Archive for the ‘ISIS’ Category

ISIS displays command of varied media

ISIS is online jihad 3.0. Dozens of Twitter accounts spread its message, and it has posted some major speeches in seven languages. Its videos borrow from Madison Avenue and Hollywood, from combat video games and cable television dramas, and its sensational dispatches are echoed and amplified on social media. When its accounts are blocked, new ones appear immediately. It also uses services like JustPaste to publish battle summaries, SoundCloud to release audio reports, Instagram to share images and WhatsApp to spread graphics and videos.

“They are very adept at targeting a young audience,” said John G. Horgan, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell who has long studied terrorism. “There’s an urgency: ‘Be part of something that’s bigger than yourself and be part of it now.’ ” Fawaz A. Gerges, a professor at the London School of Economics and the author of “The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global,” said ISIS had so far consistently focused on what militants call “the near enemy” leaders of Muslim countries like Bashar al-Assad of Syria and not “the far enemy” of the United States and Europe.

“The struggle against the Americans and the Israelis is distant, not a priority,” he said. “It has to await liberation at home.”

Read More Britain raises its terrorism threat level over Syria, Iraq

Al Qaeda has often stressed the advantage to the terrorist network of supporters who hold Western passports and can attack in their countries. But a common public rite of passage for new recruits to ISIS is tearing up or burning their passports, signifying a no-going-back commitment to the Islamic state.

One polished ISIS video features a Canadian recruit named Andre Poulin urging North American Muslims to follow him and even to bring their families. “You’d be very well taken care of here,” he said in the video. “Your families would live here in safety, just like how it is back home. You know we have expanses of territory here in Syria.”

In another English-language video pitch, a British fighter identified as Brother Abu Bara al-Hindi poses the call to jihad as a test for comfortable Westerners. “Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you’ve got, the big car, the family?” he asks. Despite such luxuries, he says, “Living in the West, I know how you feel in the heart you feel depressed.” The Prophet Muhammad, he declares, said, “The cure for depression is jihad.”

Such appeals provoke curiosity, and British fighters have answered hundreds of questions about joining ISIS on Ask.fm, a website, including what type of shoes to bring and whether toothbrushes are available. When asked what to do upon arriving in Turkey or Syria, the fighters often casually reply, “Kik me,” referring to the instant messenger for smartphones, and continue the discussion in private.

The English-language videos do not soft-pedal the dangers of the fight; the video of Mr. Poulin, for instance, shows and celebrates his death in battle. But the message to English speakers is nonetheless far softer than the Arabic-language videos, which linger on enemy corpses and show handcuffed prisoners casually machine-gunned.

The message, said Mr. Gerges, is blunt: “Get out of the way or you will be crushed; join our caravan and make history.”

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ISIS displays command of varied media

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U.S. options against ISIS

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must — somehow, some way — go through Syria.

But how? And in what way?

Those are the big questions now, as President Barack Obama weighs what to do inside the war-ravaged nation where ISIS leaders are based and where the Islamist terror group rose to prominence.

Obama ceded Thursday that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for what to do about ISIS inside Syria, with a senior administration official adding that a decision is “a week or so” away.

There are certainly options, but none is clear-cut.

“There is no such thing as a no-risk strategy,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington. “It’s a matter of taking the right risk and balancing that risk to make the right choice.”

Here’s a look at some possibilities, including why and how they could and could not work:

1) Ground forces

In other words, go all in.

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U.S. options against ISIS

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U.S. military strikes ISIS targets

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — The United States says it has carried out airstrikes and dropped humanitarian aid in the Iraqi town of Amerli to protect an ethnic minority that one official says faces the threat of an “imminent massacre.”

The town of Amerli, which has been besieged by ISIS fighters, is home to many of Iraq’s Shiite Turkmen.

To help the trapped people, the United States has carried out humanitarian airdrops, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said late Saturday.

Australia, France and the UK also participated in the aid drop.

The U.S. military conducted “coordinated airstrikes” against ISIS targets as part of an effort to support the humanitarian operation, Kirby said.

