Posts Tagged ‘Jihad’

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.
  • Islamic State Update: Hawija Falls, Final Push for Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor Fully Invested

    Monday, October 9th, 2017

    Quick update on the ongoing destruction of the Islamic State.

    First, “Iraqi forces have driven Islamic State fighters from the northern city of Hawija, the militants’ final urban stronghold in Iraq, three years after they seized control of nearly a third of the country, the Iraqi government said Thursday.”

    There’s still lots of fighting along the Euphrates, but the Islamic State doesn’t control any cities outside that region any more.

    Second, the the final offensive against Islamic State holdouts in what remains of their territory in besieged Raqqa just began, with commanders of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces estimating that all of Raqqa will be liberated this week.

    Third, like Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor has been completely cut off from the rest of the Islamic State by both SDF and Assad’s Syrian army. SDF also captured the Islamic State’s Deir ez-Zor headquarters.

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

    In western Syria, there are conflicting reports about the remaining Islamic State pocket near Hama there. The Syrian government claims it has destroyed the last elements of the Islamic State there, while the Islamic State claims that it is attacking and gaining ground from the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the rival Islamist group in the Syrian civil war that incorporates former elements of the al-Nusra Front.

    In 2014, the Islamic State took and ruled vast swathes of Iraq and Syria. Now they struggle to hold on to what few cities they still control, and soon will rule over nothing at all.

    Las Vegas Shooting Follow-Up

    Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

    Nothing about the Las Vegas shooting makes sense:

    Legally-owned fully-automatic weapons have been used in three crimes since 1934.

    So, a person who’s “not a gun guy” has either expended untold thousands of dollars to legally purchase fully-automatic weapons, somehow found them on the black market, or purchased and substantially modified multiple semi-automatic weapons — and did so with enough competence to create a sustained rate of fire. This same person also spent substantial sums purchasing just the right hotel room to maximize casualties. I cannot think of a single other mass shooter who went to this level of expense and planning in the entire history of the United States.

    Snip.

    He was the multimillionaire son of a notorious bank robber. He had no known history of mental illness, there’s no record of radical politics, and he had no criminal history. It looks like his first crime was the worst mass murder in American history, and ISIS is still trying to take credit for his attack. These facts are unique, to say the least.

    Add to that the fact that [Stephen] Paddock owned multiple homes and two planes, which doesn’t exactly fit the spree-killer profile. Also, age 64 is quite old for an active shooter, but not unprecedented.

    Most older active shooters seem to be acting on some sort of workplace grudge. Jose Mendez, 68, shot up his printing shop, while Biswanath Halder, 62, apparently had a grudge against someone in the Case Western Reserve University computer lab. John Chester Ashley (a Baptist Decon!) shot up a law office after his divorce case. John Suchan Chong shot up the Christian retreat where he worked as a handyman.

    Alburn Edward Blake, who was 60 when he shot up a Wendy’s, might be the closest comparison shooter. But Blake already had a long history of weird behavior and mental instability (like legally marrying a women who he had never met and who wasn’t present during the ceremony).

    The Islamic State continues to claim Paddock as one of their own:

    “Responding to the call of [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] to target the states of the Crusader alliance, and after careful observation of gatherings of the Crusaders in the US city of Las Vegas, one of the soldiers of the caliphate (Abu Abd al-Bar al-Amriki, may Allah accept him) lay hidden armed with machine guns and various ammunition in a hotel overlooking a concert,” it said.

    “He opened fire on their gathering, leaving 600 killed and injured, until his ammunition was finished and he departed as a martyr.:

    Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, immediately called both for more gun control, as well as defeating a bill under consideration to make suppressors more readily available for shooters. This piece explains why that position is bunk. “An automatic weapon creates so much heat that it rapidly deteriorates the effectiveness of sound suppression (or simply melts it).”

    Indeed, it’s part of the usual liberal push for disarming law-abiding citizens. “They are interested not merely in stopping mass shootings, but limiting gun ownership.”

    If Paddock wasn’t working for the Islamic State, and absent some reason showing up in his autopsy (ala Charles Joseph Whitman’s brain tumor), his motivation for meticulously planning and perpetrating the largest mass shooting in American history (with a death toll at 59 as of this writing) seems unfathomable.

    Over 50 Dead From Active Shooter in Las Vegas

    Monday, October 2nd, 2017

    An active shooter attacked a country music concert from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas, leaving over 50 dead. Shooter has been identified as “64-year-old Stephen Paddock,” a local, and has been confirmed dead. Police also have his girlfriend/companion/whatever in custody.

    Video and witnesses indicate he was firing some sort of fully automatic weapon.

    The MO fits the jihadi profile, and the Islamic State called on followers to attack Las Vegas months ago, but Paddock appears to be a 64-year old white guy, which doesn’t fit the usual pattern.

    Developing…

    Update: Family said shooter had no religious or political affiliation.

    Update 2: Islamic State claims he’s a recent convert to Islam.

    Update 3: Death till 58, FBI says not international terrorism involved, Islamic State doubles down on Paddock being one of theirs, he was reportedly a high-stakes gambler, and his father was a bank robber on the FBI’s 10 most wanted list.

    Merkel Wins (Sort Of)

    Monday, September 25th, 2017

    Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union once again won the majority of votes in German federal elections. However, it got the smallest share of any of Merkel’s victories, and the “far right” Euroskeptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the Bundestag with 12.7% of the vote, making it the third largest party. The “far right” and “populist” tags don’t take into account that the party was originally formed by economists skeptical of deeper European economic integration. They catch the most heat for a position that’s extremely popular: that Merkel’s inviting millions of Islamic “refugees” to Germany was a big mistake that should be reversed and that border controls should be implemented. They also believe that multiculturalism does not work.

    This, of course, is deeply unacceptable to the European ruling class, which is why they describe AfD in ways that make it sound like they’re about to break out singing the Horst Wessel song.

    The actual AfD manifesto can be read in English here, assuming you’re up for 96 pages of European party positions. It includes a mix of populist, Euroskeptic, conservative and libertarian positions. (Germany’s fourth largest party, the Free Democratic Party, bills itself as a fusions of liberalism and “classical liberalism,” is generally considered center-right, but is markedly more internationalist than AfD, and have frequently played the parliamentary swing-party role the Liberal Democrats have in the UK.)

    As in America, the German ruling class have decided that some issues (in Germany’s case, Greek bailouts and Muslim refugees) are too sensitive to let mere voters have their say in them, with the result that more and more, voters are looking to alternatives, “respectable” or otherwise.

    Islamic State Near Collapse?

    Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

    That’s what this headline implies. The truth is a little less dramatic: Raqqa is on the edge of full liberation and the Islamic State is in retreat everywhere else.

    Static lines of control that held for months in northern Raqqa have collapsed, as seen in this Syria Livemap screen cap:

    Compare that to this map from September 5:

    Islamic State fighters are running out of territory in Raqqa to defend.

    Here’s a video from the battle of Raqqa:

    Southeast of Raqqa, Syrian government forces and the SDF are both pushing toward Deir ez-Zor.

    SDF also say they have captured Syria’s largest oilfield from the Islamic State near Deir ez-Zor.

    Elsewhere in the theater, “Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces have cleared ISIS out of about 50,000 square miles and liberated more than 6 million people who were living under Islamic State occupation.”

    Here’s a map of Iraqi forces collapsing the pocket of Islamic State forces to the southwest of Kirkuk that have been cut off from the rest of the Islamic State at least since the investment of Mosul.

    Everywhere within it’s supposed caliphate, the Islamic State is in retreat, and nowhere is it counterattacking successfully. But it still holds a lot of territory, and there’s a lot more fighting left before declaring it dead.

    Bonus video: Royal Air Force drone stops Islamic State public execution:

    LinkSwarm for September 22, 2017

    Friday, September 22nd, 2017

    Welcome to the first LinkSwarm of fall! Between a new job, car trouble, dog trouble and iPhone updates, you’re lucky there’s a LinkSwarm at all!

  • Final total for J.J. Watt’s YouCaring campaign: $37,131,967.
  • Death toll in the Mexico City earthquake hits 273.
  • Mexican rescue dog saves over 50 lives.
  • 100% of Puerto Rico is without power following Hurricane Maria.
  • Obama Administration official Samantha Power asked for over 260 unmaskings of American citizens. “She continued to seek identifying information about Americans caught up in incidental surveillance right up to President Trump’s inauguration.” (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • And Obama’s FBI Director James Comey was apparently eavesdropping on Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “House IT Worker At Center Of Scandal Allegedly Abused Three Muslim Women.” “Multiple women in relationships with Imran Awan, the indicted former IT aide for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, have recently called Virginia law enforcement and alleged being abused by him, police reports obtained under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act show.”
  • President Trump didn’t forget Poland.
  • “The mainstream media failed to see the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Now it’s overlooking another grassroots movement that may soon be of equal significance— the growing number of liberals “taking the red pill.” People of all ages and ethnicities are posting YouTube videos describing “red pill moments”—personal awakenings that have caused them to reject leftist narratives imbibed since childhood from friends, teachers, and the news and entertainment media.”
  • “Federal Prosecutors Say Anthony Weiner Convinced [15-year old] Teen To Strip, Touch Herself On Skype.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • “Evergreen State College has settled a tort claim against it from embattled Professor Bret Weinstein and his wife, Professor Heather Heying, for $500,000, according to an email sent to faculty Friday evening.” (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Article on the decline of NFL ratings offers and explanation in the comments section: “One after another, cogent, thoughtful comments clearly stating the exact reason that life long NFL fans have turned off the TV, dropped their cable subscription, and moved on.” Sample: “There will be no NFL at my house until the employment of players that disrespect our flag and anthem is terminated.”
  • More signs of NFL’s decline in popularity: Los Angeles Rams can’ even sell out their temporary stadium. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Flashback: Ted Kennedy, drunken serial sexual molester.
  • Wisconsin appeals court dismisses union lawsuit against right-to-work law.
  • Armed citizen stops would-be rapist near downtown Austin. (Hat tip: Dwight.)
  • “Scientists create world’s first ‘molecular robot’ capable of building molecules.” No indication these 150-atom “robots” can contain programming or self-replicate, so we’re still a long way from K. Eric Drexler’s nanotechnology…
  • Valerie Plame steps in it: