The ancient theatre of Palmyra
This is from GOPUSA:
The historic city of Palmyra has fallen almost entirely under the control of Islamic State, after forces loyal to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, collapsed under a seven-day siege that has left the magnificent ruins there exposed to near-certain destruction by the terror group.
Not so much a “terror group” – terrifyingly savage though it is – as an Islamic army on the warpath for conquest, subjugation, destruction and loot.
The ancient city, once a Silk Road hub and one of the cultural centres of the ancient world that occupies mythological status in Syria, is home to some of the most beautiful and well-preserved ruins of antiquity, including the Temple of Bel, built in the first century.
Isis considers the preservation of such historical ruins a form of idolatry and has destroyed temples and historic artefacts, as well as ancient Assyrian sites in Nineveh in Iraq, after conquering the province in a lightning offensive last year.
The group has profited from looting historic treasures, in addition to scoring propaganda victories by the wanton destruction of archaeological sites, and Palmyra is likely to face a similar fate now. …
Experts say the group benefits from its destruction of cultural heritage because it shows the militants can act with impunity and exposes the impotence of the international community in the face of the provocations.
Valley of the Tombs: The Royal Necropolis of Ancient Thebes was located south-west of Palmyra in an area called the Valley of the Tombs. This image shows an underground burial chamber for three wealthy brothers
Sunday May 18, the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) seized Ramadi, capital of Anwar province in Iraq. The Iraqi forces that had been weakly defending the city, fled along with many civilians – some 8,000 in all. About 500 people, many of them civilians, were killed immediately by the invaders. Newsmax reports: “Bodies, some burned, littered the city’s streets … Online video showed Humvees, trucks and other equipment speeding out of Ramadi, with soldiers desperate to reach safety gripping onto their sides.”
In 2008, Anbar Province – of which Ramadi is the capital – was taken from Saddam Hussein’s forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom. But victory came at a high price: 1,335 U.S. soldiers were killed, and another 8,205 soldiers were wounded and maimed.
All for nothing.
Obama pulled all US troops out of Iraq in 2011. And the Islamic State has come in.
But Obama’s press secretary says the policy towards the Islamic State and Iraq is a success.
This exchange is between ABC’s Jon Karl and a thoroughly dishonest Josh Earnest.
Q Now, on the overall track record of military operations of the President’s strategy on this, you said we’ve seen periods of progress and success. Would you say that overall, this strategy has been a success?
EARNEST: Well, Jon, yes. Overall, yes. It doesn’t mean that there haven’t been areas of setback, as we saw in Ramadi.
Q I mean, is exporting terror to Libya, taking over the capital of Iraq’s largest province — this is overall success?
EARNEST: What we’ve also seen is we’ve also seen a coalition of 60 nations both in the region and around the world join the United States in this fight. We’ve seen a new Prime Minister take office in Iraq and unite that country and deploy a multi-sectarian security force against ISIL that has succeeded in liberating important areas of Diyala and Babil and Nineveh and the Kirkuk Provinces. We’ve seen important Iraqi security force gains in Tikrit and Ramadi. [!] We’ve also seen strategic areas like Sinjar Mountain and Mosul Dam where Iraqi security forces have emerged victorious. So we have seen a lot of success. But we’ve also seen significant periods of setback. And that’s part of what a military conflict is going to be, particularly when it’s going to be a long-term proposition like this one.
For the US, the fall of Ramadi is a failure and a loss, and Josh Ernest is lying about it. The new Prime Minister of Iraq has not united the country. The pathetic charade of “democracy” in that benighted land deceives no one.
But for Obama himself, the loss, the chaos, the slaughter, the destruction is a success.
His foreign policy – the advancement of Islam – is succeeding, perhaps even beyond his own wildest dreams, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and above all in Iran.
A review of a book on ISIS at Commentary, by Michael J. Totten, is full of interest. It explains some of the Byzantine intricacies of Arab, middle eastern, and Islamic politics.
The book is titled ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror. It’s written by Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan.
The review begins with two sentences with which we emphatically agree. We wish that all who report on ISIS would take note of them.
ISIS isn’t a terrorist organization. It’s a transnational army of terror.
And a very formidable army it is in its size and its armor.
