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10 Reasons Why the U.S. Is Failing in Afghanistan

by Tawfik Hamid

It is unconceivable for many to understand how the US -the most powerful country  on earth- after 10 years of military operations in Afghanistan failed to achieve a clear and decisive victory over the Taliban and was unable to end their ambition to control the country. Some experts argue that the US is actually failing in this war.

The recent riots against burning the Quran and the violent reaction against US officials that followed the incident have just elucidated the difficulties that the US faces in this battle.

Currently, the US is virtually pleading for a peace treaty with the Taliban who actually suspended the peace talks with the US.

Furthermore, President Hamid Karzai has recently endorsed a 'code of conduct' that
allows Afghani men to beat their women to appease the Taliban. This -by itself- is a clear indication that Karzai sees the Taliban - NOT the US - as the victorious side in this war.

Additionally, despite using several approaches, the US has failed to win the hearts and minds of the people of Afghanistan.

Among the reasons for the failure of the US to clearly win the war in Afghanistan or to put an effective exit strategy lies in our ineffective strategic communication and not tailoring our efforts to the various diverse ethnic and sectarian groups in Afghanistan.

Admiral Mike Mullen has blasted the US 'strategic communication' efforts in Afghanistan. Admiral Mullen's criticism comes as officials admit the US is losing the war of ideas against the  Taliban.

In this analysis, I will address 10 critical points and tactics that should have  been used by the US to improve its strategic communication that could possibly have had a positive impact leading to a better outcome of this war.

1. Show respect, but don't show weakness.

An apology for the urination of US soldiers on Afghan dead bodies was an appropriate step to show a positive image of the US as such an apology does not show weakness. However, decisions such as asking female US soldiers to wear the Hijab to show cultural sensitivity to Afghan people is an act that is interpreted by many in Muslim societies that the US is defeated by the Taliban. They simply see such an act as if the US  culture is bowing to Muslim culture. This makes the US perceived as 'weak' and thus can only encourage more Afghans to join the Taliban to attack our troops as  the traditional Muslim mentality tends to respect 'power' , NOT weakness.

On several occasions the US failed to show the needed critical balance between showing respect without being perceived as being 'weak'.

Examples of US actions that could be perceived by the Jihadists as a sign of 'weakness'

a. Excessive bowing of President Obama to the king of Saudi Arabia.

b. Defending building the Mosque at Ground Zero in NY without asking for similar
rights for Non-Muslim minorities in the Muslim world.

c. Defending the rights of Muslim women to wear the Hijab without defending the
rights of Muslims (such as Rifqua Bary) to choose their faith.

d. Threating to punish the CIA officers who used harsh methods to get information
from the terrorists.

2.  Effective use of negative reinforcement.

Negative reinforcement represents a fundamental component of the mind of many Muslims. In fact, many in the Muslim world worship 'Allah' predominantly because of the negative consequence for not doing so. Such negative consequence is typically extreme torture in Hell for infinity.

The US strategic communications could have used negative reinforcement to show the Afghan population that following the terrorist path of the Taliban can only have  negative consequences for them and can only cause the opposite of what they want to achieve.

For example, informing the Afghan people that the US is likely to stay an extra three months in Afghanistan in response to every terror act against them could have paralyzed the ability of the Taliban to recruit young Muslims to become suicide bombers. This is mainly because in this case they would not have been able to convince these young Muslims that terrorist acts would make the US leave Afghanistan.

If the US had adopted this approach at an early stage in the war they could have  significantly limited the ability of the Taliban to recruit young Afghans.

Similarly, informing the Afghans how Taliban terrorist acts against civilians would make many Muslim women - who might lose their income after the killing of their husbands in these terror acts - adopt prostitution, could have made many radical  Muslims think twice before accepting doing a terror act. Most Muslims see that 'chastity of Muslim women' is the most important thing that needs to be protected in one's life.

In addition, informing the Afghans that insults to the Quran and Prophet Mohamed  are caused mainly by a response to terrorism could have made many of them feel that they would carry a grave sin for doing terrorism as - in such case - the outcome of their attacks would be an insult to Islam and to the prophet Mohamed.  In other words, the power of love of Afghan people for Islam and to its founder Mohamed could have been used as a power to deter them from doing terrorism rather than participating in it.

3. Target preachers of hate - not just the terrorists.

Many of the preachers of hate who incite terrorism play a fundamental role in the phenomenon of terrorism. In general, the Mullahs - unlike suicide bombers - could be deterred if they felt that they would lose their life for preaching hatred and encouraging violence. Informing the Mullahs who incite terrorism that the US would target them for doing so would have made many of them change their message to become less violent.

4. Re-direction of Afghan Anger.

It was virtually impossible to prevent Afghan anger during the combat operations  in Afghanistan. This anger has resulted from several reasons such as occasional  killing of civilians, insults to Islam by some US military personnel, the feel of occupation by foreign forces, etc.

The Taliban managed to capitalize successfully on such anger and have used it effectively to recruit more people for Jihad against America.

The US could have redirected the anger of the Afghani people - or at least part of it - toward the Taliban instead of the US.

