Tag Archive | Syria

Refugees , immigration and terror in the U.S.

In the wake of the [2013] Kentucky case, the U.S. halted the refugee program for Iraqis for six months, a fact the Obama administration did not disclose to Congress at the time, officials told ABC News in the 2013 investigation.
ABC News Report

The current debate over the admission of Syrian refugees focuses on the possibility that it will help facilitate the entry of terrorists into the U.S.

This view is based on the growing trend of Islamist immigrants in the U.S. that have been involved in terrorism in the last few years.  The U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and Natural Interest reports that it has identified at least 26 foreign-born individuals inside the U.S. who have either been charged with or convicted of terrorism in the last year with even more examples going back to 2013.  From an AL.com article by Leada Gore:

Sessions said U.S. officials have no access to Syrian government data to vet refugees and no capacity to predict whether those seeking refuge are likely to join militant groups. As proof of that, the  Immigration Subcommittee, which Sessions chairs, provided a partial list of apprehended foreign-born terrorists or terror suspects since 2013:

Sessions said these incidents are just a few of those identified by his committee. They should serve as a warning against any plan for relocation of immigrants, especially those from Syria, he added.

The concerns have not been limited to the GOP.   Several days ago, 47 House Democrats broke rank and joined with Republicans, voting for a bill aimed at pausing admittance of Syrian and Iraqi refugees by adding requirements to an already lengthy screening process.   In the Senate, the Washington Post reported:

Longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee, warned in a statement Tuesday “we need to be very careful about Syrian refugee admissions.”

The Hill reports that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) signed a letter to President Obama calling on him to not allow any more Syrians into the country “unless federal authorities can guarantee with 100 percent assurance they are not connected” to the Islamic State.

At least one Democratic was among the governors asking for the resettlement of Syrian refugees to stop until security concerns can be addressed.

UN records show a four fold increase (850,000) so far in 2015 of refugees entering Europe through the Mediterranean area compared to 2014 (216,000) with Syrians accounting for about 52% of the numbers.  From the trend, the numbers will most likely be significantly higher by the end of 2015. While the vast majority will most likely settle in Europe, U.S. allocations have been steadily increasing.

We noted last year in “Resettlement: an Islamist path to the west?,  that according to U.S. Department of State refugee statistics, in 2007 Muslim countries accounted for about 20% of U.S. refugee admissions.  In 2008 there was a marked increase, with well over 50% (35,000+) of refugee admissions coming from predominately Muslim countries.  This repeated in 2009-2013 and the  2014 allocations authorize the increased level.  For 2015, 12,000-15,000 Syrians alone, are projected for admission.

The Paris bombings raised the possibility that forged Syrian passports are being used by terrorists and this certainly brings up concerns as to the actual identify of those being processed as Syrian refugees.   Earlier this week Bloomberg reported:

A Syrian passport found next to a suicide bomber in the Paris terror attacks may have been planted, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

Reports that the identity in the passport may have been registered in several countries along the so-called Balkan route raise the suspicion that it could be a deliberate attempt to implicate refugees and “make people feel unsafe,” de Maiziere said.

“There are indications that this was a planted lead, but it still can’t be ruled out that this was indeed an IS terrorist posing as a refugee,” he told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday, referring to Islamic State, which France blames for organizing the violence.

Any link between France’s worst terror attack since World War II and Europe’s refugee crisis would raise the stakes for Chancellor Angela Merkel as she defends her open-door policy for asylum seekers in Germany’s debate over immigration and security.

Syrian refugee proponents are proclaiming  there has not been one terrorist act by a refugee in the United States.  When presented with the case of the Boston Bombers, these proponents counter that the Tsarnaev brothers were not really refugees.

An example of this can be found in a recent article on Reason.com that attempts to label GOP politicians as “Fearmongers”.  Ronald Bailey writes:

Note: Several commenters suggested Tamerlan and Dzhokar Tsarnaev, who committed the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, were refugees. Strictly speaking, they were the children of asylees. As Bloomberg News explained the two were given “derivative asylum status” and didn’t come through the refugee admissions program. Apparently the legal distinction is too fine a point for some readers. So be it, but they should nevertheless keep in mind that the brothers were two people out around 1.8 million people who were granted refugee or asylee status between 1995 and 2013.

This dismissal conflicts with a recent Dailymail.com article that notes:

Six Bosnian immigrants, three from Missouri, two from Illinois and one from New York, were charged in February with sending money and military equipment to extremist groups in Syria including ISIS and the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front.

Last year we reported on the case  of Bosnian refugee Edin Sakoc, 54, of Burlington, VT (a naturalized U.S. citizen) who was facing charges of lying to immigration authorities about his involvement in war crimes as well as bribery.

In 2013, an ABC news report detailed the 2009 discovery of two al Qaeda-Iraq terrorists living as refugees in Bowling Green, Kentucky — who later admitted in court that they’d attacked U.S. soldiers in Iraq:

An intelligence tip initially led the FBI to Waad Ramadan Alwan, 32, in 2009. The Iraqi had claimed to be a refugee who faced persecution back home — a story that shattered when the FBI found his fingerprints on a cordless phone base that U.S. soldiers dug up in a gravel pile south of Bayji, Iraq on Sept. 1, 2005. The phone base had been wired to unexploded bombs buried in a nearby road.

An ABC News investigation of the flawed U.S. refugee screening system, which was overhauled two years ago, showed that Alwan was mistakenly allowed into the U.S. and resettled in the leafy southern town of Bowling Green, Kentucky, a city of 60,000 which is home to Western Kentucky University and near the Army’s Fort Knox and Fort Campbell. Alwan and another Iraqi refugee, Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, 26, were resettled in Bowling Green even though both had been detained during the war by Iraqi authorities, according to federal prosecutors.

This week, ABC reported that, “Of the 31 states that have declared their opposition to taking in Syrian refugees, one state, Kentucky, has a specific reason to be wary of the background check process.”  This caused the U.S. to  halt the refugee program for Iraqis for six months, a fact the Obama administration did not disclose to Congress at the time.

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Reported: U.S. viewed ISIS as tool for Syrian regime change

“The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.
– The Levant Report

Earlier this month, Judical Watch announced that it obtained more than 100 pages of previously classified “Secret” documents from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of State pertaining to the September 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.  The media has focused on data showing the attack had been planned up to 10 days prior to its execution and was committed by al Qaeda and a Muslim Brotherhood-linked “Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman” (BCOAR).

The Levant Report picked up on something much more significant in the released documents.   A heavily redacted  Aug 12,  2012 DOD Information Intelligence Report (IIR) indicating that Western actions/policies in the area would facilitate the formation of Islamic State “in order to isolate the Syrian regime”.  Specifically, the IIR reads:

THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY [WHO] SUPPORT THE [SYRIAN] OPPOSITION… THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME….

IIRs are considered raw field intelligence and meant to be compared and analyzed against other collection sources before a final distributed intelligence product.  That being said, they are still distributed as needed and this one was addressed to DOD agencies as well as the CIA, FBI, State Department and Homeland Security. The Levant Report points out, “The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.

The IIR also includes:

THE GENERAL SITUATION:

A. INTERNALLY, EVENTS ARE TAKING A CLEAR SECTARIAN DIRECTION.

B. THE SALAFIST [sic], THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.

C. THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION; WHILE RUSSIA, CHINA AND IRAN SUPPORT THE REGIME.

In the above, AQI refers to Al Qadea in Iraq.

From the Levant Report:

The document shows that as early as 2012, U.S. intelligence predicted the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), but instead of clearly delineating the group as an enemy, the report envisions the terror group as a U.S. strategic asset.

While a number of analysts and journalists have documented long ago the role of western intelligence agencies in the formation and training of the armed opposition in Syria, this is the highest level internal U.S. intelligence confirmation of the theory that western governments fundamentally see ISIS as their own tool for regime change in Syria. The document matter-of-factly states just that scenario.

For a report on the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) response to the above mentioned Levant Report, CLICK HERE.

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COMMENT/ANALYSIS:  Most references indicate that the recent Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) was formed in 2013.  The combined territories covering Syria and Iraq were declared the Islamic State in June 2014.

This wouldn’t be the first time the U.S. saw a terror group as a possible asset in meeting U.S. foreign policy goals – al Qaeda’s roll in the Soviet–Afghan War is such an example.  The released documents paint a much more complicated picture than the theory ISIS is simply a result of a power vacuum created by the invasion of Iraq.

The mention of  Syrian Muslim Brotherhood involvement ties into our 2014 report on how a Senate defense bill was most likely influenced through lobbying efforts.   It would be naive to dismiss the likelihood that U.S based Syrian groups we highlighted are not coordinating with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

Related reading:

RECOMMENDED READING: Understanding The Islamic Caliphate State

While apologists in the west are clinging to a theme that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam …” Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model.”

Much of the western world is under the impression that ISIS/IS (Islamic State) is preparing  to attack western targets.  A report by  The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI),  Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State, notes that while global attacks are part of the Islamic State’s long term strategy,  it’s current focus is on  “establishing and consolidating a state”:

The successive atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS, previously called the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham – ISIS) have diverted the discussion away from an understanding of this organization’s political program, creating the erroneous impression that it is simply a more vicious version of Al-Qaeda. According to this view, this organization presumably intends to attack the West by means of its foreign militants who hold Western passports and could return to Western countries to carry out terror attacks – and hence it is paramount to destroy the IS forthwith. Saudi King ‘Abdallah bin ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz promoted this approach when he said that he was certain that those jihadists “would arrive in Europe within a month and in America within two months”.

This report seeks to clarify the IS’s doctrine based on the organization’s official writings and speeches by its leaders. It will argue that, unlike Al-Qaeda, the IS places priority not on global terrorism, but rather on establishing and consolidating a state, and hence it defers the clash with the West to a much later stage. In this, it is emulating and reenacting the early Islamic model.

In The Islamic State – building its infrastructure, we highlighted how witness accounts out of Raqqa, Syria indicate  an effort by the Islamic State to attract foreigners to serve as jihadis and experts in various fields to provide infrastructure support.  These accounts seem to fit the narrative of the MEMRI report:

What supplants the struggle against the West at this stage are the duties of hijra [migration to the Islamic calipahte state] and bay’ah [pledge of allegiance to the Caliph], both of them central components in building the caliphate. In an audio message published immediately after the caliphate was declared, Al-Baghdadi said to Muslims everywhere,  including in the West: “Whoever amongst you can migrate to the Islamic State should migrate. Hijra to Dar Al-Islam is obligatory.” In his first public appearance, his Friday sermon in Mosul,  he referred to the implementation of the shari’a as “a religious obligation,” while avoiding any call to global jihad or to harming the West. Both Al-‘Adnani in the declaration of the caliphate and Al-Baghdadi in his Mosul sermon refer to the caliphate as an “obligation that has been forgotten for generations.” In this, their discourse contrasts sharply, for example, with the discourse of Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Salam Faraj, a major theorist of the Egyptian jihad movement in the 1980s, who termed jihad (rather than the establishment of a caliphate) the forgotten obligation.

The MEMRI report also notes that Al-Qaeda publications such as Inspire constantly call for terror attacks on the west and include advice/instructions on how to proceed as a “lone wolf” or in groups.  In comparison, an issue of  the Islamic State’s English publication Dabiq included,  “A life of jihad is impossible until you pack your belongings and move to the caliphate.” :

The issue also says: “Many readers are probably asking about their obligations towards the Khilafah right now. Therefore the Dabiq team wants to convey the position of the Islamic State leadership on this important matter. The first priority is to perform hijra from wherever you are to the Islamic State, from darul-kufr to darul-Islam. Rush to perform it as Musa (‘alayhis-salam) rushed to his Lord, saying {and I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased} [Taha:84]. Rush to the shade of the Islamic state with your parents, siblings, spouses and children. There are homes here for you and your families. You can be a major contributor towards the liberation of Makkah, Madinah, and al-Quds. Would you not like to reach Judgment Day with these grand deeds in your scales[?] Finally, if you cannot do any of the above for reasons extremely beyond your control, inshallah your intention and belief that the Islamic State is the Khilafah for all Muslims will be sufficient to save you from the warning mentioned in the hadith, ‘Whoever dies without having bound himself by a bay’ah dies a death of jahiliyya.'”

While apologists in the west are clinging to a theme that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, the MEMRI report points out:

In his approach that prioritizes the consolidation of the Islamic State over an all-encompassing battle with Islam’s enemies, Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model. The Prophet, while displaying cruelty in battle ­– cruelty mirrored by the IS – put off battles with his enemies and integrated compromises and tactical agreements in his policy, in order to gather strength prior to renewing action to obtain his ultimate goals. The IS, ruling from its informal capital in Syria’s Al-Raqqa, conducts itself in a similar manner, enforcing the laws of the shari’a while selling oil to Europe via the black market.

