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US Accidentally Airdrops Weapons to ISIS

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This will go down as a moment in the war with ISIS that has little strategic meaning, but may have significant psychological meaning.

The US airdropped a cache of weapons, intended for our Kurish allies in Syria, on territory that the Islamic State controls.

The terrorists have published video showing the weapons while they brag about having them.

The weapons, in the grand scheme of a war that already has ISIS driving around in American tanks and using Howitzers made by the American defense industry, don’t amount to all that much. A grenade kit for making lots of those, and a few boxes of rocket launcher rounds. That cache by itself won’t turn the tide of the war.

But the Obama government is already reeling from its pitiful response to the Ebola outbreak on one hand, and has earned distrust for its handling of the US border and for quietly planning to issue tens of millions of guest worker cards after the elections on the other.

At home Obama’s government is either ridiculed, disliked, distrusted or dismissed. Now it’s dropping weapons into a war zone and hurting our allies there twice — by misplacing the weapons themselves, and by showing America’s unreliability as an ally.

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Pentagon Confirms One Bundle of Arms to Kurds ‘Didn’t Make It’ as ISIS Claims Airdrop Seizure

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
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ISIS released video of what it says is a seized airdrop of arms and supplies that the U.S. intended for Kurdish forces trying to keep the Syrian border town of Kobane.

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that out of 28 bundles dropped ”we know of at least one that didn’t make it.”

The video includes an ISIS fighter rifling through a chest of grenades.

Kirby just told reporters that ”one bundle did not make it into the right hands,” but as the video was just released “we just don’t know” if U.S. arms were dropped into the hands of ISIS.

“We don’t know whether it’s authentic; you’ve got to give us a bit of time to figure it out,” he said.

The bundles included small arms and medical supplies.

When asked if they should be dropping aid rather than pressuring Turkey to simply let supplies come across the border crossing, Kirby replied, “Was there a better way?”

Kirby stressed that even if ISIS got one bundle they got 27 through to the Kurds. “I think that’s a pretty good record of success from the air.”

“I think we’re going to keep our options open to use that delivery mechanism in the future,” he added.

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U.S. Attorney General Blocked Aid to Israel, Cost Soldier’s Life

Monday, October 20th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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When Israeli Sergeant Oron Shaul was captured by Hamas terrorists in the thick of this past summer’s Operation Protective Sheild, the Palestinian terror organization used the sergeant’s Facebook page to broadcast their sick achievement to his family and friends. It should have been easy for the IDF to electronically trace the gloating terrorists, but it wasn’t. Why not? Apparently the U.S. attorney general got in the way.

Israel issued a request for Facebook to turn over IP address information, and the Justice Department got to work. In the meantime, the FBI got the bureaucratic wheels rolling with the U.S. Attorney’s office in what should have been a cut and dry procedure that, in a few short hours, was inexplicably shut down. The Jewish Press reports:

Suddenly, and to the shock of the prosecutors working feverishly to obtain the information that possibly could reveal where Shaul (or his body) was being held, a shocking email arrived from the FBI. An email that spelled a death sentence for what many believed to be the best chance of finding Shaul and his kidnappers.

Thank you for your effort, input and assistance. I regret to inform you we have been denied approval to move forward with legal process.We were told by our management we need a MLAT [Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty] in order to continue to assist our partner with the request in question.

The MLAT requires a standardized process to wind its way through legal and diplomatic protocols and usually take weeks to process. They are used, [Steve] Emerson explained, for non-pressing legal matters in which the United States or another country is carrying out some legal process, such as a prosecution of a citizen in another country. They are not used in urgent, life-or-death or counter-terrorism scenarios, “especially with a close ally such as Israel,” Emerson was told.

…Three days after the stand down email was sent, the IDF concluded that Oron Shaul was dead. His body has never been recovered. Hamas is interested in using whatever parts of Shaul’s body they claim to have to swap for terrorist prisoners held by Israel.

According to Emerson’s investigation, those involved in the legal procedures in the U.S. believe the stop order was given by the attorney general’s office.

Add this to the list of reasons why Eric Holder stepped down just in time. It may also be on the list of reasons why Israel is choosing to wean itself from its strong dependency on American military aid.

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Muhammad and Islam’s Sex Slaves

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Once again, Islamic State Muslims are pointing to Islam in order to justify what the civilized world counts as atrocities.

According to an October 13 report in the Telegraph,

Islamic State jihadists have given detailed theological reasons justifying why they have taken thousands of women from the Iraqi Yazidi minority and sold them into sex slavery.

A new article in the Islamic State English-language online magazine Dabiq not only admits the practice but justifies it according to the theological rulings of early Islam.

“After capture, the Yazidi women and children were then divided according to the Sharia amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated,” the article says.

As for “theological reasons” for sex slavery “according to the Sharia,” these are legion—from male Muslim clerics, to female Muslim activists.   Generally they need do no more than cite the clear words of Koran 4:3, which permit Muslims to copulate with female captives of war, or ma malakat aymanukum, “what”—not whom—“your right hands possess.”

The article continues:

But most of it [Islamic State “article” or fatwa] is devoted to theological justifications for Islamic State behaviour, citing early clerics and the practices of the Prophet Mohammed and his Companions during the early years of Islamic expansion.

Indeed, while many are now aware of the Koran’s and by extension Sharia’s justification for slaves, sexual or otherwise, fewer are willing to embrace the fact that the prophet of Islam himself kept and copulated with concubines conquered during the jihad.

One little-known story is especially eye-opening:

During Muhammad’s jihad on the Jews of Khaybar, he took for himself from among the spoils of war one young woman, a teenager, Safiya bint Huyay, after hearing of her beauty.  (Earlier the prophet had bestowed her on another Muslim jihadi, but when rumor of her beauty reached him, the prophet reneged and took her for himself.)

Muhammad “married” Safiya hours after he had her husband, Kinana, tortured to death in order to reveal hidden treasure.  And before this, the prophet’s jihadis slaughtered Safiya’s father and brothers.

While Islamic apologists have long tried to justify this account—often by saying that Muhammad gave her the honor of “marriage” as opposed to being a concubine and that she opted to convert to Islam—they habitually fail to cite what Islamic sources record, namely Baladhuri’s ninth century Kitab Futuh al-Buldan (“Book of Conquests”).

According to this narrative, after the death of Muhammad, Safiya confessed that “Of all men, I hated the prophet the most—for he killed my husband, my brother, and my father,” before “marrying” (or, less euphemistically, raping) her… Keep reading

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Obama Throws the Free Syrian Army Under the Bus

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 - by Patrick Poole

For the past three years, the Obama administration has hailed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as the saviors of Syria — the “vetted moderate” force that was going to topple the butcher Assad. Because of that, the administration provided training, money and weapons to prop up the FSA (the word is they sent lawyers too).

But according to a report last night by Hannah Allam at McClatchy, Obama is now throwing the FSA under bus:

John Allen, the retired Marine general in charge of coordinating the U.S.-led coalition’s response to the Islamic State, confirmed Wednesday what Syrian rebel commanders have complained about for months – that the United States is ditching the old Free Syrian Army and building its own local ground force to use primarily in the fight against the Islamist extremists.

“At this point, there is not formal coordination with the FSA,” Allen told reporters at the State Department.

That was perhaps the bluntest answer yet to the question of how existing Syrian rebel forces might fit into the U.S. strategy to fight the Islamic State. Allen said the United States’ intent is to start from scratch in creating a home-grown, moderate counterweight to the Islamic State.

For most of the three years of the Syrian conflict, the U.S. ground game hinged on rebel militias that are loosely affiliated under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Their problems were no secret: a lack of cohesion, uneven fighting skills and frequent battlefield coordination with the al Qaida loyalists of the Nusra Front.

Last month I reported here at PJ Media about the coordination of the “vetted moderate” FSA with Jabhat al-Nusra and even ISIS. That coordination was later confirmed by a senior FSA commander.

Those reports came just as Congress was considering a vote to spend another $500 million to train their administration’s “vetted moderate” partners. That funding was approved by both the House and the Senate before Congress left town for the election break. With Obama cutting the FSA loose less than a month later, those who voted against the funding are going to look like geniuses.

Now that the FSA is safely under the bus it remains to be seen exactly who Obama is going to enlist to train and fight. Most of those who can fight are already in the fight. What are they going to do now, put out an ad on Craig’s List?

As one observer noted last night, Syria watchers should keep an eye out for the following ad showing up in the help wanted section of Middle East newspapers:

Wanted, Multicultural, non-sectarian, Jeffersonian democrats interested in military careers. English a plus. Drug test required.

