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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.

‘The Golan is ours’ — Israel Sovereignty and American National Security

A momentous joint press conference was held at the White House with President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu on February 15, 2017. For the first time in recent memory, a U.S. President was not demanding that Israel relinquish sovereign territory that had been granted under international law. That meant that the Jewish nation was entitled to negotiate secure borders in the land west of the river.

Things appear to be changing in the Middle East among the Sunni Arab monarchies, Emirates and states recognizing that America’s democratic ally is the proverbial strong horse opposing the hegemonic aspirations of the Shia Islamic Republic of Iran. An Iran that in consort with its proxy Hezbollah is actively engaging in creating a Shia crescent from the Persian Gulf via Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean Coast of Lebanon. Moreover, Iran has control of two world maritime choke points in the oil trades; the Straits of Hormuz and the Bab al Mandab (at the mouth of the Red Sea).

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The Golani tree symbol of the IDF Golani Brigade of the Northern command.

For Israel there is evidence that Iran’s IRGC Qods force and its proxy Hezbollah are ranging across the vital Golan Heights frontier. That is reflected in clashes that resulted in the deaths of IRGC Generals and a Hezbollah commander, son of the terrorist mastermind Imad Mughniyah.   A frontier that is also witnessing the expansion of ISIS militia on the southern portion of the Golan frontier.

The Golan is strategic to Israel’s national security reflected in its annexation by Israel’s parliament the Knesset in 1981. Yet, there have been efforts at the UN suggesting that Israel’s sovereign claim to the Golan is questioned. That despite it being included in the original Palestine Mandate granted to Great Britain at the Sam Remo conference in 1920. After two climatic wars fought in 1967 and in 1973, Israel is not about to give up its sovereign claim to the Golan.Further, Israel’s ears on the Middle East can be found on the summit of Mount Hermon at the base of the frontier monitoring digital communications.  IDF Golani units are deployed on the heights of this important bastion.  The UNDOF force in the demilitarized has been routed during the six plus years of the Syrian civil war. Israel has provided humanitarian aid and medical assistance to Syrian civilians and casualties of opposition militias often treating them in field hospitals and in emergency cases sending them to hospitals in central Israel.  The Syrian frontier on the Golan divides the Druze community, the Israeli branch of which are loyal citizens and yet understand the predicament of their cousins across the frontier.

There has been talk of establishment of so-called safe zones in southern Syria at the apex where Israel, Jordan and Israel meet.  At issue is what international forces would staff it. Given the record of the UN peacekeepers it is dubious that it could effectively defend the suggested safe zones. Israel’s experience in the Lebanon wars indicates that it is not about to take on the responsibility of a security zone in Syria. The one in Lebanon ended disastrously in the pell mell withdrawal from the Southern security zone   in 2000.

That apex at the conjunction of the three counties frontiers is now the target of the Islamic State. A recent Jewish Press report confirms the activity of Islamic State Salafist militia overrunning the apex area of Southern Syria, Jordan and Israel threatening the Golan frontier. It reports that the ISIS militia is lead by a Palestinian Salafist. While the IDF Chief of Staff Eizenkot would like the UNDOF to block further movement by the ISIS, their track record has been abysmal. Thus his assessment is that the IDF on the northern frontier could see intense fighting occur this spring.

Jonathan Schanzer and Marc Dubowitz crystallized in a Wall Street Journal article, “Golan,” stressing the vital importance of Israel’s sovereignty.  They noted:

Benjamin Netanyahu has achieved his primary objective of resetting ties with the U.S. after eight years of tensions. True, the Israeli prime minister and Donald Trump still need to bridge the gap on issues such as Palestinian-Israeli diplomacy and West Bank settlements. But they seem to be on the same page on a broad range of regional matters.

That could lead to a breakthrough on an issue of strategic importance to Israel. According to reports of the two leaders’ meeting on Wednesday, Mr. Netanyahu asked for U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The move makes sense for both sides. It would provide the Israeli government with a diplomatic win while helping the Trump administration signal to Russia and Iran that the U.S. is charting a new course in Syria.

[…]

By recognizing Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan, the Trump administration would signal to Russia that, while Washington may now coordinate with Moscow on activities such as fighting Islamic State, it doesn’t share Russia’s goals for Syria.

Moreover, it would show that the U.S. will take a tougher line on the provision of arms and intelligence to Iran and Hezbollah.

Recognition of Israel’s Golan claims would acknowledge that it needs these highlands to hold off a multitude of asymmetric and conventional military threats from Syria—and whatever comes after the war there. Israel continues to target Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah to prevent them from establishing a base of operations on the Syrian Golan.

Recognizing Israel’s sovereignty in the Golan would also soften the Palestinians’ core demand for a state within the 1967 borders. If an international border can be revised along the Syrian border, the Palestinians will have a harder time presenting the 1949 armistice line along the West Bank as inviolable.

Against this background we reached out to someone who knows the strategic importance of what Messrs. Schanzer and Dubowitz have espoused, Ambassador Yoram Ettinger former Israeli emissary in Washington involved with Congressional liaison.

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Mike Bates

Mike Bates:  Good afternoon welcome back to Your Turn, this is Mike Bates. We continue with our conversation, our Middle East round table discussion. With me in studio is Jerry Gordon,  Senior Editor of the New English Review and his blog the Iconoclast.

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Jerry Gordon

Jerry Gordon: Glad to be back.

Bates: And joining us by telephone from Israel is Yoram Ettinger, former Israeli Congressional Liaison.

Yoram Ettinger: Thank you very much.

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Former Ambassador Yoram Ettinger

Bates: Ambassador Ettinger, from your perspective as a former Israeli Emissary involved with Congressional relations, how significant was the outcome of the joint press conference at the White House on January 15th?

Ettinger: I would say that the outcome of the meeting between the leaders of the US and Israel is very significant.  It signals reconnection of the US administration with Middle Eastern reality after eight years – and more years – of assuming that the Palestinian issue is the core cause of regional turbulence and the crown jewel of Arab policymaking. Now there is an Administration that realizes, with all due respect, the Palestinian issue is not the primary or secondary, not even tertiary issue when it comes to Middle East priorities. The current administration seems to focus on the major threats to the US as well as to Western democracies and the regional and global stability. These are: Iran’s megalomaniacal aspirations and its  aim to become a major nuclear power. Second is Islamic terrorism  and third, the need to minimize the clear and present danger to every  pro- American Arab regime in the middle east, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Bahrain and Oman.

On all of those issues – Iran, Islamic terrorism, and the need to stabilize the pro- American Arab regimes – Israel plays a very unique role. The question is, are you going to sacrifice the very essential cooperation between US and Israel on the altar of the Palestinian issue? It seems to me that President Trump and his advisors may or may not go along entirely with Israel’s view of the Palestinian issue.  They are not going to sacrifice dire American national security interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue, which is not, is not, a core cause as far as Arab policymaking is concerned.

Bates: Ambassador Ettinger, I realize Israel is a democratic country, and like every democratic country, the people are not unified in their view of the world any more so in Israel as it is in the United States. But I’m curious. If you can generalize, what is the sense of the Israeli people to President Trump versus what we had for the previous eight years, President Obama?

Ettinger: Certainly Israel is highly diversified as far as ideology, as far as world view, even as far as Judaism is concerned.  However, one should note that a major factor in Israel is a sense of patriotism. We see that on the occasion of wars, on the occasion of conflicts with Arab countries, and recently on the issue of the Palestinians.  We see coalitions of all the big groups in Israel.  In fact, something which is not common in the US. The  majority of our special operation forces are very Dovish, and I emphasize very, very Dovish in their world view, and the majority of Israel’s combat pilots are also very Dovish.

And, their worldview has nothing to do with the fact that they are first to be called to serve during wartime, and they serve superbly.

When it comes to President Trump, the perception in Israel is that he is supportive of Israel. The public has accorded him at this point very significant support, unlike the case of the eight years with President Obama – when many Israelis sympathized with him as far as personality is concerned, maybe as it was reflected by television, newspapers, radio – but most Israelis were aware that as far as President Obama was concerned, Israel was not exactly one of his top positive priorities. When it comes to President Trump, the sense is that he does regard the Jewish State as a cardinal, positive element on his agenda.

Gordon: Ambassador, what is the danger of having a Palestinian state adjacent to the Jewish nation of Israel?

Ettinger: When it comes to Israel, the clear and present lethal threat is highlighted at this time of global instability, violence, and intolerance, tenuous agreements, tenuous regimes and policies. With a Palestinian state, Israel would be once again constrained to an eight-to-fifteen mile sliver along the Mediterranean, over-towered and dominated by the mountain ridges of the West Bank of Judea and Samaria. This is not exactly a prescription for long life expectancy. It’s a prescription for suicide, I believe.

But the key point is not what it means for Israel. For your American listeners, the issue is what would the impact be on America’s national security. And Americans should know when it comes to a Palestinian State, based on its track record, we are talking about a definite erosion of America’s authority in the Middle East and definite injury to very important American national security interests. For instance, there is the American-supported Hashemite monarchy in Jordan. A Palestinian State on the one hand and Hashemite regime in Jordan east of the Jordan River constitute an oxymoron.

Top Jordanian military officers made it very clear to their colleagues in Israel that the top priority of the Hashemites  is to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. Now the issue is not merely one more, or one less pro- American Arab regime.  A change in regime in Jordan would cause tectonic ripple effects, which would not be limited only to Jordan, but a definite spill- over southward to Saudi Arabia and from Saudi Arabia to the rest of the pro- American  Arab Gulf states.

