Pentagon walks back plans for spring offensive against ISIS stronghold Mosul
28 February, 2015 By Tony Perkins
It’s the stuff of Old Testament times: God’s people taken into captivity, sold into slavery, or worse — slaughtered in cold blood. Their villages conquered, their people taxed, the thousands of Assyrian Christians suffering in the Middle East today share more than a language with the people of Jesus’s time. They also share the deep pain of an ancient war now ripping through Syria and northern Iraq.
While U.S. warplanes rain down strikes from above, reports suggest that an estimated 300 Christian hostages sit frightened in an unknown location, prisoners of a primitive hatred. After just two days, their numbers are already dwindling, as Islam’s terrorists are said to have viciously executed another 15 innocents. For its part, the Obama administration finally acknowledged the Christian faith that ISIS is targeting in a statement from his National Security Council, insisting that the world’s leaders stands “united and undeterred” in its resolve to bring an end to the terrorists’ “depravity.” But the same officials still refuse to label what ISIS is doing in Iraq as what it is: genocide.
In a sobering piece from the New York Times, Anne Barnard chronicles the onslaught in these religious communities, which date all the way back to Mesopotamia. No longer content to massacre people, ISIS is
systematically killing their culture too. At the crossroads of Syria and Iraq — a land as meaningful for its history as it is strategic for this battle — terrorists are smashing locks into libraries, museums, and churches. Shattering 3,000-year old pieces of art, the militants are exchanging their knives for power drills and hammers, which they take to priceless pieces.
Wielding sledgehammers, men in black masks are intent — not just on mangling populations but erasing every trace of them. It is, says anthropologist Amr al-Azm, “A tragedy and catastrophic loss for Iraqi history and archaeology beyond comprehension.” So now ISIS is systematically destroying the cultural evidence that followers of Jesus Christ have inhabited this land since the founding of the Church.
While they sell art to finance their bloodlust, other believers run for their lives. In the sliver of land that connects Syria and Iraq, only fighters are left behind from the 1,200 families lucky enough to escape without capture. At least 33 villages from the area have been raided in the gruesome march through Iraq — with some radicals even crossing the rivers by night.
The Christians who have survived are still paying a steep price. “Early in February, according to Assyrian groups inside and outside Syria, came a declaration from the Islamic State that Christians in a string of villages… in Syrian Hasaka Province would have to take down their crosses and pay the jizya (a tax for religious minorities), traditionally in gold.” Some say they’re staving off ISIS’s wrath with money.
One of the Christians with hopes of returning to his Ninevah home said, “I made a vow, when I return I want to kiss the soil of my village and pray in the church.” It’s a powerful reminder that ISIS can destroy a lot of things — but the hope of those who follow the risen Savior is not one of them.
Franklin Graham’s Shocking Revelation About Washington and Islam!
By Russ Hepler
Appearing recently on the O’Reilly Factor, Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham and president of Samaritan’s Purse Ministries, made a shocking disclosure about why the U.S. has been ineffective so far in dealing with Islamic terrorism in the world. Charisma News reports:
“One of the problems we have in the West is our governments, especially in Washington, have been infiltrated by Muslims who are advising the White House,” Graham tells O’Reilly.
Western Journalism continues Franklin Graham’s statement:
“And we see this also in Western Europe. They have gotten into the halls of power.”
These shocking statements did not go unchallenged by Bill O’Reilly, however. Western Journalism reports:
O’Reilly interrupted and refuted, asking Graham to name names, Graham said he would get the names to O’Reilly but had been informed by several people that they are indeed there.
But, Graham stood firm in his allegations. Charisma News continues:
“I’m not saying they’re sitting next to the president whispering in his ear, but they are in the halls, and they are speaking to the staffers.”
Graham has added further to his assertions via his Facebook page:
Why is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being shunned by the liberal media, congress, and President Barack Obama? I believe it’s because this administration has been heavily influenced by Muslims speaking into and giving advice in various areas of the White House.
They are anti-Israel and anti-Semitic—and they are influencing the president who as we all know was raised with a strong Muslim influence in his life. His father and his stepfather were Muslims and he attended Islamic schools.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has been a friend to the US and deserves our respect. They’re treating our friend and ally as an enemy.
Many people believe what Graham has said is true given President Obama’s reluctance to call ISIS an Islamic terrorist organization. He has also defended Islam multiple times while at the same time criticizing Christianity.
Perhaps one of the people Graham was alluding to was special Presidential advisor – Iranian-born Valerie Jarrett. But, she is hardly the only one. Even Bill O’Reilly admitted that there are Islamic lobbying groups active in Washington.
Graham was conciliatory to Muslims in the interview, however. He reassured them of God’s love for them and said that he prays for them.
It has been a very curious thing that the President seems to trip over himself to rush to defend the religion of Islam despite all of the recent brutality and savagery done in the name of Islam. We’ve never had a President before who has been so pro-Islam and anti-Israel; not even Jimmy Carter.
