Advertisements

GNARLY! Mexican Official Says Interview with Actor Sean Penn Led Forces to Drug Lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s Location

sean-penn-fast-times-ridgemont-high-1982-red-carpet-2012-photo-split

A Mexican law enforcement official says recaptured drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman‘s secret interview with actor Sean Penn helped authorities locate his whereabouts.

Guzman was arrested early Friday after a shootout in his home state of Culiacan that killed five and injured one marine.

Mexico Attorney General Arely Gomez said Friday that Guzman’s contact with actors and producers for a biopic helped gave law enforcement a new lead on tracking and capturing the world’s most notorious drug kingpin.

El Chapo --GettyImages

The official, who spoke Saturday on condition of anonymity, said it was the Penn interview that led authorities to Guzman in a rural part of Durango state in October. They aborted their raid at the time because he was with two women and child.

– Katherine Corcoran.

Source: Associated Press

Advertisements

Fourth Blogger Hacked to Death in Bangladesh

blogger-dead-wsj

Killing sparks renewed fears of growing radicalization of Islamic fundamentalists

DHAKA, Bangladesh— Syed Zain Al-Mahmood reports: Another Bangladeshi blogger was hacked to death in Dhaka on Friday—the fourth such attack on writers who had been critical of Islam this year—raising renewed fears about growing radicalization in the South Asian country.

Police and family members said 40-year-old Niloy Chattopadhyay, who wrote under the pen name Niloy Neel, was killed by machete-wielding assailants who entered his home in the capital on Friday afternoon.

His wife, Asha Moni, said four men entered their two-room apartment under the pretext of renting a room and attacked her husband.

Krishnapada Roy, a joint commissioner of police in Dhaka, said the attack appeared to be “a targeted killing” and that police would pursue all leads.

Mr. Chattopadhyay is the fourth blogger critical of Islam to be murdered in Bangladesh this year. American-Bangladeshi writer Avijit Roy, who championed atheism through his Mukto-Mona [Freethinker] blog, was killed in a machete attack in February. Two other writers, both admirers of Mr. Roy, were killed by suspected Islamic militants in similar attacks in March and May.

The rise of religious extremism in Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 160 million people, could affect regional stability, analysts say. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] What is Being Done to Counter Extremist Forces in the Middle East? A View from the Frontlines of Islamist Insurgency

What do ISIS’s rise in Iraq and Syria and Iran’s new-found power and growing sphere of influence in the region portend for the broader Middle East? What is being done to counter Islamist extremist forces in the region and what is the current state of play? How do the current regional dynamics impact the threat from al-Qaeda, especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan? Read the rest of this entry »


‘Inghemasiyoun’: Secret to ISIS Success: Shock Troops Who Fight to the Death

In this photo released on June 23, 2015 by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant looks through the scope of his rifle in Kirkuk, northern Iraq. Though best known for its horrific brutalities _ from its grotesque killings of captives to enslavement of women _ the Islamic State group has proved to be a highly organized and flexible fighting force, according to senior Iraqi military and intelligence officials and Syrian Kurdish commanders on the front lines. (Militant website via AP)

The IS calls them ‘Inghemasiyoun,’ Arabic for “those who immerse themselves.” The elite shock troops are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group’s arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death, wearing explosives belts to blow themselves up among their opponents if they face defeat

BAGHDAD (AP) — Bearded and wearing bright blue bandanas, the Islamic State group’s “special forces” unit gathered around their commander just before they attacked the central Syrian town of al-Sukhna. “Victory or martyrdom,” they screamed, pledging their allegiance to God and vowing never to retreat.

“They tend to use their foreign fighters as suicide bombers. People go to the Islamic State looking to die, and the Islamic State is happy to help them.”

— Patrick Skinner, a former CIA officer who now directs special operations for The Soufan Group, a private geopolitical risk assessment company

The IS calls them “Inghemasiyoun,” Arabic for “those who immerse themselves.” The elite shock troops are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group’s arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death, wearing explosives belts to blow themselves up among their opponents if they face defeat. They are credited with many of the group’s stunning battlefield successes — including the capture of al-Sukhna in May after the scene shown in an online video released by the group.

“They cause chaos and then their main ground offensive begins,” said Redur Khalil, spokesman of the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units, which have taken the lead in a string of military successes against the IS in Syria.

