The “Khorasan Group”, New Name, Old Threat

khor1CSP, By Kyle Shideler:

Recent media coverage has been bombarded by revelations of a “new terror threat“, “more dangerous than ISIS”, the Khorasan Group.

Khorasan refers to the historical area under the Islamic Caliphate that corresponds to Iran/Afghanistan/Pakistan and the subcontinent, and the Khorasan Group, according to intelligence officials speaking to the media, consists of a relatively small (between fifty and a hundred) group of veteran Al Qaeda fighters from the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. These fighters are said to include a number of highly skilled bomb makers and other operatives, led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, a native Kuwaiti, and long time Al Qaeda insider, who specializes in financing and facilitation. Jihadist social media is hinting that Al-Fadhli may have been killed in the first round of U.S. bombing.

Khorasan Group’s mission, supposedly, has been to find jihadists with western passports who have travelled to Syria, train them, and reinsert them into the West to conduct spectacular attacks of the kind that Al Qaeda is famous for.

Khorasan Group operates in and among Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and there’s been lively debate in the counterterrorism community over whether its really worthwhile distinguishing between Jabhat al-Nusra and Khorasan group at all. This is significant because Jabhat al-Nusra, despite being Al Qaeda, is deeply intertwined with the Syrian rebels at-large, and they are widely supported by these rebels, including those that the Obama strategy calls for arming and training to fight ISIS. For their part, Jabhat al Nusra hasn’t made the distinction, claiming they were the recipient of U.S. bombings.

It’s entirely plausible that intelligence suggested that this Khorasan group was preparing an imminent attack, and even if they weren’t, they are definitely enemies of America and a legitimate target.

But the extra hype about this specific group, and separating them out as somehow different or more threatening than Jabhat al Nusra, and Al Qaeda proper, has more to do with attempting to limit the negative reaction from rebels within Syria, and to distract Americans from the reality that in Syria there really are few good guys, with a possible exception of the Kurdish forces, who aren’t really receiving support. That strategy has already failed, with multiple Syrian rebel groups complaining about the strikes against Jabhat al Nusra, including one group expected to be the core of the force the U.S. intends to train to send against ISIS.

There has been an attempt to try to separate out elements of Al Qaeda, into Core, and affiliates, and in the case of the Khorasan group, small units within affiliates. Or for that matter to disassociate ISIS from Al Qaeda, as ISIS being “too brutal”, when the reality is that ISIS hasn’t engaged in any tactic that Al Qaeda didn’t institute first.

This is a misguided attempt to convince people that what we face is a series of minor groups, and that the enemy who attacked us on 9/11 is broken, and/or on the run. The reality is we face an overarching enemy, a Global Islamic Movement-which is how they identify themselves- operating in accordance with a knowable strategic doctrine that we are not addressing.

That doctrine is Shariah law. It is the same law that ISIS is instituting in its territory, and the same one that Jabhat al Nusra and several of the other Syrian groups would institute in Syria if they prove successful in defeating Assad.

Our enemy knows that you can not defeat an opponent you do not name. They do not say that their war is with the U.S. Army,  the 75th Ranger Regiment, or the 5th Special Forces Group. They say plainly and openly, that their war is with America, and the allies of America, and more importantly, that it is an ideological war, based on a conflict between belief systems which are irreconcilable.

Until we are prepared to discuss the conflict in ideological terms, we will forever be playing “whack-a-mole” with a never ending series of “new” threats.

RECOMMENDED READING: Understanding The Islamic Caliphate State

Abu Bakr Al-BaghdadiBy Cultural Jihad:

While apologists in the west are clinging to a theme that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam …” Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model.”

Much of the western world is under the impression that ISIS/IS (Islamic State) is preparing  to attack western targets.  A report by  The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI),  Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State, notes that while global attacks are part of the Islamic State’s long term strategy,  it’s current focus is on  “establishing and consolidating a state”:

The successive atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS, previously called the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham – ISIS) have diverted the discussion away from an understanding of this organization’s political program, creating the erroneous impression that it is simply a more vicious version of Al-Qaeda. According to this view, this organization presumably intends to attack the West by means of its foreign militants who hold Western passports and could return to Western countries to carry out terror attacks – and hence it is paramount to destroy the IS forthwith. Saudi King ‘Abdallah bin ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz promoted this approach when he said that he was certain that those jihadists “would arrive in Europe within a month and in America within two months”.

This report seeks to clarify the IS’s doctrine based on the organization’s official writings and speeches by its leaders. It will argue that, unlike Al-Qaeda, the IS places priority not on global terrorism, but rather on establishing and consolidating a state, and hence it defers the clash with the West to a much later stage. In this, it is emulating and reenacting the early Islamic model.

hijrahIn The Islamic State – building its infrastructure, we highlighted how witness accounts out of Raqqa, Syria indicate  an effort by the Islamic State to attract foreigners to serve as jihadis and experts in various fields to provide infrastructure support.  These accounts seem to fit the narrative of the MEMRI report:

What supplants the struggle against the West at this stage are the duties of hijra [migration to the Islamic calipahte state] and bay’ah[pledge of allegiance to the Caliph], both of them central components in building the caliphate. In an audio message published immediately after the caliphate was declared, Al-Baghdadi said to Muslims everywhere,  including in the West: “Whoever amongst you can migrate to the Islamic State should migrate. Hijra to Dar Al-Islam is obligatory.” In his first public appearance, his Friday sermon in Mosul,  he referred to the implementation of the shari’a as “a religious obligation,” while avoiding any call to global jihad or to harming the West. Both Al-‘Adnani in the declaration of the caliphate and Al-Baghdadi in his Mosul sermon refer to the caliphate as an “obligation that has been forgotten for generations.” In this, their discourse contrasts sharply, for example, with the discourse of Muhammad ‘Abd Al-Salam Faraj, a major theorist of the Egyptian jihad movement in the 1980s, who termed jihad (rather than the establishment of a caliphate) the forgotten obligation.


The MEMRI report also notes that Al-Qaeda publications such as Inspire constantly call for terror attacks on the west and include advice/instructions on how to proceed as a “lone wolf” or in groups.  In comparison, an issue of  the Islamic State’s English publication Dabiq included,  “A life of jihad is impossible until you pack your belongings and move to the caliphate.” :

The issue also says: “Many readers are probably asking about their obligations towards the Khilafah right now. Therefore the Dabiq team wants to convey the position of the Islamic State leadership on this important matter. The first priority is to perform hijra from wherever you are to the Islamic State, from darul-kufr to darul-Islam. Rush to perform it as Musa (‘alayhis-salam) rushed to his Lord, saying {and I hastened to You, my Lord, that You be pleased} [Taha:84]. Rush to the shade of the Islamic state with your parents, siblings, spouses and children. There are homes here for you and your families. You can be a major contributor towards the liberation of Makkah, Madinah, and al-Quds. Would you not like to reach Judgment Day with these grand deeds in your scales[?] Finally, if you cannot do any of the above for reasons extremely beyond your control, inshallah your intention and belief that the Islamic State is the Khilafah for all Muslims will be sufficient to save you from the warning mentioned in the hadith, ‘Whoever dies without having bound himself by a bay’ah dies a death of jahiliyya.’”

