Former Deputy Assistant Secretary Of Defense: Obama’s Middle East Policy Is Creative Fiction

Michael Doran, a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense and a former senior director in the National Security Council, wrote a devastating critique of Obama’s Middle East policy that was published today.

In the article, Doran quotes a telling story about the way Obama shapes U.S. policy in the Middle East. He took the story from former U.S Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ mémoire, Duty. 

Gates described in his book a meeting at the Obama White House in February 2011. The meeting was attended by the members of the National Security Council and Obama’s White House staff and dealt with the situation in Egypt where crowds occupied Tahrir Square in Cairo and demanded the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

The question before them was how the U.S. should respond to the turmoil in Egypt.

Here’s what Doran wrote:

On one side stood Gates and the other principal members of the National Security Council. Mubarak, they argued, though a dictator, had been a reliable ally for 30 years, and toppling him would unleash chaos in Egypt, with no guarantee that the forces replacing him would be sympathetic to Washington, to America’s regional allies, or to democracy. On the other, pro-ouster side stood White House staffers vocally represented by Ben Rhodes—who, though only in his early thirties, bore the grand title of Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communication and Speechwriting. In addition to his youthfulness, Rhodes had limited experience in international politics; his master’s degree was in creative writing, and his official role was that of a “communicator,” or spinmeister.

In the end, the president sided with the Rhodes faction, thus placing himself, in a phrase that soon emerged from the White House, “on the right side of history.” That side led, as Gates had warned, to a political vacuum in which the only established and well-organized party was the Muslim Brotherhood, which soon took power.

One might conclude from this story that Ben Rhodes has a deep influence over the president, but in truth he is simply his mouthpiece, or his clone. As Obama’s own two memoirs attest, he himself has long practiced a literary approach to his profession, acting simultaneously as author and as heroic protagonist. In this conception, the exercise of foreign policy is not simply about safeguarding American interests abroad; it is also about fashioning a creative and compelling personal narrative of the effort.

To be sure, all politicians impute pure motives to themselves and malign ones to their rivals. But Obama, raising the practice to the level of art, has recognized a simple but profound truth about political life: if you can convince people that you are well-intentioned, they will tend to side with you even if you fail to achieve your stated aims. In the Middle East, especially, the list of the president’s failed efforts is already long and growing longer by the day; it includes, among many other debacles, solving the Arab-Israeli conflict, launching a humanitarian intervention in Libya, and promoting a political solution to the Syrian civil war. Becoming painfully obvious is the last and greatest item on this list of pious failures: the president’s promises on Iran, embodied most recently and dramatically in the deal struck in Lausanne on April 2.

Obama has presented this deal as an effort to solve, through entirely peaceful means, the most consequential dispute in the Middle East. At the same time, he is signaling that his Iran gambit heralds much more than that. It is nothing less than the birth of a new vision of the American role in the world—an antidote to the military approach that allegedly characterized our foreign policy for decades.

This vision, however, is a fiction. Just as Robert Gates could see clearly in February 2011 that ousting Mubarak would deliver chaos and not democracy, it is clear to sober observers on all sides that the agreement with Tehran will fail to establish the elementary conditions for preventing the regime’s development of a nuclear bomb. Yet most people still do not appear to regard the president as either the cause of this disaster or as the solution to it. Will they ever?

Doran then continues to list three obvious defects of the emerging deal with Iran:

The emerging deal with Iran has three obvious defects that will be impossible to solve in the final round of negotiations.

First, instead of phasing out, over a decade’s time, the existing diplomatic and economic sanctions on Iran, the deal, practically speaking, will lift the sanctions immediately.

Second, the president’s assurance that sanctions will “snap back” in the event of Iranian misbehavior is absurd on its face. Re-imposition of sanctions will require concerted action by the United Nations Security Council, a body that no one has ever accused of being either speedy or efficient.

Finally, Iranian leaders have asserted, repeatedly and explicitly, that they will never allow the United States and its partners to conduct the kind of “anywhere, anytime” inspections that the Obama administration has disingenuously claimed are part of the deal; without such a guarantee, international inspectors will be incapable of verifying Iranian compliance.

Doran concludes that the deal will most certainly lead to new Iranian deceit and will certainly not change the nature of the Iranian regime as Obama believes:

Thanks to these core deficiencies, the deal will enable the Iranians to pocket enormous benefits—diplomatic, economic, and military—up front. And once they have enriched themselves by playing nice, there will be nothing to prevent them from beginning to cheat again. Does the president believe otherwise? If so, he must assume that just by signing the deal, the Islamic Republic will be transformed into something other and better than the aggressively hostile and repellent regime we have come to know over the last 36 years.