In other words, Al-Baghdadi and his Islamic State are attempting to repeat history as described in the Quran.

Despite the emphasis on the Islamic State’s current priority in  establishing and consolidating a state, the MERI report cautions:

It should be emphasized that, although the doctrine of postponing the clash with the West is solidly entrenched, as reflected in the organization’s writings and actions, it cannot be ruled out that certain developments, such as a massive Western attack, could change the organization’s order of priorities and advance the stage of conflict with the West. The Western strategy of nipping the Islamic State in the bud may provoke counterattacks that were not planned by the organization at the outset. This places the West in a bind: inaction endangers the West in the long run, while immediate action may exact a heavy price that Al-Baghdadi did not plan to exact in the present stage.

The full report, Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State can be read HERE

 

Toronto’s Museum of Islamic art: “… sheep’s clothing”?

Canada’s Hamilton Spectator recently reported the following:

TORONTO — The first museum in North America devoted to Islamic art will help promote an understanding of a religion that is based on tolerance and pluralism, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday at the new landmark’s opening ceremony.

The Aga Khan — spiritual leader of the world’s Ismaili community — joined Harper in Toronto to celebrate the opening of his namesake museum, the $300-million Aga Khan museum and Ismaili centre.

Full Article:  http://www.thespec.com/news-story/4858907-museum-of-islamic-art-opens-in-toronto/

Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s track record with the country’s Muslim community has been bumpy this year.  In January 2014, The National Council of Canadian Muslims (formerly CAIR Canada)  filed a libel suit against him over his failure to apologize for a comment linking the organization to the terrorist group Hamas.  His appearance at the museum’s opening may improve his image with Muslims and Harper has maintained a relationship with the Aga Khan for several years.  In 2010, it was reported that the Prime Minister had conferred an honorary Canadian citizenship on the Aga Khan- only the fifth person to be so honored.

The relationship  may cause some concerns with Harper’s supporters.

The Ismailis, also refered to as Seveners,  are a subset of  Shia Muslims.  They are viewed as a peaceful group, but there are a few troubling issues with their leader.   The Aga Khan , controls a vast international network of business and philanthropic ventures and his estimated net worth is over $800 million.  Through the Aga Khan Development Network these holdings include a controlling interest in Habib Bank (HBL)/HBL Pakistan.

In 2007, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl’s widow Mariane sued the bank for damages relating to its funding of al-Qaida and involvement in the 2002 murder of her husband by Islamic jihad terrorists.  The suit alleged Habib Bank knowingly provided financial services for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.  The suit was dropped a few months after filing with Mariane Perl’s lawyers only stating that the bank had not answered the suit.  In 2002, the Pakistan’s Privatization Commission granted the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), part of the Aga Khan Development Network, majority ownership of HBL against an AKFED’s investment in the bank.    In 2004, the Pakistani government turned over full  management control of Habib Bank to AKFED.

In 2012, Money Jihad reported:

Habib Bank and its former compliance officer Syed Itrat Hussain have been fined over a half million pounds by the British for downplaying the risks of dealing with customers in jurisdictions prone to money laundering and terror finance.

The Aga Khan Development Network  has also spent over $40 million since 2003 to develop business in Syria,  under the Assad regime.  The U.S. designated Syria a State Sponsor of Terrorism in 1979.

sidenote – In 2011, Texas Gov. Rick Perry received criticism after a Salon.com article focused on his relationship with the Aga Khan.

 

The Islamic State – building its infrastructure

REPORTED:  the group maintains three weapons factories mainly designed to develop missiles. Foreign scientists – including Muslims from China, fighters claim – are kept in a private location with bodyguards.

While much of the focus has been on the fighting and atrocities committed by ISIS/IS (Islamic State), there has been little coverage in regards to areas that are firmly under ISIS/IS control.  A recent Reuters news report provides a glimpse of how a governmental infrastructure has been established and is growing:

In the cities and towns across the desert plains of northeast Syria, the ultra-hardline al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State has insinuated itself into nearly every aspect of daily life.

