Roger L. Simon

Strasbourg 'Gangster-Jihadist' Makes Nancy and Chuck Seem Clueless

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks to a reporter as she and Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) walk back into the West Wing on Dec. 11, 2018, following a meeting with President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

One wonders if Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi have any concept how pathetic and clueless their politically motivated, anti- border wall clichés look in light of the latest terror attack in Strasbourg. Their insistence, in Tuesday’s meeting with Trump, that the wall by itself would not be a panacea–whoever said it was?–and that we don’t have the Islamist threat the Israelis or even the Europeans do to justify its construction now seems extraordinarily simple-minded.

In fact it always was. Under the radar and barely remarked upon by our media, that cross-border terror threat has already done something even worse than 9/11.  It has reduced the life expectancy of the American people.

But more of that in a moment. First, Strasbourg.  It has introduced a new term in the terror lexicon that can be instructive for all of us:

French investigators call them the “gangster-jihadists” – young men, often from poor immigrant backgrounds, who start with petty crime, drug dealing and robbery and graduate to terrorism.


The profile of Chérif Chekatt, who is being hunted by police in connection for the attacks in Strasbourg, is all too familiar in France.

Chekatt was born in Strasbourg in February 1989, into a family with Moroccan roots, and appears to have fallen first into petty crime then gangster circles. The final stage, his apparent move into Islamic extremism, was reportedly sparked – or at least strengthened – during a spell in prison between 2013 and 2015.

French police believe there are about 12,000 of these “gangster-jihadists” in their country, far more, they admit, then they could possibly keep an eye on.

How many do we have? Well, we don’t know–partly because Barack Obama made sure of that.

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Those are the first two graphs of “The secret story of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook” by Josh Meyer, in my book the best investigative journalism of 2018 and deserving of the Pulitzer, assuming that award were ever given to something that merited it.  If you haven’t read the report, please do.

Besides being the mullahs’ favorite terror army, Hezbollah has been known to be in league with the Mexican drug cartels from at least 2010, probably considerably earlier. That makes them easily classifiable as “gangster-jihadists” or “jihadist-gangsters,” depending on your point of view.

Should this matter to us and affect our opinion about whether to build a wall, even if that only does part of the job, alas, alas, even if Nancy Pelosi is so terrified of her left flank that she doesn’t dare support the border security she and Schumer both adamantly declared themselves to be in favor of but a few years ago, even if they can’t stand the bright shining light of “transparency“?

Well, consider this: Despite all the miraculous advances in modern medicine, a large percentage of which emanate from American laboratories, the life expectancy of our citizens has declined for the second year in a row, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This is unprecedented in recent times.  Principle reason?  We all know it — drugs. 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017 alone, up from 63,000 in 2016.

Is Hezbollah responsible for all of this?  Of course not. Some are coming over the Mexican border, some arriving from China and some from who knows where.  But Hezbollah has no doubt been involved with enough of the supply to give it credit for a death count way in excess of those who died in 9/11.  That was slightly less than three thousand people and certainly did not move the actuarial tables the way the opioid scandal does year in and year out, not even close.

So props to Barack Obama.  Not only did his Iran Deal enrich the mullahs’ coffers so Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard could murder tens, maybe hundreds, of thousands in Syria, it primed the pumps for the Hezzies to keep on drugging Americans as well.

Will the wall cure this? Again, of course not, not by itself.  It will only do some as yet undetermined amount. And Hezbollah, as we are learning, has plenty of experience tunneling under walls — though there are those who have experience dealing with those tunnelers.

Nevertheless, the objections to building a wall along our Southern border are ludicrous.  The five billion dollars, though large to us private citizens, is a trivial number in the federal budget, well worth the money if it saves even one life.  It will undoubtedly save a lot more than that.

Pelosi and Schumer must know that.  Well, maybe not.  They certainly don’t act that way, on or off TV. They seem like blind political automatons. Desperation for partisan advantage is its own kind of Alzheimer’s disease.

Roger L. Simon – co-founder and CEO Emeritus of PJ Media – is a prize-winning author and an Academy Award-nominated screenwriter.  His new novel will be published Spring 2019.