This means that a Palestinian state could trigger ripple effects all the way into the Persian Gulf area, playing into the hands of Iran, also possibly into the hands of Russia and China and certainly adversely effecting America’s interest. It could create an Iranian block from Iran through Iraq, Jordan, all the way to fifteen miles from the Mediterranean. That  would mean loss of pro- American control of two critical waterways, the Bab el Mandab and Hormuz Straits in the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, two of the most critical waterways for oil tankers, which would have an impact on the  global economy and  American economies.

You might also find a guarantee of naval rights, landing rights for the Russian, possibly Iranian, maybe Chinese, naval and air force, in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, which once again would undermine vital American interests.

All this is based on the track record of Palestinians, which includes the waves of terrorism in the 1920s, 30s, 40s; collaboration with the Nazis during the Second World War; collaboration with the USSR after the war; collaboration with Ayatollah Khomeini after the demise of the Shah of Iran; and very close ties with Russia, North Korea, China, Cuba, and Venezuela.

Bates: Ambassador  Ettinger there was a recent  The Wall Street Journal op-ed by Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz of the Washington DC based Foundation for Defense of Democracies drew attention to the possibility of Israel asserting sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Why did Israel annex the Golan Heights in 1981 and what geo-political and national security significance does it have given the threats on the frontier from Iran’s proxy Hezbollah and Syrian Islamic opposition  and ISIS?

 Ettinger: First of all, the Golan Heights is not foreign terrain for the Jewish state. The Golan Heights is part of the Jewish homeland going back some 3,500 years .  As far as contemporary strategy is concerned, there are only two options when it comes Golan: will it be part of Israel, controlled by Israel; or will it be a platform for rogue organizations, rogue regimes. There is no other option, although again in the wishful la-la land of some western policymakers, one could transform it into an international, neutral area.  Certainly when you look at the Middle East there is no such thing as a neutral element or neutral space.

As far as the impact of the Golan Heights, once again on the region as a whole and on Israel. One can go back to 1970 when Syria was a major military Arab power, Syria invaded Jordan. With the US bogged down in Southeast Asia, there was no way it could stretch military hand and help the pro- American late King Hussain. They called Israel. Israel mobilized its troops and the following day – without firing a single shot, only through the posture of deterrence of the presence of Israel – the Syrian military withdrew back to Syria. That was possible because Israel controlled the Golan Heights in 1970, which meant we were at the point where we could reach Damascus and basically take over Syria.

Should Israel be off the Golan Heights, and once again there is violence which threatens pro-American Arab regime in Jordan, without the Golan (and certainly there would already be a Palestinian state), Israel would be in no position, have no power to exert any posture of deterrence to assist the US, assist pro-American Arab regimes. We are talking today about the proliferation of Islamic terrorist organizations, many of which operate in Syria, which means with proximity to the Golan Heights and should Israel get off Golan Heights, the only question would be: which rogue regime, which rogue organization, will then control the Golan Heights.

Bates: There is no question that the Golan Heights are critical to the security of Israel. I made a day trip through Golan Heights when I was in Tiberius a few years ago. It’s beautiful, sparsely populated area.  It is of  massive strategic importance. Why doesn’t the United States recognize the Golan Heights as part of Israel’s sovereign territory and is there any chance that will change under a Trump presidency?

Ettinger: It’s true that Golan Heights is critical for Israel’s national security, but it’s also true that it is  very important for America’s own national security, America’s own posture of deterrence in the Middle East.  Israel on the Golan Heights, Israel on the mountain ridges of Judea Samaria extends the strategic hand of the USA. With Israel off the Golan Heights and certainly off the mountain ridges of the West Bank, Israel is going to be transformed from a national security asset to a national security liability and a burden on the US. And the US is facing, in my mind, intensifying, and not reduced, threats due to the current trends in the Middle East and throughout the world. The US cannot rely on Europe which has lost its will power gradually – and is also losing its muscle. Israel is the only element in the Middle East upon which the US can rely. It is probably the most effective force anywhere in the world upon which the US can rely on.

Bates: No, question about it Ambassador.

Gordon: Ambassador, what is behind Israel’s emergence as a world leader in high tech global investments and its impact on the country’s economy?

 Ettinger: Out of necessity, due to the attempt to strangle Israel territorially, militarily, economically; due to various attempts to boycott and sanction Israel; and due to real lack of natural resources, Israel had to rely on its brain power. We have managed not only to survive but we have managed to develop – I would say next to the US – a major global, high tech technological country, both commercially and militarily. Today, in Israel, we have 250 research and development centers operated by global high tech giants, most of them American, some European. These are the centers that develop for Intel and Microsoft, and Apple and Google, and other giants, the latest innovative technologies. Israel contributes to research and development in America, to the competitiveness of American industries in the global competition, and to America’s foundation of employment.

Bates: It is a huge benefit, Ambassador. We have been speaking with Jerry  Gordon of the New English Review and its blog the Iconoclast and  with Ambassador Yoram Ettinger.  You can find Ambassador Ettinger online at www.theettingerreport.com.

Thanks so much for joining us this afternoon on 1330amWEBY

Listen to the broadcast, here.

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

Secret Cables Link Pakistan Intelligence Agency to Deadly Attack on CIA

Recently disclosed documents suggest that Pakistan’s intelligence agency paid a terror group to perpetrate a deadly attack on the CIA in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency paid a Taliban-affiliated terror group in Afghanistan to perpetrate one of the deadliest attacks on the CIA in the agency’s history, according to inferences made in recently-declassified U.S. government cables and documents.

On December 30, 2009, a Jordanian suicide bomber blew himself up in Camp Chapman in Khost, Afghanistan, located near the border with Pakistan, killing seven CIA employees. The bomber, a Jordanian doctor and double agent, tricked the Americans, telling them he would lead them to Ayman al-Zawahri, now head of al-Qaeda and, at the time, second in command.

A document dated January 11, 2010 , issued less than two weeks after the bombing, reports how the head of the Haqqani network, a Taliban-allied organization designed as terrorist by the U.S., met twice with senior officials of Pakistan’s intelligence agency (the Inter-Services Intelligence or ISI) the month of the bombing.

During the first meeting, funding for “operations in Khowst [Khost] province” were discussed. “Funds were later provided to tribal elders in Khowst province for their support of the Haqqani network,” according to the cable.

At the second meeting, ISI officials gave “direction to the Haqqanis to expedite attack preparations and lethality in Afghanistan.”

Although heavily redacted, a cable issued the following month specified the head of the Haqqani network as well as another individual were given $200,000 “to enable the attack on Chapman.” The cable specifically mentions a number of individuals involved in the operation, including an Afghan border commander who was given money “to enable a suicide mission by an unnamed Jordanian national.”

The Jordanian mentioned is assumed to be the suicide bomber, Humam al-Balawi, whom the CIA had cultivated as an al-Qaeda informant. Code-named “Wolf,” al-Balawi turned out to be a double agent, perpetrating the deadliest attack against the CIA in the 15-year history of the war in Afghanistan.

Although each document states, “This is an information report not finally evaluated intelligence,” Admiral  Mike Mullen (former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) terms the Haqqani network a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s intelligence agency. The U.S. has long-documented the connection between the ISI and the Haqqani terrorist organization.

The documents were the first public disclosure connecting the attack on Camp Chapman to the Pakistani ISI. They were released in connection with a Freedom of Information Act request. The U.S. had previously blamed al-Qaeda for the attack.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Jennifer Ehle who plays Jennifer Lynne Matthew in the film Zero Dark Thirty about the killing of Osama Bin Laden, head of Al Qaeda. Matthews, a mother of three was described as “one of the CIA’s top experts on al-Qaeda.” She was head of Camp Chapman and killed in the attack on the base.

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.

The Growing Islamic State threat to Israel: A Clear and Present Danger

Attention has been  brought to bear by recent activities on Israel’s northern and southern frontier by ISIS in Syria and the Salafist affiliate in the Sinai, Ansar Beit al-Makdas (ABAM).  That is independent of the alleged ABAM involvement in the downing of the Russian Metrojet Airbus 321 on October 31, 2015 with a bomb secreted aboard the aircraft that killed 224 passengers and crew in the Sinai.

While ISIS allegedly fears only the Israeli Defense Force, at issue is Israel prepared to deal with these threats on both its Northern and Southern Frontiers.

Moreover, what the U.S. can do given its virtual abandonment of an alliance with Egypt, Israel and neighboring Jordan that collectively face the emboldened  self-declared Islamic State (IS). An Islamic state that has demonstrated its long arm reach planning and fomenting barbarous  terrorism in the Middle East, Europe and even here in the U.S. In the final days of 2015.

Note this Fox/Nation/Townhall  report by a former German Parliament member, now intrepid journalist,  Jürgen Todenhöfer, who with his son spent 10 days in the occupied  Syrian and Iraqi  precincts of the self-declared Caliphate, the Islamic State (ISIS), “Israel Defense Force only Army ISIS Fears”:

German reporter Jurgen Todenhofer went behind enemy lines to spend ten days with the Islamic State. He went with his son, Frederic, but not after spending nearly half a year ensuring that his safety would be guaranteed before venturing into this perilous region of the world. He plans on never going back (good idea), but noted that the only army these Islamic fanatics truly fear is the Israel Defense Forces.

They are confident that they can defeat soldiers from the West, namely British and American troops, but noted that the Israelis might be too tough for them. An aspect of their strategy is to lure Western troops into their territory in order to capture them. Oh, and they plan on killing every Shiite Muslim they can find, and view Muslims living in Western countries who vote as “top-priority enemies…as they give people rather than God the right to make laws.”

