POPCORN!!! Al Qaeda suicide bomber takes out ISIS brigade leader

November 24, 2015

satire raccoon excellent

Okay, so I wrote just yesterday that posting was going to be sporadic for a while, but I just cannot let this go by without a hearty “Yeah, baby!”

A recent suicide bombing in southern Syria shows the rivalry between Al Qaeda and ISIS is more than just a contest to see who can kill the most infidels — the groups are using classic terror techniques on each other.

The Nov. 15 bombing came at a top-level meeting of the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade, a key ISIS militia known for its bloody and vicious hold over parts of the Golan Heights. Six of the group’s top men were killed, including Muhammad “Abu Ali” al-Baridi, the shadowy head of the group who went by the nickname “The Uncle.”

Al Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, quickly took credit, gloating on Twitter about the “heroic” attack.

“The Islamic State [ISIS], that controls the closest area to the Israel border in the Syrian Golan Heights, suffered a severe blow and lost its entire top command in the area in one fell swoop,” noted Alex Fishman, a veteran military correspondent for Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot.

Al Qaeda and ISIS, which broke off from the former group, have made a show of hating each other as each fought for leadership of the jihad against the infidels — essentially everyone who’s not them. Al Qaeda’s allies, the Taliban, even declared a jihad against ISIS, which ISIS reciprocated. I had sometimes wondered if this wasn’t for show, to hide the level of cooperation and fool Western analysts.

But, given this development (and assuming it was really al Nusra), it looks like the spat between them is real — and will only get worse when ISIS inevitably retaliates. This is a culture of honor and shame, and the “Caliph” cannot let this blow to his authority go unavenged.

And I plan to sit back and enjoy the show. smiley popcorn

 


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

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.

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 post 2,787 more words


Al Qaeda debuts new currency

March 2, 2014

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.

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…

View original post 13 more words


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)


Smart-Power Success! Al Qaeda takes Fallujah!

January 6, 2014
Your Obama foreign policy team

Your Obama foreign policy team

Not “al Qaeda central,” as the Obama administration likes to call it, but the revived affiliate “al Qaeda in Iraq” (Zarqawi’s old outfit), which is more or less merged with its Syrian equivalent in one big happy family of murdering jihadi psychos.

And, taking advantage of internal Iraqi political frictions, they’re making their move:

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, an al Qaeda branch in the Middle East, and its tribal allies have taken control of Fallujah less than one week after launching an offensive in Iraq’s western province of Anbar. Meanwhile, the military and tribes that oppose the ISIS have launched counterattacks in Ramadi and other cities and towns along the Euphrates River.

Security officials and reports told the BBC that the ISIS fighters “control the south of the city,” while “tribesmen allied with al Qaeda hold the rest of Fallujah.” Reuters reported that “the northern and eastern parts of the city were under the control of tribesmen and militants.”

(…)

Jihadists waving al Qaeda’s black flag have occupied police stations and government buildings, and are issuing calls from mosques for men to join the fight against the government.

The military has responded by shelling areas of the city under ISIS control. The total number of people killed during the fighting in Fallujah is not yet known.

ISIS fighters seized control of parts of Fallujah and Ramadi, the two largest cities in Anbar, on Tuesday after the Iraqi military withdrew from the cities in the wake of clashes between government forces and the tribes following the arrest of a senior Sunni politician in Ramadi. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda seizes partial control of 2 cities in western Iraq]. Maliki ordered the troops to return to the cities after cutting a deal with the tribes, but not before the ISIS quickly moved in and seized control.

Politics between the Sunni tribes in Anbar with each other and strained relations with the Shiite Maliki government in Baghdad gave ISIS their opening (for example), but I have a hard time imagining this coming to pass if Team Smart Power hadn’t a) utterly bungled the negotiations over a Status of Forces agreement with Iraq, thus leading to our total withdrawal, and b) also bungled the Syrian situation so badly that a promising opportunity to bring down Assad and deal a body-blow to Iran was instead practically given gift-wrapped to al Qaeda affiliates (and Iran…).

Bungling. That seems to be the common element here.

Fallujah, Ramadi, Tal Afar, Baquba, and so many other places in western Iraq and around Baghdad were liberated by American and Iraqi blood and treasure. I don’t know if this situation will deteriorate into a crisis, or if Iraqi security forces can push ISIS out, but, as of now, Barack Obama and his foreign policy geniuses are flushing everything those men and women fought for down the toilet.

