Archive for the ‘Jihad’ Category

LinkSwarm for November 17, 2017

Friday, November 17th, 2017

I ate German food Saturday, and ever since it’s like the Wehrmacht has been conducting field maneuvers in my lower intestine. Enjoy a short pre-Thanksgiving LinkSwarm:

  • The United States House of Representatives has paid out $15 million to secretly settle sexual harassment claims from a secret slush fund. 435 Harvey Weinsteins.
  • Kurt Schlichter is scathing in his assessment of the GOP congress’ apparent inability to do, well, anything:

    My first priority, and yours, was always to give amnesty and citizenship to millions of illegal aliens, and the GOP caucus is chomping at the bit to do that. Apparently Dreamers’ dreams of taking advantage of violating our laws and eventually become loyal Democrat voters are much more important than our own conservative voters’ dreams of their mandatory crummy health insurance rates not doubling.

    Snip.

    What a mess. The Republican Party seems to have no interest in addressing its electile dysfunction. The Democrats are preparing for battle; the Professional Republicans are sulking because their voters won’t obey. They seem not just unable but unwilling to pass the agenda they promised the base. And whenever there’s a narrative damaging to the party to be hopped on, despite reasonable grounds for skepticism, hop on they do. If the GOP establishment wanted to lose, what would it do differently?

  • Funny how every Democratic Presidential candidate of the last quarter-century had connectons to pedophiles.
  • Playboy model says Al Franken groped her. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • More Donna Brazile revelation: Obama drained the DNC of money spending millions on popularity polling. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s moves are not “bold experiments,” they’re desperately needed reforms for a country facing multiple existential threats.
  • Back Donald Trump’s plan or resign, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tells Palestine.” In other news: Trump has a plan for Palestine? If so, the press doesn’t seem to have covered it…
  • 267 MS-13 gang members arrested nationwide. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Obama’s illegal alien “dreamers” have one-quarter the college graduation rates of Americans. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus.)
  • “Harvard: A Tax-Free Hedge Fund That Happens To Have A University.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Duke professor: You stinking college newspaper reporters aren’t worthy of my course!
  • Why is DHS giving Muslim-only tours of Minneapolis airport security?
  • Jaron Lanier frets about social media manipulation. “We’re living in this time of total opacity where you don’t know why you see the news you see. You don’t know if it’s the same news that someone else sees. You don’t know who made it be that way. You don’t know who’s paid to change what you see. Everything is totally obscure in a profound way that it never was before.” He has a point, but missing from this frame is the fact that before the Internet, the number of media outlets that could control your reality filter (including The New York Times, which published this profile and in whose pre-Trump reality bubble Lanier obviously wishes to dwell) was vastly smaller than it is now…. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • The NFL’s Roger Goodell has actually done a pretty crappy job.
  • Followup: Islamic State Defeated in Battle for Marawi City

    Saturday, November 11th, 2017

    Here’s news from (mostly) a few weeks ago: Islamic State fighters have been defeated in the Philippines:

    The Philippines has declared an end to five months of fighting in southern Marawi City between the armed forces and militants loyal to Islamic State, the country’s defence minister says.

    “There are no more militants in Marawi,” Delfin Lorenzana told reporters in Clark during a meeting of regional defence ministers.

    The announcement comes as Philippine troops captured a building where pro-Islamic State militants made their final stand, and found dozens bodies of suspected gunmen inside, two security officials said.

    The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to make public the latest developments in Marawi, where government forces have begun a gradual withdrawal as the fighting eased in recent days.

    Armed forces chief General Eduardo Ano said at least 42 bodies of rebels had been found in two buildings and a mosque in the battle zone.

    Despite the battle being “over,” mop-up operations continued into this week when 11 remaining militants were killed in the harbor area of Marawi City. “More than 900 militants, 165 troops and policemen and 47 civilians were killed in the fighting in Marawi.”

