Tag Archive for: Saudi Arabia

Obama’s October Secret Letter to Ayatollah Khamenei seeks help in fighting ISIS

While President Obama sought “common ground” with the GOP controlled Congress in 2015 at yesterday’s news conference, he was deepening his detente strategy with Iran in a dangerous gambit to secure their aid in the fight against ISIS.  The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that a secret letter had been sent by the President to Ayatollah Khamenei seeking to enlist Iran’s support in the war against ISIS in exchange for the quid pro quo of the supreme Ruler’s assent to a nuclear deal, “Obama Wrote Secret Letter to Iran’s Khamenei about Fighting Islamic State.”  The supposed deadline for a deal between the P5+1 and Iran is less than a month away on November 24, 2014; however that deadline may be moved.  The October letter was the fourth such direct communiqué with Iran’s Supreme Ruler by this Administration. Obama’s letter to the Ayatollah has been acknowledged by Administration “senior officials.”

There have been indications that the P5+1 deal under discussion would preserve Iran’s capability for nuclear enrichments with more than 19,000 centrifuges and allow for replacement with a new generation of faster ones.  We heard from Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Ya’alon during his recent visit to Washington that Iran was perhaps less than a year from achieving ‘break out’, meaning being able to assemble a nuclear device.

Speaker John Boehner of the US House of Representatives was cited in the WSJ report saying:

“I don’t trust the Iranians, I don’t think we need to bring them into this,” Mr. Boehner said. Referring to the continuing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers, Mr. Boehner said he” would hope that the negotiations that are underway are serious negotiations, but I have my doubts.”

Obama’s October letter to Ayatollah Khamenei reflects this Administration’s offer to enlist Iran in the coalition fighting to “degrade and destroy” ISIS, further exacerbating relations with Sunni allies in the air campaign and isolating Israel.

The WSJ Report revealed that both Sunni allies and Israel had not been notified of this latest Administration outreach to Iran’s Supreme Ruler:

In a sign of the sensitivity of the Iran diplomacy, the White House didn’t tell its Middle East allies – including Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates-about Mr. Obama’s October letter to Mr. Khamenei, according to the people briefed on the correspondence.

Leaders from these countries have voiced growing concern in recent weeks that the U.S. is preparing to significantly soften its demands in the nuclear talks with Tehran. They said they worry the deal could allow Iran to gain the capacity to produce nuclear weapons in the future.

Arab leaders also fear Washington’s emerging rapprochement with Tehran could come at the expense of their security and economic interests across the Middle East. These leaders have accused the U.S. of keeping them in the dark about its diplomatic engagement with Tehran.

Meanwhile, Ian’s Quds Force Commander, Gen. Qassem Suleymani has been a highly visible ‘item’ in Iraq. He has been advising Iraqi Shiite militia and national security forces in recent operations with Kurdish Peshmerga pushing back ISIS. Both Iraqi Shia militia and Hezbollah veterans of the Syrian civil war conflict and even the 2006 War with Israel have been involved in training and advising this effort. The trigger for their involvement was ISIS’ threat to destroy a revered Iranian Shia pilgrimage Mosque in Samarra in June.  The ISIS advance was halted by Shia militia with help from Suleymani’s Quds Force. Al Arabiyya and IRNA reported in August 2014 funerals for Iranian and Hezbollah commanders killed in this not so shadow war by Iran’s Quds Force in Iraq against ISIS.

Yesterday, AP reported on Quds Force and Hezbollah cadres under the direction of Gen. Suleymani supporting Iraqi national security forces and Peshmerga wresting the embattled town of Jurf al-Sakher last week, “Top Iranian general, and Hezbollah lead Iraq ground war.” The Iraqi town is located south of Baghdad on the road to another revered Shia pilgrimage site in Karbala. Jurf-al Sakher had been occupied by ISIS since August. Note these excerpts from the AP article:

Photos soon emerged on independent Iraqi news websites revealing a more discrete presence – the powerful Iranian general  Qassem Suleymani – whose name has become synonymous with the handful of victories attributed to Iraqi ground forces. Local commanders said Lebanon’s powerful Shiite Hezbollah group was also on the front lines.

[…]

Militia commanders told The Associated Press that dozens of advisers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Lebanese Hezbollah were on the front lines in Jurf al-Sakher, providing weapons training to some 7,000 troops and militia fighters, and coordinating with military commanders ahead of the operation.

[…]

Suleymani’s Quds Force, the special operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, has been involved for years in training and financing Iraq’s Shiite militias. It has long worked with Hezbollah in Lebanon and has been aiding Assad’s forces.

In June, Revolutionary Guard advisers under Suleymani provided guidance for Shiite militiamen in shelling Sunni insurgent positions around Samarra, a Sunni-majority city north of Baghdad that is the home to a revered Shiite shrine, local commanders said. Suleymani was also seen as playing a key role in relieving the Islamic siege of the Shiite Turkmen town of Amirli.  And a top Revolutionary Guard general said in September that Suleymani had even helped Kurdish fighters defend their regional capital Irbil.

According to Ken Timmerman, veteran Iran watcher and author of Dark Forces, Gen. Suleymani may also have been involved with planning the insertion of Quds Force operatives to support local Islamist militia in the 9/11-12/2012 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans.  This and other allegations may be heard by the House Select Committee on Benghazi under the chairmanship of Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Suggestions have also been raised that the republican-controlled Senate might conduct its own Benghazi investigations when the 214th Session begins in January 2015.

Moreover, disclosure of this letter to Ayatollah Khamenei might complicate the President’s announced request for Congressional passage of amended war powers authorization for the fight against ISIS.  This raises the question of how can the Administration provide training and equipment to alleged Syrian opposition forces fighting the Assad regime, while simultaneously reaching out to Iran and its proxy Hezbollah both actively involved in Syria fighting those rebel forces.  Congress rushed before a mid-July 214 recess to appropriate $500 million diverted from Defense appropriations for overseas covert operations to fund training and equipping of ‘vetted’ Syrian opposition forces.  The sponsor of the funding proposal, outgoing Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor, was cited by The Hill at the time saying, “Syria is a kaleidoscope of ever-changing circumstances and loyalties. Our friends today could be our enemies tomorrow”.

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

Israel Has Found New Allies

Israel Wall with Egypt Sinai

Israeli security fence on Egyptian border.

Let’s just say it up front and avoid tip-toeing around with politically correct language. President Obama and his administration are the most anti-Israel to have held office and likely the most anti-Semitic. Forget about his public declarations of friendship and support for Israel. For six years Obama has demonstrated his antipathy toward the only democratic nation in the Middle East, the Jewish state.

That’s why an anonymous administration official felt free to call Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a “chickenshit” and “a coward” while being interviewed by Jeffrey Goldberg for an article in The Atlantic.

He or she had to know the comment would go public. Netanyahu was accused of only being interested in his political survival and afraid to launch an attack on Iran to slow or end its nuclear armament program. In an effort to comply with U.S. demands, Netanyahu actually had put himself at political risk at home. None of Obama’s demands were rewarded or acknowledged and, for now, those days are over.

It is, of course, the Obama administration that has led the most servile negotiations to date with Iran, granting all manner of concessions in order to get an agreement that would put that terror-sponsoring nation within three or four months of having a nuclear warhead for its missiles or bomb for its aircraft.

Speaking to the Israeli Knesset, Netanyahu responded to the insulting name-calling saying, “I am under attack simply because I am defending the State of Israel. If I didn’t stand firm on our national interests, I would not be under attack.” And then, typical of the diplomatic dance, he said, “I respect and cherish the deep connection with the United States.”

If he was speaking in an historic context, he is right, but the six years of Obama’s terms in office have been a succession of insults and demands that would make Israel vulnerable to the constant presence of its enemies, Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, two terror organizations that are proxies for their sponsor, Iran. During the recent military operations to end months of continued rocketing from Gaza, the U.S. repeatedly called on Israel to stop. When it was over, countless tunnels whose sole purpose was for Palestinian terrorists to attack Israelis were found.

AA - Tunnels Under Our Streets

For a larger view click on the image.

Tunnels have also been a problem for Egypt and they are the ones that run from the Sinai area into Gaza. Following the Camp David Accords in 1979, Egypt and Israel signed a peace treaty. Until then no Middle East Arab nation had any intention of acknowledging Israel’s sovereignty. The treaty has held firm since then, but the new Egyptian leadership came to power after the people demanded that the Muslim Brotherhood be removed from office. It was; first by military coup and then by an election. It is the same Muslim Brotherhood some of whose members have been part of the Obama administration.

For Egypt, the Sinai has been the scene of dozens of attacks against its military and security forces since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 during the so-called “Arab spring.” As Oren Kessler, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies Deputy Director for Research, recently noted, “Egypt has waged a sustained military campaign against Sinai extremists since August 2012, including air strikes and ground operations, as well as the destruction of at least 1,600 smuggling tunnels to the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.”

“Despite the fact that at least 20 attacks have targeted Israel since Mubarak’s ouster, the Jewish state has not engaged in military operations in Egyptian territory” but “the recent Sinai security challenges have prompted the Israelis and Egyptians to cooperate in others ways…”

A response to its own security needs led the Israelis to build a fortified fence along its Egyptian border, its longest frontier, “in a bid to control the flow of asylum seekers and economic migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa.” You read that correctly, migrants want to live in Israel, perhaps knowing that, only there, are those who are Christian will not be killed for their faith and those who are Muslim will not be harassed. The fence, of course, has the added benefit of addressing the threat of Sinai terrorism.

So, Egypt ranks high among Israel’s allies in very real ways. The same can be said of Saudi Arabia, the Muslim holy land where Mecca and Medina are located. As Bret Stephens, a Wall Street Journal columnist, noted in late October, “The real problem for the administration is that the Israelis—along with all the other disappointed allies—are learning how little it pays to be on Barack Obama’s good side.”

“Since coming to office in 2009,” noted Stephens, “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed, against his own inclination and over the objections of his political bases, to (1) recognize the Palestinian state, (2) enforce an unprecedented 10-month settlement freeze, (3) release scores of Palestinian prisoners held on murder charges, (4) embark on an ill-starred effort to reach a final peace deal with the Palestinians, (5) refrain from taking overt military steps against Iran, and (6) agree to every possible cease-fire during the summer’s war with Hamas.”

That, however, has not been enough for the Obama administration. Not only did it hold up “the delivery of munitions at the height of the Gaza war”, but Secretary of State John Kerry blamed Israel for the failure to achieve peace with the Palestinians when history confirms their long resistance and refusal to any peace deal. Kerry even managed to attribute the rise of the Islamic State to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That is delusional and deeply offensive.

Largely unreported because the two nations want it that way, Saudi Arabia and Israel have long been in discussions of what to do if the U.S. sells out both of them by concluding a deal with Iran regarding its nuclear arms program. Such a deal would leave both nations and all others in the Middle East and beyond vulnerable to Iran.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Sunni nations also have concerns about the rise of the Sunni Islamic State. If Obama is indifferent to Israel’s security, he gives plenty of evidence he feels the same about the Sunni nations. Both Iran and the Islamic State are Shiites.

If anyone, some years ago, had predicted that two leading Muslim nations would find ample reason to ally with Israel, they would likely have been laughed out of the room, but it is today’s reality. It may make Obama angry, but the Israelis don’t care. Despite the usual diplomatic charades, until Obama is out of office they and their Arab allies will act to protect themselves as he continues to betray them.

© Alan Caruba, 2014

Was it Terrorism or “Senseless Violence” that occurred in Canada?

At 9:52 AM EDT in Ottawa long haired 32 year old Michael Zehaf Bibeau wearing a black and white scarf and dressed in black   equipped with a double-barreled shot gun, stormed Canada’s War Memorial on Capitol Hill in Ottawa. He shot and fatally wounded a member of The Honor Guard , 24 year old Pvt. Nathan  Cirllio , a reservist with the Argyll and Sutherland Regiment who was on duty with a companion  who was wounded in the attack.  According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, Zehaf-Bibeau was considered to have been “a high risk traveller and had his passport revoked”.

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Michael Zehaf Bibeau : Source ISIS Tweet. For a larger view click on the image.

kevin vickers

Kevin Vickers, Sergeant at Arms,  Ottawa Parliament.

Bibeau then drove to the Parliament building in a stolen black automobile with no license tags. He ran with weapon in hand into the Parliamentary center complex apparently running past  a room where Canadian PM Harper was speaking. In the ensuing gun battle Bibeau was shot dead at approximately 10:30AM by Kevin Vickers, the Sergeant at Arms before he could barge into the Caucus room filled with various party delegation  members.  Wednesdays are busy days in Canada’s parliament as  there are also tours   for visitors.   While the Sergeant at Arms is an honorific post at the Canadian Parliament, Vickers is in charge of protection for the Parliamentary Center complex.  He was appointed  to this post in 2005. In 2009, Vickers was given an award by a  Canadian Progressive Muslim group for his unbiased multicultural  security practices. He was a trained law enforcement officer, former member of the famed Royal Canadian Mounted Police who served 25 years including stints in Canada’s Northwest Territories.

MPs gathered for the  Wednesday caucus overheard 20 to 30 shots fired. The entire parliamentary district, several embassies , including the US , and  the  nearby Rideau  Mall Center remained  locked down, while police comb the area in search for rumored accomplices. Prime Minister Harper was escorted to safety. However, his trip to Toronto to attend a ceremony conferring an honorary Canadian Citizenship on Pakistani teenage Noble Laureate Malala Yousafzai was unavoidably cancelled.

Upon hearing the news, social media in Ottawa and Canada lit up with expressions of thoughts and prayers for the family of Pvt. Cirillo and concerns for the safety of those in Ottawa under lockdown.

ISIS immediately sent out a picture of Zehaf Bibeau.  Bibeau, has had a troubled family life and  number of convictions for possession  and distribution of drug s and parole violations. In 2011, he was arrested  in Vancouver on assault and robbery charges. In 2012 he was arrested on additional charges of making threats in Vancouver. The ferocity of the attack in Ottawa by Bibeau  indicates he was highly motivated and aggrieved. Bibeau’s  murderous actions may have been  Jihadist inspired by ISIS given his use of the terrorist group’s Twitter site.

martin couture facebook

Martin Couture-Rouleau from his Facebook page.

