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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.

Is The FBI Counter-terrorism Program Totally Broken?

In the wake of the Orlando Pulse gay nightclub massacre that took 50 lives, injuring 53 others, a number of questions have arisen about why the FBI investigations of the perpetrator, Omar Mateen, didn’t prevent him from carrying out his homicidal jihad. Moreover, after 9/11, Fort Hood, Chattanooga, Garland, San Bernardino and now Orlando, questions have arisen about conduct of  Counter-terrorism programs of the DHS and especially the FBI, that abets willful blindness to the threat  posed by  radicalized domestic Muslims.

This is especially disturbing in the wake of the largest mass shooting in American history and the largest domestic toll in an Islamic terror attack since 9/11.

FBI-Academy-Sign-SMALLFBI Director James Comey after the attack said that in 2014 it had run operatives against him, conducted surveillance including electronic, yet it didn’t provide enough evidentiary material to bring charges. Perhaps they may have even spoken with fellow co-workers who now allege to the media that Mateen expressed violent views.  Dr. Sebastian Gorka, counter-terrorism expert and author of the acclaimed, Defeating Jihad; the winnable War, said on Hannity’s America:

I work with FBI agents. They are loyal patriotic Americans. But the problem is the politically correct matrix imposed by the Department of Justice on top of the FBI.

Watch the Fox News Hannity interview with Dr. Gorka.

Following the breaking news about Mateen’s jihad, the FBI disclosed it had conducted two investigations in 2013 and 2014 on Mateen’s alleged connections to al Qaeda   They also investigated  his relations with Moner Abu-Salha, the first American suicide bomber in Syria who attended the same Florida Mosque.  Abu-Salha fled Florida for Syria to join Al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al Nusrah. Mateen had allegedly listened to tapes by the American born leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Anwar al-Awlaki, and watched on-line videos of ISIS beheading or burning victims.

We now know that Mateen and his second wife Noor Salman had traveled to Orlando ostensibly on a trip to Disney World.  That may have allowed him to case the premises of the Pulse nightclub as well as Disney properties in Orlando. His wife knew of his purchases of the Sig Sauer MCX semi-automatic carbine and Glock pistol with large capacity magazines. She alleges entreating him to desist from carrying out his jihad. But she didn’t notify the police and now she is the subject of a grand jury investigation that might bring possible charges of being an accomplice in her husband’s atrocities.

There are suggestions by his former wife that Mateen may have exhibited conflicted perceptions of his sexual identity that might have been a factor in his violence towards her that ended the four month marriage seven years earlier.  That might have been a motivating factor for his undertaking his jihad to cleanse this fault that under Islamic theology criminalizes homosexuality.

Dr. Michael Welner, noted forensic psychiatrist, Chairman of the Forensic Panel, expert witness for the prosecution in high profile mass killing and terrorist cases was interviewed by George Stephanopoulos on  ABC’s Good Morning America, June 15, 2016 about his views on the Orlando Jihad by Mateen. Welner differentiated mass killings between ‘vanity’ spectacles done by an individual  versus ‘ideological’ ones that involved co-conspirators. Orlando fit the latter category, as Mateen’s wife Noor Salman was a co-conspirator who assisted her husband in casing locations. He notes that she easily could have stopped it by going to police, but didn’t.  This mass killing he suggested was an ideological driven spectacle mass killing  “targeting Americans, targeted America and was allied with  Islamic supremacists supporting destruction of America.”  Mateen knew that there were many defenseless people packed  in  the  Pulse gay nightclub that he could kill efficiently. As to his sexual orientation conflicts, Welner noted that jihad committed during Ramadan begets forgiveness under Islamic law. As to Mateen’s own sexual conflicts, Welner noted  that was prevalent in the male culture of Afghanistan.

Watch, Dr. Welner’s Good Morning America interview.

The Daily Mail disclosed that Omar Mateen sought to become a full time law enforcement officer only to be booted out of the Indian River State College Law Enforcement Academy program. This was in 2015 a year after the FBI closed out the second investigation for “lack of substantive” evidence and communicated that to his employer, the British owned global private security giant, G4S. G4S that had employed him as a private security guard after the requisite criminal records check and passing a standard psychological exam.

