Telling Yahoo News Chief Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff that Syrian’s refugees contain terrorists, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad confirmed what President Donald Trump has been saying all along. Trump’s Jan. 27 travel ban included Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Iran and Libya, all from countries with ongoing terrorist insurgencies. Left off the list was Saudi Arabia, the country of origin of 15 of the 19 Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers. Saying some of the Syrian refugees were “definitely” terrorists,” al-Assad gave the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court of Appeals something to think about before they rule on lifting U.S. District Court James Robart’s Feb. 3 injunction on Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order. Refusing to take sides on the ban, al-Assad told Isikoff in Damascus that Trump’s ban “is an American issue,” on which he would not comment.
Al-Assad’s reluctance to take sides on the Trump’s travel ban hints at possibly improving relations with the U.S., now that with Russian and Iranian help Syria has beaten back a Saudi-U.S. funded proxy war. While the war’s not over, and the Saudis and U.S. haven’t given up, Trump shows no interest in continuing former President Barack Obama’s policy of funding the six-year-old proxy war begun March 15, 2011 during the height of the Saudi’s “Arab Spring.” Saudi Arabia successfully toppled Mideaast governments, backing rebels in Tunisia’s government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali Jan. 14, 2011, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak Feb. 11, 2011 and attempted revolt against al-Assad March 15, 2011. Saudi Arabia, with Obama’s help, toppled Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Gaddafi Oct. 20, 2011. Unlike the others, al-Assad resisted the Saudi proxy war until Russian stepped in Sept. 30, 2015.
Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton backed the Saudi proxy war against al-Assad, giving arms and cash to various terror group seeking to topple al-Assad’s Shiite government. Telling Isikoff that some of the refugees were “aligned with terrorists” gives Trump some cover while he prosecutes his long-shot case in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Justice Department officials argue that U.S. District Court Robart interfered with Trump’s powers as commander-in-chief to restrict refugees from terrorist-ridden states into the U.S. homeland. Issuing his stay, Robart said that the government did not meet the burden of proof requiring an immigration ban to protect U.S. citizens. “You can find it on the Net,” al-Assad told Isikoff, regarding the numbers of terrorist infiltrating the refugee population. Al-Assad couldn’t give Isikoff a number of terrorists in the refugee population.
Al-Assad said there’s no way to pinpoint the numbers of terrorists embedded in the refugee population seeking asylum in Europe, the U.S. or elsewhere. “Those terrorists in Syria, hold the machine gun or killing people, the [appear as] peaceful refugees in Europe or in the West,” al-Assad told Isikoff. Whether or not the 9th Circuit rules on Judge Robart’s restraining order is anyone’s guess. The Appeal’s court could refuse to rule, turning the case back to the Robart’s District Court for further review. Given that the three-judge panel received briefs and heard oral arguments Feb. 7, it’s unlikely they’ll pass the buck. Ruling on Trump’s seven-country travel ban warrants at least a review of Robart’s injunction. “You don’t need a significant number to commit atrocities,” al-Assad told Isikoff, sending loud message to the three-judge panel that Syria refugees pose a risk to the U.S.
Feuding with Trump on Capitol Hill, 80-year-old Sen. John McCain (R-Az.) critisized Trump’s every move on U.S. foreign policy. Criticizing Trump on a failed mission in Yemen, McCain has no problem sticking it to Trump. Trump fired back on Twitter today that McCain “doesn’t know how to win anymore,” “emboldening the enemy” by criticizing the Yemen operation. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) insisted Republicans were afraid to criticize Trump. Yet McCain and his friend Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) haven’t let up for one minute slamming Trump since he won Nov. 8. Schumer’s unhappy that his Democratic caucus can’t stop any of Trump’s Cabinet appointments, railing against his colleague Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Al.), approved yesterday as Attorney General. Schumer hasn’t figured out how to play minority leader in the Senate.
Al-Assad seems to be confirming Trump’s concerns that a travel ban was necessary to stem the flow of terrorists into the United States. “You don’t need a significant number to commit atrocities,” said al-Assad, commenting about the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers that caused such mayhem in the U.S. “Out of maybe millions of immigrants in the United States. So it’s not the number, it’s about the quality. It’s about the intentions,” said al-Assad, agreeing with Trump that there’s a need for extreme vetting of all Syrian refugees. Weighing out Trump’s Jan. 27 travel ban and Robart’s Feb. 3 restraining order, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals must deliberate over what’s become a national security issue. Trump’s argument before the Circuit Court comes down to whether or not Robart’s District Court can usurp the president’s power under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution.