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The Edge of Terrorism

Islamic Terrorists Slaughter Catholic Priest in France

July 26th 2016

ISIS Army

Two Muslim terrorists allied with the Islamic State stormed into a Catholic church in northern France during the midst of the celebration of Mass. They took hostages and then cut the throat of the 86-year-old priest in the church. A team of police trained in special weapons and techniques came to the scene and shot the two militants to death. Bomb disposal units are on hand, seeking any possible explosive devices left behind by the attackers. Two of the hostages were nuns.
 
In Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, about 35 miles southeast of the port of Le Havre in Normandy, French soldiers are patrolling the narrow streets near the church where the martyrdom took place. Mourners are gathering at the little church. One of the hostages who survived the assault is being treated for life-threatening injuries, said Pierre-Henry Brandet.
Read more ..

Turkey on Edge

Coup Attempt in Turkey: A Feast of Pretexts

July 24th 2016

Turkish military parade with flags

Everything looked surreal in Turkey; soldiers inviting the head of the police anti-terror squad for a "meeting" only to shoot him in the head; top brass, including the chief of the military general staff, air force commander, land forces commander and gendarmerie commander, being taken hostage by their own aide-de-camps; then people taking to the streets in their thousands to resist the coup d'état, taking over tanks, getting killed, soldiers opening fire at the civilians, and finally the victorious pro-Erdogan people lynching coup-staging soldiers wherever they could grab them.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused his formerly staunchest political ally, a Muslim cleric in exile in the United States, Fethullah Gulen, and his loyalists within the military. Appearing before a crowd of party fans, Erdogan pleaded to Washington for "the terrorist" Gulen's extradition. Read more ..


The Caliphate

Islamic State Shifts Strategy

July 13th 2016

ISIS on the Street

The latest wave of bombings by Islamic State confirm a pattern long observed. As it continues to lose ground in its heartland and its "provinces," so the organization turns back to an intensified focus on international terrorism. This is in line with previous experience of international Salafi-jihadi organizations.

Two points need to be noted. First, considerable past experience shows that the destruction of the physical holdings of Salafi-jihadi groups does not mean their eclipse. Second, and more importantly, Salafi-jihadi networks are today part of a broader process – the revival and flourishing of political Islam. To try to understand them otherwise is to misunderstand them. The patterns of survival of earlier networks confirm this.

That the Islamic State "caliphate" is facing eclipse is no longer under serious dispute. It has lost around 47 percent of its territory in Iraq, according to a June 27 statement by Brett McGurk, the US administration's point man in the fight against Islamic State. The latest loss is the city of Falluja. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

A Kurdish Moment?

July 5th 2016

ISIS Battle Position

Before the so-called Islamic State emerged in the Middle East, not too many had heard of the Kurds. Commonly referred to as “the world’s largest nation without a state” following World War I, international actors skipped over the Kurds when awarding statehood to various actors in the region. As a result, the group was left at the mercy of strong and antagonistic central governments in Ankara, Baghdad, Damascus, and Tehran. As a minority, they remained isolated from international actors, who feared provoking irredentism.

Since the emergence of IS, however, many in the West have become convinced that openly supporting, and even arming, the Kurds in Iraq and Syria is one of the best ways to combat the Salafi-jihadist group. IS has presented the Kurds with their opportunity to solidify their relations with international actors and increase their autonomy en route to their treasured status of independence. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Iran Orders Hezbollah to target Saudi Arabia

May 18th 2016

Hezbollah

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands.

Badreddine’s replacement is Fuad Shukr, whose nom de guerre is al-Hajj Mohsen, the sources told MEE. 

Aged 55 and from the village al-Nabi Sheeth in the Bekaa Valley, Shukr comes from the core group which started Hezbollah along with Imad Mughniyeh, Badreddine, and Mustafa Sahadah.

Whereas his predecessors came from the intelligence and security wing of the organisation, Shukr came to prominence as a military man, responsible for operations against Israel, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. 

A graduate of the Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Shukr is regarded as well trained. Soleimani not only named the new head of Hezbollah’s military wing, but his two deputies as well, sources told MEE. They are Ibrahim Aqil, also know as al-Hajj Tahsin, but whose current pseudonym is al-Hajj Abdul Khader, and Talal Hamiah.

Shukr's appointment comes despite earlier reports in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat suggesting that Badreddine’s nephew Mustafa Mughniyeh would be named as his successor.

MEE understands these reports to be incorrect.

Iran’s order to Hezbollah, and the fact that they have gone to such lengths as to appoint a successor, confirms the significance to Iran of Badreddine’s death, the exact circumstances of which are still a matter of speculation. His death near Damascus airport was initially blamed on an Israeli covert operation, but this was contradicted by a Hezbollah statement.

It read: ”Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [Sunni militant] groups in the area."

The nearest opposition artillery positions however were 20 kilometres away and there are doubts that their shells could achieve pinpoint accuracy from that distance.

Hezbollah slogans at Badreddine’s funeral left little doubt that they held Saudi Arabia responsible for their military commander’s death.

Ever since Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations after the storming of their embassy in Tehran following the execution of the Shia leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, relations between the rival regional powers have plummeted. 

The latest sign of this was the failure to agree on arrangements for Iranian pilgrims to travel to this year’s Hajj.

The failure of four days of talks between the two sides last month has led to statements of mutual recrimination which will mean that Iranian pilgrims will almost certainly miss this year’s ceremonies.