Under Obama’s bus must be getting crowded…

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New Caption Contest: Is This Obama’s ‘JV Team?’

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Myra Adams
Credit: Drudge Report

Credit: Drudge Report

Back in January, David Remick had an extensive interview with President Obama in the New Yorker Magazine. This is where Obama famously said the following about the Islamic terror group we now know as ISIS:

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.

That is how the phrase “JV team” made its way into today’s foreign policy discussions. (In case you needed a reference.) Now, it has become painfully obvious that ISIS is the varsity and Obama’s team is the JV.

These unfortunate circumstances were revealed, once again, in the following headlines:

Turkey denies U.S. base deal in place to battle ISIS (Drudge)

The Obama Administration has a kiss and tell problem  (Foreign Policy.com and below)

In its excitement to trumpet the coalition against the Islamic State, the U.S. is outing partners before they’re ready to go steady.

Drudge linked to the above Foreign Policy piece accompanied by the photo that is the subject of our contest.

Your mission is to write an appropriate overall caption.

Additionally, here are some questions that you are encouraged to answer:

What is President Obama saying?

What is John Kerry daydreaming about?

What is Susan Rice thinking?

Bonus Question: Since we can assume the flowers are bugged, what did the buggers learn from this meeting?

Now, moving ahead, here are the winners from our last photo caption contest entitled, Capitol Dome Restoration Project to ‘Stop Deterioration.’

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

The grand prize goes to Allan Crowson for this zinger:

Guy on scaffolding: “Pelosi says we’ve got to cover this thing to find out what’s in it.”

The runners-up were:

Kuce for: The perfect political metaphor. If something is broken, cover it up and claim you’re fixing it.

And Zip Code won twice for:

Man on ledge talking,—- That’s one small step from the scaffolding, One giant makeover for America.

They don’t mind working till dawn’s early light, knowing the flag will still be there.

Yes, the flag is still there and we will stand by our flag — comforted and secure in the knowledge that the team pictured in our new caption contest photo is in charge of America’s foreign policy.  (Yikes, it’s time for my meds!)

 

 

 

 

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New Name for Battle Against Islamic State: Operation Inherent Resolve

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

The Pentagon finally has a name for the operation against the Islamic State: Inherent Resolve.

A press release from U.S. Central Command said the name “is intended to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community.”

“It also symbolizes the willingness and dedication of coalition members to work closely with our friends in the region and apply all available dimensions of national power necessary – diplomatic, informational, military, economic – to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.”

At the Pentagon this afternoon, press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby wouldn’t confirm reports that the Defense Department had voted against the op name before relenting.

“But it is — that’s the name. It’s out there. And that’s what we’re calling it, and now we’re moving forward,” he said.

Inherent Resolve will be retroactively applied back to Aug. 8.

“I mean, the name, we believe — first of all, we — we talked about this name with our coalition partners, as well, you know, so that — that everybody had visibility on it and that there — and that there was a general sense of — of approval of it,” Kirby said.

“And what it says, what it means, and for us what it means is that we are going to stay resolved and determined to get after this threat. We’re going to do it in as fulsome a way as we can. And we’re going to do it for as long as required,” he continued.

“And the last thing I’d say is, we’re going to do it in partnership. And I think that’s where the inherent comes in, in the name. We’re going to do it in partnership with other nations, and there are some 60 now that are involved in this effort in various forms and fashions, but it’s very much a multinational, multilateral approach. And I think that’s what the name signifies.”

 

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5 Key Implications if Baghdad Falls to ISIS

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Patrick Poole

Reports that ISIS has surrounded Baghdad and is quickly closing in on the Baghdad International Airport (armed with MANPADS, no less) are troubling. Baghdad itself has been rocked by a series of VBIED attacks in the past 24 hours by ISIS, indicating that the battle for Baghdad has begun.

The possible fall of Baghdad could be the most significant development in the War on Terror since 9/11. And yet many among the D.C. foreign policy “smart set” were not long ago mocking such a scenario.

So what happens if such a situation comes to pass? Here are five key implications (by no means limited to these) if Baghdad falls to ISIS:

1) ISIS will not be claiming to the be the Islamic State, they will BE the Islamic State

Symbolism doesn’t matter much to your average post-modern Westerner, but it still does in the Islamic world, and the capture of Baghdad will hold enormous value. For 500 years Baghdad was the seat of the Abbasid caliphate, and its fall to ISIS would allow the terrorist group to reclaim that mantle. Such an event will electrify the Middle East and beyond, with many Muslims holding firmly to the belief that the abolition of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924 by Ataturk was one of the key contributing factors in the decline of the Muslim world over the past century. No amount of State Department hashtags or tweets, or pronouncements by Sheikh Barack Obama and Imam John Kerry that there is nothing Islamic about the Islamic State, will be able to negate any claims by ISIS to be the revived caliphate.

2) The Great Reconciliation between jihadist groups will begin

Much of the Obama administration’s anti-ISIS efforts have been trying to leverage other “vetted moderate” groups in Syria against ISIS, with some “smart set” thinkers even advocating engaging “moderate Al-Qaeda” to that end. We are already seeing jihadist groups gravitating towards ISIS, such as the announcement this week by Pakistani Taliban leaders pledging their allegiance to the Islamic State. Other groups of younger jihadis are breaking away from Al-Qaeda franchises in North Africa and defecting to ISIS. Despite bitter rivalries between ISIS and other jihadist groups in Syria, namely Al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, these other groups will be hard-pressed to deny ISIS’ caliphate claims if they do take Baghdad. In that part of the world, nothing succeeds like success. If Baghdad falls, jihadist groups, some of whom have been openly hostile or remained neutral, will quickly align behind ISIS. And the horrid sound coming out of Washington, D.C., will be of foreign policy paradigms imploding.

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Turkey Joins the War! Wait…Against Its Own People?

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Turkey chose a side in the ISIS-Kurd-Syria-Iraq war today.

It bombed its own people — Kurds who live inside Turkey’s borders but are independence-minded.

(Reuters) – War against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraqthreatened on Tuesday to unravel the delicate peace in neighbouring Turkey after the Turkish air force bombed Kurdish fighters furious over Ankara’s refusal to help protect their kin in Syria.

Turkey’s banned PKK Kurdish militant group accused Ankara of violating a two-year-old cease-fire with the air strikes, on the eve of a deadline set by the group’s jailed leader to salvage a peace process aimed at halting a three-decades-long insurgency.

The Kurds represent the only credible and legitimately non-Islamist anti-ISIS fighting force on the ground in Syria and Iraq. They have not folded in the face of fights, as the Iraqi military has repeatedly. They also have not aligned or made any peace with ISIS, as various flavors of the Syrian rebellion have.

Kurds also live in Turkey, where they are largely oppressed and their political groups are considered terrorists. Building up the Kurds to fight against ISIS right up to the Syria-Turkey border therefore creates another challenge to fighting ISIS coalition-style. Turkey wants no part of any moves that strengthen the Kurds anywhere. America wants a strong Kurdish force to fight ISIS. Turkey disagrees. That’s a fundamental problem for the United States.

Turkey is there in the region, while America so far just drops bomb while flying over it.

kurdistan-regions

Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran may not agree on much, but they all agree that they don’t want Kurdistan to become a country.

Kurdistan as seen in the map above very roughly overlays the territory now occupied by the Islamic State.

isis-map-iraq

As you can see in the second map, Kurdistan or ISIS could become a key energy power if either were to become a bonafide state. Both would have to accomplish that by dismembering Iraq and Syria, along with some of Turkey’s present territory, at least. Neither would have much of a problem with that. Iraqi Kurds at least pay lip service to Baghdad, but Syria’s and especially Turkey’s Kurds want their independence. Iraq’s Kurds would likely join them if either were able to carve out Kurdistan as a country.

While ISIS does not yet threaten the increasingly Islamist Turkey, dreams of Kurdistan as a nation-state for the Kurdish people definitely do, at least in Ankara’s point of view. And in Tehran’s.

So, with ISIS threatening to take control of Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border, but with Kurds fighting heroically to keep that city out of ISIS hands, Turkey elects to bomb the Kurds living within Turkey, not ISIS over on the Syrian side of the border.

At the same time, Turkey is destroying what’s left of the tattered credibility of one Susan Rice, national security adviser to the President of the United States.

Ankara might, at some point, allow US use of our bases within Turkey to battle ISIS. But that’s only likely once Turkey is assured that Kurdistan will not grow into a country by battling ISIS on its own. Who is in a position to give Turkey such assurances — President Nine Iron, the champion of hot air who heroically battles climate change between Hollywood fundraisers?

Bottom line: The Islamic State is here to stay.

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They Refuse to Wake Up

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave a speech Monday.

The secretary was in Peru, where in a few weeks there will be a United Nations conclave on “climate change.” The data says that global temperatures actually have not risen in the past 15 years or so. The arctic ice that Al Gore predicted would have melted by now is growing. The climate doomsayers’ predictions have not come to pass, so much so that they have had to change their language. Out with “global warming,” in with the more generic, and harder to track scientifically, “climate change.”

The climate always changes. Always has, always will. No matter what humans do or don’t do.

But you’re dreaming if you think that the Obama administration or anyone who works for it will ever acknowledge any of that.

The region is, we are told by Hagel’s boss, in sufficient turmoil that thousands of migrants have made the choice to leave their homes in Central America and make the hazardous journey north to enter the United States illegally.

The world is certainly in sufficient turmoil that it ought to have Hagel’s full attention. Russian troops continue their proxy war in Ukraine. Ukraine is a non-NATO country, but it is an American ally. Our military conducts war exercises with theirs.

The Middle East and Africa might also have Hagel’s attention. At this moment, the United States has deployed roughly equal numbers of troops to fight against the Islamic State in what were Syria and Iraq, and to fight Ebola in western Africa.

The Islamic State threat rose for many reasons. Among them is the rapidity with which President Obama withdrew forces from Iraq, and the stupidity with which he consistently sides with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Throw in the Iranian and North Korean nuclear issues while we’re at it. The world is a dangerous place, with many security threats requiring the Defense secretary’s full focus.

But Hagel revealed in that Peru speech that he is focused on “climate change.”

The Defense secretary addressed the issue during a speech in Peru, as the Pentagon released a comprehensive report on the “national security” challenges posed by rising global temperatures and “extreme weather events.”

Hagel described climate change as a “threat multiplier,” saying it “has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we already confront today — from infectious disease to armed insurgencies — and to produce new challenges in the future.”

The Pentagon’s new report maps out four areas of climate change deemed the most threatening to the U.S. military — rising global temperatures, changing precipitation patterns, more extreme weather and rising sea levels. And it warns about the impact they could have on food and water supplies, the environment and American security itself.

“Our militaries’ readiness could be tested, and our capabilities could be stressed,” Hagel said, addressing a conference of military leaders.

“Could be”? Our military’s readiness is being tested right now, by the threats noted above. Hagel himself has presided not over an increase in readiness, but in a dramatic decrease in the number of troops who wear the American uniform.

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British MPs Vote to Recognize Palestine

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 - by Susan L.M. Goldberg

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BBC News reports:

The House of Commons backed the move “as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution” – although less than half of MPs took part in the vote.

The result, 274 to 12, is symbolic but could have international implications.

Ministers abstained on the vote, on a motion put forward by Labour MP Grahame Morris and amended by former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

…The full motion stated: “That this House believes that the government should recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution.”

Explaining Labour’s support, shadow foreign minister Ian Lucas said it would “strengthen the moderate voices among the Palestinians who want to pursue the path of politics, not the path of violence”.

“This is not an alternative to negotiations. It is a bridge for beginning them,” he said.

Conservative Nicholas Soames said: “I’m convinced that to recognise Palestine is both morally right and is in our national interest.”

Another former foreign secretary, Conservative MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind, said he too wanted to see a two-state solution but added: “Symbolism sometimes has a purpose. It sometimes has a role. But I have to say you do not recognise a state which has not yet got the fundamental ingredients that a state requires if it’s going to carry out its international functions and therefore, at the very least, I would respectfully suggest this motion is premature.”

Britain is now one of over 100 countries who have cast a symbolic vote to recognize the State of Palestine. While the vote carries no real power over foreign policy, it is an undeniable push for a two-state solution in the face of what many see to be a failed peace process on the part of America and Israel.

“That awkward moment when Palestinians praise the old colonialist empire for giving it recognition,” noted Zionist Chloe Valdary commented via social media.

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New York Times Fears ‘Specter’ of ‘Sabotage’ in Iranian Missile Facility Explosion

Friday, October 10th, 2014 - by Scott Ott

“Specter” is a word that means something feared as dangerous or bad. For example, the following headline would reflect proper use of the term.

“Iranian Secrecy About Nuclear Program Raises Specter of First-Strike Capability”

Which is why the headline on the homepage of today’s NYTimes.com jarred me.

“Spectacular Blast at Iranian Base Raises Specter of Sabotage”

Specter of Sabotage“Specter of Sabotage”!?

Lord forbid that someone might have sabotaged Iranian efforts to weaponize and to loft the output of their centrifuges.

Now, if this were some local rag, I’d write it off to the hackery of journalism grads from the second-tier schools — you know, guys like me.

But Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet! This is the New York Greekin’ Times.

Is it really possible that a Times editor, gulping a mug of crème de la crème, in the rush to post the story, with the need to constrain the third deck of the header to 19 characters, settled for “Specter” because “Questions” takes too many letters? (The header on the jump page does use “Questions.”)

Perhaps the word choice came in the quest for alliteration — Spectacular…Specter…Sabotage. Forget the dictionary. That just sounds good.

Certainly, the Times’ editor could not have intended the meaning of this word. A bit of searching shows that previous Times‘ “specter” headlines include…

  • Confronting the Specter of Alzheimers’
  • Two Hospital Networks Agree to Merge, Raising Specter of Costlier Care
  • Candidates Raise Specter of Cheating
  • Behind Microsoft Deal, the Specter of a Nokia Android Phone
  • Unburnable Carbon and the Specter of a Carbon Bubble

Almost all other instances referred to a certain former senator from Pennsylvania, whose name still conjures the specter of betrayal, two years after his death.

So, it seems, the Times knows how to use the term correctly — although that Nokia Android phone better have a death-ray feature to merit its “specter.”

No, I actually imagine the editor cringing in horror as she reads the lead, and ponders the possibility of betrayal within the ranks of the Iranian missile program. How could a saboteur penetrate the security cordon of the Iranian military and intelligence service?

She probably glanced around the newsroom nervously. Are THEY all loyal to us?

Of course, perhaps an editor who uses “specter” to refer to sabotaging the Iranian missile program raises the specter of an Iranian mullah-regime sympathizer on staff at the New York Times.

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ISIS’ European Poster Girls Now Regret Their Most Significant Life Choice

Friday, October 10th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

These 15-year-olds are learning the very hard way that jihadism isn’t a lot of fun.

Samra Kesinovic, 17, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, are believed to be married, pregnant and living in the Islamic State-controlled city of Raqqa in northern Syria, Central European News reports.

Dubbed by Austrian media as the poster girls for jihad, the young friends now believe their lives have been turned upside down by their new lifestyles.

The change of heart is a much different tune than the note they left behind for their parents when they fled back in April, which read: “Don’t look for us. We will serve Allah — and we will die for him.”

They thought life with Mom and Dad was a drag…

For weeks, social media accounts believed to belong to the girls have been posting pictures and information leading many to feel they enjoyed living a life of terror.

Authorities in Austria say this was all an elaborate plan set up by ISIS in order to get people to think the two wanted to be the poster girls for jihad in Syria.

Now they’re saying, “Look for us. We don’t like these animals who are telling us what to do all the time and we don’t want to die here.”

They have contacted their loved ones and told them they are sick of living with the Islamic State jihadis, but they also said they don’t feel they can flee from their unwanted new life because too many people now associate them with ISIS.

Well, that’s because they can’t. And they probably can’t get back into Austria either, since they volunteered for the jihad and are now at least suspected terrorists. Their alleged change of heart could also be an ISIS ruse to get them back into Europe.

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‘If It Wasn’t So Tragic, This Would Almost Be Farce’: McCain on Obama Not Arming Kurds

Friday, October 10th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

“If it wasn’t so tragic,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said of President Obama’s lack of support for the Kurds fighting for Kobane, “this would almost be farce.”

Kurdish officials report ”very, very intense fighting” as ISIS shells the city in its three-week advance, VOA reported. “We will continue resisting against IS terrorists but we need heavy weapons,” Kobane’s defense chief Ismet Hasan said. “If the U.S. can provide us weapons that are capable of eliminating their heavy weapons, like tanks and artillery, and continue air strikes against [the IS], we are confident we will be able to kill them all.”

The YPG fighters in Kobane have even lacked night vision equipment, allowing the better equipped ISIS to attack them in the dark.