The group famous for its beheadings, crucifixions and mass executions provides electricity and water, pays salaries, controls traffic, and runs nearly everything from bakeries and banks to schools, courts and mosques.

While its merciless battlefield tactics and its imposition of its austere vision of Islamic law have won the group headlines, residents say much of its power lies in its efficient and often deeply pragmatic ability to govern.

Syria’s eastern province of Raqqa provides the best illustration of their methods. Members hold up the province as an example of life under the Islamic “caliphate” they hope will one day stretch from China to Europe.

In the provincial capital, a dust-blown city that was home to about a quarter of a million people before Syria’s three-year-old war began, the group leaves almost no institution or public service outside of its control.

“Let us be honest, they are doing massive institutional work. It is impressive,” one activist from Raqqa who now lives in a border town in Turkey told Reuters.

In interviews conducted remotely, residents, Islamic State fighters and even activists opposed to the group described how it had built up a structure similar to a modern government in less than a year under its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The main thing separating ISIS/IS from past Islamic militant groups are the efforts centering around establishing a sovereignty.   The  civilian governmental structure  in place is described as being somewhat independent of military operations:

Reflecting Islamic State’s assertion that it is a government – rather than simply a militant group that happens to govern – Baghdadi has also separated military operations from civilian administration, assigning fighters only as police and soldiers

Instead, Baghdadi has appointed civilian deputies called walis, an Islamic term describing an official similar to a minister, to manage institutions and develop their sectors.

 Administrative regions are divided into waliyehs, or provinces, which sometimes align with existing divisions but, as with the case of the recently established al-Furat province, can span national boundaries.

Fighters and employees receive a salary from a department called the Muslim Financial House, which is something like a finance ministry and a bank that aims to reduce poverty.

Fighters receive housing – including in homes confiscated from local non-Sunnis or from government employees who fled the area – as well as about $400 to $600 per month, enough to pay for a basic lifestyle in Syria’s poor northeast.

By pushing a “state” setting, the report explains that the ISIS/IS goal is to attract foreigners to serve as jihadits and experts in various fields to provide infrastructure support.  An interviewed ISIS/IS supporter stated that wealthy Islamists have, “sent money to Raqqa to support the caliphate“.  The Reuter’s report adds:

According to sources in Raqqa, the group maintains three weapons factories mainly designed to develop missiles. Foreign scientists – including Muslims from China, fighters claim – are kept in a private location with bodyguards.

    “Scientists and men with degrees are joining the State,” said one Arab jihadi.

 The group has also invested heavily in the next generation by inducting children into their ideology. Primary, secondary and university programs now include more about Islam.

 The group also accepts women who want to fight – they are trained about “the real Islam” and the reasons for fighting.

Islamic education groups are held in mosques for newly arrived fighters, who, according to militants in Raqqa, have flocked to Islamic State-controlled territory in even greater numbers since Baghdadi declared the “caliphate”.

“Every three days we receive at least 1,000 fighters. The guest houses are flooding with mujahideen. We are running out of places to receive them,” the Arab jihadi said.

The report indicates Reuters journalists were not allowed into ISIS/IS controlled Raqqa for security reasons.  Information was based on remotely conducted interviews of residents and jihadi fighters.  It was noted that even activists opposed to ISIS/IS  described an infrastructure similar to a   modern government.

The complete article can be viewed HERE.

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COMMENT/ANALYSIS:  The first point to stress is the Reuters reporters had no visual confirmation and the entire report could be simply an ISIS/IS propaganda attempt.    As we noted in an earlier report, the group has shown its ability in manipulating social media sources.  It would be a safe assumption that news outlets would be targeted, as well, in order to gain support and promote their agendas.   What is quite clear and independent of the above report:  ISIS/IS has become interwoven into the civilian population centers of territories it has claimed.   Any military action against them will not be a simple task.

 

 

Resettlement: an Islamist path to the west?

… in 2007 Muslim countries accounted for about 20% of U.S. refugee admissions. In 2008 there was a marked increase with well over 50% (35,000+) of refugee admissions coming from predominately Muslim countries.  This repeated in 2009-2013 …

Refugee Resettlement Watch recently reported on a letter written in a New Hampshire newspaper warning of a planned resettlement of Congolese refugees to Dover, ME. The letter referenced issues involving resettlement of Somali refugees to Lewiston, ME.

