Friday, July 3, 2015

ISIS in Egypt: More Than Meets the Eye - Ari Soffer

by Ari Soffer

Is Hamas cooperating with ISIS in Sinai, or threatened by it? Should Israel be worried? And how might the Turkish government be involved?

ISIS's escalating campaign against the Egyptian government - culminating in the assassination of the country's chief prosecutor and yesterday's bloody attacks in the Sinai Peninsula - have raised a great deal of questions vis-a-vis the extent and nature of the jihadist group's presence in the Arab world's most populous country.

Is ISIS's Egyptian branch - the so-called "Sinai Province" of its "Islamic State" - cooperating with Hamas, or trying to overthrow it? How has ISIS in Sinai managed to withstand a prolonged military assault by the Egyptian army to emerge apparently as strong as ever? How much of a threat does it pose to Israel? Could ISIS really be in a position to carve out a de-facto state in Egypt, as it has in parts of neighboring Libya?

In answering these questions Professor Efraim Inbar, Director of the Begin-Sadat Center For Strategic Studies (BESA), cautions that ISIS's battle with Egypt is far more complicated than its operations in other countries.

For a start, the Egyptian army and government present a far tougher foe than any other targeted directly by an official ISIS affiliate.

"It's all very well taking over parts of Syria or Iraq," both failed states without effective central government, "but in Egypt they are fighting against a functioning state," albeit a somewhat embattled one.

In Libya too, where ISIS has set up a mini statelet, the jihadists are operating amid a total power vacuum, in a country split among numerous warring militias. 

To do the same in Egypt - even in the relatively lawless Sinai Peninsula - would be far more difficult, Inbar asserts.

"Egypt is determined to enforce its sovereignty over the Sinai," says Inbar, and poses a far tougher foe than any of the above states.

However, Egypt is hamstrung by a number of factors, which have enabled ISIS to withstand and even push back against army offensives.

Firstly, there is the fact that Egypt's ability to deploy in the Sinai Peninsula is somewhat limited by the terms of its peace treaty with Israel, which prevents any large-scale deployments without prior consent from Jerusalem.

In practice, however, this has not been much of an issue. The close cooperation and clear mutual interest shared by the two countries in dealing with the jihadist threat has meant that Israel is giving the green light to any Egyptian army offensives or airstrikes against jihadists in the Sinai.

More significantly then is the fact that in a general sense, the Egyptian central government simply has not invested enough - militarily, economically or administratively - in what is essentially a peripheral province, at a time when it is still consolidating its control over the rest of the country.

Somewhat paradoxically, another factor which counts in ISIS's favor in Egypt is its very inability to overthrow the central government. That reality has forced it to pursue more limited, low-cost objectives: perpetuating and expanding the state of lawlessness, its own foothold, in Sinai, while continuing to carry out individual, high-profile terrorist attacks.

This means that, relatively-speaking, "Daesh (ISIS) operations in Sinai are not an expensive effort," says Inbar, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. Moreover, the fact that "ISIS Sinai Province" - formerly the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terror group - is an official "Wilayat" or "Province" of the so-called Islamic State, means it has at least some access to the swollen coffers of the world's richest terrorist group to fund the costs it does incur.

Finally, the group - both in its current incarnation and previous ones - "has been smuggling weapons for years," giving it time to build up an extensive arsenal.

But Inbar also speculates that other regional actors could be helping to fuel the ISIS insurgency in Egypt to further their own agendas.

He points to evidence of cooperation between ISIS and Hamas, which is itself at odds with the Sisi regime - though he acknowledges that with the inroads made by ISIS in Gaza this cooperation may well have broken down, as the Hamas regime now sees ISIS as a threat to its own power.

"There is some kind of sense of Islamic brotherhood - but at the same time remember they are competitors," both strategically and ideologically, says Inbar, explaining the complicated relationship between the two Islamist groups.

For a start, "Hamas is more of a nationalist-Islamic radical group, whereas ISIS is transnational."

But beyond the alleged Hamas connection - highlighted by both Israel and Egypt, even as Hamas denies such links exist - Inbar also suggests another of Cairo's regional foes may be playing a role behind the scenes.

"I wouldn't be surprised if there is Turkish input in trying to destabilize the Sisi regime," Inbar posits, pointing to the evidence of Turkish collusion and possibly even support for ISIS in Syria and Iraq, where Ankara has seen the jihadists as a convenient tool to block Kurdish autonomy.

Turkey's Islamist government - which has strong links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas - similarly has an interest in weakening the anti-Islamist military government in Cairo.

So how should Israel deal with an ISIS presence along its southern border?

Cautiously, and with restraint, says Inbar.

Despite being the only ISIS affiliate bordering Israel, "Sinai Province" has had its hands full fighting the Egyptian army, and has not carried out any major attacks against Israel in the past few years.

Close cooperation between Israel and Egypt to contain ISIS means that situation is likely to continue, he says.

"Certainly it is a threat for Israel, but it's much more of a threat for Egypt and the Egyptian army right now."

For that reason, while Israel cannot afford to sit on its laurels, it must also continue to allow Egypt to play the lead roll.

"There is a great deal of cooperation to contain Daesh - they are trying and we are trying to prevent it (from attacking us).

"But everything Israel does should be coordinated with Egypt. Sometimes it's better to stay on the sidelines."

Ari Soffer


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

US reportedly blocks Arab allies' attempts to deliver weapons to Kurds fighting ISIS -


“If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating ISIL, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” a senior Arab government official told The Telegraph.

