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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hillary's new plan will grow ISIS, not defeat it, ISIS should send her a thank you note. Hillary helped formulate U.S. Mideast policies that fueled growth of jihadism. She's repeatedly assured Americans that everything is fine but now concedes US 'friends' the Saudis are funding forces trying to kill Americans in the streets. Voters are asked to say thanks by giving her 16 years in the White House-Consortium News, Daniel Lazare

"Since U.S. foreign policy directly affects 20 times more people than domestici.e. seven billion versus 322 millionthen there's no doubt as to whom the "lesser-evilism" award goes to. It goes to Trump."

 9/27/16, "(Hillary) Clinton’s Faulty New Scheme to ‘Fight’ ISIS," Consortium News, Daniel Lazare

March 30, 2012, State Dept. photo
"Exclusive: Even as Hillary Clinton pushes a new scheme for defeating ISIS, the reality is that contradictory U.S. policies in the Mideast that she helped formulate are fueling the growth of jihadi extremism, writes Daniel Lazare."

Hillary Clinton has unveiled a two-part plan to defeat the Islamic State, and just as critics might expect, it’s a doozy. One part calls for an “intelligence surge” to combat the group both at home and abroad while the other urges that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Islamic State’s self-styled caliph, simply be knocked off.

Both are indicative of why the disaster in the Middle East can only get worse. The problem with an “intelligence surge” is twofold: (1) it’s not clear what it’s supposed to do beyond undermining civil liberties in the name of anti-terrorism and (2) whatever information it turns up will only be as good as the people who use it. Stalin had excellent sources warning him in 1941 that a German attack was imminent. But since some said the attack would occur in April, he was able to ignore them once April came and went and stick with his original conclusion that Hitler would not attack at all.

Since the U.S. is unwilling to examine how its policies have contributed to the growth of the Islamic State, stepped-up intelligence will undoubtedly do the same, i.e. confirm all of Washington’s preconceived notions and allow it to continue on the same disastrous course.

Moreover, considering that U.S. authorities received advanced warnings not only about Ahmad Khan Rahami, the 28-year-old Afghan-American charged with last week’s bombings in New York and New Jersey, but also about Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and Orlando shooter Omar Mateen, it would seem that what’s needed is not a super-sophisticated intelligence “surge” so much as old-fashioned police work like knocking on doors and following up leads. Instead of “big data,” the FBI needs to do a better job with “little data.”... 

As for part two of Clinton’s anti-Islamic State plan – knocking Al-Baghdadi off – it’s simply a medley of her greatest hits, i.e. the murder of Muammar Gaddafi (We came, we saw, he died") and the assassination of Osama bin Laden (“I was one of those who recommended the President launch what was a very risky raid”). Since Clinton seems to think her ratings go up every time she kills an Arab leader, she figures it can’t hurt to kill more. 

But what she ignores is that doing so only makes matters worse. The record is clear. Seventeen days after killing Bin Laden in May 2011, Barack Obama bragged about the “huge blow” that Al Qaeda had just suffered, saying: “even before his death, Al Qaeda was losing its struggle for relevance, as the overwhelming majority of people saw that the slaughter of innocents did not answer their cries for a better life. By the time we found Bin Laden, Al Qaeda’s agenda had come to be seen by the vast majority of the region as a dead end, and the people of the Middle East and North Africa had taken their future into their own hands.”

But as the world now knows, the mujahedeen were just taking a breakBy August 2012, which is to say a scant fourteen months later, the Defense Intelligence Agency was reporting that Al Qaeda was among “the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria,that the West, the Arab Gulf oil states and Turkey were backing such forces to the hilt, and, even more astonishingly, that the rebels were seeking to establish a “Salafist principality in eastern Syria…and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime.”

Al Qaeda was stronger than ever. The only thing killing Bin Laden accomplished was to remove a leader who was a bit out of touch and allow even more aggressive jihadis to take his place. Gaddafi was a bit different: rather than a holy warrior, he was an anti-mujahedeen who, in a February 2011 phone call, tried to warn Great Britain’s former Prime Minister Tony Blair that the pro-Al Qaeda forces seeking his ouster “want to control the Mediterranean and then they will attack Europe.”

