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Good Kill

September 30, 2011

Congratulations to all the military and intelligence personnel and assets that made the elimination of Anwar al-Awlaki possible.

Senior Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki was killed in Yemen early Friday morning by a CIA-led U.S. drone strike, marking the highest-profile takedown of a terror leader since the raid on Usama bin Laden’s compound. 

Fox News has learned that two Predator drones hovering above al-Awlaki’s convoy fired the Hellfire missiles which killed the terror leader. According to a senior U.S. official, the operation was carried out by Joint Special Operations Command, under the direction of the CIA.

Yes, this is just one head of a many-headed Hydra.  Yes, someone will, most likely, step in to take his place.  Yes, someone will lionize him as a martyr, which will draw others to AQAP. 

To you who say those things I say, “fine, we will zero that dirtbag out, too.”

Read the full story here.

Anti-Semetic Coptic Pope: “Jews not God’s Chosen”

September 29, 2011

Well, what else would we expect the head of an historically anti-semetic faith to say? 

Modern-day Jews are not God’s chosen people, said Pope Shenouda III, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church, in a statement Wednesday evening.

“Do not believe their claims that they are God’s chosen people, because it is not true,” Shenouda said during his weekly sermon on Wednesday evening at the papal residence in Abbasseya.

To my knowledge, the Holy Spirit has not issued a revision update to the Old Testament.  Thus, I am going to stand by the original.  While Romans 11 does talk about Christians being “grafted in”, it still puts the Jews in a special place as God’s Chosen People who will be treated uniquely by God.

Egyptian Military Government Looking Mubarak-esque

September 29, 2011

The provisional military government in Egypt, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), is showing signs of reverting to Mubarak-style tactics.  News reports are surfacing that media outlets, reporters, and bloggers, are being censored or restricted from reporting news.  Licenses for new private satellite outlets have been frozen.

The decision to ban reporting on the Mubarak trial was prompted by the appearance of Field Marshal Mohamed Tantawy, the head of the SCAF, in court on Saturday to testify. Unlike earlier sessions of the widely followed trial, the military junta ordered a complete blackout on information pertaining to the hearing.

Following the ousting of Mubarak in February after days of protests, Tantawy publicly acknowledged that Mubarak had ordered the military to fire on protesters, which ultimately led to the deaths of about 900 Egyptians and injuries to thousands more.  But on Sunday, no newspaper was allowed to report on what Tantawy now told the court.


Initially hailed for their role in ousting Mubarak, anger with the SCAF has been growing for months, with rights activists accusing them of limiting newly won freedoms and putting civilians in front of military trials. Activists say more than 12,000 people have been tried in military courts in Egypt since Mubarak’s fall: all civilians, including hundreds of bloggers and activists.

The SCAF has recently reactivated the infamous emergency law to fight what it terms security chaos. The law was enforced for 29 years during the Mubarak era and was a tool for the government to fight “terrorism and drugs.” But critics say that in reality, the measure was used to oppress freedom of speech and to silence opposition.

Read the rest here

Syrian Opposition Group Ties to MB

September 27, 2011

It’s not hard to be opposed to a leader who willingly kills his own citizens.  We can all agree, I think, that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is not the best choice for a free and democratic Syria.  Likewise, though, one must know who we are allying ourselves with, as we oppose the current bad guy.

In the rush to support freedom and democracy in Libya, the U.S. unwittingly has been backing Salafist rebels whom it is a stretch to call “freedom-loving” (in the Western sense of the term, anyway).  As things unfold in Syria, the U.S. needs to express some caution.  Given that, it is interesting to see who the State Department is already leaning towards.

At a recent Syrian American Council townhall meeting, in Los Angeles, a State Department official shared the stage with Dr. Najib Ghadbian, a member of the newly formed Syrian National Council and a professor of political science at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.  The townhall was endorsed by the Council on American Islamic Relations.

Dr. Ghadbian has a significant history with the State Department regarding Syria.

An initial contact between the White House and NSF was forged by Najib Ghadbian, a University of Arkansas political scientist. In 2005, Mr. Ghadbian and other Syrian-Americans had set up the Syrian National Council in a bid to influence the U.S. policy debate. Meeting that fall with a senior State Department official, he suggested the U.S. work with his group and its contacts, including the Brotherhood.