Iran said that its citizens would not participate in the Hajj and blamed Saudi Arabia for the problem. Last year’s Hajj was marred by the death of at least 769 pilgrims, many of them Iranian, in a stampede at Mina on the outskirts of Mecca.

According to MEE sources the instruction Iran gave was to initiate actions against Saudi Arabia before the beginning of the Hajj in September. Shukr's task is to co-ordinate military actions with an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, and a shia group in Bahrain Saraya al-Mukhtar.

Hezbollah operatives have been used in the past in the Gulf. A member of the al-Dawa militant group, Badreddine was arrested along with 17 others after the truck bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait City in 1983. In 1985 Badreddine was also reportedly involved in a failed assassination attempt of the Kuwaiti emir.

Amed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shia member of Saudi Hezbollah who allegedly masterminded the attack on the US military barracks in Khobar in 1996, was captured last year after a 20-year manhunt. Saudi Hezbollah, also called Hezbollah el-Hajaz, is close to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the IRGC.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-iran-orders-hezbollah-target-saudi-arabia-903428016#sthash.IOChq2UG.dpuf

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands.

Badreddine’s replacement is Fuad Shukr, whose nom de guerre is al-Hajj Mohsen, the sources told MEE. 

Aged 55 and from the village al-Nabi Sheeth in the Bekaa Valley, Shukr comes from the core group which started Hezbollah along with Imad Mughniyeh, Badreddine, and Mustafa Sahadah.

Whereas his predecessors came from the intelligence and security wing of the organisation, Shukr came to prominence as a military man, responsible for operations against Israel, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. 

A graduate of the Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Shukr is regarded as well trained. Soleimani not only named the new head of Hezbollah’s military wing, but his two deputies as well, sources told MEE. They are Ibrahim Aqil, also know as al-Hajj Tahsin, but whose current pseudonym is al-Hajj Abdul Khader, and Talal Hamiah.

Shukr's appointment comes despite earlier reports in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat suggesting that Badreddine’s nephew Mustafa Mughniyeh would be named as his successor.

MEE understands these reports to be incorrect.

Iran’s order to Hezbollah, and the fact that they have gone to such lengths as to appoint a successor, confirms the significance to Iran of Badreddine’s death, the exact circumstances of which are still a matter of speculation. His death near Damascus airport was initially blamed on an Israeli covert operation, but this was contradicted by a Hezbollah statement.

It read: ”Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [Sunni militant] groups in the area."

The nearest opposition artillery positions however were 20 kilometres away and there are doubts that their shells could achieve pinpoint accuracy from that distance.

Hezbollah slogans at Badreddine’s funeral left little doubt that they held Saudi Arabia responsible for their military commander’s death.

Ever since Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations after the storming of their embassy in Tehran following the execution of the Shia leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, relations between the rival regional powers have plummeted. 

The latest sign of this was the failure to agree on arrangements for Iranian pilgrims to travel to this year’s Hajj.

The failure of four days of talks between the two sides last month has led to statements of mutual recrimination which will mean that Iranian pilgrims will almost certainly miss this year’s ceremonies.

Iran said that its citizens would not participate in the Hajj and blamed Saudi Arabia for the problem. Last year’s Hajj was marred by the death of at least 769 pilgrims, many of them Iranian, in a stampede at Mina on the outskirts of Mecca.

According to MEE sources the instruction Iran gave was to initiate actions against Saudi Arabia before the beginning of the Hajj in September. Shukr's task is to co-ordinate military actions with an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, and a shia group in Bahrain Saraya al-Mukhtar.

Hezbollah operatives have been used in the past in the Gulf. A member of the al-Dawa militant group, Badreddine was arrested along with 17 others after the truck bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait City in 1983. In 1985 Badreddine was also reportedly involved in a failed assassination attempt of the Kuwaiti emir.

Amed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shia member of Saudi Hezbollah who allegedly masterminded the attack on the US military barracks in Khobar in 1996, was captured last year after a 20-year manhunt. Saudi Hezbollah, also called Hezbollah el-Hajaz, is close to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the IRGC.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-iran-orders-hezbollah-target-saudi-arabia-903428016#sthash.IOChq2UG.dpuf

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands.

Badreddine’s replacement is Fuad Shukr, whose nom de guerre is al-Hajj Mohsen, the sources told MEE. 

Aged 55 and from the village al-Nabi Sheeth in the Bekaa Valley, Shukr comes from the core group which started Hezbollah along with Imad Mughniyeh, Badreddine, and Mustafa Sahadah.

Whereas his predecessors came from the intelligence and security wing of the organisation, Shukr came to prominence as a military man, responsible for operations against Israel, including the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. 

A graduate of the Imam Hussein University in Tehran, Shukr is regarded as well trained. Soleimani not only named the new head of Hezbollah’s military wing, but his two deputies as well, sources told MEE. They are Ibrahim Aqil, also know as al-Hajj Tahsin, but whose current pseudonym is al-Hajj Abdul Khader, and Talal Hamiah.

Shukr's appointment comes despite earlier reports in the Saudi-owned Asharq al-Awsat suggesting that Badreddine’s nephew Mustafa Mughniyeh would be named as his successor.

MEE understands these reports to be incorrect.

Iran’s order to Hezbollah, and the fact that they have gone to such lengths as to appoint a successor, confirms the significance to Iran of Badreddine’s death, the exact circumstances of which are still a matter of speculation. His death near Damascus airport was initially blamed on an Israeli covert operation, but this was contradicted by a Hezbollah statement.

