Category Archives: Terrorism

Obama refuses to bomb ISIS training camps turning out thousands of fighters a month

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 Ever wonder why the US military – the most powerful and technologically advance force in the world – is losing a war to a bunch of fanatical fighters?

Could be that we’re not serious enough about “destroying and degrading” Islamic State forces.

Case in point: There are dozens of ISIS training camps spread throughout Syria and Iraq training thousands of fighters a month – and we haven’t once targeted a camp in our air campaign.

The fear is hitting civilians – what the military calls “responsible targeting.” But Bill Gertz of the Washington Free Beacon has examined the targets hit by our forces and comes away unimpressed.

The military campaign, known as Operation Inherent Resolve, appears to be floundering despite a yearlong campaign of airstrikes and military training programs aimed to bolstering Iraqi military forces.

A review of Central Command reports on airstrikes since last year reveals that no attacks were carried out against training camps.

Targets instead included Islamic State vehicles, buildings, tactical units, arms caches, fighting positions, snipers, excavators, mortar and machine gun positions, bunkers, and bomb factories.

The risk-averse nature of the airstrike campaign was highlighted last month by Brig. Gen. Thomas Weidley, chief of staff for what the military calls Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

“The coalition continues to use air power responsibly,” Weidley said July 1. “Highly precise deliveries, detailed weaponeering, in-depth target development, collateral damage mitigation, and maximized effects on Daesh, are characteristics of coalition airstrike operation in Iraq and Syria.”

Daesh is another name for the Islamic State.

“The coalition targeting process minimizes collateral damage and maximizes precise effects on Daesh,” Weidley said earlier. “Air crews are making smart decisions and applying tactical patience every day.”

Other coalition spokesman have indicated that targeting has been limited to reaction strikes against operational groups of IS fighters. “When Daesh terrorists expose themselves and their equipment, we will strike them,” Col. Wayne Marotto said May 27.

The military website Long War Journal published a map showing 52 IS training camps and noted that some may no longer be operating because of the U.S.-led bombing campaign.

According the map, among the locations in Iraq and Syria where IS is operating training camps are Mosul, Raqqah, Nenewa, Kobane, Aleppo, Fallujah, and Baiji.

The group MEMRI obtained a video of an IS training camp in Nenewa Province, Iraq, dated Oct. 1, 2014.

The video shows a desert outpost with tan tents and around 100 fighters who take part in hand-to-hand combat exercises, weapons training, and religious indoctrination.

We are fighting with one hand tied behind our backs because of the fear of collateral damage. Fair enough. But consider that nearby in Yemen, the Saudis are wontonly killing civilians in their air strikes, and the Syrian government and Hezb’allah are massacring civilians with poison gas and “barrel bombs.”

The Obama administration is running out the clock on the war against Islamic State, hoping they can keep ISIS from a sweeping victory until after they are safely out of office. No messy civilian deaths will be allowed to tarnish the Lightworker’s legacy – even if that means continued suffering and death at the hands of terrorists because we refuse to destroy their training camps.

Libya calls for international airstrikes against ISIS

PARIS: Libya’s foreign minister Tuesday renewed a call for the lifting of an arms embargo and for international airstrikes to help tackle ISIS, which threatens to create a “rear base” in the country.

“The situation is extremely serious,” Mohammad al-Dayri, foreign minister for Libya’s internationally recognized government based in Misrata, said on a visit to Paris. “People are dying, are crucified, are disinterred from their graves, are burned alive. Libyans don’t understand why the international community doesn’t wake up to these dangers.”

Libya has two rival governments and has been torn apart since the international community helped oust Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

Libya’s official government has been based in the east since losing the capital a year ago to Libya Dawn, which set up its own government. Neither administration controls much territory.

Dayri said ISIS was present in the towns of Derna, Benghazi, Sirte and Sabratha. “They have not yet seized oil fields, but we fear they might come to control several wells,” he added.

“On Saturday, there was a call from their leaders in Iraq and Syria to reinforce their ranks in Libya. They want to make Libya a rear base.”

He said ISIS currently had limited means in Libya and had faced pushback from local populations working alongside other armed Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda, notably in Derna in June. “After 2011, Libya was abandoned to its fate.”

He called for the U.N. to lift the arms embargo imposed in 2011.

“We are not talking about sophisticated military equipment, but we need the minimum to fight terrorism in an adequate manner,” he said.

“We also hope for an [international] intervention as soon as possible because the danger is growing. But not troops on the ground. We are hoping for aerial support for the Libyan armed forces on the ground.

“The international community waited for Mosul to fall before intervening in Iraq. We don’t want to see Tripoli or Misrata fall,” he said.

ISIS Monday executed four people in Sirte, including at least one member of a rival group whose body was put on display, according to residents and a video published on social media. The video released by the militant group showed a gunmen shooting a man, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, who was tied to a makeshift cross. His body was left there afterward as a warning to others.

The man was identified as an alleged spy for Libya Dawn, a group backing a nonrecognized government in Tripoli, which has flown airstrikes against ISIS in Sirte.

The executions come after ISIS fighters crushed a revolt by a Salafist group and armed residents in Sirte earlier this month, trying to break its grip on the city, located some 500 km to the east of Tripoli.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 26, 2015, on page 10.

Child beheads teddy bear in new ISIS video

Disturbing footage of a child beheading his teddy bear has been released online in what seems to be an ISIS propaganda stunt. (Photo courtesy: YouTube)

Al Arabiya News

Disturbing footage of a child beheading his teddy bear has been released online in what seems to be an ISIS propaganda stunt.

The video, released this week, shows a young boy holding a knife to a stuffed toy before lifting his weapon and shouting a derogatory term used for non-believers of Islam, the UK-based Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

The child appears to be standing in front of an ISIS flag and proceeds to saw the head off the toy in the 30-second video uploaded to YouTube.

It has not been confirmed whether the terror group is responsible for the clip.

In July, a young boy was filmed beheading a man thought to be a Syrian soldier in the Homs province of Syria.

That video was shared by alleged ISIS supporters who praised the child.

Islamic State kills 30 for sodomy

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Islamic State extremist group has claimed responsibility for killing at least 30 people for sodomy, the head of an international gay rights organization said Monday at the first-ever U.N. Security Council meeting spotlighting violence and discrimination against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. “It’s about time, 70 years after the creation of the U.N., that the fate of LGBT persons who fear for their lives around the world is taking center stage,” said U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, who organized the meeting with Chile’s U.N. envoy. “This represents a small but historic step.” Diplomats said two of the 15 council members, Chad and Angola, did not attend the informal, closed meeting. Jessica Stern, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, told the council that courts established by the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria claim to have punished sodomy with stoning, firing squads and beheadings and by pushing men from tall buildings. Fear of the extremist group, which controls about a third of Syria and Iraq, has fueled violence by others against LGBT individuals, she said. Subhi Nahas, a gay refugee from the Syrian city of Idlib, told the council that President Bashar Assad’s government “launched a campaign accusing all dissidents of being homosexuals” when that country’s uprising started in 2011. Soon afterward, gay hangouts were raided and many people were arrested and tortured. “Some were never heard from again,” he said. When the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front took Idlib in 2012, he said, its militants announced “they would cleanse the town of those involved in sodomy,” and arrests and executions of accused homosexuals followed. Last year, when the Islamic State took the city, the violence worsened, he said. “At the executions, hundreds of townspeople, including children, cheered jubilantly as at a wedding,” Nahas said. “If a victim did not die after being hurled off a building, the townspeople stoned him to death. This was to be my fate too.” He was able to escape to Lebanon, then to Turkey, where he was threatened by a former school friend from Idlib who had joined the Islamic State group, and finally to the United States. Stern stressed that persecution of LGBT people in Iraq and Syria began long before the emergence of the Islamic State group, also known as Daesh and called for U.N. action to relocate LGBT persons most in need and for bringing the gay community into broader human rights and humanitarian initiatives among other things.

ISIS destroys ancient Catholic monastery in Syria

ISIS militant standing at the bulldozed site of Mar Elian monastery in Al-Qaryatain in central Syria.

Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants have destroyed an ancient monastery in the central Syrian province of Homs, according to a monitor and pictures published by the jihadist group.

“ISIS group yesterday used bulldozers to destroy the Mar Elian monastery in Al-Qaryatain, in Homs province,” said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.

He said the militants demolished the Syriac Catholic monastery “on the pretext that it was used for worshipping others than God.”

Photographs posted online by ISIS showed militants bulldozing parts of the monastery, although they did not appear to have completely destroyed the building with explosives as they have done with shrines and other religious buildings elsewhere.

ISIS seized Al-Qaryatain on August 5, kidnapping at least 230 people, including dozens of Christians.

The town lies at the crossroads between ISIS territory in the eastern countryside of Homs and points further west in the Qalamun area bordering Lebanon.

The Observatory said that ISIS had released 48 of those it took captive when it overran the town, and had transferred another 110 to its stronghold of Raqa province.

The fate of the other 70 hostages was unclear.

The Mar Elian monastery dates back to the fifth century and is named for a Christian from Homs province who was martyred for refusing to renounce his faith.

It is attached to a famous church of the same name, but it was unclear if that too had been damaged by ISIS.

In May, Syrian priest Jacques Mourad was abducted from the monastery by masked men as he prepared to receive residents of nearby Palmyra fleeing an ISIS advance.

Intolerant of any religious practice other than its own interpretation of Islam, ISIS has regularly destroyed religious buildings and icons in territory under their control.

They have also targeted statues, which they consider idolatrous, and grave markers, including those of Muslims.

Hamas Invited to Visit London

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By Dalit Halevi

Azzam Tamimi, formerly the head of the Institute of Islamic Political Thought in London, which is considered to be affiliated with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, claimed on Wednesday that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair invited Mashaal to London to hold talks about the truce agreement with Israel.

In an interview with the Hamas-affiliated Al-Risala newspaper, Tamimi said that the visit did not take place because Hamas demanded to find out the details of the proposal in advance, and opposed the idea that the talks would be a continuation of the Oslo process or an attempt to revive peace talks with Israel.

Tamimi further claimed that Blair received the approval of British Prime Minister David Cameron for Mashaal’s visit, and that Hamas has an interest in the visit taking place, regardless of its outcome, since it shows the EU’s willingness to break its “siege” on Hamas in preparation for its removal from its blacklist of terrorist organizations.

He said that European officials have a keen interest in reaching a peaceful agreement, which includes the gradual removal of the blockade on Gaza, adding that the success of a move in Gaza may prepare the ground for a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.

Tamimi’s comments come amid continued reports that Hamas has been holding secret talks with Israel aimed at reaching an eight- or 10-year truce, with Israel removing its blockade on Gaza.

Israel on Monday denied it was engaged in “any meetings with Hamas, neither directly, nor via other countries or intermediaries”.

The PA, however, has been up in arms over the reports. On Sunday, the Fatah faction which heads the PA called the talks an attempt to bypass the “legitimate” rule of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and of PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

It further said such a deal could bring about a situation in which various armed groups claim to represent the “Palestinian nation.”

On Tuesday, the PA’s foreign minister, Riad al-Malki, claimed there were talks between Israel and Hamas that would cause Palestinian disunity.

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace

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