Mr. President: If Not America Then Who?

By Dan Perkins

I have been watching the news about what America is doing to help the Christians and Muslims stranded on Sinjar mountain in Northern Iraq. As I understand the president has ordered food and water to be dropped on the mountain. In addition the president has ordered selective air strikes upon military targets. The administration has not released the details as to the length of the humanitarian aid flights. Very little was released describing the type and number of ISSI targets other then to say they have destroyed some artillery and some convoys.

From what I was able to gather before we dropped the supplies Christians and Muslims were already burring their dead in shallow graves on the mountain who died for a lack of food and water. The Christians had to make a choice, stay on the mountain and die from starvation and dehydration or go down the mountain and face death for their faith. No doubt that some people in order to live have already renounce their religion.

My first question Mr. President where you waiting to see if some other nation would step in a feed and give water to those people on the mountain? It appears that the greater cooperation of nations you were looking for did not materialize in this crisis. When nobody stepped up to save those Christian and Muslin’s you finally stepped in and helped save them, at least for now. I commend you for your action but I wonder how many thousands of people have been slaughtered by ISIS before this action and lay in trenches like the one shown in the photograph below all over western Iraq.

On June 14 almost a month a go this photograph was published on the web( http://rt.com/news/168916-isis-iraq-war-crimes/. This photo reminds me of the mass murder of the Jews by the Nazis in WW11. I believe that this was not an isolated incident but representative of what was and is taking place in those parts of Iraq attacked by ISIS.

I was just born at the end of WW11 so what I know about the Jewish holocaust is what I have seen in books, TV shows, and movies. As I watched the genocide in the security of my home I asked myself this question. Mr. President if not America than who? The world including America has watched for months the barbarian attacks by ISIS and yet no nation did anything. The only two nations that have some military resources that could have helped were France and England. One only has to look at the protests in the streets of London and Paris with the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas to see why neither nation wanted to get involved in Iraq. It seems the Muslims are powerful intimidators in those two countries and these nations could not come to the rescue.

I wonder how anybody regardless of religion or lack there of can look at this picture and not be shocked and outraged. Mr. President it appears that you have answered my question at least for now about providing for the people on the mountain food and water, but they can’t live on top of the mountain forever. With in a few months the winter will come and it will be below freezing and a possible of snow. Will ISIS wait at the foot of the mountain for the people to come down looking for shelter from the cold with the trenches already dug like the one shown in the photo?

What is your long-term plan for the protection of the innocent or are you waiting for CNN to tell you Mr. President there is a problem.

Dan Perkins
Dan Perkins is a Registered Investment Advisor with over 40 years of money management experience and has written a trilogy on terrorism call the Brotherhood of the Red Nile. He can be contacted at his book web site http://www.danperkinsatsanibel.com.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

‘JAMES WAS BEATEN MORE BECAUSE HE WAS AMERICAN’, SAYS PRISONER CHAINED TO JOURNALIST

DailyMail

1408625190585_wps_3_Nicolas_Henin_R_former_Fr
Nicolas Henin spent seven months in captivity and was released in April

James Foley was beaten more than any other hostage because he was an American and ISIS knew his brother was in the U.S. Air Force, a fellow prisoner said today.
French journalist Nicolas Henin spent seven months in captivity with the murdered journalist in Syria, including a week handcuffed together.

Mr Henin, who was released in April this year, believes Foley was always seen as ‘some kind of scapegoat’ by his captors, who were led by his British killer ‘John’ – ringleader of a gang of British jihadis known as ‘The Beatles’ guarding western hostages for ISIS.

‘Being an American he was probably more targeted by the kidnappers. Well, he would be beaten a bit more probably, he was some kind of scapegoat. And The kidnappers knew that his brother was in the U.S. Air Force’.
He added: ‘He became the whipping-boy of the jailers but remained unperturbed’.
Speaking about the conditions they were kept in together he said: ‘’The conditions were often quite basic and were sometimes quite difficult.

‘We were in extremely narrow rooms and were taken to the bathroom two to three times a day. For emergencies were had a few bottles and a bucket in the corner’.
Mr Henin paid tribute to his former colleague and friend, saying he had been generous with other captives if they were cold or hungry.
He said he was horrified by Mr Foley’s killing, but added that he will focus on positive memories from their time together.

‘I will try to just remember few, very few opportunities we had to laugh loud together – and it did happen actually a couple of times,’ he said.
When asked why he was released but Mr Foley was not he said: ‘Some countries like America but also like the UK do not negotiate and, well, they put their people at risk.’

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Islamic State’s Driving Force

 

images (10)

washingtoninstitute \ Aaron Y. Zelin

While the long-term sustainability of the “Islamic State” is in doubt, Baghdadi has clearly steered the group back to prominence.

On 5 July, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, known by his supporters as Caliph Ibrahim, left the shadows and showed his face for the first time, in a Friday sermon in Mosul, Iraq. While previous pictures of him had been leaked, Baghdadi had not shown himself in the four years since he became leader of what was then the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq (forerunner of ISIS, then the Islamic State).

Before April 2013, Baghdadi also did not release many audio messages. His first written statement was a eulogy to Osama Bin Laden in May 2011. His first audio message was released in July 2012 and predicted future victories for the Islamic State.

Since the group’s resurgence, which began 15 months ago, Baghdadi’s media output has risen. The amount of specific information about his background has also increased.

‘DESCENDANT OF THE PROPHET’

In July 2013, the Bahraini ideologue Turki al-Binali, writing under the pen name Abu Humam Bakr bin Abd al-Aziz al-Athari, wrote a biography of Baghdadi. In part it was to highlight Baghdadi’s family history, which claims that Baghdadi was indeed a descendant of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad — one of the key qualifications in Islamic history for becoming the caliph (historically, leader of all Muslims). It highlighted that Baghdadi came from the al-Bu Badri tribe, which is primarily based in Samarra and Diyala, north and east of Baghdad respectively, and known historically for being descendants of Muhammad.

Turki al-Binali’s tract continued by highlighting that prior to the US invasion of Iraq, Baghdadi received his PhD from the Islamic University of Baghdad, with a focus on Islamic culture, history, sharia, and jurisprudence. Baghdadi preached at the Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal Mosque in Samarra.

Baghdadi does not have credentials from esteemed Sunni religious establishments such as al-Azhar University in Cairo or the Islamic University of Medina in Saudi Arabia. Nonetheless, he is more steeped in traditional Islamic education than either al-Qaeda’s past and current leaders, Osama Bin Laden and Aymen al-Zawahiri, both laymen and an engineer and doctor respectively. This has conferred on Baghdadi a higher level of praise, worthiness, and legitimacy among his supporters.

RISE TO TOP

Following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Baghdadi, along with some associates, created Jamaat Jaysh Ahl al-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaah (JJASJ) — the Army of the Sunni People Group — which operated in Samarra, Diyala, and Baghdad. Within the group, Baghdadi was the head of the sharia committee. US-led coalition forces detained him from February to December 2004, but released him since he was not viewed as a high-level threat.

Following al-Qaeda in the Land of Two Rivers changing its name to Majlis Shura al-Mujahidin (Mujahideen Shura Council) in early 2006, JJASJ’s leadership pledged baya (oath of allegiance) to it and joined the umbrella organisation. Within the new structure, Baghdadi joined the sharia committees. But soon after the organisation announced another change to its name in late 2006 to the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), Baghdadi became the general supervisor of the sharia committees for the wilayats (provinces) within the new “state” as well as a member of ISI’s senior consultative council. When ISI’s leader Abu Umar al-Baghdadi died in April 2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi succeeded him.

PLACE IN HISTORY?

Since taking over the leadership of the Islamic State, Baghdadi has rebuilt and reinvigorated a battered organisation after the Sunni tribal sahwa (awakening) against it, which was then consolidated by the US military surge. Compared with the Islamic State’s first attempt at governance last decade, thus far, while still brutal, it is doing a better job, though questions still remain about its longer-term sustainability.

Part of this is related to augmenting its cruel judicial punishments with a social service regime to create more soft power, but also to have a carrot to its stick. Likewise, as a lesson from the tribal awakening, the Islamic State over the past couple of years has either assassinated key leaders within the sahwa movement or brokered “repentances” from those that would like to join the organisation. This, in ways, has helped blunt more of the potential for a large-scale uprising similar to last decade, though there have been calls and rumours that some tribal elements that have not “repented” will take on the Islamic State.