Needless to say, he was ignored. The only thing killing him did, therefore, was to remove the last barrier to a Salafist offensive bought and paid for by Qatar, which the U.S. had recruited to join the anti-Gaddafi effort and which promptly paid Washington back by distributing some $400 million to fundamentalist forces. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Hillary Clinton’s ‘Entangled’ Foreign Policy.”]

By 2014, the former “Al Qaeda in Iraq” had spun off into the Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh) and was claiming large swaths of Iraq and Syria, even as Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Nusra Front, was taking over other areas of Syria and bringing U.S.-backed “moderate” rebel groups under Al Qaeda’s command structure.

Al Baghdadi is a bad guy whom no rational person would miss. But bumping him off will be just as ineffective as killing bin Laden. Indeed, we already have an idea of who his successor would be, and it’s not pretty.

According to an article by Giorgio Cafiero in the well-informed Al-Monitor website, it’s Turki al-Binali, an influential 32-year-old cleric from the island kingdom of Bahrain who is seen as a rising force within ISIS and who may have authored the bizarre fatwa allowing ISIS soldiers to take captured Yazidi women as sex slaves.

If al-Binali takes over, Cafiero says that it “would mark a major transfer of authority from the old vanguard of global jihadists to a younger and more puritanical one.” The changeover would have a particularly “toxic effect” on Bahrain and other Arab Gulf states where young people are “vulnerable to the dark trap of radicalization.”

Instead of radiating outwards from the Persian Gulf in other words, al-Binali’s accession could conceivably cause jihadism to reverse course so that it flows back in. The upshot could be an eruption of ISIS-style terrorism right under the nose of the U.S. Fifth Fleet anchored at a $2-billion naval base on Bahrain’s Manama Harbor.

U.S. policies make this more likely than not. Bahrain is a deeply polarized society, torn between a 60-percent Shi‘ite majority that has suffered some 15,000 arrests since the government called in Saudi troops in March 2011 to help crush Arab Spring protests and a Sunni minority that enjoys a virtual political monopoly under the al-Khalifa family dictatorship. 

What makes matters even worse is the monarchy’s policy of importing Sunnis from places like Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Pakistan – an estimated 100,000 over the last decade – granting them citizenship, and then using them to staff its security forces and bolster the Sunni population in general.

Since the “New Bahrainis” are recruited for the express purpose of bashing Shi‘ites, the effect is to strengthen Sunni militancy and drive up tensions another notch. Since the island kingdom is dependent on U.S. military protection, it has tried to ingratiate itself with Washington
by sending jet fighters to bomb ISIS positions in Syria. 

But when Islamic State launched a blitzkrieg across eastern Iraq in mid-2014, top officials could barely contain their glee. Finally, they said, militant Sunnis were striking back at an Iraqi government in Baghdad that, with typical sectarian paranoia, they see as an arm of the international Shi‘ite conspiracy no less than the Baathist regime in Damascus, Syria.

Even while denouncing ISIS as a “deviated cult,” Foreign Minister Khalid al-Khalifa therefore tweeted his suspicion that America was using the group as an excuse to attack Sunnis. Minister of Information Sameera Rajab chimed in that rather than an eruption of terrorism, the ISIS offensive represented a Sunni uprising against Shi‘ite oppression.

“ISIS is a name,” she said, “that is being thrown around in the media as a cover-up to silence the will of the Iraqi people for freedom and dignity.” What the U.S. called terrorism was really “a revolution against the injustice and oppression that has reigned over Iraq for more than ten years.”

Rhetoric like this is common in the Persian Gulf where Saudi Arabia’s longtime foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, told Secretary of State John Kerry around the same time that “Daesh (ISIS) is our [Sunni] response to your support for the Da’wa,” the pro-Shi’ite party that rose to power in Baghdad on the heels of 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. As much as Persian Gulf Sunnis dislike ISIS, they dislike Shi‘ites even more and therefore can’t help applauding when Islamic State deals the Shi’ites another blow....

ISIS despises the (Bahrain) al-Khalifa family not only because the monarchy bombs their positions in Syria, but because it allows alcohol and other sinful Western practices and merely jails Shi‘ite protesters rather than killing them outright. The more the regime tries to meet ISIS halfway, the angrier the group grows.

