Syrian city’s recapture seen as model for taking ISIS ‘capital’

 

U.S. officials see the recapture of an Islamic State stronghold in Syria  —  the city of Manbij — as a model for future U.S.-backed operations against the murderous terror group, and especially for  supporting a march by allied forces on Raqqa, the group’s “capital.”

Fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-supported group that includes Kurdish militias and local Arab groups, regained control of Manbij, near the Turkish border and what had been a key logistics point for the Islamic State.

U.S. officials said the offensive showed the value of the small force of U.S. Special Operations troops on the ground in Syria, as they coordinated U.S. airstrikes and advised Syrian forces during intense urban fighting.

“Our operating concept has been validated,” a senior defense official told The Washington Post. “Utilizing local forces and our own Special Operations forces, partnered with overwhelming coalition air power, and enough time — the Islamic State really doesn’t have an answer to it.”

To read The Post’s story, hit this link.

Russian jets use Iran airbase to attack Syrian rebels

 

Russian  airstrikes against, Russia asserts, Islamic State in Syria from an airbase in Iran were the first time in 70 years in which Russian forces have operated on Iranian soil. It’s major expansion in the collaboration among the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s and his two main allies — Russia and Iran.

The Guardian noted that hosting Russian jets on Iranian territory is a major change by Tehran from its previous history of  mostly just covert operations in regional conflicts.

To read The Guardian’s article, please hit this link.

FBI chief warns of terror ‘diaspora’

 

Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey warned that if the Islamic State  is defeated in the Middle East: a “diaspora” of the group’s fighters could infiltrate Western Europe and the U.S. and stage many terror attacks there.

“This is an order of magnitude greater than any diaspora we’ve seen before,” Mr. Comey said. “A lot of terrorists fled out of Afghanistan in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This is 10 times that or more.”

To read The Wall Street Journal’s article on Mr. Comey’s warning, please hit this link.

Downed Russian copter raises questions about the size of Russia’s role in Syria

 

The apparent shooting down of a new Russian state-of-the-art Mi-35M helicopter, which could only be operated by the Russian military, over a Syrian area controlled by the Islamic State suggests how much the Russians are directly involved in the Syrian civil war to support dictator Bashar Assad.

The Washington Post noted that the case of the downed aircraft again raises the question of how much Russian forces, including special forces and artillery, are “helping Syria’s battered military take back ground held by the Islamic State and other rebel groups, including those {anti-Islamic State ones} backed by the United States?”

To read The Post’s story, please hit this link.

Using algorithms to predict terrorists’ attacks

 

New research is being used to try to determine, via  an algorithm, the links between “chatter” in  extremist groups’ online places and  their  “real world” terror attacks.

The Washington Post reports:

“The study, published last week by the journal Science, identifies hardcore pro-Islamic State groups on social media by searching for key words, such as mentions of beheadings, and zeroing in on specific community pages and groups. These groups trade operational information, such as which drone is being used in an attack or how to avoid detection, as well as fundraising posts and extremist ideology.”

To read The Post’s article, please hit this link.

‘Anonymous’ launches more hack attacks on ISIS

 

The Guardian reports that “‘Anonymous’  has launched another wave of hacking attacks against Islamic State (ISIS), taking over social-media accounts associated with the group and giving them an LGBT-flavored makeover.”

“The loose hacking collective, which grew out of the infamous 4Chan forum in the late 2000s, announced its war on ISIS in 2015, taking control of almost 100 twitter accounts following the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris that year.”

“Now, after the murder of 49 people in a gay club in Orlando, Florida, a hacker who goes by the name WauchulaGhost says he has taken control of more than 200 accounts belonging to ISIS supporters. This time, rather than simply lock the users out of the accounts or report them to Twitter, the cybervigilante has given the accounts a gay-friendly makeover.”

ISIS members say they hate gay people, and they  treat them with great brutality. But some ISIS people are (self-hating) gays themselves.

To read the full story, please hit this link

Father of ISIS-murdered daughter sues Google, Facebook and Twitter

 

Reynoldo Gonzalez, whose daughter Nohemi was among the 130 people murdered by Islamist terrorists in Paris last November, is suing GoogleFacebook and Twitter, saying that the companies gave “material support” to extremists in violation of the law.

Mr. Gonzalez filed the suit on June 14 in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California. The suit asserts that the companies “knowingly permitted” the Islamic State to recruit members, raise money and spread “extremist propaganda” via their services.

For more information, hit this link.

CIA chief: Islamic State to change tactics

 

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan, said on June 16 that the United States and its allies have made gains against Islamic State but that the the group will change its tactics to make up for lost territory.

“To compensate for territorial losses, ISIL (Islamic State) will probably rely more on guerrilla tactics, including high-profile attacks outside territory it holds,” Mr. Brennan told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He also said that there are more ISIS fighters now than there were al-Qaida fighters at that terror group’s height.

For more information, please hit this link.

West tries to deal with returning jihadis

(June 13th, 2016) As the Islamic State continues to suffer more and more losses of territory and fighters, growing numbers of Western jihadis are trying to quit the ISIS and go back home. But Western security officials have a difficult time in ascertaining who might want to return home to engage in Islamic terrorism and not to resume a peaceful and law-abiding life.

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For its part, ISIS, which is losing ground in Syria, Iraq and Libya, is trying to stop some of the thousands of foreign volunteers who have joined its ranks from going home.

“They sense that we have entered the final stage. Many are starting to send us messages to know how they can return,” France’s national intelligence coordinator, Didier Le Bret, told Agence France-Presse.

But many of those who want to defect are “prevented by Daesh (ISIS) policy, which considers those who want to leave Syria {and other places where ISIS operates} as traitors to be immediately executed,” he said.

For more details, hit this link.

Libyan troops seem on verge of defeating ISIS

(June 13th, 2016) Military forces of the Libyan government claimed that they have reached the center of the coastal city of Sirte, the Islamic State’s key stronghold in Libya. That could mean that the fanatical group may have lost all the land it controlled in the country, a failed state wracked by civil war.

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The advance of the anti-ISIS force surprised many given that U.S. intelligence officials had suggested only recently that ISIS had 6,000 fighters in Sirte and threatened neighboring Tunisia.

For more details, hit this link.