Moreover, if one looks at the locations that the Islamic State has targeted to take over or currently controls, many are along both the Euphrates and Tigris rivers as well as areas that have oil in both Iraq and Syria. Baghdadi and the rest of the Islamic State leadership realise that if one has a monopoly on the energy (whether for human consumption or electrically powered devices) along with its growing military might, it is a lot easier to consolidate its writ, even if parts of the population disagree with its ideological project.

While we may not know the future of the Islamic State, it is clear that Baghdadi has steered the organisation back to prominence. In many ways, he has eclipsed even the founder of the group Abu Musab al-Zarqawi last decade in prestige, resources, and potential for the future.

His true significance will likely come more to light following his death, since, as we have seen with al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri has had a difficult time replacing Bin Laden. For now, the Islamic State’s “Caliph” is the new star of the ascendant “Caliphate Project.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How the West Can Stop Terrorists From Attracting More Recruits Like Jihadist Who Beheaded Foley

Video Wn Channel 

the dailysignal

American photojournalist James Foley was beheaded by a member of the Islamic State, his death shown in a YouTube video released on Tuesday. Foley’s executioner spoke fluent English with a strong East London accent, leading experts to believe that the jihadist is a British national.

British foreign secretary Philip Hammond stated in an interview with BBC Wednesday that leaders are “absolutely aware that there are significant numbers of British nationals involved in terrible crimes, probably in the commission of atrocities, making jihad with ISIL [now known as the Islamic State] and other extremist organizations.”

The release of this video has highlighted the existence foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria, and has made cutting off their pipelines a top security concern. Young men are being targeted and recruited by extremist groups like the Islamic State, and are being funneled into Iraq and Syria.

These pipelines are taking advantage of porous borders and limited security in war-torn countries to move thousands of foreign fighters between conflict zones and western nations. It is estimated that dozens of Americans and thousands of Europeans are currently fighting under the flag of the Islamic State. As the process of recruiting, training, and transporting foreign fighters becomes more systematic, the threat to the United States and her allies increases.

Foley’s death highlights the barbarism of the Islamic State, and the threatening role that foreign fighters are playing. So far, the U.K prime minister David Cameron has responded by returning from his vacation early to take meetings on the situation in Iraq and Syria. On Wednesday afternoon, President Obama denounced the actions of the Islamic State and affirmed that the U.S. would continue to conduct airstrikes to “do what we must to protect our people.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Islamic State video shows conversion of Yazidis to Islam

MALAYSIA

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled from the violence in the Iraqi town of Gwer, wait to return at a check point at the entrance of Gwer
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, who fled from the violence in the Iraqi town of Gwer, wait to return at a check point at the entrance of Gwer, August 18, 2014. Islamic State militants have released a a video that seeks to show it enlightened hundreds of members of the religious minority by converting them to Islam. – Reuters pic, August 21, 2014.Islamic State, a militant group that witnesses and officials say has executed hundreds of members of Iraq’s Yazidis, has released a video that seeks to show it enlightened hundreds of members of the religious minority by converting them to Islam.

The production was issued not long after the group on Tuesday released a video showing one of its black-clad fighters beheading American journalist James Foley, sparking international outrage.

The Yazidis, followers of an ancient religion derived from Zoroastrianism who are part of the country’s Kurdish minority, have paid the highest price for Islamic State’s dramatic advance through northern Iraq.

Islamic State militants, widely seen as more hardline than al Qaeda, storm into villages armed with machine guns and give Yazidis a simple choice: convert to Islam or die.

Witnesses have said most of their hundreds of victims were shot dead at close range, while others including women and children were buried alive. Women who avoided death were rounded up and taken away as slaves, witnesses said. The threat to the Yazidis was one reason cited by US President Barack Obama when he launched US air strikes against Islamic State in parts of Iraq earlier this month.

The Islamic State video, which the group called “Hundreds of Yazidis convert to Islam”, gives no indication of the bloodshed that prompted tens of thousands of people to flee.

In the film, Islamic State fighters say they are misunderstood as they sit on a wall in Mount Sinjar, the Yazidis’ ancient homeland.

Witnesses earlier told Reuters that residents who dared to stay hung white flags on the homes to show their complete surrender to Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria it controls and threatened to march on Baghdad.

In the video, two Islamic State fighters – one a bearded middle-aged man dressed in black with an AK-47 assault rifle and another in a crisp grey military uniform and camouflage cap – field questions in Arabic from what appears to be an Islamic State interviewer.

“What has been said is the opposite of reality,” the older man says. He also says that Islamic State has provided the Yazidis with everything they need.

“Men, women and children have converted and I was with them and they are happy with their conversions,” he says, adding: “We advise the Yazidis to come down from the mountain and convert.”

This was a reference to Mount Sinjar, where thousands who feared death at the hands of the militants took refuge.

“If they stay on the mountain, they will die of starvation and thirst. This talk about aid from Western and crusader countries is all lies. If they convert, we will give them everything they need. They will live a happy life.”

The video then shows dozens of Yazidis getting off a bus, walking past a truck mounted with an anti-aircraft weapon and hugging Islamic State militants.

Second later, hundreds of people are sitting on the floor of what appears to be a school beneath black Islamic State flags, hoisted in every town the group has captured since it arrived from Syria in June and swept through the north almost unopposed by Iraq’s army.

Mostly young men, they prepare for the conversion ritual.

“Right now you are infidels. After this you will become Muslims and you will have rights,” an Islamic State fighter tells them. “Repeat after me.” – Reuters, August 21, 2014.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Qatar ‘Refuses’ To Sign Final GCC Report, No Evidence of Compliance

GULF NEWS

Qatar has reportedly refused to sign the final report prepared by a technical committee set up by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to monitor the implementation of an agreement to end the worst diplomatic crisis within the alliance.

The committee established in April following the Riyadh Agreement had until Wednesday to finalise its report before submitting it to the foreign ministers of the member countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The ministers will discuss the report at their next meeting on August 30 in the Red Sea city of Jeddah and decide on the next steps, London-based daily Al Sharq Al Awsat reported on Wednesday.

According to the daily, Qatari officials said at the meeting that they had implemented all that was required from them. However, a senior Gulf official said that Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE insisted on evidences and actions that supported the Qatari claims.

“This insistence upset the Qatari officials who refused to endorse the report by the committee, even though the other countries signed it,” the unnamed Gulf source told the daily.

The unprecedented crisis erupted within the GCC last year amid accusations that Doha was pursuing a policy that differed from the stances of the other member countries.

In November, an accord was reached to have Qatar change its policies and bring them more in line with those of its fellow members, regarding domestic issues and regional developments that affected GCC interests.

However, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE on March 5 said that Qatar did not comply with the accord and pulled their ambassadors from Doha, citing grievances that included interference in their domestic affairs and offering support, including from the media, to groups that were intent on undermining stability and security in the Gulf.

Qatar rejected the charges and said that it was fully committed to the principles and objectives of the GCC, set up in 1981.

A new accord, achieved mainly thanks to the mediation of the Kuwaiti Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, was reached in Riyadh on April 17.

The GCC countries pledged to honour the Riyadh Agreement and a committee made up of representatives from the six member countries was set up to follow up on its implementation.

The works of the committee remained mostly secret and no information about them has been leaked. However, statements by Gulf officials and media reports offered contrasting assessments about the first reports.

While some talked about an imminent breakthrough in the diplomatic crisis, others said that the divergences were too wide to overcome easily.

Saudi Arabia insisted that the ambassadors would not be reinstated until Qatar fully complied with the Riyadh Agreement.

Bahrain on two occasions issued statements calling for an end to the naturalisation of some of its well-established Arab families by Qatar authorities.

Last week, the GCC foreign ministers meeting in Jeddah said that they looked forward to the full implementation of the agreement within one week.

It was the first time since April that a deadline was announced publicly for reaching an accord.

The diplomatically worded statement by the GCC Secretary-General Abdul Lateef Al Zayani at the end of the meeting attended by all GCC foreign ministers was interpreted as an ultimatum to Qatar.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TALK OF THE TOWN: U.S. Military Tried to Rescue Foley; Obama Defies Threats With New Iraq Airstrikes

Defense One\Ben Watson&Kevin Baron

This story has been updated.

Rejecting the Islamic State’s demands that United States airstrikes in Iraq stop or more journalists would be executed, U.S. military officials announced fresh strikes on the fighters and said President Barack Obama could deploy up to 300 new troops.

