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Thread: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

  1. #1
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Da'esh has declared a caliphate in the territories they currently control. The ruler will be Da'esh's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is henceforth known as kalb caliph Ibrahim. Ultimately their unrealistic goal is to create an empire spanning from Northern Iraq to Aleppo, Israel and Kuwait.

    Plus there are some more developments, most notably that Netanyahu has called for an independent Kurdish state.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28082962

    Islamist militant group Isis has said it is establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, on the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria.

    It also proclaimed the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as caliph and "leader for Muslims everywhere".

    Setting up a caliphate ruled by the strict Islamic law has long been a goal of many jihadists.

    Meanwhile, Iraq's army continued an offensive to retake the northern city of Tikrit from the Isis-led rebels.

    The city was seized by the insurgents on 11 June as they swept across large parts of northern-western Iraq.

    In a separate development, Israel called for the creation of an independent Kurdish state in response to the gain made by the Sunni rebels in Iraq.
    Isis said the Islamic state would extend from Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala province in eastern Iraq.

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group said, would become the leader of the state and would be known as "Caliph Ibrahim".

    In the recording, the rebels also demanded that all Muslims "pledge allegiance" to the new ruler and "reject democracy and other garbage from the West".
    I suspect that the usual suspects are already exploiting that last demand.
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Forgot to complete the bloke's actual name; apologies to any offended parties; changed name to Da'esh

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    Re: ISIS declares caliphate

    Based on reasonable inferences, it very much looks as if Iranian aircraft are operating on the Iraqi government's side.

    Iran has supplied Iraq with attack jets to help it counter an offensive by Sunni rebels led by the Islamist group Isis, strong evidence suggests.

    Russia supplied an initial delivery of the aircraft just a few days ago.

    But analysts at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London say that a further delivery, on 1 July, originates from Iran.

    This means that the US - which has also sent aircraft to Iraq - is operating alongside Iran in this conflict.

    The US has deployed drones and helicopters to Iraq and is actively gathering intelligence on the advance by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis). Washington is also supplying Iraq's existing air force with Hellfire missiles.

    In this case adversity has made for strange bed-fellows.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28125687

  3. #3
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    Re: ISIS declares caliphate

    This is more than horrible. In recent days Da'esh succeeded in conquering Kurdish territory. Now the Yazidis (known to pompous nineteenth-century Romantics as "the devil worshippers", followers of a religion that combines elements from Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam and worships a single deity and/through Malak Taus (mal?k = "angel", ??w?s = "peacock" in Arabic), a chief angel who also bears the Arabic name for Satan), in the area are threatened, with several having been executed already. (Tens of?) thousands of people are reported to be in danger:

    The UN children's agency has expressed "extreme concern" over reports that 40 children from Iraq's Yazidi minority died after an offensive by jihadists.

    Unicef says reports indicate the children died as a "direct consequence of violence, displacement and dehydration" over the past two days.

    Thousands of Yazidis fled into the mountains after the Islamic State (IS) overran the town of Sinjar on Sunday.

    Yazidis follow an ancient faith that jihadists condemn as devil worship.

    "Families who fled the area are in immediate need of urgent assistance, including up to 25,000 children who are now stranded in mountains surrounding Sinjar and are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including drinking water and sanitation services," Unicef said.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28663926

    Of course, also other religious minorities (and members of the Iraqi Shia majority) are regularly executed by ISIS. But this is an imminent genocidal massacre.
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:40 AM. Reason: Corrected description of Yazidis; changed name to Da'esh

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    Re: ISIS declares caliphate

    After thousands of Yazidis were forced to fled, now thousands of Chaldaean Christians (who are in commmunion with the Holy See) have left the city of Qaraqosh as it has been taken by Da'esh:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28686998

    Up to a quarter of Iraq's Christians are reported to be fleeing after Islamic militants seized the minority group's biggest town.

    The Islamic State (IS) group captured Qaraqosh overnight after the withdrawal of Kurdish forces.

    IS has been gaining ground in northern Iraq since June, and also controls some of Syria.

    The US has warned that the situation for Iraq's minority groups threatens to become a "humanitarian catastrophe".

    ``We are gravely concerned for their health and safety," said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

    But he refused to confirm a New York Times report that the US is considering air strikes to help the Yazidi community, another minority group in northern Iraq that has been targeted by IS.

    About 50,000 Yazidis are thought to have been trapped in the mountains after fleeing the town of Sinjar - although the UN says some of them have now been rescued.
    A majority of Nineveh inhabitants left their homes overnight, according to Fraternite en Irak, an international Christian organisation based in Paris.

    As many as 100,000 people are believed to be fleeing toward the autonomous Kurdistan Region.

