Saturday October 21, 2017
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Paris attacks: Let’s not get into details, they are always the same


Another day, another terror attack. The details remain the same. Some people get killed, some survive. It is no more relevant to know the name of the place or the organisation that executed the attacks.

It is routine. People are born, people die. Naturally, unnaturally, massacred, butchered, blasted, ripped… All the gory ways of death one can imagine assumes shapes after these attacks.

‘Humanity died’, ‘humanity attacked’, this and that… It’s all clichéd now. It’s overdone. We need newer phrases… Or do we? I think we need better phrases to convince people. Intellectuals and leaders of the world must discover better words to convince the populations that they are safe.

France President Hollande said France would be ruthless in its response. Obama too, as usual, condemned the attacks. The thing is- all these leaders do, and perhaps can do, is read a statement. Statements are necessary as well. People get a feeling that their leaders care for them. That’s why these statements are very important. In the absence of such statements, people won’t be able to realise how much the leaders care for their population.

People die in terror attacks. This is a routine affair. It is so routine that people just take a deep breath that they were not killed.

In the same routine is the routine of these ‘world leaders’ who condemn the attacks. Condemnation is good. It is as necessary as the need of the ‘world leader’. World needs to be falsely made to believe that ‘something’ will be done.

However, what is exactly done is the opposite. Where you can’t sell burgers, you sell arms and weapons. The West has always created problems for humanity by nurturing terrorists as strategic assets, like Taliban, that backfires almost all the time.

Is ISIS such a big issue that America, which otherwise runs with the ‘humanity in crisis’ flag, can’t wipe it? Are these forces so strong that whole of West can’t tackle them! Or is it just that they don’t care unless they find a reason to care for ‘humanity’?

Recently, the US gave weapons to ‘good rebels’ in Syria without much thoughts whether or not it will reach the wrong hands. US, UK, France has been funding Sunni terrorists in Syria and the Paris attacks were waiting to happen, claimed Wikileaks in a series of tweets.

These superpowers need a destabilised world to sell arms. Some nations must keep fighting to ensure a market to sell weapons in the name of peace. It is ridiculous to think how do arms help in bringing peace.

Either our definitions of peace vary with our perspective or we are too dumb to accept it.

But that’s fine. People need to kill each other in the name of religion and borders. How else would the Nobel ‘Peace’ Prize to likes of Obamas and European Unions would be justified! Unless there is a conflict how would these leaders and organisations ‘establish’ peace!

Some places are markets for burgers and some, which are not, are markets of bombs. Some people eat burgers and some, bombs. As necessary it is to sell, the same necessity is for its consumption as well. The more you have to sell, the more you need to make sure are ‘used’.

The USA sings the tune of 9/11 and how they are standing with everyone on the ‘war on terror’, but they won’t stop making and selling arms. It is easy for them to look for WMD in Iraq, to look for Taliban in Afghanistan but not that easy to help Syria wipe the ISIS menace because Assad isn’t that friendly. Not only that, when Russia targets ISIS hideouts, John Kerry finds faults in it. 

Oil fascination of the US, and endeavour to get it anyhow from anywhere, is not something we don’t know. As the joke goes: “If your face is oily, beware. For, the US can attack your face on humanitarian grounds.”

And the joke, if not literally but otherwise, is apt given the lengths American presidents travel, literally, to gain control over it. We, surely, can’t forget the State’s use of media during Iraq invasion where one oil well was shown burning (from different angles) to make believe there were several being burnt down. However, the tankers were quietly moved through sea towards American shores.

Given the unfavourable Assad regime, with the backing of Russia, the US is finding it difficult to attack Syria for ‘humanitarian concerns’ as it did elsewhere. That’s why, in absence of ‘profit’, the oft-quoted ‘humanitarian concerns’ are invisible to Obama administration even as hundreds are being raped, butchered and burnt alive in the ISIS captured regions of Syria.

