U.S. officials in the Middle East are on high alert after ISIS targeted the American Consulate in Iraqi Kurdistan Friday. Kurdish Peshmerga forces operate the security ring around the Consulate.
At 10:44 am local time a car bomb exploded just outside the gates of the US Consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil, near Mosul. The city is considered the capital of the Kurdistan region and is located in the center of Kurdistan, with a population of approximately 1.5 million.
Da’esh, also known as the ISIS terror organization, took responsibility on Twitter for the suicide car bombing. Three civilians died in the attack, along with the bomber, and 18 others were injured.
All U.S. and Iraqi personnel were evacuated from the building and no injuries were reported, according to State Department spokesperson Marie Harf.
Although U.S. legislators and military officials are disputing the strategic significance of the target, no one is arguing about the proximity of the attack to Mosul, an ISIS stronghold. Nor is anyone disputing the fact that ISIS is also engaged in battling for control of the only oil refinery in Iraq that is not yet under its control.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC news Sunday that he admits that the war against the Islamic State (ISIS) is not near an end by insists the United States will win, even if he does not know when.
“Do you stand by your recent comments that we’re on the road to beating ISIS?” asked ABC interviewer Martha Raddatz.
What I said was we’re on the road to success, and that begins in Iraq, and yes, I stand by it. We are growing in the capacity on the ground… The fact is that in Iraq, they have gained back a fixed, significant percentage of the area that ISIL was controlling.
When reminded that Central Command said the Iraqi city of Mosul would be re-taken from ISIS by this spring, Kerry replied:
As I think you’ve seen, that has been contradicted and I think walked back. And there are a number of different options out there, so nobody should count on what they’ve read or what they’ve seen. This will happen when we are ready. It will happen on the coalition’s schedule, and it will happen when there is confidence that it will be successful.
I’m not going to get into timetables. It will happen.
He did not say whether it would be this year or another year but admitted that things in Syria are even tougher.
“Syria is a bigger challenge,” according to Kerry.” We will need people on the ground. It will not be American forces, but we are working on that…. Arab countries in the region are stepping up their efforts. I have meetings this week with all of the GCC. I’ll be meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia….
“”People are thinking about the day-to-day vision of what is happening on the ground in Syria, in Libya, where 21 Coptic Christians had their heads cut off, where a soldier is burned and a pilot in a cage, where American journalists have been beheaded publicly. We understand that. But I still stand by what I said, which is in large terms, compared to the last century, there are, in fact, fewer people dying of the means that you look at, by state war, violence, health, et cetera.”
The U.S.-led coalition on Sunday said it launched seven aerial strikes on ISIS targets in Iraq and that two American drones in Syria hit an ISIS unit and two vehicles.
The barbarians from ISIS recently released another bloody video. This one shows several of their members standing beside an executioner-style black hooded man towering over a straight-backed Kurdish captive.
The filming takes place in the middle of a street in Mosul, Iraq. We know the words spoken in the video, thanks to the translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI.org.
In this, as in all the ISIS videos, the terrorists boast about their bloodthirsty deeds committed in the name of Allah, and promise still more bloodshed.
In this video, see below, the executioner promises that ISIS will come to America and cut off President Obama’s head, right in the White House. He also promises that ISIS will turn the United States into a Muslim province.
Then the ISIS executioner threatens France and Belgium, warning them that ISIS will bring car bombs and explosives to their streets. He also threatens to cut off the heads of the French and the Belgians.
But his greatest ire is directed at Masoud Barazani, the president of the Kurds. His voice grows louder still, and he shouts out his threat to Barazani, whom he calls a dog, saying ISIS will behead him and throw him onto the trash bin of history.
It is no surprise that ISIS feels the greatest enmity for the Kurds. The Kurdish fighting force, the Peshmerga, have been fighting the ISIS forces with superhuman dedication and focus for months.
The Kurds finally regained control over Kobane, a previously Kurdish-ruled city, driving out the barbarians from all neighborhoods in the that city. The victory occurred on Monday, Jan. 27, the day after this video was made, but the tide had begun to turn earlier.
Once ISIS was routed from Kobane, Barazani said that it was “a great honor for the Kurdish people that they stood along 1,500 kilometers in the face of the most brutal terrorist organization and defeated it. This victory is the victory of humanity over the savagery of terrorists.”
And then, as if to prove Barazani’s point, the ISIS executioner says: “We will institute the laws of Allah, may he be exalted and praised.” He then turns his focus back to the Kurdish soldier at his feet, upon whose head the executioner kept his hand, throughout the speech.
“This is the fate of one of your soldiers, and every time you launch a missile, we will send you back the head of one of your soldiers.”
At the end of the original video – this is excised from the version, below – the executioner beheads the Kurdish soldier at his feet.
The Peshmerga forces have already begun their assault on the ISIS stronghold in Mosul.
A Canadian who joined ISIS in Iraq threatened to behead Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Abu Usamah Somali, thought to be Canadian Farah Mohamed Shirdon of Calgary and who had been considered killed showed up in an interview with ViceNews.com and said “maybe” ISIS will stop fighting after lopping off the Prime Minister’s head.
Somali, 21, added, unsurprisingly, that President Barack Obama also is targeted.
He mocked Canadian authorities as “imbeciles” for not preventing him from leaving the country. “I can’t believe how someone that has extremist terrorist ideologies was sitting in front of you and you didn’t catch them. The next time they saw me, they saw me ripping up my passport,” he said in the video interview conducted by Vice News’ Shane Smith, who aid the ISIS terrorist was located in Mosul, Iraq.
