Obama 2: Cachez ce jihad que je ne saurai voir (Obama’s nominations: No jihad please, we’re Americans)

Attendez un peu, vous n’avez encore rien entendu. Al Jolson
Je ne crois pas que la Russie soviétique désire la guerre. Ce qu’elle désire, ce sont les fruits de la guerre et une expansion illimitée de sa puissance et de ses doctrines. Toutefois, ce que nous devons considérer ici aujourd’hui, pendant qu’il en est encore temps, c’est la prévention permanente de la guerre et la réalisation de conditions de la paix et de la démocratie aussi rapidement que possible dans tous les pays. Nous ne viendrons pas à bout des difficultés et des dangers en nous voilant la face. Nous ne les ferons pas disparaître en attendant simplement de voir ce qui va se passer ; nous ne les écarterons pas non plus par une politique d’apaisement. Ce qu’il faut, c’est un arrangement et plus nous tardons à le conclure, plus il sera difficile à trouver et plus les dangers qui nous menacent deviendront importants. Ce que j’ai pu voir chez nos amis et alliés russes pendant la guerre, m’a convaincu qu’il n’y a rien qu’ils admirent autant que la force et rien qu’ils respectent moins que la faiblesse, surtout la faiblesse militaire. C’est pourquoi la vieille doctrine d’un équilibre des forces est hasardeuse. Nous ne pouvons nous permettre, s’il est en notre pouvoir de l’éviter, de nous appuyer sur des marges étroites et d’éveiller ainsi les tentations d’une épreuve de force. Si les démocraties occidentales s’unissent dans le strict respect des principes de la Charte des Nations unies, leur influence dans la propagation de ces principes sera immense et personne ne sera capable de les molester. Mais si elles sont divisées, si elles manquent à leur devoir et qu’elles laissent échapper ces années ô combien importantes, alors une catastrophe risque effectivement de s’abattre sur nous tous. La dernière fois, j’ai tout vu venir et je l’ai crié à mes propres concitoyens et au monde mais personne n’y a prêté attention. Jusqu’en 1933 ou même jusqu’en 1935, l’Allemagne aurait peut-être pu être sauvée du terrible destin qui s’est abattu sur elle et nous aurions peut-être pu échapper tous aux malheurs que Hitler a lâchés sur l’humanité. Jamais dans toute l’histoire une guerre n’aurait pu être évitée plus facilement par une action engagée au moment opportun que celle qui vient de ravager de si vastes étendues du globe. Cette guerre aurait pu être évitée à mon avis sans coup férir, et l’Allemagne pourrait être puissante, prospère et honorée aujourd’hui ; mais personne ne voulait écouter et l’un après l’autre nous fûmes tous aspirés par l’affreux tourbillon. Nous devons absolument faire en sorte, Mesdames et Messieurs, que cela ne se reproduise plus. Churchill (Fulton, Missouri, 1946)
If the United States actually demonstrates that it will work to help advance rather than thwart Iranian interests, the course of Iranian politics as well as the future of U.S.-Iranian relations could be forever altered. John Brennan
They are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify for a legitimate purpose, and there is nothing–absolutely nothing–holy or pure or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children. (…) We are not waging a war against terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic that will never be defeated, any more than a tactics of war will. (…) In all my travels the city I have come to love most is al-Quds, Jerusalem, where three great faiths come together (…) (20 percent recidivism rate for terrorists released from Guantanamo Bay prison) isn’t that bad”(…) People sometimes use that figure, 20 percent, say ‘Oh my goodness, one out of five detainees returned to some type of extremist activity, » (…) “You know, the American penal system, the recidivism rate is up to something about 50 percent or so, as far as return to crime. Twenty percent isn’t that bad.” (…) « violent extremists” are victims of “political, economic and social forces.” (…) “Hezbollah is a very interesting organization » (…) ”There is certainly the elements of Hezbollah that are truly a concern to us what they’re doing. And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements.” John Brennan
The FBI gave a guided tour of one of our most sensitive counter-terrorism facilities to a known Hamas operative. Gaffney
John Brennan is the man under whom President Obama has consolidated the unprecedented power of assassination. He directly controls and oversees all aspects of the program that had been previously divided between the Pentagon, the CIA, and other officials. Patrick Poole
