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The PJ Tatler

ISIS Militants Publicly Execute 20 Men In Ancient Roman Theater in Palmyra

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

palmyra theater2

 

After ISIS seized the ancient town of Palmyra in central Syria, it was widely feared that the terrorists would destroy the Roman-era ruins. Now the Guardian is reporting that the terrorists have no plans to destroy the city’s archaeological treasures.

Islamic State has released new footage depicting unscathed ruins in the Syrian city of Palmyra, and activists say the group has promised to spare much of the ancient site and only destroy statues deemed polytheistic – raising hopes that some of the most magnificent surviving ruins of antiquity may remain intact.

Unfortunately, according to multiple reports, today, they are instead putting the ruins to use. 

Islamic State militants have executed 20 men at the ancient Roman Theater in the historic Syrian city of Palmyra, a group monitoring the conflict said Wednesday.

The men were shot after accusations of collaborating with the Syrian government, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

According to the AP,  the militants actually gathered people into the theater to watch the gruesome proceedings.

Reuters reported that more than 400 soldiers and civilians -  including women and children – have been killed by ISIS since they took control of the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.

“The terrorists have killed more than 400 people including women and children and mutilated their bodies, under the pretext that they cooperated with the government and did not follow orders,” Syria’s state news agency said, citing residents inside the city.

It added that dozens of those killed were state employees, including the head of the nursing department at the hospital and all her family members.

Islamic State supporters have posted videos on the Internet they say show fighters going room to room in government buildings, searching for government troops and pulling down pictures of President Bashar al-Assad and his father.

Activists have said on social media that hundreds of bodies, believed to be government loyalists, were in the streets.

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On a brighter note, Voice of America reports that Kurdish YPG forces are continuing to make gains in Northern Syria where they have taken control of the strategic town of al-Mabrouka and its surrounding areas.

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Houston Man Charged With Supporting ISIS, Helping Friend Travel To Syria To Join Terror Group

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Following up on my report earlier today on the 40 terror-related arrests so far this year — nearly double the number for 2013 and 2014 combined — the FBI arrested yesterday another Houston-area man for conspiring to support ISIS.

Asher Abid Khan, a 20-year-old from Spring, Texas, planned to travel to Syria through Turkey to join ISIS, but was lured back home by his family who lied and told him that his mother was dying.

According to the FBI press release:

The criminal complaint alleges Khan and a friend devised a plan to travel to Turkey and on to Syria for the purpose of joining and waging jihad on behalf of ISIL. Khan had allegedly asked a Turkish-based foreign terrorist fighter facilitator that “I wana join ISIS can you help?” He also told someone else that “I wana die as a Shaheed [martyr],” according to the allegations.

Khan’s friend allegedly made it to Syria and ISIL with the assistance of Khan and the foreign terrorist fighter facilitator. Khan had been living in Australia with a relative and made it to Istanbul, Turkey, where he was to meet up with his friend in their quest to join ISIL, according to the complaint. However, Khan’s family sent him false information regarding his mother’s health and he was deceived into returning home to Texas.

Khan apparently made it onto the FBI’s radar when his social media messages turned up in another investigation.

Heavy reports on his friend who did make it to Syria and joined with ISIS:

According to the press release, a friend of Khan’s who he conspired with was able to successfully travel to Syria and joined ISIS. He was not named in the release and was identified in the criminal complaint only as “S.R.G.”

The FBI alleges that Khan put his friend in contact with the Turkish-based ISIS facilitator so that the friend could join the terror group in Syria.

The complaint states that the friend goes by the name Abdullah Ali, and is a Mexican convert to Islam.

He is also from Texas, the FBI says. Ali’s Facebook page states that he is a Houston resident.

The FBI says his Facebook page included photos of S.R.G dressed in camouflage and holding what appeared to be an AK-47-style rifle. He told Khan he had gone through an ISIS boot camp, shot the rifle and “even fought a ‘(l)il bit,’” the FBI said in the complaint.

As I noted in my previous article today, the Islamic terror threat in the American homeland is metastasizing rapidly, due mainly to the recruiting and propaganda efforts of the Islamic State and the sheer number of thousands of foreign fighters pouring into the conflict in Syria.

But with many countries now actively preventing would-be jihadists from traveling to Turkey to link up with the ISIS and other terror groups in Syria, many are now looking for alternative fields of jihad. Reuters reports today on video they obtained of foreign fighters now having joined up with Boko Haram in Nigeria.

And, of course, would-be jihadists frustrated in their attempts to travel abroad are also looking to conduct terror attacks at home with the encouragement of ISIS and other terror groups.

Here’s the full complaint in Khan’s case:

Khan Criminal Complaint by Julian Hattem

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Paul: ‘ISIS Exists Because of the Hawks in Our Party’

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said today that ISIS essentially exists because of his colleagues.

Paul was responding on MSNBC to comments by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that ISIS exists because of the party’s noninterventionists who didn’t want to intervene in Syria early on.

“I would say it’s exactly the opposite. ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS. These hawks also wanted to bomb Assad, which would have made ISIS’ job even easier,” he said. “They created these people. ISIS is all over Libya because these same hawks in my party loved — they loved Hillary Clinton’s war in — in Libya. They just wanted more of it.”

“But Libya’s a failed state, and it’s a disaster. Iraq really is a failed state or a vassal state now of Iran. So everything that they have talked about in foreign policy, they’ve been wrong about for 20 years, and yet they have, somehow, the gall to keep saying and pointing fingers otherwise.”

Paul also predicted that Jeb Bush would have problems because “the Bush legacy on war will destroy any hope we have of getting independent vote.”

“I’m asking some difficult questions of Republicans. Do you think the invasion of Iraq made it more stable or us more safe? We now have ISIS to contend with. Do you think the invasion of Libya made us more safe?” he said. “The interesting thing is people want to paint me as out of step with the Republican Party, but when you get outside the Beltway and go to America, the rest of America, I think is more in line with what I’m saying, because I think we do have to defend ourselves. I’m all for doing something to stop ISIS. I was all for going after 9/11 to go after bin Laden.”

“You know, I think the ultimate answer is getting Arab coalitions and boots on the ground that will stop them. You need Turks fighting. Turks need to have their army up on the board, and they need to fight… Also, Assad does really need to leave. When Assad leaves, there needs to be a government that we could support. Right now there are 1,500 groups, many of them bad people, including ISIS that hawks in our party have been arming.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal issued a statement calling Paul’s comments “a perfect example of why Senator Paul is unsuited to be commander in chief.”

“We have men and women in the military who are in the field trying to fight ISIS right now, and Senator Paul is taking the weakest, most liberal Democrat position,” Jindal said. “It’s one thing for Senator Paul to take an outlandish position as a Senator at Washington cocktail parties, but being commander in chief is an entirely different job. We should all be clear that evil and radical Islam are at fault for the rise of ISIS, and people like President Obama and Hillary Clinton exacerbate it.”

The governor, who is contemplating a presidential run, said the senator’s “illogical argument clouds a situation that should provide pure moral clarity.”

“Islam has a problem. ISIS is its current manifestation. And the next president’s job is to have the discipline and strength to wipe ISIS off the face of the earth,” he added. “It has become impossible to imagine a President Paul defeating radical Islam and it’s time for the rest of us to say it.”

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While D.C. Downplays Risk, U.S. Sees Shocking Rise in Terror Arrests This Year

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

The arrest of two southern California men last week who were planning to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State brings the number of U.S.-based individuals involved in international terror-related cases this year to 40. (UPDATE: with the arrest of Houston-area Asher Abid Khan late Monday for supporting ISIS, the tally is now 41.)

This number highlights the metastasizing Islamic terror threat in the American homeland. At the current pace, by the end of June — halfway through 2015 — the number of cases will exceed the number from the past two years combined (48).

The Islamic State, as well as al-Qaeda affiliates and other Islamic terror groups, have repeatedly called for supporters to conduct attacks inside the American homeland:

Recent evidence gives cause for concern. As I noted here at PJ Media, FBI Director Comey downplayed the number of Americans who had traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS and other terror groups before the midterm elections. He stated on 60 Minutes that “roughly a dozen” were fighting in Syria. But in February, senior officials corrected that number. They admitted that 180 had traveled to Syria. They also admitted that 40 had returned to the U.S. and posed a potential threat. FBI Director Comey then said they were investigating ISIS suspects in all 50 states.

Underscoring the failure to alert the public regarding the threat, concerned citizens have not been able to find a list of the 40 individuals arrested this year. Until now, a public list simply didn’t exist.

Here they are: the 40 U.S.-based individuals charged in Islamic terror-related cases in 2015.

(This list will undoubtedly grow. I will update with new information as it becomes available.)

May 22: Muhanad Badawi, 24, and Nader Elhuzayel, 24, both of Anaheim, California, were arrested on Thursday for planning to travel to join ISIS. Elhuzayel was arrested at Los Angeles International airport trying to board a flight that included a stopover in Istanbul, presumably where he would have left the flight and tried to cross the Turkey/Syria border. Both were active on social media praising ISIS. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

May 14: Bilal Abood, 37, of Mesquite, Texas, an Iraqi-born naturalized U.S. citizen who migrated to the United States in 2009, was arrested for lying to the FBI about his travel to Syria, where he planned to fight against the Assad regime. In March 2013 he was prevented from boarding a flight at Dallas Fort Worth International airport and was questioned by the FBI. The following month he transited to Mexico and flew to Turkey, returning in September 2013, when he was questioned again by the FBI. A July 2014 search of his computer found a pledge of allegiance to Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

May 3: Elton Simpson, 30, and Nadir Soofi, 37, both of Phoenix, Arizona, were killed in a gunfight with law enforcement outside a Garland, Texas community center where a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest was being held. As I noted here at PJ Media, Simpson had been communicating with known ISIS operatives on Twitter, and had been known to the FBI since 2006 due to his association with convicted terror operative Hassan Abu Jihaad. Soofi grew up in Pakistan and moved to the U.S. as a teenager. The pair attended a Phoenix mosque with previous terror connections. (PJ Media live blog.)

April 23: Mohamad Saeed Kodaimati, 24, of San Diego, California, was arrested on charges of lying to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey, Customs and Border Protection, and the FBI about his travels to Syria. As I reported here at PJ Media, Kodaimati was caught in a series of lies related to his work on behalf of a sharia court operated by Jabhat al-Nusra — al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria and a U.S. designated terrorist organization — and also about his role in mediating between Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS in northern Syria. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 19: Six men from the Twin Cities area of Minnesota were arrested in Minneapolis and San Diego for conspiracy and material support for terrorism for their plans to travel to join ISIS. Mohamed Abdihamid Farah, 21, Adnan Abdihamid Farah, 19, Abdurahman Yasin Daud, 21, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, 19, Hanad Mustafe Musse, 19, and Guled Ali Omar, 20, had been planning to travel to Syria for more than 10 months, and continued their plan even after several of their associates had been arrested. On May 19, federal prosecutors filed a superseding indictment with additional charges, including a previously arrested associate. It also stated that one of the men, Abdirahman Yasin Daud, had threatened to kill FBI agents if they tried to stop him. As I reported here at PJ Media, the federal judge in the case has said that he is considering releasing some or all of the men to a halfway house to participate in a local “deradicalization” program. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 24: Related to the previous case, an associate of the defendants, Mahamed Abukar Said, 19, was arrested for threatening to kill the U.S. attorney general, warning of a “massacre” if the Feds didn’t release his friends, and intimidating an informant in the case on Twitter.

April 10: John T. Booker (aka Muhammad Abdullah Hassan), 20, of Topeka, Kansas was arrested in a plot to detonate a car bomb targeting soldiers at the U.S. Army base at Fort Riley. As I reported here at PJ Media, in April 2014 the FBI publicly dismissed Booker as a terror threat after Fox News published an alert by military authorities warning that Booker intended to conduct an attack on U.S. military personnel. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 10: Related to the Booker case, Alexander E. Blair, 28, also of Topeka, Kansas, was charged with failing to report a felony for not informing authorities of Booker’s plans when he had advance knowledge of the plot. The FBI alleged that Blair, who shared Booker’s Islamic extremist views, had loaned Booker money to rent a storage unit to store bomb components. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 9: Joshua Van Haften, 34, of Madison, Wisconsin, was charged with trying to provide material support to ISIS by traveling to Syria to join the terror group. He was arrested by Turkish immigration officials in October, and arrested upon his return at O’Hare Airport in Chicago. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 7: Dilkhayot Kasimov, 26, of Brooklyn, New York, was charged for assisting others in traveling overseas to join the Islamic State. (DOJ press release. Complaint.)

April 4: Miguel Moran Diaz (aka Azizi al-Hariri), 46, of Miami, Florida was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm. According to the federal complaint, Diaz was an ISIS supporter who described himself as a “lone wolf” who intended to kill people and engrave the bullet shell casings so that law enforcement would “know there was a sniper in town.” (Complaint.)

April 3: Keonna Thomas (aka Fatayat Al Khilafah), 30, of Philadephia, Pennsylvania was arrested for planning to travel to Syria and martyr herself for ISIS. Thomas had applied for a passport and purchased an electronic visa for Turkey. Prosecutors claimed that she had been voicing support for ISIS on social media since at least August 2013. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

April 2: Muhanad Mahmoud Al Farekh, 29, originally from Texas, was returned from Pakistan and charged with recruiting others to kill U.S. military personnel. Leaving for Pakistan from Canada in 2007 and serving in a senior position within al-Qaeda, the Obama administration had discussed using a drone to kill Al-Farekh. (DOJ press release. Complaint.)

April 2: Noelle Velentzas, 28, and Asia Siddiqui, 31, both of Queens, New York, were arrested for plotting to detonate a weapon of mass destruction, and even discussed targeting a police funeral. When they were arrested, authorities found bomb-building materials including propane gas tanks, soldering tools, pipes, a pressure cooker, and fertilizer. The pair had previously been roommates, and Siddiqui had been in regular contact with al-Qaeda officials in Yemen, most notably with U.S. al-Qaeda propagandist Samir Khan. In 2009, one of her poems was published in al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

March 26: Hasan Rasheed Edmonds, 22, of Aurora, Illinois — a U.S. Army National Guard specialist –was arrested at Chicago’s Midway airport on a trip with the eventual destination of Syria to join ISIS. Also arrested was his cousin, Jonas “Yunus” Edmonds, 29, also of Aurora, Illinois, who was charged with planning a terror attack on an Illinois National Guard facility with AK-47s and grenades. He intended to use Hasan’s uniform to enter the facility after his departure. (DOJ press release. Complaint.)

March 18: Tairod Pugh, 47, of Neptune, New Jersey, was charged with material support for a terrorist organization following his attempt to travel to Syria to join ISIS. In January, he flew to Turkey from Egypt, but was sent back by Turkish authorities. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Pugh had expressed on his Facebook page and elsewhere his dislike for America and his allegiance to the jihadi cause. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 27: An unnamed 17-year-old from Woodbridge, Virginia was arrested and charged with assisting others trying to join ISIS. As the suspect is a juvenile, the indictment is sealed. However, federal prosecutors have said they intend to charge him as an adult. The teen reportedly wrote for several websites, and published articles in defense of slavery in Islam.

February 24: Three men living in Brooklyn, New York, Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, and Abror Habibov, 30, were arrested for planning to travel to Syria to join ISIS. Juraboev and Habibov are from Uzbekistan, and Saidakhmetov is from Kazakhistan. Two other individuals – one in Brooklyn, the other in Norfolk, Virginia – were arrested on immigration charges related to the case. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 11: An unnamed 16-year-old inspired by ISIS was arrested in York, South Carolina on gun charges. Prosecutors claimed that the teen conspired with another unnamed North Carolina resident to rob a Raleigh gun store, and then use the weapons to shoot up a U.S. military base. In April, he was sentenced to serve five years in juvenile prison until he is 21. Because of the suspect’s age and the lack of a state terrorism statute, he could only be charged with weapons-related offenses. His accomplice in North Carolina has not been named or apparently charged. Local officials claimed they kept the case quiet for “public safety” concerns.

February 6: Ramiz Zijad Hodzic, 40, his wife, Sedina Unkic Hodzic, 35, and Armin Harcevic, 37, all of St. Louis, Missouri, Nihad Rosic, 26, of Utica, N.Y., Mediha Medy Salkicevic, 34, of Schiller Park, Ill., and Jasminka Ramic, 42, of Rockford, Illinois — all Bosnian immigrants — were indicted following a two-year investigation for funneling money, guns, and military hardware to ISIS operatives in Syria. Their support included aiding Abdullah Ramo Pazara, also of St. Louis, who traveled to Syria in 2013 just months after becoming a U.S. citizen, and became a top deputy to ISIS commander Omar al-Shishani and was reportedly killed last year. Rosic was arrested on his way to Syria. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 5: Hamza Ahmed, 19, of Minneapolis, Minnesota was charged with lying to the FBI after being stopped from boarding a flight in New York intending to travel to Syria to join ISIS. Ahmed was part of a group of four men who traveled by bus to New York in November. He denied knowing the men he traveled with in an interview with FBI agents. Ahmed had been active on Twitter supporting ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra, which kept him in jail following his arrest. Earlier this month, he was charged in a superseding indictment in the case of six other Minneapolis men who were planning to join ISIS. He and another suspect are charged with fraud for using federal student loans to finance their trip. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

February 2: Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 26, of Columbus, Ohio, was arrested on state terror charges for traveling to Syria and fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate. In April, Mohamud was indicted on federal charges for plotting terror attacks in the U.S. targeting military and police officials. His brother was reported killed fighting with Jabhat al-Nusra in June 2014. Mohamud reportedly had been conducting weapons training with others after his return from Syria at a local Ohio gun range. As I noted here at PJ Media, he applied for his passport to travel to Syria just a week after becoming a U.S. citizen and days after being caught lying to the FBI. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

January 14: Christopher Lee Cornell (aka  Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah), 20, of Green Township, Ohio, was arrested leaving a Cincinnati-area gun store, where he had purchased two semi-automatic rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition. Federal prosecutors allege that Cornell planned to set off pipe bombs around the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. and then to shoot fleeing government workers. During a jailhouse interview with a local TV station, Cornell said that he would have also attacked the Israeli embassy and put a gun to President Obama’s head. Earlier this month he was also charged with material support for ISIS. (FBI press release. Complaint.)

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As the Heritage Foundation notes, since 9/11 there have been 68 Islamic domestic terror plots; 57 involved homegrown operatives.

The attempted terror attack this month in Garland, Texas was only averted due to luck and the work of local law enforcement authorities who took the potential threat seriously.

With the number of homegrown Islamic terror operatives increasing rapidly and the calls by Islamic terror groups overseas for attacks on the American homeland coming more regularly, it seems to be only a matter of time before we see another successful attack on American soil in the manner of the Boston bombing, the Fort Hood massacre, and the Little Rock Army recruiting center killing. Or perhaps a larger scale attack, as in Mumbai in November 2008.

When that future attack happens, it will come at a time when the credibility of our counter-terrorism and national security apparatus in speaking honestly about the nature and scope of the threat is at its lowest.

If the jihadist terror attacks in the West over the past year are any indicator, the next domestic terror attack will most likely be by what I have termed a “known wolf” – someone who is already known to law enforcement authorities.

It’s only a question of who, where, and when, and of how many Americans will die.

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White House Graduates Sacking of Ramadi from ‘Setback’ to ‘Not Unsubstantial Setback’

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The White House was calling the sack of Ramadi last week a “setback” in the war against ISIS, and got roundly criticized by some lawmakers on Capitol Hill for downplaying the ISIS victory.

Today, it was still a setback — just with a few qualifiers.

“I think there are a variety of contributors to what happened in Ramadi,” press secretary Josh Earnest said when asked about Defense Secretary Ashton Carter’s contention that the Iraqi army showed no “will to fight” and essentially ran from Ramadi. “The first is that there — the Iraqi security forces, who were fighting in Ramadi, and have been fighting in Ramadi for a year and a half, didn’t have the benefit of the training of the United States and our coalition partners. There were clearly, as the Iraqis have indicated, some military command and planning problems that occurred. And we saw a pretty effective tactic used by ISIL. And all of that led to a not unsubstantial setback in Ramadi.”

The lack of “will to fight,” Earnest said, “certainly has been a problem that we’ve see in the past.”

“That’s what allowed ISIL to make such significant gains last summer. And so what the United States and our coalition has been focused on is making sure that we can enhance the capacity of the Iraqi security forces and supporting the Iraqi central government as they try to unite that country and build a multisectarian security force to face the threat that they — that is posed by ISIL,” he said.

The U.S. is trying to shut down the flow of foreign fighters and funding to Iraq, but taking the fight to ISIS within Iraq, Earnest added, is “not the something that the United States is willing to do for the Iraqi people.”

“And the Iraqi central government, Prime Minister Abadi, has made crystal clear on a number of occasions he doesn’t want anybody to step in and do this for them,” he said. “He’s prepared to unite that country, to bring that country together, and to mobilize a multi-sectarian security force to face down the security threat in his country. And that’s what the United States and our coalition partners stand ready to do.”

Still, Earnest insisted that the administration is “pleased with the progress that’s been made” against ISIS.

“There are going to be days of progress and there are going to be periods of setback… the sophistication and capability of some of these ISIL forces is not particularly surprising,” he said of the onetime JV team. “We’ve long acknowledged how dangerous they are. And that said, we also know that there are tools and techniques that can be used to counter and defeat them.”

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ISIS Likes to Talk About Sex, Baby, as a Terror Tactic

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Zainab Bangura headed a United Nations unit of sex crime investigators that recently completed a five year study of “the world’s war zones for evidence of forced marriages, slavery and mass rape.” Guess which area not only topped, but set new “standards” for gross crimes against women? The region infiltrated by ISIS. Bangura remarks:

During my recent five-country Middle East visit, I met officials, frontline workers and survivors. My focus was IS’s war on women, including from Yazidi, Christian and Turkmen Shia minorities.

After attacking a village, IS splits women from men and executes boys and men aged 14 and over. The women and mothers are separated; girls are stripped naked, tested for virginity and examined for breast size and prettiness. The youngest, and those considered the prettiest virgins fetch higher prices and are sent to Raqqa, the IS stronghold.

There is a hierarchy: sheikhs get first choice, then emirs, then fighters. They often take three or four girls each and keep them for a month or so, until they grow tired of a girl, when she goes back to market. At slave auctions, buyers haggle fiercely, driving down prices by disparaging girls as flat-chested or unattractive.

We heard about one girl who was traded 22 times, and another, who had escaped, told us that the sheikh who had captured her wrote his name on the back of her hand to show that she was his ‘property’.

For ISIS, “sexual violence” and the “brutalization of women and girls” isn’t just an ideological focus. It is also a “‘tactic of terrorism’ to advance key strategic priorities, such as recruitment, fundraising, to enforce discipline and order – through the punishment of dissenters or family members – and to advance their radical ideology.” 

And what will happen with all this research? It is set to be compiled into a UN report.

Sorry, ladies.

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‘No Will to Fight’ Iraqis Faced Multiple Oklahoma City-Sized Bombs in Ramadi Fall

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

A former military planner in Iraq said that Baghdad has a right to react indignantly to Washington’s suggestions that they ran away from Ramadi in the face of the ISIS assault.

“What apparently happened was that the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told CNN in an interview aired Sunday. “They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force, and yet they failed to fight, they withdrew from the site, and that says to me, and I think to most of us, that we have an issue with the will of the Iraqis to fight ISIL and defend themselves.”

Lt. Col. Douglas Ollivant (Ret.), who served on the National Security Council under presidents George W. Bush and Obama, told PBS “there are clearly problems with the Iraqi army; they need to be addressed, but the counterpoint is also true.”

“The Iraqi army was in Ramadi for a year-and-a-half and did fight off the Islamic State there for a year-and-a-half, and, if we’re to believe the accounts, really were at the receiving end of a well-planned, well-executed attack by the Islamic State that involved a number of very, very large explosive car bombs, some of which were said to be the size of those in the Oklahoma City bombing, literally kind of leveling blocks or at least large buildings, an assault that any military force would have a hard time with,” Ollivant said.

“So there is some truth to what the secretary is saying, but at the same time, the indignation on the part of the Iraqis is very valid. Some of these soldiers have fought very well.”

Ollivant acknowledged that the Iraqi troops have received support from the United States in terms of training, but rumors persist that soldiers have not been paid by the Iraqi government.

He opined that the Iraqis can take back Ramadi in four to eight weeks, similar to Tikrit.

“The Iraqi forces that were in Ramadi didn’t have the anti-tank missiles that they needed to stop these vehicle-borne, these explosive car bombs from attacking their positions. It wouldn’t hurt to have more unarmed surveillance drones. If we were to push those, then the Iranians wouldn’t have to provide them. That’s a way for us to kind of use a chess move against the Iranian influence in Iraq, which we do need to be concerned about,” Ollivant said.

“So there are a series of things we can do, but essentially it’s more of what we’re doing, more training, more equipping, more intelligence support.”

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Homeland Security Congressman: ‘Rand Paul Is Consumed by the NSA’

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) accused Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) of being “consumed” by the NSA and wrongly painting the agency as villainous.

Before the Senate left for the Memorial Day recess, Paul blocked a motion to extend the Patriot Act without debate or amendments. This followed his nearly 11-hour speech on the Senate floor against NSA metadata collection.

“This is a debate that should be had, and the reason I am objecting is because I’ve made a very simple request, to have amendments, to have them voted on, and to have a guarantee that they’re voted on,” Paul said late Friday. “I started out the day with a request for six amendments; I’m willing to compromise to having two amendments at a simple majority vote. I think that’s a very reasonable position, and if we can’t have that and we can’t have an extensive debate over something we’ve had four years to prepare for, I will object, and I do. I object.”

His office said the senator will “pick up where he left off in the battle to defeat this illegal spying program” when Congress returns May 31.

King, the former chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, railed on CNN against “people like Rand Paul, who, again, somehow make the NSA the villain when it’s al-Qaeda, it’s ISIS, it’s this whole array of Islamist terrorists we’re against, and somehow Rand Paul is consumed by the NSA.”

“We can’t allow it to expire, because the majority of both houses want the program to continue in one form or another. I would support it being reauthorized as it is. I realize that’s virtually impossible at this stage. Either there should be a brief extension, or they should adopt a bill that the House passed,” he said.

That’s the USA FREEDOM Act, which reins in some of the NSA powers.

“Again, I didn’t fully support that bill, but I ended up voting for it, because that was the only way to keep the program going,” King said. “The NSA is essential. I’d rather have it continue as-is, but at least under having it continue under the amended form, or the revised form that came out of the House. But it’s irresponsible.”

The congressman stressed that he’s “never met a more patriotic group of people than the men and women of the NSA, and I also believe that constitutional protections are in place right now.”

“The House bill would increase those protections, and there’s no excuse for it to be allowed to lapse,” he said. “If we can’t come to an agreement by June 1, because that’s the date, then at least have a 30- or 60-day extension so we can get this resolved. We can’t be basically, you know, fiddling while Rome is burning. That’s what’s going to happen here.”

Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard charged in an ABC appearance that Paul “has now decided he wants to be a liberal Democrat” and “undercut necessary intelligence collection, weaken the police officers and our intelligence services.”

“And Rand Paul thinks that’s going to sell in a Republican primary,” he said. “I think he’s deeply misguided about that. But I guess he sincerely believes it. And he’s welcome to make the case.”

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The 33 Radical Islamic Problems Obama Chooses to Ignore

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

In need of a little light reading on Islamic terror at home and abroad? Check out the ZOA’s litany of incidents of radical Islamic terror at home and abroad that President Barack Obama has openly chosen to ignore in favor of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and several rounds of golf. Highlights include:

Why has President Obama ordered all official military and U.S. government documents to delete and never use terms such as “Islamic terrorism,” “jihad,” “Islamist,” or “radical Islam”?

Why did President Obama officially call the attack at Ft. Hood by psychiatrist Nidal Hasan – resulting in the murder of 13 U.S. soldiers and injuries to 31 others – “workplace violence” instead of an act of Islamic terrorism, even though Hasan’s business card stated “Soldier of Allah” and he screamed “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is Great) during the massacre?  Hasan also stated he wanted to become a member of ISIS.

Why did President Obama release numerous Islamic terrorists from Guantanamo prison despite their designation by experts as “high risk” to commit repeated terrorist attacks?

Why have members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic terrorist group,  and their front groups been invited to numerous meetings at the White House, the State Department, and the National Security Council? The Obama White House even helped clear their path to avoid standard airport inspections as they landed in the United States.

Why did President Obama talk about the “legitimate claims of terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas,” both of whom are responsible for numerous deaths of Americans and Israelis?  He made this statement during his 2008 campaign for president.  (May 16, 2008, New York Times.)

Can you think of any to add to the list? Log them into the comments section below.

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Defense Sec at Arlington: ‘Troops of Such Caliber’ Have ‘Great Leader’ in Obama

Monday, May 25th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

At today’s Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day observance, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said “troops of such caliber demand great leaders, and there’s no doubt they have one in our commander in chief.”

“I see that every day,” continued Carter, who assumed his post in February. “He knows well the challenges we must face, the obligations we must meet, and the opportunities we must seize in order to keep our nation safe and to make a better world for our children. And I see that he cares deeply about the safety, welfare, and dignity of our men and women in uniform and their families.”

“For all that, and so much more, I am tremendously proud to serve as his secretary of Defense,” he added.

Carter named Fallujah among the battles that left “a legacy that has made our military the finest fighting force the world has ever known.”

A decade ago in the first and second battles of Fallujah, 134 coalition soldiers lost their lives. The city fell to ISIS in February 2014, and nearby Ramadi fell this month.

“On a day set aside for Americans to honor and remember those who perished while serving our country, our obligation and our opportunity are one and the same. Our obligation is to give voice to the fallen, honor them, and share their stories of sacrifice and heroism,” Carter said. “Our opportunity is to use this day to inspire new generations to understand the freedom they have been given, to grasp how and why it is theirs, and to dedicate themselves to pass it on to generations unborn.”

President Obama laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns this morning before the Arlington ceremony attended by about 5,000, including Gold Star families.

“For many of us, this Memorial Day is especially meaningful; it is the first since our war in Afghanistan came to an end. Today is the first Memorial Day in 14 years that the United States is not engaged in a major ground war,” Obama said. “So on this day, we honor the sacrifice of the thousands of American servicemembers — men and women — who gave their lives since 9/11, including more than 2,200 American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan.”

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said on the Senate floor Friday that “we should say a special prayer for the parents of young Americans who fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan and the current wars today.”

“We had a tragedy with the fall of Fallujah, we had a tragedy with the fall of Ramadi, we need those parents to know their sons and daughters did not die in vain,” Isakson said.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), an Iraq war veteran, told CNN on Sunday that Obama is wrong when he says the U.S. is not losing the war against ISIS.

“Clearly, ISIS has gained momentum, in particular over the last week, as we have seen the ground that they have gained both in Iraq and Syria,” Gabbard said. “…You have this solution. You have got the Kurds, the Kurdish Peshmerga, and you have Sunni tribesmen who are literally begging — I met with a Sunni tribal leader last week in Washington — they are begging for arms, heavy weapons, ammunition, to be able to fight against ISIS to protect their families and their tribal lands and their territories, but still to this point, both the U.S. and the central Iraqi government is failing to provide that, and, therefore, ISIS continues to be able to grow.”

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), also an Iraq veteran, said “you are not losing and you are not winning because we are not really engaged in this fight.”

“In essence, what the president did was say, look, we need to destroy ISIS, until that takes boots on the ground, in which case the existence of boots on the ground is worse than the existence of ISIS,” Kinzinger said.

“This is not just a situation where, if the house catches on fire, it will burn down and then we just look at a burned-down house. This is now a house on fire in a densely packed neighborhood, where this is going to spread to other places.”

The White House said Vice President Joe Biden called Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi today “to reaffirm U.S. support for the Iraqi government’s fight against ISIL.”

“The vice president recognized the enormous sacrifice and bravery of Iraqi forces over the past eighteen months in Ramadi and elsewhere,” the administration readout said. “The vice president welcomed the Council of Ministers’ unanimous decision on May 19th to mobilize additional troops, honor those who have fallen, and prepare for counter-attack operations. The vice president pledged full U.S. support in these and other Iraqi efforts to liberate territory from ISIL, including the expedited provision of U.S. training and equipment to address the threat posed by ISIL’s use of truck bombs.

 

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BREAKING: DC Bomb Squad Detonates Suspicious Device Found Inside Car Near U.S. Capitol

Sunday, May 24th, 2015 - by Patrick Poole

Just getting news reports that a bomb squad has detonated a device found in a suspicious car near the U.S. Capitol Building.

Breaking 911 reports:

DC Officials, including the bomb squad, have apparently blown up a device from a ‘suspicious’ vehicle parked near Capitol and a Memorial Day Concert.

The item looks like a pressure cooker and propane tanks have been removed from the car.

Thousands of people eager to get into the National Memorial Day Concert were delayed from entering.

Police are still searching the vehicle.

Jay Korff of the local ABC affiliate is tweeting details:

OK then:

UPDATE: The plot thickens…

UPDATE2: The Washington Times identifies the arrested man as Israel Shimlis.

Fox News reports:

The incident began at around 5 p.m. local time, when Capitol police officers on patrol noticed a vehicle they deemed “suspicious” on a street that crosses the National Mall west of the Capitol between Constitution and Independence Avenues. Further investigation revealed that the vehicle contained a pressure cooker and detected an odor of gasoline.

A bomb squad was called in and streets were temporarily closed off. The pressure cooker was detonated at approximately 7:45 p.m. The investigation was closed approximately 35 minutes later with nothing further found.

Senior security officials told Fox News that investigators initially believed that the pressure cooker “might be the real deal.” Pressure cookers have been used in several recent terror attacks, mostly notably the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three people and injured 260 others.

Sources told Fox News that the pressure cooker may have been part of a propane tank used in a food truck.

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Kurdish Fighters Recapture Dozens of Syrian Towns From ISIS (Video)

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 - by Debra Heine

While Obama’s 60-nation coalition dithers,  Syrian Kurdish fighters of the YPG (People’s Protection Units) are making gains against the Islamic State (aka Daesh). In a two-week long offensive, they routed the jihadis, retaking dozens of Christian villages and towns.

Via the Voice of America, Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer was on the frontlines in Tal Shamiran to talk with with the YPG fighters. Jordan Matson, an American volunteer who has been in Northeastern Syria fighting with the YPG since September of 2014, said, “we’re here cleaning out the last Assyrian villages. There was some minimal resistance, but we had enough forces to push through, today.”

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The 28-year-old Matson is a U.S. Army vet who volunteered to join the Kurds in the fight against ISIS when he saw all of the gains that had been made in Iraq crumble away.

“I decided that if my government wasn’t going to do anything to help this country, especially Kurdish people who stood by us for 10 years and helped us out while we were in this country, then I was going to do something,” Matson said last fall.

He has vowed that he will not return home to Wisconsin “until the fight is finished and [the Islamic State] is crippled.”

Jordan Matson is among “dozens” of foreign fighters from Europe and America who have joined the Kurdish militia in the fight against ISIS. Unfortunately, some 20,000 foreigners have joined the Islamic State according to the State Department.

In an appearance on Hannity earlier this week, Matson complained about the low-watt U.S. bombing campaign. “They’re dragging this out – we could have ended this a long time ago,” he said.

He said that the way things are going, now, the fight will continue for a long time because the U.S. has limited itself to just doing bomb strikes, but with no one on the ground to help mark the targets.

“There’s so much more we could be doing to make these bombs more accurate,” he said.

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Obama’s Big Brass Clanging Tablets on Display at D.C. Synagogue

Friday, May 22nd, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: This Friday, hours before Shabbat is set to begin and one day before the holiday of Shavuot starts, President Obama walked into a D.C. synagogue and proceeded to tell Jews that their religious texts and traditions compel them to give away Israeli land for the creation of a Palestinian state.

That’s some big, clanging brass you-know-whats on display right there. It’s one thing to use a prayer breakfast to rip Christians a new one. Would he have the guts to walk into a church and do the same thing, hours before a holy day, one day before a holiday no less? Are we Jews that nice? That pathetic? Do we give the impression of being such pushovers that we turn our pulpits over to world leaders who crap on our identity and manipulate our covenant with God to suit their own personal political agendas?

There is no doubt that Obama created Jewish American Heritage Month and participated in today’s keynote event simply to smooth over his relationship with the Jewish American community in the wake of his aggressive negotiations with Iran and the Gulf states. We are no longer the fiddlers. We are merely the fiddles being played by a political performer who has no problem proclaiming that he knows us better than we know ourselves.

On Shavuot we will celebrate the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai. It is, in effect, the anniversary of our entering into our covenant with God. This is the very holiday that marks the making of us as a people. A key element of that covenant is the land on which the nation of Israel is to be established. And today, 1,000 attendees at Adas Israel anxiously clapped away that promise in favor of the pervading moral relativism of the White House.

They aren’t bad Jews because they vote liberal. They aren’t bad Jews because they vote Obama. They are bad Jews, as we all are, for ignoring, belittling, dismissing, and forgetting the covenant we made with God. The covenant that crafted us into who we are and showed us what we could be. Come on, people. We’re better than that.

 

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After Fall of Ramadi, U.S. Vets of Bloody Battles Express Anger and Frustration

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Debra Heine

The first kick in the gut came in January of 2014 — when the “JV team” took Fallujah. Since then, they’ve been falling like dominoes — one Iraqi city after another. Remember that almost 4,500 U.S. troops paid the ultimate sacrifice during the eight-year war.

Now that ISIS has planted its black and white flag in the center of Ramadi, veterans of the bloody battles that were fought to stabilize the city are expressing anger and frustration at the way the current administration has allowed the country to unravel.

The Stars and Stripes interviewed some of those disillusioned vets.

“It’s pretty disturbing,” said Thomas Daly, 32, who served in Ramadi as a Marine first lieutenant from 2006 to 2007.

Daly, the author of the Iraq memoir “Rage Company,” still holds out hope that the Iraqi military and tribesmen can take back Ramadi with American help. But he fears that if things in don’t turn around, those who fought in Iraq will feel like their Vietnam veteran brethren, many of whom say their friends died for nothing.

“It degrades the sacrifice of those who were killed and wounded,” Daly said.

In an echo of the last war in Iraq, the White House and Pentagon have put out relentlessly upbeat battlefield assessments of their efforts to roll back the Islamic State, even as militants take territory and Iraqi Army units crumble. On Friday, a Marine general insisted the Islamic State is “losing,” and on Saturday, it was confirmed that Ramadi, just 70 miles from Baghdad, had fallen. The news got worse this week with reports that Iraqi soldiers fled the city rather than defend it.

Ramadi, along with Fallujah — another city infamous for violence — lie in Anbar province, where more than 1,300 U.S. troops lost their lives during the Iraq War.

Some veterans expressed horror at the possible fate of the Iraqis who joined the so-called Awakening, when Sunni tribesman, some who once worked with insurgents, joined the Americans in a reversal that turned the tide in the war.

“In reality, there’s good people there who are dying because we abandoned them,” said Joshua Revak, a former Army specialist who was wounded by a mortar in Ramadi in 2006 that killed his friend and roommate, Sgt. Terry Lisk.

Daly, who worked with Awakening members and has kept in touch with some since leaving Iraq, said they painted a grim picture of events as the Islamic State moved in. One leader he worked with was kidnapped and burned alive, and the last tribesman he was in touch with went silent two weeks ago — he still doesn’t know his fate.

“It’s just depressing, man — I mean, how can you let that happen?” Daly said.

Many troops took to social media, and some penned opinion columns to lament the loss.

“Thinking and hearing about it. … I have tears in my eyes, our brothers and sisters we lost, for what,” one person posted on the Facebook page of Veterans of Ramadi, Iraq. “Yes we did our best and we did one hell of a job but it feels like only those who were there care and no one else does, not our government, our neighbors, media and in part the world.”

 Another posted, “It sickens and saddens me to know that all of the brave men and women who lost their lives in the defense of the city did it all in vain. Just so ISIS can take it away.”

The troops’ anger and resentment were further stoked by National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who spoke Tuesday night at a  German Embassy photography exhibit of soldiers wounded in combat.

Via Foreign Policy:

“Now that we have ended two wars responsibly, and brought home hundreds of American troops, we salute this new generation of veterans,” Rice told the audience of about 150 people who were seated between the hauntingly beautiful mural-sized portraits of severely disabled veterans.

Such a description of the U.S. military departure from Iraq in 2011 — when American forces left after failing to negotiate a security agreement to stay — raised eyebrows across the crowd that included active duty and former troops and officers, among them at least two generals and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen. “Responsibly, right?” one retired Army officer said sarcastically to FP’s Lara Jakes afterward.

Susan Rice, of course,  is known for”raising eyebrows” with dubious statements.  She famously appeared on five Sunday talk shows on September 16, 2012, to proclaim that the Benghazi debacle was the result of a “spontaneous demonstration” — not a premeditated terrorist attack. We now know that by September 16, the Obama administration knew that the attack was planned in advance.  Last year, on another Sunday talk show, Rice claimed that Army deserter Bowe Bergdahl “served with honor and distinction.”

Now she’s peddling the fiction that the abandoning countries to terrorists is a responsible way to “end” a war.

It really is “pretty disturbing.”

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Trump Slams Geller, Muhammad Cartoon Contest: ‘With All the Problems We Have, Why Taunt?’

Thursday, May 21st, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Donald Trump said a Bloomberg poll that shows him viewed unfavorably by 68 percent of global investors, analysts and traders has no bearing on his presidential chances.

“I think that’s because nobody thinks I’m running. They don’t think I’m running. It’s really a funny thing. As you know, I came in, like, beat almost everybody in the New Hampshire Bloomberg poll, the same thing. Yet they don’t think I’m running. So we’ll see what happens. I mean, in June, I will announce one way or the other, and I think you may be surprised. Even you may be surprised. I’ll be announcing some time in June,” Trump told Fox last night.

In this month’s Bloomberg New Hampshire poll, Trump came in with 8 percent behind Rand Paul and Scott Walker tied at 12 percent, and Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio tied at 11 percent.

Trump called Bush “a reluctant warrior; I think he doesn’t want to be running.”

“I don’t know why he’s running. He looks unhappy. He looks like he doesn’t want to be there,” he added.

He also weighed in on the Muhammad cartoons controversy and shooting in Garland, Texas.

“I think Pam Geller is a terrible messenger. I think she’s terrible. We have enough problems without taunting and driving everybody crazy,” Trump said.

“Now, you look at Muhammad and you look at some of the positions they have Muhammad and some people are going to get extremely upset about it. Now, I’m not the only one and I’m not the only conservative Republican that feels this way. They’re lucky to be alive. Why with all the problems we have, why taunt?”

He called the fall of Ramadi and the Obama administration’s ISIS strategy “a total disaster.”

“We’re losing it so badly. They’re cutting off the heads of every Christian that they can find and other people,” Trump said. “You’re going to have to be stronger. You’re going to have to go in there much stronger. I’ll tell you one thing I’d do different, so they caught the accountant, they call him, a few days ago. Instead of talking about it, they should be silent. They’re bragging, oh, we got him. First, he was a mid-level person. And it was such publicity, we got him, we got him, one person. They should have been quiet and gone after others that weren’t suspected. You know, it’s very interesting I’m a big fan of General Douglas Macarthur, I’m a big fan of General George Patton. They don’t talk. They do.”

U.S. officials have said Abu Sayyaf, killed in a Special Forces raid in Syria, was equivalent to ISIS’ chief financial officer.

“I want to make the country great again,” Trump said. “This country is a hell-hole. We are going down fast and I’m a conservative but I have a big heart. I will take care of people, but a lot of people want me to run, and we’ll see what happens.”

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State Dept. ‘Deeply Concerned’ as Ancient City Palmyra Falls to ISIS

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

There was  good news and bad news on the ISIS battlefront today. I’ll give you the bad news first.

The Islamic State seized total control of the  ancient oasis city of Palmyra in central Syria Wednesday,  threatening to destroy  ”its its grand complex of 2,000-year-old colonnades and tombs, one of the world’s most magnificent remnants of antiquity.”

This comes just five days after the group seized the Iraqi city of Ramadi.

But for the fighters on the ground, the city of 50,000 people is significantbecause it sits among gas fields and astride a network of roads across the country’s central desert. Palmyra’s vast unexcavated antiquities could also provide significant revenue through illegal trafficking.

Control of Palmyra gives the Islamic State command of roads leading from its strongholds in eastern Syria to Damascus and the other major cities of the populated west, as well as new links to western Iraq, the other half of its self-declared caliphate.

***

People in Palmyra, a relatively remote city, its population swollen with tens of thousands of displaced Syrians, were left on their own, literally squeezed between government forces and the Islamic State.

Residents said that by nightfall, the Islamic State had seized most of the city. Soldiers and the police could be seen fleeing, they said, prompting one cafe owner to exclaim over the phone, “Treason! It’s treason.”

The good news is the State Department is deeply concerned about all of this and will be closely watching the destruction of the city.

When a reporter asked her if something could be done to save the city, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf said, “Well, we are deeply concerned about reports of ISIL’s attacks on the Syrian city, which holds the ruins of Palmyra.”

She acknowledged that “the destruction and looting of these sites has been sort of something we’ve seen in other places” and it’s “incredibly harmful,” but as to the question of what the U.S. could do, Harf only had this to offer:

“We’ll keep watching here, we’ll keep seeing what’s happening on the ground.”

Harf added: “This is the reason we’re trying to push back ISIL out of Iraq and to try and help the Syrian opposition push back ISIL in Syria.”

“This is something we’re following; we’re concerned about this. Obviously, it has been caught in the crossfire for some time and we’ll speak up about it,” said Harf. “Beyond that, I’m not sure what more can be done.”

I guess Palmyra doesn’t rate a hashtag campaign.

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Top Intel Dem: ‘No Sugarcoating’ Gravity of Ramadi Seizure by ISIS

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said there can be “no sugarcoating” the fall of Ramadi despite administration assurances that the ISIS victory isn’t as serious as it appears.

“It’s a serious setback… It means, I think, we really have to redouble our efforts to get the Baghdad government to incorporate the Sunnis more fully in the military, to help better arm the Sunni tribes and give them more encouragement to rise up and challenge ISIS,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told CNN.

“I don’t think the answer is more Iranian-backed Shia militias. And I don’t think the answer is American boots on the ground, but rather addressing some of the sectarian problems that have yet to peel the Sunni tribes away from ISIS.”

The Iran-backed militias have moved in on the area between Ramadi and Baghdad but ISIS has been pressing its offensive east instead of keeping its forces concentrated in the city.

“But I think we also have to look at how ISIS has exploited this, because it wasn’t just Saddam who kept a lid on this. It’s also the fact that ISIS purposely went out and tried to stir up these sectarian instincts and frictions and divisions by blowing up Shia mosques, by antagonizing and killing the Shia,” Schiff said.

Ramadi’s fall is “harmful to the cause, and it’s something we’re going have to overcome,” he said. “And it’s part of the seesaw nature of this conflict. I think, as Ambassador Rice points out, this is going to be a long slog.”

“When you look at it overall, we have shrunk the amount of territory in Iraq that ISIS controls. That’s positive. But yet, at the same point, we’re way far away from any kind of a retaking of Mosul. And now we have got to retake Ramadi. And the challenges are extraordinary. But I don’t think that means we can back away from a commitment to the Iraqi government and helping to arm these Sunni tribes to combat the scourge.”

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) told MSNBC today “there’s no way to say this is a success.”

“And the fact that we’re in the 10th month of a war that the U.S. started August 8th and there hasn’t been any meaningful debate in the House and, save for one committee vote in the Senate in December, there’s not been any meaningful debate about Congress trying to work with the executive to scope U.S. involvement and define the mission, so we can support the troops there risking their lives,” Kaine added. “What this last weekend showed is that, with urgency now, Congress should be addressing this.”

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ISIS Seizes One Third of the Ancient Syrian City of Palmyra (Video)

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

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Islamic State fighters seized part of the historic Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday after heavy clashes with the Syrian military and allied combatants.

They are now, the New York Times reports, “within blocks of one of the world’s most magnificent ancient sites.”

As they have swept across Syria and Iraq, the extremists have destroyed or damaged numerous ancient sites and major cultural artifacts, condemning them as idolatry, even as they pillage and sell off more portable items to finance their activities. The militants’ approach to the ruins of ancient Palmyra, with their grand 2,000-year-old colonnades and tombs, has raised fears both locally and internationally that they too may be destroyed.

Modern Palmyra, also known as Tadmur, is a relatively remote desert outpost of 50,000 people, but it sits astride the main road from the Islamic State strongholds in the east to the more populous west of Syria. It is also near gas fields that the militant group has repeatedly attacked, and last week managed to partially seize. Syrian government forces held the militants out of the city for several days, but withdrew from some checkpoints on Wednesday, residents said.

It is feared that the jihadists will destroy the ancient ruins  if they take control of the city.  

“IS fighters seized the northern parts of the city, which amount to a third of Palmyra,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“Regime forces fled from these neighborhoods,” he added.

On Friday, as they advanced toward the city, the ISIS terrorists executed at least 23 civilians –  nine of them children.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine children were among the 23 shot dead by ISIS militants near the Unesco world heritage site.

“The Islamic State group executed by gunfire 23 civilians, including nine children, in the village of Amiriyeh, north of Tadmor,” Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Palmyra, which means City of Palms, is known in Arabic as Tadmor, or City of Dates.

Abdel Rahman said family members of government employees were among those murdered.

CNN reported that about “100 to 150 ISIS fighters were in the area Wednesday and were as close as 700 meters” from the ancient site.

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Some of the artifacts have been relocated for safekeeping according to the NYT:

Khaled al-Homsi, an activist who opposes both the government and the Islamic State and closely monitors the Palmyra ruins, said that government workers removed artifacts from the museum near the site on Wednesday, and that other objects were taken away earlier for safekeeping. Syria’s chief antiquities official told Reuters that hundreds of statues had been relocated.

He said that in recent days, strikes by Syrian government warplanes had come dangerously close to the site’s medieval citadel. Islamic State fighters were moving farther into the modern city on Wednesday afternoon, he said, but had not yet reached the ancient site.

The UNESCO world heritage site of Palmyra is considered “an archaeological gem,” CNN’s Nima Elbagir reported. The “so-called Venice of the sands” has been threatened by the advance of ISIS.

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White House Spox Josh Earnest: Obama’s Strategy Against ISIS Has ‘Overall’ Been a Success (Video)

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

At his daily press briefing Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told skeptical reporters that despite some “setbacks,” the U.S.-led coalition to defeat ISIS has been a success overall.

ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl had questioned Earnest about the administration’s assessment of their overall track record in Iraq.

“You said, ‘we’ve seen periods of progress an success.’ Would you say that overall it’s been a success?” Karl asked.

Josh Earnest answered, “yeah – overall yes. Doesn’t mean there haven’t been areas of setbacks as we saw in Ramadi….”

But Karl stopped him right there: “Exporting terror to Libya? Taking over the capital of Iraq’s largest province? This is overall a success?”

Earnest took this as a cue to talk up Obama’s vaunted 60 nation coalition.

“What we’ve also seen is – we’ve seen a coalition of 60 nations within the region and around the world which has joined the United States in this fight. We’ve seen a new prime minister take office in Iraq and unite that country….”

Video via the Washington Free Beacon:

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It’s even worse than we thought if the White House press secretary can’t cite a single success story in  Iraq other than Obama’s fake coalition and (arguably) an improvement in the political situation.

Last night on Fox News, Bill O’Reilly suggested that Obama authorized the raid on ISIS oil financier Abu Sayyaf in Syria over the weekend to mitigate the coalition’s failure to stop ISIS.

Bill O’Reilly asked his guests, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (ret) and Col. David Hunt (Ret.) Monday night,  if they’ve heard the same rumor he’d heard that “the Obama administration knew that Ramadi was going to fall, knew it was an embarrassment, and then okayed this mission (as Col Hunt mentioned there were more than one hundred other requests that were not okayed – to take the sting out of the Ramadi situation.”

Peters said, “I’ve not heard that direct link, but I have heard the administration is doing everything it can to do damage control on the fall of Ramadi.”

Obama has tasked White House Press Sec. Josh Earnest, Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley, and White House spokesman Eric Schultz with damage control duty — and one after another, they’re looking like even sadder versions of Baghdad Bob.

 

 

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Huge ISIS Convoy Parades Out in the Open in West Anbar Province in Iraq, Providing Target-Rich Environment for Coalition

Monday, May 18th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

According to a Twitter account that explores  ”the domestic and regional challenges facing Iraq’s security,” a massive convoy of ISIS fighters paraded out in the open desert in Western Anbar on Monday, providing a target rich environment for the U.S.-led coalition. But where was the coalition? 

That is what you call a perfect target for some serious air power — B-52s or warthogs doing area saturation bombing — but it looks it was another missed opportunity for the coalition.

@IraqiSecurity later tweeted that the coalition destroyed 12 vehicles near Habbaniyah, E. of Ramadi — which is on the Eastern side of Anbar.

#Iraq; Reports that coalition airstrikes destroyed targeted a Da’ish convoy trying to enter Habbaniyah, E. of Ramadi. 12 vehicles destroyed.

— حيدر سومري (@IraqiSecurity) May 19, 2015

A coalition spokesman said Monday afternoon that the U.S.-led coalition  ”has conducted 19 air strikes in the vicinity of the Iraqi city of Ramadi over the past 72 hours.”

The strikes targeted Islamic State fighting positions, armoured and technical vehicles, and buildings they control.

Obama allegedly has a coalition of 60 nations fighting ISIS with us and they only managed 19 airstrikes in a three-day period.

During the Gulf War’s “Shock and Awe” campaign, the U.S. rained down 300 to 400 cruise missiles a day on Iraq for two consecutive days. At the beginning of the Iraq War, the U.S. unleashed 800 cruise missiles in two days.

After ISIS took over Ramadi, the Obama coalition of the willing could only squeak out a paltry 6.33 missiles a day at some buildings and vehicles. And they completely missed the huge convoy parading out in the open desert on the other side of the province.

The reason for this failure was explored by the Daily Beast last October.

Within the U.S. Air Force, there’s mounting frustration that the air campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is moving far more slowly than expected. Instead of a fast-moving operation with hundreds of sorties flown in a single day—the kind favored by many in the air service—American warplanes are hitting small numbers of targets after a painstaking and cumbersome process.

The single biggest problem, current and former Air Force officers say, is the so-called kill-chain of properly identifying and making sure the right target is being attacked. At the moment, that process is very complicated and painfully slow.

“The kill-chain is very convoluted,” one combat-experienced Air Force A-10 Warthog pilot told The Daily Beast. “Nobody really has the control in the tactical environment.”

A major reason why: the lack of U.S. ground forces to direct American air power against ISIS positions.

These problems don’t seem to have improved at all since last fall.

As the Islamic State takes over more territory and advances toward Baghdad, I’m afraid we’ll continue seeing  more of this weak and ineffective air campaign.

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As Ramadi Falls to ISIS, POTUS Goes Golfing, Gets New Twitter Account

Monday, May 18th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

As ISIS fighters were storming Ramadi, seizing U.S. military equipment, including missile launchers and tanks – enough to  “take 3 more Mosuls and about 10 Ramadis,” according to one ISIS supporter – the president of the United States was enjoying some “me-time” on the Andrews Air Force Base golf course.

During the Iraq War, the United States paid a terrible price to secure Anbar province from terrorists.  Between April of 2004 and September of 2007, 1,335 Americans and nearly 9,000 Iraqis died in the battle for Fallujah and Ramadi. But by 2008, the battle had been won — and liberated Iraqi citizens could again walk the streets without fear.

Now Ramadi and Fallujah are back in the hands of terrorists.

But never mind that, the big news today is that POTUS has a new Twitter account, you guys!

NEAT!

Liz Cheney had a question for the president yesterday:

Since Obama got his new Twitter account today, I went ahead and retweeted Cheney’s question to @POTUS.

I’m not really interested in Obama’s answer because I already know that it will be about 5,000 words long, won’t answer the question, and would put me to sleep. I just want to hear someone from the MSM ask him the question.

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Kerry: Don’t Worry About Fall of Ramadi, ‘Daesh Has Been Driven Back’

Monday, May 18th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson
isisiraqramadi

One of the photos released by ISIS of vehicles abandoned or seized from Iraqi security forces in Ramadi

Secretary of State John Kerry said today not to worry, we’ll probably get Ramadi back from ISIS.

ISIS took the city 80 miles east of Baghdad on Sunday despite a campaign of coalition airstrikes.

Kerry said at a joint press conference with South Korea’s foreign minister today that the administration has “always said from day one that the campaign against Daesh is a long one.”

“It’s going to take a long time. We’ve always said that. And particularly in Anbar, where you don’t yet have the presence of the Iraqi Security Forces in the full numbers necessary to take the fight to Daesh everywhere yet — I underscore yet — there are targets of opportunity like or somewhere else where Daesh has the ability to inflict great damage,” he said. “Notice what they’ve done. They’ve destroyed. They’ve sent in huge numbers of vehicle-borne IEDs, big trucks, massive amounts of explosion, and they’ve destroyed the place. That’s hardly a future.”

ISIS reportedly seized an untold amount of U.S. military equipment when it overran the Iraqi 8th Army Brigade in Ramadi.

“And I am convinced that as the forces are redeployed and as the days flow in the weeks ahead, that’s going to change, because overall in Iraq, Daesh has been driven back,” Kerry claimed. “As much as 30 to 30-plus percent of the area they once controlled they no longer control.”

As government struggle to keep with up ISIS’ domination of the social media sphere, Kerry added “their communications have been reduced, their funding and financial mechanisms have been reduced, and their movements by and large, and most certainly where there are air patrols and other capacities, have been reduced.”

“But that’s not everywhere,” he then admitted. “And so it is possible to have the kind of attack we’ve seen in , but I am absolutely confident in the days ahead that will be reversed. Large numbers of Daesh were killed in the last few days and will be in the next days, because that seems to be the only thing they understand. There is no negotiation. There is no proposal whatsoever to educate a child or build a school or a hospital or do something positive. And I think the people of Iraq and the people of the region understand that, which is why every single country in the region, bar none, is opposed to Daesh and is engaged in fighting them.”

Kerry added that he’s “confident about the longer road.”

“But yes, there will be moments like yesterday in Ramadi and there will be some difficult challenges ahead,” he added. “Part of the challenge is also dealing with Anbar and the tribes, which need more resources, more training, more initial cover from the Iraq Security Forces. And that will be, I am sure, the subject of much conversation over the course of the next few days.”

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CAIR Asks Administration to Levy Terrorism Charges Against Man Who Plotted to Destroy Islamberg

Monday, May 18th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

The Council on American-Islamic Relations wants terrorism charges levied against a former Tennessee congressional candidate after his arrest for allegedly planning a violent attack on a Muslim community.

Robert Doggart, 63, agreed to plead guilty to one count of interstate communication of threats after his April 10 arrest. According to federal court documents, the FBI intercepted calls detailing a plan that included burning down a school, a mosque and a cafeteria in a Muslim enclave in the Catskills.

That enclave, Islamberg, is a 70-acre compound of The Muslims of America, Inc.

“In a call intercepted on March 17 pursuant to the wiretap, Doggart told a female, ‘When we meet in this state, the people we seek will know who we are. We will be cruel to them. And we will burn down their buildings (and) if anyone attempts to, uh, harm us in any way, our stand gunner will take them down from 350 yards away. The standoff gunner would be me,’” the complaint stated.

“We’re gonna be carrying an M4 with 500 rounds of ammunition, light armor piercing. A pistol with three extra magazines, and a machete. And if it gets down to the machete, we will cut them to shreds.” According to feds, Doggart added, “I actually think we can get in and out of there without getting caught. There’s only four policemen in town. The fire department is a volunteer department, so it’ll take them 35 minutes to get there while that building will be burned down already. And we’ll be long gone by then.”

Doggart ran as an independent last fall for the seat of Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.). He got about 9,000 votes.

CAIR said it is calling upon the Obama administration to levy terrorism charges against Doggart.

“If a Muslim had planned to carry out such a religiously-motivated deadly attack, he would certainly have been labeled a terrorist and charged accordingly,” CAIR communications director Ibrahim Hooper said in a statement. “We ask the Obama administration to rescind the plea agreement, which – as it stands – could see this individual free in the community.”

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Evangelicals to Bring Christian College Students to Israel

Monday, May 18th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

Christian? In college? Want to go to Israel for $500? Haaretz reports:

Conservative Jewish funders and Christian donors of Hobby Lobby fame have joined forces to launch a Christian Birthright trip, modeled after the successful program that has taken thousands of Jewish young adults to Israel for the past 16 years.

Covenant Journey, a subsidized evangelical 11-day trip to Israel that was officially announced May 8, will bring 250 students to the Holy Land by the end of the summer. It aims to bring thousands more in the upcoming years.

Just like the Taglit-Birthright Israel program it is modeled after, Covenant Journey seeks to strengthen American students’ love for Israel. But instead of having them mingle with young Jewish soldiers, participants walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ and visit Christian holy sites. According to the program’s founder, the results from a recently launched pilot tour were encouraging. Participants in the trip were transformed into enthusiastic pro-Israel advocacy messengers.

…The Philos Project, a pro-Israel group with a stated mission of promoting “positive Christian engagement in the Middle East,” offered its backing early on. The group’s board includes Richard Lang, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary; Mark Tooley, president of the Institute for Religion and Democracy, which is a conservative religious think tank, and Republican Jewish activist Dan Senor, who served as spokesman for the Coalition Provisional Authority, in Iraq, during the administration of George W. Bush. The group’s main funder is Paul Singer, a Jewish hedge fund billionaire who is also one of the single largest donors to Republican politics.

Politically it’s a smart move. With anti-Semitism on the rise on college campuses and Obama stacking the decks against the Democrats when it comes to the pro-Israel vote, subsidized Israel trips are yet another great way to solidify bonds with Israel’s Christian supporters who vote in America. Targeting the millennial generation is more than a wise idea. These young adults are the ones who have been the most exposed to an anti-Israel, anti-Zionist agenda in the history of public education. What’s more, whether it is in the form of BDS, Christ at the Checkpoint, the Soros-backed Telos Group, or Palestinian Liberation Theology, the Christian community is far from immune to anti-Zionist influences.

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Ramadi Falls, More U.S. Weapons Seized: See the Gains ISIS Made in Just Two Days

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

ramadi051515

Via Islamic World News, this was Ramadi on Friday. The red represents Iraqi forces, the dark gray ISIS, and the magenta areas, including bridges, were contested.

On Thursday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey was asked about Ramadi’s imminent fall. “The city itself is — it’s not symbolic in any way. It’s not been declared, you know, part of the caliphate, on the one hand, or central to the future of Iraq. But we want to get it back. I mean, the issue here is not — is not brick and mortar. It’s about defeating ISIL. So, as I said, this — I — you know, I would much rather that Ramadi not fall, but it won’t be the end of the campaign should it fall. We got to get it back. And that’s tragic for the people, as have — as we’ve seen along the way,” Dempsey told reporters at the Pentagon.

