03/26/15
American Flags

20 Foreign Policy Questions For the 2016 Republican Presidential Field

By: Benjamin Weingarten
TheBlaze

With the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination officially under way, I thought it apt to share a set of questions on foreign policy — an area in which it is vital that each candidate distinguish himself given the size and scope of the threats we face.

Below are 20 questions the next commander-in-chief will likely be grappling with, and should be able to answer cogently, consistently and comprehensively.

The responses to these queries would serve to elucidate the first principles of each of the potential nominees, and create a clear contrast in terms of their goals, strategies and tactics with respect to protecting and furthering America’s interests both at home and abroad.

1) Define your general foreign policy doctrine, and explain how it will differ from that of President George W. Bush.

2) How should America respond to the metastasization of Sunni and Shiite jihadists in the Middle East?

3) What do you believe would be the consequences of a hegemonic Iran in the region, and what steps might you take to counter her?

4) In the event of a nuclear arms race triggered by Iran, what if anything would you do as president?

5) Will you stand in the way if Israel acts unilaterally to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities?

6) What is in America’s national interest with respect to Syria, and how do you intend to achieve it?

7) Do you believe it a sound policy to arm Muslim groups in the Middle East given the historically negative consequences for the West?

8) What is/are the key lesson(s) of the Iraq War?

9) What is/are the key lesson(s) of Libya?

10) Do you believe the Muslim Brotherhood and its violent and non-violent proxies both in the Middle East and the West pose a direct threat to the United States and her interests, and how will you counter the group’s growing influence?

11) What do you believe Vladimir Putin ultimately wants to achieve, and how do you intend to counter him?

12) Will you install a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe?

13) Do you view Russia as a partner against jihadism, an opportunist playing both sides against the middle, or something else?

14) In a Western Europe seeing a dramatic increase in its jihadist population – which is being countered by the rise of anti-Islamization groups, many of which are favorably disposed to Russia — how should America respond?

15) Should Europe be required to fund NATO to a much more significant degree?

16) How will you counter the inroads made in South America by Russia, Iran and other American foes?

17) Is China an ally or an enemy, and do you believe she seeks peaceful co-existence with the US ultimately?

18) What measures would you take, if any, to counter China’s increasingly aggressive actions in the South China Sea, and stealing of intellectual property, among other actions against America and her allies?

19) Does the United States have a national security interest in undermining Communist nations such as China, Cuba and North Korea or should we take a live-and-let-live approach?

20) Should the United States withdraw troops from South Korea, Western Europe or any other nation/region?

Feature Image: AP Photo/The Elkhart Truth, Jon Garcia

03/26/15
Russian Freedom Lovers

Russian Freedom Lovers Want Ted Cruz for President

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

American Putinistas and other fools please take note.

From a friend in Moscow.

According to a poll conducted by the most popular pro-democratic radio/Internet-resource in Russia, the majority would like to have Ted Cruz as Russia’s head of state (no fake, no joke):

Cruzzzzz

Ted Cruz has the “inspiration factor.” We haven’t seen that since Reagan. Russian freedom lovers loved Reagan too.

03/26/15
American Communists

American Communists Travel to Cuba to Increase Support for Castro Dictatorship

By: Trevor Loudon
New Zeal

John Bachtell

From left, Alberto Prieto, (Communist Party of Cuba International Relations Department), Zenobia Thompson, Camila Valenzuela, Fernando Gonzalez, Kenia Puig (ICAP president), Josh Leclair, John Bachtell

A delegation from the Communist Party USA, led by new National Secretary John Bachtell, recently visited Cuba. On Feb. 27th, the delegation stopped by the the Cuban Intelligence connected Cuban Institute for Friendship with the Peoples to “discuss building friendship, cooperation and people to people exchanges in light of the Dec. 17 announcement to reestablish diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba.”

Among those who warmly greeted the delegates were Fernando Gonzalez, one of the infamous “Cuban 5″ who was jailed in the U.S. in 1998 as part of a “mission to monitor right-wing Cuban terrorist activities in Miami being directed against Cuba.” Several people died as a result of Gonzalez’s espionage.

According to Bachtell:

We found Gonzalez warm, gracious and eager to speak about exploring ways to build friendship with the U.S. people. He also shared stories about his time in U.S. prisons, the people he met and the extraordinary solidarity he and the Cuban 5 received over the years.”

The most important thing to say, to express on my behalf, my family and relatives, is my deep gratitude to the CPUSA because of the years of participation in the struggle, the solidarity you accorded us during the time we were in prison and for our liberation.

You were side by side with us. Even when things look dark, there’s always a bright side. No one wants that experience (of imprisonment). It gave us the chance to experience the best of the U.S. people and those we worked with for many years, side by side in that fight.

Gonzalez made it clear that the Castro regime made no concessions in return for Communist Party connected President Barack Obama‘s diplomatic recognition of the dictatorship.

During the second round of negotiations between the U.S. and Cuba we haven’t made any concessions. And with the return of all the Cuban Five it was a great victory for the Cuban people and all friends in the U.S. who have participated in struggle and for friendship between our countries.

Diplomatic recognition of Cuba is a “win win” for Marxists, both in Washington DC and Havana.

Soon Obama “crony capitalists” will be able to export more American jobs to Cuban sweatshops, while Cuban communists can more easily export spies, revolutionaries and drugs to the United States.

03/25/15
Diana West

The Enemy of My Enemy Really Is My Enemy

The Right Planet

By: Diana West
DianaWest.net

Watch the video or read the transcript (below) — both courtesy MEMRI — and tell me who is our friend here: the suspected-ISIS Sunni bomber or the Shiite Houthi victims?

Can’t find a friend? That’s because Benyamin Netanyahu is right: The enemy of my enemy really is not my friend but my enemy.

Preacher: Our belief in Allah will increase after today. We will triumph over their deceit and their arrogance. Allah is with us…

Worshippers: Death to America.

Death to Israel.

Curse upon the Jews.

Victory to Islam.

Allah Akbar.

Death to America.

Death to Israel.

Curse upon the Jews.

Victory to…

An arrow on-screen points to a man walking through the crowd, a bomb goes off and worshippers cry out

[…]

Related:

From TRP:

“The nations fall into the pitfalls they have dug for others; the trap they set has snapped on them.”  —Psalm 9:15 (NLB)

03/25/15
Israel

Exposed

Arlene from Israel

Before we take a look at the broader situation, I share two announcements:

This Friday, March 27th, at noon, there will be a press conference and a “Keep Iran Nuclear Free” rally, at 780 Third Avenue (between 48th & 49th Streets) in Manhattan. This is in front of the offices of the Manhattan offices of New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, to urge these Senators to commit to overriding President Obama’s expected veto of two important pending bills on the issue of Iran.

The Bipartisan Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015, sponsored by Senators Kirk and Menendez, imposes new sanctions on Iran if international negotiators fail to reach a deal by June 30 on Tehran’s nuclear program.  Fourteen Senators, including Senator Schumer co-sponsored the bill.

The Bipartisan Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, sponsored by Senators Corker, Menendez, Graham and Kaine, mandates that the president must submit the text of any agreement with Iran to Congress; prohibits the administration from suspending congressional sanctions for 60 days, during which Congress would hold hearings and review the agreement; provides for Congressional oversight; and requires assessments and certifications of Iranian compliance.

Every vote is needed.

It is best if you can attend, but in any event, if you live in NY state, you are encouraged to reach Senator Schumer via: http://www.schumer.senate.gov/ and Senator Gillibrand via: http://www.gillibrand.senate.gov/

~~~~~~~~~~

And then, for Israelis and those planning to be in Israel over the Pesach week:

I have written about the illegal building for Arabs that the EU is sponsoring, and the excellent report about this that the organization Regavim has released.  Now Regavim is sponsoring a bus tour to allow you to actually see this massive illegal building in Area C and Jerusalem. In the end, there is nothing like seeing it for yourself.

Date and time: Wednesday, April 8th, Hol Hamoed Pesach, from 1:30 to 4:30 PM.

Location: Buses will depart from and return to the Inbal Hotel, Jerusalem.

Cost: 100 NIS or $25.

An expert will accompany each bus; detailed maps will be provided, as will water.  Bring your own food.

For information: Dr. Jan Sokolovsky, drjan43@gmail.com

To Register: by April 3, www.regavim.org.il/en/events/Pesach

~~~~~~~~~~

As to what has been exposed (if you haven’t already guessed), it is Obama’s hatred for our prime minister and his paranoid vindictiveness.

