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After Iran occupies Syria, it will destroy Europe and North America

There is a long term plan at work here aimed at destroying the West and it can work.

Iran and Russia plan to destroy Western Europe, the U.S. and Canada by means of a new wave of millions of Syrian Sunnis fleeing to the West to escape the Shiite takeover of Syria.

In my weekly column two months ago, I claimed that Iran is the real victor in the Syrian civil war. Using the war against ISIS as a smokescreen, it is taking over large swathes of Syrian territory, mainly in the scarcely populated middle and eastern parts of the country. In the more fertile and densely populated west of Syria, there are Iraqi, Afghan, and Iranian Shiite militias augmenting Lebanese Hezbollah fighters who were given carte blanche to do whatever Hassan Nasrallah decides to do there.

Assad’s strength continues to increase as ISIS and the other rebel forces lose ground. The brutality of Russian involvement and the cruelty of Shiite militias overcame the anti-Assad forces, the turning point occurring when in 2015, Turkey’ s Erdogan was forced by Russia to cease his aid to the rebels and ISIS. Today, although Erdogan is an unwilling ally of Russia, Alawite Assad still sees him, justifiably, as an Islamist enemy.

The Kurds of northeast Syria, treated as below third class citizens until 2011, will never agree to live under Arab mercy once again and it is reasonable to assume that should Syria remain an undivided country under Assad’s rule, the Kurds will preserve relative autonomy in their region – or fight the regime for their rights.

That is certainly a problem, but the main issue facing a united Syria is going to be the drastic demographic changes the country is going to face.

First of all, about half of Syria’s citizens – close to 10 million – are refugees, half located in Syria and the other half in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, other Arab countries, Europe, North and South America, Australia and even Israel. Syrian refugees who reached points outside the Arab world will in all probability stay put, benefiting from the secure and orderly lives they can now lead. On the other hand, the 3.5 million now in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are awaiting the end of hostilities in order to return to their homes.

Those expectations may be dashed, however, because Syrian reality is totally changed, and large parts of its cities are in ruins after six and a half years of a cruel and bloody war. Countless bombs dropped from planes and helicopters, artillery and tank barrages, mines and explosives planted by both sides have made much of urban Syria, where most of the fighting took place, unsafe to live in. In Homs, Aleppo, Adlib, Hamat and many other cities, entire neighborhoods will have to be razed and their infrastructure rebuilt from scratch.

Decades and billions of dollars are needed to rebuild the country and I, for one, do not see the world’s nations standing on line to donate the necessary funds. Refugees will not agree to switch their tents in Jordan for ruined buildings lacking basic infrastructure in a desolate and destroyed Syria.

The other reason the refugees will not return is their justified fear of the new lords of the land – the Shiites. Iran has been moving Shiites from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan to Syria for a long time in a clear attempt to change the demographic makeup of the country from the Sunni majority it had before the civil war broke out in 2011. The issue could not be more clear because it is no secret that the pre-civil war Sunni majority considered the Alawite rulers heretic idol worshippers who had no right to live in Syria, much less rule over it.

The Alawites know well that the Sunnis rebelled against them twice: The first time was from 1976 to 1982, a rebellion that took the lives of 50,000 citizens. The second time, slowly drawing to an end, has cost the lives of half a million men, women, children and aged citizens of Syria. The Alawites intend to prevent a third rebellion and the best way to do that is to change the majority of the population to Shiites instead of Sunnis. They will not allow the Sunni refugees to return to their homes, leaving them eternal refugees whose lands have been taken over by the enemy. Iran, meanwhile, will populate Syria with Shiites from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.

This ethnic cleansing is the Ayatollah’s dream come true, the dream that sees a Shiite crescent drawn from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea. This will cover the eastern Arab world from the north, while the war in Yemen is being fought in order to create a parallel southern crescent, entrapping Saudi Arabia and Jordan between the two. With the help of Allah, both those countries and Israel, the Small Satan, will soon fall into the hands of the Shiites, while Europe and America do nothing because who cares when Muslims fight other Muslims?

The Shiite majority in Syria will play along with Lebanon’s Hezbollah, their natural allies, and it is possible that some form of federation might be created between the two in order to push the Lebanese Christians out of the picture, “persuading” them to flee to other countries, leaving Lebanon to its “rightful” Shiite masters. This explains Nasrallah’s eager willingness to fight on Syrian soil as well as the opposition of those against Nasrallah to his involvement there.

The new demographic situation in Syria will convince the Sunni refugees that they have no place to which to return. They will try their best to be allowed to leave Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey for any country, preferably North America and Europe, willing to allow them entry. I predict a process that is the exact opposite of the one the world expects to take place when “peace” breaks out in Syria: Instead of refugees returning to their birthplace, expect the mass flight of Sunni refugees from the region, and expect a heightened incidence of Islamist terror in the countries that allow them in.

The reasons are obvious:

1. Former ISIS and rebel forces will infiltrate along with the refugees, because they, too, are Sunni. They are filled with fury and hatred for the Western countries who were part of the coalition that fought ISIS or stood by without aiding the rebels. Some of them will continue their Jihad on European and North American soil. Expect shootings, explosives and ramming attacks against citizens of these countries.

2. Some of the refugees will not find work and live on the economic and social fringes of society, in poverty-stricken Islamist neighborhoods which have already existed for years in many European cities, and where the local police fear to tread. Poverty and life on the fringe of society will turn some of the Muslim young people into easy prey for terrorist organization recruiters who arouse the desire for Jihad by describing the accepting host countries as decadent societies infected with permissiveness, prostitution, alcohol, drugs, materialism and corruption. They present the countries that allowed the immigrants entry as having done so to take advantage of them as industrial slaves, garage hands, cashiers and other degrading occupations, while the privileged citizens are lawyers, accountant, businessmen and homeowners w ho take advantage of the migrants in humiliating ways. It is only a matter of time until young Muslims, especially those who were taught that “everyone is equal” in Western schools, enlist in terrorist organizations.

3. Countries which allow in refugees will suffer a higher crime rate as a result, including violence in public places, sexual attacks and harassment, housebreaking, car theft, substance abuse, unreported work to avoid paying taxes and illegal construction. This will all occur at the same time these countries expend a larger part of their budgets on social services for the refugees, from child allowances to unemployment, health and old age benefits. At this point in time, the percentage of second and third generation immigrants populating the prisons in Western Europe is significantly larger than their percentage in the general population.

4. Increased economic, social and security problems in Europe and North America as a result of the rise in the number of migrants will lead to a rise in the strength of the right and the extreme right. This will in turn lead to more social tensions in the West. Members of Parliament whose only wish is to be re-elected will adapt their parliamentary activity – especially the laws they promote – to the expectations of the rapidly Islamizing constituencies, sacrificing their own people’s interests on the altar of their political careers. Many Europeans, aware of their elected leaders’ betrayal, will despair and leave those socially and economically deteriorating countries. This will increase the rate at which Europe turns into an Islamic region.

And that is how the agreements Iran and Russia will soon coerce Syria into accepting are going to start a chain reaction increasing the number of refugees and pulling Europe down to a point of no return, without the world understanding what is going on. The Atlantic Ocean is not wide enough to protect North America from this debacle crossing the sea.

This is how the Iranian Ayatollahs intend to destroy the heretic, permissive, drunk and materialistic West. More of the unfortunate Syrian millions will find themselves exiled to the heretic countries hated by the Ayatollahs, and Iran will operate from Syrian soil to vanquish Europe and America.

Written in Hebrew for Arutz Sheva, translated by Rochel Sylvetsky, Senior Consultant and op-ed editor of Arutz Sheva English site.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is a of Iran’s national flags are seen on a square in Tehran February 10, 2012, a day before the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo.

A Middle East Grand Bargain Must Create Kurdistan by Sherkoh Abbas and Robert Sklaroff

President Trump’s itinerary during his first overseas trip revealed both his goal and its attendant strategy—although it remains officially unstated—as he tries to fashion a durable end to the Syrian civil war and the birth of a restructured region.

In the process of touching-base with the nerve-centers of each of the three major Middle East religions, he attempted to eliminate the Islamic State without empowering Iran.

Conspiratorial Liberals yelp when he recruits Russia, and acolytes of the Obama Administration condemn his having maneuvered around Tehran.

But he must defang the ayatollahs, lest they ally with North Korean missile-rattlers and threaten World War III.

This is why he keeps an armada in the Gulf, while maintaining a beefed-up presence in the Sea of Japan and encouraging Beijing to block Pyongyang from nuke-testing, for he must stretch the depleted military in theaters a half-globe apart until it has been rebuilt.