Note these takeaways from the Daily Mail report:

  • Omar Mateen tried becoming a full-fledged police officer last summer at the police academy at Indian River State College.
  • He applied for an intensive six-month law enforcement academy in his hometown of Fort Pierce, Florida.
  • Officials at the Indian River State College’s Criminal Justice Institute were so concerned about his ‘deceptive’ behavior they rejected him.
  • He was reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the State police
    ‘I believe he wanted to get hired by a police force to carry out whatever nefarious plan he had while in a uniform,’ said an informed insider.
  • A school higher-up called the FDLE to report Mateen as someone who should be watched.
  • The FDLE’s response: He was already on a watch list for potential terrorist affiliation.

What does that tell you about the sad state of affairs in FBI Counter-terrorism and ability of Florida local law enforcement to see through Mateen’s braggadocio to uncover his nefarious intent to commit homicidal jihad?

Is it time to take counter-terrorism out of the FBI and put it into an U.S. equivalent of Britain’s famed domestic intelligence agency, MI5?  That was a proposal made a decade ago by Federal Judge in the 7th Circuit of Appeals in Chicago, Hon. Richard A. Posner. See: “We Need our own MI5.”  Note what he wrote and think of how Mateen fell through the proverbial cracks of the FBI’s investigative process:

We do not have a counterpart to MI5. This is a serious gap in our defenses. Primary responsibility for national security intelligence has been given to the FBI. The bureau is a criminal investigation agency. Its orientation is toward arrest and prosecution rather than toward the patient gathering of intelligence with a view to understanding and penetrating a terrorist network.

The bureau’s tendency, consistent with its culture of arrest and prosecution, is to continue an investigation into a terrorist plot just long enough to obtain enough evidence to arrest and prosecute a respectable number of plotters. The British tend to wait and watch longer so that they can learn more before moving against plotters.

The FBI’s approach means that small fry are easily caught but that any big shots who might have been associated with them quickly scatter. The arrests and prosecutions warn terrorists concerning the methods and information of the FBI. Bureaucratic risk aversion also plays a part; prompt arrests ensure that members of the group won’t escape the FBI’s grasp and commit terrorist attacks. But without some risk-taking, the prospect of defeating terrorism is slight.

MI5, in contrast to the FBI (and to Scotland Yard’s Special Branch, with which MI5 works), has no arrest powers and no responsibilities for criminal investigation, and it has none of the institutional hang-ups that go with such responsibilities.

Couple Posner’s criticisms of the FBI criminal investigative approach with its obsessive political correctness and you are bound to have failures nailing jihadis out to do us harm.

Michael Leiter, former head of the National Counter Terrorism Center during the Bush and early Obama eras and Ali Soufan, former FBI supervisory special agent involved with investigating major international and domestic terrorist plots were interviewed, June 13, 2016 on the PBS News Hour about why it is increasingly difficult to identify likely jihadis. Note their responses:

Michael Leiter, former director National Counter Terrorism Center

After San Bernardino, after Paris. This is an incredibly hard fight.

And we really revolutionized how we did counter-terrorism post-9/11. And we have gotten so much better at working against complex plots overseas. But I think we’re approaching the point where we have to seriously consider how we revolutionize counter-terrorism now to optimize our ability to find these.

And it would require huge changes. It would require a lowering of the bar to do surveillance in certain operations. … It would require a huge increase in resources, both for the FBI and state and local law enforcement.

These are all big choices. And as tragic as this is, it still isn’t clear to me that we have the political will to go down that path.

Ali Soufan, former FBI supervisory special agent and head of his own security firm

Since 9/11, we have been very successful tactically in combating the threat. Unfortunately, when it comes to the ideology, we haven’t been that successful. We have been behind the eight-ball. We didn’t do much to counter the incubating factors that are leading into this. We haven’t been countering the ideology and countering the narrative as we should online.

