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Obama has new target on persecuted Christians


waving flagPosted By Leo Hohmann On 08/23/2015

Article printed from WND: http://www.wnd.com

URL to article: http://www.wnd.com/2015/08/obama-has-new-target-on-persecuted-christians

Robert DeKelaita outside of federal court in Chicago in September 2014.

Robert DeKelaita outside of federal court in Chicago in September 2014.

Living as a Christian in many parts of Iraq or Syria has become impossible – a one-way ticket to martyrdom at the hands of ISIS – yet it remains a near-impossible feat for these persecuted religious minorities to find refuge in America. But if you can get to America and get your case in the hands of Robert DeKelaita, your chances are greatly improved.

muslim-obamaAs it turns out, this high-powered Chicago attorney may have been a little too successful. He’s gained asylum for thousands of persecuted Christian from Iraq, Syria and Egypt, and that caught the attention of the Obama Justice Department, which is known to be no friend of Middle Eastern Christians.

DeKelaita, 52, grew up in Kirkuk in the heart of Assyria, a portion of northern Iraq that is home to one of the world’s most ancient Christian communities. Legend has it that the Apostle Thomas evangelized the long-pagan area shortly after the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. The Christians there still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

After Saddam Hussein took power, DeKelaita’s family emigrated to the U.S. in 1973 and settled in the Chicago area. He was just shy of 11 years old at the time. He excelled in school, became a lawyer and vowed to use his legal skills to help his people escape religious persecution by the majority Muslims.

He’s helped reunite hundreds of families in the U.S., most of them since 2003 when the U.S. invasion and overthrow of Saddam unleashed a wave of Islamic terror against Christians that far exceeded anything that was seen under the secular Baathist regime.

The Obama administration moved against DeKelaita in September 2014, raiding his office and scooping up whatever “evidence” they could find against him. He was indicted on charges of falsifying the asylum applications of 12 clients over a 10-year period, allegedly concocting “phony claims” of religious persecution. The government has delayed his trial twice while it seeks to firm up witnesses who will testify against him.Christian Persecution

Each count of immigration fraud carries a maximum of 10 years prison and a $250,000 fine.

DeKelaita has been a pillar in the Assyrian Christian community in Chicago, founding the Ashurbanipal Library and donating to projects that celebrate Assyrian art and culture.

“Robert has been a very successful immigration lawyer for our people,” said Ramon Michael, a fellow Assyrian Christian whose family came to the U.S. about the same time as DeKelaita’s.

“I’ve known him since high school,” Michael said. “He has a passion for what he does.”

Some find it ironic that the Obama administration is going after a lawyer who helps persecuted Iraqi Christians gain asylum while it welcomed and granted cart blanch asylum for more than 68,000 unaccompanied alien children from Central America last summer.

At the same time Central Americans are being greeted with a “catch and release” policy at the border, a group of 27 Assyrian Christians who made it to the border earlier this year are being detained indefinitely.Obama-muslim-2-610x400

“The way that some of our federal judges view the plight of Christians in Iraq and the way some of the adjudicators view them, you would honestly think ‘what is wrong with these people?’” DeKelaita, who lives in a suburb of Chicago with his wife of 25 years, Ester, and two sons, told WND. “Why can’t they see what the rest of the world sees?”

He said one judge told him: “To argue that Christians in Iraq are being targeted for their religious beliefs is to appeal to either ignorance or emotion.” “That is absurd,” DeKelaita said.

Though he’s had his share of wins, it’s the losses that stick with him. Like the case in Detroit a few years ago.

“It was very disappointing to hear that judge, on Christmas Eve, deny your client asylum after his brother had just been killed in Baghdad,” DeKelaita said. “He’d owned a CD store and the Muslims felt, you know, that’s a sin, so they blew up his store and they killed several others with him.”

But the judge ruled that because one Muslim had also died in the attack that there was no targeting of Christians. It didn’t matter that seven Christians died and the owner of the store was a Christian selling Western-style music, which Muslims detest.

“I didn’t know what to say to my client,” he said. “We wished the judge a merry Christmas and just walked out of the courtroom.”War on Christians

Meanwhile, the slaughter continues in Iraq and Syria. Another 220 Assyrian families were kidnapped just last week in Syria and fears are growing that the men will face beheading, the women a life of servitude as sex slaves. Bishops in Syria and Iraq have put out desperate pleas for help, saying they feel abandoned by the West.persecution-persecuted-christians

‘Robert is our hero’

More than a few of the “lucky ones” say they owe their lives to Robert DeKelaita. “My sister and her three young children are among the Assyrian hostages in Syria. We don’t even know if they’re still alive,” said Mimi Odicho of Chicago. “Instead of trying to help save them – save these innocent people – the U.S. government is trying to take down a man who has been our people’s only hope for years. Robert is our hero. I don’t think anyone could possibly understand what he means to us.”

“I think our community finds hope in Robert,” added Narsai Oshana, also of Chicago, “because he is an attorney that is not foreign to our part of the world, to our plight and our history. He knows exactly what we have endured, because he’s lived it himself. He represented me in my asylum claim when I didn’t have any way to pay him except with thanks. That was enough for him. I will never forget that. To me, like many, Robert was light at the end of a very long, horrid tunnel. His name is known everywhere. I am forever indebted to him.”

While it detains Iraq Christian asylum seekers, the Obama administration has been welcoming thousands of Muslim refugees from jihadist hotbeds in Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, despite warnings from House Homeland Security Chair Michael McCaul, R-Texas, that some of these refugee programs may become a “jihadist pipeline” into the U.S.Obama defending muslims Two

DeKelaita, after his indictment, learned that the FBI had been investigating him since 2008, soon after Obama took office. “It seems like they have more leeway and power to do what they want and so they can,” his old high school friend, Michael, said. He points to the Obama administration’s attempt earlier this year to block an Iraqi nun from entering the country to testify before Congress on the issue of Christian persecution in the Middle East. After coverage by WND and dozens of other news outlets created a public outcry, Obama relented and issued the visa to Sister Diana Momeka.

WND also reported on Aug. 3 that the Obama-led Department of Homeland Security has detained 27 Iraqi Christian asylum seekers in California for six months, despite the fact that most of them have family who are U.S. citizens living in San Diego. “Dangerous people are allowed to come in across our borders and these people, I’d let these people babysit my kids, that’s how much I fear these people,” Michael said. “Something is up. I don’t know what, but it seems to be very anti-Christian to me.”want_rel_liberty_r

One of DeKelaita’s biggest successes was in getting a judge to strike down an outdated and inaccurate report out of Europe that insisted there was no persecution of Christians in Iraq. “This report was saying there is no persecution of Christians in Iraq and for many years they were using that to deny asylum and Robert was able to get that stopped, and that was when things started going bad for him,” Michael said. “He was able to make a pretty substantial impact if judges were no longer able to cite that report.”

DeKelaita said his business has suffered since the indictment was brought against him almost a year ago, but he has no plans to quit fighting. “I think it’s disturbing to me that a people so persecuted as the Assyrian Christians have come under such scrutiny, and especially when our involvement in Iraq bolstered the environment in which these people came under persecution from Islamic extremists,” he said.

There were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq in 2003. Little more than 200,000 remain.The Persecution has Begun

“Then they come here to escape the slaughter and we have to track them down and harass them, when they aren’t any threat to anyone,” DeKelaita said. “These are often old men, old ladies who are escaping persecution. Its’ terrible. As an American I want my government to be involved in actions that protect the security of the United States, and there are priorities, as opposed to tracking down old ladies and decent hard-working people.”Picture1

Robert DeKelaita, left, at a support rally with Assyrian Christians.

‘Proud Americans’

He said there are thousands of Assyrian and Chaldean Christians in the U.S. with cases pending before immigration courts.

A few days after his indictment, thousands turned out for a rally to show their support. An online petition at StandWithRobert.com has accumulated 1,874 signatures. “These are decent hard-working people,” he said. “In Detroit our community is a model of wealth and prosperity, in Chicago they’re very hard working people and uphold Christian values and uphold their churches and their communities and are proud Americans, and I’m proud of that. And no matter how my case turns out I will also be proud of my work. I think it can be vouched for by my clients.”

DeKelaita doesn’t make any assumptions about why he was charged or why he hasn’t been granted a speedy trial, or why after one interpreter who did work for his office pleaded guilty, another interpreter was charged. “The politics of charging people and the strategy of charging is a whole other game,” he said. “Why do you charge a person, then circle back and charge his friend, one might say it was on purpose but I can’t say that for sure. I just know I am very much looking forward to getting my trial on and I believe I will be vindicated and people will see the DOJ is not acting properly and I want this thing finished as quickly as possible.”

His Grace Bishop Mar Gewargis Younan of the diocese of Chicago Ancient Church of the East, said DeKelaita represents the very best of the American dream. “He escaped persecution as a child, and resettled in the United States. He had every reason to fail, but instead he went on to graduate from the prestigious University of Chicago and ultimately was considered the best attorney for Middle Eastern Christians,” the Bishop said. “His entire career has been aimed at giving back – to his church, to his heritage, to his people,” the bishop continued. “He is a role model for members of our community, both American-born and immigrants. I can say with confidence that every parishioner in our church has either themselves been represented by Mr. DeKelaita, or has a relative that was represented by him. When the charges were filed, the community was in outrage and disbelief, and rightfully so. There is not a single Assyrian family anywhere in Iraq or Syria that has not been directly impacted by religious persecution. The manner in which Mr. DeKelaita’s case has been approached seemingly moves to challenge this truth. We are proud of Mr. DeKelaita’s achievements, and will continue to support him during this time.”Combined

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The Terror Strategist: Secret Files Reveal the Structure of Islamic State


waving flagBy Christoph Reuter

URL of the original posting site: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/islamic-state-files-show-structure-of-islamist-terror-group-a-1029274.html

Photo Gallery: The Foundation of Islamic State Power 
AP/ Raqqa Media Center

An Iraqi officer planned Islamic State’s takeover in Syria and SPIEGEL has been given exclusive access to his papers. They portray an organization that, while seemingly driven by religious fanaticism, is actually coldly calculating. Aloof. Polite. Cajoling. Extremely attentive. Restrained. Dishonest. Inscrutable. Malicious. The rebels from northern Syria, remembering encounters with him months later, recall completely different facets of the man. But they agree on one thing: “We never knew exactly who we were sitting across from.” In fact, not even those who shot and killed him after a brief firefight in the town of Tal Rifaat on a January morning in 2014 knew the true identity of the tall man in his late fifties. They were unaware that they had killed the strategic head of the group calling itself “Islamic State” (IS). The fact that this could have happened at all was the result of a rare but fatal miscalculation by the brilliant planner. The local rebels placed the body into a refrigerator, in which they intended to bury him. Only later, when they realized how important the man was, did they lift his body out again.

Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi was the real name of the Iraqi, whose bony features were softened by a white beard. But no one knew him by that name. Even his best-known pseudonym, Haji Bakr, wasn’t widely known. But that was precisely part of the plan. The former colonel in the intelligence service of Saddam Hussein’s air defense force had been secretly pulling the strings at IS for years. Former members of the group had repeatedly mentioned him as one of its leading figures. Still, it was never clear what exactly his role was.

But when the architect of the Islamic State died, he left something behind that he had intended to keep strictly confidential: the blueprint for this state. It is a folder full of handwritten organizational charts, lists and schedules, which describe how a country can be gradually subjugated. SPIEGEL has gained exclusive access to the 31 pages, some consisting of several pages pasted together. They reveal a multilayered composition and directives for action, some already tested and others newly devised for the anarchical situation in Syria’s rebel-held territories. In a sense, the documents are the source code of the most successful terrorist army in recent history.

Until now, much of the information about IS has come from fighters who had defected and data sets from the IS internal administration seized in Baghdad. But none of this offered an explanation for the group’s meteoric rise to prominence, before air strikes in the late summer of 2014 put a stop to its triumphal march.

For the first time, the Haji Bakr documents now make it possible to reach conclusions on how the IS leadership is organized and what role former officials in the government of ex-dictator Saddam Hussein play in it. Above all, however, they show how the takeover in northern Syria was planned, making the group’s later advances into Iraq possible in the first place. In addition, months of research undertaken by SPIEGEL in Syria, as well as other newly discovered records, exclusive to SPIEGEL, show that Haji Bakr’s instructions were carried out meticulously.

Bakr’s documents were long hidden in a tiny addition to a house in embattled northern Syria. Reports of their existence were first made by an eyewitness who had seen them in Haji Bakr’s house shortly after his death. In April 2014, a single page from the file was smuggled to Turkey, where SPIEGEL was able to examine it for the first time. It only became possible to reach Tal Rifaat to evaluate the entire set of handwritten papers in November 2014.

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This document is Haji Bakr's sketch for the possible structure of the Islamic State administration.
This document is Haji Bakr’s sketch for the possible structure of the Islamic State administration.

 

“Our greatest concern was that these plans could fall into the wrong hands and would never have become known,” said the man whohas been storingHajiBakr’s notes after pulling them out from under a tall stack of boxes and blankets. The man, fearing the IS death squads, wishes toremain anonymous.

The Master Plan

The story of this collection of documents begins at a time when few had yet heard of the “Islamic State.” When Iraqi national Haji Bakr traveled to Syria as part of a tiny advance party in late 2012, he had a seemingly absurd plan: IS would capture as much territory as possible in Syria. Then, using Syria as a beachhead, it would invade Iraq.

Bakr took up residence in an inconspicuous house in Tal Rifaat, north of Aleppo. The town was a good choice. In the 1980s, many of its residents had gone to work in the Gulf nations, especially Saudi Arabia. When they returned, some brought along radical convictions and contacts. In 2013, Tal Rifaat would become IS’ stronghold in Aleppo Province, with hundreds of fighters stationed there.

It was there that the “Lord of the Shadows,” as some called him, sketched out the structure of the Islamic State, all the way down to the local level, compiled lists relating to the gradual infiltration of villages and determined who would oversee whom. Using a ballpoint pen, he drew the chains of command in the security apparatus on stationery. Though presumably a coincidence, the stationery was from the Syrian Defense Ministry and bore the letterhead of the department in charge of accommodations and furniture.

What Bakr put on paper, page by page, with carefully outlined boxes for individual responsibilities, was nothing less than a blueprint for a takeover. It was not a manifesto of faith, but a technically precise plan for an “Islamic Intelligence State” — a caliphate run by an organization that resembled East Germany’s notorious Stasi domestic intelligence agency.

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Graphic: A digital rendering of Haji Bakr's Islamic State organigram.
DER SPIEGEL; Graphic: A digital rendering of Haji Bakr’s Islamic State organigram.
This blueprint was implemented with astonishing accuracy in the ensuing months. The plan would always begin with the same detail: The group recruited followers under the pretense of opening a Dawah office, an Islamic missionary center. Of those who came to listen to lectures and attend courses on Islamic life, one or two men were selected and instructed to spy on their village and obtain a wide range of information. To that end, Haji Bakr compiled lists such as the following:
  • List the powerful families.
  • Name the powerful individuals in these families.
  • Find out their sources of income.
  • Name names and the sizes of (rebel) brigades in the village.
  • Find out the names of their leaders, who controls the brigades and their political orientation.
  • Find out their illegal activities (according to Sharia law), which could be used to blackmail them if necessary.

