US DECLARES AN ISIS OPERATIVE FROM INDIA A GLOBAL TERRORIST

The article originally appeared on India Today.

Mohammad Shafi Armar, an ISIS operative and recruiter of Indian origin, has been declared global terrorist by the US State Department.

“Mohammad Shafi Armar is a leader and head recruiter in India for the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) group, ISIS. He has cultivated a group of dozens of ISIS sympathizers who are involved in terrorist activities across India, such as plotting attacks, procuring weapons, and identifying locations for terrorist training camps,” the US State Department release said.

Shafi Armar is from Bhatkal, Karnataka. He is considered close to ISIS chief Abu Bakar Al-Baghdadi and has recruited at least 30 Indians to join the ISIS and is said to be in touch with over 700.

He became ISIS’ main recruiter for India after his elder brother Sultan Abdul Kadir Armar, who was heading ISIS in India, was killed in March 2015. Their names cropped up during interrogation of Yasin Bhatkal who was arrested from Nepal border in 2013.

Intelligence sources say he was planning to establish ISIS units in each Indian state and had started Junud AlKhalifa-e-Hind as ISIS’ India wing for this purpose.

According to intelligence sources, before joining ISIS, Shafi Armar was member of banned outfit Indian Mujahideen and had fled to Pakistan in 2009 along with top leadership of the group.

There were reports last year that Shafi Armar was killed in US air strike but he was later confirmed alive. Shafi Armar has made Syria his base and uses social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp to contract and recruit potential ISIS terrorists.

©SantoshChaubey

FLEEING FALLUJAH: ISIS WAY

We all know the whole ISIS existence is totally anti-humanity. In fact, we cannot expect any semblance of the universal values of humanity being followed in the territories controlled by terrorist organizations like ISIS or Al Shabab – or for that matter, even radical organizations like IRA or ETA or Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party – or for that instance, in many countries run by dictatorial regimes with one party hegemony.

Such outfits always find this or that excuse to maintain their grip over power and most of them do so in the name of religion like ISIS is doing or quoting ethnicity and national pride like Nazi party did.

In fact, nothing could parallel the worst atrocity perpetrated in the name of ethnic superiority and national pride – the Holocaust – millions of Jews and many others were methodically killed in a cold blooded manner over the years. They were starved to death. They were gassed. They were arbitrarily shot. Many of them were burnt when they were still alive.

We all know, with the beginning of the end of the World War II, Hitler’s forces came to know that their defeat was imminent and they were going to be subjected to legal action for their war crimes. And so, the officials of the Concentration Camps, which dotted the German occupied territories, especially in Germany and Poland, were ordered to kill all inmates and wipe the evidence. In many camps they did so – but failed miserably. In many they could not do it.

In our generation, no one has seen the Holocaust, but those who follow it can very feel the horror by going through the literature available on it and by engaging with the visual documentation including fictional narratives based on experiences of victims. An engagement with the Holocaust documentation stirs your whole identity.

I had the similar feeling when I saw this tweet yesterday. It was by Col. Steve Warren, the Spokesman for the Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the US military operation against ISIS or ISIL (Islamic State) as his Twitter page says. Mr. Warren had tweeted a document that listed directives for the ISIS fighters on ‘how to commit atrocities on civilians before fleeing Fallujah’ so that the allied forces could be painted in dark in the propaganda material of the world’s most dreaded terrorist organization – that has established beyond doubt its grip over advanced communication technologies.

ISF is for Iraqi Security Forces and PMF for is Popular Mobilisation Forces, considered a Shia militia wing. They are engaged in fierce battle with ISIS. The ISIS directive lays down on how the ISIS fighters, dressed in ISF and PMF outfits, should maximize efforts to creates stage managed scenes for ISIS propaganda videos and it includes assault on women and execution of people.

Here, it is about one Iraqi city Fallujah. ISIS (or ISIL) adopts similar cruel ways in other cities in territories under its control – whether fleeing or not – killing people at will – in the name of ethnic cleansing and religious wars – like it was done in the Holocaust – though at a much larger scale.

