A pro-Hamas leader of Tunisia’s Muslim Brotherhood-linked Ennahda Party met last month with the federally funded U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP) in Washington.
The Nov. 29 meeting covered the relationship between Islam and democracy in the light of Ennahda’s 10th Party Congress in May 2016, the Ennahda Abroad Facebook page said. There, the group agreed to stop trying using electoral politics to achieve its religious objectives. This change of tactics likely was caused by Ennahda’s 2014 defeat in Tunisian elections. Continue reading →
The US hands-off to Iran’s top general in Iraq, Ali Abdullah Saleh’s changeover of sides in the Yemen war and Trump’s’ thinking on Jerusalem – all signal a new, proactive US strategy for the region.
Central Intelligence Agency chief Mike Pompeo was uncharacteristically frank when he addressed high-ranking US military and security officials on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Reagan Presidential Foundation. He revealed that he had sent a note to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Al Qods chief, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and explained: “I sent it because he had indicated that forces under his control might in fact threaten US interests n Iraq.” Continue reading →
LONDON/ANKARA/DUBAI (Reuters) – Iran is sending advanced weapons and military advisers to Yemen‘s rebel Houthi movement, stepping up support for its Shi’ite ally in a civil war whose outcome could sway the balance of power in the Middle East, regional and Western sources say.
Iran’s enemy Saudi Arabia is leading a Sunni Arab coalition fighting the Houthis in the impoverished state on the tip of the Arabian peninsula–part of the same regional power struggle that is fueling the war in Syria.
Sources with knowledge of the military movements, who declined to be identified, say that in recent months Iran has taken a greater role in the two-year-old conflict by stepping up arms supplies and other support. This mirrors the strategy it has used to support its Lebanese ally Hezbollah in Syria. Continue reading →
Chinese military officers bid farewell to members of a Chinese medical contingent as it leaves for West Africa to help in the fight against Ebola from the airport in Beijing, China, Friday, Nov. 14, 2014. China’s first overseas military base should be ready this summer close by the operations hub of U.S. Africa Command in Djibouti. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Marine Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of AfriCom, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he expected the Chinese base on the Horn of Africa to be operational later this summer.
Without getting specific, Waldhauser said he recently met with Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh “and expressed our concerns about some of the things that are important to us about what the Chinese should not do at that location.” Continue reading →
The U.S. special operations raid in Yemen in which Navy SEAL Ryan Owens lost his life was highly successful and resulted in “large amounts of vital intelligence,” President Donald Trump said on Feb. 28 in his address to a joint session of Congress.
“Ryan died as he lived: A warrior, and a hero — battling against terrorism and securing our nation,” Trump said.
Owens’ widow, Carryn Owens, was a guest of the president for the speech. Continue reading →
A dramatic fulfillment of a forecast made by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry back in the early ’90s
When Iran test-fired ballistic missiles last week, United States President Donald Trump angrily tweeted that “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE.” The era of American appeasement toward Iran that took place under the Obama administration appears to be over. But, as the Washington Post noted this weekend, the U.S. faces an Iran “that is now more powerful than at any point since the creation of the Islamic republic nearly 40 years ago.”
Iran now stands at the apex of an arc of influence stretching from Tehran to the Mediterranean, from the borders of NATO to the borders of Israel and along the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. It commands the loyalties of tens of thousands in allied militias and proxy armies that are fighting on the front lines in Syria, Iraq and Yemen with armored vehicles, tanks and heavy weapons. They have been joined by thousands of members of the [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s most prestigious military wing, who have acquired meaningful battlefield experience in the process.Continue reading →
Priests are afraid to talk about Jesus during mass. — Eva Hamberg, priest and professor, who in protest resigned from the priesthood and left the Church.
The Church of Sweden may be headed towards “Chrislam” — a merging of Christianity and Islam. Swedish priests, noting the religious fervor among the Muslims now living in Sweden, enthusiastically take part in various interfaith projects.
“There are reliable sources from Egypt, showing that the Saudi royal family is really a Jewish family that came from Iraq to the Arabian Peninsula sometime in the 1700s. They built an army with the aid of British officers fighting the Ottoman sultanate.” — Imam Awad Olwan, with whom a priest, Henrik Larsson, is cooperating in an interfaith project.
“The involvement that the Church of Sweden has shown for the vulnerability of Christian Palestinians, has been replaced with indifference to the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Syria and Iraq. In these countries, it is mostly Muslims who commit the atrocities, which is evidently enough to make the Church of Sweden concentrate on climate change and environmental issues instead.” — Eli Göndör, scholar of religion.
The Church of Sweden has departed from being a strong and stern state church. In the past, Swedes were born into it and, until 1951, no one was allowed to leave the church. These days, however, it is an institution that has very little to do with Christianity or Jesus. Sweden now, according to theWorld Values Survey, is one of the world’s most secular countries; every year a large number of Swedes leave the church.
Foiled ISIS attacks, plots, and terror funding grows across nation
At least 75 homegrown violent extremists were found to be operating across the United States in 2015, with the largest portion of these individuals pledging allegiance to the ISIS terror group, according to recent figures published by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
The largest number of homegrown extremists were caught providing material support to various terror organizations, while at least 21 percent of the terrorists were found to be planning attacks in the United States, according to the figures. Continue reading →
On Monday April 18, 2016, China officially broke ground on its first naval base in Djibouti, Africa, a country which has also been the home of the United States (U.S.) African intelligence-gathering base for the past 15 years. The Chinese base will be encroaching upon a major U.S. military installation with 4,000 troops and has the largest drone installation base outside of Afghanistan.
