by Michael J. Totten
ISIS is threatening to kill judges and security personnel in Egypt after a Cairo court sentenced former Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammad Morsi to death while, at the same time, what’s left of the Muslim Brotherhood is promising a revolution that “exterminates all the oppressors.”
So much for the Muslim Brotherhood being moderate.
Human beings are naturally compelled to violently resist violent repression regardless of their ideology, but the Brotherhood’s ostensible moderation was always limited to its strategy. Its members largely refrained from violence because they believed a peaceful path to their radical Islamist utopia may have been open to them. Now that that’s off the table, the mask and the gloves have come off.
And that word, “exterminate.” This is not the language of freedom fighters. Thomas Jefferson and Vaclav Havel never threatened to exterminate anyone. This is the language of ISIS, Al Qaeda and Pol Pot.
Most of the world’s Sunni Arab terrorist organizations are spin-offs of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Al Qaeda. ISIS, meanwhile, is a spin-off of Al Qaeda. Hamas in the Gaza Strip isn’t even a spin-off. It’s the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch.
The ideologies of all these groups scarcely differ. They all want a Sunni theocracy, and they’re all hostile to secularists, minorities, and the West. The differences lie only in their severity, but the Brothers are looking and sounding less moderate by the day, and there’s no reason to be the least bit shocked that ISIS views them as their comrades and is threatening revenge on their behalf….
by DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA
In the recently released, but largely unheralded, National Security Strategy of the United States, the new buzz-word was “strategic patience.” As our unarmed Marines hastily departed Yemen, and ISIS closed in on their fellow devil-dogs in Iraq, the President was more than showing patience: he was making video about taking selfies.
- The Global Jihadist Movement: Not only is Al Qaeda not on the ropes, but ISIS /The Islamic State has overtaken it as a fully-fledged insurgency which is so powerful that latest reports have it attacking the base in Iraq where US Marines are deployed to assist the Iraqi army in standing itself back up after being routed last Summer. As media attention focuses again on the Middle East, especially after thegruesome immolation of Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh of the Royal Jordanian Air Force, the Jihadist movement grows ever stronger in Africa, with Boko Haram killing thousands and enslaving hundreds of Christian girls. Back home, we have theunprecedented statement by the director of the FBI that the Bureau is investigating ISIS activity in 49 states of the union. (Every state except Sarah Palin’s Alaska).
- On the Shia side of this global war, we see that not only is Iran very deftly outmaneuvering the administration when it comes to its nuclear program, its proxies are gaining ground in South Asia and the Middle East, most especially in Yemen, where the Houthis have captured the capital. This despite the fact that Yemen was lauded last year by the President as one of the true success stories of his counterterrorism strategy…..
…This is just a short version of a disturbing list that could be made much longer. The empirical truth on the ground is that we have enemies at home and abroad, enemies who believe neither in “leading from behind” nor in “strategic patience.” At the same time, the most powerful nation the world has ever seen has a Commander-in-Chief who is Absent With Out Leave.
by Ryan Mauro
The Bergdahl-Sony Effect
The West will have to contend with two lessons it taught adversaries in 2014: The U.S. negotiates with terrorists and the U.S. government and private sector will cave to threats.
The U.S. negotiated a prisoner release with the Taliban where five high-level Taliban terrorists were released in exchange for a kidnapped U.S. soldier named Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl who deserted and may have even tried to join the enemy side. Taliban chief Mullah Omar hailed the deal as a “huge accomplishment” that “reassures us that our aspirations are on the verge of fulfillment.”
Hollywood reinforced the dangerous appeasement when movie theaters caved to threats from hackers linked to North Korea and refused to show The Interview, a comedy about a plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Sony then cancelled the film’s release.
In addition, showings of Team America, another comedy that pokes fun at North Korea, were shut down. A planned thriller film with a storyline related to North Korea was cancelled, even though the hackers never threatened a response to it or even mentioned it.
After public outrage reached a fever pitch and President Obama said Sony made a mistake, the decision was reversed. The Interview was released in limited theaters and online on Christmas as planned, but the damage was done.
In 2015, the West’s enemies will be implementing these lessons.
Iran Outmaneuvers America
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirms that Iran is still not fully disclosing its nuclear program, yet the negotiations and sanctions relief has been extended for another six months. The U.S. even admits privately that Iran is breaking the interim nuclear deal, while the Secretary of State publicly praises Iran’s so-called “compliance.”
The Iranian regime is using negotiations as part of a long-term strategy to develop nuclear weapons capabilities, with the most incriminating work probably being outsourced to North Korea. A senior adviser to Supreme Leader Khamenei even said the regime’s strategy is “elongation” and it doesn’t actually want a finalized deal.
In 2015, Iran will continue this strategy to advance its nuclear program and lead the West into missing an extremely important opportunity to pressure the regime financially. At the same time, Iran will win investments from European companies to assist the economy and shield Iran from effective sanctions in the future.
The decline of oil prices is boosting the American economy and technological advances will reduce U.S. energy dependence. These oil prices are very dangerous for Iran, the Syrian regime, Venezuela, Russia and other hostile regimes.
These governments need the price of oil to spike up to sustain their budgets. The Iranian regime is undoubtedly infuriated with the Saudis for refusing to decrease oil production and has threatened an oil price war previously.
Iran’s proxies have successfully captured the capital of Yemen, defeating Saudi Arabia’s allies. In 2012, Iran launched a major cyber attack on Saudi Aramco and a natural gas company in Qatar. The Saudis claim the hackers tried to halt oil and natural gas production. The Iranian hackers continue to attack U.S. businesses, energy firms, defense contractors and universities.
In 2015, the low price of oil will maximize the incentives for Iran and other hostile governments to instigate conflict or to even attack Middle Eastern and American energy infrastructure.
The Expansion of Terror Safe Havens
Next year, Islamist terrorists will have growing opportunities to regain the safe havens they lost since 2001 and to expand their current bases.
The Islamic State announced in November that it had expanded from Iraq and Syria into Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. It killed eight Shiites in Saudi Arabia and shot a citizen of Denmark in Riyadh. At least 60 jihadist groups in 30 countries have expressed solidarity with the Islamic State.
Syria is the brightest prospect for the jihadists.
The Iran-backed Assad regime is winning on the battlefield but has severe weaknesses that will only get worse next year like the regime’s bankruptcy, collapsing infrastructure and lack of manpower. The regime cut subsidies that are essential for maintaining support from its constituencies.
The U.S.-backed rebels have been ripped to shreds by the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. The country is being described as “a patchwork of warring fiefdoms” and “total chaos” is being predicted for 2015. The chances are high that the civil war will spread to Lebanon in a major way.
The often-overlooked civil war continues to rage in Libya where Islamist militias are making gains in eastern Libya against secular forces. The Islamic State conquered the city of Derna and has erected training camps with an estimated 200 terrorists.
The Libyan civil war could spread into neighboring Tunisia and Algeria. The Libyan secularists are scoring some victories in western Libya and Tunisia is sealing border crossings. The new anti-Islamist government of Tunisia is destined for a showdown with Islamist militias like Ansar al-Sharia.
Yemen is also a grand opportunity for jihadists. The Iranian-backed Houthis have captured the capital of Sanaa and is advancing in the central and southern parts of the country, battling Al-Qaeda and other Sunni fighters along the way. This could become a repeat of Syria very shortly.
In Egypt, the military is battling an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula. The Islamic State is expanding there and Al-Qaeda’s affiliate there could potentially bounce back from major losses. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas could join the fight as the Egyptian government tries to dismantle political Islam.
In Afghanistan, the U.S. has pledged to end the official combat mission at the end of this year and reduce U.S. troop levels down to 9,800. The remaining forces will leave by 2016. The Afghan Taliban is making gains in Helmand Province since the U.S. handed security over to the Afghan security forces, but the Afghan forces deserve credit for stopping the Taliban from seizing a single district there.
