The shape of things to come 0

A “slave market” in London

[A great idea, well executed. Only, contrary to a statement that appears at the opening of the video, ISIS does represent Islam more than any other entity in the world at present.]

This story, by Damien Sharkov, comes from Newsweek:

Kurdish protesters took to the streets of London to draw attention to the slave-trade tactics of Islamic State, a group more commonly known as ISIS, in a mock auction of captured women from territories in Iraq and Syria yesterday evening.

The protest led a group of chained veiled women and encouraged passers by to bid for them in front of the Houses of Parliament, Leicester Square and Downing Street.

“This is what Shariah means,” the speaker for the mock ISIS group belted from a megaphone at the first of three protests.

“This happens every day in Iraq and Syria. We are bringing it to you,” he yelled while leading a group of four chained and veiled women in front of Westminster Square, followed by 20 protesters chanting “ISIS, ISIS, terrorists!”

Once the group reached the entrance to Westminster Hall the leader proceeded in encouraging passersby to bid on the captured women “to serve them, for their pleasure.”

The speaker for the “ISIS” auctioneers boasted he had “Christian women, Muslim women, women from Kobane, from Raqqah, from Mosul,” before beginning the bidding with 14-year-old Yasmin whom bidders were assured was “pure” and “a virgin.”

Each of the women was “sold” for several hundred dollars before the protesters cleared and went home.

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One of the protest’s organizers … [said that] the stunt was intended to provoke an “aggravated reaction,” highlighting the “crimes ISIS are committing in Iraq and Syria.”

“What we wanted to show is that this could take place in London,” he said.

“This is not a myth. This [ISIS-type terrorism] is already happening on our streets,” he added, alluding to the murder of Lee Rigby on a London street last year at the hands of Islamist militants. …

“The unfortunate truth is ISIS are already implementing their terror among us. We were trying to wake up the British public to the danger ISIS pose on humanity.”

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How did “Londonistan” react?

The protesters encountered some hostility on the way with one of the three mock auctions being interrupted by a complaint that the protest “had put people off their drinks.”

Police had to stop some passersby from confronting protesters. …

Having suspicious minds, and being quite well-informed, we suspect the passersby who would have liked to object were mainly Muslim.

No arrests were made, and there was no violence on the streets.

But elsewhere in Europe and in Turkey, Kurds and ISIS-supporting Muslims battled fiercely. The Middle East war is spreading.

This is from the Independent:

Dozens were injured in Germany after clashes erupted between Kurdish protesters and hard-line Islamists [namely, Salafist Muslims] overnight. Police say 14 were injured and 22 arrested in violent scuffles in the northern city of Hamburg after hundreds of Kurds staged a demonstration against ISIS,  also known as the Islamic State. Similar protests were held across Europe yesterday by Kurds attempting to draw attention to ISIS’s siege of the Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria.

These pictures of the violent clashes in Turkey are from the MailOnline:

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And this picture is from Hamburg:

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For many more dramatic pictures of Kurdish-Muslim violence in Turkey and Hamburg go here.

There were also demonstrations by Kurds in Belgium, France, Switzerland and Denmark. In France – in Marseilles – the Kurdish protestors were violent, hurling Molotov cocktails at the Turkish consulate.

Oil: the market triumphs 2

Despite all President Obama’s efforts to prevent it, the US is winning the oil game. Because no human force is stronger than the market.

The knuckleheads of the Left love to hurl the accusation in the faces of conservatives that the presidents Bush “only went to war against Iraq because of oil”. (As if they themselves would never think of driving a gas-fueled car – or would be perfectly content not to.)

The accusation is not true. But perhaps the US should have gone to war against one or more Middle Eastern powers “because of oil”.

Oil is a very good reason to go to war. Would have been, when the Saudis had OPEC hyping the oil price in 1973. The results for the US and Western Europe were dire.

This is from Wikipedia:

In October 1973, OPEC declared an oil embargo in response to the United States’ and Western Europe’s support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War of 1973. The result was a rise in oil prices from $3 per barrel to $12 and the commencement of gas rationing. Other factors in the rise in gasoline prices included a market and consumer panic reaction, the peak of oil production in the United States around 1970 and the devaluation of the U.S. dollar. U.S. gas stations put a limit on the amount of gasoline that could be dispensed, closed on Sundays, and limited the days gasoline could be purchased based on license plates.

Even after the embargo concluded, prices continued to rise. The Oil Embargo of 1973 had a lasting effect on the United States. The Federal government got involved first with President Richard Nixon recommending citizens reduce their speed for the sake of conservation, and later Congress issuing a 55 mph limit at the end of 1973. Daylight savings time was extended year round to reduce electrical use in the American home. Smaller, more fuel efficient cars were manufactured. Nixon also formed the Energy Department as a cabinet office. People were asked to decrease their thermostats to 65 degrees and factories changed their main energy supply to coal.

One of the most lasting effects of the 1973 oil embargo was a global economic recession. Unemployment rose to the highest percentage on record while inflation also spiked. Consumer interest in large gas guzzling vehicles fell and production dropped. Although the embargo only lasted a year, during that time oil prices had quadrupled and OPEC nations discovered that their oil could be used as both a political and economic weapon against other nations.

War then would have been a far better answer to the Saudis than meek acceptance buttered with sycophancy.

War and drilling. Drilling wherever there was oil in America and off-shore. Including Alaska. Ignoring the Environmentalists with their philosophy of impoverishment.

Now all is changing. The US is becoming the biggest oil producer in the world. The Saudis and the other Middle Eastern tyrannies have no resource other than the oil discovered under their ground and developed into riches for them, by the infidel. And now they are losing it.

