ISIS Baffling U.S. Intelligence Agencies

1408103028210.cachedBy Eli Lake:
It’s been two months since ISIS took over Iraq’s second-largest city. But U.S. analysts are still trying to figure out how big the group is and the real identities of its leaders.
The U.S. intelligence community is still trying to answer basic questions about the jihadists who tried to wipe out Iraq’s remaining Yazidis and who now threaten to overrun the capital of the country’s Kurdish provinces.

In a briefing for reporters Thursday, U.S. intelligence officials said the government is re-evaluating an estimate from early this year that said the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) had only 10,000 members. These officials also said intelligence analysts were still trying to determine the real names of many of the group’s leaders from records of Iraqis who went in and out of American custody during the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

While many U.S. officials have warned publicly in the last year about the dangers posed by ISIS, the fact that the U.S. intelligence community lacks a consensus estimate on its size and the true identities of the group’s leadership may explain why President Obama over the weekend said the U.S. was caught off-guard by the ISIS advance into Kurdish territory.

That said, the U.S. intelligence community assesses that ISIS poses a particularly difficult problem. One American official said ISIS had attracted thousands of foreign fighters to Syria and Iraq, some of whom had returned to their home countries and formed terror cells in Europe.

U.S. intelligence officials said the Islamic State makes frequent mention of its intent to attack the U.S., though officials said there is no evidence yet that its operatives have the skills of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s (AQAP) master bomb maker Ibrahim al-Asiri. AQAP has tried to bring down U.S.-bound airliners three times using bombs he helped design or build.

Read more at Daily Beast

Also see:

UN Blacklists Islamic State Members, Threatens Sanctions On Collaborators

UN-building-APBreitbart, by FRANCES MARTEL:

The United Nations Security Council took proactive measures Friday to condemn the genocidal behavior of the jihadist terror group the Islamic State, blacklisting six individuals believed or confirmed to work with the terrorist group and threatening sanctions against those with financial or military ties to the Islamic State.

Al Arabiya reports that the Security Council issued a binding resolution that would prevent six individuals, including Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, from traveling internationally. It would also issue an arms embargo and asset freeze on them, as well as the greater organization, which had been blacklisted previously.

The resolution also takes a moral stance against the group, stating the UN “deplores and condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist acts of [the Islamic State] and its violent extremist ideology, and its continued gross, systematic and widespread abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law.”

In addition to the actions by the Security Council, the United Nations generally has called the situation in Iraq a Level 3 “humanitarian emergency“, which would “facilitate mobilisation of additional resources in goods, funds, and assets, according to UN special representative Nickolay Mladenov. The organization also condemned the “barbaric” acts of the Islamic State, particularly against Iraq’s minority populations. The Islamic State has swept through northern Iraq on a mission to eliminate Shi’ite Muslims, Christians, and Yazidis in what is described with increasing frequency as a “genocide.” In Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, the Islamic State ordered Christians to accept living as second-class citizens and paying a jizya, or infidel’s tax, leave the city, or be killed. There arecurrently believed to be no Christians living in the city.

In the Sinjar area, the Islamic State has attempted to eliminate the Yazidi minority, ethnic Kurds who follow a faith that has elements of Islam, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism. The Islamic State has been massacring Yazidi men and abducting Yazidi women, in many cases selling them into the slave trade. Thousands of Yazidis fleeing certain death climbed Mount Sinjar without food and water, finding themselves trapped between the severity of life without resources on the northern mountain or a brutal murder by Islamic State jihadists below. While the United States military and others have responded to the crisis with military air resources and humanitarian aid, it is believed that many Yazidis remain on the mountain or displaced elsewhere in the region.

Also see:

The ISIS Threat to the United States, in Six Sentences

iraq11n-1-webNational Review, By David French:

Let’s make this simple, shall we?

1. Al-Qaeda carried out the deadliest attack on American soil in American history and the most devastating foreign attack against an American city since the British occupied and burned Washington during the War of 1812.

2. ISIS is more brutal than al-Qaeda.

3. ISIS has more financial resources than al-Qaeda.

4. ISIS controls more territory — and possesses more firepower – than al-Qaeda.

5. ISIS has seized uranium in sufficient quantities to make a radiological weapon, a dirty bomb.

6. The leader of ISIS declared to his former American captors, “See you in New York,” and ISIS militants have pledged to raise the black flag of jihad over the White House.

In other words, ISIS is more capable in every way than the terrorists that hit America so hard on 9/11. Pinprick strikes weren’t enough to stop a much weaker Osama bin Laden. They will not be enough to stop a much stronger Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Beyond Bombing Iraq: Obama Needs an ISIS Strategy

pix3_081114

Obama’s willingness to reengage in Iraq is admirable, but until he crafts a coherent strategy, he will be doing little more than using American pilots to kick the can down the road.

By Michael Rubin:

During his weekly radio address on August 9, President Barack Obama explained his decision to launch airstrikes on Iraq. First, he said, American airpower was necessary to keep the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from sweeping into Erbil, where many American diplomats, officials and businessmen reside, and second, he declared force necessary to provide humanitarian relief for displaced Yezidi stranded and besieged on a mountaintop. Obama, however, cautioned that military power could not alone resolve the situation. “There’s no American military solution to the larger crisis there,” he said, urging “Iraqi communities to reconcile, come together and fight back against these terrorists.” Fine words, but they reveal more confusion than clarity in the White House about Iraq, ISIS and the nature of terrorism.