And that’s why he has embedded Americans with Kurdish forces attacking Raqqa, for it is impossible to be a “player” without having placed pieces onto the board.Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the U.S. national security adviser, was triggered to inform Turkey on May 1st  that the Kurds were to receive heavy machine guns, mortars, anti-tank weapons, and armored cars after the Turks had lethally-bombed Kurdish forces in northeast Syria the prior Tuesday. That reflected autocrat Erdo?an having again  “distracted”  world attention from targeting the primary target, the Islamic State.

Accommodating this major reconfiguration of regional forces, President Vladimir Putin said that Russia saw no need to arm the Syrian Kurds, but said Moscow would maintain working contacts with them.

Secretary of Defense James “Jim” Mattis had decided to arm the Kurds directly rather than via any regional country, finally reversing Obama’s following-from-behind intransigent passivity.

He is implementing key aphorisms derived from his storied career defending America.

Indeed, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) recognized arming the Kurds constitutes “an immense milestone.”

In the process, Mattis has recognized The Road to Defeating the Islamic State Runs through Kurdistan, an essay—illustrated by a settlement-map—that succinctly details the historic, military, economic, religious and political implications of this overdue stance.

Visiting Trump in this charged atmosphere, Erdo?an chose the wrong time to be bellicose against Israel and America.  His post-referendum dictatorial effort to promote Jihad was again manifest through two decrees; one that expelled more than 4,000 civil servants and another that banned television dating programs.

That these actions were  not being well-received. That was reflected in the fact that the latter two hyperlinks [al-Monitor and Aljazeera] are from Arab websites, suggesting welcome-recognition of a tilt toward inter-alia the Sunni Gulf states, plus Qatar, the locale of a major American military presence over NATO-aligned Ankara ,which is increasingly aligning with Iran against the potential for Kurds to achieve independence.

That  would serve as the culmination of battle-plans we have proposed for almost a decade.  In 2008, we identified  Kurds as  an “invisible people”  and   advocated confronting the major source of global terrorism,The Road to Iran Runs through Kurdistan – and Starts in Syria. In 2015, we showed why the United States cannot evade this trouble-spot,[The Pathway to Defeating ISIS Runs Though Kurdistan – And Starts in America. In 2013, we  concluded The Kurds can lead a reconstituted  Syria, at peace with all of her neighbors.  In 2014, we suggested NATO Must Help the Kurds Now.

That is  why Kurds are seeking recognition of their enormous military sacrifice and their unique political feat, noting their carefully-constructed federal system in Rojava;  the area of Northern Syria comprised of four self-governing cantons.

Resolving vague territorial claims would yield a regional Diaspora in Turkey, Iran, and Russia, although Stalin purged much of the USSR-population a half-century ago.

Recognizing that Russia has unilaterally created safe-zones, and buzzed American jets near Alaska and Crimea, it will remain vital to coordinate militaries functioning in close-quarters, to ensure spheres of influence do not inadvertently trigger  conflict.

If America retracts support for anti-Islamist Kurds, Erdo?an will be free to promote his brand of Muslim Brotherhood ideology; the dangerous ramifications of which have been explored [Islamophobia: Thought Crime of the Totalitarian Future].

NATO can reassure Turkey that creation of an independent Kurdistan south of its border, joining with the federated section of northern Iraq, will remove inordinate fears that secession-agitation will persist on its eastern reaches.

Turkey needs to accept this type of endpoint, for its military killed six members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in air strikes in northern Iraq .

What really irks Erdo?an is that “U.S. arming Syrian Kurds shattered Turkey’s Ottoman Empire ambitions. ” Both  America and Turkey will face a de-facto proxy-war unless Erdogan heeds the more conciliatory tone struck by his Prime Minister.

The schism between the United States and Turkey was illustrated during their press  event.  These leaders deemed different entities as “terroristic”.  Trump cited PKK; whereas Erdo?an cited YPG/PYD .

This perhaps explains the anguish expressed by Turkish security guards, when they beatprotesters—primarily Kurds and Armenian outside t their D.C. embassy .

We suggest the following blueprint should be followed to prompt Moscow to help oust Iran from Syria . It would allow the Kurdish-plurality in northwestern Syria to extend its governance to the Mediterranean Sea, blocking Turkey from expansionist temptations.

The multi-front war against Islamists is recognized by Western leaders such as US Senator Ted Cruz (R, Texas) and globally Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—to have supplanted the Cold War paradigm of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

Perhaps the ultimate method to illustrate the wisdom of this approach is to discount an oppositional paradigm, such as the false claim that American involvement in Syria would merely be a manifestation of Western Imperialism in Rojava.

Instead, America should  implement Point 12  of Woodrow Wilson’s 14-Point Plan that advocated establishing Kurdistan more than a century ago.

At  long last, America Must Recognize Kurdistan  by serving as midwife for a new country [assuming this is the electoral outcome of the originally scheduled September 25 plebiscite sponsored by the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq. That  would assist in finally defeating  the Islamic State.  This would offer immediate and long-term geo-political  dividends.

ABOUT SHERKOH ABBAS

Sherkoh Abbas is President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria.

ABOUT ROBERT SKLAROFF

Robert Sklaroff is a physician-activist and supporter of Kurdish self-determination.

This article constitutes the policy of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, conveyed to America and to the world, representing the Kurds of Syria.

RELATED ARTICLE: Netanyahu, the First World Leader to Endorse Independent Kurdistan, Hits Back at Erdogan for Supporting Hamas

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Why the Secret Plan of the Bashir Regime Demands Reinstating Sanctions Against Sudan

President Bashir of Sudan, African Union Summit, South Africa 2015. Source (AFP)

On January 13, 2017 former President Obama signed Executive Order No. 13761 temporarily lifting  20 year old sanctions against Sudan led by International Criminal Court indicted war criminal President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. The Executive Order had a look back period of 180 days which ends on July 12th, whereupon the Trump Administration might permanently lift sanctions.  This comes at a time when new evidence surfaced that a strategic policy group of the Bashir regime in Khartoum continued genocide against the indigenous black African people in Darfur, Nuba Mountains, South Kordofan  and the Blue Nile region.

The rancorous dispute between Qatar and four Arab nations, over alleged support for Islamic terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood, has placed Bashir in a difficult position, as he has been asked by Saudi Arabia to take sides.  The government of neighboring Chad issued a statement cutting diplomatic relations with Qatar. Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno has long been waiting for this moment. Qatar has hosted and supported Chadian Islamist groups who have been recruited for Sudan President Omar al-Bashir’s Rapid Support Force (RSF)/Janjaweed militias.

In one embarrassing episode in mid-June 2017 General Taha Osman al Hussein, State Minister in the Presidency and  Director General of the Presidential Palace in Khartoum, allegedly had been arrested in an failed attempted coup to overthrow President Bashir of Sudan.  General al Hussein is a dual Sudan and Saudi Arabia citizen. Subsequent news reports said that General al Hussein and his wife had left the Sudan for Saudi Arabia after he had volunteered to allegedly lead an overthrow of Qatar.

Sudan had initiated an influence campaign in Washington retaining the services of the lobbying firm of Squire Paton Boggs at $40,000 per month to roll back the sanctions permanently. The objective was to make a convincing case that Sudan, despite its terrible human rights record, had nevertheless co-operated in providing useful counterterrorism intelligence on the whereabouts of the notorious Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army.  In fact one of the co-authors, General Abdallah of the Sudan United Movement (SUM), had provided information on Kony’s whereabouts to US AFRICOM.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee rebuts recommendation of former US Sudan Envoys

The controversy over lifting Sudan Sanctions rose to a peak in late June 2017, when a noted US Sudan human rights activist Eric Reeves issued a scathing rebuttal letter.  It challenged a letter sent to the US House Foreign Affairs Committee by former Special Envoys to Sudan Princeton Lyman and Donald Booth, along with former U.S. Charge d’Affaires in Khartoum, Jerry Lanier, suggesting there was evidence to lift sanctions.

Reeves wrote:

In this almost three decades of brutal, tyrannical, and serially genocidal rule, this regime has not changed in any significant way. It has certainly not changed in ways claimed as possible by Lyman in December 2011:

We [the Obama administration] do not want to see the ouster of the [Khartoum] regime, nor regime change. We want to see the regime carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures.” (Interview with Asharq al-Awsat, December 3, 2011).

One hardly knows where to begin in parsing the absurdity of this statement, justifying the Obama administration’s opposition to regime change. [Regime change] overwhelmingly favored by the vast majority of Sudanese and indeed now the linchpin of political and military opposition to the regime throughout Sudan.

