SHAPIRO: Hillary’s Vietnam

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stands with Libyan fighters who ousted Moammar Gadhafi during an Oct. 18, 2011, visit to Libya. Clinton was a strong supporter of U.S. intervention in Libya. Kevin Lamarque/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stands with Libyan fighters who ousted Moammar Gadhafi during an Oct. 18, 2011, visit to Libya. Clinton was a strong supporter of U.S. intervention in Libya.
Kevin Lamarque/AFP/Getty Images)

Truth Revolt, by Ben Shapiro, April 22, 2015:

Headless bodies lie in the sand. Above those corpses stand the black-clad minions of ISIS, outlined against the coastline of Libya. This is the second video in three months depicting Islamic terrorists cutting the heads off of Christian captives.

Bodies float in the Mediterranean Sea, face down. Twelve Christian bodies, thrown from a rubber boat by 15 Muslims. Their launch point: Libya.

Approximately 700 more bodies float face down in the Mediterranean, victims of a smuggling operation gone wrong when their rickety craft sunk as it made its way to Italy. Its source location: Libya.

Four American bodies in Benghazi, Libya.

These are the wages of Hillary Clinton’s war.

In June 2006, as then-Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., prepared a run for president, she stated that President George W. Bush had “rushed to war” in Iraq. A few months later, Hillary spoke of her opposition to Bush’s surge in Iraq, stating that it was a “losing strategy.” Iraq, a war for which Hillary voted, had been conducted on the back of flawed intelligence estimates and without a clear plan.

Five years later, Secretary of State Clinton rushed to war, allegedly manufacturing evidence to do so, and with no plan whatsoever for victory. According to The Washington Times, Clinton “was the moving force inside the Obama administration to encourage US military intervention to unseat [dictator Moammar Gadhafi] in Libya.” Clinton claimed that if the West did not intervene in Libya, Gadhafi would pursue a genocide against his enemies; in March 2011, she imagined a scenario in which “Benghazi had been overrun, a city of 700,000 people, and tens of thousands of people had been slaughtered, hundreds of thousands had fled. …” That genocide never materialized, nor did the best intelligence estimates support that argument.

Not only that: Hillary also ignored all available evidence suggesting that the Libyan opposition was honeycombed with terrorists. She ignored Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Commander for Europe, who admitted “flickers in the intelligence of potential al Qaeda, Hezbollah.” Al-Qaida backed the Libyan uprising. There was a reason that neither Hillary nor President Obama risked going to Congress for approval of the Libyan adventure: they would have been rejected.

Nonetheless, in October 2011, Hillary arrived in Tripoli to declare victory, stating that she was “proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya.” When Gadhafi was sodomized with a knife and killed two days later, she laughed uproariously on camera: “We came, we saw, he died!”

Gadhafi wasn’t the only person who died. Hillary’s war ended with terrorist chaos in Libya: a full-scale terror takeover of regions of the country including Benghazi, the exile of the legitimate government, a massive refugee crisis growing day-by-day amidst the upheaval. That refugee crisis has grown significantly worse since Hillary’s war. As Vox.com, a leftist outlet, points out, 1,600 migrants “have drowned in the Mediterranean this year.” Why? Again, according to Vox.com, when Moammar Gadhafi “ruled Libya, his government had an agreement with Italy to try to intercept and turn back ships leaving for Europe. … And in the utter chaos that’s engulfed Libya over the past few years, there’s no government entity really capable of patrolling the Mediterranean.”

Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy has promoted chaos around the world. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in her signal foreign policy legacy, the collapsed state of Libya.

Also see:

Libyan Boat Capsize Reveals Trafficking and Smuggling

Illegal migrants in overloaded boat in Mediterranean Source:  UK Telegraph

Illegal migrants in overloaded boat in Mediterranean
Source: UK Telegraph

CSP, by Olivia McCoy, April 22, 2015:

As the Sunday morning sun rose, so did the death toll of people trafficked to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea. In the early hours of the morning, a shipwreck took the lives of more then 800 people. The boat, which was traveling from Libya to Italy, capsized just 100 miles off the coast of Libya.

When the Italian authorities were notified that a migrant ship appeared to be crossing the Mediterranean Sea late Saturday night, they sent the nearest commercial ship, the King Jacob, to the scene. As the King Jacob approached the migrant boat, the people onboard all rushed to one side, trying to attract its attention. This caused the boat to capsize, with hundreds of victims trapped in locked rooms on board. Unable to escape, nearly all people on the trafficking ship perished.

There were only 28 survivors of the over 850 people who had been on board. So far this year there has been well over 1,750 deaths, including the latest incident, as a result of people attempting to migrate to Europe.

The Libyan captain and a Syrian crewman, who both survived, were arrested on trafficking charges after being rescued on Sunday. The people on board, who have consistently been called migrants, appear to be victims of trafficking.

Human trafficking is a lucrative business that runs rampant in Libya and across Western and Eastern Africa, facilitated by transnational tribes such as the Tebu and Tuareg. Ps These groups often engage in human trafficking and smuggling due to their control of key trade routes.

From January to March 2015 alone, there have been 10,165 reported migrants to Italy from Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Nigeria, Eritrea, Somalia, and Syria. These numbers don’t include those who perished attempting to get there, or migrants who have not been reported.

The UN defines human trafficking as “the acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them” and the definition of smuggling of migrants as the “procurement for financial or other material benefit of illegal entry of a person into a State of which that person in not a national or resident”. In many major news outlets, the articles only refer to the smuggling routes as just that, migrant smuggling routes. However, often times trafficking and smuggling can overlap.

People who are attempting to migrate pay a group, in this case North African tribes such as the Tebu or Tuareg, to smuggle them into Europe. These tribes advertise the opportunity to migrate to Europe, promising the chance of a better life. People are lured in under the false pretense that upon arrival they are free to do what they want. What initially may begin as smuggling can quickly turn to trafficking.

Trafficking is a high-profit business, with conservative estimates putting the annual profit at around $32 billion. Smuggling migrants is also highly profitable, with low estimates suggesting an annual profit of $6.75 billion. Terrorist organizations use trafficking and smuggling as a source of fundraising because it is a low risk, high reward business.

Not only is smuggling people financially enticing but the actual smuggling routes are strategic resources as well.

The Tuareg are known to have relationships with AQIM (al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). This relationship is advantageous for AQIM because not only can the trade routes be used to smuggle migrants, but also terrorists. Having control means that it is possible to smuggle in new recruits, weapons, and other resources that terrorist organizations may need.

While we may be sympathetic to civilians aiming for a better life, being smuggled across borders is an illegal and dangerous activity that ultimately ends with the terrorists profiting.

States must do more to disincentive migrants from travelling, and improve intelligence sharing and transnational cooperation to interdict smugglers before the rickety boats take to sea.

Islamic State Shoots and Beheads 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya

Screen-Shot-2015-04-20-at-8.02.37-AMWashington Free Beacon, By Sylvia Westall, April 20, 2015:

CAIRO (Reuters) – A video purportedly made by Islamic State and posted on social media sites on Sunday appeared to show militants shooting and beheading about 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya.

Reuters was unable to verify the authenticity of the video, but the killings resemble past violence carried out by Islamic State, an ultra-hardline group that has expanded its reach from strongholds in Iraq and Syria to conflict-ridden Libya.

The video, in which militants call Christians “crusaders” who are out to kill Muslims, showed about 15 men being beheaded on a beach and another group of the same size, in an area of shrubland, being shot in the head.

Both groups of men are referred to in a subtitle as “worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian church”.

Libyan officials were not immediately available for comment.

Ethiopia said it had not been able to verify whether the people shown in the video were its citizens.

“Nonetheless, the Ethiopian government condemns the atrocious act,” government spokesman Redwan Hussein said.

He said Ethiopia, which does not have an embassy in Libya, would help repatriate Ethiopians if they wanted to leave Libya.

The United States also condemned the “brutal mass murder,” with the White House saying the killing of the men “solely because of their faith lays bare the terrorists’ vicious, senseless brutality.”

Militants professing loyalty to Islamic State have claimed several attacks on foreigners in Libya this year, including an assault on the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli and the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in February.

The killing of the Egyptians prompted Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to order air strikes on Islamic State targets in Libya.

In the latest video, a man dressed in black clutching a pistol stood behind some of the victims.

“Muslim blood shed under the hands of your religions is not cheap,” he says. “To the nation of the cross: We are now back again.”

The video warns that Christians will not be safe unless they embrace Islam or pay protection money.

Islamic State controls large parts of Iraq and Syria and wants to redraw the map of the Middle East. It is not clear how many fighters it has in Libya, an oil-producing nation.

Egyptian security officials estimate that thousands of militants who share Islamic State’s ideology moved from the Sinai Peninsula to Libya after the army toppled President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013.

Also see:

Italian Police: Libyan Muslims Threw Christians Overboard

AP Photo/Alessandro Fucarini

AP Photo/Alessandro Fucarini

Breitbart, by JOHN HAYWARD, April 16, 2015:

The Italian police have arrested 15 Muslim refugees from war-torn Libya on charges they murdered Christian passengers on their escape boat by throwing them overboard.

“The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat,” reports CNN, relaying statements from Italian authorities. “Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants – Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal – threw the 12 [Christians] overboard.”

The rubber boat was subsequently intercepted by the Italian navy, which put the passengers aboard a Panamanian-flagged ship bound for Palermo. The alleged murderers were arrested after the ship docked.

A report from the UK Daily Mail suggests both the victims and attackers were adult males. “During the crossing, a fight broke out over religion, with the group of Muslim passengers threatening the Nigerians and Ghanaians after the latter declared themselves to be Christians,” according to the account given by surviving Nigerian and Ghanaian passengers to the police. The BBC explains these survivors were able to avoid a similar fate by forming human chains.

Only a few days ago, 400 refuges were presumed killed after another ship sank off the Libyan coast. Italy has asked the European Union for help dealing with the refugee crisis and the urgent need for more search-and-rescue resources. The Italians complain there has been no “adequate response from the EU,” while a European Commission spokeswoman cautioned them not to expect any “silver bullet” solutions.

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Italian Police: Muslim Migrants Threw Christians Overboard in Crossing from Libya by Patrick Poole

A horrific story coming out of Sicily.

CNN reports:

Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.

Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said.

The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants — Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — threw the 12 overboard, police said.

The Associated Press adds:

During the crossing, the migrants from Nigeria and Ghana — believed to be Christians — were threatened with being abandoned at sea by some 15 other passengers from the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali and Guinea Bissau.

Eventually the threat was carried out and 12 were pushed overboard. The statement said the motive was that the victims “professed the Christian faith while the aggressors were Muslim.”

The surviving Christians, the statement said, only managed to stay on board by forming a “human chain” to resist the assault.

Interestingly, the CNN video appears to have been pulled from their website.

One of the top cheerleaders for the migrants crossing from Libya has been Pope Francis, who issued a communique back in September on the migration issue and has said that the EU needs to do more for the migrants, saying “we cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast graveyard.”

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Muslim “Refugees” to Europe Threw Christian Passengers Overboard by Daniel Greenfield

The media is forever weeping and wailing over the plight of the swarms of Muslim migrants invading Italy and the rest of Europe. We just got through stories about how the poor oppressed migrants are drowning.

Here’s a literal truth about who they are and what they intend to do to Europe.

Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.

Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said.

The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants — Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — threw the 12 overboard, police said.

And when they are in Europe, they’ll kill more Christians and Jews and anyone else because this is who they are and what they do. Taking them is in self-genocide.

Islam is a fundamentally xenophobic and genocidal theology.

***

And if you have been following Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch, you would have seen this:

Malta is a stable country and we don’t take Maltese people (Europeans) as refugees.  WE DO TAKE OVER 500 A YEAR OF MALTA’S ILLEGAL ALIENS who crossed the Mediterranean from North Africa to America as supposed REFUGEES.

And this:

ISIS could bring pandemonium to Southern Europe with fighters disguised as refugees

The ‘Invasion of Europe’ is hastening….

I had this story almost ready to post yesterday, when my internet connection dropped, so surely you have seen the news by now.  LOL! So what has taken ISIS and the media so long to figure out what we have been writing about for weeks, months!

And, don’t forget that Obama’s girls (the “humanitarian Vulcans”)—Hillary, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power—are largely responsible (along with the UN) for the now failed state of Libya because they were the primary cheering squad involved in the get-Muammar Qaddafi movement when Obama was his usual indecisive self, see our 2011 post with links for more information.  So much for the ‘brilliant’ Ms. Power’s “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine.

Here is how we concluded that 2011 post:

Protect!  It would be so ironic if  one of Obama’s national security advisers, Samantha Power, and her scheme (with George Soros) called the “Responsibility or Right to Protect” would destroy far more lives then it saved.  But, I guess that’s what happens when we put immature ideologues and community organizers together in the White House.

From Fox News:

ISIS is planning a campaign to dominate Libya before sending fighters to southern Europe disguised as illegal migrants to wage more terror there, according to a published report.

ISIS taking control in Libya (only a little over 200 miles to the “Crusader states.”)http://yalibnan.com/2014/11/19/isis-takes-control-of-a-libyan-city-report/

The Daily Telegraph, citing a British anti-terror group that claims to have seen letters written by the group’s supporters, said that ISIS hopes to use militiamen from its current strongholds in Syria and Iraq to overrun Libya before embarking on a campaign targeting both Europe’s mainland as well as maritime shipping.

The letter is written by an ISIS propagandist using the name Abu Arhim al-Libim. He describes Libya, which has descended into chaos in the wake of the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi, as having “immense potential” for the jihadists.

“It has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat,” the man writes. He also points out that the country is replete with weapons, many of them seized from Qaddafi’s forces by rebels as the regime collapsed.

In describing the possibilities of attacking Europe, al-Libim discusses the number of ships brining migrants across the Mediterranean Sea illegally, then says “If this was even partially exploited and developed strategically, pandemonium could be wrought in the southern European states and it is even possible that there could be a closure of shipping lines and targeting of Crusader ships and tankers.”

Interesting that here is that word Crusader again.  Is ISIS using Obama lingo.  Is Obama helping them with their talking points!

Stop US refugee resettlement from Malta!

Again!!!  If you are in America and thinking this is Europe’s problem, never forget that the US State Department is bringing illegal aliens who arrive on Malta (a Crusader state!) to the US as refugees for your home towns!

Go here for our entire ‘Invasion of Europe’ series.

Benghazi suspect designated by UN, State Department

Screen-Shot-2015-04-15-at-7

LWJ, BY THOMAS JOSCELYN | April 15, 2015:

The State Department added Ali Ouni Harzi to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists yesterday. Harzi, who is based in Syria, “joined Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AAS-T) in 2011 and was a high-profile member known for recruiting volunteers, facilitating the travel of AAS-T fighters to Syria, and for smuggling weapons and explosives into Tunisia,” according to State.

Curiously, the State Department’s designation page does not mention Harzi’s role in the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks.

Days earlier, the United Nations (UN) added Harzi to the Security Council’s al Qaeda sanctions list. The UN’s designation page for Harzi reads: “Planned and perpetrated the attack against the Consulate of the United States in Benghazi, Libya on 11 Sep. 2012.”

Indeed, Harzi was one of the first suspects in the Benghazi attack to be publicly identified. The Daily Beast first reported that Harzi’s involvement in the assault on the US Mission and Annex were discovered after US officials learned that he had “posted an update on social media about the fighting shortly after it had begun.” This was “[o]ne of the first clues the intelligence community had about the perpetrators” in Benghazi.

Harzi was apprehended in Turkey in October 2012 at the behest of US officials. He was making his way to Syria at the time.

After being deported to Tunisia, Harzi was held for weeks. In December 2012, FBI agents questioned him about the Benghazi attack. Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, an al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization, stalked the agents. The group posted their pictures online while condemning the Tunisian government for allowing the FBI to interview Harzi. That same month Ansar al Sharia Tunisia released a video discussing Harzi’s case and confirming the FBI’s role in his questioning.

In early January 2013, despite his suspected role in the death of four Americans, Harzi was released. Ansar al Sharia posted a video celebrating Harzi’s release. Harzi made some brief comments in the video, which showed him being congratulated by his fellow jihadists.

US officials, including then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and John Brennan, who became the CIA director, were asked about Harzi’s release during congressional hearings.

In late January 2013, Clinton told senators that the Tunisians had “assured” the United States that Harzi was “under the monitoring of the court.” In February, during his confirmation process to become CIA director, Brennan claimed that the US government “didn’t have anything on” Harzi and, therefore, his release was not worrisome.

As the UN’s designation shows, however, there has long been evidence that Harzi was directly involved in the Benghazi attack. And Tunisian authorities clearly failed to keep tabs on Harzi.

On February 6, 2013, a left-wing Tunisian politician named Chokri Belaid was assassinated. Then, on July 25, another popular politician, Mohamed Brahmi, was killed. The following day Tunisian authorities claimed that Harzi was involved in both assassinations. However, neither the UN nor the State Department designations mention this allegation. Another Ansar al Sharia Tunisia member who went on to join the Islamic State has boasted of his role in planning the murders.

In March of this year, the Tunisian National Guard issued an arrest warrant for Harzi.

In addition to Ali Ouni Harzi (whose name is often spelled Ali Ani al Harzi in the press), the UN designated Tarak Ouni Harzi, Ali’s brother. Tarak was a known facilitator for al Qaeda in Iraq. Tarak was a “dangerous and active member of Al Qaida in Iraq” as of 2004, according to the UN and “also active in facilitating and hosting members of Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia…in Syria.” Tarak was sentenced, “in absentia, on 30 October 2007, to 24 years imprisonment for terrorist activities by the Appeals Court of Tunis.”

Despite being wanted by international authorities, both of the Harzi brothers remain at large. It is not clear if they are working for the Islamic State, the Al Nusrah Front, or some other jihadist groups in Syria.

The leader of Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, Abu Iyad al Tunisi, remains free as well. Al Tunisi is a longtime al Qaeda operative who helped orchestrate the assault on the US Embassy in Tunis on Sept. 14, 2012, just three days after the Benghazi attack. The State Department has also designated Abu Iyad as an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist and noted his role in the Sept. 14 assault.

Both Ansar al Sharia Libya, which was one of the al Qaeda groups responsible for the Benghazi attack, and Ansar al Sharia Tunisia have operated as part of al Qaeda’s network in North Africa.

ISIS Credited for Embassy Attacks as U.S. Continues to Seek Islamist Political Participation

 The South Korean embassy after it was attacked by gunmen in Tripoli on Sunday. Photograph: Ismail Zitouny/REUTERS

The South Korean embassy after it was attacked by gunmen in Tripoli on Sunday. Photograph: Ismail Zitouny/REUTERS

CSP, Joshua Kraus, April 15, 2015:

Islamic State jihadists claimed responsibility for two separate attacks in Libya between Sunday and early Monday morning. On Sunday, gunman drove up to the South Korean embassy in Tripoli killing two Libyan security guards and wounding a third person. A South Korean foreign ministry dignitary in Seoul reported that all Korean nationals were accounted for within the country and no casualties were reported. No non-Korean Foreign Service officials within the embassy were injured. Since the attack, South Korean officialsare considering relocating the embassy to a safer area

Early Monday morning a bomb was put in a garbage can that exploded right in front of the Moroccan embassy. Morocco security spokesperson Essam al-Naas confirmed that no civilians were wounded or killed.  The bomb reportedly damaged the gate of the embassy and a residential building next to the embassy located in the marketplace of the Ben Ashour district.

NBC verified the claim made by Libya’s Islamic State branch through their twitter page that they were responsible for both attacks.  The statement held that “soldiers of the caliphate” targeted both buildings.

With Libya’s internationally recognized government forced out of Tripoli and into Tobruk by the rival Islamist Libyan Dawn faction, resulting in increasing anarchy.

The Libyan Dawn consists of primarily Muslim Brotherhood members, allied Islamist militias, who wish to bring about sharia law to Libya. General Haftar, a former military officer under Qaddafi, has been selected by the internationally recognized government to serve as a military commander for their forces against Libyan Dawn. Haftar’s Operation Dignity consists of Arab nationalists, federalists, anti-Islamists who are directly confronting the Islamist ideology that motivates Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. They are backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, both of whom view themselves as threatened by the Brotherhood’s Islamist project.

While the media gets excited about the Islamic State’s dirty business, the United States and United Nations are encouraging appeasement talks between Libyan Dawn and Libya’s international government. Neither the United Nations nor United States seems to understand that a unity government is not in the interest of either party.

The United States needs to stop pushing Libya’s internationally backed government to reach a political agreement, and start discussing how best to assist the government with defeating jihadist forces,not limited to just Islamic State.

The United States shouldn’t be trying to force the Libyan government to accept Islamist participation, and instead start supporting efforts by nationalist, ethnic and/or tribal forces to oppose Islamist ideology, both by Islamic State and Al Qaeda, but also by the Brotherhood and its allies.  Doing so will ultimately be the swifter path to stability and security.

Egypt, Libya: U.S. Not Supporting Us Against the Islamists

Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012. Several Islamic State flags can be seen in the crowd. (Photo: © Reuters)

Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11, 2012. Several Islamic State flags can be seen in the crowd. (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, April 9, 2015:

The anti-Islamist governments of Egypt and Libya are complaining publicly that the U.S. is not providing enough counter-terrorism assistance and is supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood. They remain appreciative of the U.S.-backed intervention to topple Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, but criticize the U.S. for not having a plan to contend with Islamist terrorists and militias afterwards.

Egyptian President El-Sisi is gently criticizing the U.S. for not supporting the anti-Islamist government of Libya enough. He said, “there is a legitimate [Libyan] government and that government is denied the weapons it needs to confront terrorists.”

El-Sisi traces it back to original mistakes that the West made in Libya He said that the military intervention to overthrow Gaddafi was the correct decision but the West failed to implement a strategy to help Libyans tackle Islamist forces afterwards.

“The NATO operation in Libya was not complete, which led the North African country to fall under the control of militant and extremist groups,” he said. He was more forceful in another statement that “we abandoned the Libyan people to extremist militias.”

Gaddafi supported terrorism, hid chemical weapons and spread anti-Americanism and radical Islamic propaganda. His relatively secular dictatorship stimulated Islamism and committed gross human rights violations. The NATO and Arab League alliance militarily intervened when the Libyan rebels—a mixture of Islamists, designated terrorists and secular-democrats—were about to experience a bloodbath in Benghazi.

The Muslim Brotherhood lost the first elections in a landslide despite massive organizational advantages. Unfortunately, the U.S. turned a blind eye to Islamism and even welcomed the participation of Qatar, one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s biggest allies.

The Qatari-backed Islamists stabbed the West in the back by undercutting the secular-democrats and using its influence to benefit the Muslim Brotherhood’s political and militia operations. The West doesn’t even see the backstabbing because it doesn’t view the Muslim Brotherhood as part of the problem.

Libya is now in a civil war. The internationally-recognized government in the east, based in Tobruk, is backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. A rival government is based in the west at Tripoli and it has a coalition of loyal Islamist militias named the Libyan Dawn. This government is led by the Muslim Brotherhood and backed by Qatar, Turkey and Sudan. The West is neutral.

The chaos has allowed ISIS to grow in the north. The terrorist group has captured Derna and expanded to Sirte. ISIS is reported to have 800 fighters in Derna alone. The Libyan Foreign Minister says 5,000 foreign jihadists are now in the country.

And it’s getting worse. The spiritual leader of Ansar al-Sharia, the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya responsible for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, announced his allegiance to ISIS. Abu Abdullah al-Libi tweeted a photo of a book titled, The Legal Validity of Pledging Allegiance to the Islamic State” and started a pro-ISIS Arabic website.

One of the biggest problems facing ISIS is that the legitimacy of its caliphate was widely rejected on procedural grounds and al-Libi can help craft rebuttals. He is presented expert on Sharia Law so he speaks with religious authority, making him a dangerous addition to the relatively unpopular ISIS’ ranks.

ISIS says Tunisia is next and its largest training camp is less than 30 miles from the border. The anti-Islamist government there faces a major threat because Tunisia is the greatest source of foreign fighters for ISIS.

Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni chastised the U.S. and Europe in February for not providing its army with the weapons to fight ISIS and the Libyan Dawn coalition of Islamist militias who loyal to the rival government in Tripoli. A growing chorus of U.S. officials are urging a lifting of the U.N. arms embargo on Libya.

“Libya Dawn is part of militant Islamists which get weapons, ammunition and supplies from all over the world, but America and Britain have other ideas against the interest of the Libyan people,” Al-Thinni said.

He accused the U.S. and U.K. of siding with the Muslim Brotherhood and trying to get the “terrorist grouping” into political power. Al-Thinni said his country would instead look to Russia and accused Turkey of supporting the Libyan Dawn forces.

“The British are trying with all their power to save the Brotherhood and ensure their involvement in Libya’s political scene,” said an anonymous member of Al-Thinni’s cabinet in December.

The Libyan Foreign Minister likewise lamented that his country is “not part of any international strategy against terrorism.”

The U.S. ambassador to Libya pushed back against Libya and Egypt’s statements in February that the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamist militias are part of the same problem as ISIS. She rejected the notion that the U.S. should favor the Tobruk-based secular-democratic government over the Islamist one.

” This is not to suggest that ideology has played no role in Libya’s internal conflict, although it is not the defining role that some – particularly external parties – have sought to highlight; Libyans are by and large conservative, Sunni Muslims who share similar values.  Labels are unhelpful and misleading,” she wrote on the fourth anniversary of Libya’s revolution.

