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Ken Timmerman

Ken Timmerman is a political writer and conservative activist who was the 2012 Republican nominee for U.S. Representative for the newly redrawn Maryland’s 8th congressional district.

In 2000, Timmerman was a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator from Maryland. Timmerman is executive director of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, an organization that works to support democratic movements in Iran.

His website is:

TIMMERMAN: The real questions about Benghazi

Kenneth R. Timmerman - The Washington Times

Secrets about how the tragedy happened still remain hidden

A year has gone by since the catastrophic attacks on U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, and the Obama administration has yet to provide any answers to the families of the four Americans who were killed, or to the American people.

What really happened in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012? More importantly, why?

We know one thing for sure: The initial story put out by the administration — that it began as a demonstration over an Internet video — is simply not true.

Far more astonishing is the fact that everyone in the chain of command — from President Obama on down to the duty officers at the Department of State and the Pentagon who were following video and audio feeds from Benghazi as the attacks unfolded — knew that the cover story provided to the ambassador to the U.N., Susan E. Rice, for talk shows the following Sunday was an utter fabrication. Even the State Department's own Accountability Review Board admitted last December, "there was no protest prior to the attacks."

Why did the administration take the risk of putting out a fabricated cover story? What does it tell us about what really happened, and why?

These are questions that Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, needs to ask the members of the review board when they testify at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing he will chair on Thursday.

The White House cover-up first sought to disguise the identity of the attackers. They wanted us to think the attackers were just a flash mob, not an organized terrorist group.

What did that hide? For starters, that an Iranian-backed brigade, run by a former Gitmo detainee who knew Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens personally, claimed responsibility for the attack. This came at a time when the administration was deep in discussions with the Iranian regime over a "grand bargain" to bring Iran back into the concert of nations.

Also missing was any mention of Muslim Brotherhood operatives from Egypt whose presence during the attack has been documented in YouTube videos and subsequently by a Libyan government investigation.

Why was that embarrassing? Because the Muslim Brotherhood, and specifically Egypt's president, Mohammad Morsi, were supposed to be our friends. Instead, Mr. Morsi's agents apparently took part in the killing of four Americans.

Second, the cover-up sought to disguise the motivation of the attackers. The administration wanted us to believe that the attack was a spontaneous response to an Internet video that Muslims found offensive — in other words, that it was our fault.

We still don't know for sure the motivation of the attackers, other than they were well-organized terrorists hell-bent on killing Americans. However, sources I have interviewed in this country and abroad with firsthand knowledge of the events in Libya have raised several theories I continue to investigate:

The attackers were retaliating for the targeted killing of Islamists by a CIA-Joint Special Operations Command teams working out of the Benghazi CIA annex.

They were seeking to loot surface-to-air missiles gathered up by the CIA and State Department contractors that were being stockpiled at the annex, or to prevent the transfer of those weapons to Syrian rebels;

They were seeking to acquire the classified communications codes used by the intelligence teams at the annex and the diplomatic cipher used at the Special Mission Compound.

They initially planned to kidnap the ambassador and exchange him for convicted Egyptian terrorist Omar Abdul Rahman, the so-called "blind sheik" imprisoned in the United States since 1994 for plotting to blow up the Lincoln and Holland tunnels in New York. In this theory, the attack got out of hand and the ambassador died.

The simplest explanation for the cover-up is the most familiar: President Obama was determined to cling to the fiction that he had defeated al Qaeda, in the hopes this would pull the rug out from under his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, in November. If the cover-up unraveled after the elections, so be it.

However, from what I have uncovered so far, I think this story goes much deeper, and gets much darker.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was ready to "run to the gun," but his request to rescue Mr. Stevens was denied three times that night. When he ultimately disregarded the stand-down order and reached the Special Mission Compound an hour after the attack began, it was too late.
"This is the first time in our history that the military hasn't come to the rescue when called," his father, retired lawyer Charles Woods, told a Citizens Commission on Benghazi on Monday. "There are only two people who can issue an order to stand down, to not rescue. It would have to be either the secretary of defense, or the president. Only one of those two."
So who was it? Americans — starting with the families of the four brave souls who perished that night — deserve the answer.

Kerry exposes Iranian family tie - and subjects family to blackmail

By: Ken Timmerman - The Daily Caller

In a greeting to the Iranian people on the occasion of the traditional New Year (Nowruz) holiday last week, Secretary of State John Kerry exposed a secret that journalists and academics have been agonizing over for the past six weeks: the fact that his daughter has married an Iranian-American who has extensive family ties to Iran.

“I am proud of the Iranian-Americans in my own family, and grateful for how they have enriched my life,” Kerry said in the official statement. Kerry also said he was “strongly committed to resolving” the differences between the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, “to the mutual benefit of both of our people.”

Politicians like to keep their families off-limits to the press, a decorum enforced vigorously when it comes to politicians who are in favor with the national media but ruthlessly discarded for others. But in Kerry’s case, there could be larger ramifications.

Since its inception, the FBI has vetted U.S. government officials involved in national security issues, and it generally won’t grant clearances to individuals who are married to nationals of an enemy nation or have family members living in that country, for fear of divided loyalties or, more simply, blackmail.

Behrouz (Brian) Nahed and Vanessa Kerry Nahed are both resident physicians at Mass General in Boston. An Iranian government website first published pictures of the married couple in February, just as Kerry was up for confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Dr. Nahed’s parents live in Los Angeles, but he has relatives still in Iran. The Iranian website reported that shortly after their marriage, the young couple visited those relatives in Iran.

