This week, I met with Egyptian President el-Sisi in Washington. It was a fascinating discussion. Here’s a brief update.

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>> BREAKING NEWS: PRESIDENT TRUMP ORDERS U.S. MILITARY STRIKES AGAINST SYRIA AFTER CHEMICAL WEAPONS ATTACKS KILL CHILDREN. (please follow on Twitter for latest updates)

(Washington, D.C.) — On Wednesday morning, I had the honor of participating in a two-hour meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

His Excellency addressed a group of Middle East experts at the Four Seasons Hotel in the Georgetown district of Washington, D.C. He made some introductory remarks and then took our questions for the next 90 minutes. Afterwards, rather than bolt to another meeting, he graciously spent another twenty minutes or so greeting each participant and chatting with us individually.

The conversation itself was held under what are known as “Chatham House Rules,” so I’m not permitted to quote what was said. But in the coming days, I’ll share my observations of President el-Sisi, his meeting with us, and his meetings with President Trump and senior administration officials and Congressional leaders.

For now let me just say that I was very encouraged by what I saw and heard.

First, as a novelist and a dual U.S.-Israeli citizen, I found myself deeply humbled to be included in such a meeting. Indeed, as I quipped to one of my colleagues at the meeting, it’s quite something to meet the leader of Egypt on the eve of Passover and enjoy the experience. But I certainly did.

Second, as an Evangelical, I found it very helpful to hear directly from a world leader whose country has played — and will continue to play — such an enormously important role in Biblical and prophetic history. The Bible is clear, especially in passages like Isaiah 19, that God had a deep and abiding love for the people of Egypt, and a great plan for their future. Please join me in keeping President el-Sisi and his family and advisors — and the nation of Egypt — in your prayers at this critical time.

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Likewise, please keep Jordan’s King Abdullah, Queen Rania, their four children and the people of Jordan in your prayers. His Majesty has been in town for the past several days and today held extensive meetings with President Trump. I watched their full Rose Garden press conference on line and found myself deeply encouraged by the obvious strengthening of U.S.-Jordanian relations.

It has, of course, been a dramatic week in the Middle East with one of the worst  chemical weapons attacks in Syrian history. At least 69 people — and possibly 100 or more — are dead, including many children, and hundreds more were wounded by the unconscionable use of sarin gas by the Assad regime.

It is clear that the Assad regime will employ all manner of wickedness to stay in power. It is also clear that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the ayatollahs of Iran fully support and enable such evil as they try desperately to keep their ally Assad in power.

The Trump administration needs to formulate its policy quickly and take bold and decisive action to make sure no world leader thinks he can use weapons of mass destruction and America will do nothing.

President Trump has, of course, repeatedly made the case that he will fight and defeat radical Islamic terrorism. To his credit, he is working hard to revitalize badly strained U.S. alliances in the Middle East, even while committing more troops and resources into the field. Progress is being made, especially in Iraq, but much more must be done.

 

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  • On Monday, President Trump welcomed President el-Sisi to the White House for the first time, and held extensive discussions focused on rebuilding U.S.-Egyptian relations. (see video from the Oval Office — see transcript here)
  • Today, as I mentioned, Mr. Trump welcomed King Abdullah, our most faithful Sunni Arab ally. The two men held several hours of strategic meetings, and conducted a Rose Garden press conference (see video here — see transcript here).
  • President Trump warmly thanked both leaders for their alliance with the U.S. He thanked them for their active and bold leadership in fighting ISIS and other terrorist groups, and for their determination to help the Israelis and Palestinians try to find peace.
  • I’ll provide more analysis on all these developments and trends in the days ahead.

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Without Warning — my new thriller about ISIS operatives launching catastrophic terrorist attacks inside the U.S. using chemical weapons captured in Syria — is now available in hardcover, e-book and audio formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD, Lifeway, and your favorite general market and Christian bookstores. To order online, please click here.

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BREAKING: ISIS loyalist arrested in South Carolina for plotting terror attacks inside homeland. In past three years, 220 arrested in U.S. for ISIS plots. Here’s the latest.

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(Washington, D.C.) — The FBI has arrested a South Carolina man who joined the Islamic State, was conspiring to commit acts of unspeakable terror against Americans, and had just purchased a ticket to fly to the Middle East to get training and experience.

He was arrested in the Charleston, S.C., airport, just before boarding. (see details below)

Now consider this: in the past three years, 220 people have been arrested in the United States for allegedly being part of ISIS plots. Last year alone, the number was 37, or an average of three per month.

Imagine the horrors that could have been inflicted inside the homeland if these 220 terrorists hadn’t been identified and captured in time.

The news comes amidst heart-wrenching images of Syrian children who this week suffocated to death, foaming at the mouth, because chemical weapons — sarin gas — were used to kill them and their families. Didn’t the Obama administration, the Russians and the U.N. promise all the chemical weapons had been removed from Syria?

I wish this were only fiction. Tragically, the carnage in Syria and threat to the homeland are all too real. Please be praying for the President and his advisors to know how best to deal with the crisis in Syria, and how best to improve homeland security. Please pray for victims in Syria and their families. And please join me in thanking the Lord for the brave and tireless men and women of U.S. intelligence and law enforcement — we owe them a great deal.

Excerpts from the Charlotte Observer:

  • An 18-year-old South Carolina man arrested last week on an ISIS-related charge dreamed of replicating the Orlando, Fla., massacre but decided he could better serve by joining the terrorist group in the Middle East where he could kill Americans, the FBI says.
  • Zakaryia Abdin….who formerly lived near Charlotte, was arrested Thursday at the Charleston airport, where he was scheduled to depart for Jordan.
  • Two years ago…Abdin and another unnamed suspect were charged with plotting to rob a gun store in North Carolina, then attack troops at military bases near Raleigh….
  • Prosecutors say Abdin had been conspiring online for weeks with an undercover FBI agent posing as a operative for the Islamic State, commonly known as ISIS or ISIL, about his plans to travel to the Middle East to fight. Otherwise, he would commit a terrorist act at home in support of ISIS, the FBI says. Either way, his preferred targets were fellow Americans, a newly unsealed FBI affidavit says….
  • “I want you to place me on the frontlines just to fight Al Amrikan (the Americans),” Abdin wrote on March 14. “I will fight them until death, I swear, I swear, I swear.”
  • The next day, Abdin asked the agent if ISIS had any Americans the group planned to torture and kill on video, as it had with other captives. He volunteered to be the executioner, the affidavit says.
  • “I want to be the one to send the message because they will know who I am and I want them to see … Save him for me, ahki (friend) … It will be a strong message.”
  • According to the affidavit, Abdin, a resident of Ladson, S.C., at the time of his arrest, believed he was being watched and occasionally followed. If thwarted from traveling to the Middle East, he volunteered to kill at home….
  • He is the latest of almost 220 people arrested on ISIS charges in the past three years. Almost half of those charged were planning to leave the States to join ISIS operations or had already done so, according to the George Washington University Program on Extremism….
  • Abdin appeared torn about leaving his mother. He wrote the undercover agent and asked if he could send a picture of himself to her after he arrived in Egypt to fight.
  • “I told her I am just going on a simple vacation … When I arrive it will break her heart if I do not return and she does not know where I am,” the affidavit says. “She has every right to know that I have chosen this path and she will at least know where I am and I will not return.”

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Without Warning — my new thriller about ISIS operatives launching catastrophic terrorist attacks inside the U.S. using chemical weapons captured in Syria — is now available in hardcover, e-book and audio formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD, Lifeway, and your favorite general market and Christian bookstores. To order online, please click here.

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BREAKING: The Obama administration promised there were no more chemical weapons in Syria. Today, Syrian children are dying, attacked without warning. Here’s what we know.

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(Washington, D.C.) — “The worst of the weapons are gone.”

That’s what Secretary of State John Kerry told us in June 2014. At that time, President Obama and his administration promised us that the Syrians had allowed the Russians and the U.N. to remove all of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

But it wasn’t true. Over the past two years, there have been repeated chemical weapons attacks in Syria — both by the Assad regime and by ISIS. Today, we have new reports of yet another horrific attack, apparently involving sarin gas, that has left dozens dead and hundreds wounded, including scores of children.

“Syrian opposition health minister Firas Jundi put the death toll at more than 100 civilians and said 500 others, mostly children, were affected by the gas,” reports USA Today.

This is what I feared when in 2013 I began writing my current series of political thrillers — The Third Target, The First Hostage and Without Warning — that Syria’s chemical weapons would, in fact, be used one day against innocent civilians. That’s why I wrote about a fictional foreign correspondent, J.B. Collins, who hears a rumors that a cache of chemical weapons has been captured in Syria and is about to be used to advance genocide. At the time, however, I was simply writing fiction. Now we know it’s fact.

Who is to blame for these war crimes? Bashar al-Assad and his bloodthirsty regime, who have no problem slaughtering innocents to stay in power. They have lied, killed and destroyed, and they must be removed. Also to blame are Russian President Vladimir Putin and the ayatollahs in Iran who prop up Assad to keep this butcher in power. They should not be allowed to seize control of Syria when Assad collapses, which he will.

Consider the carnage already. More than 500,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war to date. Millions more have been wounded. Still millions of more Syrians are on the run for their very lives, many having fled to neighboring Jordan and Lebanon. This is the implosion of a modern Arab state, and it is tragic, heart-breaking to behold.

President Obama and his administration also bears much guilt. Mr. Obama famously drew his “red line,” warning Assad never to use chemical weapons or he would face the wrath of the American military. Yet when Assad used them anyway, Obama refused to keep his word, and American credibility suffered an immeasurable blow not just in the Middle East but around the world.

We are witnessing sheer evil in motion in Syria, and the devastating legacy of Mr. Obama’s failed and utterly immoral foreign policy.

Amidst such carnage, can President Trump reestablish American credibility and protect us from ISIS, radical Islamic terrorism and the use of chemical weapons inside the U.S.? The jury is still out, but I pray the answer is yes. After all, Without Warning is specifically about Syrian chemical weapons being used inside the homeland. God forbid.

Yesterday, President Trump met with Egyptian President el-Sisi to revitalize US-Egyptian relations, so badly damaged during the Obama years. (No Egyptian leader has been to the White House in eight years until yesterday). The timing of the visit is fortuitous. Mr. el-Sisi wants to work closely with Washington to fight and defeat radical Islamist terrorism. Trump is right to embrace him and improve our strategic and tactical coordination on these and other matters. I will write more on the el-Sisi visit soon.

Tomorrow, President Trump will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II. This timing is also critical. Few leaders better understand what’s happening in Syria than the King, who is our most faithful Sunni Arab ally. Jordan borders Syria and has been hugely helpful in caring for more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees. Jordan is also working closely with us in the fight against ISIS, and believes the Assad regime should be removed from power. Like Egypt, Jordan needs and deserves more American support. These are two vital American allies. Again, I’ll write more on this after the King’s visit.

On a personal note, let me just say that I am sickened by the images and reports coming out of Syria (and Iraq). The wickedness on display — as well the resultant human suffering — is beyond belief.

That’s why I don’t just write novels about these matters. Eleven years ago, my wife and I founded a non-profit organization called The Joshua Fund to strengthen the Church in Israel and five Arab nations, to provide humanitarian relief to Holocaust survivors, to provide food and other assistance to Syrian and Iraqi refugees, to help the Church in the Middle East preach the Word of God and be a true light in the darkness. The needs in the region are greater than one organization can meet, but I’m deeply grateful for the work The Joshua Fund is honored to do to be a true blessing in the name of Jesus. Please pray for our team to have great wisdom at this critical time. And please consider making a tax deductible contribution to the work.

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Without Warning is now available in hardcover, e-book and audio formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD, Lifeway, and your favorite general market and Christian bookstores. To order online, please click here.

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Egyptian & Jordanian leaders head to Washington to meet with Trump. Will discuss Iran, ISIS & Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Here’s the latest.

Abdullah-elSisi-5(Washington, D.C.) — President Trump’s efforts to rebuild deeply strained relations with America’s Sunni Arab Muslim allies continue full speed ahead this week.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has just departed Cairo and is currently headed for Washington. On Monday, April 3rd, he will meet with  Trump.

  • This will be the Egyptian leader’s first time to the White House.
  • President Obama never invited him but rather treated him nearly as persona non grata during his administration, denouncing el-Sisi for removing the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist regime from power in the summer of 2013 and suspending aid and military sales to Egypt for a time.
  • This will actually be el-Sisi’s second meeting with Mr. Trump.
  • Their first meeting was on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly meetings in New York last September during the presidential campaign. At the time, el-Sisi also met with Hillary Clinton.
  • The Egyptian president was also the first leader to call Mr. Trump the day after the election last November to congratulate Trump on his victory.
  • The two leaders spoke again on January 23rd.
  • President el-Sisi — who is battling radical Islamic terrorism throughout Egypt, in the Sinai desert, and along the western border with an imploding Libya — urgently wants to rebuild ties with Washington and be seen as a trustworthy ally in the battle against the radicals.
  • The Egyptian leader is deeply concerned about the threat that a nuclear Iran and a genocidal Islamic State poses to the region, and has signaled his readiness to help the U.S. work against both threats.
  • Given that Egypt is also facing severe and systemic economic troubles, el-Sisi also hopes to persuade Trump not to cut the $1.3 billion in annual U.S. aid to his country at a time when Trump has signaled he is planning to cut foreign aid.
  • At the same time, el-Sisi — who has a remarkably resilient peace treaty with Israel — has repeatedly shown a desire to help broker a comprehensive peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians. Can such an agreement really be achieved? That’s a good question. But el-Sisi has built a very strong and warm relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. He is also rebuilding a strained relationship with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Last year, he participated in a secret summit in Aqaba, Jordan, aimed at trying to bring about a peace deal. It will be interesting to see if he brings fresh ideas and suggestions — or even a new peace proposal — to his White House meeting.
  • I’m encouraged the President Trump has reached out to el-Sisi. As I wrote in a Jerusalem Post column in February, “it’s time to rebuild ties with Egypt” and I laid out six reasons why the U.S. and the West should work closely with President el-Sisi, and specifically why Trump should invite el-Sisi to meet with him in Washington. Namely, “he’s making progress, and he needs help.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II arrives here in Washington a few days later. His Majesty will meet President Trump at the White House on April 5th.

  • This will also be the King’s second meeting with Mr. Trump.
  • Their first meeting was on the sidelines of the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington in February, as I reported on this blog.
  • Still, this will be the King’s first official and formal White House meeting with President Trump and this is a very positive development.
  • As I wrote in the Jerusalem Post last year, after Lynn and I spent five days in Jordan meeting with the King and his top military generals, “King Abdullah II is, without question, the West’s most faithful Sunni Arab ally. But as he engages in a hot war against a genocidal enemy he needs far more help from the US and the international community – and he needs it now. Let’s give him what he needs, before it’s too late.”
  • The King is also concerned that President Trump is cutting foreign aid and that such cuts could negatively affect Jordan. Expect him to make the case to Trump how vital Jordan is in combatting ISIS and caring for more than 1.3 million Syrian refugees, and that Jordan is a good value for the dollar.
  • The King is also concerned about Iranian aggression and Persian nationalist ambitions in the region, so I suspect this will be a topic of conversation.
  • But the King is also deeply involved in trying to help the Palestinians and Israelis make peace, and I think this will be one of his top priority issues.
  • Last week, the King hosted the Arab League Summit in the Red Sea port city of Aqaba. There, the Arab leaders reaffirmed their support for what’s known as the “Arab Peace Initiative” and are urging Mr. Trump to make the Israeli-Palestinian peace process a very high priority.
  • Jason Greenblatt, President Trump’s chief international negotiator, attended the Summit last week and held private meetings with all of the key players. Greenblatt has been making the rounds in the region in recent weeks meeting with Israeli and Arab leaders of all kinds and persuasions, listening to their thoughts on how to bring the two sides together.
  • Most analysts remain skeptical that the conditions are ripe for Israel and the Palestinians to find much common ground, much less strike an historic final peace treaty. But there’s lots of evidence that President Trump is increasingly invested in the process and seems to believe he can cut such a deal.

These meetings with the leaders of Egypt and Jordan come on the heels of recent Trump meetings with the Prime Minister of Iraq and the Saudi Crown Prince.

It’s worth noting that later this month, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will meet with President Trump.

  • Mr. Abbas is currently serving the 13th year of his four year term.
  • He refuses to call new elections.
  • Thus far, he has resisted direct negotiations with Netanyahu, as well.
  • But he has stated publicly he is hopeful that Trump is serious about making peace.

I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m glad President el-Sisi and King Abdullah are on their way here, and I’m praying for good and productive meetings at the White House.

The Scriptures command us to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6). In Matthew chapter five, Jesus also teaches us that “blessed are the peacemakers.” In a region of such darkness and violence, let’s be faithful in prayer and committed to seeking peace and stability for everyone in the epicenter.

Without Warning is now available in hardcover, e-book and audio formats from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CBD, Lifeway, and your favorite general market and Christian bookstores. To order online, please click here.

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Announcing the 2018 Epicenter Prayer Summit in Jerusalem. Pastors, start planning your own tour to Israel to join us at the Summit in July 2018.

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Dear friends —

It is with great excitement about God’s love for the people of Israel that I cordially invite you to join us for the Epicenter Prayer Summit, which will be held in Jerusalem the evening of Wednesday, July 11th, and all day Thursday, July 12th, 2018.

The Summit will be the centerpiece of The Joshua Fund’s next “Prayer & Vision Tour” of Israel which will take place July 3 – July 15, 2018.

Please consider joining us on our tour. Or, if you’re a pastor or ministry leader, please consider custom-designing a tour that would be perfect for your congregation by contacting Inspiration Cruises & Tours. We pray that many congregations will take this opportunity to visit Israel and join us in Jerusalem for the Epicenter Prayer Summit.

Keynote speakers for the Summit include Anne Graham Lotz, Dr. Ronnie Floyd and me. Also speaking will be local pastors and ministry leaders on the frontlines of the faith. We will be joined by leaders of various Jewish, Israeli Arab and Palestinian Arab ministries as they share with the Summit participants about what they see the Lord doing from their unique vantage points. They will also be sharing real-time prayer requests for their ministries, as well as praying for unity among the brethren in the Land.

The focus of the Summit will be the urgency of praying for the peace of Jerusalem, preaching the Gospel to all people in the Epicenter and asking the Lord to pour out His Holy Spirit to bring about a revival in His Church and a sweeping spiritual awakening in the Land and throughout the region. Please prayerfully consider joining us. I would love to see you there!

Yours to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus,

Joel C. Rosenberg

Chairman and Founder of The Joshua Fund

> Pastors and ministry leaders:  to begin planning your own tour of Israel in July 2018 that allows you to bring your people to the Summit, please click here.

> Lay people: to learn more about The Joshua Fund’s next tour of Israel — and to register while there is still space — please click here.

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“Without Warning” hits NYT bestseller list at #6. New political thriller about ISIS threat also lands on Publishers Weekly, USA Today & Washington Post lists.

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We just got the news that Without Warning has hit all four of the major U.S. best-seller lists — New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today and the Washington Post — and landed significantly higher on the lists than my previous thriller, The First Hostage.

Without Warning debuts at…..

After interviews, speeches and book signings in Virginia Beach, New York City, Dallas and Tyler, Texas in recent weeks, I head to Naples, Florida, today for the next stop on the book tour. Later this week, I’ll head to Washington, D.C. for board meetings for The Joshua Fund and then a final week of interviews and meetings in D.C. before returning to Israel.

Thank you so much to all of my readers who’ve been so enthusiastic and supportive of this new thriller. Thanks, too, for all the word-of-mouth — to everyone who has been writing about and reviewing Without Warning on Facebook, Twitter and all kinds of other social media. I couldn’t be more grateful. and please keep it up!

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In war against ISIS, Washington needs a new strategic messaging plan, not just a new war plan. A few recommendations. (My latest column for Fox News.)

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(Tyler, Texas) — This morning, Fox News Opinion published my latest op-ed on how to defeat the Islamic State and protect the American people and our allies. Based on my blog column of last week, I urge President Trump to develop a new strategic messaging plan, not just a new war plan, and deliver a major address to the American people.

You can read the full op-ed online by clicking here.

