Center for Security Policy http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org Wed, 24 Jun 2015 20:08:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Copyright © Center for Security Policy 2012 - 2013 jsinger.csp@techriver.net (Center for Security Policy) jsinger.csp@techriver.net (Center for Security Policy) 1440 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/wp-content/plugins/podpress/images/powered_by_podpress.jpg Center for Security Policy http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org 144 144 Secure Freedom Radio with Frank Gaffney Center for Security Policy Center for Security Policy jsinger.csp@techriver.net no no House Subcommittee Hearing on “Intelligence Void” involved in admitting Syrian Refugees http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/24/house-subcommittee-hearing-on-intelligence-void-involved-in-admitting-syrian-refugees/ http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/24/house-subcommittee-hearing-on-intelligence-void-involved-in-admitting-syrian-refugees/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 20:00:22 +0000 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/?p=196916 Wednesday, June 24th, the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security held a hearing titled “Admitting Syrian refugees: The Intelligence Void and the Emerging Homeland Security Threat.” This hearing addressed the [...]]]> Wednesday, June 24th, the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security held a hearing titled “Admitting Syrian refugees: The Intelligence Void and the Emerging Homeland Security Threat.” This hearing addressed the issue of the FBI’s inability to vet incoming Syrian and Iraqi refugees that could have terrorist ties.

Chairman Representative Peter King (R-NY) started by stating that “Americans opening doors to those who flee violence is a part of who we are” giving examples to past refugee success stories such as Albert Einstein, before summarizing the security threat in Iraq and Syria and the “vulnerabilities in the screening process.”

Rep. King went on to highlight the threat of “refugees who take advantage of the safe haven,” stating that the “savagery of ISIS” has caused the “worlds biggest refugee crisis.” He stated that the area has a “lack of stable foreign governments” and the “information and intelligence we are able to acquire is limited and often times unverifiable.”

Rep. King ended his opening statement by saying that while America “should not close [it’s] doors” it should be “thoughtful and intuitive with the most assurance that we are not importing terrorists” and that the panel testifying should “solicit recommendations on additional measures that should be taken.”

In his opening statement, Dr. Seth Jones, the director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation, warned that a “growing number of attacks in the US are linked back to this region” and that there are “4 million refugees based in the Syrian province.” He went on to say that Syria has the “highest number of foreign fighters, several [terrorist] groups in the region have planned to put operatives in the west including Europe, and the US intelligence understanding [in the area] is worse.” He summarized by saying that the “US does have a long standing tradition of offering asylum … however an integral part is insuring that those refugees including those in jihadist battlefields do not present a risk to safety and security in the west.”

Thomas Fuentes, former FBI Assistant Director, followed by stating that the International Police Cooperation or Interpol, is “essential in everything we do” and that lack of working partners in Syria, specifically the lack of police and government in the region, is a large reason the FBI does not have the capabilities to vet incoming refugees from the area. Thomas Fuentes stated that he has served as a member of the Executive Committee of Interpol and opened an FBI office in Baghdad, which was a crucial resource for intelligence on the area. He continued to state that a lack of government in Syria deeply affects America’s ability to gain information concerning refugees in the area.

Daveed Gartenstein- Ross, senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense Democracies, began his opening statement discussing the interest the country should have in “alleviating the situation in Syria.” He added that if a terrorist group should decide to pose a terrorist as a refugee they would have to “land in a refugee camp and get picked up in the lottery process by the UN” to be chosen to come here. He continued in saying that the radicalization process of those already in the United States is the bigger problem. He gave the example of someone in the United States who has an interest in Syria and looks at the terrorist group al- Nusra as cooperative as having an alleviated risk of radicalization than imported refugees. He also stated that the declining domestic product causes a risk in handling these problems, and that a reevaluation of the US migration policy is in order. He ended by stating that the US has a bad reputation of “not standing by those who help us” and that we need to “focus on our obligation to Iraqis and Afghans who assisted U.S. efforts in these countries.”

