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 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.
The US certainly is not … but definitely is … co-operating militarily with Iran.
An article in the Washington Post shows the Obama administration is half-confessing to co-operation with Iran. (See our post immediately below).
The urgent fight to keep Islamic State forces from taking over more of Iraq has led the Obama administration to tolerate, and in some cases even approve, things it once would have loudly protested.
When Iraqi Shiite militias, backed by Iran and long branded illegal by the administration, retook the town of Amerli from the Sunni Muslim militants last week, U.S. officials breathed a sigh of relief.
Did they do no more than “breathe a sigh of relief”? Did they not have a hand in the retaking of Amerli? It seems that Iran did. (We will return to this.)
Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force and usually described as an archenemy of the United States, reportedly was present during the battle and was seen days later in an Internet-posted photo shaking hands with a militia fighter.
Just “present” at the battle. Like Obama in the Senate. Happened to be there. Took no actual part.
The Washington Post would rather you stopped looking at Amerli and the illegal militias and that head of the Iranian Quds Force – look at what the Kurds are doing … good guys, even if their forces are operating outside of recognized borders. You wouldn’t want to make a fuss about that, would you? Not quibble over legal niceties … ?
Your attention is redirected:
Farther north, Kurdish fighters have occupied the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, a prize the Kurds have long claimed but which lies outside the borders — recognized by both Baghdad and Washington — of Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. Far from insisting the fighters withdraw, the administration is glad that someone is defending the city from the Islamic State.
Such legal and policy niceties have become a luxury in the battle to push back the militants whom President Obama on Friday called “a savage organization” that “poses a significant threat” to the United States and its allies.
It is not, as one administration official said with significant understatement, an ideal situation, and there is widespread recognition that facts are being created on the ground that are likely to cause problems in the future.
But for now, the existential battle being waged in Iraq is one that has made at least indirect confederates of forces that are neither allies nor partners, nor often even on speaking terms.
But what about Iran? Sorry, but we want to know about Iran. Are the US and Iran “indirect confederates” in Iraq at this time?
Here’s what the White house has to say about it:
While the administration has acknowledged discussing the Iraqi crisis with Iranian officials on the margins of separate talks about Iran’s nuclear program, “we do not coordinate military action or share intelligence with Iran and have no plans to do so,” National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said Friday.
“At the same time, we have been clear that ISIL,” one of several acronyms for the Islamic State, “represents a threat not only to the United States, but also — and most immediately — to the entire region. We believe that all countries, regardless of their differences, should work toward the goal of degrading and ultimately defeating ISIL,” Meehan said.
Asked whether there was a role for Iran in the international coalition the administration is forming to fight the militants in Iraq and ultimately in Syria, a senior administration official this week said, “I don’t know.” But, the official acknowledged [read prevaricated] , “they already . . . have a role on the ground.”
How much of a “role”?
Iranian contributions have extended beyond weapons and advisers to the Shiite militias. Despite Tehran’s concerns about separatism within its own Kurdish community, it “was the first country to provide us with weapons and ammunition” to fight the militants, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani said late last month during a visit of Iran’s foreign minister.
Iran is also believed to have conducted airstrikes against the Islamic State, U.S. officials said.
Airstrikes? Like the US Air Force is doing? With no direct co-ordination among the strikers?
The Washington Post hastens to make it seem that, far from there being actual co-operation, there is continuing rivalry between the US and Iran in the region. At least, there is a history of such rivalry. That, the paper implies, is what should be concentrated on, not what might be happening right now:
The United States has vied with Iran for influence in Iraq ever since the majority Shiite government was installed after the 2003 U.S. invasion that overthrew Sunni leader Saddam Hussein.
And what is more, the rivalry has been violent and much to America’s cost.
Iran was accused of supplying the improvised explosive devices, called IEDs, to the militias that used them to blow up hundreds of American soldiers during the previous decade.
In recent years, the militias have laid low as an organized force. But when the Iraqi army fled northern cities in advance of the Islamic State blitz through the country this summer, they quickly reemerged and entered the fight. U.S. protests were largely pro forma.
When former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki stepped down under U.S. pressure last month, Iran signaled its approval by congratulating his successor and calling for an inclusive government.
The strong administration preference is for Shiite militia members — as well as Sunni tribesmen in western Iraq — to join the Iraqi security forces and fight the militants under the government’s banner. But U.S. officials, who were not authorized to discuss the administration’s strategy on the record, said they would take what they could get until the militants are driven back.
The United States is not the only actor on the ground that finds the situation uncomfortable.
Uncomfortable? The situation? Could the discomfort be because “the situation” is US-Iranian military co-operation?
Well, okay, but – the Washington Post would have us know – it’s not the only “actor” doing it – and feeling uncomfortable about it.
While the administration credited U.S. airstrikes with helping drive the Islamic State out of Amerli, …
What? US airstrikes helped the illegal Shiite militias – and the Iranians – re-take the town of Amerli? Now it emerges!
…. militiamen on the ground restated their enmity toward the Americans and said the [air-]strikes were inconsequential in the victory they had won.
So even if the US did help to take back Amerli with airstrikes, they were not decisive. Both unwanted and not needed. The Shiite militias despises them. So do the Iranians. No help at all. Phooey!
Iran’s Fars News Agency said Friday that the idea that U.S. action had been decisive in Amerli was a figment of the American imagination. “The West has launched media hype to show the U.S. as the savior of Iraq,” the agency said, quoting an Iranian military source.
In any case, Iran is hotly denying that it has co-operated with the US. And we can believe the Iranian’s, can’t we?
When the BBC reported Friday morning that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had approved cooperation with the U.S. military against the Islamic State, senior government officials quickly denied it. “It’s impossible,” Esmail Kowsari, deputy chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told Bloomberg News.
It’s impossible so it never happened?
It’s not only possible, it happened.
The US and Iran are directly co-ordinating their battle against the Islamic State. For the present, the US and Iran are in alliance, and both are ashamed of it.
This is a hugely significant development, and should be headline news. But apart from this low-key report full of evasions and excuses in the Washington Post, there is been nothing about it in the media that we could discover.
Post Script: Even the Israeli press is not telling the truth about US-Iranian “confederacy”, preferring to trust the slithery lies that emanate from the US State Department. This is from Jerusalem Online:
US refused to cooperate with Iran: “We won’t share intel with them”
Tonight, the US rejected the offer of the spiritual leader of the Islamic republic, Ali Khamenei, to cooperate in action against the Jihad group in northern Iraq. “The US doesn’t share intelligence information nor acts in military cooperation with Iran”, said the State Department spokeswoman, Marie Harf, in a press conference. “We are open to engaging them, as we have in the past, but we are not interested in military cooperation with the Iranian leadership.”
Here is our Facebook condensation of a report by DebkaFile of events that are unlikely to be so much as mentioned by the US media.
They reveal an astonishing degree of co-operation between the Iranian, Syrian and US governments. (But it’s possible Obama doesn’t know; he’ll only find out about it by “watching the news”.)
At least 18 foreign ISIS fighters including Americans and Europeans were killed Thursday, Sept. 4, in a Syrian air raid of the Al Qaeda-ISIS northern Syrian headquarters in the Gharbiya district of Raqqa. The raid caught a number of high Al Qaeda commanders and a large group of foreign adherents assembled at the facility.
A second group of high ISIS officers were killed or injured in another Syrian air raid over their base in Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border. Top men of the Islamist terrorist group were holding meetings at both places Thursday to coordinate IS strike plans in Syria and Iraq.
For Syria, these plans center on the Deir a-Zor and Al Qaim areas, while in Iraq, they focus on targets in the east and center of the country.
They must be credited to top-quality US aerial surveillance over Syria and Iraq, but were undoubtedly made possible by the Obama administration’s deepening military and intelligence ties with Iran.
Many of the allies present at the two-day NATO Summit outside the Welsh town of Newport will not welcome these tidings - Britain, Germany and Australia, in particular. They deeply resent being displaced as America’s senior strategic partners by the Revolutionary Republic of Iran, after their long partnership with the US in fighting terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. But they will find it hard to argue with success.
On Aug. 31 US and Iranian special forces fighting together, broke the 100-day IS siege of the eastern Iraqi town of Amerli, 100 km from the Iranian border, to score a major victory in their first joint military ground action. Then, Wednesday, Sept. 3, US jets struck an IS base in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, killing its commander, Abu Hajar Al-Sufi, and two lieutenants of the IS chief Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi.
While President Obama has denied having a strategy for fighting ISIS, a working mechanism appears to have been put in place to support a trilateral military offensive against al Qaeda’s Islamist State. The successful attacks in the last 24 hours were apparently made possible by this mechanism: Iranian intelligence collected US surveillance data from the Americans and passed it on to Syria for action.
The world order is changing continually like patterns in a rapidly-turned kaleidoscope.
More chaos than order.
Call it Islam, call it Hamas, call it ISIS, call it the Muslim Brotherhood, call it BokoHaram; call it the Palestinians; call it the United Nations; call it by the name of any Islamic state; call it the interfaith movement, call it the Left, call it the religion of peace; demonstrate for it in the streets of the capitals of Europe; parade for it in New York and Chicago and Los Angeles; this is the thing itself:
We found the video at christianpost.com. We quote part of the text:
A Christian man in Syria recently had his head brutally hacked off by Islamic militants after being forced to deny his faith and salute Mohammed as “the messenger of God”.
So by Muslim rules he became a Muslim. Islam forbids Muslims to kill Muslims.
The perpetrators themselves filmed the atrocity “for the world to see and broadcast as a warning to ‘everyone like him’.”
In the video that was posted to YouTube with translated captions, the helpless Christian man is surrounded by armed militants wearing masks and he is heard reciting as instructed: “There is no God but God and I testify that Mohammed is the messenger of God.”
The victim did not say “God” but “Allah”. The Christian reporter chooses, like many Christians, to claim that the god of Islam and the god of Christianity are one and the same.
An apparent leader in the group of militants is then heard instructing the group: “No one will shoot him now, do you understand? He will not be killed by shooting because it is merciful for him.”
By which the savage seems to mean that death by shooting would be too merciful for him. He goes on:
“He will be beheaded because he is Kaffir, non-Muslim, sided [with] the government and was not praying at all. Everyone like him will have the same end, beheading,” said the militant.
Then they cut his head off as the Muslim murderers cry ‘Allahu Akbar’.
Under Obama, America has switched sides.
Caroline Glick, one of the most astute reporters and commentators on Middle East affairs, draws that conclusion, and explains why:
When US President Barack Obama phoned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday night … he ended any remaining doubt regarding his policy toward Israel and Hamas.
Obama told Netanyahu that Israel must lose. He wants an unconditional “humanitarian” cease-fire that will lead to a permanent one.
And he wants it now.
And … the eventual terms of that cease-fire must include opening Hamas-controlled Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel and ending Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza coast.
That is, the cease-fire must allow Hamas to rebuild its arsenal of death and destruction quickly, with US political and financial support. …
Obama is siding with Hamas, and its Muslim Brotherhood patrons in Qatar and Turkey, against Israel, and its Sunni Arab supporters – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
It is Obama who demands that Hamas have open borders so it can resupply, and receive billions of dollars – starting with an immediate cash injection of $47 million from US taxpayers – so it can pay North Korea for more missiles and import building materials to reconstruct its tunnels. …
[Obama's] White House will never acknowledge that Israel is in the right, or that it is fighting a moral war against a barbaric foe. And since the administration will never be satisfied, Israel can expect to be condemned by various UN bodies, including the Security Council, because no matter what it does to try to earn the support of the administration, it will never receive such support. …
The [Israeli] Left understands that the administration’s behavior has destroyed it. Leftists can no longer say that Israeli territorial withdrawals will win it international support. They can no longer say that Israel will receive US support if it places the security of Palestinian civilians above the security of its own civilians and military forces. They can no longer say that the PLO is the answer.
The Israeli Left has been Obama’s ace in the hole since he first ran for office, fresh from the pews in Jeremiah Wright’s anti-Semitic church. … They were the ones who could be counted on to tell the US media and the American Jews that Netanyahu is to blame for Obama’s hostility. …
Through his actions, Obama demonstrated that his “love affairs with the Muslim Brotherhood in the region,” are so central to his foreign policy calculations that he is willing to destroy the Israeli Left in order to strengthen the Brotherhood.
And this leads us to the larger point about Obama’s foreign policy, which his Sunday night telephone call to Netanyahu revealed. As rattled as Israelis are over Obama’s decision to support Hamas against Israel, Netanyahu made clear in his remarks Monday night that Israel has no choice but to keep fighting until we defeat this barbaric enemy.
Netanyahu didn’t mention Obama, but it was obvious that he was respectfully refusing to hand Israel’s head on a platter to Hamas’s friend in the White House.
And while it is hard for Israel to ignore Obama, it is impossible for Americans to ignore him. He runs their foreign policy.
Americans are the ones who need to be most alarmed by what Obama’s actions on behalf of Hamas reveal about the general direction of American Middle East policy under his leadership.
Obama’s choice of a vicious Islamic terrorist organization over a democratic US ally should not come as a surprise to anyone. He has signaled his bias so clearly that it could not be missed by anyone paying attention. There was his pro-Islam speech in Cairo early in his presidency; there were his bows and apologies for his country to the Saudis (though now he has turned to more radical Muslim powers than they); there are his repeated claims (purely fictitious) that Muslims made an important contribution to building the United States; there is his continuing aid to Iran, with friendly talks that give the mullahs time to develop their nuclear arms program; and plainest of all there is his open support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas. Not only has he tried to keep that self-announced enemy of America (and of the whole non-Muslim world) in power in Egypt, he has placed Muslim Brothers in departments of his own government as advisers. They would hardly be advising him to let Israel win against their own sub-organization Hamas, would they now?
Caroline Glick knows this, of course:
The problem is that in every war, in every conflict and in every contest of wills that has occurred in the Middle East since Obama took office, he has sided with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, against America’s allies.
It is good if a part of the Left (the Israeli part at least) has woken up to Obama’s real agenda – the destruction of Israel and the triumph of Islam – and is shocked by it. But most of the Left everywhere else is unlikely to care very much, or they’ll positively like it.
While we are nauseated by the thought of the upstart commie-kid Obama telling the Prime Minister of Israel to lose his country’s war of survival and start making arrangements for its total extinction, we enjoy thinking of Netanyahu (of whom we have been highly critical in the past) saying – however politely – NO.
UN watch 4
July 23, 2014. The United Nations holds an emergency session on the battle in Gaza as the Israeli Defense Force destroys the invasion-tunnels and rocket bases of the Islamic terrorist organization Hamas.
Delegates from countries that specialize in mass murder, such as Sudan, Syria, Cuba, and Iran, accuse Israel of “war crimes”. Most of the rest of the world’s delegates are on the terrorists’ side too.
A lone voice defends Israel, and accuses its accusers. It is the voice of Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.
The United Nations must be destroyed.
Terrorists have got hold of nuclear materials that could be used to make weapons of mass destruction, according to Reuters.
Why were nuclear materials in Iraq at all? Once there, why were they not well guarded?
Where did Iraq obtain them? From Iran?
This is from Yahoo News:
Insurgents in Iraq have seized nuclear materials used for scientific research at a university in the country’s north, Iraq told the United Nations in a letter appealing for help to “stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad”.