However supporters of Obama (particularly Jewish supporters) have, over the past years, tried to convince themselves that Obama was a friend of Israel, it has never been the case.

If you doubt this, please take the time to see this video (with thanks to Michael Widlanski for calling it to my attention):

“Daylight: The Story of Obama and Israel” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wbH5KVPrPo&feature=youtu.be

~~~~~~~~~~

What has happened now is that Obama’s antipathy for Israel has grown enormously.  The president does not like to lose and is not fond of compromise.  If he does not achieve what he wants, he goes after those whom he sees as stumbling blocks.


Credit:  Telegraph (UK)

It was bad enough for him that, in spite of his efforts to block Bibi, our prime minister came to the Congress – to a resounding welcome that must have been galling for the president – to speak against the deal with Iran that is close to completion.

Clearly, he resolved to “fix” Bibi after this, by making sure that he was not re-elected.  We know that there were American funds invested in the effort to defeat Bibi at the polls, as well as assistance provided to the Buji campaign by former Obama advisor Jeremy Bird and the team he brought with him.

An official here in Jerusalem has charged that the White House was directly involved in the attempt to unseat the prime minister:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/officials-white-house-was-part-of-bid-to-oust-netanyahu/

~~~~~~~~~~

But there is even worse: There are reports from a Likud strategist of an effort “’to organize the [Israeli] Arabs into one party and teach them about voter turnout.

“’The State Department people in the end of January, early February, expedited visas for [Israeli] Arab leaders to come to the United States to learn how to vote,’ McLaughlin exposed.

“He added, ‘there were people in the United States that were organizing them to vote in one party so they would help the left-of-center candidate Herzog, that the Obama administration favored.’” (emphasis added)

This, my friends, was the source of Bibi’s concern during the election that the Arabs were coming “in droves.”  He knew it was a set up, but Obama then turned this into a “racist” statement, which it was not.

~~~~~~~~~~

In the end, all of the dirty tricks didn’t work, and Netanyahu secured a victory.  Oh, how galling this must have been for Obama.

I’ve already written about his overheated response, with the decision to “re-evaluate” the US relationship with Israel.

But since I last wrote, it has gotten worse still.  The latest accusation is that Israel “spied” on negotiations with Iran and then leaked information to members of Congress.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4640317,00.html

Spied?  What does this mean?  There is no evidence offered, simply an empty (silly) charge.  Does Obama imagine that Israel designed little robots that look like flies and were able to sit on the wall of the negotiating room, recording information? What?

The information I do have is that Israeli officials are in touch with some of those who are in the negotiating process – primarily from France – and have been thus kept informed. This is not “spying.”

~~~~~~~~~~

And then there is the whole issue of Netanyahu “sharing” information with members of Congress.

Please understand what sort of siege mentality the president has, that he considers it inappropriate for members of Congress to know what’s going on. This is at the core of Congress’s battle with him:  Its members believe they must be informed and involved, and he’s fighting them every step of the way.

What is more, there is no evidence, either, of Bibi having shared information with members of Congress.  Speaker of the House John Boehner said he was “shocked” by this accusation, for he has never received any information about the Iranian negotiations from Israel, and he was unaware of other members of Congress having received such information.

http://www.algemeiner.com/2015/03/24/boehner-%e2%80%98shocked%e2%80%99-by-reported-israeli-spying-on-iran-talks-denies-receiving-information/

~~~~~~~~~~

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, and Defense Minister Bogie Ya’alon have all categorically denied the accusation of spying.