Was the Iranian publication itself a subtle form of blackmail, aimed at letting Kerry know that the regime is fully aware of his son-in-law’s extended family in Iran? The Islamic Republic systematically puts pressure on family members of prominent Iranian-Americans (for example, individuals who work at the Persian service of Voice of America), to make sure that they do not engage in hostile statements or activities against the Tehran regime.

Certainly, Secretary Kerry has long favored a U.S. rapprochement with the Islamic Republic. He has repeatedly appeared with groups such as the American Iranian Council (AIC), and has taken money from Iranian-Americans for his political campaigns, including at least one illegal donation from an Iranian woman who did not have a green card. So he didn’t need to have an Iranian-American family member to believe that the United States should forge direct relations with the Islamic Republic or ease U.S. pressure on the regime.

Kerry may have figured that by revealing the family tie himself he could diffuse the situation, and make it more difficult for the regime to put pressure on his son-in-law’s family. Of course, that’s assuming Kerry in fact plans to do anything that angers the regime.

But what if the regime simply decides to round up Nahed’s family members and torture them? Or sends its goons to visit them at home? Or exerts some form of more subtle pressure on them that gets no publicity, and then makes it known they want the United States to release Iranians jailed in the United States on terrorism charges or for attempting to procure weapons technology or military spare parts?

In any other administration, such a complicated situation would have been considered an unacceptable security risk for a cabinet-level officer. My guess: Now that the cat is out of the bag, a fawning left-wing media will attempt to gin up public sympathy for Secretary Kerry, and lionize him for bravely reaching out to Tehran.

While that might send shivers down the leg of a Chris Matthews, it won’t resolve the very real security risk. The mullahs in Tehran and their goon squads won’t hesitate to exploit this messy situation for their own benefit.

One can only sympathize in advance with Behrouz Nahed’s family in Iran, and wonder at the audacity, naiveté and hubris of an American politician who apparently thinks his position (and positions) put him above it all.

Broadcast Partners

Dr. Eilat Mazar - Israeli Archaeologist

Eilat Mazar
Eilat Mazar is a third-generation Israeli archaeologist, specializing in Jerusalem and Phoenician archaeology. A senior fellow at the Shalem Center, she has worked on the Temple Mount excavations, as well as excavations at Achzib. In addition to heading the Shalem Center's Institute of Archaeology, she is affiliated with the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

On August 4, 2005, Mazar announced she had discovered in Jerusalem what may have been the palace of the biblical King David, the second king of a united Kingdom of Israel, who ruled from around 1005 to 965 BC. Now referred to as the Large Stone structure, Mazar's discovery consists of a public building dated from the 10th century BC, pottery from the same period, and a bulla, or government seal, of Jehucal, son of Shelemiah, son of Shevi, an official mentioned at least twice in the Book of Jeremiah. The dig was sponsored by the Shalem Center and financed by an American investment banker. The land is owned by the Ir David (City of David) Foundation.

Amihai Mazar, a professor of archaeology at Hebrew University, and Mazar's cousin, called the find "something of a miracle."

Mazar obtained her Ph.D. from Hebrew University in 1997. She is the granddaughter of pioneering Israeli archaeologist Benjamin Mazar. She is a mother of four and resides in Jerusalem.

Dr. Rob Congdon - European Union Expert

Dr. Rob Congdon
In September of 2006, Robert Congdon believed the time had come to expand his ministry to include countries outside of the United Kingdom and the United States. Leaving the American mission organization that he had represented for 10-years and returning to the United States, he started his own independent ministry, Congdon Ministries International, Inc., in January 2007.

While in Britain, Dr. Congdon sought to assist the local churches by bringing Bible teaching in response to the needs expressed by the church leadership. Over the last 50 years, British churches had seen a militant attack upon dispensationalism/premillennialism* doctrine and the literal, historical, and grammatical Bible (hermeneutic) interpretation. Dr. Congdon observed that as churches turned from a premillennial doctrinal view of prophecy to an amillennial/covenant position, they lost their sense of purpose and direction. Evangelism and mission programs declined and disappeared. Over time, the local church died of its own making, largely due to their change in understanding of the role of Israel, prophecy, and the church.

Recognizing this often repeated pattern of decline, Dr. Congdon seeks to counter this decline by bringing Biblical understanding of the relationship of Israel and the church to church leadership and the people in the pew. Through pulpit messages, Bible seminars, and church conferences, he assists the local church and enables Bible believers to understand and to defend their belief in the Rapture, the coming Tribulation, the Second Coming of Christ, and the 1000-year Millennial rule of Christ upon the earth. This teaching has enabled many Christians to better understand the Scriptures and God's plan for history. As a church's understanding grew, so does its sense of direction and evangelism.

The Internet Bible Institute,, expands this outreach beyond the United Kingdom and further equips believers to serve their Lord and to prepare them for their role as the Bride of Christ in the Millennial Kingdom. Today's IBI has students around the world.

Congdon Ministries now offer Bible teaching assistance to local churches and their leadership throughout the world. Many churches lack sufficient background to counter the challenges by movements, such as the purpose-driven church, the emerging church, post-modernism theology, Replacement Theology, etc., all are the result of the amillennial view of history. Few realize that amillennialism began in the 4th century and gradually removed premillennialism from the early churches.