Mr. Ghadbian, a professor at the Saudi-affiliated King Fahd Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the University of Arkansas, said yesterday that he prefers for Baathists, Islamists, and the Muslim Brotherhood to be included in a post-Assad Syria. Mr. Ghadbian said that an individual he described as being “close to the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Obeida Nahas, had been invited to the conference and that he would be “happy to have him there.” Mr. Ghadbian also said yesterday that he felt it was important for a democratic Syria to preserve its Muslim identity.

The GMBDR report goes on to show relationships between Ghadbian and Georgetown University’s Center for Study of Islam and Democracy, which is affiliated with IIIT, AMC, MPAC, all of which are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood.

We may have a shared goal, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we should be buddies. Read the whole thing here.

The Punjab: Hub for Pakistani Jihadis

September 27, 2011

More light is being cast on Pakistan, lately.  What is being revealed paints a rather unhappy picture given that the U.S. has previously considered Pakistan an ally in the war on terror.  MEMRI has a great report detailing the increased militant activity with the Punjab.  The Punjab is widely seen as a safe place for militants and jihadis to establish bases of operations.  Additionally, some of these groups have reached out to the Taliban.

The province of Punjab has been a major safe hub for Sunni jihadist organizations, which are often backed by the Pakistani intelligence agencies. The jihadist organizations also enjoy the patronage of the Punjab government headed by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.[3] In recent years, a large number of Urdu-speaking militants from Punjab have joined the Pashtu-speaking Taliban in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region, and are known as “Punjabi Taliban.”

Militants returning from Afghanistan and upwards of 170 madrassas are feeding the already healthy, and growing, landscape of jihadi groups in Punjab.

Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaatud Dawa are now functioning under a new name: Falah-i-Insaniat Foundation. Jaish-e-Muhammad, which is headed by terrorist mastermind Maulana Masood Azhar, is another major organization that is headquartered in the town of Bahawalpur. Almost all militant groups – e.g. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Harkat ul-Jihad al-Islami and Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan – have a major presence in Punjab province. Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan is a new incarnation of Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, the mother of all Sunni jihadist organizations in Pakistan.

This report is an important one, especially given the timing of the introduction of  HR 3013 in the House of Representatives, which would freeze all aid to Pakistan.  Of course, the Punjab is not all of Pakistan. 

However, links have been made between Pakistan’s ISI and various terrorist groups.  A valid question is, can the U.S. keep its aid dollars out of the wrong hands within the Pakistani government?

CAIR Non-Shocker of the Day: Opposing the FBI

September 26, 2011

It is pretty obvious that CAIR is more concerned with its own neck, coffers, and ideas, than those of national security or Americans who do not consider themselves muslims.  Their status as an unidicted co-conspirator in a terrorist financing investigation, as well as blatant association with the Muslim Brotherhood, puts the lie to their name: Council on American Islamic Relations

The reality is, CAIR has no real desire to build relationships between Americans (or America) and Islam, or Muslims.  If they did, they would understand that America (the U.S.) is a nation of laws and, as such, has organizations that investigate potential violations of those laws.  Likewise, as  a nation, America has a need to defend itself from threats both internal and external. 

These activities involve, among other things, facts and evidence.  Facts and evidence are gathered through investigations.  Investigations have shown us that a large majority of mosques in the United States are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood.  Additionally, other investigations have revealed the existence of activities that lead to radicalization in American Muslim youth.  Finally, it does not take a high-level  investigation to draw together the fact that a vast majority of terrorist acts have been committed by Muslims (of one stripe or another) in the name of Islam.

So, on the tail of all that, it seems quite hypocritical to oppose investigations and evidence-gathering activities that might enhance security and perhaps improve relations.

At a press conference this morning outside FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., CAIR and the other groups expressed concerns about persistent reports that FBI agents are trained to view mainstream American Muslims with suspicion and to view the faith of Islam itself as the source of terrorism and extremism.

Gathering a coalition of Left-wing and Islamist groups, CAIR wields a bigger hammer.