The Libyan embassy’s charge d’affairs and women’s rights activist Wafa Bugaighis said the U.S. is not supporting the Libyan government enough with intelligence-sharing, arms transfers and training. She emphasized that Libya is not requesting U.S. airstrikes or ground forces.

Read more

State Department Wanted to Engage ‘Moderate Jihadists’ in Libya

isis-obama-shhhhhh (1)PJ Media, By Patrick Poole On April 4, 2015:

During the final years of the Bush administration and throughout the Obama administration I’ve been reporting here regularly on the bipartisan call from the U.S. foreign policy elite and their media sycophants to engage “moderate Islamists” in the Middle East. In conservative circles, embracing this view warranted you being deemed among the “smarter hardliners on the Right” by the establishment media.

As I’ve repeatedly noted, whether in Egypt, Libya, Somalia, Gaza, Lebanon, Turkey, or Syria (as well as many others), this policy has had catastrophic and massively fatal consequences.

Now Eli Lake and Josh Rogin at Bloomberg have this scoop:

According to a March 2 cable from the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Deborah Jones — described to us by a U.S. counterterrorism official — the State Department has been considering outreach to other, supposedly more moderate elements of the militia-aligned opposition forces in an effort to balance U.S. influence and cover all political bets.

The cable, according to our source, didn’t go over well with other U.S. government agencies, and as of now U.S. policy remains to deal exclusively with the Tobruk leadership.

Of course, this policy worked out so well in Benghazi in September 2012, when the “moderate Islamist” February 17th Martyrs Brigade was charged with defending our consulate there. Interestingly, the February 17th Martyrs Brigade in Benghazi is now in open alliance with Ansar al-Sharia, the group the Obama administration has fingered for the Benghazi attack.

Just a few weeks ago I reported here the push amongst the “smart set” for the U.S. to engage “moderate Al-Qaeda.”

As I noted:

Understand, this is a continuation of a popular theme amongst the foreign policy “smart set.” See the “moderate Muslim Brotherhood,” which just a month ago declared all-out jihad on the Egyptian government. Or the New York Times, pitching “moderate” elements of the Iranian regime. Or current CIA director “Jihad” John Brennan calling for the U.S. to build up Hezbollah “moderates.” Or hapless academics proclaiming the “mellowing” of Hamas. Or the so-called “vetted moderate” Syrian rebel groups that, as I have reported here, regularly fight alongside ISIS and al-Qaeda and have even defected to those terror groups.

At this rate can the calls for engaging “moderate ISIS” be far behind?

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Are there “good” jhadists and “bad” jihadists? Are non-kinetic jihadists less threatening than kinetic jihadists? The answer is no. Dr. Sebastian Gorka explains why on the John Batchelor Radio Show, 31 March 2015. (8 minute audio)

 

ISIS attack on Italy coming

The Islamic State may be looking to turn more of Rome into ruins. (AP Photo)

The Islamic State may be looking to turn more of Rome into ruins. (AP Photo)

, March 25, 2015:

The Islamic State terrorist group likely will launch an attack on Italy within weeks, not months, according to a senior Libyan government official.

Aref Ali Nayed, Libya’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said in an interview that one likely method of attack would be to use stolen Libyan airliners now believed to be in the hands of Islamists in Libya.

“The horrific video showing 21 Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya contained a direct threat from ISIS to Rome,” said Mr. Nayed, using an acronym for the terrorist group. “The threat of ISIS to Italy could become a reality in a matter of weeks rather than months.”

The Islamic State could use two attack methods, the ambassador said. The first would be for Libya-based terrorists to infiltrate Italy by using one of the many boats carrying undocumented Libyans to Italy. Once in Italy, the terrorists could regroup and carry out an attack.

“Second, ISIS could weaponize a civilian airliner or small military aircraft in Libya, loading it with explosives and/or chemical weapons.” Mr. Nayed said. “Rome is one hour from the ISIS-controlled airport in Sirte.”

U.S. intelligence agencies warned in September that Islamist militias in Libya have taken control of nearly a dozen commercial jetliners that remain unaccounted for.

Intelligence reports circulated in late August included warnings that one or more of the aircraft could be used in a regional suicide attack coinciding with the Sept. 11 anniversary. No attacks using hijacked airliners took place last year.

A U.S. official familiar with the reports in September said “there are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing” and that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks showed what could be done with hijacked planes.

Mr. Nayed said the recent attack in Tunisia that was claimed by the Islamic State shows that the group is capable of conducting coordinated and effective attacks with speed and precision from Libya.

“Their attacks are increasing in both frequency and scope, and we must take their threat against Italy and Southern Europe very seriously,” the ambassador said.

Mr. Nayed, a senior adviser to Libya’s prime minister for national security, also said the terrorist group appears to be part of a continuum of ever-more radical Islamists ravaging the oil-rich North African country since the ouster of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Libya is in very real danger of becoming an ISIS garrison and an ATM for ISIS operations in Syria and Iraq,” he said in a December speech. “There is a good chance that Libya’s oil wealth was siphoned off by Islamists and provided oxygen for the growth of ISIS during the recent Islamist regime. It certainly has not been used to make our country a better place for Libyans.”

Two key Libyan cities appear to be in the Islamic State’s hands, including the coastal cities of Derna, long an outpost of Islamist terrorists, and Sirte.

Mr. Nayed, considered a top candidate to lead Libya’s next interim government, has been visiting Washington this week to lobby for Western support in the battle against the Islamic State and to warn about the danger of terrorist attacks.

An Islamic scholar who received his early education in Iowa and Toronto, Mr. Nayed has denounced the Islamic State for its perversion of the Muslim religion.

“What we are witnessing is pure fascism using the vocabulary and trappings of Islam but without a scintilla of the profound knowledge and spirit of Islam,” he said in the speech.

“Our faith teaches us not to kill others; these people glorify killing,” Mr. Nayed said. “Our faith teaches us not to hate; these people promote hatred. Our faith teaches us to respect women; these people debase women. Our faith teaches us to help one another; these people oppress others. ISIS is the antithesis of Islam. It is the enemy of Islam in the guise of Islam.”

SAUDI NUCLEAR DETERRENT

Security analysts say disturbing signs are emerging that Saudi Arabia’s new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz, is moving ahead with plans for creating a nuclear deterrent against Iran in anticipation that the nuclear deal being negotiated in Switzerland will not prevent Tehran from building atomic weapons.

The signs included visits this month to Riyadh by regional leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and several Persian Gulf potentates.

However, the visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif garnered the closest attention from U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

Unlike the arrivals of the other leaders, King Salman personally greeted Mr. Sharif at Riyadh airport March 4 in a sign of the closeness between the two states.

The recent visits by regional heads of state is fueling new concerns about a Sunni-Shiite conflict led by the Saudis against Iranians.

A CIA spokesman declined to comment on the agency’s concerns about a nuclear-armed Saudi Arabia.

Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia remains vehemently opposed to regional power Shiite-led Iran, which is backing Yemen’s Houthi rebels who recently took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

“Don’t forget that the Saudis put up most of the funds that enabled Pakistan to build the bomb,” said former CIA veteran Duane “Dewy” Clarridge, who maintains close ties to intelligence sources in the region.

“There are individuals in both governments that know that, and as a result, the Saudis have dibs on three to four nuclear bombs,” he said.

China has deployed intermediate-range Chinese DF-3 missiles that were paraded for the first time in May. News reports also disclosed last year that the Saudis have purchased medium-range DF-21 missiles, with a range of some 600 miles.

Mr. Clarridge said “the Saudis don’t need Chinese missiles” to hit key targets in Iran, namely oil and water facilities along the coast.

Fred Fleitz, a former CIA specialist on arms proliferation, said the Obama administration’s push for a nuclear deal with Iran will fuel an arms race in the region.

“Iran has continued to pursue nuclear weapons during the talks and will continue to do so with or with a nuclear agreement,” Mr. Fleitz said. “The weak agreement that the Obama administration is pushing will create a more dangerous situation by legitimizing Iran’s nuclear program and allowing it in as little as 10 years to pursue dual use nuclear technologies with no restrictions.”

The current talks with Iran and the deal being pursued “will be deeply destabilizing and could lead to war in Middle East,” he added.

CHINA MARKETS ATTACK DRONE

A brochure from a Chinese state-run company reveals new details about one of Beijing’s attack drones — called the Cai Hong-3 (CH-3), or Rainbow-3 — being offered for sale to foreign customers.

A catalog obtained by the U.S. government from China Aerospace Long-March International reveals details of the CH-3 and a missile-firing variant called the CH-3A.

