Wednesday, September 17, 2014

From Ian:

Elliott Abrams: UNDOF fled
After 40 years, the U.N. forces meant to separate Israel and Syria have fled their posts -- fled into Israel, for safety.
International forces in the West Bank are an old nostrum, but the failure of UNDOF is a reminder that it won't work. Until the region is at peace and all terrorist groups defeated, or the Palestinian Authority is clearly able to defeat terrorism and assure law and order, the only thing that prevents a powerful terrorist presence in the West Bank is the Israeli military.
What ought to be better appreciated is that not only Israelis, but also Palestinians and Jordanians, depend on the IDF to prevent groups like Hamas, al-Qaida, and even Islamic State from gaining ground in the West Bank. U.N. forces in southern Lebanon have been unable to control Hezbollah and unwilling to challenge it, and UNDOF has fled in the face of terrorists; the same outcome is entirely predictable in the West Bank today and tomorrow should Israeli forces leave. To admit this is not to hope for permanent Israeli occupation of the West Bank, but surely any hopes or plans for peace must be based in reality.
As Yossi Klein Halevi said in the article quoted above, Israelis' views of these questions are based in a tough assessment of their situation: "Israelis watch the fate of the Yazidi and Christian minorities in the Middle East and tell each other: Imagine what would happen to us if we ever lowered our guard." That guard, essential for their safety and for that of Palestinians and Jordanians, cannot be replaced by an amorphous international or U.N. force that, judging by experience, will shrink from confrontations and flee in the face of real danger.
Alan Dershowitz: National Lawyers Guild seeks to indict Obama for helping Israel build Iron Dome
The National Lawyers Guild—a hard left assortment of radical lawyers and "legal workers"—is seeking to have President Obama, Secretary of Defense Hagel and members of Congress indicted by the International Criminal Court for "aiding and abetting" genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes. Among the bases for these extraordinarily serious accusations, is that "the United States Congress overwhelmingly passed, and President Obama signed, an appropriation of $225 million for Israel's Iron Dome missile system"—a purely defensive shield that destroys missiles heading for Israeli population centers.
Yes, you read that correctly. According to these irresponsible bigots, it is genocide to help the nation-state of the Jewish people protect its Jewish and Arab citizens against thousands of rockets being fired at its cities, towns and airport. Imagine the implication for the rule of law if defending one's citizens becomes a war crime. But don't worry. These professional Israel-bashers won't try to apply this Orwellian theory to any countries other than Israel and its supporters.
What Does Hamas Really Want?
Now, Hamas will focus on its next goal -- trying to strengthen its presence in the West Bank, and eventually, toppling the Palestinian Authority from power there, just as it did in Gaza.
As a recent Shin Bet investigation found, a large-scale Hamas formation, uncovered recently in the West Bank, was planning a violent coup to topple the Palestinian Authority and take over the West Bank.
From there, Hamas would create a second rocket and mortar base, targeting central Israel with thousands of rockets in an attempt to paralyze the greater Tel Aviv metropolis.
If the Israeli military were to withdraw from the West Bank, Hamas would find such a coup easier to accomplish.
Israel's military presence in the West Bank secures the very existence of the Palestinian Authority, which is calling for an Israel's withdrawal -- just the thing that would endanger the PA most.
In the meantime, sadly, Hamas, like ISIS, can still cause much cause much suffering -- especially to its own Palestinian people.

Why Qatar is Abandoning the Muslim Brotherhood - And Hamas
Hamas this morning denied claims that its Political Bureau chief, Khaled Mashaal, was being expelled from longtime ally Qatar. The initial report came just days after seven leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were expelled from the country, having sought refuge from an Egyptian government crackdown.
That move naturally lead to speculation that Qatar might take a similar move against Hamas, which is the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood, but a Hamas spokesman dismissed reports of Mashaal's impending departure as mere attempts to "sow tension and confusion". For the time being at least, Mashaal looks set to remain in Doha.
Yet according to Professor Hillel Frisch of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA) - an expert on political Islam and particularly the Muslim Brotherhood - he may not be there for much longer.
Qatar's decision to give the Muslim Brotherhood the boot "does not bode well at all" for Hamas, he says, and adds that it's only a matter of time before Mashaal follows suit - whether he is expelled outright or simply pressured into moving. Worse still for Hamas, when that break in relations does occur the terrorist group can expect to see its pool of funding shrink considerably.
