MORE WESTERN FIGHTERS JOINING MILITANTS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA

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Fresh concern about potential terrorist plots aimed at U.S. or its allies

By BRIAN BENNETT, RICHARD A. SERRANO

As many as 10,000 foreign fighters have joined Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq
Militants in Syria, Iraq may include 3,000 with Western passports, perhaps 100 American
U.S. officials alarmed by Westerners’ growing role in Islamic insurgency
Thousands of foreign fighters have bolstered the ranks of militant groups in Syria and Iraq in recent months, according to U.S. officials, driving fresh concern about potential terrorist plots aimed at the United States or its allies.

The surge, as well as intelligence that Yemeni terrorists have developed a powerful cellphone bomb designed to avoid detection at airports, is behind the Obama administration’s increasingly urgent warnings that a European or American passport holder might try to take down a passenger jet or plan other deadly mayhem.

As many as 10,000 foreign fighters — a third more than in February — have joined the militias seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Islamic State fighters who have swept across northern Iraq, said a counter-terrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified assessments.

Islamic State
A fighter with the Islamic State insurgent group hands out a copy of the Koran in Mosul, Iraq. The extremist group has proved to be highly organized. (Associated Press)
As many as 3,000 of them hold European or other Western passports and thus can travel easily across most borders. Several dozen, perhaps as many as 100, hold U.S. passports, and officials say that number is growing.

The potential partnership between some of those Westerners and sophisticated bomb makers from the Yemen-based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, long viewed as the terrorist network’s most dangerous offshoot, has raised alarm in Washington and other capitals.

“It’s something that gives us really extreme, extreme concern,” Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. told ABC News last week. “In some ways, it’s more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general.”

FBI Director James B. Comey told reporters in Washington that the threat “keeps me up at night.” He sees the region as a “launching ground” for potential Sept. 11-style mass-casualty attacks in this country.

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Two U.S. citizens have been arrested on terrorism-related charges since April before boarding flights to Turkey, suspected of being on their way to help the militants. One is said to have paid his way with his federal tax refund. In May, a Florida man became a suicide bomber in northern Syria.

“It’s the largest number of Western fighters we have ever seen in a jihadist theater,” said Seth G. Jones, a former U.S. counter-terrorism official now with the Rand Corp. think tank.

“The scale of this is huge,” said Daniel L. Byman, professor of security studies at Georgetown University in Washington.

Some of the Western militants are joining Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate that is focused on defeating the Assad government in Syria. Others have rallied to the Islamic State, which broke away from Al Qaeda and has seized territory in eastern Syria and northern Iraq.

Eric Holder
Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. said he was alarmed by the connection between Westerners and Islamic militant movements. “In some ways, it’s more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general,” he told ABC News. (Eric Risberg / Associated Press)
Although the rebels in Syria are struggling, the stunning battlefield success of the Islamic State fighters, and its calls for an Islamic caliphate, have energized recruiting efforts for all the militant groups. Several have used YouTube videos of battles and updates posted to Twitter in English to draw supporters to their ranks.

So far the Islamic State has focused only on capturing and consolidating territory in Syria and Iraq, but that could change. The Sunni Muslim group, recently known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is so innovative and is growing so quickly that one U.S. national security official called it the “Silicon Valley” of militant organizations.

“The concern is not what is happening today, but in four or five years,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss classified assessments. “If they get their own state, take on new projects, turn from looking inward to outward … we want to get in front of it.”

cComments
Those in the Middle East are very seductive as is Islam and factor the matter is that they simply have more emotional intelligence and Westerners don't use logic to rely on emotion seduce young into a very radical system
HARVARD.DISPUTE
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The Transportation Security Administration said early this month that it had asked some overseas airports to stiffen security measures, especially checking cellphones and other electronic devices to make sure they’re not concealing explosives.

Intelligence agencies also have stepped up screening of passenger manifests of flights in and out of Turkey, the main entry point to Syria, officials said. In many cases, would-be fighters take a bus to the border and walk across.

A special counter-terrorism task force of FBI agents and federal prosecutors is investigating dozens of Americans who have traveled or who officials believe intend to travel to Syria to aid the militants, officials said.

“We’re spending a tremendous amount of time and effort trying to identify those who go [to Syria] so we can know who they are when they come back,” Comey told reporters.

It’s the largest number of Western fighters we have ever seen in a jihadist theater.
- Seth G. Jones, a former U.S. counter-terrorism official
The task force leader, veteran prosecutor Stephen Ponticello, joined Holder in Europe this month for meetings with allies that focused on the threat. Holder urged them to share intelligence on suspects, to conduct more undercover investigations and to enact stronger laws criminalizing support for terrorist groups.

The expanding conflict has become “a cradle of violent extremism,” Holder said in a speech in Norway. “But the world cannot simply sit back and let it become a training ground from which our nationals can return and launch attacks.”

With French and British citizens forming the largest bloc of Western passport holders in Syria, authorities in London and Paris already have begun to crack down.

Between January and March, at least 40 people in Britain were arrested on charges related to supporting militant groups in Syria, officials said. The British Home Office, empowered by a law Parliament passed in May, has stripped at least 20 people of their citizenship for suspected terrorism support or disloyalty, British officials said.

France is considering giving authorities additional power to block militant websites that seek to recruit foreign fighters, and to strengthen the ability of police to stop French citizens from traveling abroad to fight.

Americans have joined the conflict in Syria since it began in 2011, and at least one was killed. But their role as foreign fighters was little noticed until this May, when a 22-year-old Florida man blew himself up in a truck packed with explosives in northern Syria, killing more than a dozen government soldiers.

Born in West Palm Beach, Moner Mohammad Abusalha had an American mother and a Palestinian father. Known as “Mo,” he liked to play basketball, was a fan of the Miami Heat and thought of a career as a physical therapist’s assistant.

Abusalha went to Jordan in 2012, telling his family he would study nursing. He instead crossed into Syria and spent two months in an Al Nusra Front training camp, U.S. officials said.

Some Arabic speakers refer to one another by the name of their oldest child, but Abusalha had no children. He loved cats, though, so fighters called him “Abu Hurayra,” which means father of kittens.

After his death, Al Nusra Front posted a propaganda video online that shows Abusalha stroking a gray and white cat and smiling. The video then cuts to a truck, with Abusalha apparently driving, approaching a building. Both are demolished moments later in plumes of fire and smoke.

The Americans arrested in recent months followed a similarly unlikely path.

Michael Wolfe
Michael Wolfe, a Houston native, planned to use his federal tax refund to join Islamic militants in Syria, U.S. prosecutors say. He pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. (Austin Police Department)
Michael Wolfe, a native of Houston, told undercover FBI employees he would use a $5,000 federal income tax refund to take his wife and two children to Turkey and that he would then join the fighting in Syria, according to court documents. He would give any leftover cash to his mother-in-law, he said.

Wolfe, who has slicked-back black hair and a long goatee, was arrested in June by FBI agents at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston as he prepared to board the first in a series of flights to Turkey.

Wolfe pleaded guilty in June to one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

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Two months earlier, Shannon Maureen Conley, a 19-year-old nurse’s aide from Arvada, Colo., was arrested at Denver International Airport as she prepared to fly to Adana, Turkey, less than 100 miles from the Syrian border.

Once she got to Syria, according to the charging documents, Conley planned to marry a 32-year-old Tunisian militant whom she had met on the Internet. She planned to use her medical training to help his cause.

Her plans were disrupted after a Faith Bible Chapel pastor in Arvada told local police in November that a young woman was acting suspiciously. Colorado state police called the FBI after Conley told an officer she intended to go overseas to wage jihad, according to the criminal complaint.