Les drones américains ont liquidé plus de monde que le nombre total des détenus de Guantanamo. Pouvons nous être certains qu’il n’y avait parmi eux aucun cas d’erreurs sur la personne ou de morts innocentes ? Les prisonniers de Guantanamo avaient au moins une chance d’établir leur identité, d’être examinés par un Comité de surveillance et, dans la plupart des cas, d’être relâchés. Ceux qui restent à Guantanamo ont été contrôlés et, finalement, devront faire face à une forme quelconque de procédure judiciaire. Ceux qui ont été tués par des frappes de drones, quels qu’ils aient été, ont disparu. Un point c’est tout. Kurt Volker
Not since 1988 (…) has the U.S. government focused on the Iranian military force that specifically protects the country’s Islamic order and most often attacks abroad, variously called the Pasdaran or Sepah in Persian and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or IRGC in English. This roughly 125,000-strong elite force, created in 1980, has an outsized role in Iran’s political and economic life. It possesses its own army, navy, and air force units, it controls ballistic missile programs, and it shares control over the country’s nuclear program. It runs the Basij, which enforces strict Islamic mores on the Iranian public. Its military forces are more important than the regular armed forces. Its Quds Force of about 15,000 agents spreads the Khomeini revolution abroad via infiltration and assassination. Its graduates staff key positions in the Iranian government. The IRGC has played a lead role attacking Americans, their allies, and their interests, especially when one includes the IRGC’s many documented surrogates and partners, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muqtada al-Sadr movement, even the Taliban and al-Qaeda. IRGC accomplishments include the 1983 Marine barracks and U.S. Embassy bombings in Lebanon, the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish targets in Argentina, the 1996 Khobar barracks bombing in Saudi Arabia, the 2011 attempt to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, and provisioning Hamas with missiles for its 2012 war with Israel (which are already being re-provisioned). In all, IRGC attacks have caused the deaths of more than 1,000 American soldiers, and many more members of other armed forces and non-combatants. The U.S. government has condemned the IRGC as a state sponsor of terrorism and designated it as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction. (…) Confrontation means Washington exploits « the full range of options available to curb the IRGC short of preventive attacks on nuclear sites. » He argues that U.S. forces have the right to and should target factories and storage facilities for arms, facilities associated with the IRGC (bases, ports, trucks, planes, ships), arms shipments about to be exported, and IRGC units. Sofaer’s goal is not just to to curb IRGC violence but also to « undermine IRGC credibility and influence, and help convince Iran to negotiate in earnest » over its nuclear weapon program. Daniel Pipes
Nobody in the British leadership said, “I have a great idea. Let’s help fascist regimes take power and then they’ll be our friends and become more moderate! That’s the equivalent of what Brennan does. (…) What would have happened if President Harry Truman turned over American defense, diplomacy, and intelligence in 1946 to those who said that Stalin wanted peace and that Communist rule in Central Europe was a good thing? (…) Of course, Hizballah does not need to stage terrorist attacks if it holds state power! Terrorism is only a tactic to seize control of countries. If you give revolutionaries their goal then why do they need to continue using such a tactic? Yet putting them in power does not increase stability, improve the lives of people, or benefit U.S. interests. If al-Qaeda, for example, overthrew the Iraqi or Saudi government you would see a sharp decline in terrorist attacks! If the Muslim Brotherhood rules Egypt, Tunisia, or Syria it doesn’t need to send suicide bombers into the marketplaces. (…) The same, by the way, would apply to anywhere else in the world. If Communist rebels took power in Latin American or Asian countries you wouldn’t find them hanging out in the jungles raiding isolated villages. In Brennan’s terms, that means the problem would be solved. Instead, the correct response is parallel to Winston Churchill’s point in his 1946 Fulton, Missouri, speech: “I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines.” This is what Brennan — and the Obama Administration — fails to understand regarding this point. The danger is not terrorism but a dangerous revolutionary movement that becomes even more dangerous if it controls entire states, their resources, and their military forces. Barry Rubin

