Race seems to be a major theme of the moment. The events in Ferguson, Missouri have brought race relations to the surface of the political and cultural discourse.
Now, among his final acts as outgoing Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder stands poised to expand a ban on racial and religious profiling in federal investigations, eliminating a national security exemption. The news hits immediately after the Council on American-Islamic Relations called upon Holder to do so. Fox News reports:
The expected ban comes amid heightened concerns of Islamic militant groups executing a terror attack on U.S. soil and was reportedly opposed by national security officials.
A Justice Department official told Fox News on Monday that outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder will announce the policy change in the coming weeks and that it will also put an end to profiling based on ethnicity and sexual orientation.
Holder intended to announce the policy change several months ago, but the White House ordered a last-minute hold so the Department of Homeland Security could review the national security implications, a congressional aide told The Los Angeles Times, which on Saturday first reported the story.
Either the DHS review concluded that policy change would make sense in the midst of an ongoing investigation into the beheading of a woman in Oklahoma by an apparent Islamic militant, or the administration doesn’t care what its national security experts think. Either way, the feds stand set to consider white Catholic nuns as no less likely to commit acts of terrorism than Arab Muslim totalitarians.
The practice of profiling bears an unfair negative connotation. Profiling has been an integral part of law enforcement and national security operations for as long as such endeavors have existed, and for good reason. When a crime is committed, investigators could proceed randomly. Or they could proceed based upon the trends evident in past cases. The latter method does not model an irrational prejudice.
Factors such as race and religion may prove critical to an investigation. The Fox News article cites “the monitoring of some religious groups and surveillance on mosques without evidence of suspected criminal activity” as being of particular concern to Holder and the DOJ. But what if criminal activity proves part and parcel of your religious beliefs? If you adhere to a religion which preaches the killing of non-believers, doesn’t that make you suspect in and of itself?
(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 10:43 minutes long; 10.36 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)
He came to chew gum and kick you-know-what. And he never even brought any gum.
See if you can figure out what MSNBC leaves out of this report.
According to a report in Another Western Dawn News, the Islamic State is set to open its first foreign consulate.
The report says that the Islamic State’s facility will be in Istanbul, Turkey.
Abu-Omar Al-Tunisi, the ISIS de facto head of foreign relations issued a statement, saying that the Islamic Caliphate is determined to launch its first diplomatic mission in a friendly and Muslim country. He further noted that the ISIS hopes that the bilateral relations with Ankara will witness more developments under the aegis of newly-elected president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
ISIS also claims that its consulate in Istanbul will pay the hospital bills of all wounded Islamist militants who traveled to turkey [sic] to receive medical treatment.
Under President Recep Erdogan, Turkey has gone in an increasingly Islamist direction. Turkey now tilts toward Hamas rather than Israel.
If the above report is correct, Turkey may be playing both sides in the ISIS war. Erdogan speculated today that the Turkish army could be used to protect its territory and to fight ISIS in it neighbor Syria.
Erdogan said negotiations are underway to determine how and by which countries the air strikes and a potential ground operation would be undertaken and that Turkey is ready to take part.
“In the distribution of responsibilities, every country will have a certain duty. Whatever is Turkey’s role, Turkey will play it,” he said, adding that an air operation alone was not sufficient.
“You can’t finish off such a terrorist organisation only with air strikes. Ground forces are complementary … You have to look at it as a whole. Obviously I’m not a soldier but the air (operations) are logistical. If there’s no ground force, it would not be permanent,” he said.
He is certainly right about that. He added that a nation should protect its borders. Fancy that.
In an exchange that is sure not to make it on ABC’s evening newscast tonight, reporter Jon Karl went through several warnings regarding the rise of ISIS with White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
Karl grilled Earnest, and Earnest’s response is that “everyone” underestimated ISIS and was surprised at their ability to sweep across from Syria into Iraq and take and hold a huge amount of territory.
Earnest brings up DNI James Clapper, and Karl hits back that Clapper is not the only person who deals with intelligence in the US government. Karl brings up Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk’s warning from November 14, 2013, and a military warning from February 2014. In between both warnings, President Obama gave his infamous “ISIS are JV” interview.
Karl lists three times that President Obama was warned, or should have been, about the rise of ISIS. They include McGurk’s warning, US Ambassador to Iraq Robert Beecroft’s warning on January 23, 2014, and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s warning on February 11, 2014.
Obama ignored them all. Now he claims that the intelligence community got it wrong.
The president clearly doesn’t care about the truth, which is that he missed clear warnings as ISIS rose. He chose to downplay the threat.
The next question that needs to be asked is why did he miss them? Or did he choose to ignore them?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the United Nations General Assembly today about “militant Islam” and chided those who don’t see the connections between ISIS and Hamas or Iran.
“Last week, many of the countries represented here rightly applauded President Obama for leading the effort to confront ISIS. And yet weeks before, some of these same countries, same countries that now support confronting ISIS opposed Israel for confronting Hamas,” Netanyahu said.
“They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control. Listen to ISIS self-declared caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” he continued. “This is what he said two months ago. ‘A day will soon come when the Muslim will walk everywhere as a master. The Muslims who caused the world to hear and understand the meaning of terrorism and destroy the idol of democracy.’”
“Now listen to Khaled Mashal, the leader of Hamas. He proclaims a similar vision of the future. ‘We say this to the west: by Allah, you will be defeated. Tomorrow our nation will sit on the throne of the world.’”
Netanyahu stressed that even if these groups operate in different lands, “they all seek to create ever-expanding enclaves of militant Islam where there is no freedom and no tolerance; where women are treated as cattle; Christians are decimated; and minorities are subjugated, sometimes given the stark choice: convert or die.”
“The Nazis believed in a master race. The militant Islamists believe in a master faith,” he said. “They just disagree who among them will be the master of the master faith.”
The prime minister said “the Islamic State of Iran” is where militant Islam could soon “have the power to realize its unbridled ambitions.”
“Iran’s president, Rouhani, stood here last week and shed crocodile tears over what he called the globalization of terrorism. Maybe he should spare us those phony tears and have a word instead with the commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. He could ask them to call off Iran’s global terror campaign, which has included attacks in two dozen countries, on five continents since 2011 alone,” Netanyahu said.
“You know, to say that Iran doesn’t practice terrorism is like saying Derek Jeter never played shortstop for the New York Yankees.”
Netanyahu, who will meet with President Obama on Wednesday at the White House, warned everyone to not “be fooled by Iran’s manipulative charm offensive.”
“It’s designed for one purpose and for one purpose, only, to lift the sanctions and remove the obstacles to Iran’s path to the bomb,” he said.
“…It’s one thing to confront militant Islamists on pickup trucks armed with Kalashnikov rifles. It’s another thing to confront militant Islamists armed with weapons of mass destruction.”
The Israeli leader presented a stark comparison with the terror group that has captured Washington’s attention as of late.
“Would you let ISIS enrich uranium? Would you let ISIS build a heavy-water reactor? Would you let ISIS develop inter-continental ballistic missiles? Of course you wouldn’t. Then you mustn’t let the Islamic state of Iran do those things either, because here’s what’ll happen,” Netanyahu said. “Once Iran produces atomic bombs, all the charms and all the smiles will suddenly disappear. They’ll just vanish. And it’s then that the ayatollahs will show their true face and unleash their aggressive fanaticism on the entire world.”
“Make no mistake, ISIS must be defeated. But to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.”
Netanyahu also defended Israel from attacks from the UN Human Rights Council — he dubbed it the “Terrorist Rights Council” — and stressed that “Israel is fighting a fanaticism today that your countries may be forced to fight tomorrow.”
“For 50 days this past summer, Hamas fired thousands of rockets at Israel, many of them supplied by Iran,” he said. “…Israel justly defended itself against both rocket attacks and terror tunnels… Israel was doing everything to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. Hamas was doing everything to maximize Israeli civilian casualties and Palestinian civilian casualties.”
