Tag Archives: ISIS

Post-Mosul Future of MENA Wars: Our Week of Escalated Bombings in Islamistan….

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Recent events of this past week point to the possible future of political developments in the Middle East and North Africa:

  • In Turkey, we saw Yet another huge terrorist bombing in the largest historic city of the country. More fallout from Mr. Erdogan’s Syrian and Iraqi adventures. Another terrorist bombing in Istanbul: at least 39 dead, many more wounded.
  • In Egypt, the terror campaign has dramatically escalated, and well beyond the Sinai Peninsula. First a group of security officers were bombed yesterday. Then today, Sunday, a new first: the largest Church of the country, the Orthodox Coptic headquarters of their Pope was bombed, killing more than 25, wounding more. A serious and dangerous escalation in a country on the brink of confessional and sectarian breakdown. Just imagine a Syria or an Iraq with three times the population.
  • In Yemen, a terrorist bombing attack in Aden reportedly killed at least 50. Reportedly the “victims” mostly soldiers and security of the deposed Hadi regime.
  • In Syria and Iraq the killing just goes on. Daily bombings of civilian targets in Iraqi towns continue. Mostly Shi’a targets, but not exclusively so (twin bombings in mostly-Sunni Fallujah today). Thus feeding the Salafist Wahhabi goal of fanning sectarian flames.

Further away from the MENA region: More killings in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Pakistan.

This seems like a harbinger of an escalation of acts of terrorism well beyond Iraq and Syria and Sinai. Now almost any Muslim country is a target. Possibly an indication of a strategic shift among Jihadis from holding territory back to more spectacular violent acts of terrorism. A sign of a post-Mosul and post-Raqqa strategy of the Jihadis?
Very likly….
Cheers

M Haider Ghuloum

 

ISIS Travel Agency: Almost Fourth of July, How Safe Are Your Airports?……..

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The terrorist attack at Istanbul airport yesterday underlines a new dynamic in the wars in Iraq and Syria against the Salafi menace that is DAESH (or ISIS or ISIL).
For years the Turkish government of Erdogan was an accomplice in the creation and growth of ISIS. It allowed the free flow of money, weapons, and Jihadis from the Persian Gulf states and other Arab countries and Western Europe into Syria. Turkey was the main path, the cooperative chief conduit, what I called the Erdogan Trail, into Syria. There have also been credible reports of cooperation in facilitating the flow of ISIS petroleum and weapons across Turkey. Other reports stressed the close ties between ISIS and elements of Turkish intelligence.

As the war in Syria turned against the Jihadis in 2013-2014, Mr. Erdogan seemed to have doubled down on his support for the Jihadis. Airport cameras regularly filmed and showed on TV Jihadis and their Arab and European comfort women (concubines) flowing through Istanbul airport on their way to the killing fields of Syria. Persian Gulf media, tightly controlled by Saudi and Qatari money and ownership, downplayed the ISIS ties with Turkey, focusing instead on a disintegrating and virtually non-existent Free Syrian Army. Allegedly a secular army of liberation that was under control of both Arab Salafis and Arab princes and potentates.

Now Turkey has been subjected to several terrorist attacks (unfortunately I once called it Erdogan’s chickens coming home to roost). Mr. Erdogan has now reportedly succumbed to American pressure to distance his country from the terrorists. Given that they are not winning anymore. Now his country is paying the price that others have been paying: from London to Paris and Brussels to Baghdad and Kuwait and the Shi’a towns of Eastern Saudi Arabia. But I suspect he would rather have ISIS than the newly empowered Kurds as neighbors.

ISIS is on the ropes in the Levant. It lost Fallujah last week to the Iraqis, and the mourning screams of Salafis could be heard all across the social media. It had lost Tikrit and Ramadi before that to the Iraqis and their allies. Even some Western media fell last week for the Jihadi propaganda about ‘massive ethnic abuse’ by militias. That being a highly sectarian-divided Iraq, a recent phenomenon, there probably were some isolated cases of ethnic abuse. But the Salafi cries of mourning were not about the victims: they were/are about the defeat of ISIS. For believers and opportunists alike the true Wahhabi paradise on Earth.

Mosul will probably be next. The “capital” of Raqqa is also close to being threatened by a combination of Syrian and allied forces and Kurdish forces. I predicted two weeks ago here that by the end of 2017 ISIS will lose Mosul and Raqqa. Almost a fatwa, I claimed: My Fatwa (humble but almost certainly accurate) on the violent gruesome brief reign of the Wahhabis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria“.

