World View: The Arab World is Disintegrating into War

ISIS video

ISIS video

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

Behind the scenes in the Iran nuclear deal

President Barack Obama and Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei (AFP)

President Barack Obama and Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei (AFP)

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

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

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

The Arab world is disintegrating into war

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saudi Arabia conducts major anti-terrorism sweep against ISIS

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

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

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

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

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

Massive bomb attack in Iraq market kills over 130

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

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

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

Abdulazeez was the third Jordanian-Palestinian to attack US military personnel in six years

BREAKING NEWS – Chattanooga terror attack claims FIFTH victim

Tennessee terrorist Muhammad Abdulazeez

Tennessee terrorist Muhammad Abdulazeez

DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis July 18, 2015:

Mohammed Youssuf Abdulazeez, 24, who Thursday, July 16, murdered four US Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and wounded three people, was the third Muslim of Jordanian-Palestinian descent to perpetrate a massacre of American military or intelligence personnel in six years
DEBKAfile’s intelligence and counter-terrorist experts point out that these acts of terror were the price that US army and intelligence agencies paid for relying on Jordan’s General Intelligence Directorate (Dairat al-Mukhabarat al-Amman) as a source of penetration agents for fighting Al Qaeda, the Islamic State and other radical Islamist organizations.
US investigators reported Saturday that Abdulazeez had visited Jordan four times in the last 10 years, and during one of those visits traveled to Yemen. There is no chance that the killer – a naturalized American citizen whose real name may be Mohammed Youssuf Said – could have traveled to Yemen on a Jordanian passport “under the radar” of Jordanian intelligence, which may also have succeeded in recruiting him. And there is no way that Jordan’s GID would not have tipped off US intelligence and counter-terrorist authorities.

It is obvious that US law enforcement agencies, who claim to have found “no evidence that he had any contact with militants or militant groups,” know a lot more about the killer’s background than they admit and are feeding out tidbits slowly.
This goes far to explain the unusual aspects of the Chattanooga attack. Within minutes of the shooting, hundreds of agents of the FBI and other agencies dealing with the war on terror were spread out at the scenes of the crime – the Navy recruiting center and the Navy reserve center 12 km away. On the scene with exceptional speed too was the Tennessee US Attorney who said at once that the attacks were being treated as an “act of domestic terrorism.”

But it is hard to understand how a Muslim, who wrote this message on his blog: “Life is short and bitter. And the opportunity to submit to Allah may pass you by “- managed to acquire an arsenal of deadly weapons, including at least two AK-47 automatic rifles and a handgun, which he used on his murderous rampage in Chattanooga. More weapons were found at his home.

It appears likely to DEBKAfile’s intelligence experts that Abdulazeez or Said, whatever his name, exploited a “dead spot” in the cooperation between US and Jordanian intelligence services to coolly and thoroughly prepare his act of terror in Chattanooga. This opportunity and its timing, on the last day of Ramadan, may have been engineered by his handlers, whether a clandestine Islamic State operative in Jordan, or Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula-AQAP in Yemen.

His methods recalled the modus operandi employed by Al Qaeda in 2009, when Humam Khalil al-Balawi, a Jordanian physician, was recruited by the GID for a US Central Intelligence operation, which was to use his medical qualifications to penetrate Ayman Zawahiri’s close circle. Dr. Balawi succeeded in gaining the Al Qaeda leader’s confidence. But Zawahiri also managed to turn him round.
On Dec. 30, 2009, he arrived at the covert US base of Camp Chapman in southeast Afghanistan to deliver his report on the Al Qaeda leader’s plans, which was eagerly was awaited and destined to reach the desk of President Barack Obama.
Instead of handing over his report, the Jordanian doctor detonated the bomb vest strapped around his chest, killing himself and nine of the CIA agents standing around him.
A month earlier, on Nov. 9, 2009, Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, with whom the Tennessee killer shared the same Jordanian-Palestinian background, shot dead 13 American soldiers and injured 32 in a sudden attack at the US base of Fort Hood in Texas.
Abdulazeez clearly followed in the footsteps of both these forerunners.

Also see:

Ramadi’s fall opens ISIS road to Baghdad. Jordan warns US air strikes won’t stop the terrorists’ advance

DEBKAfile, May 18, 2015:

Mideast-Jordan-King-A_Horo-e1363781864263Jordan’s King Abdullah has warned the Obama administration in an urgent message that US air strikes alone won’t stop the Islamic State’s advances in Iraq and Syria and, what is more, they leave his kingdom next door exposed to the Islamist peril. ISIS would at present have no difficulty in invading southern Jordan, where the army is thin on the ground, and seizing local towns and villages whose inhabitants are already sympathetic to the extremist group. The bulk of the Jordanian army is concentrated in the north on the Syrian border. Even a limited Islamist incursion in the south would also pose a threat to northern Saudi Arabia, the king pointed out.

Abdullah offered the view that the US Delta Special Forces operation in eastern Syria Saturday was designed less to be an effective assault on ISIS’s core strength and more as a pallliative to minimize the Islamist peril facing Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the Gulf emirates.

DEBKAfile’s Washington sources report that US officials refused to heed Abdullah’s warning and tried to play it down, in the same way as Secretary John Kerry tried Monday, May 18, to de-emphasize to the ISIS conquest of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq’s largest province.

At a news conference in Seoul, Kerry dismissed the Islamists’ feat as a “target of opportunity” and expressed confidence that, in the coming days, the loss “can be reversed.”

The Secretary of State’s words were unlikely to scare the Islamists, who had caused more than 500 deaths in the battle for the town and witnessed panicky Iraqi soldiers fleeing Ramadi in Humvees and tanks.

Baghdad, only 110 km southeast of Ramadi, has more reason to be frightened, in the absence of any sizeable Iraqi military strength in the area for standing in the enemy’s path to the capital.

The Baghdad government tried announcing that substantial military reinforcements had been ordered to set out and halt the Islamists’ advance. This was just whistling in the dark. In the last two days, the remnants of the Iraqi army have gone to pieces – just like in the early days of the ISIS offensive, when the troops fled Mosul and Falujah. They are running away from any possible engagement with the Islamist enemy.

The Baghdad-sourced reports that Shiite paramilitaries were preparing to deploy to Iraq’s western province of Anbar after Islamic State militants overran Ramadi were likewise no more than an attempt to boost morale. Sending armed Shiites into the Ramadi area of Anbar would make no sense, because its overwhelmingly Sunni population would line up behind fellow-Sunni Islamist State conquerors rather than help the Shiite militias to fight them.

Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, who arrived precipitately in Baghdad Monday, shortly after Ramadi’s fall, faces this difficulty. Our military sources expect him to focus on a desperate effort to deploy Shiite militias as an obstacle in ISIS’s path to Baghdad, now that the road is clear of defenders all the way from Ramadi.
In Amman, King Abdullah Sunday made a clean sweep of senior security officials, firing the Minister of Interior, the head of internal security (Muhabarat) and a number of high police officers. They were accused officially of using excessive violence to disperse demonstrations in the southern town of Maan.

The real reason for their dismissal, DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources disclose, is the decline of these officials’ authority in the Maan district,  in the face of the rising influence of extremist groups identified with Al Qaeda and ISIS, in particular.

Also see:

King Abdullah II: Jordan Is at War With ‘Outlaws of Islam’

041315_jordanFox News, Aprl 13, 2015:

Bret Baier sat down with Jordanian King Abdullah II, who told the “Special Report” host that Jordan is at war with the “outlaws of Islam.”

Abdullah explained that ISIS is somewhat of a “franchise.” He said that the terror group is an international problem, which means that the international community must deal with it as such.

The king of Jordan stepped up the country’s efforts against ISIS big time after the killing of a Jordanian air force pilot. Abdullah said that Jordan is the only Arab country operating in Syria alongside the U.S., and it’s the only Arab country working alongside the coalition forces in Iraq.

Abdullah said that the relationship between the U.S. and Jordan is “very strong,” but remarked that his country’s relationship with the West has changed. He said he had a wake-up call that made him realize Jordan must stand more on its own two feet and be more “bullish and straightforward” with the West.

“At the end of the day, I think I know what’s best for my country and for the region, and I think a blunt and honest discussion with friends is always much better than being wishy-washy,” he told Baier.

Abdullah said Syria, Jordan’s neighbor to the north, continues to fall apart. He explained that Syria is fighting two wars: one against ISIS on the east and another against the regime on the west.

Further, he explained that Iran is active in Syria, and he said Jordan has seen Iranians not too far from its border, an issue that Abdullah said Jordan has discussed with Iran.

According to Abdullah, the biggest challenge that Jordan faces is the economy. This is due to 1.5 million Syrian refugees, who comprise about 20 percent of Jordan’s population, Abdullah said.

He added that only 28-29 percent of the refugee budget is being covered by the international community – the rest falls on Jordan.

Abdullah told Baier that the supply of weapons from the United States has improved dramatically in recent weeks. He noted that there is still much to be done to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

 

Also see:

Sunni Jihadists Gain Ground in Syria

Syrians in the city of Idlib on Wednesday lined up to receive bread. The city was seized last weekend by the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, which said it would not try to monopolize power there. Credit Mohamad Bayoush/Reuters

Syrians in the city of Idlib on Wednesday lined up to receive bread. The city was seized last weekend by the Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, which said it would not try to monopolize power there. Credit Mohamad Bayoush/Reuters

CSP, by Aaron Kliegman, April 1, 2015:

The al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front seized the provincial capital of Idlib in northwestern Syria this past weekend. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad’s forces withdrew after five days of intense fighting with a primarily al-Nusra-dominated coalition of rebels, all of whom are part of the multi-faceted Syrian opposition.

According to the “Army of Conquest”, the name of the coalition, 70 rebels were killed in the decisive battle. Beyond al-Nusra, other Islamist militias helped in the effort including Ahrar al-Sham, Jund al-Aqsa, Liwa al-Haqq, and Failaq al-Sham, and some smaller groups played a lesser role.

Al-Nusra said today that it will rule Idlib with sharia law, with the group’s leader Abu Mohamad al-Golani stating, “We salute the people of Idlib and their stand with their sons … God willing they will enjoy the justice of sharia, which will preserve their religion and their blood.” While the jihadists were battling the regime and now are trying to setup Islamic governance, hundreds of thousands of residents have reportedly fled the city.

Idlib has strategic significance for multiple reasons, including that it is 20 miles from the Turkish border, and one Syrian military source accused Turkey of helping the rebels take Idlib. Furthermore, Idlib is only the second provincial capital that Assad has lost, the first one being Raqqa. The Sunni jihadists are gaining ground and can consolidate their power in Idlib to move onto other strategic targets. Idlib is important for exerting control northeast toward Aleppo city, and the rebels are better suited to move towards Hama city and its military airfield or into the regime’s heartland.

As al-Nusra is imposing sharia law on Idlib, its main rival jihadist group, Islamic State (ISIS), seized most of the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria’s capital. Al-Nusra members who defected to ISIS helped in the fight against Assad regime forces. According to the U.N., before the onset of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Yarmouk was home to about 200,000 people; now, that number is down to 18,000.

ISIS has been attempting to push into western Syria, far way from its main strongholds, for months. The group is trying to establish sleeper cells in the areas around Damascus and maintain a firm presence there. While the regime has strong checkpoints to repel attackers from Damascus, ISIS’s presence so near to the capital indicates that they are getting closer.

While these two developments are occurring, Syrian rebels, including Jabhat al-Nusra, were fighting Wednesday with regime forces along the Jordanian border. The rebels attacked the main border crossing between the two countries on the Syrian side, known as the Nasib post, causing Jordan to close the area. According to Conflict News, al-Nusra militants captured the border crossing on the same day. If true, Jordan will rightfully be concerned about the fighting’s proximity to its border, especially while it has been dealing with an influx of Syrian refugees throughout the civil war.

All of these stories show the increasingly chaotic situation in Syria. While ISIS is adding territory to its self-declared caliphate, the al-Nusra front is also quietly gaining territory. Both groups’ success will only increase their propaganda and bring in more recruits. With Sunni jihadists groups on the move and the Assad regime trying to hold onto as much of the country as possible, there seems to be no good foreseeable outcome. The conflict will only get more complicated as the fighting gets closer to Turkish and Jordanian territory and Islamist rebels get closer to Damascus.

Also see:

Syria’s Civil War Could Stabilize Its Region

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
February 26, 2015

Population shifts resulting from Syria’s four-year long civil war have profoundly changed Syria and its three Arabic-speaking neighbors: Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Turkey and Israel have changed too, but less so.) Ironically, amid tragedy and horror, as populations adapt to the brutal imperatives of modern nationalism, all four countries are becoming a bit more stable. That’s because the fighting has pushed peoples to move from ethnic minority status to ethnic majority status, encouraging like to live with like.

Before looking at each country, some background:

First, along with the Balkans, the Middle East contains the most complex and unsettled ethnic, religious, linguistic, and national mix in the world. It’s a place where cross-border alliances deeply complicate local politics. If the Balkans set off World War I, the Middle East might well spark World War III.

Second, historic tensions between the two main Muslim sects, Sunni and Shi’i, had largely subsided before Ayatollah Khomeini’s rise to power in 1979. Driven by Tehran’s aggression, they have since flared anew.

 

The brutal 8-year war, 1980-88 between Iran and Iraq did much to exacerbate Sunni-Shi’i hostility.

Third, the imperialist European powers nearly ignored the identity of the peoples living in the Middle East as they defined most of the region’s borders. Instead, they focused on rivers, ports, and other resources that served their economic interests. Today’s jumble of somewhat randomly-defined countries (e.g., Jordan) is the result.

Finally, Kurds were the major losers a century ago; lacking intellectuals to make their case, they found themselves divided among four different states and persecuted in them all. Today, they are organized for independence.

Returning to Syria and its Arab neighbors (and drawing on Pinhas Inbari’s “Demographic Upheaval: How the Syrian War is Reshaping the Region“):

Syria and Iraq have undergone strikingly similar developments. After the demise of monstrous dictators in 2000 and 2003, each has broken into the same three ethnic units – Shi’i Arab, Sunni Arab, and Kurd. Tehran dominates both Shi’i-oriented regimes, while several Sunni-majority states (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar) back the Sunni rebels. The Kurds have withdrawn from the Arab civil wars to build their own autonomous areas. Once-ambitious dictatorships barely sustain functioning foreign policies. Also, the century-old boundary separating Syria and Iraq has largely vanished.

Syria: The part of Syria still ruled by Bashar al-Assad is becoming more Shi’i. An estimated half of the pre-war Syrian population of 22 million has been driven from its homes; of them, the 3 million refugees, mostly Sunni, who fled the country are unlikely to return both because of the continuing civil war and the Assad regime’s revocation of their citizenship. The regime appears also to have intentionally reduced its control over the area near the border with Jordan to encourage Sunnis to flee Syria. In another ploy to increase the Shi’i population, reports indicate it has welcomed and re-settled about 500,000 Iraqi Shi’is, conferring Syrian citizenship on some.

 

Bashar al-Assad must have been a better ophthalmologist than dictator.

Iraq: The Syrian civil war provided the Islamic State (or ISIS/ISIL) with an opportunity to move into Iraq, seizing such cities as Fallujah and Mosul, leading to an exodus of non-Sunnis (especially Shi’is and Yazidis), and remaking Iraq along ethnic lines. Given the country’s intermingled population, especially in the Baghdad area, it will be years – perhaps decades – before the sides sort themselves out. But the process appears inexorable.

Lebanon: Sunnis are growing more powerful, beating back the Iranian influence. The million new Sunni refugees from Syria now constitute 20 percent of the country’s population, roughly doubling the Sunni community. Also, Hizbullah, the dominant Shi’i organization in Lebanon, is neglecting its own constituency and losing influence domestically by fighting on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria.

 

Hizbullah militiamen in Syria reduces the group’s influence in its home country, Lebanon.

Jordan: The recent influx of Syrian refugees follows an earlier wave of approximately one million Iraqi refugees. Together, the two groups have lowered the percentage of Palestinians in Jordan to the point that the latter probably no longer constitute a majority of the country’s population, a shift with major political implications. For one, it reduces the potential Palestinian threat to the Hashemite monarchy; for another, it undermines the Jordan-is-Palestine argument championed by some Israelis.

In brief, Iraq and Syria are devolving into their constituent religious and ethnic parts, Lebanon is becoming more Sunni, and Jordan less Palestinian. However gruesome the human cost of the Syrian civil war, its long-term impact potentially renders the Middle East a less combustible place, one less likely to trigger World War III.

Haftar – Sisi Alliance: The Road Block to ISIS bridge Into The Maghreb

February 21, 2015 / /

Our sources have reported that the Egyptian Special Forces Unit 999 executed a joint-raid with the forces of Libyan GEN Khalifah Haftar after the start of airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) positions inside Libya. Unit 999 and GEN Haftar’s forces conducted a raid on a camp located in the Dernah-area (variant: Darna) resulting in the total destruction of the camp. This particular camp is said to have a heavy-foreign fighter presence consisting of Tunisian, Egyptian and Algerian fighters. This particular camp appears to be part of the facilitation ratlines sending weapons and fighters to Syria through Egypt and Gaza, which is probably why the Sisi regime chose to target this location. IS responded by targeting the GEN Haftar stronghold of Quba in a series of bombings.

Libya: Egyptian troops launch ground attack in Isis-held Derna ‘capturing 55 militants’
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/libya-egyptian-troops-launch-ground-attack-isis-held-derna-capturing-55-militants-1488522

ISIL claims responsibility for deadly Libya blasts
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/02/isil-claims-responsibility-deadly-libya-blasts-150220235037650.html

Egypt Strikes ISIS Positions in Libya: Moderate Muslims Rise Up Against Terror
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4889

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 10.03.48 AM

Unit 999 conducting training
Source: The ISIS Study Group

The ratlines coming out of Libya are also fueling IS-affiliate Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM) to continue moving forward in their campaign to secure the Sinai Peninsula to use as the gateway to Gaza, Jordan and Syria. If you suspect there’s a great sense of urgency on the part of Egypt to eradicate the IS presence in Libya and the Sinai, you would be correct. The reason for the increased operations in both areas has everything to do with ABM attempting to reach out to other jihadist groups in the country to bolster their ranks and create a “unified” command. Unconfirmed reporting has come out over the past few weeks about ABM allegedly reaching out to the Cairo-based group Ajnad Masr for the purpose of conducting joint-operations against the regime. This is significant since Ajnad Masr splintered from ABM in 2013 over their pro-IS leanings and regional agenda as opposed to just targeting the Egyptian government. If confirmed, then ABM will have an effective action-arm for conducting operations inside Cairo itself (ABM’s Cairo operations had been disrupted over the last 4 months due to security sweeps). Adding weight to this possibility are the reports that Ajnad Masr may be looking to target western embassies in the capital.

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

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

ABM video

ABM in their 2014 video pledging allegiance to IS
Source: Breitbart

The Libyan-affiliate of IS has been expanding rather quickly in the country and initiated the targeting of westerners, as demonstrated in the late-JAN attack on the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli and early-FEB attack on an oil field near Sirt. Regarding the oil field attack, IS was looking for westerners but ended up killing one US citizen, a French citizen and three Filipino overseas foreign workers (OFWs) taken hostage. As we’ve seen in Syria and Iraq, a key part of increasing the group’s capabilities revolves around seizing critical infrastructure such as power plants, oil fields and refineries, and its no different here in Libya. We fully expect IS will continue to target Libyan oil infrastructure in order to target western workers, generate revenue and pressure the governments of other target countries – to include EU members.

Eight killed, including five foreigners, in ISIS-linked attack on Libya hotel
http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.639305

3 Filipino Oil Workers Kidnapped in Libya
http://manilastandardtoday.com/2015/02/06/3-filipino-oil-workers-kidnapped-in-libya/

corinthia hotel

The Corinthia Hotel Attack
Source: Harretz

We assess that GEN Haftar’s faction and the Sisi regime will continue planning for additional joint-operations similar to the Dernah camp raid. The UAE has been sending additional military equipment and weapons/ammo in support of these operations and has apparently signaled that they intend to increase their air campaign on IS targets in the country. Libya is of great importance as it gives IS a main hub from which to support expansion efforts throughout North Africa while providing additional logistical support to the war effort in Syria. The effort is deemed so important by IS leadership that they sent a “support package” consisting of cadre who fought US forces in Iraq to the country to assist in setting up the official affiliate. Furthermore, we assess that six months after IS sends such a group to an area that an affiliate is able to become fully operational. These personnel are a combination of structural IS fighters and personalities native to the target area. Regarding Libya, such personnel aren’t in short supply as the country was a major contributor of foreign fighters for the IS forerunner AQI during the OIF-era (its worth noting many of these personnel came from Benghazi). As such, what we’re seeing in Libya will likely be what we’ll see in the AF/PAK region six months from now. We also see indications that these same type of cadre were sent to Nigeria to assist Boko Haram 12 to 18 months ago. They have also sent similar cadre packages to other Maghreb states in North Africa, particularly those with active insurgencies.

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

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

Its also worth noting that both GENs Haftar and Sisi have not been receiving adequate US military support. More damning is that the Obama administration has even supported “moderate elements” of the Arab Spring that were not hardly at all moderate – such as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB -which is the father of the modern Sunni terrorist) for instance. The result was a MB-dominated Egyptian government that became increasingly pro-jihadist and a Libya that became far less stable than it ever was when the Qaddafi regime was in power. The result was our Cairo Embassy being overrun, Libya mission being closed and our ambassador to that country being killed by the very same “moderates” that the Obama administration supported. Once GEN Sisi seized power he took note of what happened to his mentor Hosni Mubarak and has grown closer to Russia. In fact, US influence throughout the Middle East – and globally – has been on significant decline for the past 6 yrs, which began to accelerate at the start of the Arab Spring. If you were wondering why we’re seeing Jordan, Egypt, the UAE and France are now “in the lead” in the fight against ISIS, that’s why – and that isn’t a good thing. The United States is not “more respected” as the Obama administration claimed we would be nor are we feared. The decisions of the American voter in the last two presidential elections won’t fully manifest itself for another 1-2 yrs – but when it does, there will be a lot of blood spilled.