The spies were told to note such details as whether someone was a criminal or a homosexual, or was involved in a secret affair, so as to have ammunition for blackmailing later. “We will appoint the smartest ones as Sharia sheiks,” Bakr had noted. “We will train them for a while and then dispatch them.” As a postscript, he had added that several “brothers” would be selected in each town to marry the daughters of the most influential families, in order to “ensure penetration of these families without their knowledge.”

The spies were to find out as much as possible about the target towns:

  • Who lived there,
  • who was in charge,
  • which families were religious,
  • which Islamic school of religious jurisprudence they belonged to,
  • how many mosques there were,
  • who the imam was,
  • how many wives and children he had and how old they were.
  • Other details included what the imam’s sermons were like,
    • whether he was more open to the Sufi, or mystical variant of Islam,
    • whether he sided with the opposition or the regime,
    • and what his position was on jihad.

Bakr also wanted answers to questions like:

  • Does the imam earn a salary?
    • If so, who pays it? Who appoints him?
  • Finally: How many people in the village are champions of democracy?

The agents were supposed to function as seismic signal waves, sent out to track down the tiniest cracks, as well as age-old faults within the deep layers of society — in short, any information that could be used to divide and subjugate the local population. The informants included former intelligence spies, but also regime opponents who had quarreled with one of the rebel groups. Some were also young men and adolescents who needed money or found the work exciting. Most of the men on Bakr’s list of informants, such as those from Tal Rifaat, were in their early twenties, but some were as young as 16 or 17.

The plans also include areas like finance, schools, daycare, the media and transportation. But there is a constantly recurring, core theme, which is meticulously addressed in organizational charts and lists of responsibilities and reporting requirements: surveillance, espionage, murder and kidnapping.

For each provincial council, Bakr had planned for an emir, or commander, to be in charge of murders, abductions, snipers, communication and encryption, as well as an emir to supervise the other emirs — “in case they don’t do their jobs well.” The nucleus of this godly state would be the demonic clockwork of a cell and commando structure designed to spread fear.Islam is NOT

From the very beginning, the plan was to have the intelligence services operate in parallel, even at the provincial level. A general intelligence department reported to the “security emir” for a region, who was in charge of deputy-emirs for individual districts. A head of secret spy cells and an “intelligence service and information manager” for the district reported to each of these deputy-emirs. The spy cells at the local level reported to the district emir’s deputy. The goal was to have everyone keeping an eye on everyone else.Picture2

A handwritten chart shows Bakr's thoughts regarding the establishment of the Islamic State.
A handwritten chart shows Bakr’s thoughts regarding the establishment of the Islamic State.

Those in charge of training the “Sharia judges in intelligence gathering” also reported to the district emir, while a separate department of “security officers” was assigned to the regional emir.

Sharia, the courts, prescribed piety — all of this served a single goal: surveillance and control. Even the word that Bakr used for the conversion of true Muslims, takwin, is not a religious but a technical term that translates as “implementation,” a prosaic word otherwise used in geology or construction. Still, 1,200 years ago, the word followed a unique path to a brief moment of notoriety. Shiite alchemists used it to describe the creation of artificial life. In his ninth century “Book of Stones,” the Persian Jabir Ibn Hayyan wrote — using a secret script and codes — about the creation of a homunculus. “The goal is to deceive all, but those who love God.” That may also have been to the liking of Islamic State strategists, although the group views Shiites as apostates who shun true Islam. But for Haji Bakr, God and the 1,400-year-old faith in him was but one of many modules at his disposal to arrange as he liked for a higher purpose.Picture3

The Beginnings in Iraq

It seemed as if George Orwell had been the model for this spawn of paranoid surveillance. But it was much simpler than that. Bakr was merely modifying what he had learned in the past: Saddam Hussein’s omnipresent security apparatus, in which no one, not even generals in the intelligence service, could be certain they weren’t being spied on.

Expatriate Iraqi author Kanan Makiya described this “Republic of Fear” in a book as a country in which anyone could simply disappear and in which Saddam could seal his official inauguration in 1979 by exposing a bogus conspiracy.

There is a simple reason why there is no mention in Bakr’s writings of prophecies relating to the establishment of an Islamic State allegedly ordained by God: He believed that fanatical religious convictions alone were not enough to achieve victory. But he did believe that the faith of others could be exploited.ISIS Beraking the American Cross

In 2010, Bakr and a small group of former Iraqi intelligence officers made Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the emir and later “caliph,” the official leader of the Islamic State. They reasoned that Baghdadi, an educated cleric, would give the group a religious face.

Bakr was “a nationalist, not an Islamist,” says Iraqi journalist Hisham al-Hashimi, as he recalls the former career officer, who was stationed with Hashimi’s cousin at the Habbaniya Air Base. “Colonel Samir,” as Hashimi calls him, “was highly intelligent, firm and an excellent logistician.” But when Paul Bremer, then head of the US occupational authority in Baghdad, “dissolved the army by decree in May 2003, he was bitter and unemployed.”

Thousands of well-trained Sunni officers were robbed of their livelihood with the stroke of a pen. In doing so, America created its most bitter and intelligent enemies. Bakr went underground and met Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Anbar Province in western Iraq. Zarqawi, a Jordanian by birth, had previously run a training camp for international terrorist pilgrims in Afghanistan. Starting in 2003, he gained global notoriety as the mastermind of attacks against the United Nations, US troops and Shiite Muslims. He was even too radical for former Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden. Zarqawi died in a US air strike in 2006.

Although Iraq’s dominant Baath Party was secular, the two systems ultimately shared a conviction that control over the masses should lie in the hands of a small elite that should not be answerable to anyone — because it ruled in the name of a grand plan, legitimized by either God or the glory of Arab history. The secret of IS’ success lies in the combination of opposites, the fanatical beliefs of one group and the strategic calculations of the other.

Bakr gradually became one of the military leaders in Iraq, and he was held from 2006 to 2008 in the US military’s Camp Bucca and Abu Ghraib Prison. He survived the waves of arrests and killings by American and Iraqi special units, which threatened the very existence of the IS precursor organization in 2010, Islamic State in Iraq.

For Bakr and a number of former high-ranking officers, this presented an opportunity to seize power in a significantly smaller circle of jihadists. They utilized the time they shared in Camp Bucca to establish a large network of contacts. But the top leaders had already known each other for a long time. Haji Bakr and an additional officer were part of the tiny secret-service unit attached to the anti-aircraft division. Two other IS leaders were from a small community of Sunni Turkmen in the town of Tal Afar. One of them was a high-ranking intelligence officer as well.

In 2010, the idea of trying to defeat Iraqi government forces militarily seemed futile. But a powerful underground organization took shape through acts of terror and protection rackets. When the uprising against the dictatorship of the Assad clan erupted in neighboring Syria, the organization’s leaders sensed an opportunity. By late 2012, particularly in the north, the formerly omnipotent government forces had largely been defeated and expelled. Instead, there were now hundreds of local councils and rebel brigades, part of an anarchic mix that no one could keep track of. It was a state of vulnerability that the tightly organized group of ex-officers sought to exploit.

Attempts to explain IS and its rapid rise to power vary depending on who is doing the explaining. Terrorism experts view IS as an al-Qaida offshoot and attribute the absence of spectacular attacks to date to what they view as a lack of organizational capacity. Criminologists see IS as a mafia-like holding company out to maximize profit. Scholars in the humanities point to the apocalyptic statements by the IS media department, its glorification of death and the belief that Islamic State is involved in a holy mission.