The U.S. has reportedly blocked any attempts by Middle East allies to fly weapons to the Kurds fighting the Islamic State in Iraq.

The Telegraph reports that U.S. allies say President Obama and other Western leaders, including Britain’s David Cameron, aren’t showing leadership over the escalating ISIS crisis in Iraq, Syria and throughout the Middle East.

These allies are now willing to “go it alone” in giving heavy weaponry to the Kurds, even if it means defying Iraq and the U.S. who want all weapons to be funneled through Baghdad, according to the newspaper.

High level officials from Gulf and other states have told The Telegraph that plans to persuade Obama to arm the Kurds directly have failed. The Senate voted down an amendment for the U.S. to bypass Baghdad and send weapons to the Kurdish fighters.

The officials told the paper they are looking for ways to bypass U.S. permission to give the Kurdish fighters weapons.

“If the Americans and the West are not prepared to do anything serious about defeating ISIL, then we will have to find new ways of dealing with the threat,” a senior Arab government official told The Telegraph. “With ISIL making ground all the time we simply cannot afford to wait for Washington to wake up to the enormity of the threat we face.”

The Peshmerga have gotten support from the Kurds to drive the Islamic State back from Erbil. However, they are doing so with makeshift weapons. The Telegraph says weapons have been bought by a number of countries throughout Europe to aid the Kurds, but U.S. commanders are blocking the arms transfers.

The Kurds also have said that the main part of their plight is that Iraqi forces have abandoned so many weapons in the face of ISIS’ attacks, they are now fighting American-made weaponry with Soviet-style equipment.

The paper reports that at least one Arab nation is considering arming the Peshmerga without U.S. permission.

Other Gulf nations have been visibly irritated by the lack of direction from the U.S. in the fight, according to the paper. Other members of the coalition have identified clear militant targets but then have been blocked by U.S. vetoes from engaging them.

One Gulf leader went as far as saying, “there is simply no strategic approach.”

As the U.S. and Britain mull whether to take the next step in the war against ISIS, the terror group continues to commits acts of savagery. A new report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights revealed that more than 3,000 people have been killed at the hands of ISIS since its emergence last summer.

ISIS has also ramped up his violence after calls for more attacks during Ramadan. On June 30, 11 workers from al-Miadin endured live crucifixion and were forced to wear signs saying "70 lashes and to be crucified for 1 day for breaking the fast in Ramadan."

The Islamic State was also responsible for an attack on Egyptian army checkpoints that left at least 64 soldiers said, according to country officials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Kurdistan: Model for Islamic Reform - G. Murphy Donovan

by G. Murphy Donovan

Kurdistan, with 40 million people, includes parts Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Russia. Diverse religious heritage and Classical tolerance, rare commodities in Muslim lands these days, are the great virtues of Kurdish culture.  Kurdistan has always been a home to ecumenicism: Zoroastrians, Sunni, Shia, Jew, and Christian.

If reform or peace is to come to Islam, it will not come from any new Arab state on Israel’s border, especially one forged in the historical crucible of Islamic terror. If contemporary Muslim belief and praxis is to be altered, Sunni Palestinians are unlikely agents of change or stability in the Mideast or the Ummah. Palestine is fatally divided by binary terror, the Fatah/Hamas rift. The Palestinian divide is in turn exploited by Persian and Arab grifters alike. Palestine is a convenient rationale for virulent antisemitism and global religious imperialism. 

Nations create illusions for the same reasons that men pursue fantasy. Reality is often so ugly that wishful thinking becomes a defense mechanism. Such is the case with Palestine and the mythology of a “two-state” solution. A Palestinian state is now a near universal pipe dream, a chimera thought to appease the larger restive Arab and Muslim worlds.  In fact, Fatah and Hamas are already two states. And, if the history of the West Bank and Gaza provide any evidence, a united Palestine would surely be dominated by Hamas, in turn legitimizing another proxy variant of the Islamic State nightmare.

Palestinians are just one of many Arab tribes [Editor: "Palestinians" are not one tribe; they are a mixed multitude, hailing from many different Arab countries.], just one of many special pleaders in an Arabia where oppression is tradition. In the end, Palestine is a local problem like Syria, Libya and Yemen, dilemmas that will be resolved by Arabs collectively through internecine wars, or not at all.  

If the seeds of secular and religious civility are to flourish in the Ummah, they must be sown on fertile ground. Palestine was never that place. Kurdistan is another story altogether.

Rehana: Kurdish warrior

Indeed, in all of the Muslim Middle East, the Kurds might be the only ethnic group that merits the adjective “moderate.” If a civic model is to be supported anywhere in Islam, a Kurdish state is the logical place to start.

“The Kurds are today the largest  stateless territorial nation in the world,” points out the Kurdish National Council. Kurdistan, with 40 million people, includes parts Turkey, Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Russia. Diverse religious heritage and Classical tolerance, rare commodities in Muslim lands these days, are the great virtues of Kurdish culture.  Kurdistan has always been a home to ecumenicism: Zoroastrians, Sunni, Shia, Jew, and Christian.

“A feature of the Kurdish religions is that they are syncretistic, and that is one reason why the Kurdish culture is so rich, why the Kurdish culture is inherently a pluralistic culture.”

Compared to most Sunni or Shia majority nations, Kurds could justly be labeled as enlightened by virtue of belief, associations, history, and practice.

Judaism and Christianity preceded Islam in Kurdistan by millennia. In spite of the heavy hand of Arab, then Turkish religious imperials, the Kurds have retained a temperate worldview that can be traced to the Classical Era. The pacific Bahia and Yazidis are syncretistic variants of Islam that flourished in the Kurdish melting pot.

