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

March 2, 2015 / /

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

abu wahib_gaza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 4.21.57 PM

Source: The ISIS Study Group

libya_pipeline

Source: The ISIS Study Group

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

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

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

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

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The aftermath of the Iranian embassy attack
Source: Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DoS

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

Links to Other Related Articles:

Egyptian Army Hits Back at ISIS in Sinai

ISIS Efforts to Open up an Egyptian Front

Egyptian Army and IDF Take on ISIS Supporters in Sinai

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

Denmark Update

Egypt Strikes ISIS Positions in Libya: Moderate Muslims Rise Up Against Terror

February 16, 2015 / /

True to his word, Egypt’s GEN Sisi launched a series of airstrikes targeting Islamic State (IS) training camps, weapons storage sites and C2 nodes located in Libya – and Dernah (variant Derna) in particular. This is in retaliation for the IS video that came out on Sunday showing the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians. This comes on the heels of a separate operation that Egypt launched in the Sinai targeting the IS affiliate Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) in conjunction with Jordan’s King Abdullah’s ongoing operations targeting IS positions inside Iraq (which we covered in our piece titled Jordan Steps Up Airstrikes Against ISIS, Egypt Launches New Sinai Offensive).

Egypt bombs Islamic State targets in Libya after 21 Egyptians beheaded
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/16/us-mideast-crisis-libya-egypt-idUSKBN0LJ10D20150216

Sisi warns of response after Islamic State kills 21 Egyptians in Libya
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/15/us-mideast-crisis-libya-egypt-idUSKBN0LJ10D20150215

Jordan Steps Up Airstrikes Against ISIS, Egypt Launches New Sinai Offensive
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4669

GEN SISI 1

GEN Sisi plays for keeps
Source: BBC

This will also be the second time that the Sisi regime has conducted military operations in Libya, the first being the operation that we discussed in late-AUG 14 that used a combination of Egyptian and UAE airpower in addition to the deployment of Egyptian SOF teams. The operation in AUG was done to bolster the forces of Libyan GEN Khalifa Haftar (who we’ve written about extensively on our site), who is the only real moderate in Libya who has the strength to challenge the al-Qaida (AQ/AQIM) and IS presence in the country. More importantly, the operation was launched without the US government’s knowledge. We strongly suspect it remains the case in this latest series of bombings. Furthermore, we assess that Sisi will deploy additional SOF teams in Libya like he did before, although the ground portion will likely be limited to target identification and to coordinate operations with Haftar’s forces (he has his own air assets).

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

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

aac

Egyptian Air Force F-16s
Source: f-16.net

In regards to the video itself, the selection of a beachfront location suggests that IS aimed to demonstrate that the terror organization’s reach extends beyond that of Syria and Iraq. More troubling is the direct threat made to “Rome” and use of an English-speaking spokesman who spoke with a North American accent – a departure from the regular appearances made by the infamous “Jihadi John.” The Italian government responded by saying that “military options are on the table” and called for NATO intervention, but to be brutally honest the Italians are every bit as soft as the Danish government. Is Italy in greater risk of a terror attack? Yes. Will the Italian government have the intestinal fortitude to confront the threat? No, not beyond airstrikes nor will they be anywhere near as proactive as they should be on the home front – which will also endanger the lives of US military personnel who are stationed in places like Vicenza. Of course, most Italians won’t care if US military personnel are targeted – but they will should Italians become part of the collateral damage. However, we suspect the “Rome” reference was made about Europe as a whole and not just Italy. Why? Its due to the fact that Europe is one great, big soft target.

Italy Ready to Lead Coalition in Libya to Prevent ‘Caliphate Across the Sea’
http://www.newsweek.com/italy-ready-lead-coalition-libya-prevent-caliphate-europes-shores-307100