Dr. Congdon is available to assist your church or assembly in understanding these important issues and how they affect your local church. Feel free to contact him to better understand the dangers facing the local church today.

David Dolan - Broadcast Journalist, Popular Speaker, Author

David Dolan
David Dolan is a Jerusalem-based author and journalist. Born and raised in the United States, he has lived and worked in Israel since 1980. Dolan is a frequent guest on the Prophecy Today Radio broadcast.
After studying at a Bible College in his native Pacific Northwest, Dolan graduated from a broadcasting journalism school in 1976. He subsequently worked for the Moody radio network's Spokane affiliate. His Mideast media career began in 1982 when he began serving as news director at the Voice of Hope radio station in war-torn southern Lebanon. From April 1984, he reported from Jerusalem for the Washington DC-based IMS news network, and later for CBN's Middle East Television (METV) in Jerusalem. 

Dolan became a regular reporter for the CBS radio network in early 1988, soon after the first Palestinian uprising broke out. He also covered the massive immigration of Soviet Jews to Israel, the 1991 Gulf War, and many other stories during the 1990's, along with the new Palestinian attrition war that began in September 2000. He is currently reporting once again for the Moody radio network, and via videophone for the American LeSea television network, which now operates METV.
A frequent guest on many other radio and television programs in the US and elsewhere, Dolan also writes a regular opinion column for the popular World Net Daily website. He began authoring the monthly Israel News Digest for the group Christian Friends of Israel in 1986. He has also written hundreds of articles for many Christian and secular publications, including for the Jerusalem Post, Moody Monthly, Charisma, and Prophecy Today (UK).

David Dolan is also a well-known international speaker. He has appeared at many Christian and secular universities, international conferences, Jewish synagogues and forums, and before many churches and civic groups. He has toured over 20 times in the United States, and has frequently visited Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Holland, Singapore and Australia. He has also spoken in Ireland, Norway, Switzerland, Hungary, Austria, New Zealand and Hong Kong. He also addresses visiting tour groups in Israel and foreign students studying in Jerusalem. Along with US Senator John Ashcroft and two other recipients, Dolan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Louisiana Baptist University in 1998.

To schedule David Dolan to speak in North America , contact Bette Laughrun toll-free at 800-728-1779, or via Your Israel Connection. To have him speak elsewhere, or to share with tour groups in Israel or for other information, contact David Dolan.

Here is David Dolan's speaking schedule.

Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis

Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis
Do you have a question for Col. Maginnis? Would you like to have Col. Maginnis appear on your broadcast or speak at your special event?

Contact Col. Maginnis through his Ambassador Agency website - or send him an email.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert (Bob) Maginnis, US Army (retired) is a regular broadcast partner on the Prophecy Today Radio broadcast. Col. Maginnis is an experienced and internationally known expert on national security and foreign affairs. He currently serves as a national security and foreign affairs analyst for Moody Broadcasting Radio Network, Salem Radio Network, and is a regular guest on several other radio networks. He recently completed a year as a Fox News military analyst. He is a senior systems analyst with BCP International Limited, an Alexandria, VA-based company where his primary duties involve working on multinational programs for the Department of the Army. Since October of 2002, Col. Maginnis has been a member of Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Military Analyst Group.

Before coming to BCP International Col. Maginnis served as the vice president for policy with the Washington, DC-based Family Research Council. While with FRC, Col. Maginnis supervised a staff of policy experts and also served as the organization’s expert for national security, foreign affairs, crime prevent and drug policies. He has testified numerous times before Congressional committees.

In his many roles, Col. Maginnis has appeared on ABC, NBC and CBS evening news shows, CBS 60 Minutes, CBS This Morning, ABC Good Morning America, PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, MSNBC Equal Time, Hardball, Internight, and The News with Brian Williams, Court TV's Pro and Con, Fox News The O'Reilly Factor, Hannity and Colmes, and is a regular guest on On the Record, CNN's Crossfire, Larry King Live, Talk Back Live, Wolf Blitzer Reports, Late Edition as well as other programs, such as Donahue and The Jenny Jones Show. He has been quoted many times in newspapers and magazines across the world such as The New York Times, US News & World Report and Time Magazine. Since 1993, he has written more than 500 articles, many of which have been published in distinguished newspapers and magazines nationwide. Colonel Maginnis has testified before congressional committees on military personnel issues, drug policy, AIDS, teen violence and homosexuality. His policy papers have been entered into the Congressional Record and his material is frequently used by members during floor debates. He is also a respected anti-drug expert having spoken at conferences in the United States and abroad. His anti-drug insights are sought by the media, grassroots activists, and government officials.

In July 1993, Col. Maginnis retired from an assignment in the Pentagon where he served as an Inspector General. He is an airborne-ranger infantry officer with an assignment history that includes Korea, Germany, Alaska, and several posts in the continental United States. He served in command and staff positions in four infantry divisions from platoon to division level. The colonel was the chief for the U.S. Army Infantry School’s leadership and ethics training branch. He developed curricula, taught, participated in leader development research and consulted with leaders and soldiers throughout the Army. He is the author of more than fifty articles published in professional military journals concerning ethics, leadership, and personnel matters impacting the military. Col. Maginnis' service in the armed forces was commended with the Legion of Merit, one of the highest Army peacetime decorations, as well as with five meritorious medals and four commendation medals.