It read: ”Investigations have showed that the explosion, which targeted one of our bases near Damascus International Airport, and which led to the martyrdom of commander Mustafa Badreddine, was the result of artillery bombardment carried out by takfiri [Sunni militant] groups in the area."

The nearest opposition artillery positions however were 20 kilometres away and there are doubts that their shells could achieve pinpoint accuracy from that distance.

Hezbollah slogans at Badreddine’s funeral left little doubt that they held Saudi Arabia responsible for their military commander’s death.

Ever since Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic relations after the storming of their embassy in Tehran following the execution of the Shia leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, relations between the rival regional powers have plummeted. 

The latest sign of this was the failure to agree on arrangements for Iranian pilgrims to travel to this year’s Hajj.

The failure of four days of talks between the two sides last month has led to statements of mutual recrimination which will mean that Iranian pilgrims will almost certainly miss this year’s ceremonies.

Iran said that its citizens would not participate in the Hajj and blamed Saudi Arabia for the problem. Last year’s Hajj was marred by the death of at least 769 pilgrims, many of them Iranian, in a stampede at Mina on the outskirts of Mecca.

According to MEE sources the instruction Iran gave was to initiate actions against Saudi Arabia before the beginning of the Hajj in September. Shukr's task is to co-ordinate military actions with an Iraqi Shia paramilitary group Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, and a shia group in Bahrain Saraya al-Mukhtar.

Hezbollah operatives have been used in the past in the Gulf. A member of the al-Dawa militant group, Badreddine was arrested along with 17 others after the truck bombings of the US and French embassies in Kuwait City in 1983. In 1985 Badreddine was also reportedly involved in a failed assassination attempt of the Kuwaiti emir.

Amed Ibrahim al-Mughassil, a Saudi Shia member of Saudi Hezbollah who allegedly masterminded the attack on the US military barracks in Khobar in 1996, was captured last year after a 20-year manhunt. Saudi Hezbollah, also called Hezbollah el-Hajaz, is close to Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the IRGC.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-iran-orders-hezbollah-target-saudi-arabia-903428016#sthash.IOChq2UG.dpuf

The military wing of the Lebanese movement Hezbollah has been instructed by Iran to suspend operations against Israel and to target Saudi Arabia instead, Middle East Eye can reveal.

The instruction comes in the wake of widespread anger at the apparent assassination of Mustafa Badreddine, its military commander in Syria and head of the movement's military wing, which Hezbollah blamed on “takfiri” forces supported by Riyadh.

According to well informed sources in Lebanon, the order was conveyed in person by Qasim Soleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) who came to Beirut to give his condolescences.

Soleimani also named Badreddine’s successor and his two deputies, which is believed to be an unprecedented move in the relationship between Iran and the Lebanese movement. Previous appointments have been an internal matter for Hezbollah in consultation with Iran, MEE understands. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Saving Terrorism Victims Before the Ambulance Arrives

May 17th 2016

IDF Medical Teams

In the field of medical volunteer work, Israel leads the world in innovative services. United Hatzalah of Israel is the largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Services organization that provides the fastest and free emergency medical first response throughout Israel. Using specially equipped motorcycle ambulances and a network of more than 2,500 volunteer medics, Hatzalah helps save thousands of lives each year across Israel.

The group provides medical treatment in three minutes or less, a critical window of time between the onset of an emergency and the arrival of traditional ambulance assistance. As a designated national security asset by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Home Front Command, United Hatzalah's LifeCompass Command Center's humanitarian services are free, universal and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, regardless of race, religion or national origin. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Saudi Arabia, The Golden Chain -- and The Missing 28 Pages

April 24th 2016

Twin Towers 9/11
Prince Bandar

The American media, which continues to concentrate on a bill making its way through Congress that would allow American citizens to sue the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for losses suffered as a result of the 9/11 attacks, paid no attention to the Golden Chain.

The victims claim that the release of the 28 pages missing from the 9/11 Commission Report is of crucial importance to their case. Those pages, they say, would show the interrelationship that ties the hijackers to the Saudi regime itself and therefore would offer a damning indictment of the Kingdom. But President Obama, like President Bush before him, refuses to make it public. And the Saudi Royal Family that vehemently denies funding al Qaeda, threatened that if the 28 pages are released, they would sell more than $750 billion of Saudi investments in the U.S.

Of equal if not of greater importance than the missing 28 pages, is the forgotten investigation of the Bosnia-BIF office. Crucially, among the boxes and files was found a note ostensibly written by Osama Bin Laden that lists a "Golden Chain" of twenty Arab plutocrats who were and remain suspected of financing international terrorism, including the funding of al Qaeda. Read more ..


The Weapon's Edge

The F-35 is a Security Threat

February 4th 2016

F-35

The greatest modern air battle after the 1973 Yom Kippur war was the air battle over the Bekaa Valley in 1982. The outcome of that battle still influences strategic planning and weapons development in the United States and Russia. One development that is critical to US programs is Beyond Visual Range (BVR) attack, which is the core idea of the F-22 and the F-35 "stealth" fighters. Likewise, the Russians also drew important conclusions which they are now implementing in new aircraft such as the Su-35 and the developmental PAK T-50. So, nearly 34 years since the Bekaa "turkey shoot" happened, resulting in a decisive victory for US equipment and the Israeli Air Force, can we anticipate such victories in future? In short, does America have the qualitative edge?