In 2005, Robert Pape published a seminal book, Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, which argued against the backdrop of 9/11’s aftermath that it was grievance—specifically, occupation and the quartering of troops among resentful populations—and not religion that primarily motivated terrorism. Subsequent studies found Pape’s statistics massaged and questioned his conclusions, but Pape’s thesis remains popular among both diplomats and academics. After all, it is comforting to see terrorism as rooted in grievance because that means that diplomacy, incentive or compromise can resolve such conflicts. Unfortunately, however, ideology remains the key motivator for Islamist terrorism. Forget poverty or lack of education: most suicide bombers are educated and middle class. Nor can forcing concessions or seeking compromise work when uncompromising Islamist ideology is the problem: In an ideal world, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki might have been more magnanimous toward Sunni tribal leaders, but no matter how many concessions he might have given, it would not have changed the murderous ideology and outlook of ISIS.

It is an irony of Washington that those who consider themselves most sensitive to multiculturalism and diversity ignore the fact that different peoples think in different ways. Reconciliation may be a worthy goal, but it is important to recognize that many in the Middle East do not interpret reconciliation in the same manner as do Americans. While South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” Commission is a model American diplomats may recommend, many in the Middle East associate reconciliation with Manichean notions of justice: Instead of “truth and reconciliation,” think “truth and execution.”

While Obama’s reengagement in Iraq is a welcome acknowledgement that the price of Iraq’s failure would undercut American security interests, cognitive dissonance also infuses Obama’s recent remarks. U.S. administrations often compartmentalize problems. They develop one Iran policy, another Iraq policy and a separate Syria policy, each independent of the other. There is no grand strategy. But when Al Qaeda and offshoots like ISIS operate in countries, they conduct not traditional insurrections, but rather transnational insurgencies. American strategy, however, remains constrained by borders. If the United States is to be effective, Obama should explain why he is taking action in Iraq, but not in Syria. After all, ISIS conducts the same atrocities in both countries. Nor is it clear why Obama would act to protect the Iraqi Kurdish capital of Erbil, but not Baghdad. Maliki and Iraqi Kurdish president Massoud Barzani are mirror images of each other: Both countenance corruption and seek to rule beyond their mandate. With tanks and pro-Maliki security forces taking up positions across Baghdad yesterday, diplomats may fret at Maliki’s decision to seek a third term, but they forget that Barzani addressed a constitutional two-term limit simply by extending his second term beyond its legal limit.

Read more at The National Interest

Michael Rubin (@mrubin1971) is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Also see:

BREITBART EXCLUSIVE: EXPERT INTERVIEW: ‘WE CAN FORGET ABOUT IRAQ, BUT IRAQ ISN’T GOING TO FORGET ABOUT US”

 

FLASHBACK: Obama Administration Says Islamic Caliphate is “Feckless Delusion” That is “Never Going to Happen”

2014-07-23T200304Z_1_LYNXMPEA6M0WW_RTROPTP_3_IRAQ-SECURITY-BAGHDADIBy Katie Pavlich:

The brutal terrorist organization known as ISIS or ISIL, made up of former al Qaeda fighters, has renamed itself the Islamic State. The name “Islamic State” is self-explanatory and was chosen based on the group’s goal of establishing a caliphate by conquering as much land in the middle east and around the world as possible, beheading and killing anyone standing in their way.

Regardless of the terrorist group’s own classification and stated goals to implement and maintain an Islamist caliphate going back years, the Obama administration wasn’t worried about the “absurd” concept and had no plans to stop it from happening according to then White House Counter-Terrorism Advisor and current CIA Secretary John Brennen. From 2011:

“Our strategy is also shaped by deeper understanding of al Qaeda’s goals, strategy, and tactics over the past decade. I’m not talking about al Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate. That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counter-terrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen. We are not going to elevate these thugs and their murderous aspirations into something larger than they are,” Brennen said.

Watch here (15:38 to 16:07):

 

Sounds a lot like the administration treated these guys like a junior varsity team

Brennen argued the administration’s goal was to have “a deeper understanding of al Qaeda’s goals,” yet ignored the greatest goal of all: an Islamic caliphate. We’re seeing the caliphate happen now. In fact, ISIS just started issuing caliphate/Islamic State passports.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has reportedly issued Islamic State passports as the group expressed desire to expand its territory in Middle East, parts of Asia and Europe.

The group has also threatened to to raise the jihadist flag over Downing Street and the White House.

The introduction of passports by ISIS is believed to be part of the group’s ongoing campaign of psychological warfare, with experts saying that the passports are little more than a symbolic gesture.

Photos of the passports based on the black jihadist flag flown by ISIS terrorists with inscription “State of the Islamic Caliphate” at the top of the passport, were circulated on social media websites.

As another reminder, this is the same administration that argued al Qaeda was “on the run” in 2012 while it was actually spreading. These are dangerous times and the administration has done very little to show Americans they take the threats and goals of al Qaeda/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State terrorists seriously.