In the last eight months of his military service, Col. Maginnis was a member of the Army’s study group examining the homosexual ban. He also was advisor to the Defense Department Military Working Group on homosexuals in the military. In that role, he debated the issue in the media as well as speaking in various forums - including testifying before a House subcommittee.

Col. Maginnis received his B.S. from the United States Military Academy, West Point, New York in 1973 and a M.S. from the Naval Postgraduate School, California, in 1983. He is a graduate of many military schools, including the Command and General Staff College and the US Army's War College strategy course.

Col. Maginnis was born on October 3, 1950, in Orlando, Florida, and was raised in Alabama, California and Tennessee. He and his wife Jan have two children, Meghan, a recent graduate of Liberty University and now an employee with Booz-Allen-Hamilton in McLean, Virginia and Grant, a senior at Evangel Christian School, Dale City. They have made their home in Woodbridge, Virginia since 1990. They are active members at Calvary Baptist Church in Woodbridge.

Mike Gendron

Mike Gendron
Evangelist Mike Gendron, a 1992 graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, is a frequent speaker at conferences such as The Steeling the Mind Bible Conference, Understanding the Times, The Midnight Call Prophecy Conference, The Red River Bible Conference, The Word of Life Conference Centers in NY and Florida, The Conservative Theological Society, International Prophecy Conferences, Olive Tree Ministries and The Pre-Trib Rapture Conference. He has addressed the students and faculty at The Master's Seminary, The Master's Academy International, Dallas Theological Seminary, Moody Bible Institute and Tyndale Theological Seminary. Mike has done seminars at hundreds of churches throughout the world and has appeared as a guest on many radio and TV programs, including The History Channel. He has also been writing monthly articles for the Ankerberg Theological Journal since 1998.

His book Preparing for Eternity is not only a comprehensive teaching on Roman Catholicism, but also, an excellent discipleship tool for Catholics. The book equips and encourages Christians to proclaim the sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work of redemption to Roman Catholics. Overflowing with Scripture, Mike's book begins by establishing God's word as the most trustworthy authority for knowing the truth. Over 100 frequently asked questions by Catholics are answered with the power and confidence of God‚s infallible word. The book is also available in Spanish and Dutch.

Mike is Director and founder of Proclaiming the Gospel Ministry, a 21-year-old evangelistic outreach to those who are lost in religion. The ministry conducts short term missions‚ trips and evangelistic seminars in churches throughout the world. It has 20,000 subscribers in 50 states and 40 foreign countries. His popular booklets, Roman Catholicism: Scripture vs. Tradition, Have You Ever Been Deceived?, Which Jesus Will You Trust? and Rome vs. The Bible have a combined circulation of well over a million copies. Mike's professionally recorded messages, accompanied by PowerPoint/Keynote are available on DVD and are distributed throughout the world. The ministry provides many other evangelistic tools and publications available in English, Spanish Portuguese, Dutch and Italian. The ministry web site: contains a wealth of information and resources bring clarity to the doctrinal differences separating Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity.


After obtaining a degree in Applied Mathematics, Mike worked in the space program at Cape Kennedy, Florida for 3 years. Prior to going into the ministry, he received an MBA from the University of Texas at Dallas and enjoyed a successful 17-year career in corporate management, becoming National Sales Manager for a fortune 100 company. A devout Roman Catholic for over 34 years, Mike was saved by God's amazing grace when he began reading the Bible for the first time in 1981. Upon completion of a Masters degree at Dallas Theological Seminary, he served as pastor of evangelism and outreach at a Bible church in Dallas for three years and founded Proclaiming the Gospel Ministry. Mike is married to Jane and has two daughters and four grandchildren.


B.S. Mathematics, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, 1970; Masters in Business Administration, University of Texas at Dallas, 1977; Masters in Biblical Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1992; Diploma, Institute of Holy Land Studies, Jerusalem, Israel, 1992.

SPECIAL INTERVIEW with the author of the Harbinger, Pastor Jonathan Cahn

Dave James
Pastor Jonathan Cahn

Dr. Jimmy DeYoung moderates a discussion between David James and Pastor Jonathan Cahn, author of "The Harbinger".


The Harbinger: Fact or Fiction?  

Does Isaiah 9:10 really contain an ancient mystery that holds the secret of America's future?

Read or download Dave James' review on "The Harbinger"  

T.A. McMahon with the Berean Call...A critical review of The Harbinger  

The Harbinger is a novel that is becoming very popular among both Christians and non-Christians, even reaching the top of the New York Times best-seller list.  

Read more  

Thomas Ice takes "A Critical look at The Harbinger"  

The Harbinger[1] is a fictional account of what its author, Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn believes is a scenario that is on the verge of happening to America.

Read more

Do Palestinians deserve a state?

By: Dan Calic - Yedioth Internet

With President Obama coming to Israel soon, let me ask what some consider a rhetorical question- do the Palestinians actually deserve a state of their own? Obama and most of the international community think they do. Yet if we take a closer look at the situation there are serious issues which should not be ignored. For example, would it be a peaceful, productive neighbor with Israel? This can best be answered by reviewing some guiding principles of the PLO and Fatah, which is the dominant political party of which Mahmoud Abbas is chairman.

From the PLO charter:

Article 19: "….establishment of the State of Israel is entirely illegal…"

Article 20: "….Jews do not constitute a single nation with an identity of its own…"

From the Fatah charter:

Article 12: "…complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic,

political, military and cultural existence."

Article 17: "Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine."

Article 19: "The struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished, and

Palestine is completely liberated."

Do these statements reflect goals of a peaceful and productive neighbor?

It's important to understand when they use the term "Palestine," it includes Israel. In other words, both organizations refuse to acknowledge Israel's existence, and see Judea and Samaria and the all the land upon which Israel exists as a single state of "Palestine." This reflects adherence to the uncompromising extremist Islamic view that any land once controlled by Muslims is seen as forever belonging to them. Abandoning the claim for said land is equal to blasphemy.

The failure to understand this by far too many has fostered unrealistic expectations of compromise by Islamist extremists. This applies to most world leaders, including President Obama.

Also noteworthy is the official emblem of the PLO and Fatah, which contains a map that blots out Israel completely and shows the entire land area in green, the official color of Islam.

While one can argue about its proposed borders, most of the international community supports a two-state solution. However, based on the quotes from both Palestinian organizations, it's clear they do not. Instead, their goal is one state called Palestine, with no state of Israel, period.

Let's go back in time for a moment to 1947, when the United Nations voted on the original two-state solution, which created the modern state of Israel. Did the Jews have a charter containing vitriolic statements similar to those in the charters of the PLO and Fatah? Suppose the Jews had published a document calling for the "complete liberation" of Arab Islamic existence in the partitioned Arab state? Suppose they referred to the creation of the Arab state as "entirely illegal?" Under such conditions would the United Nations have approved the partition granting the Jews their own state? Moreover, with such views, would they have deserved their own state?

The answer to these questions is clearly "no." Yet the world community doesn't seem to have a problem approving a state for the Palestinians, in spite of their clear zeal for Israel's destruction. What's wrong with this picture?

Let's not forget it was the Arabs who rejected the UN resolution of 1947 which partitioned two states. Why? Because it included the creation of Israel.

Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly said he "will never accept Israel as a Jewish state." Couple this with the referenced quotes from the PLO and Fatah charters, and what has changed since '47?

Some might suggest the contemporary demand by the Palestinians for a two-state solution means they accept Israel's right to exist. Not so. The reality is the Arabs have been unsuccessful in eliminating Israel militarily, but their lust to see it disappear hasn't diminished. They've simply changed tactics by demanding they be given statehood, which they refused in 1947 because it meant they would have to accept the existence of Israel. Today, in spite of this continued refusal, the UN vote last November 29, upgrading their status to that of a "non-member state," demonstrates that the international community is solidly behind the Palestinians.

As a result of the vote, Palestine sits in the same auditorium with Israel, in spite of the fact it's leader Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party are committed to its destruction.

Let me pose a hypothetical question: Suppose France's constitution called for the destruction of England, or America's constitution called for the destruction of Mexico? Would the UN sit in silent acquiescence of such a situation? Yet a blind eye is turned to the venomous agenda of the Palestinians, with no demand they renounce their goal of Israel's destruction. At a minimum this is unfair. In reality, it's hypocritical, bordering on anti-Semitism.

At this point again I return to the original question - whether the Palestinians deserve their own state? The answer should be obvious. The operative term is "should."

Obama gives short shrift to global affairs

By: Col. Robert Maginnis - Human Events

One-fifth of President Obama’s State of the Union speech was dedicated to rehashing his first term national security and foreign affairs policies but provided no new initiatives and plenty of cuts.  That’s alarming given the major international problems facing America today.

As expected Obama announced the withdrawal of 34,000 troops from the current 64,000 in Afghanistan and reminded the American people that this spring the Afghans will take the battle lead.  That’s great news for our returning troops but not good for the war effort, because, according to a December 2012 Pentagon report, the Afghans are not ready to take the lead.  Only one of the Afghan army’s 23 brigades is able to operate independently, according to the report.

The rush to exit what Obama once called the “necessary war” was evident in his speech.  He committed to a “unified and sovereign Afghanistan” without promising necessary financial aid for that country’s survival.  Further, subject to negotiating an agreement with Kabul, unspecified U.S. troops will continue training and counterterrorism missions after 2014.   The problem is those troops won’t provide critical enabling capabilities to the Afghans and our stay behind contingent is expected to be as few as 3,000, a totally inadequate force for the mission.

Obama’s exit formula threatens disaster because without significant long-term financial and the right military help, Afghanistan will quickly fragment and destabilize Central Asia to include the nuclear-armed Pakistan and provide a new breeding ground for transnational extremism.

The president also addressed the ongoing war with al Qaeda promising “to meet this threat.”  He intends to do the mission without “tens of thousands of our sons and daughters;” instead he will build ally capacity to “provide for their own security” and “we will continue to take direct action against terrorists” which means launching drone attacks and sending in special forces.  He did not explain why this strategy might work, especially in light of the exploding problems across North Africa.

Obama’s anti-terrorist drone campaign got him in trouble last week after the release of a Department of Justice memorandum outlining when it is okay to kill an American fighting for al Qaeda.  Obama promised in the future “to be transparent with the American people” and coordinate with Congress his targeting, detention and prosecution of terrorists.  We’ll see.

