by Jerry Gordon, Lisa Benson and Richard Cutting…
The New Year marks the 14th year in the conflict in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan with the Taliban. Following 9/11, a victory against the Salafist Taliban was achieved in less than six months with special operators of the US and cadres of Afghan war lords. Fast forward to the fall of 2015, the Taliban has undertaken stunning attacks against NATO-ISAF forces. There was the brief Taliban takeover of the northern regional capital of Kunduz in September 2015 culminating with the mistaken USAF bombing of a Medicins sans Frontiere hospital with 26 dead. There was the instability of local regional police and Afghan security failing to prevent the Taliban from regaining control over Helmand province. An explosives laden motorcycle attack on December 22, 2015 on a joint NATO-ISAF Afghan patrol took the lives of six Americans, including a 15–year veteran of the NYPD, John Lamm. Stratfor in an analysis of the situation in Afghanistan commented:
Without local support and adequate resources, the Afghan government will not be able to keep crucial areas from falling to the Taliban. Winning public support domestically and securing international aid, important in any counterinsurgency, will remain vital components of Kabul’s fight for survival in the Afghanistan conflict.
A serious emerging threat was the rise of ISIS in Afghanistan and the eruption of a barbaric internecine war between the two extremist Islamic groups. That was graphically portrayed in a PBS Frontline report in November 2015, ”ISIS in Afghanistan.” In neighboring Pakistan, the Taliban have spread havoc beyond their bastion in Northwest Waziristan conducting terror attacks in Islamabad and Lahore. Emblematic of that was an attack that killed 22 on January 20, 2016 by the Pakistani Taliban at Bacha Khan University in Charsadda, Pakistan.
The Obama Administration was poised at the start of its final year in office with less than 9,800 US forces in Afghanistan winding down to less than 5,500 engaged in primarily advisory and training roles. That was supplemented by a few thousand NATO forces under the ISAF Command. During hearings in the fall of 2015 before the US Senate and House Armed Services, in testimony by US Amy General John Campbell, he called for the equivalent of a surge in Afghanistan. In a USA Today interview he said: “My intent would be to keep as much as I could for as long as I could. If that means more people, it’s more people.” In response to his and other military experts’ testimony, Senate Armed Services Chairman, Arizona Republican Senator John McCain commented:
We have made significant and steady progress in Afghanistan. But as U.S. military officials and diplomats have warned for years – I repeat, for years – these gains are still reversible, and a robust and adaptive U.S. troop presence based on conditions on the ground is essential to ensuring that these gains endure.
Failure to adopt such a conditions-based plan, these experts have warned, would invite the same tragedy that has unfolded in Iraq since 2011. If we have learned anything from that nightmare, it is that wars do not end just because politicians say so.
An additional burden has been placed on Gen. Campbell. On January 20, 2016, the White House announced that the U.S.-led ISAF could now undertake operations against the growing ISIS threat in eastern Afghanistan.
The Pakistani counterterrorism effort has been brought into question given the announced retirement on January 25, 2016 of Armed Forces strategic thinker, Gen. Raheel Sharif, who will leave in November 2016. The popular General Sharif had led the tough counterterrorism campaign against the Pakistani Taliban and other Islamist terror groups.
Embattled Israel was confronting a low-intensity wave of violence that the media has labeled, a “knife intifada.” It has been waged daily since September 2015 by Palestinians and some Israeli Arabs allegedly incited by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian and Israeli Arab violence has claimed 29 Israeli, US and foreign migrants dead. Dozens were injured from knifings, car rammings and shootings. 149 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security. In one troubling case, in January 2016, an Israeli Arab using a semi-automatic weapon at a Tel Aviv café killed three persons. He fled the scene and was eventually tracked by Israeli security forces to his home area in Northern Israel and killed.
In June 2015, the Palestinian Authority in an apparent “diplomatic Intifada” brought charges before the International Criminal Court at The Hague in the Netherlands. The PA alleged that the IDF had committed “war crimes” during the 50 day summer rocket and tunnel war in 2014 waged cross border by the terrorist group Hamas. The ICC released preliminary findings which brought this reaction from Israel’s Justice and Foreign Ministries according to a Jerusalem Post report, “Israel has an engagement with the ICC over competence issues.”
