Columnist includes “The Kremlin Conspiracy” on his list of Christmas gift recommendations — calls it a “tale of post-Soviet intrigue.”

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Dec 032018


(Washington, D.C.) — In a column titled, “Books! Books! For Christmas, for the Reader You Love,” author Quin Hillyer writes, “It’s time to do my part to revive The American Spectator’s  long and rich tradition of compiling excellent reading lists for Christmas.”

Hillyer’s offers mostly non-fiction titles for readers to purchase as Christmas gifts, so I’m honored that my most recent novel — a political thriller — made his list.

“The Kremlin Conspiracy, by Joel C. Rosenberg. Rosenberg is making a name for himself as a writer of international thrillers rooted in faith and freedom. Most of his novels have focused on the Middle East, but this tale of post-Soviet intrigue is every bit as good.”

Here’s a few other recent endorsements for The Kremlin Conspiracy:

  • “Rosenberg cranks up the suspense, delivering his most stunning, high-stakes thriller yet.” —Publishers Weekly
  • “A stellar novel of riveting action and political intrigue.” —Mark Greaney, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Agent in Place
  • “Absolutely blown away by how good this guy is. . . . Simply masterful.” —Sean Parnell, New York Times bestselling author of Outlaw Platoon
  • “An uncanny talent for focusing his storytelling on real-world hot spots just as they are heating up.” —Porter Goss, former director of the CIA
  • “A full-throttle and frightening ride through tomorrow’s headlines.” —Brigadier General (U.S. Army, Retired) A. J. Tata, bestselling author of Direct Fire

If you’ve read The Kremlin Conspiracy already, buy a few copies as gifts for friends for Hanukkah or Christmas. If you haven’t read it yet, I hope you’ll put it on your wish list (or just get it for yourself, wrap it, put it under the tree with your name on it, and then you’ll be sure it will really be there!)

And don’t forget to pre-order my next thriller, The Persian Gamble, which releases on March 12, 2019.



SecDef Mattis: “No smoking gun” linking MBS to Khashoggi murder. Senate considers upending US-Saudi alliance. On Fox News, I discussed this and our recent meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince.

 Bible Prophecy, Christian World View, Israel  Comments Off on SecDef Mattis: “No smoking gun” linking MBS to Khashoggi murder. Senate considers upending US-Saudi alliance. On Fox News, I discussed this and our recent meeting with the Saudi Crown Prince.
Nov 302018


(Denver, Colorado) — Three big headlines broke this week in Washington.

  1. Secretary of Defense Mattis: “No smoking gun” linking Saudi crown prince to Khashoggi killing (Reuters)
  2. Secretary of State Pompeo: There is no “direct reporting” showing [Saudi] crown prince ordered Khashoggi killing. (Politico)
  3. Senate defies White House on Saudi support in Yemen — “The Senate delivered a stunning rebuke to the Trump administration on Wednesday, voting overwhelmingly to advance a measure yanking U.S. support for Saudi-backed forces at war in Yemen. The 63-37 vote, in which 14 Republicans joined every Democrat in voting to move forward on the bipartisan Saudi resolution, came hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis failed to sway key undecided senators with an appeal to hold off lest they upset progress of nascent talks on a cease-fire in Yemen.” (Politico)

On Wednesday night, I was interviewed on Fox News about the debate raging in the Senate over the future of the U.S.-Saudi alliance, and the recent meeting our Evangelical Delegation had with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS).

You can watch the video segment by clicking here.

The following is the transcript of the interview:

Shannon Bream, Fox News Anchor: Amid the wake of the initial furor on Capitol Hill aimed at Saudi Arabia in the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Delegation of Evangelical leaders traveled to Riyadh and actually met with the Saudi Crown Prince. They talked to him about this. That group was led by our next guest, New York Times best-selling author — and author of the forthcoming novel, The Persian Gamble — Joel Rosenberg. Joel, good to have you with us tonight.

Rosenberg: Good to be with you, Shannon. Thank you.

Bream: Okay, so we see the pictures there of you all meeting. The Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, took a lot of heat from people for smiling and being in a picture with the Crown Prince around the time this was going on. You all were there, as well. You know people have concerns about you sitting down and having a conversation with him, as many report that U.S. intelligence has determined he does have a direct link. What can you tell us about your conversation with him? 

Rosenberg: Sure, Shannon, happy to do it. As you know, because you and I have talked about it for the last several years, I’ve been invited as a novelist but also as an Evangelical leader to bring Delegations of Evangelical Christians to now four different Arab Sunni Muslim countries — Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and now Saudi Arabia. We were invited by the Saudis well before — months before — the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. We had accepted then, and in the midst of the whole furor — an understandable furor — over the horrific, sickening, ghastly murder of Khashoggi, we did consider not going. But we also believed this was the first time that the Saudis have ever invited Evangelical Christians to come and talk about issues important that are important to us, and to them. So, we continued forward. But we did begin our two-hour meeting with very direct, very frank questions about Khashoggi. 

