ISIS Hammers Christian Towns in Syria for Third Day

REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS

REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS

Breitbart, by Katie Gorka, Feb. 25, 2015:

Today marks the third day in ISIS’ latest offensive against a string of Christian towns and villages in northeast Syria. According to Aziz Mirza, with the Syriac Cultural Association, speaking from Qamishli by phone today, ISIS is continuing to push forward in trying to take control of this predominantly Assyrian Christian region.

Mirza said an estimated 350-400 people are missing from 12 different villages, but it has been very difficult to confirm those numbers because all cell phones appear to be confiscated. When relatives have tried calling, members of ISIS answer the phones, Mirza said.

Kurdish and Christian fighters have been working together for the past year and half to protect this area from ISIS. The Christian fighters, who operate as the Syriac Military Council, had forces in 3 villages: Tel Hormizd, at the southern end of the Khabur valley, Tel Shamiram, at the northern end, and Tel Tawil on the northeast flank. The SMC and Kurdish (YPG) forces had been there since Feb 7, but with the pre-dawn attack that was launched on February 23rd, ISIS has now retaken control. So far, the Syriac Military Council has lost four fighters with another 12 deaths suspected but not yet confirmed.

ISIS is currently focusing its efforts on the town of Tel Tamar, which is the regional center. Yesterday, ISIS set off three car bombs just outside the barricades protecting Tel Tamar, near where the Syriac Military Council forces and Kurdish forces are headquartered. There were no casualties. Mirza also said that fighting ebbed somewhat on Tuesday because of heavy rains, but today, February 25, it was back at full force.

In a separate phone call, Sewerios Malke from the Syriac Military Council confirmed that ISIS is still trying to take control of the region and that they are trying to cross the Khabur river. The Kurdish and Syriac forces have been able to hold them back so far but it is uncertain how much longer that can last. He estimates the number of ISIS fighters at several thousand.

According to a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release, U.S. and coalition military forces have carried out airstrikes in the Khabur River region where this fighting is going on. Between 8 a.m. yesterday (Feb 24) and 8 a.m. today (Feb 25), local time, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted nine airstrikes in Syria:

  • Near Hasakah, three airstrikes struck an ISIL vehicle.
  • Near Kobani, six airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units, an ISIL fighting position and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions.
AINA Media

AINA Media

However, both Malke and Mirza asserted that there were no airstrikes in the Khabur region, only further south, 22 kilometers below Qamishli. The stark contrast between the stories of hundreds or even thousands of ISIS fighters attacking villages, taking as many as 400 hostages, and three U.S. airstrikes in the same region that struck only one vehicle, suggests the U.S. may be missing the target.

Some have argued that without troops, or at least advisors, on the ground, there is insufficient intelligence to guide airstrikes. In addition, representatives of the Syriac forces have been making the case in Washington for the past several years that their location in Syria made them particularly vulnerable to attack by ISIS and they could be key players in the fight against ISIS. They were therefore lobbying to be included in the equipping and training of opposition forces in Syria. The State Department has confirmed that the Syriac forces were not included in the first round of training.

Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security. @katharinegorka.

Also see:

War on Christians: ISIS Goes on Church-Burning and Kidnapping Spree in Syria

Fighters from ISIS parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armoured vehicle in Mosul, Iraq, last year. ISIS militants have abducted at least 70 Assyrian Christians in Syria. (Associated Press)

Fighters from ISIS parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armoured vehicle in Mosul, Iraq, last year. ISIS militants have abducted at least 70 Assyrian Christians in Syria. (Associated Press)

Breitbart, by Katie Gorka, Feb. 24, 2015:

After the reports of attacks against Christian in Syria, Katie Gorka, President of the Council on Global Security, spoke directly to representatives of the Assyrian community currently under attack:

Around 4:00 in the morning on Monday, February 23rd, an estimated 1500 ISIS fighters attacked a series of Christian towns in northeast Syria, burning churches, taking as many as 90 hostages, and forcing hundreds to flee from their homes.

According to reports from the Syriac Military Council, a Christian self-defense organization, when ISIS fighters attacked the town of Tel Shamiram, they separated out the men, around 50 of whom they have taken into the mountains, and approximately 90 women and children are being held prisoner in the village by ISIS militants. Some residents were able to flee and they are currently sheltering in churches in Al-Hassaka and Al-Qamishli. According to one source, ISIS has taken 30 Christian young women and plans to distribute them as concubines in the town of Shadadeh.

Bassam Ishak, president of the Syriac National Council of Syria, has made several recent visits to Washington, D.C. warning of the potential for these attacks and asking for U.S. support. He said Hassaka would no doubt be targeted because it separates ISIS in Syria from ISIS in Iraq. Ishak said that the Syriac Military Council had about 1100 troops, but weapons for only 500. The area is being defended by militia that include the Syriac Military Council (MFS), Christian police (Sutoro), the Khabur Guards, and the Kurdish People Protection Units (YPG).

His Grace Mar Awa Royel, Bishop of the Assyrian Church of the East, Diocese of California, spoke earlier today with the Assyrian Bishop in the area where the attacks have taken place. Bishop Royel reported the following:

I was in contact around 3:00 a.m. this morning with our bishop who is in Hassaka. Over 400 families from the region of Khabour fled to Hassaka. They were brought to the cathedral. Bishop Afram Athneil received them. Initially they were housed in the church hall and in the bishop’s residence. Now they have been put up in homes in Hassaka and Qamishli. Qamishli is under the control of the government but Hassaka is not. The biggest fear is that ISIS is going to overrun the city of Hassaka which is where many Christians are now seeking protection. ISIS is attacking there because the Christians are there and Arab and Kurdish militia are there.

According to Bishop Afrem, the fighting began around 4:00 am Monday morning in the town of Tel Talmar, which is the regional center. The fighting became very intense and ISIS systematically began to take village by village along this 35 kilometer stretch of the Khabour River, all of which are populated by Assyrian Christians. In Tel Shamiram, 50 families have been taken out of their homes, the women and children are being kept in the school, and the village church has been burned. ISIS is saying they want to use the Christians as pawns in exchange for detainees.

In another village, Tel Hormizd, about 12-14 villagers were kidnapped and taken out of the village and nothing has been heard from them. The church there has also been burned down. 200 people were fleeing by car and bus from another village which the Bishop did not want to name in order to protect their flight. Tel Goran was also taken by ISIS and the fighting is currently heavy.

Bishop Royel has said the people of the region are desperate for help and he is asking American churches and Christians to condemn these latest actions of ISIS and to call on President Obama for immediate help to the region.

It is alleged that the Obama Administration did not include Christians from the north eastern region of Syria that is now under attack in its first round of training programs to train and equip the so-called moderate opposition forces. Whether Christians will be included in future training initiatives has not been determined.

Humanitarian assistance to the Christians under siege in northeast Syria can be donated through the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organization (ACERO).

Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security. Follow her at @katharinegorka.

Also see:

Islamic State Torches Churches, Takes 200 Christian Hostages, Western Forces Present Do Nothing

By Raymond Ibrahim, Feb.24, 2015:

In the early hours of Monday, February 23, Islamic State fighters attacked several Christian villages along the Khabur River in north eastern Syria. As many as 200 Christians—including women and children—were taken hostage.  Their families fear that they will either be sold as slaves and/or raped, or simply massacred, as many other Christian hostages of the Islamic State have been—most recently the 21 Coptic martyrs in Libya.

Several churches were also torched or damaged during the jihadi raid, including the church in Tel Hurmiz, one of the oldest churches in Syria, the Mar Bisho church in Tel Shamiran, the church in Qabr Shamiy and the church in Tel Baloua.

And, perhaps worst of all,this raid “brought to light deplorable conduct on the part of other persons,” namely the West.  According to Archbishop Hindo:

I wish to say quite clearly that we have the feeling of being abandoned into the hands of ISIS.  Yesterday American bombers flew over the area several times, but without taking action. We have a hundred Assyrian families who have taken refuge in Hassakè, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or from Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians. The UN high commission for Refugees is nowhere to be seen.