Read more at Town Hall

James O’Keefe Crosses The US-Mexico Border Dressed As Osama Bin Laden

 

By Patrick Howley:

Investigative filmmaker James O’Keefe exposes the U.S.-Mexico border’s vulnerability to terrorism in his latest undercover project, obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller.

O’Keefe’s Project Veritas video reminds viewers of recent statements by the president and Obama administration officials that the southern border is secure. O’Keefe then proceeds to Hudspeth County, Texas, to easily cross back and forth cross the Rio Grande wearing the costume of modern history’s most recognizable terrorist.

“I see no border patrol. I see no security,” O’Keefe said in the video before donning a bin Laden mask. “Thousands of people have stood in my footsteps right now. They’ve come from South America, Honduras, Guatemala, and they’ve all crossed the border. And if they can cross, anybody can cross.”

Read more at Daily Caller

Al Qaeda financiers use Qatar for international activities

The Terror Finance Blog, by A. D. Kendall:

In addition to institutional and charitable support by Qatar, Al Qaeda and its offshoots (including jihadists in Syria and Iraq) receive substantial financial support from private Qatari donors and bundlers. Here’s a quick who’s who:

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi

Abd al-Rahman al-Nuaymi:  The U.S. Treasury Department describes al-Nuaymi as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided money and material support and conveyed communications to al-Qa’ida and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen for more than a decade. He was considered among the most prominent Qatar-based supporters of Iraqi Sunni extremists.” Al-Nuaymi transferred $600K to Al Qaeda in Syria in 2013, and sent $2 million monthly to Al Qaeda in Iraq for an undisclosed period of time. He is also described as an interlocutor between Qatari nationals and Al Qaeda in Iraq leaders.

Salim Hasan Khalifa Rashid al-Kuwari:  Treasury says al-Kuwari “provides financial and logistical support to al-Qa’ida, primarily through al-Qa’ida facilitators in Iran. Based in Qatar, Kuwari has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support to al-Qa’ida and has provided funding for al-Qa’ida operations, as well as to secure the release of al-Qa’ida detainees in Iran and elsewhere.”

Abdallah Ghanim Mafuz Muslim al-Khawar:  According to U.S. officials, “Al-Khawar has worked with Kuwari to deliver money, messages and other material support to al-Qa’ida elements in Iran. Like Kuwari, Khawar is based in Qatar and has helped to facilitate travel for extremists interested in traveling to Afghanistan for jihad.

Khalifa Muhammad Turki al-Subaiy:  The UN describes al-Subaiy as “a Qatar-based terrorist financier and facilitator who has provided financial support to, and acted on behalf of, the senior leadership of Al-Qaida (QE.A.4.01). He provided assistance to senior Al-Qaida leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed prior to Sheikh Mohammed’s capture in March 2003. Since that time, he has provided financial support to Al-Qaida senior leadership in South Asia.” Al-Subaiy served a brief prison sentence in 2008 before being released by Qatar.

Yusuf Qaradawi:  The Egyptian-born, Qatar-based spiritual father of the international Muslim Brotherhood sits atop a massive terrorist funding network including the “Union of Good” umbrella network of charities that funds Hamas. Qaradawi was also a sharia adviser for Al Taqwa which provided banking services to Al Qaeda.

Patriots Take On the Muslim Brotherhood

Pro-Egyptian Military Supporters Rally At White HouseFront Page, by Daniel Greenfield:

“We are faced with an enemy whose goal is to conquer the world by subversion and infiltration or, if necessary, by open war.”

The speaker was Senator John F. Kennedy and he was discussing the Communist Control Act that he had co-sponsored. The Act did what had been previously thought impossible; it outlawed the Communist Party.

The latest bill to fight an enemy whose goal is also to conquer the world by subversion, infiltration and open war doesn’t have a Kennedy co-sponsor. Instead it has the two members of Congress who have fought the hardest to expose the Muslim Brotherhood; Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert.

The Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act goes to the heart of the beast by designating the entity a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Plenty of Muslim Brotherhood affiliates and splinter groups, from Hamas to Al Qaeda, have already ended up on the FTO list.

But the Brotherhood has been able to keep spewing out new front groups that enjoy immunity.

The Act lists some of the Brotherhood groups and Brotherhood leaders already on the FTO list. These include the Kuwaiti Muslim Brotherhood and the head of the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood’s political party who served as the coordinator for the bombing of the USS Cole. The Act documents, briefly, the Brotherhood’s history and some of its more recent involvements in worldwide terrorism.

From the original World Trade Center attacks to the recent Brotherhood attacks on Coptic Christians, the Act comprehensively makes the case that the Muslim Brotherhood is a violent terrorist group.

There really is no doubt whatsoever that the Muslim Brotherhood meets the FTO criteria. But so did Boko Haram and the State Department fought tooth and nail to keep an Al Qaeda-linked organization responsible for the murder of thousands off the list.

The Muslim Brotherhood is even more vital to their agenda than Boko Haram.

However the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act, if it passes, will force John Kerry to issue a report explaining why the Muslim Brotherhood should not be treated as a terrorist group.

The contents of that report could be guessed at ahead of time.

When challenged over the provision of F-16 fighter jets to Muslim Brotherhood thug Mohammed Morsi, Kerry had claimed that the US couldn’t just walk away from him.