Conley told the FBI that she would engage in combat “if absolutely necessary” and that she had briefly joined the U.S. Army Explorers, a nonprofit youth program, to learn basic military skills. FBI agents and Conley’s parents could not persuade her to change her mind, the documents state.

cComments
Those in the Middle East are very seductive as is Islam and factor the matter is that they simply have more emotional intelligence and Westerners don't use logic to rely on emotion seduce young into a very radical system
HARVARD.DISPUTE
AT 7:18 AM JULY 21, 2014
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She was arrested at the airport on April 8. FBI agents who searched her luggage found DVDs labeled “Anwar al-Awlaki,” the name of the American-born cleric and leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in 2011. Recordings of Awlaki’s English-language speeches are seen as powerful recruiting tools for Al Qaeda.

She pleaded not guilty on April 22 to a single count of conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Obama Is Trying To Hide It, But This Is What Could Truly Bring America To Her Knees…

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L. TODD WOOD — JULY 18, 2014

With all of the news coming out of Ukraine regarding the underlying civil war and the downing of a Malaysian airliner that killed 295 people, you could be forgiven for forgetting that a new terrorist state is being set-up in the Middle East.

This development is extremely ominous for the national security of the United States. The fact that our Dear Leader is treating this as just another routine geopolitical issue is a blatant disregard for our safety. We may have issues with Russia’s behavior, but at the end of the day, Russia does not want to kill us. The leaders of the Islamic State do. They make Al Qaeda look like junior varsity.

The fact that we are not doing everything in our power to prevent this state from being established is a dereliction of duty from this administration. It makes you wonder: what is their agenda?

As shown by the events of 9/11, the American economy is vulnerable to external shocks by destroying critical infrastructure. Be sure that this observation was not lost on our terrorist enemies, or our conventional ones either for that matter. Our financial system is at risk.

Recently there was a terrorist attack on part of our electrical grid in-country. The attack was not prevented or stopped and there has been nothing done to increase security at this critical economic node for America. Our water supply is vulnerable. Our food supply is vulnerable. We are a free society and can be severely hurt by a dirty bomb or other type of terrorist device being detonated in our cities. America could be changed forever. This is the threat ISIS poses to our homeland. And this administration is doing nothing about it.

Israel is fighting for its life against Hamas, a group that has vowed to destroy Israel. America is chastising Israel for civilian deaths while they try and prevent rockets raining down on its civilian population.

Hamas has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States. Yet we continue to send them billions in aid. Why is that? What is the agenda of this administration?

Iran continues to march towards the development of a nuclear weapons capability. The United States continues to negotiate. How long again have we been negotiating? Israel will at some point have to militarily confront Iran. Again, what is the Obama administration’s agenda concerning Iran?

As John Stuart Mills so famously said, “War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.”
We are not facing the real threat to our country and our way of life. Islamic jihad is the main problem this country faces and this administration has taken its eye off the ball. A major terrorist attack will affect your physical safety as well as that of your family, and it will severely hurt your portfolio and/or business.

I hope we get a new administration in place in time to deal with the issue.

Read more at http://www.westernjournalism.com/real-issue-terrorism/#tAJDytrQw6bKXJKY.99

WHITE HOUSE: WE’VE ‘SUBSTANTIALLY IMPROVED THE TRANQUILITY OF THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY’

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…While Obama administration fuels conflicts in Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine…

By Patrick Goodenough

Whit
White House press secretary Josh Earnest speaks during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington, Monday, July 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(CNSNews.com) – White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday the Obama administration’s foreign policies in a number of areas have enhanced the world’s “tranquility” – a word that raised eyebrows as reporters pointed to situations in Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine and the South China Sea.

More than one reporter during Monday’s press briefing referred to a front-page Wall Street Journal article highlighting some of those crises, and citing security strategists as saying “the breadth of global instability now unfolding hasn’t been seen since the late 1970s.”

“How does the White House react to the notion that the president is a bystander to all these crises?” asked Fox News’ Ed Henry, citing the widening gaps between the sides in the Iranian nuclear talks, the conflict in and around Gaza, and the Syrian civil war.

“I think that there have been a number of situations in which you’ve seen this administration intervene in a meaningful way, that has substantially furthered American interests and substantially improved the, uh, you know, the – the tranquility of the global community,” Earnest replied.

