What does ISIS’ declaration of a caliphate mean?

Two photos put out by Washington and Baghdad of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (Photo: AFP)

Jun 30, 2014, al Akhbar

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has now officially become a global Islamic caliphate. It took 14 months for its leader, who is known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, to set himself up as a ruler “by order of God.” He is not only the “commander of the faithful” now, but also the caliph-at-large, and the “successor” of Prophet Mohammad. The historical declaration took place on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan of the year 1435 AH (2014 AD).

On Sunday, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, spokesperson for ISIS, declared the creation of the Islamic caliphate, “the jihadis’ long-running dream.” This marks the first time the caliphate has been “restored” by anyone since Ataturk abolished it almost 90 years ago.

A few thousand ISIS fighters have ostensibly abolished the borders drawn by the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Meanwhile, ISIS has been rebranded as the global Islamic State (IS). Its black banner, once flapping over the land between Aleppo and Diyala, now sits above a borderless entity with absolute authority over all Muslim lands.

ISIS, or IS, believes that pledging allegiance to the new caliph is a duty for every Muslim, and those who fail or refuse to do so shall be deemed as apostates, and will be fought and struck down. This was clearly stated by Adnani, who said, “Beware of splitting the ranks. Those who want to split the ranks, strike their heads with bullets […].”

But what is the meaning of declaring an Islamic caliphate? A Salafi cleric says, “It means that borders and barriers among Islamic countries are now invalid. There will be a single Islamic economic system and currency, and an army to defend it.” He continued, “It also means there will no longer be any subservience to any country, requiring the establishment of universities and factories to make Muslims a major power in all fields.”

ISIS, represented by its senior leaders and notables, decided to declare the Islamic caliphate and to install a caliph for the Muslims, having in its view satisfied all the requirements to do so. These requirements are the same ones caliphs supposedly needed since about 1,400 years ago.

According to Salafi clerics, the caliph is required to rule a territory in every sense of the word, and not in a provisional manner. They argue that ISIS staked its claim to the caliphate on the basis that it controls vast swaths of territory, in addition to having funds, an army, and a population under its control, though ISIS did not take into account the fact that each era should have a different concept for what a state should be. Adnani had specified the role of the state as being to release prisoners, appoint governors and judges, collect taxes, and disseminate religious education, among other functions.

Some radical Islamists have criticized ISIS for declaring a caliphate without first obtaining the unanimous consent of the nation’s scholars of religion. If Baghdadi is to be a caliph for all Muslims, then is it enough for him to obtain the consent of all scholars of Iraq and Syria – assuming that even this could happen to begin with?

What is certain is that the declaration of the caliphate puts all militant Islamic groups in an awkward position. Addressing such groups, ISIS had declared, “The legitimacy of your groups is null and void. It is a sin for any of you to sleep this night without pledging allegiance,” adding that other militant groups delay victory because they are a cause for divisions.

One supporter of al-Nusra Front has questions about the meaning of this caliphate too. He said the move means that Taliban and various al-Qaeda-linked groups, in addition to jihadi groups active in different countries, would henceforth be committing a sin, and fighting them and killing their members is a duty, unless they accept Baghdadi as the caliph.

In turn, a member of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades weighs in. He told Al-Akhbar, “There is no good in declaring a caliphate under these circumstances; it is something that has evil consequences, which means it is invalid.”

The young Lebanese man, who is wanted by the authorities for his affiliation to a terrorist group, continued, “Its establishment at this time ruins everything that the mujahidin…have built everywhere. The declaration means that anyone who does not pledge allegiance to them will be declared an apostate and sentenced to die.”

When asked whether he was going to give his allegiance to the self-proclaimed caliph Baghdadi, he said, “I will not split the ranks, but I will definitely not pledge allegiance. I would rather be beheaded a thousand times than do so, because I cannot accept a law that makes it lawful to kill thousands of Muslims unjustly.”

In the same vein, a leader in ISIS’ rival al-Nusra Front said, “Baghdadi ruled that Sheikh Joulani was an apostate for reneging on his allegiance to the emir [i.e. Baghdadi] even though his allegiance was something recommended rather than compulsory.” He continued, “By declaring the caliphate, they are forcing all groups in the Islamic world to be with ISIS in everything, including in its war with al-Nusra, or risk be seen as rogue and as something that ISIS soldiers must fight.”