Rep. King then asked the panel whether Jordan could be relied upon to help in the vetting process. Fuentes answered by stating that the United States has an excellent relationship with the Jordanians and their intelligence is excellent. Dr. Jones agreed in saying that Jordan does have the best handle on the problem but that there should be a layered system in which our intelligence program follows the Jordanian vetting process, and that we should not rely on anyone else to do this process for us.

Congressman Lou Barletta (R- PA) asked, “How would you access the intelligence communities to properly vet refugees for admission?” Dr. Jones commented that Syria has far fewer human collectors, intelligence capabilities and has a much weaker ability to collect information useful for the vetting process.”

Fuentes then went on to point out that since “refugees are enemies of the state, we cannot rely on that state to vet them properly.”

The witnesses were then asked about helping these refugees in ways other than bringing them into the country. Daveed answered saying that the American public has a strong duty and that “actually addressing the situation over there is important.” He commented that we could “improve the situation in camps and provide job and educational opportunities.” He supported thinking about helping the issue in the area of origin and that it would be “the best use of money.” Fuentes agreed with providing resources “that would make camps more livable” but warned that the length of time that this aid would be provided would determine the timing of terrorism, because these groups would wait until the program ends to send their men through refugee camps.

Rep. Keating (D- MA) asked about the internal intelligence found on the ground with limited people there. Dr. Jones answered that while “capabilities are better today than a few years ago … better doesn’t mean good.”

Chairman King asked about maintaining surveillance on those entering the United States as Syrian refugees. Fuentes quickly answered saying the FBI cannot track these people “unless there is a predication or indication that the person is involved in criminal activity” and that tracking a large population such as all Syrian refugees is not plausible as the amount observed has to be narrowed down before it can be initiated. Daveed followed by saying that the US vetting system is “very antiquated.”

Chairman King concluded the hearing by saying there is currently “no real answer” to the problem, and “there is still going to be risks there no matter what process we follow.” However, it is “in our national interest that something be done and we are going to have to find a way to do it…

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New Documents Suggest Saudis Concern Over Hidden Iranian Nuclear Material http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/24/new-documents-suggest-saudis-concern-over-hidden-iranian-nuclear-material/ http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/24/new-documents-suggest-saudis-concern-over-hidden-iranian-nuclear-material/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 19:24:43 +0000 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/?p=196899 According to Saudi embassy documents secured by WikiLeaks, in February 2012 multiple Iranian shipments of “sensitive technical equipment in the form of fast centrifuges for enriching uranium,” were located [...]]]> According to Saudi embassy documents secured by WikiLeaks, in February 2012 multiple Iranian shipments of “sensitive technical equipment in the form of fast centrifuges for enriching uranium,” were located at an airport in Sudan’s capital of Khartoum. The leaked documents are the first of their kind reporting Iran shipping nuclear equipment to Sudan. If the documents’ suspicions can be validated, US inspections of Iranian nuclear sites, an aspect of the nuclear deal, would be greatly hindered, further complicating the already problem-filled agreement.

This is not the first instance of Iran collaborating with other nations in relation to nuclear matters. Iran and North Korea have exchanged nuclear information including warhead designs for many years. Each regime has sent representatives to visit one another’s nations, with three sets of North Korean nuclear experts visiting Iran this year. Furthermore, Syria, a close ally of Iran, which receives aid from Iran in the form of missile development and production, played host to a nuclear reactor that was ultimately destroyed by an Israeli airstrike. If Iran were truly able and willing to develop nuclear weapons in other nations, US inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities would be widely unproductive, as Iran’s nuclear weapons will have been moved outside its borders.