A secret group of dozens of students backing the Islamic State has arisen in Afghanistan and expressions of support for the Islamic State are being seen in neighboring Pakistan. The Islamic State could also win over hardline elements of the Afghan Taliban opposed to negotiated settlements with the elected government.
The Clarion Project has seen numerous online statements by Islamic State members and supporters enthusiastically talking about replicating in Afghanistan the success they have enjoyed in Iraq once U.S. forces depart Afghanistan.
Islamist terrorists could also become stronger in Central Asia due to jihadists returning from Syria, the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and an apparent rise in support for Islamism, as evidenced by the rise of Hizb ut-Tahrir in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Kyrgyzstan has thwarted attacks by terrorists who returned from Syria and sought to spark an insurgency there.
In December, a terrorist group called the Caucasus Emirate attacked the city of Grozny in Chechnya and killed 14 police officers. The Emirate’s Dagestan section then released a videotape declaring allegiance to the Islamic State, even though the emir of the overall group endorsed Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The unfortunate reality is that a homegrown terrorist attack on U.S. soil is all but certain in 2015.
There were at least six Islamism-inspired acts of terrorism on U.S. soil in 2014, with the murder of two New York Police Department officers being the latest. At least 14 Americans have been intercepted on their way to join the Islamic State, with the most recent cases being a mother in Virginia and a Chicago man with his two teenage siblings.
It is believed that over 100 Americans have joined jihadist groups in Syria with other estimates as high as 300. The FBI is monitoring about 150 Americans who have returned from Syria for possible terrorist links.
The Islamic State has inspired a new generation of homegrown terrorists and a study found that the number of Salafist jihadists has doubled since 2010. The number of individual Salafist jihadist groups has doubled since 2001 and the number of attacks has tripled since 2010. The State Department likewise calculated a 40% rise in attacks in 2013 and a 60% rise in fatalities from terrorism.
Based on these trends, it is safe to say that Islamist terrorism will dominate the headlines throughout 2015 as it did for most of 2014.
Filed under: Al-qaeda, Appeasement, Iran, Islamic State (IS), Jihad, Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban, Turkey | Tagged: individual jihad | Comments Off on 2015: What Jihadists Will Try to Achieve in the Upcoming Year
by Patrick Poole
Congressman Andre Carson found himself in strange company Saturday evening when he was scheduled to be featured on a panel with a known Al-Qaeda webmaster and Taliban fundraiser, Mazen Mokhtar, during the just-concluded 2014 Muslim American Society/Islamic Circle of North America (MAS/ICNA) 2014 convention held in Chicago.
The panel was titled “Ferguson is our issue: We Can’t Breath.”
One attendee tweeted that the joint Carson/Mokhtar panel was the “most important session” of the convention:
Mokhtar is presumably well-known to Carson, one of two sitting Muslim members of Congress, since Mokhtar is well-known to the FBI.
In 2004, Mokhtar was named in a federal affidavit in the case of a UK-based Al-Qaeda website that raised money for the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.
According to the Washington Post:
Meanwhile, a New Jersey man is under investigation for having helped a British computer specialist, also arrested in London this week, allegedly solicit funds for a terrorist group by creating and operating an exact replica of the British man’s Web site.
Mazen Mokhtar, an Egyptian-born imam and political activist, operated a Web site identified in an affidavit unsealed Friday by the U.S. attorney’s office in Connecticut. The Web site solicited funds for the Taliban and Chechen mujaheddin, according to the affidavit. It is an exact replica of Web sites operated by Babar Ahmad, who was arrested in England on a U.S. extradition warrant this week.
The affidavit said the New Jersey home of the mirror Web site operator, identified on a Web site as Mokhtar, was searched in the recent past and that copies of Azzam Publications sites, operated by Ahmad, were found on Mokhtar’s computer’s hard drive and files.
Officials at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, which is leading the investigation, declined yesterday to comment on Mokhtar or the New Jersey investigation.
A CNN report (now removed from their website) added:
Federal officials are investigating a man accused of running Web sites that are exact replicas of those used to solicit funds for the Taliban and Chechen mujahedeen, according to a criminal complaint filed Friday by the U.S. attorney’s office in New Haven, Connecticut.