 

North of Portand, Lewiston is the second largest city in Maine and has a population of roughly 36,500 people.  Since 2001,  Somali refugees have been settling in Lewiston (and the surrounding town of Auburn) with numbers estimated at over 4,000 living in the Lewiston-Auburn area.  A small percentage originated as direct placements through Federal refugee programs.  The rest are part of secondary migration from other areas in the United States, primarily from Atlanta, GA.  The main attraction appears to be Maine’s generous welfare system. 

 Welfare fraud seems to be a common occurrence where Somali refugees are concentrated. 

Some media reports would leave readers to believe that all is well.  A 2009 Newsweek article claims that Somali immigrants actually saved Lewiston.    This may not be the case.  Federal officials have had to address the concerns of Lewiston officials, as well as other cities, over the social impact and financial drains posed by the refugees.

Somalis are but a portion of Muslim refugees resettling in the United States.  According to U.S.Department of State refugee statistics, in 2007 Muslim countries accounted for about 20% of U.S. refugee admissions.  In 2008 there was a marked increase with well over 50% (35,000+) of refugee admissions coming from predominately Muslim countries.  This repeated in 2009-2013 and the  2014 allocations authorize the increased level.  For 2015, 12,000-15,000 Syrians alone, are projected for admission.

Europe has been facing serious cultural clashes involving Islamists and we’ve reported on a number of issues facing the U.K..  The United States is far from immune.  With the increased threats posed by the ISIS/IS Caliphate. the logic in increasing Middle East refugee allotments seems almost self-destructive.

U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Likely Influenced Senate Defense Bill

The Panama City Florida connections suggests a significant U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leadership element still operating in that area.

A recent report in the Al-Monitor advised that Syrian opposition lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill  were “paying off”. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) now, “authorizes the Secretary of Defense to provide equipment, training, supplies, and defense services to assist vetted members of the Syrian opposition.”

According to the article:

“This is a momentous occasion,” Syrian National Coalition (SNC) adviser Oubai Shahbandar told Al-Monitor. “This is the first stop in clearly defining the convergence of American national security interests with strengthening the Free Syrian Army [FSA], which is actively fighting al-Qaeda and actively fighting Iranian-backed international terrorist forces in Syria.”

The details of the aid were not clear at the time the article was written.

The lobbying efforts mentioned come from a variety of Syrian special interest groups with strong U.S. Muslim Brotherhood ties:

National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces – This group includes the Syrian National Coalition as well as representatives of the  Muslim Brotherhood controlled, Syrian National Council including Syrian-American Louay Safi.  The U.S. lead representative is Najib Ghadbian. Ghadbian has been identified as having U.S. Muslim Brotherhood ties  through his membership with the Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy (CSID) in Washington, DC, and the Syrian American Council (see below).

Syrian Support Group (SSG) – The group is licensed by the U.S. Government to provide a range of aid and support to moderate opposition in Syria.  According to a report by  The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Watch (GMBDW), SSG Chairman Mazen Asbahi has numerous ties to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups – strong enough to cause him to resign from then-Senator Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008.  SSG Vice-Chairman Majd Abbar is reported by the Clarion Project to be associated with the Qatar Foundation, a group closely tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Syrian American Council (SAC) – One of the largest American based Syrian lobbying organizations. It’s president is Talal Sunbulli.  Sunbulli is listed as the Syrian coordinator in the international phone book of Muslim Brotherhood members seized by federal investigators during the Holy Land Foundation investigation.  SAC’s chairman, Hussam Ayloush, is the executive director of CAIR California.   SAC Board member Mohammed Nahas (Dr. Mohammad N. Al-Nahhas)  is a former board member of the Bay County Islamic Society (BCIS)**

Syrian Emergency Task Force (SETF)composed of  Syrian American professionals from across the United States.  SETF Director Mouaz Moustafa facilitated Sen. John McCain’s May 2013 trip to Syria.  The GMBDW reported that  of seven board members named, four are known to have a history of close ties to the US Muslim Brotherhood.    SETF Board member Dr. Hashem Mubarak served as a past president of the  Bay County Islamic Society (BCIS)**

** the Bay County Islamic Society (BCIS) was part of the US Muslim Brotherhood network established in Panama City, Florida by the late and former head of the US Muslim Brotherhood Ahmed Elkadi

In addition to the two doctors mentioned above, Panama City, Florida is home to Syrian-born Dr. Yahia Rahim (Y. Abdul-Raheem), identified as the economic head of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood from documents seized during the Holy Land Foundation investigation.  As previously reported by Cultural Jihad, Dr. Rahim  is currently listed as the NAIT contact for the Bay County Islamic Society and is a director of the the Panama City Advanced School Corporation.  The school’s head, Rashid Karaman (Qurman), was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, attachment A, part III, no. 46.