While Abrahamic religions fashioned a binary ideological world of good and evil, where literal writ or the “will of God” was paramount, Zoroastrian devotees believed that human behavior was the decisive factor in the struggle between the forces of good and evil. Putting human behavior, not religious dogma and ritual, at the center of civility is a value with roots in Classical Greece too.

When Muslim apologists attempt to associate contemporary Islam with tolerance they often invoke the name of Saladin (1138-1193). They seldom mention that Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb, first Sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, was not a Persian or an Arab. Saladin was a Kurd.

Today, Kurdistan has the potential to be the fulcrum of 21st Century Islamic reformation, a model for what a modern Islamic state could or should be. The Kurds are the antithesis of Shia/Sunni supremacists where death cults like al Qaeda, Hezb’allah, and Islamic State flourish and metastasize

Not only is Kurdistan truly moderate by any definition, but Kurds might be the only reliable Muslim ally for the West on either side of the Sunni/Shia divide. The Kurds are the geographic and cultural counterpoint to Persian and Arab extremism.

On the human rights issue alone, an independent Kurdistan merits Free World support. Kurdish women are liberated enough to fight side-by-side with men in virtual and kinetic combat. No Kurdish woman is required to wear the hijab or burka.

History is indebted to the Kurds too. Following WWI, Kurdistan independence was recognized by the Treaty of Sevres in 1920 only to be undone by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk and the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923. Turkey has been the fly in the Kurdish independence ointment ever since.

Turkey, like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, is a dicey ally, another Sunni polity that works both sides of the Islamist Street. The battle for Kobane is the most recent example of Turkish perfidy, where Erdogan’s army refuses to aid an outgunned Kurdish militia. Turkey is betting that the genocidal Islamic State will solve the Kurd problem in Iraq and Syria. 

All reform begins with an idea and new ideas are the basis of “revolutions without guns.” Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao Zedong’s China are modern examples, two totalitarian cultures transformed peacefully at the turn of the 21st Century by reform. No weapon is more potent than the power of superior ideas.

The West has sought the agency of Arabs, Persians, and Turks to appease the radical or the irredentist Muslim. Unfortunately, the Mediterranean littoral and the Levant is hogtied by ayatollahs, imams, and so-called “religious” scholars, few of which are ready to separate church from state. Indeed, too many Muslim clerics are apostles of religious monoculture and Islamic extremism.

Religious fascism might be a better characterization of militant Islam these days. Coercion and violence are ever the hallmarks of fascism, secular or religious.

Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi in Cairo might be an exception to the usual apologists. El Sisi recognizes that the terror and insurrection problems have religious/clerical roots. Few other Muslim leaders are as candid. Statesmen in Europe and America are agnostic or oblivious to the problem of clerical complicity in what amounts to religious tyranny. Imams now brazenly admit that “terror is part of Islam.”

Clearly, monolithic religion is the dead hand that stifles creativity, problem solving, progress, and even literacy in the Ummah. A mere declaration of “unislamic” by a cleric is enough to kill ideas or their authors. Capital fatwah is a kind of non-judicial control of apostates and infidels alike. Among ethnic Muslim cultures, Kurdistan is one of the few Islamic groups that do not suffer under the dead hand of clerical supremacists or Muslim “scholars.”

If the democratic West seeks to win the war of ideas with the theocratic East, it could do worse than support the national aspirations of a unique culture such as Kurdistan. Persians and Arabs have had their day, yet both are still yoked by religious repression. The time may have come to reward the kind of Muslim polity that the rest of the world can live with.

Recognizing Kurdistan sends a powerful message to Islam.  Statehood for the Kurds could spark a reformation that enlightens the entire Muslim world. Indeed, Kurdistan would be, for example, a much more reliable Muslim “partner” in NATO than Turkish backsliders.  A Kurdish state might not be the final answer, yet Kurds are surely a better bet than Turks or Palestinians -- and a more enlightened addition to the community of tolerant, free nations.  

Heraldry traditionally defines the sentiments of tribes and nations alike. Persian and Arab state/battle flags are black or algae green, often festooned with aggressive Koranic surahs, swords, or Kalashnikovs. In contrast, the Kurdish national flag is a sunburst on a rainbow of color. If and when America and Europe develop a strategy that separates friend from foe, the free world could do worse than abandon the dark side of Islam in favor of Islamic states like Kurdistan, cultures that see the light. 

G. Murphy Donovan writes about the politics of national security.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Immigration and Political Racial 'Profiling' - Michael Cutler

by Michael Cutler

To talk about the “Latino vote” is to postulate that all Latinos will vote the same way and presupposes that all Latinos have the same values, orientations and concerns. This is racism and bigotry plain and simple. It is unfair, it is insulting and it is divisive.

Whenever the discussion on news programs turns to immigration and politics, invariably the issue of the “Latino Vote” will be raised within the first two sentences of the conversation. It is truly remarkable that the same participants in the discussions on programs who are quick to invoke the concept of block votes -- such as the “Latino voters,” "black voters” or “Jewish Voters” -- are just as quick to condemn any sort of profiling done by law enforcement.

What is ignored by many journalists is that law enforcement must use profiling in order to be proactive and effective. However, ethical law enforcement profiling involves far more than the race or simple outward appearances of suspicious people. Effective and fair profiling must include situational and behavioral factors as integral components of such an effort.