    Pope Francis has made an impassioned appeal to the international community to do much more to address the crisis.

    A Vatican statement said the Pope had appealed for "all necessary help" to be given to those forced to flee their homes, "whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others".

    And Minority Rights Group International has warned that Iraq's multi-ethnic future is now at grave risk.
    Meanwhile, the UN said it was mobilising resources to assist Yazidis rescued from Mount Sinjar over the past 24 hours.

    Members of the ancient Kurdish ethno-religious community sought refuge there at the weekend.

    Almost 200,000 civilians have been displaced from Sinjar town, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs has warned.
    The US are reported to contemplate air strikes against Da'esh, beside humanitarian air drops for displaced groups, in particular the Yazidis:

    The Obama administration is considering US air strikes and humanitarian air drops to help besieged religious minorities chased up a mountain by militants in Iraq.

    The move comes as Qaraqosh, Iraq's largest Christian city, was all but abandoned as the jihadist group Islamic State (Isis) advanced through minority communities in the country's north-west and towards the Kurdish stronghold of Irbil.

    The US military is already helping the Iraqi government coordinate air drops of vital supplies to at least 40,000 Iraqis, mostly from the Yazidi minority, trapped on top of Mount Sinjar in the north after death threats from the Islamists who have overrun much of Sunni and northern Iraq.

    Internally, the Obama administration was said to be urgently debating providing direct follow-on steps, to include humanitarian air drops for Yazidis suffering without food or water, and even air strikes a fateful step that US president Barack Obama has been reluctant to take during the rise of Isis.

    "We have been working urgently and directly with officials in Baghdad and Irbil to coordinate Iraqi airdrops to people in need," a US defense official said on condition of anonymity.

    The official said the US was in constant coordination with the Iraqi government on "how we can help coordinate additional relief, enhance their efforts, and provide direct assistance wherever possible."

    If the US opts to intervene directly, it would represent the first aerial mission over Iraq since 2011 for a purpose beyond conducting surveillance on Isis, providing long-scheduled military sales, or transporting the extra hundreds of US special-operations "advisers" that Obama ordered into Iraq to help Baghdad confront the threat from Isis.
    Kurdish groups in other countries, such as the PKK, are reported to take up the fight against Da'esh.

    There's an interesting opinion article by John Gray about Da'esh, how they are more a modern reactionary force than a caliphate and reminding us how we owe this mess to the neocons:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28246732
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:41 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    Re: ISIS declares caliphate

    The US have carried out air strikes on Da'esh artillery near Irbil:

    The US says it has launched an air strike against militants from the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq.

    The Pentagon said American aircraft attacked artillery that was being used against Kurdish forces defending the northern city of Irbil.

    President Barack Obama authorised air strikes on Thursday, but said he would not send US troops back to Iraq.

    The Sunni Muslim group IS, formerly known as Isis, now has control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28709530

    I think that it is a good thing the US performs air strikes on Da'esh, as long as it focuses on military targets and Da'esh's supply lines - and of course air drops for humanitarian aid. And not being dragged into a ground war is a very prudent decision.

    The only very odd fact about this situation is that the US are now a combatant alongside Iran, fighting the same side. But considering the evils of Da'esh, that is justified.
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:42 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    Re: ISIS declares caliphate

    This is an interesting analysis about Obama's policy against Da'esh:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-28715719

    That the US treat Da'esh as a local issue is sensible. I believe there is a greater imperative for Europe to act, however, as Da'esh returnees pose a real threat to European Jewry. But the crisis in Ukraine does impose limits on what can be done. And it is unlikely it will materialise, as such a decision would be very impopular. At least the UK are reluctant to act:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-28718768
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:42 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    Re: ISIS declares caliphate

    The British have also dropped supplies for the Yazidis who are still on Mount Sinjar:

    A British military aircraft has made the first drop of UK aid in Iraq.

    The Ministry of Defence said the plane had carried out its mission overnight.

    The focus of the aid effort is on helping thousands of members of the Yazidi religious minority, who are trapped on a mountain in northern Iraq after fleeing from Islamist militants.

    The UK says it is trying to "avert a genocide" there. Parallel to the aid effort, US planes have been carrying out air strikes against the militants.

    The US military said it had destroyed vehicles and equipment of the Islamic State (IS), which has been attacking Yazidi areas.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-28730743

    The BBC have a feature article about the Yazidis:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-28686607
    Last edited by Villerar; August 10th, 2014 at 10:51 AM.

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    Re: ISIS declares caliphate

    Turkey has allowed around one hundred thousand Syrian Kurdish refugees into its borders after Da'esh advanced to the town of Korbani, committing horrible deeds on their advance, while Kurdish fighter mostly from Turkey and some from Iraq have rallied to the Kurdish side:

    Kurdish fighters from Turkey and Iraq are scrambling to help defend a vital Kurdish safe haven in northern Syria, where tens of thousands of Kurds have fled after an offensive by Islamic State (Isis) militants.

    The border region of Kobani, home to half a million people, has held out for months against an onslaught by Islamists seeking to consolidate their hold over swaths of northern Syria. But in recent days, Isis extremists have seized a series of settlements close to the town of Kobani itself, sending as many as 100,000 mostly Kurdish refugees streaming across the border into Turkey.

    "I don't think in the last three and a half years we have seen 100,000 cross in two days," the representative for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) in Turkey, Carol Batchelor, told Reuters. "So this is a bit of a measure of how this situation is unfolding, and the very deep fear people have about the circumstances inside Syria and, for that matter, Iraq."
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ey-border-isis

    Tensions were mounting on Syrias northern border as Turkish security forces fired tear gas on refugees after tens of thousands of Kurds fled across the frontier away from marauding Islamic State terrorists.

    Officials in the Turkish capital Ankara have temporarily closed the border, but there were conflicting reports as to what caused the clashes.

    The state-run Anadolu Agency said Kurdish protesters threw stones at the security forces who prevented dozens of Kurdish onlookers from approaching the border.

    The UNs refugee agency on Sunday said some 70,000 Syrians have crossed into Turkey in the past 24 hours. They are seeking refuge from Islamic State militants who have barreled through dozens of Kurdish villages in the Kobani area in northern Syria, near the Turkish border.

    UNHCR spokeswoman, Selin Unal, said most of those coming across the border near Syria's northern town of Kobani are Kurdish women, children and elderly.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...onslaught.html

    Riots broke out on the border between Kurdish protesters and Turkish officers.



    The Kurdish troops have stalled Da'esh's attack so far.

    Syrian Kurdish fighters have halted an advance by Islamic State (Isis) fighters to the east of a predominantly Kurdish town near the border with Turkey, a spokesman for the main armed Kurdish group said.

    Fierce clashes are still under way but the Isis advance to the east of Kobani has been halted since last night, Redur Xelil, spokesman for the YPG said via Skype.

    He said the eastern front was the scene of the fiercest fighting in the offensive launched by Isis last Tuesday on Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab. More than 100,000 Syrian Kurds have fled its advance, many crossing the border into Turkey.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks violence in the Syrian war, said Isis fighters had made no significant advance in the past 24 hours.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...te-isis-kobani



    Here is a little more background about Melek Taus, the Peacock Angel, with comparisons to the Gnostic Mandaic religion (whose adherents used to be mostly situated in the Iraqi marshes, but have seen displacements over the centuries, particularly in the decade since the fall of Saddam Hussein).

    http://philologastry.wordpress.com/2...acocks-lament/
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:43 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: ISIS declares caliphate

    So airstrikes in Syria are a fact now. Obama has had a speech at the UN HQ, which mostly was about foreign policy:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/wo...isis.html?_r=0

    UNITED NATIONS President Obama laid out a forceful new blueprint on Wednesday for deeper American engagement in the Middle East, telling the United Nations General Assembly that the Islamic State understood only the language of force and that the United States would work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.

    In a much-anticipated address two days after he expanded the American-led military campaign against the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, into Syria, Mr. Obama said, Today, I ask the world to join in this effort, declaring, We will not succumb to threats, and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build, not those who destroy.

    Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can, Mr. Obama said in a blunt declaration of his intentions.

    The president also said: We will neither tolerate terrorist safe-havens, nor act as an occupying power. We will take action against threats to our security, and our allies, while building an architecture of counterterrorism cooperation.

    The US have assured Iran that they will not target Syrian government troops.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-e...dates/1.617308

    00:14 P.M. The U.S. informed Iran in advance of its intention to strike Islamic State militants in Syria and told Tehran that it would not target the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, a senior Iranian official told Reuters.

    "This issue was first discussed in Geneva and then was discussed thoroughly in New York where Iran was assured that Assad and his government will not be targeted in case of any military action against Daesh (Islamic State) in Syria," the official said on condition of anonymity. He added that Iran was informed separately in advance of the airstrike.

    Asked about the assurance that Syrian government forces would not be targeted, a senior U.S. State Department official told Reuters: "We communicated our intentions, but not specific timing or targets, to the Iranians. As we've said, we won't be coordinating military action with Iran. And of course we won't be sharing intelligence with Iran either." (Reuters)
    Last edited by Villerar; September 24th, 2014 at 12:01 PM.