~~~~~~~~~~

What we have here, then, is a very sick situation.  Exceedingly nasty.  Dangerous, certainly. But it seems to me beyond the bounds of what is rational. This is Obama becoming unhinged.

~~~~~~~~~~

And you know what?  In some respects, I see this as not a bad thing. For, many who supported Obama – who believed him when he said he had Israel’s back – have now had their eyes opened. There is a significant shift in how Obama is being seen in several quarters within the US.  Consider (with emphasis added):

’The fact that the outcome of a democratic election in Israel seems to be of great concern [to the Obama administration] is cause for deep anxiety and puzzlement,’ said David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee.’

“’Whatever the failings of the prime minister, the way this is unfolding runs completely contrary to the spirit of US-Israel relations,’ Harris said. ‘The US appears to have a reasoned interest in prolonging the crisis’

”’As someone who was critical of several steps by [Netanyahu] during the campaign leading up to his reelection, I am even more troubled by statements now coming out of the White House,” said Abe Foxman, longtime national director of the Anti-Defamation League.

What we are hearing from the Obama administration raises deeper questions about their intentions and perspectives,’ he said, adding that ‘from the beginning of the Obama years, there was a disturbing indifference to the mind-set of the Israeli public.’”

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Jewish-establishment-sounds-alarm-as-White-House-rhetoric-intensifies-394978

OK, so now we have establishment Jewish leadership – which has pretty much toed the line for Obama – looking askance at him.  Good.  Hopefully there is a body of Jews within the American electorate that is now also revisiting the issue of Obama as friend of Israel.

~~~~~~~~~~

But there is also a troubling side to this situation: That is Netanyahu’s MO – his propensity for seeming to play the game rather than being confrontational.  We had reason to hope there had been a shift away from this tendency of his.  He demonstrated a strong conviction and was willing to buck the president when it came to his talk in Congress.  This was the Bibi to be admired and supported. He showed he could do it – as he has shown before.  I remember his lecture to Obama in the White House, as to why we cannot return to the ‘67 lines.

But now?  Now I have picked up news that – if accurate – is greatly unsettling:

According to YNet, Israel is freezing construction of 1,500 new housing units in Har Homa:

“The massive construction plan in Har Homa has been suspended ‘for neither planning nor professional reasons.’

“The Ministry for Construction and Housing and Jerusalem municipality confirmed that two critical planning discussions set for the coming week on advancing the construction have been canceled for unknown reasons.

“Planning officials familiar with the details of the plan told YNet that the program is not being advanced due to the political sensitivity and that there had been no approval from the Prime Minister’s Office to hold the planning discussions.”

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4640852,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~

Har Homa (officially Homat Shmuel) is outside the Green Line and often referred to as a “settlement” in “east (sic) Jerusalem.”  In fact, it is in the south of Jerusalem, within the municipal lines of a united Jerusalem, and a strategically important neighborhood.  Founded in 1997, under the watch of Netanyahu, it is located only about a kilometer from Bethlehem.  Netanyahu has indicated that this neighborhood serves as protection for “the southern gateway of Jerusalem.”  The area is being constructed in stages – reportedly there is a master plan; the current population is 25,000.

New housing units in Har Homa
Credit: European Press Photo Agency

~~~~~~~~~~

Just days ago, before the election, Netanyahu stood in Har Homa and pledged to continue building in Jerusalem.  He knows that it is possible to continue in spite of international uproar, for he faced an uproar when approving the construction of the first stage of Har Homa 18 years ago.

Yesterday, at a  press conference, Obama declared that Netanyahu’s words have made the possibility of a “two state” deal unlikely:

“Netanyahu, in the election run-up, stated that a Palestinian state would not occur while he was prime minister.  And I took him at his word that that’s what he meant.

“Afterwards, he pointed out that he didn’t say ‘never,’ but that there would be a series of conditions in which a Palestinian state could potentially be created. But, of course, the conditions were such that they would be impossible to meet any time soon.”

Obama said that in light of Netanyahu’s comments, the “possibility seems very dim” for the Israelis and the Palestinians to reach an agreement.

“’We can’t continue to premise our public diplomacy on something that everybody knows is not going to happen, at least in the next several years,’ the president said.”

http://news.yahoo.com/israel-denies-spying-us-134204766.html

It is hardly necessary for me to say much about how dishonest and low Obama’s approach is.  As if everything was in place, and peace was going to burst out any second – but Netanyahu destroyed it.  As if Netanyahu’s conditions were anything but reasonable.

This statement by Obama followed a speech by his chief of staff, Denis McDonough, in which he declared that “an occupation that has lasted for almost 50 years must end.”

Bibi knows full well how correct he is about the impossibility of a “Palestinian state” now – because of the terrorism in the region, and because of Abbas’s total intransigence as well (never mind because of our legal rights).  But there remains great unease that Obama’s approach may put him on the defensive and motivate him to “prove” his intentions.

