If necessary, U.S. pilots conducting airstrikes against Islamic State positions in Syria would defend themselves if fired upon by Syrian government forces, senior administration officials suggested Monday.
The officials said the U.S. knows where Bashar Assad’s government has positioned forces and air defense installations, and those could be at risk if they attack U.S. planes.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing military strategy.
In his first year in office, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. put new limits on when the government could dismiss lawsuits in the name of protecting national security. Now, in what he has said is likely his final year, Mr. Holder has claimed broad authority to do just that in a case unlike any other.
The Justice Department intervened late Friday in a defamation lawsuit against United Against Nuclear Iran, a prominent advocacy group that pushes for tough sanctions against Tehran. The government said the case should be dropped because forcing the group to open its files would jeopardize national security.
The group is not affiliated with the government, and lists no government contracts on its tax forms. The government has cited no precedent for using the so-called state-secrets privilege to quash a private lawsuit that does not focus on government activity.
Whenever Islamic extremist terror makes big news it’s automatic that the “counter-jihad” hate groups and other Muslim haters in Europe and in the US try to make the extreme acts and statements representative of all Muslims. Without fail they proclaim that moderate Muslims don’t or can’t exist, and then they invariably move to “where’s the Muslim outcry?” if you challenge them on that. By painting with their broad brushes they hope to alienate everyday Muslims with the exact same tactic (Takfirism) that’s favored by the Islamic extremist terror groups - they help to propagate the terrorist leader’s messaging in other words, and they help to spread inordinate fear.
So with that in mind I’m gathering these links from three major US Muslim groups to demonstrate that most Muslims do condemn ISIS/ISIL, even if some of them might disagree with President Obama’s specific strategy. All of this was found in under thirty seconds, and a deeper search would probably reveal thousands of statements from individual Muslims and Islamic groups condemning the violence.
As the nation marked the 13th anniversary of 9/11 with somber ceremonies to remember the victims, ongoing terrorism concerns dominated public attention. In his address to the nation, President Obama outlined an expanded strategy to combat the militant group known as ISIS or ISIL. But he stressed this should not be viewed as a battle against Islam.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: ISIL is not Islamic. No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.
A broad coalition of US Muslim leaders came together to underscore their condemnation of terrorism and extremism. They outlined new efforts to ensure that ISIS and other groups do not gain footholds among young American Muslims.
AZHAR AZEEZ, Islamic Society of North America: We will continue to reiterate that the actions of these groups has no basis in the teachings of Islam. Terrorism, in all its forms, is un-Islamic.
From the Muslim Public Affairs Council:
Takfirism: The Key to Understanding ISIL
From the Islamic Society of North America:
ISNA Condemns ISIS Killing of Journalist Steven Sotloff
Terrorist Group Actions Violate the Teachings of Islam
from the Council on American Islamic Relations:
CAIR Condemns ISIS Violence and Rejects Calls to Join Extremists Fighting Abroad
In February 2012, a young, beefy Egyptian named Islam Yaken took a shirtless selfie and posted it on a Facebook competitor called vk.com. The picture wouldn’t have attracted much attention outside his circle of Cairo friends, were it not for the photos of himself he tweeted two years later. In that time, the Wahlberg wannabe with tidy, cropped hair had transmogrified into a bushy-haired hipster with heavy-rimmed glasses—who had gone to fight for ISIS. The jihadi accessories in his new photos included a Kalashnikov, a sword, and a bucket of Shia heads.
When Yaken’s pictures went viral a month ago, they provoked some confusion about how this well-educated, urban gym-rat could so rapidly embrace a group known for its austere, backward-looking form of desert Islam. The same confusion reigns over the transformation of Abdel Majed Abdel Bary, the former stoner who rapped in London under the name L Jinny and is now a suspect in the murder of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.1 There is, of course, an obvious continuity between the Yaken who yanked his undies just below the pube-line to give a full glimpse of his abs and the narcissistic poseur now in Syria, as well as a thread of miscreance that runs through the life of Abdel Bary. But not all ISIS fighters are the type to have traded protein shakes and doobies for scimitars and explosive belts.
By now we’re starting to see an emerging taxonomy of the motivations of ISIS supporters. And as the types emerge, they reveal hints of ISIS’s vulnerability, and where its rapid expansion can be used against it
Thought this was worth the read.
Yaken and Abdel Bary, who appear to be maniacal killers with more taste for grindhouse than for Islamic jurisprudence, are exemplars of only one of three general types of ISIS fighter. Call them the Psychopaths. Skinner says the foreigners tend to be hyperviolent, and the indigenous fighters (and the local population who passively supports them) saner and more practical. One need merely look at Yaken’s sword-wielding photo to note its theatricality: The blade is a fantasy design, half hunting knife and half Chinese dao, with hooks, a teardrop-shaped hole, and serration that serve no function but to look cool. And that, of course, is the point. As men without significant military training—like most jihadis from Western or upper-class backgrounds—their main purpose is to create grotesque propaganda and to perform the low-skill role of blowing themselves up.[…]
Forty-five Fijian UN peacekeepers captured by an al-Qaeda-affiliated rebel group in the Syrian Golan Heights have been released, the UN says.
A statement said they were handed over to UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) personnel at 14:30 (11:30 GMT).
All the peacekeepers were in a good condition, it added.
President Obama is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria as part of an expanded campaign to defeat the Islamic State and does not believe he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have spoken with the president in recent days.
Obama discussed his plans at a dinner with a bipartisan group of foreign-policy experts this week at the White House and made clear his belief that he has the authority to attack the militant Islamist group on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border to protect U.S national security, multiple people who participated in the discussion said. The move to attack in Syria would represent a remarkable escalation in strategy for Obama, who has sought during his presidency to reduce the U.S. military engagement in the Middle East.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday as he began a tour of the Middle East to build military, political and financial support to defeat Islamic State militants controlling parts of Iraq and Syria.
Kerry on Monday had hailed the formation of a new, more inclusive, Iraqi government under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as a “major milestone”, and Washington had said it was vital before there could be further U.S. action to help push back the militants, who took over large parts of northern Iraq this year.
Kerry flew to Baghdad from Jordan, first stop on the tour that will include Saudi Arabia and probably other Arab capitals.
Many people who have followed ISIS’s advances across Iraq this summer might well come to the conclusion that the Sunni jihadist group is unstoppable.
Its gruesome tactics, as well as images of the black ISIS flag being waved in numerous Iraqi cities and towns, have dominated the media and pressed governments around the world to try to formulate a forceful response.
But a number of Middle East analysts say that despite its incendiary rhetoric and a widespread perception that its ranks are swelling, ISIS has far more enemies than allies and is unlikely to expand its reach.
The U.S. military opened a new front in its air war in Iraq late Saturday, launching a series of strikes against Islamic State fighters who had been threatening to seize control of a second giant dam that generates electricity and irrigation for much of the country.
The airstrikes were carried out against targets near Haditha Dam, which stretches more than five miles across the ancient Euphrates River in western Iraq, about 150 miles northwest of Baghdad, according to a Pentagon statement.
The attacks marked a sharp escalation of the U.S. military campaign that began Aug. 8, when President Obama ordered the Pentagon to intervene in Iraq to stem the rapid advance of Islamic State, a well-armed Sunni extremist group that has swept across the north and west of the country.
Medlej would be the second captive Lebanese soldier killed by the Islamic State group, underscoring the grave challenges that face the ill-equipped Lebanese military as it fends off an unprecedented jihadi threat from Syria-based militants.