RELATED: via Hot Air, Secretary of State Kerry says “You go, Iraq! Just don’t expect any real help from us…”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: Why the cover-up?

August 5, 2013
American blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

We’re a little more than a month away from the one-year anniversary of the attack on our consulate in Benghazi and the deaths of four Americans there, and yet we still have no good answers as to just what was going on there. Why did we have such a poorly secured facility in deeply hostile territory? What was its mission, and what was the mission of the related CIA annex where, we now know, around 35 intelligence operatives and contractors worked? What is the government so desperate to hide that they would baldly lie to the world, the nation, and the surviving family of those killed in the attack? (1)

One of the more widely popular speculations is that Benghazi was a hub for transferring arms to the rebels in Syria. (For example) Remember that many of the rebels in Syria are jihadists sympathetic to al Qaeda. Indeed, the most effective group, the al Nusra front, is for all intents and purposes part of al Qaeda.

But so were the jihadists who attacked our consulate in Benghazi, and therein lies the problem.

Think about it: if we’re supplying weapons to al Qaeda allies in Syria, it make no sense for al Qaeda allies in Libya to attack the headquarters of that operation. It would be stupid, in fact, and, much as I loathe these refugees from a medieval nuthouse, I don’t think they’re stupid. Or, at least, their leaders aren’t. The arms-to-Syria story just doesn’t pass the “sense test.”

So, what was going on in Benghazi?

A couple of days ago, Power Line’s John Hinderaker was wondering along similar lines, and Michael Ledeen wrote to offer his speculations. I think he’s closer to the truth than most. Here’s an excerpt:

I have never believed the rumor that we were sending arms from Libya to Syrian rebels. I was told by Syrian friends that the opposition were furious because they weren’t getting any support. Not from us, and not via Turkey. There was some training, based in Jordan I believe. I think that the Annex was an Intelligence Community hq. Not just CIA, also NSA, FBI, DIA, special forces etc. and I think their major operation was trying to get control of US weaponry that we had sent to anti-Qadaffi forces, now spreading around the Middle East to the usual suspects.

I think the admin was frightened about that story: US weapons end up in enemy hands, ergo we were arming our enemies, replay of the birth of al Qaeda etc. You can’t say you are at war with AQ if you are arming them, right? That plays very badly in the prez campaign. And then of course the total cockup of the non-response to the killing of our men.

And not just US weaponry, but the arms lost from Qaddafi’s arsenals after he was overthrown. That materiel is spreading all over North Africa (Mali, for example), and it wouldn’t surprise me to see it show up in Sinai, where Salafis are carrying on an insurgency against the new military-backed Egyptian government. The public acknowledgement of this would have made a hash of Obama’s claims of foreign policy success.

No, it wouldn’t have done at all for this to come out before the election. The narrative of Obama’s Great Victory over al Qaeda had to be preserved.

Even if it meant lying through his teeth to grieving families.

Footnote:
(1) Other than Clinton and Obama’s incompetence, that is.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Forest fires as an act of jihad?

June 19, 2013
"...can prevent forest jihad."

“…can prevent forest jihad.”

Summertime is forest fire season in much of the western United States; here in California, it’s almost an annual ritual to watch some part or another (or several at once) of the state go up in smoke.  And the causes can be as mundane as they are frustrating: firebugs getting their thrills; careless campers or hikers; or idiots shooting off fireworks too near dry brush. And for someone else’s carelessness, hundreds and even thousands of people are put at risk of their homes and lives, not to mention the vast public expense needed to fight a blaze.

But what if they weren’t all the accidental products of carelessness, or even garden-variety arson? What if some were acts of holy war?

In the Washington Examiner, Mark Tapscott takes the recent Black Forest fire in Colorado as his jumping off point for a discussion of the dangers of “forest jihad:”

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld (1) of the New York-based American Center for Democracy’s Economic Warfare Institute warns that last July “al-Qaeda’s English-language online magazine, Inspire, published an article called ‘It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb,’ which featured instructions on how to build an incendiary bomb to light forests on fire.

“A few months later, Russia’s security (FSB) chief, Aleksandr Bortnikov warned, ‘al-Qaeda was complicit in recent forest fires in Europe’ as part of the terrorists’ ‘strategy of a thousand cuts.’ Bortnikov spoke of ‘extremist sites [that] contained detailed instructions of waging the forest jihad and stressed that such a method had proved itself effective as it inflicted both physical and moral damage, needed little training or investment and it was extremely hard for police to find and apprehend the arsonists.’