When I was an INS agent conducting surveillance in Harlem as part of a team of NYPD and DEA agents in conjunction with a narcotics investigation, we would take notice if, for the sake of argument, we spotted a Caucasian young man behind the wheel of a new high-priced vehicle, such as a BMW, with out-of-state license plates driving slowly up a block near a known drug location. If he was looking around furtively, as though he was expecting to meet someone, we might well have stopped him and ask who he was looking for and check his license, etc.

Certainly we were basing our stop of the vehicle on a “profile” that had many components. More often than not, such stops yielded invaluable information and often led to arrests and seizures of narcotics and weapons.

However identifying voters by a single element -- whether it is race, religion or ethnicity -- constitutes a different sort of profiling and one that is as insidious and ugly as it gets. To talk about the “Latino vote” is to postulate that all Latinos will vote the same way and presupposes that all Latinos have the same values, orientations and concerns. This is racism and bigotry plain and simple. It is unfair, it is insulting and it is divisive.

The notion of the supposedly monolithic “Latino voter” does great harm in a number of important ways.

It creates the false impression that immigration is all about race. In point of fact, our immigration laws are, as they should be, utterly and completely blind as to race, religion and ethnicity. Our immigration laws have two primary goals: protect innocent lives and the jobs of American workers. Nothing could be more reasonable.

Title 8 U.S. Code § 1182: (Inadmissible Aliens) enumerates various categories of aliens who are to be prevented from entering the U.S. You will notice that there is nothing in this section of law that makes any distinction about such superficial issues as race, religion or ethnicity. The list of excludible classes of aliens includes aliens who suffer dangerous communicable diseases, severe mental illness, are fugitives from justice, aliens who are convicted felons, spies, terrorists, war criminals, human rights violators, and others whose presence would undermine national security and/or public safety.

This section of law also addresses the issue of protecting the jobs, wages, and working conditions of the American worker. Here is the relevant portion of this section of law:
(5) Labor certification and qualifications for certain immigrants
(A) Labor certification
(i) In general Any alien who seeks to enter the U.S. for the purpose of performing skilled or unskilled labor is inadmissible, unless the Secretary of Labor has determined and certified to the Secretary of State and the Attorney General that —
(I) there are not sufficient workers who are able, willing, qualified (or equally qualified in the case of an alien described in clause (ii)) and available at the time of application for a visa and admission to the U.S. and at the place where the alien is to perform such skilled or unskilled labor, and
(II) the employment of such alien will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the U.S. similarly employed.
What does race have to do with the enforcement of our immigration laws? Making this an issue about race is unfair, unreasonable and pits Americans against Americans, creating the impression that Americans who want our borders secured and immigration laws enforced hate anyone of Latino ethnicity. This is a vicious lie. This is the equivalent of saying that if you lock your doors at night you are a xenophobic and anti-social misanthrope.

During my 30-year career with the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) I investigated and arrested aliens from nearly every country on the planet. There were years when I barely, if ever, interviewed or arrested aliens from Latin America.

My colleagues of the INS and I participated in the investigation and arrest of criminal aliens from Asia, Europe, the Soviet Union, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. These aliens were of every race, religion and ethnicity.

In many instances the victims of their crimes are members of the ethnic immigrant communities in which these transnational thugs and sociopaths lived and operated. This applies to all immigrant communities of every race, ethnicity and origin and is not unique to the Latino community.

The mantra repeated by nearly every talking head, pundit and analyst on television programs on virtually every network is that Latinos all want unknown millions of illegal aliens to be granted lawful status and employment authorization.

This may cause people to falsely presume that anyone who has a Latino last name may be an illegal alien or may have family members who are illegal aliens. Imagine a 5th generation American of Latino ethnicity, who may have served multiple tours of duty in the U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan and whose parents and grandparents may have also served in some of the hell-holes of World War II, Korea or Viet Nam, finding that simply because his/her last name may be Rodriguez or Garcia that his citizenship and patriotism may be called into question.

On the other side of that coin, because of the discussion about immigration and the "Latino vote," anyone who dare suggest that our nation's borders be secured against unlawful entry and that our immigration laws be enforced from within the interior of the United States is, infuriatingly, branded a xenophobic racist bigot. Most people don't want to have to deal with such accusations and take the path of least resistance and therefore stay away from any discussions about immigration. The loudest voices that get heard are the voices of those who are determined to dismantle our nation's borders and bring an end to the enforcement of our vital immigration laws.

Both our borders and our immigration laws are our first and last line of defense against international terrorists and transnational criminals -- but are never portrayed that way.

The illegal aliens who would participate in “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” or similar programs would be citizens of virtually every country on the planet. Aliens who are referred to as being “undocumented” are aliens who evaded the vital inspections process conducted by Customs and Border Protection Inspectors at ports of entry. There would be no way to interview them in person or conduct field investigations because we are talking about many millions of illegal aliens. Aliens who are identified as being “undocumented” either do not have documents or don't want anyone to see their authentic identity documents to prove who they are.

It should go without saying that we live in an era in which international terrorists and transnational criminals, who need to cross international borders in order to go about their preparations to carry out deadly terrorist attacks or commit their crimes, seek to conceal their true identities and even their actual countries of citizenship.

If the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is forced to add unknown millions of applications filed by such aliens, the already overburdened and, indeed, overwhelmed, bureaucracy at USCIS would implode under the burden.

There would be no way to verify the information contained in their applications. It would be impossible to verify their true names, dates of birth or even countries of citizenship. There would be no verifiable way to determine just how long these individuals have actually been present in the United States.