~~~~~~~~~~

As far as I can determine at present, the report about the stoppage for political reasons is coming only from YNet – which has a distinctly leftward tilt. The prime minister’s office, referring more to bureaucratic process, denies the stoppage was motivated by politics.

This is a situation that must be watched closely. Within days we should have a more definitive picture.

~~~~~~~~~~

We might hope that Bibi Netanyahu would take the advice of Brett Stephens, writing on “The Orwellian Obama Presidency” (emphasis added):

”Here is my advice to the Israeli government, along with every other country being treated disdainfully by this crass administration: Repay contempt with contempt. Mr. Obama plays to classic bully type. He is abusive and surly only toward those he feels are either too weak, or too polite, to hit back

The Israelis will need to chart their own path of resistance…Israel survived its first 19 years without meaningful U.S. patronage. For now, all it has to do is get through the next 22, admittedly long, months.”
http://www.wsj.com/articles/bret-stephens-the-orwellian-obama-presidency-1427153308?mod=hp_opinion

AMEN!

03/25/15
David Axelrod and Barack Obama

Obama Accused of Obstructing Battle against Boko Haram to Promote Axelrod’s Nigerian Muslim Client

By: James Simpson
Accuracy in Media

Exclusive to Accuracy in Media 

When the notorious Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, kidnapped 278 school girls from the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria last year, Michelle Obama began a Twitter hashtag campaign, #BringBackOurGirls. But behind the scenes, the Obama administration was undermining Nigeria’s efforts to take the battle to the terrorists. Obama refused to sell Nigeria arms and supplies critical to the fight, and stepped in to block other Western allies from doing so. The administration also denied Nigeria intelligence on Boko Haram from drones operating in the area. While Boko Haram was kidnapping school girls, the U.S. cut petroleum purchases from Nigeria to zero, plunging the nation’s economy into turmoil and raising concerns about its ability to fund its battle against the terrorists. Nigeria responded by cancelling a military training agreement between the two countries.

The Nigerian presidential election is coming up Saturday, March 28, 2015. AKPD, the political consulting group founded by Obama confidante David Axelrod, is assisting Retired Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim presidential candidate from Muslim-dominated northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram was spawned and wields the most influence. Buhari is well-known throughout the country, having led as “Head-of-State” following a military coup in 1983. He was dislodged following another coup in 1985.

Democracy is a recent phenomenon in Nigeria. With the exception of two short periods from its independence in 1960 to 1966, and the second republic from 1979 to 1983, the country was ruled by a string of military dictatorships between 1966 and 1999.

Under the All Progressives Congress (APC) banner, Buhari is putting up a stiff challenge to the sitting president, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan who hails from Nigeria’s Christian south. Buhari was also the North’s presidential candidate in the last election held in 2011.

Axelrod is credited as the force behind President Obama’s election victories in 2008 and 2012. He served as Obama’s Senior Advisor until 2011. A well-placed Nigerian interviewed for this report who asked to remain unidentified says that influential Nigerians within and outside the government believe Obama deliberately undermined the war effort and sabotaged the Nigerian economy to make President Jonathan appear weak and ineffectual, and thus bolster the electoral prospects for AKPD’s client, Buhari.

The prominent daily Nigerian Tribune cites an activist group, Move on Nigeria, complaining that the U.S. is fueling tension in Nigeria and has “continued to publicly magnify every challenge of the Nigerian government.”

An anti-Buhari Nigerian blogger writing in the Western Post went further:

In the last year, Nigeria sought aid from the White House for many initiatives, including the fight against Boko Haram.

The Obama administration refused to do anything but play [sic] lip service to Nigeria’s requests. However, it used public and private channels to internationally magnify every failure Nigeria’s government experienced.

In the last year, since the involvement of Axelrod’s firm, relations between the two nations have significantly deteriorated, with the US refusing to sell arms to Nigeria, a significant reduction in the purchase of Nigeria’s oil, and the cancellation of a military training agreement between Nigeria and the USA.

In turn, the Buhari-led Nigerian opposition used the U.S. government’s position as validation for their claim that the Nigerian government was a failure.

Nigerian officials seeking to purchase weapons, especially Cobra attack helicopters, were outraged at Obama’s refusal to allow these transactions. Nigeria’s ambassador to the U.S., Professor Adebowale Adefuye, stated publicly that:

The U.S. government has up till today refused to grant Nigeria’s request to purchase lethal equipment that would have brought down the terrorists within a short time on the basis of the allegations that Nigeria’s defence forces have been violating human rights of Boko Haram suspects when captured or arrested.

We find it difficult to understand how and why, in spite of the U.S. presence in Nigeria, with their sophisticated military technology, Boko Haram should be expanding and becoming more deadly.

Another official quoted in the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay, stated:

The U.S. government has frustrated Nigeria all the way in our war against terrorism despite its public statements in support of Nigeria, as it fights the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-east… They want us to fight Boko Haram with our arms tied to our backs.

They have blocked us from procuring the helicopters and would not provide us with intelligence despite the fact that they have several drones and sophisticated aircraft overflying the North-east of Nigeria from bases in Niger and Chad where the Boko Haram fighters and movements are clearly in their sights.

Retired Col. Abubakar Umar, a former military governor, concluded that the Americans “have decided to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Nigeria.”

Former Head-of-State, Retired Gen. Yakubu Gowon publicly stated last November that America is no friend of Nigeria.

After exhausting all avenues, the Nigerian government finally turned to Russia, China and the black market to obtain needed arms, and as a result has gone aggressively on the offensive against Boko Haram, retaking some 40 towns occupied by the group and killing at least 500 terrorists. According to recent accounts, Boko Haram has gone to ground in the northeastern border regions. But whereas the border states of Niger, Chad, Benin and Cameroon formerly took a hands-off approach, they have now joined in the effort to destroy the group, pledging a total of 8,700 troops. Most recently, Boko Haram has been cleared of its northeastern strongholds in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

U.S. Excuses

The Obama administration has said it is barred from supplying weapons by the so-called Leahy Amendment which forbids foreign states that have committed “gross human rights violations” from receiving military aid. However this did not stop the U.S. from sending Special Forces to Uganda—another country accused of such violations—to assist in capturing Lord Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony. Nor did it prevent Obama from supporting al Qaeda-linked rebel groups in Libya, who later went on to attack the Benghazi mission, and have now joined ISIS. The Syrian “moderates” the administration claimed to back are also allegedly joining with ISIS.

In fact, Obama supported the Islamic radicals who destabilized states throughout the Middle East, including Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, and did little to prevent Iranian-backed Shiites from overthrowing Yemen—a key ally in the War on Terror. And despite claims that the U.S. “does not negotiate with terrorists,” the administration did so in secret with the Taliban for years, most notoriously over the release of Bowe Bergdahl.

The U.S. State Department is currently negotiating a deal that will enable Iran to obtain the bomb, and it just declared that Iran and its Lebanese proxy, Hezbollah, are not terrorists. The administration even claims Iran has been an ally in the War on Terror! Finally, Axelrod’s client, Buhari, has been accused of human rights abuses during his time as chief-of-state.

To top it off, Secretary of State John Kerry made a mockery of the administration’s pretext by hinting in January meetings with both Jonathan and Buhari that the Obama administration might allow weapon sales after the election. If the U.S. was so concerned about human rights violations, how could a mere election change that? Given the perception that Buhari has Obama’s implicit support, this sends an unmistakable message.

The administration also rationalized its decision to cut purchases of Nigerian oil by claiming that output from domestic oil fracking has reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil. But that begs the question: why have U.S. oil imports from other nations increased at the same time? Nigeria was formerly among America’s top five oil supplying countries, and America its largest customer. Nigeria relies on oil revenues for 70 percent of its budget. America’s decision to look elsewhere has been catastrophic for Nigeria’s economy.

A Deutsche Bank analyst noted that the decline in Nigeria’s oil sales to America “proceeded much faster than for the U.S.’ other major suppliers,” and concluded that singling Nigeria out this way had to be driven by politics.

Nigeria is not the only country where Obama is using oil as a foreign policy weapon. The U.S. has not renewed its 35-year-old agreement with Israel to provide emergency supplies of oil, despite booming U.S. oil production. The agreement expired in November 2014. At the time, the State Department claimed to be working on renewing the agreement, but has yet to do so.

U.S. Media AWOL

There is not a single article mentioning Axelrod’s assistance to Buhari in any U.S. “mainstream” media outlet. Only the Washington Free Beacon ran a story.

A Google search of “New York Times, Nigeria, Axelrod,” found only one Times article titled Nigerian Soldiers Noticeably Absent in Town Taken from Boko Haram. There was no mention of Axelrod or his relationship to Nigeria’s Muslim candidate, Buhari. Rather, it criticized Nigeria’s participation in the recent multi-country effort to remove Boko Haram from its northeastern Nigerian holdouts, quoting Chadian foreign minister, Moussa Faki Mahamat, who said, “The Nigerian Army has not succeeded in facing up to Boko Haram.”

There are however, many flattering articles about Axelrod, like the Times review of his book, Believer.

NBC News reported on the oil issue, quoting Peter Pham, the Atlantic Council’s director of its Africa Program, who characterized it as “a sea change in [Nigeria’s] relations with the United States, a sea change in its geopolitical position in the world.”

NBC also noted Nigerian ambassador Adefuye’s complaint about U.S. refusal to provide weapons to Nigeria, and how both issues impacted Nigeria’s ability to fight Boko Haram—but there was no mention of Axelrod’s assistance to Buhari.

Buhari Connected to Boko Haram?

Boko Haram is a virulently anti-Western Islamist movement. Its name, roughly translated, means “fake education is forbidden,” but in practice the term “fake” refers to Western education. It was founded in 2002 by Mohammed Yusuf, a Salafist preacher who created a school to provide an Islamic alternative to Westernized schools. Over time it became a recruiting tool for Boko Haram fighters. The group envisions creating an Islamic caliphate throughout Africa. Yusuf was killed by police in a 2009 uprising, and was replaced by Abubakar Shekau, who recently pledged the group’s alliance with ISIS. Let’s review just what kind of monsters these Boko Haram terrorists are:

Certain Buhari supporters such as Ango Abdullahi of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), have been accused of tacitly supporting Boko Haram, and Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has linked Buhari himself with the terrorists. The alleged connection however, is an open question. In 2013, Buhari protested a government crackdown on the group. In 2012, Boko Haram nominated Buhari as one of six mediators in negotiations with the government over a proposed ceasefire. In 2001, Buhari expressed his desire to see Nigeria ruled by Sharia law, saying:

I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria… God willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the Sharia in the country.

However, Boko Haram attempted to assassinate Buhari last year in a suicide bomb attack that killed 82. More recently, the group called both him and Jonathan “Infidels.” For his part, Buhari called the group “bigots masquerading as Muslims.” Buhari also ruthlessly suppressed a similar group, the Maitatsine, during his time as military head-of-state. Buhari’s vice-presidential running mate is a Pentecostal pastor from the south. Similarly, Jonathan picked a Muslim from the north as his number two.

But much violence has surrounded Buhari’s past efforts. Nigeria has a practice of alternating northern and southern rule called zoning. In the 2011 election, Jonathan was president, having ascended from the vice presidency in 2010 following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adau, a northerner. Some Northern politicians believed that Buhari should have assumed the presidency in 2011.

