US Intel Chief: Islamic Terror Threat Biggest in History

ISIS fighters

ISIS fighters

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, Feb. 11, 2016:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said February 9 the Sunni terrorist threat “has been on an upward trajectory since the late 1970s and has more groups, members and safe havens that at any other point in history.”

Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart also testified and his assessment wasn’t rosier.

More than 36,500 foreign fighters have gone to Syria, including at least 6,000 from Western countries, since 2012, said Stewart. Within the U.S., the FBI arrested some five dozen Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) supporters last year, a 500% increase from 2014.

“ISIL will likely increase the pace and lethality of its transnational attacks as infrastructure and capabilities mature. It will purposely attempt to stroke sectarian conflict between Shia and Sunnis and between the West and Islam to create the chaotic environment in which it thrives,” Stewart said.

Watch the Clarion Project on Newsmax TV’s “Newsmax Prime with J.D. Hayworth” discussing this topic:

The Islamic State will hold onto Mosul in Iraq through at least the end of the year, Stewart believes. It is the centerpiece of the caliphate in Iraq and has enormous ideological value to the group. The reason is that the Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish Peshmerga and the Shiite and Sunni elements of the Popular Mobilization Forces (a coalition of militias, many of which are linked to Iran) lack the logistics, morale, qualified soldiers and overall military preparedness.

Stewart said the program to enlist Sunnis in the fight against ISIS—which proved decisive in beating back Al-Qaeda previously—is failing because of concerns about Iranian influence, persecution by Shiite militias and a lack of funding and material. The latter two elements validate Sunni complaints that the U.S. is inadequately supporting them due to the Iraqi central government’s insistence that all U.S. assistance be routed through Baghdad.

Clapper’s statement that Sunni terrorism has been on an “upward trajectory” casts a shadow over the Obama Administration’s  boast that ISIS has lost 40% of its caliphate in Iraq and 20% of it in Syria. It is true ISIS has lost ground and the statistic may be accurate, but Clapper’s statement shows it does not tell the whole story.

The testimonies of Clapper and Stewart explain that ISIS is expanding outside of Iraq and Syria, especially in Libya. The U.S. can and should boast of successes against ISIS, but the statistic doesn’t account for ISIS’ gains globally.

It also doesn’t mean progress against ISIS necessarily translates to overall progress in the war against Islamist terrorism. Clapper said al-Qaeda is poised to strengthen in 2016 because of its affiliates in Yemen and Syria. If ISIS’ holdings in Syria transfer to al-Qaeda’s Syrian wing, Jabhat al-Nusra (or another Islamist extremist group), then there’s no net gain.

Stewart told the Senate Armed Services Committee the ideological makeup of the Syrian rebels is projected to become even more radical in 2016. The chief reason is the Syrian regime’s advances on the ground with the help of Russia and Iran will cause more rebel groups to coalesce with Sunni extremists.

The two intelligence directors also see Afghanistan as an area with growth potential for al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban and others. Clapper believes ISIS’ branch in Afghanistan known as Khorasan is likely to only be a “low-level threat,” but the intelligence community has consistently underestimated the terrorist group. Stewart worries that al-Qaeda “could establish a significant presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” if pressure on the group decreases.

“[The Islamist insurgency is] steadily chipping away at Afghanistan’s security…we assess that fighting in 2016 will be more intense than in 2015, continuing a decade-long trend of deteriorating security,” Clapper said.

On the topic of Iran, the intelligence chiefs did not predict a change in the Shiite terrorist threat. Stewart warned Iranian-backed militias in Iraq have threatened to attack U.S. personnel there and some Shiite militiamen have attempted to do so. An Iran-backed militia kidnapped three American civilians working as contractors in Baghdad, just last month,.

Stewart absolved Iran of responsibility for the Shiite militias’ violence towards Americans and Coalition forces, saying it is “almost certainly not at the direction of Iran or [militia] group leadership.”

Even if that’s true—a big if—why shouldn’t Iran be blamed? It is supporting extremist militias who have an anti-American agenda and whose members are inclined to do that very thing. Perhaps Iran wants it to happen and knows it doesn’t even need to direct the Shiite extremists to do it. That would achieve plausible deniability while positioning itself as the power broker to whom the U.S. must plead for help.

Stewart also testified Iran is planning to launch a Space-Launch Vehicle equivalent to a nuclear-capable ICBM. He said it could happen this year, adding Iran continues to work on improving ballistic missile accuracy, range and lethality.

Iran was also rated as one of the top three foreign intelligence threats to the U.S. alongside Russia and China. Stewart said “some of these foreign intelligence entities also seek to influence our national policy and decision-making process.”

The most positive parts of their testimonies focused on the U.S.-backed Kurdish fight against ISIS and some encouraging news from Afghanistan.

Clapper said the Afghan National Security Forces will “probably” retain control of the major population centers and their losses will be limited to some rural areas with a small population. Stewart said the Afghan special forces are significantly improving and the Afghans have secured almost all of the provincial capitals and major highways. They have also shown they are capable of launching major counter-attacks like they did in Kunduz after a surprise routing at the hands of the Taliban.

Overall, the assessment was very bleak. Sunni extremists are getting stronger. Shiite extremists are, at best, not weakening and Iran is advancing its ballistic missile program for delivering nuclear weapons.

A summary of two intelligence chiefs’ statements could be written like this: The trend is in the enemy’s favor.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking 

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Also see:

Top U.S. General: ‘I Do Not Have Authority’ to Offensively Attack Taliban

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, Feb. 2, 2016:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. military, since President Obama declared that American troops had ceased their combat mission at the end of 2014, has only been able to attack the Taliban from a defensive position, the top commander of American and NATO forces in Afghanistan told lawmakers.

“I have the authority to protect our coalition members against any insurgency — Haqqani [Network], Taliban, al Qaeda — if they’re posing as a threat to our coalition forces,”testified the commander, Gen. John Campbell, before the House Armed Services Committee.

The general’s comments came in response to Rep. Jim Bridenstine asking if he had the authority to attack the Taliban, which has stepped up attacks since the end of 2014 and has been linked to the deteriorating security conditions in the Afghanistan.

“If the Taliban are attacking coalition forces, then I have everything I need to do that,” responded Gen. Campbell, who is expected to retire soon. “To attack the Taliban just because they’re Taliban, I do not have that authority.”

“It is astonishing that we have an authority to go after the Taliban and the president is preventing us from doing that,” proclaimed Bridenstine.

The Oklahoma Republican argued that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) 2001, passed by Congress and signed into law by the U.S. president at the time, grants the top commander the authority to use the necessary force against the Taliban.

Rep. Bridenstine questioned, “Yet, the president, it seems, is saying you can’t attack the Taliban even though they were responsible for September 11?”

“What I think is we adjusted our mission in 2015,” explained Campbell. “We went away from combat operations and we worked with the Afghans to build their capabilities to go after the Taliban.”

President Obama declared an end to the U.S. combat mission in December 2014, marking the beginning of the train, assist, and advise (TAA) role for the American troops on January 1, 2015.

While testifying, Gen. Campbell noted that with only 9,800 U.S. service members in Afghanistan, carrying out the TAA mission is difficult.

“Again if the Taliban are attacking or pose a threat to coalition forces, I have everything I need to provide that force protection,” reiterated Campbell. “To go after the Taliban because they’re Taliban, I don’t do that sir.”

At least 21 American service members have been killed and another 79 wounded since President Obama adjusted the mission so that U.S. troops are unable to attack the Taliban from an offensive position. The majority of the total 2,227 American military deaths and 20,109 injuries since the war began in October 2001 have taken place under President Obama’s watch.

Rep. Bridenstine quoted the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) 2001.

“That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons,” states the AUMF.

The Taliban has been accused of providing safe haven to al Qaeda members involved in orchestrating the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S. homeland, including the late jihadist leader Osama bin Laden.

President Obama is currently expected to reduce the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan to 5,500 troops by the time he left office in 2017.

“We’ll have a very limited ability to do TAA with 5,500,” said Gen. Campbell, who signaled that the U.S. military will stay in Afghanistan for years beyond 2017.

Obama has nominated Army Lt. Gen. John Nicholson, Jr., to replace the outgoing commander.

President Obama has been hesitant to call the Taliban a terrorist group.

US airstrikes destroy ISIS’ ‘Voice of the Caliphate’ radio station in Afghanistan

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Fox News, February 02, 2016:

U.S. airstrikes have destroyed an Islamic State-operated radio station in a remote part of eastern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.

“Voice of the Caliphate” radio was destroyed by two U.S. airstrikes, according to a U.S. military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief media on the subject.

Army Col. Mike Lawhorn, spokesman for the U.S.-NATO mission in Afghanistan, said U.S. forces conducted two “counter-terrorism airstrikes” late Monday in Achin district, in the eastern Nangarhar province, without elaborating.

An ISIS affiliate has emerged in Afghanistan over the past year, with a military presence in districts near the border with Pakistan. The radio station was broadcasting illegally across Nangarhar, calling on fighters to join the group and threatening journalists in the provincial capital, Jalalabad.

Afghan officials had said they believed the broadcasts were coming from mobile facilities that could be moved easily back and forth across the mountainous border.

The spokesman for the Nangarhar governor, Attaullah Khogyani, said the strikes had also killed 21 ISIS supporters, including five who were working for the radio station.

The station was set up in late 2015, following months of fierce fighting between ISIS group militants and the Taliban, who also maintain a significant presence in the region. Although ISIS and the Taliban both want to impose a harsh version of Islamic rule, they are bitterly divided over leadership and strategy, with the Taliban narrowly focused on Afghanistan and ISIS bent on establishing a worldwide caliphate.

Radio is a powerful medium in Afghanistan, where most people do not have televisions and only 10 percent of the population has access to the Internet. Nearly everyone has access to radio, with around 175 stations operating across the country.

The U.S. State Department recently added the ISIS Afghan affiliate to its list of foreign terrorist organizations.

Elsewhere in the country, three Afghan army officers died when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb late Monday in the Gereshk district of southern Helmand province, according to the district’s administration chief, Mohammad Sharif. He said the dead included Gen. Atta Mir, a brigade commander in Gereshk.

In the northern city of Kunduz, a secretary for the provincial governor’s office was shot dead near his home on Monday evening, the governor’s spokesman, Abdul Wasi Basel, said.

He said that no one had claimed responsibility for the killing of Mohammad Zarif.

The Taliban seized Kunduz for three days last year, and only fully withdrew after a two-week counteroffensive that devastated much of the city.

Also see:

U.S. Grip on Afghanistan Unravels, Terrorists Make Most Gains Since 2001

An Afghan policeman stands guard at his checkpoint in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Jan. 26 / AP

An Afghan policeman stands guard at his checkpoint in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Jan. 26 / AP

About a third of Afghanistan under insurgent control

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Jan. 29, 2016:

Terrorists in Afghanistan control more territory than at any time since 2001 as America’s grip on the country continues to unravel amid a spike in violence that has made Afghanistan more dangerous than ever, according to a new government oversight report.

The Afghan government has lost control of about 30 percent of the country, with terrorists linked to the Taliban, ISIS, and other groups moving freely in the region, according to new findings by the Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstructions, otherwise known as SIGAR.

“The lack of security has made it almost impossible for many U.S. and even some Afghan officials” to manage and oversee ongoing reconstruction projects that could total billions of dollars, according to the report, which found that the Afghan government has control of more than 70 percent of the country.

The deteriorating security situation has endangered oversight operations meant to ensure that billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars are being appropriately spent. American military casualties also have risen as terrorists gain a renewed foothold in the country, according to the report.

“The security situation leaves billions and billions of dollars’ worth of U.S.-funded projects and programs out of the reach of any American officials,” said an oversight official not authorized to speak on the record.

“Afghanistan proved even more dangerous than it was a year ago,” according to the report. “The Taliban now controls more territory than at any time since 2001. Vicious and repeated attacks in Kabul this quarter shook confidence in the national-unity government.”

About a year after U.S. coalition forces turned security operations over to Afghan forces, the situation continues to worsen, particularly due to the Afghan forces inability to properly conduct operations.

There were nearly 72 “security incidents” per day in Afghanistan between August and December 2015, according to statistics compiled by SIGAR.

While the United States has provided more than $64.5 billion in taxpayer funds to rebuild the Afghan National Defense and Security Forces, they continue to falter. Since May 2015, the total force strength, which currently stands at 322,638, has decreased by nearly 10,000.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Defense is expected to function at about 62 percent of its total ability, “a drop from the 69 percent, 74 percent, and 90 percent forecasts in the last three-quarters,” the report found.

Additionally, the United Nations determined that “the overall level of security incidents increased and intensified from August 2015 through the end of October, with 6,601 incidents as compared to 5,516 incidents (a 19 percent increase) during the same period in 2014,” according to the report.

“The 6,601 security incidents reported were the most since SIGAR began reporting in November 2012, and the average daily number of incidents that occurred equaled the number in the summer of 2014,” according to the statistics.

Armed clashes and incidents involving improvised explosive devices increased by more than 20 percent since the same time period in 2014 and account for around 68 percent of all “security incidents,” according to the U.N.

Scores of suicide attacks, assassination attempts, abductions, and other attacks also were recorded.

Between August and Oct. 31, 2015, officials documented “3,693 civilian casualties (1,138 persons killed and 2,555 injured),” which amount to “a 26 percent increase over the same period in 2014,” according to the report.

Since January 2015, 11 U.S. military personnel have been killed in action, bringing the total to 21 deaths in this period.

Oversight projects also have suffered as a result of the increased violence, according to SIGAR, which has had difficulty keeping tabs on Afghanistan’s government.

“The dangers of absent oversight were exposed when a task force appointed by [Afghan] President Ashraf Ghani reportedly found that millions of dollars were being embezzled while Afghanistan pays for numerous nonexistent ‘ghost’ schools, ‘ghost’ teachers, and ‘ghost’ students,” the report found.

Meanwhile, SIGAR continues to expose massive corruption and waste in U.S.-funded projects.

One U.S. Army sergeant, for instance, pled guilty last year in a conspiracy to receive “illegal bribes by a public official,” according to the audit. This resulted in a 24-month sentence.

Another U.S. Army sergeant pled guilty to similar charges and was sentenced to a year in prison.

HOW “RULES OF ENGAGEMENT” GET U.S. SOLDIERS KILLED

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By Jamie Glazov, Nov. 16, 2015:

This special edition of The Glazov Gang was joined by Stephen Coughlin, the co-founder of UnconstrainedAnalytics.org and the author of the new book, Catastrophic Failure.

He came on the show to discuss How “Rules of Engagement” Get U.S. Soldiers Killed, unveiling the disgraceful and deadly cost America pays for obeying Islamic laws in Afghanistan.

[See also Stephen on the two previous Glazov Gang specials: [1]Muslim Brotherhood: Above the Law in America and [2] How American Leadership is Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad.]

Are we losing Afghanistan again?

Taliba-Paktia-e1445435515840Long War Journal, by Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn, Oct. 21, 2015:

Editor’s note: The following article was originally published at The New York Times Opinion Page on Oct. 21, 2015.

“ALLAH has promised us victory and America has promised us defeat,” Mullah Muhammad Omar, the first head of the Taliban, once said, “so we shall see which of the two promises will be fulfilled.” When his colleagues admitted this summer that Mullah Omar had died, Al Qaeda and affiliated groups around the globe remembered those words — victory is a divine certainty — in their eulogies. And in Afghanistan today, though the majority of Afghans still do not identify with the Taliban or Al Qaeda, Mullah Omar’s bold defiance in the face of a superpower is beginning to look prescient

Since early September, the Taliban have swept through Afghanistan’s north, seizing numerous districts and even, briefly, the provincial capital Kunduz. The United Nations has determined that the Taliban threat to approximately half of the country’s 398 districts is either “high” or “extreme.” Indeed, by our count, more than 30 districts are already under Taliban control. And the insurgents are currently threatening provincial capitals in both northern and southern Afghanistan.

Confronted with this grim reality, President Obama has decided to keep 9,800 American troops in the country through much of 2016 and 5,500 thereafter. The president was right to change course, but it is difficult to see how much of a difference this small force can make. The United States troops currently in Afghanistan have not been able to thwart the Taliban’s advance. They were able to help push them out of Kunduz, but only after the Taliban’s two-week reign of terror. This suggests that additional troops are needed, not fewer.

When justifying his decision last week, the president explained that American troops would “remain engaged in two narrow but critical missions — training Afghan forces, and supporting counterterrorism operations against the remnants of Al Qaeda.” He added, “We’ve always known that we had to maintain a counterterrorism operation in that region in order to tamp down any re-emergence of active Al Qaeda networks.”

But the president has not explained the full scope of what is at stake. Al Qaeda has already re-emerged. Just two days before the president’s statement, the military announced that it led raids against two Qaeda training camps in the south, one of which was an astonishing 30 square miles in size. The operation lasted several days, and involved 63 airstrikes and more than 200 ground troops, including both Americans and Afghan commandos.

“We struck a major Al Qaeda sanctuary in the center of the Taliban’s historic heartland,” Brig. Gen. Wilson A. Shoffner, a military spokesman, said. General Shoffner described it as “one of the largest joint ground-assault operations we have ever conducted in Afghanistan.” Other significant Qaeda facilities are already being identified in local press reporting.

Recently, Hossam Abdul Raouf, a chief lieutenant of the Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, confirmed in an audio message that Qaeda’s senior leadership has relocated out of northern Pakistan — no secret to the military and the C.I.A., which have been hunting senior Qaeda figures in Afghanistan and elsewhere throughout the year.

The Taliban are not hiding their continuing alliance with Al Qaeda. In August, Mr. Zawahri pledged his allegiance to Mullah Omar’s successor, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour. Within hours, Mullah Mansour publicly accepted the “esteemed” Mr. Zawahri’s oath of fealty. And Qaeda members are integrated into the Taliban’s chain of command. In fact, foreign fighters affiliated with Al Qaeda played a significant role in the Taliban-led assault on Kunduz.

The United States made many mistakes in the 9/11 wars. After routing the Taliban and Al Qaeda in late 2001, President George W. Bush did not dedicate the resources necessary to finish the fight. President Obama was right in December 2009 to announce a surge of forces in Afghanistan, but it was short-lived. Al Qaeda is not nearly as “decimated” in South Asia as Mr. Obama has claimed.

We don’t think 5,500 troops is enough. No one is calling for a full-scale occupation of the country. But a force of as many as 20,000 to 25,000 would far better support our local Afghan allies, helping them defend multiple provincial capitals at the same time and fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban in their strongholds.

While many believe that Al Qaeda is solely focused on attacking the West, it has devoted most of its efforts to waging insurgencies. This is the key to understanding how it has been able to regenerate repeatedly over the past 14 years. Al Qaeda draws would-be terrorists from the larger pool of paramilitary forces fighting to restore the Taliban to power in Afghanistan or to build radical nation-states elsewhere. Therefore, the mission of the United States is bigger than the one Mr. Obama envisions. Drones and select counterterrorism raids are not enough to end the threat.

Al Qaeda and like-minded groups were founded on the myth that the Soviet Union was defeated in Afghanistan because of the mujahedeen’s faith in Allah alone. This helped spawn a generation of new wars and terrorist attacks, most of which have targeted Muslims. Should the Afghans suffer additional territorial losses, Mullah Omar’s words will appear prophetic. And a new myth, one that will feed the Taliban’s and Al Qaeda’s violence for years to come, will be born.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal. Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for The Long War Journal.

Also see:

REWIND 2009: Obama, Clinton Enthusiastic About Engaging ‘Moderate’ Taliban in Afghanistan

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Oct. 15, 2015:

Just weeks into his first term, President Obama was cheery at the prospect of bringing a resolution to the conflict in Afghanistan by backing a plan to lure “moderate” elements of the Taliban to support the U.S.-backed government.

Obama’s new secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, was also enthusiastic about the engagement with these “moderates.”

How’s that working out? Not so well. Obama announced today that — contrary to his stated plans — the U.S. will continue its military involvement in Afghanistan past 2016:

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As veteran White House reporter Ed Henry notes, this contradicts Obama’s repeated claims that he was ending the war in Afghanistan:

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With such dismal news, it seems appropriate to recall those heady days more than six-and-a-half years ago when the D.C. foreign policy establishment was aflutter with talk of the administration engaging the “moderate” Taliban. They were cheerleading for the secretary, who was on board with the engagement plan:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday endorsed Afghan plans to hold reconciliation talks with moderate Taliban members.

“We must support efforts by the government of Afghanistan to separate the extremists of al Qaeda and the Taliban from those who joined their ranks, not out of conviction but out of desperation,” Clinton said in an address laying out the new U.S. strategy for the region that President Obama announced last week.

She added, “They should be offered an honorable form of reconciliation and reintegration into a peaceful society if they are willing to abandon violence, break with al Qaeda and support the constitution.”

As late as last year, administration officials were still pushing the “moderate” Taliban plan.

Not everyone was enchanted by the plan back in 2009, and these dissenters have of course been proven correct. As theWashington Times editorialized at the time:

The Afghan government believes the talks are going well, and that supportive statements from President Obama have “created enormous optimism.” The negotiations fit neatly into Mr. Obama’s “let’s talk it out” global strategy. The reported U.S. position is that if the Taliban cease fighting, evict al-Qaeda, and promise not to support terrorism in the future, the U.S. and NATO will leave Afghanistan. Call it Anbar Awakening: The Sequel.

The United States assumes only about 5 percent of the Taliban are incorrigibles, and the remaining “reconcilables” can be “peeled off.” Hamid Karzai, himself a former Taliban supporter, defines the moderates as “those who are not affiliated with al-Qaeda” and “who accept the constitution of Afghanistan.” But most of the people who fit that description either joined the political process years ago or were killed by their immoderate brethren.

With today’s announcement, and Hillary Clinton being the presumed Democratic Party presidential candidate for 2016, how are things faring in Afghanistan?

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Tolerating Bacha Bazi; Buggery and the Loss of American High Ground

PEDERASTYThe Conservative Coffee Corner, by Angela Gtaham West, Sep. 22, 2015:

‘Bacha Bazi literally means “playing with boys”.  It is a slang term term in Afghanistan for a wide variety of activities that will include pedophilia with specifically young boys. The perpetrator is commonly called Bacha Baz (meaning “pedophile” in Persian). It may include to some extent child pornography, sexual slavery and child prostitution in which prepubescent and adolescent boys are sold to wealthy or powerful men for entertainment and sexual activities.”  Wikipedia  “A ‘bacha bereesh’ is a boy without a beard, and in several circles a beardless boy is most desired by rich, powerful male patrons. Grown men become involved in ‘bacha bazi’— which literally translates into ‘boy-play’. This is a time-honored tradition, condemned by human rights activists and Muslim clerics, but it is seeing a revival in the north province of Afghanistan. It is by no means restricted to the north of Afghanistan only, but has virtually faded in the south, where the Taliban’s strict moral code act as a deterrent.”  Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/246409#ixzz3mWaOZD7Y

The ‘bacha bereesh’ is usually between the ages of 14 to 18.  the age of 14 tends to be quite desirable for these “powerful” or wealthy men.  These young men are dressed in special women’s clothing, with bells tied to their feet, and paraded out to dance at parties and weddings.  Obviously women are prohibited from attending many functions.  In general, the practice of men dancing at parties is relatively common in Afghanistan.

Allah Daad, once a mujahedin commander in the northern Afghan province of Kunduz, explains how the boys are enticed into the arrangement: “First we select boys in the village and later on we try to trick them into coming with us,” he said. “Some of them stay with us for money; they get a monthly allowance, and in return we can have them any time we want. They don’t stay with us all the time – they can do their own jobs and then just come to parties with us.”  Large halls provide the venues for the weekly parties where the boys’ owners, invite their friends to watch them dancing. Several different types of dances are popular, Daad says, and if the boy refuses to dance or performs badly, his master beats him with a long stick.

“We have to do that,” explains Daad. “We spend money on these boys, so they have to dance.”  Later into the night, once the dancing is over, the boys are frequently shared with close friends, for sexual favors. And by the end of the evening it is not at all uncommon for the boy to have a new owner, as the parties often provide the opportunity for buying and selling.Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/246409#ixzz3mWcAeEfR
Women are for making children, males are for “making fun”.  Many say they only want “boys”.“We know it is immoral and unIslamic, but how can we quit?” asks 35 year-old Chaman Gul. “We do not like women, we just want boys.”Read more: http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/246409#ixzz3mWcYEYU9

When the boys get older, depending upon the power they have gained from their “masters”, they then become owners of other poverty stricken little boys. An thus the cycle continues.  One young boy speaks of how when his father died, he began dancing for he powerful men when he was just 10 years old.  sometimes he was just paid the equivalent of 2 dollars per night and sometimes he was gang raped.  This was to provide the most meager food to his mother and family.
The Afghan government is unable and some say unwilling to tackle the problem.
So it is against the backdrop that  Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.  “At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/21/world/asia/us-soldiers-told-to-ignore-afghan-allies-abuse-of-boys.html?_r=0
Dan Quinn, a former Special Forces captain who beat up an American-backed militia commander for keeping a boy chained to his bed as a sex slave. “But we were putting people into power who would do things that were worse than the Taliban did — that was something village elders voiced to me.”  The new American policy is to ignore and tolerate this “practice”.  The Army is trying to forcibly retire Sgt. First Class Charles Martland, a Special Forces member who joined Captain Quinn in beating up the commander.  The Army contends that they should “have looked the other way”.
Fighting the Taliban is what we are there for, forced buggery and pedophilia is “their business”.   Is it dangerous to report this abuse? Yes,  the father of Lance Corporal Buckley believes the policy of looking away from sexual abuse was a factor in his son’s death, and he has filed a lawsuit to press the Marine Corps for more information about it. Lance Corporal Buckley and two other Marines were killed in 2012 by one of a large entourage of boys living at their base with an Afghan police commander named Sarwar Jan.  Nothing happened to the boy and Sarwar Jan was promoted.
Here is the story of the soldier:One day in early September 2011 at their remote outpost, a young Afghan boy and his Afghan-Uzbek mother showed up at camp. The 12-year-old showed the Green Berets where his hands had been tied. A medic took him to a back room for an examination with an interpreter, who told them the boy had been raped by another commander by the name of Abdul Rahman.After learning of the meeting, Rahman allegedly beat the boy’s mother for reporting the crime. It was at this point, the Green Berets had had enough. Quinn and Martland went to confront Rahman.

“He confessed to the crime and laughed about it, and said it wasn’t a big deal. Even when we patiently explained how serious the charge was, he kept laughing,” Quinn said.

According to reports of the incident, Quinn and Martland shoved Abdul Rahman to the ground. It was the only way to get their point across, according to Quinn. “As a man, as a father of a young boy myself at the time, I felt obliged to step in to prevent further repeat occurrences,” Quinn said.

Rahman walked away bruised from getting shoved and thrown to the ground, but otherwise OK, according to teammates. But Rahman quickly reported the incident to another Army unit in a nearby village. The next day a U.S. Army helicopter landed and took Quinn and Martland away, ending their work in Kunduz Province.

For the next few weeks, both soldiers remained in Afghanistan but were not allowed to continue their mission. They were given temporary jobs in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan and later in Herat. Pending the outcome of the investigation, both men were relieved from their positions and sent home. Their war was over.

Quinn has since left the Army and started a job on Wall Street.

Martland, though, has been fighting to stay in the Army. In February 2015, the Army conducted a “Qualitative Management Program” review board. His supporters suspect because Martland had a “relief for cause” evaluation in his service record, the U.S. Army ordered Martland to be “involuntary discharged” from the Army by Nov. 1, 2015.

We face a question………..  What do we stand for?  The picture depicts a young “boy sex slave” or “bacha bereesh”.  Note the eye make-up ringing the sad eyes of a child who would otherwise be in elementary school.  This is what our soldiers are told to look away from …..or else…..

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New ‘Islamic Commandos’ Terror Group Emerges in War-Torn Afghanistan

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Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, August 24, 2015:

The reported emergence of a new terror group in Afghanistan, calling itself the “Islamic Commandos,” indicates that the country remains a safe haven for terrorist organizations.

American troops invaded Afghanistan in October 2001 to prevent terrorist groups, namely al-Qaeda, from using the war-torn country as a base for their operations.

Since then, the U.S. has spent billions of taxpayer dollars and lost at least 2,217 American lives on that effort.

Less than one year after President Obama declared an end to the U.S. combat mission in Afghanistan, Khaama Press reports that Afghan officials are now saying the Islamic Commandos have begun operating in their areas.

The group, which has at least 1,000 members, has begun to function in northern and southern Afghanistan—particularly in the northern provinces of Badakhshan, Kunduz, and Faryab; and the southern Zabul, Urozgan, and Kandahar provinces. This is according to Mohammad Ali Ahmadi, deputy governor of Ghazni province in eastern Afghanistan, who reportedly told Azadi Radio on Sunday, adding that the group is also operating in his province.

“He said [the] majority of this group is currently fighting with security forces in northern Afghanistan,” adds Khaama Press.

The deputy governor pointed out that the group broke away from the Taliban, which it now considers a rival faction.

It is unknown what brought about the division that led to the formation of the Islamic Commandos, notes Heavy.com.

A report from the Afghan Bokhdi News Agency, written in Dari, quotes Ahmadi as saying that the Islamic Commandos are linked to al-Qaeda and have entered Afghanistan from Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan tribal region located along the Afghan border, according to an English translation provided by BBC.

Breitbart News was unable to independently confirm whether or not the new terrorist group has ties to al-Qaeda. It is unclear whether or not there is a relationship between the Islamic Commandos, the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), and al-Qaeda.

The Taliban and al-Qaeda share historic ties. Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri pledged allegiance to the new Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Akhtar Mansour, who took over the group after Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar was reported dead. Mansour has accepted the pledge.

The Taliban and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) are currently fighting a turf war in Afghanistan.

There are already at least fifteen terrorist organizations operating in the Afghan and Pakistan region, SFGate reports. The Islamic Commandos are the newest terrorist group in Afghanistan.

