ISIS Threatens to Invade Jordan, "Slaughter" King Abdullah - Khaled Abu Toameh
The terrorists who belong to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are planning to take their jihad to Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and Sinai, sources close to the Islamic fundamentalists revealed this week.
Jordanian political analyst Oraib al-Rantawi said the ISIS threat to move its fight to the kingdom was real and imminent. "We in Jordan cannot afford the luxury of just waiting and monitoring."
ISIS terrorists see Jordan's Western-backed King Abdullah as an enemy of Islam and an infidel. They recently posted a video on YouTube in which they threatened to "slaughter" Abdullah.
Some who appeared in the video were Jordanian citizens who tore up their passports and vowed to launch suicide attacks inside the kingdom.
ISIS Fields 7,000-10,000 Fighters (AP-Washington Post)
The al-Qaeda splinter group that has seized a huge chunk of northern Iraq commands
between 7,000 and 10,000 fighters, according to U.S. intelligence officials.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) used fast-moving pickup trucks mounted with machine guns to capture Mosul and Tikrit - two urban centers in the heartland of northern Iraq's oil industry.
The group is led by an Iraqi militant known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head.
Al-Baghdadi's group also controls much of northern and eastern Syria from its stronghold of Raqqa, where its strict brand of Islamic law holds sway. Christians have to pay an Islamic tax for protection and people are executed in the main square.
Sunni Offensive in Iraq a Blow to Iran - Ron Ben-Yishai (Ynet News)
The takeover of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, by Sunni global jihad fighters is a blow to Iran, which backs the Shiite government in Iraq.
ISIS is the bitter enemy of Shiites wherever they are, meaning it is the enemy of Iran.
At the moment, only Arab regimes are on the front line - Assad's regime in Damascus, al-Maliki's regime in Iraq. But later on, Israel might become a main target too.
World Cup Drones from Tel Aviv Bring Fall of Rio Drug Gang Leader - Gabrielle Coppola and Blake Schmidt
Police intelligence officer Adriano Barbosa tracked the drug gang leader "Little P" for almost a month as part of Brazil's push to curb violence in Rio de Janeiro's slums before the World Cup games.
Barbosa was able to monitor Little P at night using
a Heron drone produced by Israel Aerospace Industries and outfitted with a heat-sensing camera.
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- Sunni Militants Heading toward Baghdad - Saudad Al-Salhy and Tim Arango
Sunni militants led by the radical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extended their control over northern Iraq on Wednesday, seizing Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein, and pushing south toward Baghdad. A number of militant groups have joined forces, including Baathist military commanders from the Hussein era, whose goal is to rout the government of Prime Minister Maliki.
(New York Times)
See also Militants Storm Turkish Consulate in Mosul, Taking 49 Turkish Citizens as Hostages - Ceylan Yeginsu (New York Times)
See also ISIS Threatens to Capture More Iraqi Cities - Faith Karimi and Hamdi Alkhshali
- U.S. Said to Rebuff Iraqi Request to Strike Militants - Michael R. Gordon and Eric Schmitt
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki secretly asked the Obama administration to consider carrying out airstrikes against extremist staging areas, according to Iraqi and American officials. But Iraq's appeals for a military response have so far been rebuffed by the White House. Despite the fact that Sunni militants have been making steady advances and may be carving out new havens from which they could carry out attacks against the West, administration spokesmen have insisted that the U.S. is not actively considering using warplanes or armed drones to strike them.
Experts have stressed that the conflict in Iraq is as much political as military. Maliki's failure to include leading Sunnis in his government has heightened sectarian divisions. (New York Times)
- Iran to Scale Down Plutonium Production Plans
Iran is scaling down plutonium production plans at its partially-built Arak heavy-water reactor. Nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi told the IRNA news agency Wednesday that the redesigned reactor will make less than 1 kg. of waste plutonium instead of 10 kg. as initially planned.
The change of plans is part of a deal that Iran is negotiating with world powers to ensure its nuclear program will not produce an atomic weapon.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israel, U.S. Call on Abbas to Act Against Rocket Fire - Marissa Newman
Officials in the U.S. and Israel urged PA President Mahmoud Abbas to disarm terrorists in Gaza Wednesday, after a rocket fired from Gaza struck a major road in Israel.
Prime Minister's Office spokesman Mark Regev asked why Abbas was letting the rocket fire continue, despite bringing Gaza's Hamas rulers into the Palestinian Authority as part of a unity deal.
"President Abbas claims that the new Palestinian government honors all previous commitments. So why has he not disarmed the terrorist organizations in Gaza as he is obligated to do? Without such action his 'condemnation' of today's rocket attack on Israel is nothing but empty rhetoric."
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki said Wednesday Abbas must do his utmost to deter rocket fire against Israel.