The claim from German reporter Jürgen Todenhöfer, a former member of the German Parliament, came after he spent 10 extraordinary days behind enemy lines in Iraq and Syria, accompanied by his son Frederic. He returned saying the group behind the Paris attacks was “preparing the largest religious cleansing in history” and with a “pessimistic” view on what can be done to combat it.

But the author of My 10 Days in the Islamic State told Jewish News: “The only country ISIS fears is Israel. They told me they know the Israeli army is too strong for them.”

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot

From left: Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, Galilee Division Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Baram, and GOC Northern Command Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi on the northern border, Wednesday  Source: IDF Spokesperson’s Unit.

Today’s Israel Hayom edition had a follow up story about IDF preparing for possible ISUS attacks on the Golan Frontier, “IDF braces for Islamic State attack on northern border:”

Army on high alert for possible terrorist attacks by Shuhada al-Yarmouk Brigades, affiliated with Islamic State, or other jihadist groups such as Nusra Front, affiliated with al-Qaida.

[…]

Based on the modus operandi of the Nusra Front and Islamic State, the Israel Defense Forces examined several possible ways these groups could act against Israel. One scenario for an attack, according to the assessments, is smuggling explosives-laden vehicles into Israel. Additionally, officials were not negating the possibility of a terrorist ground force infiltrating Israel, firing anti-tank missiles at Israeli targets, planting explosive devices and launching rockets.

The Shuhada al-Yarmouk Brigades controls the border area shared by Jordan, Israel and Syria, extending over around 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). According to estimates, the organization comprises some 600 fighters who impose their will on some 40,000 locals. The organization itself is surrounded by numerous other rebel groups with which it is fighting, including the Nusra Front, and is “besieged” in a type of enclave in the southern Syrian Golan Heights.

ABAM  ISIS affiliates beheading “Israeli spies” in Sinai

ABAM  ISIS affiliates beheading “Israeli spies” in Sinai.

However, Israel’s  Northern Frontier is not the only threat from ISIS.  Dr. Ronen Bergman, intelligence columnist for Israeli daily Yediot Ahranoth  had an extensive investigative article on the ISIS  affiliate, threat on the Southern Sinai frontier with Egypt, Ansar Beit al-Makdas (ABAM), “The Battle Over Sinai: ISIS’s Next Strong Force:

As the world’s eyes are focused on the Islamic State in Syria and its activity in Europe, the organization’s branch in Sinai – Ansar Bait al-Maqdis – is gaining strength, and the Russian plane bombing may be just the beginning of its integration into ISIS’s international war. Bergman outlines the profile of one of the most threatening and intriguing challenges faced by the Israeli and international security community, only a few kilometers south of Eilat.

[…]

The Russian plane crash in Sinai on October 31st, which left 224 people dead, is still preoccupying intelligence organizations around the world. Updated intelligence received by Western intelligence agencies reveals that the few days before the attack saw a significant increase in the volume of written and spoken communication between senior members of the Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (ABAM – “Supporters of the Holy House”) terror organization, which has been calling itself Sinai Province in the past year after swearing allegiance to the Islamic State, who are active in the Sheikh Zuweid area in the northern part of the peninsula.

In addition, there has been a sharp increase in volume of communication between these activists and elements affiliated with ISIS’s Security and Intelligence Council in Iraq and Syria. This body is responsible for ISIS’s most important secret activities, including special operations and aiding organizations outside Syria and Iraq, where the organization’s power base is, including al-Maqdis.

Key Players in ABAM  Hamas origins and ISIS support:

The names of several key activists in this organization is repeatedly raised in the investigations into the matter: The widely mentioned name is Abdullah Mohammed Sayyid Kishta, a main force in improving ABAM’s abilities in the past two years, who served in the past as an operations officer in Hamas’ military wing. Kishta then left for Sinai, through one of the tunnels under the Philadelphi Route (which separates between Egypt and the Gaza Strip), and became head of instructions at ABAM in regards to the operation of antitank missiles and advanced explosive devices.

He is considered one of the senior antitank warfare experts in the region. Since he began his work in the organization, there appears to be an extremely significant increase in al-Maqdis’ use of antitank missiles and in their improvement. Up to two years ago, they mainly used RPGs, moving on to more advanced missiles like the Kornet.

Kishta is helping the organization improve its terror abilities in developing and assembling advanced bombs, including armor-piercing antitank explosives and explosive devices against roads and armored bunkers of the Egyptian army.

Intelligence groups in the West received information in March and April this year about ties between senior ISIS members in Iraq and members of al-Maqdis’ bomb units, including Kishta. A decoding of these messages revealed that ISIS’s R&D experts in Iraq are convinced that they have managed to develop a certain formula for putting together explosives with relatively low effectiveness, but which cannot be detected through regular means.

Israeli Intelligence on the origins of ABAM :

Israeli intelligence first heard the name Ansar Bair al-Maqdis in Gaza.

“In the early 2000s,” Haim Tomer recalls, “we heard there were radical Salafi cells in Gaza which go by that name. At the time, it was a local organization which attracted former activists from all kinds of other organizations who were discharged from them or found Hamas’ policy to be too moderate after different agreements signed with Israel.

ABAM was first comprised of a mixture of fragments of organizations and people and did not appear to be a big success. Israel’s security control and Hamas’ dominance made it impossible for the organization to really thrive and it didn’t leave a significant mark. But in 2002, its name emerged again in organizations of Bedouin in northern Sinai, and then in all of Sinai.

“We were confused for a moment,” says a senior source in the AMAN (Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate) research division. “We didn’t know if these were the same people we knew from Gaza or that they were just using the same name.”

But an examination conducted in Israel at the time revealed that global jihadist elements – mainly Egyptian, Libyan and Saudi – arrived in Sinai in order to take advantage of al-Qaeda’s international success at the time, after the September 11 attacks and the wave of attacks which washed through the world afterwards, and establish a terror organization there. These activists used a local infrastructure of Bedouins and Salafi Sunni activists who had escaped from Gaza.

The Sinai has seen significant attacks  by ISIS affiliate  – Ansar Bait al-Maqdis on Egyptian security forces, despite Egyptian forces  engaged in destruction and flooding smuggling tunnels along the frontier with Hamas-controlled Gaza. Israel has built a 200 mile security fence and positioned IDF combat battalions.  Along its southern frontier.  Notwithstanding, the Eilat port and resort complex is still vulnerable to possible ISIS attack.  The Multilateral Force and Observers, set up to monitor the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, have been hit with IED attacks, prompting the US Army to send additional troops. This begs the question of why the MFO is not engaged in coordinating ISIS counterterrorism threats in the Sinai with both Israel and Egypt.  Moreover, ISIS presents a possible threat along the Israeli Jordanian border above the neighboring port of Aqaba where sympathetic groups have arisen and are allegedly under surveillance of Jordanian security forces.

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

What Christmas is all about, especially for Iraqi and Syrian Christian Refugees

Iraqi refugee children pray for their meals on Iraq during the Christmas for Refugees program

Iraqi refugee children pray for their meals.

Over 4,000 Iraqi Christian and Syrian refugee children (normally ages 6 – 12, receiving no church assistance, but who have registered through a church) and their entire families are being given a genuine Christmas, in spite of their shocking circumstances.  The Christmas for Refugees program is about encouraging and strengthening the faith of Christian families.  Many believe that Christians are the most persecuted group in the world today.

This Christmas, the Christmas for Refugees project, headed by William J. Murray, expanded inside Iraq, as well as in Lebanon and Jordan to touch the hearts of Middle East refugees with not only food, games, Bibles, and gifts, and some blankets, but with a specific Christmas presentation of the real meaning of Christmas.

Each participating family receives either a parcel of about $50 worth of food staples to last at least a week, or a voucher for $50 or $60 worth of food depending on availability of local food stores willing to participate.

William J. Murray, who is known for his outstanding work of helping persecuted Christians, is the son of one of the most famous atheists and Marxists in America, Madalyn Murray O’Hair, founder of American Atheists. When she enrolled William in the school in the early 1960s, she was enraged at prayers and mentions of God in the school setting. Her lawsuit led to a landmark Supreme Court ruling officially banning Bible reading in American public schools in 1963.

Bill Murray, founder of Christmas for Refugees, prays over children and their Christmas meal inside Iraq

Bill Murray, founder of Christmas for Refugees, prays over children and their Christmas meal inside Iraq.

One dozen Christmas events for refugee children were arranged in Lebanon, six were held in Jordan and for the first time, two large events of more than 300 children each was held in Iraq itself.  Bill and his wife Nancy Murray personally participated in two events in each country.

As a Board Member, I also did some fact-finding efforts into new Iraqi areas and towns for next year’s expansion.  My ministry, Love-Link Ministries, has once again partnered with Christmas for Refugees.  No advance public advertisements are made of the events in order to insure the security of each site; to better protect the children and their refugee parents.  In fact, for security sake, the sites and coordinators of the Lebanon and Iraqi events are not made public.

Murray states, “If the funds were available, the list of children would be in the tens of thousands. The program size doubled in 2015 and we hope to double it to 8,000 children in 2016!”

Multiplied thousands of evacuated Iraqi Christian refugees have literally escaped to the country of Jordan.  Most had only enough time to flee with just the clothes on their backs.  Many are from the Iraqi city of Mosul, where ISIL fighters raided their homes and sections of town and gave them a choice:  “Renounce your faith or we will shoot you!” reports several refugees in unison.