Mr. Trump, please give a major address defining the threat of ‘radical Islamic terrorism’

By Joel C. Rosenberg, FoxNews.com, March 26, 2017

Mr. Trump, you are the first American president ever to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” in your Inaugural Address.

Neither Presidents George W. Bush nor Barack Obama chose to use the term. Thus, even though we have been at war in the Middle East since 2001 – and even though we continue to see horrific terrorist attacks by Islamic State loyalists from San Bernardino  and Orlando to Paris and Brussels and now London just this week — we have never had a Commander-in-Chief actually define for the American people the nature of our enemy.

“We will unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth,” you vowed in January.

Then, before a Joint Session of Congress last month, you built on the theme that you began during the campaign, declaring that your administration is committed to “taking strong measures to protect our nation from radical Islamic terrorism.”

Such language has been sharply criticized by former aides to President Barack Obama, who insisted on saying he was countering “violent extremism.”

“What was accomplished by declaring war on ‘radical Islamic terrorism’?” Ben Rhodes, the former National Security Council official, Tweeted during the Joint Session. “Just alienating Muslim allies who we need, and emboldening terrorists.”

“There’s nothing magic about those three words,” Tweeted Marie Harf, the former State Department spokeswoman. “They’re not a strategy, they’re a talking point.”

Ignore such partisan sniping, Mr. President. You are absolutely right to shine a spotlight on the homicidal ideology that drives jihadists to wage war against us and our allies. But be careful. Don’t assume everyone knows what you mean. The phrase, after all, is simply shorthand. Now that you have captured people’s attention by using the term, you must define it. As leader of the free world, you have an extraordinary platform to educate a national and global audience about the true nature and magnitude of the threat in more detail and with more precision. Seize it.

Here are three suggestions:

First, be clear and consistent that the vast majority of Muslims are not dangerous.

This may seem an obvious point, but there is genuine confusion among some. There are people – at home and abroad – who hear you use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” and think you mean that the entire Islamic religion is radical and thus all Muslims are prone to terrorism. Since you’re actually using the word “radical” to define a subgroup that approves of violence against innocents, and not to cast aspersions on the broader Muslim faith, be forward-leaning in making the distinction crystal clear.

Since the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, the Pew Research Center, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Gallup and other organizations have conducted extensive polling throughout Islamic world on Muslim attitudes regarding a wide range of political and religious subjects.

An analysis of the data suggests that the vast majority of Muslims overseas – upwards of 90 percent – generally do not support violence against civilians to advance their beliefs. However, between 7 and 10 percent of Muslims worldwide can be characterized as having radical views in that they openly state that they support the extreme violence of the Islamic State or support the use of suicide bombings against innocent civilian targets to advance their political or religious objectives.

Study this 90/10 split. Immerse yourself and your national security team in the data. Direct the State Department to do more polling. And start explaining the 90/10 split to the public so they understand you’re not speaking about most Muslims.

Second, define for the public the nature of this violent subset and the gravity of the threat they pose.

Saying that “only” 7 percent to 10 percent sympathize with jihadists is true and fair, but hardly comforting. In a world of 1.6 billion Muslims, this means upwards of 160 million people could be fairly characterized as sympathizing with “radical Islam” or, more precisely, “militant Islamism,” a violent political ideology that seeks to accomplish totalitarian objectives under the cloak of Islam.

Imagine if this subset established their own country. It could be the ninth largest country in the world. Larger than Russia. Half the population of the United States. Not all Muslims who hold extreme views will turn to violence, of course. But this is the pool from which Islamist terrorist organizations and states raise funds, recruit new members, and inspire “lone wolf” attacks. Explain this to people.

Explain the objectives of the jihadists. And point out sobering truths like the fact that in 2016 alone, 37 people were arrested in the U.S. for ISIS-plots. ISIS began as al Qaeda in Iraq. Now it has recruited terrorists from 120 countries, and have murdered more than 1,200 people in countries outside of Iraq and Syria. Most people don’t know this.

Make it clear that this is precisely why we need to improve vetting procedures to prevent confirmed radicals from entering the U.S. This is why we need to protect our borders from jihadists trying to infiltrate, and why we need a comprehensive plan to defeat the Islamic State and a defense budget that will get the job done right.

Third, continue to strengthen ties to our Muslim allies, and seek their counsel not just on war-planning but on strategic messaging.

Your recent meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a strong message of unity in the face of terror, since Israel is on the frontlines of the fight against jihadism. But I’m encouraged that you also recently met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, and will soon meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Your meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II was also important, as he is America’s most faithful Sunni Arab ally, a direct descendent of the Prophet Muhammad, and a courageous leader against the jihadists.

“For those of us who are Muslim, this fight is very personal,” the Jordanian King recently explained in an address to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. “These criminals are khawarej; outlaws to our faith. People nowadays talk about ‘Fake News’; the khawarej produce ‘Fake Islam’. They selectively paste together the words of Islamic texts, to promote a false and perverted ideology. In reality, everything they are, everything they do, is a blatant violation of the teachings of my faith.”

The King added, “I have called on the Muslim world to fight back boldly. We, like other faith communities, have a vast silent majority and it is time for that majority to get loud and to be clear in their condemnation.”

Amen. Avail yourself of the King’s wise counsel, Mr. President. Ask him and other moderate Muslim leaders how best to shape your message. Then speak to the American people.