While apologists in the west are clinging to a theme that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, the MEMRI report points out:

In his approach that prioritizes the consolidation of the Islamic State over an all-encompassing battle with Islam’s enemies, Al-Baghdadi is emulating the Prophet Muhammad – the ultimate Islamic role model. The Prophet, while displaying cruelty in battle – cruelty mirrored by the IS – put off battles with his enemies and integrated compromises and tactical agreements in his policy, in order to gather strength prior to renewing action to obtain his ultimate goals. The IS, ruling from its informal capital in Syria’s Al-Raqqa, conducts itself in a similar manner, enforcing the laws of the shari’a while selling oil to Europe via the black market.

In other words, Al-Baghdadi and his Islamic State are attempting to repeat history as described in the Quran.

Despite the emphasis on the Islamic State’s current priority in  establishing and consolidating a state, the MERI report cautions:

It should be emphasized that, although the doctrine of postponing the clash with the West is solidly entrenched, as reflected in the organization’s writings and actions, it cannot be ruled out that certain developments, such as a massive Western attack, could change the organization’s order of priorities and advance the stage of conflict with the West. The Western strategy of nipping the Islamic State in the bud may provoke counterattacks that were not planned by the organization at the outset. This places the West in a bind: inaction endangers the West in the long run, while immediate action may exact a heavy price that Al-Baghdadi did not plan to exact in the present stage.

The full report, Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State can be read HERE

Bostom on Hannity: Ottoman Caliphate Atrocities, 1915-19, An Order of Magnitude Greater Than Those of IS/IL

By Andrew Bostom:

Last night, my brief sound bite during a Sean Hannity panel alluded to the timeless Koranic injunction to wage jihad war against Jews and Christians, specifically, Koran 9:29, for the purpose of forcibly imposing a Sharia-based Islamic order upon them. This reference was followed by a graphic, modern historical manifestation of this eternal Islamic “imperative”: the 1915-19 jihad genocide of the Armenian, Assyro-Chaldean, and Syrian Orthodox Christian communities of Anatolia, and northern “Mesopotamia,” i.e., modern Iraq, by the last Caliphate—the Ottoman Caliphate.

Notwithstanding the recent horrific spate of atrocities committed against the Christian communities of northern Iraq by the Islamic State (IS/IL) jihadists, the Ottoman jihad ravages were equally barbaric, depraved, and far more extensive. Occurring, primarily between 1915-16 (although continuing through at least 1918), some one million Armenian, and 250,000 Assyro-Chaldean and Syrian Orthodox Christians were brutally slaughtered, or starved to death during forced deportations through desert wastelands. The identical gruesome means used by IS/IL to humiliate and massacre its hapless Christian victims, were employed on a scale that was an order of magnitude greater by the Ottoman Muslim Turks, often abetted by local Muslim collaborators (the latter being another phenomenon which also happened during the IS/IL jihad campaign against Iraq’s Christians).

Tragically 2/3 of Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia—hardly a “fringe minority of extremists”—support the eternal Islamic “ideal” to re-create a Caliphate. Regardless, the wrenching illustrations included below  should make plain to all decent, sober-minded persons why any “Caliphate movement” must be confronted, and crushed.

Read more

Also from the September 12, 2014 studio discussion titled “Underestimating the threat of radical Islam to America” -

 

 

LOPEZ: Obama pledges additional support for Iranian puppet regimes

In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader's office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014.  (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)

In this photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader’s office, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Office of the Supreme Leader)

By Clare Lopez:

In a prime time address to the nation on the eve of 11 September 2014, President Obama pledged an expanded U.S. effort to destroy the Islamic State (IS), which he still calls “ISIL” (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant). American air power, stepped-up training for anti-Assad Syrian jihadis (which he calls “moderate rebels”), an additional $25 million in financial aid to Baghdad, and partnership with “a broad coalition” (that currently consists of 9 countries) comprise the key elements of the new military campaign.

Given that the only territory IS currently threatens are the regimes of two Iranian puppets – one in Baghdad, one in Damascus – Obama’s announcement in effect amounts to a renewed U.S. commitment to support Tehran’s grip on regional hegemony. The nuclear talks about how quickly the U.S. will accede to the Iranian bomb resume in another week.

Remarkably, the president opened his remarks with the rather preposterous claim that “ISIL is not Islamic.” Now, Obama himself has admitted in his autobiography “Dreams From My Father” that he “made faces during Quranic studies.” Still, it might be expected that he retained something of those madrassa lessons—or at least that White House advisors (not the Muslim Brotherhood ones, though) would have steered him away from such an egregious misstatement.

As it is, one of the reasons that the Saudi regime is so shaken by the approach of IS forces toward its borders is precisely because Riyadh royals know full well their Islamic piety doesn’t begin to measure up to the purity of IS practice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the IS leader, not only boasts a Ph.D. in Islamic Studies from a Baghdad university, but wears the black turban to signify descent from Muhammad. Whether entitled to claim the Islamic prophet’s bloodline or not, al-Baghdadi models his every action on the example Muslims believe set out for them centuries ago by the founder of their faith. For Muslim purists like al-Baghdadi, the Qur’anic verse 33:21 that tells them “Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern of conduct for any one whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day…” is taken quite literally (amputations, beheading, crucifixions, flogging and all).

Obama rambled on, claiming next that “ISIL is certainly not a state.” Unfortunately for the Iranian proxies in Baghdad and Damascus that are his intended beneficiaries, it is their former states that no longer exist—because the Islamic State, the Caliphate, has dismantled them. Obama did seem to recognize the effective erasure of the 1916 Sykes-Picot borders at least in some measure, though, as he declared his intent to expand U.S. air strikes more evenly throughout the Caliphate (including into what used to be called Syria as well as the former Iraq).

Apparently in pursuit of a public relations coup that’s eluded him of late, Obama nevertheless offered up additional glimpses of his unenviable conundrum about which jihadis to support on the ground in the intra-Islamic sectarian struggle that’s torn the region apart since the Islamic Uprising began in 2011.

For example, he seems to have conveniently forgotten that the ranks of today’s IS are full of Syrian jihadis armed, funded, and trained by U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) in cooperation with the now-terrified Hashemites, NATO ally Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood sponsor Qatar, and the flailing Saudi monarchy. A monster has slipped the leash but the American president says he’s more than ready to provide even more support to more Syrian rebels, who, this time, definitely will be exclusively the ‘moderate’ ones.

But what about the threat to the homeland if IS is allowed to exist and consolidate? Well, the question somehow is never asked about how either individual jihadis or small jihadi cells that an IS enclave might direct to attack the homeland are in any way different than the jihadis the Iranian or the Saudi state have launched our way over the decades—to include the hijackers of September 11, 2001 or the uncounted numbers of Hizballah cells operating across the Americas today. But there’s never been a hint of a suggestion that those jihadist sponsoring states constitute a compelling national security threat to the U.S. that requires an international coalition to deal with them.

