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.

ISIS leader calls on Muslims in Ramadan message to build ‘Islamic state’

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi demands that all Muslims around the world pledge allegiance to him in audiotape.

By Qassim Abdul-Zahra, Sinan Salaheddin Jul. 1, 2014 | 8:27 PM

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa.

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa June 29, 2014. Photo by Reuters

AP – The leader of the extremist group that has swept over much of northern Syria and Iraq called on Muslims Tuesday to immigrate to the territory his group has seized to help build an Islamic state.

The 19-minute audiotape from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi comes two days after his organization, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria unilaterally declared the establishment of an Islamic state, or caliphate, in the land it controls. It also proclaimed al-Baghdadi the caliph, and demanded that all Muslims around the world pledge allegiance to him. Continue reading

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.

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Syria: Young ‘Gangsters’ Flock to Fight and Die in British Brigade of Jihadists

By   June 5, 2014 07:30 BST

Rayat al-Tawheed
The logo of Syrian extremist rebel group Rayat al-Tawheed, or Banner of GodRayat al-Tawheed
Rayat al-Tawheed: Islamist Group Recruits Brits For Jihad in Syria

The reported killing of two Britons fighting in Syria, has drawn fresh attention to an extremist rebel group that has made extensive use of social media to recruit would-be jihadists in the UK.

Rayat al-Tawheed, or Banner of God, has been posting videos and photos on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to glamourise jihad and lure British Muslims to join the fight against the regime of Basha al-Assad and rival rebel groups in Syria. Continue reading

Newspaper retracts report of Turkish jets attacking Syrian rebels

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By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org

 

A Turkish newspaper has retracted a report stating that Turkish military jets entered Syrian territory and destroyed an outpost belonging to an al-Qaeda-linked rebel group, after its members attacked a Turkish military garrison along the Syrian-Turkish border. In a published correction, the paper said instead that the Turkish army opened fire from inside Turkey. Today’s Zaman, the English-language edition of Turkish daily Zaman, reported on January 29 that Turkish F-16s had entered Syrian territory and had bombed a stationary convoy of vehicles belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS, an al-Qaeda-linked group that made its appearance in Syria in April of last year.

The origins of ISIS are in Iraq, where it was founded in 2003 as a Sunni armed paramilitary force, in response to the invasion by the United States. In 2004, the group pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, and changed its name to Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). Many observers argue that, in recent months, ISIS has turned into “one of the most powerful forces on the ground” in Syria, with 7,000 well-armed fighters, many of whom are battle-hardened foreign Islamists.

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