• ’Walls Often Fail; They Have Unintended Consequences’

    Along the Iraq-Syria border, Iraqi patrol forces have swapped their hard tactical helmets for the warmth of beanie caps. The soldiers look out from their observation towers, across a stretch of desert into Syria.

    From this concrete tower on the border, you can almost see the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, where the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has made its final stand. Over there, Syrian Democratic Forces—a Kurdish-led alliance dedicated to rooting out ISIS and backed by the US—have nearly liberated the city and its suburbs, and American troops are beginning a long-awaited drawdown. A plume of gray-white smoke breaches skyward as an artillery strike reaches the villages and towns near Deir ez-Zor. The horizon is a diaphanous blur of dark smoke.

    Between us and Syria is a fence. It is about 43 miles long, and a guard tower is located every few hundred feet, manned by squadrons from the Iraqi border security forces. The roughly 10-foot-tall chain-link barrier bucks and rattles in the wind. Barbed wire unspools along the top, and about 20 feet beyond the fence, on the Syrian side, there’s a ditch to stop explosive-laden ISIS vehicles that might charge the border. Beyond the ditch is a desiccated stretch of desert now mostly cleared of booby traps.

    The fence divides two villages, both called #Baghouz. The residents of Syrian Baghouz and Iraqi Baghouz once traveled freely between the towns, visiting with family and friends in a place where international borders are as hazy as the smoke between them. “It was normal for us to go to Syrian Baghouz,” says Alaa Husain, an Iraqi shepherd who has lived in this hamlet for 28 years.
    #murs #barrières_frontalières #frontières #Irak #Syrie #ISIS #EI #Etat_islamique

  • Free Passage Deal For ISIS In Raqqa - U.S. Denies Involvement - Video Proves It Lies

    الرقة تذبح بصمت‏@Raqqa_SL
    30 buses + 10 trucks were used to transfer #ISIS fighters from #Raqqa city yesterday afternoon .

    After free passage negotiations with the U.S. and its Kurdish proxy forces, ISIS is moving its fighters out of Raqqa city. When the Syrian government reached similar agreements the U.S. childishly criticized it. The U.S. coalition claims that it was “not involved in the discussions” that led to the Raqqa free passage agreement. A BBC News report shows that the opposite is true.

  • U.S. Will Lose Syria to Iran and Abandon Kurdish Allies, Former Ambassador Says

    Robert Ford, who served as envoy to Syria under former President Barack Obama from 2011 through 2014, said during an interview Monday with the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that “Obama did not leave the Trump administration many options to achieve its goal” of defeating the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) and curbing Iran’s foothold in the region. While Iran and Russia back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against various insurgents and jihadists trying to topple him, the U.S. supports an irregular coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces, made up mostly of Kurds, but including other ethnic minorities and Arabs. Despite the group’s recent successes in storming ISIS’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Ford said “the game was finished” for U.S. plans to overthrow Assad or compete with Iran’s success in the country.

    (...) The Syrian Democratic Forces were mostly neutral in the battle between pro- and anti-Syrian government forces, but tensions have risen between the U.S. and pro-Syrian government forces that now share extensive front lines since ISIS’s collapse on multiple fronts. Recent clashes between the Syrian army and the Syrian Democratic Forces were followed by the U.S.’s unprecedented decision to shoot down a Syrian military jet it claimed was operating too close to positions held by the Syrian Democratic Forces. Siding with the U.S,, however, will turn out to be a grave mistake for the Kurds, according to Ford. He said U.S. support for Kurds would disappear, as it did in post-invasion Iraq, after ISIS was defeated in Raqqa and in other areas.

    “[The U.S.] will not defend the Kurds against Assad’s forces,” the former envoy said. “What we’re doing with the Kurds is not only politically stupid, but immoral.”

    Syrian Kurds are making their biggest mistake in trusting the Americans,” he added.

    De fait, on peut imaginer que ce seront les Kurdes qui finiront par payer la note en #syrie, même si c’est immoral comme le dit un ex-ambassadeur qui s’y connaît dans ce domaine...

  • US Officials Ask How ISIS Got So Many Toyota Trucks - ABC News

    U.S. counter-terror officials have asked Toyota, the world’s second largest auto maker, to help them determine how ISIS has managed to acquire the large number of Toyota pick-up trucks and SUVs seen prominently in the terror group’s propaganda videos in Iraq, Syria and Libya, ABC News has learned.

    Toyota says it does not know how ISIS obtained the vehicles and is “supporting” the inquiry led by the Terror Financing unit of the Treasury Department — part of a broad U.S. effort to prevent Western-made goods from ending up in the hands of the terror group.

    “We briefed Treasury on Toyota’s supply chains in the Middle East and the procedures that Toyota has in place to protect supply chain integrity,” said Ed Lewis, Toyota’s Washington-based director of public policy and communications.

    Toyota has a “strict policy to not sell vehicles to potential purchasers who may use or modify them for paramilitary or terrorist activities,” Lewis said. He said it is impossible for the company to track vehicles that have been stolen, or have been bought and re-sold by middlemen.

    Obtained by ABC News
    ISIS militants race through Raqqa in a propaganda training film released online in September 2014.more +
    Toyota Hilux pickups, an overseas model similar to the Toyota Tacoma, and Toyota Land Cruisers have become fixtures in videos of the ISIS campaign in Iraq, Syria and Libya, with their truck beds loaded with heavy weapons and cabs jammed with terrorists. The Iraqi Ambassador to the United States, Lukman Faily, told ABC News that in addition to re-purposing older trucks, his government believes ISIS has acquired “hundreds” of “brand new” Toyotas in recent years.

    “This is a question we’ve been asking our neighbors,” Faily said. “How could these brand new trucks... these four wheel drives, hundreds of them — where are they coming from?”

    ISIS propaganda videos show gunmen patrolling Syrian streets in what appear to be older and newer model white Hilux pick-ups bearing the black caliphate seal and crossing Libya in long caravans of gleaming tan Toyota Land Cruisers. When ISIS soldiers paraded through the center of Raqqa, more than two-thirds of the vehicles were the familiar white Toyotas with the black emblems. There were small numbers of other brands including Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Isuzu.

    “Regrettably, the Toyota Land Cruiser and Hilux have effectively become almost part of the ISIS brand,” said Mark Wallace, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, who is CEO of the Counter Extremism Project, a non-profit working to expose the financial support networks of terror groups.

    “ISIS has used these vehicles in order to engage in military-type activities, terror activities, and the like,” Wallace told ABC News. “But in nearly every ISIS video, they show a fleet — a convoy of Toyota vehicles and that’s very concerning to us.”

    Toyota says many of the vehicles seen in ISIS videos are not recent models. “We have procedures in place to help ensure our products are not diverted for unauthorized military use,” said Lewis, the Toyota executive.

    But, Lewis added, “It is impossible for Toyota to completely control indirect or illegal channels through which our vehicles could be misappropriated.”

    Questions about the ISIS use of Toyota vehicles have circulated for years. In 2014, a report by the radio broadcaster Public Radio International noted that the U.S. State Department delivered 43 Toyota trucks to Syrian rebels. A more recent report in an Australian newspaper said that more than 800 of the trucks had been reported missing in Sydney between 2014 and 2015, and quoted terror experts speculating that they may have been exported to ISIS territory.

    Attempts to track the path of the trucks into ISIS hands has proven complicated for U.S. and Iraqi officials.

    Toyota’s own figures show sales of Hilux and Land Cruisers tripling from 6,000 sold in Iraq in 2011 to 18,000 sold in 2013, before sales dropped back to 13,000 in 2014.

    Brigadier General Saad Maan, an Iraqi military spokesman, told ABC News he suspects that middlemen from outside Iraq have been smuggling the trucks into his country.

    “We are spending our time to fight those terrorists so we cannot say we are controlling the border between Iraq and Syria,” he conceded. “We are deeply in need for answers.”

    In a statement to ABC News, Toyota said it is not aware of any dealership selling to the terror group but “would immediately” take action if it did, including termination of the distribution agreement.

    Toyota distributors in the region contacted by ABC News said they did not know how the trucks reached ISIS.

    Sumitomo, a Japanese conglomerate that ships vehicles to the region, wrote to ABC News, “In terms of how anyone operating outside of the law obtain vehicles for misappropriation, we have no way to know and therefore cannot comment.”

    A spokesman for former owners of the Toyota dealership in Syria said its sales operation was halted in 2012.

    The former owners, a Saudi company called Abdul Latif Jameel, said it “made the decision to cease all trading activities in the country and fully divested the business in October, 2012,” according to a spokesperson.

