The Three Stages of Jihad

 

 

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

-Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 

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Islam Invasion: More Proof the Mateen Family Were All Terrorist Supporters

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So much for the “radicalized by the internet” media narrative. Omar Mateen didn’t need the internet. He had his parents and in-laws, who should never have been in this country.

Omar Mateen’s father, Seddique Mateen of Port St. Lucie, hosted his own television show between 2011 and 2015 during his run for Afghan president. In dozens of videos broadcast on YouTube, the father’s main complaint involved the Durand Line, a demarcation established by the British in 1893 that separates Afghanistan and Pakistan. The homeland of the Pashtun ethnic group straddles the border.

Although it is not known if the Mateens are Pashtuns, the Afghan Taliban is mostly made up of Pashtuns. In one video, the elder Mateen expresses his gratitude to the Taliban and condemns Pakistan’s intelligence agency, ISI, and the United States for supporting it, according to a Washington Post report.

“Our brothers in Waziristan, our warrior brothers in (the) Taliban movement and national Afghan Taliban are rising up,” he said. “Inshallah (Allah willing), the Durand Line issue will be solved soon.”

Noor’s mother, Ekbal Salman, used Facebook to pledge her support to Palestinian fighters. Immigration records show she came to the United States in the early 1980s.

“How many snipers from Palestine deserve a bow from our heads as respect to them?” the mother wrote in a post on Oct. 6, 2013. A photo included with the post praises one fighter who “killed 11 Zionists.”

Recently, she has posted her support for Jamal Al-Taweel, an imprisoned Hamas official who — along with his wife and daughter — repeatedly have been detained and jailed by Israeli authorities. Hamas, branded a terrorist organization by the United States, is the ruling party in the Gaza Strip.

This is some great reporting by Christine Stapleton at the Palm Beach Post. And it dismantles the “lone wolf” and “internet radical” narrative. This did not come out of nowhere. It came from his own family.

Read the Original Article at Front Page Mag

Espionage Files: Pakistani Spies Behind the 2009 FOB Chapman Attack?

Anybody who has done any amount of serious reading about 9/11 knows that Pakistan is an ally of the U.S. in name only; they have been supplying the Taliban with intel and arms for decades and indeed did support Bin Laden and his ilk during the early parts of the War in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004, most likely assisting in coordinating his escape from Tora Bora.

The Book The Triple Agent by Joby Warrick is an excellent read on the subject of Balawi and how he duped the CIA. -SF

Chapman

Two recently declassified United States government documents suggest that Pakistani intelligence officers may have been behind a suicide attack that killed seven employees of the Central Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan. The attack took place at the Forward Operating Base Chapman, a US military outpost in Khost, Afghanistan. It was carried out by Humam al-Balawi, a Jordanian doctor who posed as a disillusioned member of al-Qaeda and had convinced his CIA handlers that he could lead them to the whereabouts of al-Qaeda’s deputy Emir, Ayman al-Zawahiri. During a scheduled visit to FOB Chapman on December 30, 2009, al-Balawi detonated a suicide vest, instantly killing himself and nine other people, including a Jordanian intelligence officer and seven CIA employees. The bloody incident, which marked the most lethal attack against the CIA in nearly three decades, was widely blamed on al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban.

However, a set of newly released US State Department cables seem to suggest that Pakistani intelligence may have been behind the attack. The documents were released by George Washington University’s National Security Archive through a Freedom of Information Act request. One document, dated January 11, 2010, discusses the FOB Chapman attack in association with the Haqqani network, a Taliban-aligned Pashtun militant group that operates in Afghanistan but is headquartered in Pakistan. Western security observers have long considered the Haqqani network to be a paramilitary arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate. The January 11 State Department cable suggests that senior Haqqani network operatives met with their ISI handlers at least twice in the weeks prior to the FOB Chapman attack. Another cable, dated February 6, 2010, suggests that the ISI gave the Haqqani operatives $200,000 to step up attacks against Western forces in Afghanistan. A specific order was given at the meeting to carry out “the attack on Chapman [and] to enable a suicide mission by an unnamed Jordanian national”, presumably al-Balawi.

But an unnamed US intelligence official, who read the declassified documents, told the Associated Press news agency that the documents were “information report[s], not finally evaluated intelligence”. The material was thus “raw, unverified and uncorroborated”, said the official, and clashed with the broad consensus in the US Intelligence Community, which was that the attack was planned by al-Qaeda, not by the Haqqani network. The Associated Press contacted the Pakistani embassy in Washington, DC, about the National Security Archive revelations, but received no response.

Read the Original Article at Intel News

Crusader Corner: 53 Christians Murdered at Easter Celebration in Pakistan

The War Rages…What are you doing to prepare? -SF

Pakistan: Muslim murders 53 at park as Christians were celebrating Easter

“He says the area was crowded because Christians are celebrating the Easter holiday and many families were leaving the park when the blast occurred.”

PAKISTAN-UNREST-CHRISTIANS

“Tragedy strikes Lahore: Blast at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park kills 53, injures 30 on Easter,” First Post, March 27, 2016:

A blast ripped apart a public park in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore, the capital of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s political heartland of Punjab, rescue officials said.

The deafening explosion — apparently caused by a suicide bomber — hit gate no.1 around 6:30 pm when the park was teeming with families, specially women and children, dazed witnesses said.

“At least 10 people have been killed in a blast outside Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park,” Jam Sajjad Hussain, spokesman for Rescue 112 said, adding that more than 30 people were injured and had been taken to various hospitals in the city. Most of the injured are women and children, Hussain said.

Senior police officer Haider Ashraf said the explosion took place Sunday in the parking area of Gulshan-e-Iqbal park. He says the explosion appeared to have been a suicide bombing, but investigations were ongoing.

He says the area was crowded because Christians are celebrating the Easter holiday and many families were leaving the park when the blast occurred. He says the death toll could still rise as many of the wounded were in a critical condition. In fact, Pakistani newspaper Dawn tweeted that the death toll was at least 53. Emergency has been declared at all government hospitals in Lahore, the paper said.

ARY News said five to six kg of explosives may have been used in the explosion, which was heard in a large part of Lahore, capital of Punjab province.

Some reports said the bomb might have been fixed on a parked motorbike….

Read the Original Article at Jihad Watch

War Movies Worth a Damn: Hyena Road

‘Hyena Road’ Brings Grinding Complexity Of Ground Combat In Afghanistan To The Screen

New drama ‘Hyena Road’ takes a close look at the complex and often convoluted counterinsurgency doctrine in Afghanistan.

Translating the experiences of those who served in the Global War on Terror onto film has yielded mixed results, with many movies focusing on Iraq. The few that do take place in Afghanistan often focus on famous battles or special operations missions. However, the Canadian war drama “Hyena Road” aims to take a more fundamental look at the ground war in Afghanistan. Though the film’s take on asymmetric conflict stumbles along the way, it’s still worth seeing.

Directed and starring Paul Gross, who plays Capt. Pete Mitchell, the film was released in October 2015 and is set in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province. The road that lends its name to film is being constructed to allow Canadian forces to move troops and tanks to support isolated outposts against the Taliban. Canadian forces are working to finish the project with a local strongman, dubbed “BDK” and played by Fazal Hakimi,but the road is riddled with roadside bombs and the local construction crews are constantly targeted by the Taliban. Warrant Officer Ryan Sanders, played by Rossif Sutherland, leads a sniper section in Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry stationed at Forward Operating Base Sperwan Ghar. During an overwatch mission on the road, Sanders and his team are ambushed by the Taliban. They encounter a village elder who shelters them from the pursuing Taliban under the tribal Afghan code of Pashtunwali. Mitchell, an intelligence officer working in the tactical operation center, hears about the engagement and deduces that the elder is “the Ghost,” played byNeamat Arghandabi, a legendary mujahideen leader who vanished after the Soviets left Afghanistan. He has resurfaced to confront BDK, who alternates between moonlighting for the CIA and the Taliban.

What works best in “Hyena Road” are the opposite philosophies of war espoused by the two main characters. Mitchell prefers a population-focused approach, working with a network of contacts and local leaders to hasten the road’s construction. Sanders, being a sniper, naturally prefers eliminating the enemy fighters planting improvised explosive devices and conducting ambushes along Hyena Road. What’s interesting is how the film inverts the typical archetypes war films ascribe to these kinds of characters.

Despite his commitment to the counterinsurgency mission, Mitchell has a cynical mindset and justifies playing various groups against each other in order to give the Afghans a fighting chance at a better existence before Coalition troops must leave. Alternatively, Sanders views his profession as black and white: Engage targets, protect non-combatants. He also genuinely believes what his team does is important. For Sanders, being in the right place to shoot the right person could change the course of the war. The film illustrates the shifting layers of complexity: BDK plays all sides because he is motivated by personal gain rather than any sort of ideological association with the Afghan government; Mitchell wants to partner with the Ghost to ensure Hyena’s construction; but the Ghost seems more interested in using the Canadians to get at BDK. The conflict between the two Afghans is elemental, a personal confrontation that makes the broader picture of a stable Afghanistan seem distant, almost irrelevant.  As Mitchell describes it: “It’s not one war, it’s a bunch of different wars.”

“Hyena Road” builds this heated atmosphere with its presentation. Much of the movie is augmented with B-roll and establishing shots of real Canadian bases and soldiers. While a bit jarring, ultimately it allows the film to achieve effective visuals rivaling Hollywood fare like “Lone Survivor” and “Zero Dark Thirty,” with the modest budget of12.5 million. Footage of the sprawling Kandahar Airfield and the city itself, along with scenes of real helicopters dodging tracer fire all help to sell the movie’s vision of the “Graveyard of Empires.” Mitchell even invokes that moniker for Afghanistan in his narration throughout the film, referencing the experiences of Alexander the Great, the first to get caught in Afghanistan’s trap: “Alexander’s mother wrote him and said: I understand now: in Afghanistan, even the dirt is hostile.”

The film adds realism with authentic uniforms and equipment, and of course, a few shots of soldiers playing street hockey and lining up at the Kandahar Tim Hortons for a little Canadian flavor. It also portrays the war as a multi-partner effort with Mitchell coordinating with Afghan police and army personnel, as well as enlisting the aid of a U.S. Army signals intelligence unit in one key scene.

Unfortunately, “Hyena Road” stumbles in a few key ways. Mitchell’s sniper team gets little characterization beyond cool sniper guys, which is a shame given there are some interesting opportunities to differentiate the Canadian soldiers  And the single major female character is mired in the overused war movie trope of the officer-subordinate romance which feels overly forced in this particular story. A Canadian general has such histrionic dialogue in several scenes it became difficult to take him seriously.

In one scene, the general explains his mission to a group of Afghan officials by saying “I’m building a big fucking road, and it is going like a dagger into the heart of enemy, and it is fucking him up,”

Finally, the climax of the film fumbles, burying any reflection on the ambivalence of victory in Afghanistan in a sudden violent battle that just ushers in the ending without any real resolution. Despite these issues, “Hyena Road” is an admirable attempt to get at the more fundamental concepts at play in Afghanistan. For its efforts, it oftens feels more real than films attempting to recreate actual battles without any context.

“Hyena Road” may be the first of a more interrogative era of cinema about Iraq and Afghanistan, and for that it’s certainly worth a viewing.

Read the Original Article at Task and Purpose

The Rise of the Hybrid Warriors: From Ukraine to the Middle East

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The Iraqi Army defenders of Ramadi had held their dusty, stony ground for over a year and become familiar with the increasing adeptness of their opponents waving black flags. At first, these Iraqi Army units simply faced sprayed rifle fire, but then it was well-placed sniper rounds that forced these weary units to keep under cover whenever possible or risk a death that only their comrades — but never the victim — would hear. Tired, beleaguered, and cut off from reinforcements from Baghdad, they nonetheless continued to repulse attack after attack.

The last months witnessed a new weapon — car bombs. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and its predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, had long been the masters of using car bombs, but almost always against isolated checkpoints or undefended civilians. But an old tactic found a new situation. Car bombs, now parked against outer walls and driven by suicide bombers, were thrown against the Iraqi Army’s defenses in Ramadi.