BREAKING: Islamic State Attacks Assyrian Christian Villages in Northern Syria, Taking Captives and Torching Churches

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Feb. 24, 2015:

Breaking news late yesterday and this morning bring reports of an assault by the Islamic State in Northern Syria targeting Assyrian Christian villages along the Khabour River that began early yesterday morning. Other reports indicate that ISIS has taken captives and torched several churches, including one of the most ancient churches in Syria, and hundreds fleeing the area downriver to Hassake. ISIS is meeting resistance from Christian and Kurdish militias.

European Syriac Union rights activist and journalist David Vergili reports:

Assyrian Christian villages along the Khabour river in the Hassake region are under heavy attacks of ISIS. Hundred of people left the region and number of women and children have been kidnapped by ISIS. Clashes continue between MFS, YPG against ISIS.

On Monday around 5am ISIS carried out an attack on the Assyrian villages in the Khabour region leaving casualties and another exodus of Christians from the region. ISIS attacks are concentrated in the Khabour villages of Til Hirmis, Til Shamiram, Qabre Shamiye and Til Khebish. Local sources confirm that there are ongoing clashes in all front lines against ISIS. Various reports suggest casualties of civilians and burning of churches.

A Demand For Action, another Christian rights organization, published this map to show the area of activity:

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The Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) reported late last night of captives taken and churches torched by ISIS (Warning: graphic images at link):

ISIS has abducted dozens of Assyrian men, women and children, including 12 from Tel Hurmiz, 15 from Tel Goran. They have been brought to Jabal Abdul Aziz. The residents of the villages of Tel Shamiran (approximately 50) and Tel Jazira (about 40) are being held captive in their own villages by ISIS.

According to a report by Newsweek, ISIS will use the Assyrian hostages for a prisoner swap with Kurdish fighters.

A number of churches have been destroyed, including the church in Tel Hurmiz, one of the oldest churches in Syria, the Mar Bisho church in Tel Shamiran, the church in Qabr Shamiy and the church in Tel Baloua.

The Newsweek report referenced above cited threats made against the lives of the captured Christian villagers if a prisoner exchange doesn’t happen:

The terrorist organization demanded a prisoner exchange with Kurdish fighters; they are seeking the release of ISIS members in exchange for the villagers. The exact number of prisoners ISIS is looking to swap for is not known. They have threatened the lives of the village men, estimated to be more than 100, if the swap does not go through.

A Reuters report published this morning provides a report from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that ISIS has taken at least 90 captives and notes the strategic importance of the area for Kurdish and Christian militias, as well for ISIS:

Syrian Kurdish militia have renewed their assault on the militants, launching two offensives against them in northeast Syria on Sunday, helped from U.S.-led air strikes and Iraqi peshmerga who have been shelling Islamic State-held territory from their side of the nearby border.

This part of Syria is strategically important in the fight against Islamic State because it borders territory controlled by the group in Iraq, where last year the ultra-hardline group committed atrocities against the Yazidi community.

Tel Tamr, a town near the Assyrian Christian villages where the abductions occurred, has witnessed heavy clashes between Islamic State fighters and the Kurdish YPG militia, the Observatory said.

Here are some related tweets with information on refugees and the militia response to the ISIS attack. Follow David Vergili and A Demand For Action on Twitter for updates.

civilians fleeing Tell Hamis

Assyrians flee Khabour

save Assyria tweet

Christian fighter

Christian militia

Read more

Revoke US Citizenship from Americans Who Join ISIS

A bus en route from Sofia to Istanbul goes through passport control on the Turkish side of the border at Kapikule. PHOTO: DANIELLA ZALCMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

A bus en route from Sofia to Istanbul goes through passport control on the Turkish side of the border at Kapikule. PHOTO: DANIELLA ZALCMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

CSP, by Fred Fleitz, Feb. 23, 2015:

The French and Australian governments have taken aggressive steps to protect its citizens from so-called home grown terrorists who travel to the Middle East to fight for ISIS.  It is time for the United States to implement similar measures.

Over the weekend, the French government for the first time seized the passports of six French citizens who allegedly were planning to travel to Syria to join ISIS and banned 40 more from leaving the country.

France’s top court ruled late last month that the government could strip French citizenship from naturalized French citizens convicted of terrorism charges.  This decision will allow the government to withdraw French citizenship and passports from dual nationality jihadists who immigrated to France from north Africa and the Middle East.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott plans to strip Australian citizenship from dual nationals who return to his country after fighting for ISIS.   The Australian government may also suspend or withdraw citizenship from natural-born Australians who fought for ISIS.  Canada and the UK have laws on the books to do this but reportedly have not used them yet.

An estimated 20,000 foreigners have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join ISIS.  3,400 of them are Europeans; about 100 are Americans.  The Wall Street Journal reported today that European ISIS recruits are beginning to take steps to evade stepped-up security measures to prevent them from travelling to the Middle East by traveling by road and pretending to take trips to visit relatives or go on holiday to hide their final destinations.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Congressman Steve King (R-IA) believe the United States must crack down on U.S citizens who join ISIS.  That’s why last month they proposed the Expatriate Terrorists Act.  If passed, this bill would revoke U.S. citizenship from anyone fighting for or supporting ISIS.  The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Joe Manchin (R-WV).

Democrats blocked an earlier version of this bill submitted by Cruz last fall because they claimed it was vague and would affect the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens.  The White House did not take a public position on Cruz’s bill but is believed to oppose it.

Congressman Steve King explained the urgency for passing the Expatriate Terrorist Act when he said, “I believe these American terrorists have voluntarily renounced their citizenship upon taking an oath to a foreign terrorist organization.”

Senator Cruz, Congressman King and officials in France and Australia understand the seriousness of their citizens traveling to Syria and Iraq to fight for ISIS and returning home to commit acts of terror.  The Cruz/King bill would send a powerful message that America is prepared to do whatever it takes to defeat ISIS and Americans who join terrorists groups will pay a high price.

Shoebat: The Ottoman Conquest Of The Middle East Begins

By Walid Shoebat (Shoebat Exclusive)

Turkish soldiers launched an overnight raid into neighboring Syria sending 600 ground forces backed by  a combination of 100 tanks and armored vehicles crossing the border near the border town of Kobani. There were also drones and airplanes flew reconnaissance missions overhead as Davutoglu disclosed on Sunday today.

The mission, they claim, is for “saving Turkish soldiers” stuck for months at the tomb of the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, moving the crypt Sunday back to Turkey after ceremonially planting the country’s crescent-and-star flag after destroying the complex where the tomb is located. ISIS who are Wahhabist are notorious for blowing up tombs and do not approve of elevating tombs above the ground or having folks visiting tombs.

But that is not the full scoop.

The military operation commenced as one group traveled to the tomb, some 22 miles from Turkey on the banks of the Euphrates River in Syria’s embattled Aleppo province where the remains where, Davutoglu said while another groupseized an area of Syrian territory only yards from the Turkish border in Syria’s Ashma region, according to a statement from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office.

“Before the Turkish flag was lowered at (the tomb), the Turkish flag started to be waved at another location in Syria,” Davutoglu said.

Turkey is not simply moving the remains of the Ottoman bones back home to Turkey where it belongs, the Turkish Prime Minister emphasized the transfer of the remains is “temporarily moved to Turkey to be buried later back in Syria, and ensuring the security zone in Syrian territory in the town of Ashma, which is only a few kilometers from the border, to later re-transfer the remains of Suleiman Shah back to Syria in the coming days.”

So Turkey now has technically invaded Syria, as Shoebat.com continually predicted will happen, and is camped in Ashma which is Syrian, not Turkish territory, raising its flag there declaring Syrian land as Turkish soil while antagonizing Syria to dare retaliate.

This is what makes this a major news piece.