    Wallace, of the Counter Extremism Project, said his organization wrote directly to Toyota earlier this year to urge the company to do more to track the flow of trucks to ISIS, and noted that the trucks are stamped with traceable identification numbers.

    “I don’t think Toyota’s trying to intentionally profit from it, but they are on notice now and they should do more,” Wallace said. “They should be able to figure it out... how are these trucks getting there. I think they should disclose that, put a stop to that, and put policies and procedures in places that are real and effective to make sure that we don’t see videos of ISIS using Toyota trucks in the future.”

    Earlier this year, Toyota responded to Wallace’s organization with similar language the company has used to answer questions from ABC News, writing that Toyota stopped entirely its sales of vehicles in Syria several years ago.

    Toyota told ABC News that after company officials briefed the U.S. Treasury team and that Treasury indicated the meeting was “helpful.”

    “We cannot provide further details of our interaction with Treasury as we do not want to compromise its efforts to understand and prevent diversion, or make it easier for illicit groups to penetrate our supply chains or those of any other company,” Lewis said.

    Treasury officials told ABC News they could not comment publicly about the agency’s engagement with specific private companies. But in response to questions about Toyota, the officials said investigators are “working closely with foreign counterparts and stakeholders” on the issue.

    ABC News’ Randy Kreider and Mazin Faiq contributed to this report.

  • ISIS is turning US Humvees into Iraq’s worst nightmare

    More than two-thirds of the Humvees the US supplied to Iraq to fight terrorists have ended up in the hands of Islamic State militants.

    And the Islamic State (aka ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh) has not wasted any time in converting those vehicles into one of its deadliest and most nightmarish tools: suicide car bombs.

    According to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, ISIS controls about 2,300 armored US Humvees. Most of those vehicles were seized after ISIS overran Mosul in June 2014.

  • Le Washington Post nous avait déjà rapporté, en janvier 2016, cette parole de Moshe Yaalon (ministre de la Défense israélien) selon laquelle s’il avait à choisir entre Da’ich et Assad, il choisirait Da’ich :

    Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies’ (INSS) conference in Tel Aviv on Jan. 19, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon made a bold statement: If he had to choose between Iran and the Islamic State, he told the audience, he’d “choose ISIS.”

    Pour confirmer, Michael Oren, ex-ambassadeur aux USA et associé à l’actuelle coalition au pouvoir en Israel nous a fait un remake, rapporté dans le Wall Street Journal ce 17 mars :

    “If we have to choose between ISIS and Assad, we’ll take ISIS. ISIS has flatbed trucks and machine guns. Assad represents the strategic arch from Tehran to Beirut, 130,000 rockets in the hands of Hezbollah, and the Iranian nuclear program,” said Michael Oren, a prominent lawmaker from Israel’s governing coalition and a former ambassador to Washington.

    Parce que comme l’explique Dore Gold, du ministère des affaires étrangères :

    Asked in an interview to state Israel’s main objective in Syria, Dore Gold, the director-general of the foreign ministry, said: “At the end of the day, when some kind of modus vivendi is reached inside of Syria, it is critical from the Israeli standpoint that Syria does not emerge as an Iranian satellite incorporated fully into the Iranian strategic system.”

    • @gonzo : oui, c’est d’ailleurs ce que dit l’article en évoquant les craintes israéliennes d’un nouveau front dans le Golan organisé par le Hezbollah, et l’acquisition de nouvelles armes iraniennes.
      Mais j’avais oublié de mettre le lien vers l’article du WSJ, je viens de l’ajouter...

      As many Israeli officials see it, however, that wouldn’t be such a good scenario if it ends up benefiting the Syrian military and its critical Lebanese ally, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia, which remains sworn to Israel’s destruction. [...]
      Israel’s immediate concerns are to prevent Hezbollah from opening a second front from Syrian soil opposite the Israeli-held Golan Heights, and to prevent transfers of sophisticated Iranian weapons to the Lebanese militia.

  • Journalist Ruqia Hassan murdered by Isis after writing on life in Raqqa | World news | The Guardian

    Islamic State militants murdered a journalist who wrote about daily life in occupied Raqqa, having accused her of being a spy, activists have confirmed.

    Ruqia Hassan, 30, was killed in September, but news of her death became widely known this week after Isis claimed on social media that she was still alive.

    Writing under the pen name Nissan Ibrahim, Hassan’s posts described life for residents of Raqqa, Isis’s Syrian stronghold, and the frequent coalition airstrikes against the group.

    #is #isis #ei #syrie #Ruqia_Hassan

  • ISIS Has Fired Chemical Mortar Shells, Evidence Indicates

    Beginning more than a decade ago, Sunni militants in Iraq have occasionally used chlorine or old chemical warfare shells in makeshift bombs against American and Iraqi government forces. And Kurdish forces have claimed that militants affiliated with the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, used a chlorine-based chemical in at least one suicide truck bomb in Iraq this year.

  • Logistics 101: Where Does ISIS Get Its Guns? | New Eastern Outlook

    For military analysts, especially former members of Western armed forces, as well as members of the Western media who remember the convoys of trucks required for the invasions of Iraq in the 1990s and again in 2003, they surely must wonder where ISIS’ trucks are today. After all, if the resources to maintain the fighting capacity exhibited by ISIS were available within Syrian and Iraqi territory alone, then certainly Syrian and Iraqi forces would also posses an equal or greater fighting capacity but they simply do not.

    And were ISIS’ supply lines solely confined within Syrian and Iraqi territory, then surely both Syrian and Iraqi forces would utilize their one advantage – air power – to cut front line ISIS fighters from the source of their supplies. But this is not happening and there is a good reason why.

    Terrorists and weapons left over from NATO’s intervention in Libya in 2011 were promptly sent to Turkey and then onto Syria – coordinated by US State Department officials and intelligence agencies in Benghazi – a terrorist hotbed for decades. ISIS’ supply lines run precisely where Syrian and Iraqi air power cannot go. To the north and into NATO-member Turkey, and to the southwest into US allies Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Beyond these borders exists a logistical network that spans a region including both Eastern Europe and North Africa.

    #syrie #al_qaeda #ISIS #Otan #Turquie #Arabie_saoudite #Jordanie #Etats-unis #cia #libye

  • Al-Azhar, Iraqi government dispute over ‘Shi’a militias’ violations’ - Daily News Egypt

    Could Sunni-Shiite Rift make Tikrit Campaign a Pyrrhic Victory? Al-Azhar and the Shiite Militias | Informed Comment

    The foremost Sunni Muslim seat of learning, al-Azhar University in Cairo, has stirred controversy by issuing a considered legal opinion (fatwa) condemning the Shiite militias or “Popular Mobilization Forces” that are now fighting alongside the Iraq army to take Tikrit back from Daesh (ISIL or ISIS).

  • ’Infidels’: ISIS Erasing Iraq’s Culture With Destructive Raids on Libraries

    Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL, Daesh) jihadists have been purging Iraq and Syria of its culture and history by destroying and removing thousands of archaeological and historic texts and artifacts.

    ISIS militants reportedly raided the Central Library of Mosul and loaded up six pickup trucks with over 2,000 books containing writings on poetry, philosophy, sports, and science, leaving behind only Islamic texts, according to the Associated Press.

    “These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned.” Those were reportedly the words of warning given to Mosul residents by a bearded ISIS militant in traditional Afghani two-piece clothing, according to a local resident who spoke with the Associated Press.

    Since ISIS embarked on their political and ideological attempts to create an Islamic caliphate with their capture of Mosul last summer, they have destroyed dozens of priceless artifacts, including the centuries-old shrines of the prophets Seth, Jirjis, and Jonah. They also have targeted the historic walls of Nineveh.

  • Female jihadist geo-tracked from Canada to ISIS frontline — RT News

    Je ne sais pas si c’est vrai, et je n’ai pas regardé de près la méthode, mais si ça s’avère authentique, ce serait très intéressant de pousser plus avant une recherche cartographique sur cette question.

    #tracking #espionage #contrôle #sécurité #djihadisme #syrie #irak #is #isis etc...

    A woman from Canada, displaying staunch support to jihadists, has been tracked all the way from Toronto to the ISIS stronghold in Syria via Twitter geo-tagging. She even infiltrated hard to reach “enemy” territories, a Canadian intelligence group says.

    READ MORE: Geo-jihad: New Zealand militant accidentally tweets his Syria location

    According to a new report from the Canada-based open source intelligence research group iBRABO, one woman – identified only as “L.A.” – traveled from Canada to the frontlines of Islamic State-controlled territory, giving away her locations with every tweet, as she visited besieged cities in Syria and Iraq.

