Flynn is Right, Ideology is The Problem

By Kyle Shideler:

LT. General Michael Flynn, outgoing head of the Defense Intelligence Agency recently told an audience at the Aspen Institute that the ideology of Al Qaeda was “expanding,” and that Al Qaeda was not “on the run” as the Obama Administration had repeatedly insisted during the 2012 election. Flynn said, “It’s not on the run, and that ideology is actually, it’s sadly, it feels like it’s exponentially growing,”

Flynn went on to point out that “the core” of Al Qaeda was not in fact a geographic designation, but instead a belief, “We use the term ‘core al Qaeda,’ and I have been going against these guys for a long time,” The Free Beacon reports Flynn as saying, “The core is the core belief that these individuals have.”

While Flynn does not go so far as to name the ideology which Al Qaeda acts in furtherance of (namely Shariah), he is clear that one can not solely counter an ideological threat kinetically.

Under Flynn, the DIA has been one of the few intelligence agencies to hold the line against the Obama Administration’s popular, if delusional, reimagining of the threat.  As Eli Lakenoted in a Daily Beast article discussing the connections between Al Qaeda and Boko Haram:

The dispute inside the intelligence community falls along familiar lines about al Qaeda. The White House has emphasized the distinctions between al Qaeda’s core and its affiliates and other aspiring jihadists, who the White House sees as operating almost entirely independent of the central group.

However, another faction inside the U.S. intelligence community—one that comprises the current leadership of the Defense Intelligence Agency and others working in the military—see al Qaeda as a flatter organization that coordinates between nodes and operates through consensus in the model of an Islamic Shura council.

The idea that DIA should need to wage an rearguard action around a concept as basic as the fact that Al Qaeda is organized along shariah-prescribed lines, is itself an example of how badly we have failed to understand the enemy’s stated threat doctrine.

While Flynn does not say so, the reason the ideology of Al Qaeda has expanded is we have failed to directly combat it. We have failed in combating the ideology, as the direct result of influence operations waged against U.S. policy making by affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has resulted in the purge of U.S. trainers who understood the enemy doctrine, leaving U.S policymakers, and law enforcement and intelligence officials unprepared.

One quibble however. LTG Flynn warns that Hamas ought not to be destroyed, as there is a risk that the Islamist groups that would replace it would some how be “worse.” There is not any substantial difference in ideological doctrine between the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham. they are all based upon the Shariah. Saying that Hamas must survive because ISIS is worse is the same kind of mistaken thinking that permitted some to argue that we could work with the Muslim Brotherhood to serve as a bulwark against Al Qaeda. There is no major doctrinal disagreement between Hamas and Al Qaeda, or ISIS. Hamas hailed Osama bin Laden as a “holy warrior” when he was killed by U.S. forces. The Muslim Brotherhood also recognized Bin Laden’s role as a legitimate jihadist.   The godfather of both Al Qaeda and Hamas was Muslim Brother and Islamic Jurist named  Abdullah Azzam.

But even this mistaken view of Hamas is itself evidence thats proves Flynn’s point. Without understanding the nature of the enemy’s threat doctrine and its primary thinkers (Like Azzam), we will not be successful in defeating it.

Why the Islamic State has no sympathy for Hamas

An Islamic State fighter gestures as he takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014.  (photo by REUTERS)

An Islamic State fighter gestures as he takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province, June 30, 2014. (photo by REUTERS)

By Ali Mamouri:

Most of today’s Salafist jihadist movements have no interest in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for the time being regarding it as irrelevant. Instead, their call is to engage in intense, bloody confrontations involving bombings, executions, and suicide attacks against governments headed by Muslims and against Muslim civilians.

Al-Qaeda has followed this course for decades, and now the Islamic State (IS) is following in al-Qaeda’s footsteps, fighting a brutal war across swathes of Iraq and Syria and in an effort to “purify” these areas through killings and population displacement. Once taking territory, it is not mobilizing the populations under its control in opposition to the Israeli military operations in Gaza. Why is this?

Some jihadists or pro-jihadist Salafists have issued video clips and tweets explaining their lack of assistance to the Palestinians. One tweet stated, “The Hamas government is apostate, and what it is doing does not constitute jihad, but rather a defense of democracy [which Salafists oppose].” Another tweet said, “Khaled Meshaal: Hamas fights for the sake of freedom and independence. The Islamic State: it fights so that all religion can be for God.” Meshaal is head of Hamas’ political bureau.

On July 22, the Egyptian Salafist sheikh Talaat Zahran declared that it is inappropriate to aid the people of Gaza because they do not follow a legitimate leadership, and because they are equivalent to Shiites since they follow them, referring to Hezbollah and Iran, with which the Sunni Hamas movement has been allied. Thus the jihadists’ position is not simply a political stance, but stems from Salafist theological principles.

Salafists believe that jihad must be performed under legitimate leadership. This argument is advanced through the “banner and commander” concept, which holds that whoever undertakes jihad must follow a commander who fulfills the criteria of religious and political leadership and has raised the banner of jihad. Given that there is neither a legitimate leader nor a Salafist-approved declaration of jihad in Palestine, fighting there is forbidden.

In addition, for Salafists, if non-Muslims control Islamic countries and apostates exist in the Islamic world, the Islamic world must be cleansed of them before all else. In short, the purification of Islamic society takes priority over combat against non-Islamic societies. On this basis, Salafists see conflict with an allegedly illegitimate Hamas government as a first step toward confrontation with Israel. Should the opportunity for military action present itself in the Palestinian territories, Salafists would fight Hamas and other factions deemed in need of “cleansing” from the land and engage Israel afterward.

Read more at Al-Monitor

 

 

Al Qaeda financiers use Qatar for international activities

The Terror Finance Blog, by A. D. Kendall:

In addition to institutional and charitable support by Qatar, Al Qaeda and its offshoots (including jihadists in Syria and Iraq) receive substantial financial support from private Qatari donors and bundlers. Here’s a quick who’s who:

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi:  The U.S. Treasury Department describes al-Nuaymi as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al-Qa’ida and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade. He was considered among the most prominent Qatar-based supporters of Iraqi Sunni extremists.” Al-Nuaymi transferred $600K to Al Qaeda in Syria in 2013, and sent $2 million monthly to Al Qaeda in Iraq for an undisclosed period of time. He is also described as an interlocutor between Qatari nationals and Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders.

Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari:  Treasury says al-Kuwari “provides financial and logistical support to al-Qa’ida, primarily through al-Qa’ida facilitators in Iran. Based in Qatar, Kuwari has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support to al-Qa’ida and has provided funding for al-Qa’ida operations, as well as to secure the release of al-Qa’ida detainees in Iran and elsewhere.”

Abdallah Ghanim Mafuz Muslim al-Khawar:  According to U.S. officials, “Al-Khawar has worked with Kuwari to deliver money, messages and other material support to al-Qa’ida elements in Iran. Like Kuwari, Khawar is based in Qatar and has helped to facilitate travel for extremists interested in traveling to Afghanistan for jihad.

Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy:  The UN describes al-Subaiy as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided financial support to, and acted on behalf of, the senior leadership of Al-Qaida (QE.A.4.01). He provided assistance to senior Al-Qaida leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed prior to Sheikh Mohammed’s capture in March 2003. Since that time, he has provided financial support to Al-Qaida senior leadership in South Asia.” Al-Subaiy served a brief prison sentence in 2008 before being released by Qatar.

Yusuf Qaradawi:  The Egyptian-born, Qatar-based spiritual father of the international Muslim Brotherhood sits atop a massive terrorist funding network including the “Union of Good” umbrella network of charities that funds Hamas. Qaradawi was also a sharia adviser for Al Taqwa which provided banking services to Al Qaeda.

DIA Chief: Al Qaeda Ideology Rapidly Expanding

Pro-ISIL demonstrators in Iraq / AP

Pro-ISIL demonstrators in Iraq / AP

By Bill Gertz:

The terrorist ideology behind al Qaeda is expanding significantly—contrary to President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign theme that declared the Islamist terror threat in decline, according to the outgoing director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

“It’s not on the run, and that ideology is actually, it’s sadly, it feels like it’s exponentially growing,” DIA Director Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn said during a security conference Saturday.

Flynn was asked about the controversy over Obama’s statements during his 2012 reelection bid that al Qaeda had been “decimated” by the U.S. war on terrorism, and that the group was “on the run” as a result.

Flynn challenged use of the term “core al Qaeda” to identify the group once led by Osama bin Laden and now headed by his deputy, Ayman al Zawahiri.

“My belief—so this is Mike Flynn—core al Qaeda is the ideology,” he said. “Al Qaeda command and control is where the senior leadership resides. So al Qaeda command and control resides today, Zawahiri, over in the [Federally Administered Tribal Areas], Pakistan.”

Flynn said al Qaeda’s leadership is being challenged by the offshoot Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS, whose leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who was once in U.S. custody, is declaring himself “caliph,” or leader of all Muslims.

Other Islamist terror leaders also are gaining influence.

“We use the term ‘core al Qaeda,’ and I have been going against these guys for a long time,” Flynn said. “The core is the core belief that these individuals have.”

A large number of young people in Africa and the Middle East are being sucked into Islamist terror groups.

“These organizations that are out there that are well-organized, they are well-funded, they reach into these young people and they pull them in,” Flynn said. “And there seems to be more and more of them today than there were when I first started this thing in, post 9/11.”

The comments by the DIA chief, an Iraq war veteran who announced in April he will retire in the fall, highlight what critics say is failure of the Obama administration to target the Islamist ideology. Instead, counterterrorism during the Obama administration has focused on “kinetic” operations, such as drone strikes and special operations raids aimed at killing terrorist leaders.

Many al Qaeda leaders were killed. But the newer generation of leaders, such as ISIL’s Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and leaders of groups like Yemen’s Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, appear more committed to imposing Sharia law and annihilating non-Muslims.

New video of ISIL-perpetrated beheadings appeared on the Internet over the weekend. Dozens of headless bodies were shown in a video from Syria with heads mounted on poles.

Obama has made ending the “war” on terrorism in place since 2001 a priority. The administration has asked Congress to end the authorization of the use of military force that was approved in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Critics of the administration’s counterterrorism policies say political sensitivities aimed at avoiding offending Muslims are preventing military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies from identifying the nature of the Islamist terror threat, a needed first step in developing an ideological counter.

For example, intelligence analysts at several U.S. agencies currently are constrained from using the term “Islamic” to describe terrorism over concerns it will upset Muslim activist groups.

Read more at Free Beacon

SIX REASONS WHY AMERICANS SHOULD CARE ABOUT THE WAR BETWEEN HAMAS AND ISRAEL

israel-tanks-photographer-running-apby :

1. Because of 9/11

Hamas and al-Qaeda are of the same ilk. Brothers in arms, both Islamist terrorist groups are funded by Iran and theologically motivated to wage a violent jihad, or holy war, against the West. Both deadly organizations aspire to destroy those they consider “infidels” (Americans and Israelis included) while re-establishing a pan-Arab Caliphate and, in so doing, have killed too many innocents. While al-Qaeda can be credited for the deaths of thousands of Americans on 9/11 and in the Afghan and Iraq wars that followed, Hamas has murdered dozens of Americans abroad. A significant reason why Hamas has not been able to export its terror activities closer to home is the Israeli counter-terror naval, air and land blockade of Gaza, which is meant to prevent Hamas personnel from importing weapons and traveling internationally.

Israel is seen by Hamas—and all Islamist groups—as the outpost of the West in the Middle East. Today, Israel’s soldiers are literally on the frontlines of the battle against militant Islam. Since its founding in 1987, Hamas has attacked Israel with more than 8,000 rockets. This is not because Hamas is engaged in a civil and human rights struggle for Palestinian sovereignty and freedom. We know Hamas doesn’t care about the Arab people it governs because it uses their children as human shields, child soldiers, and suicide bombers. Rather, Hamas knows that if the West abandons Israel, if we allow Israel to suffer a defeat via terrorism, then Hamas and its allies can attack and defeat us. “First comes Saturday [the Jews], then comes Sunday [the Christians],” as the Islamist saying goes.

