Saturday, December 26, 2015

Methodical, factual, data-led analysis of Muslim opinions and demographics - Raheel Raza

by Raheel Raza

A clear-eyed and factual analysis of the range of Muslim world views - it's not pretty but facts must be faced. 

Raheel Raza


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Goodbye, Sweden: including a "Eulogy" by Pat Condell - Thomas Lifson

by Thomas Lifson

A farewell from the most outspoken and eloquent commentator in the English-speaking world.

Pat Condell is the most outspoken and eloquent commentator in the English-speaking world.  (Hello, Dr. Krauthammer: maybe it’s time to take a vacation from the Beltway and realize what’s really going on and why the elites of the world in their bubble are so out of touch.)  Perhaps he is too outspoken for Fox News Channel, but that is their loss.  The rest of us can watch him on our computers and handheld devices and avoid those endlessly rising costs of cable TV subscriptions.

I must confess: my heart breaks for Sweden.  Like anyone born and raised in Minnesota, I feel a certain closeness to that country and feel a familiarity that transcends my visit to it long ago.  Despite their embrace of political correctness, the Swedes are at heart very decent, humane people, their main faults being a desire to please others in their community (which leads to silencing dissent and conformity) and self-righteous hypocrisy.  But these are minor blemishes considering the personal decency most people center their lives on.

Taking advantage of Sweden’s generosity, Muslim immigrants have been arriving in large numbers and, in recent months, catastrophically overwhelming the country’s budget and facilities to house and feed them.

The few minutes you spend watching Condell’s commentary will reward you:

Hat tip: Clarice Feldman

Thomas Lifson


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Jihad: "All the Fault of the West!" - Lars Hedegaard

by Lars Hedegaard

  • As long as we in the West are not prepared to take Muslims at their word when they claim to be waging bloody jihad because it is their religious obligation, we have no chance of repelling the current onslaught on the West.
  • First to go will be the welfare states. Shrinking native populations cannot generate enough taxes to accommodate masses of immigrants with so few skills as to be effectively unemployable, or who do not want to contribute to "infidel" societies. Well before mid-century, the number of Muslims in Denmark will be large enough irreversibly to have changed the composition and character of the country.
  • In the United States, a House of Representatives bill, H. Res. 569, has been sponsored that would censor one of the few countries left with freedom of speech. The bill, in accordance with the 10-year plan of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), would criminalize all criticism of Islam, worldwide.
  • Will Muslim non-integration spell the end of the secular state as we have known it? Probably. Religion – or more accurately, Islamic ideology, which knows no distinction between religion and politics – is on the ascendant.
It was not supposed to have happened this way. In 1995 a number of EU member states signed the Schengen Agreement, integrated into European Union law in 1999. The signatory powers promised to abandon their internal border protection in exchange for a promise by the EU authorities that they would police Europe's external borders. Then the EU authorities, while demanding that the Schengen states keep their borders open, spectacularly failed to honor their part of the agreement. There can be little doubt that the EU packed up, walked out and left its populations to their own devices.

Sadly, their policies have achieved the exact opposite of what they claimed to strive for. Instead of tolerance, we have witnessed division and irreconcilable enmity between cultures and ethnicities that often have nothing in common except a desire to squeeze as much out of the public coffers as they can. Instead of "inclusion," Europeans have seen exclusion, low-intensity warfare, terror, no-go zones, rape epidemics, murder and mayhem.

Governments, parliamentary majorities and the stars of academia, the media and the commanding heights of culture cannot have failed to notice that their grand multicultural, Islamophile game did not produce the results they had promised their unsuspecting publics. Yet to this day, most of them persist in claiming that unfettered immigration from the Muslim world and Africa is an indisputable boon to Europe.

Recently, in the wake of the so-called "refugee crisis," some of these notables have thrown out the script and are expressing concern that immigration is out of control. European governments are still allowing millions of so-called refugees to cross all borders and settle anyplace. According to the EU agency Frontex, charged with protecting Europe's external borders, more than a million and a half illegals crossed Europe's frontiers between January and November 2015.

Thousands of migrants cross illegally into Slovenia on foot, in this screenshot from YouTube video filmed in October 2015.

Right now there is an ever-widening gap between the people and their rulers. In a conference recently organized by the Danish Free Press Society to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the famous Muhammed cartoons, the British political analyst, Douglas Murray, noted that the European populations are reacting to decades of lies and deception by voting for political parties which, just a few years ago, were vilified as "racist" and "fascist." Marine Le Pen, of the National Front party, has emerged as a strong candidate in France's 2017 presidential election.

Perhaps the most momentous political earthquake in Europe was the recent 180-degree about-face by the Danish Social Democratic Party. Only a few years ago, it was a staunch proponent of Muslim immigration, and hammered away at anyone daring to deny the "cultural enrichment" brought about by the spread of Islam.

The leader of Denmark's Social Democratic parliamentary group, Henrik Sass Larsen MP, on December 18 wrote:
"The massive migration and stream of refugees now coming to Europe and Denmark are of a magnitude that challenges the fundamental premises of our society in the near future... According to our analysis, the stark economic consequences of the current number of refugees and immigrants will consume all room for maneuver in public finance within a few years. Non-Western immigrants have historically been difficult to integrate into the labor market; the same applies to the Syrians that are now arriving. The more, the harder, the more expensive... Finally, it is our analysis that given our previous experience with integrating non-Western people into our society, we are facing a social catastrophe when it comes to handling many tens of thousands that are soon to be channeled into society. Every bit of progress in terms of integration will be put back to zero. ... Therefore our conclusion is clear: We will do all we can to limit the number of non-Western refugees and immigrants coming to the country. That is why we have gone far -- and much farther than we had dreamed of going... We are doing this because we will not sacrifice our welfare society in the name of humanitarianism. For the welfare society ... is the political project of the Social Democratic Party. It is a society built on the principles of liberty, equality and solidarity. Mass immigration -- as we have seen in, for example, Sweden -- will undermine ... our welfare society."
Clearly, the Danish Social Democratic Party -- the architect of Denmark as we have known it -- has understood that there is political capital to be defended. It seems finally to have realized that it cannot persist in whittling away its accomplishments if it wants to keep its dwindling share of the votes.

One may speculate that if the Social Democratic Party means what it says, it might have an impact among Social Democratic and Socialist parties in other European countries.

However, as Douglas Murray also pointed out, Westerners suffer from the notion that regardless of how many jihadis, murderers and terrorists claim that their actions are motivated by their love of Allah, they cannot possibly mean it. There must be some other underlying "root cause" that the men of violence are not aware of, but which well-meaning Westerners are keen to tell them about: old Western imperialism, centuries of humiliation, racism, Israel, the Crusades, poverty, exclusion, the Muhammad cartoons, etc. And, of course, that it is all the fault of the West!

As long as we in the West are not prepared to take Muslims at their word when they claim to be waging bloody jihad because it is their religious obligation, we have no chance of repelling the current onslaught on the West. The latest sighting of this shift was just this week, in the form of a U.S. House of Representatives bill, H. Res. 569, to censor one of the few countries left with free speech. The bill, in accordance with the 10-year plan of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to implement UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18, would criminalize, worldwide, all criticism of Islam. [1]

As long as the authorities are unwilling to protect their own populations from being overrun by foreigners, many of whom seem prepared to do them harm, we are likely to see the natives take protection into their own hands. On December 16, for instance, there was a violent protest in the small Dutch city of Geldermalsen, as the local authorities were trying to set up an asylum center behind the backs of the local population. No doubt the authorities were taken aback by the activism.

Western societies are based on an implied contract between the sovereign and the people: The sovereign -- the king, the president, the government -- promises to uphold law and order, protect his people from violence and foreign encroachment and apprehend and punish criminals. In exchange, the citizens promise not to take the law into their own hands. It follows that if the state fails to uphold its part of this social bargain, then the right -- indeed the obligation -- to protect oneself, one's family, neighbors and the community, returns to the citizens.

There was also the recent spate of asylum-house burnings in Sweden. According to the Danish-Swedish website, Snaphanen, there have been 40 occasions during the past six months in which buildings intended to house asylum seekers have mysteriously burned to the ground -- without anyone being hurt or killed. None of the perpetrators has been caught; no one has claimed responsibility. It all appears organized quite well.

Will citizen activism save Europe? Probably not. Vast areas are too far gone to be saved. Sweden is a broken country, as pointed out by Ingrid Carlqvist in several articles at Gatestone. By 2020, Germany may have 20 million Muslim residents.

We are probably beyond the point where effective change can be obtained by politics in the old sense, for the simple reason that central authorities are not strong enough to make their writ run throughout their national territories. This will spell the end of Europe as we know it, and people who cannot leave, or who choose to stand and fight, will be left to their own devices -- and quite possibly entirely new modes of social organization.

First to go will be the welfare states. Shrinking native populations cannot generate enough taxes to accommodate masses of immigrants with so few skills as to be effectively unemployable, or who do not want to contribute to "infidel" societies.

What might post-European Europe look like? Think of Northern Ireland in the time of the Troubles or of ex-Yugoslavia during the civil wars of the 1990s.

When states break down, people's first concern will be security. Who can and will protect my family and me?

For a long time in Europe there has been talk of "parallel societies" -- in which the state ceases to function as a unitary polity -- due to the cultural, religious and politico-judicial separation of non-Muslims and Muslims into incompatible and antagonistic enclaves.

There appears to be a growing realization among Danish demographers that third-world immigrants and their descendants, with or without citizenship, will constitute the majority of the Danish population before the end of the century.[2] A sizable segment of this third-world population will be Muslim, and well before the middle of the century, the number of Muslims will be large enough irreversibly to have changed the composition and character of the country.

Will Muslim non-integration spell the end of the secular state as we have known it? Probably. Religion -- or more accurately, Islamic ideology -- which knows no distinction between religion and politics, is on the ascendant as the constitutive principle among Danish Muslims. As Muslim institutions grow stronger, the Islamic court is bound to become even more powerful as the organizing principle of the Muslim parallel societies.

How will the old Danish, and nominally Christian, population react to this metamorphosis? To a large extent, that will depend on what organizing principle will determine the character of the Danish parallel society. Two possibilities stand out: "Danishness" and "Christianity." "Danishness" would probably entail a society founded on a nationalistic or ethnic myth, whereas "Christianity" might be more ethnically inclusive and stress society's Judeo-Christian and humanistic roots.

In either event, it is difficult to see how the secular state could survive, because the parallel societies will not be free to define themselves or determine their political systems or modes of governance. They will constantly be forced to maneuver in response to "the other's" long-term objectives and immediate actions -- as has been seen, for example, in Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Northern Ireland and the Basque provinces.

Under these conditions, the modern system of sovereign territorial states is likely to break down. We can only guess at what will replace it.
Lars Hedegaard, a Danish historian, journalist and author, established the Danish Free Speech Society in 2004.

[1] In accordance with the 10-year plan of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to implement U.N. Resolution 16/18 and criminalize all criticism of Islam worldwide, a group in the U.S. House of Representatives has sponsored H. Res. 569, in condemnation of violence, bigotry and "hateful rhetoric" toward Muslims in the U.S. This bill comes on the heels of Attorney General Loretta Lynch's post-San Bernardino attack statement to the Muslim American community that she will prosecute anyone guilty of anti-Muslim speech. Passage of this legislation will be the death knell for the First Amendment and the end of any and all discourse and education about the threat posed by the global jihad.
[2] See, for example, the calculations of the Copenhagen University demographer Hans Oluf Hansen, Berlingske Tidende, August 21, 2005.

Lars Hedegaard, a Danish historian, journalist and author, established the Danish Free Speech Society in 2004.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

A Christmas on the Cross - Robert Spencer

by Robert Spencer

You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal.

Amel Shimoun Nona saw all this coming, and now it is upon us.

Amel Shimoun Nona is the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Mosul. When the Islamic State captured northern Iraq, it drove 30,000 Christians from the Nineveh plain where they had lived since not long after the time of Christ. In August 2014, Nona predicted that the same thing would happen to Christians in the West: “Our sufferings today,” he said, “are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future.” And now, as the few remaining Christians in the Middle East prepare to celebrate Christmas and hope that Muslims won’t murder them for doing so, that future is now.

Nona continued: “I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead.” He explained that the West was making a grave error by assuming that Islam was a religion of peace that taught the equal dignity of all human beings:

Please, try to understand us. Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal, but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.

You will become victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home. Let’s see. In applying for a visa to enter the United States, Tashfeen Malik passed background checks from no fewer than five different U.S. government agencies. Her visa application was rushed through despite not having required documentation. Apparently U.S. officials looked upon her as the very definition of the “vetted moderate” whom Barack Obama wants so desperately not only to aid in Syria, but to bring to the United States in large numbers.

Tashfeen Malik would no doubt still be thought of as a valued and vetted moderate had she not helped her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, murder fourteen non-Muslims in the cause of Islam and jihad at a Christmas party in San Bernardino, California on December 2. You will become victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.

Several weeks before Tashfeen Malik revealed the value of Obama’s vetting process, Muslims murdered 130 people in Paris in the cause of Islam and jihad. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls revealed that some of the attackers had just come to Europe as refugees: “These individuals took advantage of the refugee crisis…of the chaos, perhaps, for some of them to slip in.” Of “the chaos, perhaps”? Perhaps. But that chaos was of European leaders’ own making, as they welcomed into Europe hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees with no provision whatsoever for the possibility that there might be Islamic jihadis among them – even as Saudi Arabia had refused to take any of the refugees because of that very possibility. You will become victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home.

In the face of this, Barack Obama has excoriated those who would restrict the entry of Muslim migrants as religious bigots. Donald Trump has been reviled as a new Hitler for daring to suggest that there should be a temporary moratorium on Muslim immigration until adequate vetting procedures can be devised. Even conservative commentators have in response called for a ban on “Islamists,” rather than Muslims, blithely ignoring the salient fact that there is no reliable way to distinguish the one from the other.

And so as Christmas 2015 comes and goes, and 2016 dawns, nothing is much more certain – given the wholesale self-imposed blindness and willful ignorance of our leaders and opinion-makers on both the Left and Right – than that we will become victims of the enemy we have welcomed in our home. To see exactly what form will that take in the coming years and decades, we need only look around the world during this Christmas season: Somalia, Brunei, and Tajikistan have banned Christmas celebrations as “un-Islamic,” and Indonesia plans to deploy 150,000 security personnel to make sure that Islamic jihadists don’t target Christians in jihad mass murder plots as they celebrate Christmas. We don’t hear very much about Christmas in Iraq this year: there are hardly any Christians left there to celebrate it.

But surely none of that can happen here, right? Someone will stop it. Someone will do something. Christmas celebrations banned in the U.S. to avoid offending Muslim sensibilities? Inconceivable! Christmas celebrations threatened with Muslim violence, not because they drew Muhammad or otherwise offended Muslim sensibilities, but simply for the fact of being Christian celebrations? It could never happen here! Christians driven out, or forcibly converted to Islam, or killed? That sort of thing only happens over there. Not in America. The refugees (refugees like the Paris jihadis), they will all be vetted moderates (just like Tashfeen Malik). Anyone who thinks anything could go wrong is a racist, bigoted Islamophobe.

Of course. Someone will do something, right? Someone, somewhere, sometime, will have the courage to brave the smears of “racism” and “bigotry” and “Islamophobia” that are certain to come his or her way, and put a stop to all of this before it gets of hand, right? Of course someone will. America is forever. America can’t be destroyed. You will become victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home? Nonsense. Don’t be racist. Don’t be xenophobic. Everything is going to be all right. Let’s just eradicate all this right-wing extremism, and everything will be fine, and we will all march together into a bright, beautiful multicultural future. Just like in Mosul. Just like in Somalia, and Tajikistan, and Brunei.

Robert Spencer


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

A closer look at Samir Kuntar and his role in the complex Lebanese-Syrian scene - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

by Dr. Mordechai Kedar

An explanation of the bestial Lebanese terrorist's death that is totally different from that heard in all the media.

About a week ago, Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese Druze who carried out a murderous terror attack in Israel in 1979 and was in an Israeli prison until released in an Israel-Hezbollah prisoner exchange in 2008, was eliminated. He had been "adopted" by the Shiite Hezbollah terror organization and when released, promised to return to Palestine to free her from the Zionist "occupation." In order to attempt to fulfill this promise, he joined the ranks of Hezbollah fighters.

When Hezbollah began its active involvement in Syria in response to the rebellion against Assad that started in 2011, Kuntar was sent to Syria to help Assad hold on to his throne.Kuntar was stationed on the southern front because of his Druze origins, as the southeast slopes of the Hermon mountain range are a Druze enclave. There he served as the communications link between local Druze and Hezbollah, who promised to protect the Druze from the Jihadist knives of Jabhat al Nusra and Islamic State.

Kuntar made a habit of stressing his obligation to fight against Israel and headed a local Druze organization that carried out several terror attacks on the border near Magd al Shams during 2014-15. He worked hand in glove with Hezbollah and the representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to found the Hezbollah infrastructure in southern Syria, and these activities, more than anything else, can help reveal the truth about what is going on in that war torn country.

Syria today is a country that once was and is no more. It has passed into the history books, like the USSR, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia. Syria will never return to what it was before March 2011, and anyone who is involved in the Syrian catastrophe knows this well. All the words about achieving peace in the country are a waste of time, and all the international conferences that try to bring the fighting to an end and leave Syria a united country are just photo-ops that give politicians a chance to pose for the camera.

The warring sides in Syria care only about themselves and the territory they will be able to control once  Syria's official demise is declared.

Hezbollah is fighting in order to gain control over the areas populated by Shiites and plans to annex them to Lebanon, thereby increasing the number of Shiites in that country as well as the territory under the terrorist group's control. This explains its efforts to take over the Druze enclaves south of the Hermon mountains and prevent the Druze declaring autonomy and joining up with the Lebanese Druze community. 

The Druze in southern Syria are quite happy to accept Hezbollah protection from Jihadist knives, but do not see themselves as part of a Shiite region. In their way of looking at it, if they are going to become part of Lebanon, they prefer the Druze connection – and this is where Kuntar came in. He was supposed to advance the presence of Hezbollah in southern Syria and ensure Druze loyalty to the Shiite Hezbollah, but unfortunately, for the past year he had begun evincing signs of rapprochement with his Druze origins. Nasrallah suspected that Kuntar was going to cross over to the other side, turn traitor to the Hezbollah that brought about his release from Israel's prisons and help his Druze brothers establish a Druze entity in southern Syria that would not be loyal to Shiite Hezbollah.

In today's Syria and Lebanon, it is enough to suspect someone in order to bring about his elimination, and that is, in all probability, what happened to Kuntar. The media have all decided that he was killed by Israel, but Israel has not admitted responsibility for the operation. Without doubt, there is much satisfaction in Israel at Kuntar's leaving this world, but that does not necessarily mean that it is Israel that brought it about. The scenario described above leads to the conclusion that Hezbollah was behind the operation, this in order to stop Kuntar's efforts to strengthen the Druze.

Hezbollah, of course, will not admit this openly, but there was a hint in  the eulogy Nazrallah [sic] gave after the funeral. Nasrallah said that Kuntar was "the chief Lebanese prisoner in the Israeli enemy's prisons, oppositionaire, Jihad fighter and commander of Islamic opposition, Shaheed brother Samir el Kuntar." Continuing, Nasrallah called him "brother Samir," claiming that he was under constant threat from Israel after his release.

Calling a Druze by the term "shaheed" is artificial, as, in contrast to Islam, there is no such concept in Druze theology. It seems that the Nasrallah's public embrace of Kuntar is a coverup meant to hide the truth about who really eliminated Kuntar and why. Giving Israel the responsibility for the operation releases Hezbollah from that responsibility, while at the same time giving the organization an excuse to hit Israel. The three rockets launched at Nahariya were the immediate result and the IDF reacted with an artillery barrage. A Palestinian organization launched the rockets, but Nasrallah could easily have given them the command to do so. Hezbollah can chalk this up as a job well done: it reacted to Kuntar's murder but did not give Israel a reason to attack it. Why else would it allow Palestinian organizations to exist in Lebanon at all?

The real revenge on Israel will come later, as Nasrallah pledged, at the time and place that Hezbollah decides are appropriate. This same threatening expression was used after Imad Mugniyah's elimination in Damascus in 2008.

However, the war in Syria is not just a battle between Hezbollah and the Druze, a conflict in which Kuntar was a victim; it involves other factors. The Russians are establishing an Alawite Emitrate [sic] on the Syrian coast with ports that will enable the Russian navy to dock and re-equip its vessels, the Kurds are establishing a Kurdish Emirate in the northeast part of the country, despite Turkey's furor, and Islamic State thrives in the eastern part of the country as well as in various areas between the Golan in the south to Aleppo in the north where Sunni emirates will be controlled by the anti-Assad forces.

Israel, too, is interested in the area situated opposite the Golan. First and foremost, it does not want it taken over by an entity loyal to Hezbollah and Iran. Hezbollah on the Lebanese border is quite enough and further proximity with Iran will justify, from the Iranian point of view, the flow of armed forces and weapons from Iran to the Israeli border. Israel is certainly opposed to this possibility, but at the same time, is unequivocally opposed to an Islamic Jihadist state on its borders.

Syria's future, it seems, will be an area controlled by various emirates, all of them in the hands of violent organizations.  Those who will suffer are the residents of what was once Syria, who have died by the hundreds of thousands so far, with over 10 million of them refugees in Syria itself and beyond its borders. The UN declared the humanitarian situation in Syria the worst since the Second World War.

And the world watches and doesn't lift a finger. Europe and the United States have granted Russia free reign in Syria and it doesn't seem reasonable to expect  Russia to fight Islamic State with determination, for fear of repeating  its Afghanistan debacle. The world can therefore expect eastern Syria to continue to be the source of a massive headache. "Exporting the revolution" is not only Shiite Iran's motto today, it is a goal of the Sunni Islamic State.

Where did it start? The "original sin" was France's creation of a non-legitimate state it called Syria, one made up of groups that have no cohesive factors to unite them.  The punishment for that sin is the terror exported by Islamic State from Syria to the world, and especially to Europe.

The terror attacks of the last few months in France are the Islamic extremists' revenge on that country. It is almost as if they are proclaiming: You, the French, created an anti-Islamic state in our territory, and we will establish an Islamic state in yours.

Written for Arutz Sheva, translated from Hebrew by Arutz Sheva Op-ed and Judaism editor, Rochel Sylvetsky.

Dr. Mordechai Kedar


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Iran Moves its Troops into Iraq and Away from Syria - Manaf Al-Obaidi

by Manaf Al-Obaidi

Ramadi witnesses fierce clashes: American Special Forces participation ends the RSII coalition


Well informed political sources revealed that Iran withdrew Revolutionary Guard units in Syria, moving them to Iraq after Russian- Iranian dispute escalated in Syria.

An Iraqi political source, who requested anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat that Russia wants the Syrian battlefield exclusively to itself, and that Iran coincidently feels it is being forced to retract from Syrian grounds.

The source later concluded, “Iran is throwing its forces’ weight onto Iraqi ground, by shifting large numbers of its Guard troops here (Iraq)”.

“After Hezbollah’s commander Samir Kuntar was killed by an Israeli airstrike in Damascus, several facts surrounding the Russian-Iranian relationship were exposed. It is evident that Russia is more concerned with Israel’s interests over those of Iran or Syria, which directly affects the Russia–Syria–Iran–Iraq coalition (RSII coalition),” the source added.

He also added that Prime Minister Abadi approving the entry of American Special Forces into Iraq to support the operation to free Ramadi – shunning the Popular Mobilization Forces and other armed factions, especially those affiliated with Iran, can be interpreted as the end of the RSII coalition.

Meanwhile in Ramadi, Iraqi forces on Thursday were approximately 500 meters away from the government complex.

Operation commander in Anbar province Major General Ismail al-Mahalawi told Asharq Al-Awsat “Explosives spread around the Hoz and al-Thuba’t neighborhoods slowed down the movement of the security forces toward the government complex in the city’s center. Our armed divisions lead by counterterrorism panel forces are now advancing slowly and cautiously, after ISIS militants planted explosives abundantly within the area surrounding the city’s center.”

Manaf Al-Obaidi


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Assad again controls Damascus thanks to Russian air strikes and intelligence - DebkaFile

by DebkaFile

In contrast to President Barack Obama, who sought to keep his hand on the conflict by a complicated system of dribbling arms to select Syrian rebel groups, Putin went all out with massive military and strategic backing to assure the Syrian ruler and his Iranian ally of victory.


The Russian air strike that Friday, Dec. 25, killed Zahran Aloush, founder of the most powerful Syrian rebel group Jaysh al-Islam and his deputy, gave President Bashar Assad a big break in the Syrian war, thanks to his powerful backer, Vladimir Putin.

This grave loss will accelerate the breakup of Syrian rebel strongholds in and around Damascus. It will also hasten the evacuation under a UN-sponsored ceasefire of at least 2,000 rebels from the Damascus region. Less noticed, was the UN plan to remove at the same time several thousands ISIS fighters from the Syrian capital and transport them to their Syrian headquarters. The latter project has not been trumpeted for good reason: It implies UN recognition of ISIS as a party in the Syria war.

For nearly five years, the war seesawed back and forth, with neither the Syrian army nor the insurgents gaining the upper hand for long, even after Tehran threw its Lebanese proxy, Hizballah,  into the fray to bolster Assad’s army.

Interventions by the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Jordan and Israel were too trifling and hesitant to tilt the balance in favor of the anti-Assad insurgent militias. Weapons supplies were inferior and tardy and kept the rebels heavily outgunned by the Syrian army’s tanks, helicopters and fighter jets, and helpless against the Iranian-made barrel bombs dropped by the Syrian air force.

The Obama administration was the architect of this uneven support strategy, going so far as to constrain the rebels’ other foreign backers against giving them the resources for carrying the day, aside from local victories.

This strategy had the effect of prolonging the vicious conflict – until it was cut short by two events:

1. In the summer of 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant arrived in full force to capture the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, scattering seven Iraqi armed divisions to the four winds, and grabbing  their sophisticated American weapons, along with their arsenals, that were crammed with good American tanks, armored personnel carriers, and an assortment of surface, antitank and antiair missiles.

Part of this booty was diverted to ISIS Syrian headquarters in Raqqa.

2.  A year later, in late September 2015, President Vladimir Putin embarked on a massive buildup of Russian military strength in Syria - notably, his air and missile forces - for direct intervention in the war.

In contrast to President Barack Obama, who sought to keep his hand on the conflict by a complicated system of dribbling arms to select Syrian rebel groups, Putin went all out with massive military and strategic backing to assure the Syrian ruler and his Iranian ally of victory.

The Russian strategy is now becoming evident:  It is to drive the rebels out of the areas they have captured around the main cities of Latakia, Aleppo, Idlib, Homs, Hama and the capital, Damascus, giving them two options: join the opposition front around the table for negotiating an end to the war, or total eradication – even though Moscow and Washington have yet to agree which of the rebel militias belong around that table.

According to Moscow’s scale of priorities, the fight against the Islamic State must wait its turn until after Bashar Assad’s authority as president is fully restored and his country returns to his army’s control.

But on the way to this objective, Putin has run up against a major impediment: the failure of Iranian, Shiite militia, Hizballah and Syrian army ground forces keep up with his pace. The plan was for Russian air strikes and missiles to clear rebels out of one area after another and for pro-Assad ground troops to storm in and take over.

But these troops are proving too slow to press the advantage given them by the Russians.

Last week, the Russians decided to use their intelligence assets to speed things up. They borrowed an Israeli counter-terror tactic to start targeting key rebel chiefs for liquidation.

The death of the Jaysh al-Islamc commander as the result of a Russian airborne rocket strike on Friday was an intelligence feat rather than a military one. Just as Israel last Sunday used its clandestine assets in Damascus to precisely target the Hizballah-Iranian arch terrorist Samir Quntar at his home in the Jaramana district, so the Russians directed their agents on the ground to mark the secret meeting of Jaysh al-Islam commanders at Marj al-Sultan at the precise moment for taking them down.