This is like the legitimate businessman who assumes that his new Mafioso partner will abandon his criminal ways once he develops a taste for honest profit. Even if the businessman manages to get out of the deal alive, it will be only after an arsonist’s flames have engulfed his shop and he’s been fleeced of the insurance money.

At the end of the article, Doran quotes Greg Sheridan, Australia’s leading foreign-affairs columnist, who said this about the emerging nuclear deal with Iran:

This agreement guarantees (emphasis added) Iran will acquire nuclear weapons eventually. Perhaps the key analytical question is this: is the fecklessness of present American policy entirely the fault of Obama, or does it reflect a deeper malaise in the U.S. and in Western civilization generally?

“Sheridan’s question is apt,” says Doran. “That it has to be asked says bad things about us, who have gone so far as to allow our president to blur the distinction between foreign policy and creative fiction.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Former Egyptian President Morsi Sentenced To Death

On Saturday, an Egyptian court preliminarily sentenced Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi and dozens of other Muslim Brotherhood members to death in connection with a massive jailbreak in 2011.

Israeli media reported that Morsi and 105 fellow defendants, including the Brotherhood’s top leader, Mohammed Badie, were convicted for killing and kidnapping policemen, attacking police facilities, and breaking out of jail during the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.

The court, expected to make a final ruling on June 2, also sought capital punishment for Brotherhood leader Khairat el-Shater and 15 others for conspiring with foreign militant groups against Egypt.

The cases, like all capital sentences, will be referred to Egypt’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for an opinion before any executions can take place.

The U.S. administration expressed concern over Saturday’s verdict, saying it has “consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences.”

“We continue to stress the need for due process and individualised judicial processes for all Egyptians in the interests of justice,” a State Department official said.

A crackdown under Egypt’s new President al-Sisi has seen hundreds of Morsi’s Islamist supporters killed, thousands jailed, and dozens sentenced to death after mass trials the United Nations called “unprecedented in recent history.”

Ties between Washington and Cairo hit rock bottom after Morsi’s ouster, with President Barack Obama’s administration freezing its annual military aid of $1.3 billion to Cairo. Most of the aid was unblocked in late 2014.

Prominent Qatar-based Muslim Brotherhood cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi is among those sentenced to death.

“The death sentences have no value and cannot be implemented because they are against the rule of God and people’s laws and customs,” Qaradawi told Al-Jazeera.

Only one death sentence out of a total of 602 has been carried out since the Egyptian Army, headed by current President al-Sisi, ousted Mohamed Morsi.

Hours after the verdict, three Egyptian judges were shot to death near the city of al-Arish in the northern part of the Sinai desert. The judges were traveling in a car that was ambushed by Islamist gunmen. A fourth person was killed, and three others were wounded in the attack.

This was followed by an Air Force strike on the Islamic State affiliate Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in northern Sinai. Seven Islamist fighters were killed when Egyptian Apache helicopters fired missiles at their positions. On Sunday, five members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis were killed by an air strike on their vehicle in the vicinity of the town of Sheikh Zuweid, close to the border with Gaza in northern Sinai.

Do you believe this sentence is justified? Let us know in the comment section below

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Drug Addicts In Gaza Forced Into Cold Turkey After Egypt Destroys Smuggling Tunnels

Thousands of Gaza residents addicted to a popular painkiller have been forced into cold turkey withdrawal after Egypt destroyed thousands of smuggling tunnels on the Egypt-Gaza border.

According to the Health Ministry in Gaza, there has been a 50 percent increase in recent months in the number of patients seeking treatment for giving up Tramadol, a prescription painkiller sold illegally on the black market.

The opiate has similar addictive qualities to the hard drug heroin–and has became popular with thousands of residents, including children as young as 13 who are desperate to escape the misery of daily life in Gaza.

Tramadol addicts typically require hospital treatment to deal with the withdrawal symptoms, which include severe abdominal pains, insomnia, chronic joint pain, and, in some cases, suicidal urges. Aid agencies are struggling to provide the necessary support because of a lack of funds.

Khadra Said, a senior official in the health ministry’s psychiatric unit, said that since the Egyptian military set out last year to destroy more than 2,000 of the illegal tunnels, Tramadol had become ever harder to find on the black market, driving up prices. “In the worsening economic conditions in the aftermath of the summer war [with Israel] we are seeing double the patients needing our services, after being forced to give up.”

Tramadol first appeared in Gaza in 2007. It was easily obtainable from Egypt and cost less than $0.13 a pill. In 2010, the Egyptian Forensic Medicine Authority reported that 15,000 males in Gaza — about 30 percent of those aged from 14 to 30 — were users.

