Report details torture of ISIS hostages before beheadings

ISIS brutalityFox News — The four hostages known to have been beheaded earlier this year by the Islamic State militant group in Syria suffered severe physical torture before their deaths, according to a published report.

The New York Times says that hostages were severely beaten, starved, underwent mock executions, and were even waterboarded by their captors. The paper reports that the American and British hostages, including beheaded journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning were singled out for the worst torture, largely because Washington and London have refused to pay the ransoms provided by other Western governments. The Times claims that the waterboarding was so dreaded by the hostages that their fellow prisoners were relieved if they came back from an encounter with their guards covered in blood.

“It was when there was no blood,” a former cellmate told the paper, “that we knew he had suffered something even worse.”

The Times report cites five former hostages, local residents who assisted the Westerners in the region prior to their capture, relatives of the captives and a former member of Islamic State, commonly known as ISIS.

The report also notes that Foley, whose recorded beheading shocked the world when it was released by ISIS in August of this year, converted to Islam while in captivity and adopted the name Abu Hamza. Former hostages told the Times that many of the Western hostages converted to Islam, though most only pretended to do so under duress. However, the former hostages claim that Foley’s conversion was genuine, as was that of Peter Kassig, a former Army Ranger who adopted the name Abdul Rahman. Kassig has been named by his ISIS captors as the next person to die after the beheading of Henning earlier this month.

One hostage who apparently did not convert was Sotloff, who The Times reports continued to observe his Jewish faith, including on Yom Kippur, when he fasted.

In the initial months after the capture of Foley and John Cantile in November 2012, the Times reports that the group were passed from group to group in the midst of Syria’s bloody civil war. It was not until earlier this year that ISIS in its current form assumed oversight of a group of 23 Western hostages, 19 men and four women. Eventually, the other European hostages were ransomed or released by their governments.

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PM Netanyahu at the opening of the Knesset winter session: “We will succeed.”

27 Oct 2014

Violence is not the result of building in Jerusalem. It is the result of our enemy’s desire that we not be here at all. For this reason, since the birth of Zionism, building has been the natural and decisive answer to those who plot against our existence and want to uproot us from our land.

PM Netanyahu addresses the Knesset winter session Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon

PM Netanyahu addresses the Knesset winter session
Copyright: GPO/Kobi Gideon

The last time I stood here was before Operation Protective Edge. During that operation to defend against criminal terrorist attacks, the State of Israel showed the entire world what decisiveness, force and unity are. These values found supreme expression among the people and the army and above all in our soldiers who were injured, our soldiers who fell and their families.

…There are those who tell us, “Give up land ahead of time, draw a map and only later determine the security and other arrangements. It’ll be fine!” And I ask them, “It’ll be fine? Like it was fine after we withdrew from Gaza? Like it was fine after we withdrew from Lebanon?” I am not a prime minister for whom the phrase “it’ll be fine” is enough. I ask a simple question: What is the point of defining a border if we do not know what country we will get on the other side of that border? Will we get another Gaza? Another Iran? Or perhaps we will get several sub-states, raging, stormy countries, as is happening right now in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, almost everywhere. Perhaps some ISIS republic?

I know that these questions do not concern various parties in the international community and apparently in our national community here. I know they do not concern parliamentarians in Europe, but as the Prime Minister of Israel responsible for the well-being of eight million citizens of Israel, they concern me incessantly.

And with regard to security, I am not willing to compromise. I am not willing to make do with vague statements about commitments to Israel’s security, statements that have no practical validity in reality. Because what will determine the outcome is not pretty words on paper, but rather the soldiers in the field.

So I ask: Who will these soldiers be? Who will prevent the manufacturing of rockets in Nablus and Jenin? Who will prevent the digging of terror tunnels from Tulkarm and Qalqilya towards Israeli cities? Certainly not UNIFIL. According to you, which forces will ensure the peace and prevent terror attacks from the territories vacated? That is the question. Well, I think you will agree with me that it will not be UNIFIL. UNIFIL was supposed to prevent the arming of Hezbollah after our withdrawal from Lebanon and Hezbollah has armed itself ten times over. It will certainly not be UNDOF, which abandoned its positions in the Golan Heights and escaped to Israel. By the way, I am not complaining about any of these bodies. It is not their job to fight terrorist armies. It is not their mission or in their skillset.

But the question is: who can we trust? Well, there are those who say – and I hear it here – perhaps we can trust the Palestinian Authority’s security forces. These are the same forces that were defeated within hours, days, several days, by the terrorist forces of Hamas. This is reality and therefore I do not think I am saying anything you haven’t already heard before when I say that in defending Israel, there is no replacement for the soldiers of the IDF. This is a simple fact and it is joined by another fact: Over the past 20 years, since the rise of radical Islam, any territory we vacated was seized by these forces who attack us from the territories we left.

… However, even when looking at all these challenges, I am not overcome with pessimism. I am not pessimistic at all because I see our strength; I see our progress; I see the fact that Israel is a modern, civilized and advanced country whose strength increases from year to year.

I see it in our breaking into new markets – in China, India, Japan. I see it in the Tel Aviv skyline, in our roads, in our trains, in the junctions and bridges we are building across the country to connect the Galilee and the Negev to the center of the country. I see it in the optic fibers we are laying from Metullah to Eilat. I see it in the fact that Israel is becoming a global cyber power. Nearly 10% of all investments in this area around the world are made in Israel and that is amazing. I see it in the fact that our unemployment rates are the lowest in the world. And I see it in the fact that Israel is the only country that succeeded in stopping illegal infiltration across its borders. I see it in the development and equipping of the Iron Dome system, which changed the face of the military campaign and saved many lives. I see that there are still problems, but I believe that that same strength will allow us to do all these things, to withstand all campaigns, including last summer’s. That same strength will allow us to overcome these problems, and one of the most important of them is the cost of living.

… These are our two greatest challenges: To protect life and to improve the quality of life – security, prosperity, welfare and peace. These are our missions and together, I hope with your help as well, but certainly with God’s, we will succeed.

Click here for full speech.

Egypt gives residents on Gaza border 48 hours to leave

This is the main front page headline of every newspaper in the world, right?? It definitely would be if it said “Israel” instead of “Egypt.”

Times of Israel (Oct 28) — Locals ask officials to extend deadline, as army prepares to destroy homes to build buffer zone after deadly attack.

Egyptian army soldiers seen in a watchtower on the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip, July 2013. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Egyptian army soldiers seen in a watchtower on the Rafah border with the Gaza Strip, July 2013. (photo credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Egyptian authorities on Tuesday ordered residents living along the country’s eastern border with the Gaza Strip to evacuate so they can demolish their homes and set up a buffer zone to stop weapons and militant trafficking between Egypt and the Palestinian territory, officials said.

The measure comes four days after Islamist fighters attacked an army post, killing at least 31 soldiers in the restive area in the northeastern corner of the Sinai Peninsula. After the attack, Egypt declared a state of emergency and dawn-to-dusk curfew there. Authorities also indefinitely closed the Gaza crossing, the only non-Israeli passage for the crowded strip with the world.

The buffer zone, which will include water-filled trenches to thwart tunnel diggers, will be 500 meters (yards) wide and extended along the 13 kilometer (9 mile) border.

Army officers spoke to the affected residents in person and initially gave them a 48-hour ultimatum to leave, but put that on hold after they protested, officials said. Residents groups are now negotiating with local officials to see if they can extend the deadline.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

The Egyptian army has waged a broad offensive in northern Sinai against Islamist groups, who have turned several areas into strongholds over the past three years, destroying many of the sprawling smuggling tunnels that connected the area with Gaza.

Egyptian media meanwhile has accused Gaza’s Hamas rulers of meddling in Egypt’s affairs, with some suggesting that the Islamic terror group is supporting fighters inside Egypt since the military overthrew Egypt’s elected president, the Islamist Mohammed Morsi, last year.

Hamas officials deny any interference and criticize Egypt for imposing stricter border crossing rules since then.

Since Morsi’s ouster, attacks against security forces in northern Sinai have escalated, something Egyptian authorities blame on Morsi and his allies. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group, which has been branded a terrorist organization in Egypt, denied links to violence. Another al-Qaida-inspired group called Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks.

No one claimed responsibility for Friday’s attack on the army post.

Click here for full article.

Rouhani adviser: Islamic State crisis coupled with US’s ‘weakest president’ could mean nuclear deal

Negotiating team member quoted by Iranian media says deadline extension not on the table.

ShowImageJerusalem Post (Oct 28) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s adviser, Ali Younesi, said that the combination of the Islamic State crisis and “the weakest president the US has ever had” provide an opportunity for a nuclear agreement on its terms.

According to a report by MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute), Iran’s pragmatic camp, led by Rouhani’s mentor Hashemi Rafsanjani, is “pressuring the Obama administration to reach a comprehensive agreement with Iran on the latter’s terms.”

According to this view, “the Obama administration desperately needs a substantial achievement to show for its term in office, and therefore this is the time to pressure it.”

Younesi, Rouhani’s adviser on religious minorities, told Iran’s Fars News Agency earlier this month: “I am not so optimistic about the nuclear negotiations, but both sides do want it to yield results. The Americans want this more than other countries. Some ostensibly friendly countries, like Russia and China, do not want it to yield results at all…

[but] America does, because, if Obama fails to achieve this, he will have no achievements whatsoever.”

Younesi went on to add, “Obama is the weakest president the US has ever had, because he has suffered humiliating defeat in this region, and his term in office saw the coming of the Islamic awakening that dealt the Americans the greatest defeat.”

