The Islamic State runs a self-sustaining economy across territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, pirating oil while exacting tribute from a population of at least eight million, Arab and Western officials said, making it one of the world’s richest terror groups and an unprecedented threat.
“Can you prevent ISIS from taking assets? Not really, because they’re sitting on a lot of assets already.”
That illicit economy presents a new picture of Islamic State’s financial underpinnings. The group was once thought to depend on funding from Arab Gulf donors and donations from the broader Muslim world. Now, Islamic State—the former branch of al Qaeda that has swallowed parts of Iraq and Syria—is a largely self-financed organization.
Money from outside donors “pales in comparison to their self-funding through criminal and terrorist activities,” a U.S. State Department official said, adding that those activities generate millions of dollars a month.
“So you must disrupt the network of trade. But if you disrupt trade in commodities like food, for example, then you risk starving thousands of civilians.”
For Western and Arab nations that are striving to stop Islamic State, the group’s local funding sources pose a conundrum: A clampdown on economic activity that helps fund the group, counterterrorism officials and experts said, could cause a humanitarian crisis in the already stressed areas it controls. Read the rest of this entry »
The Chicago Tribune reports: Global fashion chain Zara pulled from sale on Wednesday a striped children’s top decorated with a large six-pointed star after it was likened to uniforms worn by Jewish concentration camp inmates during the reign of Nazi Germany.
The shirt, bearing horizontal blue and white stripes, was on sale online in three European countries but not in Israel, a spokeswoman
said. The resemblance was unintentional and the design had been inspired by sheriff’s stars from classic Western films, she said.
Within hours of the t-shirt being put up for sale, some newspapers had picked up on its resemblance to concentration camp uniforms and messages were posted on Twitter criticizing the design.
“The shirt bears a large six-pointed star on the upper-left section, in the exact place where Nazis forced Jews to wear the Star of David,” wrote Israeli newspaper Haaretz, calling the garment “hauntingly reminiscent of a darker era”.
@n_rothschild We honestly apologize, it was inspired by the sheriff’s stars from the Classic Western films and is no longer in our stores
— ZARA (@ZARA) August 27, 2014
On its website, Haaretz displayed a photograph of part of a uniform worn by prisoners at Auschwitz, showing a jacket with vertical green and white stripes and a yellow star below the left shoulder bearing the word “Jude”, the German word for Jew. Read the rest of this entry »
Dark Media: The Islamic State’s Online Branding Efforts Show that they’re Waging a War Beyond the Grounds of Iraq and SyriaPosted: August 27, 2014
The Islamic State’s online branding efforts show that they’re waging a war beyond the grounds of Iraq and Syria: http://t.co/XdM9AxuzYw
— WSJ Live (@WSJLive) August 27, 2014
Originally posted on TIME:
There are a whole lot of things that won’t be happening anytime soon. Pigs flying, for instance; that won’t happen. All of the raindrops becoming lemon drops and gumdrops; that won’t happen either. And despite what you have been reading practically everywhere today, no, China won’t be deploying a submarine capable of moving at 6,100 mph (9,800 k/h) and covering the distance from Shanghai to San Francisco in 100 minutes—at least not in anything remotely like the near future.
Let’s begin with the source of the story: engineer Li Fengchen, of the Harbin Institute of Technology, the project’s lead researcher. Mr. Li is surely an impeccably honest man and a very good engineer, but the Chinese government has not always covered itself in glory when it comes to candor and there’s no reason to believe they’d start with a program as sensitive as this.
“The idea that any Chinese research…
View original 431 more words
Most of the veterans sat on their hands, leaving awkward silences where White House speechwriters expected ovations
President Barack Obama faced a tough crowd on Tuesday – American military veterans – and fell flat on his applause lines as he failed to win over the American Legion’s convention-goers.
“You could tell when the applause was genuine and when it wasn’t. It was obvious to everyone here.”
– Virginia Legionnaire in attendance
The 35-minute speech seemed to have reminded the audience of the stark divide between the White House’s policy choices and the feelings of the men and women often called on to carry them out.