This blow to the rebel movement, plus the mass-evacuation of its fighters from the Syrian capital, are major steps towards bringing the Syrian capital back under the control of the Syrian dictator.



Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Iran nuclear deal getting it from both sides - Rick Moran

by Rick Moran

Obama will do anything to save this deal, including conceding even more ground to the Iranians.

As "Implementation Day" for the Iran nuclear deal approaches, the U.S. Congress and Iran appear to be on a collision course that might yet delay or even scuttle the entire deal.

A bipartisan effort is underway in Congress to slap sanctions on Iran for conducting illegal missile tests in October.  And Iran is threatening to renege on the nuclear deal if U.S. restrictions on visas recently enacted by Congress aren't dropped.

Meanwhile, President Obama is resisting placing more sanctions on Iran for the missile tests and wants to grant exemptions to Iranians under the visa waiver program tightened by Congress.

The nuclear deal's skeptics are not backing down. Republican lawmakers, along with some Democrats, are expected to press legislative efforts to punish Iran for a range of alleged misbehavior, including its recent testing of ballistic missiles. Proposed legislation tackles everything from the finances of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to the right of U.S. states to level their own sanctions on Iran. Lawmakers also are likely to try to renew the Iran Sanctions Act, which expires at the end of 2016, early in the year.
Many of the proposals will likely go nowhere and some are symbolic at best. Still, even making some noise on Capitol Hill could send a strong signal to Iran that America is not its friend, no matter how wedded the Obama administration is to the nuclear deal. It also gives Republicans a chance to look strong and bash Obama during a presidential election year.
"One area that we all agree on is the need to be tough on any destabilizing or illegal action by Iran," Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who opposed the nuclear deal, said during a hearing Thursday. "Failure to impose any consequences on Iran for its violations of U.N. Security Council Resolutions and other destabilizing actions sets a dangerous precedent before implementation of the nuclear agreement, when sanctions are lifted and the leverage shifts to Iran."
Obama administration officials say they are keeping a close eye on all of Iran's activities in the region, including its role in the Syrian civil war. But the officials stress that the nuclear deal must be dealt with separately.
An October ballistic missile test by Iran, for example, violated a U.N. resolution, but not the terms of the nuclear deal, the officials say. The U.S. has pledged to respond to that missile test and a subsequent one reported in November. The nuclear deal's critics, however, are convinced that China and Russia will use their U.N. vetoes to prevent any meaningful punishment of Tehran. Even Obama's allies are worried: 21 Democratic senators wrote a letter to the president last week urging him not to back down on the missile dispute.
Other P5+1 nations are also interested in imposing sanctions on Iran for the missile test.  But any effort in the U.N. Security Council to do so is likely to be vetoed by the Russians or Chinese, or both. 

Of course, that doesn't stop Congress from imposing their own sanctions if enough Democrats will stand up to Obama.  That remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the president is looking for ways to appease Iran on the visa waiver program:
One issue that has angered Tehran is changes to the U.S. Visa Waiver Program passed into law this month. The changes eliminate the possibility of visa-free travel to the U.S. from citizens of 38 countries, many of them European, if they have visited Iraq, Iran, Syria or Sudan since March 2011; they also bar visa-free travel for citizens of those 38 countries if they happen to be dual nationals of Iraq, Iran, Syria or Sudan, a broad category that includes many people who may have never been to those four countries. The stated goal is to stop terrorists with Western passports from reaching the U.S.
As part of the nuclear deal, the U.S. committed to refrain from policies that are “specifically intended to directly and adversely affect the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.” But Iranian officials view the new visa laws as damaging to their economy because they could scare off investors. Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif has called the new restrictions "absurd." Some European officials also have warned that the changes could violate the nuclear deal.
In a letter to Zarif over the weekend, Secretary of State John Kerry insisted the U.S. was committed to the nuclear deal and that the visa changes would not be a problem because the U.S. could issue waivers or long-term business visas to individuals who might be affected. Obama administration officials also note that the words "specifically intended" in the nuclear deal give the U.S. cover when it comes to justifying the visa laws.
So the president will once again cave in to the demands of the Iranians, who are now apparently dictating U.S. visa policy.

Obama will do anything to save this deal, including conceding even more ground to the Iranians.

Rick Moran


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Muslim Immigration is Exactly What ISIS Wants - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

Immigration is what ISIS needs to defeat America.

To understand ISIS, you have to understand the difference between terrorists and Islamic terrorists. 

Ordinary terrorists have two goals; to compel the enemy to meet their political demands and to rally their supporters to consolidate their class, race or national identity group behind them.

Islamic terrorists are not interested in the “political demands” part. They will occasionally accept concessions and even offer Hudnas, temporary truces, but no permanent separate peace can be achieved with them. It’s why Israel’s peace process with terrorists has gone on failing for decades. It’s why the attempt by Gaddafi to achieve peace with the LIFG ended in a civil war and his death. It’s why Obama’s attempts to negotiate with the “moderate Taliban” failed miserably. 

Al Qaeda and ISIS are not “negative” protest movements formed in response to our foreign policy. That’s a foolish self-centered idea held by foolish self-centered Westerners. Al Qaeda and ISIS are “positive” movements that seek to achieve larger religious goals entirely apart from us. Islamic terrorists are not responding to us. They are responding to the Koran and to over a thousand years of history.

Osama bin Laden did not carry out 9/11 to inflict harm on Americans. That was a secondary goal. His primary goal was to rally Muslims to build a Caliphate by encouraging them to attack America.

The ritualistic “Why do they hate us” browbeating favored by the chattering classes is nonsense. Al Qaeda hated us because we were not Muslims. But it was only using us as the hated “other” to consolidate a collective Muslim identity. We are to Islamists what the Jews were to Hitler; a useful scapegoat whose otherness can be used to manufacture a contrasting pure Aryan or Islamic identity.

No dialogue is possible with an ideology whose virtue is premised on seeing you as utterly evil.

You can negotiate with terrorists, though you shouldn’t. But Islamic terrorists rarely even bother to negotiate. Their core focus is on rallying local Muslims and the Ummah behind them. They don’t recognize national borders so any hope for a permanent peace behind recognized borders is wishful thinking. Islam is a transnational movement. Islamic terrorism is a race between terror groups around the world to carve out their own Islamic states and then use them as a springboard to a Caliphate.

ISIS is the end stage of Islamic terrorism. Its leader is a Caliph with all Muslims obliged to submit to him. The Islamic State is not just in Syria and Iraq. It is everywhere that a Muslim outpost swears allegiance to the Caliph. On its own maps the Islamic State encompasses parts of Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Russia. The more local Islamic terror groups pledge allegiance to ISIS, the bigger it becomes.

ISIS doesn’t plan to defeat America through acts of terrorism. The plan for defeating America, like every other country, Muslim or non-Muslim, is to build a domestic Muslim terror movement that will be able to hold territory and swear allegiance to the Islamic State.

The idea of an American Emirate may seem silly but consider Molenbeek, the neighborhood in Brussels known as the Jihadi capital of Europe, deemed a no-go zone by local authorities, right in the capital of the European Union.  You can take a taxi from NATO HQ to a Muslim micro-state linked to most of the major recent Islamic terror attacks in Europe including the latest ISIS attack in Paris. 

Molenbeek provides ISIS recruits for its war and a gateway for ISIS attacks in Europe. The media is filled with articles about what ISIS wants, but there is no question that Molenbeek is what ISIS wants.

And it’s only Muslim immigration to Europe that makes an ISIS base like Molenbeek possible.

ISIS has short term and long term needs. In the short term, ISIS needs as many recruits as possible. And it is in the West where traditional Muslim ties of kinship and community are so frayed that the transnationalism of heading out to fight for a Caliphate in someone else’s country is most deeply appealing. ISIS aggressively seeks to recruit Muslims in the West because they have the skills, money and naiveté to be useful to the Islamic State. But in the long term, ISIS needs more Muslim immigration to the West to create a steady supply of recruits, collaborators and eventually Western emirates.

If ISIS is serious about making a bid for Italy, it needs a large Muslim population on the ground. It doesn’t even matter if this population comes from refugees fleeing ISIS. The children of these refugees will still be Sunni Muslims in a foreign land where Algerian, Somali, Syrian and Pakistani Muslims discover that they have more in common than they do with the natives. It is this accidental Western multiculturalism that erases tribal Muslim rivalries and makes the ambition of a single Muslim Caliphate appear plausible. 

ISIS does not plan to defeat America with terror plots. But those plots will eventually accumulate into an organized domestic terror organization. An Islamic State in America based around a majority Muslim town or neighborhood with its own leader pledging allegiance to the Caliph of the Islamic State.

An American Molenbeek; and there are already plenty of candidates for that horrifying honor.

Any Muslim plans for expanding into the West depend on Muslim immigration. Whether it’s ISIS or its Muslim Brotherhood ancestor, or any of the other Islamist organizations and networks, they all require manpower. Some of that manpower will be provided by high Muslim birth rates, but it won’t be nearly enough, not for a country the size of America, without a large annual flow of Muslim migrants.

We are told that halting Muslim immigration would only encourage Muslim terrorism. But our open door to Muslim immigration certainly hasn’t stopped terrorism. Instead it has increased it by providing reinforcements to the terrorists. If we can’t stop Muslim terrorism with the population we have now, how are we going to manage it if the Islamic population continues doubling and even tripling?

Even if we defeat ISIS tomorrow, Al Qaeda and other Islamist groups descended from the Muslim Brotherhood will continue pursuing the same goals. And they will rely on the Muslim population in the United States to provide them with money, supplies, cover and an infrastructure for terrorism. 

ISIS can’t defeat us with terror attacks. The only hope for an enduring Islamic victory over America is through the rise of domestic groups that pledge allegiance to the Caliphate. ISIS can’t invade America. It has to be invited in. That’s what our immigration policy does.

Trump isn’t a threat to national security. Muslim immigration is.

Islamic terrorists can’t defeat us no matter how many planes they fly into buildings. But they can and will defeat us if they continue landing planes at JFK and disembarking thousands and tens of thousands of settlers who will serve as a base population for their war against America.
Muslim immigration is the Islamic State’s only hope for victory over America.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Libya's Descent into Chaos - Yehudit Ronen

by Yehudit Ronen

The self-proclaimed Islamic State, including its Libyan offshoot, inebriated by rapid successes, has even launched a social media campaign on Twitter to mobilize supporters from outside the state to "immigrate to Libya [to] guarantee your place in the gateway of the conquest of Rome."

Western intervention in Libya helped topple the 42-year rule of
dictator Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi, seen here at the African Union
meeting in February 2009, but it seems to have done so at the
expense of the Libyan nation-state and surrounding nations of
the Maghreb and north-central Africa.
The overthrow of Libya's long-reigning dictator Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi by an international coalition in the summer and autumn of 2011was hailed at the time as paving the way for a "New Libya." Instead, the country rapidly slid into widespread anarchy and violence as a kaleidoscope of tribal, ethnic, religious, political, economic, ideological, and regional interests, powerfully suppressed by the fallen regime, tore the country apart.

Nor has the violent chaos stopped at Libya's borders. With groups tied to the global jihadist community stepping into the fray in strength, political-religious militancy and a sea of sophisticated weaponry has spilled over to Libya's African and Arab neighbors, with dramatic implications for Europe as well. Anti-Western terrorist organizations affiliated with the global jihadist community have been the chief beneficiaries of the turmoil, destabilizing bordering areas and, in turn, injecting strong doses of belligerence and terror back into Libya. Escalating fighting, rampant lawlessness, and a power vacuum have turned Libya into an attractive arena for the aspirations of the Islamic State (IS), which by late 2014 to early 2015 had established a power-base in the country's eastern and central areas.

The collapsing Libyan state has become a textbook example of the law of unintended consequences. A review of how things fell apart—and what challenges lie ahead—may thus offer clues for how to approach similar situations.

The Qaddafi Regime Succumbs

Throughout the spring of 2011, a coalition of Western non-ground forces and Libyan rebels scored a series of military successes against Qaddafi and his loyalists. Rebels advanced westward from eastern Libya along the Mediterranean coast in an effort to seize the oil and gas fields, refineries, and export terminals and to inflict a fatal blow to the regime's power-center in Tripoli. By that point, there were growing cracks within the top political and military leadership of the Qaddafi regime. Eight thousand soldiers had already deserted during the initial phase of the uprising, including forces associated with the Zintan tribal group of the western mountainous regions. Musa Kusa, Libya's foreign minister and a Qaddafi confidant, had already defected in March. As of June 2011, the Libyan military "had shrunk to somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 (from its original 51,000),"[1] yet the Western-rebel military coalition was unable to achieve a decisive victory.

Militia members celebrate a victory. In the absence of any effective central authority, an estimated several hundred militias in 2012 had grown to approximately 1,700 by early 2015. Funds from various sources, such as the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated "Libya Shield Force," have enhanced their recruitment potential and diminished the power and effectiveness of the national army.
This changed in early June when U.S., British, and French forces initiated air attacks on targets in built-up urban areas. The devastating impact on Qaddafi's army was soon apparent despite its reinforcement by devoted Sahelian Tuareg soldiers mainly from Mali, who fought fearlessly for "Brother Leader" as well as for their own survival. In early August, NATO stepped up its military pressure, concentrating its air assaults on the area surrounding Tripoli and paving the way for the rebels to storm the capital later that month.

On October 20, 2011, Qaddafi was captured and executed by the rebel militia of Misrata, a city on the Gulf of Sirte. Three days later, the National Transitional Council (NTC), the representative organ of authority established earlier that year by the rebels and, at that point, recognized by most countries as Libya's government, formally proclaimed the country's liberation. It was both "the end and a beginning,"[2] opined one writer, but what kind of beginning soon became abundantly clear.

