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Russian Intervention in Middle East Conflicts

In the waning months of the Obama Administration, its lack of effective leadership in the war against the Islamic State and the civil war in Syria created a potentially dangerous power vacuum. The White House was pre-occupied with concluding a UN-endorsed pact, hoping to rein in Iran’s quest for a nuclear capability – a capability that a number of analysts have concluded it may already have. Purported cooperative development may have been behind North Korea’s fourth nuclear test since 2006 on January 6, 2016. While official propaganda from Pyongyang suggested that the test involved elements of a possible fusion or hydrogen bomb, a few astute observers suggested it might have been a so-called boosted fission weapon. It was likely a nuclear warhead for a missile. Iran has derived test data and been a customer for North Korea’s missile technology. Iran violated UN sanctions and JCPOA bans against missile tests with the launch of two precision guided missiles in the Persian Gulf in October and November 2015. In late December, Iranian Revolutionary Guards naval forces staged a live fire missile exercise provocatively firing less than 1,500 yards from the USS carrier Harry S. Truman, accompanying destroyer, the USS Bulkley and a French frigate.

Mahdist Iran had endeavored to assert its hegemony in the Middle East encircling Saudia Arabia and the Sunni Gulf States by supplying Revolutionary Guards and proxy Hezbollah forces in support of the beleaguered Assad regime in Syria. Further, Iran had lent Quds force leadership to provide technical assistance to Iraqi Shia militias in the conflict with the Islamic State in Iraq. Both countries had squared off in Yemen with Iran supporting the Shia Houthi rebels while Saudi forces supported the overthrown government. These roiling geo-political conflicts between Iran and Saudi Arabia, two major oil producers in the Gulf Region, came to a flash point in early January 2016. The Saudi Wahabbist regime in Riyadh summarily executed a long held dissident Shia Imam. That provoked a torching of its Embassy in Tehran by Basij paramilitaries loyal to Ayatollah Khamenei.

These actions resulted in a break off of diplomatic relations between these two Islamic countries. Both propound extremist Qur’anic doctrine and interpretations of sharia (Islamic law) that have origins in the contending meta-narratives of the Muslim prophet Mohammed’s succession. The Shia in Tehran contend that the rightful inheritor of Islam’s jihad should have been the prophet’s son-in-law Ali, killed at the battle of Karbala in what is now Iraq. The Sunni Wahabbists in Riyadh contend the rightful successor to be one of the early Caliphs and companions of Mohammed, Abu Bakr.

It is not without precedent that former Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi chose that name when he declared the Islamic State during of the Civil War in Syria. Al-Baghdadi’s Islamic State put out the call to the global sunni ummah, gathering more than 30 to 40,000 foreign fighters and settlers to experience seventh century pure Islam in a renewed jihad to restore the Caliphate. That jihad created a virtual state the size of Britain that burst the borders between Syria and Iraq armed with US and Russian weapons captured from fleeing Syrian and Iraqi forces. The Islamic State has its own Sharia law courts, and a treasury filled with plundered gold and cash. These are funds from sales of smuggled oil, jizya taxes collected from conquered subjects and human trafficking of enslaved religious minorities like the Yazidis and Christians in Iraq and Syria.

The barbarous beheadings and crucifixions of infidels were grisly props for the Islamic State prompting millions of refugees and internally displaced persons to flee to sanctuaries in Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. One million of those refugees from the hot spots across the Muslim Ummah made treacherous crossings of the Mediterranean. They burst the borders of the open Schengen system in a new Dar al Hijrah immigration wave deepening the Islamization of Eurabia. Among that stream of asylees were ISIS foreign fighters who became shahids, martyrs, in the November 13, 2015 Paris massacres that claimed the lives of 130 and hundreds of injured innocent civilians at open air cafes, a music hall and outside a soccer stadium. Less than a week later the Belgian-born ISIS commander and other jihadis who participated in the attack were killed in a shootout with French police swat teams in a Paris suburb. Now we have the release of an ISIS video showing the nine attackers beheading hostages and training for the Paris attacks orchestrated by the Islamic State.

Into the cockpit of the Syrian civil war in September 2015 came Russian President Putin. He sent Russian forces to establish airbases and launch air assaults against Syrian opposition forces from the Alawite bastion of Latakia with its Mediterranean naval base. Putin, fresh from his adventures in both Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, entered the fray to prop up Russian interests in Syria and President Assad. The downing of a Russian Metro-jet flight on October 31, 2015, in an alleged terrorist bombing by an Islamic State affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, resulted in the deaths of 224 civilians and air crew aboard. The Islamic State propaganda machine claimed responsibility for the bombing. That resulted in extending Russian air assaults to target the Islamic State, especially its administrative capital of Raqaa in Syria.

However, it was the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber by a Turkish F-16 jet fighter on November 24, 2015, ordered by Turkish President Erdogan that ratcheted up the geo-political conflicts in the Middle East. The Russian plane had purportedly penetrated Turkish airspace for less than 20 seconds. The Russian flight had targeted Syrian Turkmen opposition forces in the border region with Turkey. Putin called Erdogan’s action “a stab in the back” and would not accept his “apology.” Putin promptly cut off diplomatic contact imposing sanctions on significant trade between the two countries. That included Putin suspending construction of a $12 billion pipeline deal with Erdogan. Erdogan had clearly miscalculated. That sent Erdogan scrambling to replace it with Israeli offshore gas from its Mediterranean fields amid talks about renewing diplomatic relations cut off after the Mavi Marmara Free Gaza flotilla incident in 2010.

Putin put out word to Syrian Kurdish YPG-led forces that it would provide air support by establishing an air field at Qumishli in the Kurdish enclave of Rojava in northeastern Syria. The YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces captured a key Euphrates River Dam in late December 2015. It was given offers from the Russians of air support to assist it in closing the Turkish border to join up with the western enclave of Afrin. The Turks in turn began military preparations on their side of the border. Erdogan is engaged in an internal operation against the YPG affiliated Turkish Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), that Turkey, the EU and we have designated a terrorist organization.

Putin Netanyahu Moscow September 2015

Russian President Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Moscow September 2015.

That left the Israelis, concerned about Al Qaeda, Iran proxy Hezbollah and ISIS ranging on all of its borders. Of special concern is the threat on Israel’s Northern border with Lebanon and Syria, but also its Southern border with ISIS affiliates in the Egyptian Sinai. Israeli PM Netanyahu and several top military and security aides flew to Moscow on September 21, 2015 to establish a mutual understanding with Putin over national security issues in Syria. Israel would continue to attack shipments by Syria and Iran to the latter’s proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah. Putin has no agenda involving Israel. Netanyahu was immediately concerned with a low-intensity terror war waged daily since September 2015 by Palestinians and some Israeli Arabs allegedly incited by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Palestinian and Israeli Arab violence has claimed 28 Israeli, US and foreign migrants dead and dozens injured from knifings, car rammings and shootings. 149 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security. In one troubling case, in January 2016, an Israeli Arab using a semi-automatic weapon at a Tel Aviv café killed three persons. He fled the scene and was eventually tracked by Israeli security forces to his home area in Northern Israel and killed.

On the weekend of January 17, 2016, the UN nuclear watchdog agency, the IAEA, announced that Iran had complied with the JCPOA declaring the start of Implementation. President Obama released to Iran upwards of $100 billion in impounded Iranian oil revenues held in several foreign banks. As a result of a 14 month long secret negotiation, four Americans hostage and an American student were released in exchange for clemency for seven Iranians, six, dual US citizens and one Iranian national. They were convicted or charged with engaging in illicit procurement of sensitive technology. Subsequently it was revealed that $1.7 billion had been wired to Tehran in what Congressional critics called a “ransom payment.” In the week prior to these dramatic developments, 10 US sailors and their Riverine command boats wereseized by Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ naval forces and held for 24 hours on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf waters controlled by Iran.

Against this background, we convened another in the series of 1330 AM WEBY international Middle East Round Tables with Daniel Diker, a Fellow and Project Director for Political Warfare at the Jerusalem Center for Public affairs, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post and Shoshana Bryen, senior director at the Washington, DC-based Jewish Policy Center.

Michael Bates

Michael Bates:  Good afternoon and welcome to Your Turn. This is Bates. We are doing our special periodic International Roundtable about what is going on in the Middle East and I have joining me in the studio, Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog, The Iconoclast. Welcome, Jerry.

Jerry Gordon

Jerry Gordon:  Glad to be back, Mike.

Bates:  Joining us by telephone, Shoshana Bryen, Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington. Shoshana, welcome back.

Shoshana Bryen

Shoshana Bryen:  Thank you.

Bates:  And, from Jerusalem, Israel, Dan Diker, head of the Political Warfare Program at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a columnist forThe Jerusalem Post. Diker, welcome.

Dan Diker

Dan Diker:  Shalom to you and Florida from Jerusalem.

Bates:  Shalom. Question, I’ll open with you, Dan. What is the security situation in Israel right now? I’m reading a lot about more of daily attacks, shootings and stabbings, I don’t want to say small time because if you’re the victim it is pretty significant. But, it doesn’t appear from this vantage point in any way that it is a full blown intifada with suicide explosives going on. What are you seeing in Israel right now?

Diker:  Mike, it is a very good lead in to the question because the signs are not pointing to a third intifada which in Arabic means “uprising.” These are “Lone Wolf Attacks” that are suggestive of network terrorism. The kind of terrorism that we saw in Paris recently. However, most of the attacks here have been stabbings or car terrorism – running over victims with cars. We finally saw in the last week and a half a meaningful shift in the type of sophistication of attacks. One Israeli Arab terrorist was neutralized by Security Forces just a few days ago, after they took a little over a week to find him up in Northern/North Central Israel. His methodology was suggestive of ISIS and Al-Qaeda in that he wore a black outfit and his shooting attack was very reminiscent of what we saw in some of the Paris attacks. This type of attack had enormous cognitive echo effect frightening Israelis throughout the entire country. The fear factor was rather extraordinary because security forces could not find him for seven days which was quite unusual for Israel. I do think that last week’s shooting attack on Dizengoff Street, which is one of the main streets in Tel Aviv, was a concern of people here because it is rather easy for people to get their hands on an M-16 or another automatic weapon and just fire indiscriminately as he did into a Tel Aviv bar. So, that has really created concern, deep concerns here, and has had a profound psychological effect on the population. Overall, bottom line though, Mike, terrorism is at a reasonable level, even though it sounds strange to say that. It is not at a front burner level, the flames are not super high, Security forces, as well as citizens legally carrying firearms, especially in Jerusalem and in the Gush Etzion have done a good job in killing terrorists when they try to stab Israeli children, men and women. So, things are at a reasonable level. The psychological effect though has been stronger following the last shooting attack in Tel Aviv.

Bates:  If these attacks are being done by Lone Wolf operatives, how can the Israel security forces predict or prevent them because it’s not like they are intercepting communications from the conspiracy. It’s all in the guy’s head. So, does that complicate things?

Diker:  It certainly does. In fact, this type of Lone Wolf network terrorism is very difficult for Security Forces to use traditional lines of Intelligence in order to snuff this out and prevent it before it happens. There are strong signs that Hamas has been directly involved in the planning and in the directing of some of these attacks, not the majority, but Security Forces and Intelligence Services have been focusing on what it requires to address this type of terrorism.  What it requires is very quick reaction on the part of Israelis in the street. If you come to Jerusalem, you will see the epicenter of the 240 attacks in the last 3 1/2 months. I would say well over 200 have been in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. I’m actually speaking to you directly from Gush Etzion, which is a bedroom community of Jerusalem. Here, there have been 20 to 25 attacks within five minutes from where I live in the very intersection where people go to fill up their cars with gas or take their children to schools. I take my daughters to school there every day and there you can see soldiers from very top units stationed about 15 feet, one from the other around a traffic circle. People here are legally able to carry firearms as you have thousands of people in Jerusalem. It really requires this quick type of response because traditional Intelligence-top down Intelligence – is not quite as effective against this type of terrorism.

Bates:  Are the perpetrators of these attacks Arab Israeli citizens. Clearly they’re not coming from Samaria and Judea through the wall, right?

Diker:  There is a breakdown of the 240 attacks. The majority have been Palestinian Arabs from areas in the West Bank, in Judea and Samaria

Bates:  Oh, okay.

Diker:  Where Jews and Arabs live together, they are on the Israeli side of the security barrier; however, others of them are Palestinians. There are some 100,000 Palestinians from the Palestinian controlled areas of the West Bank that cross into Israel every day to earn 2-3 times from the Israeli employers what they would be earning from their Palestinian Authority employers. That illustrates the kind of risk that Israel is still prepared to take upon itself in order to ease Palestinian area employment problems. They still allow 100,000 Palestinian workers to come into Israel every day and some of those have been found to be knife terrorists. Others of them have been Jerusalem Arabs who are not citizens of the State.  However, they receive all of the social benefits of Israel Arabs although they live in Jerusalem in areas that have not yet been decided whether they will become Israeli citizens or whether they will stay under Palestinian Authority control. The minority of these attacks has come from Arab Israeli citizens and there is a real question as to why. Many believe that the vast majority of Israeli Arabs are loyal to the State of Israel. They want to work and get ahead and send their children to good schools and flourish in the democratic Jewish State of Israel. That is the way things are looking right now.

Gordon:  Shoshana, Prime Minister Netanyahu made an announcement this week regarding the fact that he wants the rule of law for one state and not two peoples. What did he mean by that and what kind of initiatives did he announce?

Bryen:  Actually I’m going to send most of that question back to Dan who deals it on a more day to day basis. Essentially what the Prime Minister said was for Israeli Arabs and for Israeli Jews, you have one national grouping and you need one set of laws. There is a concern in Israel that Israeli Arabs are often held to a lesser legal standard than Jews. You see it most definitely in the housing field. The Israeli Arabs build houses without legal Israeli Government permits and, these are people who are full citizens of the State. They ignore the laws that they don’t care to obey. This kind of general lawlessness, this ability to say that I don’t have to follow the laws of the State gives rise to people who will either attack Jews or in some other way undermine the State. The Prime Minister was saying, “One people, one national people, one set of laws.”  As Jews are held to a standard, Arabs have to be held to the same standard inside the State of Israel.

Gordon:  Dan, do you have a response to that?

Diker:   I think that Shoshana makes the basic point in a very distinct, eloquent manner. I think that the context here is there has been an unspoken agreement from the Israeli Government to agree not to enforce certain laws for Arab Israeli citizens for fear that would cause unrest. For fear that it would exacerbate a sensitive situation where their identities in some cases are split. They are subject to incitement to murder and violence by the Palestinian authority. Some 20 to 30 Israeli Arabs have gone off to fight the global jihads in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. There is a sense here that the Israeli Government would not enforce (to the same severity) domestic law and criminal law that they would for Israeli citizens of Jewish and other backgrounds. Netanyahu was basically trying to do a reset, especially in the aftermath of this terrible shooting in Tel Aviv which was perpetrated by an Israeli Arab from a family that, on one hand had cooperated with the Israeli Authorities. His father and family had been good citizens of Israel. On the other hand, what the authorities have discovered in the aftermath of the shooting is that the terrorist received a great deal of assistance from his extended family, cousins, uncles and others as well as neighbors where he lived in the North. So there is this sense by Netanyahu and the government that they want to do a reset and stay with one law for one state and this is something that echoed with the Bedouins in the South which have been in many cases as lawless as some of the Arab Israeli citizenry, in the North. This is a real attempt to clear the table and say look, we are one state, different culture, but it’s one law. This is democracy and it’s a state of law, a country of laws and it will be enforced equally. It was also a message to the Arab Israeli leadership in the Knesset, which has been extraordinarily irresponsible in representing local constituencies. The Arab Israeli leadership traditionally, certainly in the last 25 years could be deemed an extension of the Palestinian National Movement in the West Bank. This was also a call to them to try to bring them onto the same page as the law enforcement agencies and the government.

Gordon:  Shoshana, the Russians are having more and more involvement in the Middle East. What are they up to?

Bryen:  The Russians have two goals in the region. One is to keep their warm water port and their naval base at Latakia and the other is to kill Sunni jihadists. In order to pursue both of those goals, they need to keep the central Syrian state alive as long as possible and that means allying with Bashar al-Assad. It also means that they ally secondarily with Hezbollah and Iran. However, Russian relations with Hezbollah and Iran are not those of allies. They are those of people that work together because they need the same sorts of things at the moment. Russia is hardly tied at all to Hezbollah and is only marginally tied to Iran. They have been very careful. For example, what they sell to Iran. They announce big stuff but they sell small stuff. What the Israelis have been able to do is talk to the Russians about Israeli red lines in Syria. I don’t mean water colored pink lines like the Obama Administration has. We are talking about serious Israeli red lines of which there are two. One is that there will be no Iranians or Hezbollah on the Syrian side of Golan Heights and the other is that there are certain weapons that will not be permitted to go to Hezbollah. Those are the red lines. The Russians seem to have respected them to date. The killing of Samir Kuntar (a terrorist convicted in Israel for the murder of a four-year-old girl and her father) was because he was working on terrorist activity that would emanate from the Golan and reach into Israel-and the Israelis said, “No, that’s not acceptable, he has to go.” There are reports right now that Hezbollah is receiving more sophisticated weapons from Russia than the Israelis would permit. However, if you trace those reports back to their sources, the sources are all Hezbollah. Hezbollah says, “We are getting laser guided missiles and we’re getting sophisticated weapons and we’re getting them directly from Russia.” For the moment at least, I cannot find an independent source that suggests that is true. What you really have is the Russians laid down their markers, having determined what is important to them, and they are carrying that out with a variety of countries including Israel.

Bates:  Shoshana, the Russians clearly want to keep Bashar al-Assad in power and the policy of the American Government is regime change. Those obviously cannot coexist at the same time. Are we potentially going to have to confront the Russians over Syria?

Bryen:  I’m not sure that the American position is any longer that al-Assad has to go. It used to be that we told him to be a “reformer.” Then we told him to step down: ”We want you to go right now.” Then we armed people to try to take him out. Now we have told the Russians, in the context of a political conversation al-Assad will have to make a promise to go at some point. The Russian position is not that firm either. The Russian position is that someday there will be an election in Syria and perhaps in the context of an election in Syria perhaps al-Assad will go. So, nobody is saying that al-Assad stays permanently. Both sides are edging their way toward a mechanism that could separate al-Assad from the seat of power in Damascus.

Bates:  The Russians clearly have an interest with that warm water port in Syria on the Mediterranean. Whoever replaces al-Assad, the Russians are going to want him to be friendly to them.

Bryen:  Yes, of course. By the way, that is not something to which the United States can very well object. We have ports all over the world. If the Russians’ goal is to keep the port, the Russians care less who sits in Damascus than whoever sits in Damascus will allow them to maintain the port they need. We shouldn’t object to that.

Gordon:  Interesting question for you both. How does Russia support the Kurds who are allies of the United States in Syria and also support the Kurds in Turkey?

Bryen:  Russians have to support the Kurds in Turkey at least nominally because the Russians and the Turks are not on good terms at the moment. Anything that irritates the Turks is good from the Russian point of view so they support the Kurds. There seems to be a difference with the Kurds in Syria because the Kurds in Syria are among the best fighters in Syria. At the moment, they don’t bother the Russians but there is no reason for the Russians to support them, either.

Bates:  Shoshana, you said the Russians and the Turks are not on good terms right now. How would you describe the terms that the United States and the Turks are on?

Bryen:  Terrible, actually. Erdogan came into office in Turkey with the policy called “No Problem with the Neighbors.” By this he meant no problem with Syria, no problem with Iran, no problem with Israel. No problem with anybody. He was going to be friends with everybody. When that was true, Turkey’s economy took off and he looked like the great hero of the Middle East. He has today, poor relations with all of his neighbors, very bad relations with the Russians and very bad relations with us.

Bates:  Those relations with the Russians of course were made worse by the recent shooting down of the Russian jet ostensibly over Syria. The map I saw indicated that the Russian fighter was over Syria for probably less time that it takes time to introduce yourself, a few seconds at most, but it was in fact shot down and one of the pilots killed. Right?

Bryen:  Yes.

Bates:  So, what has the fallout been from that?

Bryen:  The biggest piece of fallout has been the suspension of a pipeline called Turkey Stream that the Russians were building. It was a 12 billion dollar project that was going to bring Russian gas to Turkey and into other European countries. The Russians have put it on hold. The Turks did not expect that. That is one of the reasons they turned to Israel. They are concerned now that they will not have access to Russian gas in the future. Where does Erdogan go? He looks at Israel and says, “Can we have yours please?” The Israelis are handling this very cautiously.

Bates:  Dan, what are you seeing?