Read more at Washington Times

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

Honor the 9/11 Dead: Defeat the Enemy & Punish Those Supporting Them

WTC-and-Pentagon-on-9-11By John Guandolo at Understanding the Threat, September 11, 2014:

It is 13 years after September 11, 2001.

How are we honoring those slain on that day? How are we honoring those in uniform who have given the last full measure of devotion for a cause they believed is truly right and just?

In preparation for his speech Wednesday night (9/10/14), America’s President sought council from the King of Saudi Arabia – the largest financial sponsor of the global jihad.

At the leadership level of our federal intelligence and law enforcement agencies, “catastrophically ignorant” is the only appropriate way to describe their status with regards to our enemy.  And yet our leaders shut down meaningful, fact/evidence based training on this enemy in compliance with the requests of their Muslim Brotherhood masters.

Nearly every major Islamic organization in the United States has been identified in U.S. federal terrorism trials as being a part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamic Movement with the stated goal of destroying America from within via Civilization Jihad.  Yet, our President, National Security Council, State Department, FBI, DHS, Pentagon, and others, ONLY rely on Islamic advisors who are leaders of known MB organizations or affiliated with the MB Movement.

Around the world the Islamic armies are overthrowing nations, brutally murdering non-Muslims (over 100,000 Christians per year in the last few years) by beheading them, crucifying them, burying them alive, and the like – all of which comports to Sharia (Islamic Law).  Yet our leaders say this war has “nothing to do with Islam.”

Because of cowardly and criminally negligent leadership on both sides of the political aisle in America, in our Universities, in our churches, and across our media, the enemy has been given wide latitude to push their jihadi movement forward with great force and success.

We wouldn’t want to offend them after all.

On Wednesday (9/10/14), demonstrating the light of hope for rational thought is still alive, Vice President Dick Cheney called (19:06) for the Muslim Brotherhood to be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and noted they are the root of the global jihad.  At the same time this administration materially supports the MB and Al Qaeda in Libya and Syria against the sitting governments.  All of us would be in jail for such actions.

This behavior, in no way honors the 9/11 dead or our troops who have died in battle.  It is time we rectify this.  It is time to engage and defeat the enemy and punish those who support them.

It is time to recognize the fact that the enemy leading the MB Movement in America wearing suits and spending time with our leaders in cities like Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York, Nashville, Denver, Charlotte, Miami, Dallas, Detroit, and others, is the same enemy  cutting off children’s heads and putting them on pikes in Syria and Iraq.  It is the same enemy our troops fought and are fighting in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, the Philippines, North/Central/East Africa, and elsewhere.  This is the global Islamic Movement with one unified goal – the establishment of a global Islamic state (caliphate) under which Sharia (Islamic Law) is the law of the land.

Our Constitutional Republic stands on the principle that God gave us our liberty and no man nor any government may take that liberty from us.  That is the ideal found in our Declaration.  Our Constitution is the first great attempt to make that ideal a reality.  Since its inception, our nation has been the most prosperous, generous, and virtuous in the history of mankind.  Not perfect, but our system requires the drive towards liberty and away from tyranny.

The Islamic Movement seeks to impose Sharia, which necessarily enslaves people and strips them of their God-given liberty.  Women are property under Islamic Law.  Apostates and homosexuals must be killed if they do not repent and change their ways under Islamic Law.  Non-muslims must convert, be killed, or submit to Sharia and pay the non-muslim poll tax under Islamic Law.  100% of all published Islamic law agree on these matters.

This enemy only understands one thing – strength and power.  We must exert our strength and power and ensure the enemy knows we will not surrender anymore ground, and we will retake the ground lost thus far.

It is time for the think tanks across this nation to stop mincing words about this Islamic enemy by creating fictitious meaningless phrases which do anything but identify the enemy.  We must recognize that at the nation-state level (hint: Organization of Islamic Cooperation), there is a global war being waged by an Islamic enemy, and we appear to be the only ones unaware.

It is time to shut down the thousands of MB front groups and Islamic Centers in America – which the MB itself says are places from which the jihad will be launched.  All of the MB leaders should be treated like the jihadis (“terrorists”) they are.

Saudi Arabia should be handled like the terrorist state it is.  Men like former Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar, who funded two of the 9/11 hijackers through a third party,  should be treated as a “terrorist,” as should other members of the Saudi elite class who the U.S. government knows are currently funding the global jihad.

Men like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the richest men in the world and a leading funder of the global jihad, and who sits on the board of Time Warner  and News Corp, should be handled like any other terrorist, not like an executive of a media giant.

George Soros has created thousands of organizations which work daily to undermine our Constitutional Republic.  Included in these are many organizations, like the New America Foundation, which directly support and work with the Islamic Movement.  Mr. Soros, his enterprise, and at least one of his sons all work to support our enemies and destroy this nation, and all should spend the rest of their days behind bars for it.

Leaders of DHS, FBI, CIA, State Department, and other branches of the government, as well as elected officials who:  continue to appoint Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas, and Al Qaeda individuals to positions of authority inside our bureaucracy; give quarter to our enemies; apologize for and defend their actions; attend functions to raise money for the jihadis; and aid and abet them in any way, should meet the fate of a traitor because they have and are violating the law – not to mention violating their Oath of Office to “protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies.”

When men like Denis McDonough, the President’s former Deputy National Security Advisor, publicly laud leaders of MB organizations and funders of Hamas like Imam Mohamed Magid of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), allow him to have input on U.S. foreign policy and domestic counterterrorism strategies, and give him a security clearance and access to sensitive U.S. systems, Mr. McDonough should go to jail, not get promoted.

When the FBI Director collaborates with leaders of Hamas (dba “CAIR”), the Muslim American Society (MAS), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and other jihadis, and then testifies before Congress that he did not know the place where the Boston Marathon bombers were radicalized was founded by an Al Qaeda operative – and Americans are dead – well…we put doctors and lawyers in jail for criminal negligence like this.

When elected officials and law enforcement leaders raise money for Hamas in America, they should be prosecuted for a variety of charges, including material support for terrorism.  They are breaking the law and should pay the price for directly supporting our enemies.

The President himself has violated his oath of office and federal law, abused his powers of the office he holds, and has exposed America and its people to grave dangers on a number of levels.  At no time in history has such a gross disregard for the Constitution been so evident, yet the American people so silent.

It is time for those who give aid and comfort, propaganda, material support, and financial reward to our enemies to pay a price.  And it should be a harsh price.

If we are to honor the great and heroic sacrifices of all of the men and women who gave their lives on 9/1/01 and since, it is time for America to shed its weak and traitorous leadership and begin to retake our place in the world as the strong, principled leader we are and were meant to be.

If Americans would like to experience on U.S. streets what we are witnessing in Syria, Iraq, Niger, Mali, Pakistan, and elsewhere around the world, then let us continue on the road we are on of capitulation and defeat.

If we want to stand on the wall and defend Western civilization, the actions advocated here are much less severe than we will have to engage in when the enemy makes itself prominently known in our hometowns.

