Terror attacks around the world underline influence of Islamic State

Reuters
Islamists struck in three different attacks, but there is no evidence they were coordinated.

The attacks came one after the other in the space of a few hours.   In France, a decapitated body covered in Arabic writing was found after an attacker rammed his car into a gas container, triggering an explosion. In Kuwait, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a packed Shi’ite mosque during Friday prayers, killing more than two dozen. And in Tunisia, at least 37 people died when a gunman opened fire at a popular tourist hotel.

There is no evidence the three attacks were deliberately coordinated. But coming so close together on the same day on three different continents, they underscored the far-reaching and fast-growing influence of Islamist group Islamic State, western politicians said. Continue reading

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Iranian Intellectual And Dissident: The Iranian Regime Is As Bad As ISIS, Yet Western Leaders Ignore Its Crimes

June 18, 2015 Special Dispatch No.6075
On October 30, 2014, Iranian intellectual Mohammad Maleki, a former president of Tehrn University and a critic of the Iranian regime, published an open letter to the people of Iran in the online daily Roozonline.com. In the letter, he wondered why U.S. and European leaders are shocked by ISIS’ beheadings yet ignore the brutal crimes that the Iranian regime has been committing ever since its establishment against its own people and the people of the region. Maleki argued that the Iranian regime, under its founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and his successor Ali Khamenei  – who are the Iranian equivalents of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi – is the same as ISIS because it too executes people systematically and brutally violates the human rights of many prisoners. Maleki pointed to the mass killing of Iranian prisoners, especially of militants from the oppositionist Mojahedeen-e Khalq organization who were sentenced during the 1980s in disregard for their rights and subjected to physical and psychological torture. He claimed that the West even helped the Iranian regime by giving it a free hand in Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s ouster and letting it act against Iranian oppositionists there, in collaboration with then-Iraqi president Nouri Al-Maliki, who is an Iranian lackey.

The 81-year-old Maleki, who lives in Iran, is a member of the anti-regime National-Religious Coalition of Iran and a columnist for the reformist daily Rooz. He served as Tehran University’s first president following the Islamic Revolution and spent five years in prison for opposing the purge of the universities conducted by Khomeini as part of his cultural revolution. Continue reading

NSA chief has regrets on ISIS intelligence collection

September 18, 2014, 4:41 PM

National Security Agency (NSA) Director Adm. Mike Rogers said Thursday that his agency’s collection of intelligence on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, also known as ISIL) could have been “stronger.”

“If I’m honest with myself, I wish the transition of ISIL from an insurgency to an organization that was now focused on holding ground, territory, the mechanism of governance….in hindsight I wish we had been a little bit – I’ll only speak for me and the NSA – I wish we’d been a little stronger about,” he said.

Rogers, who is also the head of U.S. Cyber Command, spoke at an intelligence summit alongside Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan and Letitia Long, the director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

ISIS’ quick rise appeared to take the U.S. by surprise as it swept through northern Iraq, taking hold of vast amounts of territory and virtually erasing the border with Syria. Although U.S. airstrikes in Iraq helped to stem the group’s expansion, the U.S. still struggles to collect enough intelligence on the group’s activities.

Matt Olsen, who directs the National Counter Terrorism Center, told a House committee Wednesday that intelligence agencies have very little idea where foreign fighters go and what they do once they reach Syria, so they can’t estimate how many have joined ISIS or other extremists.

Iraqi Government Takes Its Fight With ISIS Online

BY Shane Harris JUNE 17, 2014 – 06:28 PM

Iraqi soldiers may have dropped their weapons, stripped off their uniforms, and fled the Islamist jihadists who have conquered a growing list of cities as they move closer to Baghdad. On the battlefields of cyberspace, by contrast, the Iraqi government is putting up a fierce fight against the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

In the past week, government ministries have blocked Internet access in regions where ISIS has a physical foothold in an attempt to stop the group from spreading propaganda and recruiting followers among Iraq’s repressed Sunni minority. The government has also ordered Internet service providers across the country to block all access to certain social media sites, including Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, which are ISIS’s favorite tools for spreading propaganda and posting photos and videos of their victories over the Iraqi military and their wholesale slaughter of unarmed Shiites — both sources of tremendous embarrassment for the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite. Continue reading

Turkey should close its border to ISIS

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul, June 11, 2014. Since Tuesday, black clad ISIL fighters have seized Iraq's second biggest city Mosul and Tikrit, home town of former dictator Saddam Hussein, as well as other towns and cities north of Baghdad. They continued their lightning advance on Thursday, moving into towns just an hour's drive from the capital. Picture taken June 11, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (IRAQ - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS CONFLICT) - RTR3TDQT

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, June 11, 2014.  (photo by REUTERS)

US President Barack Obama is reviewing a range of options to deal with the takeover of Mosul and other Iraqi cities by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

Summary⎙ Print The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has depended on the Turkish border for its operations in Syria; US Sen. Tim Kaine offers a blueprint for US-Egypt ties; Al-Monitor’s Year in Review and Back Channel.

Author Week in Review Posted June 14, 2014

Translator(s)Sibel Utku Bila

The prospects are daunting for Iraq, now split in three, to be put back together. The potential for a political dialogue among Iraq’s political factions, also urged by Obama, seems distant.

Even US airstrikes, which the administration is considering, would need to be coordinated with ground operations by the Iraqi army, whose effectiveness is in question after its collapse this week in facing ISIS.

Continue reading