The Slippery Slope to Civil War

Soon after the regime's collapse, Libya was further wracked by turmoil and chaos, unprecedented in scope since gaining independence in 1951. The elimination of Qaddafi's iron grip, which had held together the diverse and often contentious elements of the fragmented Libyan society, unleashed with volcanic force the long-restrained effects of cruel political-religious oppression, chronic economic neglect and deprivation, and social and tribal marginalization.[3]

Alongside these long-repressed rivalries, there were the additional stresses to the state's formal, yet weak, institutions of governance in the form of secessionist threats to Libya's territorial integrity in Cyrenaica in the east and, to a lesser extent, in Fezzan, the southern region. What economic opportunity existed was shattered by the sharp decline in oil and gas exports, which had been practically the sole source of foreign currency. The NTC and forces allied with it were no match for the violent power struggles taking place among rival armed militias, nor could they do anything to stand up to the empowerment of a large-scale criminal economy based on illegal trafficking of drugs, migrants, and arms, which affected the security of Libya as well as Africa and the Middle East.[4]
The Western nations had no stomach for nation-building in the wake of their traumatic experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq. Deliberately staying aloof from the nascent anarchy, they watched as Libya descended into the all-too-familiar pattern of a failed military intervention, with the nation turning into a cauldron of jihadist fanaticism and domestic and regional strife. The ex-rebel forces and other armed militias took advantage of the newly created power vacuum to promote their political and religious aspirations and, at the same time, redress their chronically socioeconomic grievances. It was not long before these groups amassed enough strength to become the dominant players on the Libyan stage and a threat to the new state's fragile organs of authority. Moreover, the militias' connections with a wide gallery of regional and international players also redrew the map of the country's foreign relations, which in turn, played a crucial role in exacerbating the fighting and in accelerating Libya's plunge into the abyss.

The numbers tell it all. In the absence of any effective central authority, by early 2013 an estimated several hundred militias operating in the immediate wake of the intervention had grown to approximately 1,700.[5] Funds from various Libyan and non-Libyan sources bolstered both the militias' prestige and financial solvency, enhancing their recruitment potential and further widening the gap between their power and that of the ineffective national army. For example, the Islamist-affiliated Libya Shield Force, operating in Benghazi under the command of warlord Wissam Bin Hamid, received funding from the powerful Islamist bloc within the General National Congress (GNC), Libya's parliament and successor to the NTC following elections in June 2012.[6]

Misrata and Zintan Fuel Chaos

Within the chaotic landscape of multiple rival armed forces, the clash between the Misrata and the Zintan militias stands out as a major catalyst to the dissolution of the state. These two groups initially developed a tactical alliance during the 2011 uprising against Qaddafi. Prior to that, the people of the city of Zintan, about 140 kilometers southwest of the capital, had been traditionally linked by kinship bonds to the Warfalla, Libya's largest Bedouin tribal group, which together with the Maqarha tribe and the dictator's own Qaddafa clan composed the regime's backbone.[7] As noted however, Zintan soldiers from the state army defected en masse in 2011, regrouping with the anti-Qaddafi coalition of urban coastal tribes, including rebels from the Misrata.

This Western-backed alliance ultimately crushed the regime's last bastion in the capital: Qaddafi was captured and executed by Misrata militiamen while Zintan irregulars played a similarly significant role in extracting Saif al-Islam, Qaddafi's son and right-hand man, from his hiding place in November 2011 and holding him prisoner, despite persistent NTC demands to surrender him. (In late July 2015, still in the hands of the Zintan militia, a court in Tripoli sentenced Saif al-Islam to death in absentia).
The Misrata camp was closely affiliated with Islamist groups; the Zintan affiliated with the more secularist and nationalist groups.
It was hardly surprising, therefore, that each militia, controlling substantial arsenals of weapons, perceived itself as having the right to reshape the state. By mid-November 2013, their alliance had collapsed. The trigger was a demonstration in Tripoli by the Zintan militia, viewed by the Misrata as a provocation. In response, Misrata militiamen opened fire on the demonstrators, killing forty and wounding 150.[8] These armed hostilities were intertwined with fierce political tensions as both militias expanded their respective coalitions. At one end of the reinvigorated conflict stood the Misrata camp, which was closely affiliated with Islamist groups politically active in the General National Congress, most notably the Muslim Brotherhood. At the other end, stood the Zintan camp affiliated with the more secularist and nationalist National Forces Alliance (NFA) that had gained a slight majority in the 2012 GNC elections. Both militias, however, used whatever legal or illegal measures at their disposal to gain the upper hand.[9]

Soon the GNC itself became irrelevant. Due to a lack of financial resources, the state had no ability to recruit and build effective defense and security organs, certainly in comparison to the militias. In the ensuing chaos, there were frequent abductions and assassinations of politicians, policemen, military commanders, soldiers, judges, human rights activists, journalists, and foreign diplomats. Main road intersections, police stations, and government buildings came under attack. People were imprisoned in clandestine detention centers run by the militias, and the militias attacked state prisons, releasing both criminals and political prisoners affiliated with them. Even Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was briefly abducted in October 2013 after a failed no-confidence vote against him in the parliament; by spring 2014, he had fled the country.

Contemporary Libya is less a nation than a geographical construct populated by competing and often interlocking tribes and clans. The Zintan (here Zentan) of the western regions and the Misrata (here Misurata) are perhaps the most prominent today locked in a deadly battle for control of the country and its resources.
The General National Congress's decision to remain in office until December 24, 2014, instead of ending its session earlier as scheduled, further exacerbated the state's break up. Elections to a new GNC, in fact, the government, were eventually held in June 2014, but its first sitting took place two months later in the port city of Tobruk on the country's eastern Mediterranean coast, intentionally far from the capital where Islamists had refused to dissolve the existing government, insisting on its legitimacy. The Tobruk-based government—internationally recognized as the exclusively legitimate one—was supported by Zintan militias and their allies while Islamist-affiliated Misrata militias and their respective supporters backed the one in Tripoli. As one commentator put it: "What was one single weak regime has now turned into two regimes, each of which claims legitimacy for itself and denies it to the other."[10]

Further military unrest accompanied this political turmoil. In May 2014, Operation Dignity was launched by a newly established national army under the command of former army general Khalifa Haftar, who had defected from Qaddafi's army as early as 1987. Haftar's ambitious campaign was aimed at "cleansing" eastern Libya and, particularly, Benghazi and Derna of its Islamist and jihadist groups and at generating sweeping changes in the state's top political organs on behalf of the anti-Islamist camp.[11] The Islamist militias in eastern Libya responded by forming a tactical alliance, declaring jihad against the "infidel" opponents. The Islamist alliance included the Ansar al-Shari'a Brigade, infamous for its role in the September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.[12]

Unfortunately for Haftar and his supporters, Operation Dignity failed to produce the desired results. The militias of eastern Libya were fiercely motivated by their religious vision, their long-harbored secessionist aspirations, and their claims on oil resources. Moreover, renewed fighting in Tripoli gnawed at the resources available to Haftar's war in the east.

Regional and international involvement in Libya peaked in late August 2014. The Tripoli government backed by the Islamist Misrata forces maintained ties with Qatar, Turkey, and Sudan, which provided them with political, financial, and military support.[13] They also received support from Libya's former grand mufti, Sadiq Ghariani, who, from the comfort of his refuge in Britain, used an Internet channel to urge Islamist forces to widen their anti-government revolt in a "Libya Dawn" campaign in Tripoli.[14] The rival Tobruk-based government, backed by the Zintan camp, was backed by Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, France, and other Western states. France was especially concerned with the potential spillover of Libyan chaos and terror into its former colonies in the Sahel and the Maghreb, including Mali, Niger, and Algeria, where it had strategic, military, and other interests.

