Category Archives: Terrorism

Cameron on ISIS

Not the first time I have thought: “Why do I agree more with British leaders than American?”
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British Prime Minister David Cameron writing in the Telegraph (London), Aug. 16:

The creation of an extremist caliphate in the heart of Iraq and extending into Syria is not a problem miles away from home. Nor is it a problem that should be defined by a war 10 years ago. It is our concern here and now. Because if we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain. We already know that it has the murderous intent. Indeed, the first Isil-inspired terrorist acts on the continent of Europe have already taken place. . . .

We are in the middle of a generational struggle against a poisonous and extremist ideology, which I believe we will be fighting for the rest of my political lifetime. We face in Isil a new threat that is single-minded, determined and unflinching in pursuit of its objectives. Already it controls not just thousands of minds, but thousands of square miles of territory, sweeping aside much of the boundary between Iraq and Syria to carve out its so-called caliphate. It makes no secret of its expansionist aims. Even today it has the ancient city of Aleppo firmly within its sights. And it boasts of its designs on Jordan and Lebanon, and right up to the Turkish border. If it succeeds, we would be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a Nato member.

This is a clear danger to Europe and to our security. It is a daunting challenge. But it is not an invincible one, as long as we are now ready and able to summon up the political will to defend our own values and way of life with the same determination, courage and tenacity as we have faced danger before in our history. That is how much is at stake here: we have no choice but to rise to the challenge.

Notable & Quotable: Cameron on ISIS – WSJ.

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Doesn’t Hillary Clinton Know the Law?

Mrs. Clinton and President Obama must have had the same US Law professor.
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Victoria Toensing – June 17, 2014 7:22 p.m. ET

In her interview with ABC’s Diane Sawyer last week, Hillary Clinton said “I was not making security decisions” about Benghazi, claiming “it would be a mistake” for “a secretary of state” to “go through all 270 posts” and “decide what should be done.” And at a January 2013 Senate hearing, Mrs. Clinton said that security requests “did not come to me. I did not approve them. I did not deny them.”

Does the former secretary of state not know the law? By statute, she was required to make specific security decisions for defenseless consulates like Benghazi, and was not permitted to delegate them to anyone else.

The Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999, or Secca, was passed in response to the near-simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug. 7, 1998. Over 220 people were killed, including 12 Americans. Thousands were injured.

Bill Clinton was president. Patrick Kennedy, now the undersecretary of state for management, was then acting assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security. Susan Rice, now the national security adviser, was then assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

As with the Benghazi terrorist attacks, an Accountability Review Board was convened for each bombing. Their reports, in January 1999, called attention to “two interconnected issues: 1) the inadequacy of resources to provide security against terrorist attacks, and 2) the relative low priority accorded security concerns throughout the U.S. government.”

Just as U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens did in 2012, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, had made repeated requests for security upgrades in 1997 and 1998. All were denied.

Because the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania had been existing office structures, neither met the State Department’s security standard for a minimum 100 foot setback zone. A “general exception” was made. The two review boards faulted the fact that “no one person or office is accountable for decisions on security policies, procedures and resources.”

To ensure accountability in the future, the review boards recommended “[f]irst and foremost, the Secretary . . . should take a personal and active role in carrying out the responsibility of ensuring the security of U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad” and “should personally review the security situation of embassy chanceries and other official premises.” And for new embassy buildings abroad, “all U.S. government agencies, with rare exceptions, should be located in the same compound.”

Congress quickly agreed and passed Secca, a law implementing these (and other) recommendations. It mandated that the secretary of state make a personal security waiver under two circumstances: when the facility could not house all the personnel in one place and when there was not a 100-foot setback. The law also required that the secretary “may not delegate” the waiver decision.

Benghazi did not house all U.S. personnel in one building. There was the consulate and an annex, one of the two situations requiring a non-delegable security waiver by the secretary of state.

In October 2012 the Benghazi Accountability Review Board convened, co-chaired by Amb. Thomas Pickering (Ms. Rice’s supervisor in 1998) and Adm. Michael Mullen. It failed even to question Mrs. Clinton for its report about the attacks. It also obfuscated the issue of her personal responsibility for key security decisions by using a word other than “waiver,” the passive voice, and no names. Recognizing that the Benghazi consulate (like the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam embassies) was a previously nongovernmental building, the Benghazi review board reported that this “resulted in the Special Mission compound being excepted [my emphasis] from office facility standards and accountability under” Secca. No Hillary fingerprints revealed there.

Mrs. Clinton either personally waived these security provisions as required by law or she violated the law by delegating the waiver to someone else. If it was the latter, she shirked the responsibility she now disclaims: to be personally knowledgeable about and responsible for the security in a consulate as vulnerable as Benghazi.

Ms. Toensing was chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee and deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration

Victoria Toensing: Doesn’t Hillary Clinton Know the Law? – WSJ.

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Jihad Will Continue Until America is No More

We can’t “Let the negotiations begin!” because we’ve been negotiating for years. Radical Islamists- whether ‘religious’ or ‘terrorist’ have demonstrated no interest in real negotiation.
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Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, all but said on Sunday that negotiations over the country’s illicit nuclear program are over and that the Islamic Republic’s ideals include destroying America.

“Those (Iranians) who want to promote negotiation and surrender to the oppressors and blame the Islamic Republic as a warmonger in reality commit treason,” Khamenei told a meeting of members of parliament, according to the regime’s Fars News Agency.

Khamenei emphasized that without a combative mindset, the regime cannot reach its higher Islamic role against the “oppressors’ front.”

“The reason for continuation of this battle is not the warmongering of the Islamic Republic. Logic and reason command that for Iran, in order to pass through a region full of pirates, needs to arm itself and must have the capability to defend itself,” he said.

“Today’s world is full of thieves and plunderers of human honor, dignity and morality who are equipped with knowledge, wealth and power, and under the pretence of humanity easily commit crimes and betray human ideals and start wars in different parts of the world.”

In response to a question by a parliamentarian on how long this battle will continue, Khamenei said,“Battle and jihad are endless because evil and its front continue to exist. … This battle will only end when the society can get rid of the oppressors’ front with America at the head of it, which has expanded its claws on human mind, body and thought. … This requires a difficult and lengthy struggle and need for great strides.”

Khamenei cited the scientific advancement of the country. “The accelerated scientific advancement of the last 12 years cannot stop under any circumstances,” he said, referring to the strides the regime has made toward becoming a nuclear power.

As reported on May 19 on The Daily Caller, Iran has put up new roadblocks to reaching a deal with the P5+1 world powers over its illicit nuclear program. The powers are the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany.

Three days of negotiations in the fourth round of Geneva meetings ended recently without concrete results when the Iranian team presented the country’s new “red lines” — diminishing any hope by the Obama administration to claim victory in its approach to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, according to reports from Iran.

The Obama administration had hoped that with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif showing an eagerness to solve the nuclear issue and address the West’s concerns, there would be a possibility for a negotiated solution. An interim agreement penned last November in Geneva was touted as a “historic nuclear deal.”

Under that agreement, Iran, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, limited its enrichment activity to the 5 percent level with a current stockpile of over 10 tons (enough for six nuclear bombs), converted much of its 20 percent enriched stock to harmless oxide and agreed to allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose inspections were limited to only agreed-upon facilities.

The Iranian delegation last week presented new red lines that could not be crossed, including the expansion of the country’s research and development for its nuclear program, the need of the country to continue enrichment, and the fact that the country’s ballistic missile program — despite U.N. sanctions — is not up for negotiation.

At the same time, IAEA officials met again with their Iranian counterparts last week in Tehran to discuss information on the work on detonators and needed collaboration by the regime to clear outstanding issues on its nuclear program as part of seven transparency steps Iran had agreed to fulfill by May 15, which has yet to take place.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and author of the award winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).

Iran’s Supreme Leader: Jihad Will Continue Until America is No More – Yahoo News.

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Henninger: #BokoHaram Doesn’t Sing

Nail squarely hit with big hammer.
It is gut-wrenching to see the US of A come to what it has come to. Is is any wonder that Russians like Putin? At least he is a leader who knows that actions make more of a difference than endless deliberations.
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WSJ_May 21, 2014 7:12 p.m. ET

The tweeting has subsided. That tends to happen in a trending world. Now what for the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls?

Let’s begin with relevant comments Sunday by two women in the U.S. government.

At a what-to-do-about-the-girls summit of Western and African nations in Paris, U.S. Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman said: “You know, I think it’s now become our girls, not just Nigeria’s girls, it’s the world’s girls.”