isis

Source: Newsweek

The reason IS has been allowed to expand throughout North Africa and the Middle East is directly tied to the foreign policy failures of the Obama administration when it decided to support known jihadist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and other like-minded entities during the Arab Spring. The EU is just as guilty, perhaps more so with their flaccid policies in targeting jihadists operating within their own borders. One word sums up the Obama foreign policy: Schizophrenic. The administration contradicts itself two or three times in a single day everyday. A case in point is all the talk about the need to support the moderate Muslims in the Middle East. Well, GEN Haftar, GEN Sisi and King Abdullah are all moderate Muslims who are taking the fight to IS – but the US government isn’t doing enough or in some cases not much of anything. If anything, the Obama administration has been quite antagonistic towards both Haftar and Sisi, which is why we’re seeing Egypt moving closer to Russia and launching their own unilateral operations. Jordan is the only one of the three to receive support, but its the bare-minimum. This has prompted King Abdullah to strengthen relationships with GEN Sisi and Israel’s Bibi Netanhayhu. Perhaps the most important thing about all this is the fact that we have a moderate Muslim in GEN Sisi who launched this latest military operation to avenge the deaths of 21 Egyptians who were Coptic Christians and not Muslims. Sisi had previously told imams in Egypt they needed to change their rhetoric that Islam destroyed by the Islamic State.

(President al-Sisi’s speech: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/189700#.VOJmIi78OyE)

Think about that for a minute. This is a man that the Obama administration should be maintaining a strong relationship. Instead, the relationship with Egypt has soured considerably over the decision to support the wrong people. This fight needs more people like GEN Sisi, GEN Haftar, King Abdullah. The leaders in the US and Europe need to strongly back these leaders and quickly with the logistics and other requirements they need. These men are not asking for US combat troops, they are asking for logistics, weapons, intelligence support and similar assistance. The longer delays in supporting these leaders the more difficult it will be to combat this problem. Delaying action will ultimately allow an even more dangerous enemy to grow dragging the entire world into the conflict on an epic scale. The Islamic State has already grown exponentially from delays in action from the lack of American leadership.

General Khalifa Haftar

GEN Khalifah Haftar
Source: Press TV

We’ve heard today on Fox News about how IS has expanded into North Africa as if this was a “new” phenomenon. We can assure you it isn’t. The links to our previous articles posted above has additional details, and the links below lay out the events from last summer that led to the current situation:

Egyptian Army Hits Back at ISIS in Sinai
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2410

ISIS Efforts to Open up an Egyptian Front
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1774

Egyptian Army and IDF Take on ISIS Supporters in Sinai
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1500

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

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

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

For additional information on Libyan GEN Khalifa Haftar, the support he receives from Egypt and his fight against IS in Libya, check out the following articles:

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

US Embassy in Tripoli “Secured” by Islamist Militias of the Dawn of Libya
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1462

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

President Obama’s Yemen “Success” Story

February 13, 2015 / /

True to form, we have yet another Obama “foreign policy success story” end in total failure. Yes, Yemen has been a failure for some time, but the recent closure of the US, UK and French embassies is the exclamation point. There are also some reports of the US Embassy security detail turning over their heavy weapons (they were able to keep personal weapons) to the Houthis, although we’ve also heard that they actually destroyed the crew-served weaponry instead of actually turning them over to the Iranian proxies. AQAP has dramatically increased their activity in Sanaa. In the southern part of the country, the Islamic state (IS) effort to establish a permanent foothold in the southern part of the country is fully underway. Several southern factions have begun aligning themselves with AQAP or IS.

U.S., UK and France pull embassy staffers out of Yemen

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/02/10/middleeast/yemen-unrest/index.html

Marines provide new details about Yemen evacuation

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/pentagon/2015/02/12/marines-new-details-yemen-evacuation/23281977/

Yemen in Chaos: Portrait of an Obama “Success Story”

http://nation.foxnews.com/2015/02/12/yemen-chaos-portrait-obama-success-story

The Islamic State’s Arabian Peninsula Campaign

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4558

AQAP Steps Up Attacks in Yemen

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3771

AQAP vs. Shia Proxy Fighting Intensifies

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2972

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One of those Houthi checkpoints we’ve talked about in previous articles.
Source: CNN

Sunnis in Southern Yemen are more likely to secede now than at any other time since the civil war of the 1990s. As a whole, the Yemeni Army also has factions supporting the Houthis and former President Salih. When the real battle is initiated (and it will happen), we expect the fight will result in a stalemate. Defense Minister Mahmoud al-Subayhi remains trapped in the capital, but maintains the loyalty of most Southern military units. We assess that at least two brigades and several independent battalions are in the Aden-area. However, these southern forces will likely run into severe logistical problems (which were never good to begin with across the board) due to the Defense Ministry’s centralized control of ammo, fuel and money in Houthi-occupied Sanaa. The Saudis will likely to provide financial, political and possibly military assistance to these factions. AQAP has taken advantage of today’s chaos to seize control of the Yemen Army’s 19th BDE in the Southeastern Province of Shabwa.