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COMMENT/ANALYSIS:   The Panama City Florida connections suggests a significant U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leadership element still operating in that area.  As reported here, Tampa’s OakTree Institute,  another Brotherhood affiliated group, also has a BCIS  member on it’s Board of Directors – Ahmed Abobaker Mohamed.  It would be a safe assumption that the above groups will have significant input with the vetting of Syrian opposition members receiving assistance under the NDAA.


 

An Inconvenient Moment: Sen McCain’s Town Hall Meeting

The supposition that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons hardly trumps sharing the bed with those responsible for the 3,000 lives lost on September 11, 2001.

During a recent town hall meeting, a woman claiming Syrian rebels killed her cousin confronts Sen. John McCain over his support of Syrian rebels and planned U.S. military bombing.

A key point she brings up is the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran that has made Syria the battle ground.   Saudi Arabia is pushing very strongly for the U.S. to attack the Assad regime – similar to what they did resulting in the invasion of Iraq.

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COMMENT: The Saudi/Al Qaeda connection is well documented, but apparently not a U.S. concern.  The Obama administration and his political supporters (i.e. Sen. McCain) need to be challenged on this.  The supposition that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons hardly trumps sharing the bed with those responsible for the 3,000 lives lost on September 11, 2001.

John McCain’s “UNModerate” Rebels

A recent report out of Syria indicates that Senator McCain’s definition of “moderate” may not be in line with the rest of the American public ….

U.S. Senator John McCain’s judgement of character seems to be a bit flawed.  Back in May 2013 he posed with accused Lebanese kidnappershis office denies he did this knowingly.

Also seen in the picture is Mouaz Moustafa, an individual that was involved in the Libyan and Egyptian uprisings and appears to work as the good Senator’s handler in navigating the region.  More on Moustafa  HERE.

As President Obama pushes for support in regards to a military strike against Syria’s Assad regime, Senator McCain has become his cheerleader on the right. 

Appearing on the talking head circuit, Senator McCain is proclaiming the Syrian rebels the U.S. is supporting to be “moderate”.

(Robert Spencer provides his opinion on the use of “Allahu Akbar” HERE)

A recent report out of Syria indicates that Senator McCain’s definition of “moderate” may not be in line with the rest of the American public ….

Brutality of Syrian Rebels Posing Dilemma in West

From New York Times
By September 5, 2013

The Syrian rebels posed casually, standing over their prisoners with firearms pointed down at the shirtless and terrified men.

The prisoners, seven in all, were captured Syrian soldiers. Five were trussed, their backs marked with red welts. They kept their faces pressed to the dirt as the rebels’ commander recited a bitter revolutionary verse.

“For fifty years, they are companions to corruption,” he said. “We swear to the Lord of the Throne, that this is our oath: We will take revenge.”

The moment the poem ended, the commander, known as “the Uncle,” fired a bullet into the back of the first prisoner’s head. His gunmen followed suit, promptly killing all the men at their feet.

This scene, documented in a video smuggled out of Syria a few days ago by a former rebel who grew disgusted by the killings, offers a dark insight into how many rebels have adopted some of the same brutal and ruthless tactics as the regime they are trying to overthrow.

As the United States debates whether to support the Obama administration’s proposal that Syrian forces should be attacked for using chemical weapons against civilians, this video, shot in April, joins a growing body of evidence of an increasingly criminal environment populated by gangs of highwaymen, kidnappers and killers.

Full Story:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/05/world/middleeast/brutality-of-syrian-rebels-pose-dilemma-in-west.html

NOTE:  the video mentioned in the article can be viewed from the above link – it is very graphic.

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COMMENT:  Soviet communists had their media proponents in free Europe and the Americas.  They were coined “useful idiots”.  The Islamists certainly have theirs.  The good senator’s judgement should definitely be questioned.

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