Alors qu’une 2e administration Obama qui aura liquidé plus de monde avec ses drones que n’en aura incarcéré la prison de Guantanamo qu’elle avait pourtant promis de fermer …

Présente pour les postes critiques de secrétaire d’Etat, secrétaire à la Défense et directeur de la CIA …

Un remarquable trio de champions déclarés de l’apaisement voire du déni pur et simple face à la menace jihadiste …

Pendant que l’ancien candidat démocrate à la présidentielle de 2000 et prix Nobel de la paix Al Gore revend sa chaine cablée aux propriétaires de Jihad TV et, de Tunis à Tombouctou,  maitres-propagateurs du jihad planétaire …

Comment ne pas repenser, avec le commentateur Barry Ruben, au célèbre avertissement de Churchill du début de la Guerre froide face à la menace soviétique ?

Sécurité : Barack Obama place ses pions

ETATS-UNIS – A l’orée de son second mandat, le président américain a nommé trois de ses hommes aux postes clés de la sécurité nationale.

Un entourage qui fait grand bruit. Le président américain a nommé lundi les nouveaux secrétaire d’Etat à la Défense et directeur de la Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), respectivement Chuck Hagel et John Brennan. Ces deux postes sont cruciaux pour la sécurité nationale des Etats-Unis. Problème : le premier est réputé anti-Israël et souple vis-à-vis de l’Iran, le second traîne un scandale quant à ses méthodes musclées d’interrogation.

Chuck Hagel, 66 ans, se voit reprocher ses positions passées, dont sa supposée tiédeur envers Israël et son refus de sanctions contre Téhéran. Il a cependant assuré lundi qu’il n’y a “pas la moindre preuve que je sois anti-israélien, pas le moindre vote qui aurait pu causer du tort à Israël”. De son côté, le président a encensé “le leader que nos soldats méritent”. En effet, Hagel est un ancien militaire reconnu, blessé au combat et décoré. “Chuck sait que la guerre n’est pas une abstraction, a asséné Obama. Il sait qu’envoyer de jeunes Américains pour combattre et être blessés dans la poussière et la boue est quelque chose que nous ne faisons que lorsque c’est absolument nécessaire.” Hagel s’était notamment opposé à la décision de George W. Bush d’envahir l’Irak en 2003.

Drones et interrogatoires musclés

John Brennan, 57 ans, actuellement conseiller antiterroriste du président, génère plus de controverse. Sa mise en avant met également en lumière les recherches sur les drones pour effectuer des attaques armées, qu’il soutient avec force. Le sénateur républicain John McCain, ancien militaire chevronné et ex-candidat à la présidentielle de 2008, a ouvert les hostilités : “La nomination de Brennan pose beaucoup de questions. Notamment sur son rôle dans les programmes dits d’interrogation ‘avancée’ au sein de la CIA et son engagement envers ceux-ci.” Barack Obama, lui, met en avant “ses précieuses connaissances” des affaires étrangères. Durant ses vingt-cinq années au sein de la CIA, il a été entre autres chef d’agence en Arabie saoudite et connaît bien le Proche-Orient.

Hagel et Brennan rejoindraient le sénateur John Kerry, précédemment nommé au secrétariat d’Etat. Une sainte Trinité pour le second mandat de Barack Obama qui pourrait indiquer un changement dans la politique étrangère des Etats-Unis au Proche-Orient.

Voir aussi:

Etats-Unis: Les nominations de Barack Obama à la sécurité nationale font polémique

20 minutes

08/01/2013

Le président américain Barack Obama (C) annonce la nomination de Chuck Hagel (G) au Pentagone et de John Brennan (D) à la CIA, à Washington le 7 janvier 2013.

Le président américain Barack Obama (C) annonce la nomination de Chuck Hagel (G) au Pentagone et de John Brennan (D) à la CIA, à Washington le 7 janvier 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

POLITIQUE – La tâche va être difficile pour le président américain, qui doit faire confirmer les nominations du conservateur atypique Chuck Hagel, critiqué pour certains de ses propos, et John Brennan, jusqu’alors conseiller du président pour la lutte antiterroriste, que certains lient aux méthodes d’«interrogatoire poussé» utilisées sous l’administration Bush…

Avec les arrivées de Chuck Hagel et de John Brennan, respectivement au poste de secrétaire à la Défense et à la tête de la CIA, qui complètent la nomination du sénateur John Kerry à la tête du département d’Etat, l’équipe chargée des questions de sécurité nationale du président Barack Obama est désormais au complet. Cependant, ces deux choix risquent de susciter la controverse.

Le choix de Chuck Hagel, un conservateur atypique, pour remplacer l’actuel titulaire du portefeuille de la Défense, Leon Panetta, risque en effet de passer difficilement au Sénat, qui doit entériner les deux nominations et où les alliés du président démocrate ne disposent pas de la majorité qualifiée nécessaire pour surmonter une obstruction des républicains.

Un «choix incroyablement controversé»

Les détracteurs de l’ancien sénateur républicain du Nebraska rappellent qu’il s’est opposé non seulement aux sanctions contre l’Iran ou la Libye mais a aussi critiqué l’influence de ce qu’il a appelé le «lobby juif» à Washington. Le président a souligné que le choix de Chuck Hagel était conforme à une tradition bipartisane plus nécessaire que jamais, selon lui, à Washington.