 

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TS3

In reply to the incident, Syria’s official source at the Foreign Ministry denounced what it called a “blatant aggression” by Turkey saying that:

“Turkey is not here only to provide all forms of support and tools for ISIS gangs and other terrorist organizations linked to al-Qaeda, but at the dawn of day they traveled here to show aggression on Syrian territory.”

The Syrians are absolutely correct.

It is for this reason that Syria announced the Turkish military incursion into Syria as “a military invasion of Syrian soil”. That, plus, ISIS has never blown up Ottoman tombs and has always only returned Turkish hostages unharmed while executing all other nationalities.

Turkey is using the tomb to invade Syria since the tomb is considered sovereign territory by Turkey, and they consider their claim to it being protected by a 1921 treaty, but this does not include the new Syrian territory that Turkey is laying claims to at Ashma regionTurkey in fact was caught when leaked recordings of previous plans by Turkey for an invasion using the tomb as an excuse.

TS1

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ts2

The U.S.-led coalition forces were informed of the Turkish operation after its launch to prevent any casualties, Davutoglu said.

Read more

Also see:

Muslim Immigration Poses Serious National Security Threat

This is Part 5 of a series called Know Thy Enemy: A Crash Course In Radical Islam

In this series, IBD breaks the political taboo linking Islamic violence with the religion of Islam by studying Muslim attitudes and beliefs.

It also examines the Obama administration’s refusal to identify Islamic terrorists as Islamic, which has led to a misdiagnosis of the factors driving terrorism and an unrealistic assessment of our enemy.

Because the administration has failed to understand the militant theology motivating the enemy, it has failed to develop a coherent strategy to defeat it. Worse, immigration and security policies are mismatched with the threat and actually aid the enemy. This exclusive series hopes to better inform the public about the source of growing world violence.

Know Thy Enemy: A Crash Course In Radical Islam

Investors Business Daily, BY PAUL SPERRY, Feb. 19, 2015:

France, Belgium and now even liberal Denmark regret letting in so many immigrants from Muslim countries. Their swelling Islamic communities have become breeding grounds for terrorists. So why is the U.S. opening the floodgates to foreign Muslims?

The threat Muslim immigrants pose to homeland security was not addressed during the White House’s three-day summit on terrorism.

Instead, Vice President Joe Biden assured Muslim groups gathered during one session that the “wave” of Muslim immigration is “not going to stop.”

Wave? More like a tsunami.

Between 2010 and 2013, the Obama administration imported almost 300,000 new immigrants from Muslim nations — more immigrants than the U.S. let in from Central America and Mexico combined over that period.

This is a sea change in immigration flows, and it threatens national security.

Many of the recent Muslim immigrants are from terrorist hot spots like Iraq, where the Islamic State operates. From 2010-2013, Obama ushered in 41,094 Iraqi nationals from there.

Now the State Department says it will quadruple the number of refugees brought here from Syria, where IS is headquartered.

The U.S. will admit as many as 2,000 Syrian nationals by the end of fiscal year 2015, up from 525 since fiscal 2011.

Yes, the number of displaced people inside war-torn Syria and Iraq, an estimated 3 million refugees, rivals the most in Mideast history. But rolling out the welcome mat for them in the middle of a mushrooming war on Muslim terrorism is dangerously shortsighted.

Top U.S. counterterror officials say terrorists could easily slip into the country from Iraq and Syria, in spite of promised screening procedures for such refugees.

“It’s clearly a population of concern,” National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen testified this week.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Mike McCaul called the new policy “a federally sanctioned welcome party to potential terrorists.”

That’s no stretch. If just a fraction of the 300,000 new Muslim immigrants already here follow in the footsteps of the Franco-Algerian brothers who recently terrorized Paris, we could be facing chronic terror in our cities.

The main homeland threat from groups like IS comes through our immigration system. If they also use our loose policies as a vehicle for jihad and Islamization, we will face the same crisis as Eurabia.

The British press is reporting that IS has threatened to release a huge wave of migrants from Libya across the Mediterranean disguised as refugees to cause chaos in Europe.

Who’s to say they aren’t setting a similar immigration bomb for America?

Authorities can’t even get a handle on homegrown IS jihadists who are already in America. Why would we risk adding so many potential jihadists from abroad to the already overloaded terrorist threat matrix?

The FBI director says he’s got open cases against IS suspects in every state but Alaska. More than 100 American Muslims have hooked up with the vicious terror group in Syria or Iraq, and at least a dozen fighters already have returned to America and may be forming sleeper cells to attack the homeland.

These suspects are hard for agents, who already are overstretched, to monitor. They’ve discarded their Islamic beards and garb and have blended into society. Analysts suspect some may have even infiltrated the military and government.

While America ushers in Islamic immigrants, Europe is pulling up the welcome mat. In recent months, both France and Britain have proposed imposing curbs on immigration out of fear of importing more terrorists. The bills will likely pass in the wake of the Paris massacre.

Thanks to mass immigration from North Africa, France’s Muslim population has swelled to 6.5 million, or 10% of its population. More than 1,000 French Muslims have joined IS. A recent poll found that 27% of French Muslims ages 18-24 support the Islamic State.

Growing pockets of radicalism are spreading in towns throughout France. There are “no-go” zones for non-Muslims and even local authorities, not just in Paris but all over the country.

Authorities say that they’ve lost control of the situation. Muslim attacks on police and synagogues are now regular events.

Similar problems are cropping up in Germany. After an influx of Syrian and other Muslim immigrants, a recent poll found that 40% of Germans say they don’t feel at home in their own country thanks to “Islamization.”

America will no doubt suffer the same nightmares if its Muslim population is allowed to reach a critical mass.

At current immigration rates, and barring a much-needed moratorium, our Muslim population will more than double over the next 15 years, hitting about 6.2 million in 2030, according to a recent Pew Research Center study — “in large part because of immigration and higher-than-average fertility among Muslims.”

Fifteen years from now, Pew found, America will “have a larger number of Muslims than any European country” except for France and Russia.

If you think this huge influx of foreign Muslims will assimilate and adopt Western values, you haven’t been to Alexandria, Va., or Dearborn, Mich., or Minneapolis recently.

They resemble little Cairos, with their Arabic store signage, halal butchers, hookah bars and even blaring calls to prayer from mosque minarets. Such cultural diversity might be quaint if not for the fact these heavily Muslim immigrant enclaves are also breeding grounds for terrorism. More people from Dearborn are on the federal terrorist watch list than from any other American city except New York.

Recent terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and Copenhagen by Muslims operating with support from those cities’ swelling Muslim immigrant communities are an ugly reminder that Muslim immigration doesn’t bring the kind of diversity once cherished in the West. It leads to violence and Islamization.

All this raises serious national security concerns. But the White House is too busy defending Islam and portraying the Muslim community as victims of “discrimination” to consider them.

Sperry, formerly IBD Washington bureau chief, is author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

***

Published on Feb 20, 2015 by EnGlobal News World

Rep. Mike McCaul on radical Islam spreading to American soil. Congressman concerned about possible influx of Syrian refugees

****

Melanie Nezer: We want the US to admit 75,000 Syrians over 5 years!

Melanie Nezer: We want the US to admit 75,000 Syrians over 5 years!

Media shock over Obama plan to bring in a couple of thousand Syrian refugees growing (refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com)

By Ann Corcoran:

This is just a quick commentary.

My alerts are filled with news stories about revelations last week and the week before that the Obama Administration is planning on bringing Syrian Muslim refugees to the US this year and in future years and everyone is shocked at the number being discussed—2,000.

Don’t get me wrong, I am glad the media is now paying attention.

But, remember, up until December of last year the State Department was predicting that they would bring in 9,000-10,000 this year. (See our Syrian refugees archive by clicking here)

Remember also that it is the refugee resettlement contractors***and the UN lobbying us to bring in 15,000 a year!  See one of many stories on the subject here as the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Societyleads the charge.  Not to appear to be picking on HIAS—the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Lutherans testified in Congress last yearthat they wanted the US to take 12,000-15,000 Syrians a year starting last year!