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    Re: ISIS declares caliphate

    All right, it's time to update this with a few more Vox links:

    17 things about Da'esh and Iraq you need to know: http://www.vox.com/cards/things-abou...w/what-is-isis

    The 9 biggest myths about Da'esh: http://www.vox.com/cards/isis-myths-...azy-irrational

    In his Wednesday [10 September] night address debuting America's new war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), President Obama is going to totally reverse his administration's longstanding Syria policy.

    It won't be billed as such, of course, but we know what's coming. Since the war's outbreak in late 2011, Obama has resisted both airstrikes in Syria and any major effort to arm-and-train the moderate Syrian rebels. But advance accounts of the President's speech say those two measures a bombing campaign and arming the rebels are at the heart of his new policy for countering and eventually defeating ISIS in Syria.

    Why the flip-flop? The obvious answer is that ISIS has gotten stronger, so the administration has decided it needs to use more force against the group. That's part of it. But, to a certain extent, the administration's policy is as much an ad-hoc response to events as it is about a rational assessment of what the US can do to defeat ISIS. The rapid growth of ISIS since June has forced Obama into a policy he's long believed would fail.
    http://www.vox.com/2014/9/10/6131247/obama-isis-syria



    A professor of political science explains the unpredictability and logic of insurgent violence and the pitfalls of undercounting and overcounting:

    When North Vietnam invaded South Vietnam and overran its army, most observers and analysts expected a bloodbath to follow. The Vietnam War had been going on for a long time and the communist insurgents had suffered enormous losses, as well as inflicted considerable damage on their enemies, both on various battlefields and most importantly across thousands of hamlets. There, the war had acquired a character common to many civil wars that of vicious neighbor on neighbor violence. To top it all, the South Vietnamese state and military apparatus was huge, having being fed by the United States at a clip of billions of aid. Revenge, communist practice and the necessity of repressing a large-sized ancien rgime all converged to suggest an enormous outbreak of violence. It didnt happen. To be sure, hundreds of people were executed, tens of thousands sent to re-education camps, and many more were forced to flee the country. But a bloodbath of epic proportions failed to materialize. One did did, however, take place next door in Cambodia, where virtually no one had expected it.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...ic-states-war/



    The U.N. Security Council unanimously accepted a resolution to stem the tide of Da'esh's foreign recruits:

    The United Nations security council agreed on Wednesday to launch a concerted effort to staunch the flow of radicalised jihadists from around the world to the cause of Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

    In a rare session of the security council attended by heads of state only the sixth of its kind in the organs 68-year history all 15 member states voted for a US-backed resolution that seeks to step up the battle against foreign terrorist fighters, as US president Barack Obama described them.

    The agreement from the world bodys highest panel was designed to tackle, Obama said, the new threat of the unprecedented flow of fighters in recent years to conflict zones, most recently Syria and Iraq.

    He added: These terrorists exacerbate conflicts; they pose an immediate threat to people in these regions; and as weve already seen in several cases, they may try to return to their home countries to carry out deadly attacks.
    Under the terms of the resolution, all the UNs member states must prevent and suppress the recruiting, organizing, transporting or equipping of individuals who travel to another country to take part in terrorist acts or training. States must also prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups through their territory by effective border controls and controls on issuance of identity papers and travel documents.
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:52 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    This series about life in Raqqa, the unofficial capital of Da'esh's territories, is certainly worth checking out (five posts of the series (out of seven) have been translated now):

    On the fate of children and their education: http://www.thepostonline.nl/2014/09/...lamic-state-2/
    On the fate of women: http://www.thepostonline.nl/2014/09/...islamic-state/
    On the fate of Christians: http://www.thepostonline.nl/2014/10/...islamic-state/
    On governance in Da'esh controlled lands: http://www.thepostonline.nl/2014/10/...lamic-state-3/
    On the fate of non-jihadist Muslims: http://www.thepostonline.nl/2014/10/...lamic-state-4/
    On the weird economics of Da'esh: http://tpo.nl/2014/11/27/reports-islamic-state-5/
    On the fate of Da'esh: http://tpo.nl/2014/12/19/reports-islamic-state-final/
    Last edited by Villerar; June 23rd, 2015 at 02:03 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    what the frick guys! Cloudodom's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Hopefully our airstrikes can help the Kurds out in Kobani. Kobani serves as one of the main crossroads where ISIS foreign fighters flow into Syria and Iraq from Turkey so allowing it to fall to ISIS is unacceptable. As for the Turkish side of things, I can see how they are reluctant to offer support, considering that they have had problems with Kurds in the past. To be honest, it's a wonder how anything could possibly be accomplished considering that both sides are rife with sectarian violence.