I think we need to develop some kind of 21st century policing model where we can include the community inside the pipe, that they feel that they are part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Back in 2007, I had the occasion with a colleague to meet and confer with two FBI supervisory agents at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They were on the faculty. They had been involved in uncovering and busting jihadis in California. One of them was among the five special agents who were Arabic speakers in the FBI at the time. We conferred about the status of the agency’s Counter-terrorism program and its emphasis on making arrests leading to prosecutions. I had just completed an expose on the translator scandal at both the FBI and contractors for the War in Iraq, revealing bias against qualified Arabic and Farsi speakers who were non Muslims, Jews and Christians.

After we discussed their views they asked what we thought of the FBI counter-terrorism program. I commented that it was flawed. They smiled and shook their heads knowingly.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Nat Sec Daily Brief.

PODCAST: On Defeating Global Jihad

Listen to the below podcast of the April 10, 2016 The Lisa Benson Show with our guest, Dr. Sebastian  Gorka, noted counterterrorism expert and author of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.  See our review, “Freedom is Precious and Fragile”, in the April edition of the New English Review currently serves as the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University. He is a much sought after guest on Fox News, BBC, CNN, Sky News.

Dr. Gorka was interviewed in by host Lisa Benson, co-host Jerry Gordon and Member of the Advisory Council Richard Cutting.  Gorka’s incisive responses to questions from the panel and callers presented key elements of his thesis that the war against Global Jihad is winnable.  His template for achieving this was the US doctrine and road map adopted at the start of the Cold War that led to the defeat of Soviet Communism with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 without firing a bullet.

Gorka was motivated to write this book in part by his heroic parents experience as refugees from the 1956 Hungarian Revolt who found freedom in the West. The other motivation was to portray the hybrid religious based tyranny of Global Jihadism.  In the course of the discussion he identified the grand masters who implemented the Islamic doctrine of Global Jihadism that spawned the competition between Al Qaeda and the monster it spawned, the Islamic State. He dismisses the false and opaque arguments of the Bush and Obama Administration that Islamic terror is perpetrated by so-called “lone  wolves”  and the priority should be given to  “countering violent extremism.” The latter ironically  has involved the Administration reaching out to  Muslim Brotherhood and radical Islamic clerics perpetrating the same Global Jihad doctrinal messaging we should be defeating.   One of the Cold War templates he referred to in the discussion was the “long telegram” drafted by US Diplomat George Kennan in Moscow in 1946. That led  President Truman to announce the ‘containment’ policy before a joint Session of Congress in 1947. The companion document  he mentioned is  NSC-68, authored by Paul Nitze of the State Department Planning Staff in 1950 that providing a road map to victory in the Cold War

Gorka identified in the discussion four grand masters of Global Jihad.  They were  Osama bin Laden’s  real boss who created Al Qaeda, Jordanian Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, Sayyid  Qutb, author of Milestones, Pakistani  Gen. S.K. Malik, author of  The Qur’anic War that espoused terror tactics implemented by Al Qaeda’s bin Laden successor Ayman  Al -Zawahiri and American Yemeni, Anwar al-Awlaki, the so-called “bin Laden of the Internet”. When queried about what was it that the caused ISIS to attract more that 76,000 supporters from100 countries, 6,000 from the west including returning fighters who perpetrated the November 2015 Paris Massacres and March 2016 Brussels, he pointed out the end times significance of the eschatology of the self-declared Caliphate, the Islamic State.  The term Al-Shaam in  ISIS refers the mythic venue of the final war against the infidel Christian Jews and others, Syria and Iraq. The genius of Islamic State Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was he declared the Caliphate after conquering swaths of Syria and Iraq , the Shaam site of  the final war vanquishing  the armies of world’s infidels..   When asked about the significance of ISIS’ use of chemical, biological and so-called dirty bomb and drones for delivery, Dr. Gorka said we didn’t have to get too sophisticated about  creating  panic from Jihadi terrorist threats. He pointed  out the Washington sniper case with his son as a spotter had wreaked havoc in the metro area shooting victims on the beltway and in service stations. People were fearful of filling up their cars at gasoline stations unless there were under a tarpaulin. The message  Gorka conveyed was it doesn’t cost much for members of Global Jihad networks here in the US  to unleash terror in a major urban areas.

Besides  appendices  containing the Cold War template documents, Kennan’s “Long Telegram” and Nitze’s NSC-68 “roadmap”, Gorka also mentioned  he included in a separate appendix  a list of readings and a valued guide to better inform citizens so they might challenge Presidential nominees, US Senators  and Members of Congress on the issue of winning the 15 year long war against Global Jihadism.

To emphasize the importance of that goal he cited a question from a Department of Homeland Security employee  at a recent  briefing he gave who contested that  the real threat were the KKK,  some Militia group in Montana, noting  the bombing of a federal office building  by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City in 1995.  As tragic as the example cited by the DHS employee was, Gorka asked the person wasn’t there something more contemporary than  unfortunately one that  occurred 21 years ago? The inference was that more Americans were killed  in 9/11, Little Rock, Fort Hood, Chattanooga and at a Christmas Party in San Bernardino by members of Al Qaeda and US members of the ISIS Global Jihad network.  The Pentagon, FBI and  DHS  at the behest of the Administration have redacting words like Islam and Jihad from training material preventing national counterterrorism and counterintelligence echelons from naming the religious hybrid tyranny of Global Jihad as the real threat.

Dr. Gorka’s  message to win the war against Global Jihad is laid out in a compact  44,000 words in Defeating Jihad. There is the option of listening to a  week’s worth  of audio tapes of the book during commute to work time. However, you can start by listening to this highly informative podcast from The Lisa Benson Show sharing it with friends and groups.

Our usually astute Europeam listener commented:

An excellent show and Dr. Gorka knows his subject profoundly. The way he explains the massive danger facing the free world needs to be distributed everywhere.The main problem that I find is that the free peoples of the world are still sleeping. They prefer to push the danger they are facing into their sub-conscious instead of demanding massively from their elected politicians to fight Global Jihad. Are these populations waiting for the day that Global Jihad will decide to use dirty bombs to assassinate very large numbers of civilians? Regretfully I think that the awakening will come only after a huge shock which is a dreadful feeling for me.

RELATED ARTICLE: Kuwaiti Urges Arab & Muslim States to Recognize Israel Immediately

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

An Egyptian Democracy Activist becomes an Islamic State Suicide Bomber — Why?

Former Beirut bureau chief for the New York Times Robert F. Worth has an op-ed in the Weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal, April 9-10, 2016 about the transformation  of a young Egyptian secular activist into an ISIS suicide bomber, “The Democracy Activist Who Became a Suicide Bomber.”

a rage for order book coverWorth is the author of A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, From Tahrir Square to ISIS, which will be published later this month by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Worth’s tag line says it all:”An idealistic young Egyptian who helped lead the Tahrir Square protests died three years later in Iraq as an Islamic State jihadist.”  The answer is contained in another new book, Defeating Jihad: a winnable war by Dr. Sebastian Gorka that we reviewed in the current April 2016 edition of the NER, Freedom is Precious and Fragile.

Here are excerpts from Worth’s WSJ opinion piece:

Five years ago, Ahmad Darrawi was one of the idealistic young Egyptians whose bravery stirred world-wide admiration. In 2011, he stood among the protest vanguard in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, and in the months afterward he often appeared on TV, outlining reforms for Egypt’s brutal and corrupt police. In the fall of 2011, he ran for parliament as an independent. His campaign ads showed a smiling, clean-shaven man in a gray suit under the slogan “Dignity and Security.” He was 32.

Three years later, Darrawi blew himself up on the battlefields of Iraq, where he was fighting as a loyal soldier of Islamic State, according to the terrorist group.