“It is during Obama’s term in office that terrorism spread to the greatest extent. During these eight years, America suffered immense defeat, and that is why he wants to reach an agreement [with Iran]. But he is very influenced by the Congress and the Zionist lobby… ” Younesi then said, according to the report, “ISIS [Islamic State] poses a great danger to the Islamic world and to the world at large. We must minimize this danger and force the Americans to meet our demands in the nuclear agreement, in a manner that guarantees the interests of the Islamic Republic.”

“If this does not happen during Obama’s term, who knows when [such an opportunity] will come again,” commented Younesi.

Click here for full article.

Spain’s former PM: Recognising a Palestinian state will thwart peace

By José María Aznar, former PM of Spain, for The Times (Oct 26):

“Recognising a Palestinian state now will thwart hopes for peace”

Hamas and Islamic State are part of the same Islamist front

The Palestinian state doesn’t exist yet and the only structures in place that may resemble a functioning state are controlled by the terrorist group Hamas.

Nevertheless many countries are today indulging in a “recognition now” policy towards a putative Palestine.

On October 3 the Swedish government announced that it would recognise Palestine as a state. And the British parliament voted on October 13 to approve a motion recognising Palestine “alongside Israel”. Although more than half of MPs did not cast a vote, the result was conclusive: 274 to 12.

We should expect similar moves to these across Europe. No matter how well intentioned these initiatives are, recognising a Palestinian state now is inappropriate, counterproductive and unwarranted. It will not promote peace and it will not boost a negotiated solution. This is why: First, recognising Palestine will induce the Palestinians to stray from a negotiated solution, given the fact that a hard line has got them this far.

Second, feel-good statements will not change reality on the ground; rather they will encourage the Palestinian Authority to continue a static strategy in the negotiations — thereby promoting stalemate in the talks. The Oslo Accords, signed by both sides, commit them to negotiation as the way to reach an agreement.

Declarations such as these will only turn the path outlined by Oslo into a chimera, pre-empting the peace it is supposed to produce.

Third, these initiatives unfairly put pressure only on Israel. The Jewish state, harassed by neighbours and terrorist groups, has persistently offered concessions to achieve a fair agreement, only to see the Authority refuse any compromise.

It was Mahmoud Abbas who failed to accept the recent US framework document accepted by Israel. It was Mr Abbas who demanded unacceptable concessions from Jerusalem, and it was Mr Abbas who reached a unity agreement with Hamas, just three months before the Islamist group began a massive series of rocket attacks on Israeli cities.

Fourth, Israel is today a bulwark against jihadism and western countries need the support of Israel against this and other threats to global security. Recognising Palestine as a state is also an implicit approval of the agreement reached by Fatah and Hamas. As Hamas and Isis are parts of the same Islamist front, the West should not legitimise an entity that would be formed by one of them…

José María Aznar is a former prime minister of Spain and founder of the Friends of Israel Initiative. The full article and a list of signatories can be found at

NYC police commissioner: Hatchet attack by convert to Islam was terror

HatchetmanJihadWatch (Oct 25) — The question of what is or is not terrorism is one giant distraction that takes up far too much time. The real question that matters is, was this a jihad attack, motivated by the Islamic jihad doctrine that is held and taught by mainstream Islamic authorities. But this is an important step nonetheless — much better than calling this jihad attack “workplace violence” or dismissing Zale Thompson as mentally ill and letting the whole thing go at that. And of course in this and many other contexts, to call it a terror attack is tantamount to admitting that it was a jihad attack, for jihad is the great enemy of freedom and of the United States that cannot and must not be named, on pain of charges of “racism” and “Islamophobia.”

“NYC police commissioner: Hatchet attack was terror,” by Tom Hays, Associated Press, October 24, 2014:

NEW YORK — New York City police Commissioner William Bratton says the hatchet attack on four rookie officers was a terrorist act by a homegrown radical.

Bratton said Friday the suspect, Zale Thompson, was a Muslim convert who ranted online against America, but had no clear ties to international terrorism. He believes Thompson was self-radicalized.

Thompson was killed by police. One officer is hospitalized with a head wound.

Bratton says investigators are trying to determine whether the attack was planned.

Police are examining Thompson’s computer for clues. Bratton says investigators found that Thompson browsed for organized terror groups, as well as beheadings and the shooting in Canada earlier this week.

Authorities also are trying to determine if Thompson had any history of mental illness. But Bratton says he is comfortable calling it a “terrorist attack.”

Click here for original source.

Abbas toughens law against Palestinians selling land to Jews

Following East Jerusalem acquisitions, PA ups penalty to hard labor for life; Fatah spokesman calls land solicitors ‘traitors destined to die a humiliating death’

Beit Yehonatan, a building acquired by Ateret Kohanim in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.

Beit Yehonatan, a building acquired by Ateret Kohanim in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.

Times of Israel (Oct 22) — Reacting to a number of high profile sales of Palestinian homes to Jewish organizations in East Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has toughened the penalty for citizens selling property to Israelis.

According to the official Palestinian Wafa news agency, Abbas on Monday imposed a sentence of hard labor for life on “anyone diverting, renting or selling land to an enemy state or one of its subjects.”

Jordan’s penal code number 16 article 114, applicable in the Palestinian territories, previously subscribed “temporary hard labor” to perpetrators of the crime.

Palestinian government and civil society reacted angrily to the recent acquisition of 26 apartments in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan by Elad, an Israeli foundation dedicated to the settlement of Jews in the historic City of David.

On Sunday night, Jews entered 10 apartments in two buildings bought by another Israeli nonprofit, Ateret Kohanim, in a different part of the neighborhood.

The Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported the buildings were sold by their owners to a man named Shams al-Din al-Qawasmi, who sold them to Jewish groups.

An Ateret Kohanim spokesperson said the nonprofit facilitated the purchase on behalf of an overseas company called Kudram. Haaretz reported the purchases were made through a straw man.

In the closing statement of a conference Monday night, Fatah’s Revolutionary Council accused Palestinians who sold their Jerusalem Palestinian properties of “high treason,” calling on the government and legal system to “take the necessary steps to deter them.”

The movement also called on the public to “boycott and humiliate them on all popular levels.” Abbas’s decision was issued immediately afterward.

“Those whose sick souls allowed them to sell their land or homes, or enable such sales to the enemies of the Palestinian people, are a gang of traitors to their nation and religion,” said Fatah spokesman Osama al-Qawasmi in a statement published by Wafa. “They have brought shame and scorn upon themselves in this world and in the afterlife.”

“One would rather die than sell his honor and betray the most sacred land in the world, saturated with the blood of prophets and martyrs throughout history,” he added. “Those traitors are destined to die a humiliating death.”

Click here for full article.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad salute Jerusalem terror attack that killed 3-month old infant

Israeli policemen inspect a car wreck in JerusalemJerusalem Post (Oct 23) — Hamas and Islamic Jihad hailed Wednesday’s terrorist act by an east Jerusalem resident who rammed his car into a crowd of commuters at a light rail station, killing a three-month old infant and injuring seven others.

“The attack in Jerusalem is an act of heroism and a natural response to the crimes of the occupation against our people and our holy places,” said Mushir al-Masri, a senior Hamas spokesperson.

“The attack in Jerusalem is a natural response to what is taking place in the city, given the harassment and overall attacks of Judaization affecting our holy places and Muslims,” said another Hamas official, Salah Baradwil.

Hamas warned that the latest developments may augur the next “Palestinian intifada in Jerusalem.”

Islamic Jihad released an official statement on Thursday through its military wing, the Al-Quds Brigade, saying: “There is Zionist aggression against all of our people, and today the resistance responded to this attack. This is a natural right.”

“This attack is a strong response to the Israeli occupation, whose crimes are unable to break the resistance,” the organization said.

Both Hamas and Islamic Jihad called on the Palestinian Authority to “halt its security coordination with Israel and to act in resistance in the West Bank.”

The two groups also praised the residents of east Jerusalem “for their fierce stance against the crimes of the occupation.”

Click here for full article.

Pat Condell: Boo Hoo Palestine

The biggest political con trick in history, and we fall for it again
and again.

YouTube Preview Image

Published on Oct 20, 2014

Hamas: Peace is Zionist baloney. Permanent war until the Jews are gone…

Hamas TV: Have no mercy on any Israeli civilian…

Fatah central committee member urges destruction of Israel and turning blind eye to terrorists…

PA religious official public calls for genocide of Jews…

Sweden to recognise “Palestine”…

The UK Parliament in a non-binding vote to recognise “Palestine”…

Fatah spokesman: Hamas stole $700 million destined for Gaza…

Meet the Hamas billionaires…

Hamas: Journalists who tried to tell the truth about Gaza were deported…

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Israel’s minister of intelligence: Don’t Make a Bad Deal With Iran

By Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s minister of intelligence, for the New York Times (Oct 20):

.JERUSALEM — Israel is deeply concerned about the trajectory of the ongoing negotiations concerning Iran’s nuclear program. The talks are moving in the wrong direction, especially on the core issue of uranium enrichment.

Although Iran has modified its tone recently, there have hardly been any changes of substance since the soft-spoken president, Hassan Rouhani, took over the reins from his aggressive predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Neither administration has budged from the insistence that Iran should retain most of the 9,400 operational centrifuges it deploys to enrich uranium, as well as its nearly completed nuclear reactor in Arak, which could produce plutonium in the future.

Iran has softened its inflammatory anti-Western rhetoric and shown some flexibility on less important issues but we must not be duped by these gestures. President Obama must stand by his declaration that no deal with Iran is better than a bad deal.

Israel also worries that the ongoing campaign against the Islamic State will come at the expense of the critical struggle against Iran’s nuclear program.

Fighting the Islamic State is vital and Israel unequivocally supports the global effort to prevent the formation of a new Islamic caliphate in the Middle East. But even more important is the imperative to preclude the already existing Islamic Republic of Iran — with its infamous track record of sponsoring terrorist groups, abusing human rights, calling for Israel’s destruction, and lying unabashedly for almost 20 years about its nuclear program — from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability.

Many experts argue that because a deal with Iran would necessarily include some restrictions on the Iranian nuclear project, an imperfect agreement is better than no agreement. They are wrong.

That’s because Iran has already made considerable progress in its attempt to advance toward nuclear weapons. An agreement that allows Iran to continue circling in a holding pattern will resemble what happened with North Korea after the 2007 agreement left large parts of Pyongyang’s nuclear capabilities intact, which enabled the North Koreans to produce several nuclear weapons in the following years. Under such conditions, nothing will stop Iran’s mullahs from landing, sooner or later, at their ultimate destination.

Second, a flawed deal would hand Iran practical advantages in return for almost nothing. In return for an insignificant and temporary reduction of its enrichment capacities, Iran stands to reap $100 billion per year when the sanctions are lifted; gain formal legitimacy for its uranium enrichment activities; and, despite its history of nuclear fraud and concealment, preserve the capability to produce nuclear weapons at a time it deems appropriate. Three factors will determine the breakout time needed for Iran to produce nuclear weapons: the quantity and quality of its remaining operational centrifuges; the amount of 3.5 percent enriched uranium that it is permitted to stockpile; and the final destiny of its remaining centrifuges and their infrastructure. The international community must have full and complete clarity on these fundamental issues.

Finally, a bad deal would pave the road to nuclear proliferation and herald the dawn of a nuclear arms race in the unstable Middle East. Other countries in the region will rush to build equivalent enrichment programs, which the international community will no longer be able to resist in good conscience, and which will drastically increase the risk of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of radical Islamists.

This actually leaves the negotiators with only two real options at the moment: a bad deal, or no deal at all. Barring a surprising change in Iran’s negotiating stance, there is zero chance of reaching a satisfactory good deal before the Nov. 24 deadline.

Choosing the “no deal” option will very likely produce extra pressure — including some new sanctions — on Iran and, subsequently, might pave the way for a better deal in the near future.

Standing our moral ground will transmit a clear message to the leaders in Tehran that the only way to escape mounting pressure will be through ultimately making the necessary significant compromises.

Not reaching a nuclear deal at this stage must not be considered a failure. It can even be regarded a qualified success, since it would represent the integrity of an international community adhering to its principles rather than sacrificing the future of global security because it is distracted by the worthy fight against Islamic State terrorists.

The 2003 war in Iraq came at the expense of blocking a greater threat: Iran’s nuclear project, which was then only in its embryonic stage. The international community must not repeat this mistake in 2014. The Islamic Republic of Iran remains the world foremost threat. We must guarantee that it never obtains nuclear weapons.

Click here for original source.

On outskirts of Baghdad, Islamic State’s advances raise tensions

ISIS-KurdsWashington Post (Oct 17) — About 14 miles from Baghdad International Airport, a mortar shell landed with a thud. A second followed, closer, and then a third struck across the Iraqi army’s lines, as the Islamic State militants zeroed in on their target.

The volley of mortar fire outside the Baghdad suburb of Abu Ghraib this week was not unusual in itself; Islamic State fighters and the Iraqi army have regularly exchanged fire in this area for months. But now, officials worry that gains by the extremist group in neighboring Anbar province will provide momentum for an assault on the outskirts of the capital.

Mortar shells fired by the Islamic State have already fallen in central Baghdad in recent weeks, and suicide bombings have picked up pace — a wave of blasts killed at least 50 people in and around Baghdad on Thursday, local media reported. While the army is holding its ground around the capital’s perimeter, Abu Ghraib is seen as a weak point, and sympathy for the radical fighters is growing here, residents say, because of the heavy-handed actions of Shiite militias.

Despite U.S. and allied airstrikes intended to crush them, the Sunni extremists have been steadily consolidating power in the majority-Sunni province to the west. Islamic State fighters continued to advance Thursday, closing in on the Anbar town of Amriyat al-Fallujah, one of the last in the province still controlled by the government. Local officials begged the government to send reinforcements, warning that the town could be overrun in a matter of hours.

‘The gate of Baghdad’

“If Anbar falls, it’s going to have a huge impact, for us and all Baghdad,” Gen. Ali al-Majidi, a commander with the Iraqi army’s 6th Division, said Tuesday as he visited troops on the front line near Abu Ghraib. “This is the gate of Baghdad; if they took this area, they could mortar the airport.”

Iraqi officials complain that media reports claiming that the Islamic State has advanced on Baghdad through Abu Ghraib are inflammatory. But there is no doubt the security situation around the capital is precarious.

On Oct. 1, four mortar shells struck inside the Green Zone, a fortified area in central Baghdad filled with foreign embassies and government buildings, according to a U.S. Embassy security official, who declined to be identified. The rounds fell a few hundred yards from the U.S. Embassy and followed another mortar attack a week earlier, he said.

Brig. Gen. Saad Maan, spokesman for Baghdad Operations Command, confirmed that mortar fire had hit inside the Green Zone but said the shells landed on “empty space without any buildings.” He declined to give further details but said an investigation was underway to determine its source. He stressed that there have been no further incidents.

But Islamic State mortaring is becoming increasingly frequent, with five rounds targeting the Shiite neighborhood of Shula on Thursday, according to security officials. The Shiite neighborhood of Kadhimiyah has also come under mortar fire in recent weeks…

Click here for full article.

Group claims ISIS has taken to the air

isis-syria-pilots-training.siCBS News (Oct 18) — A new report says the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants are taking to the sky.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a U.K.-based organization which relies on an extensive network of sources and activists inside Syria, claims defected Iraqi military officers are teaching members of the terror group how to fly three commandeered fighter jets.

SOHR’s sources say jets have been seen flying low over Syria’s province, reports CBS News correspondent Holly Williams. ISIS did overrun and seize control of the al-Jarah air base in rural Aleppo, but it isn’t clear how long ago.

“The people who live in the nearby areas of the airbase of al Jarrah informed SOHR activists that they saw a warplane taking off from al Jarrah airbase and flying at a low altitude over the area. It is worth mentioning that it is not the first time that the people witness an aircraft flying at a low altitude after taking off from al Jarrah airbase,” said SOHR in its online report.

However, the U.S. military said on Friday it was unaware of ISIS flying fighter jets “in Syria or elsewhere,” Reuters reported.

“We continue to keep a close eye on ISIL activity in Syria and Iraq and will continue to conduct strikes against their equipment, facilities, fighters and centers of gravity, wherever they may be,” said Central Command spokesman Colonel Patrick Ryder, using another acronym for ISIS.

The Syrian army has reportedly conducted airstrikes on the facility in recent days, which could explain some of the reports of low-flying aircraft.

The claim from the SOHR comes a day after a series of terror attacks in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, where ISIS militants are still inflicting deadly damage.

At least 50 people were killed in the Iraqi capital Thursday in a series of car bombs carried out by ISIS, as well as a mortar attack on a residential area.

In Syria, however, the battle for the key border town of Kobani has taken a new turn.

Just a few days ago ISIS was in control of a third of the town, but after intense U.S.-led airstrikes, including 53 over the last three days, there are reports that the militants are retreating.

Local Syrian fighters tell us they’ve begun coordinating the airstrikes with the U.S.

Kobani is strategically important — it lies on the Turkish-Syrian border which is a conduit for smuggled weapons and fighters. But it’s also become a very public test of whether U.S.-led airstrikes can be effective in halting the advance of ISIS militants.

Click here for original source.

What Naval Battle Happened on This Day Over 400 Years Ago That Buck Sexton Says ‘Cannot’ Be Forgotten?

TheBlaze (Oct 8) — You may not know about the Battle of Lepanto, but TheBlaze Radio’s Buck Sexton believes it ”belongs in the pantheon of great victories alongside Marathon, Actium, Waterloo [and] Yorktown.”

On Tuesday, Sexton aired a two-hour special on the naval battle, saying Americans cannot allow it to be forgotten.

“Some have said it is the most important naval battle in history,” he said. “And yet it has faded away in our modern memories like an ancient shipwreck, slowly breaking apart and disintegrating beneath the endless rhythmic pull of the warm Mediterranean sea above.”

“We cannot allow it to be forgotten. We will not,” he said. “Gather around, for I wish to tell you a tale. Today, October 7th, is the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto — a gargantuan struggle on the sea that changed the course of events in the 16th century.”

Sexton explained that at the Battle of Lepanto, Christendom was saved “from extinction at the hands of the Islamic conquest.”

On Oct. 7, 1571, the united fleet of Christendom “risked all against the vast military hordes of the Ottoman Empire” off the coast of Greece, he said.

“The victor-take-all struggle — cross against crescent, jihad against crusade — was a fight for domination of the Mediterranean,” Sexton continued. “And with it, the naval and commercial power that would come to define the world for centuries.”

“Lepanto — a day when the fate of the West, and thus the world — was decided,” Sexton remarked. “And it all rested on the shoulders of the dashing, illegitimate son of the Holy Roman Emperor — one of the central heroes of our tale — Don Juan of Austria.”

Sexton told TheBlaze he chose to do a special on the naval battle because of its historical significance, but also because it “raises troubling questions that are still very relevant today given the growth of the so-called Islamic State and violence across the Middle East.”

“That the forces of the Christian West banded together to defeat the largest caliphate in history is a story everyone should know,” he said. “And now with our special presentation of the Buck Sexton Show on October 7th — they will.”

Listen to the complete special here.

Report: Beheading Plot Disrupted After Police Arrest Four Islamic Terrorists in London

U.K. Telegraph defense editor Con Coughlin appears on Fox News October 7, 2014. (Photo: Fox News)

U.K. Telegraph defense editor Con Coughlin appears on Fox News October 7, 2014. (Photo: Fox News)

TheBlaze (Oct 7) — Police in London have arrested four suspected Islamic terrorists in several raids throughout the British capital, and U.K. Telegraph defense editor Con Coughlin told Fox News that a plot to behead Londoners may have been foiled.