Video released by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense was strikingly similar to the scenes of the dire situation faced by the Yazidis, who were trapped on the Sinjar Mountains by ISIS, earlier this month. Dozens of people crowded helicopters, hoping to be rescued. Scores more awaited the arrival life-saving supplies in the scorching summer sun.

ISIS fighters have surrounded Amerli, 70 miles north of Baquba, since since mid-June. The town’s fewer than 20,000 residents are without power.

“Residents are enduring harsh living conditions with severe food and water shortages, and a complete absence of medical services — and there are fears of a possible imminent massacre,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said last week.

ISIS has called the Shiite Turkmen heretics and vowed to push them out.

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U.S. military strikes ISIS targets

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What can U.S. do against ISIS?

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must — somehow, some way — go through Syria.

But how? And in what way?

Those are the big questions now, as President Barack Obama weighs what to do inside the war-ravaged nation where ISIS leaders are based and where the Islamist terror group rose to prominence.

Obama ceded Thursday that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for what to do about ISIS inside Syria, with a senior administration official adding that a decision is “a week or so” away.

There are certainly options, but none is clear-cut.

“There is no such thing as a no-risk strategy,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington. “It’s a matter of taking the right risk and balancing that risk to make the right choice.”

Here’s a look at some possibilities, including why and how they could and could not work:

1) Ground forces

In other words, go all in.

Continued here:

What can U.S. do against ISIS?

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U.S. airstrikes hit ISIS near besieged town

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — The United States says it has carried out airstrikes and dropped humanitarian aid in the Iraqi town of Amerli to protect an ethnic minority that one official says faces the threat of an “imminent massacre.”

The town of Amerli, which has been besieged by ISIS fighters, is home to many of Iraq’s Shiite Turkmen.

To help the trapped people, the United States has carried out humanitarian airdrops, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said late Saturday.

Australia, France and the UK also participated in the aid drop.

The U.S. military conducted “coordinated airstrikes” against ISIS targets as part of an effort to support the humanitarian operation, Kirby said.

Video released by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense was strikingly similar to the scenes of the dire situation faced by the Yazidis, who were trapped on the Sinjar Mountains by ISIS, earlier this month. Dozens of people crowded helicopters, hoping to be rescued. Scores more awaited the arrival life-saving supplies in the scorching summer sun.

ISIS fighters have surrounded Amerli, 70 miles north of Baquba, since since mid-June. The town’s fewer than 20,000 residents are without power.

“Residents are enduring harsh living conditions with severe food and water shortages, and a complete absence of medical services — and there are fears of a possible imminent massacre,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said last week.

ISIS has called the Shiite Turkmen heretics and vowed to push them out.

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U.S. airstrikes hit ISIS near besieged town

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UK raises terror threat level over ISIS

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

London (CNN) — The UK government raised its terror threat level Friday from “substantial” to “severe,” the fourth highest of five levels, in response to events in Iraq and Syria, where ISIS militants have seized a large swath of territory.

“That means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent,” Home Secretary Theresa May said.

The “root cause” of Britain’s terror threat is “Islamist extremism,” Prime Minister David Cameron said. The execution of American journalist James Foley is clear evidence that ISIS’s fight in Iraq and Syria “is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore,” according to the UK leader.

ISIS is unlike other Islamist extremist groups in its primary focus not to find a country that can be its base of operations, but to create its own country. And the group has had ample success in that regard, given the vast reach already of what it calls the Islamic State.

While it’s been widely reviled internationally, ISIS has managed to attract some support among Muslims and drawn foreign fighters, like the masked man with an apparent British accent who took part in Foley’s beheading, who some fear could soon carry out attacks back home.

Even without specific threats in the West, ISIS’ track record in Syria and Iraq — where it was known to massacre minorities, forcefully institute Sharia law and stage executions and stonings — suggest it may be capable of anything. Cameron said the group poses a “greater and deeper” threat than Britain has ever known.

“This is al Qaeda version 6.0,” Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Syria, told CNN on Friday. “They are like nothing we have ever seen before.”

Travel restrictions, an increase in police activity

ISIS has been operating for years; now its actions in Iraq are prompting the United States to target its fighters with airstrikes there and to threaten more such strikes in Syria.

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UK raises terror threat level over ISIS

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ISIS recruits fighters through powerful online campaign

As many as 3,000 Westerners are fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and other jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq.