“For John Kerry to dismiss the deaths of thousands of people and then our Pentagon touting 14 strikes, 14 strikes, in Kobani or the outskirts, because since we have no one on ground, there is no way of really identifying targets,” McCain told Fox. “And the brave Kurds, and I mean the Peshmerga, are very brave fighters. They don’t have the military capability, the arms and equipment that the ISIS has because ISIS has ours and we refuse to send weapons directly to the Kurds and the Peshmerga so they can fight better.”

McCain said he agrees with Turkey’s request for a no-fly zone, something the Obama administration is not on board with, “because what we are doing is immoral.”

“We are allowing Bashar Assad to destroy the Free Syrian Army. Every time we bomb ISIS, Bashar al Assad moves in and attacks with more intensity,” the senator said.

“By the way, these are the same ones — we are training 5,000 of them. We are going to send them back into Syria to be bombed by Bashar al Assad. This is really as convoluted and as immoral as I have seen the United States of America do.”

John Kerry has appeared to be open to a no-fly zone, while the Pentagon and White House have said it’s not on the table.

McCain noted “we keep hearing there’s a great debate in the White House” over the no-fly zone.

“I have heard that for so many years, it grows tiresome,” he said. “They tell me privately, hey, we are working on it, don’t worry, we’ll get it down, and it never gets done. I’m getting a little cynical.”

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Does Obama Need ‘Time’ to Defeat or Forget ISIS?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

During U.S. President Obama’s televised speech on his strategies to defeat the Islamic State, he said, “Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL” (a reference to the Islamic State, “ISIS” or “IS”).

Now, why is that?

First, we know by “cancer” he is not referring to Islamic ideology—since he does not acknowledge that Islam has anything to do with violence and even banned knowledge of Islamic ideology from being studied by law enforcement and national security communities.

Were he referring to Islamic ideology, the need for “time” would of course be legitimate, to say the least.

No, the cancer he is referring to is the very real, tangible, and temporal Islamic State, which exists in time and space.

But this prompts the following question: Why did it take the United States military three weeks to overthrow the very real and tangible regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003 whereas “it will take time”— years, according to most military analysts — for the U.S. to defeat the Islamic State?

This question becomes more pressing when one considers that the Iraq conquered by the U.S. in less than a month had an actual government and longstanding military and was better organized and consolidated — certainly in comparison to the Islamic State, often described as a “ragtag team of terrorists” that seems to have appeared out of nowhere.

The reason it will take years is because Obama refuses to strike the Islamic State decisively and effectively, specifically by sending in U.S. ground forces — the very forces that were responsible for keeping the Islamic jihadis at bay; the forces he withdrew leading to the rise of the Islamic State; and the forces that he refuses to utilize again, even though they are necessary to decisively crush the “caliphate.”

Obama’s “it will take time” assertion prompts the following prediction: U.S. airstrikes on IS targets will continue to be just enough to pacify those calling for action against the caliphate (“we’re doing what we can”).  The official narrative will be that the Islamic State is gradually being weakened, that victory is a matter of time (remember, “It will take time”).

In the meantime, IS will slowly begin to fade away from the headlines.  After all and unreported in any Western media, soon after pictures and videos of the decapitations of Americans went viral prompting much media attention followed by international shock and outrage, the “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, called for an immediate stop to the videotaping and internet dissemination of such beheadings and other Sharia punishments.

He called on both official channels affiliated with IS as well as unofficial sympathizers and allies on social media to cease posting such pictures and/or video-clips, adding that the Islamic State “would follow any violation of this resolution seriously.”… Keep reading

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Have We Reached Peak ISISmania Yet?

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Patrick Poole

A few thoughts on the current bout of ISISmania and the systemic problems it exposes:

1) ISISmania has created a financial/legal incentive for sources (most of them “shady” to begin with) used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to manufacture info whole-cloth.

This is nothing new. Think “prison snitches.” Various foreign actors are passing along disinformation to us as well, so mountains of BS are being fed into the system from the get-go.

Imagine, for a purely hypothetical example, a member of Congress getting an authentic report from a senior agency official, but the report is later found to have originated with a non-credible source. So the member of Congress who repeated the report was actually correct that the intel had been shared with them — but the information itself wasn’t reliable.

It never should have been shared in the first place, but it’s the member of Congress who ends up with egg on their face when the agency issues its denial. No one, whether politicians or agency officials, wants to later admit they were duped, so erroneous info never gets corrected.

2) There are considerable problems on the collection and analysis sides of intel in both the intelligence community and law enforcement. In fact, very few know how to do collection — and good analysis is basically prohibited these days.

So the BS and disinfo never gets sifted out. It then gets passed on to elected officials, which is some of what we’re seeing. Then you have agencies and the administration selectively manipulating and leaking according to their own respective agendas. This is how the sausage is being made in DC these days.

3) There is only so much media space, and politicians compete with each other for that space.

So they need to come up with more outlandish claims to get a bigger share of that media space. That creates a disincentive to vet the info they get and publicly talk about. No one gets on Greta by saying: “We need to keep a cool head about this stuff.”

4) Because of that, the game of “I got a secret” is more prevalent than ever before.

Those secrets might be complete equine feces, but the desire to be “in the know,” whether they actually are or not, and the temptation to show that you’re “in the know” are strong.

5) Congress has no mechanism to vet what the agencies and administration tells them.

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Hamas-Loving Jimmy Carter Blasts Obama in a New York Times Op-Ed

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Jennifer Hanin

Let’s face it. It’s a tad early for Halloween pranks. And clearly one hasn’t arrived to absurdity until former president turned Hamas-loving “human rights activist” Jimmy Carter blasts your anti-terror policies. Carter did just that by gouging Obama in his recent and somewhat surprising New York Times op-ed A Cruel and Unusual Record.  Not surprising, however, was Carter’s mention of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights that the United States adopted in 1948.

Stumping for the UN Too?

Carter champions this UN declaration in an effort to blast Obama and the current administration (and perhaps former ones) for neglecting to pursue democracy in all corners of the world. Yet there’s a huge gap that Carter conveniently or unknowingly left out. Democracy is a unique condition that few countries are ready for. We saw this when Israel, Carter’s archenemy, gave the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. Known terrorist group, Hamas, forced their rule on the area, and rigged elections in their favor to achieve their version of “democracy.”

Hamas’s tainted version of democracy has resulting in dragging Palestinians to their death via being tied behind some old jalopy. It has resulted in homosexuals being sentenced to death. It has meant arming small children as suicide bombers. Suffice to say, “democracy” under terrorist rule resembles nothing of the sort.

It took the U.S.A. over 200 years to get democracy right. We can’t expect third-world countries to turn on a dime and gain freedom and democracy in decade or less. Egypt is perfect example of a country whose people flooded the streets to oppose their dictatorship under former President Hosni Mubarak, only to wind up under an even more suffocating Islamic dictator, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Muhammad Morsi. Once Morsi enacted an overarching set of laws that allowed him to have ultimate rule over the Egyptian congress, over 30,000 Egyptians (even more than Mubarak’s protesters) took to the streets to voice their opposition. Thus proving, democracy cannot be had overnight nor is it right for every country or ruler.

While Carter has every right to criticize any sitting (or past) POTUS in writing or on camera (and has), it’s time for our 39th President to stop stumping for terrorists and penning egregious rants and lies. Even winning a Nobel Peace Prize (2002) doesn’t change the facts. Not that I’m letting Obama off the hook for Benghazi and so many other disastrously absent plans to deal with national security threats like ISIS or Ebola (and god knows a laundry list of other beefs), but review your own sorry record.

Carter’s Sorry Record

Carter was one of the worse presidents our country has ever had. His record of presidential hemorrhages parallels with Obama’s oxygen-deprived record. Under Carter, US families were forced to endure double digit inflation, double digit unemployment, airline deregulation, a nonsensical boycott of the 1980 summer Olympics in Moscow, a depleted military with low morale, an energy crisis resulting in time-consuming gas lines, the Iran hostage and a tragic military rescue operation to boot.

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ISIS Crisis: 10-Year-Old ‘Martyr,’ Turkey Won’t Help, Obama Speaks from the Faculty Lounge

Thursday, October 9th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Islamic State is bragging that a young boy has died fighting for its cause.

Islamic State militants and sympathisers are triumphantly circulating images of a 10-year-old boy they claim has been ‘martyred’ while fighting alongside his father in Syria.

Describing the child as ISIS’ youngest jihadist, chilling photographs taken before his alleged death show him smiling at the camera, wearing military fatigues and brandishing a huge assault rifle.

