(photo: Israeli security command center as world leaders arrive. credit: Times of Israel)
UPDATE: President Obama, an 18-memberbipartisan Congressional delegation, and more than seventy world leaders from more than eighty countries are heading to Israel at this hour to attend Friday’s funeral for the late Shimon Peres, the last of Israel’s modern founding fathers. Please pray faithfully for their safety and for the peace of Jerusalem, even as you continue to pray for Peres’ grieving family and friends.
More than 50,000 Israelis have already come to the Knesset Plaza, in front of the Israeli parliament, where Peres’ coffin is lying in state, to pay their last respects.
I so wish I could be among them. However, I am presently in Denver, Colorado, preparing for a speaking event on Saturday eveningin which I’ll discuss current events and trend lines in Israel and the Muslim world and lead a Q&A session. There is certainly be a great deal to discuss, and pray about. If you’re anywhere near Denver, please plan to attend.
“Among those [world leaders] planning to attend the funeral at Mount Herzl cemetery are U.S. President Barack Obama, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, French President Francois Hollande, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German President Joachim Gauck, British Prime Minister Theresa May, British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, former British prime minister David Cameron and Britain’s Prince Charles,” reported the Times of Israel.
a delegation from the Vatican (though not the Pope)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas — which is quite striking, and encouraging, given the persistent tensions between Abbas and Netanyahu
and official delegations from the two Arab nations with whom Israel has peace treaties — Jordan and Egypt (though at this hour I have not seen any report that King Abdullah II or President el-Sisi will personally be in attendance).
Bringing so many leaders to one location in the epicenter of the epicenter, of course, creates what security officials might describe as a “target rich environment.”
Readers of The Third Target will recall how I portrayed a massive ISIS attack on the royal palace in Amman when Arab, Israeli, American and European leaders gather for a fictional Palestinian-Israeli peace summit. God forbid such a scenario would come to pass in reality.
Fortunately, more than 8,000 police officers and soldiers have been deployed to secure Ben Gurion International Airport, the highways in an out of Jerusalem, and the Mount Herzl national cemetery. I don’t expect trouble, but I do believe we need to be praying.
Praise for Peres is pouring in from leaders around the world
(Denver, Colorado) — If you’re an American citizen, imagine the opportunity to meet one of the Pilgrims, fresh off the Mayflower. Someone who was there at the birth of a nation. For me, that’s what it was like to meet Shimon Peres.
Peres, “the last of Israel’s founding fathers,” died tonight. He was 93. Please be praying for his family and friends as they grieve his loss and try to adjust to a world without this beloved yet controversial giant.
Peres began his political career in his mid-twenties as a trusted aide to David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of the reborn Jewish State in 1948. From there he served in every senior government role there was — Prime Minister, Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, and eventually the nation’s President.
Last summer I listened to the audio book of Peres’ absolutely wonderful and moving biography, Ben Gurion: A Political Life, which I commend to each of my readers, and especially to Evangelical leaders who love Israel, as well as those still trying to understand her.
Peres had a front row seat to history — indeed, to ancient Biblical prophecies coming to pass — but he was not simply an observer of that history, he was an active and at times transformative participant. He helped launch Israel’s fledgling air force in the late 40s. He started Israel’s nuclear program. He also won the Nobel Prize for his peace-making efforts, even though his moves towards the Palestinians were deeply divisive inside Israel.
I will always cherish the time I met and briefly interviewed Peres in the fall of 2005 for the non-fiction book, Epicenter: Why The Current Rumblings In The Middle East Will Change Your Future, I was working on at the time. How often do you get to meet a man at the epicenter of history, at the epicenter of prophecy coming to pass before our very eyes? To shake his hand, and chat with him about his view of Israel’s future, was like touching a bit of Israel’s extraordinary past. I didn’t agree with Peres on every matter. But I had enormous respect for him. I would have liked to have spent much more time with him.
Indeed, many Evangelical Christians leaders had great respect for this visionary and statesman and will truly mourn his passing.
In light of his passing, I thought I’d post a few excerpts and hope it gives you a little insight into this intriguing figure of Jewish history.
The Bear Hug
Are Israel and her neighbors moving closer to war or to peace?
Nowhere was this conundrum more vividly on display for me than at the “Peace: Dream or Vision?” conference I attended in Israel in the fall of 2005, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the beloved Israeli prime minister who signed the historic peace treaty with Jordan’s King Hussein in 1994.
Outside the conference center at the Strategic Dialogue Center of Netanya Academic College were all the reminders of the “wars and rumors of wars” that Jesus said would plague the world until his return—a phalanx of heavily armed security guards, metal detectors, bomb-sniffing dogs, and so forth. To get in I had to not only show my passport to the security staff but give it to them to hold on to until I left, and my camera, camera bag, tape recorder, and briefcase were all searched carefully—as was I—before I was allowed to proceed.
But inside were all the reminders of Israelis “living securely” in “the land that is restored from the sword,” which Ezekiel predicted. One moment I was watching former Mossad chief Danny Yatom chatting like old buds with Dr. Abdel Salam Majali, the former Jordanian prime minister, and Osama El-Baz, the chief political advisor to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The next moment I was watching Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian chief negotiator, give a bear hug to former Israeli prime minister Shimon Peres. Once they were all enemies. Now they were all friends. Once they were plotting each other’s demise. Now they were talking about their shared vision for a “new Middle East.”
Such warm relationships between Arab and Israeli leaders may seem insignificant, but they most certainly are not. They actually represent enormous progress toward resolving the conflict. Let me give you a little anecdote to provide some context.
In April of 1988, ABC’s Ted Koppel took Nightline to Israel for a week of broadcasts on the outbreak of the Palestinian uprising known as the intifada and the increasingly desperate need for peace and reconciliation between the two sides. Having recently returned to the States after nearly six months in Israel, where I had studied at Tel Aviv University and witnessed the outbreak of the intifada, I watched Koppel’s show with great interest every night in my dorm room at Syracuse University.
On April 25, Koppel held the first-ever town hall meeting between Israelis and Palestinians, broadcast live from the historic Jerusalem Theater. It was bound to be riveting television, for never before had Israeli and Palestinian leaders sat on the same stage together, much less engaged in anything close to a dialogue. But when the show began, I was surprised to see a three-foot-high stone wall running down the middle of the stage. The Israelis sat on one side, the Palestinians on the other. It was a sad symbol of the divide between the two peoples.
Years later, I was interviewed by Koppel on Nightline. After the taping was finished, I had the opportunity to ask Koppel about that wall. “It came up at almost the last minute,” he explained, remembering the moment vividly. “We were just a few hours from going on live from Jerusalem—at 6:30 in the morning, Israel time, mind you, so that the show would be on at 11:30 p.m. back in the U.S.—and suddenly the Palestinians said they refused to appear onstage with the Israelis without sitting in a booth, so they didn’t appear to actually be talking to the Israelis. We said absolutely not. So they asked that we put razor wire down the center of the stage, and again we said no. Finally, they asked that we build a wall—just a small wall, they said—to represent how divided Arabs and Jews are. They threatened not to appear at all if we didn’t do it, so we did it. It was an amazing night.”6
It certainly was. And one of the Palestinians who appeared onstage that night was Saeb Erekat. Then he had refused to shake hands with the Israelis. He had barely made eye contact with them. And he had demanded a wall. Now, at the peace conference in Netanya, he was giving bear hugs. How much the world had changed.7
“A New Age” in the Middle East?
Shimon Peres is a living legend in Israel and is one of the country’s founding fathers. I have long disagreed with his Socialist economic views and a foreign policy too dovish, in my opinion. But I have always respected this man who served his country not once but three times as prime minister and in numerous other ministerial positions and who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.
I had never met the former prime minister before that conference in Netanya, but having worked for Benjamin Netanyahu—who defeated Peres in 1996—I was very much looking forward to it.
Now in his eighties, Peres is quieter and slower and more grandfatherly than he once was, but he is still a dreamer. He told the assembled dignitaries that he believes the Middle East is entering “a new age” and that he has never been more optimistic that a final peace agreement with the Palestinians can be reached in the not-too-distant future.
“The Lord is in charge of the beginning and the end, but we are responsible for the middle,” he said, insisting that there is no contradiction between fighting terror and negotiating for peace. “When a cat is chasing a mouse, there’s no sense for the mouse to ask for a cease-fire. He must deal with the cat and insure his own safety.”
After Peres’s keynote address, I had a few minutes to interview the former prime minister. “Is it your sense that Israel is more secure today—before we get to the point of the Iran nuclear bomb—than it has been in its history so far?” I asked.
Peres agreed with that assessment. “I would say that Israel’s security was globalized,” he explained in his distinctive, gravelly voice, suggesting that with the U.S. as a strong ally, the fall of Saddam, and peace treaties in place with Egypt and Jordan, the threat Israel faces today is “the problem of terror, rather than a classical attack” by a conventional Arab army or air force.8
Had the passing of Arafat—the Nobel Peace Prize winner who never actually made peace—helped or hurt the prospects for a final deal with the Palestinians? I wondered.
“With him, [the peace process] wouldn’t have started,” Peres insisted. “With him, it wouldn’t be finished.”…..
(Denver, Colorado) — Last night, the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” broadcast a must-see story they called, “The King.” It was both an illuminating interview with, and an intriguing profile of, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the most loyal Arab ally the U.S. has.
Amidst the ISIS-led genocide against Christians in Syrian and Iraq, Jordan — under the king’s leadership — is an island of refuge, stability and tolerance.
Indeed, nowhere in the Arab Muslim world are Christians safer than in Jordan.
The “60 Minutes” story does an excellent job of taking you inside the world my wife, Lynn, and I entered last Spring when the king invited us to spend five days with him after reading my novel, The First Hostage. Just as we did, you’ll go inside the palace and hear the king in his own words on the risk that the West is not taking this “third world war” with the “outlaws” of Islam seriously enough. You’ll go, as we did, to the Syrian border, and go inside a refugee camp. You’ll also learn much more about the clear and present danger the Islamic State, an imploding Syria, and 1.5 million refugees are posing to the Hashemite Kingdom.
In fact, as the segment begins, you’ll see correspondent Scott Pelley joining the king on a live-fire military exercise near the Jordanian town of Zarqa in which Jordanian air and ground forces practice attacking an ISIS-controlled village with real bullets, bombs and missiles. This was something His Majesty invited Lynn and me to see with him, as well. It was absolutely fascinating and it really helped us understand more clearly how grave is the threat and yet how uniquely prepared the king is to defend his people.
Whoever emerges as the next President of the United States — indeed, whoever wins the many House and Senate races underway across the country — will need to make it a high priority to build a much stronger American alliance with Jordan, and to listen to our most faithful Sunni Arab ally.
In the meantime, please be praying for the king, his family, his advisor, and for all the people of Jordan, including all the refugees.
Terrorism. Civil war. A refugee crisis. Geopolitics. That’s the situation in the Middle East and right on Jordan’s doorstep. Scott Pelley interviews King Abdullah II
Scott Pelley, “60 Minutes,” opening comments: The bombs in New York and New Jersey last week brought the specter of terror home, again. It seems no country is safe, but there is one that is beating fearsome odds. ISIS burned through Syria and Iraq until it hit a firewall, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The king, Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, is holding the front and sheltering millions of refugees despite his struggling economy, no oil wealth and precious little water. If the king can keep his balance, Jordan may prove that an Arab state can remain peaceful, tolerant, and modern. The arsonists torching the Middle East hope to see him fail.
Scott Pelley, script of the “60 Minutes” segment, “The King”: This is not war. These are Jordanian forces sharpening their edge on a make-believe town. Some of their weapons are antique. Attack helicopters designed originally for Vietnam. Surplus-armored cars that they found online. Jordan can’t afford the arsenals of its neighbors. Skill is its advantage. And, to hone it, they switched in training from blanks to live ammunition.
This is the soldier who ordered the switch. He’s the former head of Special Forces. He is Abdullah II, the king of Jordan.
Why live ammo we shouted? “Everyone uses blanks, makes no sense,” he yelled. There’s no sense in anything less than lethal because no king of Jordan has ever known peace.
Scott Pelley: This is the mosque that you built in honor of your father….
King Abdullah II: Yeah.
Abdullah became king in 1999 on the death of his father who ruled 47 years. We met the 54-year-old at his palace in Amman. He knows ISIS by its Arabic acronym, Daesh. But whatever you call it, he says the West doesn’t realize it’s in a Third World War.
King Abdullah II: I think this is the challenge that we’ve had over the past several years where people look at, you know, is it Iraq this year or Syria next year? Well, what about Libya? What about– Boko Haram or Shabaab in Africa? We have to look at it from a global perspective.
Scott Pelley: All of these things need to be attacked at the same time. You can’t concentrate on Syria one year and then deal with Boko Haram in another?
King Abdullah II: Well, the prime example, it’s as you see certain military successes in Syria and Iraq against Daesh, the leadership, they’re telling their fighters either, “Don’t come to Syria or Iraq,” or moving their command structure to Libya. And so are we going to wait to get our act together to concentrate on Libya? And then, you know, do we wait a year or two to start helping the Africans deal with Boko Haram or Shabaab? So we’ve got to get ahead of the curve because they’re reacting much quicker than we are.
Scott Pelley: The American strategy in Syria and Iraq, as you know, is to use U.S. air power and to train forces on the ground to fight the battle. That has not worked. How do you move forward from here?
King Abdullah II: I think the problem with the West is they see a border between Syria and Iraq. Daesh does not. And this has been a frustration, I think, for a few of us in this area with our Western coalition partners, for several years. You know, the lawyers get into the act and say, “But there’s an international border.” And we say, “For God’s sake, ISIS doesn’t work that way.” So if you’re looking at it and want to play the game by your rules, knowing that the enemy doesn’t, we’re not going to win this….
(Denver, Colorado) — It could be the biggest event in the history of television. Experts say an estimated 100 million Americanscould to tune into the first presidential debate on Monday night, the largest audience for a debate ever. Here’s why.
Polls consistently show two-thirds of the American people believe the country is going in the wrong direction. People genuinely fear for the future of the country. They know the stakes could not be higher. Yet Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the two most disliked and distrusted nomineesin the history of our Republic. Supporters of each candidate are deeply worried that the other one will bring the country to ruin, perhaps implosion. Many suspect both candidates could be ruinous for the country and are planning to sit this election out. Still, a small but important sliver of the electorate do plan to vote on November 8th but simply can’t yet decide which candidate is less dangerous.
Indeed, Americans instinctively sense/believe/fear that almost anything could happen on that stage at Hofstra University on Long Island, and because the outcome matters to all of us — indeed, to the entire world — an enormous number will likely be watching.
The top issue for most voters, understandably, is the economy. One-in-three Americans (32%) say the issue of how to improve the economy and create more jobs is their top concern at the moment, according to a new CBS News/New York Times poll. Thus, people will be watching closely to see what kind of ideas for change and growth the candidates are bringing to the table, if any.
But voters say the second most important issue — and a close second, at that (29%) — is the issue of which candidate would truly strengthen U.S. national security and stop the threat of terrorism. These concerns are, of course, being fueled not just by all the headlines regarding war in the Middle East and terrorism throughout the epicenter, Europe and around the world. They are also being heightened by terrorist attacks right here inside the American homeland, from the mass shootings in Orlando in June to the bombings in New York and New Jersey and the stabbings in Minnesota in recent days.
These are critical issues, and it will be important to listen carefully to what the candidates say, what they don’t say, and how their statements fit their past statements and actions.
It’s been interesting to me that both Clinton and Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu today, and both met several days ago with Egyptian President el-Sisi. These are clear indicators that both candidates regard the future of Israel and the epicenter as critical to the future of U.S. national security.
That said, while I wouldn’t try to predict what Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump will say and do Monday night, I can tell you with absolute certainty three important topics that will not be discussed:
First, what exactly is Apocalyptic Islam, how does it differ from Radical Islam, and how is Apocalyptic Islam posing a grave and growing threat to the U.S., Israel, our Sunni Arab allies like Jordan and Egypt and all nations?
Second, in the midst of the darkness that is falling over the Middle East and the Islamic world — even as ISIS wages outright genocide against Christians — is there any reason for hope? Are there any signs that Muslims are turning against ISIS, turning away from Islam, and even turning to faith in Jesus Christ?
Third, what can followers of Jesus Christ be doing to be a light in the darkness, to love our neighbors and even our enemies, to advance the Gospel and strengthen the persecuted Church, especially in light of Bible prophecy?
The candidates absolutely should discuss the first topic, and in depth. They certainly won’t discuss the second two matters, not should they. It’s not their place.
But we as Christians should address all three matters, and that’s why I’m in the U.S. this month, meeting with Members of Congress, faith leaders and the media. This week, I’ll be also addressing these questions at two events in the Denver area.
On Tuesday, I’ll be addressing the student body at Colorado Christian University (CCU).
On Saturday evening, October 1st, I’ll be speaking at Calvary Chapel South Denver (CCSD).
The CCU event is not open to the public. But the CCSD event is, and I hope you’ll join us.
The occasion will be the annual fundraising event for Ministry Architecture, Inc. This is the ministry that my parents, Len and Mary Rosenberg, founded around almost two decades ago. They provide architectural services for evangelical Christian ministries operating in developing countries who need orphanages, training centers, medical missionary hospitals, and other facilities to show the love of Jesus. As they do, they also teach the Scriptures, share the Gospel, and encourage and counsel pastors and ministry leaders around the world.
Before I speak, my folks will share about the exciting work God is doing through this ministry. Then I will discuss the latest developments in the epicenter, including an update on what we’re seeing now that we live in Israel. I’m especially looking forward to answering your questions — always my favorite part of the evening — and I’ll be signing books, as well.
This event will take place at Calvary Chapel South Denver in Littleton, Colorado, from 7:00pm to 9:15pm on Saturday, October 1. Doors will open at 6:15pm. A contribution of $25 per person is requested to help support Ministry Architecture. There will also be an offering taken during the event, and all contributions are tax deductible.
Registration is required, and you can register ahead of time at www.ministryarchitecture.com — or, if there is space available, you can register at the door. I’d encourage you to register today to join us — and I hope to see you there.
NOTE: Ministry Architecture is a non-profit and non-political organization. It does not endorse political candidates or engage in political activity. We won’t be addressing the presidential campaign or the candidates. Rather, we’ll be discussing important matters that the candidates are not addressing, but that the church should.
