The fact that ISIS focuses on beheadings rather than elaborate plots makes them that much harder to foil
Jonah Goldberg writes: On Thursday, Australian authorities claimed they thwarted a plot by supporters of the Islamic State to grab random people off the street and then behead the captured citizens on videotape. Australia’s attorney general said that the massive raid, the largest counterterrorism operation in the nation’s history, involving more than 800 police officers and raids of at least twelve properties, was necessary because, “If the . . . police had not acted today, there is a likelihood that this would have happened.”
“Al-Qaeda always had an odd obsession with destroying aircraft and committing dramatic acts of murder. This fixation had an advantage: Such elaborate plots were easier to be foiled by law enforcement and intelligence agencies…“
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott confirmed that the raids were prompted by intercepted phone calls, from an Australian of Afghan descent believed to be Mohammad Ali Baryalei. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that he is suspected to be the “most senior Australian member of the terrorist group Islamic State, having traveled to Syria in April last year.” A proselytizer for the “Street Dawah Movement,” Barylei “was outspoken and wouldn’t shy from speaking the truth regardless,” a former fellow Dawah member told Fairfax Media. “He wasn’t pleased with living in Australian society and wanted to live in an Islamic society away from open alcoholism, homosexuality, fornication, drugs, and capitalism.”
“The Islamic State has discovered that beheadings — which are cheap and relatively easy to conduct — have a huge impact in the West…It takes homework to build an IED. Beheadings require very little instruction.”
Baryalei is credited with recruiting at least two fellow Australians to the cause. One, Khaled Sharrouf, infamously tweeted pictures of himself executing prisoners in Iraq and images of his seven-year-old son holding a severed head in Syria. Another fellow Australian, Mohamed Elomar, has also released images of himself holding the decapitated heads of his “enemies.” Read the rest of this entry »
— ABC News (@ABC) September 18, 2014
ABCNews.com reports: A British citizen captured in Syria two years ago has resurfaced today in a new ISIS propaganda video released on YouTube. But unlike the previous gruesome beheading videos of three westerners, journalist Cantlie is seen alive, seated alone at a desk in a darkened room, delivering what he says is the first of a series of “messages” about ISIS.
Cantlie was abducted in November 2012 along with slain American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by his ISIS captors, according to a former law enforcement official and others familiar with the journalists’ kidnapping. Read the rest of this entry »
Originally posted on Q13 FOX News:
In swaths of Syria now controlled by ISIS/ISIL , children can no longer study math or social studies. Sports are out of the question. And students will be banned from learning about elections and democracy.
Instead, they’ll be subjected to the teachings of the radical Islamist group. And any teacher who dares to break the rules “will be punished.”
ISIS/ISIL revealed its new educational demands in fliers posted on billboards and on street poles. The Sunni militant group has captured a slew of Syrian and Iraqi cities in recent months as it tries to establish a caliphate, or Islamic state, spanning Sunni parts of both countries.
In the letter, ISIS/ISIL said alternative courses will be added.
It also said teachers must erase the phrase Syrian Arab Republic — the official name of Syria — and replace it with Islamic State, which is what ISIS calls itself.
Educators cannot teach nationalistic…
View original 170 more words
“If the objective is to destroy ISIS, I don’t think we have a strategy in place that will accomplish that goal…I’m just concerned about poking that hornet’s nest with a stick for three years.”
Republican Senator Ron Johnson is concerned about blowback from America’s limited air campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — if the U.S. fails to destroy the group entirely, President Obama’s plan to intervene will be just like poking a hornet’s nest with a stick, he says. Read the rest of this entry »
The Islamic State and Vladimir Putin’s Russia are enemies of liberty, democracy and the rule of law
Anders Fogh Rasmussen writes: The abhorrent beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker shocked the world. So did the tragic downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine. The deaths of these innocents show the global consequences of two major crises on Europe’s doorstep: the advance of the so-called Islamic State terrorist group across Iraq and Syria, and Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The peace and security we enjoy in Europe and North America are under threat like never before.
These challenges will last for years, and we need to face that reality.
With Russia, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization has tried long and hard to build a partnership that respects Russia’s security concerns and is based on international rules and norms. Regrettably, Russia has rejected our efforts to engage. Russia has trampled on all the rules and commitments that have kept peace in Europe and beyond since the end of the Cold War. It is now clear that Russia regards the West as an adversary, not a partner.
The terrorist threat is now growing in Syria and Iraq. The Islamic State terrorists are fueling the fire of sectarianism already burning across the Middle East and North Africa, with the risk rising that terror will be exported back to our shores. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been trying to read as much as time allows of the left’s reaction to the President’s recent speech in which he unleashed at least a couple of the dogs of war. Here’s something from this morning’s sampling:
David Haines Murdered by Islamic Death Cult
BAGHDAD —The Islamic State militant group released a video late Saturday that it said showed the beheading of David Haines, a British aid worker.
“The United States
vows to avenge strongly condemns the act of pure evil barbaric murder of U.K. citizen David Haines by Islamic Muslim the terrorist group ISIL.”
– U.S. President Barack Obama
Islamic State militants had previously released videos showing the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
“This is a despicable and appalling murder of an innocent aid worker. It is an act of pure evil.”
– U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron
The video released Saturday showed what a masked person said was Mr. Haines’s beheading before proposing that Alan Henning, another Briton, might face the same fate if British forces didn’t stop their aggression against the militant group. Read the rest of this entry »
Americans haven’t suddenly turned interventionist. They’re moved by the Islamic State’s particular evil.
Peggy Noonan writes: President Obama would have been rocked the past few months by five things. One is the building criticism from left and right about his high need for relaxation—playing golf while the world burns. Another is that he misread the significance and public power of the beheadings of American journalists. Third, he has been way out of sync with American public opinion on Islamic State, which must be all the more galling because he thought he knew where Americans stood on the use of military force. Fourth, with his poll numbers declining (32% approval for his handling of foreign policy, according to The Wall Street Journal and NBC), it has probably occurred to him that he is damaging not only his own but his party’s brand in foreign affairs. (Yes, George W. Bush did the same to his party, but Mr. Obama was supposed to reverse, not follow, that trend.) Fifth, he surely expects he is about to take a pounding from the antiwar left.
“Evangelical Christians and conservative Catholics who would normally back strong military action were relatively silent in 2013. Why? I think because they were becoming broadly aware, for the first time, of what was happening to Christians in the Middle East.”
Most immediately interesting to me is the apparent change of mind by Americans toward military action in the Mideast. The president’s long-reigning assumption is that a war-weary public has grown more isolationist. But, again according to the WSJ/NBC poll, more than 6 in 10 back moving militarily against Islamic State. Politicians and pundits believe that this is due to the gruesome, public and taunting murders of the U.S. journalists—that Americans saw the pictures and freaked out, that their backing of force is merely emotional.
I think they’re missing a big aspect of this story. Read the rest of this entry »
From Austrian Archive: Shaman Dancers, Tea Houses, Arms Traders, Urban Dwellers, Coolies and Suffragettes
When a relative of a long dead Austro-Hungarian navy soldier approached Gerd Kaminski, a China scholar in Vienna, in 2007, she pointed him towards a treasure trove of thousands of photos of Beijing, many of which were a century old.
Kaminski, director of the Austrian Institute for China and Southeast Asia Studies in Vienna, worked his way through the photos and published a selection along with other photos he was given by descendants of Austrian diplomats and traders in imperial China.
“These photos give precious insights into daily urban life in Beijing a century ago,” he said. “Many of the buildings don’t exist anymore and traditions seen in the photos have been lost in time.”
The CIA said Thursday that the number of Islamic State fighters has grown to as many as three times previous estimates; a day after President Obama announced he is drastically expanding the U.S. military campaign against the militants.
“This new total reflects an increase in members because of stronger recruitment since June following battlefield successes and the declaration of a caliphate, greater battlefield activity, and additional intelligence.”
A spokesperson for the agency told Fox News that new assessments show that the militant group can muster between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria.
“The new numbers are a big jump from the agency’s previous estimate that there were at least 10,000 Islamic State fighters.”
The spokesperson said the new figures were determined after a review of “all-source intelligence reports” on the group from May to August. Read the rest of this entry »
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) September 8, 2014
Tehran (AFP) – Iran accused the United States Sunday of not taking the threat from Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria seriously, and charged that US aid had previously helped the jihadists.
“We were aware of this danger from the beginning...But we will not be coordinating our action together.”
–Iran’s Foreign Minister
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif levelled the accusations despite an expanding US air campaign in Iraq since August 8 that provided key support in relieving a jihadist siege of a Shiite Turkmen town north of Baghdad late last month.
Iran and the United States have a shared opposition to IS, which controls a swathe of both Iraq and neighbouring Syria, but both governments deny cooperating militarily against the jihadists.
“There is still no serious understanding about the threat and they (the United States) have as yet taken no serious action,” Zarif was quoted as saying by Iran’s Mehr news agency.
“There is still no serious understanding about the threat.”
“They have helped (IS) in Syria in different ways,” he added, alluding to support that the United States has provided to some rebel groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad‘s forces. Read the rest of this entry »
U.S. Raid on Oil-Storage Facility Was Too Late to Save Hostages
The plan: Neutralize the terrorist guards, search a makeshift prison, find American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and other hostages, and fly off to safety. It was all supposed to take 20 minutes.
More than an hour later, the Army team was headed back to its launchpad outside Syria empty-handed.
“It was a dry hole,” a senior U.S. military official said, using jargon for a mission whose target couldn’t be found.
One model for the operation was the 2011 mission that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, down to choosing the darkest of nights to cloak the raiders. But this raid, the first known U.S. incursion into Syria since its civil war erupted, was in many ways a far bigger gamble, according to current and former U.S. defense and government officials.
The U.S. had limited visibility into Syria, including the suspected prison site just miles from the main operations base of Islamic State, the militant group once known as ISIS that has overrun large parts of Syria and Iraq. Weeks before the raid, the Pentagon drafted a plan for surveillance flights in Syria but dropped the idea after concluding the White House wouldn’t approve them, U.S. officials said.
A senior administration official said the only Pentagon request for surveillance flights the White House received came just before the mission.
Before the commandos’ helicopters landed in the early morning hours of July 3, the Joint Special Operations team, part of the elite Delta Force, had been practicing for several weeks at a U.S. base in North Carolina—based on intelligence showing the makeshift prison between storage containers, oil derricks and other structures in a bleak desert landscape.
They had prepared for contingencies such as booby-trapped buildings and a large militant force guarding the hostages. Delta Force took part in the ill-fated 1993 “Black Hawk Down” raid in Somalia, and some officials worried the Syria operation carried similar risks.
As they drilled, the team conducting the mission was anxious to get the green light. “There were lots of rehearsals. They were ready for a period of time. It was a matter of waiting on a decision,” said a defense official. “Once the decision was made, they went.”
They went too late. The U.S. now believes the militants moved the hostages away as little as 72 hours earlier. Read the rest of this entry »
President Obama addresses critics of his strategy – John King, Manu Raju and Peter Hamby discuss Obama’s clarification of his strategy in the Middle East.
“As dispiriting as these images are, and as sharp as the Republican criticism is, I mean, you have to sympathize with the president, I mean, defeating ISIS is not something that’s going to happen overnight…”
– Peter Hamby
Former CIA Operative says ISIS Cells are in the U.S.
(CNN) – Jake Tapper reports: Militant group ISIS released another gruesome video, showing the beheading of a second American, journalist Steven Sotloff.
“The people who do this for a living are very alarmed.”
– Former CIA operative Bob Baer
The terrorist group has gained strongholds in eastern Syria and northeastern Iraq, and, according to a former CIA operative, ISIS cells have already infiltrated the U.S.
“The people who collect tactical intelligence on the ground, day-to-day.. say they’re here, ISIS is here, they’re capable of striking.”
“The people who collect tactical intelligence on the ground, day-to-day – and this isn’t Washington – but people collecting this stuff say they’re here, ISIS is here, they’re capable of striking,” said CNN national security analyst and former CIA operative Bob Baer. Read the rest of this entry »
Meet the Other New Democrat Todd Akin
The greatest country on earth is being bullied from within. Actions of Republicans in congress are worse than #ISIL.
— JT Smith (@jt4congress2014) September 2, 2014
The Democratic Party’s New Standard Bearer has Officially Arrived on the National Scene
This is the only video the Alabama Congressional candidate has on his campaign account:
BREAKING: New Video Surfaces Depicting Execution of Steven Sotloff, 2nd American Beheaded by Jihadist TerroristsPosted: September 2, 2014
BREAKING: New video appears to show execution of Steven Sotloff, the 2nd American killed by a self-professed member of ISIS – @leeferran
— ABC News (@ABC) September 2, 2014
The Telegraph reports
Steven Sotloff ‘beheaded by Islamic State’
American hostage Steven Sotloff has reportedly been executed by jihadist terrorists. There was no immediate confirmation of the video.
The video reportedly warns governments to back off from “this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State”.
Sotloff, 31, disappeared while reporting in Syria in August 2013. His apparent kidnap was not widely reported until he appeared on a video released last month by the Isil.
In the footage a masked militant beheads US reporter James Foley then parades Mr Sotloff, warning he will meet the same fate unless US President Barack Obama ends air strikes against the group in Iraq…
Nobody’s Fault: Liberals make excuses for Obama
Noemie Emery writes: All of a sudden, people have noticed that we are in trouble, and many are saying it isn’t the president’s fault. All the bad news, from Iraq to Ukraine, from Libya and Syria to the Mexican border, just seems to have happened: Obama was standing there, golfing or shaking hands with donors, and, like a burst of bad weather, the winds blew, the skies opened, and things went to hell. Mysterious forces conspired against him, terrible setbacks occurred for no reason, and we were left with effects without a cause. His supporters commiserate with him and note his bad fortune at being in office at a time when events make his life difficult. Or they worry about the effect of all these misfortunes on his legacy. “Can Obama Weather the Current Geopolitical S—storm?” Mother Jones’s David Corn wondered recently. Judging from recent poll numbers—36 percent approve of his conduct of foreign relations—the answer appears to be “no.”
[Check out Noemie Emery's book "Great Expectations: The Troubled Lives of Political Families", available at Amazon]
The reasons offered for why bad things aren’t his doing fall into three different categories: (1) The system is broken, the country is polarized, and the Republicans have become too insane to deal with; (2) stuff happens, and no one at all can do much about it; and (3) people think that the president ought to be Superman and solve all their problems, which is really expecting too much. As Joshua Keating wrote on July 21 in Slate: “There’s a tendency to judge U.S. foreign policy on the condition of the world at any given moment rather than the success of actual actions taken,” as if the condition and the actions can have no conceivable link. “U.S. leverage is limited,” wrote Robert Kuttner in the Huffington Posta day earlier. “U.S. projections of . . . bravado or prudence have little to do with” how recent events have come out.
Obama legacy @Will_Antonin: Militants swim in pool at US embassy in Libya; American press suddenly & strangely unconcerned with “optics.”
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) August 31, 2014
Added to this is the fact that we lack the easy simplicities of the good old days when Hitler and Stalin were murdering millions. “Republican jingoists scapegoat President Obama for all the world’s ills and try to impose a simple story of weakness and strength on events of stupefying complexity,” Kuttner added, complaining that today’s wars lack the grandeur and moral simplicity of the Cold War, and of course World War II. “Who are the good guys and bad guys in Syria and Iraq?” Corn concurred: “Barack Obama is in charge . . . at a time when the world seems to be cracking up more than usual. . . . There are no simple fixes to these nuance-drenched problems. . . . None of these matters are easily resolved.” Read the rest of this entry »
For City Journal, Myron Magnet writes: When a British-educated Muslim terrorist beheads an American journalist to display the sentiments of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria toward the United States; when photos of a Chicago office building and the White House appear on social media with hard-to-deny evidence in the pictures that ISIS is here in our own country with ill intent; when a peace-preaching imam in Canada reports that ISIS is recruiting among his flock; when an experienced U.S. senator warns of ISIS plans to blow up an American city; and when a top ex-intelligence officer cautions that ISIS terrorists have “very likely” entered the United States along with the flood of illegal immigrants surging through our southern border, what would a responsible president do?
[Check out Myron Magnet's book "The Founders at Home: The Building of America, 1735-1817" at Amazon]
Surely, for starters, he would use the National Guard to seal the border with Mexico, as a matter of national security, let alone national sovereignty. He would surely order the Transportation Security Administration to stop at once allowing illegal aliens to board commercial airliners without the usual government-issued identification, as is now reportedly happening routinely, perhaps allowing terrorists to move freely throughout the nation. Read the rest of this entry »
Two girls arrested last week were part of network of young Islamists monitored by authorities
Two teenage French girls, arrested last week in a crackdown on citizens who consider traveling to other countries to join “jihad,” were planning to attack a synagogue in Lyon with a suicide bomb, French media revealed Friday.
“These girls were part of a network of young Islamists who were being monitored by security services.”
The two, 15 and 17 years old, were detained and interrogated last week in Venissieux, a suburb of Lyon in southeastern France, and Tarbes, a town in the south, after French authorities uncovered a plan to bomb the Great Synagogue of Lyon. They were charged for conspiracy to commit terrorism.
Two had never met but communicated via social media, the investigation revealed. Read the rest of this entry »