This could have been achieved by clarifying to the Afghans in several ways that the US invasion of Afghanistan and their suffering occurred predominantly because the Taliban supported Al-Qaeda who attacked the US on Sep 11.

In other words, the US message should have been that - if the Taliban had not helped Al-Qaeda, the US would not have occupied them.

Throwing the blame of the US invasion of Afghanistan and its consequences, on the Taliban instead on the US, could have helped diverted the Afghani anger toward the former instead of the latter.

5. Careful use of words.

On repeated occasions president Obama used the expression that the US will "withdraw" from Afghanistan. The use of this word can make the US perceived as being weak and thus could be used by the Islamic Radicals to claim victory over the US and attract new recruits.

Instead of using the word 'withdraw' which conveys 'defeat' of the US, the US officials could have used the world "changing our tactics" (e.g. from full military confrontations to secretive intelligence operations). The latter expression would be perceived as a sign of "strength" instead of "defeat."

Additionally, the use of this expression could create mistrust between Taliban fighters - as they may feel that some of their members may work with the US.  Creating 'mistrust' within Afghani fighters could only work  for our benefit.

6. Effective use of the Quran.

In many situations some Quranic verses could have been used to prevent revenge from innocent people. For example, the Quranic verse "Quran 6:164 No one should be held responsible for the wrongdoings of someone else" could have been used to convey a message that revenging from innocents who did not commit a mistake is against Islam.

Effective use of religious jargon could have protected many innocent Americans such as the US military personnel who were assassinated in an act of revenge for the recent incident of burning of the Quran.

7. Discrediting the Taliban as being ignorant about Islam.

One of the best ways that could have weakened the Taliban was to prove to the Afghan public that the Taliban are ignorant about Islamic teachings.

For example, the Taliban attacks during "Al-Ashhur Al-Hurom" (the Prohibited Months) are forbidden in Islam. The "Al-Ashhur Al-Hurom" are four lunar months in the Islamic Calendar [i] where fighting is forbidden [ii].

The aim of "Al-Ashhur Al-Hurom" was to create time for peace negotiations to exist during wars so that people can feel the advantage of peace which could encourage  them to choose peaceful resolutions - instead of fighting - to solve their conflicts.

The concept of "Al-Ashhur Al-Hurom" existed in the Arab culture before Islam and  was adopted by the Quran [iii] itself (Quran 2:217).

Showing the Afghani population how the Taliban do not respect an approved Islamic concept such as "Al-Ashhur Al-Hurom" could have exposed them as ignorant people who oppose the teachings of the Quran. This could have discredited them among the Afghan population.

8.  Expressing US power.

Power which does not necessarily mean the use of military action - is an important concept of many in the Muslim world. US leaders who talk about withdrawing the US troops from Afghanistan are simply sending a message that the US is 'weak'. This  perception of weakness of the US among the Afghan people can only work for the benefit of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda who would claim that they have defeated the most powerful country on earth. To avoid this situation, the US officials must clarify
to the Afghans that the US is capable of coming back to Afghanistan whenever it wishes to do so. Such a statement can prevent the Taliban and Al-Qaeda from using the US withdrawal to convince the Afghanis that the US is week. Expressing the US power via powerful statements is fundamental to weaken the recruiting capabilities of Islamic jihadists.

9. Using our Muslim allies more effectively.

A fatwa by Saudi Arabia to articulate that terrorists and suicide bombers are criminals and will die as infidels could have impeded the ability of Radical Islamic groups to recruit suicide bombers. The US could have used different forms of diplomacy with it's supposed ally Saudi Arabia to ensure that such fatwa is created.

10. Fighting an effective war in "Brainstan."

In a period 10 years, the US could have made significant change in the thinking of young Afghans if it had developed effective educational systems to fight radicalism at its cognitive levels  (Cognitive-based Anti-Radicalization). Such systems could have been structured and created in a way to educate the society without [iv] being dependent on the existence of school buildings.

[i ]Al-Ashhur Al-Hurom are the following lunar months: Zu-AlQuedda, Zu-Alhigga, Muharam, Ragab.

[ii] These Lunar months do not correspond to any four specific months in Western  Calendar as the formers move 11 days every year since they follow the moon.

[iii] Quran 2:217 "They ask thee concerning fighting in the Prohibited Month "Al-Ashhur Al-Hurom". Say: Fighting therein is a grave (sin)."

[iv] T.V, Radio, and small group teaching are alternatives to traditional school systems to deliver this form of cognitive based anti-Radicalization education.

Dr.Tawfik Hamid, is an Islamic thinker and reformer, and one-time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of a terrorist Islamic organization JI with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawaherri who became later on the second in command of Al-Qaeda. Hamid recognized the threat of radical Islam and the need for a reformation based upon modern peaceful interpretations of classical Islamic core texts. In his website, Mr. Hamid says, “I am a Muslim by faith … Christian by spirit … a Jew  by heart and above all I am a human being.” Dr. Hamid is currently a Senior Fellow and Chair of the study of Islamic Radicalism
at the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.


