Posts Tagged ‘ISIS’

Will the EU fall in line when Trump joins with Russia and Turkey in Syria?

January 22, 2017

In 2011 the US, many EU countries (especially France), Turkey and Saudi Arabia started financing and providing weapons to anti-Assad groups in Syria. Many of these groups were, or were allied to, terrorist groups which have in turn warped to become ISIS or al Qaida or the Al Nusrah front. This support was instrumental in helping ISIS to grow into the monster it became. The focus was entirely one of regime change and the downfall of Assad. The EU countries even “encouraged” some of their more radical Muslim groups to send “freedom fighters” to Syria expecting that Assad would soon disappear. Instead these “freedom fighters” soon became willing recruits for ISIS and other terrorist groups. At that time the Russians and Iranians supported Assad but rather passively and through surrogates rather than directly.

Russian support (along with that from Iran and Hisbollah) kept Assad alive in a shrinking territory. Neither the US nor the EU was willing to put its own troops on the ground. With Obama’s risk aversion (indecision) and shifting red lines Assad was spared any knock-out blow. With the growing ISIS threat the Russians finally intervened directly (2014) and turned the tide for Assad and against ISIS. The beginning of the end for ISIS was when Turkey left the US strategy and joined the Russians (and Iran). Aleppo was retaken. ISIS still holds Mosul in Iraq.

Now it looks like the new US administration may very well acquiesce with, if not fully join, the Russian strategy. The US will probably now stop supporting the rebel, anti-Assad factions even though some of them are not allied with the terrorist groups (though many are).

As Trump takes over, a diminished ISIS awaits

ISIS’ caliphate shrinks in 2016 ISIS is losing ground across its self-proclaimed caliphate, according to a new report. Global intelligence and analysis firm IHS Conflict Monitor, which uses open-source intelligence including social media and on-the-ground sources, estimates that ISIS lost 17,600 square kilometers (6,800 square miles) of the land it held in Iraq and Syria over 2016. ISIS’ caliphate in the two countries shrunk by 23% over the course of the year, according to a survey and map released by IHS. The group lost 34% in the same region compared to January 2015. The US-led coalition say ISIS has lost 27% of its territory in Syria — and 61% in Iraq — from its peak. 

In addition to ISIS’ de facto capital of Raqqa, the militant group retains patches of land not far from Homs and around the ancient city of Palmyra — control of which it regained from the Syrian regime late last year. It also has a presence in the countryside around the eastern city of Deir Ezzor. IHS reported spikes in territory lost by ISIS when the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, took control of the strategic city of Ash Shaddadi in March, moved on to Manbij in May, and in mid-October when Euphrates Shield, Turkey’s ground operation against ISIS in Syria, retook the symbolically significant town of Dabiq.

But what will the EU do now?

I expect that the UK will align itself behind Trump (and that alignment in other areas has already started as Teresa May starts implementing Brexit). With elections coming up in France, Hollande may not have much room to continue with his misguided support of his favourite rebel groups. Merkel is also facing elections and her open door policy has allowed – or is perceived to have allowed – many of the European Muslim, ISIS murderers to return to Europe. Nice and Berlin can be connected to that. My guess is that a splintered and fractured EU will do little and just gradually allow its once strong support of rebel groups to wither away.

Mohamad Bazzi has an insightful commentary in Reuters:

Islamic State lashes out as Turkey flirts with Russia

…. Islamic State is also lashing out at a new and burgeoning Turkish-Russian alliance, which is one of the main factors reshaping the Syrian war today. In late 2016, Turkey backed away from supporting Syrian rebels in Aleppo, which helped the Assad regime and its allies – including Russia, Iran and Shi’ite militias from Lebanon and Iraq – to force rebels from their strongholds in eastern Aleppo and regain full control of the city. In mid-December, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that he was working with Turkish leaders to negotiate a new ceasefire between Assad and rebel groups, and to organize a fresh round of Syrian peace talks without Washington’s involvement. The talks are scheduled to start on Jan. 23 in Kazakhstan.

The Syrian conflict has turned into a proxy war that involves regional and world powers – including the United States, Russia, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar – whose interests sometimes overlap, but at other times lead to multiple conflicts. Soon after the war began in 2011, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the United States started sending weapons and funds to rebel groups trying to topple Assad’s regime. Some of these rebels were forced into battlefield or tactical alliances with al Qaeda affiliated groups and other jihadists. More recently, Washington has shifted its focus to fighting Islamic State rather than ousting the Syrian regime. Assad’s two main backers, Russia and Iran, are mainly targeting rebel factions opposed to the regime, rather than trying to defeat Islamic State. ……..

…….. Turkish troops and allied rebels are trying to push Islamic State fighters from Al-Bab, a town north of Aleppo, and one of the jihadists’ last holdouts near the Turkish border. But Turkish forces are bogged down in an unexpectedly grueling battle: About 50 soldiers have been killed since Ankara sent its forces into Syria in August, including 16 killed in a single day during an Islamic State counter-attack in Al-Bab.

The battle for Al-Bab is causing other complications and setting up a potential battle between Turkish-backed Syrian rebels and American-supported Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (known by its Kurdish acronym, YPG). The YPG is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, a coalition of rebel groups, which is leading a ground offensive of 30,000 fighters to oust Islamic State from the city of Raqqa, capital of its self-proclaimed caliphate. The campaign is supported by U.S. air strikes and more than 500 special forces who are helping the rebels gain ground.

In late December, Turkish leaders complained that Washington was not providing similar air support to help Turkish troops advance in Al-Bab. Within days, Russia began coordinating with the Turkish military and carrying out air strikes in the area.

In flirting with Russia, Erdogan’s government is sending a message to the incoming Donald Trump administration that Ankara has other options if the United States continues its support of Syrian Kurdish factions. But as it gets closer to Russia and more deeply involved in fighting Islamic State, Turkey risks incurring the group’s wrath.

Left wing and socialist governments in Europe have been particularly supportive of Palestine and anti-Israel to the verge of being anti-Semitic. (All European socialist parties have a strong anti-Semitic thread which has been hiding under a pro-Palestine, anti-Israel cloak). This support has not only been political but has also provided money for would-be terrorists from Europe. If Trump now moves the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the balance will shift away from the two-state solution, which cannot work, and the EU will face another dilemma.

A US / Russia alliance in the Middle East is a game changer and the EU is too slow, too fractured, too smug and too self-righteous to even realise when the game has changed.


 

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Erdogan has “proof” that Obama has been supporting ISIS

December 27, 2016

Hard on the heels of Obama’s betrayal of Israel in the UN Security Council, now comes Erdogan’s accusation – and he says he has proof – that Obama has been supporting ISIS. Now Russia, Turkey and Iran have sidelined the US and the EU from the Syrian process, and Russia has announced today that peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition groups would begin in Kazakhstan. The Obama/Kerry strategy is in  tatters as it is, and now Erdogan’s accusation gives weight to the suspicion that Obama has even been prepared to support ISIS and other terrorist organisations in his zeal to get rid of Assad. Erdogan made his accusationa at a press conference on Tuesday.

Express: 

ISLAMIC State militants are being supported by America, blasts Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan, who claims to have proof at his disposal.

In the wake of two members of the Turkish military being savagely burnt to death by ISIS jihadis, Erdogan has launched a stinging attack on the Obama government, accusing it of supporting the terror cell. 

The 62-year-old, who recently survived a military coup, said: “They (US) were accusing us of supporting Islamic State.

“Now they give support to terrorist groups including Daesh, YPG, PYD. It’s very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos.” …..

Turkey has rushed tanks and heavy weapons to its border and blamed the US-led coalition for inadequate air support after Erdogan’s forces encountered deadly resistence from ISIS militants – 14 Turkish troops were killed. 

SIS claims it has killed 70 Turkish soldiers during the conflict and just a few days ago the warped death cult released a video of two Turkish men being burned alive.

Turkey has entered into an arrangement with Russia and Iran whereby Erdogan’s forces will be awarded the strategic city of al-Bab should they wrestle it from ISIS’ clutches.

Obama’s foreign policy legacy has been dominated by paralysis by analysis and is a legacy of many failures. And now even his intentions, it seems, were not always good.


 

ISIS has given up on the Caliphate and is focused on terror attacks in Europe

December 21, 2016

After Berlin, I recalled this broadcast on Swedish Radio just a few days ago. It would seem that the reverses they have suffered in Iraq and Syria and even Libya have caused a shift of focus within ISIS. A shift away from their dreams of establishing a Caliphate within their lifetimes to creating a parallel, segregated, Islamic population in Europe. Their focus has shifted from directing their European supporters to travel to the front line in the Middle East to instead, implementing terror attacks wherever they happen to be; in place, in Europe.

The Berlin terrorist is still at large. And so are many others – plucking up the nerve to kill indiscriminately. Berlin will be followed by other Islamic, Sunni Muslim, terrorist acts. Islamophobia is not the cause but the inevitable consequence. But a healthy dose of Islamo-skepticism – and amounting to terroristphobia – is absolutely necessary if Islamic terrorism is to be neutralised.

Swedish Radio:

As the Islamic State loses territory in Iraq, Syria and Libya, the group’s propaganda changed. The terror group  no longer invites their sympathizers to go to war. Reporter Fernando Arias is in conversation with Robert Egnell, a Professor at the National Defence University, about the terror group’s propaganda.

“It is too early to say what the effects are of the IS reversal of its propaganda”, says Robert Egnell. According to Robert Egnell propaganda has been important to recruit for the Islamic State and what they call their Caliphate. But now the propaganda has changed, he says, and points to three major differences with earlier:

  1. it has reduced in scale over the past year,
  2. it is more concerned with calls to take the fight where one is, and
  3. the positive images of the Caliphate has almost disappeared.

“It’s about being able to show a positive image that can attract. Previously, it has been the Caliphate and the dream of a better life, but it is difficult to show such images today when all the media coverage points to the contrary, and instead must then create success through terrorist attacks and publicise them” said Robert Egnell.

Several intelligence services report that fewer are travelling to Syria and Iraq, but we have yet to see the final effects of the reversal of IS propaganda on terrorists in place in Europe, according to Robert Egnell.

“We have had an increase of attacks in Europe, but it probably can not be linked so directly to just the propaganda, but it can probably rather be linked to a new IS strategy to focus on Europe”, he says.

Is it such a great difference that that people are now encouraged to carry out attacks at home instead of traveling to Iraq and Syria?

“Yes, it’s a very important distinction, and it is perhaps something to hope for. The threshold is much higher for committing acts of violence in the home country compared to follow a new dream of the Caliphate. This provided a kind of positive appeal to a certain type of people, and now there is only death and destruction (in the Caliphate). In a society they have grown up in, one can hope that the threshold (to act) is significantly higher than making the trip down to Syria and fighting for some ’cause’ “.

But the Caliphate dreams are certainly shrinking.

Shrinking Caliphate dreams

Shrinking Caliphate dreams


 

Russia accuses US coalition of assisting ISIS attack Palmyra to save Al-Nusra front rebels in Aleppo

December 13, 2016

What has been apparent is that the US led coalition (and France in particular) have a lot vested with the Assad-rebels holed up in Aleppo. France has been particularly active in trying to get the Russians and Assad’s forces to agree to a cease-fire in Aleppo – ostensibly for humanitarian aid – but also for relieving the besieged rebels that they support. Of course the US coalition attacking Mosul in Iraq have not been quite so concerned about the civilians being used as human shields by ISIS.

Of course this could just be Russian propaganda but there is some logic to their claim that the US-led coalition have allowed ISIS forces from Mosul to attack Palmyra to try and force Assad’s forces away from retaking Aleppo and instead to defend Palmyra. It is not inconceivable that the US and France are quite desperate to save the Al-Nusra front rebels they support and are even prepared to ease off on ISIS to that end:

RT: 

A new Islamic State attack on Palmyra from the Mosul region could be ‘orchestrated’ to divert the attention of Syrian government forces from Aleppo and spare the militants entrenched in the city, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

The fact that Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) militants launched their offensive on Palmyra from Iraq and “apparently from Mosul” and marched through the “territories patrolled by the aircraft of the US-led coalition makes one think that – and I really hope to be wrong here – that it was orchestrated and coordinated to give a respite to those thugs, who are entrenched in eastern Aleppo,” the foreign minister said during a press conference in Belgrade, Serbia, as he answered a question asked by RT. 

Lavrov went on to say that the US has been conducting a two-faced policy towards terrorist groups in Syria from the very beginning of the Syrian crisis. The US-led coalition is fighting Islamic State but is studiously avoiding targeting another terrorist group, which is Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front, he said.

“There is a significant number of reasons to believe that [Al-Nusra] is being spared as the most effective combat-capable force, which opposes the governmental [forces] of the ground in order to be used for overthrowing the legitimate Syrian government when the time comes,” Lavrov told journalists. …..

That the US is – even now – focused on regime change in Syria and is trying to assist the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front is not at all illogical. The Obama/Kerry strategy in Syria and Iraq is a maze of inconsistencies and fundamentally flawed.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this Russian report held a great deal of truth.


 

Time to stop pretending that Islamic terror and ISIS have nothing to do with Islam

November 19, 2016

The paranoia about being considered Islamophobic now often leads to the abandonment of common sense. To be Islamophobic is not politically correct. That Islamic terrorists constitute a small number of all Muslims is obvious. But it borders on inanity to extend that to the claim that the terrorists have nothing to do with Islam. It is the concepts – sometimes medieval – contained within Islam which are currently providing the motivation and the justification for self-styled imams and “teachers” to spread the disease. They infect thousands (maybe millions) of immature and vulnerable minds and convert them into barbaric killers. To absolve – in these instances – Islam of being the source of the problem is to be naive. No doubt outdated values contained in Islam are being exploited but they are being exploited by Muslims to brainwash other Muslims. And that itself has something to say about Islam. There is no doubt either that the brainwashed  – who are also Muslims – are vulnerable and somewhat deficient in critical judgement. But that does not mean that Islam is not involved.

Anybody under 25 who claims to be a follower of any religion has of course been brainwashed into that belief as a child. Right now, among all the religions, Islam allows the creation of more terrorists than any other religion.

It is not often that I find the Archbishop of Canterbury in agreement with my views, but in this case he seems to have applied some of his common sense:

The Telegraph: Claims that the atrocities of the Islamic State have “nothing to do with Islam” are harming efforts to confront and combat extremism, the Archbishop of Canterbury has insisted.

Religious leaders of all varieties must “stand up and take responsibility” for the actions of extremists who profess to follow their faith, the Most Rev Justin Welby said.

He argued that unless people recognise and attempt to understand the motivation of terrorists they will never be able to combat their ideology effectively. 

It follows calls from a series of high profile figures for people to avoid using the term Islamic State – also known as Isil, Isis and Daesh – because, they say, its murderous tactics go against Islamic teaching and that using the name could help legitimise the group’s own propaganda.

But the Archbishop said that it is essential to recognise extremists’ religious motivation in order to get to grips with the problem. ……

His comments came during a lecture at the Catholic Institute of Paris, as he was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Of course the Archbishop did not say much about the fact that the vast majority of all Catholics and all Anglicans are brainwashed into following those religions as children by their parents.

I wonder what would happen if parents did not force children to follow a particular religion. Over 99% of all who claim to have a particular religious belief have been forced into that belief as children.


 

Uninvited Turkish troops jeopardise the assault on Mosul

October 21, 2016

Burak Bekdil has an article in The Gatestone Institute where he makes the case that

  • Turkey’s primary concern is not to drive ISIS out of Mosul but to make it a “Sunni-controlled city” after ISIS has been pushed out. And this ambition jeopardizes the planned assault on ISIS.
  • Turkey’s pretext is that its troops are in Iraq to “fight ISIS.” That does not convince anyone.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan fancies himself as a reincarnation of Sultan Abdulhamid II who was the 34th and last effective Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He reigned from 1876 to 1908. As Mustafa Akyol writes in Al Monitor:

Sultan Abdulhamid II (image Brittanica)

Sultan Abdulhamid II (image Brittanica)

In Turkey, there has been an unmistakable revival of the image of Sultan Abdulhamid II. The powerful Ottoman monarch who ruled the empire single-handedly from 1876 to 1909 is praised with a flood of articles in the pro-government press, endless messages on social media and various conferences and panels. The speaker of the Turkish parliament, Ismail Kahraman, a confidant of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even hosted an “International Symposium on Sultan Abdulhamid II and His Era,” at the Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, a relic from the latter-day Ottoman Empire. The great sultan, Kahraman said, “is a mariner’s compass to give us direction and enlighten our future.”

It is – at least partly – Erdogan’s vision of a new Ottoman Empire with himself as a Great Sultan which has triggered Turkish adventurism in Syria and Iraq. A key defensive component of Turkish actions are to eliminate – or at least to block – Kurdish or Shiite influence. The aggressive portion is to expand and promote Sunni dominated areas and keep on good terms with Saudi Arabia.

Their presence in northern Iraq is uninvited.

Bekdil:

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi renewed the call for the withdrawal of Turkish soldiers from his country and warned that Turkey’s military adventurism could trigger another war in the Middle East. He said: “We do not want to enter into a military confrontation with Turkey … The Turkish insistence on [its] presence inside Iraqi territories has no justification.”

The Iraqi parliament said in a statement: “The Iraqi government must consider Turkish troops as hostile occupying forces.” Baghdad has also requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to discuss the issue. The UNSC should “shoulder its responsibility and adopt a resolution to end to the Turkish troops’ violation of Iraq’s sovereignty,” said Ahmad Jamal, spokesman for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

That ISIS is a Sunni group undermines Turkey’s explanations for why they are in Iraq. It is the support for Sunnis and the supposed opposition to ISIS which makes Turkey’s actions seem schizophrenic. The simple reality is that Turkey would like “good Sunnis” to be in control in northern Syria and in northern Iraq. Even the barabarians of ISIS are preferable to the Kurds (and Shiites in Turkish eyes are almost as bad as the Kurds).

Ankara remains defiant. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said that Turkish troops would remain in Iraq. Turkey’s pretext is that its troops are in Iraq to “fight ISIS.” That does not convince anyone. Turkey’s intention is largely sectarian (read: pro-Sunni) and Yildirim admitted that in a not-so-subtle way when he said that the Turkish troops were in Iraq also “to make sure that no change to the region’s ‘demographic structure’ is imposed by force.”

Turkey fears that the aftermath of a planned assault on Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and ISIS’s Iraqi stronghold, could see a heavy Shiite and Kurdish dominance in the Mosul area. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: “Involving Shiite militias in the operation [against IS] will not bring peace to Mosul. On the contrary, it will increase problems.” Unsurprisingly Turkey’s pro-Sunni Islamists want Sunni dominance in a foreign country. This is not the first time they passionately do so.

The problem is that Turkey’s sectarian ambitions come at a time when the coalition is preparing a heavy offensive on ISIS-controlled Mosul. Turkey’s primary concern is not to drive ISIS out of Mosul but to make it a “Sunni-controlled city” after ISIS has been pushed out. And this ambition jeopardizes the planned assault on ISIS. ……. 

….. Turkey’s sectarian ambitions in neighboring Syria have ended up in total failure and bloodshed. Now Ankara wants to try another sectarian adventure in another neighboring and near-failed state, under the pretext of “bringing stability.” Yildirim said that Turkey “bears responsibility for stability in Iraq.” That is simply funny. You cannot bring stability to a country that looks more like a battleground of multiple religious wars than a country with just a few hundred troops.

Now that the assault on Mosul has started, it is already reported that the Turks are complicating and hindering the advance. Presumably they are trying to hinder Kurdish and Shiite forces and trying to assist the Iraqi Sunni forces.

Swedish Radio:

“Turkey jeopardizes the entire military operation by setting their insane demands”, says Mahmoud. “We do not want anyone other than the Iraqi army and peshmerga forces involved here on the Nineveh Plain”, he says.

Altercation between Turkey and Iraq have become increasingly poisonous in recent days. Iraq’s prime minister has told Turkey to stay out of the Mosul operation, while Turkish President Erdogan responds that it is out of the question, and at the weekend the Turkish newspapers published old maps of the Ottoman Empire which included Mosul.

Erdogan also stamped the Iraqi government as sectarian and fanatical. In Baghdad Shiite Muslims demonstrated against Turkey and demanded an end to the Turkish occupation of northern Iraq, referring to the soldiers at the military base Bashiqa.

The increasingly serious contradictions also reflects the regional power struggle, where Sunni Muslim Turkey is now viewed by many here as part of the Saudi sphere of influence, while the Shiite-dominated Iraqi government is considered part of Iran’s sphere of influence.


 

US – Russia deal on Syria is a de facto acceptance of Assad’s position

September 10, 2016

The deal is that US backed rebels will not fight with forces  backed by Russia (Assad’s). That will allow the US, Russia and their proxies to fight ISIS forces wherever they may be in Syria and Iraq. However it is unlikely that Turkey will refrain from attacking Kurdish groups who are also in the front line against ISIS.

PHOTO: Secretary of State John Kerry, left, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speak at a press conference, Sept. 9, 2016.

If the deal holds it effectively consolidates Assad’s improving position on the ground. But even if the deal does not hold, the US anti-Assad position is grossly undermined.

Reuters: 

The United States and Russia reached a breakthrough deal early on Saturday to try to restore peace in Syria, but air strikes hours later added to rebels’ doubts that any ceasefire could hold.

The agreement, by the powers that back opposing sides in the five-year-old war, promises a nationwide truce from sundown on Monday, improved access for humanitarian aid and joint military targeting of hardline Islamist groups.

But hours later, jets bombed a marketplace in rebel-held Idlib in northwestern Syria, killing at least 25 people and wounding dozens, according to locals and rescue workers who said they believed the planes to be Russian.

Idlib province has endured escalating strikes by Russian jets in recent months, according to international aid workers and residents, destroying scores of hospitals, bakeries and other infrastructure across rebel-held territory.

Aleppo was also hit from the air and fighting continued on the ground. The army attacked rebel-held areas, both sides said, pushing to maximize gains before the ceasefire deadline. …….

Kerry said the “bedrock” of the new deal was an agreement that the Syrian government would not fly combat missions in an agreed area on the pretext of hunting fighters from the Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria which has recently changed its name to Jabhat Fateh al-Sham.

