As Islamic State fighters begin to blend in, defeating them no easy matter

Stop Islamic Genocide

BAQIRTA Iraq/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - After their lightning takeover in June, flag-waving Islamic State militants paraded through the captured Iraqi city of Mosul in looted U.S.-built Humvees, armored cars and pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns.

Today, many have ditched military-type vehicles that could make them easy targets of U.S. air strikes, and try to blend in with residents, say witnesses. While still terrifying, they are now a far more discreet force.

A Reuters examination of three weeks of U.S. air strikes reveals significant changes in the way the Islamic State operates since the U.S. joined the struggle against them, with fewer militants on the streets of Mosul the clearest sign. It is unclear how the Islamic State’s tactics will further change as a result of the reclaiming of the strategic Mosul Dam by Iraqi government and Kurdish forces or Sunday’s dramatic retaking of Amerli, where thousands had been cut off from food and water, but clearly battlefield strategies are involving on both sides.

The way the Islamic State is adapting shows the scale of problems ahead for President Barack Obama, the Pentagon and U.S.-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces, as they struggle to reclaim ground from the Sunni militants, who have seized a third of both Iraq and Syria, and want to establish a jihadist hub in the heart of the Arab world.

After forging working arrangements with other armed Sunni groups and tribes angry at the Shi’ite Islamist-dominated central government in Baghdad, the Islamic State is now the most powerful force in parts of northern and western Iraq, with its ranks ranging from 8,000 to 20,000 fighters, according to Iraqi government estimates.

Large areas are under control of the radical offshoot of al Qaeda, and will be difficult to wrest away from them if Iraq’s Shi’ite political leaders fail to appease disgruntled Sunnis, many of whom have embraced Islamic State after what they describe as years of discrimination and persecution.

Ousting the jihadists altogether will likely require a two-pronged approach, including ground combat in Iraq carried out by Iraqi security forces, Sunni tribesmen and ethnic Kurdish peshmerga fighters, perhaps with guidance by U.S. Special Operations Forces and American advisers, say Iraqi security officials and experts.

Defeating them would almost certainly require air strikes on Islamic State strongholds in neighboring Syria that could be risky, including the possibility of high civilian casualties given patchy American intelligence on the ground.

“To retake areas requires more than airstrikes. It requires specially trained fighters and the support of the population in these areas,” said Ali Al-Haidari, an Iraqi security expert and former officer in the Iraqi military.

Washington needs to decide whether it wants to halt and contain Islamic State or wipe it out entirely, said Hayat Alvi, professor of Middle East studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island.”If they really want to destroy the Islamic State and stop them being a threat, they are going to have to get a lot more committed,”

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Fort Bliss amps up security over holiday weekend

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — Fort Bliss says it’s taking extra security precautions over Labor Day weekend.

wolf in sheeps clothing Spokesman Ltc. Lee Peters says the U.S. Army post has closed some entry gates to non-Defense Department personnel, and increased random vehicle searches through Tuesday.

He said Sunday that the added security comes amid recent Defense Department guidance and internal security assessments.

Peters also cited media reports that have to be “assessed” about a possible attack on America’s southern border by militants from the Islamic State extremist group that’s attacking cities in Iraq.

The Army post also has warned the approximately 30,000 soldiers and 10,000 civilians who work there to expect “future change access controls” beyond Tuesday.

Peters says new protocol is also being developed due to recent shootings at Fort Hood, Fort Lee and the Navy Yard.

Islamic State group becomes target of Arab satire

BAGHDAD (AP) — The bumbling young militant first drops the rocket launcher on the toes of his boss before taking aim and firing toward a military checkpoint outside of an Iraqi town — not realizing he’s fired it backward at his leader.

The “Looney Tunes”-style cartoon targeting the Islamic State group comes after its militants have swept across large swaths of Syria and Iraq, declaring their own self-styled caliphate while conducting mass shootings of their prisoners. The group cheers its advances and beheadings in slickly produced Internet videos.

In response, television networks across the Middle East have begun airing cartoons and comedy programs using satire to criticize the group and its claims of representing Islam. And while not directly confronting the group’s battlefield gains, the shows challenge the legitimacy of its claims and chip away at the fear some have that the Islamic militants are unstoppable.

“These people are not a true representation of Islam and so by mocking them, it is a way to show that we are against them,” said Nabil Assaf, one of the producers and writers of Lebanon’s “Ktir Salbe Show,” which has challenged the group. “Of course it’s a sensitive issue, but this is one way to reject extremism and make it so the people are not afraid.”

