Emails Show Clinton Was Told About MB-AQ Links

scafby John Rossomando
IPT News
May 2, 2016

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails suggest that she may have known about connections between the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and hardcore jihadist groups such as al-Qaida early in the 2011 Arab Spring.

Clinton confidante Sidney Blumenthal noted in an April 7, 2011 email that Egypt’s military leaders expressed concerns about contacts between the MB and al-Qaida. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) reportedly feared that the Brotherhood would work with various violent Islamist groups, including al-Qaida affiliates.

“The main concern of the SCAF leaders is that the MB will begin working with more violent Islamist groups, including the various al Qa’ida affiliates,” Blumenthal wrote.

A source “with access to the highest levels of the MB,” including its Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, privately told Blumenthal that the relationship between the MB, al-Qaida and other radical groups was “complicated.”

“Egyptian military intelligence is aware of the fact that these contacts exist, but believe that the MB, under the influence of … [the] moderates, is carefully controlling its contacts with these radical/terrorist groups, in an effort to avoid providing the military with an excuse to move against them,” Blumenthal wrote.

Blumenthal’s source claimed that Mohamed Morsi admitted that the Brotherhood’s looming Islamist government in Egypt would find it difficult to control the rise of al-Qaida and other radical/terrorist groups, according to a Dec. 16, 2011 email. No context is provided for this statement apart from Morsi also noting that the younger generation of Egypt’s military had become Islamized and anti-American despite training by the United States. The email also notes that younger officers would support Egypt becoming an Islamist state more than the current crop of generals.

Morsi became president about six months later.

However, former CIA Director James Woolsey questions Blumenthal’s sources, telling the Investigative Project on Terrorism that he doesn’t know where Blumenthal found his information.

“This is highly speculative but interesting,” Woolsey said. “The issue with the emails is classification. What matters is the sources and methods.”

These emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server, written while she was secretary of state, were made public as a result of a Judicial Watch lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Many are alleged to contain potentially classified information, and this remains under FBI investigation.

Egyptian security sources recorded calls between Morsi and al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri while he Morsi was in power, according to a Nov. 22, 2013 article in Egypt’s El-Watan newspaper. Morsi allegedly agreed to grant a presidential pardon to 20 terrorists, including one al-Zawahiri had known since childhood, and another who ran Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis – now known as ISIS’s Sinai province.

Communications between Morsi and al-Zawahiri began during the first month of his presidency. Zawahiri’s brother, Mohamed, mediated the initial contacts between them.

“Rule by God’s law for us to stand beside you, there is no so-called democracy, then get rid of your opponents,” al-Zawahiri told Morsi, according to the El-Watan transcript.

Al-Zawahiri and Morsi allegedly agreed to cooperate in establishing training camps in Sinai and near the Libyan border where they could create an army to defend the Brotherhood regime. Morsi allegedly met with an emissary of Zawahiri’s at a Pakistani hotel for two-and-a-half hours, and this reportedly resulted in the international organization of the MB giving al-Qaida $50 million.

Morsi called al-Zawahiri asking for his help soon before the military toppled him, according to the Al-Watan report.

“We will fight the military and the police, and we will set the Sinai aflame,” al-Zawahiri allegedly told Morsi.

The pro-military newspaper’s reporting has been called into question in the past. Its editor remains under investigation for falsifying a report about an Islamist terror cell.

Still, the alleged phone calls with al-Zawahiri contributed to Egyptian prosecutors seeking a death sentence against Morsi.

Attacks in the Sinai increased following Morsi’s fall. The suggestion by Brotherhood leader Mohamed el-Beltagy following Morsi’s deposition that “Attacks in Sinai would stop the second President Mohammed Morsi is reinstated,” adds to evidence of Brotherhood connections with al-Qaida, according to Michael Meunier, an Egyptian activist who previously worked closely with the Egyptian government.

“There is a clear indication of coordination between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida in Sinai,” Meunier said.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the group responsible for most of the attacks, belonged to al-Qaida before joining the Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014. Reports indicate that Ansar Beit al-Maqdis was “structurally” tied with the MB.

If true, the ties between the MB and al-Qaida challenge the academic contention that the two groups are mortal enemies. This contention was based upon mutual criticisms, such as al-Zawahiri’s 2006 condemnation of the MB’s participation in democratic elections.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper invoked the idea that the MB and al-Qaida were opposed to each other during February 2011 testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

“The term ‘Muslim Brotherhood’…is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried Al Qaeda as a perversion of Islam,” Clapper said.

A Feb. 16, 2011 email from an unnamed State Department official who helped draft Presidential Policy Directive-13  – a document that helped frame U.S. policy surrounding Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East – echoed Clapper’s remarks. U.S. policy should not “be driven by fear,” it said, and if it didn’t distinguish the Brotherhood and al-Qaida, it wouldn’t be able to adapt to changes in the region.

Not Just Egypt

Other government documents corroborate Blumenthal’s contention that the Brotherhood and al-Qaida are linked.

The Clinton emails describe a definitive personal link between the Brotherhood and al-Qaida in Libya dating from Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state in the person of Ali al-Sallabi, who founded the al-Qaida linked Libyan National Party (LNP).

A Feb. 27, 2011 email from Clinton aide Jake Sullivan describes al-Sallabi as “a key figure in the Libyan Muslim brotherhood and [Muslim Brotherhood leader Sheikh Yusuf] Qaradawi’s man in Libya.” Sullivan stands accused of sending Clinton top-secret emails at her private account.

Blumenthal noted in a July 3, 2011 email that the LNP was dominated by former members of the al-Qaida-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), “who, according to sensitive sources, maintained ties to al Qa’ida during their struggle with the forces of former dictator Muammar al Qaddafi.”

A March 24, 2011 Libyan intelligence document claims that al-Sallabi coordinated the effort by the international Muslim Brotherhood to assist the LIFG in its fight against Gaddafi.

Similarly, Rached al-Ghannouchi, head of Tunisia’s Brotherhood-linked Ennahda Party,attempted to work with al-Qaida linked Ansar Al-Sharia and its late leader, Abu Iyadh – a former Bin Laden ally sanctioned by the U.S. after 9/11 – during the Arab Spring. Abu Iyadh was responsible for al-Qaida’s assassination of Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Masood two days before the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

These examples also include connections between the Yemeni MB and al-Qaida through Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Zindani. Treasury Department officials described al-Zindani as a “Bin Laden loyalist” in a 2004 press release. He also helped al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki, while serving on the board of the Brotherhood-linked Union of Good, which raises funds for Hamas.

Al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood have also used many of the same funding mechanisms, such as the Lugano, Switzerland based Al-Taqwa Bank.

West Supported Brotherhood Making Egypt an Islamic State

In other correspondence, Blumenthal reported that “MB leaders are also pleased with the results of discussions with the United States Government, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), both of which, in the analysis of the MB leaders, appear to accept the idea of Egypt as an Islamic state.”

Western business and diplomatic leaders at the 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos“appeared to accept” an end to Egypt’s role as a partner with Israel, Blumenthal wrote, even if the Egyptians had no desire for a military confrontation with the Jewish state.

Brotherhood members, including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, advocated an Islamic government based upon the Turkish model, in which civilians rather than clerics rule. All legislation passed by such a government must conform to the Islamic law. Egypt’s 2012 constitution included this principle, which subjected legislation for review by Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s most important academic institution. Gamal al-Banna, brother of the Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, warned prior to his death in January 2013, that religious law would always prevail in such a system.

“If nothing else, the civilian and religious outlooks will differ and will therefore surrender to the religious outlook,” al-Banna said in a 2011 interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm. “Egypt should thus become a civil state, without involving the detailed legislation of Islam.”

Despite this knowledge Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration chose to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood as just another political party.

Meunier, who helped organize the demonstrations that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak, doesn’t find any of these revelations surprising.

“To have that information and to ignore it is criminal. I kind of had an idea about this way back when [Clinton] came to Egypt, and I refused to meet with her when she requested a meeting with me,” Meunier said. “We knew that she was colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood.

“She was encouraging and working with a terrorist organization.”

Dutch Intelligence: Competition Could Fuel Jihadi Plots

by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
April 27, 2016

tweetA “large scale, spectacular attack in Europe or the US”: this is the prediction of the Netherlands’ Intelligence Service (AIVD).  And, they say, it could happen very soon.

The AIVD’s report on 2015, released last week, analyzes the threat of terrorism, cyber-terrorism, and other national security issues based on the past year’s events and global intelligence-gathering.  The agency found that ongoing competition between jihadist groups is proving even more dangerous than the threat of continued “lone wolf” attacks and localized bombings by jihadists who have either returned from the Islamic State or were inspired by them.  That competition, particularly between al-Qaida and ISIS, is likely to lead to major attacks on the West in order to “demonstrate to one another that each is the real leader of jihadism,” the AIVD report says. This is particularly crucial for al-Qaida, which may stage an attack soon in order to re-assert its prestige and power at a time when ISIS seems to be getting the most attention.

These predictions align with similar warnings from former CIA operative Brian Fairchild,  who last fall also warned of  “another 9/11,” driven by rivalry among the terrorist groups.

That rivalry is intensifying as various factions continue to battle for power in the Levant.  Al-Qaida, for instance, recently published a statement accusing ISIS of “lies and deceit,” and describing them as “one of the biggest dangers today in the jihadi fields.”  And in a video, al-Qaida leader Ayman al Zawahiri called ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi,  “illegitimate.” ISIS, according to al-Qaida, “invoked the curse of Allah” on its opponents, specifically on Jabhat al Nusra.  Al Nusra, which has pledged allegiance to al-Qaida, is considered another powerful rival of ISIS.

Like the AIVD’s 2005 report, “From Dawa To Jihad,” now something of a classic in the literature about the radicalization of Western Muslims, many insights presented in this year’s overview are likely to be taken seriously by intelligence agencies and counter-terrorism strategists globally.  Alongside concerns about a major attack in the near-term, for instance, the AIVD report offers an analysis of the complexities of Islamic terrorism at this moment – and the vastness of its reach.

Those complexities again put the lie to notions that Islamic extremism breeds in impoverished neighborhoods, among the unemployed and disenfranchised. They defy, too, ideas that immigration is to blame, or that simply “closing the borders” will solve the threat. As the report notes:

“The attacks in Europe present a disturbing illustration of the threat Europe currently faces: people from our own homelands, who grew up here and mostly were radicalized here, stand ready and willing to take up weapons against the West [….]  So, too are jihadists who return from the battlefields of jihad prepared to perpetrate similar atrocities [at home] – and jihadists who had planned to join the foreign battle, but never succeeded [in making the trip]. Young, inexperienced jihadists can perpetrate attacks, but those jihad-veterans known to intelligence officials and who have long been quiet may also suddenly come roaring back.”

Similarly, “attacks could be planned and attackers sent from outside Europe, or they can be planned and activated from within; they could be major attacks, arranged by professionals far in advance, or relatively simple and small-scale,” the AIVD report says. “The threat can come from organized groups and networks sent in to commit attacks but also by individuals or small groups who sympathize with a certain jihadist group.”

Moreover, the terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra (JaN), which often is misleadingly characterized as “moderate,” poses an additional threat. “JaN is a jihadist organization connected with al-Qaida and whose purpose, in part, is to commit attacks against the West,” the report says.

And while the death of many al-Qaida leaders may have caused some disruption, this does not mean that the organization is weakened, or that the threat of another al-Qaida attack against the West has vanished. Rather, battling for the mantle of dominant jihadi group could strengthen its determination to wage spectacular attacks.

And it isn’t just violent attacks. While the AIVD has found a rising interest among Dutch Muslims in obtaining weapons, the agency notes that in at least one case, the purpose was to perform a series of armed robberies in order to finance terrorist groups in Syria.

What is certain is that Salafism, the radical Islamic ideology that supports violent jihad, is very much on the rise in the Netherlands. Added to this development is the ISIS propaganda machine, which the report’s authors say, sends the message that terrorism is a form of heroism. Combined, the two forces stand to raise radicalization and the probable involvement in terrorism in the homeland.

For the Dutch, as for other Europeans,  the danger does not just come from jihadists at home and those in Syria. Belgium, with its many extremist and terrorist groups, is just across the Dutch border. Paris is a short, high-speed train ride away.  And as officials increasingly crack down in those two countries, the chances are great that terrorists there will travel elsewhere, looking for the nearest place to hide – and kill.  The result is a multi-pronged threat that hovers over the country, and increasingly, over Europe.

How Radicalization Was Allowed to Fester in Belgium

belgiumby Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
April 19, 2016

These are the numbers, the hard facts: Twenty months. Three terrorist attacks. One hundred seventy dead. And almost all the killers grew up in or at one time lived in Belgium.

Squeezed into a corner bounded by France, Germany and the Netherlands, tiny Belgium has produced more jihadists than any other Western country (relative to its population) since 9/11. The most recent attacks, at the Brussels Maalbeek metro station and Zaventem Airport on March 22, killed at least 32 people and wounded dozens more. On Nov. 13, gunmen from the Brussels district of Molenbeek killed 130 men and women in Paris at a soccer stadium, a restaurant, and concert hall. And in May 2014, Mehdi Nemmouche, a returnee from Syria, shot and killed four people at the entrance to Brussels’ Jewish Museum. Since then, the media has been filled with reports on Belgium as a “new hotbed of terrorism,” while politicians have looked at one another blankly, asking “why?”