John Guandolo bio

Why Al-Qaeda Just Won’t Die

OsombieBy Sebastian Gorka:

These days, zombies are all the rage. Viewing figures for the season finale of the hit show The Walking Dead are to be envied. Blockbuster movies featuring Brad Pitt proclaim the genre, as do popular books reconceiving Jane Austen among the living dead.

Perhaps this is no coincidence. The fascination with zombies may be fed subconsciously by a real-world global foe which bears more than a passing resemblance to George Romero’s iconic monsters. Al-Qaeda, even if not actually peopled by animated corpses, is a cult of death. Ayman al-Zawahiri said exactly that when he declared that he and his cohorts love death more than we love life. On top of that, it seems that—despite declarations to the contrary from the White House and more than thirteen years of U.S. counterterrorism operations—al-Qaeda is far from deceased.

Slide2_0In fact, in at least one respect, al-Qaeda may be even worse than the menace of the walking dead. In the latter’s case, they at least have the decency to die when you strike them hard enough in the head. Not so with al-Qaeda. We killed Osama bin Laden, its founder and head, more than two years ago, yet the body of jihadi terrorism fights on. So much so that in his recent open testimony before Congress, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper stated that al Qaeda now has operational centers in in twelve nations around the world, from Mali to Syria.(1) By way of comparison, in 2001, when we started the war against al-Qaeda, it had operations centers in just one country: Afghanistan. Indeed, as the graph below, based upon open-source unclassified databases illustrates, al-Qaeda is on the rise.

So why is it proving so hard to kill al-Qaeda? Because as a nation we have broken the fundamental rules of strategy: we have failed to execute an objective analysis of why the threat exists and what it wants. Worse, in the last four years we have distorted reality even further by allowing preconceived notions and politically driven strictures to influence and limit our understanding of the enemy.

Know Thine Enemy

I spend my days teaching strategy to the military, federal law enforcement and their intelligence community colleagues. Whoever the audience, we always start in the same place: if you have an enemy that you want to defeat, you have to know who they are, where they came from and what their strategy is. The military calls this an Estimate of the Situation, or more operationally, Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield. In the decade-plus war with al-Qaeda, we have been erratic and counterfactual in our EoS and IPB.

After 9/11, the President declared a global war on “terror.” The term was an odd one, for terror is the tool of several types of actor, especially dictators who use it systematically against their own people and dissidents abroad. Yet our GWOT was not targeted against recognized practitioners of terror, such as the Kim dynasty in North Korea or the mullahs in Iran. Nor did our global campaign target all terrorist groups. We did not deploy Delta Force against Basque separatists in Spain, or the eco-terrorist ELF (Earth Liberation Front), but against a very specific foe: those that were responsible for the attacks of 9/11. Those “practitioners of terror” justified their murder of unarmed civilians with a religious narrative that saw the West—Dar al Harb, or the House of War—as having declared war on Islam, and had as their strategic objective the re-establishment of the theocratic empire of Islam known as the Caliphate.

Yet from the very start, the President and his team assiduously disassociated al-Qaeda from Islam, representing bin Laden and his followers as renegade extremists whose actions were un-Islamic. This, despite the fact that their fatwas leveraged the words of Allah and Mohammed, those Koranic passages and sections of the Haddith (sayings and tales of Mohammed) that explicitly call for the death of the infidel.(2)

To be clear, as a nation America was never at war with Islam. Nor is it now. We are, however, at war with people who have a fundamental understanding of Islam, and whose broader legitimacy is very difficult to theologically undermine due to their reliance on the ancient tenets of an often-violent religion. But what exactly is al-Qaeda, and where did it come from?

Root Causes

The story starts with the Caliphate, which—contrary to popular conception—is not some abstract idea invented by a small group of extremists. The theocratic empire of Islam, the polity that integrated faith and politics and which was founded by Mohammed, existed for over a thousand years. True, its center moved over time, from Mecca to Damascus, then to Baghdad and finally to Istanbul, but it was a real living thing which still existed at the beginning of the 20th century. By then, it was under Turkish control and most people called it the Ottoman Empire. Yet this was the Caliphate, and there was even a Caliph, or emperor of Islam.

Unfortunately for the Ottomans, after World War I broke out they decided to side with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany. As a result, by 1918 they were on the losing side of the world’s first global war. In an attempt to salvage the Muslim empire after this defeat, and prevent total dismemberment and disarmament along the lines of what occurred to Germany and Austria-Hungary at Versailles, the Ottomans reinvented themselves under the leadership of a very charismatic and intelligent army officer named Mustafa Kemal. Kemal, who would later change his name to Atatürk—meaning Father of All Turks—would reinvent the nation that would eventually become the Republic of Turkey.

Atatürk’s strategy was to convince the West that his people no longer were a threat and that his nation should be recognized as a member of their community. This required a wholesale reinvention of his country, the key pillars of which were the separation of Islam and politics and the broader secularization of Turkey. To that end, he not only banned traditional Turkic-Islamic dress for officials of the state but replaced the Arabic alphabet with a modified version of our Roman one.(3) Most significantly, in 1924 Atatürk formally decreed the dissolution of the Caliphate.(4) It is no accident, therefore, that less than five years later in the Suez region of Egypt, one Hasan al-Banna established the Ikwan Muslimin, or Muslim Brotherhood, the avowed mission of which was—and still is—to reestablish the Caliphate which had been “unjustly” dissolved.

After World War I, certain Middle Eastern territories that had been part of the Ottoman Empire were put under the mandate of the British government. These lands include what we today call Israel, as well as the Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza Strip). After WWII, as violence escalated between Arabs and Jews and between these groups and British mandate forces, London decided that after six years of fighting the Nazis, the British had no future as the governors of the Middle East and pulled out of Palestine. It was under these circumstances that the new Jewish state of Israel was declared.

From the Muslim perspective, and the view of the Arab states that invaded Israel the day after it declared its statehood, this was the second seismic blow to the psyche of the ummah, the global community of Islam. From the perspective of the true believer, this territory is sacred Muslim soil. So much so, that before the Qibla—the Islamic direction of prayer—became Mecca, all Muslims had to face Jerusalem five times a day as they prayed to their creator, Jerusalem being the third holiest site in Islam and the place from which Mohammed was said to have risen into heaven.

However, the most important year of all for anyone who wishes to understand why 9/11 happened and what al-Qaeda stands for, is 1979. In the Muslim world, which follows a shorter lunar calendar initiated when Mohammed journeyed from Mecca to Medina (Yathrib), 1979 represented a turn of the century, the shift from 1399 into the year 1400. And just as with other cultures, there were many in the Muslim world who had great expectations for the new century, that significant events would occur. And so they did.

First came the Iranian Revolution. Although a Shi’a event, it had great ramifications for all Muslims. With the removal of the Shah and the complete rejection of the Western model of the secular nation-state, the revolution had at its core the religious imperative that Islam and politics cannot be separated. That is why the real center of power in the Islamic Republic since 1979 has been a man of the cloth and not a politician. This message of the reintegration of faith and politics and the continued success of Iran in rejecting the Western way of politics is an example to all Muslims.