On CNN, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat and Intelligence Committee chair, said something she sounds like she’s wanted to say for awhile: “We just went through the opening of the 9/11 museum. I know they will come after us if they can. I see the intelligence. Terror is not down in the world. It is up. Both deaths, injuries in many, many different places. Al Qaeda has metastasized. The question becomes how do we prevent an attack in this country.”

Some have been having sport with the hashtag campaign for the kidnapped girls and about them being “the world’s girls.” It sounds like a Michael Jackson foreign policy: “We are the world.”  Well, we are the world, and they want to blow us up. Like it or not, we’re living in a Manichean world. Good versus evil. Us, them. Nigeria’s 276 kidnapped schoolgirls are the latest.

Now that we’re all on the same page and willing to act, it’s time to answer Sen. Feinstein’s question about al Qaeda’s deadly, metastasizing cells. Al Qaeda or strains of al Qaeda are all over Africa—Nigeria, Kenya, Somalia, Libya, Mali. They’re in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and I’m guessing somewhere in London and New York.

The cure to al Qaeda’s cancer is not watchful waiting. But with some notable exceptions, such as the invaluable drone strikes, watchful waiting is what the U.S. does most of the time.  The U.S. foreign-policy bureaucracy has known about Boko Haram for years. The emphasis there is on bureaucracy.

After Boko Haram bombed the U.N. headquarters in the Nigerian capital of Abuja in 2011, a bureaucratic debate ensued over whether to put them on the State Department’s official terrorism list. The value of the listing aside, what’s interesting is the familiar bureaucratic input-output over Boko Haram.  The Justice Department wanted Boko Haram on the terror list, as did the CIA. In November 2011—2½ years before the girls’ kidnapping—the House Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence published an excellent, bipartisan report on the Boko Haram threat, including response options—from military action to diplomacy.

State decided not to designate Boko Haram a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), arguing other tactics were available. A 2012 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, opposing FTO, from 25 Africa scholars at U.S. universities appears to have become State’s policy. They wrote that, “An FTO designation would internationalize Boko Haram’s standing and enhance its status.”  In the event, Boko Haram decided to enhance its status with or without official U.S. opinion about its FTO designation.

Last month Boko Haram grabbed the girls. In September, it shot 40 students in their sleep at a Nigerian college. On Tuesday, three Boko Haram car bombs blew up at least 118 people in the Nigerian city of Jos.

The bureaucratic debate over Boko Haram’s “FTO designation,” including that African scholars’ letter, is a case study of a disease inside U.S. policy: In matters of national security, the U.S. government has become hopelessly bureaucratized and the public debate about it hopelessly intellectualized.  The bureaucratization was on frightening view at a Senate Foreign Relations hearing Wednesday, at which senators and lawyers for Defense and State couldn’t agree on the current scope of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was banned from speaking at Brandeis as an “Islamophobe” the week before Boko Haram abducted the girls and displayed them in hijabs. The next day, Commissioner Bill Bratton’s New York City Police Department abandoned the anti-terror surveillance unit formed under his predecessor, Ray Kelly.

The Web is filled with exquisite pro-and-con debates about these matters, and more—NSA surveillance, CIA drones. That’s great. But while we pour our energies into choreographing the dancing angels atop “our values” and what is permissible, a Boko Haram, al Qaeda or al Shabaab is fine-tuning its bombs and terror strategies. We seem self-doomed to allowing the intellectually perfect be the enemy of what’s good for us. At the do-something margin, this hurts and can kill us.

Here’s a save-our-girls conundrum. If you asked their parents if they would waterboard a Boko Haram captive to find where the girls are, what do you think they’d say?  Oh gosh, but we’re Americans not Nigerians. Really? No, we are the world now, because from Ground Zero to Nigeria, we’re all potential victims of Islamic terrorism. If waterboarding is out, then what’s in? On the evidence of the Boko Haram kidnapping, whatever current U.S. policy is now on organizing and leading a global counter-offensive against terrorism, it isn’t enough.

But, the Webites will reply, it’s complicated, it’s hard, it’s expensive. All true.  [All stuff that real adults can handle.]

Good luck, girls.

Write to henninger@wsj.com

Daniel Henninger: #BokoHaram Doesn’t Sing – WSJ.com.

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