Facing Genocide, Yazidis Cry Out For Help

Across the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, refugee camps, building sites and a sprinkling of Yazidi villages hold tens of thousands of Yazidi refugees who fled the advance of Isil in scenes of biblical exodus across Mount Sinjar in August.

But tens of thousands more were trapped behind the Isil lines.

Researchers adding together accounts of massacres in Yazidi villages as the jihadists attacked have counted a series of killings of more than 100 men each, with the total gunned down now thought to be up to 5,000.

An estimated 5-7,000 women are also being held in makeshift detention centres, where they are being taken away and either sold into servitude or handed to jihadists as concubines. The town of Tal Afar alone is thought to hold around 3,500 women and children in five detention centres.

Full story.

With the United States no longer engaged, ISIS  retook two towns on Sinjar Mountain Monday, “indicating that the Sunni militant group is advancing on territory that the U.S. had said that it had secured during its airstrikes on the region back in August.”

Via the International Business Times:

It was not immediately clear how many Yazidis were affected by the group’s takeover Monday. Some news reports said that as many as 700 families could have been displaced by the ISIS siege. Tens of thousands of Yazidis were forced to flee from the mountain this summer. Since then, many of those who fled have returned home, thinking that the U.S. had pushed back the militant group from the area.

Now ISIS is back in the area, looking to take back the towns it held before the U.S. airstrikes. One of the most vulnerable populations among the Yazidis are women. Earlier this month, ISIS said it had enslaved women and children in several villages on Mount Sinjar. In an article in its online magazine, ISIS claimed that the group gave women to soldiers who fought on the mountain.

Via the Washington Post, a desperate plea for help:

“We called asking for help with airstrikes, but nothing,” said Mohammad Khalil, a Yazidi and former member of parliament who has been fighting alongside the 2,000-strong volunteer force in the area since late August. “Now we are all trapped — the fighters are trapped, the civilians are trapped.”

Yazidis are facing “attempted Genocide” UN official says:

Strong evidence suggests that Iraq’s ethnic and religious minority, the Yazidis, face what could amount to “attempted genocide,” a top U.N. rights official said on Wednesday.

“The evidence strongly indicates attempt to commit genocide,” Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic said after meeting with more than 30 displaced Yazidis across Iraq in a week-long visit.

Via The Daily Mail, a Yazidi woman taken prisoner tells a tale of terror, desolation, and despair.

A young Yazidi woman forced into sex slavery by the Islamic State begged the West to bomb the brothel where she was being held after militants raped her 30 times in just a few hours, it is claimed.

The unidentified woman is understood to have been kept as a prisoner of the jihadists somewhere in western Iraq having been captured by ISIS during the Sinjar massacre in early August.

A group raising awareness of ISIS’ persecution of women in the vast swathes of the Middle East under its control said the woman had contacted Kurdish peshmerga fighters by telephone to plead for the brothel to be bombed to put the women held as sex slaves out of their misery.

She allegedly told the fighters she had been raped so frequently that she could no longer use the toilet, adding that the ordeal has been so harrowing that she plans to commit suicide even if freed.

The UK Telegraph reports that “at first, reports of the massacres and the mass sexual enslavement of women were so extreme and apparently incredible that they went little reported compared to the very visible plight of those who escaped to the mountain.”

However, United Nations researchers have managed to verify many of the accounts beyond reasonable doubt: virtually every refugee family has male relatives who have been killed and women who have been kidnapped.

***

Matthew Barber, a scholar of Yazidi history at the University of Chicago who was in Kurdistan as the assaults happened, said it was thought 3-5,000 men had been killed.

He said he had also compiled a list of 4,800 names of women and children being held captive.

“In every place where Yazidi women or families are held, jihadists come and randomly select women that they take away,” he added. “A final total above 7,000 is perfectly feasible.”

“My 13-year-old sister was separated from my family,” said one man, Ahmed Naif Qasem, who is staying in the town of Ba’adre. He was away serving with the Kurdish armed forces, the Peshmerga, when the Yazidis swept through in the first week in August.

His parents, wife and extended family were seized from their home in Snuny, near Sinjar, and taken over the Syrian border to be converted to Islam at gunpoint.

When the family returned, his sister and his wife had been taken away.

His wife was later allowed to rejoin her family after having been “treated badly”, he said, but no one had seen his sister since.

What has happened to the women has been relayed in a series of phone calls from families, and in some rare cases by women and girls who had managed to escape.

Mr Khalaf said his 13-year-old niece had been among the members of his family seized, but she had escaped seven weeks after being “taken away”. She had so far been too distressed to describe what had happened to her, he said.

“She just cries when she tries to speak,” he said. Others escapees have told of being “married” to older jihadi leaders, in some cases raped, and made to watch acts of barbarity.

Pray for the Yazadis, Kurds, and Christians in the Middle East.  And pray for peace, but if there can be no peace, pray for lots of well aimed airstrikes hitting their ISIS targets.

For some reason, I can’t get this hymn “Cry of the Poor” out of my head.

New Aid For Kurds From Turkey and U.S. Represents Policy Shift

The Turkish foreign minister announced Monday that Turkey has decided to allow Iraqi Kurdish forces, (aka peshmerga), to cross its border with Syria to help fight the ISIS fanatics who have been attacking the besieged Syrian town of Kobani for more than a month.

Via The New York Times:

The decision represents an important shift by the Turkish government, which has angered Kurdish leaders and frustrated Washington for weeks by refusing to allow fighters or weapons to cross its border in support of the Kurdish fighters defending the town. Speaking at a news conference in Ankara, the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that his government was “helping the pesh merga cross over to Kobani.”

The announcement, along with an American decision to use military aircraft to drop ammunition and small arms to resupply Kobani, reflected escalating international pressure to push back Islamic State militants. The militants have recently lost momentum after appearing for a while to be close to routing the town’s defenders.

Conservatives like Charles Krauthammer have been calling on the Obama administration to arm the out-gunned Kurds for months, but for some reason, the Regime resisted. I have always suspected that there was tacit agreement with Turkey preventing us from doing the obvious to help the besieged Kurds.

The fact that both of these decisions – Turkey’s change of heart in letting the Kurds cross the Turkish border to support the Peshmerga, and the US’s decision to FINALLY supply the Kurds with arms and ammo came at virtually the same time, suggests to me that an agreement between the two nations has been struck.

Opening a passage for the pesh merga creates the impression that Turkey has changed its stance, and is on board with the coalition against ISIS,” said Halil M. Karaveli, an expert on Turkey and a senior fellow at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute in Stockholm. “But this move is actually in Turkey’s own interests.” Mr. Karaveli said the pesh merga would counterbalance the Kurdish groups in Kobani that Turkey opposes.

Turkey’s decision also suggested that it had quietly agreed to the United States’ decision to airdrop weapons and ammunition to Kobani’s defenders.

Mr. Obama spoke with Mr. Erdogan on Saturday, and notified him of the decision to conduct the airdrops, American officials said. It was not clear what kind of agreement had been struck, though analysts said that Turkey probably wanted assurances that the supplies would not be used by the P.K.K. against Turkey.

SEE ALSO:

ABC News: ISIS forces launch multiple attacks on Kurdish territory in Iraq, officials say:

First, an ISIS-commandeered military truck loaded with explosives targeted a Peshmerga checkpoint along the security belt circling the dam, killing six Peshmerga security forces and injuring seven others critically, according to Peshmerga forces spokesman Said Mamazeen.

At almost the same time, ISIS militants launched an attack on the Nineveh Valley near the dam, which was repelled by Peshmerga forces using European and American weapons, the spokesman said.

Another Kurdish military official, who asked not to be named for protocol and security reasons, said that despite the attacks, it would be difficult for ISIS to gain control of the dam because of the large numbers of Peshmerga forces in the area.

A senior official at the Ministry of Peshmerga, who similarly asked not to be identified as a matter of government protocol, reported that ISIS fighters were also killed in the attacks, and that the Peshmerga successfully repelled most of the more than dozen incidents Monday.

Kurdish Leader: “Kobane Will Be a Cemetery for Isil”

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Kurdish women heading to #Kobane to fight #ISIS.

ISIS controlled over half of Kobane two weeks ago and things were looking pretty bleak for the Kurds, but with the help of the Syrian Free Army, a motorcycle gang from Deutschland (You read right), and a few well aimed US airstrikes, the barbaric Jihadis’ attempt to takeover Kobane is being turned into a rout.

Jenan Moussa,  a reporter for Arabic Al Aan TV in Dubai reported the death toll in Kobane as of yesterday:  YPG sources in tell me: “Death toll till now: 133 YPG fighters killed, 9 FSA, 1294 ISIS.” Ouch.
ISIS-video-we-will-kill-every-soldier-you-send
 It’s not fair – I didn’t sign up to fight these vicious banshees,  dammit. 
 Via The UK Telegraph, Firas Kharaba, 39, a Syrian rebel leader, provided “a first-hand, account of the epic battle for the town has become an acid test of the ability of US-led air strikes to defeat Isil in Iraq and Syria.”

This weekend, after almost two weeks of aerial attacks Isil has begun to to flee the Syrian border town, that they had been on the brink of capturing.

At first the air strikes had appeared to make little difference and for days the jihadists advance had continued into the centre of the Kurdish town.

The crucial turning point, Mr Kharaba said, the US airforce destroyed a building where Isil leaders had been meeting, killing everyone inside.

“About thirty major fighters were killed and some commanders,” said Mr Kharaba, adding that some Syrians loyal to his group had infiltrated Isil to act as spies.

With its best men gone, Mr Kharaba said, Isil has been forced to call on a “police division” – men who manage the law and order of Isil territories but with little experience of front line battles – to come to Kobane.

And without equipment that could be targeted from the air, the jihadists were forced to resort to the same guerrilla tactics used by their opponents. In this new dynamic, knowledge of the town’s layout became key, and in this the Kurdish fighters, many of who are from Kobane, have the upper hand.

By contrast many of Isil’s fighters are foreigners unfamiliar with the streets and alleys.

Locals said they fought Tunisians, Moroccans and Saudi Arabians as well as Syrians in the Isil teams.

“The fighting became street by street, or sometimes, room by room,” said Mr Kharaba.

The development marked a turning point in the long battle for this Kurdish town, which has now taken on, for both Isil and the international US-led alliance, symbolic importance as a test of their ability to win the wider war.

For the past year Isil had been closing in on Kobane, capturing and ruling with an iron fist the hamlets around it, and cutting electricity and water supply to the town.

Inside, men, women and young boys bought rusty Kalashnikov rifles on the black market and signed up to volunteer with the YPG, the Syrian wing of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) the proscribed Kurdish militia.

The jihadists brought reinforcements from neighbouring Iraq, where this summer they captured much of the north of the country and billions of dollars worth of American military equipment that was abandoned by fleeing Iraqi army troops.

Mr Kharaba said: “Isil brought their weapons from Iraq. They have tanks and canons and rocket launchers.

But as Rear Adm. John Kirby noted in the Washington Post, those heavy weapons make great targets.

Kirby said the U.S. will continue to launch airstrikes in Iraq as necessary. The air war around Kobane is centered on denying the militants an area they clearly want as a sanctuary, the admiral said.

“The more they want it, the more resources they apply to it, the more targets we have to hit,” Kirby said. “And part of what we’re trying to do is put pressure on them, and the strikes against them and their positions in and around Kobane allow us to do that.”

According to Bahoz Horan, a media activist in Kobane, “Isil are trying to escape. They are trapped between the YPG inside the Kobane and the air strikes outside.

Mr Horan said: “Isil fighters are hiding inside the empty houses.” It is estimated that the terrorists still control up to 20 per cent of the city.

The town and surrounding areas are now all but completely empty of its 250,000 residents, who have fled to Turkey or to fields closer to the border, local fighters told The Telegraph.

However Mr Kharaba warned that, even with Isil weakened, this was not the end of the battle.

“Even if they have pulled back, they do so to regroup. They will not give up Kobane.” Their morale heightened by the international air campaign, on which they now depend, Kurdish residents of Kobane were equally defiant.

“Our fighters will defend Kobane to the last gasp, the last bullet and the last fighter,” said Khaled Barkal, the deputy president of the Kurdish administration for Kobane. “Kobane will be a cemetery for Isil.”

Jordan Matson former American soldier joins the Kurds to fight ISIS in Kobane:
jordan-matson-2

A 28-year-old Wisconsin man named Jordan Matson is reportedly in Syria and fighting with a Kurdish militia as they battle the jihadist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL). Back in the US, people identifying themselves as Matson’s friends have created a page on Facebook on which they are sharing pictures of Matson and cheering him on with memes.

A spokesperson for the Kurdish Yekineyen Parastina Gel, or YPG, told Reuters Matson was one of three American fighting with the group. They said he was in northeastern Syria.

UPDATE:

Good news if true via the AP:

The U.S. military said Sunday it had airdropped weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to Kurdish forces defending the Syrian city of Kobani against Islamic State militants.

The airdrops Sunday were the first of their kind and followed weeks of U.S. and coalition airstrikes in and near Kobani, near the Turkish border. The U.S. said earlier Sunday that it had launched 11 airstrikes overnight in the Kobani area.

In a statement Sunday night, U.S. Central Command said U.S. C-130 cargo planes made multiple drops of arms and supplies provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq. It said they were intended to enable continued resistance to Islamic State efforts to take full control of Kobani.

The airdrops are almost certain to anger the Turkish government, which has said it would oppose any U.S. arms transfers to the Kurdish rebels in Syria. Turkey views the main Kurdish group in Syria as an extension of the Turkish Kurd group known as the PKK, which has waged a 30-year insurgency in Turkey and is designated a terror group by the U.S. and by NATO.

President Barack Obama called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday to discuss the situation in Syria and notify him of the plan to make airdrops Sunday, one administration official told reporters. He would not describe Erdogan’s reaction but said U.S. officials are clear about Turkey’s opposition to any moves that help Kurdish forces that Turkey views as an enemy.

It’s about freaking time.

The Kurds should be thanking God that their moment of need came within weeks of the United States’ midterm elections. With the American people now paying attention to what’s going on in the Middle East, Obama couldn’t risk allowing Democrats to receive the brunt of the voters’ wrath in the wake of another major massacre.

Kurdish Female Fighters Holding the Line in Kobane (Video)

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I’ve been monitoring the situation in Kobane, Syria all weekend and reports about the fierce street fighting between the Kurdish PKK and ISIS fighters have been indicating the PKK are making gains. There’s good news this morning via NPR:

The besieged city of Kobani, Syria, has seen an increase in air strikes and fighting, with Kurdish fighters in the area saying they’ve stopped the extremist group ISIS from advancing. As the U.S.-led coalition carried out strikes on areas east and south of Kobani, new reports emerged about Turkey’s role in supporting the fight against ISIS.