Another Salafi cleric says that declaring the caliphate is the “essence of folly,” adding that ISIS does not meet the real requirements for doing so. He said, “Does military might establish a state? What about economists and pedagogues? In my opinion, this is suicide that will accelerate its collapse.”

Now that the Islamic caliphate is a fait accompli, jihadis say that all eyes will be on Mecca and Medina next. They say that the caliph will move to appoint envoys to every “wilaya” – a historical term for the provinces of an Islamic state.

Who knows, the wilaya of Lebanon may have its very own emir soon (reports about the appointment of a man named Abdul-Salam al-Urduni as emir of ISIS in Lebanon are incorrect, according to security sources). Perhaps the answer lies with Hizb-ut-Tahrir, the Islamist party that has been calling for years for the restoration of the caliphate.

Follow Radwan Mortada on Twitter | @radwanmortada

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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Syria in the Last 24 Hours June 30, 2014

Army Regains Control over Strategic Towns near Aleppo Industrial City

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army seized back control over two strategic towns in Aleppo countryside in the Northern parts of the country.

The army units took control of Al-Moqbeleh and Al-Mohseniya towns in Aleppo Industrial City in the Northeastern parts of Al-Sheikh Najjar Industrial City on Monday.

The Syrian army has now completed its siege of Aleppo Industrial City, paving the way for its imminent liberation operations against the militants in there.

On Saturday, reports said that the Syrian army units are preparing for a full-fledged war in the Northern city of Aleppo.

Military analysts say after the liberation of Aleppo prison the Syrian army has ushered in a new era in its confrontations with the militants.

The army units have regained control of several strategic areas in Aleppo, including Tal Qazan as well as air defense bases and a major part of the region that was previously under fire by the militant groups.

 Syrian Army Launches Fresh Operations to Liberate Strategic Hills Near Lebanese Border

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army started fresh operations to liberate a number of strategic hills near the country’s border with Lebanon.

The Syrian army units are engaged in fierce clashes with the militants in a region across the border from Lebanon’s Arsal region to liberate several strategic hills in there.

The latest reports from the battlefield said army units are now trying to liberate Zahr Al-Rahveh hills.

Also in the past 24 hours, the Syrian army purged 7 towns in Qamishli countryside of armed groups.

The seven towns included Khorbah Jadou, Abu Jalal, Khorbah Jamou, Molouk al-Saraya, Om Jafar, al-Jadidah and Om Jafar Azou.

The Syrian forces freed the towns after massive military operations in Reef (countryside) Qamishli in Hasaka province in the Northeastern parts of the country.

Also on Sunday, a military source said that the Syrian army restored security and stability to Zgharo village and regained control over Zgharo mountain in Rabiaa district in the Northern countryside of Lattakia.

The source told the state news agency that army units also killed a number of militants and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.

A military source said that an army unit foiled armed groups’ attempt to infiltrate towards the safe areas in al-Ashrafiyeh in Aleppo city, killing and injuring a number of militants.

In Qunaitera, an army unit destroyed several vehicles with all militants inside in the villages of Ain al-Tina, al-Alia, Tal al-Mahes, Tal al-Jabia, al-Sawwaia and al-Hajja.

Army units targeted militants’ concentration centers in the villages of Haurata, Om Sharshouh, al-Tiba in Homs countryside, killing many militants and injuring others.

Syrian army on Sunday restored security and stability to Zgharo village and regained control over Zgharo mountain in Rabiaa district in the Northern countryside of Lattakia, a military source said.

The source told the state news agency that army units also killed a number of militants and destroyed their weapons and ammunition.

A military source said that an army unit foiled armed groups’ attempt to infiltrate towards the safe areas in al-Ashrafiyeh in Aleppo city, killing and injuring a number of militants.

Meantime, President Bashar al-Assad expressed Syria’s appreciation for Russia’s stances in support of the Syrian people and the sovereignty and independence of nations, as well as the peoples’ right to self-determination which, he said, have consolidated its international role.

President al-Assad’s comment came during his meeting on Saturday with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov who is in Damascus on an official visit, Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

The President added that Syria is keenly interested in continuing coordination and consultations with Russia in the interest of the world and the region’s nations.

While highlighting the threat that growing terrorism and extremism in the region pose to regional and international security and stability, President al-Assad said this danger requires the synchronized efforts of all countries to counter it in every possible way.

Ryabkov, who conveyed to President al-Assad the Russian leadership’s congratulations for his win in June 3 presidential elections, said the vote has demonstrated the Syrian people’s commitment to their sovereignty and rejection of foreign meddling in their internal affairs.

The elections have, moreover, shown the Syrians’ support for President al-Assad and his policies, said the Russian official, affirming that Russia will continue to hold firm to its position in working as a friend and partner of Syria for “establishing security and stability in the region”.

Ryabkov applauded the Syria’s “immense efforts” for removing its chemical stockpile after having fulfilled its obligations in this regard “amid tough circumstances and a war it wages against terrorism,” a success that, he said, “attests to the Syrian government’s strength, firmness and credibility in delivering on its commitments”.

Syrian Army Begins Fresh Operations in Lattakia Countryside

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Syrian army started fresh operations in Lattakia countryside to purge strategic towns of militants.

The army units managed to purge terrorists from the town of Zagharou in al-Rabia countryside and also regained control of Zagharou strategic mountain peak.

The latest reports from the battlefield said the army has now begun advancing from Kharbeh Soulas towards the highly strategic Qamam region.

The army’s control over the Zagharou mountain peak is seen to carry much strategic importance as it has been under the control of the militants for more than two years now.

A Syrian military source confirmed the beginning of military operations in Lattakia countryside, and said that the main purpose for carrying out the Syrian army operations is maintaining security in Syria’s coastal regions and preventing militants’ attacks on these areas.

On Friday, Syrian troops staged massive attacks on the foreign-backed insurgents’ strongholds in various areas across the countryside of Lattakia, killing and injuring a large number of anti-Syrian fighters, and wounding several others in the battlefronts.

At least 23 militants were killed and many others were injured during army operations in the villages of al-Rabia, al-Moeitmeh and Saqieh in the Northern countryside of Lattakia, a military source said.

As’ad Zreiq, a leader from Al-Nusra Front terrorist group, Ahmad Balsha and explosive expert Ahmad al-Sous were among the killed rebels.

Army also attacked militants’ strongholds in the villages of Deir-Hanna, Ketf al-Roumman and al-Qasab in the coastal province.

Armed forces targeted rebels in the towns of al-Qantara, al-Qasab, al-Hamrat, Drousha, Deir Hanna and Ghmam in the Northern countryside, which left scores of anti-government fighters dead.

Suicide Bomb Targets Zahran Allouch Militants in Eastern Gouta
Local Editor
.A suicide bomb targeted a gathering for Zahran Allouch supporters in the town Midaa in eastern Gouta, Killing and injuring dozens.

The militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) then clashed with those of the so-called Jaish Al-Islam (Army of Islam) and kidnapped dozens of them.

Reports asserted that the suicide bomber is Abu Mohammad al-Ansari, an ISIL fighter.

It is worth noting that the Jaish Al-Islam earlier announced that it had controlled the whole town.

Source: Al Manar TV

Syrian Army Kills Scores of Terrorists in Different Provinces
Local Editor
Syrian ArmyThe Syrian army units eliminated Monday armed terrorists’ groups in several provinces, killing and injuring a number of their members and destroying their weaponry, SANA reported.

In Aleppo, the Syrian army killed a number terrorists in different areas.

The army units also destroyed terrorists’ vehicles with all the terrorists inside them in Hreitan, Alliramoun, Deir Jamal, Handarat, Anadan and the Industrial City.

In Quneitra countryside, the Syrian army targeted a den for armed terrorist groups affiliated to al-Nusra Front near a school in Koudneh, leaving a number of terrorists dead and wounded.

In Daraa, the Syrian army thwarted an attempt by an armed terrorist group to infiltrate areas in al-Manshiyeh in Daraa al-Balad, killing and injuring its members.

In Idleb countryside, army units targeted terrorist gatherings, leaving many terrorists dead or injured.

Source: Agencies


Syrian Army Victories, Statements, Daily Reports from the Battlefield

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خفايا غزوة الموصل!

وكالة أوقات الشام الإخبارية

*محمد صادق الحسيني / القدس العربي

 لا يختلف اثنان من المتابعين بامعان لما حصل في العراق اخيرا تحت يافطة «الانتصار لسنة العراق» او «الانتفاضة على استبداد المالكي» بان ما بات يعرف بغزوة الموصل انما هي خطوة اكبر من ان تحصر في أروقة العملية السياسية العراقية او حتى في اطار ظاهرة تمدد داعش او ما تسميه هذه المنظمة الارهابية بتشكيل دولة العراق والشام كما يحاول البعض ان يضعها كذلك ….!

اسئلة كثيرة مجرد طرحها هي التي ستجيب عن الحجم الذي يحمله مخطط الهجوم على محافظة نينوى في التوقيت الذي حصلت فيه ….
1ـ لماذا اتى الهجوم مباشرة بعد نجاح الاستحقاق الرئاسي الموفق في سورية والذي انتج فيما انتج ممارسة اقتراع ديمقراطية افرزت انتخاب رجل ظلت اكثر من مئة دولة في العالم تحت قيادة واشنطن وتل ابيب طوال اكثر من ثلاث سنوات وهي تصر على اعتباره غير ديمقراطي وان ايامه معدودة ….؟!

2ـ لماذا اتى الهجوم بعد فشل محادثات بعيدة عن الانظار بين اكثر من عاصمة في الدنيا كانت مصممة على اجبار المقاومة الاسلامية اللبنانية وحلفائها التخلي عن مرشحهم الحقيقي لرئاسة الجمهورية في لبنان !؟

3ـ لماذا حصل الهجوم بعد ان يئست الاطراف الاقليمية المتعددة من ايجاد معادلة تكافؤية كما يسمونها بين ما يسمونها بالمعارضة السورية المعتدلة وبين حكومة الرئيس بشار حافظ الاسد!؟
4 ـ لماذا قرر محافظ الموصل وهو رجل الدولة الذي يمثل الحكومة المركزية في بغداد والمعين من قبل رئيس الوزراء نوري المالكي ترك حبل المدينة على غاربها و لما خرج منها تاركا اياها في مهب رياح الوحوش الكاسرة عاد وكشف انه خدع وترك وحيدا وانه قد تم استخدامه اداة في اطار مخطط اكبر كما شرح بالتفصيل لصحيفة دي بلادت السويدية ..!؟

5 ـ اين هو القنصل التركي الذي قيل بانه تم اختطافه وعشرات الديبلوماسيين والموظفين الاداريين من القنصلية التركية اثناء الهجوم على الموصل وما هي حقيقة مثل هذا السيناريو الذي لعب باتقان لغاية في نفس اردوغان !؟

6 ـ لماذا انسحبت عشرات الالوف من قوات البيشمركة الكردية ومثلها من القوات المحلية من الموصل وغيرها من المدن والبلدات من محافظات « الاكثرية السنية « بشكل منظم وممنهج وباتقان تاركة الدواعش تفتك باهل تلك المدن والبلدات وتهدم بناها التحتية وتعيث فسادا فيها !؟

7 ـ لماذا اقدمت حكومة اقليم كردستان العراق على اجتياح مدينة كركوك و ضمها الى الاقليم واعلان ان المادة 140 المخصصة لمناقشة مستقبل كركوك حتى يتم التوصل الى صيغة توافقية بشأنها !؟

8 ـ كيف ولماذا باشرت حكومة اقليم كردستان العراق وباسرع من البرق ببيع نفط الاقليم ناقلة وراء ناقلة وباسرع ما يمكن تصوره الى الحكومة التركية لتصبح هي الوسيط النزيه والطرف الوحيد القادر على تنفيذ هذا الحلم الكردي القديم قدم تأسيس الكيان الصهيوني !؟

9 ـ لماذا فتحت الحدود لداعش باتجاه العراق بعد فشل محادثات ايران امريكا النووية اي تماما يوم يئست واشنطن من لي ذراع طهران ..!؟

10 ـ لماذا لم نسمع باسم اي شخصية اعتبارية سورية او عراقية او عربية او اسلامية معروفة من بين زعماء داعش او اي من الفصائل المسماة جهادية وغلبة الاسماء المجهولة التاريخ والمشتبه بها سواء كانت عربية او من بلدان اسلامية او غربية او اوروبية على قيادة هذه الفصائل العجيبة الغريبة !

11ـ هل حان وقت تنفيذ مخطط برنارد لويس لتقسيم الوطن العربي والعالم الاسلامي!’

12ـ هل كانت غزوة الموصل جزءا من قرارات مؤتمر هرتزيليا السنوي الذي عقد بالقرب من تل ابيب قبل اسابيع قليلة !؟

13 ـ هل ثمة توافق اقليمي صهيوني – عربي « اعتدالي « تركي بتسليم الموصل لحكومة انقرة في اطار خطة تقسيم العراق الى اقاليم كونفدرالية في اطار فك وتركيب جغرافية المنطقة السياسية يتم من خلالها شطب بعض الدول الخليجية الصغيرة ومسحها عن الخارطة مثل الكويت والبحرين والمنطقة الشرقية في بلاد الحرمين الشريفين ….!؟

14 هل ثمة دور بريطاني اسرائيلي خاص هو الذي يقف وراء تقسيم العراق الى ثلاثة اقاليم جيو – طاقية اي تقسيم ذخائر نفط العراق ومعادنه على الاقاليم الثلاثة المذكورة بطريقة متقنة تخدم مصالح الدول الكبرى المهيمنة والمؤثر ة على سياسات الطاقة العالمية !؟

15 ـ ما هي العلاقة بين حرب المياه المفتوحة التي يمكن لتركيا ان تشنها على كل من سورية والعراق بسبب سيطرتها على منابع دجلة والفرات المتواجدين على اراضيها وبين حاجة انقرة الصناعية والتجارية الى مخازن وحقول الطاقة في الموصل من جهة وسوق النفط «الكردية» من جهة اخرى !؟

ولماذا ولماذا ولماذا كثيرة اخرى كلها تصب عمليا باتجاه واحد الا وهو :
ان قرار غزوة الموصل ليس نتاج او حصيلة حركة احتجاج عراقية داخلية حتى وان وجدت هذه الخطوة تعاطفا هنا او هناك او اجراء او منفذين او بيئة حاضنة لها هنا او هناك او حتى عملاء مباشرين ….
انه قرار دولي خطير له علاقة مباشرة بالمواجهة الكبيرة الدائرة على المستوى الجيو استراتيجي بين المشروع الهيمني الامريكي و بين مشروع المقاومة الايراني السوري اللبناني والذي تحاول بغداد جاهدة الانخراط فيه….
اريد من ورائها ولا يزال ما يلي :
اشعال حروب فتن سنية شيعية متنقلة لا تنتهي لعشرات السنين …
اشعال حرب عربية فارسية ـ ايرانية ـ تثار خلالها الاحقاد والضغائن قدرالامكان قد تصل حتى ادخال مصر الجديدة لو لزم الامر وهي التي تعيش مخاض التحول والتغيير وامتحان العودة الى دور اقليمي وعالمي يليق بها ….

اشعال حريق كبير في لبنان يعرض مشروع المقاومة لخطر حرب اهلية من نمط جديد كان يمكن ان يصبح الحلقة الاخطر في المخطط الجهنمي المرسوم…..
باختصار شديد فان غزوة الاحزاب الموصلية لم يكن بامكانها ان تنطلق بذلك التسارع والاندفاع لولا وجود قرار دولي كبير وارادة دول عظمى يعتقد عديد من المتابعين انه اسرائيلي بريطاني اضطرت ادارة الرئيس اوباما للالتحاق به سريعا حتى لا يفوتها القطار فتخسر الانتخابات التكميلية او الفرعية على مستوى الكونغرس والتي باتت على الابواب في الخريف المقبل ….

وما التخبط الكبير الذي تمر به الادارة الامريكية في سياساتها الخارجية العامة تجاه دول المنطقة سواء في سورية او لبنان او العراق او ايران الا انعكاس واقعي لحدة الجدل الكبير المحتدم داخل اروقة البيت الابيض والكنيست الاسرائيلي وحكومة نتانياهو حول كيفية التعاطي مع منظومة الدفاع الوطني اللبنانية والتي باتت الذراع المقتدرة والاقوى القادرة على لجم اي مخطط عدواني على جبهة المقاومة مجتمعة ….

وما سميناه في بداية غزوة داعش بانه مواجهة ايرانية اسرائيلية على تخوم بغداد نعيد اليوم لنؤكد عليه ونضيف بانه قد يكون ايضا ضربات وقائية لمنع اندلاع حرب تحرير اصبع الجليل بعد تعاظم دور حزب الله كما ونوعا وتسلحا وخبرة وتدبيرا ودورا …!

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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Media Disinformation and “Manufactured Dissent”: Interview with Michel Chossudovsky [VIDEO]

James Tracy is joined by Michel Chossudovsky, award-winning author and editor of Global Research. Together they discuss the phenomenon of manufactured dissent, contemporary independent news media , and the prospects for challenging corporate media disinformation, American imperialism, and the New World Order.

Chossudovsky received his doctorate in economics from the University of North Carolina. He is Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and Editor of Global Research.ca. Based in Montreal, Global Research is one of the most well-known alternative news outlets in the world.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

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Iraq in the Last 24 Hours June 30, 2014


Iraqi Security Forces Dismantle Terrorist Groups in Southern Baghdad

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraq’s security forces annihilated several terrorist groups in the Southern parts of the capital on Monday.

The security forces raided the hideouts of the terrorist groups in Al-Dorreh and Al-Ghazaliyeh regions in the capital, killing and injuring scores of terrorists and arresting others.

Al-Dorreh is a region in Southern Baghdad and along the Western coasts of Tigris River. Many important government organizations and centers as well as Al-Dorreh Oil Refinery and Al-Dorreh Electricity Post are located in AL-Dorreh region.

Meantime, reports from Mosul said Pishmarga forces have discovered and dismantled explosive packages in Western Mosul.

Other reports said Iraq’s army continues its advances in the Northern parts of the country.

Earlier in the day, Iraqi fighter jets killed three ISIL terrorists in an air raid in Northern Baquba.

“The Iraqi Army warplanes targeted and killed three terrorists in Injana village located between Salahuddin and Diyala provinces,” security sources said on Monday morning.

Iraq: Security Forces Kill ISIL Commander in Kirkuk

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iraqi security forces killed the commander of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group in Kirkuk on Monday.

“The security forces have killed a guerrilla commander in Kirkuk,” a security source said, Iraq’s national news agency reported.

“The slain terrorist was Abu Bakr Chechen, the commander of the ISIL,” the source added.

Iraq: ISIL Militants Fleeing Salahuddin in Women Dress

TEHRAN (FNA)- Militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are wearing women’s dress and hid in civilians’ cars to escape from Salahuddin province in disguise after sustaining a heavy defeat in the war with Iraq’s army and volunteer forces.

“Many of the ISIL militants are fleeing Salahuddin province in family cars and in women dresses,” Head of Salahuddin Governorate Council Ahmad Al-Karim told FNA on Monday.

He said that the ISIL militants are escaping to Al-Jazeera Hamrin Mountains, and added, “The ISIL is a terrorist group supported by some regional countries and it is just trying to create a chaotic atmosphere in the region.”

Meantime, a security source in Salahuddin province announced that the Iraqi army has struck heavy blows on the ISIL.

On Monday, Iraq’s security forces and army killed large numbers of ISIL militants in violent clashes at Spiker military base in North of Tikrit, capital province of Salahuddin province.

“Fierce clashes erupted between the armed forces and the terrorists in Spiker base in the North of Salahuddin,” informed security source told Iraq’s Alforat news agency.

“The fighting resulted in killing the terrorists,” he added.

Fallujah: Iraqi Security Forces Begin Eliminating ISIL Terrorists in Saqlawiyah

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iraqi security forces began major military operations against the terrorist gangs of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Saqlawiyah area, North of Fallujah district, Anbar province, security source said.

The terrorist gangs of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) had desecrated Saqlawiyah area on June 15 and committed terrible crimes against its citizens.

The Iraqi Army troops and the other security services are now repelling their terrorist attacks.

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Fear and loathing at Hotel Babylon

By Pepe Escobar 

So now a huge Hardcore Sunnistan stretches all the way from the suburbs of Aleppo to Tikrit and from Mosul to the Jordanian/Iraqi border – the same one that dissolved in 2003 when Shock and Awe turned into Mission (Un)Accomplished. 

In an eerie echo of Dick Cheney’s army’s footprints reverberating in the sands of Anbar province, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and their coalition of the willing (jihadis, Islamists,

Ba’athists and tribal sheikhs) now pose as the “liberators” of Iraqi Sunnis from the clutches of an “evil” Shi’ite majority government in Baghdad.

In addition, ISIS also controls the PR wars. Here, a jihadi details how any sort of possible Washington “kinetic” involvement will be interpreted as an unholy alliance between the Empire and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki against the underdogs.

From a Sunni perspective, it’s down with Iraq’s Counter-terrorism law; down with de-Ba’athification (with the ascent of neo-Ba’athist Jaysh Rijal al-Tariqa al-Naqshbandia – JRTN, led by former Saddam honcho Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri); down with the Interior Ministry in Baghdad going after Sunni politicians; down with protests being crushed.

At the same time, it’s the return of the US-sponsored Sahwa (Sons of Iraq) – who fiercely fought al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2007, the mother of ISIS – and the return of assorted Shi’ite militias (Muqtada al-Sadr not only repelled the new wave of US “military advisers” – that’s how it started in Vietnam – but also warned that his own badass Men in Black will “shake the ground” fighting ISIS.) The mid-2000s are the new normal; it’s gonna be militia hell all over again.

Mesopotamia, we got a problem. Neo-Ba’athists want nothing but a secular Iraq run by Sunnis, Saddam-style (rather former neocon darling Ahmad Chalabi.) ISIS wants a Caliphate extending all across the Levant under Sharia law. Something’s got to give.

What will give will be the Iraqi nation itself – the balkanized, protracted (intended) consequence of the 2003 invasion and occupation, finally transmogrified into Jihad Central.

It’s payback time

The Obama administration’s “strategy” (remember “Don’t Do Stupid Shit”, the Ukraine strategy?) is to impose regime change on al-Maliki; after all, he had the bad taste of refusing to let US troops keep occupying Iraq past the 2012 deadline, and on top of it his government is close to Tehran.

Thus the answer to the now legendary question of how the US intel satellite maze failed to capture that long column of ISIS Men in Black in their gleaming white Toyota Land Cruisers crossing the Syrian-Iraq desert wasteland. Call it the Mother of All Intel Failures (remember Saddam’s talk of Mother of All Battles?) 

Here we have trademark Empire of Chaos “revenge” against Baghdad, Tehran and – why not – Moscow (after all Russian president Vladimir Putin offered full support to al-Maliki to fight the jihadis.) Iraq duly merges with Ukraine. And as for payback redux, it’s – almost – all spelled out here.

As for the Beltway-peddled myth – once again – of “good terrorists” and “bad terrorists”, this week Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria pledged its allegiance to ISIS. This means that ISIS now virtually controls both sides of the border, at Albu Kamal in Syria and Al-Qaim in Iraq. As a bonus, ISIS and allied Sunni tribal sheikhs also surrounded the US-controlled Camp Anaconda in Iraq and are ready for a long-term mortar game. Will Beltway “analysts” ever learn?

That little fiction known as Jordan – run by King Playstation, aka Abdullah – will be ripe for the taking as soon as hardcore Salafis from Zarqa (Zarqawi’s hometown) totally align with ISIS. Add that piece of real estate to the embryo Levantine Caliphate and we’ll be talking major business – oil refineries possibly included. 

“Don’t Do Stupid Shit”, applied to Syria and Iraq, means that the Obama administration has gone (almost) no holds barred in its “Assad must go” policy, by the way a Ba’ath government; what’s implied is that Washington is an ally of ISIS in Syria, while a (determined?) foe of ISIS in Iraq.

Assad’s “sin” is that he’s an ally of both Tehran (like al-Maliki) and, most of all (from an American perspective), Hezbollah. And now comes the Obama administration’s latest “Stupid Shit” – in the form of weaponizing “appropriately vetted” rebels in Syria.

Lording over this suspension of disbelief scenario, the whole Beltway, White House included, sells the illusion it is thoughtfully deliberating whether the real dangerous Men in Black here are in fact from ISIS – and what to do about them.

