Posts Tagged ‘Jihad’

Islamic State All But Destroyed

Sunday, December 10th, 2017

After having secured the Syrian border, Iraq has declared the war against the Islamic State over. Syria strongman Bashar Assad’s patrons the Russians have likewise declared Syria liberated from the Islamic State as well. Both of these statements are slightly premature, but not by much.

Right now isis.livemap shows the Islamic State disjointed into five enclaves, two in sparsely populated desert areas in Syria, one similar area in Iraq, and two small enclaves along the Euphrates in Syria southeast of Deir ez-Zor, both of which are being systematically crushed by the forces of Assad’s Syrian government of the Kurdish-led and U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Once those small pockets are crushed, the military war against the Islamic State is effectively won, though expect it to linger on as yet another international jihadist terrorist organization, a tiny shadow of its former self, until the last of it’s many affiliates are either crushed or pledge allegiance to another leader.

More Islamic State news:

  • Is would-be Islamic State caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi still alive?
  • Deradicalization efforts begin.
  • BBC roundup of all the territory the Islamic State has lost.
  • This Los Angeles Times editorial by Max Abrahms and John Glaser points out that many critics (from John Bolton to John McCain and Lindsey Graham) were wrong when they stated that Assad’s ouster was a precondition for the defeat of the Islamic State.
  • “Meet Mosul Eye, the secret chronicler of Islamic State ‘killing machine.'” Omar Mohammed spent years under Islamic State occupation documenting their brutality. Including this nugget of atrocity: “IS is forcing abortions and tubal ligation surgeries on Yazidi women,” he wrote in unpublished notes from January 2015. A doctor told him there had been between 50 and 60 forced abortions and a dozen Yazidi girls younger than 15 died of injuries from repeated rapes.”
  • “Why Did Islamic State Kill So Many Sufis in Sinai?” “Since declaring itself a caliphate in June 2014, the self-proclaimed ‘State’ has conducted or inspired over 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries in addition to Iraq and Syria, where its carnage has taken a much deadlier toll. Those attacks have killed and wounded thousands of people.” Also how Sufism was the predominant mode of Islamic thought in Egypt before the rise of Salafism and the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • LinkSwarm for December 8, 2017

    Friday, December 8th, 2017

    Last night mother nature dumped a bunch of snow on Austin…very little of which stayed on the ground through this morning. Which is just fine for those of us who have jobs.

    I’ll still sorting out the latest DOJ/FBI revelations to have them all filed in the next Clinton Corruption update, which should be ginormous.

  • California is on fire.
  • “Traffic through central Mordor is slow but steady.”

  • The Wisconsin Witch Hunt was even worse than even conservatives feared:

    Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigation was more sinister and politically driven than originally reported.

    A Wisconsin Attorney General report on the year-long investigation into leaks of sealed John Doe court documents to a liberal British publication in September 2016 finds a rogue agency of partisan bureaucrats bent on a mission “to bring down the (Gov. Scott) Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”

    The AG report, released Wednesday, details an expanded John Doe probe into a “broad range of Wisconsin Republicans,” a “John Doe III,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel, that widened the scope of the so-called John Doe II investigation into dozens of right-of-center groups and scores of conservatives. Republican lawmakers, conservative talk show hosts, a former employee from the MacIver Institute, average citizens, even churches, were secretly monitored by the dark John Doe.

    State Department of Justice investigators found hundreds of thousands of John Doe documents in the possession of the GAB long after they were ordered to be turned over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    The Government Accountability Board, the state’s former “nonpartisan” speech cop, proved to be more partisan than originally suspected, the state Department of Justice report found. For reasons that “perhaps may never be fully explained,” GAB held onto thousands of private emails from Wisconsin conservatives in several folders on their servers marked “Opposition Research.” The report’s findings validate what conservatives have long contended was nothing more than a witch-hunt into limited government groups and the governor who was turning conservative ideas into public policy.

    “Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the report states.

    Snip.