Djibouti may be a proving ground for China’s foreign policy as the nation looks to further expand its influence in Africa. China has participated in anti-piracy missions off the coast of Somalia since 2008 and increased those missions in 2010. Chinese President Jinping donated $100 million to the African Union (AU) and said it was to help build a standby force as well as an emergency response and quick response force.
BERLIN/RIYADH (Own report) – Saudi Arabia can use German technology of repression and skills provided by the German police for the suppression of its opposition, which last weekend culminated in a mass execution. In recent years, the German government has authorized the supply of telecommunication surveillance products to Riyadh, worth more than 18 million Euros. The German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation organized, among other things, training courses in counter-terrorism for Saudi Arabia’s GID intelligence service. Saudi Arabia even treats non-violent protests by its heavily discriminated Shia minority as “terrorism.” The German Federal Police is training Saudi border police officers within the framework of an official project, formally approved in 2009 by Germany’s Interior Minister at the time, Wolfgang Schäuble. According to reports, the training includes exercising the use of assault rifles and crackdowns on demonstrators. It has also been provided, at least temporarily, to members of the religious police force. This cooperation in repression is an element of a comprehensive economic cooperation guaranteeing German enterprises large sales and billions in contracts. Above all, it serves Berlin’s strategic Middle East policy objectives.
ISIS are planning a ‘mass casualty’ attack on Britain, the head of MI5 revealed last night as the UK now faces threats at home, from overseas and online on a scale he had not seen before in his career.
Delivering the Lord Mayor of London’s annual defence and security lecture, director general Andrew Parker said that it thwarted six terrorism attacks in the UK and “several” plots abroad in the past year.
“We are seeing plots against the UK directed by terrorists in Syria; enabled through contacts with terrorists in Syria; and inspired online by ISIL’s sophisticated exploitation of technology.
In an article published in the Hizbullah-affiliated Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar on October 1, 2015, the chairman of the newspaper’s board of directors, Ibrahim Al-Amin, predicted that Russia’s air campaign in Syria will be merely a prelude to a larger military offensive involving ground operations by the Syrian Army, Iran, Hizbullah, and even the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces. Al-Amin is known to have close ties to Hizbullah, and in the past he has proven a reliable source on matters relating to the Iran-Syria-Hizbullah axis.
This is precisely why economic sanctions on Iran are laughable. It was mentioned years ago that you cannot bring down a third-world nation any farther than it already is (See also HERE). The regime running the country remains isolated, shielded and unaffected at the expense of the every day citizen that receives all the aftermath. Plus, add to the fact that there will always be more than one customer in the world needing oil that isn’t a Western nation, which makes diversification a non-issue.
So long as America continues on the path it’s on with help from Barack Obama as he buys it time, Iran will walk indeed.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Praetorian Guard of Iran’s regime, controls most of the economy, as well as the black-market, alternative economy. The IRGC therefore actually benefits from sanctions; it is private firms, such as those involved in international commerce, that suffer. Why would IRGC operatives want to see the playing field made more level by private investment, transparency and a competitive economy?
Sanctions never hurt the regime’s ruling class; lifting them only helped the regime solidify its power over its people.
The objective of these two demands [an immediate lifting of all sanctions and no, or severely limited, inspections] is either to have them accepted, or to render it untenable for the Obama administration to offer Congress any deal that could be accepted – thereby shifting blame for the collapse of the talks to the U.S.
The U.S should also be on guard against the mullahs’ belief that the Obama administration is weak both politically and its aversion to using force. The mullahs might find great pleasure in humiliating Obama, as they did President Jimmy Carter, by dragging out hostage crisis negotiations by running out the clock until his term was over. They clearly believe that the Obama administration, simply to say it got “a deal,” is ready to sign anything.
Most intelligence analysts and journalists assume that because Iran’s leadership endorsed the negotiations and has been the beneficiary of several key concessions by the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany), that an agreement is imminent. Forecasters have been predicting what the likely consequences of such a deal would be: negative.
But what if the Iranians walk?
Sanctions never hurt the regime’s ruling class; lifting them only helped the regime to solidify its power over its people.
The meteoric rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has since styled itself the Islamic State in an affirmation of its broader aspirations of dominion over a self-declared caliphate beyond the territories where it exercises control, has aggravated the Middle East’s already treacherous geopolitical landscape. Having emerged out of conflict and instability in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has arguably matched or otherwise exceeded the capabilities of fellow extremist groups such as al-Qaeda, its regional affiliates and other violent Islamist organizations. Despite its recent setbacks—notably in Syria’s Kurdish-majority town of Kobane (a.k.a. Ayn al-Arab), located in the northern Aleppo province—the Islamic State has demonstrated an impressive ability to capture, control and consolidate its hold on territory and sustain its insurgent and support cadres. It also operates a sophisticated information and propaganda wing that exploits social media as a force multiplier alongside its scorched earth campaign. It has also drawn support from independent sympathizers and ideological allies throughout the broader Middle East and around globe—including among locally focused extremist factions in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan and Yemen. These attributes are reminiscent of al-Qaeda’s at the pinnacle of its influence. However, they also reflect the simmering competition between the Islamic State and its al-Qaeda precursor as well as the latter’s regional affiliates such as Jabhat al-Nusra (Terrorism Monitor, February 20). The Islamic State’s increasingly strident discourse and threats also illustrate its rising ambitions; in addition to confronting the incumbent regimes in Iraq and Syria and rival militants and insurgents, the Islamic State has an ambitious set of goals that include challenging Saudi Arabia. Continue reading →