Les élus républicains n’ont pas caché dimanche que le processus de confirmation de la nomination de Chuck Hagel serait difficile. Le sénateur de Caroline du Sud Lindsey Graham, qui s’est souvent exprimé sur le sujet, a parlé sur la chaîne de télévision CNN de «choix incroyablement controversé». Ses détracteurs affirment que Chuck Hagel, qui a quitté le Sénat en 2008, s’est parfois opposé aux intérêts d’Israël, votant plusieurs fois contre les sanctions américaines à l’encontre de l’Iran. Ses partisans affirment au contraire que son soutien pour Israël n’est pas à démontrer.

Forcing

Devant le Sénat, Chuck Hagel devra aussi expliquer certains de ses propos. En 1998, il avait estimé qu’un candidat à un poste d’ambassadeur n’était pas qualifié parce qu’il était «ouvertement, agressivement gay». Il s’est depuis excusé pour ces propos. Chuck Hagel, qui s’est rapproché de Barack Obama quand ils étaient tous deux sénateurs en raison de leur opposition commune à la guerre en Irak, a aussi été l’un des plus fervents avocats de l’assouplissement des sanctions américaines contre Cuba. En 2011, dans une interview au Financial Times, il prônait une «cure d’amaigrissement» pour le Pentagone.

La confirmation de la nomination de Chuck Hagel suggère que Barack Obama n’a pas voulu apparaître en position de faiblesse en semblant se rendre à ses opposants et être forcé de choisir quelqu’un d’autre que son favori pour un poste très en vue. Déjà, il a dû renoncer à confier la direction de la diplomatie américaine à Susan Rice, représentante permanente des Etats-Unis à l’ONU, en raison de l’opposition des républicains. Le risque pour le président démocrate, en faisant le forcing pour la nomination de Chuck Hagel, est d’entamer le capital politique dont il a besoin pour la prochaine série de négociations sur le budget avec les républicains.

«Interrogatoire poussé»

La nomination de John Brennan, conseiller du président pour la lutte antiterroriste depuis son premier mandat, pour succéder au général David Petraeus, qui a dû démissionner de la principale agence d’espionnage américaine en novembre après la révélation d’une liaison extraconjugale, risque de faire également des vagues à Washington. John Brennan semble avoir toujours été le choix de Barack Obama pour diriger la CIA. Mais l’opposition pourrait venir des associations de défense des droits de l’homme.

John Brennan, qui a déjà travaillé pendant 25 ans à la CIA, n’avait pas été retenu pour la direction de l’agence du renseignement en 2008 compte tenu des interrogations suscitées par les méthodes d’«interrogatoire poussé», certaines assimilables à la torture, utilisées sur les personnes soupçonnés de terrorisme sous l’administration Bush. John Brennan avait à l’époque démenti tout lien avec ces méthodes d’interrogatoire, mais avait retiré sa candidature.

Depuis, l’homme a été salué pour son rôle dans la préparation de l’opération qui a permis l’élimination d’Oussama ben Laden en mai 2011 au Pakistan. Ses partisans estiment que cet épisode aidera à faire taire les critiques et permettra de faire passer sa nomination. «Les états de service de Brennan (…) l’ont préparé à être un directeur exceptionnel de la CIA. Brennan a la pleine confiance du président, a expliqué un haut responsable de l’administration Obama. Pendant quatre ans, il a vu le président tous les jours, et été à ses côtés pour ses décisions les plus difficiles.»

B.D. avec Reuters

Voir encore:

Noxious Nominations: The Four Horsemen of the American Foreign Policy Apocalypse

Barry Rubin

January 8, 2013

I did a lot of soul-searching before writing my latest article, “After the Fall: What Do You Do When You Conclude America is (Temporarily or Permanently) Kaput?” Of course, I believed every word of it and have done so for a while. But would it depress readers too much? Would it just be too grim?

Maybe U.S. policy will just muddle through the next four years and beyond without any disasters. Perhaps the world will be spared big crises. Possibly the fact that there isn’t some single big superpower enemy seeking world domination will keep things contained.

Perhaps that is true. Yet within hours after its publication I concluded that I hadn’t been too pessimistic. The cause of that reaction is the breaking story that not only will Senator John Kerry be the new secretary of state; that not only will the equally reprehensible former Senator Chuck Hagel be secretary of defense, but that John Brennan, the president’s counterterrorism advisor, will become CIA chief.

About two years ago I joked that if Kerry would become secretary of state it was time to think about heading for that fallout shelter in New Zealand. This trio in power — which along with Obama himself could be called the four horseman of the Apocalypse for U.S. foreign policy — might require an inter-stellar journey.

