Wednesday, March 22, 2017

New program allows Saudi prisoners on path to rehabilitation

So, how exactly do you rehabilitate someone who follows the teachings of Mohammed?

The story comes from Al Arabiya.

New program allows Saudi prisoners on path to rehabilitation

A joint program between Saudi Arabia’s interior ministry with Imam Muhammad ibn Saud university celebrated its first batch of student-prisoners.

The majority of the students were former extremists but who have rehabilitated themselves while studying under the new program.

Eighty-two of them graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sharia and Islamic studies, 25 in business administration, four in economics while three finished their degrees in the Arabic language.

“I was given the chance to read a learn a lot through the ‘Time Management’ program. I also learned to differentiate between right and wrong. There are more people like me here in prison who have benefited from these types of programs,” one prisoner told Al Arabiya.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Let's All Meet Leftist Operative Jennifer Sisk

Some people are just discovering Jennifer Sisk of Boulder, Colorado.  Some of us have known her for a couple of days since she came upon the scene as the hired gun of the Left in America contracted to take down Judge Gorsuch with her "story" of sexist positions by Gorsuch when he was teaching at the University of Colorado.

Jennifer Sisk wanted to be famous.  She wanted to be the one that robbed President Donald Trump of his golden pick for the Supreme Court.

Jennifer Sisk wanted the spotlight.  Well folks, let's oblige Ms. Sisk.  Splash her photo above from here to kingdom come.  Let's find her Twitter handle, Facebook page - let's pay attention to Jennifer.  Let's make her out to be the star she wanted.  She wanted to be the giant slayer.  She wanted to be the tool of the Left.  Let's make sure that not a day goes by that Jennifer isn't reminded of her newfound notoriety.  

Make Jennifer a star, folks.  I'm sure she will appreciate it.


By the way Jennifer, perhaps you remember another young lady who wanted to be a star.  Julie Bosman published the home address of Officer Wilson from Ferguson, MO and then Julie became a HUGE star of a lot of us out here.  Here's Julie's pic:

Ask Julie how it feels to be the darling of the Left in America.
Go ahead, Jennifer....ask her.


Insurgents launch new offensive in outskirts of Damascus

The story comes from The Long War Journal.

Insurgents launch new offensive in outskirts of Damascus

Jihadists, Islamists and rebels affiliated with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) launched an offensive in the eastern outskirts of the Syrian capital yesterday. The sudden attack began in the Jobar district of Damascus and then spread into a nearby area.

Hay’at Tahrir al Sham (HTS), a joint venture led by al Qaeda’s arm in Syria, launched two suicide attacks with vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (SVBIEDs) at the beginning of the assault. HTS (“Assembly for the Liberation of Syria”) posted pictures of the two suicide bombers, as well as images glorifying the moment of their “martyrdom,” on its official Telegram channel.

It appears that small drones were used to generate footage of the SVBIEDs from above. Like their rivals in the Islamic State, al Qaeda’s men in Syria have long used drones to capture the instant when one of their suicide bombers detonates.

Other photos show HTS jihadists moving throughout Jobar, a fighter with an amputated lower arm engaged in combat, a garage complex, a smashed regime poster and a truck captured as part of the group’s “spoils.”

The images can be seen below. (WARNING: In addition to the aforementioned photos, some of the pictures are graphic, showing dead regime fighters on the streets.)

The leader of HTS, Abu Jaber (also known as Hashem al Sheikh), promised just days ago that his men would soon “escalate” their operations against Bashar al Assad’s regime. It appears that the Damascus offensive is part of what he meant. In addition, HTS has carried out suicide bombings in Damascus and also killed a senior military intelligence official in Homs. [See FDD’s Long War Journal reports: Leader of al Qaeda’s joint venture in Syria promises to ‘escalate’ operations and Al Qaeda front group claims responsibility for suicide attacks in Damascus.]

Ahrar al Sham, which frequently fights alongside HTS and its predecessor (Al Nusrah Front), is also taking part in the effort. The group has released a series of photos from the fighting on its social media sites. One tweet claims that the “industrial area” between the Jobar and Qabun districts had been mostly “liberated” after many members of the Assad regime’s forces were killed or injured.

Ahrar’s fighters are shown preparing for the battle, fighting in the Damascus neighborhoods, and displaying their “booty” in the images below.

HTS’ current leader, Abu Jaber, and other senior HTS jihadists were once prominent figures in Ahrar al Sham. However, al Qaeda’s forces in HTS and Ahrar al Sham’s members reportedly clashed in northern Syria earlier this year. Indeed, some of Ahrar’s leadership refused to join HTS, deciding to operate their own entity and absorb other factions in the process. But this hasn’t stopped HTS and Ahrar from cooperating on Syria’s battlefields. In addition to the fighting in Damascus, the two have also coordinated in Daraa, a southern Syrian city, Homs province and likely elsewhere in recent weeks.

Faylaq al Rahman, a FSA-branded organization, has played a significant role in the battle as well. Faylaq al Rahman has used American-made TOW missiles, including in recent weeks. FSA-affiliated groups have frequently allied with al Qaeda’s jihadists, as is the case in Jobar district. Faylaq al Rahman’s propaganda from the battle places its members in the same areas as HTS and Ahrar al Sham’s men.

Faylaq al Rahman claimed in a statement that two tanks were destroyed. It has tweeted photos of identification cards that allegedly belonged to regime loyalists in the area. And in one video, a Faylaq al Rahman fighter can be heard calling on Assad regime fighters to surrender, as they are surrounded inside a captured building.

Insurgents from all three groups — HTS, Ahrar al Sham, and Faylaq al Rahman — are pictured wearing the same red and white headbands.

It is possible that still other organizations are involved in the fighting. For example, Jaysh al Islam has had a strong presence in the area surrounding Damascus, especially in the eastern Ghouta region.

There is an ebb and flow to such battles, so it is too early to tell where the offensive will lead. The rebels (including jihadists and Islamists) have controlled only small pockets in the areas immediately surrounding the center of Damascus. The new effort is likely intended to clear out more space for them to operate, but also to make the Assad regime and its allies fight on additional fronts. Since losing Aleppo late last year, the insurgency has been looking for an opportunity to gain the initiative once again.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

New Paris Terror Attack Reveals EVERYTHING Wrong With the Media

Okay, I'm reading this article from Al Arabiya about the lone jihadist attacker at the Paris airport and it very thoroughly details the EVERY motive of the attack.  The article says:

Yelling that he wanted to kill and die in the name of faith, a suspected Islamic extremist attacked a French soldier Saturday morning at Paris’ Orly Airport

the attacker yelled: “Put down your weapons! Put your hands on your head! I am here to die for Allah. Whatever happens, there will be deaths,”

Okay, so with all of that spelled out in plain English.  With NO DOUBT that this Muslim was performing this jihad in the name of Islam and in the name of Allah, the article then turns to the one line that MUST be in every news article printed everywhere in the world in 2017:

The attacker’s motives were unknown but the anti-terror section of the Paris prosecutors’ office immediately took over the investigation.

There it is.  The money line.  The one line that every media outlet puts in a story like this so as to not enrage the Islamists across the world.  It's the "get our new outlet out of the way of Jihad retribution" free card line.
Great job Associated Press.
And here we all thought that just once we'd get the truth.

The story comes from Al Arabiya.

Details emerge of Paris attacker's motivation to kill

Yelling that he wanted to kill and die in the name of faith, a suspected Islamic extremist attacked a French soldier Saturday morning at Paris’ Orly Airport and wrested away her assault rifle, a French prosecutor said. Two colleagues on her patrol shot and killed the man before he could fire the military-grade weapon in the busy airport terminal.

The attack forced the airport’s terminals to shut down and evacuate, sent passengers and workers fleeing in panic and trapped hundreds of others aboard flights that had just landed. It was the violent climax of what authorities described as a 90-minute spree of destructive criminality across the French capital by the suspect, identified as Ziyed Ben Belgacem.

The attack further rattled France, which remains under a state of emergency after attacks over the past two years that have killed 235 people.

Orly, Paris’ second-biggest airport behind Charles de Gaulle, has both domestic and international flights and the 8:30 a.m. (0730 GMT; 4:30 a.m. EDT) assault brought its operations to a screeching halt.

Stopped first by police in Paris’ northern suburbs early Saturday morning for driving too fast and without lights in a small Renault, the 39-year-old Frenchman opened fire with a revolver loaded with bird shot, injuring an officer in the face, authorities said.

He then fled by car to a bar that he frequented regularly and where he had already stopped a few hours earlier and again opened fire. No one was injured.

Finally, in another car stolen at gunpoint, he parked at Orly. A few minutes later, he hurled himself at three soldiers on patrol in its South Terminal, throwing a bag with a gas can at the floor and wielding his 9 mm revolver, said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.

“With a pistol in his right hand and a bag over his shoulder, he grabbed (the soldier) with his left arm, made her move backward by three to four meters (yards), positioning her as a shield, and pointed his revolver at her forehead,” Molins said.

According to soldiers, the attacker yelled: “Put down your weapons! Put your hands on your head! I am here to die for Allah. Whatever happens, there will be deaths,” Molins said.

In a struggle, the attacker managed to wrest free the captive soldier’s Famas assault rifle and sling it over his shoulder. Molins said video surveillance footage appeared to show that Belgacem was “determined to see the process through to the end.”

“Everything suggests that he wanted to take the Famas so there would be deaths and to shoot people,” he said.

In between the moments when he ducked behind his hostage, the two other soldiers fired three bursts, eight rounds in all, that killed the attacker, Molins said.

“Her two comrades thought it was necessary - and they were right - to open fire to protect her and especially to protect all the people who were around,” said French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.
Le Drian had said the soldier kept hold of her weapon. Molins said while she did wrestle it back from Belgacem at one point, he managed to snatch it off her in the end.

Witnesses described panicked bystanders fleeing, flights halting, traffic chaos and planes under lockdowns. Traffic was jammed near the airport and people wheeled suitcases down the road.

“We’d already registered our bags when we saw a soldier pointing his gun at the attacker who was holding another soldier hostage,” said Pascal Menniti, who was flying to the Dominican Republic.

Authorities said at least 3,000 people were evacuated from the airport. Hundreds of passengers also were confined for several hours aboard 13 flights that were blocked in landing areas, and 15 other flights were diverted to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Passengers were allowed off their blocked planes around noon, once a search of the airport was complete, but the airport’s South Terminal did not reopen until late afternoon, authorities said.

Despite the transportation chaos, French authorities stressed that security planning - reinforced across the country in the wake of repeated attacks - worked well.

The soldier was “psychologically shocked” but unhurt by the “rapid and violent” assault, said Col. Benoit Brulon, a spokesman for the military force that patrols public sites in France.

The attacker’s motives were unknown but the anti-terror section of the Paris prosecutors’ office immediately took over the investigation.

His father and brother were detained by police for questioning later Saturday, which is standard operating procedure. Molins said a cousin of Belgacem’s also turned himself in for questioning, having spent time with the attacker in the bar the previous night.

A search of Belgacem’s residence found cocaine and a machete, Molins said. The father and brother told police that Belgacem phoned them Saturday morning, minutes after shooting at the police traffic patrol, to say that he’d “made a mistake,” Molins said.

The prosecutors’ office said the attacker had a record of robbery and drug offenses. Molins said he was out on bail, banned from leaving France and obliged to report regularly to police, having been handed preliminary charges for robberies in 2016.

Molins said Belgacem was flagged as having been radicalized during a spell in detention from 2011-2012. His house was among scores searched in November 2015 in the immediate aftermath of suicide bomb-and-gun attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.

French President Francois Hollande said investigators will determine whether the attacker “had a terrorist plot behind him.” But he ruled out any link between the attack and the two-round French presidential election in April and May, noting that France has been battling extremist threats for years.

At a Saturday evening news conference, Molins gave reporters a timeline for Belgacem’s last hours.

He said about 90 minutes before the airport attack, Belgacem was stopped by a police traffic patrol at Garges-les-Gonesse in northern Paris. As he showed his ID papers, he pulled out a gun and fired bird shot, injuring an officer in the face.

Police fired back. He fled in his car.

He then drove to the bar in Vitry, south of Paris, and opened fire. He abandoned his Renault and stole another car at gunpoint. That car was later found at Orly Airport, and Molins said video surveillance showed Belgacem was alone when he parked it.

The military patrol at Orly was part of the Sentinelle force installed around France to protect sensitive sites after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks. Saturday was at least the fourth time that Sentinelle soldiers have been targeted since the force, which includes 7,500 soldiers, was created in 2015.

Saturday’s attack comes after a similar incident last month at the Louvre Museum in Paris in which an Egyptian man attacked soldiers guarding the site. He was shot and wounded and taken into custody.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Syria to UN: Israel violated our territory

The last thing Bashir al-Assad should be worrying about is some Israeli jets knocking out Iranian missiles crossing Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon but being the good little servant to the Ayatollah, Assad is bitching to the UN.  Lord knows the Israelis are going to fear the UN....hahaha

The story comes from Israel National News.

Syria to UN: Israel violated our territory

Syria on Friday sent two letters to the UN in which it said that Israel’s airstrikes on the country violated international law, the UN Charter, and “the sovereignty and the sanctity of Syrian territory,” the Syrian news agency SANA reported.

In letters sent to the UN Secretary General and the President of the Security Council, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said that “in flagrant defiance of the international legitimacy and UN resolutions and the sovereignty and the inviolability of the Syrian territory,” four Israeli warplanes violated Syrian airspace and targeted a military site in the eastern countryside of Homs province.

“As part of its right to defend the sanctity of its territory, the Syrian air defense responded to this aggression and shot down one of the planes while the rest of them were forced to flee,” the Ministry wrote, according to SANA.

“The Israeli aggression this morning comes as a new Israeli attempt to boost the collapsed morale of terrorist groups after they were defeated recently by the Syrian Arab Army and its allies in many areas,” the Ministry said in the letters.

“Syria calls on the UN Secretary General and the President of the UNSC to condemn this blatant Israeli aggression, to force Israel to stop supporting terrorism in Syria, to implement all UNSC resolutions on counter-terrorism, including resolution No. 2253, to withdraw from the whole occupied Syrian Golan to the line of June 4th, 1967, and to implement resolution No. 497 for 1981,” it wrote.

Syria launched several anti-aircraft missiles towards the Israeli aircraft that carried out Thursday night’s airstrike.

One missile was intercepted by Israel's Arrow air defense system, one of the first times the system has been used.

While Syria claimed that it shot down one of the Israeli aircraft, the IDF denied that any planes had been struck and stressed that Israeli troops and citizens had not been in danger at any point during the incident.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Friday that Israel would continue to act to prevent the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah.

“Our policy is very consistent: when we identify attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, and we have the intelligence and operational feasibility - we work to prevent this," the Prime Minister said.

"That's how it’s been and that’s how it will be, we have determination, and the proof is that we are acting, and everyone has to take this into account," he added.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry’s complaint to the UN was filed after the Syrian army reacted angrily to the Israeli airstrike on Friday and threatened to respond harshly.

"This flagrant attack is part of the Zionist enemy's persistent efforts to support the terrorist gangs of ISIS," the army said, adding, “It will be responded to directly with all possible means.”

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Holger Hiatus

Gang, it's time for Holger to get away from FakeNews, Leftists, Trumpthisandthat, and the countless jihadi attacks in this world.  

I'll be away from the blog for about 10 days - check back in then please...I'm sure I'll be all full of piss and vinegar by then.

Thanks to all of you for the continued support here!


ISIS imposes ‘Afghan-style dress code’ in Syria’s Raqqa

No, it's not for the women's for the MEN!  Read on.

The story comes from Al Arabiya.

ISIS imposes ‘Afghan-style dress code’ in Syria’s Raqqa

ISIS has imposed an “Afghan-style” dress code on men in its Syrian stronghold Raqqa to help its fighters blend into the civilian population, a monitor and activists said today.

“For more than two weeks, Afghan-style clothing... Has been imposed by Daesh,” said Abu Mohamed, an activist with the “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently” group, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

“Anyone who does not comply faces prison and fine,” he told AFP.

The new restriction comes as a Kurdish-Arab alliance of fighters nears Raqqa, backed by the US-led coalition launching air strikes against ISIS.

The rule “is an attempt to make it harder for airplanes and the Kurdish forces... To distinguish between civilians and Daesh members,” Abu Mohamed said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor of the war, also reported the new rule in Raqqa.

“ISIS has imposed Afghan-style dress on residents of Raqqa so that informants giving coordinates to the US-led coalition will not be able to distinguish between civilians and fighters,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Abu Mohamed said there was a “state of alert” in Raqqa, with new checkpoints springing up and ISIS arresting anyone who describes the situation as dire.

“Prices are skyrocketing and there is no electricity or water,” he told AFP.

The Observatory also said civilians and the families of ISIS families were attempting to flee into Raqqa province from neighboring Aleppo, where ISIS is under assault in the east.

“Thousands of families in recent days have tried to reach the administrative borders of Raqqa province, along with around 120 families of fighters and commanders of ISIS,” the monitor said.

The Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces alliance advancing towards Raqqa on Monday cut a key supply route between the city and ISIS-held territory in Deir Ezzor province to the east.

The alliance is now eight kilometers from Raqqa to the northeast, according to the Observatory.

It said IS was preventing civilians from entering the province “but granted families of its fighters” a document allowing “passage to Raqqa city by boat as ground transportation is now impossible because the bridges across the Euphrates have been destroyed.”

Monday, March 6, 2017

Sometimes, Just Wearing a Black Mask Doesn't Protect You

Okay, so this is fairly fast moving, but pay attention to the 0:06 point and look for the kid in the black helmet with the stick coming into the screen then bringing it home on the noggin of the left.

Pure gold, Jerry.

Family of eight Iraqi asylum seekers are found guilty of gang-raping 'blind drunk' woman, 28, after luring her away from her friends at New Year's Eve party in Austria

The story comes from The Daily Mail.

Family of eight Iraqi asylum seekers are found guilty of gang-raping 'blind drunk' woman, 28, after luring her away from her friends at New Year's Eve party in Austria

Eight asylum seekers from the same family have been found guilty of gang-raping a German tourist in Austria and jailed for between nine and 13 years.

The Iraqi nationals had gone on trial in the Austrian capital, Vienna, accused of the New Year's Eve 2015 attack on the 28-year-old teacher.

Prosecutors had originally charged nine men with 'abuse of a defenceless person and rape in a very humiliating and agonising way for the victim.'

But the court on Thursday dismissed charges against one of the suspects. A court statement said that the victim has been awarded 25,000 euros in damages.

All eight convicted men - who cannot be deported because Iraq is deemed too unsafe for them to return to - launched immediate appeals against their sentences.

At the opening of the trial in February the court heard how the woman, identified only as Sabine K., was 'blind drunk' when she went with the men to an apartment.

Most of the men deny the charges but DNA from six of them was found in or on her body.

The court heard how the victim arrived in Vienna on December 28, 2015 to spend the New Year with a female friend in the city.

Shortly before midnight on December 31 they wandered into the city centre to join crowds celebrating the arrival of 2016 and at 2am were seen drinking in a bar-restaurant called Cactus.

Shortly before 3am Sabine's friend noticed she was no longer there and was told by another patron that the men she had been talking with had 'taken her away.'

The defendants, aged between 22 and 45, all arrived in Austria between May and December 2015 via the Balkan route.

At the time of the attack, five of them had cemented their right to stay, the applications of the other four were still pending.

Judge Petra Poschalko heard how the woman was taken by four of them to an apartment in Vienna's Rustenschacher Allee, where more men were waiting.

Sabine later said she found herself naked on a double bed being assaulted by the men one after the other.

Her lawyer Karina Fehringer told the court that her client was assaulted in the dark so she could not identify the men.

After the attacks, which went on for several hours, the victim needed in-patient treatment at a trauma clinic and now is under psychiatric care for post traumatic stress disorder.

She had a breakdown before the trial and was too fragile to be in court to face her attackers.

Only one man, Mohamed Al-A., 31, admitted his role in the rapes and he sobbed in court as he said he was 'really drunk' on vodka at the time.

His Muslim faith may forbid him to drink alcoholic beverages, but on New Year's Eve he said he made an exception and drank vodka. 'I was really drunk,' he said, and he further admitted; 'this act is a crime in Iraq.'

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Palestinian Authority: 85% say they want Sharia law

Live by the Sharia, Die by the Sharia.

The story come from Israel National News.

Palestinian Authority: 85% say they want Sharia law

Only a quarter of Gaza residents blame Israel for the electricity crisis from which they suffer. This, according to a poll carried out last month by the Ramallah- and Jerusalem-based Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre (JMCC).

JMCC was established in 1988 by an Arab group of journalists and researchers in areas of Judea and Samaria now under Palestinian Authority control.

In its most recent poll, cited above, 1199 PA residents people over the age of 18, randomly selected, were interviewed face-to-face The interviews were conducted in randomly selected homes in Gaza, Judea, and Samaria, and the margin of error is +/-3 percent.

Over 85% (!) said that the Palestinian Personal Status Law must be based on the principles of Islamic Sharia. Half of these said it must be exclusively Sharia, while the other half said it should be based both on Sharia and civil law. Only 14.7% said it should be based only on civil law.

Another question was: "Who is more responsible for the aggravation of the electricity crisis in the Gaza Strip?" Of the 449 respondents who live in Gaza, nearly half (49.4%) said, "the Hamas government in Gaza," and 21.2% blamed the Palestinian National Authority; Only 25.8% of the Gaza residents blamed Israel; this proportion was nearly twice as high among the PA residents living outside Gaza.

Asked if they feel that Mahmoud Abbas "is performing his job as President of the PA: in a good, average or in a bad way," 35.4% said, "bad," while 28.7% said, "good." It should be noted that in January 2005, Abbas was elected to head the PA until Jan. 2009, thus that he is now in the 13th year of his four-year term. He has used the conflict between his Fatah faction and Hamas as an excuse to remain in power, as no elections have been held since he took office. 46.9% of the respondents said they prefer that elections be held even before a reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas is achieved.

Asked what is the best method to achieve the goals of "ending the occupation and establishing a [PA] state," 27.1% of those in Judea and Samaria said, "Armed resistance;" this was the choice of 35.6% in Gaza. A total of 37.6% chose "peaceful negotiations."

Three-quarter of the respondents believe "there is corruption" in the PA, while 16.2% said there is none. Nearly 40% said the government collects taxes and other fees from citizens in a fair manner only "to a small extent."

A full 68.9% do not expect Fatah and Hamas to reconciliation in 2017. Nearly 20% blames Hamas for this state of affairs, while 12% blame Fatah and 39.2 blamed both. No information was provided on how the respondents in Gaza as opposed to those in Judea and Samaria responded. 22.9% blamed Israel.

One of the poll questions was: "If negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians were to be resumed, who would you prefer to act as mediator between the two sides?" Only 7.6% chose the U.S., while 23.7% chose the European Union. The Mideast Quartet, the United Nations and Egypt were chosen by 16.1%, 14.3% and 18%, respectively.

Asked to choose one word to define themselves, 52.5% of those in Judea and Samaria said, "Palestinian;" this was the choice of 58.1% in Gaza. Only 21.7% said, "Muslim," and 5.3% said "Arab."

Saturday, March 4, 2017

March 4 Trump Rally In Minnesota Gets Rowdy

Oh yeah...Holger was there.  Trump supporters and patriots didn't take kindly to the tactics of the 50 counter protesters.  6 of the deviants were arrested and charged with felonies.

Iranian sniper embedded in Iraqi militia killed near Mosul

 Photo 1: Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps member Ali-Asqar Karimi holding Islamic State flag in what appears to be Iraq, posted on social media on February 27.

The story comes from The Long War Journal.

Iranian sniper embedded in Iraqi militia killed near Mosul

A casket carrying the body of an Iranian sniper killed in combat in Iraq on February 25 was received in Tehran three days ago. An Islamic State mortar killed Ali-Asqar Karimi near Mosul, according to a colleague. A military campaign by Iraqi forces to dislodge Islamic State is underway in Ninewah province, backed by Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite militias as well as US airpower.

Iranian media and officials have released few details about the 35-year-old’s military record, but Karimi was a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its Basij paramilitary. A Basij unit stationed in Tehran released a statement expressing condolences for “our Basiji brother.”

The Basij, also known as the Organization for the Mobilization of the Oppressed, is an all-volunteer force that acts as auxiliary to the IRGC Ground Forces branch and also as a vigilante group enforcing public morality laws. Over the past five years, Basij members have deployed to Iraq and Syria as part of IRGC expeditionary forces.

The photograph on Karimi’s casket shows him wearing the armband of the Hezbollah Brigades, an Iraqi Shiite militia close to the Guard that has been designated by the US Treasury as a terrorist group. IRGC elements are known to operate out of such militias, and his armband indicates that he was as well.

Karimi had several previous “voluntary” deployments to “defend the shrine of the House of God,” according to Iranian media. That also could denote deployments to Syria, where Iran claims to defend Shiite shrines against extremist Sunni militants. Karimi was injured in his last tour, and returned to the battlefield after a two-month stay in Iran, according to his colleague. It is currently unclear whether Karimi was embedded only in the Hezbollah Brigades throughout his tours.

Karimi is the second confirmed Iranian combat fatality in Iraq since the Mosul campaign commenced in October 2016. An IRGC Ground Forces commander was killed last month near Tal Afar, an Islamic-State-held town west of Mosul.

Since November, IRGC-backed Shiite militias have held positions in that western Mosul axis. Those forces are operating within the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella organization of diverse militias constituted by many IRGC-backed elements. In the past week, the PMF and Iraqi army forces have made gains to the west of Mosul, and near Tal Afar in preparation of an assault on the town, according to a PMF spokesman who spoke with Fars News.

Iranian military officials may be obfuscating Karimi’s record because IRGC chief Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari proclaimed in November 2016 that no Iranian forces were present in the battle for Mosul. While Jafari acknowledged an advisory footprint in Iraq, the deaths of a senior commander and a young sniper near the battlefield suggest that Iranians are engaged in combat as well.

Regular Iranian military personnel have been operating in Iraq since the 2014 Islamic State incursion. Last summer, for instance, at least two Basij members were killed leading up to the Fallujah operation. These fatalities, however, do not reflect the full Iranian losses: the Qods Force, the IRGC’s extraterritorial branch, is not known to acknowledge deaths, lest a senior commander be killed.

The fatalities of regular Iranian military personnel in Iraq indicate that elements from the Ground Forces continue to augment the Qods Force, which has been strained by deep involvement in Iraq and Syria, and further afield as in Yemen.

Tehran’s military involvement in Iraq covers training, advising, assisting and equipping Iraqi militias as well as limited combat roles. That engagement is expected to continue after the Mosul campaign as IRGC-backed elements vie for political, military and social influence in Iraq.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Video: The Snowflake Cry Song

(Hat Tip: SmokieinTexas)


Turkey ‘to strike Syrian Kurd militia’ unless it leaves Manbij

You know, it takes NOTHING to keep Turkey from justifying killing Kurds.  Nothing.

The story comes from Al Arabiya.

Turkey ‘to strike Syrian Kurd militia’ unless it leaves Manbij

Turkey on Thursday threatened to strike Syrian Kurdish militia forces if they don’t withdraw from Manbij, a former bastion of Islamic State extremists that has been taken over by predominantly-Kurdish forces.

“We will strike the YPG if they do not retreat,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists, referring to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units.

The YPG, which Ankara considers a “terrorist” organisation, is backed by Washington as the most effective fighting force on the ground in the battle against ISIS.

Turkey launched a military campaign inside Syria in August, backing opposition rebels who captured a number of towns from ISIS, including Al Bab near the Turkish border.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week said the next target would be Manbij -- which is now controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a group dominated by Kurdish fighters that Ankara denounces as “terrorists”.

“We have not yet started our operation in Manbij,” Cavusoglu said.

Turkey has also said it wanted to work with its allies to capture ISIS bastion of Raqa, but has ruled out any operation alongside the Kurdish militia.

“Let’s be realistic ... To carry out this (Raqa) operation with YPG is to risk Syria’s future,” he said.

“We do not want our ally the United States to continue cooperating with terror organisations that target us.”

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Mosul caught in ‘terrifying’ battle as ISIS fight to the end

According to Al Arabiya, ISIS is not willing to let Mosul go to the Iranian mullahs, quite yet.

Mosul caught in ‘terrifying’ battle as ISIS fight to the end

The families cowered in basements, huddling in the dark as war raged overhead between Iraqi forces and ISIS militants fighting for control of the streets of Mosul.

Above ground, soldiers from Iraq's Rapid Response division move from house to house through the same openings ISIS militants smashed through the walls in preparation to defend their last remaining stronghold in the city's west.

The passageway led them through living rooms and gardens, into a kitchen with a pot of lentil soup on the counter - the scenes of domesticity highlighting the chaos of war that is intensifying as Iraqi forces advance.

“It's strange and terrifying,” said a young woman who was barely visible in the gloom of a basement under her house in the Josaq district, where she went into hiding after giving birth to a baby girl 72 days ago. “I rarely go upstairs.”

Iraqi forces advanced quickly in the early stages of the offensive to recapture Mosul's western half, retaking the airport and piercing ISIS defenses around the city within days.

Now they are encountering tougher resistance as they push into residential districts where as many as 750,000 civilians are essentially trapped.

If they defeat ISIS in Mosul that would crush the Iraq wing of the caliphate its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared in 2014 over parts of Iraq and neighbouring Syria.

The Iraqi soldiers climbed through a hole in the wall of a garden strewn with ripe oranges and shattered glass, and emerged to find an ISIS fighter lying flat on his back where he had been killed by Iraqi forces.

Lt. Colonel Abdel Amir al-Mohammadawi went through the dead man's pockets after making sure he was not wearing a suicide belt, and pulled out a small address book containing telephone numbers of other fighters, and a contact for “Islamic Police”.

“He's not Iraqi. He's probably not an Arab,” said Mohammadawi, judging the man by his appearance and imperfect spelling. “The closer we get to the centre, the more we come up against the foreigners”.

Unlike Iraqi militants who can blend in with civilians and possibly slip through the net of security forces, foreign fighters have no escape and will therefore fight to the end. Mohammadawi said: “They don't flee like the locals”.

There are noticeably more foreign militants in the western half of the city than the east, which Iraqi forces cleared one month ago after 100 days of fighting, Mohammadawi added.

After losing the east, ISIS militants prepared for battle in the west, knocking holes through the walls and expelling residents whose homes offered a vantage from which to fire at advancing Iraqi forces.

At one point, the passage led into an empty hall where a motorcycle was parked. Evidently it had been used by the militants because there was a prayer mat in the plastic crate attached to the back, the soldiers said.

“Search upstairs!,” Mohammadawi ordered, sending two men up the stairs, gun barrels first, to make sure no militants were hiding there.

Also found were paper slips granting ISIS members leave for short periods of no longer than a day, which one officer said indicated they had no time or manpower to spare.

The densely populated terrain is already proving a challenge. Mohammadawi said Rapid Response forces had been forced to pause their advance in Josaq on Sunday because five ISIS snipers were hiding among civilians.

A tactical unit had then killed the militants in an overnight raid, Mohammadawi said, clearing the way for Rapid Response forces to reach the first of five bridges that straddle the River Tigris bisecting Mosul.

As the sounds of artillery and small arms fire reverberated, a group of civilians came running across the street towards Iraqi forces, the women weeping in fear. The soldiers corralled them into a house where the women went down to the basement.

The women described how the militants had set the upper floors of their homes ablaze to create a smokescreen against coalition aircraft.

Mahmoud, who was amongst the group, escaped after secretly contacting the commander in the area, keeping his phone on silent so the ring tone would not give him away to ISIS militants. But his brother stayed behind.

“Brother, get out,” Mahmoud said urgently over the phone to his brother. “It's better. Get your stuff together. Protect your children. No inch is safe.”