Second was the attack against the holiest site in Islam: the Siege of the Grand Mosque of Mecca. As the Muslim world was collectively entering the year 1400, more than a thousand jihadi terrorists stormed the Grand Mosque and declared a Holy War against “false Muslims.” The terrorists managed to control the most important site in Islam, the epicenter of the annual hajj pilgrimage, for almost two weeks. More importantly, it turned out that the radicals had been encouraged and in fact blessed by members of the Saudi ulema, or clerical class, who agreed that Islam had lost its way and had to be cleansed by force.

The siege was eventually broken by French commandos who had been smuggled into Mecca after being hastily converted to Islam. But the true geostrategic significance of the attack came afterwards, as the King of Saudi Arabia, in an effort to secure the House of Saud, made a pact with the ulema who had endorsed the jihad.(5) The deal was straightforward: in exchange for the support and patronage of the monarchy, the clerics would not propagate the ideology of jihad on the soil of the Kingdom. However, the export and dissemination of jihadi ideology outside of Saudi Arabia into non-Muslim lands was not only permissible but would be supported by the government.

Lastly, that December, came the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. With the unprovoked assault against a Muslim country by godless communists, the seeds were sown for the redefinition of jihad as a global brand, a brand that would exploit the Western desire to hurt the Kremlin for its military expansion into Southwest Asia.

One of the non-Afghan mujahedeen that took up the fight was a Palestinian Jordanian named Abdullah Azzam. With a PhD in fiqh—Islamic jurisprudence—from the most important Sunni institution in the world, al-Azhar University in Cairo, this charismatic teacher established the Services Bureau (MAK) to recruit Muslims from around the world to come to Pakistan, learn the rudiments of guerrilla warfare and then be deployed into Afghanistan against the Soviet forces. The same year he would release a fatwa entitled Defense of Muslim Lands, in which he would call all Muslims to Holy War, declaring jihad to be fard ayn, an individual and universal obligation of all believers.(6)

Azzam’s logic was clear, and compelling. Since Atatürk had dissolved the empire in 1924, there was no longer a Caliph or commander-in-chief who could declare a holy war. As a result, it was up to each and every believer to deploy himself. Eventually, according to authoritative estimates, the MAK would churn out between 50,000 and 100,000 fighters, including the man who became Azzam’s deputy, Osama bin Laden.(7) A decade later, after the Soviets had been vanquished in Afghanistan, Azzam would be assassinated in Pakistan and bin Laden would take over control of his organization and rename it The Base for the Propagation of Holy War against Jews and Crusaders, or al-Qaeda, as we call it in the West.

Read more at The Journal of International Security Affairs

Dr. Sebastian Gorka is Associate Dean and Associate Professor of War and Conflict Studies at National Defense University in Washington and a regular instructor and advisor for SOCOM, US Army Special Operations Command, and the FBI. Dr Gorka is also the National Security Editor for Breitbart.com.

Al Qaeda Announces New Branch and Bid for Own Caliphate

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri

BY RYAN MAURO:

Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri has announced the opening of a new branch targeting India, Bangladesh and Burma in a videotape release. He did not mention the Islamic State (formerly ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), but his announcement could be interpreted as an attempt to demonstrate Al Qaeda’s viability as it is being eclipsed by the Islamic State.

Zawahiri, who is thought to be hiding in Pakistan, said that it took Al Qaeda two years to merge its associated forces into this new branch. Tellingly, he said that the new branch, named Qaedat al-Jihad in the Indian Subcontinent (QJIS), would be loyal to Taliban chief Mullah Omar.

QJIS is led by a Pakistani commander of Al Qaeda named Asim Umar. His official position in Al Qaeda is chief of the group’s Sharia Committee in Pakistan. He is also a Pakistani Taliban commander.

Zawahiri named Ustad Usama Mahmoud as the spokesperson for QJIS.

He emphasized that the group’s goal is to “Establish sharia in the land and to free the occupied land of Muslims in the Indian sub-continent.”

The jihad is not fundamentally about territorial disputes. Indian control of Kashmir, the crackdown on Islamists by the Bangladeshi government and the dictatorship of Burma are road blocks standing in the way of this greater objective of sharia governance. Al Qaeda takes up these political causes as a means to this end.

Zawahiri called on Muslims to help QJIS create a caliphate. He describes its mission statement as “to call the ummah [Muslim world] to unite round the word of Tawhid [monotheism], to wage jihad against its enemies, to liberate its land, to restore its sovereignty, and to revive its Caliphate.”

This is an important detail. The Islamic State’s pitch is that it is an established caliphate and the one with the best chance of a success. Zawahiri is showing that Al Qaeda is also pro-caliphate and is suggesting the Indian subcontinent as an alternative starting point.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

The Islamic Terror Orchestra

377919105 (1)Center For Security Policy, By Nonie Darwish:

It has been 13 years since 9/11 and the West is still reluctant to link the non-ending parade of jihad groups with Islam. The West is also in denial about the similarities all radical Islamic groups share. It is important for the West to realize that there is a natural division of labor between the different terror groups. Some groups specialize in terror against non-Muslims and Western governments while others specialize in terrorizing Arab governments that refused to follow Sharia. But the truly sophisticated groups are those who reside in the West, calling themselves ‘moderate’ while at the same time defending and controlling the direction of Islamist goals through advocacy, diplomacy, negotiation and PR.

All of the above types of Islamist groups work together in perfect harmony like an orchestra that sings to the tune of “Allahu Akbar.” And when Islamic terrorism and beheadings anger the world and turn public opinion against Islam, that orchestra starts playing a different tune to confuse and prevent the world from uncovering their coordinated handy work. While one group proudly takes credit for the terror, another publicly denounces it. But most groups, while enjoying the power and attention the terrorists have bestowed on them, stand by with a look of victimhood saying: “I am a victim too because you condemn me and my peaceful religion when I did not do anything. That is not Islam and you are an Islamophobe.”

Not only is there division of labor amongst Islamist groups, but these groups also often change roles, tactics and appearances — after birthing other more radical terror groups to do the dirty work of terror. Because the West and some Arab governments refuse to deal with terror organizations, these organizations play a game of presenting a face of rehabilitation and moderation, while delegating the terror and assassinations to newer groups. Old guard terror groups like the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and Fatah were able to change color and they assumed a new, but only cosmetic, appearance of moderation, but not before birthing the more violent Al-Qaeda and Hamas.

The West was told the MB and Fatah were now the moderate and humanitarian face of Islam that could be counted on and that could run Islamic government. Islam will present itself as working with the rest of the world only for the sake of establishing the Kalifate. The West has been only too happy to welcome the new face of the old terror groups to the camp of moderation. But the new face of evil after the MB became Al-Qaeda.

When the MB won the Egyptian elections, Islamists believed the Kalifate could be achieved through elections, avoiding the usual violent jihad. But when Egyptians realized they had made a mistake by electing the MB and 35,000,000 Egyptians revolted against Islamist rule, the dreams of a Kalifate through peaceful elections were defeated. The only solution for Muslims to achieve their Kalifate is the old fashioned way of 7th century Islam: pure violence, savagery and terror; thus the rise of the newest Islamist terror group, ISIS, while the MB takes a back seat.