The 51-day war with Israel last year, in which 2,200 Palestinians were killed and more than 17,000 homes destroyed, boosted the popularity of the “escapist” drug.

The Egyptian Armed Forces stepped up efforts to clear the tunnels last October, pushing Tramadol prices to $2.50 a pill — even as unemployment has soared, making the pills unaffordable to users (most of whom hail from poorer communities).

Yesterday, Ma’an News Agency in Bethlehem reported that the Egyptian army has destroyed 69 tunnels along the border with the Gaza Strip since March. 28. This puts the total number of tunnels destroyed at 285 since February, according to the Egyptian Army.

h/t: The Times

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Egypt’s Al-Azhar Islamic University Advocates Eating Bodies Of Christians And Jews

thomas koch / Shutterstock.com

Last Thursday, 147 innocent people in Kenya were murdered by the al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group al-Shabaab. Most of them were Christians.

The group entered the Garissa University campus in Kenya shortly after 5 am local time, eliminating guards and killing anyone they suspected of being a Christian. The terrorists went from room to room, asking each occupant whether he was a follower of Christianity or Islam. The ones who admitted to being Christian were murdered on the spot.

This wasn’t the first time a mass murder of Christians took place in Kenya. In 2013, Islamist terrorists murdered 67 people in cold blood in the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi. Muslims were allowed to escape, and the Christians among the public were murdered.

Kenyan authorities believe the same mastermind – Mohammed Mohamud – is behind both attacks.

President Obama only reacted a day later and issued a statement without mentioning the words ‘Islamists’, ‘Christians,’ or ‘Islamic extremism.’ This wasn’t the first time the president refrained from mentioning those words after Islamist terrorists murdered Christians or Jews. He did the same thing when Islamic State decapitated 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya on February 15th of this year.

When four Jews in France were murdered in January by Amedy Coulibaly, an Islamist of African origins, Obama said the attack was “random”; and he called the murdered Jews “a bunch of folks who happened to be there” (in a kosher supermarket). In this case, too, he omitted the words ‘Islamic’ or ‘Islamist’ when he spoke about the terrorists who committed a string of murderous attacks in Paris last January.

Instead, he used the words ‘violent, vicious zealots’ to describe the Islamist terrorists who were responsible for the murders.

Obama is not the only one who refuses to admit that Christians are in the front line of the global war that Islamists wage against the free world. Much of the Western media and all Western leaders are reluctant to admit that Christians and Jews are the targets of Islamists because of their faith (Christians) or because they have a Jewish identity.

For example, when Boko Haram kidnapped 300 schoolgirls in Northern Nigeria last year, almost none of the world’s press – and none of the Western world’s leaders – identified the simple fact that these schoolgirls were kidnapped because they were Christian.

But after an Islamist terrorist staged attacks in Denmark last month, a story about a small-scale initiative promoting religious tolerance that involved a few Muslims  in Norway garnered headlines and news coverage around the world.

The fact is that the persecution of Christians by Islamists and Islamic states – most of them in the Middle East – is the greatest human rights tragedy of our time. An estimated 100-200 million Christians are persecuted every year; one Christian is martyred every five minutes. Approximately 85% of this persecution occurs in Muslim-majority nations. In 1900, 20% of the Middle East was Christian. Today, less than 2% is.

In July and August 2013, when Egypt witnessed yet another regime change, the Muslim Brotherhood launched its version of Kristallnacht, attacking, destroying, and torching some 82 Christian churches. Some of these churches were built in the 5th century, when Egypt was still a Christian-majority nation before the Islamic conquests.

The persecution of Christians and Jews by Muslims is based on the Quran. Just last week, the Egyptian media outlet al-Masry al-Youm reported that a textbook used by Al-Azhar Islamic University in Cairo permits Muslims to eat murdered Jews, Christians, and other infidels raw.

The Al-Azhar University is where President Obama held his outreach speech to the Muslim world in 2009. He said then that “throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”

Religious Jurisprudence textbooks for Al-Azhar students address, among other things, the issue of eating dead human beings. The textbooks quoted Mansour bin Yunus al-Bahuti, a scholar of the Hanbali school of jurisprudence who died 500 years ago, as saying that eating dead Jews, Christians, and non-believers is halal (permissible by Islam) if it is a necessity–but non-Muslims are not to eat dead Muslims, even out of necessity.

Another textbook quotes Imam al-Sherbini of the Shafi school of jurisprudence as saying that dead prophets of any religion should not be eaten. And when he was told that prophets do not die and that they lie alive praying in their graves, according to the Hadith, he said that he meant this only if they were found dead before they were buried.