U.S. officials said this weekend that Turkey had agreed to let the coalition use its bases to strike ISIS. But on Monday, a Turkish official tells the AP that “there is no new agreement with the United States on using an air base in southern Turkey,” the news agency says.

***

Today, Kurdish fighters who are trying to defend the city of Kobani are saying they’ve made advances against ISIS, a claim that was echoed by a monitoring group. U.N. officials have warned of a potential massacre if the city falls.

The International Business Times estimates the number of ISIS jihadists attacking the town for the past month with tanks and heavy artillery is 9,000 in “the largest manned assault by Isis in its short existence.”

On the Kurdish side are 2,000 out-gunned fighters with the YPG, the armed wing of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), “without access to any heavy weaponry and short on ammunition.”

The Marxist PKK has been designated by the State Department as a terrorist group which I suspect is why we’re not arming them as they fight for independence from our “ally” Turkey.

ABC reports that Kurdish woman are leading the battle against ISIS in Kobane.

The Observatory said a Kurdish woman fighter is leading the battle against IS jihadists in Kobane, a monitoring group and activists said Sunday.

“Mayssa Abdo, known by the nom-de-guerre of Narin Afrin, is commanding the YPG in Kobane along with Mahmud Barkhodan,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

As is the custom for Kurdish fighters, Mayssa, 40, uses a pseudonym. Hers comes from the Afrin region where she was born that is located, like Kobane, in Aleppo province.

Via IBT, the YPG is the all-female, independent militia which embrace arms along with their male comrades of  the People’s Protection Units. Just the sight of them inflict terror on their ISIS enemies because the jihadists believe that if they’re killed by woman soldiers they won’t go to heaven.

Women fighters make up one third of all #Kurdish resistance, numbering between 7,000 and 10,000 of the Kurdish forces fighting in Syria.

As urban guerrilla warfare starts on the streets of Kobani, on the Turkish-Syrian border, Kurdish resistance is increasingly relying on its female fighters to save the town on what appears to be a desperate fight for survival.

The female Kurdish fighters are feared by Islamic State militants, who believe that they’ll go straight to hell if they are killed by a woman. A women fighter explained “This is not a myth but reality. I personally met IS fighters face-to-face. Women fighters infringe on their psyche. They believe they won’t go to paradise if they are killed by women. That is why they flee when they see women. I saw that personally at the Celaga front. We monitor theirradio calls. When they hear a woman’s voice on the air, they become hysterical.”

The suicide attack of a Kurdish female fighter, Dilar Gencxemis, known by her nom de guerre Arin Mirkan who blew herself up in Kobani, killing several Islamic State militants has put the spotlight on the Yekineyen Parastina Jin or Women Protection Units (YPJ) the female battalion fighting IS on the frontlines.

All the women fighters in the battalion are volunteers, who go into battle under the“Hava” (friendship) motto. Rosarine, one of the women fighters, explained that she and her ‘sisters in arms’ get full support and encouragement from their families as they’re fighting to protect the Kurdish land and its people.

Via RWN: Kurdish Female Fighter Allegedly Kills Top ISIS Commander In Fight on the Streets of Kobani:

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This recent report via Mirova News on the Kurdish female warriors fighting ISIS is fascinating and well worth your time.

Is Obama Micromanaging Airstrikes In Syria? – If So – Why Is He Allowing The Slaughter Of Kurds?

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The carnage continues in Kobane, and although most civilians have made it across the border into Turkey – an estimated 700 mostly elderly civilians remain in the city’s center. Approximately 12,000 in all remain in or near Kobane and will likely be slaughtered if ISIS takes the town.

The ISIS mutants reportedly overran the Kurdish headquarters in Kobane, and attempted to advance to the center of town, but were beaten back by Kurdish fighters..

Via Business Insider:

The IS assault sparked 90 minutes of heavy fighting with the town’s Kurdish defenders before the jihadists fell back, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

US-led coalition warplanes also carried out two air strikes on IS targets south and east of the town early Saturday, according to the Britain-based monitoring group, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria.

Small groups of Kurdish fighters were trying to harry the encircling jihadists with operations across the front line, Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

A UN envoy warned Friday that the 12,000 or so civilians still in or near Kobane “will most likely be massacred” by IS if the town falls.

Kobane was “literally surrounded” except for one narrow entry and exit point to the Turkish border, de Mistura said.

Stuart Varney on Fox asked Col. Ralph Peters the question on everyone’s minds – why didn’t US jet fighters  bomb ISIS when they were exposed in the desert as the descended upon the town.

Peters, being overly generous, said, “in his heart of hearts” Obama is a “sincere pacifist” who “doesn’t want a body count even of terrorists.”

He continued, “So we see these minimalist air-strikes – and do you know what the ultimate effect is? —  not only the misery of the Kurds –it allows the Islamic State to determine the narrative and say, see? America can’t stop us. America can’t stop us. It’s a great a recruiting tool.

Erdogan is playing a double game. He’s letting the Islamic State slaughter the Kurdish fighters then after that’s done, he’ll turn on the Islamic State and create a buffer zone.”

The conversation then moves on to Chinese hackers.

