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From September 11 to Orlando: ICS and the Continuation of Western Denial

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The Islamic Caliphate State (now on: ICS) is an Islamic Salafī-Takfīrī organization that takes its ideology from Islam and acts exactly according to Muhammad and the Four Righteous Caliphs’ example (al-Khulafā’ al-Rāshidûn). It employs Jihad, Da’wah and Hijrah at the same time acts to bring back the Islamic seventh century as the ideal socio-political system. It is characterized by an un-selective Jihad terrorist strategy of killing the infidels (Takfīr – Kuffār), including killing Muslims who do not follow the strict commandments of Islam. By this, ICS has a world Islamic mission to accomplish.

However, there is the problem of terminology. From June 29th 2014, there is no longer “ISIS” or “ISIL” or “DAESH,” but the “Islamic Caliphate State” or the “Islamic State” or “the Caliphate. Period. To continue calling this phenomenon with its ancient names means to misunderstanding the situation. It was Albert Einstein from whom we may take an analogy: “if I was given one hour to solve a problem, I would have spent 55 minutes to define and understand the problem and only five minutes to solve it.” Indeed, here is the issue: if we do not define it properly, how can we contend with it let alone solve it? Those who continue to define ICS according to its past names prove inability, misunderstanding, and even unwillingness to really fight it.

Why do we stick to the ancient names? Perhaps it is our stupidity, or ignorance, or maybe lack of information. However, as an organization, ICS is the fourth stage in the development of an Islamic Jihadi terrorist group. Historically, there was Jamā’at al-Tawhīd wal-Jihād, established by Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian citizen with a Palestinian identity. His declared aims were to fight the US, in order to remove its presence from the entire Middle East; to fight the Shi’ites, as the apocalyptic eternal enemies of Sunni Islam, and at the same time to withhold the Iranian march to hegemony in the Middle East.

Al-Zarqawi promised once he achieve these goals, he would establish an “Islamic Emirate” in the region with the aim to fight all the infidels in the Muslim lands (Dār al-Islām). In October 2005 al-Zarqawi was personally nominated by Osama Bin Laden as al-Qaeda’s Emir of Iraq, but in June 2006 he was killed by an American drone. Abu Ayub al-Masri (Abu Hamzah al-Muhājir), an Egyptian citizen, took his place and established the Dawlat al-Islam fil-Iraq (the Islamic State in Iraq=ISI). This was the second stage in the development of the Islamic Jihadi terrorist group. Its military leader was Abu ‘Umar al-Baghdadi. In April 2010, both al-Masri and al-Baghdadi were killed by the US, and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the leadership of Dawlat al-Islam fil-Iraq, and began to take control of territories in Iraq.

In April 2013 al-Baghdadi decided to withdraw from al-Qaeda and to expand his territorial ambitions to Syria. He has changed his organization’s name from the Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) to the Islamic State in Iraq and greater Syria (al-Dawlah al-Islāmīyah fil-Irāq wal-Shām=ISIS). From here comes the name Da’esh we use to describe the organization. This was the third stage in the development of the Islamic Jihadi terrorist group. However, due to his territorial and political successes, on June 29th 2014, al-Baghdadi has coroneted himself as “Khalīfah Ibrāhīm,” being a descendent of Prophet Muhammad, and at the same time Amīr al-Mu’minīn.

ICS in another stage, more lethal and vicious than al-Qaeda, but with the same line of Islamic Sunni Jihadi ideology that practices Salafīyah. It has radicalized the Islamic surroundings and brought to the core a new version of fanaticism and unhuman activity. What is perhaps more important concerning ICS is that the Free World is facing a new generation of Muslim terrorists: more educated and sophisticated; more intelligent and devoted to the Islamic cause and ideals; and more self-content about their ability to subdue the Free World.

This new kind of terrorists look in contempt at the September 11 Islamic generation, as an old ineffective and impotent. They exactly know all Western technological sophisticated means, and use them to destroy the West. Above all, now Islam has the Caliphate at the center and that embodies the future of the Islamic coming victory.

Though ICS constitutes a new and more violent stage than al-Qaeda, it represents a Jihadi evolution based on the same Islamic Sunni religious ideology with the same Islamic political infrastructure. ICS was born by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi from al-Qaeda’s Abdallah Azzam, Bin Laden, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, and radicalized. al-Qaeda was born from the ideological conceptions of Sayyid Qutb and Abu A’ala al-Mawdudi, and radicalized. Qutb and al-Mawdudi were the students of Hasan al-Banna’s Muslim Brotherhood ideology, and radicalized. Hence, ICS is the only last stage of this Islamic Jihadi continuous evolutionary doctrine.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the source of the Salafi Sunni ideology that motivates ICS. Each and every radicalized stage is based on Islamic Sharī’ah. In ideological terms there are traditional fundamentalism (Salafīyah Taqlīdīyah); Jihadi fundamentalism (Salafiyah Jihādīyah); and infidelity fundamentalism (Salafiyah Takfīrīyah). But all are based on the same roots of Islamic Sunni political ideology. By that, the message is gloomy: by no means ICS is the last stage in the evolution of the Islamic Jihadi terrorism. Whatever its cruelty is, there are no less radical groups, and in future there will be much more extreme and vicious groups with the aim to bring the Islamic tidings to the entire world.

ICS’s emergence and success are due to the collapse of the Middle East order and the disappearance of authoritarian regimes to the point of failed states. This is not and never has been an “Arab Spring,” but from the first day it was the “Tribal Anarchic Islamic Winter.” To the vacuum that was created by Obama Administration by toppling the Arab military regimes (US code: “step down”), the Islamic jihadi groups have entered with full power. On the other hand, the lake of leadership and vision of Western leaders and the continuing denial of the Islamic lethal reality have forcefully pushed the Islamic Jihadi groups to lead the Islamic revolution in the region. The chaotic situation in Libya, Syria, and Yemen is 100 percent the responsibility of Obama.

ICS has become the most important and influential non-state player in the entire international relations. It serves as a model of pure success, and proves again there is no more successful like success. Its political influence is much more lethal than its operational, its educational activity among the youth is stunning, and its social media operation is so sophisticated and effective for the establishment of the Caliphate.

Western denial

The contemporary foreign policy of the Free World in the Middle East, the Islamic world and Islam in general has proven to be disastrous, because its policymakers and analysts are unable or unwilling to opt to articulate them through familiar Western paradigms. That is, instead of trying to understand Arab-Islamic political culture, they use the mirror image approach and act according to the mental blindness principle. Every time there is a terrorist Jihad attack, they respond in the same routine cowardice way, declaring: Islam is the religion of peace; Muslims that operate Jihad are extremists and not real Muslims; and a policy of concessions and appeasement will reduce Jihad and extremism among Muslims.

The best ‘advice’ was lastly given by the Attorney General of the US, Loretta Lynch. For her, “Most effective response to terror is compassion, unity, and love.” Now, this is really a new innovative strategy, so simple and apparently so effective. You see, if a Muslim terrorist rampages through one’s home or at public place, butchering and massacring while shouting “Allāhu akbar,” all one should do is to greet him with love and compassion and showing sympathy and empathy to him.

Why it is a brilliant strategy? Because there is no doubt the terrorist immediately will stop his murderous activity and becomes a peace loving person. Showing him love, which he was neglected of, he surly would answer with love. Most important, he would immediately abandon the so many verses of the Qur’an that preach for hatred and violence, to kill the infidels whenever and wherever they are, to slaughter and smite their neck, and to terrorize them. He will abandon all these and preach liove.

From September 11 2001 on, the Free World’s peoples and their public opinion are being systematically told about the fiction that Islamic most murderous groups such as al-Qaeda and ICS are not Islamic but in fact anti-Islamic, and there is no doubt about Islam being a religion of peace and compassion. During the presidency of Obama we are facing a huge monstrous disinformation campaign directed from the White House and reflected by the governmental branches that Islam and terrorism are incompatible, and to relate to Islam such atrocities contradicts human logic even the nature laws.

Therefore, if ICS and al-Qaeda cite Islamic Scriptures to justify their atrocities, they are “hijacking” and “perverting” Islam. Moreover, when an attack committed by Muslims is too obviously terrorism to deny, it is called “ISIS-inspired,” or “al-Qaeda-inspired,” yet these groups are temporal and localized problem: defeat them, and the terrorism problem vanishes. Kill Bin Laden and al-Qaeda vanishes; execute al-Baghdadi and ICS vanishes. These terrorist groups are bad and deserve to be eliminated, but they are not Muslims. The same wrong approach and ignorance applies to what is called “loners” or “wolf loners.” Therefore, all one really needs is to see the beauty of Islam and the ugliness of those who pretend to be Muslims.

Western leaders restrain and censor their governmental branches, and the media and decision-makers alike refuse to connect the dots and insist on treating Islam as it deserves. The fact is there is “al-Qaeda,” “Taliban,” “Boko Haram,” “Shabab,” “ICS,” and other hundreds of Islamic terrorist organizations, all of them are Muslim in origin and all of them are struggling to bring the Islamic tidings to the entire world. They use Muslim hymn and symbols and its vocabulary. They practice the Islamic traditions and commandments. They preach for the Islamic objectives to achieve, and they use the Islamic tactics. And still, Western denial continues.

One must be fed up with this. Each and every person who just uses common sense even basic logic knows the answer. ICS is Islamic. It is 100 percent Islamic. ICS stems from Islam, it represents Islam, and it proves the Islamic political ideology and embodies what Islam really is. It is crystal clear and obvious like day and night. To say that ICS does not represent Islam is like to say that Earth is flat. If ICS is not Islam, than the Sun surrounds Earth. This is the greatest denial ever in history. This is the scourge of our generation; the greatest big lie ever has fallen upon humanity and worst of all, it directly leads to national disasters in an apocalyptic scale.

There is more. Part of our leaders, the media and the academia denial has to do with definitions. There is the mistaken narrative whether ICS is Islamic or Islamist. This differentiation between “Islamic” being good and moderate and “Islamist” being bad and radical, is totally artificial and absolutely Western oriented without any connection or corroboration to Islam itself. It is another stepping stone of Western ignorant debate; a version of Western apologetic appeasing discourse to analyzing and defining Islam; and perhaps it is another example to prove how Western leaders are intimidated concerning the Islamic threats.

And still we continue to argue and debate this matter. Why? Are we so stupid about the Islamic phenomenon? No, we are not. We know exactly everything about Islam. Or perhaps are we so ignorant understanding Islam? No, we are not. We know what is written in the Qur’an and the Sharī’ah, and we have all the knowledge about Islamic notorious history. Or perhaps do the so many Islamic groups hide their fanatic barbaric Islamic origins and ideologies? No, they are not. They declare their means and aims loud and clear, using all the Islamic terms and ideology and exactly acting according to Islamic commandments to subdue the world.    

So what’s going on here? How that is our leaders called a spade a spade concerning Nazism and Communism and labeled them as enemies but refuse to do the same concerning Islam? Soon the day will come when we all have to admit that Islam is the uppermost lethal enemy of humanity. We will recognize with admiration that Bernard Lewis in 1990 and Samuel Huntington in 1993 were right declaring the “clash of civilizations syndrome.” We also have to admit that from that time on there is a long line of academic members and others who proved this reality and preached to cut out the vicious circle of silencing by Western politicians. Unfortunately, time runs and the price humanity will pay for this negligence perhaps conspiracy of silence will be unbearable, probably the modern embodiment of the Pyrrhic victory.

Why our leaders stubbornly refuse to utter the word “Islam” when it comes to terrorism and violence? There are perhaps many reasons, none of them is because Islam and terrorism are not deeply connected and interrelated. It is also not ignorance and not stupidity they perform. The fact is our leaders appease and pay protection money. The reason for that behavior is fear. Deep atavist fear of the ruffian murderer, the primitive vandal, the savage thug. They are intimidated as of how to deal with 1.6 billion Muslims if they declare the problem is the Islamic religion and its political ideology.

Our leaders are under deep mental and physical violence and fear of terrorism, so they have made the decision not to insult and not to hurt Muslims’ sensibilities. They believe that letting the Muslims to practice their religion and culture it will ease their aggressiveness. They are really in disarray concerning Muslims and Islam and they want to come back to normality, to their common sense and sanity. They wish wholeheartedly to run away from the madness they don’t understand – by closing their eyes and by paralysis of their actions.

This situation is observed by the euphemisms “radical Islam,” “fundamental Islam” and the like. Many complain that President Obama systematically forbids his governmental branches to put together the words “Islamic” and “terrorism,” even not to use the phrase “radical Islam.” Later on he excelled by forbidding his Administration to use the words “Sharī’ah” and “Jihad” as related to Islam. Indeed, this is a shame.

If there were any doubts whether leaders are abdicating their responsibility to stand up for the Free World’s existence, the Orlando Massacre was the last example. President Obama and Hillary Clinton deflected attention from the obvious Islamic terrorism to debate about the gun control issue. Obama and other delusional leaders have rushed to defend Islam and to assure us Islam is one of the world’s great peaceful religions: “ISIL is not Islamic… and the terrorists trying to pervert a noble religion.”

At the beginning, Obama mocked at ICS nicknamed it as a “JV team,” and at the same continue his slogans of peaceful compassionate Islam. At the UN Obama praised Islam: “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.” Part of his continuing detached delusional declarations are: “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.” “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.” “We know Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.” “Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism, it is an important part of promoting peace.” And perhaps the most important: “I made clear that America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam.”

The Orlando massacre was an act of a pure Islamic terrorism representing a doctrine of hatred towards the infidels and what it stands for. Omar Mateen has given his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Arabic, while declaring “In the name of Allah the Merciful, the beneficent” (Bismillāh), and adding “may Allah protect him [Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi] on behalf of the Islamic State.” The nonsense response of the US Administration was that the massacre was “more to hate and not just terrorism,” with the unfortunate slogan: “one cannot fight homophobia with Islamphobia.”

However, those who complain about Obama Administration’s refusal to call it “radical Islam” are no less mistaken. There is no “radical Islam” and as much as there is no “moderate Islam.” There is only “Islam.” Period. Just remember the declaration of Recep Erdogan, Turkish Prime Minister: “the term ‘Moderate Islam’ is ugly and offensive. There is no moderate Islam. Islam is Islam.” There are radical Muslims as against moderate Muslims, but this has nothing to do with the doctrine of Islam and its political ideology. “Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri’s al-Qaeda and Baghdadi’s ICS are not “radical Muslims,” but loyal (Mukhlis) Muslim believers. They strictly follow the Islamic Sharī’ah. They act according to Islamic commandments. It is as such simple and clear as it is the truth when it comes to Islam. It is just the use of language that makes the difference: what for Western pronouncing is “radical,” for Islam it is “moderate” and “faithful,” and vice versa. Only the perspective approach and the language matters.

After the Tunisia massacre, on June 26, 2015, in which many British tourists were murdered. Immediately there came the Pavlovian reaction of PM David Cameron, that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the massacre was performed by “extremists.” Interesting. However, he even broke the record, since he overtook President Obama in his fast reaction. How this malaise is so pervasive one can deduct from the situation in the British schools that have been infiltrated by Muslims.