“Israel’s soldiers deserve not condemnation but admiration, admiration from decent people everywhere.”
Netanyahu held aloft a photo of Hamas rocket launchers nestled in a civilian neighborhood, images captured by French journalists.
“I say to President Abbas, these are the crimes, the war crimes, committed by your Hamas partners in the national unity government which you head and you are responsible for,” he added. “And these are the real war crimes you should have investigated or spoken out against from this podium last week.”
“…Hamas, which both targeted and hid behind civilians, that’s a double war crime, Hamas is given a pass. The Human Rights Council is thus sending a clear message to terrorists everywhere: Use civilians as a human shield. Use them again and again and again. And you know why? Because, sadly, it works.”
NBC Report: Kurds Frustrated Because US Airstrikes Are Not Hitting ISIS Hard Enough (Update: ISIS Agrees)
NBC’s Richard Engel is embedded with Kurdish fighters on the ground in the Iraq-Syria-Turkey border region. He reports that the Kurds are becoming frustrated with the lack of power that the US is showing in the fight against ISIS.
Engel appeared with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC today. He said that Kurds in Syria are “very eager” to get into the fight. He also described what he is seeing.
“Right now i’m on a hill overlooking an ongoing battle between ISIS fighters and Syrian Kurds,” Engel said. “The ISIS fighters are operating in the open. They have an open field and they are dressed in black and have been exchanging gunfire and we are watching the battle unfold and we have been talking to other Kurds who have been watching the same thing and they are very frustrated because they say if the US wants to carry out air strikes and wants to attack ISIS, there they are. They are operating not in a hidden way. They are easy to find. Obviously the US is carrying out air strikes, just not on a scale that the Kurdish fighters would like to see.”
Engel said that many of the Kurdish fighters decided that they couldn’t wait for US airstrikes any longer, so they charged the ISIS fighters despite the fact that the Kurds didn’t have any weapons to fight with.
Update: CNN interviewed an ISIS fighter who agrees — the US-led airstrikes are not hitting the group very hard. They were prepared for the strikes, and hid themselves and their equipment ahead of time.
When asked on CBS 60 Minutes Sunday night if the battle against ISIS was really a war or not, President Obama called it ”assisting Iraq in a very real battle that’s taking place on their soil, with their troops, but we are providing air support.”
“And it is in our interests to do that because ISIL represents sort of a hybrid of not just a terrorist network but one with territorial ambitions and so some of the strategy and tactics of an army,” Obama continued. “This is not America against ISIL.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said this morning that Obama is framing it wrong: “This is ISIL against America.”
“When Mr. Baghdadi left our prison after spending four years, he walked out and said I’ll see you in America,” McCain said of the self-proclaimed caliph. “All you have to do is watch what they’re saying. And, again, I am just puzzled by the president, some of his statements, for example, he left behind a stable Iraq. We have predicted exactly what would happen.”
“…It is a direct result of our failure to leave a residual force behind. And when they say we couldn’t, they are not telling the truth, because I was over there with Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman and we know it for a fact. So — and this here idea that somehow we didn’t know that this was happening, of course we knew it. We saw it happening.”
McCain then turned to Obama’s strategy of training 5,000 Free Syrian Army in Saudi Arabia and sending them back, a process expected to take many months.
“But are we going to do anything about Bashar Assad’s air attack? Dropping these horrible air bombs on them? Are we going to ask young men to train and equip and we send them back to be slaughtered by Bashar Assad’s air power? We need a no-fly zone,” the senator said. If Assad breaches it, “we take on his air force.”
“Assad in my view has been responsible for 192,000 Syrians dead. There are 150,000 Syrians in his prison. He has used chemical weapons. He uses these barrel bombs. Yes. And he’s directly supported by the Iranians who sent in 5,000 Hezbollah and changed the whole momentum on the battlefield. Of course, are you going to ask these young people, by the way, we’re going to train and equip you, but you are going to fight against ISIS, but not against Assad? It’s not only unworkable. It’s immoral.”
McCain called the unwillingness of legislative leaders to come back and vote on the military action “an act of cowardice on the part of Congress.”
“They didn’t want to vote before the election,” he added. “…Air power alone does not win wars. I was in one when they tried that. So air power alone, we’re going to have to have boots on the ground if we’re really going to succeed.”
“ISIS has wiped out the boundary between Iraq and Syria. What is the difference between it now? They have a caliphate larger than the size of the state of Indiana. So for us to say, well, and our British friends, we’ll bomb them in Iraq but not in Syria. Why? There is no boundary anymore. ISIS goes back and forth between. In fact, now they will go into the populated areas.”
During his appearance on 60 Minutes Sunday, President Barack Obama had the chance to admit that he got a whole lot about Iraq wrong.
He could have admitted that he got the surge wrong in 2007, when he denounced it and declared that there is no military solution to the problems in Iraq and never was. That was wrong. Obama opposed that surge, which worked and bequeathed a quiescent Iraq to him in 2009. He later implemented a surge of his own in Afghanistan — half-hearted though it was.
Obama could also have admitted that he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq too soon, a decision made for politics that ended up creating the conditions for ISIS to swallow up a large chunk of Iraq and Syria.
Obama could have also admitted that he got ISIS wrong, when he called them the “JV” of terrorism. They are in fact an offshoot of al Qaeda, just as the so-called Khorasan group is an offshoot of al Qaeda — the jihadist group that he claims to have “decimated” and sent scurrying “on the run.” He could have admitted that none of that was true, that al Qaeda is mestasizing from the border regions in Pakistan-Afghanistan to Iraq and Syria to Yemen to Somalia to Boko Haram in Nigeria. And possibly to Oklahoma and New Jersey and Portland.
Instead of admitting any of that, Obama blamed one of his subordinates.
Steve Kroft: I understand all the caveats about these regional groups. But this is what an army of 40,000 people, according to some of the military estimates I heard the other day, very well-trained, very motivated.
President Obama: Well, part of it was that…
Steve Kroft: What? How did they end up where they are in control of so much territory? Was that a complete surprise to you?
President Obama: Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.
“They” work for you, Mr. President.
This isn’t the first time that James Clapper has made a monumental, deadly screw-up, as you’ll see on the next page.
Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told Fox News this morning that “we don’t know” if the beheading of a woman by a Muslim co-worker in Oklahoma last week was terrorism.
Alton Nolen, 30, a recent convert to Islam, reportedly tried to convince co-workers at the Vaughn Food processing plant in Moore, Okla, to convert before last week’s murder. His Facebook page was under the name Jah’Keem Yisrael and included images of jihadists and Quran citations.
After being notified he was being let go from his job, he went to the front office of the plant and attacked 54-year-old Colleen Hufford with a knife, beheading her. He then stabbed 43-year-old Traci Johnson, who survived, multiple times before being shot by the company’s CEO, Mark Vaughn.
“The FBI has an active investigation. I’m not going to get ahead of it. Let’s see what they find,” Blinken told Fox.
“But as we all now with Nidal Hasan, when he shot up and kill the number of American soldiers, the administration labeled it workplace violence,” host Chris Wallace asked the White House official. “Are you willing to call this an act of terror if, in fact, that’s what it is?”
“I don’t want to get — of course if that’s what it is, absolutely,” Blinken replied. “But I don’t want to get ahead of the facts. Let’s let the FBI investigate.”
A New York Democrat told MSNBC on Friday that he suspects Nolen was at least “influenced” by ISIS.
“There are copycats out there. We see it happen when we see mass murder here in the United States. We always fear about a copycat incident,” Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) said. “And I don’t think anything — I don’t think we can expect anything less on the world stage when someone like — what is so depraved and really baseless that ISIL has been involved with in terms of beheading. That if someone is vulnerable, mentally disturbed, that it may have an influence on them.”
