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

MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS CAUGHT ON VIDEO: NO CASUALTIES, CLAIMS ISIS

The article originally appeared on India Today.
Here it is bit modified to reflect the dateline developments.

The Islamic State (ISIS) was expected to deny any significant loss from the US bombing on its base in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province on April 13. And a day later, when its denial came, it confirmed that.

According to reports in the western media, the ISIS denied any casualty in April 13’s MOAB attack on its base in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. AFP quoted the terse response of the ISIS that said, “Security source to Amaq agency denies any dead or wounded from yesterday’s American strike in Nangarhar using a GBU-43/B.” Amaq is self-styled news agency for the world’s deadliest terrorist group that operates through shady social media accounts.

On April 13, the United States had dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb ever on Afghanistan. One of the largest US military aircrafts, stationed in Afghanistan, dropped the 21,600 pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) that is also called the ‘Mother of All Bombs’ on tunnels believed to be used by the ISIS’s Khorasan module.

The reports emerging in the aftermath said over dozens of the ISIS fighters were killed in the attack. An official Afghan government put the count at 36 ISIS fighter. Later, the Afghan officials came out with a higher death toll, capping the number of ISIS fighters killed in the MOAB attack around 100.

OFFICIAL BOMBING VIDEO RELEASED BY THE US

In a video posted by US Central Command’s official Twitter handle, one can see the exact moment of impact and the huge cloud of smoke that rises following the explosion.

US President Donald Trump said he was very, very proud of the US military action in Afghanistan while commander of the US forces in Afghanistan, Gen John W Nicholson justified the uses of MOAB saying, “As ISIS-K’s losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense. This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K.”

The GBU-43 is a GPS-guided munition that had never before been used in combat since its first test in 2003, when it produced a mushroom cloud visible from 20 miles (32 km) away.

The bomb’s destructive power, equivalent to 11 tonnes of TNT, pales in comparison with the relatively small atomic bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War Two, which had blasts equivalent to between 15,000 and 20,000 tonnes of TNT.

©SantoshChaubey

THE MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS BY GENERAL ‘MAD DOG’ MATTIS

The United States has just dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in the history of war craft and it may be just the beginning. Today, it is Afghanistan, with the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) that is also called the ‘Mother of All Bombs’. A C-130 aircraft dropped the 21,000 pound bombs on tunnels believed to be used by ISIS.

Last week, it was a Syrian military airbase that was targeted by the US with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles after it was suspected that the airbase was used by the Syrian regime to launch chemical attack on civilians that killed over 100. Then the US has warned North Korea of unilateral action if other global powers don’t come in its support and pre-empting a US action, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un today ordered to evacuate Pyongyong, the North Korean Capital.

Welcome to the command of James Mattis, the US Secretary of Defense who is known as a ‘warrior monk’ and one of his favourite quotes are, “Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”

And going by the recent US action, it seems he, indeed, has a plan to kill everybody who doesn’t fall in line, be the Syrian regime or the ISIS or North Korea or anyone else alleged to create disorder in the world.

Mattis was with marine corps for over 40 years and retired in 2013 when he was heading the US Central Command (Centcom).

General Mattis is revered for his career and is nicknamed ‘mad dog’ for his uncompromising attitude and views in the theatres of conflict and with quotes like the one mentioned above and many more that have come to be known as ‘Mattism’.

He has had extensive experience of handling command operations in the 1991 Gulf War, in 2001 Afghanistan War and in 2003 Iraq Invasion. And, going by the state of affairs, we are going to see more and more of Mattism that believes that “The first time you blow someone away is not an insignificant event. That said, there are some a**holes in the world that just need to be shot.”

©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.

Continue reading

ISIS REPEATS JAMES FOLEY WITH STEVEN SOTLOFF: HOW MANY MORE?

Steven Sotloff Collage 1
(Images sourced from the Internet)

Over 60 journalists have been killed Syria and Iraq in the ongoing conflict. Many were caught in the crossfire while some were killed by the warring terror groups. They were from different countries and ethnic groups. Among them were Muslims and Christians. They were from Egypt, from Lebanon, from other Middle-East countries. They were from France, from the US and other countries.

They were there, in the region, on professional assignments. Many were freelancers looking for the part they could play in reporting the crisis. Professional reasons apart, it was also a drive to go beyond the realm of the routine to do something that took them there.

There are many who don’t prefer to go to the crisis zones to report on what is happening. Coming back from there is one thing that is never guaranteed because no conventions are followed. Terror groups, warring sides and even the governments step aside all considerations when it comes to extract some mileage like the ISIS terrorists abducting and killing journalists as they did with James Foley some days ago and with Steven Sotloff yesterday or like the new dictatorial regime in Egypt that jailed Al Jazeera journalists for their ‘alleged’ role during the unrest that followed the Muslim Brotherhood government.

Steven Sotloff Collage 2(Images sourced from the Internet)

The video of Steven Sotloff killing by beheading is a repeat of what the world saw in the James Foley killing video. Any person with sanity cannot watch such videos till the end. The ISIS terrorist appears to be the same person who killed Foley. He repeats his usual stuff, waving a knife, speaking in his husky voice, warning the world and adding an additional warning to Obama and America on meddling in Iraqi affairs.

Reports say the ISIS terrorist in the video is probably a British who also warns Britain directly this time warning to kill the British hostage David Haines, shown in the end of the video, if Britain joins the US in launching further air strikes in Iraq. David Haines was abducted in Syria last year while working for an aid group.

Like Obama, David Cameron, too, has denied giving any ransom or negotiating with the terror group. Cameron in fact said Britain would launch air strikes in Iraq.