The announcement on Wednesday came less than one hour after the president condemned the execution of American journalist James Foley. Later in the day, Pentagon and White House officials announced the U.S. military tried to rescue several Americans believed held hostage in Syria earlier this summer, but the hostages were not at the presumed location. Foley was believed to be among those held captive, a senior defense official confirmed to Defense One. The official would not confirm if the hostage group targeted for rescue included TIME journalist Steven Soltoff, who Islamic State fighters threatened to execute next.

“Jim Foley’s life stands in stark contrast to his killers,” Obama said in a short statement from Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. “They 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 empty slavery to their empty vision. And the collapse of any definition of civilized behavior.”

Fifty-five minutes later, officials from U.S. Central Command announced 14 new airstrikes hit Islamic State (sometimes referred to by officials as ISIL, or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) elements near the Mosul Dam, bringing the count to 84 strikes in less than two weeks, including 51 near the dam.

“U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in support of Iraqi security force operations, using fighter, remotely piloted and attack aircraft to conduct 14 airstrikes in the vicinity of the Mosul Dam,” the statement read.

The combined mix of airstrikes took out six Islamic State Humvees, three roadside bomb emplacements, two armed trucks and a mortar tube, according to CENTCOM. It is a further extension of the U.S. mission, which the command defines as assisting Iraqi and Kurdish defense forces, “as well as to protect critical infrastructure, U.S. personnel and facilities, and support humanitarian efforts.”

Shortly after the CENTCOM announcement, the Associated Press reported defense officials may beef up security around Baghdad with “fewer than 300” additional U.S. troops. Pentagon officials have not made a final decision on sending the additional troops, but if deployed, that would push the U.S. presence in Iraq well over 1,000. There are currently 850 American troops in Iraq, including personnel assigned to the embassy in Baghdad. The number of American troops in Iraq peaked at 964 on August 13.

“The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people,” Obama said. “We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done. And we act against ISIL standing alongside others…From governments and people across the Middle East, there has to be a common effort to extract this cancer so that it does not spread. There has to be a clear rejection of these kind of nihilistic ideologies. One thing we can all agree on is that a group like ISIL has no place in the 21st century.”

“There is evil in this world, and we all have come face to face with it once again. Ugly, savage, inexplicable, nihilistic, and valueless evil. ISIL is the face of that evil, a threat to people who want to live in peace, and an ugly insult to the peaceful religion they violate every day with their barbarity,” said Secretary of State John Kerry. “And make no mistake: we will continue to confront ISIL wherever it tries to spread its despicable hatred. The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil. ISIL and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed, and those responsible for this heinous, vicious atrocity will be held accountable.”

Since Foley’s death became known Tuesday, the administration faced criticism for not trying to rescue him or other Americans presumed held within the swath of Syria and Iraq held by the Islamic State group. Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby, announcing the failed rescue attempt for Foley, said, “As we have said repeatedly, the United States government is committed to the safety and well-being of its citizens, particularly those suffering in captivity. In this case, we put the best of the United States military in harms’ way to try and bring our citizens home. The United States government uses the full breadth of our military, intelligence and diplomatic capabilities to bring people home whenever we can. The United States will not tolerate the abduction of our people, and will work tirelessly to secure the safety of our citizens and to hold their captors accountable.”

The White House quickly released a following statement in which counterterrorism chief Lisa Monaco said, “The U.S. Government had what we believed was sufficient intelligence, and when the opportunity presented itself, the President authorized the Department of Defense to move aggressively to recover our citizens. Unfortunately, that mission was ultimately not successful because the hostages were not present.”

Monaco said the administration would not reveal further details of the operation, but the Washington Post reported extensive details including that the intelligence was based in part on interviews with at least half a dozen former hostages who had been released, and that modified Black Hawk helicopters of the Army’s Special Forces went into Syria and came under heavy fire.

iraqtroop2_03

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Gen. Allen: Destroy the Islamic State Now

DEFENSE ONE

image

Gen. John R. Allen, USMC (Ret.) led Marines in Anbar Province and was commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. He is a distinguished fellow of foreign policy at the Brookings Institution

The brutal murder of the brave American journalist James Foley is meant to directly terrorize the world’s media, the international community, and the United States. If all the actions of the Islamic State, or IS, to date weren’t sufficiently reprehensible, this act and the potential for other similar acts will snap American attention with laser-like focus onto the real danger IS poses to the existence of Iraq, the order of the region and to the homelands of Europe and America.