2. Because the Two-State Solution is Being Called into Question

Longstanding U.S. foreign policy has been to support a “two-state solution” to the conflict in the Middle East. Successive U.S. administrations have promoted ceding land to the Palestinians, claiming this will result in peace between the Islamist and Western worlds. It was on this basis that Israel was pressured to remove its citizens and soldiers from Gaza in 2005. When Israel withdrew entirely, it purposefully left intact the economic infrastructure it abandoned with the hope it would be used to improve the Palestinian economy. Gaza was a testing ground for the concept of a sovereign Palestinian state. Israel and the world hoped the Palestinian people would use the opportunity to elect a government that respected their human rights and sought to live in peace with its neighbors.

Instead, Hamas, a designated terrorist group, rose to power and proceeded to destroy the economy, import weapons into Gaza, enforce a brutal version of Islamic law, advocate for the genocide of the Jewish people, and declare perpetual war on Israel, America, and the West. A cycle of armed conflict began, with Hamas launching attacks, Israel temporarily neutralizing the threat, civilian casualties and calls for restraint, followed by Hamas re-arming and firing rocket attacks again.  Such recent history calls into question the wisdom of supporting a Palestinian state in the West Bank, which, if led by the Palestinian Authority (which has recently entered into a unity deal with Hamas), is more likely than not to become another Islamist terror launching pad.  Moreover, the ongoing slaughter of Muslim and Christian civilians in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere debunks the notion that Israel’s presence in the West Bank is the main obstacle to peace in the Middle East.  If anything, Israel’s presence is the one thing that may secure peace in the region, at least in the territories under Israel’s control.

Read more at Breitbart

Experts: American Adversaries Work Together Despite Differences

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) / Reuters

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) / Reuters

BY: :

American adversaries in the Middle East continue to work together across sectarian and religious divides to harm U.S. interests and security, requiring a more nuanced response from U.S. officials to address the turmoil in the region, experts say.

The Obama administration has claimed in recent weeks that the United States and Iran—a traditional U.S. enemy since its Islamic revolution 35 years ago—have a shared interest in pushing back the advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), an al Qaeda offshoot, in Iraq. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last month that the United States and Iran have “some history here of sharing common interests,” citing early cooperation on the Afghanistan war against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Iran, led by a Shiite government, is typically viewed as opposing hardline Sunni groups such as the Taliban and al Qaeda as part of an intra-religious dispute among Muslims.

However, Iran has a long history of harboring and supporting al Qaeda. European intelligence reports indicate that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, founder of the group al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) that eventually morphed into ISIL, operated from Iran after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Zarqawi used protection from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to rebuild the terrorist group’s network and prepare for its expansion into Iraq.

The U.S. Treasury Department has called Iran “a critical transit point for funding to support al Qaeda’s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” The department in February sanctioned three IRGC officers for allegedly providing support to the Taliban as well as to a senior member of al Qaeda who allegedly used Iran to move Sunni fighters into Syria.

“Iran has a long history of fomenting violent conflict and inflaming sectarian divides throughout the Middle East including in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq,” said the group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) in recent press release.

“Depictions of Iran as a source of stability are therefore erroneous and short-sighted, as are assertions that increased Iranian involvement in Iraq will serve American and Iraqi interests,” UANI added.

Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq for the George W. Bush administration, said in an email that U.S. diplomats often only view the Middle East through “a sectarian lens.”

“Sunnis and Shi’ites show no compunction working together to screw over America, which their respective extremists consider a bigger threat,” he said. “Heck, sometimes it seems that the State Department never bothered to read the 9/11 report which suggested that the attacks might not have happened had Iran not facilitated the travel to training camps of the 9/11 hijackers.”

“Sure, at first glance, Secretary of State John Kerry may believe that the U.S. and Iran share an interest in Iraq,” he added. “But just because firefighters and arsonists share an interest in fire doesn’t mean they are on the same side.”

In Iraq, ISIL partnered last month with former Baathist generals under Saddam Hussein’s regime to seize the key northern city of Mosul. Religious extremist groups such as al Qaeda have traditionally sought to overthrow secular Middle East regimes such as Hussein’s Baathists.

Top U.S. officials have recently expressed grave concerns about the potential for foreign fighters in ISIL to commit terrorist attacks in the United States.

The secular-religious rift in the Middle East also did not stop Hussein from supporting jihadist groups when it suited the former Iraqi dictator’s interests. Hussein reportedly provided safe haven, training, and arms to these groups as long as they agreed to attack countries he wanted to pressure.

Hundreds of thousands of documents obtained in Iraq since 2003, compiled in a report by the Institute for Defense Analyses, further confirmed Hussein’s links to terrorist groups.

Read more at Free Beacon

Analysis: Al Qaeda attempts to undermine new Islamic State with old video of Osama bin Laden

By 

On July 13, Al Qaeda’s As Sahab posted this video of Osama bin Laden from the summer of 2001 on its Twitter feed.

 

On July 13, al Qaeda’s propaganda arm, As Sahab, tweeted a link to an old video of Osama bin Laden. Judging by markers in the video, including bin Laden’s reference to the USS Cole bombing taking place “nine months ago” (al Qaeda attacked the Cole on Oct. 12, 2000), it appears the video was recorded in the middle of 2001.

The first part of bin Laden’s lecture focuses on standard al Qaeda themes, including the war against America. In all likelihood, that is not why al Qaeda posted this particular video of bin Laden now. Instead, al Qaeda is attempting to use the video to counter the Islamic State, which has been disowned by al Qaeda’s senior leadership, and its newly announced caliphate.

“Today, with the grace of Allah, we are redrawing the map of the Islamic world to become one state under the banner of the caliphate,” bin Laden says.

The deceased al Qaeda leader goes on to explain that the Prophet Mohammed found that certain “pillars” were required to build a “strong Islamic State.”

As Sahab is advertising the video of bin Laden with this banner. A similar banner is being featured on a number of jihadist sites, including at the top of the Shumukh al Islam forum.

As Sahab is advertising the video of bin Laden with this banner. A similar banner is being featured on a number of jihadist sites, including at the top of the Shumukh al Islam forum.