Bill Murray sadly relates:  “There are many touching moments during these events. At one event in Lebanon a very young girl, perhaps five years old, began to cry when she realized the event was over and she would have to go back to the refugee area her family lived in. Other touching times include the children involved in genuine play away from the problems that face their families.

“The most rewarding aspect of the Christmas for Refugees program is the moment the children forget the tragic situation their families are in, while participating in our Christmas program that includes puppet shows, singing, games and a hot Christmas meal.”

christian refugee children

Christian refugee children.

In Aman, Jordan, joining Bill was Isam Ghattas, President of Manara Ministries, to make a seemingly joyful Christmas season, regardless of the dilemma of these refugees.  Isam Ghattas tells:  “Joseph Stalin once said, ‘A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic.’  For Christians, however, one single death some 2,000 years ago made all the difference as it provided salvation from eternal death to millions of people.  Jesus Christ lived and prescribed two ingredients that constitute a panacea for people’s foremost spiritual malady; SIN!  These are SALT and LIGHT.

“Christians has since used symbols to denote their allegiance to Christ and express their faith; first the fish then the cross symbol some 400 years after Christ’s death.  Recently, another sign has emerged but this time from the enemy ISIS stigmatized the houses of Assyrian Iraqis from Mosul with the letter to denote Nasara (Christians).

“Christians need to turn these calamities and persecutions into opportunities to serve the afflicted.  As the number of world refugees has reached 60 million this month, Syrians being the highest nationality among them, Christians are invited to embody Christ’s panacea by the “word that sustains the weary” (Isaiah 50:4).  Christians must first be this salt and light as they heed a life of sanctity, faith and love.

“Therefore behooves the church to sustain these refugees with their basic needs (food, water, shelter, medicine, clothes) but also with a touch of mercy and love that preserves their dignity.  Having lived this ‘salt and light’ sharing the Good News with them becomes an easy thing to do!  And Christmas for Refugees is doing just that!”

Murray, facing some obstacles, not to mention at one point being only 30 miles from ISIL-controlled territories, felt led of God to expand the program this year into two areas of Iraq, near Erbil, the capital city of Kurdistan.  Murray is aggressively planning for next year to further help develop relief to those who suffer, no matter what our news headlines say.

“It’s all about the children and how they can briefly escape their terrible, ongoing circumstances as displaced refugees,” Nancy Murry painfully relates.

Over two million Syrian refugees have crossed over into Lebanon making up for one-third of the country’s entire population.  Not quite as bad, but Jordan is experiencing a similar displacement of refugees squeeze on their economy.  Most refugees, even though they want to work, are not allowed to work in Jordan.  The economy of Iraq remains in shambles, causing more Iraqi people to seek relief, not just mere “handouts,” but life-saving food, clothing and shelter.

Bill summarizes: “Courtesy of ISIL, Christians around the world are finally beginning to truly understand the horrible conditions refugees face.  And for Christian refugees, it is much, much harder.  I pray that many more Christians will see the plight and send urgently-needed donations.”

Against the backdrop of staggering, appalling surroundings, out of the very depths of despair, one can hear the laughter of children as they play and experience a Christmas that they will remember for the rest of their lives.  After all, it is just like a Christmas they once knew.  The tears and smiles from the parents as they receive their much-needed food, is priceless.

That is exactly what Christmas is all about, not just about the birth of a Saviour, but about true compassion and love shown, just like our Lord showed.

Even the most desperate experienced the true gift of Christmas!

EDITORS NOTE: Rev. Bob Armstrong is a published author or co-author of numerous books, this month is the release of “Beware: Earthquakes Prophesied” (Creation House), as well as “Razor’s Edge: from Bin Laden’s Home to Divine Appointments,” “Stop the Y2K Madness,” among others.  These may be ordered on his ministry website:  www.lovelinkministries.com.  He is also an ordained minister for over three decades and has trained 50,000 pastors in 13 countries in leadership conferences.  He heads up an evangelical and humanitarian organization for three decades called Love-Link Ministries.  He has traveled in 47 countries.  He and his wife Kim, and daughter Brittany reside in Bradenton, FL.  He serves on the boards of several ministries. (bobkimandb@gmail.com)

Peace in Israel?

Golda Mier once said, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”

How can there ever be peace with Muslims who teach their children the kind of insanity seen in this video? Not only is this obscene but it is subhuman and sadly, the actions of the parents are based in Islamic doctrine and teaching.

Therefore, if Israel wants peace they must first establish security, not the other way around. It is a fool’s errand to hope that you can first establish peace with savages and then security will follow.

Find the courage to accept the truth and stand with Israel.

Death Toll Rises in Chattanooga Islamic Terror Attack

Saturday brought more somber news of a fifth victim of the Islamic terror massacre perpetrated by 24 year old Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez. He was killed by Chattanooga police in the rampage at a Naval/Marine Recruiting Center on Thursday, July 17, 2015.  The Wall Street Journal reported:

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Randall Smith was a reservist serving on active duty in Chattanooga. Officials said he died early Saturday morning. Mr. Smith, 26 years old, joined the Navy because he was inspired by the service of his late grandfather, said his step-grandmother, Darlene Proxmire. Mr. Smith was a married father of three girls and grew up in Paulding, Ohio, she said.

The other victims were four Marines:

Along with Mr. Smith, four Marines were killed in the attacks. U.S. official and family members on Friday confirmed the identities of the deceased Marines: Thomas Sullivan, of Springfield, Mass.; Skip Wells, from Marietta, Ga.; David Wyatt, of Hixson, Tenn.; and Carson Holmquist, of Grantsburg, Wis.

More emerges on the shooter-Abdulazeez and his family

The shooter, Abdulazeez, was a Kuwait-born naturalized U.S. citizen. He was a 2012 graduate the University of Tennessee –Chattanooga with a degree in electrical engineering who lived with his parents in nearby Hixson, Tennessee. He had just started a position with a local cable and wire firm.  The parents may have been among several hundred thousand Palestinians expelled from Kuwait following the First Gulf War in 1991, many of whom fled to Jordan. These Palestinians, unlike those who fled Israel during the 1948-1949 War, were not covered by the UNWAR refugee program. Rather they were eligible for refugee and asylum status under the UNHCR program.  The New York Times reported:

Born in Kuwait in 1990, Mr. Abdulazeez became an American citizen in 2003 through the naturalization of his mother, federal officials said; his father was also naturalized. Because he was a minor, he did not have to apply separately for citizenship. A divorce complaint filed by his mother in 2009 and then withdrawn, said the parents were from “the State of Palestine.”

Counterterrorism officials had not been investigating Mr. Abdulazeez before Thursday’s shootings. His father had been investigated about seven years ago for giving money to an organization that apparently had ties to Hamas. … The investigation did not result in charges. But the father was placed on a watch list for a while. A similar investigation was conducted in the 1990s and it, too, did not lead to charges.

Representative Michael McCaul, Republican of Texas, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said the watch list had for a time prevented the elder Mr. Abdulazeez from flying. “I believe there was a preliminary investigation, but there was no derogatory information, and he was taken off the list,” he said.

The shooter appears to have been heavily armed in the rampage, equipped with an assault weapon and two other long guns. It is reported that he purchased on-line some of the weapons for the rampage including an AK-47, AR 15, Saiga 12. He had also purchased two 7mm and 22 caliber side arms. He had a history of interest in guns, trained in using them at a local range and firing BBs at targets in the backyard of family’s home in Hixson. He also had a history of alcohol and drug related problems.  Following his graduation from UT-Chattanooga he received an offer of employment at a nuclear plant operated by Cleveland-based First Energy. Abdulazeez had been an intern at a TVA nuclear facility during his undergraduate career. A mandatory First Energy employment drug test in 2013 resulted in the loss of his job.  Notwithstanding, Islamic prohibitions against alcohol and drugs, Abdulazeez sought counseling for the problem in 2012 and 2013. Nevertheless the problem persisted as attested by his being arrest   in April 2015 on a DUI charge by Chattanooga police. A New York Times article noted the circumstances:

The only run-in Mr. Abdulazeez had with the law in the Chattanooga area appears to have been an April 20 arrest on a charge of driving while intoxicated; he posted a $2,000 bond.

According to a police affidavit, officers spotted him weaving through downtown Chattanooga after 2 a.m., in a gray 2001 Toyota Camry, and when they pulled him over, they smelled alcohol and marijuana, and he failed a sobriety test. They said his eyes were bloodshot, his speech was slurred, he was “unsteady on his feet,” and he had “irritated nostrils” and white powder under his nose, which Mr. Abdulazeez said came from snorting, crushed caffeine pills. He was scheduled to appear in court on July 30.

Those trips to Jordan

Abdulazeez, who held a US passport, made several trips to Jordan beginning in 2003 to visit a maternal uncle and family. He also made a side trip to Kuwait during a 2008 trip to Jordan. His father accompanied him on a trip in 2010 to Jordan after his no fly status had been lifted.  He made a 2013 trip to Jordan that returned home via Canada.   In April 2014, he purchased a one way ticket to Jordan, finally returning home via Doha, Qatar. What he did and where he went on that trip has yet to be determined, by law enforcement, FBI and foreign intelligence sources.  At issue is whether he made contact with the Al Nusra front or Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, the Islamic Action Front, or possibly ISIS via social media and whether he made a possible trip to either Iraq or Syria.  A WSJ report commented on the final trip to Jordan by Abdulazeez:

Mr. Abdulazeez wasn’t a familiar figure among jihadists in Jordan, according to Mohammad Shaabi, known as Abu Sayyaf, who sympathizes with the al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra. He said it is still possible Mr. Abdulazeez could have contacted extremists through means such as social media.

