Tag Archives: Joe Biden

Muslim Brotherhood Leader Meets Obama in White House

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A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood was recently hosted at the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama, prompting an outcry from critics of the global Islamist organization.

Anas Altikriti, a top British lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood whose father heads Iraq’s Muslim Brotherhood party, recently met with the president and Vice President Joe Biden as part of a delegation discussing problems in Iraq.

Altikriti, whose work has also been tied to Hamas, can be seen smiling in photos published by the White House as he stands next to Iraqi Parliament Speaker Usama al-Nujaifi, who is pictured shaking hands with President Obama in the White House’s Roosevelt Room. The meeting was first highlighted by the blog Harry’s Place.

The Obama administration has been criticized its outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood, the international Islamist organization whose members’ brief reign in Egypt was supported by the White House.

Nujaifi, Altikriti, and other members of the Iraqi delegation were in town late January to discuss al Qaeda’s growing presence in Iraq. Nujaifi himself was reported to have met twice with President Obama, though it remains unclear if Altikriti accompanied him on both occasions.

“President Barack Obama greets Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi, Iraqi Council of Representatives, after he drops by Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with the Speaker in the Roosevelt Room of the White House,” read the White House’s photo caption, which clearly shows Altikriti standing to al-Nujaifi’s right side.

A White House spokesman confirmed that Altikriti was brought to the meeting to serve as a translator for al-Nujaifi.

Others present in the meeting included “Puneet Talwar, senior director for Iraq, Iran, and the Gulf at the [National Security Council], Philip Gordon, special assistant to the president and White House director for the Middle East, Brett McGurk, deputy assistant secretary for Iraq and Iran, and Andrew Kim, director for Iraq,” according to the White House pool report filed on that day.

The meeting focused on ways the United States can help local Iraqi leaders combat al Qaeda.

“This afternoon, President Obama joined Vice President Joe Biden’s meeting with Iraqi Council of Representatives Speaker Osama al-Nujaifi and a delegation of Iraqi parliamentarians,” read a Jan. 22 statement issued by the White House about the meeting. “Both sides reaffirmed the importance of the strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq.”

Altikriti’s presence in the White House was surprising to many who said the U.K. organization he heads, the Cordoba Foundation, has been singled out by British Prime Minister David Cameron as the “political front for the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Paul Stott, an U.K. academic and expert in British jihadism at the University of East Anglia, said Altikriti’s presence in the meetings represents “part of the long term U.S.-U.K. engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood, a strategy which hit choppy waters when it became clear people in Egypt were far from ready to let the [Muslim Brotherhood] run the country the way they wanted.”

“The coup could have put paid to this glad handing, but it is clearly continuing,” Stott said.

Altikriti has been called the “key political lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain.”

His Cordoba Foundation has been criticized for working “closely with other British extremist groups which seek the creation of an Islamic dictatorship, or caliphate, in Europe,” according to the British Telegraph newspaper.

Altikriti formerly served as a spokesman for the British Muslim Initiative (BMI), a group that has been singled out for close links to Hamas. BMI’s founder and president Mohammed Sawalha has served as a senior military operative for Hamas.

Altikriti himself has stirred controversy for publicly backing Hamas and advocating that Iraqis use “any means and methods” to free themselves from occupation.

Altikriti also defended the Muslim Council of Britain’s 2007 decision to boycott Holocaust Memorial Day. He referred to the group’s position as a “principled stand.”

The Cordoba Foundation did not respond to a request for comment.

Obama’s Iran nuke deal quietly collapses

Less than a month after it was hailed as “a great diplomatic coup,” the so-called Geneva accord to halt Iran’s nuclear ambitions seems to have come unstuck.

The official narrative in Tehran is that Iran signed nothing. “There is no treaty and no pact,” says Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham, “only a statement of intent.”

Originally, Iran’s official media had presented the accord as a treaty (qarardad) but it now refers to a “letter of agreement” (tavafoq nameh).

The initial narrative claimed that the P5+1 group of nations that negotiated the deal with Iran had recognized the Islamic Republic’s right to enrich uranium and agreed to start lifting sanctions over a six-month period. In exchange, Iran would slow its uranium enrichment and postpone for six months the installation of equipment for producing plutonium, an alternate route to making a bomb. A later narrative claimed that the accord wasn’t automatic and that the two sides had appointed experts to decide the details (“modalities”) and fix a timetable.

On Sunday, an editorial in the daily Kayhan, published by the office of “Supreme Guide” Ali Khameini, claimed that the “six month” period of the accord was meaningless and that a final agreement might “even take 20 years to negotiate.”

It was, therefore, no surprise that Iran decided to withdraw its experts from talks in Geneva to establish exactly how to implement the accord. “Now we have to talk about reviving the talks on modalities,” says Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi.

Translated into plain language, the new Iranian narrative is that talks about implementing an accord that is not legally binding have collapsed and that, in the words of the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency, Ali-Akbar Salehi, there is no change in the rhythm and tempo of Iran’s nuclear project. “Our centrifuges are working full capacity,” Salehi said last Thursday.

Having claimed that he had halted Iran’s nuclear project, Secretary of State John Kerry might want to reconsider. He and his European colleagues, like many of their predecessors, may have fallen for the diplomatic version of the Three Card Monte played by the mullahs since they seized power in 1979.

Khomeinist diplomacy has never aimed at reaching agreement with anyone. Instead, the regime regards negotiations as just another weapon in the jihad (holy struggle) for ensuring the triumph of “true Islam” across the globe.

