ISIS attack on Italy coming

The Islamic State may be looking to turn more of Rome into ruins. (AP Photo)

The Islamic State may be looking to turn more of Rome into ruins. (AP Photo)

, March 25, 2015:

The Islamic State terrorist group likely will launch an attack on Italy within weeks, not months, according to a senior Libyan government official.

Aref Ali Nayed, Libya’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, said in an interview that one likely method of attack would be to use stolen Libyan airliners now believed to be in the hands of Islamists in Libya.

“The horrific video showing 21 Coptic Christians beheaded in Libya contained a direct threat from ISIS to Rome,” said Mr. Nayed, using an acronym for the terrorist group. “The threat of ISIS to Italy could become a reality in a matter of weeks rather than months.”

The Islamic State could use two attack methods, the ambassador said. The first would be for Libya-based terrorists to infiltrate Italy by using one of the many boats carrying undocumented Libyans to Italy. Once in Italy, the terrorists could regroup and carry out an attack.

“Second, ISIS could weaponize a civilian airliner or small military aircraft in Libya, loading it with explosives and/or chemical weapons.” Mr. Nayed said. “Rome is one hour from the ISIS-controlled airport in Sirte.”

U.S. intelligence agencies warned in September that Islamist militias in Libya have taken control of nearly a dozen commercial jetliners that remain unaccounted for.

Intelligence reports circulated in late August included warnings that one or more of the aircraft could be used in a regional suicide attack coinciding with the Sept. 11 anniversary. No attacks using hijacked airliners took place last year.

A U.S. official familiar with the reports in September said “there are a number of commercial airliners in Libya that are missing” and that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks showed what could be done with hijacked planes.

Mr. Nayed said the recent attack in Tunisia that was claimed by the Islamic State shows that the group is capable of conducting coordinated and effective attacks with speed and precision from Libya.

“Their attacks are increasing in both frequency and scope, and we must take their threat against Italy and Southern Europe very seriously,” the ambassador said.

Mr. Nayed, a senior adviser to Libya’s prime minister for national security, also said the terrorist group appears to be part of a continuum of ever-more radical Islamists ravaging the oil-rich North African country since the ouster of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Libya is in very real danger of becoming an ISIS garrison and an ATM for ISIS operations in Syria and Iraq,” he said in a December speech. “There is a good chance that Libya’s oil wealth was siphoned off by Islamists and provided oxygen for the growth of ISIS during the recent Islamist regime. It certainly has not been used to make our country a better place for Libyans.”

Two key Libyan cities appear to be in the Islamic State’s hands, including the coastal cities of Derna, long an outpost of Islamist terrorists, and Sirte.

Mr. Nayed, considered a top candidate to lead Libya’s next interim government, has been visiting Washington this week to lobby for Western support in the battle against the Islamic State and to warn about the danger of terrorist attacks.

An Islamic scholar who received his early education in Iowa and Toronto, Mr. Nayed has denounced the Islamic State for its perversion of the Muslim religion.

“What we are witnessing is pure fascism using the vocabulary and trappings of Islam but without a scintilla of the profound knowledge and spirit of Islam,” he said in the speech.

“Our faith teaches us not to kill others; these people glorify killing,” Mr. Nayed said. “Our faith teaches us not to hate; these people promote hatred. Our faith teaches us to respect women; these people debase women. Our faith teaches us to help one another; these people oppress others. ISIS is the antithesis of Islam. It is the enemy of Islam in the guise of Islam.”

SAUDI NUCLEAR DETERRENT

Security analysts say disturbing signs are emerging that Saudi Arabia’s new king, Salman bin Abdulaziz, is moving ahead with plans for creating a nuclear deterrent against Iran in anticipation that the nuclear deal being negotiated in Switzerland will not prevent Tehran from building atomic weapons.

The signs included visits this month to Riyadh by regional leaders, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and several Persian Gulf potentates.

However, the visit by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif garnered the closest attention from U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.

Unlike the arrivals of the other leaders, King Salman personally greeted Mr. Sharif at Riyadh airport March 4 in a sign of the closeness between the two states.

The recent visits by regional heads of state is fueling new concerns about a Sunni-Shiite conflict led by the Saudis against Iranians.

A CIA spokesman declined to comment on the agency’s concerns about a nuclear-armed Saudi Arabia.

Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia remains vehemently opposed to regional power Shiite-led Iran, which is backing Yemen’s Houthi rebels who recently took control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

“Don’t forget that the Saudis put up most of the funds that enabled Pakistan to build the bomb,” said former CIA veteran Duane “Dewy” Clarridge, who maintains close ties to intelligence sources in the region.

“There are individuals in both governments that know that, and as a result, the Saudis have dibs on three to four nuclear bombs,” he said.

China has deployed intermediate-range Chinese DF-3 missiles that were paraded for the first time in May. News reports also disclosed last year that the Saudis have purchased medium-range DF-21 missiles, with a range of some 600 miles.

Mr. Clarridge said “the Saudis don’t need Chinese missiles” to hit key targets in Iran, namely oil and water facilities along the coast.

Fred Fleitz, a former CIA specialist on arms proliferation, said the Obama administration’s push for a nuclear deal with Iran will fuel an arms race in the region.

“Iran has continued to pursue nuclear weapons during the talks and will continue to do so with or with a nuclear agreement,” Mr. Fleitz said. “The weak agreement that the Obama administration is pushing will create a more dangerous situation by legitimizing Iran’s nuclear program and allowing it in as little as 10 years to pursue dual use nuclear technologies with no restrictions.”

The current talks with Iran and the deal being pursued “will be deeply destabilizing and could lead to war in Middle East,” he added.

CHINA MARKETS ATTACK DRONE

A brochure from a Chinese state-run company reveals new details about one of Beijing’s attack drones — called the Cai Hong-3 (CH-3), or Rainbow-3 — being offered for sale to foreign customers.

A catalog obtained by the U.S. government from China Aerospace Long-March International reveals details of the CH-3 and a missile-firing variant called the CH-3A.

The catalog provides a rare inside look at China’s drone arsenal. The CH-3 is one of nine drones being offered for sale around the world, ranging in size from very small to large-scale unmanned aerial vehicles. Several drones appear to be knockoffs of U.S.-designed remotely piloted aircraft, including the Predator strike drone and Global Hawk long-range spy drone.

“Featuring high reconnaissance effectiveness, high anti-jamming capability, diversified payloads, integrated reconnaissance/attack, easy operation and simple maintenance, the UAVs can be used for such military operations as battlefield reconnaissance intelligence collection, anti-terrorism combat, no-fly zone patrol, firing calibration, data relay and electronic warfare,” the catalog states.

The drone has been sold to Pakistan and Nigeria, where an armed CH-3A was photographed after it crashed during a mission to hit Boko Haram terrorists.

The CH-3 appears to be a copy of the Jetcruzer small civil aircraft that was built by U.S. company Advanced Aerodynamics and Structures Inc., which sold 30 Jetcruzer 500s to China in 2000.

The Chinese company also is selling two types of missiles to be fired from what it calls an “advanced medium-range UAV system.” The package includes three aircraft and a vehicle-mounted ground control system. The drone can take off and land via a remote pilot and has a retractable nose landing gear.

“The advantages of this UAV system are high reliability, high efficiency and low cost,” the catalog states. “It can be used for various flight missions such as battle zone reconnaissance, artillery fire adjustment, data-link relay, intelligence collection and electronic warfare, etc.

“CH-3A UAV can be equipped with precision guided weapons to complete reconnaissance and strike missions.”

The unarmed version has a range of 1,500 miles and can fly for 12 hours. The missile-equipped variant can fly 621 miles, has a flight time of six hours and can carry up to 400 pounds of bombs.

Among the payloads for use on the CH-3 are a four-lens electro-optical reconnaissance camera, a synthetic aperture radar capable of seeing through clouds and some structures and an airborne electronic warfare system.

The missiles that can be fired from the CH-3A include the company’s AR-1 air-to-ground armor-piercing missile that is laser-guided for precision attacks against tanks, vehicles and fixed structures. It has a range of 3 to 5 miles, with an extended range version up to 10 miles.

Additionally, the drone can carry the FT-1 precision-guided bomb.

Contact Bill Gertz on Twitter at @BillGertz

Islamic State Rises in Libya

In this file image made from a video released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 by militants in Libya claiming loyalty to the Islamic State group purportedly shows Egyptian Coptic Christians in orange jumpsuits being led along a beach, each accompanied by a masked militant / AP

In this file image made from a video released Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015 by militants in Libya claiming loyalty to the Islamic State group purportedly shows Egyptian Coptic Christians in orange jumpsuits being led along a beach, each accompanied by a masked militant / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, March 20, 2015:

The Islamic State terrorist group is expanding its operations in Libya with high-profile attacks following the recent beheadings of 21 Christians, according to a State Department security report.

In Libya, Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS or ISIL, formed out of existing al Qaeda-affiliated and Islamist extremist groups in early 2015. It is said to number between 1,000 and 3,000 fighters and has been exploiting the conflict between two Libyan groups fighting for control of the oil-rich North African state, Libya Dawn and Operation Dignity.

The Islamist and pro-al Qaeda Libya Dawn and the anti-Islamist Operation Dignity, headed by Lt Gen. Khalifa Haftar, have created rival parliaments and military forces and are said to receive foreign government support.

“Without an agreement between Operation Dignity and Libya Dawn and coordinated anti-ISIL efforts, we may see the group make more significant gains and attempts to control more territory in Libya,” the report said.

There is growing international concern in the region and among European states across the Mediterranean Sea over Libya’s decline into a failed state that is allowing groups like IS to expand their operations.

The European Union is considering greater involvement in stabilizing Libya but will only take steps in that direction if a unity government is achieved.