U.S. and international troops are already dealing with the resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the entry of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), which has appeared in parts of the country, carrying out brutal executions.

Except for a small Kabul-based embassy presence, the U.S. is expected to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2016, President Obama has said.

Obama, at the request of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, already slowed down the withdrawal pace of American forces, extending the presence of nearly 10,000 troops until the end of this year.

In 2014, the U.S. president said that by the end of 2015, America would draw down its military presence to about half of the current level.

President Obama has reportedly asked U.S. Gen. John F. Campbell, the top commander of American and international forces in Afghanistan, to reassess the situation on the ground after the 2015 fighting season, the first with the Afghan forces supposedly in the lead.

Earlier this month, The Daily Mirror reported that British special forces (SAS, SBS) were deployed back to Afghanistan to take on both ISIS and the Taliban.

“Just a year after David Cameron said the war was over, members of the SAS and SBS along with US special forces are taking part in military operations almost every night as the insurgent forces close in on the capital Kabul,” noted the article.

“British troops are supposed to be just advisers to the Afghanistan special forces, who they have spent years training,” it added. “But senior defence sources say that in reality the troops are planning and leading counter-terrorist strike operations.”

U.S. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Afghan president have discussed the possibility of forming a ten-year regional counterterrorism effort against ISIS.

New Taliban emir accepts al Qaeda’s oath of allegiance

Left: Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, from a handout released by a Taliban spokesman. Right: Ayman al Zawahiri, from his latest tape declaring allegiance to Mansour.

Left: Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, from a handout released by a Taliban spokesman. Right: Ayman al Zawahiri, from his latest tape declaring allegiance to Mansour.

Long War Journal, by Bill Roggio and Thomas Joscelyn, August 14, 2015:

The Taliban’s new leader, Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Mansour, has accepted the oath of allegiance (bayat) from al Qaeda emir Ayman Zawahiri, as well as the pledges to him from “Jihadi organizations spread throughout the globe.” Mansour’s statement was released just one day after al Qaeda released an audio message from Zawahiri in which he gave bayat to Mansour.

Mansour’s statement accepting Zawahiri’s pledge was released today on Voice of Jihad, the Taliban’s official website. In the statement, the Taliban emir thanked “all those respected brothers who have sympathized with us in this critical juncture of the Islamic Ummah, have sent messages of condolence about the passing away of Amir ul Mumineen [Mullah Omar] or have pledged allegiance with us as the new Amir (leader) of the Islamic Emirate and servant of the Muslims.”

Mansour places Zawahiri’s oath of fealty above all others.

“Among these respected brothers, I first and foremost accept the pledge of allegiance of the esteemed Dr. Ayman ad-Dhawahiri [al Zawahiri], the leader of international Jihadi organization (Qaedatul Jihad) and thank him for sending a message of condolence along with his pledge and pledge of all Mujahideen under him,” Mansour said.

“Similarly those Mujahideen protecting the Jihadi frontlines, Madaris (religious seminaries), teachers of universities and centers for learning, national figures and all Islamic and Jihadi personalities as well as Jihadi organizations spread throughout the globe who have sent messages of condolence or pledge allegiance with us as leader of Jihad, I reciprocally thank them and implore Allah Almighty to grant me and all our brothers success to properly serve Islam and Muslims,” he continued.

Mansour’s acceptance of Zawahiri’s oath should come as no surprise. The new Taliban emir issued a pro-al Qaeda statement in June, before Mullah Omar’s death was announced. In the statement, he described al Qaeda’s leaders as the “heroes of the current jihadist era” and bin Laden as the “leader of mujahideen.” Mansour’s statement contained parallels to al Qaeda’s messaging and he took al Qaeda’s side in its dispute with the rival Islamic State.

Mansour’s leadership team also indicates his close ties to al Qaeda. As The Long War Journal reported on July 31, Mansour appointed Siraj Haqqani, the operational leader of the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani Network, as one of his top two deputies. Files recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound and other evidence show that Siraj has worked closely with al Qaeda for years. [See LWJ report, The Taliban’s new leadership is allied with al Qaeda.]

The public acceptance of Zawahiri’s pledge demonstrates that Mansour has no intention of breaking with al Qaeda.

Indeed, the statement from the new Taliban emir is a dramatic gesture. Since last year, al Qaeda has repeatedly broadcast its enduring allegiance to Mansour’s predecessor, Mullah Omar. In July 2014, al Qaeda released a video from mid-2001 of Osama bin Laden explaining his loyalty to Omar. But the Taliban’s public-facing propaganda has been far less explicit about the relationship. For instance, after al Qaeda reaffirmed its allegiance to Omar on July 20, 2014, the Taliban did not publish a statement attributed to Omar acknowledging the pledge.

Therefore, while the Taliban and al Qaeda have long been closely allied, Mansour’s official statement is a bold proclamation of the relationship between the groups.

***

Also see:

Afghan Taliban names new leader to replace Mullah Omar

Mullah Omar

Mullah Omar


Fox News, July 30, 2015:

Afghanistan’s Taliban on Thursday confirmed the death of Mullah Mohammad Omar, who led the group’s self-styled Islamic emirate in the 1990s, sheltered Al Qaeda through the 9/11 attacks and led a 14-year insurgency against U.S. and NATO troops.

The Taliban Shura, or Supreme Council, chose Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, who had served as Mullah Omar’s deputy for the past three years, as its new leader, two Taliban figures told the Associated Press, saying the seven-member council had met in the Pakistani city of Quetta.

Mansoor is considered close to Pakistani authorities, who hosted peace talks earlier this month, and his election could widen an internal rift between fighters who favor negotiations with Kabul and those who want to continue an insurgency that has gained speed following the end of the international combat mission last year.

The peace process was plunged into uncertainty earlier Thursday, when the Afghan Taliban indicated they were pulling out of the negotiations and Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the talks, which were to be hosted by Islamabad, were postponed.

The Taliban said Mullah Omar’s family had confirmed his death and that he had died of an unspecified illness. In a statement emailed to media, the Taliban quoted Mullah Omar’s brother and one of his sons as asking for forgiveness for “mistakes” he made at the helm of the militant group.

The statement, issued in the name of Mullah Omar’s brother, Mullah Abdul Manan, and his son, Mohammad Yaqub, came after the Afghan government announced Wednesday that Mullah Omar had died more than two years ago in a Pakistani hospital.

Senior Taliban figures told the Associated Press that Mullah Omar died. Yaqub also confirmed in a telephone call with the AP that his father was dead but did not provide any further details.

In the statement, Mullah Omar’s family praises his dedication to jihad, or holy war, against the international military coalition led by the United States and says it is the “duty of all Muslims” to follow his example by establishing Sharia law in Afghanistan.

“During 14 years of jihad against the U.S., Mullah Omar never left Afghanistan for one day, even to go to Pakistan or to any other country,” the statement said, saying he remained in Afghanistan through two weeks of serious illness before passing away, without providing further details.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until they were overthrown in a U.S-led invasion in 2001. It is widely believed that Mullah Omar fled over the border to Pakistan, where he lived under Pakistani protection until his death.

Following Mansoor’s election, the Taliban chose Sirajuddin Haqqani as its new deputy leader, the two Taliban figures said. Haqqani has a U.S. government bounty of $10 million on his head as a leader of the extremist Haqqani network, which is allied with Al Qaeda.

His election to the leadership of the Afghan Taliban confirms the group’s ties to the Haqqani network, which has been accused of staging numerous cross-border attacks from their base in the Pakistani tribal area of North Waziristan, including a 19-hour siege at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul in September 2011.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry said Thursday it was postponing the talks due to the “uncertainty” surrounding Mullah Omar’s death but gave no new date for the negotiations.