Tuesday’s surprise North Korean nuclear test earned Obama’s only passing comment and he provided no new insights about how to tame the rogue’s increasing and credible nuclear threat. He reminded the Hermit Kingdom it must “meet international obligations” and then promised we will “strengthen our missile defense.”  We’ll see whether he’s serious about missile defense when he publishes his new budget. But as for North Korea, don’t expect Obama’s “strategic patience” strategy to tame the rogue.

Obama couldn’t mention North Korea without a passing reference to his failure to curb Iran’s nuclear lust.  Once again he stated his failed “give diplomacy a chance” plan but made no mention that Tehran recently turned down bilateral talks with the U.S. and then announced the intention to accelerate its nuclear enrichment program. For Israel’s benefit Obama restated his intention to “prevent them [Iran] from getting a nuclear weapon” but set no red lines for Tehran.

Reducing nuclear weapons, which was one of Obama’s signature issues in his 2008 campaign, is back on the agenda.  He succeeded getting the Senate to approve the new START treaty with Russia in 2010 which reduces our nuclear arsenal to 1,550 warheads and 700 launch platforms – missiles and bombers.  Now he wants to cut our arsenal even deeper and perhaps unilaterally.  Meanwhile, his defense budget cutters are eyeing the $80 billion promised to modernize the country’s weapons laboratories, which was part of the price to win Republican votes for the new START treaty.

Press reports indicate Obama wants to cut our arsenal to 1,000, which perhaps is what the president meant last year when an open microphone picked up him telling Russia’s then President Dmitri Medvedev “after my election I have more flexibility.” The New York Times just reported that Mr. Obama’s national security adviser, Tom Donilon, is planning to travel to Russia next month to lay the groundwork for talks that could lead to deeper cuts.

The cyber threat garnered Obama’s emphasis as a rapidly growing threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure such as our power grid.  He announced signing an executive order earlier in the day to “strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security.”

Then he called on Congress to act especially in the wake of failed legislation attempts to address the cyber threat in 2012.  But Obama’s executive order will anger many Republicans who view Obama’s order as an end run.  Critics like Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) oppose the president’s order because it creates yet another bureaucracy forcing industry to comply with new government standards.

The Middle East’ ongoing Arab Spring crises earned passing comment but no new commitments.  Obama said “we can’t dictate the course of countries like Egypt” which may be true but he facilitated that country’s transition to the radical Muslim Brotherhood’ control by calling for the former ally President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

He gave two sentences to the ongoing civil war in Syria that so far has claimed more than 60,000 lives and threatens to destabilize the Middle East.  He promised to “support opposition leaders” but he failed to explain the strongest rebel groups are Islamic extremists that will never support American views.

Obama ended his brief foray into national security and foreign affairs issues with the reminder that he is the commander in chief.  He promised to “maintain the best military in the world” but failed to address how he will stop sequestration scheduled to kick in on March 1, 2013, which Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta labeled “devastating.”

Predictably, the president acknowledged “gays” in the military – an anti-military readiness triumph from his first term, and then he briefly mentioned his new radical social experiment, women in combat.  “Women have proven under fire that they are ready for combat,” Obama said.   That statement demonstrates how out of touch the “commander in chief” is with the reality of combat.

Obama’s State of the Union speech was short on substance, repeated his tired rhetoric and clearly signaled his intention to cut our national defenses and disengage from foreign affairs.

The take away: he is setting-up the nation for security and foreign policy failures in his second term. All this at a time when our potential adversaries are openly mocking us and rapidly building their offensive conventional and nuclear capability with America clearly designated as the target. What we have is a presidential failure to lead in the arena most critical to our way of like.

Will Israeli attack bring U.S. into Syria fray?

By: Col. Robert Maginnis - Human Events

Last week Israeli jet fighters destroyed two critical targets, a Syrian convoy loaded with sophisticated weapons intended for the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah and an unconventional weapons facility near Damascus.  That attack is a tipping point in the 22 month long civil war which now requires a more direct U.S. role.

The U.S. has vital national interests in the Syrian civil war such as delivering a strategic set-back to Iran – Syria’s chief ally and our nemesis, cutting off Hezbollah from Iran’s supply lines, stopping the proliferation of Syria’s unconventional weapons, containing the violence to Syria, and stopping the needless killing that has already claimed 60,000 lives.  We are also interested in leveraging the future Syrian government and protecting our best ally, Israel.

Until now the U.S. has remained on the sidelines of the Syrian conflict providing non-lethal support to the rebels hoping a political solution comes before the fighting spreads.   But Israel’s airstrike signals a tipping point in the war.  Syria apparently crossed at least one of Jerusalem’s red lines and because of America’s special relationship with Israel, our role changed with Israel’s attack.

Israel evidently struck two Syrian targets in close proximity: trucks laden with Russian-built SA-17 ground-to-air missiles intended for Hezbollah and Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center believed to be responsible for developing biological and chemical weapons.  The heavily guarded research facility is also used as a weapons transfer station to southern Lebanon – read Hezbollah – and known to warehouse equipment necessary for the deployment of chemical and biological weapons.

The transfer of the SA-17 missiles is significant because they would constitute a game-changer – a red line – for the ongoing Israel-Hezhollah conflict in southern Lebanon.  SA-17s operated by Hezbollah could deny Israel threat-free air space.

Recall in 2006, Israel and Hezbollah fought a 34-day war whereby the terrorist group launched more than 4,000 rockets and missiles into Israel killing 160 Jewish citizens.  Israel responded with air and ground forces that silenced Hezbollah’s aggression.