Diker:  I just wanted to add an additional point that the way we understand and hear the Obama Administration had pursued Erdogan and Turkey quite aggressively in its first Administration. That things have gotten sour has been a major source of frustration to the Obama Administration because the White House had really made overtures to Turkey to be the new emerging power. The political Islam, or Muslim Brotherhood based government that Erdogan leads today was looked at by the Obama Administration as the model for his new Middle East. The fact is that Turkey is having its difficulties with Washington as they are with Russia.

Bates:  Dan you were addressing the Israeli/Turkish relationship. Please finish that thought.

Diker:  Yes for the first time since 2010, the Turks and the Israelis have instead kissed and made up to a certain degree. Trade is at an all time high, military cooperation has continued and it seems that the Turks are looking to balance their interests. They don’t like what they see around them and in terms of Iran and because of Russian involvement in Syria on Turkey’s border. They look at the Israelis as sharing of some of their views vis-a-vis the Iranian threat.

Gordon:  Dan, why did Erdogan virtually crawl back to Israel after five years of suspended relations over the Mavi Marmara Free Gaza Flotilla event in May of 2010?

Diker:  At that particular time, Turkey was pressing a lot of buttons around Hamas trying to assert itself, you know, as an emerging hegemon in the region, opposite Iran. In a region in which Arab states were collapsing left and right every time you turned around. Today, Turkey’s fortunes have changed. They look at the Assad regime on their border, they look at Iran crawling through the Middle East and funding, directing, and arming a Shiite terror group. They look at the United States as conducting outreach to the Iranian regime. They see a nuclear weapon problem coming from Iran. They see a serious regional terror spread from Iran. I think that Erdogan as Shoshana mentioned, has difficulties with the United States. I think they have agreed to re-engage with the Israelis. I will say it may not be that Erdogan will make a state trip to Israel or that Netanyahu will make a state trip to Ankara. Clearly there is a lot more cooperation than there was six years ago.

Gordon:  Shoshana, the world has been stunned by the sectarian divide, almost an abyss between the Wahabbist Saudis and the Mahdist Shia in Tehran. How is that going to impact on the Russians and the U.S.?

Bryen:  It shouldn’t be surprising because Saudi Arabia is the chief funder of Sunni jihad. The biggest fear the Russians have is Sunni jihad because it happened in their country. The Saudis turned the Chechen War in Russia from a nationalist war – the first war – into a religious war – the second war – in the earlier part of this century. So, the Russians and the Saudis really despise one another. The Saudis for a long time now maintained a strategy of pumping lots of oil. They pumped oil to maintain their market share and drop the price. Dropping the price drives the Russians crazy because the Russians have nothing to sell but oil and gas. They’re not a sophisticated country; they’re not a first world economy. The Iranians, the Russians and the Venezuelans, by the way, have been driven crazy by Saudi policy. The Russians needed oil to be $119 a barrel to balance their budget. Last year Moscow admitted that it reconfigured the budget using $85 a barrel of oil. Oil is right now is at $30 a barrel.

Bates:  I think it’s actually below $30.

Bryen:  Let’s say that it doubles because the price is going to go up at some point and it goes back up to $70, it’s still not enough. So the Russians hate Saudis. That has largely been missed because what the Saudis do, they do quietly and they do it behind the scenes. They are a major driving factor in Sunni jihad. Now, at the moment, that is an uncomfortable place to be for the Saudis. They don’t really want to be funding jihad. They are afraid it will come home to hurt them. So, I don’t think it will change Russian policy at all. They hated them before, they hate them now. The Saudis are probably withdrawing some of their financial support. The Saudis also have budgetary issues although they are very well placed to ride out this wave of low oil prices. They have an enormous stash of cash.

Bates:  Shoshana I read that the Saudis had a 98 billion dollar deficit.

Bryen:  Yes, they do. However, they have $600 billion in hard currency reserves. If they want to cover that deficit they can. They are probably good for the next five years. Five years is a very long time in the Middle East.

Bates:  I have this theory about these low oil prices. I’m curious to know if you subscribe to it or if I’m way off base. During the Regan Administration, there was an alignment with the Saudis and the Vatican to bring down the Russians through the Solidarity Movement in Poland.  That was the Vatican’s connection with Pope John Paul II. With low oil prices through Saudi Arabia in order to bankrupt the evil empire, Soviet Russia. It appeared to have worked. Are we seeing something like that again, where the Saudis are part of a geopolitical strategy to bankrupt the Russians, Venezuelans and ISIS and all of these other oil producing bad guys?

Bryen:  That would give too much credit to the United States for having a strategy. Saudi Arabia is very definitely opposed to Russia and is doing this on purpose with an eye toward as much damage as they can inflict on Russia and on Iran. I think the Venezuelan thing is a happy accident but if you want to ask the question is it being driven by the United States or somehow coordinated with the United States, absolutely not. Because it is not in the President’s interest to collapse the Iranians. It’s not in the Obama Administration’s playbook.

Bates:  Yes, I would love to see the Iranian regime collapse but Barack Obama is not interested in that. Shoshana, you were talking about the interest of the Obama Administration in regime change with Iran. I’m quite interested in getting those Mad Mullahs out of Iran but is it not official U.S. policy to do so anymore?

Bryen:  No, it’s not. It has been the Obama Administration Policy to find a way to work with Iran, to bring Iran into the family of civilized countries. It seems to me, that the Obama Administration’s view of the Middle East was to have Turkey take care of the Sunni side and Iran takes care of the Shiite side and the United States leave. The people who most adamantly objected to that were the Saudis. So part of this cheap-oil flood-the-market deal is the Saudis’ desire to create pain in Iran. Had we been smarter, more farsighted and we had a different Administration, it was the perfect time to collapse the Mullah regime. Sanctions were working, sanctions were making it terribly difficult for the Mullahs to maintain their grip on the population and the Saudis were about to administer the coup de grace. Instead the Obama Administration saved them. We told them we will lift the sanctions. We told them they don’t have to do anything about their internal problems. They didn’t have to do anything about the boot they have on the neck of the Iranian people. We saved them. Looking at the economics of Iran, it’s still in terrible shape.

Gordon:  One of the more significant events this past week was the explosion of a fourth nuclear device in North Korea. The question is less whether it was a miniature hydrogen bomb, but really the connection between that test and he Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Bryen:  It’s an intellectual connection. The Iranians would like to know how far they can push us without penalty. The North Koreans would like to know if they could claim that it was a hydrogen bomb and we would believe it. But it wasn’t. Even though the Iranians fired a missile within 1,500 yards of the U.S.S. Harry Truman, an aircraft carrier, as it was sailing in international waters in the Straits of Hormuz. We didn’t do anything about it; we didn’t acknowledge that it happened for about a month.

Bates:  I saw the video of that incident. The missile wasn’t shot towards the American Carrier, but it was only 1,500 yards away. Is that a violation of International Law? The Iranians did announce it over the radio, so it wasn’t a surprise attack. Do you, Shoshana know if that is legal under the Laws of Navigation, Laws of the Sea?

Bryen:  Firing ballistic missiles in international waterways is frowned upon by the international community. It doesn’t really matter if they announced it or didn’t announce it; to put a missile like that out there in international waters is a violation of common sense among other things. So, no, it is not an act of war, it’s not that they were firing at the Harry S. Truman in order to start a war with us. However, it also does not comport with the way countries normally do business. So, it should have concerned us. What it really is was another test by the Iranians, “What can we do and what will they say?”

Bates:  They can do anything and we will do nothing. Do you see a connection, Shoshana, between the North Korean Nuclear Program and the Iranian Nuclear Program?

Bryen:  There is a very definite connection. That connection has been uncovered for a long time. For example, when Israel bombed a reactor site in Syria, there were people who were killed who were North Korean scientists. The North Koreans built that facility, the Iranians paid for it. It was meant to be outside Iran in the hopes that nobody would touch it. Actually, it made it easier to get rid of it because it was in Syria. Notwithstanding, it was a North Korean/Iranian joint center.

Bates:  Is there any danger that the Iranians under the JCPOA will simply develop their nuclear capability in North Korea and then just ship the missiles home when they need them?

Bryen:  That has been a theory for a long time. That North Korea is actually the testing grounds for Iranian capabilities. It wouldn’t surprise me. No, I don’t think we have specific evidence of it.

Bates:  No evidence but certainly a possibility.

Bryen:  Certainly a possibility. The North Koreans need money more than anything else. Iran has it and they are willing to spend it on that program, I would be shocked if they weren’t doing it.

Bates:  Jerry, what about the documentary on PBS Frontline on Benjamin Netanyahu. Do you see that and if so, what did you think of it?

Gordon:  Yes, I saw it. I thought it was kind of contrived. However, in retrospect, I think the presentation probably overcame many of the extreme left wing speakers in Israel and even here in the United States. There were two episodes in the documentary that were disturbing. One had to do with an event that was held in Tel Aviv at which Bibi appeared to a throng of protestors in Tel Aviv and the second were comments which I think had been subsequently denied by Martin Indyk, the former US. Ambassador to Israel. He was a Special Aide to the Obama Administration in negotiations before he left in 2013 and those comments were alleged to have occurred between Indyk and Bibi at Rabin’s funeral, and I think those were the most disturbing. Shoshana and Dan, do you have any comments about that?

Bryen: Let me just comment on the Indyk incident that was alleged to have happened. Martin Indyk said that sitting next to him at Rabin’s funeral was Bibi and Bibi leaned over to him and said something like, “it’s too bad Rabin is dead because now he will be a martyr and when he’s a martyr he will make it harder for the right and it’s going to cost me votes.” Indyk said directly to the camera that Netanyahu had told him that. As it turns out, there is photographic evidence from Rabin’s funeral that they weren’t sitting together. That part of the story fell apart and Indyk’s response to that was, “Oh well maybe it happened somewhere else.” So, I think it is pretty clear that comment was put into Bibi’s mouth directly by Martin Indyk. I don’t want to say that he lied, but he lied. So that should give you an idea what was going on in that segment.

Gordon:  Dan, you had comments about Bibi?

Diker:  A couple of things. Martin Indyk was a two time US Ambassador to Israel and he made his disdain for center right wing politics in Israel very clear. That is a very questionable position for an ambassador to take, commenting and intervening in the internal polices of the country in which they are situated. There were a number of examples of Ambassador Indyk doing that in Israel. That was one example of what we have seen over the last 20 years from Ambassador Indyk. The other was what you mentioned, Jerry, in the Frontline documentary was Netanyahu’s alleged incitement. The context for that was in the days preceding the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. It was shown to be false, that Netanyahu incited the protesters. Netanyahu did not incite the public he was attempting to calm the crowds below and to hold a civil discourse. In fact, it has also been revealed which may be a surprise to our American friends, that Israel internal security services had actually put up some of the posters that violently portrayed former Prime Minister Rabin in Arab keffiyeh, trying to liken him to an image of Arafat. That was shown to be a setup by political activists. Talk about political warfare, political activitism by Israel’s left. This will go down in history as a very internally, civilly violent period by the left towards the center right and the right in Israel. It actually had nothing to do with Netanyahu’s alleged incitement. It was in fact a staged political event by the left wing political sector of Israeli society. It is a rather shameful episode and all too misunderstood in the West.