The U.S. contributes to the same vicious cycle by turning a blind eye to Bahraini sectarianism. Hillary Clinton ventured a few mild criticisms at the height of the crackdown. But she welcomed Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa to the State Department a few months later and then, in May 2012, announced that the administration would go ahead with a range of weapons sales.

The tone changed even more markedly in 2014 as Bahrain leaped upon the anti-ISIS bandwagon by bombing Syria. Now it was as if a crackdown had never occurred....

Jan. 27, 2016, WH photo
The West not only ignores such conditions, but contributes to them by backing Sunni sectarianism to the hilt. This is the case not just in Bahrain but in Syria where Riyadh is attempting to overthrow Bashar al-Assad not because he’s a dictator – as if the Saudis could care about anything so paltry – because he is an Alawite, a variant of Shi‘ism. It is also the case in Yemen where at least 10,000 people have died as a result of a Saudi campaign aimed at crushing an uprising by Houthi Shi‘ites.

The more the U.S. assists in such crusades, the more bigotry will grow. The more it grows, the more arch-sectarian outfits like Al Qaeda and ISIS will prosper. Thanks to her (Hillary's) close ties to the Sunni Gulf states – Persian Gulf interests have contributed as much as $75 million to the Clinton family foundation Clinton’s new plan is not a strategy for defeating ISIS, but a recipe for helping it grow. ISIS should send her a letter of thanks." 

"Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace)."
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Below is June 2016 article linked above re: Hillary's close ties to Sunni Gulf states whose interests have given the Clinton Family Foundation as much as $75 million.

"Since she (Hillary entered the Senate, Al Qaeda has grown from a tiny band of conspirators to a major military force wreaking havoc from Indonesia to California. Yet now she expects voters to show their thanks by propelling her into the White House."...

"Since U.S. foreign policy directly affects 20 times more people than domestici.e. seven billion versus 322 millionthen there's no doubt as to whom the "lesser-evilism" award goes to. It goes to Trump."

 Donald Trump said, "“Crooked Hillary says we must call on Saudi Arabia and other countries to stop funding hate. I am calling on her to immediately return the $25 million plus she got from them (Saudi Arabia) for the Clinton Foundation! 

Actually, the problem is worse since, if one includes other Gulf states such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as well as high-ranking businessmen, the amount of Persian Gulf money flowing to the Clinton family foundation is not $25 million, but anywhere from $51 million to $75 million."... 

6/24/16, "The ‘Safe’ Risk of Hillary Clinton," Consortium News, Daniel Lazare

"The U.K.’s “Brexit” vote underscores the power of this year’s anti-establishment politics, a warning to Democrats as they nominate status-quo candidate Hillary Clinton, a “safe” choice who may prove very risky, says Daniel Lazare."

 "She (Hillary) is a hawk through and through. Her rhetoric was every bit as ferocious as George W. Bush’s in the days after 9/11, if not more so. 

She voted for the Authorization to Use Military Force, which gave the go-ahead for the invasion of Afghanistan, and also for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. She persuaded President Obama to pursue “regime change” in Libya and spent much of March 2011 recruiting ultra-rich Qatar to join in the effort. But she said nothing when Qatar then poured $400 million into the hands of Islamist rebels who proceeded to spread chaos throughout the country. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Hillary Clinton’s ‘Entangled’ Foreign Policy.”]

Clinton has been no less reckless with regard to Syria. She beat Obama to the punch in calling for Bashar al-Assad’s overthrow, she’s consistently pushed for stepped-up support for the rebels, and, as recently as April, she reiterated her call for a “no-fly zone” even though it would require massive military intervention and would almost certainly mean a confrontation with Russia....

Since U.S. foreign policy directly affects 20 times more people than domestic – i.e. seven billion versus 322 million – then there’s no doubt as to whom the “lesser-evilism” award goes to. It goes to Trump....

Rather than polls, what matters at this point are politics, i.e. a sense of the candidates’ relative ideological strengths and weaknesses. And it’s in this regard that Clinton is more vulnerable than her backers apparently realize.

Clueless Candidate

Her speech in Cleveland following the June 12 Orlando massacre is a good example why. She began – inappropriately in view of the tragic circumstances – with the usual glib shout-outs to local pols:

“I want to thank your extraordinary senator, Sherrod Brown, for his leadership. …I want to thank your congresswoman, Marcia Fudge, who is both indomitable and indefatigable….I want to acknowledge the mayor, Mayor Jackson, who was here, County Executive Budish….”

It’s the kind of thing that Clinton can do in her sleep, and it sounds like it too, i.e. robotic and impersonal. When she got to the serious stuff, the clichés only multiplied:

“This is a moment when all Americans need to stand together … we must attack it [i.e. terrorism] with clear eyes, steady hands, unwavering determination, and pride in our country and our values…the barbarity that we face from radical jihadists is profound…”

Once again, the effect was thoughtless and frozen. But then came something truly bizarre: 

Now, the third area that demands attention is preventing radicalization and countering efforts by ISIS and other international terrorist networks to recruit
in the United States and Europe. For starters, it is long past time for the Saudis, the Qataris and the Kuwaitis and others to stop their citizens from funding extremist organizations. And they should stop supporting radical schools and mosques around the world that have set too many young people on a path towards extremism.” 

Why bizarre? Simply because Clinton has been a national figure for two decades as First Lady, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State, yet this was a rare recognition that there was something wrong with the U.S.-Saudi relationshipOtherwise, there has been almost nothing but praise. When the State Department negotiated a record $60-billion arms deal with Riyadh in 2010, for instance, her officials stated (somewhat redundantly) that the sale would benefit the Middle East “by deepening our security relationship with a key partner with whom we’ve enjoyed a solid security relationship for nearly seventy years.”
 
How do you have a solid security relationship with a country that funds extremist mosques that function as a terrorist breeding ground?

When King Abdullah died in January 2015, she and her husband put out a statement praising the Saudi monarch “for his support of efforts for peace in the Middle East” and “the kingdom’s humanitarian efforts around the world.” Since when do you advance the cause of peace by funding Al Qaeda?

To be fair, Clinton was surprisingly frank – once.  In December 2009, she wrote in a State Department memo:

“While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) takes seriously the threat of terrorism within Saudi Arabia, it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority. Due in part to intense focus by the USG over the last several years, Saudi Arabia has begun to make important progress on this front and has responded to terrorist financing concerns raised by the United States through proactively investigating and detaining financial facilitators of concern. Still, donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide. 

Double-Talk about Saudis

The language was tough and unsparing. But the memo is the exception that proves the rule since it was a secret in-house communication that only saw the light of day when Wikileaks put it on the Internet – a disclosure, by the way, that Clinton assailed as “an attack on the international community, the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity.” (Full quote here starting at 1:34.)

If it’s long past time now for the Saudis to cease funding extremist organizations, why wasn’t it long past time then? Why has Clinton repeatedly assured the American people that everything is fine when, as she now concedes, America’s “friends” are funding extremist forces that are trying to kill Americans in the streets?

Trump can be counted on to hammer at such themes, and the more he does, the more voters will want to know. Indeed, Trump followed up her remarks in Cleveland by posting a few hours later on Facebook: “Crooked Hillary says we must call on Saudi Arabia and other countries to stop funding hate. I am calling on her to immediately return the $25 million plus she got from them for the Clinton Foundation!”

Actually, the problem is worse since, if one includes other Gulf states such as Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as well as high-ranking businessmen, the amount of Persian Gulf money flowing to the Clinton family foundation is not $25 million, but anywhere from $51 million to $75 million. That’s a lot of dough.  So voters will want to know whether Clinton intentionally held off criticizing the Gulf monarchies because she wanted them to fork over as soon as she stepped down as Secretary of State and that she is only doing so now because the money is in the bag and there is nothing to lose. 