“I think that may be what happened here. I hope it’s not the case.”
Members of Congress have been relatively quiet about the murder; neither of Oklahoma’s GOP senators, Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, have issued statements about the attack.
NBC terrorism analyst Evan Coleman said “it certainly looks like him being fired was a predicating factor in what he did.”
“But nonetheless, if you look at the facts that occur here, in the absence of other evidence, it’s very difficult to imagine that the events of the past few weeks did not influence this man somehow. You don’t just go and behead a co-worker. That doesn’t happen very often,” Coleman said.
“Now, if this does prove that this has been inspired by ISIS, and I doubt it was something, you know, coordinated by ISIS, but if it was something inspired by what ISIS did in Iraq, it illustrates exactly the problem we have with lone wolves. It is that you don’t have to have a Ph.D. to murder someone, you don’t have to be sophisticated, you don’t have to operate on somebody else’s orders. And even as someone unsophisticated, someone who’s a crank, you can still hurt a lot of people. And I think this is exactly evidence for why this is such a problem.”
Adam Soltani, the executive director of the Council on American Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, told KFOR that “it’s really unfortunate that there’s a lot of attention on Muslims these days for actions of people who are either part of extremist groups or who have extreme ideas.”
“However, Islam is clear on what it stands for. Islam stands for peace, Islam stands for justice, Islam stands for love for humanity, compassion and mercy,” Soltani said. “What this gentleman did in Moore, which is inhumane and barbaric, is definitely not a representation of what our faith teaches and we hope and pray that justice will be brought against the perpetrator soon, so that the victims and their families can find some sort of solace in that justice,”
An evangelical Zionist friend of mine sent me a link to pro-life Catholic Lisa Graas’s response to Ted Cruz’s shock-speech at the IDC Summit held earlier this month. Her opinions are illustrative of exactly how theology continues to impact politics in America. Threatening Cruz with the loss of the Catholic vote, Graas writes:
In Catholicism, Israel doesn’t have to be a “Jewish state.” We can accept it as a Jewish state, but we are in no way bound to it being so because we see the Church as the New Israel, theologically.
Graas is a believer in supersessionism, a.k.a. replacement theology. Replacement theology is an old school church teaching that the Christian Church replaces Israel in God’s eyes, that after Jesus, God was done with the Jews and has summarily dubbed the Church his “New Israel” to be the recipients of all the blessings Biblically directed to Israel. It is a nasty idea that was used to defend Crusades, expulsions, and pogroms. Now, Graas is using replacement theology to defend what she defines as the “high church”/Muslim relationship at the sake of Catholic support for the Jewish State.
In saying “no greater ally than the Jewish state,” he [Cruz] stepped over into theology and insulted Catholics who see the Church as the New Israel theologically. We can, and desire to be, friends with Israel, even as a Jewish state, but we cannot pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state in the manner that people of Ted Cruz’s religion pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state. We cannot say that if suddenly everyone in Israel converted to Catholicism and turned Israel into a Catholic state, that this would be a “bad” thing. Protestants, of course, would be horrified if that happened because they have some deeply-held theological views that Israel MUST BE a Jewish state. We can take it or leave it as a Jewish state, but they can’t take it or leave it. Catholics can be your friend, Israel, even as a Jewish state, but we cannot pledge unfailing loyalty to “a Jewish state” like Ted Cruz and evangelicals do. You ask too much there.
Graas rambles on about the evils of Protestant ideology, him-hawing over whether or not Israel should be considered a Jewish state with arguments that boil down to a valley girl’s, “Uh, yeah, well, I guess…whatever,” in her theological defense of Catholic replacement theology. Then, oddly enough, she comes out with this whopper:
Another thing is that many Christians in the Middle East see his statement “Jewish state” as being bad not because it’s “Jewish,”, per se, but because it is a “sectarian” statement. They distrust the advancement of ideas that promote theocratic rule over religious minorities who are in disagreement with that particular theology.
An old-school, Pope is “lower than man, but higher than God,” replacement theologian Catholic decides that Cruz isn’t to be trusted because he’s the sectarian one in the room. Apparently there hasn’t yet been an edict issued against irony.
A young Muslim man is accused of beheading a co-worker in Oklahoma.
Sgt. Jeremy Lewis says the alleged suspect, 30-year-old Alton Nolen had just been fired when he drove to the front of the business, hit a vehicle and walked inside.
He walked into the front office area where he met 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and began attacking her with a knife.
Sgt. Lewis confirms the type of knife used in the attack is the same kind used at the plant.
Lewis confirms that Hufford was stabbed several times and that Nolen “severed her head.”
At that point, Lewis claims Nolen met 43-year-old Traci Johnson and began attacking her with the same knife.
Officials say at that point, Mark Vaughan, an Oklahoma County reserve deputy and a former CEO of the business, shot him as he was actively stabbing Johnson.
A good guy with a gun stopped a monster with a knife. This situation would have been far worse if Vaughan had not been carrying his firearm. Concealed carry permit applications will likely spike nationwide after this.
There’s no suggestion that Nolen targeted his victims personally. He was attacking the employees of the company “at random,” according to police.
There’s this for a possible motivation:
The FBI is now looking into Nolen’s background after his former co-workers said he tried to convert them to Islam after recently converting himself.
We’ll see if that pans out.
Nolen does have a history of violence.
According to the state corrections department, Nolen was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was released from prison in March 2013. Neither woman had any relationship with Nolen.
And radical Muslims have a strategy of using prisons as places to proselytize. Radical mosques give these violent outcasts homes, many for the first time in their lives. ISIS has come along as the latest radical group to provide motivation for attacking infidels.
If the Nidal Hasan case is any guide, and it probably is, the official federal word will be that Nolen killed in a fit of “workplace violence.”
Rational Americans will see that and hear the horrible 9-1-1 call and rightly determine that the Obama government is unwilling to see the truth, and is unwilling to protect us.
Update: Nolen is at least a social media jihadist.
The Islamist State’s chief propagandist is believed to be a wealthy American. His name is Ahmad Abousamra, he is 32 years old, and he is the son of a Boston doctor. He is young and he is not poor, and he is not ignorant. He is also not unacquainted with western notions of individual freedom. He just rejects them.
He was born and raised in France and his formal education does not have Islamist overtones at all. He attended Xaverian Brothers Catholic high school and Northeastern University, where he made the dean’s list.
He is but one of thousands of westerners who are now fighting for ISIS — including 3,000 Europeans.
The number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has risen to more than 3,000, the EU’s anti-terrorism chief has told the BBC.
Gilles de Kerchove also warned that Western air strikes would increase the risk of retaliatory attacks in Europe.
US-led forces have launched more than 200 air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq since August and on Monday began targeting IS in Syria.
The UK parliament is due to vote on possible air strikes in Iraq on Friday.
IS – also known as Isil or Isis – has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months.
Mr de Kerchove said the number of 3,000 included all those who have been to the region, including those who have returned and those who have been killed there.
That’s about one-tenth of the total fighting force that the Islamic State is now believed to have in the field — western-raised Muslims who can freely travel to and from the battlefield, while journalist Stephen Hayes gets tagged on the terrorism watch list.
How did we get here? Let’s explore that question on the next page.
State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf appeared on MSNBC this morning to discuss the US airstrikes in Syria and the Khorasan group. That group, not ISIS, is President Obama’s stated reason for launching air strikes inside Syrian territory. The president’s letter to Congress doesn’t even mention ISIS at all, despite the fact that the group beheaded two Americans and has broadcast its intent to attack America itself on social media.
So Harf turns up on MSNBC to deal with two primary questions. The first, are the US airstrikes actually degrading ISIS?
The question is relevant, because the FBI director has said that he doesn’t think the airstrikes have degraded ISIS.
Watch as MSNBC host Kristen Welker seems to lose patience with Harf’s non-answer.