Today's US Air Force consists primarily of the following jet fighter interceptors: F-15, F-16, and the Navy/Marine F-18 super hornet. Added to this is a limited number of F-22 Stealth fighter bombers and, in the near future, the F-35 Joint Strike fighter. The US also has a supply of A-10 Warthogs, mostly close support and anti-armor planes that are currently in use against ISIS. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Britain's Largest Bank Cuts Off Islamic Relief UK Over Alleged Terror Connections

January 7th 2016

HSBC

Britain's largest bank, HSBC, no longer will do business with the charity Islamic Relief UK due to worries over its alleged terror ties. The Sunday Times of London reported last weekend that the banking giant decided to cut off the Muslim charity a year ago, but the move went unreported until now.

Islamic Relief UK receives millions of pounds from the British Department of International Development, the Times reported. Israel banned the charity from the West Bank in 2014, accusing it of laundering money for Hamas. The Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs designated the group's parent organization, Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW), as a terrorist front in 2006.

Read more ..

The Refugee Crisis

It is Possible to Vet Syrian Refugees

January 4th 2016

Syrian Refugees


With the flood of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa overwhelming Europe, and with the Obama administration allowing large numbers to come to the United States, there is a justifiable fear that embedded in the ranks of the refugees are trained terrorists.
Until now, identifying embedded terrorists has been nearly an impossible challenge.  People have called for better "vetting," but to "vet" means to look back at people's history based on their documentation. For most people, certainly for most Syrians, there is no "back" - even a legitimate passport can't be verified with Passport Control in Damascus. With whom would one check local police, employment or education records? Read more ..


The Battle for Syria

Understanding the Factions of North Latakia

December 29th 2015

Syrian Rebel w/SAW

Since the beginning of Russian airstrikes in Syria, the north Latakia fighting front has emerged as a key battleground as regime forces- including irregular militias like the Muqawama Suriya and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party’s Nusur al-Zawba’a– and Shi’a militias like the Iraqi Harakat al-Nujaba’ seek to make advances and consolidate the remaining rump state. Contrasting with the Aleppo front but similar to developments in north Hama, the north Latakia front has remained largely at a stalemate, with the two main frontline areas being Jabal al-Akrad and Jabal al-Turkoman. The question then arises of which insurgent factions are operating on this front.

In general, these factions are diverse in nature, ranging from Western-backed groups to jihadists. Further, they tend to acknowledge that they do not operate alone but rather cooperate with multiple other groups. This is so despite the fact that the last two major offensives launched by rebel forces in Latakia province- summer 2013 (A’isha Mother of the Believers Battle) and spring 2014 (al-Anfal Battle)- were spearheaded by foreign jihadists, with the area having a reputation as a hangout for muhajireen. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Minnesota Man Facing Terrorism Charge Once Worked at Airport

December 23rd 2015

United Airlines jet liner

A Minnesota man who faces terrorism-related charges once boasted that he was capable of building rockets that could threaten planes landing at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, and also once worked at the airport as a baggage handler, an FBI agent testified Tuesday.

FBI Special Agent Daniel Higgins spoke at a hearing for Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, 20, of Eagan. Warsame was the 10th young man from Minnesota's Somali community to be charged since April with terrorism-related counts accusing them of plotting to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State group. He was arrested and charged Dec. 9 with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization and one count of providing such support. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Seventy Paris Airport Workers' Security Passes Revoked Over Their Radical Islamist Beliefs

December 18th 2015

French antiterror police squad

Seventy workers at Paris airports suspected of being radical Islamists have had their security passes revoked since the deadly attacks in the city a month ago.

Security agents have also examined the contents of around 4,000 workers' lockers at Charles de Gaulle and Orly as the airports authority attempts to weed out any potential terrorists working at the busy transport hubs.

French security sources have said that Islamist militants killed in a police raid in a Paris suburb five days after the November 13 attacks were planning to attack Charles de Gaulle, France's biggest international airport.
Read more ..

The Edge of Terrorism

Egyptian Air Force planes have in recent months crossed into Israeli

December 17th 2015

Russian jets formation

Egyptian Air Force planes have in recent months crossed into Israeli airspaces part of Egypt's military campaign against the local Sinai affiliate of the Islamic State terror group, Ynet learned on Tuesday.The unprecedented flights, apparently conducted in coordination with the IDF, were conducted mostly in the triangular border area between Israeli territory, Egyptian land, and the southern Gaza Strip. The flights are believed to be the first time that Egyptian warplanes entered Israeli airspace since the Yom Kippur War in 1973.

The Egyptian aircraft bombed IS targets mere kilometers away from the Israeli border, in the vicinity of El Arish and Sheikh Zuweid in the northern Sinai. Entry into Israeli airspace did not result in any clashes with Israeli planes, presumably because of prior coordination. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Swedish Threat: 'We'll Behead You In Your Home Unless You Convert To Islam'

December 16th 2015

Abu Bakir

Police in Sweden are investigating chilling letters posted through letterboxes across the country threatening to behead people unless they convert to Islam.

The notes, which are signed ISIS and carry the terrorist organisation's flag, threaten to decapitate 'non-believers' unless they become a Muslim or pay a religious tax.

They have been distributed among several cities including Stockholm and warn 'the police will not save you from being murdered'. 