On the surface, Doha's sudden rejection of the Brotherhood is surprising, given that the Qatari government has long been the Islamist movement's top financial sponsor and political supporter. Even Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV is widely seen in the Arab world as a mouthpiece for the Brotherhood - an association which led it to be banned in Sisi's Egypt.
So what lies behind this apparent about-turn?
How Peace Negotiator Martin Indyk Cashed a Big, Fat $14.8 Million Check From Qatar
Except, buried deep in the Times’ epic snoozer was a world-class scoop related to one of the world’s biggest and most controversial stories—something so startling, and frankly so grotesque, that I have to bring it up again here: Martin Indyk, the man who ran John Kerry’s Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, whose failure in turn set off this summer’s bloody Gaza War, cashed a $14.8 million check from Qatar. Yes, you heard that right: In his capacity as vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the prestigious Brookings Institution, Martin Indyk took an enormous sum of money from a foreign government that, in addition to its well-documented role as a funder of Sunni terror outfits throughout the Middle East, is the main patron of Hamas—which happens to be the mortal enemy of both the State of Israel and Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party.
But far from trumpeting its big scoop, the Times seems to have missed it entirely, even allowing Indyk to opine that the best way for foreign governments to shape policy is “scholarly, independent research, based on objective criteria.” Really? It is pretty hard to imagine what the words “independent” and “objective” mean coming from a man who while going from Brookings to public service and back to Brookings again pocketed $14.8 million in Qatari cash. At least the Times might have asked Indyk a few follow-up questions, like: Did he cash the check from Qatar before signing on to lead the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians? Did the check clear while he was in Jerusalem, or Ramallah? Or did the Qatari money land in the Brookings account only after Indyk gave interviews and speeches blaming the Israelis for his failure? We’ll never know now. But whichever way it happened looks pretty awful.
Bill Clinton: Bibi Derangement Syndrome’s Patient Zero
So is anything Clinton said true? Actually, there is a kernel of truth–no doubt purely accidental–in what he said about Barak and Rabin. But it further undermines his point. Rabin was far from the two-state-cheerleader the left makes him out to be. He was far more reluctant to consider dividing Jerusalem and establishing a fully independent Palestinian state than his later successors–including Benjamin Netanyahu. Bibi now is to the left of where Rabin was then on pretty much all the main issues.
So is Barak, of course, which was Clinton’s point. But the real story here is the fact that you can’t simply jump from Rabin to Barak: Netanyahu was in between, and he played a significant role by forcing the right to accept and implement Oslo in order to govern and by showing the Israeli right could be talked into withdrawing from territory, even places as holy and significant as Hebron. The rightist premiers that followed Barak continued withdrawing from territory and offering peace plans to the Palestinian leadership.
When it comes to Israel, liberal politicians tend to fall into one of two categories: either they’re ignorant of Israeli history and politics, or they assume their audience to be. For Clinton it’s almost surely the latter, which makes it all the more ignoble.
Guardian mangles Bill Clinton’s recent comments about Israeli-Palestinian peace
As CiF Watch readers no doubt know, though the Guardian rarely misses an opportunity to publish a report when someone, somewhere in the world, says something critical of Israel or their leaders, they typically omit news of similarly critical comments about Palestinians and their leaders. Indeed, a recent story by Guardian Washington correspondent Dan Roberts (Bill Clinton: Netanyahu ‘not the guy’ to strike lasting Middle East peace deal, Sept. 16th) represents yet another example of this principle.
Though the Guardian didn’t report comments by former US President Clinton, during the recent war, which blamed Hamas leaders for Palestinian civilian casualties, arguing that the terror group’s policy was “designed to kill Palestinians”, they urgently informed readers about Bill Clinton’s recent remarks during an impromptu conversation with a pro-Palestinian activist after a Democratic fundraiser in Iowa.
However, the article managed to mangle a key passage, falsely attributing words, during the off the cuff remarks, to Clinton that he didn’t say, and erroneously suggested that Clinton had listed the advantages of earlier peace proposals to the Israelis.
