Another US journalist beheaded by ISIS


**Posted by Phineas

Murdered by ISIS

Murdered by ISIS

(Photo source)

The savages of the “Islamic State” have sent another message to the United States:

Dressed in an orange jumpsuit against the backdrop of an arid Syrian landscape, [Steven] Sotloff was threatened in that video with death unless the U.S. stopped airstrikes on the group in Iraq.

In the video distributed Tuesday and entitled “A Second Message to America,” Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit before he is beheaded by an Islamic State fighter.

As Bryan Preston of PJ Media points out, our leaders have once again been caught unaware. Maybe they’re still trying to figure out a strategy for dealing with medieval lunatics who are butchering Americans. If Obama and his team are having trouble doing that, let me offer a suggestion:

Hunt these swine down and kill every last one of them.

UPDATE: At the end of the video of Sotloff’s beheading, ISIS shows another captive, Briton David Cawthorne Haines. The implication is clear: unless the US stops its airstrikes, Mr. Haines will be slaughtered like James Foley and Mr. Sotloff.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Let’s remember how #JamesFoley lived, but also how he was brutally murdered

James Foley

Photojournalist James Foley

For those of you who were under the radar and missed this horrifying news from earlier this week:

In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley – and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. Even so, the U.S. military pressed ahead, conducting nearly a dozen airstrikes in Iraq since Tuesday.


Foley, 40, from Rochester, New Hampshire, went missing in northern Syria in November 2012 while freelancing for Agence France-Presse and the Boston-based media company GlobalPost. The car he was riding in was stopped by four militants in a contested battle zone that both Sunni rebel fighters and government forces were trying to control. He had not been heard from since.

The beheading marks the first time the Islamic State has killed an American citizen since the Syrian conflict broke out in March 2011, upping the stakes in an increasingly chaotic and multilayered war. The killing is likely to complicate U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Obama administration’s efforts to contain the group as it expands in both Iraq and Syria.

The group is the heir apparent of the militancy known as al-Qaida in Iraq, which beheaded many of its victims, including American businessman Nicholas Berg in 2004.

The video released on websites Tuesday appears to show the increasing sophistication of the Islamic State group’s media unit and begins with scenes of Obama explaining his decision to order airstrikes.

It then cuts to a balding man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in the desert, next to a black-clad militant with a knife to his throat. Foley’s name appears in both English and Arabic graphics on screen. After the captive speaks, the masked man is shown apparently beginning to cut at his neck; the video fades to black before the beheading is completed. The next shot appears to show the captive lying dead. The video appears to have been shot in an arid area; there is no vegetation to be seen and the horizon is in the distance where the sand meets the gray-blue sky.

At the end of the video, a militant shows a second man, who was identified as another American journalist, Steven Sotloff, and warns that he could be the next captive killed. Sotloff was kidnapped near the Syrian-Turkish border in August 2013; he had freelanced for Time, the National Interest and MediaLine.

I was on Twitter when news of Foley’s murder broke.  The expressions of outrage towards his killers, the condolences posted to his family – all were understandable. For a brief moment, I joined in with the calls for people to always remember how he lived, and to put out of mind how he died.  It seemed fitting at the time. But as the week went on, and the more I thought about it, the more I concluded that – while it is indeed important to remember Foley’s work as a photojournalist, something he felt called to do in war-torn countries like Syria, Libya and Iraq, it was also vitally important to keep his murder fresh in people’s minds as a reminder of just how radicalized the “religion of peace” has become, and how we simply cannot continue the policy of appeasement towards Islamofascists that has taken place under the Obama administration.

Like many, I have not been impressed AT ALL with the “official response” communicated by the Obama administration to Foley’s brutal murder, because there is a continued insistence by them and other dangerous liberal moral relativists that terrorists like ISIS simply “pervert” the Islamic faith.  There’s the implication that if we stop and try and “understand” these inhumane swine who behead innocents in the name of “Allah” and bury alive rape victims as punishment in countries like Iran then maybe we could all just “get along”, sing “Kumbaya” and all that.

No.  I wrote this in 2010, and I still believe it to this day:

For a brief time long ago, I used to subscribe to the belief that there was a “moderate” element to Islam. I don’t anymore. Yes, there are Muslim Islamists out there who are not hateful, who are respectful of the religious beliefs and faiths of others, etc, but my opinion is that these Muslims are not full-fledged Islamists – and that’s a good thing. There is hope for that minority of Islamists that they can turn away from the evil “religion” we know as Islam.

That is, if they’re not murdered first.

No, Mr. President – I will not be “tolerant” of this religion, not in any way, shape, form, or fashion. Doesn’t mean I’ll get violent, but it DOES mean that I will speak out strongly against it, loudly and often. Islam, which is the law of the land in many Muslim countries via the use of the Koran as their “standard,” stands for everything we’re supposed to be against. Secularists and non-secularists alike can see this. It’s a crying, outrageous shame that you and so many of your fellow “enlightened” liberals do not.

If Foley’s sickening, torturous death does not wake people up as to the horrors of radical Islam, perhaps the ongoing persecution of non-believers by ISIS will:

Reports coming in from Sinjar, a small town that was once home to Iraqi minority community, Yazidis, suggest that the Islamic State militants are carrying out a “genocide” in the town.

For the Sunni militants, the Yazidis are a race of “devil worshipers” and killing them would only amount to a “holy act.”

The 4,000-year-old religious group has faced persecution for centuries for its unique belief and practices.

Earlier on Sunday, the Islamic State captured the town after driving away the Kurdish forces in the region. Witnesses claim that the militants are executing dozens of Yazidis for refusing to convert to Islam.

The Gulf News report claimed that 67 young men were shot dead by the militants. Besides executing the Yazidis, the Al Qaeda offshoot, is also reportedly taking Yazidi women for “jihad” marriage.

Mohammed al-Khuzai, an official with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society told NYTimes that ISIS took more than 100 Yazidi families to the airport at the nearby town of Tal Afar, where it executed the men.

“ISIS killed all the men,” Khuzai said, “and are planning to keep the women for jihad marriage.”

Reports have also come in claiming that the Islamic State militants have forcefully taken away a large number of children from the Yazidi town. A resident told McClatchy DC that militants were taking away young children from their families. 

Several Sinjar local government and municipal workers also have been executed by the ISIS. 

And then there are the Iraqi Christians. And the Syrian Christians.  I could go on and on, but you get the disturbing picture.

It’s time for world leaders to stop being silent, time to stop sitting back hoping the problem will just “go away.” Time for “leaders” here at home to stop largely ignoring the issue or downplaying because it’s “not happening here.”  Time for dangerous left wing moral relativists like the President, Reps. Keith Ellison, and Sheila Jackson Lee to stop playing the religious equivalency games.  Condemn it, call it out, STOP making excuses for it, stop rationalizing it. Stop putting it “in its proper context.”  9/11 wasn’t the first time radical Islam used its might to kill innocents in its quest to punish “infidels”, and James Foley’s beheading won’t be their last radical act of cold, sickening brutality, either. Pretending otherwise on all counts will only ensure that more will die.  

ISIS proclaims Caliphate; H. Beam Piper nods


**Posted by Phineas

Seal of the new Caliphate

Seal of the new Caliphate

Bringing the medieval into the modern world, the psychotic jihadis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have declared their leader “Caliph,” the ruler of all Muslims:

An offshoot of Al-Qaida which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic “Caliphate” and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on jihadist websites said on Sunday.

The move is an expansion of the group’s ambitions to wage a holy war and posed a direct challenge to the central leadership of Al-Qaida, which has already disowned it.

The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) also known as ISIS, has renamed itself “Islamic State” and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi as “Caliph” – the head of the state, the statement said.

“He is the imam and khalifah (Caliph) for the Muslims everywhere,” the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani said in the statement, which was translated into several languages and an Arabic audio speech.

The move is significant, since many Islamists believe the Muslim world has lost its way since the end of the Caliphate in 1924. And the new pretender’s name has meaning, too: Abu Bakr was the first Caliph, ruling the Muslims after Muhammad’s death. Thus, taking his name is both an announcement of Islamic renewal and a harkening back to a supposed time of purity, which is a goal of Salafis.

The birth of the new Islamic State and the proclamation of a new Caliphate is an existential challenge to the states and their boundaries established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, rooted in the Sykes-Picot agreement between Britain and France. Bear in mind that, under Islamic law, only the Caliph can declare on offensive jihad (1). If IS takes Baghdad, then Saudi Arabia and Jordan should watch out.

Will the new caliphate be a direct threat to us? Almost certainly, if it lasts long enough to stabilize and hold territory. Al Qaeda used Sudan and Afghanistan to launch its attacks against the West. These clowns will almost certainly see jihad against us as a religious duty — once they’ve taken care of the “hypocrites” in their area.

But, it’s a legitimate question as to whether this is a genuine restoration, or if it’s another pipe dream. Analyst Tom Rogan thinks ISIS/IS is too dysfunctional to survive.

We’ll see.