By early 2015, fighters from the Islamic State had established beachheads in centrally-located Sirte and in Derna (pictured here) in eastern Libya for the new caliphate that they envisioned. In an effort to promote its expansionist and jihadist goals aggressively, the group launched a series of terrorist attacks, including the horrific beheading of twenty-one abducted Egyptian Copts.
Providing a further twist on foreign involvement, mysterious air attacks struck Misrata-held sites in Tripoli during the second half of August 2014. Many believe them to have been Egyptian aircraft supported by planes from the UAE while others implicated Tunisia, Italy, and Belarus.[15] Whatever the bombers' identity, the battles between the two political and military camps over control of the country exacted a heavy toll on the civilian population. In the end, however, Misrata forces claimed victory signaled by their control over Tripoli International Airport and effective command over air traffic to, from, and within Libya.
By late 2014, a new belligerent actor had entered the scene—the Islamic State (IS, or ISIS as it was previously known)—which quickly began to establish beachheads in Derna and Benghazi in eastern Libya and in centrally-located Sirte for the new caliphate that it envisioned. Soon the Sirte branch of the Ansar al-Shari'a militia had pledged its allegiance to the newcomer as did the former dictator's own tribe, the Qaddafa. In an effort to promote its expansionist and jihadist goals, the Libya-based IS launched a series of terrorist and military attacks, including one on the Mabruk and Ghani oil fields in the first half of 2015 in tandem with the horrific beheading of twenty-one abducted Egyptian Copts as well as of Ethiopian and Eritrean Christians captured while crossing through Libya's territory in their illegal migration toward the shores of Europe. There could be little doubt now that Libya had turned into a failed state where competing domestic and international parties, notably the Islamic State, used their positions to exact bloody revenge and seek further aggrandizement.


The Libyan state has been characterized in the non-Libyan media as a "pestilential swamp"[16] where the state and its society "have gone beyond the point of no return in its precipitous slide into civil war."[17]

Libya turned into a failed state where competing parties used their positions to exact bloody revenge and seek further aggrandizement.
Calls by the Tobruk-based government for "international intervention" by the U.N. Security Council[18] have gone unheeded yet prompted the hard line, Tripoli-based, Islamist bloc and its jihadist allies to unequivocally reject "any measure that would bring foreign troops onto Libyan soil."[19] Writing in the Los Angeles Times, former U.S. diplomat Mieczyslaw Boduszynski and Middle East expert Kristin Fabbe described the two conflicting militias as both "a cause and a consequence of state weakness."[20] Shortly after this observation was made, the Islamic State took many observers by surprise by its rapid consolidation of power in Libya and the attendant change of both the country's political, religious, and military map and its immediate geostrategic environment.

There are effectively four main state, sub-state, and non-state local and foreign actors, most of them heterogynous and inconsistent in their affiliation, vying for control of Libya and its economic resources while changing the country's territorial map. These are the Tobruk government backed by the Zintan militia, the Tripoli government backed by the Misrata militia, the IS in Libya, and a broad and diverse coalition of local and foreign non-state groups, including non-Libyan rival jihadist groups fighting alongside their Libyan political and ideological camps.

The self-proclaimed Islamic State, including its Libyan offshoot, inebriated by rapid successes, has even launched a social media campaign on Twitter to mobilize supporters from outside the state to "immigrate to Libya [to] guarantee your place in the gateway of the conquest of Rome."[21] It is no accident that the Libya of 2015 is frequently awarded the dubious title of the "True Somalia" or the "Somalia of the Middle East."[22]

By rushing heedlessly into battle in 2011 with no clear, long-term strategy, the Western powers have helped create a Frankenstein monster out of the corpse of Libya, a creature that may before long wage jihad against both Europe and the Middle East.
Yehudit Ronen is a professor in the department of political studies, Bar-Ilan University. Her research focuses on Libya, Sudan, and the Sahel seam-line between the Arab and African worlds.

[1] Florence Gaub, "The Libyan Armed Forces between Coup-proofing and Repression," The Journal of Strategic Studies, 2 (2013): 233, 235.
[2] Ethan Chorin, Exit Qaddafi (London: Saqi, 2012), p. 253.
[3] For Libya's ethnic fabric, see Youssef Sawani and Jason Pack, "Libyan Constitutionality and Sovereignty Post-Qaddafi: The Islamist, Regionalist, and Amazigh Challenges," The Journal of North African Studies, 4 (2013): 536-40; for the growing sectarianism, see Daniel Byman, "Sectarianism Afflicts the New Middle East," Survival, 1 (2014): 79-100.
[4] More specifically, Mali, Algeria, Chad, Sudan, Nigeria, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Gaza Strip.
[5] Gaub, "The Libyan Armed Forces between Coup-proofing and Repression," p. 238; Farouk Chothia, "Why Is Libya Lawless?" BBC News (London), Jan. 27, 2015.
[6] Asharq al-Awsat (London), Aug. 6, 2014.
[7] Gilbert Achcar, The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising (London: Saqi, 2013), p. 202.
[8] Al-Ahram Weekly (Cairo), July 24-30, 2014.
[9] See Karim Mezran, "What Is Going on in Libya?" Al-Jazeera TV (Doha), July 31, 2014.
[10] Muhammad Kureishan, "Sliding towards the Abyss in Libya," al-Quds al-Arabi (London), quoted in Mideast Mirror (London), Aug. 28, 2014.
[11] Khaled Hanafi, "Unpicking the Haftar Drive," al-Ahram Weekly, June 5-11, 2014.
[12] BBC News (London), June 13, 2014.
[13] Mohannad Obeid, "What's Happening in Libya?" al-Akhbar (Beirut), Aug. 26, 2014; al-Arabiya News Channel (Dubai), Sept. 2, 2014; Sudan Tribune (Khartoum), Sept. 6, 2014.
[14] The Guardian (London), Aug. 31, 2014.
[15] Andrew McGregor, "Egypt, the UAE and Arab Military Intervention," Terrorism Monitor, Jamestown Foundation, Washington, D.C., Sept. 5, 2014.
[16] Al-Ahram Weekly, Aug. 21-27, 2014.
[17] Ibid.; Abdullah al-Bakoush, in al-Ahram Weekly, Aug. 14-20, 2014.
[18] RT network (London), Aug. 13, 2014.
[19] Al-Ahram Weekly, Aug. 21-27, 2014.
[20] Mieczyslaw P. Boduszynski and Kristin Fabbe, "What Libya's militia problem means for the Middle East and the U.S.," Los Angeles Times, Sept. 23, 2014.
[21] "ISIS Recruitment Campaign on Twitter," Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor, The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Washington, D.C., Feb. 16, 2015.
[22] See, for example, Maha Sultan in Tishrin (Damascus), quoted in Mideast Mirror, Nov. 18, 2013.

Yehudit Ronen is a professor in the department of political studies, Bar-Ilan University. Her research focuses on Libya, Sudan, and the Sahel seam-line between the Arab and African worlds.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.