And, finally, why isn’t the same media paying attention to the fact that we brought in 20,000 Iraqis (three quarters are Muslim Iraqis) last year alone and 9,000 Somalis last year alone?

Come on media!  Where have you been?

***Update*** Here is one more of many stories on the media figuring out that the Syrians are coming!

***The federal refugee resettlement contractors:

And for some perspective on where all this is leading:

How many Muslims living in the US could justify “violence against civilians” in defense of Islam? (refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com)

By Ann Corcoran:

This past week as the theme coming out of Washington was—hug a Muslim—there were many press accounts saying that the US was somehow different from Europe in that our Muslims are more “integrated” into society than those young violent ones in Europe.  Ours also have more stuff according to Obama.

In our view, the only difference is that in Europe there are more of them! 

When we have a higher percentage here in the US, the Muslim population will be emboldened and along with higher numbers will come more demands from the Muslim ‘community’ for America to accept precepts of shariah law.

The numbers!

One important statistic being misused by the mainstream media and highlighted in an article from the Associated Press by Josh Lederman is drawn from this 2011 Pew report.

First, before we get to the news, put these numbers in your head:  By 2011, Pew Research estimates that the US population of Muslims stands at 2.75 million.  Pew’s numbers are now nearly 4 years old so I believe the population is higher.  It must be! because Pew says 100,000 legal immigrant Muslims enter the US each year.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) puts the number at 6-7 million (also a few years old).

From the Associated Press at Eyewitness News 3:

Ample evidence suggests that Muslims in America do feel more integrated into society than those living in Europe. Often marginalized and relegated to poorer neighborhoods in European cities, many Muslim immigrants to the U.S. have flourished as doctors and scientists and in other white-collar professions. Middle-class, predominantly Muslim or Arab-American enclaves have cropped up in places such as Dearborn, Michigan, and Minneapolis, allowing immigrants to carve out their own stories.  [So sick of this story c***!—we have stories too!—ed]

“That’s the story extremists and terrorists don’t want the world to know: Muslims succeeding and thriving in America,” Obama said during separate remarks at the summit Wednesday.

Now this is how Obama and the media use numbers in deceptive ways. AP continues with its editorial piece disguised as news:

There’s also reason to believe that sense of successful assimilation has offered a degree of protection against the allure of extremism. In 2011, a Pew Research Center survey of American Muslims found that just 2 in 10 Muslims in the U.S. thought there was a great deal or a fair amount of support for extremism among Muslim Americans. Roughly 80 percent said suicide bombings and other violence against civilians was never justified to defend Islam from its enemies, compared to just 8 percent who said it was sometimes or often justified. [Doesn’t sound bad, right?—ed]

By the way there is another 5% who say “rarely” justified.  (See the full report, here)

O.K. now look at it this way!

If 8% of the US Muslim population believes that VIOLENCE AGAINST CIVILIANS IS JUSTIFIED (often or sometimes) TO DEFEND ISLAM, then:

Using a low of 2 million Muslims in America and a high of 7 million, that means that 160,000 Muslims in the US could justify violence against civilians to defend Islam at the low end, to 560,000 at the high end!

Sounds like a ticking time bomb to me!

Cultural Suicide: Why Allowing Syrian War Refugees to Enter Western Countries is a Pandora’s Box to More Attacks

February 19, 2015 / /

In its infinite wisdom the Obama administration announced plans to dramatically increase the number of Syrian War refugees being accepted into the confines of our borders. As of this writing, the largest concentrations of resettled refugees are in California, Illinois and Texas. As one would guess, there some serious concerns with the very real (and likely) possibility of terrorists associated with the Islamic State (IS) entering our country under the “refugee” label. DoS claims that “only the small minority who are in the most dire need, including the very young, ailing and elderly, and people who have been persecuted by their government” will be resettled in our country. The problem with that is the “very young” tend to have parents and siblings who tend to follow them – but the Obama administration conveniently leaves out those inconvenient details. DoS also makes the claim that they’re actually going to “screen” applicants, but how well they screened the Boston Bombers (the Russians had warned us about those two) doesn’t inspire much confidence from our staff. Its also worth noting that the Obama administration has been saying that the screening process is more “rigorous” since 2009 – so when was the Boston Bombing again?

U.S. to accept Syrian refugees in greater numbers after slow start

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-refugees-20141211-story.html

US Officials Admit Concern Over Syrian Refugee Effort

http://abcnews.go.com/International/officials-fear-syrian-refugees-pose-threat-us/story?id=28930114

waheeb

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you…
Source: The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Remember, this is the same Obama administration via DHS that lost track of over 6,000 foreigners last year who overstayed their visas. As much as the Obama administration would like for you to believe, the ugly truth is the US government doesn’t have any real checks and balances nor does it have the political will to properly enforce the current immigration laws on the books. People applying for visas of any kind, refugee status/political asylum from countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Iraq – places where most of the populations despise us – red-flags should immediately be raised that should result in the application being promptly rejected. Unfortunately, people working in immigration and customs tend to simply push them along no questions asked – and that’s not even getting into the Pandora’s Box that allowing more Syrian refugees into our country would open.

DHS Loses 6,000

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1580

If you want to get a glimpse into America’s future all one needs to do is to look at Europe. As we discussed in our recent piece titled “The Jews: Europe’s Canary in the Mine on the Growing Jihadist Threat,” we laid out how years of political correctness and failed social experimentation has led to serious problems bubbling to the surface in Europe. Specifically, we showed how the EU members’ refusal to confront the jihadist threat has led to an increase in terror attacks with Denmark used as a case-study. Countries like Denmark, France, Germany, Belgium and the UK have been extremely generous in taking in Syrian War refugees and immigrants from other nations with large jihadist populations. Common sense says that Gulf nations refusing to take in refugees should be a huge red-flag to the US and its European counterparts. Unfortunately it isn’t. We just had a series of attacks in France from DEC 14 – JAN 15 and two more shootings in Denmark over the weekend, yet Europe continues to live with the delusional concept of “multiculturalism.”

A prime example of this is the threat that people just now realized exists from Libya on the other side of the Mediterranean. IS clearly sees the many vulnerabilities inside Europe in terms of how easy it is to gain access to member nations, as demonstrated by calls from the terror organization to infiltrate the continent posing as migrants. Indeed, Libya is a “gateway” to Europe but so are Turkey and Cyprus. Due to EU members being so inviting, the US also runs the risk of failing to notice individuals of Middle Eastern/North African origins who obtained dual-citizenship who attempt to enter our country on a European passport. If these people wanted to truly integrate they wouldn’t be trying to push the issue with “Sharia Enforcement Zones” and forcing everybody to bend over to their cultural demands. The truth is most of the people coming from the above-mentioned countries have no desire to integrate into western society despite being all too happy to receive those welfare checks (like a certain Anjem Choudray). Europe is dying, only the European people and the naive politicians they elected to office don’t yet realize it. If America isn’t careful, our fate will be similar to their’s – and it will happen much sooner than you think. It may sound cold, but allowing these people into our country isn’t worth the risk…

The Jews: Europe’s Canary in the Mine on the Growing Jihadist Threat

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4939

Islamic State ‘planning to use Libya as gateway to Europe’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11418966/Islamic-State-planning-to-use-Libya-as-gateway-to-Europe.html

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

Obama ISIS Map

The world burns while President Obama exhibits Nero-like characteristics – just substitute the golf clubs for a fiddle.
Source: The ISIS Study Group

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Also see Refugee Resettlement Watch archives on Syrian Refugees:

https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/?s=syrian+refugees

Don’t Authorize Obama’s War

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Washington Free Beacon, by Matthew Continetti, February 13, 2015 

The authorization for the use of military force against ISIS that the Obama administration sent Congress this week is not worthy of the name. Its language is far more about what the president won’t do against the terrorist army that controls much of Syria and Iraq—limits on ground troops and a sunset provision for the authorization after three years—than what he will do. Congress should reject it.

