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.
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.”
— #No2ISIS (@No2ISIS) October 6, 2014
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) October 6, 2014
— Rami(ط) (@RamiAlLolah) October 6, 2014
— Hamo (@KekHamo) October 6, 2014
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.
Jenan Moussa, a reporter for Al Aan TV in Dubai, tweets that ISIS is defeating the Kurdish forces defending Kobane.
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 6, 2014
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 6, 2014
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 6, 2014
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 6, 2014
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 6, 2014
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 6, 2014
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
There’s little controversy over the foreign policy screw-ups and missed opportunities that have arisen from the Obama Administration over the last two years. Not addressing the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) is perhaps one of the biggest faux pas thus far. But there are at least nine other epic-scale gaffes that continue to plague Obama’s administration like Benghazi and its evil step-child contrived out of sheer stupidity: the cover-up video pack of lies.
So now we’re faced with the stark reality and collective baggage of how to prevail over ISIS as the terrorist group continues making headway and head-chopping videos in Iraq, Syria and beyond. President Obama recently addressed the UN National Security Council and finally outlined a set of criteria to stave off ISIS. Yet there is much more needed to win a war against an unscrupulous and formidable enemy fighting an ideological war that goes against everything we believe in as Americans. Fighting an enemy whose firm belief is deeply rooted in Wahhabism is not exactly second nature to Americans yet now we are faced with the grim reality that our national security (and that of other countries) is in jeopardy if we don’t act fast.
So what’s Obama doing right and what does he need to do better? Plenty. For instance, acknowledging that these four criteria must occur is a decent start:
1) ISIS must be degraded and ultimately destroyed
2) World support (especially support from Muslims) must reject ideology adopted (and spread) via al Qaeda and ISIS (and other main or fringe terrorist groups).
3) Intervention by various countries’ governments and military to stop the cycle of conflict, especially sectarian conflict in the Middle East, which attracts terrorist groups to invade weakened war-torn nations.
4) Arab world must renew a greater focus on their people, particularly their youth, which often makes up 60 plus percent of the population.
Yet this alone is not enough. Obama has received regular intelligence for the last two years that ISIS not only existed but was a growing threat and more is needed. At this point, its going to take not only ground forces (something the Pentagon has continually repeated) but five to eight years to undue gains made by ISIS in Iraq and Syria and beyond. Unfortunately, ground troops and a lengthy war also means countless lost American lives and treasure.
As Reagan’s national security advisor Robert (Bud) MacFarlane and senior fellow with the London Center for Policy Research Lt. Col. Anthony (Tony) Shaffer indicated in a recent audiotaped call on Obama’s UN address not every country is capable of carrying out the responsibilities required by true democracies, and this was clear from our dealings with Libya. It takes very special circumstances for democratic rule to take root, and it’s exactly why many countries fall short of the real definition and succumb to invading terrorist factions who force tyrannical rule under the guise of “democracy.”
After my article “Islamic State Atrocities: Products of Grievances’?” appeared, a reader sent me the following email, which makes similar points, specifically about Obama’s use of the word “expediency” to explain away Islamic State savageries:
Dear Mr. Ibrahim,
You are so correct to find Obama’s real point of view by paying close attention to his phraseology and vocabulary, something I find too few commentators take the time to do. Often one word, such as “grievances,” gives the whole show away. I read the transcript of Obama’s remarks made after the beheading of Mr. Foley — after which Obama returned to his old game – and came upon this transcript from WSJ:
[ISIS] may claim out of expediency that they are at war with the United States or the West, but the fact is they terrorize their neighbors and offer them nothing but an endless slavery to their empty vision and the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior.
Expediency! This is an extremely revealing word. ISIS only hates America because they find it expedient to do so– I suppose for PR or recruiting reasons or some such thing in Obama’s mind.
Obama refuses to recognize the spiritual (i.e. religious/jihadist) motivation of the ISIS terrorists, because of the sympathy he and his advisers have for the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood, his contempt for America and because Obama only thinks in material — that is non-spiritual — terms.
The same applies to his usage of the word “grievances.” These words denotes a fatal weakness in Obama’s conception and handling of terrorism both at home and abroad — in his eyes, there is no real or serious underlying threat or problem of jihadist terrorism with regard to the USA, and in particular none that he will allow to get in the way of his overriding goal of transforming America and its place in the world.
In effect, what this means is that he is willing to put the whole USA and all Americans on the same chopping block as other countries such as Israel and the Christians in Muslim lands, either out of gross negligence, or for ideological reasons, or out of incompetence, or (most likely) a combination of all three. A rather novel way of viewing the motivation for a brutal public beheading: an act of mere expediency.
The following is an envisioning of what might eventually unfold if the Islamic State is left to flourish. Although it is only one of several possible scenarios, due to its ostensibly implausible nature, it requires some delineation.
