Will ISIS Rest In Peace?

Just yesterday our beloved Supreme Leader issued a proclamation that ISIS will be gone in 24 hours……

ISIS is down to its last scrap of territory and it will be “gone by tonight,” President Trump declared Wednesday, showing reporters at the White House two maps of Syria and Iraq. “I brought this out for you—this is a map of everything in the red, this was on election night, in 2016, everything red is ISIS,” he said, pointing to a map with large areas in red. Pointing to a second map, he said: “When I took it over it was a mess, now on the bottom it’s the exact same. There is no red,” he said, ABC reports. “In fact there is a tiny spot which will be gone by tonight.” At a tank factory in Ohio later in the day, Trump brought the maps out again, saying the “caliphate is gone as of tonight,” the AP reports.

Trump has announced the imminent defeat of ISIS before, but the battle for the tiny enclave of Baghouz has dragged on for weeks longer than expected. Authorities say the offensive was slowed down when an unexpectedly large number of civilians fled the village—up to 30,000, most of them believed to be the families of militants. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have now taken control of the village, though some fighters are still believed to be holed up with women and children in a sliver of land by a river. With that area still controlled by ISIS, “it would be weird to expect an announcement in the next day,” an SDF official tells the New York Times.

Since most Americans have the info retention of a goldfish maybe I should refresh some memories……

 

ISIL began as an offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which in 2006 became known as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). The movement, led by key al-Qaeda figures, played a major role in driving the sectarian conflict that followed the US invasion in 2003.

ISI carried out deadly attacks in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, during this period, targeting Western-allied tribal leaders and US army posts before eventually being pushed out.

Undeterred, it soon pitched up in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which it then used as a hub to continue its attacks.

In 2010, the group’s current leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named ISI chief. Two years later, he mandated ISI affiliates to set up an offshoot in Syria – a country that had been forced to contend with its own civil war.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/anatomy-caliphate-rise-fall-isil-190320140536453.html

There has been lots written here in the West about Islamic Extremism….but just what does that entail?


The Islamist worldview is in direct opposition to contemporary Western ideas about government, society, and the role of religion in everyday life.  Despite this opposition, or possibly because of it, the Islamist movement is gaining popularity around the globe.  The apparent failure of Western ideologies, unequal distribution of wealth for natural resources exacerbated by globalization, and on-going conflict between Israelis and Palestinians have contributed to Muslim masses to seeking solutions from more traditionally-minded leaders who promise a return to Islamic Golden Ages via rejection of secularism in favor of Islamic fundamentalist ideologies.  This, however, sets many on a path of conflict with the West.  Examples of radical Islamist organizations abound: Al Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, ISIS, and Hezbollah.  Such organizations fill Western minds, as well as Middle Eastern governments, with great concern if not outright fear, but what exactly is an Islamist worldview?  Does it inherently include violence?  What are its origins and targets of critique?  How has it evolved in the twentieth century and why do its tenants appeal to so many in the Muslim world today?  This article will briefly look at each of these questions in order to provide a perspective on contemporary Islamism and facilitate a better understanding of the phenomenon as a whole, thus providing some insight into the recent wave of unrest across the Middle East.  Ultimately, Islamism is a unique and diverse collection of ideologies and doctrines that range from the progressive to the radical.  It is my assessment that one must not make the mistake of lumping all Islamist ideologies, movements, and organizations into a singularly narrow, one size fits all category, nor should one automatically consider Islamism a threat in the Muslim world or beyond.  Rather, Islamism is simply another ideological option that must be weighed in terms of its effectiveness and appeal, while recognizing that there is a potential for extremism similar to that manifested in other secular and sacred movements.  Because of this, it is imperative for Western nations to open lines of communication with leaders of the protest groups and insurgents in such places as Libya, Yemen, and Bahrain in order to develop an understanding of their motivations, ideologies, and their goals for the Middle East.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/overview-islamic-fundamentalism-primer-understanding-extremist-islam

Now that I have filled in as many blanks as I could the question remains…..Is The Islamic State defeated?


President Trump has insisted in recent months that the United States has defeated the Islamic State. “We just took over 100 percent caliphate,” he told reporters on Feb. 28. “That means the area of the land. We have 100 percent.” He has made similar claims for months, tweeting in December, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria.” Others, including senior government officials, have disagreed with this characterization. In January, former presidential special envoy for the Counter-ISIS Coalition Brett McGurk said that “ISIS is not defeated” and that the administration’s new policy of reducing U.S. troop presence in Syria would give the group “new life.” Citing the terrorist attacks committed in the Islamic State’s name, most analysts argue that the group has not been entirely eliminated and cannot be considered defeated.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/islamic-state-defeated

It, ISIS, will rear its ugly head again…….and there is thoughts on that as well…….http://iswresearch.blogspot.com/2018/10/isiss-second-resurgence.html

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Waiting For ISIS To Die

The barbarous group known as ISIS is cornered in a small village in Eastern Syria…..they are being pounded by the Kurds and the SDF and yet they hang on to life and fight back viciously….

As we sit and wait for ISIS to die there are a few thoughts that we need to consider…..

The U.S.-allied Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched an operation March 1 backed by U.S. artillery and air support in an effort to defeat the remnant core fighters of the Islamic State in the last sliver of the militant group’s self-declared “caliphate,” the term it used to describe the territory in Syria and Iraq it conquered and governed under its austere interpretation of Sharia. With the destruction of the so-called caliphate imminent, many have begun to wonder if the jihadist group could ever recover. But this is the wrong question. Instead of asking whether the Islamic State core can recover as many — including Stratfor — did when the group was on the ropes in Iraq in 2010, the proper question is whether the Islamic State core will be permitted to recover again. The difference between these two questions is subtle, but vitally important

 
The West has fought this extremism but is it possible we may have gotten somethings wrong?
 
The ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis has become fashionably outdated but still shapes the way we understand the connection between Islam, terrorism and the Middle East.  In 2019, it is time to ‘forget the Middle East’ and change the way we perceive Islam.  Vera Mironova, in ‘The New Face of Terrorism’, claims that the way Westerners think about ‘Islamist terrorism has grown dangerously outdated’, and the terrorist attacks at Western targets have been increasingly coming from militants of the former Soviet Union, not the Middle East. Following on these insights, I argue that it is time not only to ‘forget the Middle East’ but also stop essentializing Islam in the Middle East.
 
 
They, ISIS, may be suffering staggering losses in Syria and could possibly be defeated (not destroyed) but they will raise their ugly head once again in Southeast Asia….
 

Across the islands of the southern Philippines, the black flag of the Islamic State is flying over what the group considers its East Asia province.

Men in the jungle, two oceans away from the arid birthplace of the Islamic State, are taking the terrorist brand name into new battles.

As worshipers gathered in January for Sunday Mass at a Catholic cathedral, two bombs ripped through the church compound, killing 23 people. The Islamic State claimed a pair of its suicide bombers had caused the carnage.

The lesson we should learn is one that is being overlooked with all the glad handing for victory…..we cannot defeat an idea and ISIS will rise again to continue their push for extremism…..

Why Not Paraguay?

The big news on the world stage is the mash up the US is having with Venezuela……there are many reasons but oil is probably the only reason.

First, let me ask…..are we still fighting a War on Terror? Is the money trail of the terror groups still one of the prongs of that war?

If so then why are we not paying closer attention to Paraguay?

Paraguay?

The U.S. Department of Justice last year designated Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party and militant group, as a transnational criminal organization, thanks to its long-standing and well-documented partnership with Latin American drug cartels. A focal point of Hezbollah operations in the Western Hemisphere is the Tri-Border Area of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, a sanctuary for all sorts of organized crime. Numerous terrorism financing, money laundering, and drug trafficking cases in U.S. courts involve Hezbollah-aligned Lebanese nationals who operate there. Argentina and Brazil have shown an increased readiness to take action against Hezbollah, but Paraguay, the country where Hezbollah is most vulnerable to action, is the most reluctant to recognize the challenge.

Paraguay’s president, Mario Abdo Benítez, in power since last August, is under pressure to change that. Despite a promising start, his administration remains plagued by the same problems his predecessors could not overcome, and a reckoning is coming. This year, the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental organization, will evaluate Paraguay to assess the effectiveness of Asunción’s anti-money laundering and counterterrorism finance systems, for which the task force sets global standards. Countries that do not measure up, such as Iran and North Korea, have to contend with cumbersome restrictions that inhibit trade and investment.

https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2019/02/14/paraguay-is-a-fiscal-paradise-for-terrorists/

This is a good thing…..the country is trying to break its association with terror groups……why is the US not more involved in this situation? (well not known to the public)

The president of Paraguay is doing what DC wants so he is in good standings…..as opposed to Venezuela.

Bin Laden Makes News (Again)

We all remember the name of the bastard that lead the attacks on 9/11…Osama bin Laden…..now that he is dead we should be free of the name right?

NO!

His son is making a name for himself…..Hamza bin Laden…..and the US is offering a reward for information on his location…..a million bucks….kinda low for info on a known terrorist…..

“Submit a tip, get paid,” reads the tweet from the State Department’s Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program. In this case, the US is looking for a big tip—and offering a handsome reward: The US announced it will pay up to $1 million for information leading to Hamza bin Laden, the 30-year-old son of Osama. The State Department describes him as an emerging al-Qaeda leader who has issued audio and video threats against the US and Western nations loyal to it in revenge for his father’s death. The BBC reports that letters found in the compound where Osama was killed in 2011 indicated Hamza was the son he was grooming to take over for him. He was added to the US’ Specially Designated Global Terrorist list in 2017, and he has another familial terror tie: Relatives in 2018 said he had married the daughter of Mohamed Atta, the eldest of the 9/11 hijackers.


As for his general whereabouts, “We do believe he’s probably in the Afghan-Pakistan border [region] and… he’ll cross into Iran. But he could be anywhere though in … south central Asia,” said Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Michael Evanoff. NBC News reports the UN took action against Hamza as well on Thursday: Member states are required to freeze his assets and adhere to a travel ban and arms embargo against him. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia has made its own move against the young bin Laden: Per the kingdom’s interior ministry, his citizenship there has been taken away, the Independent reports. The Washington Post notes that the revocation actually occurred by royal decree in November; it’s not clear why it’s coming to light only now.

Hamza’s luck is running out……but is he truly a threat or are we just trying to eliminate a problem before it becomes one?

The American War on Terror

And it is has been raging for 18 years……18 years in case you missed it……let’s look shall we?

In September 2001, the Bush administration launched the “Global War on Terror.” Though “global” has long since been dropped from the name, as it turns out, they weren’t kidding.

 

When I first set out to map all the places in the world where the United States is still fighting terrorism so many years later, I didn’t think it would be that hard to do. This was before the 2017 incident in Niger in which four American soldiers were killed on a counterterror mission and Americans were given an inkling of how far-reaching the war on terrorism might really be. I imagined a map that would highlight Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Syria—the places many Americans automatically think of in association with the war on terror—as well as perhaps a dozen less-noticed countries like the Philippines and Somalia. I had no idea that I was embarking on a research odyssey that would, in its second annual update, map U.S. counterterror missions in 80 countries in 2017 and 2018, or 40% of the nations on this planet (a map first featured in Smithsonian magazine).

As co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, I’m all too aware of the costs that accompany such a sprawling overseas presence. Our project’s research shows that, since 2001, the U.S. war on terror has resulted in the loss—conservatively estimated—of almost half a million lives in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan alone. By the end of 2019, we also estimate that Washington’s global war will cost American taxpayers no less than $5.9 trillion already spent and in commitments to caring for veterans of the war throughout their lifetimes.

In general, the American public has largely ignored these post-9/11 wars and their costs. But the vastness of Washington’s counterterror activities suggests, now more than ever, that it’s time to pay attention. Recently, the Trump administration has been talking of withdrawing from Syria and negotiating peace with the Taliban in Afghanistan. Yet, unbeknownst to many Americans, the war on terror reaches far beyond such lands and under Trump is actually ramping up in a number of places. That our counterterror missions are so extensive and their costs so staggeringly high should prompt Americans to demand answers to a few obvious and urgent questions: Is this global war truly making Americans safer? Is it reducing violence against civilians in the U.S. and other places? If, as I believe, the answer to both those questions is no, then isn’t there a more effective way to accomplish such goals?

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/02/19/mapping-american-war-terror

The president tells the nation that ISIS has been defeated…..(not likely)…..but if it is totally defeated why do we need 400 troops to remain in Syria?

President Trump has continued to back away from his announced total US withdrawal from Syria this week, with administration officials on Thursday and Friday confirming that they now intend to keep 400 troops in Syria indefinitely after the pullout.

The US is estimated to have 2,000 troops in Syria presently, which Trump announced were all being withdrawn, as of late last year. On Thursday, officials indicated that 200 troops will stay to be part of an international stabilization force.

(antiwar.com)

Measuring the success against ISIS……

Over the past four years the United States and its partners have labored mightily to remove ISIS “Core” from its self-declared Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, sever the global organization’s connection to its branches, and disrupt its propaganda and recruitment capabilities, but the number of ISIS-affiliated groups has grown and emerged in new places.  In this global fight, we continue to assess progress against ISIS and its branches and networks using maps that show territory physically taken, fighters killed, locations of enemy and friendly forces, and we count numbers of IDPs in camps or returned to their homes.  We attempt to identify jihadist leaders and their locations so they can be detained or targeted.  This information tells us very little about the underlying political and social competition or the longer-term prospects of our partners for sustainably defeating ISIS.  As history has taught us, quantitative assessment of an insurgent or violent extremist enemy’s strength versus our own only provides a fleeting, surface-level snapshot of current conditions. 

In order to make a clear case that the aggregate efforts of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS (or Daesh as they are called in some countries) are showing progress towards “defeating” ISIS, we must understand the nature of this movement as a competition between its local jihadist groups and existing government leaders and institutions, at all levels, for the allegiance or submission of the population.  In other words, we must address it for what it is: a networked global insurgency.  ISIS branches and affiliates are competing for control over populations in vulnerable communities around the world, using the physical and ideological potency of the global network to strengthen itself.  Understanding this competition is central to the ability of the US and its allies to select the appropriate tools to assist legitimate local leaders to achieve and sustain strategic success against ISIS.    

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/measuring-strategic-progress-against-isis

The US is focusing on making sure that terrorism of ISIS/AQ is not exported…….but the sunni jihad which ISIS is part of is not thinking the same as the US war planners…….

For decades, Sunni jihadism has been characterized by transnational terrorism, suicide bombing, and excommunication. These three pillars not only attracted the ire of American and European governments, but turned off many of the jihadists’ target constituents, namely Sunnis living in the Muslim world. Yet there are signs that Sunni extremists are changing their ways, drifting away from the global agenda that reached its apotheosis in al-Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Center, and toward a hyperlocal one.

The transformation is happening in various countries, including Afghanistan, Yemen, and Mali. Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Syria, provides an illustrative example of how the jihadist threat is changing across the region.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/sunni-jihad-turns-away-transnational-terrorism/582745/

The “jihad” is changing direction will the US and its allies do the same?

My prediction is NO! The establishment is to set in their ways to change directions and that will be a dangerous precedent for them to pursue.

A side note–A famous name has made the “Most Wanted List”…..bin Laden…..(thought he was dead? Well, his son is now come of age and the US wants to remove him before he can consolidate power)…..

“Submit a tip, get paid,” reads the tweet from the State Department’s Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program. In this case, the US is looking for a big tip—and offering a handsome reward: The US announced it will pay up to $1 million for information leading to Hamza bin Laden, the 30-year-old son of Osama. The State Department describes him as an emerging al-Qaeda leader who has issued audio and video threats against the US and Western nations loyal to it in revenge for his father’s death. The BBC reports that letters found in the compound where Osama was killed in 2011 indicated Hamza was the son he was grooming to take over for him. He was added to the US’ Specially Designated Global Terrorist list in 2017, and he has another familial terror tie: Relatives in 2018 said he had married the daughter of Mohamed Atta, the eldest of the 9/11 hijackers.


As for his general whereabouts, “We do believe he’s probably in the Afghan-Pakistan border [region] and… he’ll cross into Iran. But he could be anywhere though in … south central Asia,” said Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Michael Evanoff. NBC News reports the UN took action against Hamza as well on Thursday: Member states are required to freeze his assets and adhere to a travel ban and arms embargo against him. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia has made its own move against the young bin Laden: Per the kingdom’s interior ministry, his citizenship there has been taken away, the Independent reports. The Washington Post notes that the revocation actually occurred by royal decree in November; it’s not clear why it’s coming to light only now.

One million? Daddy was worth $25 million…..is he really a threat or is this just a form of intimidation?

Was Osama Right?

****Please this is only a post of an opinion of several people….it is posted here as an engine for thought and conversation….I by NO means am implying anything other than a source for discussion****

Back in the 70s when there were numerous terrorist attacks there was an argument the “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter”….this is a paper from a grad student…..

The ‘One man’s terrorist…’-cliché challenges the notion that ‘terrorism’ and ‘freedom fighting’ are mutually exclusive concepts where the former is always illegitimate. “The question of who is a terrorist,” writes Ganor (2002:287), “depends entirely on the subjective outlook of the definer.” By definition, the slogan will almost hold true by definition, if taken to its logical extremes. After all, it only takes ‘one man’ to consider the act freedom fighting for it to become such – and this ‘man’ can very well be the terrorist him or herself. The power of the slogan thus derives from its implicit invitation to assess a terrorist act from the perspective of the terrorist; emphasising the importance of critically reflecting on what factors influenced the choice of resorting to terrorism. But this subordinates a means or tactic – terrorism – to an end or strategic goal – fighting for freedom. As such, the slogan implicitly holds (paradoxically) that ‘terrorism’ is inherently bad while ‘freedom fighting’ is good, and that labelling an act freedom fighting precludes it from also being viewed as terrorism.

https://www.e-ir.info/2018/11/29/is-one-mans-terrorist-another-mans-freedom-fighter/

Interesting right?

Discuss.

Now Osama…we all know him as the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and was later killed by SEALs for his “crimes”.

Now think about something…..what if Osama had legit gripes?

You’re not supposed to utter these words, but what the heck: Osama bin Laden had a point. No, his grievances, as well as those of his followers and sympathizers, didn’t excuse the mass murder of 9/11—not by a long shot. After all, I am a native New Yorker whose family and neighborhood were directly touched by the horror of those inexcusable attacks. Still, more than 17 years after the attacks on the Pentagon and twin towers, it’s worth reflecting on bin Laden’s motives and discussing the stark fact that the United States government has made no moves to address his gripes.

Now is as good a time as any. The U.S. military remains mired in wars across the Greater Middle East that have now entered their 18th year. The cost: $5.9 trillion, 7,000 dead American soldiers, at least 480,000 locals killed and 21 million refugees created. The outcome: more instability, more violence, more global terror attacks and a U.S. reputation ruined for at least a generation in the Islamic world.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/assessing-osama-bin-ladens-legitimate-grievances-17-years-on/

An interesting thought, right?

Again…..Discuss!

NOTE:  Once again I offer these for discussion not that it is an approval by IST….

Learn Stuff!

After some thought I feel that I will get little discussion for most know this person from biased news reports.  But I still would like to see what others think.

That War on Terror

9/11 was the start of a long war on terror.  I have written many articles on this “war” (archives will get you to them all)…and in all those posts I have tried to point out one thing…

The War on Terror is a war on a tactic not an entity……and as such needs a new approach…..

But first, this war on a tactic…..

The United States is engaged in an unusual global war, fighting a tactic rather than an enemy nation. Unlike traditional warfare, it is possible that this war between the US and terrorist networks will not produce a clear winner. The US and its allies have been involved in military engagements over the past decade and a half, costing the US taxpayer an estimated $1.5 to $5.6 trillion dollars. The longer the US remains embroiled in this armed conflict, the less likely it is that such a war ends favorably from an American perspective. While US defense strategy will need to include counter-terrorism efforts for decades to come, it is time to end the war by beginning to reframe the narrative behind the Global War on Terror (GWOT).

In the context of the GWOT, terrorism refers most frequently to random attacks on civilians by groups who seek to conduct religious war against the United States. In using these terrorist tactics, these groups specifically intend to sow widespread fear. Recent polls show that a growing number of Americans feel “less safe” than they did before 9/11.

https://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/stop-fighting-war-against-tactic

Every country is trying to fight this GWOT the same way….traditional, even Napoleonic tactics, this will not win this so-called war…..

This is an excellent paper written by a grad student in International Relations…..

Confronting new threats requires new thinking. Anachronistic understandings of security primarily arise from ideological suppositions that not only continue to frustrate prudent policy but also create increased insecurity. State failures, and the geopolitical disorder that followed, were born out of policies generated by reified thinking as to what constitutes material threats in a world order transfigured by the end of the Cold War. Yet Cold War thinking remains the guiding principle when approaching contemporary threats to state and international security alike (Jacob, 2017, xviii). Interrogating ideology—a category that begs attention in international relations—helps account for counterproductive security practices. An examination of Cold War theories, global “war on terror” practices, and the passé interplay between the two illuminates the ideological and structural checks that vex geopolitical order in this new century.

https://www.e-ir.info/2018/10/18/cold-war-theories-war-on-terror-practices/

The chance of a terror attack as not been lessen if anything it has made more likely.

So is the ‘war’ a waste of money?

Thoughts?