Wednesday, February 25, 2015
On this week's edition of The Watchman, we sit down with terrorism expert Patrick Poole to discuss the "known wolf" phenomenon in Western jihadi attacks.
We're also joined by director Nolan Lebovitz for a look at his new film "Roadmap Genesis."
Saturday, February 21, 2015
Back in November, I reported on the troubling trend of Western women traveling to Syria to join ISIS and become part of the Islamic State. Now come new reports that three teenage girls have left Britain with intentions of heading to Syria and marrying ISIS jihadists.
Here's more, from the Daily Mail:
Scotland Yard was facing questions over how the girls – aged 15 and 16 – were able to board a flight to Turkey unchallenged, despite having no parent or guardian with them.
They are now believed to be travelling overland to Syria to marry jihadi fighters. But police hope heavy snowfall may have prevented them from travelling all the way.
Last night there were growing calls to tighten up security checks on youngsters flying out of the UK. Up to 550 young Britons are thought to have made the journey to join Islamic State.
It is understood the three girls – all straight-A pupils – were lured to Syria via social media by a school friend who is already there.
Last night detectives took the unprecedented step of releasing the names and CCTV images of the girls – who attend the same East London school – in an attempt to save them from the clutches of IS fighters.
Good luck. In my new book, ISIS Exposed (due out March 9 and available for pre-order here at Amazon.com), I delve into the dark world of the "women of jihad." ISIS is recruiting vulnerable Western women online, and particularly misguided teenage girls.
As I reveal in the book, dozens of women from France, Germany, and Britain, respectively, have gone to Syria and at least a handful of American women have joined them. ISIS wants to pair them as jihadi brides to their fighters and help build up the caliphate society--after all, you need women to build a state and reproduce future terrorists.
And some women will look to take up arms. They are every bit as fanatical as male jihadists--as we've seen with the female Chechen and Dagestani suicide bombers known as the Black Widows.
Click play below to watch my recent report on ISIS's jihadi brides, including the tale of a suburban Denver teenager who converted to Islam and was drawn into the dark world of ISIS online:
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
On this week's edition of The Watchman, we sit down with former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger and White House correspondent Bill Koenig.
They'll discuss Iran's dangerous advance throughout the Middle East and what it means for America and Israel.
Click below to watch:
Tuesday, February 03, 2015
Without question, the Muslim Brotherhood has been severely weakened over the past year-and-a-half in Egypt, which has served as the "Brother-ship" since the MB's founding in the Egyptian city of Ismalia in 1928. Scores of Egyptian Brotherhood foot soldiers and top leaders, including former president Mohammed Morsi, have been imprisoned and the movement has been designated a terrorist organization by the government of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (the UAE and Saudi Arabia have also banned the Brotherhood and indentified it as a terrorist entity in recent months).
At the same time, Sisi has declared the armed wing of the MB's Palestinian branch, Hamas, a terrorist group and has called for a reformation in Islam--in front of a roomful of Islamic clerics, no less--while also publicly appearing at a Coptic Christian church, a first for an Egyptian Muslim leader.
Given Sisi's bold stance against the global jihad and the MB's resulting erosion in Egypt, you'd think that the Brothers may be down for the count. Alas, like a legion of jihadi vampires, the Brotherhood can't be killed so easily. It has survived severe crackdowns before (most notably, under Egyptian strongman Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s) partly by spreading its tentacles and influence outside of Egypt and it continues to do so today.
For instance, a "delegation of key Brotherhood leaders and allies" recently met with State Department officials in Washington, D.C. Depressingly, this came as no surprise as the Obama administration has embraced the Brotherhood and its proxies again and again over the past six years (while distancing itself from Sisi and genuine Muslim moderates). In doing so, the Obama White House is essentially giving the Brotherhood a lifeline to make proclamations like this one recently calling for violent jihad in Egypt. Of course, as I detailed in my 2013 book, The Brotherhood, such proclamations show the true, violent face of the MB movement. And we may be about to see much more of it.
Here's more, from The Tower:
The terror attack against military forces in Egypt’s northern Sinai last week was beyond a routine terrorist act. Arab security experts are calling it a turning point in the terrorist attacks in Egypt, explaining that the attack shows that Egypt is subject to the turmoil taking place in the Middle East and the local terrorist organizations in Sinai are extensions of larger terrorist organizations with regional agendas.
However, the experts do not rule out the possibility that the terrorist attacks were also part of the political agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood, with the aim of provoking anarchy in Egypt.
In the attacks that killed 45 people in the Al-Arish area, terrorists used advanced battle tactics and weapons similar to those used in terror activity plaguing other countries. Security experts warned of a new wave of cross-border terrorism in Egypt.
The jihadist Ansar Beit al-Maqdis terror group, which took responsibility for the attacks, tried using the attack to prove that it has moved from the local arena to the regional arena, especially after it recently took a vow of loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The organization has organizational and financial skills that enable it to carry out large complex attacks in Egypt and abroad.
A jihadist outfit with strong "organizational and financial skills?" Sounds familiar. Read on.
Experts who follow the situation in Egypt call attention to the synchronization between the escalation of the attacks of Ansar al-Maqdis and the violent protests carried out by members of the Muslim Brotherhood on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the revolution of January 25, 2011, that led to the downfall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.
The experts do not rule out a connection between the two escalations, especially after an investigation by Egyptian security forces that indicated coordination between the Brotherhood and armed groups in the Sinai. Hisham al-Najjar, a researcher of Islamic movements, said that the attack in al-Arish was designed to influence the political landscape in Egypt with the approach of parliamentary elections. The group’s goal is to present the general atmosphere as unstable and expose the government as being unable to ensure stability.
Makes perfect sense on many levels. And remember, at the end of the day, without the Muslim Brotherhood--the original modern Islamic jihadist group--there would be no Al Qaeda. Which means there would be no ISIS (an Al Qaeda offshoot), and no Ansar Beit al-Maqdis. But whatever you do, just don't call the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
On this week's edition of The Watchman, we take a look at the growing onslaught of Islamic jihadist attacks against the West.
We're also joined by Dr. Michael Youssef, author of the new book, Jesus, Jihad and Peace, to discuss what biblical prophecy has to say about the rise of radical Islam.
Friday, January 09, 2015
I pounded out some quick thoughts/observations here on the Paris attacks while taking a short break from putting finishing touches on my upcoming book, Inside ISIS: Beheadings, Slavery and the Hellish Reality of Radical Islam, due out March 16. In short, I fear this is only the beginning:
-- The Paris terrorists reportedly were directed by Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen. That would make sense, in that such a high profile attack would put AQ back in the headlines and bring it out of ISIS's shadow, at least temporarily. Incidentally, ISIS also threatened France in a video message two months ago (France is part of the Coalition carrying out airstrikes against ISIS).
-- Al Qaeda is battling ISIS for terrorist supremacy. A major, headline-grabbing attack in a major Western city like Paris is the perfect way to do just that. It makes AQ relevant again in the public consciousness. Remember, AQ hasn't had massive operational success in the West since 9/11.
Now, AQ and its allies and affiliates have had some horrific bursts of success against Western targets, for sure (the Madrid and London bombings, in '04 and '05, respectively, the Benghazi attack in '12, plus various lone wolf AQ sympathizers like Fort Hood jihadi Nidal Hassan and plenty of foiled attempts/plots on U.S. and European soil) but no signature attack that it can use as a recruiting tool and give it the street cred it so desperately needs, especially as ISIS is capturing territory, declaring a caliphate, dominating social media, and capturing the imagination of young jihadists everywhere.
If the Paris terror mayhem was indeed directed by AQ--and we can't say for certain just yet, although that seems to be the case--it makes AQ a serious player once again. Not that it ever left--it has remained highly formidable (contrary to President Obama's dishonest assertions) and via affiliates and offshoots, covers more geographical ground today than it did on 9/11. It's just that ISIS is such an overwhelming monster that it has overshadowed every other jihadist group over the past year, including Al Qaeda.