A Kerry aide stated back in June that “We do not share the view of the Egyptian government about links between the Muslim Brothers and terrorist groups like ISIS” and argued that the Brotherhood was a political challenge, rather than a security challenge.

Nevertheless it’s important to have this discussion out in the open.

Americans who warned about the dangers of Communism were marginalized, but by the fifties a unanimous Senate vote had outlawed the Communist Party. JFK did not co-sponsor the Communist Control Act because he was a courageous leader, but because by then it was the safe thing to do.

The pace of world events had taken what had been seen as the obsession of a few cranks and turned it into a compelling national security issue that could no longer be ignored.

As the Middle East churns in the murderous grip of its Jihads, Americans are beginning to see a region under Islamic movements that resembles Eastern Europe under the Communist boot. As they look at the shifting populations in Europe, at the rise of honor killings and FGM, at mobs screaming hate at the Jews in Paris and at burning churches in Egypt, they ask themselves whether they want to live this way.

If Americans wake up to the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood, the way that they had once woken up to the threat of Communism, it will be because a handful of members of Congress, prominent among them, Michele Bachmann and Louie Gohmert, kept up the good fight.

Bachmann and Gohmert warned about the Muslim Brotherhood despite the lack of interest in the topic by much of the public, the media and even by their own party.

With them stand a handful of co-sponsors; Trent Franks, who has also stood up against the Muslim Brotherhood, and others like Peter Roskam, who took a stand against Hamas, Cynthia Lummis, who asked during the Benghazi hearings about the Brotherhood’s involvement, Kevin Brady, who tried to cut funding to the UN, Steve Southerland, who spoke at Florida State University in defiance of Muslim protests, and Doug LaMalfa, who condemned Obama for funding Hamas.

The Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act would make it possible to go after anyone providing material support to the entity. It would make it possible to keep Muslim Brotherhood agents from entering the United States and to deport Muslim Brotherhood members already in the United States.

The Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act may not pass and even if it does, it’s wildly unlikely that Obama, who won’t even stop funding Hamas which is already on the FTO list, would enforce it. But shifts are incremental. They come from the persistent commitment to advancing an issue.

Within a decade, Communism went from kindly Uncle Joe to a nightmarish monster. In 1937, 47% of Americans knew nothing of Fascism or Communism. By 1939, half the country was willing to choose either Communism or Fascism. In 1940, only 37% supported jailing or deporting Communists. By 1945, 48% of Americans saw improving relations ahead for the US and the USSR.

Less than a decade later, outlawing the Communist Party had become the default bipartisan position.

While the propaganda of the left is a powerful thing, it crumbles in the face of world events. The political battlefield is a shadow of the real world. When the world changes, it abruptly transforms everything.

In these moments of transformation, the patriots who have been fighting for the truth have the opportunity to step forward and take advantage of the shift. And those who blindly denounced them will join them, because when the consensus crumbles, they seek sensible point of security to cling to.

It is toward that day that the patriots do their work, placing brick on brick, laboring to build a pedestal on which the truth will be revealed.

There may come a time when the Muslim Brotherhood Terrorist Designation Act is remembered as one of the vital building blocks in the American awakening to the threat of Islamization.

Out of Control Border – Open Invitation to Terrorists

8df0455e-efb9-40e1-b03c-1d342d7d8037Does Obama Believe in Terrorism? by Kevin McCullough at Town Hall, Jul 13, 2014:

I’ve been caught asking myself the same question many times this week.