They, and all the evil powers that have wielded oil as a weapon, are taking desperate measures. Which will fail.

This is from Investor’s Business Daily:

With Saudi Arabia ramping up oil production, prices are tumbling, and the world’s petrotyrants — Iran, Russia and Venezuela — are taking a hit. Seems the old high-price, low-production tactic isn’t foolproof.

The Saudis don’t seem to be interested in budging. As prices fell to $83 a barrel for November-delivery crude, they’ve ramped up production even as others call on them to stop.

The first call came from fiscal shambles Venezuela, for an emergency meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC] for a production hike. They were coldly rebuffed.

And on Tuesday, Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal — a Saudi entrepreneur with a lot of non-oil money who sometimes plays gadfly to the regime — warned that the kingdom would fail to balance its own budget if oil prices went below $80. But he, too, was rebuffed.

It all may be because Saudi Arabia has a strategic need to check Iran over its nuclear program and financing of Islamic State terror and to discipline Russia for its support for the Assad regime in Syria.

It’s also almost certainly a response to the great shale revolution in the U.S., which has slashed U.S. dependency on oil exports to 20% from 60% a decade ago.

A Chilean-based entrepreneur told IBD last year that the greatest fear of Saudi Arabia’s king was America’s shale revolution, which was cutting into Saudi’s role as the world’s swing producer of oil.

However it spills out, the Saudi move to raise production may be the most dramatic move to shake events since President Reagan forced the bankruptcy of the Soviet empire by … asking the Saudis to raise production, which they did.

With this most recent move, the petrotyranny model of using oil as a weapon against smaller neighbors and the U.S. is effectively dead. Over the past decade, all of the states that have staked their futures on the power of oil have effectively burned their bridges to other models for building their economies.

When Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez took over in 1998, he scrapped that nation’s high-production, low-price, high-market-share strategy. In its place came a “model” based on high prices for consumers, low output and the expropriation of state oil company profits to pay for bigger government and an expansive welfare state, leaving the company without investment.

Foreign oil properties were also expropriated, including Exxon Mobil’s in 2007. It provided a short-term boost but left the country one of the most unattractive in the world for foreign investment and capital.

Russia, meanwhile, adopted a somewhat similar strategy after its 1998 crash. It focused on becoming a petropower, much to the detriment of the rest of the economy.

Today, more than three-quarters of Russia’s economy is oil-based, leaving it dependent on high oil prices with no balance from other sectors and wasting its most valuable asset: a well-educated workforce.

Instead of diversifying, Russia used energy as a weapon, repeatedly cutting off Ukraine’s natural gas supplies since 2009 in a bid to force its neighbor to toe the Moscow line, as well as to “Finlandize” its eastern and central European neighbors into fearing more energy cutoffs.

Then there’s Iran, whose illegal nuclear program has enjoyed soggy indifference in Europe based on the region’s dependence on Iranian oil.

These three troublemakers share one thing in common: a strategy of high oil prices and low production, plus a willingness to interfere with markets to make them into power games.

But as it turns out, that strategy was another kind of dependency. And the Saudis, egged on by the shale revolution, have just ended it.

Market manipulation is peculiar. In 1998, the Saudis tried to cut output to keep crude prices from falling further. It didn’t work. From that, they learned a valuable right lesson: Nothing is bigger than market forces.

Now, the world’s remaining petrotyrants are about to be schooled as well.

Time for a little quiet celebration. And it doesn’t have to be only a little or very quiet.

Let us crow.

Bomb the Kaaba! 3

… and  put an end to ISIS and all ISLAM with one blow?

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The Kaaba

In our recent post Freedom from religion (October 6,  2014), we mentioned that a rock could be an object of worship.

There was an ancient tradition in Arabia of  anointing and circumambulating stones as a form of worship. Many of the worshipped stones were meteorites. As they came “from the heavens” they were thought to be sent by a god and to contain divine powers. One such stone, long since fragmented, is the one enshrined at Mecca, that Muslims hold sacred and circumambulate.

From Wikipedia:

The Black Stone (Arabic: الحجر الأسودal-Ḥajar al-Aswad) is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, the ancient stone building toward which Muslims pray, in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is revered by Muslims as an Islamic relic which, according to Muslim tradition, dates back to the time of Adam and Eve.

The stone was venerated at the Kaaba in pre-Islamic pagan times. According to Islamic tradition, it was set intact into the Kaaba’s wall by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the year 605 A.D., five years before his first revelation. Since then it has been broken into a number of fragments and is now cemented into a silver frame in the side of the Kaaba. Its physical appearance is that of a fragmented dark rock, polished smooth by the hands of millions of pilgrims. Islamic tradition holds that it fell from Heaven to show Adam and Eve where to build an altar. Although it has often been described as a meteorite, this hypothesis is now uncertain.

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba as part of the tawaf ritual of the hajj. Many of them try, if possible, to stop and kiss the Black Stone, emulating the kiss that Islamic tradition records that it received from Muhammad. If they cannot reach it, they point to it on each of their seven circuits around the Kaaba.

The broken stone has no value in itself; not as a gem, not as a meteorite sample, and not as a relic of the past. It is not an artifact that could reveal information about ancient civilizations. It is not unique. It is endowed with value only by tradition and superstition.

It could, however, be of enormous importance to the world. The destruction of it – by pulverizing it so completely that no trace of it remains – could be hugely beneficial.

