Posts Tagged ‘islamic state’
The plunging price of oil may do the long-term work for Israel and cripple Hezbollah, the Islamic State (ISIS) and other terrorist groups that owe their existence to income from oil.
The price of black gold has plunged by 50 percent in less than half a year, and all signs point to it remaining less than $50 a barrel, and possibly even dropping below $45.
Western sanctions have not harmed Iran enough for it to halt its development towards procuring a nuclear weapon, but a continuing slump on the oil market is more effective and non-negotiable.
Militarily, Israel on several occasions has bombed advanced weapons destined for Hezbollah, and on Sunday the IDF wiped out Iranian and Hezbollah commanders who were planning attacks on Israel.
However, Hezbollah still has approximately 150,000 missiles that its leader Hassan Nasrallah could launch a catastrophe in Israel.
The dizzying drop in the price of oil endangers the capabilities of Hezbollah and the very existence of the Islamic State.
Hezbollah has cut the salaries of some of its members, and one of its commanders told Newsweek, “There are many members…who are now paid their wages much later. Some are getting less money than before.”
Hezbollah uses oil revenues to finance its massive support system that has made it the de facto government in southern Lebanon, a system copied by Hamas in Gaza and in some parts of Judea and Samaria.
One widow in a Beirut suburb told Newsweek, “Our family only gets half of the medical care and medicine that we need. This used to come every month without any problems, but today we are suffering.”
On the political front, Hezbollah no longer can buy off allies the way it once did when oil was selling at $110 a barrel. At least two politicians said they now receive only half of the former $40,000 a month from Hezbollah.
“Salvaging the regime in Syria and fighting ISIS in Iraq have forced Iran to divert more resources away from Hezbollah at a time when the resource base in Iran is shrinking,” Hezbollah expert Randa Slim, a director at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, told The Christian Science Monitor.
One of the guiding hands behind the drop in the price of oil is none other than Saudi Arabia, which is no less afraid than Israel of Iranian and Islamic State ambitions.
The Saudis are the leading influence in OPEC and has not cut its production of oil to encourage a rise in prices.
Another victim of the dropping oil revenues is Russia, which has poured hundreds of millions of dollars to prop up the Assad regime in Syria, which is still less than Iran’s $1 billion to $2 billion monthly payments for military aid to Assad’s forces and salaries for Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria.
“Absent Iranian largesse, Assad would not be financially solvent today,” Karim Sadjadpour, a senior associate of the Middle East program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the Monitor.
Although Hezbollah is far from bankrupt thanks to its huge investments and makes millions of dollars from drug smuggling and other illicit trade, the drop in oil revenues has increased pressure on senior officials to stuff more money in their own pockets.
The Monitor quoted one Lebanese politician as saying, “The whole thing is falling apart. It’s corruption on a cataclysmic scale.”
The Islamic State (ISIS) has released a video in which it demands $200 million from the Japanese government to save the lives of two its citizens being held hostage.
The ransom matches the same sum of money that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged last week for non-military assistance to countries fighting the ISIS.
“Should we leave terrorism or weapons of mass destruction to spread in this region, the loss imparted upon the international community would be immeasurable,” said Abe, who by coincidence or not is visiting in Israel at the time ISIS posted its ultimatum.
The hostages were identified as journalist Kenji Goto Jogo and private military contractor Haruna Yukawa, who traveled to Syria for unknown reasons.
The audio in the video, which YouTube has banned, features a British-accented man, probably the same barbarian who beheaded other hostages.
He said to Japan in the video, “You have proudly donated $100 million to kill our women and children, to destroy the homes of the Muslims.” The actual amount was $200 million, which the ISIS badly needs to funds is operations in the wake of falling revenues from the plunge in the price of oil, on which it has depended for revenues.
The ISIS has attracted members from all over the world, including Japan. An Israeli official has said that nine Japanese citizens have joined the ranks of the ISIS.
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) has lifted a gag order and revealed that seven Arabs from northern Israel have been arrested and indicted for setting up an Islamic State (ISIS) terror cell.
The cell was based in the predominantly Arab city of Sakhnin in the Galilee and was headed by a lawyer, Adnan al a-Din of Nazareth.
The suspects were arrested in November and December.
Al a-Din was former public defender before being fired for pro-terror activity. He formed the ISIS-style group and declared himself as “Islamic State’s chief of staff in Palestine.”
The cell members allegedly met at a horse farm in the Galilee and trained to put together firebombs and other weapons and bought sheep to practice slaughter.
They also were indicted for raising money to pay an entrance fee of $1500 to join the Islamic State.
Israeli security officials nabbed one of the Israeli Arab-ISIS members last year at Ben Gurion Airport, where he was scheduled to fly with $10,000 for the Islamic State. He was identified as Karim abu Salah of Sakhnin, who also was charged with planning to kill Israeli security officials and Israeli Druze.