A few ISIS sympathizers on Twitter referred to Mr. Abdulazeez after the shooting as “a soldier of the Islamic State” and “an individual lion.”

Evidence of Family Problems – Bankruptcy and a Divorce Filing

The Abdulazeez family went through a spate of difficulties.  The father Youssuf filed for bankruptcy in 2002 which was completed by 2005. More troubling was a divorce filing by his wife Rasmieh I. Abdulazeez in 2009.  The Times reported:

Mrs. Abdulazeez said that her husband, Youssef S. Abdulazeez, had “repeatedly beaten” her and had “on occasion” abused the children by “striking and berating them without provocation or justification.”

The complaint also accused Mr. Abdulazeez of sexual and verbal abuse, and of declaring his intentions “to take a second wife, as permitted under certain circumstances under [Sharia] Islamic law.”

Evidence of Anti-Israel, US Animus and Salafism in final text message

Abdulazeez had evidenced concerns about IDF actions during the 2014 summer rocket war by Hamas.  According to a Reuters report, friends noted that following the 2014 trip he became increasingly concerned about Middle East conflicts. It was after the final trip that he went on-line and purchased weapons and went to practice using them at a gun range.  Friends said:

Abdulazeez’s friends, who asked not to be identified for fear of a backlash, said he was upset about the 2014 Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza and the civil war in Syria.

“He felt Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia were not doing enough to help, and that they were heavily influenced by the United States,” said the friend who received the text message.

Another friend said, “He had always talked about it, but I’d say his level of understanding and awareness really rose after he came back.”

A text message containing a Hadith sent the night before the attack may have indicated his adoption of fundamentalist Islam:

“Whosoever shows enmity to a friend of mine, and then I have declared war against him”.

An Islamic expert explained:

For jihadists and ultraconservative Salafist Sunni Muslims, the Hadith “is usually understood within the context of al-wala wa-l-bara (or) love for Islam and hatred for its enemies,” said David Cook, an associate professor who specializes in Islam in the department of religion at Rice University in Texas.

Pew Trust Islamic Extremism chart

Conclusion

The nationwide outpouring of mourning and grief at the wanton killing of five US service personnel in this Islamic inspired jihad at the Chattanooga Naval/Marine Recruiting Center was palpable.   The immediate national reaction to the tragic attack by troubled Abdullazeez was reflected in an offer by Governor Rick Scott in Florida to provide security by moving military recruitment centers in Florida to local National Guard armories.  There were also calls for lifting state laws barring US military uniformed personnel from carrying side arms.

There was still the conundrum of how federal and state law enforcement and homeland security agencies can prevent another Islamic inspired homeland jihad and acknowledge the threat.  Ultimately, it will require a new more responsive and clear eyed Administration. An Administration that appreciates what a recent Pew Trust poll has found: a surge to 53% of Americans concerned over domestic Islamic extremism.  Concern over ISIS is even higher at 73% of those polled by the Pew Trust.

The Chattanooga Recruitment Center massacre has another poignant side effect. It took six years for the Pentagon to award Purple Hearts to the service victims of both the  June 2009 Little Rock Army Recruitment Center attack and the November 2009 Fort Hood Massacre perpetrated by domestic Jihadis. We hope that Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and incoming Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, Marine General Joseph Dunford, Jr. will waste no time in making suitable posthumous awards to the grieving families and loved ones recognizing these valiant service personnel who died in combat against domestic Islamic terrorism in our midst.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is courtesy of the Miami-Herald.

VIDEO: Annex the West Bank and Solve the Arab/Israeli Conflict

Join The United West team as they take you on location inside the West Bank of Israel (a.k.a. Judea and Samaria) at the community of Karnei Shomron.

Defeating ISIS: A Biblical View of America’s Role [Part 3]

PART THREE: 

HIGHLIGHTS OF PART TWO

Part two explained from scripture that God’s love of people and His hatred of evil are inseparable and presented what should be the natural and necessary response of righteous men and women who wish to live in a world of justice, compassion, and order.  Part two also cited studies that identify the large majority of Americans as Christians of some “brand” and who, basically, concur with the moral principles of the bible. Let’s now consider the immediate and necessary role for America to play in quickly stopping the rapidly advancing Nazis of our time (to which millions have people have chanted for 70 years, “Never again!)

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

RESPONDING AS A NATION: THE POWER OF THE ARAB COUNTRIES, THE NEW COALITION OF ARAB NATIONS, AND THE RESPONSIBILITY OF AMERICA

On a larger scale, just as ungodly nations were destroyed in the Old Testament, the ungodly “world scale gang-bangers” need to be destroyed.  In Old Testament times, there was one situation in which God specifically told the Israelites not to pray for the enemy: “Do not pray for the well-being of this people” (Jeremiah 14:11).  Similarly, in the New Testament, Jesus did not pray for Satan.  ISIS is not simply the radical arm of Islam that establishes Sharia and devises even more cruelty than is conceived by the policies of these laws (cutting off limbs, executing women who have been raped, etc.).  The mission of ISIS is purely demonic and in this writer’s opinion, the “soldiers” (given: this is an insult to the word “soldier”) of ISIS are either demonically oppressed or possessed.

Because America is ultimately threatened in the not too distant future, we must participate in pushing back the forces of evil.  The evil has spread too far around the world already, and it’s already present here in America (see Parts I and II for more information).  We’ve already seen an Islamic extremist military psychiatrist murder many soldiers at Ft. Hood, many people killed in the Boston marathon, a woman’s head severed while she was at work in a factory in Moore, Oklahoma, and more horrors right here in our homeland.  Whether we like it or not, America is already “in the thick of things.”  The battle exists not only half-way around the world, but in America.

Also, whether it was right or wrong to seek to establish democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq, we committed to help the people of these countries live in freedom.  Formerly known as Mesopotamia, Iraq is the very cradle of Christianity (and is now nearly devoid of Christians).  How much more should we now rescue those who suffer the backlash of our abandonment?  Psalm 82:4 says, “Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”  Do you remember when thousands of joyful Iraqi’s proudly held their ink stained thumbs in the air, indicating that they had just voted?  We have left almost all of them to be driven from their homes or to be struck down by the swords of ISIS.

It is way past time for our leaders to map out and enact a clear strategy to defeat our enemies.  We could have stopped ISIS by leaving 15,000 troops in Iraq, but our president chose not to do that (our military leaders advised against this action).  We could have stopped them as they left Syria.  We could have stopped them as they marched from city to city in Iraq.  Iraq isn’t exactly covered with forests and canyons to protect them from our sight.  In Desert Storm, we discovered how easily we destroyed forces of evil with such basic weaponry as A-10 jets (while some people questioned if these planes could be useful at all).  Of course, presently A-10’s are being decommissioned right here in my hometown of Tucson, Arizona, where many of our A-10’s are based.

Also, we chose to ensure the downfall of Gaddafi without helping to stabilize Libya, predictably enabling the Muslim Brotherhood to come to power.  In fact, America sent tanks, fighter jets and millions of dollars to the Muslim Brotherhood.

We could have stood our ground when Assad crossed our president’s “line in the sand,” leaving more room for the terrorists to gain ground.  Of course, these and many other examples of non-action have proven the disastrous consequences of America’s continual abdication of world leadership.

Fortunately, people as evil as the ISIS terrorists are “like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:1).  But it is probable that righteous men and women must do their part in this life before the Lord executes final judgment in the life to come.  Hopefully, the civilized world will unite around strong leadership, which we pray will emerge (and discussed soon).

First to lead the fight was the King of Jordan, and America is giving a billion dollars to Jordan over the next two years.  Even China is giving aid to fight ISIS.  Saudi Arabia has over 200,000 active duty personnel with 75,000 soldiers, the fourth largest military budget in the world (52 billion per year), and has just agreed to take the lead in an Arab coalition to fight ISIS.  This coalition is only in the planning stages and will not be formed in time to save Yemen.  But at least many countries of the Middle East are beginning to clean up their own mess.  Certainly, the Saudis have a more immediate investment in seeing the defeat of ISIS.  Of course, in doing so, they come against Iran, as well, which is a necessary course of action.

The Egyptian Armed forces is reported to have more than 468,500 active personnel, in addition to 800,000 personnel available in reserve and over 400,000 paramilitary personnel making it one of the largest armies in the world (Wikipedia).

Jordan has the fifth most militarized nation in the world with 100,000 active military personnel and nearly 65,000 active reserves.  They will contribute to the coalition.  However, there are internal problems that have kept these countries from working well together.  But if these countries used even half of their forces, ISIS could be destroyed very quickly.

Strong leadership has not yet emerged from the United States.  How strong will be the leadership of Saudi Arabia has yet to be seen.  Of course, God has allowed the present circumstances for a reason, but that does not let America or any nation off the hook from standing up for righteousness against an evil enemy.  Especially an enemy that has designs upon our own nation (indeed, this is its foremost goal).   While the Arabs are forming a coalition, America could act now.  America could immediately provide strong leadership and take much stronger action than it is taking.  Of course, even if victory is quickly achieved, it will take at least a generation to defeat other forms of terrorism around the world, and in this writer’s view, battles against evil will never cease until the return of Christ (see the last chapter of the Book of Revelation).

It’s never too late to take leadership and then turn it over to Arab coalition, should that coalition prove effective.  Keep in mind that the number one responsibility of our government is the security of Americans and that America is presently “in the thick of things” right here on our own soil (see Parts I and II for more details).  Keep in mind that a great threat to America exists at this very moment and the time for decisive action is passing quickly.  Eight miles from the border of Texas is an ISIS training camp.  The State Dept. denies that this is true, but offers no proof of this denial.