“Competence” is a code word for trying to convince the ICC that there is no state of “Palestine” and that the ICC cannot investigate IDF personnel, because the IDF’s own investigations of its personnel meet international law standards.
An International Military Tribunal presented testimony at the UN Human Rights Council probe chaired by former New York Supreme Court Justice Mary McGowan Davis in mid-June 2015. The Tribunal, composed of former generals and diplomats, concluded that ”the IDF acted within the bounds of international law during its war with Hamas in Gaza.” Further, the group’s report concluded:
During Operation Protective Edge last summer, in the air, on the ground and at sea, Israel not only met a reasonable international standard of observance of the laws of armed conflict, but in many cases significantly exceeded that standard.
We saw clear evidence of this from the upper to the lower levels of command. A measure of the seriousness with which Israel took its moral duties and its responsibilities under the laws of armed conflict is that, in some cases, Israel’s scrupulous adherence to the laws of war cost Israeli soldiers’ and civilians’ lives.
One of those who presented testimony was former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard E. Kemp (ret.), CBE. In a New York Times op-ed, Kemp disputed the ruling by UNHRC Special Rapporteur Judge Davis, saying:
It pains me greatly to see words and actions from the United Nations that can only provoke further violence and loss of life. The United Nations Human Rights Council report on last summer’s conflict in Gaza … will do just that.
The former British commander wondered why the commission refused to incorporate a 242-page report commissioned by Israel after it declined to cooperate with the U.N. Commission, which included findings by 11 senior military officials from seven nations, including Kemp and Chairman of the Unites States Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey. That report said Israel’s actions were “lawful” and “legitimate” and rejected claims the IDF intentionally targeted civilians.
Kemp also noted several internal contradictions in the U.N. report, such as acknowledging that Israel Defense Forces tactics saved lives while indicting “decision makers at the highest levels of the government of Israel of a policy of deliberately killing civilians.”
He accused the U.N. commission of endorsing “Hamas’s anti-Israel narrative.”
Kemp said he was in Israel for much of the 50-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza last summer.
When the Paris and San Bernardino massacres occurred in November and December 2015, with large mass casualties, the worst since 9/11 in the California jihad attack, questions were raised about both fraudulent passport and questionable Visa screening procedures. This was especially the case as the US DHS was responsible for vetting Iraqi and Syrian refugees being admitted under the authorized US Refugee Admissions Program.
Given the infiltration by ISIS operatives in the stream of Syrian asylees flooding into Europe, including jihadis killed in the Paris attack, Congress created legislation – the Security Against Foreign Enemies or SAFE Act, H.R. 4038. The SAFE Act required additional clearances by the FBI and unanimous consent by the DHS, FBI and Director of National Intelligence before Iraqi and Syrian refugees could be admitted. It was passed by the House on November 19, 2015 by a vote of 239 to 137, including 47 Minority Democrats. The SAFE legislation was rejected from consideration by the US Senate on January 20, 2016. The bill was “provisionally dead due to a failed vote for cloture required to move past a Senate filibuster or the threat of a filibuster that required a 3/5th vote.” The measure couldn’t be considered as Senate Republicans could only muster 55 votes. That still left the dual questions of how we could stem the flood of Iraqi and Syrian conflict refugees into the US.
Against this background, The Lisa Benson Show convened a discussion about these issues in a January 10, 2015 broadcast with guests Counterterrorism experts Col. Richard E. Kemp (ret.) CBE, and Dr. Sebastian Gorka.
Listen to the podcast of the Lisa Benson Show broadcast with Kemp and Gorka.
Lisa Benson: Welcome, America. Welcome, everyone. And good evening to our friends listening from around the world tonight. Shalom to our friends joining us from Israel, and we thank them for staying up. It’s 10:00 PM in Israel. This is your host, Lisa Benson. Our broadcast today has two distinguished guests, very highly qualified counterterrorism experts. They are Dr. Sebastian Gorka, often seen on FOX News, andColonel Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan.