Al-Qaida fighters capture headquarters of Yemeni Army brigade

http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/60896-150212-al-qaeda-fighters-capture-headquarters-of-yemeni-army-brigade

AQAP Claims Responsibility For Attack on Iran’s Ambassador to Yemen

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3476

houthi44

Source: Albawaba News

Our sources informed us that the IRGC-Qods Force has also stepped up their presence in the country with additional Proxies being brought in. These personnel are reported to be Hezbollah personnel, but they may be Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS) and/or Kitab Hezbollah (KH). We are also aware of efforts underway to bring in additional weapons shipments from Iraq via sea and air routes. The Saudis will be watching Sanaa International Airport for sophisticated weaponry being unloaded. Additional reporting from the country indicates that wounded Houthi fighters are being flown to Iran for more advanced medical care, although this remains unconfirmed. One thing is for sure, the Iranians clearly feel that Yemen is a much more permissive operating environment and that they hope to expand their presence by cementing their relationship with the Houthis.

Poised to Fill Yemen’s Power Vacuum: Iran Tightens Grip on The Peninsula

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4517

IRGC-Qods Force: The Arabian Peninsula Campaign and Failure of Obama’s Foreign Policy

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4478

It seems as if it was just yesterday that the Obama administration was bragging about how al-Qaida was “on the run,” IS was nothing more than a “JV team,” Iraq was “stable” and the Arab Spring was a “good thing.” The reality is al-Qaida remains a viable threat and IS owns a huge chunk of land spanning across Syria and Iraq while establishing a presence in the AF/PAK region, Yemen and Southeast Asia. The White House claims that it has made a “significant” impact on the War on Terror. Well, they have – we lost an embassy in Libya and one in Yemen. Just keep all this firmly lodged in the back of your mind as the Obama administration pushes on with other schizophrenic policies on the world stage, such as its insistence that Iran is a “friend.”

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

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1462

Other Related Articles:

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels: The Hand of Iran?

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1992

American and South African Hostage Killed in Yemen During Rescue Attempt

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3564

Shia Proxy Threat to US ISIS Strategy in Saudi Arabia

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1837

Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency

ITSP logo by :

In this second installment of our Inside Iran’s Middle East series we will be covering the bloody campaign the Iranian regime’s IRGC-Ground Forces Command has been waging in the Northwestern and Southeastern parts of the country.  In the first installment, we covered the regime’s use of “reformers” to keep the west off-balance so that they can further their nuclear weapons program and eliminate the opposition.  We won’t be talking about the toothless “Green Revolution” or the Monarchists or MeK living in exile abroad.  No, we will be discussing the only viable opposition in the country in these next two installments:  the Balochs and the Kurds.

Inside Iran’s Middle East:  The “Reformers”

http://internationalterrorismstudyproject.com/2014/10/26/inside-irans-middle-east-the-reformers/

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IRGC-Qods Force personnel in the Sacred Defense Week pass and review for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khameini (2013)

Source:  Fars News Agency

We will start with the insurgency taking place in the Southeastern part of Iran.  In this part of Iran, the dominate rebel group is Jundalla or “Soldiers of God.”  This is the group of ethnic Baloch fighters.  Their goal is the establishment of a “greater Balochistan” that consists of Southeastern Iran, all of Southern Afghanistan and Southwestern Pakistan.  The organization was founded by Abdul Malik Rigi and his brother Abdul Hamid Rigi, and have between 700-2,000 active fighters with many more reported to be in Afghanistan and Pakistan operating in a “reserve” or support capacity. Financing of operations is done through the narcotics trade, opium specifically.  As a result, Iran has been fighting its very own “War on Drugs” along the border with Afghanistan’s Nimroz Province.