“In view of the reports regarding the death of Mullah Omar and the resulting uncertainty, and at the request of the Afghan Taliban leadership, the second round of the Afghan peace talks, which was scheduled to be held in Pakistan on 31 July 2015, is being postponed,” said the statement.

The first round of the official, face-to-face discussions was hosted by Islamabad earlier this month. The meeting was supervised by U.S. and Chinese representatives and ended with both sides agreeing to meet again.

It was not immediately clear if the latest developments had scuttled the peace process altogether or whether it was just a serious setback.

Political analyst Ahmad Saeedi said the Taliban’s statement could signal a total rejection of the talks.

“I’m pretty sure there will be no peace deal,” he said.

Despite operating in near-total secrecy, the reclusive one-eyed Mullah Omar had served as a unifying figure in the Taliban. But experts have long spoken of a divide in the opaque movement between those who favor the peace process and those who still believe they can overthrow the government.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has sought Pakistan’s help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiations, since Islamabad is believed to wield influence over the group.

A diplomat based in Kabul who is familiar with the peace process told the AP that since Ghani assumed power last year, the government’s position has been that “the real negotiation is between Afghanistan and Pakistan.” The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters on the ongoing talks.

Further splintering within the Taliban could see more local commanders defect to other groups. Already, the Islamic State group, which has taken control of large parts of Iraq and Syria, is believed to have recruited some disaffected Taliban members to its ranks as it tries to establish a presence in Afghanistan.

After the U.S.-led invasion, remnants of the Taliban led by Mullah Omar fled over the border into Pakistan, where they are believed to have the protection of Islamabad. Mullah Omar has not been seen in public since then, though statements have been issued in his name. The Taliban had denied previous reports of his death.

A statement purportedly by Mullah Omar was issued on the occasion of this month’s Eid-al-Fitr holiday, expressing support for the peace talks.

***

Also see:

Islamic State recruitment document seeks to provoke ‘end of the world’

A video grab released by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on July 11, 2015, shows Hafiz Saeed, the Islamic State leader of the Khorasan State, at an undisclosed location along the Pakistani-Afghan border. (Photo: TTP/EPA)

A video grab released by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) on July 11, 2015, shows Hafiz Saeed, the Islamic State leader of the Khorasan State, at an undisclosed location along the Pakistani-Afghan border.
(Photo: TTP/EPA)

USA Today, by Sara A. Carter, July 28, 2015:

An apparent Islamic State recruitment document found in Pakistan’s lawless tribal lands reveals that the extremist group has grand ambitions of building a new terrorist army in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and triggering a war in India to provoke an Armageddon-like “end of the world.”

The 32-page Urdu-language document obtained by American Media Institute (AMI) and reviewed by USA TODAY details a plot to attack U.S. soldiers as they withdraw from Afghanistan and target American diplomats and Pakistani officials.

AMI obtained the document from a Pakistani citizen with connections inside the Pakistani Taliban and had it independently translated from Urdu by Harvard researcher and translator Mustafa Samdani. The Pakistani’s identity was shared with USA TODAY, which has agreed not to identify him publicly because of concerns for his safety.

The document was reviewed by three U.S. intelligence officials, who said they believe the document is authentic based on its unique markings and the fact that language used to describe leaders, the writing style and religious wording match other documents from the Islamic State, also known as ISIL and ISIS. They asked to remain anonymous because they are not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The undated document, titled “A Brief History of the Islamic State Caliphate (ISC), The Caliphate According to the Prophet,” seeks to unite dozens of factions of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban into a single army of terror.  It includes a never-before-seen history of the Islamic State, details chilling future battle plans, urges al-Qaeda to join the group and says the Islamic State’s leader should be recognized as the sole ruler of the world’s 1 billion Muslims under a religious empire called a “caliphate.”

“Accept the fact that this caliphate will survive and prosper until it takes over the entire world and beheads every last person that rebels against Allah,” it proclaims. “This is the bitter truth, swallow it.”

Retired Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who also reviewed the document, said it “represents the Islamic State’s campaign plan and is something, as an intelligence officer, I would not only want to capture, but fully exploit. It lays out their intent, their goals and objectives, a red flag to which we must pay attention.”

Alistair Baskey, deputy spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, told AMI, “we are aware of the presence of ISIL-affiliated militants in Afghanistan, and we are monitoring closely to see whether their emergence will have a meaningful impact on the threat environment in the region.”

The Taliban is another radical Islamic group that ruled Afghanistan until ousted during the U.S. invasion in 2001. It continues fighting the current Afghan government and also trying to thwart the Islamic State’s expansion into Afghanistan.

The document warns that “preparations” for an attack in India are underway and predicts that an attack will provoke an apocalyptic confrontation with America: “Even if the U.S tries to attack with all its allies, which undoubtedly it will, the ummah will be united, resulting in the final battle.” The word “ummah” refers to the entire global community of Muslims.

Striking in India would magnify the Islamic State’s stature and threaten the stability of the region, said Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution who served more than 30 years in the CIA. “Attacking in India is the Holy Grail of South Asian jihadists.”

Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said the Islamic State threat in Pakistan was discussed with White House, State Department and Pentagon officials in June. He told reporters at the Pakistani Embassy in June that successful allied military operations have scattered the Pakistani Taliban.

Chaudhry denied there is an Islamic State presence in Pakistan. It could be “a potential threat for the whole world, for our region too, for our country too,” he said. “We believe that all countries need to cooperate, and Pakistan, yes.”

Unlike al-Qaeda, which has targeted terror attacks on the United States and other western nations, the document said Islamic State leaders believe that’s the wrong strategic goal. “Instead of wasting energy in a direct confrontation with the U.S., we should focus on an armed uprising in the Arab world for the establishment of the caliphate,” the document said.

So far, the U.S. strategy has been limited to fighting the militant group in Iraq and Syria, ordering limited airstrikes and deploying trainers to strengthen Iraqi security forces.

Meanwhile, the Islamic State has recruited tens of thousands of fighters and sympathizers from around the world.

The failure to target the radical Islamic ideas behind the group has given its fighters the opportunity to spread, Flynn said. “If I were in their shoes, I would say,’We are winning, we are achieving our objectives,’” Flynn said. “They have demonstrated an incredible level of resiliency and they will not be defeated by military means alone.”

Richard Miniter contributed to this story.

You can reach Richard Miniter @RichMiniter

You can reach Sara A. Carter @SaraCarterDC 

American Media Institute is an independent investigative journalism organization.  USA TODAY assisted in the editing of this story. 

World View: The Arab World is Disintegrating into War

ISIS video

ISIS video

Breitbart, by JOHN J. XENAKIS, July 19, 2015:

Behind the scenes in the Iran nuclear deal

President Barack Obama and Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei (AFP)

President Barack Obama and Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei (AFP)

I like to reference Debka’s newsletter because it contains valuable insights into what’s going on, but it is written from Israel’s point of view, and sometimes gets things wrong. This week’s subscriber-only newsletter (sent to me by a subscriber) contains an analysis of the behind the scenes activities that led to the Iran nuclear deal:

  • Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has been talking about developing nuclear technology, but it really is a bluff, designed to get the US to negotiate the nuclear deal and remove sanctions. Iran has no intention of developing a nuclear weapon while Obama is in office, since the relationship with Obama is more important. — This is plausible, and probably true
  • The Shah of Iran was overthrown by Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini in 1979 with the support of President Jimmy Carter and his national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. The Shah was double-crossed. — This is plausible, but I have no idea whether it’s true.
  • Brzezinski and his long-time associate Brent Scrowcroft were influential in the new Iran-US deal. — This is plausible.
  • Obama now expects Iran, perhaps naively, to shoulder most of the burden of fighting the Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in Iraq and Syria. — It’s plausible that Obama believes this.
  • Many Sunni Arab leaders, including Saudi’s new king Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, believe that Obama helped bring about the “Arab Spring” in order to help Iran’s rise. — It’s plausible that Arab leaders believe this, but it’s not possible for Obama or any politician to have caused or prevented the Arab Spring. For that matter, Carter and Brzezinski could not have caused or prevented Iran’s Great Islamic Revolution. These great events were caused by enormous generational changes that could not have been stopped any more than a tsunami can be stopped.
  • Obama turned his back on the Sunni Arab nations because he sees the Arab world as disintegrating into bloody, hopeless wars.
  • The continuing rhetorical fury of Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iran agreement has outlived its usefulness, according to some Israeli officials, who feel he should moderate his statements and instead focus on a new strategy to deal with the new world following the agreement.