‘Aramean’ Officially Recognized as Nationality in Israel
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Tuesday approved having “Aramean” as a nationality on Israeli identification cards, a move warmly received by Israel’s Aramean-Christian community.
In a letter written to Population Authority Chairman Amnon Ben-Ami, Sa’ar said that after receiving an appeal on the matter, he heard the recommendations of three experts from three different academic institutions, who said the Israeli Supreme Court found that “the Aramean nationality clearly exists, and has the conditions required to prove its existence, including historical heritage, religion, culture, origin and common language.”
Aramean-Christian community leader and IDF Maj. (res.) Shadi Halul called the decision “a historic change for the relations between Christians and Jews in the state of Israel,” according to Israel Hayom. He said the move pulled the rug under the feet of anti-Semites and “those who slander the Jewish people and Israel.”
“It is proof that Israel protects its citizens and the identity of its minorities, unlike all the Arab nations around us,” said Halul.
Righting a historic wrong
This is history in the making. No less. We've been used to putting all the minorities that live among us into one box. For most of us, they are "Arabs."
But that is not at all the case. The Muslim invasion in the seventh century forced Arab culture on many peoples who lived in the area long before anyone had ever heard of Islam. Familiar with the "Druze" and the "Circassians"? Starting now, practice using the term "Arameans."
This past year, we at Israel Hayom and various interfaith forums have followed the demand of Christian Israelis to be recognized as a separate ethnic group. "We aren't Arabs," they stress repeatedly. "We're Christians who speak Arabic."
Until the Muslim occupation, they spoke Aramaic, which for more than 1,000 years served as a lingua franca for the peoples of the region, including our own. Even parts of the Bible were written in Aramaic, not to mention the Talmud, our great legal and cultural codex. Even today, Aramaic is used as the "holy language" in the liturgy and ceremonies of Eastern churches (and I can testify that I understood a lot of these prayers by just listening), and in some of them the writing remains the same squarish Assyrian script that we Hebrew speakers also use.
Mortar fire from Gaza shatters calm; Hamas arrests culprits
A mortar shell was fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on Tuesday for the first time since Operation Protective Edge ended last month. The shell exploded in the Eshkol region, causing no injuries or damage.
The renewed fire from Gaza spelled the end of the temporary quiet the residents of southern Israel had enjoyed in recent weeks.
"We won't accept sporadic fire toward our communities," Eshkol Regional Council head Haim Yellin said. "Israel's leadership will be measured by how it chooses to defend its citizens -- whether that means reaching a diplomatic agreement for long-term quiet or continuing the cycle of violence."
Hamas denied that it fired at Israel, with Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri saying, "There is no sign a mortar was fired from Gaza, and Palestinian factions are committed to keep the agreement for calm and eager to maintain it."
But late Tuesday night, Hamas informed Israel that it had arrested the perpetrators of the mortar attack, Israeli security officials said.
Southern Residents Flee Amid Fears of Hamas Rosh Hashana Attack
The Jewish High Holidays are fast approaching, but for many residents of the Gaza Belt in the south this Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) will be spent away from home due to the security threats still present following Operation Protective Edge.
Just this Tuesday the ceasefire reached with the terrorist group Hamas on August 26 was breached by mortar fire, although Hamas, which has breached numerous ceasefires, denied involvement and said it arrested the perpetrators.
"There are a lot of concerns, even without connection to the (mortar) fire yesterday," Danny Cohen of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha in the region told Yedioth Aharonoth. "People are concerned about Hamas's plans...the traditional (Rosh Hashana) party we throw will be very reduced this year. If last year we had 150 people, this year there will be 60."
The concerns particularly revolve around the threat of an attack occurring on Rosh Hashana.
'Silent Intifada' Continues as Jerusalem Man Wounded by Rocks
A 44-year-old hareidi Jewish man was wounded Tuesday night and hospitalized in moderate to light condition, after Arab terrorists hurled large rocks at his car in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina.
The wounded man was treated by Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics and evacuated to the Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital in the capital, as the police launched an investigation to locate the perpetrators.
Yehuda Mizrahi, one of the medics who was at the scene, reconstructed his part in the event to Arutz Sheva, saying "we joined a police vehicle at the entrance to Neve Ya'akov, where the police transferred to us a 44-year-old man who was fully conscious, suffering from a bleeding wound on his face, eye, and a wound to the jaw and teeth."