Profile: Iran’s Jundullah militants

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8314431.stm

Iraq’s shadow on Balochistan

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/EA25Df01.html

Waking up to the war in Balochistan

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17182978

Karzai Admits Balochistan Unrest Emanating From Afghanistan, Claims Malik

http://tribune.com.pk/story/345413/karzai-admits-balochistan-unrest-emanating-from-afghanistan-claims-malik/

jundallah

Jundallah Fighters

Source:  al-Arabiya

Jundallah was formed in 2003, but the group really put itself on the map in 2005 when it ambushed then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s motorcade in Baluchistan Province that resulted in the death of one bodyguard and several more injured.  The following year would see an incident involving Jundallah fighters blocking the main road near the town of Tasooki leaving 21 civilians killed. The year 2007 would see Jundallah increase the frequency and sophistication of their attacks throughout Zahedan, starting with a VBIED attack in 14 FEB 07 targeting an IRGC convoy that resulted in 18 IRGC killed.  Jundallah would follow up two days later by bombing a girls school in Zahedan City.  What came next was mass abductions of Iranian truck drivers, who were brought to one of their bases inside Pakistan.  The Pakistani Army would later free them.  However, this would not stop the Iranian regime from accusing the Pakistani government of providing material support to Jundallah fighters.

Sunni group vows to behead Iranians

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2006/jan/16/20060116-124019-6619r/

Leader of the Jundallah Movemement, Abd Al-Malek Al-Rigi: We Train Fighters in the Mountains and Send Them into Iran

http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/1897.htm

Foreign devils in the Iranian mountains

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IB24Ak01.html

Guns smuggling on the rise in Balochistan

http://centralasiaonline.com/en_GB/articles/caii/features/pakistan/2010/04/09/feature-01

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the late-Jundallah Leader Abdul Malik Rigi

Source:  al-Jazeera

The truth is Jundallah did receive support from the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) by having fighters train at terrorist camps run by the intelligence organization (it is important to note that the ISI has been operating on its own agenda separate from that of the actual government – more on that in a future article).  The Rigi brothers spent the 2005-2009 time period cultivating ties with the Afghan Taliban, Pakistani Taliban (TTP) and al-Qaida senior leadership.  A quid pro quo deal was made where Jundallah fighters would continue to receive training, material support and AQ embeds in exchange for assistance in facilitating the travel of senior leaders across the AF-PAK border. Jundallah also assisted AQ in financing their operations through the drug trade by helping them secure the logistical supply routes.  The AQ operatives who spent time embedded with Jundallah in Southeastern Iran would later become the core of what we know today as the “Khorasan Group,” the special cell AQ senior leadership established to handle “sensitive operations.”

As a whole the American mainstream media got it completely wrong about KG, because they were not in Iran to “work with the Iranians” – they were there to kill Iranians.  In fact, KG leader Muhsin al-Fadhli (who is very much alive contrary to Western media reports) was the point-man for this endeavor.  Fadhli was able to go wherever he pleased with the assistance of Jundallah fighters who had a well-established safe-house network in that part of the country. More importantly, he’s  one of the AQ operatives that has a great deal of experience fighting the Iranian military (thanks to his time spent fighting alongside Jundallah).  The AQ senior leadership decision to deploy Fadhli and an element of KG to Syria was a bid to revitalize al-Nusra Front efforts to regain the initiative against the Assad regime, the IRGC-Qods Force and Basij Resistance Force units supporting regime forces.

The History and Capabilities Of The Khorasan Group

http://internationalterrorismstudyproject.com/2014/09/27/khorasan-group-doesnt-exist/

The Khorasan Group:  Threat To The Homeland?

http://internationalterrorismstudyproject.com/2014/09/23/khorasan-group-dont-believe-hype/

Khorasan Group is a Bigger Threat Than ISIS?

http://internationalterrorismstudyproject.com/2014/09/14/us-government-syria-based-al-qaida-cell-bigger-threat-isis/

Report: Former head of al Qaeda’s network in Iran now operates in Syria

http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2014/03/report_former_head_o.php

Who supports Jundallah?

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tehranbureau/2009/10/jundallah.html

Read more at ITSProject

Senators: Kerry Suggested Arming Syrian Rebels

Zawahiri’s Servant in Gaza Orchestrated Plots for Mega Terror Attacks

The New York Times Destroys Obama

nytoSo pathetically, in a bid to defend Obama and Clinton and the rest of the Democrats, the Times published a report that showed that Obama’s laser like focus on the Zawahiri-controlled faction of al Qaida has endangered the US.