The defenders were professional soldiers, and the last decade of war had taught them a great deal about the use of concrete barriers to defend against explosives of all kinds. So while the car bombs created a great deal of sound and fury, they availed little.

Then one bright day in May 2015, the defenders awoke to a new sound. Crawling forward slowly toward the heavily barricaded road was a bulldozer followed by several large cargo and dump trucks. The soldiers began to fire as the bulldozer entered the range of their machine guns and rifles, but it was armored by overlapping welded steel plates. The bullets bounced off the advancing earthmover. The defenders lacked one key weapon system — an anti-tank missile that could penetrate the armor of the tracked vehicle.

So while the soldiers kept up a steady volume of fire, they were helpless as the dozer began to remove the concrete barriers that blocked the road between their positions and the row of large armored trucks. One layer of concrete was removed after another until the road was clear.

And so the trucks begin to pour through. While creating vehicle-borne bombs is an ISIL specialty, the technology is actually remarkably simple, as each truck carried in its five-ton bed the same basic formula used two decades ago by Timothy McVeigh at Oklahoma City — ammonium nitrate fertilizer soaked in gasoline. As each truck closed on the defenses, its suicide bomber detonated the payload, shocking beyond reason those who were not killed outright. As truck after truck delivered its lethal payload, black-clad fighters poured from behind the trucks to exploit the newly created hole in the defenses. The survivors fell back and tried to maintain some semblance of order, but it was far too late to have any hope of saving this day. Ramadi had fallen.

The explosion of ISIL onto the international scene in June 2014 informed the world that a new type of force had arrived. In some ways, this should have been less of a surprise. ISIL had seized Fallujah the previous January, and there were also several clear precursors of this type of force. The Israelis had experienced a near-defeat in their fightagainst the non-state actor Hezbollah years earlier. And only a month after the fall of Mosul, Russian-backed separatist forces in Ukraine would shoot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17.

None of these actors — ISIL, Hezbollah, or the Ukrainian separatists — can be classified as traditional insurgent groups, guerrillas, or terrorists. All three groups possess capabilities that take them beyond more familiar non-state actors without qualifying them as full-fledged armies. Whether the bulldozers and social media savvy of ISIL, the missiles and electronic warfare of Hezbollah, or the high-altitude air defense of the Ukrainian rebels, all these forces have deployed capabilities traditionally associated with nation-states. The hybrid warriors have merged these capabilities with traditional insurgent tactics in their fight against nation-state forces.

While the debate rages on about the utility of the concepts of “hybrid warfare” and “gray zone conflict,” this article is not about these debates. This article is agnostic as to whether these types of warfare are best called “hybrid wars” or “political warfare.” It is similarly agnostic as to whether the “gray zone” concept is “hopelessly muddled “or “real and identifiable.” These debates, while important, are not what this piece attempts to settle. Rather than discuss the strategies and operations conducted in these ambiguous physical and legal spaces, this paper is concerned with the new actors emerging in said spaces. This essay maintains that there is something interesting and new occurring, as it relates to the actors operating in this space. While calling them “hybrid warriors” when the larger concept of “hybrid warfare” is still deeply contested may be linguistically problematic, there is no necessary linkage between the terms. That these fighters are a “hybrid” of insurgent and state-sponsored strains seems very clear, and therefore appropriate, regardless of distinct and separate debates over the characteristics of the environment.

Hybrid warriors are new (or at least new to us). These non-state hybrid warriors have adopted significant capabilities of an industrial or post-industrial nation-state army that allow them to contest the security forces of nation-states with varying degrees of success. Retaining ties to the population and a devotion to the “propaganda of the deed” that characterizes their insurgent and terrorist cousins, these non-state hybrid warriors present a challenge unfamiliar to most modern security analysts (though those who fought against either America’s 19th-century native tribes or the medieval Knights Templar, might see similarities).