Peters doesn’t say it, but I will. I think there’s more to Obama’s reticence than merely “pacifism.” That certainly didn’t stop him from initiating military misadventures  in Libya and Pakistan where his droning campaign has killed untold numbers of civilians.

I think Obama is in on Erdogan’s plan.

On September 26, he called the Turkish president from board Air Force One.

Obama once described Erdogan as one of his best friends on the world stage and until recently was in regular contact with him. But because of Erdogan’s shocking and virulently anti-Semitic position on Israel, Obama had to politically distance himself .

Via USA Today:

But with the threat posed by Islamic State militants, the on-again, off-again relationship between Obama and Erdogan is clearly on again. Turkey occupies a strategic position along Syria’s northern border, and U.S. officials hope the NATO ally could play a key role in stopping the flow of money and foreign fighters to the group also known as ISIS.

“It’s fairly straightforward: The administration is pulling every lever to encourage Turkey to do more to counter ISIS,” said Steven Cook, a Turkish expert at the Council on Foreign Relations.

According to a White House summary of Thursday’s call, Obama “praised the work Turkish authorities” and others in caring for the influx of Syrian refugees into Turkey. The two leaders talked about the threat posed by the Islamic State and agreed to “consult closely” in the future, the White House said.

Shortly thereafter, Vice President Biden met with Erdogan in person at the Peninsula Hotel in New York, where world leaders are meeting this week for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.

“Congratulations on the election, old friend,” Biden said, smiling broadly and commending Erdogan on being elevated from prime minister. They posed for a photo op, after which they met privately.

People have been asking over and over again – why didn’t we bomb ISIS in any kind of effective manner as they advanced on the Kurdish town?

State Department spokeswomen Jen Psaki admitted a few days ago that she has been fielding these questions day after day. And she has no coherent answer to them, making it clear that the military strategy doesn’t include protecting Kurds from being slaughtered.

Via John Hayward of Human Events, a Kurdish reporter asked, “over the past 24 hours, we’ve seen only one strike, according to the Central Command, around Kobani. I don’t really understand why there hasn’t been more attacks while large numbers of ISIS fighters are closing in on Kobani. And according to CNN and some other American media reports, they have raised the American flag – the – sorry, Islamic flag over some buildings inside Kobani. Why hasn’t been there more strikes?”

MS. PSAKI: Well, I know we have this exchange kind of every single day, which is absolutely fine, but you’re talking about one strike in the last 24 hours. That was the update, you’re right, that came from CENTCOM. There were – that strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions south of Kobani. Other recent strikes have hit two modular oil refineries, an ISIL training camp, an ISIL-occupied building. So this is an ongoing effort.

QUESTION: They’re not around Kobani, those refineries.

MS. PSAKI: It’s an ongoing effort around – in the same part of the country. I would refer you to DOD for more about their military strategy, but obviously this is something where we’ve long said from the beginning that this would take some time. We’re working closely to do everything we can to help push back ISIL in this part of the country, but again, I don’t have any other military updates from here.

QUESTION: When I talked to – on a daily basis I talk to Kurdish people, Kurdish rebels even, Kurdish politicians on the ground in Syria. They have a different perspective. They say, well, Turkey is now trying to do America’s bid in the country when it comes to ISIS attacks on Kobani, and Turkey yesterday invited Salih Muslim, who is the leader of the Kurdish party, to reach some sort of deal with Turkish intelligence. So are you waiting for Turkey to reach a deal with the Kurdish rebels? That’s why you’re not –

MS. PSAKI: I think we haven’t – clearly we haven’t held back from our own military airstrikes in this regard. There are a range of other countries who have also participated in the last couple of days in strikes in Syria. I don’t have any other update for you.

(No, that’s not clear at all – as a spokesperson for this Regime we know nothing you say can be trusted – and the other countries are following our lead.)

QUESTION: Just one more thing, Jen. It’s clearly, like, obvious that – I mean, President Obama on the eve of 9/11 said the strategy was to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS. We’ve seen ISIS been degraded in Iraq, but we’ve seen ISIS advancing in Syria. Can we say there are flaws in President Obama’s strategy?

MS. PSAKI: I would not say that. You’re right that the Iraqi Security Forces have certainly pushed back and they have been able to hold and even regain some areas. The efforts that have been underway in Syria have been not – have not been happening as long. I think DOD has addressed some of our strategy, so let me reiterate some of what they’ve said – that the initial round of strikes in Syria had fixed targets, such as command and control nodes, finance centers, training camps and oil refineries. Those kind of strikes will continue. Targeting in Syria is also evolving beyond fixed facilities and also includes more dynamic targeting of a tactical nature, such as vehicles, armored vehicles, convoys.

So obviously there’s certainly a strategy that’s being implemented by our Defense Department.

The ineffective strategy is being implemented by the Defense Department, but who’s directing it? Is Obama micromanaging the airstrikes in Syria?

Daniel Greenfield of  FrontPageMagazine, asks,  who is running the war? Is it the military or the usual White House mix of staffers?