There are several breaking stories we are watching today. As you heard this week, the insurgency of ISIS sympathizers in the United States is on the rise. This is evidenced by the attacks in San Bernardino and Philadelphia. ISIS sympathizers were arrested in Sacramento, Rochester, New York, and Houston, Texas. At the same time, we are learning that the New York Police Department is being curtailed on profiling Muslimsunder suspicion, and an award of $11 million has been made to Muslim advocates. That story was in the Wall Street Journal weekend edition. We are going to discuss that with Dr. Gorka today. Adding to the nexus of international geopolitics, the Saudi Arabians are cutting their ties with Iran. North Koreans are claiming detonation of an H-bomb. ISIS and Hezbollah are on the northern Israeli border. Sanctions are to be lifted on Iran this week or next. Transfer of $100 billion to Iran, and still we do not have a signed agreement on the Iran deal that our lawmakers handed them on a silver platter. All the while, Iran continues to violate the agreement, but we will lift our sanctions. You know full well what will happen to those released funds. The Taliban, ISIS and Al-Qaeda are on the rise in Afghanistan. Those are just a few of the stories we have been following this week. Jerry Gordon, are you with me?
Jerry Gordon: I am with you.
Benson: Thank you so much. Jerry Gordon, senior editor, New English Review, our honorary, board member, and co-producer of this show.
Gordon: Thank you.
Benson: It is quite an honor to have once again back with us, Col. Richard Kemp. Col. Kemp, are you there?
Colonel Richard Kemp
Col. Richard Kemp: I’m here, and it’s a real pleasure to be with you.
Benson: Richard Kemp is the best-selling author of Attack State Red and a regular columnist for the Times of London. He frequently writes for other national and international newspapers, and is a prolific contributor to television and radio news and current affairs programs. He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. Col. Kemp was a front-line observer in three IDF operations against Hamas in Gaza in 2009,2012, and 2014. He has presented expert testimony on IDF counterterrorism operations in Gaza before the tribunals of the United Nations. Richard, I was reading your Facebook page, and one thing that strikes me is you think the Royals should pay a visit to Israel.
Kemp: Yes, I go there as often as I possibly can. It’s an absolutely brillian country. The only democracy in the Middle East. They have been at war constantly since, the modern State of Israel was founded in 1948. They have been attacked many times, both by conventional armies and by terrorists using rocket attacks from Gaza. Yet they manage to not only to maintain their country, to develop their country, which has produced major benefits, inventions and technical advancements for the world. I think it’s a fantastic country. I do think the British royal family should go there. They haven’t.
The Queen hasn’t visited Israel. She is the head of the Church of England. The Church of England, of course, owes its origins to Jerusalem. I think it is time that the royal family should visit in 2017 which is the anniversary of the re-conquest of Jerusalem by General Allenby, who headed British Empire forces, liberating Jerusalem from the Turks. Many British and Empire soldiers, particularly Australians and New Zealanders, died in that, in Palestine. I think that it is the time for the Queen to commemorate the deaths of those brave soldiers.
Benson: I hope you can make that happen. Your Prime Minister Cameron should be whispering into our president’s ear on why exactly he deemed the MuslimBrotherhood a terrorist organization. We just can’t seem to make that kind of headway here. The president of the United States believes that the Muslim Brotherhood in America is a moderate entity. Would you like to tell the listeners why that was important for you in Great Britain to deem them a terrorist organization that follows suit with the United Arab Emirates?