Hybrid warriors specialize in the ambiguity of the “gray zone,” a term this essay will continue to use despite its definitional issues. While they can both administer territory (at the low end of the spectrum) and fight conventional war (at the high end), it is in the spaces in between that they truly excel. Girded by their relative safety from police forces, immunity from international norms (characteristic of all places where the state and rule of law are weak), and the active or passive support of the population, these hybrid warriors enjoy a low degree of risk, at least when compared to open warfare against Western interests. Within their sanctuaries — so long as they survive the occasional airstrike or commando raid — hybrid warriors face few security concerns, save when local armies probe the boundaries of their loosely controlled terrain. And yet — as the United States clearly learned on 9/11 — non-state groups possess a new ability to launch attacks against the integrated state system. These hybrid warriors live among the insurgents and counter-insurgents, terrorists and counter-terrorists, spies, saboteurs, propagandists, organized criminals, and money launderers — but while they may participate in any number of these activities, they are not limited by them.

Read the Remainder at War on the Rocks

 

Dose of Truth: The U.S. Governments Counter-Terrorism Policy Summed Up 7 Words

“He’s Not Supposed to Be Doing That” 

“Well, Senator, he’s not supposed to be doing that. And there are consequences for that, and there will be.” Really? What are they, and how will they be administered? Will Ibrahim al Qosi be recaptured? Will there be a military expedition to Yemen to do so? Will the Saudis help? Or is John Kerry just banking on the forgetfulness of the news cycle to get this whole thing shoved under the rug and Gitmo closed?

 

“Kerry on Gitmo Detainee Who Returned to Terrorism: ‘He’s Not Supposed to Be Doing That,’” by Aaron Kliegman, Washington Free Beacon, February 24, 2016 (thanks to Pamela Geller):

Secretary of State John Kerry lamented Wednesday that a terrorist who the Obama administration released from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay subsequently returned to fight for al Qaeda, telling lawmakers “he’s not supposed to be doing that.”

Appearing before the State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Kerry made the statement while testifying about the State Department’s budget request for the fiscal year 2017.

During the hearing, Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) asked Kerry for his thoughts on Ibrahim al Qosi, the former Guantanamo detainee who is now a prominent al Qaeda leader, and had staffers hold up a picture of the terrorist for Kerry to see.

“Let me just ask one question,” Kirk said to Kerry. “I want to show you a picture of Ibrahim al Qosi, who was recently released by the administration to the Sudanese, and he appeared on some al Qaeda videos recruiting people for AQAP [al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula].”

Kirk went on to say, “Now that he’s out, I would hope we would end the policy of issuing terrorists to terrorist nations, and where they can get out.”

Sudan, where al Qosi was released, has a long history of terrorist activity with Sunni jihadist groups and individuals like al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden as well as with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Sudanese government has also been internationallyaccused of committing genocide in Darfur.

Kerry paused for a moment before saying to Kirk, “Well, Senator, he’s not supposed to be doing that. And there are consequences for that, and there will be. But apart from that, the fact is that we’ve got people who’ve been held without charges for 13 years, 14 years in some cases. That’s not American, that’s not how we operate.”

Al Qosi was an aide to Osama bin Laden when he was taken to Guantanamo in 2002. He was released 10 years later after pleading guilty to war crimes in 2010 and was sent to his native Sudan. Upon the terrorist’s release, his lawyer, Paul Reichler, said al Qosi was looking forward to a quiet life of freedom, but the two never had contact after al Qosi left Guantanamo.

Al Qosi remerged this month as a prominent figure in AQAP propaganda videos calling for the takeover of Saudi Arabia and an end to the U.S.-Saudi alliance.

This recent development came shortly before President Obama announced his plan on Tuesday to close Guantanamo by releasing many of the remaining 91 detainees to foreign countries and transferring the rest to a prison on U.S. soil.

While it is currently illegal to move any of the detainees to the United States, Obama is hoping Congress will change the law so he can implement the policy, although majorities in both houses of Congress oppose the move….

Opponents of the president also point to the fact that the recidivism rate for released detainees who return to the battlefield is 30 percent, citing al Qosi as just one example of many.

Read the Original Article at Jihad Watch

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