When Al-Qaeda’s reputation tanked after 9/11, even inside the Middle East, the terror jihadists were forced into working under a new name — same goals, but with a more ferocious appetite for terror and torture. After the defeat of the budding Islamist State through elections in Egypt in 2013, the restrained beast of public beheadings hidden in the Islamic genie bottle finally exploded for the world to see in the form of ISIS; an organization that declared itself as the true long-awaited Islamic State. Force became the only choice. Coincidentally, this follows the example of Mohammed who tried to peacefully Islamize Mecca for 13 years but failed and could only Islamize Arabia by force, terror and the sword when he became a warrior in Medina.

ISIS rushed to declare itself as the Islamic State even before finishing the job of conquering all of Iraq and Syria. It was flaunting its savagery to the world in the hope of giving the message to reluctant Arab countries that they will be next. The plan is very similar to what Mohammed and his followers did in the 7th century: conquer Arabia quickly by force so they could move to more important goals of taking over the outside world, now the West and Israel. By doing that they are confirming to Muslims around the world that terror works and that their prophet Mohammed was correct when he said: “I have been victorious through terror.”

Bottom line: What legitimate Islamic organizations must adhere to is obeying Islamic commandments to conquer the world for Islam, defeat and humiliate non-Muslim nations and establish the Kalifate — to be ruled by sharia. That is the plan. It is not the opinion of the writer of this article, but it is the basic objective of Islamic law books, scriptures and preaching, which explicitly define jihad as a war with non-Muslims to establish the religion of Islam. To facilitate this mission, Islamic law freed Muslims from any restrictions on their behavior; they can wage offensive wars, kill, terrorize, behead, lie, deceive, humiliate, slander, use corporal punishment on women and children, and sacrifice the well being of the family, all for the purpose of the empowerment of Islam.

But instead of properly facing the 21 Century Islamic challenge, the West has chosen denial. Obama is being criticized for resorting to golf in a time of trouble, but that is perhaps his only outlet when he feels paralyzed, because what he believed and advocated Islam to be and what it is turned out to be polar opposites.

Also, instead of facing the incompetence and many obvious weaknesses of Islamic terror groups, the West has chosen to appease an enemy that only respects power. Thus, the Obama administration decided to be more concerned with appearances and saying instead of doing the right thing. For example, Obama likes to correct Americans on the proper pronunciation of Arabic names and expressions such as Pakistan and ISIL instead of ISIS, etc. But when the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria was declared the West was too embarrassed to call it what it called itself, the Islamic State, and found the English abbreviation ISIS more appropriate than the Arabic name that linked the new terrorist state to Islam.

I was recently asked by visitors from Egypt, “What is ISIS?” My answer was, it is the preferred name the US administration and media use to refer to the newly declared Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Their response was, “Why? In Arabic they call themselves ‘The Islamic State?’” I told them it is a long story, but the West does not want to offend Muslims who believe that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism, tyranny and hatred.

Obama insists on presenting himself as more of an expert on Islam than the founders of ISIS when he stated, “ISIL speaks for no religion.” It is not appropriate for the US government or media to define what is or what is not Islam to Muslims who are reading from their books statements that command them to kill infidels. All we should do is take them for their word.

Both the US government and media have decided, long before Obama, that it would be the wise thing to do to keep US citizens uninformed about the true goals of Islam. The goal of this policy was partially to convince Islamic terror groups to leave the West alone and perhaps in the long run Islam will reform on its own one day. But unfortunately history was not on the side of this theory. Appeasement did not work for Coptic Christians in Egypt nor for Zoroastrians in Persia when in the 7th century the two ancient civilizations fell to the Arab Islamic invasion in the same year. Both Egypt and Persia tried to appease but failed to win hearts and minds of the Muslim invaders who used the most barbaric forms of terror and tyranny to Islamize and Arabize both civilizations. Both Egypt and Persia never saw their glory days again and today they are incapable of ruling themselves without the usual Sharia-enforced oppression and tyranny.

What everyone misses here is the right of the American people to know the full truth about their new enemy directly and honestly from their politicians and media. By caring about the feelings of Muslims more than American citizens’ right to the truth, and without naming Islam by name, the US government and media will usher America into a dark phase marking the beginning of tyranny and the end of liberty.

 

 

Media Confused as Boko Haram Claims to Join the Islamic State

boko-haram_3016074bCenter For Security Policy, By Kyle Shideler:

In a video released over the weekend, AbuBakr Shekaku, head of the Nigerian jihadist group known as Boko Haram, appears to have declared allegiance to the Islamic State, proclaiming lands currently under Boko Haram control in the province of Borno part of the “Caliphate.”

Despite this, much of the Western media seemed confused about the nature of a Caliphate and what it means. From the AFP report:

In a July video, Shekau voiced support for the leader of the Islamic State and the Levant (Isil) militants Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who in late June declared himself “the caliph” and “leader of Muslims everywhere”. But there was no indication from Shekau in the latest video that he was associating himself with Baghdadi, whose Sunni Muslim fighters have taken over parts of Iraq and Syria. As such, it was not clear if Shekau was declaring himself to be a part of Baghdadi’s call or if he was referring to a separate Nigerian caliphate.

The position of Caliph is one with purported dominion over the entire “ummah” the total collective of the Muslim faithful.There can only be one legitimate Caliph, and one Caliphate, as Shekaku is no doubt aware. Given that the  laudatory language Boko Haram has in the past offered towards the IS Caliphate, the most likely conclusion would be that Boko Haram either has joined, or intends to join the Islamic State of Al-Baghdadi. It would be incongruous for Shekaku to praise IS, and then negate its primary achievement by denying it legitimacy by claiming he was the true Caliph.

It’s worth noting that while this confusion over whether or not Boko Haram was declaring for the IS Caliphate or declaring its own Caliphate was echoed in all the western reporting which followed from the AFP report, the same confusion is not at all present in an OnIslam.net report, which draws from the same AFP wire.  The OnIslam.net report also ignores the extraneous historical detail of the Sokoto caliphate, a 19th century Nigerian Islamic state which laid claim to the Caliphate title. This is a classic example of how the disinclination to study Islamic law on matters leads to injecting unnecessary complexity into the analysis of events.

If it is the case that Boko Haram has acknowledged the territory it controls as part of the IS Caliphate, this is a major development for the Islamic State. The claim of authority by its “Caliph” Al-Baghdadi has largely been rejected by other Jihadist groups, with only minor exceptions. Yet being recognized as receiving the bay’at (oath) of notable scholars and jihadi emirs who hold actual territory is central to Al Baghdadi’s claim of legitimacy. Of course whether either group is capable of meeting the perceived obligation of such an oath, sharing and exchanging resources, personnel etc, is an entirely other matter.