“This is a breaking story here in London, but the material that we have from Scotland Yard and the intelligence services is they have uncovered the first ISIS plot here in the U.K.,” Coughlin said on Fox News. “Basically, British jihadists coming back to London and wanting to carry out a plot, and I’m told the plot was to behead people on the streets of London.”

Police said Tuesday the four suspects are aged 20 and 21, and they were arrested on suspicion of preparing or instigating acts of terrorism.

“What I’m told about this plot is this group did recently come back from Syria, was planning to carry out beheadings — I say plural — on the streets of London in the next few days or so,” Coughlin remarked, adding that the situation is still fluid and the information may change.

The suspects remain in custody, and homes and vehicles in west and central London are being searched as part of what police called an ongoing investigation into Islamic-related terrorism.

The terror threat in the U.K. was recently raised to “severe” because of the increase in the number of Britons traveling to Syria to join up with the Islamic State group. The government has said the militant group plans to strike targets inside Britain.

Video from Fox News here.

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“Twice as many’ UK Muslims fighting for Islamic State than in UK armed forces

isis-video-still[1] — This is the fruit of the clueless and craven British authorities’ naive and suicidal assumption that all the Muslims in Britain, with the exception of a tiny minority of “extremists,” were all secular pluralists and loyal subjects of the British crown. They partnered with pro-Sharia, pro-jihad groups. They demonized foes of jihad terror and banned them from the country. Now they are just beginning to reap what they have sown for so many years.

“‘Twice as Many’ British Muslims Fighting for ISIS Than in UK Armed Forces,” by Madeline Grant and Damien Sharkov, Newsweek, August 20, 2014:

There are now more than twice as many British Muslims fighting for Islamic State than there are serving in the British armed forces, according to a British Member of Parliament (MP).

Khalid Mahmood, the MP for Perry Barr in Birmingham, estimates that at least 1,500 young British Muslims have been recruited by extremists fighting in Iraq and Syria in the last three years.

Mahmood told Newsweek that this figure had been building since the start of the Syrian conflict: “If you look across the whole of the country, and the various communities involved, 500 going over each year would be a conservative estimate.”

According to the Ministry of Defence, there are only around 600 British Muslims currently serving in the Armed Forces, making up approximately around 0.4% of total personnel. 4.3% of the British population are Muslim.

The UK Foreign Office said that they believe over 400 individuals have travelled to Syria since the uprising began, but said that they could not give exact numbers.

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Islamic State jihadists are using water as a weapon in Iraq

TS-Nic6367352-16871[1]Washington Post (Oct 7) — The Islamic State militants who have rampaged across northern Iraq are increasingly using water as a weapon, cutting off supplies to villages that resist their rule and pressing to expand their control over the country’s water infrastructure.

The threat is so critical that U.S. forces are bombing the jihadists close to the Mosul and Haditha dams — Iraq’s largest — on a near-daily basis. But the radical Islamists continue to menace both facilities, clashing Tuesday with Iraqi troops near the Haditha Dam.

The Sunni militants want to seize the dams to bolster their claim that they are building an actual state. They have already taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria and, as part of their latest offensive, have been besieging the Syrian town of Kobane in an effort to secure another piece of the border with Turkey. The U.S.-led coalition escalated its airstrikes Tuesday around Kobane, blunting the assailants’ offensive.

Controlling the dams is important because of their role in irrigating the country’s vast wheat fields and providing Iraqis with electricity. More ominously, the Islamic State has used its control of other water facilities — including as many as four dams along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers — to displace communities or deprive them of crucial water supplies.

The Islamic State “understands how powerful water is as a tool, and they are not afraid to use it,” said Michael Stephens, a Middle East expert at the Royal United Services Institute, a London-based security studies think tank.

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China and Iran to Conduct Joint Naval Exercises in the Persian Gulf

13920929000205_PhotoINY Times (Sep 21) — Two Chinese warships have docked at Iran’s principal naval port for the first time in history, Iranian admirals told state television on Sunday, adding that both countries would conduct four days of joint naval exercises.

On Sunday, Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, reported that Chinese Navy ships involved in protecting shipping in the Gulf of Aden stopped at an Iranian port on Saturday for a “friendly visit.” One of the vessels was the Changchun, a guided-missile destroyer, the report said.

The news agency posted images of one of the destroyers docking in the port of Bandar Abbas, where it was given a military welcome.

The Iranian and Chinese Navies were scheduled to start joint exercises on Monday, focusing on rescue missions, Iranian news media reported. China has been expanding the areas where its navy operates, most recently joining the effort to fight piracy in the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia.

The visit to Bandar Abbas is an example of the growing ties between China and Iran. China is already the principal buyer of Iranian oil, and Iran uses much of the profit to buy Chinese products, deals complicated by the international sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program.

The website of the Chinese Navy reported that this was the first visit to Iran by Chinese naval ships. The report did not mention any joint exercises.

A Chinese fleet commander, Rear Adm. Huang Xinjian, said the visit was intended to “deepen mutual understanding, and to enhance exchanges between our two countries’ navies.”

“I’m sure that this visit will encourage the constant advancement of friendly cooperation between our two countries’ navies,” Admiral Huang added.

His Iranian counterparts said drills would focus on safety at sea and the fight against piracy.

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ISIS Will Try for Tunisia Next

Tunisia is one night’s rapid sail from Italy and the situation there is beginning to resemble that of Iraq and Syria.

By Dr. Mordechai Kedar for (Oct 7) —

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena.

… Tunisia’s Interior Minister, Loutfi ben Jaddo, revealed that Al Qaeda has given its fighters in North Africa instructions to eliminate, yes, eliminate anyone who attempts to bring the idea of Islamic State to the region, whose control by Al Qaeda was unchallenged up to now. This echoes the bloody dispute going on between Jabhat al Nusra and Al Qaeda in Syria, a dispute whose victims are also the ordinary citizens that each attempts to entice to its side. The Tunisian government, and that of Jihad adherents, is convinced that a similar struggle on their soil will lead to mass murders as it has in Syria – not limited to the Tunisian borders with Libya in the east and Algeria in the west, but also inside the poverty stricken suburbs of its cities, whose residents are highly fundamentalist.

The most well known names among Al Qaeda supporters in the area are Abd al-malik Durkedal the Algerian and Louqman Abu Sakhr, the Tunisian. To their happiness, Islamic State has not officially declared its presence in Tunisia, but there are signs that more and more people are sympathetic to that entity. This is deduced from social media, where praise and awe at Islamic States’ accomplishments in Iraq and Syria are being posted, along with expressions identifying with its goals and the means used to achieve them.

The most immediate danger facing Tunisia comes from the hundreds of Tunisians who have returned from the Jihad fields of Syria and Iraq, having gained much experience in explosives, mine laying, terror and butchery, as well as being provided with additional training in the Libyan Jihad camps. If these returnees join Uqba ibn Nafi, they will turn it into the Tunisian branch of Islamic State. It is quite possible that this has already happened, because there has been a report that the Uqba ibn Nafi brigade has sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr, calling on him to “advance, cross the borders and destroy the thrones of the infidel despots everywhere.”

The Tunisian government has been fighting the Brigade from the day it began its activity in the mountainous areas on the Tunisian-Algerian border, especially Mount Ash-Shaʿnabī and succeeded in killing tens of soldiers and policemen. Destroying the organization is especially important in light of the government’s plans to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in October and November of this year.

… The Tunisian government is not a dictatorship, but it is in the main a game of political democracy, one in which the players are political parties, some of them secular liberals, some religious Islamic, with many of the politicians themselves steeped in corruption. That makes the system vulnerable and apt to crumble, and is the reason political crises have been frequent since President Ben Ali was deposed in January 2011.

Tunisia’s economy is shaky so that many sectors feel that democracy has not improved their personal and financial situations. The secular public still identifies with the country to a large extent, but those sectors closer to Islam tend to accept the Islamic solution to the ills of society and nation. The daylight between the Islamic solution and the Al Qaeda and Islamic State’s solution shrinks as the political crises which plague Tunisia last longer and longer.

It is unclear if the West can help the Tunisian government at this point, beyond providing secret intelligence data on the progress of Jihadist organizations. Any obvious Western aid weakens the already limited legitimacy of the government in the eyes of those loyal to Islam. It is, however, quite clear that if the government fails in its struggle against the Jihadists – whether Al Qaeda or Islamic State – the West will be drawn into the resulting chaos just as it was into the predatory swamp of Iraq and Syria.

The danger that Tunisia poses to Europe is in no small part due to its proximity to that continent, and an armed terrorist boat can reach Italy from Tunisia in one night’s rapid sailing. European intervention in Tunisia will take place much earlier than serious intervention in Syria or Iraq, which is why the Tunisian arena may turn out to be even more incendiary than that of Syria and Iraq.

Without doubt, the time has come to rewrite the rules of war and the international agreements that stand at the foundations of international law regarding conflict management. These were decided on when the world talked in terms of armies and nations, and they are irrelevant in the present wars, in which a modern nation finds itself fighting militias using methods taken from the seventh century.

Noble Ideas such as “distancing the war from civilians”, “human rights of fighters”, “the treatment of prisoners” that were laid down in post World War Europe have lost their relevancy in recent years. Most of the wars fought in the past twenty years were against organizations not subject to international law and unaffected by it. These militias attempt to paralyze the organized armed forces facing them, who,forced to battle fighters in civilian clothing who hide in populated areas, are prevented from hitting them effectively because of their extreme sensitivity to the possibility of harming peaceful citizens.

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