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The PJ Tatler

Why Is the State Department Barring an Iraqi Nun from Entering the United States?

Friday, May 1st, 2015 - by Debra Heine


Every member of a delegation of Iraqi minority groups has been granted visas to visit Washington for official meetings — except one. An Iraqi nun, who is a representative of the Nineveh Christians who have been forced to flee Iraq or be slaughtered by ISIS, has been barred from entering the United States by the Obama administration.

*Sister Diana Momeka was hoping to have a chance to tell Americans about the devastation Christians have suffered at the hands of ISIS, but the only Christian member of a delegation that includes Turkmen Shia and Yazidis is not welcome.

The State Department’s reasoning, according to National Review’s Nina Shea, is completely specious.

She told me in a phone conversation that, to her face, consular officer Christopher Patch told her she was denied because she is an “IDP” or Internally Displaced Person. “That really hurt,” she said. Essentially, the State Department was calling her a deceiver. The State Department officials made the determination that the Catholic nun could be falsely asserting that she intends to visit Washington when secretly she could be intending to stay. That would constitute illegal immigration, and that, of course, is strictly forbidden.

(Ms. Shea was being sarcastic there — in case you missed it.)

Once here, she could also be at risk for claiming political asylum, and the U.S. seems determined to deny ISIS’s Christian victims that status. In reality, Sister Diana wanted to visit for one week in mid-May. She has meetings set up with the Senate and House foreign-relations committees, the State Department, USAID, and various NGOs. In support of her application, Sister Diana had multiple documents vouching for her and the temporary nature of her visit. She submitted a letter from her prioress, Sister Maria Hana. It attested that the nun has been gainfully employed since last February with the Babel College of Philosophy and Theology in Erbil, Kurdistan, and is contracted to teach there in the 2015–16 academic year.

The Obama administration has rolled out the welcome mat for teenagers from Central America and Syrian Muslims seeking political asylum, but the prospect of a single nun — whose people are being systematically exterminated in Iraq – receiving political asylum is apparently odious to them. But that is not what Sister Diana was even planning to do.

In reality, Sister Diana wanted to visit for one week in mid-May. She has meetings set up with the Senate and House foreign-relations committees, the State Department, USAID, and various NGOs. In support of her application, Sister Diana had multiple documents vouching for her and the temporary nature of her visit. She submitted a letter from her prioress, Sister Maria Hana. It attested that the nun has been gainfully employed since last February with the Babel College of Philosophy and Theology in Erbil, Kurdistan, and is contracted to teach there in the 2015–16 academic year.

It turns out that the 30-something-year-old Sister Diana is an incredibly accomplished spokesman for persecuted Christians in Iraq, and “has become internationally known as a charismatic and articulate advocate for religious freedom and human rights.”

Rep. Frank Wolf met the notorious nun in Kurdistan a few months ago. “We had hoped to facilitate her trip to the States so that she could speak with great candor, as is her custom, to policymakers. Perhaps just as significantly, we viewed her as a critical voice to awaken the church in the West to the suffering of Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq,” he explained.

Why the  U.S. consulate would bar Sister Diana from entering the United States (for being an IDP), but not a delegation of IDP Yazidis, who were given U.S. visas to come to Washington to speak last October, is anyone’s guess.

Shea concluded by sharing the State Department’s  2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review pledge, which, she notes, “adds insult to injury”: “every overseas post and domestic bureau will seek opportunities to engage religious leaders,” as part of its pursuit of countering “violent extremism.”

Right. Unless you happen to be a Catholic nun countering “violent extremism.”

Elizabeth Scalia — who is usually much more subtle and diplomatic than I am — says the excuse the State Department gave to bar Sister Diana from coming to the U.S. “sounds like pure-d bullcrap.”

Why does this administration go out of its way to avoid noticing or mentioning what is happening to Christians in Iraq and Libya and elsewhere? Why are Catholic nuns too suspect to be allowed into the country? What is the problem, exactly?

Indeed. It’s difficult not to see this latest affront as part of the Obama administrations’s increasingly hostile stance toward Christians here and abroad.

Here, via the Anchoress, is a video featuring Sister Diana with two other nuns talking about the desperate plight of Christians in Iraq back in January of 2013. The brave woman stuck it out until August of 2014, when she, along with 50,000 other Christians, had to flee Qaraqosh when ISIS stormed the town.

Behold what the Obama administration deems unworthy of entering the United States:

YouTube Preview Image

 *An earlier version of this post contained a typo that has been corrected. The Iraqi nun’s full name is Sister Diana Momeka.



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Tom Cotton Challenges Iran Foreign Minister to Verbal Duel

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Freshman Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who perturbed the Obama administration when he got 46 colleagues to sign on to an open letter advising Tehran of Congress’ legitimate role in any nuclear agreement, is not done facing off with Iran.

In New York for the U.N. Nonproliferation Treaty Conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said at a New York University event on Wednesday that all sanctions on Iran will be lifted the moment it signs an agreement:”If we have an agreement on the 30th of June, within a few days after that, there will be a resolution before the UN Security Council under Article 41 of Chapter 7 which will be mandatory for all member states whether Senator Cotton likes it or not.”

“We don’t want to get bogged down into the domestic procedures in the United States. I’ve studied and lived in the U.S.,” Zarif said. “I know enough about the U.S. Constitution and U.S. procedures, but as a foreign government I only deal with U.S. government. I do not deal with U.S. Congress.”

How did Cotton respond? Game on.

“Sanctions relief isn’t about what I like, but what will keep America safe from a nuclear-armed Iran. But I suspect Foreign Minister Zarif is saying what President Obama will not because the president knows such terms would be unacceptable to both Congress and the American people. The repeated provocative statements made by members of the Iranian leadership demonstrate why Iran cannot be trusted and why the president’s decision to pursue this deal and grant dangerous concessions to Iran was ill-advised from the beginning,” Cotton said in a statement. “These aren’t rhetorical tricks aimed at appealing to hard-liners in Iran; after all, Mr. Zarif was speaking in English in New York. Rather, they foreshadow the dangerous posture Iran will take and has taken repeatedly—including as recently as yesterday with the interception of a U.S.-affiliated cargo ship—if this deal moves forward.”

“More, they reaffirm the need for Congress to approve any final deal and to conduct oversight over the Obama administration’s actions. As we consider the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, I urge my colleagues to ensure we pass legislation strong enough to stop a bad deal in its tracks and protect the American people from a nuclear Iran.”

But the senator wasn’t done with Zarif, taking to Twitter with a challenge.





Zarif hasn’t replied to the tweets.

In an earlier interview with PBS, Zarif also stated that the administration is misstating the nature of the agreement.

“Sanctions must be lifted as soon as Iran implements its agreed part. We have an agreement,” he said. “That agreement provides for the lifting of all sanctions, all economic and financial sanctions and those sanctions are lifted because the logic is very clear. The logic is if you want an agreement, you have two options — option of pressure, option of agreement. You cannot mix the two.”

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Earnest Says Iran Seizure of Ship Could be Worse: It Could Have Been a Nuclear-Armed Seizure!

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House says it’s “monitoring” the seizure of a cargo ship by Iran, while Tehran said today that the Maersk Tigris isn’t leaving Shaheed Bahonar Port anytime soon.

“As of this morning, it is our understanding that the Maersk Tigris remains in the custody of the IRGC Navy. And we’re continuing to monitor the situation,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters today. “We have not at this point received any reports of injuries to crew members. And, as we noted yesterday, according to information received from the vessel’s operators, there are no Americans onboard.”

“This is obviously a situation that we continue to monitor because we are committed to, as we discussed at some length last week, committed to ensuring freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce in international waters.”

Maersk tweeted that the company was “pleased to learn that the crew is safe.” There are 34 crew members on the vessel.

“Maersk is in close dialogue with Rickmers Shipmanagement to explore options to help resolve this situation,” the shipping company added.

The shipped is flagged out of the Marshall Islands, a protectorate of the United States. “Our concerns about the interference with the Maersk Tigris, would be even more acute if an Iranian-armed — I’m sorry, a nuclear-armed Iranian Navy were conducting these kinds of intercepts,” Earnest shot back when asked if this latest act of aggression would undermine nuclear negotiations.

“I’m not going to offer up any — make any threats from here about the likelihood of imposing additional sanctions over this particular incident, but the — our approach to this is consistent — our approach to Iranian behavior is consistent with the approach that we’ve taken when it comes to sanctions, which is that we can have a conversation about their nuclear program, get them to make serious concessions when it comes to their nuclear program, in exchange for some sanctions relief for those concessions,” said the White House spokesman.

“But it would have no impact on our concerns about their behavior in a variety of other areas and would have no impact on the sanctions that are already in place against them as a result of their behavior in other areas.”

Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency quoted Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization deputy chief, Hadi Haqshenas, as saying that despite Al-Jazeera reports that the ship had been released “the vessel, Maersk Tigris, is still in custody.”

“The ship is still held in Shaheed Bahonar Port and the report about its release is hereby denied,” he said, saying that the military seized the ship at the request of his agency because of a court dispute over payments with Maersk.

Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho), who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations and Intelligence committees, told Fox that the seizure was obviously “a response to the president of the United States last week dispatching naval power to the Straits of Hormuz, arguably the most important shipping lane in the world.”

“And what do they do? They do this and antagonize us. They antagonize the world. Taking a ship that is from the Marshall Islands, which we obviously have a deep relationship with,” Risch said.

“I mean, every problem we have in the Middle East has Iran’s fingerprints on it. And it just keeps getting worse, instead of getting better.”

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Saudis Uncovered Plot to Bomb U.S. Embassy in Riyadh Before State Dept. Closures

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Saudi Interior Ministry said today that it arrested two of three suspects in a car-bombing plot that targeted the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh.

The plot was uncovered on March 13, the Saudis said. The State Department shut down consular services and even the embassy phone lines in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhahra for several days afterward citing “heightened security concerns,” but did not elaborate on the reason for the shutdown.

“All U.S. citizens are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings, and take extra precautions when travelling throughout the country. The Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia and limit non-essential travel within the country,” the State Department message in mid-March said.

Today, the Saudis said “a Saudi national and two Syrian nationals residing in a Gulf state” were behind the embassy attack plot.

“Security authorities took security precautions at the embassy and the surrounding area. Information indicated that one of the Syrians had already entered Saudi Arabia,” the Saudi Embassy in Washington said. “Security agencies initiated an intensive search that resulted in the arrest of two suspects on March 14, 2015 including the Syrian who entered the Kingdom on March 11, 2015. The second suspect, a Saudi national, was active in raising money illegally. Investigations are continuing.”

The arrests were included in a longer list of terrorism-related arrests — 93 in all — announced by the Saudis.

A New Year’s Eve terror bust netted 15 Saudi citizens for forming an ISIS cell called Soldiers of the Land of the Two Holy Mosques. “Meetings were held in remote areas outside the Al-Qassim region, where they received explosive and weapons training to target security locations, remote areas and security and military personnel,” the Saudi Embassy said.

Another Saudi citizen linked to ISIS — an explosives expert — was arrested Jan. 31. “He acknowledged in his statements that he had pledged allegiance to Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and confessed to his involvement in social media activities promoting terrorism, including disseminating methods of manufacturing explosives and inciting propaganda for terrorist acts.”

Just days before the plot to bomb the U.S. Embassy was uncovered, the Saudis arrested 65 people linked to ISIS, including a Palestinian, a Yemeni and “two unidentified nationals.”

“Suspects were arrested for links with Daesh and for provoking sectarian tension, as well as for targeting security forces and attacking General Intelligence prisons,” the Saudis said.

Another Saudi citizen was reportedly pulled over for reckless driving and bomb-making materials were found in his car. “The preliminary investigations indicated that he was influenced by Daesh’s online propaganda.”

ISIS is believed to be seeking more Western hostages after it killed all of its known American hostages. The terrorist group is counting on sympathizers in countries across the region to help.

The Saudi Gazette reported in September that there are 40,000 Americans living and working in the kingdom.

On April 20, a message was sent to U.S. citizens in the kingdom that “Saudi security forces would be taking precautionary measures to protect against an attempt by militants to target sites such as malls and oil facilities.”

“All U.S. citizens are encouraged to be aware of their surroundings, and take extra precautions when traveling throughout the country.”

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters today that they “have ongoing sharing of intelligence and coordination with Saudis, but I don’t have anything in connection with these arrests to announce.”

On the closure of consular facilities, Rathke refused to confirm that it had a connection to the bomb plot. “I don’t have details to share about the particulars of the arrests and the reasons for which the arrests were made,” he said. “So we’re referring to the Saudis to speak on that.”

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[WATCH] Iranian General Discusses Possible Terror Attacks in Saudi Arabian Cities

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 - by The Tatler

Reprinted with permission from MEMRI.

In a recent TV interview, Brigadier-General Ahmad Reza Pourdestan, commander of the Iranian ground forces, said: “If Saudi cities were targeted by bombings and missiles, it would be difficult for the officials there to withstand this.” He further said that in order to prevent a Sunni-Shiite union from materializing, “the first thing [the Americans] did was to plan and carry out the events of 9/11.” Pourdestan was speaking on the Iranian Al-Alam TV channel on April 19, 2015.

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McConnell Expects ‘Vigorous Debate’ Over Iran Bill Before He Caves on That, Too

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Hardball Mitch is ready to rumble…

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Tuesday he wants to pass a “sensible” bipartisan bill giving Congress the right to review an international nuclear agreement with Iran but made clear he expects lawmakers to introduce a wide variety of amendments to the legislation.

“I still expect to see a vigorous debate this week. I still expect to see a robust amendment process,” McConnell said in a Senate speech before debate on the bill began on Tuesday.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 19-0 last week for a compromise version of the Iran Nuclear Review Act in a rare display of bipartisan unity in the deeply divided Congress.

But some U.S. Republicans have introduced amendments seeking to toughen the bill, raising the possibility of a partisan battle that could complicate the measure’s chances of passing.

Remember, a “sensible bipartisan” bill means it doesn’t offend anyone or really do anything. Once language is introduced that could hold our rogue chief executive in check, “Kumbaya” stops playing and those dastardly conservatives are grinding the Senate to a halt.

Call me jaded (or well informed and in possession of functioning memory), but I think the more the MSM gives McConnell a chance to be the good guy by kneecapping conservatives, the better the odds that he’ll dance for them. They know it. Democrat leadership knows it. You and I know it.

Mitch McConnell is probably the only one who doesn’t understand what’s going on here.

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U.S. Nuke Negotiator ‘Always Struck’ by How Much Obama Feels Connected to Jews and Israel

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, who has been at the negotiating table with the Iranians, told a friendly Jewish audience Monday that she’s “always struck about how personally” President Obama feels about issues that matter to American Jews “and how personally he feels about his connection to the Jewish people and to Israel.”

“This deep-seated feeling is what drives his unwavering commitment to Israel’s security and his desire to ensure Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish state,” Sherman said at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism Biennial Leadership Policy Conference in Arlington.

“It’s also what drives this administration’s approach to the Iran nuclear threat. We understand that Israel is in a tough neighborhood. That’s why we have given Israel more security assistance than any other administration in history,” she continued. “And that’s why we’re doing everything we can to ensure that that neighborhood doesn’t become even tougher with a nuclear-armed Iran. We believe that the parameters, announced two weeks ago in Lausanne, offer the best chance at preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and just as importantly, that the alternatives fall far short of what we’ll have if we’re able to turn the political framework into a comprehensive agreement.”

Sherman said she knows “the Iranian nuclear issue is at the forefront of the Jewish community’s concerns, but I also know that there are other important concerns as well.”

“First, as you know, we have always had Israel’s back in the international arena, and we have repeatedly stood up against efforts to delegitimize Israel or single Israel out unfairly, even when it meant standing alone. That has been the case and will continue to be the case,” she said. “…If the new Israeli government is seen as stepping back from its commitment to a two-state solution, something that all of you and a vast majority of American Jews supports, that makes our job in the international arena a lot tougher. Because our ability to push back on efforts to internationalize efforts to address Israeli-Palestinian issues has depended on our insistence that the best course in achieving a two-solution is through direct negotiation between the parties.”

Sherman argued that sanctions “are not effective at preventing Iran from having a nuclear weapon” and the “only thing” that works is the Joint Plan of Action.

“Many people say – and I understand the impulse, because you get frustrated and there’s so much going on in the region that is it not good – that people say, ‘Take military action against Iran.’ Actually, our intelligence community has assessed and said publicly that if we took military action against Iran, it would only take away their program for maybe two years. They have mastered the entire nuclear fuel cycle, and you can’t bomb away knowledge. So even if we destroyed their facilities, they could re-create it.”

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Ferguson-Palestine Seed Bearing Fruit in Baltimore Riots

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

From Legal Insurrection:

This is becoming a recurring theme.

When there is a riot or other protest in the U.S., particularly if involving minority communities, “pro-Palestinian” activists try to hijack it and turn it into a criticism of Israel.

We saw it in Ferguson where “pro-Palestinian” activists spread lies that Israel trained the Ferguson police, and actually embedded themselves in the protests to try to turn the protests into anti-Israel protests.

The same thing has happened repeatedly with #BlackLivesMatters protests, most notably the dangerous blockade of the San Mateo – Hayward Bridge.

This is part of the emerging theme of anti-Israeli activists trying to tie unrelated movements, such as fossil fuel divestment, to Palestinian issues. Now we are seeing it with the Baltimore riots.

Max Blumenthal, notorious anti-Zionist and self-hating Jew, joined in to fuel the fire with Tweets like:


Blumenthal’s attempt to join in the community organizing through social media is yet another illustration of the yuppie socialist class fueling insurrection for their own nefarious political purposes. Like Ayers and Soros, these folks never let a good crisis go to waste, and when there isn’t one to be had, one can easily be made. It is no secret that the #BlackLivesMatter movement, along with associated organizations, has been funded and prepped to turn riot-like community organizing into violent expressions of pro-Palestinian unity. We’ve seen what this terror-backed rage can do in places like the Gaza Strip and Israel’s West Bank. What can we learn from Israel before our cities go down in flames?

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Ayatollah Jumps in on #BlackLivesMatter, Slams U.S. ‘Power with Cruelty’

Monday, April 27th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted about police brutality back during the Ferguson, Mo., protests, then hit on the U.S. for being racist on Columbus Day, and went on a tear again Sunday while speaking to police commanders:





Never mind the torture currently being suffered by U.S. hostages in Iran, who have been detained and held without due process not knowing the charges against them for sometimes months, not having access to attorneys and being convicted in quickie closed-door “trials.” Never mind the Basij militia that “police” the streets for the mullahs and unleash their fury on Iranian citizens, including the murder of Neda Agha-Soltan during 2009 election protests. Never mind an Iranian penal code that will publicly hang people for apostasy, blasphemy, consensual sex, drinking and more.

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Earn College Credit for Bashing Jews!

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Shalom Life reports:

Outraged students and pro-Israel groups are up in arms over a new course being taught at the University of California Riverside. The class, called “Palestine & Israel: Settler-Colonialism and Apartheid,” labels Jewish citizens of Israel as “occupiers,” and tries to discredit their claims to their homeland.

The class is being taught by Tina Matar, an undergrad student at the school. Matar is also part of the university’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) chapter, and has (along with other members of the SJP) voiced her support of Hamas and other terrorist groups committing genocide against the Jewish peoples. Matar, along with the SJP, have also tried to get the school to boycott Israel, and partake in the BDS movement at campuses around the globe.

The campus is an active participant in the BDS movement. Matar, still a student herself, is being sponsored by a pro-BDS professor, David Lloyd. And here’s the real kicker: Janet Napolitano is a university administrator.

In his letter protesting the one-credit class, Christians United for Israel head David Brog commented, “I’m not sure what’s worse, having a college course taught by an undergraduate student or having a course syllabus that reads like the Facebook page of a skinhead teenager.”

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Son of George Soros Launches Anti-Israel ‘Jewish Action PAC’

Friday, April 24th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Alexander Soros’s announcement, first published in Politico, reads in part:

…other politically active American Jews have joined me to launch the Bend the Arc Jewish Action PAC, which will focus the passion and political power of American Jews on supporting those progressive politicians who truly speak to the core values of Jewish voters.

We’re not only progressive in our views. We’re also among the most politically engaged groups in America. In our local communities, American Jews are active, fighting for the issues we care about. Right now, we’re joining with other religious groups to protest so-called “religious freedom” laws in Indiana, Arkansas, Louisiana, and elsewhere that would allow discrimination against LGBT people. We’re supporting efforts to empower home health care workers to organize for better wages and working conditions. And we’re rallying behind the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Last December, on the first night of Chanukah, thousands of American Jews gathered across 15 U.S. cities to protest police brutality against African Americans.

So, what makes the Junior Soros’s move so striking at this very moment? Perhaps it is the fact that at the very second J Street decides to go whole-hog progressive, a Jew declares the need for a progressive Jewish PAC? No. It is far worse than that. It is no secret that Papa Soros funds various PACs tied directly to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. In his announcement, Alexander Soros makes it very clear that this “civil rights” movement is his organization’s primary focus. While J Street argues for Palestinian statehood in the Jewish world, Soros’s PAC is funding a pro-Palestinian activist camp on American soil, made up of disenfranchised African Americans who are busy establishing connections with radical Palestinians.