ISIS sympathisers took to social media to identify the ‘cub fighter’ by his alleged nom de guerre Abu Ubaidah, adding that both he and his father were killed during clashes in Syria in recent weeks, but not specifying exactly where they died or who they had been fighting against.

Several images, which have not been independently verified, emerged on social media this week after a video reporting the deaths of the boy and his father was uploaded to YouTube in September.

The original video – distributed by the pro-Isis media group Al-A’amaq – is understood to have since been removed, but a number of photographs of the boy have since been widely shared by ISIS militants and their sympathisers on social media.

Kobane, Syria has yet to fall. A handful of allied airstrikes over the past couple of days have helped keep the city out of ISIS hands, according to reporter Jenan Moussa, who is tweeting from about 4 kilometers inside Turkey, near Kobane.

She spends nearly as much of her time debunking her fellow reporters as she spend reporting on the battle.

Turkey has placed tanks in its territory near Kobane, but so far it has not engaged in the battle. That is frustrating US leaders.

Islamic State fighters were battling outgunned Kurdish fighters in the heart of Kobane on Thursday as the Pentagon warned that U.S. airstrikes alone will not save the Syrian border town from being overrun by the militants.

The fresh push came amid rising tensions between the Obama administration and Turkey, a NATO ally, over who should take responsibility for helping to save the town.

The Islamic State made gains overnight despite stepped-up American airstrikes over the past three days, and senior senior administration officials expressed growing exasperation with Turkey’s refusal to intervene, either with its own military or with direct assistance to Syrian Kurdish fighters battling the militants.

“Of course they could do more,” a senior official said. “They want the U.S. to come in and take care of the problem.” The administration would also like Turkey to be more zealous in preventing foreigners from transiting its territory to join the Syrian militants.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu countered on Thursday that a unilateral ground operation by Turkish troops also would not be enough to halt the militants’ advance.

It also may not be welcomed by Kurds on the ground around Kobane.

As the battle rages on, President Obama is showing that brand of leadership that fails to reassure anyone.

“Our strikes continue alongside our partners. It remains a difficult mission,” Obama said. “As I’ve indicated from the start, this is not something that is going to be solved overnight.”

Obama said the good news was “that there is a broad-based consensus not just in the region but among nations of the world that ISIL (another acronym for ISIS) is a threat to world peace, security and order, that their barbaric behavior has to be dealt with.”

He just refuses to be the one to deal with it decisively.

President Obama has held up Yemen as a successful cast of counterterrorism, when describing what he believes ought to be done about ISIS.

About that…

SAN’A, Yemen—Two suicide bombers struck in Yemen on Thursday—one targeting a gathering of Shiite rebels in the country’s capital and the other hitting a military outpost in the south—in attacks that killed nearly 70 people, officials said.

The bombings underscored Yemen’s highly volatile situation following last month’s takeover of the capital, San’a, by the Shiite Houthi rebels, whose blitz surprised the impoverished Arab nation on the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The Houthis’ push into San’a also prompted threats of retaliation from their Sunni militant foes in al Qaeda’s Yemen branch.

If Yemen is the model for successful counterterrorism, then the Islamic State is here to stay.

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Judicial Watch: Four ISIS Terrorists Arrested in Texas in the Last 36 Hours

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Fort Bliss, near El Paso, may be their target.

Islamic terrorists have entered the United States through the Mexican border and Homeland Security sources tell Judicial Watch that four have been apprehended in the last 36 hours by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr.

JW confirmed this after California Congressman Duncan Hunter, a former Marine Corp Major and member of the House Armed Services Committee, disclosed on national television that at least ten Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) fighters have been caught crossing the Mexican border in Texas. The veteran lawmaker got the astounding intel straight from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Homeland Security agency responsible for guarding the 1,933-mile southern border.

“If you really want to protect Americans from ISIS, you secure the southern border,” Hunter proclaimed on a national cable news show this week. “It’s that simple. ISIS doesn’t have a navy, they don’t have an air force, they don’t have nuclear weapons. The only way that ISIS is going to harm Americans is by coming in through the southern border – which they already have.” The three-term congressmen went on: “They aren’t flying B-1 bombers, bombing American cities, but they are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico.”

Judicial Watch first reported that the Islamic State was operating in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico — which is just across the border from El Paso — back in August. That report indicated that ISIS terrorists were looking to launch attacks inside the United States “imminently.”

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Kurdish Women Fighters Vow to ‘Make a Hell for the ISIS on Earth’

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Citing the death of a fighter who ran out of bullets and blew up herself and a group of ISIS terrorists with a grenade, the Kurdish Women Defense Units (YPJ) today called on women to unite to “make a hell” for Islamic State.

Arin Mirkan, a 20-year-old mother of two, was trying to defend Kobane from the ISIS advance Sunday when she ran out of ammunition during a gun battle outside town.

On the same day, 19-year-old Ceylan Ozalp shot herself with her last bullet rather than fall into the hands of ISIS fighters.

Ozlap told BBC last month that the women would “rather blow ourselves up than be captured by IS.”

“When they see a woman with a gun, they’re so afraid they begin to shake. They portray themselves as tough guys to the world. But when they see us with our guns they run away,” she said. “They see a woman as just a small thing. But one of our women is worth a hundred of their men.”

The YPJ said in a statement today that “the bullet fired by our women adds to their fears that they may find themselves in hell instead of heaven.”

Mirkan’s death, they said, is “the spirit of sacrifice for the freedom.”

“We will take revenge from this organization anywhere by developing our defensive systems and educating our women, for the ISIS organization cannot be defined by any terms and it is far from humanity,” the YPJ continued.

“We will avenge for those women who were sold as slaves in the markets of the ISIS organization, our vengeance will not only be bullets but by smiling faces of our women, we swear that we will make a hell for the ISIS on earth.”

The statement called on “all women” to “consciously join this struggle in the ranks of our units.”

According a Marie Claire feature profiling some of the women fighting ISIS, the YPJ numbers about 7,500 and formed in 2012. They perform the same duties as their male counterparts.

 

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Kurdish Youth ‘Occupy’ Busy London Tube Station to Protest Against ISIS

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

This is nice to see, but…

…”occupying” a London tube station will do precisely nothing to stop ISIS from taking Kobane, Syria.

Only military action on the ground will do that. It takes people who are willing and able to fight.

Among those “occupiers” are several able-bodied young men and women who could be doing quite a bit more than annoying Londoners and posing for pictures in a tube station. They could be taking up arms to defend their homelands against ISIS. Instead of asking able-bodied Americans to do it for them.

While I favor putting US troops on the ground to wipe out ISIS — because it’s inevitable that it will take Americans to do the job, and it’s naive to think that anyone else can or will do it — this protest makes me favor that a little bit less. The people in that photo are enjoying life in London while at least some of them expect Americans and others, including other Kurds, to fight on their behalf. After the protest, they will head off to dinner or back to class or whatever.

Job done? Hardly — the fighting rages on, and will for a long time.

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Obama Spokesman Responds to Leon Panetta’s Accusations by Calling Him Names

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has lobbed a series of damning accusations against his old boss, President Barack Obama.

In his new book, Panetta says that Benghazi was always an obvious terrorist attack. He says that Obama approaches the world like a law professor, meaning that he does not usually see reality if it does not comport with his preconceived notions. Panetta writes that Obama’s decisions on Syria and Iraq have paved the way for the rise of of the Islamic State. Panetta writes that Obama has given up on the job, rather than continue to try working with Republicans in Congress.

The merits of some of these charges, as well as Panetta’s timing in launching them, can be debated. Obama never showed any interest in working with Republicans in Congress, for instance. In his first meeting with the opposition party, then in the minority in both houses of Congress, Obama declared “I won” and shut off debate. He lurched farther left after his overreaches, including Obamacare, led to the Republicans taking over the House in 2010. It is also probable that some of Panetta’s charges, whether correct or not, are being lodged now in order to pave the way for his friend Hillary Clinton’s run for the White House. He has revised Clinton’s role in Syria and ISIS, for instance, in a way that makes her look better and Obama look worse.

All of that said, the seriousness of Panetta’s charges isn’t debatable. He writes, essentially, that Obama is unfit for the job of president for multiple reasons. That means nothing will change for the rest of Obama’s term. He might be dragged into fighting ISIS more vigorously, which Panetta supports, but only after the world’s richest terrorist group has accumulated more territory and troops, and only after it has killed even more innocent people and become even more dangerous than it already is. By the time Obama gets around to launching more than four airstrikes per day against ISIS, the group may have further destabilized the Middle East and could even have obtained weapons of mass destruction.