Sudan, a previous safe haven for Osama bin Laden and a designated State Sponsor of Terrorism, is Iran’s strongest ally in Africa, making it the prime location to conceal their nuclear weapons. Despite the Sudanese attempting to keep their relations with Iran secretive, it is widely known that the two have been allies for a long time. Relations can be traced back to the 1980’s when an Islamist-led coup, inspired by the Islamic revolution in Iran, brought President Al-Bashir and Hassan Al-Turabi into power. Within the first six months of the Islamist regime’s reign, Iranian and Sudanese officials signed a cooperative agreement. For decades, Iran has utilized the vastness of Eastern Sudan and its maritime presence in the Red Sea to smuggle weapons. Documents from a meeting of high-level Sudanese officials revealed many officials stressed the importance of relations with Iran continuing, as it is seen as essential to Sudan’s defense and security. The necessity of Iran’s support to Sudan’s national defense spouts from Iran’s training, funding, and supplying of the Sudanese military. As Sudan has continually supported Iranian military operations, Iranian leaders have told Sudanese leader Iran was willing to share their nuclear “experience, knowledge and technology.” Sudan has openly supported Iran’s nuclear program, expressing its backing of Iran’s rights to access peaceful nuclear energy in 2009.

Interestingly, a Sudanese munitions factory was attacked by Israeli airstrikes eight months after the then secret documents were produced. Despite Israel never denying nor confirming its involvement in the strikes, Sudanese officials claimed to have evidence in the remnants of the factory that pointed to Israel as the perpetrator. Sudan and Israel have considered one another enemy nations since the Arab-Israeli war in the late 1960’s, and Israel has since carried out multiple targeted strikes against arms factories in Sudan, looking to impede the flow of weapons to Hamas. With its major African ally in trouble, Iran offered to construct missile defense systems in Sudan, however the Sudanese government rejected the offer. Israel and Iran, as well, have outwardly proclaimed their detest for each other. Iran has publically rejected Israel’s right to exist, and its Supreme Leader has called for the destruction of Israel. On the other hand, Israel has definitively opposed the idea of a nuclear Iran, with President Netanyahu going as far as addressing the US Congress with his concerns of the inadequacies compromising the deal. A major component of Iran and Sudan’s alliance is the desire to ultimately destroy Israel’s power and influence.

As the June 30th deadline of the nuclear-deal negotiations looms less than a week away, Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, laid out the remaining red lines that must be agreed upon for a deal to be reached. Amongst the ultimatums Khamenei named was Iranian military sites not being required to be inspected, a claim that the Iranians have stood behind since the discussions commenced. Time and time again however US officials have attempted to downplay the sacrifices Western nations have been making, without the Iranians budging, to reach a deal. Whether or not the final deal, if reached, allows the US and other Western nations to monitor its nuclear activity remains to be seen. However, if the Saudi’s suspicions of Iran shipping nuclear material to Sudan prove true, Iran is clearly already moving to circumvent any inspection requirements the deal might contain.

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Bill O’Reilly Discusses the Center for Security Policy’s New Poll http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/24/bill-oreilly-discusses-the-center-for-security-policys-new-poll/ http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/24/bill-oreilly-discusses-the-center-for-security-policys-new-poll/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 17:20:06 +0000 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/?p=196906 Bill O’Reilly discusses the Center for Security Policy’s recent poll of Muslims living in the United States. You can watch the full segment below.

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Bill O’Reilly discusses the Center for Security Policy’s recent poll of Muslims living in the United States. You can watch the full segment below.

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Two Cheers for Ted Cruz http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/24/two-cheers-for-ted-cruz/ http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/24/two-cheers-for-ted-cruz/#comments Wed, 24 Jun 2015 11:40:48 +0000 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/?p=196895 Two cheers for Ted Cruz. The Texas Senator did yesterday something all-too-rare in Washington: He corrected a mistake.

Sen. Cruz recently decided to give President Obama the authority to ram [...]]]> Two cheers for Ted Cruz. The Texas Senator did yesterday something all-too-rare in Washington: He corrected a mistake.

Sen. Cruz recently decided to give President Obama the authority to ram through the Congress basically any international accord he chooses to describe as a “trade agreement,” encouraging others to do the same.

But, the more the Republican presidential candidate learned about what Mr. Obama will do with this “fast-track” authority under the guise of a Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, the more Mr. Cruz decided he had erred.

Unfortunately, his own course correction didn’t stave off disaster as the Senate approved this authority by the thinnest of margins. Let’s pray more legislators will have the wisdom to reconsider – and oppose the TPP – when they are obliged to vote on it in coming weeks.

