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

israel-tanks-photographer-running-apby :

1. Because of 9/11

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Breitbart

Experts: American Adversaries Work Together Despite Differences

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

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

BY: :

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Free Beacon

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

By 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Long War Journal

Jihadist groups across globe vying for terror spotlight

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

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

By Perry Chiaramonte:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Fox News

The Watchman: Jihadists on the March

Published on Jul 8, 2014 by The Christian Broadcasting Network

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

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

ISIS-heavy-weapons-reutersby :

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

CIA Under Fire for Failure in Iraq

 

People inspect buildings damaged by an Iraqi government airstrike on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant controlled city of Mosul / AP

People inspect buildings damaged by an Iraqi government airstrike on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant controlled city of Mosul / AP

By Bill Gertz:

The CIA failed to provide adequate warning of the recent Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant military incursion into Iraq despite having a significant presence of agency officers in the country, according to U.S. officials and security analysts.

Critics of the agency said the intelligence failure was made worse by a failure of the Obama administration to recognize the threat posed to the country by the ISIL, which last week renamed itself simply the Islamic State (IS) and declared its captured territory in Syria and Iraq is now a “caliphate.”

The so-called caliphate region is under harsh Islamic law and led by IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as its “caliph” or Islamic leader.

“This is an absolute intelligence failure on the part of the CIA,” said Bill Cowan, a former Special Forces officer who worked until recently as a contractor in Iraq.

During U.S. military operations in Iraq, military intelligence agencies set up robust spying—both human and electronic—throughout Iraq that provided a clear picture of the insurgents, including the former Saddam Hussein military officials who currently are a major component of the IS operation.

However, with the Obama administration’s decision to pull out all troops, the military intelligence coverage was removed at the end of 2011.

“With all military intel out of the picture, the CIA takes primary responsibility for HUMINT activities in Iraq. Where were they? No interaction with tribal leaders who probably watched the build up? No interaction with the [northern Kurdish] Peshmerga? The agency isn’t on the radar screen, but they should be.”

A Kurdish security official with the regional government in northern Iraq said intelligence on key figures in the terrorist group, including the locations of IS training camps and the movement of vehicle convoys from Syria was provided to both Baghdad and western intelligence agencies.

“It all fell on deaf ears,” said Rooz Bahjay, the security official. “The west failed to act, and now it’s failing to react. The longer they wait, the more people are going to be killed.”

Cowan said the failure to provide warning and alert in advance of the incursion, which began in early June, made it impossible to take steps that could have blunted the advance, which currently controls major cities in central Iraq and at least one oil field, failure that will produce dire strategic consequences for the United States and states in region.

The CIA denied it is to blame for any intelligence failure on Iraq. “Anyone who has had access to and actually read the full extent of CIA intelligence products on ISIL and Iraq should not have been surprised by the current situation,” CIA spokesman Christopher White when asked about whether the agency was guilty of an intelligence failure.

A U.S. intelligence official did not directly state whether CIA or other spy agencies provided advance word of the IS invasion. However, the official said IS was tracked for years and “strategic warning” of its growing strength and increasing threat to Iraq were reported.

The official also said policymakers were warned about difficulties within the U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces. Several divisions of Iraqi troops fled during the IS incursion.

Read more at Free Beacon

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

802499242CSP, By Kyle Shideler:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A commentary by Muhammed Shirbini Khatib explains,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally appeared at Breitbart.com 

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Iraq’s Collapse, America’s Interests

Published on Jun 30, 2014 by securefreedom

Recorded at Center for Security Policy’s National Security Group Lunch on Capitol Hill on Friday, 27 June, 2014

Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Major General Horner Chair of Military Theory, Marine Corps University; National Security Affairs Editor, Breitbart.com.

 

See also:

Jihadist Ideology: The Core Texts by Sebastian Gorka

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

23by Daniel Greenfield:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instead they went to Al Qaeda.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Front Page

ISIS Declares Caliphate & Demands Loyalty From All Muslims

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read  more at Clarion Project

 

 

 

ISIS’ Next Targets: Jordan and Saudi Arabia

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

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

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

By Ryan Mauro:

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

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

ISIS-Expansion-1

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

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

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

Read more at Clarion Project

Herridge: U.S. Missed Major Opportunity to Strike ISIL a Month Ago

 

Washington Free Beacon:

Catherine Herridge, Chief intelligence correspondent for Fox News, revealed that a crucial opportunity to launch airstrikes against ISIL was missed a month ago, according to congressional sources.

Speaking to host Shepard Smith, Herridge said that the opportunity was missed “about a month ago when ISIS was still on the Syrian border and away from the city centers.” She cited warnings that Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) confirmed today.