So Panetta’s charges are serious, and they come from a serious man who served in Congress and who led both the CIA and the Defense Department. A man who perhaps could have done more, sooner, to make the case that he is making now — but he is serious.

President Obama is not, and he sent spokesman Bill Burton out to CNN to deflect Panetta’s accusations. Not refute, just deflect.

With childish name-calling. Watch the video on the next page.

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‘Why Don’t You Care About People Assad Killed?’: U.S. Anti-Terror PR Office Holds Q&A

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson
YouTube Preview Image

The State Department’s program that attempts to turn would-be terrorists away from a life of jihad opened the floor up for questions this week.

Think Again Turn Away is trying to counter ISIS’ slick social-media recruitment and PR campaign with its own videos showing how destructive jihad can be, as well as photoshopping its own anti-terror memes. Last month the program stoked ire in some corners for tweeting then deleting photos of dead jihadis.

This week Think Again Turn Away hopped on ask.fm, a Latvia-based global social networking site that terrorists have used to conduct Q&A with would-be followers.

“Why don’t you care about the people Assad killed?” asks one poster of the State Department unit.

“The United States cares immensely about those who have been killed under the Assad administration and the terrible atrocities that have been committed. We are working hard to degrade the terrorists, including ISIS and the Khorasan group, as well as to support the Syrian Opposition Coalition. The U.S. Government has no plans to work with Assad in accomplishing these missions. We recognize that there is no solution for a stable Syria as long as Assad is in power,” the U.S. government responds.

“You are the greatest terrorist on the planet!” another posts in the question box.

“This isn’t actually a question, but we’ll take this opportunity to correct your statement. Some of the greatest terrorist organizations currently operating in the world include: ISIS, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, the Taliban, AQAP, and Jabhat al-Nusra amongst others. The monsters that comprise these groups kill innocent individuals indiscriminately, rape and sell women and children as sex slaves, and destroy culture and heritage. Is it any wonder that Muslims everywhere condemn the terrorists and their actions?” Think Again Turn Away responds.

Asked whether pie or cake is better, the State Department posted a photo of an American-flag pie.

“Your freedom is fake! Your bravery is faker then fake. Send some boots and clean the mess!” asks another.

“What is fake is the idyllic and peaceful existence that ISIS purports to give those who support it,” the government responds. “ISIS rules with barbarity and ultra-violence, killing and raping innocent individuals of all religions, including Muslims.”

“Mr.Obama used this sentence a few times ‘…american interests…’, what exactly are your interests in middle east/north africa? Does it mean that someone like assad can still kill if the american interests are safe/untouched?”

“The United States cares about the Middle East because of the economic, political, and security interests we have, the many friendships we have forged, and the rich spiritual and ethnic traditions we have inherited. The region is home to many of our allies and important partners in the Gulf,” Think Again Turn Away replies. “American interests are also reliant upon global security and a future without terrorists organizations like ISIS, al-Qaeda, and its affiliates, who persecute, torture, rape, and murder innocent individuals. The United States is dedicated to helping all of those persecuted by ISIS, including the people of Syria, and safeguarding their future – a future we know is not possible with the Assad regime in power.”

 

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South Korean Defense Ministry: NoKo Prepared for ‘Full Scale Wars’

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Well, that’s a comfort.

North Korea has set its sights on unification and is readying for war, South Korea’s Ministry of Defense informed the National Assembly on Tuesday.

“After declaring 2015 the year of completing unification, North Korea has been prepared for full-scale wars,” the defense ministry wrote in its annual audit report.

Those preparations have in the last year included increased missile tests and acquisition of rocket launchers, the doubling of military training exercise participants, and enhanced attack capabilities.

The one upside to paying a lot of attention to the news these days is that there is always something new and awful to distract from whatever began the day as the most worrisome thing. Remember just two months ago when we were all talking about Hamas?

My friend and Ricochet editor Jon Gabriel has been saying for quite some time that all of the world’s bad actors know they pretty much have carte blanche until Obama leaves office in 2017, at which point there may not be any good actors left.

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VIDEO: State Department Spokeswoman Literally Cannot Find Evidence of Successes Against ISIS in Iraq

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

During Tuesday’s State Department press conference, the Associated Press’ Matt Lee asked spokeswomen Jen Psaki if the Obama administration is “distressed” by the fact that ISIS forces continue to gain ground while the US-led coalition conducts airstrikes against it.

Psaki disputed that that’s what is happening on the ground: “There have been certainly gains made by the Iraqi security forces in Iraq, I can go through some of those with you if that would be useful.”

Psaki noted that the coalition is “going after” a number of ISIS targets but did not specify whether the airstrikes have actually hit or destroyed any of them.

At that point, Psaki says “Let me just tick through these and then we can go to your next question. Some of the, uh, successes we have seen on the ground by the, uh, Iraqi security forces.”

Psaki flips through a few papers on the podium. Pauses. “Sorry. Um. I’ll find these. I wanted to highlight them.”

Lee asked, laughing, “Does that mean that there aren’t any?”

“It does not mean that at all,” Psaki responded, pledging to find that list of Iraqi successes and get them to Lee at the end of the presser.

Watch video of the embarrassing moment.

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New Caption Contest: Capitol Dome Restoration Project to ‘Stop Deterioration’

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Myra Adams

 

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

 

The Capitol Dome, one of the most cherished buildings and symbol of our great nation, is currently undergoing a major restoration.

To help keep taxpayers posted on the progress of this $60 million project, the website of the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) offers full details and photos that will satisfy your inner engineer (especially if you have a thing for scaffolding.)

This is what the Dome will look like when scaffolding is completed.

Credit: AOC

Credit: AOC

The AOC site also offers frequently asked questions:

What is the purpose of the project?  

This project is a critical step for stopping the current level of deterioration in the Dome’s cast iron as well as ensuring the protection of the interior of the Dome and Rotunda.

Why is this project starting now?

Postponing the restoration would perpetuate the deterioration of the Dome.

In my mind, these answers actually raise more questions. For example, “How do we stop the current level of deterioration in the entire U.S. Government?” and “What level of restoration is needed to fix all the cracks in our political system?” (Please offer some snappy answers if you have no fear of being audited.)

Meanwhile, your mission is to write a caption that best describes our contest photo in your usual snarky, sarcastic, clever, humorous manner to which we have all become accustomed.

Then, just for an amusing comparison, here is the west front view of the Capitol Dome under construction in 1861. Please feel free to offer a caption.

Capitol 1861

Capitol Dome under construction in 1861

 

Speaking of amusing, we have a winner from our last contest where you were asked to write a caption for this totally creepy photo of Presidents Obama and Clinton backstage at the Clinton Global Initiative.

Clinton Obama scary

Submitted by Allstonian: “Remember, Barry, it all depends on what the meaning of ‘ISIS’ is…”

Seriously, this caption is one of the best in the glorious history of PJ Tatler photo caption contests. Congratulations Allstonian for reviving a long-forgotten, great moment in Clinton linguistic history and applying it to current events.

For our new contest, Allstonian has set the bar scaffolding very high.

 

 

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Panetta: Syria Red Line Was ‘Right Thing,’ Not Enforcing It Was ‘Damaging’ to U.S. Credibility

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta continued his criticism of the Obama administration’s policies by telling Yahoo News that the president drawing an unenforced red line on Syria was “damaging” to U.S. credibility.

Panetta said drawing the red line, which was triggered by Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons, was “the right thing to do.”

Pulling back from the red line “sent a mixed message, not only to Assad, not only to the Syrians, but [also] to the world,” Panetta said.

“And that is something you do not want to establish in the world, an issue with regard to the credibility of the United States to stand by what we say we’re gonna do.”

Panetta told USA Today in a piece published Monday that the U.S. is facing a “30-year war” with burgeoning terrorist groups including ISIS, Boko Haram, Al-Shabaab, and other al-Qaeda affiliates throughout the region.

“There’s a little question mark to, is the United States going to stick this out?” he said of the damaged credibility. “Is the United States going to be there when we need them?”

Panetta’s new book, Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peacecame out today. Vice President Joe Biden has already called the memoir “inappropriate.”

“At least give the guy a chance to get out of office,” Biden said of Panetta’s Obama criticism.

Panetta’s book notes that Obama too often ”relies on the logic of a law professor rather than the passion of a leader” and sometimes he “avoids the battle, complains, and misses opportunities.”