    The Department of Justice, however, recommends the John Doe judge initiate contempt proceedings against former GAB officials and the John Doe probe’s special prosecutor for “grossly” mishandling secret evidence. Schimel also recommends that Shane Falk, who served as lead staff attorney in the John Doe probes, be referred for discipline to the Wisconsin Court System’s Office of Lawyer Regulation. Falk took a job with a private law firm in August 2014, just as allegations of investigative abuse began to surround the political investigation.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Perspective: Nancy Pelosi seems to think the GOP tax bill is worse than the Fugitive Slave Act
  • Another sexual harassment followup on Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen: “Hey, Nancy Pelosi knew all about my sexual harassment charges last year, and threw money at me anyway. So why’s she getting her knickers in a knot now?”
  • “Eye Doctor Tied to Bob Menendez Case Convicted in $100 Million Fraud Scheme.” And Democrat Menendez is still, as of this writing, a Senator.
  • Months after the Las Vegas shooting, and there are still dozens of unanswered questions about what actually happened.
  • 92 percent of illegal aliens arrested this year had ‘criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, were an immigration fugitive, or were an illegal reentrant.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Man Deported 20 Times Sentenced to 35 Years for Sexual Assault.” So when is San Francisco throwing him his parade?
  • “Swedish Government to Ban Websites that List Ethnic Origin of Criminal Suspects.”
  • Related: “Swedish lawyer Elisabeth Fritz claims that in the majority of rape cases she has had to work on the suspects have been individuals from migrant backgrounds.”
  • “Swedish Chief Prosecutor: No-Go Zone Rinkeby Is Like a ‘War Zone.'”
  • “You know who doesn’t have a refugee problem? Japan.” This year Japan has taken in three refugees. Last year it was 28.
  • Hmmmm: “A federal judge in Argentina indicted former President Cristina Fernandez for treason and asked for her arrest for allegedly covering up Iran’s possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people, a court ruling said.”
  • Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks to resign over asking staffers to consider being a surrogate mother for him and his wife? Franks, unlike Al Franken, has actually resigned, not merely promised to resign at some unspecified date in the future.
  • More on how Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to revitalize the kingdom:

    Last Sunday premiered the newly formed Islamic anti-terrorism coalition, putting together leaders from Sunni Arab nations to denounce and combat fundamentalist terrorism throughout the Middle East and the world. It was another bold initiative towards the West of the young and energetic Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, coming on the heels of other bold moves that have looked to consolidate political and religious power in the Kingdom.

    Together, all of these initiatives couldn’t be more transparent. They represent a movement of the most economically powerful nation in OPEC towards social, cultural and economic change, the realization of the Saudi “Vision 2030”. It is a top-down Arab Spring movement that likely has a better chance of success than the populist movements that resulted in more chaos than change in 2010.

    However, the ultimate success for Vision 2030 will rely upon achieving the main economic goal of this revolution – the divestiture of Saudi Arabia from the singularity of oil revenues. Because we know that ultimately money – and lots of it – will be needed to drive the engines for change, we get a far better picture of just how important these latest production extensions agreed to in Vienna were for the young Prince.

    And here we’re brought back to the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco, still on tap for 2018.

    Even the planned 5 percent offering of the Saudi state oil assets could yield an instantaneous $100 billion dollars, if the $2 trillion-dollar valuation of Saudi Aramco is accurate. That’s a lot of capital to start the process of rebuilding a Saudi economy from one that is now virtually completely reliant upon the State. 75 percent of the Saudi public is under 35 years old, and they are starving for a new economic infrastructure that will bring job opportunities, cultural diversity, music, education – global access of all kinds – the kind of freedoms that the 2010 Arab Spring uprisings were supposed to deliver. Only this time, the push for change is coming from the top down, not as a populist movement from the people upwards.