Many well-liked and well-respected television personalities, reporters and analysts often claim that it would be reasonable to grant lawful status to aliens who have lived in the United States for a number of years. Sometimes they will talk about 5 years, 7 years or even 10 years. Generally the other participants in these on-air discussions enthusiastically agree that it would be reasonable to give lawful status to aliens who have been living here for that many years.

What they have less than no idea about, however, is how these applications would, of necessity, be processed -- no interviews and no field investigations. I often wonder how the talking heads on television programs would react if someone sitting at the table with them would ask how they would react to an application filed by an alien who entered the United States more recently than 7 years ago -- perhaps 7 days ago.

I may be going out on a limb, but I am willing to bet that no one would think that an alien who ran our borders 7 days ago should be granted lawful status. However, given the harsh reality of the limitations of the application processing system, it is more than likely than many of these applications will be chock full of lies that will go unnoticed.

Unfortunately, the real-world limitations of the immigration system are never discussed and therefore never contemplated by the majority of Americans or by our leaders, either.

It is worth pointing out that most news programs invite true experts to discuss such important issues as cancer research, military operations and others. When the discussion turns to immigration, however, often the guests on these programs are radio talk show hosts, political pollsters or columnists. It is rare to see any program have former immigration enforcement officers participate in these discussions.

When law enforcement officers are brought in to speak about immigration, generally the guest is a sheriff from a town that lies along the US/Mexican border who does not truly understand immigration but simply talks about how he is catching illegal aliens who ran the border -- again reinforcing the notion that only the US/Mexican border needs to be secured for all to be right. American media routinely mislead the public in this regard. 

Consider the coverage of the search for the two escaped murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, involving hundreds of law enforcement officers from a wide variety of law enforcement agencies. On Friday, June 26th, one of the killers, Richard Matt, was shot and killed by a law enforcement officer. CNN reported about this story on June 28, 2015 with the headline, “Autopsy: escapee Matt took 3 bullets to head; hunt goes on for escapee Sweat.” The report began with these paragraphs:
Malone, New York (CNN)If not for some gunfire and his urge to cough, escaped murderer Richard Matt -- who was shot dead Friday -- might not have found himself on the end of three bullets to the head.
With prison-break partner David Sweat, also a convicted murderer, still on the lam Saturday, New York state officials are counting on another misstep.
"He's been on the run now for three weeks," Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill said of Sweat. "He's tired. He's fatigued. He's hungry. He's going to make a mistake."
Two days after a member of a tactical unit opened fire on Matt -- hitting him three times in the head, according to state police -- about 1,200 federal, state and local law enforcement officers were searching vehicles at roadblocks and scouring dense woods in upstate New York for the now lone escaped inmate.
Incredibly, the law enforcement officer who shot Matt was a member of the U.S. Border Patrol, yet there was only one mention of the Border Patrol Tactical Unit being involved in this event and it was buried towards the bottom of the article.

It is more than a coincidence that a local sheriff was quoted in the very beginning of the article and that the beginning of the report noted that Matt was shot by “a member of a tactical unit” without specifying that the tactical unit was from the U.S. Border Patrol.

It was reported that the fugitives had originally planned to go to Mexico but then turned their attention on Canada when prison tailor shop employee Joyce Mitchell failed to pick them up after they broke out of prison. It appeared that at least some journalists were not eager to discuss the fact that the Border Patrol operates in Upstate New York. This goes back to the false narrative that all we have to do is secure the US/Mexican border to fix the immigration crisis.

One more very important point about the Border Patrol. Many Border Patrol agents are among the best law enforcement officers trained in “cutting sign,” a term to describe the ability to search for individuals who are attempting to cover their tracks after they run our borders. This is a vital skill and one that likely was brought to bear by Border Patrol agents in Upstate New York in efforts to locate the fugitives. Yet this point was not discussed by the media, either.

Now let us consider that the absurd claim that millions of Americans of Latino ethnicity favor providing illegal aliens with lawful status. Does this mean that Latinos favor lawlessness?

In my travels around the United States, when I have spoken at public events across the United States, I have encountered many American Latinos who are adamantly opposed to granting lawful status to millions of illegal aliens, irrespective of their countries of origin or their ethnicity. They often tell me how insulted and, indeed, outraged they are about these discussions about what “Latino voters want.”

Focusing the discussion about immigration on Latino voters helps push the totally erroneous idea that the U.S./Mexican border is the only problem and that making that border secure would solve our immigration crisis. Of course this is yet another one of those carefully crated false notions. I have written extensively about how our nation does not have four border states, but 50 border states.

Unfortunately, America lacks political leadership on this crucial issue. Would it not be amazing to have a candidate for the presidency stand before the microphones and base his/her statements on moral and real-world convictions? Imagine a true leader saying that for America to lead American citizens must be the priority for our government. That if, indeed, “American Exceptionalism” is more than a touch phrase to be used to fire up the crowds, rather than search the world for the “best and brightest” workers and students, we need not look half way across the world, but half way across our towns and cities?

In this perilous era, America desperately needs a leader, irrespective of political party, with the integrity and courage of his/her convictions to understand that any discussion about immigration must begin by using the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission about effective immigration law enforcement as a necessary element in the war on terror.

Immigration is not about “Left” or “Right” but about right or wrong.

Michael Cutler


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

IDF Says Hamas Helped ISIS Sinai Assault - Arutz Sheva staff

by Arutz Sheva staff

Maj. Gen. Mordechai tells Al Jazeera Israel has clear information of Hamas assistance in bloody attack on Egyptian army.

Israel said Thursday that Hamas was actively assisting the ISIS terrorist militia that killed over 70 Egyptian soldiers in a multi-pronged attack Wednesday.