I recently commissioned McLaughlin & Associates, a leading U.S. polling firm whose clients include your presidential campaign, to conduct a national survey to better understand how Americans view the war against ISIS. The results were sobering. A plurality believe we are losing the war, and most believe ISIS will launch catastrophic attacks inside the American homeland.

Some of the most interesting results came when we asked people how they want their leaders to talk about the enemy we face.

Fortunately, we found that only 10 percent believe “our leaders should say we are waging a war against the religion of Islam.”

Some 36 percent believe “our leaders should not mention Islam at all, but simply say we are waging war against the forces of violent extremism.”

But fully 45 percent believe “our leaders should say we are waging war against the forces of radical Islam, but be careful to explain that most Muslims are not our enemy.”

Good.

This is the right way to talk about the war, shining a spotlight on the forces of the radicals, while affirming that the vast majority of Muslims at home and abroad are not our enemy, and should be mobilized as our allies in this war. And most of that 45 percent are people who voted for you, so you have a strong base of support for this approach and can build from there.

Mr. Trump, in the aftermath of the savage London attacks, you have a unique and historic opportunity to deliver a major address to the American people to define our enemy and explain your vision for victory.

Carpe diem.

Joel C. Rosenberg is the bestselling author of novels and non-fiction books about the Middle East. His latest political thriller is “Without Warning” (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., March 14, 2017).

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In wake of London attack, President Trump should deliver major address to define “radical Islamic terrorism,” the ISIS threat, and his vision for victory.

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(Dallas, Texas) — Yesterday, the horrific attack in London underscored yet again the threat radical Islamic terrorism poses to our allies. We mourn for those murdered, killed and traumatized, and we pray for the Lord to comfort and heal.

The attack on our British ally was also a stark reminder that such terror could strike inside the U.S. homeland without warning if our leaders do not aggressively improve defensive measures to protect the American people, and launch far more aggressive offensive measures to decisively defeat the Islamic State and other militant Islamist groups.

UPDATE: ISIS has just claimed responsibility for the attack. “The perpetrator of the attacks yesterday in front of the British parliament in London is an Islamic State soldier and he carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of the coalition,” says the Amaq news agency, the ISIS press channel.

In this context, I was encouraged that yesterday the Trump-Pence administration was actually hosting a conference of foreign ministers from 68 countries, focused on how to improve cooperation not simply to fight ISIS but to win.

  • Secretary of State Rex Tillerson delivered an excellent address (read or watch here).
  • The State Department released a helpful fact sheet detailing the progress that has been made against ISIS so far.
  • The coalition released a statement on areas of agreement and focus for 2017.

Now it is time for President Trump to deliver a major address to the American people on how he views the war against the Islamic State and his vision for victory.

Mr. Trump, to his credit, is the first president in American history to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” which he referred to in his Inaugural Address and his Joint Address to Congress. Neither Presidents George W. Bush nor Barack Obama chose to use this term.

Mr. Trump is absolutely right to shine a spotlight on the homicidal ideology that drives jihadists to wage war against us and our allies. But he must be careful not to assume that everyone understands what he means. The phrase, after all, is simply shorthand.

Now that he has captured people’s attention by using the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” it is vitally important that he define it. As leader of the free world, he has an extraordinary platform to educate a national and global audience about the true nature and magnitude of the threat in more detail and with more precision. He should seize it.

He should explain to the nation that last year alone, 37 people were arrested in the U.S. for ISIS-related terrorist plots — that’s three a month. He should explain that ISIS has recruited jihadists from 120 nations, and have killed more than 1,200 people outside of Iraq and Syria. He should explain that as we take territory away from ISIS in the Mideast, thousands of trained and experienced foreign fighters are redeploying all over the world,  to launch new and devastating attacks.

The President should explain the objectives of the global jihadist movement, and why they particularly seek to attack the American people. No American President has ever walked the public through this savage worldview. He should.

At the same time, the President needs to be clear that we are not at war with the religion of Islam, and that he is not talking about the vast majority of Muslims who, in fact, do not pose a threat at all.

A careful analysis of extensive polling in the Muslim world since 9/11 by multiple research groups shows that upwards of 90 percent of Muslims worldwide are not radicals. However, it also reveals that between 7 and 10 percent of Muslims worldwide do support the violence of the Islamic State, suicide bombings against innocent civilians, and other acts of violence to accomplish their religious and political objectives. The good news is that the vast majority of Muslims are not a threat. But in a world of 1.6 billion Muslims, 10 percent represents upwards of 160 million people who support terrorism.

Fortunately, according to a new poll we recently commissioned, we found that the American people overwhelmingly rejects the idea that in the conflict with ISIS we are at war with the religion of Islam. Only 10 percent believe that. What’s more, only about one-in-three Americans (36 percent) think our leaders should say we are at war with the forces of “violent extremism.”

A plurality (45 percent) support the President in saying we are waging war against the forces of “radical Islam,” but add that they want our leaders to be careful to explain that most Muslims are not our enemy. The President could do just that in a major address.

The release of these survey results comes as the White House is rightly reaching out to our Mideast allies. President Trump recently met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, and with the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince to discuss the war against ISIS. This week, he also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, after which he pledged to speed up U.S. support to Iraq in the fight against the Islamic State. Now, Mr. Trump has invited Egyptian President el-Sisi to make his first-ever visit to Washington in early April.

