Closing Thought–11Sep18

It All Began On 9/11!

Today we celebrate the 17th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers, Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania…

In all that time there has been a wealth of conspiracies about the attacks…..and in my tradition of trying inform my readers I will offer up several articles that touch on the day.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/a6384/debunking-911-myths-world-trade-center/

https://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/jom/0112/eagar/eagar-0112.html

https://www.newsweek.com/what-if-911-had-never-happened-67373

Al-Qaeda, the culprit that lead the attacks on 9/11 may be stronger than ever…..

In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, the United States set out to destroy Al Qaeda. President George W. Bush vowed to “starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest.”

Seventeen years later, Al Qaeda may be stronger than ever. Far from vanquishing the extremist group and its associated “franchises,” critics say, U.S. policies in the Mideast appear to have encouraged its spread.

http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-al-qaeda-survive-20180910-story.html#

The attacks and the reaction to them have shaped U.S. policy for more than 15 years, leaving a nation that is far more vigilant and jittery about terrorism. Yet for all of the talk about 9/11, many elements of the attacks and the actions leading up to them have receded from the public memory. Here are 10 things you may have forgotten about 9/11:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/09/10/10-things-you-may-have-forgotten-911/90007376/

One last thought–since the attacks of 9/11 the War on Terror has cost the country $1.5 trillion (that is with a “T”).

The last photo taken to show the Towers…..taken on afternoon of 10Sep01

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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

Once Upon A Time In Tajikistan

Back in my foreign service days I was posted in Tajikistan and thanks to those days I still have friends in the country.  One of those friends sent me word about an incident in the country…..

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan shook the dust of Washington, DC, off their feet—and the jobs that had kept them there—a year ago in order to bike around the world. The 29-year-olds’ journey met a tragic end in Tajikistan on Sunday, with the Islamic State claiming credit for the bloody attack that took their lives. NPR reports the couple was biking in a group of seven south of the capital, Dushanbe, when a car drove into them. Attackers then descended on the group with knives, killing Austin, Geoghegan, a cyclist from the Netherlands, and another from Switzerland. The AP reports Tajik authorities made no mention of the ISIS angle but instead blamed the murders on the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan, a local group that was banned over an alleged coup plot.

The Washington Post reports that if ISIS is found to have played a role, it would be their “first deadly attack in former Soviet Central Asia.” The Post and NPR profile Austin—who had a master’s from Georgetown, worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and had built a 143-square-foot tiny home in DC—and Geoghegan, also a Georgetown grad who studied Spanish and Arabic and worked in the university’s admissions office. They left those lives behind and charted their adventures on their Simply Cycling blog, which tracked their journey throughout Africa, Europe, and central Asia. “Life is short and the world is big and we want to make the most out of our youth and good health before they’re gone,” they wrote. NPR has many more excerpts from their blog, including details of Austin’s final cliffhanger.

Tajik authorities have pointed additional fingers toward Iran…..

the Tajik Interior Ministry on July 31 accused the banned Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan (IRPT) of being behind an attack. The group denied the allegation as “baseless and irrational.”

The ministry also said that the attackers were led by an “active member” of the IRPT who “underwent training in Iran.”

The authorities offered no immediate proof of the claims.

(Radio Liberty)

The Iranian government has summoned the Tajik ambassador to Tehran to protest allegations linking Iran to an attack that killed four foreign cyclists in Tajikistan.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it summoned Ambassador Nematullo Emomzoda on August 1 to convey Iran’s “strong” protest over “false and unfounded” claims made by the Tajik government.

Why would the Tajik authorities want to implicate Iran?

The US Ambassador to Tajikistan, Ken Gross, announced on June 25 that the US plans to open a military training center in Tajikistan pending the signing of related agreements with the Tajik side.

The planned military center falls within the Pentagon’s $50 million security program for the Central Asian region as the US prepares to start its withdrawal from Afghanistan. The program seeks to bolster regional security by upgrading and building new security check-points, and training military personnel to combat drug-trafficking and terrorism (US Central Command press release, June 29; www.vesti.kz, June 28).

There you go……with our hostilities ramping up with Iran it is always good to have friends to help out, right?

Top Terrorist Attacks

Most people know that 9/11 and the attack in England a couple of years later were bad terrorist attacks……so I thought that since I do like me some history that I would look for the top terrorist attacks and put it in my post……

When World War I broke out in Europe in 1914, the American government officially stayed neutral, and while many in Washington and along the eastern seaboard harbored strong feelings for the United Kingdom, the U.S. government found it hard to convince the general American population of the war’s benefits, mostly due to the presence of a massive German population in the republic’s middle section (America’s first “silent minority,” the Germans encompassed roughly one-tenth of the entire population of the U.S. in 1914).

To make matters worse, the German government established the first terror cell in the United States in 1915, two years before the two countries would officially go to war with each other. The German terrorists were targeting munitions factories, horse farms, and railroads due to the fact that the United States, while officially neutral, was sending massive amounts of supplies to the British and French.

https://www.realclearhistory.com/articles/2018/07/05/top_10_terrorist_attacks_in_history_332.html

Terrorism has been a tactic for centuries….nothing new just the weapons employed to carry out the attacks.  History is full of terrorism….that is if one has the time to research the topic.

9/11–A Misplaced Lawsuit?

We all remember the attacks of 9/11 we would not be much of an American if we did not……a few of us remember the terrorists that pulled off the attack…..most were  Saudis with a Moroccan and something other.

In the past there were rumblings of Americans wanting to sue the Saudis because of the attacks….those rumblings have pretty much subsided…..

So when I read an article about the possibility of another lawsuit because of 9/11 I was surprised to see who the bad guy was for this lawsuit……

 A US federal judge in New York ordered Iran to pay billions of dollars in damages to families affected by 9/11, ABC news reported on Tuesday.

Judge George B Daniels found the country liable to more than 1,000 “parents, spouses, siblings and children” involved in the lawsuit. Daniels said the payment amounts to $12.5m per spouse, $8.5m per parent, $8.5m per child and $4.25m for each sibling, according to the ABC report.

The lawsuit claims that Iran provided technical assistance, training and planning to the al-Qaeda operatives that conducted the attacks.

However, the official investigation on the attacks, known as the 9/11 Commission Report, said that Iran did not play a direct role.

http://theantimedia.com/us-judge-orders-iran-pay-billions-9-11-families/

More reading on this subject……

https://www.globalresearch.ca/iran-accused-of-providing-support-to-911-al-qaeda-operatives-us-judge-orders-tehran-to-pay-billions-to-families-of-911-victims/5638790

Seriously?  I am in amazement at this turn…I ask why?  Who does this ruling benefit?  Most of the terrorists of 9/11 followed a strict form of Sunni Islam and Iran is Shia …..why would they help these people?  Will this exonerate the Saudis?  If so then I say that their PR program has paid off.

Where is the proof?  Let me guess Israel right?

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.

Closing Thought–19Mar18

You know that most people always say the “hindsight is 20/20″….any analysis can be targeted to the source but only after the event takes place…..well let’s look at the attacks on 9/11.

There has been a wealth of ink thrown at the public about the failures of the intel agencies and the FBI that allowed these men into the country and thus allowed them to carry out their despicable mission.

But did you know that in 1998 a commission was formed, the Hart-Rudman Commission, to study our national security….the findings were released in three parts…..the last part was issued February of 2001…..

A third set of recommendations focused on
reorganizing the executive branch of the US federal government for
post-Cold War operations. Much of the federal government still remains
in a Cold War configuration, Hart declared, with the State Department
and the National Security Agency not well equipped to deal with
terrorist threats. A fourth set of recommendations outlined a reform of
Congress.

The one part that did not make it into the news of the day….it dealt with our public service people……

The fifth set of recommendations from the Hart-Rudman commission examined breaking down the barriers to entry to public service.

“We concluded that the national security of
the United States was being undercut by the declining caliber and
quality of people entering public service—not only elected office but
appointed office, civil service, diplomatic corps and so forth,” Hart/20
declared.

https://www.ausa.org/sites/default/files/NSW-01-2-The-Commission-on-National-Security-21st-Century-A-Hart-Rudman-Commission-Primer.pdf

The point is that the Bush White House was warned about 9 months prior to the attacks of 9/11…..and they chose to ignore the recommendations….so it is not hindsight it was foresight that was 20/20 in this case.