  • “Tesla – which lost $619 million in Q3 – delivered only 3,590 vehicles in November in the US, down 18% from a year ago.”
  • In a rare moment of sanity for Sports Illustrated, they named J. J. Watt and the Houston Astro’s Jose Altuve as co-sportsmen of the year. Next week I’m sure they’ll get back to their usual Social Justicing…
  • Texas writer Bill Crider enters hospice care. Bill’s not particularly political, but he is a friend of mine, and I have frequently stolen some of the lighter LinkSwarm items from his blog. He’s a prince among men and he will be missed…
  • You’ve got to admire the designers of http://www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com for having the courage of their convictions.
  • “Opossum breaks into liquor store and gets drunk as a skunk.”
  • Hell to the no
  • A tweet that tells you all you need to know to evaluate forthcoming legislation:

  • A shot of yuletide Archer cheer:

  • Bring Me My Bow Of Burning Gold

    Thursday, December 7th, 2017

    Wednesday President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, finally fulfilling the terms of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995. (Trivia: It passed the Senate by a vote of 93-5. The only Democrat to vote against it? Sen. Robert Byrd.)

    The usual idiots are in full poo flinging mode. “Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Mr Trump was ‘throwing the region into a ring of fire.'” Yes, because the Middle East was such a garden of peace and understanding before the announcement.

    Those notorious peace lovers in Hamas stated that President Trump’s move had “opened the gates of Hell. Which is sort of their go-to move:

    Maybe they can turn it into a tourist attraction: “Be there at sunset to see Hamas open the Gates of Hell!”

    I guess we’ll have to live with Hamas abandoning the peaceful, reasonable, constructive engagement with Israel that’s been their hallmark.

    And there’s the usual gnashing and wailing over the blow to the mythical “peace process” that’s all process and no peace.

    As one official notes: “Delaying the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has done nothing to achieve peace for more than two decades.”

    Naturally the Palestinians are rioting because it’s the only thing they’re good at. Maybe they’ll launch Intifada 3: Little Bombers. The Second Intifada did manage to ramp the annual deaths of Israelis into the low hundreds, but that was before Israel built most of its security wall. (They’re also far along in building an underground wall around Gaza to thwart those Hamas Peace and Happiness kidnap tunnels.) So the scope of Israeli killing they can accomplish is probably fairly constrained.

    In the Netherlands, Muslims responded by smashing the windows of a kosher restaurant, trying to ensure those blintzes never oppress Palestinians again.

    Meanwhile, a bill to cut off payments to the Palestinian government for supporting terrorism sailed through the House.

    Being hypersensitive to the tender sensibilities of Palestinians and the “Arab street” has gotten the United States exactly jack over the years (unless you count dead ambassadors). Let the Arab street rage and boil over Jerusalem this week. Next week it will be something else. And the week after. And the week after. And the week after.

    Israel Hits Iranian Base in Syria, World Shrugs

    Monday, December 4th, 2017

    Remember how every time Israel committed an act of self-defense, a chattering array of The Usual Suspects would freakout and accuse Israel of “risking war,” “escalating tensions,” “derailing the peace process,” or whatever standard platitudes the global political establishment use to make anytime Israel did something other than pretend to make nice with those Arabs trying to kill them?

    Those days appear to be over.

    In a follow-up to last week’s story about Israel threatening to hit Iranian bases in Syria, guess what happened? Israel hit an Iranian base in Syria.

    Israeli warplanes attacked an Iranian military base near the Syrian city of ​​Al-Kiswah early Saturday morning, according to Sky News Arabia and other Arab media outlets. The construction of the base, which was the target of the airstrike, began last year and had accelerated in recent months.

    According to the reports, the Israeli fighter jets fired from Lebanese airspace and the Syrian defense systems responded by firing anti-aircraft missiles. It was also reported that the Syrian missiles were fired from Damascus’ Mezzeh base and that the Israeli aircraft were flying at a low altitude above the Lebanese city of Baalbek. Media outlets affiliated with the Syrian regime confirmed that several missiles were fired at the Iranian base, which was apparently used for storing ammunition.

    Israel has an extraordinarily good air force, and they usually hit what they aim at. And like most Middle East operations since the U.S. withdraw from Iraq in 2011, reporting is so sparse that it’s hard to judge how successful the operation was.

    But Israel’s latest strike is most notable for all the dogs that didn’t bark after it occurred. This is the sort of story that used to dominate media cycles for a day or two, but this time around, if you blinked, or weren’t scanning Twitter shortly after it happened, you very likely missed it.