The President is wise to embrace both our Sunni and Shia Muslim allies and work closely with them. But he should not only seek their counsel on developing a better war strategy. He should also get their input on how to craft a much better strategic communications plan to define the nature of our enemy and explain to the public why the stakes are so high. Then he should address the American people.

At the moment, our survey found that Americans believe we are losing the war against ISIS, and nearly 70 percent fear catastrophic terrorist attacks by ISIS are coming to the homeland.

The President is showing impressive leadership in the fight against ISIS and radical Islamic terrorism. Now it’s time to brief the American people on what this all means, and where we are going next.

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UPDATED: ISIS claims responsibility for terror attack at UK Parliament — 3 murdered, 40 injured, terrorist killed at scene. British police arrest 8 on terror charges. New poll finds 68% of Americans fear ISIS attacks. A British ISIS supporter had vowed that “the black flag of Islam will one day fly high over 10 Downing Street.” Developing….

UK-terrorattack-March2017

> New poll finds 68% of Americans fear ISIS could strike inside the U.S. homeland, even with chemical and biological weapons — also: plurality of Americans believe we are losing the war with ISIS.

UPDATED AT 8:40AM CENTRAL TIME, THURSDAY:

ISIS has just claimed responsibility for the attack. “The perpetrator of the attacks yesterday in front of the British parliament in London is an Islamic State soldier and he carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of the coalition,” says the Amaq news agency, the ISIS press channel.

UPDATED AT 6:40AM CENTRAL TIME, THURSDAY:

Let us be praying for the victims of this horrible terror attack in the heart of London, and for their families, and all those who were traumatized. As of this hour, news reports say three people (not four) were murdered in yesterday’s attack, and about 40 wounded.

Let us be praying, too, for Prime Minister Theresa May and her top national security and law enforcement advisors for wisdom as they work to strengthen Britain’s homeland defenses. British authorities conducted a number of raids overnight and arrested eight people on terrorism charges. The PM indicates that the police know the identity of the terrorist and will release that information at the appropriate time.

Thus far, I’ve seen no credible reports of any group claiming responsibility for the attack yet. The attack certainly has many hallmarks of an operation by the Islamic State. It happened on the one year anniversary of ISIS attacks in Brussels. It happened as foreign ministers from 68 countries were meeting in Washington to improve coordination on fighting and defeating ISIS. It was a vehicle attack, a tactic encouraged by ISIS leaders and used by ISIS loyalists throughout Europe. ISIS supporters have been calling for attacks in England, and London in particularly.

That said, we’ll know more soon and we’ll analyze those facts at that time.

Here’s the latest reporting from the New York Times:

  • A British-born man who was once investigated for connections to violent extremism carried out the deadly attack outside Parliament in London on Wednesday, according to Prime Minister Theresa May.
  • Addressing lawmakers in Parliament who only a day earlier had been under lockdown, Mrs. May said on Thursday morning that the attacker was “a peripheral figure” who had been examined by MI5, Britain’s domestic counterintelligence agency, but who had not been “part of the current intelligence picture.”
  • Mrs. May said that officials were not ready to release the man’s name, but she added that “there was no prior evidence of his intent or of the plot” and that “our working assumption is that the attacker was inspired by Islamist ideology.”
  • The authorities raided six properties across the country on Thursday, detaining eight people in London and in Birmingham, in central England, as they pressed ahead with a fast-moving investigation. The authorities emphasized that they believed the assailant had acted alone and that they did not expect any further attacks; Mrs. May said that the nation’s threat level would remain “severe,” meaning that an attack was likely, and not raised to “critical,” signaling an imminent attack.
  • “Yesterday, an act of terrorism tried to silence our democracy,” Mrs. May said, adding: “We are not afraid and our resolve will never waver in the face of terrorism.”
  • Among the victims of the attack — three dead and around 40 others wounded — were 12 Britons, at least four South Koreans, three French schoolchildren, two Romanians and one citizen each of China, Germany, Greece, Ireland and Italy.

UPDATED AT 5:40PM CENTRAL TIME, WEDNESDAY: “Scotland Yard’s top anti-terror officer Mark Rowley confirms that five people have died and about 40 people were injured in the attack, including three police officers,” reports the BBC.

Five deaths: four people murdered, and the terrorist was killed by police at the scene.

4:05PM CENTRAL TIME:

British Prime Minister just spoke to the nation.

“Prime Minister Theresa May, who chaired a Cobra meeting this evening, said the full details of the ‘sick and depraved terrorist attack’ were still emerging,” reported the BBC. “She confirmed there was one attacker and the UK’s threat level of ‘severe’ will not change. There will be an update from the Metropolitan Police later this evening, she said.”

  • “Our thoughts and prayers go out to all who have been affected,” she said.
  • “Let me make it clear today… any attempt to defeat those values through violence is doomed to failure.
  • “Parliament will come together as normal… and Londoners will get up and go about their day as normal… they will walk these streets, they will live their lives… never giving into terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”

Also: BBC is reporting that “Acting Deputy Commissioner Rowley confirmed the armed officer had died, as well as a man they believed to be the attacker. He told a press conference he believed there to be only one attacker, but searches were ongoing.”


3:00PM CENTRAL UPDATE:

In 2014, an ISIS supporter in London vowed, “Our message is deadly, we are calling for world domination and for Shariah for the UK….This one’s actually the flag of the Islamic State, so one day  when the Sharia comes, you will see this black flag everywhere…. The black flag of Islam will one day fly high over 10 Downing Street.  That’s a very real, real possibility the way Muslims are coming forward in this country.”

At the moment, there has been no claim of responsibility. It has all the makings of an ISIS attack, and comes one year to the day after an ISIS attack in Brussels. But we’ll have to wait to learn more about the perpetrators and their motives.


2:30PM UPDATE:

The terror attack unfolded Wednesday at the entrance to the British Parliament in downtown London. Four people are dead, and at least 20 injured.

One report says there were two attackers, one of which was shot dead at the scene. The New York Times is reporting: “The driver of a large vehicle mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, which leads to Parliament, around 2:40 p.m. After the crash, at least one man left the vehicle and approached Parliament, where he fatally stabbed a police officer. The police then fatally shot the attacker.”

It’s possible that the driver and the attacker who was fatally killed was the same person, though there is confusion in the reporting just now.

The attack comes as foreign ministers from 68 countries are gathered in Washington to discuss how to work more closely together to defeat the Islamic State.

Here’s some of the latest coverage. I’m posting more on Twitter as the story unfolds.

“London was thrown into chaos and confusion on Wednesday, with Britain’s Parliament placed on lockdown and the prime minister evacuated, as security officers investigated ‘a terrorist incident‘ that left one woman dead and several other people injured,” reports the New York Times.

“Throughout a confusing afternoon, ambulances, emergency vehicles and heavily armed security officers thronged the area outside Parliament, as one of the busiest sections of London was cordoned off and evacuated,” the Times noted. “Prime Minister Theresa May was rushed into a vehicle and spirited back to her office, where her aides reported that she was safe.”

More from the New York Times:

  • Meanwhile, the police were still trying to make sense of an afternoon attack that apparently occurred in two stages.
  • The driver of a large vehicle mowed down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, which leads to Parliament, killing one woman and injuring at least 10 other people. Around the same time, a man stabbed a police officer outside the gates of Parliament and was then shot by police officers.
  • It was not immediately clear if the motorist and the knife attacker were the same man….
  • The attack came on the anniversary of suicide bombings in Brussels that killed 32 people, along with three bombers.
  • The violence raised fears that London, which has been largely spared as a target of recent terrorist attacks, has now joined cities like Paris, Brussels and Berlin as targets of mass violence.

Latest reporting from the UK Daily Mail:

  • Four-wheel drive car said to have driven over Westminster Bridge knocking down pedestrians this afternoon
  • Victims were said to have been left scattered in the road, with some knocked into the River Thames
  • Emergency services  treated at least 10 injured people on the bridge, with one woman dead under a bus
  • ‘Asian’ knifeman got into the grounds of Parliament where he reportedly stabbed a police officer
  • The ‘middle-aged’ attacker was then shot by armed officers as armed anti-terror police flooded the area
  • Parliament was suspended and the Prime Minister was rushed from the scene in her official car

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The President is rightly reaching out to our Arab Muslim allies. Today, he is gathering 68 nations in D.C. to strengthen anti-ISIS coalition.

Trump-SaudiDeputyCrownPrince(Dallas, Texas) — Just two months into the Trump-Pence administration, we are seeing a very aggressive and encouraging new approach to the war against the Islamic State.

  1. The President has asked the Pentagon for a comprehensive new strategy. Mr. Trump is telling Secretary Mattis and the generals that he doesn’t simply want to fight ISIS — he wants to crush it and win a decisive victory.
  2. The President is pushing his homeland security team to step up efforts to protect the American people from the threat of ISIS attacks and secure America’s borders. Liberal judges in Washington, Hawaii and Maryland are trying to block him, but the Commander-in-Chief dare not surrender to them. He needs to stay focused everyday on protecting the homeland. Last year alone, 37 people were arrested in the U.S. on ISIS-related plots. The threat is real. We must be vigilant.
  3. The President is rightly and wisely reaching out to our Arab Muslim allies. I’m so grateful for an improved US-Israeli alliance. But to defeat ISIS, we also need a broad Muslim coalition. That’s why I’m encouraged that the President met this week with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi to discuss how to finish the job of liberating and securing northern Iraq and protecting Muslims, Christians and Yazidis there. Last week, he met with the Saudi Deputy Crown Prince to discuss defeating ISIS. He recently met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. In early April, he will meet with Egyptian President el-Sisi.
  4. Today, the Trump Administration has gathered foreign ministers from 68 nations in Washington to discuss how to work together more closely to defeat ISIS. Secretary of State Tillerson will take the lead in these meetings. There will also be lots of side meetings, all focused on developing a more effective strategy to win.

These are positive developments. But more is needed. ISIS wants to launch a series of catastrophic attacks inside the homeland. That’s what my new novel, WITHOUT WARNING, is all about. The President and his team need to work hard and stay focused to make sure this novel never comes to pass.

Trump-Abadi

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