Bates:  Dan, I’ve got to ask the question because I think it’s important. How do you see the Israeli-American relationship and for terrorism around impacting the U.S. election cycle.

Diker:  Middle Eastern terrorism, the global jihad, ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, and others in radical Islam, and Iran will be a major American election issue. Israel is leading the Western counter-attack against radical Islam in the Middle East. I think all of the candidates frankly recognize that and I do think we’re going to see a major shift away from the current White House strategy and treatment of Israel.

Bates:  Foreign Policy and National Security, the Republicans win. Domestic Policy and Welfare the Democrats win.

Bryen:  Dan was making a point that terrorism within the United States raises the threat level in the eyes of the American public. That is not a political statement and it’s very true. I think that the President has told us that we have nothing to worry about. However, for very good reasons the American people believe we do. And, that’s going to be an argument. The President says “no, no it’s fine, it’s no problem’ and the people here say “Hey wait a minute, what about this killings, what about the killing over there? What about the attacks on military recruiting centers?” 2015 was a banner year for arresting and trying domestic terrorists, all of whom happen to have been Muslims.

Bates:  We will see where it leads and I’m certain we will have this conversation again many times before the November 8th election. Thanks so much for joining us, Gordon, Senior Editor of the New English Review and its blog The Iconoclast, Bryen, Senior Director of the Jewish Policy Center in Washington and Diker, Head of the Political Warfare Program of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

RELATED ARTICLE:

Putin, Assad and Geopolitics

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

Why do we have an Oil Glut?

The world is awash in oil and gas. Amazing.  Less than two decades ago in 1998, the predictions were by this time in 2016 oil production would be past its peak. In fact the gloom and doom experts were called Oil Peakists. Note this from Science magazine back in 1998:

From Science magazine’s “The Next Oil Crisis Looms Large—and Perhaps Close,” Aug. 21, 1998:

This spring . . . the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported for the first time that the peak of world oil production is in sight. Even taking into account the best efforts of the explorationists and the discovery of new fields in frontier areas like the Caspian Sea . . . sometime between 2010 and 2020 the gush of oil from wells around the world will peak at 80 million barrels per day, then begin a steady, inevitable decline, the report says.

However, technology, especially here in the U.S., relegated that prediction to the proverbial dust bin of history. With the private developments of  revolutionary shale fracking and horizontal drilling technology, vast new energy resources were opened up in places like North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and even in the older Permian field in West Texas. The U.S. is now pumping 9 million barrels of oil a day, and trillions of cubic yards of gas. We are no longer dependent on importing Middle East oil. In fact much of the oil that we import comes from our neighbors Canada and Mexico.

In the wake of lifting sanctions against nuclear Iran, oil is beginning to flow again to the European Union from Tehran which says it could add another 500,000 barrels in production this year.  U.S. oil is also flowing to Europe now that the 43 year old ban on oil exports was lifted and signed in law late in 2015. The first shipment of sweet crude drawn from the Eagle Ford Shale field in South Texas left the port of Corpus Christi, Texas on New Year’s eve and landed at the port of Marseilles on Friday. Another shipment out of Houston made it to Rotterdam on Thursday. A third one out of Houston is on its way to Marseilles. The oil is the equivalent of the so-called Saudi light or sweet crude which doesn’t require as much refining producing profit margins for the refiners.

So, why do we have this glut? 

The world’s economies are not growing as fast or rather slowing down, especially in the big consumer of raw materials and energy, China.  China’s economy and trade is impacting on those exporters of commodities like oil, gas,  copper, aluminum  and  iron ore like Australia,  Brazil, Canada,  Russia, Venezuela  and African countries. Where China was growing at a purported 10 percent plus, annually, the evidence is it has fallen to less than a third of that towering inflated level. We have come to realize those growth estimates were based on questionable figures  prepared by the Chinese government.  Some economic experts suggest the annual growth in GDP may be less than three percent.  So with that news came the sudden plummeting in the world trading markets for commodities, especially oil.

There is  also the great geo-resource political game in the Middle East going on between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and let’s not forget Russia.  Saudi Arabia as the keystone in the OPEC oil Cartel is not listening to the complaints of the other members of the group at meetings in Vienna demanding that it reduce domestic production. It is pumping oil and still making money, because it costs less than $5 a barrel. This despite a yawning budget deficit of $98 billion. The Saudis have an estimated $600 billion in hard currency reserves, which provides a cushion to ride out the geo-political storm. They are using the oil weapon to beat back competitors including Iran across the Persian Gulf, Russia which  has military in Syria supporting the Assad regime, and  the newly resurgent producer, the US.   Russia, as Shoshana Bryen of the Washington, D.C.-based Jewish Policy Center pointed out in a recent interview, mispriced its budget at $119 a barrel of oil, then redid the numbers at $87 dollars only to see it plummet to less than $30 at one point.

So what is the impact here in the U.S.?

When was your last trip to fill up your car at the gas station?  Here on the Gulf Coast in the U.S., regular unleaded gas is currently selling for less than $1.80 a gallon.  That means savings to consumers who appear to be putting away the difference awaiting a return to a more confident economy.   Diesel that at one point was priced at nearly $1 dollar a gallon above gasoline has shrunk to less than ten cents a gallon differential. That means that the cost for moving shipments via long haul truckers has gotten cheaper. It means that jet fuel cost is less reflected in the huge profits being declared by the major airlines. Some of that may be due to the lagging airline ticket surcharges that remain in place.  However, the drop in oil production is also impacting the profit margins of rail carriers who minted money from train loads of combustible leaving the Bakken formation in North Dakota. The drop in oil prices occasioned by the glut also means that the cost of petro chemical feed stocks is enhancing profit margins for plastics,.

Remember, the discussion about lifting the 43 year old oil export ban?

One of the by-products of that was the convergent pricing of U.S. crude has converged with world pricing.  If you went onto the COMDEX oil trading floor in lower Manhattan, you would see traders vying for futures contracts in West Texas Intermediate (WTI) versus Brent-the so-called North Sea crude oil benchmark. The lifting of the oil export ban in the U.S. virtually eliminated the difference making Brent the world standard.  As of Friday, January 22, 2016 WTI was $32.19 per barrel for March 2016 deliveries, a 9.0 % jump, and Brent priced out of the London ICE was $32.18. Heavier grades like Canadian Tar sands or Venezuelan heavy sulfur crude require more refining to produce various products. These grades actually sell at discounts from those benchmarks by as much as five dollars.

Can we expect the oil glut to last? Hardly. The current excess supply will work itself off and oil futures will gradually begin to rise again. That will bring rigs on stream here in the U.S. to start producing again, it may cause Iran to produce more than the declared 500,000 barrels  annually and the Saudis would just be minting more billions to add to its hard currency reserves. However, by mid century those fabled Saudi sweet crude reserves may likely begin to tail off. Energy, whether oil or gas will reflect the cyclical demands of the world economies.  The U.S. stands in pretty good shape to weather the current volatility in trading markets; thanks to technology, entrepreneurial prowess and the lifting of the oil export embargo. Don’t panic and consider investing in contrarian values in the equity and debt markets. That is what the long term value investors do. They buy when values are relatively cheap compared to long term returns.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. An earlier version was published in the Newsletter of the Lisa Benson Show National Security Task Force Newsletter, January 23, 2016.

The West is so naive when it comes to the Islamic State

In our January 2016 New English Review discussion with Dr. Jill, Bellamy, “The ISIS Chemical Biological Threat to the West,” we wrote:

In conversations with Dr. Bellamy she had raised the threat that the Islamic State with more than $1 billion in funding from smuggled oil sales, extortion and looted bank hard currency and gold reserves could acquire the professional staff of scientists and technicians and equip laboratories for production of leading edge synthetic biological weapons. She had also drawn concern over foreign ISIS fighters in Libya gaining control of Gaddafi-era chemical weapons caches sealed by the UN.

Dr. Bellamy provided confirmation of this in a FoxNews report presenting graphic evidence of what she said should give the West cause for concern, “Footage of ISIS weapons lab shows construction of heat-seeking missiles, car bombs:”

New images of what is being called a “jihadi technical college” in the ISIS terror group’s de facto capital shows that the group is capable of producing key components for advanced weaponry, including surface-to-air missiles.

Footage of the weapons lab in Raqqa, Syria was obtained by Sky News and shows that ISIS scientists have managed to produce a homemade thermal battery for use in surface-to-air missile systems. That had previously been thought impossible for terror groups without any military infrastructure to accomplish.

The footage shows that ISIS can recommission thousands of missiles previously thought unusable and target passenger and military aircraft.

Sky News reports that terror groups had previously been able to build the weapons, but storing them and maintaining the thermal battery was difficult to do.

“What this video shows is that ISIS is leagues ahead of their terrorist predecessors,” Chris Hunter, a former bomb technician with the United Kingdom Special Forces, told Sky News. “Their advanced knowledge of weapons engineering, coupled with their seemingly limitless ability to reverse engineer and recondition weapons (which until now intelligence agencies had considered obsolete and beyond repair) kept me awake all night.”

Sky also reported that the ISIS “research and development” team has produced remote control cars to act as mobile bombs, complete with “drivers” — mannequins with self-regulating thermostats that produce the heat signature of humans, allowing the car bombs to evade sophisticated scanning machines that protect military and government buildings in the West.

The Sky report was based on eight hours of unedited training video that was seized by the Free Syria Army when it captured an ISIS trainer making his way toward Europe via Turkey.

An ISIS defector in Turkey told Sky News that a top secret training program was known about in Raqqa, his home town. He confirmed the program was designed to carry out attacks in Europe and further afield.

“If [attacks were] meant internally. they could send someone to set an explosive device or wire a car as they are able to do this [openly],” the defector said. “But doing such a program and documenting it was meant to target a large number of people and in more than one location.”

Bellamy’s comment on this FoxNews report is apt:

The West is so terribly and dangerously naive when it comes to IS. They cling to the notion that they are incompetent or don’t have WMD capabilities and continuously try to downplay the threat we face. Israel and possibly Russia are the only countries who really ‘get it’ when it comes to Da’esh scientific staff.