On March 23, 2015, Home Secretary, Theresa May said that “Islam is entirely compatible with British values and our national way of life, while Islamist extremism is not.” This is not a joke. From 2011 the British government has claimed that extremism is a “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.” Now, all that one can do is to compare these with Islam.

This is also the case with the French and Belgian reaction after the Islamic massacres there. The Free World denial of Islamic situation continues even strongly when it comes to the horrific acts of the ICS. When asked about the mutual relationships and the religious background of ICS and Islam, the answer given by Western politicians is denial and refutation. However, there is an outlet: it is suggested to consult with the Qur’an and learn the Sharī’ah. If not, something is really deeply odd, let alone confusing and embarrassing relating to this issue when it comes to treating Islam.

But there is more. The Free World’s leaders are afraid because there is also the “Intimidation-Money Syndrome.” They are afraid of the brutal ruffian, but much more by the probability that the oil-states money flaw, mainly by Saudi-Arabia and Qatar, will be cut off and prevented. In times of money shortage, the industry, the stock markets, the media, and the universities are badly in need of this money. The result: our leaders have found out the “solution” by denying the connection between Islam and terrorism and violence, by appeasing and by apologizing. Yet, there is more. One of the outlets is blaming the Jews. This is exactly what is going on in Europe today against Israel. Whatever the situation is, Israel is the answer to all the problems not Islam.

That is exactly why the reasons to the victory of Islam and the collapse of Western civilization do not come from the ethnocentric Islamic political ideology, but from the Free World’s leaders, the media, the academia, and the cultural elite submissive appeasement. Let me put it straight: Islam and Muslims would not even raised their heads in so-high burst of hatred and animosity and even would not try to work so incessantly with Jihad, Da’wah and Hijrah to conquer the world, without Western weaknesses and submissiveness; without the vacuum the West has willingly created.

However, just as in the 1930’s the European leaders appeased and gave up and gave in to Hitler’s aggression, yet not paradoxically, it was the aggressor who opened the war. Exactly the same occurs today. Western civilization appeases and pays protection money, and still Islam has declared a religious war against it. This is the deep unfortunate reality that our leaders do not learn even from their own lessons, and do not act in proactive strategy to defend our civilization.

If the Free World’s leadership will not wake up and sober up, the destruction of Western civilization and the ushering in of the Islamic New World Order is sure. We have a clear historical proofs: in 732 Charles, “The Hammer” Martel defeated the Muslim invaders advancing toward Paris, at the Battle of Tours. In 1683, the Polish King Sobieski beat back the invading Muslim army at the Battle of Vienna. Christianity was twice saved in Europe solely because Europe fought back by the sword. If Europe had not possessed the will to resist, it would be Islamic, and Christianity would be exterminated. But above all, Europe would be the reflection of the Middle East: poor and miserable socially; retarded and undeveloped technologically, and savage and not advanced politically.

The history of the Middle East proves this reality crystal clear. Wherever Islam has had complete sway, Christianity ultimately disappeared and wretchedness emerged. Indeed, the civilization of Europe, America and Australia exists today only because of the victories of civilized man over the enemies of civilization. The question at stake is clear: whether the Judeo-Christian culture persists or primitiveness exists. The Free World has the ability to win over but has lost the will, the spirit to fight evil.

Our leaders have all the reasons not only to wake up and sober up, but to fight for their societies’ existence. The statistics is clear: over 95 percent of world terrorism and 70 percent of world violence are Islamic. All the intelligence agencies’ reports clearly indicate that at least 20 percent of the Muslims and 40 percent of the youngsters till 26 have clear Jihadi inclinations. A research published by the Czech Republic’s intelligence in May 2016 indicates that 44 percent of the Muslims in Europe match the European definition of fundamentalism.

The U.S. State Department’s annual, counts 11,774 terrorist attacks in 92 countries around the world. All of them were Islamic. More than 55 percent of all attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Nigeria), and 74 percent of all deaths due to terrorist attacks took place in five countries (Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Syria). The number of terrorist kidnappings and hostage-takings increased in 2015 to more than 12,100. Moreover, in the last 70 years, almost 14 million Muslims were butchered by other Muslims.  

Nevertheless, Western leaders are determined never to connect the dots. If one observes the behavior, reactions, and the activity of ICS, he needs nothing more as to clearly and absolutely be sure it is Islamic and it acts exactly according to the Islamic commandments and teachings. Indeed, when tolerance becomes a one way street, it leads to cultural suicide, and it ushers in religious genocide. It was Albert Einstein to declare: The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. That is why this war that the Western world must employ is the pure just war. Never in history there has been more just than this war against the enemy of civilization. Sam Harris has put it succinctly:

We are now mired in a religious war in Iraq, and elsewhere… The truth that we must finally confront is that Islam contains specific doctrines about martyrdom and jihad that directly inspire Muslim terrorism… It is time we admitted that we are not at war with “terrorism.” We are at war with Islam. This is not to say that we are at war with all Muslims, but we are absolutely at war with the vision of life that is prescribed to all Muslims in the Koran. The only reason Muslim fundamentalism is a threat to us is because the fundamentals of Islam are a threat to us. Every American should read the Koran and discover the relentlessness with which non-Muslims are vilified in its pages. The idea that Islam is a “peaceful religion hijacked by extremists” is a dangerous fantasy… deluding ourselves with euphemisms is not the answer. Our press should report on the terrifying state of discourse in the Arab press, exposing the degree to which it is a tissue of lies, conspiracy theories and exhortations to recapture the glories of the 7th century. All civilized nations must unite in condemnation of a theology that now threatens to destabilize much of the Earth.

