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January 27, 2015 / 7 Shevat, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘ISIS’

ISIS-Linked Cyber Warfare Strikes Malaysia Airlines

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Malaysia Airlines just can’t seem to catch a break. Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) linked cyber terrorists were busy early Monday online attacking the embattled carrier’s website.

The cyber goons claimed to be from the “Lizard Squad,” a group known for previous ‘denial of service’ attacks, and claiming support for ISIS. The same group took credit for the attacks that felled the Sony PlayStation Network and Microsoft Xbox Live network.

The first message to appear on the airline’s site said, “404-Plane Not Found,” and “Hacked by Cyber Caliphate” with a photo of a Malaysia Airbus A380 super jumbo jet.

The browser tab on the website said, “ISIS will prevail.”

Later it was changed to: “Hacked by Lizard Squad – Official Cyber Caliphate.” A photo showed a lizard with a monocle in a tuxedo and top hat smoking a pipe. The browser tab for the website that read, “ISIS will prevail” was gone. Instead, a link to the group’s Twitter account.

It is not clear why Malaysia Airlines was targeted by the group. However, dozens of Malaysian citizens have been recruited by ISIS in recent months. Authorities in the country said last week they detained 120 people suspected of being ISIS sympathizers, or planning to travel to Syria, according to The Guardian.

The Malaysia Airlines carrier has been struggling in the wake of the tragic disappearance of one of its aircraft over southeast Asia, Flight MH370, with 239 people on board in March 2014. Malaysia Airlines flight, MH17 / MAS17, was downed with 298 people on board also later that same year over Ukraine.

Obama’s Policies Bring the Golan to a Boil

Sunday, January 25th, 2015
The attack in the Golan this week, on a convoy of

Hezbollah operatives and Iranian military officials, is a sign that things are going to get worse in the volatile area that encompasses southern Lebanon, Syria, northern Jordan, and northern Israel.  (See also here and here.)

Among those killed were high-ranking Iranian officials connected with Hezbollah’s use of Iranian-supplied ballistic missiles, and with Iranian Special Forces units that focus on raids and small-unit tactics.  In the words of a retired Israeli general (see first link, and below), this was a very high-level convoy, clearly preparing for serious incursions against northern Israel.

Meanwhile, we’ve reached the point in the post-Arab Spring Middle East at which many of the spin-off developments – perhaps most of them – are a consequence of the policies followed by the Obama administration.  Although there have been long-term policy failures, it’s a specific, proximate policy failure that opened the door to the current result in the Golan Heights.

Because of the strategic importance of the terrain, Iran and Hezbollah have been building infrastructure there for some time.  But their interest in the Golan skyrocketed in December.

A door opened by the Obama administration

The reason: ISIS gained a foothold there when the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade of the Free Syrian Army “defected” from the de facto alliance with the U.S.-Arab coalition against Assad, and declared its allegiance to ISIS.  The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade had been one of the most active rebel factions holding territory directly adjacent to the “area of separation” between Syria and Israel administered (in theory) by the UN.  In particular, it has held the southern line of confrontation with Syrian regime forces, in the transit corridor leading to the Quneitra border crossing.

That defection didn’t happen in a vacuum.  It happened because in early December, the Obama administration disclosed (through the back door), after more than two years of cooperation with the FSA, that it would not be working with them to build a defense force in Syria.

Situation in the Golan and southwestern Syria. (Map source: Wikimedia Commons; author annotation)

Situation in the Golan and southwestern Syria. (Map source: Wikimedia Commons; author annotation)

The point here is not that Obama should have stayed with the wrong allies.  The point is that passivity, lack of leadership, and ally-hopping have consequences.  Part of picking allies is shaping who they are and what expectations they have.  It starts with having common and enduring goals with those allies, which keep both sides committed.  These things matter to a responsible power, at any rate.  The Obama administration has consistently failed to exhibit signs of being one.

The failure has had a game-changing result in the Golan.  Now ISIS is there, with an entrenched infrastructure handed to it by FSA factions, and Iran can’t afford to ignore that.  Iran isn’t going to let ISIS build up a stronghold of its own on the Syrian border with Israel.

But don’t imagine that that means Iran and ISIS will be having at it.  Think Persian.  Certainly, the Iranians and Hezbollah want to be able to operate in the Golan, and attack Israel from it.  But Iran and Hezbollah don’t want to invite retaliation from Israel on southern Lebanon, where it’s important to them to protect their own stronghold.  Iran would like to get Israel shooting into Syria.

Israel has so far managed to keep that necessity limited.  Until very recently, the impression of the situation in the Golan has been that it is relatively stable: worrisome, but not unstable to the point of being an exploitable opportunity for one or more bad guys.  Iran would like to change that, in part because preoccupying the Israelis with self-defense is the key to limiting Israel’s strategic reach against Iran.  The objects of that reach include, but are not limited to, the nuclear and missile programs inside Iran.

Israel’s Condolences to Japan on ISIS Beheading

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his condolences Sunday to his Japanese counterpart and the people of Japan following the brutal murder of a Japanese citizen by a terrorist from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Friday.

“Last week, during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Israel, I told him that the struggle against extremist Islamic terrorism is a joint struggle and only if we are united will we be able to emerge victorious,” Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting.

“Israel stands alongside Japan and the Japanese people in this difficult hour.”

The prime minister also noted that International Holocaust Remembrance Day is being marked this week, as well as the day marking the Struggle Against Anti-Semitism. Netanyahu related both to the spread of terror to other populations as well.

He pointed out that last year there was an increase in anti-Semitic incidents, and that a wave of anti-Semitism currently is flooding parts of the world, particularly in Europe – but that history has shown that violence that begins against the Jews does not stop with the Jews.

“It is like a brush fire that spreads very rapidly to all societies and all citizens,” he said.

A series of combined terror attacks carried out over a three-day period in Paris earlier this month by operatives from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) aimed at a list of both Jewish and non-Jewish targets. Some four million people gathered together for a unity march in Paris to protest the attacks and those who carried them out, as demonstrators gathered simultaneously in solidarity with the victims in other cities around the world.

In the weeks that have followed, radical Islamist extremists have been picked up in connection with terrorist activities during police raids in Belgium, France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Japan Responds to ISIS with Black Humor

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Japan is a very resilient nation, and they’ve chosen to respond to ISIS’s threats and blackmail demands with black humor. They’ve taken the photos that ISIS released and reworked them into various memes:

Japan Responds to ISIS 6

Japan Responds to ISIS 5

Japan Responds to ISIS 1

Japan Responds to ISIS 2

Japan Responds to ISIS 3

ISIS Reportedly Executes a Japanese Citizen

Saturday, January 24th, 2015

ISIS released a tape in which it announced the execution of a Japanese citizen, Haruna Yukawa.

A video of the second hostage, Kenji Goto, was released, as he was holding a photo of the beheaded Japanese man.

ISIS has been holding 2 Japanese citizens hostage.

ISIS had demanded $200 million in ransom from Japan for their release.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed his rage and demanded the release of the hostages.

Japanese PM Says Tokyo ‘Will Never Give In to Terror’

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters at a briefing Wednesday that his nation will do everything possible to free two Japanese captives held by ISIS terrorists.

Islamic State in Iraq and Syria released an online video Tuesday allegedly showing two Japanese nationals it said it was holding hostage. The terror organization said it would kill the captives unless Japan paid $200 million in ransom for the hostages.

Japan’s prime minister told reporters, “I have instructed [our government] that we will exhaust all possible measures to have the two freed using all diplomatic channels – all the diplomatic routes we have built so far,” he said.

But, he added, “Our country will never give in to terrorism.”

Japan and Israel have strengthened ties in recent months. Last week Japan’s prime minister visited the Jewish State with a large delegation; earlier, Israel’s prime minister visited Tokyo as well.

Other nations now appear to be slowly tightening up on ISIS as well. Pakistani security forces in the eastern city of Lahore arrested Yousaf al-Salafi, whom they believe to be the commander of the ISIS branch in that country.

“Al-Salafi is a Pakistani Syrian who reached Pakistan through Turkey five months ago,” a source told Reuters on condition of anonymity. “He crossed into Turkey from Syria and was caught there. Someone how managed to escape and reached Pakistan to establish ISIS.”

They also arrested two accomplices, all three involved in recruiting and then sending the new fighters to Syria for advanced terror training, according to intelligence sources.

 

 

French Police to Get Stronger Firepower, Counter Terror Forces

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

Police in France are going to be getting better firepower and bigger backup.

Speaking in France, Prime Minister Manuel Valls told journalists (Jan. 21) his country will soon equip its police force with “stronger weapons” and hire 2,600 more counter terrorist forces, CNN reported. Police will also be empowered to tap phones, monitor web sites and force Internet companies to block hate messages posted online.

Valls also said that nearly 3,000 people in France have been identified with jihadist ties, all needing to be under surveillance. The number of people tied in to networks in Syria and Iraq, he said, has skyrocketed by 130 percent just in the past year alone.

France will allocate $490 (425 euros) over the next three years to buy new equipment such as bulletproof vests and better weapons. In addition, people charged with and/or convicted of terrorism will be required to report trips abroad and changes of address. Those who “attack the nation” may be deported or lose their French citizenship.

The announcement follows the recent terror attacks in Paris by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror groups.

The news was announced against an attempt by the Paris prosecutor’s office to charge four men Wednesday in connection with the terror attacks that left 20 people dead. The Paris prosecutor requested the four be held longer on charges of weapons possession and participation in terrorist activities, and awaited the judge’s decision on whether to open preliminary investigations against them. If the judge agrees, the four will be the first suspects to be charged in the bloodiest terror attacks to take place in France in decades.

The four are suspected of providing logistical support to Amedy Coulibaly, a member of ISIS who was killed by police when they stormed the kosher grocery where he was holding more than a dozen shoppers and workers hostage. Coulibaly had already killed four people at the Hyper Cacher earlier in the day; he was unaware that an observant Mulim worker in the store had hidden six other shoppers in the refrigerator, saving their lives. Two AQAP terrorists, brothers Said and Hamid Kouachi, were killed by French counter terror forces at a separate location a few minutes prior in a similar hostage situation. Their attacks had been coordinated — and likewise, French counter terror attacks were coordinated to end the siege as well.

The Paris prosecutor’s office submission to the judge came just a few hours before the French government announced the new measures to beef up the nation’s counter terrorism force and strengthen its weaponry.

French newspaper Le Figaro discovered a heartbreaking bit of news, one that might have changed the future for at least some of the 20 people killed in that three-day reign of terror.

Two police officers on patrol stopped Amedy Coulibaly for a routine check on December 30, just ten days before the attack, the newspaper reported this week.  A background check showed that he was considered dangerous and belonged to an Islamist group. Furthermore, there were instructions to attempt to collect information about him without raising suspicion.

The officers reported Coulibaly to their superiors and to the anti-terror unit. However, they received no response – and as a result, they were forced to let him go free.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/french-police-to-get-stronger-firepower-counter-terror-forces/2015/01/21/

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