Kurds had hoped that US airstrikes in Syria would save them. But as of late Tuesday, airstrikes appeared to be too little too late. Some suspect that’s partly because every target must be vetted by lawyers in Washington, a process meant to assure that strikes are legally justified but is nevertheless cumbersome in practice.

That’s from a Boston Globe editorial, not exactly a right wing paper. So how cumbersome is the approval process?

The Wall Street Journal ran a story, last month claiming that Obama would seek approval of every air strike.

The U.S. military campaign against Islamist militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes in Syrian territory, officials said.

The requirements for strikes in Syria against the extremist group Islamic State will be far more stringent than those targeting it in Iraq, at least at first. U.S. officials say it is an attempt to limit the threat the U.S. could be dragged more deeply into the Syrian civil war.

Defense officials said that the strikes in Syria are more likely to look like a targeted counterterrorism campaign than a classic military campaign, in which a combatant commander picks targets within the parameters set by the commander in chief.

In Syria, officials said the administration wants to ensure that any strikes didn’t resemble the “shock-and-awe” campaign that kicked off the 2003 Iraq war and instead be kept more like the low-intensity, occasional strikes conducted in Somalia or Yemen.

I bet the residents of Kobane wouldn’t mind some “shock and awe” right now.

Via  CBS News, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel disputed the WSJ report that President Obama would personally sign off on every airstrike against ISIS  inside Syria, saying military leaders would make those decisions.

“I was sitting next to the president yesterday when this entire issue was being discussed and he was very clear with General [Lloyd] Austin, once he makes decisions, he gives General Austin and our military leaders the authority to carry out those policies,” Hagel told members of the House Armed Services Committee Thursday, where he was testifying.

That’s an non-denial denial. Obama makes the decisions – the military carries them out.

Charles Krauthammer commented last month, “Lyndon Johnson, who had a lot more experience, was also the one who directed air strikes… and there was universal agreement that it was a catastrophe. And Obama, with zero experience, having now gone against his secretary of defense and generals on Iraq and on Syria — to a disastrous effect — is going to be in charge of the air campaign? That’s really scary stuff.”

If Obama made a deal with Erdogan to hold back on ISIS so they could slaughter his Kurdish rivals and allow Turkey to create a buffer zone – that is very scary stuff indeed.

SEE ALSO:

The Daily Beast: Air Force Pilots Say They’re Flying Blind Against ISIS:

Obama’s no-boots-on-the-ground pledge is keeping America from fighting an effective air campaign in Iraq and Syria.
Within the U.S. Air Force, there’s mounting frustration that the air campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq is moving far more slowly than expected. Instead of a fast-moving operation with hundreds of sorties flown in a single day—the kind favored by many in the air service—American warplanes are hitting small numbers of targets after a painstaking and cumbersome process.

The single biggest problem, current and former Air Force officers say, is the so-called kill-chain of properly identifying and making sure the right target is being attacked. At the moment, that process is very complicated and painfully slow.

“The kill-chain is very convoluted,” one combat-experienced Air Force A-10 Warthog pilot told The Daily Beast. “Nobody really has the control in the tactical environment.”

WND: Source: Secret deal could doom 160,000 to ISIS:

A secret decision apparently has been made by the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and even Iran to let the strategic Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani on the Turkish-Syrian border fall to ISIS fighters, jeopardizing the lives of some 160,000 Syrian Kurds, WND has been told by a well-placed Middle East expert.

In letting Kobani fall to ISIS, the source said, there was agreement “to deal with ISIS later.”

The apparent decision aims to diminish the influence of the Kurds in Syria and weaken the prospect of creating a sovereign Kurdistan, which is sought by the Kurds not only in Syria, but in Turkey, Iran and Iraq..

“It is a real set up behind the backs of everyone,” the well-placed source told WND.

 

 

 

Ft. Hood Shooter Sends Warning To The Pope (Video)

A Fox News exclusive: Convicted Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, who calls himself a “soldier of Allah,”  has written a letter to Pope Francis praising “jihad.”

Despite efforts by the Defense Department to label the 2009 massacre as “workplace violence,” Hasan has described himself several times, and again in the new letter, using the acronym “SoA,” or “Soldier of Allah.”

Hasan directed his attorney John Galligan to mail the undated, six-page, hand-written letter to the pope. A copy of the letter – titled, “A Warning To Pope Francis, Members Of The Vatican, And Other Religious Leaders Around the World” – was provided by the attorney to Fox News.

Hasan appears to make multiple references to the Koran in the letter, and includes a bulleted list of guidelines for “believers.”

In one subsection titled “Jihad,” Hasan praises “The willingness to fight for All-Mighty Allah,” describing it as a test that elevates the “mujahadeen” who “are encouraged to inspire the believers.” He states that “fighters … have a greater rank in the eyes of Allah than believers who don’t fight.”

It’s is almost as if he is openly mocking the Obama administration’s cluelessness at this point.

Megyn Kelly covered this story and had moderate Muslim Dr. Zuhdi Jasser on to discuss the administration’s willful blindness on Islamic extremism.

