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Report: ISIS to Open Its First Consulate?

Monday, September 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

According to a report in Another Western Dawn News, the Islamic State is set to open its first foreign consulate.

The report says that the Islamic State’s facility will be in Istanbul, Turkey.

Abu-Omar Al-Tunisi, the ISIS de facto head of foreign relations issued a statement, saying that the Islamic Caliphate is determined to launch its first diplomatic mission in a friendly and Muslim country. He further noted that the ISIS hopes that the bilateral relations with Ankara will witness more developments under the aegis of newly-elected president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

ISIS also claims that its consulate in Istanbul will pay the hospital bills of all wounded Islamist militants who traveled to turkey [sic] to receive medical treatment.

Under President Recep Erdogan, Turkey has gone in an increasingly Islamist direction. Turkey now tilts toward Hamas rather than Israel.

If the above report is correct, Turkey may be playing both sides in the ISIS war. Erdogan speculated today that the Turkish army could be used to protect its territory and to fight ISIS in it neighbor Syria.

Erdogan said negotiations are underway to determine how and by which countries the air strikes and a potential ground operation would be undertaken and that Turkey is ready to take part.

“In the distribution of responsibilities, every country will have a certain duty. Whatever is Turkey’s role, Turkey will play it,” he said, adding that an air operation alone was not sufficient.

“You can’t finish off such a terrorist organisation only with air strikes. Ground forces are complementary … You have to look at it as a whole. Obviously I’m not a soldier but the air (operations) are logistical. If there’s no ground force, it would not be permanent,” he said.

He is certainly right about that. He added that a nation should protect its borders. Fancy that.

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VIDEO — ABC’s Jon Karl Grills White House Spokesman for Underestimating ISIS

Monday, September 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In an exchange that is sure not to make it on ABC’s evening newscast tonight, reporter Jon Karl went through several warnings regarding the rise of ISIS with White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Karl grilled Earnest, and Earnest’s response is that “everyone” underestimated ISIS and was surprised at their ability to sweep across from Syria into Iraq and take and hold a huge amount of territory.

Earnest brings up DNI James Clapper, and Karl hits back that Clapper is not the only person who deals with intelligence in the US government. Karl brings up Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk’s warning from November 14, 2013, and a military warning from February 2014. In between both warnings, President Obama gave his infamous “ISIS are JV” interview.

Karl lists three times that President Obama was warned, or should have been, about the rise of ISIS. They include McGurk’s warning, US Ambassador to Iraq Robert Beecroft’s warning on January 23, 2014, and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s warning on February 11, 2014.

Obama ignored them all. Now he claims that the intelligence community got it wrong.

The president clearly doesn’t care about the truth, which is that he missed clear warnings as ISIS rose. He chose to downplay the threat.

The next question that needs to be asked is why did he miss them? Or did he choose to ignore them?

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NBC Report: Kurds Frustrated Because US Airstrikes Are Not Hitting ISIS Hard Enough (Update: ISIS Agrees)

Monday, September 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

NBC’s Richard Engel is embedded with Kurdish fighters on the ground in the Iraq-Syria-Turkey border region. He reports that the Kurds are becoming frustrated with the lack of power that the US is showing in the fight against ISIS.

Engel appeared with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC today. He said that Kurds in Syria are “very eager” to get into the fight. He also described what he is seeing.

“Right now i’m on a hill overlooking an ongoing battle between ISIS fighters and Syrian Kurds,” Engel said. “The ISIS fighters are operating in the open. They have an open field and they are dressed in black and have been exchanging gunfire and we are watching the battle unfold and we have been talking to other Kurds who have been watching the same thing and they are very frustrated because they say if the US wants to carry out air strikes and wants to attack ISIS, there they are. They are operating not in a hidden way. They are easy to find. Obviously the US is carrying out air strikes, just not on a scale that the Kurdish fighters would like to see.”

Engel said that many of the Kurdish fighters decided that they couldn’t wait for US airstrikes any longer, so they charged the ISIS fighters despite the fact that the Kurds didn’t have any weapons to fight with.

Update: CNN interviewed an ISIS fighter who agrees — the US-led airstrikes are not hitting the group very hard. They were prepared for the strikes, and hid themselves and their equipment ahead of time.

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McCain: Obama’s Plan to Train Syrians to Fight ISIS But Not Assad ‘Unworkable’ and ‘Immoral’

Monday, September 29th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

When asked on CBS 60 Minutes Sunday night if the battle against ISIS was really a war or not, President Obama called it ”assisting Iraq in a very real battle that’s taking place on their soil, with their troops, but we are providing air support.”

“And it is in our interests to do that because ISIL represents sort of a hybrid of not just a terrorist network but one with territorial ambitions and so some of the strategy and tactics of an army,” Obama continued. “This is not America against ISIL.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said this morning that Obama is framing it wrong: “This is ISIL against America.”

“When Mr. Baghdadi left our prison after spending four years, he walked out and said I’ll see you in America,” McCain said of the self-proclaimed caliph. “All you have to do is watch what they’re saying. And, again, I am just puzzled by the president, some of his statements, for example, he left behind a stable Iraq. We have predicted exactly what would happen.”

“…It is a direct result of our failure to leave a residual force behind. And when they say we couldn’t, they are not telling the truth, because I was over there with Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman and we know it for a fact. So — and this here idea that somehow we didn’t know that this was happening, of course we knew it. We saw it happening.”

McCain then turned to Obama’s strategy of training 5,000 Free Syrian Army in Saudi Arabia and sending them back, a process expected to take many months.

“But are we going to do anything about Bashar Assad’s air attack? Dropping these horrible air bombs on them? Are we going to ask young men to train and equip and we send them back to be slaughtered by Bashar Assad’s air power? We need a no-fly zone,” the senator said. If Assad breaches it, “we take on his air force.”

“Assad in my view has been responsible for 192,000 Syrians dead. There are 150,000 Syrians in his prison. He has used chemical weapons. He uses these barrel bombs. Yes. And he’s directly supported by the Iranians who sent in 5,000 Hezbollah and changed the whole momentum on the battlefield. Of course, are you going to ask these young people, by the way, we’re going to train and equip you, but you are going to fight against ISIS, but not against Assad? It’s not only unworkable. It’s immoral.”

McCain called the unwillingness of legislative leaders to come back and vote on the military action “an act of cowardice on the part of Congress.”

“They didn’t want to vote before the election,” he added. “…Air power alone does not win wars. I was in one when they tried that. So air power alone, we’re going to have to have boots on the ground if we’re really going to succeed.”

“ISIS has wiped out the boundary between Iraq and Syria. What is the difference between it now? They have a caliphate larger than the size of the state of Indiana. So for us to say, well, and our British friends, we’ll bomb them in Iraq but not in Syria. Why? There is no boundary anymore. ISIS goes back and forth between. In fact, now they will go into the populated areas.”

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Obama on ISIS: It’s James Clapper’s Fault!

Monday, September 29th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During his appearance on 60 Minutes Sunday, President Barack Obama had the chance to admit that he got a whole lot about Iraq wrong.

He could have admitted that he got the surge wrong in 2007, when he denounced it and declared that there is no military solution to the problems in Iraq and never was. That was wrong. Obama opposed that surge, which worked and bequeathed a quiescent Iraq to him in 2009. He later implemented a surge of his own in Afghanistan — half-hearted though it was.

Obama could also have admitted that he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq too soon, a decision made for politics that ended up creating the conditions for ISIS to swallow up a large chunk of Iraq and Syria.

Obama could have also admitted that he got ISIS wrong, when he called them the “JV” of terrorism. They are in fact an offshoot of al Qaeda, just as the so-called Khorasan group is an offshoot of al Qaeda — the jihadist group that he claims to have “decimated” and sent scurrying “on the run.” He could have admitted that none of that was true, that al Qaeda is mestasizing from the border regions in Pakistan-Afghanistan to Iraq and Syria to Yemen to Somalia to Boko Haram in Nigeria. And possibly to Oklahoma and New Jersey and Portland.

Instead of admitting any of that, Obama blamed one of his subordinates.

Steve Kroft: I understand all the caveats about these regional groups. But this is what an army of 40,000 people, according to some of the military estimates I heard the other day, very well-trained, very motivated.

President Obama: Well, part of it was that…

Steve Kroft: What? How did they end up where they are in control of so much territory? Was that a complete surprise to you?

President Obama: Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.

“They” work for you, Mr. President.

This isn’t the first time that James Clapper has made a monumental, deadly screw-up, as you’ll see on the next page.

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The Church is Afraid of Islam

Sunday, September 28th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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An evangelical Zionist friend of mine sent me a link to pro-life Catholic Lisa Graas’s response to Ted Cruz’s shock-speech at the IDC Summit held earlier this month. Her opinions are illustrative of exactly how theology continues to impact politics in America. Threatening Cruz with the loss of the Catholic vote, Graas writes:

In Catholicism, Israel doesn’t have to be a “Jewish state.” We can accept it as a Jewish state, but we are in no way bound to it being so because we see the Church as the New Israel, theologically.

Graas is a believer in supersessionism, a.k.a. replacement theology. Replacement theology is an old school church teaching that the Christian Church replaces Israel in God’s eyes, that after Jesus, God was done with the Jews and has summarily dubbed the Church his “New Israel” to be the recipients of all the blessings Biblically directed to Israel. It is a nasty idea that was used to defend Crusades, expulsions, and pogroms. Now, Graas is using replacement theology to defend what she defines as the “high church”/Muslim relationship at the sake of Catholic support for the Jewish State.

In saying “no greater ally than the Jewish state,” he [Cruz] stepped over into theology and insulted Catholics who see the Church as the New Israel theologically. We can, and desire to be, friends with Israel, even as a Jewish state, but we cannot pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state in the manner that people of Ted Cruz’s religion pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish state. We cannot say that if suddenly everyone in Israel converted to Catholicism and turned Israel into a Catholic state, that this would be a “bad” thing. Protestants, of course, would be horrified if that happened because they have some deeply-held theological views that Israel MUST BE a Jewish state. We can take it or leave it as a Jewish state, but they can’t take it or leave it. Catholics can be your friend, Israel, even as a Jewish state, but we cannot pledge unfailing loyalty to “a Jewish state” like Ted Cruz and evangelicals do. You ask too much there.

Graas rambles on about the evils of Protestant ideology, him-hawing over whether or not Israel should be considered a Jewish state with arguments that boil down to a valley girl’s, “Uh, yeah, well, I guess…whatever,” in her theological defense of Catholic replacement theology. Then, oddly enough, she comes out with this whopper:

Another thing is that many Christians in the Middle East see his statement “Jewish state” as being bad not because it’s “Jewish,”, per se, but because it is a “sectarian” statement. They distrust the advancement of ideas that promote theocratic rule over religious minorities who are in disagreement with that particular theology.

An old-school, Pope is “lower than man, but higher than God,” replacement theologian Catholic decides that Cruz isn’t to be trusted because he’s the sectarian one in the room. Apparently there hasn’t yet been an edict issued against irony.

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A Beheading in Oklahoma

Friday, September 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A young Muslim man is accused of beheading a co-worker in Oklahoma.

Sgt. Jeremy Lewis says the alleged suspect, 30-year-old Alton Nolen had just been fired when he drove to the front of the business, hit a vehicle and walked inside.

He walked into the front office area where he met 54-year-old Colleen Hufford and began attacking her with a knife.

Sgt. Lewis confirms the type of knife used in the attack is the same kind used at the plant.

Lewis confirms that Hufford was stabbed several times and that Nolen “severed her head.”

At that point, Lewis claims Nolen met 43-year-old Traci Johnson and began attacking her with the same knife.

Officials say at that point, Mark Vaughan, an Oklahoma County reserve deputy and a former CEO of the business, shot him as he was actively stabbing Johnson.

A good guy with a gun stopped a monster with a knife. This situation would have been far worse if Vaughan had not been carrying his firearm. Concealed carry permit applications will likely spike nationwide after this.

There’s no suggestion that Nolen targeted his victims personally. He was attacking the employees of the company “at random,” according to police.

There’s this for a possible motivation:

The FBI is now looking into Nolen’s background after his former co-workers said he tried to convert them to Islam after recently converting himself.

We’ll see if that pans out.

Nolen does have a history of violence.

According to the state corrections department, Nolen was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was released from prison in March 2013. Neither woman had any relationship with Nolen.

And radical Muslims have a strategy of using prisons as places to proselytize. Radical mosques give these violent outcasts homes, many for the first time in their lives. ISIS has come along as the latest radical group to provide motivation for attacking infidels.

If the Nidal Hasan case is any guide, and it probably is, the official federal word will be that Nolen killed in a fit of “workplace violence.”

Rational Americans will see that and hear the horrible 9-1-1 call and rightly determine that the Obama government is unwilling to see the truth, and is unwilling to protect us.

Update: Nolen is at least a social media jihadist.

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The West’s Multiculturalism Blows Up on the ISIS Battlefield…and Here at Home

Friday, September 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Islamist State’s chief propagandist is believed to be a wealthy American. His name is Ahmad Abousamra, he is 32 years old, and he is the son of a Boston doctor. He is young and he is not poor, and he is not ignorant. He is also not unacquainted with western notions of individual freedom. He just rejects them.

He was born and raised in France and his formal education does not have Islamist overtones at all. He attended Xaverian Brothers Catholic high school and Northeastern University, where he made the dean’s list.

He is but one of thousands of westerners who are now fighting for ISIS — including 3,000 Europeans.

The number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has risen to more than 3,000, the EU’s anti-terrorism chief has told the BBC.

Gilles de Kerchove also warned that Western air strikes would increase the risk of retaliatory attacks in Europe.

US-led forces have launched more than 200 air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq since August and on Monday began targeting IS in Syria.

The UK parliament is due to vote on possible air strikes in Iraq on Friday.

IS – also known as Isil or Isis – has seized large parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months.

Mr de Kerchove said the number of 3,000 included all those who have been to the region, including those who have returned and those who have been killed there.

That’s about one-tenth of the total fighting force that the Islamic State is now believed to have in the field — western-raised Muslims who can freely travel to and from the battlefield, while journalist Stephen Hayes gets tagged on the terrorism watch list.

How did we get here? Let’s explore that question on the next page.

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Does the Khorasan Group Actually Threaten the US? Marie Harf Won’t Say.

Friday, September 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf appeared on MSNBC this morning to discuss the US airstrikes in Syria and the Khorasan group. That group, not ISIS, is President Obama’s stated reason for launching air strikes inside Syrian territory. The president’s letter to Congress doesn’t even mention ISIS at all, despite the fact that the group beheaded two Americans and has broadcast its intent to attack America itself on social media.

So Harf turns up on MSNBC to deal with two primary questions. The first, are the US airstrikes actually degrading ISIS?

The question is relevant, because the FBI director has said that he doesn’t think the airstrikes have degraded ISIS.

Watch as MSNBC host Kristen Welker seems to lose patience with Harf’s non-answer.

The second question, does the Khorasan group actually have the capacity to attack America? Pay close attention to how Harf answers.

HOST Kristen Welker: Are there any credible threats that you know of right now coming from that group that Americans need to know about?

Harf: Well, as many of us have said, we are watching that group. We know they have the intention to strike at the United States. that’s something that’s ongoing right now. That process of looking at what the actual threat is. But what I will say is the action we’ve taken against them already has had an impact.

The Obama administration’s spokespeople have their talking points: These groups have the intention of attacking America, and we have the intention of degrading them. Afghanistan, Yemem and Somalia are, according to Harf, examples of the success we’re aiming for in striking Syria.

If that’s really where we are strategically, then we have a recipe for endless, pointless war that will achieve nothing — other than to eventually bankrupt America.

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Obama Praised Muslim Cleric Who Endorsed Fatwa Against American Troops

Friday, September 26th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During his United Nations address, President Barack Obama went out of his way to heap praise on a particular Muslim cleric.

The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed, confronted, and refuted in the light of day. Look at the new Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies – Sheikh bin Bayyah described its purpose: “We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.”

A fine sentiment, but one that Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah probably does not mean in the way that Obama thinks he means it.

The Washington Free Beacon first noticed the reference to bin Bayyah. It turns out that President Obama’s exhibit moderate peaceful Muslim backed a fatwa in favor of killing American troops in 2004, in Iraq.

This isn’t even the first time that Obama’s government has promoted Bayyah. It promoted him back in May 2014, only to backtrack and apologize later.

Bayyah has recently released a fatwa against the Islamic State. That doesn’t make him a moderate.

His detractors say he’s anti-Semitic and that he has called the killing of American soldiers in Iraq justified. Those criticisms are linked to his role as a vice president of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, an organization headquartered in Qatar and headed by Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Al-Qaradawi is an Egyptian theologian who has close links to the Muslim Brotherhood.

And while bin Bayyah has never formally broken with al-Qaradawi, he said he left the International Union of Muslim Scholars a year ago because he didn’t agree with many of the group’s positions. He added that he tried to change the group from the inside and decided he could be more effective starting his own organization to promote peace.