The letters, written in Swedish, threaten to behead anyone who does not convert to Islam or pay a special tax

Translated, the notes said: 'In the name of Allah, the merciful, full of grace. You who are not believers will be decapitated in three days in your own house. We will bomb your rotten corpses afterwards. Read more ..


The Caliphate

Islamic State Recruiting Offsets 15,000 Killed by Airstrikes

August 4th 2015

IS with Missile

In a sign of its resilience, the Islamic State appears to have recruited new fighters to offset 15,000 militants killed in a U.S.-led airstrike campaign approaching its first anniversary, U.S. military and intelligence estimates show.

More than 5,500 airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and Syria that began Aug. 8, 2014, have forced the extremist organization to disperse its fighters into smaller groups, making them less of a threat to seize large chunks of territory, according to the military estimates. Despite the lethal strikes, the group continues to attract new recruits and replace leaders, highlighting the difficulty of fighting a movement that draws support from Muslims around the world. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Israeli Company Trains Mice To Detect Explosives At Airports

July 29th 2015

Mouse in Beaker

Animals are known for their impressive ability to respond to external stimuli, and mice are no exception. While some may consider the furry creatures to be vermin that spread diseases, one Israeli company is debunking that perspective by harnessing the traits that make rodents particularly extraordinary. It turns out, these small mammals can sniff out explosives at airport security checkpoints and save travelers and authorities time and money.

Mice are currently trained by Israeli company X-Test to detect explosives at airports. These specially trained mice will be carried in cages to different checkpoints in order to discreetly smell people and their possessions, alerting officials when they sense a potentially lethal substance.

This unique system was developed by Israeli company X-Test, a member of The Tamar Group established in 1998 by former Israel Defense Forces officers to detect and neutralize explosives. Now, the company is expanding into uncharted territories by utilizing mice’s keen sense of smell to detect drugs, explosives and foreign substances at border crossings and airports.

In line with Pavlov’s classical conditioning, the rodents are trained (or conditioned) to identify and signal when they come across an unfamiliar odor. The man behind this latest development, former bomb-disposal expert Yuval Amsterdam, even claims the mice are more effective in distinguishing smells than explosive-detecting canines. â€œThey’re as good as dogs as far as their ability to smell, but they’re smaller and easier to train,” Amsterdam told The Independent.  “They’re cheap, and you don’t have to take them for a walk. Once they are trained, they become bio-sensors.” Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

The Saudis and the Iran Nuclear Agreement

July 23rd 2015

Ahmadinejad at Iranian nuclear plant

Relations between the United States and Saudi Arabia remain tense, despite Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s visit there today. According to the Saudi English language daily Arab News,  King Salman and his son, Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, “reviewed relations between the Kingdom and the United States of America, especially in the military fields, and discussed the latest developments in the region. The U.S. Secretary of Defense stressed America’s keenness on enhancing peace and stability in the region. Details were unavailable, but the tone of the Saudi media indicated that the Saudis were not amused. Yet, according to the Voice of America, Carter has said the “Saudi Leaders Support Iran Nuclear Deal.” Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Radical British Islamist Hid In Plain Sight -- On Government Payroll

July 14th 2015

Big Ben

The British government saw "Abdullah al Andalusi" as a trusted adviser, someone qualified to help oversee Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), which supervises UK police counter-terrorism policy and reactions to attacks.

Andalusi may have enjoyed access to classified information in that role. That stopped when someone in the HMIC hierarchy recently saw Andalusi on television, defending extremist ideology offered by the Saudi-financed Muslim Debate Initiative, the Sunday Telegraph's Andrew Gilligan reported.

Andalusi's Islamist activities were done under his real name, Mouloud Farid, while government officials failed to realize he secured government work with a fake name. Farid is close with the radical Hizb ut Tahrir, a global Islamist movement that has been described as a "conveyor belt" for jihadist terror. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Hamas and ISIS in the Sinai

July 8th 2015

Hamas+Guns

The question of whether Hamas’ military wing cooperated with Wilayat Sinai (literally Sinai Province), the organization that carried out the big terrorist attack in the Sinai Peninsula on July 1, is critical for Hamas. This issue is expected to impact not only the future of its relationship with Egypt, but the future of the movement overall. The largest terrorist attack in Sinai occurred when the leaders of the political wing thought the complicated relationship with the regime of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was stabilizing and that improved relations and a calming of the tensions between them was on the horizon. Once again, however, an accusing finger is pointed toward Hamas, and its leaders are forced to defend themselves.

The leaders of the movement, Ismail Haniyeh, Mousa Abu Marzouk and Abu Obeida, the spokesman of the military wing, quickly denied any connection with the Sinai terror organization affiliated with the Islamic State (IS). In an interview with Al-Quds network, Abu Marzouk explained that everyone knows how his movement works in Gaza against what he called “the black extremism.” He was referring to the surge of arrests in recent weeks carried out by Hamas of members of Salafist organizations in Gaza after Salafists had fired rockets toward Israel and tried to entangle his movement. Israel repeatedly states that it holds Hamas responsible for rockets fired at it. Read more ..


The Drone Edge

Drones Stealthily Steal the Paris Air Show

June 25th 2015

Flying Robot

The recent Paris Air Show was rich in drone solutions, from warfare mean machines to consumer toys and everything in between for the professional user. Yet, the recurring unauthorized flights that have been reported in the French national press over sensitive sites (embassies, nuclear or other industrial sites) have brought bad publicity to drones in general, making French authorities fear that those flights may be tied to terrorist or other criminal activities.

Even if the flying rules put forward by the DGAC (France's Civil Aviation General Office) and the heavy fines may tame the occasional aerial photography amateur, violating the sky rules is as easy as flying your drone too far and too high over public landmarks or private properties. Read more ..


The Caliphate

How Islamic State Victories Shape the Syrian Civil War

June 4th 2015

IS with Missile

In a display of considerable flexibility on the battlefield, the Islamic State managed to take rebel forces in northern Aleppo by surprise with a large-scale offensive aimed at securing more territory along the Syria-Turkey border. After drawing down its forces in the area, the Islamic State's sudden tactical shift resulted in considerable initial gains against the rebels. Islamic State fighters seized Sawran and are advancing near Mare. But thanks to reinforcements from Aleppo city and other provinces, Syrian rebel forces have already begun to mount powerful counterattacks against the Islamic State. For now, the outcome of the battle hangs in the balance as both sides move to bolster their ranks. Read more ..


The Syrian Threat

The Lessons of the Syrian Chemical Weapons Discovery

May 19th 2015

Syria's chemicals

In early May, inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) reported that they had located traces of sarin-type chemical weapons and ricin-type biological weapons in at least three sites in Syria which the Assad regime had not reported. This came following verification of the regime’s extensive use of chlorine in barrel bombs dropped on heavily populated areas controlled by the opposition.

While these reports prompted discussion in the West, and bearing in mind the embarrassing retreat from “red lines” regarding Syria’s use of chemical-weapons in the past, any thought of the West imposing further sanctions on the Assad regime in response to this new breach of his commitments, let alone use of force, is highly unlikely. Read more ..


The Defense Edge

European War Games: Responses to Russian Military Drills

May 7th 2015

Greek boarding party

Several events have coincided to demonstrate the dynamic, if not guarded, relationship between Russia and the Nordic and Baltic states. Ten NATO countries and Sweden launched a two-week planned exercise in the North Sea on May 4 to improve their anti-submarine warfare capabilities. On the same day, Finland — not a NATO member — began mailing letters to about 900,000 reservists informing them of their roles in a potential crisis situation. Meanwhile, Sweden's Foreign Ministry formally complained to Russian authorities that Russian navy ships were disrupting cable-laying work in waters between Sweden and Lithuania, the latest in a series of formal complaints over Russia's activity in the area. Concurrently, the Swedish and Lithuanian foreign ministers met with Moldova's pro-West leaders in Chisinau.

All of these events confirm that the Nordic and Baltic states are working to boost security cooperation in response to Russia's military activity in the region. Consequently, the security buildup will continue — on both sides. Read more ..


Iran's Nukes

Iran's Near 20 Percent LEU Remains Dangerous

May 5th 2015

Iran holy missiles

Despite the fact that Iran no longer has a stock of near 20 percent low enriched uranium (LEU) in hexafluoride form, it retains a significant portion of this material in the form of oxide. 

Under the July 2014 extension of the interim deal of the Joint Plan of Action, Iran pledged to convert 25 kilograms of LEU oxide into fuel assemblies for the Tehran Research Reactor. The goal of this step was to reduce the ease of reconverting this uranium oxide and using it in a breakout to nuclear weapons.  However, only about 5-10 kilograms of this near 20 percent LEU actually ended up in the fuel.  In the most recent extension, Iran committed to use another 35 kilograms for that purpose. Although the efficiency rates are expected to be higher this time, Iran will still retain large amounts of near 20 percent LEU in both oxide powder and in scrap, in-process material and in waste. The figure below shows that far more LEU, almost triple the amount, is ending up in scrap and waste than in fuel assemblies.  The bulk of this LEU is recoverable and usable in fuel or in a breakout to nuclear weapons. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Women and Girls Freed from Boko Haram Get Care

May 3rd 2015

Nigeria soldiers

Nigeria's military has rescued 234 more women and children from a forested area of northeasternNigeria controlled by Boko Haram extremists who have kidnapped hundreds of girls in recent years, the Nigerian defense ministry said Saturday.

The latest rescue, announced by the Nigeria Defense Headquarters on Twitter, brings the total for the week to more than 677 females the Nigerian military claims to have rescued.

Hundreds of the girls and women, are bewildered and traumatized,. They are being registered, fed and given medical care in their first day out of Nigeria's war zone.

The group of 275 women and children are among the nearly 700 released in the past week by the Nigerian military from Boko Haram extremists and the first to be transported to the safety of a Malkohi refugee camp here in Yola in the country's northeast.

Officials on Sunday are still registering the 61 women and 214 children, almost all girls. Many critically malnourished babies and children have been put on intravenous drips in the clinic and 21 have been hospitalized for gunshot wounds and fractured limbs, said a camp official.
Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

Changing Iran Trends in the Worldwide Threat Assessment

May 2nd 2015

Iran Nuclear Equipment centrifuges

Each year, the director of national intelligence presents Congress with a "Worldwide Threat Assessment" detailing the range of security threats to the United States, with the latest edition released this February. Below is a list of quotes from past and present assessments discussing Iran's regional posture and the role of its proxies.

"In the Middle East, Iran and its neighbors see a strategic shift: Iran's influence is rising in ways that go beyond the menace of its nuclear program. The fall of the Taliban and Saddam, increased oil revenues, HAMAS's electoral victory, and Hizballah's perceived recent success in fighting against Israel all extend Iran's shadow in the region."