Three terrorist groups in Libya have pledged loyalty to Islamic State and are now operating inside the country. They are Islamic State Barqa Province, in the eastern region of Cyrenaica; Islamic State Fezzan Province, in the southwest; and Islamic State Tripoli, in the western region.

“An expanding security vacuum has given ISIL an opening to establish a legitimate foothold,” the report says. “ISIL is capitalizing on the conflict to conduct sophisticated attacks, but so far has made only limited territorial gains, and is already facing backlash from Libya Dawn,” one of two groups vying for power.

Sebastian Gorka, a counterterrorism specialist, said Islamic State’s growth in Libya is the greatest untold story outside of jihadist inroads in Egypt’s Sinai.

Islamic State in Libya is “following the same scenario that led to such success before,” said Gorka, the Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University.

The terrorists are exploiting the vacuum created by the lack of U.S. leadership and are leveraging the civil war in Libya to recruit fighters and provide its forces with real, in-theater experience and training, he said.

“The U.S. has again fallen into the trap of obsessing on the ‘shiniest’ and closest object of attention,” Gorka said. “For more than a decade all we cared about was al Qaeda, only to be surprised by the Islamic State. Now all we can focus on is ISIS, whilst the jihadist threat expands and grows stronger in Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, and elsewhere.”

The State Department report warned that increased violence in Libya had reached critical level in the past year. “But rise of ISIL in Libya marks a direct shift in which foreign nationals and western private-sector interests are being targeted specifically for ideological purposes.”

“The emergence of ISIL compounds an already severe threat environment,” the report said, noting that many U.S. businesses have evacuated or scaled back operations.

The report also warned that Libya’s government appears incapable of protecting many of Libya’s oil fields, some of which were attacked earlier this month by Islamic State militants.

The Libyan National Oil Company on March 4 declared a force majeure for 11 of its oil fields in central Libya as a result of Islamic State targeting of oil facilities. The declaration was designed to provide legal protections from claims against future disruptions. It followed a Libyan government announcement that it cannot protect the oil fields.

Reports from the region have provided limited information on how much territory the group controls.

IS Tripoli has carried out several attacks in the capital and is said to control the town of Nawfaliya in the central part of the country.

Islamic State groups also have been reported operating in Sirte, where they took over several buildings. Several television and radio stations the group has taken over have broadcast propaganda messages from Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani.

Last week, Libya Dawn militiamen fought Islamic State terrorists in Sirte in a bid to drive them from the city. The Libya Herald reported that a senior Tunisian Islamic State leader was killed in the fighting.

In Barqa province, Islamic State claimed to control the city of Derna, an Islamist extremist stronghold, but reports of its control were disputed by other terrorists.

In Derna, a group called the Islamic Youth Shura Council said it was pledging loyalty to Islamic State.

“ISIL Barqa Province continues to operate in the city, reportedly controlling a handful of neighborhoods and maintaining training camps just outside the city,” the report said, adding that about 800 ISIL fighters are in Derna.

Additionally, some Libyan fighters who went to Syria and Iraq to fight with IS appear to be returning to Libya, including some 300 fighters from the Islamic State’s Al Battar Brigade who have moved to the so-called Barqa province.

Islamic State’s Libya group gained international attention by releasing a shocking video Feb. 15 showing the execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a beach. The mass murders were used by the group to announce its presence in Libya.

The day after the video surfaced, Egyptian military forces conducted bombing raids against Derna, targeting weapons storage and training sites and killing approximately 40 militants.

The report, produced by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, said Islamic State’s success in Libya will depend on its ability to navigate local tensions.

“ISIL’s advance in Libya may be more similar to Syria, where the group can take advantage of a larger conflict to grow,” the March 18 report states.

“Similar to Syria, the Libya conflict is home to a number of local and regional groups with complex alliances, and ISIL may purposefully confront groups that will provide it strategic gains and permit its growth.”

Islamic State in Libya is targeting foreign facilities and critical infrastructure in a bid to prevent opposing forces from gaining control.

“Recent incidents have involved attacks on high-profile establishments utilized by foreign nationals and businesses, repeated targeting of energy infrastructure, and kidnapping of foreign nationals,” the report said.

Recent attacks included a Jan. 27 car bombing of a parking garage in Tripoli’s Corinthia Hotel and the subsequent storming of the hotel, where foreign and Libyan hostages were taken.

Following a standoff, the gunmen killed themselves with a grenade, killing five foreign nationals and five Libyans. The attack was carried out by IS Tripoli, which claimed it was retaliation for the U.S. capture of Abu Anas al-Libya, who recently died in U.S. custody.

Other attacks took place Feb. 3, Feb. 13, and Feb. 20.

The Feb. 3 operation was carried out against the Mabruk oil field, near Sirte, and killed nine guards. During the attack, the terrorists destroyed oil tanks and a control room. The strike is expected to disrupt production for a year.

The video of the massacre of Christians was released Feb. 15, and on Feb. 20, two suicide bombing attacks killed 40 people killed in Qubba near Derna. The bombings, for which IS Barqa claimed responsibility, were carried out by a Libyan and a Saudi.

On March 3, Islamic State terrorists attacked the Dahra oil field about 310 miles southeast of Tripoli and temporarily took control.

Three days later Islamic State terrorists struck the al-Ghani oil field, about 440 miles southeast of Tripoli. During the attack, militants beheaded eight guards and kidnapped nine foreign oil workers, who remain missing. The hostages include four Filipinos, an Austrian, two Bangladeshis, a Czech, and a Ghanaian.

The attackers also blew up the facilities’ largest oil storage tank.

Two other Islamic State attacks near Tripoli were carried out on March 12 and March 15.

The report stated that the March 15 bombing in Janzour coincided with a car bombing in Misrata the same day. Both locations are controlled by Libya Dawn and “may signal a growing confrontation between Libya Dawn and ISIL.”

The nature of the connection between the Islamic State groups in Libya and the mainline Islamic State in Syria and Iraq is not completely clear.

“While ISIL in Iraq and Syria has a clear hierarchy and structure, it is also believed to allow its regional and local leadership to operate with a high level of autonomy,” the report said.

“Unlike ISIL in Iraq and Syria, ISIL Libya Provinces does not control critical infrastructure or territory, and has not yet become a significant fighting force in the pre-existing domestic conflict.”

The report concludes that: “ISIL’s emergence in Libya is unsurprising given the country’s prolonged descent into chaos following the 2011 civil war.”

Libya’s decline into a failed state is one of the major consequences of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, which worked with the NATO alliance to provide military support to Libyan rebels who ousted the government of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

Subsequent governing arrangements have been unable to maintain stability.

Tunisia Museum Attack Meets Islamic State M.O

A victim is being evacuated by rescue workers outside the Bardo museum in Tunis, Wednesday, March 18, 2015 in Tunis, Tunisia. AP PHOTO/HASSENE DRIDI

A victim is being evacuated by rescue workers outside the Bardo museum in Tunis, Wednesday, March 18, 2015 in Tunis, Tunisia. AP PHOTO/HASSENE DRIDI


CSP, by Kyle Shideler, March 18, 2015:

The attack on Tunisia’s famed Bardo Museum possesses all the hallmarks of a Islamic State attack. A small number of attackers, possibly in military dress, opened fire on a bus filled with western tourists, before following  fleeing tourists inside the Museum and taking them hostage. Two gunmen were reportedly killed by Tunisian authorities, while another two or three attackers may have escaped (early reports are always suspect, and the tendency in mass shootings is for witnesses to overestimate the number of attackers.) Over twenty people, mostly western tourists, were killed.

The attack quickly brings to mind several recent Islamic State-linked attacks, which also featured small team assaults against highly visible but comparatively soft targets likely to include Westerners but often in close proximity to actual government sites. Bardo is not far from the Tunisian Parliament.

For example, the IS attack against the Corinthia hotel in Tripoli, Libya, targeted “diplomatic missions and crusader security companies,” but was also the residence of the Prime Minister for the Muslim Brotherhood-linked Libyan Dawn faction.

Also comparable is the Kouachi Brothers violent storming of the Charlie Hebdo offices, targeting for death the satirical magazine’s editors and writers. While the Kouachi brothers claimed association with Al Qaeda, Islamic State prominently highlighted the attack, and the role of played by Kouachi confederate and Islamic State devotee Amedy Coulibaly in the release of Dabiq 7, the would-be Caliphate’s online magazine.

Tunisia has long been a base of recruitment for the Islamic State, as multiple media sources have pointed out.  Islamic State has been attempting to highlight its influence in the small North African state, by claiming responsibility for the assassinations of Tunisian leftist politicians Chokri Belaid and Mohammed Brahmi according to a video by long time jihadist militant Boubakr Hakim, released in December. Hakim is believed to have been responsible for the assassinations, together with recently slain Islamic State leader Ahmed Rouissi, recently killed in fighting with Libyan Dawn forces. Hakim, a member of Ansar al-Sharia before joining Islamic State had ties to the same French jihad recruitment network that produced Coulibaly and Kouachi. There have been claims the hits were carried out by Ansar al-Sharia on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood Ennahda party, with Al Qaeda-affiliated Abdel-Hakim Belhadj serving as broker. Belhadj himself has also recently been accused of aligning with Islamic State.

Given the preexisting Libya-Tunisia networks that Islamic State appears to have inherited, we can expect to see more such attacks.

***

Also see:

Why was Sid Blumenthal advising Hillary Clinton on Libya?

timthumb (11)AIM, by Kenneth R. Timmerman,  March 11, 2015:

Until Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) revealed last week that his Benghazi Select Committee was investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for her official State Department communications, no one had a good explanation for why none of the Congressional committees that had previously investigated Benghazi had ever cited a single Hillary Clinton email in their reports.

Congressional Democrats had been pooh-poohing Gowdy’s investigation, claiming that all the important questions about Benghazi had been “asked and answered” by previous committees.

Now the best that Gowdy’s counterpart, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), can do is object to subpoenas (especially when they are issued to Hillary Clinton in person, through Counsel), and to huff and puff about the investigation becoming a “surrogate” for the “Republican National Committee.”

What a change a single revelation can bring.

We now learn that Hillary Clinton not only used a private server, maintained at her Chappaqua, New York home for official communications, but that she never used a government email at all. Not once.

No secretary@state.gov, or Clinton.hr@state.gov or anything of the kind. Just multiple accounts on her family server, clintonemail.com, including hdr22@clintonemail.com, the same address used by former Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal to communicate with her on Benghazi and related matters.

Federal prosecutors recently finished up their case against former CIA Director David Petraeus, who was conveniently forced to resign just three days after the November 2012 elections, before he could clarify what he knew about Benghazi. (Given that Petraeus had just returned from a September 2, 2012 trip to Ankara, Turkey, where he had been trying to tamp down publicity due to an arms shipment from Benghazi to the Syrian rebels, he certainly knew a lot.)

In a widely criticized decision, they forced him to plea bargain one count of a misdemeanor in exchange for dropping more serious charges. The full extent of the FBI’s case against Petraeus involved him sharing personal, hand-written notebooks with his biographer.

Prosecutors noted that the CIA had installed a SCIF—a specialized high-security area—in his Arlington, Virginia home where he could safely store classified materials brought home from the CIA. That facility was dismantled by the CIA without incident two months after Petraeus resigned from the Agency.

The prosecutors never accused Petraeus of improperly storing U.S. government classified materials either in the SCIF or elsewhere. Nor did they accuse him of sending classified materials over an unsecure server.

If they could prosecute Petraeus on one count of improperly handling classified material (he kept those personal notebooks in a rucksack in his attic), one can only speculate how many thousand counts of mishandling classified information could be brought against Mrs. Clinton. Of course, she denies having sent classified information over her personal server, but in that case how did she communicate on classified matters with her envoys and subordinates?

Was the private server at her residence designed, installed, and maintained by a U.S. government security agency? Was it connected to the government’s Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and physically separated from the open Internet?

The Sid Blumenthal memos, sent from his AOL account to Hillary’s private email server, suggest that this was not the case. If so, the former Secretary of State was breaking the law—big time.

When the memos first surfaced in 2013—posted to the Internet by a Romanian hacker known as “Guccifer” —neither the State Department nor their purported author acknowledged their authenticity. Given that they initially surfaced on the website of Russia Today, Vladimir Putin’s reliably anti-American TV network, that was enough to consign them to oblivion as yet another Internet hoax.

Now we learn that former CIA official Tyler Drumheller apparently helped to gather the “intel” that Blumenthal sent to Hillary on the Benghazi attacks and other political developments inside Libya.

This is extremely significant because the initial memo sent by Blumenthal, dated September 12, 2012, cites “a sensitive source,” who purportedly met with Libyan President Magarief shortly after the attacks began and claimed that a YouTube video sparked the “protest” against the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

Magarief himself never said such a thing, although the memo is worded to suggest that he did. He blew up when he heard Susan Rice make that claim on the Sunday talk shows after the attack, as I write on pages 347 and 348 of Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi.

Drumheller became infamous for several earlier pieces of disinformation. As European Division chief at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in 2001 and 2002, he was the one who planted the phony evidence about the Niger uranium contract that was later used by the media during the Valerie Plame affair to claim that George W. Bush had “lied” about Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs. On three separate occasions, he passed the Niger information up the food chain as validated intelligence, when the CIA had been warned that it was not (see page 63 of my book Shadow Warriors).

Then-CIA Director George Tenet was so fed up with Drumheller that he spent seven full pages in his memoir debunking claims by Drumheller regarding the defector known as CURVEBALL that Tenet said were simply untrue.

Drumheller and Sid Blumenthal have a history together. In 2007, Blumenthal used Drumheller as a source to “prove” that Bush had “lied” about pre-war intelligence on Iraqi WMD. Drumheller and Blumenthal went on to work in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008.

So was the Guccifer/Blumenthal memo intended as disinformation, written after Hillary Clinton put out her statement on the night of the attacks blaming them on a YouTube video? Or was it actually the source of Hillary’s false claim about the video, written and sent by someone on the ground in Libya who was attempting to plant the story?

Many reporters, myself included, have submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the State Department, asking for all documents and communications that would show how Mrs. Clinton’s statement came to be worded as it was finally released. Where are all the drafts? Who commented on them? What did it say initially? How was it changed? By whom?

We have much of that information for the Susan Rice talking points, but nothing at all for Hillary Clinton’s statement on the evening of the attacks.

Given that there is not a single mention of a protest or the YouTube video in all the documents released to Congress, which included real-time communications from Tripoli and Benghazi from the State Department and CIA that night, exactly how Mrs. Clinton came up with that idea could provide key insight into what actually happened in Benghazi, and why.

Also see:

The Betrayal Papers, Part IV of V: A New Genocide

The_Betrayal_PapersPart I of The Betrayal Papers explained the history and context of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in the American government.

Part II looked at the associations of seven Obama officials with Muslim Brotherhood front organizations in the United States.

Part III traced the Muslim Brotherhood’s and the State of Qatar’s influence on domestic policy and Obama administration scandals.

Part IV will examine foreign policy under Obama.  It will explain how the Obama administration and U.S. Department of State have used the American military and standing in the world as tools to kick start the creation of a new Islamic Caliphate.  Obama’s unconscionable enabling of and silence regarding a new genocide will be revealed. 

Finally, this article will offer a cursory reassessment of America’s allies, and which countries we have lost as friends.

“The transformation of America has been in the full swing ever since 2008.  President Obama’s no-show in Paris was an embarrassment for all Americans.  But it also was a signal to the Islamic jihadis.  It’s one of the many signals he’s sent over the years while he’s in office.  Now there’s no question: We got a hell of a job ahead of us…  with the Muslim Brotherhood penetration in every one of our national security agencies, including all our intelligence agencies.

Is Obama a Muslim?

This is the question that many Americans and people around the globe are asking themselves lately.  From his refusal to label the Islamic State “Islamic,” to his lecture about the Crusades at the National Prayer breakfast, what once was taboo is now starting to be verbalized.

Yet this may be the slightly wrong question to ask.  The ruling establishment of Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, is rightly considered an authoritative voice of Islam.  In case you missed it, the Saudis have emerged as some of Obama’s biggest critics.

In doing so, the Saudis also revealed the truth regarding the Arab Spring.

Writing in the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj, while supporting Israeli’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress, not only called Obama “one of the worst U.S. presidents;” he also exposed the nature of so-called “democratic revolutions” in the region.  Stated al-Faraj:

Since Obama is the godfather of the prefabricated revolutions in the Arab world, and since he is the ally of political Islam, [which is] the caring mother of [all] the terrorist organizations, and since he is working to sign an agreement with Iran that will come at the expense of the U.S.’s longtime allies in the Gulf, I am very glad of Netanyahu’s firm stance and [his decision] to speak against the nuclear agreement at the American Congress despite the Obama administration’s anger and fury.”

Translation: Obama served as a mouthpiece for, and armed, the Muslim Brotherhood (i.e., “political Islam”) revolutionaries in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Syria.  He was aided in this incredibly destructive policy of jihad by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton until her resignation in 2013, and has been further aided by her successor, John Kerry.

The original Muslim Brotherhood, the Ikhwan, was banished from Saudi Arabia in 1927.  The conservative Wahhabi Saudi royals have traditionally had little use for exporting jihad, and indeed are one of the United States’ oldest strategic allies in the region.  Despite Americans’ revulsion at Saudi Arabia’s application of barbaric sharia (i.e., Islamic) law in their own country, outside the Kingdom Saudis have every reason to maintain the status quo with neighbors, including Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.  That means keeping the Muslim Brotherhood out of power.

The pertinent question is not whether Obama is secretly a Muslim, per se, but rather if Obama is a secret Muslim Brother.  That is the real question.

The Words of Obama, Dalia, and Rashad

If we take the Saudis, the most influential Gulf country, seriously, then it follows that Obama and his administration must have had a plan for the Arab Spring that goes back several years, i.e. 2008.

Part II of The Betrayal Papers identified seven Obama administration officials who had/have associations with several Muslim Brotherhood front organizations in the United States (CAIR, ISNA, MSA, etc.).  It also tracked their associations with Georgetown University and the Brookings Institution, both recipients of significant amounts of money from the State of Qatar, the home of many prominent Muslim Brothers.

One of those officials is Rashad Hussain, who is Obama’s Special Envoy to the Organisation of the Islamic Conference.  In August 2008, Hussain co-authored a paper for the Brookings Institution called Reformulating the Battle of Ideas: Understanding the Role of Islam in Counterterrorism Policy.  The paper, which calls Islam the “strongest ally” in the “global effort to end terrorism,” explicitly calls for the American government not to reject political Islam, but to utilize Islamic scholars and Islamic “policymaking” to reject “terrorism.”  It also recommends that “policymakers should reject the use of language that provides a religious legitimization of terrorism such as ‘Islamic terrorism’ and ‘Islamic extremist.’”

Is it any wonder now why Obama says that the Islamic State “is not Islamic?”  This is the deceptive language of the Muslim Brotherhood, recently welcomed to the White House.

Let’s now turn our attention at a report co-authored by Dalia Mogahed, who was a member of Obama’s Advisory Council of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and influential in writing Obama’s nefarious 2009 speech in Cairo.  Additionally, Mogahed is currently listed as a member of Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs.

Mogahed was part of the Leadership Group on U.S.-Muslim Engagement.  Other members of the group were former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (of World Trade Center Mosque notoriety), and Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Ahmed Younis.  The report issued by the group called for engagement and cooperation with political Islam, and specifically with the Muslim Brotherhood:

The U.S. must also consider when and how to talk with political movements that have substantial public support and have renounced violence, but are outlawed or restricted by authoritarian governments allied to the U.S. The Muslim Brotherhood parties in Egypt and Jordan are arguably in this category. In general, the Leadership Group supports engagement with groups that have clearly demonstrated a commitment to nonviolent participation in politics.”

