Good news! ISIS now has an air force!

October 18, 2014
Early Islamic Air Force

Early Islamic Air Force

It’s not much of one: three planes and they only flew for a short time, but that it exists at all is evidence that Obama’s campaign to “degrade and destroy” the so-called Islamic State is going swimmingly, right?

Right??

Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time the militant group had taken to the air.

The group, which has seized swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, has been flying the planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report and U.S. Central Command said it was not aware of Islamic State flying jets in Syria.

U.S-led forces are bombing Islamic State bases in Syria and Iraq. The group has regularly used weaponry captured from the Syrian and Iraqi armies and has overrun several military bases but, if the report is confirmed, this would be the first time it has been able to pilot warplanes.

“They have trainers, Iraqi officers who were pilots before for (former Iraqi president) Saddam Hussein,” Abdulrahman said.

“People saw the flights, they went up many times from the airport and they are flying in the skies outside the airport and coming back,” he said, citing witnesses in northern Aleppo province near the base, which is 70 km (45 miles) south of the Turkish border.

Witnesses reported the flights were at a low altitude and only lasted five to 10 minutes before landing, the Observatory said. It was not possible to reach the Syrian government for comment and state media did not mention the report.

It was not clear whether the jets were equipped with weaponry or whether the pilots could fly longer distances in the planes, which witnesses said appeared to be MiG 21 or MiG 23 models captured from the Syrian military.

For what it’s worth, it’s not at all clear how long they can keep these operational, given the need for maintenance, fuel, and spare parts, but it shouldn’t exist at all. Were Obama running a serious campaign to destroy ISIS, and not just a desultory, diffident, really wishes he were golfing instead “war,” these refugees from a 7th century insane asylum would be already dead or fleeing for the hills.

But that would require having a president who understood American interests and was willing to defend them. Hopefully we’ll find one in 2016.

And hopefully ISIS won’t have a Space Corps by then.


Provocation and the Islamic State: Why Assad Strengthened the Jihadists

September 3, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

A very interesting article arguing the existence of a crucial role for Bashar Assad and his Russian-trained intelligence services in the birth and growth of ISIS, in pursuit of an “arsonist and fireman” strategy. That is, create a problem, then put yourself forward as essential to its solution, thus convincing America to act in service of a Syrian and Iranian goal — the survival of the Assad regime. h/t John Schindler.

Originally posted on The Syrian Intifada:

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on September 3, 2014

An opposition poster showing Assad and the Islamic State as two sides of the same coin

An opposition poster showing Assad and the Islamic State as two sides of the same coin

On August 25, Bashar al-Assad’s Foreign Minister, Walid al-Muallem, said: “Syria is ready for co-operation … to fight terrorism.” The week before Assad’s PR guru, Bouthaina Shaaban, told CNN that an “international coalition,” including Russia, China, America, and Europe, should intervene to defeat I.S. in Syria.

Back in March I wrote a long post laying out the evidence that the Assad regime was deliberately empowering then-ISIS, now the Islamic State (I.S.), helping it destroy moderate rebels and even Salafist and Salafi-jihadist forces, with the intention of making-good on its propaganda line that the only opposition to the regime came from takfiris,

View original 3,501 more words


Another US journalist beheaded by ISIS

September 2, 2014
Murdered by ISIS

Murdered by ISIS

(Photo source)

The savages of the “Islamic State” have sent another message to the United States:

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit against the backdrop of an arid Syrian landscape, [Steven] Sotloff was threatened in that video with death unless the U.S. stopped airstrikes on the group in Iraq.

In the video distributed Tuesday and entitled “A Second Message to America,” Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he is beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.

As Bryan Preston of PJ Media points out, our leaders have once again been caught unaware. Maybe they’re still trying to figure out a strategy for dealing with medieval lunatics who are butchering Americans. If Obama and his team are having trouble doing that, let me offer a suggestion:

Hunt these swine down and kill every last one of them.

UPDATE: At the end of the video of Sotloff’s beheading, ISIS shows another captive, Briton David Cawthorne Haines. The implication is clear: unless the US stops its airstrikes, Mr. Haines will be slaughtered like James Foley and Mr. Sotloff.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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.