“The Prophet spent 13 years in Mecca searching for these pillars: a strong group, obedience and respect, immigration, and jihad,” bin Laden says, according to a translation obtained by The Long War Journal. Mohammed “was on a quest to find these four things,” bin Laden continues. “He wanted to find a strong group that is willing to carry our jihad — those two demands are complementary — and be obedient and respectful. He found these four pillars after 13 years.”

A few sentences later, bin Laden adds: “Those who move from east to west, claiming that they want to establish God’s sharia but do not want to establish the prerequisites and pillars and do not want to tolerate the suffering of finding a group, obeying their leaders, migrating, and carrying out jihad are ignorant and unaware of the Prophet’s doctrine.”

The implied critique of the Islamic State and its announced caliphate, which covers parts of Syria and Iraq, is obvious. When viewed through bin Laden’s testimony, the Islamic State has not built the “pillars” necessary for a caliphate, especially when it comes to “obeying their leaders.”

Indeed, bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al Zawahiri, has covered this issue in his messages addressing the Islamic State’s history. As Sahab released two messages from Zawahiri concerning the Islamic State in May. “Listen to and obey your emir once again,” Zawahiri says when addressing Baghdadi in the first message. “Come back to what your sheikhs, emirs, and those who preceded you on the path and immigration of jihad have worked hard for.” In both of his messages in May, Zawahiri builds a case against Baghdadi, showing that the Islamic State’s self-appointed “caliph” was once Zawahiri’s subordinate. Therefore, by accusing Baghdadi of being disobedient towards his leader, Zawahiri was also accusing him of ignoring one of the “pillars” necessary for building a true Islamic State.

Al Qaeda’s charge against Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s group could extend further, given that one of the pillars mentioned by bin Laden requires a jihadist group to be “obedient and respectful.” Other jihadist groups and ideologues whose beliefs are not all that different from the Islamic State’s have repeatedly accused Baghdadi’s group of being disrespectful towards anyone who disagrees with its attempted power grab. The disagreements have even led to vicious infighting between jihadists in Syria.

Bin Laden goes on to recount, in brief, the history of al Qaeda’s relations with the Taliban. The Taliban “allowed us to establish training camps on their land, regardless of all the international pressure against them,” bin Laden says. “They are also helping us in our preparations and training although they know that we are preparing to strike the United States of America.” This statement is interesting because there has long been a debate over how the Taliban viewed such attacks. And this is further evidence that bin Laden was loose-lipped prior to the 9/11 attacks, upsetting some of his co-conspirators who wanted to maintain the utmost secrecy.

An audience member asks bin Laden about his bayat (oath of allegiance) to Mullah Omar, the Taliban’s emir. And bin Laden’s response likely has bearing on Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s claim to be the rightful caliph.

“My pledge of allegiance to the Emir of the Believers [Mullah Omar] is the great pledge of allegiance, which is mentioned in the chapters of the Koran and the stories of the Sunnah,” bin Laden says. “Every Muslim should set his mind and heart and pledge allegiance to the Emir of the Believers Mullah Muhammad Omar for this is the great pledge.”

The Islamic State’s announced caliphate attempts to usurp the power and authority of all other jihadist groups, including the Taliban, by demanding that they swear bayat to the new caliph. This has drawn criticism from highly influential jihadist ideologues such as Abu Muhammad al Maqdisi, as well as al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

Bin Laden argues that Mullah Omar was deserving of such a pledge, and the implication of his testimony is that Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is not.

Bin Laden cites Muhammad Bin Abd al Wahhab, the 18th century Islamic leader, as saying: ”When a man is in charge of a country and the scholars in this country accept his ruling, then his ruling as an emir of the believers is legitimate.” Bin Laden says that Mullah Omar has satisfied this requirement, claiming that “more than 1,500 scholars [have] pledged” their allegiance to Omar. Therefore, bin Laden argues, “it is the duty of everyone to pledge allegiance to him.”

Read more at Long War Journal

Jihadist groups across globe vying for terror spotlight

January 2, 2014: Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria carry their weapons during a parade in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey.(Reuters)

January 2, 2014: Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria carry their weapons during a parade in the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, near the border with Turkey.(Reuters)

By Perry Chiaramonte:

With every new act of stunning savagery in the name of Islam that takes place in some corner of the world, a new terrorist group seems to step into the spotlight.

From Al Qaeda’s sudden ascendance in the 1990s, to the recent rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria and ISIS in Iraq, new factions are springing up throughout the world, spreading the twisted message of violence and hate in the name of Allah. Most trace their roots to the terror group founded by Usama bin Laden, but have spun off, and fanned out around the world putting their own stamps on the indiscriminate brutality that is the trademark of terrorism.

“The trend is one of decentralization — smaller Al Qaeda affiliates charting their own courses,” said Ryan Mauro, national security analyst for the research institute The Clarion Project. “If groups like ISIS are seen as more successful, the aspiring jihadists will view them as being blessed by Allah and rally to them. Success is seen as evidence of Allah’s approval, and defeat is seen as Allah’s distancing, or even judgment.”

For now, ISIS, with a huge swath of conquered territory, hundreds of millions of dollars looted from Iraqi banks and a leader — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — who has pronounced himself the “Caliph” of Muslims around the world, is in position to challenge Al Qaeda for status as the most powerful terror group on the planet. That makes it a magnet for new recruits and donations, said Mauro. One chilling act could cement its role.

“If ISIS wants to overtake Al Qaeda to become the leading Salafist terror group, then it must replicate Al Qaeda’s greatest achievement: Striking the U.S,” Mauro said. “Once that happens, Al Qaeda supporters will switch to ISIS in droves unless the two reconcile.”

Boko Haram was founded in in 2002 in Nigeria’s Borno State, where it campaigned, mostly peacefully, for a Shariah state. But in 2009, after founder Mohammed Yusef was executed in Nigeria, Boko Haram took a violent turn, embracing terrorism, forcing conversions of Christians, and orchestrating kidnappings and bombings. In recent years, Boko Haram has emerged as one of the world’s most dangerous and violent Islamic terrorist sects, culminating in April’s kidnapping of nearly 300 Christian schoolgirls.

Here are some other Islamic terrorist groups operating around the world and waiting to fill any void that should be left by their more high-profile counterparts.