Under the new deal, both sides – Russian-backed government forces and rebel groups supported by the U.S. and Gulf states, – are to halt fighting as a confidence building measure.

If the truce holds from Monday, Russia and the United States will begin seven days of preparatory work to set up a “joint implementation centre”, where they will share information to distinguish territory controlled by Nusra from that held by other rebel groups.

Moon of Alabama has this analysis:

It looks as if there has been unseemly resistance to this agreement by parts of the U.S. government. This may have been just for show. But it may also be a sign that Obama lost control of the bureaucracy:

The proposed level of U.S.-Russian interaction has upset several leading national security officials in Washington, including Defense Secretary Ash Carter and National Intelligence Director James Clapper, and Kerry only appeared at the news conference after several hours of internal U.S. discussions.After the Geneva announcement, Pentagon secretary Peter Cook offered a guarded endorsement of the arrangement and cautioned, “We will be watching closely the implementation of this understanding in the days ahead.”

If this deal falls apart, as it is likely to eventually do, all responsibility will be put onto Secretary of State Kerry. Indeed the military and intelligence parts of the U.S. government may well work to sabotage the deal while Kerry will be presented as convenient scapegoat whenever it fails.


 

Reagan (and Pakistan) created the Taliban, Bush (and Saudi Arabia) nurtured Al Qaida and Obama/Clinton allowed ISIS to grow

August 12, 2016

Ronald Reagan (President from 1981 -1989) and Pakistan’s ISI created the Taliban,

From Politics 116 at Mt Holyoke College

The Creation of Taliban goes back to 1979, when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. In 1973, The Soviet Union brought their soldiers into Afghanistan claiming to rebuild the crushing economy. However, the Soviet was resented by the Mujahidin (from whom the Taliban evolved from). At the same time, the Soviet Union and United States were engaged in a cold war. The U.S. was genuinely interested in counter power against the Soviet Union. Thus, Soviet Union’s entrance in Afghanistan signaled the Soviet’s increase in power and strength gaining more power and strength so the United States decided to intervene.Because the United States did not want to see the Soviet Union take control over Central Asia, the U.S. decided to fund troops to fight against the Soviet Union. These troops were called the Mujahedeen. The Mujahedeen were armed and supported by several countries including, the U.S., Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Under Reagan’s presidency Congress which was led by Democrats, decided to form a partnership with the ISI which would recruit the Mujahideen with the support of the Pakistani military extreme views of Islam, led the Mujahedeen to fight ferociously against the Soviet Union. these extremist succeeded in driving Soviet militants out (1989). This unforeseen defeat caused the Soviets to lose billions of Dollars, and led to the collapse of the Soviet Union After the war, Pakistan was left alone to deal with the problems associated with the post war. Following the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. declared a war against Afghanistan. at this point the U.S. realized the seeds they had sown. Taliban was a creation of the Pakistani intelligence agency (the ISI) but was funded by the U.S. The U.S. provided $3 billion to build this Islamic group by providing provided ammunitions, which they forgot to keep track of after the Soviet war. Thus, the U.S. was taken a back when the millions worth in weapons that they had provided were now being used against them. Since the Taliban was a creation of the Pakistani intelligence agency. Pakistan has been reluctant to fight them. It is said that a lot of Pakistani and other military personal were known to be siding with the Taliban. It has further been said that the U.S. is responsible for providing the Taliban with logistical and military advice, along with military hardware . Therefore the Unites States and Pakistan are accountable for the Creation of Islamic extremist Group called `Taliban’.

The success against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan and the need for further jihad gave rise to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaida in 1989. George Bush Sr. who was already involved with Saudi support for the Taliban as Vice President under Reagan came into his own as a godfather for Al Qaida as President from 1989-1993. Through the CIA and its many arms, Bush Sr. and Saudi Arabia provided the money and the training. Al Qaida did not become an “enemy” of the US until 2001 when the campaign in Afghanistan was launced in retaliation for the 9/11 atrocities.

BBC (June 2004):

Al-Qaeda, meaning “the base”, was created in 1989 as Soviet forces withdrew from Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden and his colleagues began looking for new jihads.

The organisation grew out of the network of Arab volunteers who had gone to Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight under the banner of Islam against Soviet Communism. During the anti-Soviet jihad Bin Laden and his fighters received American and Saudi funding. Some analysts believe Bin Laden himself had security training from the CIA.

The “Arab Afghans”, as they became known, were battle-hardened and highly motivated. In the early 1990s Al-Qaeda operated in Sudan. After 1996 its headquarters and about a dozen training camps moved to Afghanistan, where Bin Laden forged a close relationship with the Taleban.