While Bayyah was a member, the group issued a 2009 fatwa against normalizing relations with Israel. Does he agree or disagree with that?

Bayyah visited the Obama White House in June 2013, while he was still working with Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Interestingly, in that meeting Bayyah called for the US to get more involved in arming the Syrian rebels. That’s what Obama is doing now, in response to the Islamic State.

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Islamist Welfare Clown Anjem Choudary Busted in London Terror Raids

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Finally.

Nine men, including the radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary, have been arrested in London on suspicion of being members of a banned organisation.

Officers are searching 18 premises in London and one in Stoke-on-Trent.

The Met Police said it was part of an ongoing inquiry into Islamist-related terrorism and not in response to any immediate threat to the public.

Mr Choudary is the former UK head of the Islamist group al-Muhajiroun or Islam4UK, banned in the UK in 2010.

The arrested men, aged between 22 and 51, are being held at police stations in central London.

Most recently, Choudary sided with the Islamic State, which has beheaded a British citizen. He has been preaching jihad while living on the British taxpayer’s dime for years now. He is a jihadist, straight up, no different than Anwar al-Awlaki or any other jihadist preacher.

If the west had sharper war teeth, Choudary would be dropped into Syria at an ISIS command post just ahead of an allied airstrike.

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Is the US Waging ‘Green War’ In Syria?

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Noah Rothman keys on a WSJ report outlining what the allies are — and are not — striking in Syria. Namely, we’re avoiding hitting IS’ captured oil fields.

“[CBS News reporter David] Martin says 12 small-scale oil refineries were hit in the eastern desert of Syria,” a CBS report revealed. “According to the Pentagon, the refineries produced between 300 and 500 barrels of petroleum a day, which ISIS used to power its own vehicles and to sell on the black market, bringing in up to $2 million every day in revenue.”

So, one would expect that revenue stream to have been vitiated if not entirely destroyed, right? Not so fast.

“Officials said the strikes wouldn’t target fixed oil fields, a precaution intended to minimize the potential for environmental damage,” The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. “The U.S. instead targeted small capacity mobile refineries used by Islamic State around northeastern Raqqa province and other locations in eastern Syria, officials said.”

Which largely leaves ISIS’ major revenue stream intact. They are using the oil from those fields both for their own purposes and to sell on the black market — chiefly, Turkey — to raise funds. A lot of funds. About $2 million per day. ISIS is believed to have about $1 billion on hand. The current strategy amounts to kicking an ant hill but not putting any poison on it to kill the queen.

If we are avoiding destroying ISIS’ oil-basket, it would represent a decisive break from US strategy in previous wars. In both world wars, Vietnam and to a lesser extent in the two wars in Iraq, US forces targeted infrastructure in order to cripple the enemy’s economy. We bombed everything from highways to railways to power grids and fuel refineries and depots, to break the enemy’s ability to wage war. The more we focused on disrupting the enemy’s economy, the more damage we did to the enemy’s ability to wage war against us.

In Syria, we are apparently already counting the chicken before the egg has hatched.

There is no guarantee that there will be a “post-Assad Syria.” It’s a near certainty that if there is, the lack of US forces on the ground means that we will have little to no say in who succeeds him. We’re heading for Libya 2.0 as a best-case scenario at this point. Obama’s promise not to ever put any American boots on the ground to fight ISIS means that others will determine Syria’s future should Assad ever fall. Our absence means that Iran or another Islamist group or power, perhaps Turkey, perhaps anarchy, will choose who follows Assad. But it won’t be the United States.

And if you’re an ISIS commander, the safest place for you to be is now one of the most strategically valuable spots on the map. Park yourself near an oil field and US forces won’t touch you.

The war against ISIS is a just war that is being run very stupidly.

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What’s Going On with that ‘Terrorist Threat to U.S. Subways’?

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

There appear to be some he said/she said going on with respect to Iraq, ISIS and terrorism.

A wide range of U.S. intelligence sources told NBC News that there is no evidence of any current threat against the subways, after Iraq’s prime minister told reporters that ISIS is plotting an imminent attack.

In a meeting with journalists at the United Nations, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he had just learned of the plot by foreign fighters of the Islamic State group in Iraq to attack subway systems in the U.S. and Paris. He said it had not been thwarted and that the United States had been alerted.

“Today, while I’m here I’m receiving accurate reports from Baghdad that there were arrests of a few elements and there were networks from inside Iraq to have attacks … on metros of Paris and U.S.,” al-Abadi said, speaking in English, according to the Associated Press. “They are not Iraqis. Some of them are French, some of them are Americans. But they are in Iraq.”

The Obama administration was quick to knock all of that down, denying that Iraq had alerted us, and denying any knowledge of an imminent threat.

But that’s what the Obama administration always does, isn’t it? This is the administration that still describes Nidal Hasan’s massacre at Ft. Hood as “workplace violence,” not the act of jihad that it was. This is the administration that used bogus crime stats to sell a false picture of security on the Texas-Mexico border for years.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said officials in Washington had not confirmed the plot described by the Iraqi prime minister and were looking into the report. “We take any threat seriously and always work to corroborate information we receive from our partners,” Hayden said. “We’re obviously very focused on the issue of foreign fighters, as you saw evidenced yesterday at the [United Nations] Security Council session the president chaired.”

U.S. officials said they found it odd that the prime minister would make such a public announcement about such a threat instead of sharing it through normal channels.

Such as, leaking details of, say, a raid to recover ISIS hostages, to the media instead of Congress? Yeah, who does that?

I think it’s fair to be skeptical of all concerned at this point. The Iraqis certainly have an interest in keeping the very real ISIS threat alive. But the Obama administration just doesn’t want anyone to think very much about the porous border and the myriad other ways terrorist can and do get into the country.

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Islamic State Rape: ‘Just Another Form of Warfare’?

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

In light of the ongoing nightmare that is the Islamic State, Foreign Policy, a magazine somewhat reflective of the establishment, has published an article that once again demonstrates why U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is a disaster: because analysts and policymakers, unable or unwilling to grapple with foreign concepts, opt to articulate them through familiar Western paradigms.

Titled “The Islamic State of Sexual Violence” and written by Aki Peritz and Tara Maller—“We both worked as CIA analysts focused on Iraq’s insurgency and counterterrorism during much of the war”—the Foreign Policy(FP) article opens with this telling sentence: “Of the many terrifying stories emerging from Islamic State-occupied Iraq and Syria, the violence directed toward women is perhaps the most difficult to contemplate.”

This is an odd assertion.  Of all the atrocities committed by the Islamic State, is sexual violence against women really “the most difficult to contemplate”?  After all, deplorable as sexual violence against women is, it is also one of the most common features of warfare since the beginnings of recorded history.  It should not be too “difficult to contemplate.”

Instead, one would think that public beheadings and mutilations—with sadistic pictures of the victims posted online—would be more “difficult to contemplate.”  One would think herding off 1500 “infidel” men and coldly shooting them in the head to cries of “Allahu Akbar” would be more “difficult to contemplate.” One would think that forcing religious minorities to convert to Islam or die—with Christians crucified for refusing to embrace Islam—would be more “difficult to contemplate.”

But in the very next paragraph we encounter the reason why FP highlights female sexual abuse while ignoring the truly more “difficult to contemplate” atrocities committed by the Islamic State: to exonerate Islam from the deeds of the Islamic State:

IS claims to be a religious organization, dedicated to re-establishing the caliphate and enforcing codes of modesty and behavior from the time of Muhammad and his followers. But this is rape, not religious conservatism. IS may dress up its sexual violence in religious justifications, saying its victims violated Islamic law, or were infidels, but their leaders are not fools. This is just another form of warfare….

That last sentence is what FP wants readers to leave with—“This is just another form of warfare.”  The authors chose the most generic atrocity committed during war, one that is common to all cultures and civilizations—sexual violence, enslavement, and rape—to condemn the Islamic State with.  The result is that the Islamic State looks like “just another” enemy combatant.

To demonstrate this, the authors proceed to invoke Western standards of “modesty and behavior” to criticize the Islamic State without letting readers know that Islamic notions of “modesty and behavior” differ significantly and are wholly based on Islamic law, not “natural” law or anything else.

Thus while the authors are correct in saying that the Islamic State is “dedicated to re-establishing the caliphate,” the follow up assertion, “and enforcing codes of modesty and behavior from the time of Muhammad and his followers” is immensely loaded and misleading.  So is the statement “But this is rape, not religious conservatism.”… Keep reading

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Curl: Obama’s Breathtaking Naivete at the United Nations

Thursday, September 25th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Joseph Curl has penned a must-read at the Washington Times, on President Obama’s UN address.

To Mr. Obama, there’s no global conflict of ideology, just “pervasive unease in our world.” To him, the strife is merely the “failure of our international system to keep pace with an interconnected world.” And to him, “it is one of the tasks of all great religions to accommodate devout faith with a modern, multicultural world.”

He asked delegates from nations across the world to mull this “central question of our global age: Whether we will solve our problems together, in a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect, or whether we descend into the destructive rivalries of the past.”

His answer? “It’s time for a broader negotiation in the region in which major powers address their differences directly, honestly, and peacefully across the table from one another, rather than through gun-wielding proxies.”

Simply believing something doesn’t make it so. The president’s desire for a world in which nations talk openly about their true feelings, perhaps share a good cry together, and sing kumbaya around the campfire, is the height of naivete.

So is this passage of his speech: ” … the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace. Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice. And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them, there is only us.”

Read the rest.

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Algerian Terrorists Loyal to ISIS Behead French Mountain Climber

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

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As French President Francois Hollande prepared to speak at the United Nations General Assembly today, Algerian terrorists who back ISIS released a video showing the beheading of a French mountain climber.

Hervé Gourdel was kidnapped on Sunday evening in the mountainous region of Djurdjura, part of the Atlas range not far from Algiers.

Gourdel, 55, of Nice was an active mountaineer throughout his life. He was seized by Jund al-Khilafa (Soldiers of the Caliphate), which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

The group released a Tuesday video showing Gourdel flanked by armed gunmen vowing to behead him in 24 hours if France didn’t stop targeting ISIS.

Today’s video showing Gourdel’s death was titled “A Message of Blood for the French Government.”

“He left for Algeria to follow his passion, mountaineering, and he was the victim of a heinous crime whose perpetrators must be punished,” Hollande said in a statement. “My thoughts are with his family, his companion and his parents, to whom I spoke and who are overcome by sorrow. My thoughts are with his many loved ones who don’t understand and don’t accept this terrible injustice. Why him? Why there?”

“…Hervé Gourdel died because he was French; because his country, France, fights terrorism. Hervé Gourdel died because he represents a people—our people—that loves freedom and defends human dignity against barbarity.”

Gourdel’s abduction also came hours after an ISIS video urged supporters around the world to target Westerners – “especially the spiteful and filthy French.”

The kidnapping came just days after France officially began referring to ISIS as Daesh, a loose Arabic acronym with derogatory dual meanings.

Both in his statement and in his Wednesday afternoon address at the UN Security Council, Hollande continued calling them Daesh.

“My determination is absolute, and this act of aggression only strengthens it. We will continue to fight terrorism wherever it may be, and in particular the group we call Daesh, which sows death in Iraq, and Syria, which pursues civilian populations, persecutes religious minorities, rapes and decapitates. Yes, it is this group that France is mobilized against, and which the Iraqi authorities called on us to oppose,” he said.

Hollande is flying back to France to convene a defense council meeting tomorrow at Elysee palace to “establish the goals we have set for our military operations and to further strengthen the protection of our fellow citizens.”

“I am calling for all of us, for our entire community to stand united beyond our differences, beyond our sensibilities and our convictions, because the most vital matters are at stake,” he said. “France will not give in to terrorism, France will never give in to terrorism, because it is its duty and, even more important, because its honor depends on it.”

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VIDEO — ‘Allahu Ackbar!’ ISIS Advances Despite Airstrikes

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Reuters reports that the Islamic State’s forces continued to advance on Kurdish villages, even while allied airstrikes against them go on.

U.S. planes pounded Islamic State positions in Syriafor a second day on Wednesday, but the strikes did not halt the fighters’ advance in a Kurdish area where fleeing refugees told of villages burnt and captives beheaded.

Beheadings? Doesn’t ISIS know that according to Barack Obama, no god condones that?

Here’s the video.

Are the airstrikes truly “degrading” or “destroying” them?

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Libertarian Party: ‘Heightened Risk of Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Citizens’ as Result of ‘Foreign Meddling’

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Libertarian Party today accused President Obama of violating the Constitution in his strikes against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq, while a liberal lobby also called on the need to have “unequivocally constitutional” approval from Congress.

“Whatever differences they may claim, Democratic and Republican politicians are aligned when it comes to foreign meddling,” Nicholas Sarwark, chairman of the Libertarian National Committee, said in a statement. “President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush both resort to war in the end.”

The party maintained that since the Islamic State (IS) did not exist in 2001, the authorization for military force approved after 9/11 to go after terrorists connected to the attack doesn’t apply.

“This is wildly reckless and irresponsible,” Sarwark said. “The old parties in Congress just spent $20 billion arming and training Iraqi soldiers, only to see U.S. military weapons land in the hands of the Islamic State. This new measure could end up arming future enemies in Syria as well.”

“The bigger threat is endless war and a heightened risk of terrorist attacks on U.S. citizens as a result of military intervention,” he added.

The Progressive Policy Institute noted in a statement that both former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have suggested “early and effective U.S. support for indigenous Syrian rebels might have prevented these foreign jihadis from setting up shop in Syria.”

“Non-intervention is not a painless or risk-free option for Americans, no matter how weary we may be of war,” said PPI president Will Marshall.

“President Obama needs to level with the American people about the nature and duration of this conflict. What we are really up against, the enduring source of instability and danger, is not any particular group of Sunni terrorists, but the Islamist ideology that motives them. This fight will be more like the Cold War than World War II. It won’t be settled on any battlefield,” Marshall said. “Only when the jihadist ideology loses its power to inspire young Muslims to kill for a warped vision of a puritanical, all-conquering Islam will the danger pass. That could take a generation. It will require that America and the international community wage—and above all Muslim political and religious leaders—wage a more effective campaign to discredit and marginalize the Islamist death cult.”

The PPI called for a  ”resolute, long-term strategy to contain and eventually defuse the threat posed by Islamist fanatics,” which “must enjoy broad public and political support at home.”

“Rather than invoking post-9/11 legislation, the White House should heed calls from Congressional leaders, such as Sen. Tim Kaine, to seek new authority for this next phase of U.S. counterterrorism operations,” Marshall continued. “It’s important that our confrontation with Islamist extremists have explicit Congressional backing and be unequivocally Constitutional. At the same time, however, Congress must refrain from tying the executive’s hands, for example, by imposing arbitrary deadlines or geographical limits on its ability to confront threats to our people or our interests.”

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Obama Says ‘No God Condones Beheading.’ Unfortunately the Koran Does.

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During his United Nations address today, President Obama delved into Islamic theology. He was addressing the Islamic State’s habit of beheading its captives.

“As an international community, we must meet this challenge with a focus on four areas. First, the terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded, and ultimately destroyed,” Obama said.

“This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria. Mothers, sisters and daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war. Innocent children have been gunned down. Bodies have been dumped in mass graves. Religious minorities have been starved to death. In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded, with videos of the atrocity distributed to shock the conscience of the world.

“No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.”

Barack Obama was educated on the Koran during his formative years in Indonesia, but he may not remember his childhood lessons.

The fact is, the Koran explicitly condones beheading.

Koran 8:12 — “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”

Rather than have a Baptist (me) interpret what that verse means, let’s head over to Islam 101 for an interpretation.

This verse and the verses before and after were revealed about the Battle of Badr, which occurred in Arabia in the early seventh century. A battle in which the pagans of Makkah traveled more than 200 miles to Madinah with an army of about 1000 to destroy Muslims. Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) and fellow Muslims had suffered severe persecutions and torture for 13 years in the city of Makkah. And now that they had fled Makkah and found a sanctuary in the city of Madinah, they were once again threatened. Muslim Army was only about 300 strong. God Almighty gave the order to Muslims to fight to defend their lives and faith. The enemy came to them with the intent to kill Muslims. It was a war to defend themselves and their Faith. It was a war imposed upon Muslims.

And when you fight, you strive to kill the enemy during the fight.

Koran 8:12 spells out one way to do that — beheadings. To create terror.

And how does ISIS characterize its fight with the west and even the fellow Muslims in its midst? As one which it has not started, but will prosecute on “the path to jihad” — holy war.

If President Obama really thinks that he can defeat ISIS in a theological debate, he is misguided in more ways than one.

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ISIS Targets Saudi Pilots, Including Son of Crown Prince, After Syria Strikes

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar joined the U.S. in the operation to conduct strikes against the Islamic State early Tuesday, and the Saudis released pictures of their pilots after returning from battle. Which inspired ISIS to circulate the pictures and ask radicals in the KSA to kill the pilots.

