Tag Archives: Islamic State

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.

Iraqis Believe Islamic State was Created by the CIA

It was over a month ago that the United States began launching airstrikes in Iraq to combat militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Despite efforts from the U.S. to destroy ISIS, rumors are running rampant in Iraq that ISIS was a creation of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

According to the New York Times, conspiracy theories are circulating from “the streets of Baghdad to the highest levels of Iraqi government that the CIA is secretly behind the same extremists that it is now attacking.

On Saturday, a demonstration in Iraq was called for by the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr to warn against the possible invasion by American ground troops. Sadr had blamed the CIA for creating ISIS in a prior speech, and continued with the same theory.

The deputy prime minister, Bahaa al-Araji, who was present at the demonstration, referred to ISIS using the Arabic shorthand, “Daesh.”

We know about who made Daesh,” said Araji. However, when asked if he blamed the CIA for the creation of the Islamic State, the New York Times reported that Araji responded, “I don’t know. I am one of the poor people. But we fear very much.”

Others in attendance at Saturday’s demonstration were also not convinced that President Obama would resist sending ground troops into Iraq. “We don’t trust him,” said Raad Hatem.

The Islamic State is a clear creation of the United States,” said Haidar al-Assadi, another man present at the rally. “The United States is trying to intervene again using the excuse of the Islamic State.

Assadi claimed that Shiite militias and volunteers were already answering the call from religious leaders to defend Iraq from the Islamic State without help from the United States, and that they would use the same forces to keep American troops out.

The main reason Obama is saying he will not invade again is because he knows the Islamic resistance,” said Assadi, referring to the Shiite militia,  “and he does not want to lose a single soldier.”

International Business Times explained the Iraqis’ willingness to believe such theories by using the words of a Lebanese man, Amer Murad, who said, “As history has taught us, it is usually the benefactors who are the instigators.

“Most people here believe the US and Saudi are one, and when it comes strictly down to oil money, the ultimate benefactor from the whole [ISIS] debacle is Saudi [or] the US,” Murad said.

France Joins the U.S. in Launching Airstrikes Against ISIS

On Friday, France carried out its first airstrike against Islamic State militants in Iraq, making France the first country to publicly join the United States in fighting back against the militants via airstrike.

French President François Hollande announced that the airstrikes destroyed their intended target, a logistics depot controlled by the militants, and vowed that France will continue to carry out airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Hollande released a statement regarding the airstrikes, and using the name “Daesh” when referring to the Islamic State militants.

This morning at 9:40, our Rafale planes carried out a first strike against a logistics depot of the terrorist organisation Daesh in north-east Iraq. The objective was hit and completely destroyed,” the statement said.

Qassim al-Moussawi, a spokesman for Iraq, said that four French airstrikes hit the town of Zumar, and killed dozens of extremist fighters.

Other operations will follow in the coming days with the same goal – to weaken this terrorist organization and come to the aid of the Iraqi authorities,” said Hollande. “There are always risks in taking up a responsibility. I reduced the risks to a minimum.

Yahoo News reported that Hollande himself visited Iraq last week, making him the “most high-profile leader to do so since jihadists stormed across the country.

On Thursday, Hollande told reporters that he had “decided to respond to the request of the Iraqi authorities to offer aerial support.

As soon as we have identified targets, we will act – within a short time-frame,” said Hollande. “We will not go further than that. There will be no ground troops and we will only intervene in Iraq.

According to NBC News, France’s involvement in Iraq is significant, due to the fact that France was “among the most vocal critics of U.S. President George W. Bush’s military action in 2003 that toppled Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.”

Did John McCain Misspeak Or Admit To Meeting With ISIS?

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) appeared on Fox News on Monday and provided criticism of both the Obama administration’s handling of fighting the Islamic State and statements from Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), who told CBS News on Monday that requesting giving weapons to Syrian rebels was a poor decision.

McCain said that no Arab states are willing to provide support in fighting the Islamic State, although the State Department reported that there are several Arab states “in the discussion phase” willing to participate in airstrikes against militants in Iraq. “I have just heard, and it may be wrong, that no Arab country has agreed, Middle Eastern country, has agreed to engage in air or ground support against ISIS. This is a direct result of American indecision and lack of credibility,” McCain said. He then said that Arab states do not take Obama seriously because he compared ISIS to Yemen and Somalia.

“By the way, I could show the President targets on the map today that he could be bombing and killing ISIS people. same ones that carried out this hideous decision. Why the delay in a bombing campaign in Syria? I’d be very interested to know,” McCain continued.

Sean Hannity then began discussing the cease-fire between Syrian rebels and ISIS, to which McCain adamantly denied, saying “it’s not true, it’s not true, it’s not true. Whether- I don’t care about the report, I know these people intimately, we talk to them all the time.” It is unclear if McCain was referring to the Free Syrian Army or to Islamic State militants.

“Let me ask you about what your colleague Rand Paul said about it this morning. He said it’s a mistake to arm them, most of the arms we’ve given to the s-called moderate rebels have wound up in the hands of ISIS because ISIS simply takes it from them, or it is given them, and we mistakenly actually, uh, give it to some of the radicals,” said Hannity.

“Has Rand Paul ever been to Syria?” McCain repiled. “Has he ever met with ISIS? Has he ever met with any of these people? No, no, no. We’re going to have a fight, because it’s patently false,” McCain said. That statement may add fuel to the arguments from speculators who believe McCain met with members of ISIS and there’s photographic proof, although the rumor was never truly confirmed.

The New York Times recently reported that the photos of McCain are not with members of ISIS, based on assertions from McCain’s communication director Brian Rogers and Syrian Emergency Task Force executive director Mouaz Moustafa. Whether or not McCain indeed posed for pictures with ISIS members, the Senator has been criticized for not understanding who has aligned themselves with the group.

“As much as Senator McCain says he’s vetted these groups, we simply do not have guarantees that they won’t work with ISIS, when it serves their purpose, as they were doing a year ago. In fact, various reports continue to pour out of the region, about moderate factions striking deals with ISIS. The potential for these weapons ending up in the hands of ISIS is high,” read a press release from VoteVets.org.

“I know these people,” McCain repeated to Hannity. “I’m in contact with them all the time. And he is not. He is not. He is not.”

McCain refused to accept the reports that Syrian rebels and Islamic State militants had agreed to a nonaggression pact, and said that the Free Syrian Army continues to be attacked by both ISIS and Bashar al-Assad. “I know that we can make them strong and resilient,” said McCain.

Paul responded to McCain’s statements through the Daily Beast. “Here’s the problem. He [McCain] did meet with ISIS, and had his picture taken, and didn’t know it was happening at the time. That really shows you the quandary of determining who are the moderates and who aren’t. If you don’t speak Arabic, and you don’t understand that some people will lie to you—I really think that we don’t have a good handle on who are the moderates and who aren’t, and I think the objective evidence is that the ones doing most of the fighting and most of the battles among the rebels in Syria are the radical Islamists.”

Ben Swann Talks with Ron Paul: Is Alternative Media Losing Momentum?

In a recent video for Voices of Liberty, former Texas Congressman Dr. Ron Paul interviewed investigative Journalist Ben Swann about bias in the media, the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and about the United States’ foreign policy.

Given the current situation with ISIS in the Middle East, Paul started by asking how it differed from the situation in the Middle East one year ago, when the U.S. Government was pushing to go to war with Syria.

A year ago, our efforts to tone down the war and to not expand the war were doing quite well,” said Paul. “But here, just recently, with some of the killings, and the advance, and the description of ISIS, all of a sudden there’s a tremendous shift.”

Swann pointed out that, “A year ago the American public overwhelmingly rejected that idea, and that was an enormous victory for the alternative media and for new media, because the old media continued to respond the same way they always have.”

Swann said that the images ISIS has released of their militants “cutting off journalists’ heads” and “slaughtering Christians in Iraq and Syria,” has created a sense of fear among Americans.

What’s different here, is that with ISIS, there is this fear, the propaganda of fear, that was much more and is much more successful than what we saw in Syria,” said Swann. “Because, at the end of the day, regardless of where Americans fell on the issue of Syria, virtually no one was afraid of Assad over here.

People have these archetypes, I think, built into their minds,” said Swann, who went on to describe the tendencies people have to fall back and to say, “Okay, we shouldn’t be involved everywhere in the world, but this time, and on this occasion, now we’ve got to go back and we’ve got to do something again.”

Swann pointed out that the mainstream media does not discourage Americans from these tendencies, due to the fact that they are operating under a left/right paradigm.

On the left, or on the right, it doesn’t matter where media pretends to fall, they’re all pushing for the same thing: Intervention.”

When Paul asked Ben Swann about what projects he was working on, and what reports he was trying to expose, Swann discussed the newest episode of Truth in Media.

Swann explained that the episode was about Cannabis and CBD Oil, and the focus was on “explaining to people, not just what it is, but here’s the real threat that it faces in our government’s system.”

I think people are going to be very surprised to see, while government is saying one thing, their actions on the other side of that issue are polar opposite.

Swann also mentioned that he is working to create another piece that will “demonstrate to people, the truth about where ISIS came from.”

It is not inaction that created ISIS,” said Swann, who instead blames “direct action,” by the U.S. government, due to the fact that they are funding “so-called rebels in Syria,” along with “groups along the Iraq-Syria border, in order to overthrow Assad that created this in the first place.”

Beyond just Journalism, I think this is one of the most important stories that we can share with folks,” Swann said.

History just continues to repeat itself, and unless we show people, ‘Step back from the emotion, and think sensibly about what’s happened here,’ we’re doomed to keep making these same mistakes.”

When asked about his relationship with Journalists who work in the mainstream media, Swann said that he is often told that his work is “a little too conspiratorial.”

What’s sad to me about that, is that if you go and look at the body of our work, there’s nothing conspiratorial about anything that we do,” said Swann.

As a Journalist, I think your highest calling is to be the most critical eye in the room,” said Swann. “Instead, we’ve actually adopted a belief that a reporter is just a repeater. Just repeat whatever you’re told, and if you don’t do that, then there’s something wrong with you.”

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.”

 

U.S. Officials Claim Islamic State Does Not Pose a Direct Threat of Attack on the United States

On Wednesday, senior United States Officials said that while there is the danger of the Islamic State spreading through the Middle East, and into Europe, the group does not pose an urgent threat of an attack in the United States.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis, Francis Taylor, said that the DHS is “unaware of any specific credible threat to the U.S. homeland” from the Islamic State.

Taylor added that while the Islamic State was not a direct threat to U.S. soil, the group still has capabilities most terrorist organizations don’t possess, and it “constitutes an active and serious threat within the region and could attempt attacks on U.S. targets overseas with little or no warning.”

According to the Washington Post, the FBI has arrested “more than a half dozen people trying to travel to Syria to support the Islamic State,” and about a dozen people from the United States “are believed to have joined the Islamic State.”

Deputy Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Nicholas Rasmussen, acknowledged that the Islamic State’s “ability to carry out complex large-scale attacks in the West is currently limited.”

The Associated Press reported that, “More than 100 Americans have traveled to Syria to fight for various militant groups or tried to make the journey.”

The Washington Post noted that after the group’s leader threatened a “direct confrontation” with the United States in January, Islamic militants have struck out at the U.S. recently by beheading two American journalists after the United States began bombing Islamic State forces in Iraq.

The Director for the National Counterterrorism Center, Matthew Olsen, acknowledged that the United States is concerned that an Islamic State sympathizer, who is  “perhaps motivated by online propaganda,” is capable of conducting a “limited, self-directed attack here at home with no warning.”

While the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 has sparked rumors that members of the Islamic State will lash out directly at the United States, Olsen said, “In our view, any threat to the U.S. homeland from these types of extremists is likely to be limited in scope and scale.”

These statements from senior U.S. officials follow a recent video from former Texas Congressman, Ron Paul, in which he quoted the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who said that there is “no evidence there is anything imminent or planned” by ISIS for the United States, and that we shouldn’t “expect them to do anything here in the United States.

During his address to the nation Wednesday night, President Obama insisted that he has the authority to carry out strikes against ISIS and yet, the fact that there is no direct threat to the United States actually disqualifies the President from that authority.

Under the Constitution, the Commander in Chief must obtain a declaration of war from the U.S. Congress in order to carry out strikes against any nation or group unless the United States is under immediate threat.

 

President Obama to lay out new plan to fight the Islamic State

In a press conference set to take place hours before the anniversary of 9/11, President Obama is set to unveil his plan to take further action against the Islamic State and ISIS in the Middle East.

The president initially had a meeting with leaders of Congress Tuesday, where President Obama said the U.S. is “stronger and our efforts more effective” when he and members of Congress work together towards a common goal.  President Obama also took a moment to say he has the authority to combat ISIS and the Islamic State and he will lay out this plan Wednesday night.

Despite these remarks, President Obama is expected to ask for Congressional approval to quickly arm and militarize U.S. forces to quicken his plan of “degrading and ultimately destroying” the Islamic State and ISIS.

As part of the president’s plan to fight ISIS, the AP is reporting the president could ask for a variety of ways to intervene, including more airstrike efforts throughout Iraq and maybe Syria, as well as training and arming Syrian fighters to fight the threat.  The president is also expected to ask for European backing as well as backing from other countries in the Middle East.

A senior administration member also told reporters, according to the Guardian, “The president will discuss how we are building a coalition of allies and partners in the region and in the broader international community to support our efforts, and will talk about how we work with the Congress as a partner in these efforts.”

President Obama has emphasized, in the past few days, the need to view the Islamic State as one organization rather than one group in Iraq and one in Syria.  This could implicate the president’s willingness to broaden the plan t only fight ISIS in Iraq to fighting ISIS in all of their controlled territories.

Islamic Militants to Putin: We are Coming to Russia

In a recent video released by Islamic State militants, they changed from sending threats to United States President Barack Obama, to threatening the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.

The video featured Russian subtitles, translating the militants’ spoken Arabic. They posed around Russian military equipment, including a fighter jet, which was captured from the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad.

According to the Washington Post, Russia is an old ally of the Assad regime, and it remains Assad’s “primary source for military hardware.

Yahoo News reported that the General Prosecutor’s Office of Russia requested that investigators conduct a criminal examination regarding the video, and “demanded that access to the address, which was posted on YouTube on Tuesday and features what jihadists say is a Russian-supplied fighter jet, be blocked.

This is a message to you, oh Vladimir Putin, these are the jets that you have sent to Bashar, we will send them to you, God willing, remember that,” one militant warned.

The militants went on to state that they would “liberate Chechnya and the entire Caucasus.” 

The Washington Post reported that this threat was to be expected, due to the fact that the “Chechen insurgency has gone deep underground,” and the fact that Russia’s “heavy-handed rule over the North Caucasus has radicalized some in this Muslim-majority borderland.

According to International Business Times, Russia’s security services stated that they believe “hundreds of militants from the Caucasus regions have fled to the Middle East to fight with the group.”

“The Islamic State is and will be and it is expanding God willing,” The militants warned Putin. “Your throne has already teetered, it is under threat and will fall when we come to you because Allah is truly on our side. We are already on our way God willing.”

Watch the video released by the Islamic militants:

Ron Paul: If We Did Less, There Would Be More Peace

In a recent video for Voices of Liberty, Ron Paul gave his take on the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

There’s still a lot of news coming out of Iraq with the problems there, especially since ISIS has come to the forefront,” said Paul. He mentioned that although ISIS has been working to obtain a grip on Iraq for a while, “They seem to have surprised a lot of people.”

Paul brought up 2008 Presidential candidate, Republican John McCain, calling him “nearly hysterical,” regarding the situation with ISIS, and his attempt to get the U.S. to “bomb more people and send more weapons.”

However, Paul pointed out that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, who Paul argues should know more about the subject than McCain, says he has “no evidence there is anything imminent or planned” by ISIS for the United States, and that we shouldn’t “expect them to do anything here in the United States.

National security really isn’t threatened,” said Paul. “What is threatened is maybe a little prestige about the continuation of our failure in Iraq.”

Paul mentioned a recent article in the New York Times, which discusses the U.S. and Iran being “unlikely allies” in the Iraq battle.

Now, that is brilliant,” said Paul, calling the fact that the U.S. is aiding Iran-backed militias a “relative success,” due to the fact that “the Iranians weren’t supposed to be our friends.”

Paul pointed out that even though the previous weapons the United States sent into Syria and Iraq had landed in the hands of the Islamic State, and U.S. airpower was now seeking to destroy those weapons, John McCain is still insisting, “They need more weapons! Send them more weapons to help solve the problem!”

If that doesn’t wake some people up, nothing ever will, because it just goes on and on,” said Paul. “The militias that we set up really didn’t do the trick. They were the ones that dropped their weapons and ran.”

Paul described the current United States’ foreign policy as a “policy of schizophrenia” where one day the United States is “sending weapons, and the next day those weapons are with another group, used against us, and then what do we do? We just respond by going back in with more weaponry.”

While Paul said that while the “military industrial complex,” is a problem in the United States, he also mentioned the “media industrial complex,” which he says is providing an endless stream of propaganda.

Rather than interviewing individuals who are willing to question the current policies, Paul maintains that the media sticks to those who are in favor, because, “Everybody is a hawk. Everybody wants war!”

Paul said that even if, hypothetically, things settled down, and the United States left the Arabs and the Muslims to settle their disputes, “there wouldn’t be any settlement.

It would still be Shia against the Sunni, and that war has been going on for 1,300 years,” said Paul. He claimed that when the United States gets involved in this religious war, it only intensifies the “civil strife and civil war that has been going on for a long time.”

According to Paul, after Saddam Hussein warned the United States that invading would lead to the “mother of all battles,” Eric Margolis had the best description when he referred to the Islamic State’s current actions as the “mother of all blowback.

It will surprise a lot of people, but quite frankly, if we did less, we would have more,” said Paul. “If we did less, there would be more peace and less of a problem.”

Another U.S. Journalist Beheaded in New ISIS Video – Transcript Released

Two weeks after the barbaric murder of journalist James Foley, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, released a video today allegedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist, Steven Sotloff.

In the video, which authorities haven’t confirmed its authenticity, the group warns President Barack Obama that as long as  U.S. airstrikes against the militant group continue, “our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.”

According to CBS, the Sotloff family has seen the video: “The family knows of this horrific tragedy and is grieving privately. There will be no public comment from the family during this difficult time,” said Barak Barfi, a family spokesperson.

Sotloff, a 31-year-old journalist who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines went missing in Syria in August of last year. He wasn’t seen again until the Foley video last month. In that video, Sotloff was threaten with death unless the U.S. stopped airstrikes on the group in Iraq.

Here is a transcript of the video entitled “A Second Message To America”:

Sotloff:

I am Steven Joel Sotloff. I’m sure you know exactly who I am now and why I am appearing before you. And now this time for my message:

Obama, your foreign policy of intervention in Iraq was supposed to be for the preservation of American lives and interests, so why is it that I am paying the price of your interference with my life? Am I not an American citizen? You’ve spent billions of U.S. taxpayers dollars, and we’ve lost thousands of our troops in our previous fighting against the Islamic State, so where is the people’s interest in reigniting this war?

From what little I know about foreign policy, I remember a time you could not win an election without promising to bring our troops back home from Iraq and Afghanistan and to close down Guantanamo. Here you are now, Obama, nearing the end of your term and having achieving none of the above and deceivingly marching us the American people in the blazing fire.

Executor:

I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State, because of your insistence on continuing your bombing and [unclear] on Mosul Dam, despite our serious warning. You, Obama, have but to gain from your actions but another American citizen. So just as your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people.

We take this opportunity to warn those governments that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off and leave our people alone.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said U.S. intelligence analysts are working as quickly as possible to determine if the video is authentic.

“If the video is genuine, we are sickened by this brutal act, taking the life of another innocent American citizen. Our hearts go out to the Sotloff family and we will provide more information as it becomes available,” she said.

She added that she believe that “a few” Americans are still being held by the Islamic State but did not provide additional details.

 

Weekend air strikes in Iraq were authorized by president

After saying he had no strategy yet as to how to handle ISIS in Iraq, President Obama sent a letter to Congress Monday saying he had authorized a series of air strikes in Iraq over the weekend.

The air strikes were reportedly part of an effort to break the two-month siege of the northern-Iraqi town of Amerli, which has a predominantly Shi’ite inhabitants.  Along with the air strikes, humanitarian aid was airdropped in to the trapped residents in order to help the militias fight ISIS forces.

According to the War Powers Resolution, the president has to notify Congress of any use of military force against foreign combatants, such as this.

However, this is the third letter sent to Congress by the president outlining the reason for using air strikes in Iraq.

The first letter was sent earlier in August saying air strikes would be used to protect U.S. officials in Erbil, the Kurdish regional capitol, according to the Hill.  The same letter outlined how the airstrikes would also be used to protect Yazidi civilians who have been threatened by ISIS.

A second letter was sent saying air strikes would be used to help Iraqi forces recapture the ISIS controlled dam at Mosul.

“This operation is consistent with the military missions we have outlined to date in Iraq- to protect U.S. personnel and facilities and to address the humanitarian situation on the ground,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden, according to the Raw Story.

Fort Hood shooter writes to ISIS, wants to become ‘citizen’

Nadal Hasan, the former Army psychiatrist responsible for the shooting at Fort Hood resulting in the death of 13 people, has written a letter to ISIS from prison, asking to become a citizen of the Islamic State’s caliphate.

The letter is two pages long, according to CNN, and addressed to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS and the self-proclaimed caliph, i.e. religious ruler, over ISIS controlled areas of Iraq and Syria.  The letter is then signed by Hasan alongside the abbreviation SoA which stands for “Soldier of Allah.”

“I formally and humbly request to be made a citizen of the Islamic State,” wrote Hasan, according to FOX News.  “It would be an honor for any believer to be an obedient citizen soldier to a people and its leader who don’t compromise the religion of All-Mighty Allah to get along with the disbelievers.”

Hasan was born in America and raised as a Muslim.  He was sentenced to death by a military court for the shooting at Fort Hood in 2009.  Along with the 13 who were killed at Fort Hood, over 30 others were injured during the attack.  According to the Hill, Hasan is currently on death row at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Hasan is not the first American to be drawn to ISIS.  Douglas McCain of Minnesota was reportedly killed fighting for the terror group earlier this week.  The Obama administration has said they believe at least 100 Americans have joined and are currently fighting for ISIS.