Jim Clancy1

The only difference is – while the fleeing German forces tried to dispose of the incriminating evidence pushing them to commit even more crimes, the fleeing ISIS fighters brazenly carry out atrocities to film propaganda videos to flaunt their activities, to lure people further in the name of religion.

Featured Image Courtesy: Col. Steve Warren’s tweet

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

FRIDAY’S TERROR ATTACK IN FRANCE..

A suspected Islamic terrorist beheaded one person in an attack that didn’t happen in some Middle-East or in some crisis-torn African nation. It happened in France. And within six months of the deadly attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on January 9 in Paris. In an Islamic State orchestrated attack, terrorists had killed almost entire editorial staff of the magazine behind the controversial cartoons of the Prophet. No one has taken responsibility of today’s attack yet but the signs are clear.

Reports say attacker targeted an American gas and chemicals company, Air Products, which has an Iranian-born Shiite CEO, in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier in South-Eastern France. The target says much – an American company with a Shia CEO in an  European country that is also an important ally of the US in ‘coordinated’ aerial attacks on the IS. Yes, the attacker didn’t get the ‘scale of destruction’ right, but if he was trying to send a terror message, he was obviously on the spot.

The perpetrators of the deadly attack on Charlie Hebdo are dead but the world doesn’t know about their allies. Also, wife of one of the terrorists, who attacked a Jewish store, reportedly fled France successfully to join the IS.

Also, the French Police say they, so far – had thwarted five terror strikes since the Charlie Hebdo attack.

But they could not thwart this one. The sixth happened today. And it is not about the dead-count, it is about the message.

The Arabic inscriptions on severed head, on beheaded body and on flags tell all and the IS, sooner or later, will take responsibility or will come with a statement glorifying the attack. After all, it’s a propaganda savvy terror outfit with a ‘larger than country Caliphate’ ambition.

With this attack in France (with a beheading) on a day that also saw two big terror attacks by the IS (or its affiliates) in two different continents, Kuwait in Asia and Tunisia in Africa, terrrorsts have tried to send their message once again – through killings and destruction – like the IS does so everyday in its area of control – like it’s propaganda videos of brutal executions show. The attacks were coordinated across three continents on a Friday, around the prayer time, in the holy month of Ramadan.

The war, if we say so, has proved a show of reluctance so far, with limited achievements that have failed to deter the IS. The ‘so-called’ coordinated attacks have been dragging on for months but the IS remains a major force in North and West Iraq and in large parts of Syria. And as long as it remains so, even a status-quo will keep threatening the world with more terror designs.

Today’s were, in three countries, across three continents, certainly one (or some) of them.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

13TH ANNIVERSARY OF 9/11: TERRORISM IS NOW MORE ORGANIZED, SPONSORED AND BLOODTHIRSTY

It is the 13th anniversary of 9/11, a terror attack 13 years ago that still symbolizes how audacious and incisively painful terrorism can be.

And after 13 years of the attack, a series of multiples assaults on the concept of ‘America’, the only superpower of the world in 2001, on September 11, the threat of terrorism has grown more organized, sponsored and bloodthirsty.

The war theaters were not so many in the world back in 2001. The global geopolitical theaters were acting and moving in the routine of a post Cold War world.

It was more or less in routine, except the elements propagated by the two superpowers to further their interests in different parts of the worlds – in different regimes – the so-called fighters against intruders, the Mujahidin, the rebels, and the dictators – all trained, armed and propped up by these two superpowers and their allies – in the post Cold War world, many of these elements were left aimless – when they were still armed and were looking for the next target to hit.

It was more or less in routine, except the ‘now free’ elements were seeing more and more of their upcoming action-zones from a religious spectacle.

It was more or less in routine, except the many so-called allies of both the sides were without the ‘active’ patronage now and the dictators in many of them started taking decisions independently, something that they had never done when they were allied either to this or that camp of the Cold War world.

It was more or less in routine, except that the only superpower of the world then, the US, had no challenging threat, and thus had the greater ease to reread and reinterpret its bilateral, multilateral and geopolitical concerns and it did err in reading and rewriting some of the equations.