“Does our President believe in terrorism?”
No, I’m not asking if he personally believes in the use of terrorism, or the ideology of terrorism, or the effectiveness of the weapon of terrorism. Some of my critics are already condemning me for not asking that question from the start. And as well intentioned as some are who would hold those positions, I feel a need to break things down into even more succinct pieces.
Does President Obama believe in terrorism’s existence and imminence in the days we live this very minute?
Normally it would be easy to laugh off such a question from an opinion writer, but these aren’t normal days. The middle easy is burning down. Terrorists are shooting missiles at our best ally. We just turned five of the world’s worst terrorists loose in exchange for a man who got brainwashed to believe the terrorists. And then came this past week…
A source at the border patrol has informed me going back to the days of 9.11.2001, that on any given month (then) we’d have a dozen persons of middle eastern origin attempt to penetrate our southern border each month. In 2014 my source tells me that number is now regularly above a hundred. These persons look very much like all the others crossing the border, most have even learned some spanish, and like all the others they are blending in with, they climb the ladder, jump the fence, and wait for border patrol to pick them up.
This is important to understand given that in the past week–only due to diligent reporting–have we had it revealed that the executive branch of the federal government has authorized free rides for illegals to destinations of choice in the mainland of America. 300,000 “free” rides by our executive branch to people who “tell us” who they are–most days without any form of corroborating identification.
Which would be bad enough, until we learned from the stories coming out of the border that the Islamic State (formerly ISIS, an Al Qaeda faction) has made direct contact with Mexican drug cartels, and then pledged publicly to exploit our southern border. (Come to think of it, I’m pretty certain al-Baghdaddi wasn’t talking about taking a tour when he told his former captors in Iraq that he would “see them in New York.”)
So… to review we’ve got Al Qaeda ready to penetrate our southern border (if they haven’t already). They’re intent on killing us. And we may be giving them rides to anywhere in the lower 48 states.
Then came the information from the National Border Patrol Council, documenting that the same Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) that feels you up, or looks at you on naked machines at airports has been ordered to allow these aliens to fly on commercial jet-liners (no doubt at partial tax-payer expense) with nothing more than their “Notice to Appear” paper from their initial hearing when they arrive in the USA. And as long as they have these easily forged papers TSA can not ask them any further questions about identity. They are then using that form of identification to fly anywhere they wish in the country.
This loosely enforced “security” could put active members of Al Qaeda or any number of other Muslim Brotherhood groups into the heart of New York, DC, or other prime target rich environments. Almost over night, and almost undetected to the good people of America.
The President isn’t stopping the border crossings where nearly 100 for every 4000 that are coming across (and that’s the per day average) turn out to be people of middle eastern origins. The President isn’t requiring the illegal visitors to face the law and it’s Biblically acceptable enforcement. In some cases the crossers are making their initial appearances by SKYPE to a desk operation four states over. The President has instructed the border patrol to play nice and not get into confrontational situations. The President has ordered more than a quarter of a million personal rides to those who wish to meet up with relatives, friend’s, and just people that they know. And the President has not reversed the silly edict allowing anyone in the USA to fly without an ID.
In other words he’s acting as though he firmly doubts that America is being readied for another major-bigger-than-the-previous-record-setting terror attack.
But beyond that he’s actively doing as much as possible to get us as close to that possible reality.
Well he then must believe that Al Qaeda is less of a threat now than it has been in the past. He must believe that there is nothing of significance happening in the Middle East. And his 72% approval rating amongst the world’s muslim population must be because they believe “hope and change” are coming.
For if he believed that a caliphate being established was a dangerous thing, if he believed that evil people exist and are seeking our demise as we read this, and if he believed that these border policies are providing enormous holes in our security for the bad people to do what they want to do…
Then surely he’d ignore his pro-Muslim-brotherhood advisers and do what was best for the welfare of the people he swore an oath to protect.
Right?

*************

DML on terror threat at the border:

 

Jeanine Pirro accuses Obama of implementing a “Trojan Horse” strategy:

 

Frank Gaffney speaks with Judge Jeanine Pirro about the possibility that ISIS will use the current border crisis to entering the United States:

 

Perry: Securing the border is ‘one of the highest priorities for this country from a national security standpoint’

 

Also see:

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.

In Wartime, Focus on Detainment of Terrorists, Not Rehabilitation

2475970912Center for Security Policy:

The following is a partial transcript of an interview with Congressman Jim Bridenstine(OK-1) that featured in the Monday, June 9th edition of Secure Freedom Radio. The entire interview may be listened to here. Congressman Bridenstine serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.

Frank Gaffney: There’s a report–I don’t think you’ve seen it, Congressman Jim Bridenstine–our friend and colleague Paul Sperry had in the New York Post over the weekend indicating that the President is aggressively moving forward on other efforts to remove these guys, including perhaps releasing as many as half of the detainees that remain in Guantanamo Bay this summer. If you could, just give us a sense of the character of the folks who are left [in Guantanamo Bay] and what the implications might be if we find this kind of wholesale dismantling of this detention facility.

Rep. Jim Bridenstine: Well, we have seen a commitment from this administration to close Guantanamo Bay going back to his first election and then his second election. There was a time when he was trying to bring a number of the most hardened terrorists to the United States to have them tried in Article III courts. Here’s the situation–I’m going to speak as a warfighter for a second. There are two types of law. There is the law of war and there is the law of peace. When you’re at war, you detain people not for rehabilitation, not for punishment; you detain them to get them off the battlefield until the end of hostilities. That is under the law of war, and this is an important piece of what Guantanamo Bay is for the American military. It is a way to detain people until the end of conflict. Unfortunately there is confusion, even among my colleagues on the Republican side, about the difference between why you detain people in wartime and why you detain people in peacetime. That confusion is creating this environment where people, even on my side of the aisle, some of them are saying we need to close Guantanamo Bay. Now, if there’s a strategic reason to close it, then that’s an argument that needs to be had. But if people are arguing that they need their Article III protections per the Constitution, under the laws of war we have every authority to detain them until the end of armed conflict and the last I checked, the Taliban and Al Qaeda have not decided to end the war or sign a peace treaty.

FG: To the contrary, there’s every evidence that they’re redoubling their efforts as we saw the Pakistani branch doing in Karachi yesterday. Just to drill down on this…the President says: we are winding down the war. So, we have to wind down both the authority that we have given the President–his predecessor initially–to conduct that war and we need to wind down facilities like Gitmo as well. I take it you don’t think we’re actually winding down the war, at least in terms of the enemy’s determination to continue to prosecute it.

JB: No, not at all. What we’re seeing now is we’re seeing the Taliban and Al Qaeda more emboldened than we’ve seen them in years. And of course this is a direct result of the policy that this President is putting forward. You know, this isn’t fun and games. This isn’t about political philosophy. These are real world issues where Americans are put at risk and the world is becoming more dangerous–not less dangerous. And when America projects weakness, this is what we get. We get emboldened enemies and we get friends and allies around the world that don’t trust us. This is terrible policy and this is not one of those things where if you’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to us back. That’s not how this works.

