FBI REJECTS ISIS CLAIMS THAT IT WAS BEHIND LAS VEGAS MASS SHOOTING

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has rejected the ISIS claims of the Las Vegas gunman being an ISIS member. It said that the Las Vegas mass shooting incident had no terror links puncturing thus the ISIS claims that the gunman was “an ISIS solder who converted to Islam months ago.”

The American media outfits, quoting the FBI, said the gunman was not known to law enforcement agencies except the local police and the FBI did not find evidence linking him to ISIS or any other international terror group.

Earlier, on expected lines, the ISIS claimed the responsibility of the Las Vegas shootout, the deadliest mass shootout in the US history claiming so far 58 lives and injuring over 400. A gunman, from his 32nd floor hotel room, opened fire on people participating in a music festival in Las Vegas. from 32nd floor hotel room.

Several news agencies and terror monitors including AFP and SITE Intel Group quoted Amaq, ISIS propaganda wing, that the Las Vegas attacker was one from its ranks and was a converted Muslim.

Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intel Group, a US based terror monitor agency, in fact, posted Amaq’s messages on her Twitter handle. Amaq, in two separate messages, claimed that the shooter was one of its fighters and he converted to Islam months ago.

Watchers said ISIS claims were surprising and sounded fake as it didn’t provide any evidence, especially when the terror outfit that is now fighting a losing battle and is being driven out of its strongholds one after the other. Also, in spite of identifying the 64 year old gunman, who was described by his neighbours as friendly and quiet person who enjoyed gambling, no investigating agency or media outfit has been able to dig anything that can relate him to any terror group.

©SantoshChaubey

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IS ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI ALIVE? ISIS RELEASES AUDIO CLIP, PURPORTEDLY OF ITS LEADER

The article originally appeared on India Today on September 29.

Al-Furqan, the media wing of the terrorist group ISIS, has released an 46-minute long audio clip purported to be of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The emergence of the clip contradicts Russian claims that Baghdadi was killed in an air strike in May, claims that many – including US Defence Secretary James Mattis – denied.

Although a Reuters report said the audio was undated, the references made in it – to the North Korean nuclear crisis and to the Islamic State’s defeat in Mosul (in July) – suggest that it was recorded recently.

Rita Katz, the director of SITE Intelligence Group, thinks the man in the clip is Baghdadi.

Katz said in a series of tweets that Baghdadi can be heard “rallying his supporters inside and outside of ISIS territory,” and demanding that “lives in Mosul, Sirte, Raqqa, Ramadi and Hama not be lost in vain.” She also quotes him as saying that America is “mired in huge debt and has become politically and militarily ineffective on the world stage.”

According to a report in The Telegraph, Baghdadi said “the US was no longer the world’s only superpower and gave North Korea’s threats as evidence of American decline, as well as Russia’s domination of Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan.”

A Middle East Eye report said Baghdadi “spent more than half of the clip discussing an ideological debate inside ISIS and pleaded with Syrian opposition groups to stop working with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, countries which have provided support to anti-Assad Islamist rebel groups.”

On the Western media, he said, “Oh soldiers of Islam in every location, increase blow after blow, and make the media centres of the infidels, and where they wage their intellectual wars, among your targets.”

©SantoshChaubey

ISLAMIC STATE RELEASES BAGHDADI’S AUDIO MESSAGE TO QUELL RUMOURS OF HIS DEATH

In what looks to be an effort to end the speculation going on around death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a Russian strike and to boost up the morale of its cadres and supporters, al-Furqan, the media wing of the world’s most dreaded terror outfit Islamic State (ISIS), has released an audio clip claiming to be Baghdadi’s latest message. Baghdadi’s last recorded message came in November last year when the battle to retake Mosul from ISIS was in initial stages.

And if we go by references made in the 46 minute long audio clip, it seems to be a recent one, especially with categorical mention of the North Korean nuclear issue. He can also be heard speaking about ISIS loss in Mosul. Iraqi forces won the ISIS stronghold in Iraq in July so we can say that the clip was recorded within the last three months.

It also counters the Russian claims that it killed Baghdadi in an air strike in May this year. The Russian claim came in July but was rejected by many including US Defence Secretary James Mattis who said Baghdadi was alive.

Also, according to Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, based on Baghdadi’s previous recordings, the voice in the latest ISIS release definitely sounds to be of him. The speech was titled “Sufficient Is Your Lord As A Guide And A Helper.”

Her Twitter thread on the purported audio clip says Baghdadi can be heard trying to “rally his supporters inside and outside of ISIS territory, demanding that lives in Mosul, Sirte, Raqqa, Ramadi and Hama not be lost in vain.” In an effort to boost up the morale of his fighters, he says that America, Europe and Russia and are living in constant fear of Mujahideen attacks.

He also says in the clip that American weakness has given Russia Syria’s control and America is “mired in huge debt and has become politically and militarily ineffective on the world stage.” A different report in The Telegraph quoted Baghdadi saying “the US was no longer the world’s only superpower and gave North Korea’s threats as evidence of American decline, as well as Russia’s domination of Syrian peace talks in Kazakhstan.”

The Middle East Eye in its report on the audio clip said, “Baghdadi spent more than half of the clip discussing an ideological debate inside ISIS and pleaded with Syrian opposition groups to stop working with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, countries’ which have provided support to anti-Assad Islamist rebel groups.”

Baghdadi also threatened media outfits terming them disbelievers.

©SantoshChaubey

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.

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