Thursday, January 28, 2010

Iran Needed More Than Sympathy

By Ryan Mauro

President Obama understandably focused the vast majority of the State of the Union on domestic issues. As a national security specialist, though, I listened and waited to hear about the threats facing us as they are what I am best educated in. To my disappointment, President Obama again referred to the "Islamic Republic of Iran," an unofficial recognition of the un-elected government and way of disavowing regime change as a goal. A few minutes later, he briefly said the U.S. stood by the female demonstrators in Iran, mentioning them alongside others fighting for freedom and prosperity in the world.

Iranians will appreciate being mentioned, but in this time of crisis, their struggle deserves special emphasis in speeches like this. And they need more than a simple statement of sympathy. Recognizing them in the same breath as the "Islamic Republic of Iran," the very definition of the country they are bleeding and dying to change, surely countered any minor morale boost they would have gotten. The only positive thing Obama said about Iran was that there would be consequences for the Iranian government, but he did not specify what those are. If only he could recognize the power and opportunity that lies with the demonstrators he gave brief verbal support to in the speech.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Bin Laden: Bad Attention Is Better Than No Attention

By Ryan Mauro

Bin Laden has released a new audio tape to claim responsibility for the Christmas Day airline plot that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula tried to carry out. It’s sort of like the 7th grade girl who tries to take credit for hooking up two friends who everyone knew were already pursuing each other. It was going to happen anyway, but unable to allow herself to not be part of the big fuss over this exciting new development in the lame world of middle school, she has to find a way to insert herself into the discussion. There’s no evidence to date that Bin Laden had any knowledge about the Christmas plot, and it’s safe to assume he didn’t. If he had knowledge of every terror plot that was conjured up, the volume of communication could very well lead to his demise. The short version of what appears to have happened is Abdulmutallab was radicalized, approached the Yemeni elements of Al-Qaeda who embraced him and upon his arrival in the Gulf, the plot was hatched and blessed by Anwar al-Awlaki. No Bin Laden. No Ayman al-Zawahiri. [more...]

Friday, January 22, 2010

Iraq’s New Crisis

By Ryan Mauro

Iraq has steadily improved since the U.S. launched the “surge” of 2007. Security has increased, the economy has grown, democracy is taking hold, and cross-sectarian reconciliation is underway. All that could change, however, with the Iraqi government’s decision, supported by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, to ban 500 politicians for allegedly having ties to the outlawed Baath Party of the late Saddam Hussein. On January 14, the Iraqi government’s Independent High Election Commission sided with the Justice and Accountability Commission in its decision to ban over 500 politicians for allegedly having ties to the Baath Party. The earliest reporting said that these were nearly all Sunni politicians, indicating that the Shiite government was trying to minimize the strength of its sectarian rival ahead of the parliamentary elections on March 7, but Reuters received a copy of the list and found that two-thirds of those banned were Shiites. Many observers forget that, as Prime Minister Maliki has pointed out since the crisis began, 70 percent of the Baath Party membership was Shiite. [more...]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Al-Qaeda Leader in Yemen Succumbs to Car Crash, Not U.S. Intel

By Ryan Mauro

The Long War Journal reports that Yemen says they have captured Said al-Shihri, the former Gitmo detainee who went to the Saudi terrorist rehabilitation program and celebrated his recovery by becoming the deputy leader of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. There are a few remarkable things about this. First, it was a car crash, not a U.S. drone strike, Yemeni raid, or U.S. special operations attack that nabbed al-Shihri. Second, these guys believe that Allah is on their side, but they fall because of a car accident? There’s something wrong here. Al-Shihri has now been captured twice. It doesn’t look like Allah is giving him any help in his quest to become a martyr. [more...]

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Islamic Roots of Abdulmutallab’s Suicidal Odyssey

By Jamie Glazov

...And why liberals can’t acknowledge what drove the Christmas Day terrorist.

The liberal milieu and mainstream media are baffled: What could have possibly led the 23-year-old Nigerian boy Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to attempt jihadi suicide on a passenger plane? How could such a nice, educated Islamic boy, who grew up in a rich and prosperous family, have come under the “radical” and “extreme” influences that set him on his violent course? It’s just all so mysterious.