Why make it a “Jewish” endeavor? In a political climate where a growing number of Jews are cooling to Obama, traditionally liberal, secularized Jews are ripe for the picking. Let’s hope they’re wise enough not to pour Soros’s Kool Aid into their kiddush cups.

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San Diego Man Arrested for Working for Al-Qaeda Sharia Court in Syria, Fighting with Terror Group

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Yesterday the FBI in San Diego arrested Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati, a naturalized U.S. citizen since September 2008, for making false statements to U.S. Embassy officials, Customs and Border Protection and the FBI related to his time in Syria and Turkey over the past two years. Kodaimati left the U.S. in late December 2012 and returned on March 23.

According to the FBI affidavit in support of the criminal complaint filed today in the case against Kodaimati, the 24-year-old man was caught in a series of lies related to his work on behalf of a sharia court operated by Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria and a U.S. designated terrorist organization, and also his role mediating between Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS.

Ultimately, Kodaimati was tripped up by his posts to Facebook.

According to the FBI, he stated in a September 2013 private message on Facebook that he worked for the sharia court in Hanano near Aleppo. He would post media statements from the Nusra-operated sharia court to social media.

The FBI complaint also alleges that Kodaimati was a close associate with a senior ISIS operative in the area, with whom he mediated on behalf of others in the area to resolve conflicts between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra. He also posted pictures to his Facebook account (now removed) of him with another known ISIS operative.

In his Facebook communications, he also recounted how he, his father and his brother fought with Jabhat al-Nusra against the Assad regime for four months.

He was initially questioned at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, on March 10 and 11. He was later questioned about his activities in Syria by Customs and Border Patrol upon his reentry to the U.S. at the airport in Charlotte, NC, on March 23, and later by the FBI in Charlotte on March 25. After being questioned at his home in San Diego yesterday, he was taken into custody.

Here’s the FBI complaint:

Kodaimati Criminal Complaint by Stewart Bell

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White House Says Strike Killed al-Qaeda’s Favorite American Twit

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

In addition to the announcement that an American contractor and Italian aid worker held by al-Qaeda were killed in a January drone strike, President Obama announced that officials think two other Americans were killed as they fought for al-Qaeda.

One wasn’t killed in the same strikes as those that killed Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, but in “recent” counterterrorism operations, the White House said.

“We have concluded that Ahmed Farouq, an American who was an al-Qaeda leader, was killed in the same operation that resulted in the deaths of Dr. Weinstein and Mr. Lo Porto. We have also concluded that Adam Gadahn, an American who became a prominent member of al-Qaeda, was killed in January, likely in a separate U.S. Government counterterrorism operation,” said press secretary Josh Earnest, subsequently admitting, like the deaths of the hostages, the terrorists’ deaths were an accident: “While both Farouq and Gadahn were al-Qaeda members, neither was specifically targeted, and we did not have information indicating their presence at the sites of these operations.”

Rumors of the death of Gadahn, a convert who ran off to Pakistan before 9/11 and was the English-language mouthpiece for al-Qaeda, have swirled for years.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said “Gadahn and Farouq, two American citizens who joined al-Qaeda, got what they deserved.”

“Gadahn served as a chief spokesman for al-Qaeda while Farouq was a top-level operative in the organization,” Graham said.

“Based upon their direct and material support for al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, both men were subject to being killed or captured under the Law of War. Any American citizen who joins al-Qaeda or affiliated terrorist groups are subject to being killed under the Law of War. A decision to join groups like al-Qaeda or affiliated terrorist organizations is made at one’s own peril.”

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) noted that Gadahn was “raised in California with every possible opportunity and freedom.”

“And in the end, he spent years trying to destroy our freedoms and encouraging others with hate-filled speech after betraying our country,” Royce said.

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Earnest: Iran Has Already ‘Suffered’ for Holding U.S. Hostages Because They Don’t Get to Be as Cozy with Washington

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

White House press secretary Josh Earnest said today that Iran has already “suffered consequences” for holding Americans hostages — not having warmer relations with Washington.

At today’s press briefing, Earnest responded to a letter sent by Marine vet Amir Hekmati, held by Iran since 2011 on trumped-up charges of conspiracy to commit espionage, to congressional leaders.

“While I am thankful that the State Department and the Obama administration has called for my release and that of my fellow Americans, there has been no serious response to this blatant and ongoing mistreatment of Americans by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and they continue on with impunity,” Hekmati wrote, noting that “Secretary Kerry sits politely with the Iranians, shaking hands and offering large economic concessions” as they charged another American, Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, with espionage.

“As a war veteran who defended our nation in its time of need, I ask that you also work to defend my dignity and that of my fellow Americans by putting in place serious consequences for this serial hostage-taking and mistreatment of Americans by Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence for clearly illegal purposes.”

The administration has repeatedly said it brings up the cases of Hekmati, Rezaian, Saeed Abedini and Bob Levinson on the sidelines of Iran nuclear talks, but refuses to link the hostages to the nuke deal.

“I don’t want to speculate about any possible future action, but I will say something that’s similar to what I said before, which is that we continue to be very concerned about the unjust detention of a number of Americans inside of Iran,” Earnest vaguely answered after being read the “serious consequences” passage of Hekmati’s letter.

“We have made those concerns known in quite public fashion. We’ve also made those concerns known privately, directly with the Iranian leadership. As recently as a month or two ago, Secretary of State John Kerry, on the sidelines of his nuclear negotiations with his Iranian counterpart, raised his concerns about this unjust detention. So we’ve made very clear to the Iranians that we’re concerned about the treatment of Americans inside of Iran, and that this continues to be a high priority for U.S. foreign policy.”

Still, Earnest was pressed on whether the administration believes there should be “serious consequences” for the four American hostages.

“There is no doubt that the unjust detention of Americans in Iran has continued to serve as an impediment to better relations between the United States and Iran. There’s no doubt about that,” Earnest replied. “So there already have been consequences that Iran has suffered as a result of this. But, again, I’m not going to speculate about any sort of future actions that we may take to further compel the Iranians to release those Americans who are being unjustly detained inside their country.”

Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) said in a joint statement yesterday that Rezaian, who was arrested in July, “is being persecuted because of his profession as a reporter and his American citizenship” and the case “is just the latest example of the true nature of the Iranian regime.”

“The Obama administration should demand Mr. Rezaian’s immediate release along with all other Americans wrongfully imprisoned in Iran prior to concluding a nuclear deal with this brutal regime,” Rubio and Kirk said.

But House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told CNN today that there doesn’t need to be a quid pro quo.

“I think they’re trying to maintain the solidity of the nuclear negotiations and not have it disrupted by bringing in other issues in the region, as vital as they are,” Schiff said. “And also while they want to continue raising these hostage issues, they don’t want it to be a chip the Iranians can play. And I think the harder we press them in some respects, the harder the pushback and more the Iranians think this is really valuable, these hostages are valuable, we should keep them because we can exact more from the Americans.”

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Ohio Terror Suspect Was Caught Lying to FBI Two Days After Becoming Naturalized U.S. Citizen

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

An Ohio man indicted by a federal grand jury on terrorism support charges last week, Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, was questioned by the FBI two days after becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen.

During that questioning, he was caught lying about his identity.

Several days later, Mohamud applied for a U.S. passport and was allowed to travel to Syria. There, he fought and trained with Jabhat al-Nusra — an official al-Qaeda affiliate — and then was allowed to return to the U.S. where he planned to launch terror attacks inside the U.S.

These remarkable revelations of FBI failure emerged from documents unsealed by the federal court and from last week’s indictment.

According to the indictment (p.2), Mohamud became a naturalized U.S. citizen on February 18 last year, and applied for a U.S. passport a week later:

On or about February 18, 2014, MOHAMUD became a naturalized U.S. citizen. On or about February 25, 2014, MOHAMUD submitted his U.S. passport application.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports today, the FBI interviewed Mohamud on Feb. 20th — two days after his naturalization ceremony — during which FBI agents caught him lying about his identity:

The FBI first spoke to Mr. Mohamud more than a year ago, but that intervention didn’t appear to prevent the native of Somalia from traveling overseas. During the Feb. 20, 2014, interview, federal agents said Mr. Mohamud tried to lie about his identity. He first told investigators he was his older brother, Abdifatah Aden, who had already left the U.S. in 2013 and was believed to be fighting in Syria on behalf of Nusra Front and raising money for the cause, according to court documents.

“When challenged about his truthfulness, he admitted his true identity,” Mr. Flowers of the FBI wrote in a court affidavit. It wasn’t clear from court documents how agents reacted to Mr. Mohamud’s reversal.

And yet, Mohamud was allowed to obtain a U.S. passport and travel to Turkey six weeks later, where he joined up with terror operatives after crossing the border into Syria.

After Mohamud returned to the U.S. last June, the newly unsealed court documents claim that he then began weapons training with others in the Columbus area. The Wall Street Journal article continues:

Three months after he returned from training with violent extremists in Syria, a 23-year-old Ohio man hosted a shooting group at a local gun range, federal authorities allege in newly unsealed court papers.

Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud rented a shooting lane in the Columbus area last September, court papers say. When a range officer offered to instruct him and his two associates how to use their borrowed pistol, Mr. Mohamud allegedly declined, implying he could teach the others.

“Organizing weapons training is consistent with individuals who previously obtained training from … training camps to, upon return to their homeland, seek to recruit a group of young male adults in order to lead them to be like-minded jihadist believers prepared to fight,” Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Stephen Flowers wrote in court documents.

For eight months until his arrest in late February this year, Mohamud was allowed to roam freely within the U.S. and train others in handling firearms.

Here is a timeline of events:

Feb. 18, 2014: Mohamud becomes a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Feb. 20, 2014: The FBI interviews Mohamud, during which time he is caught lying about his identity. The same day he communicates with his brother already in Syria about his travel plans to join him.

Feb. 25, 2014: Mohamud applies for a U.S. passport.

April 8, 2014: He purchases a one-way airline ticket with a stopover in Istanbul, Turkey.

April 18, 2014: He departs the U.S. and arrives in Turkey the following day.

June 3, 2014: His older brother, Aden, is reported killed fighting in Syria.

June 8, 2014: He returns to the U.S.

Approx. Sept 2014: He trains others in handling weapons at a Columbus firing range.

Feb. 25, 2015: Mohamud is arrested on state terrorism support charges.

April 16, 2015: He is indicted by a federal grand jury.

Even with an FBI informant among Mohamud’s associates, it would be hard to paint this as the Bureau’s finest hour. As I noted here at PJ Media last week, the FBI has been less than forthcoming to the public about the scope of the threat of U.S. persons who have traveled to fight in Syria and the number of those who have returned.

As additional details become available, it may become even more clear how the FBI botched the handling of this potential threat.

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Video: Franklin Graham Calls on U.S. to Halt All Immigration of Muslims Coming from Countries with Islamic Terror Cells

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015 - by Debra Heine

Reverend Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, has called on the United States government to “stop allowing immigration of Muslims into this country.”

