Erick Stakelbeck

CBN News Terrorism Analyst

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Watchman Show: Where is the Global Jihad Heading?

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.

posted @ Wednesday, January 21, 2015 12:11 PM | Feedback (0)

Friday, January 09, 2015

Quick Analysis on the France Terror Attacks

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!

posted @ Friday, January 09, 2015 4:56 PM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The Watchman Show: 2014 Year in Review

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.

posted @ Tuesday, December 30, 2014 11:17 PM | Feedback (0)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas from The Watchman

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.

posted @ Monday, December 22, 2014 10:57 AM | Feedback (0)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Report: Minnesota's Terror Pipeline to the Islamic State

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.

posted @ Tuesday, December 16, 2014 2:50 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Watchman Show: Israel a Safe Haven for Middle East Christians

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.

posted @ Wednesday, December 10, 2014 4:07 PM | Feedback (0)

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Obama White House Declares Muslim Brotherhood Is Not a Terrorist Organization

Perhaps the American people are finally waking up to the severity of the radical Islamist threat. A "We the People" petition calling on the Obama administration to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization gained over 200,000 signatures after going online in July 2013.

That's encouraging news. But if you think the Obama administration is even remotely close to changing its tune on its friend and ally, the Muslim Brotherhood, think again. It took nearly a year-and-a-half for the Obama White House to respond to the petition--and, predictably, it had the Brotherhood's back, yet again.

From the Washington Free Beacon:

The petition, which was first posted on July 7, 2013, reached the necessary threshold for a response–100,000 signatures–within 30 days.

However, the White House failed to respond until Monday, when it issued an unequivocal ‘no’:

We have not seen credible evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood has renounced its decades-long commitment to non-violence.

The United States does not condone political violence of any kind and we continue to press actors of all viewpoints to peacefully engage in the political process. The United States is committed to thwarting terrorist groups that pose a threat to U.S. interests and those of our partners.

No credible evidence of violence? In my 2013 book, The Brotherhood, I documented the MB's long history of terrorist mayhem and its dubious status as the first modern Islamic group.

The Brothers not only spawned Hamas, which continues to maim and murder civilians today with the full-throated support of Muslim Brotherhood leaders worldwide, it also birthed Al Qaeda, which, in turn, birthed ISIS.

Bottom line: without the formation of the Brotherhood and its poisonous, anti-Western and anti-Semitic ideology of jihad and martyrdom, ISIS would not exist and 9/11 would have never happened.

If the Obamis believe the Brotherhood has abandoned violence, how do they explain the rampant church burnings carried out by MB supporters in Egypt in the wake of Brotherhood stalwart Mohammed Morsi's ouster as Egyptian president last year?

And the rape and torture of political opponents enforced by MB Islamists under the short-lived Morsi regime?

And how about this recent terrorist plot to strike Israel, reportedly planned by Jordanian Brotherhood members?

Keep the petitions coming, folks. The White House can publicly ignore and discard them all it wants, but privately is a different matter.

In the very least, the petitions show a dysfunctional government that shamelessly embraces our enemies while abandoning our allies that the American people are awake, alert, and fed up.

posted @ Thursday, December 04, 2014 1:16 PM | Feedback (0)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Britain: Muslim MP Says 2,000 British Muslims Fighting for ISIS

If you're an American who thinks that what happens thousands of miles away in the Middle East does not affect you, think again.

Not only do U.S. officials believe that some 150 Americans have traveled to Syria to join the jihad--some 3,000 European Muslims have left the comforts of the West to travel to the genocidal Islamic State as well.

The common estimate for the number of British Muslims fighting for ISIS has been around 500. But now a British MP--who is Muslim--says that number is closer to a whopping 2,000.

Here's more, from The Telegraph:

As many as 2,000 Britons are fighting alongside Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq, a senior Muslim MP has claimed.

Officials had suggested that the number of British jihadists within the ranks of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and other terrorist groups was about 500.

However, Khalid Mahmood, the Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, a constituency with a significant number of Muslims, has suggested this was a fourfold underestimate of the number of British jihadists fighting in the region.

“The authorities say there are 500 British jihadists but the likely figure is at least three to four times that,” he said. “I think 2,000 is a better estimate. My experience in Birmingham is it is a huge, huge problem.”

There are growing fears that the authorities remain unable to detect extremists leaving UK ports on their way to terrorist training camps.

Evidence from one posting on a social networking site last week suggested that as many as 20 British jihadists have been joining Isil forces every day.

Why should you care? For starters, travelers from Britain and other Western European countries are able to enter the United States without a visa thanks to a Visa Waiver program.

So perhaps a jolly old jihadist--male or female--from East London or Birmingham will bypass their hometowns and make a pit stop in New York City instead on their way back from the Islamic State.

posted @ Monday, November 24, 2014 4:45 PM | Feedback (0)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Watchman Show: Jerry Boykin, Kamal Saleem Discuss 'The Coalition'

On this week's edition of The Watchman, we're joined by Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council and Kamal Saleem of Koome Ministries.

The two men discuss their thrilling new novel about radical Islam, "The Coalition."

Click play to watch.

posted @ Wednesday, November 19, 2014 10:16 AM | Feedback (0)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Women of ISIS: Western Girls Lured to Islamic State

My latest report examines the disturbing phenomenon of Western women and girls leaving their homes to travel to the Middle East and join ISIS.

Last month, three teenage girls from suburban Denver were detained while trying to make their way to Syria. Hundreds of other young women from Western countries have made it to the Islamic State -- marrying ISIS fighters and even fighting alongside them.

ISIS promises them husbands and a wonderful new life in the Caliphate -- a place where, ironically enough, women have no rights or freedoms.

Click play below to watch.

posted @ Sunday, November 16, 2014 1:57 PM | Feedback (0)