Kemp: Our prime minister has many failings and faults, as do every prime minister, every other human being. However, one thing that you can say for him is that he is a strong supporter and friend of Israel. He made a speech two years ago in the Knesset in which he spelled out very clearly the, the United Kingdom’s support for Israel. Not perfect by any means, but it is there. We enjoy very, very close relations, particularly on the intelligence front with the upper levels of Israeli military. Israeli battlefield and medical technology have saved the lives of British soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, as it has American soldiers. The Muslim Brotherhood is an evil organization. It is an organization that wishes to spread the Islamic caliphate into Europe. That wishes to effectively take over all governments in the Middle East and in Europe as well. It would run them along Islamic lines. And, that also includes Israel. The terrorist organization Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are very closely linked. They wish to destroy the state of Israel. They wish to drive Israel into the sea. They want to see all Jews out of not only Israel, but the world as well. That is in their charter. The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas have very similar objectives. In some respects, similar also to the Islamic State, which of course, is involved in the worst depravity we are seeing in the world today. Witness the torture, murder, massacre, abuse that takes place throughout the Middle East under their dispensation. So I think our prime minister, our government, is quite right to outlaw and brand the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. And I think that President Obama should take the same steps.
Benson: We hope so.
Gordon: Col. Kemp, it is a pleasure to have you back on the program. And I want to return to your days in Afghanistan as Commander of British Forces in HelmandProvince. Why was the Taliban, vanquished in the first months following 9/11, able to return as a significant threat in Afghanistan in what is now a 14-year war?
Kemp: I think one of the problems that we experienced in Afghanistan was that we, we were fighting two campaigns at the same time. We were fighting Iraq and we were fighting in Afghanistan. I think we took our eye off the ball a little bit in Afghanistan after initially vanquishing the Taliban. We then ended up with a resurgentTaliban. That does not need to continue. It has been curbed to an extent. However, we must actually maintain our military presence, and support for the government of Afghanistan, to try and stop the spread of the Taliban and the Islamic State which is gaining increasing traction there as well.
Benson: I am now going to bring on Richard Cutting, actor, film and, TV writer, producer and counterterrorism commentator. Welcome back, Richard.
Richard Cutting: Thanks for having me back. ISIS and the Taliban are now at each other’s throats in Afghanistan. ISIS is having a presence of some note along the Pakistani border. What is the relative probability of ISIS gaining significant traction in Afghanistan long-term? What is the Afghan government doing to fight any ISIS advance? How are they getting, involved with Pakistan? How, are they gaining access to the theater in Afghanistan?
Kemp: I think one of the issues here is the support that Pakistan has given to the Taliban over many years. If it had it not been for the support of the Pakistani government, in particularly their intelligence services and their army for the Taliban, then their insurgency would not have been as powerful and successful as it has been. That is one area that remains a concern as the Taliban continues its encroachment. The Islamic State is, um, gaining strength in Afghanistan. They are gaining recruits from the Taliban. There are some whole units of the Taliban moving across to the Islamic State. In some cases, individual recruits are crossing over. They are gaining power; they’re gaining strength.
They are still not as strong as the Taliban; they’re fighting the Taliban. That is a good thing, of course, because the Islamic State members are killing Taliban people and Taliban are killing Islamic State forces, which we should encourage. We should hope that will continue because they’re both evil groups. They’re both enemies ofthe West. They’re both enemies of the Democratic Republic in Afghanistan. We need to see that continue. One of the problems is, that Pakistan is a nuclear-armed state. The Islamic State wishes to gain control in Pakistan. There is a risk of them gaining more traction in Pakistan. And the Pakistani Taliban is trying to seize control in Pakistan. We have Al-Qaeda, both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The two theaters in some ways, I think, need to be seen as one. The difficulty is that they are enemies of each other. Pakistan hates Afghanistan, and vice versa. So this rivalry and animosity feeds and enables the growth of the Taliban and the Islamic State in both of these countries. It is an area that we need to be very concerned about. We certainly need to keep military engagement in Afghanistan. And we certainly need strong political engagement and pressure put on the Pakistani government.
Benson: Col. Kemp: Do you see Al Qaeda and ISIS threatening the United States and its European allies?