ISIS is being squeezed in both Iraq and Syria, and strong pressure on U.S. allies to cooperate has helped. ISIS/DAESH oil revenues have been reduced significantly, and pressure is being seriously applied to cut off the flow of Persian Gulf Salafi money. That is why they are hitting at any soft target they can, not just their usual favorite targets: the Shi’as and Westerners. That is also why they are expanding into Egypt, Yemen, and North Africa.

Remember the old American TV message: it is eleven o’clock, do you know where your children are?
America needs a new message this week and next: It is almost Fourth of July, do you know how safe your airports are?


Cheers


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Conflicting Plans for Syria: Hezbollah Plan A, Saudi Plan B, and American Plan C…..

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Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah gave a public speech today. That was in the aftermath of the death of yet another senior Hezbollah military leader in Syria: Mustafa Badreddine who was suspected of anti-American violence in Beirut bombings and also convicted of terrorism in Kuwait in the early 1980s (before Hezbollah was established).

Nasrallah asserted that his group will remain in Syria until the Jihadi “Takfiri” terrorists are defeated. He added that there is no evidence of an Israeli involvement in the assassination. He also noted that even the Israelis know that he always says what he means and does what he says. Oddly hinting that the Israeli “enemy” knows the truth and tells it publicly, unlike some “Arabs”, meaning the Saudis & Qataris. (I have to agree with him on that point).


Nasrallah also said that the Saudis are leading and arming and financing the Jihadist campaign in Syria from Jordan, with some cooperation from Qatar and Turkey. That the Saudis are sabotaging a political solution.

It is still not clear to me how the general Shi’a population of Lebanon now feel about the Syrian involvement. Clearly if there is any opposition it is limited and muted, although some Arab and Western media tend to magnify it. The Jihadi terrorists themselves may have helped solidify support for Syrian involvement by destroying historical shrines and monuments of all faiths, a favorite Wahhabi pastime. Many Shi’a would be willing to fight and die for the Shrine of Zainab in Damascus (as they would for Karbala). That is Plan A of one side.


For his part, Saudi foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir repeated that “it is time for Plan B” in Syria. Nothing new there, just the same mantra. Someone once called him the Saudi version of Baghdad Bob.


My guess for this Saudi Plan B?
The Saudis and Qataris and Turks are waiting for a hawkish American president to take over next year. Maybe even someone who will allow supplying the Jihadists with anti-aircraft missiles (as in Afghanistan in the 1980s). That is not likely to happen: the Syrian regime and its Russian and other allies are creating facts on the ground.

Besides, there is also a well-known popular American plan, I call it Plan C. Plan C has been devised by the American people. The American public largely does not care who rules in Syria, as long as it is not a Wahhabi-type regime like ISIS or Al Nusra or Jaish Al Fath or………. never mind, I should quit typing now while I am ahead.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Republican Debate: Going Silly over Syria and the New Communist Crescent………

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So, Republican candidates met two nights ago for a debate. It was completely focused on foreign policy, and almost all of it on ISIS (DAESH), Syria, Iraq, and Muslim refugees. Oddly they ignored the huge gorilla that has been roaming within the American room for many years:

  • In 1993, Wahhabi terrorists tried to blow up one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York.
  • Then they blew up the U.S. embassy in Tanzania, killing and wounding .
  • In the fall of 2000 the Wahhabi terrorists attacked the USS Cole in a Yemeni port, killing and wounding .
  • In Sept. 2001, the Wahhabi Mother of All Terror Attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon killed almost three thousand Americans.
  • Then came the attacks in Madrid, London, Bali, and Paris. Then the attacks in Kenya.
  • Then they attacked in West Africa, Libya, and Egypt (The Russian Airliner), and inside Russian cities.
  • Then the Wahhabi attacks on Shi’a mosques in Kuwait in 2015.
    And the suicide attacks across Iraq since 2003. And the sectarian attacks on non-Wahhabi worshipers in Pakistan.
  • And the beheadings and burnings and mass killings of people of other faith in Syria and Iraq, those who are Shi’as, Alawites, Yazidis, Christians, etc.
  • And the attacks in Boston and San Bernardino (2015).
  • All driven by Wahhabi ideology and by Wahhabi volunteers and Gulf Salafi money.

So the Republicans met in Las Vegas and talked about what?
How better to ally the USA with the repressive tribal Wahhabi powers that theorized for and (still) finance and arm and man the terrorist groups. And the Turkish Caliph Erdogan who opened his borders to allow the Jihadists and their weapons to get into Syria.  A couple of them bandied about something called “a Shi’a Crescent” that the silly humorless King of Jordan and the Wahhabi media have publicized, just to divert attention. You’d think Joe Stalin was back and eyeing the Middle East. The famously one-dimensional Senator Graham tried to out-Wahhabi the real true-blue Saudi and Qatari Wahhabis by demanding a re-invasion of Iraq.

Oh, and several of the Republican military service-evaders also promised to shoot down Russian planes over Syria, whether the Syrian people want them to shoot Russian planes over ‘their’ country or not. Whether the UN sanctions it or not.

A couple of them were more sensible, but the trend was toward showing ersatz muscularity and toughness overseas. At least over a Las Vegas microphone.

One saving grace: unlike the GOP debates of 2012, they did not all publicly and verbally kiss the posterior of Israeli prime minister Benyamin Netanyahu. In fact none of them did, except in denouncing the ‘international’ nuclear deal.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Syria: Bringing the Terrorist Patriarchs In from the Cold…………

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“David Cameron was derided for claiming that there are “about 70,000 Syrian opposition fighters …who do not belong to extremist groups” and who might be potential allies of the coalition against IS. The Kurds are not included in that count………… In fact, most experts agree with the prime minister’s intelligence-derived assessment. Charles Lister of Brookings Doha Centre reckons that there are over 100 armed factions with a total of 75,000 fighters, many of whom operate under the Free Syrian Army umbrella, who could be considered “moderate” by Syrian standards. Even more problematic from a Western point of view is the idea of partnering with either Ahrar al-Sham or Jaish al-Islam, two big Salafist groups that have connections with Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN), al-Qaeda’s increasingly powerful Syrian affiliate………..”

Interesting but predictable. The Economist agrees with David Cameron about the 75 thousand “moderate” fighters in Syria, something  I doubt very much. It quotes the Brookings Doha Center (in Qatar, hardly a neutral party) as confirmation. Then it notes that more than 30, 000 of these are Al Qaeda affiliates (probably some 50 thousand in this case). So again they tag Al Nusra and Ahrar Al Sham cutthroats as “moderates”.
Remember when the Al Qaeda, the creator of Al Nusra and later ISIS, were considered the worst of the worst? Not anymore.

I wrote a couple of years ago that Al Qaeda may be invited to “come in from the cold“. I repeated last spring when the Nusra seemed the last great hope of the Arab oil potentates in Syria. Now it is being invited in from the cold. Not only in Syria: in devastated Yemen, the Saudi and allied mercenary bombings have allowed Al Qaeda to take over more towns in the south.
Will ISIS be too far behind? Perhaps with a little push from the moderate Wahhabi “allies”?
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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The Strange Turkish Russian Iranian Syrian Oil and Pistachio Deals with DAESH…….

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When news seeped out about ISIS/DAESH selling and exporting oil over a year ago, I suspected a Turkish connection, even though Western and Saudi/Qatari media claimed there were deals between ISIS and the Assad regime. After all, the weapons, volunteers, and possibly much of the money for the Jihadis in Syria flowed through the long Turkish border. And ISIS/DAESH controls areas along the border.  And there have been credible reports of cooperation between Turkish military and intelligence and the Jihadists in Syria. These days, when a terrorist or accomplices escape from a European country, they head for Turkey: that is the trailhead to lands controlled by ISIS.
Now the Russians have come out and said it openly, with claims of documentation. Iranian media have also carried and seemed to support the Russia claim.
The Turks could not be original, so what did they do? A day or two later they made their own claim of Russian-ISIS oil deals. I didn’t know Russian needed Syrian or Iraqi oil.
Wait, there is more. To make matters more entertaining, there are now reports on the social media of Turkish claims that Iranians also made oil deals with ISIS/DAESH. Tit-for-tat, since the Iranians seemed to support the earlier Russian claims. I didn’t know that the Iranians also needed Syrian or Iraqi oil. I had thought they spent the past few years trying to sell more of their own oil, not buy foreign oil from their Wahhabi enemies.
What next? Turkish claims of Iranian deals to buy Aleppo pistachios from ISIS? Iranian claims of Saudi oil deals with ISIS? Qatari claims that the Bahrain regime imports some of its nasty interrogators from ISIS? Oh, wait……….
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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False Black Flags of Terror: Daesh-istas and ISIS-istas and Tri-Colors………

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Supporters of the Arab Jihadis on social media are evolving, at least in appearance. Some of the Daesh-istas still use their own version of some green-white-black flag (supposedly a flag of some future de-Assadized, Wahhabi-ized Syria) as their own avatars. They know it is more politically correct in some powerful quarters than the black flag of ISIS or Al Nusra and other such terrorist  groups.

Others are bolder, they are now sporting the black version of the Saudi flag openly. Some others are too coy to do that, hence the new tri-color flag. But their hearts are still with those behind the self-appointed Caliph Al-Samarrai, now of Raqqa/Mosul but formerly Saddamist jailbird of Samarra. They are just too shy or timid, or maybe too politically-correct in an endearing Wahhabi fashion, to openly raise the ugly little black Wahhabi flag of the head-choppers and man-burners and market bombers.

So, they use some concocted version of the Syrian flag, the green and white and black flag. It hints, nay it points at support for some of the Jihadis in Syria and elsewhere, without specifying. It is cleverly Daesh-esque but not so openly, ISIS-esque but not so openly. Safe, cute, but not so cute given all the blood…….
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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A Dummy’s Guide to Managing Arab Turmoil: from Iraq to Libya and Syria and Yemen………

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A few Arab governments, and their controlled media, spent several years criticizing the way the United States handled Iraq. The Saudi and Qatari potentates especially seemed to think they could have done better.
They dabbled in Iraq, but got their real chance, both of them and others, in places like Libya, Syria, Egypt, and Yemen.

  • In Libya they talked the Western powers through NATO into bombing the installations controlled by the Gaddafi regime. The West essentially won the civil war in Libya for “the opposition”. People like Senator McCain, Hillary Clinton and French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy thumbed their chests (and breasts) and declared a victory in Libya for democracy and tolerance. Allegedly with some Arab help, no doubt token help. It turns out the Libyan opposition was not what they thought it was. Libya is now divided among tribal elements and Jihadist terrorists. It is suffering from Al Qaeda affiliates as well as ISIS (DAESH) branches.
  • These two Persian Gulf , er, “powers”, ruled by absolute tribal Wahhabi potentates, also thought they could do better in Syria than the West did in Iraq. Of course they had a strong hand in the failure of Western intervention in Iraq and the growth of Wahhabi terrorist enclaves in that country.
  • Having messed up Libya, the Saudis and Qataris started, along with Senator McCain and, yes, French pop-philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy to push for the Western powers to follow their same advise in Syria. From the spring of 2011 they flooded Syria with money, weapons, and Salafi Jihadists. With logistic and trafficking help from the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Caliph Erdogan of Turkey. That was when the non-sectarian original Syrian uprising ended and was replaced with sectarian Salafi Jihadist groups many of whom eventually joined ISIS or Al Nusra. Close to a quarter million Syrians from both sides have died, millions are roaming the shores of Europe seeking refuge. Meanwhile, the Arab potentates who started it all refuse to take in the refugees they helped create.
  • Now the current options for the West in Syria range between accepting Al Assad or one of his allies in power or allowing the intolerant sectarian Wahhabis to take over. There might be a quasi-Wahhabi option somewhere in between, but that may have been co-opted by the new Russian intervention.
  • In Yemen, the Gulf potentates allowed former vice president Generalissimo Abd Rabuh Hadi to win a rigged election with 99.8% of the vote in 2012. Not a very subtle form of democracy is it? Hadi allied himself with the corrupt quasi-Islamist Muslim Brotherhood-ish Islah (ironically Islah means Reform in Arabic). He lost out in Sanaa to an alliance of tribal Houthis and former dictator Ali A Saleh supporters in the army. He fled to Aden, but he was chased out to a hotel in that other bastion of Arab democracy and freedom, Riyadh. The war in Yemen became a struggle between the Houthi-army alliance and Southern secessionists and Al Qaeda. And American drones.
  • Now the Saudis have managed to hire, rent, and buy a bunch of Arab and impoverished African allies ranging from Jordan to Sudan and possibly Mauritania and others. There are unconfirmed reports that the UAE is also sending its mercenary army of hired Colombians to Aden. Yemen is now a war among various groups and proxies. The Saudis and their allies are bombing the country indiscriminately, as do some of their local enemies. Thousands have died, and many displaced in the second poorest Arab country after Somalia. Speaking of which, many Yemenis have fled to Somalia, which tells you how bad things are in that country.

Together, these princes and potentates can write a best-seller: A Dummy’s Guide to Managing Arab Turmoil………
So much for an ‘Arab solution‘. I had thought the idea of an ‘Arab solution’ for any regional problem was laid to rest in 1990/91. Apparently not yet, but no doubt soon enough.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Wahhabi Terrorism in Paris: Bush-ification of Francois Hollande?……..

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Francois Hollande: We will fight, and it will be ruthless…………..

It is natural that France feels besieged. They have had at least two major Wahhabi terrorist attacks in the incomparably beautiful city of Paris this year. Real terrorist attacks, unlike those informant-provoked entrapment “plots” of some addled schmuck at a mosque as has happened in New York and a few other states.

M. Hollande has now asked for a three-month State of Emergency, which is sort of like “closing the barn after the horse, or is it the ass, has escaped”. Hopefully the French State of Emergency does not become permanent, Arab-style. M. Hollande has gone beyond anything an American leader would go to. He has requested a law that any French citizen involved in terrorism be deprived of his/her citizenship, even if born in France. Provided he/she has another citizenship: meaning that “true” French, those who are not of Arab or African origin, are not covered by the new law.

In that, M. Hollande the Socialist has gone well beyond, say, George W Bush. He has out-Bushed Bush. It is an emotional move, and almost certainly a political move for the next French elections. It is unlikely to have any impact on national security or on the fate of the cutthroats of the Caliphate of ISIS.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Syrian War: the Advantage of Gospodin Putin, Poisonous Straws for the West………

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Almost everybody who is anybody is involved in Syria now. Plus a few nobodies. The Western powers have been ‘in’ Syria since long before they started their tepid bombing of the terrorists of ISIS (DAESH, ISIL). Some Republican senators have also crossed the Turkish border into Syria for photo-ops, Western trained fighters have crossed from Turkey and Jordan, before handing their weapons to ISIS or Jabhat Al Nusra (I called them Jabhat Al Qaeda three years ago) and defecting to one or another Wahhabi Jihadist groups. Now we also have Jaish Al-Fath, whose name translates correctly into Army of Islamic Conquest, which some Westerners seem to pin their dwindling Syrian hopes on. A poisonous straw to cling to.

The Arab oil potentates of course entered Syria from the beginning in 2011, with money, weapons, and Wahhabi jihadists from the Persian Gulf states and now from across the globe. That is how the early Syrian protests were quickly taken over by the Islamist jihadists. The West commenced its own bombing campaign after the fall of Mosul and other towns in Iraq and the consequent piling up of mass sectarian and religious atrocities in Iraq and Syria.
But the Western bombing campaign has been “measured”, a polite way of saying it was half-assed (which is how I would describe it if I were rude and crude, which I’m not). It is seemingly aimed only at preventing the expansion of ISIS (DAESH), perhaps rolling it back in Iraq. But the goal in Syria seems to be to keep the status quo: for if ISIS is pushed back in Syria, only Assad and his foreign allies would gain. Or, worse, the Al Qaeda allies and offshoots among the various Jaish Al or Jabhat Al or Ansar Al. Keeping the status quo in a civil war and in a multi-faceted international proxy war is nearly impossible. Hence the tepid air campaign that failed to alter the situation on the ground in Syria. Until a few days ago, when Russia decided to upend this strategy which Mr. Putin probably sees as either wimpy or sly.
Now Gospodin Tovarish Putin has decided to join everybody else and also interfere into the Syrian War, but in his case more decisively and with some authority. He has the luxury of knowing who he supports and who he opposes. He wants to defeat the Syrian opposition, most of whom are genocidal Jihadists with many Russian Chechens among them. He wants a victory for the Assad regime and its allies, if he can get one.


Unlike the Western powers, his campaign is straightforward and focused because it does not seek to mollify rich Arab allies, oligarchs whom he needs to mollify with an indecisive and week air campaign. And unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. Putin has a tame Doma (house or parliament) that does not pounce on every move he makes.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
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