ABC News’ Jon Karl quoted Attorney General Eric Holder’s assessment in an interview aired Sunday that the terrorist potential arising from Westerners returning home after fighting in Syria was “more frightening than anything I think I’ve seen as attorney general.”

Karl then pointed to “what’s looking like an all-out war” between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, Sunni jihadist successes in “taking over vast territory in Iraq and in Syria,” Russian aggression in Ukraine, and concerns about Chinese handling of territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

“It doesn’t seem like a time to be touting tranquility on the international scene,” he told Earnest. “Do you think the president’s foreign policy bears any responsibility for any of this, or is there anything he can do about any of this?”

Earnest said President Obama’s thinking about foreign policy was guided by one core principle – “the national security interests of the United States of America.”

Syria chamical weapons deal touted

He raised as examples of actions that advanced American interests the negotiated removal of the Assad regime’s “declared” chemical weapons (CW) stockpile, and mediation in recent days between “two competing presidential candidates in Afghanistan, who were prepared to sort of take that process off the rails.”

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts in brokering of an agreement calling for a full audit of votes in an Afghan election marred by allegations of rigging have drawn praise, although it will be weeks yet before the deal’s success or otherwise will be seen.

The Syria chemical deal has brought fewer plaudits from outside the administration, however. The Assad regime slow-walked the process, missing multiple deadlines set by the international community in a clearly-defined program of action.

Questions also remain about the completeness of its declaration – there are suspicions it may have kept some CW back – and the regime is also accused of using chlorine gas in the fighting this year.

Moreover, one key part of the CW agreement that has not been achieved is the destruction of 12 Syrian CW production facilities, a process that was meant to have begun last December and been completed by March 15. Almost four months after that deadline the 12 facilities, five of them located underground, remain standing.

“Syria continues to drag its feet in complying with its obligation to destroy chemical weapons production facilities,” U.S. ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Robert Mikulak, told a meeting of the body’s executive council last week.

“The international community has questions that must be adequately answered by Syria regarding the declaration of its entire chemical weapons program,” he said.

Mikulak added that the U.S. “remains deeply concerned by the reports of systematic use of chlorine gas and other chemicals in opposition areas by Syrian government forces.”

Apart from questions about the agreement’s implementation, some critics also believe the deal overall left President Bashar Assad’s regime stronger, because it transformed him in the space of several days from a pariah who had been facing promised U.S. airstrikes for using chemical agents to kill more than 1,400 people, to a partner whose cooperation was needed to achieve the touted CW handover.

http://www.mrctv.org/videos/wh-spokesman-administration-s-foreign-policy-has-improved-tranquility-global-community

Poll: Muslims Show Massive Approval For Obama

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Jonah Bennett

A newly released Gallup poll shows that Muslims are the religious group most likely to support President Barack Obama — by wide margins.

The poll tracked approval ratings from a variety of religious groups for the first six months of 2014, revealing that 72 percent of Muslims said they approve of the president, compared to only 20 percent who disapprove.

The 72 percent rating has dropped from the previous rating of 77 percent, which held from January 2009 to 2014. All religious groups listed in the poll saw a minimum drop of at least five percentage points from prior surveys.

For Muslims, the Gallup sample size was 552 participants, with a margin of error of plus or minus 6 percentage points.

That Muslims have the highest approval rating for Obama makes sense in light of how many identify with the Democratic Party. According to the Pew Research Center, 63 percent of Muslims are either Democrats or lean towards the left.

Currently, Mormons are the group with the lowest approval rating for President Obama. Only 18 percent of Mormons approve of the job Obama is doing, coming from a sample size of 1,724 Mormons, which resulted in a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Catholics also scored just over the edge of a disapproval rating of 51 percent. Protestants tend to be similarly disapproving, although they are much less generous. Only 37 percent of Protestants approve of the president, compared to 58 percent disapproval ratings.

For the entire sample of all religious groups, the margin of error only amounts to plus or minus 1 percentage point. Relative rankings between religious groups have not changed since the beginning of Obama’s presidency.