The second question, does the Khorasan group actually have the capacity to attack America? Pay close attention to how Harf answers.
HOST Kristen Welker: Are there any credible threats that you know of right now coming from that group that Americans need to know about?
Harf: Well, as many of us have said, we are watching that group. We know they have the intention to strike at the United States. that’s something that’s ongoing right now. That process of looking at what the actual threat is. But what I will say is the action we’ve taken against them already has had an impact.
The Obama administration’s spokespeople have their talking points: These groups have the intention of attacking America, and we have the intention of degrading them. Afghanistan, Yemem and Somalia are, according to Harf, examples of the success we’re aiming for in striking Syria.
If that’s really where we are strategically, then we have a recipe for endless, pointless war that will achieve nothing — other than to eventually bankrupt America.
During his United Nations address, President Barack Obama went out of his way to heap praise on a particular Muslim cleric.
The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed, confronted, and refuted in the light of day. Look at the new Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies – Sheikh bin Bayyah described its purpose: “We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.”
A fine sentiment, but one that Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah probably does not mean in the way that Obama thinks he means it.
The Washington Free Beacon first noticed the reference to bin Bayyah. It turns out that President Obama’s exhibit moderate peaceful Muslim backed a fatwa in favor of killing American troops in 2004, in Iraq.
This isn’t even the first time that Obama’s government has promoted Bayyah. It promoted him back in May 2014, only to backtrack and apologize later.
Bayyah has recently released a fatwa against the Islamic State. That doesn’t make him a moderate.
His detractors say he’s anti-Semitic and that he has called the killing of American soldiers in Iraq justified. Those criticisms are linked to his role as a vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, an organization headquartered in Qatar and headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian theologian who has close links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
And while bin Bayyah has never formally broken with al-Qaradawi, he said he left the International Union of Muslim Scholars a year ago because he didn’t agree with many of the group’s positions. He added that he tried to change the group from the inside and decided he could be more effective starting his own organization to promote peace.
While Bayyah was a member, the group issued a 2009 fatwa against normalizing relations with Israel. Does he agree or disagree with that?
Bayyah visited the Obama White House in June 2013, while he was still working with Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Interestingly, in that meeting Bayyah called for the US to get more involved in arming the Syrian rebels. That’s what Obama is doing now, in response to the Islamic State.
Nine men, including the radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary, have been arrested in London on suspicion of being members of a banned organisation.
Officers are searching 18 premises in London and one in Stoke-on-Trent.
The Met Police said it was part of an ongoing inquiry into Islamist-related terrorism and not in response to any immediate threat to the public.
Mr Choudary is the former UK head of the Islamist group al-Muhajiroun or Islam4UK, banned in the UK in 2010.
The arrested men, aged between 22 and 51, are being held at police stations in central London.
Most recently, Choudary sided with the Islamic State, which has beheaded a British citizen. He has been preaching jihad while living on the British taxpayer’s dime for years now. He is a jihadist, straight up, no different than Anwar al-Awlaki or any other jihadist preacher.
If the west had sharper war teeth, Choudary would be dropped into Syria at an ISIS command post just ahead of an allied airstrike.
Noah Rothman keys on a WSJ report outlining what the allies are — and are not — striking in Syria. Namely, we’re avoiding hitting IS’ captured oil fields.
“[CBS News reporter David] Martin says 12 small-scale oil refineries were hit in the eastern desert of Syria,” a CBS report revealed. “According to the Pentagon, the refineries produced between 300 and 500 barrels of petroleum a day, which ISIS used to power its own vehicles and to sell on the black market, bringing in up to $2 million every day in revenue.”
So, one would expect that revenue stream to have been vitiated if not entirely destroyed, right? Not so fast.
“Officials said the strikes wouldn’t target fixed oil fields, a precaution intended to minimize the potential for environmental damage,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. “The U.S. instead targeted small capacity mobile refineries used by Islamic State around northeastern Raqqa province and other locations in eastern Syria, officials said.”
Which largely leaves ISIS’ major revenue stream intact. They are using the oil from those fields both for their own purposes and to sell on the black market — chiefly, Turkey — to raise funds. A lot of funds. About $2 million per day. ISIS is believed to have about $1 billion on hand. The current strategy amounts to kicking an ant hill but not putting any poison on it to kill the queen.
If we are avoiding destroying ISIS’ oil-basket, it would represent a decisive break from US strategy in previous wars. In both world wars, Vietnam and to a lesser extent in the two wars in Iraq, US forces targeted infrastructure in order to cripple the enemy’s economy. We bombed everything from highways to railways to power grids and fuel refineries and depots, to break the enemy’s ability to wage war. The more we focused on disrupting the enemy’s economy, the more damage we did to the enemy’s ability to wage war against us.
In Syria, we are apparently already counting the chicken before the egg has hatched.
US, Saudis & UAE, Kirby says, trying to blow up ISIS-held oil refineries w/o destroying a potential future $ source for post-Assad Syria
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) September 25, 2014
There is no guarantee that there will be a “post-Assad Syria.” It’s a near certainty that if there is, the lack of US forces on the ground means that we will have little to no say in who succeeds him. We’re heading for Libya 2.0 as a best-case scenario at this point. Obama’s promise not to ever put any American boots on the ground to fight ISIS means that others will determine Syria’s future should Assad ever fall. Our absence means that Iran or another Islamist group or power, perhaps Turkey, perhaps anarchy, will choose who follows Assad. But it won’t be the United States.
And if you’re an ISIS commander, the safest place for you to be is now one of the most strategically valuable spots on the map. Park yourself near an oil field and US forces won’t touch you.
The war against ISIS is a just war that is being run very stupidly.
The United States believes it has identified the masked militant thought to have beheaded two American journalists, FBI Director James Comey told reporters on Thursday.
NPR’s Brian Naylor reports that Comey declined to identify the man. The videos, released by the Sunni militant group Islamic State, show a masked man speaking English in a British accent. The video then shows the man beginning to cut the heads of the Americans.
The AP reports that Comey did not comment on whether the U.S. believes the man in the video also conducted the beheadings.
There appear to be some he said/she said going on with respect to Iraq, ISIS and terrorism.
A wide range of U.S. intelligence sources told NBC News that there is no evidence of any current threat against the subways, after Iraq’s prime minister told reporters that ISIS is plotting an imminent attack.
In a meeting with journalists at the United Nations, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he had just learned of the plot by foreign fighters of the Islamic State group in Iraq to attack subway systems in the U.S. and Paris. He said it had not been thwarted and that the United States had been alerted.
“Today, while I’m here I’m receiving accurate reports from Baghdad that there were arrests of a few elements and there were networks from inside Iraq to have attacks … on metros of Paris and U.S.,” al-Abadi said, speaking in English, according to the Associated Press. “They are not Iraqis. Some of them are French, some of them are Americans. But they are in Iraq.”
The Obama administration was quick to knock all of that down, denying that Iraq had alerted us, and denying any knowledge of an imminent threat.
But that’s what the Obama administration always does, isn’t it? This is the administration that still describes Nidal Hasan’s massacre at Ft. Hood as “workplace violence,” not the act of jihad that it was. This is the administration that used bogus crime stats to sell a false picture of security on the Texas-Mexico border for years.
National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said officials in Washington had not confirmed the plot described by the Iraqi prime minister and were looking into the report. “We take any threat seriously and always work to corroborate information we receive from our partners,” Hayden said. “We’re obviously very focused on the issue of foreign fighters, as you saw evidenced yesterday at the [United Nations] Security Council session the president chaired.”
U.S. officials said they found it odd that the prime minister would make such a public announcement about such a threat instead of sharing it through normal channels.
Such as, leaking details of, say, a raid to recover ISIS hostages, to the media instead of Congress? Yeah, who does that?