Read more at Fox News

Out of Control Border – Open Invitation to Terrorists

8df0455e-efb9-40e1-b03c-1d342d7d8037Does Obama Believe in Terrorism? by Kevin McCullough at Town Hall, Jul 13, 2014:

I’ve been caught asking myself the same question many times this week.

“Does our President believe in terrorism?”
No, I’m not asking if he personally believes in the use of terrorism, or the ideology of terrorism, or the effectiveness of the weapon of terrorism. Some of my critics are already condemning me for not asking that question from the start. And as well intentioned as some are who would hold those positions, I feel a need to break things down into even more succinct pieces.
Does President Obama believe in terrorism’s existence and imminence in the days we live this very minute?
Normally it would be easy to laugh off such a question from an opinion writer, but these aren’t normal days. The middle easy is burning down. Terrorists are shooting missiles at our best ally. We just turned five of the world’s worst terrorists loose in exchange for a man who got brainwashed to believe the terrorists. And then came this past week…
A source at the border patrol has informed me going back to the days of 9.11.2001, that on any given month (then) we’d have a dozen persons of middle eastern origin attempt to penetrate our southern border each month. In 2014 my source tells me that number is now regularly above a hundred. These persons look very much like all the others crossing the border, most have even learned some spanish, and like all the others they are blending in with, they climb the ladder, jump the fence, and wait for border patrol to pick them up.
This is important to understand given that in the past week–only due to diligent reporting–have we had it revealed that the executive branch of the federal government has authorized free rides for illegals to destinations of choice in the mainland of America. 300,000 “free” rides by our executive branch to people who “tell us” who they are–most days without any form of corroborating identification.
Which would be bad enough, until we learned from the stories coming out of the border that the Islamic State (formerly ISIS, an Al Qaeda faction) has made direct contact with Mexican drug cartels, and then pledged publicly to exploit our southern border. (Come to think of it, I’m pretty certain al-Baghdaddi wasn’t talking about taking a tour when he told his former captors in Iraq that he would “see them in New York.”)
So… to review we’ve got Al Qaeda ready to penetrate our southern border (if they haven’t already). They’re intent on killing us. And we may be giving them rides to anywhere in the lower 48 states.
Then came the information from the National Border Patrol Council, documenting that the same Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) that feels you up, or looks at you on naked machines at airports has been ordered to allow these aliens to fly on commercial jet-liners (no doubt at partial tax-payer expense) with nothing more than their “Notice to Appear” paper from their initial hearing when they arrive in the USA. And as long as they have these easily forged papers TSA can not ask them any further questions about identity. They are then using that form of identification to fly anywhere they wish in the country.
This loosely enforced “security” could put active members of Al Qaeda or any number of other Muslim Brotherhood groups into the heart of New York, DC, or other prime target rich environments. Almost over night, and almost undetected to the good people of America.
The President isn’t stopping the border crossings where nearly 100 for every 4000 that are coming across (and that’s the per day average) turn out to be people of middle eastern origins. The President isn’t requiring the illegal visitors to face the law and it’s Biblically acceptable enforcement. In some cases the crossers are making their initial appearances by SKYPE to a desk operation four states over. The President has instructed the border patrol to play nice and not get into confrontational situations. The President has ordered more than a quarter of a million personal rides to those who wish to meet up with relatives, friend’s, and just people that they know. And the President has not reversed the silly edict allowing anyone in the USA to fly without an ID.
In other words he’s acting as though he firmly doubts that America is being readied for another major-bigger-than-the-previous-record-setting terror attack.
But beyond that he’s actively doing as much as possible to get us as close to that possible reality.
Well he then must believe that Al Qaeda is less of a threat now than it has been in the past. He must believe that there is nothing of significance happening in the Middle East. And his 72% approval rating amongst the world’s muslim population must be because they believe “hope and change” are coming.
For if he believed that a caliphate being established was a dangerous thing, if he believed that evil people exist and are seeking our demise as we read this, and if he believed that these border policies are providing enormous holes in our security for the bad people to do what they want to do…
Then surely he’d ignore his pro-Muslim-brotherhood advisers and do what was best for the welfare of the people he swore an oath to protect.
Right?

*************

DML on terror threat at the border:

 

Jeanine Pirro accuses Obama of implementing a “Trojan Horse” strategy:

 

Frank Gaffney speaks with Judge Jeanine Pirro about the possibility that ISIS will use the current border crisis to entering the United States:

 

Perry: Securing the border is ‘one of the highest priorities for this country from a national security standpoint’

 

Also see:

The Watchman: Jihadists on the March

Published on Jul 8, 2014 by The Christian Broadcasting Network

On this week’s edition of The Watchman, we sit down with Middle East experts Raymond Ibrahim and Tawfik Hamid to discuss the latest developments with the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Iran and what can be done to counter the jihadist.

WHY ISIS IS MORE DANGEROUS THAN AL QAEDA AND WHAT AMERICA MUST DO ABOUT IT

ISIS-heavy-weapons-reutersby :

In the space of just a few weeks, the jihadi threat group ISIS has accomplished more than al Qaeda did in the the thirteen years since the September 11 attacks. It will continue to grow in power and come to pose a direct threat to the United States unless America guides a regional response. Now.
On a sunny Tuesday morning in September of 2001, al Qaeda entered the history books as the deadliest terrorist group in modern history. In under a few hours it murdered more people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania than other terrorist groups like the IRA or the Baader-Meinhof Gang had killed over a period of decades.
Since that dreadful day, the original Al Qaeda, what the administration refers to now as ‘Core AQ’, has executed or inspired other attacks to include those of Richard Reid the infamous Shoebomber, Major Nidal Hassan the Fort Hood killer, and Faisal Shazad, the Times Square bomber. At the same time it has recruited foreign fighters to wage guerrilla war inside Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, as well as for other jihadi theaters.
Additionally, it has waged a propaganda campaign to spread its message of holy war against the infidel with publications such as the periodical Inspire, the e-magazine that included a recipe for pressure-cooker IEDs, a recipe that would be used by the Boston bombers.
Despite all of the above, the threat posed by Al Qaeda pales by comparison to the achievements of its off-shoot the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham which recently declared the establishment of a new Caliphate, or empire of Islam, and has, as a result, changed its name to The Islamic State.
How do we know that ISIS / The Islamic State is a greater threat today than Al Qaeda?
Here are just 6 reasons:
  • While Al Qaeda attracted foreign fighters to wage jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq, its recruitment figures never came close to the thousands that have been so rapidly drawn to fight in Syria and Iraq. The problem is so severe that Attorney General Eric Holder just yesterday had to publicly request his European counterparts do something to stem the flow of fighters.
  • Al Qaeda was predominantly successful in bringing Arab Muslims from the Middle East to fight in wars in their own region or in South Asia. But unclassified reports, and ISIS’ own videos, confirm that it is having an unprecedented success in attracting Muslim men from the West to go fight Jihad. Young men who – if they survive the current fight – will likely return back home to America, the UK, or elsewhere in the West, as hardened jihadis skilled in infantry tactics and in employing improvised explosive devices.
  • Although Al Qaeda was sheltered by the fundamentalist Taleban government in Afghanistan – with bin Laden strategically ensuring that his commanders’ daughter married into Taleban families – as an organization Al Qaeda never controlled a whole country. With the Blitzkrieg assault of ISIS fighters capturing city after city in Iraq in recent weeks and then declaring a new Caliphate, ISIS is on the cusp of functioning as a de facto country, a Jihadi Nation. Al Qadea almost always acted like a terrorist group and less like an insurgency, the important distinction being that insurgencies hold territory in daylight. ISIS, however, is a fully fledged insurgency that has captured city after city and is functioning as a quasi state.
  • With other regional jihadi commanders, such as the former head of the Al Nusrah front, swearing bayat (loyalty) to ISIS we see the open confirmation of the reality that Al Qaeda’s brand has been overtaken. This is the kind of international operational recognition Al Qaeda always wanted and tried desperately to obtain but never managed too. And ISIS has succeeded to become a multinational jihadi authority in a matter of weeks as opposed to years.
  • Bin Laden, and the current leader of Al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri, always understood the importance of propaganda and information warfare, especially after the American jihadi Anwar al Awlaki took over editorship of Inspire magazine. But they never came close to the sophistication and media savvy of ISIS with is whirlwind establishment of a Social Media presence. Not only is ISIS filming and distributing the standard jihadi footage of its vicious attacks but also video of the mass murders of its prisoners. More importantly it is also disseminating more subtle and softer narratives via Twitter and other channels in ways that Al Qaeda never did.
  • ISIS has capabilities that exceed even the wildest dreams of the original founders of Al Qaeda. After capturing the city of Mosul and the raiding the local government coffers, it now has over $400 million at its disposal. The 9/11 attacks only cost Al Qaeda $500,000. ISIS has funds now adequate to at least 800 9/11 attacks. Add to that all the latest US military hardware it has captured and the older Syrian Scud missile it also paraded openly for all the world to see last week , and it is clear ISIS and Al Qaeda are in totally different leagues.
For all these reasons, and many more, ISIS poses a significantly bigger threat than Al Qaeda ever did. A threat not only to Shia-controlled states like Iraq or Syria. ISIS has made its plan clear . It is reestablishing the theocratic empire of Islam, the Caliphate, that was dissolved after WWI, in 1924, by the secularizing President of the new Republic of Turkey, Kemal Ataturk. They are driven by an ideology that is absolutist and global. After taking out the “Near Enemy” in Syria and Iraq, they wish to kill other apostates, others they deem to be false Muslims, be it King Abdullahh II of Jordan, or the new president of Egypt, retired General Sisi who has vowed to destroy the Muslim Brotherhood, the ideological cousins of ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Read more at Breitbart
Sebastian Gorka, Ph.D. is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University and the national security and foreign affairs editor of the Breitbart News Network.

Don’t Call It A Caliphate, Yet: ISIS May Run Afoul of Islamic Law

802499242CSP, By Kyle Shideler:

The news over the weekend that the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) had declared as Caliph of the universal Muslim Ummah its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has shaken the Middle East (and the wider Muslim world).

In classic ISIS form, the jihadist insurgent army issued a communiqué, in multiple languages, including English, to explain their decision to make the announcement that Al-Baghdadi was now Caliph Ibrahim, and ISIS was now simply, “The Islamic State.”

According to the communiqué, Al-Baghdadi was invested with the position of Caliph through the oath of loyalty sworn to him by ISIS’s people of authority (ahl al-hall wa al-‘aqd). The communiqué notes:

…the Islamic State – represented by ahlul-hall-wal-‘aqd (its people of authority), consisting of its senior figures, leaders, and the shura council – resolved to announce the establishment of the Islamic khilafah, the appointment of a khalifah for the Muslims, and the pledge of allegiance to the shaykh (sheikh), the mujahid, the scholar who practices what he preaches, the worshipper, the leader, the warrior, the reviver, descendent from the family of the Prophet, the slave of Allah, Ibrahim Ibn ‘Awwad Ibn Ibrahim Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Badri al-Hashimi al-Husayni al-Qurashi by lineage, as-Samurra’i by birth and upbringing, al-Baghdadi by residence and scholarship. And he has accepted the bayat (pledge of allegiance). Thus, he is the imam and khalifah for the Muslims everywhere.

Compare to Minhaj al-talibin written by Imam Nawawi, a shafi’i jurist of the 13th century, as cited in the Reliance of the Traveller (Book O. Justice, O.25.4):

The Caliphate may be legally effected by an oath of fealty, which, according to the soundest positions, is the oath of those with discretionary power to enact or dissolve a pact (ahl al-hall wa al-‘aqd) of the scholars, leaders and notables able to attend.

Other legal options for investiture as a Caliph would be appointment as a successor by the previous Caliph, or to seize the position of Caliph by force of arms, but both would seem to require a pre-existing caliph from whom to take power.

So the question of whether, under Islamic law as understood, Al-Baghdadi may be legitimately recognized as Caliph rests on whether or not the ISIS “people of authority” meet the legitimate definition for that position.

While there is a range of opinion of exactly what constitutes the “ahl al-hall wa al-‘aqd,” for this purpose, the commentary on Minhaj al-talibin included in Reliance notes that while the ruling is expected to be made by all people of authority able to attend, there is no such thing as a “quorum” and the presence or lack of any particular number of individuals is irrelevant.

A commentary by Muhammed Shirbini Khatib explains,

“…if the discretionary power to enact or dissolve a pact exists in a single individual, who is obeyed, his oath of fealty is sufficient.”

It’s unclear whether ISIS has at its disposal such a worthy dignitary. The quality of scholars supporting ISIS has always been a problem for the otherwise meteoric rise of the group once referred to as Al Qaeda in Iraq. While eminent Jihadi scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi wasonce a major supporter of founder Al-Zarqawi, the most notable scholars, including al-Maqdisi, sided against ISIS, in its dispute with Al Qaeda emir Ayman Al Zawahiri. If the “people of authority” are deemed to be those scholars most esteemed within the jihadi world, then ISIS’s appointment of a Caliphate lacks authenticity and legal backing. And that does not even consider the wider world of Shariah authorities, whether operating from within the Muslim Brotherhood’s orbit such as Yusuf Al Qaradawi’s International Union of Muslim Scholars (which has formally denounced the declaration), or in traditional venues like Al-Azhar University.

Despite a dearth of scholarship, ISIS can count on the fact that nothing succeeds like success. Two things are necessary for ISIS to win it’s gambit in declaring the Caliphate reestablished. The first is that it must continue to win. Continued territorial expansion fulfills its argument that ISIS is the implementer of the Shariah law over the largest and most historically relevant real estate.

Second, ISIS must succeed in winning the oath of loyalty of key elements of the global jihad. While ISIS has succeeded in gaining popular support among online jihadi communities, individual young mujahids are of no real consequence, except in as much as they serve as recruits to further conquest. What ISIS needs, ideologically, is the support of the emirs of major jihadi groups or the support of prominent scholars. So far this has not happened, although individual members have supported the call. Victory on the battlefield may lead to such oaths, as other jihadi groups look to take advantage of the boost in recruiting and fundraising that ISIS is receiving.

Still, it would be strategically useful to avoid unwittingly consecrating Al-Baghdadi’s claim to the position of Caliph while that issue remains open to (possibly bloody) debate in jihadist circles. ISIS is exceedingly conscious of media and particularly western media, and carefully formulates its message in terms most likely to terrorize, and appeal to media coverage (the logic of distributing both mass executions and crucifixion videos, and a jihad fighters holding cats Twitter account for example). They respond quickly to exploit opportunities that seem to affirm their caliphate status, as when ISIS supporters began to retweet a statement by DHS senior advisor Mohammed Elibiary that the Caliphate was “inevitable,” following ISIS’ success in Iraq. ISIS has capitalized on media coverage about their exploits, and claim in their communiqué that even the west recognizes their new status,

“They [referring to those Muslim groups with whom ISIS disputes] never recognized the Islamic State to begin with, although America, Britain and France acknowledge its existence.”

Given that ISIS is looking for legitimacy where it can find it, let’s not present ISIS’ declaration of Caliphate as a fait accompli. Instead to the degree the facts permit it, it would be advantageous to continue to point out that even within the legal context of shariah, ISIS is on shaky ground, that they are a relative newcomer, that in the grand scheme of the Islamic world they hold limited territory, and that they do not have the respect of key scholars or jihadi emirs. At the same time, we shouldn’t delude ourselves into thinking that these things may not change, especially if ISIS continues its winning streak. But for the meantime, ISIS is not a Caliphate… yet.

Originally appeared at Breitbart.com 

If We Want to Beat Al Qaeda, We Have to Stop Arming It

23by Daniel Greenfield:

Obama’s call for $500 million to arm and train Syrian Jihadist fighters couldn’t have possibly come at a more inappropriate time as Al Qaeda in Iraq menaces both countries.

It wasn’t the Iraq War that made the Al Qaeda affiliate so dangerous. In 2008 it specialized in suicide bombings. It wasn’t marching on Baghdad with an army behind it.

The Arab Spring destabilized the region while money, weapons and recruits poured into Libya and Syria. Obama’s regime change war in Libya led not only to the takeover of entire Libyan cities by Al Qaeda, culminating in the murder of four Americans in Benghazi, but to an Al Qaeda affiliate seizing much of neighboring Mali. Libyan terror training camps also led to an attack on the Amenas gas plant in Algeria.

Three Americans were killed in that attack bringing the US death toll from Obama’s Libyan War up to seven.

But that was last year. This year it’s the Syrian Civil War that turned its local Al Qaeda affiliates into breakout Jihadi stars seizing entire cities and terrorizing the region.

Obama’s solution is to direct money intended for counterterrorism partnerships to terrorists in Syria.

This may be one of the worst ideas that he has ever come up with. Attempts to control the flow of weapons likely played a role in the Benghazi attacks. NATO forces enforcing an arms embargo on Libya had been told to ignore Qatari weapons shipments that were meant for “moderates”.

Instead they went to Al Qaeda.

Obama and Kerry, not to mention Graham and McCain, believe that weapons can be directed to “moderate” Syrian groups and that by arming the “good” terrorists, we’ll stop the “bad” terrorists.

But there are no “good” terrorists. Promises of delivering weapons only to “pre-vetted” groups are worth as much as Obama’s assurances that Al Qaeda was on the run and that ISIS is only a jayvee team.

Kerry met with Ahmad al-Jarba, the President of the Syrian National Coalition. Al-Jarba said that $500 million wouldn’t be enough and demanded more weapons. Meanwhile Al-Jarba was feuding with Ahmad Tohme, the Prime Minister of the SNC’s fictional government. Tohme had attempted to disband the Supreme Military Council over corruption charges while firing the head of the Free Syrian Army.

None of this really matters because the SNC is a puppet regime with many puppet masters and no puppets. The Syrian front men for the Saudis, Qataris, the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey and other factions are constantly firing each other. Their Free Syrian Army is a label stamped on a bunch of Islamist militias, many of whom openly support Al Qaeda.