Satire has long been a force in Arab culture, beginning first with its ancient poetry. Indirect criticism once cloaked in self-censorship exploded out into the open during Arab Spring revolts. Even in the midst of Syria’s bloody civil war, the country’s renowned black, satirical humor has continued.

The Islamic State group, born out the Syrian war, now finds itself challenged in a cultural war after its gains. The top Islamic authority in Egypt recently began an online campaign asking journalists not to call the group an “Islamic State.” Comedians have followed suit.

In one skit produced by the “Ktir Salbe Show,” a taxi driver picks up a jihadi who rejects listening to radio because it didn’t exist in the earliest days of Islam, a knock on the Islamic State group’s literal take on the Quran. The driver offers to turn on the air conditioning, but that too is rejected. The jihadi finally criticizes him for answering a mobile phone.

Fed up, the driver asks: “Were there taxi cabs in the earliest days?”

“No, 1,000 times no!” the passenger answers. The driver responds by kicking out the jihadi and telling him to wait for a camel instead.

In Syria, comedic news programs also target the Islamic State group, with its presenters disguising themselves out of fears of retaliation. In Iraq, an animated program on state television depicted a slew of characters on the run from the Iraqi military, including young Islamic State militants and old Saddam Hussein-era officials.

“We are all against these terrorist organizations,” said Alaa al-Majedi of the state-run al-Iraqiya channel. “Comedy is one way to raise awareness.”

But among those depicted in the cartoon is Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, an accusation that the Sunni kingdom supports the Sunni Islamic State militants, something Saudi officials have denied. Saudi Arabia backs the rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

Even the dark videos of mass shootings conducted by the Islamic State group have become comedic fodder. Palestinian television channel al-Falastiniya aired a skit showing two militants shoot Muslim civilians for their lack of knowledge on the number of times to kneel during prayers, all the while reminiscing over the beautiful women and best party neighborhoods they’d visited in Beirut.

When a Jordanian Christian approaches, the two militants begin fighting each other over who gets to shoot him — each wanting the “blessing” for himself. Terrified, the man suffers a fatal heart attack, leaving the militants devastated.

A CNN Host Let a Muslim Cleric Speak Freely. What He Said about Journalism, Terrorism and Sharia Law in America Left the Host Speechless

The Brits should band together and finally dispatch this guy.

choudary crosshairsBritish Muslim activist Anjam Choudary appeared on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday morning, and while host Brian Stelter seemed as if he was working hard to give the cleric a fair shake, the veteran journalist couldn’t help but get exasperated as Choudary steadfastly defended his radical Islamic ideology — and joked about 9/11.

Besides saying that he thought he won his epic shouting match with Fox News’ Sean Hannity earlier in the week, Choudary refused to condemn the recent beheading of American journalist James Foley by the Islamic State.

Middle Eastern Muslims don’t see any difference between Western military members and civilians “because the general populace of America have re-voted for people like [President Barack] Obama and [former President George W.] Bush, who continue their policy of tyranny in the area,” Choudary claimed.

Journalists are “the propaganda machine of the Obama administration” in the eyes of Middle Eastern Muslims, Choudary added.

“That’s a crazy thing to say given that the only reason you know about the abuses of Abu Ghraib is because of American journalists,” Stelter interjected. “The only reason why you know about the abuses at Guantanamo Bay are because of American journalists.”

Choudary was outspoken about his beliefs: “I believe that Sharia is the best way of life, and one day it will come to America.”

Choudary argued that no true Muslim interprets the Quran differently from he, and said that so-called “moderate” Muslims are probably paid by Western governments to speak out against “radical” Islam.

“Give me a break, now you’re just making up stuff,” Stelter exclaimed in response.

Later, Stelter confronted Choudary about what the cleric had done during the show’s sound check.

Instead of counting to 10, as guests typically do during a sound check, Choudary rattled off terrorism dates, including 7/7 (the date of the 2005 London bombings) and 9/11.

Choudary didn’t apologize.

“If you had a sense of humor, maybe you would have laughed,” he told Stelter. “It’s not a big deal.”

Stelter seemed disbelieving as he ended the segment saying, “I have nothing more to say.”

 

FOX’S ANDREA TANTAROS: ‘I will not apologize’ For Radical Islamic Comments, Twitter Applauds

    Andrea Tantaros, from Fox News’ The Five, stated on Twitter that she will not be apologizing for her comment on Radical Islam, despite pressure from the Asian American Journalists Association to issue an apology.

Here is the comment that she made:

“You can’t solve it with a dialogue. You can’t solve it with a summit,” the co-host said on “Outnumbered.” “You solve it with a bullet to the head. It’s the only thing these people understand.”

Way to stand your ground, Andrea. Although, she wasn’t alone. She also had her followers on Twitter standing by what she said.

See her tweet and the following ones from her supporters on Twitter:

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Islamic militia group says it has ‘secured’ US compound in Libya

Thank God we pulled out a month ago!!

An Islamic militant group said Sunday it has “secured” a U.S. Embassy compound in Libya’s capital city of Tripoli.

American personnel evacuated the area roughly a month ago amid ongoing fighting in the country.

An Associated Press journalist walked through the compound Sunday after the Dawn of Libya, an umbrella group for Islamist militias, invited onlookers inside.

Windows at the compound had been broken, but it appeared most of the equipment there remained untouched.

Click below to watch video

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A commander for the Dawn of Libya group said his forces had entered and been in control of the compound since last week.

Fox News as of late Sunday morning has not been able to independently confirm the group’s claim.

No U.S. military or assets were guarding the property after the State Department pulled out.

On Sept. 11, 2012, U.S. diplomat Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in a terror attack on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

A video posted online showed men playing in a pool at the compound. In a message on Twitter, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones said the video appeared to have been shot in at the embassy’s residential annex.

She also said it appeared the compound was being “safeguarded” and was not “ransacked.”

The fighting prompted diplomats and thousands of Tripoli residents to flee. Dozens were killed in the fighting.

On July 26, U.S. diplomats evacuated to neighboring Tunisia under a U.S. military escort. The State Department said embassy operations would be suspended until the security situation improved.

The Dawn of Libya militia is deployed around the capital and has called on foreign diplomats to return now that the fighting has subsided.

It’s an explosive charge, one that practically accuses the president of treason.

Thanks to Jane at CT Chapter of ACT4America   Today, a former CIA agent bluntly told the newspaper, World Net Daily, that America has switched sides in the war on terror under President Obama. Clare Lopez was willing to say what a few members of Congress have said in private, but declined to say on-the-record.

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy and a Senior Fellow at The Clarion Project, the London Center for Policy Research, and the Canadian Meighen Institute.
   Since 2013, she has served as a member of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi. Also Vice President of the Intelligence Summit, she formerly was a career operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee from 2005-2006, and has served as a consultant, intelligence analyst, and researcher for a variety of defense firms. She was named a Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute in 2011.
      Lopez said the global war on terror had been an effort to “stay free of Shariah,” or repressive Islamic law, until the Obama administration began siding with such jihadist groups as the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates. Lopez believes that the Muslim Brotherhood has thoroughly infiltrated the Obama administration and other branches of the federal government.
     One of the most outrageous of those appointments is Mohamed Elibiary, a senior member of the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council. According to a report by the Center for Security Policy, Elibiary supports brokering a U.S. partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group. Two months ago, a firestorm erupted online after Elibiary tweeted that a “Caliphate” is inevitable and compared it to the European Union.
     Ms. Lopez also believes Obama had essentially the same goals in the Mideast as the late Osama bin Laden: “to remove American power and influence, including military forces, from Islamic lands.” The former CIA operative’s perspective affects her prescription for what the U.S. should do about the terror army ISIS, as she called for caution and restraint.
     While there has been a sudden chorus of politicians and military experts calling for the immediate elimination of the terrorist army after it beheaded American journalist James Foley last week, Lopez believes the U.S. should have an overall strategy in place before fully re-engaging in the Mideast militarily.Any military action would be further complicated, she told WND, if it were not clear which side the U.S. is on, either in the short term or in the overall war on terror.
Lopez felt it was impossible to understand why the president and some of his top appointees, such as CIA Director John Brennan, who is believed to be a Muslim convert, “consistently seem to apologize for Islam, even in the face of such atrocities as the Foley beheading,” adding, they “take pains to assure the world they don’t think IS, (or the Islamic State, also called ISIS) or whichever perpetrator it was, has anything to do with Islam. How can they possibly believe that genuinely when everything these jihadis do tracks directly to the literal text of Quran, hadiths and Shariah?”
     “In any case, and for whatever motivations, there is no doubt this administration switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror,” she said.
I wonder if those who don’t want to go ‘on the record’ will finally speak out.

Afsun Qureshi: The Muslim prayer that might save your life

To weed the Muslims out from the infidels, terrorists asked people to recite the shahadah to prove their faith. It was al-Qaeda Question Hour. The wrong answer meant death.

