Wanted Dead Or Alive

Josh Randall hunts the Wild West for those dastards that have broken the law and are wanted so they may pay for their sins…..so goes the story line of a 60’s TV show.  But this time we are not talking the Old West where men were men and sheep ran scared.

This time we are looking for the leader, the caliph, of ISIS…aL-Baghdadi.  As troops zero in on Mosul and the home of ISIS leader it appears that the coward has tucked tale and ran.  He left town dressed as an elderly nun (my assertion not fact).

Did he run to the capital of ISIS, Raqqa?  Does not look as if he did…..for it is being attacked as I type.   He went where all good terrorists go when they are pursued by the US…Afghanistan.

ISIL Caliphate, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, is said to have fled Mosul. ISIL says this is not true and it makes everyone believe he is still there. Though we have never thought of killing individuals, or terrorist leaders, as important compared to refuting their ideas, it is always tempting to see the head of this criminal gang behind bars or being beheaded by one of his many victims.

But the question is: Where did Baghdadi go?

Naturally, a group like ISIL will think of securing its symbol where it has some infrastructure capable of providing a safe refuge to him. The only place that comes to mind is Afghanistan or any geographically inaccessible region in Central Asia.

This should raise again the more important issue of the expansion of terrorist Jihadism in that region. This issue is steadily growing and it is likely that in a decade or two, and so long as global cooperation does not move to this ground fast, we will be talking less about the Middle East and more about Central Asia.

Source: ISIL’s Caliph Left Mosul. Is he Now in Afghanistan? | Middle East Briefing

This could be good news….we have al-Baghdadi cornered like we had AQ’s master mind bin Laden in Afghanistan….oh wait…..we fucked up that gimme.

Al-Baghdadi could be anywhere….he could be a yak herder in southern Uzbekistan or a poppy grower in Afghanistan….no one knows just yet.

So what are the chances that we will get our man?  Or will this be a replay of the bin Laden affair in 2001?  Will it take another decade to “get our man”?

Did anyone notice?

The Name Game

Was it IS…or ISIS….or Da’nesh…..or maybe ISIL?  For years we all have our way of referring to the bastards in the terrorist group by name…..me?  I have always used ISIS.  But the government, until now, has called it ISIL whenever they referred to the group.

Well sports fans the confusion is now officially over…..for now.

The US Department of Defence has produced a change of terminology in the war against the Islamic State group.

The name preferred by the Obama administration – the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) – has been dropped.

But the name favoured by President Donald Trump – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has now been adopted by the Pentagon.

A memo dated February 13 from the office of Defence Secretary Jim Mattis says the switch to “ISIS” make the Pentagon “consistent with” Trump’s language in the January 28 directive, in which he called for a new plan to defeat the militant group.

Rest easy….now that this issue has been settled maybe now we can concentrate on beating the crap out of them…..

Speaking of that……after a campaign promise of defeating ISIS soundly by then candidate Trump…we have the new plan to do just that…..

Full details of the plan have not been released yet, but the long-promised Pentagon proposal to escalate the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria has been delivered today, and is said to includes options for large deployments of additional troops to Syria, as well as increased targeting of ISIS the world over.

The plan for the Pentagon is to “rapidly” defeat ISIS, with the assumption that throwing more US troops at the situation will make it go faster. Officials at the Pentagon conceded this strategy might need to be further refined before implemented on the ground.

So far all we have are the talking points….but the one point that is disturbing……”options for large deployments of additional troops to Syria”…..so we are gonna invade and occupy another Middle East country?

Sounds like just more of the same….NOT a prescription for victory.

You may sleep well tonight.

The New “Game Of Drones”

Did you watch the Oscars?  Why?

The country is going to crap and you spend your time watching mindless sh*t!

Okay my rant is over…time to get serious.

While the MSM has everyone diverted to lesser news…like a stolen jersey or who pays protesters or how many Tweets some people attempt there is something happen that could be a game changer in the War on Terror….but you were too distracted to care.

I have written many times here on IST about the American drone program (a search for IST will give one all the posts) used by the US military to fight their wars….I understand their use as it saves lives of the troops involved in the conflict but I also dislike their constant use for the drones cannot differentiate between combatants and civilians….as a result we have killed more civilians than bad guys and the numbers expand.

I point this out because it appears that ISIS has developed a drone program to be used as the one for the US……

Islamic State fighters are launching an ever-wider assortment of deadly drones, even as their UAV factories come under heavy attack.

Grenade launchers, kamikaze bombers, flying decoys, eyes-in-the-sky, and soapbox-derby dinosaurs: as the Islamic State group loses neighborhood after Mosul neighborhood, it is still dispatching a wide variety of UAVs on deadly missions.

“Over the last two months, coalition forces have observed about one adversary drone every day around Mosul,” a U.S. Central Command official told Defense One.

Source: The Drones of ISIS – Defense One

Then once this program was discovered they started with world predictions of doom for the rest of us…..

Killer drones guided by Islamic State terrorists have made their debut in Northern Iraq, prompting concern about a new terror weapon outside of Iraq.

“I can verify that the enemy has used drones to release grenade-sized munitions,” wrote U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, chief spokesman for the Combined Joint Task Force, Operation Inherent Resolve, in an email from Baghdad. He went on to say that Iraqi forces closing in on Islamic State’s last-remaining high-population stronghold in Iraq are dealing with them.

Source: ISIS drones could target Europe – Washington Times

Right now their, ISIS, program is far from sophisticated but each time they are employed the more they learn about their operation……

As they (however they are) say…it is only a matter of time.

Body Count Is Back

The first of this week I wrote a post how the body count of enemy combatants has changed from my days in Vietnam…….(read it for yourself)

I remember back during my days of “blood and mud”, the Vietnam War, the big deal of the day was the body count of the bad guys from the day’s action….they were reported and used to justify so many other things that the brass wanted to do….

The concept of body count has lost some of its allure these days…instead of a high body count the government downplays as much of the deaths as possible…to the point of actually lying to the American people…..

Source: Always About The Body Count – In Saner Thought

I had to re-visit this subject because after my saying that a low body count, especially civilians, was a sign that the US was winning the war against ISIS….I had to re-visit this subject because the general of special ops has issued a statement about the deaths of militant terrorists….

Speaking at a defense industry conference today, Gen. Raymond Thomas announced that the United States has killed 60,000 ISIS fighters, insisting this proved US troops had been “pretty darn prolific” in their killing of ISIS people.

This figure is noteworthy for two reasons. Firstly, the Pentagon had claimed 50,000 ISIS fighters were killed just back in December, meaning that the general is effectively claiming the US has directly killed 10,000 more ISIS fighters in just two months, a staggering figure.

Perhaps more importantly, the Pentagon had estimated last summer, while bragging about having ruined ISIS’ recruitment abilities, that there were only about 15,000 ISIS fighters left. Despite having killed well more than 15,000 ISIS since then, it appears ISIS isn’t out of troops or even visibly any more short-handed in Iraq and Syria than they had been.

Gen. Thomas’ take was that the killings showed the US making “great progress,” though it also raises questions about why the Pentagon is killing way more ISIS fighters than it ever believed to have existed in the first place, and why ISIS always seems roughly the same size every time the US offers these counts.

(antiwar.com)

We are reverting back to the days of Vietnam….the higher the body count the better we are winning…and that was a good indicator of how we did in Vietnam, huh?

But as usual most Americans do NOT care!  They have too much other crap on their minds….

I Feel So Much Safer Now (Sarcasm)

This war on terrorism is going well if you count the physical aspects but what about the program to counter the on-line recruitment and radicalization?

We are kicking ass and taking names on the ground but in the fight on-line is another story…..

In that seemingly endless array of US government programs intended to counter ISIS’ online recruitment, the Pentagon invested substantial money in a program called WebOps, meant to employee top language specialists to scour social media and talk potential recruits out of joining ISIS.

Those familiar with the program call it an absolute disaster, quickly becoming a laughingstock in social media circles for its incompetence, and having no measurable impact beyond costing money, and leading to investigations of impropriety.

Counter-propaganda efforts failing is nothing new, but the ways in which WebOps has failed are definitely unique, centering in no small part on their “Arabic specialists,” meant to talk ISIS recruits out of joining, having no experience in counter-propaganda, little to no understanding of Islam, and not even being able to speak Arabic very well.