Indications of a plan to work with the Muslim Brotherhood were evident as early as June 2009, when the President went to Cairo’s Al-Azhar University to address the Muslim World.  The audience included prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood that Obama insisted on having seated in the front row.   Said Obama, [The] partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t.  And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

With the statements of the Saudi journalist, Hussain, Mogahed, and Obama himself in mind, presented below is a thumbnail sketch of the Arab Spring and its consequences, and the intersection between the Obama administration and the Muslim Brotherhood.  This is only a fraction of the evidence that proves Obama has worked hand-in-hand with the Muslim Brotherhood to transform the Middle East.

Tunisia

In Tunisia in 2011, the government of Ben Ali fell after a man self-immolated, sparking a wave of protests.  Subsequently, Tunisia elected the Muslim Brotherhood Ennahda party, with a plurality of 37% of the vote.  In October 2014, Tunisia elected a secular government.

Libya

Libya exemplifies the essence of the so-called Arab Spring, an anarchic Muslim Brotherhood revolution that thrives on violence and chaos.

In such ungovernable disarray are significant parts of Libya today, that it is actually being used as a staging ground by ISIS for an invasion of Europe.

Despite repeated warnings and advice by the United States military to leave Muammar Gaddafi in power, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama launched a disastrous war against the Gaddafi regime, leaving a power vacuum for Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood to fill.

Practically, Libya served as armaments bazaar for the Muslim Brotherhood and all associated terrorist groups.  Libyan weapons have ended up in the hands of jihadis across North Africa, potentially contributing to the stockpile of arms of Boko Haram.  These weapons were also sent to Syrian rebels, including groups who are now part of ISIS.

Currently, an ongoing proxy war rages in Libya.  The anti-Muslim Brotherhood countries of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates battle Qatar and Turkey (close allies of the Obama administration) and the local Islamic terrorists.

Benghazi

Benghazi and all the mystery that surrounds it can mostly be dispelled in a few short paragraphs.  A few facts will inform the reader, and then the attack that killed four Americans on September 11, 2012 can be then put in the larger context of a Muslim Brotherhood-guided American agenda.

First, the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, aka Ansar al-Sharia, was hired to guard the compound by the American government.  In a word, they are a jihadi militia.

Second, the compound in Benghazi was crawling with CIA agents.  According to CNN’s Jake Tapper, there were “dozens” of CIA personnel present the night of the attack, and the Obama administration has gone to “great lengths” to obscure their activities.  Many speculate that Ambassador Stevens was a CIA asset in the State Department.

Third, only hours before the attack, Stevens met with a Turkish ambassador at the compound.  Turkey, it should be recalled, was a transshipment point for some Libyan weapons that were shipped out of the country to jihadis elsewhere.

Fourth, the Muslim Brotherhood Morsi government of Egypt was involved with the attack.  In fact, some of the terrorists were caught on video saying “Don’t shoot!  Dr. Morsi sent us!”

These facts beg the question: If Ambassador Stevens was in fact overseeing a gun running operation to Islamic/jihadi/Muslim Brotherhood militias, why would the same people kill him?

Given the above evidence, the prominent theory that Stevens was going to be a trade for the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel-Rahman, seems a plausible explanation.  (Morsi was dedicated to the release of Rahman.)  And this theory is endorsed by no less an authority than retired four star Admiral James Lyons.

Once this plan went spectacularly wrong, a number of other things occurred, which again, fit into the larger picture of a Muslim Brotherhood-control Obama administration.

In an alarming breach of protocol and duty, Obama’s Special Advisor, Valerie Jarrett, issued the order to the military “stand down.”  In other words, she ordered that Stevens and the other Americans be left to fend for themselves against a well-armed jihadi militia.

Regarding the now infamous Talking Points scandal involving Susan Rice, et. al., that blamed the attack on obscure and poorly produced movie, an MSA member from George Washington University was copied on the email sent by Ben Rhodes (who, recall, wrote Obama’s 2009 Cairo Speech).

Finally, George Soros is also connected to this scandal.  The Obama-appointed lead investigator for the attack was Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who has ties to CAIR, a well-known Muslim Brotherhood front group in the United States.  At the time of the investigation, Pickering was the co-chair of the Soros’ International Crisis Group.  He is still a trustee.

Egypt

So much has been written about Obama’s decision to force the resignation of Hosni Mubarak, and the subsequent election of Mohamed Morsi to the Egyptian Presidency, that the space here will be used only to reinforce some key and lesser known points.

  • Mubarak was the lynchpin of regional stability, the president of the most populous Arab country who maintained not only peace but a strong relationship with Israel and the United States.
  • Mohamed Morsi likely joined the Muslim Brotherhood through the Muslim Students Association in America, while he was a student at University of Southern California.
  • The wife of Mohamed Morsi was a long-time friend of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
  • When Morsi came to power and began to implement sharia law, Obama promised the Morsi government $8 billion in exchange for land in the Sinai for Palestinians (Hamas).  Once Morsi was removed, following a brief, murderous, and highly destructive reign of power, Obama immediately withheld military aid to Egypt.
  • Through 2013, the Clinton Foundation received between $1 million and $5 million from Qatar.
  • It appears likely that close Obama friends, the domestic terrorists Bill Ayers and wife Bernadine Dohrn, played a significant role in fomenting the protests which led to the resignation of Mubarak. Terrorist birds of feather flock together.

In case you were wondering, Obama advisor Dalia Mogahed considered the ouster of Morsi a “coup,” and CAIR and ISNA were likewise critical of the restoration of secular law in Egypt, which no doubt has prevented the slaughter of countless Coptic Christian lives.

Syria, Iraq, and ISIS – A Lost War, a Genocide, and a Rape of Humanity

Say what you will about Bashar al-Assad, he and his father Hafez have always strongly opposed the Muslim Brotherhood.  Indeed, Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, aka Abu Musab al-Suri, a lieutenant of Osama bin Laden and architect of the Madrid train bombings, spent most of his life trying to overthrow the Assads and implement sharia law.  (Not only is Nasar Syrian, his nom de guerre “Al-Suri” means “the Syrian.”)  As late as 2008, none other than Nancy Pelosi was hobnobbing with the secularly minded Assads.  John Kerry and his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry also dined with and were entertained lavishly by the Assads in 2009.

What Obama has unleashed in Syria by supporting jihadi rebels is an apocalyptic force of total depravity that specializes in genocide and cultural annihilation.  There are few words that do justice to the evil, inhumanity, and unbelievable cruelty that define ISIS and their end-of-times approach to warfare.

Not only do they set people on fire, but they also behead and torture children.  Americans are bombarded with these images regularly.  Equally as atrocious and appalling, they openly and gleefully destroy everything pre-Islamic.  Much like the Buddhas in Afghanistan that the Taliban dynamited, ISIS believes in the Islamic concept of Jahiliyyah, which demands that all traces of civilization before the time of Mohammed the Prophet be erased.

ISIS is literally rampaging across the cradle of civilization, Mesopotamia, laying waste to some of humanity’s oldest faith communities, artifacts, and landmarks.  Simultaneous to the modern day Holocaust that is happening to ancient Christian communities in the occupied regions, ISIS trumps even the art-hoarding Nazis in their total disregard for all things that make us human.

In the face of this unspeakable crime against humanity, Obama has not once mentioned the ongoing genocide, much less the irreplaceable loss of culture and tangible history.  The airstrikes ordered by Obama and his advisor Valerie Jarret against ISIS have been described as “pin-pricks.”  This shows that they are either lackadaisical in the face of the genocide, or more likely do not wish to be bothered.  So committed is Obama to America’s defeat in the Middle East that he has appointed the above-mentioned Rashad Hussain, a documented supporter of political Islam, as a social media “warrior” to lead the cyber charge against these subhuman savages.

In time, the enormity of this crime will be examined through a historical lens.  A few decades from now people will wonder how the liberty-loving United States elected a hollow, morally insipid man named Barack Hussein Obama, who armed and trained a jihadi army that destroyed our common human heritage and murdered entire tribes by the thousands.

Of great concern, domestically the soulless ISIS is now operational in all 50 states (according to the FBI), and ISIS training camps have been discovered in various states.  A not-so-unexpected consequence of Obama’s open borders policy, indeed.

Regarding Iraq, it is no surprise and it is not hyperbole to simply state the obvious: Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood surrendered Iraq to the enemy, willingly and consciously.  Into this void steps an emboldened and rejuvenated Iran.

Afghanistan

Much like Iraq, Afghanistan is in the process of being surrendered to the Taliban.  Not only has the administration and (Afghan President) Karzai negotiated with the Taliban, they also idly watched as the same terrorists who hosted Osama bin Laden set up an embassy in Doha, Qatar.  A national intelligence estimate as early as December 2013 predicted that all progress would be lost once a military drawdown began.

True to form, seven months after this estimate was released Obama swapped one American deserter, Bowe Bergdahl, for five high ranking Taliban commanders released from Guantanamo Bay, and a significant sum of money.

Following Obama’s policies, all the American blood and treasure spent liberating Afghanistan will be sacrificed by Obama, to the absolute benefit of the Muslim Brotherhood.

As a postscript, it will be noted that a primary source of Taliban funding, poppies for opium, have seen record Afghan crop yields in 2013 and 2014.

Nigeria

While #BringBackOurGirls may have been a temporary PR win for the Obama administration, it obscured the fact that the administration has been consistently enabling the growth of the jihadi army of Boko Haram by downplaying them as a threat.  As if on cue, last week Boko Haram pledged allegiance (bayah) to the Islamic State.

