How to really defeat ISIL (ODT)
The literature I’ve reviewed suggests that the best way totally to defeat an insurgency is to change the social and economic situation that caused part of the public to support it. Trump’s mean-spirited denial of reconstruction aid to Raqqa is a much better predictor of an ISIL resurgence than a few roadside bombs.
And that should be the question. How to reconstruct Eastern Syria so as to forestall a return of radicalism that might become a base for terrorism against, e.g. Europe? A couple thousand US troops are not what will solve the problems one way or another, at this phase of the struggle.
Trump may o may not be doing the right thing to pull out the troops. He is definitely doing the wrong thing by declining to put resources into reconstruction.
The prominent white supremacist is given a platform on Israel’s top-rated news show, and the host doesn’t once challenge his anti-Semitism or hateful views. By +972 Magazine Staff Israel’s most popular prime-time television news show gave white supremacist Richard Spencer a platform to try and convince Jewish Israelis that White Nationalism is analogous to Zionism, adding that Israelis should relate to him and his ilk. [If the video below doesn’t play, watch here or here] “As an Israeli citizen, as someone who understands your identity, who has a sense of nationhood and peoplehood, and history and the experience of the…
Iraq’s abuse of civilians will make it easy for the next version of the extremist group to recruit.
Kamal al-Ayash | (Niqash.org) | – – Getting from Turkey to Europe was a cakewalk compared to escaping the [so-called] …
These are the guys we are meant to train. We couldn’t do it over a 10 year period what on earth makes us believe we can do it now in such a short time particularly when we are really not wanted.The Iraqi army surrendered 2 years supply of US weapons to Isis and some joined them. This is the organization we are there to train. The Shiia Militia and Sunni tribes wont fight along side the army yet these are the men we are meant to train. We just seem to be fighting like Abbott the boxer punching with our eyes closed.
Fighters from the Free Syrian Army and several Islamic military groups say Isis is gaining allies or truces due to US bombings
US air strikes in Syria are encouraging anti-regime fighters to forge alliances with or even defect to Islamic State (Isis), according to a series of interviews conducted by the Guardian.
Fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Islamic military groups are joining forces with Isis, which has gained control of swaths of Syria and Iraq and has beheaded six western hostages in the past few months.
Some brigades have transferred their allegiance, while others are forming tactical alliances or truces. Support among civilians also appears to be growing in some areas as a result of resentment over US-led military action.
“Isis now is like a magnet that attracts large numbers of Muslims,” said Abu Talha, who defected from the FSA a few months ago and is now in negotiations with other fighters from groups such as the al-Nusra Front to follow suit.
Assam Murad, a fighter from a 600-strong dissident FSA brigade near Homs said: “There’s no way we would fight Isis after the US military campaign against them.”
A third man, Abu Zeid, the commander of an FSA brigade near Idlib and a defector from President Bashar al-Assad’s army, said: “All the locals here wonder why the US coalition never came to rescue them from Assad’s machine guns, but run to fight Isis when it took a few pieces of land. We were in a robust fight against Isis for confiscating our liberated areas, but now, if we are not in an alliance, we are in a truce with them.”
These and other Syrian fighters told the Guardian in interviews by phone and Skype that the US campaign is turning the attitudes of Syrian opposition groups and fighters in favour of Isis. Omar Waleed, an FSA fighter in Hama, north of Damascus, said: “I’m really scared that eventually most of the people will join Isis out of their disappointment with the US administration. Just have a look on social media websites, and you can see lots of people and leaders are turning to the side of Isis.
“We did not get any weapons from the US to fight the regime for the last three years. Only now US weapons arrived for fighting Isis.”
Abu Talha said he had joined the FSA after being released from prison in an amnesty Assad granted shortly after the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, and became commander of the Ansar al-Haq brigade in Ghouta, an eastern suburb of Damascus. He became disillusioned with the FSA, however, believing it was a tool of foreign intelligence services and poor in combat. After four senior fighters in his brigade were fatally wounded a few months ago, he defected to Isis.
“Since that day, I vowed not to fight under a flag bearing the mark of the FSA even for a second. I looked around for truthful jihadis, to fight by their side. I could not find any better than the jihadis of Isis. I told my fighters: ‘I’m going to join Isis, you are free to follow me or choose your own way’,” he said.
More than 200 of his fellow fighters also declared their allegiance to Isis, a move met with opprobrium by other FSA brigades and civilians. Then the US and its allies began a campaign of air strikes.
“All those who were cursing and attacking us for joining Isis came to pledge their loyalty to Isis. A couple were FSA commanders, others were members of Islamic brigades. Even ordinary people now demand to be governed by Isis,” Abu Talha said.
Only a small number openly declared their new allegiance, he added. “Large brigades in Idlib, Aleppo, Derra, Qalamoun and south Damascus have pledged loyalty to Isis in secret. Many senior leaders of brigades in Syria are in talks with us now to get together and fight as a united force against the US aggression,” he said. His claims cannot be independently verified.
Murad, a fighter with the FSA’s 600-strong al-Ribat brigade near Homs, said an offer three months ago by the US-backed Hazem movement to supply his unit with advanced weaponry if it joined the fight against Isis was turned down.