Generally, the Debka view is consistent with my article “15-Jul-15 World View — Arab views of Iran nuclear deal,” including the fact that Iran is becoming America’s ally, and the Sunni Arabs will be America’s enemy. Debka

The Arab world is disintegrating into war

The same Debka newsletter points out that the number of conflicts in the Arab world is larger than the number of Arab nations involved in the conflicts:

  • Libya has fallen apart and is mired in tribal warfare and war with ISIS.
  • Egypt is plagued by frequent terrorist attacks by both ISIS (as “Sinai Province”) and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • Syria is mired in an endless war pitting Bashar al-Assad’s army plus Hezbollah plus Iran plus Shia militias from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan versus ISIS plus other jihadists and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
  • Iraq is in full-scale war with ISIS.
  • Lebanon is poised on a knife’s edge from the spillover of the Syrian war.
  • Jordan is ostensibly stable, but Bedouin tribes’ traditional loyalty to the crown is being undermined, and Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and ISIS are each poised to move in on Amman.
  • Yemen is in a civil war, in which Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations are fighting the Iran-backed Houthis. The battle is being exploited by al-Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS to seize large swathes of land.
  • Saudi Arabia is caught up in three wars — Yemen, Iraq and Syria — with grave domestic challenges from the Shias in the east and from the 16-19 year old Sunni youths, nearly a third of whom are without jobs and have set up clandestine cells across the kingdom dedicated to toppling the House of Saud.

On the other hand, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman have lined up behind the Iran nuclear deal and have maintained good relations with Iran. In particular, the UAE expects to gain from the Iran’s post-sanctions import and export trade by having Dubai become the biggest free port in the Gulf.

Debka says that the Arab governments are, like Israel, in a state of disarray after being swept aside by the Iran deal, and in a state of gloom over all the wars going on. The Arab nations need to focus on creating a new Arab regional structure to replace the outdated Arab League.

As we have been saying for many years, the Mideast is headed for a major regional ethnic and sectarian war with 100% certainty, and events seem to bring that war closer every week. This is particularly true of last week’s major event, the Iran nuclear deal.

It is impossible to predict the sequence of political events that will lead to this regional war, but the concept of “a new Arab regional structure” suggests one possibility. My expectation is that, sooner or later, the Arab states will unite with ISIS to fight Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, and this new Arab regional structure may be the political mechanism that brings all these Sunni and Arab elements together to fight Iran. Debka

Saudi Arabia conducts major anti-terrorism sweep against ISIS

In a major anti-terrorism sweep across the country, Saudi Arabia has arrested 431 people believed to belong to ISIS cells, “as part of a scheme managed from troubled areas abroad and aimed at inciting sectarian strife and chaos.” According to the Saudi statement statement:

The number of arrested to date was 431 … detainees, most of them citizens, as well as participants holding other nationalities including Yemeni, Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian, Algerian, Nigerian, Chadian, and unidentified others.

What combines these cells (which were subjected to security restrictions by not making direct contacts among themselves) is the belonging to the terrorist ISIS organization in terms of the adoption of thought, takfir of society and bloodshed, and then exchanging roles to implement the plans and objectives dictated from abroad.

There have been several terrorist attacks on Shia mosques in eastern Saudi Arabia, and the purpose of the announcement in part was to make it clear to the Shias in the east that the government is doing something. The Saudis claim that they have thwarted six additional planned attacks on Shia mosques.

The fact that over 400 people have been arrested gives an idea of the scale of threat that the Saudis face in ISIS. Saudi Press Agency and AP and Arab News

Massive bomb attack in Iraq market kills over 130

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a massive bomb attack in a crowded open-air market in Khan Bani Saad, a mostly Shia town 20 miles northeast of Baghdad. The death toll is 130 and climbing, making it the biggest ISIS civilian terror attack in the country.

A man in a truck pulled up to the marketplace in the extreme summer heat and said he was selling ice at a discount to celebrate the end of Ramadan. He lured over 100 people to the truck, and the detonated at least one ton of explosives.

Khan Bani Saad is in Diyala province, which borders Iran. It’s the only province in Iraq where Iranian jets are known to have conducted airstrikes against ISIS earlier this year.CNN and AP

Islamic State Gains Military Expertise From Ex-Soldiers

Fighters from the Islamic State / AP

Fighters from the Islamic State / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Gill Gertz, June 16, 2015:

The recent defection to the Islamic State (IS) of a special operations colonel in Tajikistan and the group’s infiltration of the Malaysian military are raising new concerns that the Islamist terror group is gaining military expertise, according to U.S. officials and experts.

Col. Gulmurod Khalimov, a commander of the Interior Ministry security unit known as OMON, disappeared in April and late last month surfaced in an IS video calling for jihad against Russia and the United States. Tajikistan is a former Soviet republic that is currently aligned with Russia.

In Southeast Asia, authorities in Malaysia broke up an Islamic State terrorist plot in March that involved two Royal Malaysian Air Force soldiers. The arrests revealed the terrorist group has infiltrated the military and that around 70 Malaysian army personnel are believed to be supporters or sympathizers with the Islamic State, according to U.S. officials.

A recent State Department security report said the defection of Khalimov could be a “game changer” for Islamic State terrorists in the region. The group is also known Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“While several hundred Tajik nationals are estimated to fight for ISIL, Khalimov’s defection has raised concerns about the threat of militants in Tajikistan and the security threat against U.S. citizens,” the June 10 report said.

The report said Khalimov’s defection is not expected to translate immediately into “increased capabilities” for IS, or a more open operating environment for the group in the region.

However, the State Department is warning Americans to be cautious in Tajikistan, specifically in three regions near the border with Afghanistan.

The defection is unusual because most of the population in Tajikistan are not receptive to the radical Islam espoused by IS or the Taliban in nearby Afghanistan.

That could change in the future if economic conditions deteriorate, something that would increase “the risk of Khalimov’s extremist message resonating with the poor and disenchanted.”

Average monthly wages in Tajikistan are the lowest in the region at $170 a month. By contrast, IS pays fighters $400 a month, “raising the risk that desperate Tajiks may be lured into joining ISIL [another name for the Islamic State] simply for financial purposes.”

The threat of terrorist attacks against Americans and U.S. interests is a concern and increased security at government facilities in the area may lead terrorist groups to seek out “soft, civilian targets like residential areas, clubs, restaurants, hotels, and outdoor recreation areas,” the report said.

The Department of State currently does not have a travel warning in place for Tajikistan, the report said, despite the fact that the British government has warned its citizens to avoid travel to Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast, the region closest to Afghanistan.

A U.S. intelligence official said the Islamic State’s thousands of recruits include some with military and law enforcement training.