Then is the similar  case of  25 year old Martin Couture-Rouleau, who flouted his newly adopted Islamic Jihadist faith and its doctrine of hate towards Jews, Christians and other unbelievers in posts on his  Facebook  page .  As a result of his new found faith he succumbed to the excesses of murderous and barbaric  ISIS.  What is interesting in Couture-Rouleau’s case was that the anti-terrorism unit of the RCMP had been monitoring his social media and  chatter focusing on his intention to leave to join ISIS.  That was prompted by his parents’ calls to the police concerned about his newly adopted  views  espoused at the local mosque he attended  near Montreal.   Apparently under Canadian law there wasn’t enough evidence to connect him to a terrorist group after his arrest In July, 2014,  before boarding a flight to Turkey to join ISIS.  He was  subsequently  released to regularly meet with Police until just before   he perpetrated Monday’s vehicular murder.  Like Bibeau, following his arrest, he had his passport removed as  “a high risk traveller”. Superintendent Martine Fontaine of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said at a televised news conference:

It’s very difficult to know exactly what an individual is planning to do before a crime is committed,” Superintendent Fontaine said. “We cannot arrest someone for thinking radical thoughts; it is not a crime in Canada.

Prime Minister  Harper announced Canada’s joining  the US led Operation Inherent Resolve with a Canadian Air Force  F-18 squadron to conduct air operations against ISIS in Syria and Iraq.  That triggered a spike in social media by the Islamic State calling for Jihadist wannabees to attack Canadian and US military.  Couture-Rouleau’s  jihadist  attack  culminated Monday, October 20, 2014  in his running down two Canada Force soldiers  at  a strip mall  in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec.  He killed  53 year old Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and wounded the other serviceman. Police shot and apprehended   Couture-Rouleau.  Following  today’s Ottawa attack, the Canadian federal  government issued a  temporary ban on use of many public places to prevent a repetition.  Ironically, Canadian  Public Safety Minister  Blaney raised the Canadian national terrorism threat level to “medium” on Tuesday , just prior to today’s attack in Ottawa.

In the U.S.,  today’s attack that killed a member of  the Canadian Honor Guard  at the Ottawa National War Memorial ,prompted  the Administration to bolster security at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers in Virginia’s Arlington National  Cemetery. The U.S. is concerned about the emergence of self-actualized jihadist supporters in our midst.  An example is  the prison convert  to Islam who beheaded a fellow woman employee in Moore, Oklahoma. Then this week there was the apprehension of three underage Denver area girls from  Sudan and Somali émigré families who left unannounced, boarding a flight in Colorado only to be apprehended by German police when they arrived in Frankfurt before they  could board  a connecting flight to Turkey.  Their ultimate destination was Syria to join ISIS.  Both the Canadian attacks and US one  raises the policy question about how to combat the jihadist theocratic message of ISIS. That message is anchored in the Qur’anic canon of  foundational documents and  codified  under Shariah law in the ‘sacred manual’, The Reliance of the Traveler.

President Obama  was interviewed in the Oval Office following a phone conversation with  Canadian PM Harper. He  conveyed  the collective thoughts and concerns of this country  for what Canada has endured this week.  Choosing his language carefully to avoid any  controversy over what motivates such actions , he condemned what he termed “senseless violence”.  PM Harper said that “a terrorist murdered the  soldier in cold blood”.

Mark Steyn, American-Canadian  commentator and author of the recently released  book Undocumented, was interviewed on Neal Cavuto’s Fox News program today. He said, “violence against the state isn’t “senseless”.  Steyn  thought the President’s “senseless violence”  comment  brought to mind the  equivocating  term “ workplace violence”, as  in the Moore, Oklahoma beheading and Maj. Nidal Hassan‘s murderous jihad rampage at Fort Hood in 2009. Steyn instead  put the blame  for this week’s Montreal and Ottawa  attacks  squarely on Canada’s policy of multi-culturalism that tolerates Islamic theocratic doctrine supporting the barbarity of ISIS and similar Jihadist, Salafist groups.  He noted that while ISIS beheads  captive unbelievers  and violators of  Sharia, so does Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, an ally of the U.S. in the coalition of Operation  Inherent Resolve.

David B. Harris, former planning director for the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS) and columnist on counterterrorism, spoke by phone with Cavuto about  Canada’s  dilemma. He was asked  if he thought the  Ottawa  event was a terrorist attack? He suggested  that, while it required confirmation, it certainly had the appearance of one. However, Harris  said that Canada may be unprepared for more such attacks in view of the significant number of Canadians who have left to join up with ISIS.  They  include  some who have become prominent ISIS  spokespersons, who may return to foster such domestic terrorism.  He drew attention to  a  Canadian Senate  testimony by Michel Coulombe the current head of  CSIS, who  indicated that Canada could be overwhelmed by such  ISIS inspired homegrown  terrorist  threats lacking the resources and legal means to combat them.

Watch this Fox News report  video report on the shootout today inside the Canadian Parliament:

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the New English Review. The featured image is of police officers take cover near Parliament Hill following a shooting incident in Ottawa October 22, 2014. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

CAIR Leader Hassan Shibly Condemns Saudi Arabia

In an ironic twist of continued Islamic incoherence, Hassan Shibly, one of the Council on American Islamic Relations main leaders in America, publicly CONDEMNS the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its leaders.