“Each day’s news seems to reveal new horrors from militant Islam,” Graham said Monday in a post on Facebook.  ”Can it be that the world is no longer as shocked by Christians having their heads cut off and then ISIS proudly promoting this on video? We should continue to be horrified and nauseated.”

“We should make sure our government and the current administration recognizes Islam for the danger it is, and that they are doing all they can to work against it,” he said.

“Our government needs to: (1) Immediately look at immigration reform to halt all immigration of Muslims from countries that have active terrorist cells—the threat this poses to our nation is huge and could end up costing thousands of lives in the future if we don’t act now. And (2) Take immediate military action to defeat ISIS.”

“The influence of radical Islam is spreading, not diminishing,” he concluded.

Rev. Graham went on Fox News Monday morning to discuss with Gretchen Carlson the disturbing new video that was released by ISIS showing the mass execution of Ethiopian Christians in Libya. He reiterated his call for a moratorium on Muslim immigration.

The reverend stated that Obama is not doing enough to stop ISIS and that “he is responsible for ISIS” because he pulled troops out of Iraq and created a vacuum which ISIS filled.

He called on the president to “declare war with ISIS,” saying that “we need to go wherever they are — whether it’s Iraq, whether it’s Libya.” He added, “We need to put boots on the ground. We’re not going to defeat ISIS the way we’re doing it now.”

Graham went on to say that “we have to stop allowing immigration of Muslims into this country who come from countries that have active terror cells. I am calling for the halt to all immigration of Muslims to this country if they come from a country that has Islamic terror cells.”

Carlson challenged him, asking, “How do we know, though? How do we know that they are actually terrorists?”

“You don’t,” Graham answered matter-of-factly. “You just can’t allow people to keep coming from these countries that are going to bring terrorism into this nation.”

Gretchen pressed him further, saying, “I’m just wondering if we’re going to run into difficulty with discrimination if we do something as drastic as you’re suggesting.”

“Of course — we’re going to have people calling this discrimination but this is war,” Graham insisted. “If you’re in a war, you’re going to have to discriminate.”

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It’s extremely  unlikely Rev. Graham’s call for an immigration moratorium will be heeded by the Obama administration. Even in the days after 9/11 similar calls were quickly shot down.

Refugee resettlement contractors have been demanding 12,000-15,000 Syrians a year be admitted into the country. The government is reportedly reviewing 11,000 resettlement applications from Syrians — the vast majority of them Muslims.

The United States is scheduled to take in its largest tranche of Syrian refugees to date — up to 2,000 by this fall, compared with a total of about 700 since the civil war in Syria began four years ago, according to the State Department.

The U.S. decision to accept more refugees reflects how swiftly the Syrian civil war has morphed into the most pressing humanitarian crisis in recent years. Generally, resettling large numbers of refugees happens long after other options are exhausted, like the possibility of displaced people eventually returning home.

Recently, the FBI testified to the House Homeland Security Committee that there is no way they can properly screen the Syrians.

US authorities are facing a difficult task screening Syrian refugees for potential extremists because of a shortage of intelligence from the war-torn country, officials told lawmakers Wednesday.

Michael Steinbach, assistant director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said the US government had data and intelligence to draw on when it performed background checks on refugees from Iraq in recent years but in the case of Syria, there was “a lack of information.”

America is not ready to face this problem yet because nobody in “the land of the free” wants to be accused of being “Islamophobic.” But the day may come when they have no choice but to choose between liberty or mass Muslim immigration.


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Domestic ISIS Arrests Show We Really Are Hated for Our Freedoms

Monday, April 20th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

Six Somali-Americans were arrested Sunday and have since been charged with planning to fight for ISIS overseas. Notably, these were not downtrodden struggling kids who were handed a raw deal and grew bitter. On the contrary, each had a promising future at their fingertips and chose to abandon it to declare war on freedom. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports:

It’s not clear how the six men, who range in age from 18 to 24, met or how well they knew each other, but it appears that their paths crossed again and again as they grew up in Minneapolis. After graduating from South High, Farah, Musse and Omar enrolled at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). Farah and Musse majored in liberal arts; Omar was a pre-nursing student. Abdurahman, also a graduate of the Minneapolis Public Schools, enrolled at MCTC and studied computer support…

One of the men, in a conversation recorded by an FBI source, describes his disgust with living in the United States. “The American identity is dead. Even if I get caught, whatever, I’m through with America. Burn my ID,” he said, according to a transcript filed with the case.

They were raised in a condition of relative affluence, certainly compared to the rest of the world, and particularly compared to the lives they would have led if raised in Somalia. After experiencing such freedom firsthand, they made the conscientious decision to reject and destroy it.

This flies in the face of the seductive narrative that terrorism is fostered by poverty or exploitation. Terrorism is fostered by an evil ideology.


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‘It’s Not a Fad, So Don’t Get Mad’: The ISIS ‘Jihadi Wives’ Poem

Monday, April 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

This poem was posted on a file-sharing site three days ago with the preface, “We are not slaves to our inclinations when will the west understand?!”:

We are the jihadi wives
We feel no shame
We are the jihadi wives
It’s all in the name

Wife to a warrior
It’s not a fad
Wife to a muwahid
So don’t get mad

Attempting to defame our names
Calling it democracy
Attempting to defame our game
A loosing mockery

We are the jihadi wives
Take down this memo
We are the jihadi wives
Raising a new nation

Enjoying ardul izzah
Preparing our cubs for your slaughter
Enjoying ardul izzah
The next to come might be your daughter

The muhajiraat keep expanding
Coming from all across the globe
The muhajiraat keep expanding
Coming bolder and stronger

Jihadi wives here to stay
Supporting martyrdom or victory
So be displeased as you you
Jihadi wives here to stay

The “cubs,” or ISIS children, are put into indoctrination programs and training camps at an early age. There was no designated author of the “Jihadi Wives” poem, but ISIS has been making a concerted effort to lure women to the Islamic State to become brides to their fighters.

One ISIS handbook advises women to arrange contacts beforehand, to learn some conversational Turkish, not travel on the same plane in groups larger than three, buy a SIM card for a cell phone at the airport, and to “be chill to the airport officers.” Once at a hotel, the woman would call contacts for a ride to a home of an ISIS sympathizer in preparation to cross the border at night or dawn. It cautions that if you leave your luggage at the safehouse “they might steal your stuff.” The guide also recommends bringing an extra abaya in case a woman rips hers while crawling under barbed wire at the border.

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Webb on Iran: Nuke Deal Is a Treaty, So Congress Must ‘Really Scrub’ It

Monday, April 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Potential 2016 presidential candidate and former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) has a very different view on the Iran nuclear negotiations than the Obama administration.

“I don’t believe that you can have a legally binding international commitment without the full consent of the Congress, not the oversight that they are offering in this bill, although I would say I think [Bob Corker] has made quite an accomplishment by getting this bill through the committee in the form that it is,” Webb told CNN on Sunday.

Any eventual deal needs to be treated just like a treaty: “Specific approval.”

“And I said this when the Bush administration was putting together the strategic framework agreement in Iraq in ’08. I said it when President Obama said he was going to have a binding legal arrangement with respect to climate change. You cannot do that without the specific consent of the Congress,” he added.

Webb stressed that “we don’t want to be sending signals into this region that we are acquiescing to the situation where Iran might become more dominant.”

“We don’t know what is in this, the particulars. So, it’s vitally important that Congress come forward and examine this agreement in detail and get a vote,” he said.

“We know our interpretation of the outline of the agreement. And we see that Iran has given its interpretation, which is another reason why we need to really scrub this whole idea.”

Webb warned that “the end result of this could well be our acquiescence in allowing Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.”

“We don’t want that. I don’t — I’m not — I don’t think the Iranians really want that, because, if they look in this region, they’re going to see that you’re going to have proliferation,” he said. “But we need to really be on top of this. And I think the piece that Secretary Kissinger and George Shultz wrote in The Wall Street Journal summed it up about as well as it could summed up.”

That op-ed by the pair of former secretaries of State, which eviscerated what had been revealed about the framework, was panned by the administration as unrealistic.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said she heard “a lot of sort of big words and big thoughts” in the piece, “but I didn’t hear a lot of alternatives about what they would do differently.”

Webb, a Vietnam veteran who was an assistant secretary of Defense and secretary of the Navy under President Reagan, stressed “the questions that Kissinger and Shultz raised about verification and what was on the other side are really important.”

“That’s why the Congress needs to scrub this and give specific approval, if — and I am saying as someone who potentially could be in — obviously in the executive branch, but I think it’s healthy for the country,” he added.

Of that potential challenge to Hillary Clinton, Webb said he’s “looking at it and looking at it hard.”

“I think the reality, obviously, I have been independent all my political career. It’s how I could work comfortably in the Reagan administration and then comfortably serve as a Democrat. But we’re never going to have this financial leviathan machine that is going to pull in $2.5 billion, as some people do,” Webb said in reference to Hillary’s expected fundraising haul.

“I’m never going to have a political consultant at my side whispering what I should say or how I should dress or whether I ought to go to Wal-Mart or not. But what we do have is long experience on the issues in and out of government, strong beliefs about where the country needs to go, and I think the kind of leadership that — where we can govern and we can pull in people who love our country and try to develop some strong positions on fairness at home and common sense and foreign policy.”

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State Legislator: We Need to Defeat ISIS Before You Can Buy Beer on Sunday

Monday, April 20th, 2015 - by Walter Hudson

MilitentsIt’s 2015. We still can’t ride hover-boards or pilot flying cars. Worse yet, Minnesota consumers can’t buy liquor on Sundays. An archaic blue law remains on the books which bans such commerce on the Christian sabbath. An effort to repeal the ban has become perennial, failing session after session despite broad public support across party lines.

After committee chairs in the Minnesota state Senate refused to hear a bill to repeal the ban, an amendment to the same effect was offered to an omnibus liquor bill last week. The amendment failed, with Republicans and Democrats split both for and against the measure.

Facing heat for his vote against Sunday liquor sales, Republican state Senator Dave Brown took to his Facebook account expressing frustration:

Brown1Brown’s post was likely in direct response to yours truly. In testimony before the House Commerce Committee, speaking on behalf of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, I had described the Sunday sales issue as a litmus test for determining whether elected representatives believe in individual rights and free markets. I also called out Brown by name in a social media post following the vote. I went on to describe the issue as “a line in the sand,” a phrase repeated by Brown in conversation with constituents.

Brown2Let’s consider this perspective offered by Brown. By his logic, constituents may not fairly condemn votes on issues of liberty so long as greater violations take place anywhere in the world. Since few issues claim the gravity of Islamic beheadings, this effectively means that constituents may not rightly complain about anything.

The best response to Brown’s claim comes from Craig Westover, retired journalist and former communications director of the Republican Party of Minnesota.

Brown5Brown and others of similar mindset think this is about buying booze. It’s not. It’s about the principles which Republicans campaign on, and whether activists and voters can trust that those principles will be applied to issues both grand and trivial. Indeed, if we can’t trust legislators to uphold principle on matters of lower priority, on what would we base expectations for issues of higher priority?

The excuses didn’t end there.

Brown3See? We don’t have a free market anyway. So why would anyone expect a legislator to vote for a free market? Makes sense, right?

Brown4In the final analysis, according to Brown, Minnesotans don’t just need to wait until beheadings end in the Middle East before they can buy a beer on the sabbath. They also need to wait until business licensure and municipal liquor stores are abolished.

Missing from this order of legislative operation is an actual justification. Why do we have to wait? What is it about voting to end an archaic blue law that somehow prevents action on any other issue? Was Brown too busy fighting Middle Eastern beheadings to vote appropriately here?

Another brand of deflection was exhibited by Democrat state senator Jim Carlson:

Don’t blame me! It was the committee chairs.

Right. Look, we all get how the game is played. The committee chairs answer to the leadership. The leadership answers to their caucus members. The whole process is set up to deflect responsibility and set up plausible narratives to excuse inaction or wrong action. It’s a tired old schtick that doesn’t impress anyone anymore. Voters expect better.


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The Senate’s Red Line: No Immediate Sanctions Relief as Demanded by Iran

Sunday, April 19th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The leader of the panel that unanimously passed out of committee a bill requiring congressional approval of any deal with Iran vowed to stop any sanctions repeal that isn’t incremental.

Iran has insisted publicly for many weeks now that it will not accept anything less than all sanctions repealed on the day they sign the final deal.

“As you know, at present, right now, the leadership in Iran is telling their citizens one thing. Our president and others are telling us another. The only way we will ever know what are the details, understand what is in the classified annexes is for us to pass these pieces of legislation that are before us, because, otherwise, we may never know until way after the fact exactly what the agreement is,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told CNN this morning.

“So, look, I think it’s very important, yes, that the phased — the sanctions be phased, so that we see how Iran is behaving, and whether they are actually living up to the arrangement, that we are building up trust,” Corker said. “But, no, to alleviate those on the front end obviously just gives them immediately more money to conduct terrorist acts throughout the Middle East and to continue the hegemony that they have been involved in for the last several years.”

Asked directly if he would stop the Obama administration from lifting sanctions in a manner that was not phased in over time, he replied, “Yes.”

The chairman stressed there are “lots of questions right now, when you start teasing out the details from Secretary Kerry and others.”

“What are our abilities to — on an instant, to get into these facilities, to know what is happening? Are we going to go back to exactly what happened under Saddam Hussein, where they kept moving the ball, where, for months and months and months, we didn’t have the ability to get in?” Corker asked.

“…The public will never see, never see the classified annexes. And I think, on their behalf, they want someone, they want Senator Cardin, myself, our colleagues, the 98 others who will have the opportunity to do this, to actually see those details prior to the sanctions being relieved, to be able to debate those, and certainly to be able to make sure that they comply.”

Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) declared on CNN that “America is stronger today” because of the 19-0 vote on the Corker-Menendez bill last week.

“It’s not unusual to have any administration disagree as to what role Congress should play in any of the work that they are doing, but I think we have worked out the right way, the right way for a thoughtful review by Congress to look at sanctions, since we imposed the sanctions, as to how those sanctions will be handled,” Cardin said.

Said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Fox this morning: “Don’t think there’s a snowball chance in hell that a Congress is going to approve this framework the way it’s set up.”

“The ayatollah saying he gets immediate sanction relief with no intrusive inspections,” Graham said. “…And I don’t think there’s any chance we’re going to lift congressional sanctions as long as you have hardened sites like Fordow still open.”

“If the final agreement doesn’t allow any time, anywhere inspections, it has a large enrichment program, it keeps Fordow, an underground secret site, reinforced site open that he will get his — it will be rejected large enough to override a veto because members of the Senate understand that this is the most consequential vote we will ever take and the Iranians can’t be trusted, they lie, they cheat.”

As the White House, knowing it was defeated on Corker-Menendez, acquiesced and said it could live with the bill as written, Congressional Republican leadership fired a shot across President Obama’s bow Saturday by turning the weekly GOP address over to Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), co-author of the Menendez-Kirk sanctions bill.

“Iran is the world’s biggest state sponsor of terror. Iran’s aytatollahs are now trying to build their own nuclear weapons. Iranian leaders have repeatedly threatened to annihilate Jewish families across the state of Israel,” Kirk said.

“Four years ago I authored a bipartisan Iran sanctions Legislation that passed the Senate by a vote of 100-0. These sanctions forced Iran back to the negotiating table. They were so effective that they dropped the value of Iran’s currency by three-quarters. This was probably the entire reason why the Iranians even showed up at the negotiations,” he continued.

“Lately, Iran has tried to backtrack on the promises they made to President Obama. Iran now wants sanctions immediately lifted, which would fund Iran’s terror subsidiaries with billions. Secretary Kerry recently testified before the Senate and said it would only take two more months for Iran to build a bomb. We must use strong economic pressure on Iran to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons.”

Stopping Iran from getting the bomb, the senator stressed, is “the greatest challenge to peace in our time.”

“After the Holocaust we promised ‘never again,’” Kirk said. “We must keep terrorists from hurting our allies and our nation.”

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ISIS Claims Car Bomb at U.S. Embassy in Kurdistan

Friday, April 17th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

ISIS targeted the U.S. Embassy in Irbil today, with a suicide car bomb detonating in the Kurdish capital at about 5:30 p.m. local time.

Kurdish news site Rudaw noted that the embassy is located in a Christian neighborhood, Ainkawa, which is frequented by Westerners and was busy on a Friday evening.

The bomb detonation was followed by about an hour of gunfire being exchanged between Kurdish security forces and the terrorists.

“The duck-and-cover protocol was activated at the U.S. consulate. All chief of mission personnel have been accounted for. There are no reports of injuries to chief of mission personnel or to the local guards,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters today.

“Host nation fire assets responded to extinguish the fire. Local authorities have also responded and are securing the area. We appreciate the rapid response of the Kurdistan and regional government authorities to this matter, and we will work with them to investigate the incident to determine the facts behind the explosion.”

Kurdish media reported that one American was injured in the attack; the State Department said no embassy personnel were hurt. Four people were killed and 18 injured in the attack. ISIS claimed responsibility on Twitter.

Harf was asked about the shock of terrorists infiltrating an otherwise safe city.

“I think that Iraq remains a dangerous place. Many parts of it do. So I’m not going to get into specifics, but we know that the security environment there is quite a challenging one, and obviously take a number of security precautions when it comes to our people and our facilities,” she said.

Angus King (I-Maine) said on CNN moments ago that there wasn’t “final confirmation” to lawmakers that ISIS was behind the attack, but noted that it was a “pretty sophisticated and powerful bomb” that targeted the embassy.

“It really is very difficult to secure a major city,” King said, adding that heightened security protocols at the embassy “served their purpose today.”

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, said he’s “closely monitoring” the developments.

“I was just in Irbil earlier this month, visiting with local officials and security personnel,” Gardner said. “The Kurdish people are our allies in the war against extremism in the region, and it’s important for the United States to continue to offer them our support.”


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Obama on Russian Missile Sale to Iran: No Big Deal, They’re Just ‘Defensive’

Friday, April 17th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama said today he’s “surprised” that Russian President Vladimir Putin actually waited until now to sell missiles to the Iranians.

Putin said during a live Q&A program yesterday that it was acceptable to lift the ban on selling the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran because Tehran is “demonstrating a lot of flexibility and an obvious desire to reach a compromise on their nuclear program.”

Putin also stressed that it’s Russia’s prerogative to lift a unilateral ban and that Iran “does not pose any threat to Israel whatsoever.”

He said that since Russian companies made the $900 million equipment, “Why should we take the loss?”

Appearing at the White House today with Italian Prime Minister Mattero Renzi, Obama said the sale “was slated to happen in 2009, when I first met with then-Prime Minister Putin.”

“They actually stopped the sale, paused or suspended the sale at our request. And I’m frankly surprised that it held this long, given that they were not prohibited by sanctions from selling these defensive weapons,” Obama added.

“When I say I’m not surprised, given some of the deterioration in the relationship between Russia and the United States, and the fact that their economy is under strain and this was a substantial sale. I do think that it sends a message about how important it is for us to look like we are credible in negotiations if in fact a deal fails, and we are needing to maintain sanctions.”

Obama steered this into a criticism of Congress.

“Because I’ve heard some in Congress who are opposed to this deal say either let’s just slap on even more sanctions, or we’ll do sanctions unilaterally, regardless of what other countries are willing to do. The reason that the sanctions regime has worked is because painstakingly we built an international coalition that has held this long,” he said.

“And if it is perceived that we walked away from a fair deal that gives us assurances Iran doesn’t get a nuclear weapon, then those international sanctions will fray. And it won’t just be Russia or China. It will be some of our close allies who will start questioning what — our capacity or the wisdom of maintaining these.”

Obama stressed that “we don’t want to put ourselves in that position.”

“We want to make sure that if there’s no deal on the Iran nuclear program, it’s because the Iranians were not willing to accept what the international community considered to be an appropriate and fair approach to this problem,” he added.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he called Putin earlier this week to express “grave concerns” about the sale.

“The Prime Minister told President Putin that this sale will only encourage Iranian aggression in the region and further undermine the stability of the Middle East.”

Israel has expressed concern that the missiles will make their way to Hezbollah.

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Putin: Iran ‘Does Not Pose Any Threat to Israel Whatsoever,’ So Have Some Missiles

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during a live Q&A program that it was acceptable to lift the ban on selling the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system to Iran because Tehran is “demonstrating a lot of flexibility and an obvious desire to reach a compromise on their nuclear program.”

“In effect, all participants in the process have announced that an agreement has been reached. Now they only have the technical details to deal with, and they will complete this before June. This is why we made this decision,” Putin said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier this week there was “no more need” for the 2010 embargo, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif lauded the move by “an important partner.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Putin on Tuesday to warn that the sale would only wreak more havoc in the Middle East.

“If someone fears that we have started cancelling the sanctions, apparently our colleagues do not know that the supply of these systems is not on the UN list of sanctions,” Putin continued in the Q&A, during which he answered 74 audience questions over nearly four hours. “We suspended this contract absolutely unilaterally. Now that there is obvious progress on the Iranian track, we do not see why we should continue imposing this ban unilaterally – I would like to emphasize this again.”

“As for the list of sanctions envisaged by the UN resolutions, we will of course act in unison with our partners. We have always cooperated with this, and I would like to stress that we have made a large contribution to the settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.”