Since that war Hezbollah rebuilt its fortifications and replenished its arsenals.  But it still lacks the means to defend its air space which the SA-17 was to resolve. Expect Hezbollah to keep trying to acquire SA-17s and for Israel to respond accordingly.

Another Israeli red line is the transfer of chemical munitions to Hezbollah, a view shared with Washington.  Last year President Obama said America’s red line in Syria’s civil war is the use and/or transfer of chemical weapons.  That is why the U.S. reportedly has military personnel in the region monitoring the situation which is rapidly developing.

Press reports indicate Hezbollah has agents outside multiple Syrian chemical weapons storage sites perhaps ready to grab those munitions once the regime crumbles.  But Hezbollah may already have chemical munitions, according to the Saudi-based al-Watan newspaper.

Last winter the Syrian regime transferred two tons of mustard gas and long-range missiles to Hezbollah, according to al-Watan.  The chemical weapons transfer to Hezbollah took place from mid-February to March 2012 under the supervision of Syrian Brig.-Gen. Ghassan Abbas.  Tankers drove from Damascus to Lebanon carrying chemical weapons labeled “chlorine acid” and delivered them to “Hezbollah warehouses” in southern Lebanon.

No wonder Israeli citizens are clamoring for gas masks and Jerusalem moved two Iron Dome anti-missile batteries to northern Israel last week.  There is legitimate fear Hezbollah could launch chemical-tipped rockets at Israel given Jerusalem’s recent war experience with the Gaza-based Hamas terrorists and especially Israel’s provocative airstrike last week.

In November 2012 Hamas launched hundreds of rockets at Israeli population centers and fortunately many of those rockets were successfully intercepted by Iron Dome batteries.  But what concerned the Israelis at the time was the introduction of long range Iranian-built Fajr-5 rockets which ranged Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.  The Fajr-5s were allegedly transferred from Iran via Sudan through the Sinai during the post-Mubarak turmoil then through Egyptian-controlled borders into Gaza for assembly and use.

Similarly, Hezbollah is thought to have Iranian supplied Fajr-5s and longer-range Syrian supplied Scuds, mid-range Russian-made tactical ballistic missiles, but with a twist.  Hezbollah and Iran are using the cover of the Syrian civil war to transfer munitions like the SA-17s and likely chemical munitions to Hezbollah to be used as missile warheads.

What will happen in the Syrian civil war now that a tipping point was reached?

First, Syrian President Bashir Assad is losing ground to the rebels, which explains why he will not respond to the Israeli attack other than say that Syria might retaliate. Expect Assad to continue killing his people until his back is up against the wall.  Then he will use chemical weapons.

Second, Russia and Iran, Assad’s only two allies, are scrambling for position.  This past week Israel’s national security adviser presumably flew to Moscow to discuss the SA-17s, Syria’s expected collapse and how to keep Assad’s unconventional weapons from spilling across the region.

Russia stands to lose its only Middle East base of operations should Assad fall which explains its past support.  Expect the Russians to turn on Assad because the odds are against his survival which explains Moscow’s participation in talks with the Syrian opposition this past weekend in Munich.

Iran is especially exercised by the likely loss of Assad as well.  They have a mutual defense treaty which Iran’s grand ayatollah keeps reminding the West about, but don’t expect Tehran to take direct action against Israel because of the military and economic pressure associated with its rogue nuclear weapons program.

Tehran is also very concerned about its proxy Hezbollah being cut off by a likely Sunni-based replacement government in Damascus.  No wonder, over the weekend, Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Secretary Saeed Jalili led a high-ranking delegation to Damascus for consultations and brought another Boeing 747-131 full of weapons to boot.  Further, Ali Akbar Velayati, “Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s top international affairs adviser labeled the impending collapse of Assad’s regime a red line for Tehran,” according to Stratfor, a global intelligence company.

Third, Syrian rebels smell blood and are moving in for the kill.  They are making head-way in the ground war but need more help.  They also showed their colors when responding to the Israeli strike, which should be a red flag for the U.S. and Israel.

They slammed Assad for not quickly responding to the Israeli airstrike which they cite as proof of his weakness and acquiescence to the “Zionists.”  Expect the Isalmists-dominated Syrian rebels to fight Israel if they gain power and they won’t be America’s friend any more than has Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi.

Finally, President Obama must provide Israel public assurances against the threats.  Further, the U.S. should create a no-fly-zone to protect Syrian refugees, prevent Syrian use and/or loss of control of unconventional weapons and be prepared for overt U.S. military action in Syria.

Further, we must be guarded in our support of the Syrian rebels because many are Islamists which, as we are finding in Libya, do not share our views. Expect these Islamist forces to join in anti-American military actions in the near future.

Israel’s airstrike is a tipping point in Syria’s civil war which now requires a more direct U.S. role.  America has key interests at stake, not the least of which is standing with our best ally Israel.

Africa unrest has Obama administration fingerprints

By: Robert Maginnis - Human Events

The hostage crises in Algeria and Mali are linked to President Barack Obama’s failed Libya policy and could quickly metastasize across North Africa transforming it into the world’s epicenter for Islamic extremists.

The Islamist group that stormed the Ain Amenas gas facility in southern Algeria claims it was responding to Algiers’ support of the French military invasion of neighboring Mali.  The French went to the aid of Malian forces to battle rebels – mostly ethnic Tuaregs, nomadic Berber people who inhabit the Saharan interior of North Africa and allied with Islamic extremists – who now control much of that country and threaten, according to French authorities, to radicalize the entire region.

