Good news! Some of our vetted, moderate Syrian allies have defected to al-Qaeda!

November 2, 2014

satire oops embarrassed button

I swear, our foreign policy would be turning out better results if it were run by the Keystone Cops. Via Patrick Poole at PJM, while some have just surrendered to al Qaeda, others have switched sides. Oh, and handed over he weapons we gave them. What was it bin Laden said about people preferring the strong horse?

Guess who’s the weak horse?

Two of the main rebel groups receiving weapons from the United States to fight both the regime and jihadist groups in Syria have surrendered to al-Qaeda.

The US and its allies were relying on Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionary Front to become part of a ground force that would attack the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).

For the last six months the Hazm movement, and the SRF through them, had been receiving heavy weapons from the US-led coalition, including GRAD rockets and TOW anti-tank missiles.

But on Saturday night Harakat Hazm surrendered military bases and weapons supplies to Jabhat al-Nusra, when the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria stormed villages they controlled in northern Idlib province.

The development came a day after Jabhat al-Nusra dealt a final blow to the SRF, storming and capturing Deir Sinbal, home town of the group’s leader Jamal Marouf.

Remember, these were among the guys we were counting on to fight ISIS. That’s some vetting job we did there.

Read the rest of Poole’s report for information on a growing rapprochement between ISIS and al Qaeda, which would reunite the two branches of our deadly enemy. Between this and the desultory, micromanaged air campaign ordered by a diffident president who’d much rather be golfing, the self-proclaimed Caliphate and their al-Nusra besties should be marching into Baghdad and Damascus by New Year’s.

We’re in the best of hands.

UPDATE: Michael Totten, who knows the Mideast better than you and I ever will, says Syria is gone.


Why do our leaders insist on saying the Islamic State is “not Islamic?”

September 13, 2014
Seal of the new Caliphate

Seal of the new Caliphate

In a more general sense, this is something that’s been happening since the days right after 9/11: American leaders insisting that the actions of jihadists do not represent “true” Islam. It’s utter nonsense, of course; in fact, one can argue that the jihadists are practicing the faith exactly as Muhammad intended, following his example. (Warning, gruesome photos)

And yet our leaders, both under Presidents Bush II and Obama, continue to insist that the actions of al Qaeda and, now, the Islamic State, really aren’t Islamic. President Obama provided the latest example during his address to the nation the other night:

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL (sic) is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents. [1] And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.

Why the obfuscation? The leaders of al Qaeda, the late, unlamented Osama bin Laden and his successor, Dr. Zawahiri, were both very well schooled in Islam. The caliph of the new Islamic State himself has a PhD in Islamic Studies. Until some serious Muslim scholars show why the jihadists are wrong in their understanding of the Qur’an, the hadiths, and the tafsir (learned commentary stretching back over 1,000 years)  –which hasn’t happened yet!– it is safe to assume these guys know what they’re talking about.

So why the insistence that a spade really isn’t a spade?

Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy hits the mark, I think: governments and intellectual leaders are married to a strategy of relying on “moderate Islamists” –such as the Muslim Brotherhood!!– to tame the fires burning the Middle East and threatening us all. And it is delusional:

There is a reason they are taking a position diametrically opposed to reality.

Obama and Kerry, like transnational progressives in both of our major political parties, believe there are “moderate Islamists” who are the key to stability in the Middle East. Now, the term “moderate Islamist” is contradictory: an Islamist wants government by sharia, Islam’s totalitarian societal framework and legal code. There is nothing moderate about sharia. Those who want it implemented are not “moderates” even if they don’t commit mass-murder to get their way. Sharia is also anti-liberty, anti-equality, and anti-Western. Therefore, we should oppose Islamism just as we oppose other freedom-killing ideologies. That doesn’t mean we need to go to war with all Islamists, but we should work to diminish their influence and we should never regard them as a solution to anything.

Notwithstanding their abhorrence of the West, “moderate Islamists” are regarded by Obama and Kerry as potential allies: people, groups, and, in the case of Turkey, for example, countries that we can work with to solve the problems plaguing the Middle East and overcome our own security challenges. It is thus critically important to Obama and Kerry for the public to believe that (a) all Islamists are not basically the same and (b) there is a sharp difference — a day-and-night difference — between “moderate Islamists” and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. If, instead, the public becomes convinced that all Islamists, violent or non-violent, adhere to essentially the same ideology, the administration’s goal of working with Islamic supremacists becomes politically untenable.