“Since then, more fatwas advocating that ‘Fire is cheap, easy and effective tool for economic warfare’ have been issued. They’ve included detailed instructions for constructing remote-controlled ’ember bombs, and how to set fires without leaving a trace.'”

And it’s not just in the US, as Tapscott points out. Not only has Russia suspected Muslim terrorists of setting forest fires in their country, but Australia, too, has been declared a target, while deadly fires in Western Europe aroused suspicions.

There’s little proof that any of these fires were acts of jihad, but the fact that al Qaeda and other Islamic supremacist groups have shown great interest in setting them should make us wary. The West has done tremendous damage to al Qaeda and its affiliates since 9/11/01, largely blunting their efforts to conduct more catastrophic terror attacks against us. But, they are nothing if not adaptable, and it only makes sense that they would look for other means to strike at us, the “infidels.”

RELATED: The National Interagency Fire Center has good info on current large wildfires. At the ICT in Israel, Colonel Jonathan Fighel has an important article on al Qaeda’s interest in forest jihad, while The Gatestone Institute published Soeren Kern’s piece explaining AQ’s “thousand cuts” strategy.

Footnote:
(1) Rachel Ehrenfeld also wrote “Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed And How To Stop It,” a must-read work on the money networks behind international terrorism.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Does al Qaeda now have surface to air missiles?

June 11, 2013

Oh, this is not good. Not good at all:

The photocopies of the manual lay in heaps on the floor, in stacks that scaled one wall, like Xeroxed, stapled handouts for a class.

Except that the students in this case were al Qaeda fighters in Mali. And the manual was a detailed guide, with diagrams and photographs, on how to use a weapon that particularly concerns the United States: A surface-to-air missile capable of taking down a commercial airplane.

The 26-page document in Arabic, recovered by The Associated Press in a building that had been occupied by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Timbuktu, strongly suggests the group now possesses the SA-7 surface-to-air missile, known to the Pentagon as the Grail, according to terrorism specialists. And it confirms that the al Qaeda cell is actively training its fighters to use these weapons, also called man-portable air-defense systems, or MANPADS, which likely came from the arms depots of ex-Libyan strongman Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

“The existence of what apparently constitutes a `Dummies Guide to MANPADS’ is strong circumstantial evidence of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb having the missiles,” said Atlantic Council analyst Peter Pham, a former adviser to the United States’ military command in Africa and an instructor to U.S. Special Forces. “Why else bother to write the guide if you don’t have the weapons? … If AQIM not only has the MANPADS, but also fighters who know how to use them effectively,” he added, “then the impact is significant, not only on the current conflict, but on security throughout North and West Africa, and possibly beyond.”

This is the fruit of the Obama-Clinton “smart power” regime, and the fatuous “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine of our future UN Ambassador, Samantha Power. Not only has their “humanitarian war” in Libya caused chaos in North Africa –what happened in Mali was a direct result of destroying the vile but tamed and no danger to us regime of Gadhafi– but these loose MANPADS are now a threat to air traffic throughout the region and beyond.

Yes, “beyond.” There’s a reason the “p” in MANPAD stands for “portable.” These things are easily smuggled. Imagine if one or more shows up in Europe, Asia, or just outside LaGuardia. Think of what just one successful shoot-down will do to air traffic worldwide, not to mention the immediate casualties. The potential is absolutely nightmarish.

Quite a legacy for Obama, and a heckuva record for Clinton to run on in 2016.

via Michael J. Totten

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Canadian train plot: RCMP asserts an al-Qaeda connection

April 23, 2013

I mentioned this in yesterday’s post, but there’s a bit more information on the terrorists and their connection with al-Qaeda:

Canadian police officials have linked the plotting of two Muslim men to destroy a Toronto passenger train to al Qaeda’s network inside Iran. The two suspects, neither of whom are Canadian citizens, were taken into custody yesterday and are facing terrorism charges. One of the suspects had placed an image of al Qaeda’s banner in a social media site. The image has since been removed.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner James Malizia said yesterday that the two suspects, identified as Chiheb Esseghaier, of Montreal, and Raed Jaser, of Toronto, received “support from al Qaeda elements located in Iran,” in the form of “direction and guidance.” The two men’s plot called for the destruction of a train bound from the US to Canada in an effort to sow terror and harm the economies of both countries.

