For the entire transcript of this interview, please continue reading.
ARAB SPRING 2.0: Will it Come to Egypt?
By Barry Webb
Egypt’s neighbor to the South, Sudan, and near neighbor to the West, Algeria, are both experiencing massive demonstrations as I write this in early March of 2019. Watching these popular uprisings unfold on TV reminds me too much of the first Arab Spring we saw in 2010. That Arab Spring resulted in mass chaos across the Middle East, the rise of ISIS, and the flood of “refugees” into Europe to destabilize that continent. If this current Arab Spring 2.0 spreads it could have even greater consequences.
The primary claim of the protestors in Sudan is for Sudan’s president “for Life” Omar
al-Bashir, who has ruled for 30 years, to step down.
There is certainly reason enough for the people of Sudan to want to see him gone. He acts like a total buffoon, swishing a cane, or a sword, around like a neighborhood bully, or some cartoon image from a Sacha Baron Cohen movie. His legacy has been anything but stellar, having committed genocide against his black Muslim citizens in Darfour province, and presiding over the secession of South Sudan.
News reports claim that the protests appear to be led by “the professional class” who are demanding “Democracy.” This sounds good to western ears. The problem I have with this is that in Egypt it is the “professional” class of doctors and lawyers who have historically been the strongest supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood–and its terrorist offshoots. Just ask Dr. Aiman azh-Zhwahiri. I would expect that the same situation exists in Sudan. And, “Democracy” to an Islamist is only a tool to be used as a means to power, after which that tool is discarded in favor of Allah’s law, or Shari’a. Just ask Turkey’s dictator Erdogan.
There are unconfirmed reports that followers of the late hard line Hussein at-Turabi are key figures in these protests. So, if today’s rumors are correct that Bashir has agreed to step down, and “Democracy” is imposed, I for one will not be surprised if the Muslim Brotherhood, or a clone, ends up in power in Khartoum.
The primary impetus for the demonstrations in Algeria is the attempt of its 85-year old, wheelchair-bound president “for life” to run for a 5th term. He was recently seen on live Arabic TV saying “ana ra’is lilabd” (I am president for all eternity). Arabic TV channels have also reported that even his own cabinet members have joined the marchers demanding that he not run for that 5th term.
On an historical note, during the 1990s, Algeria fought a vicious civil war with Islamic radicals. In 1991 Islamists won the national elections, which the army quickly nullified. The Islamists then took on the military in a civil war that was largely supported by most of the people. However, as time went on, and the Islamists began showing their true colors with extreme brutality, killing journalists, foreigners, and children, the tide eventually turned against them. However, these Sunni Islamists, during their hay day, were very close to the Shi’a Iranians and were receiving instructions on how to conduct and win a revolution. At one point, government control was reduced to the capital of Algiers–and even that was unsafe for western diplomats to venture out of their embassy compounds.
With this background, one has to expect that the Islamist current is still very strong in Algeria, though it has laid low for the past nearly 20 years. Given the opportunity of free, truly “Democratic” elections, do not be surprised to see the Muslim Brotherhood or a clone come to power in Algeria.
Egypt’s government and state media portray a stable, and prosperous Egypt safe for tourists to flock to, and ripe for foreign investment and growth. Indeed, on the surface, it appears that President Abd al-Fatah as-Sisi’s government does have a firm handle on things. They have thrown thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members and their sympathizers in prison. On the economic front the as-Sisi government has invested heavily into infrastructure–including the building of thousands of new cities. And, in the past several years, since as-Sisi has come to power, the country has claimed an annual economic growth rate of a Chinese-esque 5-8 percent.
Yet, under the surface things be a bubbling. When as-Sisi first came to power, he was
rather vocal in calling for a reformation in Islam. The term he used was islah, which is somewhat stronger than our word for “reformation.” Islah means something more like “restructuring,” or “repair.”
After the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in January of 2015, as-Sisi went so far as to call for the de-sanctification of the ahadeeth and the sunna, as well as doing away with the books on Islamic jurisprudence, namely the hanbali, hanafi, shafa’i, and malaki schools (all of which were written in the 9th and 10th centuries).
As-Sisi’s call for islah received some notable support among Egypt’s westernized intellectuals as well as among a handful of the editorialists for Egypt’s state-run al-ahram newspaper and a popular TV talk show host named Dr. Islam al-Beheri.
But from the clergy? A deafening silence (except for Dr. al-Beheri, who is a graduate of Egypt’s conservative al-azhar university). From Egypt’s allies such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United States, etc.? A deafening silence.
Worse, when al-Sisi asked Ahmad at-Tayyib, the top Sheikh at Egypt ‘s al-Azhar (which is the closest thing to a “Vatican” that Sunni Islam has), to condemn ISIS, he received a verbal slap in the face. Since then as-Sisi has been virtually silent on the subject of islah
for Islam. He talks about islah for the economic sphere, but no more for the religious sphere. In fact , at a recent speech at Cairo University (a traditional hotbed of fundamentalism), as-Sisi’s only words for those training to become teachers were to teach that Islam is a “religion of peace and toleration” (which is the “Disneyland” Islam I speak about in my book, and flies in the face of what the Qur’an, ahadeeth, sunna, and sira actually teach. And, this, in turn, totally ignores the problem with Islam and takes the whole ideas of an islah in Islam off the table and sweeps it firmly under the rug).
It is clear that as-Sisi has come to realize that if he pushes too hard on the issue, or tries to force it down the throats of the al-azhar Imams and Sheikhs, he will lose in a bloody revolution.
Unfortunately, such a revolution may happen anyway, even without as-Sisi getting tough with al-azhar. Caught in his sweeps of Muslim Brotherhood members have been thousands of secular protestors as well. This heavy-handed approach to security has angered much of the population. The government tries to keep a lid on things by continually pushing the narrative of Egypt ‘s gains while behaving like a police state.
But it gets worse.
Reports out of Egypt claim that al-azhar itself is dominated by secret Muslim Brotherhood members and their (not so secret) sympathizers. In other words, al-azhar, the bastion of “moderate” Islam in the Sunni world essentially adheres to the same “interpretation” of Islam as does al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban, and the Saudi Wahhabis.
In the fall of 2018 an Egyptian expert on extremist groups appeared on al-arabiya, the Saudi-owned, Dubai-based satellite TV channel. He talked about a new group called
al-murabitoun (those who live in the garrisons), which he claimed is spreading throughout the Egyptian army. The Egyptian expert said that there are dozens of
al-murabitoun cells throughout the army–and they are being led by “extremist” officers.
This is perhaps the most frightening bit of news coming out of the Middle East. The population of Egypt is 100 million and growing. The country has the largest, most powerful army in the Middle East bristling with the latest western weaponry. The army is also the one institution that all Egyptians–Muslims, Christians, secularists, atheists, and socialists–all have traditionally looked up to, respected, and considered to be “Egypt itself.” To see extremism spread throughout the officer corps, as well as the rank and file, bodes ill not only for Egypt, but for the entire Middle East (and beyond).
The online alarabiya.net published a similar article claiming that there are currently four terror organizations operating in Egypt today: al-murabitoun, ISIS in the Sinai, hasim, and jund al-khelaafah (soldiers of the Caliphate). Other sources have added a fifth terror group: liwa’ ath-thawrah (Brigades of the Revolution) which is a military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, as is the hasim group.
Interestingly, the U.S. State Department has recently declared both liwa’ ath-thawrah and hasim to be terrorist organizations. This raises the question as to why they don’t go ahead and declare the mother ship, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) itself, to be a terrorist organization?
Other reporting out of Egypt claims that the MB operates a sort of “parallel” economy and has amassed huge funds. They also receive massive donations from cells and front groups overseas, particularly Britain and the United States.
So, how is as-Sisi’s reformation coming along? Recent polls show that 84-86% of Muslims in Egypt and Jordan support the death penalty for Muslims who leave the religion, and similar percentages support stoning for adultery. Moderate Islam that ain’t.
That is right out of shari’a law. That is Saudi Arabia, Iran, ISIS, and al-Qaeda. And, Egypt and Jordan were supposed to be two of the most modernized, westernized countries of the Arab world.
A Syrian journalist residing in Turkey has reported that there are 2,000 MB media members in Turkey who man 10 TV stations and several radio stations (all of which blast pro MB and anti as-Sisi propaganda into Egypt 24/7). Turkish and Qatari money are supporting these efforts.
TO SUM UP
You’ve got Arab Spring-type revolts taking place in Sudan and Algeria, a full scale civil war next door in Libya, an ISIS insurgency in the Sinai which the Egyptian army has been trying to put out since as-Sisi came to power, you’ve got al-azhar harboring secret support for the MB, the MB secretly amassing massive amounts of money, and you’ve got 10 TV stations and several radio stations based in Turkey blasting MB propaganda into Egypt 24/7. Then add to this that over 80% of the Muslims in Egypt say they want shari’a law. How long do you think the as-Sisi regime can last under this pressure?
Proof that the regime realizes that it is in trouble is the fact that the state run media outlets are constantly praising the “nation state” idea, and how important it is to be proud of Egypt and one’s Egyptian-ness. They feel that this is necessary because the MB and other Islamists are trying to tear down the “nation state” concept and replace it with the “umma,” which stands for all of Islamdom (in other words, a Caliphate).
I love Egypt. I spent a year of my life there in the mid-’70s learning Arabic, and I would like nothing better than to see Egypt lead the Arabs, and the entire Islamic world, into a true islah of the Islamic religion–returning it back to its pre-Medina roots–its Jewish, Christian, and Ebionite roots. In other words, to de-sanctify all the passages in the ahadeeth, the Qur’an, and the books of Islamic jurisprudence that sanctify (based on Qur’an 33:21) Jew-hating, beheading, slavery, rape, sex slavery, wife beating, and militant jihad against all non-believers.
I have a vision of the current as-Sisi government feasting in safety behind the fortified walls of their castle, imagining that the barbarians at their gates have no chance of breaking in. But when I look closers at that castle . . . I see that it sits on top of a sea of Middle Eastern sand. And, when the wind blows, and that sand sifts . . .
When I watch some of the Arabic song and dance variety shows on Lebanese and Egyptian TV, I find it hard to believe that the culture that produces a people who love music and dance so much could be the same culture that produces terrorists, and wants to stone adulterers and kill apostates. But those singing, dancing, and music loving Muslims are in the minority. And, they are not true Muslims, even if they think they are. They are “Disneyland Muslims,” or “fake” Muslims as some call them. They sit in the same castle as does as-Sisi and his regime.
Another way to view this is to imagine that a “Titanic” has already sunk, and what you see on the surface of a bubbling, churning sea are all of the secular, music loving Muslims, reformers, and government figures paddling away in their inflatable lifeboats hoping to reach dry land before . . .
Swarming just below them are legions of giant, great white sharks, each twice the size of a life raft. Just a flick of a tail, a nudge of a nose . . .
And, while the sound track from “Jaws” plays, President as-Sisi uses the technique of carrot and extreme stick, hoping that brute force can keep the sharks at bay.
Should Egypt blow, it will touch off a new chain of jihadi groups taking power all over the Middle East. The reverberations will be felt throughout Europe and America as well where powerful Muslim Brotherhood entities and front groups have already taken up root.
It is in this environment that the MB front group the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has demanded that the FBI’s “terrorist watchlist” be investigated for possible bias against Muslims. I can hardly wait to see what that will lead to.
Barry Webb had a 25-year career as an Arabic translator for the NSA and other government entities and is the author of CONFESSIONS OF AN (EX) NSA SPY: Why America and its Allies are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com
The number one topic this past week in the Arabic media is the attack against the Abqaiq oil refinery installations in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province.
Immediately after the attack the Shi’a Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility saying that they used ten drones to attack two separate refineries in Saudi Arabia’s eastern region. These claims were made in a Houithi-produced video which circulated on the internet.
Subsequent news reports out of the U.S. have claimed that the drones and “cruise missiles” were fired from Iranian soil. However, the Kuwaitis have complained that the missiles were fired from Iraqi soil right across the border from them. From this standpoint Kuwait has asked for a closer military cooperation with Saudi Arabia without specifying what that would entail, but one would suspect an “Iron Dome” type of defense to take down anything flying over Kuwaiti territory.
On 17 September www.aljajeera.net published an article repeating the Houthi claim of responsibility without mentioning which refinery, or refineries, were hit or how many drones were used. In this article the Houthis threated that “there is more to come,” then made the case that as long as Saudi Arabia is bombing them, the Saudis have to expect repayment in kind.
(Note that the Houthi claim of responsibility was met with some doubt in international quarters because this attack represented an exponential upgrade in technology and expertise than previously exhibited by the Houthis. If the Houthis did in deed execute this attack, it would mean that they had the ability to strike anywhere in Saudi Arabia and/or the U.A.E.)
The entire south and east of Iraq is predominantly Shi’a, and a number of Iranian militias and Iranian-sponsored Iraqi Shi’a militias have been operating in that area since the U.S. invasion of Iraqi in 2003. The Iranian-sponsored Iraqi Shi’a militias are called heshd sha’bi meaning “popular mobilization” and it was one of these groups that recently fired a missile into the protected so-called “Green Zone” of Baghdad which contains most of the Foreign Embassies, including that of the U.S. Therefore, it is not inconceivable that one of these groups operating in S.E. Iraq could have fired the drones and/or missiles from Iraqi soil.
That being said, though, whether it was the Iranian-backed Houthis of Yemen, or the heshd sha’bi of Iraq, or the Iranians themselves, in either case Iran is responsible. The equipment, technology, and expertise to handle a weapons system of this sort and the skills to pull off such a precise hit from a targeting standpoint could have come only from a state actor. This action is in line with Iran’s behavior over the past several months of using its proxies in Yemen, Iraq, and other countries to do its dirty work. It can therefore claim deniability, though the technology, equipment, and targeting instructions were given to said proxies by Iran.
What Iran is trying to do here is to deliver a message that if they cannot sell their petroleum resources to the outside world, then neither can any of America’s allies in the region. The Iranian Mullah’s may be also trying to shore up their sagging popularity on the home front by trying to play macho in the international arena by seeing how far they can go in terms of giving the American giant a black eye without directly hitting an American installation or killing American personnel which could invite a response Iran has no desire to suffer.