Also see:

ISIS Declares War On Hamas And The Muslim Brotherhood

771By Walid ShoebatAugust 23, 2014:

There is a war of fatwas and some serious cyber rattling back and forth between the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand and the organization of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) on the other hand. The fatwa wars erupted after Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, president of the World Federation of Muslim Scholars, the spiritual father of the Muslim Brotherhood, denounced the legitimacy for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as Caliph of the Muslim world. In turn, the ISIS denounced the Muslim Brotherhood and in addition Hamas as “apostates” and “followers of witchcraft theology”

The fatwa wars erupted when Qaradawi reiterated his call that announcing a Caliphate is under the authority of the Union of Muslim Scholars which it only represented the decision making in Muslim world. The Quran clearly says that Muslims need to obey “Allah, his messenger and the people of authority” (Q4:59). Qaradawi said: “The announcement for a Caliphate is not an entitlement to any faction because this function in every Muslim nation is entitled only to the scholars to indicate the legitimate government in such matters.”

He said in a statement that all those things that took place with ISIS “are without any criteria of legitimacy nor are realistic and does more harm than good,” adding “We are all dreaming of an Islamic caliphate on a platform of prophecy and hope from the bottom of our hearts that will be held today before tomorrow, but Islam taught us, and the school of life has taught us: that such a major project needs hard and long thinking and heavy preparation.”

The latest statements by the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood Yusuf al-Qaradawi, was that the “Islamic Caliphate” for the whole world is Istanbul Turkey, claiming that “Istanbul is the capital for the Islamic Arab world and the West,” calling on the Turkish people to support Recep Tayyip Erdogan, “because God and Gabriel and Muhammad support Erdogan and the angels after that will be revealed.”

Those opinions raised an eyebrow from the ISIS when its chief ideologue, Shanqiti denounced the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas governments as apostates, and mocked Qaradawi’s fatwa which according to him goes along the principle of “the rule of the people,” saying that the Muslim Brotherhood:

“seeks to support the religion in terms of the Social Contract theory and is resorting to the ordinances and other exaggerations from the trash bin of ideas. Whoever does this is someone who claims to support the religion while they practice witchcraft.”

Shanqeeti said in his response to Qaradawi that the Muslim Brotherhood is harming the Muslim world:

“The Brotherhood by this deed damaged the Muslim world more than benefiting it and they delay the return of the Caliphate for decades by wasting tremendous financial and human resources running behind a mirage telling their followers that “God is their goal, and that the Prophet is their example and that Islam is their destiny?!””

Shanqeeti mocked Qaradawi’s fatwa saying:

“O Sheikh; The caliph is our Prince of the Mujahidin, Sheikh Ibrahim Awad al-Badri [Al-Baghdadi], who needs not your advice and has been given allegiance from battle hardened warriors who has gone through battles, trials and tribulations; your despicable fatwah will not hurt them”.

He pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood is only interested in power and making peace treaties with Israel as is with Turkey:

“as soon as they [The Muslim Brotherhood] came to power until things turned against them, their destination and their example went alongside the atheists and secularists with lubricity for America and appeasement for Israel, and we saw the same thing in Turkey and Gaza and Egypt during the reign of the ‘apostate Juggernaut Mohamed Morsi,’”

Shoebat.com has predicted that an escalation in Caliphate mania will arise. In this case we have the foxes on one hand and the bullies on the other. In the end, the foxes will win the minds of the Muslim masses and a Caliphate will be established in Turkey.

REFERENCES
Translated from AlBawabh (The Gate News) http://www.albawabhnews.com/748771

Also see:

What is ISIS, Where did it Come From, and When Did the US Know it was There?

by Shoshana Bryen and Michael Johnson
Jewish Policy Center
August 20, 2014

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), also known as the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL), currently controls about one-third of Iraq. It is a combination of:

  • A non-al-Qaeda revival of the al-Qaeda-sponsored Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) organization that tried to take over western Iraq 2003—2006, and
  • Sunni Syrian rebel groups including the Nusra Front (Jabhat al Nusra), which also has ties to al Qaeda.

Turkey, Qatar, and – indirectly – the United States supported the Nusra Front early in its existence in the Syrian civil war, although it is on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations. In 2011/12, the U.S. was supplying arms from Libya to Turkey for distribution to Syrian rebels, and both Turkey and Qatar provided them to their preferred radical jihadist groups, not the so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels at least politically favored by the U.S. The Nusra Front was a recipient of both arms and money. The CIA was working in the area at the time, ostensibly helping the Turks “vet” the opposition groups and providing them “non-lethal” aid.

Current ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (as the self-styled Caliph of the Islamic State, he is now known as Amir al-Mu’minin Caliph Ibrahim) was an early follower of Abu Musab al Zarkawi, a Bin Laden loyalist. In 2003, al Zarkawi’s “Group for Monotheism and Holy War “(JTJ) bombed the UN Headquarters in Baghdad, killing 34 people. In 2006, after al Zarkawi was killed, the group became the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) under the control of Abu Abdullah al-Rashid al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian. The American “surge” in Iraq pushed ISI across the border to Syria in 2006/7.

After both al-Masri and al-Baghdadi were killed in 2010, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi assumed leadership of ISIS.

IS gunman in Syria.

IS gunman in Syria.

ISIS has enormous financial reserves. When Iraqi forced killed the ISIS commander of Mosul in June 2014, they retrieved 160 computer flash drives – which the CIA, among others, has been combing for information. According to The Guardian newspaper, the drives contained “noms de guerre of all foreign fighters, senior leaders and their code words, initials of sources inside ministries and full accounts of the group’s finances.” A British official told the newspaper, “Before Mosul, their total cash and assets were $875 million. Afterwards, with the money they robbed from banks and the value of the military supplies they looted, they could add another $1.5 billion to that.”In April 2013, ISIS announced that the Nusra Front in Syria was affiliated with al Qaeda and the two would work together in Syria and Iraq. There were reports that ISIS had waned in influence early in 2014 and in February, al Qaeda separated itself from ISIS. This may have accounted President Obama’s comment that the group was “the jayvee team” – a reference to the apparent rise of the still AQ-affiliated Nusra Front at the expense of ISIS. But in June 2014, the Nusra Front was reported to have merged into ISIS, providing it with an additional 15,000 soldiers for its latest push across western Iraq.

ISIS, then, was not unknown to American, British, Iraqi or other intelligence services before it began its streak across the Syrian-Iraqi border and the acquisition of territory in which it has declared its caliphate.

Background & Resource Material

The group has changed from an insurgency in Iraq to a jihadist group primarily in Syria, to an army largely in Iraq. Following the past of least resistance, the group moved from Iraq to Syria, then Iraq again and today is in control of parts of both countries.

  • Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi established al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in April 2004 and swore allegiance to Osama Bin Laden. [i]
  • The Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) fought multiple battles with U.S. and kidnapped American soldiers.[ii] It also carried out IED and suicide attacks against Iraqi and U.S. forces.
  • Following the 2006-07 surge, many of the group’s members, including al-Zarqawi, were killed by Iraqi or U.S. forces; some remained in hiding. As of 2010, the U.S. considered the group to be dislodged from central AQ leadership. [iii]
  • Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi – ISI leaders – were killed in a joint U.S.-Iraqi mission in April 2010, leaving the leadership of ISI to Abu Bakr.[iv]
  • In 2011, all U.S. combat troops had left Iraq, but ISI predominated on the Syria-Iraq border. Had Syria not collapsed, ISI would have had a harder time gaining territory and funds.
  • By late 2012, much of the group’s reformed leadership was already targeted by the U.S. treasury. [v]
  • The Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL), another name for the same group, started operations in Northern Syria following large demonstrations against Assad.[vi]
  • ISIL officially declared its governance over the Levant in April 2013
  • In August 2013, U.S. officials said ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was operating from Syria, but directing suicide attacks in central Iraq[vii]
  • The group refocused efforts on Iraq-Syria border after fighting began with other rebel groups and Assad in late 2013 early 2014 [viii]
  • AQ Central and ISIS split due to differences over methodology and fighting in early 2014 [ix]
  • ISIS pushed deeper into Iraq, capturing Fallujah in Jan 2014[x] and Mosul in June.

Early Funding

Early funding of ISI (later ISIS) included many rich and religiously connected Gulf donors. One of the most notable is Nayef al-Ajmi, Kuwait’s former Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs and Endowments. The U.S. Government later sanctioned al-Ajmi for sending money to Syrian Jihadists. [xi] The whole al-Ajmi family appears to have been involved in financing jihadists. Sheikh Hajjaj al-Ajmi used his 250,000 Twitter followers and some of his own wealth to fund various radical Sunni groups in Syria, sending over $1 million. Syrian rebels even sent him “thank you” videos on Youtube.[xii]

The former Head of British MI6 says the Saudi government probably not sending money, but overlooking when citizens do [xiii] Qatar appears to be the only country openly funding jihadist groups in Syria, but the money tail appears to include a number of rich families in the Gulf.

Ad hoc funding included bank robberies and the looting of antiquities. [xiv]

Later Funding

  • Raiding oil fields and processing facilities in Iraq. Oil cannot be shipped out of the country – ISIS doesn’t have the transportation capacity and no one on the outside will buy it, but there are ways to make it profitable internally.

– Traders sell both refined and crude oil to nearby groups including Kurdish smugglers.[xv]

– Iraq’s Anbar Province, the ISIS stronghold, doesn’t have much oil, but Northern Nineveh and areas around Kirkuk do.[xvi]

– ISIS has taken control of Baiji, the site of a large refinery that supplies oil to much of Iraq

  • In June, ISIS looted the central bank in Mosul, taking away an estimated $429 million

– With that, it is estimated that “ISIS could pay 60,000 fighters $600 a month for a whole year.”

  • Money is also made from business and personal “protection” taxes extorted from residents of areas captured by ISIS.

Footnotes:

Islamic State: Young British Muslims debate Caliphate

BBC, Aug. 14, 2014: (h/t Cultural Jihad)

When the extremist group widely known as Isis (now renamed Islamic State) declared a Caliphate taking in parts of Syria and Iraq, they reignited a debate over the issue.

The Ottoman Empire was the last widely recognised Caliphate and most of those in the West have only the faintest, if any, idea of what the word means.

But for some Muslims it is what they are waiting for, whether they back Islamic State or not – a state to restore a sense of dignity that many feel has been lost.

BBC Asian Network reporter Catrin Nye gathered young British Muslims from different sects of Islam to hear about their views on the concept of a Caliphate and what it means to them.

Vice News: Bulldozing the Border Between Iraq and Syria: The Islamic State (Part 5)

Published on Aug 13, 2014 by VICE News

On August 8, nearly three years after the United States pulled out of Iraq, President Barack Obama ordered airstrikes to commence on Islamic State positions in northern Iraq, as the group’s fighters advanced towards the Kurdish capital of Erbil. For six weeks prior to the strikes the Islamic State made stunning gains within Iraq, effectively dismantling the border with Syria and defeating the Iraqi army with little in the way to stop them.

In the final installment of VICE News’ unprecedented look inside the Islamic State, reporter Medyan Dairieh journeys 200 miles from the the group’s power base in the Syrian city of Raqqa to the border with Iraq. There, after defeating the Iraqi army manning the checkpoint, Islamic State fighters work further to bulldoze the border.

As they clear apart a barrier that divided Iraq and Syria, Islamic State fighters declare an end of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a nearly 100-year-old pact between France and Britain that divided up the Middle East. For now, that area between Iraq and Syria is part of a new territory: the Islamic State.

View parts 1-5 here

or watch:

The Islamic State (Full Length)

SEBASTIAN GORKA: IGNORING ISIS THREAT IS ‘NATIONAL SECURITY MALPRACTICE’

isis-flag-AFPBreitbart, by ROBERT WILDE:

Dr. Sebastian Gorka reacted to President Obama’s do-nothing approach to the ongoing genocide of Christians and Yazidis in Iraq at the hands of Islamic State (formerly ISIS) by quoting Leon Trotsky: “You may not be interested in war, but war is definitely interested in you.”

Gorka, who heads up Breitbart’s National Security team, made the remark while appearing on Breitbart News Sunday when Breitbart Executive Chairman and host Stephen K. Bannon asked him, “What do you say to those who think ISIS is a problem, but it’s not our fight?”

The counterinsurgency expert likened this kind of thinking to how Neville Chamberlain thought about the rise of Adolf Hitler in 1938.

Moreover, the asymmetrical warfare specialist was appalled by the Deputy National Security Advisor‘s comment this week that the “Islamic State” is not a threat to the United States. By making that claim, Gorka said it was cause for firing and labeled it “national security malpractice.” Not recognizing the threat is “like telling a cancer patient, ‘don’t worry that metastasizing cancer, that’s not going to be bad for you,’” he said.

Gorka explained that the first thing you do when you are preparing an IPB (intelligence preparation of the battlefield) for a potential conflict is to “read what the enemy writes.” He noted that when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of Islamic State, on the first Friday of Ramadan “got up on the pulpit in the mosque in Mosul in a black turban and a black robe” and gave a sermon not about Iraq, but about the caliphate.

They do not just want to conquer Iraq, or Syria and Iraq, claimed Dr. Gorka. He and the Breitbart National Security team, unveiled ISIS’s map for the New Caliphate while monitoring their twitter feeds. “It was most of the known world including the whole of Spain, half of Africa, and into the Indian subcontinent… they believe everyone who disagrees with them, Jews, Christians, atheists, Zoroastrians, Yazidis… must convert or be killed,” he insisted. “The idea that their goals don’t affect America’s national interests… I don’t care who you are, you have to be smoking something and it isn’t tobacco, if you believe that.”

Gorka pointed out that Islamic State has $800 million in assets in the bank of Iraq. Given that the bombing of the World Trade Center cost the jihadists about $500,000, that gives Islamic State the ability to level about 1,600 terrorist acts equivalent to the 9/11 attacks. What sets the new Islamic State into a class well beyond Al Qaeda is the thousands of Westerners they have recruited to take part in the jihad, including those from the UK and America.