PS: Oh, and the reference to H. Beam Piper? He’s one of my favorite science fiction authors, writing in the 50s and early 60s. His future history postulates an atomic war that devastates much of the northern hemisphere in the late 20th century. That war begins when the caliphate is restored and then the Caliph assassinated… in Iraq. Hmmm…

(1) In case you’re wondering just what the heck has been waged against us in recent years, al Qaeda and other jihadist groups consider that “defensive jihad.” See Raymond Ibrahim’s “Al Qaeda Reader” for an explanation.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Does the White House know anything about *anything*?

Obama confused

‘Ummm …’

Great piece from Fox News detailing at least ‘9 times the Obama administration was blindsided’ – or allegedly blindsided, anyway. Here’s a sneak peek:

1. Islamist militants gaining in Iraq

The New Yorker (1/27/2014): “In the 2012 campaign, Obama spoke not only of killing Osama bin Laden; he also said that Al Qaeda had been ‘decimated.’ I pointed out that the flag of Al Qaeda is now flying in Fallujah, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; Al Qaeda has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too.

‘The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,’ Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy. ‘I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.'”

The Wall Street Journal (6/11/2014): Iraq Drama Catches US Off Guard


8. Fast and Furious scandal

Jay Carney during a White House press briefing (6/27/2012): “The president did not know about this tactic until he heard about it through the media; the attorney general did not know about it.”

Read the whole thing and – not to be a downer this weekend – think about it when you’re out and about today that we’ve got a year and a half more to go of this executive office seeming cluelessness on major hot button issues – most of which have significant impact beyond how it plays out here in the United States. The White House’s dangerous feigned ignorance on these issues and more (including Benghazi and the emerging border crisis involving children) has not just caused PR headaches for them but – in some cases – has cost innocent lives, the deaths of which many were preventable.  If that level of willful HISS (Head In Sand Syndrome) doesn’t chill you to the bone, I don’t know what will.

Romney on Iraq: “Our foreign policy is run by bumbling incompetents”


**Posted by Phineas

Okay, okay. Mitt didn’t really say that; I was just interpreting what I take to be the subtext of this interview with NBC’s David Gregory:

Via National Review, here’s the key passage:

“This administration, from Secretary Clinton to President Obama, has repeatedly underestimated the threats faced by America, has repeatedly underestimated our adversaries,” he said on Meet the Press. “Whether that’s Russia, or Assad, or ISIS, or al-Qaeda itself, it has not taken the action necessary to prevent bad things from happening; it has not used our influence to do what is necessary to protect our interests.”

Emphasis added. I think “repeatedly underestimated” is the typically nice, Romney-esque way of saying “bumbling incompetence,” don’t you?

The foreign crises we’re facing are no laughing matter, but a small part of me can’t help but hope Mitt is feeling some vindication; time and again, after being ridiculed in the campaign for being out of touch with our Brave New World of Smart Power, he’s been shown to be right, and the Obama team (including their MSM cheerleaders) spectacularly wrong.

I probably would have found myself at odds with “President Romney” fairly often over domestic issues, had he and Paul Ryan won, but I’ve always been impressed with Mitt’s solid grasp of America’s foreign interests and the challenges facing them, ever since I read his speech in Herzliya, Israel, in 2007. In a way and to a depth that President Obama and his “team of unicorns” never will, Mitt gets it. And I feel safe in saying he would not have made the boneheaded mistakes that are the hallmark of the current mis-administration.

It’s a shame he didn’t win.

PS: I haven’t written about the crisis in Iraq, yet, because I’m still processing what’s happening there. I’ll leave the instant commentary to people desperate to show this proves what they always believed and wanted to be true, whatever that happens to be. But I will say this: in 2009, George W. Bush, in spite of whatever mistakes his administration made from 2003-2009 in Iraq, left President Obama and Iraq Prime Minister Maliki a winnable situation; all they had to do was show prudence and wisdom. All they had to do was not screw it up.

Yet they both did just that. And I have no idea how this situation can be salvaged.

PPS: Remember the “purple finger woman” of 2005? I hope she’s alright.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Suicide-bombing instructor blows up his own class


**Posted by Phineas

Former ISIS faculty member

Former ISIS faculty member

As you can imagine, I’m shedding rivers of tears over this news.

Tears of laughter:

A group of Sunni militants attending a suicide bombing training class at a camp north of Baghdad were killed on Monday when their commander unwittingly conducted a demonstration with a belt that was packed with explosives, army and police officials said.

The militants belonged to a group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, which is fighting the Shiite-dominated army of the Iraqi government, mostly in Anbar Province. But they are also linked to bomb attacks elsewhere and other fighting that has thrown Iraq deeper into sectarian violence.