But the other hard fact is that there is nothing especially new about any of this. Belgium has been a center for Islamic terrorism for more than 20 years, most notably in the aftermath of a series of 1995 and 1998 bombings in France. Those attacks, which targeted, among others, the Paris Metro and the Arc de Triomphe, were committed by the Armed Islamic Group, or GIA, an Algerian militant group affiliated with al-Qaida, many of whose members lived in Belgium.

Indeed, most of the earlier Islamist terror attacks in Belgium and France were committed by Algerian GIA members, including Farid Melouk, who plotted, among other targets, to bomb the 1998 Paris World Cup. Sentenced to nine years in 1998 for his involvement in terrorism, Melouk is believed to have known and influenced Chérif Kouachi, one of the perpetrators of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last January.

Only later, with the growth of al-Qaida after 9/11, did recruiters turn more to Moroccan immigrants like Abdelhamid Abbaoud, the mastermind of the Nov. 13 strikes, andKhalid Zerkani, believed to have served as a mentor to the current generation of Belgian jihadists.

But not all these 1990s jihadists were strictly GIA: in the aftermath of the 1995 Paris attacks, for instance, during a raid on the home of one Belgian GIA member, policediscovered among the weapons a “training manual,” dedicated to Osama bin Laden. There have also been reports of computer disks containing al-Qaida manuals found in Belgium around this time, but they remain unconfirmed.

But most notable is a report that Belgium repeatedly did little to combat the threat. Rather, according to journalist Paul Belien, Belgian authorities “made a deal with the GIA terrorists, agreeing to turn a blind eye to conspiracies hatched on Belgian soil in exchange for immunity from attack.”

If the deal was real, it did nothing to protect Belgian Muslims from radicalization. Those include converts like Muriel Degauque, who in 2005 earned the dubious distinction of being Belgium’s first female suicide bomber when she blew herself up in Baghdad, killing five.

Moreover, the radicalization of Belgian Muslims has become nearly a local institution, through national political groups like Sharia4Belgium and, previously, the Arab European League (AEL). Founded In 2000 by Lebanese immigrant Dyab Abou Jahjah, the AEL spread briefly beyond Belgium to France and the Netherlands before eventually petering out around 2006. But in its short life, it stirred pro-Islamist sentiment among many Belgian Muslim youth, helping to pave the way for Sharia4Belgium, and its recruiting of warriors for ISIS.

Alongside both of these movements has been the one-man operation of Khalid Zerkani, who is known to his followers as “The Santa Claus of jihad,” the New York Times reports. Zerkani, Belgian federal prosecutor Bernard Michel told the Times, “has perverted an entire generation of youngsters,” including various Molenbeek residents who were involved in the Zaventem killings, and Abdelhamid Abbaaoud, the Paris attack leader. Other Zerkani disciples have joined the Islamic State in Syria. On April 14, Zerkani, who was arrested in 2014, was sentenced to 15 years in Belgian prison for jihad recruiting. But – despite ongoing arrests in Molenbeek and other regions throughout Belgium – his influence, like that of Sharia4Belgium and the relics of Belgium’s terrorist past, continues to walk free on Europe’s streets.

Timeline of Jihadist Events in Belgium

1990s – Armed Islamic Group (GIA), an Algerian terrorist group, forms cells in Belgium and France.

1995

July 25 – GIA sets off bombs at the Saint-Michel station of Paris RER, killing eight and wounding 80

August 17 – bombs set by GIA at the Arc de Triomphe wound 17

August 26 – GIA bomb found on railroad tracks near Lyon

September 3– car bomb at Lyon Jewish school wounds 14

October 6– explosion in Paris Metro wounds 13

October 17– gas bottle explodes between Musee d’Orsay and Notre Dame stations of Paris metro, wounding 29

1998

March 6 – Belgian officials storm a Brussels residence, arresting Farid Melouk, suspected leader of Belgian GIA and organizer of Paris attacks.

Six other GIA operatives are also arrested, all linked to various Paris bombings.

March 22 – Belgian police uncover GIA plot to bomb the World Cup soccer event in France that June. During a raid in Brussels, police uncover explosives, detonators, Kalashnikovs, and thousands of dollars in cash. Again, Farid Melouk is believed to be associated.

May 26 – Police raid homes in Brussels and Charleroi based on evidence found in a GIA safe house in Brussels earlier. Ten people are detained.

1999

May 15 – Farid Melouk sentenced to nine years in Brussels court.

2000

February – Dyab Abou Jahjah establishes the Arab-European League in Antwerp, declaring that “assimilation is cultural rape,” and calling for Islamic schools, Arab-language education, and recognition of Islamic holidays. His goal is to create what he calls a “sharocracy” – a sharia-based democracy.

2001

September 11 – Al-Qaida hijackers plow commercial jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon; a fourth jet, believed to be headed for the White House, is downed by passengers who overtake control. About 3,000 people are killed. The event marks a turning point for Muslim extremism and the rise of Muslim terrorism throughout the West.

September 13 – Nizar Trabelsi, a Tunisian, is arrested in Belgium and charged with plans to bomb a US-NATO military base.

September 30 – Sixteen additional suspects are also arrested in what prosecutors call a “spider’s web of radicals.”

2003

October 1 – Belgian courts convict 18 accused terrorists with suspected ties to al-Qaida, including Trabelsi, who receives a 10-year sentence.

2005

November 9 – Muriel Degauque, a Belgian convert, blows herself up in Baghdad near a group of policemen, killing five.

2009

December – After uncovering believable plans for an attack in Belgium, Antwerp police arrest 10 men, charging them with membership in a terrorist organization. Most members of the alleged terror cell are believed to live in Antwerp. Some are Dutch nationals.

2010

March – Fouad Belkacem establishes Sharia4Belgium.

November – Belgian officials arrest 10 members of a local terrorist cell suspected of planning attacks locally. Counterterrorism officials admit they are facing growing radicalization among the country’s Muslim youth, in part through the work of Sharia4Belgium, which seeks to transform Belgium into an Islamic state.

2012

September 15 – 230 radicalized Muslim members of Sharia4Belgium are arrested during anti-American riots in protest against the film “Innocence of Muslims.” In 2015, officials would discover that 70 of those arrested had joined the jihad in Syria. “The list [of those arrested then] reads today like a passenger list for the Syria-Express,” one investigator told Dutch TV program Een Vandaag.

2013

October 3 – Nizar Trabelsi, having served out his term in the 2001 bombing plot , is extradited to the United States. He is charged “with conspiracy to kill U.S Nationals outside of the United States; conspiracy and attempt to use weapons of mass destruction” and providing material support to terrorists.

2015

January 7-9 – In Paris, a rash of terrorist attacks take the lives of 17 people, including most of the staff of controversial satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and four Jews at a kosher market outside the city. Cherif Kouachi, responsible for the Charlie Hebdokillings, had had earlier contact with Farid Melouk. The attackers all claim to be sworn to the Islamic State.

November 13 – Further terrorist attacks in Paris – at the Stade de France stadium, Bataclan concert hall, and several restaurants – kill 130 people and injure more than 350. Most of the perpetrators come from (or have lived in) the Molenbeek region of Brussels, including suspected ringleader Abdelhamid Abaaoud. Abaaoud is also suspected of having been radicalized by Zerkani. ISIS claims responsibility.

November 14-early 2016 – ongoing arrests and investigations in Molenbeek lead to several additional arrests.

2016

March 15 – Police sweep down on a residence in Vorst, a section of Brussels, arresting four suspects believed to be planning an attack. A fifth, Algerian Mohamed Melkaid, is shot and killed while firing his Kalashnikov at the police. An ISIS flag is found at the scene.

March 18 – Saleh Abdeslam, the sole surviving member of the terrorist team that attacked Paris in November, is arrested in Molenbeek following a shootout. Evidence found in the house in Vorst helped lead them to Abdeslam, who had been in hiding for 120 days, mostly in plain sight in Molenbeek.

His arrest leads to riots among Muslim youth in the district.

March 22 – Coordinated attacks at Brussels-Zaventem airport and the Brussels Maarbeek metro stop kill 32. Two of the suicide bombers, brothers Khalid and Ibrahim el-Bakraoui, had been involved in planning the November Paris attacks; a third, Najim Laachraoui, is suspected as having made the bombs for both Paris and Brussels attacks. Laachraoui is also suspected of having had connections with Melkaid.

March 23-ongoing – Belgian and French police and counterterrorism forces continue to arrest terrorist suspects connected to either the Paris or Brussels attacks, all of them linked with Belgium-based terror cells. One suspect, Osama Krayem (aka Naim Hamed), a Swedish national, admits having backed out of plans to bomb a second metro station, and agrees to cooperate with Brussels police.

April 14 – Kahlid Zerkani receives the maximum 15-year sentence in Brussels courts. The sentence, delivered on appeal, is an increase over the previous sentence of 12 years.

Abigail R. Esman, the author, most recently, of Radical State: How Jihad Is Winning Over Democracy in the West (Praeger, 2010), is a freelance writer based in New York and the Netherlands.

Former Jihadist Detained by the U.S. Linked to Brussels Video

isis videoIPT, by John Rossomando  •  Mar 25, 2016

A pro-ISIS propaganda video released Thursday that celebrates the massacre in Brussels is linked to Moez Bin Abdul Qadir Fezzani, aka “Abu Nassim,” a detainee released by the Obama administration to Italian custody in December 2009.

Al-Battar Media, responsible for producing the video, is reported to be the media arm of the Kalibat al-Battar al-Libi, an elite Libyan-based ISIS unit with ties to the Islamists responsible for the Paris and Brussels attacks. Al-Battar is headed by Fezzani, an intelligence source tells the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

Confusion reigns over where he was held because U.S. and Italian media reports suggest he was held in Guantanamo Bay. However, U.S. government records suggest he was released to Italian custody from a U.S. detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan. Fezzani used several aliases, which adds to the uncertainty.

A court in Milan tried and ultimately acquitted Fezzani in March 2012 for his alleged involvement in jihadist activities prior to his initial capture in Afghanistan 2001.

Italy then expelled Fezzani and sent him back to his native Tunisia, even though Italian authorities considered him a security threat.

Upon his return to Tunisia, Fezzani joined the Al-Qaida linked Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, which has been involved in a jihadist insurgency against the country’s government in the wake of the Arab Spring. A year later, in 2013, Fezzani traveled to Syria to fight under the banner of Al-Qaida’s Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra. He then went to Libya in 2014 where he became a leader of the Kalibat al-Battar militia, which ISIS’s elite special forces unit.

Tunisia’s Department of the Interior issued an arrest warrant for Fezzani on Feb. 8. He is suspected to have been involved in the planning of last year’s ISIS attacks in Sousse and at Tunis’ Bardo museum.

“If the information on Fezzani proves to be true, it is very disturbing. Just like the head of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, this was a man we had in our detention facility and let go,” terrorism analyst Dr. Sebastian Gorka, who teaches at the Marine Corps University, told the IPT. “More and more it seems that the administration, and their counterparts in Europe, do not understand that the ideologues of global jihadism are far more important than the operational commanders of individual cells or organizations.”

LISTEN: Breitbart’s Klein Warns Shiite-Sunni Mega Confrontation ‘Coming’

Militant website via AP

Militant website via AP

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, Jan. 28, 2016:

TEL AVIV – The Islamic State, Al-Qaida, and the Muslim Brotherhood are preparing for a major confrontation with Western-backed forces in Libya, Syria, and beyond, reported Breitbart Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein.

Speaking during his regular segment on John Batchelor’s popular nighttime radio program, Klein highlighted recent events that he said indicate a looming confrontation between Shiite and Sunni-armed forces.

Listen to Klein’s interview on Batchelor’s show here:

Klein pointed to a recent report at Breitbart Jerusalem indicting the Libyan branches of the Islamic State, Al-Qaida, and the Muslim Brotherhood are in discussions to complete a “mega merger” in the country.

Klein connected the merger prospects to a report claiming dozens of Russian, American, and British troops have been deployed to Libya ahead of an offensive there against the Islamic State.

Also, on Friday Marine General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged decisive military action to halt the progress of IS in Libya, warning the global terrorist group was seeking to use the country as a regional headquarters and staging base.

And Klein discussed Breitbart Jerusalem reports of Iran arming regional terrorist organizations while competing for influence with the larger Saudi/Sunni axis.

Klein told Batchelor’s audience of the possible al-Qaida-Islamic State merger:

Aaron Klein audio

“They are reading the tea leaves. They are seeing the larger Sunni-Shiite divide, which has been escalating exponentially in recent weeks… They are seeing that there are no borders anymore.

There are no borders in Libya, there are no borders in Syria largely to speak of. The Turkish border is quite a mess. Yemen is in question.

So my analysis is that al-Qaida, the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic State and others are seeing some sort of coming confrontation, maybe not between the U.S. and Russia but between proxies backed by the Saudis on the one hand and backed by Iran on the other.

There is a lager confrontation that they understand is coming against them in Libya and then ultimately beyond in Yemen and in Syria.”

Report: Islamic State, Al-Qaida, Muslim Brotherhood Discuss ‘Mega-Merger’ in Libya

AFP

AFP

Breitbart, by AARON KLEIN AND ALI WAKED, Jan. 25, 2016:

TEL AVIV – The Libyan branches of the Islamic State, Al-Qaida, and the Muslim Brotherhood are in discussions to complete a “mega merger,” the London-based A Sharq al Awsat newspaper reported.

Leaked documents have revealed that Libya’s biggest Islamist organizations are considering an alliance and the establishment of a joint council of sages, the Arabic language daily reported.

The prospective move comes in the wake of reports of an imminent international effort to form a unity government that would bring Libya’s numerous parties and militias together.

The paper said the Muslim Brotherhood is considering a united Islamic front even though the movement is officially in favor of forming a unity government. However, sources within the movement told the paper that their support for the international endeavor is merely tactical, and they’re waiting for it to collapse.

Negotiations between the three Islamic groups began because of reports of a rapprochement between the internationally recognized government based in Tobruk and the unrecognized government in the capital Tripoli, the paper said.

The groups wish to send a message to the forces coalescing around a unity government that they are not opposed by IS alone, but “all the Islamist opposition elements speak in one voice and should be treated as such,” a source said.

According to the documents, Muslim Brotherhood leaders said that Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s regime “isn’t supported by the Americans because of his close relations with Russia. They can’t wait to see him leave the scene.”

The parties agreed to form a joint Shura (advisory) council and territories that are currently under Islamic control will be divided between them, echoing a similar agreement that is already underway in Benghazi.

Al-Qaida’s representative was quoted as saying that the move would inspire Islamists in Algeria and Egypt to follow suit.

This follows Breitbart Jerusalem’s own exclusive reporting on mediation efforts between the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Hamas in Gaza and Salafists aligned with the Islamic State.

Breitbart Jerusalem previously reported that Shadi al-Menai, one of the leaders of Wilayat Sinai, the Islamic State branch in Sinai, visited Gaza in a bid to mediate between Hamas and local Salafi groups after clashes erupted, resulting in the arrests of dozens of jihadists by Hamas forces.

Earlier this month, a leading Salafi source revealed that Menai mediated a deal whereby Hamas would give the Gaza Salafi opposition groups more leeway in exchange for Wilayat Sinai’s help in bypassing the Egyptian army’s restrictions on smuggling rocket parts into Gaza

This is not the first report of Hamas-IS cooperation in arms smuggling.

A Middle East think tank charged last month that there is information Hamas has been paying off the Islamic State’s Sinai branch to smuggle weapons into Gaza. “Over the past two years, IS Sinai helped Hamas move weapons from Iran and Libya through the peninsula, taking a generous cut from each shipment,” stated a report by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Despite the rapprochement between Hamas and IS-Sinai, tensions between the ruling faction and Salafi opposition groups in Gaza are rampant.

The Army of Islam, a Salafi group that aspires to become IS’s sole representative in Palestine, recently released an acerbic video in which it blames Hamas for straying from Sharia law and cooperating with anti-Islamic players, including Shi’ite Iran.

***

Also see:

Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Begins to Stall-What Now?

  • Putin Gives Assad mid-Nov. deadline for results with Aleppo offensive and that the Russian airstrikes weren’t “indefinite.”
  • Syrian Rebels gaining some ground and pro-Assad forces suffering supply shortages and taking casualties – most notably IRGC commander Hamedani causing low morale.
  • Lack of coordination and competition between IRGC-Qods Force, Hezbollah, SAA and Russian Army causing problems
  • In spite of ops in Ukraine and Syria causing logistical strain on Russia, no sign of opening another air base.
  • Russia’s plan to take Aleppo, forcing a negotiated settlement and then turning attention to hitting ISIS is not going well and the Sinai plane bombing has just made everything more complicated.
  • Russian propaganda aside, can you say “Quagmire”?

The ISIS Study Group, Nov. 7, 2015:

In late-OCT Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a surprise visit to Moscow. Although it was called a “working visit” and the Assad regime did confirm three meetings were held, most people in the international press were caught up with this being Assad’s first visit in a few years. However, something rather important occurred during this visit – Vlad put Assad on notice. Assad was informed by Vlad that he’s expecting results from the Aleppo offensive by mid-NOV since he has Russian military support. That’s mid-NOV as in starting next week. He also told Assad that the Russian airstrikes weren’t “indefinite.”

Syria’s Assad in surprise visit to Moscow
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/10/syria-assad-met-russia-putin-moscow-151021064340109.html

Source: ZB

Source: ZB

Indeed this is a bit of a departure from what Vlad told Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia (“No End in Sight in Fighting on the Arabian Peninsula Front”), but we see it as more of our favorite KGB officer beginning to feel a greater sense of urgency. Basil al-Asad Airbase is operating at full capacity and our sources in Syria have informed us that there are no plans to open up other airbases to expand Russia’s logistical footprint – which is going to come back to haunt them. The ongoing offensive in Aleppo that we discussed in “Pro-Assad Forces Experience Setbacks Despite Russian Military Intervention” has become the new priority for the pro-regime forces looking for a “big win.” The problem with this is it means resources and personnel involved in the operations occurring in Northwest Syria are being redirected. Despite the Russian military support and diverting of resources and personnel to the Aleppo front, the offensive has stalled.

No End in Sight in Fighting on the Arabian Peninsula Front
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=8896

On Thursday the al-Qaida-flavored Jund al-Aqsa seized control of the Hama Province town of Morek. That town was the last SAA garrison along the main highway between Aleppo and Hama. This was a particularly important event since the anti-Assad factions now have control of a major line of communication from which reinforcements and supplies can be sent to support operations in Idlib and Aleppo. We’ve been covering this multi-pronged pro-regime offensive to retake Aleppo, Idlib, and Russia’s involvement in it from the start (“Russia Supports New Syrian Offensive and Begins Prepping For Russian Ground OPs” and “Pro-Assad Forces Experience Setbacks Despite Russian Military Intervention”). In those articles we discussed the first indicators of things not exactly going as well as Russian propagandists are spinning them out to be. Although its true that pro-regime forces retook multiple villages South of Aleppo, they sustained heavy losses in doing so.

Syria jihadists capture regime town along vital road
http://news.yahoo.com/syria-rebels-seize-key-regime-town-hama-aleppo-095717057.html

Russia Supports New Syrian Offensive and Begins Prepping For Russian Ground OPs
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=8669

Pro-Assad Forces Experience Setbacks Despite Russian Military Intervention
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=8778

BG Hamedani in his best pic yet Source: The ISIS Study Group

BG Hamedani in his best pic yet
Source: The ISIS Study Group

The IRGC continues to play a large role on the ground on the Aleppo front, although they haven’t been able to recover (yet) from the death of IRGC BG Hossein Hamedani (Reference – “Pro-Assad Forces Experience Setbacks Despite Russian Military Intervention”). The combined pro-regime forces were already having problems coordinating/prioritizing lines of effort, but BG Hamedani’s death made the situation worse. As of this writing the vast majority of the pro-regime forces are suffering from low-morale and supply shortages that are compounded by that failure to prioritize and coordinate operations – which is why the current Aleppo campaign is stalling. Such problems have watered down all the airstrikes and fire support, so it really shouldn’t surprise anybody that the ground forces are having a hard time seizing and holding territory.

A big indicator of these problems in coordination operations can be seen in the anti-Assad factions’ adapting to the Russian airstrikes that aren’t necessarily being reported up by the guys on the ground. The reason has more to do with personal pride and an overall pissing contest between the officers of the IRGC-Qods Force, Hezbollah, SAA and Russian Army. The establishment of joint-coordination centers have helped some, but thus far it appears to have been the most successful in better stream-lining logistical operations. The reason for the lackluster improvement has to do with the Russian military continuing to maintain their own C2 separate from the SAA, IRGC and Hezbollah. The Russians manage sorties and use embedded LNOs to process strike requests – which chews up a lot of time that the guys on the ground probably don’t have the luxury of wasting. As one would guess, this has only led to increased tensions between the Russians and the Qods Force – who don’t believe they need Vlad’s boys beat down the anti-Assad factions (Gee, that sure looks like a great opportunity for some IO messaging there, CENTCOM – HINT, HINT).

al-Nusra fighters in the Southern part of Aleppo Source: al-Nusra Media Office

al-Nusra fighters in the Southern part of Aleppo
Source: al-Nusra Media Office

The Islamic State (IS) had severed some of the primary supply lines (such as the Khanaser Road) linking support hubs to the Aleppo front. Although the Assad regime is trumpeting its “victory” in regaining control of the Khanaser Road, they had to reallocate units to reopen the line of communication (LOC) just to sustain the offensive. Unfortunately, that also meant losing considerable momentum in other, more critical areas on the front. Assad’s forces were stretched even further when they were forced to eject IS from an oilfield near Hama. Another issue the SAA is running into is the increasing reliance on militias such as the Liwa Abu Fadl al-Abbas (LAFA) as a result of manpower shortages. The problem with relying on the militias is that they’re very hit or miss. Not all of the militias are as capable as Hezbollah, Badr Organization, Kitaib Hezbollah (KH) or Asaib al-Haq (AAH). As a result, the Russian ground force mix of Spetsnaz and conventional troops are seeing more action. Most of their operations (the conventional guys anyways) are centered around convoy security in the Ghab Valley, although their Naval Infantry guys are conducting more small-unit operations at the company-level and lower. The Spetsnaz continue to due their counter-terror raids in conjunction with the Qods Force, although neither side appears to be particularly thrilled with having to “share” responsibilities. Those Russian ground troops have already sustained 10 KIA and another 24 WIA (again, a great opportunity for an IO campaign for the US to regain the initiative – assuming anybody in the Pentagon still has their balls).

Syrian Government Forces Regain Key Aleppo Supply Route
http://www.wsj.com/articles/syrian-government-forces-regain-key-aleppo-supply-rout-1446740694

Syrian Regime Makes Gains For Aleppo Supply Lines, Uniting ISIS, Jabhat Al-Nusra, Syrian Rebels
http://www.ibtimes.com/syrian-regime-makes-gains-aleppo-supply-lines-uniting-isis-jabhat-al-nusra-syrian-2165308

Syrian army, allied Hezbollah militia expel ISIS from key oilfield near Hama
http://aranews.net/2015/11/syrian-army-allied-hezbollah-militia-expel-isis-from-key-oilfield-near-hama/

Hollow Victory: The pro-regime forces threw a great deal of time and personnel – their most precious resource – at retaking this piece of real estate Source: George Ourfalian (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

Hollow Victory: The pro-regime forces threw a great deal of time and personnel – their most precious resource – at retaking this piece of real estate
Source: George Ourfalian (Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

The big problem Vlad is going to face if this war extends beyond 6 months (which we don’t see any end in the foreseeable future) is the strain on the Russian military’s logisitical capabilities. Sure, the talking heads in the media point to Russia’s vast numbers, but what they fail to realize is that Russia’s military is a conscript force – and one that doesn’t have the highest morale. They also overlook the fact that despite the Russian military’s size, they have a hard time providing logistical support to it on campaigns. Russia was beginning to struggle with providing support to the limited presence it has in Ukraine, so what do you think is going to happen in Syria, or Iraq for that matter (should they expand there)? The biggest sign of strain to Russia’s airlift capabilities will be felt in the ordnance-area, in a few months we’ll know why the airstrikes will begin to decline. This is why we find Russia’s decision not to open up another airbase to alleviate the strain placed on Basil al-Assad Airbase (which is currently operating at full capacity) so interesting. The implied task, therefore, would be to use more sealift transport. The problem with that is the Russian Naval base in Tartus may not have the infrastructure to expand that capability. Ultimately, this will lead to a lag in support operations.

So what’s next? With all the resources being thrown into this multi-pronged Syrian offensive with so little in results, Vlad is going to be forced to either invest even more in the regional war by expanding Russia’s military intervention, or lower the bar of what constitutes “success.” Vlad’s original plan was to push for a “big win” in Aleppo to use as a means of forcing the so-called “moderates” into a negotiated settlement on terms favorable to Assad. Once that happens, the combined pro-regime forces would turn their complete attention to IS. However, the bombing of a Russian airliner in Sinai changed all that (Check out “Sinai Plane Crash Update” and “Amplifying Details on the Sinai Plane Bombing and the Egypt-Libya Nexus” for more details). If anything, Vlad almost has to expand his military’s involvement in Syria if nothing else but to continue to push the narrative that he’s the “ironman” of the international community – and the “anti-Obama.” Thing is, by getting more involved in this regional war, Vlad will run the risk of falling into the same trap that his predecessors did in Afghanistan. Vlad may fill the leadership void left by the US government, but all its going to do is increase recruitment to Baghdadi’s cause. Jihadists may hate America, but they have a very special hatred for Russians. As much as the Rand Paul fanboys are excited about the possibility of somebody else carrying the load, region will become much more unstable because of it. This is going to affect both the West and the Russians. Keep in mind that although Russia prefers a more draconian strategy of laying waste to entire populations, that philosophy didn’t particularly work out in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Ingushtia or Dagestan. So welcome to the meat-grinder Vlad – sucks, don’t it?

Sinai Plane Crash Update
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=9184

Amplifying Details on the Sinai Plane Bombing and the Egypt-Libya Nexus
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=9230

Source: The ISIS Study Group

Source: The ISIS Study Group

Other Related Articles:

Vlad Uses Saudi Prince’s Thirst for Power to His Advantage Against US Influence
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=9180

Islamic State Claims to Have Shot-Down Russian Plane in Sinai – But Did They?
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=9157

Russia Providing Lethal Aid to Syria, Iran and Establishment of Intel Centers in Iraq
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=8532

Russia Poised to Increase Military Presence in Middle East in Response to Islamic State’s Strength
http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=8416

The Persian Hustle: Iran Dupes Clueless US State Dept in Nuke Talks and Moves to Dominate the Middle East

Source: townhall.com

Source: townhall.com

April 1, 2015 /

On Sunday the Iranian regime backed away from a critical part of the nuclear agreement the Obama administration is desperately trying to get them to agree to. The part they walked away from was the proposal for them to send a large portion of their uranium stockpile to Russia, where it wouldn’t be accessible for use in a weapons program. The Iranian Foreign Minister’s abrupt announcement on Sunday shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, yet the US State Department (DoS) is still at the negotiating table talking about giving them even more concessions – such as taking inconvenient things off the table like “intrusive inspections” for instance.

Intrusive inspections are a key part of ensuring that the Iranian regime isn’t continuing to move forward with obtaining a nuclear strike capability. The inspections themselves are designed to keep the regime honest and deter any covert activity. Unfortunately, our sources are suggesting that the Obama administration was already moving towards taking intrusive inspections off the table in order to keep the regime engaged. The regime – which smells the Obama desperation to get a deal done as well as some semblance of a “victory” in Iraq – had ordered IRGC-Qods Force commander GEN Suleimani to pull his Ramazan Corps personnel and Shia proxies off the front-lines in the Tikrit offensive in order to apply even greater pressure on the Obama administration, forcing them into making more concessions during the negotiations. As of this writing, those forces remain nearby and are currently holding territory seized from the Islamic State (IS) in the outskirts of the city. They can quickly move back into the fight, but like we said in “Tikrit OP Shows Signs of Falling Apart Despite US Airstrikes,” whether Suleimani orders his forces back into the fight while the US military continues to provide air support will depend entirely on what happens during these nuclear talks. Further south the Iranian regime has dramatically increased their direct support to their Houthi proxies in Yemen in order to gain control of that country’s key port cities – which would enable the Iranian military to potentially disrupt oil shipments in addition to forcing Saudi Arabia to redirect resources originally meant for the anti-Assad war effort in Syria back closer to home.

Tikrit OP Shows Signs of Falling Apart Despite US Airstrikes

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5887

The Yemen Octagon: GCC vs Iran vs Houthis vs AQAP vs Islamic State

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5931

Iran Backs Away From Key Detail in Nuclear Deal

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/30/world/middleeast/iran-backs-away-from-key-detail-in-nuclear-deal.html?smid=tw-bna&_r=0

Iran talks stretch into the night hours before deadline

http://news.yahoo.com/iran-talks-blocked-three-issues-western-diplomat-105135826.html;_ylt=AwrBJR7z2RlVmTMARYTQtDMD

The hidden truth about Iran’s nuclear program

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/03/29/hidden-truth-about-irans-nuclear-program/

Inspections_The_Weak_Link_in_a_Nuclear_Agreement_with_Iran

Sensing they could get even more concessions from the Obama administration, the Iranian regime walked away with a promise of a “final agreement” being reached by the end of JUN 2015. What the west got out of all the time they wasted was a “framework understanding.” Along with intrusive inspections being taken off the table, there was no serious talk about the ICBM program that is a key part of this nuclear weapons program. If the Iranian regime has a “peaceful program” as claimed, then why are they rushing to advance their ballistic missile technology? In fact, why are they working so closely with the North Koreans in joint-nuclear and ballistic missile projects? We wrote back in NOV 14 in “How the North Korean Regime Affects the Middle East” the aspects of these joint endeavors and how they were designed to circumvent the sanctions placed against the two rogue nations. These joint programs have been going on for years where Iran shares their know-how in ballistic missile technology in exchange for DPRK expertise in the nuclear-arena. In fact, the DPRK’s front companies have been instrumental in bringing in equipment to Iran that have been targeted by sanctions. With the DPRK sending officials to Iran for ballistic missile development and Iranian researchers sent to Pyongyang for work on the nuke program, we see how this problem is worsening – and it won’t get better if we give them everything they want like the Obama administration is proposing.

How the North Korean Regime Affects the Middle East

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=3038

Exclusive: Iran pursues ballistic missile work, complicating nuclear talks

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/15/us-iran-nuclear-missiles-idUSBREA4E11V20140515

IRAN-NORTH KOREA-DIPLOMACY

Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and DPRK ceremonial head of state Kim Jong Nam
Source: Forbes Magazine

The Obama administration will charge that the Iranian nuclear weapons program isn’t “that advanced” right now. Although true at the moment, what they neglect to mention is how the Israeli MOSSAD has been the only reason that they don’t have a nuclear strike capability already. As previously stated in “Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Nuclear Weapons Program,” Iran’s current efforts are simply the resurrection of the Shah’s old program – which was designed as a counter-measure to the Soviet’s nuclear strike capability. All the Ayatollah’s regime did was reconstitute that program once the Shah’s regime collapsed. If it was a weapons program then – what suddenly makes it “peaceful” now? The Israelis – led by their dynamic leader Bibi Netanyahu – fully understand the threat for what it is and have been actively waging a cold war of sabotage and assassinations to roll back the program enough to buy them some time. We assess that even if a deal is reached by JUN 15, it won’t keep the Israelis from escalating their operations against the Iranian regime, and we don’t blame them.

Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Nuclear Weapons Program

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2640

Mr. Netanyahu Goes to Washington

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=5316

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 5.54.13 AM

Bibi has sacrificed much while serving in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and fully knows what it will take to defend his people. Wouldn’t it be nice if President Obama had the same understanding regarding the American people?
Source: collegeinsurrection.com

There’s a very strong pro-Iran lobby in the Beltway led by Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) asset Trita Parsi and the MOIS front that he runs known as the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). This organization was set up by the MOIS to conduct an IO campaign in America in order to influence American politicians enough to get them to push for the lifting of sanctions against the regime. Parsi serves as the primary lobbyist for the regime’s agenda on Capital Hill and has seen the most success from 2009-the present with several Democrat lawmakers having been wined and dined by the man and his cronies, which is probably why we haven’t seen a whole lot of pushback coming from that side of the aisle. But its not just the members of Congress, its also CIA officials, former-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and former-Secretary of State -now likely 2016 Democrat Presidential nominee – Hillary Clinton. The reason the American people – and their allies – should care is that this implies that Parsi’s organization possibly had a hand in the US government’s current Iran policy (Parsi defended Hagel’s stance on Iran in multiple Op-Eds). Parsi has been invited to the White House on numerous occasions by Valerie Jarrett, for instance. More disturbing is the fact that the Democrat Party’s first choice for President in the 2016 election has been cultivating a relationship with Parsi directly since SEP 09 – which set the stage for the current situation regarding the nuclear talks. Although we haven’t seen a “smoking gun,” we have strong suspicions that these ties to a known MOIS front is the primary reason for her secrecy surrounding the foreign contributions being made to the Clinton Foundation and why she chose to only do email correspondence on a privately-held server. That, our dear readers, would be far more explosive than anything pertaining to Benghazi – and more dangerous. The fact that none of the legitimate Iranian expat groups in the US or Europe wants anything to do with the NIAC should be a huge red-flag on their true intentions. Unfortunately, we doubt that the mainstream media will ever seriously cover this serious charge. To our Republican readers, this is also a good gauge to see if Congressman Trey Gowdy is truly a man of integrity and substance or just another grandstander a la Rand Paul who talks a great game but really stands for nothing other than his own personality cult.