Esseghaier, a doctoral student at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, has a bachelors degree in Industrial Biology and a masters degree in Industrial Biotechnology, according to his Linkedin page. He lists Nanotechnology as one of his “Skills & Expertise.” He attended college in Tunis and is thought to be a Tunisian.

Before the image was taken down sometime last night, Esseghaier’s Linkedin page displayed in image of al Qaeda’s black flag. This flag was first used by al Qaeda in Iraq but has been adopted by other al Qaeda affiliates.

The remainder of the article is a good backgrounder on the Iran-al Qaeda relationship, including at least a couple of “secret agreements” that allow al-Qaeda transit through Iran.

While the above quote doesn’t claim a direct Iranian role in the plot, unlike the statement quoted in the Washington Examiner piece yesterday, I think it’s reasonable to assume the Iranians at some level knew and approved of what the two were planning and the encouragement al-Qaeda gave them.  Al-Qaeda is in the country on their sufferance, and there is no way Tehran is not going to keep tabs on what they’re doing, lest they unexpectedly find themselves the targets of retaliation after, say, another 9/11-style attack. So, while there’s no direct evidence of Iranian foreknowledge, it’s a safe bet they did.

Which should make the next meeting Canada and Iran’s diplomats quite… interesting.

Also, while there’s a coincidence in time, there’s no evidence I’ve seen of a connection between the train plot and the Boston Marathon attacks. What I do think it hints at, however, is just how many jihad plots there are “out there,” waiting to be put into action. Again, if Esseghaier and Jaser were a pair of “lone wolves” encouraged by al-Qaeda, similar to what may be the truth about the Tsarnaevs, how many others are out there?

Comforting thought, no?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Breaking: Canadians foil Iranian/al Qaeda New York-Toronto train attack

April 22, 2013

They love hitting mass transportation. Breaking in The Washington Examiner:

Canadian security officials announced today that they thwarted a terrorist attack on a passenger train reportedly traveling from New York City to Toronto, planned by two men allegedly tied to al Qaeda.

“I commend our Canadian counterterrorism partners, particularly the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, for their efforts in stopping a major terrorist plot which was intended to cause significant loss of human life including New Yorkers,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said in a statement today.

The attack had Iranian backing. “They are elements of al Qaeda in Iran,” a Canadian police official told reporters during the press conference while identifying the al Qaeda affiliate that was involved in the attack. “What the investigation has demonstrated is that the support being received was in the form of direction and guidance.”

Emphasis added. Say it after me, folks:

This is war, and they’re still trying to kill us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


But, I thought Obama said al Qaeda was on the run?

March 10, 2013
In al Qaeda's croshairs

In al Qaeda’s crosshairs

Apparently not so “on the run” that they couldn’t plan to turn Mali into another strategic base:

French forces also discovered “a small army of jihadists” from around the world in the isolated Ametetai valley, Reuters reported. Found with them were arms caches containing heavy weapons, material for improvised explosive devices, and suicide bomb belts. “The Islamist rebels, many of whom have flooded in from abroad, had been well armed and hoped to make the impoverished, arid nation a terrorist sanctuary,” [French General] Le Drian stated.

Al Qaeda planned to turn the region into a base for international terrorist operations, he concluded. “There was certainly the desire to make it a base for international actions.”

Bear in mind that the September 11th attacks were launched from another semi-forgotten backwater, Afghanistan. The last thing we need is for those refugees from a medieval lunatic asylum to find another sanctuary. Well done to the French for going after them, and “good hunting” to General Le Drian and his men.

Meanwhile, let us not forget that Mali’s torment is in large part a direct, if unintended, consequence of Obama’s “Smart Power” foreign policy and the fatuous “responsibility to protect” doctrine:

But the Libyan war’s worst impact may have occurred outside of Libya. The neighboring country of Mali, which also happens to support U.S. counter-terrorist efforts in western Africa, has been roiled by a new Tuareg insurgency fueled by the influx of men and weapons after Gadhafi’s defeat, providing the Tuareg rebels with much more sophisticated weaponry than they had before. This new upheaval benefits al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), and the Tuareg uprising threatens the territorial integrity of Mali. The rebellion has also displaced nearly 200,000 civilians in a region that is already at risk of famine, and refugees from Mali are beginning to strain local resources in Niger, where most of them have fled. “Success” in Libya is creating a political and humanitarian disaster in Mali and Niger. 

Maybe Obama should send one of his apologies to the peoples of Mali and Niger.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I weep: Syrian rebels attack Hizbullah camps

February 22, 2013

Okay, maybe not so much weeping as wishing for popcorn.

Syrian rebels have reportedly bombed two compounds operated by the Lebanese terror organization Hezbollah, the main Syrian opposition group announced Thursday.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) claims its forces bombed Hezbollah facilities in Lebanon and Syria, a cross-border raid that indicates the rebels’ desire to increase their attacks on allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“The development may mark a critical turn in Syria’s two-year war, bearing out fears that the increasingly sectarian conflict would spill over across Syria’s borders,” according to the Israel Project (TIP), which first reported on the operation.

Love it! Hot jihadi on jihadi action.

In case you’re wondering why the FSA should attack Hizbullah, who are based in Lebanon, keep in mind that the rebellion against Boy Assad (1) and his murderous clan largely comprises groups belonging to the Sunni side of Islam, while the Assads and their key supporters in Syria are mostly Alawite Muslim, an offshoot of Shia Islam (bad enough in Sunni eyes) that is regarded as borderline heretical by orthodox Muslims. In the decades since the Assads seized power, the Alawis have held the real reins of power in Syria and have not been shy about using overwhelming force to keep them, adding to the religious dislike.

Hizbullah is also a Shiite organization, a creation of Shiite Iran, which is the Assad regime’s major patron. (An important Iranian general was reported killed recently in Syria, probably by rebels.) Syria is crucial to Iran’s struggle against Israel and to be a dominant player in the western Fertile Crescent, allowing Iran to  funnel weapons and money to Hizbullah, its frequent proxy against Israel. (If Israel ever attacks Iran, expect Hizbullah to try to rain hell on northern Israel.) Iran needs a friendly regime in Damascus, or its influence in the area will be severely curtailed. Hence it has sent troops, including snipers, to Syria to support the Assads.

Hizbullah itself realizes the fall of the Assads would weaken its position, perhaps fatally. It is the dominant player in the Lebanese government and functions as a state within the hollow husk of the Lebanese state. It has been heavily armed by Iran via Syria for its jihad against Israel, and Syria has provided a convenient fall-back zone on the occasions the Israelis have struck back.

But all this is in danger if Assad loses: the safe haven will be gone in a fragmented or dominated-by-Sunnis Syria; there will be no easy route for Iranian weapons to reach them, and they will have enemies to their south (Israel) and east, not just the south. The prospect is scary enough that Hizbullah is willing to do damage to its reputation for fighting for the average Muslim by sending forces to aid Assad against the rebels.

Thus you can see why the Sunni rebels in Syria would have no love for Hizbullah: they are Shiites; allies of the hated regime; and tools of the Iranians who prop up Assad and kill Syrians… A conflict was almost inevitable.

But this doesn’t mean the “enemy of our enemy” is also our friend. The FSA is tightly allied with (and perhaps dominated by) the al-Nusrah front, an al-Qaeda aligned organization, many of whose members got their experience fighting us in Iraq. In other words, they are not our BFFs. Whatever “liberal” possibly pro-Western elements there may be in the anti-Assad alliance are, in my estimation, small and weak.

So, what should America do? This may get my “neocon card” revoked, but I don’t think there is much that can be done, particularly after the dithering of the Obama administration over the last couple of years. It’s in our interest to see Iran’s influence in the area damaged and Hizbullah weakened, if only because that would improve the security of our client and ally, Israel. So, the fall of the Assads would be a good thing.

But, not wholly so, if replaced by a Sunni jihadist regime that sees its duty as fighting the Jews, too. And no one sane wants any group affiliated with al Qaeda to have any safe haven. Granted the situation is hell for those trapped in Syria, perhaps the best from an American and Israeli point of view is a continuing war that drains all sides, while trying to cultivate whatever real moderates there are to be ready to exercise influence when the dust settles, and in the meantime doing what we can to make sure the fighting doesn’t spill over into Israel.

Beyond that… Enjoy watching one group of bad guys go after another, and pass the popcorn. smiley popcorn

Footnote:
(1) Let us not forget that, just a few years ago, powerful Democrats, including our current Secretary of State, and their media allies were all Assad’s useful idiots, praising him as a reformer. That’s the Hundred Acre Wood style of diplomacy, for you.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Israel blasts Syrian convoy in Lebanon: was it carrying chemical weapons?