Whether you believe we must individually forgive these particular enemies or not is irrelevant to the needed action.  Forgive and love our enemies all you want to, personally.  That’s what Jesus commands.  But our nation must help to stop the senseless murder and rapid advance of darkness, just as the world should have stopped Hitler and could easily have stopped him early in his campaigns.

America must lead the execution of thorough judgment upon ISIS, upon all Islamic terrorists (including upon those that have been released from GITMO and from the jail that released the present leader of ISIS), and upon any other mutation of terrorism that threatens our national security.

Do we need boots on the ground?  We need Arab boots. That’s for certain.   One biblical objection to this suggestion to join with the Arabs is that in biblical times, whenever the armies of Israel joined with ungodly nations, no good came of it.  But these Islamic theocracies are not technically our “enemies.”  As with all the Arab nations, they violate human rights as a way of life, and they persecute women in heinous ways.  Therefore, they are not ideal allies.  Yet considering that these nations are not our enemies and considering how easy it would be for them to defeat ISIS with the right leadership, it seems incumbent upon the United States to provide this leadership.  Such leadership would include providing air power, weaponry and Intel on the ground.  If this leadership proves to be necessary only temporarily, all the better.  Aligning with the Arab nations is no different than aligning with China and Russia to defeat Germany in WWII.  Some people believe that we should withdraw entirely from the Middle East.  We already see how our abdication of leadership has affected Russia, China, and Iran, as well as how this show of apathy and cowardice has affected our allies.  Further or continued abdication would continue to erode the trust of any nation that we can still call an ally.   Also, as already mentioned, whether America likes it or not, we are truly in the middle of the fight right now with terror cells in every state.  As smoke rises in the Middle East, we can provide leadership there – now – or we can exponentially increase our efforts to combat evil in America in the future.

Joining with Iran would be the height foolishness.  That would be the clear equivalent of God’s injunction in the Old Testament to not unite with our enemies.  Yet this is what America seems to be doing!  Iran is the #1 supporter of terror in the world and chants of “death to America” continue to ring in the darkness that covers that land.  Presently, Iran’s Middle East direct influence extends into Iraq, Syria, and Yemen.  Is it any wonder that Arab nations that are friendly to the United States are drawing closer to Israel, hoping that help can come from that nation?  Saudi Arabia has even offered a corridor through their nation for Israel to attack Iran.

Iran would easily defeat ISIS, but it would also add to its territory.  In fact, as America does little, the Shia fighters of Iran are taking the lead.  These Shia militias are quickly eclipsing the Iraqi forces in importance in Iraq.  The result of letting Iran take the lead will likely be to firmly establish Iran as the dominant force in Iran, doubling their territory while on their way to create nuclear weapons in the near future.  Providing help to the Arab nations, primarily in the form of leadership, would press Iran back out of the picture and help to preserve religious liberties in Iraq, helping Iraqis to regain ground lost when American pulled out the 15,000 troops.

Putting his own life in danger, Egypt’s President El Sisi has spoken directly to the leaders of Islam, advocating for them to stand up against Islamic fanaticism and also advocating for Arab boots on the ground.  El Sisi took the stand of a righteous man.

Can America provide air power, Intel on the ground, and weaponry?  Of course.  America could easily take the lead in the battle to defeat ISIS.   Our efforts to merely “contain” ISIS are not working.  Can we airlift those in danger out of Iraq and other nations in order to save them?  We have done this with over a thousand Muslims, as well as with many Syrians, even bringing many of them to America.  With the Syrians that we’ve brought to America, we haven’t even attempted to separate the oppressed from the oppressors.  Why not airlift Christians and those of other faiths out of harm’s way?

Is it worth it to stand up against the darkness?  Here’s another way to ask the same question (biblically): “Is it worth it to live for Jesus, rather than let darkness rule the globe, resulting in the murder of millions of Christians and millions upon millions of people of many faiths and cultures?”  Christians and tens of thousands of people of other faiths are presently being slaughtered.

Pacifism is not advocated in the bible.  Powerful action is not optional.  It’s what defeated the Third Reich and with God’s help – and only with God’s help – it’s what will defeat Islamic terrorism and all forms of terrorism.  I say “only with God’s help” because without God’s favor, Israel was consistently subjugated by other nations.  With God’s favor Israel could not be defeated even by “giants.”  As Psalm 127:1-2 says, “Except the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it.”  America will have victory over any evil only to the extent that the nation turns to God as her strength.  Therefore, from a biblical point of view, God’s believing church in America must call out to Him and pray for the heavens to open in order for God’s power to flow through (2 Chronicles 7:14).  From a biblical point of view, and in the belief of this writer, only through such spiritual warfare will the necessary earthly battle turn in America’s favor.   Keep in mind that as posited in the many scriptures above, love of God goes hand in hand with hatred of evil; and it’s the hatred of evil – this outrage against mass extinction of innocents – that will undergird the passionate pursuit to rid the world of pure evil.  As Bernie Goldberg said recently, “When outrage dies, a piece of humanity dies with it.”   An upsurge of love of God in America, therefore, will greatly help to ignite outrage and necessary action.

While praying for our nation to turn to God, action against the enemies of civilization must be taken quickly.   Of course, believers in Christ know that He will someday go to war against Satan to bring last day’s events to a conclusion.  Until the return of the conquering Messiah, His expectation, I believe, is that Christians and righteous men and women of all faiths will protect their brothers and sisters around the world, as well as in their own countries.  Therefore, fighting Satan in these times agrees with scripture, just as the natural manifestation of righteousness is to hate evil and to love and protect innocent lives.  Leviticus 19:16 says, “Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life.”  How much more should we stand up for the lives of millions of innocents, including the lives of fellow Christians, and including the lives of our own families?  Let’s remember that Jesus was not a peacekeeper; He was a peacemaker.

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NEW VIDEO: Visit an IDF Army Base and Kibbutz Misgav Am on the Lebanese Border

Join Tom Trento and The United West on a unique tour into the most northern reaches of Israel along the Lebanese and Israeli border.

In this video you will visit an Israeli Defense Forces Army base. Next we visit the Kibbutz Misgav Am literally a stones throw from the Lebanese border overlooking a Hezbollah controlled village.

Misgav Am (Hebrew: מִשְׂגַּב עָם, lit. Fortress of the People) is a kibbutz in the Upper Galilee in northern Israel. Located close to the border with Lebanon near the town of Kiryat Shmona, it falls under the jurisdiction of Upper Galilee Regional Council.

Misgav Am was founded in 1945. One of its founders was Dr. Reuven Moskovitz. He was born 1928 in Romania, survived the Holocaust and immigrated to Israel. He founded several organisations, including Neve Shalom, where he has lived since 1972.

On 7 April 1980, five terrorists from the Iraqi-backed Arab Liberation Front penetrated Misgav Am in the night and entered the nursery. They killed the kibbutz secretary and an infant boy. They held the rest of the children hostage, demanding the release of about 50 terrorists held in Israeli prisons. The first raid of an IDF infantry unit was unsuccessful, but a second attempt, a few hours later, succeeded, and all the terrorists were killed. Two kibbutz members and one soldier were killed, four children and 11 soldiers were wounded.

And a special thanks to Dr. Bob – OOZ – and CVC for your support of TUW.

God Bless America and God Bless Our Troops.

Hard to grasp the Middle East situation?

A UK friend emailed me about the mess in the Middle East, saying that the tribal differences make it hard to grasp the situation there. Yes, from the standpoint of the inhabitants of the region, the situation is labyrinthine. But from the U.S. standpoint there is nothing complex about it at all. It is a secret hidden in the open, IF you know about the petrodollar agreement signed in 1973. You can truly call it blood money. Of course, in one way, the motivation of the U.S. policy is still hard to grasp, namely, how it could be so utterly and irredeemably EVIL?

Here is my response:

Dear X,

The key to ALL our Middle East wars in recent decades is the petrodollar agreement with the Saudis. It is not at all hard to grasp.

From the U.S. standpoint, the wars (and support for revolutions) are disarmingly easy to understand. Here is a digest explaining exactly why the U.S. has been fighting in the Middle East: http://www.americandailyherald.com/pundits/donald-hank/item/how-the-petrodollar-perpetuates-Islamic-terror

It all boils down to the petrodollar agreement signed between Nixon and King Faisal in 1973. Under this agreement, the Saudis agreed to demand payment for oil in dollars in exchange for “protection” of the Saudi royals and their oil fields. But in reality, the Saudis were not only interested in protection. Their aim was to have the US wage proxy wars against their religious opponents, mostly Shiites but also secularists.

In reality, every single war in the Middle East was fought by the U.S. as a proxy for the Saudis, essentially in defense of Saudi Wahhabism (radical fundamentalist SUNNI sect) against two groups:

  1. Secularists like Qaddafi and Saddam.
  2. Shiites like Iran and Syria (Shiites are in fact the less violent and radical of the two groups. You see why the ME has exploded, with the U.S. supporting the radical SUNNI Wahhabi sect and their minions — al-Qaeda, Taliban, ISIS? — Incidentally, Afghanistan and the Taliban are a somewhat complicated case. The Saudis turned against them because they were refusing to bow to the Saudis and were making bad publicity for Saudi Arabia)

That is just about all you need to know about U.S. motivation. In a word, money.

Young men from a “Christian” country dying for radical Muslims and their religion, and Christian churches standing with our contemptible government in support of these proxy wars. Easy to grasp the mechanics. Almost impossible to grasp the evil behind it.