“Look, I’ve been a guy who’s always been honest,” Panetta told USA Today. “I’ve been honest in politics, honest with the people that I deal with. I’ve been a straight talker. Some people like it; some people don’t like it. But I wasn’t going to write a book that kind of didn’t express what I thought was the case.”

“…My hope is that the president, recognizing that we are at a kind of critical point in his administration, will take the bit in his teeth and will say, ‘We have got to solve these problems.’…  I think these next 2 1/2 years will tell us an awful lot about what history has to say about the Obama administration.”

Panetta first served as Obama’s CIA director before moving over to the Pentagon. He retired in 2013, saying he was anxious to return to his walnut farm in Monterey County, Calif.

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Islamic State Grants ‘Non-Infidel’ Certificates

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

During its conquests in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has had to come up with a method to allow all those non-Sunnis who ended up converting to Sunni Islam instead of being killed—the Christians, Yazidis, Shias, who for whatever reason remained under IS territory—to be identified as true and legitimate Muslims.

Accordingly, it has been issuing “non-infidel certificates.”  Like a driver’s license, these certificates have the picture of the named convert and explain to any Islamic State soldier that the named is a Muslim now and thus it is “impermissible to lash, crucify, or rape him [portion circled in red].”  The certificate is good for three months.  Its text follows:

To whom it may concern,

We hereby notify you that the one named Na’il Salu bin Basaam of the people of the al-Raqa emirate took and satisfactorily passed a course on Repentance.

Based on this, we hereby grant him this certificate confirming that he is not an infidel [kafir] and that it is impermissible to lash, crucify, or rape him, unless a legitimate reason arises for the soldiers of the caliphate or if it’s been established that he has returned to apostasy and wants his freedom.

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McCain and Graham Want to Expand the Phony War on ISIS to Attack Assad Too

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

In the Wall Street Journal, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham write that we need to take out Syrian dictator Assad in order to take down the Islamic State.

The airstrikes and other actions President Obama is taking against Islamic State deserve bipartisan support. They are beginning to degrade the terrorist group, also known as ISIS, but will not destroy it, for one reason above all: The administration still has no effective policy to remove Bashar Assad from power and end the conflict in Syria.

That’s the edititorial’s first paragraph, and it goes off the rails quickly.

For starters, there is no evidence that the US-led airstrikes are actually degrading ISIS at all. The allied air campaign is barely a campaign. Call it a “CINO” — a Campaign In Name Only.

It only amounts to about four airstrikes per day, against a group that now occupies a huge and expanding territory. Even while the airstrikes have gone on, at that pitiful rate of about four per day, ISIS has edged closer to Baghdad in Iraq and is set to seize control of Kobane on the Syria-Turkey border. That battle may yet draw Turkey, and therefore NATO, into the war.

McCain and Graham write that they disagree with the administration when it says that Assad is a problem who can be dealt with later, because Assad empowers ISIS.

Administration officials have called their approach “ISIS first.” As for Mr. Assad, in the words of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the administration will “defer that challenge into the future.” This is not a luxury we get to choose. And Mr. Obama himself recently said he does “recognize the contradiction” in his own policy—which is that by confronting Islamic State but not Assad, the U.S. may unintentionally benefit the ruler whose ouster he continues, rightly, to demand.

Unfortunately, this is not the only self-defeating contradiction in the administration’s Syria policy.

After Islamic State stormed into Iraq in June, Mr. Obama argued that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ’s alienation of Sunnis had strengthened the terrorist group. Destroying Islamic State in Iraq, the administration suggested, required Mr. Maliki’s removal and an inclusive new government. Why not the same urgency about Syria?

For one thing, the US has leverage in Iraq as a nominal ally that we do not have in Syria. Assad is and will likely always be an enemy of the United States and the west generally, and an ally with our adversaries in Moscow and Tehran. The United States is simply in no position to order Assad to do much of anything, and the Obama administration demonstrated its lack of seriousness with the president’s disappearing “red line.”

Mr. Assad all but created Islamic State through his slaughter of nearly 200,000 Syrians, and he has knowingly allowed the group to grow and operate with impunity inside the country when it suits his purposes. Until we confront this reality, we can continue to degrade Islamic State in Syria, but Mr. Assad’s barbarism will continue to empower it.

We are not actually degrading them strategically; see above. We are hitting them tactically, in specific circumstances, such as the Mosul Dam and now the battle for Kobane. This is a recipe for a very long and largely ineffective war.

This points to another contradiction: How can we arm and train 5,000 Syrians and expect them to succeed against Islamic State without protecting them (and their families) from Assad’s airstrikes and barrel bombs? Or expect moderate groups in Syria fighting Islamic State to take advantage of U.S. airstrikes if we do not coordinate or communicate our operations with them? This is reportedly not happening. Instead, Mr. Assad is exploiting U.S. airstrikes to kill the very people we want as our partners. This is not just a recipe for failure; it is immoral.

Our efforts to build up a viable Free Syrian Army to liberate Syria from the evils of Islamic State and Mr. Assad will surely fail if the Syrian ruler is not dealt with. To expect Mr. Assad to sit on the sidelines as the Free Syrian Army gains capacity would be a colossal mistake and doom efforts to stop Syria from sinking further into the abyss.

It’s unlikely that the U.S. can maintain public support among Syrians for the fight against Islamic State, or succeed without their support, unless it does more to end Assad’s war against them. Syrians are already asking why America is bombing Islamic State but not stopping Mr. Assad from bombing them. This only hardens their pervasive belief that America cares only for itself. This belief threatens to strengthen Islamic State and discredit our moderate partners among the anti-Assad forces.

At this point it is unlikely that the Obama administration can even maintain public support for the war among Americans. He refuses to fight effectively and has already told the enemy that the greatest ground fighting forces in the world will not trouble ISIS. The Iraqi military remains mostly useless, and the Kurds are fighting heroically but they are outgunned by ISIS.

How moderate are the Free Syrian Army and other similar anti-Assad Syrian groups? McCain, who has consistently downplayed the jihadist element among Assad’s enemies, is hardly credible on that question.

According to Patrick Poole, the Free Syrian Army has been operating openly with ISIS and another al Qaeda-linked terrorist group.

Skipping to the end of the editorial, after the senators have rightly noted that it will take American forces on the ground in order to eventually defeat ISIS…

The reality is that defeating Islamic State also requires defeating Bashar Assad. Avoiding this reality, as Mr. Obama still tries to do, will only postpone the problem at growing risk to Syrian lives and American security. And when Syria deteriorates further, as it surely will, the U.S. will be compelled to respond once again, but our options will be fewer, worse and costlier.

And what of Russia? And Iran? Will those two allies of Assad merely cut him loose in the face of Obama’s military prowess, or will they defend him if only to make more trouble for the United States? Iran is likely to do what it did in Iraq and wage a jihadist proxy war against the US-led coalition. There is already evidence of Russian intelligence working alongside Assad’s forces in Syria. Putin knows that under Obama, American military forces have been cut to the bone. We are no longer capable of fighting two wars simultaneously, as we were from the Reagan through the George W. Bush administrations. Russia may find it useful to keep violence on enough of a boil in Syria and Iraq to to keep America’s attentions thee, and allow Russia a freer hand in Ukraine and eastern Europe.

Assad is a very bad guy, he is backed by very bad guys, but ISIS is worse, and removing him at this stage runs the strong risk of opening up a vacuum into which any number of people and groups who might be better, but will probably be worse, would step in.  Without any American ground forces in the fight, the US will be in no position even to contemplate getting a leader as good/bad as Maliki was in Iraq. It’s more likely that a post-Assad Syria gets led by a puppet of Iran or Russia (or both), or by an Islamist dictator, or it becomes another Libya or Somalia — a failed feudal state in which Islamist terrorists thrive.

The strategic situation in Syria is as complex and volatile as any that the United States has ever faced. It’s a terrible moment to have one of the most ineffective, inexperienced, duplicitous and indecisive presidents that America has ever had. But that is what we have, and what we are stuck with until January 2017.

 

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19-Year-Old Chicago Man Arrested En Route to Fight for ISIS

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

A young Muslim man from Chicago was arrested Saturday and charged today with attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization — the Islamic State.

Mohammed Hamzah Khan was arrested while trying to fly from O’Hare International Airport to Vienna, then to Istanbul, from which he allegedly intended to join ISIS fighters.

Khan appeared in U.S. District Court Monday morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox in Chicago and remains in federal custody pending a Thursday morning detention hearing.