The Islamic State (IS) continues expanding its territory and influence through jihad. Religious minorities that fall under its sway—at least the fortunate ones—continue to flee in droves, helping make the Islamic State what it strives to be: purely Islamic.
Left unfettered, with only cosmetic airstrikes by an indecisive Obama administration to deal with, IS continues growing in strength and confidence, as Western powers again stand idly by.
More and more Muslims around the world, impressed and inspired by what they see, become convinced that the Islamic State is in fact the new caliphate deserving of their allegiance. Such Muslims—the most “radical” kind, who delight in the slaughter and subjugation of “infidels”—continue leaving Western nations and migrating to the Islamic State to wage jihad and live under Sharia.
In other words, a sizable chunk of the world’s most radicalized/pious Muslims all become localized in one region. There they openly and proudly display their anti-infidel supremacism.
Throughout, Western media have no choice but to report objectively—so thoroughly exposed for its barbarity has IS become that it is an insurmountable task to whitewash its atrocities. The world has seen enough about IS to know that this is a savage, hostile, and supremacist state without excuse. Even Obama, after originally citing “grievances” as propelling the Islamic State’s successes, recently made an about face, saying “No grievance justifies these actions.”
Put differently, the “Palestinian card” will not work here. Western media, apologists, and talking heads cannot portray IS terror—including crucifying, beheading, and raping humans simply because they are “infidels”—as a product of “grievances” or “land disputes.”… Continue reading
Another book from a former Obama administration official, and more potential heartburn for the White House.
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta writes about how he and other Pentagon officials tried to persuade the White House that it need to keep a U.S. residual force in Iraq after combat operations ended in 2011.
“My fear, as I voiced to the President and others, was that if the country split apart or slid back into the violence that we’d seen in the years immediately following the U.S. invasion, it could become a new haven for terrorists to plot attacks against the U.S.,” Panetta writes in Worthy Fights: A Memoir of Leadership in War and Peace.
The book comes out Tuesday.
Time magazine is running excerpts from the book by Panetta, who also served as CIA director for Obama.
Panetta writes that “the president’s team at the White House pushed back” on requests to retain some U.S. troops in Iraq, and “and the differences occasionally became heated.”
One didn’t exactly need insider access or a crystal ball to see that this would go sour, so Panetta probably knew while writing the book that his remarks would be timely upon publication.
How curious that an Obama administration alum whose loyalties are to the Clintons would have a book criticizing the president coming out now…
As the Islamic State rose to become the terrorist mass that it is today, President Barack Obama ignored warnings and reportedly skipped about half of his presidential daily briefings. He downplayed the threat, calling ISIS “jayvee.”
Those briefings that the president reportedly skipped included “specific” intelligence about ISIS and its capabilities even before the 2012 election.
At that time, Obama was publicly campaigning on having “decimated” “core al Qaeda” and sent it “on the run.”
So was Obama reading his briefings or not? It’s an important question that aims directly at how the president is performing his duties. Obama tossed the intelligence community and his own Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, under the bus on 60 Minutes when he blamed them for “underestimating” ISIS. That comment has sparked a sort of cold war between the president and his intelligence agencies, as the nation grapples with the Islamic State’s rise and threat, and what to do about it.
But if you are concerned about this, former Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean thinks that you’re a kook.
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough asked Dean about the skipped briefings on his show this morning. “Howard Dean, you get 42% of the briefings face-to-face, 42% in the second term, missed the rest. Is that a big deal? Are there sometimes you’d rather read something than have people talk?”
Dean wasn’t subtle in dismissing the question: “This rises to the level of Obama was born in Kenya and is a right wing Muslim. I saw Crossroads did this, he has no credibility whatsoever. The presidents, leaders, governors do things differently, I just think this is ridiculous. I can’t even believe we are talking about this. This is silly.”
Has the US State Department learned anything from the rise of ISIS? Such as, should the Obama administration have pushed harder to leave a residual US military presence in Iraq after the war? Should the US have pushed Maliki harder for a status of forces agreement? Would that have helped stop ISIS before it became the threat that it is?
The AP’s Matt Lee tried pressing spokeswoman Jen Psaki for an answer on that in today’s press briefing. He didn’t get anywhere, at least, anywhere that’s not covered in Psaki’s approved talking points.
So Psaki does what she normally does — stick to the talking points, and treat reporters as if they’re children.
If you’d never heard of the “Khorasan Group” prior to September 23, 2014 — when the US-led airstrikes on Syria began — you’re not alone. The obscure name had not come up very much at all in terrorism reports or studies, in press reports or much of anywhere else. Most of us who have written about terrorism since shortly after 9-11 had never heard of the group.
Until, that is, President Obama named the Khorasan Group in the letter he sent to Congress justifying bombing Syria. In the same letter, Obama omitted any mention of the Islamic State, ISIS, or ISIL at all.
That curious omission generated some head-scratching. Were we baited and switched into bombing Syria? And just who is this “Khorasan Group” that seems to have materialized out of the Middle East’s desert sands?