Abdullahi and others, at that time, threatened violence if Buhari wasn’t elected. Buhari himself refused to condemn violence. This was universally interpreted as encouragement from Buhari. Within hours of Jonathan’s election—what was believed to be one of Nigeria’s historically fairest—Buhari’s Muslim supporters took to the streets, attacking Jonathan supporters with machetes and knives. Following Jonathan’s inauguration, Boko Haram launched a wave of bombings, killing and wounding dozens. An estimated 800 people died in the post-election violence in the Muslim north.

A prominent Nigerian deputy governor, Tele Ikuru, who recently abandoned the APC to join Jonathan’s PDP, called the APC “a party of rebels, insurgents and anarchists, clothed in the robes of pretence and deceit.”

Embarrassed by the kidnapping and the perceived association between Buhari’s supporters and Boko Haram, AKPD claimed that they discontinued work for Buhari in early 2014. However, The Washington Free Beacon has unearthed emails showing that they continued to quietly aid APC into at least January of this year.

Their campaign appears to have been successful. While Nigerian election polls are conflicting, the most recent one projects Buhari the winner by a wide margin. Not surprisingly, the reasons cited for Jonathan’s unpopularity include the perception that he is weak and ineffectual against Boko Haram, and that the economy is in a sorry state. Nigerians have taken to calling the president “Bad Luck” Jonathan.

Nigeria’s Critical Role and U.S. Policy Failures

Most Americans are unaware of the critical role Nigeria plays in African politics. In addition to being Africa’s largest oil producer, Nigeria is also the continent’s most populous nation, with an estimated 162 million people, and is home to approximately 12.5 percent of the world’s total black population. Additionally, Nigerian Americans are very productive and well represented in the fields of medicine, sports, engineering, and academics. Annual remittances are $21 billion, with America providing the largest proportion. It is ironic at best that America’s so-called “first black president” is alienating such a nation, especially given its powerful influence throughout Africa.

Because of Obama, America is losing allies the world over. Despite his so-called outreach to “the Muslim world,” the few Muslim allies America has are calling him out. For example, observe the unprecedented spectacle of Arabs cheering Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before the U.S. Congress. Columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj of the Saudi daily newspaper Al-Jazirah, called Obama “the worst president in American history.” The only Muslims Obama seems to like are those who hate America, and he is going out of his way to court them, come what may.

03/25/15
Cartoonist Gary Varvel: White House response to Netanyahu win

Watcher’s Council Nominations – Temper Tantrum Edition

The Watcher’s Council

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Welcome to the Watcher’s Council, a blogging group consisting of some of the most incisive blogs in the ‘sphere and the longest running group of its kind in existence. Every week, the members nominate two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. Then we vote on the best two posts, with the results appearing on Friday morning.

Council News:

The Council In Action!!

Our own Tom White at VA Right was named one of Newsmax’s top 50 Conservative Blogs for 2015. Congrats, Tom. It’s nice that Newsmax is finally recognizing what we all already knew… Council Akbar!

This week, The Pirates’ Cove, ThePeople’s Cube and Maggie’s Notebook earned honorable mention status with some great articles.

You can, too! Want to see your work appear on the Watcher’s Council homepage in our weekly contest listing? Didn’t get nominated by a Council member? No worries.

To bring something to my attention, simply head over to Joshuapundit and post the title and a link to the piece you want considered along with an e-mail address (mandatory, but of course it won’t be published) in the comments section no later than Monday 6 PM PST in order to be considered for our honorable mention category. Then return the favor by creating a post on your site linking to the Watcher’s Council contest for the week when it comes out on Wednesday morning.

Simple, no?

It’s a great way of exposing your best work to Watcher’s Council readers and Council members while grabbing the increased traffic and notoriety. And how good is that, eh?

So, let’s see what we have for you this week…

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Enjoy! And don’t forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter… ’cause we’re cool like that! And don’t forget to tune in Friday for the results!