The regime can’t conceive of give-and-take and compromise even with Muslim nations, let alone a bunch of “Infidel” powers. If unable to impose its will on others, the regime will try to buy time through endless negotiations.

In Three Card Monte, suckers stay in the game in the hope of getting it right next time. A similar hope ensures outsiders’ participation in Khomeinist diplomacy’s version of the trick.

Thus Tehran has been in negotiations with Russia and three other littoral states over sharing the resources of the Caspian Sea since 1992. Talks with Iraq over implementing Resolution 598 of the UN Security Council and reopening the Shatt al-Arab border estuary have been going on since 2004. Other talks over sharing water resources have been going on with Afghanistan since 2003; talks over joint exploitation of gas resources with Qatar have been going on for 25 years.

And for more than 30 years, Iran and the United States have been negotiating the settlement of mutual claims in accordance with the Algiers accord of 1980.

The series of nuclear negotiations that started in 1993 resumed with the European Union in 2002 and have already taken four years in their current format, which opened in 2009.

The tactic of delay has several advantages for the mullahs.

First, hopes of a negotiated solution make it more difficult for anyone to advocate military action to thwart Tehran’s ambitions. As long as talks are going on, “all other options”, the cliché favored by President Obama, remain off the table.

Endless talks also force Iran’s adversaries are forced to sacrifice policy to process. Under the Geneva deal, for example, the US and its European partners not only set the military option aside, but also undertake not to impose additional sanctions. Instead of hiring expensive lobbyists in Washington, the mullahs can use Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Kerry to lobby Congress on their behalf.

The mullahs have reaped other benefits from their three-card trick. The perception that the crisis is cooling down has already halted the Islamic Republic’s economic free fall. The national currency, the rial, lost 80 percent of its value over four years, but now appears to have stabilized.

The mullahs also use the prospect of normalization, especially with the United States, to divert attention from their increasingly repressive rule. While Iranians are bombarded with talk of President Hassan Rouhani’s “diplomatic miracle,” an average of 10 people are executed in Iran every day.

Here is how Khamenei’s daily mouthpiece put it Sunday: “If our centrifuges do not continue to turn, no other wheel shall turn for our dignity, independence, power and security.”

The message from Tehran to Washington is clear: You talk, we act.

Obama Uses Terror-Finance Group to Push Gun Control

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islamic-society-of-north-america-isna-annual-convention-2012_315x256The Obama Administration’s relationship with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, has grown beyond strictly Muslim-related issues. On May 6, Vice President Biden met with about 20 interfaith leaders including ISNA President Mohamed Magid for two hours to rally religious support for gun control.

A FBI source identified ISNA as a Muslim Brotherhood front as early as 1987. A 1991 U.S. Muslim Brotherhood memo identified ISNA as one of “our organizations and the organizations of our friends” for use in its “work in America as a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within.”

Federal prosecutors labeled ISNA an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation, a Brotherhood “charity” housed within the ISNA building that was found to be financing Hamas. The U.S. government specifically called ISNA a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity.

The President of ISNA is Imam Mohamed Magid. In 2004, he reacted to the U.S. government’s investigations and prosecutions of groups like the Holy Land Foundation by claiming they were part of an anti-Muslim agenda. He said that parts of the U.S. government are “intent on dismantling Muslim organizations and bringing them down.”

He was among those that met with Vice President Biden to discuss the legislation mandating background checks for gun sales. Several more Obama Administration officials including Biden’s chief of staff were also there.

Other interfaith leaders at the meeting included Franklin Graham of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association; Rabbi David Saperstein of the Religion Action Center of Reform Judaism; Barrett Duke of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; Pastor Michael McBride of PICO National Network and Richard Cizik of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good.

Gun control isn’t the only political issue that the Obama Administration seeks ISNA’s support on. On March 8, Magid met with President Obama and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett for 90 minutes about immigration reform. About 10 other interfaith leaders were there. Only three days later, Magid again met with President Obama to offer “recommendations” for his trip to the Middle East.

Magid also was a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group and the Faith-based Security and Communications Advisory Committee. His group also met with the FBI Director regarding the agency’s review of its counter-terrorism training materials.

The Obama Administration treats ISNA as the leader of the Muslim-American community, even though only 4% of Muslim-American males and 7% of females chose ISNA as the group that best represents them in a 2011 poll. In March, the Associate Director of the Office of Public Engagement said ISNA is his top Muslim outreach partner.

The U.S. Air Force even has a partnership with ISNA. ClarionProject.org discovered that the Air Force Chaplain Corps paid ISNA nearly $5,000 for two advertisements in its magazine.

A spokesperson for the ISNA defended the transaction, saying “The Islamic Society of North America is one of many religious organizations recognized by the Department of Defense that satisfy the ecclesiastical requirements to endorse qualified religious ministry professionals to serve as chaplains within the Military Departments.”

Absent from these consultations with the Obama Administration are Muslim groups and activists proud of their anti-Islamist track records. This also represents a victory for ISNA and its allies. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), ISNA’s fellow U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, is trying to marginalize the American Islamic Congress for being a component of the so-called “Islamophobia Network.”

Despite this background, ISNA is connected to the highest levels of the Obama Administration and has formed close political alliances with a range of churches and synagogues. Amazingly, there is footage of the Director of ISNA’s Office of Interfaith and Community Alliances saying in 2006, “our job is to change the constitution of America.”

Apparently, for some, words like those don’t disqualify you as an interfaith partner.

This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.

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