    Other good news from that battle: Islamic State leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute (AKA Omarkhayam Maute) were both killed, as was Omar’s brother Abdullah Maute a bit earlier.

    From the ABC report:

    National police chief Ronald dela Rosa told reporters that there was intelligence that a Malaysian militant, Amin Baco, survived and has assumed leadership of the militants, but military officials said they believe Baco was killed in Sunday’s fighting or in recent weeks, and that troops were searching for his body.

    “Contrary to recent pronouncements by some officials that it is now headed by a certain Amin Baco, the Armed Forces of the Philippines strongly believes that the group is now leaderless and without direction,” [Maj. Gen. Restituto] Padilla said.

    This probably means that the Maute group is effectively defunct, although Abu Sayyaf, of which Hapilon was the head, appears to still be active in Basilan, a smaller island south of Mindanao.

    (Previously.)

    What The Hell Is Going On In Saudi Arabia?

    Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

    I’m hardly the most astute of Saudi-watchers, but a tremendous amount of upheaval has wrecked Saudi Arabia in a very short period of time:

  • Dozens of the Saudi royal family have been arrested on corruption charges, presumably for opposing Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who seems hellbent on dragging Saudi Arabia into at least the 15th Century. (When he starts arresting or sidelining Whabbist clerics, I’ll start believing that he’s a real reformer.) The Saudi government is sayng that these anti-corruption moves are just a start.
  • In a remarkable coincidence, roughly the same time arrests were being made, a helicopter carrying “Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Asir province,” crashed while he was returning from an inspection tour. Given that Mansour was the son of Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, a former intelligence chief who was crown prince between January and April 2015, before Mohammed bin Salman’s father King Salman pushed him aside for his own son, the chances that this was a mere coincidence would seem remote.
  • Saudi Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan stated that Lebanon has “declared war” against the kingdom, which is more than a little loopy. The tiny kernel of truth here is that Hezbollah is, in fact, part of the current ruling Parliamentary majority in Lebanon, and that Hezbollah is backing Assad and Iran in the Sunni-Shia civil war that’s raging across multiple fronts. This followed the resignation of Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s Saudi-backed prime minister over the weekend.
  • The Saudis are also threatening open war (rather than the current proxy war) with Iran over the Houthi in Yemen firing long range missiles at them. Can’t say as I blame them.
  • So what’s going on? Here’s my half-assed guess:

    The Saudis are getting their asses kicked on two fronts:

    1. They’re slowly losing the proxy war against a newly emboldened Iran, which is breathing much easier thanks to the billions Obama foolishly handed them and the sanctions he lifted not so much for a handful of magic beans, but rather the vague promise that Iran might possibly send him a picture of said magic beans.
    2. Their plan to drive American oil sands frackers out of the market by ruthlessly driving down prices backfired, and now they’re hurting on the oil revenue front as well.

    Because America is the Saudi’s unipolar patron and main weapon supplier, there’s fark all they can do about Problem 2. Either they need to take the war directly Iran, or they need to buy themselves some economic breathing room and hope oil prices rise again.

    My guess is that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is about to lay a serious perestroika-style smackdown on the largely hidebound, stagnant Saudi economy, along with just enough glasnost to make the whole thing palatable to the non-royal Saudi masses. If this theory is correct, the “hey, woman can drive” thing was actually a trial balloon designed to smoke out the most fervent traditionalists out of the woodwork so he can sideline them while he puts his plan into action.

    Of course they could very well be bracing for more direction action against Iran as well. There’s a lot more they could do against Iran, including more direct support for the largely-Sunni Kurds.

    The Saudis are not our friends, just the least bad of various options in the region (just imagine theocratic Iran or a revitalized Islamic State in charge of Mecca). It will be a significant improvement if Mohammed bin Salman can merely make them a bit less loathsome.

    Deir Ez-Zor Falls

    Sunday, November 5th, 2017

    The Syrian army just ousted the Islamic State from their last urban stronghold in Syria.

