The Islamic State released a recruitment video in late November promising to expand their present caliphate. The video was titled “No Respite”. Read the rest of this entry »
[VIDEO] There IS an ISIS Recruitment Video Which Features a Prominent American Politician, But It’s Not Donald TrumpPosted: December 21, 2015
“Allah Akbar, closure of all the school in Los Angeles because of threats. 640,000 returned to their homes, Oh God, increase their panic!!”
Within minutes of news of the closure, ISIS loyalists created a thread on an online forum with the title “Panic in the American Los Angeles,” Vocativ’s deep web analysis found. Islamic State adherents are using the thread to gloat about the panicked response—though none so far have taken credit for the attack.
“Thanks God, they are panicked of everything. The soldiers of the Caliphate will look after you until the world will be under the rule of Allah,” wrote one supporter. Another responded with, “Oh God, never make them safe. Put panic in their hearts.”
Another ISIS supporter took to Twitter to comment on the school closings in Los Angeles. “The city of Los Angeles is closing schools and vital areas because of the security threat. Oh God, destroy the worshipers of the cross,” the tweet, written by someone who identifies himself as Ali al-Baghdadi, reads. On another ISIS-friendly Twitter feed that is regarded as an unofficial arm of the ISIS propaganda machine, an ISIS supporter celebrated the fact that nearly 650,000 kids were sent home from school. Read the rest of this entry »
Noah Rothman writes: In just over a year, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has graduated from taking and holding territory inside its nascent “caliphate” to exporting terrorism around the globe. From Sydney to Ottawa, from Copenhagen to San Bernardino, this terrorist organization is directing or inspiring jihadists to conduct heinous acts of mass-casualty terrorism.
“The strategy here is clear, and it is one that this president has used to great effect in the past: Project to like minds in media that concerns over terrorism are a preoccupation of the intellectually sequestered right.”
Since October of last year, three such attacks have taken place in the United States; one of those being the worst act of radical Islamic terror in America since September 11, 2001. Subsequently, Americans now rate terrorism as their number one concern. They feel unsafe and insecure. They are justifiably afraid of the threat that might be just around the next corner. Americans are lunging for the shotgun and barricading the door. And what do they get from their leaders? Reassurance? Understanding? Resolve to defeat terrorism abroad before it comes home? No, they get a lecture on their latent hostility toward the Islamic faith and practicing Muslims. Stranger still, now that it has become inescapably clear that the fear of terrorism is broad-based, the left’s mission to convince itself that these concerns are isolated to the fever swamps has become even more urgent.
“To lend any credence to that notion would be to align yourself with that brutish, unthinking element in flyover country, and you wouldn’t want to be thought of by your peers in that way, would you?”
For Democrats, particularly those who must defend President Barack Obama’s record on foreign affairs and terrorism, there is no good news. According to the latest New York Times/CBS News survey, seven in 10 Americans now describe ISIS as a major threat to national security. Another 44 percent of respondents believe another attack inside the United States at some point in the next few months is “very” likely, greater than at any point since October 2001. 57 percent of those polled disapprove of Obama’s handling of the issue of terrorism. According to Gallup, 67 percent believe future “acts of terrorism” inside the United States are either somewhat or very likely. Gallup further revealed that confidence in the government’s ability to keep its citizens safe is lower than it has ever been since the 9/11 attacks. Simultaneously, a majority of Americans fear they will be the next victims of that forthcoming attack for the first time since 2001.
Perhaps most ominously from a Democratic perspective, satisfaction in the direction the country is headed has not been this depressed since November of 2014 when Republicans rode a wave of voter dissatisfaction to pick up control of the U.S. Senate.
Read the rest of this entry »
A motley crew of Texans, Iraq war veterans, evangelicals, and bored young men are battling to take down the caliphate.
Adam Rawnsley writes: When a U.S. citizen going by the name “Abu Abdullah al-Amriki” blew himself up in a suicide attack in Baiji, Iraq, this month, he was the most recent example of a troubling trend: the roughly 200 Americans who have traveled or attempted to travel to Iraq and Syria to fight for the Islamic State.
Not all of the foreigners have left for the region looking to fight for the Islamic State, however. Instead, growing numbers of Americans are heading there to fight against the extremists. The men — mostly military veterans, with a strangely disproportionate share of Texans — are linking up with Kurdish groups and Christian militias in the region to battle the Islamic State militants who currently control broad swaths of Iraq and Afghanistan. A new report by the investigative website Bellingcat, released Wednesday, takes the first systematic look at these “other foreign fighters.”
“I may not be enlisted anymore, but I’m still a warrior. I figured if I could walk away from here and kill as many of the bad guys as I could, that would be a good thing.”
— Patrick Maxwell, who traveled to Iraq to fight with the Kurdish Peshmerga
The report finds that at least 108 Americans have made the journey to Iraq and Syria to take on the Islamic State, highlighting the global nature of the conflict and the relative ease of recruitment and travel to the battlefield. It’s a dangerous undertaking, and one American has already been killed in the fighting. Massachusetts resident Keith Broomfield, 36, died while fighting with a Kurdish militia in Syria earlier this year. Broomfield, who had no military experience, traveled to the war zone after a Christian religious awakening.
Nathan Patin, the author of the Bellingcat report, combed through social media posts and news accounts to compile the database. Although Patin was able to find information on the fighters using open sources, the report withholds the identities of those fighters who haven’t gone public in prior news accounts and does not include personally identifying information or information that could lead to their location on the battlefield, out of concern for their safety and that of their families.
The relative online openness of the Americans offers insights into their backgrounds and motivations for wanting to leave behind their daily lives in the United States and participate in wars far away that seemingly have little to do with them. Based on the biographical details offered, the Americans Patin found were all male, tended to be in their 20s and 30s, and stayed on the battlefield mostly between one and four months. Around two-thirds describe themselves as veterans, drawn primarily from the Army and Marine Corps. Texas, even accounting for its larger population, produced a disproportionate number of volunteers relative to any other identifiable home state. Read the rest of this entry »
Islamic State Leader Urges Muslims to Relocate to His Murderous Caliphate, or Wage Holy Freakin’ Jihad Where They ArePosted: May 14, 2015
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 »
Boko Haram has abducted at least 2,000 women and girls since the start of 2014. Many have been forced into sexual slavery or trained to fight, says Amnesty International
Protests continue in the capital Abuja to urge the government to do more to free the more-than-200 girls. Each time a town has been retaken, local newspapers and radio stations ask the government if the girls were found there.
“This is about Chibok but it is also about what’s happening in northeast. It is about Boko Haram. It’s something that people can organize around.”
— Liz Donnelly, a London-based Nigeria analyst with the Chatham House policy institute
In the past two months, Boko Haram has lost much of the territory it had seized. But what may be a more persistent threat remains—that of a hit-and-run organization that instills terror through mass abductions.
Boko Haram has abducted at least 2,000 women and girls since the start of 2014, Amnesty International said in a new report. Many have been forced into sexual slavery or trained to fight, the rights group said.
But the girls seized in the town of Chibok and publicized in the #bringbackourgirls Twitter campaignhave been the ones that caught the world’s attention and galvanized Nigerians.
“This is about Chibok but it is also about what’s happening in northeast. It is about Boko Haram. It’s something that people can organize around,” said Liz Donnelly, a London-based Nigeria analyst with the Chatham House policy institute.
There have been rumors in recent weeks both that the girls have been killed and that they were spotted in Gwoza, but neither has been substantiated.
And there may be more kidnappings to come. Read the rest of this entry »
— The Weekly Standard (@weeklystandard) March 9, 2015
Alessandria Masi 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.
“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.”
— Mutlu Civiroglu (@mutludc) January 25, 2015
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 »
TOKYO, Jan. 24 (UPI) — Japanese leaders are meeting to determine the authenticity of a video that purportedly shows Islamic State hostage Kenji Goto holding a photo of fellow hostage Haruna Yukawa after being beheaded.
“I am Kenji Goto Jogo. You have seen the photo of my cellmate Haruna slaughtered in the land of the Islamic Caliphate. You were warned. You were given a deadline and so my captives acted upon their words.”
— Islamic State hostage Kenji Goto
The video shows a still image of Goto, a Japanese freelance journalist, holding the photo and a man’s voice claiming to be Goto blaming Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the death. The man said the IS no longer wants a $200 million ransom, but instead the release of Sajedah Rishawi, an alleged suicide bomber who is believed to have participated in a 2005 attack in Jordan.
“I am Kenji Goto Jogo,” Goto said. “You have seen the photo of my cellmate Haruna slaughtered in the land of the Islamic Caliphate. You were warned. You were given a deadline and so my captives acted upon their words.” Read the rest of this entry »
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.
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 »
Jihadist Snuff Video Production Crew Claims Another Violent Murder: Islamic State Group Beheads U.S. Aid Worker Peter KassigPosted: November 16, 2014
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.
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 »
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 Magazine, Lee 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.
[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 »
Hollande: ‘This particular group…they don’t strike only those who don’t think like they do, they also strike Muslims…they rape, they kill’Posted: September 24, 2014
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande says the terrorists who beheaded a French citizen in Algeria are a global threat.
Hollande addressed world leaders at the United Nations Wednesday shortly after learning of the man’s death.
“I am speaking to you with a particularly high level of emotion.”
— French President Francois Hollande
A video released by a U.S. terrorism watchdog showed Algerian extremists allied with the Islamic State group decapitating a hostage after France ignored their demand to stop airstrikes in Iraq. The group calls itself Jund al-Khilafah. Read the rest of this entry »
It isn’t so much that former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was a prophet. Just that he had read a book or two.
…In 2012, Romney called it “troubling” and “alarming” that Barack Obama had essentially appeased the Russian bear by offering concessions like the withdrawal of interceptor missile and radar installations in Eastern Europe without reciprocity from Moscow. He said that Russia’s actions have made that nation “without question, our number one geopolitical foe.”
This prompted a flood of scorn and mockery from a raft of self-assured critics. But by 2014, after Russia had frustrated America’s ambition to contain the Syrian civil war, invaded neighboring Ukraine, and unilaterally annexed a portion of that nation’s territory into Russia proper, nearly all of Romney’s self-respecting critics were forced to concede that he had a point. Read the rest of this entry »
Countering Radical Narratives Requires Understanding the Radicalized
Nimmi Gowrinathan writes: Reports that women have formed their own brigade within the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have confounded experts — and worried them. For many, the idea of women as violent extremists seems paradoxical. After all, why should women want to join a political struggle that so blatantly oppresses them?
“In war zones across the world, women absorb a disproportionate amount of the fallout from conflict, including material deprivation in refugee camps, daily harassment and fear in militarized zones, and a constant vulnerability to rape.”
That question reveals more about the experts than the fighters. Those who ask it assume, first, that women are more peaceful than men by nature; and second, that women who participate in armed rebellion are little more than cannon fodder in a man’s game, fighting foolishly for a movement that will not benefit them. As the women of ISIS prove, both assumptions are false.
“Joining the fight is sometimes the only way to survive.”
To understand the women of ISIS and their motivations, it helps to place them in their historical context, among the legions of women in El Salvador, Eritrea, Nepal, Peru, and Sri Lanka who voluntarily joined violent movements and militias, sometimes even as highly ranked officers. In each of these cases, women joined for the same basic reasons as men. Living in deeply conservative social spaces, they faced constant threats to their ethnic, religious, or political identities — and it was typically those threats, rather than any grievances rooted in gender, that persuaded them to take up arms. Read the rest of this entry »
— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) August 19, 2014
UPDATE: More confirmation coming in.
An American freelance photojournalist missing since being abducted in Syria some 22 months ago was apparently beheaded by an Islamic State militant in a graphic video released Tuesday.
Titled “A Message to America,” the gruesome clip shows a masked militant saw away at the neck of James Wright Foley, a 40-year-old New Hampshire native captured in Binesh, Syria on Thanksgiving Day 2012.
The family, on its “Free James Foley” Facebook page, has yet to confirm his death.
“Please be patient until we all have more information, and keep the Foleys in your thoughts and prayers,” the statement reads.
Foley, dressed in orange and kneeling in a desert, reads what appears to be a coerced statement that alludes to recent American airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq.
We need to remember this image of James Foley too, not only the one of him saying things he did not believe pic.twitter.com/HKFZy7vlgd
— Alex Horton (@AlexHortonTX) August 19, 2014
“I call on my friends, family and loved ones to rise up against my real killers, the U.S. government. For what will happen to me is only a result of their complacency and criminality,” Foley reads as he kneels beside an armed militant, masked and dressed all in black.
[VIDEO] Trash-Talkin’ ISIS Punk Bitch-Slaps U.S. Leadership: ‘Don’t Be Cowards and Attack Us With Drones…Send Your Soldiers’Posted: August 8, 2014
“I say to America, that the Islamic Caliphate has been established, and we will not stop. Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq.”
The jihadist group in control of much of northern Iraq right now is confident it can defeat the United States, and eventually take over the White House, but they don’t want the U.S. using any of its advanced military weaponry.
“We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”
The United States began air strikes, using manned fighter-bombers, against the jihadist group this morning…(read more)