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Two Palestinian refugees arrested for supporting the Islamic State

Here is the hot news this morning.  The LA Times has a more detailed account of the story that broke overnight, than some other news outlets (maybe CA is getting a little more sensitive to the terrorists living in their midst).

The two Iraqis are actually Palestinians who had been living in Iraq.  By the way, we only bring a small number of Palestinians to the U.S. as refugees.  And, it is not clear to me if one or either of these actually became refugees by arriving here through some other means and then granted asylum.  I guess only their federal resettlement contractor knows for sure!

However, in all likelihood at least one of the two came from our special resettlement project for Palestinians when back in 2009 the US State Department agreed to bring in 1,350 Iraqi Palestinians to your neighborhoods.

It was quite big news at the time.  And, the issue was that these were Palestinians Saddam Hussein had invited to live in Iraq and once the regime fell, no one wanted them.

Because of his arrival date, at least one of the two alleged Islamic terrorists could have been in that group.  Here is what we said in 2009.

Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab

Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab

Now, the LA Times:

A man who came to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee was arrested in Sacramento on Thursday on suspicion of lying about fighting alongside terrorist organizations in Syria, federal authorities said.

On the same day, federal authorities in Houston announced that an Iraqi refugee in Texas, who had been communicating online with the man in California, was charged with attempting to provide support to the militant group Islamic State.

The allegations against two men residing in the U.S. with links to foreign terrorist groups comes as the nation reels from the Dec. 2 shooting in San Bernardino, which left 14 dead. That is considered the deadliest terrorist act on U.S. soil since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

And the arrests of two refugees from Iraq, part of a wave of about 103,000*** Iraqi refugees admitted from 2006 to 2014, is likely to add fuel to the debate over whether the U.S. should welcome refugees from Syria, and if so, whether the screening process is adequate.

The man living in Sacramento, Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, had reported in private messages on social media that he fought alongside various groups in Syria, including Ansar al-Islam, a Sunni terrorist group and an affiliate of Al Qaeda, according to a federal complaint filed Wednesday and unsealed Thursday.

There is much more here…..

Because of the ages at which these two must have arrived in the US (as teenagers), it shows how ludicrous the discussion about vetting refugees can be when they are obviously becoming more devout after they get here (I refuse to use the word radicalized!).

And, these two are not the first, remember there is another pair of Iraqi refugee terrorists in federal prison.  See our complete archive on the Kentucky terrorists by clicking here.

The only way to make sure we are completely safe is to stop the migration from terror-producing Islamic countries! I’ve been meaning to check out the numbers for Iraq for some time.  

Using the State Department’s data base I went back to 2007 and grabbed a map from then until December 31, 2015.  The Bush Administration was slow to admit Iraqi refugees, but opened the door in its last year in office.  The Obama Administration has made Iraqis the largest group of refugees we admit each year since then.

Here is where 127,906 Iraqis have been resettled since 2007 (remember though that this does not mean they stayed where the contractors originally seeded them).

Iraqis to US map

Top five states:

  1. California (26,343)
  2. Michigan (19,186)
  3. Texas (12,314)
  4. Illinois (7,336)
  5. Massachusetts (4,322)

And, because it isn’t far behind (for my VA friends), Virginia (4,158)

For ambitious readers, our Iraqi refugee category has 675 previous posts archived there!

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Alabama files suit to rein-in refugee program, but…..

Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction

The Middle East continues to spin into crisis. Iran continues to move toward great influence in the Middle East, and can now lay claim to be in control of Ramadi, Fallujah, and other regions of Iraq, the very nation America freed from ISIS and brought into order, and a level of peace and calm the country had not ever known.

Obama’s phenomenal combination of ignorance, incompetence, and spoken Islamic bias only adds to the mess. Yet, in spite of these factors, Democrats and their ideological cousins who make up the radical and socialist left still blame former President Bush claiming if he had not lied and went after chemical weapons allegedly stored in Iraq by Saddam Hussein, none of the calamities exploding in the Middle East would be occurring today. Once again the liberal mantra is Bush lied; that there were no Weapons of Mass Destruction hidden by Saddam Hussein. Well…I received the below artocle from a U.S. Navy Captain (Ret.), and I thought you might like to read another side to the age-old charges.

The following report was published in the New York Times. The NYT is the last place I would have expected a report such as this. I don’t presume that the clandestine purchase of WMD’s will alter the opinions of any liberals who have made up their minds as to the nonexistence of such weapons, because this is what they intend to inscribe in the secondary school history books for the edification of the next generation of American citizens, and once entered, it etched in the minds of our youth to perpetuity, and truth obliterated in a sea of political correctness.