He also clarified that the meat of dead Jews, Christians, and infidels should be eaten raw, not cooked or grilled.

Other Al-Azhar textbooks say that eating dead Jews, Christians, and non-believers can be allowed not only out of necessity, but also as a punishment for heresy.

The only leader who has openly criticized this type of extremism in Islam was a devout Arab Muslim. At the beginning of January of this year, Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi made an extraordinary and courageous speech on Islam at (again) Al-Azhar University.

Here are the most important excerpts of his speech:

“I am referring here to the religious clerics.   We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before.  It’s inconceivable that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire Umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.  Impossible!

That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world.  It’s antagonizing the entire world!

Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they may live? Impossible!

I am saying these words here at Al-Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.

All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.

I say and repeat that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands”.

Ever since al-Sisi made this speech, Islamist terrorist organizations like the Islamic State offshoot Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis have stepped up their war against the Egyptian regime.

At the same time, al-Azhar University continues to brainwash a new generation of Muslims to hate Jews and Christians. Christians continue to flee from the Arab countries, and Islamic State destroys churches in Iraq and Syria.

The only country that is safe today for Christians in the Middle East is Israel.

Photo credit: thomas koch / Shutterstock.com

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

No Tears For Egyptian Christians In A Muslim Brotherhood-Friendly White House

Facebook/Barack Obama

The Obama White House-supported Muslim Brotherhood is at war with Egypt; and as a result, security is tight throughout that nation. The Cairo airport is locked down tight; no one without a ticket to fly can get into the airport terminal. The Egyptians have an understanding that the White House does not – the Muslim Brotherhood will resort to terror if it can’t get what it wants at the ballot box.

Although it is resorting to terror in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has a formal and lasting relationship with the Obama White House. This is evidenced by a recent visit to the White House by Muslim Brotherhood activists on February 4th. That meeting prompted outcries from the Egyptian government and raised concerns in other Middle East nations that are Muslim Brotherhood targets.

The exact date the Muslim Brotherhood – White House relationship began is not known; however, the Wall Street Journal first reported on Secretary Hillary Clinton “reaching out” to the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011, shortly after the Egyptian government fell to protesters. The relationship must have actually begun much earlier. Clinton’s trusted aide, Huma Mahmood Abedin, had been steadily moving her toward the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abedin at the time was U.S. Deputy Chief of Staff at the State Department and had been a longtime personal aide of Secretary Clinton. Abedin, whose mother and father were deeply involved in the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, convinced Clinton that to “control” the outcome of the Arab Spring and keep governments from falling into extremist hands, the United States must back “moderate” Islamist parties. Of course, her “moderate” solution was the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that works for the same end result as the Islamic State but is willing to get there at a slower pace.

The Obama/Clinton Grand Strategy for the Middle East was dealt with in depth in a Wall Street Journal article by Walter Russell Mead in 2013. Describing the Grand Strategy, he wrote:

The plan was simple but elegant: The U.S. would work with moderate Islamist groups like Turkey’s AK Party and Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood to make the Middle East more democratic. This would kill three birds with one stone. First, by aligning itself with these parties, the Obama administration would narrow the gap between the ‘moderate middle’ of the Muslim world and the U.S. Second, by showing Muslims that peaceful, moderate parties could achieve beneficial results, it would isolate the terrorists and radicals, further marginalizing them in the Islamic world. Finally, these groups with American support could bring democracy to more Middle Eastern countries, leading to improved economic and social conditions, gradually eradicating the ills and grievances that drove some people to fanatical and terroristic groups.

From the beginning of the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood was assisted by the Obama White House in taking over nations that had been secular-leaning, including Tunisia and Egypt, under the guiding hand of Hillary Clinton. The attempts in Libya and Syria failed, but those nations are still bleeding as a result. The main victims of the Abedin/ Clinton plan accepted by the Obama White House have been the actual moderates, who are secularists, and, of course, the Christians.

Currently, the only nation under the control of the Muslim Brotherhood is our NATO “ally” Turkey, which is supporting violence against Egypt for casting off the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 and voting in favor of a more secular government. Turkey also assisted tens of thousands of Sunni Islamist fighters in crossing the border into Syria to war with the secular government there. Still, the Muslim Brotherhood has the full support of the Obama White House.

Rejected by the army and the vast majority of Egyptians, including Coptic Christians, the Muslim Brotherhood has moved from the ballot box to the bullet box to seek power.