In this photo released on June 23, 2015 by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant fires artillery against Syrian government forces in Hama city, Syria. Special troops called "Inghemasiyoun," Arabic for "those who immerse themselves," are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group's arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death. (Militant website via AP)

In this photo released on June 23, 2015 by a website of Islamic State militants, an Islamic State militant fires artillery against Syrian government forces in Hama city, Syria. Special troops called “Inghemasiyoun,” Arabic for “those who immerse themselves,” are possibly the deadliest weapon in the extremist group’s arsenal: Fanatical and disciplined, they infiltrate their targets, unleash mayhem and fight to the death. (Militant website via AP)

“The fighters incorporate suicide bombings as a fearsome battlefield tactic to break through lines and demoralize enemies, and they are constantly honing them to make them more effective.”

Though best known for its horrific brutalities — from its grotesque killings of captives to enslavement of women — the Islamic State group has proved to be a highly organized and flexible fighting force, according to senior Iraqi military and intelligence officials and Syrian Kurdish commanders on the front lines.

Its tactics are often creative, whether it’s using a sandstorm as cover for an assault or a lone sniper tying himself to the top of a palm tree to pick off troops below. Its forces nimbly move between conventional and guerrilla warfare, using the latter to wear down their opponents before massed fighters backed by armored vehicles, Humvees and sometimes even artillery move to take over territory. The fighters incorporate suicide bombings as a fearsome battlefield tactic to break through lines and demoralize enemies, and they are constantly honing them to make them more effective. Recently, they beefed up the front armor of the vehicles used in those attacks to prevent gunfire from killing the driver or detonating explosives prematurely.

“The group is also flush with weaponry looted from Iraqi forces that fled its blitzkrieg a year ago, when IS overtook the northern city of Mosul and other areas.”

Those strategies are being carried over into new fronts, appearing in Egypt in last week’s dramatic attack by an IS-linked militant group against the military in the Sinai Peninsula.

Andreas Krieg, a professor at King’s College London who embedded with Iraqi Kurdish fighters last fall, said IS local commanders are given leeway to operate as they see fit. They “have overall orders on strategy and are expected to come up with the most efficient ways of adapting it,” he said. The group “is very much success oriented, results oriented.” That’s a strong contrast to the rigid, inefficient and corrupt hierarchies of the Iraqi and Syrian militaries, where officers often fear taking any action without direct approval from higher up.

IS fighters are highly disciplined — swift execution is the punishment for deserting battle or falling asleep on guard duty, Iraqi officers said. The group is also flush with weaponry looted from Iraqi forces that fled its blitzkrieg a year ago, when IS overtook the northern city of Mosul and other areas. Much of the heavy weapons it holds — including artillery and tanks — have hardly been used, apparently on reserve for a future battle. Read the rest of this entry »


Islamic State Leader Urges Muslims to Relocate to His Murderous Caliphate, or Wage Holy Freakin’ Jihad Where They Are

f-baghdadi-a-20150516-870x566

BAGHDAD – The leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on Thursday urged Muslims to emigrate to his self-proclaimed caliphate, in the jihadi supremo’s first audio recording in six months.

“And we call upon every Muslim in every place to perform hijrah (emigration) to the Islamic State or fight in his land wherever that may be,” he said.

“O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war.”

The voice reading the half-hour speech appeared to match previous audio recordings of Baghdadi, the latest of which was released in mid-November.

As did his previous speech, the audio tape recording released on Thursday comes a few days after media reports that he might have been seriously wounded in a strike by the U.S.-led coalition bombing Idslamic State in Iraq and Syria.

“So return to your lands, and remain in your homes, and seek shelter — after first seeking shelter with Allah — with your people in the Islamic State, for you will find therein, by Allah’s permission, a warm embrace and a safe refuge.”

There was no way for AFP to immediately authenticate the latest recording nor date it but Baghdadi speaks of developments in Yemen, where Saudi-led forces launched an air campaign against Shiite rebels in late March, that suggest it is recent.

Echoing his previous exhortations, Baghdadi said moving to the caliphate he declared over parts of Iraq and Syria in June 2014 or waging jihad at home was an obligation for Muslims.

“Their war is nothing but an attempt to prove themselves once again to their masters from amongst the Jews and Crusaders….It is nothing but a desperate attempt to turn the Muslims away from the Islamic State.”

“Has the time not come for you to know that there is no might nor honor nor safety nor rights for you except in the shade of the Caliphate?” he said in the speech, transcripts of which were released in five languages.

“O Muslims, Islam was never for a day the religion of peace. Islam is the religion of war,” he said, calling for mass mobilization on the battlefield.

He criticised Sunni civilians fleeing fighting in the western province of Anbar to seek shelter in Baghdad and other government-controlled areas. Read the rest of this entry »


Twitter Terror 2015: Online Jihadist Hails Power of Social Media After Texas Attack

t-tw-txt

An Australian Twitter user and Islamic State supporter who appeared to encourage the terrorist attack on an anti-Islamic cartoon event in the US says his movement is “winning the minds of the young generation”.

“This is a war that will be won through the power of social media. We are winning the minds of the young generation.”

— Man who goes by the Twitter name ‘Australi Witness’

The man, who goes by the Twitter name Australi Witness, told Fairfax Media he supported what “our mujahideen [holy warriors] in Texas did” but denied that he specifically told them to launch the attacks, in which both assailants died and one security guard was wounded.

“Law enforcement agencies will consider statements, whether online or offline, to determine whether action can be taken. The online environment has no borders and terrorist propaganda is reaching directly into our homes and families through simple online searches.”

— A spokesman for Attorney-General George Brandis

The Perth-based man’s activities underscore how social media has created a global reach for jihad sympathisers who can inspire violence across great distances without ever personally knowing the people they are inciting.

“This is a war that will be won through the power of social media,” the man said. “We are winning the minds of the young generation.”

Two men, Elton Simpson and Nadir Hamid Soofi, opened fire with assault rifles on Sunday at an exhibition of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad in Garland, Texas. They wounded a security guard before being shot dead by a traffic policeman, who authorities in Garland say prevented a likely bloodbath.

Australi Witness insisted he did not “explicitly” tell Simpson and Soofi to carry out the attacks, though Fairfax Media understands he could face prosecution under the Abbott government’s new laws against advocating terrorism.

2a0d5e41e986adc915c2d21e5668c5ba

“I support what our mujahideen in Texas did, but I take no responsibility for it. Allah commanded them to attack, not me,” he said.

He reportedly posted before Sunday that “Kuffar [unbelievers] are holding a large ‘Draw Muhammed (PBUH) event in Garland, Texas on May 3rd. Please spread to US brothers.”

He also shared tweets by others encouraging an attack similar to the massacre at the office of Paris-based Charlie Hebdo magazine, including calls for “brothers in Texas” to go to the event “with your weapons, bombs or with knifes”, News Corp Australia reported. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: ISIS Claims Responsibility for Texas Attack: ‘The Islamic State soldiers will inflict harm on you with the grace of God’

Prophet Cartoon Conte_Cham(4)660250_20150505_014920

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack outside the Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in Garland, Texas — and warned of more attacks to come

Holly Yan reports: In a broadcast on its official radio channel Tuesday, the group said two Al Khilafa soldiers attacked the event. Al Khilafa is how ISIS refers to its soldiers.

“We say to the defenders of the cross, the U.S., that future attacks are going to be harsher and worse. The Islamic State soldiers will inflict harm on you with the grace of God. The future is just around the corner.”

The two gunmen, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, wounded a security guard before police shot and killed them.

garland-fullmoon

The ISIS radio announcer also referred to Simpson and Soofi as the terror group’s “brothers.”

The announcement ended with this warning:

Iraq: Rescuing the Makhmour Frontline after ISIS attack

“We say to the defenders of the cross, the U.S., that future attacks are going to be harsher and worse. The Islamic State soldiers will inflict harm on you with the grace of God. The future is just around the corner.”

While ISIS claimed responsibility two days after the Sunday attack, there was no immediate indication that the terror group in Iraq and Syria actually had contact with Simpson or Soofi, who both lived in Phoenix.

[Garland shooting: What we know about Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi]

U.S. authorities have said they are investigating whether Sunday’s shooting has any link to international terrorism. But there are clues that one of the gunmen was an ISIS sympathizer. Read the rest of this entry »


DEATH TO AMERICA

Death-to-America

Obama doesn’t take the Iranian chant seriously. He should.

Mona Charen writes: Maybe I’m too sensitive, but when a foreign autocrat leads his people in chants of “Death to America,” I take it personally.

President Obama and Secretary Kerry apparently don’t. The chant, which became a staple of the Islamic Republic during the 1979 revolution, is not a relic of the past. Just last weekend, at a rally in Iran, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was interrupted by the chant as he was denouncing American “lies” and “arrogance.” He smiled and responded, “Of course yes, death to America, because America is the original source of this pressure.”

death-to-america-obama-effigy

[Read the full text here, at National Review]

Some in Iran have said that during negotiations over a nuclear deal, Iranians should downplay the “Death to America” chant, common after Friday prayers and at political rallies. But the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) rejects this advice, insisting, according to the semi-official Fars news agency, that the United States “is still the great Satan and the number-one enemy of the [Islamic] revolution, and the Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation.”

cartoon-death-to-america

[RELATED: Terrorists You Can Trust]

Senator Tom Cotton (R., Ark,) responded bluntly: “When someone chants, ‘Yes, certainly, death to America,’ we should take him at his word, and we shouldn’t put him on the path to a nuclear bomb.”

IRAN-POLITICS-ANNIVERSARY

We are left to wonder at the equanimity high-ranking members of this administration show toward the unyielding hostility of the Iranian regime. Read the rest of this entry »


Islam: 5 Areas that Require Amendment

Ali

Here are the five areas that require amendment

1. Muhammad’s semi-divine status, along with the literalist reading of the Quran.
Muhammad should not be seen as infallible, let alone as a source of divine writ. He should be seen as a historical figure who united the Arab tribes in a premodern context that cannot be replicated in the 21st century. And although Islam maintains that the Quran is the literal word of Allah, it is, in historical reality, a book that was shaped by human hands. Large parts of the Quran simply reflect the tribal values of the 7th-century Arabian context from which it emerged. The Quran’s eternal spiritual values must be separated from the cultural accidents of the place and time of its birth.

2. The supremacy of life after death.
The appeal of martyrdom will fade only when Muslims assign a greater value to the rewards of this life than to those promised in the hereafter.

3. Shariah, the vast body of religious legislation.
Muslims should learn to put the dynamic, evolving laws made by human beings above those aspects of Shariah that are violent, intolerant or anachronistic.

4. The right of individual Muslims to enforce Islamic law.
There is no room in the modern world for religious police, vigilantes and politically empowered clerics.

5. The imperative to wage jihad, or holy war.
Islam must become a true religion of peace, which means rejecting the imposition of religion by the sword.

I know that this argument will make many Muslims uncomfortable. Some are bound to be offended by my proposed amendments. Others will contend that I am not qualified to discuss these complex issues of theology and law. I am also afraid—genuinely afraid—that it will make a few Muslims even more eager to silence me….(read more)

From Why Islam Needs a Reformation by Ayaan Hirsi Ali


BREAKING: Mergers & Acquisitions Update: Boka Haram ISIS Merger Officially Approved

Mergers-and-acquisitions-approved

BREAKING: Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has pledged allegiance to Islamic State (IS), according to an audio statement.

boko-pledge

The message, which was not verified, was posted on Boko Haram’s Twitter account and appeared to be by the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau.

ISIS-boko-merger

Boko Haram began a military campaign to impose Islamic rule in northern Nigeria in 2009. The conflict has since spread to neighbouring states.APPROVED-STAMP-panic-red

It would be the latest in a series of groups to swear allegiance to IS.

In the past Boko Haram is thought to have had links with al-Qaeda.

IS took control of large swathes of territory in eastern Syria and across northern and western Iraq last year.

The group aims to establish a “caliphate”, a state ruled by a single political and religious leader according to Islamic law, or Sharia. Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is known to his followers as Caliph Ibrahim. Read the rest of this entry »


Thousands March as French Police Hunt for Jihadist Femme Fatale Hayat Boumeddiene

Several thousand people gather to pay tribute to victims of a shooting by gunmen at the office of the satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo during a demonstration in Marseille

PARIS — France’s government urged the nation to remain vigilant Saturday, as thousands of security forces try to thwart new attacks and hunt down a suspected accomplice in a rampage by terrorists linked to al Qaeda in Yemen that scarred the nation and left 20 dead.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched Saturday in cities from Toulouse in the south to Rennes in the west to honor the 17 victims of three attackers, killed by police after three days of bloodshed at the offices of a satirical newspaper, a kosher supermarket and other sites around Paris.

The sense of relief was tinged with sorry and worry. In Paris, security forces guarded places of worship and tourist sites, and prepared for what’s likely to be a huge silent march Sunday to show unity against extremists. Two dozen world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron, are among the many expected to join.

Authorities are on the hunt for Hayat Boumeddiene. Photo: ZumaPress.com

Authorities are on the hunt for Hayat Boumeddiene.
Photo: ZumaPress.com

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said authorities will do everything to ensure security at the event. Speaking after an emergency meeting called by French President Francois Hollande on Saturday morning, Cazeneuve called for “extreme vigilance,” saying that “given the context, we are exposed to risks.”

Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen said it directed Wednesday’s attack against the publication Charlie Hebdo to avenge the honor of the Prophet Muhammad, a frequent target of the weekly’s satire.

In a sign of the tense atmosphere, a security perimeter was briefly imposed at Disneyland Paris on Saturday before being lifted, a spokeswoman said, without elaborating. Movement around the park was back to normal by early afternoon.

Several thousand people walk behind a banner which reads,” Live Together Free, Equal, and United” during a march in Nantes, France.Photo: Reuters

Cazeneuve said the government is maintaining its terror alert system at the highest level in the Paris region, and said investigators are focusing on determining whether the attackers were part of a larger extremist network.

People hold up signs to pay tribute to the massacre victims in Paris before the French Top 14 rugby match January 7th.Photo: Getty Images

People hold up signs to pay tribute to the massacre victims in Paris before the French Top 14 rugby match January 7th.Photo: Getty Images

Five other people are in custody as part of the investigation, and family members of the attackers are among several given preliminary charges so far.

“You must consider her as the companion of a dangerous terrorist who needs to be questioned. Since 2010, she has had a relationship with an individual whose ideology translates into violence and the execution of poor people who were just doing their shopping in a supermarket.”

—  Christophe Crepin, spokesman for UNSA police union

French radio RTL released audio Saturday of the attacker, Amedy Coulibaly, who seized hostages in the kosher supermarket, in which he lashes out over Western military campaigns against extremists in Syria and Mali. He describes Osama bin Laden as an inspiration. Read the rest of this entry »


WaPo: ‘Charlie Hebdo Stands Solidly for Free Expression. The West Must Do No Less’

je-suis-charlie-wapo

SEVERAL PUBLISHERS in Western countries have disgraced themselves in recent years with self-censorship to avoid being targeted by Islamic militants. The French newspaper Charlie Hebdo did the opposite: Even after its offices were firebombed in 2011, and even after its editor was put on an al-Qaeda wanted list, it continued to courageously publish cartoons and articles lampooning Islam — as well as Christianity, Judaism and established religion in general.

WaPo-France

  –

Consequently, the heinous attack it suffered Wednesday — when gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” invaded its Paris offices and slaughtered 12 people, including editor Stéphane Charbonnier and the police officers defending him — is a direct challenge to the West’s commitment to free expression. The reaction must be not only one of protest and determination to apprehend the perpetrators. Media in democratic nations must also consciously commit themselves to rejecting intimidation by Islamic extremists or any other movement that seeks to stifle free speech through violence.

That was the course Charlie Hebdo followed in 2006, after the publication of anti-Muslim cartoons by a Danish newspaper led to death threats against that paper’s editors and violent protests outside Danish embassies in Muslim countries. The French newspaper reacted by republishing the cartoons. Read the rest of this entry »


World’s Cartoonists, Satirists Unite in Condemning Paris Attack

charlie_hebdo_scene

In Paris thousands took to the streets to protest the attacks, holding pens in the air in tribute to the slain journalists and holding signs saying “Not Afraid” or “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”), in solidarity

Scott Roxborough reports: “Very little seems funny today,” said Ian Hislop, the editor of British satire magazine Private Eye, commenting on the brutal attack on his French colleges at Charlie Hebdo, which left 12 people dead. “I am appalled and shocked by this horrific attack – a murderous attack on free speech in the heart of Europe.”

His comments were echoed by satirists and cartoonists from across Europe and the world in response to the shootings, the most deadly terrorist attack in Europe since the July 7, 2005 bombings in London.

B6wcXWdIgAA_Lbr.jpg-large

Shortly after news of the attack broke, Dutch cartoonist Ruben L. Oppenheimer tweeted his sketch of plane flying into two upright pencils, similar to the visual of the Twin Towers.

Cannes President Pierre Lescure and past president Gilles Jacob retweeted the sketch, one of dozens by prominent cartoonists posted in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo and with the dead, who included cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Bernard Verlhac and Jean Cabut and magazine editor Bernard Maris. The French satirical magazine had been the target of a firebomb attack in 2011 after it reprinted controversial Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

B6wkmL9CUAAVCVs

One of the most retweeted cartoons was from Australia’s David Pope, which shows a dead cartoonist in a pool of blood. Above him, a masked man holding a smoking machine gun says “he drew first.”

In Paris thousands took to the streets to protest the attacks, holding pens in the air in tribute to the slain journalists and holding signs saying “Not Afraid” or “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”), in solidarity. The Twitter tag #JesuisCharlie quickly went viral. Similar demonstrations were held in cities across Europe. The Notre Dame church in Paris announced it will ring its bells at noon Thursday – a very rare occurence – to mark a minute of silence to be observed at schools and government buildings throughout France.

B6wZOY8CMAA_b6v

French actress Adele Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Colour) attended the rally in Paris’ Republique square, posting a photo to her Instagram account of the demonstration, as did actress Charlotte Le Bon (Yves Saint Laurent). Read the rest of this entry »


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

madonna_620

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 »


Islamic State Reportedly Bans Uploading Beheadings to Social Media

James-Foley-beheading-w-test

 reports: The jihadist terror group Islamic State (IS), formerly known as ISIS, has become a particularly dangerous threat to the West through its guerrilla-style war tactics and decentralized organization, making targeting leaders more difficult for Western militaries.

“The ban on beheading videos appears to be a response to an increase in Islamic State beheading footage circulating on the Internet since the execution of James Wright Foley.” 

ISIS leaders are now cracking down on social media, however, according to reports that leaders are calling for a ban on uploading beheading footage to the Internet.

“A complete switch from videos of children singing the Islamic State’s official song to videos of violent beheadings threatens to scare away Westerners who may have a soft spot for the concept of jihad; thus, the crackdown on beheading videos.”

A report first appearing in the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, and later in Israel’s i24 News and Iran’s Ahlul Bayt News Agency, claims that Islamic State leaders are calling for jihadi commanders to order their underlings to stop uploading beheading videos online “without explicit permission.” Reports from i24 state that it is believed that these leaders are cracking down on the graphic footage because of fear that a deluge of violent social media coverage will damage the jihadist organization’s reputation. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATED: Cache of Surface-to-Air Missiles? Islamic State Captures Major Government Air Base in Northeast Syria

REPORT: Militants seize cache of surface-to-air missiles…


ISIS Leader: ‘See You in New York’

abu

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island.

For The Daily Beast, Michael Daly reports: The Islamist extremist some are now calling the most dangerous man in the world had a few parting words to his captors as he was released from the biggest U.S.  detention camp in Iraq in 2009.“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.bad-guys-sidebarKing didn’t take these words from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a threat. Al-Baghdadi knew that many of his captors were from New York, reservists with the 306 Military Police Battalion, a unit based on Long Island that includes numerous numerous members of the NYPD and the FDNY. The camp itself was named after FDNY Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca, who was killed at the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

King figured that al-Baghdadi was just saying that he had known all along that it was all essentially a joke, that he had only to wait and he would be freed to go back to what he had been doing.

“Like, ‘This is no big thing, I’ll see you on the block,’” King says.

King had not imagined that in less that five years he would be seeing news reports that al-Baghdadi was the leader of ISISthe ultra-extremist army that was sweeping through Iraq toward Baghdad.

“I’m not surprised that it was someone who spent time in Bucca but I’m a little surprised it was him,” King says. “He was a bad dude, but he wasn’t the worst of the worst.”

Abu-Bakr-al-Baghdadi-horiz-ISIS-590

King allows that along with being surprised he was frustrated on a very personal level.

“We spent how many missions and how many soldiers were put at risk when we caught this guy and we just released him,” King says.

During the four years that al-Baghdadi was in custody, there had been no way for the Americans to predict what a 20131214-173711danger he would become. Al-Baghdadi hadn’t even been assigned to Compound 14, which was reserved for the most virulently extremist Sunnis.

“A lot of times, the really bad guys tended to operate behind the scenes because they wanted to be invisible,” the other officer says.

“The worst of the worst were kept in one area,” King says. “I don’t recall him being in that group.”

Al-Baghdadi was also apparently not one of the extremists who presided over Sharia courts that sought to enforce fundamentalist Islamic law among their fellow prisoners. One extremist made himself known after the guards put TV sets outside the 16-foot chain-link fence that surrounded each compound. An American officer saw a big crowd form in front of one, but came back a short time later to see not a soul.

“Some guy came up and shooed them all away because TV was Western,” recalls the officer, who asked not to be named. “So we identified who that guy was, put a report in his file, kept him under observation for other behaviors.” Read the rest of this entry »