Tag Archives: ISIL

Iraqi Foreign Minister: France, U.S., Iran Were Warned About Impending Attacks

Iraq’s Foreign Minister has stated that Iraq’s intelligence service shared details of impending attacks within France, the United States and Iran.

Speaking at this weekend’s peace talks in Vienna, Austria, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said Iraq received intelligence about possible attacks and shared the information with the respective governments.  The comments came one day after attackers in Paris, France killed 129 people using firearms and suicide bombers.

“Information has been obtained from Iraqi intelligence sources that the countries to be targeted soon, before it occurred, are Europe in general, specifically France, as well as America and Iran,” Jaafari said in Vienna. Reuters first reported on the comments. Similar statements can be found in a post on Jaafari’s website.

Jaafari did not elaborate on the intelligence but called for a “global response” to the Islamic State.

France has now declared war on the Islamic State, and President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin are reportedly in talks to formulate a strategy to resolve the civil war in Syria and the growing threat from IS. In addition, world leaders met this weekend to discuss a timetable for elections and a transition government.

Missing from of the conversation surrounding the attacks in Paris is an acknowledgement that the U.S. government has helped fund rebels which led to the creation of the Islamic State, as well as helped created the situation through disastrous foreign policies as part of the failed War on Terror.


Justin Trudeau Vows to End Canadian Airstrikes in Iraq and Syria

Canada’s prime minister-elect Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday that he plans to end Canadian airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria by withdrawing the nation’s fighter jets from the U.S.-led mission.

A day after winning Canada’s federal election, the liberal candidate and son of former prime minister Pierre Trudeau said he spoke to President Obama on the phone regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, climate change, the Keystone XL pipeline, and removing Canadian fighter jets from the fight against ISIS.

“About an hour ago I spoke with President Obama, and we talked about Canada’s continued engagement as a strong member of the coalition against ISIL,” Trudeau said. “I committed that we would continue to engage in a responsible way that understands how important Canada’s role is to play in the fight against ISIL, but he understands the commitments I’ve made about ending the combat mission.”

[RELATED: Truth In Media: The Origin of ISIS]

While ending airstrikes in Iraq and Syria has been a part of Trudeau’s campaign, he has also pledged to keep the current Canadian military trainers in place.

The Guardian reported that Canada “currently has six CF-18 fighter jets taking part in the US-led bombing campaign,” that were due to remain in the region until March 2016, as well as “70 special forces troops to train Kurds in northern Iraq.”

[RELATED: Obama Administration Ends $500 Million Syrian Rebel Training Program]

When asked about the timeline he has planned for removing the fighter jets, Trudeau did not give an exact date. “We will be moving forward with our campaign commitments in a responsible fashion,” he replied. “We want to ensure that the tradition is done in an orderly fashion.”

CBC News noted that Trudeau’s plan for removing fighter jets caters to Canada’s Liberal party’s desire to “provide more humanitarian aid in Iraq and Syria” and to have Canada’s military “involved in training missions, not bombing missions.

Exclusive | Former CIA contractor speaks out on Syria: “It’s suicide…we’re not going to come out of this alive.”

Former CIA contractor Steven Kelley tells Benswann.com that ISIS is a “wide open secret” and confirms that the CIA has been training and arming ISIS and rebel groups. He and paints a grim picture of what may happen in Syria and predicts that this new war will spiral out of control, turning into World War 3.

“We’re not going to come out of this alive,” said Kelley. Listen to the exclusive interview here.


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ISIS, Syria, and now Khorasan… How The U.S. War Machine is Raging Again

On Tuesday, Pentagon officials addressed the latest development in the United States’ war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). After launching 190 airstrikes at Islamic State targets in Iraq over the last month, the U.S. launched 14 airstrikes at targets in Syria on Monday night, with the help of five Arab allies.

The Pentagon’s Press Secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, reported that the recent strikes in Syria, which were targeted at Islamic State compounds, manufacturing workshops, and training camps, were “very successful.”

Last night’s strikes are the beginning of a credible and sustainable persistent campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL,” said the director of operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Army Lieutenant General, Bill Mayville, using the acronym for the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant, to refer to the militants.

Regarding the length of the campaign against the Islamic State, Mayville said, “I would think of it in terms of years.

Mayville said that the U.S. has already seen evidence of the Islamic State’s ability to adapt to airstrikes, “as a result of the air campaign thus far in Iraq.” He added that the militants have attempted to fade into urban areas where strikes could become less effective, “without ground troops.

They are a learning organization, and they will adapt to what we’ve done,” said Mayville, who went on to say that the Islamic State militants will “seek to address their shortfalls and gaps against our air campaign in the coming weeks.

While acknowledging that ground troops were preferred, due to the closed urban areas where targets were located, and the concerns of “collateral damage,” Mayville insisted, “We have not put, and we will not put ground forces into Syria.

There’s obviously a desire to put something on the ground,” said Mayville. “We’ve been able to provide air support without putting forces forward, and I think we will continue to look at how we can do that as we move forward.

Monday’s attack in Syria consisted of three waves, which hit both Islamic State and Khorasan targets, according to The Hill.

President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, described the Khorasan group as “a group of extremists that is comprised of a number of individuals,” who the United States has been tracking for a long time.

We believe that that attack plotting was imminent and that they had plans to conduct attacks external to Syria,” said Rhodes, who claimed that Khorasan includes former al-Qaeda operatives.

NBC News reported that, although it has only been a week since the Khorasan group received international recognition, “they’ve been billed as potentially an even bigger threat to the U.S. than ISIS.

Khorasan is less of a threat to the region and more of a threat to the U.S. homeland than ISIS,” claimed the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Michael Leiter.

Unlike ISIS, the Khorasan group’s focus is not on overthrowing the Assad regime,” said Leiter. “These are core al Qaeda operatives who are taking advantage of the Syrian conflict to advance attacks against Western interests.”

You are seeing the beginnings of a sustained campaign, and strikes like this in the future can be expected,” Mayville said.

Sen. Graham: “Delusional” ISIS Strategy Will Eradicate US

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss the Islamic State and criticize President Obama’s strategy in dealing with the terrorist group. Graham claimed that the Islamic State is now encouraged by the Obama Administration’s strategy. Graham described the administration’s plans as “delusional”.

Graham said that “this is a turning point in the war on terror” and that the Islamic State is an army, not just an organization. “It’s gonna take an army to beat an army,” Graham said, “and this idea we’ll never have any boots on the ground to defeat them in Syria is fantasy.”

Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) said that Obama’s plan is comprehensive and acknowledges that solving the unrest “has to be ultimately the efforts of the local regional powers”.

“He [Obama] is willing to use American airpower and American training efforts to empower these countries, but it’s their fight. As Denis [McDonough] pointed out this is a battle within Sunni community. About where they’re going, Radical Islamist, or-”

Host John Roberts interjected,”we know the plan, but will it work?” Reed responded that there’s potential for the plan to work with cooperation between the United States, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq. “I think the plan is the best possible one, because it recognizes it’s not just a full military struggle, it’s also a political struggle,” said Reed.

Graham continued to push for more military force, stating that “it is our fight. It is not just their fight. This is a radical Islamic army that’s pushing the theory of a master religion, not a master race like the Nazis. This is not about bringing a few people to justice who behead the innocent in a brutal fashion. It’s about protecting millions of people throughout the world from a radical Islamic army, they’re intending to come here.”

“There is no way in hell you can form an army on the ground to go into Syria, to destroy ISIL without a substantial American component. And to destroy ISIL, you have to kill or capture their leaders, take the territory they hold back, cut off their financing, and destroy their capability to regenerate. This is a war we’re fighting, it is not a counterterrorism operation. This is not Somalia. This is not Yemen. This is a turning point in the war on terror. Our strategy will fail yet again. This president needs to rise to the occasion before we all get killed back here at home,” said Graham.

“Will there have to be U.S. combat forces, special operators- something- maybe not large divisions, maneuvering divisions, but some component of American fighting forces to get this done?” Roberts asked Reed. Reed repeated that the United States should “empower them, but they have to carry the fight to the enemy. This is a fight within the Sunni community, it’s a fight that they have to win for their own self-interests, and we have to make it clear that that’s the case.”

“Apparently nobody has been listening to what Senator McCain and I have been saying for the last three years,” Graham argued. “We said train the Free Syrian Army so they can take this fight on. Instead of training the Free Syrian Army, the president overruled his entire national security team and abandoned the Free Syrian Army,” said Graham. ” I am tired of hearing from this administration how easy this is going to be, when it’s going to be hard and the consequences of losing my friend, is if they survive our best shot, this is the last best chance, to knock him out, then they will open the gates of hell to spill out on the world. This is not a Sunni versus Sunni problem, this is ISIL versus mankind.”


US State Dept. Fights Terrorist Recruitment Using Graphic Video

The State Department has released a graphic video called “Welcome to the ‘Islamic State’ land” marketed to would-be terrorists in hopes of thwarting future recruitment to extremist groups such as ISIS by using gruesome imagery and footage of violent acts.

The video, age-restricted on YouTube, is an imitation recruitment video itself, beginning with the words “Run do not walk to Isis land.” Following are clips of people being shot, thrown into ditches, whipped, beheaded, and crucified. “Come over for as Syria is no longer for Syrians and Iraq is no longer for Iraqis. Where you can learn new skills for the Ummah! Blowing up mosques! Crucifying and executing Muslims…plundering public resources,” reads the video.

The video was created for a State Department project titled “ThinkAgain TurnAway”. The campaign also created accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. On its Facebook page, the project stated that its mission is “to expose the facts about terrorists and their propaganda.” On its Tumblr page, its description is “some truths about terrorism”. The State Department considers social media to be an important tool in intercepting possible terrorists before they join extremist groups.

The “Welcome to the ‘Islamic State’ land” video is the most macabre example of the campaign showcasing terrorism; their Tumblr and Facebook pages and Twitter account provide reported examples of ISIS members changing their minds about joining the group and wanting to return home. The campaign has also shared photos of acts that they report to be ISIS members mistreating civilians.

Buzzfeed described the effort as “trolling terrorists” because the campaign uses social media to jeer the extremists; one example includes a tweeted photo of female Kurdish soldiers targeted toward ISIS. One unintended consequence that major media outlets have yet to discuss is the possibility of the satirical recruitment video becoming lost in translation.




The video

President and Vice President warn ISIS militants after beheading videos

After videos were released by ISIS depicting the beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden made warnings of U.S. retaliation against the terrorist organization.

Early Wednesday, President Obama made his most powerful statement to date on the growing threat of ISIS, saying the U.S. will eliminate the organization and its followers.

“Our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy ISIL so it’s no longer a threat—not just to Iraq but also to the region and to the United States,” Obama said, according to MSNBC.

From there, President Obama laid out a plan to use coordinated airstrikes and ground efforts with regional cooperation to defeat ISIS in the Middle-East.  However, President Obama is currently only planning on confronting ISIS in Iraq and not Syria, saying he would have to consult Congress and gain Congressional approval of any military actions in Syria.

When the president was asked by a reporter to elaborate on his plan, President Obama backtracked, saying, according to the DailyMail, “Our objective is to make sure they aren’t an ongoing threat to the region.”

Vice President Joe Biden, though, made some heated remarks concerning ISIS though as compared to that of President Obama.

“We will follow them to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice because hell is where they will reside,” said Biden at a press conference at a naval shipyard in Portsmouth, New Hampshire Wednesday afternoon, according to the International Business Times.   “If they think the American people will be intimidated, they don’t know us very well.”

Vice President Biden continued by saying, according to NBC News, the American people are “so much stronger, so much more resolved,” than any enemy can comprehend, and the American people “don’t retreat,” and “don’t forget.”

ISIS continues spreading violence as ‘children are being beheaded’

In a video interview with CNN’s Jonathan Mann, Chaldean-American leader Mark Arabo has described the current situation for none Muslim civilians in the Islamic State as a “Christian genocide.”

During the video, Arabo described how thousands of Christians in Iraq are fleeing to neighboring countries as violence is continued to be spread by ISIS.  Specifically, Arabo told Mann, “children are being beheaded, mothers are being raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.”

“There’s actually a park in Mosul where they actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick,” Arabo said.  “They are doing the most horrendous, the most heart-breaking crimes that you can think of.”

Graphic images of the violence can be found here at Catholic Online.

Opposing Views is also reporting a surge of systemic violence towards non-Sunni Muslims in the Islamic State saying Christians, Kurds, and other Muslim denominations are facing similar levels of violence.  This violence has killed at least 5,500 civilians, wounded close to 12,000, and driven some 1.2 million from their homes since January according to a July report from the Guardian.

ISIS has also been behind numerous bombings of religious sites throughout the Islamic State, such as Christian churches and Shiite mosques.

Currently, France is leading the effort to grant asylum to those trying to escape the violence of ISIS, reports the Gospel Herald.

“This is genocide in every sense,” said Arabo.  “The world hasn’t seen an evil like this for generations.”

ISIS Video Mocks “Obama, Did You Prepare Enough Diapers For Your Soldiers?”

The Islamic State (TIS), the new caliphate born from the ISIL controlled regions of Iraq and Syria, already faces the challenge of retaking the Iraqi city of Tikrit, while taunting the U.S. to interfere in their controlled areas.

Tikrit is a Sunni dominant city and fell to ISIL early in the group’s swift offensive through Iraq.  According to Al-Jazeera America, Iraqi military forces have been working to retake the city since Saturday when various assaults were launched.  ISIL has thrown back most of the attacks, but the Iraqi military spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi said Sunday, the Iraqi forces had control of the university in the city and he was confident in the military advances in Tikrit.

“The battle has several stages,” al-Moussawi told Al-Jazeera America.  “It is a matter of time before we declare the total clearing (of Tikrit).”

After TIS established itself, a video was released via the Gateway Pundit showing ISIL members raising their adopted flag over a former military base and exploring what remains in the area from the fighting.  Abu Saffiya, the narrator for the majority of the video makes various statements about the Iraqi military including, “they are nothing but cowards,” as he shows off abandoned Border Patrol vehicles and military patches seemingly left behind by Iraqi forces.

Near the end of the video, another ISIL soldier asks the camera, “Yo Obama, did you bring enough diapers for your soldiers,” as laughter is heard in the background and the speaker smiles on.

ISIL has already made plans to expand their reach after suicide bombers claimed by the group struck parts of Lebanon.  The bomber prematurely detonated himself in the hotel he was staying in after security forces stormed the hotel.  The bomber was the only casualty, but four members of the security force searching the building were injured.  Reports say the attack is the first f many on Lebanese soil to be carried out in the name of TIS.

A caliphate is defined by the Encyclopedia Britannica as a “political-religious state compromising the Muslim community and the lands and peoples under its dominion in the centuries following the death of the Prophet Muhammad.”  Some say these lands though, historically, stretch from Spain over North Africa and through the Middle-East to the edge of historical Persia, now Iran.


Report: Military action in Iraq would hurt, not help

A new report from the Crisis Group on the ISIS crisis in Iraq claims any military intervention from outside of the country would not stop further actions, but runs the risk of “stoking the conflict.”

This report comes in the wake of President Obama vowing to send up to 300 military advisers to the country to help contain and end the conflict.  There has been no word yet as to whether or not the U.S. government will use airstrikes in Iraq as requested by the Iraqi government.

Iran has already sent about 500 Revolutionary Guards into Iraq to aid the local government according to CNN.

The report claims the attacks, and method ISIS has captured towns and strongholds, is not a military achievement or great military feat by any means, but rather the string of events has been likened to a person simply leaning on a “house of cards.”

The crisis has further polarized the divide between Sunni and Shiite denominations as well as ethnic Kurds across the country. ISIS is made of Sunni followers, according to Iraqi News, while the majority of government forces are made of Shiite forces.

These two groups have been divided across the globe for many years, and the discord can be traced back to the schism which occurred across Islam after the death of the Prophet Muhammad.

Military intervention within the country, according to the report, would only bolster further support for ISIS as the military forces would be seen as fighting for the current, Shiite dominant, Iraqi government.

The report from the Crisis Group claims in order to stop further bloodshed and prevent a civil war across the country, the Iraqi government needs to form a “genuine government of national unity,” where all three major political and ethnic forces within the country are included and given equal political sway.

The Crisis Group’s senior adviser on the Middle East and Africa, Peter Harling, said in relation to the crisis, “A U.S. military response alone will achieve very little… Counter-insurgency cannot be successful without an effective Iraqi army to ‘clear’, an accepted Iraqi police to ‘hold’, and a legitimate Iraqi political leadership to build.”

Largest Iraqi oil refinery under ISIS control

The largest oil refinery in Iraq, located in the city of Baiji, an estimated 155 miles north of Baghdad, is under “75% control” by ISIL fighters.

The Baiji refinery went under siege last night and the complex was hit by mortar fire which started a few fires.  The battle and subsequent siege lasted until early this morning when militants claimed most of the refinery.

An unnamed source told Reuters the militants had managed to break into the refinery and take control of over 75% of the complex including, “production units, administration building and four watchtowers.”

This refinery in particular is responsible for more than a quarter of Iraq’s oil production, nearly all of which goes towards foreign consumption and exportation.

TIME is reporting that since this refinery is responsible for so much of the country’s oil exports, there are risks of “long lines at gas pump and electricity shortages…”  This could also spell higher gas prices at pumps around the world.

The town of Baiji was taken last week by ISIS militants, and the oil refinery sent all foreign nationals working in the complex to their respective countries while local workers stayed behind.

This is the latest of many business operations to be captured by ISIS militants, who have been using oil businesses, namely in Syria, to boost the organization’s profits.

ISIL tightens grip on Iraq

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the terrorist group disavowed by al-Qaeda and is responsible for the recent state of turmoil in the Middle East, has captured the city of Tal Afar and made claims of mass execution over the weekend.

The city of Tal Afar is close to the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was captured last week along with the arms depots within the city.  According to the NBC News, the same weapons captured in Mosul, mostly rocket launchers and machineguns, were used in the seizure of Tal Afar.

Capturing the city is a strategic move by ISIL who also have captured cities in Syria.  Tal Afar is only 93 miles from the Syrian border, making it an opportune route to connect ISIL forces and supplies across the northern parts of the two countries.

ISIL also released photos this past weekend of their members executing hundreds of captured Iraqi soldiers and civilians.  According to RT, the photos were posted to the Twitter account associated with ISIL, and a spokesman for the group claimed the pictures and killings took place just north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

The group has had their sights set on attacking Baghdad, which has prompted the U.S. to strengthen the security of the embassy in the city.  About 150 U.S. Marines arrived at the embassy to protect U.S. citizens and diplomats.  The embassy itself though will stay open, said the U.S. State Department, but some of the staff will be relocated temporarily.

This comes a few days after planeloads of other American diplomats were evacuated from the Iraqi airbase of Balad, another city just north of Baghdad.

British officials in Baghdad said they have no intention to evacuate their staff from what is designated the “Green Zone” in the city, but they claimed to have witnessed large groups of individuals lining up at the main airport while many others withdrew money from local banks.

The U.S. is considering talks with Iran in the coming days to cooperate in combating ISIL in Iraq.  Iran has already sent their Revolutionary Guard to combat ISIL forces, while the U.S. government is considering sending drones and other air support to aid the Iranian fighters.