Our comment.  President Obama, this is graphic evidence that we are not dealing with a JV team of Islamic terrorists in occupied Raqqa, Syria, the capital of the self-declared Caliphate, the Islamic State.

RELATED VIDEO: Usama Dakdok’s analysis of the Islamic State (presentation begins at 13:00 minute mark):

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

PODCAST: Pakistani Terrorist Camps in the United States

Listen to this podcast of the January 3, 2016 Lisa Benson Show on KKNT 960 AM Radio – The Patriot. Lisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon co-hosted this show with the assistance of Board of Advisers member, Richard Cutting.

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser of the American Foundation of Islam and Democracy and the U.S. Commission for international religious discussed the recently launched Freedom Muslim Reform Movement, the deteriorating situation inside Syria and U.S. failure to contend with NATO ally Turkey under Islamist President Erdogan in the war against ISIS.

Shoshana Bryen, senior director of the Washington, D.C.-based Jewish Policy Center, addressed allegations in a recent Wall Street Journal expose of NSA spying on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, U.S. Congressional Members and American Jewish leaders, Israeli preparedness against ISIS threats in Syria and the Sinai and the tacit cooperation with Egypt and the fascinating understanding struck with Putin’s Russia to contain Hezbollah. We will be posting Bryen’s written responses to these and other questions, separately.

Jamaat ul-Fuqra fbi

FBI agents embracing members of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a Pakistani based terrorist group in the United States.

Ryan Mauro, National Security Analyst at The Clarion Project addressed the terrorist training camps established in both Canada and America by radical Pakistani Sufi Sheik Mubarak ali Gilani, who has not been investigated by the FBI despite his founding a network of Jamaat ul-Fuqra/Muslim of America (MOA) paramilitary camps in both Canada and the U.S. that conveyed extremist Islamist ideology and provided weapons training for prison converts to Islam. These MOA camps fostered a three decade record of attempted assassinations, criminal activities supporting terrorism akin to that of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino massacres. Yet, as Mauro pointed out, Sheik Gilani does not support ISIS.

Our usually astute European listener had these comments on the January 3, 2016 Lisa Benson Show:

To hear Dr. Jasser state the plan to reform the religion of Islam was very interesting. The Sharia Islamic law actually promoted by Sunni Islam is both political and religious. For these extremists their ideology requires them to conquer the world and forcefully ask all the non-Muslims to convert to Islam or become third class citizens of their caliphate.

What Dr. Jasser is proposing is to separate religion state from religion in Islam. A modernized religious law will take a lot of time.  However, this is the only way to advance eliminating extremist Islam from all around the world. Dr. Jasser should not call this reform a new Sharia law, but the New Moslem Religious law. The word Sharia has another meaning for all Moslems. It will be interesting to watch how many mosques and Imams would adopt Dr. Jasser’s propositions because many are still funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Moslem Brotherhood. Let us not forget that Muslim Brotherhood/CAIR members have been engaged by the Administration in such policy considerations.

Dr. Jasser has to be congratulated for the dangerous and wonderful work he is doing.

Wonderful to hear Shoshana Bryen giving her opinion and analysis. The Israelis know that they are being tapped and they know quite well what encryption services they can use for their communications which are Top Secret. Shoshana knows all about what is going on and she writes about it explicitly.

The details that Ryan Mauro provided are diagnostic of the chronic illness of these Islamist Muslim of America camps.  It is unbelievable that the FBI, even with limited resources, has not taken the necessary steps to indict all those who are embedded in these groups. I sincerely hope that there will not be a major terror attack in the US perpetrated by members of these Islamist camps.

I think the radio show is really getting better and better. The American public needs to hear these comments to wake up and contact their law makers in order to have a safe America.

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

Turkey: Why Muslim Nations Shouldn’t be Part of NATO

With NATO member Turkey’s recent downing of a Russian aircraft sparking fears of WWIII, a rather politically incorrect question needs to be asked: should a Muslim nation have NATO membership?

Having a country as part of the NATO alliance is no small matter. Since an attack on one member nation is considered an attack on all, an escalation of the Russian-Turk crisis resulting in military action against Turkey by Russia could, conceivably, lead to a WWIII. This is why it’s imperative that NATO members be rational actors.

As to this, I have a theory about the shoot-down of the Russian plane. It’s just a theory, and admittedly it’s “probably” not the explanation in this case. Yet I think it’s worthy of consideration, especially since it could be a factor — and a profoundly dangerous one — at some point in the future.

When Turkey was admitted to NATO in 1952, the Cold War was ramping up and the nation was relatively secular. Today, however, it’s well known that Turkey has been Islamizing and that its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is an Islamic supremacist. Also note that Turkey was the location of the last great Islamic caliphate, the Ottoman Empire. And some think,that just as Benito Mussolini wanted to resurrect the glories of the Roman Empire, Erdoğan and others want to reclaim the far more recent Ottoman dominance.

Now, let’s say you’re an Islamic supremacist regime leading an Islamizing nation. Let’s say that, as is par for that course, you believe the whole Earth should be conquered for Islam and have an apocalyptic world view. You look at the geopolitical scene and see a decrepit, secularizing West on one side, a place that itself is being Islamized as it slowly descends into irrelevancy. And opposing this you see Vladimir Putin’s Russia, the only remaining major nation unapologetically Christian,a nation that has rejected the West’s destructive leftist agenda (Putin himself, whether it’s principle or posturing, has served notice that Russia is willing to be Christianity’s standard bearer).

Before elaborating further, it must be emphasized that an Islamic apocalyptic world view is so foreign to most Westerners that they can’t even conceive of it. As to this, however, it has been said that if former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had supreme decision-making power in his land, he would “sacrifice half of Iran for the sake of eliminating Israel.” Remember, we’re dealing with adherents who frequently blow themselves up in an effort to take just a few non-believers with them. And with this suicide/homicide-bomber mentality so prevalent, it does follow that, sometime, somewhere, it would have to penetrate into Muslim halls of government.

So let’s say this is your mindset. Is it unfathomable to think you might want to start a war between the Christian and secular “infidels”? Might you not hope that Russia would be destroyed or at least neutered and that the already waning West, in a Pyrrhic victory’s wake, would be left teetering and all the more susceptible to a hot or cold Muslim takeover?

Even if what resulted wasn’t the sudden rise of the final and greatest caliphate, it’s logical to assume that a WWIII could lead to a new world order. Also realize that most of Dar al-Islam (that apart from Turkey) would most probably sit on the sidelines during such an affair; thus, it would likely emerge stronger relative to the West and the rest than it had been before. Turkey, of course, would take it on the chin as part of NATO. But what does that matter to a “half my country for Allah” type?

Also note that it wouldn’t have to be the Turkish regime’s official policy to spark such a war for the action in question to be taken; rogue elements within the government or military could be enough. And regardless of how it all shook out, wouldn’t the prospect of getting the “infidels” to kill each other be very attractive to a suicide-homicide-vest type? All it means for the Muslim “collateral damage” is that a lot of men get their 72 virgins far sooner. And given that jihadists have sacrificed themselves for the sake of killing just a few non-believers, what kind of an appeal do you think wiping out millions of them would hold?

Once again, the aforementioned is just a theory, and an unlikely explanation, insofar as the downing of the Russian plane goes. But how likely or unlikely is it that it could be a factor in the future? All we need is just one apocalyptic jihadist at the right nation’s helm.

There are two Islamic countries in NATO, Turkey and Albania. The latter is only 58 percent Muslim and a quarter irreligious, yet even it spawns some terrorists. And is having Muslim nations in NATO much like having Muslim individuals in the West? Is it just a matter of time before one of them takes up the sword for Allah?

Of course, many will scoff. It’s important here, however, not to fall victim to that common human failing of mirroring, when we project our own values, priorities and mindset onto others. As Michael Caine’s character explained in the film The Dark Knight, “[S]ome men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasonedor negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

And some men want to burn it to buy the promise of Paradise.

Contact Selwyn Duke, follow him on Twitter or log on to SelwinDuke.com.

Searching for a Syria Endgame Strategy

Anyone needing to be reminded of the unintended consequences of military intervention might consider this week a tutorial. Anyone could foresee a certain complexity in the skies above Syria, but the direction from which that complexity comes is nevertheless always surprising.

The lack of unity in international action in Syria was obviously, and long before this week, a problem. France and America may have a clear idea of the aims of their aerial campaign, but their aims are not the aims of the Russians. And the aims of the Russians are not the same as the aims of the Turks. To the extent that the international community is involved in Syria it is still pursuing a whole range of different and contradictory agendas. These nations have all bundled into a situation which threw up new problems consistently from the start.

Yet the shooting-down of a Russian plane by Turkish forces undeniably adds a further level of complexity to this already tangled situation. And the response of both sides has been not only contradictory between themselves but individually too. Turkey’s claims have shifted as facts have come out, and Russian denial of certain clear facts does not make the subject any clearer.

But as Britain’s Parliament debates the rights and wrongs of British action against Isis in Syria all of this should act as a reminder. Not only of the necessity of preparedness in our armed forces but a preparedness for the unexpected fall-out which military action always brings.

A broad coalition against Isis is obviously desirable and cooperation between as many countries as possible is not only a diplomatic but a strategic necessity. But anyone who thinks this involvement is cost free is ignoring recent history. The government’s rationale for intervention in Syria now is different from its rationale two years ago and comprises action against a different side. And so it would be wise not just to exercise military preparedness but to complement it with a sober and complete political objective. In particular it is vital that the intervention’s aims are not only desirable and achievable, but specific.

The temptation of mission-creep is well documented and has plagued recent interventions. A clear and unified objective to destroy Isis is in everyone’s interests. But in order to achieve that we must have a vision not only for what the start of action looks like, but what its end will look like too.

Putin: Turkish leadership purposefully supports Islamization of country

Putin has also accused Erdogan of being an “accomplice of terrorists.” Hard to deny that.

Turkey’s rapid re-Islamization under Erdogan has been documented by Robert Spencer here at Jihad Watch for a decade or more now. For Putin to target Turkey’s Islamist shift demonstrates yet again the Russian leader’s clarity and toughness, as juxtaposed with the West’s politically correct myopia and ineptitude.