Then, Shibly has the hypocritical audacity to lead a group of paying Muslims on the Hajj Pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia where Shibly will bow in reverence to the very people he publicly denounces.

Will Nihad Awad call his protege’ Shibly on the carpet for his “un-Islamic” attack on the “Keepers of the Holy Cities?” Will the Royals in Saudi ask for a public apology from Shibly, a guest in the country he despises?

Stay tuned as The United West investigative team brings you the rest of this explosive story!

An Abduction to Saudi Arabia: Interview with Floridian Yasmeen A. Davis

We recently interviewed Professor Margaret McClain a retired faculty member of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Arkansas. McClain told us her story of the loss of her daughter in an illegal abduction by her Saudi ex-husband in violation of state, federal and international laws against parental abduction. Professor McClain and other American women, a father and some children testified about the trauma of loss of American children kidnapped and removed to Saudi Arabia during a  2002 hearings before the US House Representatives  Government Reform Committee chaired by former Indiana Republican Dan Burton.

One mother and a daughter from Miami, Florida, Mrs. Miriam Hernandez -Davis and her then 16 year old daughter Dria Hernandez Davis told the Congressional committee about the unusual circumstances of her abduction by her father and mother’s ex-husband. The family resorted to using their own resources to rescue Dria after the US government did little to assist in that effort. Professor McClain, who was part of that 2002 House Government Reform panel of hearing witnesses, contacted the daughter’s mother.

Through that contact we were able to interview a beautiful and poised young woman, who now goes by the name of Yasmeen Alexandria Davis. She is now in her late twenties, pursuing a graduate degree in social work while employed at a nonprofit agency in South Florida. She still suffers PTSD effects from the experience. The most troubling aspect is the continued harassment by her Saudi father, who employs US lawyers and ex-FBI agents, to check in with her and ask if she would testify against him in case he returned to the US or cause trouble if her Saudi father if he brought his children, by a subsequent marriage, to visit Disneyland. There is an outstanding warrant for his arrest if he were to step foot in the US. Among the areas of inquiry in our interview with Ms. Davis are:

  • Her mother’s divorce and traditional custody/visitation rights when she divorced her Saudi ex-husband when Yasmeen was two years of age.
  • Her Saudi father’s continued derogation of her background, religion and education.
  • Her mother’s plea with the Florida family court judge to have her ex-Saudi husband surrender his passport during their summer visits to prevent him from taking her  daughter into a country where she might never be able to return without his permission.
  • Her trauma at age 11, after her Saudi Father abducted and removed her against her will to Saudi Arabia during a summer vacation, and refused to allow her to see or speak with her mother.
  • Her protests of the new unwanted circumstances at her father’s residence in Saudi Arabia and her demands to be returned home.
  • The physical abuse she suffered at the hands of her father for refusing to convert to Islam.
  • The several years of deprivation in education while in Saudi Arabia.
  • The social ostracism and isolation she experienced in her father’s household.
  • The failure of the US Embassy to provide assistance to return her, an American citizen and minor, home.
  • How her family had to resort to their own means to rescue her.
  • How she suffered PTSD from the experience and still has lingering effects.
  • What her experience was like testifying as a 16 year old before the House Government Reform Committee in 2002.
  • How her Saudi father continues to keep tabs and harass her with calls and letters from US lawyers and visits from a former FBI agent he has retained.
  • What changes she believes should be undertaken here in the US to protect American children from kidnapping by fundamentalist Muslim fathers.

Watch this Vimeo video interview of Ms. Yasmeen Alexandria Davis by NER Senior Editor Jerry Gordon

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

Saudi-led Gulf Squabble Spells Trouble for Obama?

The Obama White House and the world media are pre-occupied with Russian President Putin’s grab of the Ukrainian autonomous province of Crimea. There are undertones of “Back to the Future”- meaning a possible return to Cold War era geopolitics with Russia.

Despite that overriding ruckus there was a less well publicized series of events in the Persian Gulf region among members of the Gulf Cooperating Council (GCC). Does this spell trouble ahead for President Obama’s Middle East policies?

At the GCC meeting on March 5th in Riyadh, Qatar was effectively isolated by “sisterly” Sunni Arab states. The Emir of Qatar, a member of the GCC, has been prominent in supporting financial aid and assistance to Muslim Brotherhood (MB) affiliates in Egypt under Morsi, Hamas in Gaza and the Syrian Opposition Council, one of whose leaders is a dual American Syrian citizenLouay Safi.

Virtually on the heels of the squabble at the GCC gathering, Saudi King Abdullah announced decrees on Friday, March 7th. They listed the MB as a terrorist organization along with several AQ affiliates in Syria and Iraq, as well as Shia terrorist groups in North Yemen and in the oil rich Eastern Province. The latter are backed by both Iran’s Qod Force and Hezbollah. This should present problems and potential conflicts of interest for President Obama’s senior National Security advisor Robert Malley and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. Both of these men espouse outreach to the MB, Iran and proxies, Hezbollah and Hamas.

