Tens of millions of slaves 3

Slavery is not a thing of the past. Some 36 million people are counted this year as slaves. And there are certainly countless more.

Many domestic servants in Arab countries – Saudi Arabia for instance – are not counted as slaves because in theory they are paid wages, but their conditions of work are conditions of enslavement and many go unpaid in practice.

Almost the entire population of North Korea could be described as enslaved in their own country. And according to the Guardian: “Thousands of migrant labourers from North Korea are toiling for years on construction sites in Qatar for virtually no pay – including on the vast new metropolis that is the centrepiece of the World Cup – in what may amount to “state-sponsored slavery”.

And the number of slaves is growing continually, as men of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS/ISIL) – among other devout Muslims – sell women and girls in open slave markets.

Yahoo! News reports:

The Walk Free Foundation, an Australian-based human rights group, estimated in its inaugural slavery index last year that 29.8 million people were born into servitude, trafficked for sex work, trapped in debt bondage or exploited for forced labour.

Releasing its second annual index, Walk Free increased its estimate of the number of slaves to 35.8 million, saying this was due to better data collection and slavery being uncovered in areas where it had not been found previously.

For the second year, the index of 167 countries found India had by far the greatest number of slaves. Up to 14.3 million people in its population of 1.25 billion were victims of slavery, ranging from prostitution to bonded labour.

Mauritania was again the country where slavery was most prevalent by head of population while Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, rose up the rank from 96th place to be listed as the fourth worst country by percentage of the population.

“From children denied an education by being forced to work or marry early, to men unable to leave their work because of crushing debts they owe to recruitment agents, to women and girls exploited as unpaid, abused domestic workers, modern slavery has many faces,” the report said.

“It still exists today, in every country – modern slavery affects us all.”

The index defines slavery as the control or possession of people in such a way as to deprive them of their freedom with the intention of exploiting them for profit or sex, usually through violence, coercion or deception.

The definition includes indentured servitude, forced marriage and the abduction of children to serve in wars.

Hereditary slavery is deeply entrenched in the West African country of Mauritania, where four percent of the population of 3.9 million is estimated to be enslaved, the report said.

After Mauritania, slavery was most prevalent in Uzbekistan, where citizens are forced to pick cotton every year to meet state-imposed cotton quotas, and Haiti, where the practice of sending poor children to stay with richer acquaintances or relatives routinely leads to abuse and forced labour, it said. …

The next highest prevalence rates were found in India, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Syria and Central African Republic.

The index showed that 10 countries alone account for 71 percent of the world’s slaves.

After India, China has the most with 3.2 million, then Pakistan (2.1 million), Uzbekistan (1.2 million), Russia (1.05 million), Nigeria (834,200), Democratic Republic of Congo (762,900), Indonesia (714,100), Bangladesh (680,900) and Thailand (475,300).

And last year’s report by the Walk Free Foundation recorded this shocking information:

The United States, per capita, has a very low rate of slavery: just 0.02 percent, or one in every 5,000 people. But that adds up to a lot: an estimated 60,000 slaves, right here in America. 

And this year?

Here’s the 2014 Walk Free Foundation’s map:

The total number of people enslaved by region

Sauce for the Israeli goose … 4

… is not the same for the Coalition gander.

General Dempsey reported on Israel’s extraordinary efforts to avoid harming civilians.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told an audience in New York that he believed the Israel Defense Force went to “extraordinary lengths” to limit civilian casualties in this past summer’s military conflict in Gaza.

The military leader was speaking to the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs.

In addition to praising the IDF’s efforts to limit civilian casualties, Dempsey also said that the Pentagon sent a team to Israel to see what lessons could be learned from the IDF’s expertise during Operation Protective Edge. This included observing the measures taken by the IDF to prevent civilian casualties and the way in which the Israeli military dealt with the terror tunnels.

The reason this is such extraordinary news is that Israel was criticized harshly and repeatedly for failing to prevent the heavy loss of civilian life during the conflict, which saw more than a thousand Gazans die, including many civilians and children. Various human rights entities accused and continue to accuse Israel of committing war crimes. Even the White House and State Department repeatedly claimed Israel failed to do enough to prevent civilian casualties.

But when asked to address the alleged “callous indifference” by Israel to the extensive damage and civilian deaths, Dempsey told the audience that he thought the IDF “did what they could” to avoid civilian casualties.

“I actually do think that Israel went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and civilian casualties,” Dempsey told the group. “In this kind of conflict, where you are held to a standard that your enemy is not held to, you’re going to be criticized for civilian casualties,” he added.

Dempsey said Hamas had turned Gaza into “very nearly a subterranean society” with tunneling throughout the coastal enclave.

“That caused the IDF some significant challenges. But they did some extraordinary things to try and limit civilian casualties,” Dempsey said, which included “making it known that they were going to destroy a particular structure,” Dempsey said.

In addition to dropping warning leaflets, Dempsey said, the IDF developed a technique called “roof-knocking.” This involves dropping a low-yield explosive or non-explosive device on a rooftop. This “knocking” is a warning to residents to leave the building before it is shelled. Of course, even this effort to limit civilian casualties was criticized for not being gentle enough.

Dempsey said civilian casualties during the summer’s conflict were “tragic, but I think the IDF did what they could” to avoid them.

“The IDF is not interested in creating civilian casualties. They’re interested in stopping the shooting of rockets and missiles out of the Gaza Strip and into Israel,” Dempsey said.

(It  should also  be remembered that Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, used civilians – children in particular – as human shields, often forcing them to remain in the very buildings they had been warned were to be bombed.)

Whatever lessons the team from the Pentagon learnt from the IDF’s expertise at taking measures to prevent civilian casualties, were apparently not applied by the US when the Air Force bombed IS/ISIS/ISIL in Iraq.

AP reports:

US bombing kills children in Iraq.

Iraq’s prime minister on Wednesday ordered his first major shakeup of his military since taking office three months ago, relieving 26 army officers of their commands and retiring 10 others as a monitoring group said airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group and other extremists in neighboring Syria have killed more than 860 people, including civilians, since they began in September. …

On Wednesday, three bombings in and around the Iraqi capital killed at least 17 people and wounded nearly 40, police and hospital officials said.  …

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, meanwhile, said on Wednesday that at least 50 civilians, including eight children and five women, also have been killed in the airstrikes, the group said.

The mainstream media do not feature these deaths. The TV news screens of the West are not filled with images of these dead children. They are of less concern than the dead children of Gaza. Because the hearts of the hardboiled media bleed only when the Israelis are doing the bombing.

What did the Obama administration have to say about all this?

When Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to stop the flood of rockets being launched at its cities, and particularly when it mounted a short ground operation to locate and destroy infiltration tunnels under the border, there was the predictable response from the UN, the NGOs and Israel’s usual critics that it was causing ‘disproportionate’ civilian casualties in Gaza. Surprisingly (or not), the Obama Administration and State Department joined the chorus.

You probably recall John Kerry’s sarcastic remark that Israel had carried out a “hell of a pinpoint operation”.  And you may remember that back in July, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said that “there’s more that could be done [by Israel]” to reduce civilian casualties. There are also reports of a particularly “combative” phone call from President Obama to PM Netanyahu during the war.

So [on November 8], the intrepid Matt Lee of the AP asked Psaki whether the Chairman of the JCS knew what he was talking about:

QUESTION: Yesterday, the ICC made its decision that there was no case to prosecute for war crimes in Gaza. But also yesterday – and you spoke about that very briefly here. But also yesterday, General Dempsey, who is no slouch when it comes to military things, told an audience in New York that the Israelis went to extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage during the Gaza war.

And I’m puzzled, because I thought it was the position of the Administration – or maybe it was just the position of the State Department and the White House – that Israel was not doing enough to live up to its – what you called its own high standards. Back on August 3rd, there was the statement you put out after the UNRWA school incident, saying that the U.S. “is appalled by today’s disgraceful shelling’. And that was some pretty fierce criticism.

How do you reconcile these two apparent divergent points of view? When this statement came out, the United States was appalled? Did that just mean the State Department was appalled?

  1. PSAKI: No, that is the position of the Administration; it remains the position of the Administration. As we made clear throughout the summer’s conflict, we supported Israel’s right to self-defense and strongly condemned Hamas’s rocket attacks that deliberately targeted civilians, and the use of tunnels, of course, of attacks into Israel. However, we also expressed deep concern and heartbreak for the civilian death toll in Gaza and made clear, as you noted in the statement you pointed to, that we believed that Israel could have done more to prevent civilian casualties, and it was important that they held their selves to a high standard. So that remains our view and position about this summer’s events.

QUESTION: Okay. But I’m still confused as to how you can reconcile the fact that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – who knows a bit about how military operations work, I would venture to guess; I don’t know him, but I assume that he wouldn’t be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff if he was – if he didn’t —

  1. PSAKI: Correct.

QUESTION: — says that the Israelis essentially did the best that they could and lived up to – by extension lived up to their high standards by taking – by going to, quote, “extraordinary lengths” to limit the collateral damage.

  1. PSAKI: Well, I would point you to the chairman’s team for his – more specifics on his comments. But it remains the broad view of the entire Administration that they could have done more and they should have taken more – all feasible precautions to prevent civilian casualties.

But the Coalition is not required to do the same? Apparently not.

So is there an element of special treatment for Israelis? Do anti-Semitic Europe and anti-Israel pro-Islam Obama set the moral bar higher for Israelis than for any others – or for themselves?

To borrow a saying: We report, you decide.