The US campaign in Afghanistan starting in late 2001 dispersed the organisation and drove it underground as its personnel were attacked and its bases and training camps destroyed.

It was the US occupation of Iraq and their support for the Shi’ite government of Nouri al-Maliki from 2003 – 2011 which provided the motivation for the Sunni backlash. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was leading an Al Qaida faction and, the Guardian writes, “after the US invasion in 2003, he was quickly drawn into the emerging al-Qaida in Iraq under Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, getting involved first in smuggling foreign fighters into Iraq, then later as the “emir” of Rawa, a town near the Syrian border. There, presiding over his own sharia court, he gained a reputation for brutality, publicly executing those suspected of aiding the US-led coalition forces – the same brutality that has become familiar to those living in Syria under his group’s control”. By various accounts he was detained at the US Camp Bucca as a low level prisoner from 2004 either for less than a year or upto 2008. 

Possibly he was in detention till 2008, since it is only after 2009 that ISIS takes off and it is only after 2011, when Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are in place, that ISIS expands –  violently and explosively – in Syria and Iraq. Obama and Clinton lost interest in Iraq and dropped the ball on ISIS. They (and Saudi Arabia) were so focused on creating regime change in Syria and toppling Assad that they lost sight of the support (money and training) being provide by the US for anti-Assad groups which included ISIS affiliated groups. David Mizner writes:

“The August 5, 2012 DIA report confirms much of what Assad has been saying all along about his opponents both inside and outside Syria,” says “terrorism analyst” Max Abrams.

The report concerns a period in time when the escalating violence in Iraq had ceased to be a prominent topic in the US press and when its coverage of the war in Syria — mirroring the discussion in Washington — focused on the Assad government, not the forces aligned against it. This may be hard to imagine now that ISIS has become the US government’s favorite monster, but during these months President Obama and his team gave major speeches on Syria that didn’t even mention the group.

Even after ISIS took Fallujah in January 2014, discussion of the group in establishment outlets was scarce. It wasn’t until later in 2014 — after continued battlefield victories and heavily publicized beheadings of westerners — that Islamic State became Public Enemy Number 1.

American officials claimed the ascendancy of ISIS had caught American intelligence by surprise. Yet in the 2012 report — which was circulated widely through the US government — the DIA foresaw the creation of a “Salafist principality” in eastern Syria. It also said that Islamic State of Iraq could “return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi” and declare an “Islamic state” in western Iraq and eastern Syria.

More than that, the report says the creation of an Islamic state was precisely the goal of the foreign governments that support the opposition:

If the situation unravels there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor) and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran).

US Defense Intelligence clearly puts the cause for the rise of ISIS on the policy being followed by the US in Syria (by Obama and Clinton), and not primarily on what was happening in Iraq. Mizner again:

While American politicians and pundits have blamed the ascendance of ISIS on former Iraqi president Nouri al-Maliki and Assad — or on the removal of American troops from Iraq — the DIA report reminds us that the key event in the rise of ISIS was the corresponding rise of the insurgency in Syria. Brad Hoff of the Levant Report, the first journalist to analyze the DIA report, says it shows that “A nascent Islamic State became a reality only with the rise of the Syrian insurgency . . . there is no mention of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq as a catalyst.”

Maliki warned that the war in Syria could engulf Iraq, yet the United States and its allies kept supporting the insurgency. The American bombing of ISIS, relatively light and sporadic, has only intensified the belief of many Iraqis that the United States doesn’t want to defeat the group.

The US has a well established track record now of creating the very monsters which then becomes their greatest enemies. Obama – in spite of his reputation of over-analysing issues – clearly did not foresee how his inaction in Iraq, and his misguided regime-change actions in Syria, would cause the explosive growth of ISIS. And Clinton, who had little understanding of the complex relations in the Middle East, couldn’t cover for Obama’s blind spots and had no real strategy of her own to bring to the table. Furthermore, Obama and Clinton (and later Kerry) have done little, if anything, to stop ISIS being financed from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.

obama no strategy

While Trump’s claim that Obama and Clinton “founded” ISIS is not strictly true, there is little doubt that the Obama/Clinton inaction in Iraq, and their misguided actions in Syria, led directly to the growth of ISIS and the current miserable situation in the Middle East. The Obama/Kerry combination has continued with the Assad obsession and their strategies (or lack of strategies) have been largely ineffective against ISIS. It is only Russian intervention which has perhaps turned the tide.