Twenty-two ISIS members were killed, and 15 were wounded, in the explosion at the camp, which is in a farming area in the northeastern province of Samara, according to the police and army officials. Stores of other explosive devices and heavy weapons were also kept there, the officials said.

I bet that taught them a lesson they’ll never forget.

I wonder if a jihadi qualifies for his 72 virgin goats if he dies in the dumbest way possible?

via Moe Lane

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Iraq and Syria: al Qaeda on the march


**Posted by Phineas

The flag of al Qaeda

The flag of al Qaeda

Boy, it’s a good thing President Obama destroyed al Qaeda, isn’t it? Otherwise they’d have conquered the world, by now.

As it is, we can be grateful they only control more territory than they ever have:

From around Aleppo in western Syria to small areas of Falluja in central Iraq, al Qaeda now controls territory that stretches more than 400 miles across the heart of the Middle East, according to English and Arab language news accounts as well as accounts on jihadist websites.

Indeed, al Qaeda appears to control more territory in the Arab world than it has done at any time in its history.

The focus of al Qaeda’s leaders has always been regime change in the Arab world in order to install Taliban-style regimes. Al Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri acknowledged as much in his 2001 autobiography, “Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet,” when he explained that the most important strategic goal of al Qaeda was to seize control of a state, or part of a state, somewhere in the Muslim world, explaining that, “without achieving this goal our actions will mean nothing.”

Now al-Zawahiri is closer to his goal than he has ever been.


In September a CNN reporting team concluded, “Al Qaeda has swept to power with the aim of imposing a strict Islamist ideology on Syrians across large swathes of Syria’s rebel-held north.”

In sum, al Qaeda affiliates now control much of northern and northwestern Syria as well as some parts of eastern Syria, as well as much of Anbar province, which is around a third of Iraqi territory.

Thank goodness Obama and his Smart Power team came into office to fix George W. Bush’s mistakes, no?

Like I said before, this would likely not have happened had the Obama administration not bollixed the SOF negotiations with Maliki’s government. In both political and military matters, our proven ability to act as a trusted mediator between Iraqi factions probably would have prevented the political difficulties that gave al Qaeda this opening in Anbar, and provided the Iraqi Army with the support they need to deal rapidly and effectively with the threat. This was demonstrated time and again during the Surge operations.

But, under President Obama’s wise leadership, we left Iraq. We also dithered on Syria until jihadists became the dominant opposition force.

And now the black banner of jihad flies from Aleppo to Fallujah.

via Jim Geraghty, who writes:

Remember, “Bin Laden is dead and Detroit is alive”? Detroit is bankrupt and al-Qaeda now controls more territory than ever.

Heckuva job, Barry.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Smart-Power Success! Al Qaeda takes Fallujah!


**Posted by Phineas

Your Obama foreign policy team

Your Obama foreign policy team

Not “al Qaeda central,” as the Obama administration likes to call it, but the revived affiliate “al Qaeda in Iraq” (Zarqawi’s old outfit), which is more or less merged with its Syrian equivalent in one big happy family of murdering jihadi psychos.

And, taking advantage of internal Iraqi political frictions, they’re making their move:

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, an al Qaeda branch in the Middle East, and its tribal allies have taken control of Fallujah less than one week after launching an offensive in Iraq’s western province of Anbar. Meanwhile, the military and tribes that oppose the ISIS have launched counterattacks in Ramadi and other cities and towns along the Euphrates River.

Security officials and reports told the BBC that the ISIS fighters “control the south of the city,” while “tribesmen allied with al Qaeda hold the rest of Fallujah.” Reuters reported that “the northern and eastern parts of the city were under the control of tribesmen and militants.”


Jihadists waving al Qaeda’s black flag have occupied police stations and government buildings, and are issuing calls from mosques for men to join the fight against the government.

The military has responded by shelling areas of the city under ISIS control. The total number of people killed during the fighting in Fallujah is not yet known.

ISIS fighters seized control of parts of Fallujah and Ramadi, the two largest cities in Anbar, on Tuesday after the Iraqi military withdrew from the cities in the wake of clashes between government forces and the tribes following the arrest of a senior Sunni politician in Ramadi. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda seizes partial control of 2 cities in western Iraq]. Maliki ordered the troops to return to the cities after cutting a deal with the tribes, but not before the ISIS quickly moved in and seized control.

Politics between the Sunni tribes in Anbar with each other and strained relations with the Shiite Maliki government in Baghdad gave ISIS their opening (for example), but I have a hard time imagining this coming to pass if Team Smart Power hadn’t a) utterly bungled the negotiations over a Status of Forces agreement with Iraq, thus leading to our total withdrawal, and b) also bungled the Syrian situation so badly that a promising opportunity to bring down Assad and deal a body-blow to Iran was instead practically given gift-wrapped to al Qaeda affiliates (and Iran…).

Bungling. That seems to be the common element here.

Fallujah, Ramadi, Tal Afar, Baquba, and so many other places in western Iraq and around Baghdad were liberated by American and Iraqi blood and treasure. I don’t know if this situation will deteriorate into a crisis, or if Iraqi security forces can push ISIS out, but, as of now, Barack Obama and his foreign policy geniuses are flushing everything those men and women fought for down the toilet.

RELATED: via Hot Air, Secretary of State Kerry says “You go, Iraq! Just don’t expect any real help from us…”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#Syria (Video) Why we went to war in Iraq


**Posted by Phineas

While the world waits to see if Obama will get his war …no…  warning shot across the bow …er… targeted, limited attack …umm… Wait! I got it!… “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort,” or if Vladimir Putin (!!) will save him from being mocked, comparisons inevitably come up to our invasion and liberation of Iraq from another bloodthirsty Baathist dictator, Saddam Hussein. “If we were willing to go to war over WMDs then (1),” proponents of striking Syria might ask, “why not now?”

Because the two don’t compare at all, as you’ll see in this Praeger University video hosted by historian Andrew Roberts:

There were a lot of reasons, strategic and moral, justifying war against Saddam Hussein. And while there are some good arguments for intervening militarily in Syria (2), there are many more convincing ones for finding another way.

via Jared Sichel

(1) And before someone thrusts a fist in the air and starts shouting “Bush lied! People died!” over Iraqi WMDs, please do us all a favor and read the final report of the Iraq Survey Group.
(2) None of them involving President Obama’s self-esteem and credibility, or sending messages to Tehran. The Iranians have already received that message, loud and clear.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

WaPo fact-checker: Kerry needs to stop lying about his “opposition” to the Iraq war


You know what they say, you know the lie is bad (certainly not “unbelievably small“) when the reliably liberal Washington Post gives you four – count ’em – four Pinocchios for fibbing about your position on possible war with Iraq.  Glenn Kessler writes:

You know, Senator Chuck Hagel, when he was senator, Senator Chuck Hagel, now secretary of defense, and when I was a senator, we opposed the president’s decision to go into Iraq, but we know full well how that evidence was used to persuade all of us that authority ought to be given.”

— Secretary of State John F. Kerry, in an interview with MSNBC, Sept. 5, 2013

This is at least the second time since becoming secretary that Kerry has asserted that he opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq while serving as a Democratic senator from Massachusetts. The first time the Kerry made this claim, during a student forum in Ethiopia, his statement mysteriously disappeared from the official State Department transcript.

But then he said it again, on television, also dragging Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel into the mix. So let’s take a trip back in time and see what Kerry actually said in 2003.


By the time of the March invasion, after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s United Nations presentation on Iraq’s alleged weapons, Kerry backed the attack, according to articles that appeared in the Boston Globe (and which were written by one of his current aides at the State Department).

“It appears that with the deadline for exile come and gone, Saddam Hussein has chosen to make military force the ultimate weapons inspections enforcement mechanism,” Kerry said. “If so, the only exit strategy is victory. This is our common mission and the world’s ca11use. We’re in this together. We want to complete the mission while safeguarding our troops, avoiding innocent civilian casualties, disarming Saddam Hussein, and engaging the community of nations to rebuild Iraq,” he said.

Kerry criticized what he called “a failure of diplomacy of a massive order” but told gthe Globe that if he were president, he may not have been able to avoid war.

Similarly, Hagel — who later also emerged as a harsh critic of the administration’s handling of the war — voted for the 2002 resolution and also supported the invasion.


For Kerry, the uncomfortable fact remains that he voted to authorize the use of force against Iraq, he believed the intelligence that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and he said there was little choice but to launch an invasion to disarm him. Kerry may have been highly critical of Bush’s diplomatic efforts in advance of the invasion, but that is not the same thing as opposing the war when it started.

It’s time for the secretary to stop making this claim. In trying to make a distinction between his vote to authorize the war and his later dismay at how it turned out, Kerry earns Four Pinocchios.

Facts are pesky little things, aren’t they? Especially to Democrats.

For the latest developments on the Syria issue and Obama and Kerry’s “accidental diplomacy“, click here.

John Kerry

”The Clue Store? I have no idea where that is …”