Tunisia held presidential elections this past Sunday, 15 September. The final results according to the independent Tunisian election commission were reported on 17 September by www.aljazeera.net . According to these results, established politicians fell victim to the public’s contempt as only 45% of the electorate bothered to show up at the polls. As a result, a couple of outsiders were able to grab the top two spots out of a field of 26, and will compete in the run-off election in a couple of weeks.
The winners were a lawyer named Qays Sa’eyiid running as an independent and garnering 18.4% of the vote, and a businessman currently under arrest for corruption and money laundering named Nabeel al-Qarouri. Running under the banner of the “heart of Tunis” party he garnered 15.5 % of the vote.
The candidate of the Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood-allied party an-nahdhah garnered 12.8 %, a significant downturn for that party which had won 34% and 33% in the previous two elections.
In the days prior to the elections, the Tunisian candidates held televised debates American style, with all the candidates lined up on stage, seven at a time, standing behind lecterns. That was an interesting development for an Arab country, and the decline in popularity of the Islamist party punctuates that. Perhaps Tunisia will become the first Arab country to develop a real democracy, and a system of government that is neither a theocracy, monarchy, or a military dictatorship. We can only hope.
But, things do not look so good in Egypt:
Arab Spring 2.0 may hit Cairo streets this Friday. A well-known 26-year old singer/actor and “contractor” named Muhammad ‘Ali has used social media platforms to send out a flyer promoting a campaign to force current Egyptian President as-Sisi out of office.
This Muhammad ‘Ali was born in Denmark to an Egyptian father and an Iraqi mother and has been performing concerts all over Europe, as well as acting in movies and TV dramas. In recent years he has been serving as a “contractor” for the Egyptian army.
Using social media, he has called upon Egyptians to take to the streets in every province of Egypt to demand as-Sisi’s removal, and according to a 16 September article on www.aljazeera.net his flyer has received “unprecedented response.”
He apparently believes that if his flyer can collect more than 30 million favorable hits, backed up by huge street protests this Friday, that as-Sisi and his retinue will have no choice but to step down. Among his accusations against the as-Sisi regime is corruption. He further claims that neither the army, police, or people want to see as-Sisi remain in power.
If the internet campaign does not convince as-Sisi to step down, then according to Muhammad ‘Ali the people should stage a peaceful protest in the streets for just one hour to deliver a stronger message.
For its part, according to a 16 September report on www.aljazeera.net the Egyptian ministry of interior has gone into high security alert mode. They have cancelled all leave requests by officers, and ordered those currently on leave to return to work. They are busy trying to gather the names of people who are forwarding these flyers and videos to others, and threatening to shut down the internet entirely. The security officers have also been ordered to talk to their relatives and neighbors to instill fear in them should as-Sisi be removed saying that they will become “refugees on the borders of other countries because there is no alternative for leading Egypt” (than as-Sisi).
A left-wing activist Kemal Khaleel has already been arrested.
In the fall of 2018 I wrote a short essay for the Clarion Project entitled Trouble in Egypt?
I reposted it along with some updates and expansions on www.intelreform.org several months ago under the title Arab Spring 2.0: Will it come to Egypt?
Well, unfortunately it looks like my fact-based predictions are coming true. Even if nothing transpires this weekend, the pressure will continue to build. The carrot and stick approach as-Sisi is using will only go so far. And, the regime’s arresting of leftists serves only to antagonize its only potential allies.
As I’ve pointed out before, as-Sisi has been trying to impose his brand of a “Disneyland Islam” on the country by brute force while pretending that real Islam does not exist out fear that the guardians of “real Islam” in al-Azhar will turn against him and replace him with a “true believer” more to their liking.
This Muhammad ‘Ali who is trying to stir up this new revolution is, as a singer and actor, a denizen of what I call in my book “Disneyland Islam,” and likely has no conception whatever of what “real Islam” entails. The same can be said of the majority of the Egyptian people as over 80% of them still think that they want Shari’a law to be the law of the land without the faintest idea of what that means. In 2013 they rejected a Shari’a government thinking that the “real Islam” being imposed by the Muslim Brotherhood government was not “real Islam.”
Boy, will they be surprised once again, because, as-Sisi’s security people are right: If President as-Sisi is removed chaos will follow and unsavories will gain control of the country. Those unsavories will be Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood variety. It will be a repeat of the rejected Muhammad Mursi government, though with a more subtle, and gradual approach to imposing Shari’a. It will also be closely allied to Turkey, Qatar, and possibly Iran.
And, as I pointed out before, if Egypt blows expect total chaos across the entire Middle East from Morocco to Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Barry Webb had a 25-year career as an Arabist for the NSA, holds two MA degrees in related subject matter, and is currently a senior fellow for Americans for Intelligence Reform www.intelreform.org. He is also the author of CONFESSIONS OF AN (EX) NSA SPY: Why America and its Allies are Losing the War on Terror. His website is: www.barrywebbauthor.com
James Hasson delivers a lecture at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center on Capitol Hill in Washington on Sept. 10, 2019. (Screenshot/Hillsdale College)
The Obama administration put its finger on the scale to favor two women ultimately awarded the prestigious Army Ranger tab in 2015, an American war hero claims in a book released last month. This advancement was emblematic of the role of political correctness in that administration’s defense policy, the book argues.