But apocalyptic visions alone are not enough to capture cities and take over countries. Terrorists don’t establish countries. And a criminal cartel is unlikely to generate enthusiasm among supporters around the world, who are willing to give up their lives to travel to the “Caliphate” and potentially their deaths.

IS has little in common with predecessors like al-Qaida aside from its jihadist label. There is essentially nothing religious in its actions, its strategic planning, its unscrupulous changing of alliances and its precisely implemented propaganda narratives. Faith, even in its most extreme form, is just one of many means to an end. Islamic State’s only constant maxim is the expansion of power at any price.Islam is NOT

The Implementation of the Plan

The expansion of IS began so inconspicuously that, a year later, many Syrians had to think for a moment about when the jihadists had appeared in their midst. The Dawah offices that were opened in many towns in northern Syria in the spring of 2013 were innocent-looking missionary offices, not unlike the ones that Islamic charities have opened worldwide.

When a Dawah office opened in Raqqa, “all they said was that they were ‘brothers,’ and they never said a word about the ‘Islamic State’,” reports a doctor who fled from the city. A Dawah office was also opened in Manbij, a liberal city in Aleppo Province, in the spring of 2013. “I didn’t even notice it at first,” recalls a young civil rights activist. “Anyone was allowed to open what he wished. We would never have suspected that someone other than the regime could threaten us. It was only when the fighting erupted in January that we learned that Da’ish,” the Arab acronym for IS, “had already rented several apartments where it could store weapons and hide its men.”

The situation was similar in the towns of al-Bab, Atarib and Azaz. Dawah offices were also opened in neighboring Idlib Province in early 2013, in the towns of Sermada, Atmeh, Kafr Takharim, al-Dana and Salqin. As soon as it had identified enough “students” who could be recruited as spies, IS expanded its presence. In al-Dana, additional buildings were rented, black flags raised and streets blocked off. In towns where there was too much resistance or it was unable to secure enough supporters, IS chose to withdraw temporarily. At the beginning, its modus operandi was to expand without risking open resistance, and abduct or kill “hostile individuals,” while denying any involvement in these nefarious activities.against America

The fighters themselves also remained inconspicuous at first. Bakr and the advance guard had not brought them along from Iraq, which would have made sense. In fact, they had explicitly prohibited their Iraqi fighters from going to Syria. They also chose not to recruit very many Syrians. The IS leaders opted for the most complicated option instead: They decided to gather together all the foreign radicals who had been coming to the region since the summer of 2012. Students from Saudi Arabia, office workers from Tunisia and school dropouts from Europe with no military experience were to form an army with battle-tested Chechens and Uzbeks. It would be located in Syria under Iraqi command.

Already by the end of 2012, military camps had been erected in several places. Initially, no one knew what groups they belonged to. The camps were strictly organized and the men there came from numerous countries — and didn’t speak to journalists. Very few of them were from Iraq. Newcomers received two months of training and were drilled to be unconditionally obedient to the central command. The set-up was inconspicuous and also had another advantage: though necessarily chaotic at the beginning, what emerged were absolutely loyal troops. The foreigners knew nobody outside of their comrades, had no reason to show mercy and could be quickly deployed to many different places. This was in stark contrast to the Syrian rebels, who were mostly focused on defending their hometowns and had to look after their families and help out with the harvest. In fall 2013, IS books listed 2,650 foreign fighters in the Province of Aleppo alone. Tunisians represented a third of the total, followed by Saudi Arabians, Turks, Egyptians and, in smaller numbers, Chechens, Europeans and Indonesians.

Later too, the jihadist cadres were hopelessly outnumbered by the Syrian rebels. Although the rebels distrusted the jihadists, they didn’t join forces to challenge IS because they didn’t want to risk opening up a second front. Islamic State, though, increased its clout with a simple trick: The men always appeared wearing black masks, which not only made them look terrifying, but also meant that no one could know how many of them there actually were. When groups of 200 fighters appeared in five different places one after the other, did it mean that IS had 1,000 people? Or 500? Or just a little more than 200? In addition, spies also ensured that IS leadership was constantly informed of where the population was weak or divided or where there were local conflict, allowing IS to offer itself as a protective power in order to gain a foothold.

The Capture of Raqqa

Raqqa, a once sleepy provincial city on the Euphrates River, was to become the prototype of the complete IS conquest. The operation began subtly, gradually became more brutal and, in the end, IS prevailed over larger opponents without much of a fight. “We were never very political,” explained one doctor who had fled Raqqa for Turkey. “We also weren’t religious and didn’t pray much.”America are you paying attention

When Raqqa fell to the rebels in March 2013, a city council was rapidly elected. Lawyers, doctors and journalists organized themselves. Women’s groups were established. The Free Youth Assembly was founded, as was the movement “For Our Rights” and dozens of other initiatives. Anything seemed possible in Raqqa. But in the view of some who fled the city, it also marked the start of its downfall.

True to Haji Bakr’s plan, the phase of infiltration was followed by the elimination of every person who might have been a potential leader or opponent. The first person hit was the head of the city council, who was kidnapped in mid-May 2013 by masked men. The next person to disappear was the brother of a prominent novelist. Two days later, the man who had led the group that painted a revolutionary flag on the city walls vanished. “We had an idea who kidnapped him,” one of his friends explains, “but no one dared any longer to do anything.” The system of fear began to take hold. Starting in July, first dozens and then hundreds of people disappeared. Sometimes their bodies were found, but they usually disappeared without a trace. In August, the IS military leadership dispatched several cars driven by suicide bombers to the headquarters of the FSA brigade, the “Grandsons of the Prophet,” killing dozens of fighters and leading the rest to flee. The other rebels merely looked on. IS leadership had spun a web of secret deals with the brigades so that each thought it was only the others who might be the targets of IS attacks.Christian Persecution

On Oct. 17, 2013, Islamic State called all civic leaders, clerics and lawyers in the city to a meeting. At the time, some thought it might be a gesture of conciliation. Of the 300 people who attended the meeting, only two spoke out against the ongoing takeover, the kidnappings and the murders committed by IS. One of the two was Muhannad Habayebna, a civil rights activist and journalist well known in the city. He was found five days later tied up and executed with a gunshot wound to his head. Friends received an anonymous email with a photo of his body. The message included only one sentence: “Are you sad about your friend now?” Within hours around 20 leading members of the opposition fled to Turkey. The revolution in Raqqa had come to an end. A short time later, the 14 chiefs of the largest clans gave an oath of allegiance to Emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. There’s even a film of the ceremony. They were sheiks with the same clans that had sworn their steadfast loyalty to Syrian President Bashar Assad only two years earlier.

The Death of Haji Bakr

Until the end of 2013, everything was going according to Islamic State’s plan — or at least according to the plan of Haji Bakr. The caliphate was expanding village by village without being confronted by unified resistance from Syrian rebels. Indeed, the rebels seemed paralyzed in the face of IS’ sinister power. But when IS henchmen brutally tortured a well-liked rebel leader and doctor to death in December 2013, something unexpected happened. Across the country, Syrian brigades — both secular and parts of the radical Nusra Front — joined together to do battle with Islamic State. By attacking IS everywhere at the same time, they were able to rob the Islamists of their tactical advantage — that of being able to rapidly move units to where they were most urgently needed.

Within weeks, IS was pushed out of large regions of northern Syria. Even Raqqa, the Islamic State capital, had almost fallen by the time 1,300 IS fighters arrived from Iraq. But they didn’t simply march into battle. Rather, they employed a trickier approach, recalls the doctor who fled. “In Raqqa, there were so many brigades on the move that nobody knew who exactly the others were. Suddenly, a group in rebel dress began to shoot at the other rebels. They all simply fled.”