Let me stress that this is not really about Israel. At the end of Obama’s second term, U.S.-Israel relations will probably be roughly where they are now. Palestinian strategy — both by the Palestinian Authority and Hamas — has left the United States no diplomatic or “peace process” option on that front. The problem is one of eroding U.S. interests, especially the American position in the Middle East but also in other parts of the world.

You can read elsewhere details about these three guys. Here, I will merely summarize the two basic problems:

–Their ideas and views are horrible. This is especially so on Middle Eastern issues but how good are they on anything else? True, they are all hostile to Israel but this isn’t the first time people who think that way held high office. Far worse is that they are pro-Islamist as well as being dim-witted about U.S. interests in a way no foreign policy team has been in the century since America walked onto the world stage.

Brennan is no less than the father of the pro-Islamist policy. What Obama is saying is this: My policy of backing Islamists has worked so well, including in Egypt, that we need to do even more! All those analogies to 1930s’ appeasement are an understatement. Nobody in the British leadership said, “I have a great idea. Let’s help fascist regimes take power and then they’ll be our friends and become more moderate! That’s the equivalent of what Brennan does.

–They are all stupid people. Some friends said I shouldn’t write this because it is a subjective judgment and sounds mean-spirited. But honest, it’s true. Nobody would ever say that their predecessors — Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, and David Petraeus — were not intelligent and accomplished. But these guys are simply not in that category. Smart people can make bad judgments; regular people with common sense often make bad judgments less often. But stupid, arrogant people with terrible ideas are a disaster.

Brennan’s only life accomplishment has been to propose backing radical Islamists. As a reward, he isn’t just being made head of intelligence for the Middle East but for the whole world! Has Brennan any proven administrative skill? Any knowledge of other parts of the world? No. All he has is a proximity to Obama and a very bad policy concept. What’s especially ironic here is that by now, the Islamist policy has clearly failed and a lot of people are having second thoughts.

With Brennan running the CIA, though, do you think there will be critical intelligence evaluations of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hizballah, or even Hamas? Is the CIA going to warn U.S. leaders about the repression against women, Christians, and moderates? Will there be warnings that Islamists are taking over Syria or reports on Islamist involvement in killing Americans in Benghazi? Can we have confidence about U.S. policy toward Iran?

To get some insight into his thinking, consider the incident in which a left-wing reporter, forgetting there were people listening, reminded Brennan that in an earlier private conversation he admitted favoring engagement not only with the Lebanese terrorist group Hizballah, but also the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. Ask yourself this question: when an American intelligence chief told Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood was a moderate, secular group who approved that line of argument?

Kerry, of course, was the most energetic backer of sponsoring Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad before the revolt began. Now he will be the most energetic backer of putting the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Syria. Here is a man who once generalized about American soldiers in Vietnam as being baby-killers and torturers (such things certainly happened but Kerry made the blame collective, except for himself of course).

As for Hagel, suffice it to say that the embarrassing quotes and actions from him in the past — including his opposition to sanctions against Iran — fueled a response to his proposed nomination so strong that the administration had to back down for a while.

What would have happened if President Harry Truman turned over American defense, diplomacy, and intelligence in 1946 to those who said that Stalin wanted peace and that Communist rule in Central Europe was a good thing?

Obama has been president of the United States for four years. Yet in foreign policy, having some decent and competent people in high positions mitigated the damage. Well, the reins are now loosed; the muzzle is off.

I apologize for being so pessimistic but look at the cast of characters? When it comes to Obama Administration foreign policy’s damage on the world and on U.S. interests one can only say, like the great singer Al Jolson, folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

To get a sense of his thinking, check out Brennan’s article, “The Conundrum of Iran: Strengthening Moderates without Acquiescing to Belligerence,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 618, Terrorism: What the Next President Will Face (Jul., 2008), pp. 168-179. Here’s the conclusion:

If the United States actually demonstrates that it will work to help advance rather than thwart Iranian interests, the course of Iranian politics as well as the future of U.S.-Iranian relations could be forever altered.

The Obama Administration followed this advice during its first two years with the result being total failure. The theme of the 2008 article carries over to his view of the Muslim Brotherhood. If the United States shows it is friendly, helpful, and does not oppose their taking power then revolutionary Islamists will become moderate.

For example, he also proposes a U.S. policy, “to tolerate, and even to encourage, greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system….” This step, he suggests, will reduce “the influence of violent extremists in the organization.”