James Hasson, a Ranger himself as well as an attorney and former captain in the U.S. Army who won the coveted Bronze Star medal for his service in Afghanistan, made the charge—based both on whistleblower accounts and a report to which he got access—at an event on Sept. 10 in Washington at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center on Capitol Hill. The event, entitled “Social Engineering in the Military: The Cost to National Security,” highlighted Hasson’s new book, “Stand Down: How Social Justice Warriors Are Sabotaging America’s Military,” published by Regnery Publishing’s Gateway Editions
In his presentation, Hasson decried the Obama Pentagon’s decision, over the objections of the top military leaders, “to replace the Army and the Marine Corps’ longstanding policy on all-male infantry units with gender-neutral” ones. The question, Hasson points out, was not whether women should serve in combat, but whether they should serve in a very specific subset of units—infantry ground units—whose soldiers are typically carrying 100-lb. packs 15 miles a day “and possibly getting in a firefight at the end of it.” Moreover, Hasson argued, the question should be whether placing women in such units “would help the military fight and win wars.”
Instead, under a 2013 order from Obama Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the American military had to open all combat jobs to women by 2016 or explain why any jobs must stay closed. In reaction to the Administration’s gender-neutral unit policy, relates Hasson, the Marines asked for and received permission to evaluate the policy’s effect on a wide variety of metrics using outside data analysts (dubbed “the Nerd Squad”) to ensure neutrality.
The year-long study found that all-male squads outperformed gender-neutral ones 70 percent of time, according to Hasson. For instance, the study estimated that it would take mixed-gender squads 159 percent longer to extract an incapacitated Marine from a vehicle—“and if the vehicle is on fire, then seconds make the difference between life and death.”
Moreover, the study found, “the injury rates for the female Marines who were participating were astronomically higher,” the Bronze-star winner said: fully “40% of them suffered musculoskeletal injuries.” In fact, Hasson reported, pelvic stress fractures were nearly ten times higher, because “in many of the cases the female Marines were carrying a greater amount of weight than their lean body mass total.”
The Marine Corps’ reaction, said Hasson, was two-fold. First of all, their study argued, the mixed-gender units were less effective. Furthermore, it added, these squads would deprive the Corps “of some of our best Marines—our best female Marines—because they’re not going to be able to complete full careers.”
Hasson charges that when the Marines presented the study to Obama’s Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, “he refused to even read it in full. He just didn’t want to know.” In fact, Mabus “went so far as to accuse the Marines of stacking the deck, and picking substandard female Marines to evaluate their abilities.”
“I spoke to one of those Marines, and she called it a slap in the face, and she’s right,” the war hero related.
Regardless, the Obama Administration overruled the Marine study’s recommendations based on the results of the first gender-integrated class at Army Ranger school, noted the former Ranger. Specifically, in 2015, Army Capt. Kristen Griest, and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot, graduated from Ranger Training, the first women ever to do so. At the time, Griest said, “My main concern in coming to Ranger School was I might not be able to carry as much weight or not be able to meet up to the same standard.”
Given that two female cadets had passed Ranger training, the Obama Administration argued, it makes sense to put women in the toughest units in the military, “the Marines’ data be damned,” deadpanned Hasson.
Yet after Griest and Haver passed, a number of whistleblowers told House Armed Services Committee Member Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., “they had been under massive pressure to pass those graduates, and that the standards of the course hadn’t been upheld, which is a very serious allegation,” Hasson charged. In response, Russell requested the course’s records, said Hasson, but “the Obama Administration refused for months to even meet with him.” Finally, he related, the Obama Administration claimed “they’re shredded. Sorry. They’re gone. The dog ate the records.”
Hasson, however, managed to obtain the supposedly shredded records “from Ranger School sources,” and “they show that those whistleblowers were telling the truth, that standards weren’t followed, and basically, ideologues put their thumb on the scale of one of the Army’s most premiere courses.” The Obama Administration “manipulated the process” of the legendary Rangers, Hasson said, “to achieve an agenda—an agenda that had nothing at all to do with warfighting.”
The Marine General who was in charge of the original study wrote, “Our future enemies will be the ultimate arbiter of our decisions, when the lives of our Marines are in the balance, and those who choose to turn a blind eye towards immutable realities do so at the expense of the Corps’ warfighting ability, and in turn the security of our Nation.”
Social Justice Warriors
Summing up the presentation, Kirby Center Executive Director of Outreach Chris Malagisi said: “‘Safe Space’ stickers on office doors at the Naval Academy. Officers apologizing for ‘microaggressions’ against Air Force cadets. An Army gender integration study urging an end to ‘hypermasculinity’ in combat arms units … These are just a few of the examples documented [in Hasson’s book].”