Four out of five of the FSA’s front commanders had demanded to work with Al Qaeda last year. Parts of the FSA joined the Islamic Front and seized the FSA’s weapons warehouses taking anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons. The FSA fighters fled. Earlier ISIS had seized USAID items intended for the FSA.

After these embarrassments Obama was forced to temporarily suspend aid to the Free Syrian Army.

A senior Al Qaeda terrorist who answered to Ayman Al-Zawahiri was a leading figure in the Islamic Front through Ahrar al Sham, which operated alongside the FSA, until he was killed in an attack by ISIS. Ahrar al Sham had a powerful role in the Supreme Military Council through Deputy Chief of Staff Abdel-basset Tawil.

The FSA, to the extent that it exists, consists of bearded Salafist fighters and commanders in the field and “moderate” leaders in suits in Qatar and Turkey who usually never set foot in Syria. They obtain weapons and money from the West for Jihadists who are much less camera friendly.

Groups such as Liwa al Ummah choose to affiliate with the FSA even while they continue fighting alongside the Al Nusra Front. Experts label some Syrian Jihadist groups as moderate and others as extremist, but the “moderates” and “extremists” fly the black flag of Jihad and fight for an Islamic state.

Pre-vetting the groups means nothing because names like the Free Syrian Army or the Supreme Military Council are only fronts for outside interests. Even the names of the individual militias are often meaningless because new groups and new umbrella groups are constantly being created and dissolved.  Fighters and commanders move from one group to another taking their weapons with them.

Keeping track of the various pseudonyms used by the commanders is already a full time job. It is often impossible to tell whether two Jihadist commanders with the same pseudonym are even the same person. Figuring out the relationship between various groups means depending on intelligence from those groups and various activists on the ground who all have their own alliances and agendas.

No meaningful vetting is possible under these circumstances and supplying weapons to “pre-vetted” groups is as good as supplying them to Al Qaeda. Supplying weapons to pre-vetted groups only  means that it will take longer for those weapons to reach Al Qaeda through barter, alliance or capture.

And even if the weapons don’t end up with Al Qaeda, they will go to Salafist groups that share its goals. The difference is that those have not yet officially declared war on us. That same false sense of security led to the murder of four Americans in Benghazi.

Read more at Front Page

ISIS Declares Caliphate & Demands Loyalty From All Muslims

Screenshot from the Islamic State propaganda video 'Breaking the Borders'

Screenshot from the Islamic State propaganda video ‘Breaking the Borders’

“We took it forcibly at the point of a blade.
We brought it back conquered and compelled.
We established it in defiance of many.
And the people’s necks were violently struck,
With bombings, explosions, and destruction,
And soldiers that do not see hardship as being difficult,”

And lions that are thirsty in battle,
Having greedily drunk the blood of kufr (infidel).

Our khilāfah has indeed returned with certainty” – From the declaration of the Caliphate entitled “This is the Promise of Allah” delivered by the Islamic State spokesman al-Adnani.

On Sunday the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) declared itself a caliphate. It dropped ‘Iraq and Syria from its name and now wishes to be known as the Islamic State. The announcement was made to coincide with the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. They have also changed their flag.

The last caliphate was abolished by the Turks in 1924, bringing an end to the Ottoman Empire, the last of the great empires which ruled the Muslim world. The caliphate that ISIS seeks to recreate, however, is based on the original caliphates of the successors to the Muslim Prophet Muhammad, rather than what they would regard as the weak and corrupted caliphates of later times. The ruler, a caliph, is a religious, political and military position akin to a divinely sanctioned monarchy.

A caliphate is regarded by Sunni Islamic extremists as the only legitimate form of government. Re-establishing it has consistently remained a key goal of groups ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to Al Qaeda.

Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) as the caliph and “the leader of Muslims everywhere.” In declaring himself thus, Baghdadi is attempting to seize legitimacy as the leader of the jihadi movement in particular and the Muslim world in general. He was capitalizing on recent sweeping gains made by the group in its capture of Mosul. He will now take on the name and title “Caliph Ibrahim.

One of the primary duties of the caliph is to wage jihad against the kuffar (infidel). In Islamic terms, only a caliph has the authority to declare jihad, immediately marking the Islamic State, in its own eyes, as the only legitimate jihadi organization.

This puts the new caliphate directly at war with Al Qaeda and potentially at war with other jihadi organizations should they refuse to accept the authority of the new caliphate. Professor Peter Neumann of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization regards the announcement as a “declaration of war against the West and al Qaida.”

Read  more at Clarion Project

 

 

 

ISIS’ Next Targets: Jordan and Saudi Arabia

An image from a propaganda video by ISIS showing their expansion plans from Iraq into Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

An image from a propaganda video by ISIS showing their expansion plans from Iraq into Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The onslaught has already begun on social media, where ISIS is maintaining a slick, professional propaganda presence.

By Ryan Mauro:

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the former Al-Qaeda affiliate that has seized over one-third of Iraq, is open about its desire to establish a new caliphate with Baghdad as its capital. ISIS supporters are distributing propaganda on social media indicating its next targets towards that goal are Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The image (above) shows territory in Iraq and Syria currently held by ISIS with arrows indicating future expansion into Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Interestingly, there are no arrows pointing into the Shiite-majority southern Iraq:

ISIS-Expansion-1

ISIS supporters are also spreading a graphic that purportedly shows its five-year plan to reestablish a caliphate that stretches from western Africa to Indonesia, conquering Israel, Iran and India. It was first spotted by NBC News foreign correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin. The picture lacks the professionalism of other ISIS-issued propaganda, perhaps indicating it reflects the aspiration of a supporter than a plan drawn up by the ISIS leadership.

ISIS and its supporters have proven to be masters of social media. Much of its online propaganda is in English and involves sarcasm and dark humor. One pro-ISIS account retweeted a joke about the national bird of Yemen and Pakistan being the drone. Supporters in Indonesia are also selling pro-ISIS clothing online. The group’s social media strength is so great that the Iraqi government is blocking Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google.

Clarion Project national security analyst Ryan Mauro appeared on Fox & Friends on June 22 (see clip below) to discuss the use of ISIS by social media through Photoshop, a Twitter application for Android cell phones and well-produced videos.

Read more at Clarion Project