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American Resistance To Empire

Nighttime Helicopters spotted landing in Taliban areas, Once Again

[This is not the first time that secret helicopters have been spotted landing in Taliban camps (Russia Reports More Incidents of Outside Helicopters Rescuing Besieged TalibanDec 29, 2016).  This is just the latest example of outside powers, ones with night-flying capabilities, swooping in to administer unknown aid to besieged Taliban.  There would be no Taliban today if it had not been for the original Taliban covert rescue episode at Kunduz, and the fall of Mazar e-Sharif.]

[Since Nov. 2001, the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been rescued from imminent eradication by intervening airlifts, ascribed to many agencies, US, Brit, Pak.  See St. Dept. spokesman in above video admitting to the preservation of the militants trapped in Kunduz.  This airlift was chronicled by investigative writer Seymour Hersh in The Getaway.]

[SEE:  Chinese Press Reports NATO Incursion In N. Waziristan, Helicopters Take Pakistan Taliban Leaders To Afghanistan ; Gen. Beg Claims US Helicopter Flew Hakeemullah to Safety ;  Afghan president: Unknown helicopters transfer rebels to Northern Afghanistan  ]

Ghazni: Helicopters spotted landing in Taliban areas

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How Saudi Arabia played Donald Trump– Fareed Zakaria

How Saudi Arabia played Donald Trump

This week’s bombing in Manchester, England, was another gruesome reminder that the threat from radical Islamist terrorism is ongoing. And President Trump’s journey to the Middle East illustrated yet again how the country central to the spread of this terrorism, Saudi Arabia, has managed to evade and deflect any responsibility for it. In fact, Trump has given Saudi Arabia a free pass and a free hand in the region.

The facts are well-known. For five decades, Saudi Arabia has spread its narrow, puritanical and intolerant version of Islam — originally practiced almost nowhere else — across the Muslim world. Osama bin Laden was Saudi, as were 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists.

And we know, via a leaked email from former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, in recent years the Saudi government, along with Qatar, has been “providing clandestine financial and logistic support to [the Islamic State] and other radical Sunni groups in the region.” Saudi nationals make up the second-largest group of foreign fighters in the Islamic State and, by some accounts, the largest in the terrorist group’s Iraqi operations. The kingdom is in a tacit alliance with al-Qaeda in Yemen.

The Islamic State draws its beliefs from Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi version of Islam. As the former imam of the kingdom’s Grand Mosque said last year, the Islamic State “exploited our own principles, that can be found in our books. . . . We follow the same thought but apply it in a refined way.” Until the Islamic State could write its own textbooks for its schools, it adopted the Saudi curriculum as its own.

Saudi money is now transforming European Islam. Leaked German intelligence reports show that charities “closely connected with government offices” of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait are funding mosques, schools and imams to disseminate a fundamentalist, intolerant version of Islam throughout Germany.

In Kosovo, the New York Times’ Carlotta Gall describes the process by which a 500-year-old tradition of moderate Islam is being destroyed. “From their bases, the Saudi-trained imams propagated Wahhabism’s tenets: the supremacy of Shariah law as well as ideas of violent jihad and takfirism, which authorizes the killing of Muslims considered heretics for not following its interpretation of Islam. . . . Charitable assistance often had conditions attached. Families were given monthly stipends on the condition that they attended sermons in the mosque and that women and girls wore the veil.”

Saudi Arabia’s government has begun to slow many of its most egregious practices. It is now being run, de facto, by a young, intelligent reformer, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who appears to be refreshingly pragmatic, in the style of Dubai’s visionary leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. But so far the Saudi reforms have mostly translated into better economic policy for the kingdom, not a break with its powerful religious establishment.

Trump’s speech on Islam was nuanced and showed empathy for the Muslim victims of jihadist terrorism (who make up as much as 95 percent of the total, by one estimate). He seemed to zero in on the problem when he said, “No discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists . . . safe harbor, financial backing and the social standing needed for recruitment.”

But Trump was talking not of his host, Saudi Arabia, but rather of Iran. Now, to be clear, Iran is a destabilizing force in the Middle East and supports some very bad actors. But it is wildly inaccurate to describe it as the source of jihadist terror. According to an analysis of the Global Terrorism Database by Leif Wenar of King’s College London, more than 94 percent of deaths caused by Islamic terrorism since 2001 were perpetrated by the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other Sunni jihadists. Iran is fighting those groups, not fueling them. Almost every terrorist attack in the West has had some connection to Saudi Arabia. Virtually none has been linked to Iran.

Trump has adopted the Saudi line on terrorism, which deflects any blame from the kingdom and redirects it toward Iran. The Saudis showered Trump’s inexperienced negotiators with attention, arms deals and donations to a World Bank fund that Ivanka Trump is championing. (Candidate Trump wrote in a Facebook post in 2016, “Saudi Arabia and many of the countries that gave vast amounts of money to the Clinton Foundation want women as slaves and to kill gays. Hillary must return all money from such countries!”) In short, the Saudis played Trump. (Jamie Tarabay makes the same point.)