“We rejected this attractive offer, even though we are in great need not only of weapons but food. There is no way that we would fight Isis after the US military campaign against them,” he said.
He and his fellow fighters were awaiting the arrival of Isis militants in Homs, he added. “The moment Isis fighters touch the soil of the Homs countryside, we will be the first to fight with them at the front. This [US-led] military coalition is not against Isis, it is against entire Islam.”
Fighters from Islamic militias are also joining forces with Isis. In Idlib, in north-west Syria, the Jaish al-Mujahideen army, al-Sham brigade, Ahrar al-Sham brigade and al-Nusra Front were all in conflict against Isis earlier this year. Now they are calling for an alliance. More than 1,000 al-Nusra Front fighters in the area joined forces with Isis in a single week in August, according to Ali Sa’eed, a spokesman for the FSA revolutionary command in Idlib.
Abu Talha said he was in talks with al-Nusra Front leaders, “asking them to proclaim their allegiance to Isis and be one hand to defeat Bashar [al-Assad] and all the tyrants in the world”.
“There are senior leaders of al-Nusra Front who are waiting for the zero hour to unite with us. They are more conscious now of the great risks that lie behind the new US crusade against Muslims and jihadis,” he said.
According to those interviewed, civilians as well as fighters are turning towards Isis. The group is gaining support because it implements social measures and increases security, according to Abu Talha.
“We opened 57 free public restaurants in Raqqa city, which provide three meals a day for any resident to foil any claim by a looter that he had to steal in order to feed his children. We provide free fuel to residents as well.” The implementation of sharia law had led to a huge fall in the crime rate in Raqqa and other cities controlled by Isis, he said.
In Ghouta, near Damascus, the al-Nusra Front is the dominant force, but it has lost ground to a few hundred Isis fighters, according to locals. “I can assure you the day Isis declares they are coming to Ghouta, all the people and brigades will be with them out of our dismay and disappointment,” said Fadhil Ali, a restaurant worker. “We can’t wait for the day we have Isis in Ghouta.”
Isis does not have enough weapons for the number of foreign and local jihadis wanting to join its ranks, Abu Talha said. “Jihadis in Algeria, Morocco and Yemen are declaring their allegiance to Isis. Soon we will be in Gaza and then in Iran. People are starting to be aware that Isis is defending the Sunnis.”
The growth in support for Isis was inevitable, he said. “People are suffocated and cannot stand any more. Even when you push a small cat to a corner, it will scratch you. They are slaughtering and killing us. Why should we be silent about it?”
ISIL have seized most of Anbar province which borders Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and the Baghdad governorate.
The Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) has launched a major attack on the Iraqi city of Ramadi, capital of the troubled western province of Anbar, security officials have said, resulting in the killing of at least 20 soldiers.
The assault came as Joe Biden, the US vice-president, arrived in Istanbul on Friday with a view to push Turkey to step up its role in the international coalition’s fight against the ISIL.
Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan, reporting from Baghdad, said pro-government forces had called in reinforcements to push back the offensive on Ramadi that was coming from four sides.
“Ramadi is a crucial city for ISIL as it attempts to consolidate its grip over all of Anbar province,” Khan said.
Sources told Al Jazeera tens of Iraqi soldiers had been abducted near Ramadi while at least 20 Iraqi soldiers and eight ISIL fighters had been killed in the fighting.
“Clashes are ongoing around the city. A series of mortar attacks have targeted areas inside the city, including provincial council buildings and a police post,” a security official told the AFP news agency said.
Adhal al-Fahdawi, a member of the Anbar provincial council, said on Friday that ISIL had managed to capture part of an eastern district called Mudhiq but pro-government forces had stopped their advance and were encircling the fighters there.
“The security forces need support because we have not received any back-up from the army’s air force or the coalition,” Fahdawi said, referring to the US-led air campaign launched in August.
Parts of the restive province, which borders Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and the Baghdad governorate, have been out of government control since January.
ISIL, which also controls large parts of Syria, spearheaded a major offensive in Iraq in June, seizing territory, including much of Anbar.
A fresh spate of attacks in recent weeks has seen the armed group extend their grip over the province, where only a handful of pockets remain under the control of Iraqi security forces backed by Shia armed groups and Sunni tribal fighters.
Biden met the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutogulu on Friday and will hold talks with the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday.
Biden’s visit follows weeks of public bickering between the two NATO allies. The Turkish president insists if the US wants his help, it must focus less on fighting the ISIL and more on toppling Syrian President Bashar Assad. Erdogan wants the US-led coalition to set up a security zone in northern Syria to give moderate fighters a place to recoup and launch attacks.
The obvious compromise would be if Washington shifted its policy on Syria to do more to force out Assad, and Turkey agreed to do more against ISIL, said James Jeffrey, former US ambassador to Turkey and Iraq who is now at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
A WOMAN has donned a burqa and travelled thousands of kilometres to Syria in an undercover mission to rescue her daughter from Islamic State terrorists.
The Dutch woman had been warned by police that the journey to find the teenager — who had recently converted to Islam and was married to a Dutch jihadi — would be too dangerous, The Telegraph reports.