 SEE ALSO:

The Minority Report: Catholic Priest Sounds the Alarm on the Islamic State:

It’s Time to Take the Islamic State Seriously

REV. JAMES V. SCHALL, S.J.

Islam has no central or definitive body or figure authorized to define what exactly it is. Opinions about its essence and scope vary widely according to the political or philosophic background of its own interpreters. The current effort to establish an Islamic State, with a designated Caliph, again to take up the mission assigned to Islam, brings to our attention the question: “What is Islam?”

The issue of “terror” is a further aspect of this same understanding. Many outside Islam seek to separate “terror” and “Islam” as if they were, in their usage, independent or even opposed ideas. This latter view is almost impossible seriously to maintain in the light of Islamic history and the text of the Qur’an itself.

John Kerry, however, insists that what we see is “terrorism” with nothing to do with Islam. The Obama administration seems to have a rule never to identify Islam with “terrorism,” no matter what the evidence or what representatives of the Islamic State themselves say. The vice-president speaks of “Hell” in connection with actions of the Islamic State. Diane Feinstein speaks of “evil” behind the current slaughters in Iraq and Syria. The pope mentions “stopping aggression.” The English hate-laws prevent frank and honest discussion of what actually goes on in Islamic countries or communities in the West. Not even Winston Churchill’s critical view of Islam is permitted to be read in public.

Ecumenism and liberalism both, in their differing ways, because of their commitment to tolerance and free speech, make it difficult to deal with what is happening in Islamic states. Islam is not friendly to relativism or to subtle distinctions.

Is terror intrinsic to Islam?

What I want to propose here is an opinion. An opinion is a position that sees the plausibility but not certainty of a given proposition. But I think this opinion is well-grounded and makes more sense both of historic and of present Islam than most of the other views that are prevalent. I do not conceive this reflection as definitive. Nor do I document it in any formal sense, though it can be. It is a view that, paradoxically, has, I think, more respect for Islam than most of its current critics or advocates.

This comment is an apologia, as it were, for the Islamic State at least in the sense that it accepts its sincerity and religious purpose. It understands how, in its own terms, the philosophic background that enhances its view does, in its own terms, justify its actions, including the violent ones.

The Islamic State and the broader jihadist movements throughout the world that agree with it are, I think, correct in their basic understanding of Islam. Plenty of evidence is found, both in the long history of early Muslim military expansion and in its theoretical interpretation of the Qur’an itself, to conclude that the Islamic State and its sympathizers have it basically right. The purpose of Islam, with the often violent means it can and does use to accomplish it, is to extend its rule, in the name of Allah, to all the world. The world cannot be at “peace” until it is all Muslim. The “terror” we see does not primarily arise from modern totalitarian theories, nationalism, or from anywhere else but what is considered, on objective evidence, to be a faithful reading of a mission assigned by Allah to the Islamic world, which has been itself largely procrastinating about fulfilling its assigned mission.

Keep reading at the link.

Raymond Ibrahim, PJ Media: Ben Affleck: Portrait of Islam’s Clueless Apologists

A Hollywood actor clueless about his subject playing “Let’s pretend.”
The value of actor Ben Affleck’s recent outbursts in defense of Islam on HBO’s Real Time is that here, in one 10-minute segment, we have all the leftist/liberal bromides used whenever Islam is criticized.In what follows, Affleck’s main arguments are presented and then discredited.Relativism and the Islamic Heterogeneity Myth
At the start, when author Sam Harris began making some critical remarks concerning Islam, a visibly agitated Affleck interrupted him by somewhat sarcastically asking, “Are you the person who understands the officially codified doctrine of Islam? You’re the interpreter of that?”Affleck was essentially arguing that really no one is qualified to say what is or is not Islamic, since all Muslims are free to interpret Islam anyway they want. This notion has less to do with how Islam is practiced and more to do with Western relativism, specifically the postmodern belief that there are no “truths,” that everything is open to individual expression. Thus even if an Islamic sheikh from Al Azhar University were to tell Affleck that the criticism leveled against Islam were true, the actor would no doubt reply, “Fine, that’s your opinion, but I know that most other Muslims disagree.”The fundamental mistake in this position is that it places Muslims on a higher pedestal of authority than Islam itself (even though muslims are by definition “one’s who submit” to islam, which is “submission” to Allah’s laws). Islam is based on the law, or Sharia — “the way” prescribed by Allah and his prophet. And Sharia most certainly does call for any number of things — subjugation of women and religious minorities, war on “infidels” and the enslavement of their women and children, bans on free speech and apostasy — that even Affleck would normally condemn.

IJ Review: It Goes from Awkward to Cringe-Inducing When Reporter Asks Islamic Leader to Answer Qs About ISIS:

Things heated up quickly during a recent interview between reporter Emma Alberici and Wassim Doureihi, a spokesman for the controversial Islamic group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Mashable covered the tense exchange which took place on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s show Lateline.

After a polite introduction, it wasn’t long before the conversation hit a stumbling block. Doureihi took offense to Alberici’s first question:

So tell me first of all, do you support the murderous campaign being waged by Islamic State fighters in Iraq?