Remarkably, fully seven-in-ten Americans believe we are not safer, or aren’t sure, according to a new Rasmussen poll released this week.
These are stunning numbers, especially when you consider the fact that President Obama and senior administration officials keep telling us that the most dangerous terror force on the planet — the Islamic State — has been “contained” and that ISIS is “losing” and that “we are winning” the war on ISIS.
Clearly, Americans don’t feel like we’re winning. And sadly, they’re right.
Over the last month, I’ve been reviewing all manner of data, trying to understand why the administration keeps claiming that we’re winning. But any way you slice it, the cold, hard fact is this: the ISIS threat is steadily metastasizing.
ISIS has more fighters than ever before.
ISIS is recruiting these jihadists from more countries than ever before.
ISIS is pulling off attacks in more countries than ever before.
ISIS is killing more people than ever before.
ISIS now has chemical weapons, is producing chemical weapons, and is using these weapons on the battlefield.
Indeed, the very terror organization President Obama called a “JV team” and not a serious threat in January 2014 is now officially recognized by Congress and his own administration as an entity actively engaged in outright genocide.
Yes, it’s true that the U.S. and our coalition allies are making some progress in taking out some senior ISIS leaders, and taking back some ground in Iraq, and disrupting the flow of foreign fighters into Syria and Iraq via Turkey. And this is all good.
But the evidence is overwhelming: the threat of Radical Islam and Apocalyptic Islamis real, and grave and growing. President Obama and his team are living in denial, and in doing so continue to make the American people and our allies vulnerable to further attacks.
Here are the facts I’ve been gathering over the past month, with links to the original sources. Last night, I briefed leaders of the National Religious Broadcasters gathered here in the nation’s capital on these facts and went through an analysis of what they mean and the implications both for policy-makers and the Church.
President Obama & Senior Administration Officials Continue To Insist That We Are Either Containing ISIS Or Winning The War Against ISIS.
“We have contained them.” – President Barack Obama, one day before ISIS launched attacks in Paris killing 130 people and wounding 368. (see interview with George Stephanpolous on ABC’s “This Week,” November 13, 2015; video clip posted on RealClearPolitics.com)
“[W]e are making significant progress.…ISIL continues to lose ground….continues to lose money….ISIL’s ranks are shrinking….Their morale is sinking.” — President Obama, two days after Omar Mateen, an ISIS loyalist, murdered 49 Americans and wounded 53 more in Orlando, Florida. (see “Remarks by the President After Counter-ISIL Meeting,” June 14, 2016)
However, Experts Say While Progress Has Been Made, We Are Not Actually Winning The War on ISIS.
CIA Director John Brennan: “Despite all our progress against [the Islamic State] on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capacity and global reach….[ISIS] has a large cadre of western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the west … the group is probably exploring a variety of means for infiltrating operatives into the west, including refugee flows, smuggling routes, and legitimate methods of travel.” (see Bridgett Mudd, “CIA Director Affirms Obama’s ISIS Strategy Is Not Working,” Daily Signal, June 16, 2016)
Former DIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn:
“President Barack Obama’s former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency believes the United States is ‘losing the war’ on and off the battlefield against the Islamic State. ‘The enemy has more than doubled in capacity and capability and geographical footprint around the world,’ said Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. ‘We’ve lost the strategic initiative in this war. And the enemy has the strategic initiative.’” (see Richard Pollack, “Former Obama Intel Chief: ‘We Are Losing’ Against ISIS: ‘We’re In A War,’” Daily Caller, July 14, 2016)
“‘So we take a little bit of desert back from them in places called Ramadi or Fallujah — and I don’t know how many times we’re gonna have to fight for Fallujah in Iraq — but we take these little tactical bastions back from them, and what do they do? They counterattack in Paris, in Belgium, in Turkey, in Orlando, in San Bernardino,’ [former DIA Director] Flynn told Business Insider in a Monday interview, referring to recent terror attacks tied to the group. ‘So their battlefield is actually geographically dispersed globally, and that’s how they are fighting us,’ he added. ‘ISIS is in this global fight,’ Flynn said. ‘Their battlefield is not just Iraq and Syria. Their battlefield is Europe, it’s southeast Asia. … So you have these activities and events going on around the world, and it’s based, really, on the ideological underpinnings of radical Islamism.’” (Pamela Engel, “Former intelligence chief explains why Obama is wrong when he says we’re winning the war against ISIS,” Business Insider, July 13, 2016)
U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley: “There is progress. But progress is not yet winning. No one should think this is over. It is not. There’s a lot of work to be done,” (Kristina Wong, “Top general: US not winning ISIS war yet,”The Hill, April 7, 2016)
Former CIA Director Michael Morell: “During congressional testimony before the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday, former senior intelligence officials said ISIS is expanding. ‘ISIS has gained affiliates faster than Al Qaeda ever did — from nothing a year ago, there are now militant groups in nearly 20 countries that have sworn allegiance to ISIS,’ former CIA deputy director Mike Morell said. ‘They have conducted attacks that have already killed Americans.’” (Catherine Herridge, “Officials: ISIS may be testing chemical weapons as terror group rapidly expands,” Fox News, January 12, 2016)
Richard Engel, the chief foreign correspondent for NBC News: “Engel said on Tuesday that President Obama’s claim that the United States is winning in the fight against the Islamic State is an ‘overstatement.’ Host Thomas Roberts asked Engel for his thoughts on Obama’s claims that the terrorist group is on the defensive. ‘And Richard, is the president correct when he says that we are winning the fight against ISIS?’ Roberts asked. ‘Uh, winning? That’s probably an overstatement,’ Engel said. ‘There are a lot of gains being made but the problem is they are being made incrementally and they are being made by, in an incoherent way.’” (Jack Heretick, “NBC: Obama’s Claim America Is Winning the War Against ISIS Is an ‘Overstatement,’” Washington Free Beacon, June 14, 2016)
The Evidence Confirms That The ISIS Threat Is Expanding.
ISIS, once regarded by President Obama as a “JV team,” is presently engaged in genocide, a fact that both Congress and the Administration now concede.