Let’s hope Graham’s declaration is further investigated and the truth exposed about what influences are at work in Washington – both at the Capitol and the White House.
Tea Party Re-Creates Politically Incorrect Version of “Coexist” Bumper Sticker – The Result is EPIC!
By Jason W. Stevens
How many times have you seen the popular “Coexist” bumper sticker? It seems to be just about everywhere nowadays.
The point that the image is trying to make is that peoples of all faiths should tolerate one another and get along in peace. I don’t necessarily disagree with that message.
Of course, members of all the various faiths depicted, except one, already practice toleration as it is. They don’t need to be told to “coexist.”
The image was created in the first place because some members of one particular group refuse to coexist with others. So, the bumper sticker tells us that we must tolerate those who refuse to extend the blessing of toleration to others.
From Mad World News:
We’re all familiar with the term “coexist,” which our friends on the left love to preach we need to do in order to stop the ever-growing threat of radical Islam, and we likely all agree that it’s the biggest load of bologna imaginable. Well, a member of the Tea Party decided to create a short video that shows the inherent flaw in the left’s never-ending plight to get us to tolerate people who would gladly chop our heads off…
TPNN first published the roughly 30-second animation, and it’s a comical way to show a very serious problem we face in the world – the “religion of peace” isn’t exactly as peaceful as we’re told. …
See also this.
The Tea Party isn’t being fooled. Their clever politically incorrect spin on the “Coexist” image is now taking the internet by storm.
You know those people; the ones riding around with that Coexist bumper sticker on their car, right next to the Obama Biden one.
They’re the same folks who regularly assert that Islam is a “Religion of Peace” and “Can’t we just all get along?”
A tea party supporter has come up with a brilliant video, demonstrating for these naive peaceniks exactly what radical Muslims think about coexisting with the rest of us infidels.
Watch the short 30 second video below and let us know what you think! Is it pretty accurate?
Pentagon walks back plans for spring offensive against ISIS stronghold Mosul
February 28, 2015 by RT
Facing criticism, the Pentagon announced it has pushed back plans by Iraqis to mount a major attack to regain Mosul from the Islamic State. The Pentagon now says the assault might occur in the fall, but even that date is tenuous.
According to a new report by the Daily Beast, military officials said Friday it is more realistic for Iraqi and Kurdish troops to try and retake Mosul from the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) in the fall.
“I can’t put a date certain…nor say April is out,” said Defense Department spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby to the website. “I don’t think we are there yet. There are gaps and seams that need to be closed.”
A group within the US government pushed for a spring offensive out of concern that the next opportunity to launch such a campaign would not be until the fall, but policymakers were trumped by concerns that Iraqi forces were nowhere near ready for an attack.
Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday that it would be “six to nine months, best estimate” before Iraqi forces could launch a counter-offensive against ISIS.
“It is an Iraqi decision but we don’t want to do anything until they are ready and can win decisively,” a military official told the Daily Beast. “They cannot now.”
Earlier this month, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) briefed reporters on a plan to retake the northern city of Mosul, an ISIS stronghold, with the US providing air support for Iraqi and Kurdish troops in the “April, May timeframe.” The goal was to capture the city before Ramadan began on June 17.
Iraqi officials and prominent Republican Senators were stunned the offensive was being telegraphed in advance to the enemy. They were equally appalled when Pentagon officials leaked specifics of the number of fights and configuration – “five Iraqi brigades and three brigades of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters composing a total force of 25,000 troops.”
Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled Obeidi, in a televised briefing this week, wouldn’t confirm the timeline.
“This is urban warfare and we have civilian populations. It is very important to take time and accuracy in setting the plan for this battle,” said Obeidi.
Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) blasted CENTCOM’s announcement in a letter to President Barack Obama, calling the disclosure a risk to “the success of our mission, but could also cost the lives of US, Iraqi and coalition forces.”
New Docs Reveal Osama bin Laden’s Secret Ties With Iran
Show availability of Iran for al Qaeda training, plotting.
February 27, 2015 by Thomas Joscelyn
This week, prosecutors in New York introduced eight documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan as evidence in the trial of a terrorism suspect. The U.S. government accuses Abid Naseer of taking part in al Qaeda’s scheme to attack targets in Europe and New York City. And prosecutors say the documents are essential for understanding the scope of al Qaeda’s plotting.
More than 1 million documents and files were captured by the Navy Seals who raided bin Laden’s safe house in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011. One year later, in May 2012, the Obama administration released just 17 of them.
While there is some overlap between the files introduced as evidence in Brooklyn and those that were previously made public in 2012, much of what is in the trial exhibits had never been made public before.
The files do not support the view, promoted by some in the Obama administration, that bin Laden was in “comfortable retirement,” “sidelined,” or “a lion in winter” in the months leading up to his death. On the contrary, bin Laden is asked to give his order on a host of issues, ranging from the handling of money to the movement of terrorist operatives.
Some of the key revelations in the newly-released bin Laden files relate to al Qaeda’s dealings with Iran and presence in Afghanistan.