Bream: And did you feel like the answers that you got were to your satisfaction, that he wasn’t directly involved? Because I want to play a little something that Democratic Senator Dick Durbin had to say about what he’s heard so far.

[Video Clip] Senator Durbin: There are many of us who believe that this execution of Khashoggi in Istanbul could never have taken place without the knowledge and direction of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. That is a fact which this administration has never been willing to acknowledge, and we’re asked to accept at face value that this sort of murder took place without his knowledge. I don’t accept it.

Bream: And he’s not the only one not buying it, Joel. 

Rosenberg: Right, and obviously my friend, Lindsey Graham, obviously feels very similarly. Look, let me tell you what he told us. The Crown Prince was very clear. He said this is a heinous crime. That’s the phrase he used — a heinous crime. He called it a terrible tragedy and crime, and he said that we have arrested people, we are prosecuting people, people will face justice for this. And he noted that when Iran or Russia or Turkey, when people are killed in those countries and the government has some involvement, or is perceived to have, he said, “Do people get arrested there? Do people get prosecuted? Do people get fired from senior positions? No — [but] I’m doing that.”

Now, I can’t tell you, Shannon, whether he was involved or not. He said he wasn’t. But what do we know right now? Right now, as you and I speak, we don’t have anyone in the CIA on the record saying that MBS — the Crown Prince — was definitely the one who ordered the hit. What we have are two people on the record, the Defense Secretary [James Mattis] and the former CIA Director now Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo, saying there is “no smoking gun” and no direct evidence. So, that’s all we have to go on. 

What I’m concerned about it that the Senate is getting ready to overthrow, in a sense, the U.S.-Saudi relationship based on an analysis, not on hard data. And that is risky. The last time the U.S. tried to push aside a leader that they weren’t that friendly with for a season was [Egyptian President] Hosni Mubarak, and we got the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. That was a huge mistake.

Bream: Yeah, and it’s a very delicate balance between human rights….

Rosenberg: It is.

Bream: ….and the U.S. being a moral compass for the world, and maintaining relationships that also benefit our national interest. Secretary Mattis said today, “We are seldom free to work with unblemished partners.” So, we’ll keep an eye on it. We know you will, as well. Come back, if you have an update. Great to see you, Joel.

Rosenberg: I appreciate it, Shannon.



Let’s be clear: Vladimir Putin will be happy to welcome Saudi Arabia into Moscow’s orbit if the U.S. cuts Riyadh loose. (Here are four must-read articles on the importance of maintaining our alliance with the Saudis, including the statement by President Trump.)

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Nov 282018


(Denver, Colorado) — Whither the U.S.-Saudi alliance?

A ferocious debate over this question is raging in Washington at this very moment, and the stakes are high. 

On on side of the debate are many in the media, along with numerous former advisors to President Barack Obama. They have never liked how close Washington has been with Riyadh and they are freshly determined to smash the Saudis in the mouth because of the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist.

Most of these voices had no problem with President Obama cutting a nuclear deal with Iran — one of America’s most dangerous enemies and certainly the worst terrorist state on the planet. Despite Iran’s history of murdering thousands of their own people and others throughout the Middle East (now especially in Syria and Yemen), these voices saw no problem with providing the ayatollahs with $150 billion in cash, removing economic sanctions from Iran, or legitimizing Tehran’s previously illegal enrichment of uranium. They never once during the process seriously tried to require Iran to stop funding terrorism, building longer range missiles, or sowing seeds of revolution and destruction throughout the Middle East. But the Saudis, oh the Saudis, these folks claim, these are the blood-thirsty despots who really need to be punished.

What’s more, a growing number of Republicans on Capitol Hill are also ready to impose severe punishments on the entire Saudi government over the Khashoggi affair. Some are calling into question the nature of the alliance itself.

On the other side of the debate are those who fully agree that the Khashoggi murder was despicable and must be punished, but are calling for cooler heads to prevail when it comes to upending American policy in the Gulf region. They make the case that we need the Saudis to help us counter Iran and Russia in the Middle East, to help us fight the Radicals like al Qaeda, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, to keep oil flowing, and hopefully to advance Arab-Israeli peace.

They make the case that the 33 year-old Saudi Crown Prince is making bold, serious, and important reforms at home, and wants to work more closely with the U.S. and the West. Yes, he has made mistakes, even serious ones. But he should be helped, coached, encouraged, not cut loose.

What’s more, these voices caution that punishing the entire Saudi government — rather than targeting the operatives responsible for the crime — would be a serious mistake, one that could rupture the alliance. Some worry that if Washington hits the Saudis too hard, this could drive Riyadh into the waiting (eager) arms of Vladimir Putin and the Russians.

Putin is headed to the G20 summit in Argentina and plans to meet with the Saudi delegation. He would absolutely love to flip Riyadh from the American camp into the Russian orbit. I don’t believe Saudi King Salman or Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) are inclined at the moment to switch sides to the Kremlin. But I fully expect Putin to make a very tempting offer. And who knows where the king and his son might wind up if most of Washington loses focus on U.S. national security interests in the region, in addition to our enormously important human rights concerns.

At the moment, the anti-MBS/anti-Saudi faction is the loudest. Their articles, interviews and speeches are everywhere.

It’s tougher for the average reader or viewer to find articles and statements by those who want to punish those responsible for the murder of Khashoggi but who also want to maintain or even strengthen the U.S.-Saudi alliance.

Here are a few worth reading, including the statement by President Trump just before Thanksgiving.

I found particularly insightful the columns by Elliott Abrams and William McGurn. Both urge President Trump to send a retired senior American statesman who is liked and trusted by the Saudis — perhaps former Secretary of State James Baker, or former V.P. Dick Cheney — to meet with MBS in Riyadh. They recommend such a statesman quietly recommend big, specific, immediate reforms MBS should make that would signal to the world just how serious he is about taking the kingdom in a different, better, more positive direction.

Interestingly, both cite the example of former President Nixon discreetly and very effectively communicating with the Chinese leadership in Beijing after the Tiananmen Square, warning them — as a long-time trusted friend — that the massacre was a huge deal and they simply could not proceed with their “business as usual” approach. First, Nixon personally traveled to Beijing to have off-the-record talks with the most senior leaders. Second, Nixon sent a follow up letter that was respectful, frank and specific — a letter that was kept secret for decades. Abrams and McGurn argue Nixon’s approach worked, helping both President George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton reengage with China on more positive terms for both countries, while not ignoring the atrocities that had been committed.

I commend both articles to your attention.

  1. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “The U.S.-Saudi partnership is vital — We don’t condone Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. But the kingdom is a powerful force for Mideast stability. (op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal)
  2. Elliott Abrams: “More Realpolitik, Please — Trump is right: We should not break with Saudi Arabia. But we should demand a higher price for our support.” (column published by National Review Online)
  3. William McGurn: “Nixon, Now More Than Ever — Trump could use an elder statesman to tell the Saudis what they need to hear.” (op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal)
  4. Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia. (The White House)



How will American Evangelicals react to the Trump peace plan? Here are the comments I made to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz this week.

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Nov 202018


(Jerusalem, Israel) — The Israeli newspaper Haaretz has just published a feature-length article exploring how American Evangelicals will react once President Trump’s Middle East peace plan is released.

I was interviewed by reporter Amir Tibon for the story, as was Dr. Darrell Bock, one of my fellow co-founders of the Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem

To read the article in full on-line, please click here. I found it quite fair, balanced, even nuanced.

The following are selected excerpts:

  • [A]s the Trump administration finalizes its long-expected Middle East peace plan, the bond between Trump and the evangelical community could face a serious test.
  • Trump’s Mideast team has been working on the peace plan for more than 18 months. Last week, a White House official told Haaretz that the administration is aiming to release it within the next two months. On Sunday, Israel’s Channel 10 News reported about a “crucial” meeting in the White House that will determine when and how exactly the plan will be presented….
  • The Palestinian leadership has frequently accused Trump’s son-in-law and special adviser Jared Kushner, and special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, of being biased toward Israel. However, the administration has insisted for months that its plan will be fair toward the Palestinians, and that both sides will be required to make tough decisions once the plan becomes public.
  • If the plan does indeed include certain Israeli concessions, it could also create a dilemma for many in the U.S. evangelical community.
  • “It’s too early to say how evangelicals will respond to the plan, because we have no idea what will be the contents,” says Prof. Darrell Bock, a New Testament scholar who has also conducted research on evangelical public opinion in recent years. “However, it could definitely be uncomfortable to some evangelicals if there are territorial concessions included in it.”…..
  • “There is enormous trust among most evangelical Christians in President Trump’s love and support for Israel,” says Joel Rosenberg, an evangelical author-activist who lives in Jerusalem. Rosenberg has participated in a number of headline-making meetings over the past year between evangelical leaders and Arab heads of state, including Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi and, more recently, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
  • Rosenberg told Haaretz this week that if the Trump peace plan can bring Israel closer to the broader Arab world, that would make many evangelicals more eager to support it.
  • “If this leads Arab countries to get closer to Israel, most American evangelicals will give Trump enormous credit for that,” Rosenberg explains. “It would be huge inside our community. Evangelicals overwhelmingly support peace. We pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
  • However, he concedes there are “different shades” within the evangelical world, and that “there are some evangelicals who think that if you support Israel, you should be against the Arabs and the Palestinians. But that’s not representative of all evangelicals. Most of us do care for the Palestinians and truly want to see peace and prosperity in the region,” he says.
  • Both Bock and Stearns seemingly agree with Rosenberg’s analysis about the importance of broader Arab support for the peace plan.
  • “Many evangelicals would support a plan if they saw that it enhances the stability of Israel and its acceptance by other countries in the region,” Bock says. Stearns adds that “those of us who visit Israel more frequently, and are aware of the complexity of the region and the nuances of the conflict, are very encouraged to see Israel get closer to some of its neighbors in recent years. So if there is an opportunity to make genuine peace between Israel and some of these countries in the region, we’d be in favor of that.”….