The Progressive Gitmo Myth

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As the gleeful victory celebrations by the Taliban over the recovery of 5 of their top commanders show, it is perceived as weakness, failure of nerve, and lack of confidence in the rightness of our cause. A people who behead their enemies or eat their hearts are not going to be impressed with our generous provisions of constitutional rights and pro bono legal counsel.

by Bruce Thornton:

The swap of probable deserter Bowe Bergdahl for 5 “high-risk” Guantánamo detainees is about more than political public relations. By releasing some of the worst murderers, this deal prepares the ground for Obama’s long-term goal of shutting down the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and releasing the remaining detainees. According to Britain’s Daily Mail, a senior Pentagon official claims Obama nixed plans to rescue Bergdahl because “the president wanted a diplomatic scenario that would establish a precedent for repatriating detainees from Gitmo.”  Given that on his second day in office Obama issued an executive order shutting Gitmo down, and as recently as this year’s State of the Union speech repeated this pledge, his failure to do so has aroused serial complaints from his progressive base. With his reelection behind him, Obama may now think he can fulfill this promise, no matter the danger to our efforts to protect ourselves against terrorism.

For Obama’s liberal base, Gitmo has been part of a larger narrative of American tyranny, particularly George Bush’s alleged lawlessness in waging an “illegal” and “unnecessary” war in Iraq. Once Howard Dean’s anti-war presidential primary insurgency took off after the war began in 2003, mainstream Democrats began endorsing the far-left “Bush lied” analysis of the war that John Edwards, John Kerry, and Hillary Clinton had voted for based on the same intelligence that led to the Bush administration’s decision. With the anti-war movement providing the visuals for television news, the left’s distorted history of Vietnam was resurrected to provide the template for the war in Iraq, particularly the charge that the Bush administration had lied about Hussein’s WMDs, just as Lyndon Johnson had allegedly fabricated the Gulf of Tonkin incident to justify escalating U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Soon the whole litany of American militarist evils was applied to Iraq and the war against terrorists and their enablers. Torture, illegal detention, and abuse of prisoners were staples of that catalogue, and for leftists Gitmo fit the bill.

Soon we were hearing that Gitmo was a “gulag,” “the Bermuda Triangle of human rights,” a “shocking affront to democracy,” and a “national disgrace.” The New York Times, paying heed to charges by detainees trained to lie, said Guantanamo exemplified “harsh, indefinite detention without formal charges or legal recourse” and recalled “the Soviet Union’s sprawling network of Stalinist penal colonies.” Such hysteria, of course, has no basis in fact.

In 2004, a report by Albert T. Church III concluded, “We can confidentially state that based upon our investigation, we found nothing that would in any way substantiate detainees’ allegations of torture or violent physical abuse at GTMO.” Almost all the interrogations at Gitmo were conducted according to the Army Field Manual approved by Obama himself. Conditions for the prisoners at Gitmo far outstrip those in most prisons, including in the United States. Jihadists involved in planning, aiding, and participating in the murders of Americans can play sports, work out on gym equipment, hang out with their comrades, learn English, take art lessons, peruse a library of 14,000 Arab-language books, and view satellite television, including Al Jazeera. They get first-class health care and nutrition, and their food is prepared according to halal standards of ritual purity––all that good grub has led to the “Gitmo gut.” Islamic holidays are respected, Korans handled by guards with delicate care, magazines censored to remove images disturbing to pious Muslims, and arrows painted on the floors pointing to Mecca to guide the prisoners in their daily prayers. Rush Limbaugh is justified in calling Guantánamo “Club Gitmo.”

Yet despite these facts, the myth has arisen that the existence of Gitmo, as the Wall Street Journal summarized liberal thinking, “symbolizes prisoner abuse, serving as a propaganda tool for extremists and complicating counterterrorism efforts with allies.” The incoherence of this argument points to the larger problems of American foreign policy in dealing with jihadism.

First, our tendency to take seriously the malignant propaganda of our enemies bespeaks our civilizational failure of nerve. Since there has not been any “prisoner abuse” at Gitmo, why should we legitimize blatant lies the purpose of which is to erode our morale and serve the interests of disaffected Westerners? And given the horrific conditions and routine use of torture in most prisons in the Muslim Middle East, why should we for one second listen to any government or group in that region criticizing Gitmo? Our acceptance of this double standard does not confirm our superior virtues and principles, not when such acceptance emboldens the enemy and convinces him that we are too weak and decadent to do what it takes to defend ourselves.