If the threat of ISIS is as dire as the president says it is in the preamble of his resolution, if ISIS really does pose “a grave threat to the people and territorial integrity of Iraq and Syria, regional stability, and the national security interests of the United States and its allies and partners,” if ISIS really does “intend to conduct terrorist attacks internationally, including against the United States, its citizens, and interests,” then not only does the president already have the authority to strike granted to him by Article II of the Constitution and the 2001 and 2002 war resolutions, he also should not cavil or hesitate in unleashing every means at his disposal to confront and defeat the enemy. Making war is exactly what Obama should have been doing at least since last June when ISIS raised the black flag over the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Yet the urgency and drama with which the president and his advisers describe the actions and intentions of ISIS is remarkably disproportionate to their campaign against it so far: 2,600 U.S. troops in Iraq to act as advisers to the Iraqis and Kurds, a rather desultory campaign of airstrikes that hasfailed to degrade ISIS seriously, an admission from the vice president that ISIS probably won’t be dislodged from its redoubt in Syria because “there are no boots on the ground,” and a dispiriting, academic, wishy-washy attempt by U.S. defense bureaucrats to figure out “what makes the Islamic State so dangerous,” as well as the typical self-congratulation and smarm for assembling and maintaining an “international coalition” of allies most of whom do nothing.

This la-di-da attitude to the fight has not gone unnoticed by the Iraqis, who want the Americans to do more but, in the absence of such aid, have turned to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. And the few Syrians left alive who desire more for their charnel house of a country than a frozen conflict between a psychopath who gasses people and a band of zealots who behead them continue to wait for America to make good on its promises of arms and assistance. The administration is quick to publicize the allied victory in the northern Syrian city of Kobani, which came at the cost of more or less razing to the ground this former home to 45,000 Kurds. Such positive headlines are rare, however. Just yesterday ISIS seized a town in Western Iraq from which it can threaten directly U.S. troops.

President Obama is losing the war against ISIS because he is unwilling to commit the resources necessary to the fight: a significant deployment of ground troops, a massive ratcheting up of the air campaign, arms shipments and U.S. bases for the Kurds, an escalation of air strikes to include Syrian air defenses, and above all the weapons, training, and financial and tactical assistance to the “farmers, dentists, and folks who have never fought before” but remain willing to fight not only Assad but also the terrorists who control much of their country.

Our ISIS problem is a consequence of the American failure to respond effectively to our almost four-years-old Syrian problem. ISIS is less the Syrian dictator’s opponent than his unconventional ally, and as long as Assad remains in power so will the sectarian and political furies that gave rise to ISIS at the beginning of the war. And yet it is impossible to believe that Obama will uproot the weed responsible for some 300,000 dead, millions of refugees, use of WMD, and the Caliphate so long as his strategic goals are détente with Iran and a franchising of Middle East “security” to the mullahs.

If I were a member of Congress I happily would vote down Obama’s war resolution for all of these reasons. There is no cause to assent to the president’s demand for a war authority he does not want, does not need, and probably will not use. I also cannot help thinking that the presidential request is little more than a trap, a bone thrown in the direction of the cloakroom to distract from the collapse of America’s position in the Middle East and the approaching deadline for nuclear talks with Iran. How better to provoke infighting among both Republicans and Democrats, to switch the debate from sanctions against Iran to “Rand Paul versus Marco Rubio for the soul of the GOP,” than to start a debate over presidential war powers as the war is going on.

Indeed, a congressional rebuke of Obama on the grounds that his proposal does not go far enough is more likely to make him rethink his approach than bipartisan passage or an extended period of debate and modification and attempts to “improve” his language. And even if such a rethinking does not occur, if Obama goes ahead with his strategy based on his current authorities, the Republicans would pay no price. Say that Obama is not looking to distract the Congress with his war authorization but to win congressional buy-in for his policy through the end of his presidency. How is the country made more secure, how is the American interest furthered, by Republican authorization of a flawed strategy? Would the Democrats have gone along with Bush or participated in earnest and collegial discussions with his administration if he had asked Congress to authorize his surge of troops to Iraq in 2007? You can stop laughing.

It was unanimous opposition to the war in Iraq that helped the Democrats win the Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008. And it was the resurgence of the national security issue after the border crisis, ISIS beheadings of Americans, and the outbreak of Ebola on American soil that helped Republicans retake the Senate in 2014. For the GOP now to throw away its critical stance by adopting or seeking to improve the president’s authorization for the use of force would be political folly (and therefore entirely consistent with the party’s history). Far better for us all if the Congress refused the president precisely because he is unserious and untrustworthy with the security of the United States and the world, and spent the remaining two years of his presidency making the case publicly and robustly for the roll back of ISIS and the removal of Assad, an end to the Iranian nuclear program, a military buildup, and a renewal of the alliance system and of American support for Western principles of liberal democracy. That way the voters will be absolutely certain next year that there is a substantive and consequential choice to be made about the future of American foreign policy and security. They will see the results of Obama’s policy of retreat and appeasement throughout the world. And Hillary Clinton won’t be able to say, well, the Republican Congress supported the president, so why don’t you?

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WH: Obama Concluded 3 Years is Reasonable ‘To Put in Place a Strategy’ Against Islamic State

 

Also see:

Islamic State Seizes Town of Khan al-Baghdadi, Threaten US Marines at Ayn al-Asad

February 13, 2015 /

The Islamic State has seized the key town of Khan al-Baghdadi near the strategic airbase of Ayn al-Asad in al-Anbar Province near Hit. There are some 320 US Marines stationed at the facility along with Special Operations Forces training the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). Islamic State has been battling for control of the area around al-Baghdadi for some time. Ayn al-Asad is the last major installation the Iraqi government has in al-Anbar Province.

Khan Al-Baghdadi is approximately 85 kilometers northwest of Ramadi and about 35 kilometers northwest of Hit. According to the district manager of the district about 90% of Khan al-Baghdadi’s district is now under control of the Islamic State. It is roughly 9 kilometers from Khan al-Baghdadi to Ayn al-Asad Air Base. The town is also about 50 Kilometers west of Tharthar Lake.

AynAlAsadBase

Ayn al-Asad Air Base

Source: The Institute for the Study of War

Ayn al-Asad is of strategic importance to the Islamic State, the ISF and the United States. The base is one of the last major strongholds still held by the IA in the province after the fall of other installations and district headquarters such as Camp Saqlawiyah back in September 2014. The Islamic State would want to seize the base due to its weapons and the fact that there is a significant US presence there. The capture of any US personnel let alone several hundred would be a propaganda bonanza that Islamic State would go crazy over. In many of the instances where the Islamic State had captured a major installation a gruesome video would shortly appear of the captured military personnel being executed.

Ayn al-Asad is of great importance to the government of Iraq (GOI) for multiple reasons. It is a major facility to conduct training, logistics, operations and it is also a symbol of the government presence in al-Anbar. Losing it to the Islamic State would be an embarrassing and devastating setback. The loss of a key facility being used by US military personnel to retrain ISF and try to reinvigorate their fight against Islamic State would literally crush the already weak morale that the ISF have. This would also have a devastating effect on the upcoming push to drive Islamic State out of Mosul as it would cripple the units with an almost paralysis of epidemic fear that would surely spread. There is also training being conducted with local tribal militias.

For the United States, the defense of Ayn al-Asad must hold at all cost. This is the Helms Deep of this fight if Ayn al-Asad fell with hundreds of US military personnel trapped inside the results would be catastrophic militarily and the Information Operations campaign of the Islamic State would set ablaze like it had not been seen to date. The US must take every available precaution to ensure the safety and security of the US forces at Ayn al-Asad to prevent even the appearance of it seeming to be in any danger of falling.

The base has come under pressure before back in December when Islamic State militants attempted to launch an offensive on the base but were repelled before they could really make an effort. The base has come under indirect fire at least once in recent months also. So, it is likely that any attempt by Islamic State to push an offensive on the base would be met with heavy resistance from the US personnel on the installation and by a devastating aerial bombardment far beyond what we saw in Kobane.

