What Happened To ISIS?

If you watch your local news or some form of national news you might think that the terrorist group known as ISIS have been beaten or that they went into hiding….well that is not accurate in any shape.

While it is accurate to say that it has been sorely depleted but that does not mean that they are defeated…..

As much as we have tried to turn ISIS into the devil incarnate why would Our Dear Leader off them some breathing space…..I know  say what?

Islamic State managed to regain access to Syrian oil fields and make profits from selling oil, a new UN report reveals. While the UN did not point fingers, the IS reemergence seems to occur in areas held by the US-backed forces.

“Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant [IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS], having been defeated militarily in Iraq and most of the Syrian Arab Republic during 2017, rallied in early 2018. This was the result of a loss of momentum by forces fighting it in the east of the Syrian Arab Republic,” the recent report from the UN Security Council’s Sanctions Monitoring Team reads. The document is dated July 27, but was only released to the public this week.

The slow-down gave IS “breathing space to prepare for the next phase of its evolution into a global covert network.” As of June 2018, the terrorist group has been controlling “small pockets of territory in the Syrian Arab Republic on the Iraqi border,” effectively carrying on with its quasi-state ways.

“[IS] was able to extract and sell some oil, and to mount attacks, including across the border into Iraq,” the reports stated, adding that the terrorist group regained “access to some oil fields in northeastern”Syria.

(rt.com)

More reporting on this situation…..

https://theantimedia.com/isis-breathing-space-syria/

Around the Syrian countryside is IdLib and warnings from the US…..

In a new tweet on Monday, President Trump warned Syria against attacking the rebels in Idlib Province. He also warned Iran and Russia against participating in any such attack if it happens.

“The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy,” Trump insisted, saying that “hundreds of thousands of people could be killed.”

Though Syria hasn’t confirmed any specifics, it is believed they are preparing to attempt to expel the rebels from Idlib, including the al-Qaeda dominated faction which UN officials say has 10,000 designed terrorist fighters within.

Others estimate that overall, some 70,000 fighters are within, and the densely populated area could indeed lead to large civilian death tolls in the fighting. The US opposition is particularly noteworthy, however, because recent offensives against other densely populated cities and provinces, like Deir Ezzor and Mosul, saw not only US endorsements but direct US participation.

(antiwar.com)

Just what is the USA end game in Syria?  The facts that I read are confusing at best….so what is the end game?

After a suspiciously sudden conversion, Russian President Vladimir Putin now claims to be worried about the fate of millions of refugees who have fled the carnage in Syria. In last weekend’s meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Putin expressed his hope that the European Union would help to rebuild Syria so that its displaced people could start to return home. And in recent weeks, Russian diplomats have been hawking the same message across European capitals.

To be sure, now that Bashar al-Assad’s regime has reclaimed most of the country’s territory, Syria’s civil war is clearly winding down. But that outcome was not inevitable. On the contrary, the Syrian army was very close to collapsing at one point. Only with the crucial help of Iranian-backed militias and Russian air support did Assad manage to turn things around.

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/navigating-the-syrian-endgame/

ISIS is still just as viable now as it was 4 years ago……it has moved into ops in Afghanistan and Africa (mostly)….

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How About Iraq?

Since the country and its problems have not been in the news most Americans seem to forget that we are still fighting and our troops are still on multiple deployments in our second longest war…..

Iraq recently had an election (democracy at work?) and America’s one time adversary al-Sadr won the position of prime minister and in the process of forming a government……

There are a few readings about the uphill fight he will have witn a government……

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iraq/188-iraqs-paramilitary-groups-challenge-rebuilding-functioning-state

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/iraq/b61-how-cope-iraqs-summer-brushfire

With that and the situation……the fighting has not ceased……no?  Then what about ISIS?

Glad you asked!

Dozens of people have been killed in a series of attacks launched by Islamic State (IS) in locations north of Baghdad over the past few months, prompting fears that the terrorist group is reconstituting itself in parts of Iraq (al-Hadath, March 28; al-Sumaria, July 1).

IS has lost all of its urban strongholds in Iraq, including Mosul, which it occupied in June 2014 and which was reclaimed by Iraqi forces last year with significant U.S. support. However, the recent surge in IS activity indicates that the group is now pursuing its old hit-and-run tactics in Iraq, and serves to illustrate how IS could exploit the divisions that remain among Iraqi factions.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/07/31/is_islamic_state_making_plans_for_a_comeback_in_iraq_113670.html

They, ISIS, is NOT gone and it is NOT forgotten……

The Iraqi government’s declaration of “victory” over ISIS may have marked the end of the group holding any real territory, but the end of the Caliphate was never going to be the end of ISIS. Unsurprisingly, the group is looking to make a comeback.

No longer a territory-holding faction trying to operate as a mini-state, ISIS is going back to its guerilla tactics that they used before they were able to take territory. Iraq is experiencing a rise in kidnappings and targeted killings.

ISIS is using the kidnappings as a way to raise money, and the killings as a way to undermine security. This was a common tactic for ISIS for years, and one the Iraqi government has never been able to effectively combat.

(antiwar.com)

Keep in mind that ISIS is still a force that will be handled and the US will have to continue to deal with this murderous group…..we can only hope that Iraq will step up and do what is necessary so that our overworked troops can come home.

After Note:  Another day with my doctors……so there may not be as much posted today as usual….never fear I am still hanging in there and will get back to it as soon as possible…..chuq

IST Afghanistan Report

I try to keep the readers of IST up to date on the progress or lack there of in the war being fought in Afghanistan….after 17 years the American people still do not care that there are Americans fighting and dying in  this country.

Spring has arrived in Afghanistan and Summer lurks….this is the time the Taleban and AQ and ISIS pick to up their attacks and their for attacks….plus the US and its allies also will be planning and attacking……

Following Thursday’s announcement that the US will comply with Afghanistan’s Ramadan ceasefire, which covers the Taliban and will last until June 20, the Pentagon now says they intend to step up offensives against ISIS in Afghanistan.

This announcement is perhaps unsurprising, as the US has not committed itself to a peace process in Afghanistan, and has been steadily escalating its military forces in the country. ISIS remains a convenient alternative target while the Taliban is off-limits.

While this opens up a lot more US troops to carry out strikes against ISIS, what it will accomplish remains to be seen. The US and Afghan governments have both claimed to have wiped ISIS out in Nangarhar repeatedly, only for the group to reemerge, seemingly unharmed.

(antiwar.com)

An interesting announcement considering there are very few that know just how strong ISIS is in Afghanistan…..

There are statements after statements about the situation in Afghanistan….but maybe we should hold our admiration for the job being done…….

The Lead Inspector General (IG) for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel released its quarterly report to Congress last week, assessing the state of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan. To put it mildly, the situation is not good. As Glenn Fine, the Principal Deputy IG for the Defense Department writes in the report’s foreword and executive summary, “the percentage of the population living in areas under the control or influence of the Afghan government showed little positive change this quarter,” while civilian casualties were “near record high levels.”

There were some small signs of promise, such as a modest decrease in “security-related incidents” — violence. From April to February, violence was below historical averages, and remains there, despite the Taliban’s Spring Offensive beginning in April. At the same time though, high profile attacks by the Taliban and ISIS spiked, and the Director of National Intelligence, Daniel Coats, has written that the security situation in Afghanistan will likely continue to decline this year.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/06/08/dont_buy_the_pentagons_statements_on_afghanistan_113520.html

Rest assured that IST will always keep its readers up to date on the news of all our theaters of conflict.

ISIS: The Rest Of The Story

There is a name that we seldom hear any more…..ISIS.  You would think that the lack of information would signal the demise of this barbarous group, right?  You would be mistaken.

While ISIS may be dying slowly in Iraq and Syria that does not mean the this group is dying out completely……not at all…..

Since ISIS has slipped from the headlines maybe now would be a good time for a refresher course…..

Bottom Line: The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), has experienced significant territorial losses in its former self-declared caliphate that once spanned large swaths of eastern Syria and western Iraq. However, the group remains a potent international threat as it increasingly adopts conventional insurgent tactics, increases its focus on executing terrorist attacks in the West and doubles down on supporting affiliate organizations across the globe as well as lone wolf actors pursuing inspired attacks in their home countries.

Background: ISIS is the third reincarnation of al-Qaida in Iraq, a group that was originally formed in the aftermath of the Iraq War in 2004 and later changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in 2006.

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/threat-report-2018-isis-spotlight#.Wvnnf6psq-0

Before ISIS there was al-Qaeda (AQ)……with ISIS getting most of the press for the last several years ….has AQ disbanded?  Has AQ decided to play nice?

What happened to AQ after the death of Osama?

And I have found an answer to your questions……

In the past five years, only one attack in a Western country — the Kouachi brothers’ attack against Charlie Hebdo in January 2015 — can be connected to al-Qaeda. Why did the once infamous and feared group halt its terror campaign in the West? Part of the explanation is that al-Qaeda has indeed suffered from targeted killings of senior operatives, making it harder for the group to plan and execute international attacks, and that regional events in the Middle East have enhanced the attractiveness of a local focus as opposed to conducting attacks in the West. Equally important to understand al-Qaeda’s changing priorities, however, is the rise of the Islamic State as a competing jihadi outfit and its ensuing terror campaign in the West. Intra-jihadi dynamics affect rival jihadi groups’ priorities for attacks. I outlined this argument in a recent article, Jihadi Competition and Political Preferences, which contends that intra-jihadi competition has played an important role in the changing enemy hierarchies of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State since 2014. Now, with the decline of the Islamic State, will al-Qaeda once again focus on launching attacks in (and not just against) the West?

https://warontherocks.com/2018/04/with-islamic-state-in-decline-whats-al-qaedas-next-move/

As you can see if you have read these reports…..these groups may be out of mind but they are not gone……

Do not let our attention be diverted…..please.

Just When Afghanistan Means Nothing

Afghanistan has not been in the headlines much lately although reports about the war have been regularly written about here on IST…..well that came to an end yesterday when an attack in the capital of Kabul was reported…..

An ISIS suicide bomber attacked a voter registration center in Afghanistan’s capital on Sunday, killing at least 57 people and wounding more than 100 others, officials say. Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahid Majro says that among the 57 killed, 22 were women and eight were children. He says 119 people were wounded, among them 17 children and 52 women, and “the tolls could still rise,” the AP reports. The bomber targeted civilians who were registering for national identification cards, Kabul police chief Gen. Daud Amin says.

The large explosion echoed across the city, shattering windows miles from the attack site and damaging nearby vehicles. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency, saying it had targeted Shiite “apostates.” The attack comes almost a month after an ISIS suicide bomber carried out an attack near a Shiite shrine in Kabul that targeted attendees celebrating the Persian new year. That attack killed 31 people and wounded 65 others. A statement issued by the president’s office condemned Sunday’s attack and quoted President Ashraf Ghani as saying such “terrorist attacks” won’t prevent people from participating in upcoming parliamentary elections.

There you have it…ISIS Sleeper cells…..there has been much written about their possibilities….some pundits even went as far as to call it wishful thinking….just ano0ther story to keep the War on Terror money flowing….

But these “sleeper cells” are a reality that needs to be acknowledged……

Over the past four weeks, ISIS has run a series of articles in its weekly Arabic publication on a vital aspect of the type of threat posed by the organisation today. The central theme relates to how members, who are so far laying low during a military campaign against them, could regroup and resume operations after months of what the group describes as a “slumber” period.

The extensive coverage dedicated to this topic is timely. It follows a noticeable uptick in the group’s operations in recent months in much of Iraq and Syria, in both quantity and quality, since the beginning of the year, according to a senior official in the anti-ISIS global coalition.

https://www.thenational.ae/opinion/comment/we-have-not-yet-seen-the-full-impact-of-isis-sleeper-cells-coming-back-to-life-1.722796

AS ISIS loses its “territory” these “cells” will become more and more important to the existence of this group.

ISIS And The Future

ISIS is a subject that we seldom hear about anymore….it just cannot seem to break through the news cycle there are just too many lawyers standing in the way….I revisit this subject because…well someone needs to keep the public focused on real threats and not the manufactured crap we have daily…….

We have had some “good” news lately it is reported that ISIS is on their back foot and we could expect their total defeat any day now…..it is not that cut and dry……

Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), which oversees the coalition to defeat the Islamic State, warned today that “much work remains to defeat” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s organization in Iraq and Syria. The U.S.-led coalition’s statement is at odds with the Trump administration’s stated position earlier this week.

The White House claimed on Apr. 4 that the “military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed.” The remaining ISIS presence in Syria is “small,” according to the White House’s statement, which did not mention Iraq.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/04/09/us-led_coalition_says_much_work_remains_to_defeat_to_isis_113298.html

The neocon think tank, The Brookings, has something to say about the possibility of an ISIS 2.0……..

American and international strategy towards the horrific conflict in Syria is at a crossroads. ISIS has been largely defeated militarily on the physical battlefield. The top goal of both President Obama and President Trump has been partially achieved, through a strategy they both helped develop and implement. The temptation for Americans in general, and the Trump administration specifically, may be to declare victory and go home—as in fact Trump has just signaled he would like to do, as soon as possible.

That would not be a good idea. Trump deserves credit for his success in Syria, but it represents an interim goal, not a durable achievement. Withdrawing U.S. forces, security assistance, economic aid and diplomatic engagement risks allowing a war that has killed half a million and displaced 12 million to continue—or worse, to expand into a truly regional war.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2018/04/07/how-do-we-prevent-isis-2-0-withdrawing-from-syria-is-not-the-answer/

The topic to keep in mind is that ISIS can be beaten by defeat, a total defeat, is another thing all together.

ISIS is dwindling but do not forget them….that would be disastrous.

What The Hell Happened To ISIS?

#######Warning:  Strong language to follow######

The question pertains to Al-Qaeda also…..

The news these days is a porn queen and lawyers and Russia….what the fuck happen to those darn pesky radical Islamic extremists?  Did we kick the a/holes back to the Stone Age?

First of all, if you have ever been to Iraq or Syria these days that Age would not be a very long goddamn trip.

But really…what the shit is going on with our well funded War on Terror?

These are the question that a well informed American should be asking…..but Nooooooo they are too goddamn busy slobbering over some large boob blonde and her duel with the Donald.

If you have had enough of this damn silly lawyer fest then let me take you to where the rubber hits the road…..

The Middle East is far from fucking rid of the terrorists……..

No amount of money, reconstruction, or reconciliation will undo the cumulative effects of decades of collective war in Iraq and Syria. Once this conclusion is accepted, it is productive to define what the current insurgency evolves from and may become. To provide a baseline of understanding, an insurgency can be defined as an “insurrection against an existing government, usually one’s own, by a group not recognized as having the status of a belligerent.” The next generation of belligerents will give a sense of unpleasant familiarity to those they face as they redefine ways and means to unchanged ends. This article will explore the vague future for insurgencies in the region and attempt to add clarity to what the insurgencies that may rise from the ashes of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) could look like. This article will also prescribe ways the Iraqi government, local governments in western Iraq and eastern Syria, and the international community, can mitigate the drivers of these insurgencies.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/03/15/post-isis_antagonists_and_the_looming_struggle_113201.html

Then there is AQ…….the lack of news would have you believe that we have kicked their asses and the death of Big Bad Bin Laden has ended their stranglehold on the terror genre…..if so then you are so fucking wrong…..

While the self-proclaimed Islamic State has dominated the headlines and preoccupied national security officials for the past four years, al-Qaeda has been quietly rebuilding. Its announcement last summer of another affiliate—this one dedicated to the liberation of Kashmir—coupled with the resurrection of its presence in Afghanistan and the solidification of its influence in Syria, Yemen, and Somalia, underscores the resiliency and continued vitality of the United States’ preeminent terrorist enemy.

Although al-Qaeda’s rebuilding and reorganization predates the 2011 Arab Spring, the upheaval that followed helped the movement revive itself. At the time, an unbridled optimism among local and regional rights activists and Western governments held that a combination of popular protest, civil disobedience, and social media had rendered terrorism an irrelevant anachronism. The longing for democracy and economic reform, it was argued, had decisively trumped repression and violence. However, where the optimists saw irreversible positive change, al-Qaeda discerned new and inviting opportunities.

https://www.cfr.org/expert-brief/al-qaedas-resurrection

On so many levels this is far more important than the lawyers and the Russian accusations…..