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Poll of U.S. Muslims Reveals Ominous Levels Of Support For Islamic… http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/nationwide-poll-of-us-muslims-shows-thousands-support-shariah-jihad/ http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/nationwide-poll-of-us-muslims-shows-thousands-support-shariah-jihad/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 23:27:08 +0000 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/?p=196856 According to a new nationwide online survey (Below) of 600 Muslims living in the United States, significant minorities embrace supremacist notions that could pose a threat to America’s security and [...]]]> According to a new nationwide online survey (Below) of 600 Muslims living in the United States, significant minorities embrace supremacist notions that could pose a threat to America’s security and its constitutional form of government.

The numbers of potential jihadists among the majority of Muslims who appear not to be sympathetic to such notions raise a number of public policy choices that warrant careful consideration and urgent debate, including: the necessity for enhanced surveillance of Muslim communities; refugee resettlement, asylum and other immigration programs that are swelling their numbers and density; and the viability of so-called “countering violent extremism” initiatives that are supposed to stymie radicalization within those communities.

Overall, the survey, which was conducted by The Polling Company for the Center for Security Policy (CSP), suggests that a substantial number of Muslims living in the United States see the country very differently than does the population overall.  The sentiments of the latter were sampled in late May in another CSP-commissioned Polling Company nationwide survey.

According to the just-released survey of Muslims, a majority (51%) agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah.”  When that question was put to the broader U.S. population, the overwhelming majority held that shariah should not displace the U.S. Constitution (86% to 2%).

More than half (51%) of U.S. Muslims polled also believe either that they should have the choice of American or shariah courts, or that they should have their own tribunals to apply shariah. Only 39% of those polled said that Muslims in the U.S. should be subject to American courts.

These notions were powerfully rejected by the broader population according to the Center’s earlier national survey.  It found by a margin of 92%-2% that Muslims should be subject to the same courts as other citizens, rather than have their own courts and tribunals here in the U.S.

Even more troubling, is the fact that nearly a quarter of the Muslims polled believed that, “It is legitimate to use violence to punish those who give offense to Islam by, for example, portraying the prophet Mohammed.”

By contrast, the broader survey found that a 63% majority of those sampled said that “the freedom to engage in expression that offends Muslims or anybody else is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and cannot be restricted.”

Nearly one-fifth of Muslim respondents said that the use of violence in the United States is justified in order to make shariah the law of the land in this country.

Center for Security Policy President, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., observed:

The findings of the Center for Security Policy’s survey of Muslims in America suggests that we have a serious problem.  The Pew Research Center estimates that the number of Muslims in the United States was 2.75 million in 2011, and growing at a rate of 80-90 thousand a year.  If those estimates are accurate, the United States would have approximately 3 million Muslims today.  That would translate into roughly 300,000 Muslims living in the United States who believe that shariah is “The Muslim God Allah’s law that Muslims must follow and impose worldwide by Jihad.”
 
It is incumbent on the many American Muslims who want neither to live under the brutal repression of shariah nor to impose it on anybody else to work with the rest of us who revere and uphold the supremacy of the U.S. Constitution in protecting our nation against the Islamic supremacists and their jihad.

150612 CSP Polling Company Nationwide Online Survey of Muslims – Topline Poll Data

150612 CSP Polling Company Nationwide Online Survey of Muslims – Crosstabs(1)

Center for Security Policy – Nationwide Survey – Topline Results – 5.21.2015

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Grenade Attacks in Burundi in Lead-up to Election http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/grenade-attacks-in-burundi-in-lead-up-to-election/ http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/grenade-attacks-in-burundi-in-lead-up-to-election/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:38:32 +0000 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/?p=196841 Over the weekend, numerous grenade attacks in Burundi killed four and wounded approximately 30. The government and the opposition have pointed fingers at each other, with neither side stepping [...]]]> Over the weekend, numerous grenade attacks in Burundi killed four and wounded approximately 30. The government and the opposition have pointed fingers at each other, with neither side stepping forward and taking responsibility.