The US has conducted some airstrikes in the area around the town of Khan al-Baghdadi which has at least temporarily halted any advance towards Ayn al-Asad. Islamic State fighters still hold the council headquarters in the town. Some reports indicate that a group of militants attempted to attack the base, but were unable to break into it. Likely an attempt to test to the bases defenses as it is pretty well fortified. The US Marines there are training the Iraqi 7th Division at the base.

We had written a previous article about the desire of the Islamic State to seize control of Ayn al-Asad Air Base and the Iraqi Government sending Shi’a militia to aid in the defense of the base back in November: Shia Militias Sent To Reinforce al-Asad Airbase-IA On Verge Of Collapse

Assessment: US forces need to beef up assets to safeguard and ensure security of al-Assad Air Base. As we have discussed the significance of the base is vitally important to all three elements in the fight. The Islamic State would gain not only weapons but the strategic victory of capturing American forces if the base fell and the I/O campaign that would follow and the “bargaining” that they would offer in exchange for “peace” with President Obama would be a farce as we’ve seen in every other case of their offers of exchange. Immediately, step up airstrikes around Khan al-Baghdadi and not only degrade the Islamic State presence, but absolutely destroy it. Send out the ISF to sweep up the remains as confidence targets so they become more assured in their ability to defeat their enemy. It is likely that the US would push major assets to protect Ayn al-Asad should Islamic State make another attempt at it such as it did in December 2014. That attempt was shut down rather quickly.

Islamic State will seriously be eyeing the potential prize of Ayn al-Asad for all of the reasons mentioned above. The I/O campaign alone would bolster their recruiter efforts exponentially at the site of captured Americans. There is no negotiation with these people Mr. President, you have taken a step in the right direction, but we also strongly urge that you bring all of our coalition partners together and define the collective strategy as our nation and other nations did in order to achieve victory in WWII. We need that same type of leadership today and our allies need it as well, but they also must leaders in this fight. Something else to consider is that Islamic State has began moving some heavy assets in Syria and those assets could possibly be moving towards al-Anbar, if those assets are moving towards al-Anbar it would be wise for them to be interdicted before they arrive as they would assuredly be used in any offensive on Ayn al-Asad. The coming several days or weeks will be indicative of what Islamic State intends to do. If anything starts to occur from the west of the base then that would likely confirm those heavy weapons that were moved in Syria recently were not moved as a result of a defeat at Kobane, but as a result of a shifting of strategy towards al-Anbar once again.

Source Articles:

Islamic State Advances Near Iraq Base Where US Advisers are Stationed

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/islamic-state-advances-near-iraq-base-where-us-advisers-are-stationed/2015/02/12/b543acf8-b2eb-11e4-bf39-5560f3918d4b_story.html

ISIS Fighters Reportedly Seize Parts of Iraqi Town, Threatening US Marine Base

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/12/isis-iraq-al-baghdadi_n_6674538.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

Counterterrorism Chief: ‘Momentum and Competition’ Among Terrorist Groups Increasing Threat to U.S.

B9Vj3sdIIAAbBnFPJ Media, By Bridget Johnson On February 11, 2015:

WASHINGTON — The head of the nation’s counterterrorism efforts told Congress today that the flow of foreign fighters pledging their allegiance to ISIS not only poses a threat to the U.S., but “momentum and competition” with other terrorist groups has ramped up the danger as well.

House Homeland Security Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) warned that, with the Islamic State swallowing enough territory to equal Belgium, “we are no longer talking about terrorist groups — we are talking about terrorist armies.”

“More than 20,000 fighters from over 90 countries have made their way to the battlefield to join al-Qaeda, ISIS and other extremist groups, making this the largest convergence of Islamist terrorists in world history,” McCaul said.

Up to 5,000 of those are Westerners, raising concerns about their ability to move back and forth from the Islamic State to their homelands. “And more than 150 American citizens have attempted to or succeeded in getting to the battlefield, and we know that some of them have already returned to our shores,” the chairman noted.

McCaul recently wrote President Obama out of concern “that we still have no lead agency in charge of countering domestic radicalization and no line item for it in the budgets of key departments and agencies.”

“I’m also concerned that the few programs we do have in place are far too small to confront a threat that has grown so quickly,” he added.

The chairman was “very disappointed” that the State Department sent no representative to the hearing.

National Counterterrorism Center director Nick Rasmussen, in his first appearance before a congressional hearing since his confirmation, told the panel the rate of foreign fighter travel seen in recent years is “unprecedented,” exceeding “the rate of travel and travelers who went to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen or Somalia… at any point in the last 20 years.”

McCaul and Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) announced they’re forming a six-month congressional task force focused on how to disrupt the travel flow of Islamist fighters.

On the propaganda front, Rasmussen said ISIS has published more than 250 videos and publications since Jan. 1 with “translations into an ever-growing number of additional languages.”

Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas), a former CIA officer, asked how the administration is countering the social media proliferation of ISIS as they use Facebook and Twitter to recruit and spread their P.R. materials. “Twenty percent of any counter-insurgency is cutting off the head of the snake, 80 percent is addressing the underlying concerns,” he said.

Rasmussen said the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the Department of Justice and NCTC are trying to be as “seamless as we could, I think, almost possibly be in terms of our work together.”

The question is, he said, is scale: “Are we doing enough of it? Do we have enough reach into all of the parts of the country where this is a potential problem? And I would not argue to you that we’re there yet on that score.”

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) asked the counterterrorism chief if al-Qaeda is still “alive and well.”

“They certainly pose a significant terrorist threat,” Rasmussen replied.

“So we shouldn’t take our eye off the ball with just focusing on ISIS and think of this globally and not get hung up on the 50 shades of terrorism,” Duncan said, referring to groups including AQAP, Boko Haram, and Al-Shabaab and to the S&M movie opening on Valentine’s Day.

Officials acknowledged that most of the foreign fighters going into Syria are crossing the Turkish border.

“Success in the counter-ISIL campaign or any effort we’re engaged in to try to stem the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the conflict zone requires a functioning, effective partnership with the Turks across the whole range of issues — intelligence, law enforcement, diplomacy, all of that,” Rasmussen said. “It’s also true, though, that Turkey will always look at its interests through the prism of their own sense of self-interest, and how they prioritize particular requests that we make for cooperation doesn’t always align with our prioritization. And that’s just a simple fact.”

He added that the State Department, which pulled a no-show at the hearing, could have given a better picture on that complicated relationship.

“There are areas where we receive profoundly effective cooperation from our Turkish partners and it’s tremendously useful, and yet from our perspective, we think there’s more to the relationship that we could get more that we need from the relationship to effectively address our concerns,” the NCTC chief said.

Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.) asked how the U.S. government is working with Internet companies “to help combat the use of the Internet and social media to spread…radical Islamic idealism.”

“This partnership has a number of elements. It’s in part exposing them to the information about what is happening on platforms that they control so they understand it. And if they can understand when terms of service violations are taking place that they should intervene and take steps to block certain content,” Rasmussen responded.

“But it’s also to — again, to deepen a partnership and make sure that they understand that we need to be partners with them in going at this more systemically, not simply in response to a single video or a single YouTube posting or something, but actually to think about what kind of relationship between the federal government, law enforcement and these companies makes sense if we’re going to tackle this phenomenon that’s creating a serious homeland security vulnerability.”

YouTube takes down videos showing violent content, and some ISIS users on Twitter have gone through many account names to reassert their presence after the social-media site shuts down one account.

“They try to follow the terms of agreement, and certainly, if they see individuals violating those terms, those service agreement contracts, they shut them down. But when you’re talking with that volume, it’s a challenge for them. So I would say they understand our problem,” Rasmussen said. “We continue to work with them to get them to develop process technology to help us out. But that’s just one part of it.”

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said she hopes the committee will “ramp up the dollars that will intervene in that radical heinous ideology.”

“I, for one, would like to be engaged in the writing of the legislation and/or to find out more in an instructive manner, how do we stop the radicalization of our young people for something as heinous as what ISIS represents,” Jackson Lee said, throwing in a special thanks for Jordan’s King Abdullah II for his offensive against ISIS.