    So what’s changed? I can think of two possibilities:

    1. America’s liberal media is so consumed with Trump Derangement Syndrome that they can’t expend the usual time, space and energy on reflective anti-Israel/pro-Arab pieces anymore. Call it Freakout Fatigue.
    2. Maybe all Mohammed bin Salman’s actions in Saudi Arabia has sidelined various royal family factions that were actively bankrolling anti-Israeli agitation among the chattering classes.

    Mark this down as yet another thing that the Trump Administration has changed, though most likely indirectly. Less indirect is the fact that relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel are probably the warmest they’ve been since Israel’s founding (having common enemies will do that for you).

    There appears to be more real reform afoot in the Middle East right now than the “Arab Spring” ever unleashed…

    LinkSwarm for December 1, 2017

    Friday, December 1st, 2017

    Welcome to another LinkSwarm! December already! I didn’t do enough to get ahead in 2017, because I was working hard merely to survive 2017…

    Think I’m going to do a separate “Democrats Behaving Badly” roundup tomorrow, by which time there should be another half-dozen accusations…

  • Donald Trump, champion deregulator?
  • The Al Franken scandal is hitting Democrats right where it hurts most: in their pocketbooks.
  • Harry Reid kills the judicial filibuster. Result? “Trump will get to fill the most federal judiciary vacancies in 40 year.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • “WaPo reporter to Project Veritas: There may be no evidence of Trump collusion with Russia.” Now you tell us… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • The welfare state should be abolished.
  • “McDonald’s Bun-Supplier Loses 35% Of Staff To Immigration Raids.”
  • He was just a Dreamer, dreaming of coming to America and stabbing someone in their chest 100 times and ripping out their heart.
  • John Hindraker: “Roy Moore for Senate! Enthusiastically.”
  • Professor: the fewer competitive congressional districts, the better.
  • China To Deploy Elite Troops In Syria To Fight Alongside Assad’s Army.”
  • Once again, liberals are outraged at a compact to cut down on voter fraud.
  • Philadelphia city councilwoman wants to see more constituents murdered.
  • ESPN lays off 150 people. How is that “All Social Justice Warrior, All the Time” format working out for you?
  • 100 Buzzfeed employees laid off. What happened next will shock you! (Hat tip: NolteNC’s Twitter feed.)
  • And the hits keep coming! “Music Mogul Russell Simmons Accused of Rape by Model, Then 17 Years Old; Now Accused by Second Woman.”
  • Time Inc. will be sold to Meredith Corporation for $2.8 billion in deal partly funded by Koch brothers.” Can the Koch Brothers make it suck less? Probably not, since they evidently won’t have any influence. I think Meredith overpaid by about $2.8 billion…
  • Croatian war criminal R. Bud Dwyers himself in court, albeit less dramatically.
  • Let colleges die.
  • Imagine being so unhinged and so geeky that you issue death threats to congressmen and their families over the “net neutrality” debate. Hope the 10 years in prison and the $250,000 fine were worth it for knocking $5 off your Netflix bill…
  • Social Justice has now reached the point in Olympia, Washington that police won’t even evict trespassers from railroad tracks. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • Philly officer sold drugs stolen by corrupt Baltimore police squad.” Remind me again which party has controlled those two cities the last half century…
  • Feminist satire website to shutdown because it can’t out-crazy actual feminists.
  • Dogs > Cats.
  • Germany’s top 10 most surreal sites to visit.” (Last photo is NSFW.)
  • How hippies put on the worst music festival in history.
  • Israel Threatens to Destroy Iranian Positions Near Its Border

    Tuesday, November 28th, 2017

    If you’re tired of all this Arab-on-Arab fighting, Israel is indicating it may have to do some direct clobbering itself:

    Kuwaiti newspaper Al Jarida revealed on Sunday that an Israeli source disclosed a promise from Jerusalem to destroy all Iranian facilities within 40 kilometers (25 miles) of Israel’s Golan Heights.

    The source, who remains unnamed, said that during Syrian President Bashar Assad’s surprise visit to Russia last week, Assad gave Russian Premier Vladimir Putin a message for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: Damascus will agree to a demilitarized zone of up to 40 kilometers from the border in the Golan Heights as part of a comprehensive agreement between the two countries, but only if Israel does not work to remove Assad’s regime from power.