 

Bangladeshi militants are trying to “prove” themselves to ISIS

July 4, 2016

Sunni Muslim fanatics from Bangladesh come very low within the racial hierarchy that is inherent within ISIS. They are considered inferior fighters and in Iraq and Syria they are never given any command responsibilities. “They are usually housed in groups in small barracks and are paid less than the Arab fighters and are provided inferior equipment”  but they provide convenient “cannon fodder” (suicide missions), The racial hierarchy within ISIS (all Sunni) seems to be:

  1. Arabs from the “home countries” (S. Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Gulf states)
  2. North African “Maghrebian” Arabs ( Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Egypt)
  3. “Light skinned” Muslims from central Asia (Bosnia, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Chechnya, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan….)
  4. South Asian Muslims (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia..)
  5. African (dark-skinned) Muslims (Somalia, Nigeria …)

The Bangladesh government insists that the spate of Islamic atrocities and the hacking to death of foreigners, intellectuals, hindus, christians and secularists are not being “directed” by ISIS. Some think this is denial on the part of the government, but I think the government is probably correct. ISIS may be vaguely aware of the activities of these maniacs and gives them some encouragement but probably does not “direct” them. ISIS is not that concerned or interested in Bangladeshi affairs. In fact the “disinterest” shown by ISIS in the Bangladeshis is probably a key part of their motivation to get some attention from ISIS.

france24: Eighteen of the 20 civilians who were killed in the Holey Artisan Bakery were foreigners. Nearly all were hacked to death with machetes, even though the hostage-takers had plenty of firearms. The attack was even more shocking as it came on the final weekend of Ramadan, with survivors describing how the hostage-takers made clear their targets were non-Muslims, separating locals from the foreigners.

Around 90 percent of Bangladesh’s 160 million people are Muslims but the state is officially secular. “By hacking people to death… they wanted to show the world that they can go to any extent for jihad,” said K G Suresh, a senior fellow at New Delhi’s Vivekananda International Foundation think-tank. “Once they attack a restaurant popular with foreigners on a Friday night their message is clear who they want to go after. By sparing Muslims, they wanted to send out the message that they are only against Westerners.”

According to the monitoring group SITE, the Islamic State organisation claimed responsibility for the attack which it said had targeted “citizens of crusader states”. But Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s secular government has long insisted neither IS nor Al-Qaeda have gained a foothold in Bangladesh despite both groups claiming many previous attacks.

I suspect that Bangladeshi Muslim fanatics are going for increasingly “spectacular” atrocities, where their “success” is measured by how much attention they manage to get from ISIS. Ultimately their atrocities are driven by their own perception of racial inferiority to their Arab role-models.


 

Obama has a new strategy against ISIS – he’s going to edit them out of existence

June 20, 2016

Everything else having failed, Obama will now edit ISIS out of existence (and note that Politico is more than a little Obama friendly).

There is denial and there is Denial …. and then there is Barack Obama. At some point the denial is an expression of cowardice (when your actions are subordinated to your fears). The governing fears here are the fear of upsetting Saudi Arabia and the fear of being called an Islamophobe.

Politico: 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday assailed the Justice Department’s decision to redact the Orlando shooter’s declaration of allegiance to the Islamic State in transcripts of 911 calls from the June 12 shooting as another example “of not focusing on the evil here.”

“This is evil, this is ISIS. It’s radical Islam. At some point, we lost 49 lives here and we lost a journalist who was beheaded by ISIS,” the Republican governor told Fox News’ Bill Hemmer on “America’s Newsroom,” referring to the shooting last Sunday and the 2014 beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff, who was from Florida. “We need a president that’s going to say I care about destroying ISIS.”

Attorney General Loretta Lynch reasoned to CNN Sunday that the reason for the edits “is to avoid re-victimizing those people that went through this horror,” adding that it “will contain the substance of his conversations.”

“I have no idea what she means. But I can tell you what: I have gone to funerals, I’ve sat down and cried with the parents. I’ve gone and visited individuals in the hospitals. They are grieving. Now, they want answers. If it was my family I would want answers. We all would like answers. She should release everything that doesn’t impact the investigation. I can understand if it impacted the investigation until this is finished, I get that. But she is not saying that. It doesn’t make any sense to me. We have to get serious about destroying ISIS.”

The federal government’s decision did not sit well with other Fox News guests on Monday morning, either. “That would mean during the Second World War if I called up and said ‘I am part of the Nazi movement, I’ve joined here in the United States, and I’m going kill 49 Americans and we left out ‘Nazi movement,'” Rudy Giuliani said Monday on “Fox & Friends.”

The redactions represent a “degree of denial” for the United States, Giuliani said, adding that it “helps to cause the terrorists to be encouraged to commit more attacks.”

If you stop mentioning them, maybe they will go away.


 


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