The catalog provides a rare inside look at China’s drone arsenal. The CH-3 is one of nine drones being offered for sale around the world, ranging in size from very small to large-scale unmanned aerial vehicles. Several drones appear to be knockoffs of U.S.-designed remotely piloted aircraft, including the Predator strike drone and Global Hawk long-range spy drone.

“Featuring high reconnaissance effectiveness, high anti-jamming capability, diversified payloads, integrated reconnaissance/attack, easy operation and simple maintenance, the UAVs can be used for such military operations as battlefield reconnaissance intelligence collection, anti-terrorism combat, no-fly zone patrol, firing calibration, data relay and electronic warfare,” the catalog states.

The drone has been sold to Pakistan and Nigeria, where an armed CH-3A was photographed after it crashed during a mission to hit Boko Haram terrorists.

The CH-3 appears to be a copy of the Jetcruzer small civil aircraft that was built by U.S. company Advanced Aerodynamics and Structures Inc., which sold 30 Jetcruzer 500s to China in 2000.

The Chinese company also is selling two types of missiles to be fired from what it calls an “advanced medium-range UAV system.” The package includes three aircraft and a vehicle-mounted ground control system. The drone can take off and land via a remote pilot and has a retractable nose landing gear.

“The advantages of this UAV system are high reliability, high efficiency and low cost,” the catalog states. “It can be used for various flight missions such as battle zone reconnaissance, artillery fire adjustment, data-link relay, intelligence collection and electronic warfare, etc.

“CH-3A UAV can be equipped with precision guided weapons to complete reconnaissance and strike missions.”

The unarmed version has a range of 1,500 miles and can fly for 12 hours. The missile-equipped variant can fly 621 miles, has a flight time of six hours and can carry up to 400 pounds of bombs.

Among the payloads for use on the CH-3 are a four-lens electro-optical reconnaissance camera, a synthetic aperture radar capable of seeing through clouds and some structures and an airborne electronic warfare system.

The missiles that can be fired from the CH-3A include the company’s AR-1 air-to-ground armor-piercing missile that is laser-guided for precision attacks against tanks, vehicles and fixed structures. It has a range of 3 to 5 miles, with an extended range version up to 10 miles.

Additionally, the drone can carry the FT-1 precision-guided bomb.

Contact Bill Gertz on Twitter at @BillGertz

Islamic State Rises in Libya

In this file image made from a video released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 by militants in Libya claiming loyalty to the Islamic State group purportedly shows Egyptian Coptic Christians in orange jumpsuits being led along a beach, each accompanied by a masked militant / AP

In this file image made from a video released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 by militants in Libya claiming loyalty to the Islamic State group purportedly shows Egyptian Coptic Christians in orange jumpsuits being led along a beach, each accompanied by a masked militant / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, March 20, 2015:

The Islamic State terrorist group is expanding its operations in Libya with high-profile attacks following the recent beheadings of 21 Christians, according to a State Department security report.

In Libya, Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS or ISIL, formed out of existing al Qaeda-affiliated and Islamist extremist groups in early 2015. It is said to number between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters and has been exploiting the conflict between two Libyan groups fighting for control of the oil-rich North African state, Libya Dawn and Operation Dignity.

The Islamist and pro-al Qaeda Libya Dawn and the anti-Islamist Operation Dignity, headed by Lt Gen. Khalifa Haftar, have created rival parliaments and military forces and are said to receive foreign government support.

“Without an agreement between Operation Dignity and Libya Dawn and coordinated anti-ISIL efforts, we may see the group make more significant gains and attempts to control more territory in Libya,” the report said.

There is growing international concern in the region and among European states across the Mediterranean Sea over Libya’s decline into a failed state that is allowing groups like IS to expand their operations.

The European Union is considering greater involvement in stabilizing Libya but will only take steps in that direction if a unity government is achieved.

Three terrorist groups in Libya have pledged loyalty to Islamic State and are now operating inside the country. They are Islamic State Barqa Province, in the eastern region of Cyrenaica; Islamic State Fezzan Province, in the southwest; and Islamic State Tripoli, in the western region.

“An expanding security vacuum has given ISIL an opening to establish a legitimate foothold,” the report says. “ISIL is capitalizing on the conflict to conduct sophisticated attacks, but so far has made only limited territorial gains, and is already facing backlash from Libya Dawn,” one of two groups vying for power.

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism specialist, said Islamic State’s growth in Libya is the greatest untold story outside of jihadist inroads in Egypt’s Sinai.

Islamic State in Libya is “following the same scenario that led to such success before,” said Gorka, the Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University.

The terrorists are exploiting the vacuum created by the lack of U.S. leadership and are leveraging the civil war in Libya to recruit fighters and provide its forces with real, in-theater experience and training, he said.

“The U.S. has again fallen into the trap of obsessing on the ‘shiniest’ and closest object of attention,” Gorka said. “For more than a decade all we cared about was al Qaeda, only to be surprised by the Islamic State. Now all we can focus on is ISIS, whilst the jihadist threat expands and grows stronger in Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, and elsewhere.”

The State Department report warned that increased violence in Libya had reached critical level in the past year. “But rise of ISIL in Libya marks a direct shift in which foreign nationals and western private-sector interests are being targeted specifically for ideological purposes.”

“The emergence of ISIL compounds an already severe threat environment,” the report said, noting that many U.S. businesses have evacuated or scaled back operations.

The report also warned that Libya’s government appears incapable of protecting many of Libya’s oil fields, some of which were attacked earlier this month by Islamic State militants.

The Libyan National Oil Company on March 4 declared a force majeure for 11 of its oil fields in central Libya as a result of Islamic State targeting of oil facilities. The declaration was designed to provide legal protections from claims against future disruptions. It followed a Libyan government announcement that it cannot protect the oil fields.

Reports from the region have provided limited information on how much territory the group controls.

IS Tripoli has carried out several attacks in the capital and is said to control the town of Nawfaliya in the central part of the country.

Islamic State groups also have been reported operating in Sirte, where they took over several buildings. Several television and radio stations the group has taken over have broadcast propaganda messages from Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani.

Last week, Libya Dawn militiamen fought Islamic State terrorists in Sirte in a bid to drive them from the city. The Libya Herald reported that a senior Tunisian Islamic State leader was killed in the fighting.

In Barqa province, Islamic State claimed to control the city of Derna, an Islamist extremist stronghold, but reports of its control were disputed by other terrorists.

In Derna, a group called the Islamic Youth Shura Council said it was pledging loyalty to Islamic State.

“ISIL Barqa Province continues to operate in the city, reportedly controlling a handful of neighborhoods and maintaining training camps just outside the city,” the report said, adding that about 800 ISIL fighters are in Derna.

Additionally, some Libyan fighters who went to Syria and Iraq to fight with IS appear to be returning to Libya, including some 300 fighters from the Islamic State’s Al Battar Brigade who have moved to the so-called Barqa province.

Islamic State’s Libya group gained international attention by releasing a shocking video Feb. 15 showing the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach. The mass murders were used by the group to announce its presence in Libya.

The day after the video surfaced, Egyptian military forces conducted bombing raids against Derna, targeting weapons storage and training sites and killing approximately 40 militants.

The report, produced by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, said Islamic State’s success in Libya will depend on its ability to navigate local tensions.

“ISIL’s advance in Libya may be more similar to Syria, where the group can take advantage of a larger conflict to grow,” the March 18 report states.

“Similar to Syria, the Libya conflict is home to a number of local and regional groups with complex alliances, and ISIL may purposefully confront groups that will provide it strategic gains and permit its growth.”

Islamic State in Libya is targeting foreign facilities and critical infrastructure in a bid to prevent opposing forces from gaining control.

“Recent incidents have involved attacks on high-profile establishments utilized by foreign nationals and businesses, repeated targeting of energy infrastructure, and kidnapping of foreign nationals,” the report said.

Recent attacks included a Jan. 27 car bombing of a parking garage in Tripoli’s Corinthia Hotel and the subsequent storming of the hotel, where foreign and Libyan hostages were taken.

Following a standoff, the gunmen killed themselves with a grenade, killing five foreign nationals and five Libyans. The attack was carried out by IS Tripoli, which claimed it was retaliation for the U.S. capture of Abu Anas al-Libya, who recently died in U.S. custody.

Other attacks took place Feb. 3, Feb. 13, and Feb. 20.

The Feb. 3 operation was carried out against the Mabruk oil field, near Sirte, and killed nine guards. During the attack, the terrorists destroyed oil tanks and a control room. The strike is expected to disrupt production for a year.