 

 

 

Word also circulated that Mariam Mansouri, the UAE’s first female pilot, flew her F-16 into battle as well — and led her country’s team.

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Chuck Todd: Don’t Question Obama’s ‘Resolve’ to Take Down ISIS

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Apparently NBC’s Chuck Todd isn’t aware that President Obama didn’t even mention ISIS in his letter to Congress outlining why he launched airstrikes in Syria. Instead, Obama predicated the attack on a threat from a group that most have never even heard of.

Todd appeared on MSNBC today and said that whatever you think about Obama’s strategy of telling our enemies that we’ll never ever ever send ground troops to fight ISIS — ever — you can’t question the man’s “resolve.”

So just don’t.

Todd said: “I think. Look, you have to say this. I’m still a bit shocked by the timing of this and I think anybody that was questioning the president’s resolve about going after ISIS and doing it through Syria, I’m with Richard. There is a lot to be skeptical about, about this plan. But you can’t question his resolve. he did it the day before he goes to the UN. That’s quite the statement.”

If Bush had done that…Todd would question more than just his “resolve.”

Just for grins, I looked up the meaning of “resolve.” It means “firm determination to do something.” Obama has been dragged into action against ISIS — which he doesn’t mention in that letter to Congress — because the American people have been way ahead of him on the threat. It took the beheadings of two Americans to get him off the campaign trail.

As I was writing this, Obama advocated arguing over theology with ISIS — that that’s the way to defeat them. Not by wiping them out and providing their demise as an example to others who might even contemplate attacking Americans.

So, yeah, some “resolve.”

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Western Media Plays Submissive Lover to Putin’s Imperial Antics

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

putintakeback

Paul Goble at Interpreter Magazine offers keen insight into the Western media’s dangerous love affair with Vladimir Putin:

…as has been true since the start of Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine, Putin has exploited the increasing proclivity of Western journalists to equate balance with objectivity. He and his minions have flooded the media with statements that are simply not true, but many Western outlets report them as part of the story, without identifying them as false or even questioning their veracity.

That allows such journalists to claim objectivity, but it creates a situation in which there is little or no pressure on Western governments to do the right thing. Many journalists (and governments) will not describe what Moscow is doing as an invasion because Putin says there are no Russian troops in Ukraine, despite massive evidence to the contrary.

As a result, in all too many cases, Putin’s lies have defined the situation rather than facts on the ground, and the Western media’s focus on balance – on presenting all sides of the case even if one or more is untrue – gives thuggish leaders like him an opening that they should not have but will not exploit.

Besides re-defining “balance” in pursuit of a deadline, eye-catching story, or political point of view, Western media also backs the White House’s post-Vietnam love-affair with the mystical cease-fire.

…Second, Western governments approach every conflict as an occasion to get a ceasefire rather than to defeat aggression out of a belief that diplomacy alone can solve the problem and reach a solution. …by signaling that it will not oppose a particular case of aggression, the West has taught Putin and his regime a lesson, but very much the wrong one: aggression works and after “a decent interval” will be ignored, have no consequences for relations with the West, and then can be repeated.

Interestingly, Goble also notes the West’s unwillingness to push real economic and cultural sanctions against Russia. His theory is that the West is afraid if such sanctions truly pushed Moscow to the breaking point, it would only result in a Kremlin that “would call Western profits into question”. In other words, the West may lose economic benefit, or worse, be shamed in the international community as capitalist pigs. Apparently Goble has no faith in Western media to attack such a claim should it arise. While he does not say this directly, his inference is another black mark on Western media’s character.

Especially relevant to more than just Russia-US relations, Goble questions of Putin’s passive-aggressive tactics,

Will Putin have any incentive to move toward peace if he can get everything he wants by dragging out a Western-backed “peace process” forever?

It is a rhetorical query, and one that should not be reserved for Putin alone. An equally rhetorical follow up: Could it be that the same Moscow that backed the PLO learned a lesson from Arafat and his political descendants? The Western audience should rethink their media’s relationship with Russia, for sure. But that should be the starting, not the stopping point in their analysis.

 

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Obama Tells Fundraiser Islamic Terror Fight Not as Big of an ‘Existential Threat’ as Cold War

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Taking some time out from UN-related activities this week in New York to fundraise for his party, President Obama told a campaign crowd tonight that the threat posed by Islamic terrorism isn’t as great of an existential threat as the Cold War.

Obama left the Waldorf Astoria hotel in the early evening to head over to a private home at West 90th and Central Park West for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event, which was attended by DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.

“I apologize for the traffic. Not much I can do about it. The blame is spread between me and another 160 or so world leaders who converge upon New York every single year,” Obama said. “Yet unlike some of the previous U.N. General Assembly meetings, this one really counts.”

Obama addressed the UN climate summit today and addresses the General Assembly tomorrow morning.

“We’ve gone through extraordinary challenges over the last decade, and when I came into office, the world economy was in a free fall — something we hadn’t seen since the Great Depression. And we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. We were still in the midst of two wars. Challenges like climate change weren’t being addressed,” he said.

Despite the country being “better off” now “by every economic measure,” the president continued, ”I think there’s some anxiety across the country, and the question is: Why?”

“And I offer three reasons. The first, which is most prominent in the news right now, is that there is great disorder in the world. It’s not unprecedented,” Obama said. “In many ways, it doesn’t pose some of the same existential threats that we experienced during the Great Wars or during the Cold War, but the instability that we see in the Middle East, the Russian aggression towards Ukraine, the breakdown in public health systems — or what public health systems ever existed in a place like Liberia — in the face of the Ebola crisis, and the emergence of a terrorist threat in ISIL that threatens to destabilize an entire region — all those things are justifiably making people wonder whether the center will hold.”

“And the good news is this week what you’re seeing is what American leadership means. I just came from a meeting in which we were actually able to get Arab countries, many of which have historically been on opposite sides of issues and sectarian conflict in the region, all united around fighting ISIL and eradicating the ideology, the extreme fanaticism that underlies what’s happening in ISIL.”

That 40-minute meeting at the Waldorf included King Abdullah of Jordan, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain.

On Ebola, Obama said “as a consequence of our actions, we have a good chance of saving as many as a million lives.”

He said the recent step-up in intervention efforts, including setting up a military command center in Liberia, is also “making sure that there’s not the kind of spillover that could end up being an epidemic in our country and affect our loved ones.”

“Climate change — we’re going to be taking the lead and, in fact, potentially engaging with China in making sure that we move boldly and aggressively in confronting that significant threat,” Obama continued. “We’ve unified the world in isolating Russia and supporting not just the Ukrainian people but the core principle that was part of the foundation of the United Nations, which is a respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of small countries relative to large ones.”

“So what we’ve seen is American leadership at its best. It doesn’t mean that the problems are easy or that they’re solved anytime soon, but it indicates the degree to which we continue to be the one indispensable nation.”

The president said the other issues causing “some disquiet” among the American people are income inequality and the belief that “they just think government doesn’t seem to be capable of working anymore.”

“And it’s popular to suggest that somehow that’s a problem of both parties, a plague on both their houses. But the truth of the matter is it has to do with a very specific problem, which is, is that the opposition on the other side has become ideologically driven and doesn’t seem capable of compromise; cannot say yes even to things they used to be for; and there’s been a tendency to put politics ahead of what’s best for the next generation.”

Obama predicted that with a Congress willing to “play those cards right,” the next generation “will inherit a world that is safer and more prosperous and healthier and has less conflict than ever before in human history.”

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Florida Dem to Boehner, Obama: Congress Needs to Return to Weigh Authorization of Force

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The round of airstrikes in Syria in the early morning hours prompted one Democrat to ask House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to call Congress back to address a proper authorization of military force (AUMF).

And Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) also let President Obama know that lawmakers in his own party are questioning the administration’s determination that they can act against ISIS via 2001 and 2003 AUMFs.

Hastings previously asked Boehner to call Congress back during the five-week summer recess to address the same concern. Congress remained in town for only two weeks before leaving for the pre-midterm district campaigning period.

“The situation in both Iraq and Syria on a political, humanitarian and military level grow increasingly dire, and we may very well have a duty to meet these difficulties with force along with any number of other strategic responses,” Hastings wrote Obama today. “However, Congress has a duty to discuss these issues and act accordingly under the United States Constitution and the War Powers Resolution. We must also reexamine the relevancy of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) with regard to the current U.S. airstrikes in Syria and future military operations to address ISIL.”

“The AUMF was born from the need to take immediate and bold action to respond to the horrific terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. The time has come, however, for Congress to fulfill its constitutional role in committing our military resources to global conflicts, and specifically examine whether the required strategy in Iraq and Syria necessitates additional Congressional authorization.”