March 15, 2016:
“The House approved a resolution…that declares the Islamic State is committing genocide against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East — putting even more pressure on the Obama administration to do the same ahead of a deadline…
“The resolution passed the House with a unanimous vote of 383-0.
“The resolution came to a vote just days after the release of a graphic new report by the Knights of Columbus and In Defense of Christians on ISIS’ atrocities. The report made the case that the terror campaign against Christians and other minorities in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East is, in fact, genocide.”
“The Islamic State is committing genocide against Yazidis, Christians and Shiite Muslims in Iraq and Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry declared on Thursday, a historic announcement that nonetheless is unlikely to spur greater U.S. military action against the terrorist network.
“The declaration is a rare one — the U.S. has a record of trying to avoid the term ‘genocide,’ which carries with it political, moral and some legal obligations. The only other time the U.S. has used the term in an ongoing conflict was in 2004, when it described the atrocities in Sudan’s Darfur region.
“[The Islamic State] is genocidal by self-proclamation, by ideology and by actions, in what it says, what it believes and what it does,” Kerry said in an appearance before reporters….“Naming these crimes is important, but what is essential is to stop them.”
In January 2016, the U.N. issued a report documenting the magnitude of the horror. “The violence suffered by civilians in Iraq remains staggering,” the report stated. “The so-called ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’ (ISIL) continues to commit systematic and widespread violence and abuses of international human rights law and humanitarian law. These acts may, in some instances, amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity, and possibly genocide.”
In February of 2015, the government of Iraq laid out their case to the U.N. Security Council that the Islamic State was not simply committing atrocities but outright genocide.
“These terrorist groups have desecrated all human values. They have committed the most heinous criminal terrorist acts against the Iraqi people whether Shi’ite, Sunni, Christians, Turkmen, Shabak or Yazidis,” Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim said.
“These are in fact crimes of genocide committed against humanity that must be held accountable before international justice.”
The global reach of ISIS terror attacks has increased dramatically.
When ISIS began, its attacks were limited to inside Iraq and Syria.
But ISIS has now launched or inspired major terrorist attacks in 21 countries outside of Iraq and Syria – including the U.S. – as of July 2016.ISIS has killed more than 1,200 people outside of Iraq and Syria, as of July 2016.
The number of ISIS foreign fighters has grown from 20,000 in 2015 to 36,000 coming in 2016, and they are now coming from 120 countries, up from 90 countries in 2015.
“A US intelligence official confirms…the number of foreign fighters has hit a new high — more than 36,000 from 120 countries since the conflict began in 2011, including at least 6,600 from Western countries.
“A year ago, at the worldwide threat hearing on Capitol Hill, where the U.S. intelligence community publicly presented its global view on terrorism, the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper said that since the conflict began, more than 20,000 foreign fighters from 90 countries had travelled to the region.
“A key figure is the number of countries affected, with the extremist ideology now drawing followers from 60 percent of the world’s nations.”
“The number of ISIS fighters in Libya doubled to between 4,000 to 6,000 in the last 12 to 18 months, Africa Command commander Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez said at a Pentagon briefing.” (Kristina Wong, “Top general: US not winning ISIS war yet,”The Hill, April 7, 2016)
After months of rumors, speculation and concern, it has been confirmed that ISIS has now acquired and is producing – and is using on the battlefield – chemical weapons.
“The nation’s top intelligence official confirmed Tuesday that the Islamic State has succeeded in making and deploying chemical agents in Iraq and Syria — calling it the first such attack by an extremist group in more than two decades.
“The confirmation of mustard gas use came during Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, where he spoke to the Islamic State’s growing sophistication online and in the battlefield.
“He did not elaborate on where and when the chemical attacks occurred, though there has been mounting evidence the terror group was experimenting with chemical weapons.
“[The Syrian government] has used chemicals against the opposition on multiple occasions since Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention. ISIL has also used toxic chemicals in Iraq and Syria, including the blister agent Sulfur mustard,” Clapper said.
Experts Say That Despite A “War On Terror” Spanning 15 Years, The Jihadist Terror Threat Has Grown Worse Since September 11, 2001.
Richard Clarke, former terrorism advisor to three U.S. presidents: “The threat is actually worse: It has metastasized and spread geographically,” said Richard Clarke, a top terrorism adviser to three presidents and the man who famously warned the Bush administration about the growing risk from al-Qaeda in the weeks before 9/11. “Today there are probably 100,000 people in the various terrorist groups around the world, and that’s much larger than anything we had 15 years ago.” (Joby Warrick and Greg Miller, “Fifteen years after 9/11, the jihadist threat looms larger than ever across the globe,”Washington Post, September 11, 2016)
Former Governor Thomas Kean and Former Rep. Lee Hamilton, co-chairman of the U.S. 9/11 Commission:
“Fifteen years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the battle against terrorism is far from over. The threat we face today is arguably worse than the one we confronted in 2001….
“According to the Global Terrorism Index, terrorist activity reached its highest recorded level in 2014, the last year with available data, with 32,685 terrorist-caused deaths. In 2001, that figure barely exceeded 5,000.
“Out of 162 countries studied, 93 have suffered a terrorist attack.”
Experts Say The Obama Administration Has Not Demonstrated That They Know How To Counter The Ideology of Radical Islam.
Former Governor Thomas Kean and Former Rep. Lee Hamilton, co-chairman of the U.S. 9/11 Commission:
“The approach of the past 15 years, dominated by military counterterrorism operations, will not suffice.
“In the 9/11 Commission Report, we warned that terrorism would ‘menace Americans and American interests long after Osama bin Laden and his cohorts are killed or captured.’ We stressed that our strategy ‘must match our means to two ends: dismantling the al-Qaeda network and prevailing in the longer term over the ideology that gives rise to Islamist terrorism.’
“We have yet to match our military might with an equal focus on the ideological aspects of the struggle. Until we do, this threat will not diminish.
Joby Warrick, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS:
“[D]espite gains in safeguarding the U.S. homeland, efforts to counter the root causes of violent jihad largely have fallen flat. The National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), which was created by the post-9/11 wave of intelligence reforms, mounted a series of efforts to map the radicalization paths of Islamist militants. But there are divided opinions on what came of that work.”