This train wreck about to happen has been in development since the July 3, 2013 ouster by Egyptian Gen. al-Sisi of President Morsi in Egypt. Morsi was a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood endeavoring to create a Sharia compliant constitution with him as Emir. Egypt’s interim government in December 2013 outlawed the MB. This week an Egyptian court went after Hamas, the Gaza affiliate of the MB banning activities in Egypt. Following, the ouster of Morsi, Saudi Arabia and several of members of the GCC provided upwards of $12 billion in financial assistance to the interim Egyptian interim government. The stage now appears set for Gen. Abdel Fateh al-Sisi to run as the country’s President, a harkening back to the days of Gamal Abdel Nasser and the possible return of military autocracy in Egypt.

The flashpoint for the GCC isolation of Qatar was the notorious aged Egyptian MB preacher Yousuf al Qaradawi who had been in exile in Qatar before temporarily returning to Egypt in February 2011. He issued Fatwas for the reconquest of Al Quds (Jerusalem) and preached anti-Semitic hatred to crowds in Tahrir Square. In a January 2009 broadcast from Qatar, al Qaradawisaid about Jews: “kill them, down to the very last one.” While in Doha, Qatar he steadfastly refused to participate in annual International Interfaith Conferences.

A news report by Radaw noted the isolation of Qatar by “sisterly” Sunni Arab states because of the mischief of al Qaradawi and sanctuary provided by the Emir:

The Arab states of the lower Gulf are engaged in the latest and potentially most serious of their periodic family squabbles, which this week provoked three of them to withdraw their ambassadors from tiny Qatar.

The Qatar government expressed regret and surprise at Wednesday’s decision by the “sisterly countries” of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, but said it did not plan to retaliate by pulling out its own envoys.

All four states, together with Kuwait and Oman, are members of the GCC.

The official reason for the diplomatic spat is Qatar’s alleged failure to live up to a recent commitment not to interfere in the internal affairs of fellow GCC states.

The three conservative states are particularly distressed that Qatar continued to provide a platform for Yousuf Al Qaradawi, a Qatar-based Egyptian cleric, to use his fiery sermons to attack Saudi Arabia and the UAE despite Riyadh’s threat to freeze relations unless he was silenced.

The scope of King Abdullah’s terrorist designations was reported by Al-Jazeera:

Saudi Arabia has listed the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization along with two al-Qaeda-linked groups fighting in Syria.

The decree against the Brotherhood, whose Egyptian branch supported the deposed Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, was reported on Saudi state television on Friday.

Egypt in December listed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, prompting the arrest of members and associates and forcing the Islamist group further underground.

Saudi Arabia also listed Jabhat al-Nusra, which is al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Sham) (ISIS), which has been disowned al-Qaeda, as “terrorist organizations”.

It also listed Shia Huthi rebels fighting in northern Yemen and the little-known internal Shia group, Hezbollah in the Hijaz.

Early in February, 2014, Ayman al Zawahiri at Al Qaeda Central announced that the global Islamic terrorist group had no association with ISIS, instead providing support for the Al Nusrah front fighting against the Assad regime in Syria.  ISIS however has rampaged across the Anbar province in neighboring Iraq overtaking the Sunni town of Fallujah.

About the same time as the AQ ISIS declaration, King Abdullah had announced new counterterrorism policies that were directed against so-called reform movements in the Saudi Kingdom. The Washington Post  reported the new law “states that any act that ‘undermines’  the state or society, including calls for regime change in Saudi Arabia, can be tried as an act of terrorism.” This Saudi law appears  to be in violation of human rights taken for granted in the West, but clearly viewed as seditious in the autocratic and Sharia compliant Wahhabist Kingdom.

These latest Saudi initiatives could have significant implications for the Obama Administration and Secretary Kerry. Kerry is endeavoring to fashion an Israel- Palestinian final status agreement and resolution of the 37 month civil war in Syria.  We noted earlier the presence of Louay Safi as spokesperson for the Syrian Opposition Council at the recent Geneva II plenum talks. Safi was Research Director at the northern Virginia- based MB supported International Islamic Institute of Thought. Moreover, he was also Leadership Development Director at the MB front, the Islamic Society of North America, an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2008  Federal Dallas  trial and convictions of leaders of the Holy Land Foundation. The Muslim charity group had been accused of funneling upwards of $35 million to MB affiliate Hamas. Safi was also invited by the US Army Chief of Staff to lecture troops on Islam at Fort Hood in early December 2009 following the massacre perpetrated by Maj. Nidal Hassan a month earlier. Clearly, Safi’s rise to prominence in the Syrian Opposition Council is indicative of the MB controlling presence.

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and senior National Security Aides were present at the May 2012 meetings of the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. They were engaged in outreach to MB officials from Egypt, Tunisia and other Arab states and facilitated assistance to ousted President Morsi. Obama Appointments of MB members, especially Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Policy, Arif Alikhan and Senior Advisory board member Mohamed Elibiary have been problematic. National Security Advisor Malley was a former Middle East foreign policy aide to President Clinton during the failed 2000 Camp David Israel-Palestinian negotiations between former Israeli PM Ehud Barak and the late Yassir Arafat. Malley had accused Israel of nixing the agreement, when it was evident that Arafat had purposely sabotaged it. Malley went on to become head of the Middle East and North African program of the International Crisis group and later advised then Senator Obama and was part of the President’s transition team. He holds views that may further complicate Administration Middle East policies.  Malley propounded speaking with terrorist proxies Hamas and Hezbollah as well as the MB. Malley, was recently appointed to the National Security Council. He has the portfolio for Israel -Palestinian peace talks and the Iran nuclear P5+1 diplomatic initiative.

Now that Egypt and Saudi Arabia have designated the MB as a terrorist group, would the Obama Administration dare follow their lead? How Messrs. McDonough, Malley and Secretary of State Kerry will contend with a plethora of problems arising from efforts by the Egyptian government and now the Saudi led GCC targeting the MB is a ‘puzzlement’.

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

Texas: Conviction upheld of Muslim who plotted jihad bombing of Bush’s home, Hoover Dam, “people of New York”

At least Aldawsari has the satisfaction of knowing that he tied up the Infidel’s resources and made him spend a good deal of money on this frivolous appeal, and that in itself is a kind of jihad. “Conviction upheld in Saudi student Texas bomb plot,” by Michael Graczyk for the Associated Press, January 24 (thanks to Bill):

HOUSTON (AP) — A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction of a former Texas college student from Saudi Arabia sentenced to life in prison for trying to make a bomb for use in a religious attack that possibly was targeting former President George W. Bush.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday rejected an appeal from Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari, 23. A federal court jury in Amarillo in June 2012 convicted him of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

Prosecutors said Aldawsari, serving his life term at a federal prison in Terra Haute, Ind., had collected bomb-making material in his Lubbock apartment and researched possible targets, including Bush’s Dallas home, the Cotton Bowl, Hoover Dam and “people of New York,” according to the trial transcript.

Aldawsari’s lawyers contended in their appeal before the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit that the trial judge improperly allowed evidence, gave invalid jury instructions and erred in calculating Aldawsari’s sentence….

Aldawsari was arrested in February 2011 after the FBI searched his computer and apartment for evidence under terms of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which allows such searches if there’s probable cause the offender is an “agent of a foreign power.” The appeal contended the search involving Aldawsari wasn’t valid because there was no evidence of any foreign power’s involvement.

But a three-judge panel of the appeals court said “protection of the nation against terrorist threats” made the search proper under a provision of the act.

Attorneys also argued Aldawsari never completed the bomb but had made “mere preparations,” meaning a single sentence in the jury instruction referring to the crime of attempt was invalid. The court said the reference in the appeal was taken out of context and the instruction as a whole was correct.

In addition, the appeal said the sentence was too severe. While the punishment was the maximum the trial judge could impose, “we do not find the district court abused its discretion,” the appeals panel said.

Aldawsari arrived in the U.S. legally in 2008 to study chemical engineering. A handwritten journal found in his apartment included notes that he believed it was time for “jihad,” a Muslim term for holy war.

Naaah. As Hamas-linked CAIR would have us believe, that just means he was on his way to the gym.

Federal agents also found explosive chemicals, wiring, a hazmat suit and clocks, along with videos showing how to make the chemical explosive TNP.

At his trial, his attorneys claimed he was a harmless failure who never came close to attacking anyone.

He told U.S. District Court Judge Donald E. Walter at his sentencing hearing in November 2012 he was lonely and isolated from family, friends and faith.

The poor guy! Imagine how isolated his victims and their families would have been if his jihad mass murder plot had come to fruition.

“I am sorry for these bad actions, but none of these bad actions did harm to the United States,” Aldawsari said.

FBI bomb experts say the amounts of chemicals he had would have yielded almost 15 pounds of explosive, about the same amount used per bomb in the 2005 London subway attacks….

Aldawsari had transferred from Texas Tech in early 2011 to nearby South Plains College, where he was studying business. A Saudi industrial company was paying his tuition and living expenses in the U.S.

All Praises due Sens. Kirk and Menendez on Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act

Yesterday, as I entered a December monthly luncheon meeting of the Tiger Bay Club in Pensacola I was taken aside by a fellow member who told me how much he valued the work of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL) on the latest Iran sanctions effort.  We were there to hear David Wasserman of the Cook Report and assistant editor of the National Journalgive a presentation on the 2014 electoral map for the crucial midterm elections for President Obama. He is seemingly in trouble over the debacle of his keystone domestic program, the Affordable Care Act.  We have great respect for Sen. Kirk given our September 2008 NER interview with him when he was a Member of the US House of Representatives from a suburban Chicago  Congressional District, involved with the bi-partisan effort working on early Iran nuclear sanctions legislation.

My Tiger Bay colleague was referring to new bipartisan sanctions legislation, the Nuclear Weapons Free Iran Act co-sponsored by Sen. Kirk, a ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee and Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  Prominent among the 26  co-sponsors of the new sanctions legislation were Sens. Casey (D-PA), Graham (R-SC), McCain (R-AZ), Rubio (R-FL), Schumer (D-NY), Warner (D-VA). Clearly, these Senators are skeptical that an ultimate agreement can be achieved with the Islamic Regime in Tehran based on the P5+1 interim agreement and Joint Plan of Action (JPA). This despite President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry’s lobbying effort aimed at providing a hiatus to resolve issues with Iran. They are not the only ones; French Foreign Minister Fabius also renewed his dour prediction that a final agreement to prevent nuclear breakout and a weapons delivery capability may not be possible.  The US Senators and French Foreign Minister Fabius can point to a Press TV news release with comments by Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian head of their Atomic Energy Organization.  Salehi said the country’s nuclear facilities, including Arak heavy water reactor, will continue running, dismissing Western governments’ call on Tehran to suspend activities at the facility”.

Kirk’s and Menendez’s statements introducing the new legislation reflected a deepening skepticism on Capitol Hill and in polls across America and in Israel that Iran will honor any agreements.  This is based on its track record of deception, relentless pursuit of nuclear hegemony in the Middle East and its global reach of terrorism against the West.  They commented:

“The American people rightfully distrust Iran’s true intentions and they deserve an insurance policy to defend against Iranian deception during negotiations,” Sen. Kirk said. “This is a responsible, bipartisan bill to protect the American people from Iranian deception and I urge the Majority Leader to give the American people an up or down vote.”

“Current sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table and a credible threat of future sanctions will require Iran to cooperate and act in good faith at the negotiating table,” said Sen. Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “The Iranians last week blamed the Administration for enforcing sanctions; now, they criticize Congress. The burden rests with Iran to negotiate in good faith and verifiably terminate its nuclear weapons program. Prospective sanctions will influence Iran’s calculus and accelerate that process toward achieving a meaningful diplomatic resolution.”

Jennifer Rubin in a Washington Post column, Friday, “Congress is trying to stop a war, not start one”, outlined what the new bi-partisan sanctions legislation contains:

. . . to enact sanctions if Iran cheats during the interim agreement or fails to reach a final deal and to reaffirm the parameters of a final deal (terms embodied in United Nations resolutions and articulated by three presidents, including this one).

Those parameters include “dismantl[ing] Iran’s illicit nuclear infrastructure, including enrichment and reprocessing capabilities and facilities, the heavy water reactor and production plant at Arak, and any nuclear weapon components and technology, so that Iran is precluded from a nuclear breakout capability and prevented from pursuing both uranium and plutonium pathways to a nuclear weapon.” In addition, Iran must come into compliance with all U.N. resolutions and allow round-the-clock inspections.

The bill includes broad waiver authority for the Administration. (This had been a concern for some Democrats.)

At the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, President Obama’s Press Spokesman Jay Carney fired back, “We don’t think this action is necessary. We don’t think it will be enacted. If it were [passed] the president would veto it.”

President Obama in his year end press conference, prior to his departure for a vacation with family in Hawaii, responded to questions about the new Senate sanctions initiative, saying:

What I’ve said to members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans, is there is no need for new sanctions legislation, not yet.

Now, if Iran comes back and says, we can’t give you assurances that we’re not going to weaponize, if they’re not willing to address some of their capabilities that we know could end up resulting in them having breakout capacity, it’s not going to be hard for us to turn the dials back, strengthen sanctions even further. I’ll work with members of Congress to put even more pressure on Iran. But there’s no reason to do it right now.

Referring to a recent Administration action black-listing 12 Iranian companies following the P5+1 interim agreement, Jonathan Schanzer of the Washington, DC –based Foundation for Defense of Democracies commented in a Politico column, “The White House Can’t Have it Both Ways on Iran”:

Actively punishing Iran for its mendacity while trying to selectively reduce other sanctions (in this case, automotive, petrochemicals and precious metals) for the sake of diplomacy projects two competing messages. It should come as no surprise that this dual approach has inspired the confidence of neither Iran nor Congress. Indeed, the only actors out there who are heartened by Washington’s conflicted policies are the companies eyeing investments in Iran. They see confusion, and therefore ambiguity. And that’s a whole lot better than the investment environment of just a few months ago, when Iran appeared to be completely off limits.

Watch this Wall Street Journal video interview with Schanzer of FDD by Mary Kissel discussing “Totaling up Iran’s Sweet Sanction Deal”:

In our recent post on the efficacy of sanctions we concluded:

…military force coupled with improved sanctions may be the only option that brings the Islamofanatics in Tehran to heel.  Israel demonstrated that in both Iraq (Operation Opera 1981) and Syria (Operation Orchard 2007). Despite initial criticism, the US subsequently showed begrudging respect. That is not lost on the worried Saudis and the Gulf Emirates, critical of US policies in the roiling Middle East.

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