    Although ISIS is known to have many female sympathizers, this is the first time a woman has been tracked all the way from a Western country directly to the battlefield, where she appears to be actively engaged in Islamic State operations.

    Tracking her cellphone’s geo-tagging function on Twitter, the group concluded that her movement “reflects a broader trend of women becoming more active in supporting male jihadists, such as intelligence collection, implementation and adherence to Sharia Law, and even reported execution of punishments to women judged to be in transgression of Sharia Law.”

  • Fresh #US airstrikes on #ISIS as Iraqis say air campaign not enough

    The US military conducted 14 airstrikes on Tuesday and Wednesday against the Islamic State in #Iraq and #syria (ISIS) militants in Syria and Iraq, according to a statement from US Central Command. US forces in Syria made eight strikes near the key Syrian border town of Kobane near Turkey, destroying a small ISIS unit of fighters, a “command and control node” and other buildings, vehicles and fighting positions for the militant group, Centcom said on Wednesday. read more

  • Syria and Iraq : Why US policy is fraught with danger
    Patrick Cockburn

    En Irak, le nouveau gouvernement est à peine moins sectaire que le précédent,

    The new [Iraqi] government may be less divisive than the old one – it would be difficult to be more – but only to a limited degree.

    ... the Sunni are more terrified of the return of vengeful Iraqi government forces than they are of Isis.

    They have reason to be frightened since revenge killing of Sunni are taking place in Amerli, the Shia Turkoman town whose two-month siege by Isis was broken last month by Shia and Kurdish fighters aided by US air strikes. Mass graves of Shia truck drivers murdered by Isis are being excavated and local Sunni are being killed in retaliation. The family of a 21-year-old Sunni man abducted by militiamen was soon afterwards offered his headless body back in return for $2,000 (£1,240).

    In the 127 villages retaken by the Kurds from Isis under the cover of US air strikes, the Sunni Arab population has mostly fled and is unlikely to return. Often Sunni houses are burnt by Shia militiamen and in one village Kurdish fighters had reportedly sprayed over the word “apostate” placed there by Isis and instead written “Kurdish home”.


    En Syrie, la #CIA, peu convaincue par les « modérés » des wahhabites, a constitué ses propres « modérés »,

    Isis will be difficult to defeat in Iraq because of Sunni sectarian solidarity. But the reach of Isis in Iraq is limited by the fact that Sunni Arabs are only 20 per cent of the 33 million population. In Syria, by way of contrast, Sunni Arabs make up at least 60 per cent of Syrians, so Isis’s natural constituency is larger than in Iraq. Motorised Isis columns have been advancing fast here, taking some 35 per cent of the country and inflicting defeats both on other Syrian opposition fighters, notably Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate, and on the Syrian army. Isis is now within 30 miles of Aleppo, the largest city in Syria before the war.


    The US is now desperately trying to persuade Turkey to close the border effectively, but so far has only succeeded in raising the price charged by local guides taking people across the frontier from $10 to $25 a journey.


    ... Mr Obama (...) will (...) step up a pretence that there is a potent “moderate” armed opposition in Syria, capable of fighting both Isis and the Syrian government at once. Unfortunately, this force scarcely exists in any strength and the most important rebel movements opposed to Isis are themselves jihadis such as #Jabhat_al-Nusra, #Ahrar_al-Sham and the #Islamic_Front. Their violent sectarianism is not very different to that of Isis.

    Lacking a moderate military opposition to support as an alternative to Isis and the Assad government, the US has moved to raise such a force under its own control. The Free Syrian Army (FSA), once lauded in Western capitals as the likely military victors over Mr Assad, largely collapsed at the end of 2013. The FSA military leader, General Abdul-Ilah al Bashir, who defected from the Syrian government side in 2012, said in an interview with the McClatchy news agency last week that the CIA had taken over direction of this new moderate force. He said that “the leadership of the FSA is American”, adding that since last December US supplies of equipment have bypassed the FSA leadership in Turkey and been sent directly to up to 14 commanders in northern Syria and 60 smaller groups in the south of the country. Gen Bashir said that all these FSA groups reported directly to the CIA. Other FSA commanders confirmed that the US is equipping them with training and weapons including TOW anti-tank missiles.