Three of the attacks targeted bars. The bloodiest attack, which killed four and injured 25, was in Ngozi, the northern province home to current President Pierre Nkurunziza. Another was in Kirundo, where one person was hurt, and a third was in Muyinga, with no casualties. The fourth was in Bujumbura on June 22 in the Musaga neighborhood and two patrolling police officers were injured. On June 19, a separate attack in Bujumbura injured 11 police officers.

Grenade attacks have become more common as the country nears its upcoming presidential election on July 15. Human rights groups say that at least 70 people have been killed and 500 have been wounded since protests began in April.

Protests began in late April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to run for reelection, which critics say violate both the Constitution and a peace deal that ended the civil war 10 years ago. Both limit the president to two terms of five years, and Nkrunziza is running for a third term.

Unfortunately, the only other viable candidate in Burundi’s election is Agathon Rwasa, the main opposition leader. Rwasa has a violent past as the head of the National Liberation Forces (FNL); under his lead, the FNL has carried out attacks on civilians and has been labeled a terrorist organization by several African countries.

The conflict could increase tensions between the Tutsi minority and Hutu majority. Following the civil war that began in 1993 between the Tutsi party in power and Hutu rebel groups, ethnic problems dissipated slightly, but they are becoming more prominent. The youth wing of the ruling  CNDD-FDD party (National Council for the Defense of Democracy – Forces for the Defense of Democracy), the Imbonerakure, has been attacking ethnic Tutsis to deter them from joining opposition movements and protesting against the government. Additionally, Rwasa is also Hutu, and part of his violent history has included targeting of Tutsis.

Burundi’s neighbor to the north, Rwanda, has similarly seen major problems with fighting between Hutu and Tutsi. The upcoming election, if it goes well, has the potential to set a good example of differing ethnic groups putting aside their past to come together. If it goes poorly, the region could find itself in the midst of another ethnic crisis. In order to maintain regional peace and stability, it is crucial that the election runs smoothly.

Moreover, President Pierre Nkurunziza has come under scrutiny for his attempts to bypass the Constitution to run for a third term, but he is simply following precedent already set by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who originally came to power in 1986 and has altered the Ugandan Constitution in order to allow him to continue to run for reelection. Rwandan President Paul Kagame is also expected to try to change the Rwandan Constitution to retain power, following Museveni’s example. Both Museveni and Kagame have had their extension of terms overlooked by the US because of their importance as security partners, so as an important contributor to the fight against Al Shabab, why should Nkurunziza be any different?

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Kurds Now Only 30 Miles From Caliphate Capital http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/kurds-now-only-30-miles-from-caliphate-capital/ http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/kurds-now-only-30-miles-from-caliphate-capital/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:37:32 +0000 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/?p=196846 Kurdish fighters in Syria known as the Popular Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian rebel fighters have continued to be successful in taking back areas captured by the Islamic State. Last [...]]]> Kurdish fighters in Syria known as the Popular Protection Units (YPG) and Syrian rebel fighters have continued to be successful in taking back areas captured by the Islamic State. Last week, Kurdish fighters captured the town of Tal Abyad, which lies on the Turkish border. As mentioned in Free Fire, Tal Abyad was primarily used by IS for shipping oil from Islamic State territory into Turkey. It was also used to transport foreign fighters into IS-controlled regions.

Monday evening, YPG fighters also captured a military base known as “Brigade 93”. Reportedly, this base was the IS’s first line of defense north of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State’s declared caliphate. It’s estimated that 26 IS militants were killed in the attack.

In the hours following the capture of Brigade 93, YPG and allied Syrian rebel fighters were also able to secure the town of Ayn Issa (Ein Issa/Ain Issa) early Tuesday morning. They were assisted by US-led coalition air strikes.

After the capture of Brigade 93 and the town of Ayn Issa, the YPG are now approximately only 30 miles out from Raqqa. There does not seem to be much discussion yet as to whether or not YGP and Syrian rebel fighters will continue their offensive to Raqqa. One could logically assume they will at some point, seeing as it is the caliphate’s capital and the largest IS stronghold.

