Make It Dirty!

Geez!  The title could lead this post down some interesting and even disgusting paths…..but no this time……

But the big story was who won the British Open golf classic…..seriously?  That is the best the media can do?

For years I have writing about the different occasions where nuke material was found or missing from some inventory and I said that it would be only a matter of time before some nut job terrorist got their hands on the material and would make and use a dirty bomb.

A report has come out of Iraq……the battle for Mosul to be exact……

The Washington Post has a scoop on a terrifying near-miss in Mosul, Iraq. When the Islamic State seized Iraq’s second-largest city in June 2014 it came into possession of two caches of cobalt-60, one of the key ingredients for making “dirty bombs,” the paper reports. At the time, Western intelligence agencies were aware of the cobalt-60, a substance with deadly levels of radiation that, in peaceful hands, can be used to destroy cancer cells. What they weren’t sure of is whether ISIS knew about them. Those agencies, along with independent nuclear experts, appraised the potential damage the two caches could cause and reported to the US government and the Iraqi military about them, but otherwise kept their reports private in case ISIS didn’t know what they had in their possession.

Earlier this year, when Iraqi military soldiers entered the college campus storage room where the cobalt was last seen, they found it untouched. Experts says they don’t know why ISIS didn’t use the substance to make dirty bombs but speculate that they didn’t have the knowledge to dismantle the machines holding it without exposing themselves to radiation. And while the two caches are now safe in Iraqi government hands, officials warn that similar caches exist in hundreds of cities around the world, some of them in conflict areas. The Post reports that it learned of the cobalt-60 in Mosul last year but agreed to a US government request not to report on it until Mosul was retaken.

Any sane person this report would give you a shiver…..to think that ISIS was that close to a dirty bomb……

Now my question is….if they had the material for a dirty bomb why then did they not use it?

What gave them pause after all their barbarity knows no bounds….why the hesitation?

Oh By The Way——remember the deceased leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi?

Well he may not be as dead as everyone thought……

Defense Secretary James Mattis today said he continues to believe that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive, and that he will assume Baghdadi is alive until he sees confirmation that the US has killed him.

The US, of course, has claimed to have killed Baghdadi several times. His most recent death was at the hands of Russia, which had US officials particularly skeptical. There were multiple “confirmations” that he was likely dead again, though recently the indications have been that he is alive.

Gotta love the games these people play.

One Living–Another Dead

Awhile back there were several reports that the leader of ISIS, al-Baghdadi, had been killed….and the peasants dance…..now someone has rained on that parade….

A top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said on Monday he was 99 percent sure that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was alive and located south of the Syrian city of Raqqa, after reports that he had been killed.

“Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive,” Lahur Talabany told Reuters in an interview.

Source: Exclusive: Islamic State leader Baghdadi almost certainly alive – Kurdish security official

I question since this came from the Kurds is it just a story to keep the money and arms flowing before the “independence” referendum in September?

This would not be the first time a terrorist leader was declared dead and not being so…..

Then far miles away in Afghanistan….

The head of ISIL in Afghanistan, Abu Sayed, was killed in an attack on his headquarters in Kunar province earlier this week, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement on Friday that other members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) were killed in the raid on Tuesday.

“US forces killed Abu Sayed, the emir of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria – Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) – in a strike on the group’s headquarters in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, July 11,” White said in the statement, referring to ISIL’s other acronym.

Source: ISIL leader in Afghanistan ‘killed in US raid’ | ISIS News | Al Jazeera

Once again it is…..Another he said….they said…..

Many “leaders” over the years have been pronounced dead…only to re-appear healthier than ever…..

Defeat Of ISIS–What Then?

It appears that ISIS is all but defeated in Iraq and it is not looking good in Syria…..so when the end arrives…..what then?

The Islamic State appears to be nearly ousted in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and now US-backed forces have the last 2,500 ISIS holdouts trapped in the group’s other stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, reports the New York Times. The militants are cut off from supplies, though the final battle to defeat them promises to be a difficult one that plays out building by building. ISIS leaders already have fled the city, and the group maintains control over smaller towns in both Syria and Iraq. Related developments:

  • The plan? Once ISIS is routed from Syria and Iraq, then what? The Los Angeles Times reports that the US doesn’t seem to have a clear strategy yet for the aftermath, one that takes into account factors such as Iran, Russia, reconstruction, safe zones, troop numbers, etc. Without “rules of the road,” it’s “a dangerous situation,” says one analyst.
  • Assad’s role: One particularly thorny problem for the US is whether to try to keep Syria’s Bashar al-Assad in check as he seeks to reclaim territory abandoned by ISIS. The AP has an analysis.
  • ‘Mom, I’m exhausted’: What’s it like for civilians still in Raqqa? “Mom, I’m exhausted and the situation is horrible, I can’t bear this life anymore,” writes a 23-year-old daughter to her mom. CNN takes a look at WhatsApp messages.
  • A leader emerges: Iraq’s success in Mosul has turned the spotlight on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. In a profile, the Wall Street Journal reports that the 65-year-old former electrical engineer has emerged as a genuine leader after three years, to pretty much everyone’s surprise.
  • Premature? But at BuzzFeed, Nancy A. Youssef writes that Abadi and other Iraqi leaders may have made a mistake in declaring the end of the ISIS caliphate last week. Too much fighting remains, in Mosul and elsewhere.
  • Abuses in Iraq:Human Rights Watch says it has reports of Iraqi soldiers beating and executing unarmed men fleeing Mosul.

The better plan is to start planning for ISIS 2.0……..it will be back and back with a vengeance…..

Lt Gen Stephen Townsend told the BBC Iraqis needed to unite to ensure IS was defeated across the rest of Iraq.

He also urged the government to reach out to the Sunni Arab minority.

“If we’re to keep… ISIS 2.0 from emerging, the Iraqi government is going to have to do something pretty significantly different,” he said.

“They’re going to have to reach out and reconcile with the Sunni population, and make them feel like their government in Baghdad represents them.”

Source: Mosul: US commander says Iraq must stop Islamic State 2.0 – BBC News

With the defeat…..does anyone know what ISIS thinks of the future?

In a conversation I had with a fellow university student in Damascus in 2000, he made curious remark. “Ana mubayie,” he said. The sentence, which translates into “I owe a pledge of fealty”, was a reference to a supposed secret oath he made to Mullah Omar, then the emir of the Taliban in Afghanistan. In a secular country like Syria, the lack of context for young students meant nobody made much of it beyond observing its oddity.

When I wrote about the anecdote for The National three years ago, ISIL’s announcement of a “caliphate” was widely dismissed as comic and a delusional ambition. Many hoped that ISIL’s military campaign soon would be reversed once the Iraqi army recovered from the initial shock. Even more than the military challenge, moreover, it was harder for politicians, clerics and observers to grasp the implications of the declaration on the region and the world, and the subsequent evolution of ISIL from a local insurgent group into a global organisation.

Source: What ISIL really thinks about the future – The National

The consensus seems to be that ISIS may be beaten but it is not yet defeated…..plans should be drawn up now that has an approach that will prevent a repeat of the last 4 years.

With the battles of Mosul and Raqqa dislodging the Islamic State (ISIS) from its strongholds in Syria and Iraq, and the Syrian civil war becoming a war of attrition, the Middle East’s most acute conflicts are evolving fast. But that doesn’t mean they will soon be resolved.

ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliphate was never a state that could be driven to unconditional surrender, meaning that the battles of Mosul and Raqqa were never going to be decisive, even if they did eliminate ISIS sanctuaries. As ISIS’s spread into Libya and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula underscores, there are plenty of loosely controlled areas available to be penetrated.

Source: The next phase of Middle East conflict | The Strategist

But with everything said maybe there is a rule of thumb they should adhere to……one question they should ask after the debacles of Syria and Libya……

Source: Is It Ever a Good Idea to Arm Violent Nonstate Actors? | RealClearDefense

Then what about all those “terrorists” that did not die defending the “caliphate”?  What will become of them?

The fall of Mosul and the likely fall of Raqqa won’t be the end of the Islamic State. The group has already reverted to its insurgent roots in some of the areas that have been lost. It also still controls some territory. The Islamic State will continue to function as a guerrilla army, despite suffering significant losses. In May, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) assessed that even though it was losing significant ground, the Islamic State “will likely have enough resources and fighters to sustain insurgency operations and plan terrorists [sic] attacks in the region and internationally” going forward. Unfortunately, I think ODNI’s assessment is accurate for a number of reasons, some of which I outline below. I also discuss some hypothetical scenarios, especially with respect to returning foreign fighters or other supporters already living in Europe or the U.S.

Source: The Terrorist Diaspora: After the Fall of the Caliphate | RealClearDefense

We will see….the world is watching…….

BREAKING NEWS! Film At 11!

Last month I wrote a post about the alleged death the the ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi……he is supposedly died in a Russian airstrike…but read it for yourself….

Source: Death Of A Bad Man – In Saner Thought

There is now a confirmation of his death….(sort of)…….

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claims to have “confirmed evidence” that ISIS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.

According to the UK-based, pro-opposition Syrian War monitoring group, they have been able to confirm the death of the al-Baghdadi via sources based in the Syrian province of Deir Ezzor who have contact with the top ISIS leadership.