Rasmussen said one thing “particularly concerning about the ISIL phenomenon is that ISIL has now decided it needs to move beyond Syria and Iraq — and so you have extremist organizations in North Africa, Algeria, in Egypt, in Libya, who now have raised the flag of ISIL and claimed affiliate status.”

“And again, that creates a sense of momentum and competition among extremist jihadist groups that ultimately adds to our threat concerns, doesn’t subtract. Even though you like to see your enemies fighting amongst each other, but actually, it’s creating competition against each — among — amongst each other as they try to one-up each other in efforts to go after us.”

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McCaul Opening Statement at Hearing on Preventing Terror Travel, Homegrown Terrorism

 

McCaul Questions DHS, FBI, NCTC at Hearing on Preventing Terror Travel, Homegrown Terrorism

Whither Caucasus Emirate?

 IK leader Aliaskhab Kebekov (youtube screenshot)

IK leader Aliaskhab Kebekov (youtube screenshot)

CSP, by Sean MacCormac, Jan. 15, 2015:

The continued existence of the Caucasus Emirate (IK) is in question with recent defections to Islamic State. Over the past month, at least six Chechen and Dagestani leaders have retracted their allegiances to the Caucasus Emirate and sworn their fealty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In a Youtube video posted two weeks ago, IK leader Aliaskhab Kebekov (known as Ali Abu Muhammad) criticized the departing members for falling for “the tricks of Satan” and betraying their brothers in arms. Kebekov had earlier pledged his support for Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in the wake of al-Zawahiri’s dispute with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

To date, at least hundreds of guerrillas from the Caucasus region have gone to Syria and Iraq to aid Islamic State in their conflict against the secular governments there. Some estimates say that up to 2,500 militants from the Caucasus have joined ISIS. The civil war in Syria gave the Chechen diaspora a chance to both fight against Russian interests and perceived injustices to Sunni Muslims while giving them the chance to live peacefully with their families back home afterwards. In fact, one of Islamic State’s most successful military commanders in Syria, Abu Omar al-Shishani, is of Chechen and Georgian ethnic origin. Al-Shishani is used by Islamic State as a recruiting tool in the Caucasus. The popular Russian social networking site VK.com is rife with pro-Islamic State and jihadist pages, prompting the Russian Prosecutor General to order the shutdown of many of the popular jihadist pages. Several of the pages have called for donations to Islamic State via the QIWI Wallet, an electronic payment system.

The six renegade commanders are; Sultan Zaynalabilov, the amir of Daghestan’s Aukh sector within the Khasavyurt district; Rustam Aselderov, Doku Umarov’s hand picked commander of the Daghestan insurgency; Abu-Mukhammad Agachaulsky, commander of a Makhachkala militant organization; Makhran Saidov, commander of the Chechen eastern front, as well as two other Chechens known only as “Khamzat” and “Usman” thus far. Though the reasons for their abandonment of Kebekov’s group remain unclear, it could be concerns over Kebekov being more moderate in the pursuit of military jihad. Kebekov has focused primarily on creating a support network for Caucasian Muslims as well as an ideological jihad since he succeeded Umarov, and has urged fighters to cease suicide bombings and to refrain from attacking civilians.

The War On Israel and the Middle East

Frontpage:

Below are the video and transcript to the panel discussion “The War on Israel and the Middle East,” which took place at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 20th Anniversary Restoration Weekend. The event was held Nov. 13th-16th at the Breakers Resort in Palm Beach, Florida. 

Daniel Pipes: I’d like to make three geostrategic points in my few minutes, and I apologize in advance for having to leave, but the plane schedule is as it is. The first point is that — and this has been said before, I’d like to reiterate it — that Iran is a far greater threat than ISIS, and we are making an extraordinary mistake in joining with the Iranians against ISIS. Need one point out that ISIS has perhaps $5 million a day in oil revenue and 15,000 troops and, granted, a dynamism, but that Iran is a powerful state of 75 million people, an oil revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars, billions of dollars, and an army of hundreds of thousands and, of course, a terror network and is building up their weapons? I would predict to you, ladies and gentleman, that ISIS, which appeared so suddenly, will disappear suddenly as well because it has so many enemies, it is so overextended, it is trying to do so much at the same time that it is going to collapse before very long and it is going to disappear as a state whereas Iran is going to be a longer lasting entity.

Let me also predict that the real importance of ISIS, Islamic state, ISIL, Daesh, call it what you will, lies not in this sizeable state that now exists between Bagdad and Turkey but rather in the resurrection of the idea of the caliphate. The last executive caliph with power was in the 940s — 940s, not 1940s — a long, long time ago. Yes, the institution of the caliphate continued until 1924, but it was meaningless. It was just a title. The actual caliphate, executive caliphate, disappeared over a millennium ago and then suddenly, this man who calls himself Caliphate Ibrahim resurrected it on June 29, 2014, and this has sent a frisson of excitement through the Muslim world, and this has created the notion of a feasible caliphate once again after having been gone for a millennium, and this is important. I can well imagine other groups taking up this same standard and demanding that they be accepted as the caliphate. I can further imagine that states such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and even Iran in its own Shiite way taking up the claim of caliphate and so this turns Islamist politics into an even more radical direction than it has been in the past and therefore is a very negative development, but that is an idea, and the notion that the U.S. government should be working with Iran against ISIS is madness, just simple madness.

Iran is the ultimate enemy, which is my second point. Iran is of course the ultimate enemy today. The acquisition by Iranian leadership of nuclear weapons will not only change the Middle East but will change the world. Other tyrants have had nuclear weapons — think of Stalin and Mao — but there’s something different about this group of tyrants in that they’re thinking about the end of days. They’re apocalyptically minded. They have ideas that, were they to deploy nuclear weapons, they would bring forward the days of the Mahdi, the Dajjal, and the other sequence events leading to the day of resurrection, so they are even more dangerous. Now, I could have a nice seminar extending for hours on whether they actually would deploy nuclear weapons or not, but I don’t want to find out, and I suspect you don’t either. It is absolutely imperative that they be stopped from doing that and that would not be easy because the Iranian leadership, like the North Korean leadership, is absolutely determined to get nuclear weapons and will pay whatever price is necessary. In North Korea it was mass starvation. In Iran, it will be economic deprivation and other problems, but they’re going to go ahead and while computer viruses and targeted assassinations and bombings, which have been taking place, will certainly slow things down, they cannot stop it. The only way to stop it is through use of force against the Iranian nuclear installations.

So, that I think is all pretty clear, but I’m going to go beyond that and say that when the happy day comes that the Islamic Revolution of Iran is overthrown — and that is a prospect that is real; we saw one run up toward it in June 2009 and it was suppressed, but it wasn’t eliminated and there will be further attempts — and it is certain that one of these days, the Islamic Republic will collapse. When that happens, I suggest to you, the Iranian people who are sick of this ideological state will become quite friendly. Posts show that the overwhelming majority of Iranians hate their government and hate the Islam that their government is purveying. I think that Iranians will be good friends when that day comes.

In contrast, I think our great problem in the Middle East will be Turkey. Turkey, which is also a very substantial state of some 80 million people and which is in an important strategic location, has a real economy, an educated population. Turkey has approached Islamism – well, the Turkish leadership has approached Islamism — in a far more intelligent way than the Iranians. I call Khomeini, “Islamism 1.0,” and Erdogan, “Islamism 2.0.” Khomeini used revolution and violence and so forth and his successor rules despotically, but Erdogan, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the dominant figure of Turkish politics, is a far more clever figure who has won I think nine elections in 13 years of various sorts, parliamentary, referendum, residential, has tripled the size of the economy and is a figure of enormous importance and popularity in the country. He has a very strong base. This is a not a despotism. Now, granted, over time, he’s becoming increasingly authoritarian, autocratic, unpleasant, decisive, but he has won his place democratically, and he will last and his regime will last much longer than Khomeini’s, and I believe as one looks at 10-20 years in the future, it will be Turkey, not Iran, that will be our great problem and that we should be preparing for that today.

Read more with Ken Timmerman, Daniel Greenfield and Caroline Glick

NY Times Admits: U.S.-Backed Free Syrian Army Under Effective Al-Qaeda Control

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Dec. 28, 2014:

A remarkable report by Anne Barnard of the New York Times this weekend confirms my multiple reports here at PJ Media about the increased alliance between the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) and al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra.

As Barnard reports:

In northern and eastern Syria, where Mr. Assad’s opponents won early victories and once dreamed of building self-government, the nationalist rebel groups calling themselves the Free Syrian Army are forced to operate under the extremists’ umbrellas, to go underground or to flee, according to Syrian insurgents, activists and two top commanders of the American-financed F.S.A. groups.

Two weeks ago I reported that Jabhat al-Nusra had used U.S. TOW anti-tank missiles in the rebels’ seizure of the Syrian Army’s base in Wadi al-Deif. The terror group posted a video showing the use of the TOW missiles in the battle (at ~3:50):

 

Nusra fans on Twitter were also noting the U.S. missiles being used:

Tow missile

Now Barnard confirms that FSA elements were fighting at Wadi al-Deif under the direction and/or control of Jabhat al-Nusra:

The fall of the army base at Wadi al-Deif, which straddles an important supply route in Idlib Province, proved the Nusra Front’s dominance, they said. Other insurgents had long besieged the base without victory. Nusra succeeded after seizing much of the province from Harakat Hazm and the Syrian Revolutionaries Front, two of several groups that until recently, American officials were calling the opposition’s new hope […]

How exactly the Wadi al-Deif battle unfolded remains murky, with different commanders giving different versions. But reports and images from the operation make two things clear: antitank missiles were used, and Nusra claimed the victory. That means that the American-backed fighters could advance only by working with the Nusra Front, which the United States government lists as a terrorist group, or that they have lost the weapons to the Nusra fighters, effectively joined the group or been forced to follow its orders.

One commander of a group that received antitank missiles said that some F.S.A. fighters were forced to operate them in the battle on behalf of the Nusra Front, which had captured them from American-backed groups — a turn of events that he worried would lead the United States to cut off support […]

Abu Kumayt, a fighter with the Syrian Revolutionaries Front who said he fought in the battle under cover, gave a slightly different version. He said that groups with the antitank missiles fought alongside Nusra fighters and under their command — but that only Nusra and its Islamist ally Ahrar al-Sham were allowed to enter the base when it fell. Nusra, he said, lets groups vetted by the United States keep the appearance of independence, so that they will continue to receive American supplies.

Earlier this month I noted reports from the Los Angeles Times and McClatchy that U.S.-backed units trained under a covert CIA program were openly operating with Nusra in southern Syria while other “vetted moderate” groups who had received heavy weaponry from the U.S. were surrendering their weapons to Nusra or delivering them to another hardcore jihadist group, Ahrar al-Sham.

Perhaps even more worrying is the $500 million in weapons that the FSA has surrendered to ISIS and admissions by FSA commanders that they are operating with both Nusra and ISIS. And last week a German journalist who spent 10 days embedded with ISIS in Iraq and Syria told France24 that ISIS is obtaining weapons supplied by Western governments and being sold by the FSA:

Todenhofer went on to say that the IS militants are being armed by the West – if only indirectly – as Western moves to arm moderate Syrian rebels have backfired.

“They buy the weapons that we give to the Free Syrian Army, so they get Western weapons – they get French weapons … I saw German weapons, I saw American weapons,” he said.

“The best seller of weapons is the Free Syrian Army, which is financed by NATO, financed probably also by France, but at least by the United States.”

So it is no wonder that the administration is openly ditching the FSA.

Thus, the heart of Obama’s three-year policy in Syria has collapsed into absolute catastrophe. In an interview in August with Tom Friedman of the Times, Obama even admitted that the belief that arming the Syrian rebels would have changed the situation in Syria had “always been a fantasy.” And yet it was the fantasy they pursued.

But at the same time the Obama administration was quickly abandoning its own policy, Republican congressional leaders, namely John Boenher in the House and Mitch McConnell in the Senate, were finally buying into backing the the so-called “vetted moderates” wholesale, approving $500 million in September over the objections of sizable portions of their own caucuses in both the House and the Senate, thus necessitating Democrats support to pass the measure in the House.

Despite the wholesale turn of the FSA into the orbit of al-Qaeda, its chief congressional champion — Sen. John McCain — remains undaunted. Despite clear and undisputed evidence of the FSA working in collaboration with Nusra, and even operating U.S.-supplied heavy weapons in support of the Al-Qaeda affiliate, John McCain was meeting with FSA leaders in Turkey earlier today and calling for more U.S. support:

McCain mtg with FSA

Unfortunately for McCain, the prospects of the FSA ever recovering and being an effective fighting force against ISIS, Nusra and other jihadist groups, let alone the Assad regime, are remote at best, or as Obama himself has said, a fantasy. As even the Times now admits, the FSA is operating as a de-facto extension of al-Qaeda in Syria. And with clear supporting evidence to that effect, John McCain’s continuing call to arm and support the FSA begins to hover perilously close to material support for terrorism.

State Department Testimony: Rebels Cannot Defeat Assad

homs-syria-rebel-reutersBreitbart, by FRANCES MARTEL:

The Islamic State has gained momentum in both Syria and Iraq while allegedly “moderate” groups against President Bashar al-Assad in the former nation have suffered increasing setbacks. With the outlook dire, even the U.S. State Department is admitting that a military overthrow of Assad appears far from a viable reality.

Speaking to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, senior State Department official Brett McGurk said the State Department “do not see a situation in which the rebels are able to remove [Assad] from power,” instead noting that Assad’s removal would have to be a “democratic” process.

The admission raises questions regarding President Obama’s continued push to arm and support “moderate” rebels against Assad, citing the use of chemical weapons against civilians, among other human rights violations. The President initially allowed for weapons to reach Syrian rebels who were considered “moderate” in June 2013, in response to allegations and accrued evidence that Assad had used chemical weapons against civilians. At the time, a poll found that 70% of Americans opposed the President’s action.

A year later, Assad appeared nowhere closer to falling, yet the President once again called arming moderate rebels– this time engaging Congress. The President and Congress finally agreed to a $500 million program to train and arm rebels vetted to be moderate.

At the moment, the program is not expected to begin until March, according to Foreign Policy. It aims to train 5,000 rebels per year, but many have criticized it as a slow reaction to a crisis that is bleeding millions of refugees into the outside world a day, not counting those displaced within Syria. A particularly troubling report this week from McClatchyindicates that there is currently little to no support to rebels on the ground from the United States at all– many rebel leaders say they have received nothing– leaving unanswered questions as to where the funding has been going.

Meanwhile, both Assad and the Islamic State have been making gains, as well as the Syrian jihadist group the Al Nusra Front. Al-Nusra, which is affiliated with Al Qaeda, alleged this week that they had used a United Nations vehicle in a terrorist attack in Syria, a milestone for the group’s fight against the West. In Jordan and Afghanistan, the Islamic State’s popularity is only growing, posing the serious danger of a new influx of foreign jihadis into the Syrian war theater.

President Assad remains in power, with increasing confidence. In a recent interview with Paris Match magazine, Assad went so far as to blame the United States for the creation of ISIS, and call airstrikes against ISIS targets within Syria by US and coalition forces “illegal,” despite the consensus that they have helped his army. Of his own rule, Assad remained confident that “we as Syrians will never accept that Syria become a western puppet state”– which is to say, accept his removal from power as long as the United States has a role to play.

The situation leaves reasonable doubt regarding the potential for rebel groups to remove Assad, making McGurk’s comments an almost necessary reality from the State Department. Nonetheless, such comments do not appear to be currently interfering with President Obama’s plans to spend $500 million on training and arming rebels that even his State Department see little potential for victory in.

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