“A hard-learned lesson of the last 15 years, current and former officials say, is that the most effective counter-radicalization messages can only come from Muslims themselves — religious leaders and institutions as well as governments, which must address the political and social disparities that fuel extremism. But U.S. officials have been largely frustrated in their efforts to persuade Muslim allies to take more aggressive measures in their home countries.”
Malcolm Nance, author of Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How They Fight, What They Believe:
“It was not that the U.S. cannot develop nimble messaging or confront the ISIS counter-narrative challenge; it was operating with its hands tied behind its back before the fight started.
“The failure in U.S. counter-ideology policy is that the U.S. will not discuss the corruption of ISIS’s Islam, nor discuss any aspect of Islam at all out of fear of alienating Muslims.” (see excerpts from his book)
[Photo credit: image from a Newsweek cover story, June 2, 2015]
(Washington, D.C.) –During NBC’s Commander in Chief Forum last week, Hillary Clinton vowed never to send U.S. ground troops into Iraq or Syria under any circumstances, no matter how seriously American interests or our allies such as Israel or Jordan were threatened.
Clinton also said she strongly supports President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, even though it puts the ayatollahs on a legal pathway to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, provides Tehran with at least $100 billion, and removes economic sanctions.
Donald Trump, meanwhile, insists he would be a better far President and continues to say he is staunchly pro-Israel. But during this campaign he has said he would be “neutral” in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. He also said he would make all U.S. allies — specifically including Israel — “pay big league” for their defense partnership with America.
So despite eight years of troubled and often tense relations with the White House, perhaps Israeli leaders were right to accept the Obama administration’s offer of a new 10 year military aid agreement now, and not wait to see what a President Clinton or Trump might offer.
Today, after months of protracted negotiations, the deal is now signed, sealed and delivered. At 2pm eastern, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas Shannon and Acting Israeli National Security Advisor Jacob Nagel signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the State Department’s Treaty Room, providing Israel $38 billion in military aid over the next ten years.
Both sides hailed the agreement as the largest aid package in U.S. history. Rice said the deal showed the “unbreakable bond” between the two nations, while acknowledging the two countries don’t always agree. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal “historic”and thanked President Obama and the administration for their “unprecedented” support.
Not everyone is doing a happy dance, however. As I noted in a column last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who chairs the committee responsible for all foreign aid, has been the most vocal critic of the administration’s approach to the MOU negotiations.
Today, I had lunch with Graham on Capitol Hill. We discussed a range of matters — from the latest in ISIS’s genocidal war in Syria and Iraq, to Iran’s increasing belligerency, to ways the U.S. can strengthen our Sunni Arab allies such as Jordan and Egypt. But I wanted to hear directly his concerns about the MOU, so that’s what we discussed for a good deal of our time together, and the Senator didn’t hold back.
Here are the key points Graham shared with me, and also released as a statement to the press:
“While I think the agreement is important and deserving of respect, I have also made it very clear that Congress is not a party to this agreement nor is this agreement binding on future Congresses. Congress has an independent duty to make a decision about the proper level of support for Israel or our other allies. To suggest this MOU will bind future Presidents and Congresses for the next decade is constitutionally flawed and impractical.
“As Chairman of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Subcommittee, I proposed an increase of $300 million for Foreign Military Financing Program funding for Israel above the MOU due to threats from Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and radical Islamists in the Sinai Desert. This was unanimously supported by both sides of the aisle during Committee markup.
“Additionally, I find it odd the MOU only allocates $500 million for missile defense starting in 2018 while Congress has recommended $600 million for missile defense this year. Who really expects that in 2018 – given provocative Iranian behavior, improved Iranian missile technology, and the chaotic situation in the Middle East — Israel’s defense needs will require less investment?
“We also have a MOU with our ally Jordan. In two of the last three fiscal years, Congress increased funding above the MoU levels by $340 million in fiscal year 2014 and $275 million in fiscal year 2016 – with no objection from President Obama. When the MOU agreement with Jordan was signed, no one anticipated the Syrian civil war, rise of ISIL, or the massive refugee crisis. One can easily see the same funding situation playing out with Israel in the years to come.
“Finally, I’m not pleased with a provision in the MOU which prohibits Israel from using American defense assistance on Israeli defense suppliers. Israel’s homegrown defense technology is some of the best in the world.
“Under our old agreement Israel was allowed to develop cutting-edge military technology and was required to share this technology with the United States. I’m proud to say that many of these advancements helped protect the lives of American service members in uniform.
“I do not believe this new provision will serve the interests of the United States or Israel. I do fear it will be Americans wearing the uniform of our nation who will pay the price for this short-sighted change in policy.”
I share Graham’s concerns. I don’t oppose Israel saying yes to this deal, especially considering the uncertainty in the U.S. political process. But I strongly oppose the administration’s attempt to tie the hands of Congress from providing possible further annual increases, if the situation should warrant.
Congress has a Constitutional role in budgetary matters no President can take away. What’s more, Congress — on a bipartisan basis — as a whole has been far more supportive of Israel and our Sunni Arab allies than this President.
(Washington, D.C.) — A few hours ago, I landed at Washington Dulles airport and headed downtown where I’ll be delivering a speech and having a series of meetings on Capitol Hill over the next several days.
But I wanted to share with you the news that is just now breaking: Shimon Peres, one of Israel’s Founding Fathers, has been rushed to a hospital back in Israel. He appears to be suffering a stroke and is listed in “serious condition.”
Please pray for Mr. Peres — for the Lord to show grace and mercy to him, to heal and comfort him quickly. Please also pray for his doctors to have wisdom to know how best to treat him. Below, I’ve posted links to several news stories on the developing story. I’ll also keep Tweeting out the latest developments.
Few will ever forget what they were doing on September 11, 2001, when they first heard the news that the United States was under attack by radical Islamic jihadists using jet planes on kamikaze missions. I certainly never will.
On that beautiful, sunny, crystal clear Tuesday morning, I was putting the finishing touches on my first novel, a political thriller called The Last Jihad, which opens with radical Islamic terrorists hijacking a jet plane and flying an attack mission into an American city. What’s more, I was doing so in a townhouse barely fifteen minutes away from Washington Dulles Airport, where at that very moment American Airlines Flight 77 was being seized and flown right over our home towards the Pentagon.