According to one report that rings true, Boko Haram began with a $3 million grant from Osama bin Laden.  One senior U.S. intelligence official stated, regarding the matter, “There were channels between bin Laden and Boko Haram leadership… He gave some strategic direction at times.”  This connection evidently does not phase the Obama administration and U.S. Department of State.

As Andrew McCarthy wrote regarding the Clinton State Department’s position on Boko Haram:

“Instead, ignoring what Boko Haram pronounces its goals to be, the Obama administration portrayed it as a diffuse organization with no clear agenda that was ascendant due to the policies of the Nigerian government (which is under Christian leadership).”

Hillary Clinton’s successor at State, John Kerry, sings the same tune, while thousands of Nigerians are massacred.  Following air strikes by the Nigerian government, Kerry urged restraint, warning Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan “to respect human rights and not harm civilians.”

Meanwhile, this African scourge has amassed a “massive army” that is reportedly stronger than the Nigerian Army.  Defeating Boko Haram will likely take the coordinated efforts of Nigeria and neighboring Cameroon, which has close ties to a very sympathetic Israel.  The French Army is right now operating out of Mali in Nigeria, contributing to the fight against the jihadis.

Israel

There is so much in the news regarding Obama’s falling-out with Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu that little needs to be added here.  The likely breaking point in the relationship was Obama’s and Kerry’s siding with Qatar and Hamas during the war last summer; and, more recently, with the obvious intention of Obama to permit Iran to develop their nuclear arms capacities.  This week, it is reported that Obama has appointed another Hamas-connected advisor, Robert Malley, to coordinate Middle East policy for the White House.

The deplorable disrespect and insults hurled at Netanyahu by the Democrats during his visit are the mirror image of an America whose college campuses have been overtaken with a virulent anti-Semitism.

Still, this chapter would not be complete without mentioning the integral part that Obama’s friends Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, terrorists themselves, played in launching the diplomatically catastrophic “Peace Flotilla” – boats from Turkey, filled with military supplies and other goodies, for Hamas.

Iran

Into the grand void, the power vacuum, created by the Arab Spring, steps a nation largely unaffected by the Arab Spring: Iran.  In fact, when Iran nearly embraced modernity and secular government with its so-called “Green Movement,” Obama and the Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett stood conspicuously on the sidelines.  Years in the making, the protestors and activists who challenged the Iranian mullahs paid dearly for their attempt at overthrowing the Islamic Republic while Obama’s administration remained silent and watched them get smashed.

An historic moment was totally squandered.

Whether it is in Yemen or in Iraq, Iran is the beneficiary, net-net, of the Arab Spring.  Even as their Supreme Leader openly calls for the destruction of Israel, the Obama administration proceeds undaunted with negotiations that would give them nuclear capabilities and the means to strike the Middle East, Europe, and the United States with intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Conclusion

The Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi put it this way: Obama “switched sides in the War on Terror.”  The evidence presented above is but a glimpse into the preponderance of open source, published information that supports the Commission’s conclusion.

We are now faced with a totally new geopolitical situation: geographically, politically, and militarily.

With the body count growing by the day, and with a far larger war looming on the horizon, one would think that the responsible parties still left in government would pause, reflect, and begin to reverse course before it is too late.  Yet as recently as December, NATO hailed its partnership with terrorist financier extraordinaire, the Gulf State of Qatar.  This is tantamount to openly declaring allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood, a totalitarian and genocidal movement whose actions we see manifested daily.

The ultimate fallout from this historic, awful change in American policy may very well be a war of untold destruction.  In the meantime, it is observed that some of America’s former allies have already decided that we, as agents of jihad, can no longer be trusted.  Egypt is forming a closer relationship with Putin’s Russia, as is Saudi Arabia.  India, which had moved closer to the United States under George W. Bush, has also turned toward Russia.  France, with the rise of the National Front party, may very well be next to look east to Moscow.  And Israel is openly courting new strategic alliances.

Truly, there have been few times in American history when our national commitment to morality, decency, and humanity has been so genuinely questionable.  If the majority of the American people understood what has already been risked by this president and his Muslim Brotherhood-aligned administration, they would demand immediate resignation and a full investigation of the government agencies which are in league with, and give aid and comfort to, the enemy.

The Betrayal Papers is a collaborative effort by the Coalition of Concerned Citizens, which includes: Andrea Shea King, Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, Benjamin Smith, Bethany Blankley, Brent Parrish, Charles Ortel, Chris Nethery, Denise Simon, Dick Manasseri, Gary Kubiak, Gates of Vienna, IQ al Rassooli, Right Side News, Leslie Burt, Marcus Kohan, Mary Fanning, General Paul E. Vallely, Regina Thomson, Scott Smith, Terresa Monroe-Hamilton, Colonel Thomas Snodgrass, Trevor Loudon, Wallace Bruschweiler, and William Palumbo.

Washington’s Al Qaeda Ally Now Leading ISIS in Libya

Global Research, March 10, 2015, By Eric Draitser: (h/t @ClareMLopez)

The revelations that US ally Abdelhakim Belhadj is now leading ISIS in Libya should come as no surprise to those who have followed US policy in that country, and throughout the region. It illustrates for the umpteenth time that Washington has provided aid and comfort to precisely those forces it claims to be fighting around the world.

According to recent reports, Abdelhakim Belhadj has now firmly ensconced himself as the organizational commander of the ISIS presence inside Libya. The information comes from an unnamed US intelligence official who has confirmed that Belhadj is supporting and coordinating the efforts of the ISIS training centers in eastern Libya around the city of Derna, an area long known as a hotbed of jihadi militancy.
While it may not seem to be a major story – Al Qaeda terrorist turns ISIS commander – the reality is that since 2011 the US and its NATO allies have held up Belhadj as a “freedom fighter.” They portrayed him as a man who courageously led his fellow freedom-lovers against the “tyrannical despot” Gaddafi whose security forces at one time captured and imprisoned many members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), including Belhadj.

Belhadj served the US cause in Libya so well that he can be seen receiving accolades from Sen. John McCain who referred to Belhadj and his followers as heroes. He was initially rewarded after the fall of Gaddafi with the post of military commander of Tripoli, though he was forced to give way to a more politically palatable “transitional government” which has since evaporated in that chaotic, war-ravaged country.

Belhadj’s history of terrorist activity includes such “achievements” as collaboration with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq, and of course his convenient servitude to the US-NATO sponsored rampage across Libya that, among other things, caused mass killings of black Libyans and anyone suspected of being part of the Green Resistance (those loyal to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya led by Gaddafi). Although the corporate media tried to make a martyr of Belhadj for his alleged torture via the CIA rendition program, the inescapable fact is that wherever he goes he leaves a violent and bloody wake.

While much of this information is known, what is of paramount importance is placing this news in a proper political context, one that illustrates clearly the fact that the US has been, and continues to be, the major patron of extremist militants from Libya to Syria and beyond, and that all talk of “moderate rebels” is merely rhetoric designed to fool an unthinking public.

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend…Until He Isn’t

There is ample documented evidence of Belhadj’s association with Al Qaeda and his terrorist exploits the world over. Various reports have highlighted his experiences fighting in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and he himself has boasted of killing US troops in Iraq. However, it was in Libya in 2011 where Belhadj became the face of the “rebels” seeking to topple Gaddafi and the legal government of Libya.

As the New York Times reported:

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was formed in 1995 with the goal of ousting Colonel Qaddafi. Driven into the mountains or exile by Libyan security forces, the group’s members were among the first to join the fight against Qaddafi security forces… Officially the fighting group does not exist any longer, but the former members are fighting largely under the leadership of Abu Abdullah Sadik [aka Abdelhakim Belhadj].

So, not only was Belhadj a participant in the US-NATO war on Libya, he was one of its most powerful leaders, heading a battle-hardened jihadist faction that constituted the leading edge of the war against Gaddafi. Nowhere was this more clearly demonstrated than when the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) took the lead in the attack on Gaddafi’s compound at Bab al-Aziziya. In this regard, LIFG was provided intelligence, and likely also tactical support, from US intelligence and the US military.

This new information about Belhadj’s association with the suddenly globally relevant ISIS certainly bolsters the argument that this writer, among many others, has made since 2011 – that the US-NATO war on Libya was waged by terrorist groups overtly and tacitly supported by US intelligence and the US military. Moreover, it dovetails with other information that has surfaced in recent years, information that shines a light on how the US exploited for its own geopolitical purposes one of the most active terrorist hotbeds anywhere in the world.

According to the recent reports, Belhadj is directly involved with supporting the ISIS training centers in Derna. Of course Derna should be well known to anyone who has followed Libya since 2011, because that city, along with Tobruk and Benghazi, were the centers of anti-Gaddafi terrorist recruitment in the early days of the “uprising” all through the fateful year of 2011. But Derna was known long before that as a locus of militant extremism.

In a major 2007 study entitled “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records” conducted by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point, the authors noted that:

Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia… The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qa’ida which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qa’ida on November 3, 2007…The most common cities that the fighters called home were Darnah [Derna], Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with 52 and 51 fighters respectively. Darnah [Derna] with a population just over 80,000 compared to Riyadh’s 4.3 million, has far and away the largest per capita number of fighters in the Sinjar records.

And so, the US military and intelligence community has known for nearly a decade (perhaps longer) that Derna has long been directly or indirectly controlled by jihadis of the LIFG variety, and that that city had acted as a primary recruiting ground for terrorism throughout the region. Naturally, such information is vital if we are to understand the geopolitical and strategic significance of the notion of ISIS training camps associated with the infamous Belhadj on the ground in Derna.