Reeves then proceeded to document the escalation of genocidal ethnic cleansing against the indigenous black African people in Darfur, Nuba Mountains and the Blue Nile region since the Obama Executive Order went into effect.

On June 30, 2017,  members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee responded by sending a signed letter to President Trump. It recommended that any decision to lift Sudan sanctions be deferred for at least a year past the July 12th. That would allow a new Special Envoy and team to be appointed and conduct investigations. The letter clearly stated the reasons for their recommendation to the President:

There has been substantial fighting [by] Sudan in Darfur in recent months, including evidence of targeting civilians by Sudanese armed forces and their affiliated militias.  As expected, no humanitarian access has been granted to South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, and only limited access to Darfur.

While the Sudanese government may seem cooperative on counterterrorism efforts, we believe they continue regularly scheduled support for violent non-state armed groups, like the former combatants of the Islamist group, Seleka, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Other similar violent actors [are] operating in northern and central Africa, the Middle East and neighboring countries.

As the look back date of July 12th looms there were further troubling disclosures.

The Top Secret Minutes of the Sudan Security Intelligence and Political Committee

Amidst the swirl of events concerning the lifting of sanctions against the Sudan regime of President al-Bashir were stunning revelations contained in the “Top Secret” minutes of The Security Intelligence and Political Committee of Crisis Management held in the Office of the Director of the Sudan National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) on June 18, 2017.  The secret document had been obtained by a reliable informed source and was translated.

Attending the Khartoum meeting were the power elite of the reigning National Congress Party (NCP) regime: President Bashir, Vice President Backri Hassan Salih, Foreign Minister Ibrahim Gandur, Minister of Defense Awad bn Ouf, Hamid Momtaz Secretary of NCP political affairs, and  State Minister in the Ministry of foreign affairs, General Mohamed Atta al Mola Director of NISS, General Ibrahim Mohamed al Hassan, Commander of Military Intelligence,  Ibrahim Mhamud Vice President of NCP and Professor Ibrahim Ahmed Omer President of Parliament.

The minutes of this Crisis Management Committee revealed the broad sweep of plans for assassination of a major Sudan resistance commander in the Nuba Mountains and senior Officers supporting him. It also addressed sponsorship of international ISIS terrorist activities in the Sahel region of Africa, especially in Libya, and the global Muslim Brotherhood Organization.  It elucidated web of deception in the Bashir regime’s influence campaign in Washington, DC to lift sanctions by the Trump Administration.

These top secret minutes also reflect the Bashir regime’s position in the current dispute between Qatar and four Arab Countries: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirate, Bahrain and Egypt. It reveals that relations with Iran secretly continue despite the public cutoff in 2015.

The revelations in this NISS document further the case of the letter signed by Members of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee sent to President Trump. The following is a digest of key recommendations of the Sudan NISS Crisis Management Committee at the June 18, 2017 meeting.

Elimination of Nuba Mountains Resistance SPLA/N Commander General Abdalaziz Adam Alhilu

The Committee sought to isolate and eliminate Nuba Mountains SPLA/N Commander General Abdulaziz Adam Alhilu, through use of all government institutions, political, military, intelligence and propaganda. They also will promote Malik Agar, Governor of the Blue Nile State and a leader of the SPLM/N, through an extensive media campaign  focusing the African Union’s position supporting his legitimacy as SPLM/N head. Allegedly, the Committee minutes contend the South Sudan government does not support AbdulazizThey would create internal problems for Abdulaziz through tribal conflicts using Nuba people opposing him to foment conflicts inside SPLA/N to weaken and totally destroy it. They indicated that Churches are the main places where communities are gathering in Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile; so they want to use highly trained people to infiltrate into Christian religious communities and create problems for Abdulaziz and SPLM/N. They plan to assassinate officers supporting Abdulaziz using military force through the support of the Agar faction and tribes of Angassana to remove him from the Nuba Mountains.

Recruitment and Infiltration of ISIS fighters to support African and Global Islamic Terrorism

They will continue support for the Global jihad objectives of the Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood. To that end they indicated that ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria were defeated and the desert terrain is not suitable for continued warfare.  They would relocate ISIS fighters from Iraq and Syria and infiltrate them into the areas of Bahr al Gazal and Equatorial regions in the South Sudan. The areas of Bahr al Gazal and Equatorial regions would allow ISIS fighters to establish linkage with Boko Haram in Nigeria in the West through  the Central African Republic and  with Al Shebaab of Somalia in the East.  They would infiltrate ISIS fighters into neighboring Libya to reinforce ISIS affiliate groups there seeking to defeat the Libyan National Army regime of General Khalifa Haftar to prevent him from attaining power, as they view him as a threat to their regime. They believe that South Sudan President Salva Kiir supports the overthrow of the Khartoum regime, thus they want to overthrow the regime of President Kiir. To that end they would train Southern Sudanese youth, people from West Africa and Nigerian students supporting Boko Haram as they resemble the South Sudanese Africa tribal people in the capital of Juba.  They would infiltrate them into South Sudan as secret agent provocateurs to raise resentment against the regime of President Kiir, seeking its overthrow.

Support for Qatar and Renewal of Iran relations

The Committee minutes indicated that Saudi Arabia is trying to force them to leave Qatar.  However, they are not going to leave Qatar because it has been supporting the regime both ideologically and financially.  They contend, without the support of Qatar they would have been overthrown and imprisoned. They would reestablish their relations with Iran because of shared Islamic Jihad goals. Qatar, Iran and Turkey have established a relationship which has become a main point of contention raised by the Saudi Arabia and the three other Arab states. As we have written previously, Qatar has provided $200 million under the guise of education reform to Sudan that was diverted to funding the recruitment, training and equipping of more than 24,000 Rapid Support Forces (RSF)/Janjaweed militia.  They are under the control of the NISS in 16 camps in the region around Khartoum. These RSF forces were immediately deployed to Darfur and the Nuba Mountains to accelerate the ethnic cleansing of native black African peoples in those conflict zones.

Campaign to influence the Trump Administration’s lifting of Sanctions

Prior to the July 12th review by the Trump Administration they allegedly could stop two planned terrorist attacks on American interests in the world to convince Americans of Sudan’s seriousness of helping the US in combating global terrorism to justify lifting the sanctions.

They want to prevail on Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to put pressure on the US to lift sanctions. Saudi Arabia had urged President Obama to sign the temporary lifting of Sudan sanctions with his Executive Order. They also think  they have co-opted the US Intelligence Community because they understood the way the US intelligence Community think and operate.  They contend they have given counterterrorism intelligence information that no other country in the world had given them.  In return the US Intelligence Community has very little information about what is happening in Sudan.

Conclusion

This secret document reinforces our earlier contentions based on the captured Arab Coalition Plan. The Bashir regime’s objective is to recruit a jihad army of upwards of 150,000 from across the African Sahel region, ISIS Middle East and foreign fighters. The objective is to create a Caliphate ruled under Islamic Sharia law from Khartoum sponsoring global Islamic terrorism in consort with Muslim Brotherhood sponsoring regimes like Qatar and in renewed relations with Shiite Iran.  That is reflected in the Libyan National Army discovery of documents attesting to the collusion of Sudan, Qatar and Iran in fostering ISIS terrorists seeking to dismantle the Libyan National Army led by General Haftar.  Given these secret document revelations, President Trump would be well advised to accept the recommendation in the letter from the  US House Foreign Affairs Committee. That would entail  deferring  consideration of lifting sanctions for at least a year until a new Special Envoy of Sudan and South Sudan is appointed and team  assigned to obtain facts  that might verify the revelations of the secret June 2017 Sudan Crisis Management Committee minutes. A vital first step would be the appointment of a knowledgeable Special Envoy with plenipotentiary powers to investigate and expose the Bashir regime genocidal jihad objectives.  Another would be promoting regime change.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Lt. Gen. Abakar M. Abdallah Lt. Gen. Abdallah is Chairman of the Sudan Unity Movement (SUM). He is a native of North Darfur who joined the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in 1984 and became active in the Nuba Hills and Darfurian resistance movements. In 1989 he joined the Patriotic Salvation Movement in neighboring Chad based in Darfur. He served as an officer in the Chadian army for 23 years. He held senior intelligence and counterterrorism posts including as Coordinator of the Multi-National Joint Task Force of Nigeria, Chad and Niger. He was Coordinator of Pan-Sahel Initiative (PSI) Anti-Terrorism Unit of Chad and Commander of PSI Anti-Terrorism Battalion of Chad 2004. He is a December 2002 graduate of the Intelligence Officers’ Advanced and Combating Terrorism Courses, US Army Intelligence Center and Schools, Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He was a Counter Terrorism Fellow and a Graduate of the College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, Washington, DC, 2005. He was an International Fellow and Graduate of the US Army War College, Class of 2008.