Wed, June 6, 2012 'Whack-A-Mole' or Big Blow? U.S. Drone Kills Al-Qaeda No.2

Ryan Mauro

President Obama boasts that 22 of Al-Qaeda’s top 30 leaders have been killed on his watch, mostly by drone strikes (The Long War Journal doubts this claim). That number just grew to 23, with U.S. officials confirming that Abu Yahya al-Libi has been killed in a drone strike in Pakistan.

This is devastating for Al-Qaeda. Libi was the second-in-command of the group, only surpassed by Ayman al-Zawahiri in importance. He performed many roles for the group: As the “gatekeeper” between field operatives and the leadership; an administrator in Al-Qaeda’s Shura Council; a terrorist trainer; an operations manager; a dynamic spokesman, releasing more tapes than any other Al-Qaeda figure in recent years and a cleric, drawing upon his advanced religious education in Mauritania to preach and issue fatwas with authority.

“There is no one who even comes close in terms of replacing the expertise Al -Qaeda has just lost,” a U.S. official said.

Libi’s escape from America’s Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan brought his reputation to a whole new level. He was captured in 2002 and held until July 2005 when he and several of his terrorist colleagues (including Al-Qaeda’s former top operative in Southeast Asia) snuck out of the maximum-security prison. The terrorists took careful watch of the facility’s security procedures, identifying loopholes. Somehow, they were able to pick the locks on their jail cells, change their outfits and crawl over a wall. One of their terrorist friends was waiting in a truck. The escape set off a fruitless manhunt.

The strike happened in the village of Hassu Khel, a village near Mir Ali, in North Waziristan, Pakistan. The drone blew up the compound he was staying at and a pickup truck next to it, killing a total of 16 people. One resident says that Libi was here recovering from an injury he suffered in another drone strike that happened on May 28.

In my debate with Thom Hartmann on RT America about President Obama’s “Kill List” of terrorist operatives the CIA has permission to kill, he brought up the oft-repeated argument that this “whack-a-mole” strategy of killing top Al-Qaeda operatives may not work because each death results in more recruits.

Libi’s resume is one (of several) rebuttals to this argument. The experience Libi brought to Al-Qaeda takes many years of preparation. Such skill is hard to come by. With Libi and other top leaders of the terrorist group being killed and captured left and right, there is a huge void of leadership and skill left.

The newer, more amateur operatives won’t be able to replenish the group’s losses because they won’t have mentors to teach and guide them and they’ll come under the U.S. radar before the time they can acquire the necessary experience to resuscitate the group.

Al-Qaeda is reaching the point where it becomes operationally ineffective, only able to inspire individual homegrown terrorists and small cells of carrying out attacks largely on their own. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the weakened state of the world economy means that even a small, simple attack can do tremendous damage. An ongoing string of small attacks, even with few casualties, can do much to revitalize Al-Qaeda and energize the overall jihadist movement.

No matter what happens to Al-Qaeda, we can’t take our sights off of the larger battle: The struggle against radical Islam based in Islamist doctrine and thinking. Al-Qaeda may soon become inconsequential but stronger, smarter, more pragmatic and more popular groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Lashkar-e-Taiba and others grin as we take our eyes off of them.

Ryan Mauro is RadicalIslam.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

Fri, June 1, 2012 U.S. Arab Spring Spending Spree

by Ryan Mauro

As the U.S. struggles with a troubled economy, burdened with a nearly $16 trillion debt, the State Department’s Special Coordinator for the Office of Middle East Transitions, William Taylor, explained on May 3 how the U.S. is spending money to help Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Taylor’s past statements and indications give every reason to believe that money will fall into the wallets of the Islamists and further their ambitions.

Taylor said that the U.S. has already given a $100 million cash transfer to Tunisia and will provide a loan guarantee of $300 million over the summer to help the Islamist-led government balance its budget—something the U.S. isn’t even doing for itself. The U.S. will also establish an enterprise fund that will give money to the private sector.

The Tunisian government is led by the Islamist Nahda Party. Take a look at the party’s founder, Rachid Ghannouchi and what has happened since it won the parliamentary elections and you’ll see why this use of taxpayer money is so outrageous. The U.S. has made no effort to differentiate between Islamist and secularist in the Arab Spring for fear of being seen as “meddling.”

Taylor was vague when it came to Egypt, saying that his office would continue to provide economic assistance and hopes to establish an enterprise fund there as well. These enterprise funds may invest in the private sector, but they’ll still assist the Islamists. In fact, Undersecretary of State Robert Hormats said in April that the State Department was meeting with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to discuss how to promote small businesses. He described the Brotherhood as a worthy partner in this because it is “very pragmatic” and knows “they need to deliver results.” And apparently, we’re going to help the Brotherhood “deliver results” and succeed politically.

He said that Libya is not in need of funding but will receive technical assistance and help preparing for its elections set for June 19, though they may be delayed by a few days. The best way to judge what this assistance will look like is to look at how Taylor’s office provided election assistance in Egypt. His office trained everyone—including the Islamists.

After the story broke that the U.S. was helping the Muslim Brotherhood prepare for the elections, Taylor brushed off concerns. “As long as parties, entities do not espouse or conduct violence, we’ll work with them,” he explained. “This is something we are used to, and should not be afraid of. We should deal with them.” He condescendingly rejected those raising the alarm about the Brotherhood, saying, “What we need to do is judge people and parties and movements on what they do, not what they’re called.”