Other members of the cell include his brother Charif, their cousin Aa’al Mohammed abu Salah, and another relative named Mohammed Ibrahim abu Salah, who also is a son of the former mayor of Sakhnin.
The other suspect was identified as Hosam Marisat.
Except for a-Din, all of the members of the cell are age 30 or in their 20s.
In an interview with Yediot Acharonot last September, a-Din defended his backing of terror during the Israeli Protective Edge counter-terror operation against Hamas in Gaza.
“I am doing God’s work and will continue to support [ISIS] as long as their actions follow God’s decrees. More and more people will support ISIS the moment they understand it is a national phenomena. Most Muslims do not know that there is a stable state with clear policies. This is a state that believes in the Quran and the Prophet Mohammed.”
The cell had met with in northern Israel with radical Muslim cleric Sheikh Salafi Jihadi, who called on them to recruit more members and to encourage jihad.
The Shin Bet also revealed a Bedouin man from the Negev was arrested in November for belong to ISIS. He confessed to meeting with ISIS terrorists in Jordan, where he recently earned a degree in medicine.
The Obama administration has announced that 400 U.S. Army soldiers will be deployed in Middle Eastern countries to train more than 5,000 “moderate” Syrian rebels.
Support systems and personnel also will be deployed at the training bases in Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar, according to Defense Dept. spokeswoman Elissa Smith.
President Barack Obama has maintained a policy that no American soldiers will set foot in Syria to help put an end to the civil war that has raged almost four years and has turned the Islamic State into a household world.
Obama apparently has decided on training rebels since the American-led aerial campaign against ISIS has not stopped the beheaders from actually taking over more territory in Syria.
The war has attracted the participation of almost every big-name terrorist group in the world, and each rebel group has appeared to be as barbaric as the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
There are apparently enough surviving “moderates” whom officials in the Obama administration want to train, but Reuters reported that it will take 15,000 rebels to take back territory held by the Islamic State (ISIS), which has become Obama’s favorite target in the Middle East, even more than the ‘peace process.”
He also has authorized 3,000 troops to act as advisers in Iraq, which was supposed to have become a freedom-loving democracy long ago as a result of the American foreign policy program.
Now all the U.S. Army has to do is figure which rebel is a fighter and not a terrorist, meaning which one is “moderate” by not belonging to ISIS or Al Qaeda.
“We … know the Syrian opposition better now than we did two years ago through the programs we’ve had providing non-lethal assistance,” Smith said.
In the understatement of the day, an unidentified senior defense official told Defense One, “This is going to be hard. We have to recruit the guys; we have to assume that there are a lot of guys who are recruitable; there’s got to be some vetting. This is not going to be an easy enterprise here.”
Israeli security personnel captured a three-man Islamic State terrorist cell in Hebron two months ago before it could carry out an imminent plot to murder an Israeli soldier and steel his weapon., the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) reported Sunday after lifting a gag order.
The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) identified the terrorists, all in their 20s, as Ahmed Shahada, Mohammed Zaro, and Qassai Div Masawada, all of them resident of Hebron.
Shahada confessed to the plot, which included a shooting attack on Jews in Hebron, and admitted to trying to detonate bomb to kill IDF soldiers and to assembling other bombs.
There is no indication that the cell was under direct command of the Islamic State. The terrorist trio began meeting this past summer and adopted the ISIS flag and ideology.
They almost carried out an attempt to disguise themselves as Israeli soldiers with stolen uniforms and then murder soldiers, but they backed off at the last moment.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that their citizenship might be revoked, but if they get the punishment they deserve, it won’t matter.
Israeli intelligence has been the silent hero – and silent is the way it is supposed to be – in the war on terror.
Shin Bet and IDF intelligence units work 24/7, have informants throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza and sort through thousands of Arabic-language documents and social material sources to put together the dots that track down terrorist cells.
Iranian warplanes bombs Islamic State (ISIS) forces in inside the Iraqi border as Tehran openly joins the western-led war against the Sunni terrorist army.
Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John F. Kirby implicitly confirmed the Iranian aerials strikes, saying that he has “no reason to believe” the reports about them were untrue.
Tehran’s overt offensive further turn the Middle East into a constantly changing maze of upheavals that are light years ahead of the United States’ ability to grasp what happened yesterday, let alone today.
The previous and current American administrations
have invested billions of dollars in Iraq, and the willingness of Iran to stage aerial bombings in Iraqi air space could further de-stabilize Iraq, torn by intra-Muslim wars.
Fighting the ISIS also gives Iran a handy lever to use against the United States while it continues its unsupervised nuclear development program.