Of course, Hizballah does not need to stage terrorist attacks if it holds state power! Terrorism is only a tactic to seize control of countries. If you give revolutionaries their goal then why do they need to continue using such a tactic? Yet putting them in power does not increase stability, improve the lives of people, or benefit U.S. interests. If al-Qaeda, for example, overthrew the Iraqi or Saudi government you would see a sharp decline in terrorist attacks! If the Muslim Brotherhood rules Egypt, Tunisia, or Syria it doesn’t need to send suicide bombers into the marketplaces.

The same, by the way, would apply to anywhere else in the world. If Communist rebels took power in Latin American or Asian countries you wouldn’t find them hanging out in the jungles raiding isolated villages.

In Brennan’s terms, that means the problem would be solved. Instead, the correct response is parallel to Winston Churchill’s point in his 1946 Fulton, Missouri, speech: “I do not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines.”

This is what Brennan — and the Obama Administration — fails to understand regarding this point. The danger is not terrorism but a dangerous revolutionary movement that becomes even more dangerous if it controls entire states, their resources, and their military forces.

Voir aussi:

Jihad-Denialist Nominated to Head CIA

Arnold Ahlert

January 8, 2013

FrontPage

President Obama’s determination to keep his Middle East outreach agenda alive, no matter how at odds with reality, continues. Yesterday, John Brennan, Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, was nominated to head the CIA, replacing scandal-scarred David Petraeus. “John knows what our national security demands,” Obama announced.

“John has an invaluable perspective on the forces, the history, the culture, the politics, economics, the desire for human dignity driving so much of the changes in today’s world…He knows the risks that our intelligence professionals face every day.”

At best, the 25-year CIA veteran’s record is a mixed bag. At worst, he becomes another link in the administration’s efforts to normalize relations with Islamic terrorists.

Brennan was considered to run the CIA after the president was elected for the first time in 2008. But he withdrew his name from consideration after critics derided his support for the Bush administration’s enhanced interrogation techniques, a charge he denied. “It has been immaterial to the critics that I have been a strong opponent of many of the policies of the Bush administration such as the pre-emptive war in Iraq and coercive interrogation tactics, to include waterboarding,” Brennan wrote at the time.

In 2009, Brennan came under fire again, as the result of the colossal intelligence failure that allowed terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to board Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009, during which he attempted to detonate an underwear bomb. Abdulmutallab was able to board the fight despite several red flags, including intercepted conversations between Abdulmutallab and American terror cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, a British visa rejection, and a warning from his own father, who went to the U.S. embassy in Abuja, where he told officials of receiving a letter in which his son talked about “sacrificing himself.”

After calls for his resignation, Brennan responded to the criticism in a USA Today editorial. “Politically motivated criticism and unfounded fear-mongering only serve the goals of al-Qaeda,” he wrote. ”Terrorists are not 100-feet tall. Nor do they deserve the abject fear they seek to instill.” One suspects those on board Flight 253 might disagree. Yet Brennan doubled down, and insisted on treating Abdulmutallab as a criminal, rather than an enemy combatant, contending that it is “naive to think that transferring Abdulmutallab to military custody would have caused an outpouring of information. There is little difference between military and civilian custody, other than an interrogator with a uniform. The suspect gets access to a lawyer, and interrogation rules are nearly identical,” Brennan contended.

Brennan further cemented his soft-on-terror credentials only days later in a February 13, 2010 speech at New York University law school’s Islamic Center. In front of a largely Muslim audience, he called for trying 9/11 terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian court. ”We are trying to push this forward as best we can, but we also need non-obstruction from certain forces in our government,” he contended. “There are stiff winds delaying us from bringing this man to justice.” Those stiff winds came from the Obama administration itself, which rejected a guilty plea from KSM in 2008, in order to try him in civilian court.

During the same speech, Brennan endorsed the administration’s determination to delete words like “jihadist” and “war on terror” from its lexicon. “They are not jihadists, for jihad is a holy struggle, an effort to purify for a legitimate purpose, and there is nothing–absolutely nothing–holy or pure or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children,” Brennan insisted. “We are not waging a war against terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic that will never be defeated, any more than a tactics of war will.” In another telling moment, Brennan’s first referred to Jerusalem as al-Quds, which is its Arabic name. ”In all my travels the city I have come to love most is al-Quds, Jerusalem, where three great faiths come together,” he said.