A Virginia legionnaire who served in the U.S. Marine Corps told MailOnline that ‘a small group of Obama’s admirers – and there are some here – sat near the front and tried to generate applause for him about 10 times.’ Read the rest of this entry »
ISIS Makes Liberals Rediscover the Necessity of Hard Power
Bret Stephens writes: So now liberals want the U.S. to bomb Iraq, and maybe Syria as well, to stop and defeat ISIS, the vilest terror group of all time. Where, one might ask, were these neo-neocons a couple of years ago, when stopping ISIS in its infancy might have spared us the current catastrophe?
“Are we going to fight terrorists over there—or are we going to wait for them to come here? “
Oh, right, they were dining at the table of establishment respectability, drinking from the fountain of opportunistic punditry, hissing at the sound of the names Wolfowitz, Cheney, Libby and Perle.
And, always, rhapsodizing to the music of Barack Obama.
Not because he is the most egregious offender, but only because he’s so utterly the type, it’s worth turning to the work of George Packer, a writer for the New Yorker. Over the years Mr. Packer has been of this or that mind about Iraq. Yet he has always managed to remain at the dead center of conventional wisdom. Think of him as the bubble, intellectually speaking, in the spirit level of American opinion journalism.
(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama sent no White House representative to the memorial Mass held yesterday in Rochester, New Hampshire, for James Foley, the American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorists.
President Obama, however, did send three White House aides to Monday’s funeral for Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American fatally shot in an encounter with a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo.
“There was nobody that represented the White House.”
The memorial mass for James Foley took place Sunday at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary in Foley’s hometown. Connie Hammond, an administrative assistant at Holy Rosary, told CNSNews.com that no White House officials were in attendance. Read the rest of this entry »
“Paris! Paris outraged! Paris broken! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated! Liberated by itself. Liberated by its people.”
– Charles De Gaulle’s famous speech at City Hall
President Francois Hollande led tributes to the French Resistance on Monday, as Paris celebrated the 70th anniversary of its joyful liberation after four long and bitter years of Nazi occupation in World War II. Soaked by a torrential downpour on the Ile de Sein off northwestern France, Hollande hailed the bravery of the tiny island’s population, who refused to accept their country’s occupation and fled to Britain to join the fight for France’s liberation.
“A tiny parcel of land in the ocean, the Ile de Sein was in the vanguard, an example, an illustration of French patriotism.”
– President Francois Hollande
“The message from Ile de Sein is that there is no danger, no difficulty we cannot overcome as long as the will is there, as long as people gather together,” said Hollande, who made no reference to his own political difficulties only hours after his prime minister handed in his government’s resignation.
Hollande’s speech on the island kicked off a day of celebrations that will climax with Parisians marking their city’s liberation just as their parents and grandparents did seven decades ago — with a gala dance at City Hall.
There will also be an altogether more modern twist to the ball later Monday, with a sound and light show and huge projections of previously unseen photos on the facade of the imposing building in central Paris. Read the rest of this entry »
True Girl Power: Crack Unit of Heavily-Armed Female Soldiers Hunting ISIS Kidnappers
A crack unit of female soldiers is on the trail of Islamic State killers who have captured 3,000 innocent women in Iraq.
Thousands of non-Muslim women and girls have been kidnapped by Islamic Statet hugs on the rampage in the country over the past two weeks.
“Our support is just as important for the peshmerga as these US strikes – bombings alone cannot get rid of guerrilla groups.”
They face the terrifying prospect of being forced into marriage, sold as sex slaves or shot if they do not convert to Islam.
“We will keep fighting until all of Kurdistan is safe.”
They are striking fear into the hearts of the Jihadist thugs who believe if they are killed by a woman in battle they will not reach heaven. Read the rest of this entry »
The Corner‘s Andrew Johnson: Former CIA deputy director Michael Morell called the Islamic State’s rapidly growing strength and control of territory in Iraq and Syria “the most complex terrorism problem that I have ever seen.”