Jerry Gordon is a Senior Editor at the New English Review.

Deborah Martin is a 35 year veteran Sudan linguistic and cultural affairs consultant

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Gen. McMaster squanders tremendous capital Trump earns in Saudi Arabia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enter Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.

AXIS OF EVIL: The Iran-North Korea military connection

This is more of the malignant spawn of Obama’s pro-jihad foreign policy. Mike Pence recently warned North Korea that this is not the Obama era any longer and that President Donald Trump wouldn’t hesitate to go bold. But North Korea doesn’t look as if it is hesitating, either, and is now aiding the Islamic Republic of Iran and benefiting from the billions that Obama showered upon the Iranian mullahs.

quassem sulemani iran“Pentagon eyes Iran-North Korea military connection,” by Jennifer Griffin, Fox News, May 5, 2017:

When Iran attempted to launch a cruise missile from a “midget” submarine earlier this week, Pentagon officials saw more evidence of North Korean influence in the Islamic Republic – with intelligence reports saying the submarine was based on a Pyongyang design, the same type that sank a South Korean warship in 2010.

According to U.S. defense officials, Iran was attempting to launch a Jask-2 cruise missile underwater for the first time, but the launch failed. Nonproliferation experts have long suspected North Korea and Iran are sharing expertise when it comes to their rogue missile programs.

“The very first missiles we saw in Iran were simply copies of North Korean missiles,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a missile proliferation expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. “Over the years, we’ve seen photographs of North Korean and Iranian officials in each other’s countries, and we’ve seen all kinds of common hardware.”

When Iran tested a ballistic missile in late January, the Pentagon said it was based on a North Korean design. Last summer, Iran conducted another missile launch similar to a North Korean Musudan, the most advanced missile Pyongyang has successful tested to date.

Defense analysts say North Korea’s Taepodong missile looks almost identical to Iran’s Shahab.

“In the past, we would see things in North Korea and they would show up in Iran. In some recent years, we’ve seen some small things appear in Iran first and then show up in North Korea and so that raises the question of whether trade — which started off as North Korea to Iran — has started to reverse,” Lewis added.

Iran’s attempted cruise missile launch from the midget submarine in the Strait of Hormuz was believed to be one of the first times Iran has attempted such a feat. In 2015, North Korea successfully launched a missile from a submarine for the first time, and officials believe Tehran is not far behind.

Only two countries in the world deploy the Yono-class submarine – North Korea and Iran. Midget subs operate in shallow waters where they can hide. The North Korean midget sub that sank a 290-foot South Korean warship in 2010 — killing over 40 sailors — was ambushed in shallow water.

North Korea denied any involvement in the sinking.

“When those midget subs are operating underwater, they are running on battery power—making themselves very quiet and hard to detect,” said a U.S. defense official who declined to be identified.

During testimony last week, Adm. Harry Harris, the head of American forces in the Pacific, warned the United States has no land-based short- or medium-range missiles because it is a signatory to the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty signed in 1987 between Russia and the United States. But Iran and North Korea are under no such constraints.

“We are being taken to the cleaners by countries that are not signatories to the INF,” Harris told the House Armed Services Committee late last month.

Perhaps most worrisome for the United States is that Iran attempted this latest missile launch from a midget sub Tuesday in the narrow and crowded Strait of Hormuz, where much of the world’s oil passes each day.

Over a year ago, Iran  fired off a number of unguided rockets near the USS Harry Truman aircraft carrier as she passed through the Strait of Hormuz in late December 2015. The U.S. Navy called the incident “highly provocative” at the time and said the American aircraft carrier was only 1,500 yards away from the Iranian rockets.

In July 2016, two days before the anniversary of the nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers, the Islamic Republic attempted to launch a new type of ballistic missile using North Korean technology, according to multiple intelligence officials.

It was the first time Iran attempted to launch a version of North Korea’s BM-25 Musudan ballistic missile, which has a maximum range of nearly 2,500 miles, potentially putting U.S. forces in the Middle East and Israel within reach if the problems are fixed….

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Geller Report.

Since President Trump took office over 2,400 refugees from travel-ban countries entered U.S.

Pew Research has done a handy little summary of where we stand with refugees admitted this fiscal year, but most importantly they made a useful graph of how many entered from travel-restricted countries since the first week of December, through Trump’s inauguration and up to last Friday.

There is nothing we haven’t already been talking about as we reported also from Wrapsnet over recent weeks and months, but they put it in a neat little package for your review on the eve of the 120-day moratorium on refugee resettlement.

Pew Research Center:

A total of 2,466 refugees from six countries under new travel restrictions – Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen – have resettled in the United States since Donald Trump became president, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. State Department data. The number of refugees from the six travel-restricted countries represents 32% of all refugees who have entered the U.S. since Trump took office.

Pew continues….

Including refugees from countries with no travel restrictions, a total of 7,594 refugees have entered the U.S. during Trump’s first seven weeks in office (Jan. 21 to March 10). Of these refugees, 3,410 are Muslims (45%) and 3,292 are Christians (43%), with other religions or the religiously unaffiliated accounting for the rest.

So far in fiscal 2017 (which began Oct. 1, 2016), refugees who hold citizenship from the six restricted countries have accounted for more than a third (34%) of 37,716 refugee admissions.

More here.

President Trump has set the ceiling for the entire 2017 fiscal year at 50,000, a number we explained here is not that low!

This post is filed in our Trump Watch! category as well as ‘refugee statistics’ and ‘where to find information.’

EndNote: It is amusing to me to see research/articles like this because for years and years (I started writing RRW in 2007) no one paid any attention to the numbers, religions and ethnicities of refugees entering the US. It is nice to see so many news outlets educating the public!

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One report: Trump Department of State to cut funding to UN by 50%

The Crimes of Qassem: The U.S. should shut down Iran’s top terrorist

He might not be a household name in America — at least, not yet. But throughout the Middle East, Qassem Suleymani makes the righteous and the innocent tremble.

To the righteous — meaning, from his perspective, the Shiite zealots who believe the Islamic state of Iran should establish the caliphate and dominate the world — he is an awe-inspiring figure.

He is powerful. He is brash. He brazenly shows up on the battlefield to encourage his troops. In Iraq, he has become the maker of prime ministers and governments, and commands a militia of 100,000 men.

To his innocent victims, he is the face of Terror, Inc. As head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – Quds Force (IRGC-QF), Qassem Suleymani is Iran’s top terrorist.

The Quds Force is euphemistically in charge of “extraterritorial” operations for the IRGC. I call it their expeditionary overseas terrorist wing.

In the early days, they were the ones who sent terror trainers to Lebanon to teach Hezbollah how to build better car bombs. Later, they knocked off a Lebanese prime minister and launched an all-out war on Israel in the summer of 2006, firing thousands of rockets at Israeli schools, hospitals and towns.

When Iran’s leaders decided in the early 1990s to forge an alliance in terror with a Saudi dissident named Osama bin Laden, they turned the file over to the Quds Force for action.

The Quds Force has been implicated in terror plots all around the world, including a failed 2011 attempt to blow up the Saudi ambassador at a Washington, D.C. restaurant. Suleymani and his operatives were also implicated in the September 11 plot, helping 10 to 12 of the Saudi “muscle” hijackers travel clandestinely through Iran to Afghanistan and providing logistical and other support.

In February 2007, Pentagon officials briefed reporters in Baghdad on Quds Force assistance to insurgents in Iraq.

The briefing included information and documents seized from Quds Force operatives detained by U.S. forces in Iraq, and photographic evidence of Iranian-made roadside bombs, known as Explosively Formed Projectiles, or EFPs.

The introduction of EFPs onto the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan by Suleymani and his men changed the scope and scale of U.S. casualties, ultimately accounting for as many as 1,500 U.S. battlefield dead.

I spoke recently to medically retired U.S. Army Sgt. Robert Bartlett about his encounter with an Iranian EFP. The force of the projectile “cut me in half from the left corner of my temple down to my jaw, and took my gunner’s legs off. Because of this Iranian bomb, I died three times in five days.

“Only my faith kept me alive,” he said.

The U.S. Army told Samantha Balsely that her 23-year old husband Michael had been killed in Iraq by an Improvised Explosive Device. Later, it became apparent that he, too, had been killed by an Iranian EFP.

“When I found out the government had given Iran billions of dollars, it was the biggest slap in the face,” Samantha told me. “How can you say you respect what our men and women do when you order them over there and then you pay their killers. It’s not right.”

Samantha Balsley is right. It’s just not right for the U.S. government to continue rewarding the Iranian regime, when they continue to kill Americans.

We know who these killers are. They have names. And they work for an organization: the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and its “expeditionary” Quds Force.

As an immediate step, the Trump administration should follow through on hints that it is contemplating designating the IRGC and the Quds Force as international terrorist organizations.

The United States should take additional steps against Suleymani personally, blocking his assets, punishing businesses that transact with him or his Quds Force killers, and seeking an international travel ban.

Beyond that, the U.S. intelligence community should investigate reports from officials and media in Iraqi Kurdistan that Suleymani and the Quds Force facilitated the ISIS takeover of Mosul and the Nineveh Plain in June 2014, acts that could qualify as war crimes.

The crimes of Qassem Suleymani are many. After Osama bin Laden, he has more American blood on his hand than any terrorist. It’s time we shut him down for good.

Views on Radical Islam: An interview with Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President

The Trump Administration spearhead of the ideological war against Radical Islamic Jihadism is Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to President Trump and member of the White House Strategic Initiatives Group. He has recently surfaced as spokesperson for the Administration on this and related issues and been the subject of a number of media reports. We had prior knowledge of his views on Radical Islamic jihadism from our New English Review book review and interviews prior to his involvement in the Trump transition team.  Subsequently, following the President’s election he was selected to serve in the Executive Office of the President.  We were afforded an opportunity to interview him on a wide range of current issues on Northwest Florida’s Talk Radio 1330 AMWEBY.  The program aired February 28, 2017.

Among the following national security and foreign policy issues addressed in the 1330amWEBY interview with Dr. Gorka were:

  1. Why the Trump Administration is concerned about the threat from radical Islamic Jihadism?
  2. Who are the ‘self-styled’ counterterrorism experts criticizing the Administration for exposing the ideology behind Radical Islamic Jihadism?
  3. The dangerous threat of Iran’s nuclear and missile development, state support for global terrorism and hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East.
  4. Importance of Israel, Jordan, Egypt as allies in support of US national security interests in the Middle East.
  5. Possible formation of a NATO-type regional military alliance composed of Sunni Arab Monarchies, Emirates and states with possible links to Israel.
  6. Administration views on Turkey and the Kurds in the war to defeat ISIS.
  7. Global spread of Radical Islamic Jihad especially in Sudan, Nigeria, Niger and Mali in Africa.

What follows is the interview with Dr. Gorka:

Mike Bates: Good afternoon welcome back to Your Turn. This is Mike Bates. With me in the studio Jerry Gordon is the Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog The Iconoclast and joining us by telephone Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President in the strategic initiatives group. Dr. Gorka, welcome.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Thank you for having me.

Bates: Dr. Gorka, you have been criticized significantly by so-called counter-terrorism experts for concentrating on addressing the ideology behind radical Islamic terrorism. Is there any merit to that criticism at all?

Gorka: It’s quite ironic that the individuals that have written these recent critiques are in many cases the people who are responsible for the last eight years of Obama administration policies. That completely ignored the ideological component of groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda and simply resulted in the atrocious situation we have today with ISIS declaring a caliphate of remarkable affiliates across the globe and with attack after attack occurring not only in America but especially in Europe. So the fact is denying the reality of what your enemy believes makes it very difficult to stop them recruiting new terrorists in the future. That’s my bottom line.

Bates: So how are you advising the Trump administration concerning the threat from radical Islamic terrorism?

Gorka: The President, even before he became the Commander in Chief, was very clear on these issues so we are just continuing the work of the presidential campaign. If your listeners look at a very important speech that wasn’t paid adequate attention to it, the Presidents’ Youngstown speech which was very clear on the ideological components of this war. Then we have the inauguration which was very specific, his fifteen minute speech that talked about the radical Islamic terrorist threat the phrase of your former President denied and refused to use.  Then we had  last Friday his address to CPAC which was just as strenuous and talked about obliterating the threat and wiping them from the face of the earth.  Our belief is that this is a war against individual organizations like ISIS. However, in the long term it is really a counter-ideological fight that has to resolve finally in the delegtimization of the religious ideology that drives groups like ISIS.

Jerry Gorda: Dr. Gorka, speaking about obliterating ISIS what changes might we expect in administration policies towards the Kurds in the war to defeat ISIS and the resolution to the conflict in Syria?

Gorka: Unlike previous administrations we don’t give our playbook away in advance. We don’t talk about the specifics of our war plan. However, the President has been clear that whether it’s the Kurds or whether it’s others in the region America is not interested in invading other peoples’ countries; that’s un-American. Our nation was born in a rejection of imperialism not the colonization or occupation of other countries.  Whether it is the Kurds or local Sunnis or the forces of Iraq, we are interested in helping our partners in the region win their wars for themselves. It’s not about American troops being deployed in large numbers, it’s about helping those Muslim nations and forces in the Middle East who want to be our friends help them win their battles for themselves.

Bates: Well speaking about them winning the battles for themselves there have been some news reports about some administration discussions about the possible formation of a NATO type regional military alliance in the Middle East. Is there anything developing there?

Gorka: Again we are going to keep our powder dry and we are not going to give away our game plans in advance. The bottom line is not the labels or not what we wish to package things into. The issue is the local actors stepping up to the plate with our assistance to fight their backyard war.  I mean it’s not, Christians who have been decimated, Yazidis have been decimated but by far the largest number of victims of the jihadist groups are their fellow Muslims. They are not just the Shia who they deem to be heretics but in many parts of Iraq and Syria and elsewhere the ISIS forces, the related groups are killing other Sunnis that they disagree with.  Whatever the coalition it will be very different from the smoke and mirrors coalition that was created under the Obama years which really wasn’t a serious force.

Gordon: Dr. Gorka, how dangerous is the threat of Iran’s nuclear and missile development, state support for global terrorism and hegemonic aspirations in the Middle East?

 Gorka: That’s a question that could have a PhD dissertation level response. Let’s just talk about the facts. We know Iran according to the U.S. Government is a state-sponsored terrorism, the largest state-sponsor of terrorism. It is not doing this recently it has been doing this since 1979 whether it is from the Iranian hostage siege crisis all the way down.  This is a nation that I like to depict as an anti-status quo actor. This is a nation that doesn’t share basic interests with the normal values of the international community. They are not interested. If you are a theocratic regime that wishes to forcibly and subversively export  your theocratic vision around the world what is the common interest you could have with America or with any of our allies? That’s the false premise upon which U.S. Iran relations were based in the last eight years and the idea that a nation that has that destabilizing ideology wishes to acquire weapons of mass destruction including nuclear capability means that they do represent a threat to all nations that believe in a global stability.

Gordon: Dr. Gorka, how important is Israel as an ally in support of U.S. National Security interests in the Middle East versus resolution of the impasse with the Palestinians?

Gorka: There is no greater partner of the United States in the Middle East. We are very close and we help the Jordanians, Egypt, UAE  redressing and improving the very  negative relationship that was established between the White House under the Obama administration and Egyptian President Sisi’s government. Israel, as a beacon of democracy and stability in the Middle East, is our closest friend in the region and the President has been explicit in that again and again So it would be difficult  to overestimate just how important Israel is not only to America’s interest in the region but also to the broader stability of the Middle East.

Bates: And what kind of role do you foresee for Turkey?

Gorka: I think that is in many ways up to Ankara. Historically, after it’s accession to NATO, Turkey became one of the most important nations in the alliance. It had the largest army in Europe. As a result of its location it was highly important during the Cold War geo-strategically. Recent events with an emphasis to rising fundamentalist attitudes have questioned the future trajectory of Turkey. The administration and the President is clear that it wishes to be a friend to those who wish to be our friends.  I think you know any good relationship depends upon both parties willingness to work together. We would like to continue a fruitful relationship with Turkey but that depends upon the government in Ankara itself.

Gordon: Dr. Gorka, the Obama administration lifted sanctions against the Islamic Republic of the Sudan on the cusp of leaving office. This despite evidence that the regime of President Bashir is raising a terrorist army literally to foment jihad in the Sahel region of Africa. What remedies might the administration consider to combat this?

Gorka: Again you are trying to tease out very concrete policy prescriptions from us and I’m really not prepared to do that at this point. Remember we are in week six of the administration.  However, we do recognize and we are very serious about the fact that of what I call the global jihadi movement isn’t just an issue in the Middle East. We like to focus on the so-called five meter target. It was Al Qaeda for a decade then it morphed into the Islamic state or ISIS.  There are large swaths of territory in Africa that are unstable, are not sovereign in the sense that the local government exercises full control over them. The mere fact alone if you look at Nigeria, the Boko Haram, the black African jihadi group has sworn allegiance to ISIS and Ab? Bakr al-Baghdadi and has been incorporated into the Islamic state, changed its name to the West African Province of the Islamic state. That shows you just how serious the situation is.  Jihadism truly spreads from whether it’s Aleppo, whether it’s Raqqa, whether it’s Africa, Mali, Nigeria or to the streets of Brussels or San Bernardino. We fully appreciate just how global the threat is and that includes Africa as well.