January 30, 2013

If PJM’s Barry Rubin is right, it’s the development many have feared: a desperate, vengeful Bashar Assad giving WMDs to the genocidal jihadists of Hizbullah:

It has been reported that a number of Israeli planes flew over Lebanon and attacked a convoy near the Syrian-Lebanese border. The fact that this comes shortly after Hizballah and Syrian forces had moved in growing numbers toward known chemical-weapons storage areas implies that the Syrian regime was in the act of shipping chemical weapons to the Lebanese Shia Islamist group (which also happens to dominate the Lebanese government and to be involved in a lot of anti-Israel terrorism) Hizballah. This story has not yet been confirmed by Israel.

During the 2006 Israel-Hizballah war, Israel frequently hit convoys delivering weapons to Lebanon the moment they crossed the Syria-Lebanon border, showing a very strong intelligence capacity on such events.

The Israeli position has been that it will not allow any transfer of advanced weapons by the Syrian regime to either Hizballah or radical Lebanese Sunni groups. Israel had previously made this point clear through public statements to the Syrian government. It has not been explicitly reported whether the weapons on the convoy were chemical ones.

While Israel isn’t commenting officially, a retired general gave what may be an oblique confirmation:

But Brigadier General Amnon Sofrin, a retired army intelligence officer and former head of intelligence for the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, gave a press conference in which he made the following points.

 “I think that if we have solid evidence shared by our own partners all over the world, that chemical warheads are being transferred from Syria to Lebanon, to Hezbollah, I think that no one will condemn Israel for trying to prevent it.”

This should be read as explaining that Israel notified the United States and others of its intelligence information prior to the attack.

Given relations between the Obama administration and the Israeli government, you can bet Jerusalem was not asking for permission, either.

Rubin speculates that these may also have been Russian surface-to-air missiles, meant to shoot down Israeli recon drones so they couldn’t spot later transfers of chemical weapons.  Regardless, this is ominous news. The common wisdom has been that the Assad regime is either doomed or will soon be reduced to a small rump state in the mountains. The question, then, is what becomes of the chemical weapons they’re known to have? (Including those that may have been smuggled from Saddam’s Iraq as it fell?)

The danger is not just that these would be given to Hizbullah in some last act of revenge, though that would be a potential nightmare for Israel. There is also the grave risk that these weapons could fall into the hands of al Qaeda-aligned Syrian rebels, who might then pass them along al Qaeda Central.

And you just know whom Zawahiri would love to unleash these on, if he could get his mitts on them.

This is a good moment to remember that we are still at war, that there are still very determined people on a religious mission to see us dead or subjugated.  They take this very seriously, and so should we.

And I hope, behind the empty brags of having al Qaeda “on the run,” so does President Obama.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Syria: maybe the world will get lucky and they’ll all snuff each other

December 10, 2012

The Assad family dictatorship has been pretty darned awful, but the opposition isn’t any better. The al-Nusra front, a major component of the Free Syrian Army that’s fighting to overthrow Assad, is about to be declared a terrorist organization. Given al Nusra’s involvement in the massacre of civilians and their connection to al Qaeda, you can probably see why it would be problematic for us to start giving them lots of weapons.

No problem, though. We can just arm the other rebel  groups, and everything will be hunky-dory.

Erm… Well…

Meanwhile, however, the “new opposition coalition” fighting for Syria, whose unity was solidified in mid-November, isn’t much of a step forward.  Its leader is Moaz al-Khatib, a Muslim Brotherhood member with a history of anti-Semitic, anti-Western statements, who has castigated as “revisionists” fellow Muslims (like Alawites) whose beliefs differ on the margins, and who believes that the bombing of Israelis is “evidence of God’s justice.”  Al-Khatib admires Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who encourages Muslim nations to acquire nuclear weapons and “terrorize their enemies.”  Western media naturally refer to al-Khatib as a “moderate.”

With Al-Nusra and the new opposition coalition duking it out for Syria against Iran and Assad, Greenfield puts it this way: “Syria is coming down to a race between the Iranian allied Syrian government, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.”

Wonderful. At least we have Team Smart Power to sort all this out for us and make the savvy choices, right?

Right? smiley worried

I have no problem with playing the “Great Power” game and working to overthrow Assad, an important client of Iran and patron to Iran’s cat’s-paw, Hizbullah. Taking down the mafiocracy in Damascus would gravely weaken the influence of  the mullahs in the area around Israel. They know that, too, which is why they’ve put their elite Revolutionary Guard corps into Syria’s “internal” war. And, let’s face it, the Iranians have been at war with us since the Shah was overthrown, whether we’ve acknowledged that or not.