This leads us to three interrelated, and equally important, conclusions. First, Derna is once again going to provide foot soldiers for a terror war to be waged both in Libya, and in the region more broadly, with the obvious target being Syria. Second is the fact that the training sites at Derna will be supported and coordinated by a known US asset. And third, that the US policy of supporting “moderate rebels” is merely a public relations campaign designed to convince average Americans (and those in the West generally) that it is not supporting terrorism, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The Myth of ‘Moderate Rebels’

The news about Belhadj and ISIS must not be seen in a vacuum. Rather, it should be still further proof that the notion of “moderates” being supported by the US is an insult to the intelligence of political observers and the public at large.

For more than three years now, Washington has trumpeted its stated policy of support to so-called moderate rebels in Syria – a policy which has at various times folded such diverse terror groups as the Al Farooq Brigades (of cannibalism fame) and Hazm (“Determination”) into one large “moderate” tent. Unfortunately for US propagandists and assorted warmongers however, these groups along with many others have since voluntarily or forcibly been incorporated into Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS/ISIL.

Recently, there have been many reports of mass defections of formerly Free Syrian Army factions to ISIS, bringing along with them their advanced US-supplied weaponry. Couple that with the “poster boys” for Washington policy, the aforementioned Hazm group, now having become part of Jabhat al Nusra, the Al Qaeda linked group in Syria. Of course these are only a few of the many examples of groups that have become affiliated with either the ISIS or Al Qaeda brand in Syria, including Liwaa Al-Farouq, Liwaa Al-Qusayr, and Liwaa Al-Turkomen to name just a few.

What has become clear is that the US and its allies, in their unending quest for regime change in Syria, have been overtly supporting extremist elements that have now coalesced to form a global terror threat in ISIS, Nusra, and Al Qaeda.

But of course, this is nothing new, as the Belhadj episode in Libya demonstrates unequivocally. The man who was once Al Qaeda, then became a “moderate” and “our man in Tripoli,” has now become the leader of the ISIS threat in Libya. So too have “our friends” become our enemies in Syria. None of this should surprise anyone.

But perhaps John McCain would like to answer some questions about his long-standing connections with Belhadj and the “moderates” in Syria. Would Obama like to explain why his “humanitarian intervention” in Libya has become a humanitarian nightmare for that country, and indeed the whole region? Would the CIA, which has been extensively involved in all of these operations, like to come clean about just who they’ve been supporting and what role they’ve played in fomenting this chaos?

I doubt any such questions will ever be asked by anyone in the corporate media. Just as I doubt any answers will ever be furnished by those in Washington whose decisions have created this catastrophe. So, it is for us outside the corporate propaganda matrix to demand answers, and to never let the establishment suppress our voices…or the truth.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Also see:

Hillary’s War

ty-450x304Frontpage, March 6, 2015 by Kenneth R. Timmerman:

What short memories we have.

Just three weeks ago, gloating ISIS terrorists beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach. The Catholic Church proclaimed them “martyrs.” Former Virginia Republican Congressman Frank Wolf, now at Baylor University, called for the creation of a safe haven for Middle East Christians.

And then, the world moved on. The body of yet another beheaded Coptic Christian was found in Libya on Wednesday. But by then the media had turned their gaze elsewhere so the outrage was gone.

Hillary Clinton and her supporters in the national media are counting on our short memories to allow them to tout her “successes” as Secretary of State as they gild her chariot for a ride to the White House in 2016.

And therein lies reason #1 why Mrs. Clinton will do everything in her power to keep the public from seeing her email — at least, an unsanitized version that would provide the full record of her tenure as Secretary of state.

“We came, we saw, he died.”

Anyone remember that one? That was Hillary Clinton, joking with a reporter just days after visiting Libya on October 18, 2011 when she was told that Qaddafi had just been killed. She immediately burst out into the famous cackle. But since she was not a Republican, Mrs. Clinton did not have to declare, “I am not a witch.”

She learned of Qaddafi’s demise when her aide, Muslim Brotherhood royal Huma Abedin, passed what appeared to be her personal Blackberry to her boss. One can only wonder who sent that message to Ms. Abedin. Was it a government official who used an official email account? Or was it some nebulous “informant” – perhaps the same one who convinced Mrs. Clinton on the night of the Benghazi attacks that a shadowy video they wrongly claimed was made by American right-wingers was at fault, when there was nary a trace of that “information” in the official reporting channels from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, the defense attaché in Tripoli, the CIA station chief, the CIA sub-station in Benghazi, or the State Department Operations Center.

Why can I say that? Because we have been told repeatedly that all the official reporting on the night of the Benghazi attacks has already been produced to multiple congressional committees. That’s why Media Matters and the Hillary Media Brigades continue to insist there is no story. It’s all a hoax. Move on.

I believe the question of where the YouTube video-is-the-culprit story originated lies at the core of the Benghazi scandal. I have called it the original “sin,”which led to the original “spin” by Susan Rice and others, including President Obama and of course Mrs. Clinton herself.

What prompted Mrs. Clinton to advance a story she knew was a fiction and to think she could get away with it? What real story was the fiction papering over?

Until now, although the State Department has said repeatedly they have produced every document and communication Congress has requested in a timely manner, we still don’t have any record of why Mrs. Clinton gave the stand down order to the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), an inter-agency rapid reaction force, with a substantial special operations component, that was created precisely to respond to the type of emergency that was taking place in Benghazi and is on call 24/7.

We still don’t know what instructions Mrs. Clinton gave her subordinates in preparing the infamous talking points for Susan Rice that blamed the attacks on a YouTube video and claimed preposterously that they were a demonstration gone wild. Nor do we have any inkling of the communications between Mrs. Clinton and her ambassador, Chris Stevens – although Steven’s #2, Gregory Hicks, has testified that they communicated directly. (Indeed, it would have been extraordinary if they had not).

We don’t know if she instructed him to head to Benghazi to circle the wagons with the CIA and the Turkish Consul General, to tamp down the growing scandal over the Entisar, a Libyan fishing boat carrying 400 tons of weapons sent by jihadi groups in Benghazi to the Syrian rebels whose presence in the Turkish port of Iskenderun had attracted the attention of Western reporters.

We should have had answers to all of those questions within three months of the attacks, when the Hillary-appointed Accountability Review Board delivered its “definitive” report.

But as the co-chairmen later testified, they never interviewed Mrs. Clinton during their “definitive” investigation, nor did they cite a single email from Mrs. Clinton. And no one understood enough to call the foul.

What about those pictures of Mrs. Clinton posing with jihadi fighters in Tripoli, who had come to welcome her U.S. Air Force C-17 in October 2011? How many of them have since joined up with al Qaeda or ISIS? How many of them took part in the murder of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi?

For with our short memories, we forget that Libya was Hillary’s war.

In separate tell-all accounts, former Defense Secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta agreed that Mrs. Clinton dragged President Obama into this war kicking and screaming. She saw the fight against Qaddafi as a perfect opportunity to illustrate the wisdom of her new national security dogma, Responsibilty To Protect.

The Obama White House eventually bought into it hook, line and sinker, even touting their version of Hillary’s war by saying they had defeated Qaddafi by“leading from behind.”

Where has Hillary’s War left us?

Libya is a disaster. Jihadi militias who took part in the U.S.-backed rebellion against Qaddafi seized control of Tripoli this past summer, turning the international airport into a sand heap, forcing the evacuation of the remaining U.S. diplomats in Tripoli, shutting down much of Libya’s oil production, and driving the elected government into internal exile.

Today, two rival governments continue to jockey for power, while groups who have pledged loyalty to ISIS have taken over much of the eastern part of the country, including Derna and Benghazi.

Hillary’s War not only ended any attempts at mediation between Qaddafi and his opponents, which we have since learned were favored by the U.S. military and had a reasonable chance of success. It also ushered into power a jihadi state that has pledged its support to ISIS with the goals of launching terrorist attacks against the United States and of establishing a world-wide Islamic caliphate. And it sent a terrible message to dictators the United States might try to woo into giving up their weapons of mass destruction willingly, as Qaddafi did.

With successes like these on her account, who knows what failures those secret emails might reveal?

***

Published on Mar 5, 2015 by Dan Adams

Osama Bin Laden’s Files: The Arab revolutions

Anas Al-LibiLWJ, by Thomas Joscelyn, March 3rd, 2015:

As the so-called “Arab Spring” swept through the Muslim-majority world in 2011, some US officials and counterterrorism analysts proclaimed that al Qaeda had been left “on the sidelines.” However, the limited selection of publicly-available documents captured in Osama bin Laden’s compound in May 2011 tell a different story. The al Qaeda chieftain and his subordinates saw an opportunity.

Atiyah Abd al Rahman, who served as al Qaeda’s general manager, discussed the political upheaval in a letter written to bin Laden just weeks before the al Qaeda CEO was killed in his Abbottabad, Pakistan safe house. Rahman’s letter was introduced as evidence in the trial of Abid Naseer, who is alleged to have taken part in al Qaeda’s plotting in Europe and New York City. Just months after penning it, Rahman was killed in a US drone strike in northern Pakistan.

“We are currently following the Arab Revolutions and the changes taking place in Arab countries,” Rahman wrote. “We praise you, almighty God, for the demise of the tyrants in Tunisia and Egypt.”

Rahman mentions the “situation” in countries such as Libya, Syria, and Yemen, explaining that he has included “some of what” he “wrote to some of my brothers concerning these revolutions.”

“In general,” Rahman argued, “we think these changes are sweeping, and there is good in them, God willing.” Rahman wondered if bin Laden had considered putting out a speech on the uprisings, noting that al Qaeda’s CEO had “not made any statements as of now,” as “hopefully” bin Laden was “waiting for these revolutions to mature and reach stability.”

Rahman wrote that “it might be good for” Yunis al Mauritani, a key figure in al Qaeda’s “external operations” (or international terrorist operations) who was subsequently captured in Pakistan, to “send his brothers to Tunisia and Syria and other places.” Bin Laden’s general manager believed that the “Syrian brothers would have to wait a little for the revolution in Syria to succeed in taking down Bashar Assad’s regime, and for the country to become degenerated and chaotic.”