A top al Qaeda operative asked bin Laden for permission to relocate to Iran in June 2010 as he plotted attacks around the world. That operative, Yunis al Mauritani, was a senior member of al Qaeda’s so-called “external operations” team, and plotted to launch Mumbai-style attacks in Europe.
As THE WEEKLY STANDARD first reported, the al Qaeda cell selected to take part in al Mauritani’s plot transited through Iran and some of its members received safe haven there after the planned attacks were thwarted.
In the memo to bin Laden, a top al Qaeda manager wrote, “Sheikh Yunis is ready to move and travel.” The file continues: “The destination, in principle, is Iran, and he has with him 6 to 8 brothers that he chose. I told him we are waiting for final complete confirmation from you to move, and agree on this destination (Iran). His plan is: stay around three months in Iran to train the brothers there then start moving them and distributing them in the world for their missions and specialties. He explained those to you in his report and plan.”
Bin Laden’s reply is apparently not included in the documents.
Other intelligence recovered in the raid on the al Qaeda master’s home show that al Qaeda and Iran were at odds in some ways. Iran detained a number of senior al Qaeda leaders and members of Osama bin Laden’s family. Al Qaeda forced Iran to release some of them by kidnapping an Iranian diplomat in Pakistan. Some of the newly-released files provide hints of these disagreements as well, including a suggestion that one of bin Laden’s sons may complain about the jihadists’ treatment in Iran once he was freed.
The same June 2010 memo to bin Laden that includes Yunis al Mauritani’s request also includes a section on the al Qaeda leaders who had returned to Pakistan from Iran. One of them is Abu Anas al Libi, a bin Laden lieutenant who was captured in Tripoli in 2013. Upon being freed, al Libi was reassigned to al Qaeda’s security committee and asked to move to Libya to take part in the anti-Qaddafi revolution. Al Qaeda granted al Libi’s request.
Although Iran and al Qaeda have had significant differences, there is much intelligence showing that the two continue to collude.
During President Obama’s administration, the Treasury and State Departments have repeatedly exposed the formerly “secret deal” between the Iranian regime and al Qaeda that allows the terrorist organization to shuttle operatives around the globe. Some of those operatives included Yunis al Mauritani’s men.
The June 2010 memo to bin Laden indicates that al Qaeda had a significant presence in Afghanistan at the time.
“Our groups inside Afghanistan are the same as for every season for many years now,” bin Laden’s subordinate wrote. “We have groups in Bactria, Bactica, Khost, Zabul, Ghazni and Warduk in addition to the battalion in Nuristan and Kunz.” (Bactria and Bactica may be transliterated incorrectly and actually reference other provinces.)
“We have very strong military activity in Afghanistan, many special operations, and the Americans and NATO are being hit hard,” the memo continues.
The author, who is likely Atiyyah Abd al Rahman (later killed in a U.S. drone strike), says that al Qaeda had recently cooperated with the Haqqani Network in a major operation in Bagram. “We cooperated with Siraj Haqqani and other commander down there (Kabul/Bagram),” Rahman writes to bin Laden. Siraj’s father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, was one of bin Laden’s closest allies. The Haqqani network and al Qaeda have fought side-by-side for years and the Haqqanis continue to provide shelter for al Qaeda’s men in northern Pakistan.
Al Qaeda’s description of its own presence in Afghanistan is directly at odds with the assessments made by U.S. military and intelligence officials, who have portrayed the group as having only a small number of fighters and being geographically isolated.
Other revelations include the following:
Senior al Qaeda leaders discussed potential negotiations with Al Jazeera over the copyrights for the jihadists’ propaganda films and footage. Al Qaeda also wanted to play a significant role in an upcoming documentary produced by the channel.
Al Qaeda believed the British were ready to cut a deal to get out of Afghanistan. If al Qaeda left the Brits alone, one file contends, the UK was willing to pull out from the country.
Al Qaeda was in direct contact with Al Tayyib Agha, a Taliban leader who has served as Mullah Omar’s emissary. The U.S. government has held direct talks with Agha in an attempt to broker a peace deal in Afghanistan. The Taliban has rejected the goals of those talks, however.
Al Qaeda was monitoring the situation in Libya, and noted that the “brothers” in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) were operating in Benghazi, Derna and elsewhere in eastern Libya. Members of the LIFG went on to help form Ansar al Sharia in Derna and other al Qaeda-linked groups, some of which took part in the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack.
Bin Laden advised his subordinates that they should contact Abu Mohammad al Maqdisi, a well-known jihadist ideologue, to see if Maqdisi would agree to have one of his books shortened before being more widely disseminated. Bin Laden’s words show how much respect he had for Maqdisi. The Jordanians have routinely imprisoned Maqdisi, but recently let him out of detention so that he could denounce the Islamic State, which has emerged as al Qaeda’s rival. This shows how al Qaeda is using the Islamic State to portray itself as being more moderate.
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
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