That’s the U.S. official overseeing how taxpayer’s money is spent on the Arab Spring.

We shouldn’t be surprised about what Taylor said or where he said it. He talked about these initiatives at the annual conference of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy(CSID), where John Esposito is Vice Chair. Esposito is one of the biggest advocates of the Muslim Brotherhood, appearing as an expert witness for the defense during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a Brotherhood entity shut down for financing Hamas. He speaks at events run by other Brotherhood fronts like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and upholds the pro-terrorism Brotherhood cleric Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi as a moderate.

Before becoming the State Department’s overseer of the Arab Spring, Taylor was the vice president of the U.S. Institute for Peace (USIP), which works closely with CSID and Esposito. The Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report described CSID’s 2010 conference, sponsored by USIP, as “perhaps the largest public gathering of global Muslim Brotherhood leaders and U.S. government officials to date.”

An e-mail sent out by CSID on May 24 about the 2012 conference shows nothing has changed. David Warren, a doctoral candidate that spoke on a panel titled, “Islam and Democratic Transitions,” spoke about Sheikh Qaradawi in a positive light, focusing on his involvement in “present-day debates in creating political systems that are equally respectful of Muslim and non-Muslim groups.”

“Building upon Qaradawi’s recent writing on the status of Muslims in the West and his surprisingly favorable portrayal of aspects of the philosophy of secularism, particularly its religious neutrality, as an acceptable concept, Warren posits al-Qaradawi as one of the most widely respected scholars, and one whose teachings can invariably have deep impacts…,” the email summarizes.

On the panel titled, “Challenges Faced by Specific Countries,” CSID selected Anwar Haddam, founder and president of the Movement of Liberty and Social Justice, to speak about Algeria. His message was that a “red flag of Islamism is being waved as a danger signal” and it is an “unwarranted warning.”

It appears, based on the e-mail, that not a single speaker focused on the Islamist threat or spoke out against the Muslim Brotherhood.  It’s no wonder then why Taylor felt welcomed. And as you read this, he is using U.S. money to implement a policy that sees the Islamists as groups that “we should not be afraid of.”

Ryan Mauro is RadicalIslam.org's National Security Analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

Thu, May 17, 2012 Iran Boasts About End to US-Israel Alliance

Ryan Mauro

An Iranian newspaper tied to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently boasted that the U.S. has “rejected” Israel over the past three months. This belief could have disastrous consequences. The author writes that the only “obstacle” remaining is the Saudi Royal Family and once it falls, Israel can be destroyed.

“It can be said that within the last 60 years, this is the first time that the Zionist regime, since its illegal inception, has had to endure rejection by the West over its vision and interest in the region,” wrote Sadollah Zarei, according to a translation by Reza Kahlili.

It’s easy to see why Iran has picked up on this fact, which Democrats have desperately tried to deny throughout Obama’s tenure. Headline after headline is about the U.S. trying to hold Israel back. In March, an anonymous administration official told the Washington Post, “We’re trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel.”

There’s been a steady stream of leaks from administration officials potentially damaging Israel. On March 28, Foreign Policy reported on the alleged existence of a secret agreement between Israel and Azerbaijan making the latter’s airbases available for a potential strike on Iran. The results of a classified war game simulating a conflict between Israel and Iran that showed hundreds of U.S. casualties made its way into the press. Another report claimed that Israel is using members of the MEK Iranian opposition group to target Iran’s nuclear scientists.

The author attributes the change in U.S. policy to recognition of Iranian strength because of the Arab Spring, which he refers to as the “Islamic Awakening.” He specifically mentions the removal of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the subsequent takeover of the country by Islamist forces. Zarei also claims that the U.S. is “on the verge of accepting the Iranian nuclear program” and points to statements by Israeli officials that Iran is “rational” as proof that the Israeli government is weakening.

Don’t let the fact that Iran is Shiite and the Muslim Brotherhoodand Salafists are Sunni fool you. The two forces may be battling in Syria, but the Iranian regime still believes that its rise is a fulfillment of Islamic End Times prophecy. Last year, Ahmadinejad’s office produced a documentary titled The Coming Is Upon Us. It outlined how it views its role in Islamic prophecy and plainly states that the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendance is “in accordance with the Hadith.”

In February, Khamenei declared, “From now on, in any place, if any nation or any group confronts the Zionist regime, we will endorse and we will help.” This should be seen as an overture to the Muslim Brotherhood. The film states that the destruction of Israel is preceded by the creation of an anti-Western Arab coalition.

Arguably the most important line in Zarei’s column is this: “With diminishing support for Israel and with the (upcoming) collapse of the monarchy in Saudi Arabia, there won’t be any obstacles left facing Iran with its policy of annihilation of Israel.”

This statement echoes what the apocalyptic documentary said. In The Coming Is Upon Us, the regime teaches that the death of Saudi King Abdullah will be a fulfillment of prophecy and one of the last precursors to Israel’s destruction. Saudi Arabia will be consumed with internal turmoil until the Mahdi appears to vanquish Islam’s enemies. King Abdullah is at least 87 years old.