But, let’s be smart about it. Giving weapons to those who might turnaround some day and use them on us or our allies would be trading one hot mess for another, all in pursuit of a short-term gain. It may well be that, in light of calm analysis, our options there are limited, that there may only be a very few players we can work with. Fine. Far better be it to play the mediocre hand we’ve got and establish what influence we can with a possible post-Assad regime, than it would be to do the equivalent of drawing four cards and hoping for a straight, which is what shoveling weapons at al Nusrah or the FSA and keeping our fingers crossed would amount to.

That worked so well in Libya, after all.

Patience and restraint (and ignoring that fatuous “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine liberal internationalists have fallen in love with) here is by far the smartest use of power.

PS: “But what about Iraq?”, some may ask. “Didn’t you support intervening there?” Yep, I did at the time, and I still do. I believe the liberation of Iraq and the destruction of the Hussein regime was the right thing to do, given the totality of the strategic situation. But one of the weaknesses of the operation was our lack of knowledge about the players on the ground, and that lead to mistakes and serious problems during the occupation. Whatever we do in Syria, I’d like us not to suffer from a similar lack of knowledge.

PPS: Be sure to read all of J.E. Dyer’s post, just to see how charming our potential partners are. Two things to keep in mind: chemical weapons and “bunny snuff videos.”

via The Morning Jolt

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi Consulate Massacre: a word of caution about those emails

October 25, 2012

Yesterday I wrote about emails sent from Libya to the State Department and the White House, among others, indicating that an al Qaeda subsidiary, Ansar al Sharia, had taken credit for the assault on our consulate that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans. These emails seemed to confirm what many have suspected all along: that the White House knew quickly the attack had nothing to do with an obscure video, that they knew who had really perpetrated it, and that they were lying to the American people to cover up their incompetence and to protect Obama’s reelection chances.

While I still think that’s largely true, last night Daveed Gartenstein-Ross pointed followers to an article containing an observation by Anthony Zelin that makes the “the White House knew within two hours” narrative much less certain:

However, an examination of the known Facebook and Twitter accounts of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi reveals no such claim of responsibility. Aaron Zelin, a research fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tracks dozens of jihadist websites and archives much of what they say. He told CNN he was unaware of any such claim having been posted on the official Facebook page or Twitter feed of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi.

Zelin, who said his RSS feed sends him any new statement from the group, provided CNN with a copy of that feed. It shows no Facebook update between September 8 and September 12, when a posting late that afternoon first referenced the attack. Zelin notes that the posting referred to a news conference the group had held earlier that day in Benghazi in which it denied any role in the assault on the consulate, while sympathizing with the attackers.

This is an important point: these groups are not shy about claiming credit when they strike at the infidels (that’s us); not only is attacking us an act of religious piety that, in their view, is something to be proud of, but bragging about it also boosts the prestige of their group. Yet they first said nothing, then denied involvement.

The article continues by describing the difficulties of obtaining solid information in a place as chaotic as Libya:

In the hours following such incidents, it is not unusual for “spot reports” from agencies and overseas posts to pour in to the State Department. They typically include intercepts, what’s picked up on social media, witness accounts and what’s being said by local officials. They often contain raw, unfiltered information that is then analyzed for clues, patterns and contradictions.

In the case of the Benghazi attack, there were plenty of contradictions. Such situations are frequently chaotic, with claim and counter-claim by witnesses unsure of what happened when, according to U.S. officials. Building a complete picture without access to first-hand-accounts and little visual evidence can be a major challenge to government experts working from thousands of miles away.

So too have been the attempts to pin down who represents Ansar al-Shariah and their movements on the night of the attack.

Wings of Ansar al-Sharia, which means “partisans” or “supporters of Islamic law,” are based not only in Benghazi but in the Libyan town of Derna, east of Benghazi. The group’s leaders in Derna are thought to include Abu Sufyan bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee.

A different Ansar al-Sharia is affiliated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Yemen, and budding franchises are said to exist in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt.

In other words, with groups as decentralized as al Qaeda and its affiliates, the leadership in one place might take false credit, while that in another might deny  it altogether, while a third, wholly unrelated group that happens to have the same name might (or might not) be the real perpetrators. (In fact, there is some indication al Qaeda jihadis from Iraq were part of the attack.) Thus the emails from Tripoli are not necessarily as damning as they may seem.

