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.

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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…..

Remember ISIS or Al-Qaeda?

Just two years ago you could not sling a dead cat and not hit stories and blogs about those bastards in terrorism…..and yet today few have nothing to say….the terrorists have been replace by porn stars and lawyers…..and that is why I am here to remind my readers that these bastards have not gone away.

According to most uninformed people ISIS has been defeated……not really accurate…

Nearly three years on from the Islamic State’s high water mark in the summer of 2015, there are several lessons that the United States and its allies can discern from the terrorist group’s meteoric rise to control large parts of Iraq and Syria to the loss of its physical caliphate late last year. The steady decline in ISIL’s fortunes is striking given the palpable fear its rise in the summer of 2014 sparked across Washington, when a common question circulating within the policy community was whether Baghdad itself might fall. Many of these takeaways will be relevant to U.S. policymakers as they attempt to prevent the group from reconstituting itself in the coming months.

https://warontherocks.com/2018/03/10-takeaways-from-the-fight-against-the-islamic-state/

The thing to keep in mind is that ISIS is not a global force….they have tentacles in many places but that does not mean they are a global force……

The killing of three people in the south of France by a man claiming allegiance to Isis will make people doubt if this murderous cult is as dead as governments had announced and people had hoped. The answer is that the attack in the Carcassonne region by a single gunman, said to be a Moroccan petty criminal from the area, proves very little about the strength of Isis as a continuing threat.

It will always be easy for a single killer, who in this case has been named as 36-year-old Redouane Lakdim, to shoot down passers-by chosen at random or trapped in a supermarket. Lakdim demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, a survivor of the Isis gang which killed 130 people in Paris on 13 November 2015, but there is no evidence so far that the killer, who has been shot dead by police, was part of a cell or that this was an attack organised from above or from outside the country.

http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/isis-inspired-terrorism-gives-impression-its-a-global-force-its-not/

ISIS is licking its wounds but that does not mean it has been defeated or eliminated.

Eyes wide open!

Then there is a term we do not hear much for a couple of years now….Al-Qaeda…

Many people thought that with the death of their leader Osama bin Laden that the group had lost the head of the snake and it would fade away.

It faded but not away.

After the deaths of Osama bin Laden and several other leaders in 2011 and 2012, followed by the rise of Islamic State, many considered al-Qaeda ‘a spent force’. But in an important brief, (with an expanded version for the Lowy Institute), leading terrorism scholar Bruce Hoffman argues that Ayman al-Zawahiri has used the past seven years to rebuild al-Qaeda. So while counterterrorism specialists have celebrated the rolling up of Islamic State’s ‘caliphate’, al-Qaeda’s resurgence shows that much work remains to be done.

Zawahiri cut his teeth in Egypt’s jihadi culture—he was arrested at 15, joined the Muslim Brotherhood and later led Egyptian Islamic Jihad—but he’s no charismatic leader. Following the death of Osama bin Laden and the rise of the Islamic State, Zawahiri opted to focus on three key objectives.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/03/22/al-qaeda_3_turning_to_face_the_near_enemy_113237.html

There…you, my reader, have been caught up as best I can without top secret clearance……please do not think this fight is over…..far from.

Where Have All The Terrorists Gone?

With the silliness in Washington these days has pushed the once feared terrorists to the back page of the newspaper……so has our president totally done the unthinkable a beat down ISIS and/or AQ?

It is a good thought and you can believe it if you choose….but it is far from accurate……

On January 19, the Pentagon released its new National Defense Strategy. The second paragraph of the 14-page declassified summary painted a dire picture. “Today, we are emerging from a period of strategic atrophy, aware that our competitive military advantage has been eroding,” the Defense Department warned. “We are facing increased global disorder, characterized by decline in the long-standing rules-based international order—creating a security environment more complex and volatile than any we have experienced in recent memory. Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in U.S. national security.”

That last line garnered widespread attention. It signaled that defense planners no longer want the jihadist wars unleashed by the 9/11 attacks to be their primary focus. The rest of the overview explained why. China is now a “strategic competitor,” while Russia seeks to “shatter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and change European and Middle East security and economic structures to its favor.” Both China and Russia “want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model—gaining veto authority over other nations’ economic, diplomatic, and security decisions.” Meanwhile, rogue states such as North Korea and Iran increasingly pose threats to American interests. While the Defense Department recognizes that ISIS and other “terrorist groups” will continue “to murder the innocent and threaten peace more broadly,” Washington must shift its focus to “long-term strategic competition.”

http://www.weeklystandard.com/not-so-fast/article/2011618

There is more information on the terrorists organizations……

The annual accounting to Congress of global threats to the United States made it sound like al-Qaida’s separate branches were managing to thrive independently of one another, said Bruce Hoffman, Cipher Brief expert and Council on Foreign Relations visiting senior fellow, in comments to The Cipher Brief. But Hoffman believes the Worldwide Threat Assessment presented to Congress Tuesday failed to acknowledge that al-Qaida is following a very careful and deliberate strategy to establish its separate branches as pillars on which to build future growth.

https://www.thecipherbrief.com/article/exclusive/middle-east/threat-assessment-fail-al-qaida-quietly-growing-design

Now that should clear up and misinformation you might have on these groups….they are far from a thing of the past and will probably just as dangerous as they have been in the past.

ISIS Acquires A New Target

There is a lot of chest thumping at the diminished presence of ISIS in Iraq and Syria…..some, Trump included, are even going so far as to claim the ISIS is a dead organization.

I am not one of those people.

I have written numerous times that ISIS is diminished but not totally defeated….to me Southern Asia is looking like the next region that could suffer from the rise of ISIS….even Africa is part of the resurrection….and there is yet another area that could be in the ISIS game plan…..the Balkans.

So-called Islamic State has vowed to decapitate ‘infidels’ and kill Serbs, Croats and Muslim ‘traitors’ in the Balkans in a new threat to the region published in the Bosnian version of the jihadists’ magazine.

“No, we swear by Allah, we have not forgotten the Balkans,” the Bosnian version of ISIS’s magazine Rumiyah warned as the terror organisation issued a new threat to the region.

In an article entitled “The Balkans – Blood for Enemies, and Honey for Friends”, the terror group makes direct threats to Serbs and Croats over their roles in the Balkan wars, as well as to Muslim ‘traitors’ to the Islamic faith.

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/isis-wows-to-wreak-vengeance-on-balkans-in-new-threat-06-08-2017

Now the question is…… will the US return to the Balkans militarily?

The 1990’s gave us the Balkans Wars of Serbia, Bosnia and Croatia….the US and NATO fought several wars in the region….is the Trump admin willing to return to the Balkans…..

Making the world a safer place….one war at a time.

Say Good-bye To The Caliphate

Last year ISIS was meeting there end…..their doom was sealed….they are no longer a caliphate….but does that mean that ISIS is winding down?

Not at all……look for them to change their tactics…..

Its much-vaunted caliphate has gone, crushed by the might of Russian, Syrian and US warplanes, Iran-backed militias, Kurdish forces and armies launched by Damascus and Baghdad. But while 2017 might have seen the end of Islamic State’s dream of ruling over its twisted vision of an ideal society, the year ended with an ominous sign that its deadly international campaign against the many people and faiths it sees as spiritual foes has gathered new energy.

Last Thursday, dozens of civilians in Kabul were killed in a suicide attack that targeted a Shia cultural centre in the Afghan capital. The assault was the latest in persistent attacks by an affiliate of Isis, which has proved to be resilient despite a relentless campaign against it in recent months.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/31/isis-dreams-of-caliphate-gone-now-deadly-new-strategy

Is it possible that ISIS could crawl its way back to the forefront?

The past year has witnessed a dramatic reversal of fortunes for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, which suffered a stunning series of defeats in its former strongholds.

From Mosul to Hawija in Iraq, and from Raqqa to al-Bab in Syria, ISIL has been driven from key territory, leaving the group’s expansive vision of a caliphate in tatters. To date, more than 98 percent of the areas it previously held have been retaken, and more than seven million Syrians and Iraqis have been freed from the group’s control, according to the US-led coalition battling ISIL.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/isil-stage-comeback-180112093936503.html

Even with the demise of the caliphate ISIS is still a player in terrorism as well as AQ….so basically the jihadist wars are on an endless loop…….

Of course the neocons will preach that these wars need to be endless to protect the homeland….the American Conservative has written on this subject……

A disturbing exchange occurred during the Jamestown Foundation’s 11th annual conference on terrorism at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. last month. Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies, was asked if he thought Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s newly announced domestic reforms would include an effort to rein in the Wahhabi clerics who have been fanning the flames of Islamist radicalism for years.

Hoffman, an expert on the subject, replied that it really didn’t matter much anymore because Wahhabi teachings had taken on a life of their own throughout vast stretches of the globe, and Saudi action or inaction probably wouldn’t affect the course of that movement.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/will-the-jihadist-wars-truly-be-endless/

Finally does diplomacy have a place in the War on Terror?

Declarations from US Presidents since WWII have championed values as the linchpin for US national security and foreign policy, however, current Secretary of State Tillerson has been a vocal advocate for removing the ‘promotion of democracy’ from State’s mission statement as well as the separation of values and policy.[1]  Moreover, the nascent Trump administration has been open in its chagrin toward the State Department, diplomacy and multilateral fora in particular and has prioritised pursuing “constructive, results-oriented bilateral relations.”[2] This line of thinking is a direct reflection of President Trump’s inauguration speech in which he declared that the US would not impose its values on others.[3]  The Secretary told a meeting of departmental staff in May 2017, that the “fundamental values of freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated” guide US policy, but they “are not our policies.”[4] Tillerson declared that “sometimes values have to take a back seat to economic interests or national security.”[5] The Secretary concluded that “interests come first, and then if we can advocate and advance our values, we should.”[6] This approach raises several questions such as: will the US’s allies and partners follow suit; what will be the long-term outcome of an ‘overt’ separation of interests and values; and more importantly, can diplomacy, the core of Western-led global stabilization efforts, survive the ‘new’ norm?

http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/diplomacy-and-the-war-on-terror

After a year of the Trump presidency and I still have no idea if he actually has a plan for fighting terrorism….so far he is just letting the Bush/Obama plan play out.  Hopefully Trump will tighten up and have a real plan.