I think it’s fair to be skeptical of all concerned at this point. The Iraqis certainly have an interest in keeping the very real ISIS threat alive. But the Obama administration just doesn’t want anyone to think very much about the porous border and the myriad other ways terrorist can and do get into the country.
In light of the ongoing nightmare that is the Islamic State, Foreign Policy, a magazine somewhat reflective of the establishment, has published an article that once again demonstrates why U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is a disaster: because analysts and policymakers, unable or unwilling to grapple with foreign concepts, opt to articulate them through familiar Western paradigms.
Titled “The Islamic State of Sexual Violence” and written by Aki Peritz and Tara Maller—“We both worked as CIA analysts focused on Iraq’s insurgency and counterterrorism during much of the war”—the Foreign Policy(FP) article opens with this telling sentence: “Of the many terrifying stories emerging from Islamic State-occupied Iraq and Syria, the violence directed toward women is perhaps the most difficult to contemplate.”
This is an odd assertion. Of all the atrocities committed by the Islamic State, is sexual violence against women really “the most difficult to contemplate”? After all, deplorable as sexual violence against women is, it is also one of the most common features of warfare since the beginnings of recorded history. It should not be too “difficult to contemplate.”
Instead, one would think that public beheadings and mutilations—with sadistic pictures of the victims posted online—would be more “difficult to contemplate.” One would think herding off 1500 “infidel” men and coldly shooting them in the head to cries of “Allahu Akbar” would be more “difficult to contemplate.” One would think that forcing religious minorities to convert to Islam or die—with Christians crucified for refusing to embrace Islam—would be more “difficult to contemplate.”
But in the very next paragraph we encounter the reason why FP highlights female sexual abuse while ignoring the truly more “difficult to contemplate” atrocities committed by the Islamic State: to exonerate Islam from the deeds of the Islamic State:
IS claims to be a religious organization, dedicated to re-establishing the caliphate and enforcing codes of modesty and behavior from the time of Muhammad and his followers. But this is rape, not religious conservatism. IS may dress up its sexual violence in religious justifications, saying its victims violated Islamic law, or were infidels, but their leaders are not fools. This is just another form of warfare….
That last sentence is what FP wants readers to leave with—“This is just another form of warfare.” The authors chose the most generic atrocity committed during war, one that is common to all cultures and civilizations—sexual violence, enslavement, and rape—to condemn the Islamic State with. The result is that the Islamic State looks like “just another” enemy combatant.
To demonstrate this, the authors proceed to invoke Western standards of “modesty and behavior” to criticize the Islamic State without letting readers know that Islamic notions of “modesty and behavior” differ significantly and are wholly based on Islamic law, not “natural” law or anything else.
Thus while the authors are correct in saying that the Islamic State is “dedicated to re-establishing the caliphate,” the follow up assertion, “and enforcing codes of modesty and behavior from the time of Muhammad and his followers” is immensely loaded and misleading. So is the statement “But this is rape, not religious conservatism.”… Keep reading
In a wide-ranging townhall-style interview, former President Bill Clinton told CNN that he doesn’t think racism has gotten worse in the country and that President Obama’s Syria strategy has a “chance” of being successful.
Clinton said the ISIS threat is “quite significant and it certainly threatens to change the whole landscape in the Middle East, redrawn national boundaries, crash national governments and we know they’re killing a lot of innocent people who don’t agree with them.”
“They ran the Christians out of Iraq who’ve been there since the dawn of Christendom and they butchered those Syrian soldiers and, you know, we don’t agree with the Syrian government but their soldiers, their uniformed personnel and thought with rules of war, and of course they like to decapitate people on the Internet,” he said. “So I think that strategy that the president has adopted has a chance of succeeding. I support him on what they’re doing.”
Clinton added that arming rebels in Syria is “worth the gamble.” His wife advocated this to President Obama three years ago but was overruled.
“One thing we know will happen, if we don’t help people who are trying to create an open inclusive secular society, they will lose. If we do help them and they lose anyway, somebody will get their weapons but I don’t think that will massively change the balance of power. Anytime you do anything, it might not work. We don’t have 100 percent in control,” he said. ”You just make a judgment over whether it’s more likely than not to work.”
On the recent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., Clinton said he doesn’t think there’s been a rush to judgment in the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson.
“What do we know? We know that the young man was unarmed. We know there was some kind of altercation with the police officer. We know when he was trying to get away he was shot. We know he had two bullets in the head. We know somebody made some sort of mistake. We don’t know what that was,” he said.
“…The most interesting thing to me about Ferguson was when the governor put the African-American state trooper who was from that area in charge of overseeing the situation and communicating with the folks in the community, things got better.”
Racism hasn’t gotten worse in the country, Clinton said, “but I think that we’re playing with it, with its darker possibilities with things like the stand your ground laws.”
“I actually think we are less racist, less sexist, less homophobic than we used to be. I think our big problem today is we don’t want to be around anybody who disagrees with us,” he added. “And I think that in some ways, it can be the worst silo of all, be holed up in.”
Clinton said he’s a “huge” football fan and hopes the NFL is “trying to get it right now” with the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal.
“I grew up at home with domestic violence. And — God, I hope that it works out all right for — I hope he really is OK and he never does it again. Sometimes, people don’t, but it’s rare. And I think what bothers everybody is that that, that seems that the NFL diminished the importance of it early on,” he said.
“I think that people who are rich and popular because of athletics, or entertainment, or any other thing like that, they shouldn’t be held for an impossible standard, they shouldn’t be exempted from the general rule that we can’t get away with abusing people because of our position.”
Joseph Curl has penned a must-read at the Washington Times, on President Obama’s UN address.
To Mr. Obama, there’s no global conflict of ideology, just “pervasive unease in our world.” To him, the strife is merely the “failure of our international system to keep pace with an interconnected world.” And to him, “it is one of the tasks of all great religions to accommodate devout faith with a modern, multicultural world.”
He asked delegates from nations across the world to mull this “central question of our global age: Whether we will solve our problems together, in a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect, or whether we descend into the destructive rivalries of the past.”
His answer? “It’s time for a broader negotiation in the region in which major powers address their differences directly, honestly, and peacefully across the table from one another, rather than through gun-wielding proxies.”
Simply believing something doesn’t make it so. The president’s desire for a world in which nations talk openly about their true feelings, perhaps share a good cry together, and sing kumbaya around the campfire, is the height of naivete.
So is this passage of his speech: ” … the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace. Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice. And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them, there is only us.”
Read the rest.
Ever hear of the Holy Land Foundation? It was the largest Islamic charity in the USA, and it was only a short drive away from George Bush Intercontinental Airport based in Richardson, Texas. Our U.S. government designated HLF a terrorist organization in December of 2001, seized its assets, and closed its doors. By 2004, a federal grand jury in Dallas charged HLF and five former officers and its assigns with disseminating material support to Hamas and tacked on related charges. In essence, the HLF funneled money to “charity” committees controlled by Hamas in the West Bank. It sounds like déjà vu when you consider Monday’s verdict where jurors needed less than two days to deliberate the fate of Jordan’s biggest lender for financing Hamas terrorist activities; the Arab Bank.
It’s not surprising to see similarities when comparing the Arab Bank to the HLF or even the money funneling and legal woes of CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations). It’s also not surprising it took jurors less than two days of deliberations following six weeks of courtroom drama in a Brooklyn federal court to find Jordan’s biggest lender liable for financing Hamas, a case lawyers tout as the first terrorism financing civil case to reach trial in the United States.
Arab Bank Found Liable
Jurors determined that Arab Bank PLC aided Hamas terrorists when they engaged in malicious attacks that killed and injured Americans on Israeli soil. The jurors determined that the Amman-based bank did business with nearly 200 Hamas leaders and operatives dating back some 14 years. It is believed that in all, about 25 deadly suicide bombings took place in restaurants and on public transportation in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and surrounding areas in Israel.