How did it happen? How did a hopeful, principled young man from a middle-class family turn into a coldblooded suicide bomber? It is hard to separate that question from the Arab world’s broader descent over the past five years: from nonviolence to mass murder, from proclamations of tolerance and civic idealism to the savagery of Islamic State.

[…]

Darrawi’s death in 2014 ramified across Egyptian protest circles because, as one of his friends from Tahrir Square told me, “If it could happen to him, it could happen to anyone.” Darrawi didn’t just participate in the Tahrir Square protests; he was a leader, a member of the elite known as the Coalition of Revolutionary Youth. He stood out there because he had firsthand experience with the Egyptian police, having served briefly as an officer years earlier. (He quit in disgust, he said, after witnessing corruption and torture.)

[…]

Darrawi didn’t support the ascendant Muslim Brotherhood, which won the presidency in a June 2012 election. He viewed the Islamist group as another gaggle of tired old men. By late 2012, Egypt appeared to be sliding toward civil war, and Darrawi became disgusted. He told his brother that the revolution was over. Darrawi grew depressed. By the time the Egyptian military ousted Egypt’s elected Islamist president in a coup in the summer of 2013, Darrawi appeared almost catatonic, his friends said. That July, he disappeared.

A few months later, Darrawi posted a video on his new Twitter feed, which would remain unknown to his friends and family until the following year. The video showed a dozen rebel fighters sitting around a campfire in the woods of northwestern Syria, singing songs and hunched together against the cold. You can hear the wind shuddering in the microphone as they lean toward the fire for warmth, blankets wrapped around their bodies. Cigarette-ends glow orange and then fade out. The men’s eyes gleam as they sing in Arabic, raggedly but in unison:

How beautiful is the sound of guns echoing in the desert
We don’t part from our grenades
The moon and stars are our witnesses
And the wilderness sings of our glory.

Darrawi, who shot the video, was now military commander of a small rebel brigade in Syria, the Lions of the Caliphate, which had just sworn its loyalty to Islamic State. Already, he was a passionate convert to the jihadist cause, and he frequently compared its cohesiveness to the toxic divisions of his native Egypt. “Once when we were sitting down to dinner, I noticed that there were more than 18 nationalities among us,” he wrote at one point. “God is the only force and purpose that can unite all these people and create harmony between them.”

At the time, the sudden influx of foreign fighters was transforming the Syrian conflict—and turning Islamic State into one of the most powerful terrorist groups in history. But on Twitter, Darrawi said time and again that it wasn’t battle but the promise of an ideal community that inspired him. “Some wonder about all this love and sense of belonging to the Islamic State,” he wrote a few months later. “My brothers, it’s an old lost dream since the fall of the caliphate. And we will make it come true and pass it on, even if only through our mutilated bodies, to a new generation.”

Darrawi wrote his last tweet in March 2014. About two months later, his brother received an anonymous call from a man who called himself a holy warrior, saying that “Abu Mouaz al-Masri”—Darrawi’s nom de guerre—had blown himself up in a suicide bombing. In a subsequent email, Darrawi’s brother was told that the bombing had occurred in Iraq. When Darrawi’s brother emailed to ask for more details and a death certificate, he was told there would be none.

defeating jihad book coverDr. Gorka in Defeating Jihad deftly explains why ISIS is so attractive to compel young Muslims, whether in Cairo or émigrés in Brussels, to join ISIS and sacrifice their lives at shahids in the way of Allah, jihad.  We wrote in our NER review of Gorka’s book:

Gorka stuns the reader by revealing what is so compelling a message for tens of thousands of Jihadis to flock to the Caliphate. The lands it occupies in Al Shaam in Syria and Iraq are the mythic Islamist end times venue for the final holy war against the hated kuffars, infidels. That coupled with the adept social media in the Debiq Magazine and the slickly produced graphic videos depicting terror acts of beheadings, crucifixions and burnings communicate the end times of the only war that counts to conquer the world in the way of Allah, Jihad.

Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi by declaring the Caliphate on the lands of the final war for Islamic victory in its end-times vision attracted fundamentalists who lamented the loss of the last Caliphate with the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Gorka demonstrates how compelling that has been for U.S. jihadists:

Of the ISIS terrorists arrested or interdicted inside America since the Islamic State was declared, just over half had sworn bayat (fealty) to the new Caliphate and were preparing to leave the country to fight for ISIS in the Middle East. Of the rest, 19 percent were acting as talent-spotters or facilitators, like those management-level terrorists who vetted the young men and bought them their plane tickets to Turkey so they could cross into Syria to fight for the new empire. Most shocking of all, 29 percent of the ISIS supporters caught or killed in the United States saw no need to go anywhere to become a jihadi.

Gorka’s warning about the threat of ISIS to the U.S. and the West:

ISIS and the broader global jihadist movement pose an existential threat to the United States because they are based upon the inherently undemocratic ideology oftakfiri jihad, which denies that Western democracy and Islam can peacefully coexist. One must destroy the other. The jihadists can never be our partner, only a deadly foe. They are not interested in peace or stability, because they see their mandate as universal and unstoppable. According to Abu Bakr and his Islamic State, all the people in the world must eventually live under the Islamic caliphate. The further spread of Jihadism must be stopped, and the ideology must be undermined from within.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image, for illustrative purposes, is of suicide bomber Abu Amer al-Najdi. Photo: The Islamic State.

For the West to Survive ‘Stop Islamic Immigration’

Hon. Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (PVV) in the Hague Parliament is rightfully concerned about the future of the West in this Breitbart Report article, Geert Wilders: Stopping Islamic Immigration Is a Matter of Survival.”

The massive flood of Muslim flight to Europe from the conflicts in the hotspots of the Ummah in Africa, the Middle and South Asia threatens both the demography and Judeo Christian values that are the foundation of laws of Europe and the West.

Last weekend on The Lisa Benson Show we heard evidence of Wilders’ arguments in the stark figures of how this historic Dar al Hijrah immigration wave has literally swamped Sweden resulting in thousands of instances of lawlessness, sexual assault, and murder by hordes of Muslim young men and unaccompanied minors. The Hon. Kent Ekeroth, deputy of the Sweden Democrat party in the Riksdag, the national parliament, revealed that 35,000 unaccompanied youths now constitute 50 percent of students in the country’s high schools. The upwards of 200,000 migrants and asylees that Sweden received in 2015 and early 2016 as US international affairs commentator Barry Nussbaum indicated is equivalent to receiving the equivalent here of the population of the State of Indiana.

The Swedish tolerance for this wave of Muslim immigration has resulted in the Interior Minister issuing an expulsion order for 80,000 of these unwanted arrivals. Neighboring Finland has issued an expulsion order for 20,000 migrants. Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel once welcomed one million Muslim migrants has reached near rebellion with public opinion polls demanding that she resign. Community leaders in Germany, Norway and other locations in the broken borderless Schengen system have advised young women not to dress provocatively effectively adhering to Sharia demands of domestic Imams.

But Europe is not alone in being threatened. Our neighbor to the north, Canada, under the new Liberal government of Justin Trudeau is admitting 25,000 Syrian refugees with many being put up in Canadian Forces bases around the country. Given Canada’s 35 million in population that complement of Refugees would be the equivalent in the US of over 225,000, according to recent testimony by Canadian counterterrorism expert, David B. Harris. Then there are the 10,000 Syrian refugees to be admitted here in the US over the next two years distributed in more than 190 communities in the US.  The difficulty is, as Dr. Sebastian Gorka, son of Hungarian Refugees from the 1956 Revolt against Russian tyranny, said on a recent Lisa Benson Show program, how can we possibly vett these refugees, if there isn’t a data base to confirm the documents?

Whether Europe can stop the flight of Muslim migrants is the challenge that Wilders argues if his native Holland, Europe and the West are to survive. Right now that prospect is teetering on the brink unless concerted action is taken to stop Muslim flight at its source in the warring lands of extremism in the Ummah. Yet, the West rejects any concerted multilateral strategy to reverse the great wave of Muslim migration. If it doesn’t adopt such a strategy then the future could be a dystopian realm of unimaginable oppression and chaos for our children and grandchildren.