Hastings’ concern has been echoed by other lawmakers, including Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who last week told Secretary of State John Kerry, “You’re going to need a new AUMF.”

“I certainly appreciate your timely attention to the complex and difficult situation unfolding in Iraq and Syria, and want you to know that I am eager to facilitate a resolution to the current crisis by making sure that the United States exercises the full might of its democracy to achieve the best outcome for the American people and all those threatened by ISIL,” Hastings added in the Obama letter.

To Boehner, Hastings stressed that “the Administration’s reliance on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) for our country’s ongoing military operations within Syria raises many questions.”

“I must once again respectfully call upon you to bring the U.S. House of Representatives back into session so that we may meet our constitutional responsibility under Article I to address the nature, duration, and scope of these and future activities,” the Florida Dem wrote. “As Members of Congress, we have a duty to ensure that the United States does not enter a conflict without appropriate deliberation or debate. We abdicate this responsibility when we do not exercise full oversight of our military commitment.”

Hastings declared the “time has come for Congress to reassert its constitutional role in committing our military resources to global conflicts, and specifically examine whether the President’s strategy in Iraq and Syria necessitate additional Congressional authorization.”

“Reasonable minds will disagree as to what the fate of the 2001 AUMF ought to be, and reasonable minds may very well disagree as to what military operations, if any, we ought to take to address the ongoing threat posed by ISIL, but in order for such disagreements to occur we must first provide the forum for such discussions. As demonstrated by Article I Section 8, the appropriate forum is Congress,” he said. “The appropriate time is now.”

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Willful Blindness to Global Jihad: Raymond Ibrahim on Secure Freedom Radio

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Raymond Ibrahim was recently interviewed on Secure Freedom Radio with Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy. Split into four 10-minute segments, the 40-minute interview follows:

PART 1

  • How ISIS plays into the bigger picture of global jihad
  • America’s willful blindness to the fact that to defeat an enemy, one must know the enemy
  • The American far-left’s apologist-position towards radical Islam

PART 2

  • Defensive versus offensive jihad in Shariah doctrine
  • Comparing ISIS and Al-Qaeda
  • The consequences of ISIS declaring an Islamic Caliphate

PART 3

  • President Obama’s misleading remarks about the connection of jihadist terrorism to Islam
  • The long history of Christian persecution in the Muslim world

PART 4

  • Recommendations for future U.S. policies to combat the global jihad
  • Lessons learned from the American strategy that defeated the communist ideology of the Soviet Union
  • Problems with the labels put on those who question the radical aspects of Shariah law

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Obama’s Letter to Congress on the Syria Airstrikes Has a Glaring Omission

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

See if you can spot it.

obama-letter-syria

He never mentions the Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL…at all.

Is this letter an admission that he has yet to find legal justification to back up the airstrikes on ISIS targets? Or is this letter depending on the Authorization for Use of Military Force — which he wanted to repeal — to strike Khorasan, which is a more direct offshoot of al Qaeda than ISIS is?

h/t Weasel Zippers

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Obama’s and Biden’s Taunts Come Back to Haunt Them in Syria Airstrikes

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

“Al Qaeda is decimated and on the run,” President Barack Obama repeatedly declared during his 2012 run for re-election.

Vice President Joe Biden went one better (or worse), warning that if elected president, Mitt Romney would go to war in Syria.

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Mitt Romney wasn’t elected, but Barack Obama and Joe Biden have gone to war in Syria — against the al Qaeda that they both said was “decimated and on the run.” The Obama administration launched air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria Monday night.

The overnight airstrikes also included hits on a previously unreported terrorist force called the Khorasan group. The US conducted those strikes because intelligence suggested that the group was planning an imminent terrorist attack against either the US or Europe.

Briefing reporters at the Pentagon, Lt. Gen. William Mayville, who directs operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Khorasan Group was nearing “the execution phase of an attack either in Europe or the homeland.”

Last week, James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, said the Khorasan Group posed a “potential threat.” But senior Obama administration officials, briefing reporters Tuesday under ground rules that they not be identified, said the intelligence was both more precise and more dire than Clapper suggested.

“We were monitoring active plotting that posed an imminent threat to the United States and potentially our allies,” one official said. “That was the united view of our intelligence community.”

The Khorasan Group, which consists of al-Qaida veterans who fought in Afghanistan and Pakistan, is focused on attacking the West, not the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad, Mayville said.

“We know that the Khorasan Group has attempted to recruit Westerners to serve as operatives or to infiltrate back into their homelands,” he said. “The Khorasan Group is clearly not focused on either the Assad regime or the Syrian people. They are establishing roots in Syria in order to advance attacks against the West and the homeland.”

Al Qaeda was on the run — to the vacuum of power that the US-led air war in Libya created, and to the chaos in Syria.

Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize winner has now launched two air wars without consulting the Congress that he promised to consult when he was a candidate. That’s one more Obama taunt that just hasn’t stood up in the face of reality.

 

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Tom Brokaw Questions the Timing of Obama’s Decision to Bomb ISIS in Syria

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

NBC stalwart Tom Brokaw appeared on Ronan Farrow’s MSNBC show today and appeared puzzled.

Brokaw recalled that in previous engagements with enemies on the ground in Iraq, bombing from altitude can look devastating but ultimately has never produced victory.

Brokaw questioned why President Barack Obama waited so long to start the airstrikes that began in Syria last night. Bombing them now, Brokaw says, serves as a recruiting tool — for the Islamic State.

Take a look.

“People remember that night when we went after Saddam Hussein and thought we would all but level the city. the next day his sunni army and the people who were loyal to him emerge and began to fight back. So bombing from 20,000 feet or 10,000 feet has an impact and it looks worse to us than people on the ground. That’s one issue we have to deal with,” Brokaw said.

“It’s not pinpoint killing, but massive destruction hoping that you will interdict the command and control apparatus. They have been able to go into the hills in some way and have this uncanny ability to reinvent themselves also. If we strike them so hard, that goes out into the wider Islamic community. Inevitably, young men say I’m going to join the forces and it becomes a recruiting tool for ISIS. It’s a tricky piece. What most people say is we got started way too late. This moving out of Syria and into Iraq for sometime. The time to hit them was when they were on the move before they got themselves positioned in Iraq and had taken over.”

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Air-Sharia: ‘Moderate’ UAE, U.S. ‘Anti-IS Ally’, and Its Worldview

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Andrew G. Bostom

Last night, with great fanfare, it was announced that U.S. airstrikes on the Islamic State, focusing on the city of Raqqah, Syria were “joined” by five regional “moderate Sunni Arab allies,” namely the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrein, and Qatar. The UAE was singled out, perhaps because of its recently reported air strikes on jihadist militias in Libya.

London Telegraph analyst David Blair, however, provided this note of caution about the potential extent of UAE involvement:

But the UAE shares the traditional Arab reluctance to join Western-led military offensives. Whether its air force is carrying out combat sorties in Syria is unclear. If not, the UAE’s role may be confined to opening its air space and allowing the US to use al-Minhad military air base near Dubai.

While we withhold our collective breathless anticipation to learn which significant IS (or other “un-Islamic” jihad terrorist) targets the crack UAE pilots have destroyed—or “allowed” our own brave U.S. pilots to destroy—assessing the authentic “moderate” Islamic Weltanschauung of our Emirati allies, is a sobering experience.

Fortunately, the combined efforts (largely) of our own U.S. Department of State (USDOS, here, here), and Congressional Research Service, render clear understanding of the UAE’s Sharia-based worldview a straightforward task. What these reports reveal, in summary, is that the UAE is a Sharia-supremacist Muslim state, and a thoroughly anti-democratic despotism, even beyond the application of Islamic law, per se.

Briefly, here are salient examples of the UAE’s unmollified Sharia supremacism—and its predictable consequences for women and non-Muslims—derived (mostly verbatim) from the USDOS (here, here) reports.