It’s also not earth shattering but rather anticipated by financial experts eyeballing this case, that shares of Arab Bank plummeted as much as 6.8 percent, the biggest drop in more than a month, before closing at 7.60 dinars, down 1.9 percent in Amman trading.
Senior fellow with Kohelet Policy Forum, Professor Eugene Kontorovich had this to say about the ruling:
“The verdict demonstrates that it is impossible to separate money to Hamas – whether to its “political” or military wings – from support for terror. This should remind us that many other organizations, like UNRWA and European countries that have indirectly funneled money to Hamas – are also complicit in terror.”
Not only will a trial on damages take place later, but similar lawsuits are pending in New York against Bank of China Ltd, which is accused of providing services to Palestine Islamic Jihad, and Credit Lyonnais SA. Both financial institutions are also accused of aiding Hamas. As expected both banks denied any wrongdoing.
The case shines a floodlight on the way banks can be held accountable by bankrolling bloodshed and the subsequent legal and civil hemorrhaging that results as they stand to lose both their reputation and their pocketbook.
The suit, filed in 2004, accused Arab Bank of violating the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows victims of U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations to seek compensation. The U.S. State Department designated Hamas a terrorist group in 1997, and that status still reigns today.
Is This a Fair Analogy?
Many may wonder if HLF is anything like the Arab Bank case. Maybe not at first glance as critics will always point to the fact that HLF knew they were funding Hamas directly but the Arab Bank did not. Well, actually the Arab Bank had to know or should have known since Hamas and Islamic Jihad were directly tied to the funding. Does that make every bank responsible for what their clients use their funding for? Absolutely not — unless, of course, it’s pigeonholed for jihad (aka holy war). Privacy is one thing to a reasonable point, but funding terror organizations is now front and center. Only the courts will be the judge and they convene when they’re ready. So in other words, stay tuned.
Kontorovich writes extensively on legal matters and agrees this case not only resembles the Holy Land Foundation on some levels and amplifies the legal woes of organizations like CAIR, but has legs with little wiggle room when it comes to abandoning laws, the Geneva Convention and finding new and creative ways to finance terror and perpetrate similar crimes against humanity going forward.
Jennifer Hanin is an award-winning writer, influential blogger and social media maven, and co-founder and former Executive Editor of Act For Israel. She is co-author of the critically-acclaimed What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant: the Complete Guide to All the Options for Couples Facing Fertility Issues (Da Capo, 2013; 2005) and Becoming Jewish: The Challenges, Rewards and Paths to Judaism.
As French President Francois Hollande prepared to speak at the United Nations General Assembly today, Algerian terrorists who back ISIS released a video showing the beheading of a French mountain climber.
Hervé Gourdel was kidnapped on Sunday evening in the mountainous region of Djurdjura, part of the Atlas range not far from Algiers.
Gourdel, 55, of Nice was an active mountaineer throughout his life. He was seized by Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
The group released a Tuesday video showing Gourdel flanked by armed gunmen vowing to behead him in 24 hours if France didn’t stop targeting ISIS.
Today’s video showing Gourdel’s death was titled “A Message of Blood for the French Government.”
“He left for Algeria to follow his passion, mountaineering, and he was the victim of a heinous crime whose perpetrators must be punished,” Hollande said in a statement. “My thoughts are with his family, his companion and his parents, to whom I spoke and who are overcome by sorrow. My thoughts are with his many loved ones who don’t understand and don’t accept this terrible injustice. Why him? Why there?”
“…Hervé Gourdel died because he was French; because his country, France, fights terrorism. Hervé Gourdel died because he represents a people—our people—that loves freedom and defends human dignity against barbarity.”
Gourdel’s abduction also came hours after an ISIS video urged supporters around the world to target Westerners – “especially the spiteful and filthy French.”
The kidnapping came just days after France officially began referring to ISIS as Daesh, a loose Arabic acronym with derogatory dual meanings.
Both in his statement and in his Wednesday afternoon address at the UN Security Council, Hollande continued calling them Daesh.
“My determination is absolute, and this act of aggression only strengthens it. We will continue to fight terrorism wherever it may be, and in particular the group we call Daesh, which sows death in Iraq, and Syria, which pursues civilian populations, persecutes religious minorities, rapes and decapitates. Yes, it is this group that France is mobilized against, and which the Iraqi authorities called on us to oppose,” he said.
Hollande is flying back to France to convene a defense council meeting tomorrow at Elysee palace to “establish the goals we have set for our military operations and to further strengthen the protection of our fellow citizens.”
“I am calling for all of us, for our entire community to stand united beyond our differences, beyond our sensibilities and our convictions, because the most vital matters are at stake,” he said. “France will not give in to terrorism, France will never give in to terrorism, because it is its duty and, even more important, because its honor depends on it.”
Reuters reports that the Islamic State’s forces continued to advance on Kurdish villages, even while allied airstrikes against them go on.
U.S. planes pounded Islamic State positions in Syriafor a second day on Wednesday, but the strikes did not halt the fighters’ advance in a Kurdish area where fleeing refugees told of villages burnt and captives beheaded.
Beheadings? Doesn’t ISIS know that according to Barack Obama, no god condones that?
Here’s the video.
Are the airstrikes truly “degrading” or “destroying” them?
Libertarian Party: ‘Heightened Risk of Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Citizens’ as Result of ‘Foreign Meddling’
The Libertarian Party today accused President Obama of violating the Constitution in his strikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, while a liberal lobby also called on the need to have “unequivocally constitutional” approval from Congress.
“Whatever differences they may claim, Democratic and Republican politicians are aligned when it comes to foreign meddling,” Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, said in a statement. “President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush both resort to war in the end.”
The party maintained that since the Islamic State (IS) did not exist in 2001, the authorization for military force approved after 9/11 to go after terrorists connected to the attack doesn’t apply.
“This is wildly reckless and irresponsible,” Sarwark said. “The old parties in Congress just spent $20 billion arming and training Iraqi soldiers, only to see U.S. military weapons land in the hands of the Islamic State. This new measure could end up arming future enemies in Syria as well.”
“The bigger threat is endless war and a heightened risk of terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens as a result of military intervention,” he added.
The Progressive Policy Institute noted in a statement that both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have suggested “early and effective U.S. support for indigenous Syrian rebels might have prevented these foreign jihadis from setting up shop in Syria.”
“Non-intervention is not a painless or risk-free option for Americans, no matter how weary we may be of war,” said PPI president Will Marshall.
“President Obama needs to level with the American people about the nature and duration of this conflict. What we are really up against, the enduring source of instability and danger, is not any particular group of Sunni terrorists, but the Islamist ideology that motives them. This fight will be more like the Cold War than World War II. It won’t be settled on any battlefield,” Marshall said. “Only when the jihadist ideology loses its power to inspire young Muslims to kill for a warped vision of a puritanical, all-conquering Islam will the danger pass. That could take a generation. It will require that America and the international community wage—and above all Muslim political and religious leaders—wage a more effective campaign to discredit and marginalize the Islamist death cult.”
The PPI called for a ”resolute, long-term strategy to contain and eventually defuse the threat posed by Islamist fanatics,” which “must enjoy broad public and political support at home.”
“Rather than invoking post-9/11 legislation, the White House should heed calls from Congressional leaders, such as Sen. Tim Kaine, to seek new authority for this next phase of U.S. counterterrorism operations,” Marshall continued. “It’s important that our confrontation with Islamist extremists have explicit Congressional backing and be unequivocally Constitutional. At the same time, however, Congress must refrain from tying the executive’s hands, for example, by imposing arbitrary deadlines or geographical limits on its ability to confront threats to our people or our interests.”
During his United Nations address today, President Obama delved into Islamic theology. He was addressing the Islamic State’s habit of beheading its captives.