Hasson “exposes the relentless social engineering campaign by powerful Deep State ideologues to remake the culture and policies of the U.S. military, even over the explicit objections of military leaders,” according to Malagisi.
The author presents evidence drawn from government documents and more than 40 sources—including senior military officers and Pentagon insiders—that Obama Administration activists “used the U.S. military as their preferred vehicle to advance the progressive agenda,” Malagisi said.
Taken together, Malagisi remarked, the examples “paint—as you can imagine—a very troubling picture of what happens when left-wing political operatives impose a political agenda on our Nation’s military: They render our forces less effective, place our military men and women in greater danger, and compromise the military’s sole objective—to protect America by winning our Nation’s wars.”
Instead, Malagisi concluded, “Our Nation has a moral obligation to ensure that the sons and daughters that it sends to war have the best possible chance for victory.”
America’s Most Progressive Employer?
Overall, Hasson noted, “The Army that I entered during President Obama’s first term was nothing like the Army that I left at the end of his second.”
In 2016, Hasson reported, Brad Carson, Obama’s then-Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness “boasted” that “their ambition was to make the Department of Defense the Nation’s ‘most progressive employer.’”
“In some ways,” Hasson charged, Obama’s Administration “succeeded in some significant and harmful ways.” Even after Obama’s departure, Hasson said, if the situation is left unaddressed, the problem will only get worse. In that case, Hasson pointed out, “the lives of the men and women we send on our behalf into harm’s way and our national security are at greater risk.”
Hasson argued that “helping the men and women we send into harm’s way be successful—and survive” should drive a country’s military decisions.
The book—which Hasson describes as a “cautionary act of journalism”—lays out what Obama’s tenure did to the American military, and underscores “the need to pull back from those changes and to refocus our defense policy on what really matters.”
Indeed, according to Hasson, “decision-makers who prioritized progressive hobby horses over our soldiers’ needs during Obama’s eight years of social engineering” have pushed the U.S. military to the point of “crisis.” During that time, “social engineers and social justice warriors, progressive ideologues forced progressive policies on the military even at the expense of military readiness.”
“These progressive policies, if they’re not reversed, pose a much greater long-term threat … to our armed forces than any budget cut ever will,” the decorated Ranger stated.
After all, Hasson said, “The military’s job isn’t to be as woke as Apple or Google, it’s simply to fight and win our Nation’s wars.”
According to Hasson’s research and experience, “The Obama Administration routinely filled powerful and influential positions in the Pentagon … with ideologues.” This was a break with the past, he charged: “Unlike the previous Administrations who normally chose national security professionals to be making decisions about our national security, the Obama Administration chose political ideologues.”
Specifically, in addition to Carson, Hasson singled out Eric Fanning, a political appointee dropped into the Pentagon for virtually the entire Obama Administration, who “was simply a longtime liberal activist.” “He had no military experience whatsoever.” Fanning, Hasson noted, once bragged, “It’s hard to undo these things now that we’ve done them.”
Finally, the war hero fingered Mabus, whom Obama installed as Secretary of the Navy, whose background was as the former Democratic governor of Mississippi and an avowed environmental activist. In his announcement, Hasson pointed out, the Obama administration highlighted his green credentials, not his modest experience with naval warfare.
At the end of Mabus’s tenure, the satirical military site DuffelBlog skewered Mabus’s “gender-neutralizing the Navy’s rank and ratings system, naming warships after progressive social justice icons, forcing the integration of women into combat roles and onto submarines despite idiotic ‘concerns’ from admirals and generals who had only 35 or 40 years of experience, and also trying to fuel every ship and aircraft in the fleet with patchouli oil.”
In the military, Hasson summed up, “When people making decisions have very little experience in the military, and they disdain its mission, and they use it as a vehicle to [push] a political agenda, our service members suffer, and the mission is compromised.”
For the entire transcript of this interview, please continue reading.
For the entire transcript of this interview, please continue reading.
For the entire transcript of this interview, please continue reading.
For the entire transcript of this interview, please continue reading.
This essay is part of a RealClearPolicy series centered on the American Project, an initiative of the Pepperdine School of Public Policy. The project looks to the country’s founding principles to respond to our current cultural and political upheaval.
The United States’ hoary motto, e pluribus unum, symbolized the unity of the colonies against the tyranny of King George III. With apologies to true Latin scholars, the motto of today’s American partisans might well be ex uno plura, Out of the One, Many — symbolizing not only both parties’ seemingly endless bloodlust for each other but also a growing tendency on both Right and Left to deconstruct our great nation into warring racial, gender, and sexual factions.
Our Founding Fathers certainly did not see things this way. Alexander Hamilton, for instance, referred to parties — or factions — as “the most fatal disease” afflicting republics, and hoped to dispense with them in America. As a contemporary put it, “Hamilton said in ‘The Federalist,’ in his speeches, and a hundred times to me that factions would ruin us, and our government had not sufficient energy and balance to resist the propensity to them and to control their tyranny and their profligacy.” Hamilton granted that “the spirit of party, in different degrees, must be expected to infect all political bodies.” But, at best, he saw such partisanship to be a “necessary evil.”