"We have clear information that Hamas supports the Walayat Sinai organization, which belongs to ISIS,” Major General Yoav Mordechai said, in an Arabic-language interview for Al Jazeera.

"In the latest attacks, Hamas gave assistance in the form of weapons and organization to the group that supports ISIS,” he accused. “We have examples of commanders in Hamas who took an active part in this aid. Wael Faraj, a battalion commander in Hamas's armed wing, smuggled wounded casualties from Sinai to Gaza.

On Wednesday, as many as 70 Egyptians were killed after a suicide car bomb detonated against a checkpoint at Sheikh Zuweid in northern Sinai. There were also multiple attacks on other military checkpoints and an explosive device was detonated on a major highway. 

About seventy terrorists simultaneously attacked five checkpoints in the area, security sources say, and some 39 terrorists were killed in the clashes, according to the Egyptian military.

A police station in the town of Sheikh Zuweid was among the targets of the attacks, witnesses said.

Arutz Sheva staff


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What Hillary Is Hiding - Kenneth R. Timmerman

by Kenneth R. Timmerman

Here is Hillary’s problem: not only did she conduct official business on a private server, apparently with the blessing of a key lackey, Undersecretary for Management, Patrick Kennedy; but as copies of those emails surface, key elements of the story she has tried to suppress from Day One are emerging.

The left-wing media establishment is turning against Hillary Clinton. 

It’s happening long after the rest of us understood that Mrs. Clinton bore a unique responsibility for the tragic and avoidable disaster in Benghazi that cost the lives of four brave Americans, so please: there is no need for applause. After all, the New York Times, the Washington Post, CBS Sixty Minutes, and NBC News are just doing their jobs. Finally. 

Well, almost doing their jobs. For most of these, the Clinton “story” is all about process. As more emails turn up that Hillary “overlooked” when she scoured her personal server, the New York Times wonders if any serious discrepancy will emerge, and gives Hillary’s spokesperson’s effort to bury the story far more credit than he deserves.

Here is Hillary’s problem: not only did she conduct official business on a private server, apparently with the blessing of a key lackey, Undersecretary for Management, Patrick Kennedy; but as copies of those emails surface, key elements of the story she has tried to suppress from Day One are emerging.

First, there is the matter of who “lost” Libya. The email traffic released nearly two years after House Democrats claimed the State Department had provided everything there was to know about Benghazi to Congress, shows that Hillary was desperate to hide her responsibility for U.S. policy toward Qaddafi and the jihadi-dominated rebel alliance that overthrew his regime.

We now have multiple emails, none of which was produced until recently, showing that when Libya was going well, Hillary wanted to be seen as the architect of the “lead from behind” and “zero footprint” strategy that allowed the Obama administration to claim a foreign policy victory without engaging U.S. troops.

Jake Sullivan, her top political advisor, drafted a glowing “talking points” memo on the Libya success story on August 21, 2011, which the Clinton team later realized had become an embarrassment and needed to be suppressed. It was only just recently produced.

Now we learn that an important player behind Hillary’s grandstanding was none other than long-time Clinton consigliore, Sid Blumenthal. 

Until just two months ago, the State Department pretended that Blumenthal’s emails to Secretary Clinton didn’t exist, even though Mrs. Clinton forwarded them to her inner circle, often at their official addresses.

Then, faced with a subpoena from Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the Benghazi Select Committee, State finally produced 300 emails previously withheld by Clinton, including “intelligence” memos sent by Blumenthal to Hillary’s private email account.

Gowdy could see the smoke, and issued another subpoena, this time to compel Blumenthal to testify under oath. At that closed-door hearing two weeks ago, Blumenthal produced an additional fifteen memos to Secretary Clinton that the State Department claims it can’t find. Like so much else.

Among the latest missives were Blumenthal’s comments on the Jake Sullivan Libya success statement. “First, brava!” he wrote Mrs. Clinton the next day. “This is a historic moment and you should be credited for realizing it. When Qaddafi himself is finally removed, you should of course make a public statement before the cameras wherever you are, even in the driveway of your vacation house. You must go on camera. You must establish yourself in the historical record at this moment. The important phrase is, ‘successful strategy.’”

But seeing Blumenthal revert to his role as Clinton spin-meister is just eye candy. Far more important was his role in urging Mrs Clinton to support jihadi rebels against Qaddafi. Because he was not a member of her official inner circle, he could deliver advice Mrs. Clinton felt she could keep from public scrutiny – even now.

In his testimony before the House Benghazi Committee on June 19, Blumenthal revealed that he hadn’t even written the so-called “intelligence” memos. Instead, he merely copied and pasted memos written by former CIA clandestine operative Tyler Drumheller, who got called out by his former boss for fabricating and misrepresenting intelligence.

Blumenthal acknowledged he had partnered with Drumheller and retired Major General David Grange in an effort to win lucrative business contracts in post-Qaddafi Libya.

Their main project was a “humanitarian-assistance idea for medical care in which I had little involvement, [that] [n]ever got off the ground, in which no money was ever exchanged, no favor sought and which had nothing to do with my sending these emails,” Blumenthal told reporters later.

General Grange’s company, Osprey Global Solutions, advertises a lot more than “humanitarian assistance” projects. According to their website, they “deliver global, full-spectrum medical, construction, security, training, armament services, and products.” Just the type of things a poorly trained, poorly equipped jihadi rebel force would need. General Grange told the New York Times that his job was to put “boots on the ground to see if there was an opportunity to do business,” once Blumenthal and his associates opened the doors in Libya.