MEMRI, a media translation service, recently reported that: “The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has recently escalated its statements and activity against the Egyptian regime, to the extent of explicitly calling for using terrorism and violence against it, and even for assassinating President ‘Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi. These calls included an MB communique calling on movement activists to prepare for a lengthy and uncompromising jihad and to hunger for a martyr’s death; clear incitement to violence on MB TV channels broadcasting from Turkey.”

The delusional concept that having a “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood in control will somehow restrain “extremism” is alive and well at the White House. A blind eye is turned to the fact that 90% of the jihadists from all over the world going to fight jihad in Syria and Iraq have used Turkey as their entry point. With the Muslim Brotherhood as an ally, it is not possible for the White House to be critical of anything Muslim. This may explain Obama’s empty and duplicitous response to the beheading of 21 Coptic Christians on a beach in Libya by the ISIL.

President Obama could find no religious motivation for the killings at all! His White House issued a statement saying: “The United States condemns the despicable and cowardly murder of twenty-one Egyptian citizens in Libya by ISIL-affiliated terrorists. We offer our condolences to the families of the victims and our support to the Egyptian government and people as they grieve for their fellow citizens. ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds. It is unconstrained by faith, sect, or ethnicity.”

Well, the Islamic State had tried to make the religious element as clear as they could. They even produced a polished production video showing the 21 Christian men, hands bound behind them, being led one-by-one along a beach to their brutal slaughter. They could be heard crying out “Ya Rabbi Yasou”, which translates as “Lord Jesus!” while others recited the Lord’s Prayer. The video, titled A Message Signed with BLOOD to the Nation of the Cross, is indisputably and intensely religious. The entire production is full of references to the Qur’an and the Hadiths of Muhammad.

In an article concerning the video production, theologian and scholar Dr. Mark Durie wrote: “The whole event was meticulously choreographed and rehearsed.  The video’s obvious purpose is to humiliate and terrorize Christians, whom it derisively calls, ‘The Nation of the Cross.’ Still, Obama could not even bring himself to identify the victims as Christians, referring to them only as ‘citizens.’”

Contrast this evasive response to the quick way he reacted a few days earlier when, during a neighborhood dispute over parking spaces, three Muslims were gunned down. Immediately, President Obama blamed their deaths on religious discrimination, saying that “No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship.” Had President Obama known then that the killer was an activist atheist and a far left “progressive” Obama fan, he probably would not have said anything.

In the case of the parking lot dispute in which the victims were Muslims, FBI agents were immediately ordered in by President Obama to investigate possible Civil Rights crimes. Yet, when Major Nidal Malik Hasan killed thirteen fellow soldiers plus one unborn baby at Foot Hood in 2009 while shouting “Allah Akbar,” President Obama saw the “crime” as “workplace violence.” Within hours, he asked the nation to be “constrained” and not blame Islam or Muslims for the death toll.

The White House will not even refer to the Islamic State by name and uses the initials ISIL in all official statements. To say the name that the organization calls itself is even taboo at the White House because the word “Islamic” is a part of that name.

The logic for this refusal was made clear by Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson, in a Fox News Sunday program on February 22nd.

Johnson said: “To refer to ISIL as occupying any part of the Islamic theology is playing on a battlefield that they would like us to be on. I think that to call them some form of Islam gives the group more dignity than it deserves frankly.” Identifying Islamic terrorists as Islamic gives them “dignity” is the liberal logic.

But the Obama Administration has no problem using the term Christian to identify terrorists even if they are not Christian. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf on MSNBC must then have given “dignity” to Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Army when she called it a “Christian militant group.” In reality, Kony’s group is a strange mixture of religions including animism. His recognition of Jesus is just about as authentic as the Islamic version of Jesus. Even so, Kony’s army is at most responsible for 1 act of terror for every 10,000 acts of terror by Islamic groups in the world today; this is not to say that he should not be brought to justice quickly.

During his interview on Fox News, Secretary Johnson did let slip the real reason why the Obama Administration does not use the word “Islamic” when describing terror, and where the term “violent extremism” came from. Muslim leaders in the United States don’t want the Obama Administration to refer to Islamic terror as Islamic terror. Johnson said, “The thing I hear from leaders in the Muslim community in this country is, ‘ISIL is attempting to hijack my religion’.”

Because of ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Obama Administration is trying to fight the shadow of fundamentalist Islam, which is terror, without identifying what casts that shadow of terror on the world today. A people, a nation that refuses to identify its enemy cannot defeat that enemy. It is not possible to defeat a shadow; the figure that casts the shadow must be defeated. Until there is an administration in Washington, DC, that is willing to identify and fight the enemy of Western civilization, there can be no lasting success.

The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom