Just Who Is Dead?

Recently the Russians claimed to have killed the ISIS leader al-Baghdadi….I wrote about the news piece ……

Source: Death Of A Bad Man – In Saner Thought

I bring this up because the US has issued a report that says they have killed the “Grand Mufti” religious leader of ISIS…..

US Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed today that the Islamic State’s Turki al-Bin’ali was killed in a May 31 airstrike in Mayadin, Syria.

Mayadin, which is in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, has become a hub for the so-called caliphate’s senior personnel. The US has targeted several high-profile figures in or near the city this year.

Source: CENTCOM Confirms Islamic State’s “Grand Mufti” Killed in Airstrike | RealClearDefense

Now this could be good news….but the US has killed “leaders” before…one guy in Afghanistan he was killed at least 3 separate times….

If true this could be good news…take out the radicalizing force of the group….but this does not eliminate the group….just one of the “soldiers”.

Since both were supposedly in Syria, around Raqqa, could one be mistaken for the other…..

Just who is dead at this point?

More news from the ISIS front…..

It seems that ISIS is admitting that they are doomed….one of their last acts of violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul was barbaric and unnecessary….

In what American commanders called a crime against the people of Iraq and the country’s prime minister called an admission of defeat, officials say ISIS fighters blew up Mosul’s most iconic mosque Wednesday night as government troops closed in. The Grand al-Nuri Mosque, more than 800 years old, was where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in 2014 during his only public appearance, the BBC reports. ISIS—whose fighters had been seen bringing explosives to the site, according to CNN—claimed the mosque in Mosul’s Old City had been destroyed by American aircraft, but US commanders swiftly denied the claim, saying there had been no strikes in the area.

Aerial photos showed little but rubble remaining at the mosque complex, where the black flag of ISIS had flown since 2014. The destruction of the mosque and its famous minaret “amounts to an official acknowledgement of defeat,” Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement. The Old City is the only part of Mosul still held by ISIS and commanders say the “final chapter” of the offensive to retake the city has begun. The Iraqi military says elite counterterrorism units had fought their way to within 170 feet of the mosque when it was destroyed, Reuters reports.

Why?  What purpose did this serve?

More thoughts on the destruction of this magnificent mosque…..

Source: In Apocalyptic Vandalism, ISIL blows up 800-year-old Nuri Mosque in Mosul | Informed Comment

Death Of A Bad Man

Word is spreading through the news organization that ISIS leader, al-Baghdadi, has been killed in a Russian airstrike…..I believe this is the 5th time he has either been injured or killed…..what we need is verification…..not speculation…

Russia’s claim to have killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an airstrike in Raqqa on May 28 should be taken with a heavy grain of salt. At the time in question, the U.S.-led Syrian Democratic Forces (S.D.F.) were only days away from launching their final assault on the city and there’s no logical reason imaginable why Baghdadi would have risked staying in a surrounded, sitting target. Notwithstanding justified doubts surrounding Baghdadi’s then presence in Raqqa, Russia’s statement also says its strike killed another 330 ISIS fighters – which is almost certainly an absurd claim.

Russia has a long track record of issuing fake claims and deliberate misinformation during its campaign in Syria. This recent statement also contradicts a claim by its Syrian partner, the Assad regime, to have killed Baghdadi themselves on June 10. Either Baghdadi has dozens of lives, or nobody really knows where he is.

Source: Russia’s Baghdadi Claim Needs Verification | Middle East Institute

Let us say that their claim is genuine…..what will that mean for the region?

Does that mean we may be winning the War on Terror?  I think not…there will be someone to step into the void.

The news of the possible death of the leader of the so-called Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, no doubt filled most people with a certain sense of relief. It’s not often the death of a human being elicits such an emotion but Baghdadi, most sane people can agree, barely makes the homo sapiens cut.

Nonetheless, our collective exhale may be premature. According to the Russian defence ministry, Baghdadi may have been caught by a Russian airstrike targeting a meeting of senior ISIS commanders south of Raqqa, the capital of the group’s self-declared caliphate, at the end of May. He was reportedly killed along with 30 other mid-level ISIS commanders and 300 fighters.

Source: Why the death of ISIS’s leader could spell trouble – Macleans.ca

You see if he is dead then he is one terrorist dead…there are many others waiting their turn.

Do not rejoice…..be vigilante…..

What’s Happening in the Persian Gulf?

The big news has been the terror attack in the UK and the events developing around the Trump Russia probe……but there is another happening that few are watching….

The debacle of Qatar…….

Early Monday morning, five Arab states—Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen—along with the Maldives, broke all diplomatic and physical ties with the Persian Gulf emirate of Qatar. All six countries say they are withdrawing their diplomats from Qatar within 48 hours and expect Qatari diplomats to reciprocate within the same time frame, and other Qatari nationals in those countries have two weeks to leave. Those countries have also cut all land, sea, and air contact with Qatar—meaning, among other things, that Qatar’s land border with Saudi Arabia is now closed, airlines from those six countries will no longer fly into Qatar, and Qatar Airways flights have been barred from their airspace.

Source: What’s Happening in the Persian Gulf « LobeLog

I find it interesting that this occurs just a few short days after a visit from Trump….this attempt to isolate Qatar from the rest of the Persian Gulf world…..but how will it effect Qatar?

The decision by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and other Arab nations to sever ties with Qatar on Monday reflects a long-standing dispute between Qatar and its regional neighbors. In fact, a similar fallout happened in 2014, but Monday’s events mark a “severe escalation” that could eventually alter the balance of power in the region, per an analysis at the BBC. Nations aren’t just pulling diplomats, they’re cutting off land, sea, and air travel, and Qatar relies heavily on imports for its survival. Here’s what’s happening:

  • Terror accusations: The official Saudi press accused Qatar of supporting “terrorist and sectarian groups” such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar denies supporting militant groups and says there’s no “legitimate justification” for the moves.
  • More broadly: “The feud—the most serious in decades among some the region’s most key Western allies—has been simmering for years as Qatar increasingly flexed its political muscle across the region, including backing the Muslim Brotherhood,” per the Washington Post. The Saudis also accuse Qatar of backing its arch-rival, Iran.
  • Bogus article? Two weeks ago, a Qatari news report quoted Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad as criticizing Saudi Arabia and praising Iran, among other things. Qatar later claimed its news websites had been hacked, but the article seems to have been a factor leading to Monday’s actions, reports the Atlantic.
  • Trump’s visit: Another factor could be President Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, notes the New York Times. Generally, analysts think the Saudis feel more emboldened under Trump, with one analyst saying the “moves reflected a ‘bullishness’ prompted by the Trump administration’s stances—on the confrontation with Iran and on a willingness to look the other way on human rights violations.”
  • US military: Qatar is home to the Al Udeid Air Base, where 11,000 US personnel are stationed and from which attacks on ISIS targets are launched, notes the AP. Trouble with the base could complicate US military strategy, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered to mediate.
  • Big shift? The base, however, may no longer be enough to keep Qatar in the US’ good graces, writes David Roberts at the BBC. Other Gulf states might offer to replace it. “The argument to President Trump may be compelling: with US help, Qatar might be persuaded to evict Hamas leadership from Doha and genuinely cut back on funding Islamist groups. It seems that the time of Qatar’s individualistic foreign policy may be up.”

It is our way or the highway…..but will that really work….will these actions harm Qatar and its economy?

Qatar is one of the smallest oil producers in OPEC, at 618,000 barrels per day, but condensate (light oil) and natural gas liquids — byproducts of its giant North Field — add about another 1.3 million barrels per day. It will stay in the OPEC production cuts deal, and even if it does not, its contribution is small. Its real power comes from being the world’s largest liquefied natural gas exporter.

Source: Qatar Still Has Many Friends in Energy Markets – Bloomberg

I fear that this incident could drive Qatar into the sphere of Iran…..and that could be a bigger problem in the making.

The US president did what he always does….he Tweeted!

On Monday, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Yemen, Bahrain, and Egypt cut all commercial and diplomatic ties with Qatar in order to isolate the country over its support for extremist groups, the New York Times reports. In a series of tweets Tuesday morning, President Trump took credit for that decision, saying that it was “so good to see” and that his recent visit to Saudi Arabia was “already paying off.” According to CNN, Qatar is an important US ally, and Trump hamstrung attempts by the Defense and State departments to remain neutral in the growing diplomatic crisis. Qatar is home to US Central Command forward headquarters, from which it launches airstrikes against the Islamic State. The Al Udeid military base is home to approximately 10,000 American troops.

Trump’s statements against Qatar broke not only with the US’ historically neutral stance in regards to such Gulf state conflicts, but with Trump himself. Less than a month ago, the president was complimentary toward Qatar and said the relationship between it and the US was “extremely good.” Spokespeople for the State and Defense departments quickly issued statements saying the US is “grateful” to Qatar for its support of the US military. And Sean Spicer said the “US still wants to see this issue de-escalated and resolved,” the BBC reports. Some Pentagon officials were reportedly shocked at Trump’s comments, and it’s possible Qatar will now make things more difficult for US military operations there. (For more on the isolation of Qatar and what it means for the Middle East, click here.)

With all the crap flowing freely…the US military still has good things to say about Qatar……

The Pentagon on Tuesday renewed praise of Qatar for hosting a vital U.S. air base and for its “enduring commitment to regional security,” sticking to a message of reassurance even as President Donald Trump, via Twitter, applauded a decision by Arab powers to cut ties to the Gulf ally.

It was the latest example of the tightrope that U.S. officials are walking as Trump’s tweets raise questions about existing U.S. policy and the carefully scripted talking points used to explain it.

In the case of Qatar, the stakes are high. More than 11,000 U.S. and coalition forces are deployed to or assigned to al Udeid Air Base, from which more than 100 aircraft operate.

Of those 11,000, nearly 1,000 work in a combined air operations center that helps oversee missions for campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the military says

Source: U.S. military praises Qatar, despite Trump tweet | Reuters

How will this end?

Would An Arab NATO Stabilize The Mideast?

A question that is being asked…I was one of the first to point out the absurdity of this idea…….to answer the question….NO it will not make the ME more stable.

Read my thoughts for yourself…….

Source: A Middle East NATO? – In Saner Thought

Source: New Plan–A Middle East NATO – In Saner Thought

During last week’s Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, President Donald Trump and Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud strongly condemned Iranian support for terrorist groups and militants throughout the Middle East.

“From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region,” Trump said. “Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.”

“The Iranian regime,” King Salman charged, “has spearheaded terrorism since [Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomenei’s revolution [of 1979].”

Source: Would an Arab NATO Help Stabilize the Mideast — or Inflame Iran? | The Cipher Brief

Funny that the Saudis are laying blame on the Iranians…..just ask how many of the 9/11 attackers were Saudis…..ask who exports the most extreme brand of Islam?

All that aside…..why do they need a new organization?

I ask this because there is already an Arab League with a charter and a provision to fight so-called terrorism……

Source: The Arab League Charter (Pact of the League of Arab States)

Now read Article 6 of the charter……it would do nicely with a bit of tweaking and this whole ME NATO would not be necessary.

Ask yourself who will benefit most out of this new organization?

This is an exercise in futility…..a waste of time, money and resources……

Someone needs to step up and point to the silliness of this new deal……but has anyone in the Trump admin have the balls to point all this out?

No way…they are all ball-less.

This whole thing was nothing more than theatrics….just an appearance of doing something without doing anything.

After only about a week of its formation the “Arab NATO” is falling apart…….

Six Arab nations cut diplomatic ties to Qatar early Monday, further deepening a rift among Gulf Arab nations over that country’s support for Islamist groups. Bahrain and Saudi Arabia first made the move, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya, reports the BBC. The nations were withdrawing their diplomatic staffs and cutting air and sea traffic to the peninsular country, per the AP. It wasn’t immediately clear how that would affect Qatar Airways, one of the region’s major long-haul carriers. Bahrain blamed Qatar’s “media incitement, support for armed terrorist activities and funding linked to Iranian groups to carry out sabotage and spreading chaos in Bahrain” for its decision. Other countries issued similar statements.

Qatar is home to the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, where the US military’s Central Command and some 10,000 American troops are based. It wasn’t clear if the decision would affect American military operations. Qatar has strongly denied it funds extremist groups, though it remains a key financial patron of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Western officials also have accused Qatar of allowing or even encouraging funding of Sunni extremists like al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

Further reading in this development…….

Source: In wake of Trump visit, Saudi-led Sunni bloc already splintering

Source: Gulf diplomatic crisis: Qatar’s reaction in full | Qatar News | Al Jazeera

Why is this happening?

Source: Qatar diplomatic crisis – what you need to know | World news | The Guardian

I believe the original question has been answered and it took less than a month for this idea to go to pieces….

I put this post in my drafts because I wanted to see if the news changed in a month or so…..proved to be a wise choice.

And the drama just keeps giving…….

The decision by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and other Arab nations to sever ties with Qatar on Monday reflects a long-standing dispute between Qatar and its regional neighbors. In fact, a similar fallout happened in 2014, but Monday’s events mark a “severe escalation” that could eventually alter the balance of power in the region, per an analysis at the BBC. Nations aren’t just pulling diplomats, they’re cutting off land, sea, and air travel, and Qatar relies heavily on imports for its survival. Here’s what’s happening:

  • Terror accusations: The official Saudi press accused Qatar of supporting “terrorist and sectarian groups” such as ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar denies supporting militant groups and says there’s no “legitimate justification” for the moves.
  • More broadly: “The feud—the most serious in decades among some the region’s most key Western allies—has been simmering for years as Qatar increasingly flexed its political muscle across the region, including backing the Muslim Brotherhood,” per the Washington Post. The Saudis also accuse Qatar of backing its arch-rival, Iran.
  • Bogus article? Two weeks ago, a Qatari news report quoted Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad as criticizing Saudi Arabia and praising Iran, among other things. Qatar later claimed its news websites had been hacked, but the article seems to have been a factor leading to Monday’s actions, reports the Atlantic.
  • Trump’s visit: Another factor could be President Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia, notes the New York Times. Generally, analysts think the Saudis feel more emboldened under Trump, with one analyst saying the “moves reflected a ‘bullishness’ prompted by the Trump administration’s stances—on the confrontation with Iran and on a willingness to look the other way on human rights violations.”
  • US military: Qatar is home to the Al Udeid Air Base, where 11,000 US personnel are stationed and from which attacks on ISIS targets are launched, notes the AP. Trouble with the base could complicate US military strategy, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered to mediate.
  • Big shift? The base, however, may no longer be enough to keep Qatar in the US’ good graces, writes David Roberts at the BBC. Other Gulf states might offer to replace it. “The argument to President Trump may be compelling: with US help, Qatar might be persuaded to evict Hamas leadership from Doha and genuinely cut back on funding Islamist groups. It seems that the time of Qatar’s individualistic foreign policy may be up.”

You can bet that Russia is watching this play out…..

The Middle East may be a lot of things…..but boring is NOT one of them!

Saudis Lead The Way

The President had a productive trip last week (according to his inner circle)…while in Saudi he opened up a new state of the art center for counter-terrorism….plus the US has handed the Saudis a blank check to get this done.

We are giving the Saudis the lead role in the region fighting the terrorists….. to me this is folly.

Why?  The Saudis are the leaders of Wahhabism which is what ISIS and AQ have fashioned their organizations around.

Wahabbism?

For more than two centuries, Wahhabism has been Saudi Arabia’s dominant faith. It is an austere form of Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Koran. Strict Wahhabis believe that all those who don’t practice their form of Islam are heathens and enemies. Critics say that Wahhabism’s rigidity has led it to misinterpret and distort Islam, pointing to extremists such as Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. Wahhabism’s explosive growth began in the 1970s when Saudi charities started funding Wahhabi schools (madrassas) and mosques from Islamabad to Culver City, California. Here are excerpts from FRONTLINE’s interviews with Mai Yamani, an anthropologist who studies Saudi society; Vali Nasr, an authority on Islamic fundamentalism; Maher Hathout, spokesperson for the Islamic Center of Southern California; and Ahmed Ali, a Shi’a Muslim from Saudi Arabia. (Also see the Links and Readings section of this site for more analyses of Wahhabism and Saudi Arabia.)

Source: Analyses – Wahhabism | PBS – Saudi Time Bomb? | FRONTLINE | PBS

One CANNOT understand ISIS and AQ unless they understand Saudi Arabia….

The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed — and horrified — by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia’s ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, “Don’t the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?”

It appears — even now — that Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite “fire” with Sunni “fire”; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da’ish’s strict Salafist ideology.

Source: You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia | HuffPost

For more info on this situation……

Source: Wahhabism, Extremist Islam – Origins and Doctrines

So let us take a look see……

We have handed a blank check to the very people that spawned the religious BS on ISIS and AQ….what part of that makes sense?

Even the American Conservative cannot see a way forward with this decision…….

Niall Ferguson thinks we have the ridiculous Saudi orb all wrong:

But what was that orb? The answer was: the official launch button for a new Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology in Riyadh. Not a single commentator considered for one second that this might be rather an important departure for the Saudi regime and potentially a real contribution to the campaign of “ideological warfare” that Trump proposed last year.

No one considered this because no one believes that there was any “real departure” on the Saudis’ part, and Trump’s goofy photo-op with the king didn’t change that. Imagine being credulous enough to accept at face value that a Saudi run center for “combating extremist ideology” is useful. At best, it is a show put on for appearances’ sake for the benefit of gullible Western audiences. The purpose of that show is to distract attention from the effects of actual Saudi policies in the surrounding region. It won’t come as a shock that Ferguson doesn’t talk about any of those policies or their effects.

Source: Expecting the Saudis to ‘Combat Extremist Ideology’ Is Folly | The American Conservative

Most of the attackers on 9/11 were Saudis….the Saudis practice an extreme form of Islam, the same brand as ISIS and AQ and yet Trump wants the world to believe that they will take on the extremists and win.

You people are high!

Whose idea was this half ass plan?

We really need to find people that have an idea about the region and stop depending on morons that get paid by lobbyist to make our decisions.

This whole exercise is a waste of time and money.

On a side note:  Speaking of the Saudis…..sucks being this guy!

Source: Egypt: SAUDI PRINCE LOSES $350 MILLIONS AND 5 OF HIS WIVES IN 6 HOURS AT THE CASINO – The Muslim Times

Maybe no would be a good time for a Royal intervention….at least whack his pee pee for being an idiot.

ISIS: The Beginning Of The End?

We hear of the demise of ISIS often.

With every success it has been billed as the beginning of the end of the barbarous ISIS…..all that is just ducky but what will the Middle East, especially Syria, look like if and when end arrives?

A few thoughts from the region……

With a new American administration in place an idea has begun to crystallize in the war against ISIS.

This idea is not limited to deploying helicopters and artillery in Raqqa and Mosul and empowering the presence of special forces but also includes forming a US-Gulf front that contributes to fighting ISIS on condition that the areas liberated from ISIS are not occupied by Iran or militias affiliated with it.

This is the major point concluded by the Moscow document and the US Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ visit to the Gulf and Iraq. So there’s a US-Russian-Turkish-Gulf agreement to end the Iranian expansion in Arab capitals. We must be clear regarding this point if the world wants our cooperation to eliminate ISIS.

Source: Iraq and Syria, post ISIS – Al Arabiya English

The above piece is dated so keep that in mind…….

…..the United States deepened its involvement in the Syrian Civil War in ways that may only gradually become apparent. In targeting a convoy that Secretary of Defense James Mattis said included Iran-backed militiamen as well as Syrian regime forces, the U.S. apparently, for the first time since the conflict began six years ago, attacked foreign fighters allied to the Syrian government. The same incident also represented the second time the U.S. military has deliberately targeted Assad’s own forces, which the Trump administration struck last month in retaliation for the Syrian government using chemical weapons against civilians. Under Barack Obama, U.S. military operations in Syria were directed at ISIS and al-Qaeda affiliates. Now two additional factions in the multifaceted civil war are in America’s crosshairs.

Source: The Scramble for Post-ISIS Syria Has Officially Begun

Please keep in mind that the US does not have a plan for post-ISIS Syria/Iraq…….the plans all along have been to defeat ISIS and that is the extent of the plans…..I am sure that some corporations see a money making opportunity in the defeat but they have not shared what they will do for the region.

But more over we cannot understand the things that ISIS is doing without understanding Wahhabism of Saudi Arabia…..

The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed — and horrified — by its violence and its evident magnetism for Sunni youth. But more than this, they find Saudi Arabia’s ambivalence in the face of this manifestation both troubling and inexplicable, wondering, “Don’t the Saudis understand that ISIS threatens them, too?”

It appears — even now — that Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite is divided. Some applaud that ISIS is fighting Iranian Shiite “fire” with Sunni “fire”; that a new Sunni state is taking shape at the very heart of what they regard as a historical Sunni patrimony; and they are drawn by Da’ish’s strict Salafist ideology.

Source: You Can’t Understand ISIS If You Don’t Know the History of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia | HuffPost

What is that old war adage?  “Know your enemy”….that is great advice maybe we should heed it……our hubris has not allow us to “know our enemy”….Vietnam is the perfect example…..and we are repeating the mistakes once again…..

Einstein was right!

A Return To The “War On Terror”

Terrorism returns to the headlines…..the recent attack in Manchester, England….will be interesting to see how this plays out in the media….and even more interesting to see how the Right wing slander blogs handle the attack.

After 16 years of the War on Terror the question could be asked…..is this war actually accomplishing anything….but making lobbyists wealthy?

If insanity is doing the same thing over and over in the expectation of a different result, then our foreign policy surely qualifies as madness. Since 2001, in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks, the United States has been in a state of constant warfare: the Afghan conflict has been ongoing since that time, the longest sustained combat in our history. From Iraq to Syria to Somalia and beyond, US forces and their proxies are engaged in a “war on terrorism” that shows no signs of slowing down, only expanding.

And where has it gotten us?

Source: The ‘War On Terrorism’ Isn’t Working by — Antiwar.com

Terrorism has been a tactic for thousands of years…however it became forefront about 45 years ago…..

From 1970-2015: 4,724 people died from bombings. 2,588 from assassinations. 2,365 from assaults. 548 from hostage situations. 159 from hijackings. 114 from building attacks. Thousands wounded or missing.

Source: 45 years of terrorist attacks in Europe, visualized – Washington Post

The question remains…..is this fight winnable?

MY opinion is NO it cannot.  Because terrorism is a tactic not an entity….one cannot kill an idea only the man who uses it.