Also, according to Rami Abdul Rahman, the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, “[the] Islamic State’s defensive lines have now been pushed back to the outskirts of Raqqa city because the area between Raqqa and Ain Issa is militarily weak and they have no fortifications”.

However, attacking Raqqa will prove to be no small task, and neither Kurdish fighters nor Syrian rebels have announced a plan for a future attack. Redur Khali, a YPG spokesman, has said that, “the next task is to enforce and protect these areas [Ayn Issa and nearby villages] because they know that the IS will strike back”.

Based on Rahman’s statement, the near future could prove to be strategically optimal for Kurdish and Syrian rebel fighters to penetrate Raqqa and actually have a good chance of overtaking the caliphate capital. But as Nawaf Khali, head of the Germany-based Kurdish Center for Studies, indicates, “Raqqa is a vast area and attacking it will need a great deal of coordination with other groups and the international alliance”.

At the moment, there does not seem to be a plan of attack for Raqqa in the docket. However, if and when that plan comes from the YPG and Syrian rebel fighters, the international community must be prepared to be supportive. As previously discussed on Free Fire, the Senate recently rejected Amendment 1549 to directly arm Kurdish fighting forces. This rejection does not seem to be the sort of preparation needed for a future, large-scale attack on Raqqa.

The US needs to rethink its position in future discussions regarding battling the Islamic State. The Kurdish fighting forces have clearly achieved significant success in combatting IS militants and taking back regions the Islamic State has captured. The decision in front of the US must no longer revolve around which plan of action to take. The decision must be to support the plan of action already in place.

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American Conservative Union Sponsors Expert Panel on Iran Nuclear Deal http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/american-conservative-union-sponsors-expert-panel-on-iran-nuclear-deal-2/ http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/american-conservative-union-sponsors-expert-panel-on-iran-nuclear-deal-2/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:18:04 +0000 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/?p=196882      On Friday, June 19th, the Center’s Vice President for Research and Analysis, Clare Lopez joined an elite panel of experts on Iran at an event sponsored by the American Conservative Union Foundation to a packed audience in the Caucus room at the Canon House Office Building. Also included in the list of dynamic list of speakers were national security expert, KT McFarland, Former Director of the D.I.A., Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret.), and A.E.I. Scholar, Michael Rubin.
 
     The panel held an illuminating discussion on the topic of Iran titled, “Iran Nuclear Deal: What Can We Expect?” The subject matter experts’ topics ranged from refuting the misguided claim President Obama and Secretary Kerry both assert that a nuclear deal is the only alternative to war, despite the irrefutable fact that Iran has an extensive history of blatantly ignoring calls from the international community to cease nuclear proliferation, causing mistrust towards possible Iranian concessions. 
     
    KT McFarland lead the discussion by telling the audience, “We have assembled the greatest group of experts that we could find, and it’s not so much numbers as quality.” Posing a question about the claim coming out of the administration that it’s either a deal or war with Iran, she asked, “Is this a legitimate question, or is that a straw-man option?” She asked everyone who spoke to summarize.
 
     Lt. Gen. Flynn (Ret.) answered by articulating what’s at stake for America, and what the U.S.’s policy towards the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism is, and laid out four points on the strategic outlook on where the United States should be from the prospective of history: 
 
This country needs clarity right now, instead of confusion. The second thing is confidence. I want my leadership to be confident in themselves. I don’t want the United States to appear weak. The third word is coherence, instead of discord. If you don’t contribute, you don’t get a seat at the table, Iran.  You don’t contribute to the greater good of humanity. The fourth is character. What type of characteristics do we want the United States to be known for? We’ve sort of lost what our consciousness is of what America is built on – lots of sacrifice.
 
   When asked about the agreement with Iran, Lt. Gen. Flynn (Ret.) expounded upon the implications of the deal, how the deal is causing America to take sides with the Shiites, and elaborated on what the implications are for the region going nuclear, and the future rise in the proxy wars between the Sunni and Shia communities.
 