    Syrian government forces have liberated the last remaining Isis stronghold in the country as the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate continues to crumble.

    The Syrian military said it had driven extremist fighters from Deir Ezzor and regained full control of the eastern city on the west bank of the Euphrates following weeks of fighting, state media reported.

    Isis had held most of the city since 2014, except for one large pocket where Syrian army troops and 93,000 civilians were trapped for three years.

    Syrian forces and pro-government allies first broke the militant group’s siege on the city in a Russian-backed offensive in September and have been advancing against Isis positions ever since.

    The recapture of the city, the largest in eastern Syria, leaves Isis militants isolated and encircled in the region’s countryside.

    In a statement issued on Friday through state TV, army spokesman General Ali Mayhoub said the military had “completely” liberated the city and declared it had entered the “last phase” of its fight to annihilate Isis.

    Isis is estimated to have lost 90 per cent of its territory since 2014, including key urban strongholds Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in northern Syria.

    Deir Ezzor was strategically significant to the extremist group due to its location near the Iraqi border and its importance as the capital of the oil-rich province which shares its name.

    The city’s liberation all but reduces Isis’s self-proclaimed caliphate to a pair of border towns on the Iraq-Syria frontier.

    Iraqi forces and allied Shia militia are chasing remnants of the terror group inside the town of al-Qaim, on the Iraqi side of the border.

    Deir ez-Zor, rumored to be the Islamic State’s backup capital after the encirclement of Raqqa, was fully invested by the Syrian Army and Syrian Democratic Forces one month ago.

    And here’s the same territory today:

    (Pictures, as usual, from http://isis.liveuamap.com/.)

    Elsewhere in the war against the Islamic State, Iraqi forces have taken Qaim on the border between Iraq and Syria. That leaves Rawa City, a town of some 20,000 east of Quim in western Anbar province, as the last populated Islamic State stronghold in Iraq. That’s expected to fall soon as well.

    In Abu Kammal, one of the last towns in Syria held by the Islamic State, security checkpoints have been abandoned as both civilians and Islamic State fighters are fleeing the area to due to Russian Air Force bombardment.

    What remains of Islamic State territory after that is largely uninhabited.

    After the falls of Raqqa and Mosul, there may be no true “Last Stand” for the Islamic State, no Fuhrer bunker end for al-Baghdadi, just the rest of the supposed caliphate’s territory melting away as onetime fighters flee into the night and try to melt back into the civilian population. Meanwhile, expect the Islamic State to turn into just another stateless jihadist terror network like al Qaeda, blowing people up across the world but holding no territory, and thus no moral authority upon which to demand the allegiance of Muslims worldwide:

    Al‑Qaeda is ineradicable because it can survive, cockroach-like, by going underground. The Islamic State cannot. If it loses its grip on its territory in Syria and Iraq, it will cease to be a caliphate. Caliphates cannot exist as underground movements, because territorial authority is a requirement: take away its command of territory, and all those oaths of allegiance are no longer binding.

    It’s possible that the failure of the Islamic State will take wind out of the sails of Islamic fundamentalism for a generation. This wouldn’t mean an end to Islamic terrorism and attempts to Islamicize the west in general and Europe in particular, only a lessening of it.

    But the fall of the Islamic State’s last remaining territory is still a cause for celebration among the millions once enslaved by its brutal medieval death cult.

    LinkSwarm for November 4, 2017

    Saturday, November 4th, 2017

    Welcome to an out-of-band Saturday LinkSwarm! Between Halloween, dental work, and a runaway dog (since recovered), this week has been a bear. So let’s jump right in:

  • “A former portfolio manager for an investment fund founded by financier George Soros sexually abused women at a Manhattan penthouse dungeon, according to a $27 million Brooklyn federal suit.” “Abused” as in “needed serious medical attention.” Also, here’s the “he’s a real sweetheart” money quote: “I’m going to rape you like I rape my daughter!” (Hat tip: Ace.)
  • Today’s second example of a prominent liberal turning out to be a sexual harassing sleaze comes to you from David Corn at Mother Jones. Maybe they should rename it Velvet Jones
  • Instapundit wonders: Where were all those vaunted Hollywood and D.C. truth tellers when Harvey Weinstein and Mark Halperin were doing their thing? “‘Like firefighters who run into a fire, journalists run toward a story,’ MSNBC’s Katy Tur told us. Well, unless it’s a story that reflects badly on their profession or their politics. Then they keep it quiet.”
  • President Trump on pace to appoint a record number of circuit court judges during his first year.
  • The DNC needs IT people. Tiny problem: straight white males need not apply. Sort of like saying “Professional basketball players needed, but no tall black people need apply.”
  • How the Obama Administration lied about documents seized during the Bin Laden raid. In particular, Obama hid close links between al Qaeda and Iran that might have derailed his asinine “Iran deal.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “How Google and MSM Use “Fact Checkers” to Flood Us with Fake Claims.” Basically it involves one tentacle of the Democrat-Media Complex creating a fake version of a real story, then having another tentacle debunk the fake version claiming it’s the real version. (Hat tip: Borepatch.)
  • New York City jihad murderer came to U.S. on a “diversity” visa program sponsored by Chuck Schumer. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • The UK’s gun control laws didn’t prevent assailants from opening fire during an illegal rave with automatic weapons in north London.
  • Owner of Gothamist: “We’ve lost money every month.” Staffers: “Screw you! We’re unionizing!” Owner: “Enjoy some pink slips. I’m shutting everything down.” (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • Speaking of publications shutting down, “Teen Vogue Shutters Shortly After Publishing ‘Guide to Anal Sex’ for Teen Girls.” How’s that flipping off your own readers working out for you, Conde Nast? (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Papa Johns would like the NFL to stop screwing up their sales with the disrespecting the national anthem bullshit.
  • Broadcom expected to offer $100 billion merger with Qualcomm, which would make it the third largest chipmaker in the world after Intel and Samsung. Note that Qualcomm is already in the midst of a merger with NXP (formerly Philips Semiconductors, which just finished merging with Freescale, formerly Motorola’s fab business until it was spun off). Also note that, unlike Intel and Samsung, Broadcom currently owns no wafer fabrication plants of its own, outsourcing production to foundries like TSMC or Global Foundries. (Though merging with Qualcomm would get them the former NXP fabs.)
  • French butter shortage. Tout le monde panique!
  • Cahnman looks at possible successors for Jeb Hensarling’s U.S. congressional seat. By and large he’s not enthused…
  • Wendy Davis is now running…some lefty feminist thing. Unclear whether it’s actually designed to do anything, or just line Davis’ pockets. Judging how poorly her 2014 gubernatorial campaign was run, I don’t foresee it accomplishing much.
  • Bonus! Davis is actually thinking about running again! “Oh, please do, Ms. Davis. Then, we can watch this clown show all over again.”
  • Want to put up a garage sale or lost pet sign? Not in Fort Worth, comrade! “People who break the sign law could be convicted of a misdemeanor and fined up to $2,000 per day for each violation.”
  • Evidently there’s a sport called “baseball,” and Houston has a team called the “Astros.” Evidently they just won something called “the World Series, which supposedly some sort of big deal.
  • His Motives Remain a Mystery

    Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

    A little bit of news just in case you missed it:

    A terrorist in a rental truck [Sayfullo Saipov, a 29-year-old immigrant from Uzbekistan] sped for nearly a mile down a popular bike-only path in lower Manhattan on Tuesday — killing eight people in the shadow of the World Trade Center and then shouting, “Allahu Akbar.”

    His motives remain a mystery.

    Note found near truck claims Manhattan attack done for ISIS, source says.”