No one cares for human lives, it seems. Although, we have statements that say otherwise, but it doesn’t convince the common people anymore. Why are such powerful nations rendered helpless by a group of radicals with terror attacks of such precision?

These attacks are so common that people don’t actually feel much unless it is hitting a new low like the killing of school kids in Peshawar. People take out candles, denounce the terrorists and then post on social media. Then, the question is what else can they do?

These powers must stop creating conflicts in areas to suit their economic and diplomatic aims and seriously think about these deaths like today’s Paris attacks. There is no other reason why would ISIS target a particular nation and shout about France’s policy in the Syria.

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Syrian Militia: End Is Near for Islamic State in Raqqa

Syria ISIS
Smoke rises near the stadium where the Islamic State militants are holed up after an airstrike by coalition forces at the frontline, in Raqqa, Syria. voa

Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in Syria’s Raqqa and the city may finally be cleared of the jihadists Saturday or Sunday, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia told Reuters Saturday.

The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State said around 100 of the jihadist group’s fighters had surrendered in Raqqa in the last 24 hours and had been “removed from the city,” but it still expected difficult fighting “in the days ahead.”

It did not say how the fighters had been removed or where the fighters had been taken.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said remaining Islamic State fighters were being transported out of Raqqa by bus under a deal between Islamic State, the U.S.-led coalition and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG. There was no immediate comment on that report from the coalition or the SDF.

Fighting since June

Civilians who escaped from Islamic State
Civilians who escaped from Islamic State militants rest at a mosque in Raqqa, Syria. voa

The SDF, backed by coalition airstrikes and special forces, has been battling since June to oust Islamic State from Raqqa city, formerly its de facto capital in Syria and a base of operations where it planned attacks against the West.

The final defeat of Islamic State at Raqqa will be a major milestone in efforts to roll back the group’s self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, where earlier this year the group was driven from the city of Mosul.

“The battles are continuing in Raqqa city. Daesh (Islamic State) is on the verge of being finished. Today or tomorrow the city may be liberated,” YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud told Reuters by telephone.

In emailed comments to Reuters, coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon said about 100 Islamic State fighters had surrendered in Raqqa in the last 24 hours and were “removed from the city,” without giving further details.

“We still expect difficult fighting in the days ahead and will not set a time for when we think (Islamic State) will be completely defeated in Raqqa,” he said, adding that around 85 percent of Raqqa had been liberated as of Oct. 13.

Some civilians escape

Around 1,500 civilians had been able to safely make it to SDF lines within the last week, he added.

Omar Alloush, a member of a civilian council set up to run Raqqa, told Reuters late Friday that efforts were under way to secure the release of civilians and “a possible way to expel terrorist elements from Raqqa province,” without giving further details.

An activist group that reports on Raqqa, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, said on its Facebook page Saturday that dozens of buses had entered Raqqa city overnight, having traveled from the northern Raqqa countryside.

The Observatory said Syrian Islamic State fighters and their families had left the city, and buses had arrived to evacuate remaining foreign fighters and their families. It did not say where they would be taken.

During the more than six-year Syrian war, the arrival of buses in a conflict zone has often signaled an evacuation of combatants and civilians.

The campaign against Islamic State in Syria is now focused on its last major foothold in the country, the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, which neighbors Iraq.
Islamic State is facing separate offensives in Deir el-Zour by the SDF on one hand, and Syrian government forces supported by Iranian-backed militia and Russian airstrikes on the other. (VOA)

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Will the Latest Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Provoke New Attacks in the West?

IS remains a potent organization, despite its continued losses in United States and Europe

Islamic State
This image taken from a militant website July 5, 2014, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (VOA)

Washington, September 30, 2017 : U.S. intelligence officials examining the latest audio statement claiming to be from Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi say, so far, they have no reason to doubt its authenticity.

