After Liberation Of Kobane, Kurdish Battle With ISIS Is Not Over

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 reports: Kurdish forces in Kobani reportedly chased the Islamic State group militants from the Syrian city on Monday. This is an immediate win for the Kurds, both strategically and symbolically, but it doesn’t signal a complete ISIS defeat, nor does it signal the end of the Kurdish battle against militants — in Kobani and elsewhere.

The Islamic State militants “are still in the Kobani area, just outside of the city,” said Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum.  “So the fight is hardly over if the YPG [the Kurdish People’s Protection Units] wants to regain the autonomous canton [province] it once had. The YPG is the immediate winner but things still look very bleak for Kobani. The town is destroyed.”

“What we are going to see in Kobani is Islamic State being forced back, and then a withdraw to consolidate. This is a natural phenomenon of war — you lose some and you win some and the same applies to the IS.”

– Jasmine Opperman, a South Africa-based analyst at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium

Nearly four months long, the battle for Kobani (sometimes spelled Kobane) has been a huge focal point in the anti-ISIS campaign. Around 80 percent of the U.S-led coalition airstrikes since September have been in or around Kobani. Iraqi Kurdish forces and some Free Syrian Army brigades banded together to help Syrian Kurds push back militants. While this now appears to have been a successful campaign, ISIS is still present in Kurdish territory and isn’t likely to halt its efforts to consolidate territory in northern Syria.

YPG Commander and official Spokesman Polat Can announces the liberation of Kobane via Twitter

YPG Commander and official Spokesman Polat Can announces the liberation of Kobane via Twitter

“What we are going to see in Kobani is Islamic State being forced back, and then a withdraw to consolidate,” Jasmine Opperman, a South Africa-based analyst at the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, recently told International Business Times.  “This is a natural phenomenon of war — you lose some and you win some and the same applies to the IS.”

ISIS fighters still control 350 towns and villages surrounding the city, where they can retreat and regroup.

“Soon the YPG will start clearing the villages,” said Kurdish analyst Mutlu Civiroglu. “They are technically under ISIS control but not really.”

“Kurds think that regime is trying to break out a civil war between Kurds and Arabs. Some Arabs are with Kurds … some Arabs are with the regime. The regime is trying to appeal to people’s nationalistic feelings to rebel against the Kurds.”

However, Kurds are facing another threat just miles away in Hasakah, the last city in the Kurdish area of northern Syria with a significant regime presence, and a major energy and agricultural hub. In the last month, the YPG have had to battle the Syrian regime’s National Defense Forces, made up of local Arab tribesmen and Iranian reinforcements.

“Kurds think that regime is trying to break out a civil war between Kurds and Arabs,” Civiroglu said. “Some Arabs are with Kurds … some Arabs are with the regime. The regime is trying to appeal to people’s nationalistic feelings to rebel against the Kurds.”

This month, ISIS has been quietly redeploying fighters to Hasakah, according to the Institute for the Study of War. Hasakah is just hours away from Iraq’s Ninawa province, making it a strategic launching point to attack Sinjar, where ISIS killed thousands of Yazidis this summer, and engage the already thinly stretched Iraqi peshmerga (Kurdish) forces in another battle. Read the rest of this entry »


Did Japan Botch ISIS Hostage Deal?

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The country’s ISIS hostage crisis is a tragedy—one that its government helped to create. Is the Abe administration more concerned with saving face than saving lives?

TOKYO — Jake Adelstein writes: ISIS says it will kill two Japanese hostages if the Japanese government fails to pay a $200 million ransom  by 12:50 a.m. ET Friday. But The Daily Beast has learned that the current crisis might have been averted last year if the Japanese government had not interfered in negotiations to save the first hostage captured by the terrorist group. Indeed, even now Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration seems more interested in saving face than saving lives.ISIS, which has already executed thousands of Iraqis and Syrians, as well as international aid workers and reporters, captured Haruna Yukawa, the founder of a private security company, in northern Syria in August 2014. The next month, the group asked Japanese journalist Kosuke Tsuneoka to mediate the trial it was planning to stage against Yukawa, 42, whom it suspected of being a spy.japanese-hostages

Tsuneoka, who was held hostage in 2010 in Afghanistan and is one of the few Japanese journalists with a pipeline to ISIS, told The Daily Beast last year that the group invited him and Japanese Muslim scholar Hassan Ko Nakata to follow the trial as an Arabic translator.

“There has been some speculation in Japan that the government’s inaction leading up to the release of the hostage video was an attempt to deepen the country’s involvement in the fight against ISIS and justify its remilitarization. Since last year, Abe and his Cabinet have been pushing for a reinterpretation of Japan’s pacifist constitution under the guise of ‘collective self-defense’ that would allow Japan to go to war with its allies…”

But Tsuneoka said he and Nakata were not allowed to travel to Syria to try to negotiate Yukawa’s release after the police raided their homes on October 6, a day before their planned departure, and seized their passports. Tsuneoka was detained for questioning for 24 hours but was not arrested.

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“…They also have announced intentions to abolish Article 9, the Japanese constitutional clause that forsakes warfare. These moves have met with widespread opposition among the Japanese but have been downplayed in Japan’s increasingly compliant media.”

Police sources said the raid stemmed from an ongoing police investigation into Tsuneoka’s involvement with a student who may have been attempting to join ISIS. Tsuneoka and the student are under suspicion of violating the rarely enforced Article 93 of Japan’s criminal code, which prohibits “preparing or plotting to wage war privately upon a foreign state”; if arrested, tried, and convicted, the two could face up to five years in prison. Tsuneoka has denied the allegations, though he acknowledges buying an airplane ticket for the student, who had no credit card.

“Now a backlash against the government’s handling of the crisis is growing, with thousands of people tweeting, with some sarcasm, that the prime minister should give himself up to ISIS in exchange for Goto.”

The day after the raid, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters that Japan would take measures to “curb extremists.” Japanese nationals would be barred from traveling to Syria, Iraq, or other countries in pursuit of terrorist acts and from offering financial resources to terrorists and extremist groups, in line with domestic law. Read the rest of this entry »


Islamic State: Dare to Play an Un-Islamic Electronic Keyboard? 90 Lashes For You!

The men were apparently caught playing electronic keyboards, and what appears to be a lute, instruments that were deemed to be 'un-Islamic' by ISIS's fanatical religious police

ISIS police sentence musicians to 90 lashes because they were playing an ‘un-Islamic’ electronic keyboard

Chris Pleasance for Mail OnlineIslamic State religious police have been filmed beating musicians and destroying their instruments as punishment after they were discovered playing an ‘un-Islamic’ keyboard.

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The men were apparently caught playing electronic keyboards, and what appears to be a lute, instruments that were deemed to be ‘un-Islamic’ by ISIS’s fanatical religious police

“The men were pictured being hit across the back and legs with a wooden stick in a public square after ISIS’s fanatical Islamic enforcers ruled their electric keyboard was ‘offensive to Muslims’.”

Another picture shows two keyboards and what appears to be a lute smashed to pieces after raids thought to have taken place in Bujaq, a few miles to the east of Aleppo in Syria.

According to text posted along with the images on a file sharing website, the musicians were punished with 90 lashes alongside a man caught impersonating a ‘hisbah’.

“Thieves are regularly pictured having their hands or arms amputated in public squares amid crowds of onlookers, while adulterers have been executed.”

The Arabic term generally refers to the obligation on Muslim leaders to uphold the law, but in this context likely refers to a local official or tribal elder.

Musicians in Syria were given 90 lashes each after they were caught by the Islamic State's religious police playing an electric keyboard, which they deemed 'offensive to Muslims', according to pictures posted online

Musicians in Syria were given 90 lashes each after they were caught by the Islamic State’s religious police playing an electric keyboard, which they deemed ‘offensive to Muslims’, according to pictures posted online

According to the online post, which claims to have come from ISIS’s information office in Aleppo, a man caught smuggling cigarettes was also punished with 50 lashes.

Since taking control of large parts of Syria and Iraq last year ISIS claims to have formed a Caliphate in the Middle East, and has taken to enforcing strict Sharia law within its borders.

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Thieves are regularly pictured having their hands or arms amputated in public squares amid crowds of onlookers, while adulterers have been executed.

After the men had been beaten the instruments were destroyed. ISIS has been enforcing a terrifying vision of Sharia law across its so-called Caliphate, including executing people for breeding pigeons.

Read the rest of this entry »


Israeli Intelligence Arrests Local Islamic State Cell: ‘Just Before Executing an Attack, Practicing on Animals How to Behead People’

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JERUSALEM –  Israel’s Shin Bet security service says it arrested the first known Islamic State cell operating inside the country.

The intelligence agency said Sunday that the seven cell members belong to the country’s Arab minority.

It said they were caught just before executing an attack and were practicing on animals how to behead people. Read the rest of this entry »


Russia Says Mohammed Cartoon Publication Illegal: ‘One Cannot Laugh at the Feelings of the Faithful’

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Russia is an overwhelmingly Orthodox Christian country, but is also home to a sizeable Muslim minority

Russia’s media watchdog on Friday warned publications that printing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed was against the country’s law and ethical norms following the Charlie Hebdo attack in France.

“The publication in Russian media of such caricatures go against ethical and moral norms worked out over centuries.”

“The publication in Russian media of such caricatures go against ethical and moral norms worked out over centuries,” said the media and communications watchdog Roskomnadzor.

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“Disseminating caricatures on religious themes in the media can be considered insulting or humiliating to the representatives of religious confessions and groups, and qualified as inciting ethnic and religious hatred.”

– Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media and communications watchdog

The publication would also violate the Russian media and anti-extremism laws, the watchdog said, adding that it was asking Russian media to “refrain from publishing caricatures that can be seen as a violation”.

The watchdog published the statement as a response to the ongoing debate on the “legality of publishing caricatures depicting religious objects of worship which affect feelings of religious people.”censorship2

“It further said Charlie Hebdo’s post-attack issue featuring a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed on the front page was an ‘unacceptable response’ to the shooting, because one ‘cannot laugh at the feelings of the faithful’.”

Many newspapers and magazines around the world reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by Charlie Hebdo, whose Paris office was attacked by Islamist gunmen on January 7, leading to the deaths of 12 people.

Although Russia’s leadership extended its condolences to France, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov participated in the unity march staged at the weekend, pro-Kremlin commentators and Muslims accused the cartoonists of provoking the attack. Read the rest of this entry »


Airstrikes Fail to Slow Islamic State in Syria

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Militant Group Has Gained Territory, Raising Concerns of the Obama Administration’s Mideast Strategy

WASHINGTON— Dion Nissenbaum writes: More than three months of U.S. airstrikes in Syria have failed to prevent Islamic State militants from expanding their control in that country, according to U.S. and independent assessments, raising new concerns about President Barack Obama ’s military strategy in the Middle East.

“While U.S. bombing runs and missile strikes have put Islamic State forces on the defensive in Iraq, they haven’t had the same kind of impact in Syria.”

While U.S. bombing runs and missile strikes have put Islamic State forces on the defensive in Iraq, they haven’t had the same kind of impact in Syria. Instead, jihadist fighters have enlarged their hold in Syria since the U.S. started hitting the group’s strongholds there in September, according to the new estimates.

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Islamic State’s progress in Syria is partly the result of the U.S. decision to focus its military efforts on Iraq, where the militant group has seized major parts of the country and declared them part of a new Islamic caliphate. The U.S.-led military effort has pushed the forces out of some key battlegrounds in Iraq.

“Certainly ISIS has been able to expand in Syria, but that’s not our main objective. I wouldn’t call Syria a safe haven for ISIL, but it is a place where it’s easier for them to organize, plan and seek shelter than it is in Iraq.”

– Senior Defense Official

But Syria still serves as a haven for Islamic State fighters, also known in the West by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL.

The assessments come as the Obama administration is considering whether the U.S. should embrace more aggressive ideas for containing Islamic State forces in Syria. Some administration officials have been pushing the U.S. to once again rethink its “Iraq-first” strategy and focus more attention on Syria, including training thousands of Syrian fighters to take on the feared group. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Hammer: Paris Attack May Be Start of ‘Third Stage of Jihadist War’ on West

“What is so important about this is the origin of the four killers, the brothers and the couple. They were born in France. I think we’re now in sort of the third stage of the jihadist war against us.”

He laid out the sequence: “The first [stage], of course, is 9/11 — all of the attackers were from the middle east. And then, for the last year or two, we have seen the ‘lone wolf’ attacks — usually homegrown, but fairly unstable and one-on-one, and it looks as if fairly disorganized or acting out of inspiration, but not on instruction or with training. Read the rest of this entry »


Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Jihadist Snuff Video Production Crew Claims Another Violent Murder: Islamic State Group Beheads U.S. Aid Worker Peter Kassig

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BEIRUT (AP) — An Islamic State group video released Sunday purports to show extremists beheading a dozen Syrian soldiers and ends with a militant claiming to have killed U.S. aid worker Peter Kassig, the latest slaughter proudly broadcast by the group on the Internet.

“The Islamic State group has beheaded and shot dead hundreds of captives — mainly Syrian and Iraqi soldiers — during its sweep across the two countries, and has celebrated its mass killings in extremely graphic videos.”

The video ends with the militant standing over a severed head he says belongs to Kassig. U.S. officials said they were working to determine the video’s authenticity. Kassig’s family said it was awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

“The group has declared a self-styled Islamic caliphate in the areas under its control, which it governs according to its violent interpretation of Shariah law.”

“We prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate Americans and further their cause,” the family said in a statement.

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The Associated Press could not independently verify the footage, though it appeared on websites used in the past by the Islamic State group, which now controls a third of Syria and Iraq.

The video identifies the militants’ location as Dabiq, a town in northern Syria that the militant group uses as the title of its English-language propaganda magazine and where they believe an apocalyptic battle between Muslims and their enemies will occur. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Unsubstantiated Report: ISIS Captures, Beheads Kurdish Female Fighter ‘Rehana’ in Kobane: War Propaganda?

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contributor-80x100-mchastainFor Brietbart.com writes: The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) reportedly beheaded a famous female Kurdish freedom fighter known only as “Rehana.” The Women Protection Units (YPG) soldier fought against the terrorist group in Kobane, a strategically important border town in Syria near Turkey.

[Also see – My Bravery Shames Them': Kurdish Women Fight on Front Lines Against Islamic State – punditfromanotherplanet.com]

A picture of Rehana making the V-sign became a widely-distributed image online, retweeted over 5,000 times. Reports claimed she killed over 100 Islamic State jihadists single-handedly. But now a picture of a militant holding her head is making the rounds on social media. The death is not confirmed.

Earlier this month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors events in Syria, reported Isis militants beheaded nine Kurdish fighters, including three women  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2809260/Poster-girl-Kurdish-freedom-fighters-Kobane-captured-beheaded-ISIS.html#ixzz3HTSPmJZo  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Earlier this month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors events in Syria, reported Isis militants beheaded nine Kurdish fighters, including three women

[Daily Mail – Poster girl for Kurdish freedom fighters in Kobane is ‘captured and beheaded by ISIS killers’ who posted gruesome pictures online]

Female fighters are essential to the Kurds. The Women Protection Units (YPG) in Kobane are led by Mayass Abdo, who goes by Narin Afrin. All of the female Pershmerga are volunteers and are honored to fight against the terrorists. One such soldier, Dilar Gencxemis, blew herself up outside of Kobane, killing dozens of militants. Read the rest of this entry »


Bottle of Whiskey with Some News On Top

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Europe’s Teen ISIS Girls, What Do They Want?

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Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS

Because They Want the Same Things Teenage Boys Want: A Strong Sense of Meaning and Purpose

For Tablet MagazineLee Smith writes: Teenage girls are the West’s center of gravity: Virtually all of Western pop culture, the key to our soft power, is tailored to the tastes of teenage girls. Through the wonders of information technology, the mobile phone mass-produced the mores and habits of phone-mad teenage girls locked in their bedrooms. Indeed, Western civilization is a success largely insofar as it has made the world a safe place for teenage girls—to go to school, get a job, and decide who and when to marry, or if they want to marry. When teenage girls turn away from One Direction and embrace ISIS, it means the West is losing.51TVFjKStQL._SL250_

[Order Lee Smith’s “The Consequences of Syria (The Great Unraveling: The Remaking of the Middle East)“]

“The idea of a caliphate, ripped from the pages of Muslim history, resonates with a kind of existential authenticity missing from the vast and drab European suburbs warehousing Muslim youth.”

A Washington Institute poll last week showed that the Islamic State has more support in Europe than it does in the Middle East. The poll reported that only 3 percent of Egyptians, 5 percent of Saudis, and under 1 percent of Lebanese “expressed a positive opinion of the IS.” On the other hand, 7 percent of U.K. respondents had a favorable view of the group, as did 16 percent of French polled—with 27 percent of French citizens between 18-24 responding favorably.

“So, why given a choice between a comfortable, if somewhat boring, life as a pharmacist in Hamburg, or fighting and dying in the desert, are thousands of Western Muslims opting for the latter?”

The numbers should hardly come as a surprise. Thousands of young European Muslims have already left the continent for the Middle East to help the organization’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, build an authentic Islamic caliphate. Doubtless thousands more are on their way, to kill and die for an idea they believe in.

“Because, for all the awesome social services and consumer goods it can offer, Europe has become incapable of endowing the lives of its citizens, Muslim or not, with meaning. “

It is a striking fact that ISIS appeals not only to young men, but also young European women, many hundreds of whom have gone to Syria and Iraq to marryIslamic State fighters. Sure, some of them, like the 15-year-old French Jewish girlNora el-Bathy, may have come to regret their decision. But that hardly alters the essential point: The girls sought out IS fighters because the West seems weak and unmanly and they pine for real men who are willing to kill and die for what they believe in. Read the rest of this entry »


‘My Bravery Shames Them': Kurdish Women Fight on Front Lines Against Islamic State

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When 19-year-old Dilar and her girlfriends learned last spring that a woman who taught at a local school had died fighting Islamic State, they made a pact: They would join an all-female Syrian Kurdish brigade named in the teacher’s honor.

“When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me. My bravery shames them.”

Her unit, the Martyr Warsin Brigade, saw action this summer in a tough battle against the extremist fighters for Ras al-Ayn, a town along the Turkish border. Dilar came away without injury and returned home to a hero’s welcome.

[Also see The Mystery of Ceylan Ozalp]

Now, during her downtime, she and her female comrades stride with a swagger through their villages east of the embattled city of Kobani.

Caskets holding the bodies of four female Kurdish fighters are carried from a hospital in Suruc, Turkey, to a cemetery near the border with Syria. Andrew Quilty for The Wall Street Journal

Caskets holding the bodies of four female Kurdish fighters are carried from a hospital in Suruc, Turkey, to a cemetery near the border with Syria. Andrew Quilty for The Wall Street Journal

“When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me,” said Dilar, who didn’t want to give her family name. “My bravery shames them.”

“Really we have no differences. We do what the men do.”

As debate flares in Washington and other capitals about whether the battle against Islamic State can succeed without more boots—even U.S. ones—on the ground, Kurdish women have stepped up to defend their lands in Syria and Iraq. An estimated one-third of the Syrian Kurdish fighters in Kobani are women, fighters and residents say, a figure that mirrors their role in other significant battles across Kurdish territories this year.

The monthlong battle over the city on the Turkish border is straining Islamic State, Kurdish politicians and U.S. officials say, and hampering its overall expansion strategy.

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The overriding motivation that Kurds give for fighting the insurgents is to save their ancestral homeland from destruction. Yet many women combatants also cite a more personal crusade. Across the territory in Syria and Iraq that it now controls, Islamic State has reinstituted slavery, prohibited women from working and threatened to kill those Muslims, including Kurds, who don’t adhere to their ideology.

“Sometimes we are so close to them without knowing it, because they hide in empty buildings.” 

“Islamic State are terrorists, inhuman,” said a 28-year-old female commander of both men and women in Kobani who uses the nom-de-guerre Afsin Kobane.

Ms. Kobane was a kindergarten teacher when she decided last year to join the female unit of the Syrian Kurdish resistance force, known as YPJ. Speaking by telephone from her post in the besieged city on the Turkish border, she said her mixed-gender unit had been fighting for more than a month and was holding a position only a half-mile from Islamic State fighters. Read the rest of this entry »


Onwaarschijnlijk Krijgers: Dutch Biker Gang Joins fight Against Islamic State in Iraq

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The three men are members of an infamous motorbike gang, No Surrender, the biggest biker club in the Netherlands

Anna Holligan, BBC News, The Hague: Three members of a Dutch motorcycle club with military backgrounds have gone to Iraq to help fight Islamic State (IS), a fellow biker says.

“They wanted to do something when they saw the pictures of the beheadings.”

The three left for northern Iraq to help Kurds there after being horrified by news of IS atrocities, Klaas Otto told Dutch media.

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All are trained soldiers who have served abroad in the past, he said.

“They are trained guys with lots of experience – with foreign missions, too. They are extremely disciplined. They don’t drink any alcohol, not even on club evenings.”

Dutch prosecutors told BBC News that they were not necessarily breaking the law by fighting on the Kurdish side.

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Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch prosecutor’s office, said that signing up with organisations like IS or the Kurdish militant group PKK was banned but joining a foreign armed force was no longer forbidden.

But if there was proof that they were committing murders or rapes then “of course, it would be a different story”, he said.

The Netherlands’ defence ministry said it could not be held responsible for choices made by ex-servicemen.

The story emerged after photos began circulating on social media. One shows a man dressed in green military fatigues, clutching a Kalashnikov, sitting alongside a Kurdish fighter.

The Netherlands has a considerable Kurdish community. Read the rest of this entry »


Islamic State Militants’ Redraw Borders, Fracturing Iraq’s Fragile Cohesion


Islamic State Militants Advance Despite Airstrikes: ‘Most of the eastern and southern parts of the city have fallen under the ISIS control…the situation is getting worse’

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ISIS Gains Territory Despite Weeks of Bombing by U.S., Allies, Raising Questions About Strategy

For WSJ, Margaret Coker in Erbil, Iraq, Jay Solomon in Cairo and Tamer El-Ghobashy in Baghdad report: Islamic State militants have gained territory in Iraq and Syria despite weeks of bombing by the U.S. and its allies, raising questions about the coalition’s strategy of trying to blunt the jihadists’ advance while local forces are being trained to meet the threat on the ground.

“The strategy’s biggest weakness in Iraq, officials there say, is the glacial pace of cobbling together an Iraqi political alliance between Sunnis willing to join with the Shiite-controlled central government to rebuild a national military force to fight Islamic State more effectively.”

In Syria, fighters from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, have taken large sections of the city of Kobani in recent days, said Ismet Sheikh Hasan, the defense minister of the city’s Kurdish administration. “Most of the eastern and southern parts of the city have fallen under the ISIS control,” he said. “The situation is getting worse.”

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[Also see Matthew Continetti‘s Accept No Substitutes: As the Islamic State continues to gain territory, U.S. ground troops are needed more than ever]

This comes despite a week of heavy airstrikes around the city to help local Syrian Kurdish fighters keep Islamic State forces from the city center.

“The call for American ground troops, however unlikely to be met, caused fresh rifts in Anbar which threatened to weaken the already shaky coalition of government forces working with tribal fighters to fend off the Islamic State assault.”

In Iraq, militant forces operating in a swath of territory the size of California have extended their control of the roads and commercial routes in strategically vital Anbar Province, which connects the capital Baghdad to Jordan and Syria.

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Anbar, which has critical infrastructure and whose eastern edge lies only about 25 miles from Baghdad’s center, is also in danger of falling wholly under Islamic State control despite weeks of U.S. strikes aimed at weakening the group, local officials say.

“While the militant group is yet to take the provincial capital of Ramadi, officials in Anbar warn that they are losing their grip on the city to a highly organized and disciplined insurgency that has surrounded military bases and put a choke hold on trade from Jordan, effectively controlling movements of goods and people in the region.”

The province’s chief of police was killed in a bombing Sunday, officials said, heightening unease over the government’s ability to fend off Islamic State forces. Read the rest of this entry »


Where Do ISIS Militants in Syria Come From?

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The Jimmy Carter Foreign Policy Smackdown

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“We waited too long. We let the Islamic State build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria…”

“I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president.”

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“But Jimmy…wait…please…I know…I…it’s…but…”

Read the rest of this entry »


Turkey, U.S. Warn Syrian City Will Soon Fall

Both Countries Urge the Other to Halt ISIS Advance on Kobani

Turkey and the U.S. warned that a major Syrian border city was in imminent danger of falling to Islamic State, with the two countries putting the onus on the other to halt the extremist group’s advance.

“You can’t end this terrorism just by airstrikes. If you don’t support them on the ground by cooperating with those who take up a ground operation, the airstrikes won’t do it.”

– Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed the U.S.-led coalition on Tuesday to move ahead with plans to arm and train Syrian and Iraqi ground forces to battle Islamic State, saying airstrikes alone weren’t enough.

An American military official said the U.S. believes the situation in the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobani is increasingly dire, and that the city is likely to fall shortly if Turkey doesn’t intervene.BN-EW719_1007is_OR_20141007093816

The complications for Turkey stemming from the advance on Kobani were mounting rapidly. Beyond U.S. pressure to step in, protests by the country’s restive Kurds were spreading quickly. At least a dozen people were killed in clashes with security forces in several Kurdish-majority cities, local media reported. The demonstrations reached Istanbul.

Airstrikes Tuesday by the coalition fighting Islamic State hit positions near Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab. But Kurdish officials and Syrian opposition members said the militants were still advancing against Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Mr. Erdogan declared Kobani was “about to fall” while he was visiting a refugee camp in the border province of Gaziantep.

“You can’t end this terrorism just by airstrikes,” he said. “If you don’t support them on the ground by cooperating with those who take up a ground operation, the airstrikes won’t do it.”

The U.S. and its partners have conducted hundreds of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State in recent weeks. But they have so far ruled out the deployment of their own ground forces, opting instead to train and support local forces.

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U.S. defense officials reiterated Tuesday that they are not going to directly coordinate operations with any force on the ground in Syria until at least some of the vetted moderate rebels have been through upcoming military training and are ready to enter the fight. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: Kurdish Female Suicide Bomber in Kobane Killed Dozens of ISIS Militants

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With Kurdish fighters under increasing pressure from the ISIS militants seeking to seize Kobane, this is the first time a suicide bomber has been used by Kurdish forces in the conflict. Her name in Kurdish was Dilar Gencxemis but she went under the nom-de-guerre of Arin Mirkan

SURUC, Turkey — Kurdish fighters battling ISIS militants for the Syrian town of Kobane employed a new tactic when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in an attack claimed to have killed dozens of militants. The young woman, a full-time fighter with the Syria-based Kurdish rebel group the People’s Protection Units (YPG), killed herself in the attack on Sunday, Kurdish sources said.

tribune ‏@tribunegr  23h22 hours ago #YPJ fighter #ArinMirkan carried out a suicide bomb attack on an #ISIS tank close to #Kobane

Source: Twitter — tribune ‏@tribunegr 
#YPJ fighter #ArinMirkan carried out a suicide bomb attack on an #ISIS tank close to #Kobane

Her act struck a chord with Kurds and others supporting the opposition to ISIS in Kobane, with #ArinMirkan becoming a popular hashtag on Twitter.

Her name in Kurdish was Dilar Gencxemis but she went under the nom-de-guerre of Arin Mirkan, the YPG said in a statement. She was from the Syrian town of Afrin in the Aleppo province of northern Syria, just south of the Turkish border.

“I don’t know her exact age but she was above 20. She was a fighter from the YPG. “She threw many grenades at ISIS insurgents. After that, she blew herself up.”

With Kurdish fighters under increasing pressure from the ISIS militants seeking to seize Kobane, this is the first time a suicide bomber has been used by Kurdish forces in the conflict. “I don’t know her exact age but she was above 20. She was a fighter from the YPG,” said Mustafa Bali, a Kurdish official in Kobane told in the Turkish border town of Suruc.

“The woman blew herself up for me, for the Kurds and for Kobane.” 

– Mustafa, one of the estimated 186,000 people from the Kobane region who fled the fighting into neighbouring Turkey

“She threw many grenades at ISIS insurgents. After that, she blew herself up,” he said, adding that dozens of ISIS fighters were killed in her assault.

“She killed dozens of gang members and demonstrated the YPG fighters’ determined resistance. If necessary, all YPG fighters will follow her example, and the gangs will not be allowed to achieve their aim of taking Kobane.”

– From a statement issued by the YPG, carried by the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency

The Britain-based Britain-based group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria, also confirmed the attack by the female suicide bomber. Read the rest of this entry »


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