Clare Lopez is the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy, a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and a member of the Board of Advisors for the Canadian Mackenzie Institute. Ms. Lopez is a regular contributor to print and broadcast media on subjects related to Iran and the Middle East and the co-author of two published books on Iran. She is the author of an acclaimed paper for the Center, The Rise of the Iran Lobby and co-author/editor of the Center’s Team B II study, “Shariah: The Threat to America” as well as The Tiger Team’s “The Secure Freedom Strategy: A Plan for Victory Over the Global Jihad Movement.”
She was in the Twin Cities late last week to speak to several citizens groups concerned about domestic safety. John Gilmore interviewed her by telephone before her arrival. The interview has been edited for clarity.
Readers who are interested in the activities of the groups before whom Lopez spoke are encouraged to email Gilmore at the address that follows the interview to learn more.
JG: You’re coming to Minnesota for a couple of days. What are the issues you’ll be addressing?
CL: I’ll be meeting with a large group the first night to discuss matters of national security of concern to the community and the people of Minnesota.
JG: CAIR (Council on American Islamic Relations) has an inordinate effect on how various issues are covered and our local media unfortunately uses them as their go to source despite the fact CAIR doesn’t speak for all Muslims. What is your opinion of CAIR?
CL: The Muslim Brotherhood, and its various front groups including CAIR, which is essentially the branch of Hamas in the United States is behind them. Hamas itself is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. These front groups are a concern and their ability to make connections through influence operations with key sectors or pillars of support of American society. Certainly the media are among those, also academia, that is on the campuses, in our courts, with local law enforcement, sheriff’s departments, police departments, and among faith communities through inter-faith dialogue programs. And then generally in society and the workplace in general.
JG: What should an informed Minnesotan know about CAIR?
CL: I’d suggest they seek out information. I’d urge people to take a look at our website. We have many different publications, short videos, monographs and books posted there. Most of these are free.
As far as CAIR is concerned, I would point people to a small monograph we published: “CAIR Is Hamas.” The reason we say that, as shown by the Department of Justice in the Holy Land Foundation Hamas funding trial, is that CAIR was literally founded by the then top leaders of Hamas in the United State.
This explains the Muslim Brotherhood’s blueprint for action, “civilization jihad” is what they call it, a settlement process in the United States. Those would be the top two resources I would recommend to people looking for more information.
JG: Switching topics, what was your assessment of President Trump’s meeting with Russian President Putin in Helsinki?
CL: We don’t know what was discussed in their several hour meeting with only translators present. But from their joint public press conference, we know they discussed the Middle East, the Iranian presence in what used to be called Syria, the presence of Iranian jihadi proxies like Hezbollah and their threat on the northern border of Israel. We know they talked about the allegations made here about Russian interference in the electoral process and other issues, say Ukraine and the Crimea.
I found most of the media response rather hysterical, histrionics doesn’t begin to describe some of the response. I think we all need to take a deep breath, take a step back, and actually look for what was said, what was published and wait for any other White House announcements of what went on behind those closed doors.
And then be serious about thinking about this meeting between two of the most powerful leaders of nuclear power countries in the world and how important it is that the leaders of these two nations know each other, understand each other, and from time to time, yes, hold in person discussions together.
I think it needs a lot more sober assessment and a lot less histrionics.
JG: There’s a lot of turmoil in Iran recently. Given your expertise, what is your current assessment?
CL: We have seen demonstrations and street protests all across Iran, not just the major cities, like Tehran, Shiraz or Mashhad but literally all over the country since the end of late last year, continuously through until now. These include labor strikes and a lot of chanting and calling for not just for an improvement in the economic situation of the Iranian people, which in many cases is desperate.
Yes, part of that does have to do with President Trump pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal earlier this year, along with that the reimposition of tough sanctions, including secondary sanctions against countries and companies that continue to do business with Iran.
All of that has had an economic effect but more to the point, I think the Iranian people and their chants and their protests in the street, they understand that their leadership, the mullahs and the guns that keep them in power, the IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp), Quds Force, Basij, and so forth are corrupt, corrupt to the core.
They have taken any benefits from the Obama era deal and just spent money not on them, their infrastructure, their jobs, their families, but rather sent it abroad to prop up brutal dictators like Assad in Damascus, to fund Shiite Hezbollah terrorists and others like Hamas and Palestinian jihad in Gaza.
The people of Iran know this. So their chants are not just for a better economic situation, reversal of the horrific environmental damage that has caused severe water shortages in the southwest of the country.
They are chanting for a change in regime. They are chanting “Death to the dictator.” That means the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, death to Khamenei by name!
So this is different. It is not stopping, it is ongoing, even though the major media do not cover it the way they should.
The Iranian people have had enough. They’re standing for their liberty and this time, this time with President Trump and his team, we need to be standing with the Iranian people. Their destiny is in their hands but we need to help them.
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In addition to Alpha News, John Gilmore is also a contributor to The Hill. He is the founder and executive director of Minnesota Media Monitor.™ He blogs at MinnesotaConservatives.org and is on Twitter under @Shabbosgoy. He can be reached at John@alphanewsmn.com.