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

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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

WHY DO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS ATTACK TARGETS IN WESTERN COUNTRIES?

When it can’t produce any effective outcome for their so-called, misplaced cause of spreading Jihad other than those localized aftermaths that only strengthen the resolve to fight back! Because terrorists want their fiefdoms.

It is sad but true that almost of the Muslim world is ruled by autocrats, despots and monarchs. There are very few democracies like Malaysia and Indonesia that can be said to have consistent pattern of democracy in recent times otherwise it is like Pakistan that, though claims to be a democracy, is ruled by its military.

The so-called regimes and rulers want to keep their constituencies intact, so as to exercise their power, even if their constituents (people) want to run away.

That is exactly the mindset of the terror warlords. And with terror groups like Al Qaeda, Taliban and Islamic State going transnational, the terrorist chieftains of these outfits have started dreaming about territories controlled by them where they can run amok. Though it cannot be compared to the rise of the Arab nation states where it was clans and tribes initially, which even used to fight among themselves and the global oil politics gave their rule legitimacy, the terror groups, too, are free to envision a future for them, where, they too, will be treated like the nation states, if they, too, come to control an asset like oil.

In order to do so, they need territories and they need people. Controlling territories will give the terror outfits access to resources and controlling people will give them the much needed sense of being powerful and ultimately the leverage to get sanction in case geopolitical changes throw opportunities, like it has happened with many military rulers in the Muslim world or like it happened with Taliban in Afghanistan. The Islamic State just tried to do it. Emboldened and going transnational, these terror groups may well think of snatching regimes from existing monarchs, despots and autocrats.

For that they need to keep the fight within. They need to push those western countries out of their way. And they need to restrict people leaving the territories they are eyeing. In the prevailing geopolitical circumstances, when the US says it will limit its intervention in the global affairs, draws roadmaps to withdraw from Afghanistan and Iraq and refuses to send troops in Syria, the terror groups see an opportunity. They see prospects of an independent territory under their control as the Islamic State or Boko Haram think, without bothering much for global policing, or they go for active collusion with existing regimes like many Islamic terror groups including Al Qaeda, Taliban and the Haqqani Faction.

But the more worrying development is their success to limit the movement of people. The incessant terror attacks in many European countries and the revival of the anti-terror discourse in the public psyche in the US with recent attack have effectively blocked the people movement from terror and civil war ravaged Muslim countries to European countries and the US. The UN Migration Agency in its report released today said the number of migrants and refugees trying to enter Europe has drastically come down this year, to almost one-fourth of what it was in the first six months of 2016. European countries and the US are clamping down on migrants and refugees, driven by the hostile public sentiments after spate of terror attacks.

©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/

WHY THE WORLD NEEDS POLICING EVEN MORE

— Two deadly terror strikes in France – office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket store were targeted this January – and multiple coordinated terror strikes in Paris killing over 120 people in the worst terror strike in France and the worst on a major western power after 9/11 – and two more attempted terror strikes were thwarted, a planned attack on a concert and one on an Amsterdam-Paris train – and France is a major world power

— The worst time to fear that the war theatres of terror are expanding to other peace time nations after the lull of 9/11

— Sporadic events in some other European countries – continued dastardly terror strikes in India – pre and post 9/11

— Terrorism deaths in last few years – multiplying rapidly now with emergence of the Islamic State and the outfit’s increasingly global designs

— Terrorism deaths in state-sponsored terrorism – in countries like Pakistan, in many civil war torn African nations and in many tyranny-ridden Middle East countries

— Increasing civil war theaters – with failure of Arab Spring in countries it took place, except Tunisia

— Deaths in civil war theaters – Yemen, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia and many more countries across the globe – the human crisis is at its deafening levels now

— Deaths in ethnic wars/clashes – Christian and Muslim clashes in Nigeria and elsewhere – Shia-Sunni clashes panning countries, symbolized now in the IS

The powers that be must intervene without fail. The geopolitics of domestic concerns is no more a guarantee that terror will not strike you next.

©/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/