In August, a Hezbollah MP in Lebanon, retired Brigadier-General Walid Sakariya, stated that two other things must happen before the final war to destroy Israel can begin: U.S. forces must leave Iraq and the Assad regime in Syria must be secure. The first objective has been completed.

President Ahmadinejad recently stated the war is not necessary to destroy Israel if the Arab world unites against it. However, the voices describing such a war in detail are getting louder.

In February, the deputy-commander of the Iranian military announced a change in policy. “Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran’s national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions,” he said.

Around the same time, the director of the parliament’s research institute, Ahmed Tavakoli, said Iran should attack Israel by the end of the year, urging the regime to take advantage of the political climate in the U.S. Tavakoli said that Iranian missiles could pummel the coastal area to the south of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in order to degrade Israel’s retaliatory capacity. He said that the Dimona nuclear reactor and a smaller reactor south of Tel Aviv must also be destroyed.

That same month, the former governor of Kish Province and pro-Khamenei strategist, Alireza Forghani, went even further and outlined a strategy of genocide against the Jewish population of Israel. His analysis was reposted at several other regime websites, most notably the Fars News Agency operated by the Revolutionary Guards.

Forghani said that Shahab-3 missiles could destroy Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, eliminating 60% of the Jews in Israel. Nuclear reactors, air force bases and airbases should be targeted in the first wave by Sejil missiles. Secondary targets would include power plants, communication sites, transportation sites and sewage treatment facilities. Altogether, he said, it would take about nine minutes. He strongly recommended that the attack happen before 2014. That is when Ahmadinejad’s term ends.

This genocidal madness was endorsed by Ayatollah Mesbah-Yazdi, an influential hardline cleric. Reza Kahlili reports that he recently ruled that all Israelis who did not oppose the country’s “vicious crimes” are legitimate targets. Mesbah-Yazdi has written in support of Iran acquiring nuclear weapons and one of his disciples issued a fatwa in 2006 justifying their use.

Policymakers need to recognize that public tensions between the U.S. and Israel and displays of American weakness reinforce the regime’s beliefs. In The Coming Is Upon Us, the regime uses quotes from U.S. officials stating that there is no viable military option against Iran as proof that prophecy is being fulfilled.

No good comes from making Iran believe that the U.S. isn’t interested in defending Israel.

Ryan Mauro is RadicalIslam.org's National Security analyst and a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and is frequently interviewed on Fox News.

This article appeared originally on FrontPageMage.com

Tue, May 15, 2012 U.S. Mexican Border Porous to Jihadists

Raymond Ibrahim

As the United States considers the Islamic jihadi threats confronting it from all sides, it might do well to focus on its southern neighbor, Mexico, which has been targeted by Islamists and jihadists, who, through a number of tactics—from engaging in da'wa, converting Mexicans to Islam, to smuggling and the drug cartel, to simple extortion, kidnappings and enslavement—have been subverting Mexico in order to empower Islam and sabotage the U.S.

As the United States considers the Islamic jihadi threats confronting it from all sides, it might do well to focus on its southern neighbor, Mexico, which has been targeted by Islamists and jihadists, who, through a number of tactics—from engaging in da'wa, converting Mexicans to Islam, to smuggling and the drug cartel, to simple extortion, kidnappings and enslavement—have been subverting Mexico in order to empower Islam and sabotage the U.S.

According to a 2010 report, "Close to home: Hezbollah terrorists are plotting right on the U.S. border," which appeared in the NY Daily News:

Mexican authorities have rolled up a Hezbollah network being built in Tijuana, right across the border from Texas and closer to American homes than the terrorist hideouts in the Bekaa Valley are to Israel. Its goal, according to a Kuwaiti newspaper that reported on the investigation: to strike targets in Israel and the West. Over the years, Hezbollah—rich with Iranian oil money and narcocash—has generated revenue by cozying up with Mexican cartels to smuggle drugs and people into the U.S. In this, it has shadowed the terrorist-sponsoring regime in Tehran, which has been forging close ties with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who in turn supports the narcoterrorist organization FARC, which wreaks all kinds of havoc throughout the region.

Another 2010 article appearing in the Washington Times asserts that, "with fresh evidence of Hezbollah activity just south of the border [in Mexico], and numerous reports of Muslims from various countries posing as Mexicans and crossing into the United States from Mexico, our porous southern border is a national security nightmare waiting to happen." This is in keeping with a recent study done by Georgetown University, which revealed that the number of immigrants from Lebanon and Syria living in Mexico exceeds 200,000. Syria, along with Iran, is one of Hezbollah's strongest financial and political supporters, and Lebanon is the immigrants' country of origin.

A jihadist cell in Mexico was recently found to have a weapons cache of 100 M-16 assault rifles, 100 AR-15 rifles, 2,500 hand grenades, C4 explosives and antitank munitions. The weapons, it turned out, had been smuggled by Muslims from Iraq. According to this report, "obvious concerns have arisen concerning Hezbollah's presence in Mexico and possible ties to Mexican drug trafficking organizations (DTO's) operating along the U.S.—Mexico border."