The actual cause of the ISIS caliph’s death or when it occurred remains unknown. However, the source quoted by the SOHR said that it happened somewhere near the Iraqi border.

As of the present time, US, Kurdish and Iraqi sources cannot corroborate the SOHR’s statement on the death of al-Baghdadi.

Mosul Is Liberated!

Dancing in the streets………..Celebrate….Celebrate….Dance To The Music!

The news has hit the presses.

Mosul is liberated!

At least according to the Iraqi military………

After months of heavy bloody fighting the army of Iraq with US help has taken the Iraqi city of Mosul…….

Iraq’s state TV says the country’s prime minister has arrived in Mosul to declare victory over the Islamic State in the more than eight-month old operation to drive the militants from the city, reports the AP. “The commander in chief of the armed forces [Prime Minister] Haider al-Abadi arrived in the liberated city of Mosul and congratulated the heroic fighters and Iraqi people for the great victory,” the office of Haider al-Abadi said in a statement on Sunday, per Reuters. Dressed in a black uniform of a type worn by Iraqi special forces, al-Abadi was shown on Sunday descending from a military plane and was greeted by senior security forces commanders. Fighting Sunday was heavy, with the increasingly cornered militants sending female suicide bombers; some 30 ISIS fighters were killed attempting to flee by crossing the Tigris.

Lt. Gen. Jassim Nizal of the Iraq army’s 9th Division said Sunday his forces have achieved “victory” in the sector allotted to them, after a similar announcement by the militarized Federal Police. Nizal’s soldiers danced to patriotic music atop tanks even as airstrikes sent plumes of smoke into the air nearby. Backed by US-led coalition, Iraq launched the operation to retake Mosul in October. Iraqi state TV says government forces drove the militants from all areas and are “chasing” them in some areas in the city. The militants captured Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, in a matter of days in the summer of 2014.

Great news in the battle against the barbaric ISIS….but does this mean the ISIS is at its proverbial end?

It’s a big loss for ISIS, one of the biggest they’ve ever sustained, but claims from Iraqi officials that it marks “the end of ISIS” are a major overstatement of the situation. Clearly, ISIS not only still hosts a lot of territory, but remains hugely powerful and influential besides.

Indeed, ISIS predates its “caliphate” by quite some time, with its origins as the al-Qaeda in Iraq insurgency. The group never totally abandoned those insurgency tactics when they became a land-holding state, and even if they ultimately lose all their territory, they’re just back to that.

And even that direct capability is just the tip of the iceberg, as ISIS retains massive influence in the international Islamist community, and will continue to inspire attacks worldwide, a problem that will likely endure irrespective of ISIS’ near-term prospects.

(antiwar.com)

 

  • A leader emerges: Iraq’s success in Mosul has turned the spotlight on Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. In a profile, the Wall Street Journal reports that the 65-year-old former electrical engineer has emerged as a genuine leader after three years, to pretty much everyone’s surprise.
  • Premature? But at BuzzFeed, Nancy A. Youssef writes that Abadi and other Iraqi leaders may have made a mistake in declaring the end of the ISIS caliphate last week. Too much fighting remains, in Mosul and elsewhere.
  • Abuses in Iraq: Human Rights Watch says it has reports of Iraqi soldiers beating and executing unarmed men fleeing Mosul

 

This is a good day for Iraq and time to consider rebuilding….but never take their eyes off of ISIS….they will be just as dangerous now as they have been in the past.

As ISIS Shrinks

By all accounts the barbaric bunch that goes by the name of ISIS is losing ground almost daily….does this mean victory is on sight?

Not really……

Manchester. Nigeria. Baghdad. Kabul. London Bridge. Tehran. And Marawi, in the Philippines, among many other targets…

The news headlines about recent bloody attacks conducted by the so-called Islamic State, or inspired by it, give the impression that the ISIS brand of global jihad is ever-expanding and still dynamic.

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when ISIS traditionally ramps up such high-profile attacks, is a little more than half over, and has demonstrated the jihadists’ continued global reach.

Source: The state of ISIS: shrinking territory, expanding reach – CSMonitor.com

It is reaching well beyond the Middle East…..with that can victory over the group be declared?

Their global program keeps expanding….

ISIS’s first attack in Iran punctuated two stark realities: the group’s annual Ramadan campaign is alive while the US-led anti-ISIS campaign is on a path to failure. ISIS surges attacks every year during Ramadan in order to gain or increase momentum in its global campaign to maintain its declared caliphate, expand across the Muslim world, and win an apocalyptic war with the West. ISIS has conducted successful attacks in three new countries this year – the United Kingdom, the Philippines, and Iran – and will likely pull off more before the Muslim holy month is over. The jihadist group has sustained a global insurgency despite the considerable military pressure it faces in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS has been waging its global campaign in four separate “rings” since 2014. First, ISIS is defending and attempting to remain in and expand its territorial control in its “core terrain” in Syria and Iraq. Second, ISIS seeks to weaken the Middle East’s power centers of Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Third, ISIS is expanding in other Muslim majority countries through attack networks and, when possible, ground operations. Fourth, ISIS is conducting spectacular attacks in the non-Muslim majority world, or the “far abroad,” in order to polarize those communities and radicalize their minority Muslim populations. ISIS’s Ramadan surges set conditions in these rings, varying its main effort based on its circumstances and the capabilities in Iraq and Syria and of its networks abroad.

Source: ISW Blog: ISIS’s Global Campaign Remains Intact

No, the way this thing is being fought does not lead to victory……

This is an article from a source that is not that complimentary toward the US….however they make some good points in the piece.

Since 2001, when then US President George Bush announced his “War on Terror,” presidents and politicians both in the United States and among America’s allies, have repeated this phrase and have done their utmost to convince the public that indeed, the West was fighting a “War on Terror.”

Yet there is something disturbingly ambiguous about what exactly the “War on Terror” consists of, who it’s being waged against and how it could ever possibly be brought to a successful conclusion.

It is also often referred to as the “Long War,” and for good reason. America’s ongoing occupation of Afghanistan is the longest armed conflict in US history. Additionally, US troops still find themselves in Iraq, some 14 years after the initial invasion and occupation of the state in 2003.
http://journal-neo.org/2017/02/18/how-a-real-war-on-terrorism-would-look-and-why-the-us-isnt-fighting-one/

The US has been using the same tactics for 16+ years and still the terrorism is rampant….maybe now would be a good time to re-think the tactics and conceive a new workable plan.

Just a passing thought.

Then There Is Mosul

The war in Iraq is still raging…..we just do not hear much about it thanx to the media and its fascination with political chicanery.

ISIS is losing ground around and in the Iraqi city of Mosul….the Iraqis have said that the fall of ISIS in Mosul is only days away…..

The battle to wrest full control of the Iraqi city of Mosul from Islamic State will be over in a few days, the Iraqi military said on Monday, as elite counter-terrorism units fought militants among the narrow alleyways of the historic Old City.

An attempted fight-back by militants failed on Sunday night and Islamic State’s grip on the city, once its de facto capital in Iraq, was weakened, a senior commander said.

“Only a small part (of the militants) remains in the city, specifically the Old City,” Lieutenant General Abdul Ghani al-Assadi, commander of the Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) in Mosul, told Reuters.

“From a military perspective, Daesh (Islamic State) is finished,” Assadi said. “It has lost its fighting spirit and its balance. We are making calls to them to surrender or die.”

As CTS units battled militants in the densely-populated maze of tiny streets of the Old City, which lies by the western bank of the Tigris river, Assadi said the area under Islamic State control in Mosul was now less than two sq kms.

Mosul will fall “in very few days, God willing,” he added.

(Reuters)

Let’s say that the prediction is factual…..what will be the events following the fall?

The U.S.-led military campaign against ISIS in Iraq and Syria appears to be nearing its end. In Mosul, Iraqi military forces are now pushing into ISIS’s last pocket of resistance in the Old City as allied militias cut off ISIS forces near Tal Afar. In Syria, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have encircled the ISIS “capital” in Raqqa and pushed into the city proper with U.S.-led coalition support.

However, as ISIS’ territorial footprint shrinks, a new battle for control over liberated areas is brewing. Forces aligned with the U.S.-led coalition are not the only players fighting ISIS. Russia, Turkey, the Syrian government, the Iraqi central government, Iran-backed militias, and a mix of Kurdish militias are just some of groups angling to stake their claim to the lands ISIS leaves behind.

Two strategic areas along the Iraqi-Syrian border – Sinjar in northwestern Iraq and the regions of Raqqa and Deir al Zour in eastern Syria – are set to play a vital role in this burgeoning power struggle. As these disparate forces operate in ever closer proximity, who stands to gain after ISIS’ fall, and how far is the U.S. willing to go to assert its interests in eastern Syria and northwestern Iraq?

Source: As ISIS Falls, Border Battles Loom | The Cipher Brief

The aftermath will be the battle for territory….the Kurds, Sunnis and Shia…all will want their piece of the newly liberated pie.

Where will this put the US troops that in country?  What part will they play on the ensuing battles?

The one constant will be the US fighting unwinnable wars…how long will the American people allow this to continue?