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originally posted by: theabsolutetruth
Here are some articles worth reading for some basic insight.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is a jihadist group active in Iraq and Syria.
ISIS was formed in April 2013 and grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). It has since been disavowed by al-Qaeda, but become one of the main jihadist groups fighting government forces in Syria and is making military gains in Iraq.
The final "S" in the acronym ISIS stems from the Arabic word "al-Sham". This can mean the Levant, Syria or even Damascus but in the context of the global jihad it refers to the Levant.
Initially, the group relied on donations from wealthy individuals in Gulf Arab states, particularly Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, who supported its fight against President Bashar al-Assad.
Today, ISIS is said to earn a significant amounts from the oil fields it controls in eastern Syria, reportedly selling some of the supply back to the Syrian government. It is also believed to have been selling looted antiquities from historical sites.
Prof Neumann believes that before the capture of Mosul in June 2014, ISIS had cash and assets worth about $900m (£500m). Afterwards, this rose to around $2bn (£1.18bn).
The group reportedly took hundreds of millions of dollars from Mosul's branch of Iraq's central bank. And its financial windfall looked set to continue if it maintains control of oil fields in northern Iraq.
The Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad has funded and co-operated with al-Qaeda in a complex double game even as the terrorists fight Damascus, according to new allegations by Western intelligence agencies, rebels and al-Qaeda defectors.
Jabhat al-Nusra, and the even more extreme Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS), the two al-Qaeda affiliates operating in Syria, have both been financed by selling oil and gas from wells under their control to and through the regime, intelligence sources have told The Daily Telegraph.
Rebels and defectors say the regime also deliberately released militant prisoners to strengthen jihadist ranks at the expense of moderate rebel forces. The aim was to persuade the West that the uprising was sponsored by Islamist militants including al-Qaeda as a way of stopping Western support for it.
The allegations by Western intelligence sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, are in part a public response to demands by Assad that the focus of peace talks due to begin in Switzerland tomorrow be switched from replacing his government to co-operating against al-Qaeda in the “war on terrorism”.
“Assad’s vow to strike terrorism with an iron fist is nothing more than bare-faced hypocrisy,” an intelligence source said. “At the same time as peddling a triumphant narrative about the fight against terrorism, his regime has made deals to serve its own interests and ensure its survival.”
Intelligence gathered by Western secret services suggested the regime began collaborating actively with these groups again in the spring of 2013. When Jabhat al-Nusra seized control of Syria’s most lucrative oil fields in the eastern province of Deir al-Zour, it began funding its operations in Syria by selling crude oil, with sums raised in the millions of dollars.
“The regime is paying al-Nusra to protect oil and gas pipelines under al-Nusra’s control in the north and east of the country, and is also allowing the transport of oil to regime-held areas,” the source said. “We are also now starting to see evidence of oil and gas facilities under ISIS control.”
The source accepted that the regime and the al-Qaeda affiliates were still hostile to each other and the relationship was opportunistic, but added that the deals confirmed that “despite Assad’s finger-pointing” his regime was to blame for the rise of al-Qaeda in Syria.
Western diplomats were furious at recent claims that delegations of officials led by a retired MI6 officer had visited Damascus to re-open contact with the Assad regime. There is no doubt that the West is alarmed at the rise of al-Qaeda within the rebel ranks, which played a major role in decisions by Washington and London to back off from sending arms to the opposition.
But the fury is also an indication that they suspect they have been outmanoeuvred by Assad, who has during his rule alternated between waging war on Islamist militants and working with them.
After September 11, he co-operated with the United States’ rendition programme for militant suspects; after the invasion of Iraq, he helped al-Qaeda to establish itself in Western Iraq as part of an axis of resistance to the West; then when the group turned violently against the Iraqi Shias who were backed by Assad’s key ally, Iran, he began to arrest them again.
As the uprising against his rule began, Assad switched again, releasing al-Qaeda prisoners. It happened as part of an amnesty, said one Syrian activist who was released from Sednaya prison near Damascus at the same time.
“There was no explanation for the release of the jihadis,” the activist, called Mazen, said. “I saw some of them being paraded on Syrian state television, accused of being Jabhat al-Nusra and planting car bombs. This was impossible, as they had been in prison with me at the time the regime said the bombs were planted. He was using them to promote his argument that the revolution was made of extremists.”
Other activists and former Sednaya inmates corroborated his account, and analysts have identified a number of former prisoners now at the head of militant groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra, ISIS and a third group, Ahrar al-Sham, which fought alongside Jabhat al-Nusra but has now turned against ISIS.
One former inmate said he had been in prison with “Abu Ali” who is now the head of the ISIS Sharia court in the north-eastern al-Qaeda-run city of Raqqa. Another said he knew leaders in Raqqa and Aleppo who were prisoners in Sednaya until early 2012.
These men then spearheaded the gradual takeover of the revolution from secular activists, defected army officers and more moderate Islamist rebels.
Syrian intelligence has historically had close connections with extremist groups. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph after he defected, Nawaf al-Fares, a Syrian security chief, told how he was part of an operation to smuggle jihadist volunteers into Iraq from Syria after the 2003 invasion.
Aron Lund, editor of a website, Syria in Crisis, used by the Carnegie Endowment to monitor the war, said: “The regime has done a good job in trying to turn the revolution Islamist. The releases from Sednaya prison are a good example of this. The regime claims that it released the prisoners because Assad had shortened their sentences as part of a general amnesty. But it seems to have gone beyond that. There are no random acts of kindness from this regime.”
