Posts Tagged ‘Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’

The Middle East in 2017: Sucking Slightly Less

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

For all the talk of Donald Trump being unworthy of the Presidency and inadequate for the job, there have been a number of positive developments in a surprising number of places this year, not least of which is the Middle East.

That mostly wretched hive of scum and villainy haven’t turned into stable democratic states (nor is that likely to happen in my lifetime), but there has been modest-to-radical improvement on a number of fronts:

  • At the beginning of the year, the nightmarish Islamic State was a going concern that held vast swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, including the major cities of Mosul and Raqqa. As 2017 closes, both those cities have been liberated and the would-be caliphate has lost some 90% of it’s territory, the overwhelming majority of its soldiers, and has been dismembered into a few sparsely inhabited desert enclaves. This is a big win for the entire civilized world.

  • Before President Trump took office, Saudi Arabia was the same oppressive Wahhabist-backed monarchy it had always been. But in 2017, for the first time since the founding of the Kingdom in 1930, something resembling real reform finally seems to be afoot under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Remember Trump’s much-derided visit to Saudi Arabia? Trump not only repaired the rift between the United States and Saudi Arabia created by the Obama Administration’s inexplicable Iran deal, he apparently gave bin Salman the greenlight for radical change, both domestic and foreign, including stripping the religious police of their arrest powers and detaining many hardline clerics in the course of consolidating his own power.
  • Israel already found Trump a vast improvement over the Obama administration’s open hostility, but President Trump implementing the long-delayed move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem has further solidified ties and brought additional dividends, with other countries in talks to follow suite. And despite predictions to the contrary, widespread Palestinian violence in reaction to the move has not materialized.
  • Relations with Eqypt have improved since Obama’s ill-advised snit over the overthrow of the brutal Morsi Muslim Brotherhood government.
  • To be sure, myriad problems continue to plague the Middle East: The Syrian civil war, the Saudi-Iran proxy war, Turkey’s oppressive Islamist government, instability in Lebanon, and Qatar’s friction with other gulf nations (and possibly continued support for terrorism). It is, after all, still the Middle East. But there has still been remarkable (and frequently unexpected) improvement in a number of areas in the Middle East during Donald Trump’s first year as President of the United States of America.

    LinkSwarm for December 22, 2017

    Friday, December 22nd, 2017

    Welcome to a pre-Christmas LinkSwarm! (Pro-tip: The week before Christmas is the bad time to try rolling out a new diet.)

  • Female Kansas City Democratic congressional candidate drops out of race after sexual harassment charge. I’m betting this is the point when Democrats start going “Now wait a minute, this has gone on long enough…”
  • Occam’s Razor and why sunspots explain observed climaite changes better than CO2.
  • EU files formal article 7 complaint against Poland for “undermining the independence of the judiciary” (read: de-communizing it). They’ve also started action against “Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic for blocking the EU migrant relocation plans to settle some 160,000 migrants among its member states.” The more they tighten their grip, the more member states will slip through their fingers…
  • Jews Flee Paris Suburbs over Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism.” (Hat tip: RS McCain’s Twitter feed.)
  • Public: “Hey, we’re sure like to see a list of all those secret sexual harassment payouts.” Office of Compliance: “Get stuffed!”
  • McConnell Backs Trump on Chain-Migration.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • 12668 buildings have been damaged in Raqqa city due the battles between ISIS and SDF supported by Coalition. 3289 building in the red colour are completely destroyed. 3924 building in the orange colour are heavily damaged. 5444 building in the yellow colour are partially damaged.”

  • Lefty journalist Juan Thompson given a a five-year prison sentence for phoning in bomb threats at Jewish community centers. But you have to read the full piece to find out what a real sweetheart he was…
  • Another lefty alternative weekly paper in financial trouble. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Scott Adams offers suggestions on actually fighting crime.
  • California’s Lt. Gov Gavin Newsome admits that Democrats are coming for your guns.
  • Women love the sexual interplay they experience with men, and they relish men desiring their beauty. Why? Because it is part of their nature.”
  • Mistrial declared in the Cliven Bundy case due to the government not turning over evidence. Hmmm….
  • All other things being equal, it’s generally best not to commit federal felonies on Twitter.
  • “Long Island Iced Tea shares went gangbusters after changing its name to Long Blockchain.” I need a filter that changes every mention of “Bitcoin” to “Tulips”… (Hat tip: Stephen green at Instapundit.)
  • I’ve checked out of the NFL, but this is worth noting: Houston Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry has been promoted to the active roster, and will step on the field for a regular game for the first time ever after beating cancer.
  • I would say this week has been a bear, but it’s more like a bear claw…

    Merry Christmas!