In a Friday teleconference, Brig. Gen. Thomas D. Weidley (USMC), chief of staff for Operation Inherent Resolve, said the coalition has conducted 420 airstrikes total in the Fallujah-Ramadi area, including 165 in support of Iraqi Security Forces in Ramadi just over the past month, “which have destroyed operational resources and facilities such as Daesh-controlled buildings, fighting positions, armored and technical vehicles.”

“After a period of relative stability in the tactical situation, Daesh executed a complex attack on Iraqi Security Forces today. These forces were able to repel most of these attacks, but some gains were made by Daesh in previously contested areas,” Weidley said. “At this point, areas of Ramadi remain contested as Daesh terrorists attempt to consolidate and defend some of their recent temporary gains in the east and south of the city. Iraqi Security Forces, as well as federal and local police, continue to control most of the key facilities, infrastructure and lines of communication in the area. Ramadi is a major population center, the provincial capital of Iraq’s largest province, and a location where Iraqi Security Forces, police and local tribes have been working together for nearly a year to defend.”

Today, two days after the commander’s statements, Ramadi, 80 miles west of Baghdad, fell.

Here’s the updated map via Islamic World News:

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 4.50.25 PM

The red area bearing the Iraqi flag, home of the 8th Army Brigade, was stormed by ISIS fighters today. Within the compound they reportedly captured more U.S. military equipment, including missile launchers and tanks.

As one ISIS supporter tweeted, they found enough arms inside the base to “take 3 more Mosuls and about 10 Ramadis.” ISIS members also tweeted rough video of celebrations in Mosul.

On Friday, Weidley also dismissed ISIS gains as “episodic temporary successes” and maintained “Daesh does remain on the defensive.”

“These typically don’t materialize into long-term gains. We’ve seen similar attacks in Ramadi over the last several months of which the ISF has been able to repel. And we see this one being similar to those, where the ISF will eventually take back the terrain that’s been lost at this point,” he said.

A tribal leader who had fled to Baghdad told the New York Times today that “men, women, kids and fighters’ bodies are scattered on the ground” in Ramadi, and “all security forces and tribal leaders have either retreated or been killed in battle. It is a big loss.”

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Obama to Arab World: Negotiations With Iran Are Useless

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

In the wake of this past week’s summit with Arab States at Camp David, President Obama granted his first-ever interview to an Arabic language newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, a pan-Arab daily headquartered in London that publishes in 14 locations worldwide. In his attempt to pander to his Arab audience, Obama reveals the inefficacy of negotiations with Iran:

…President Obama concurred that “the countries in the region are right to be deeply concerned about Iran’s activities, especially its support for violent proxies inside the borders of other nations.”

…He explains his reasoning for extending an invitation to the leaders of the GCC, saying it is part of an effort to “further strengthen our close partnerships, including our security cooperation, and to discuss how we can meet common challenges together. That includes working to resolve the conflicts across the Middle East that have taken so many innocent lives and caused so much suffering for the people of the region.”

…”When it comes to Iran’s future, I cannot predict Iran’s internal dynamics. Within Iran, there are leaders and groups that for decades have defined themselves in opposition to both the United States and our regional partners. I’m not counting on any nuclear deal to change that.”

In other words, what is the point of negotiating with Iran? Especially in light of the fact that America’s Arab allies in the region reject the idea of negotiations to the point of forming a United Arab Army? Given that the conclusion of the appeasement summit was a statement assuring US financial and military backing in order to defend these nations, it would appear that Obama is negotiating the next Arab (or worse, Arab-Israeli) war in the Middle East.

So much for “peace in our time”.

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Did the U.S. Just Agree to Support Arab Forces in a War Against Israel?

Sunday, May 17th, 2015 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

On Thursday, the White House released the rather long-winded “U.S.- Gulf Cooperation Council Camp David Joint Statement” as an appeasement to our Arab allies in the region in the wake of negotiations with Iran. Mainstream outlets reported the statement using the following language:

President Barack Obama has vowed to back Gulf allies against any “external attack,” seeking to reassure them of Washington’s commitment to their security amid Arab anxiety over US-led efforts to reach a nuclear deal with Iran.

Obama, hosting the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council for a rare summit at the Camp David presidential retreat, pledged that the US would cooperate with them to address what he called Iran’s “destabilizing activities in the region.”

While the American press largely ignored the entire event, the Washington Post did declare the summit to have an “upbeat ending,” with David Ignatius concluding:

For once, in the theater of the Middle East, the Arabs have opted to be the good guys, compared to an unyielding Israeli government. And Obama has responded with the sentiment conveyed by the Arabic expression, “Ahlan wa Sahlan.” You are welcome.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, of Israel’s Independent Media Review Analysis, begs to differ. Publishing the entire text of the statement, Lerner notes the following language [emphasis mine]:

In the event of such aggression or the threat of such aggression, the United States stands ready to work with our GCC partners to determineurgently what action may be appropriate, using the means at our collective disposal, including the potential use of military force, for the defense of our GCC partners.

As with Operation Decisive Storm, GCC states will consult with the United States when planning to take military action beyond GCC borders, in particular when U.S. assistance is requested for such action.

…The United States and GCC member states strongly affirmed the necessity of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of a just,
lasting, comprehensive peace agreement that results in an independent and contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel.

Lerner then says what American and Arab media sources dare not:

 So the US doesn’t exactly commit to using force - just discussing the possibility.

There is a CALL FOR ISRAEL TO BE SPLIT IN TWO so that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are “contiguous Palestinian state”.

Also in the call to Israel and the Palestinians “urgent need for the parties to demonstrate—through policies and actions—genuine advancement of a two-state solution” we have missing any explicit call for the Palestinians to HONOR THEIR EXISTING COMMITMENTS. What commitments? Well, for starters, The thousands of rockets in the Gaza Strip are in complete and total violation of the agreements signed already! So are the Fatah armed militias in the West Bank!]

The reality of the language of this latest agreement is simple: It paves the way for a US-backed military war against Israel in order to create a Palestinian state. Whether or not that language will ever be realized will hopefully not be a story for another day.

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U.S. Special Forces Kill ISIS Commander in Syria (Video)

Saturday, May 16th, 2015 - by Debra Heine

A key ISIS commander and an estimated dozen ISIS fighters were killed by United States Army commandos in Syria on Friday. No Americans were killed or wounded during the raid.

The commander, Abu Sayyaf, oversaw the Islamic State’s illicit oil and financial operations, was involved with the group’s military operations, and had apparently enslaved a young Yazidi woman who was rescued by the U.S. forces.

Via the AP:

In a rare ground attack deep into Syria, U.S. Army commandos killed a man described as the Islamic State’s head of oil operations, captured his wife and rescued a woman whom American officials said was enslaved.

A team of Delta Force commandos slipped across the border from Iraq under cover of darkness Saturday aboard Black Hawk helicopters and V-22 Osprey aircraft, according to a U.S. defense official knowledgeable about details of the raid. The official was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The Americans intended to capture a militant identified by U.S. officials as Abu Sayyaf. When they arrived at his location, a multi-story building, they met stiff resistance, the U.S. official said, and a firefight ensued, resulting in bullet-hole damage to the U.S. aircraft.

Abu Sayyaf was killed, along with an estimated dozen IS fighters, U.S. officials said. No American was killed or wounded.

The raid is said to have involved hand-to-hand combat, with the cowardly jihadists using women and children as human shields. None of the women and children were injured because the U.S. Delta team managed to separate the women and children from Sayyaf and killed the terror leader (and about a dozen jihadists) when he resisted.

“It was a real firefight — a no kidding old school firefight,” a senior defense official told Fox News.

Ancient Assyrian texts and other priceless artifacts were recovered as well as what the defense official called a “treasure trove” of intelligence materials, such as cell phones, laptops and documents.

YouTube Preview Image

Now if we could just multiply this operation by about 1000, we could maybe start getting somewhere in the fight against ISIS.

Vocativ reporters  have been watching ISIS-supporting  social media across Syria in the wake of the strike for reactions to the raid:

“If they took Abu Sayyaf, we will take Obama,” one ISIS supporter posted in the hours after the raid, which took place near the eastern Syrian city of al-Amr.

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Arab Media: ISIS Has Stolen Passports from Westerners for Easy Infiltration

Saturday, May 16th, 2015 - by Michael van der Galien

Ah. That’s just great: ISIS terrorists don’t have to “sneak” into the West, they’re able to move around freely. The reason? They’ve stolen passports and other ID-documents from average Westerners and are using them as travel documents.

When will President Obama take the threat these radical-Islamic butchers pose seriously and destroy them? If nothing is done, it’s only a matter of time before these genocidal maniacs commit a massive terrorist attack in the West. And by massive I mean a second 9/11.

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Obama Grilled on His Rwanda, Says He Didn’t Want to Violate International Law

Friday, May 15th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

President Obama got slammed on his Syria inaction — with an Al Arabiya interviewer asking if it will go down as his Rwanda — and claimed yet again that he disposed of Assad’s chemical weapons in a sit-down interview after his Camp David summit with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries.

When asked exactly what he meant by vowing to come to the military aid of Gulf countries if needed, Obama went straight to citing an action of President George H.W. Bush: “We’ve seen in the past what happened in Kuwait when Saddam invaded.”

Obama divided the aid into “traditional” military assistance, such as joint exercises and assessing military capability, and non-traditional issues such as distinguishing terrorism from “legitimate political activities.”

When asked why he wouldn’t put his assurances to the Gulf countries in writing, Obama replied that “the treaty process is very cumbersome.”

“It requires congressional approval and it’s not necessary in this situation,” he said.

Al Arabiya Washington correspondent Nadia Bilbassy noted that the security arrangement discussed with the GCC does not confront the true nature of the Iranian threat, to which Obama told her, “Well, actually it does.”

He offered as an example “making sure Iran is not pouring arms into Yemen …obviously there’s a long history of political instability inside of Yemen and their own indigenous history inside of Yemen,” but if Iran starts threatening the Saudi border “that then becomes a source of concern.”

“Keep in mind the United States has been very clear that a nuclear-armed Iran would be potentially even more reckless and dangerous and so it’s in everyone’s interest to ensure that Iran does not have a nuclear weapon and that we provide a pathway for Iran to engage in positive behavior, commerce and trade and education and scientific exchange. That’s the path that we hope they take,” Obama said.

He added that “just because we’re able to resolve the nuclear issue” doesn’t mean there isn’t the problem of Iran’s state sponsorship of terrorism and “their potential for mischief.”

Bilbassy asked if Obama was just engaging in a “wishful strategy” with the Iran deal.

“I don’t think it’s a wishful strategy,” he replied. “… We cannot simply trust the Iranians to abide by the deal, it has to be verifiable.” He said the verification process “extends for a very, very long period of time.”

“Often you talk about Iran with admiration,” his interviewer noted, asking him if he’s thus putting down the Sunni countries in the region.

“Al Arabiya’s going to have to do a better job delivering my message,” Obama shot back. “Our closest friends in the region are the Gulf countries.”

“Many people believe that Syria is your Rwanda, it might haunt you for years to come — more than 200,000 people dead, 9 million people displaced, the worst humanitarian crisis in the 21st century. Are we going to see the end of the bloodshed before you leave office, Mr. President?” Bilbassy asked.

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Boston Bomber Tsarnaev Sentenced to Death

Friday, May 15th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Boston bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev received the death penalty in federal court today for the 2013 marathon attack that killed three people in the crowd and a police officer days later.

Tsarnaev reportedly showed no emotion as the verdict was read, but smiled and gestured with finger pistols toward the jury as he was led out of the courtroom.

The jury of seven women and five men came to their decision in just over 14 hours as they weighed pages of mitigating and aggravating factors.

“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev coldly and callously perpetrated a terrorist attack that injured hundreds of Americans and ultimately took the lives of three individuals: Krystle Marie Campbell, a 29-year-old native of Medford; Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Boston University graduate student from China; and Martin Richard, an 8-year-old boy from Dorchester who was watching the marathon with his family just a few feet from the second bomb,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement. “In the aftermath of the attack, Tsarnaev and his brother murdered Sean Collier, a 27-year-old patrol officer on the MIT campus, extinguishing a life dedicated to family and service.”

“We know all too well that no verdict can heal the souls of those who lost loved ones, nor the minds and bodies of those who suffered life-changing injuries from this cowardly attack,” Lynch said. “But the ultimate penalty is a fitting punishment for this horrific crime and we hope that the completion of this prosecution will bring some measure of closure to the victims and their families.”

“We thank the jurors for their service, the people of Boston for their vigilance, resilience and support and the law enforcement community in Boston and throughout the country for their important work.”

The defense had argued that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev did commit the attacks, but was pressured to do so by his brother Tamerlan.

ISIS accounts on Twitter responded to the sentence. “May Allah accept our brother #DzhokharTsarnaev as martyr in Jannah. Ameen,” tweeted one who said it was his 80th account after Twitter suspensions.

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Suddenly, Obama’s ‘Bromance’ With British PM David Cameron Makes Perfect Sense

Friday, May 15th, 2015 - by Paula Bolyard
David Cameron visit to Washington D.C, America - 16 Jan 2015

Photo Credit: AP

 

From the UK Independent:

Britain is too “passively tolerant” and should not leave people to live their lives as they please just because they obey the law, David Cameron has said.

At the National Security Council today Mr Cameron unveiled a series of measures that he said would crack down on people holding minority “extremist” views that differed from Britain’s consensus.

“For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone’,” he said.

“It’s often meant we have stood neutral between different values. And that’s helped foster a narrative of extremism and grievance.”

Britain is trying to figure out how to to deal with the ongoing threat of Muslim extremism and fears about what exactly is going on in those segregated Muslim communities that practice Sharia law and reject Western values. David Cameron thinks the best way to calm the fears of Brits and alleviate the threat is to crack down on free speech. The measures Cameron is proposing would attempt to track down individuals thought to be “extremists.” Courts would be allowed to force them to send their tweets and Facebook posts to the police for approval and they would be banned from telling their friends that their communications are being monitored. They would also be banned from the airwaves.

FLASHBACK: Obama’s federal government is spending nearly $1 million to create an online database to track hate speech and “misinformation” on Twitter. In addition, the National Science Foundation has received nearly $1 million in funding to create the “Truthy” database to rack “political smears, astroturfing, misinformation, and other social pollution,” the Washington Times reported last year.

ANOTHER FLASHBACK: Daily Mail headline: “Brotherly love: Obama gives his ‘bro’ Cameron an extraordinary pre-election endorsement as his ‘outstanding partner.’”

Two peas in a pod. Birds of a feather. Soviet soulmates.

 

 

 

 

 

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DHS Secretary: Snowden Spiked Encryption Demand, Made Terrorism Fight Harder

Friday, May 15th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said this morning that Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks have made it harder for the agency to fight terrorism.

Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance, he said, was “one of the drivers toward the demands for more and more encryption in the marketplace.”

“That has made it harder for us to detect crime and it has made it harder for us to detect potential terrorist activity. And this is not just a federal matter. I hear from district attorneys about their inability to track criminal activity now because of encryption,” Johnson said. ‘And so we have to find a solution to this and we’re thinking about this actively right now.”

ISIS, for example, has been encouraging followers to switch to Tor browsers to block their browsing habits and location.

Johnson reiterated that we’re “in a new phase, in my view, in the global terrorist threat because of effective use of social media, the Internet, by ISIL, al-Qaeda, we have to be concerned about the independent actor and the independent actor who is here in the homeland who may strike with little or no warning to law enforcement, to our intelligence community.”

“So the nature of the global terrorist threat has evolved and it is all the more important, therefore, for my department, for the FBI, to share information, to share intelligence, what we’re seeing, what state and local law enforcement. So [FBI] Director Comey and I are spending a lot of time doing that these days.”

He added that much of the department’s concern “continues to center around aviation security, which is why I directed enhancements to aviation security at what we call last point of departure airports overseas that have flights directly into the United States.”

“We continue to evaluate whether more is necessary, concerning aviation security. And we do have concerns about the independent actor or small group of actors who are not necessarily directed by a terrorist organization, but are inspired,” he said.

Johnson defended the collection of telephone metadata by the NSA as “basic intelligence collection.”

“I know from my days in the Department of Defense and in Homeland Security it is critical to know what is happening overseas,” the secretary said. “But the way the threat is evolving, we also have to be concerned about independent actors here in the homeland.”

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Smartest President Ever Says Weaponized Chlorine Is Not a Chemical Weapon

Thursday, May 14th, 2015 - by Stephen Kruiser

Here is some video of the press conference (complete with a classic Obama snippy reply to a reporter).

Here is a tweet from a reporter quoting him if you don’t want to watch the video:

 

It’s not just me who finds this odd, noted Right Wing Nutjob organization the United Nations says that, yes, chlorine kinda always has been a chemical weapon.

The modern use of chemical weapons began with World War I, when both sides to the conflict used poisonous gas to inflict agonizing suffering and to cause significant battlefield casualties. Such weapons basically consisted of well known commercial chemicals put into standard munitions such as grenades and artillery shells. Chlorine, phosgene (a choking agent) and mustard gas (which inflicts painful burns on the skin) were among the chemicals used. The results were indiscriminate and often devastating. Nearly 100,000 deaths resulted.
Since World War I, chemical weapons have caused more than one million casualties globally.

It’s more than likely that everyone around him is buying into his arbitrary classification. Remember, this is the guy who makes up job numbers and thinks the economy is booming along and doesn’t get asked a lot about any of it.

What I’m wondering here is if he has any plans in the near future to redefine what “nuclear weapon” means.

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ISIS Releases New Baghdadi Message Calling for ‘Every Muslim to Fight in His Land’

Thursday, May 14th, 2015 - by Bridget Johnson

ISIS’ Al-Furqan media today released new audio of an address by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with written translations in English, Russian, Turkish, French and German.

The release comes as rumors of the caliph suffering a debilitating injury in a coalition airstrike have been circulating.

In the speech, Baghdadi calls on “every Muslim in every place to perform hijrah to the Islamic State or fight in his land, wherever that may be.”

“Do not think the war that we are waging is the Islamic State’s war alone. Rather, it is the Muslims’ war altogether. It is the war of every Muslim in every place, and the Islamic State is merely the spearhead in this war. It is but the war of the people of faith against the people of disbelief, so march forth to your war O Muslims,” he says. “March forth everywhere, for it is an obligation upon every Muslim who is accountable before Allah. And whoever stays behind or flees, Allah (the Mighty and Majestic) will be angry with him and will punish him with a painful torment.”

Baghdadi stresses that “whoever thinks that it is within his capacity to conciliate with the Jews, Christians, and other disbelievers, and for them to conciliate with him, such that he coexists with them and they coexist with him while he is upon his religion and upon tawhīd (monotheism), then he has belied the explicit statement of his Lord.”

“Islam,” he adds, “is the religion of war.”

“And if the Crusaders today have begun to bother the Muslims who continue to live in the lands of the cross by monitoring them, arresting them, and questioning them, then soon they will begin to displace them and take them away either dead, imprisoned, or homeless. They will not leave anyone amongst them except one who apostatizes from his religion and follows theirs,” Baghdadi continued, adding Americans “claim to defend Islam and the Muslims” but “indeed, they lie.”

He referred to America’s Arab allies — as President Obama meets with GCC representatives at Camp David — as “slaves, servants, and guard dogs” of the “Jews and Crusaders.” He derides rulers on the Arabian Peninsula as “people of luxury and extravagance, people of intoxication, prostitution, dances, and feasts” who “have become accustomed to the defense of the Jews and Crusaders for them and their hearts have drunk humiliation, disgrace, and subservience.”

“This war is only against you and against your religion. Has the time not come for you to return to your religion and your jihād and thereby bring back your glory, honor, rights, and leadership?” Baghdadi says in a broader call to Muslims. He urged Sunnis who fled their homes and sought refuge among “Kurdish atheists” to return so ISIS can give them “salvation from Hellfire.”

“Your repentance is more beloved to us than killing you or expelling you. Repent for we do not call you out of weakness. Rather, we call you while our swords are at a distance of two bow lengths or nearer from your necks. If you repent, you will not find from us anything except good and kindness.”

He told ISIS fighters to “be patient, because the Crusaders are bleeding to death, the Rāfidah [Shiites] are faltering, and the Jews are horrified and in dread.”

Baghdadi gave shouts out to ISIS fighters in various areas of Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, West Africa, and Yemen.

He said that Muslims are not being called to “march forth” for the Islamic State “out of weakness or incapability” — the address was titled “March Forth Whether Light or Heavy” — but “because the battle is one between the allies of the Merciful and the allies of Satan.”

Baghdadi, an ISIS e-book published this year claimed, is dressed like a regular mujahid in public, paranoid about carrying a cell phone or using electronic communications, and “always cautiously on the move for security reasons… hiding is comfortably possible compared to Osama bin Laden who had less security, more spies against him and less places to hide.”

“Unlike the medieval times when a king was safe in a guarded castle, leaders today cannot have one central location. Khalifah Ibrahim is always on the move in a convoy of cars, with loyal bodyguards who he knows since the American invasion in the mid 2000s. The secret is not to have too much cars which will give the impression (to local people and even drones) that an important person is in one of the cars. But not to have too less cars either, in case of ambush.”

Rumors were spreading in February that Baghdadi and/or other high-ranking leaders had been killed in airstrikes, but those turned out to be unsubstantiated.

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