   Michael Rubin followed with an excellent discussion on what one can expect on the outcomes from the P5+1 negotiations, and discussed the red flag warnings coming out of the regime, notably, Kahamenei’s call for heroic flexibility.
 
His office has suggested that (heroic flexibility) means a change in tactics, not a change in policy. When we look at the term, ‘heroic flexibility’, it’s really astounding that the State Department prides itself on cultural understanding, and doesn’t recognize the religious connotation of this term going back to the Imam Hassan. Ultimately, we are projecting our own goodwill on the Iranian’s side.
 
     Leading expert, Clare Lopez discussed in depth the extent of the threats posed by Iran, possible military dimensions, the character of the regime, the components of Iran’s nuclear weapons program, and the current status of the negotiations. Clare Lopez ended the panel discussion with a call to action for what citizens can do, and how Congress ought to approach the deal.
 
Congress has the responsibility, and it took upon itself the responsibility when it passed the 
Corker-Cardin bill to take a vote on any ultimate agreement between the U.S. and the Iranians.
 A bad deal is worse than no deal, and we need to let our Congressional representatives know to vote 
down this deal.
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Exposing Lawfare Against Israel http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/exposing-lawfare-against-israel/ http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/exposing-lawfare-against-israel/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:07:24 +0000 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/?p=196850 Since Operation Protective Edge, the “religion of peace” practitioners have attempted to use the International Criminal Court to scapegoat the Jewish state through the subtle use of lawfare. [...]]]> Since Operation Protective Edge, the “religion of peace” practitioners have attempted to use the International Criminal Court to scapegoat the Jewish state through the subtle use of lawfare. The most recent lawfare to come out of academia is from Stanford University, which hosted pro-Hamas attorney, Noura Erakat, the niece of Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erakat. Erakat presented her case in a lecture titled, “War on Gaza in the Age of Human Rights: Prospects for Accountability.”

Noura Erakat organized the U.S. Palestinian Community Network, which is tied to C.A.I.R. (Hamas in the U.S.). According to the Stanford University website, she helped launch the first university divestment campaign at U.C. Berkeley, and helped seed BDS campaigns throughout the country.

Erakat explained that since the audience was not a legal audience, she would instead provide the legal and political context for the situation in Gaza while citing her “sources” from the questionable NGO, Breaking the Silence, which promotes war crimes accusations against Israel that is based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay testimonials.

Posing a rhetorical question if Israel is indeed the most moral army in the world, Erakat asserted, “Israel’s engagement with the laws of war made it possible to kill as many civilians and destroy as much civilian infrastructure as it did” in a reference to Operation Protective Edge. Hamas camouflages its combatants in civilian clothes turning all Gazans into potential IDF targets.

Erakat claimed UNWRA facilities were targeted by the IDF During Operation Protective Edge, but conveniently failed to mention Hamas uses these facilities to attack Israel. According to YNet, the UNRWA Chief in Gaza found massive stockpiles of weapons hidden in UNRWA facilities by Hamas.

Hamas in August 2014 booby-trapped a U.N. clinic in Gaza by hiding 12 barrels containing 80 kg. of explosives each in a wall, and then used a child to lure Israeli soldiers into the building. The explosives denoted and three soldiers died.

Erakat also made the accusation that it was it perfectly legal for Hamas to kidnap, because of the legal context that was used.

When it (Israel) discovers Hamas’ tunnel network that enables its militants to actually infiltrate Israeli territory, which it created in order to capture soldiers, it’s perfectly legal under humanitarian law. Of course, the way that we framed this is that Israeli soldiers – even our President described this as barbaric, and said that it was the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, but of course kidnapping is limited to how we describe the absconding of civilians, not of soldiers, right? There’s also a lot to be said of the rhetoric of how we frame this.

According to the Jerusalem Institute of Justice, 160 child laborers died during Hamas’ construction of cross-border tunnels between Gaza and Israel.