(Times of Israel)
- Poll: Palestinians Oppose New Talks with Israel - Nabil Kukali
56% of Palestinians are against renewing negotiations with Israel, while 30% say the talks should resume, according to a new poll conducted earlier this month by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion.
- Gaza Terrorist Killed in Airstrike - Roi Kais and Yoav Zitun
The Israeli Air Force killed Mohammed Ahmed Alarur, 30, in an airstrike in Gaza on Wednesday night. The IDF said the target was a "global jihad-affiliated terrorist" who was planning attacks against Israel.
Alarur, a Hamas policeman, was involved in many rocket launches at Israel in recent years and his terror cell was behind the rocket salvo that hit Israel on April 21. Since the start of 2014, 140 rockets fired from Gaza have hit Israel.
- The Middle East's Mounting Danger - Editorial
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which can make the original al-Qaeda look moderate, controls large swaths of territory stretching from northern Syria into Iraq. If Iraq joins Syria in full-fledged civil war, the danger to U.S. allies in Israel, Turkey, Jordan and the Kurdish region of Iraq is immense. These terrorist safe havens also pose a direct threat to the U.S., according to U.S. officials.
- Iraqi Drama Catches U.S. Off Guard - Adam Entous and Julian Barnes
At a gathering of Gulf states in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in May, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Arab counterparts agreed that Islamist forces seizing territory in Syria and Iraq had become a region-wide menace that can't be ignored. What they didn't agree on was what to do about it. The loss of Mosul in Iraq was a strategic blow and the U.S. doubts the Iraqi military will be able to take it back soon, officials said.
Today, ISIS' network of fighters in Syria and Iraq are better trained than its predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq.
ISIS operates in formations like an army, said a senior U.S. counterterrorism official. Some military officials now believe ISIS is the single greatest terrorist threat the U.S. and its allies face - stronger than the al-Qaeda affiliates in Yemen or Africa and far more powerful than al-Qaeda's central leadership in Pakistan.
The administration has pursued a containment strategy, aimed at keeping the al-Qaeda threat from spreading beyond Syria and Iraq to neighboring states, particularly Jordan.
Following ISIS' successes in Iraq this week, many officials are questioning whether the threat can still be contained.
(Wall Street Journal)
- Is the Fall of Mosul in Iraq to the Jihadists a "Game Changer"? - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
The city of Mosul is 45 miles south of the mammoth Mosul Dam, formerly known as the Saddam Dam. Built on a water-dissolving gypsum foundation, the dam's stability has generated great concern. A man-made or natural collapse of that dam could unleash a trillion-gallon wave of water, possibly killing tens of thousands of people and flooding the largest cities in the country. If the dam were to fall into ISIS hands, this could represent a huge threat were the jihadists to use it as an extortion weapon against the Iraqi regime.
ISIS has proven that years after the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban and of Mali by the MNLA, the jihadist organizations are still capable of mass operations and not only limited to small-scale guerrilla warfare.
On the other hand, the same examples demonstrate that no terrorist organization can withstand a head-on collision with an organized, well-led, regular army.
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
- Iraq's Terrorists Are Becoming a Full-Blown Army - Eli Lake
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS) has morphed from terrorist menace to a military force capable of over-running an army the U.S. military trained for nearly a decade. "The Iraqi army left helicopters, humvees, cargo planes and other heavy machine guns, along with body armor and uniforms" in Mosul, said General Najim al-Jabouri, now a scholar at Iraq's National Defense University.
Jack Keane, a retired four-star Army general who was a key adviser to General David Petraeus during the counter-insurgency campaign in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 known as the surge, said ISIS
"has grown into a military organization that is no longer conducting terrorist activities exclusively but is conducting conventional military operations....They are attacking Iraqi military positions with company- and battalion-size formations." (Daily Beast)
We Are Losing the War on Terror - David Rothkopf (Foreign Policy)
- After 13 costly years of war, terrorism is spreading worldwide. Our enemies have sustained our blows, adapted, and grown.
- The Rand Corporation released a study that detailed the growing threat. In 2007 there were 28 Salafi-jihadist groups like al-Qaeda. In 2013 there were 49. In 2007, these groups conducted 100 attacks. In 2013 they conducted 950. In 2007 there were between 18,000 and 42,000 terrorists active. In 2013 there were between 44,000 and 105,000.
- The administration rightly argues that "core al-Qaeda" has sustained "huge" damage. But "core al-Qaeda" no longer poses the principle threat to the U.S. homeland.
- In its "Country Reports on Terrorism 2013," the State Department observes that attacks worldwide increased from 6,700 to 9,700. Nearly 18,000 people died and nearly 33,000 were injured.
- Fewer Americans are being killed and fewer terrorists are seeking to hit targets on U.S. soil. But 9/11 resulted from the mistaken belief that if problems did not impact our shores and our people, they never would and they weren't our concern. We dare not drop our guard.
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