Kemp: As we all know 9/11 was spawned in Afghanistan. There is a very strong risk that if significant areas of Afghanistan or even the whole country, is again taken over by Islamic jihadists, we could see a scenario where they’re able to plan, organize and launch attacks against the U.S. and the West. However, it is not simplyAfghanistan today. We have very strong issues in Syria and Iraq, where the Islamic State has gained power. Admittedly, some of the areas are being taken back. We also have problems in Libya, in many parts of the Middle East, and in North Africa. There is territory that is being gained by the Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and the jihadists. All of these areas are areas that we need to monitor closely. I know the CIA is doing that. The U.S. military is doing that as well. Wherever ISIS raises its head, it has to be hit. It has to be knocked off. The problem is not going away. It is a generation’s long problem that we are facing and fighting for a very long time. We need to be constantly vigilant. We need to be aggressive in the way that we deal with it. We cannot afford simply relax our guard and hope that it is going to die down; it is not. The US has to be very politically active in the Middle East. The U.S. actually is backing the wrong horse. They are supporting one of the world’s most dangerous powers – Iran. They are abandoning their allies in the region. Their allies include Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel. Unfortunately, under President Obama, the US is not providing backing for those powers which have been effective stalwarts and bulwarks against Islamic jihad throughout the region and the world.
Benson: I hope we can last another year with less than 10,000 combat forces in Afghanistan and soon to be reduced. We cannot imagine what will happen.
Gordon: By the end of the Obama presidency, which is now a year away, are the Afghan security forces under the status of forces agreement, capable of defendingthe country against both the Taliban and ISIS?
Kemp: They are not, unfortunately no. That is not without strong U.S. and Allied assistance. Britain is providing some assistance, but not as much as it should be. The problem with the Afghan security force is that they are working for a corrupt government. Corruption is endemic in Afghanistan. It started, under President Karzai and is continuing. What armed forces can be expected to fight for a corrupt regime that doesn’t support them, that does not pay them properly, that does not put a priority on giving them the resources they need? That is why U.S. forces need to retain a presence there. If they don’t, then we risk the same situation occurring in Afghanistan, perhaps on an even worse scale as we saw when President Obama pulled virtually all U.S. forces out of Iraq in 2012 as part of his domestic political agenda, which helped him to be reelected for a second term.
Benson: As we wrap up this segment with Col. Richard Kemp, I would like to have. Richard Cutting summarize.
Cutting: What occurs to me in listening to the Colonel is, simply this: we are in a new world. We really have to integrate that in our daily thinking. Just as you go out to hear your candidates and in your local political arenas, talking about taxes and your local issues, we must now begin to listen to our friends in the military. Col. Kemp’s message couldn’t have been clearer today. As a citizen of this country, we are in a generational battle, and we need to start acting that way. We need to think about these theaters of war as part of our everyday lives, and support the people who are intelligently analyzing this, and leading this fight. We are not in episodic wars like World War II anymore. This is going to be, unfortunately, something we pass on to our children. There must be a continuum of intelligent political discussion, that is precise, and based on the good efforts and fine work of people like Col. Kemp. Thank you, Colonel, for putting in that generational aspect. It has to start becoming normalized.
Gordon: Col. Kemp is a man who has also put his finger on what the problem is here in the West. He calls it the “amoral revolution.” He, however, has been an exemplar of defending those common Judeo-Christian values, coming to the assistance of the Israel Defense Force. The IDF has been unfairly castigated in international forums. It has been unjustly accused of war crimes. Kemp also put his finger on whom in the Muslim world, are backing the Taliban and ISIS, particularly in the Middle East, North Africa, and even South Asia.
Kemp: I think it’s very important that Americans realize the war that we’re in. The two commentators there made it absolutely clear, and rightly, that this is agenerational struggle. It’s a struggle between the West and radical Islam. This is not a war sought by the West. This is a war that has been sought by radical Islamists. They want to dominate the Middle East. They want to deny any access to the Middle East by the West. They also want to dominate areas of the West, perhaps the whole of the West. We have to fight them. We have to stand up and fight them. We are not going to fight them by pretending that the struggle doesn’t exist, by pretending that they are not our enemies, because they are our enemies.