Bates: Dr. Gorka, it obviously includes the United States as well.  One of President Trump’s very first executive orders had to do with the restriction of entry into the United States from people from seven countries. The administration was criticized by the Democrats and the media, my apologies for being redundant there.  However, if you look at the numbers of those seven affected countries, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen,  have a combined population of  220 million people and there is a global Muslim population of 1.6 billion.  That means that 86 percent of Muslims in the world are not prevented from entering the United States and yet it was portrayed as a Muslim ban. How does the administration intend to come out with a revised plan that can avoid that criticism or do you think the criticism will come no matter what?

Gorka: The criticism will come no matter what because there is a fundamental disjuncture between the mainstream media, a perception of the world and the actual reality of how serious the threat is. These are the countries that either are state sponsors of terrorism or are the hotbeds of jihadist activity today be it Islamic State or Al Qaeda. This is a threat analysis we inherited from the Obama administration.  The idea that it is controversial is asinine and secondly you’re absolutely right. If this had been an Islamaphobically generated executive order then how is it the most populous Muslim nation in the world, Indonesia, was left off of the list? How is it the most populous Arab Muslim nation in the world  Egypt was left off the list? The challenge that was politically brought was that there was some ulterior motive behind the listing of these seven countries.  The fact is it is an unemotional cold analysis of the threat to America that was the reason for the drawing up of that moratorium of that list of seven nations.  But if you have a political agenda then of course you will spin things politically.

Bates: Another nation that’s not on that list is Saudi Arabia. Can you address the cooperation we are getting from the House of Saud regarding the overall global war on Islamic terrorism?

 Gorka: Again, it’s getting a little too specific.  However,  I will talk about some good things that have occurred. We know that there were issues with certain elements of Saudi society propagating or supporting the propagation of radical ideologies around the world. That attitude changed quite drastically in about ’05, ’06 when Al Qaeda started targeting Saudi officials on Saudi soil.  A nation that may have been problematic for several years has recently been reassessing its attitude to these international actors.  We expect to see even more positive things coming out of Saudi Arabia as we in the White House, especially the President and Secretary Tillerson start to rebuild the relationships with all our allies in the region that were so detrimentally affected by the treatment they received at the hands of the Obama White House.

Bates: Well if I may editorialize for just a moment, it is a relief to see an administration that is taking the threats seriously and is dealing with the world as it is and not as it wishes the world were. Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Deputy Assistant to the President in the strategic initiatives group, thank you so much for joining us this afternoon on Your Turn on 1330 AM WEBY.

LISTEN to the 1330 AM WEBY interview with Dr. Gorka.

RELATED ARTICLE: Swede Democrat leaders pen WSJ op-ed imploring Americans to avoid the mistakes Sweden made 

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Former Obama officials, loyalists waged secret campaign to oust Flynn to preserve Iran deal

“Former Obama Officials, Loyalists Waged Secret Campaign to Oust Flynn,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, February 14, 2017:

The abrupt resignation Monday evening of White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is the culmination of a secret, months-long campaign by former Obama administration confidantes to handicap President Donald Trump’s national security apparatus and preserve the nuclear deal with Iran, according to multiple sources in and out of the White House who described to the Washington Free Beacon a behind-the-scenes effort by these officials to plant a series of damaging stories about Flynn in the national media.

The effort, said to include former Obama administration adviser Ben Rhodes—the architect of a separate White House effort to create what he described as a pro-Iran echo chamber—included a small task force of Obama loyalists who deluged media outlets with stories aimed at eroding Flynn’s credibility, multiple sources revealed.

The operation primarily focused on discrediting Flynn, an opponent of the Iran nuclear deal, in order to handicap the Trump administration’s efforts to disclose secret details of the nuclear deal with Iran that had been long hidden by the Obama administration.

Insiders familiar with the anti-Flynn campaign told the Free Beacon that these Obama loyalists plotted in the months before Trump’s inauguration to establish a set of roadblocks before Trump’s national security team, which includes several prominent opponents of diplomacy with Iran. The Free Beacon first reported on this effort in January.

Sources who spoke to the Free Beacon requested anonymity in order to speak freely about the situation and avoid interfering with the White House’s official narrative about Flynn, which centers on his failure to adequately inform the president about a series of phone calls with Russian officials.

Flynn took credit for his missteps regarding these phone calls in a brief statement released late Monday evening. Trump administration officials subsequently stated that Flynn’s efforts to mislead the president and vice president about his contacts with Russia could not be tolerated.

However, multiple sources closely involved in the situation pointed to a larger, more secretive campaign aimed at discrediting Flynn and undermining the Trump White House.

“It’s undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day, with a very troublesome and politicized series of leaks designed to undermine him,” said one veteran national security adviser with close ties to the White House team. “This pattern reminds me of the lead up to the Iran deal, and probably features the same cast of characters.”

The Free Beacon first reported in January that, until its final days in office, the Obama administration hosted several pro-Iran voices who were critical in helping to mislead the American public about the terms of the nuclear agreement. This included a former Iranian government official and the head of the National Iranian American Council, or NIAC, which has been accused of serving as Iran’s mouthpiece in Washington, D.C.

Since then, top members of the Obama administration’s national security team have launched a communications infrastructure after they left the White House, and have told reporters they are using that infrastructure to undermine Trump’s foreign policy.

“It’s actually Ben Rhodes, NIAC, and the Iranian mullahs who are celebrating today,” said one veteran foreign policy insider who is close to Flynn and the White House. “They know that the number one target is Iran … [and] they all knew their little sacred agreement with Iran was going to go off the books. So they got rid of Flynn before any of the [secret] agreements even surfaced.”

Flynn had been preparing to publicize many of the details about the nuclear deal that had been intentionally hidden by the Obama administration as part of its effort to garner support for the deal, these sources said.

Flynn is now “gone before anybody can see what happened” with these secret agreements, said the second insider close to Flynn and the White House….

RELATED ARTICLES:

Obama’s Shadow Presidency

Why does General Flynn hate Iran? – The Duran

James Mattis’ 33-Year Grudge Against Iran

Islamic State video shows two young boys blowing themselves up as jihad suicide bombers

Robert Spencer: Answering an Islamic apologist (Part V)

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on Jihad Watch.

1,051 Refugees from banned countries admitted to U.S. since Presidential Executive Order

And, since October 1, 2016 (the first day of fiscal year 2017) we are up to 34,430—still time for the Trump Administration to cap entry for this year at less than 50,000 (my suggestion is 35,000).

I’m glad to see so many news outlets now tracking refugee numbers, something not done until the last year or so. (You will see some slight discrepancies in numbers depending on what parameters are entered at Wrapsnet and what time of day the reporter accessed the State Department data base.)

Here is what I have this morning:

Since President Trump’s Executive Order on the evening of 1/27, the State Department and its contractors have hustled and placed 2,305 refugees.  (Remember that although the ‘ban’ has been stymied by court wrangling, the 50,000 ceiling, a reduction from Obama’s proposed 110,000, stays in effect.)

Of the 2,305, 1,051 come from the countries that were included in the ban as follows:

Iraq (341)
Iran (115)
Somalia (156)
Sudan (37)
Syria (402) (400 of the Syrians are Muslims and only 2 Christians)
Libya (0)
Yemen (0)

Total:  1,051

Religions?

An Indonesia policeman distributes used clothes to migrants believed to be Rohingya inside a shelter in Lhoksukon, Indonesia's Aceh Province May 11, 2015. Nearly 600 migrants thought to be Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis were rescued from at least two wooden boats stranded off the coast of Indonesia's northern Aceh province, authorities said on Sunday. REUTERS/Roni Bintang

An Indonesia policeman distributes used clothes to migrants believed to be Rohingya inside a shelter in Lhoksukon, Indonesia’s Aceh Province May 11, 2015. REUTERS/Roni Bintang

One thing you need to know is that all of those coming from places like Iran and Iraq are not Muslims, some are Christians and other minorities.

It defies all common sense to believe Rohingya boat people can be security screened. Story and photo here. 

But the total number of Muslims in the group of 2,305 is 1,022.

In addition to those countries above, we admitted Muslim refugees from the following countries: Afghanistan, Burma, DR Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Jordan and Palestine.