Think back to June 2013, when Putin blasted Obama and Cameron for supporting so-called “moderates” in Syria, who were shown on video eating the organs of their slain enemies. Or his equally strong rejection of Western military intervention in Syria. Or his call to the West to unite in defending persecuted Christians in the Middle East and Africa. And of course his recent UN address, when he castigated the Western leaders responsible for the rise of ISIS and the refugee crisis, shaming them with the question, “Do you realize what you have done?”

For those who might be concerned, based on his remarks below that Islam is “a great world religion,” that Putin is becoming soft on the jihad threat, recall that Putin does not hesitate to employ decisive use of power when required to shut down the Islamic threat. A prime example is the rounding up of 300 Muslim jihadists at a prayer meeting in 2013. Can you imagine anything like that happening in America? Certainly not under the current administration.

Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet — which at least one analyst believes was premeditated  — locks it squarely in Russia’s cross-hairs, and its rapid re-Islamization only makes the bulls-eye even larger.

“Putin: Turkish Leadership purposefully supports Islamization of Country,” TASS via Pravoslavie, November 25, 2015:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the current leadership of Turkey purposefully supports the country’s Islamization. “The problem is not in the tragedy we faced yesterday (the Su-24 incident), the problem is much deeper,” the Russian leader told reporters. “We see — and not only we, I assure you that the entire world sees that — that the current leadership of Turkey has been for a number of years pursuing a purposeful policy of support and the Islamization of the country.”

Putin noted that Islam was a great world religion, which was one of the traditional religions, including in Russia. “We ourselves support Islam and will continue doing so, but the point at issue is the support of a more radical branch. And that in itself creates a very unfavorable environment, the atmosphere that one cannot see at first sight,” Putin said.

Russian nationals staying in Turkey may be facing serious danger, the Russian president warned.

“After yesterday’s event, we cannot rule out other incidents and if they happen, we will have to respond somehow. Our citizens in Turkey can, certainly, be in serious danger,” Putin said, adding that he supported Foreign Ministry recommendations urging Russians not to visit Turkey.

“After such tragic events as the downing of our plane and the pilot’s death, this is a forced measure and the Foreign Ministry is right to warn our nationals of the dangers,” Putin said.

Putin’s words follow the downing of a Russian Su-24 bomber by a Turkish F-16 fighter jet on Tuesday morning. Ankara claims the Russian warplane had violated Turkey’s air space while the Russian Defence Ministry says the Su-24 was flying above Syria.

Both pilots ejected but one was killed by gunfire from the ground. The other was rescued by Russian and Syrian forces and brought to Russia’s air base in the area.

Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency has asked the country’s tour operators to suspend selling holiday packages to Turkey. Some 10,000 Russian vacationers are currently there.

RELATED ARTICLE: Video: U.S.-backed Syrian “moderates” scream “Allahu akbar” over body of downed Russian pilot

Democrat Candidates: Wide Differences on Islamist Terror by Ryan Mauro

The remaining three Democratic presidential candidates participated in a forum with MSNBC last Friday and it exposed very important divisions within the party about the sources of Islamist terrorism. One side sees it as an ideological battle and the other sees it as a repercussion of Muslim grievances against American policy.

Senator Bernie Sanders described the war with the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) as a battle for the “soul of Islam” whose primary participants must be Muslim. Because he sees it as a Muslim-on-Muslim conflict where the West is caught in the crossfire, Sanders thinks it is counterproductive for the U.S. to take the lead in fighting the Islamic State.

Sanders said he disagrees with President Obama’s decision to send ground troops to Iraq to aid the Iraqi security forces. The U.S. should play a supporting role, he argued, but the surrounding Muslim countries should be the only ones to send in ground forces to fight it out with the Islamic State.

The viewpoint of Sanders about the nature of the war puts him more in line with Clinton than with Martin O’Malley.

“Jihadist groups are governing territory. They will never stay there, though. They are driven to expand. Their raison d’etre is to be against the West, against the Crusaders, against the fill-in-the-blank—and we all fit into one of these categories,” Clinton said in an interview withThe Atlantic in August 2014.

She also said the U.S. needs to have an ideological strategy like it had during the Cold War, when we had “a kind of overarching framework about what we were trying to do that did lead to the defeat of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism.”

The difference between her and Sanders is in how to respond to the ideological threat. Clinton is far more interventionist and believes in pro-actively promoting democratic values, whereas Sanders sees the threat as something that is mostly in the hands of the Muslim world to solve.

O’Malley separated himself from the two at the Democratic forum by claiming that military experts have informed him that the two biggest recruiters for Al-Qaeda and ISIS are the presences of U.S. military forces on the ground in the Muslim world and the failure to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp for terrorists.

The statement means that O’Malley sees Islamist terrorism as a byproduct of perceived mistreatment of Muslims by U.S. policymakers. This puts him more in the camp of former Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul (whose son, Rand Paul, is currently running) and President Obama. This viewpoint is contradicted by the words of Islamist terrorists like Osama Bin Laden and basic logic.

The three candidates represent three different camps within the Democratic Party: An interventionist view that sees the Islamist threat as ideological (Clinton); a more non-interventionist view that sees the Islamist threat as ideological (Sanders) and a non-interventionist view that blames “blowback” from U.S. policy for sparking the Islamist threat (O’Malley).

Click here to read the Clarion Project’s fact sheets on each presidential candidate’s positions related to Islamism.

ABOUT RYAN MAURO

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.

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National Security Highlights From First Democratic Debate

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Democratic Candidate (L to R): Marin O’Malley, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders

PODCAST: Is it Safe to Fly?

Listen to this podcast of The Lisa Benson Show on National Security  that aired  Sunday, November 8, on KKNT 960 The Patriot and SMARTPHONE iHEART App: 960 the Patriot. Lisa Benson and New English Review Senior Editor Jerry Gordon  co-hosted this show.

Our guests were:

Amb. R. James Woolsey, Chairman of the Washington, DC –based Leadership Council of Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Global aviation and airport insecurity with the ISIS terrorist bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268  in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and  lax screening of  refugee airport workers at 13  US  airports revealed in a Lisa Benson National Security Task Force of America investigation as reported onFoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, NewsMax  and The Blaze.

Dr. Raymond Stock, Shillman/Ginsburg Fellow at Middle East Forum and noted Egyptian expert on the aftermath of the security issues facing President el-Sisi in the Sinai from ISIS and Muslim Brotherhood terrorism in the wake of the downing of Metrojet Flight 9268.

Additional contributions on this broadcast were made by Board of Advisor members, Richard Cutting and Michael Weiser on calls for US  Congressional heatings on airport security and refugee employees screenings, as well as Isareli airline and airport security.  As a result of the broadcast interest has been expressed in doing a documentary of the issues raised arising from the terrorist bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268 as well as an op ed for a major media publication. Stay tuned for further developments.

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

The Islamic State poses a Global Airline Security Threat

metrojet flight plan

Metrojet 9268 Flight Schedule, October 31, 2015.

Saturday morning, October 31st, Flight 9268 a Metrojet Airbus A321 with 224 largely Russian tourists, and crew aboard were bound on a course for St. Petersburg from Sharm el-Sheikh on Egypt’s Sinai Red Sea. The aircraft reached an altitude of 31,000 feet at 430 knots, when something catastrophic occurred at 23 minutes into the flight. Communications with the pilot abruptly ended, the plane struggled to gain altitude and just as suddenly plummeted earthward with the tail section broken off and the rest of fuselage sent crashing into the desert and mountains were a flash was seen via satellite.

All 224 passengers and crew aboard were killed. The crash occurred less than 300 miles from the resort area at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula at the mouth of the Red Sea. The passenger remains and  aircraft debris were scattered over a wide area. All of this was recorded in real time on satellite flight status internet reports and satellite imagery. Forensic teams from Egyptian, Russian and Airbus air safety organizations were dispatched to retrieve the flight data recorders. Egyptian military and Red Crescent teams were engaged in recovery of the remains, personal effects and luggage of those killed in the crash.

Grief was overwhelming at funerals held in Russia this week with the arrival of the remains of the victims.  The immediate questions were what caused the aviation catastrophe and who may have been behind it.

Watch this CNN video on “Did a Bomb take down Metrojet Flight 9268?”:

Russian-jet-crash-sinai

Metrojet Flight 9268  Tail section. Source: AFP

If the emerging facts surrounding the fate of Metrojet Flight 9268 are confirmed this aviation disaster, possibly perpetrated by Islamic terrorists,  could well be Russia’s 9/11.  Shoshana Bryen of the Washington, D.C.-based Jewish Policy Center suggested that in an American Thinker blog, “Could the destroyed Russian plane be jihadi payback?” The inference being that the bombing of Metrojet Flight 9268 was a deadly rebuke to Russian President Putin for his entry in the Syria conflict attempting to bolster the faltering Assad Regime in alliance with Shia extremist Iran and its proxy Hezbollah. Boaz Bismuth writing in Israel Hayom  penned an op ed about the alleged bombing with the prescient title, “ISIS aims for the global skies.”

A lot is at stake, as the Sinai had become a veritable Islamic terrorist venue with Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS echelons attacking Egyptian security forces. Sharm el-Sheik is  a major European tourist destination attracting millions of visitors annually from the EU, Russia and other countries. For the El-Sisi government, terrorist involvement in the aviation disaster in the Sinai would have a chilling effect on billions in income from tourism. For Russia it could be an un-reckoned threat arising from its entry in the Syrian conflict. It is seeking to keep at bay Caucasian and other Russian Muslims from flocking to join the self-declared Caliphate, the  Islamic State.  For the international airline industry it may have profound implications for assuring security for passengers and operations both at home and in destinations adjacent to jihadist conflict zones.  If airport or airline servicing contractors were involved, then a major security gap would be opened by this latest aviation terrorism episode.

Several theories were developed as to what caused the aircraft to go through  violent maneuvers. The aircraft may have been hit by a shoulder held air defense heat seeker missile or MANPAD, it might have suffered a high altitude structural failure which caused it to break apart or the aircraft could have suffered an internal bomb explosion. Both the MANPAD and structural failure explanations were dismissed in view of the altitude at which the incident occurred, 31,000 feet , exceeding the maximum  altitude of MANPADs, 15,000 feet. Moreover the high altitude structure failure possibility was obviated by the service record of the Metrojet aircraft indicating that it had undergone structural repairs after a 2001 incident that occurred on a rough landing.  The bombing possibility, while initially dismissed, became a palpably plausible on Wednesday, November 4th. Both UK and U.S. intelligence suggested they had intercepted electronic information indicating that an explosive device may have been secreted on board Metrojet Flight 9268 by possible operatives of ISIS groups active in the Sinai Peninsula. Perhaps they were posing as local catering and cleaning contractors with access to the aircraft. Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood  or ISIS operatives could have secreted a bomb in the rear lavatories or rear luggage holds on the Metrojet A321.

Evidence is mounting to the ultimate conclusion that this might have been  a bombing.  Shoshana Bryen  indicated that photographs of the aircraft wreckage in British media “show some of the holes in the wreckage. They are outward-facing – meaning something inside the plane moved out. A blown fuel tank – which is on the outside – would have caused inward-facing holes.” Then there were reported  forensic evidence of metal shards among the clothing and effects of the victims.  Bryen also cited reports “indicating  that security at Sharm el-Sheikh was totally lax; which helps make the case that someone inside did the job. Since Egyptian tourism and Russia are targets of the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS respectively, and since ISIS came from the MB root, collaboration here is a twisted “win-win” for them.”

‘UK PM Cameron underlined the increasing evidence of a bomb plot to destroy, Metrojet  Flight 9268, saying, “It is ‘more likely than not” that a bomb brought down  the Metrojet over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula”. He took extraordinary measures grounding all UK charters for a security sweep at Sharm el Sheikh airport leaving more than 3,500 British passengers delayed until given clearance. CNN cited Cameron’s  office issuing a statement saying,  “Outbound flights from the UK to Sharm el-Sheikh remain suspended and the Foreign Office continues to advise against all but essential travel by air to or from Sharm el-Sheikh airport, but we are continuing to work with the Egyptians to get back to normal service as soon as possible.” Similar announcements came from Irish authorities and Lufthansa.  Sharm el-Sheikh is visited by more than 1 million tourists, annually.

The Israeli resort of Eilat at the head of the Red Seas also is a major European and international tourist destination.  ISIS Sinai affiliate formerly known as Ansar Bait al-Maqdis has targeted Eilat for a possible bombing attack. The possible ISIS terror bombing of the Metrojet  could have rippling effects there to assure the usual tight security arrangements of Israel international carrier, El Al, and  domestic ones like Arkia.  El Al aircraft are already equipped with electronic counter measures like the Elbit C-Music anti- missile system to foil possible MANPAD attacks. Doubtless, the Israelis may also have better security clearances for aircraft maintenance, catering and cleaning employees, as well as barriers and surveillance of the Egyptian border to thwart infiltration of MB and ISIS terrorists.

ISS Facility Services Receives State of Utah Refugee Services Employer of the Year 2009

ISS Facility Services Receives State of Utah Refugee Services Employer of the Year 2009.

ISS Facility Services Receives State of Utah Refugee Services Employer of the Year 2009

The downing of the Metrojet with its innocent Russian victims  has more than just Russian, Egyptian and Israeli concerns. From investigations by the Wall Street Journal,  CNN and others, security clearances for baggage handlers, catering, and cleaning personnel with access to the tarmac and aircraft here in the U.S. is lax.

Further investigations by the Lisa Benson Radio Show National Security Task Force of America  have revealed employment of Somali refugees  by major international groups like ISS Worldwide A/S headquartered in Copenhagen. The US subsidiary  ISS Facility Services, Inc. is based in San Antonio. ISS Worldwide employs over a half million through their outsourced network of airport and commercial facilities maintenance contracts. ISS specializes in a broad range of facility management services including janitorial services, especially for airport authorities and major manufacturing  companies.

The Somali Muslim émigré population has been the source of both Al Shabaab and increasingly ISIS recruitment in the U.S.  One illustration of the inherent ISIS risk among U.S. Somalis employed at US airports was  the reported death in September 2014  of  American Somali Émigré ISIS  Jihadi

The late ISIS Fighter a former Twin Cities airport cleaner

The late ISIS Fighter a former Twin Cities airport cleaner.

The late ISIS Fighter a former Twin Cities airport cleaner

Abdirahmaan Muhumed, 29.  That revealed his employment as a cleaner for Delta Global Services, Inc.  that gave him security access to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  Muhumed left behind 9 children in the Twin Cities to become an ISIS jihadi, before his death in Syria. Muhumed had unfettered access to jetliners at the airport, which handles 90,000 passengers a day. He also had access to the tarmac and special security clearance to other parts of the airport. Muhumed had no criminal record in the United States that would have prevented him from getting a job at the airport.

This revelation following the death of Somali émigré ISIS fighter Muhumed, should raise the concerns of both the TSA and Homeland Security regarding screening of airport and aircraft maintenance personnel at U.S. Many of who have contracts with groups like ISS Worldwide A/S and Delta Global Services, Inc.  Moreover, without active community policing programs in the major U.S. communities recruitment of Muhumed and other ISIS recruits could not have been detected.  Thus, the downing of the Metrojet in Egypt by alleged ISIS perpetrators reverberates here in the U.S.  FBI Direct James Combey has warned that ISIS jihadis lurk among us in all 50 states.

RELATED ARTICLE: ‘Unvetted foreigners’ working as U.S. baggage handlers

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

U.S. officials: The Islamic State planted bomb on Russian plane

It could happen here. Harlem Suarez, a Florida convert to Islam implicated in an Islamic State WMD plot, worked in secure areas at Key West International Airport. Another airport worker, Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, according to Heavy.com, “converted to Islam in 1998 while living in Texas and became radical in his beliefs, according to ABC News.

In 2001, while Pugh was a mechanic for American Airlines, a coworker reported to the FBI that Pugh said he sympathized with Osama bin Laden and was expressing anti-American sentiment” Abdirahmaan Muhumed, a Muslim from Minnesota who was killed while waging jihad with the Islamic State, worked for Delta Airlines at the Minneapolis Airport. For its part, the TSA failed to identify 73 workers who were “linked to terrorism.”

russian plane bomb is“First on CNN: U.S. officials believe ISIS planted bomb on Russian plane,” by Barbara Starr, CNN, November 4, 2015:

(CNN)The latest U.S. intelligence suggests that the crash of a Russian passenger jet in the Sinai over the weekend was most likely caused by a bomb on the plane planted by ISIS or an ISIS affiliate, according to a U.S. official familiar with the matter.

But the official stressed a formal conclusion has not been reached by the U.S. intelligence community.

“There is a definite feeling it was an explosive device planted in luggage or somewhere on the plane,” the official, who is familiar with the latest U.S. intelligence analysis of the crash, told CNN.

Other U.S. officials also told CNN that the analysis is pointing toward the cause being a bomb.

Based on the same intelligence, the U.S. belief is that ISIS or an ISIS-affiliated group is responsible for the attack, the official said.

The British government announced Wednesday that it had “become concerned that the plane may well have been brought down by an explosive device.”…

RELATED ARTICLE: Robert Spencer in FrontPage: Muhammad Had “British Values”?

Islamic State releases video of shooting-down of Russian plane

This is still not conclusive: skeptics point out that the Islamic State video is unclear, and that the jihadis released still photos of the wrong plane crash. Nonetheless, all part of the effort to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (Qur’an 8:60). Even if the Islamic State had nothing to do with the crash, it will serve that purpose for the jihadis.

“WATCH: ISIS Claims Video Shows Them Shooting Down Russian Plane Flight 9268,” by Sam Prince, Heavy, October 31, 2015:

The Islamic State is claiming a video and photos that have gone viral on Twitter shows them shooting down Metrojet Flight 7K9268 over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula….However, others were quick to refute that claim because the video is not clear and the photos show the wrong plane.

But it sounds like that technical issues are at fault for the crash. The Independent reports:

Security sources have said that there was no indication of an attack and technical issues, which were reported by the pilot, were responsible for the accident.

There were 224 guests on the Metrojet Flight 7K9268 from Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, to St. Petersburg, Russia, including 17 children. The plane was split in two.

The plane requested an emergency landing and there are reports of some crew members noting a problem with one of the engines. The Egyptian civil aviation ministry said the plane was at an altitude of 31,000 feet when it disappeared off the radar right after it reportedly began descending at a rate of 6,000 feet per minute, according to the New York Times.

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The Toll of WWIII — From Stalin to Putin

Well known and highly respected journalist O’Reilly has surprised me while talking with Ben Carson on his show 9.17.15. O’Reilly said that he did not remember any government that declared a war on us and we did not remove that government. It was a wrong statement. Unfortunately, Mr. O’Reilly is not alone, he has a big company of others thinking alike. Perhaps, none of them has never heard about the current WWIII and Soviet Fascism, about which, I have been writing for the last twenty years. I have to show how wrong they are and prove it.

Some History of Communism

Communists, beginning with Karl Marx, have never hidden their major agenda—destruction of capitalism and creation of a Socialist State. Marx openly called for revolution and determined the leadership in the revolution—proletariat, which is the low poor class with nothing to lose “besides their chains.” Several revolutions in a freedom loving Europe had not succeeded in the 19th century. After the October Socialist Revolution 1917, Stalin had changed this formula and established the totalitarian regime, we called Stalinism in the 20th century.

 Islam and the Muslim Culture in Stalin’s Biography

At this point, I have to repeat the major factors of Stalin’s bio:

First, and the most important was his upbringing within a Muslim culture. Though, he was a student (a dropout) of an Orthodox Christion Seminary, his love and knowledge of Islam was a chief cause in the formation of a totalitarian regime in Russia. A dogmatic Marxist, he however, saw the inability of the Communist ideology to conquer the world without the help of Islam. His trip to Iran through a porous borders had fostered his idea to bring together the Communist ideology and Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood had presented that opportunity and Stalin acted accordingly making the Muslin Brotherhood a politburo of Islam functioning from Moscow. Later, Arafat was recruited by two members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

As you know, Stalin was obsessed with the chess-game, which helped him to calculate far ahead a particular way of actions. Knowing a never ending war between Sunnis and Shias, he planned to involve the West into that never ending conflict and finely to defeat Western civilization. The events after WWI and an arrogant behavior of the victorious Europe rearranging the map of the Middle East, had given him a precedent for the future actions. Islam, with its permission to lie for political advancement, had made Stalin a savvy politician and an extraordinary intriguer to create a political system based on a fraud. It was Stalin, who invented a marriage of Communism and Islam

Second, and no less important, is Stalin’s ability to see and understand that capitalism is very productive, well managed, and its military might cannot be kept up by the Soviet military. Hence, the main idea of replacing capitalism by Socialism had required a different approach to the matter. There are several other aspects of history that could’ve plaid a role… It is a national Russian Empyreal Impulse that coincided with Stalin’s agenda. Besides, as a student of the Russian Orthodox Seminar, he learned about the founder of the Illuminati Society and their methods. A founder of the Order of the Illuminati secret society Adam Weishaupt a German philosopher, in order to spread his ideas was sending his emissaries to different countries to implement his teachings. Stalin had completely absorbed the method and to implement it built the mighty intelligence apparatus called the KGB.

putin obamaAsymmetrical War Runs under the Supervision of the KGB

I have already dedicated many pages to the history of the KGB, its main factions and its significance within the Stalinist regime. As a matter of fact, Stalin had two major tasks for fostering the KGB: a watch dog for the loyalty to the government system within the country and to spread and implement Stalin’s teachings to the outside world. The entire country was under total control by the KGB. Like a dark cloud the fear to speak entered every human dwelling and the Houses of Worship; people were afraid of each other to communicate. We, the former citizen of the Socialist countries will never forget the fear and intimidation we all went through. We called the KGB—the Organs. Read Chapter 4, And Evil is Alive and Well, What is Happening to America?

