ISIS Is Spreading, Experts Warn - Kristina Wong (The Hill)
Experts say the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is spreading to other countries and inspiring terrorist groups toward greater acts of brutality.
Members of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) last month captured 14 unarmed Yemeni soldiers, beheaded them, and then posted photos and videos online. Experts said the public beheadings are unprecedented for AQAP.
A top spiritual AQAP leader, Abdul Majid Al-Raymi, recently issued allegiance to ISIS's leader, Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi, and asked all his Yemeni followers to follow suit.
According to analysis by The Long War Journal, run by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, ISIS now has active supporters in 32 countries including Canada, Australia, 11 countries in Europe, five countries in the Middle East, six countries in Africa and eight countries in Asia.
See also Islamist Militants Leave Note on Beheaded Corpse in Sinai (Reuters-Daily Star-Lebanon)
Residents in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula said Wednesday they found a beheaded corpse bearing a note signed by an Islamist militant group linked to ISIS, accusing the victim of being an Israeli spy.
The beheading is the eighth claimed by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in under a month.
A senior Ansar commander told Reuters last week that ISIS had been advising the group on how to operate more effectively.
Report: Syria Rebels Free Fijian UN Peacekeepers (Al Jazeera)
The Syrian rebel Nusra Front has released all 45 Fijian soldiers who worked as UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights, Al Jazeera has learned.
The peacekeepers were expected to cross from Syria into Israel.
Saudi Arabia to Host Training Camps for Moderate Syrian Rebels (Reuters)
Saudi Arabia has agreed to host training camps for moderate Syrian rebels as part of President Obama's broad strategy to combat Islamic State militants, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
Pentagon: Iran Fielding Anti-Ship Ballistic Missiles - Jeremy Binnie, London and Daniel Wasserbly (IHS Jane's Defence Weekly)
Iran's Khalij Fars anti-ship ballistic missile (AShBM) - a weapon that could shift the military balance in the Gulf region - is being delivered to operational units, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
"This ballistic missile has a range of 300 km, which means it is capable of threatening maritime activity throughout the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz," said Vice Admiral James Syring, director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Kibbutz Thanks Soldier Who Spotted Terrorists - Matan Tsuri (Ynet News)
Noa is the Israel Defense Forces lookout who spotted the terror cell that attempted to infiltrate Israel from the sea to carry out an attack on Kibbutz Zikim two months ago.
On Tuesday, Noa met with kibbutz members who wanted to thank her for preventing the terrorist attack at the kibbutz.
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- Obama: "We Will Destroy the Terrorist Group Known as ISIL (ISIS)"
President Obama said in a televised address on Wednesday:
"ISIL - which calls itself the 'Islamic State'...is not 'Islamic.' No religion condones the killing of innocents. And the vast majority of ISIL's victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al-Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq."
"America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat. Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy....I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq....Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding; improve our intelligence; strengthen our defenses; counter its warped ideology; and stem the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the Middle East." (White House)
See also Fact Sheet: Strategy to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) (White House)
- Syrian Government Continuing to Use Chemical Weapons - Nick Cumming-Bruce
A toxic chemical, probably chlorine, was used as a weapon to attack Syrian villages in April, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed on Wednesday.
The investigation by a fact-finding team indicated that the Syrian government was continuing to use chemical weapons in the country's civil war. The agency said it had "compelling evidence" that the toxic chemical was used "systematically and repeatedly" in Talmanes, Al Tamanah and Kafr Zet in northern Syria.
The international treaty banning chemical weapons does not restrict the manufacture or stockpiling of chlorine, but it does prohibit using it or any chemical as a weapon.
(New York Times)
- For Many Iranians, ISIS and Al-Qaeda Are American Inventions - Thomas Erdbrink
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has often said that he believes ISIS was created by the U.S. as a way to regain a foothold in Iraq and to fight President Assad of Syria, an ally of Iran.
"We have evidence, we know," he told an audience of clerics last week. Khamenei reminded them that al-Qaeda - a creation of the CIA, Iran has said - and the Taliban were, in the eyes of Iranian intelligence, devised by the West as a counterweight to Iran. "There is no doubt that these movements are created by Western powers and their regional agents."
From the Iranian viewpoint, analysts say, creating a terrorist organization opposed to Iranian interests is the obvious thing for a superpower to do.
(New York Times)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- PA: Hamas Higher-Up in Gaza Pulled Trigger on Israeli Teens' Abduction - Avi Issacharoff
Abed a-Rahman Ghaminat, the Hamas leader responsible for sponsoring and planning the June 12 abduction of three Israeli teenagers, was released from an Israeli prison during the 2011 prisoner swap for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and had been involved in the September 1996 killing of IDF soldier Sharon Edri, Palestinian security officials said on Wednesday. They said that although the Hamas leadership repeatedly denied involvement in the attack, its military and political wings knew about the plans in advance and had approved similar activities.
After his release, Ghaminat joined a special office under the Hamas military wing in Gaza, which operated under the leadership of the Turkey-based Saleh al-Arouri. The office hired several of the exiled prisoners to oversee the terror cells in the West Bank. Working from Gaza, Ghaminat was responsible for the Hebron area. According to the Palestinian sources, Mahmoud Kawasme - another prisoner freed in the 2011 deal - worked under Ghaminat in Gaza. Kawasme recruited his brother Hussam and transferred NIS 200,000 to his account to carry out the kidnapping.