We quote from: Hitler, Stalin, Muhammad: Who ranks as the most evil human ever? by Dov Ivry (a reader of this website) –

Whether what remains on display at Mecca today is the original meteorite is open to question because there are only fragments in a reconstructed edifice. [However,] the remembrance of a stone falling from the sky rings true. … They keep changing the label on the meteorite god. Today it is called Allah. …

Islam, as the worship of the pet rock is known, is always vulnerable to a sudden disappearance from the planet if [the Black Stone] were ever pulverized into powder and the powder scattered over the Pacific Ocean. An atomic bomb might produce that powder at some point. If so, Islam would vanish within a few generations.

If that outcome really is a strong probability, then the sooner the Kaaba is bombed the better (obviously at a time when there are no pilgrims there). Conventional bombs would do. It could be the quickest way of ending the jihad, the Islamic State, and the conflict between Islamic sects, and above all its disappearance might free the world of at least one ancient and persistent religion – the worst of them all: Islam.

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The Black Stone 

Along with “The UN must be destroyed!”, “Bomb the Kaaba!” takes its place as a slogan of ours.  

Posted under Arab States, Commentary, Defense, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, Saudi Arabia, War by Jillian Becker on Friday, October 10, 2014

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How many jihadists? 4

What proportion of the world’s Muslims are, or are likely to become, jihadists?

Nobody knows even an approximate number.

In search of an answer, we found this article at the website of Daniel Pipes. The content seems to have been gathered by an Indian professor from a book called Prophet of Doom by Craig Winn.

The article was posted in November 2006 and the Muslim population of the world has grown since then. It is now about 1.6 billion.

There has been a proliferation of terrorist groups in the Middle East and North Africa since the start of the  “Arab Spring”.

The Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) alone is waging war with over 30,000 fighters, a number said to be growing steadily.

Robert Spencer, a leading authority on Islam, wrote on June 4, 2014:

The threat to the U.S. from global jihadist groups has escalated in the past three years, with the number of groups increasing by more than 50% and the estimated number of militants doubling.

So the figures predicted in the article have almost certainly proved to be under-estimates. But here is what the author worked out:

I am often asked to guess as to how many Muslims are jihadists. …  I think the math goes something like this:

There are between 1.2 and 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Half are women. While a substantial percentage of Islamic women support jihad, less than one in fifty Islamic terrorist acts is actually perpetrated by a female. That leaves us with a maximum pool of jihadists that is just over 50% of the total population.

The overwhelming preponderance of terrorist acts are conducted by young Muslim men 15 to 30 years old. This age bracket covers about half of the male population of the Islamic world, leaving us with a potential jihad pool of 25% of all Muslims – approximately 300 million people.

The most logical way to determine the percentage of Muslims who are salafi/fundamentalists – a precondition to jihad – is to consider the most recent elections in Islamic countries. For example, the fundamentalist Islamic group Hamas received 65% of the popular vote in “Palestine.” The somewhat secular Fatah, at least by comparison to Hamas, won only 30% of the votes.

While he was not popularly elected, Turkey’s president, Ahmet Necdet Sezar, is a fundamentalist Muslim. Turkey’s parliament, which selected him by a 70% majority, is formed as a result of a popular mandate and it is predominately comprised of fundamentalist Muslims. Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is the nation’s most popular leader. He is a convicted felon who believes: “Mosques are our barracks, domes are our helmets, minarets our bayonets, and believers our soldiers.” He won a landslide victory in 2002 – and Turkey is considered to be the most moderate Islamic state.

The newly elected fundamentalist Islamic nutcase ruling Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, earned 62% of the popular vote. The most moderate Islamic challenger garnered less than twenty percent support. The notion that the majority of Iranians are hostile to the Shia mullahs, and are poised for a revolution, is a myth

In Lebanon, politicians got all excited when 50,000 people marched in support of democracy. The following week when 500,000 people protested in support of Islam/Submission, the percentage of fundamentalist Muslims became clear.

Fundamentalist Islamic candidates in the most recent Iraqi elections, those individuals who belonged to clerical parties like the Islamic Revolution in Iraq founded by Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, won 65% of the seats in the new parliament.

While opinion surveys can be suspect, and are often tainted by the manner in which a question is phrased, there are two that are worth mentioning. Opinion polls taken by the British Government reveal that 70% of Iraqis think killing Americans is justified, something that is impossible to justify outside the conditioning of fundamentalist Islam. The rising death toll of American troops and stunning escalation in terror in Iraq give credence to those numbers. Polls taken in Pakistan, where bin Laden is being harbored, reveal that 70% of Pakistanis view the world’s most famous Islamic terrorist very favorably. In fact, Osama has become the most popular name for boys in the region.

Therefore, based upon the most objective data available to us, at least 60% of all Muslims have the potential to be jihadists by way of their fundamentalist voting patterns. That is to say, Islam has grown substantially closer to its salafi, and thus terrorist, roots over the past decade.

It is safe to say that 750 million Muslims are fundamentalists trying to follow Allah’s orders and Muhammad’s example. And as fundamentalists, they are potential jihadists.

If the 60% response levels derived from polling data is an accurate reflection of the current state of Islam, then sex and age criteria further reduce Islamic terrorist candidates down to a maximum of one in every seven Muslims – 25% of 60%. That means that no more than 15% of the total Islamic population of 1.2 to 1.5 billion people has the potential to be a terrorist should the opportunity arise. That equates to a minimum of 180 million potential jihadists and a maximum of 225 million.

But when it comes to actual jihadists, to those who have or will commit an act of terrorism in Allah’s name, my research suggests that they represent no more than one in one hundred of the 180 million young fundamentalist Muslim men prepared mentally, morally, and spiritually to be terrorists. That means that there are 1.8 million actual Islamic jihadists on the planet today – a number which could jump one hundred fold almost instantaneously should the opportunity arise.

Middle East political commentator Daniel Pipes says that there are no less than 130 million Islamic jihadists but I don’t believe that is possible because there haven’t been sufficient jihadist attacks over the past 20 years for that many Muslims to be engaged in the business of killing people for Allah.

But there have been sufficient jihadist attacks now to make that figure plausible. According to the tally kept by The Religion Of Peace (shown continuously in our margin) there have now been over 24000 lethal terrorist attacks by Muslims (most of them on other Muslims) since the jihad attacks on America on 9/11/2o01.

The potential pool of jihadists, however, is reasonably close to Pipes’s estimate. …

Keep in mind that while only 15% of Muslims are potential jihadists today, that percentage is growing rapidly. Thanks to OPEC funding and clerical indoctrination, the Islamic world is becoming increasingly fundamentalist. In twenty years most Muslims could be terrorists – and probably will be. 

Posted under Arab States, Commentary, Demography, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, Terrorism, War by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, October 7, 2014

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“Old civilizations put to the sword” 6

… and the flame-thrower, and the mortar shell, and the bulldozer, and the wrecking-ball …

Islam is one of the most ruinous forces in history. Giulio Meotti wrote this short account of its barbarous destruction of the world’s heritage of past civilizations.

(Note: Wherever Meotti uses the word “Islamists” we would use the word “Muslims” or “jihadis”. We do not believe there is a variety of Islam that needs a different name.)

Around the year 645 A.D., Omar Ibn Al Khattab, the second caliph and a successor of Muhammad, set fire to the library of Alexandria.  …

The world lost several centuries of knowledge and thought due to that Islamic fire.

Today another caliph, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, has issued a fatwa against the World Heritage Sites of the Middle East. The much vaunted Middle Eastern richness is shrinking to a cultural desert

For over five thousand years, many civilizations have left their mark in Mesopotamia: Assyrians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Arameans, Jews and Romans. Their ancient buried cities, palaces and temples are scattered throughout what is now northern Iraq and eastern Syria. Now most of the archaeological wealth is under the control of the Islamic State. Two days ago, Isis leveled the “green church” of Tikrit, the symbol of Assyrian Christianity in the seventh century.

Among the most important sites now under the control of Islam are four ancient cities – Nineveh, Kalhu, Dur Sharrukin and Ashur – which, at different times, were the capitals of the powerful Assyrian empire. The greatest damage has been wreaked by Islam on the Palace of Kalhu, from which the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II reigned in the ninth century B.C.

They have destroyed some of the “ziggurats”, the impressive temples that rise into the sky. The non-Islamic tradition of Mosul no longer exists. The Islamists have destroyed thirty historic sites, including the shrines of the biblical prophets [well, anyway, biblical characters - ed0] Seth, Daniel and Jonah.

In Syria, the Islamic terrorists have demolished relics as part of their “purge of paganism”, destroying Assyrian statues. In a video, they unashamedly claim the duty of the mujahideen is to “remove the appearance of evil”.

Harta, the archeological site … is in IS hands and risks destruction.

The Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo had just recently reopened to the public after nine years of renovations, when last January a bomb destroyed it. It contained masterpieces of the Umayyad, Abbassid, and Ottoman periods. During the uprisings that led to the removal of President Mohammed Morsi, in August 2013, the Mallawi Museum of Minia was almost totally destroyed.

In Cairo, meanwhile, the manuscripts of the Cairo Institute went up in smoke, including the legacy of the Napoleonic expedition of 1798 in the land of the Pyramids. Nothing was saved from the great work “Description de l’Egypte”, curated by two hundred scholars led by the curator of the Louvre, Vivant Denon.

Presumably that was the original manuscript. There must surely be copies elsewhere. But still it is a loss to be deplored.

The head of the Association for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage, Hagag Ibrahim, said that the Institute has been subjected to a second “Tatar invasion”, comparing it to the Mongols who in 1258 burned the library of Baghdad, whose waters turned black from ashes of thousands of precious manuscripts.

In Libya, the “treasures of Benghazi”, coins, jewelry, and small statues of antiquity have been lost since the revolution of May 2011. …

The great library of Al Saeh in Tripoli, Lebanon, was recently given over to the flames by the Islamists.

A year ago, in Mali, hundreds of manuscripts of the Ahmed Baba Centre in Timbuktu were burned due to the irrational fury of the mujahideen. This was a body of work that ranges from the ninth century to this day … in many languages, such as Arabic, Sonrai*, Bambanà [?] and Hebrew.

They destroyed the door that leads into the sanctuary of the mosque of Sidi Yahya. According to legend, the entrance to the monument had to remain closed for ever, and its opening would cause the end of the world. “See – there is no end of the world,” proclaimed [the Muslims] in front of a stunned crowd shocked by [what was to them] the sacrilege.

In Israel, Palestinian Islamists have destroyed the Tomb of Joseph, while the artifacts from the ancient Temples of Solomon and Herod in Jerusalem are scooped out piece by piece from the levels below the Temple Mount to make it seem that the presence of mosques on the Mount is the first example of construction on the site.

The Izz ad-Din al Qassam, the military wing of Hamas, recently leveled – with bulldozers – the ancient Mediterranean port of Anthedon, three thousand years of mosaic floors and columns of the Roman, Byzantine destroyed. To do what on the site? Construct a terrorist training camp.