But a mother’s love proved too strong and she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. This is what I think is right,” she told family and friends.
The woman, known only as Monique, contacted her daughter Aicha through Facebook to arrange a meeting in the Syrian town of Raqqa, the so-called capital of the Islamic State.
The young woman had fallen in love with IS militant Omar Yilmaz and his lifestyle after seeing him interviewed on television, according to media reports.
But as time passed, Aicha felt she had made a huge mistake.
“She wanted to go home, but could not leave Raqqa without help,” Monique said.
Determined to bring her daughter home, the mother disguised herself in a burqa to make the risky journey to Raqqa from Turkey, The Telegraphsays.
She and her daughter then managed to escape across the Syrian border back to Turkey where Aicha is being held as she does not have a passport.
Dutch officials are now involved and will bring the pair back before the end of the week.
War on Terror, War on Muslims?
Empire asks if the global fight against terrorism is eroding the democratic principles it set out to defend.
|US President Barack Obama is vowing to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” a terrorist group destabilising the Middle East he says could threaten Americans at home.
Sound familiar? George W Bush made a similar vow, yet more than a decade after launching the so-called War on Terror, both the war and the terror are still raging.
Obama says the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will be different than the two wars started by Bush. But Muslims looked at with suspicion around the world are wondering, how different will their treatment be?
What is the impact of increasing surveillance of Muslim communities, banning Islamic dress and equating a religion with a threat? Do the counter-terror measures adopted by the US, Britain and France erode the very democratic principles considered the pillars of a “free” society?
Marwan Bishara asks what happens when the War on Terror turns inward, and prolonged military action abroad turns into a culture of fear at home.
Given deep commitment that many fighters have to their idea of martyrdom and the Caliphate, then the few who chose to leave and return home will mostly be the disillusioned and the unfaithful. These individuals will have to escape in secret to avoid execution on charges of spying or desertion. It is these that will be of most use to Western intelligence and deradicalization programs. ASIO must have considered this and informed Abbott who however insists they are the most dangerous. Ones that haven’t left remain a closed book and it’s up to us as a community that will or wont determine their radicalisation. Abbott’s public war announcement is not going to help our security. Abbott’s continual TV appearances can only exacerbate things.
The bottom line is that the Islamic State group has learned the importance of operational security and the dangers of allowing western intelligence contact with its members. That is not to say that there will be no Islamic State-backed attack plots targeting the West and that western governments need not worry. But the selection of suitable operatives to carry out attacks will be highly problematic for the group, leaving only a tiny pool of possible options. Its commanders will have to choose individuals with a proven track record of competence, loyalty, independence and determination.Gauging those characteristics without exposing the individuals concerned to operational information will be very difficult. The Islamic State group is unlikely to take a risk in most cases and will probably only attempt to release a few trusted individuals for uncomplicated suicide missions.
The challenges of making and deploying suitable bombs without detection back in their home countries will probably be beyond most of these few. So, while the threat is real and must be taken seriously it must also be seen in context; one that is not as numerically great as the assessments of officials and experts have so far indicated.Failure to put the threat into context has dangers of its own. Firstly, the Islamic State group monitors the media and will be encouraged by the fear-mongering aspect of the debate. It might be tempted to amplify its terror impact by encouraging attacks in the West, having so far been regionally focused. So what the logic of Abbott’s public alarm is he making a public invitation to for ISIL to do more?
Abbott has achieved more headlines announcing a threat that, even if it materialises, will have a transient impact on the country compared with the Budget, Health ,Education and Pensions. Abbott and his cabinet aren’t stupid they know this and realise how problematic these issues are for them. It appears preferential for Abbott to avoid the serious internal issues and go down the path of raising a terror alarm despite the probability of radicalising more locals and inviting the further interest of ISIL.
Responding to Syrian objections over the Administration’s plans to fly combat missions against ISIS in Syrian territory, President Obama told journalists at the White House that as far as he was concerned, Bashar Assad could “Fuck off and die.”
In a speech to the nation last night, Mr. Obama said the United States was recruiting a global coalition to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the militants, known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. He warned that “eradicating a cancer” like ISIS was a long-term challenge that would put some American troops at risk.
“We will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are,” Mr. Obama declared in a 14-minute address. “That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq,” he added, using an alternative name for ISIS. “This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”
Mr. Obama specifically stated that he would not place U.S. “boots on the ground” in Iraq or Syria, which most intelligent pundits interpreted as meaning that we will have no large ground units in the Middle East like we did in the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but did not preclude the use of special forces units and forward air observers.
Although Mr. Obama has received political support from both parties on his policy statement, some pundits on the far right, particularly those who depend on Fox News for their income, have criticized the President for not going far enough. In addition, several members of the wing nut radio talk show crowd, along with former members of the Bush Administration, continue to blame Obama for the whole situation.
“The Bush Administration and its cheerleaders caused this clusterfuck by invading Iraq in the first place,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest. “Anyone who listens to Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity on this subject needs his head examined anyway. They’re best bet is to shut the fuck up, that way they won’t sound so ignorant.”