However, there are questions as to whether the message from the leader of the collapsing, self-declared caliphate will cause IS operatives to spring into action. Some analysts see Baghdadi’s continued call to arms as almost a shot in the dark, aimed at rekindling interest despite the terror group’s fading fortunes in Syria and Iraq.

The still-early U.S. intelligence assessment comes just a day after the Islamic State’s al-Furqan media wing issued the 46-minute audio recording featuring Baghdadi, in which he calls on followers to “fan the flames of war on your enemies, take it to them and besiege them in every corner.”

“Continue your jihad and your blessed operations and do not let the crusaders rest in their homes and enjoy life and stability while your brethren are being shelled and killed,” he says.

islamic state
A U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighter takes cover behind a wall on a street where they fight against Islamic State militants, on the front line on the western side of Raqqa, Syria (VOA)

Despite such threats, U.S. officials say the release of the latest audio message is not changing Washington’s approach.

“We are aware of the tape,” a National Security Council spokesman said Friday. “But whether it’s al-Baghdadi or any member of ISIS, the Trump administration’s policy is destroying ISIS in Iraq, Syria and around the globe.” ISIS is an acronym for Islamic State.

Still, intelligence and counterterror officials, both in the United States and in Europe, warn that IS remains a potent organization, despite its continued losses on the ground.

“We do not think battlefield losses alone will be sufficient to degrade its terrorism capabilities,” the head of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, Nick Rasmussen, warned in written testimony to U.S. lawmakers earlier this week, calling IS’s reach on social media “unprecedented.”

And while Western counterterror officials say the expected wave of returning IS foreign fighters has yet to materialize, the experience and skill sets of the operatives who have made it back home are ample reasons to worry.

But some caution the new Baghdadi audio message may have more to do with the terror group’s long-term strategy than its desire to carry out attacks in the near term.

“The broadcast boosts morale by contextualizing the hardships facing the group as their losses accumulate by reminding Islamic State militants and their supporters that day-to-day actions are part of a broader struggle, and metrics of progress shouldn’t be assessed in a vacuum,” according to Jade Parker, a senior research associate at the Terror Asymmetrics Project (TAPSTRI).

ALSO READ  intelligence officials , Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, al-Furqan, war, enemies, threats, US officials, raqqa, National Security Council, isis, Iraq, Syria, U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, Nick Rasmussen, terrorism, Terror Asymmetrics Project ,

Parker also believes that while it is “extremely unlikely” the latest Baghdadi audio will spark or accelerate any IS plots, it might prevent fraying within the organization’s ranks.

“Baghdadi’s silence during the final days of IS’s battle for Mosul was a sore point for many IS fighters and supporters who felt confused and abandoned by their leader,” she added. “This statement was likely released in part to avoid that sentiment with respect to the fight to retain ground in Raqqa.” (VOA)

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Islamic State Flag saying “The Caliphate is coming”, Sighted in Pakistan

ISIS flag
Pakistani officials acknowledged that at least one IS flag was recently displayed on a billboard in Islamabad.(source: VOA)

Islamabad September 25: An Islamic State (IS), the flag was seen displayed near Islamabad which read “The Caliphate is coming,” slogan written on the flag, and was put up over a billboard Sunday on a major expressway in Islamabad.

Pakistan Interior Ministry authorities told that committee has been formed to investigate the incident. Pakistan authorities deny that IS may have established a foothold in the country.

Islamic State (ISIS) Militant Group to Soon have a Strong Hold in Southeast Asia: Report

“The group does not have an organized presence, resources or structure to be able to operate in the area,” Talal Choudhry, State Minister for Interior Affairs told VOA’s Urdu Service.

The IS terror group has taken roots in the mountain regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan since early 2015. It brands itself as the Islamic State of Khorasan (IS-K), a title that distinguishes the militant group in the region from its main branch in Iraq and Syria.

The Islamic State threat in Pakistan follows recent media reports and activities by local IS affiliates in various regions that indicate the group has been making inroads in the country.(VOA)