Mortar explodes next to news crew in Golan
A mortar shell fired from Syria exploded in the Golan Heights Wednesday, meters from where Israeli journalists were surveying the area.
The IDF said that it was unintentional spillover from fighting between Syrian rebels and regime forces, but an Israel Radio reporter who was in the vicinity of the blast site said it was intentional fire on Israel.
There were no injuries reported.
Wednesday’s incident marks the second time this week a mortar fired from Syrian territory has landed in the Israeli side of the Golan Heights.
A Captain Speaks: Entering Gaza to Care for Civilians
A Civil Operations Officer in Gaza: I was there to care for a population caught in a war zone.
When the IDF targets terrorists that hide among the civilian population, there are soldiers tasked with ensuring that civilians are minimally affected by the fighting. During Operation Brother’s Keeper and Operation Protective Edge, Maayan Orevi was called upon by the IDF as a reserve officer of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).
Captain Orevi, 35 from Jerusalem, is a Civil Operations Officer assigned to the Hebron region. His job is to assist the IDF in its relations with the Palestinian population and coordinate all activities between the two communities.
A Captain Speaks: Entering Gaza to Care for Civilians

Freudian slip - or typo? Palestinian communiqué promotes ‘violent’ protest
In a press release advertising an upcoming speech by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at New York’s Cooper Union, organizers write that Abbas will address, among other things, “Why violent protest is the best method by which Palestinians should seek their rights.”
Does this herald the coming of a new intifada, or is this a Freudian slip — or just a typo?
Here are the other two topics Abbas will be addressing:
- His view on how peace and inter-religious co-existence can flourish in Israel and Palestine with the help of the next generation.
- Why terrorism as practiced by al-Qaida on 9/11 and ISIS is inconsistent with Islam
Poll: Half of Palestinians support armed intifada against Israel
A public opinion poll published on Tuesday showed that half of the Palestinian public supports an armed intifada against Israel.
The poll, published by the Nablus-based An-Najah University, included 1,360 Palestinians (860 from the West Bank and 500 from the Gaza Strip) above the age of 18, was conducted during the period from 11-13 September. It has a margin of error of three percent.
The poll showed that 49% of respondents favored an armed intifada against Israel as opposed to 44% who said they were against it.
Still, 56% said they supported an unarmed and non-violent resistance against Israel, while 35% expressed their opposition.
Senior Hamas official: Abbas is afraid of Palestinian elections
Speaking in an interview with Lebanon's Al-Akhbar, Zahar attacked Abbas for trying to cover up the failure of the Palestinian unity government by accusing Hamas of running a "shadow government" in Gaza.
"Fatah lost the legitimacy to represent the Palestinian people after the elections," Zahar said, referring to the 2006 Palestinian elections. "Abu Mazen [Abbas] is not a legitimate or agreed-upon president. He is a president because there is no other choice."
Zahar said Hamas was prepared for elections at any time, and that such elections were supposed to take place within six months of the April signing of the unity agreement, but Abbas refuses to hold elections.
"According to our information, Abbas fears the results of the election," Zahar said.
Deal Approved For Gaza Reconstruction
Reuters also reported that “[t]he Palestinian Authority said in a study recently that the reconstruction work would cost $7.8 billion.” According to recent Congressional testimony from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Jonathan Schanzer, that amount is less than the estimated combined net worth of Hamas leaders Moussa Abu Marzouk (at least $2 billion), Khaled Meshaal (at least $2.5 billion) and Ismail Haniyeh ($4 billion).
Hamas cooperating with global jihadi elements who rocketed Israel from Sinai
On July 15, terrorists in Sinai fired two rockets at the Red Sea resort city, lightly wounding four residents and destroying a number of vehicles. This cooperation between Hamas and terrorists in the Sinai was viewed by Egypt as a violation of its sovereignty.
Toward the end of Operation Protective Edge, Israel bombed global jihadi cells that planned to leave Gaza with weapons and head into the Sinai to carry out attacks on Egyptian military targets and fire rockets at Israel.
Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, the chief al-Qaida-linked group in the Sinai, maintains strong links with the Gaza Strip, partnering with groups such as the Popular Resistance Committees.