The video of the massacre of Christians was released Feb. 15, and on Feb. 20, two suicide bombing attacks killed 40 people killed in Qubba near Derna. The bombings, for which IS Barqa claimed responsibility, were carried out by a Libyan and a Saudi.

On March 3, Islamic State terrorists attacked the Dahra oil field about 310 miles southeast of Tripoli and temporarily took control.

Three days later Islamic State terrorists struck the al-Ghani oil field, about 440 miles southeast of Tripoli. During the attack, militants beheaded eight guards and kidnapped nine foreign oil workers, who remain missing. The hostages include four Filipinos, an Austrian, two Bangladeshis, a Czech, and a Ghanaian.

The attackers also blew up the facilities’ largest oil storage tank.

Two other Islamic State attacks near Tripoli were carried out on March 12 and March 15.

The report stated that the March 15 bombing in Janzour coincided with a car bombing in Misrata the same day. Both locations are controlled by Libya Dawn and “may signal a growing confrontation between Libya Dawn and ISIL.”

The nature of the connection between the Islamic State groups in Libya and the mainline Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is not completely clear.

“While ISIL in Iraq and Syria has a clear hierarchy and structure, it is also believed to allow its regional and local leadership to operate with a high level of autonomy,” the report said.

“Unlike ISIL in Iraq and Syria, ISIL Libya Provinces does not control critical infrastructure or territory, and has not yet become a significant fighting force in the pre-existing domestic conflict.”

The report concludes that: “ISIL’s emergence in Libya is unsurprising given the country’s prolonged descent into chaos following the 2011 civil war.”

Libya’s decline into a failed state is one of the major consequences of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, which worked with the NATO alliance to provide military support to Libyan rebels who ousted the government of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Subsequent governing arrangements have been unable to maintain stability.

Tunisia Museum Attack Meets Islamic State M.O

A victim is being evacuated by rescue workers outside the Bardo museum in Tunis, Wednesday, March 18, 2015 in Tunis, Tunisia. AP PHOTO/HASSENE DRIDI

A victim is being evacuated by rescue workers outside the Bardo museum in Tunis, Wednesday, March 18, 2015 in Tunis, Tunisia. AP PHOTO/HASSENE DRIDI


CSP, by Kyle Shideler, March 18, 2015:

The attack on Tunisia’s famed Bardo Museum possesses all the hallmarks of a Islamic State attack. A small number of attackers, possibly in military dress, opened fire on a bus filled with western tourists, before following  fleeing tourists inside the Museum and taking them hostage. Two gunmen were reportedly killed by Tunisian authorities, while another two or three attackers may have escaped (early reports are always suspect, and the tendency in mass shootings is for witnesses to overestimate the number of attackers.) Over twenty people, mostly western tourists, were killed.

The attack quickly brings to mind several recent Islamic State-linked attacks, which also featured small team assaults against highly visible but comparatively soft targets likely to include Westerners but often in close proximity to actual government sites. Bardo is not far from the Tunisian Parliament.

For example, the IS attack against the Corinthia hotel in Tripoli, Libya, targeted “diplomatic missions and crusader security companies,” but was also the residence of the Prime Minister for the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Libyan Dawn faction.

Also comparable is the Kouachi Brothers violent storming of the Charlie Hebdo offices, targeting for death the satirical magazine’s editors and writers. While the Kouachi brothers claimed association with Al Qaeda, Islamic State prominently highlighted the attack, and the role of played by Kouachi confederate and Islamic State devotee Amedy Coulibaly in the release of Dabiq 7, the would-be Caliphate’s online magazine.

Tunisia has long been a base of recruitment for the Islamic State, as multiple media sources have pointed out.  Islamic State has been attempting to highlight its influence in the small North African state, by claiming responsibility for the assassinations of Tunisian leftist politicians Chokri Belaid and Mohammed Brahmi according to a video by long time jihadist militant Boubakr Hakim, released in December. Hakim is believed to have been responsible for the assassinations, together with recently slain Islamic State leader Ahmed Rouissi, recently killed in fighting with Libyan Dawn forces. Hakim, a member of Ansar al-Sharia before joining Islamic State had ties to the same French jihad recruitment network that produced Coulibaly and Kouachi. There have been claims the hits were carried out by Ansar al-Sharia on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood Ennahda party, with Al Qaeda-affiliated Abdel-Hakim Belhadj serving as broker. Belhadj himself has also recently been accused of aligning with Islamic State.

Given the preexisting Libya-Tunisia networks that Islamic State appears to have inherited, we can expect to see more such attacks.

***

Also see:

U.S. Backed Rebel Reportedly Leads Islamic State in Libya

map derna

CSP, by Kyle Shideler, March 2, 2015: 

Major news out of Libya as  the former head of the Al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and a major player in the U.S.-backed overthrow of Mummar Gaddafi, has reportedly joined the Islamic State and is leading its forces there. This according to The Blaze National Security journalist Sara Carter on twitter, and Fox News’ Catherine Herridge in a Fox News report.

Belhadj’s ties to Al Qaeda were controversial during the run up to U.S. airstrikes in support of the Libyan rebels, but this did not prevent him from maintaining a high profile at the time, including being made head of the Tripoli Military Council, a position he held until resigning to run for office in May 2012. Belhadj has a reputation for involvement in the international jihad has well, playing a role in the 2004 Madrid training bombings, and accused by investigators of being involved in the murder of two Tunisian politicians at behest of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Islamic State fighters landed in Libya back in November of 2014, and have been at work establishing training camps in the Libyan city of Derna before launching a terror offensive which included an attack on a Libyan hotel, attacks on oil field workers, and the execution of 21 Copts in a graphic video which made international headlines.

If Belhadj has gone over to Islamic State, it will represent a major boost to IS’ efforts to co-opt and bring in Libya’s existing jihadist forces under their banner, which now reportedly includes as many as 3,000 fighters.   BelHadj’s forces play a significant role in the Islamist “Libyan Dawn” coalition (which includes the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda’s Ansar al-Sharia), which currently holds Tripoli, and which claims to be the rightful government in opposition to the UN recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni.

Libyan Dawn supporters have repeatedly blamed Anti-Islamist general Khalifa al Haftar for the terror attacks of the Islamic State, including on the hotel residence of the Libyan Dawn prime minister, so there is reason to believe that if a binary choice develops between Belhadj and Haftar (who was recently made Commander and Chief of the Al-Thinni government forces), the Islamist factions will chooses Belhadj.

This would represent a major coup for the Islamic State, whose global strategy requires the incorporation of pre-established jihadist groups to bolsters their claim to Caliphate status and take additional territory, thus reinforcing their religious and legal authority, and attracting additional recruits.

Also see:

2015: The Year of ISIS Expansion From Gaza to North Africa

March 2, 2015 / /

As the Obama administration continues to live in their fantasy world of the Islamic State (IS) being “defeated” by the “Coalition of the Reluctantly Willing” and a ill-conceived Twitter campaign, IS has been busy replenishing its ranks. They’ve been doing this and weakening their enemies by recruiting defectors from the other Syrian opposition factions (such as al-Nusra/Khorasan Group). A big driver for this is the directive Baghdadi put out for the terror organization to build local ties and form alliance in advance of future operations. One such example of al-Nusra/KG losing people to the other side is increased IS presence along the Lebanese-Syrian border. Other reports coming in describe entire opposition units in Halab, Hama, Homs, Idlib and dawr al-Zawr. The reasons for this are obvious:

– IS offers bigger cash incentives for joining its ranks. Money talks.

– The other factions view IS as being the strongest faction in the regional war that will ultimately “crush” all opposition and the best chance to seriously challenge the Asad regime. In other words, everybody wants to be part of a “winner.”

Indeed, IS – or anybody for that matter – will enjoy a huge surge in recruitment when they’re doing well on the battlefield, which gets amplified by an effective IO campaign. This is also a great gauge to see how well the Obama administration’s IS strategy has been working out thus far. So how are they doing? Well for starters we’re hearing that the Gaza-based Mujahidin Shura Council (MSC) has pretty much been “disbanded” and absorbed into IS’ North African affiliates such as the Egypt-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM). The MSC had been working to become a legitimate al-Qaida affiliate and had formed in 2012 (some reports will say as early as 2011) when three Gaza-based Salafi groups merged in response to guidance received from the al-Qaida (AQ) senior leadership. The MSC was very similar to the MSC that was set up in Iraq prior to the formation of the “Islamic State of Iraq” now known simply as the “Islamic State” (Long War Journal did a great piece on this in 2012 that remains applicable to the current situation).

Although primarily based in Gaza, the organization also had a presence in Egypt’s Sinai region and Libya. However, the effort fell through due to unknown reasons, but it may have to do with internal problems the entity had. In fact, by NOV 14 we had began to see elements of the MSC’s branch in Sinai had already defected to ABM. The terror group also made in-roads elsewhere by forming an alliance with its splinter group Ajnad Masr for increased joint-operations in the Cairo-area as discussed in our piece titled “Haftar-Sisi Alliance: The Roadblock to ISIS Bridge Into the Maghreb.” We assess that the addition of MSC personnel into ABM’s ranks will bolster the Sinai group’s capabilities with knowledge of alternative smuggling routes at the local-level coming into play to avoid the Sisi regime’s crackdown on IS affiliates.

Islamic State’s Presence in Gaza
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=293

ISIS in Gaza Update
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=510

Haftar-Sisi Alliance: The Roadblock to ISIS Bridge Into the Maghreb
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5033

Salafi-Jihadists in Gaza Continue to Efforts to Establish Islamic Emirate
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2012/10/salafi-jihadists_in.php

Terrorism: What Is The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem?
http://www.ibtimes.com/terrorism-what-mujahideen-shura-council-environs-jerusalem-1663036

Haifa man named as victim of terrorist attack on Egypt border
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/haifa-man-named-as-victim-of-terrorist-attack-on-egypt-border-1.437130

abu wahib_gaza

The infamous Abu Wahib (variant-Waheeb) shown in IS propaganda circulating throughout Gaza
Source: al-Battar Media Foundation

The act of absorbing one’s enemies is not a new phenomenon and is actually part of the long history of the Islamic religion itself. As we’ve seen throughout the Middle East’s extremely violent history of conquest after conquest, the 21st regrettably isn’t any different. ABM itself formed in 2011 as a by-product of the so-called “Arab Spring” that the Obama administration supported that led to installing the Muslim Brotherhood as the new regime in Egypt. The terror group mainly targeted the Jewish population in the Sinai and throughout Israel itself, although this all changed when GEN Sisi came to power and began systematically targeting all jihadist elements in the country that was allowed to flourish under the Morsi regime. Since aligning itself with IS, the group has adopted some – but not all – of Baghdadi’s ideology. The act of beheading enemies (especially those deemed to be “traitors”) is now a recurring theme for the organization after pledging allegiance to Baghdadi’s “Caliphate.”

Egypt attack: Profile of Sinai Province militant group
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-25882504

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis/Wilayat Sinai
http://timep.org/esw/profiles/terror-groups/ansar-bayt-al-maqdis/

Gaza jihadist group praises Ansar Jerusalem fighters, calls for more attacks
http://www.longwarjournal.org/threat-matrix/archives/2014/03/msc_in_jerusalem_praises_slain.php

The Resurgence of Militant Islamists in Egypt
http://www.mei.edu/content/resurgence-militant-islamists-egypt

Palestinian militants from Al-Ansar brigade take part in a training session in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip

ABM: The ISIS Cancer spreading throughout the body of North Africa and Gaza
Source: al-Arabiya

As of this writing ABM has been focused on expanding IS’ influence in Gaza, the Sinai and Libya in order to secure smuggling routes that are supporting the overall effort in Syria against the Assad regime. Central to this is ABM’s Sinai campaign to secure the gateway to Gaza and by extension Syria – the increased presence along the Lebanese-Syrian border is part of this greater strategic vision the senior IS leadership has for the region. A great deal of weapons and foreign fighters coming from Tunisia and Libya are going through Egypt, Gaza and Northern Lebanon to get to Syria (both straight into Syria or through Turkey). Of the Libyan weapons being sent to facilitate the anti-Assad war effort, the majority of them are coming from weapons depots in Misrata and Benghazi. On 29 AUG 14 we stated in “The Strategic Importance of Egypt to ISIS” that the terror group had not yet firmly entrenched itself inside Egypt, but was getting close as the result of ABM aligning itself with Baghdadi. Today, we can say that ABM has made great strides since then despite being targeted by the Sisi regime – and they’re going to become a much greater threat with absorbing the MSC into its ranks.

The Strategic Importance of Egypt to ISIS
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1392

Egypt and UAE Launch Airstrikes in Libya: US Kept in the Dark
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1302

Is Egypt Planning Military Intervention in Libya?
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=584

The borders of terror
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/News/7997/17/The-borders-of-terror.aspx

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 10.01.21 AM

Sisi regime declared “open season” for hunting down IS and its affiliates
Source: ISIS Study Group

Economic warfare against members of the “Coalition of the Reluctantly Willing” has also steadily increased in both Egypt and Libya, with oil pipelines being regular targets in IED attacks aiming to disrupt the economies of not just Egypt and Libya, but also that of Jordan and European nations such as Italy. Another reason is that they they can gain access to fuel sources to sell on the black market and supply their forces. This is indicative of the cross-border coordination one can expect from multiple groups that have united under a common umbrella – in this case the Black Flag of IS. Below are a few examples of alleged IEDs emplaced targeting Libyan oil pipeline between Sarir Field and Hergia Port that we received from our in-country sources:

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 4.21.57 PM

Source: The ISIS Study Group

libya_pipeline

Source: The ISIS Study Group

The alliance between the Sisi regime and Libyan GEN Khalifah Haftar may have struck IS strongholds inside Libya, but the jihadist organization has answered back with a series of bombings targeting the joint-Egyptian/Haftar faction command center in Quba. They didn’t stop there – they also launched an attack against the Iranian embassy in Tripoli last week. The attack served two purposes:

– To target a major hub for coordinating IRGC-Qods Force and Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) intelligence operations in the country. The Iranian regime will typically coordinate intelligence operations inside of a target country from their embassies and consulates. In fact, cultural centers set up by Iranian diplomatic missions are staffed with MOIS and Qods Force personnel to provide cover.

– Sending a message to Iran and the West that IS has firmly entrenched itself inside Libya. The Iranian Ambassador was not present at the compound when it was attacked, suggesting the target was symbolic in nature.

ISIL-linked group claims Iran embassy attack in Libya
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/iran-envoy-libyan-capital-targeted-bomb-attack-150222113314567.html

iranian tripoli embassy

The aftermath of the Iranian embassy attack
Source: Reuters

In addition to being an avenue from which to target Western economies, Libya is also a potential launching pad for jihadists looking to travel to Europe under the guise of “refugees” to facilitate the execution of attacks on the continent. This will also affect the US due to the naive policy of the Obama administration to admit thousands of refugees from places like Libya, Yemen, Syria and Iraq. Refugees who obtain citizenship to a European nation will also be able to circumvent the largely nonexistent enforcement of US border security laws to enter the country under the guise of “tourists” or “students” – with DHS completely oblivious of their usage of this status to further a much more insidious agenda.

Cultural Suicide: Why Allowing Syrian War Refugees to Enter Western Countries is a Pandora’s Box to More Attacks
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4987

The Jews: Europe’s Canary in the Mine on the Growing Jihadist Threat
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4939

Attack in Paris, France Kills 12
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4336

Islamic State: The French Connection
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3875

ISIS Attack Plot Thwarted in Belgium – A Sign of Things to Come?
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1890

Jihadist Infestation: Terrorism Results in Copenhagen Chaos
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4831

As 2014 was the year that put IS on “the map,” 2015 will be the year that we see greater expansion into North Africa going into Gaza and the border-area with Lebanon. This will also be the year that we will see IS begin reaching out “to touch” Europe and the US with attacks conducted by well-organized cells with extensive experience in Syria and Iraq as opposed to the home-grown jihadist cells we’ve seen in Denmark, French and Belgium attacks. It will also become painfully obvious to those still in denial that the Obama administration has a strong strategy against IS – which it doesn’t. In a time where the world needs a Churchill, Patton and Montgomery we’re getting it – its just coming from GEN Sisi, GEN Haftar, King Abdullah and Bibi Netanyahu instead of the US government. However, these great men have limits in what they can do. They will need much greater US military assistance – far greater than what’s currently being given. The Libyan people have been taking to the streets demanding that GEN Haftar take command of the Army as they view him as the best shot they have at eradicating the IS threat. We should be supporting GEN Haftar and GEN Sisi in their efforts. Considering the fact that the Obama administration still thinks IS fighters are just bored young men looking for jobs while downplaying the significance of Islamic fundamentalism.