Trump plays the politics of fear, as everyone knows. But he also thrives by citing examples of corruption, hypocrisy and incompetence, and Clinton exemplifies all three. Since she entered the Senate, Al Qaeda has grown from a tiny band of conspirators to a major military force wreaking havoc from Indonesia to California. Yet now she expects voters to show their thanks by propelling her into the White House."...
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Following article about donations to Clinton Foundation is linked above:

4/19/16, "The $70 Million Reasons Why Hillary Is Playing Dumb And Mum On Saudis And 9/11," by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

"Here’s a list of Saudi donations to the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees to Bill Clinton from the Saudi government and business interests close to the King:

Saudi Donations To The Clinton Foundation Amount
Saudi Arabia $25 Million*
Friends of Saudi Arabia $1-5 Million**
The Zayed Family $1-5 Million
Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi $1-5 Million
Walid Juffali $1-5 Million
State of Qatar $1-5 Million
Nasser Al-Rashid $1-5 Million
Hamza B. Al Khol $100,000-$250,000
MIDROC (Sheikh Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi’s company) $20 Million
Speaking Fees To Bill Clinton Amount
Tanmiah Commercial Group, Saudi Arabia $300,000 (1/25/11)
The Dabbagh Group, Saudi Arabia $300,000 (1/20/02)
* Published reports confirm $25 million, which was the largest single gift for a long time.
** The Clinton Foundation only gives ranges of donations, not the exact amount.


Now, it makes sense why Hillary suddenly has nothing to say about 9/11 and the Saudis — there’s millions of reasons."...


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Additional source: 9/12/16, Hillary as Sec. of State urged Obama to use US taxpayer dollars to fund and arm Islamic terrorists in Syria fighting Pres. Assad:

"As Secretary of State, Clinton supported a more robust campaign to arm “moderate” factions opposing Syrian President Bashar al Assad while Obama resisted."...

Comment: The US has been funding both "sides" in Syria for some time--forcing each side to shoot at the other. The ultimate for Neocons is forcing taxpayers to fund both sides of endless wars in third world hell holes. As normal people know, there are no "moderate" Islamic terrorists in Syria:
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"CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other." 

3/27/16, "In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA," LA Times, , W.J. Hennigan and Brian Bennett

"Syrian militias armed by different parts of the U.S. war machine have begun to fight each other on the plains between the besieged city of Aleppo and the Turkish border, highlighting how little control U.S. intelligence officers and military planners have over the groups they have financed and trained in the bitter five-year-old civil war.

The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.

In mid-February, a CIA-armed militia called Fursan al Haq, or Knights of Righteousness, was run out of the town of Marea, about 20 miles north of Aleppo, by Pentagon-backed Syrian Democratic Forces moving in from Kurdish-controlled areas to the east....

The attacks by one U.S.-backed group against another come amid continued heavy fighting in Syria and illustrate the difficulty facing U.S. efforts to coordinate among dozens of armed groups that are trying to overthrow the government of President Bashar Assad, fight the Islamic State militant group and battle one another all at the same time.

“It is an enormous challenge,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who described the clashes between U.S.-supported groups as “a fairly new phenomenon.”

“It is part of the three-dimensional chess that is the Syrian battlefield,” he said....

President Obama this month authorized a new Pentagon plan to train and arm Syrian rebel fighters, relaunching a program that was suspended in the fall after a string of embarrassing setbacks which included recruits being ambushed and handing over much of their U.S.-issued ammunition and trucks to an Al Qaeda affiliate....

The CIA, meanwhile, has its own operations center inside Turkey from which it has been directing aid to rebel groups in Syria, providing them with TOW antitank missiles from Saudi Arabian weapons stockpiles.

While the Pentagon's actions are part of an overt effort by the U.S. and its allies against Islamic State, the CIA's backing of militias is part of a separate covert U.S. effort aimed at keeping pressure on the Assad government in hopes of prodding the Syrian leader to the negotiating table....

“Fighting over territory in Aleppo demonstrates how difficult it is for the U.S. to manage these really localized and in some cases entrenched conflicts,” said Nicholas A. Heras, an expert on the Syrian civil war at the Center for a New American Security, a think tank in Washington. “Preventing clashes is one of the constant topics in the joint operations room with Turkey.”...

The clashes brought the U.S. and Turkish officials to “loggerheads,” he added. After diplomatic pressure from the U.S., the militia withdrew to the outskirts of the town as a sign of good faith, he said.

But continued fighting among different U.S.-backed groups may be inevitable, experts on the region said.

“Once they cross the border into Syria, you lose a substantial amount of control or ability to control their actions,” Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency official, said in a telephone interview. You certainly have the potential for it becoming a larger problem as people fight for territory and control of the northern border area in Aleppo.”" map, LA Times Graphics
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