Doureihi repeatedly refused to give Alberici the “yes or no” answer she was looking for, and opted to change the direction of the conversation to focus on how groups like ISIS exist as a “reaction to Western interference in the Islamic lands.”

Judicial Watch: 4 Terrorists Have Been Apprehended At Southern Border In Past 36 Hours

The Obama administration has denied recent allegations from Republicans in congress that members of the terrorist group ISIS have been caught trying to cross the border into Texas.

On September 4,  Judicial Watch alerted  the public about a plot involving  Islamic terrorists in Mexico crossing the Southern border to attack the homeland on September 11.

The recent increase in security at a key Army base near a Mexican border city where Islamic terrorists are confirmed to be operating and planning an attack on the United States indicates that the facility is a target, according to senior military experts contacted by Judicial Watch.

Last month, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who sits on the Homeland Security committee,  asked DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson what he knew about four men with terrorist ties who were caught trying to cross the Texas border on September 10.  

Rep. Chaffetz, who also chairs the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, told Johnson that four individuals with “ties to known terrorist organizations in the Middle East” were apprehended on September 10th trying the cross into the U.S. through two different stations in Texas.

When asked if he was aware of that situation, Johnson said, “I’ve heard reports to that effect. I don’t know the accuracy of the reports or how much credence to give them, but I’ve heard reports to that effect.”

Tuesday, Congressman Duncan Hunter told Greta Van Susteren that ISIS is actively infiltrating the U.S. through the Southern border.

‘I know that at least ten ISIS fighters have been caught coming across the Mexican border in Texas,’ he said. ‘There’s nobody talking about it.’

Asked how he knows this, Hunter explained that he’s talked to the border patrol agents. What more, he notes that those are just the ones they’ve caught – just a tip of the iceberg since certainly many more have made it across.

Via the Daily Mail, the Department of Homeland Security flatly denied on Wednesday any claims that an “ISIS terror army is quietly slipping into the United States through its porous southern border – and that American border patrol agents have already captured ten of its soldiers.”

‘The suggestion that individuals who have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the Southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground,’ a Homeland Security spokesman said in a statement, using the administration’s preferred alternative acronym for the group.

‘DHS continues to have no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border.’

But Americans should know by now  not to accept the word of any members of the Obama administration. They have been trained to practice the Obama method of deception – Deny, delay, distract. 

Judicial Watch  sounded the alarm again today.

Islamic terrorists have entered the United States through the Mexican border and Homeland Security sources tell Judicial Watch that four have been apprehended in the last 36 hours by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr.

JW confirmed this after California Congressman Duncan Hunter, a former Marine Corp Major and member of the House Armed Services Committee, disclosed on national television that at least ten Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) fighters have been caught crossing the Mexican border in Texas. The veteran lawmaker got the astounding intel straight from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the Homeland Security agency responsible for guarding the 1,933-mile southern border.

“If you really want to protect Americans from ISIS, you secure the southern border,” Hunter proclaimed on a national cable news show this week. “It’s that simple. ISIS doesn’t have a navy, they don’t have an air force, they don’t have nuclear weapons. The only way that ISIS is going to harm Americans is by coming in through the southern border – which they already have.” The three-term congressmen went on: “They aren’t flying B-1 bombers, bombing American cities, but they are going to be bombing American cities coming across from Mexico.”

In late August JW reported that Islamic terrorist groups are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez and planning to attack the United States with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). High-level federal law enforcement, intelligence and other sources confirmed to JW that a warning bulletin for an imminent terrorist attack on the border has been issued. Agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies have all been placed on alert and instructed to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat.

Back then intelligence officials said they had picked up radio talk and chatter indicating that the terrorist groups are going to “carry out an attack on the border,” according JW’s sources. “It’s coming very soon,” confirmed a high-level government official who clearly identified the groups planning the plots as “ISIS and Al Qaeda.” Two days after JW’s report ran, Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, implemented increased security measures. The Department of Defense (DOD) attributed the move to vague “security assessments” and the constant concern for the safety of military members, families, employees and civilians.

However, military experts told JW that the increase in security indicates that Ft. Bliss is a target. Military installations in the U.S. only make changes to security measures when there are clear and present threats, according to retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, former commander of the Army’s elite Delta Force who also served four years as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. “That means they’re getting a threat stream. Ft. Bliss had to have a clear and present threat,” Boykin said. Following that news, federal law enforcement sources in El Paso revealed that U.S. Congressman Beto O’Rourke telephoned the area offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) in an effort to identify—and evidently intimidate—sources that may have been used by JW to break the ISIS in Juarez story.

During the Bush years, the administration was transparent about terror threats – alerting the public of the threat assessment using a color coded chart. The idea was to let the people know what the threats were so they could prepare and alter their plans accordingly.  But those days are gone. Secrecy and deception have taken its place. The Obama Regime does NOT place a high priority on keeping the American people safe. Witness their refusal to impose travel restrictions on people coming from Ebola-ravaged countries.

The  highest priority of this Regime is the safety of the Democrat party and that relies on an open and porous  border.

 

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