At the time, I had no idea anything unusual was underway. I had begun writing Jihad in January 2001. A literary agent in Manhattan had read the first three chapters that spring. He was convinced that he could get it published, and urged me to finish it as quickly as possible. I took the advice seriously, working feverishly to get the book done before my savings account ran dry.
As had become my morning ritual, I had breakfast that fateful day with my wife, Lynn, and our kids, threw on jeans and a t-shirt, and settled down to work on the novel’s second to last chapter. I didn’t have radio or television on. I was simply typing away on my laptop when, about an hour later, Lynn burst into the house and said, “You will not believe what’s going on.” She quickly explained that after dropping off two of our kids at school she had turned on the radio and heard that the World Trade Center had been hit by two planes. We immediately turned the television on and saw the horror begin to unfold for ourselves. We saw the smoke pouring out of the North Tower. We saw the constant replays of United Airlines Flight 175 plowing into the South Tower, and erupting into massive ball of fire. And then, before we could fully process it all, we saw the World Trade Center towers begin to collapse.
Wherever I speak around the world, people ask me what my first reaction was, but I don’t recall thinking that my novel was coming true. I simply remember the feeling of shock. I remember calling friends at the White House and on Capitol Hill, and my agent, Scott Miller, in New York, hoping for word that they were safe but unable to get through, with so many phone lines jammed.
I remember Lynn and I getting our boys back from school and the friends who came over to spend the day with us. We tracked events on television, emailed other family and friends around the country and around the world with updates from Washington, and prayed for those directly affected by the crisis, and for our President to have the wisdom to know what to do next. Were more attacks coming? Would there be a 9/12, a 9/13, a 9/14? Would there be a series of terrorist attacks, one after another, as Israel experienced for so many years?
It was not until some time in late November or early December when events began to settle down enough for my thoughts to turn back to The Last Jihad. What was I supposed to do with it? No one wanted to read a novel that opened with a kamikaze attack against an American city. It was no longer entertainment. It was too raw, too real. So I stuck it in a drawer and tried to forget about it.
But then something curious happened. Lynn and I were watching the State of the Union address in January of 2002 when President Bush delivered his now-famous “axis of evil” line, warning all Americans that the next war we might have to face could be with Saddam Hussein over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
Lynn and I just looked at each other as if were we living in an episode of The Twilight Zone. After all, it was one thing to write a novel that opened with a kamikaze attack against America by radical Islamic terrorists. It was another thing to write a novel in which such an event triggers a global War on Terror and then leads the President of the United States and his senior advisors into a showdown with Saddam Hussein over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. But that’s exactly what happens in the novel.
Scott Miller called me the next day.
“Do you work for the CIA?” he asked.
“No, of course not,” I assured him.
“Sure, sure,” he replied. “That’s what you’d have to say if you did work for the CIA and just couldn’t tell me.”
Scott believed that the dynamic had just changed dramatically and that publishers would now be very interested in The Last Jihad. The country had largely recovered from the initial shock of the 9/11 attacks. We were now on offense against the Taliban in Afghanistan. People were reading everything they could get their hands on regarding the threat of radical Islam. And there were no other novels in print or on the horizon that could take readers inside the Oval Office and White House Situation Room as an American President and his war council wrestled over the morality of launching a preemptive war against the regime of Saddam Hussein. As such, he wanted to move quickly.
Jihad needed a few tweaks – acknowledging, for example, that 9/11 had happened and thus setting my fictional story a few years into the future – but other than that it was essentially ready to go. A publisher quickly agreed to take a risk on this unknown author and give the book a chance to find an audience. The Last Jihad was rushed through the publishing process and released on November 23, 2002, just as the international debate over Iraq, terrorism and WMD reached a fevered pitch.
The novel caught fire immediately. Jihad sold out in many stores in less than twenty-four hours and prompted nine re-printings before Christmas. In less than sixty days, I was interviewed on more than one hundred and sixty radio and TV talk shows, including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Fox, and MSNBC. The questions were as much about the novel itself as about the story behind the novel. How could I possibly have written a book that seemed to foreshadow coming events so closely? Was it a fluke? Did I get lucky? Or was there something else going on? More importantly, what did I think was coming next?
As you will see if you read the novel, there are a number of significant differences between my fictional scenario and what really happened. But people kept asking me about the striking parallels to real life. During such interviews, I tried to focus people on the bigger picture, summing up the theme of the novel with this line: “To misunderstand the nature and threat of evil is to risk being blindsided by it.”
The truth is, America was blindsided on 9/11 by an evil few saw coming. What’s more, those attacks were just the beginning of a long war against the forces of radical Islam, and more recently against the forces of apocalyptic Islam. The most important issue we face in the post-9/11 world is whether we have learned anything as a result of that terrible Tuesday. Do we truly understand that the forces of evil are preparing to strike us again when we least expect it? Do we truly grasp that the ultimate goal of the jihadists is not to terrorize us but to annihilate us? Are we willing to take any actions necessary to defend Western civilization from extinction? Or are we going to elevate peace over victory, retreat from the world, and simply hope for the best?
It has now been fifteen years since that horrifying Tuesday, and almost fourteen years since The Last Jihad was first published. I have written ten more novels, most of them about worst case scenarios that could occur in the U.S. and the Middle East if Western leaders are blindsided by evil they don’t truly understand. Together, these books have sold millions of copies and have spent months on the national best-seller lists. Jihad alone spent eleven weeks on the New York Times hardcover fiction best-seller list.
Such broad interest is, I believe, an indication of the anxious times in which we live. While we no longer face Saddam Hussein, now we face an Iranian regime and the Islamic State threatening to wipe the U.S. and Israel off the map and build a global Islamic kingdom or caliphate. All of this raises troubling new questions: What is coming next? How bad will it be? Where will I be when it happens? And am I ready to meet my Maker if, God forbid, I’m in the wrong place at the wrong time when evil strikes again?
How would you answer such questions? I believe they are as relevant today — even urgent — as they ever were.
With the Middle East on fire, both the American people and the people of Israel face real and growing threats.
Syria continues to implode. Iraq is a disaster. The Islamic State keeps launching barbaric attacks throughout the region, as well as in Europe and is trying to pull off a major attack inside the U.S. Meanwhile, Iran is on the path towards building nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles.
Now more than ever it’s vital to strengthen and expand the security alliance between the U.S. and Israel. Yet there’s a glitch.
All summer long, observers of this special alliance have been expecting a formal announcement that the Netanyahu government has accepted a new 10-year military aid package offered by President Obama.
Yet the summer has come and gone, and no announcement has been forthcoming.
In April, 83 of 100 U.S. Senators — led by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) — sent a letter to the White House urging the President to boost security assistance to Israel, especially in the wake of the highly controversial nuclear deal the administration cut with Iran and the security disasters unfolding in the epicenter.
“In light of Israel’s dramatically rising defense challenges, we stand ready to support a substantially enhanced new long-term agreement to help provide Israel the resources it requires to defend itself and preserve its qualitative military edge,” the Senators wrote.
Since then, there have been repeated reports of an imminent deal.
On July 31st, Reuters reported that Prime Minister Netanyahu had “sent Jacob Nagel, acting head of Israel’s national security council, to Washington on Monday to lead three days of talks. A person briefed by Netanyahu said the prime minister expressed hope that Nagel would be able to ‘finalize’ negotiations on a new memorandum of understanding and that it would mean increased funding.”
Yet more than a month has passed since Mr. Nagel’s visit to D.C., and still no deal.
While there could be any number of reasons for the delay, consider two.
Scenario #1 — The deal is done but leaders in Washington and Jerusalem are delaying until later this Fall to make a big, splashy announcement.
The operating theory here would be that Obama and his political handlers didn’t want news of such an important agreement to be made public during August when so many Americans were on vacation and the two political conventions dominated the headlines. A Fall announcement would maximize the White House’s ability to assure voters that Democrats are, in fact, “pro-Israel,” despite a rocky relationship between Obama and Netanyahu over the last eight years.
Scenario #2 — The deal has been derailed and the Israeli government has not, in fact, accepted Mr. Obama’s offer.
Under this theory, perhaps Mr. Netanyahu and his team think either: A) they can strike a better deal as we get closer to the American elections; or B) they can strike a better deal with the next President in 2017, whoever that may be.
The current M.O.U. was negotiated by the Bush administration in 2007. It doesn’t expire until 2018. In theory, that does give Israel more time to get better terms. It doesn’t have to make a decision in 2016.
The last M.O.U. was a very favorable deal for Israel and was clear evidence of a strong alliance and shared security interests between the two countries.
But Congressional sources tell me the administration is only offering $3.3 billion a year, a full $100 million less than Israel will receive in 2016.
And the White House is apparently insisting on a provision that Congress cannot provide additional funding in future years, even if the security situation vastly worsens. The new offer would also severely limit the amount Israel could spend inside Israel.
This raises several questions:
Should the Israeli government accept such a deal if it would prevent a future American president and Congress from increasing funds if the situation warranted?
Should Israel accept a deal that locks in less annual American military assistance than it currently receives?
Should it do so at a time when Iran — Israel’s sworn enemy — is being provided upwards of $100 billion or more, the end of economic sanctions, and a clear pathway to nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles?
Sen. Graham, for one is not a fan of the Obama offer. He won’t presume to tell the Israeli government whether to accept the deal or not. But from an American perspective, he believes it’s critical that the deal with Israel be more generous and include flexibility for the future given the security meltdown underway in the Middle East.
Israel is not voluntarily “giving up” its initial request, but it is being strong-armed by the administration to back away, Graham toldWashington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin.
More than 30,000 people from “countries of terrorist concern” illegally entered the United States across the southern border with Mexico in 2015, says a U.S. Southern Command intelligence report.
National security officials in Washington are now increasingly concerned ISIS may be working to get jihadists into the U.S. using Latin American smuggling networks.
“Sunni extremists are infiltrating the United States with the help of alien smugglers in South America and are crossing U.S. borders with ease,” reports veteran national security correspondent Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon. “The Command’s J-2 intelligence directorate reported recently in internal channels that ‘special interest aliens’ are working with a known alien smuggling network in Latin America to reach the United States.
Excerpts from Gertz’s article:
Army Col. Lisa A. Garcia, a Southcom spokeswoman, did not address the intelligence report directly but said Sunni terrorist infiltration is a security concern,.
“Networks that specialize in smuggling individuals from regions of terrorist concern, mainly from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, the Middle East, and East Africa, are indeed a concern for Southcom and other interagency security partners who support our country’s national security,” Garcia told the Washington Free Beacon.
“There are major hubs that serve as entry points into the region for migrants from those areas of concern attempting to enter the U.S. along our border with Mexico,” she said.
The infiltrators from terrorist states and unstable regions exploit vulnerabilities in commercial transportation systems and immigration enforcement agencies in some of the countries used for transit, Garcia said.
“In 2015, we saw a total of 331,000 migrants enter the southwestern border between the U.S. and Mexico, of that we estimate more than 30,000 of those were from countries of terrorist concern,” she said.
Another problem in dealing with migrants from the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia is a lack of information among the governments of the countries used by potential terrorists for transit.
The exploitation of alien smuggling networks by terrorists until recently had been dismissed by both American security officials and private security experts as largely an urban myth.
However, the Southcom intelligence report revealed that the threat of Islamist terror infiltration is no longer theoretical.
“This makes the case for Trump’s wall,” said one American security official of the Southcom report. “These guys are doing whatever they want to get in the country.”….
At least a dozen Middle Easterners reached the Western Hemisphere through this alien smuggling ring that facilitated travel to Mexico, the Times reported, quoting internal government documents.The aliens involved Palestinians, Pakistanis, and the Afghan man with ties to the Taliban.
Some of the aliens were stopped before entering the United States but others succeeded in crossing the U.S. border….
The cost of getting into the United States can reach $400 or more per person, and the illegal immigrants are provided with transportation, covert smuggling contacts along routes into the country, as well as instructions on how to illegally cross the U.S. border. The instructions in the past have included armed guides who ferry illegal aliens across U.S.-Mexico border rivers on inner tubes.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified during a Senate hearing in February that Islamic State terrorists would try to infiltrate the United State posing as immigrants.
“That’s one technique they’ve used is taking advantage of the torrent of migrants to insert operatives into that flow,” Clapper said. “As well, they also have available to them—and are pretty skilled at phony passports so they can travel ostensibly as legitimate travelers as well.”
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