.’s arsenal – nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs,” or MOAB – to root out a complex of tunnels and caves in Afghanistan used by the ISIS’s affiliate in Afghanistan, ISIS-Khorasan.

U.S. military officials said no new authorities were granted for the bombing, which fell within Nicholson’s existing authorities to order strikes against ISIS since January 2016. Current and former defense officials recently told The New York Times that he would probably have checked with his superiors under Obama.

The senior White House official gone are the days of the last administration when tactical decisions — from positioning ships to whether an A-10 attack fighter jet could strike or not — were being made by National Security Council staffers.

Former Secretaries of Defense Leon Panetta and Robert Gates both lambasted the micromanagement military commanders faced from the NSC under Obama. In his memoir Duty, Gates famously wrote about discovering a direct phone line from a White House staffer to a special operations command center in Afghanistan, and immediately ordering it to be ripped out.

“It’s the micromanagement that disappeared… the informal political things that were laid on top,” the senior White House official said.

Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of Foundation for Defense of Democracies, praised the new approach.

“I think we long-expected this president to be a delegator, that essentially being a businessman, his approach was that he was going to find excellent people, and give them their portfolios, especially given that the president himself didn’t have vast knowledge in the area of defense and foreign policy,” he said.

“That was never, I think, his forte, so the idea that he would delegate to experts seems to be a very wise decision.”

He also praised Nicholson’s decision to drop the MOAB on ISIS, which he said sent a message to all of the U.S.’s other adversaries.

“I think it’s important that [Trump] trusts them in their ability to deliver these sorts of strategic messages,” he said.

And Spoehr, who served as deputy commanding general of U.S. forces in Iraq in 2011, said allowing commanders to do their jobs has been a huge morale boost for the military.

“I think, in nearly every dimension, you can see a noticeable difference, that things have ratcheted-up… a little bit more spring in people’s step, little bit of a fire in people’s eyes,” he said.

The senior White House official agreed: “Morale is so much higher.”

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

March 6, 2017

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

 

Kudos to Trump for Ignoring McMaster’s Advice Against Using Term ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’

March 4, 2017

Kudos to Trump for Ignoring McMaster’s Advice Against Using Term ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’, AlgemeinerRuthie Blum, March 3, 2017

(One of the good things about being the President is that you don’t have to follow the advice of your subordinates. — DM)

mcmasterH.R. McMaster with President Donald Trump. Photo: Twitter.

Kudos to Trump for doing it anyway and reassuring us that he has no intention of emulating Obama.

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Despite his impeccable military and other credentials, US President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, began his job — the one he got as a result of the resignation of Gen. Michael Flynn — with a whimper. If reports are correct, McMaster told Trump last week that he should cease using the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” so as not to alienate Muslim-majority countries allied with the United States.

There were those of us who had argued, prior to Trump’s inauguration, that the only thing Americans and Israelis had to fear about the sui generis leader, if anything, was that he would end up more like his predecessor, Barack Obama, than the “alt-right” fanatic they were making him out to be.

“He’s not a fascist, a racist or an antisemite,” I would say confidently. “But he was, up until recently, a member of the Democratic Party.”

Once Trump started announcing his picks for cabinet and other positions, however, even the die-hard Republicans who initially froze over the fact of his leapfrogging over them to head their party thawed. Not only had the real estate magnate who talks from the cuff and shoots from the hip led them to sweeping victories in the House of Representatives and the Senate, but he began appointing real conservatives to top posts, including the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Flynn, with his staunch stance against Islamists in general and Iran in particular, was among this group. But since he left almost as soon as he assumed his job, someone had to be found to replace him. That person was McMaster, and he also seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

In his 1997 book Dereliction of Duty: Johnson, McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies That Led to Vietnam — written as a doctoral thesis — McMaster examined the failure of the White House and Joint Chiefs of Staff to provide a successful plan to defeat the North Vietnamese Army.

“The war in Vietnam was not lost in the field, nor was it lost on the front pages of The New York Times, or on the college campuses. It was lost in Washington, DC, even before Americans assumed sole responsibility for the fighting in 1965 and before they realized the country was at war,” McMaster wrote.

It is thus odd that his first piece of advice to Trump was to suggest he tone down his rhetoric against the West’s sworn enemies, rather than coach him on how to put it into action.

So much has changed since the Vietnam debacle, both politically and militarily, but one thing remains the same: Democracies are always at a disadvantage when fighting rogue groups and states with no morals or rules of engagement.

Even Israel, whose government and military have had no choice but to confront the often impossible task of killing terrorists without resorting to their methods, is often at a loss when it comes to asymmetric warfare. But it does not hesitate to identify and call its enemies by name.

When Obama took office in January 2009, two days after the end of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza, he made it his business to reach out to radical Islamists, rather than defeat them. This move was born out of a dim view of American power and the accompanying belief that the US was hated by the mullah-led regime in Tehran and terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood with good reason.

In keeping with this policy, Obama eliminated terms such as “radical Islam” and “terrorism” from his administration’s lexicon. Indeed, the self-described “leader from behind” of the free world tried to alter reality with a pencil eraser — all the while working furiously toward inking a nuclear deal with Iran.

The electoral ouster of the Democrats was due in large measure to the above. Why, then, would Trump’s national security adviser tell him not to mention it in his address to the joint session of Congress on Tuesday evening?

Kudos to Trump for doing it anyway and reassuring us that he has no intention of emulating Obama.