Nearly 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of uranium compounds were kept at Mosul University, Iraq’s U.N. Ambassador Mohamed Ali Alhakim told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in the July 8 letter obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.
“Terrorist groups have seized control of nuclear material at the sites that came out of the control of the state,” Alhakim wrote, adding that such materials “can be used in manufacturing weapons of mass destruction.”
“These nuclear materials, despite the limited amounts mentioned, can enable terrorist groups, with the availability of the required expertise, to use it separate or in combination with other materials in its terrorist acts,” said Alhakim.
He warned that they could also be smuggled out of Iraq.
A US government source familiar with the matter said the materials were not believed to be enriched uranium and therefore would be difficult to use to manufacture into a weapon. Another US official familiar with security matters said he was unaware of this development raising any alarm among US authorities.
Not very reassuring statements, those.
Might there not be alarm among US authorities that is being kept secret?
The terrorist organization that has captured the stuff is of course ISIS, now “the Islamic State”.
“The Republic of Iraq is notifying the international community of these dangerous developments and asking for help and the needed support to stave off the threat of their use by terrorists in Iraq or abroad,” Alhakim wrote.
Iraq acceded to the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material on Monday, said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The convention requires states to protect nuclear facilities and material in peaceful domestic use, storage and transport.
“It also provides for expanded cooperation between and among states regarding rapid measures to locate and recover stolen or smuggled nuclear material, mitigate any radiological consequences of sabotage, and prevent and combat related offences,” according to the IAEA.
And just what are the theoretically co-operating states going to do about it?
As a member of Cobra, the UK national crisis management committee, I was involved in British efforts to rescue our citizens kidnapped by Islamist terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan. No modern-day military action is so fraught: the odds are stacked against the captives, the whip hand is with the captors, it is a race against time, and it becomes extremely personal.
So the admirable Colonel Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, writes at Gatestone.
The world has undergone gut-churning revulsion this week at the videos of rows of kneeling young Iraqi men callously gunned down by Al Qaida terrorists in Mosul. But time and again, in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Hamas has shown itself to be just as capable of such brutal cold-blooded killing. That knowledge has galvanized Israel’s desperate hunt for those who abducted teenagers Naftali Frenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach as they hitchhiked home from their school in Gush Etzion a week ago. …
Nothing – nothing – stands in the way of our efforts to bring them back. Although we hope for the best, we prepare for the worst.
From the outside, it is difficult to read the realities of a kidnapping. Those with the responsibility of saving lives are forced into a cat and mouse game in which they must both reassure the public and sow seeds of disinformation among the captors. So far, for Naftali, Gilad and Eyal, the signs are not encouraging. As far as we know a week later, there is no proof of life, no demands, no negotiations.
Yesterday, June 19, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency apparently reported that Hamas leader Salah Bardawil said that the “Palestinian resistance” (Hamas — the acronym for the “Islamic Resistance Movement”) had carried out the kidnapping.
The first priority is always to establish the identity and the motive of the captors. Early on, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that Hamas was guilty. [Even] US Secretary of State Kerry agreed, and this seems to be the view throughout Gaza and the West Bank.
Hamas leader Mohammad Nazzal, for his part, described the kidnapping of three teenage civilians as “a heroic capture”, and “a milestone” for the Palestinian people. He said that every passing day in which the Israelis failed to find the teenagers was “a tremendous achievement”.
The sheer sadism of the Palestinian Arab leadership, though bloodily demonstrated over and over again for nearly 100 years now – and so is fully expected – still shocks and revolts, and shows no sign of abating.
Nazzal’s comments reflect long-standing views on the abduction and butchering of Israelis by the leadership of Hamas, the internationally proscribed terrorist group responsible for firing thousands of lethal rockets indiscriminately against the civilian population of Israel from the Gaza Strip, the latest salvoes only this week.
It is the same terrorist group that the United Nations, the United States and the European Union – in a display of moral bankruptcy and betrayal – have all endorsed as a legitimate partner in a unity government for the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Just the day before the three boys were kidnapped, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, welcomed Hamas into the PA government while lambasting Israel for detaining terrorists and taking action to prevent Hamas terrorist attacks from Gaza and the West Bank.
Ashton, though never slow to condemn Israel, took five days to denounce this kidnapping. Both her words and actions have legitimized and encouraged Hamas. Her inaction in the face of repeated terrorist assaults has bolstered Hamas’s convictions.
The kidnapping will find favor with Ashton’s new best friends in Iran. Also desperate to appease the ayatollahs, British Foreign Secretary William Hague this week announced the re-opening in Tehran of a British embassy, closed in 2011 after being ransacked on the orders of the Iranian government. There are even reports of US military intelligence-sharing with Iran over the crisis in Iraq – where only a few short years ago, large numbers of American and British soldiers were being slaughtered — using Iranian-supplied munitions by terrorists trained, directed and equipped by Tehran and its terrorist proxy, Lebanese Hizballah.
As Ashton and the West cozy up to the ayatollahs, the ayatollahs are again cozying up to Hamas. A few weeks ago, Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizballah, met with Hamas leaders to resolve the differences between Iran and Hamas that arose over the Syrian conflict. Hamas – isolated from Egypt following the demise of the Muslim Brotherhood regime – seems desperate to restore full relations with the Iranian tyrant. Iran is equally enthusiastic to bring Hamas back into the fold: Hamas remains an important instrument of the ayatollahs’ overriding, stated goal of destroying the State of Israel.
In these circumstances it is certainly not beyond probability that the three boys’ kidnapping was a goodwill gesture from Hamas to the ayatollahs.
It is hard to not be chilled to the bone by the thought of three teenage boys – who might easily be our own sons or brothers – spending night after night in the hands of ruthless terrorists… or worse. The anguish of the boys’ parents must be unimaginable.
Yet among the Palestinian Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza, including children, a new symbol has emerged – the three-fingered salute, signifying joy at the kidnapping …
Such celebration, including the handing out of sweets in the street, has been widespread. …
Both the US and the EU have paid the salaries of Palestinian terrorists by means of grants to the PA; they also fund this propaganda and incitement, no doubt including some of the imagery applauding the boys’ kidnapping.
The Israeli security operation has so far focused on finding the three boys. Over 330 Hamas suspects have been arrested, and illicit weapons and ammunition seized. Echoing the code-name of the rescue operation, “Brother’s Keeper,” the IDF Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, has encouraged his troops to apply the same vigour to their task as if they were searching for their own brothers or members of their own platoon. He has also reminded them that most people in the areas they are searching are not connected to the kidnapping, and to treat them with care and humanity.
Concurrently, the IDF is taking steps to weaken and dismantle Hamas in the West Bank. In some quarters these have been criticized as an unnecessary and opportunistic widening of the operation. It is nothing of the sort. With this latest kidnapping, Hamas has confirmed its continued intent to abduct, attack and murder Israeli civilians in the West Bank. Like every government, Israel has an absolute duty to protect its citizens, and undermining this terrorist threat is an essential part of that responsibility.
All military operations are unpredictable; it is possible that Operation Brother’s Keeper could lead to an escalation of violence. Incidents have already occurred. It is unlikely that Israel will expand the current operation into Gaza, unless there is a serious upsurge in violence from there or a connection between Gaza terrorists and the kidnapping comes to light.
Whichever way this operation develops, the international community should avoid the same response to the current defensive actions that they have so often displayed whenever Israel has sought to defend itself from missile attacks from Gaza. The international community usually ignores repeated volleys of rockets fired at Israeli civilians, and then condemns Israel for taking defensive action to prevent further attacks. It is these responses from the international community that have encouraged Hamas, and amounted to nothing less than support for terrorism. And it is these responses, along with the endorsement of Hamas’s inclusion in a Palestinian unity government, that have led to the kidnapping of the boys in the West Bank.
We could not put it better ourselves.