“ISIL’s access to thousands of foreign fighters, and the coalition’s engagement in Iraq since 2003, suggest the group has access to some individuals who have prior military or law enforcement training,” said the official.

The terrorist group is seeking to recruit and brand itself globally as a major Islamist fighting force, the official said. It uses social media and propaganda to reach a range of audiences in multiple languages.

An earlier State Department security report on ISIL in Southeast Asia quoted a Malaysian deputy defense minister as saying, “if army personnel are found to embrace elements of ISIS, the army and police will cooperate in our efforts to counsel them and restore their faith in accordance with proper teachings.”

The Malaysian government is said to be tracking IS infiltration efforts closely and seeking to temper or eradicate Islamist extremism within the military’s ranks.

“One of the principal targets espoused by ISIL leadership and its adherents abroad are ‘apostate regimes,’” the second report said. “Governments of countries in which extremist ideology may have infiltrated the military can ill afford to discount the possibility of insider threat.”

The U.S. intelligence official said: “It would not be surprising if those messages [put out by IS] resonate with some extremists in Southeast Asia.”

The defection of the Tajik colonel also highlights that Islamist fervor and not poverty and economic privation are a leading cause of terrorism.

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism expert, said the infiltration of the Islamic State into foreign militaries is a key reason the group successfully eclipsed Osama bin Ladin’s al Qaeda in gaining control of the global jihad movement.

IS has exploited the Syrian civil war and developed a powerful propaganda machine across multiple social media platforms to recruit over 20,000 foreign fighters, said Gorka, the Horner distinguished chair of military theory at Marine Corps University.

“At the same time it has allowed professional military men to join its ranks—especially the Sunni officers of the Iraqi army disenfranchised by [former Prime Minister Nouri] Maliki’s Shia-dominated government,” he said.

“These officers, with others from other nations, have turned a ragtag former subunit of the terrorist group al Qaeda into the richest, most successful insurgency of the modern age,” Gorka said.

“In this way IS has empowered the ideology of holy war with a military expertise that makes the group a threat to all the countries of the Middle East as well as North Africa.”

Clare M. Lopez, a former CIA officer, said IS is not primarily targeting militaries as a recruiting ground. The problem is “so many, including our own [military], already have jihad-and-sharia-sympathetic members in their ranks,” she said.

“And so, instead of stewing silently, or venting their anger and frustration someplace, perhaps anonymously online, these essentially fifth columns are being lit up and sometimes recruited by IS’ own online ops,” said Lopez, now vice president for research and analyst with the Center for Security Policy.

Sympathizers of the terrorist group already exist in all societies but the Internet and social media have allowed for the widespread propagation of jihadist ideas and deeds, she added.

“On militaries, I think we can take it as a given that IS fields an impressive [counterintelligence] capability, too,” Lopez noted.

The spread of IS ideology among military personnel in Central and Southeast Asia comes as President Obama is under fire for stating publicly that the United States lacks a clear strategy for defeating the terror group. The president said he was waiting for the Pentagon to produce a strategy for additional training of Iraqi security forces.

Obama stated in Germany June 8 that “we don’t have a complete strategy,” and that details “are not yet worked out” for bolstering Iraqi forces.

Robert Gates, the former secretary of defense criticized the president on Friday for the lack of strategy.

“What it feels like to me is really what the president said last week, which was a lack of a strategy,” Gates told Yahoo News.

“Just adding a few hundred troops doing more of the same I think is not likely to make much of a difference,” Gates said. “I think that we have to figure out what our strategy is. We should have had a strategy a year ago that took into account differences within the Iraqi government and sectarian differences in the country and so on.”

Gates said militarily what is needed in Iraq are U.S. forward air controllers and spotters and U.S. trainers embedded with Iraqi forces at the battalion level.

“We have to be willing, if we think ISIS is truly a threat to the United States and to our interests … to be willing to put Americans at risk,” he said. “That’s just a fact of life. That doesn’t mean we reinvade Iraq.”

The authoritarian Tajik government in early June issued an international arrest warrant for Khalimov for crimes including treason and illegal participation in military action abroad.

The office of the country’s prosecutor-general stated in a June 3 notice of Khalimov: “Acting for mercenary means, he joined the international terrorist organization calling itself Islamic State,” according to a report by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The Tajik colonel appeared in the online video wearing a black turban and holding a sniper rifle. He said he had been trained by the U.S. contractor Blackwater.

“Listen, you dogs, the [Tajikistan] president and ministers, you don’t know how many of the guys here, our brothers, are waiting to return to Tajikistan to revive Sharia law,” Khalimov said. “We are coming to you with slaughter, inshallah.”

Regarding IS plans for the United States, Khalimov stated: “Listen, you American pigs, I’ve been three times to America, and I saw how you train fighters to kill Muslims. God willing, I will come with this weapon to your cities, your homes, and we will kill you.”

Gen. John Campbell, the senior military commander in Afghanistan, told the Army Times in January that IS was recruiting militants in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The Taliban have their allegiance to Mullah Omar and a different philosophy and ideology than ISIS, but, potentially, there are people who are disgruntled with the Taliban, they haven’t seen [Taliban commander] Mullah Omar in years, or they want to go a different way,” Campbell said. “So there are people vulnerable to the Daesh message, and so we’re looking at it very hard.”

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Drone Strike Kills Two Hostages and Two American Al Qaeda Terrorists

drone-srtoke-victimsCSP, by Sean MacCormac, April 23, 2015:

President Obama made an open, heartfelt apology for the deaths of two hostages in an airstrike conducted in January on an Al Qaeda compound near the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, taking full responsibility for the actions which lead to their deaths. The two hostages were Warren Weinstein, an American director for J.E. Austin Associates who was captured in Lahore, Pakistan by Al-Qaeda in 2011, and Giovanni Lo Porto, an Italian aid worker kidnapped in 2012. President Obama declassified the information about the attack, claiming transparency and the need for the families of the two hostages to know the information. Both hostages were not known to be in the area when the air strike, conducted via unmanned aerial vehicle, was carried out.

Adam Gadahn and Ahmed Farouq were two other Americans confirmed to have been killed in the two drone strikes, albeit these individuals were Al Qaeda terrorists. Neither were specifically targeted in the attack. Adam Gadahn was infamous for being the American mouthpiece for Al-Qaeda, having left for Pakistan to join Al Qaeda in 1998 after his conversion to Islam in 1995. After becoming estranged from his Christian parents in the mid 1990s, then-teenaged Gadahn left for his grandparents in Santa Ana, California where he started studying Islam at the Islamic Society of Orange County. The Islamic Society of Orange County once invited Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman to speak in 1992, and it was here that Gadahn fell in with a group of fundamentalists. This group grew displeased at the society’s president, Haitham Bundakji, and his interfaith outreach, referring to him as “Danny the Jew.” Adam Gadahn would later assault Bundakji, making his first trip to Pakistan a few months after being convicted. Though Ahmed Farouq is much less well known, sources indicate that he was a deputy emir of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent. Farouq was killed in the same drone strike that killed the hostages, while Gadahn was killed in a separate drone strike in the same month.

Though the White House stated that it believed the drone strike was lawful, an investigation will be carried out in the hopes of making sure that errors such as the accidental killing of hostages will not occur again. Though the US military plans to draw down its operations in Afghanistan, the CIA wishes to keep several bases in Afghanistan active in order to gather intelligence for drone strikes in the tribal regions of Pakistan. Certainly, UAVs are an effective intelligence gathering and surgical strike tool, and will continue to be used as such for the foreseeable future.

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CSP’s Kyle Shideler appears on Newsmax’s American Forum to discuss the incident (at 3:30 in the video)

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