    It appears that, if the US does launch air strikes in Syria, they will be nominally in support of the FSA which is firmly under US control. The US is probably nervous of allowing weapons to be supplied to supposed moderates by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies which end up in the hands of Isis. The London-based small arms research organisation Conflict Armament Research said in a report this week that anti-tank rockets used by Isis in Syria were “identical to M79 rockets transferred by Saudi Arabia to forces operating under the Free Syrian Army umbrella in 2013”.

    In Syria and in Iraq Mr Obama is finding that his policy of operating through local partners, whose real aims may differ markedly from his own, is full of perils.

    • For US, finding right allies in Syria will be tough
      Hannah Allam

      Yet the Syrian Opposition Coalition, the closest thing Obama has to an alternative to the Assad government, called the explosion that killed the jihadists a deliberate attempt to “silence the voice of #moderation.” Only in polarized Syria, with the Islamic State skewing the curve, could such a group seriously be considered mainstream.

      #Syrie #modérés

    • Joshua Landis :

      U.S. intelligence estimates that Syrian rebels are organized into more than 1,500 groups of widely varying political leanings. They control a little less than 20 percent of Syrian territory. Those designated as moderate rebel forces control less than 5 percent of Syria. To arm and fund them without first unifying them under a single military and political command would be to condemn Syria to rebel chaos.

      The U.S. is arming and funding 12 to 14 militias in northern Syria and 60 more groups in the south, according to the head of the Syrian Opposition Coalition. These militias have not, thus far, been particularly successful on the battlefield, and none has national reach. Most are based on one charismatic commander or a single region and have not articulated clear ideologies. All depend on foreign money.

      The vast majority of Syria’s rebel groups have been deemed too Islamist, too sectarian and too anti-democratic by the U.S. — and these are the groups ranged against the ISIL. They span the Salafist ideological gamut, from al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front to the 40,000-strong conglomeration of rebel forces united under the banner of the Islamic Front. Despite U.S. skepticism, some of the Sunni Arab regimes Obama has courted as key allies in the anti-ISIL effort have worked with these groups.

      Gulf countries reportedly poured money into the Islamic Front until the U.S. convinced them to stop. Islamic Front leaders decried democracy as the “dictatorship of the strong” and called for building an Islamic state. Zahran Alloush, the military chief of the Islamic Front spooked Americans by insisting that Syria be “cleansed of Shias and Alawites.” The newly appointed head of Ahrar al-Sham and the political chief of the Islamic Front earned his stripes in the ranks of the Iraqi insurgency fighting the U.S.

      Turkey insists that the U.S. arm these anti-ISIL Islamist rebel groups, including the Nusra Front. Disagreement over which rebels to back is one of the reasons Ankara has refused the U.S. requests to use Turkish territory to train rebel forces and as a base from which to carry out attacks on ISIL. The United States’ principal allies simply do not agree on which rebel forces are sufficiently moderate to qualify for support.

  • L’Arabie c’est où, dites ?

    « Could Saudi Arabia Be the Next ISIS Conquest? »

    Distribution of geo-tagged pro-ISIS tweets in Saudi Arabia

    If Saudi Arabia does become the next ISIS target, it may be even easier than the group’s push into Iraq. A groundswell of ideological support combined with wide-reaching corruption could pave the way for ISIS’ penetration into the country. Saudi Arabia, unlike Iraq, is almost 90 percent Sunni. Iraq’s growing resistance to ISIS comes largely via the swelling ranks of a Shiite militia, the Mahdi army, with Shiite fighters returning from Syria to defend their country against the radical Sunni insurgency that is sweeping the nation.

    Saudi is also a major source of support for ISIS. Since the latest offensive in Iraq, hashtags translating to #TheAgeOfTheISISConquest and #ABillionMuslimsForTheVictoryOfTheIsis have overwhelming been originating from Saudi Arabia. Almost 95 percent of all mentions of the latter hashtag emanated from Saudi Arabia over the last week, by far eclipsing those from Iraq and Syria, where the ISIS is actually operating at present. The geographic distribution of those mentions covers the entire Saudi Arabian territory.