Best,

Don

P.S.: Consider how IRAN is one of the countries having religious differences with the Saudis and how Christians have supported confrontation with that country without understanding what is behind it and without making a rational comparison of Iran with other Muslim countries (which would show Iran, with its 600 churches, to be significantly more Christian-friendly than Saudi Arabia, which bans all churches). Jesus commanded us to be gentle as doves and wise as serpents. You can’t have wisdom without any knowledge. Most American Christians are guilty of the sin of willful ignorance, something God hates as much as any other sin. He says My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge – Hosea 4:6.

Judging by the way Europe and even our allies in Asia have been turning away from the US-dominated World Bank and becoming founding members of the Chinese AIIB, we are truly being destroyed by our obstinate refusal to know the truth. Instead we prefer hokus-pokus, signs like blood moons and other nonsense. Please read the following article on the AIIB vs World Bank and leave a comment.

Jihad Mughniyah and the Burned Jordanian Pilot

This is really unbelievable! The Iranian Shi’a Hezbollah terrorists are initiating confrontation of Israel’s borders and just a hop, skip and a jump away, the Sunni Islamic State is burning a Jordanian pilot alive.

Tune in as we explain how thias can happen! In 2008 Mughniyah got whacked by the CIA/Mossad because he was responsible for hundreds of deaths of innocent Americans and Jews. Recently his terrorist son, Jihad Mughniyah was evaporated by a missile and now the Iranians are really mad, thus launching attacks against Israel.

Put all this against the instability of the Middle East and man, we got some serious problems. The more you unravel the Iranian quest for NUKES, the more frightening the story develops. Imagine, Apocalyptic Ayatollahs with mega-destructive toys, let loose in a Sunni sand box and guess what you get? Dead Americans, Dead Jews and Dead Muslims.

These Islamic Shia’ Supremacists want control of Saudi oil, Saudi Mecca and Jerusalem and they KNOW that the way to achieve their Satanic objectives is to get their hands on red hot Plutonium! Thank Allah, we have President Obama standing between the Free World and Armageddon! This three-part series will tell you all you need to know that President Obama is the worst person in the world to trust with smashing Iran.

God help us.

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Despite the Horror, Syrian and Iraqi Christian Refugee Children (And Their Parents) Experience Christmas

Florida based Love-Link Ministries partnered with Christmas for Refugees to bring Christmas to the refugee-riddled Middle East. Rev. Bob Armstrong joined William J. Murray in bringing true joy to the war-ravaged lands. Bill is the author of seven books including his bestselling autobiography, “My Life Without God,” which detailed his childhood in the dysfunctional home of atheist/Marxist leader Madalyn Murray O’Hair. I have been on his board for three decades.

photo (8)

Rev. Bob with Syrian refugee children.

I have ministered in 45 countries, but nothing really prepared me for how great the need truly is, and how we (and your giving and prayers) had such a tremendous impact upon Middle East refugees. Several thousand Syrian and Iraqi Christian refugee children (and their parents) were given a genuine Christmas this year, in spite of their horrific circumstances.

Instead of spending money on renting event banquet halls, local churches were utilized for free. Plus, the local pastor obviously knew most of the precise, devastating situations and most of the refugees, as well as the dramatic needs of each family.

In Lebanon, in the city of Zahle near the Bekaa Valley, close to the Syrian border, the True Vine Church helped in this monumental effort to reach refugee children. The host pastor’s name — yes, his birth name – is Pastor Jihad!!!! You read that right! He has been to the United States several times before 9-11, but after 9-11, he was denied for five years simply because of his name! I understand why. What a terrific pastor!

Parents of the refugee children, having suffered so much when forced to flee their homeland in Syria to Lebanon by ISIL warriors, also participated in their own service while their children enjoyed a sumptuous meal in their own culture. BEFORE any child or adult received a meal or any food bags, the Christmas Gospel was taught to them. Many were Muslims. To hear Muslim children singing at the top of their lungs how Bethlehem was the place of the birth of the Savior of the world was absolutely breath-taking!!

Isam Ghattas and William Murray

Isam Ghattas and William J. Murray oversee the Christmas event for refugees.

Multiplied thousands of displaced Iraqi Christian refugees have recently come to Jordan because of the July, 2014 takeover of the city of Mosul by Islamic State Sunni fighters that was so heavily reported in the media. Most escaped with just the clothes on their backs. Islamic State Sunni fighters took their homes and gave them a choice: “Renounce your faith, leave or die.”

Many Christians chose to flee for their lives. One 72-year-old man, living in the basement of a Jordanian church, described his situation: “In one moment, I lived in a comfortable home with 1,800 square feet; and now I exist with my entire family in only 180 square feet!” (See the picture of me with him below)

To many, this might have been the very best Christmas these refugees have ever experienced, in spite of their urban plight. Many were forced from their mostly comfortable homes in Iraq.

We supplied Christmas dinner, the Christmas story, Christmas carols, a bag of candy, an entire week’s worth of food for an entire family (called a “Joy Bag”), and prayer the week before Christmas to those needy Christian refugees. Over 300 children and their parents received this humanitarian Christian program the week before Christmas at just one event held at the Orthodox Church. In all, over 1,000 refuge children in Jordan will be reached during the Christmas season.

Bible Society of Jordan participated as well by giving each family an adult Bible, a children’s picture Bible and children’s coloring and activity books with stories from the Old and New Testaments.

Even Santa Claus and Winnie the Pooh visited the new St. Ephrem Orthodox Church in Amman (headed by Priest Emmanuel) to give out bags of candy to the delight of the refugee children.

The United States’ media does not give the entire picture of what is happening in the Middle East. We are experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War Two. As reported two weeks ago on CBS 60 Minutes, nearly two million Syrian refugees have crossed over into Lebanon and now make up one-fourth of that nation’s entire population. The population of Beirut has doubled just in the last three years!

Refugees with their Joy Bags

Refugees with their Joy Bags.

Bill Murray and I had just entered Jordan from a few days in doing the same with Syrian refugees in Lebanon. We traveled extremely close to ISIL, or Islamic State (IS) -controlled enclaves to help develop relief to those who suffer.

I was within a football-field length from ISIL warriors and fighters!! In northeast Lebanon there is a place called “Private Tent City,” as opposed to the United Nations tent cities provided for some refugees. This “private” place charges money and at this one area, serves as a place for IS fighters to “regroup” in the winter months! Obviously, no pictures. No police go in there; no Lebanese army never enters the “private tent city.”

ISIL has kidnapped 26 Lebanese Army soldiers. ISIL has contacted the relatives of these kidnapped soldiers and has threatened them that if they do not blockade the main highway running north and south in Lebanon, their relative will be beheaded! So we had to drive around a couple of blockades. War is hell!

One of my very best friends, Bill Murray, the Christmas for Refugees founder, stressed: “Our main thrust is to assist Christian refugee children and their families. But if Muslim parents’ consent that their children can receive the Christmas message at the dinners, that is a part of the mission given us by the Lord. We doubled the amount of what we did last year at Christmas. We hope to double it again next year!”

Jordan’s Manara Ministries’ Isam Ghattas, our local Jordanian coordinator, urged: “No one can conceive how great the need really is. These refugees are creating a humanitarian crisis.” Our evangelical relief and development agency met many needs. The popular Ghattas was overwhelmed by grateful parents and children. One can tell from the smile on Isam’s face that the years of he constantly helping people is extremely rewarding to him personally. The exact same with Armstrong and Murray.

Most Iraqi refugees in Jordan fled their homeland with almost nothing. In one church basement (a church near Amman; no name mentioned for security reasons), 56 refugees live in 12 – 10’ x 10’ cubicles. Some are being moved to “trailer homes”. Forget the “double-wides,” these supposed “homes” are about one-third of a regular mobile home. Refugees use a different trailer for communal cooking for 20 families. Over 95% of Iraqi Christian refugees cannot get employment.

Most are considered “in transit” to permanent residence in another country that will take refugees. However, for most, that dream will always remain a dream.

We met with some leading pastors of the Assyrian and Chaldean churches, who also participated in the feeding programs. Here was the tragedy: looking into the “pleading” eyes of that Chaldean priest who showed the list of over 800 children he had registered for the meals. Unfortunately, the original budget was for only 100 meals. The priest had to make the tough decisions.

Refugee kids enjoy their Christmas dinner

Refugee kids enjoy their Christmas dinner.

It is my prayer that next year, everyone who wants, will be fed and blessed. Fortunately, the program was able to increase the number to 200 children, all newly arrived Iraqi children from Mosul, at that church. We are actively exploring ways to expand this worthy outreach into Iraq itself and even Egypt.

Despite deplorable conditions and an extremely bleak future, the laughter of the children could be heard and the ear-to-ear smiles could be seen at distribution points in Jordan and Lebanon, as they experienced a true “Christmas to remember” especially in a very unfamiliar place.
Grateful refugee parents shed tears of joy at seeing the children being able to have a Christmas time despite the horrid situation they find themselves in currently.

The Christmas program events presented in both Lebanon and Jordan were truly non-denominational. Christmas events were held at evangelical, Orthodox and Catholic churches. The Christmas for Refugee program was accepted by and cooperation received from churches of all faiths in both nations.

In the face of the disgraceful refugee crisis this Christmas there was a positive outcome due to the generosity of many people. Multiplied thousands of refugee families greatly benefited, and were blessed, because of this successful program.

Again, my gratitude to those who made a financial investment into this worthy cause. Most importantly, thank you for your continued prayers for safety. Obviously, I am back home with Kim and Brittany for Christmas. But a part of my heart is with those dear children and parents in the Middle East.