The United States has now signed up for Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy — a relentless series of battles against Shiites and their allies throughout the Middle East. That will enmesh Washington in a never-ending sectarian struggle, fuel regional instability and complicate its ties with countries such as Iraq that want good relations with both sides. But most important, it will do nothing to address the direct and ongoing threat to Americans — jihadist terrorism. I thought that Trump’s foreign policy was going to put America first, not Saudi Arabia.

Trump Faces the Fury of a Scorned Ruling Class

Trump Faces the Fury of a Scorned Ruling Class

cetusnews.com

The ‘threat’ that has elites quaking is his serious attempt to curb federal power and cut spending.

By George Melloan

A lobbyist friend who visited Capitol Hill recently came away horrified. “I now am ready to believe that the partisanship is so unhinged that it’s a threat to the Republic,” she writes in an email.

This Washington hysteria comes at a time of full employment, booming stocks, relative peace and technological marvels like an electronic robot named Alexa who fetches and plays for you songs of your choice. What’s the fuss about?

We all know the answer: Donald Trump. The Washington body politic has been invaded by an alien presence and, true to the laws of nature, that body is feverishly trying to expel it. These particular laws of nature demand rejection of anything that threatens the livelihoods and prestige of the permanent governing class.

The “threat” that has Washington quaking is the first serious effort in a long time to curb federal regulatory power, wasteful spending, and a propensity to run up mountainous budget deficits and debt. That’s presumably what the voters wanted when they elected Donald Trump. Democrats—accurately regarded as the party of government—seem to fear that Mr. Trump might actually, against all odds, pull it off.

The Washington Post, the New York Times and other apostles of the Democratic Party have apparently set out to prove that despite their shaky business models they can still ignite an anti-Trump bonfire. A recent headline in the Post. asserted that “Trump’s scandals stoke fear for the 2018 midterms among Republicans nationwide.”

What scandals would those be? There was of course the firing of FBI Director James Comey. Democrat Hillary Clinton went on TV to claim that Mr. Comey cost her the election. Mr. Trump fired Mr. Comey. Did Democrats praise the president? No, they want him impeached. Devious logic, but devious is a good descriptor of much of what goes on in this fight.

Mr. Comey retaliated by leaking a “big scoop” to the Times—notes taken when Mr. Trump allegedly asked him to back off on the investigation of national security adviser Mike Flynn. But let’s recall the circumstances of this “investigation.” The Obama administration—possibly the FBI—tapped a phone conversation between Mr. Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Then Mr. Obama’s minions used the raw data to “unmask” Mr. Flynn and get the retired general fired for not giving a full account of the discussion. Given that sorry record of political involvement, was Mr. Trump so wrong if he asked Mr. Comey to go easy?

Then there was the Post’s “shocking” revelation that the president gave classified information to Russia’s foreign minister. The president is commander in chief of the U.S. military and conducts foreign policy. The intelligence agencies work for him, and he is responsible for using what they provide to further U.S. interests. Is it so unlikely that a friendly tip to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov about an ISIS tactic was calculated to earn trust? A more interesting question is who walked out of the room and illegally handed the Post this “scoop.”

Russians aren’t popular in the U.S., for many good reasons. That has its uses for Trump baiters. Democratic claims that Mr. Trump conspired with the Russians to swing the November election led the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor, former FBI chief Robert Mueller, to investigate. But is this claim even slightly plausible? So far all we have are anonymous officials who claim that intelligence agencies know of individuals with connections to the Russian government who supplied WikiLeaks with hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta’s accounts. But these officials are still unwilling to go on the record.

The Washington community knows how to fight back when it feels threatened. Leakers are having a ball, even if it has taken a lot of journalistic imagination to turn the most notorious leaks into “scandals.” Almost everyone in town has a stake in fending off the Trump threat: government workers and the businesses that serve them, public unions, lobbyists and their clients, owners of posh hotels and restaurants that cater to well-heeled visitors seeking government favors, journalists whose prestige derives from the power center they cover, academics who show politicians how to mismanage the economy, real-estate agents feeding on the boom—to name a few. It’s a good living, and few take kindly to a brash outsider who proclaims it is his mission to drain the swamp.

Mr. Trump is on the attack and Washington is fighting back. Is the Republic in danger? Another question is how much danger will it be in if Mr. Trump loses?

Mr. Melloan is a former deputy editor of the Journal editorial page and author of “When the New Deal Came to Town,” (Simon & Schuster, 2016).”