Make no mistake, the abomination of ISis a clear and present danger to the U.S.The only question really is whether theU.S. and its allies and partners will act decisively now while they can still shape events to destroy IS, an act that seems increasingly self-obvious.

President Barack Obama, our commander-in-chief, was right to order airstrikes on IS elements in northern Iraq. He was also right to order humanitarian relief for the Yazidis and other desperate Iraqi minority elements fleeing the onslaught of IS elements, but until the grisly death of James Foley much of the American public was only beginning to awaken to what IS is and the enormity of the threat it represents.

The U.S. is now firmly in the game and remains the only nation on the planet capable of exerting the kind of strategic leadership, influence and strike capacity to deal with IS. It is also the only power capable of organizing a coalition’s reaction to this regional and international threat. As a general officer commanding at several levels in the region, I can say with certainty that what we’re facing in northern Iraq is only partly a crisis about Iraq. It is about the region and potentially the world as we know it.

Weeks ago I called for this group to be attacked in the manner only the U.S. can undertake – suddenly, swiftly, surgically – to deal it a setback and to begin the systematic dismantlement of this scourge. As we consider this threat there are some important points to consider that give urgency to the imperative to act:

The Islamic State is executing a well-thought-out campaign design intended to dismantle both Syria and Iraq and install in their place an Islamic Caliphate. Though we’re keyed into it now, we missed it initially. 

IS is a well-organized entity, almost certainly supported by former Saddamist regime elements whose hand can be seen in the campaign design now unfolding. This group is not a flash in the pan that will go away of its own accord or if we don’t poke at it. It is not benign. IS is reinforced by Sunni tribal elements from Syria and Iraq, and most alarmingly, is aided by a witch’s brew of foreign fighters from Chechens to Uighurs to Pashtuns, but also including Europeans and Americans. The Caliphate’s Western recruits will be felt in the European and American homelands for years to come regardless of the fate IS and its cause. 

IS is quite well heeled. It is flush with recently captured American and Iraqi ordnance and armored vehicles, and awash with dollars lifted from Iraqi banks along its route of advance. It is demonstrating an alarming ability to absorb heavier and more complex military capabilities and put them to work against their erstwhile opponents. IS is able to demonstrate substantial battlefield innovation and agility — two qualities none of us can afford as IS continues its forward movement and attempts to consolidate.

So how should we “see” IS and what is this terrorist group up to?

Within its means, IS is waging total war on the region and its “unbelieving and apostate” populations. Just ask the Christians, Yazidis, Kurds, Shi’a and some Sunni populations who’ve been unlucky enough to be along the IS axis of advance. Before our very eyes, it is transitioning from being a non-state actor into a state-like entity. The leadership of the so-called Caliphate has been clear that it will focus on Western and American targets if given the chance to consolidate its holdings into the so-called Caliphate. It’s worth remembering the Taliban provided the perfect platform from which al-Qaeda attacked the U.S., and the Taliban were and remain as cavemen in comparison to IS. As well, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, has attacked the U.S. at least twice, and they are a mere shadow of IS.  Worse, the IS foot soldiers holding U.K., European, and American passports number in the hundreds. We need to prepare ourselves for what this will mean. Foley’s executioner spoke with a British accent.

So what now? 

IS must be destroyed and we must move quickly to pressure its entire “nervous system,” break it up, and destroy its pieces. As I said, the president was absolutely right to strike IS, to send advisors to Iraq, to arm the Kurds, to relieve the suffering of the poor benighted people of the region, to seek to rebuild functional and non-sectarian Iraqi Security Forces and to call for profound change in the political equation and relationships in Baghdad.

The whole questionable debate on American war weariness aside, the U.S. military is not war weary and is fully capable of attacking and reducing IS throughout the depth of its holdings, and we should do it now, but supported substantially by our traditional allies and partners, especially by those in the region who have the most to give – and the most to lose – if the Islamic State’s march continues. It’s their fight as much as ours, for the effects of IS terror will certainly spread in the region with ISseeking soft spots for exploitation. 