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Imprisoned ISIS Wives and Children Have Nowhere to Run To, Nowhere to Hide

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D

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The guards have said if the war comes close, then they will leave here,” a Western ISIS wife texted me today from Camp Roj in far northeastern Syria, a detention center that houses 500 ISIS wives and 1,200 of their children.  “What to do if we are left alone?” she asks. “There’s nowhere to go and too risky to get caught by Bashar [al-Assad].”

As she writes, I’m in Belgium sitting next to an FBI agent. I ask him what she should do, but amid all of this chaos, he doesn’t have an immediate answer.  

The ISIS wife continues: “I like how America thinks it’s too dangerous for them [the U.S. military] to be here but safe for us to remain with Assad.”

Over the past two years I’ve been in and out of the northeastern territory of Syria held by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) six times with staff from the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE). We have conducted in-depth interviews with 217 ISIS men and women, 100 of them in SDF held territory, for our project countering the ISIS brand, which the SDF has supported fully. 

The woman texting me today gave us an interview last year and has managed to stay in touch via illicit phones other detainees allow her to use.

At the same time she is texting me, our Kurdish translator texts that they are living under the sound of bombs and troops advancing. Assad’s troops are marching eastward, while Turkey is barreling in from the north. Which soldiers will reach Camp Roj first and what the women should do if the Kurdish YPJ-Women’s Protection Units guarding them decide it’s too dangerous to remain in place, is something the guards have told the inmates to think about. 

The female inmates of Camp Ain Issa, farther west, faced a similar dilemma earlier in the week when the Turks began shelling. Until Sunday, Ain Issa Camp housed a total of 12,000 women and children, but according to one Belgian woman, it descended into “complete chaos” as fires broke out, the guards left, and the women escaped in the hundreds. 

Among the women housed there, 265 were wives of foreigner terrorist fighters, alongside 1,000 of their children. On the second day of the Turkish air assault, Belgian ISIS wives Bouchra Abouallal and Tatiana Wielandt decided it was better to go on the run with their small children than remain in place to learn what next disaster might befall them.

We interviewed Bouchra Abouallal in September 2019.  Completely exhausted from her experience with ISIS, she said that life inside the Caliphate was “the best possible deradicalization program ever.” Already prosecuted in absentia and facing a five-year sentence in her home country of Belgium, she told ICSVE researchers she would prefer to return home even to serve a 20-year sentence rather than remain in the camp under the menace of the cruel ISIS-inmate enforcers who threatened all European women who no longer wanted anything to do with the ISIS Caliphate.

Now Bouchra Abouallal is on the run with her three small children. In audio messages punctuated in the background by shelling she told a Belgian journalist that she was headed toward the front lines in hopes she could make it to safety in Turkey, where she wishes to turn herself into the Belgian consulate and make her way home. 

While European officials here in Brussels have stated that Turkey agrees to help any escaped ISIS cadres that end in their hands to be returned to their homelands, up until recently, Belgium was refusing to let her come back. Instead of seeing her as someone victimized by the Islamic State’s propaganda and lies, and fooled by the “Shariah for Belgium” group that had radicalized many in her native city of Antwerp, Belgian politicians see her as a threat.

But it is not difficult for Belgian authorities to turn past posts on her social media accounts against her.

“Your system has failed oh Belgian state,” Bouchra’s Facebook page read after she slipped out of Belgium to go live under the Islamic State. Referring to the way the Belgian police had hassled her upon her first return home from Syria, her posts taunted them, saying “You were watching us 24/7 and you still haven’t managed to stop us. Why? Because Allah is the best planner (…)” Her threats continued with, “We have left because we believe that it is a duty for every Muslim. To the policeman who threatened to take our children away, I can say that my children will turn yours into orphans, with the will of Allah.”

Bouchra claims that it wasn’t she, but one of her ISIS husbands, who authored these hate-filled posts. She says he used to lock her up at home and post on her Facebook page without her permission. Indeed, when we interviewed Bouchra in September she spoke gently as she denounced ISIS, giving us permission to use both her image and her name in a counter narrative video—this, while knowing the ISIS enforcers in the camp would likely punish her for it.

The woman texting me today from Camp Roj does so fearing that if it becomes known it was her texting she will be punished by her YPJ guards. Yet pure terror drives her to try to stay connected with the outside world as she makes wrenching decisions for herself and her young child. 

Americans are also in this camp. We have interviewed two American passport holders—Canadian dual-citizen Kimberly Pullman and disputed American citizen Hoda Muthana. 

When I ask today’s texter about Americans in the camps, she tells me there are five in all, two more in Camp Roj and another in Camp Hol. She states that there are also two American children in Camp Roj. We’ve met one of them, Adam, the two-year-old son of Hoda Muthana. Both times we interviewed his mother, Adam was struggling with chronic bronchitis. Today the woman texting me from Camp Roj tells me that the air is thick with fumes from the bombings, which is causing many of the children to have breathing difficulties.

“Going to jail right now won’t be great,” this woman writes as she imagines her future in the West—if she can ever manage to get home. Then she envisions another future: “I could get lost among all of this trouble.” Then again she realizes that fleeing the camp, if her guards do abandon their posts, might also prove disastrous. 

“Please let the governments know that we are not happy with the escape of the women [who have left the camps]. We are actually scared and want to just be safe in our own embassies,” she texts. “We don’t want to keep running away. We want to be tried. I’ve already had the chance to run away before and I decided to be tried in my own country.”

Now the pressing question, amid all of this chaos unleashed by Trump greenlighting the Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria: Is anyone going to do anything to get these former ISIS wives and their children back home where they can face justice and live in safety or do we just leave them to face whatever fate turns up as hostile armies converge?

Author’s note: first published in the Daily Beast

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Indian Mujahideen, IS and Hizbul Tahrir: Breeding ground for terrorism in South Asia

Amjed Jaaved

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India Today dated October 8, 2019 has made the startling revelation `The Special Cell of the Delhi Police, probing an IM module, stumbled upon evidence suggesting an association between the two outfits’. It adds,   `Sources in intelligence agencies said that there was credible proof about IM’s links with international groups’. `The Indian Mujahideen had a hand in the Delhi serial blasts of 2008’ and have `links with the international radical group Hizbul Tahrir’.  The organisation was `trying to radicalise disgruntled Muslim youth’, according to recent intelligence inputs’.

Sri Lankan terrorists trained in India

Earlier, Sri Lankan investigations had revealed that the suicide bombers, involved in blasts, were radicalized in India. Sri Lanka had hauled up 116 suspects, including a Tamil medium teacher and a school principal. Those arrested confessed to having been tutored by Islamic-State moles in Tamil Nadu. Posters and social media postings in native Indian languages confirmed that the IS does have networks in several Indian states. A pro- IS Telegram channel released a poster in Bengali language which reads read: “Shighroi Aschhe [coming soon], Inshallah. The poster carried a logo of a group called Al-Mursalat. Some social posts in Sinhala language appeared in Tamil Nadu. Instead of taking notice of IS propaganda, BJP led government has been exploiting the matter for political advantage. BJP leader Vijayvargiya in West Bengal alleged, “If Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Mamata ji stays, Islamic State can enter West Bengal anytime.” India shrugs off the allegation saying that IS adherents in India are spill-over of Bangladesh’s New Jamatul  Mujahideen.  

Call Detail Records  of Sri Lankan-terror  mastermind Zaharan Hashim  indicated his links with IS adherents across India including  R Ashiq, Ismail, Salavuddin, Sadiq, Ali, Shahul Hameed, and Shamsuddin. In a video, Hashim is seen exhorting Muslims from Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Sri Lanka to wage jihad. Hashim and another Sri Lanka bomber,  Mohammad Azaan, had travelled to India in 2017 and 2018 to discuss the plans of IS.

By 2013, India knew that its `missing ‘citizens were fighting alongside IS in Syria. It remained unruffled even until 2014 when IS kidnapped 39 `traitor’ Indians in Iraq and executed them. India’s RAW remained listless to an IS map of the Khorasan Caliphate showing engulfing some Indian. BBC reporter Andrew Hosken, who included the map in his 2015 book ‘Empire of Fear: Inside the Islamic State’ said IS wants “to take over all of what they see as the Islamic world”. India arrested about a hundred IS suspects while they returned to India after fall of IS’s last stronghold Baghouz in Iraq.

Why and how Indian Muslims are being radicalized: India is a fertile ground for ISIS cultivators because of Muslims’ persecution. Indian Muslims have less than two per cent parliamentary representation though they are about 14 per cent of Indian population.

The Muslim in India are about 172 million (14.2%), second largest religious community, according to 2011 census. The Muslim is a feeble voice within the parliament and without. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP gave less than two per cent of its tickets to Muslim candidates. Still, none of them were elected. Still Rashtraya Swayemsevak Sangh claims that Muslims in India are

The 2014 Lok Sabha had the lowest share of Muslim MPs in India. So it was despite increase in share of Muslim population in India from 13.4% to 14.2% between 2001 and 2011.

Names of about one-fourth of the eligible Muslim voters were deleted from voters’ list with impunity.   In Karnataka, alone the names of 6.6 million people were missing from the electoral list. Later, about 1.2 million were re-enlisted.

The Muslim population increased. Yet, the number of Muslim voters declined over the years. Obviously, the undercounting and deletion from voters’ list was actuated by planned discrimination, political exclusion, and total elimination. A caricature of Article 326 of India’s Constitution?

Muslims experience low literacy and high poverty rates, and Hindu-Muslim violence has claimed a disproportionate number of Muslim lives. The Muslim literacy rate ranks well below the national average and Muslim poverty rates are only slightly higher than low-caste Hindus, according to a November 2006 government report. Muslims make up 13.4 percent of India’s population, but hold less than 5 per cent of government posts and make up only four per cent of the undergraduate student body in India’s elite universities.

Practically, Muslims, under Hindu influence, are divided into three groups of Indian Muslims—ashraf, ajlaf, and arzal. The ashrafs are upper-class Muslims of Arab ancestry. Ajlafs are Hindus who converted to Islam to escape persecution, and arzals, correlate to the lowest caste of Hindus (harigans). The November 2006 Sachar Report made recommendations to ameliorate the lot of the Indian Muslim. University of Chicago Professor Steven Wilkinson says, “The conclusions aren’t very revolutionary and I wouldn’t expect much in the way of policy change from it.” The professor of political science whose research focuses on ethnic politics in India. Wilkinson says the report fails to offer clear analysis about the nature of Muslim marginalization, and leaves in question whether solutions should focus on Muslims or general public poverty alleviation.

Hard-line Hindu nationalists argue Indian Muslims (as well as Christians) converted from Hinduism and should reconvert to the majority religion. Ruling BJP seeks to win votes proposing to build a temple on the site of a former mosque in Ayodhya, a city in India’s most populous and politically important state of Uttar Pradesh. Temples in IHK are being renovated with little attention to mosques. It is eerie that RSS chief claims `Muslims in India Happiest in the World Courtesy Hindu Culture’. 

Motivational training complement with India-made explosives: The IS India not only imparts motivational training to volunteers but also equips them with necessary kit to do explosions. Besides imparting ideological training, IS in India equips fresh recruits with improvised-explosive devices. Unreliability of dry-buttery cells in improvised explosive devices (IEDs) forced the IS to opt for solar cells.  The study, conducted by Conflict Armament Research (Europe) has confirmed that Indian solar-cell and detonator-producing industries are a big exporter to the IS importers abroad. To bypass customs surveillance, Indian companies export the hardware through intermediaries. The study revealed,  `Seven Indian companies figure in a list of 51 commercial entities from 20 countries theater involved in the supply chain of over 700 components used by the Islamic State to construct IEDs. The Indian firms meet bulk of IS’s demand for detonators, detonating cords,  safety fuses, cables, wires, and other electronic components, India’s trade laws allow export of such components. The companies include Solar Industries, Economic Explosives, Premier Explosives, Ideal Explosives, and Chamundi. Indian products came to light when seized during battles in the Iraqi towns of al Rabia, Kirkuk, Mosul, and Tikrit and the Syrian town of Kobani.

While being preoccupied with Masood obsession, India ignored lurking presence of IM-IS-HT affiliates in its several states. Let India to stop politicising Masood Azhar and focus on emerging threat. India needs to revamp its attitude to the menace before it is too late.

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Terrorism

Who are the Real Terrorists in North East Syria?

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D

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Earlier this week President Trump abruptly changed course and green-lighted a Turkish incursion into north east Syria with disastrous results. The subsequent invasion has unleashed a hellish nightmare of carnage and chaos in what was a dangerous, but relatively peaceful, area governed by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who had just defeated ISIS territorially.

In recent days, over 30 civilians—including Kurds, Christians and minorities, and very young children—have been killed in indiscriminate Turkish bombings and mortar fire. Likewise, the UN reports that over 130,000 Syrians have suddenly become displaced, fleeing Turkish violence. In addition to these massive displacements, Turkey insists that it will forcibly repatriate 1 to 2 million of the 3 million Syrian refugees it is currently housing back into the SDF-held areas it is now overtaking. That 83% of these Arabs never lived in the areas they are to be forcibly resettled in, begs the question of whose homes and lands will they be overtaking? 

Turkey claims to be fighting a terrorist group and wanting to clean their border area of terrorists, but the pictures coming out of northeast Syria instead make Turkey look like the terrorist aggressor. Countless photos and videos, many of them validated, circulate of Syrian civilians lying bloodied and dead on the ground while their family members wail unconsolably. Hevrin Khalaf, a female, and the Secretary-General of the pro-Kurdish Future Syria Party, is reported to have been dragged from her car and assassinated by Turkish-hired thugs who said while filming her corpse, “this is the corpse of pigs.” Likewise, video footage of bearded mercenary soldiers backed by the Turks, shooting their Kurdish captives while calling them “kufar scum” (unbelievers) are said by U.S. forces to appear authentic. If so, these actions are war crimes.

These bearded assassins, backed by Turkey are likely the same unemployed ISIS, al Nusra, and other former jihadists still happy to kill in the name of Allah, who Turkey used to clear Afrin in 2018. Indeed, they have shown a brutality akin to their mother groups, some even shouting ISIS slogans as they kill, such as “Baqiya wa tatamadad!” meaning we (ISIS) will remain forever, and expand. 

That Turkey would use former ISIS cadres to fight the Kurds is no surprise, given they worked closely with ISIS to try to quell the Kurds early on in the Syrian conflicts and continue to see their interests in destroying Kurdish power to lie with militant jihadist and Islamist groups. An ISIS emir that ICSVE interviewed in 2019 went into great detail about his work on behalf of ISIS, about how he negotiated with the Turkish MIT and military regarding border entry for the 40,000+ foreign fighters that streamed across Turkey into ISIS-controlled areas of Syria, agreements for sending wounded ISIS fighters back into Turkey for medical treatment, supplying water for the Tabqa dam to provide electrical power for ISIS, and so on. According to this emir, even then, Turkey was insisting on a buffer security zone. Now it appears they will go to any lengths to get it.