Then there is the assumption that Muslims who practice jihadist terror are merely reacting to affronts perpetrated by Americans, rather than acting on their own motives. Bin Laden was the master of attributing his violence to an ever-shifting catalog of American sins––support for Israel, stationing troops in Saudi Arabia, participating in the 1983 Lebanon war, neo-colonial machinations to secure oil supplies, even failing to sign the Kyoto accords all appeared as pretexts for terrorism. But of course, this was propaganda for consumption by self-loathing Americans. In reality, as Ray Ibrahim’s Al Qaeda Reader documents, al Qaeda’s jihadism is driven by the venerable Islamic doctrines that for 14 centuries have spurred Islamic violence, and that are epitomized in Mohammed’s “great commission”: “I was ordered to fight all men until they say, ‘There is no god but Allah.’” Jihadists don’t need Gitmo, or Israel, or globalism, or any other material reason to attack infidels. Like the Hydra, every grievance we appease will be replaced by two more. Jihadists have plenty of religious motives for trying to destroy the culture that once trembled at Allah’s armies but that now dominates a world that Islam teaches is destined to be ruled by Muslims, the “best of nations raised up for the benefit of men,” as Koran 3.110 has it. But like our tendency to blame poverty or lack of political freedom for creating terrorists, this focus on material causes ignores the powerful role of spiritual motives for jihadist terror.

Read more at Front Page

Terrorist Groups Rise 58% Since 2010

130221_terrorists-450x306by Arnold Ahlert:

One of the principal narratives of the 2012 Obama re-election campaign — as in al Qaeda has been “decimated” and put on a “on the path to defeat” — has itself been decimated. According to a study released yesterday by the RAND Corporation, there has been a 58 percent increase in the number of jihadist groups over the last four years. Even more troubling, the number of jihadist fighters has doubled, and the number of worldwide attacks has tripled. The report further notes that terrorist groups operating in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan pose the greatest threat to the United States.

“Based on these threats, the United States cannot afford to withdraw or remain disengaged from key parts of North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia,” states Seth G. Jones, author of the study and associate director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at RAND. “After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, it may be tempting for the U.S. to turn its attention elsewhere and scale back on counterterrorism efforts. But this research indicates that the struggle is far from over.”

The raw numbers are stark. The number of groups have increased from 31 to 49, the number of fighters to a high estimate of 100,000 and the number of attacks from 392 to approximately 1000.

In an article for the Wall Street Journal, Jones points out that America also faces significant threats in addition to Islamic jihadism, including the invasion of Ukraine by Russia that threatens our NATO alliance; China’s flexing of its economic, military and cyber muscles in East Asia; and the instability of North Korea. He also puts Iran and their dedicated pursuit of nuclear-weapons in this category.

Jones’s analysis pokes a giant hole in the leftist ideology that posits America’s forays into Iraq and Afghanistan caused an increase in jihadist activity. In fact it is quite the opposite. As America has retreated from the Middle East – completely from Iraq in December of 2011, combined with a highly-publicized schedule of winding down combat operations in Afghanistan at the end of this year — terrorism is surging.

Read more at Front Page

Exclusive: Nigerian Security Forces Infiltrated by Boko Haram

boko-haram-Reuters (1)by JORDAN SCHACHTEL:

Breitbart News had the exclusive opportunity to sit down with Lt. Col. Rudy Atallah, former head of African counterterrorism for the Pentagon to discuss Boko Haram and Islamist movements in Africa.

Rudolph Atallah is the former Africa Counterterrorism Director for the Department of Defense. He retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after 21 years of service in the United States Air Force. Atallah is now a Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council & CEO of White Mountain Research.

Breitbart News: Why has it been difficult to counter Boko Haram?

Rudy Atallah: Boko Haram is split into several factions run by different leaders. Also, Boko Haram has been used as a pawn in Nigerian politics. Three days ago there was a Nigerian internal investigation of nine generals and senior military officers all suspected of aiding and abetting Boko Haram. The officers were suspected of giving them weapons, access to the armories, and information on government tactics and targeting. It is very difficult to counter an organization when internally, within the Nigerian structure, there are political, militarily, and logistical issues.

Nigeria is considered a leader in the region. They’ve led ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) missions, they are part of the African Union community, they do peacekeeping missions all over the place. Nigeria is a powerful country. There is also a national pride element when you have such events occur on your own soil. The Nigerians historically have been more hesitant on taking external support and more bent on saying, “We can take care of this issue ourselves.” Boko Haram is resilient because they operate across national borders. When the Nigerian military comes in, Boko Haram tends to move over to countries such as Cameroon and Niger, so that makes it especially difficult to target them.

Breitbart News: Tell us about Boko Haram’s leadership structure under Abubakar Shekau.

Rudy Atallah: Several years ago it was understood that Boko Haram had a Shura council made up of 13 members. Above that Shura council was Shekau as the main leader, and the Shura council members all operated independently in separate areas. The leaders’ communications were very discreet and each ran their own cell. The Nigerians claimed at one point that they had killed Shekau, but then he resurfaced. There are also reports that Shekau was previously wounded. Because of the various reports, it remains unclear how Boko Haram is currently re-structured.

Some believe that there are three main leaders. Shekau is seen as one of them, although there are some that argue Shekau may have been pushed to the outside. There is the possibility Shekau may independently run his own group or cell of Boko Haram. There are other individuals that are also running their own branches of Boko Haram. They merge together in order to do one operation and then they will separate and go their own ways.