In India, the temple of Ram at Ayodhya was destroyed to become the Babri Masjid mosque.

The great [statues of] Buddha in Afghanistan were leveled by the Taliban of Mullah Omar following a fatwa. …

In the Swat Valley, in Pakistan, the Taliban recently destroyed Buddhist statues in Jahanabad …

The Islamic State has just destroyed the ancient Armenian Church of Der Zor, (re)consecrated as a memorial of the Armenian Genocide.** …

Nothing has changed. The Islamists plan to make a tabula rasa out of entire civilizations.

 

*From Wiki: The Songhai (also Songhay or Sonrai) are west Africans who speak Songhai languages, the lingua franca of the Songhai Empire which dominated the western Sahel in the 15th and 16th century.

** This genocide of the (Christian) Armenians was launched by the (Muslim) Ottoman Turks in 1915.

Posted under Arab States, Art, Commentary, History, Iraq, Islam, Israel, jihad, Libya, middle east, Muslims, Syria, War by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, October 1, 2014

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Token allies in a reluctant engagement 2

Much dust is being thrown in our eyes to keep us from seeing what’s really happening with the air (and airy) war against the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL).

Have you noticed that while every reporter, commentator and talk-show host repeats the Obama-Kerry boast that “five Arab states” are joining in the US bombing war on the Islamic State, nobody ever names them?

Mention has been made of the United Arab Republic sending planes, and as if to prove its involvement we are shown a picture of a smiling young woman pilot. But nothing is said about UAR targets and whether they were hit and whether they were destroyed.

Word is also dropped that Saudi Arabian planes were in the skies over IS territory. What did they do? Nobody says.

According to a Coptic source, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, revealed that only when five Arab governments gave assurances they would join the bombing operation over Syria against the Islamic State, did President Obama “give the order to commence the operation”.

The Coptic report names the five Arab states as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan. The story is put about that they “participated in the airstrikes Monday in eastern Syria”.

Why are we skeptical?

Qatar  has actively aided IS/ISIS/ISIL. (So, according to the same report, has Saudi Arabia – along with Turkey and Kuwait.)

Bahrain is in chaos.

Jordan has declared itself willing to supply intelligence. And while there was a rumor of Jordanian planes participating in the flights over Syria there was not even a whisper about them actually dropping any bombs on their fellow Sunnis.

Nothing is clear:

A U.S. official said that all five Arab countries were believed to have joined U.S. warplanes, although it is still unclear how many countries dropped bombs during the operation. The official asked not to be identified to discuss sensitive operational details.

Plainly he’s been told to be vague and say as little as possible.

Dempsey said that the first Arab government told U.S. officials that it would participate in attacks on Syria “within the last 72 hours” and that once that occurred, the other four soon promised to participate. He would not identify which country was the first to back the U.S. airstrikes.

“Once we had one of them on board the others followed quickly thereafter,” he said. …

Verbally on board, that is.

Dempsey said he was still awaiting information about how much damage the strikes had inflicted on the militants.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs still awaiting such information? That was not a convincing reply. He quickly brushed the question aside.

The importance [he said] was the signal the attacks sent to Islamic State that its fighters, camps, equipment and leadership are vulnerable in Syria …

The signal is important. And a signal is as much apparently as could be squeezed out of the five Arab governments.

There are still major questions about how committed governments in the region are helping the U.S. and Iraq, whose government is dominated by Shia Arabs, against the well-armed militants, who have claimed large areas of eastern Syria and western and northern Iraq over the last year.

But being able to claim their alliance is all important to Obama. Why? Because –

Having Arab governments as part of the coalition helps “strip away the cloak of religious legitimacy that [Islamic State] has wrapped itself in and point out to these Muslim populations that ISIL is nothing but a perversion of Islam.”

Got that? Obama needs to tell the Islamic world that the Islamic State is “nothing but a perversion of Islam”.

He could not bear Muslims to think that he is making war on Islam. So Islamic states must be believed to be helping him bomb IS in Syria.

But the only bombing we know about with any degree of certainty is being done by the US Air Force.

Can’t you just hear the voice of the Kerry begging, threatening, cajoling the five Arab governments just to say that they are in alliance with America?

Charles Krauthammer the Wise writes:

Late, hesitant and reluctant as he is, President Obama has begun effecting a workable strategy against the Islamic State. True, he’s been driven there by public opinion. Does anyone imagine that without the broadcast beheadings we’d be doing anything more than pinprick strikes within Iraq? …

The strategy will not destroy the Islamic State. It’s more containment-plus: Expel the Islamic State from Iraq, contain it in Syria. Because you can’t win from the air. In Iraq, we have potential ground allies. In Syria, we don’t. …

The Kurds will fight, but not far beyond their own territory. A vigorous air campaign could help them recover territory lost to the Islamic State and perhaps a bit beyond. But they won’t be anyone’s expeditionary force.

From the Shiites in Iraq we should expect little. U.S. advisers embedded with a few highly trained Iraqi special forces could make some progress. But we cannot count on the corrupt and demoralized regular Shiite-dominated military.

Our key potential allies are the Sunni tribes. We will have to induce them to change allegiances a second time, joining us again, as they did during the 2007-2008 surge, against the jihadists.

Having abandoned them in 2011, we won’t find this easy. But it is necessary. One good sign is the creation of a Sunni national guard, a descendant of the Sons of Iraq who, fighting with us, expelled al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) during the Anbar Awakening. Only they could push the Islamic State out of Iraq. And surely only they could hold the territory regained.

But they haven’t even started doing anything yet.

Syria is another matter. Under the current strategy, the cancer will remain. The air power there is unsupported by ground troops. Nor is anyone in Obama’s “broad coalition” going to contribute any.

[Non-Arab] Turkey  … is not just refusing to join the air campaign. [It] has denied us use of [its] air bases.

As for what’s left of the Free Syrian Army, Obama has finally come around to training and arming it. But very late and very little. The administration admits it won’t be able to field any trained forces for a year. And even then only about 5,000. The Islamic State is already approximately 30,000 strong and growing.

But the Free Syrian Army is in alliance with groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and even possibly with IS itself (see here and here). Arming it may be an act of sheer folly. Those US arms may be used before long against Americans.

Not that air power is useless. It can degrade and disrupt. If applied systematically enough it can damage the entrenched, expanding, secure and self-financing Islamic State, turning it back to more of a fugitive guerrilla force constantly on the run. …

Can it? In any case, as Obama admitted –

This war he’s renewed will take years. This struggle is generational. …

Today jihadism is global, its religious and financial institutions ubiquitous and its roots deeply sunk in a world religion of more than a billion people. We are on a path — long, difficult, sober, undoubtedly painful — of long-term, low-intensity rollback/containment.

Krauthammer ends by saying that “Obama must now demonstrate the steel to carry it through”.

Obama demonstrate steel? Has he got some? Where has he been hiding it? He was “late, hesitant and reluctant” to start doing anything. If he carries the war on until the end of his tenure it will only be because he can think of no way to stop it.

Posted under Arab States, Commentary, Iraq, Islam, jihad, Jordan, Muslims, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Friday, September 26, 2014

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All aboard for Kerry’s mystery coalition 10

Secretary of State Kerry says 40 countries will be in coalition with the US in its war with IS/ISIS/ISIL.

Which states would those be?

According to CNN:

On Sunday, Kerry said countries in the Middle East are willing to help with strikes against ISIS, but … “it’s not appropriate to start announcing which nations will participate and what each will do.”

Because you see, fact is, apart from the US, nobody’s doin’ nothin’ nohow –  except make a few promises with their fingers crossed.

Australia says it will send up to eight combat aircraft, one airborne early warning and control aircraft, and one multirole tanker and transport aircraft. In case somebody over there knows how to use them. No troops.

Great Britain says it would seriously consider helping to arm Kurdish forces if Kurdish forces were to fight ISIS beyond their own borders.

Canada says it already sent sent some ammunition to somebody and will maybe send some advisers to somewhere in Iraq.

France declares that it has contributed 18,000 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition. And, what is more, it has performed one or two humanitarian aid drops to refugees somewhere in the region. And more still –  it promises to do some bombing perhaps at some time. Somewhere.

The Netherlands says it will definitely try to stop would-be fighters leaving to go and help ISIS.

Turkey says, word of honor, it will cut the flow of money to ISIS and… and … has already begun to think about how to stop foreigners crossing its territory to join ISIS.

Jordan says it will provide intelligence.

Saudi Arabia says it will train fighters against ISIS if any present themselves for such training. Also, along with Qatar and Egypt, it will spread anti-ISIS messages and encourage imams to say really nasty things against the group.

Iran has said it will do absolutely nothing to help the US which, it says, is only fighting ISIS because it wants to dominate the region. (At present Iran is dominating much of the region.)

Iraqi Kurdistan is willing to send their Peshmerga forces to fight beyond their borders if and when there’s a comprehensive international strategy put in place – which there is not.

The remaining 30 – unnamed – participating countries are keeping information about their contributions each to itself. They’re not even telling Kerry. Why be so nosy? They deserve a little privacy, don’t they? It’s every state’s right.

A sort of coalition of the very unwilling 2

President Obama does not want to take action agains the Islamic State. But opinion polls have forced him to utter some platitudes about keeping America safe and the Islamic State being a bad thing (though “not Islamic”, he says), and to make a military gesture or two by sending a few American personnel to Iraq and having the US Air Force bomb a few IS sites. But you mustn’t call it aggressive war, what he’s doing. If it must be called “war” at all, then it must be something the whole world wants to do so the US has no choice but to go along with the wish of so overwhelming a community.

He has sent that great negotiator John Kerry. who has a record of success in his diplomatic ventures (being sarcastic here), to form a coalition.

And it looks as if Kerry will be as successful as ever he was. He has not managed to form a coalition. Not with Arab states. Not with Islamic states. Not with European states.

Iraq might say it will join, but it has only a diminished and intimidated army.

Egypt and Jordan have refused to join.

Turkey has not only refused, but has denied airbases on its territory for US or any other airstrikes against IS.

Britain and Germany will send arms to the Kurdish peshmerga forces to fight IS, but will not take part directly in the fighting.

France … Ah, France! President Francois Hollande is as eager to lead the chimerical coalition as President Obama is reluctant to do it. Last Friday he personally accompanied a vast amount of materiel to Baghdad. He plans to host the occasion in Paris on Monday when – if – a coalition will  be formed. And he has invited Iran to participate.

Our information comes largely from DebkaFile, from which we quote the following:

Friday, Obama appointed Gen. John R. Allen, former commander in Afghanistan and western Iraq, to lead the coalition forces in the war on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levan.

It is hard to see what combat forces he will lead, in view of the mixed international responses so far to Washington’s appeals for a global coalition to combat terror.