Putin stressed that since Russian companies made the $900 million equipment, “why should we take the loss?”

“As far as Iran is concerned, it is a completely different story that does not pose any threat to Israel whatsoever. It is a solely defensive weapon,” he added. “Moreover, we believe that under the current circumstances in the region, especially in view of the events in Yemen, supplies of this kind of weapon could be a restraining factor.”

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters today that they have “significant concerns” about the sale and “previously made our objections known.”

“We, look, aren’t going to speculate into Russia’s decision-making, I think. That was part of what he talked about today. Certainly the case that Russia’s economy has been under incredible strain, and that as some press reports have noted, it may be that Russia is doing this purely for the money involved, given they need an influx of finances, given the state of their economy,” Harf said. “We do not, and we agree with what President Putin did say, that we don’t expect this to impact the unity of the P5-plus-1 inside the negotiating room. He said that, and we certainly believe the same.”

“A possible reason may be for the money,” she said of the arms sale.

“The easiest way for the Russians to help fix their economy is to stop doing the things that required sanctions to be put on in the first place,” Harf said.

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U.S. Analyst Admits: ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Have Been Working With Al-Qaeda All Along

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

One of the most closely guarded secrets in Washington, D.C. about U.S. involvement in the Syrian war is that the “moderate” rebels whom the Obama administration (and many Republicans) backed were closely aligned with al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra. They were also, at times, aligned with the Islamic State.

For regular PJ Media readers, this will come as no surprise. I’ve repeatedly documented the ties between the State Department’s “vetted moderate” rebel groups and designated terrorist groups based on snippets of reporting that challenged the administration’s official narrative.

But now the “moderate” rebels are on their heels and in retreat from internecine pressure from Jabhat al-Nusra. Brookings Institute-Doha Syria analyst Charles Lister — who has probably had as much direct contact with “rebel” leaders as any other U.S. analyst — has finally admitted to the long-time cooperation between “moderates” and “extremists.”

In an article published last month on the Brookings website, Lister states:

This latter alliance with Jabhat al-Nusra has been a consistent facet of insurgent dynamics in Syria, but not only in terms of conservative Salafist groups like Ahrar al-Sham. In fact, while rarely acknowledged explicitly in public, the vast majority of the Syrian insurgency has coordinated closely with Al-Qaeda since mid-2012 – and to great effect on the battlefield. But while this pragmatic management of relationships may have secured opposition military victories against the regime, it has also come at an extraordinary cost. The assimilation of Al-Qaeda into the broader insurgency has discouraged the U.S. and its European allies from more definitively backing the ‘moderate’ opposition. That, by extension, has encouraged the intractability of the conflict we see today and the rise of jihadist factions like Jabhat al-Nusra, IS, and many others.

A year-and-a-half ago, uttering this outside of the polite company of the D.C. foreign policy “smart set” would have gotten you branded a heretic.

The official narrative of the administration and the McCain/Graham “war at any cost” wing of the GOP was that the vast majority of rebels were moderate, as expressed in John Kerry’s testimony before McCain’s committee in September 2013. Such deep and complex truths were unworthy of the unwashed American masses at a time when many in D.C. were openly calling for more heavy weapons to be sent to the “vetted moderate” rebels.

But with the sudden surge of ISIS last June and the announcement of the re-establishment of the Islamic State, the narrative was getting harder to publicly maintain — even as the Obama administration did in fact begin sending heavy weaponry to the “vetted moderate” rebels.

The “smart set” then began to drop hints that the “vetted moderate” rebels were not so moderate after all, but certainly nothing so candid to give the whole game away. Lister notes that the rebel cooperation with Jabhat al-Nusra going back to mid-2012 (Nusra announced its formation in January 2012) was “rarely acknowledged explicitly in public.”

Now with things going very badly in Syria and Iraq, the “smart set” is divided between walking back their support for the rebels, or doubling-down on their support by saying the U.S. needs to begin backing “moderate al-Qaeda”.

The media has been more forthcoming about our “vetted moderate” allies since American reporters began losing their heads under Islamic State knives.

In late October, American journalist Theo Padnos — who was captured by the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and then given over to Jabhat al-Nusra — told the story of his two-year captivity in the New York Times Magazine. At one point, Padnos says he escaped from his Al-Qaeda captors and found himself back in the hands of the FSA, who then, again, promptly turned him back over to the terror group.

Padnos also relates this exchange with some U.S.-trained FSA fighters that exposes the glaring weaknesses of the CIA’s vetting system:

I returned to the FSA troops. One told me that his unit had recently traveled to Jordan to receive training from American forces in fighting groups like the Nusra Front.

“Really?” I said. “The Americans? I hope it was good training.”

“Certainly, very,” he replied.

The fighters stared at me. I stared at them.

After a few moments, I asked, “About this business of fighting Jebhat al Nusra?”

“Oh, that,” one said. “We lied to the Americans about that.”

The treatment of Padnos by the FSA is important to recall in light of the revelations yesterday and today that that an NBC News crew taken captive in Syria in December 2012, and who later repeatedly claimed they had been held by an Assad regime militia, now admit – following a New York Times investigation – that they were in fact held by an FSA criminal network.

Also, there is evidence that NBC News executives knew from the time of the crew’s capture that they were held by U.S. allies, but allowed the blame to fall on Assad since that didn’t conflict with the Obama administration’s position at the time.

An example of this newfound openness on the part of the establishment media was an Associated Press report in late November that noted the close cooperation of U.S.-backed rebels with al-Qaeda in southern Syria:

The gains are a contrast to northern Syria, where U.S.-backed rebels are collapsing in the face of an assault by Islamic militants. Notably, in the south, the rebels are working together with fighters from al-Qaeda’s Syria branch, whose battle-hardened militants have helped them gain the momentum against government forces. The cooperation points to the difficulty in American efforts to build up “moderate” factions while isolating extremists.

Over the past year I’ve reported at PJ Media on the slow cracks emerging in the official “vetted moderate rebel” narrative:

July 7: US ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Brigades Surrender Weapons, Pledge Allegiance to Islamic State

Sept 3: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Operating Openly with ISIS, Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra

Sept 9: Fighter With ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebels Tells L.A. Times They Fight Alongside Al-Qaeda

Sept 10: ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Commander Admits Alliance with ISIS, Confirms PJ Media Reporting

Sept 13: Yet Another US-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Makes Peace with ISIS

Sept 24: U.S.-Backed Syrian Group Harakat al-Hazm Condemns U.S. Strikes on ISIS as ‘Attack on the Revolution’

Nov 2: U.S.-Armed ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrian Rebel Groups Surrender, Defect to Al-Qaeda

Nov 3:  How Obama Walked Boehner and GOP Leadership Off the Syrian Rebel Cliff

Nov 24: More Defections of ‘Vetted Moderate’ Free Syrian Army Rebels to ISIS

Dec 2: US-Backed Syrian Rebels Ally with Al-Qaeda in South, Surrender CIA-Supplied Weapons in the North

Dec 14: Report: Al-Qaeda Using CIA-Supplied TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Northern Syria

Dec 28: NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective Al-Qaeda Control

March 3: U.S.-Backed Syrian Rebel Group Collapses, U.S.-Supplied Weapons End Up in Al-Qaeda Hands

March 24: Video Shows Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Using U.S.-Provided TOW Anti-Tank Missiles in Syria

It’s refreshing to see the D.C. “smart set” and the establishment media finally ‘fessing up to what has been going on in Syria, “rarely acknowledged explicitly in public.” But the damage done by the Obama administration’s policy, (backed up by the McCain/Graham GOP chorus), such as the hundreds of thousands dead, is irreversible.

Who in D.C. or the media will be held to account for this failure?

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BREAKING: Al-Qaeda Seizes Commercial Airport on Yemen Coast

Thursday, April 16th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
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Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula just captured an airport for their own personal use, according to multiple reports coming out of Yemen.

The Riyan Airport on the Gulf of Aden coast near Al Mukalla is serviced by two Yemeni commercial carriers, Felix Airways and Yemenia.

AQAP seized Al Mukalla, a seaport city of about 300,000 people, at the beginning of this month. They freed terrorists being held in a prison there.

The seizure of the airport comes after a drone strike killed AQAP Ibrahim Suleiman al-Rubaish, a former Guantanamo detainee who became an AQAP spiritual leader after being released to Saudi Arabia in 2006. Al-Rubaish was placed in the Saudis’ terrorist rehab program but escaped to Yemen.

AQAP issued a eulogy for al-Rubaish on Tuesday, saying he “died as a result of a cowardly Crusader strike which killed him with a number of his brothers Monday night.”

“On his path, the people of knowledge walk on and follow on his footsteps, and others should follow in his footsteps. And this is his blood and his body parts today shout and scream for the people of knowledge and da’wah to come to the fields of sacrifice and jihad,” the statement from the terror group said. “Come to the fields of education and da’wah, come to where the plants grow and raises the foundation and raises the edifices of the high deen. Come to where knowledge is pure and models are made for your Ummah.”

AQAP’s leader, Nasir al-Wuhayshi, is also the general manager of “core” al-Qaeda and has the ability to call terror attacks around the world.

“We have said, when it comes to our counterterrorism strategy, we continue to actively monitor terrorist threats emanating from Yemen and we have capabilities postured in the area to address them,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday, not confirming the report of the AQAP mufti’s death. “As we’ve said, we will continue to take action to disrupt any imminent threat to the United States and our citizens.”

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Netanyahu: World ‘Lulled Into Slumber on Bed of Illusions’ Decades After Holocaust

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned at this evening’s Yad Vashem ceremony to mark Yom HaShoah that the civilized world has been “lulled into slumber on a bed of illusions” this many years after the Holocaust.

“In the years before World War II, the free world tried to appease the Nazi regime, to gain its trust, to curry its favor through gestures,” Netanyahu said at the Holocaust Memorial Day event. “There were those who warned that a compromising policy would only whet Hitler’s appetite, but these warnings were ignored due to the natural human desire for calm at all costs.”

The prime minister spokes of those who like to repeat the phrase “never again,” vowing that the Holocaust’s lessons have been learned.

“They declare: ‘We will not turn a blind eye to the expansion aspirations of a violent tyranny.’ They promise: ‘We will oppose evil things as soon as they begin.’ But as long as these announcements are not backed by practical actions – they are meaningless,” Netanyahu said.

“Did the world truly learn a lesson from the inconceivable universal and Jewish tragedy of last century? I wish I could tell you that the answer to this was positive.”

He warned that “just as the Nazis aspired to crush civilization and to establish a ‘master race’ as ruler of the world while annihilating the Jewish people, so too does Iran strive to gain control over the region and then spread further, with the explicit intent of obliterating the Jewish state.”