I also want to thank MAOZ Israel for your substantial donation to this cause, where that offering shows that even Messianic Jewish Believers in Israel genuinely care about their fellowman, the Arabs.

I have already committed to next year to be a vital part of this worthy and effective outreach.

P. S. I also met personally with General Georges Sada while in Jordan. He was head of Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Air Force. As a strong Christian, (the only one of over 120 of Saddam’s Cabinet) he later headed the Evangelical Christians in Iraq. He was also my host in Iraq years ago. It was a great reunion. We are exploring ways to reach more Iraqi refugees.

What will Israel do with ISIS on its Doorstep?

ISIS Flags at Gaza Funeral

ISIS Flags at Funeral in Gaza.

Yesterday, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) declared a Caliphate to be ruled under Sharia in the lands it has conquered in Syria and Iraq.   Jerusalem-based Dan Diker on yesterday’s Lisa Benson Show, on the Salem Radio Network was in the midst of a discussion with Mudar Zahran about the ISIS threat with “Jordan in its gunsight”, listen here.   He commented that the announcement should be viewed as a political statement to Al Qaeda and its leader Ayman al Zawihiri.

Zahran noted that  Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) had morphed into ISIS.  AQI  founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was a Jordanian from Zarqa who became self indoctrinated, joined Al Qaeda in Afghanistan in 1990’s and  ran his own Jihadi training center. He established brutal barbaric assaults in Iraq in 2005 engaging against US military and contractors,  and Shia Iraqis that set a precedent for ISIS.  al-Zarqawi was killed in a 2006 USAF -F16a  bombing attack at a targeted safe house in Iraq.

The ISIS declaration was also a statement to other Sunni terrorist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, Hamas.  The Algemeiner reported  ISIS flags were flying this weekend on pickup trucks in Gaza for a funeral an indication that it was operating there.   Conquering large swaths of terrain, looting upwards of a billion dollars worth of  money and gold, capturing US supplied Humvees and Blackhawk helicopters abandoned by a corrupt and incompetent Iraqi Army have morphed ISIS into an Islamic State with its own army.

ISIS is more than just a political threat elsewhere in the sectarian turmoil of the Middle East. That was recognized in comments by  New York Rep. Pete King  onABC’s This Week that President Obama should be “very  very aggressive” about ISIS.  He was most immediately concerned about protecting our Embassy in Baghdad with  500 US security troops.  There are also 300 US military advisors engaged in assessing what to do with a divided Shiite- dominated al Maliki government in Iraq. A government whose military is now  supported by drones of Iran’s Quds Force gathering intelligence on ISIS forces near the capital of Baghdad.

King was also concerned about the estimated 100 American jihadis reported to be fighting with ISIS. ISIS has enticed them with English language  weekly and annual reports and videos.    My co-host on yesterday program, Lisa Benson,  commented off –line about the plethora of such sophisticated ISIS social media that is published daily.  That brought back memories of the campaign  2008 endeavoring to get Google to shut down Al Qaeda jihadist training sites.

The Administration for its part looks like the proverbial deer frozen in the headlights of ISIS.  Last week, It floated  the belated idea of funding $500 million to train “moderate” rebel fighters in the Syrian civil war. A civil war  that looks increasingly like a stalemate between ISIS and  the Assad forces are  backed by Hezbollah and Iran’s Quds Force with support from Putin’s Russia.  That Administration proposal may be more than a day late and a dollar short.  We had reports in mid-June from Der Spiegel and other sources that the some CIA-trained rebel fighters in Jordan  opted to join ISIS given its stunning successes.

As Diker pointed out on Sunday’s Lisa  Benson  Show the makeup of the anti-Assad  rebels  according to a Times of Israel report may control 95 percent on the Syrian side of the Golan Height. He, said, “we can see Hezbollah flags flying”.  Then he noted that the balance might be Al Nusrah, the official Al Qaeda anti-Assad contingent that increasingly has seen their fighters opt to join the “successful” ISIS.

ISIS Flags in Ma’an, Jordan

I asked Zahran, who is pro-Israel and promotes the view that Jordan is Palestine, about the peculiar circumstances  behind  last Thursday’s Jordanian Security Court decision acquitting  Al Qaeda preacher, Abu Qatada.   Abu Qatada had been extradited from the UK  for preaching incitement and allegedly raising funds for terrorist causes. The Jordanian court had dismissed one charge based on a failed 1999 plot to attack an American School in Amman. The second charge of plotting terrorism against Israel targets has yet to be heard.  Last month on May 28, 2014, the Jordanian Security Court had sentenced 11 allegedly involved in an  2012  Al Qaeda plot to attack both British and US Embassies in Amman.  Zahran drew attention to the nearly six decade dalliance with the Islamic Action front, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, by the Hashemite Kingdom under the late King Hussein and now his son, King Abdullah II.   Zahran noted that the IAF, Muslim Brotherhood which is largely Bedouin, is the strongest organized Islamist group in Jordan. He drew attention to the daily pitched battles in  the southern town of Ma’an  between  Jordanian security forces and  local tribal supporters  of the IAF flying ISIS flags. Ma’an is located  less than three kilometers from Israel’s frontier.  The headline in a Washington Post report on the turmoil in Ma’an read, “Jordan fears homegrown ISIS more than invasion from Iraq”.

The security of Jordan as a buffer state, as  Diker pointed out is foremost on the agenda of Israel ‘s national security. We note the comments in The Times of Israel  by  former  Israeli  security cabinet strategic advisor Gen. Yaakov Amidror,  who  said that Israel should bolster the defense of Jordan against the ISIS onslaught.  At the Institute of National Security Studies  (INSS) of Tel Aviv University, yesterday Israeli PM Netanyahu underlined these security issues.     He talked about support for an Independent Kurdistan and completing a security fence along Israel’s eastern frontier from the Golan to Eilat.  Netanyahu said:

The forces of fanatical Islam are already knocking on our door” and  Israel needs to be proactive to bolster its defense against enemy infiltration.

“The first thing that we need to do is to build a security fence on our eastern border, and to build it gradually all the way from Eilat to merge with the security fence that we’ve been building over the last two years in the Golan Heights,” he said. “That fence does not hermetically prevent infiltration; it doesn’t prevent shooting through the fence as we saw tragically just a week ago; it doesn’t prevent barrages of missiles over it, or the digging of tunnels underneath it. But it does narrow down dramatically that permeatio on Israel’s border.”

Israel will not cede the Jordan Valley approaches, much sought after by Secretary of Kerry and the US facilitator in bi-lateral discussions between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, former US Ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk.  Diker pointed out Indyk’s announced return to the Washington-based Brookings Institution indicative of the US failure to achieve a final status agreement with the unified Palestinian government of Fatah with Hamas.  Diker cited the abduction of three Israel youths, including one American, by Hamas the prime suspects sought in the massive Operation Brother’s Keeper as evidence that no security for Israel could have emerged from the US facilitated negotiations. Unfortunately, the bodies of the three youths were recovered by the IDF, today amidst grief for their families and sorrow expressed by many Israelis and Americans.

Deceased three Israeli abductees likely slain by Hamas suspects. From left: INaftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, in three undated family photos. Credit Image by Reuters

Netanyahu’s  INSS remarks reflect the deep concerns about the stability of Jordan rife with more than 1.4 million Syrian refuges, and a million Iraqis. There are an estimated 1.5 million  Arabs Refugees of Palestinian origin.  Jordan’s population of 7.9  million is based on CIA Factbook estimates.  Note the last census was taken in 2004.  Then there is the  accommodation of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist support growing in the country’s Bedouin population . They feel aggrieved about  the lack economic participation and high unemployment amid  alleged  corruption charges against the ruling autocratic Hashemite King and family.

Umm al Fahm, Israel protests by Islamic Movement, June 27, 2014.

Netanyahu also recognized internal threats to Israel’s  security at yesterday’s cabinet meeting.  He announced that  he would move to outlaw the Northern Branch of the Islamist movement, whose leader, Sheikh  Read Salah,  has proposed to establish  a Caliphate on the Temple Mount.  In October 2013, we wrote in the Iconoclast  post about Israeli Arab adherents of Sheik Salah joining up with anti-Assad Al Qaeda rebel forces in Syria.   Last Friday, there were rallies organized by  Salah and his Islamist adherents in the Israeli Arab town of Umm al Fahm protesting the raids by the IDF in Operation Brother’ s Keeper denying Hamas abduction of the three slain  youths.  Rock throwing by protesters was broken up Israeli riot police with tear gas and sound bombs. Netanyahu noted:

[The northern Branch of the Islamist Movement] constantly preaches against the State of Israel and its people. [The Islamist Movement ] publicly identify with terrorist organizations such as Hamas. Therefore, I directed the relevant authorities to consider declaring the northern branch of the Islamic Movement as an illegal organization. This would give the security authorities significant tools in the struggle against the  movement.”

In May 2014, Netanyahu had been thwarted in such a move against the northern branch of the Islamist Movement by the Justice Minister Tzipi Livni of Hatnua, because these enemies of the Jewish State are citizens. They are represented in Israel’s Knesset by Arab parties, espousing pro Palestinian positions verging on sedition.

Israel knows what it has to do with ISIS on its doorstep and fellow travelers inside. The question is the resolve of Jerusalem to take the hard steps. Israel’s friends in the US Congress are urging the Administration to undertake actions to protect its only reliable ally and interests in the region.   The ISIS Caliphate’s declaration means that Israel will have to defend itself from jihadis both inside and on its doorstep.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.