As some sort of Washington-Tehran cooperation against ISIS becomes self-evident, that poses a major problem for the perennial Bomb Iran crowd in the Beltway, as well as for hardliners in Tehran; after all ISIS has erected a massive geostrategic barrier between Iran and Syria, threatening Tehran’s connection with Hezbollah.

Likudniks will go no holds barred to prevent any cooperation. But that will be a detail anyway. Baghdad may get all the help it needs from Iranian special forces and militias such as Muqtada’s. ISIS does not have the manpower or the expertise to lay siege to Baghdad; people in Sadr City alone would rip them to shreds. Not to mention attack Najaf and Karbala, the Shi’ite holy cities, which are already protected by heavily armed popular brigades.

Will NATO meet Jihadistan? 

Kirkuk is now under virtual Kurd control. Its “devolution” to Baghdad will be immensely problematic – and that’s a major euphemism. Kirkuk produces around 670,000 barrels of oil a day. Up to 300,000 are exported via the pipeline to Ceyhan, in Turkey. Yet only 120,000 barrels a day have been online these past few weeks.

Iraq’s total production is 3.3 million barrels a day – the bulk concentrated in the south, around Basra. There’s no realistic evidence ISIS would ever be able to capture Basra.

So the problem remains some refineries in the north such as Baiji. Elite Iraqi counter-terrorism forces can deal with it. If ISIS by any chance would be able to hang on to some oil and gas – a major if – that’s certified joy for, most of all, market speculators. And soon there might be thousands of US special forces “securing” Iraqi oil fields and the Green Zone in Baghdad.

Assad’s Syrian Army can – and it’s already – contributing to fight ISIS. In the end, ISIS can realistically be repelled by the Syrian Army, elite Iranian special forces, Shi’ite brigades and yes – animminent cameo by those second-hand fighter jets from Russia and Belarus.

ISIS won’t take over Baghdad. But like a freak mutant, in a Hardcore Sunnistan goes Hollywood fashion, it might go even more bonkers and try to take over Amman, Doha and even Riyadh.

The Empire of Chaos will keep betting on – what else – chaos. And it’s going swimmingly its way – from the real possibility of a final push towards a Great Kurdistan (in Syria, Iraq, Turkey and even Iran) to sectarian militia hell all across Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Yemen. Not to mention all possible ramifications in Northern Africa, Central Asia and the North Caucasus.

What will Hillary Clinton, the Hillarator, do? In this case, one’s gotta wait for early 2017. She could always pull another “We came, we saw, he died” and triumphantly stage a second coming in the Levant as a droned Athena singing Light My Fire.

In the end, NATO won’t meet Jihadistan. No “responsibility to protect” (R2P) Arabs from killing Arabs. NATO will be – gleefully – “watching” in the sidelines. Because from Northern Africa and across the Middle East to the Caucasus and all the way to Western China, the name of the (burning) game is to keep Dr Zbig Brzezinski’s “Eurasian Balkans” ever simmering in a funeral pyre. 

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

(Copyright 2014 Asia Times Online (Holdings) Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

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Saudi King Sacks Deputy Defense Minister

Local Editor

Saudi King Abdullah bin AbdulazizSaudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz sacked the deputy defense minister on Saturday less than two months after he was appointed, the state news agency reported.

The royal decree said the decision to relieve Prince Khaled bin Bandar bin Abdul-Aziz of his post came upon the recommendation of Crown Prince Salman, the defense minister. No reason was given for the order.

Moves in the ruling family are closely watched at home and abroad for clues to who will rule the world’s top oil exporter.

Prince Khaled was moved to the post of deputy defense minister in May when King Abdullah removed him from his position as governor of Riyadh Province and appointed his son, Prince Turki, in his place.

The move was seen as strengthening the grip of his branch of the ruling dynasty as it approaches a difficult decision over how to transfer power to the next generation.

King Abdullah, who is over 90, has made a series of changes and appointments over the past two years that have consolidated the position of his allies in the family.

The most recent was the appointment of Prince Muqrin, the youngest of King Abdulaziz’s sons to survive into adulthood, as deputy crown prince, a newly created position that makes him next in line to rule after King Abdullah and Crown Prince Salman.

Source: Websites
30-06-2014 – 12:43 Last updated 30-06-2014 – 12:43


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