Meanwhile, General Mazloum Kobani Abdi told U.S. Ambassador William Roebuck, the U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS “You have given up on us. You are leaving us to be slaughtered.” He also asked in confused despair how the U.S. could also insist that the Kurds not turn to others, like the Russians for support, effectively boxing them in for slaughter.

When ISIS foolishly attacked Kobani in 2014, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) rose up and fought valiantly and since 2015, they fought with U.S. military backing, to defeat ISIS.  They have been our “boots on the ground”, sustaining most of the casualties and doing all the heavy lifting in defeating a global foe. While U.S. forces lost less than 20 troops after they aligned with the Kurds to fight ISIS in Syria, our hardy allies lost 11,000 male and female brave fighters who faced down this global foe.

Indeed, while ISIS was an active force on the ground in Syria, it external emni (intelligence arm), threatened the globe, mounting and inciting attacks in many major cities from New York, to Brussels (where two Americans were killed), to Paris, Nice, Stockholm, London and Istanbul to name but a few.

In serving as our “boots on the ground” forces for the territorial defeat of ISIS, and continuing to battle the remnants of ISIS, the Kurds saved, and continue to save, countless Americans and Westerners from being slaughtered by a heinous force willing to attack, anywhere, at any time.  

Yet their current aggressor, Turkey, calls these Kurds terrorists. That picking up arms against ISIS gave them the sudden opportunity to rule a considerable swathe of Syrian land that they had liberated from ISIS is no one’s fault, except those who supported ISIS in the first place—Turkish government officials among them. No doubt, the Kurds once in power, made some mistakes, but it is notable how quickly they moved to incorporating minorities into their ranks and transitioning to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who have had a good record of building a grassroots democracy amidst the ashes of war. That their majority Kurdish leadership may have long-term aspirations to one day become a fully independent Kurdish state should be no surprise, but that they were acquiescing to all U.S. demands upon them to remain within Syria and negotiate some kind of governance agreement with Assad also needs to be noted. The trouble in that regard, is Assad wants to appoint top-down leaders in the area and thereby destroy the grass-roots nature of the Kurdish democracy building. From a position of strength and good governance, with U.S. backing behind them, the SDF had a chance of becoming a real island of democracy, perhaps even one day spreading such, within the Syrian state.

In the meantime, with ISIS defeated territorially, ISIS is still far from total defeat. In recent months ISIS has been attacking on a weekly basis in both Syria and Iraq, and the SDF were busy rounding up ISIS sleeper cells while also holding more than 70,000 ISIS prisoners and their family members, thousands of which are from European and Western countries who have refused to repatriate and bring them home to justice.

Now, amidst the chaos unleashed by Turkey, up to 800 ISIS cadres have escaped when their prison was shelled, with hundreds more ISIS women and children escaping from their bombed and burning camps. Where they will run to amidst the chaos is uncertain, but Turkey and beyond, is certainly a possibility given that when cornered in Hajin, and later Baghouz, SDF leaders told ICSVE that ISIS leaders were asking to be bussed out of Syria into Turkey—presumably believing they would be welcomed into a country that had helped them in the past. 

500 of the worse ISIS cadres are said to have been transferred by U.S. forces from Syria, into Iraq, and possibly more will befall the same fate. For those of us who still believe in human rights and rule of law, even when applied to ISIS cadres, it’s unfortunate that in Iraq these prisoners—many of them Westerners—can expect forced confessions, hurried court proceedings and almost certainly sentence of life imprisonment, or death, based on very little, if any, evidence presented against them. Whereas, in our ISIS interviews conducted in SDF territory, with 100 of the ISIS foreign terrorist fighters, the prisoners stated that they were not being subjected to torture and were fairly treated by the SDF. Likewise, the SDF was working patiently, including in efforts with ICSVE, to gather testimonies and data to prod Western countries into action that have been reluctant to take their ISIS citizens home for prosecution.

While the SDF could only do its important work with U.S. support, this support was not costing us much. Few troops were deployed on the ground and our air support was operating out of Iraq, where it is likely the U.S. forces will stay for some time. That we should not involve ourselves in endless wars or that the troops need to come home is something most agree with, but how and when is also of great importance.

Any U.S. withdrawal of support for the SDF should only occur because they are no longer serving our interests and must take place in a planful and secure manner without allowing for an all-out slaughter of civilians or of the allied forces who, by fighting ISIS, saved Americans countless lives.

Given that the Kurds sacrificed greatly to defeat ISIS territorially on the ground, and when in power, began at once to build one of the only democracies in the middle east that is respecting minority rights and following Western rule of law, while being surrounded by dictatorial and corrupt regimes, it seems we should have continued to give them our full support. Instead Trump has unleashed Turkish forces on a group that Turkey universally treats as terrorists and is willing to violently displace and kill. This sudden betrayal of our loyal allies is a matter that needs to be quickly resolved in Washington, D.C. 

Our American ideals, and our reputation as stalwart and reliable allies, are at stake right now, and this disastrous decision needs to be reversed immediately.  

From our partner ICSVE Brief Reports.

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