Steven Sotloff Collage 3

(Images sourced from the Internet)

To continue..

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

REST IN PEACE JAMES WRIGHT FOLEY

JWF Collage-2

The freelance photojournalist and US citizen who was abducted by the terrorists in Syria in November 2012 was killed by the ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Al Qaeda offshoot, the most barbaric terror group so far, now ruling the vast areas of Iraq and Syria) on Tuesday according to a video posted by the terror outfit on social media sites.

The beheading video is so graphic, so gruesome, that it cannot be watched. I could not. YouTube took it off immediately.

But the video and the photographs were immediately reloaded with different IDs. Many were posted in reply to my Tweets on paying tribute to James Foley with his photographs taken from the website http://www.freejamesfoley.org and FBI’s missing webpage on the journalist.

Many journalists have been killed in the global crisis hotbeds. Libya and Syria are the most recent and the ongoing war zones of Libya and Syria that have cost many journalists their lives. But the spirit to tell the truth cannot be put down by such incidents, a BCC report yesterday from the Mosul dam that was taken by the Kurdish forces from the ISIS a day before tells us that again.

And there will be many to venture in places like Syria and Iraq even if the ISIS threatens to do the same to another captured US citizen, the Time journalist Steven Joel Sotloff, as the James Foley video shows while winding up!

It’s about being in Solidarity with the Humanity – it’s about the feeling of being there to tell the truth for them who cannot speak – it’s about the truth, the trust and the care – a role, a responsibility, that sometimes, even costs sincere and devoted journalists their lives – but the spirit lives – as echoed by Diane Foley, James Foley’s mother – her words are a moving tribute to this spirit of standing for Humanity – standing ovation to her – the Humanity is in solidarity with the family.

JFW

RIP James Wright Foley.

But, (the oft-quoted question) why the hell the US and the world are taking so long in uprooting the ISIS? Why the silly considerations every time whenever it comes to act on rogue countries or terror groups, be it Syria or Libya or Bahrain or Yemen or Egypt or Somalia or Nigeria or Central African Republic or many other humanitarian crisis centres, many of which are the making of the policies of the global geopolitics of self-interest?

Yes, but Barack Obama’s statement may well be the beginning of the end of the ISIS, the death-knell of its barbaric existence, the US hunt of Osama bin Laden tells us and the ISIS would not have a terrain like Afghanistan to run away, to hide from the US wrath.

Obama was looking upset while reacting on James Foley killing a few hours ago and his brief statement had clear message on what is going to be of the ISIS now because whosoever controls this group of death mercenaries has directly challenged the American might by making a deep scar on American conscious. And it has been felt globally.

JWF Collage-1

REST IN PEACE JAMES WRIGHT FOLEY

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

IRAQ CRISIS: SUNNI VS SHIA

Countries that are predominantly Shia and countries that are predominantly Sunni – the intensifying civil war in Iraq with the Sunni militant outfit ISIS/ISIL (Islamic State in Syria and al-Sham/the Levant) rapidly gaining grounds and threatening the Shia-dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad – and the major Shia and Sunni powers engaged in reacting on and influencing the future course of action in the predominantly Shia Iraq – it is to worsen even more.

Iraq is staring at the real chances of its borders redrawn in the near future – on the ethnic lines – the Shia dominated areas – the Sunni dominated areas – the Kurd dominated areas – but what about the areas having the mix populations – the bloodbath is spilling over with ISIS marching ahead carrying out the ethnic cleansing of killing Shias in the towns captured – it is expected to continue until some ‘arrangement’ is reached.

Until the help comes – from inside, aided by Iran, with military and advisory support and aided by the different Shia militias (including suicide bombers), like the one by Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical cleric, whom no ‘civilized army’ would like to be on its side – or from outside, explicitly by Iran, in the name of protecting the religious Shia shrines in cities like Najaf and Karbala, ISIS has been vocal about – or from outside, the US-led strategic and targeted attacks on ISIS, but the US needs a new government in Iraq before that.

These are the possibilities that need escalation and quick implementation and in the prevailing geopolitical scenarios, one or more of them are bound to happen, and bound to happen soon, given the pace of ISIS rapid advances. They are on the way to rout the largest Iraqi province Anbar with its fourth city Rutba, a strategic win, falling to the Sunni militants today. Anbar is predominantly Sunni and the whole province is expected to fall soon.

ISIS has three strategic border crossings at Syrian border and Jordanian borders already under its control, the BBC says – also, Rutba is 150 Kms from the Jordanian border and is strategically placed between Jordan and Baghdad according to the BBC – so, their Iraq game-plan is moving along with the ‘Levant’ game-plan – and they are proving sturdy because they are getting support from the local Sunni populations, from the tribal leaders and from the countries that are predominantly Sunni, like Saudi Arabia’s strong objection to the external interference in the ongoing Iraqi affairs – and Iraq’s Shiite leadership is to owe the blame for it.

The US is right in asking for Maliki’s head – ‘reconciliation’ (used by the US President Barack Obama – a key word of US intent on its proposed roadmap in Iraq) may be a soft and outrightly misplaced word here given the ISIS brutality – but it is true the current dispensation governing Iraq from Baghdad is to share the blame – by turning Iraq, with a sizeable Sunni population, into a Shiite hegemony – the unrest was brewing and the ‘backfired acts’ by Iraq’s Shia government targeting the Sunni population and the areas made elements fall in place for ISIS to take over.

And it is on now – inviting more, sucking more – asking for blood – killing families – destroying neighbourhoods – mutilating humanity – but who cares for such words in a war – and it is worse – it is a war on religious lines – where fighters not only follow the orders blindly – they follow it with a zeal of inhuman excesses.

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