    We may never know why he committed this senseless act.

    NYC terror suspect requested ISIS flag in hospital room.”

    Authorities remain at a loss to explain his actions.

    Saipov Bragging About Attack, Claims ‘ISIS Will Endure.'”

    Above all, we must not jump to hasty conclusions about why the perpetrator committed this completely random act of non-premeditated violence…

    Raqqa Liberated

    Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

    The onetime capital of the short-lived caliphate of the Islamic Republic of Iraq and Syria has been completely liberated by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces:

    A US-backed alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters says it has taken full control of so-called Islamic State’s one-time “capital” of Raqqa.

    Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman Talal Sello said the fighting was over after a five-month assault.

    Clearing operations were now under way to uncover any jihadist sleeper cells and remove landmines, he added.

    An official statement declaring victory in the city and the end of three years of IS rule is expected to be made soon.

    IS made Raqqa the headquarters of its self-styled “caliphate”, implementing an extreme interpretation of Islamic law and using beheadings, crucifixions and torture to terrorise residents who opposed its rule

    The city also became home to thousands of jihadists from around the world who heeded a call to migrate there by IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

    “On Tuesday morning, the SDF cleared the last two major IS positions in Raqqa – the municipal stadium and the National Hospital.”

    Here are a series of maps (captured from Syria.livemap.com) that paint a picture of how the battle unfolded:

    June 9:

    July 12:

    August 13:

    August 25:

    September 5:

    October 8:

    October 14:

    Some additional perspective from Robin Wright in The New Yorker:

    “There are other places for ISIS to go and survive, but there’s something special about Syria and Iraq and the Fertile Crescent,” [Will] McCants, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, said. “It’s the theatre of prophecy. It’s where the apocalyptic drama unfolds. It’s the heartland of the historic caliphate, and it’s the scene of the final end-of-times drama, as predicted by Islamic scripture. Nowhere else in the Islamic world compares with it.”

    McCants said that the fall of Raqqa, a city that was once home to more than two hundred thousand Syrians but is now mostly destroyed, will weaken the group’s ability to recruit fighters and inspire attacks. “The fight will go on, and ISIS will morph into an insurgency and may try to reëstablish another state, but, for now, it’s a crushing blow,” he said. “ISIS put all its chips on creating a state and taking territory as proof of its divine mandate. Some of its followers now have to have doubts.“

    At its height, the Islamic State was about the size of Indiana, or the country of Jordan, with eight million people under its control. ISIS transformed the world of jihadism by recruiting tens of thousands of followers from five continents—faster, in larger numbers, and from further corners of the Earth than any other modern extremist group. The caliphate was formally declared by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on June 29, 2014, from a pulpit in the Grand Mosque of Mosul, the largest city under ISIS control. It, too, was liberated, in July, after a gruesome nine-month offensive by Iraqi security forces.

    ISIS still holds bits and pieces of territory in both countries. But it no longer rules. Baghdadi, an Islamic scholar who was detained by the U.S. military in Iraq for almost a year, in 2004, as prisoner number US9IZ-157911CI, has not been sighted in public since the unveiling of his caliphate.

    At a press conference on Tuesday, Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition supporting the campaign against ISIS, said, “Over all, ISIS is losing in every way. We’ve devastated their networks, targeted and eliminated their leaders at all levels. We’ve degraded their ability to finance their operations, cutting oil revenues by ninety per cent. Their flow of foreign recruits has gone from about fifteen hundred fighters a month down to near zero today. ISIS in Iraq and Syria are all but isolated in their quickly shrinking territory.” Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS at the State Department, tweeted that an estimated six thousand fighters had died in the battle for Raqqa.

    There’s talk that the Islamic State’s surviving foreign fighters will relocate to Libya, where a civil war has ranged off and on since Moammar Gadhafi’s ouster/execution (thanks, Obama).