The CIA claims it has as many as 31,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq, and Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, thinks the number may be as high as 200,000. When ISIS fighters conquered the Iraqi city of Mosul last year, they stole enough materiel to supply three fighting divisions, including up-armored American Humvees, T-55 tanks, mobile Chinese artillery pieces, Soviet anti-aircraft guns, and American-made Stinger missile systems. ISIS controls a swath of territory the size of Great Britain and is expanding into Libya and Yemen.
The book relates the history ISIS. The midwife of its birth was Bashar Assad, the president of Syria.
ISIS began its life as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) after the United States demolished Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003. The Bush administration saw Arab democracy as the solution to the Middle East’s woes, and Syria’s tyrant Bashar al-Assad didn’t want to be the next Saddam. Assad waged a proxy war to convince Washington that participatory politics in the region would be perilous. Weiss and Hassan quote former Syrian diplomat Bassam Barabandi, who says candidly that “[Assad] started to work with the mujahideen.” He dispatched Syria’s homegrown jihadists to fight American occupation forces [in Iraq], and most of those jihadists would sign up with AQI. Assad pulled off a win-win scheme, purging Syria of potential enemies while teaching both the American government and citizenry a lesson they still haven’t forgotten: Occupying and democratizing an Arab land is a far messier and bloodier business than most in the West are willing to stomach.
It worked so well in Iraq that Assad would eventually replicate it inside his own country. When the uprising against him began in 2011, he framed the conflict as one between his secular regime and Islamist terrorists, even when the only serious movement against him consisted of nonviolent protests for reform and democracy. Few in the West bought Assad’s line at the time, so he then facilitated an Islamist terrorist opposition. His loyalists like to present a choice: “Assad or we burn the country.” And they are not kidding.
As Weiss and Hassan detail, Assad opened the jails and let Islamist prisoners free as part of an ostensible “reform” process, but he kept democracy activists in their cages. He knew perfectly well that those he let loose would cut a burning and bleeding gash across the country, casting him as the only thing standing between the rest of us and the abyss. …
ISIS is a terrible force; as terrible as any in history or fiction.
The first thing ISIS does when conquering a new city or town is set up the grisly machinery for medieval punishments in town squares. “Letting black-clad terrorists run around a provincial capital,” Weiss and Hassan write, “crucifying and beheading people, made for great propaganda.” It was all Assad could do to ensure the Obama administration wouldn’t pursue a policy of regime-change as it had in Libya and as the previous administration had in Iraq. …
Had Assad been forced into exile or dragged from his palace before the Arab Spring soured, Syria might look strikingly different today. Weiss and Hassan cite an International Republican Institute survey of Syrian public opinion in 2012 that found 76 percent of the country favored one kind of democratic transition or another. But Assad guarantees that bullets rather than ballots will decide political outcomes, and millions would rather flee to squalid refugee camps abroad than get caught between the anvil of Syria’s totalitarian state and the hammer of ISIS. …
ISIS’s founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, loved beheading hapless victims on camera as much as the new leadership does, and his grisly behavior earned him the nickname “Sheikh of the Slaughterers”. He hated no one on earth — not even Americans — more than he hated Shia Muslims who, in his view, were beneath even Sunni Muslim apostates. …
Abu Bakr Naji, one of ISIS’s intellectual architects, published a book online outlining its strategy and vision: The Management of Savagery. It is used today as a manual not only in Syria and Iraq but also by al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. “Jihad,” he writes, “is naught but violence, crudeness, terrorism, frightening [people], and massacring.”
The authors make a compelling case that ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a would-be Saddam Hussein in religious garb…. Like Zarqawi before him, [he] is even more genocidal than Iraq’s former strongman. Al-Baghdadi has “so far demonstrated nothing short of annihilationist intention …” …
Annihilationist, that is, first and foremost of the Shi’a, who are “marked only for death”.
[But] Syrians and Iraqis aren’t the only ones threatened by all this, of course. ISIS aspires to wage its exterminationist war beyond the Middle East, not only in the United States but also in Europe. “We will raid you thereafter,” it boasts in its online magazine, Dabiq, “and you will never raid us. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the Permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us.”
And that, since ISIS became the enemy of Assad – the despot who brought it into the world – puts the US and Europe “tacitly on the side of Assad”. And as Assad is kept in power by Iran, they are also tacitly on the side of Iran and “their joint Lebanese proxy Hezbollah”.
It is a state of affairs that the Iranian rulers delight in.
Tehran can hardly contain itself. “One of the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorism,” Weiss and Hassan write, “now presents itself as the last line of defense against terrorism.”
[But] the idea that a state sponsor of terrorism could ever be a reliable partner against international terrorism is ludicrous. “Whatever Washington’s intentions,” Weiss and Hassan write, “its perceived alliance of convenience with the murderous regimes of Syria and Iran is keeping Sunnis who loathe or fear ISIS from participating in another grassroots effort to expel the terrorists from their midst.”
ISIS continues to grow at an alarming rate and has so far recruited thousands of members from Europe. “What draws people to ISIS,” the authors write, “could easily bring them to any number of cults or totalitarian movements, even those ideologically contradictory to Salafist jihadism.” Indeed, its ranks are swollen with tribal sectarians, thrill seekers, former “socialist infidels”, foreign losers looking for meaning and community, and psychopaths pining for butchery. Many find the execution videos of “Jihadi John” — a modern version of what 19th-century Italian revolutionary Carlo Pisacane called propaganda of the deed — darkly compelling. For the most dangerous ISIS recruits, what the rest of us see as bad press is seductive.
Many, however, are painfully naive. Savvy ISIS recruiters do an outstanding job convincing the gullible that its notoriety is unjustified. “Don’t hear about us,” they say. “Hear from us.” Weiss and Hassan dig up comments from some of ISIS’s obtuse fans in online Western forums who have bought the sales pitch: “Does the Islamic State sell hair gel and Nutella in Raqqa?” “Should I bring an iPad to let Mom and Dad know that I arrived safely in caliphate?”
The foolish recruits are more likely to become victims themselves than to victimize others — in March, ISIS forced a 12-year-old boy to execute an Israeli Arab man for trying to flee — but ISIS will continue to attract newcomers as long as it’s permitted to thrive. And thrive it will until it faces a more determined resistance force and as long as radical Sunni Muslims around the world feel galvanized by the perceived American-Iranian axis against them.
As the authors say in their book’s stark conclusion, “the army of terror will be with us indefinitely”.
Jonathan Tepperman, Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs, reports on his interview with Bashar Assad. Fascinating!
The best comes near the end.
This picture of Christians slaughtered by the Nigerian Muslim terrorist organization Boko Haram was published here in August 2014:
It’s remarkable that not even two years ago senior State Department officials were denying before Congress that there was any religious dimension to Boko Haram’s reign of terror.
Why did Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, adamantly refuse to designate Boko Haram a terrorist organization? The explanations given by her State Department were, in our judgment, unpersuasive excuses.
So what was the reason? Could the answer have something to do with the Obama administration’s reluctance to acknowledge that Islam is the enemy of America and civilization?
We quote Patrick Poole who writes at PJ Media:
For much of its five-year long insurgency in Nigeria costing thousands of lives, Boko Haram enjoyed no sanction by the U.S. government. That changed just over a year ago when they were finally designated a terrorist organization by the State Department.
That notwithstanding, Boko Haram continues to expand its terror campaign across the north of the country, now controlling an area the size of Maryland. …
The strategic stakes involved for the U.S. are extraordinary, but you would never be able to gauge that from the absence of any alarm from the Obama administration or from either side of the aisle in Congress. Not only does Nigeria have the continent’s largest population at 173 million and the largest economy in Africa, it also is the 10th largest oil producer in the world.
With a failed Libyan state (thanks in no small part to the Obama administration), Egypt — the world’s largest Arab country — fighting its own counterinsurgency in the Sinai, and Islamist insurgencies inflamed from Nigeria to Kenya, the loss of Nigeria to jihadists could be the tipping point to lose the whole of Africa. …
What Boko Haram does:
Within just the past few months, more than 1,000 churches have been ransacked and burned, and hundreds of thousands of Christians are being driven from their homes. …
Neighboring Cameroon … is struggling to accommodate nearly 50,000 Nigerian refugees and another 250,000 from the Central African Republic with extremely scarce resources. Another 100,000 refugees have fled to Niger, with 30,000 arriving just in the past two months. [But] there’s no guarantee of safety in taking refuge in neighboring countries, as Boko Haram has staged cross-border attacks. Inside Nigeria, it was reported that 400,000 refugees are in the Yolo area, severely taxing the city’s resources.
Overall, 1.5 million Nigerians have been displaced by the violence, with 650,000 in the northeast alone. …
Conditions in the [refugee] camps are universally reported to be unsanitary and breeding grounds for cholera and measles. Because resources are stretched so thin, most refugees are left to fend for themselves for shelter, food, and water. As winter begins to set in, observers on the ground … warn of possible mass starvation in the months ahead. …
When nearly 300 school girls were abducted from Chibok in April, it grabbed the world’s attention. … When Boko Haram stormed the town of Lassa on December 3, they carried away 20 more girls.
But while girls are targeted for abduction, boys are targeted for killing. Just last month, dozens of young men were killed when a suicide bomber dressed as a student bombed a morning assembly. This targeting of school-age boys is a pattern for Boko Haram, such as when they attacked a boarding school in Yobe state back in February where boys were shot, had their throats slit, or were burned alive when their dorms were set on fire. …
Last Wednesday, two young girls in hijabs conducted a dual suicide bombing in a high-traffic textile market in Kano city, the largest city in the north. Another 13-year-old girl was found wearing an explosive vest just hours later.
Boko Haram is using young female suicide bombers at an increasing and disturbing rate, though this tactic is not isolated to their operations in Nigeria and has been endorsed elsewhere by preeminent Islamic scholars like Yusuf al-Qaradawi. The use of female suicide bombers requires security forces to target women as well as men, and then the terror group is able to use the “abuse” of women being searched as a propaganda ploy.
What is especially troubling is a VICE News report last week that indicated that Boko Haram has dispatched 50 female suicide bombers in the hopes of inflicting 100,000 casualties. …
Boko Haram jail breaks … freed 2,251 prisoners [who] launched an attack on a French cement plant and recovered a large cache of dynamite that could be used for future jail breaks. With thousands of Boko Haram operatives and supporters presently in jails, along with hardened criminals conditioned to violence, targeting more jails will continue to swell their ranks. …
More people are being killed by Muslims terrorist attacks in Nigeria than in Syria or Afghanistan.
Boko Haram was responsible for 801 deaths last month alone …
Boko Haram’s violence is now on par with ISIS in Iraq, which is why in 2013 Nigeria climbed to fourth in the Global Terrorism Index, up from seventh in 2012 and twelfth in 2011. According to the Council on Foreign Relations tracker, the violence in Nigeria from May 2011 (when President Jonathan came into office) to November 2014 has claimed more than 26,000 lives. …
But you would never know how desperate the situation is in Nigeria in light of the absence of any urgency or alarm from the Obama administration or from Congress.
It’s worth repeating: Congress had to drag a reluctant Clinton State Department kicking and screaming to get Boko Haram designated [a terrorist group] in November 2013.
Members of Congress also discovered earlier this year that the Clinton State Department intentionally lied and downplayed the threat from Boko Haram, and worked to kill bills in both the House and the Senate calling for their designation in 2012.
There are considerable national security and other strategic interests for the United States in Nigeria. … [And] the risks of inattention and inaction in Nigeria threaten to jeopardize the whole of Africa.
This video is dated October, 2012.
The world desperately needs a global campaign by all decent sane adults to eradicate religion from every culture of every nation, tribe and clan on earth.
No need to stop the quaint celebrations of old superstitions and myths. Feast days can still be feasted on. The good stories and the fine poetry of the Jewish bible can still be read. There can still be Christmas trees and ecstatic singing in halls on Sundays. Shia Muslims can still whip their bodies with razorblades if they want to. Environmentalists can still sort their garbage into special containers for recycling if they enjoy it. Leftists can still claim that socialism would have worked if only it had been properly tried. It just needs to be acknowledged that no religion is true.
We know that, saying this, we are crying in the wilderness. But still we say it. Who knows but that one day the cry will be taken up by millions, and the long and terrible age of religion will at long last be over?
Quotation from an announcement, in the form of a letter, posted on the website of the US Department of State:
U.S. Plans To Lead in Resettling Syrian Refugees
Anne C. Richard
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
December 9, 2014
… Only a small fraction of those who want to be resettled can be – only about one hundred thousand refugees per year, worldwide. There are more than six times that many Syrian refugees in Jordan alone. …
We applaud the 25 countries that have agreed to resettle Syrian refugees, including some who will be accepting UNHCR refugee referrals for the first time. The United States accepts the majority of all UNHCR referrals from around the world. Last year, we reached our goal of resettling nearly 70,000 refugees from nearly 70 countries. And we plan to lead in resettling Syrians as well. We are reviewing some 9,000 recent UNHCR referrals from Syria. We are receiving roughly a thousand new ones each month, and we expect admissions from Syria to surge in 2015 and beyond.
Like most other refugees resettled in the United States, they will get help from the International Organization for Migration with medical exams and transportation to the United States. Once they arrive, networks of resettlement agencies, charities, churches, civic organizations and local volunteers will welcome them. These groups work in 180 communities across the country and make sure refugees have homes, furniture, clothes, English classes, job training, health care and help enrolling their children in school. They are now preparing key contacts in American communities to welcome Syrians.
I am inspired both by the resilience of refugees we resettle, and the compassion of those who help them. Resettlement cannot replace what refugees have lost or erase what they have endured. But it can renew hope and help restart lives. That can make all the difference.
So thousands of Syrians are about to be brought into the United States. They are likely to be only the first wave of refugees from the mainly Muslim Middle East.
Refugee Resettlement Watch lists the states where nearly 10,000 mostly Muslim refugees were resettled in the first two months of the current fiscal year.
Once settled here, they can bring their relations to join them.
Under the Obama administration, the Muslim population of America is increasing constantly by immigration. They do not need amnesty. They start receiving “entitlements” immediately on arrival.
But the UN won’t allow Western countries to decide which refugees they’ll accept.
Canada wants to accept Christians and Yazidis, not Muslims with their incompatible law and ideology. But the UN won’t allow Canada to do that.
This is from Front Page by Daniel Greenfield:
The UN’s refugee agenda has an agenda and it’s not refugees, it’s Islamic invasion.
The federal government is seeking to resettle more Syrian refugees, but only from the country’s religious minorities, according to sources close to discussions around Canada’s position on refugees from the war-torn nation.
Sources close to the discussions say Canada is seeking to resettle only refugees from Syria’s religious minorities, something that would likely be difficult for the UN’s refugee agency to accept.
The UNHCR’s policy on refugees says a resettlement state determines the “size and composition” of who and how many refugees it accepts, and “therefore has full control with respect to decisions on individual cases”.
“Nevertheless, UNHCR urges all states to be guided by the agency’s internationally recognized criteria on eligibility, global needs and priorities”, the policy says.
As far as global needs go, the Middle East has plenty of safe refuges for Sunni and Shiite Muslims, it has none for Christians and Yazidis. It only makes sense that the West should fill the need for safe refuges that don’t exist in the Muslim world for non-Muslims, while the Muslim world takes in its own refugees.
Such as the “Palestinians”? The policy of the Arab states has always been NOT to accept refugees for settlement and integration – especially not Arabs from the Palestine region, sentenced by their fellow Arabs to suffer as much as possible as a reproach to the world for allowing Israel to exist.
Here is Geert Wilders delivering a great speech recently at the Danish parliament in Copenhagen, to mark the 10th anniversary of the murder by a Muslim terrorist of Theo van Gogh, November 2, 2004.
Please listen to it. It is nothing less than a rousing call to Europe to rise up against its colonization by Islam. (We posted it yesterday as part of a piece on fighting for liberty in the US. But on second thoughts we think it deserves a place to itself.)
Play it loudly. It’s that sort of speech. You won’t hear such things said loud and clear in many places anywhere in the world these days.
He dares to declare a burning truth – that the enemy of liberty, the enemy of the West, the enemy of civilization, is Islam. Not “Islamism”, not “Islamic extremism”, not “radicalized Islam”, but ISLAM.
The discussion following the speech is also inspiring to listen to. Though at moments a little hard to hear, the answers Wilders gives to the questions are very much to the point.
From Answering Muslims:
Islamic State (IS, ISIS, ISIL] Uses Dolls to Train Children How to Behead Infidels
Yezidis are being enslaved and killed by faithful followers of Muhammad. Those who can, flee.
Imagine seeking refuge in the battlefield which is Syria! These people did, having nowhere else to go. Then they had to flee from Syria, and again having no choice, are returning to Iraq. Many die on the way.
Watch deeply religious Muslims of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS or ISIL) commit mass murder. They proudly recorded themselves doing this service for Allah.