In April last year, the renowned nonpartisan Pew Research Center released a report on the future growth of world religions. The content was shocking. The report states that, if current trends continue, Islam will almost equal Christianity by 2050. While the world’s population is expected to rise by 35 per cent until the middle of this century, Islam will grow with a staggering 73 per cent.

The consequences of future Islamic growth are frightening. Islam is not a religion like Christianity, but rather a totalitarian political ideology. Its goal is primarily political. Islam wants to make the whole world submit. It aims to establish a worldwide Islamic state and bring everyone, including “infidels,” such as Christians, Jews, atheists, and others, under Sharia law. This is the barbaric Islamic law which deprives non-Muslims of all rights, treats women as inferior beings, condemns apostates and critics of Islam to death, and condones terror. More Islam equals more violence, more intolerance, more terrorism.

With the growth of Islam, the world will become a less safe place. And so will America. According to Pew, the United States will see its number of Christians decline from more than three-quarters of the population today to two-thirds in 2050, while Islam will more than double in size and replace Judaism as America’s largest non-Christian faith. The consequences of the Islamic presence in America have already been visible in several murderous attacks, such last December’s San Bernardino shooting, but also the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the 2009 Fort Hood shooting, the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, and several other acts of terrorism. If Islam doubles in size, the threat of terrorism will only grow.

In the past, the totalitarian ideologies of Nazism and Communism have both been defeated by the common efforts of America and Europe. Without America, Europe would have been lost. But without Europe, America would have been isolated. If Europe had fallen to either Nazism or Communism, there is no doubt that America would have become the next victim. The Transatlantic alliance between Americans and Europeans has been the key to the survival of our common Western civilization. This alliance is in danger today, because the more Islamic Europe becomes, the less reliable it will be as an ally of America.

Though the predicted future rise of Islam in the US is worrying, the situation in Europe is far worse. The Pew figures show that Islam has already gained a significant foothold on the European continent and is growing rapidly. Europe’s Islamic population, boosted by higher birth rates and immigration, will nearly double, from 43 million people in 2010 to 71 million people in 2050. In the Netherlands, Muhammad is currently already the second most popular name among newborn boys nationwide and even the most popular name in our three largest cities, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. This is also the case in the Belgian capital Brussels, the Norwegian capital Oslo, and the British capital London. As a matter of fact even in the whole of Great-Britain, Muhammad has become the most popular name for newborn boys.

The Islamization of Europe will profoundly influence European politics. Winning the Islamic vote will become the goal of ever more European politicians. As a result, Europe’s policies will become even less friendly towards Israel and the United States than they already are. The Atlantic alliance is in danger.

The Islamic vote has already decided at least one major European election: the 2012 French presidential elections. These were won by the Socialist Francois Hollande over the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy by only 1.1 million votes. Since an estimated 2 million Islamic votes participated, of which 93 per cent – 1.7 million votes – went to Hollande and only 7 per cent to Sarkozy, it was the Islamic vote which gained Francois Hollande the Elysée Palace.

According to Pew, the growth of Islam in Europe is caused by several factors, including the young age of the Islamic population. However, more than half the growth can be attributed to immigration. In other words, stopping all immigration from Islamic countries would reduce the growth of Islam in Europe, but also in America, by more than half. The easiest way to limit the growth of Islam in the West is to stop Islamic immigration.

Islam is an existential threat to our Western freedoms and our Judeo-Christian civilization. It also threatens the Atlantic partnership between America and Western Europe. It is our duty to limit this threat. It is our mission as patriots to protect our nations. The first measure we must take to stop Islam, reduce the risk of terrorism and save our civilization, is to stop all immigration from Islamic countries. It is a matter of survival.

RELATED ARTICLE: Iraqi Journalist Dispels Myth that ISIS Has No Ties to Islam

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

The Counter-Terrorism Impasse in Afghanistan, Israel and the United States

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

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

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

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.