Libyan parliament proposes Haftar, a divisive figure, as head of army
http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/02/25/uk-libya-security-idUKKBN0LT1EG20150225

Libyan General Khalifa Haftar
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=456

The ISIS Expansion into North Africa
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3257

Obama’s ISIS Strategy: Failed Before it Started
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1730

Another Reason Obama’s ISIS Strategy Has Already Failed
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1757

DoS

The Sad state of the US government’s IS strategy has become butt of frequent jokes on Twitter and Facebook
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Links to Other Related Articles:

Egyptian Army Hits Back at ISIS in Sinai

ISIS Efforts to Open up an Egyptian Front

Egyptian Army and IDF Take on ISIS Supporters in Sinai

US Embassy in Tripoli “Secured” by Islamist Militias of the Dawn of Libya

Denmark Update

World View: Reports Indicate Egypt, Italy, Russia Planning Military Action in Libya

Reuters

Reuters

Breitbart, by JOHN J. XENAKIS, March 1, 2015:

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Reports indicate Egypt, Italy, Russia planning military action in Libya
  • Egypt court declares Hamas to be a terrorist organization
  • Egypt and Turkey may try to create a ‘Sunni front’ with Saudi Arabia

Reports indicate Egypt, Italy, Russia planning military action in Libya

Russian warships in the Mediterranean (Russia Today)
Russian warships in the Mediterranean (Russia Today)

Various unconfirmed reports are emerging indicating that there may be joint international action planned in Libya as early as next week.

Egypt is already conducting air strikes against ISIS-linked targets in Derna, close to where Egyptian Coptics were massacred recently, as displayed in a gruesome video. Debka reports that Egypt’s president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi is planning further action in Libya, including more air strikes and possible ground troops, within a few days. According to the report, Egyptian commando and marine forces are preparing for sea landings to seize Derna and destroy the terrorist elements there. If this attack is actually launched, it will be the first time in modern times that an Arab country has sent ground forces into another Arab country.

Al-Jazeera television reports that the Italian navy is getting ready to carry off sophisticated military drills off the coast of Libya as early as Monday. Although Italy claims that it will be a regular exercise, there are many more vessels taking part in this year’s exercise than have in the past, which Italy explains by saying that they are testing out sophisticated new technologies.

There are several reasons why Italy is pursuing this show of force:

  • Italy considers the flood of migrants from Libya into Italy to be an existential threat to Italy itself, because there may be ISIS-trained terrorists smuggled in, along with the other migrants. Italy may be planning some kind of military action in Libya in conjunction with Egypt’s air strikes and other operations.
  • The GreenStream pipeline is a gas pipeline running underneath the Mediterranan Sea from Libya to Sicily. The pipeline is vital to economic relations between Italy and Libya. In recent months, there have been attacks by gunmen on oil installations in Libya, forcing some ports to shut down. The new show of naval force may be related to threats of attack or sabotage on the pipeline.
  • For over a year, Italy ran a search and rescue program called “Mare Nostrum” (“Our Sea”) that saved the lives of thousands of migrants attempting to travel from Libya to Italy. This program required Italian naval vessels near the Libyan coast. In November, the program ended and an EU program called Triton replaced it, but Triton restricts its operations to only 30 miles off the Italian coast. Triton has been considered unsatisfactory because many more migrants are drowning. Italy’s new show of naval force may be an attempt to restore a portion of the Mare Nostrum program.
  • Related to the last point, on Saturday there were large demonstrations in Rome by Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League party for the government to do more to keep immigrants out. The naval show of force may help to mollify the protestors.

Some reports indicate that Russia has hinted at a willingness to participate in a naval blockade of Libya to prevent arm supplies from leaving Libya for other countries. Russia could play a role in this because it already has a naval fleet in the Mediterranean.

These are all unconfirmed reports of possible military action in Libya by Egypt, Italy and Russia. There are no reports of possible participation by Nato or the United States. Debkaand Cairo Post

Egypt court declares Hamas to be a terrorist organization

Egypt on Saturday became the first Arab country to name Hamas as a terrorist organization. The U.S. and the European Union have named Hamas as a terror group. An EU court took Hamas off the list in December 2014, ruling that the designation was not based on solid legal evidence, but the EU is appealing the court’s decision.

According to a decision on Saturday from the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters:

It has been proven without any doubt that the movement has committed acts of sabotage, assassinations and the killing of innocent civilians and members of the armed forces and police in Egypt.

It has been also ascertained with documents that [Hamas] has carried out bombings that have taken lives and destroyed institutions and targeted civilians and the armed forces personnel. It has also been ascertained that this movement works for the interests of the terrorist Brotherhood organization [which Egypt has already declared to be a terrorist organization].

About a month ago, the same court declared Hamas’s military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, to be a terrorist organization. Saturday’s ruling makes the political wing a terrorist organization as well.

A Hamas spokesman denied all the charges and said that the ruling was “dangerous”:

History has recorded Egypt’s support to national liberty movements in the Arab world and Africa, particularly in Palestine. … This ruling serves the Israeli occupation. It’s a politicized decision that constitutes the beginning of Egypt evading its role toward the Palestinian cause. This is a coup against history and an Egyptian abuse of the Palestinian cause and resistance, which fights on behalf of the Arab nation. We call on Egypt to reconsider this dangerous decision.

Al Jazeera and Al Ahram (Cairo) and CS Monitor and Al Resalah (Palestine)

Egypt and Turkey may try to create a ‘Sunni front’ with Saudi Arabia

By coincidence or by planning, the presidents of both Egypt and Turkey will be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this week. Egypt’s Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan will both be visiting King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the new king of Saudi Arabia, who has replaced King Abdullah, who died last month.

It is not known whether Erdogan will ever be in the same room as al-Sisi. The two have been bitter enemies ever since a coup by al-Sisi ousted Egypt’s elected president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, and later declared MB to be a terrorist organization. Erdogan’s own political party, the AKP, is an Islamist party like the Muslim Brotherhood, and they had good relations while Morsi was in power.

There has been some speculation that King Salman is going to completely reverse King Abdullah’s policy on the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) had branded MB as a terrorist organization, but some are wondering if Salman is going to shift from that policy. The Saudi foreign minister recently said that his government has “no problem with the Muslim Brotherhood; our problem is with a small group affiliated to the organization,” suggesting that shift is in the works.

Other problems make an Egypt-Turkey rapprochement unlikely: Erdogan vitriolicly hates Israel and supports Hamas. Al-Sisi vitriolicly hates Hamas and works closely with Israel on military matters, especially in North Sinai. It does n0t seem likely that any meeting, if one even occurs, will be pleasant.

If King Salman is able to pull off a miracle and mediate a new relationship between Egypt and Turkey, then it would appear to be the establishment of a new “Sunni front” in the Mideast, to oppose Iran, Hezbollah and the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Al Arabiya and Kurdistan and Arab Times

ISIS Chemical Weapons Libya: Military Warns Islamic State Might Have Mustard Gas, Sarin

Men in orange jumpsuits purported to be Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State kneel in front of armed men along a beach said to be near Tripoli, in this still image from an undated video made available on social media on Feb. 15, 2015. Reuters

Men in orange jumpsuits purported to be Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State kneel in front of armed men along a beach said to be near Tripoli, in this still image from an undated video made available on social media on Feb. 15, 2015. Reuters

IBTimes, by Cristina Silva, Feb. 22, 2015:

Islamic State fighters in Libya allegedly have seized large amounts of chemical weapons, including mustard gas and the nerve agent Sarin, the Libyan military charged. “Unfortunately [chemical weapons] exist in locations known to the militias, who have seized large amounts of them to use in their war against the [Libyan] army,” a Libyan military official told the London daily Asharq al-Awsat.

ISIS fighters near Tripoli have begun testing the weapons that reportedly once belonged to the former regime of Moammar Gadhafi. “Before his death, Gadhafi left approximately 1,000 cubic tons worth of material used for manufacturing chemical weapons and about 20,000 cubic tons of mustard gas,” the military official said.

The weapons are likely 10 years old and in a degraded state, but remain dangerous, former British Army officer Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told The Daily Mail Sunday. “While we don’t know how much IS has acquired, and though the Libyan Sarin dates back to the Gadhafi era, it would still have a toxicity and pose a danger,” he said. “Libya is virtually Europe and so the fear factor from a European perspective is huge. I should think the security forces will be watching this situation very closely.”

Last year, Libyan officials said they had destroyed the last known stockpile of chemical weapons from Gadhafi’s regime. “Libya is totally empty of any presence of chemical weapons … which could pose a threat to the safety of people, the environment or neighboring regions,” Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz said at the time.

ISIS already has used chemical weapons, including chlorine in Iraq. Islamic State fighters have seized territory in Syria and Iraq in recent months and now are apparently targeting Libya. The North African nation has lacked a strong government since Gadhafi was toppled four years ago.

Last week, Islamic State fighters released a video purporting to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians kidnapped in Libya. In the video, militants dressed in black beheaded the captives on a beach near Tripoli.