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.

isis-market

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.”

isis-protest

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:

1412714867119_wps_32_A_public_bus_burned_by_Ku

 

And this picture is from Hamburg:

1412764550861_wps_37_A_policewoman_carries_awa

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.

“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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Have you heard about the Khorosans? 6

The leftist pro-Islam group at present through some weird chance governing the United States of America, cannot stop the advancing jihads of either the savage Islamic Sunnis in Syria and Iraq, nor of the would-be mass-murdering Shiites preparing nuclear war in Iran, because they do not want to.

They do, however, have to seem to be defeating an abstract enemy called “terror”. Even if it is more intelligibly called “terrorism”, it is still an abstraction that cannot be bombed or tried in a court of law.

They insist that this enemy has “nothing to do with Islam”. Yet to seem to be defeating it, they find themselves having to kill and bomb people who just happen, every time, incredibly and annoyingly, to be Muslim.

We are to understand that they are small clumps of oddballs, self-alienating from the real peaceful live-and-let-live Islam. And Obama is on to them. He’ll find them and destroy them wherever they are. If they haven’t given themselves a distinguishing name, his group will supply one.

Andrew McCarthy writes at the National Review Online:

We’re being had. Again.

For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees [jayvee = junior varsity team]. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.

Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated”. The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria — even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids — the president won’t let go of the charade.

Hence, Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.

The who?

There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the “Khorosan Group” suddenly went from anonymity to the “imminent threat” that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.

You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one.

It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan — the Iranian-​Afghan border region — had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.

The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra”.  Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s US-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he’s something the administration is at pains to call “core al-Qaeda”.

“Core al-Qaeda”, you are to understand, is different from “Jabhat al-Nusra”,  which in turn is distinct from “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (formerly “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia”, now the “Islamic State” al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly “al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham” or “al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant”). That al-Qaeda, don’t you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb”, “Boko Haram”,  “Ansar al-Sharia” or the latest entry, “al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent”.  …

You see, there is a purpose behind this dizzying proliferation of names assigned to what, in reality, is a global network with multiple tentacles and occasional internecine rivalries.

As these columns have long contended, Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole — a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.

For a product of the radical Left like Obama, terrorism is a regrettable but understandable consequence of American arrogance. That it happens to involve Muslims is just the coincidental fallout of Western imperialism in the Middle East, not the doctrinal command of a belief system that perceives itself as engaged in an inter-civilizational conflict. For the Left, America has to be the culprit. Despite its inbred pathologies, which we had no role in cultivating, Islam must be the victim, not the cause. As you’ll hear from Obama’s Islamist allies, who often double as Democrat activists, the problem is “Islamophobia,” not Muslim terrorism.

This is a gross distortion of reality, so the Left has to do some very heavy lifting to pull it off. Since the Islamic-supremacist ideology that unites the jihadists won’t disappear, it has to be denied and purged. The “real” jihad becomes the “internal struggle to become a better person.” The scriptural and scholarly underpinnings of Islamic supremacism must be bleached out of the materials used to train our national-security agents, and the instructors who resist going along with the program must be ostracized. The global terror network must be atomized into discrete, disconnected cells moved to violence by parochial political or territorial disputes, with no overarching unity or hegemonic ambition. That way, they can be limned as a manageable law-enforcement problem fit for the courts to address, not a national-security challenge requiring the armed forces.

The president has been telling us for years that he handled al-Qaeda by killing bin Laden. He has been telling us for weeks that the Islamic State — an al-Qaeda renegade that will soon reconcile with the mother ship for the greater good of unity in the anti-American jihad — is a regional nuisance that posed no threat to the United States. In recent days, however, reality intruded on this fiction. Suddenly, tens of thousands of terrorists, armed to the teeth, were demolishing American-trained armies, beheading American journalists, and threatening American targets.

*

At PowerLine, Paul Mirengoff says:

Tom Joscelyn informed me that the name [“Khorosan”] doesn’t come from Washington. He says: “Although they haven’t used Khorasan publicly to describe themselves, that name is actually taken from the Khorasan shura with al-Qaeda, which is a specific advisory council.”

The Post’s sources emphasized that the name isn’t familiar in Syria. But, according to Tom, that’s because this is an internal AQ body, and not something marketed to the public.

We cannot see what difference it makes whether “Washington” took the name from a geographical area or an internal al-Qaeda advisory body. The Obama administration had some people bombed whom they choose to call “the Khorosan group”. It could not surely have been the actual “specific advisory council” on a group outing.

Andrew McCarthy’s account of how we’re being had remains true.

Posted under Commentary, Defense, Iran, Iraq, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Syria, Terrorism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, September 27, 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.

Inside the Caliphate 2

Some brave people from VICE News made this video inside the Caliphate of the Islamic State. It is well worth the forty-two minutes it takes to watch it.

 

(Hat-tip our Facebook commenter Kyle Nelson)

Posted under Iraq, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Syria, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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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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