By failing to view as enemies any other terror groups — even if they have participated in attacks against the US – and indeed, in perceiving them as potential allies, Obama has failed to defend against them. Indeed, by wooing them as future allies, Obama has empowered forces as committed as al Qaida to defeating the US.

Again, it is not at all apparent that the Times realized what it was doing. But from Israel to Egypt, to Iran to Libya to Lebanon, it is absolutely clear that Obama and his colleagues continue to implement the same dangerous, destructive agenda that defeated the US in Benghazi and will continue to cause US defeat after US defeat.

By Caroline Glick:

The New York Times just delivered a mortal blow to the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.

Call it fratricide. It was clearly unintentional. Indeed, is far from clear that the paper even realizes what it has done.

Last Saturday the Times published an 8,000 word account by David Kirkpatrick detailing the terrorist strike against the US consulate and the CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. In it, Kirkpatrick tore to shreds the foundations of President Barack Obama’s counter-terrorism strategy and his overall policy in the Middle East.

Obama first enunciated those foundations in his June 4, 2009 speech to the Muslim world at Cairo University. Ever since, they have been the rationale behind US counter-terror strategy and US Middle East policy.

Obama’s first assertion is that radical Islam is not inherently hostile to the US. As a consequence, America can appease radical Islamists. Moreover, once radical Muslims are appeased, they will become US allies, (replacing the allies the US abandons to appease the radical Muslims).

Obama’s second strategic guidepost is his claim that the only Islamic group that is a bona fide terrorist organization is the faction of al Qaida directly subordinate to Osama bin Laden’s successor Ayman al-Zawahiri. Only this group cannot be appeased and must be destroyed through force.

The administration has dubbed the Zawahiri faction of al Qaida “core al Qaida.” And anyone who operates in the name of al Qaida, or any other group, that does not have courtroom certified operational links to Zawahiri, is not really al Qaida, and therefore, not really a terrorist group or a US enemy.

These foundations have led the US to negotiate with the Taliban in Afghanistan. They are the rationale for the US’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide. They are the basis for Obama’s allegiance to Turkey’s Islamist government, and his early support for the Muslim Brotherhood dominated Syrian opposition.

They are the basis for the administration’s kneejerk support for the PLO against Israel.

Obama’s insistent bid to appease Iran, and so enable the mullocracy to complete its nuclear weapons program is similarly a product of his strategic assumptions. So too, the US’s current diplomatic engagement of Hezbollah in Lebanon owes to the administration’s conviction that any terror group not directly connected to Zawahiri is a potential US ally.

From the outset of the 2011 revolt against the regime of Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, it was clear that a significant part of the opposition was comprised of jihadists aligned if not affiliated with al Qaida. Benghazi was specifically identified by documents seized by US forces in Iraq as a hotbed of al Qaida recruitment.

Obama and his advisors dismissed and ignored the evidence. The core of al Qaida, they claimed was not involved in the anti-Qaddafi revolt. And to the extent jihadists were fighting Qaddafi, they were doing so as allies of the US.

In other words, the two core foundations of Obama’s understanding of terrorism and of the Muslim world were central to US support for the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.

With Kirkpatrick’s report, the Times exposed the utter falsity of both.

Read more at Front Page

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Benghazi – The Signs of Al Qaeda

Jihadist-Hand-Sign-366x350By Dawn Perlmutter:

The latest version of the Benghazi cover up is being argued with semantics of whether the jihadist group that attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 was part of the “core” al Qaeda network. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said,

“…at this point, we have no indications that core al-Qaida, which I think is what most people are referring to when they talk about, quote, al-Qaida, directed or planned what happened in Benghazi. …..So it is not the U.S. Government’s assessment or position that Ansar al-Sharia is an affiliate of core al-Qaida. We don’t recognize them as an affiliate of core al-Qaida… These folks don’t carry ID cards. They don’t come out and wear a t-shirt that says, ‘I belong to al-Qaida,’ right?”