American and allied efforts must operate against IS from Mosul in the east across its entire depth to western Syria. In that regard, “sovereignty” in the context of its airspace and territory is not something we should grant President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria. Syria is a failed state neither capable of acting as a sovereign entity nor deserving the respect of one. We cannot leave IS a safe haven anywhere or a secure support platform from which to regroup or enjoy sanctuary across the now-irrelevant frontier between Syria and Iraq. 

The tentative successes of the Kurds in rolling back IS from the Mosul Dam should offer a clear signal that this formula of employing indigenous forces coupled with American and allied firepower can be undertaken with effect. Accelerating the refurbishment of the Iraqi security force through a focused advise and assist program can open fronts against IS to the north along the Tigris and west into Anbar Province and along the Euphrates River. To that end, Iraq and Syria’s Sunni tribes and the Free Syrian Resistance can also play a central role in dismantling IS. Many of the tribes are fighting now and many others, ready to fight IS, are begging for U.S. and international support. Their advisory and military support should be a high priority. The Kurds, the Sunnis and the Free Syrian resistance elements of the region are the “boots on the ground” necessary to the success of this campaign, and the attack on IS must comprehensively orchestrate these diverse forces across the entire region. We’ve done this before, but we must view this crisis regionally and cannot fall victim to segmented thinking, approaches and policies that leave any potential allies out of the game or give IS any safe havens or maneuver space. 

Bottom line: The president deserves great credit in attacking IS. It was the gravest of decisions for him. But a comprehensive American and international response now — NOW — is vital to the destruction of this threat. The execution of James Foley is an act we should not forgive nor should we forget, it embodies and brings home to us all what this group represents. The Islamic State is an entity beyond the pale of humanity and it must be eradicated. If we delay now, we will pay later.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

AHHH………WHAT A TORTURE: Congress and CIA battle Over Torture Investigation

Luiza Ch. Savage

America is trying to come to terms with its secret use of torture. If only the CIA wasn’t getting in the way.

torture-400x291

What happens when a group of U.S. senators launches a five-year investigation into torture by the CIA? The Senate staffers’ computers get hacked, their emails get read and documents disappear from their hard drives. Then the CIA attempts to launch a criminal case against the staffers. And when the senator in charge speaks out, the CIA director publicly implies she is imagining things.

It all sounded like a paranoid movie plot until July 31, when a report by the CIA’s own internal watchdog confirmed that not only did these events take place, but, in the course of its investigation, CIA staff members “demonstrated a lack of candour about their activities.”

The Senate’s long-awaited torture report will run to 6,300 pages, according to Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which is responsible for congressional oversight of America’s spy agencies. The report’s conclusions and a book-length executive summary are supposed to be made public soon. Based on millions of internal documents, the report may be something of a national reckoning for America—a candid, in-depth investigation into interrogation techniques used by the CIA in the wake of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. It will also examine the information produced by those techniques, in an effort to settle the question: Did the torture work?

The committee began work on the report in 2009 after senators learned that CIA practices were more extreme than the agency had described them, and that the agency had already destroyed some video evidence of harsh tactics such as simulated drowning, known as waterboarding.

The CIA sought to control the Senate’s efforts from Day 1. The committee had requested the CIA turn over all relevant documents, but, because it was dealing with a large amount of highly classified materials, then-CIA director Leon Panetta “proposed an alternative arrangement: to provide literally millions of pages of operational cables, internal emails, memos and other documents pursuant to the committee’s document requests at a secure location in northern Virginia,” Feinstein explained on the Senate floor last March. The senators agreed to work in the special location, but only on the condition that the CIA provide a “stand-alone computer system” that would be accessible only to tech workers, not other CIA personnel.

That turned out to be a mistake. Feinstein later learned that on two separate occasions, CIA personnel “electronically removed committee access to CIA documents after providing them to the committee.” This included roughly 870 pages of documents that were removed in February 2010, and another 50 that were removed in mid-May 2010, she said, leading the committee to complain to the White House and win a promise that no further deletions would happen. (The dispute appeared to centre on whether the committee was to have access to documents dating from the time of the torture program only, or to later documents that discussed it.)

Given that history, Senate staffers were particularly concerned about a draft of an internal report on torture commissioned by Panetta himself, known as the Panetta Review, written after the program had ended. According to Feinstein, it contained “analysis and acknowledgement of significant CIA wrongdoing” and “documented at least some of the very same troubling matters already uncovered by the committee staff.”

After the committee shared its preliminary findings with the CIA, the agency disputed some of its conclusions in a written response. But Feinstein says their objections are contradicted by the Panetta Review. Fearful that the CIA would delete the Panetta Review, Senate staffers printed out a copy in the Virginia facility and stashed it in a Senate safe, she said. It was a prescient move.

In January, when the CIA became aware that Senate staffers had the Panetta Review, the agency secretly searched the computers being used by the Senate staffers, supposedly on the premise that the staffers had hacked into agency files they were not supposed to have access to. Feinstein insists that the document was provided by the CIA, and alleges that the CIA’s search of Senate computers may have violated several statutes, as well as constitutional limits on the executive branch’s power to interfere with congressional oversight work. Both the CIA and the senators made criminal complaints to the Department of Justice, which declined to pursue them.

After Feinstein publicly aired her concerns in March, current CIA director John Brennan dismissed them. “We are not in any way trying to thwart the report’s progress [or] release,” he said. “As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into computers, nothing could be further from the truth.” He added: “That’s beyond the scope of reason.” But when Feinstein’s story was corroborated by the CIA’s own inspector general, who found that five agency employees “improperly accessed” the staffers’ hard drives, Brennan apologized to her.

“This is out of a movie,” Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona told reporters this month. “In some ways, it’s worse than criminal.” McCain, who was tortured in captivity during the Vietnam War and has been a staunch opponent of torture, is one of several senators calling for a high-level outside investigation, arguing that the CIA’s interference with the Senate’s work violated “the fundamental barriers of constitutional authority and responsibility.”

Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina agreed. “You’ve got the CIA director not knowing, apparently, that his organization was breaking into computers regarding an investigation of his agency. To me, this is a very big deal and an apology is not enough,” said Graham.

Meanwhile, the report remains secret while the Senate and the Obama administration wrangle over how much of its contents can be redacted or censored. Senators had agreed to withhold names of interrogators and to use pseudonyms instead. Now the CIA wants to black out some 15 per cent of the report’s executive summary—including pseudonyms that would help readers make sense of the narrative. Senators say that goes too far. “Try reading a novel with 15 per cent of the words blacked out. It can’t be done properly,” said Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico.

Declaring that relations with the Senate committee had “hit a new low” and that public confidence in the CIA has been undermined, Heinrich and Mark Udall of Colorado called on Brennan to resign. It doesn’t help that Brennan, a career CIA agent, was with the agency during the period when the worst abuses occurred.

But Obama is standing steadfastly by Brennan, a close confidant who served in his first term as national security adviser and has led the White House decision-making process on the most sensitive national security issues, such as targeted killings using drones. “I have full confidence in John Brennan,” Obama said at a press conference on Aug. 1.

It was another signal that under Obama, a national reckoning on torture will have limits. In one of his first moves after taking office in 2009, Obama closed secret CIA prisons and issued an order requiring all government interrogators to strictly adhere to anti-torture laws. However, despite pressure from many of his supporters, Obama declined to launch a criminal investigation of officials who used harsh tactics approved by Bush administration lawyers.

“We tortured some folks,” Obama said on Aug. 1. “We have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that, hopefully, we don’t do it again in the future.”

But the President made clear that the responsibility-taking would be collective, not personal for any official or interrogator. “It’s important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had,” Obama said. The new report is unlikely to change his view.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Qaradawi: Gabriel supports .. Erdogan and Istanbul, capital of the Caliphate

In an interview with TV Turkia Qaradawi declared that:

We came to Turkey to assess the Fourth Assembly of the Union of Muslim Scholars in Istanbul, capital of the Islamic Caliphate!

Qaradawi added that:

Turkey is the Caliphate State, and Istanbul is its capital … Turkey unites religion and the world, Arab (Wahhabist Sunnis) and Persian (Shiites), Asia and Africa, and it (the Caliphate) should bebased upon this nation (Turkey)”.

Addressing the Turkish people regarding the election of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the head of state, Qaradawi said:

“Erdogan is man of the State, a leader who knows his Lord.”

And then he added a very crucial comment:

“Erdogan will succeed because AllahGabrielSalih Al-Muminin (the Righteous of the Faithful) are with him and after that the Angelic Host will appear”.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,524 other followers