I am not suggesting that all Muslims are our enemies. Those who wish to see us destroyed, those who wish to change the way of life in countries like Britain and the United States of America that have been responsible for the vast majority of good that’s been done in this world. We just cannot allow them to destroy us. We have to stand up against them and fight them. We should not deny that this problem exists. We need to find ways of dealing with it. Our politicians are too enthusiastic about understanding and wanting to embrace cultures that simply don’t work in our countries. They cannot work in our countries unless we wish to see our countriesdescending into the kind of violence and amorality that exists in so many parts of the Middle East. Let us support Israel. Let us do everything we can to support the outpost of civilization, the outpost of Western values that exists in the Middle East. It is a very valuable country. It is a magnificent country from which we all benefit. We must support Israel as we support our own civilizations.
Benson: I’d like to bring on my next guest, Dr. Sebastian Gorka. Welcome, Dr. Gorka.
Dr. Sebastian Gorka
Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Thank you so much, Lisa.
Benson: Dr. Gorka, You are advisor to the Department, the Department of Defense in its irregular warfare joint operation concept. You currently serve as the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University. Previously you were Associate Dean of Congressional Affairs and Relations to the special operations community at the National Defense University.
Gordon: Dr. Gorka, in early December we had the San Bernardino, California terrorist massacre. This weekend we had a shooting of a police officer in Philadelphia by a former convicted felon. Were these crimes by Muslims inspired by loyalty to the pure Islam of ISIS?
Gorka: The most important thing we have to do is jettison a phrase that is used so regularly in the media, of “lone-wolf terrorism.” This is a phrase that was invented to make the listener disconnect the dots. There is this idea that there has to be some kind of operational link between the perpetrators and Al-Qaeda central, or ISIS headquarters in Iraq or Syria. The fact is that, whether it’s the Boston Bombers whether it’s the Chattanooga shooter, whether it is the two in San Bernardino or this new, attempted murder of this police officer in Philadelphia, it’s very clear that the connective tissue for all of them is the ideology of global jihad. We have to understand that all of these actors from 9/11 down are connected, share the same concept that we are the infidel; America is antithetical to Islam, and as a result we must be destroyed. This is the big picture. This is the strategic understanding that the current administration doesn’t want your listeners to have.
Cutting: Dr. Gorka, two Iraqi refugees, one in Sacramento and the other in Houston, were arrested this past week. One had joined ISIS in Syria and returned toCalifornia as a trained jihadi, influencing the other to join ISIS. How deficient is our system for vetting refugees, in light of the Administration’s resettlement of thousands of Syrian refugees in the United States?
Gorka: It is not just deficient; it’s actually, impossible to do the vetting that would be required. So, if you want to vett somebody, from the national securityperspective, who’s coming into the country as a refugee, there are really only two ways to do it. This is very personal to me; my parents were refugees. They escaped the Communist country during the Cold War, and they were vetted. They escaped Hungary in the revolution of 1956. They arrived in a refugee camp in Austria. For the next few weeks, they were persistently and repeatedly interviewed by counterintelligence professional who would make the determination after dozens of interviews, whether or not the individual was truly a refugee and should be supported and given succor? Or whether they were an agent of a hostile power – in that case, a Communist regime? So that’s the first way you do it. Right now America does not have the manpower to do that. Remember, the president has just declared that his priority is to provide more agents to the FBI to do background checks for firearms purchases. I doubt this would be a priority.
The second way to vet is to compare that individual’s story and the data they are providing you, against an objective, confirmed database – a source that you know is true. You check that against their presentations to the individual who’s interviewing them. As Director Comey of the FBI, has testified on the Hill, we do not have that database to check refugee data against. It doesn’t even exist. Even if it existed in Syria, the Assad regime would not give us access to that information. So when it comes to the very basic 101 of national security, we don’t have the manpower, nor do we have the objective data – the verifiable data – available to do a proper refugee screening as the U.S. national security would require.
Gordon: Dr. Gorka, you were in both Israel and Jordan during the Christmas/New Year’s holiday. You visited a Syrian refugee camp in Jordan. What did you take away from that experience about Administration policies regarding the conflict in Syria and the strategy combating ISIS?