Glenn Greenwald has gone through media reports in the days leading up to the bombing of Syria, which began on September 23. The ISIS beheading of American journalist James Foley on September 9 grabbed the world’s attention and forced Obama to step off the golf course and take some action.
There were scant mentions of the Khorasan group at all until an AP story appeared on September 13. That story, in which several US intelligence officials are quoted anonymously, painted the group as more dangerous than ISIS, and planning an “imminent” attack on US soil.
That word — “imminent” — turns out to play a key role, if Greenwald is right. If a terrorist group is planning an imminent attack and has the capability of carrying it out, then their target — in this case, the US or Europe — has not only the right but the duty to stop the terrorists.
The 9-13 AP story paved the way for a CBS News story and then numerous others leading up to September 23. But all along that period, Americans were focused on the Islamic State. It was the “jayvee” team who had butchered Americans and would butcher a British and a Frenchman, while swallowing up parts of Iraq and Syria, stranding the Yazidis on a mountaintop, engaging in mass killings and crucifixions of Christians, selling women into sex slavery, and becoming the world’s richest terrorist group by selling Iraqi oil on the black market to Turket at cut prices. In fact, ISIS’ oil piracy gave OPEC nations a reason to fight them beyond terrorism.
American citizens’ attentions were focused on ISIS from September 9 all the way through September 23. President Obama was compelled by polls to act after two Americans were beheaded and videos of their executions by ISIS broadcast on the Internet. But Obama did not want to take the issue up to Congress or to the UN. There also existed the complication of bombing on Syrian soil without Assad’s input or permission. Assad remains the head of government in a sovereign, albeit piecemeal, Syria, despite Obama’s calls for him to leave power.
According to Greenwald’s theory, the Obama administration made up the Khorasan threat and dubbed it “imminent” in order to conduct the bombing of Syria as a necessary move in American self-defense. As soon as the bombings had started, however, the Khorasan threat has receded in the Obama administration’s communications, and the ISIS threat has returned to be called the top threat. The “imminence” of the Khorasan threat has been downplayed and downgraded, and some in the media are starting to question the emphasis on that group in the run-up to bombing Syria.
All tolled, the people of the United States and the world may have been bamboozled through anonymous sourcing in willing media outlets into bombing a terrorist group that doesn’t actually exist.
CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield Rips Obama for Getting Numerous Warnings About ISIS Yet Calling them ‘Jayvee’
CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield hammered President Obama today over the rise of the Islamic State. Obama blamed his own intelligence officials, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, for “underestimating” what ISIS could do.
Banfield was having none of that. She pointed out that the US-led airstrikes are not having much of an effect.
“Want to talk about this with James Reese and Bobby Gauche. Lieutenant Colonel, first to you, air strike after air strike and yet town after town after military base continues to fall to ISIS. This cannot just be because ground troops aren’t calling in the air strikes?”
The guests agreed, and noted that the Iraqi military continues to fail in the face of ISIS assaults. They also noted that the Maliki government neglected Sunni units and favored Shiite units.
Banfield refused to let Obama off the hook: “It’s complicated, I get it. But, Colonel, ultimately, it can’t be that complicated when back in July of 2013, October of 2013 and February of 2014, we had people like the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency warning that these guys are a problem. This didn’t just come out of nowhere. They weren’t just a j.v. team back then. Why is it that we’re now sort of seeing President Obama saying, ‘We underestimated things?’”
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.
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?
NBC Report: Kurds Frustrated Because US Airstrikes Are Not Hitting ISIS Hard Enough (Update: ISIS Agrees)
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
US, Saudis & UAE, Kirby says, trying to blow up ISIS-held oil refineries w/o destroying a potential future $ source for post-Assad Syria
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) September 25, 2014
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.
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.
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
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.
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.”
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?
Libertarian Party: ‘Heightened Risk of Terrorist Attacks on U.S. Citizens’ as Result of ‘Foreign Meddling’
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.”
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.
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.
some Saudi supporters identify the pilots from saudi where joined the coalitions and dropped some bombs in syria. pic.twitter.com/u1jjIrgmPA
— Wardatul Aswad (@de_BlackRose) September 24, 2014
#IS #ISIS O Supporters/Soldiers of the Islamic State in Bilaad Al-Haramain Remember these apostates Src:@fahdmrohe11 pic.twitter.com/fjaOvxexQX — أبو مصطفى الأنباري (@amustafaanbari4) September 23, 2014
#IS #ISIS Some brothers identify 2 apostate pilots as being Al-Sa’oud family members; 1 of them is crown prince’s son pic.twitter.com/F0w731qoM5 — أبو مصطفى الأنباري (@amustafaanbari4) September 23, 2014
— المهاجر شاهين زمان (@Shazire_Shazam) September 24, 2014
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.
— Leila Molana-Allen (@Leila_MA) September 24, 2014
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.”