Likewise, James Madison wrote that a “well-constructed Union” should “break and control the violence of faction.” To be fair, Madison went on to argue that the size of the United States would accomplish that mission, because it would be more difficult for what we now think of as special interests to organize over that expanse — that interests would tend to check each other, and that no one interest would be able to gain an overall upper hand. Some have suggested Congress’ tendency toward partisan gridlock is in fact fulfilling Madison’s vision. Indeed, as Madison
elsewhere conceded, “parties … seem to have a permanent foundation in the variance of political opinions in free states.” Like it or not, “no free country has ever been without parties, which are a natural offspring of freedom;” and even that “the Constitution itself … must be an unfailing source of party distinctions.” But if Madison believed that factions are unavoidable, like Hamilton, he too held that we must guard against the corrosive effects of factionalism.
Today, a cautionary note is in order. While political scientists like me may love political parties, and Americans increasingly regard their own parties as an integral part of their oft-hyped “identities,” both parties are increasingly despised by the electorate, and Independents have a double digit lead over both Republicans and Democrats.
But that hasn’t stopped Left and Right from trying to tear the country in two.
The alt-Left — or, to be less flip, the arguably neo-Marxist identitarians stifling free speech and liberal education — contend that America’s history is rooted in racism, flowing from a Western Civilization bent on colonizing indigenous land. Our constitutional tradition, meanwhile, is said to provides rights without responsibilities and therefore should either be interpreted to mandate radicalism or discarded in favor of some socialist paradise.
The alt-Right — not all conservatives as the mainstream media would have you believe, but a separate sub-species dedicated to anti-Semitism, racial IQ, and Pepe the Frog — agrees with the alt-Left that rights come from community and that America’s history is rooted in racism. It’s just that the alt-Right celebrates these ideas, harkening back not just to Jim Crow and the Holocaust but Norse pagan traditions, once explored ad nauseum by its Germanic antecedents.
To reunite behind the American project as originally construed, conservatives must set themselves as a movement to downsizing and defeating the worst elements of both the alt-Left and alt-Right, and to uniting Republicans, Democrats, and Independents of good will against both — and for America’s fundamental principles.
As a first public step down that path, Pepperdine University’s aptly named American Project has offered to “assess where the conservative movement stands today and imagine its healthy future.” The project’s governing document, “A Way Forward: A Call to Restore the American Project,” diagnoses our national illness, which it calls “a serious but treatable disorder.” The disorder includes political polarization, radicalization, apathy, civic disengagement, alienation, and, finally, “a modern loneliness so acute as to threaten what we call the American Project.”
In contrast to both the alt-Left and alt-Right, “A Way Forward” sees the American political tradition as an antidote to this disease, rather than its cause. And it offers a welcome characterization of this tradition as a centuries-long process of nurturing a collective understanding of “the capacity for self-government,” encapsulated in the Constitution, which it describes as “a source of a distinctly human dignity.”
The document then hits a cordially controversial note: That the pursuit of happiness enshrined in our Declaration of Independence “requires energetic social and political institutions,” including, not only schools, houses of worship, and workplaces — but also political parties as well. Hamilton and Madison might well have cautioned that while parties and other factions may never be stamped out, they are a threat to rather than a requirement for the pursuit of happiness enshrined in the Constitution.
Regardless, by bringing together the leading lights of conservatism under an intellectual banner that broadly binds them, and providing a platform for thoughtful debate about our political tradition, the American Project is putting into practice the principle that ought to guide our politics today: E pluribus unum.
Christopher C. Hull is president of Issue Management and senior fellow at Americans for Intelligence Reform, Inc. He holds a doctorate in government from Georgetown University. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @ChristopherHull.
Last week we reported that the Foreign Minister of Bahrain, Shaykh Khaled bin Ahmad bin Muhammad Aal Khalifa, tweeted that Israel has a right to defend itself, in response to the flap over the two Israeli drones that violated Lebanon’s airspace, one of which carried explosives and took out an Hizbollah office in south Beirut. In this context, the Bahraini FM stressed that since Iran “has declared war against all of us,” implying that any attack against any of their IRGC entities, their Lebanese Hizbollah, their “popular mobilization” militias in Iraq, or their Houthi arm in Yemen, constitutes “self defense.”
This week, according to www.al-jazeera.net, the Bahraini FM has doubled down by directly accusing Hizbollah of escalating the situation by attacking Israel (in reference to Hizbollah’s taking out an Israeli military vehicle this weekend). Then he took it a step further by accusing the Lebanese government itself of being complicit in the escalation. This would stem from the fact that the “Lebanese government” (which includes Sunni and Christian members) is essentially hostage to Hizbollah).