(…)

It is vital to Obama and Kerry that the public sees these Islamist groups as having nothing in common with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. And since the latter, like the “moderate Islamists,” define themselves by their adherence to Islam, Obama and Kerry have no alternative: They must deny them standing as true Muslims. That is why they assert that the claim of Islamic State jihadists to be faithful Muslims waging holy war in the name of Islam is fraudulent — and, just as ridiculously, they assert that jihad has nothing to do with violence.

The problem, of course, is that “moderate Islamists” and violent jihadists are bound together by sharia-based Islamic ideology. Yes, they have their differences, but those differences are mainly about tactics; and, to the limited extent they are doctrinal, they are irrelevant as far as we are concerned because the differences do not affect the core Islamist belief that we are the enemy.

(Emphasis added, and be sure to read the whole thing.)

This refusal to face reality has been driving me nuts since September 11th, 2001. This isn’t to say every Muslim is a violent jihadist or wants to impose sharia on us all — far from it. But support for both is far higher in the Islamic world than apologists would like to admit, and the jihadists, whether the patient ones of the Muslim Brotherhood or the action-now crowd of al Qaeda and the Islamic State, have an ideology rooted solidly in Islam’s sacred texts. And it has an appeal to disaffected Muslims and converts to Islam around the globe, as the numbers of people joining the Islamic State shows.

Until we deal with this religious-ideological foundation for jihadism, and until our leaders are honest with themselves and us about the nature of the problem –Islam’s aggressive and totalitarian nature– we will continue to fight with one hand tied behind our back and one eye closed, misdiagnosing the problem and prescribing the wrong solutions.

That’s no way to win a war.

RELATED: Jonah Goldberg on “Is the Islamic State really not Islamic?” Robert Spencer on “Five Non-Muslims Who Know More About Islam than the Caliph of the Islamic State.” Michael Ledeen asks “Why do they join the jihad?”

Footnote:
(1) The Devil is in the details. In this case, the definition of “innocents.”


ISIS: You know they’re extreme when even bin Laden shunned them

August 12, 2014
Hello, I am now blowing goat in Hell.

Relative moderate??

Just to refresh people’s memories, al Qaeda is the organization that flew airliners into buildings in America in 2001, killing thousands. They bombed the London subway and the Madrid train station and a nightclub in Bali, murdering hundreds. They’ve attacked our embassies and our ships. They made it plain they’d love to use biological and even nuclear weapons against us, all in the name of establishing a caliphate, the imposition of sharia law, and the final victory of Islam.

And yet their late leader, Osama bin Laden, thought ISIS was nuts:

A letter discovered among Osama bin Laden’s personal belongings warned that ISIS were so extreme that Al Qaeda should disown them.

According to the Daily Mail, the 21-page letter was found in the base where the terrorist leader was shot dead by U.S. forces in 2011. It warned of a new, extreme Islamist militant group who were so brutal that they would likely damage Al Qaeda’s reputation among wavering Muslims.

The document, written by one of Bin Laden’s senior officials, went to list some of the acts of barbarism committed by ISIS, including using chemical weapons, destroying mosques and massacring the congregation of a church on Baghdad.

This is like Mao saying Pol Pot went too far.


Exploring Al-Qa’ida’s Russian Connection

June 11, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Honestly, I had never considered this possibility, given Moscow’s well-known problems with its own jihadists. But, on reading this essay, one has to wonder if there isn’t some sort of “understanding” between Zawahiri and and Russian intelligence. Very interesting speculation, here.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

[Note: This is an unusually controversial piece, even for my blog, for reasons that will quickly become obvious. Linkages between Al-Qa'ida and Russian intelligence have been discussed in hushed tones among spies in many countries, for years, and this matter has been a "hobby file" of mine for some time. Here is a think-piece on it, in the hope of spurring additional discussion and research into this important yet murky matter. This is particularly necessary given rising tensions between Moscow and the West at present. Considering the subject, I have eschewed my usual hyperlinks in favor of proper end-notes.]

There are two histories: The official history, mendacious, which is given to us; and the secret history, where you find the real causes of events, a shameful history.”

– Honoré de Balzac

The history of al-Qa’ida has been extensively documented in many languages. Since the 9/11 attacks on the…

View original 2,787 more words


Al Qaeda debuts new currency

March 2, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

If the president needs a target for his drone list, I’d suggest finding out where these are printed and then expressing our displeasure with a Hellfire or three.

Originally posted on Money Jihad:

Osama Bin Laden bill

Reportedly, Al Qaeda in Iraq (ISIL) is circulating its own one hundred “Islamic” pound note in western Iraq with a picture of the Twin Towers burning on 9/11 and a portrait of Osama bin Laden.

The new bills are quite a curious development considering that Islamists normally regard paper currencies as unclean “infidel” currencies invented by non-Muslim imperialists.  Islamists prefer gold dinars and silver dirhams such as those used by Muhammad according to traditional Islamic texts.

ISIL may have chosen a denomination of 100 because of the popularity of U.S. $100 bills in Iraq, where they are nicknamed “ghosts” because of Iraqi perceptions of Benjamin Franklin’s sprectral appearance.

Presumably, the new currency is more of a publicity stunt than an actual, working currency that could be used to pay the wages of their fighters.  The money would seem to have limited usefulness to ISIL’s men and their families, because…

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Suicide-bombing instructor blows up his own class

February 10, 2014
Former ISIS faculty member

Former ISIS faculty member

As you can imagine, I’m shedding rivers of tears over this news.

Tears of laughter:

A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives, army and police officials said.

The militants belonged to a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is fighting the Shiite-dominated army of the Iraqi government, mostly in Anbar Province. But they are also linked to bomb attacks elsewhere and other fighting that has thrown Iraq deeper into sectarian violence.

Twenty-two ISIS members were killed, and 15 were wounded, in the explosion at the camp, which is in a farming area in the northeastern province of Samara, according to the police and army officials. Stores of other explosive devices and heavy weapons were also kept there, the officials said.

I bet that taught them a lesson they’ll never forget.

I wonder if a jihadi qualifies for his 72 virgin goats if he dies in the dumbest way possible?

via Moe Lane

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Iraq and Syria: al Qaeda on the march

January 9, 2014
The flag of al Qaeda

The flag of al Qaeda

Boy, it’s a good thing President Obama destroyed al Qaeda, isn’t it? Otherwise they’d have conquered the world, by now.

As it is, we can be grateful they only control more territory than they ever have:

From around Aleppo in western Syria to small areas of Falluja in central Iraq, al Qaeda now controls territory that stretches more than 400 miles across the heart of the Middle East, according to English and Arab language news accounts as well as accounts on jihadist websites.

Indeed, al Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history.

The focus of al Qaeda’s leaders has always been regime change in the Arab world in order to install Taliban-style regimes. Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri acknowledged as much in his 2001 autobiography, “Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet,” when he explained that the most important strategic goal of al Qaeda was to seize control of a state, or part of a state, somewhere in the Muslim world, explaining that, “without achieving this goal our actions will mean nothing.”

Now al-Zawahiri is closer to his goal than he has ever been.

(…)

In September a CNN reporting team concluded, “Al Qaeda has swept to power with the aim of imposing a strict Islamist ideology on Syrians across large swathes of Syria’s rebel-held north.”

In sum, al Qaeda affiliates now control much of northern and northwestern Syria as well as some parts of eastern Syria, as well as much of Anbar province, which is around a third of Iraqi territory.

Thank goodness Obama and his Smart Power team came into office to fix George W. Bush’s mistakes, no?

Like I said before, this would likely not have happened had the Obama administration not bollixed the SOF negotiations with Maliki’s government. In both political and military matters, our proven ability to act as a trusted mediator between Iraqi factions probably would have prevented the political difficulties that gave al Qaeda this opening in Anbar, and provided the Iraqi Army with the support they need to deal rapidly and effectively with the threat. This was demonstrated time and again during the Surge operations.

But, under President Obama’s wise leadership, we left Iraq. We also dithered on Syria until jihadists became the dominant opposition force.

And now the black banner of jihad flies from Aleppo to Fallujah.

via Jim Geraghty, who writes:

Remember, “Bin Laden is dead and Detroit is alive”? Detroit is bankrupt and al-Qaeda now controls more territory than ever.

Heckuva job, Barry.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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