In the past, this allowed Gaza terrorist organizations - including Hamas - to “subcontract” attacks on Israel away from the Strip in order to protect the Hamas regime from Israeli retaliation.
There are hundreds of Salafi jihadis based in Gaza, many of whom move to and from the Sinai, smuggling weapons and plotting attacks. As a result, some in the defense establishment view Gaza and Sinai as interlinked sectors, saying the danger of these networks merging with the extensive jihadi networks in Syria is substantial.

Jordan arrests Brotherhood leader for incitement
Jordan arrested a senior member of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood Tuesday on charges of “incitement” against the authorities, a judicial source said, as the group’s political wing demanded his release.
Mohamed Said Bakr, a member of the Brotherhood’s consultative council, was detained for 15 days by prosecutors after criticizing the government at an event marking the end of the conflict in Gaza, the source said.
The Jordanian Brotherhood’s political wing, the Islamic Action Front, condemned the arrest.
“It is unacceptable that clerics and activists should be arrested on the basis of positions they expressed,” said IAF Secretary General Mohamed al-Zayoud on the party’s website.
Report: Al Qaeda Rebels Seize UN Arms, Uniforms in Syria
Syrian rebels linked to Al Qaeda have seized UN weapons, uniforms and vehicles from peacekeepers in the Golan and set up a "safe zone" to wage attacks, the Syrian ambassador said Tuesday.
The United Nations on Monday was forced to pull back hundreds of peacekeepers to the Israeli side of the Golan after Syrian rebels advanced on their positions.
Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari confirmed that fighters from the Nusra Front "had succeeded in occupying all of the Syrian side" of the Golan, driving out the troops from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
"The terrorists are now using United Nations cars, which hold the emblem of the United Nations forces in the Golan. They are using the uniform of the UNDOF, the weapons of UNDOF, the positions of UNDOR to shell on the Syrian army as well as on the civilians in villages," Jaafari told reporters.
‘Israel has the opportunity to win the hearts of all Syrians’
Israel stands to lose the popular support it gained among the Syrian population of the Golan Heights because it has been allowing Assad regime aircraft to bomb opposition-held villages near the border in recent days, a Free Syrian Army commander told The Times of Israel on Tuesday, voicing dismay at the West’s reluctance to provide the moderate opposition with basic means of self-defense.
“The Assad army has almost collapsed [in the area] and we are making very good progress. The only thing stopping our advance is the aircraft strikes,” the field commander, who refused to reveal his identity, told The Times of Israel. He said that Syrian villagers who had taken refuge in camps within the buffer zone have been targeted by regime MiG fighter jets and helicopters dropping barrel bombs.
Israel consistently responds to fire penetrating its borders, attacking Assad regime targets, but refrains when shells or missiles land inside Syrian territory.
Israel, the commander said, should impose a no-fly area over the buffer zone and allow the moderate opposition fighters to continue eastward, toward Damascus.
“Israel could down any plane above that area and no one would blame it,” he continued. “Refraining from doing this means collaborating with the Assad gang in our murder.
“We are at a historic crossroads. Israel has the opportunity to win the hearts of all Syrians, whom the entire world has forsaken,” he went on. “If you get rid of this gang, your border will be protected. No one will even think of attacking you. People here are sick and tired of wars.”
MEMRI: Understanding Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi And The Phenomenon Of The Islamic Caliphate State
The successive atrocities committed by the Islamic State (IS, previously called the Islamic State in Iraq and Al-Sham – ISIS) have diverted the discussion away from an understanding of this organization's political program, creating the erroneous impression that it is simply a more vicious version of Al-Qaeda. According to this view, this organization presumably intends to attack the West by means of its foreign militants who hold Western passports and could return to Western countries to carry out terror attacks – and hence it is paramount to destroy the IS forthwith. Saudi King 'Abdallah bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz promoted this approach when he said that he was certain that those jihadists "would arrive in Europe within a month and in America within two months".
This report seeks to clarify the IS's doctrine based on the organization's official writings and speeches by its leaders. It will argue that, unlike Al-Qaeda, the IS places priority not on global terrorism, but rather on establishing and consolidating a state, and hence it defers the clash with the West to a much later stage. In this, it is emulating and reenacting the early Islamic model.