(page 5, 2007 edition)

"Iran remains a threat to regional stability and US interests in the Middle East...Tehran's leadership seeks to preserve Iran's Islamic revolutionary government, sovereignty, stability, and territorial integrity while expanding Iran's influence and leadership in the region and the Islamic world." (p. 24, 2008) Read more ..


Geopolitical Edge

The Future of the American Empire

April 14th 2015

"Empire" is a dirty word. Considering the behavior of many empires, that is not unreasonable. But empire is also simply a description of a condition, many times unplanned and rarely intended. It is a condition that arises from a massive imbalance of power. Indeed, the empires created on purpose, such as Napoleonic France and Nazi Germany, have rarely lasted. Most empires do not plan to become one. They become one and then realize what they are. Sometimes they do not realize what they are for a long time, and that failure to see reality can have massive consequences.

World War II and the Birth of an Empire

The United States became an empire in 1945. It is true that in the Spanish-American War, the United States intentionally took control of the Philippines and Cuba. It is also true that it began thinking of itself as an empire, but it really was not. Cuba and the Philippines were the fantasy of empire, and this illusion dissolved during World War I, the subsequent period of isolationism and the Great Depression. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

U.S. Unprepared for Biological Threats

April 10th 2015

NYPD and flag

In a recent report to Congressional Committees on Biological Defense, the General Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that the Defense Department has not followed its own directive to update its list of biological agents that pose the greatest threat to the military. The DoD list on new biological threats serves as a guideline for the government's investments in countermeasures such as vaccines and new drugs. Yet, it has only been updated twice since its creation in 2000. The GAO reports that Pentagon officials stated they were under the impression that the DoD directive was no longer in effect.

Billions of of dollars were spent by the DoD from 2001 to 2013 on research and development of medical countermeasures.  However, without updated lists, GAO was not able to determine whether DoD was dealing with the latest deadly biological agents.  Even in the years that DoD did update the list, the GAO audit found that it didn't reach out to  the department's Chemical and Biological Defense Program and other concerned agencies. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

French TV5Monde Hit by Islamic State Hackers

April 9th 2015

IS with Missile

French television network TV5Monde said Thursday that it had been hacked by individuals claiming to belong to the Islamic State group, who brought television broadcasts to a halt and and hijacked its websites and social networks. The Paris-based company was able to partially resume television broadcasts by 1:00 am (2300 GMT) after a three-hour blackout, the network's director-general Yves Bigot told AFP, but added its systems had been "severely damaged" by an "unprecedented attack".

The hackers posted documents on TV5Monde's Facebook page purporting to be the identity cards and CVs of relatives of French soldiers involved in anti-IS operations, along with threats against the troops.

Read more ..

Iran's Nukes

Arab States Roundly Reject Obama's Bad Deal with Iran

April 5th 2015

"This is a dangerous agreement... [it] provides Iran with what it needs most to pursue its wars and expansionism against the Arabs: funds." — Salah al-Mukhtar, Ammon News.

"Iran has tried to intervene in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria and it is seeing that it's not paying any price... There is also a feeling in Tehran that the U.S. is avoiding a military confrontation with the Iranians." — Hassan al-Barari, Al-Sharq.

According to Hani al-Jamal, an Egyptian political and regional researcher, the deal means that the international community has accepted Iran as a nuclear power.

Many Arabs have expressed deep concern over the nuclear deal that was reached this week between Iran and the world powers, including the US. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

Iran Transferred Million of Dollars for Hamas Tunnel reconstruction

April 5th 2015

Tunnel  Access Point

Iran has transferred tens of millions of dollars for the reconstruction of the tunnel system that was destroyed by IDF during Operation Protective Edge – the British Sunday Telegraph reported last night. Intelligence sources quoted in the report assess that this cooperation is a sign that the two old allies are putting behind them a rift caused by the conflict in Syria.

The sources told the newspaper that in addition to the funds for the tunnels reconstruction, Teheran is also funding new missile supplies to replenish stocks, meant to hit cities and communities in Israeli territory.

The Iranian aid to Hamas can be seen at part of its involvement in other conflicts in the Middle East, like the civil war in Syria and the battle over the control of Yemen. “Iran’s Shiite leaders are trying very hard to increase their influence throughout the region at the expense of the Sunni regimes,” a senior Western security official told the newspaper. Read more ..


Mideast on Edge

The Middle Eastern Balance of Power Matures

March 31st 2015

Saudi princes

Last week, a coalition of predominantly Sunni Arab countries, primarily from the Arabian Peninsula and organized by Saudi Arabia, launched airstrikes in Yemen that have continued into this week. The airstrikes target Yemeni al-Houthis, a Shiite sect supported by Iran, and their Sunni partners, which include the majority of military forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. What made the strikes particularly interesting was what was lacking: U.S. aircraft. Although the United States provided intelligence and other support, it was a coalition of Arab states that launched the extended air campaign against the al-Houthis.

Three things make this important. First, it shows the United States' new regional strategy in operation. Washington is moving away from the strategy it has followed since the early 2000s — of being the prime military force in regional conflicts — and is shifting the primary burden of fighting to regional powers while playing a secondary role. Second, after years of buying advanced weaponry, the Saudis and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries are capable of carrying out a fairly sophisticated campaign, at least in Yemen. Read more ..


