Filed under: Israel, Middle East, National Security, Politics, Terrorism, The United States | Tags: Fighting Terrorism, ISIS, Middle East Aflame
(The Imam Sadiq Mosque in Kuwait City after a suicide
bomber killed at least 25 Shiite worshipers at prayer)
Peter Brooks, senior fellow for national security affairs at the Heritage Foundation wrote today that: We have had nine terrorist plots this year in the United States. So far all of the plots in 2015 have had ties to ISIS off in Iraq and Syria, whether the plotters were direct (recruited by ISIS) or indirect (inspired by ISIS). FBI Director James Comey said in February, that his agency is investigating Islamic State-related cases in all 50 states.
They heavily use social media, using publicly available encryption found on the internet to chat in complete privacy. They can hide their computer IP addresses, and are moving over to the so-called “dark web” where a lot of very bad actors reside. Their technology is pretty good, their propaganda is increasingly capable of reaching and radicalizing those here who would do us harm.
In Britain, Lord Richards of Herstmonceux, the former Chief of the Defense Staff, has warned that Muslim extremism is a “real threat” to the world, and he condemned dithering politicians who are too reluctant to lead the way. He warned that a “hell of a lot of damage” is going to be wreaked by ISIS in coming years, and leaders are failing to plan properly. “I think the problem is that we have not seen that we need to approach the issue of Muslim extremism as we might approach World War Two back in the Thirties.
He said “Right now, in the ranks of the armed forces, and the army in particular, are the most experienced, battle hardened people since the end of the Second World War.
Jihadists like anniversaries, so their three terror attacks took place on the eve of ISIS declaration of a caliphate last June 29. They only took credit for one of the atrocities — a suicide bombing at a Shiite mosque in Kuwait, where 27 people were killed, but all going off at the same time.Ramadan began last week, and an ISIS spokesman called on “mujahadeen everywhere” to make it “a month of disasters for the infidels.”
In Tunisia, a gunman posing as a tourist killed at least 37 people, most European vacationers at a beach resort. In France, a car-bombing attempt at an American-owned chemical plant near Lyon failed to cause major damage, but not before the attacker planted the decapitated head of his boss on the plant’s gate, along with an Islamic flag.
President Obama recently deployed 450 additional trainers to help the Iraqi army fight, but they aren’t getting enough Iraqi volunteers, which in the wake of ISIS drowning captives, removing heads, burning in cages is not really surprising when the Americans have such restrictive Rules of Engagement, and have demonstrated that they are undependable allies. ISIS is a direct threat to the West as well as to the region in general, and it needs to be dealt with that way.
Obama’s view of the Middle East and ISIS isn’t a policy for dealing with this problem. As he explained, he doesn’t have a complete strategy yet. Little late in the game for developing one.
Filed under: History, Middle East, National Security, Terrorism | Tags: ISIS, Modernity, Mosques, Sharia
ISIS has released a new video showing the organization using new methods of killing its prisoners. They seem to be striving for the utmost in brutality, and of course, terrorism is supposed to strike terror in the hearts of its opponents. In the first segment, a group of men wearing orange jumpsuits are led into a desert clearing, and locked in an Opel car. A masked jihadi appears carrying a huge grenade launcher. Fired from close range, the car bursts into flames, the car and its passengers are immolated.
In the second segment,the prisoners are interviewed, where they “confess” to their crimes. The five men are shown locked into an iron cage and slowly lowered into a swimming pool to drown. Underwater cameras capture them thrashing before falling unconscious. ( I hasten to add that I did not see the video, but report from descriptions)
In the third segment, the prisoners are interviewed, then led into a field, where explosive cables are tied around their necks. Seconds later the explosives are detonated. Several of the men are clearly decapitated while other suffer horrific, fatal upper body injuries.
Separately, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Monday that two boys well under the age of 18 were crucified by the Islamic State in the streets of the Syrian city of al-Mayadin for not observing the laws of Ramadan. Observatory founder Rami Abdul Rahman said the boys had been caught eating. The children were charged with the crime of “not fasting on Ramadan.” Their bodies had placards around their necks announcing their crime was committed “with no religious justification.”
Captured women have been offered as sex slaves as prizes for learning the most verses of the Koran. Westerners understandably find this almost impossible to comprehend. Why would anyone want to return to the barbarianism of the sixth century? When the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeinei returned to Iran in 1979, the Peacock throne fell, and the exiled Shah was invited to take up residence in Egypt. The Ayatollah reframed the debate.
The establishment of the state of Israel was a shock to the Muslim world. Then came the 1967 war with Israel. After years of rhetorical attacks on Israel, Nasser demanded the removal of UN peacekeepers in the Sinai and then blockaded the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping.
Israel responded with an overwhelming preemptive attack that destroyed the entire Egyptian air force in two hours. When Jordan, Iraq and Syria joined the war against Israel, their air forces were also wiped out that same afternoon. In the next few days Israel captured all of the Sinai, Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights, while crushing the forces of the frontline Arab states. It was a turning point in the history of the modern Middle East. The speed and decisiveness of the Israeli victory in the Six Day War humiliated many Muslims who had believed then that God favored their cause.They had lost not only their armies and their territories but also faith in their leaders, in their countries, and in themselves. The profound appeal of Islamic fundamentalism in Egypt and elsewhere was born in this shocking debacle. A newly strident voice was heard in the mosques; the voice said they had been defeated by a force far larger than the tiny country of Israel. God had turned against the Muslims. The only way back to Him was to return to the pure religion. The voice answered despair with a simple formulation: Islam is the solution. …
The voice in the mosque said that the Arabs had let go of the one weapon that gave them real power: faith. Restore the fervor and purity of the religion that had made the Arabs great, and God would once again take their side. …
Islamists say the Sharia cannot be improved upon, despite fifteen centuries of social change, because it arises directly from the mind of God. They want to bypass the long tradition of judicial opinion from Muslim scholars and forge a more authentically Islamic legal system that is untainted by Western influence or any improvisations caused by the engagement with modernity.*
*Excerpts from The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
The United States knew that ISIS was planning an offensive strike on Ramadi, the strategic city in Iraq’s Anbar Province. Bloomberg’s Eli Lake reported that the U.S. had significant intelligence about the offensive, even as it was happening. The U.S. watched ISIS fighters, vehicles and heavy equipment gather on the outskirts of Ramadi before the group retook the city in mid May.
Bloomberg quoted Ari Force Lt. General David Deptula (ret,) who planned and executed major operations in Iraq and Afghanistan that restrictive rules of engagement for American pilots was part of the problem.
Pilots flying sorties in Iraq “have to call back and ask, ‘mother may I’ before they can engage,” said the retired general, who was the first deputy chief of staff for the Air Force for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance.
“The current rules of engagement are intentionally designed to restrict the effectiveness of air power to prevent potential collateral damage,” he later added. “That results in ISIS getting the freedom of action so they can commit genocide against civilians. Does this make any sense?”
Genieve David, a spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command, acknowledged that the U.S. employs a “dynamic targeting process” in Iraq and Syria, with a focus on limiting civilian casualties and collateral damage.
According to Lt. Gen. Deptula, the restrictive rules of engagement are benefiting the enemy.
Another major setback in the battle for Ramadi was the Iraqi military abandoning their positions, and not having enough weapons and ammunition. As well, U.S Special Operation forces were not authorized to accompany Iraqi troops in battle.
Toby Harnden, Washington Bureau Chief of the Sunday Times, writes of the Mad Max, post Apocalyptic scenes as a “hulking bulldozer emerged through a swirling sandstorm, with a suicide bomber at the wheel and armored plates welded to its chassis, the vehicle crashed through concrete blast barriers surrounding the Iraqi police headquarters.” Then its explosive load was detonated. Waves of fortified dump trucks and souped-up Humvees followed as ISIS fighters fanned out across Ramadi.
There were estimated to be about 30 vehicle-borne suicide bombs that ripped through Ramadi. About 10 of them were estimated to be the size of the Oklahoma City Bomb which killed 168 Americans twenty years ago.
“Senior US military officers and intelligence officials agree that Obama’s counter-ISIS strategy of limited airstrikes, a handful of special forces raids and the small-scale training of Iraqi forces needs to be overhauled.”
President Obama has apparently given up on the Iraqi military because they ran away. If they won’t stand up and fight, Obama won’t support them. It takes a lot of training and good equipment to stand up to 30 suicide bombers driving dump trucks loaded with explosives and ISIS fighters swarming through the city killing everyone on sight. Obama has had major problems before with restrictive rules of engagement that get American troops killed.
It is believed that Obama’s overriding goal in the Middle East is to secure a nuclear deal with Iran so that he can reopen diplomatic relations with Tehran as a major achievement for his legacy. It is such a denial of basic facts that I can barely grasp his aims, and keep referring to Daniel Pipes’ explanation:
As a man of the Left, Obama sees the United States historically as having exerted a malign influence on the outside world. Greedy corporations, an overly powerful military-industrial complex, a yahoo nationalism, engrained racism, and cultural imperialism combined to render America, on balance, a force for evil.
The Obama Doctrine is simple and universal: Warm relations with adversaries and cool them with friends.
Several assumptions underlie this approach: The U.S. government morally must compensate for its prior errors. Smiling at hostile states will inspire them to reciprocate. Using force creates more problems than it solves.
Sorry, I don’t believe that smiling at Iran will change its aims in any way. When they chant “Death to America,” I believe they not only mean it, but expect to carry it out.
TEHRAN — Iran’s supreme leader, The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Wednesday that he will not allow international inspection of Iran’s military sites or any access to Iranian scientists under any nuclear agreement with world powers. He told military commanders that Iran will resist “coercion and excessive demands” from America and other world powers.
The negotiators from Iran and representatives of the six-nation group —the U.S, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — have launched a new round of talks in Vienna focused on reaching a final deal that halts Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of economic sanctions. “The two sides,” the AP says, “reached a framework agreement in March and hope to work out a final deal by June 30.” It’s just that President Obama’s description of the ‘framework agreement’ and Iranian officials’ description of the “framework agreement” didn’t seem to have much of anything in common.
The White House called the collapse of Ramadi, the largest city in Anbar province in Iraq, a “minor setback” and claimed that we are still succeeding in Iraq.The Pentagon reported that ISIS seized large amounts of American weapons including tanks, artillery pieces and Humvees when the Iraqi troops abandoned Ramadi. ISIS is reported to be now operating in Malaysia.
A Russian spy plane was photographed in British airspace over Lancashire, not far from a NATO monitoring station and a factory that makes military planes. As tensions rise between Moscow and the West, American planes are patrolling the borders between the Latvian countries and Russia.
President Obama spoke to the graduates at the Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut. He said:.
And this brings me to the challenge I want to focus on today — one where our Coast Guardsmen are already on the front lines, and that, perhaps more than any other, will shape your entire careers — and that’s the urgent need to combat and adapt to climate change.
As a nation, we face many challenges, including the grave threat of terrorism. And as Americans, we will always do everything in our power to protect our country. Yet even as we meet threats like terrorism, we cannot, and we must not, ignore a peril that can affect generations. …
Perhaps we need to take a harder look at our intelligence operations. There are too many people telling the president just what he wants to hear. Or perhaps the problem is even more serious.
The saga of Palmyra has not ended. ISIS militants have reportedly captured the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra on Wednesday as Syrian officials evacuated civilians and scrambled to keep priceless antiquities from falling into barbarian hands. Syrian activists said that Syrian soldiers were seen fleeing the area.
Authorities have rushed to remove hundreds of statues to safe locations, Syria’s antiquities chief said. But Palmyra has a museum and large monuments that cannot be moved. The city dates back to the Neolithic, it was first noticed as a caravan stop for travelers crossing the Syrian Desert. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible and in the annals of the Assyrian kings, and eventually the Roman Empire. Given ISIS path of mindless destruction authorities are fearful for the Temple of Ba’al, an ancient theater and its famous colonnade. ISIS counts complete destruction of sites of of historic and religious importance. But there have been 50,000 people there who are being evacuated.
Experts have also warned that militants have smuggled priceless artifacts out of the country for sale on the black market to fund the terrorists’ army. ISIS blew up and bulldozed Nimrud.
Interesting that they revel in the destruction, yet recognize the value of the artifacts on the black market. It’s all right if others possess the evidence of past civilizations, they just don’t want any in their territory.
Filed under: Middle East | Tags: Danger of Nuclear Breakout, Iran, Iraq, ISIS, Negotiations, Putin, Senate, the Surge
This young Senator is going to be President of the United States one day. This episode of Uncommon Knowledge was published on April 8, 2015.
ADDENDUM: President Obama was mightily annoyed by the letter Tom Cotton and 46 other Senate colleagues sent to the Ayatollah Khamenei simply explaining that any agreement reached by the president could be revoked by the next president or modified by Congress. Obama attempted to say such interference was uncalled for, and detrimental to the national good. Today, the Center for Security Policy sent a thank you letter to Senator Cotton and the other 46 senators containing the signatures of more than 150 security experts, including a former United States ambassador, multiple high-ranking military officials and other security experts. The letter read in part:
“Given the chimerical nature of the so-called framework agreement—which is, at the moment, being characterized in wildly different ways by the various parties, raising profound uncertainty about the nature and extent of the commitments Iran is making, their actual value in preventing an Iranian nuclear weapons program, the timing and extent of sanctions relief, etc.—the need for congressional oversight, advice and consent concerning any accord that flows from that agreement can no longer responsibly be denied.“
“It would be a serious affront to the Constitution and to the American people were an agreement of this potentially enormous strategic consequence not to be submitted for such action by the Congress. Grievous insult would be added to injury should the United Nations Security Council instead be asked to approve it.”
Filed under: Iran, Islam, Middle East, Politics | Tags: Barack Obama, Lies and Falsehoods, The Iran Deal
Continuing his tour of friendly sources to boost the alleged “deal” with Iran, in the face of a very skeptical public, President Obama granted an interview to National Public Radio. In doing so, he managed to provide some major reasons why Congress should reject the Iran deal out of hand. Steve Inskeep said asked “Do you believe that Iran’s government is capable of changing its ways?”
My goal, when I came into office, was to make sure that Iran did not get a nuclear weapon and thereby trigger a nuclear arms race in the most volatile part of the world. And prior to me coming into office, we had seen Iran’s program go very quickly and have a whole bunch of centrifuges reduce the timeline in which they could break out and obtain a nuclear weapon if they so chose.
And because of the hard diplomatic work that we did internationally, as well as help from Congress, we were able to impose some really significant sanctions, brought them to the table.
What we are worried about is not a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, but Iran’s religious commitment to the destruction of America and Israel. The Islamic doctrine of taqiyya permits Muslims to deceive non-Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad regularly lied to his enemies. Taqiyya has become second nature to the Shia—the sect that rules Iran.
Obama says Iran could have a nuclear weapon after 12 years. He volunteered that in years 13, 14 and 15, Iran could have advanced centrifuges that enrich uranium fairly rapidly, and at that time the breakout times would have shrunk down almost down to zero. He argues that would be better than the current breakout time of 2-3 months, and the world would know more about the program. I have read 45 days in several places, but our intelligence has been wrong about breakout times in the case of India, Pakistan and North Korea, We are always “surprised.” American Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, one of the Iran negotiators, presided over the deal with North Korea that was to prevent them from becoming a nuclear state. Beside John Kerry, we are represented by Energy Secretary Earnest Moniz, who is a physicist, presumably because he may understand nuclear energy.
Obama admitted that Iran is not going to change, they will not recognize Israel’s right to exist. They will not stop supporting terrorism. There is no way to resolve the differences over sanctions. He believes that if we sign this nuclear deal, we strengthen the hand of the more moderate forces in Iran. Yet Iran has no intention or desire to join the community of nations. They do want to reestablish the Persian empire, and are working on it.
Obama assumes that inspections will be effective and that the threat of slapping the sanctions back on will make sure they are effective, The UN inspectors currently admit that they really don’t know much about what Iran has. They aren’t allowed to really inspect. Sanctions, once removed, will not be slapped back on. That would require a highly unlikely vote from China and Russia.
The Persian people are already banking on economic growth from the lifting of sanctions. France’s Total Oil Company is counting on increased amounts of oil from Iran. German industry sells them all sorts of equipment, as does Moscow. Their economy has been severely weakened, but in the midst of sanctions they have been financing their war operations, and there has been no lessening of their support for Hezbollah or Assad over the last four or five years. Obama has already relaxed the sanctions and returned most of their money.
What it seems to amount to, is that Obama will do anything to avoid military action. He wants the legacy of preventing Iran from immediate acquisition of a bomb, and he’s only in office for another 20 months so he’s willing to kick the problem down the road for the next president.
In his previous interview with Thomas Friedman, Obama said that his “absolute commitment” that if Israel were “attacked by any state, that we would stand by them” and that “should be sufficient” for Israel to take advantage of this “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” and accept his Iran nuclear deal as a good step forward. Again, Obama seems to assume that after a nuclear attack there would be something left of Israel for him to “stand by,” or something of America to do the standing. There is a disconnect here that Obama simply doesn’t seem to understand. His casual assumptions do not acknowledge the Shiia view of Armageddon bringing the return of the Mahdi and the eternal bliss that follows. He does not acknowledge Iran’s determination that their efforts to get a nuclear weapon trump any efforts of UN inspectors to attempt to inspect. He assumes that Iranian promises mean something.
This is not a matter of nuclear deterrence, or “mutually assured destruction” or a “nuclear arms race.” It’s a different time, different goals, and deeply different religions, one of which wants an end to America and an end to Israel.