8/14/14, "Islamic State Said to Challenge Al-Qaeda for Leadership," Bloomberg,
The radical Islamic State’s advances in Iraq
are strengthening its challenge to al-Qaeda in a contest for the
leadership of the global jihadi movement, according to five U.S.
Its territorial gains and declaration of a caliphate spanning parts of Syria
and Iraq, reinforced by its use of social media to broadcast its
accomplishments in many languages, are attracting recruits and even
drawing defections from the leadership of the core al-Qaeda group and
some affiliates, the officials told reporters at a briefing today. They
spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence assessments.
The U.S. intelligence community thinks the Islamic State has an
incentive to conduct a major terrorist strike against U.S. or European
targets, in part to further assert itself as the true leader of radical
Islam, the officials said. There’s evidence that the group is
establishing cells beyond Iraq and Syria, they said.
There’s a “competition for jihadi leadership” in which the Islamic
State disparages al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri and his lieutenants
for hiding in the mountains as it tries to seize the global jihadi
crown, retired U.S. Army Colonel Derek Harvey, a former senior analyst
on Iraq for General David Petraeus, said at a panel on Iraq today hosted
by the New America Foundation a Washington policy organization.
While President Barack Obama
has sought to separate events in Syria, where he’s avoided military
intervention in the civil war, and the challenge from the Islamic State,
the intelligence assessments suggest a close connection, according to
two of the intelligence officials.
The intelligence officials didn’t discuss possible U.S. military or other actions now being considered by Obama.
former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s criticism of Obama’s
failure to act more forcefully in Syria, the officials said the conflict
there provided the ungoverned space and sectarian fuel to revitalize
the group. One of the intelligence officials said the Islamic State’s
caliphate could not happened without the opportunities it had in Syria.
began as al-Qaeda in Iraq, was suppressed by U.S. forces and local
Sunni tribesmen during the so-called “surge” in 2006-2007, then
transformed itself into the Islamic State of Syria and the Levant and
finally into its current form, the Islamic State.
administration also may have underestimated the Islamic State’s
capabilities in Iraq and Syria -- with the president famously comparing
it to a junior varsity team -- in part because of the president’s
reluctance to put his “toe, foot and then leg” back into Iraq, said
While the U.S. intelligence
community had estimated that the Islamic State had about 10,000 fighters
in Syria and Iraq before it captured Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city,
that estimate is now being revised upward, the intelligence officials
The officials said the Islamic State’s ranks are bolstered by thousands of foreign fighters, including some from Europe
and the U.S. whom officials said may return home with orders or
independent plans to hit targets. That threat is highlighted by recent
arrests in Europe, including about 40 men detained in Kosovo who reportedly had been fighting for the Islamic State.
is a well-organized group with a hierarchy and succession plan, the
intelligence officials said. Its leaders are experienced fighters, and
most were detained or imprisoned during the U.S. occupation of Iraq,
which provided key connections for them, they said.
leader, known by his nom de guerre, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, frequently on
the move between hiding places in Iraq and Syria, is in control, though
he doesn’t micromanage the group’s actions, officials said.
Islamic State is essentially self-funding, able to draw on hundreds of
millions of dollars through taxes, money looted from banks, sales of oil
from areas it now controls, extortion and other measures, the
intelligence officials said.
That means one key element of the strategy used against al-Qaeda -- curbing the money flow from the Persian Gulf and other outside sources -- wouldn’t be effective, they said.
State militants are “better equipped, they’re better manned, they’re
better resourced, they’re better fighters, they’re better trained than
the al-Qaeda in Iraq that our forces faced,” Brett McGurk, deputy
assistant U.S. secretary of state for Iraq and Iran, said yesterday on the Charlie Rose show.
“It is a global expansionist, global jihadist organization” he said. “It is swollen with foreign fighters and suicide bombers”
who will go “wherever the organization tells them to go. And that could
very easily be capitals in the region, it could be capitals in Europe
and, God forbid, it could be here.”
Still, there are factors
that may limit the group’s ability to conduct a major al-Qaeda-style
attack, the intelligence officials said. These include lacking the kind
of technical know-how that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s top bomb
designer has shown in building devices to be smuggled aboard aircraft,
the officials said.
IS also may eventually face financial
pressures because the areas it controls in Syria and Iraq are not
economically self-sufficient, the officials said. Another vulnerability
may be the militants’ main transit route through Turkey,
if the Turkish government can be persuaded to crack down on would-be
fighters traveling to Syria and Iraq, the officials said.
the U.S. officials said they don’t consider the Islamic State
invincible, they said it now has so much momentum that it will be
difficult and take time to thwart. If the group begins losing ground,
and some recent Iraqi Sunni recruits peel off, it may be weakened, but
will remain difficult to eradicate, they said.