 

NYT: CIA bought, destroyed undeclared Iraqi chemical weapons demanded by UN

POSTED BY ED MORRISSEY

The topic of WMD in Iraq has been a hot potato for more than two decades, ever since the end of the first Gulf War and the procession of 17 UN Security Council resolutions demanding that Saddam Hussein verifiably destroy them. Hussein ignored those demands and committed numerous violations of the 1991 cease-fire agreement that suspended the war. In 2003, the US went back to war in part over the issue of WMD, deposing Hussein but coming up empty on the accusations of chemical and biological weapons, which prompted the “Bush lied” arguments that have echoed ever since.

Occasionally, caches of chemical weapons have been found in Iraq, reviving the debate, but they have been weapons that had already been declared and transferred to UN control before the 2003 invasion. If the WMD existed in Iraq, what happened to it? Many suspected that it got transferred to Syria prior to the 2003 invasion, but the New York Times reports today that the CIA actually did find at least some of the suspected and undeclared caches of chemical weapons — and destroyed them:

The Central Intelligence Agency, working with American troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups, according to current and former American officials.

The extraordinary arms purchase plan, known as Operation Avarice, began in 2005 and continued into 2006, and the American military deemed it a nonproliferation success. It led to the United States’ acquiring and destroying at least 400 Borak rockets, one of the internationally condemned chemical weapons that Saddam Hussein’s Baathist government manufactured in the 1980s but that were not accounted for by United Nations inspections mandated after the 1991 Persian Gulf war. …

In confidential declarations in the 1990s to the United Nations, Iraq gave shifting production numbers, up to 18,500. It also claimed to have destroyed its remaining stock before international inspectors arrived after the Persian Gulf war. …

The handoffs varied in size, including one of more than 150 warheads. American ordnance disposal technicians promptly destroyed most of them by detonation, the officials said, but some were taken to Camp Slayer, by Baghdad’s airport, for further testing.

This is the first time that there has been any media reporting on finds specific to the disputed munitions that Hussein refused to acknowledge. It sounds as though there were a large quantity of Borak rockets eventually procured, too, not just a few leftovers that might have been innocently overlooked by the previous dictatorship in Iraq. C.J. Chivers and Eric Schmitt also report that these were not the kind of exhausted and expired chemical weapons that the UN had been storing, but still potent enough to alarm the US when they were discovered.

Why this was kept quiet was anyone’s guess, but the secret was tightly held. Perhaps the CIA and Pentagon wanted to keep it under wraps so that they could quietly buy as many of the weapons off the black market as they could, without tipping their hand to the insurgency. That might have been good strategy, but the Pentagon kept it so quiet that it never told veterans serving in Iraq or the VA physicians that treated them later about the possibility that they had contact with chemical weapons from any source. It seems unlikely that the insurgents didn’t get their hands on any of the Boraks — and it’s not entirely clear that the US got them all, either.

This should recast the WMD debate from the 2003 invasion, but it probably won’t. At least so far, there’s no indication that the US found the new chemical- and biological-weapons programs that their faulty intelligence showed Saddam Hussein restarting between the two wars, and that will overshadow even a large number of undeclared saran-filled Borax in any attempt to show that the issue of WMD Intel was at least nuanced. On the other hand, we’ve waited almost a decade to find this out, so it’s impossible to say what else may have been discovered and not declared by the Pentagon and CIA during that period. It may be another decade before we can safely assume anything.

Did ISIS Perpetrate the Damascus Sarin Gas Attack in 2013?

When we posted on the special MERIA report by Jon Spyer on the probable ISIS Chemical Weapons  (CW) attack that killed Kurdish YPG fighters in the village of Avdiko near Kobani, Syria, we referenced the mid-2013 gassing that killed 1,500 in the suburbs of Damascus “by the Assad regime”.  However, there is evidence indicating that the horrific sarin attack in August 2013 may not have been perpetrated by the Assad regime at all, but rather it may have been the work of ISIS.  Recent experience with ISIS demonstrates their willingness to behave far beyond the capabilities of any other terrorist organization. Moreover, the situation in Syria is complex, to the point of being bewildering to the Western mind. To oversimplify the events that take place in this strange and deadly war is both foolish and dangerous.