As far back as 2005, an article entitled "Islam is gaining a Foothold in Chiapas" showcased the inroads of Islam in Mexico:

Long a bastion of Catholicism, southern Mexico is quickly turning into a battleground for soul-savers. Islam, too, is gaining a foothold and the indigenous Mayans are converting by the hundreds. The Mexican government is worried about a culture clash in their own backyard… Muslim women in headscarves have become a common sight….

"Life is cheap" in impoverished Mexico. You want a job? Fine, pray five times a day, etc…

Kidnappings, as part of a drug cartel or as part of a jihadist operation, which legitimizes crimes such as kidnapping and child slavery, have become increasingly common. To convert non-Muslims to their cause, Islamists also whip up—and then exploit—a sense of "grievance" against the "white man."

In addition, according to counterterrorism experts in this report, Islamic terrorists blend in better with Mexicans than with Europeans, thereby enabling them to sneak into the U.S. across the southwest border. This Muslim cleric, for example, discusses how easy it is to smuggle a briefcase containing anthrax from Mexico into America, thereby killing at least some 330,000 Americans in a single hour.

Similarly, Michael Braun, formerly assistant administrator and chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), said that the Iran-backed Lebanese group has long been involved in narcotics and human trafficking in South America; however, it is relying on Mexican narcotics syndicates that control access to transit routes into the U.S. Hezbollah relies on "the same criminal weapons smugglers, document traffickers and transportation experts as the drug cartels."

Only a few months ago, Washington announced that FBI and DEA agents disrupted a plot to commit a "significant terrorist act in the United States," tied to Iran with roots in Mexico. The increased violence—including beheadings, Islam's signature trademark—is even more indicative that Islamists are well ensconced in Mexico's drug cartel.

The threat is not limited to Hezbollah; back in 2006, according to an ISN, "Mexican authorities investigated the activities of the Murabitun [a da'wa, or missionary-outreach, organization named after historic jihadists along Spain's borders] due to reports of alleged immigration and visa abuses involving the group's European members and possible radicals, including al-Qaeda."

Even innocuous reports, such as this Muslim article, are cause for concern: "Today, most Mexican Islamic organizations focus on grassroots da'wa. These small organizations are most effective at the community level, going from village to village and speaking directly to the people." Although this may not sound problematic, the strain of Islam being spread by many of these da'wa organizations is the radical, "Salafist," anti-American variety. Here, for instance, is a popular Egyptian TV cleric saying that while Muslims must never smile to non-Muslims—who, as "infidels," are by nature the enemy—they are free to do so if the Muslim is engaged in da'wa, trying to win over the infidel into the fold of Islam, especially if the potential convert can help empower Islam in any way.

These are but a few of the many reports on Islam in Mexico. The evidence that many Islamists in Mexico are plotting against the U.S., using all means—such as drug trafficking, which is not forbidden in Sharia law if it serves to empower Islam—is overwhelming.

Under various methods—from the violent to the subversive to the exploitative—Islam allows Muslims to lie and commit other duplicitous acts in the furtherance of Islam. Taqiyya [dissimulation] permits Hezbollah and other Islamists to engage in Mexico's drug cartel, just as "pious" members of the Taliban in Afghanistan pursued the heroin trade. Aside from sheer violence, justified as "jihad," or holy war, tactics pursued by Mexico's Islamists include:

· Kidnappings and enslavement, for which Mexico is already notorious. Sharia permits kidnapping, and even enslaving the infidel, in this situation, any non-Muslim in Mexico. The Quran not only approves of this, but allows male jihadists to have sex with female captives of war (Sura 4, verse 3). Here, for example, is a Muslim politician trying to legalize the institution of "sex-slavery."

· Extortion and blackmail, features of the Mexican landscape, are also permissible in Islam. According to Sharia, during jihad, Muslims are permitted to hold for ransom infidels to be sold back for large amounts of money. Here, for instance, is a popular Egyptian sheikh saying that the Islamic world's problem is that it has stopped plundering and enslaving its infidel neighbors. He even boasts that under true Sharia, he could go to the local market and "buy" a female "sex-slave."

In using subversive elements for da'wa, Muslims might comfortably use false arguments to turn Mexicans against their northern neighbors. They might, for instance, argue that Islam is a religion of "racial equality," whereas Christianity is the "white man's" religion, imposed on their ancestors by racist whites who sought to keep them "impoverished" beyond the border. Islamist strategies in Mexico amount to trying to win the unbelievers over to their side, whether through conversion or just cooperation. For those who refuse to cooperate, they are infidels to be used in any way that seems fit.

Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, he is best known for his book,  The Al Qaeda Reader .  Mr. Ibrahim's dual-background—born and raised in the U.S. by Egyptian parents —has provided him with unique advantages to understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets.

This article appeared originally on GatestoneInstitute.org

Wed, May 2, 2012 U.S. Under-Reporting Afghan Troop Attacks on American Soldiers

by Meira Svirsky

In an exclusive article, the Associated Press (AP) reports that the U.S. military is under-reporting attacks on American troops by Afghan soldiers.