For this reason, I also gave you the list of tools, devises, methods and tricks, the entire modus operandi used by the KGB. In the last several columns, I paid a special attention to Political Correctness, as the only one of the methods used by KGB. I focused your attention on recruitment and infiltration for a reason—those two are the main components of WWIII. I tried to expose the list of all the tricks and devises of Stalin’s teachings in my books, I hope you also remember a creation of a Soviet style leaders in the outside world. But the list of tools is so long and constantly developed by Stalin’s devoted disciples of the KGB that it will take the intelligence apparatus to follow it. The devoted disciples are Andropov and Putin.

Yet, to comprehend better the nature and essence of WWIII, let me give you again the document proving my statement. It is a decision of the Soviet Defense Council in 1955, which was the first formal Soviet document declaring the war on Western civilization .Please, remember, the document had been written under the control of the KGB. It reveals the launch of narcotics trafficking against the bourgeoisie and especially against the American capitalists as a sub-component of a global strategy:

“Soviet strategy for revolutionary war is a global strategy… narcotics strategy is a sub-component of this global strategy… First was the increased training of leaders for the revolutionary movements—the civilian, military, and intelligence cadres. The founding of Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow is an example of one of the early actions taken to modernize the Soviet revolutionary leadership training. The second step was the actual training of terrorists. Training for international terrorism actually began as ‘fighters for liberation.’…The third step was international drug and narcotics trafficking. Drugs were incorporated into the revolutionary war strategy as a political and intelligence weapon to use against the bourgeois society and as a mechanism for recruiting agents of influence around the world.” You can read the entire document in my column titled Agents of Influence, the name given to the moles by the above mentioned document.

The document projects the future aggressive criminal activities, yet, it was formed on the background of a real war. After Stalin completed the creation of the Chinese Communist State in 1949, he gave an order to a Soviet General Staff to plan a Korean war that began in 1950. You know the result. But…this vicious aggressive circle has never been stopped, then it was Vietnam, Cambodia where the Soviet military actively participated. And the waves of the misfortunate Asians have streamed out to Europe and America asking for the asylum. In 1956 the Communist Hungary asked for the Russian “help” and the tanks had drownd freedom in Hungary. Then the Russian tanks had killed the Prague Spring in1968 and again, the people from Europe asked now for asylum in America. Don’t you think that asymmetrical war, waged by Russia was started many years ago?

Finishing with freedom in Asia and Europe, Stalinist devoted disciples moved to the Middle East with the same formula bequeathed by Stalin. Papa Assad in Syria, had already been recruited by the time and a new name came to life–Arafat, leading a so-called Liberation Movement. I have already dedicated many pages to this fake, dangerous, military movement in the Middle East. The Stalinist design has never been changed, but developed in coherence with the time and current events in the world.  As usual the KGB was playing the crucial role—Andropov and Putin had followed Stalin’s design to our time. Now we are dealing with Iran, the next satellite of Russia and the biggest sponsor of International terrorism and a friend of Assad in Syria.

Look at the map of the Middle East and you will see a knot created for several decades by Russia. As I have already warned you before, I expect Russia and Iran will fight in Syria to secure Assad, who has already asked Russia for help. But Russia’s agenda is much wider and more threatening in the Middle East than it is seen at the first glance. What do you think, why does Russia bring anti-aircraft missiles to Syria? ISIS doesn’t have any air forces? The coalition lead by America has. Do you know why Russia brings fighter-jets to Syria?  Why is Syria’s airport occupied by Russian planes and helicopters? It is a strategic diversion to establish a real Russian military presence on the Mediterranean by a military base in Syria. Do not forget Putin is playing a geopolitical-chess game with the world and your lives.

That tells you a lot. Russia’s agenda is that of turning the Middle East into the battlefield against Israel the way Stalin had bequeathed it being an extreme anti-Semite.

Syrian Christian leader: Putin “really targeting ISIS,” U.S. airstrikes are “window dressing”

Whatever  Russia’s motives in Syria, one thing is clear: persecuted Syrian Christians favor Russian intervention against the jihadis slaughtering them, while accusing the U.S. and Western allies of only engaging in cosmetic strikes.  Here are the words of a Syrian Christian leader — one well acquainted with the persecution his people are experiencing — concerning Russian intervention, as reported in Asia News.  Note also what he says of the non-IS rebels being struck by Russia, the groups the U.S. is eager to portray as simply “anti-Assad rebels,” but which in fact are also Christian slaughtering jihadis:

Damascus (AsiaNews) – US air strikes in Syria are window-dressing, and have little real effect on the militias of the Islamic state (IS), who are left free to act on the ground. Instead the Russian attacks in recent days have been effective, forcing jihadists to fall back towards the Iraqi desert. This is according to Msgr. Jacques Behnan Hindo, referring to  testimonies of people living in areas of conflict theater.

“Moscow’s intervention has been positive – said the prelate who leads the  archieparchy Syrian Catholic Hassaké-Nisibis, –  because they are really targeting Daesh [Arabic acronym for the IS/ISIS, Islamic State] and the militia are beginning to flee. They fled from the area in about 20 cars in a hurry in the direction of Iraq, leaving another 20 cars on site. A sign of a real retreat. “

The bishop of Hassaké-Nisibi lives under constant threat from IS: “I am less than three kilometers from the town – he says – a month ago their offensive was  repelled and they folded around the city. In the past two weeks, thanks to the attacks of the Russians, they began to retreat. ”

In contrast, Msgr. Hindo reserves rather harsh words for the United States, who are not bombing the positions of jihadi militias but the Syrian government.

“It’s not about being for or against the government – he says – but people never believed in America’s attacks. Only the Kurds have really fought on the ground, but to hold their ground “and it is not plausible that they can, alone, solve the emergency. Besides the United States, France, Britain only speak of “attacking the Daesh, but do not speak of the Nusra Front and other Islamist militias linked to Al Qaeda. Indeed, there are extremist groups that have changed names to rebuild credibility, and these are not even mentioned. This is also a big problem. “

The prelate denounces Washington’s “ambiguity” seen in the American’s attitude during the seizure of hundreds of Christians originating in the villages of the valley of the river Khabur. ”On the night of Feb. 23, when Daesh attacked, the American planes – he says – flew over the area for a long time without intervening. Then for three days we saw no more jets, leaving the field open to the militants. This makes us think that in some way have been helped by the Americans and their ambiguous attitude”.

Click here to read about the most recent Christians to be martyred in Syria — tortured, publicly raped, beheaded, and crucified for refusing to renounce Christ.

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Russia Declares ‘Holy War’ against Islamic State by Raymond Ibrahim

The Orthodox Christian Church, which is reclaiming its traditional role in post-Soviet Russia, has just described its government’s fight against the Islamic State and other jihadi groups in Syria as a “holy war.”

According to Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Church’s Public Affairs Department,

The fight with terrorism is a holy battle and today our country is perhaps the most active force in the world fighting it.  The Russian Federation has made a responsible decision on the use of armed forces to defend the People of Syria from the sorrows caused by the arbitrariness of terrorists. Christians are suffering in the region with the kidnapping of clerics and the destruction of churches. Muslims are suffering no less.

This is not a pretext to justify intervention in Syria.  For years, Russia’s Orthodox leaders have been voicing their concern for persecuted Christians.  Back in February 2012, the Russian church described to Vladimir Putin the horrific treatment Christians are experiencing around the world, especially under Islam:

The head of External Church Relations, Metropolitan Illarion, said that every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the world, specifying that he was talking about such countries as Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and India. The cleric asked Putin to make the protection of Christians one of the foreign policy directions in future.

“This is how it will be, have no doubt,” Putin answered.

Compare and contrast Putin’s terse response with U.S. President Obama, who denies the connection between Islamic teachings and violence; whose policies habitually empower Christian-persecuting Islamists; who prevents Christian representatives from testifying against their tormentors; and who even throws escaped Christian refugees back to the lions, while accepting tens of thousands of Muslim migrants.

Russian Patriarch Kirill once even wrote an impassioned letter to Obama, imploring him to stop empowering the murderers of Christians.  That the patriarch said “I am deeply convinced that the countries which belong to the Christian civilization bear a special responsibility for the fate of Christians in the Middle East” must have only ensured that the letter ended up in the Oval Office’s trash can.  After all, didn’t Obama make clear that America is “no longer a Christian nation“?

Of course, Russian concerns for Christian minorities will be cynically dismissed by the usual brood of talking heads on both sides.  While such dismissals once resonated with Americans, they are becoming less persuasive to those paying attention, as explained in “Putin’s Crusade—Is Russia the Last Defender of the Christian Faith?”

For those of us who grew up in America being told that the godless communist atheists in Russia were our enemies, the idea that America might give up on God and Christianity while Russia embraces religion might once have been difficult to accept.  But by 2015, the everyday signs in America show a growing contempt for Christianity, under the first president whose very claims of being a Christian are questionable.  The exact opposite trend is happening for Russia and its leaders—a return to Christian roots.

Indeed, growing numbers of Americans who have no special love for Russia or Orthodoxy—from billionaire capitalist Donald Trump to evangelical Christians—are being won over by Putin’s frank talk and actions.

How can they not?  After one of his speeches praising the West’s Christian heritage—a thing few American politicians dare do—Putin concluded with something that must surely resonate with millions of traditional Americans: “We must protect Russia from that which has destroyed American society”—a reference to the anti-Christian liberalism and licentiousness that has run amok in the West.

Even the Rev. Franklin Graham’s response to Russia’s military intervention in Syria seems uncharacteristically positive, coming as it is from the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which for decades spoke against the godless Soviets:  “What Russia is doing may save the lives of Christians in the Middle East…

Keep reading

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