  • The constitution declares that Islam is the official religion of all seven of the constituent emirates of the federal union and defines all citizens as Muslims. 
  • The penal code allows men to use physical means, including violence, at their discretion against female and minor family members. Thus: “Domestic abuse against women, including spousal abuse, remained a problem. There were reports that employers raped or sexually assaulted foreign domestic workers. These cases rarely went to court, and those that did had a low conviction rate. In sharia courts, which are primarily responsible for civil matters between Muslims, the extremely high burden of proof for a rape case contributed to a low conviction rate. In addition, female victims of rape or other sexual crimes faced the possibility of prosecution for consensual sex instead of receiving assistance from government authorities.” 
  • There is no freedom of conscience. Conversion from Islam to another religion is not recognized (and no data are available detailing the number of conversions). The legal punishment for conversion from Islam is death. Apostasy is criminalized by the UAE through the incorporation of the concept of hudud crimes (i.e., those demanding mandatory and draconian punishments, such as death) under Sharia into its Penal Code. Those crimes include adultery, apostasy, murder, theft, highway robbery that involves killing, and a false accusation of committing adultery. Article 1 of the Penal Code provides that Islamic law applies to hudud crimes, the acceptance of blood money, and homicide. In addition, article 66 states that among the “original punishments” under the law are the punishments of hudud crimes, including by imposing the death penalty. 
  • There is no freedom of speech/communication about religion (or politics; see later, below). While the law permits Muslims to proselytize non-Muslims, it prohibits efforts to convert Muslims to any other faith. The government prohibits proselytizing and the distribution of non-Islamic religious literature under penalty of criminal prosecution, imprisonment, and deportation. The law prohibits proselytizing for any religion other than Islam. The government sometimes threatens to revoke the residence permits of persons suspected of proselytizing for a religion other than Islam. The law also provides penalties for using the Internet to preach against Islam, proselytize Muslims, “abuse” a holy shrine or ritual of any religion, insult any religion, and incite someone to commit sin or contravene “family values.” 
  • The government annually publishes a list of foreign residents who have converted to Islam. As the government does not recognize or permit conversion from Islam to another religion, churches recognized converts from all religions except Islam. Many non-Muslim women faced strong societal pressure to convert to Islam, especially upon marriage to a Muslim. 
  • The government does not permit instruction in any religion other than Islam in public schools. 
  • Islamic studies are mandatory in public schools and in private schools serving Muslim children. 
  • The law prohibits churches from erecting bell towers or displaying crosses on the outside of their premises. 
  • There are no public Jewish synagogues, or Hindu or Buddhist temples in the UAE despite the presence of foreign workers from these faith groups in the Emirates. 
  • The law requires Muslims and non-Muslims to refrain from eating, drinking, and smoking in public during fasting hours in the month of Ramadan. 
  • The law prohibits black magic, sorcery, and incantations, which are punishable by a prison term ranging from six months to three years and deportation. 
  • The law provides for corporal punishment for sexual relations and pregnancy outside of marriage. 
  • Under sharia individuals who engage in consensual same-sex sexual conduct are subject to the death penalty. Article 177 of Dubai’s penal code allows for up to a 10-year prison sentence for consensual sex.

Consistent with the liberty-crushing practices of the UAE’s despotic government, enshrined into “civil law,” as well as the Sharia, are prohibitions on criticism of the ruling elite, the formation of any political parties, and “whatever is deemed derogatory to Islam,” or “supportive of Israeli government positions.” Regarding the latter, unbridled, virulent Islamic Jew-hatred of course is under no similar “legal” constraint. For example, citing the familiar canonical hadith of Jew-annihilation, allegedly spoken by Islam’s prophet Muhammad (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985) to usher in the messianic age, a UAE “professor,” Mustafa Muslim from The University of Sharija, intoned:

If the Jews were scattered throughout the world, how could we find them in order to fight them? The war between us and the Jews is a religious war. This is not a war over a path, a land or anything like that. It is part of the Koran that was given at Mecca, before the Muslims even met the Jews …(The Israelites) have spread all over the world. Now Allah gathers them in this land. He brings them in groups from countries all over the world in order to fulfill Allah’s universal law: “Judgment Day will come when the Muslims fight the Jews, and the stone and the tree say, ‘Oh, Muslim, O servant of Allah, there is Jew behind me. Come and kill him.’”

Notwithstanding this Jew-murder-inciting commentary by one of its faculty, The University of Sharija’s website, under Visitor Information, states,

The Emirate of Sharjah is renowned for its vibrant multicultural ambiance, diverse museums, reflecting both rich cultural heritage and contemporary artwork, and a charming blend of historical and modern architectural sites.

Moreover, foreign “temporary” workers suffer brutal—at times lethal—abuses in the UAE:

It was relatively common for employers to subject migrant workers, predominantly from South and East Asia and employed in construction and domestic work, to conditions indicative of forced labor, such as nonpayment of wages, withholding passports, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. Employers routinely subjected domestic workers to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; in a few cases, such abuse led to death….[E]mployers routinely held employees’ passports, thus restricting their freedom of movement. In some cases employers reportedly prevented domestic workers from leaving the country by withholding their passports. Upon arrival in the country, employers required some foreign workers to sign contracts that had lower salaries or involved a different type of work than was stated in the original contracts signed in their country of origin, a practice known as “contract switching.”

Finally, it is unsurprising the ruling, unelected UAE despotism has also cracked down upon U.S. (and other Western) democracy-promotion groups trying to operate within the Emirates, and these repressive actions have engendered scant protest from the U.S., loathe to confront its “anti-IS ally.”

 

 

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Administration ‘Aligning’ Policy with Land-Mine Treaty Instead of Signing, Sending to Senate

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Obama administration announced this morning that it is “aligning” U.S. policy with the Ottawa Convention, an anti-mine pact that House Armed Services Committee leaders previously warned could tie the hands of the military.

Signing the 1997 treaty, which 160 countries have signed, would be unlikely to pass the Senate, so the White House instead announced changes to the country’s anti-personnel land mine policy.

National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the U.S. would ”not use APL outside the Korean Peninsula; not assist, encourage, or induce anyone outside the Korean Peninsula to engage in activity prohibited by the Ottawa Convention; and undertake to destroy APL stockpiles not required for the defense of the Republic of Korea.”

“These measures build on our June 2014 announcement that the United States will not produce or otherwise acquire any anti-personnel munitions that are not compliant with the Ottawa Convention, including to replace such munitions as they expire in the coming years,” Hayden said in a statement.

“Even as we take these further steps, the unique circumstances on the Korean Peninsula and our commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea preclude us from changing our anti-personnel landmine policy there at this time. We will continue our diligent efforts to pursue solutions that would be compliant with and ultimately allow us to accede to the Ottawa Convention while ensuring our ability to meet our alliance commitments to the Republic of Korea.”

In March, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey called land mines “an important tool in the arsenal of the armed forces of the United States,” stressing that tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased. The Defense Department prepared a 30-page classified report back then on the dangers of signing the land-mine ban.

Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. James Kirby said in a statement this morning that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel “fully supports” today’s administration action.

“The department will not use anti-personnel landmines outside the Korean Peninsula; will not assist, encourage, or induce others outside the Korean Peninsula to engage in activity prohibited by the Ottawa Convention; and will undertake steps to begin the destruction of APLs not required for the defense of South Korea,” Kirby said.

The administration announced in June that it would no longer produce or acquire land mines, leading congressional leaders to predict that President Obama would take unilateral action to commit the U.S. to the treaty bypassing the Senate.

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U.S. Launches First Allied Airstrikes to Hit ISIS Targets in Syria

Monday, September 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Tonight the United States and five Arab partner countries launched the first round of airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria. Those five Arab partners include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and other countries. Jordan and Bahrain have also joined the assault. They are all majority Sunni countries. ISIS is a salafist movement, which is considered an offshoot of Sunni Islam.

Earlier today, a handful of US airstrikes against ISIS targets in Iraq took out a few trucks.

Tonight’s strikes are the first conducted inside Syrian territory.

The airstrikes include US Air Force planes as well as cruise missiles from US Navy ships. It also includes aircraft from the Arab partner countries.

The strikes target about 20 ISIS command and control sites inside Syria, based on intelligence reportedly gathered over the past few weeks.

Update: The Obama administration is already telling reporters that after the initial heavy assault, the effort will be scaled back.

 

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Did Leon Panetta Lie About Hillary Clinton Wanting to Arm the Syrian Rebels?

Monday, September 22nd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta tossed President Obama under the bus Sunday night on the Islamic State.

On the season premiere of 60 Minutes, Panetta lamented the current state of Iraq. He said that Obama should have left U.S. troops there longer, to create more leverage over now former Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki.

Panetta even said that he, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, pretty much the entire Obama national security team wanted to arm Syria’s rebels. But President Obama disagreed, and would not allow it to happen.

“The real key was how can we develop a leadership group among the opposition that would be able to take control? And my view was to have leverage to do that, we would have to provide the weapons and the training in order for them to really be willing to work with us in that effort,” the former Obama administration official added.