I beg to differ. In addition to the tremendous amount of evidence and statements by members of the House Intelligence Committee claiming that intelligence indicates al Qaeda was involved and that Ansar al Shariah is widely believed to be affiliated with al Qaeda, there are simpler, more obvious indicators. Ms. Harf is correct, they don’t carry ID cards or wear T-shirts that say “I belong to al Qaeda,” but they do throw hand signs and leave graffiti behind in the same manner as gangbangers that just marked their territory after murdering their rival.

The quintessential image that is used in almost every news report about the Benghazi attacks depicts one of the assailants in a white T-shirt with an assault rifle posing with his index finger pointing up in front of the burning consulate. The man is seen in several photos making this gesture using both his left and right hands. This does not signify that he is number one. This gesture is one of the most prevalent Salafi jihadist hand signs. There are images of every al Qaeda leader, including Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al Zarqawi and others, with their index fingers pointing skywards. Ayman al Zawahiri, the current leader of al Qaeda, is often seen in images making the hand sign. His former top lieutenant Mohammed al Jamal, of the Jamal Network, is believed to have had fighters in the assault on the U.S. diplomatic compound and they would be familiar with this gesture. In October, the State Department designated the Jamal Network as a terrorist group tied to al Qaeda.

The hand gesture also appears on jihadist forums, protest posters, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and in almost every form of al Qaeda propaganda. It is also a favorite gesture among Chechen jihadists, members of the Caucasus Emirate, those most likely responsible for the recent suicide bombings that killed at least 31 people in the city of Volgograd, Russia. Their leader, Doku Umarov, has also been photographed making the jihadi hand sign. For Salafi jihadists groups, the hand gesture of the index finger pointing up represents one God and their willingness to die for Islam, thus attaining martyrdom and entrance into paradise. This Islamist hand sign is also commonly used by radical Imams around the globe while they are recruiting young men to join the global jihad and murder soldiers in their own countries. Although this hand gesture is one of the most recognizable signs of al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist groups, the Obama administration either overlooked, or worse, were unaware of the identifier when they portrayed the attack as a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islam film.

Read more at Front Page

Dawn Perlmutter Director and founder of Symbol & Ritual Intelligence and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum is considered one of the leading subject matter experts (SME) in the areas of symbols, unfamiliar customs, ritualistic crimes and religious violence.

Mehanna Ruling Draws Line Between Speech and Material Support

Canada’s Growing Islamic Radicalization a Warning Sign

by Abigail R. Esman:

U.S. Middle East Policy: The Wrong Response to 9/11

Cairo embassy attackBY BARRY RUBIN:

“I had always thought wishful thinking a motive frequently underrated in political analysis and prediction.”  –WALTER LAQUEUR

If you have never understood U.S. Middle East policy  here it is: The  (wrong) response to September 11.

What do I mean? Simple.

There are two ways to respond to September 11:

A. There is a struggle on with revolutionary Islamists which is a huge battle that is parallel to the Cold War or the Allied-Axis conflict. America must organize a united front to fight this battle against the Islamists:

Sunnis or Shia; Turkish, Iranian, or Arab; the Muslim BrotherhoodSalafist, and al-Qaida. Hamas, Hizballah. And the Taliban.

B. Or, what appears easier, having a lot more allies and fewer enemies (I said seems) only to focus on al-Qaida. That’s the problem! After all, who else attacked the United States, Great Britain, Spain, and Kenya? Etc.? And anyway, the conflict is probably America’s fault or a lack of communication.

That’s it. Honest. And guess what? The Washington insiders, “experts” (anything but), officials, lots of intelligence (people and also John Brennan, the head of the CIA), a lot of military officers, and lots of sectors of the Republican party (especially Senator John McCain) believe this.

It is not healthy in Washington for one’s career not to believe it.

But after all, it is understandable (albeit also inaccurate and stupid).

Look at this point:

Who do you believe is an enemy who wants to fight and hurt America and the West?

A. The Syrian and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhoods, the Salafists, al-Qaida. Hamas, Hizballah, the Taliban, Iran, and Turkey.

B. Just al-Qaida?

See what I mean?

Think some more:

Suppose we could get all these non-al-Qaida Islamists as allies?

Suppose we could get all these non-al-Qaida Islamists to repress al-Qaida and so stop terrorist attacks?