Zbig Is Gone…but the war he engineered in Afghanistan keeps going, and going, and going

[Former US national security adviser Brzezinski dies at 89]

 

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9h

 

 

Terrorists On Mindinao In Philippines Inflate Size Using Social Media

Westmincom: Maute militants isolated

Westmincom said the Maute group managed to make itself seem more formidable through social media. File photo
ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — The Islamic State-inspired Maute militants have been isolated into pockets as government forces took control of a majority of areas previously occupied by the terrorists in Marawi City.
Western Mindanao Command spokesperson Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay said ground forces have determined the number of the Maute militants and their locations.
Petinglay said that, according to ground assessment, fewer than 50 Maute militants infiltrated Marawi but managed to project strength through social media.
“This time, we have clearer picture of what happened compared to the first day [na] hindi natin totally grasp or plot the locations of the other militants… Where they did atrocities in a group of three or five and you thought they are too many. They burned and hid and fired and hid,” Petinglay said.
“They tried to paint the scenario that they have seized major areas in Marawi utilizing videos and photos spread on the social media,” she added.
Many of the initial reports from Marawi City on Tuesday were from residents posting photos and videos on social media. However, by Tuesday night, media was able to reach Mayor Majul Gadamra as well as provincial and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao officials for updates.

‘Propaganda’

Petinglay claimed the Maute group initially succeeded in its propaganda propaganda campaign, with many social media users unwittingly reposted the visual materials showing the militants on the streets brandishing their guns and black flags.
“Because of that those who repost the unverified source of videos and photos unknowingly helped fan out the propaganda of the Maute terrorists,” Petinglay said.
But the military said they now have a clearer picture what is happening and where on the third day of operations.
Petinglay said troops are now concentrating on particular areas where the militants are holed up. She said residents who decided to stay behind have been reporting on the positions of the terrorists.
Aside from regular troops, elite operators from the Special Operations Command have been deployed to deal with the Maute militants in close-quarter combat.
She added operations are now easier since residents have evacuated areas where the militants are.
“During the first day, one of the challenges to us was the troops could not just penetrate the place where you believe they are there because there were civilians and the possible collateral damage,” Petinglay said.

‘Maute isolated’

The military also assured the public that the Maute militants are isolated and will not be able to slip out with residents who have been streaming out of the city.
She said all routes going out from Marawi have been secured and evacuees are being carefully checked for militants pretending to be civilians.
Casualties on the government side are five soldiers killed and 32 others wounded. Security forces have said they have killed 13 Maute militants and an undetermined number of wounded.
Petinglay said ground forces believe the Maute group has not managed to smuggle Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon out of the city.
Hapilon, said to be the recognized Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s leader in Philippines, was the main target of police and military operations on Tuesday that has triggered the fighting in the capital of Lanao del Sur.
President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao in response to the clashes.

Manchester bomber linked to terrorist group which UK allegedly backed

Blowback? Manchester bomber linked to terrorist group which UK allegedly backed

cetusnews.com

Manchester suicide bomber Salman Abedi and his father, Ramadan, had long-standing links to a violent jihadist group which may have had British backing for the 2011 Libyan war and a 1996 attempt to kill then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

The controversy centers on the role of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which was both an anti-Gaddafi and Al-Qaeda subsidiary in the North African state.

Many of the fighters which formed the group in the mid-90s were veterans of the Afghan-Soviet war from the 1980s. They went on to fight the Gaddafi regime in Libya itself.

The war saw the overthrow of the Gaddafi regime and the eventual murder of the leader himself after he was captured by opposition fighters. Since NATO’s intervention, Libya has been in chaos.

It has descended into a protracted civil war, is a major contributor to the international refugee crisis, has its own branch of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), and two opposing governments.

The elder Abedi was reportedly one of the LIFG fighters who fled Gaddafi’s response to the rebels, settling in London and, later, in Manchester.

The area of Manchester in which Salman Abedi grew up was home to a number of other LIFG members, including former senior commanders including Abd al-Baset Azzouz, who left Manchester to go to Libya and run a 200-300-strong militant network for Osama Bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Azzouz is reported to be an expert bomb-maker.

In 2002, former MI6 agent and whistleblower David Shayler accused the British spy agency of colluding with the jihadist group in a failed 1996 effort to kill Gaddafi, an allegation the British government strenuously denies.

Theresa May was Home Secretary at the time. Did she approve this? MI5 reports to her https://t.co/H2aRNyelQlpic.twitter.com/rNiofCHV2X

— Mark Curtis (@markcurtis30) May 25, 2017Allegations have also emerged that in 2011, the UK may have relaxed restrictions on LIFG fighters based in the UK and helped them return to Libya to fight Gaddafi.

The UK was at that time engaged in fighting Gaddafi as part of a US-led NATO coalition. Former fighters interviewed by the Middle East Eye said that the UK actively supported the return of anti-Gaddafi dissidents, including those with Al-Qaeda links, to the North African state.

One fighter who spoke to the Middle East Eye said he had been interviewed by an MI5 agent who asked if he was “willing to go into battle?

While I took time to find an answer he turned and told me the British government have no problem with people fighting against Gaddafi,” the fighter said.

Others reported that when the war in Libya began, they looked into how to get fake documents, because their passports had been removed as part of restrictive control orders placed on them by the UK government.

One said that within days, the authorities had returned their passports, after which they headed straight to Libya to take on Gaddafi.

At the time of the war, current UK Prime Minister Theresa May was Home Secretary, with oversight of MI5 operations. It is not clear if she was aware of the decision to relax restrictions of jihadists and return their travel documents.

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