Rebels both inside and outside ISIS also say they believe the regime targeted its attacks on non-militant groups, leaving ISIS alone. “We were confident that the regime would not bomb us,” an ISIS defector, who called himself Murad, said. “We always slept soundly in our bases.”
originally posted by: teslarocks
My questions are many. Has anyone heard of these evildoers before last week?
How did they get their arms, their nice Toyota trucks, their money to operate,etc.
If they were truly a threat, why didn't our (or Iraqs) fighter jets come in and mow them down when they were driving in a nice straight line down the highway and stop them in their tracks?
NIQASH: Prime Minister Al-Maliki has asked Iraq’s Parliament to declare a state of emergency throughout the country. Is that a good idea, do you think?
Rajab: I believe al-Maliki wanted Mosul to be captured by ISIS so that he could force Parliament in Baghdad to declare a state of emergency. Once that happens, he will be the only ruler of Iraq and he will have all authority. Mosul was under siege from ISIS for several days and he didn’t do one thing to stop it.
Rudaw: Kurdistan Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said that Baghdad didn’t cooperate with the Kurds to prevent the fall of Mosul. Why didn’t they cooperate?
Rowsch Nuri Shaways: Non-cooperation is nothing new. Maliki wanted only himself to be in charge of security in Mosul. Maliki didn’t really want to work with the Kurds on this. Otherwise, the situation wouldn’t have reached this point. Maliki was convinced that they had their own security plan. But now that it has failed, they must find something new.
What is the endgame here?
Who is backing them up?
Britain and the US are to enter direct talks with Iran over how to stabilise the situation in Iraq as the country heads towards a de facto partition between Sunnis, Shia and Kurds.
Iran is seeking a deal with major world powers within weeks that would end years of dispute over the country's nuclear programme and economic sanctions imposed on it by western powers, President Hassan Rouhani has said.
He said he wanted to reach an agreement by 20 July, adding that the the international sanctions regime had crumbled and would not be rebuilt – even if no final nuclear deal could be reached.
Rouhani also said he would be willing to work with the White House to meet the danger posed by Islamist extremists who have taken towns in northern Iraq, in a sign of shifting attitudes towards the US in Tehran.
"The disputes can be resolved with goodwill and flexibility … I believe that the 20 July deadline can be met despite remaining disputes. If not, we can continue the talks for a month or more," he said, addressing the nation in a live broadcast on state television.
"During the nuclear negotiations we have displayed our strong commitment to diplomacy (but even) if a deal can't be reached by July 20, conditions will never be like the past. The sanctions regime has been broken."
The West should think carefully before embracing Iran’s mullahs
Our mistake is to think that the events in Iraq do not lead straight back to us. Yet if one tears one’s gaze from there to connect the dots, the pattern is plain to see. In Brunei, the Sultan, obscenely wealthy, pushes his impoverished country backwards by imposing sharia, all the while expecting us to increase his riches by continuing to patronise the Dorchester hotel, which he owns – in Hollywood and London, celebrities and businesses have thought otherwise and are boycotting his companies. In Nigeria, the world is slowly forgetting the hundreds of Christian girls kidnapped and forcefully converted by Boko Haram, which marches on with impunity. In Kenya yesterday, al-Shabaab militants attacked beach resorts, killing 49 people. In Israel, Islamists have kidnapped three Jewish teenagers. Pakistan launches strikes on militant bases in its tribal areas, while British intelligence worries about the ways extremists from the Kashmir valleys find willing supporters in the backstreets of Bradford and Skipton. There are 500 British jihadists fighting in Syria. Libya is Balkanised. Iraq is collapsing.
Our fear of demonising Islam and British Muslims means we worry about speaking out about the medievalism at the heart of this ideology, which has no more to do with Islam than the gay-hating, Koran-burning Westboro Baptist Church in Florida has to do with Protestantism. Islam is a convenient deflector for a cultural outlook that rejects education, science, culture, human rights and the central place of women, the hard-won building blocks of civilisation of any kind. Do we not wonder why it is necessary to mount government campaigns against forced marriage, as was done yesterday, or against female genital mutilation? Backwardness promoted under cover of Islam reaches into our own communities.
It is a measure of how confused and chaotic the West’s policy towards Iraq and Islam has become that Iran has gone from pariah state and charter member of the Axis of Evil to a legitimate interlocutor in the struggle against a more terrifying force. One can almost feel the relief of diplomats saying to themselves, “at least we can reason with them”.
No wonder. Iran has been engaged in intensive diplomacy in Geneva ahead of the July deadline for a deal on its nuclear ambitions. Its diplomats are familiar and admired. It will doubtless calculate that its hand has been strengthened in the negotiations. The realisation in Washington, London and elsewhere that a vast, strategically important area is in the hands of a gang of obscurantist crazies with money to burn and a taste for crucifixion has suddenly made Iran a necessary interlocutor. As William Hague told the Commons yesterday: “We do have many common interests with Iran,” including stability in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It would be a mistake typical of how we have approached the politics of the region to get carried away. “My enemy’s enemy is my friend” is a necessary calculation of any diplomacy, but it has been our desire to divide good guys from bad guys, to pick winners and losers, that has led us to fail repeatedly. When Rory Stewart, the new head of the
Commons defence select committee, who served in Iraq, said yesterday that we should concentrate on what we can do, not what we ought to do, a necessary dose of realism began to penetrate the debate. The millennial sectarianism that pits Shia against Sunni, as refracted through the prism of regional power politics drawing together Egypt, Israel, Syria, Iraq and Iran, remains beyond our ability to shift, save at the margins.
originally posted by: whyamIhere
60,000 Iragi Army ran from 600 guys in Toyota's.