    #Arabie_saoudite #EI

  • ISIS: Global Islamic Caliphate or Islamic Mini-State in Iraq?-
    Yezid Sayigh
    OP-ED JULY 24, 2014
    Carnegie Middle East Center

    In announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the areas of Iraq and Syria it controls on June 30 and calling on Muslims everywhere to vow allegiance to its self-styled caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) displayed global ambitions. Whether these are real or not, many outsiders assume that its appeal extends far beyond the borders of Iraq. But in fact ISIS is following a well-worn path for taking power and consolidating it in the limited geographical space of a single nation-state where its true social base lies. 

    This constrains ISIS’s hope of gaining significantly broader strategic depth, and belies its claims of representing a universal Muslim community, let alone of exercising meaningful authority over them. Despite the spectacular drama of its swift advances in Iraq in June, reality is more pragmatic: ISIS advanced in its own “natural” habitat, whose outer boundaries it has already reached. Iraq is where ISIS survived after the defeat of the Sunni insurgency in 2006-2008 and subsequently revived, and where the fate of its Islamic state will be decided. 

    Yezid Sayigh

    More from this author...
    Are the Sykes-Picot Borders Being Redrawn?
    Media Call: Crisis in Iraq
    Syria’s Very Local Regional Conflict

  • Sunni Muslim and Baathist Forces Said to Clash Near Kirkuk -

    ... someone in Hawija who witnessed the clash said the two factions had fought over control of gasoline and oil tanker trucks brought by the Sunni militants from the refinery at Baiji, which they have been attacking for nearly a week now.

  • #ISIS’ victories revive fears of Islamic emirate in North #Lebanon

    An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows a militant of the Islamic State of #Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) standing next to a captured vehicle left behind by Iraqi security forces at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province. (Photo: AFP-Welayat Salahuddin) An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows a militant of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) standing next to a captured vehicle left behind by Iraqi security forces at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province. (Photo: AFP-Welayat Salahuddin)

    Informed Islamist sources told Al-Akhbar about a discussion that took place between Islamist groups and (...)

    #Akkar #al-Qalamoun #Amira_Mosque #Articles #Dinniyeh #Fatah_al-Islam #Future_Movement #Khaled_al-Daher #Lebanon #Najib_Mikati #North_Lebanon #Tarek_Merhi #Tripoli

  • Militants attack Iraqi oil refinery as Maliki sack military commanders

    An image grab taken from a video uploaded on Youtube on June 17, 2014, allegedly shows militants from the Islamic State of #Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) parading with an Iraqi army vehicle in the northern city of #Baiji in the in Salaheddin province. (Photo: AFP / Youtube)

    Militants pressing a major offensive in Iraq attacked the country’s biggest oil refinery Wednesday, as the premier scrambled to regain the initiative by sacking security commanders and reaching out to political rivals. The United States, which is mulling air strikes against the insurgents, said it believed Baghdad’s security forces were rallying against the assault, while #Iran pledged not to let Shia shrines in Iraq fall to the Sunni militants leading the charge. read (...)

    #Nouri_al-Maliki #US

  • Battles over northern #Iraq #Turkmen towns kill dozens

    Iraqis get out of a vehicle in front of a checkpoint held by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS) jihadist group on June 16, 2014 in Iraq’s second city of Mosul. (Photo: AFP - Karim Sahib) Iraqis get out of a vehicle in front of a checkpoint held by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS) jihadist group on June 16, 2014 in Iraq’s second city of Mosul. (Photo: AFP - Karim Sahib)

    Jihadist fighters attacked a northern Iraqi village inhabited by ethnic Turkmens but were repelled, police said on Tuesday, highlighting an upsurge of sectarian violence after stunning advances by extremist rebels. The militants were beaten back from the village of Basheer, 15 kilometers (9 miles) south (...)

    #ISIS #jihadists

  • Coverage of #ISIS in #Iraq plagued by rumors and misreporting

    An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) riding in a captured vehicle left behind by Iraqi security forces at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province. (Photo: AFP / Welayat Salahuddin) An image uploaded on June 14, 2014 on the jihadist website Welayat Salahuddin allegedly shows militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) riding in a captured vehicle left behind by Iraqi security forces at an unknown location in the Salaheddin province. (Photo: AFP / Welayat Salahuddin)

    Chaos, incitement and sectarian instigation… that is the prevailing situation of Arab and Iraqi media outlets covering the (...)

    #Culture_&_Society #Arab_Media #Articles #Mosul #Nouri_al-Maliki #press_freedom #Salah_ad_Din