It’s Not About What ISIS “Wants”
I doubt that ISIS can foretell the consequences of its actions any better than Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden could. In fact the group’s brutality has backfired before, by sparking the Anbar Awakening in 2006-2007. Ayman al Zawahiri, then the deputy head of al-Qaeda, now its head, even armed Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, then the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq (the predecessor of ISIS), against excessive brutality such as videotaped beheadings of hostages and mass murder of Shiites. All of this, Zawahiri said, would turn public opinion against AQI. But Zarqawi was so fanatical he ignored this good advice. So too now Zarqawi’s successor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is indulging his blood lust and trying to instill respect for his group the only way he knows how–by lopping off heads. He probably imagines that this will frighten and cow his enemies. Instead it is having the opposite effect, by galvanizing opposition.
But let’s say I’m wrong and the beheadings are actually a diabolical plot to draw the U.S. into the wars in Iraq and Syria. What should our response be then? Should we simply ignore ISIS’s brutality if it actually wants us to intervene? Hardly. Because ISIS would win a victory–in fact it is winning today–as long as the U.S. does little to resist its evil designs.
At the end of the day, whether ISIS wants us to intervene or not is irrelevant. As President Obama recognizes, we have to intervene whether we like it or not–but we must ensure that our intervention is so successful that even if Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi actually wanted to draw us in, he will come to regret his decision.
At the Kurdistan Front
A war is being waged along a 900-mile front between two entities that today constitute de facto quasi-states stretching across the old border between Syria and Iraq. These are the Islamic State to the south and a contiguous area of Kurdish-controlled territory to the north. Recently, I traveled to the latter, in regions of northern Iraq and northeast Syria, like the town of Derik, where I spoke with a Kurdish soldier who had recently been in a firefight with IS forces in the neighboring village of Jeza'a.
"We were fighting for 17 hours," said the Kurd. He was with the People's Protection Units (YPG), affiliated with the PYD, the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Worker's party, or PKK. "There must have been about 500 of them," he said of the IS militants. "Only about 90 of us. They're strange, the way they keep on coming at you. We got on each side of them. In the end, you should have seen the trucks that came to take the bodies away. Stacked up."
He paused and took a drag on his cigarette. "I wasn't hurt bad," he continued. "I dislocated my shoulder when I had to jump over a wall after one of them threw a grenade. Then they got me out of there. I killed three of them. It's not nice, you know. One of them was just a kid of about 16. But you've got no choice." (h/t MtTB)
Kurds retake Christian villages from Iraq militants
On Tuesday, peshmerga forces ousted ISIS militants from seven villages west of the Kurdish capital Arbil during fighting in which rockets and mortar rounds were used, a senior officer said.
“We liberated those villages with the support of US aircraft,” Major Sardar Ali said, referring to the Nineveh plains area between Arbil and Mosul, the main IS hub in Iraq.
The United States, whose air force has been targeting ISIS militants in the area since early August, has yet to confirm it carried out the latest reported strikes.
The officer said many of the homes were booby-trapped by the jihadists before they retreated.
The peshmerga, the main security forces of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, are receiving arms and ammunition from countries including the United States and France.
Report: Turkey is Largest Source of Fighters for Islamic State
Turkey is believed to be the largest source of foreign fighters for the Islamic State terror group.
According to a report in The New York Times, more than 1,000 Turks are suspected to be fighting for Islamic State, many of them disaffected youths who are attracted to the jihadist group by its ideology as well as the money it pays its fighters, which may be up to $150 a day.
A recent Central Intelligence Agency estimate said that Islamic State has 20,000-31,500 fighters in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. has pressed Turkey to take a more active role in combating Islamic State by stopping the flow of foreign fighters who use Turkey as an entry point and by preventing Islamic State from using Turkish black markets to export its oil, a key revenue source for the terror group.
The danger of saying ISIS is not Islam
So I’ve been thinking about this a lot and posted this morning on twitter about David Cameron’s comment (“they are monsters, not Muslims”). I’m very concerned by growing reprise that “Islamic State” (IS) is not Islam, that they are not Muslims. I can understand where it’s coming from but its a very dangerous form of political correctness. Clearly not all Muslims support IS, nor are all terrorists Muslim. But there is no doubt that IS say they are acting on behalf of Islam, they are Muslims and they want to establish an Islamic Caliphate.
