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Suspected terrorist captured in Costa Rica, planned to enter U.S. through southern border

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A suspected al Qaeda terrorist – wanted by U.S. federal law enforcement and intelligence officials – was captured on the streets of  San Jose, Costa Rica Wednesday by one of the nation’s anti-terrorism units, according to sources and news reports from the region.

In June, SaraACarter.com first reported that DHS officials had issued a Be On the Lookout alert (BOLO), for “Mohamed Shaker  MOHAMED ABDELAAL.” Shaker, who is associated with the Al-Nusrah terrorist group, was attempting to enter the United States through the Southern border with Mexico, according to information obtained by intelligence officials and foreign intelligence agencies.

Costa Rican authorities announced this week that they intercepted Shaker on Wednesday, “as he walked the streets of the capital,” according to the report.

“Shaker had been under surveillance by the Anti-Terrorism Unit of the Intelligence and Security Directorate (DIS) after Costa Rica received an international alert about him. DIS coordinated with the Professional Migration Police and San José Municipal Police to apprehend Shaker downtown,” according to a news report from Costa Rica.

A former U.S. intelligence official, with knowledge of al Qaeda and other terrorist affiliated groups, told SaraACarter.com that the southern border has become a “magnet for entrance into the U.S. by terrorists, as well as other criminals but he is just one example of serious the porous southern border really is when terrorists direct plans are to fly into a Central American country and move across by foot.”

“How many more have already crossed illegally is unknown,” the former U.S. intelligence official added.

U.S. authorities became aware several months ago that Shaker, who is a suspected terrorist and on a “no fly list” had made his way through Panama. The information obtained by U.S. authorities also suggested that he had  planned to enter through the southwest border, according to a documents obtained by saraacarter.com.

The BOLO national security threat/no fly alert said “Mohamed Shaker MOHAMED ABDELAAL”, poses a “imminent threat to national security.” According to the alert Mohamed Shaker is from Egypt and was identified by sources in Panama, according to officials and the BOLO alert. 

Several months ago, a DHS source, with knowledge of the incident, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “The border has gotten so bad that we just don’t know what is getting in. We have had terrorist facilitators, guerrillas, hard corp gang members and who knows what coming in.” 

“They must feel pretty comfortable with the state of the border if they are risking coming in.  The numbers of military age “asylum seekers” coming in is enough to overwhelm law enforcement resources.  We are in for a rough future if this doesn’t stop,” he added. The dhs source who spoke on background stated that the BOLO alert has been issued to local and state authorities.

According to CBP.gov, there was total of 380 terrorists who attempted to cross illegally into the United States at both the southern and northern border in 2022. This year the U.S. has already encountered 295 known terrorists entering the country illegally and there is still 6 months left in the year. This puts the United States at great risk of a National Security threat.

You can follow Sara A. Carter on X @SaraCarterDC

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EXCLUSIVE: Former Trump appointee explains an ‘America First Strategy’ in the ME

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Photo: Israeli Government

The author interviewed Ellie Cohanim, one of the authors of the new book: “An America First Approach to US National Security.” Ellie is the former U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism under the Trump administration. She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Independent Women’s Forum focusing on Iran, Israel, and global antisemitism, and is a national security contributor for the Christian Broadcasting Network. In 2021, Ellie launched and hosted for Jewish News Syndicate 30 plus episodes of the show “Global Perspectives with Ellie Cohanim.” Ellie spent 15 years in media and NGO management before serving in the public sector. How would you define an “America First” strategy in the Middle East?

Cohanim: An America First strategy in the Middle East would seek to advance American national security interests in that region, while maintaining our status as THE global superpower. To do that, the US would ensure that our principal allies in the region, countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel, are economically and militarily strong, and that our adversaries in the region are deterred.

Postal: How has the United States’ standing in the Middle East differed between the Trump and Biden administrations?

Cohanim: Under President Trump, for four years we had peace, stability and prosperity in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region. Under President Biden, in just three tumultuous years there has been war in the region, which holds the potential for becoming a regional conflict and even a nuclear confrontation. Meanwhile, the US’ status in the region and the world has diminished due to Biden’s disastrous mishandling of the Afghanistan withdrawal, his emboldening of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and his weak response to Iranian attacks on our personnel and assets in the region. 

 

Postal: Do you think the United States and Israel are/were in a stronger position to deter Iran’s nuclear and territorial ambitions in Biden or Trump’s administration?

Cohanim: America’s position of strength has not changed under either administration vis-à-vis the Islamic Republic of Iran. What has changed is our Iran policy. Under President Trump’s administration, the US contained and constrained Tehran. Trump applied a “Maximum Pressure” sanctions campaign which left the Iranian Regime with only $4 billion in accessible foreign currency reserves by the end of his term, giving the Iranians less cash and less ability to fund their terror proxies and their nuclear program, and Trump eliminated Qassem Soleimani. While all President Biden needed to do was to continue implementing such successful policies, his administration instead did the exact opposite.  Under the Biden administration, Israel, our leading ally in the region, was attacked for the first time directly from Iranian soil. This was an unprecedented escalatory attack by the Iranian regime, and could only happen under the Biden administration.

Postal: In your chapter of the book, you discuss the weakening of US relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration. How has the Biden administration affected the likelihood of future normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and deals between Israel and other Muslim countries (i.e., new Abraham Accords)?

Cohanim: The good news is that the Abraham Accords have withstood the test of multiple Hamas provocations against Israel, and now the current war. Despite numerous claims from the Biden administration regarding “successful” efforts to normalize ties between Saudi Arabia and Israel, I do not think that the Biden administration will be able to clinch such a deal. In the Middle East, people have a long memory. Saudi Arabia’s de-facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has not forgotten President Biden’s snub when he first came into office, and Biden’s incredibly poorly advised behavior towards the Crown Prince when he made his first visit to the Kingdom as president. The last thing the Crown Prince wants is to hand Biden his first foreign policy success with a Rose Garden peace deal ceremony. So, I do not believe President Biden can broker Saudi/Israeli normalization.

However, I am also convinced that it is a matter of “when” and not “if” such a peace deal will happen between those two countries, as it serves both of their interests to make such a deal. The Saudis understand better than anyone that it is the Islamic Republic of Iran that threatens the Kingdom’s security and stability, not Israel.

Postal: What do you think of the Biden administration’s latest statements withholding arms to Israel?

Cohanim: President Biden will go down in history for his abject moral failure in not standing by Israel while she fights a five-front war. Biden has shown his despicable personality for trying to keep his anti-Israel arms embargo concealed until he could first deliver a speech on the Holocaust. Biden’s behavior is despicable on so many levels.

Ultimately, Biden is betraying the American people. He came into office presenting himself as a “centrist Democrat,” but has proven repeatedly to be beholden to the radical, extremist, pro-Hamas wing of his party.

Postal: How does the Biden administration’s support of a Palestinian state differ from the Trump administration’s support of a Palestinian state under its Peace to Prosperity framework?

Cohanim: The Biden administration stated that they will “unilaterally recognize” a Palestinian state. What the borders of that state are and who would lead it, nobody knows. 

The Trump administration’s “Peace to Prosperity” was a detailed plan that was premised on the realities on the ground in Israel. The plan required that the Palestinians reach benchmarks proving a real desire to live in peace with their Israeli neighbors. It included over $50 billion in investment in the region, which would have been a road to prosperity for all. Perhaps most significantly, the Palestinian state envisioned under the Trump plan would have been demilitarized, the wisdom of which could not be more clear following the October 7 massacre and attack.

The author would like to thank Ellie Cohanim for participating in this interview.

 

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