I remember after the 9/11 attacks and the beginning of the War on Terror…..do you?
The question was posed….are we better off today than we were in 2001?
$6 trillion (that is trillion with a “T”) and the answer in most quarters is ….NO!
After all these years…the ordinances used and the people lost and we are not any better off?
But the M-IC is pushing hard to keep troops around the world as a deterrent to terrorism….is it really worth the cost….in lives and equipment?
The national security establishment is pushing against the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan by President Trump following almost two decades of combat. Even Republicans are warning Trump that he is repeating one of the foreign policy mistakes of Barack Obama.
One of the most astonishing recent arguments against a withdrawal from Afghanistan was made by former national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who said that terrorist groups that “pose a threat to us are stronger now” than they were before 9/11. He said the United States faces Al Qaeda and Islamic State alumni who are “orders of magnitude greater” than before and who “have access to much more destructive capabilities.”
How are we worse off than 2001? According to the Watson Institute, the war on terror has cost the United States over $6 trillion, 800,000 people have died as a direct result of the violence of these conflicts, and nearly 38 million people have been displaced or made refugees. According to the Washington Post, some 775,000 American forces have been sent to Afghanistan since 2001, and more than 2,000 of them died.
The United States poured billions of dollars into reconstruction projects in Iraq and Afghanistan under the notion that economic development would check the growth of terrorism. Yet after all this blood and treasure, one of the most senior American officials and a former combat general in the war on terror says Al Qaeda is stronger than it was before 9/11.
These days with the news fixated on the pandemic and then those protests it has all but forgotten about the danger of ISIS….and sadly there will be a second wave of their ascendance…….
ISIS has been beaten but not defeated….they still lurk in the shadows waiting……waiting for the next wave to begin.
Today, Islamic State barely exists in Iraq and Syria, its leader is dead and its recruits are scattered, languishing in jail or hunted throughout the Middle East and Europe.
But the threat of ISIS and of extremism has not gone away. Both on the battlefield of ideas and on the real battlefield, a second wave is certainly coming.
That wave will crash first across West Africa, where clashes between militant groups and national armies are taking place in every country of the Sahel region. The coalition has recognized this; only last month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo singled out ISIS attacks in West Africa and said the United States was seeking a global fund of $700 million to continue the fight against ISIS in 2020.
Keep in mind….ISIS maybe be out of sight….but they are far from gone the way of the dodo……
It is only a matter of time before they return to the world stage.
Now the big question will be….Will we be ready for the return?
America’s intelligence agencies risk slipping back into dangerous pre-9/11 habits, a recently departed top counterterrorism official is warning in his first public remarks on the matter.
Russell Travers, former head of the U.S. government’s hub for analysis of counterterrorism intelligence, was so alarmed that he shared his concerns with the intelligence community’s top internal watchdog in his final weeks on the job.
“I think there are really important questions that need to be addressed, and I don’t think they have been thus far,” said Travers, who ran the National Counterterrorism Center until March of this year. “And that has me worried, because I do think we could very easily end up back where we were 20 years ago.”
Travers detailed his concerns, much of which remain highly classified, to the intelligence community’s inspector general. About a week later, he was summarily ousted, he says — and the Trump administration official who fired him didn’t explain why.
Protests….Racism…..Pandemic…..all of the top stories from the MSM in the last couple of months…..even though they are out of mind of the media by no means they are gone….defeated….or any other term one would care to employ.
To illustrate this is the testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security…..
Thomas JoscelynJune 24, 2020Foundation for Defense of Democracies3www.fdd.org•Al-Qaeda has survived the post-9/11 wars and America’s counterterrorism campaign. The group’s base has spread from South Asia into multiple other countries. Several organizations, often described as al-Qaeda “affiliates,” serve as regional branches. These branches are each led by an emir who swears his allegiance to the head of al-Qaeda. Since Osama bin Laden’s death in May 2011, that leader has been Ayman al-Zawahiri. The official al-Qaeda branches are: al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent,and al-Shabaab in Somalia. To thislist we can add the “Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims” (Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin, or JNIM), a wing of AQIM.Hurras al-Din in Syria is also part of al-Qaeda’s network, as are other groups based in Idlib. But al-Qaeda’s chain-of-command in Syria has been upset by a number of internal rivalries, power struggles,and arguments over jihadist strategy.2In addition, al-Qaeda works through other groups that are not official al-Qaeda branches but are nonetheless part of its web. Such groups includethe Pakistani Taliban.Still other jihadist organizations are closely allied with al-Qaeda.•ISIS and al-Qaeda remain locked in a competition for the fealty of jihadists around the globe. Much of this competition will take place at the local level, but international terrorism could play a role in the rivalry, as these groupslook to outbid one another for the affection of would-be jihadists. While there may be some cooperation between individual commanders, the two mother organizations are at odds. ISIS has developed an institutional hatred for al-Qaeda. In some areas, such as Iraq, ISIS is definitively stronger. In other areas, such as Somalia and Yemen, al-Qaeda has the upper hand. In West Africa, the two are currently close in strength, though that can change. Any assessment of relative strength in Syria is difficult due to al-Qaeda’s management problems and other factors. And an assessment of their relative positions in Afghanistan is complicated by the fact that al-Qaeda and affiliated groups areembedded within the Taliban-led insurgency. Al-Qaeda has deliberately sought to mask the extent of its operations in Afghanistan.
Now this is a report issued by the Dept. of State……
My point is that these groups are not so much in the news these days….but they by NO means have disappeared……
Both reports are worth the read if you think that terrorism is not so much a problem these days…..
The Cricket player that became the prime minister of Pakistan has had his moments but his latest statements are doing nothing to improve the views about Pakistan…..
Pakistani opposition parties criticized Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday after he told parliament that al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been “martyred” in 2011 by U.S. forces.
Bin Laden, who masterminded the 9/11 attacks on the United States, was killed in a raid on his hideout in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad after eluding detection for nearly 10 years.
Pakistan was not aware of the operation, which involved U.S. helicopters flying deep into the country from Afghanistan.
“I will never forget how we Pakistanis were embarrassed when the Americans came into Abbottabad and killed Osama bin Laden, martyred him,” Khan said in his speech while recounting the lows of the relationship between Islamabad and Washington.
“Pakistan continued to serve as a safe haven for certain regionally focused terrorist groups,” State notes in its opening paragraph on Pakistan. “It allowed groups targeting Afghanistan, including the Afghan Taliban and affiliated HQN [Haqqani Network], as well as groups targeting India, including LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawa] and its affiliated front organizations, and JeM [Jaish-e-Mohammad], to operate from its territory.”
The newest report shows that Pakistan is doing little to help with counter-terrorism…..
Washington’s annual terrorism report said Pakistan was doing too little to counter terrorist groups, particularly those taking aim at rival India and the dreaded Haqqani network operating in Afghanistan.
Islamabad bristled at the criticism in the U.S. State Department report, saying it has been relentless in its assistance to Washington as the United States brokered a peace deal with the Taliban, which it signed in February. At the time, the deal was touted as Afghanistan’s best chance in four decades of finding a lasting peace.
Amir Rana, executive director of the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, which tracks militant groups, said Friday the report is a warning to Pakistan that it needs to do more to target terrorist financing and dismantle terrorist networks if it wants to avoid being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog based in Paris.
The Sahel? That is Africa in case you were dashing for the Google button.
For years now the US has been in the region assisting local governments in their efforts to fight the specter of growing terrorism.
What got me thinking about our involvement in the Sahel was the announcement of a special envoy….
The United States has created a special envoy for Africa’s Sahel region, a State Department spokesman said on Friday, to counter rising violence from groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State which are expanding their foothold.
Envoy Peter Pham, started his new role earlier this week, the spokesman said. He has been serving as U.S. Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region of Africa since November 2018.
A Review of the necessity for US troops in the region is on-going…..
Facing skepticism from members of Congress about plans to alter force posture in Africa, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told members of the House Armed Services Committee that he remains committed to keeping U.S. forces on the continent.
“There are no plans to completely withdraw all forces from Africa,” Esper said Wednesday.
As part of a broader review of the force structure for the combatant commands, Esper has been considering moving forces out of U.S. Africa Command’s area of operations. Reports emerged at the end of 2019 that the department was looking at removing several hundred forces from Niger, Chad and Mali.
Why do we continue to fight and die in this region? I mean our so-called NATO allies are there as well then why not let them handle the hard lift in Africa?
For Washington’s foreign policy establishment, no nation is too unimportant to be considered vital to America’s security. No territory is too insignificant for the United States to dominate. No spot on earth is too distant to station an American soldier. How else to judge the hysterical criticism of the Trump administration’s proposed military drawdown in Africa?
Despite the fiscal crisis, strategic overreach, endless war, and political division, “the Blob,” as Washington’s foreign policy community is known, refuses to consider a world where Uncle Sam does not treat every region and nation as his personal sphere of interest. Washington is determined to protect more than a score of rich allies in Europe, multiple wealthy clients in Asia, and a gaggle of Middle Eastern nations.
Roughly seven thousand American personnel are stationed across Africa, primarily in Djibouti, Niger, and Somalia. Defense Secretary Mark Esper is considering rebalancing U.S. defense resources, shifting toward containment—not that he has used that word—of China and Russia. To advance that process, last fall the Pentagon asked each regional command for its resource needs. Explained Esper: “We’ve begun a review process where I’m looking at every theater, understanding what the requirements are that we set out for, making sure we’re as efficient as possible with our forces.”
Personally I say end this deployment of US troops…..we already have enough war in other spots why make a new one?
As the United States sensibly backs its military out of Afghanistan and considers drawing down the remaining 5,000 American troops in Iraq, it is time to review the expanded U.S. military presence in West and East Africa (~7,000 troops), particularly counterterror operations. Such a review was announced by Secretary of Defense Mike Esper in December 2019.
Our African deployments were practically invisible until October 2017, when four American soldiers died in an ambush in Niger. Suddenly Americans — including at least one U.S. Senator — realized that the U.S. military was in Africa getting the U.S. into deeper and deeper trouble.
It is time to pull back these forces. They reflect a militarization of U.S. foreign policy that has accelerated since 2001. Claims to the contrary, the military does not do these operations particularly well and there is growing evidence that they are counterproductive, generating more terrorists than they eliminate and exacerbating instability. They do nothing to counter Chinese or Russian influence in Africa, despite claims that they do. The threat they target is not a vital U.S. interest. In sum, by militarizing U.S. engagement in Africa, security assistance, training, and operations are harming U.S. security interests.
Our mash up with Iran seems to be dialing down….kinda like all other “crisis” in this era of Trump.
We are laser focused on Iran and its proxies in Iraq (BTW contrary to the idiots on the Right ISIS is not an ally of Iran)…..but problems could be brewing elsewhere…..
In an emergency session of Iraqi parliament, a bill was passed revoking Iraq’s request for US help in fighting ISIS, and calling for the government to expel US forces. The US troops may not be leaving, but they’d already suspended their operations.
While President Trump is threatening sanctions against Iraq for wanting the troops out, he seems comfortable with them not actually doing anything other than staying in Iraq for its own sake. The US command in Iraq says it is “committed” to the mission, though the mission isn’t entirely clear at this point, beyond staying and threatening Iraq with sanctions.
How many troops are required for this non-mission remains to be seen, but indications are that the US is going to keep adding troops to Iraq and Kuwait, and President Trump will react furiously to any indication that Iraq doesn’t want the occupation to continue.
Do not take your eye off the real enemy…ISIS…..
The militants are now more skilled and more dangerous than al-Qaeda, according to Lahur Talabany, a top Kurdish counter-terrorism official.
“They have better techniques, better tactics and a lot more money at their disposal,” he said. “They are able to buy vehicles, weapons, food supplies and equipment. Technologically they’re more savvy. It’s more difficult to flush them out. So, they are like al-Qaeda on steroids.”
The veteran intelligence chief delivered his stark assessment in a London accent – the legacy of years in the UK after his family had to flee from the regime of Saddam Hussein.
We have not had much news about ISIS…as it should be because according to Trump he defeated them single handed….and yet they still exist….
Even before the recent raid that resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the erstwhile head of the Islamic State, Donald Trump had spoken of how he had single-handedly defeated the caliphate.
“Now, when I came, the caliphate was all over the place,” the president said apropos of nothing during a news conference with the Australian prime minister on September 20. “I defeated the caliphate — ISIS.”
At a press conference on October 21, after pulling troops out of Syria, Trump put himself even closer to the battle with the Islamic State: “I’m the one that did the capturing. I’m the one who that knows more about it than you people or the fake pundits.”
We should not be so gloomy. The death of such a sadistic killer and serial rapist is unambiguously good news.
It was also the last thing that ISIS needed. Caliphate relinquished, the group’s operations inevitably will be disrupted by the death of its emir, especially with Abu Hassan al-Muhajir—a potential successor—killed in a U.S. airstrike just hours later.
The group has been diminished but not gone……and they have a new tactic of terror….FIRE
A media outlet affiliated with ISIS has been instructing the group’s radical adherents to set forest fires in the United States and Europe to cause mass ecological disasters, according to posts on an internet forum dedicated to the terror group.
At least four propaganda posters that have appeared on the pro-ISIS Quraysh media outlet have urged followers to “ignite fires” as part of an ongoing jihad against America and its allies.
Just months after the Islamic State militant group lost the last of its territory in Syria, and days after its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a U.S.-led raid, the group has found safe haven in a remote, ungoverned space in Iraq, as foreign fighters move across the border from Syria, military officials tell NBC news.
“The fight against ISIS is continuous,” said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William Seely, commander of Task Force-Iraq. “We’re seeing ISIS fighters move from Syria across hundreds of miles of desert.”
Their goal, Seely says, is to re-establish their physical caliphate in the region.
All the reporting from the MSM lately has been about the terrorist group, ISIS and very little has been reported on that other group, Al-Qaeda….
It never really left the region but a recent report points to a resurgence of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan……we are talking about AQ not the Taleban….not necessarily the same group although sympathies overlap.
We have lost our concern over AQ after the death of Osama and the rise of ISIS,,,,the world took their eye off this group of terrorists……and in doing so have made this rise possible…..
Al Qaeda has prioritized its re-entry into Afghanistan since 2014, when the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) drew down forces. Al Qaeda Emir Ayman al Zawahiri announced the formation of al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) in 2014, a move intended to counter the Islamic State’s declaration of a so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria as well as exploit the ISAF drawdown. Al Qaeda’s re-entry into Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan forced the U.S. to resume counter-terrorism operations there in 2015.
Senior AQIS leaders and Taliban commanders are co-located in Afghanistan today, signaling an enduring and high-level partnership. American and Afghan forces targeted a joint Taliban-al Qaeda compound in Musah Qal’ah District, a Taliban stronghold considered the group’s de facto capital, in Helmand Province on September 22. Multiple Afghan security organizations reported that the operation killed senior AQIS leader Asim Umar and a courier who connected AQIS leaders to Zawahiri. Afghanistan’s intelligence agency and a U.S. official have since confirmed Umar’s death in the raid. The operation also targeted several Taliban commanders from districts in Helmand Province. It is a sign of the extent of al Qaeda’s return to the area.
Everyone that knows me knows that I am a dog person…..I have always had the companionship of a canine friend most of my life….so when I hear a story about our canine heros that are also fighting global terrorism I am glad…..
One such hero was used in the hunt and destruction of ISIS leader Baghdadi…..
The nation got its first look at the military dog wounded in the US raid that ended in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi when President Trump tweeted a photo Monday. But one mystery remains, CBS reports. “We have declassified a picture of the wonderful dog (name not declassified) that did such a GREAT JOB in capturing and killing the Leader of ISIS,” the president wrote. Trump had praised the dog, who was sent into a tunnel to chase Baghdadi at a compound in Syria, when he announced the raid Sunday. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs had said earlier that the dog’s name was not being released yet. “The dog is still in theater, returned to duty with its handlers,” Gen. Mark Milley said.
A dog named Cairo helped Navy SEALs in the raid that brought the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, per CNN. Like Cairo, the dog used in the latest raid is a Belgian Malinois, a breed similar to German shepherds but smaller. Dogs train with troops for weeks for such missions, said the head of the US War Dogs Association, per NPR. They sometimes parachute from planes or swim to shore from a submarine. When they return from duty, he said, they sometimes have suffered physical and psychological injuries. Milley said the dog used in Syria is recovering after being slightly wounded.
The nation thanks her for her service and sends our best hopes for her speedy recovery.
I can hear the Who in my head and think an episode of CSI is about to begin….but NO….I am wondering who will lead the leaderless ISIS now that Baghdadi is no longer among the living.
My intel files has several candidates to lead ISIS……
the most likely candidate to succeed Baghdadi is Abdullah Qardash, also known as Abu Omar Turkmani, a former Iraqi military officer under Saddam Hussein.
A former senior leader of al-Qaeda, Turkmani was detained in Camp Bucca along with other IS leaders, the paper said.
According to Iraqi sources quoted by the paper, “Qardash is characterised by cruelty, authoritarianism and militancy, and he was among the first people to welcome al-Baghdadi in Mosul in 2014.”
The second nominee for the group’s leadership is Haji Nasser, or Abd al-Nasser, who has been on the US terrorism list since the end of 2018. Haji Abd al-Nasser is known for belonging to the most radical trend within IS.
The third nominee is Mu’taz al-Jaburi, better known as Hajji Taysir. A senior IS leader, Washington has set a $3m reward for whoever gives information leading to him.
Sami al-Jaburi, the fourth candidate, is the former IS financial affairs director and was in charge of the group’s oil and gas sales, according to the paper.
The fifth candidate, according to Arabi21, is Abul Hassan al-Muhajir, IS’s official spokesman since the end of 2016 – but he was reported killed at the weekend in another US-led raid.
Muhajir is out…….so that leaves 4 candidates….who are you….who….who?
And now we have a winner!
ISIS already has a new leader — a feared former officer for Saddam Hussein known as “the Destroyer,” according to reports.
Abdullah Qardash was reportedly already running day-to-day operations and kill campaigns for the terror group and formally took over its leadership after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death on Saturday.
Qardash had been loyal to Baghdadi after they were held together at the Camp Bucca detention center in Basra after being jailed by US forces over their links to al Qaeda in 2003, the Times of London has said.
You have your answer now let the hunt begin…..tic toc……