The U.S. and its coalition partners report on every death of a coalition soldier killed by an insurgent or Afghan in uniform; however, the military does not make public any attack by an Afghan in uniform who wounds a coalition soldier.

In recent weeks alone, there have been numerous attacks on American soldiers perpetrated by Afghan soldiers, policemen and even (a first) by an Afghani special force soldier (described by American officials as the most reliable of all members of the Afghan military and closely vetted for their effectiveness).

The attacks were disclosed to the AP by an official (requesting anonymity) who wanted to “give a fuller picture” of the “insider” problem.  While insider attacks have always existed, they have grown more numerous and deadly over the last years – 35 fatalities were reported last year from insider attacks compared with 20 deaths the year before.  In 2007 and 2008 combined, only 4 deaths were reported.

Jamie Graybeal, the coalition spokesman in Kabul, told the AP – after repeated requests – that there have been 13 such insider attacks to date for 2012. Graybeal also said in the 10 insider attacks this year where there have been fatalities, there were a number of coalition troops wounded as well. It is the policy of the coalition not to report the number of wounded in these attacks.

Graybeal maintained that each attack in 2012 and 2011 was "an isolated incident and has its own underlying circumstances and motives."  However, the AP reports that an unclassified internal coalition study called "A Crisis of Trust and Cultural Incompatibility" concluded, "Such fratricide-murder incidents are no longer isolated; they reflect a growing systemic threat." The report said a number of the attacks stemmed from grievances by Afghans which were related to cultural and other conflicts with American troops.  

Thu, April 12, 2012 Iran Acquires Bomb While America Acquiesces to Demands

Reza Kahlili

Sanctions and the threat of military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities aren’t swaying the leaders of the Islamic regime in anticipation of negotiations this weekend. In fact, Iranian pundits proclaim, Iran does not have to make concessions to the United States because it is a powerhouse.

In an analysis that appeared Saturday, Mohammad Mohammadi, an Iranian international affairs and nuclear program expert, wrote, “Iran is in a position now that it does not necessarily need to compromise with the U.S.”

“It is quite clear that when we watch the current arguments between America and Israel over Iran, the Obama administration is quite confused,” Mr. Mohammadi said in the Keyhan newspaper, an outlet under the direct supervision of the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In his article, titled “The Lessons from the Past for the Negotiations in April,” Mr. Mohammadi wrote: “Looking back at the past decade, all the red lines by America and the West over Iran’s nuclear issue have now been transformed into acceptance. America has always adopted radical actions at first that have changed to symbolic measures later. Iran has always known that America and the West needed a way to solve the nuclear issue with some honor, and today it is quite visible that with the defeat of America’s policies toward Iran, the talk about a need to solve the Iranian nuclear issue diplomatically is a way to obtain that honor.”

The United States initially demanded that Iran suspend all its nuclear activities, Mr. Mohammadi said. “Today, though, the Americans have given up on that, and what Obama is asking is the halt of the enrichment to the 20 percent level with a full acceptance of Iran’s enrichment rights to the 5 percent level.” Enriching uranium to the 20 percent level is a critical step to achieving nuclear weaponization.

“The Americans have also changed their language,” Mr. Mohammadi said, “where at first they claimed that they had evidence that Iran was working to make the nuclear bomb. Now, though, they state openly that Iran has not yet decided to make a bomb. This change in their demands and in their language can only mean one thing - that they are incapable of stopping Iran’s nuclear program.”

Mr. Mohammadi said that with the recent U.S. sanctions on Iran’s Central Bank and Iranian oil, America has burned its last options with its economic threats against Iran, which will only hurt the global economy and create a paradox in which the Americans have to choose between an economic recovery or oil punishment of Iran.

“The increase of oil prices in the last three months is in itself a verification that they will have a hard time,” Mr. Mohammadi said.

“The talk of a military attack by Israel and some American officials in itself caused many Western leaders, diplomats, military officials and others to openly state that such an option cannot be implemented against Iran and that it will be devastating for the region and world,” Mr. Mohammadi said.

So in a very short period of time, the two most important choices for the West, one a military option and the other crippling sanctions, have now left the West empty-handed for the upcoming negotiations, Mr. Mohammadi said. The next round of negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group - the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - will be held on April 14 in Turkey.

“The ineffectiveness of the American policies toward Iran has now reached an acute point where the intelligence to avoid a checkmate over Iran’s nuclear program is not visible in the White House,” Mr. Mohammadi concluded. “Maybe the clearest sign is what at one time George Friedman, the head of the intelligence outlet Stratfor, said: ‘Iran wants to become a regional power without any compromise with America.’ However, we can rewrite Friedman’s words that ‘Today, Iran is proving the point that in order to be a powerhouse, it does not need to compromise with America.’ “

Meanwhile, Iran continued its saber-rattling Saturday through other mouthpieces.

“If Israel dares to make any mistake, the Islamic republic will plough under the existence of the plunderer and murderous Zionists,” threatened Gen. Hassan Firoozabadi, the Iranian armed forces joint chief of staff.

