Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Ghosts of Gaza-A Zealous Commander, the Hannibal Protocol & Israeli Soldier Suicides

Creede Newton has written an excellent story for The Daily Beast following up on the Gaza War and the toll it has taken on the Israeli soldiers who fought there. He asked repeated questions about the action in Khuzaa and the apparent summary execution of Islamic Jihad fighters, first reported by Jesse Rosenfeld on August 1 in his article "Who is Behind Gaza's Mass Execution?" and followed up on September 7 in an interview with a member of Islamic Jihad who shared some information about the incident from the Palestinian side. The IDF, thus far, has provided no substantive information about the incident. These are photographs taken at the scene in Khuzaa the day the bodies were discovered. It is no wonder if the ghosts linger in the minds of the men involved.


War on Terror, War on Muslims? A Lively Debate on Al Jazeera English

My part in this discussion with Faiza Patel and Marwan Bishara—http://aje.me/1s8v3nu—runs from 16:25 to 23:25.

From Al Jazeera:

With a renewed fight against terrorism in the Middle East and with Muslims often the principle target of much of the counter-terror campaign in the west, Empire set out to examine if the global fight against terrorism is eroding the democratic principles it set out to defend.

What happens when the war on terror turns inwards, and prolonged military action abroad turns into a culture of fear at home?

What is the impact of increasing surveillance of Muslim communities, banning Islamic dress and equating a religion with a threat?

Marwan Bishara traveled to New York, London, and Paris to discuss and debate these questions with Hamid Dabashi, Faiza Patel, Slavoj Zizek, Edwy Plenel, Christopher Dickey, Michael Clarke, Alan Mendoza, Dilip Hiro and more.

Watch the trailer here:


For those in the United States, you can catch the episode online here after Sunday 20GMT:http://aje.me/1nH8b39

Outside the U.S., you can also view the episode on Wednesday, October 29: 0600 GMT

Friday, October 24, 2014

Updated: Lone Wolves and the Stray Dogs of ISIS - What does "self-radicalized" mean?

My appearance on France 24 early Thursday afternoon, New York time, linking the Canada attacks to ISIS propaganda.

And my colleague Jacob Siegel's analysis on The Daily Beast on Friday after the New York City hatchet attack:

Lone Wolves, Terrorist Runts, and the Stray Dogs of ISIS

Why ISIS and al Qaeda rely on loners and losers to carry out their terrorist agenda in the West.

Bob Baer commenting on CNN after NYPD Commissioner Bratton and Intel Chief Miller acknowledge the hatchet attack was carried out by a "self-radicalized" Muslim convert:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Canadian Terrorists Following ISIS Playbook to the Letter

Recent small-scale attacks, as written about by my colleague Tim Mak in the article "Terrorists End Canada's Innocence," appear to be following precisely the admonition of ISIS propagandists.

As noted in my recent story about covert wars:

One recent missive from ISIS to its followers advised them, "If you are able to kill an American or European infidel—particularly any of the hostile, impure Frenchmen—or an Australian or a Canadian, or any [other] infidel enemy from the countries that have banded against the Islamic State, then put your trust in Allah and kill him, by any way or means. Do not consult anyone and do not seek a fatwa from anyone. It is immaterial if the infidel is a combatant or a civilian. Their sentence is one; they are both infidels, both enemies. The blood of both is permitted…"

And then there’s this, in the same message: "If you cannot [detonate] a bomb or [fire] a bullet, arrange to meet alone with a French or an American infidel and bash his skull in with a rock, slaughter him with a knife, run him over with your car, throw him off a cliff, strangle him, or inject him with poison."

Below, the cover of the most recent issue of the ISIS online magazine:

Monday, October 20, 2014

On CNN: Why, Despite US Bombing and Supplies, Kobani May Yet Fall to ISIS

From Contras to Al Qaeda to Syrian anti-ISIS Forces: My Take on Covert Action, Obama and Savage Wars of Peace

President Obama has weighed the options and concluded America does more harm than good when it sets out to topple regimes. OK. But don’t pretend that’s the CIA’s fault.

PARIS, France—What could be more cynical than a covert operation? Sure, there’s always a lot of talk about fighting for freedom, defeating tyranny. What was it Ronald Reagan called the Contras and the Afghan mujahedin? “They are the moral equivalent of the Founding Fathers.”

Actually some of the Contras whom I knew were the moral equivalent of pathological killers. They were so out of control that the CIA, which had armed them and trained them, finally had two of their commanders hunted down and executed. [NOTE: The men in question, known as Krill and Comandante Suicida, are the two standing in the middle in the photo above.]

As I say, covert ops: cynical business.

But recent reporting on the subject has been profoundly and, indeed, dangerously misleading about both the truth and the consequences surrounding such operations. ... READ ON

Sunday, October 05, 2014

ISIS and the Turkish Problem: 3 Great Stories by Jamie Dettmer

  1. Turkey Stalls, ISIS Triumphs

    Kobani has become the Kurds’ Alamo as they fight ISIS in Syria. Nobody’s coming to help them, and if and when they fall, the repercussions will be felt for years to come.
  2. Why Does the Free Syrian Army Hate Us?

    On the Turkish-Syrian border it quickly becomes clear why the FSA—the “moderate” rebels the Obama administration wants to train—have learned to loathe him.
  3. Turkey’s Sympathy for the Devil

    President Erdogan may have promised President Obama support, and moved tanks to the Syrian border, but Turkey is pretending to support a war it doesn’t believe in.

Biden Apologizes for Telling the Truth: "Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria"

Vice President Joe Biden is apologizing again for speaking the truth.

After 1 hour and 32 minutes speaking to Harvard's John F. Kennedy Forum on October 2, a junior at the college asked Biden, "In retrospect do you believe the United States should have acted earlier in Syria, and if not why is now the right moment?"

This was Biden's reply:

The answer is ‘no’ for two reasons. One, the idea of identifying a moderate middle has been a chase America has been engaged in for a long time. We Americans think in every country in transition there is a Thomas Jefferson hiding beside some rock – or a James Madison beyond one sand dune. The fact of the matter is the ability to identify a moderate middle in Syria was – there was no moderate middle because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers – they are made up of people who in fact have ordinary elements of the middle class of that country.

And what happened was – and history will record this because I’m finding that former administration officials, as soon as they leave write books which I think is inappropriate, but anyway, (laughs) no I’m serious – I do think it’s inappropriate at least, you know, give the guy a chance to get out of office. And what my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies – our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends – and I have the greatest relationship with Erdogan, which I just spent a lot of time with – the Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad except that the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.

Now you think I’m exaggerating – take a look. Where did all of this go? So now what’s happening? All of a sudden everybody’s awakened because this outfit called ISIL which was Al Qaeda in Iraq, which when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space in territory in eastern Syria, work with Al Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now all of a sudden – I don’t want to be too facetious – but they had seen the Lord. Now we have – the President’s been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can’t once again go into a Muslim nation and be seen as the aggressor – it has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization. So what do we have for the first time? [end of recording]

All this can be heard, at least for the moment, on the White House YouTube channel (audio only, go to 1:32:00):

Needless to say the allies had a fit, especially the Turks. And yesterday Biden called his buddy Erdogan to apologize, according to the U.S. embassy in Ankara:

Readout of the Vice President’s call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (October 4, 2014)

Vice President Joe Biden spoke today with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to clarify recent comments made at Harvard University. The Vice President apologized for any implication that Turkey or other Allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria. The Vice President made clear that the United States greatly values the commitments and sacrifices made by our Allies and partners from around the world to combat the scourge of ISIL, including Turkey. The two leaders reaffirmed the importance of Turkey and the United States working closely together to confront ISIL.

All I can say is that I hope there was more to the conversation than that.