    On a side note, the twitter and facebook accounts of ISIS members are surreal to read. pretty amusing to see mujahideen who fight against westerners talk about enjoying jumanji as a kid

    edit: also this a pretty big issue, I am surprised no one has replied to this thread yet because terrorists are a big deal and very, very evil. It's pretty interesting to follow even if you don't care about the middle east/terrorists/freedom and democracy/etc
    Last edited by Cloudodom; October 18th, 2014 at 06:49 PM.

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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    A video has appeared showing Da'esh fighters trading Yazidi women as sex slaves. The video has since been set to private, but obviously a content warning applies for the text (there are no other media).

    Westerners are often shielded from the full reality of ISIS's brutal rule in Syria and Iraq. But this leaked video of ISIS fighters bartering over sex slaves is a window into just how horrifying life in the Islamic State really is.
    http://www.vox.com/2014/11/4/7152145...x-slaves-women
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:51 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    In light of the terrible information of the previous post, it is bad news that American policy on fighting Da'esh in Syria has received a serious, perhaps even fatal, setback.

    On Sunday, the already-awful situation in Syria got much, much worse. Al-Qaeda's faction in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra, routed two major US-backed rebel groups, leaving al-Qaeda much stronger and US-backed rebels much weaker. Nusra even captured the rebels' advanced American weaponry much as ISIS did during its rampage through Iraq in June.

    These groups were supposed to be the great hope of America's strategy in Syria. That they were defeated so roundly and so soon after the US began implementing its new anti-ISIS strategy is proof positive of a wider truth: America's strategy for Syria has already fallen apart. Despite a spate of ISIS setbacks in recent months, America's effort to defeat ISIS in Syria appears to be making negative progress. Part of what's driving this is that every other available option is terrible, forcing the US to stick with a losing strategy that it knows well is losing.
    http://www.vox.com/2014/11/4/7150473...-is-collapsing

    Accepting American aid made those groups an important target for al-Qaida (Jabhat an-Nusra) and Da'esh.

    The Pentagon denies that its Syrian strategy is in a poor shape:

    The Pentagon has denied that the US strategy against Islamic State (Isis) is in disarray after a series of setbacks as the war known as Operation Inherent Resolve stretches into its fourth month.

    I dont believe that we view current events as a major setback to the goals that weve set with respect to training and equipping the moderate opposition in Syria, said Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagons chief spokesman.

    Kirbys remarks came days after an al-Qaida-aligned faction routed one of the Syrian resistance groups on which the US has been depending to anchor an anti-Isis proxy force. The Nusra Front, al-Qaidas affiliate in Syria, appears now to be allying with Isis, an indication that the Islamist extremist groups fortunes are rising.
    There is reasonable concern that Republicans will try to force further military actions through, including attacking the Syrian government. (The American intervention in Syria against Da'esh is illegal, but Assad more or less condones it. Targeting Assad's troops also runs the risk of alienating Iran.)

    Entirely leaving Da'esh be in Syria is not attractive either, as that leaves them a base of operations for launching initiatives in Iraq.



    Speaking of Iraq, Da'esh's progress there has run out of steam. It's division in Anbar Province has had further successes, but outside that province they've mostly had losses.

    Watching the news, you could be forgiven for thinking that ISIS is an unstoppable juggernaut, sweeping Iraq and Syria in an unending, unstoppable, terrible blitzkrieg.

    But you'd be wrong. The truth is that ISIS's momentum is stalled: in both Iraq and Syria, the group is being beaten back at key points. There are initial signs uncertain, sketchy, but hopeful that the group is hurting more than you may think, and has stalled out in the war it was for so long winning. ISIS isn't close to being destroyed. But they are reeling.
    http://www.vox.com/2014/10/28/707969...q-syria-defeat

    Kobani (in northern Syria, on the Turkish border) is said to be an important reason for Da'esh's poor luck recently. It is unknown how many fighters Da'esh has lost in the siege, but the lack of success has hurt its image.
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:51 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    This is strictly speaking not about Da'esh, but clearly relevant. A Syrian Islamist terrorist group, probably Jabhat an-Nusra, has blown up a historic Armenian orthodox church that was a memorial to the Armenian genocide.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...y-9852372.html

    In the most savage act of vandalism against Syrias Christians, Islamists have blown up the great Armenian church in Deir el-Zour, built in dedication to the one and a half million Armenians slaughtered by the Turks during the 1915 genocide. All of the church archives, dating back to 1841 and containing thousands of documents on the Armenian holocaust, were burned to ashes, while the bones of hundreds of genocide victims, packed into the churchs crypt in memory of the mass killings 99 years ago, were thrown into the street beside the ruins.

    This act of sacrilege will cause huge pain among the Armenians scattered across the world as well as in the rump state of Armenia which emerged after the 1914-1918 war, not least because many hundreds of thousands of victims died in death camps around the very same city of Deir el-Zour. Jabhat al-Nusra rebels appear to have been the culprits this time, but since many Syrians believe that the group has received arms from Turkey, the destruction will be regarded by many Armenians as a further stage in their historical annihilation by the descendants of those who perpetrated the genocide 99 years ago.
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:51 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    It seems that al-Baghdadi is still alive after the air strike.

    http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2014/s4128250.htm

    CHRIS UHLMANN: A recording has emerged which claims to be the voice of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the elusive leader of the Islamic State group. If authentic, the speech douses rumours Baghdadi was wounded or killed in an airstrike. In the sermon he attacks the West and vows to continue his efforts to establish an Islamic caliphate.


    The Daily Telegraph have a quite a lot of information on al-Baghdadi's life:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...-Baghdadi.html

    The only time the polite, bespectacled student shone was on the football field, playing for the team from the local mosque.

    He was the Messi of our team, said Abu Ali, a fellow player and worshipper at the mosque, making comparison with the Lionel Messi, the Argentinian striker. He was our best player.

    Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the impressive striker, is now the worlds most wanted jihadist leader.

    In interviews with the Telegraph, contemporaries of Baghdadi trace how he went from being a shy, unimpressive, religious scholar and man who eschewed violence, to an infamously dangerous extremist, self-appointed caliph and reputed heir to Osama bin Laden.


    A rumour is reported that Da'esh and Jabhat an-Nusra have forged an alliance:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/11/13/721642...qaeda-alliance

    t's been one of the basic truths of the Syrian civil war: ISIS and al-Qaeda hate each other. The two groups see each other as rivals, each claiming to be the leader of the global jihadist movement, in Syria and internationally. For at least a year, the two radical groups have been in open at times bloody combat.

    Now, a report by the Associated Press' Deb Riechmann, sourced to two Syrian rebel leaders, claims that ISIS and al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate (Jabhat al-Nusra) have agreed to join forces to crush American-supported moderate rebels and Kurdish fighters throughout Syria.


    Da'esh will introduce its own currency, the dinar (a common name for currency in the Middle East, ultimately derived from denarius):

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-islamic-dinar

    Islamic State says its leader has ordered that the organisation start minting gold, silver and copper coins for its own currency, the Islamic dinar.

    A website affiliated with the militant group said late on Thursday that its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had instructed his followers to start minting the coins to change the tyrannical monetary system modelled on western economies that had enslaved Muslims.
    They've got the hots for the gold standard:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/11/13/719382...-gold-standard



    So can Da'esh's hold be broken without support from Assad? (After all, as long as Da'esh remains entrenched in Syria it can pose a threat for Iraq.) Here's one Syrian's opinion:

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns...e-it-694946401

    There is no real consensus on how to resolve the Syrian conflict, but there is one regarding the urgent need to. It has become an imperative to stop the fanatical jihadis in their tracks before they become an unstoppable global menace. The divergence of opinions on how to best go about this unfortunately has less to do with pragmatism or the political and military realities of the conflict, and instead reflects the specific interests of those who hold them. While the world argues and procrastinates, a terrifying threat is slowly emerging from the chaos of Syrias civil war: transnational jihadist terrorism. The premise is very simple. In order to end that threat, a workable resolution to its cause must be found.
    The compromise he suggests is less than ideal, but Obama's Syrian strategy doesn't seem to work (apart from the part of aiding the Kurds) and probably is not going to work. And it could decrease the call for troops on the ground.



    Da'esh derives less funding from oil than was previously thought:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/11/7/7173665/isis-oil-money

    You have probably heard that ISIS makes a lot of money from oil. The group's ironclad control over northern and eastern Syria includes most of Syria's oil extraction operations. Syria's oil deposits are small by Middle Eastern standards, but estimates of ISIS's oil money can range from roughly $1 million to $3 million a day. That's a lot of cash for a terrorist group to be raking in.

    But according to a new estimate by German intelligence agencies, a lot of this speculation is "hugely overblown." ISIS makes way less money from oil than we think, and its oil revenues are one of its most vulnerable revenue streams. ISIS's oil riches aren't so rich, and what they do have is fairly insecure.
    This means that Da'esh will run into severe economic troubles on the longer term (which may be quite short).
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:50 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

  17. #17
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Britain faces two potential threats to its security.

    The threats are very different but the weapons chosen to counter them are similar and equally ineffective.

    There are the fighters from Isis (the Islamic State). Though US, and occasional British, air strikes are restricting Isis fighters' freedom of manoeuvre, the only way to defeat the extreme Islamist group is to build up effective Iraqi security forces backed up by good governance in the country, and end the civil war in Syria. That will take a long time, as British ministers continually stress.
    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/...-putin-ukraine

    The other threat is the Ukrainian crisis, but the main focus is on Da'esh, so it is posted here for that reason.
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:52 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Da'esh's supply of light arms is so extensive that it will last for to 2 years:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ting-two-years

    A new report prepared for the United Nations Security Council warns that the militant group known as the Islamic State (Isis) possesses sufficient reserves of small arms, ammunition and vehicles to wage its war for Syria and Iraq for up to two years.

    The size and breadth of the Isis arsenal provides the group with durable mobility, range and a limited defense against low-flying aircraft. Even if the US-led bombing campaign continues to destroy the groups vehicles and heavier weapons, the UN report states, it cannot mitigate the effect of the significant volume of light weapons Isis possesses.

    Those weapons are sufficient to allow [Isis] to continue fighting at current levels for six months to two years, the UN report finds, making Isis not only the worlds best-funded terrorist group but among its best armed.
    I think that makes a good case for strict limits on delivering arms to nations with poor human rights records, ideally banning it altogether, except when acute crises like this one occur.



    And, I really need to be more consistent with updating, something on Sunday's beheading video, Da'esh's promotion of an international identity in their propaganda:

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...reign-recruits

    Propaganda from Islamic State (Isis) has begun emphasizing the torrent of foreign fighters the group has attracted from around the world, something counter-terrorism researchers say helps portray the group as the new vanguard of global jihad.

    Conspicuous in the grisly video emerging on Sunday showing the severed head of American aid worker Peter Kassig is a procession of foreign-looking recruits, shown trudging through a desertscape in military fatigues, on their way to kill soldiers captured from Syrian president Bashar al-Assads military.

    Unlike in previous Isis videos, the faces of the 15 or so executioners are not hidden. The camera lingers on the faces of the killers several of whom are believed by western intelligence services to come from Britain, France and elsewhere in Europe. One of them appears to be a long-haired 22-year-old from Normandy named Maxime Hauchard.
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:53 AM. Reason: changed name to Da'esh

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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    You may have heard something about representatives from NATO countries and Arab allies having met in Brussels today:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/kerry-sp...-headquarters/

    BRUSSELS -- A global fight against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants will likely take years to fully succeed, but nations are prepared to engage "for as long as it takes" to defeat the bloody insurgency, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday.

    Nearly a year after ISIS overran key cities in western Iraq, diplomats from more than 60 countries and international organizations gathered in Brussels to plot a way forward against what has since become one of the world's worst terror threats.

    The mostly Sunni Muslim insurgency now stretches across much of northern Iraq and Syria, and has attracted thousands of foreign fighters from around the world, including Europe. Its elusive leadership is flush with financial support from illicit donations and black-market oil sales.


    The Iraqi Prime Minister called for military support and aid for rebuilding efforts:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/wo...ight.html?_r=0

    BRUSSELS Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi of Iraq appealed for help on Wednesday in training his military and reconstructing towns and cities that Iraq hopes to wrest from the Islamic States control.

    Mr. Abadi outlined the requests after having arrived here for a meeting of nearly 60 nations on ways to counter the militants from the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

    American officials said that the cost of the reconstruction had yet to be determined. But it is most likely to be substantial if Iraqi forces succeed in retaking Mosul, Falluja and other populated areas in street fighting that could be prolonged and bloody.
    You'd wonder how prudent military aid is, given that this is a large part of the initial problem.

    Also interesting:

    While American officials say that the airstrikes have made it more difficult for the Islamic State to mass large numbers of forces and travel in convoys, there is no indication that the militants have lost their ardor for fighting, and there are still many of them.

    A State Department official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, estimated the Islamic States strength at about 30,000 fighters, roughly a third of them in Iraq.

    One nation that has been helping Iraq fight the Islamic State that was not represented at the meeting was Iran.

    Iran has been flying drones from an airfield in Baghdad and has supplied Iraq with tons of military equipment.

    American military and intelligence officials have confirmed reports that Iran had carried out bombing raids in support of Iraqi forces in recent days.

  20. #20
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Assad made some rather quaint comments in an interview and Vox explains his motives as well as possible:

    http://www.vox.com/2014/12/3/7326171...nterview-paris

    French magazine Paris Match, best known for celebrity and style coverage, interviewed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on November 28. They've just published the first excerpts and they're very revealing. In one especially eyebrow-raising moment, Assad seems to suggest that the problem with President Obama's Syria strategy is that the US isn't bombing Assad's country hard enough.

    Here are the three most important quotes and why they matter.

  21. #21
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The Kurds report that the Peshmerga have broken Da'esh's siege of Mount Sinjar.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middle...223624837.html

    Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq's Sinjar Mountains where hundreds of people have been trapped for months by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, a Kurdish official has said.

    "Peshmerga forces have reached Mount Sinjar, the siege on the mountain has been lifted," Masrour Barzani, head of the Iraqi Kurdish region's national security council, told reporters from an operations centre near the border with Syria on Thursday.

    The assault, backed by US-led air strikes, ended the months-long ordeal of hundreds of people from Iraq's Yazidi minority, who had been besieged on the mountain since ISIL stormed Sinjar and other Kurdish-controlled parts of northern Iraq in August, he said.
    The US claimed to have killed the high-ranking Da'esh figure Fadel Ahmed (also known as "[omitted] al-Turkmani") alongside others. This could have happened at any time since mid-November.

    Meanwhile, the Pentagon said on Thursday that US strikes had killed several top ISIL leaders.

    "I can confirm that since mid-November, targeted coalition air strikes successfully killed multiple senior and mid-level leaders," Rear Admiral John Kirby. the Pentagon spokesman, said.

    US officials said among those killed was Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, who was Baghdadi's deputy in charge of Iraq and would be the most senior ISIL leader to fall this year.
    Last edited by Villerar; March 7th, 2015 at 10:53 AM.

  22. #22
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Note: I'll use "Da'esh" from now on for the group variously known as ISIS/IS/ISIL.

    Da'esh has attacked army and militia checkpoints in the government-controlled Iraqi city of Samarra:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30725552

    Islamic State militants have attacked Iraqi security forces in the central city of Samarra, killing two people and injuring 28 others, officials say.

    They reportedly carried out five suicide bomb attacks on checkpoints along a motorway west of Samarra.

    The bombings were followed by mortar attacks on the city itself.

    IS surrounded Samarra, a predominantly Sunni city that is home to one of Shia Islam's holiest sites, after launching an offensive in northern Iraq in June.


    There have been instances of violence against the religious police of Da'esh in Syria as well, in the territory controlled by them.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30721021

    Reports from Syria say that some members of the religious police force set up by the militant group Islamic State (IS) have been kidnapped.

    Activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said they had been ambushed and abducted by unknown gunmen in the eastern city of Mayadin.

    The force patrols areas held by IS and enforces its version of Islamic law.

    It comes a day after reports that the force's deputy leader in the same area had been killed by unknown assailants.

    The Observatory, which is based in the UK, said it was unclear how many members of the police - known as Hisbah - had been kidnapped.

    "There is an escalation in the operations against the Hisbah because they are arresting people and insulting their dignity for reasons like smoking," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP news agency.

    The IS police force has confiscated and burned tobacco products and punished those caught smoking.

    According to reports, the force's deputy commander in the area had been captured, tortured and beheaded.

    His severed head was reportedly found with a cigarette in its mouth and close by was a note with a mocking reference to the fact that smoking is a sin in the eyes of the religious police.

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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Some stories of Yazidi women who had been enslaved and sexually abused by Da'esh but who succeeded in escaping have been covered by the BBC. Obviously, a content warning applies.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-30573385

    The Yazidi religious minority community in Iraq says 3,500 of its women and girls are still being held by the so-called Islamic State (IS), many being used as sex slaves. A few have managed to escape and here tell their harrowing stories.

  24. #24
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Da'esh has let some 200 Yazidis go:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...t-9985929.html

    The Isis militant group has released at least 200 elderly, ill or very young members of the Yazidi religious community in a move that has surprised fighters on the front line in Iraq.

    The former prisoners were received by the Kurdish Peshmerga after they were dropped off at a bridge near the regional capital of Irbil.

    The motive for their release after five months in the hands of Isis, also known as Islamic State, remains unclear, and comes after a campaign of persecution that has seen more than 50,000 of their people displaced.


    Where do presumable human rights abusers who fought in Syria (or Iraq) pose a risk?

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...five-countries

    Last weeks attacks in Paris and this weeks arrests in Belgium and Germany have thrown the spotlight on to jihadis returning from Syria to hatch terror plots in Europe. The five countries deemed to be at most risk of attack are Belgium, France, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.
    Last edited by Villerar; January 18th, 2015 at 03:08 PM.

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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    One of two Japanese hostages has been executed by Da'esh.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...g-video-yukawa

    Japans prime minister Shinzo Abe said that the chilling recording claiming that Haruna Yukawa, one of two Japanese men taken hostage by Islamic State, had been beheaded appeared to be genuine.

    Barack Obama issued a statement condemning what he called the brutal murder and that the United States would stand shoulder to shoulder with Japan. The US president called for the immediate release of the second Japanese hostage, 47-year-old journalist Kenji Goto.

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