While he said “there are no magic bullets” for dealing with the situation, he offered a potential strategy on Face the Nation. First, the United States must work towards taking the controlled territories in Iraq and Syria, which will require a political solution with the former’s government; doing so in Syria will likely be notably more difficult…(more) NRO
[VIDEO] House Homeland Security Committee Chairman McCaul: ISIS Presents the Greatest Threat We’ve Seen Since 9/11Posted: August 24, 2014
“This has been festering for the last year and now it’s culminating with the killing and beheading of an American journalist.”
The Corner‘s Ryan Lovelace reports: On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, House Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul R., Texas said he thinks the beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State represents a turning point that will open the American people’s eyes to the Islamic State’s true nature. “Well, I do think they [ISIS] present the greatest threat we’ve seen since 9/11″
“We need to expand these air strikes so that we can ultimately defeat and eliminate ISIS because I would far prefer to eliminate them over here than have to deal with them in the United States.”
James Foley Murderer Identified: London Rapper Turned jihadist Believed to be Under Investigation for Beheading Journalist in SyriaPosted: August 24, 2014
The Independent‘s Lizzie Dearden reports: A former rapper fighting with the Islamic State (Isis) in Syria is believed to be one of several British jihadists under investigation following the beheading of James Foley.
Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 24, was known as L Jinny or Lyricist Jinn at home in London, where his rising music career saw him appear in videos and have his singles played on BBC Radio in 2012.
He came to national attention earlier this year, when he posted a picture of himself holding a severed head on Twitter after resurfacing in Syria.
The gruesome picture, believed to have been taken in the Isis stronghold of Raqqa, was captioned: “Chillin’ with my homie or what’s left of him.”
Bary reportedly travelled to the country last year from Maida Vale, west London, where he lived with his mother and five siblings.
His father Adel Abdul Bary, an Egyptian refugee thought to be one of Osama Bin Laden’s closes lieutenants, was extradited from Britain to the United States on charges of terrorism in 2012 for his alleged roles in the bombings of two US embassies in east Africa in 1998. Read the rest of this entry »
Progressives can’t wish away human nature.
Charles C. W. Cooke writes: H. G. Wells’s famous prediction that the First World War would be the “war to end all wars” was met with skepticism by the British prime minister. “This war, like the next war,” David Lloyd George quipped in the summer of 1916, “is a war to end war.” History, he sighed, is not shaped by wishful thinking.
“The lessons of history endure, because human nature never changed.”
– J. Rufus Fears
Two decades later, Lloyd George would be proven right. And yet, in the intervening period, it was Wells’s sentiment that prevailed. The horrors of the trenches having made rationalization imperative, a popular and holistic narrative was developed. The Great War, Woodrow Wilson quixotically argued, had finally managed to “make the world safe for democracy” and, in doing so, had served an invaluable purpose. Henceforth, human beings would remember the valuable lesson that had been written in so much blood, coming together in mutual understanding to, as Wells rather dramatically put it,“exorcise a world-madness and end an age.” And that, it was thought, would be that. Read the rest of this entry »
After her parents divorced, Audrey went to London with her mother where she went to a private girls school. Later, when her mother moved back to the Netherlands, she attended private schools as well. While she vacationed with her mother in Arnhem, Netherlands, Hitler’s army took over the town. It was here that she fell on hard times during the Nazi occupation. Audrey suffered from depression and malnutrition.
After the liberation, she went to a ballet school in London on a scholarship and later began a modeling career. As a model, she was graceful and, it seemed, she had found her niche in life–until the film producers came calling. In 1948, after being spotted modeling by a producer, she was signed to a bit part in the European film Dutch in Seven Lessons(1948).
Later, she had a speaking role in the 1951 film, Young Wives’ Tale (1951) as Eve Lester. The part still wasn’t much, so she headed to America to try her luck there. Audrey gained immediate prominence in the US with her role in Roman Holiday (1953) in 1953. This film turned out to be a smashing success, and she won an Oscar as Best Actress. This gained her enormous popularity and more plum roles…(read more)
China demands end to U.S. surveillance flights
Bill Gertz reports: The Navy is sending a second aircraft carrier strike group to the Asia Pacific region amid new tensions with China over a dangerous aerial encounter between a Chinese interceptor and Navy P-8 surveillance craft.
“We stand by our account of this dangerous and unprofessional incident.”
– Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby
The strike group led by the USS Carl Vinson departed San Diego for the Pacific on Friday, the Navy said in an announcement of what it terms a “planned” deployment.
- Report: Chinese Su-27 Jet Threatened U.S. Navy Intelligence Aircraft Near Japan (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- China Warns U.S. to Stop Close-in Surveillance (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
China’s military on Saturday, meanwhile, demanded an end to all U.S. monitoring flights and called U.S. criticism of dangerous Chinese jet maneuvers false.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement that a Chinese fighter jet made a “regular identification and verification” of the Navy P-8 anti-submarine warfare jet during an encounter in an area 135 miles east of Hainan Island.
“We are concerned that the intercepting crews from that unit are acting aggressively and demonstrating a lack of regard for the regard for the safety of our aircrews.”
– Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Pool
Yang called Pentagon criticism of the incident “totally groundless” and insisted the Chinese pilot operated professionally and kept a safe distance.
The Chinese spokesman’s account, published in the state-run Xinhua news agency, is at odds with Pentagon officials who called the encounter both dangerous and aggressive. A White House official also said the dangerous intercept was a Chinese “provocation.”
“We have registered our strong concerns to the Chinese about the unsafe and unprofessional intercept, which posed a risk to the safety and the well-being of the air crew and was inconsistent with customary international law.”
– Rear Adm. John Kirby
Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby on Friday called the maneuvers by the Chinese J-11—a Russian design Su-27—a dangerous and unprofessional encounter and said the military has protested the incident to the Chinese military. Read the rest of this entry »
BEIJING, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) — Chinese Defense Ministry here on Saturday urged the U.S. side to stop close-in surveillance of China, and create a sound atmosphere for bilateral military ties.
The ministry spokesman Yang Yujun said in a statement that one U.S. anti-submarine plane and one patrol aircraft flew to an airspace about 220 kilometers east of China’s Hainan Island to conduct close-in surveillance Tuesday morning, and then a Chinese fighter jet took off to make regular identification and verification.
Commenting on relevant criticism made by the U.S. side, Yang said that was “totally groundless,” as the Chinese pilot, with professional operation, kept the jet within a safe distance from the U.S. aircraft.
It was U.S. massive and frequent close-in surveillance of China that endanger the two sides’ air and marine security, and is the root of accidents, he said. Read the rest of this entry »
Jonah Goldberg: ‘If the view of the human rights community is that it is simply useless to describe ISIS as evil, than what good is the human rights community?’Posted: August 22, 2014
Is ISIS evil?
The problem with that question is that the answer is as easy as it is useless. Yes, ISIS is evil and must be stopped. Saying so over and over again could very well make it harder to stop them…(more)
…National Review’s Jonah Goldberg tried to shame those who are trying to think seriously about ISIS. In a recent tweet, he mocked the attempt to understand ISIS in its social and political context, suggesting that we should focus instead on one fact: “They’re evil. They do obviously evil things for evil ends.”
…Dawes gets just about everything wrong here — and in the rest of his essay. For starters I didn’t “mock the attempt to understand ISIS in its social and political context.” Rather, I mocked those who try to understand ISIS without acknowledging the most salient moral fact: They’re evil. Here’s my full tweet.
People looking to put ISIS in “context” desperately avoid most obvious context. They’re evil. They do obviously evil things for evil ends.
— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) August 20, 2014
The rest of the piece is just a string of question begging assertions and strawmen wrapped in a lot of self-congratulatory intellectual preening about his willingness to do the serious thinking others won’t do…(read more here)
WASHINGTON — He had just hung up the telephone with the devastated parents before heading in front of the cameras. Unusually emotional, President Obama declared himself “heartbroken” by the brutal murder of an American journalist, James Foley…(more)