ISIS began operating in Syria quietly, using the fighting of other groups as camouflage. But over time, they systematically took over large portions of northern Syria. Crimes of extreme barbarism and mass murders, also attributed to Assad, were clearly the work of ISIS, who particularly targeted Christians, Alawites, Shia Muslims, and other minorities. Women and children were viciously tortured and murdered and men were systematically shot, beheaded, or crucified.  These are the hallmarks of ISIS, not Assad. From there, the short steps to acquiring, and deploying chemical weapons were a logical progression.

There are scores of fighting groups participating in the Syrian war. All are ostensibly there in Syria to fight the Assad regime, but they frequently change names, alliances, and even their missions. They fight Assad’s military and they fight each other. So understanding the situation clearly and fully is a daunting task. Not all the groups have the capability or the interest in engaging with chemical weapons. But ISIS has shown a clear interest. In fact, of them all, ISIS has proven to be the most effective and the most deadly.

It has been fashionable throughout the Syrian war that began in 2011 to attribute all the atrocities of the war to Syrian President Bashar Assad, and it is certainly true that his forces have been responsible for many of them. But the easy explanation may not always be the true story.

On March 19, 2013, Assad blamed an alleged chemical attack against Khan Al-Assal near Aleppo on the rebels. He immediately called for a UN investigation of the attack. However he changed his mind when other CW attacks were reported by the US, Britain, and France and the UN decided to expand the investigation. After several months of negotiations, UN inspectors received permission to go to the sites of Khan Al-Assal and two other alleged attacks.  At Syria’s insistence, their mandate was limited to reporting only on whether chemical weapons were used and not on who was responsible.

Many stories about the gas attacks abounded in 2013. According to sources in Syria, the perpetrators may well have been ISIS, which was known to be operating in both northern Syria and the area around Damascus, although al Nusrah, another al Qaeda affiliate , took credit for the Damascus attack. The various reports which both appeared in the media and through private channels were at once confusing and enlightening.

The US administration immediately adopted the position that Assad was responsible for all the gas attacks. In referring to the August attack, US UN Ambassador Samantha Power said “only the regime could have carried out this large-scale attack.” According to Power, the quality of the sarin was higher than that used by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein against Iran, and there was no evidence that the rebels possessed the nerve agent or the ability to deploy it. But lack of evidence is not proof, and the reference to Saddam Hussein’s old store of CW was a red herring, since it was likely that the gas came from Syria.  Syria was known to have an active program of developing and storing large stores of chemical and biological weapons.

On May 6, 2013 the Washington Times reported, “Testimony from victims strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian government that used Sarin nerve gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation quoting a UN source.”

Carla del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, added in an interview with Swiss TV, that her commission had not found evidence of Assad government forces using chemical weapons.  They were referring to an earlier attack for which critics of Assad were already holding him responsible.

The Washington Times article featured videos of terrorist forces preparing and then firing what they claimed were chemical weapons which they referenced to specifically as “sarin gas”. One of the weapons was clearly marked in English “Saudi Factory for Chlorine and Alkalies”. The evidence presented in the article is compelling proof that they were not perpetarted by he Assad military.

Reports from sources on the ground in Syria indicated that a Syrian army base near Damascus had been overwhelmed by terrorists, who had stolen chemical weapons and rocket launchers from the stores there. There are a number of stories regarding what happened next.

According to media reports, there were several attacks from rocket mounted chemical warheads against the Ein Tarma, Moadamiyeh and Zamalka neighborhoods of Ghouta near Damascus. One report was that the weapons exploded prematurely as they were being transported through a tunnel, killing and wounding several of the terrorists.  Another report that the weapons were in fact fired from an area close to Damascus was released at the same time. Both are consistent with what we have been told by other sources and the stories are not mutually exclusive.

Finally, there is the question of what happened to the Syrian chemical weapons stores that the UN was tasked to destroy. On September 4, 2014, the Special Coordinator for the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations (OPCW-UN) reported to the Security Council that 96 percent of Syria’s declared stockpile had already been destroyed and preparations were underway to destroy the remaining 12 production facilities. The operative word in that sentence is “declared”. The report flies in the face of our sources, who report that in fact only 11% of the CW stores were actually destroyed. Much of the remaining weapons were moved into the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon (Hezbollah territory) and into the many caves located in the mountains that flank the valley.

The remaining chemicals were hidden in secret locations in Syria. On October 14,  2014  according to the Associated Press and  reported by Israel National News, Syria revealed the existence of four secret chemical weapons facilities, locations that had been previously hidden from UN inspectors when they were destroying what they thought was Assad’s complete chemical weapons stores. No doubt there are more, and whatever Assad’s reason for revealing these sites now, his announcement raises far more questions about Syria’s CW program than it answers.

Prior to the UN involvement in shutting down the Syrian CW program, some CW were undoubtedly stolen by ISIS as they continued to take over territory in the north. The capture of the al-Saphira chemical plant near Aleppo in December 2012 was an early sign that chemical weapons were a clear target of the al Qaeda-linked groups, al Nusrah and ISIS. Connect that to the latest reports from Kobani and a starkly graphic picture emerges of how freely ISIS has been willing to use chemical weapons against innocent civilians. Their latest has been what appears to be mustard gas against the remaining citizens of that Syrian city. Combined with their total lack of constraint on the use of CW, the former Hussein Ba’athist commanders who have joined ISIS have the necessary experience and knowledge to enable ISIS to use them without compunction. The mix is lethal and barbaric.

The Daily Mail reported that Iraq officials had CCTV pictures of ISIS fighters loading equipment from the abandoned Hussein era Al-Muthanna complex in June 2014 with an estimated 2,500 rockets containing Sarin gas.  The Daily Mail reported:

In a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said remnants of a former chemical weapons program are kept in two bunkers there.

‘The project management spotted at dawn on Thursday, 12 June 2014, through the camera surveillance system, the looting of some of the project equipment and appliances, before the terrorists disabled the surveillance system,’ Alhakim wrote in the letter dated June 30.

‘The Government of Iraq requests the  Member States of the United Nations to understand the current inability of Iraq, owing to the deterioration of the security situation, to fulfill its obligations to destroy chemical weapons,’ he said.

[…]

The last major report by U.N. inspectors on the status of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program was released about a year after the experts left in March 2003. It states that Bunker 13 contained 2,500 sarin-filled 122-mm chemical rockets produced and filled before 1991, and about 180 tons of sodium cyanide, ‘a very toxic chemical and a precursor for the warfare agent tabun.’

Regarding the potential of ISIS’ ability to use captured former Hussein era CW caches, the National Post reported a former British Colonel who suggested that it may be capable of using them to make dirty bombs, ISIS could make dirty bombs with CW, former British Colonel says.  The NP special report cited the British expert saying:

Hamish de Breton-Gordon, a former colonel, issued the warning after it was found that two large stockpiles of shells filled with mustard and sarin gas had not been made secure, either under the American occupation or when Iraqi forces controlled the areas north of Baghdad before this summer.

Mr. Breton-Gordon said ISIS had shown it was determined to use chemical weapons in Syria and its advance in Iraq had put dangerous material within the group’s grasp.

“These materials are not as secure as we had been led to believe and now pose some significant threat to the coalition in Iraq fighting ISIS,” he said.

“We know that ISIS have researched the use of chemical weapons in Syria for the last two years and worryingly there are already unconfirmed reports that ISIS has used mustard gas as it pursues its offensive against the Kurds in Kobani.”

“They certainly have access to the Al-Qaeda research into chemical weapons and will want to use the legacy weapons in Iraq.” ISIS seized the Muthanna State Establishment, where Iraqi chemical agent production was based in the Eighties, this summer.

The New York Times (NYTreported Wednesday that last year, two contaminated bunkers there containing cyanide components and sarin gas rockets as well as other shells which had not been encased in concrete and made safe.

It also reported that another large bunker where U.S. Marines found mustard shells in 2008 was overgrown and abandoned during the same visit.

The NYT reported that the US Army recovered more than 5,000 abandoned CW shells over the period from 2004 to 2011.

Watch this NYT video of the special CW report.

Connect the dots.  Was ISIS involved with gas attacks in spring 2013 and the August 2013 sarin attacks in Damascus?   In addition, there is Spyer’s MERIA report of a mustard gas attack that killed Kurdish YPG fighters in July 2014.   Did the ISIS attackers used Mustard gas looted from the Al-Muthanna complex as cited in the NP report by a British expert?

Whatever the history of ISIS’ learning curve, it is clearly rapidly becoming  a force to be reckoned with. In only a few short years, ISIS has acquired a formidable capability to undertake genocidal attacks in both Syria and Iraq akin to that perpetrated against Kurds in Halabja in 1988.  The choice which now faces the West is not whether to stop ISIS on its deadly rampage against civilization, but how to do so effectively and permanently? To do otherwise will be to unleash ISIS against targets worldwide and put our civilization as we know it at terrible deadly risk.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of victims of the sarin gas attack in Ghouta, Syria vicinity,  August 21, 2013. Source: Reuters