This has been the source of a lot of mocking from would be targets, who get approached and quickly discover the specialists are unintelligible, using incorrect words all over the place. Workers said that one translator had mixed up the word authority with the word for salad, and made numerous social media posts about the Palestinian Authority which referred to it as Palestinian Salad.

While Centcom is downplaying the problems and refusing to discuss the matter too directly, reports are that whistleblowers have been pushing investigations into the program, even as the Pentagon has begun taking bids on another $500 million scheme that aims to do what WebOps was supposed to be doing, but isn’t.

(antiwar.com)

Maybe someone in the new admin ought to address this lack of success and find a way to expand this program to include a successful conclusion.

Just a thought that will not do anything to improve their success percentage….get more media bang for visuals not shadow ops…..

The US Steps Up

The US has troops in Iraq and Syria in the fight against ISIS…that is ground troops….but their main job is to “advise and assist” the local forces in this fight…..but news has come out that US has stepped up and lauched an all US raid inside Syria……

US ground troops invaded eastern Syria on Sunday and attacked a group of ISIS fighters in Deir Ezzor Province, the Pentagon has confirmed. The incident took place in an unnamed small town along the Euphrates River, and the Pentagon said the goal was to capture ISIS leadership.

No captures appear to have happened, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, though two “leaders,” both heretofore unnamed in media reports on ISIS’ leadership, were said to have been among the 25 ISIS fighters slain. No US casualties were reported.

The Pentagon did not confirm the casualties, and according to local witnesses the operation lasted about 90 minutes, with US troops arriving in helicopters and departing the same way. Local news outlet Deirezzor 24 reported that US troops took a number of bodies with them.

Facing Kurdish advances in Raqqa and an Iraqi invasion in Mosul, Deir Ezzor is materially the last province which ISIS holds the overwhelming majority of, and in which they face little opposition. Syrian government forces control part of the provincial capital, but the surrounding area is virtually exclusively ISIS.

This incident amounts to the first major US ground offensive inside Syria, as the troops deployed into Syria on a more or less permanent basis are embedded with Kurdish YPG forces in relatively small numbers, and largely not on the front lines.

(antiwar.com)

Is this action a new phase for the use of US troops in this fight?

Could this be a “here we go again” sort of thing?

ISIS Update–2017

The term ISIS seems to slide from the headlines until someone attacks something and then it hits the front pages hard and endlessly…..

After teaching a class on terrorism I feel I need to let the readers know what is being said….some times not always in the headlines…..most of the sources are what we call the MSM…..

The Islamic State starts the new year with a drastically depleted bank account, counterterrorism officials say, following months of intensified efforts to deprive the Islamists of oil profits and other revenue used to finance military operations and terrorist attacks abroad. – Washington Post

In the past few weeks, the Islamic State has sustained a string of military defeats…Yet as the deadly truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin made clear, those losses do not diminish the group’s extraordinary power to inspire terrorist mayhem around the world, and may even help fuel it. – New York Times

A rare visit to the Raqqa front line illustrated how near and yet far off the defeat of the Islamic State may be. The battle for Mosul in neighboring Iraq has stalled, the attack in Berlin has brought home the continued threat of terrorism, and there is still no plan for an offensive on Raqqa, making the war one of the most immediate, and complicated, challenges the Trump administration will have to confront. – Washington Post

Embattled Islamic State is still managing to maintain a propaganda machine that inspires violence among its far-flung followers. – Wall Street Journal (subscription required)

A report by an organization that monitors Islamist militants’ Internet communications calls Telegram “the app of choice for many ISIS, pro-ISIS and other jihadi and terrorist elements.” The study describes the terrorists’ mass migration to Telegram as one of the most striking developments in the field recently. – Washington Post

Even as the American-led air campaign conducts bombing missions to support Iraqi troops fighting the Islamic State in Mosul, American commanders said the air war would probably play an even greater role in Syria over the coming weeks in the battle to retake Raqqa. – New York Times

Military chiefs are prepared to give President-elect Donald Trump the options he wants to intensify the fight against the Islamic State, including the possibility of granting commanders greater leeway to use secret cyber-warfare and space weapons, the top Air Force leader said. – USA Today

Space weapons?  What the Hell does that mean?

For more updates check this spot on your readership dial…..