vjcard

The card the NIAC sent to Valerie Jarrett after their first visit to the White House
Source: NIAC homepage

You can find more on the MOIS’ IO campaign right here:

Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Charm Offensive

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2676

parsi

Trita Parsi
Source: NIAC homepage

The Obama administration claims that any push for more sanctions against the Iranian regime would “undermine” their efforts at achieving “peace” with Iran. They couldn’t be more wrong. How so? The Iranian regime’s actions are quite easy to read – they’re maneuvering to dominate the Middle East and view a nuclear strike capability as being the “golden ticket” that will keep the west from intervening as they tighten the noose. They’re fully aware of the fact that nothing happened to India, Pakistan or the DPRK after they announced that they have “the bomb,” so when they make that announcement themselves they fully intend to exploit their newfound immunity. Who’s going to stop them? It won’t be the US since our leadership is too weak and flaccid to do anything to Iran even it wanted to. We may be able to do business with the Iranian people – but the Iranian people aren’t the runs running the current regime. As long as Khameini’s people remain in power there will be no peace. The regime’s interpretation of “peace” is a Middle East that’s purged of all Sunni and non-Muslim influences. In other words, when they say they want to “wipe Israel off the map” – they mean it. All one has to do in order to get a taste of what’s coming is to see how the IRGC-Qods Force is fighting in the Syria, Iraq and Yemen fronts. In each case we’re seeing the Qods Force and their Shia proxy groups waging a very sectarian campaign where the civilian population is targeted just as much as IS and AQ fighters. Its also worth noting that this campaign and the increased targeting of Americans and Israelis living abroad is occurring while a so-called “reformist” occupies the Iranian President position, which adds further weight to what we’ve been saying about Rouhani being nothing more than a “smiling face” that the regime presents to the public while they further their agenda.

The Iranian regime already controls the Arab capitals of Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and Sanaa, and yet we’re being told by the US government that Iran is a “willing partner of peace.” The truth is that Iran has outmaneuvered the Obama administration from the start and are now on the verge of reaching the culmination point of being targeting Saudi Arabia and Israel. Turkey is also learning that they’re no longer immune from the hand of GEN Suleimani (which we’ll discuss in another article to be published in the near future). The new “Arab Army” that the Saudis have been pushing for has the rising Iranian threat in mind. But it won’t stop there. You see, Saudi Arabia will also be pursuing a nuclear strike capability of their own, and don’t be surprised if a back-room deal is made with the Israelis to “deal” with the Iranian nuclear weapon problem with the Saudis granting the Israeli Air Force use of their airspace to launch airstrikes. Yemen is the point from which all the different factions – al-Qaida, IS, Iran and the Arab nations converge in a massive regional war. This is no longer just about Syria or Iraq, no matter how much the US DoS will attempt to dismiss how serious the crisis has become. Don’t get it twisted, the Obama administration isn’t intentionally trying to bathe the Middle East in flames – they’re just really that naive and ignorant on how the world works. Remember, most of the people occupying the most senior positions of the Obama administration are academics who never really held a real job or actually applied any of the things they talk about in lectures in real-world settings until 2009 – and we’ve seen the painful results. Here, the saying of “those who can’t do – teach.” With the possibility of a Saudi-led ground operation being launched against the Iranian proxies in Yemen getting closer to reality with each passing day, we need to reverse course by maintaining sanctions against the Iranian regime, repair the damage done to US-Israeli relations and shutdown the NIAC. Unfortunately, these are academics we’re talking about here, so forget about them ever admitting to being “wrong” an correcting their deficiencies…

Other Related Articles:

Inside Iran’s Middle East: the “Reformers”

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2635

Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Southeast Insurgency

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=2689

Inside Iran’s Middle East: the Kurdish Insurgency

http://isisstudygroup.com/?p=4068

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

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

February 16, 2015 / /

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

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

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

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

GEN SISI 1

GEN Sisi plays for keeps
Source: BBC

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

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

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

aac

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

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

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

isis

Source: Newsweek

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

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

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

General Khalifa Haftar

GEN Khalifah Haftar
Source: Press TV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

President Obama’s Yemen “Success” Story

February 13, 2015 / /

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

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

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

Marines provide new details about Yemen evacuation

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

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

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

The Islamic State’s Arabian Peninsula Campaign

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

AQAP Steps Up Attacks in Yemen

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

AQAP vs. Shia Proxy Fighting Intensifies

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

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 7.46.33 PM

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

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

Al-Qaida fighters capture headquarters of Yemeni Army brigade

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

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

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

houthi44

Source: Albawaba News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Related Articles:

Yemen’s Houthi Rebels: The Hand of Iran?

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

American and South African Hostage Killed in Yemen During Rescue Attempt

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

Shia Proxy Threat to US ISIS Strategy in Saudi Arabia

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

Inside Iran’s Middle East: The Southeast Insurgency

ITSP logo by :

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

Inside Iran’s Middle East:  The “Reformers”

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

qods force__1

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

Source:  Fars News Agency

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

Profile: Iran’s Jundullah militants

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

Iraq’s shadow on Balochistan

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

Waking up to the war in Balochistan

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

Karzai Admits Balochistan Unrest Emanating From Afghanistan, Claims Malik

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

jundallah

Jundallah Fighters

Source:  al-Arabiya

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

Sunni group vows to behead Iranians

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

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

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

Foreign devils in the Iranian mountains

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

Guns smuggling on the rise in Balochistan

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

rigi 33

the late-Jundallah Leader Abdul Malik Rigi

Source:  al-Jazeera

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

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

The History and Capabilities Of The Khorasan Group

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

The Khorasan Group:  Threat To The Homeland?

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

Khorasan Group is a Bigger Threat Than ISIS?

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

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

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

Who supports Jundallah?

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

Read more at ITSProject

Senators: Kerry Suggested Arming Syrian Rebels

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

The New York Times Destroys Obama

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

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

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

By Caroline Glick:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at Front Page

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