In fact 19 of the 87 Burmese we admitted are Muslims.  These are probably the Rohingya boat people who went illegally to places like Malaysia, and I maintain cannot be thoroughly vetted any better than Syrians or Somalis.

This post is filed in our Trump Watch! category as well as ‘refugee statistics’ and ‘where to find information.’

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Refugees entering U.S. doubled in rate since ruling on Trump travel ban – Washington Times

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Springfield, Mass mayor blasts Jewish Family Services for placing more refugees without notice

U.S. halts vetting of Australia’s rejected asylum seekers

Hohmann’s “Stealth Invasion” is Amazon #1 best seller in Terrorism category

Trump Admin Releases List of 24 Terrorist Cases from Travel Ban Countries

The Trump administration is working on a “brand new order” on immigration, but in the meantime, his first one was entirely within the bounds of the law and much needed. In its ruling against Trump, the leftist appeals court didn’t even mention the law that clearly gives the President the right and responsibility to place restrictions upon immigration. Shameful.

“Trump Admin Releases List of Terrorist Suspect Cases From Travel Ban Countries,” by Cameron Cawthorne, Washington Free Beacon, February 9, 2017:

President Trump responded to his critics who claim his travel ban goes too far by releasing a list of terror cases that involve suspects who traveled to the U.S. from the seven countries listed in his executive order.

Trump signed an executive order two weeks ago imposing a 90-day travel ban on the citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, outraging many Americans. A federal judge blocked the order, arguing that there hadn’t been any terrorist-related arrests from the seven target countries since September 11, 2001, Washington Free Beacon reported.

Judge James Robart, who sits on the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington state, said in court Friday that no foreign nationals from the seven countries targeted by Trump’s travel ban–Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen–have been arrested in the U.S. for terrorist activity.

Robart asked Justice Department attorney Michelle Bennett to tell him how many such arrests have been made. When the government lawyer did not have an answer, Robart said the number is zero.

Robart’s claim is false. The White House circulated a list providing 24 examples of refugees and other immigrants from Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Libya who have been arrested on terror-related charges, Fox News reported.

The White House document itself names 10 individuals from Somalia, six from Iraq, one from Yemen, two from Sudan, two from Iran, two from Libya and one from Syria. The cases span the last eight years, and include most recently a case in June in which two Somali refugees were jailed for conspiring to commit murder in Syria on behalf of ISIS.

It also includes a case from March of last year, where a Yemeni native who became a U.S. citizen was sentenced to 22 years in prison for attempting to provide “material support” to ISIS and planning to shoot and kill members of the U.S. military who had returned from Iraq.

The dossier also sheds light on a case in January 2016 involving a Palestinian, born in Iraq, who came to the U.S. as a refugee and allegedly tried to provide materials to terror groups abroad. The dossier cited multiple media reports that the suspect told his wife, “I want to blow myself up … I am against America.”…

RELATED ARTICLES:

Refugees entering U.S. doubled in rate since ruling on Trump travel ban – Washington Times

‘The real bad guys’ are coming from Canada, not Mexico, Daily Beast report alleges

10 Disturbing Facts You Should Understand About the Travel Ban and Dramatic Court Cases [Judicial Activism]

Virginia: Immigrant Ex-National Guardsman Gets 11 Years for ISIS Support

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Geller Report.

Do You Lock Your Door at Night?

If you have an open mind, and want to analyze the travel ban from one professional perspective, read on.  If not, close your mind – at our nation’s peril.

What is the travel ban?  You may try to read it before you judge it.

Summarized, the U.S. government will not allow travelers from 7 countries of “particular concern” into the United States – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan for 90 days.  All refugees are halted for 120 days, Syrian refugees indefinitely.

Why? To evaluate the post 9/11 vetting processes required to enter the U.S., in order to protect U.S. citizens from violent extremist attacks.  Questions that must be addressed:  1. Is there a threat? Is there weakness in the system? 2. How can we make us safer?

The Obama administration labeled 3 of these countries as states sponsors of terrorism – Iran, Syria and Sudan. With the exception of Iran, each of the countries has a failed central government or is locked in deadly civil war.  Obama ordered attacks on 6 of them.

Is there a threat?  Sophisticated and well-resourced Islamic extremists, including ISIS and Al Qaeda, are fighting on their territories.  Thousands of men, women and even children have planned, trained and sworn oaths to kill Americans as a religious duty.  Their numbers have grown exponentially in the last 7 years – while we tried to be accepting.  It is not easy to distinguish the fighters from the innocent.

Is there a weakness? As a former Counter-Terror professional, Intelligence Officer and Security Assistance Officer at multiple US Embassies, I can say with high confidence that the visa system still has weaknesses.  The system still depends on people.  People make mistakes.  A few are corrupt.

According to the 9/11 Commission report, the attack plotters submitted 23 visa requests, 22 were approved.  Only two terrorists were actually interviewed, and a single consular officer issued 11 of the 19 hijackers’ visas.  The commission believed that without these visas, the plot would have likely failed.

After the devastation of 9/11, the visa process changed dramatically.  It now depends on much improved information sharing and cooperation among many federal agencies, foreign governments, DHS Visa Support Units (VSUs), data bases and biometrics.  Many of my U.S. State Department friends, government bureaucrats, and vocal partisan activists defend the process, and say we owe people entry.

However, the system depends on the effectiveness of the intelligence community.  It depends greatly on cooperation with the traveler’s host nation government to provide accurate information, background checks and criminal histories.  And finally, it rests on the consular officer who issues the visa.  The complex system is only as good as the data collected, and the people involved.

These 7 states have either supported terror, or have very weak institutions torn by war.  The U.S. doesn’t have effective relations with their police, intelligence or military. No one is taking biometric scans of every teenage ISIS fighter, or female jihadists.  Often a State Department junior officer, doing his or her mandatory one-time consular tour, approves a visa.  For these places of concern, the consular is probably not even in the applicant’s home country.

Consular officers are fallible; a few are convicted of fraud and corruption. Cut every year.  My wife’s former boss, Pat Raikes, the senior consular in Beirut just before 9/11, traded airline tickets for visas.  In 2015, Michael Sestak, pled guilty to trading over 500 visas for more than $3 million. Prior to the Foreign Service, Sestak was a police officer, Federal Marshall, and Navy Intelligence Officer.  Apparently Shayna Steiner, the Foreign Service Officer who issued those 11 hijackers’ visas, still works for the Department of State.  She may not be a criminal, maybe a good person – but she made mistakes that cost thousands of lives.

The intelligence community missed 9/11 (2,996 killed, 6,000+ wounded.)  Good people missed clear terror ties to the San Bernardino shooters (14 killed, 22 wounded.)  FBI agents interviewed, investigated and released the ISIS aligned Pulse Nightclub shooter – twice (49 killed, 52 wounded), and the recent Ft. Lauderdale shooter (5 killed, 6 wounded.) The FBI knew of the Boston bomber (3 killed, 264 wounded.)  US Army Major Nadal killed 14 soldiers after openly briefing other Army psychologists on his growing animosity and fundamentalist awakening.  In each of these cases, the system failed.  Good people missed it – or were too arrogant, incompetent, or in fear of politically-correct retribution to act.

Every consular knows applicants lie, even if they are not terrorists.  Good people will say anything to get to America.  You can bet trained ISIS or Al Qaeda fighters will lie better.  It is hard to sort the innocent from the evil.  Ultimately the system rests on the competence and personal judgments of thousands of dedicated but imperfect people, often with flawed data.  The vast majority of our people are fantastic professionals, but Americans pay dearly for the bad ones and the mistakes.

How can we make us safer?  We must listen to what we don’t want to hear, and wish wasn’t true – accept that many religious fundamentalists want to destroy America, whether you believe it is America’s fault or not.  Accept that we have weaknesses and can improve our system. Accept that our elected government has the fundamental responsibility to protect all U.S. citizens, and our constitution above all else – not foreign citizens or failed states.

We should demand reviews like this one.  We must update our processes continually.  We must ensure our good people are alert and accountable, or we guarantee another 9/11, Boston or San Bernardino.  If our enemies have their way, the next attack will be much worse.

We should protect our borders and enhance our safety, just as we lock our doors when we know there is danger.  Leaving your door open doesn’t keep bad guys away, it invites them in.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Breitbart. In wake of Paris terrorist attacks, below is a map of the states shutting their doors to Syrian refugees.

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Kentucky Gov.-elect Matt Bevin, who took office on December 8th, 2016, also said he opposes resettlement efforts.