Wouldn’t that be an easier task? One that would theoretically involve costing fewer American lives, less money, and be more popular with voters?

Of course.

And finally, of course, that’s what the president and mass media believe.

The problem is, though, that gets the Islamist ideology wrong. Al-Qaida and the other revolutionary Islamist have different tactics but not different goals. Learning that lesson will take years and be very painful. The wrong ideas are deeply embedded in large parts of the arrogant, ignorant, and financially interested establishment.

You should understand that: It is not acceptable in official Washington or its peripheral sectors to say that the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt, Syria, Hamas) is a terrorist group.

It is not acceptable in official Washington or its peripheral sectors to say that the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt, Syria, Hamas) is an anti-American group.

But it is perfectly acceptable to claim that the Republicans are terrorists, hostage-takers and anti-Americans.

Strange, huh?

Read more at Clarion Project

Al-Qaida-linked Rebels Desecrate Churches in Syrian Town

 

Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham presides at Palm Sunday service in Damascus in this April 1, 2012, file photo. (Catholic News Service photo/Reuters)

Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham presides at Palm Sunday service in Damascus in this April 1, 2012, file photo. (Catholic News Service photo/Reuters)

IPT, by John Rossomando:

Kuwait Funding Muslim Brotherhood Growth in Western Mosques

by Abigail R. Esman:

Resetting US foreign policy

U.S. President Obama and Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan take part in a family photo during the G20 Summit in CannesBy Caroine Glick:
Aside from the carnage in Benghazi, the most enduring image from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as US secretary of state was the fake remote control she brought with her to Moscow in 2009 with the word “Reset” in misspelled Russian embossed on it.
Clinton’s gimmick was meant to show that under President Barack Obama, American foreign policy would be fundamentally transformed. Since Obama and Clinton blamed much of the world’s troubles on the misdeeds of their country, under their stewardship of US foreign policy, the US would reset everything.
Around the globe, all bets were off.
Five years later we realize that Clinton’s embarrassing gesture was not a gimmick, but a dead serious pledge. Throughout the world, the Obama administration has radically altered America’s policies.
And disaster has followed. Never since America’s establishment has the US appeared so untrustworthy, destructive, irrelevant and impotent.
Consider Syria. Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of Obama’s pledge that the US would seek the overthrow of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime if Assad used chemical weapons against his opponents.
On Wednesday, Assad’s forces used chemical weapons against civilians around Damascus. According to opposition forces, well over a thousand people were murdered.
Out of habit, the eyes of the world turned to Washington. But Obama has no policy to offer. Obama’s America can do nothing.
America’s powerlessness in Syria is largely Obama’s fault. At the outset of the Syrian civil war two-and-a-half years ago, Obama outsourced the development of Syria’s opposition forces to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Erdogan. He had other options. A consortium of Syrian Kurds, moderate Sunnis, Christians and others came to Washington and begged for US assistance. But they were ignored.
Obama’s decision to outsource the US’s Syria policy owed to his twin goals of demonstrating that the US would no longer try to dictate international outcomes, and of allying the US with Islamic fundamentalists.
Both of these goals are transformative.
In the first instance, Obama believes that anti-Americanism stems from America’s actions. By accepting the mantel of global leadership, Obama believes the US insulted other nations. To mitigate their anger, the US should abdicate leadership.
As for courting Islamic fundamentalists, from his earliest days in office Obama insisted that since radical Islam is the most popular movement in the Islamic world, radical Islam is good. Radical Muslims are America’s friends.
Obama embraced Erdogan, an Islamic fascist who has won elections, as his closest ally and most trusted adviser in the Muslim world.
And so, with the full support of the US government, Erdogan stacked Syria’s opposition forces with radical Muslims like himself. Within months the Muslim Brotherhood comprised the majority in Syria’s US-sponsored opposition.
The Muslim Brotherhood has no problem collaborating with al-Qaida, because the latter was formed by Muslim Brothers.
It shares the Brotherhood’s basic ideology.
Since al-Qaida has the most experienced fighters, its rise to leadership and domination of the Syrian opposition was a natural progression.
In other words, Obama’s decision to have Turkey form the Syrian opposition led inevitably to the current situation in which the Iranian- and Russian-backed Syrian regime is fighting an opposition dominated by al-Qaida.
At this point, short of an Iraq-style US invasion of Syria and toppling of the regime, almost any move the US takes to overthrow the government will strengthen al-Qaida. So after a reported 1,300 people were killed by chemical weapons launched by the regime on Wednesday, the US has no constructive options for improving the situation.
A distressing aspect of Obama’s embrace of Erdogan is that Erdogan has not tried to hide the fact that he seeks dictatorial powers and rejects the most basic norms of liberal democracy and civil rights.