There’s no real solid evidence to narrow down Boko Haram’s current structure. The intelligence coming from the area where Boko Haram actually operates is miniscule. A lot of the information comes from prior kidnap victims, from NGOs that operate in the area, and from people that were attackedby Boko Haram. Jacob Zenn, whom I respect and consider to be a very a good resource, just wrote a piece where he claimed that several Boko Haram factions come together in a federation for major attacks such as the recent kidnapping of the Nigerian schoolgirls. This leads me to believe that these guys are now branched off. While they used to be one solid Shura council, right now that may be in question.

Breitbart News: What is stopping the Nigerian forces from rescuing the kidnapped schoolgirls?

Rudy Atallah: Its the complexity of the potential rescue. Its now understood that the schoolgirls have been split up in different areas. You can’t mount a rescue operation of one group of schoolgirls and potentially put the rest of them in danger in another location. By not engaging in an all-encompassing strategy, the result could end in tragedy.

A rescue operation for the girls should have occurred immediately after they were kidnapped in mid-April, but that never happened. Nobody started talking about a potential rescue operation until weeks afterwards, which is way too late.

Read more at Breitbart

House of Representatives Backs Egypt in Fight Against Al Qaeda, Muslim Brotherhood

muslim_brotherhood_HQ_protester_APBreitbart, By Katie Gorka:

The past year has seen an ongoing debate among U.S. policy makers over what exactly happened in Egypt last summer. The Obama administration and former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton very visibly supported the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi. But over the course of Morsi’s one year in power, the majority of Egyptians did not like what they saw as a systematic undoing of democratic processes in Egypt.

Egyptians took to the streets by the millions in July 2013 to protest against the Muslim Brotherhood government. When the military stepped in, headed by General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the Brotherhood were ousted and an interim government was formed. The Obama administration was careful not to label the events of July 2013 as a coup, but neither did they come out in support of Sisi. Additionally, Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham held a news conference in Cairo on August 6th and declared the events a coup.

It was an important distinction, because by law the U.S. must suspend aid to a country where a “coup” has taken place.

In the months since that time a debate has continued to rage both in the media and in policy circles over whether El-Sisi, who next week will likely be elected Egypt’s next president, is a savior who rescued Egypt from a theocratic despotism or whether he himself is the despot who is merely oppressing and imprisoning his political opponents.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives cast an important vote in this debate on the passing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which contains very specific language about events in Egypt. In essence, the passing of the NDAA will assert that Egypt is on the democratic track, that Sisi is not merely oppressing his enemies, but that Egypt is indeed in an existential battle with Islamist terrorists. While the NDAA does not specifically name the Muslim Brotherhood as a source of terrorism—another hotly debated issue—it does implicitly suggest that the MB has ties to terrorist groups, whether implicitly or explicitly.

The full text of the NDAA relating to Egypt is as follows:

The committee notes with concern the growing Al Qaeda presence and associated terrorist attacks in the Arab Republic of Egypt. Presently, at least six terrorist groups with links to Al Qaeda operate in Egypt, including the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and the al-Furqan Brigades. In recent months, terrorist attacks in Egypt claimed the lives of hundreds of Egyptians and over 350 soldiers and police officers. Within the past 6 months, there have been over 280 attacks in the Sinai Peninsula. On January 24, 2014, Al Qaeda-linked terrorists conducted a series of coordinated attacks that killed 6 and injured over 100 people in Cairo. 

Egypt is not only enduring the effects of terrorism from the Sinai Peninsula, it is also enduring the increasing flow of foreign fighters and military material from its western and southern borders with Libya and the Republic of the Sudan, respectively. 

The committee understands that the Secretary of State, in accordance with section 7041 of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (Public Law 113-71), will certify to Congress that Egypt is taking steps to support a democratic transition and that the President has made the decision to deliver 10 Apache helicopters to support Egypt’s counterterrorism operations in the Sinai Peninsula. Given the significant increase in terrorist activity, the close relationship that the Egyptian military has with the U.S. military, and the interim Government’s support of the peace treaty with the State of Israel, the committee supports the President’s decision to provide the Apache aircraft to the Government of Egypt. The committee further believes that the United States should provide necessary security assistance to the Government of Egypt, specifically focused on areas of mutual security interest. 

The committee remains concerned that if the United States does not engage through security assistance with the Government of Egypt and the Egyptian military, then other countries, such as the Russian Federation, may fill this gap, which would work at cross-purposes with vital U.S. national security interests. 

The committee continues to closely observe Egypt’s transition towards a new democratic government structure and is encouraged by both the direction and progress that the interim Government has made in this realm. In January 2014, Egyptians participated in a referendum to approve a new constitution, which includes protections for individual freedoms, equal protection and rights for all Egyptians, government transparency and accountability, and improved civilian oversight of the Egyptian military. Additionally, the committee is encouraged that the presidential and parliamentary elections appear to be on track and likely to be completed by the summer of 2014, and urges the Government of Egypt to ensure that the elections are free, fair, and devoid of fraud. The committee is concerned by reports that there may have been human rights violations that have occurred in Egypt. The committee encourages the next President of Egypt to address the economic and political needs of the Egyptian people, including the protections for individual freedom and human rights reflected in the new Egyptian constitution. 

Should the NDAA pass with the above language intact, it will mean that the political elite in Washington finally recognize that Egypt is in an existential fight against the same type of global jihadists that were responsible for the attacks against America in 2001.

Katharine C. Gorka is president of the Council on Global Security.