“As an international community, we must meet this challenge with a focus on four areas. First, the terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded, and ultimately destroyed,” Obama said.
“This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria. Mothers, sisters and daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war. Innocent children have been gunned down. Bodies have been dumped in mass graves. Religious minorities have been starved to death. In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded, with videos of the atrocity distributed to shock the conscience of the world.
“No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.”
Barack Obama was educated on the Koran during his formative years in Indonesia, but he may not remember his childhood lessons.
The fact is, the Koran explicitly condones beheading.
Koran 8:12 — “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”
Rather than have a Baptist (me) interpret what that verse means, let’s head over to Islam 101 for an interpretation.
This verse and the verses before and after were revealed about the Battle of Badr, which occurred in Arabia in the early seventh century. A battle in which the pagans of Makkah traveled more than 200 miles to Madinah with an army of about 1000 to destroy Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and fellow Muslims had suffered severe persecutions and torture for 13 years in the city of Makkah. And now that they had fled Makkah and found a sanctuary in the city of Madinah, they were once again threatened. Muslim Army was only about 300 strong. God Almighty gave the order to Muslims to fight to defend their lives and faith. The enemy came to them with the intent to kill Muslims. It was a war to defend themselves and their Faith. It was a war imposed upon Muslims.
And when you fight, you strive to kill the enemy during the fight.
Koran 8:12 spells out one way to do that — beheadings. To create terror.
And how does ISIS characterize its fight with the west and even the fellow Muslims in its midst? As one which it has not started, but will prosecute on “the path to jihad” — holy war.
If President Obama really thinks that he can defeat ISIS in a theological debate, he is misguided in more ways than one.
Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who advocated action in Syria after the beheading of his constituent Steve Sotloff, said the fight will ultimately be up to Arab nations for the “soul of Islam.”
Nelson told MSNBC this morning that the growth of al-Qaeda satellite Khorasan is ”just another indication of how much of a threat is out there.”
“At the end of the day, we can provide all these airstrikes, which I support… at the end of the day, this is going to have to be the Arab world and the Muslim world that are gonna have to do this fight on the ground,” the senator said.
“They’re gonna have to decide to protect the soul of Islam and the Arab culture. Otherwise, it’s gonna be taken over by this very radical group, whether it’s those that are trying to do harm to us as the Khorasan Group and ISIS or ISIS that is obviously perpetrating all of this violence against their own people.”
Nelson said President Obama is “doing exactly what he should” in regards to “building a coalition.”
“He’s had intelligence flights over Syria since August 25th… He’s turned it over to his experts, his commanders, to execute the strikes. The president’s doing exactly what he should.”
But he joined the voices of other lawmakers who have opined that Congress shouldn’t be in recess when a new AUMF may be needed.
“Now, with regard to Congress, we ought to be back in session,” Nelson said. “We ought to be debating war and peace right now and ultimately voting to give the authorization for the use of military force.”
“What I believe, however, is the president, as commander in chief, under the Constitution has the authority to go ahead and strike in Syria, as he already has.”
Apparently NBC’s Chuck Todd isn’t aware that President Obama didn’t even mention ISIS in his letter to Congress outlining why he launched airstrikes in Syria. Instead, Obama predicated the attack on a threat from a group that most have never even heard of.
Todd appeared on MSNBC today and said that whatever you think about Obama’s strategy of telling our enemies that we’ll never ever ever send ground troops to fight ISIS — ever — you can’t question the man’s “resolve.”
So just don’t.
Todd said: “I think. Look, you have to say this. I’m still a bit shocked by the timing of this and I think anybody that was questioning the president’s resolve about going after ISIS and doing it through Syria, I’m with Richard. There is a lot to be skeptical about, about this plan. But you can’t question his resolve. he did it the day before he goes to the UN. That’s quite the statement.”
If Bush had done that…Todd would question more than just his “resolve.”
Just for grins, I looked up the meaning of “resolve.” It means “firm determination to do something.” Obama has been dragged into action against ISIS — which he doesn’t mention in that letter to Congress — because the American people have been way ahead of him on the threat. It took the beheadings of two Americans to get him off the campaign trail.
As I was writing this, Obama advocated arguing over theology with ISIS — that that’s the way to defeat them. Not by wiping them out and providing their demise as an example to others who might even contemplate attacking Americans.
So, yeah, some “resolve.”
While both leaders are in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told CBS that conditions aren’t right for a meeting with President Obama.
Obama made a historic call to Rouhani last year during the annual meeting of world leaders, but the two did not meet in person.
“Between two nations whom have suffered many problems between one another and to have had great difficulties towards one another, if one day the appropriate foundation hasn’t been laid for such a meeting, if the appropriate aim has not been calculated, then it will not be fruitful,” Rouhani said.
“So today, the conditions do not dictate such a meeting. We do not want to put on a show. Our people do not enjoy a show or theater, and certainly that is also something that the people of the United States do not wish for,” he continued. “Therefore, let’s let the time mature, upon during which such talk and such meeting can be fruitful towards resolving problems and issues.”
Rouhani is planning to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron. The P5+1 nuclear negotiations are continuing this week.
“There’s nothing like that on the schedule right now,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Friday when asked whether the president would seek a meeting with Rouhani. “At this point, I don’t anticipate something like that being added, but we’ll see.”
Rouhani also told CBS that Obama’s Syria strategy just seeks to ”put more fuel on the existing fire.”
“It is not clear for us what they’re seeking, a theater for public consumption, or they’re after a tangible, a real objective in the region. It is not real crystal clear for us, but what I can tell you unequivocally, no terrorist group can be eradicated and destroyed through aerial bombardments,” the Iranian leader said.
“The way to combat terrorism, sir, is not for us to give birth to another terrorist group in order to stand up against an existing terrorist group. These are the series of mistakes that have composed the rings of the chain that have taken us from where we were to where we are today. We must accept the reality. We cannot organize armed groups of fighters in order to reach our objectives.”
Iran had been sheltering 33-year-old Kuwaiti citizen Muhsin al-Fadhli, the leader of Khorasan. They claimed the Zawahiri deputy was under house arrest while he ran al-Qaeda in Iran. He reportedly moved to northern Syria to set up shop about a year ago.
Paul Goble at Interpreter Magazine offers keen insight into the Western media’s dangerous love affair with Vladimir Putin:
…as has been true since the start of Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, Putin has exploited the increasing proclivity of Western journalists to equate balance with objectivity. He and his minions have flooded the media with statements that are simply not true, but many Western outlets report them as part of the story, without identifying them as false or even questioning their veracity.
That allows such journalists to claim objectivity, but it creates a situation in which there is little or no pressure on Western governments to do the right thing. Many journalists (and governments) will not describe what Moscow is doing as an invasion because Putin says there are no Russian troops in Ukraine, despite massive evidence to the contrary.
As a result, in all too many cases, Putin’s lies have defined the situation rather than facts on the ground, and the Western media’s focus on balance – on presenting all sides of the case even if one or more is untrue – gives thuggish leaders like him an opening that they should not have but will not exploit.
Besides re-defining “balance” in pursuit of a deadline, eye-catching story, or political point of view, Western media also backs the White House’s post-Vietnam love-affair with the mystical cease-fire.
…Second, Western governments approach every conflict as an occasion to get a ceasefire rather than to defeat aggression out of a belief that diplomacy alone can solve the problem and reach a solution. …by signaling that it will not oppose a particular case of aggression, the West has taught Putin and his regime a lesson, but very much the wrong one: aggression works and after “a decent interval” will be ignored, have no consequences for relations with the West, and then can be repeated.
Interestingly, Goble also notes the West’s unwillingness to push real economic and cultural sanctions against Russia. His theory is that the West is afraid if such sanctions truly pushed Moscow to the breaking point, it would only result in a Kremlin that “would call Western profits into question”. In other words, the West may lose economic benefit, or worse, be shamed in the international community as capitalist pigs. Apparently Goble has no faith in Western media to attack such a claim should it arise. While he does not say this directly, his inference is another black mark on Western media’s character.
Especially relevant to more than just Russia-US relations, Goble questions of Putin’s passive-aggressive tactics,
Will Putin have any incentive to move toward peace if he can get everything he wants by dragging out a Western-backed “peace process” forever?
It is a rhetorical query, and one that should not be reserved for Putin alone. An equally rhetorical follow up: Could it be that the same Moscow that backed the PLO learned a lesson from Arafat and his political descendants? The Western audience should rethink their media’s relationship with Russia, for sure. But that should be the starting, not the stopping point in their analysis.
Taking some time out from UN-related activities this week in New York to fundraise for his party, President Obama told a campaign crowd tonight that the threat posed by Islamic terrorism isn’t as great of an existential threat as the Cold War.
Obama left the Waldorf Astoria hotel in the early evening to head over to a private home at West 90th and Central Park West for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event, which was attended by DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.
“I apologize for the traffic. Not much I can do about it. The blame is spread between me and another 160 or so world leaders who converge upon New York every single year,” Obama said. “Yet unlike some of the previous U.N. General Assembly meetings, this one really counts.”
Obama addressed the UN climate summit today and addresses the General Assembly tomorrow morning.
“We’ve gone through extraordinary challenges over the last decade, and when I came into office, the world economy was in a free fall — something we hadn’t seen since the Great Depression. And we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. We were still in the midst of two wars. Challenges like climate change weren’t being addressed,” he said.
Despite the country being “better off” now “by every economic measure,” the president continued, ”I think there’s some anxiety across the country, and the question is: Why?”
“And I offer three reasons. The first, which is most prominent in the news right now, is that there is great disorder in the world. It’s not unprecedented,” Obama said. “In many ways, it doesn’t pose some of the same existential threats that we experienced during the Great Wars or during the Cold War, but the instability that we see in the Middle East, the Russian aggression towards Ukraine, the breakdown in public health systems — or what public health systems ever existed in a place like Liberia — in the face of the Ebola crisis, and the emergence of a terrorist threat in ISIL that threatens to destabilize an entire region — all those things are justifiably making people wonder whether the center will hold.”
“And the good news is this week what you’re seeing is what American leadership means. I just came from a meeting in which we were actually able to get Arab countries, many of which have historically been on opposite sides of issues and sectarian conflict in the region, all united around fighting ISIL and eradicating the ideology, the extreme fanaticism that underlies what’s happening in ISIL.”
That 40-minute meeting at the Waldorf included King Abdullah of Jordan, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.
On Ebola, Obama said “as a consequence of our actions, we have a good chance of saving as many as a million lives.”
He said the recent step-up in intervention efforts, including setting up a military command center in Liberia, is also “making sure that there’s not the kind of spillover that could end up being an epidemic in our country and affect our loved ones.”
“Climate change — we’re going to be taking the lead and, in fact, potentially engaging with China in making sure that we move boldly and aggressively in confronting that significant threat,” Obama continued. “We’ve unified the world in isolating Russia and supporting not just the Ukrainian people but the core principle that was part of the foundation of the United Nations, which is a respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of small countries relative to large ones.”
“So what we’ve seen is American leadership at its best. It doesn’t mean that the problems are easy or that they’re solved anytime soon, but it indicates the degree to which we continue to be the one indispensable nation.”
The president said the other issues causing “some disquiet” among the American people are income inequality and the belief that “they just think government doesn’t seem to be capable of working anymore.”
“And it’s popular to suggest that somehow that’s a problem of both parties, a plague on both their houses. But the truth of the matter is it has to do with a very specific problem, which is, is that the opposition on the other side has become ideologically driven and doesn’t seem capable of compromise; cannot say yes even to things they used to be for; and there’s been a tendency to put politics ahead of what’s best for the next generation.”
Obama predicted that with a Congress willing to “play those cards right,” the next generation “will inherit a world that is safer and more prosperous and healthier and has less conflict than ever before in human history.”
The round of airstrikes in Syria in the early morning hours prompted one Democrat to ask House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to call Congress back to address a proper authorization of military force (AUMF).
And Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) also let President Obama know that lawmakers in his own party are questioning the administration’s determination that they can act against ISIS via 2001 and 2003 AUMFs.
Hastings previously asked Boehner to call Congress back during the five-week summer recess to address the same concern. Congress remained in town for only two weeks before leaving for the pre-midterm district campaigning period.
“The situation in both Iraq and Syria on a political, humanitarian and military level grow increasingly dire, and we may very well have a duty to meet these difficulties with force along with any number of other strategic responses,” Hastings wrote Obama today. “However, Congress has a duty to discuss these issues and act accordingly under the United States Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. We must also reexamine the relevancy of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) with regard to the current U.S. airstrikes in Syria and future military operations to address ISIL.”
“The AUMF was born from the need to take immediate and bold action to respond to the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The time has come, however, for Congress to fulfill its constitutional role in committing our military resources to global conflicts, and specifically examine whether the required strategy in Iraq and Syria necessitates additional Congressional authorization.”
Hastings’ concern has been echoed by other lawmakers, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who last week told Secretary of State John Kerry, “You’re going to need a new AUMF.”
“I certainly appreciate your timely attention to the complex and difficult situation unfolding in Iraq and Syria, and want you to know that I am eager to facilitate a resolution to the current crisis by making sure that the United States exercises the full might of its democracy to achieve the best outcome for the American people and all those threatened by ISIL,” Hastings added in the Obama letter.
To Boehner, Hastings stressed that “the Administration’s reliance on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) for our country’s ongoing military operations within Syria raises many questions.”
“I must once again respectfully call upon you to bring the U.S. House of Representatives back into session so that we may meet our constitutional responsibility under Article I to address the nature, duration, and scope of these and future activities,” the Florida Dem wrote. “As Members of Congress, we have a duty to ensure that the United States does not enter a conflict without appropriate deliberation or debate. We abdicate this responsibility when we do not exercise full oversight of our military commitment.”
Hastings declared the “time has come for Congress to reassert its constitutional role in committing our military resources to global conflicts, and specifically examine whether the President’s strategy in Iraq and Syria necessitate additional Congressional authorization.”
“Reasonable minds will disagree as to what the fate of the 2001 AUMF ought to be, and reasonable minds may very well disagree as to what military operations, if any, we ought to take to address the ongoing threat posed by ISIL, but in order for such disagreements to occur we must first provide the forum for such discussions. As demonstrated by Article I Section 8, the appropriate forum is Congress,” he said. “The appropriate time is now.”
Raymond Ibrahim was recently interviewed on Secure Freedom Radio with Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy. Split into four 10-minute segments, the 40-minute interview follows:
- How ISIS plays into the bigger picture of global jihad
- America’s willful blindness to the fact that to defeat an enemy, one must know the enemy
- The American far-left’s apologist-position towards radical Islam
- Defensive versus offensive jihad in Shariah doctrine
- Comparing ISIS and Al-Qaeda
- The consequences of ISIS declaring an Islamic Caliphate
- President Obama’s misleading remarks about the connection of jihadist terrorism to Islam
- The long history of Christian persecution in the Muslim world
- Recommendations for future U.S. policies to combat the global jihad
- Lessons learned from the American strategy that defeated the communist ideology of the Soviet Union
- Problems with the labels put on those who question the radical aspects of Shariah law
See if you can spot it.
He never mentions the Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL…at all.
Is this letter an admission that he has yet to find legal justification to back up the airstrikes on ISIS targets? Or is this letter depending on the Authorization for Use of Military Force — which he wanted to repeal — to strike Khorasan, which is a more direct offshoot of al Qaeda than ISIS is?
h/t Weasel Zippers