During the question and answer period, Brennan contended that a 20 percent recidivism rate for terrorists released from Guantanamo Bay prison “isn’t that bad” when compared to the American penal system. ”People sometimes use that figure, 20 percent, say ‘Oh my goodness, one out of five detainees returned to some type of extremist activity,’” Brennan said. “You know, the American penal system, the recidivism rate is up to something about 50 percent or so, as far as return to crime. Twenty percent isn’t that bad.” That Brennan could compare one-in-five hardcore terrorists returning to the task of waging war against the West with regular criminals of all kinds, demonstrates either a monumental level of naiveté, or a disingenuousness bordering on delusion.

In another speech given in May 2010 at the Nixon Center, Brennan upped the ante yet again, asserting that that “violent extremists” are victims of “political, economic and social forces.” Reuters reveals additional comments Brennan made, following his return from Lebanon:

“Hezbollah is a very interesting organization,” Brennan told a Washington conference, citing its evolution from “purely a terrorist organization” to a militia to an organization that now has members within the parliament and the cabinet. ”There is certainly the elements of Hezbollah that are truly a concern to us what they’re doing. And what we need to do is to find ways to diminish their influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements,” Brennan said.”

Again, one might be forgiven for wondering what constitutes a “moderate” in an organization that has carried out a series of worldwide terror attacks over the course of decades, yearns for Israel’s annihilation and, prior to 9/11, was responsible for killing more Americans than any other terrorist organization in the world.

Unfortunately, Brennan’s infatuation with outreach is not limited to Hezbollah. In 2010, columnist Patrick Poole revealed that Hamas operative Kifah Mustapha was given a guided tour of the “National Counterterrorism Center and other secure government facilities, including the FBI’s training center at Quantico.” Mustapha was an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land foundation case, during which his colleagues were convicted of funding Hamas, yet another U.S.-designated terrorist organization. Center for Security Policy chief Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan administration official, demanded Brennan’s resignation as a result. ”The FBI gave a guided tour of one of our most sensitive counter-terrorism facilities to a known Hamas operative,” Gaffney said. “It is clear that the cluelessness fostered by Mr. Brennan is causing an empowering of the wrong sorts of Muslims in America and endangering the American people.”

Brennan penchant for revealing America’s secrets continued in 2012. When the United States thwarted another would-be underwear bomber last May, Brennan inadvertently revealed we had a double-agent working on the case when he briefed former counter-terrorism advisors who subsequently got work as TV commentators. He told them that the bomber was never a threat because America had “inside control” of the situation. The former advisors reached the inexorable conclusion shortly thereafter. May was also the month Judicial Watch finally obtained documents, via a Freedom of Information Act, from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA,) revealing that Brennan and Defense Department officials disclosed to Hollywood filmmakers the identity of the SEAL Team Six operator and commander involved in taking out Osama Bin Laden. A transcript of a meeting held July 14, 2011, reveals that ”documents seemingly reference John O. Brennan, Chief Counterterrorism Advisor to President Obama and Denis McDonough, who serves as President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor.”

“These documents, which took nine months and a federal lawsuit to disgorge from the Obama administration, show that politically-connected film makers were giving extraordinary and secret access to bin Laden raid information, including the identity of a Seal Team Six leader,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is both ironic and hypocritical that the Obama administration stonewalled Judicial Watch’s pursuit of the bin Laden death photos, citing national security concerns, yet seemed willing to share intimate details regarding the raid to help Hollywood filmmakers release a movie ‘perfectly timed to give a home-stretch boost’ to the Obama campaign.”

All of the above suggests that John Brennan is, at the least, an extremely dubious pick to head the CIA. But a story by Associated Press columnist Kimberly Dozier entitled, “Who Will US Drones Target? Who Will Decide?” paints an even more disturbing picture of Brennan, who she contends has “seized the lead in guiding the debate on which terror leaders will be targeted for drone attacks or raids, establishing a new procedure to vet both military and CIA targets. The move concentrates power over the use of lethal U.S. force outside war zones at the White House,” she writes. She further noted that while some intelligence officials are comfortable with the new process, others expressed concern about ”how easy it has become to kill someone.”

PJ Media’s Patrick Poole puts it more directly: “John Brennan is the man under whom President Obama has consolidated the unprecedented power of assassination. He directly controls and oversees all aspects of the program that had been previously divided between the Pentagon, the CIA, and other officials,” he writes.

A soft-on-terror approach, combined with an appetite for unprecedented powers, makes John Brennan a perfect fit for a president with the same proclivities. So does a dubious mixture of incompetence and arrogance. It remains to be seen whether the Senate thinks such qualities work for the nation as a whole. Since the Senate is controlled by Democrats, one suspects that Brennan’s confirmation will be little more than a formality.

Voir enfin:

Using Cold War Tactics to Confront Iran

Daniel Pipes

The Washington Times

January 9, 2013

As Americans seek to find an alternative to the stark and unappetizing choice of accepting Iran’s rabid leadership having nuclear weapons or pre-emptively bombing its nuclear facilities, one analyst offers a credible third path. Interestingly, it’s inspired by a long-ago policy toward a different foe – the Reagan administration’s ways of handling the Soviet Union – yet this unlikely model offers a useful prototype.

Abraham D. Sofaer, a former U.S. district judge and legal adviser to the State Department, now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, argues in Taking On Iran: Strength, Diplomacy and the Iranian Threat (Hoover Institution, 2013) that since the fall of the shah during the Carter administration, Washington « has responded to Iranian aggression with ineffective sanctions and empty warnings and condemnations. »

Not since 1988, he notes, has the U.S. government focused on the Iranian military force that specifically protects the country’s Islamic order and most often attacks abroad, variously called the Pasdaran or Sepah in Persian and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps or IRGC in English. This roughly 125,000-strong elite force, created in 1980, has an outsized role in Iran’s political and economic life. It possesses its own army, navy, and air force units, it controls ballistic missile programs, and it shares control over the country’s nuclear program. It runs the Basij, which enforces strict Islamic mores on the Iranian public. Its military forces are more important than the regular armed forces. Its Quds Force of about 15,000 agents spreads the Khomeini revolution abroad via infiltration and assassination. Its graduates staff key positions in the Iranian government.

The IRGC has played a lead role attacking Americans, their allies, and their interests, especially when one includes the IRGC’s many documented surrogates and partners, such as Hezbollah, Hamas, the Muqtada al-Sadr movement, even the Taliban and al-Qaeda. IRGC accomplishments include the 1983 Marine barracks and U.S. Embassy bombings in Lebanon, the 1992 and 1994 bombings of Jewish targets in Argentina, the 1996 Khobar barracks bombing in Saudi Arabia, the 2011 attempt to kill the Saudi ambassador in Washington, and provisioning Hamas with missiles for its 2012 war with Israel (which are already being re-provisioned).

In all, IRGC attacks have caused the deaths of more than 1,000 American soldiers, and many more members of other armed forces and non-combatants. The U.S. government has condemned the IRGC as a state sponsor of terrorism and designated it as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction.

Sofaer advocates a supple two-pronged approach to Tehran: « confront IRGC aggression directly and negotiate with Iran. »

Confrontation means Washington exploits « the full range of options available to curb the IRGC short of preventive attacks on nuclear sites. » He argues that U.S. forces have the right to and should target factories and storage facilities for arms, facilities associated with the IRGC (bases, ports, trucks, planes, ships), arms shipments about to be exported, and IRGC units. Sofaer’s goal is not just to to curb IRGC violence but also to « undermine IRGC credibility and influence, and help convince Iran to negotiate in earnest » over its nuclear weapon program.

Negotiations means talking to Tehran about outstanding issues, rather than trying to punish it with aloofness. Sofaer quotes James Dobbins, a former special U.S. envoy to Afghanistan, as expressing this view: « It is time to apply to Iran the policies which won the Cold War, liberated the Warsaw Pact, and reunited Europe: détente and containment, communication whenever possible, and confrontation whenever necessary. We spoke to Stalin’s Russia. We spoke to Mao’s China. In both cases, greater mutual exposure changed their system, not ours. It’s time to speak to Iran, unconditionally, and comprehensively. » More broadly, along with Chester A. Crocker, another former American diplomat, Sofaer sees diplomacy as « the engine that converts raw energy and tangible power into meaningful political results. »

The IRGC coordinated the 1996 Khobar Towers barracks bombing in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 U.S. military personnel.

Confronting and negotiating in tandem, Sofaer expects, will put great pressure on Tehran to improve its behavior generally (e.g., regarding terrorism) and possibly lead it to shut down the nuclear program, while leaving available a preemptive strike on the table « if all else fails. »

Former secretary of state George P. Shultz, in his foreword to Taking on Iran, calls Sofaer’s idea « an alternative that should have been implemented long ago. » Indeed, the time is well overdue to respond to IRGC atrocities with the language of force that Iranian leaders only understand – and which has the additional benefit of possibly avoiding greater hostilities.

Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum.

3 Responses to Obama 2: Cachez ce jihad que je ne saurai voir (Obama’s nominations: No jihad please, we’re Americans)

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