Which brings us to the next dirty secret Hillary Clinton is intent on keeping from public scrutiny: her role in arming the rebels in Libya and Syria. The ongoing trial in Arizona of licensed arms broker, Mark Turi, promises to reveal new details of the former Secretary of State’s initiatives in helping select U.S. contractors deliver U.S. weapons to foreign governments such as Qatar, who then distributed them to their favorite jihadi groups. All without a word to Congress, let alone the public.

These policies were horribly misguided. As I wrote in Dark Forces: the Truth Behind What Happened in Benghazi, in a chapter titled “John Brennan’s Iron Claw,” they included allowing jihadi operatives transport 800 SA-7 missiles looted from Qaddafi’s arsenal to Agadiz, Niger, where they were upgraded with Egyptian gripstocks and CIA-designed batteries, then transferred to jihadi groups throughout the Middle East.

A separate set of emails, obtained by Judicial Watch through the Freedom of Information Act, reveals another scandal Clinton has been desperately trying to avoid: her responsibility for peddling the vicious smear that the Benghazi attacks were “caused” by a “hateful video,” not a failure of policy.

The first official statement by the Obama administration about Benghazi was issued by Mrs. Clinton at 10:08 pm Washington time on the night of the attacks.

This was after the State Department had confirmed the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and his communications officer, Sean Smith, but before the final mortar attack on the CIA Annex that took the lives of former Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Ty Woods.

The Judicial Watch emails include a message from State Department spokesperson Victory Nuland to Clinton’s inner circle that referred to the draft statement they were circulating. “We are holding for [Ben] Rhodes clearance.” 

Ben Rhodes, of course, was President Obama’s top political operative, the same who quarterbacked the neutering of the CIA talking points prepared for Susan Rice later that week.

Rhodes signed off on the draft, which has not yet been released, three minutes later, and sent a follow-on message at 9:48 pm to senior White House and State Department officials. “We should let the State Department statement be our comment for the night,” he wrote.

There continue to be huge gaps in the record, which is why Rep. Gowdy correctly is refusing to hear Mrs. Clinton’s testimony until the record is complete.

One significant gap is the huge hole in Sid Blumenthal’s correspondence with Clinton. In the documents he produced to the Benghazi Select Committee, he sent a steady stream of Libya-related emails to Clinton up through Aug. 27, 2012. The next we hear from him in September 12, 2012 – just after the attacks, which he mistakenly wrote had occurred the afternoon before.

What else were the two discussing before the attacks? Was the State Department aware of the “hateful video” before it became a cause célèbre? Was Sid Blumenthal aware of it?

Significantly, his September 12, 2012 email to Mrs. Clinton focused on the video, and informed her that he had moved the story into the U.S. media, thanks to a outrageous, lie-packed article penned by his own son, left-wing hack Max Blumenthal.

Democrat Elijah Cummings, Gowdy’s counterpart on the Benghazi Select Committee, likes to claim that all the important questions about Benghazi have been “asked and answered.”

The only question that really fits that bill is this: Did Hillary Clinton lie about Benghazi?  The answer, of course, is a resounding, yes.

Kenneth R. Timmerman


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Netanyahu: We see ISIS at the gates in Sinai and Golan - Associated Press and Israel Hayom Staff

by AP and Israel Hayom Staff

Scores killed as Islamic State-linked militants launch coordinated strikes against Egyptian troops in Sinai • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "We must stand up to all the forces of militant Islam, those led by Iran, those led by ISIS."

Smoke rises from fighting in the Sinai Peninsula, as seen from the southern Israeli kibbutz of Kerem Shalom, Wednesday
Photo credit: AP

AP and Israel Hayom Staff


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Ramadan and the Surge in Terror - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Translated by Rochel Sylvetsky

Ramadan has always been the month of Islamic glory, celebrating the fact that a large number of battles that took place during the holy month ended in Islamic victories. These victories were believed to be the reward granted by Allah to the Islamic nation for its careful observance of the fast.

Ramadan is the most important month in the Muslim calendar. The Qu'ran [sic] descended from the heavens on the night called Laylat-al-Qadr (Night of Destiny) towards the end of the month of Ramadan and according to the Qu'ran [sic], that night is "better than a thousand months." The entire month is intended to be a time for drawing closer to Allah, repenting from sin, and refraining from partaking in earthly pleasures such as eating, drinking and smoking.It is a time for acts of kindness, for helping the poor, visiting relatives and improving inter-personal relationships.

Eating is forbidden from before dawn on the first day of the month of Ramadan, which in Israel is at about 4 a.m. The sixteen-hour fast continues until nightfall, ending at about 8 p.m. In other parts of the globe, the fast's duration can be longer or shorter. This year, Ramadan falls during the summer in the northern hemisphere and it doesn't take much imagination to understand the significance of fasting, and even more of not drinking, in the deserts of LIbya [sic], Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Saudi Arabia - in fact, in the entire Middle East. It's hard to get through one day of the fast, let alone 29 or 30 consecutive days. In Brussels, for example, the fast lasts about 19 hours, from 3 a.m. until 10 p.m. At least, however, the weather in Brussels is more pleasant than it is in Libya - as is the general atmosphere.

Drawing closer to Allah during Ramadan means a longer prayer service, adding night prayers, spending hours in the mosque, listening to live and recorded sermons, extra careful observance of Islamic commandments and avoidance of sin. This heightened religious sensitivity is also felt towards those who are seen as a problem to Islam: throughout Islamic history, rulers saw the Ramadan period as a time of threat to the stability of their regimes, especially if their Islamic legitimacy was shaky because of the way they rose to power (murdering their predecessor, for example), their behavior questionable (liquor and morality), and their rule oppressive.