So, while I’m reasonably certain that this was an organized al Qaeda hit and not just a “flash mob with mortars,” I’m withdrawing my specific contention from yesterday that Obama had to have known within two hours that this was a terrorist hit and who did it — for now, until we get better information.

I am not, however, withdrawing or walking-back or wavering in my belief that the administration knew at some point early on that there was no anti-video demonstration and that this might well have been an al Qaeda attack. The evidence is too strong to believe otherwise (such as from drone surveillance during the fight). It appears much more likely, indeed probable, that they desperately latched onto any rumor that would allow them to claim it was someone else’s fault — an obscure film producer in California, for example. And then they stuck with it and lied to us for weeks afterward.

Forget about exactly when they knew: that they knew at all -and Obama and company had to have known- and continued to blow smoke in our faces in order to avoid responsibility is what we need to remember on Election Day.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Benghazi consulate massacre: Obama knew who did it within two hours and lied to us. UPDATE: emails withheld from Senate?

October 24, 2012

US Consulate, Benghazi

Dear Mr. President: Let this be a teaching moment for you not to throw the intelligence and foreign service communities under the bus. They know things you’d rather be kept secret. Try to make them the fall guys, and those things will …somehow… become public:

Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.

The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.

The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.

U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.

Administration spokesmen, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, citing an unclassified assessment prepared by the CIA, maintained for days that the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film.

(Emphasis added)

It wasn’t just “for days” that the administration tried to blame the disaster on a video few had even heard of; with very few exceptions, it went on for two weeks, including an infomercial in Pakistan bought and paid for with US taxpayer money and a presidential address before the UN General Assembly. The film’s maker was rousted out of his home by the sheriffs at night and made a public scapegoat, his free speech rights gut shot and left to bleed.

But it didn’t end after just a few days or even a few weeks, or even after US officials finally acknowledged what our “lying eyes” had been telling us all along, that this was an al Qaeda terrorist operation. Let’s roll tape and review a moment from the second Obama-Romney debate that the president I’m sure wishes we’d all forget:

Remember those first 45 seconds.

The three emails (via PJM) mentioned in the Reuters report detail the early stages of the attack on the consulate. They arrived within the first two hours of a battle that lasted seven hours. There are two key takeaways here:

  • First, amidst all the addresses in the headers, note “nss.eop.gov.” That is the White House Situation Room, President Obama’s emergency command center. It is almost unthinkable that Obama himself wasn’t informed.
  • Second, the subject line of the last email, beginning “UPDATE 2,” reported that Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit for the attack. Ansar al Sharia is al Qaeda’s subsidiary in Libya.

In other words, within 120 minutes of the battle’s beginning, while there still might have been time to send help and save lives, the president, who almost certainly was informed, instead went to bed, lied to us the next day in the Rose Garden (and for weeks after), and that night went to Las Vegas for a fundraiser.

As I’ve written before, these lies could not have been meant to keep secrets from the enemy; al Qaeda knew what they had done. It wasn’t to protect a retaliatory strike, for none was underway. (We were still “investigating,” trying to find out what happened, y’see.)

No, the only purpose of this repeated, serial lying from multiple administration officials, from the president to Secretary of State Clinton to Ambassador Rice to Mouth of Sauron Press Secretary Jay Carney and God knows how many others, was to lie to us, in order to protect Obama’s reelection.

Bear in mind that Obama had spent months spiking the ball over killing bin Laden, culminating at the Democratic convention in Charlotte early last September and proclaiming that al Qaeda was crippled. Then the Benghazi attack occurred, clearly planned in advance, clearly an al Qaeda operation, and, so clearly that even a blind man couldn’t miss it, demolishing Obama’s one great claim to foreign policy success, something he desperately needed in his race against Governor Romney.

And thus the “fables” about a “spontaneous reaction to a hateful video” and “no evidence of terrorism” were born. Thus the midnight knock on the door for guy who had made the video. The only question is who came up with the idea. Axelrod? Jarrett? Cutter? Obama, himself?

We’ll probably find out in a tell-all memoir after the election, when all these wretches are in retirement and pointing fingers at each other.

But I doubt we’ll ever find out who released these emails. That’s a secret that will be kept.

UPDATE: Oh, this is special. Apparently the Senate Intelligence Committee had been asking for the emails for weeks, but the White House –I just know you’ll be shocked– stonewalled them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)