ISIS proclaims Caliphate; H. Beam Piper nods

June 29, 2014
Seal of the new Caliphate

Seal of the new Caliphate

Bringing the medieval into the modern world, the psychotic jihadis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have declared their leader “Caliph,” the ruler of all Muslims:

An offshoot of Al-Qaida which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic “Caliphate” and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on jihadist websites said on Sunday.

The move is an expansion of the group’s ambitions to wage a holy war and posed a direct challenge to the central leadership of Al-Qaida, which has already disowned it.

The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also known as ISIS, has renamed itself “Islamic State” and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi as “Caliph” – the head of the state, the statement said.

“He is the imam and khalifah (Caliph) for the Muslims everywhere,” the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in the statement, which was translated into several languages and an Arabic audio speech.

The move is significant, since many Islamists believe the Muslim world has lost its way since the end of the Caliphate in 1924. And the new pretender’s name has meaning, too: Abu Bakr was the first Caliph, ruling the Muslims after Muhammad’s death. Thus, taking his name is both an announcement of Islamic renewal and a harkening back to a supposed time of purity, which is a goal of Salafis.

The birth of the new Islamic State and the proclamation of a new Caliphate is an existential challenge to the states and their boundaries established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, rooted in the Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France. Bear in mind that, under Islamic law, only the Caliph can declare on offensive jihad (1). If IS takes Baghdad, then Saudi Arabia and Jordan should watch out.

Will the new caliphate be a direct threat to us? Almost certainly, if it lasts long enough to stabilize and hold territory. Al Qaeda used Sudan and Afghanistan to launch its attacks against the West. These clowns will almost certainly see jihad against us as a religious duty — once they’ve taken care of the “hypocrites” in their area.

But, it’s a legitimate question as to whether this is a genuine restoration, or if it’s another pipe dream. Analyst Tom Rogan thinks ISIS/IS is too dysfunctional to survive.

We’ll see.

PS: Oh, and the reference to H. Beam Piper? He’s one of my favorite science fiction authors, writing in the 50s and early 60s. His future history postulates an atomic war that devastates much of the northern hemisphere in the late 20th century. That war begins when the caliphate is restored and then the Caliph assassinated… in Iraq. Hmmm…

Footnote:
(1) In case you’re wondering just what the heck has been waged against us in recent years, al Qaeda and other jihadist groups consider that “defensive jihad.” See Raymond Ibrahim’s “Al Qaeda Reader” for an explanation.

(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)


Shocker: Syria to miss deadline on Obama WMD deal

December 30, 2013
Not again?

Wishes he’d never heard of Syria

Hey, didn’t the Assad regime get the message that Obama really meant it when he said he was really, really serious about getting Syria to give up its chemical weapons? Keep this up, and he’ll go tell Putin on them:

Syria’s failure to move part of its chemical weapons arsenal to a Mediterranean port has prompted warnings that the disarmament deal struck with the country is falling seriously behind schedule.

A Norwegian navy frigate sent to escort a convoy carrying Syria’s mustard gas and sarin stockpile has said it has been advised to expect a substantial delay.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the body in charge of the UN-backed plan to destroy 1,300 tonnes of Syria’s chemical weapons, said it had put in place all the necessary “logistical and security” arrangements.

However, it added that tomorrow’s deadline for the shipment of the weapons-grade munitions cannot be met and could only proceed if President Bashar al-Assad’s government “intensified efforts” to move the material.

I’m sure they’ll get right on that.

Of course, everyone knew this would happen: Obama leapt at the deal brokered by Russia because he had stupidly opened his mouth and laid down an ultimatum he wasn’t prepared to back up. In the meantime, Assad has gained more time to defeat the rebels, his Iranian paymasters keep Syria as a client state and bridge to their proxies in Lebanon, and American influence in the region sinks lower as Obama can’t even enforce the minimum terms of a fig-leaf agreement he and Secretary Kerry touted as a major breakthrough.

That “smart power” sure has paid off, no?

via Jim Geraghty

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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