    The report also claims that Putin then called Netanyahu to relay the message, and that the Israeli prime minister said he would be willing to accept the deal, but that Israel’s goal of eradicating Iran and Hezbollah from the country would remain.

    According to the source, Jerusalem sees Assad as the last president of the Alawite community, indicating that a change of regime in Syria – at least towards a government less-linked to Iran – would be favorable for Israel. The Alawites are a minority Shi’ite community in Syria, and have long been supported by Iran, which seeks to extend its influence from the Gulf across the region to the Mediterranean.

    Here’s your regular reminder that Alawites are Shiite in the same sense that Mormons are Jews.

    The source also commented that after the defeat of the Islamic State, the conflict in Syria would become ”more difficult,” likely pointing towards a vacuum that would be left without the group. Russian, Syrian and Iranian-backed forces have been fighting against ISIS, while also seeking to knock out rebel groups that oppose the current regime. Russia’s stated interests have been in line with Iran’s in wanting to keep Assad in power.

    Israel has participated mostly on the periphery of the war in Syria, responding to fire on the northern border and occasionally bombing positions, including a weapons depot and scientific research center that allegedly produces chemical weapons. Damascus and Jerusalem have exchanged heated remarks as well, with Netanyahu threatening to bomb Assad’s palace, and Syrian officials warning of ”dangerous repercussions” to Israeli strikes on Syrian targets.

    Naturally Hezbollah says it’s perfectly willing to fight if its Iranian masters snap their fingers:

    The head of a large Iranian-backed Iraqi militia that has been fighting in Syria said his group was “fully prepared” to fight Israel if Damascus asked it to.

    Sheikh Akram al-Ka’abi, the leader of Iraq’s Hezbollah al-Nujaba, told the Lebanese news network Al Mayadeen Friday night his group would participate in a Damascus-led attack on Israel’s Golan Heights.

    “We are fully prepared to participate in any war with the Syrian Arab Army to liberate the Golan if the Syrian state agrees or requests so,” Ka’abi said.

    He said this would be done through the militia’s newest branch, the Golan Liberation Brigade, which was formed in March of this year.

    Hezbollah al-Nujaba is reportedly controlled by Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite foreign operations unit, the Qods Force.

    Ka’abi, who controls a reported 10,000 men in Syria, also said his group was prepared to defend the Lebanese terror group and fellow Iranian proxy Hezbollah from any Israeli attack.

    I doubt either Assad or Russia wants to tangle with Israel right now, especially with the Saudi’s making threats and President Donald Trump being both far more pro-Israel (and unpredictable) than the previous occupant of the White House.

    Meanwhile, Israel’s leadership is openly talking of war with Hezbollah and bumping off its leader, Hassan Nasrallah.

    Interesting times…

    230+ Killed in Attack on Sufi Mosque in Egypt

    Friday, November 24th, 2017

    Another deadly mosque attack, this one in northern Sinai in Egypt:

    Militants have launched a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai province, killing 235 people, state media say.

    Witnesses say the al-Rawda mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed, near al-Arish, was targeted during Friday prayers.

    It is the deadliest attack of its kind since an Islamist insurgency in the peninsula was stepped up in 2013.

    Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has held emergency talks with security officials to decide how to respond.

    Local police said gunmen arrived in four off-road vehicles and bombed the packed mosque before opening fire on worshippers, the Associated Press reported.

    Pictures from the scene show rows of bloodied victims inside the mosque. At least 100 people were wounded, reports say.

    “They were shooting at people as they left the mosque,” a local resident who had relatives there told Reuters news agency. “They were shooting at the ambulances too.”

    No group has yet claimed responsibility for what is one of the deadliest militant attacks in modern Egyptian history.
    Who was targeted?

    Locals are quoted as saying that followers of Sufism, or Islamic mysticism, regularly gathered at the mosque.

    Sufis are among the least likely of Muslims to take up terrorism. The Islamic State certainly targets them as heretics, but the Muslim Brotherhood is not too keen on them either, so both are natural suspects as being behind the bombing.

    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.)

    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.