-- There is no question that ISIS has raised the bar for terrorist brutality. Between the mass executions, beheadings, sex slavery, rapes, attempts at genocide and systematic abuse of women and children, there is literally no unspeakable depth of evil ISIS won't stoop to. Absolutely nothing is off limits now in the world of jihad--which was already an insanely brutal and nasty place.
There are no rules of engagement here, whether its slaughtering teenage girls in Nigeria, schoolchildren in Pakistan or worshipers at a Jerusalem synagogue. Audacious acts of brutality capture world attention, intimidate enemies and attract new followers (especially here in the West) who are drawn to--rather than repulsed by--all the sadistic violence. If you're a jihadist, sadism works and is good for your cause, as disturbing as that is to consider. ISIS are looked at as the baddest boys on the block, fearless and tough defenders of Islam--revivers of the beloved caliphate--and some very dark-minded people want to be a part of that.
-- Since ISIS is unquestionably the most brutal player on the jihadist scene today, look for other terror groups like Al Qaeda and the Taliban to continue use more imaginative, shocking and horrific tactics like we saw in Paris this week. We have not even seen the worst of some of the horrific things they have planned--from schools to malls to random beheadings on the street, nothing is off limits. And again, in many ways, the rise of ISIS has sent all of this into overdrive.
It's like their appearance on the scene opened the gates of hell and inspired every jihadist group to look to "one up" the other on who can be the most demonic.
-- Could a Paris-style attack happen here in the United States? Absolutely. First of all, citizens of Western Europe can travel to the United States without a visa. You would hope that we would snag people on the terror watch list when they enter our country, but nothing is guaranteed.
Secondly, we have already had cases here in the U.S. of terrorists who had been interviewed by the FBI (including one of the Boston bombers) or who had been espousing radical views in the run-up to carrying out attacks (Nidal Hassan, the NYC hatchet jihadi and others) slip through the cracks. We even had a U.S. citizen from Florida return to America from fighting in Syria--and then head back to Syria a few months later and blow himself up on behalf of Al Qaeda. Our system is not fool proof, to say the least.
-- Lastly, the wild card in all of this is, what do we do when some American "lone wolf" jihadist, likely a recent Islamic convert, who has never been overseas and doesn't have a radical paper trail, decides to become a one man jihad and act independently in the name of the jihadist cause, shooting up a shopping mall? How do you catch all of those types of cases before its too late? That is the sort of atmosphere we're in right now, thanks largely to the inspiration drawn from ISIS.
-- With Western leaders, led by President Obama, showing weakness and throwing out PC platitudes (French President Hollande, following Obama's lead, said today that the Paris attacks "had nothing to do with Islam." Really?), this problem is going to increase.
The jihadists are emboldened. And if European leaders don't step up forcefully, you could see European citizens start to take action. We are getting to the point where we could start to see major civil unrest in Europe (we're already seeing signs in Germany) as people become fed up with the Islamist insurrections in their midst.
We are living in perilous times, folks. But God still sits on the throne and works all things for good for those who love Him. Hang in there, keep the faith, and never forget that we have a blessed hope!
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
On this week's edition of The Watchman, we take a look back at the major stories that shaped 2014: ISIS, Iran, Israel's war against Hamas in Gaza, and much more.
Plus, Middle East expert Jonathan Spyer joins us for a look ahead at what to expect in 2015.
Click play below to watch.
Monday, December 22, 2014
I'll be out of the office for a few days celebrating Christmas (and finishing up my new book about ISIS) but will return before the New Year is out.
In the meantime, wishing a Merry Christmas to everyone and much joy as we celebrate the birth of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Click play below to watch my latest report for CBN News, filmed recently in Minneapolis—on how the Twin Cities’ large Somali immigrant community is becoming a terrorist pipeline to ISIS in the Middle East.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
On this week's edition of The Watchman, we sit down with Father Gabriel Naddaf, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Yafia, outside Nazareth, to discuss how Christians are thriving in Israel while being persecuted in the Muslim lands of the Middle East.