Egypt Atmospherics
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=614

Links to Other Related Articles:

Egyptian Army and IDF Take on ISIS Supporters in Sinai

Egyptian Army Hits Back at ISIS in Sinai

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

Violence In Tripoli and Benghazi Continues to Rise

Libyan Violence Causes US Embassy to Close in Tripoli, Also Attack on Egyptian Border Control Point

Tunisia, After Igniting Arab Spring, Sends the Most Fighters to Islamic State in Syria – The Washington Post

Tunisia Closes Border With Libya as Thousands Have Been Fleeing the Violence in Libya

ISIS in Gaza Update

Islamic State’s Presence in Gaza

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

UAE Strikes ISIS in Iraq – Jordan Masses Troops to Prevent Retaliatory Attacks

February 11, 2015 / /

As we’ve stated in yesterday’s article titled “IA Preps to Retake Mosul as King’s Rage Continues,” the UAE and Jordanian Air Forces had appeared to have initiated a series of airstrikes inside Iraq that was in support of the IA’s coming Mosul offensive. In yesterday’s piece we also stated that the Islamic State would probably try to launch a series of attacks in Baghdad and quite possibly attempt to target Jordan and Saudi Arabia in order to open up another front in response to Jordan’s air campaign. Apparently the Jordanian government seems to agree, since they’ve massed thousands of troops along the Jordan-Iraq border with POE Trebil being heavily reinforced. POE Trebil is important due to the fact that its the gateway to Jordan and the most direct route to Amman other than the highway leading from Deraa of Southern Syria. These troops are likely deployed to serve as a blocking force to keep IS fighters from entering the country to stage attacks. We assess that any Jordanian ground operation inside Iraq will be limited to Jordanian Special Operations Forces (JSOF) forces conducting search and rescue OPs in the event IS shoots down any of their aircraft.

Jordan masses ‘thousands’ of troops on Iraqi border to counter IS
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Jordan-masses-thousands-of-troops-on-Iraqi-border-to-counter-IS-390619

IA Preps to Retake Mosul as King’s Rage Continues
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4699

JSOF

JSOF: Drawing the line in the sand against IS
Source: militaryphotos.net

The support hub that will likely have the most affect on IS’ ability stage operations into Jordan (or Saudi Arabia for that matter) is Ar Rutbah. The ISF’s border checkpoint at POE Trebil had already fallen to IS in JUN 14, which resulted in Jordan increasing security at the border checkpoint on the Jordanian side of the border. We assess that future Jordanian/UAE airstrikes will include targets in the Rutbah-area to degrade IS’ ability to send supplies and reinforcements to forward-deployed units. However, we will likely begin to start seeing the Jordanian Air Force decreasing their daily sorties in order to conserve ammo and not place their airframes under too much stress. However, they will eventually be forced to request more material support from the US government to sustain even a minimal strike capability. Without it, we don’t see the Jordanian’s effectiveness lasting beyond this month.

rutbah

The graphic above depicts how IS fighters stage from Rutbah to conduct attacks targeting IA border checkpoints along the Jordan and Saudi borders.
Source: Veoz

With that said, the Jordanian government is concerned that IS fighters from Rutbah will be dispatched to assist sleeper cells that are already operating inside Jordan to launch attacks – which is why the Army has massed troops along the border. The disrupted 2012 plot IS – still known at the time as AQI/ISI (as in the Islamic State of Iraq) – had planned to launched a Mumbai-style attack remains firmly lodged in the minds of all senior General Intelligence Directorate (GID) official’s minds. A big reason for their concern is the fact that the sleeper cell in question had received considerable support from IS fighters in Iraq’s Anbar Province. The attack planned called for an 11-man assault force executing diversionary attacks targeting two shopping malls with suicide bombers. While security forces were responding to the bombings, the main force would move on to their primary targets in the Aboun District, which is the home for many western diplomats and their families who were also on the target deck. The gunmen were to have engaged security forces and bystanders with small-arms while wearing SVESTs with the intent of fighting their way to the objective at which time they would detonate themselves. This attack was to have been culminated with mortars being fired into the district by a separate support element. By the way, this also happens to be one of the game plans IS sleeper cells inside the US may be planning. For more info on the Mumbai Attack model see the following article from our Target America series:

ISIS: Target America
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1196

Jordan ‘foils major al-Qaeda plot’
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/9624264/Jordan-foils-major-al-Qaeda-plot.html

jordan terror plot

The 11-man sleeper cell that Jordanian security forces arrested in 2012.
Source: The Daily Telegraph (UK)

JSOF and other Jordanian security forces will have their hands full in securing the border and disrupting IS sleeper cell attempts at executing attacks inside major population centers such as Amman. The 2012 plot was only a taste. In fact, the past year saw several security sweeps in the country targeted IS support nodes. Already we’re seeing indicators that JSOF units stationed near Amman are on full-alert, which suggests a series of counter-terror operations may be executed in the near-future. JSOF personnel are also operating along both the Syrian and Iraqi borders. We expect Jordan’s conventional ground forces and JSOF units to maintain a defensive posture along both borders and interdict infiltration attempts by jihadists. However, we’re not so sure they will be able to completely stop the cells already located inside Jordan’s major population centers – and there will be attempts by ISIS to launch attacks inside Jordan. They won’t try to “invade” Jordan as some have speculated since they have plenty of fighters already in the country. You can also expect for IS’ propaganda machine to increase videos and postings targeting Jordan’s refugee population to incite further unrest – and we’re not just talking about the refugees from Syria either. We may see IS make a direct appeal to Jordan’s Palestinian population (some of which are Syrian refugees themselves), which would likely be an extension of their Gaza IO operations. We assess the conditions at the refugee camps and treatment of the Palestinian community in the country – both real and perceived – will become recurring themes in IS’ IO messaging. Last summer’s riot at the Zaatari Camp is a possible indicator of what may be in store for Jordan. The next few months are going to get very, very interesting…

Jordanian escalation against ISIS may lead to surge in terror attacks in Kingdom
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Jordanian-escalation-against-ISIS-may-lead-to-surge-in-terror-attacks-in-Kingdom-390175

Worried about terror attacks at home, Jordan steps up arrests of suspected Syria jihadists
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/worried-about-terror-attacks-at-home-jordan-steps-up-arrests-of-suspected-syria-jihadists/2014/04/25/6c18fa00-c96d-11e3-95f7-7ecdde72d2ea_story.html

Why Jordan Doesn’t Want More Palestinians
http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4615/jordan-palestinians

Jordan admits to barring entry of Palestinian refugees from Syria
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/07/jordan-palestinians-syria-refugees-unrwa-hrw.html

Jordan fears new wave of Palestinian refugees
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4591284,00.html

Syria crisis: Deadly clash in Jordan’s Zaatari camp
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26908587

For more info on how Jordan fits into the scheme of things, check out the following articles:

Jordan Steps Up Attacks Against ISIS, Egypt Launches New Sinai Offensive

Rage of the King: Jordan Strikes Back

The Islamic State Burns Jordanian Pilot Alive

The ISIS-Held Japanese and Jordanian Hostages: The Bergdahl Factor

Jordanian Fighter Jet Crashes in Syria – Pilot Taken Prisoner by ISIS

Trouble in Jordan and Jordanian ISIS Connections

Islamic State Using Social Media and Expanding Campaign to Jordan and Saudi Arabia

The Strategic Importance of Egypt to ISIS

Additional info on IS’ Gaza efforts:

ISIS in Gaza Update

Islamic State’s Presence in Gaza

Egyptian Army Hits Back at ISIS in Sinai

ISIS Efforts to Open Up an Egyptian Front

Egyptian Army and the IDF Take on ISIS Supporters in the Sinai

IA Preps to Take Mosul as King’s Rage Continues

February 9, 2015 / /

On 02 FEB we first discussed in our piece titled “GOI Has Big Plans to Retake The Country From ISIS – But Can They pull it Off???,” the IA’s plans to conduct operations to retake Bayji, Ramadi, Fallujah, Tikrit and Mosul from the Islamic State (IS)- and the great difficulty such an endeavor would present given the current problems plaguing the IA and in terms of manpower and stressed resources. Today, the Pentagon has confirmed our suspicions that an effort is underway to retake Mosul. Recent reporting over the past 18 hrs has implied that the Jordanian and UAE Air Forces may be providing close air support to the IA ground forces that will participate in the operation. The ongoing Jordanian air campaign has consisted of 56 sorties launched since last Thursday and expected to continue in the near-term, although we don’t assess that the Jordanians will be able to continue at the current OP-Tempo due to maintenance issues. This campaign appears to be “prepping the battlefield” for the IA ground force.

Jordan pounds IS as Iraqi ground offensive looms
https://news.yahoo.com/jordan-says-56-targets-destroyed-three-days-strikes-143331641.html

GOI Has Big Plans to Retake The Country From ISIS – But Can They Pull it Off???
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4565

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

Rage of The King: Jordan Strikes Back
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4621

jordanian air force

Jordanian Air Force F-16s: bathing IS fighters with flames
Source: f-16.net

As we’ve previously stated, the past year has seen the complete collapse of four out of 14 IA divisions with seven having experienced over 40% attrition in their ranks. The IA has been busy replenishing their ranks, but this effort has pushed the force’s demographic to 80% of the total force being composed of Shia. Also, the majority of the IA is dedicated to the defense of Baghdad. Currently, there’s an estimated 3,000 IA troops available for offensive operations, which will make retaking any of the above-mentioned population centers increasingly difficult – especially Mosul since that would take tes of thousands more troops to seize and hold the city. We assess that its unlikely the GOI will reallocate forces dedicated to Baghdad’s defense to be sent to reinforce the assault force. This possibility becomes even less likely after this weekend’s bombings that were executed throughout the capital hours after the lifting of the curfew that has been in effect since the start of OIF. As a result, the IRGC-Qods Force has recommended that the IA rely more on the Ramazan Corps-backed Shia militias to spearhead the assault like they did in the operations to retake Amerli and Jalula. The increased participation of the Shia militias in such an ethnically-diverse city as Mosul will likely further the sectarian flames as they will have no problem with gunning down human shields (who will likely be Christians, Yazidis and other Sunnis) to engage IS fighters. The IS propaganda machine probably already has a plan to launch an IO (Information Operations) campaign in the event of an IA assault on Mosul.

Bombs kill at least 40 as Baghdad sees end of decade-old curfew
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/08/bombs-kill-at-least-40-as-baghdad-sees-end-of-decade-old-curfew

Known Terrorists Among the Beneficiaries of US Assistance in Iraq
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1567

Siege of Amerli Finally Broken
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1466

The Siege of Amerli
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1245

Jalula Update as of 24 NOV 14
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3061

Joint-Counter Offensive Launched to Drive ISIS From Jalula, Iraq
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2959

IP_baghdad

IP checkpoint in Baghdad
Source: arabnews.com

So what would a counter-offensive to retake Mosul look like? Our sources in the country have reported that IS appears to be planning for a protracted defense of Mosul, likely due to the city’s role as a major support hub and symbolic importance to the terror organization. Since the mid-JUN 14 capture of Mosul, IS has been stockpiling weapons in and around the city to include anti-tank weapons, heavy machine-guns, SAMS and armored vehicles. Most of these weapons were confiscated from overrun IA and Syrian Army installations. The city itself is ringed with a series of tank ditches, tunnels and bunkers. There was a barrier that IS had begun building, but as of this writing there’s only a small segment of it completed in the Northwestern part of the city. We assess that IS may be using the city’s industrial infrastructure to produce IEDs and VBIEDs to be placed along the avenues of approach similar to the defense measures we saw during the second Battle of Fallujah and USMC’s Operation Steel Curtain that cleaned out the Euphrates River Valley. We wouldn’t be surprised to see IS also go back to using flanking and rear attacks in complex attacks designed to confuse advancing IA columns. However, we fully expect the IS fighters in the ground to attack the IA by using confiscated IA uniforms and vehicles (we’ve even heard reports that IS units on the ground have confiscated IA radios) to get in close to advancing forces and to gain access to command centers set up in the area to conduct attacks similar to the one that occurred in SEP 14 at Camp Saqlawiyah. This will cause greater confusion among the IA and potentially isolate whole units. Civilians are sure to be used as human shields. IS will then likely use the opportunities created by the IA’s confusion, rigidness and poor-leadership to regain the initiative.

Islamic State Flips Script: Irregular Warfare Redux
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2101

IS will also increase attacks along the main Mosul to Baghdad route to further stress the IA’s lines of communication. The ISOF personnel participating in this operation will be stretched to the breaking point after being forced to retake ground the IA will be sure to give back to IS over the course of the operation as resources become harder to come by as supply lines face more pressure. Its also unlikely that the IA will be able to successfully encircle the city and cut off IS’ supply lines. We also don’t see the airstrikes being very effective against targets inside the city due to the use of human shields. Even with assistance from the KRG Peshmerga, this will be a slow, hard slog that will be fought street to street.

As the offensive drags on, the Jordanian Air Force will begin to start feeling the strains of sustaining their current OP-Tempo. The increased anti-air threat in the area will also be a cause for concern. Should a Jordanian fighter jet get shot down, we could very well see Jordanian SOF deployed to secure the site (we don’t think they’d trust the Iraqis or Shia militias to do the job). Meanwhile, we may see IS accelerate their plans elsewhere with elements launching more attacks in Baghdad, Saudi Arabia and Jordan itself to keep the allied nations off-balanced. And so it begins…

Links to Other Related Articles:

Trouble in Jordan and ISIS-Jordanian Connections

ISIS: Regained the Initiative in Northern Iraq

Iraqi Army Facing Heavy Resistance in Anbar: Counter-Offensive Stalls

Shia Militias Sent to Reinforce al-Asad Airbase: IA on Verge of Collapse

On The Collapse of The IA in Northern Iraq

What Is the Islamic State Trying to Accomplish?

(Image: ISIS video)

(Image: ISIS video)

National Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, Feb. 7, 2015:

The Islamic State’s barbaric murder of Lieutenant Mouath al-Kasaebeh, the Jordanian air-force pilot the jihadists captured late last year, has naturally given rise to questions about the group’s objectives. Charles Krauthammer argues (here and here) that the Islamic State is trying to draw Jordan into a land war in Syria. It is no doubt correct that the terrorist group would like to destabilize Jordan — indeed, it is destabilizing Jordan. Its immediate aim, however, is more modest and attainable. The Islamic State wants to break up President Obama’s much trumpeted Islamic-American coalition.

As the administration proudly announced back in September, Jordan joined the U.S. coalition, along with the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Qatar. The only potential value of the coalition is symbolic: It has enabled the president to claim that Muslim countries were lining up with us against the Islamic State. Militarily, the coalition is of little use. These countries cannot defeat the Islamic State.

Moreover, even the symbolism is insignificant. Symbolism, after all, cuts both ways. As I pointed out when the administration breathlessly announced the coalition, our five Islamic partners have only been willing to conduct (extremely limited) aerial operations against the Islamic State. They would not attack al-Qaeda targets — i.e., the strongholds of al-Nusra (the local al-Qaeda franchise) and “Khorasan” (an al-Qaeda advisory council that operates within al-Nusra in Syria).

Obviously, if the relevance of the five Islamic countries’ willingness to fight the Islamic State is the implication that the Islamic State is not really Islamic, then their unwillingness to fight al-Qaeda equally implies their assessment that al-Qaeda is representative of Islam. The latter implication no doubt explains why the Saudis, Qatar, and the UAE have given so much funding over the years to al-Qaeda . . . the terror network from which the Islamic State originates and with which the Islamic State shares its sharia-supremacist ideology.

I’ll give the Saudis this: They don’t burn their prisoners alive in a cage. As previously recounted here, though, they routinely behead their prisoners. In fact, here’s another report from the British press just three weeks ago:

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have publicly beheaded a woman in Islam’s holy city of Mecca. . . . Laila Bint Abdul Muttalib Basim, a Burmese woman who resided in Saudi Arabia, was executed by sword on Monday after being dragged through the street and held down by four police officers.

She was convicted of the sexual abuse and murder of her seven-year-old step-daughter.

A video showed how it took three blows to complete the execution, while the woman screamed “I did not kill. I did not kill.” It has now been removed by YouTube as part of its policy on “shocking and disgusting content”.

There are two ways to behead people according to Mohammed al-Saeedi, a human rights activist: “One way is to inject the prisoner with painkillers to numb the pain and the other is without the painkiller. . . . This woman was beheaded without painkillers — they wanted to make the pain more powerful for her.”

The Saudi Ministry of the Interior said in a statement that it believed the sentence was warranted due to the severity of the crime.

The beheading is part of an alarming trend, which has seen the kingdom execute seven people in the first two weeks of this year. In 2014 the number of executions rose to 87, from 78 in 2013.

Would that the president of the United States were more worried about the security of the United States than about how people in such repulsive countries perceive the United States.

In any event, the Islamic State is simply trying to blow up the coalition, which would be a useful propaganda victory. And the strategy is working. It appears at this point that only Jordan is participating in the airstrikes. While all eyes were on Jordan this week for a reaction to Lieutenant al-Kasaebeh’s immolation, the administration has quietly conceded that the UAE suspended its participation in bombing missions when the pilot was captured in December.

The explanation for this is obvious: The Islamic countries in the coalition know they can’t stop the Islamic State unless the United States joins the fight in earnest, and they know this president is not serious. The White House says the coalition has carried out a total of about 1,000 airstrikes in the last five months. In Desert Storm, we did 1,100 a day.

Seven strikes a day is not going to accomplish anything, especially with no troops on the ground, and thus no search-and-rescue capability in the event planes go down, as Lieutenant al-Kasaebeh’s did. With no prospect of winning, and with a high potential of losing pilots and agitating the rambunctious Islamists in their own populations, why would these countries continue to participate?

The Islamic State knows there is intense opposition to King Abdullah’s decision to join in the coalition. While the Islamic State’s sadistic method of killing the pilot has the king and his supporters talking tough about retaliation, millions of Jordanians are Islamist in orientation and thousands have crossed into Syria and Iraq to fight for the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. There will continue to be pressure on Jordan to withdraw. Without a real American commitment to the fight, this pressure will get harder for Abdullah to resist.

Jordan has no intention of getting into a land war the king knows he cannot win without U.S. forces leading the way. But the Islamic State does not need to lure Jordan into a land war in order to destabilize the country — it is already doing plenty of that by intensifying the Syrian refugee crisis, sending Jordanians back home from Syria as trained jihadists, and trying to assassinate Abdullah.

I will close by repeating the larger point I’ve argued several times before. We know from experience that when jihadists have safe havens, they attack the United States. They now have more safe havens than they’ve ever had before — not just because of what the Islamic State has accomplished in what used to be Syria and Iraq (the map of the Middle East needs updating) but because of what al-Qaeda has done there and in North Africa, what the Taliban and al-Qaeda are doing in Afghanistan, and so on.

If we understand, as we by now should, what these safe havens portend, then we must grasp that the Islamic State, al-Qaeda, and the global jihad constitute a threat to American national security. That they also (and more immediately) threaten Arab Islamic countries is true, but it is not close to being our top concern. Ensuring our security is a concern that could not be responsibly delegated to other countries even if they had formidable armed forces — which the “coalition” countries do not.

The Islamic State and al-Qaeda are our problem.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

A Coherent US Strategy is Needed to Defeat the Global Jihad Movement

SecureFreedomStrategySidebarCSP, by Fred Fleitz, Feb. 6, 2015:

Jordan’s King Abdullah II showed decisive leadership this week when he committed his nation to defeating ISIS after it executed
a Jordanian pilot by burning him alive.  Abdullah didn’t mince words.  He didn’t care that European leaders would condemn him for ordering the execution of two ISIS terrorists in response to the killing of his pilot.  The King pledged stepped-up airstrikes and to attack ISIS until his military “runs out of fuel and bullets.”

Journalists, Obama officials and Obama supporters have tried to portray King Abdullah’s statements as a turning point in the battle against ISIS.  Some said this indicates the Arab world will finally unite to defeat ISIS.  Others suggested the Jordanian military will begin dealing major defeats to ISIS.

The sad reality is that unless the United States comes up with a coherent strategy to defeat the global jihad movement and ISIS, nothing has changed.  Jordan’s increased airstrikes will do little to affect ISIS which cannot be defeated without ground troops engaging it in Syria.  Although Jordan has a large, well-armed professional military, it is not about to conduct a ground invasion of Syria to battle ISIS.

A comprehensive military campaign to defeat ISIS is impossible as long as President Obama refuses to acknowledge the enemy.  America needs a strategy to defeat ISIS, its radical ideology and the Shariah doctrine it seeks to impose on the world through violence.  The Center for Security Policy recently issued an important publication detailing a U.S. government strategy to defeat this threat, “The Secure Freedom Strategy: A Plan for Victory Over the Global Jihad Movement.”  Click HERE to read this strategy.

On February 11 from 9 AM to 2 PM, the Center will sponsor “The Defeat Jihad Summit” as a counterpoint to the Obama administration’s February 18 “Countering Violent Extremism” summit.  This program will discuss the nature of the Islamist threat, an assessment of U.S. policies to confront it, and better approaches to defeat it.  Among those participating will be Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, Britain’s Lord Malcolm Pearson, former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Pete Hoekstra, Danish free speech advocate Lars Hedegaard, and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy.  Click HERE for details.  This event will be live-streamed on the Center for Security Policy website from 9 AM to 2 PM on February 11th.

Rage of the King: Jordan Strikes Back

 

February 5, 2015 / /

King Abdullah of Jordan vowed that his country would strike the Islamic State with earth shattering vengeance in response to the murder of 1LT Muath al-Kasaesbeh (variant: Moaz al-Kasasbeh) by the Islamic State. The 26 year old Jordanian pilot was burned alive in a cage by the savage Islamic State terrorist army on an unknown date suspected to have been in early January. The young pilot had been captured in December when his F-16 crashed in Syria.

The Islamic State had released the horrific video during King Abdullah’s state visit to Washington DC while he was meeting with US president Barack Obama. The Jordanian leader cut his visit short in response to the video and requested the US immediately step up aid to Jordan and efforts to destroy the Islamic State.

By dawn on Wednesday Jordan had hung two Al Qaeda linked terrorists. One of those terrorists was the female would be suicide bomber Sajida al-Rishawi who had attempted to kill herself with her husband in a suicide bombing in Jordan in 2005. The second terrorist was Ziad Karbouli who was a senior aide to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi the deceased leader of the Al Qaeda in Iraq which was one of the precursors to the Islamic State. It is likely the Islamic State really did not care about these two individuals as they did not have any relative importance to the Islamic State itself.

Thursday (5 February 2015) approximately 30 aircraft from Jordan were said to have participated in the bombing campaign in and around the stronghold of Raqqa, Syria where the Islamic State had shown the video of the murder of 1LT Kasaesbeh on large screens. The airstrikes are believed to have killed 55 militants and damaged a media outlet in Raqqa.

King Abdullah had reportedly quoted Clint Eastwood’s character William Munny in Unforgiven stating, “Any son of a bitch takes a shot at me, I’m not only going to kill him, I’m going to kill his wife and all his friends and burn his damn house down.”

The King was visiting the family of 1LT Muath al-Kasaebeh during the latter part of the mission when the fighters were returning from the mission and overflew the hometown of the murdered pilot. The father was reported to have said it was a good start, but was not enough. He stated that it would not be enough until the entire Islamic State had been destroyed.

The king also was at the Ministry of Defense meeting with military leaders consulting for future operations to be carried out against the Islamic State as this is just the beginning of Jordan’s response to the brutal murder of their heroic son according to King Abdullah. Jordan is not ruling out any option including the use of at least limited ground forces against the Islamic State.

Assessment: The savage murder of 1LT Kasaesbeh has galvanized the Jordanian people. The king may not have had the total support he had needed before the heinous murder of their young pilot, but this incident has enraged even fence sitters and those that were not supportive of being in the coalition against the Islamic State.

King Abdullah is a determined leader with the intestinal fortitude and military background himself to see actions through. He may be the right leader thrust into the position of great responsibility at the precise time to galvanize not only his own country, but the rest of the moderate Gulf States and Arab world to step up actions against the brutal Islamic State. Great men often do not ask to be placed into positions, but find themselves thrown into those situations due to circumstances and the brutal murder of 1LT Kasaesbeh may be that moment. The king is a seasoned military leader as well as an AH-1 Cobra Attack helicopter pilot.

This is the time for the United States to throw ALL the support that it can behind the Jordanian king and his military. They need the military hardware, training, technology and support to strike the Islamic State with the earth shattering response their king has promised their people. The United States and all coalition partners need to bring together as sizeable, fully capable, nimble combat search and rescue quick reaction force as was suggested before airstrikes had even began.

Aircraft have been lost in nearly every conflict since they have been introduced into armed conflict and it was only a matter of time before an aircraft went down in this one and this may not be the last one. There must be a force capable of rescuing a downed pilot and ready to launch on a moment’s notice. This is common sense and US military planners know this.

What message was the Islamic State sending with this horrendous video? The message stems back to the Islamic State’s videos “Flames of War” and “Soldiers of Truth” which had been released earlier. In each of these videos the narrator or the theme shows foreign troops from coalition forces and the United States engulfed in flames. The infamous words “The flames of war have already begun” in the video showing the execution of the Syrian soldiers near Menagh Airbase.

The lighting of the fuse by the Islamic State fighter in the murder of 1LT Kaseasbeh is symbolically igniting that fuse of the flames of war spreading to other Arab countries. The pilot being a symbol of the burning soldiers in the Flames of War video. It is also to target the audience of possible followers in the neighboring Arab states to spread the flames of war. This is why they list the names of pilots from Jordan in the video. In one of our earlier articles we spoke about the Islamic State targeting military and intelligence officials in Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic State calculates everything it does and when it does it. It uses a marketing campaign as if it were selling a product. In this case that product is the ideology of the Islamic State. Imams in neighboring Arab states need to enforce the family values that made men like 1LT Kaseasbeh who stood for freedom, prosperity and tolerance of others and believed in the greater good. That HE is the role model Muslims should aspire should aspire to be.

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Published on Jun 11, 2014 by RHC JO

His Majesty King Abdullah II starts his day participating in a military special operations training exercises as Jump-Master

Muslim Brothers Can’t Bring Themselves to Criticize Islamic State

CSP, by Kyle Shideler, Feb. 5, 2015:

Its a convenient notion that the barbaric decision to burn Jordanian pilot LT. Moaz al-Kasasbeh alive is a step too far even for the Sharia enforcers of the Islamic State, and that as a result we can expect a wave of rejection across the Arab world which might arise to shake off the Islamic State like a dog shaking off fleas.

Islamic LawUnfortunately, contrary to the belief of President Obama, the ideology of Islamic State isn’t bankrupt, but is based on the Islamic law. The execution itself was based on two concepts. The first, that because al-Kasabeh had conducted bombing missions against the Islamic State, by burning him and burying him in rubble they were essentially meting out a punishment equivalent to being bombed. This concept that retaliation should be equivalent to the offense is called qisas. It is the same reason a Saudi court ruled a man’s back should be broken after the man paralyzed someone. It’s based off the quranic citation Sura 16:126, “And if you punish [an enemy, O believers], punish with an equivalent of that with which you were harmed. But if you are patient – it is better for those who are patient.”

Secondly, Islamic State cited medieval Islamic scholar ibn Taymiyyah, whose works on takfir (declaring as an apostate one who violates Islamic law, rather than only those who affirm their own apostasy) are heavily cited by many modern jihadists. Muslim Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb utilized Ibn Taymiyyah in establishing the Brotherhood’s practice of applying the concept of Jahiliyyah (pre-Islamic ignorance) to modern Arab regimes thus justifying them as targets of a legitimate jihad.

It’s thus no surprise that while many were up in arms about ISIS’ decision, Muslim Brotherhood cleric Abdul Majeed Al-Zindani, tweeted a defense of ISIS, and their citation of Ibn Taymiyyah, saying that those who reject Ibn Taymiyyah, reject the Quran (H/T to@iaskmaie on Twitter for finding and translating the tweet which few if any have picked up on.) Al-Zindani is an influential leader of the Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood’s Al-Islah Party. Al Zindani is also a specially designated global terrorist by the U.S. Treasury  Department due to his role in the Union of the Good, which supports Hamas, and his influence on Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

Nor is Al-Zindani alone. The watchdog group MEMRI recently published a Jordanian media video where Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood leader, Sheikh Hamza Mansour  patently refused to identify the Islamic State as a terrorist group, despite pressure from the interviewer:

Interviewer: Is ISIS a terrorist organization?

Hamza Mansour: There are terrorists of every sort – Sunnis, Shiites, Muslims, Christians, Jews…

Interviewer: The Islamic State organization, sir – do you consider it to be terrorist?

Hamza Mansour: There is no definition of terrorism today. Anybody who says a couple of words is automatically considered a terrorist. We condemn terrorism in all its shapes and sizes.

Interviewer: And ISIS?

Hamza Mansour: Let me tell you….

Interviewer: I’m asking a clear question. I insist on getting an answer. This is a yes/no question.

Hamza Mansour: I condemn terrorism in all forms. Are you giving me the third degree?

While it’s certainly true that there is outrage around the globe, the underpinnings of Islamic State, through Al Qaeda, to the Muslim Brotherhood, to Shariah law itself, remain in place, and they will continue to be influential to those attracted to the cause of establishing the Caliphate and instituting Islamic law. Underestimating that appeal or focusing solely on the brutal reality of the Islamic State instead of the intellectual and ideological framework built by groups like the Muslim Brotherhood (which has itself issued a call to jihad against Egypt), is a recipe for continued failure in defeating not just ISIS but the Global Jihad Movement more generally.