 

Online jihad

samirBy ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 7 (UPI) — The enemy now knows that a simple message of disinformation about a major al-Qaida terrorist operation will close U.S. embassies from North Africa to the Middle East to the Arabian Peninsula.

We can’t seem to remember elementary information about al-Qaida’s modus operandi. The Middle East Media Research Institute, monitoring media reports from Washington, reminds us al-Qaida and its many associated movements, from Nigeria clear across the African continent to Somalia and on to Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and Pakistan, live online.

Al-Qaida terrorists proselytize online, plan online encoded prayers, tweet, post images on Instagram, and last, but by no means least, they are skilled players of disinformation — the ability to take a kernel of truth and wrap it with a tissue of half-truths and lies.

Mercifully, the National Security Agency has big global eyes and ears that pay little heed to the claptrap about individual rights going down the proverbial tube. If one of our news sources happens to be an al-Qaida operative in the disinformation game wouldn’t we like to know?

The current conflict in Syria, MEMRI points out, “highlights the global jihad movement’s total dependence on the Internet and on U.S.-based social media companies.”

Hello? Have we already forgotten about the Internet’s multipurpose global reach?

About one-third of humanity is on the worldwide ‘Net and by 2015 China will outstrip the United States in Internet and social media use. At 27 percent of total Internet users, English is still the dominant language, a slight lead over Chinese with 24 percent.

Spanish is in third place with 8 percent.

The use of social media in the Syrian civil war demonstrates the global jihad movement’s total dependence on the Internet and on U.S. social media companies, says MEMRI.

Other points made by the research organization:

— Skype is being used by the jihadi group Al-Haq Brigade (part of the Syrian Islamic Front) to recruit for the Al-Ansar Battalion training camp.

— Jihadis fighting in Syria use Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to communicate, plan attacks, raise funds and keep in touch with family and friends.

— Circulate death pictures and eulogies for jihadis killed in action.

— A eulogy posted on Facebook for Abu Qasura Al-Tunisi, a Tunisian from the al-Fallujah forum who traveled to Syria to fight alongside the al-Qaida-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra noted: “He joined jihad with no help but Allah and Google Earth.”

— Flickr, for Internet photo sharing, is widely used by jihadis for recruitment propaganda.

— Foreigners “martyred” in Syria were on YouTube and Flickr. They included “martyrs” from Australia, Albania, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Dagestan, Chechnya, France, Ireland, Sweden, Spain, the United States, United Kingdom and Denmark.

— Typical examples from 360 photos on Flickr: “Rafael Gendroun, martyr from France, was martyred April 14, 2013. He was a member of the Syrian Hawks Brigade in northern Syria.”

— “Sammy Salma, Melbourne, Australia, martyred on the outskirts of Aleppo April 17, 2013.”

— “Mohammed Ali Abu Hammur, Salt, Jordan, martyred April 15, 2013, a Swedish resident.”

— “Hasam Al-Sham, a French national of Lebanese origin. God gave him abundant knowledge … in forensics, military and political analysis … At dawn Wednesday, the sixth day of Ramadan, he was wounded in a bombing in one of the suburbs close to the Lebanese-Syrian border and was martyred immediately.”

— Nu’man Damoli, a martyr from Kosovo, fighter of Kosovo’s Liberation Army against the Serbian army, was wounded in the mountains of Kosovo in 1999. Thirteen years later he joined the mujahedin of the al-Nusra Front in Syria to fight against the Assad regime, and martyred in one of the battles of Talbisah (Homs province) on Nov. 8, 2012.

MEMRI reports that the Flickr account, which was opened in February before the Facebook page was shut down, includes 360 photos of martyrs (most of them included in this latest report).

Read more

Also see: #Jihad’s social media trend (foreignpolicy.com)