The drop reflected by Gallup’s latest poll results accurately maps the downward approval trend among all Americans.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2014/07/11/poll-muslims-show-massive-approval-for-obama/#ixzz37CK0mjGR

If Russia Goes Through With This Plan, America Is In For A Serious World Of Hurt

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L. Todd Wood — July 8, 2014

Are America’s adversaries lining up to destroy the US Dollar?

The concept of asymmetric warfare is as old as warfare itself. The basic idea is that when you have a conflict between two entities of significant disparity in military power, the weaker player will attempt to exploit the weaknesses of the stronger entity, even if they aren’t of a military nature.

Today, we’re seeing asymmetric warfare play out by the book in Russia. As recently as last week, Putin advisor Sergey Glazyev stated the need for an anti-dollar alliance to counter perceived American aggression around the globe.

It is no secret that the United States is still the premier military superpower in the world. However, she is not without significant weaknesses; and the value of the USD is one of them.

As America continues its deficit spending, the world is now wondering whether the United States has the will or the economic capability to pay off the close-to twenty trillion dollars she owes in sovereign debt. America has no economic cushion to sustain further costly international military adventures around the world. What better way for others to damage our warfighting capability than to make it harder to finance these global conflicts by damaging the status and value of the United States dollar itself?

The weakening of the USD could cause inflation to spike domestically and ensure our leaders focus on the economy rather than sanctions or other measures against our Russian friends. You can be sure that other players on the geopolitical chessboard are watching what is going on as well. As the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria (ISIS) slowly creates a pan-Middle Eastern Islamic caliphate in front of our eyes, we should be clear that it is the absence of American power and strength that is allowing this to happen.

It is not just foreign adversaries that are seeing the danger in the future. The markets are starting to price in this risk as well. Vince Miller, Senior Market Strategist at Birch Gold Group, had this to say: “As we see more evidence of rising inflation with each passing day, the bond markets are starting to demand a risk premium. And with CNBC recently citing rumblings among many Wall Street analysts that Fed Chair Janet Yellen may only make it through a two-year tenure, we have to ask: Are the markets already losing confidence in her?” If we as a country do not deal with the issue of our overwhelming sovereign debt, the bond market vigilantes will do it for us. Along with inflation, interest rates will spike; and the economic damage across all sections of the U.S. economy will be severe.

But let’s take the concept of an anti-USD alliance even further. Sergey Glazyev stated that Western Europe should want to be part of this alliance as well, as sanctions on Russia will harm other European economies. This statement is obviously self-serving for Russia and not realistic.

Europeans are well aware of the aggressive tendencies of their Russian neighbors and have long memories of the Iron Curtain. However, what if Russia teamed up with China, Iran, and the new Islamic state being formed in the Middle East to try and remove the dollar as a vehicle for trade settlement and as a store of value, basically pulling the reserve currency bid floor out from under the dollar?

There are some who believe the Obama administration is purposefully weakening the dollar through spending and printing money, in order to restrict American power around the world and at the same time provide trillions in excess cash to redistribute wealth as they see fit. Birch Gold’s Vince Miller adds, “Because our nation is so desperate for new sources of cash, some believe the government will reach directly into their personal accounts and confiscate their wealth. But even if they never literally do that, here’s the reality: They’re already accessing savings accounts in a much more subtle fashion; and that’s by devaluing the money we have by printing more of it.” No matter what the agenda of this administration, it is the end result that matters. The future does not look pretty.

There are an array of forces lined up against the U.S. dollar, foreign and domestic. It is highly likely that over the next few years, there will be an alliance of nations that develops to attack the United States’ economic hegemony through our weakness of debt and fiscal irresponsibility. We have dug this fiscal and monetary hole, and we are still digging.

Perhaps it would require another economic calamity like the Great Depression to refresh our memories about the consequences of this type of behavior, which may help to spawn a new group of American leaders to put us back on the path of freedom and economic prosperity. Until then, all bets are off.

Read more at http://www.westernjournalism.com/anti-dollar-axis/#AoK7zKOaczyQuSFP.99