Somali claimed he left Canada on his own initiative. “No one spoke a single word to me. All I did, I opened the newspaper I read the Qur’an — very easy,” he said.
Much of what ISIS’ new YouTube star can be discounted as exaggerated, such as his claim that the terrorist group has 15,000 foreign fighters.
He boasted that ISIS has “a lot of brothers are mobilizing right now” in New York who are “mobilizing for a brilliant attack, my friend.”
One statement was 100 percent true. When Smith asked Somali who is ISIS’ enemy, answered, “The world.”
His threat to behead Netanyahu can be seen and heard at 7:40 in the video below.
Terrorists from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are preparing to defend areas they captured in northern Iraq after scores were killed last week in U.S. and French air strikes. The group has evacuated command-and-control centers in Mosul, Iraq and in Raqqa, Syria, according to a report posted by The Telegraph. They have also begun to use Yazidi women captives as human shields in other places, according to the report.
Raqqa is the informal “capital” of the ISIS “caliphate” and the site where the group has carried out three high-profile beheadings in recent weeks.
But it also turns out that in Raqqa, ISIS terrorists are still pretty much living the high life, when they are not busy with mass beheadings and capturing territory. It’s not a privilege they share with the locals, however.
The terrorists have taken over the governor’s ornate palace, and they are enjoying Western comforts brought to the palace by foreign fighters.
“Although there is a war on, Swiss chocolate is very popular with them,” one resident observed. “And you see some shops reserving Western food for the jihadists. I know that one of them asked a store to get an iPhone 6 for him. It cost $2,500 and was brought in from dealers in Turkey.”
Meanwhile, up to 100,000 Kurds and other local residents in the northern city of Kobane have fled to the Turkish border, where at least 70,000 had made it across by Monday morning in advance of a takeover of the city by ISIS.
Kurds who were moving in the other direction, however, to fight against ISIS, were equally concerned about the air strikes – not wanting to become targets themselves.
Abu Mohammed, a local activist quoted by the National Post and who runs the “Raqqa is being slaughtered silently” website, said, “People are afraid of the air strikes, that they might be used as human shields or be bombed.
“Many people fled to the countryside or to Turkey… When small planes for reconnaissance appear, the jihadists hide. They even lock the doors of their headquarters. They also moved their families, their women and children, outside Raqqa.”
Abu Mohammed added that locals don’t trust America any more than they trust ISIS. “If the U.S. is really against ISIS why did they leave them all that time, and why did they turna blind eye to Bashar al-Assad? He is a terrorist who is bombing us,” he asked.
ISIS shot down a Syrian regime’s warplane on Tuesday, Sept. 16, according to a report based on information from the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
The Syrian plane was engaged in attacking the ISIS base in Raqqa when it was shot down. Raqqa, used as the headquarters by ISIS, is a city in north central Syria, on the north bank of the Euphrates River, approximately 100 miles east of Aleppo.
After being shot down, the plane crashed into a house. Rami Abdul Rahman, the SOHR director, said there were casualties on the ground. Other reports claimed there were eight casualties following the crash.
“It is the first aircraft shot down since the regime launched air strikes against the jihadists in July following their declaration of a caliphate in late June,” according to an SOHR statement.
Another account of the downed Syrian war plane declined to confirm whether ISIS was responsible for the crash. The Syrian air force has been bombing ISIS controlled territory continually since the group seized control of Mosul, a city in Iraq near the Syrian border, when the group declared a caliphate straddling Iraq and Syria.
A Syrian air strike on an ISIS training camp killed more than a dozen terrorists on Saturday.
The U.S. is assembling a coalition to fight against the ISIS terrorists. Syria allegedly offered to join the coalition but the offer was rebuffed. Syria is fighting against ISIS and a US-assembled coalition which has only been operating in Iraq is expected to take the fight to Syria as well.
With the fight against ISIS taking place within the same relatively small geographic region, the potential for perceived interference either by the western-backed coalition or by Syria poses additional problems or, perhaps, opportunities.
For the first time since December 2011, US President Barack Obama has authorized targeted air strikes against Al Qaeda-linked ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant) terrorists in Iraq.
“When we have the unique capabilities to help avert a massacre, then I believe the United States of America cannot turn a blind eye,” Obama told a news briefing Thursday. “Today, America is coming to help.”
However, White House spokesman later added a blunt clarification for reporters: “No combat boots on the ground.” The US would support Iraqi and Kurdish fighters in their efforts to beat back the Islamic State, but no American soldiers would pay the price in their stead.
Secretary of State John Kerry added that “ISIL’s campaign of terror against the innocent, including Yezedi and Christian minorities, and its grotesque and targeted acts of violence bear all the warning signs and hallmarks of genocide. For anyone who needed a wake-up call, this is it.”
It is not really clear how the Islamic State’s “campaign of terror against the innocent” in Iraq differs from Palestinian Arab terrorist rocket attacks raining down on southern and central Israel, and their stabbing and rock attacks against civilians on the roads and within Israeli communities.
U.S. military aircraft dropped humanitarian aid to Iraqi refugees who have been trapped in the north of the country for some time, officials said, including 16 bundles containing 5,300 gallons of fresh drinking water and 8,000 “meals ready-to-eat” or MREs, near Sinjar. Thousands are trapped on a mountaintop near Sinjar, Defense One reported, trying to flee the Islamic State terrorists.
The terror organization launched a coordinated attack spanning “hundreds of miles” in northern Iraq, administration officials said, leading to fears of “genocide.”