Weakening it will
require military and counter-terrorism actions, and their effectiveness
will depend in part on whether there are social and political changes
that begin to drain Sunni support, the officials said.
disaffected Sunnis in Iraq are willing for now to see if the Islamic
State can govern its areas without the kind of brutality and atrocities
it has used against foes and minorities, the officials said.
setbacks could blunt the group’s power, the officials said, since an
Islamic State without territory will be less appealing to international
The intelligence community doesn’t anticipate a move against Baghdad
soon because the Iraqi capital is defended by security forces and
Shiite militias, the officials said. It’s an unlikely target, since the
vast majority of city’s population are Shiites who would fight the Sunni
insurgent group, the officials said.
IS also faces a rival in al-Qaeda, with the major rift now between Osama bin Laden’s designated heir, Egyptian exile Ayman al-Zawahiri, and al-Baghdadi, who during the U.S. occupation led al-Qaeda in Iraq, the officials said.
personal and ideological disputes, first over the group’s activities in
the Syrian civil war -- where it competes with the al-Nusra Front, an
al-Qaeda affiliate -- and then over the declaration of a caliphate, have
led to a public breach and an open rivalry.
the late ’90s, al-Qaeda has been focused on prioritizing attacks
against the U.S.” while the upstart Islamic State and its predecessor
groups seek to control territory in the Middle East -- from Iraq into
Syria and the Levant and down into Jordan, said Brian Fishman, a fellow
at the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, and the author of studies on al-Qaeda and global jihad.
The Islamic State wants “to eliminate all borders in the Middle East,
and that’s where they’re putting their resources,” Fishman said. While
al-Qaeda shares that eventual goal, it has targeted its resources on
planning attacks on U.S. targets at home and abroad.
Obama facing questions about how far to go in trying to defeat the
Islamic State. Obama will have to weigh the potential consequences at
home and abroad. Opinion polls have found little support for further
overseas military engagements. Limited U.S. airstrikes this month have
fueled thousands of hostile posts on social media threatening U.S.
embassies in the Mideast and other American targets, one of the
Comment: The US isn't in a position to discuss "going to war" because the US is no longer a country. A place with no southern border isn't a country. The southern border was erased because it was considered "nativist" and selfish. Similarly, the US military no longer exists to protect America--that would be selfish. In so-called wars today, the US first loads up war zones with CNN and other "reporters" who broadcast our every move to the world. There's no distinction between Democrats and the GOP Establishment in this regard. The US today is two groups, the voiceless "huddled masses" (slaves), and the elites. The GOP wanted to make sure the Republican Party was good and dead so it applied some finishing touches in recent years. The end of two party system marked the country's overthrow.
Since the 1970's the US Ruling Class has sold the country out to Middle East regimes:
10/20/11, "The Lost Decade," [2001-2011] Angelo M. Codevilla, Claremont Institute
"Our ruling class justified its ever-larger role" in America’s domestic life by redefining war as a never-ending struggle against unspecified enemies for abstract objectives, and by asserting expertise far above that of
ordinary Americans. (parag. 9)...It failed to ask the classic headwaters
question: what is the problem?...(subhead, 'Whatever it takes')
"Whatever it Takes"...
That would have pointed to the Middle East’s regimes, and to our ruling class’ relationship with them,
as the problem’s ultimate source. The rulers of
Saudi Arabia, and the
had run (and continue to run) educational and media systems that demonize America. Under all of them, the Muslim Brotherhood or the Wahhabi sect spread that
message in religious terms to Muslims in the West as well as at home.
That message indicts America, among other things,
for being weak.
And indeed, ever since the 1970s U.S. policy had responded to acts of war and terrorism from the Muslim world
by absolving the regimes
for their subjects’ actions....Many influential Americans were
making money in the Arab world."...
Wall St. Journal has long sought erasure of US borders:
"We propose a five-word constitutional amendment: There shall be open borders." (parag. 5).
July 3, 1984, "REVIEW & OUTLOOK (Editorial): In Praise of Huddled Masses," Wall Street Journal (Eastern edition) (scroll down)
“Mexico would have died...without the option to send its rural poor-fully one-fifth of its population- to the United States.” ...
4/6/14, "Jeb Bush says illegal immigration often 'an act of love'," Reuters, Peter Cooney
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