His conclusion proved to be wrong. Al Qaeda groomed an official branch in Syria, the Al Nusrah Front, to battle Assad’s government and its allies. And al Qaeda’s senior leadership later sent a cadre of officials to Syria to help guide this effort, as well as to plot attacks in the West.

The Tunisian with Yunis “could travel straight to Tunisia now,” as “he could easily enter the country, and then some of our people could travel there and get in,” Rahman wrote. The “three Syrians” will “hopefully” be able to get into their home country.  There is no clear indication of who these Syrians and the Tunisian are, or what happened to them. Some of Yunis’ men were eventually captured alongside him, while others likely remained free.

But the bin Laden files give some details with respect to Libya.

Read more

Also see:

U.S. Backed Rebel Reportedly Leads Islamic State in Libya

map derna

CSP, by Kyle Shideler, March 2, 2015: 

Major news out of Libya as  the former head of the Al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and a major player in the U.S.-backed overthrow of Mummar Gaddafi, has reportedly joined the Islamic State and is leading its forces there. This according to The Blaze National Security journalist Sara Carter on twitter, and Fox News’ Catherine Herridge in a Fox News report.

Belhadj’s ties to Al Qaeda were controversial during the run up to U.S. airstrikes in support of the Libyan rebels, but this did not prevent him from maintaining a high profile at the time, including being made head of the Tripoli Military Council, a position he held until resigning to run for office in May 2012. Belhadj has a reputation for involvement in the international jihad has well, playing a role in the 2004 Madrid training bombings, and accused by investigators of being involved in the murder of two Tunisian politicians at behest of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Islamic State fighters landed in Libya back in November of 2014, and have been at work establishing training camps in the Libyan city of Derna before launching a terror offensive which included an attack on a Libyan hotel, attacks on oil field workers, and the execution of 21 Copts in a graphic video which made international headlines.

If Belhadj has gone over to Islamic State, it will represent a major boost to IS’ efforts to co-opt and bring in Libya’s existing jihadist forces under their banner, which now reportedly includes as many as 3,000 fighters.   BelHadj’s forces play a significant role in the Islamist “Libyan Dawn” coalition (which includes the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda’s Ansar al-Sharia), which currently holds Tripoli, and which claims to be the rightful government in opposition to the UN recognized government of Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni.

Libyan Dawn supporters have repeatedly blamed Anti-Islamist general Khalifa al Haftar for the terror attacks of the Islamic State, including on the hotel residence of the Libyan Dawn prime minister, so there is reason to believe that if a binary choice develops between Belhadj and Haftar (who was recently made Commander and Chief of the Al-Thinni government forces), the Islamist factions will chooses Belhadj.

This would represent a major coup for the Islamic State, whose global strategy requires the incorporation of pre-established jihadist groups to bolsters their claim to Caliphate status and take additional territory, thus reinforcing their religious and legal authority, and attracting additional recruits.

Also see:

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

March 2, 2015 / /

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

abu wahib_gaza

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Screen Shot 2015-02-21 at 10.01.21 AM

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

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

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 4.21.57 PM

Source: The ISIS Study Group

libya_pipeline

Source: The ISIS Study Group

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

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

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

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

iranian tripoli embassy

The aftermath of the Iranian embassy attack
Source: Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DoS

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

Links to Other Related Articles:

Egyptian Army Hits Back at ISIS in Sinai

ISIS Efforts to Open up an Egyptian Front

Egyptian Army and IDF Take on ISIS Supporters in Sinai

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

Denmark Update

World View: Reports Indicate Egypt, Italy, Russia Planning Military Action in Libya

Reuters

Reuters

Breitbart, by JOHN J. XENAKIS, March 1, 2015:

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Reports indicate Egypt, Italy, Russia planning military action in Libya
  • Egypt court declares Hamas to be a terrorist organization
  • Egypt and Turkey may try to create a ‘Sunni front’ with Saudi Arabia

Reports indicate Egypt, Italy, Russia planning military action in Libya

Russian warships in the Mediterranean (Russia Today)
Russian warships in the Mediterranean (Russia Today)

Various unconfirmed reports are emerging indicating that there may be joint international action planned in Libya as early as next week.

Egypt is already conducting air strikes against ISIS-linked targets in Derna, close to where Egyptian Coptics were massacred recently, as displayed in a gruesome video. Debka reports that Egypt’s president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi is planning further action in Libya, including more air strikes and possible ground troops, within a few days. According to the report, Egyptian commando and marine forces are preparing for sea landings to seize Derna and destroy the terrorist elements there. If this attack is actually launched, it will be the first time in modern times that an Arab country has sent ground forces into another Arab country.

Al-Jazeera television reports that the Italian navy is getting ready to carry off sophisticated military drills off the coast of Libya as early as Monday. Although Italy claims that it will be a regular exercise, there are many more vessels taking part in this year’s exercise than have in the past, which Italy explains by saying that they are testing out sophisticated new technologies.

There are several reasons why Italy is pursuing this show of force:

  • Italy considers the flood of migrants from Libya into Italy to be an existential threat to Italy itself, because there may be ISIS-trained terrorists smuggled in, along with the other migrants. Italy may be planning some kind of military action in Libya in conjunction with Egypt’s air strikes and other operations.
  • The GreenStream pipeline is a gas pipeline running underneath the Mediterranan Sea from Libya to Sicily. The pipeline is vital to economic relations between Italy and Libya. In recent months, there have been attacks by gunmen on oil installations in Libya, forcing some ports to shut down. The new show of naval force may be related to threats of attack or sabotage on the pipeline.
  • For over a year, Italy ran a search and rescue program called “Mare Nostrum” (“Our Sea”) that saved the lives of thousands of migrants attempting to travel from Libya to Italy. This program required Italian naval vessels near the Libyan coast. In November, the program ended and an EU program called Triton replaced it, but Triton restricts its operations to only 30 miles off the Italian coast. Triton has been considered unsatisfactory because many more migrants are drowning. Italy’s new show of naval force may be an attempt to restore a portion of the Mare Nostrum program.
  • Related to the last point, on Saturday there were large demonstrations in Rome by Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League party for the government to do more to keep immigrants out. The naval show of force may help to mollify the protestors.

Some reports indicate that Russia has hinted at a willingness to participate in a naval blockade of Libya to prevent arm supplies from leaving Libya for other countries. Russia could play a role in this because it already has a naval fleet in the Mediterranean.

These are all unconfirmed reports of possible military action in Libya by Egypt, Italy and Russia. There are no reports of possible participation by Nato or the United States. Debkaand Cairo Post

Egypt court declares Hamas to be a terrorist organization

Egypt on Saturday became the first Arab country to name Hamas as a terrorist organization. The U.S. and the European Union have named Hamas as a terror group. An EU court took Hamas off the list in December 2014, ruling that the designation was not based on solid legal evidence, but the EU is appealing the court’s decision.

According to a decision on Saturday from the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters:

It has been proven without any doubt that the movement has committed acts of sabotage, assassinations and the killing of innocent civilians and members of the armed forces and police in Egypt.

It has been also ascertained with documents that [Hamas] has carried out bombings that have taken lives and destroyed institutions and targeted civilians and the armed forces personnel. It has also been ascertained that this movement works for the interests of the terrorist Brotherhood organization [which Egypt has already declared to be a terrorist organization].

About a month ago, the same court declared Hamas’s military wing, Al-Qassam Brigades, to be a terrorist organization. Saturday’s ruling makes the political wing a terrorist organization as well.

A Hamas spokesman denied all the charges and said that the ruling was “dangerous”:

History has recorded Egypt’s support to national liberty movements in the Arab world and Africa, particularly in Palestine. … This ruling serves the Israeli occupation. It’s a politicized decision that constitutes the beginning of Egypt evading its role toward the Palestinian cause. This is a coup against history and an Egyptian abuse of the Palestinian cause and resistance, which fights on behalf of the Arab nation. We call on Egypt to reconsider this dangerous decision.

Al Jazeera and Al Ahram (Cairo) and CS Monitor and Al Resalah (Palestine)

Egypt and Turkey may try to create a ‘Sunni front’ with Saudi Arabia

By coincidence or by planning, the presidents of both Egypt and Turkey will be in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, this week. Egypt’s Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan will both be visiting King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud, the new king of Saudi Arabia, who has replaced King Abdullah, who died last month.

It is not known whether Erdogan will ever be in the same room as al-Sisi. The two have been bitter enemies ever since a coup by al-Sisi ousted Egypt’s elected president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, and later declared MB to be a terrorist organization. Erdogan’s own political party, the AKP, is an Islamist party like the Muslim Brotherhood, and they had good relations while Morsi was in power.

There has been some speculation that King Salman is going to completely reverse King Abdullah’s policy on the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE) had branded MB as a terrorist organization, but some are wondering if Salman is going to shift from that policy. The Saudi foreign minister recently said that his government has “no problem with the Muslim Brotherhood; our problem is with a small group affiliated to the organization,” suggesting that shift is in the works.

Other problems make an Egypt-Turkey rapprochement unlikely: Erdogan vitriolicly hates Israel and supports Hamas. Al-Sisi vitriolicly hates Hamas and works closely with Israel on military matters, especially in North Sinai. It does n0t seem likely that any meeting, if one even occurs, will be pleasant.