Murder of Pilot Sparks Tough, New Question

jordanian-pilotWND, By F. Michael Maloof, Feb. 5, 2015:

WASHINGTON – The gruesome murder of captured Jordanian F-16 pilot Lt. Muath al-Kasabeh by ISIS may have strengthened the resolve of the Jordanian government to launch all-out assaults against the jihadist army as members of the U.S.-led coalition.

But it also could have a boomerang effect as Jordanians question why their country should further engage ISIS, according to Middle East sources.

Meanwhile, the killing also has raised concerns that members of the coalition – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates – will be emboldened to launch more attacks against ISIS targets in Syria, where their interest has been primarily on overthrowing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, sources add.

One indication of that concern is that following the capture of the pilot in December, the United Arab Emirates suspended its air operations over Syria as a part of the coalition bombing ISIS targets in Syria.

U.S. officials have confirmed to WND that the UAE has halted its participation because there was no contingency plan to rescue downed aircrew.

One Middle East source told WND that when Kasabeh was downed by ISIS last December, the leader of the squadron of F-16s was Maj. Mariam al-Mansouri, the first UAE female fighter pilot. Reports confirm she was in the squadron, but WND could not independently confirm she was the leader.

Whether the killing of the Jordanian pilot will mean an Arab commitment of boots on the ground by these Arab countries also was questionable as Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Joudeh said the reaction would not be ground troops but a greater commitment to assist the Syrian Kurds and Iraqi Peshmerga Kurds.

However, there were unconfirmed reports out of Jordan Tuesday night that Jordan could send troops to Syria to fight ISIS.

‘Wave of anger and frustration’

Despite the Jordanian government’s hanging of two convicted al-Qaida prisoners and the pledge of an “earth-shaking” response, there is concern that the pilot’s killing actually may increase popular opposition to the coalition efforts against ISIS.

“I think it will be business as usual,” Jeb Babbin, a former under secretary of defense, told Fox News, referring to Arab countries’ reaction to the killing of the Jordanian pilot.

Clare Lopez a former CIA operations officer and current Middle East expert at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, told WND that ISIS “is trying to create chaos to invade Jordan.”

“ISIS has supporters in south of Jordan, (in the) north and (in) Palestinian camps; (and) on more than one occasion demonstrators challenged the regime and declared Amman is the Fallujah (Iraq) of Jordan,” Lopez said. “Palestinians in camps across Jordan are supporters of ISIS. ISIS is desperate for a sea port. A port of Aqaba will give them access to the Red Sea.”

Middle East expert Raymond Ibrahim, Shillman fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, believes that more “moderate” Muslims ultimately will prevail in the fight against ISIS.

“The burning of the pilot,” Ibrahim said, “will continue to create a “rift among Muslims — from the many who cannot tolerate such acts, cannot tolerate the idea that their religion condones such atrocities, to those who are willing to accept reality, willing to accept that Islamic texts and history are littered with such barbaric behavior — beginning with the prophet of Islam.”

Ibrahim said it’s “interesting to watch the debates now a days between Muslims — the ‘moderates’ are becoming much more vocal and courageous, which does not necessarily translate into anything concrete, but is a start,.”

“The Islamic State has really driven home the true nature of debate — that is, what is Islam and what does it teach, and it’s making many Muslims uncomfortable having to deal with these questions which for long have been ignored but … with every day ISIS brings them to the fore,” Ibrahim said.

“And yes, while once cannot really account for what U.S. leadership will do, I do believe that these continuing atrocities will drive the governments of various Arab countries to work closer together.”

Middle East expert Osama al-Sharif said that the killing of the Jordanian pilot will trigger “a wave of anger and frustration” that could spark a political crisis for Jordanian King Abdullah II. The king cut short a visit with President Obama Tuesday to return to Jordan after ISIS released a 22-minute video purportedly showing the pilot being burned alive.

“It will strengthen the position of those who believe Jordan should withdraw from the fight against ISIS,” Sharif said.

Before knowing the fate of the pilot, his father, who comes from a prominent Jordanian tribe, had told CNN Arabic that the king “had no business with the coalition, and those who had sent my son to fight beyond Jordan’s border must now bring him back.”

Even before the pilot’s capture, Abdullah was under fire internally from the country’s Palestinian population, the Muslim Brotherhood and a growing number of ISIS backers.

Islamist opposition groups had voiced opposition to joining the anti-ISIS coalition when it was first announced.

As Sharif pointed out, Abdullah defended his position and insisted that the war against ISIS was “our war.” This was especially apparent when ISIS fighters moved up to the Jordanian border last year, in Iraq’s Sunni Anbar province, where they have remained.

An ISIS invasion of Jordan could jeopardize a critical buffer against ISIS access to the rest of the Levant.

As WND recently reported, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has designated Jordan as the next target of his caliphate. The government was split over joining the anti-ISIS coalition, however. The internal dissension comes from growing support for ISIS from a myriad of jihadist groups and the country’s poor economic conditions.

At the time, Jordanians were seen on videos burning their passports. ISIS even threatened to “slaughter” the king after invading Jordan.

“It is ISIS’ objective to destabilize its neighbors,” according to syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, an expert on the Middle East.

“Jordan is a miracle in the region. It has the most stable regime, yet it’s the weakest, it has no oil and yet since – for the last 70 years it has had only three rulers, but it has huge divisions internally; it’s got a lot of Muslim Brotherhood, it has some ISIS sympathizers, and I think the objective here was to draw Jordan into a war where it was a peripheral player,” Krauthammer said.

“This highlights, I think, the danger we all worship at the shrine of multilateralism, broad coalitions to bring everybody in as a way to restrict American action. Obama’s now involving the UAE, the Saudis and of course the Jordanians and now we see the result.

Krauthammer said Jordan “being drawn into a direct war with ISIS is not a good thing” for the U.S.

“Jordan will not defeat ISIS on its own. It even wouldn’t defeat ISIS even if it had some coalition partners,” he said.

“It’s the United States essentially which is – or Turkey, perhaps – the only partners,” he said. “So, here we are bringing in Jordan for symbolic reasons. Yet, a real pilot is shot down in real time and then executed in this horrible way, causing a reaction in Jordan where the king is now on the spot.

Krauthammer said Abdullah “will have to do something intense, important, punishing and that will draw him in.”

“And he’s got – he’s got refugees from of course Palestine but of course Syria, Iraq. He’s got a lot of internal dissent which we have seen over the years, and this is a way to stir the cauldron in a country that is stable, was stable, but is easily destabilized, and that is what ISIS is after.”

Underscoring the internal dissension and the increasing support for ISIS, the founder of the forerunner to ISIS – Al-Qaida in Iraq – was founded by the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. A deputy to Zarqawi was Baghdadi, who would go on to create the Islamic State of Iraq, which then morphed into the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, and then the Islamic State, once he had taken over portions of Syria and Iraq to create the caliphate.

“ISIS sympathizers feel injustice and anger at America and Israel and always felt that Islam was under attack by crusaders,” Murin Khoury, a leading Jordanian pollster, recently told the Guardian newspaper of London. “And now they don’t agree with Jordan being involved in the coalition.”

The killing of the Jordanian pilot, however, also is seen as a means to polarize Jordanian society, especially among the tribes, which Sharif says are often considered the backbone of the support for Abdullah’s government.

ISIS, he said, is conducting psychological war against Jordan.

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