All these not-so-routine events after the Cold War were the shaping elements of what we know today as Islamic Terrorism. A religion never teaches to fight; still religions were used as the organizational principles.

And all these not-so-routine events after the Cold War culminated in 9/11.

But, as we see today, that culmination was just the beginning. Yes, being the only true superpower, the US has been successful in averting any other big terror attack on its soil, but the world has grown more terror-prone, more insecure, with many more civil wars, with many more war-theaters now.

Afghanistan is still unstable with the Taliban threatening a comeback as the international forces are pulling out. For records, the Taliban were forced out in 2001 but they were never out. Together with Pakistan, the region is one of the most fertile grounds for terrorism.

Iraq could never recover from the 2003 invasion and in spite of the international forces and a government supported with it, the effort was never sufficient to give Iraq what was promised when Saddam Hussain was declared a demon.

Libya is the similar sorry story. Sad to say, but it looked more peaceful and organized under a dictator than now. No global power looks concerned about Yemen and Bahrain. After experiments supported by the international pressure, Egypt is again back to the military rule effectively. Then there are spreading wings of Islamic Terror in countries like Nigeria, Sudan and Somalia.

And the list is not exhaustive. Terrorism today or more aptly to say terrorism in the name of religion, with organized groups, has a far greater reach today and unstable governments and ethnic wars in many of these war-theater countries have allowed the terror groups to grow stronger than or parallel to many of the governments, like in Nigeria, like in Somalia, like in Libya, like in Syria and like in Iraq.

And with the mess in Syria and Iraq now, again a situational outcome of the selfish geopolitical concerns and some pathetically indecisive moments of the global powers that opposed a dictator but didn’t do anything to support the rebels except showing them mirage and thus pushing them to the warzone, the terror threat is reaching above the warning levels with emergence of probably the deadliest and most powerful of the organized terror groups yet, the Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIS or ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).

US President Barack Obama has vowed today to destroy the ISIS and extend the theaters of operations beyond Iraq, to Syria, after ISIS openly challenged the US might by killing two of the captive US citizens.

But even Obama knows it is not going to be that easy. ISIS may be much stronger but we need to remember it is still an Al Qaeda offshoot. And Al Qaeda didn’t die with Osama bin Laden in 2011. Laden had died much earlier, when he chose to live a solitary, hidden life. But the ideology lived and grew to engulf more regions of the Muslim world. Almost of the major terror groups today have their origins in Al Qaeda. Many others have affiliations and collaborations with it. And the vast swaths of the unstable Muslim world are fast becoming their sanctuary.

Terrorism is more organized, sponsored and bloodthirsty now, more than ever.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

JAMES FOLEY & STEVEN SOTLOFF

One had worked for the development sector. Before that, he was a teacher. Before taking journalism fully again, he worked with an aid agency in Iraq on a development project. First he moved to Afghanistan. Then he was in Libya where he was abducted by Muammar Gaddafi loyalists in 2011 and was in captivity for over 40 days but refused to leave the region and headed for Syria where he was kidnapped the next year.

He wanted to tell the stories of the people of the region to the world. He had said on his captivity in Libya and his return there again: “You go through different emotions when you’re in captivity. These weird extreme ideas of where you are based on this capture. You don’t want to be defined as that guy who got captured in 2011. I believe front line journalism is important [without it] we can’t tell the world how bad it might be.”

He freelanced and worked for Agence France-Presse and GlobalPost among others.

He was James Foley, the first American journalist killed in the ongoing Syria-Iraq conflict. Aged 40, he was executed on August 19 by the terror outfit ISIS that has overrun the vast areas of Syria and Iraq.

Rest in peace Sir.

The other had studied Middle-East at after doing a journalist major from the University of Central Florida. He wanted to know the region and began his career during the Arab Spring. Like Foley, he was aware of the risks but was willing to take them in order to tell the stories. He mapped the crisis hit countries like Libya, Syria, Bahrain and Egypt. He wanted to work for people of the region. He wanted their miseries to be known to the people of the world.

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