    Now if only the various factions fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria can finish it off there rather than turning on each other…

    Al Qaeda Affiliated Group Kills 276 in Somalia

    Monday, October 16th, 2017

    A truck bomb thought to be the work of the al Qaeda affiliated al-Shabaab terrorist group killed at least 276 people in Mogadishu, Somalia.

    Background on al-Shabaab:

    It emerged as the radical youth wing of Somalia’s now-defunct Union of Islamic Courts, which controlled Mogadishu in 2006, before being forced out by Ethiopian forces.

    There are numerous reports of foreign jihadists going to Somalia to help al-Shabab, from neighbouring countries, as well as the US and Europe.

    It is banned as a terrorist group by both the US and the UK and is believed to have between 7,000 and 9,000 fighters.

    Al-Shabab advocates the Saudi-inspired Wahhabi version of Islam, while most Somalis are Sufis.

    It has imposed a strict version of Sharia in areas under its control, including stoning to death women accused of adultery and amputating the hands of thieves.

    So they’re the direct successors to the terrorists we had to deal with during Bill Clinton’s ill-conceived and poorly executed intervention in Somalia in the 1990s. (See also: Black Hawk Down.)

    Destroying the Islamic State will take the wind out of the sails of many Islamist terrorist groups worldwide, but it won’t end Islamic terrorism.

    Raqqa’s Fall: “Hours or Days”

    Saturday, October 14th, 2017

    Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in Syria’s Raqqa and a deal has been reached to evacuate civilians and Islamic State fighters, but not foreign militants, the U.S-led coalition fighting ISIS said on Saturday.”

    Here’s the Syria LiveMap screencap from October 8:

    And here’s a screencap from today:

    It looks like the already compacted Islamic State pocket in Raqqa has already been reduced by 80% in that time.

    Here’s some video of the most recent push:

    I look forward to putting up the “Raqqa Liberated” post in a day or two…

    LinkSwarm for October 13, 2017

    Friday, October 13th, 2017

    Happy Friday the 13th! In October, no less. Might want to avoid Crystal Lake today…

    Busy week, so a small LinkSwarm.

  • Who all did Harvey Weinstein donate to? A whole lot of prominent Democrats. Including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Chris Dodd, Chuch Schumer, Al Franken and Kamala Harris, among many, many others.
  • Billionaire Democrat megadonor Tom Steyer says Democrats must support impeaching President Trump if they want to receive any money from him. You may remember Steyer from such previous movies as My Attempts To Elect More Liberals in 2014 and 2016 Were Miserable Failures.
  • When the levee breaks, there ain’t no place to hide: Sexual harassment claim filed against Amazon TV producer Roy Price. Bonus: Accuser is Isa Hackett, one of Philip K. Dick’s daughters. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • This follows hot on the heels of claims that Price ignored claims from actress Rose McGowan that Weinstein harassed her. Price is now suspended.
  • “Jimmy Kimmel: Guess What’s In My Pants.” (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Followup: “Remember our old friends Detective Jeff Payne and Lt. James Tracy? The guys who arrested a nurse for refusing to let them draw blood from an unconscious patient without a warrant? Detective Payne has been fired. Lt. Tracy has been demoted.”
  • ABC News chief Matthew Dowd lies about jihad violence claims. (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Timeline of the Las Vegas shooting. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Ann Coulter makes a valid point: There’s no way Stephen Paddock made a living playing video poker. Money laundering, then? (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Russian intelligence agencies reportedly used Kaspersky anti-virus software as a spying tool to scan for U.S. defense secrets.
  • “The NFL is not just losing white viewers. The NFL isn’t just losing black viewers. No, the NFL is hemorrhaging viewers of all races and ages, and they’re doing so at a frightening pace.”
  • “Sorry, I was still picturing Whore Island.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ>)
  • Drug-using Bernie Bro kills Texas Tech cop.
  • Boris Becker loses millions to a Nigerian scam.