    LinkSwarm for December 15, 2017

    Friday, December 15th, 2017

    Another week, another abbreviated LinkSwarm. I’m running out of year and a variety of tasks (including work) keep crowding more extensive blogging out.

  • Gallup poll shows support for decreasing immigration holding steady. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus’ Twitter feed.)
  • More on that same poll (also via Kaus):

    An overwhelming majority of Hispanics opposes increasing immigration, but their position is entirely unrepresented in the Democratic party. It seems possible that the Democrats will throw away a winnable Senate seat in Alabama because they have nominated a pro-abortion extremist against a Republican who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and ephebophilia (probably better that you don’t look that up).

    Even ten years ago, Democrats were willing to nominate candidates who were culturally conservative (or at least willing to pretend to be culturally conservative) in order to replace conservative Republicans with somewhat-more-liberal Democrats. What changed?

    The first thing was the alleged coming of the “emerging Democratic majority,” which was supposed to be brought about by demographic change and a larger nonwhite share of the electorate. This Democratic majority has been a little late in arriving, but that isn’t the only important part of the story.

    Many liberal whites wanted to be rid of the culturally conservative, economically liberal, working-class white voters whom Democrats had courted in the previous decade. Upper-middle-class whites were embarrassed by these people. After all these centuries of white privilege, they never managed to get into a good school—or even a state college—and now they were making demands about trade and immigration.

    One of the themes that emerges from Shattered (a chronicle of the Clinton campaign) is that the Clinton operation didn’t want to make a strong play for working-class white voters in swing states. The Clintonites thought these voters were disposable. It was left to Barack Obama to point out that he had done better than Clinton in many heavily working-class white areas, because he had done those voters the courtesy of treating them as though they were as important as any other American.

  • Paul Ryan to retire?
  • Little appreciated is the fact that Ryan is also an expert fundraiser.
  • Former Massachusetts Democratic state senator Brian A. Joyce arrested on 113 counts, including “mail fraud, theft of federal funds, money laundering, scheme to defraud the IRS, 20 counts of extortion, seven counts of money laundering, and conspiracy to impair the functions of the IRS.” How did he do all that? He’s a coffee achiever! (Seriously. Read the story.)
  • The hard-left sorts over at Counterpunch are not at all impressed with the myriad serial flavors of liberal Trump Derangement Syndrome:

    This initial post-election propaganda was understandably somewhat awkward, as the plan had been to be able to celebrate the “Triumph of Love over the Forces of Hate,” and the demise of the latest Hitlerian bogeyman. But this was the risk the ruling classes took when they chose to go ahead and Hitlerize Trump, which they wouldn’t have done if they’d thought for a moment that he had a chance of actually winning the election. That’s the tricky thing about Hitlerizing people. You need to be able to kill them, eventually. If you don’t, when they turn out not to be Hitler, your narrative kind of falls apart, and the people you’ve fear-mongered into a frenzy of frothing, self-righteous fake-Hitler-hatred end up feeling like a bunch of dupes who’ll believe anything the government tells them. This is why, normally, you only Hitlerize foreign despots you can kill with impunity. This is Hitlerization 101 stuff, which the ruling classes ignored in this case, which the left poor liberals terrified that Trump was actually going to start building Trump-branded death camps and rounding up the Jews.

    Fortunately, just in the nick of time, the ruling classes and their media mouthpieces rolled out the Russian Propaganda story. The Washington Post (whose owner’s multimillion dollar deal with the CIA, of course, has absolutely no effect on the quality of its professional journalism) led the charge with this McCarthyite smear job, legitimizing the baseless allegations of some random website and a think tank staffed by charlatans like this “Russia expert,”who appears not to speak a word of Russian or have any other “Russia expert” credentials, but is available both for television and Senate Intelligence Committee appearances. Numerous similar smear piecesfollowed. Liberals breathed a big sigh of relief … that Hitler business had been getting kind of scary. How long can you go, after all, with Hitler stumbling around the White House before somebody has to go in there and shoot him?

    In any event, by January, the media were playing down the Hitler stuff and going balls-out on the “Russiagate” story. According to The Washington Post (which, let’s remember, is a serious newspaper, as opposed to a propaganda organ of the so-called US “Intelligence Community”), not only had the Russians “hacked” the election, but they had hacked the Vermont power grid! Editorialists at The New York Times were declaring that Trump “had been appointed by Putin,” and that the USA was now “at war” with Russia. This was also around the time when liberals first learned of the Trump-Russia Dossier, which detailed how Putin was blackmailing Trump with a video the FSB had shot of Trump and a bunch of Russian hookers peeing on a bed in a Moscow hotel in which Obama had allegedly slept.

    This nonsense was reported completely straight-faced, and thus liberals were forced to take it seriously. Imagine the cognitive dissonance they suffered. It was like that scene in 1984 when the Party abruptly switches enemies, and the war with Eurasia becomes the war with Eastasia. Suddenly, Trump wasn’t Hitler anymore. Now he was a Russian sleeper agent who Putin had been blackmailing into destroying democracy with this incriminating “golden showers” video. Putin had presumably been “running” Trump since Trump’s visit to Russia in 2013 to hobnob with “Russia-linked” Russian businessmen and attend the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. During the ensuing partying, Trump must have gotten loaded on Diet Coke and gotten carried away with those Russian hookers. Now, Putin had him by the short hairs and was forcing him to staff his Manchurian cabinet with corporate CEOs and Goldman Sachs guys, who probably had also been videotaped by the FSB in Moscow hotels paying hookers to pee on furniture, or performing whatever other type of seditious, perverted kink they were into.

    Before the poor liberals had time to process this, the ruling classes launched “the Resistance.” You remember the Pussyhat People, don’t you? And the global corporate PR campaign which accompanied their historic “Womens’ March” on Washington? Do you remember liberals like Michael Moore shrieking for the feds to arrest Donald Trump? Or publications like The New York Times, Salon, and many others, and even State Satirist Stephen Colbertaccusing Trump and anyone who supported him of treason … a crime, let’s recall, that is punishable by death? Do you remember folks like William Kristol and Rob “the Meathead” Reiner demanding that the “deep state” launch a coup against Trump to rescue America from the Russian infiltrators?

    Ironically, the roll-out of this “Russiagate” hysteria was so successful that it peaked too soon, and prematurely backlashed all over itself. By March, when Trump had not been arrested, nor otherwise removed from office, liberals, who by that time the corporate media had teased into an incoherent, throbbing state of anticipation were … well, rather disappointed. By April, they were exhibiting all the hallmark symptoms of clinical psychosis. This mental breakdown was due to the fact that the media pundits and government spooks who had been telling them that Trump was Hitler, and then a Russian sleeper agent, were now telling them that he wasn’t so bad, because he’d pointlessly bombed a Syrian airstrip, and dropped a $314 million Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb on some alleged “terrorist caves” in Afghanistan.

  • Intelligence Leaks Reveal Erdogan Regime Arming Criminal Turkish Gangs in Germany.” He’s just a barer of light and joy all around… (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Where was that explosion on the “Arab Street” all those “experts” warned us about if President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?
  • Sweden has an antisemitism problem, but refuses to admit it’s a result of its Muslim refugee problem.
  • Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001. Is it working? Mostly. But it’s not a cure-all. Interesting piece.
  • How Jennifer Rubin turned into Dana Milbank. (Hat tip: Dr. Milton Wolfe’s Twitter feed.)
  • Police: “This man is a rapist!” Judge: “Were you just going to ignore the 40,000 texts from the alleged victim asking for sex?”
  • Senior Hamas leader arrested. Good.
  • Did a Long island woman launder money to the Islamic State using Bitcoin? (Hat tip: Director Blue.) (And let me apologize for ruining your previously Bitcoin-free LinkSwarm…)
  • More on the Wisconsin John Doe Witch Hunt.
  • Everyone’s favorite Tweeter, Texas Supreme Court justice Don Willett, was confirmed to the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Congrats, Justice Willett!
  • As was former Texas Solicitor General James Ho.
  • With Ho’s appointment, President Donald Trump broke broke the all-time record for first year judicial appointments.
  • This week’s winning pervert in the Sexual Harassment Sweepstakes is… senior Disney music executive Jon Heely. Now I feel even more conflicted about Devo 2.0.
  • Seven woman have now accused 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski of sexual harassment.
  • Speaking of sexual abuse, I really hope these horrific “blind” sexual abuse allegations against unnamed Hollywood celebrities are untrue. If not, life in prison for the perpetrators is too good for them…
  • Russia has a new stealth fighter, the Su-57. Too bad for them its engines won’t be ready until 2027… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • (screamingheadline)RUSSIA TROLLS BOUGHT ADS BEFORE BREXIT!!!! (in small type) All of 97¢ worth. And Slashdot thought this was worth a entire post.
  • “Net Neutrality” scrapped, Slashdot hit hardest:

  • The top-ranked restaurant in London, The Shed at Dulwich, is so exclusive it doesn’t exist. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • Texas Jihadi Arrested

    Thursday, December 14th, 2017

    Another Texas jihadi arrested:

    A Texas man was arrested Friday for “unlawfully distributing explosive making information and attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS),” according to the Department of Justice.

    Kaan Sercan Damlarkaya, an 18-year-old U.S. citizen from Houston, engaged in online communications with undercover FBI agents and other sources he believed to be ISIS agents, according to charges outlined in a criminal complaint.

    Damlarkaya is accused of starting the conversations in early August 2017 and saying he wanted to fight for ISIS overseas or commit an attack in the United States.

    As part of the conversations, charges against Damlarkaya indicate he wanted to record a farewell video to help inspire others in the event an attack resulted in his death. Court documents also note he claimed in early November 2017 to have tried to get to Syria on two occasions but failed.

    He is accused of sharing information on how to build an AK-47 or AR-15 rifle from readily available parts in order to avoid detection from authorities, and of providing a formula to alleged ISIS supporters for the explosive, Triacetone Triperoxide (TATP), as well as instructions on how to use TATP in a pressure cooker device containing shrapnel.

    He doesn’t sound like the sharpest knife in the drawer. And speaking of knives:

    As an alternative to guns and explosive, Damlarkaya did not rule out the use of a machete or Samurai sword. The criminal complaint noted the Houston resident carried a knife on his person in the event of interactions with law enforcement and kept a machete under his pillow as he slept in case of a raid.

    Going Full Martyrdom with a samurai sword is probably a common fantasy among teenage jihadis, but it seems a whole lot less practical that using a gun. Especially in Texas.

    (Hat tip: Big Gator 5’s Twitter feed.)

    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.
  • 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.

    Middle East News Roundup for 11/19/17

    Sunday, November 19th, 2017

    Want to know what’s happening in the Middle East and why?

    Ha! Good luck with that.

    But this roundup will should at least elevate you to a slightly higher level of informed incomprehension.

  • Syrian Army takes Abu Kammal again.

    The Syrian army and its allies took complete control over Albu Kamal, Islamic State’s last significant town in Syria, a military news service run by Hezbollah said on Sunday.

    The army had declared victory over Islamic State in Albu Kamal earlier this month but the jihadists then staged a counter-attack using sleeper cells hidden in the town.

  • What’s going on in Lebanon? Even Michael Totten doesn’t seem to know.
  • Saudi Arabia and its allies are meeting in Cairo to talk about what to do about Iran, Lebanon and Hezbollah. “The emergency Arab foreign ministers meeting was convened at the request of Saudi Arabia with support from the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait to discuss means of confronting Iranian intervention, Egypt’s state news agency MENA said.”
  • “The Trump administration said Friday it will shut down the Palestinian Liberation Office (PLO) in Washington, D.C., unless the Palestinians get serious about peace talks with Israel.”
  • Iraqi Kurds are backing down off their demands for independence.
  • No link, but suddenly the entire Washington MSM seems to be wringing their hands about the Saudi blockage of Yemen in precisely the way they weren’t when Iran was destabilizing the country with a proxy war the last three years.
  • Confused? You probably will be, even after this week’s episode of Soap

    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.

    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…