“Iran is advancing in two directions: The first is developing the ability to arm itself with nuclear weapons and accumulate a stockpile of ballistic missiles, and the second – exporting the Khomeinist revolution to many countries by heavily using terrorism and taking over large parts of the Middle East,” he continued. “Everything is out in the open – it is all taking place in broad daylight, in front of cameras. And yet, the blindness is immense. ”

Netanyahu solemnly noted the “determination and lessons that were acquired in blood seventy years ago are now dissipating, and the darkness and fog of denying reality are taking their place.”

“The bad deal that is being made with Iran demonstrates that the historic lesson has not been internalized,” he said. “Instead of demanding a significant dismantling of the Iranian nuclear program and conditioning the removal of the limitations imposed on it on the cessation of its aggression, the superpowers are leaving Iran with its nuclear capabilities, and even allowing it to expand them many times over regardless of its steps in the Middle East and around the world.”

Iran’s rulers “continue to encourage subversion and terrorism, and disseminate destruction and death” as the world sleeps.

“The powers turn a deaf ear to the crowds in Iran shouting: ‘Death to America; Death to Israel.’ They turn a blind eye to the scenes of execution of those who oppose the regime and members of minority populations. And they hold their peace in the face of the massive arming of terrorist organizations,” Netanyahu said. “At the most, they make a halfhearted statement for the record. ”

“We will not allow the State of Israel to be a passing episode in the history of our nation!”

The White House has not yet issued a statement on Yom HaShoah, which ends Thursday evening.

Earlier Wednesday, Netanyahu met with 85-year-old Holocaust survivor Avraham Niederhoper. He gave Niederhoper a copy of Rabbi Phil Chernofsky’s book And Every Single One Was Someone, which features one word — Jew, six million times.

“I keep it here to remember, not only to remember, but to prevent,” Netanyahu said. “What they did to you, they want to do to us. Today it is possible to fight; then it was not.”

(Photo: Israeli prime minister’s office)

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Iran Parliament Releases Nuke Deal Fact Sheet: Sanctions Gone on Day One, ‘Conventional’ Inspections

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Complaining that the White House released a fact sheet on the nuclear framework with facts the Islamic Republic didn’t agree to, the Iranian parliament’s Nuclear Committee released the country’s own fact sheet today.

It stresses that, despite the back and forth with Washington over when sanctions relief would be seen, the deal they agreed to includes “immediate termination of all sanctions in a single step and on the first day of the implementation of the final agreement.”

The fact sheet, released as an “exclusive” by the semi-official Fars News Agency, says the Join Comprehensive Plan of Action period “should be limited to five years, in which about 10,000 active centrifuges operating at Natanz and Fordo now will continue nuclear fuel production by enriching uranium below the 5% grade.”

“During the five-year period, the Islamic Republic of Iran will continue to keep the excess centrifuges installed at Natanz and Fordo or will gradually dismantle them, and at the end of the 5-year period, it will replace all the existing centrifuges, including the active or inactive ones, with the new generation of (IR-N) centrifuge machines with the help of the new spaces and infrastructures which will have been already prepared and will use them without any limitation.”

The amount of enrichment, the sheet says, “should be specified based on the country’s practical needs and the number of 10,000 centrifuges has also been specified on this basis.”

“The 5-year period in this factsheet has been has been specified with respect to the date when Iran’s nuclear fuel contract with Russia for the Bushehr nuclear power plant will end; hence, the rules and limitations for the components of the enrichment cycle should be set in such a way that the Islamic Republic of Iran will be able to supply the fuel needed for the power plant after the end of the contract with Russia,” it continues. “Operation of 10,000 centrifuges and developing and having a 10-ton enriched uranium stockpile will enable the Islamic Republic of Iran to supply the fuel needed for the Bushehr power plant in the year when the fuel supply contract with Russia (28-30 tons) ends.”

“…If the country would need 20%-degree (enriched) uranium, the nuclear fuel production line for purity levels lower than 5% will be altered to enrich uranium to the 20%-grade after connecting the centrifuge cascades to each other again.”

Inspections will be approved “at conventional levels similar to all other countries.”

“Given the Islamic Republic of Iran’s opposition to the world arrogance, endorsing and implementing the Additional Protocol will provide the world arrogance (a term normally used for the US and its western allies) with legal grounds to stage their preplanned plots against the Islamic Republic of Iran,” it states.

Not only does Iran insist that P5+1 countries, the EU and the UN Security Council will cancel all sanctions on day one, but they must agree to “avoid imposition of new nuclear-related sanctions against Iran.”

The White House has brushed off consistent contradictions from Iran about the nature of the nuclear framework as merely rhetoric for domestic consumption.

“Clearly the Iranians, for their own purposes, are emphasizing different elements of that framework agreement,” Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes told MSNBC on Tuesday.

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‘Stop Treating the Kuffar’: ISIS Trying to Lure Western Doctors

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

A British jihadist who left the United Kingdom to join ISIS is urging doctors practicing in the land of the “kuffar” in the West to come to the Islamic State and treat patients there.

The message from Abu Sa’eed Al-Britani was posted on a file-sharing site this month and comes as ISIS has been murdering Iraqi doctors in occupied territory who refused to treat the jihadists. Mosul is home to the second-oldest medical school in Iraq.

“Alhamdulillah, in this blessed land, the land of Tawheed, the land of the Khilafah, the land of Jihad, we strive and struggle with our blood and sweat to establish a land where the Muslims may live in peace and security. Many brothers have attained martyrdom in the process and many are waiting. And from amongst those waiting are those who are crippled and maimed, laying in hospital beds without proper treatment,” Al-Britani, believed to be a former grocery employee from southern England, says in part of his “Message of the Mujahid” series.

“When the jihad in Sham started, many doctors fled the country to live in Turkey or other countries. This caused an insufficient number of remaining doctors to treat the wounded,” he continues. “I have been to the hospitals up and down the State and so many hospitals lack not only manpower but also doctors who are qualified for their jobs. I have seen many trainees training others on how to treat wounds, and many errors are committed by these untrained, unqualified, inexperienced helpers.”

“…I can narrate so many incidents I saw and heard of here in Sham which just shows the great importance of qualified doctors that are needed. It has happened to so many brothers here that they get different answers/solutions from different doctors. One doctor will say I do not need surgery while another will say I do. This is too common and majority of the injured brothers can testify to this.”

Al-Britani speaks of hospitals getting “packed out with brothers being unattended.”

“The huge number of injured brothers makes it difficult on the few doctors to attend to everyone. Likewise, during heavy fighting, the doctors do not get sufficient sleep and their schedules are re-arranged, and circumstances force them to do overtime; and when a doctor is tired he tends to forget. Such slips can have major impacts,” he says.

Still, ISIS is open to medical students as well as board-certified doctors.

“You do not need to be an expert in your field to make a difference here, even someone with a year or two of studies is a big help. As I mentioned previously, we have brothers here who have not studied anything, yet due to the lack of doctors they help out in the hospitals, and many times, even help in major surgeries and operations,” Al-Britani continues. “…I do not wish to sound harsh, but my brother please fear Allah as He should be feared, stop treating the Kuffar and come treat the wounds of your brothers.”

“You may be getting a high wage in the west, but what about the high rewards in the hereafter? The wage here may not be as much as you get in the west but do we live for this life or do we live for the hereafter? Is money more important than the life of your Muslim brother?”

Al-Britani goes on about ISIS members who have been disabled or died due to shoddy medical treatment, including “nerves accidentally cut” and others “left alone and abandoned by their Muslim doctors at the time when they need them the most.”

“Remember this well: Allah is testing them through their injuries, but Allah is also testing you to see how you will react… Will you betray your brothers or will you come to their aid? Your brothers are here, laying in hospital beds waiting for your response.”

Al-Britani has also advertised other jobs for people who want to help ISIS but don’t want to fight, including bomb-maker, teacher, administration positions, fitness instructor and press officer.

A Saudi doctor who made headlines for running off to join ISIS, Faisal bin Shaman al-Aanzi, was killed last year.

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BOMBSHELL: Afghan Colonel Was Paid $250,000 to Kill U.S. Air Force Personnel, Pentagon Cover-Up Ensued

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

A bombshell revelation has emerged about the incident responsible for the greatest U.S. Air Force loss of life during the War on Terror, the deadliest “green-on-blue” attack during U.S. involvement in Afghanistan.

On April 27, 2011, Afghan Air Force Colonel Ahmad Gul gunned down eight U.S. Air Force personnel and a civilian contractor inside the Afghan Air Force headquarters, including investigators who had just arrived in the country to examine rampant corruption in the Afghan military.

Multiple Air Force and CENTCOM investigations claimed to find no motive for the attack, leaving the families of those killed with no answers.

Now, a senior U.S. official has gone on the record claiming that a United Nations team tracked substantial payments to the killer and his family made days just prior to the incident.

These revelations appear in the season finale of For The Record, which airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET on The Blaze TV.

For the past year, I have worked as a consultant with the For The Record documentary investigative team looking into the Kabul airport massacre and the Pentagon’s handling of the matter. Last November, I appeared on an episode of the program noting that the Pentagon’s multiple explanations for the attack didn’t match their own forensics. Here’s a trailer for that For The Record episode, “Insider Attack”:

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A follow-up report on the Pentagon’s handling of the spike in “green-on-blue” incidents appeared in January, after the killing of U.S. Army Major General Harold Greene in August last year. He is the highest-ranking U.S. official killed during the War on Terror. The report noted that U.S. personnel who warned of a potential escalation of insider attacks were punished by their superiors:

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Tonight’s For The Record episode includes an interview with one of the top U.S. officials charged with combating illicit financing in Afghanistan. He reveals the payoffs made to Col. Ahmad Gul:

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Sara Carter, senior investigative reporter for The Blaze, reported today on the stunning revelation that this official’s team tracked $250,000 in payments to the killer:

A final investigation by U.S. Central Command did find circumstantial evidence that Gul may have been involved in a criminal network, but that evidence was not pursued and a large portion of the investigation still remains classified, according to CENTCOM.

But a six-month investigation by For the Record suggests that Gul murdered the airmen at the behest of someone or a criminal network, according to numerous sources and military documents.

For the Record learned that a joint investigation conducted by then-U.S. Task Force 2010, charged at the time with tracing terror financing in Afghanistan and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan, found that Gul had received a large deposit in a family bank account and that all of his debts were wiped clean just one week before the killings.

Thomas Creal, who served as the lead expert for Task Force 2010, investigated the killer’s finances and found evidence he says overwhelmingly points to Gul’s connection to criminal networks.

This report has never been made public.

“There was extensive corruption inside the Afghan military and investigations were cut short, hampered by ranking personnel at the State Department and military,” Creal said. “The insider killings don’t need to continue. We can take steps to mitigate these suicidal hits but we can’t do it if evidence is ignored.”

The Pentagon cover-up began almost immediately after the massacre, most likely to avoid embarrassing revelations of rampant corruption by our Afghan “allies.” The initial report had to be followed up by a second and third report after the lies in the first began to be challenged — including the first report’s claim that Gul had committed suicide after the attack, but was later found to have died from gunshot wounds to the chest from two different weapons.

Despite overwhelming evidence to the effect found in their own reports, the Pentagon claimed to find no conclusive evidence of Taliban involvement — even though the terror group immediately claimed credit for the attack.

This resulted in bizarre reporting on the Pentagon’s findings, such as an Air Force Times article entitled “Motive in Kabul shooting deaths remains elusive” that reported:

Witnesses told investigators that Gul became increasingly radical in his religious views in the years leading up to the shooting and was deeply angry at the U.S. invasion of his home country — even saying on more than one occasion that he “wanted to kill Americans”

The Afghan shooter who smeared “God is one” in blood on the walls of the Afghan Air Force headquarters during the rampage a was a distinctly different man from several decades earlier.

According to testimony from those who knew Gul, in the late ‘80s, the Afghan native drank, liked to party and wasn’t terribly religious. But just a few years later, in about 1995, that changed when Gul started to follow the teachings of the Taliban.

He attended mosque for every prayer time and grew a beard. He also “developed an authoritarian approach when seeing other individuals that did not practice Islam to his liking,” according to one person who knew Gul at the time…

In 2006, Gul decided to move to Pakistan and started attending a local mosque, where he met an “unknown prominent figure” who is believed to have radicalized him. There were also rumors that Gul wanted to be a suicide bomber.

When Gul decided to move back to Afghanistan in 2008, people asked him why he would go back.

“[Gul] responded he ‘wanted to kill Americans,’” investigators said.

But the Pentagon concluded that his possible motive remained elusive.

More explosive details from this investigation will be revealed during tonight’s For The Record’s season finale episode, “Insider Attack: The Kabul Massacre,” at 8 p.m. ET on TheBlaze TV.

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Unanimous: Senate Committee Gives Bipartisan Approval to Iran Bill

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Corker-Menendez bill requiring congressional approval of any deal with Iran was headed to the Senate floor after unanimously passing out of the Foreign Relations Committee today.

The 19-0 vote may not be as unified in the full Senate — Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), for example, said her “aye” vote would be gone if any amendments were added that she doesn’t like — but the bipartisan negotiations to get the bill to point rose “to the high calling of what the United States Senate is all about,” according to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).

The White House relented on its absolute veto threat shortly before the committee marked up the bill. “I won’t be in a position to be ultimately definitive about whether or not we’ll be able to support the product that emerges,” Earnest told reporters today before the committee meeting. “…We would vigorously oppose any sort of extraneous element not at all related to the agreement that could undermine our ability to implement the agreement.”

The final product before the committee was scaled down to cover only the nuclear deal. It clearly states that sanctions on Iran for human rights, missile testing and terrorism will remain in place.

It did, however, strip language originally inserted into the bill by Menendez that would require certification by President Obama to Congress that Iran was not sponsoring acts of terrorism against Americans. Menendez said that the new sanctions language satisfied his concerns about terrorism not being disregarded in the Iran deal, and added that he’ll continue to pursue Iran’s terrorist activities through other avenues.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) tried to reintroduce the certification language into the bill as an amendment, which failed 6-13. Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said it was “well intentioned,” but unrealistic to expect Obama to make this certification.

“This idea that we could essentially get Iran to renounce terrorism is unrealistic,” Earnest said.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who has been the most vocal White House loyalist on the committee, said the “benign” nature of the compromise — which also nicks the review period from 60 to 52 days, including the White House reply and congressional rebuttal periods — led the administration to pull back on its veto threat.

Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) retorted that he had a “180-degree view” on the quieting of tough talk from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The administration’s change of heart in the previous two hours, Corker stressed, was simply because they realized “the number of senators they knew would support this legislation.”

Corker said the bill “forces the administration to bring to us every detail if there happens to be a final agreement,” and puts congressional oversight on compliance not seen in the North Korea nuclear agreement.

“This puts Congress in its rightful role,” he said, crediting Cardin with “valiantly” rallying more Dems to support the bill.

Corker also credited Menendez, who took the reins of the committee from John Kerry when he left to be secretary of State, with helping transform the panel into “more than just a debating society” but a committee passing significant security legislation.

“Let’s send a message to Tehran that sanctions relief is not a given and not a prize for signing on the dotted line,” Menendez declared.

Senators made clear that amendments will be coming on the floor, including one from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), back at work the day after his presidential announcement, requiring that Iran recognize the state of Israel.

Boxer urged her colleagues to “refrain from trying to solve every problem with Iran” in the legislation, or she’ll scuttle her support.

“I’m concerned about more than ‘disrupting the delicate balance of this bill,’ I’m concerned about the destruction of Israel,” Rubio retorted before reading some of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s tweets. “At some point when someone says they want to destroy, you take them seriously… you don’t build ballistic missiles because you want to do some fancy fireworks show.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who was also instrumental in building Democratic support, called “offensive” the insinuation that lawmakers who want congressional approval of an Iran deal must want war.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) suggested that the White House embrace the Corker-Menendez bill and utilize it as leverage “as it moves toward any final agreement, which Congress should be able to judge on its merits.”

“Last evening, Secretary Kerry and other senior Administration officials briefed the full House on the nuclear negotiations with Iran. It is clear that many fundamental issues such as verification and sanctions relief must be better addressed if a viable and supportable final agreement with Iran is to be reached,” Royce said in a statement after the Senate committee passage. “Senator Corker’s legislation, which would rightly give Congress a say on this agreement after negotiations are complete, strengthens the Administration’s hand at the negotiating table.”

Earnest still stressed that “the president of the United States is the one who is given the authority under the Constitution to conduct foreign policy.”

“Therefore, it is his decision to make — to make about whether or not to enter into an agreement,” he said. “But we have acknowledged that Congress does have an important and legitimate role when it comes to voting on the sanctions that Congress passed.”

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Inside the Kerry Briefing of ‘Skeptical and Quiet’ Senators on Iran Deal

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

One of the key senators who has earned the ire of the White House by his determination to keep Iran from nuclear weapons capability said today’s closed-door administration briefing was more talking, less listening.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, who were at the negotiating table in Switzerland, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew met with House lawmakers on Monday and senators today, trying to whip them to the position of not taking any actions on Iran as the P5+1 works on a final deal.

Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), co-author of the sanctions bill with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), told reporters after the meeting that “several members seemed to be skeptical,” including Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-Md.).

Kirk branded the overall mood in the room as “skeptical and quiet,” but when it came to their myriad questions and concerns the administration essentially filibustered.

“Moniz went on for a while,” he said, adding some senators were “upset” as they were given “no time for questions … only a few questions” made it through.

On the stark differences between Iran’s position on the nuclear framework and Washington’s assertions, “they just glossed over it,” Kirk said.

The senator has not only prepared a chart that compares the differences between the two countries’ statements, from inspections to sanctions, but has a list of all Americans killed by Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism.

Kerry “just asked us to hold off,” but “there was no veto threat in the room.”

Still, Kirk knows that President Obama has not abandoned his veto threat, and is “so emotionally invested in this” he would make the “mistake” of a veto.

The senator accused the White House of pushing the deal on purpose. “They want to get it through the presidential election because they want a Democrat in the White House,” Kirk said. “That was obvious.”

“…It’s clear the Iranians are delaying because they have not finished their nuclear weapon yet.”

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Boehner Won’t ‘Rule Out’ Even More Bills on Iran Deal

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said today that his chamber is ready to take up the Corker-Menendez bill on approval of any Iran deal as soon as the Senate is done with it.

Boehner also indicated it may not be the last Iran bill dealing with the negotiations that will come through his chamber.

Secretary of State John Kerry and the White House have been lobbying lawmakers ahead of this afternoon’s meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to consider the legislation.

They’re also busy at work trying to spread the message that lawmakers just want to kill any Iran deal.

“No,” Boehner replied to that charge in front of reporters today. “What I’m trying to do is to make sure that if we’re going to have an agreement with the Iranians, it’s one that will, in fact, work and will be upheld on all sides. But from everything that I’ve heard about the so-called framework, all it is is really an agreement to keep talking. I haven’t seen anything concrete come out of this yet.”

“But I’ve got concerns and I’ve voiced those concerns and I’ll continue to voice them,” he added.

Congress, the Speaker said, “absolutely should have the opportunity to review this deal” — the crux of Corker-Menendez. “We shouldn’t just count on the administration, who appears to want a deal at any cost.”

In the upper chamber, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has been working on a compromise that will earn the support of even more Democrats. The White House still wants no bill at all, and has threatened to veto Corker-Menendez.

It’s a small comprise, shortening the number of days Congress would have to review the bill from 60 to 52 — if President Obama meets a July 9 submission deadline. The P5+1 deadline for a final deal is June 30.

A 60-vote threshold would be needed in the Senate to approve the deal.

Boehner said he hadn’t seen the revised bill.

“But I’m hopeful that the Senate will move the Corker- Menendez bill here over the next couple of weeks, and frankly, I would expect the House to take that bill up,” he said.

“At this point, I wouldn’t rule out anything else,” Boehner said of additional Iran action. “But at this point, I think the Corker-Menendez bill is taking center stage.”

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Daniel Pipes Explains the ‘Obama Doctrine’ in One Sentence

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015 - by Kathy Shaidle


Actually, this interview is more than 18 minutes long, but that once sentence is easy to remember:

“Snarl at your friends, smile at your enemies.”

Dr. Pipes tells TheRebel.media’s Ezra Levant (who he was pretty impressed with…) that “doctrine” is a slight exaggeration since much of what’s been happening around the world can be explained by sheer incompetence on the president’s part.

He adds, however, that a lot of these foreign policy “blunders” are intentional.

They’re the direct result of Obama’s anti-American ideology — and even his personal psychology.

This thought-provoking, in-depth interview covers a lot of ground: the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia and much more.

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Egyptian TV Host Begs Netanyahu to Bomb Iran

Monday, April 13th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg


“Our dear friend Netanyahu. Please – Iran faces you and the Bushehr reactor faces you. Put your trust in God and bomb it. We are with you. And if you need fuel for the jets we will give it to you.”

Those were the words of Egyptian television presenter Tawfik Okasha, owner of the private television station Al-Faraeen. Okasha notedly despises both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. He openly advocates Arab tourism to Israel on his television station. Okasha is not the only Egyptian television host to speak out in support of Netanyahu.

Yet, Okasha’s support for Israel may be convoluted at best. A “staunch supporter” of Egypt’s ruling military council, Okasha has also accused the Obama administration of rigging previous Egyptian elections in favor of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi, “as part of a plot to seize Egyptian oil fields and turn them over to Israel.” His conspiracy theory-esque logic has earned him the dubious title of Egypt’s “Glenn Beck.”

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