In the years 2006-2008, Gen. Allen commanded the US II Marine Expeditionary Force, which successfully fought Al Qaeda under Musab Zarqawi’s leadership in western Iraq’s Anbar province. He led what was then dubbed the “Awakening” project, which rallied the region’s Sunni tribes to the fight.

President Obama appears to be hinging his campaign against the new Islamist scourge on Gen. Allen repeating that success. …

The prospects of this happening in 2014 are fairly slim, because the circumstances are so different:

1. To support the Sunni Awakening venture, President George W. Bush authorized the famous “surge” which placed an additional 70,000 US troops on the Iraqi battlefield. However, Obama has vowed not to send US combat troops back to Iraq in significant numbers, and has approved no more than a few hundred American military personnel.

2.  In 2006, Iraqi Sunnis trusted American pledges. They agreed to turn around and fight fellow Sunni Al Qaeda after being assured by Washington that they would not lose their status and rights in Baghdad, and that the US would give them weapons and salaries. In 2009, they realized that the Obama administration would not stand by the Bush administration’s assurances. Their disillusion with America and the rise of a Shiite-dominated regime in Baghdad pushed them into the arms of ISIS.

3. Since then Iraq’s Sunni leaders have learned not to trust anyone. Today, they are hedging their bets, their tribal leaders split into two opposing camps between Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and the Islamic State, on the other. For the first time since the US invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein 11 years ago, Iraq’s Sunni leaders feel they are in the saddle and in a position to set a high price for their support.

All this leaves President Obama and Gen. Allen on the threshold of a war on Islamist terrorists, which everyone agrees needs to be fought without delay, but without enough political leverage for going forward or much chance of mustering the right troops to lead – even into the first battle.

The riches of ISIS 9

The Islamic State is a state, whether the world likes it or not (and its doesn’t). A state is populated territory governed by an authority which is able to enforce its will internally and hold off its enemies. IS/ISIS/ISIL is fully able to do that. It is doing it. (Though being at war, its borders are not yet firmly established.) It does not require recognition by other states, nor to be a member of the ludicrous United Nations.

What is more, it is a rich state.

From the Heritage Foundation:

The army of radical Islamists [IS/ISIS/ISIL] controls production of 30,000 barrels of oil a day in Iraq and 50,000 barrels in Syria. By selling the oil on the black market at a discounted price of $40 per barrel (compared to about $93 per barrel in the free market), ISIS takes in $3.2 million a day. …

The oil revenue, which amounts to nearly $100 million each month, allows ISIS to fund its military and terrorist attacks — and to attract more recruits from around the world, including America.

According to James Phillips, veteran expert in Middle Eastern affairs at The Heritage Foundation:

ISIS sells oil to consumers in territory it controls, roughly the size of Maryland, inside Syria and Iraq. The terrorist group also sells oil to a network of smugglers that developed in the 1990s during Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s rule; that network smuggled oil out of Iraq into Turkey to avoid sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

ISIS also reportedly sells oil, through middlemen, to the Assad regime in Syria that is trying to quell rebellion there. When it comes to making a fast buck, the Middle East has no shortage of “strange bedfellows” willing to do business with each other.

[This is very likely to be true. It is the sort of thing that happens in the Arab Middle East. In Lebanon in the early 1980s, when war and civil war were raging there, I learnt that certain factions bought their weapons from other factions that they were fighting fiercely every day - JB]

Oil is only one of the sources of revenue for the Islamic State.

This is from Business Insider:

ISIS brings in nearly $12 million a month in revenues from extortion and other shady practices in the Iraqi city of Mosul alone in addition to $1 million to $3 million a day selling oil illegally. …

In a recent interview with Der Spiegel, Brookings Doha Center fellow Charles Lister explains how ISIS uses its control of food and water supplies to further its goals:

Money is key here. It is well-known that the IS is almost entirely self-financed. Its money comes from the control and illicit sale of oil and gas, agricultural products like wheat, the control of water and electricity and from imposing taxes within areas it controls. It is literally earning millions of dollars each week, and a great deal of this money is pumped into social services.

ISIS’s advance throughout northern Iraq has put vast quantities of prime farmland under the control of the militant organization. Large portions of five of Iraq’s most fertile provinces are currently under ISIS control.

These provinces are collectively responsible for producing 40% of the country’s wheat crop. The militants have also raided between 40,000 and 50,000 tons of grain from government silos in the north of the country.

Al Arabiya reported that ISIS has transported at least 700 tons of grain from western Iraq into Syria for milling and refining. ISIS then proceeded to sell the grain to the Iraqi government through third-parties in order to raise further funds.

ISIS has expanded this effort recently by making flour using the grain it stole from government mills throughout Mosul.

A source at Iraq’s Agricultural Ministry told Reuters that ISIS has placed close to 30% of Iraq’s entire farm production at risk.

This scarcity and food insecurity has driven up prices and increased the windfall that ISIS receives from its wheat trade.

Control of water resources and hydroelectric power stations provide further funding for ISIS. The control of massive pieces of infrastructure, such as the Tabqa Dam outside of ISIS’s de facto capital of Raqqah, Syria, along with the group’s short-lived seizure of the Mosul Dam in Iraq, further demonstrates ISIS’s capabilities and ambitions. … The dam generates electricity for Aleppo and the surrounding region. ISIS fighters made sure that the dam’s staff was left relatively unmolested, in order to ensure that the dam remained operational.

ISIS collects taxes on a variety of commercial items, such as trucks and cellphone towers Raqqa’s Credit Bank has transformed into a functioning tax authority, with shop owners paying $20 every two months to ISIS in exchange for utilities and security.

ISIS [also engages] in extortion, carjacking, and kidnapping. Kidnappings have become an especially lucrative source of funding for the organization as the group targets foreigners, and attempts to ransom them.

If kidnappings have “become an especially lucrative source of funding” for the Islamic State, it must be because some of their attempts to ransom the captured foreigners have been successful.

ISIS also seized cash and gold from the banks it captured.

Hundreds of airstrikes by the US Air Force will not destroy the Islamic State. Words of condemnation at international summits will not defeat it. The West has allowed the growth of this savage force, has encouraged Islam to believe that it can conquer the Middle East, Europe, and eventually the world. Islam is crowing its triumphalism. It will take iron resolve, a huge commitment of military forces, persistence, and first and foremost the precise defining of the enemy as Islam, if IS/ISIS/ISIL is to be destroyed.

President Obama has poked the nasty thing with a tentative finger, and reluctantly sanctioned some attacking of it from a dizzy height. He will not call the engagement a war. He has sent a few hundred military personnel to Iraq to … what? Advise someone about something?

He’s hoping other nations will do any real fighting that might be necessary. His fervent wish that America will not be perceived (by whom? his political base? the Nobel Peace Prize Committee?) as leading a coalition of states using military force is so desperate that he includes China, and even Iran in his hopes.

Meanwhile the Islamic State is growing, strengthening, flourishing, mass-murdering, and drawing tides of men from all over the world to join its wild jihad.

A non-war war against the non-Islamic Islamic State 5

The Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) is not Islamic. So President Obama said in the quaint little speech he made last night.

But is it humanitarian?

Nancy Pelosi believes that Hamas, the fanatical mass-murdering terrorist organization (and elected government of Gaza), is a humanitarian organization.

How does she know? Because the Qataris – who sponsor Hamas – told her so.

Well, the same could be said of the Islamic State.

If you can believe the Qataris and Nancy Pelosi, you can believe that this citizen and fierce warrior of the Islamic State, standing in front of the heads he has hacked off and impaled, and indicating self-righteously with a raised finger that he did it to please Allah, is also a humanitarian …


isis-heads-in-syria-1

 

… because – yes – the Islamic State is humanitarian. And socialist. A Democrat’s dream of a welfare state.

Here, from Gateway Pundit,  is the evidence; more than enough to convince Nancy Pelosi:

ISIS released their ten points of redistribution this week.

It is much like a list you’d see at any random Socialist meeting.

Ten Facts from the ‪#‎Islamic_State‬ that everyone should know.

1. We don’t pay rent here. Houses are given for free.
2. We pay neither electric nor water bills.
3. We are given monthly grocery supplies. Spagetti, pasta, can foods, rice, eggs and etc.
4. Monthly allowance are given not only to husband and wife (wives) but also for each child.
5. Medical check up and medication are free – The Islamic State pays on behalf of you.
6. You can still survive even if you don’t speak Arabic. You can find almost every race and nationality here.
7. For every newly married couples are given 700usd as a gift. (Only for Mujahid and I’m not sure if it’s still available now).
8. You don’t have to pay tax (If you’re a Muslim).
9. No one is conducting business during prayer time. You can see people left their shops opened and pray either in the masjid or near by their shops.
10. The number of mix-marriages and mixed-race children are so high. It’s beautiful to witness brotherhood with no racism.

From a muhajir sister, also spouse of a Mujahid brother at #Islamic_State
Diary Of A Muhajirah

Roger L. Simon at PJ Media comments aptly on Obama’s “strategy” for not defeating IS:

Our hapless chief executive must be suffering from a cognitive disorder the size of Alpha Centauri. The poor guy grew up on the anti-imperialist mouthings of lefty poet Frank Marshall Davis, schoolboy revolutionary Bill Ayers and later anti-Israel professor Rashid Khalidi, not to mention the well-known anti-American excrescences of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and now he has to go to war — as an imperialist — against the very Third World people he was told again and again we colonized and destroyed. His head must be about to explode.

No wonder he insisted in his Wednesday night speech that the Islamic State is not Islamic — what is it? Hindu?  Zoroastrian? A lost tribe of Hasidic Jews? — and that we are fighting an amorphous “terrorist group” (the Irish Republican Army?  Basque separatists perhaps?), not the jihadism whose violent ideology has so obviously metastasized across several continents under many guises during his administration with no end remotely in sight. He dare not name our enemy, although it’s almost impossible to imagine how we could win without doing so. He cannot say anything that’s true because he doesn’t know what is true or, perhaps more likely, is terrified to know and then have to admit it. If he did, everything would unravel, not just the jejune Marxism of Frank Marshall Davis. Everything.

But he does know what his poll numbers are and they aren’t good. So we are where we are. Half way in and half way out. … The USA is going to war with a nowhere man who no longer knows what he stands for — and who originally stood for very little more than widely discredited and tired left-wing drivel masquerading as hope and change. Now even that’s gone, a distant memory. …

Two days ago, according to reports, Obama was still reluctant to do anything about the beheaders of ISIS, but was finally driven to act because of those disastrous polls and broad hints from some of his party members that he was leading them to electoral disaster. Others in that same party were mortified he might actually go to war, so, being Barack Obama, in other words a nowhere man, he split the difference — no boots on the ground (except for a piddling 475 advisers — let’s hope there won’t be any “mission creep”).

Welcome to nowhere war waged by a nowhere man.

Remember, all ye Democrats, that what IS is, depends on what “is” is.

Posted under Arab States, Commentary, Iraq, Islam, jihad, middle east, Muslims, Socialism, Syria, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, September 11, 2014

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