News conference participants –- including representatives of CAIR, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Defending Dissent Foundation, and the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Council for Social Justice…

Read more about these groups here. 


Can Erdogan Win Where Ahmedinejad Has Lost?

September 26, 2011

In recent weeks, I have been highlighting Turkey’s activities in the Middle East, on the heels of the Arab Spring and in addition to it.  It has become obvious that Prime Minister Erdogan has been on a similar PR campaign and tour as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was just a year, or so, ago.  Clearly, both men have been jockeying for influence and power in the region. 

Ahmedinejad’s relative silence and inactivity, over the past few months, give me the impression that he has not fared well among his Muslim brothers.  Could he be just a little too crazy even for the likes of Bashar al-Assad and the rebel factions in Libya?  Does his Shiite faith keep him out in the cold amidst the vast majority Sunni nation-states?  Is his non-Arab lineage prevent the Arab Muslim governments from admitting him to their inner circles?  Huda al Husseini may have some insight:

The Arab street is bestowing power upon these leaders, who are playing on their dreams and speaking about the region’s prosperous future. However the Arab street is like mercury; it is impossible for any leader to grasp it firmly. The Arab street is fickle, and so it turns its back on leaders as quickly as it [previously] rushed to adore them. What happened to the power or influence that Ahmadinejad believed the Arab street had granted him? He used this to quell the demonstrations staged to protest the allegedly rigged presidential elections that brought about his re-election. As a result of this, he lost the Iranian street, whilst the Arab street turned its back on him.

Whatever the reason, or reasons, it is obvious that Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now trying his hand.  Huda al Husseini provides a very detailed analysis of events.

Erdogan is now seeking to place Turkey as a leading supporter of the Palestinian cause, and he wants the “Arab Spring” to view Ankara as a supporter and role model, stressing the need for firm Turkish – Arab unity. He is also planning to establish strategic cooperation between Turkey and Egypt.

The preparation for such cooperation was clear in the size of the delegation that accompanied Erdogan during his tour of the Middle East. The Turkish delegation was made up of 6 ministers, and around 200 Turkish businessmen, which represents a clear signal that Turkey is determined to investing heavily in the region. In 2010, the Turkish trade with the Middle East and North Africa [MENA] amounted to 30 billion dollars, and constituted 27 percent of Turkish exports, whilst more than 250 Turkish companies have invested a figure totalling 1.5 billion dollars in Egypt.

Ms. al Husseini points out that part of Erdogan’s problem is a lack of fixed policy.  In American Political parlance, Erdogan has been against revolution before he was for it.

Erdogan warned of the consequences of invading Libya, insisting that if there was going to be regime change; this must happen from within, not through foreign intervention. Turkey had billions of dollars invested in Libya, whilst more than 20,000 Turkish labourers were evacuated within days [following the outbreak of protests]. Although Turkey is a member of NATO, it strongly condemned UN resolution 1973 [which formed the legal basis for military intervention in the Libyan civil war]. However after all of this, when the Gaddafi regime was overthrown, Erdogan welcomed the rebels with open arms.

While Erdogan may be floating with the winds, a bit, Turkey does appear to have a definite long-term program in the works.  Erdogan’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu (himself a big-time Islamist), has laid out the foundational elements of the program.


In his book “Strategic Depth” Davutoglu stressed that Turkey is now a key player in the Middle East, saying that “this is our homeland.” To put this into context, Davutoglu drew up a new equation, namely that neo-Ottomanism plus Turkish nationalism plus Islam equals the New Turkey.

This neo-Ottomanism has brought Turkish influence into the Arab world and the Balkans, whilst Turkish nationalist ties extend to Central Asia. As for Turkey’s Islamic links, this extends from Morocco to Indonesia. Therefore, and this is more significant for Davutoglu, he sees the partnership between Turkey and Iran as something equal to that between France and Germany [in Europe].

At this time, it is hard to tell if Erdogan’s gambit will work.  As Ms. Husseini notes, the Arab street is fickle regarding its leaders.  It is also instructive to note that Erdogan has two misses on his record already:  first with Syria, and second when Israel failed to apologize following the Gaza Flotilla mess.

As always, we will continue to watch.