It’s so mysterious that the news anchors on CNN continue to incredulously ask each other and their guests these questions - back and forth, over and over again, in a cyclical circus that has no end and that never produces the most obvious answer staring any sensible person right in the face. In the liberal imagination, there is just this “extremist ideology” out there somewhere and somehow this unfortunate Muslim boy fell under its spell, but no one can be exactly sure how or why it happened. All one can be sure of is that an adversarial culture or ideology must not be blamed and that America, somewhere, somehow, must definitely be at fault.

When all is said and done, the true reasons why Abdulmutallab embarked on his murderous mission of suicide are completely understandable - and only to be expected - in the context of his Islamic odyssey. And Abdulmutallab himself clearly points to the influence of his religion in his own personal writings on the Internet. [more...]

Monday, January 11, 2010

Iraqi Oil to Help American Economy, Hurt America’s Enemies

By Ryan Mauro

The development of new oil fields in Iraq is about to increase global supply, drop prices, and help stabilize the war-torn country.
We’ve all heard the mantra. The U.S. economic recession is made significantly worse by the extremely high cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom, with a price tag of nearly $700 billion going into 2010. The cost of the war in Iraq has been unnecessarily and tragically high, both in lives and treasure, but if the Iraqi government has its way, the country will massively increase its oil output, bringing down the price of oil and decisively impacting global geopolitics in the West’s favor. [more...]

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Legal Jihad to Silence Christian Action Network?

By Ryan Mauro

A group called the Muslims of the Americas is threatening to sue the Christian Action Network (CAN) for a YouTube video where an MOA member is confronted at the Muslim Day Parade in Washington, D.C. in September by several citizens concerned about the group’s extremism and paramilitary training of its members. (Full disclosure: I work as a national security researcher for CAN.) Unfortunately for MOA, the tape in question was made by members of the American Congress for Truth, not the Christian Action Network. The MOA is reacting to CAN’s pressure by trying to silence the organization and label them as anti-Muslim hate-mongers that are part of an evil Zionist plot. [more...]

Monday, January 4, 2010

Brigitte Gabriel: Dual Citizenship Defeats the New Screening Rules at Airports

Brigitte Gabriel offers a unique and personal prospective on the new rules of travel. Gabriel says: "I know how they are going to beat the system. The new rules of screening all people from named countries such as Iran, Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan, Lebanon and others are going to prove useless as hundreds of thousands of people from such countries live all over the West and have dual citizenships. Lebanese, Syrians and others who have British, American, Australian or other Western citizenship are going to enter Western countries using their western passports. They will use their original passports to travel within the Arab world. My friends from all over the Arabic world do it all the time."

Brigitte Gabriel adds that TSA must immediately institute more sophisticated human screeners trained on terrorism and the ideology of Jihad who will be asking the right questions of all passengers. This is the most important and effective step in preventing the next terrorist attack and protecting travelers' lives.

Brigitte Gabriel is an international terrorism analyst and a two times New York Times best-selling author of Because They Hate and They Must Be Stopped. She is the President of ACT for, the largest national security grassroots movement in the U.S. She has addressed the highest levels of the U.S. government as well as members of the British and Australian parliaments about Islamic terrorism.

Battleground Yemen

By Ryan Mauro

The narrowly missed terrorist attack on Christmas Day is causing the West’s attention to shift to Yemen, a country currently fighting two insurgencies led by different extremists of different ideologies but with common linkages to Iran. The Al-Qaeda portion of the forces fighting the Yemeni government has been strengthened by the release of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, making any move to send Yemeni detainees held there back to their homeland a very dangerous move. Al-Qaeda has been building a base in Yemen for many years, facilitated by the willingness of the government to cut deals and negotiate truces with the organization in a way not dissimilar to Pakistan. President Saleh has used Arabs that fought in Afghanistan against the Soviets as soldiers in the 1994 civil war and against the extremist Shiite Houthi rebels in the north and has recruited from Salafi tribes, and many of these fighters have since received positions in the government and security forces. [more...]