Pelley observed that Obama’s national security team was “virtually unanimous” on the need to arm Syrian rebels – advice the president ignored. Panetta kindly conceded that Obama was concerned over where those weapons provided to Syrian rebels might end up, but the former CIA director summed his own position as, “You have to begin somewhere.”

“I think that would’ve helped,” Panetta said of the aborted plan to arm moderate opposition in Syria. “And I think in part, we pay the price for not doing that in what we see happening with ISIS.”

That’s about as close as we’ll get to seeing a serious Democrat directly blame Obama for the rise of ISIS.

But there’s a problem with Panetta’s version of history. Hillary Clinton pre-emptively disagreed with it. Take at look at this clip from February 2012 — and 60 Minutes.

Wyatt Andrews interviewed then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton specifically on the subject of arming the Syrian rebels. Clinton was nonplussed about the whole idea.

“Well, first of all, we really don’t know who it is that would be armed,” Clinton said. “We have met some of the people from the Syrian National Council. They’re not inside Syria. This is not Libya where you had a base of operations in Benghazi, where you had people who were representing the entire opposition to Libya, who were on the road meeting with me, rather, constantly meeting with others. You could get your arms around what it is you were being asked to do, and with whom. We don’t have any clarity on that.”

Andrews interjected, “Madame Secretary, what’s the fear of arming the rebels?”

Clinton replied: “Well, first of all as I just said, what are we going to arm them with and against what? We’re not going to bring tanks over the borders of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. That’s not going to happen. So maybe at best you can smuggle in, you know, automatic weapons. Maybe some other weapons that you could get in. To whom? Where do you go? You can’t get into Homs. Where do you go? And to whom are you delivering them?”

Clinton was far from finished outlining the problems with arming the Syrian rebels: “We know al Qaeda – Zawahiri is supporting the opposition in Syria. Are we supporting al Qaeda in Syria? Hamas is now supporting the opposition. Are we supporting Hamas in Syria? So I think, Wyatt, despite the great pleas that we hear from those people who are being ruthlessly assaulted by Assad, you don’t see uprisings across Syria the way you did in Libya. You don’t see militias forming in places where the Syrian military is not, trying to get to Homs. You don’t see that, Wyatt. So if you’re a military planner or if you’re a Secretary of State and you’re trying to figure out do you have the elements of an opposition that is actually viable, that we don’t see. We see immense human suffering that is heartbreaking and a stain on the honor of those security forces who are doing it.”

That’s clear. That was February 2012. Six months later, Obama did the opposite of what Panetta claimed Sunday night, and signed an order to secretly arm the Syrian rebels. If Clinton’s opinion from February had not changed, then Obama was arming the rebels against the objections of his own secretary of State, and in direct conflict with what Panetta now says was Clinton’s opinion. She was for it, he says. But Hillary Clinton clearly argued against it.

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U.S. Jury Holds Arab Bank Liable for Serving Hamas

Monday, September 22nd, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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The Jerusalem Post reports:

In a historic verdict, an 11 member jury on Monday found Arab Bank liable for knowingly providing financial services to Hamas – the first time a financial institution has ever been held civilly liable for supporting terrorism.

The Arab Bank trial took place in a federal court in Brooklyn for the last five weeks and revisited some of Hamas’ worst terror attacks, including the August 2001 Sbarro suicide bombing in Jerusalem killing or wounding 130 and a range of 24 horrid terror attacks during the Second Intifada.

The verdict was 10 years in the making, and still may be subject to Supreme Court review.

The central question was whether the 11 member jury would find that Arab Bank knew or should have known that its account holders were using it to transfer “blood money” to Hamas for terror operations – or whether it checked for suspicious transactions as best it could, and simply imperfectly missed them.

On Thursday, during closing arguments, Plaintiffs’ attorney C. Tab Turner told the jury they were in a very special situation: “a situation that no jury in the history of this country has ever been in.”

He continued, “Never has anyone sat on a case of finance terrorism, with issues like you have to decide in this case.”

“You have more power today to change the way that this world operates, the world of banking operates, than anyone else on the face of the earth,” said Turner.

Gary M. Osen, another plaintiffs’ attorney responded, saying, “The jury has found Arab Bank responsible for knowingly supporting terrorism. It found Arab Bank complicit in the deaths and grievous injuries inflicted on dozens of Americans.”

Most disturbingly:

According to an unclassified U.S. State Department memorandum released after the jury began deliberations, “In 2003, the United States provided evidence to Saudi authorities that the Saudi al Quds Intifadah Committee (“Committee”) founded in October 2000, was forwarding millions of dollars in funds to the families of Palestinians engaged in terrorist activities, including those of suicide bombers.”

“The timing of the State Department’s disclosure raises deeply troubling questions,” said Plaintiffs’ trial counsel Michael Elsner, who requested the records. “Obviously, the jury reached the same conclusion about the Saudi payments in finding Arab Bank guilty for its support of Hamas, but this last minute disclosure of this evidence six years after we requested it and hours after the jury began its deliberations is telling.”

“We don’t expect the State Department to take sides in a civil case, but by withholding critical evidence until the jury began its deliberations, the State Department continues its unfortunate pattern of siding with foreign interests against American victims of terrorism,” said Elsner.

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ISIS Forces Sweeping Through Northern Syria as Thousands Flee

Sunday, September 21st, 2014 - by Rick Moran

Forces of the Islamic State in Syria have mounted a huge offensive with columns of heavy armor  sweeping through the Kurdish region of northern Syria near the Turkish border.

Their goal is apparently capturing the strategic border town of Ayn al-Arab, and more than 60 towns and villages in the region have fallen to ISIS forces in the past few days.

This has unleashed a nearly unprecedented wave of refugees streaming into Turkey. More than 60,00 women, children, and old people crossed the border into Turkey in the 24-hour period from Friday to Saturday, overwhelming aid resources.

Kurdish forces in the region are falling back while others are making their way to the front from Turkey to join their comrades.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Since Thursday, Islamic State rebels, backed by tanks and other heavy armor, have seized control of more than 60 villages near the regional capital of Ayn al-Arab, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group. The extremist insurgents, also known as ISIS or ISIL have also forced the evacuation of about 100 other villages, Kurdish field commanders and Turkish officials said.

Turkish television on Sunday continued to broadcast footage of thousands of Kurds, many on foot, crossing the border into Turkey to escape Islamic State. The U.N. refugee agency said most of the refugees were Kurdish women, children and the elderly. Hundreds of Kurdish fighters and volunteers were traveling in the other direction to Syria to shore up their brethren’s defenses, Turkish media reported.

Kurdish militia in Syria, under the banner of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Defense Units, or YPG, said dozens of Kurds had been killed in fighting to defend Ayn al-Arab, called Kobani in Kurdish. They said the jihadists had advanced to within 9 kilometers of Kobani and appealed for international intervention to help their outgunned forces.

The call was joined by one from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a rebel group closely affiliated with the YPG, for the youth of Turkey’s mostly Kurdish southeast to rise up and rush to save Kobani. The PKK, listed as a terror organization by Washington and Turkey, has spent three decades fighting for autonomy for Turkey’s Kurds.

“Supporting this heroic resistance is not just a debt of honor of the Kurds but all Middle East people. Just giving support is not enough, the criterion must be taking part in the resistance,” the PKK said on its website. “ISIL fascism must drown in the blood it spills…The youth of north Kurdistan (southeast Turkey) must flow in waves to Kobani.”

Islamic State’s progress toward the Turkish border again showed the group’s military strength. It seized Kurdish territory in Syria even as French warplanes launched their first attacks Friday against the group’s positions hundreds of miles away in northeastern Iraq.

The move on Ayn al-Arab follows the seizure by Islamic State insurgents this past week of a strategic bridge over the Euphrates River. The capture enabled the rebels to march on the city from the west and rain down artillery shells on the city’s streets, said Khaled Issa, a representative of the Syrian Kurdish administration in Paris.

The timing is almost too coincidental, as I’ll explore after the page break.

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House Dem Slams Obama’s ISIS Plan: ‘Arming Semi-Bad Guys to Kill Barbarically-Bad Guys’

Friday, September 19th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

It’s fair to say that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver is a critic of President Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels to fight ISIS. He voted against the plan, and then he appeared on MSNBC to trash the plan.

Cleaver called the congressional vote authorizing arming the rebels a vote “to arm semi-bad buys to kill some barbarically-bad buys to teach all the world that bad guys should not kill.” Cleaver pointed out that we don’t even know who many of the rebels are or why they’re fighting.

Having said that, Cleaver says he has no plans to spend the next month “bashing” Obama because the president “had no good options.”

Plus, the president is a Democrat and there is an election on.

Cleaver didn’t say that last part. It was implied.

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