A small, simple masquerade had helped IS fighters to victory: Just change out of black clothes into jeans and vests. They did the same thing in the border town of Jarablus. On several occasions, rebels in other locations took drivers from IS suicide vehicles into custody. The drivers asked in surprise: “You are Sunnis too? Our emir told me you were infidels from Assad’s army.”

Once complete, the picture begins to look absurd: God’s self-proclaimed enforcers on Earth head out to conquer a future worldly empire, but with what? With ninja outfits, cheap tricks and espionage cells camouflaged as missionary offices. But it worked. IS held on to Raqqa and was able to reconquer some of its lost territories. But it came too late for the great planner Haji Bakr.

Haji Bakr stayed behind in the small city of Tal Rifaat, where IS had long had the upper hand. But when rebels attacked at the end of January 2014, the city became divided within just a few hours. One half remained under IS control while the other was wrested away by one of the local brigades. Haji Bakr was stuck in the wrong half. Furthermore, in order to remain incognito he had refrained from moving into one of the heavily guarded IS military quarters. And so, the godfather of snitching was snitched on by a neighbor. “A Daish sheik lives next door!” the man called. A local commander named Abdelmalik Hadbe and his men drove over to Bakr’s house. A woman jerked open the door and said brusquely: “My husband isn’t here.”

But his car is parked out front, the rebels countered.

At that moment, Haji Bakr appeared at the door in his pajamas. Hadbe ordered him to come with them, whereupon Bakr protested that he wanted to get dressed. No, Hadbe repeated: “Come with us! Immediately!”

Surprisingly nimbly for his age, Bakr jumped back and kicked the door closed, according to two people who witnessed the scene. He then hid under the stairs and yelled: “I have a suicide belt! I’ll blow up all of us!” He then came out with a Kalashnikov and began shooting. Hadbe then fired his weapon and killed Bakr.

When the men later learned who they had killed, they searched the house, gathering up computers, passports, mobile phone SIM cards, a GPS device and, most importantly, papers. They didn’t find a Koran anywhere.

Haji Bakr was dead and the local rebels took his wife into custody. Later, the rebels exchanged her for Turkish IS hostages at the request of Ankara. Bakr’s valuable papers were initially hidden away in a chamber, where they spent several months.

A Second Cache of Documents

Haji Bakr’s state continued to work even without its creator. Just how precisely his plans were implemented — point by point — is confirmed by the discovery of another file. When IS was forced to rapidly abandon its headquarters in Aleppo in January 2014, they tried to burn their archive, but they ran into a problem similar to that confronted by the East German secret police 25 years earlier: They had too many files.

Some of them remained intact and ended up with the al-Tawhid Brigade, Aleppo’s largest rebel group at the time. After lengthy negotiations, the group agreed to make the papers available to SPIEGEL for exclusive publication rights — everything except a list of IS spies inside of al-Tawhid.

An examination of the hundreds of pages of documents reveals a highly complex system involving the infiltration and surveillance of all groups, including IS’ own people. The jihad archivists maintained long lists noting which informants they had installed in which rebel brigades and government militias. It was even noted who among the rebels was a spy for Assad’s intelligence service.

“They knew more than we did, much more,” said the documents’ custodian. Personnel files of the fighters were among them, including detailed letters of application from incoming foreigners, such as the Jordanian Nidal Abu Eysch. He sent along all of his terror references, including their telephone numbers, and the file number of a felony case against him. His hobbies were also listed: hunting, boxing, bomb building.

IS wanted to know everything, but at the same time, the group wanted to deceive everyone about its true aims. One multiple-page report, for example, carefully lists all of the pretexts IS could use to justify the seizure of the largest flour mill in northern Syria. It includes such excuses as alleged embezzlement as well as the ungodly behavior of the mill’s workers. The reality — that all strategically important facilities like industrial bakeries, grain silos and generators were to be seized and their equipment sent to the caliphate’s unofficial capital Raqqa — was to be kept under wraps.America are you paying attention

Over and over again, the documents reveal corollaries with Haji Bakr’s plans for the establishment of IS — for example that marrying in to influential families should be pushed. The files from Aleppo also included a list of 34 fighters who wanted wives in addition to other domestic needs. Abu Luqman and Abu Yahya al-Tunis, for example, noted that they needed an apartment. Abu Suheib and Abu Ahmed Osama requested bedroom furniture. Abu al-Baraa al Dimaschqi asked for financial assistance in addition to a complete set of furniture, while Abu Azmi wanted a fully automatic washing machine.

Shifting Alliances

But in the first months of 2014, yet another legacy from Haji Bakr began playing a decisive role: His decade of contacts to Assad’s intelligence services.

In 2003, the Damascus regime was panicked that then-US President George W. Bush, after his victory over Saddam Hussein, would have his troops continue into Syria to topple Assad as well. Thus, in the ensuing years, Syrian intelligence officials organized the transfer of thousands of radicals from Libya, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia to al-Qaida in Iraq. Ninety percent of the suicide attackers entered Iraq via the Syrian route. A strange relationship developed between Syrian generals, international jihadists and former Iraqi officers who had been loyal to Saddam — a joint venture of deadly enemies, who met repeatedly to the west of Damascus.

At the time, the primary aim was to make the lives of the Americans in Iraq hell. Ten years later, Bashar Assad had a different motive to breathe new life into the alliance: He wanted to sell himself to the world as the lesser of several evils. Islamist terror, the more gruesome the better, was too important to leave it up to the terrorists. The regime’s relationship with Islamic State is — just as it was to its predecessor a decade prior — marked by a completely tactical pragmatism. Both sides are trying to use the other in the assumption that it will emerge as the stronger power, able to defeat the discrete collaborator of yesterday. Conversely, IS leaders had no problem receiving assistance from Assad’s air force, despite all of the group’s pledges to annihilate the apostate Shiites. Starting in January 2014, Syrian jets would regularly — and exclusively — bomb rebel positions and headquarters during battles between IS and rebel groups.

In battles between IS and rebels in January 2014, Assad’s jets regularly bombed only rebel positions, while the Islamic State emir ordered his fighters to refrain from shooting at the army. It was an arrangement that left many of the foreign fighters deeply disillusioned; they had imaged jihad differently. IS threw its entire arsenal at the rebels, sending more suicide bombers into their ranks in just a few weeks than it deployed during the entire previous year against the Syrian army. Thanks in part to additional air strikes, IS was able to reconquer territory that it had briefly lost.

Nothing symbolizes the tactical shifting of alliances more than the fate of the Syrian army’s Division 17. The isolated base near Raqqa had been under rebel siege for more than a year. But then, IS units defeated the rebels there and Assad’s air force was once again able to use the base for supply flights without fear of attack. But a half year later, after IS conquered Mosul and took control of a gigantic weapons depot there, the jihadists felt powerful enough to attack their erstwhile helpers. IS fighters overran Division 17 and slaughtered the soldiers, whom they had only recently protected.

What the Future May Hold

The setbacks suffered by IS in recent months — the defeat in the fight for Kurdish enclave Kobani and, more recently, the loss of the Iraqi city of Tikrit, have generated the impression that the end of Islamic State is nigh. As though it, in its megalomania, overreached itself, has lost its mystique, is in retreat and will soon disappear. But such forced optimism is likely premature. The IS may have lost many fighters, but it has continued expanding in Syria.

It is true that jihadist experiments in ruling a specific geographical area have failed in the past. Mostly, though, that was because of their lack of knowledge regarding how to administer a region, or even a state. That is exactly the weakness that IS strategists have long been aware of — and eliminated. Within the “Caliphate,” those in power have constructed a regime that is more stable and more flexible than it appears from the outside.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be the officially named leader, but it remains unclear how much power he holds. In any case, when an emissary of al-Qaida head Ayman al-Zawahiri contacted the Islamic State, it was Haji Bakr and other intelligence officers, and not al-Baghdadi, whom he approached. Afterwards, the emissary bemoaned “these phony snakes who are betraying the real jihad.”

Within IS, there are state structures, bureaucracy and authorities. But there is also a parallel command structure: elite units next to normal troops; additional commanders alongside nominal military head Omar al-Shishani; power brokers who transfer or demote provincial and town emirs or even make them disappear at will. Furthermore, decisions are not, as a rule, made in Shura Councils, nominally the highest decision-making body. Instead, they are being made by the “people who loosen and bind” (ahl al-hall wa-l-aqd), a clandestine circle whose name is taken from the Islam of medieval times. Islamic State is able to recognize all manner of internal revolts and stifle them. At the same time, the hermitic surveillance structure is also useful for the financial exploitation of its subjects.

The air strikes flown by the US-led coalition may have destroyed the oil wells and refineries. But nobody is preventing the Caliphate’s financial authorities from wringing money out of the millions of people who live in the regions under IS control — in the form of new taxes and fees, or simply by confiscating property. IS, after all, knows everything from its spies and from the data it plundered from banks, land-registry offices and money-changing offices. It knows who owns which homes and which fields; it knows who owns many sheep or has lots of money. The subjects may be unhappy, but there is minimal room for them to organize, arm themselves and rebel.

As the West’s attention is primarily focused on the possibility of terrorist attacks, a different scenario has been underestimated: the approaching intra-Muslim war between Shiites and Sunnis. Such a conflict would allow IS to graduate from being a hated terror organization to a central power.Better Ideas

Already today, the frontlines in Syria, Iraq and Yemen follow this confessional line, with Shiite Afghans fighting against Sunni Afghans in Syria and IS profiting in Iraq from the barbarism of brutal Shiite militias. Should this ancient Islam conflict continue to escalate, it could spill over into confessionally mixed states such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Lebanon. In such a case, IS propaganda about the approaching apocalypse could become a reality. In its slipstream, an absolutist dictatorship in the name of God could be established.

In God We Trust freedom combo 2

What Obama just did is UNFORGIVABLE. (Hint: it’s 7 letters)


waving flagWritten by Allen West on August 5, 2015

Obama-sinister
If there is one thing absolutely true about the liberal progressive left, it is the fact that they hate the truth, and will doggedly attack anyone using it against them. Truth The New Hate Speech

We are watching the left do its darndest to defend the indefensible, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — always beware when politicians use the word “comprehensive” — which is the official name of the Iranian nuclear agreement. Funny thing, it says “joint,” but the Iranians are telling the Americans we cannot take part in the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) inspections — and it has been revealed that there are secret side deals between the IAEA and Iran. The Iranian emissary to the IAEA stated that the terms will not be disclosed to any other country — so much for “joint.”Party of Deciet and lies

And the left is all in an apoplectic uproar because Senator Ted Cruz called out President Obama on the Iranian deal. As reported by Politico, “According to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran is essentially financing terrorism. And he’s not backing down after the president called his comments “outrageous.” 

“If this deal is consummated, it will make the Obama administration the world’s leading financier of radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz said during a round table [last] Tuesday. “Billions of dollars under control of this administration will flow into the hands of jihadists who will use that money to murder Americans, to murder Israelis, to murder Europeans.” muslim-obama

What I find “outrageous” is that President Barack Obama would refer to Senator Cruz’s assertion as “outrageous”. So what DO you call it when you are the president of America and you threaten a veto against the U.S. Congress if it does not consent to the JCPOA that releases billions of dollars to the world’s number one state sponsor of Islamic terrorism?

I know, we just have to sit back and allow the Emperor — who truly has no clothes — do whatever he wishes, including funding a militant Islamic theocratic regime that chants “Death to America?” I know, all my leftist supporters believe Iran and the ayatollahs are just kidding.Indenification of Obama

And why take the word of Senator Cruz, or even someone like myself who has been in Iraq and Afghanistan and knows the terrorist support and influences of Iran? Nah, my assessment is worthless in light of Barack Obama and all his vast experience in Middle East community organizing.

However, what about the word of someone who has intimate knowledge of the terrorist activity and support of Iran against our men and women in the Middle East? Now, in full disclosure, the person to whom I am referring was once a Commanding Officer of mine in the 4th Infantry Division when I was an Artillery Battalion commander.

As written in the Weekly Standard by Lieutenant General Michael Barbero (US Army, Retired), “One man was responsible for the deaths or injuries of thousands of American soldiers in Iraq. That same man is responsible for sowing sectarian conflict today in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. And yet, in the nuclear deal with Iran, this man, the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force, Major General Qassem Suleimani, will have sanctions lifted against him. Indeed, he will receive a large infusion of cash to wreak more havoc and terror. Obama Muslim collection

Having served in Iraq, having experienced first-hand his proxy operations against American forces, and having lost men to Gen. Suleimani’s terror operations, I find this offensive. Preventing a nuclear Iran is a critical national security objective. We should seize any real chance of achieving this goal diplomatically. Whether the agreement negotiated in Vienna, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will keep nuclear weapons out of Iranian hands is a question that should be vigorously debated.

But it is appalling that we would agree to lift sanctions on a known terrorist in pursuit of this nuclear deal. President Obama claims to be under no illusions about the Iranian regime and its murderous activities. Even in defending the JCPOA, he has admitted that, “we’ll still have problems with Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism: its funding of proxies like Hezbollah that threaten Israel and threaten the region, the destabilizing activities that they’re engaging in, including in places like Yemen.” Behind all these problems stands one organization, and behind that organization, one man. Within the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Quds Force is responsible for special operations, including training, arming, and giving instructions to the terrorists, insurgents, and proxies that Iran uses to spread chaos across the Middle East. The head of the Quds Force is Major General Qassem Suleimani.

Shortly after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the Quds Force mobilized and trained Shiite militias within Iraq for the purpose of killing Americans. This proxy campaign against United States forces was abetted by a particularly lethal weapon: explosively formed projectiles (EFPs). A form of roadside bomb with a sophisticated triggering mechanism and the ability to penetrate American armor, EFPs were estimated to account for 20 percent of U.S. deaths. And they came from only one place. “We knew where all the factories were in Iran.” General Stanley McChrystal, then head of the Joint Special Operations Command, told the New Yorker. “The E.F.P.s killed hundreds of Americans.”

I’ve spoken about the EFPs previously in interviews and on this website. So I must ask, what part of President Barack Obama financing Islamic terrorism do you NOT understand? What is confusing about what LTG Barbero just stated? If anyone knows, LTG Barbero does, because he served 46 months over three combat tours in Iraq, including serving as the senior operations officer in Iraq during the surge. And LTG Barbero also served as the Commanding General of JIEDDO (Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization). So if there’s anyone who knows the IEDs and from whence they come, it is my former Assistant Division Commander, LTG Barbero. Then again, why listen to him, especially when you have General Valerie Jarrett and all her vast experience in combat operations and the Iranian influence — the country of her birth.

If you want to draw a parallel, consider the Iranian Quds force the same as the Nazi SS during World War II. They are just that vicious and murderous, devoid of any sense of humanity. This is the organization which will be the recipient of Obama’s billions of dollars of goodwill. And please, again, do not give me the surrender monkey song about the only other alternative is war. Guess what Einsteins? Iran and the Quds force have been at war with America, and as LTG Barbero states, 20 percent of US deaths in Iraq came at the hands of Iran — chances are thousands were maimed.against America

So to all the liberal progressive leftists, take your unrighteous indignation elsewhere. Senator Ted Cruz was correct in his assertion and I know that facts and truth are to liberal progressives as sunlight is to vampires. However, it is time we stop trying to create some fantasy world surrounding this abhorrent acquiescence called the JCPOA.

ObamabotBarack Obama has signed an agreement with the same folks responsible for the deaths and maiming of Americans. Iran has continued to state that nothing changes in their relationship and position towards the United States. Perhaps those inane Hollywood talking heads who were mouthpieces for Obama and this Iranian agreement should visit one of the families who lost their loved ones to an Iranian EFP. Look into the eyes of the children who lost a mom or dad and tell them, we need to release billions of dollars to the crazed clerics in black robes.Obamabot Army

You want to know what is truly “outrageous?” The fact that the President of the United States is more concerned about his insidious and delusional legacy than honoring the men and women who carry the scars or lost their lives because of Iran. Yes, he is content to allow this to happen.

The U.S .Code refers to actions of aiding and abetting the enemy, as well as providing material support and comfort…releasing billions of dollars in unfrozen assets to Iran is in complete violation of U.S. Code. Iran is the enemy and Obama is financing the enemy. I know what that’s called. Do you?freedom combo 2

Ann Coulter Letter: “Knowing What We Know Now, Would You Say Jeb Bush Is Retarded?”


waving flagWritten by Ann Coulter  | 

URL of the Original Posting Site: http://humanevents.com/2015/05/20/knowing-what-we-know-now-would-you-say-jeb-bush-is-retarded/?utm_source=coulterdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl

Knowing What We Know Now, Would You Say Jeb Bush Is Retarded?

Was Jeb Bush too busy watching telenovelas during his brother’s presidency to remember the Iraq War?

We went to war at such breakneck speed after 9/11, that, before the invasion, I was able to write approximately 30 columns about it, give five dozen speeches on it, discuss it on TV a hundred times and read 1,089 New York Times editorials denouncing the “rush to war.” 

So I remember the arguments.

Contrary to the fairy tale the left has told itself since Obama truculently gave away America’s victory in Iraq, our argument wasn’t that we had to invade Iraq because of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. And the left’s argument certainly was not: “He doesn’t have any WMDs!”

Our argument was: There were lots of reasons to get rid of Saddam Hussein, and none to keep him.

Indeed, after Bush’s State of the Union address laying out the case for war with Iraq, The New York Times complained that he had given too many reasons: “Even the rationale for war seems to change from day to day. Mr. Bush ticked off a litany of accusations against Iraq in his State of the Union address …” (New York Times, Feb. 2, 2003)

Among the reasons we invaded Iraq were:

(1) Saddam had given shelter to terrorists who killed Americans. After 9/11, it was time for him to pay the price:

– The mastermind of the Achille Lauro hijacking, Abu Abbas, who murdered a wheelchair-bound American citizen, Leon Klinghoffer, then forced the passengers to throw his body overboard, was living happily in Iraq. (Captured by U.S. forces in Baghdad less than a month after our invasion.)

– The terrorist who orchestrated the murder of American diplomat Laurence Foley in October 2002, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, also took refuge in Saddam’s Iraq. (Killed by U.S. forces in Iraq on June 7, 2006.)

– The one terrorist behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing who got away, Abdul Rahman Yasin, fled to Iraq, where he was given money and lived without fear of being extradited to the United States. (Whereabouts unknown. Possibly being groomed for a prime-time show on MSNBC.)

– Czech intelligence reported that Mohammed Atta, 9/11 mastermind, met with Iraqi agents in Prague shortly before the attack.

We’re not supposed to mention the Prague meeting on penalty of liberals yelling at us. Apparently, our CIA discounts that report. On the other hand, the CIA didn’t see the 1993 World Trade Center bombing coming, didn’t see 9/11 coming, didn’t see the Fort Hood massacre coming and didn’t see the Times Square bombing coming. No one tell liberals, but our CIA knows NOTHING — although they’re pretty sure something bad happened at Pearl Harbor a while back.

(2) Saddam had attempted to assassinate a former president of the United States. Liberals complained that it was a family feud because that president happened to be Bush’s father, but, again, he was also a FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. (Does being a relative of the president make you fair game for assassination attempts? Bill Clinton, please pick up the white courtesy phone.)

(3) Saddam not only had WMDs, he had used them — far more prodigiously than Syria’s Bashar al-Assad did when Obama masterfully backed down from his “red line” threat if Assad ever used chemical weapons. (Assad’s WMDs killed about a thousand civilians — 350 according to French intelligence, which is a lot better than ours. Saddam’s WMDs killed an estimated 100,000 civilians. That’s according to everyone — the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and Clinton-era ambassador Peter Galbraith.)

(4) We needed to smash some Muslim strongman after the 9/11 attack, and Saddam was as good as any other — at least as good as the Taliban primitives who had allowed Osama bin Laden to pitch his tent in their godforsaken country.

It worked: Moammar Gadhafi, terrified that Bush would attack Libya next, invited U.N. inspectors in, gave up his WMDs, and paid the families of his Lockerbie bombing victims $8 million apiece.

(5) Saddam had committed atrocities on a far greater scale than our current bogeyman, ISIS. He tortured and murdered tens of thousands of Iraqis — removing their teeth with pliers, applying electric shocks to men’s genitals, drilling holes in their ankles and forcing them to watch as their wives were raped — as reported by USA Today, among others. There was no risk that we were accidentally taking out the Arab George Washington.

(6) Saddam was a dangerous and disruptive force in a crucial oil-producing region of the world. We need oil. Why not go to war for oil?

(7) The Iraqi people were a relatively sane, civilized and educated populace with a monstrous ruler. Removing that leader would provide a golden opportunity for an actual functioning Arab democracy — an Arab Israel.

That worked, too. In under two years, Iraqis were waving their purple fingers to symbolize having voted in their first democratic election. A few years after that, young Iranians were demanding their own democracy in another good people/bad rulers country.

But then an innocent 26-year-old girl, Neda, was gunned down in Tehran by the Iranian military. President Obama responded forcefully by going out for an ice cream cone. And thus ended the democratic movement in the Muslim world.

The least important reason to invade Iraq — the one that was tacked on for the sole purpose of taunting liberals over their goofy reverence for the United Nations — was that Saddam had refused to allow U.N. weapons inspectors in, leaving the strong impression that Iraq was chock-a-bloc with WMDs. It was the equivalent of asking where the feminists were when we invaded Afghanistan — although technically, we didn’t invade because the Taliban were mean to women.

In fact, the only time The New York Times got testy with Saddam was after the “powerful case” made by Secretary of State Colin Powell, “that Saddam Hussein stands in defiance of Security Council resolutions.” (Who cares?)

Liberals didn’t mind Saddam’s sheltering terrorists, using poison gas, invading his neighbors or attempting to assassinate a former U.S. president. But Saddam had disrespected the U.N.!

Far from claiming that estimates of Saddam’s WMDs were overblown, liberals cited those very WMDs to warn America that any invasion would result in catastrophe for the Great Satan. Thus, for example:

– The New York Times cautioned in an editorial that an invasion might create chaotic conditions, allowing “terrorists to grab biological or chemical weapons.” (New York Times, Feb. 2, 2003)

– Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg predicted that Saddam would “use poison gas against U.S. troops.” (Jane Sutton, “Pentagon Papers’ Ellsberg Sees Deja Vu in Iraq,” Reuters, Nov. 25, 2002)

– In the Chicago Tribune, Steve Chapman warned: “Once American troops set foot on Iraqi soil, they may be bombarded with poison gas.” (Steve Chapman, “What Could Go Wrong in the War With Iraq,” Chicago Tribune, Nov. 17, 2002)

– The Times’ Nicholas Kristof wrote that if we invaded Iraq, “Saddam may well launch missiles with chemical warheads at Tel Aviv.” (Nicholas Kristof, “Flirting With Disaster,” Feb. 14, 2003)

This is why all six of Jeb Bush’s answers to Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly — as well as Marco Rubio’s premeditated answer a week later — were ridiculous. It’s annoying enough having liberals invent these historical fantasies. Do our fearsome Republicans have to keep retelling them, too? If they don’t follow the news, can’t they read?

Kelly asked Bush: “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?”

The correct answer is:

Now that we know that a half-century of Teddy Kennedy’s 1965 Immigration Act would result in a country where a man like Barack Obama could be elected president, and then, purely out of antipathy to America, would withdraw every last troop from Iraq, nullifying America’s victory and plunging the entire region into chaos, no, I would not bother removing dangerous despots in order to make America safer.

Instead, I would dedicate myself to overturning our immigration laws, ending the anchor-baby scam and building a triple-layer fence on the border, so that some future Republican president could invade Iraq without worrying about a foreign-elected president like Obama coming in and giving it away.

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Where Are The PATRIOTS?


Where are the PATRIOTS who are willing to die for their country, if necessary, to gain freedom? Where are they in Iraq as well?

Jerry Broussard

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Iraq is still bleeding 10 years after Saddam Hussein’s capture

Friday’s anniversary of the dictator’s arrest sees the country struggling with   a resurgent al-Qaeda and a death rate double that of a decade ago

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iraq/10514145/Iraq-is-still-bleeding-10-years-after-Saddam-Husseins-capture.html

Ten years after the capture of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is at risk of becoming a failed state again as al-Qaeda reclaims vast swathes of the country.

Al-Qaeda has mounted repeated strikes across the country with an average of 68 car bombs a month this year Photo: Reuters
Colin Freeman

By , Baghdad

6:00PM GMT 12 Dec 2013

Ten years after the capture of Saddam Hussein, Iraq is at risk of becoming a   failed state again as al-Qaeda reclaims vast swathes of the country.

Friday’s anniversary of the Iraqi   dictator’s arrest sees the country still struggling with his   legacy, with al-Qaeda launching a fresh campaign of terrorist atrocities   from new territory carved out in western and northern Iraq.

Backed by jihadists fighting the civil war in neighbouring Syria, the group is   trying to create an “emirate” straddling the two countries, taking advantage   of the collapse in security across the border.

Bridges linking four key border towns on the Iraqi side have been dynamited,   making it difficult for security forces to operate in the area.

Road signs have even been put up proclaiming it to be the turf of the Islamic   State of Iraq and the Levant, the name for the joint Syrian-Iraqi al-Qaeda   franchise.

Using their new safe haven as an operating base, al-Qaeda has mounted repeated   strikes across the country, with an average of 68 car bombs a month this   year.

After a period between 2009 and 2011 in which violence was on the wane,   al-Qaeda’s resurgence in the past year has led to a fresh sense of despair   on the streets of Baghdad, where many young Iraqis think now only of leaving   the country.

The scene of a car bomb in Baghdad last year (AFP)

“It is not as bad as during the civil war, but whenever you leave your house,   you can’t be sure that you will be coming back,” said Shadi Karaqzi, 23, an   accountancy student smoking a shisha pipe in a central Baghdad cafe, itself   the target of a devastating car bomb attack in 2007. “We are living in   terror.”

“The wish of most young men now is just to live abroad so that they can have a   normal life,” added his friend Ghaith Hamed, 22.

In recent months, al-Qaeda’s so-called “reload rate” – the time between one   series of mass attacks and another – has dropped to as little as a week,   down from four to six weeks.

The death toll for 2013 has already topped 7,000, with the United Nations   saying that 979 died in October alone, the latest month for which figures   are available.

That is roughly twice the Iraqi death rate when US forces plucked Saddam from   his “spider hole” in Tikrit in December 2003, an arrest hailed at the time   as spelling the end of Iraq’s insurgency problems.

The brunt of al-Qaeda’s new onslaught is borne by Iraq’s majority Shia Muslim   community, who are classed as apostates in the terror group’s extremist   Sunni Muslim vision.

So far, senior Shia clerics have forbidden retaliation. But in interviews with   The Telegraph, both Iraqi politicians and foreign diplomats have expressed   fears that the sheer scale of the current onslaught is putting a strain on   Shias’ willingness to turn to the other cheek.

They fear a return to the sectarian warfare of 2006-2007, when up to 3,000   people a month were killed in tit-for-tat violence waged   by Sunni and Shia death squads.

Only last month, police found the bodies of 19 people – including a family of   five – shot dead and dumped in two districts of Baghdad, one mainly Sunni,   the other Shia.

Shi’ite women mourn during the funeral of the victim of a bomb attack in   Baghdad last month (Reuters)“Al-Qaeda is trying to return the country to the civil war era by killing   Shias,” said Sami al-Askary, an Iraqi MP and adviser to Nouri al-Maliki, the   prime minister. “So far they have not succeeded, but nobody knows how long   for. When the rage comes, you cannot expect how people will react.”

The current wave of violence has its roots in Iraq’s own belated version of   the Arab Spring a year ago, when the country’s Sunni minority – who enjoyed   privileged status under Saddam – began their   own mass demonstrations.

They complained of being treated as second class citizens by Iraq’s new   Shia-dominated government, alleging that they were subject to mass arrests   by the security forces and barred from government jobs because of pasts in   Saddam’s Baath party.

While foreign diplomats say their claims were not without foundation, they got   little sympathy from Mr Maliki’s government, whose followers point out that   Sunnis treated Shias in exactly the same way when they were in power.

Mr Maliki also feared that al-Qaeda would infiltrate the movement, a prophecy   that his security forces then helped fulfil when they violently broke up a   Sunni protest in the northern town of Hawija last April.

While the troops claimed they were fired on first, the deaths of some 40   Sunnis in the military’s heavy-handed response proved a major new recruiting   sergeant for al-Qaeda.

The group then scored a second major coup in July, when it staged a   mass jailbreak at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, freeing several   hundred hardcore followers held on terrorism charges.

The break-in at what was supposed to be the country’s most impregnable jail   underlined both al-Qaeda’s operational sophistication and the Iraqi security   forces’ continued incompetence.

Some 933,000 people are now enlisted in various military and paramilitary   police units. Yet despite having ballooned to the same size as it was in   Saddam’s time, much of the million-man army remains poorly equipped,   badly-trained and indisciplined.

Often they lack the equipment, logistics and training to dominate the ground   in hostile areas, and since the US troop withdrawal, there has been little   in the way of intelligence sharing.

Al-Qaeda’s current hold on Iraq is still weaker than it was at its peak of   2004-2007, when it controlled entire cities such as Ramadi and Fallujah.

With elections due next April, Mr Maliki’s government is now making a   concerted push against al-Qaeda on several fronts. At a meeting in   Washington last month, he is believed to have reinstated intelligence   sharing agreements, which withered amid the increasing acrimony between the   two governments ahead of the US pull-out in 2011.

The Iraqi government is also awaiting consignments of Russian helicopter   gunships, the only way in which they can currently mount surprise attacks on   al-Qaeda hideouts in remote desert areas.

The Telegraph understands that a plan is also under way to adopt a more   “hearts and minds” security strategy, moving away from the mass arrests that   have helped alienate Iraq’s Sunnis.

“Ahead of the elections, I understand that we will be moving to a new, more   refined, intelligence-led approach,” said Mouffak al-Rubaie, Iraq’s former   national security adviser, who still maintains close links with Mr Maliki.   “Hopefully, the time for mass arrests is over.

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