Gorka: There were two big takeaways after we visited the biggest refugee camp in Jordan. The first one is the fact that Jordan is doing an incredible job with minimal assistance from either the United States or the, very wealthy Gulf states. So think about this; Jordan has a population of 6 million Jordanians, and they’ve absorbed atleast one and a half million refugees from Syria. This is a nation that doesn’t have oil; that is not wealthy. They are doing an incredible job absorbing the aftermath of the murderous war that is occurring in Syria. So they need support, and fundamentally they need support from the Gulf States that are in a position to assist them. Secondly, I think the biggest take-home is what the Jordanian authorities shared with us after we had seen everything, and after we asked them, so what’s the long-term scenario here? And they were very candid with us. Remember, Jordan is a Muslim country. It is a Sunni Muslim country; it headed by King Abdullah II, who is descended from Mohammed. That is why it’s called the Hashemite Kingdom. They were very explicit; they said, look, these are Syrians from Syria. We don’t want them to stay in refugee camps. Nor does it make sense for them to move further north into Europe, nor does it make sense for them to travel across the Atlantic to be accepted into countries like the United States. The long-term answer is for the crisis in Syria to be resolved, and for these Syrians to go back to Syria. So when a, a Muslim nation right next to the Syrian conflict tells you that, I think we should listen.
Benson: Dr. Gorka, New York City concluded a settlement ending the NYPD Muslim community profiling program imposing a civilian monitor on the policedepartment. Do you think this puts New York City at greater risk for Islamic terror?
Gorka: Absolutely. I was actually briefing a House Committee about this Friday. One of the Congressmen asked me, “So what’s the good news?” Because I gave them a very depressing presentation on how we are losing the war with the jihadists. At the end of the briefing, one of them said, “So, Dr. Gorka, give us some good news about what works. What have we done right in the last 15 years?” I said, “You know what? Our federal government really hasn’t done very much right in the last 15 years. But if you want a model of how to make America secure or part of America secure, it’s the NYPD.”
The NYPD after 9/11 made a very simple decision. They said, “The feds have let us down. The Big Apple was the key target. and, they didn’t do their jobs. So we’re not going to ask, we’re not going to expect Uncle Sam to protect the citizens of New York again, but we’re going to do it ourselves.” New York went from having six counterterrorism intelligence analysts, to building probably one of the world’s best counter-jihadi intelligence capabilities, with amazing human intelligence networks. People who were trained to go into the communities to monitor the radical Imam, the radical mosques. This is way to do it to protect Americans. But that only lasted until Mayor de Blasio. So now you have in New York, a, another version of what’s happening here in Washington with the White House. You have politics getting in the way of national security. And you’ve got ideology undermining American lives.
Cutting: Dr. Gorka, you cover such a range. The one thing that didn’t get factored into this is the Persian Gulf, situation with Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Gorka: I’m going to steal somebody else’s words here. There is no better summary than Netanyahu’s, description before Congress recently, when he said, “If you want to understand what’s going on in the Middle East now, you have to understand that it is a game of thrones for the crown of the caliphate.” We’re obsessed with Al-Qaeda, with ISIS; but we have to understand that it is actually a war between the Shiite version of the Caliphate, as, designed by the Mullahs in Tehran, and the Sunni version of the Caliphate, as exemplified by Al-Qaeda and, ISIS. So this, this is the war that we are caught up in. Two versions of the Caliphate and Iran is potentially even more dangerous than ISIS, because of their nuclear capabilities.
Gordon: Dr. Gorka has basically told us that we can forget about the administration’s famous program combating violent extremism. If you don’t focus on theunderlying Islamic Koranic doctrine, you will not succeed in combating either domestic terrorism or ISIS and settling the problems in the Middle East. Furthermore, you’ve got a sectarian divide rising between Iran – which is potentially going to be nuclear-powered – and Saudi Arabia.
Benson: Thank you, Jerry Gordon. Thank you, Richard Cutting. Thank you Dr. Gorka.
Gorka: You’re very welcome.
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.