Rex Tillerson is neither a yes man nor will he be boxed in on U.S. foreign policy

In a The Daily Signal article titled “9 Issues Discussed at Rex Tillerson’s Confirmation Hearing to Be Trump’s Secretary of State” Josh Siegel reported on the confirmation hearing of U.S. Secretary of State designate Rex Tillerson.

Reading Siegel’s article I came away with two impressions of Mr. Tillerson, first he will not be boxed in and second he is not a yes man. How refreshing.

First let’s look at Tillerson as a man who will not be boxed in when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. Siegel reported:

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who ran for president against Trump, pressed Tillerson on whether he backs the assessment of U.S. intelligence agencies about Russia’s election-year hacking.

“Do you believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that Russian intelligence services directed a campaign of measures involving the hacking of emails, the strategic leak of emails, the use of internet trolls, and dissemination of fake news to denigrate a presidential candidate and undermine faith in our election process?” Rubio asked.

Tillerson described the findings by the intelligence agencies as “clearly troubling,” and called cyber attacks from foreign actors such as Russia “the greatest and most complex threat” facing the country today. He labeled Russia’s annexation of Crimea to be “illegal” and proposed tougher measures to combat the Kremlin’s invasion of eastern Ukraine, vowing that he would advocate providing Ukrainian soldiers with weapons.

But Tillerson expressed hope that he could help improve relations with Russia, potentially seeking to ally with it in areas of common interest even if America “will not likely to be ever friends with the Kremlin.”

“Dialogue is critical so these [issues] don’t spin out of control,” Tillerson said. “We need to move Russia from adversary always to partner at times.”

Read more…

Tillerson clearly understands that Russia, and many other countries, act in their own self interests and against the interests of the United States. His reply was measured in that he understood that cyberwarfare is a national security threat, that invading another country is wrong and both must be punished. However, diplomacy is not just about jumping into a hot or cold war, as Senator’s Marco Rubio, John McCain and Lindsey Graham seem to want. Rather it is about pressuring those who would do us harm using all means available. The above interaction shows the sophistication of Tillerson, a man who thinks outside the box. Tillerson’s statement, “We need to move Russia from adversary always to partner at times” is that of a man who understands Russia more than some members of the U.S. Senate, Republicans and Democrats alike. Again, refreshing.

Tillerson is not a yes man for President-elect Trump either. Siegel noted:

In the presidential campaign, Trump questioned the NATO alliance, and said members need to do more to earn the U.S.’ support.

Tillerson expressed a stronger commitment to NATO, promising to follow Article 5 of the treaty that enshrines the principle that an attack against one member is an attack against all.

“The Article 5 commitment is invaluable and the U.S. will stand by the commitment,” Tillerson said.

He also expressed concern for Baltic states that worry about Russian incursion on their borders.

“Our NATO allies are right to be alarmed about a resurgent Russia,” Tillerson said.

[ … ]

In another contrast with Trump, Tillerson did not say he explicitly opposes the Obama administration’s Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

“I do not oppose TPP, but I share some of Trump’s concerns that it doesn’t fully support American interests,” Tillerson said.

[ … ]

Echoing Exxon Mobil’s evolving calculus on climate change, Tillerson said he recognized the threat of a warming planet, and that the U.S. should “be at the table” in coming up with solutions to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

If confirmed, he said he and others in the Trump administration would review the 180-country Paris climate change agreement before deciding whether to remain party to it.

“It’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table with the conversations around how to deal with the threats of climate change,” he said.

As chief of Exxon Mobil, Tillerson publicly backed a tax on carbon in 2009, and expressed support for the Paris Agreement in 2015.

Yet, late in the hearing, he seemed to downplay the threat of climate change.

“I don’t see [climate change] as the imminent national security threat as perhaps other do,” Tillerson said.

Read more…

Tillerson will, on some issues, present a President Trump with differing views. That is healthy. It shows that President-elect Trump is filling his cabinet with quality people who think differently than him and provide opposing views. Once again, refreshing.

Donald Trump’s selection says as much about the President-elect as it does about Mr. Tillerson. There is a new way of thinking about foreign policy and a fresh approach that is pro-U.S. interests.

After reading Mr. Tillerson’s testimony it is clear he will not be foreign a policy rubber stamp as were former Secretaries Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and that he will think outside the foreign policy box of the Obama administration.

Very refreshing indeed.

RELATED ARTICLE: Secretary of State Nominee Tillerson Criticizes U.S. Decision to Abstain from UN Israel Vote

U.S. Allows Russia to Send Iran Enough Uranium for 10 Nuclear Weapons

Meanwhile, the U.S. ships fired warning shots toward Iranian fast-attack vessels that were closing in on U.S. ships and refused to slow down.

Russia is sending a large shipment of natural uranium to Iran in exchange for an Iranian shipment to Russia of nuclear reactor coolant. The shipment of 116 metric tons (130 tons) was approved by the United States and the five other countries involved in orchestrating the nuclear deal with Iran.

United Nations Security Council approval of the shipment is expected soon as a formality.

The shipment is enough to make more than 10 simple nuclear bombs, according to David Albright, an expert with the Institute of Science and International Security, “depending on the efficiency of the enrichment process and the design of the nuclear weapon.”

Two senior diplomats leaked the information to the Associated Press under the condition of anonymity and said they were not authorized to discuss details of the program.

The Iranian shipment is legal under the terms of the nuclear deal and will be “subject to the careful monitoring and inspections that are included in the deal to ensure that Iran is living up to the commitments that they made,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

An upcoming conference this week of representatives from Iran, the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany in Vienna will focus on alleged violations of the nuclear deal by the United States, following Iranian complaints.

Outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama sold the nuclear deal to the American people on the understanding that the deal would make it more difficult, rather than easier, for Iran to build nuclear weapons.

At the same time as receiving huge Iranian shipments while complaining about alleged U.S. violations of the nuclear deal, the Iranian navy has come close to combat with U.S. ships in international waters in the Straits of Hormuz.

Iranian fast attack vessels closed in rapidly to a U.S. destroyer on Sunday and ignored repeated warnings to slow down. This forced the destroyer to fire three warning shots at the Iranian ships.

The Iranian vessels came within 900 yards of the ship according to U.S. Defense officials.

“This was an unsafe and unprofessional interaction, and that is due to the fact that they were approaching at a high level of speed with weapons manned and disregarding repeated warnings,”  Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, told media.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of a nuclear reactor  is for illustrative purposes only. Photo: © Reuters.

Rafsanjani the Terrorist and Father of Iranian ‘Hit Squads’ Dies

The Foundation for Democracy in Iran reported on the death of Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani:

Jan. 8, 2017: Rafsanjani dies of heart attack; Khamenei loses cover.

Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani died today of a heart attack at the age of 82. A central figure in the Islamic Republic hierarchy since its inception, Rafsanjani tricked every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan into believing he was a “moderate,” somehow opposed to the “hard-liners” in charge of the regime’s affairs. In fact, Rafsanjani operated at the core of the regime and supported its doctrine of absolute clerical rule and its terrorist operations, from the taking of U.S. hostages in Lebanon to the bombing of U.S. servicemen in Dahran, Saudi Arabia, including Iran’s support for al Qaeda and the 9/11 plot.

Rafsanjani was indicted in Argentina for his role in the AMIA bombing that killed 86 Argentinean Jews in 1994, and was also cited in the 1996 Mykonos murders in Germany for his role in directing “hit squads” that assassinated Iranian opposition leaders living overseas. He was also named as a defendant in Havlish v. Islamic Republic of Iran, litigation brought by family members of 9/11 victims against the Iranian regime that led to a $6 billion judgment against the regime and against Rafsanjani personally.

Rafsanjani invited nuclear scientists to return from exile in the mid-1980s and is widely viewed as the “father” of Iran’s covert nuclear weapons program, having famously declared his belief that Iran could destroy Israel with a single nuclear weapon. (“The use of an atomic bomb against Israel would destroy Israel completely, while the same against Iran would only cause damages. Such a scenario is not inconceivable,” he said in a sermon at Tehran University on Dec. 14, 2001).

The wily pseudo-moderate provided cover to Khamenei and other “hard-liners” by offering them a life-line to the West, and is widely credited with having pushed hard for the Iran deal with the United States and the EU-3.

Nevertheless, in recent years his power has been challenged by the IRGC, which arrested his own children (since released) and protege’s, including members of Atieh Bahar, a consulting company established by Iranians in the United States with the goal of helping foreign companies do business in Iran.

Rafsanjani’s reach continues to be on display in the United States, where his sympathizers include the editor of Voice of America’s Persian News Network, Mohammad Manzarpour. When Rafsanjani’s death was announced, Manzarpour changed his Facebook page to a well-known Koranic verse used to express sympathy for someone who has just died.

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