PODCAST: The War against the Infidels

LISTEN to this podcast of the January 10, 2016 Lisa Benson Show on KKNT 960 The Patriot.  Lisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon co-hosted this show with the assistance of Board of Advisors member, Richard Cutting.

Col. Richard Kemp, (ret.) CBE, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and noted commentator on counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, discussed why Israel is the outpost of civilization in the Middle east. He urged Queen Elizabeth to visit Israel in 2017, the 100th Anniversary of the liberation of Jerusalem from the Turks to honor ANZAC fallen.  He drew attention to British Prime Minister Cameron who has spoken before Israel’s Knesset and his designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group.  He suggested that perhaps the Administration might follow suit.

He considers the Muslim Brotherhood as an evil organization seeking to spread Islamist hatred of Israel Europe and the West. Hamas he pointed out had links to the Muslim Brotherhood with objectives similar to that of ISIS.   An ISIS he said was spreading its barbaric Islamic doctrine across the Muslim Ummah from Syria and Iraq to North and sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia.

With regard to the resurgence of the Taliban in a 14 year war in Afghanistan with NATO forces, he said that some of it was attributable to the role of Pakistan intelligence service.  The Pakistanis and Afghans he noted are enemies.  He called attention to the internecine war between the Taliban and ISIS endeavoring to gain power as enemies of the democratic government in Afghanistan. A government plagued with corruption hobbling the country’s security forces.  He called attention to a generational long struggle against Islamist Jihadism in which the West cannot relax. It must stand up and fight.   He noted in passing that the US Administration has taken its eye off the ball with outreach to an enemy, Iran. He attributed some of the present difficulties in the Middle east and South Asia to both the pullout of US forces in Iraq and pull down of ISAF troops in Afghanistan.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka addressed the number one issue in polls taken of Americans, national security and domestic Islamic terrorism.  He suggested that the Administration had to jettison the canard of lone wolf terror acts. The Boston Marathon Bombers, the shooting in Chattanooga, the massacre in San Bernardino and the recent attempted murder of a police officer by a convicted felon and convert to Islam in Philadelphia he said was reflective of the connective tissue of Global Jihad doctrine. That doctrine viewed America and the West as antithetical to Jihadist aims.

He viewed the ability of the US and the EU to vett the millions of migrants and refugees flooding the west as well nigh impossible.  While referencing the intense scrutiny of his parents, refugees from the 1956 Hungarian rebellion against Soviet Communism, he suggested that could only be done under intense and repeated questioning by counterterrorism security echelons using a data base to check documents and bona fides.  He suggested that the US is hobbled by the lack of manpower and a data base to vett, for example, the stream of Syrian Refugees.

Having visited a Syrian refugee camp during the recent Christmas New Year’s holiday, he was struck with two takeaways. He commended the Kingdom of Jordan, without the resources of oil revenues of an incredible job of s country of 6 million handling an influx of 1.5 million Syrian refugees. He tasked the oil rich Gulf States and Saudi Arabia to offer financial and resettlement assistance.  He said there was no sense to send Syrians to the EU or the US. Rather it was incumbent on the contending powers, especially the US, to resolve the conflict, hereby enabling the Syrians in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon to return home.

Regarding the recent settlement between New York City and Muslim and civil liberties advocacy groups ending  the NYPD Muslim community profiling program, Gorka  said in a recent House Armed  Services Committee testimony  that after 9/11, the NYPD had been let down by Federal law enforcement and counterterrorism agencies. The NYPD he noted undertook to build perhaps the best counterterrorism intelligence and surveillance program to monitor and protect the Muslim community in New York against Islamist inroads. Effectively he commented to the House Committee that politics continued to get in the way of national security.

When asked about the current rising Sunni Shiite divide between Saudi Arabia and Iran, he referred to a comment from Israeli PM Netanyahu, who said it was a Game of Thrones pitting the Saudi Wahabbist Sunni Caliphate against the Mullahs of the Shia Mahdist Caliphate in Nuclear Iran.

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