(Times of Israel)
- IDF to Review Performance in Gaza War - Lilach Shoval
The IDF has formed investigative teams to review its performance during the Gaza war. Issues being reviewed include: the use of firepower; the maneuvering of ground forces; readiness to deal with the tunnel threat; the decision to amass forces at staging areas within range of mortar fire; intelligence; air defense; and coordination between the air, ground and naval forces. The conclusions drawn will be used to prepare the military for future engagements.
- Israel Denies Rights Group Report It Coerced African Asylum Seekers to Leave - Ilan Lior
Israel has denied allegations that it unlawfully deported thousands of African refugees, as claimed in a recent report by Human Rights Watch. According to Israel's Population and Immigration Authority, there are currently 47,000 African asylum seekers in Israel who entered without permits. 35,000 are Eritreans, 9,000 are Sudanese and 3,000 are from other African countries. Earlier this year there was a sharp rise in the numbers leaving Israel. Israel's Interior Ministry said, "Israel is acting legally and proportionately in contending with illegal infiltrators. The increase in the numbers of those leaving, which is three times larger in 2014 than in 2013, demonstrates that our policies are bearing fruit." (Ha'aretz)
- Israel Must Put Security First - Isi Leibler
The critical message Israel has absorbed from the conflict in Gaza is that, despite the wish of the vast majority of Israelis to separate themselves from the Palestinians, the practical implementation of a two-state policy is utterly unrealistic and, for the time being, off the agenda. The reality is that in the absence of Israeli military forces in the West Bank, Hamas would take over. A recent opinion poll showed that the majority of Palestinians, 72%, support Hamas' armed approach.
Besides, with the rise of the barbaric Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and the effective dissolution of national borders in the region, it would be virtually suicidal for Israel to contemplate accepting the 1949 armistice lines as the basis for permanent borders.
Israel must retain defensible borders and ensure that a Palestinian state would remain demilitarized. That means rejecting any suggestion of international forces to monitor Israel's security. The disintegration of UN peacekeeping forces in Syria near the Golan Heights border in August exemplifies why Israel should never delegate its security to third parties.
The writer served as president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry and Chairman of the Governing Board of the World Jewish Congress. (New York Times)
- No Funds for Gaza as Long as Hamas Is in Power - Ali Ibrahim
It seems that the Arabs' habit of claiming disasters as victories is still alive and kicking. The horrific footage of destruction coming out of Gaza City reflects the disastrous situation on the ground, while Hamas leaders roam its ruined streets talking about their victory. And who will risk their money by investing in Gaza, when there is no guarantee that a similar clash will not erupt every year or two?
As long as Hamas insists on controlling Gaza, and continues to prevent the PA and the national unity government from exercising their duties, there will be neither funds nor investment. The PA must return to Gaza and a responsible political leadership must be created, one that is able to impose its control on the ground and is able to sign international agreements.
- The Islamic State's Priorities - Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
The Islamic State has become the strongest, most ferocious, best funded and best armed militia in the religious and ethnic war that is waged today in Syria and Iraq. Its
first priority is to wage "ethnic cleansing" to eliminate any potential foes and opposition as well as to observe its religious creed.
Phase Two involves Islamic education according to the Islamic State philosophy. It is absolutely forbidden to teach art, music, civics, sociology, history, sports, philosophy, and psychology. There should be no mention of the nation-state, Syria, nor the word "homeland."
IS has been so successful in creating an atmosphere of hatred against all "heretics" and all that Western civilization represents that it has succeeded to attract thousands of foreign and Arab volunteers to abandon previous allegiances and apply to its ranks.
The structures being established indicate that even if the actual leaders of IS are killed, the system has created a succession procedure that will allow it to survive, just like al-Qaeda. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Egypt's President Sisi Knows that Hamas Is ISIS-Lite - Mortimer B. Zuckerman (U.S. News)
- For months, Hamas fires rockets into Israel in pursuit of its charter to kill Jews, taking its cue from the diabolical words of Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: "Israel's annihilation is the only real cure."
- The rockets landing in Israel evoke no resolutions at the UN General Assembly. Finally, Israel retaliates. The world wakes up. It's outraged. It screams about Israel's "disproportionate" response. No one considers what might be a nation's "proportionate" response to an enemy dedicated to exterminating every one of its citizens.
- Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi was an effective mediator for the cease-fire. He does not assign Israel a monopoly of blame. He has eyes wide open to the provocations and disruptions of Hamas that frustrate peace. He has lost scores of police and soldiers to jihadists in his own backyard, the Sinai. He knows that Hamas is ISIS-Lite.
- Hamas is spinning the war it started as a victory. But Israel accomplished significant damage without a full-fledged invasion. The key tunnels were destroyed, and 1,200 Hamas and Islamic Jihad soldiers won't be murdering again - nor will many of the military leaders who sent them on suicide missions.
- Hamas has no apparent political will to negotiate a lasting peace. And Israel has been mightily discouraged from risk. It was shocked by Hamas' stealthy preparations for invading through the tunnels of Terror City and appalled, as was much of the civilized world, by the outpouring of anti-Semitic hatred and the public celebrations of terrorists who have massacred Jews.
- That has all convinced Israelis and much of the international community that the goal of the Palestinians is to delegitimize rather than live alongside the Jewish state. After all, their slogan is a Palestine that is "free from the river to the sea." Since Israel is bordered to the east by the Jordan River and to the west by the Mediterranean Sea, this is tantamount to a demand that the Jewish state be demolished.
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