Therefore, according to the Bahraini FM’s reasoning, the Lebanese government is responsible and “any aggression by one state against another is forbidden by International Law” and is subjecting its citizens to the subsequent danger.
The Foreign Ministry of Bahrain then issued a formal statement ordering all of its citizens in Lebanon to leave immediately.
The above statements by the Bahraini FM were also reported on the Saudi-owned www.al-arabiyya TV, a day later.
Israel sharing sensitive Counter-Terrorism (CT) intelligence with its arch enemy, the terrorist entity of Hamas? Ridiculous! Or is it? According to an article published by
al-Monitor, a Washington, DC-based news entity founded by a Christian Arab-American from Lebanon/Syria, that is exactly what is happening. The author of this al-Monitor article is one Shlomi Eldar, an Israel-based journalist who for the past two decades has covered the Palestinian Authority and Gaza for Israel’s TV channels 1 and 10.
Here is how this has come about: Israel and Egypt have been sharing intelligence information for several years. At first this intelligence information included CT on Hamas, which both countries considered to be a terrorist group. Egypt had declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist group in 2013 with former General as-Sisi assuming the presidency of Egypt’s nominally civilian government. Since Hamas was founded as the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Hamas was automatically included in that designation.
Furthermore, Egypt has been having trouble with Hamas in terms of cross-border smuggling of weapons, drugs, and jihadis. As a part of this Egypt-Hamas contention Egypt had closed its border with Gaza and joined with Israel in enforcing an embargo on it. Egypt had also accused Hamas of aiding the anti-government protests and terrorist activities in Egypt’s Sinai.
So, what gives? What led to both Egypt and Israel altering their positions on Hamas? Or vice-versa?
For one thing, according to Mr. Eldar, Hamas has been moving closer to Egypt in order the get the embargo eased. Egypt, for its part is wanting to woo Hamas to get its aid and cooperation vis-à-vis the ongoing CT war in the Sinai, and beyond that, to entice it on board a possible future pan-Palestinian peace deal with Israel.
However, as Hamas has moved closer to Egypt, including pretending to disassociate itself from the mother ship, the MB, in order to please Egypt, a note-worthy splinter group has declared Hamas to be a “traitor” to the “Arab-Islamic-Palestinian” cause and has begun conducting car bombings and other terrorist acts against the terrorist group Hamas!
The name of this splinter group is bayt al-miqdis, which in Arabic means “The House of Holiness” and is a name for Jerusalem. This term also refers to an Islamic prophecy contained in the ahadeeth referring to a massive Islamic army that will march out from Khorusan (an area in SW and central Asia including Afghanistan and parts of Iran, Pakistan and other Central Asian countries). This army, it is said, will bear the “black banners” and will reconquer bayt al-miqdis for the Muslims. Most Palestinians believe that when this Latter Day army reaches their region that they will become the vanguard, the spearhead, of this army as it destroys Israel and takes over Jerusalem.
Hamas, consequently, fears that this bayt al-miqdis organization will out recruit it and become a major threat to its hold on power in Gaza. Thus its acceptance of CT intel from Israel, the very entity it has vowed to destroy. But, of course, it can’t admit to itself that it is doing so. This is where Egypt enters the equation according to Mr. Eldar. This bayt
al-miqdis group is the primary group causing Egypt headaches in the Sinai, and so, as Hamas has recently moved closer to Egypt, it and Egypt are now sharing CT intelligence on bayt al-miqdis and “inadvertently” as Hamas accepts CT intel from Egypt among that CT intel is intel Israel has provided to Egypt. Egypt, for its part, passes along Israeli CT only that intel agreed upon by Israel. “The very essence of a paradox” says Mr. Eldar. “The relationship between Israel and Hamas is tangled and complex, with all sorts of remarkable twists and turns.
This paradox also underscores two age-old adages: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” (at least temporarily), and “politics makes for strange bedfellows.” Frankly, Egypt, Israel, and Hamas all in bed together is about as strange as it can get. Welcome to the modern Middle East.
Over the weekend, and immediately after the G-7 meeting in France, Japan hosted the Japan-Africa conference. Egyptian talk-show host ‘Amru Adeeb reported on this conference for his al-hakaya (The Story) show as a vehicle for boasting about Egypt’s importance. Mr. Adeeb first beamed with pride over President as-Sisi’s hob-knobbing with the world leaders of the planet’s major powers, then flying directly to Japan to represent the entire continent of Africa as this year’s president of the Organization of African States.
According to Mr. Adeeb, Japan has pledged to invest some $20 billion U.S. in Africa, in hopes of competing with China for Africa’s allegiance.
Barry Webb has logged a 25-year career as an Arabist for the NSA, has two MA degrees in related subject matter, and is currently a Senior Fellow with Americans for Intelligence Reform www.intelreform.org. He is the author of Confessions of an (ex) NSA spy: Why America and its Allies are Losing the War on Terror. His website is www.barrywebbauthor.com