In the days of the Ottoman Empire, it was customary to begin and end the fast by firing a cannon, arms being under the control of the local ruler. The cannon had a double message: fixing the beginning and end of the fast, and reminding the public of just who is in charge and what can happen to anyone who tries to disturb the regime's stability and its citizens' tranquillity [sic].

Ramadan has always been the month of Islamic glory, celebrating the fact that a large number of battles that took place during the holy month ended in Islamic victories. These victories were believed to be the reward granted by Allah to the Islamic nation for its careful observance of the fast. It is important to note in this context that a Jihadist fighter is free of the obligation to fast if it interferes with his ability to fight and is allowed to make up the fast days after Ramadan. The Yom Kippur War, seen in the Muslim world as a great victory over Israel, took place during Ramadan.

We are in the midst of this period of heightened collective religious consciousness, and the atmosphere, suffused with religious fervor, affects what is going on in the Islamic world. There has been an increase in "successful" operations by Islamic Jihad against its enemies: in Judea and Samaria there is a marked rise in the number of  terrorist attacks against Israelis, civilians and security personnel, and a great deal of incitement against Israel, even worse than usual, in the Arab media. 

Islamic State is escalating its actions against its perceived enemies; at the beginning of Ramadan, it showed a horrifying movie in which it portrayed unusually cruel ways of murdering people: drowning them in a metal cage, blowing people up by tying explosives to their necks, firing a missile at a vehicle filled with prisoners who had been sentenced to death. And for the first time, Islamic State beheaded two women.

Islamic State attacks were carefully planned to take place at four sites in different countries: On Friday, June 26, the organization succeeded in carrying out serious terror attacks in France, Tunisia, Kuwait and Somalia, with a total of close to seventy victims - including one beheading in France.  In Syria, fighting intensified in four areas during Ramadan: in the south, in the Qalamoun mountains, in the Aleppo-Idlib region and in Kurdish territory, with the Salafist organizations chalking up impressive successes. Hezbollah, fighting the very same organization in the Qalamoun mountains, also claims victories as a result of Ramadan.

The Egyptian Prosecutor-General was assassinated by unknown assailants during this Ramadan, shocking the entire Egyptian nation, because the courts were always almost the only entity that most of the population held in esteem and considered objective. Lately, the judiciary has become the victim of the massive struggle between Islamic loyalists and a regime that is trying to push them back into line. There are those who claim that the judiciary has become a rubber stamp for President al-Sisi, especially when it sentenced the heads of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, as well as former President Muhammed Morsi and Comptroller Muhammed Badia. Just a few hours after the verdict was announced, this past May, the Prosecutor-General was eliminated and three justices murdered in the Sinai. 

Islamic State gave out a placard in Jerusalem entitled "The Word of al-Maqdis" (the name for Jerusalem in Islamic sources), that warns all Christians to leave the city by the end of Ramadan, or risk being slaughtered like sheep. The placard asks Muslim sympathizers to hand over lists of Christians and their addresses to Islamic State members so as to make the task of finding and killing them easier. 

While on the subject of Islamic State, it should be understood that this state does not hide its intentions to conquer and subjugate the entire world under Islam. It has minted coins, on one side of which is a map of the world, in order to make its plans perfectly clear.

A Warning to the World

At this point, we must examine the situation without taking Ramadan into account. What has been happening over the last few years is a massive escalation of the Shiite-Sunni conflict, its roots in the struggle for the Caliphate that began the moment Islam's Prophet Muhammed [sic] died  in 632 A.D. The fighting in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other places, has a distinctly ethnic character, and modern technology and weapons have turned it into a steadily widening bloodbath. 

Shiite Iran and the West are currently working on an agreement, one which will no doubt benefit Iran economically, and will energize Iran's efforts to achieve regional hegemony, control over the gas and oil treasures in the Gulf, export terror worldwide and spread Shiite Islam wherever there are Sunni Muslims - in addition to the ability it will retain to continue to develop nuclear weapons. The Ayatollahs, by the way, also do not hide their plans to control the globe. 

This agreement will strengthen Shiite Islam and infuriate the Sunnis, who will lash out at anyone who supported it, especially the American government. This agreement and its boost to Shiite plans for worldwide Islamic hegemony, will cause many Sunnis to conclude that the US is interfering in internal Islamic matters on the side of the Shiites - which not a few Sunnis consider heresy - thereby weakening the Sunnis. The American government may be considered a de facto anti-Sunni regime, since it also took out Bin Laden and did nothing to stop Assad after he murdered thousands of Sunni Muslims with poison gas. This may lead Sunni Muslims to desire to take revenge on the US and the road from there to actual terrorist attacks against America and the rest of the world powers who took part in the negotiations with Iran, is a short one. The signing of the agreement was originally planned for Ramadan, which ends on July 16. If that does indeed occur, the Sunni revenge may begin as early as the next day, the start of the Id al-Fitr holiday - a gift to the Islamic Sunnis to make up for the agreement signed with Shiites.

Two of the terrorist attacks perpetrated on Friday, June 26, were against citizens of states taking part in the negotiations: France and Britain. Most of those murdered in Tunisia were British tourists. Has anyone realized the link between terrorist acts by Islamic State and the Iran negotiation partners? 

Written for Arutz Sheva, translated by Rochel Sylvetsky

Dr. Mordechai Kedar


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