In raising the stakes, Iranian lawmaker Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam said that although Iran does not want a nuclear bomb, it has the capability to build one. This was further verified by an article titled “The Last Bullet in the Political Direction of the United Nations” on Mashregh News, a media outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards, stating that the Iranian nuclear program “has now reached a point that it can make a nuclear bomb, should it want to, and the fact that Iran could share its nuclear technology with other countries, it’s in fact the last bullet” the Islamic regime can use against its enemies.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book, A Time to Betray. He is a senior fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, an advisory board member of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).

This article appeared originally on The WashingtonTimes.

Sun, April 1, 2012 Iran to U.S.: Next Response Devastating

Reza Kahlili

Any future Iranian attacks in response to threats by Israel or the West will be much more complex and devastating than the recent terror attacks in India and Bangkok, the Islamic regime warned Saturday.

At the same time, Iran, fearing American firepower, is trying to drive a wedge between the United States and Israel by suggesting that, if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities and the U.S. stays out of it, Washington need not fear Iranian retaliation. Israel and the U.S. are already at odds about attacking Iranian nuclear facilities, with President Obama demanding that sanctions be given time and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that time is running out.

A  missile (left)  is launched at the shore of sea of Oman during Iran's navy drill. The missile, called Ghader, or Capable in Farsi, was described as an upgraded version of a missile that has been in service before.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who recently praised Obama’s statement that America is looking for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis, has in effect for the first time provided a way out for Obama in case of a conflict with Israel while at the same time warning about the consequences if the U.S. also attacks.

A Fars News Agency analysis said Saturday that if the U.S. is drawn in militarily, Iran will counterattack against U.S. bases in the region and interests worldwide. Fars News Agency, a media outlet of the Revolutionary Guards of Iran, has the imprimatur of the Iranian government.

The analysis, titled “The Secret War Against Iran’s Nuclear Program Will No Longer Be Unanswered,” quotes the Islamic regime’s supreme leader, Khamenei, who said in his Iranian New Year message last week that while Iran does not want a nuclear bomb, any attack on Iranian nuclear sites will spark the same level of force against the attacking country.

That statement is in line with what Iran’s defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi, said recently — that Iran has “secret weapons yet unknown to the West that will be used in response to any attack on Iran.” Vahidi is on Interpol’s most-wanted list for the Jewish community center bombing in Buenos Aires in 1994 that killed 85 people and injured hundreds more.

The Fars analysis said that Khamenei’s statement unveils “a new strategy” by the Islamic regime and its role in the region and the world.

The first step in this strategy, the analysis said, is to close the Strait of Hormuz if Iran is attacked, a threat already made by various Iranian leaders. This in effect has already “imbalanced the West with its red lines on Iran,” the analysis said, and has even “forced American warships to move in groups along with other nations’ vessels in the Persian Gulf.”

In the second step, in response to the oil embargo by the European Union, Iran stopped all oil exports to England and France and “subjected the export of oil to other countries to long-term binding contracts,” the analysis said.

One aspect of the West’s confrontation with Iran is its secret war on Iran’s nuclear activities. “The assassination of four Iranian nuclear scientists with the help of (the Israeli intelligence agency) Mossad and the stuxnet virus were the beginnings of this covert war, and though the Americans, in fear of retaliation, blamed Israel for such activities, there is no doubt that the U.S. and Israel have closely collaborated in a covert war against Iran,” the analysis said.

The analysis warned that America and Israel should be clear on the fact that any attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will be responded to with the same level of force used against Iran, be it a computer virus, assassination or military attack, and will be far more devastating than recent terror attacks on Israeli interests in India and Bangkok.

This warning comes in the wake of a U.S. congressional report that thousands of Hezbollah cells are active in America and a warning by the New York Police Department that Iran has conducted surveillance of New York City landmarks. Last month, Iranian agents were arrested in Bangkok armed with explosives; more arrests of Iranian assets were made in Georgia and recently in Azerbaijan on suspicion that attacks were being plotted on the U.S. and Israeli embassies in Baku. Days ago Interpol issued a red notice for the arrest of four Iranians suspected of the attack near the Israeli embassy in New Delhi.

The Israelis believe that by initiating an attack on Iran, they will successfully draw America into the conflict, the analysis said, something the Americans fear because any conflict with Iran will drastically increase the price of oil and devastate the global economy.

Stay out of any attack, the analysis warned the U.S., and “Iran will not attack U.S. military bases in the region, thereby touching off an all-out regional war.” This, the analysis said, “will provide hope to America that any conflict will be manageable, but it will depend on America’s behavior.”

The analysis concluded that “this new strategy will create a new environment that perhaps will change the destiny of the region.”

Ayatollah Seyyid Khatami, a hard-line cleric, in his sermon at Tehran’s Friday prayers, praised the supreme leader and his decisions in confronting the West, calling the recent decision by America to exempt 11 countries from sanctions on Iran a great victory that he claimed was “a big slap in the face of the enemy, causing this disgraceful retreat in sanctions by America.”

“Soon America will be forced to ask for forgiveness for the sanctions and say that they made a mistake,” Khatami said. “Europeans soon will be forced to do the same, and the message of this retreat to all freedom fighters around the world is to stand up against the despotic powers.”

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book, A Time to Betray. He is a senior fellow with EMPact America, a member of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, an advisory board member of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).


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