Erakat’s use of lawfare is an attempt to blur the moral distinction between Israel and Hamas. One must remember which side tries its best to avoid civilian causalities, and which side strives diligently to create them. If only those in academia who blame Israel for these civilian deaths would take the time to examine the chain of causation.

If Erakat is so concerned about justice for Palestinians, why is she silent on the issues of honor killings against Palestinian women by Hamas? Her goal is simple: the delegitimization of Israel. In Judea and Samaria, honor killings of Palestinian women are up 200% from last year, yet Erkat’s silence is deafening on these real issues of justice. Even the BDS movement Erakat supports hurts the Palestinians.

According to Erakat, “Gaza is, for all intents and purposes, different because of the presence of what I would describe as a political party with an irregular combat force and what Israel would describe as a terrorist organization: Hamas.”

If one believes, as does Noura Erakat that Hamas is just an “irregular combat force”, contemplate on this: according to the Times of Israel, Hamas terrorism is funded in part by the sale of African slaves and human trafficking, and Gaza protestors are regularly beaten and detained by Hamas security officials. These are just some of the consequences of a designated terrorist organization becoming the governing entity of the Palestinian-Arabs.

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US airstrike kills Benghazi suspect http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/us-airstrike-kills-benghazi-suspect/ http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/06/23/us-airstrike-kills-benghazi-suspect/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 20:05:14 +0000 http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/?p=196818 Ali Ani al-Harzi, a Tunisian terrorist suspected of being involved in the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, was killed in northern Iraq by a US airstrike on June [...]]]> Ali Ani al-Harzi, a Tunisian terrorist suspected of being involved in the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, was killed in northern Iraq by a US airstrike on June 15. Harzi had been on US intelligence officials’ radars for quite some time, and was the source of much controversy when he was released from US custody in 2013. Harzi was a high-ranking official of Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T), a group known to support al-Qaeda’s ideology with close ties to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and whose militants are suspected perpratrators in the Benghazi attack.

According to the State Department, Harzi served AAS-T by, “recruiting volunteers, facilitating the travel of AAS-T fighters to Syria, and smuggling weapons and explosives into Tunisia.” Soon after the Benghazi attack, Harzi began posting updates related to the attack on social media, which were reportedly what lead intelligence analysts to link the attack to AAS-T.

Harzi was arrested in Turkey on his way to Syria in October 2012, and was questioned about the Benghazi attack by December 2012 by FBI agents. However, he was released in January 2013, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton along with CIA director John Brennan assured his release was not worrisome, as US government had no unsettling evidence on Harzi. Weeks after his release, two Tunisian politicians were assassinated, and their deaths were linked to Harzi. The FBI’s lackluster investigation and interrogation of Harzi added to the controversy surrounding the Benghazi attack and the US’s questionable response to it.

On April 10, 2015, the UN’s Security Council Committee added Harzi to their Al-Qaeda Sanctions List, directly stating he, “planned and perpetrated the attack against the Consulate of the United States in Benghazi, Libya on 11 Sep. 2012.” Harzi was also on the US Treasury and State Departments’ terrorist designation lists, but neither designation mentioned his involvement with Benghazi. In relation to Harzi’s death, Colonel Steven Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, stated, “His death degrades Islamic State’s ability to integrate North African jihadists into the Syrian and Iraqi fight and removes a jihadist with long ties to international terrorism.”

Colonel Warren’s statement can only be observed as hopeful at best, however, as IS’s success in Northern Africa cannot be pinned solely on Harzi. For more than a year now, IS has taken advantage of the turmoil in post-Gaddafi Libya, gaining pledges of allegiance from various Libyan militias including the Mujahidin of Kairouan and al-Mourabitoun. General David Rodriguez, a commander for US Africa Command, explained US suspicion on IS setting up training camps in Libya with the likelihood of trainees being sent to fight in Syria. As seen in instances with IS affiliates AQAP, US airstrikes killing high level officials is not as large of a blow to group morale as it’s made to believe. US officials need to come to terms with the fact that airstrikes will not be enough to degrade terrorist organizations such as IS and focus their attention on better training and equipping of local troops if there is any hope in stopping Islamist’s success.

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