If you detach their monstrous ideology from what we like to think of as Islam, then do you detach from the Muslim community responsibility for denouncing it? I have no problem if moderate Muslims — as some have done (albeit late in the day) — stand up and say that IS does not represent what they believe to be Islam. I similarly say that Naturei Karta, the “ultra-Orthodox” anti Zionist Jews — who by the way simply throw words, not stones, not swords and are nonviolent — do not represent Judaism in any form that I know. But I want the moderates to stand up and say it.
Al Qaeda Branches Call For Rival Islamists To Stop Fighting & Unite Against America
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have come together to call upon the Muslim world, both Sunni and Shiite, to stop fighting each other and unite against the West, specifically the United States.
“We call upon [The Muslim community] to support our people in Iraq and Sham and support them with the valuable and priceless… and stand in their ranks against… America, the source of evil and symbol of corruption and injustice,” the statement read, which was posted Tuesday by an official Al Qaeda Twitter account.
The bulletin continued: “Stop the infighting between you and stand as one rank against America’s campaign and that of its satanic alliance that lies in wait for all of us, to break us stick by stick.”
Iraqi bishop laments ‘too late’ response to ISIS threat
Operations against ISIS in Iraq “came very late, too late,” said Baghdad Auxiliary Bishop Schlemon Warduni.
Saying that the ISIS group was not a major threat only a few months ago, he told AFP: “It would have been very easy, but the international community was in a very deep slumber.”
“We want intervention, but it must be rapid and united, Europe and America together,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of an international meeting at the Vatican of the Catholic charity Caritas.
“Where is the U.N., Europe, the European Parliament?” he asked, calling on Europe to “quickly exert pressure to liberate our villages.”
Contradicting Obama, Dempsey Calls for Iraq Ground Operation
Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dempsey backed the coalition being formed against ISIS, but said if the limited airstrikes do not stop ISIS's advance he would push Obama to take the attack to the ground, reports the New York Times.
"My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. ...But if it fails...then I of course would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of US military ground forces," said Dempsey.
Obama just last week in his speech about the ISIS threat said he was sending military advisers to aid local Iraqi and Kurdish forces, but emphasized "these American forces will not have a combat mission - we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq."
ISIS Declares War on Obama Hollywood Style Is it a Hollywood trailer? No - it's the Islamic State threatening to kill US troops after Dempsey suggests Iraqi deployment.
You could not be faulted for mistaking the flashy new video released by the brutal Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist organization for a Hollywood movie trailer.
But the clip does not foreshadow any box office smash hit - rather it threatens murder and mayhem "coming soon to theaters near you," in a direct threat on the US.
On Tuesday night ISIS's Al Hayat Media Center released the 52-second-long clip entitled "Flames of War: Fighting Has Just Begun."
The video, which features crisp picture quality and advanced cinematic techniques such as freeze frame and slow motion, is a not-so-subtle threat at US President Barack Obama's declaration that he would "degrade and ultimately destroy" ISIS, and hints that he would extend airstrikes against ISIS to Syria as well. [note the video has been taken down]
Exiled Egyptian Cleric Wagdi Ghoneim: No to Crusader War against ISIS

Takfiri, The Caliph's Favorite Cheese - Anti-ISIS Iraqi Satire

Turkey’s Culture Minister slams Wikipedia for linking Erdoğan with authoritarianism
Wikipedia is the latest website to feel the wrath of Turkey’s government, with Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik slamming the popular Internet encyclopedia for referring to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in an article on authoritarianism.
“Mentioning Turkey alongside the [North] Korean regime and the [Abdel Fattah] el-Sisi regime in Egypt is just a kind of operation, not an intellectual analysis,” Çelik tweeted on Sept. 14, claiming that the Wikipedia editors had an “eclipse of reason” while adding the Erdoğan reference.
As of Sept. 16, the article referred to Erdoğan after stating that “authoritarianism and democracy are not fundamentally opposed to one another.”
“It is thus definitely possible for democracies to possess strong authoritarian elements, for both feature a form of submission to authority. For instance, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister of Turkey, was elected three times, but shows strong authoritarian tendencies,” the Wikipedia article stated, citing more than 10 sources, from the Washington Post to the Guardian.

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