The War at Home

U.S. Air Force Veteran Charged with Trying to Join Islamic State terrorists

March 17th 2015

An Air Force veteran has been charged with trying to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Federal authorities say Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, who trained as an airplane mechanic, traveled to Turkey from Egypt to try to cross the border into Syria.

He was found to have searched online for information about the borders controlled by the militant group and for ISIS propaganda. “Born and raised in the United States, Pugh allegedly turned his back on his country and attempted to travel to Syria in order to join a terrorist organization,” said U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Loretta Lynch, who President Obama has nominated to be U.S. attorney general. “We will continue to vigorously prosecute extremists, whether based here or abroad, to stop them before they are able to threaten the United States and its allies." Read more ..


Edge of Terrorism

Boko Haram Reverts to Old Tactics Amid Setbacks

March 13th 2015

Nigeria - Jos Unrest

At least 34 people were killed during an attack in the capital of Nigeria's Borno State on Tuesday when, according to witnesses, a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives in a crowded marketplace. While no group claimed responsibility for the incident in Maiduguri, the bombing bore the hallmarks of killings committed by Boko Haram in northwestern Nigeria.

Earlier in the day, 20 insurgents in cars and on horseback opened fire in the village of Ngamdu about 60 miles away, killing eight people. Military officials confirmed the deaths and noted that soldiers had been deployed to the area to deter attacks. A similar shooting last week also killed 45 people in the Borno town of Njaba; and five coordinated bombs targeted the same Maiduguri marketplace on Saturday, killing more than 100 civilians. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

A Look Back at the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing Investigation

February 26th 2015

NYSkyline

On the morning of Feb. 26, 1993, a massive truck bomb ripped a hole almost 100 feet across the B-2 level of the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center's North Tower. The blast wave was so powerful that it penetrated five stories of the reinforced concrete building. In addition to causing structural damage, the explosion destroyed or heavily damaged hundreds of vehicles parked in the garage. That such a powerful explosion killed only six people is nothing short of miracle, for the attackers had a goal much more grandiose.

They wanted to topple the North Tower onto the South Tower to destroy them both and kill thousands. Had a device of the same magnitude been detonated at street level during rush hour, it would have likely killed scores if not hundreds of people and wounded perhaps thousands more. Read more ..


The Edge of Terrorism

A Look Back at the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing Investigation

February 26th 2015

NYSkyline

On the morning of Feb. 26, 1993, a massive truck bomb ripped a hole almost 100 feet across the B-2 level of the parking garage beneath the World Trade Center's North Tower. The blast wave was so powerful that it penetrated five stories of the reinforced concrete building. In addition to causing structural damage, the explosion destroyed or heavily damaged hundreds of vehicles parked in the garage. That such a powerful explosion killed only six people is nothing short of miracle, for the attackers had a goal much more grandiose.

They wanted to topple the North Tower onto the South Tower to destroy them both and kill thousands. Had a device of the same magnitude been detonated at street level during rush hour, it would have likely killed scores if not hundreds of people and wounded perhaps thousands more. Read more ..


The War on Terror

Obama is "the Neville Chamberlain of Our Day"

February 23rd 2015

With more than a week to go before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, two Republican representatives visited Israel last week to demonstrate their support of the Jewish state. Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) and Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL) spent time in Israel visiting with the IDF, meeting local Arab and Israeli politicians as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu in a trip sponsored by Proclaiming Justice to the Nations (PJTN) and Yes! Israel Missions.

“We are here to pay tribute to this great country,” said Pittenger, who noted it was his third time meeting the Israeli prime minister in 18 months in an interview with Tazpit News Agency. “Prime Minister Netanyahu is a remarkable man; one of the great leaders of our day,” he told Tazpit News Agency.

The Israeli prime minister is set to speak before Congress on March 3 to address the dangers of easing economic sanctions against Iran by the international community under the terms of an emerging deal between the West and the Islamic Republic. Read more ..


The Caliphate

ISIS Plans-- First Libya, then Italy

February 19th 2015

Vatican-Palazzo Apostolico

Almost six centuries after the last remnants of the Islamic empire were defeated, the forces of radical Islam are planning a second invasion of Europe.

YNet reports that the barbaric terrorist group ISIS has made major advances in a campaign to conquer a large swath of Libyan territory on the coast of North Africa. Should it succeed, ISIS plans to send terrorist savages "across the Mediterranean posing as refugees on people-trafficking vessels."

Since Libya collapsed into chaos following the overthrow of dictator Muammar Qaddafi, "Libyans fleeing their country's chaos regularly try to cross" the short distance between the Libyan coast and southern Italy. This allows ISIS a perfect opportunity to conceal its operatives. Read more ..


Argentina on Edge

Cry for Me, Argentina

February 16th 2015

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner

The assassination of Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman reflects the endemic corruption of the Kirchner regime and focuses the spotlight on the devil’s pact consummated by President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in 2013 with Iran, whose leaders inflicted the worst ever act of terrorism on her own citizens.

Today there are approximately 250,000 Jews in Argentina. Since the days of Juan Peron the government’s attitude to Jews has been ambivalent. Peron displayed friendship to the Jewish community but enabled Argentina to serve as a haven for the most evil of Nazi war criminals – including Adolf Eichmann.

In March 1992, the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires was the target of a terrorist bomb attack that killed 29 and wounded 242 people. Two years later, in July 1994, a second bombing was directed at the Jewish community center (AMIA), killing 85 and injuring hundreds. Read more ..



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