Adam Garfinkle, editor of The American Interest magazine and a North African expert, explained in his blog the Tuaregs are the main group that has been in periodic revolt against the Mali government for decades.  Garfinkle states the “catalyst” for the Mali rebellion was the Obama administration’s decision to start a war in Libya as well as our bad judgment about the Tuaregs.

For years the U.S. military provided counterterrorism training to Malian forces and it helped select Tuareg officers to command Mali’s northern units.  Once Obama launched operations against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi many heavily armed Tuaregs, who were Libyan mercenaries, returned to Mali with truck loads of weapons.   Then the American-picked Tuareg commanders with the help of the returning Tuareg mercenaries seized the northern half of Mali.

Now the Tuaregs with their Islamic partners, Ansar Dine and the Algerian al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), who also fled Libya, threaten the Malian capital.  That is the reported reason the French government sent jet fighters and ground troops to the rescue.  But those French forces are totally inadequate for the mission.

There are an estimated 1.2 million Tuaregs living in the region that includes land of several nations, which cover an area several times the size of Texas.  Garfinkle estimates that if only 5 percent of the Tuaregs mobilize to fight that translates to 12,500 “bad guys” which doesn’t include their Islamist allies, which number in the few thousands.  That is why the 800 French now in Mali which is expected to quickly grow to 2,500 are totally inadequate for a classic counterinsurgency mission and the promised 3,300 African fighters from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which are poorly trained and organized won’t help either.   A classic counterinsurgency mission requires 20 troops to each 1,000 population.

Therefore, unless something totally unforeseen derails the current momentum, expect the Tuareg/Islamist rebellion to spread to Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Chad, Algeria and Libya.  Further Western intervention will only stimulate recruitment and resistance.  Worse, if other Islamist groups like Boko Haram (Nigeria which shares a border with Mali) and Ansar al-Sharia (Libya) join the fight, which are aided by Somalia’s al Shabaab and the Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the entire region could blow up.

That threat is especially likely given the regional demographics which favor instability.  Fifteen of the top 20 failed states in the world are in Africa and the continent’s growth is above two percent, and it includes job-poor economies where half of the unemployed are between 15 and 24 years old.  That cohort is especially vulnerable to rebellion and politically inspired Islamic extremism as evidenced across the troubled Middle East.

That is why it is possible Islamic terrorist networks could soon engulf the entire Sahel and sub-Sahara, the area of North Africa running 3,000 miles across the continent from Mauritania and Nigeria on the west to Sudan and Somalia in the east.  That outcome has significant implications for the West.

U.S. General Carter Ham, the top American commander overseeing U.S. operations in Africa, said these Islamist groups subscribe to al Qaeda’s ideology which includes the intent to attack Westerners, overthrow apostate governments like Algeria, encourage local affiliates to take advantage of failed states and install fundamentalist regimes based on Islamic law or Sharia.   Of course, Islamist threats already materialized with the deadly attack in September on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya and Islamic law is already a reality in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya.

Further, Islamists will use the region as a sanctuary from which to threaten neighboring countries and reach global targets as has al Qaeda from places like Pakistan.  Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI.), chairman U.S. House Intelligence Committee, warned the success extremists have had in Mali will likely attract extremist militants from other parts of the world as we saw in Iraq and now in Syria, often performing suicide bombings.  “They are very good at selling their success stories,” Rogers said.

So what can we do?

Our ally British Prime Minister David Cameron says the West must direct more of its diplomatic, military and intelligence resources to the intensifying threat emanating from the “ungoverned space” and treating that threat with as much concern as the terrorist challenge in Pakistan and Afghanistan. That effort translates into at least three immediate initiatives.

First, the French already joined the fight and need our help.  The U.S. should provide specialized assistance that includes airlift, logistics and intelligence.  However, Washington and Paris must realize that driving Islamists out of Mali and the greater region should be done by Africans, not the West but with our support.  Otherwise, the fight will become protracted as Islamists flood into the region.

Second, the U.S. must push ECOWAS – ready or not – to join the fight immediately and we must provide help delivering those forces to the battlefield.  Further, the West must be prepared to support ECOWAS’ intervention for years.  Expect this fight to last many years similar to the Somalia war against al Shabaad which currently occupies thousands of troops from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), a regional peacekeeping mission operated by the African Union with the approval of the United Nations.

Finally, enlist Algeria to join the anti-Tuareg/Islamist campaign by taking over from France, a recommendation advanced by Vicki Huddleston, the U.S. ambassador to Mali from 2002 to 2005 and former U.S. defense department official.

Algeria is best suited for the task for two reasons.  “Algeria is the only country on the continent with the military capacity, seasoned officers, counterterrorism experience and geographic proximity to take over from France,” Huddleston wrote for the New York Times.  Further, the Algerians previously negotiated peace with the Tuaregs in northern Mali and it helps that some Islamists have already abandoned the Tuaregs.

The brewing crises in North Africa have American fingerprints thanks to President Obama’s misguided Libya war support.  Now we must act to mitigate the blow-back effects of that failed policy by supporting the French, ECOWAS and encouraging Algeria to take a regional leadership role.  Failing on any of these points could spell a very dangerous future for the region and American security.

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