Herridge also reported that  Al Qaeda in Yemen now have operatives in Syria and they are working with the official Al Qaeda affiliate there, Al-Nusra Front, to share bombmaking techniques for IEDS as well as sharing operatives. The Pentagon has said that ISIL poses “a legitimate threat to Baghdad.”

Al Qaeda in Syria/Iraq Doubles in Size as ISIS and Al Nusra Kiss and Make Up

isis-qaeda-450x287Front Page, by Daniel Greenfield:

ISIS didn’t just beat the Iraqi military. It also beat Syria’s dominant Al Qaeda group, the Al-Nusra Front, which like ISIS had also been spawned from Al Qaeda in Iraq. The Al-Nusra Front began shooting at ISIS when the latter invaded Syria and claimed authority over it. But now they kissed and made up.

It’s all one big happy Al Qaeda family.

The number of Islamist extremists fighting for ISIS could double after al-Qaeda’s 15,000 strong offshoot in Syria is said to have pledged allegiance to the militant group.

Al-Qaeda’s Syrian offshoot Wednesday made an oath of loyalty to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) at a key town on the Iraqi border, a monitor said.

News of the merger between ISIS and the al-Nusra front were made by both the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and an Islamist website this afternoon.

Images widely shared by ISIS supporters online appeared to show al-Nusra’s alleged leader in the Albu Kamel region, Abu Yusuf al-Masri, embracing ISIS fighters after apparently taking an oath of allegiance.

Ayman al-Zawahiri, the overall leader of al-Qaeda, has previously disowned ISIS and proclaimed the al-Nusra Front as its official Syrian affiliate.

An internal report of ISIS’ activities last year put its total number of fighters in Iraq and Syria at 15,000. With al-Nusra boasting a similar sized or possibly even larger force, today’s merger could double the total number of militant Sunni Islamists fighting under the ISIS banner in the Middle East.

Hardest hit are all the “news stories” about how ISIS was too “extreme” for Al Qaeda. So much for that. But nothing to worry about.

As Barack Hussein Obama once said, “If a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”

The jayvee team is taking over two countries and has its own air force.

 

Don’t Blame Bush for Al Qaeda in Iraq, Blame Obama

lk-450x337by Daniel Greenfield:

Like Birkenstocks and ironic t-shirts, blaming Bush has never gone out of style on the left. When Al Qaeda’s resurgence in Iraq became so obvious that even the media, which had been pretending that Obama’s claims about a successful withdrawal were true, could no longer ignore them, their talking points were all lined up and ready.

It was all Bush’s fault.

Defenses of the war by pivotal figures like Dick Cheney and Tony Blair only enraged them further. “Why wouldn’t they admit it was all their fault?”

But the left’s lazy talking points about Iraq, like their talking points about the economy, ignore everything that has happened since 2008.

The leading factor behind the resurgence of Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t come from Iraq. It came from Syria.

From the “Islamic State of Iraq” under Bush to the ”Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant” under Obama, it’s all in the name. The variations of ISIS and ISIL show a regional shift toward Syria. Al Qaeda in Iraq was a vicious terrorist organization before the Arab Spring, but it was not capable of menacing Baghdad with a sizable army while crushing numerically superior forces along the way.

That didn’t happen in Iraq. It happened in Syria.

If you believe liberal supporters of Obama and opponents of the Iraq War, regime change in Iraq disastrously destabilized the region, but regime change in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen and Syria didn’t.

But the theory that turned Al Qaeda into a regional monster didn’t come from Dick Cheney. It came from Obama’s Presidential Study Directive 11 which helped pave the way for the Arab Spring. The definitive speech that opened the gates of hell wasn’t Bush’s speech on Iraq, but Obama’s Cairo speech.

That speech and the policy implemented with it led to the fall of allied governments and the rise of Islamist militias aligned with Al Qaeda. The Arab Spring was a regime change operation on a much larger scale than the Iraq War. Unlike the Iraq War, it was completely unsupervised and uncontrolled.

And it favored America’s enemies from the very outset.

ISIS picked up its weapons and manpower as a consequence of the conflicts in Libya and Syria. Obama chose to fight on the side of Al Qaeda in Libya. That led to the murder of four Americans in Benghazi after Islamic militias took over major cities.

Obama chose to facilitate the smuggling of weapons to Islamic militias by Qatar and other Gulf states. The White House endorsed the weapons smuggling, but then claimed to be surprised that the weapons were going to “more antidemocratic, more hard-line, closer to an extreme version of Islam” fighters.

The White House didn’t shut down the smuggling operation. Instead a senior official claimed not to be able to control the Qataris; not to mention the Saudis, Kuwaitis and the rest of the state-sponsored terrorism gang.

After Libya many of the fighters and weapons went to Syria where different factions of Al Qaeda were battling it out with the Syrian government and each other. And some of those weapons didn’t just end up in Syria.

Read more at Front Page