Law enforcement sources identified the man as Mazen Mokhtar, 36, of New Brunswick, New Jersey.
Those sources said Mokhtar is the “specific individual who resides in the United States” referred to in the affidavit as working with Babar Ahmad to solicit funds for the “blocked organizations … in an effort to support their goals.”
Predictably, when Mokhtar’s name surfaced in the investigation, the Muslim community rallied around him and the media began pushing the “moderate Islamic cleric” narrative.
In fact, the accusations by federal law enforcement authorities have barely made a dent in Mokhtar’s rise to prominence in the Islamic community.
Mokhtar currently serves as the executive director of the national MAS. A 2004 Chicago Tribune investigative report, published just a month after Mokhtar was named in the federal affidavit, noted that MAS was founded by Muslim Brotherhood members to conceal their ties to the Egyptian Islamic group.
In 2007, federal prosecutors described the group in a federal court filing saying that MAS was “founded as the overt arm of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States”:
Congressman Carson is not without his own controversy. While speaking to a 2012 ICNA convention, Carson told attendees that American schools will never be innovative until they become modeled after the Islamic education system.
Carson’s fellow Muslim congressman, Keith Ellison, is not without his own controversy. In 2012, I noted here at PJ Media Ellison’s long entanglement with Muslim Brotherhood front groups and Islamic organizations identified in federal court as fronts for foreign terrorist organizations, with even his hajj trip to Mecca being paid for by MAS to the tune of $13,500.
Filed under: Al-qaeda, FBI, Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim American Society, Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban | Tagged: André Carson, Keith Ellison, Mazen Mokhtar | Comments Off on Muslim Congressman Andre Carson Pals Around with Al-Qaeda & Taliban
by Andrew C. McCarthy
….Yet, by releasing the Taliban commanders – the “worst of the worst” … and at a time when the Taliban was (just as it is) still conducting terrorist operations against our troops – Obama established a very high ceiling. By acceding to the release of high-ranking Taliban operatives despite the heightening threat, the administration makes it far more difficult to rationalize the continued detention without trial of virtually any other Gitmo detainee. By comparison, the Taliban commanders were bound to be worse.
Bear in mind, moreover, that the Obama administration is threaded with lawyers who used to represent terrorist detainees (voluntarily … for free!). These lawyers well know that many of the detainees are still bringing the same kinds of lawsuits these lawyers used to help them bring: challenges to their detention without trial. By springing the most dangerous terrorists, the administration plainly strengthens the litigation position of lesser players still held at Gitmo. While courts are reluctant to issue outright release orders – there being debate about the extent of their authority to do so – they certainly can and do ratchet up pressure on the government to get the terrorists out of Gitmo (i.e., to find countries willing to take them and effect transfer). Indeed, in al-Odah’s own case, while declining to invalidate the terrorist’s law-of-war detention, a federal judge in Virginia admonished that the time was coming that the executive branch would be obliged to release the detainees. Less than three months later, al-Odah was sent home.
Expect a quickening of the pace. Obama is patently pushing to reduce the number of detainees at Gitmo, now estimated at 148, to one low enough to justify, at least in his own mind, transferring the remainder into the United States. Gitmo would then be shuttered.
Knowing how ballistic this would make voters, congressional Republicans have succeeded in enacting laws that prohibit the executive branch from moving the detainees into U.S. prisons. But our imperious president is notorious for riding roughshod over federal laws not to his liking. He has never been stopped by mere law; he has been brushed back only by concern about political damage that might hurt him and Democrats in elections.
Except… now he doesn’t have anymore elections to worry about. All that is left for the next two years-plus is the imperative to implement as much of his agenda as his enormous raw power allows.
Filed under: Al-qaeda, Taliban, Useful idiots, Weakness, Willful Blindness | Tagged: Guantanamo Bay, injustice, Islam, Islamic jihad, war | Comments Off on As War Heats Up, Obama Dismantles War Approach to Counterterrorism