London, England — As a young girl in a downtown Toronto hospital, I stood on my tiptoes, peering at my cancer-ridden uncle lying mutely on the hospital bed. He was asleep — exhausted and wasted from years of waging war with cancer. For some reason, I was left alone with him for a few moments, which turned out to be the moments in which he took his dying breaths. He woke with a jolt and started shrieking in a booming voice that belied his deathly ill state. His eyes were dilated but fixed straight at me while he shouted the lines twice. I ran to my mother, hysterical and shaking. Nurses sprinted to him, adjusting machines and pumping fluids — but within minutes he had died.

In her attempt to comfort me, my mother explained that the words he had uttered to me comprised the shahadah, a testimony to the identity of Allah as the one true God, and Muhammad as his prophet. Muslims are supposed to recite the shahadah if they know they are dying. It signals to God that they are indeed Muslims, the real deal. Still, I was spooked for years.

Yet these words that terrified me saved a number of lives during the 2013 al-Qaeda-linked attack at Kenya’s Westgate Mall. To weed the Muslims out from the infidels, terrorists asked people to recite the shahadah to prove their faith. They asked other things too, like certain key passages of the Koran, the name of Mohammad’s mother, that sort of thing — it was al-Qaeda Question Hour. The wrong answer meant death.

After that, many, myself included, wondered: Should we — Muslim or not — learn the basics of Islam and have a read through the Koran? If one of us ever finds herself in a situation similar to that of Westgate Mall victims, could even a rudimentary knowledge of Islam save us?

More broadly, being versed in the Koran might help Muslims to discredit and marginalize the fundamentalists who have warped the words from that holy book. Earlier this month, Philip Hammond, Foreign Secretary of the UK, where I live, said there were at least 500 British Muslims training with ISIS in Iraq and Syria — more Muslims, apparently, than there are enlisted in the UK Military. What if these lunatics decide to use their passport to come back to the UK to launch Westgate-style attacks?

Read More HERE

 

Seized ISIS Laptop In Syria Contains Plans For ‘Bubonic Plague’ Weapons

A laptop allegedly seized from an ISIS (also known as Islamic State) base in Syria contains plans to launch devastating terror attacks harnessing the bubonic plague.

temp8-29-2Discovered by a moderate rebel group from an IS base in Idlib, northern Syria, in January, the computer belonged to a Tunisian militant and also contains instructions on how to build explosives, use disguises to travel undetected, and plans to build chemical weapons.

“The advantage of biological weapons is that they do not cost a lot of money, while the human casualties can be huge,” a document retrieved from the computer stated.

The Dell laptop was shown to journalists working with Foreign Policy magazine.

They report that the computer initially seemed to be blank, but on closer investigation contained a trove of hidden files.

Information retrieved indicated that the computer had belonged to a Tunisian called “Muhammed S.”, who had joined IS in Syria.

The magazine does not diclose the full name of the rebel.

Further documents showed that the owner studied physics and chemistry in two universities in the northeast of Tunisia, and planned to put his knowledge to deadly effect.

A 19-page document outlines plans to weaponise the bubonic plague from infected animals. It describes how to safely test diseases to be used in terror attacks.

“When the microbe is injected in small mice, the symptoms of the disease should start to appear within 24 hours,” the document explains.

It also contains a 26-page fatwa, or Islamic ruling, proclaiming the use of chemical weapons to be acceptable against kafirs, or non-believers.

“If Muslims cannot defeat the kafir in a different way, it is permissible to use weapons of mass destruction,” states the fatwa by Saudi jihadist cleric Nasir al-Fahd, who was jailed in Saudi Arabia in 2003. “Even if it kills all of them and wipes them and their descendants off the face of the Earth.”

One of the Tunisian universities named in the documents confirmed to FP that the author had been a student there.

In June, the Tunisian foreign minister said that there was an estimated 2,400 Tunisians fighting in the Syrian civil war, mostly for IS.

Though attempts by al Qaeda to acquire chemical weapons in the past came to nothing, IS militants have seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, including Mosul’s university, where it is feared they could be developing deadly new weapons.

In July, IS reportedly used chemical weapons on the battlefield against Kurdish fighters in clashes in a semi-autonamous Kurdish region in Syria.

The region’s health minister, Dr Na’san Ahmed, told of “strange white injuries” on the bodies of some fighters, and called on international medical institutions and human rights organisations to investigate the incident.

In July, IS militants seized a factory northeast of Baghdad used by Saddam Hussein’s regime to make chemical weapons. However, experts said that no weapons remained at the site.

“Use small grenades with the virus [sic -- although the bubonic plague is spread by bacteria, not viruses], and throw them in closed areas like metros, soccer stadiums, or entertainment centers,” the 19-page document on biological weapons advises. “Best to do it next to the air-conditioning. It also can be used during suicide operations.”

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