If King Salman is able to pull off a miracle and mediate a new relationship between Egypt and Turkey, then it would appear to be the establishment of a new “Sunni front” in the Mideast, to oppose Iran, Hezbollah and the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Al Arabiya and Kurdistan and Arab Times

ISIS Chemical Weapons Libya: Military Warns Islamic State Might Have Mustard Gas, Sarin

Men in orange jumpsuits purported to be Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State kneel in front of armed men along a beach said to be near Tripoli, in this still image from an undated video made available on social media on Feb. 15, 2015. Reuters

Men in orange jumpsuits purported to be Egyptian Christians held captive by the Islamic State kneel in front of armed men along a beach said to be near Tripoli, in this still image from an undated video made available on social media on Feb. 15, 2015. Reuters

IBTimes, by Cristina Silva, Feb. 22, 2015:

Islamic State fighters in Libya allegedly have seized large amounts of chemical weapons, including mustard gas and the nerve agent Sarin, the Libyan military charged. “Unfortunately [chemical weapons] exist in locations known to the militias, who have seized large amounts of them to use in their war against the [Libyan] army,” a Libyan military official told the London daily Asharq al-Awsat.

ISIS fighters near Tripoli have begun testing the weapons that reportedly once belonged to the former regime of Moammar Gadhafi. “Before his death, Gadhafi left approximately 1,000 cubic tons worth of material used for manufacturing chemical weapons and about 20,000 cubic tons of mustard gas,” the military official said.

The weapons are likely 10 years old and in a degraded state, but remain dangerous, former British Army officer Hamish de Bretton-Gordon told The Daily Mail Sunday. “While we don’t know how much IS has acquired, and though the Libyan Sarin dates back to the Gadhafi era, it would still have a toxicity and pose a danger,” he said. “Libya is virtually Europe and so the fear factor from a European perspective is huge. I should think the security forces will be watching this situation very closely.”

Last year, Libyan officials said they had destroyed the last known stockpile of chemical weapons from Gadhafi’s regime. “Libya is totally empty of any presence of chemical weapons … which could pose a threat to the safety of people, the environment or neighboring regions,” Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz said at the time.

ISIS already has used chemical weapons, including chlorine in Iraq. Islamic State fighters have seized territory in Syria and Iraq in recent months and now are apparently targeting Libya. The North African nation has lacked a strong government since Gadhafi was toppled four years ago.

Last week, Islamic State fighters released a video purporting to show the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians kidnapped in Libya. In the video, militants dressed in black beheaded the captives on a beach near Tripoli.

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

Cultural Suicide: Why Allowing Syrian War Refugees to Enter Western Countries is a Pandora’s Box to More Attacks

February 19, 2015 / /

In its infinite wisdom the Obama administration announced plans to dramatically increase the number of Syrian War refugees being accepted into the confines of our borders. As of this writing, the largest concentrations of resettled refugees are in California, Illinois and Texas. As one would guess, there some serious concerns with the very real (and likely) possibility of terrorists associated with the Islamic State (IS) entering our country under the “refugee” label. DoS claims that “only the small minority who are in the most dire need, including the very young, ailing and elderly, and people who have been persecuted by their government” will be resettled in our country. The problem with that is the “very young” tend to have parents and siblings who tend to follow them – but the Obama administration conveniently leaves out those inconvenient details. DoS also makes the claim that they’re actually going to “screen” applicants, but how well they screened the Boston Bombers (the Russians had warned us about those two) doesn’t inspire much confidence from our staff. Its also worth noting that the Obama administration has been saying that the screening process is more “rigorous” since 2009 – so when was the Boston Bombing again?

U.S. to accept Syrian refugees in greater numbers after slow start

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-syria-refugees-20141211-story.html

US Officials Admit Concern Over Syrian Refugee Effort

http://abcnews.go.com/International/officials-fear-syrian-refugees-pose-threat-us/story?id=28930114

waheeb

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you…
Source: The Daily Telegraph (UK)

Remember, this is the same Obama administration via DHS that lost track of over 6,000 foreigners last year who overstayed their visas. As much as the Obama administration would like for you to believe, the ugly truth is the US government doesn’t have any real checks and balances nor does it have the political will to properly enforce the current immigration laws on the books. People applying for visas of any kind, refugee status/political asylum from countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Syria, Iraq – places where most of the populations despise us – red-flags should immediately be raised that should result in the application being promptly rejected. Unfortunately, people working in immigration and customs tend to simply push them along no questions asked – and that’s not even getting into the Pandora’s Box that allowing more Syrian refugees into our country would open.

DHS Loses 6,000

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1580

If you want to get a glimpse into America’s future all one needs to do is to look at Europe. As we discussed in our recent piece titled “The Jews: Europe’s Canary in the Mine on the Growing Jihadist Threat,” we laid out how years of political correctness and failed social experimentation has led to serious problems bubbling to the surface in Europe. Specifically, we showed how the EU members’ refusal to confront the jihadist threat has led to an increase in terror attacks with Denmark used as a case-study. Countries like Denmark, France, Germany, Belgium and the UK have been extremely generous in taking in Syrian War refugees and immigrants from other nations with large jihadist populations. Common sense says that Gulf nations refusing to take in refugees should be a huge red-flag to the US and its European counterparts. Unfortunately it isn’t. We just had a series of attacks in France from DEC 14 – JAN 15 and two more shootings in Denmark over the weekend, yet Europe continues to live with the delusional concept of “multiculturalism.”

A prime example of this is the threat that people just now realized exists from Libya on the other side of the Mediterranean. IS clearly sees the many vulnerabilities inside Europe in terms of how easy it is to gain access to member nations, as demonstrated by calls from the terror organization to infiltrate the continent posing as migrants. Indeed, Libya is a “gateway” to Europe but so are Turkey and Cyprus. Due to EU members being so inviting, the US also runs the risk of failing to notice individuals of Middle Eastern/North African origins who obtained dual-citizenship who attempt to enter our country on a European passport. If these people wanted to truly integrate they wouldn’t be trying to push the issue with “Sharia Enforcement Zones” and forcing everybody to bend over to their cultural demands. The truth is most of the people coming from the above-mentioned countries have no desire to integrate into western society despite being all too happy to receive those welfare checks (like a certain Anjem Choudray). Europe is dying, only the European people and the naive politicians they elected to office don’t yet realize it. If America isn’t careful, our fate will be similar to their’s – and it will happen much sooner than you think. It may sound cold, but allowing these people into our country isn’t worth the risk…

The Jews: Europe’s Canary in the Mine on the Growing Jihadist Threat

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4939

Islamic State ‘planning to use Libya as gateway to Europe’

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11418966/Islamic-State-planning-to-use-Libya-as-gateway-to-Europe.html

Attack in Paris, France Kills 12

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4336

Islamic State: The French Connection

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3875

ISIS Attack Plot Thwarted in Belgium – A Sign of Things to Come?

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=1890

Obama ISIS Map

The world burns while President Obama exhibits Nero-like characteristics – just substitute the golf clubs for a fiddle.
Source: The ISIS Study Group

***

Also see Refugee Resettlement Watch archives on Syrian Refugees:

https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/?s=syrian+refugees

Islamic State Threatens Italy

One of many rescues by the Italian government.  What will Italy, Malta and other European countries do with the migrants? None of these mostly young men will be sent back!  https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/armed-smugglers-threaten-italian-coast-guard-as-2200-more-migrants-brought-to-europe-from-libya/

One of many rescues by the Italian government. What will Italy, Malta and other European countries do with the migrants? None of these mostly young men will be sent back! https://refugeeresettlementwatch.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/armed-smugglers-threaten-italian-coast-guard-as-2200-more-migrants-brought-to-europe-from-libya/

CSP, by Sean MacCormac, Feb. 18, 2015:

Ever since the fall of the Gaddafi regime in Libya, the embattled nation has become fertile ground for Islamist rebels to set up an aspiring Islamic emirate. Islamic State has established a foothold in Libya by acquiring the allegiance of several Islamist organizations within the country. The strategy in Libya differed from Islamic State’s actions in Syria; the militant organization sent envoys to Libyan Islamist rebels to enlist their aid in the creation of a new caliphate. Islamic State had aggressively sought recruitment efforts in Libya and courted jihadist groups such as Al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Shariah in neighboring states under pressure from anti-terrorist initiatives, first gaining their aid in Syria before turning their focus back towards Libya. As the two opposing Libyan governments fought each other, they neglected to confront the common Islamic State threat.

As of late, Islamic State-affiliated jihadists in Libya have become increasingly more aggressive in their attacks, targeting oil installations and hotels as well as executing Christians on video. Fears mount over Islamic State’s success in Libya, and of the nation becoming a center for jihadism in the region. As a response to the beheading video, the Egyptian government launched an airstrike on the jihadist hotbed of Derna, killing over sixty fighters.

Now, however, Islamic State has threatened to invade Italy. During the beheading video, Islamic State propagandist Abu Arhim al-Libim stated that Islamic State “will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission.” al-Libim cited the large amounts of weaponry present in Libya held by Islamic State and that the Sicilian coast was less than 300 miles away from Libya’s coast. In fact, an ISIS report recovered by Libyan media in January states that the Islamic State intends to flood Italy with illegal immigrants to overwhelm the country’s defenses and infrastructure. It would be a simple matter for Islamic State to infiltrate agents within the large number of refugees from Libya, yet the Italian government is still in favor of taking in large amounts of refugees. Already, there are thousands of refugees fleeing Libya and making the risky cross-Mediterranean travel to Italy, even as Italy withdraws all personnel from its embassy in Tripoli.

The Italian government has already taken actions to ensure the nation’s security in the face of the threat from Islamic State. Security in Rome has been tightened greatly after Islamic State directly threatened the Italian capital. The Italian Parliament is to be briefed on Libya Thursday, and there is already considerable support for possible military action against Islamic State in Libya. Italian defense minister Robert Panotti stated that 5,000 troops could be deployed to Libya if necessary, though Prime Minster Matteo Renzi confirms that the position of the Italian government for the time being is to wait until the UN Security Council reaches an agreement. With that in mind, it is unclear if the Italian armed forces are in any condition for an invasion of Libya; the 5,000 troops mentioned could very well be the only troops available for an expeditionary force due to the heavy military cuts conducted two years ago.