US ex-intelligence chief on ISIS rise: It was ‘a willful Washington decision’

Create ISIS, send them weapons through Benghazi to help them expand, then bomb them — but only a few.

 

The US didn’t interfere with the rise of anti-government jihadist groups in Syria that finally degenerated into Islamic State, claims the former head of America’s Defense Intelligence Agency, backing a secret 2012 memo predicting their rise.

An interview with retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), given to Al Jazeera’s Mehdi Hasan, confirms earlier suspicions that Washington was monitoring jihadist groups emerging as opposition in Syria.

General Flynn dismissed Al Jazeera’s supposition that the US administration “turned a blind eye” to the DIA’s analysis. Continue reading

‘So-called progress’: U.S. admits ISIL is just as strong as when bombing campaign began a year ago

Almost a year after the United States began its multi-billion-dollar military campaign to defeat Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the jihadist group shows no signs of weakening, according to U.S. intelligence agencies.

Its hold on social media and flow of oil revenue means it can draw on a steady stream of recruits and has held almost all its territory, despite losing 10,000 fighters. It has managed to expand into new theatres in Libya, Egypt’s Sinai peninsula and Afghanistan.

“We’ve seen no meaningful degradation in their numbers,” a defence official said, citing estimates that put the group’s strength at 20,000 to 30,000 fighters, the same as when the strikes began last August. Continue reading

Turkey’s Wrong Bet on Syria

  • Today, instead of the free movement of labor and capital, there is, around the border area, the free movement of bombs and bullets.
  • Ankara considers the real security threat from Syria as not the jihadists, but the secular Kurds who fight the jihadists.
  • Turkey has worked so hard to create a “Peshawar” (Afghanistan) across its border with Syria — hoping instead to create a Muslim Brotherhood zone.

It was supposed to be Turkish gambit: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s days in power were numbered; the Nusayri (Alawite) man would be toppled by Syria’s Sunni majority in a popular revolt. The Sunni majority would set up in Damascus a Muslim Brotherhood type of regime that would be subservient to Ankara, and Turkey’s southern border with Syria would be now be a borderless Sunni “Schengen” zone; cross border trade would flourish with the free movement of labor and capital. Peace would prevail along the 900-km border, and Turkish and Syrian Sunni supremacists would advance their agenda in the not-always-so-Sunni lands of the Middle East. Continue reading

Major U.S. city next target for Islamic terror

ISIS militants not planning to stop in Iraq

WASHINGTON – Beyond Iraq, what is the intent of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria?

There appears to be short- and long-term goals, with a hint of those intentions in the name ISIS has chosen for itself.

Its real name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, meaning Greater Syria.

ISIS, morphing from the Islamic State of Iraq before it was excommunicated from al-Qaida central in Pakistan last year for its extreme Wahhabi brutality, appears to have intentions of re-creating Greater Syria into an Islamic caliphate, subject to strict Shariah law. Continue reading