According to the complaint affidavit filed Monday, a round-trip ticket was purchased for Khan on Sep. 26, from Chicago to Istanbul. He was scheduled to depart Saturday and return on Thursday.

Khan was stopped by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at O’Hare while passing through the security screening checkpoint Saturday afternoon and interviewed by FBI agents at the airport.

While executing a search warrant at Khan’s residence, federal agents found “multiple handwritten documents that appeared to be drafted by Khan and/or others, which expressed support for ISIL,” according to the affidavit.

Between 12 and 100 Americans are believed to either be currently fighting for ISIS, or to have been killed fighting for ISIS. A wealthy American is also believed to be managing the Islamic State’s social media.

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ISIS Flags Seen Over Border City of Kobane; Threat of Massacre Looms

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bridget Johnson

Twitter reports indicate that the northern Syria town of Kobane is falling to ISIS despite the best attempts of Kurdish forces to beat back the advance.

The city of Kobane and surrounding towns normally have a population estimated at 350,000, but Kurdish news organization Rudaw reported that only 10 percent of residents were left. Some residents including Sunnis and Christians have been attempting to flee to Turkey, only to have their escape hampered by the border guards. Some villagers in towns already seized by ISIS have been raped and murdered or beheaded.

The city is so close to the border that Kurds and media in Turkey have been able to watch the battle from the hills.

The Observer reported on the story of Mostafa Kader, who had fled Kobane 10 days earlier with his wife and their two small children:

His uncle planned to join them but at the last minute changed his mind, unable to leave a village that had been his home for more than eight decades. The militants beheaded him, refugees arriving later told Kader.

“He was 85 – he could not even lift a weapon,” said the young father, baffled by the brutality. Even more haunting were stories from his wife’s village, where the fleeing family found the bodies of her sister and an eight-year-old niece lying in pools of blood.

“They had been raped, and their hearts were cut out of their chests and left on top of the bodies,” he said, struggling to hold back tears. “I buried them with my own hands.”

Kobane has been surrounded by ISIS for two weeks now, prompting Kurdish-Americans to plead for help from Washington and question why support hadn’t come earlier to help prevent a massacre.

“Obviously we – ISIL is clearly, as you noted, trying to gain control of the border crossings with Turkey by taking the opposition-held towns between Aleppo and the border. We’ve seen, of course, the comments of the Turkish leaders. As you also may know, several individual opposition groups have formed de facto coalitions which include both Kurds and Sunnis in some of these towns, including near the Turkish border, to kind of unite and work together to fight this,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday.

“We are also assisting in this. We – coalition airstrikes, some in predominantly Kurdish areas that are ongoing, we feel are helping Kurdish and opposition fighters as they exert pressure on ISIL. So this week alone, we note that CENTCOM did strikes in Kobani that hit an ISIL – hit on ISIL tanks, artillery, and armor. And obviously, this is an ongoing effort.”

Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday that they have been “long watching the situation around Kobane.”

“We watched as ISIL — we began to, you know, watch them as they tried to — dispersing out of Raqqa, and heading towards Kobane, we’ve been aware of the threat that they pose to that place and to the residents there,” Kirby said. “…But we’re broadly focused, not just on one city and one town. We have to stay broadly focused on the whole region and the threat that ISIL poses to both countries across what is essentially no border at all.”

 

 

 

 

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ISIS Offensive May Force NATO Intervention to Protect Turkey

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

Right now, NATO’s largest security concern is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and its threats against other NATO states in eastern Europe.

But that may change very soon.

Turkey is a NATO member. While its Islamist government has become an unreliable partner for both the US and Israel, an Islamic State offensive on the Turkey-Syria border may force Turkey to call on NATO for support.

ISIS forces have advance onto and into the border town of Kobane, which is just on the Syrian side of the border.

kobane-map

Jenan Moussa, a reporter for Al Aan TV in Dubai, tweets that ISIS is defeating the Kurdish forces defending Kobane.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moussa and a Wall Street Journal reporter both report that ISIS forces have pushed into Kobane and that they see the ISIS flag flying over hills on the outskirts of the city.

NATO says that it stands ready to intervene and protect Turkey if it become necessary. Kobane is barely on the Syrian side of the border, but ISIS has proven that border mean very little to it.

The US-led airstrikes appear to be having very little, if any, effect as ISIS advances.

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How Obama’s Arab Spring Created the Islamic State

Monday, October 6th, 2014 - by Raymond Ibrahim

Over a decade ago, the U.S. conquered Iraq; its military and intelligence were on the ground for years with autonomy.   In other words, U.S. influence and authority was more pronounced in Iraq than probably any other Muslim country in the world.

And yet it is in this one Muslim nation, where the U.S. had most authority, where U.S. blood and treasure were spent, that the absolute worst Islamic terrorist group—the Islamic State—was born.

Coincidence?

Or is this too related to the great “Arab Spring” failures of the Obama administration?

Consider: Obama was repeatedly warned that withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq would lead to something exactly like the Islamic State—with all the atrocities that have become synonymous with that name.

Indeed, arguing against early troop withdrawal, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, once made the following now prophetic remarks:

To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States.

It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaeda.

It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale.

It would mean we allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.

It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.

The point here is not to “side” with Bush—the idea of transporting “democracy” to an Islamic country was ill-conceived from the start—but rather to demonstrate that Obama was thoroughly warned what troop withdrawal would lead to: the Islamic State.   The same U.S. military and intelligence sources that allowed Bush to make that prescient statement also shared their assessments with Obama.

Yet Obama withdrew anyway.  In December 2011, Obama declared the Iraq war a success and pulled out American troops.  And, to the eyes of most Americans, things were relatively quiet—until, of course, the world heard that a head-chopping, infidel-crucifying, mass-murdering “caliphate” had “suddenly” arisen.

Was Iraq also part of the euphoria of the Obama-endorsed “Arab Spring”?

Recall that final troop withdrawal from Iraq occurred at the height of the Arab Spring when the Obama administration was simultaneously betraying key U.S. allies in the Islamic world such as Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.

If the U.S. was not going to stand by its former “secular strongmen,” but instead was willing to hold hands with their traditional enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, why should it have supported Iraq’s Nouri Maliki?… Keep reading 

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Coalition Leader: Iraqi Military Won’t Be Ready To Take Back Mosul For At Least A Year

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Stephen Kruiser

Deja vu all over again.

The American official coordinating the international coalition fighting the Islamic State said on Friday that the Iraqi military would not be ready for a campaign to retake Mosul, the largest Iraqi city under insurgent control, for as much as a year.

Mosul has become a symbol of the strength of the Islamist insurgency, which has made the city its stronghold, and of the failure of the Iraqi security forces, which wilted in June as militants swept across the Syrian border and overran the city as they pushed toward Baghdad.

The broad timeline given by the official, retired Gen. John R. Allen, seemed to reflect the immense challenges facing the Iraqi military command and its international partners, including about 1,200 American military advisers deployed by President Obama, as they seek to rebuild the Iraqi security forces.

“When it’s undertaken, the right kind of planning and preparation will have been done to make sure the outcome will favor the Iraqis,” said General Allen, a retired Marine who served in the Iraq War and was the top American commander in Afghanistan.

So we have to take time to rebuild the security forces we just spent a decade building and training, got it?

If there has been a huge outcry from the anti-war left about a QUAGMIRE I’ve missed it. Google “george bush quagmire” to see what a popular word it was back when it wasn’t a Nobel Peace Prize winner committing us to long-term military action.

With peace like this, who needs enemies?

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ISIS Beheads British Hostage Alan Henning; Threatens to Kill Another American Hostage

Friday, October 3rd, 2014 - by Bryan Preston

The Islamic State had threatened to behead British captive Alan Hennings. They have carried out that threat, with U.S.-led airstrikes supposedly hitting them in Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State militants have published a video that is said to depict the murder of a British aid convoy volunteer Alan Henning three weeks after warning that he would be the next to die.

If the video is found to be authentic, Henning will be the fourth western hostage to have been killed by the group, following the video-taped beheadings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and Scottish aid worker David Haines.

The latest crime comes after the UK launched air strikes against Isis, joining the US and its Arab allies – Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – which had been targeting the group for several days.

He leaves behind a wife and two teenage children.

Henning’s is the first ISIS beheading of a western hostage to be done while the U.S. and its allies are conducting airstrikes against the group. So far, though, the U.S.-led alliance has conducted just over 300 strikes across several days. ISIS’ capabilities have apparently not been degraded at all. The group entered Kobani, Syria today and are approaching the Syria-Turkey border.

The Islamic State is now threatening to behead another American hostage.

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