Terror analysts say those fighters pose the greatest threat to the United States because of their ability to travel freely and blend in. Many are recruited through a powerful online media campaign, CBS News’ Julianna Goldman reports.

“I am your brother in Islam here in Syria. We have safety here for your family and children,” said a Western jihadist on video, urging potential ISIS recruits to come join the fight in Syria.

It’s all part of a high-tech propaganda machine ISIS has developed to reach out to militants in Europe, Canada and the United States.

The terror group now has its own multilingual media arm, Al Hayat, which is behind the creation and distribution of glossy magazines and highly produced slick videos. ISIS even uses drones and GoPros to appeal to the Western eye.

A “mujatweet,” a short promotional video, shows a softer side of jihad. In one such video, a Belgian hands out ice cream to excited Syrian children.

Elliot Zweig is deputy director of the Middle East Media Research Institute, which has been tracking ISIS on the Web.

“You see messages of camaraderie,” Zweig said. “The focus of these are much more on ‘come and join us’, it is not all difficulty and gore and suffering. It is ‘come and join us, join me and we’ll fight the good fight together.'”

A celebrity culture has even emerged around some of these ISIS fighters, like the French militant who goes by Guitone and a German rapper who goes by Deso Dogg.

“The message is very much, here we are at the beach, here we are eating pizza, the guys, it’s pizza night, almost as an aside it says ‘death to Jews,'” Zweig said.

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ISIS recruits fighters through powerful online campaign

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ISIS displays command of varied media

ISIS is online jihad 3.0. Dozens of Twitter accounts spread its message, and it has posted some major speeches in seven languages. Its videos borrow from Madison Avenue and Hollywood, from combat video games and cable television dramas, and its sensational dispatches are echoed and amplified on social media. When its accounts are blocked, new ones appear immediately. It also uses services like JustPaste to publish battle summaries, SoundCloud to release audio reports, Instagram to share images and WhatsApp to spread graphics and videos. “They are very adept at targeting a young audience,” said John G. Horgan, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell who has long studied terrorism. “There’s an urgency: ‘Be part of something that’s bigger than yourself and be part of it now.’ ” Fawaz A. Gerges, a professor at the London School of Economics and the author of “The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global,” said ISIS had so far consistently focused on what militants call “the near enemy” leaders of Muslim countries like Bashar al-Assad of Syria and not “the far enemy” of the United States and Europe. “The struggle against the Americans and the Israelis is distant, not a priority,” he said. “It has to await liberation at home.” Read More Britain raises its terrorism threat level over Syria, Iraq Al Qaeda has often stressed the advantage to the terrorist network of supporters who hold Western passports and can attack in their countries. But a common public rite of passage for new recruits to ISIS is tearing up or burning their passports, signifying a no-going-back commitment to the Islamic state. One polished ISIS video features a Canadian recruit named Andre Poulin urging North American Muslims to follow him and even to bring their families. “You’d be very well taken care of here,” he said in the video. “Your families would live here in safety, just like how it is back home. You know we have expanses of territory here in Syria.” In another English-language video pitch, a British fighter identified as Brother Abu Bara al-Hindi poses the call to jihad as a test for comfortable Westerners. “Are you willing to sacrifice the fat job you’ve got, the big car, the family?” he asks. Despite such luxuries, he says, “Living in the West, I know how you feel in the heart you feel depressed.” The Prophet Muhammad, he declares, said, “The cure for depression is jihad.” Such appeals provoke curiosity, and British fighters have answered hundreds of questions about joining ISIS on Ask.fm, a website, including what type of shoes to bring and whether toothbrushes are available. When asked what to do upon arriving in Turkey or Syria, the fighters often casually reply, “Kik me,” referring to the instant messenger for smartphones, and continue the discussion in private. The English-language videos do not soft-pedal the dangers of the fight; the video of Mr. Poulin, for instance, shows and celebrates his death in battle. But the message to English speakers is nonetheless far softer than the Arabic-language videos, which linger on enemy corpses and show handcuffed prisoners casually machine-gunned. The message, said Mr. Gerges, is blunt: “Get out of the way or you will be crushed; join our caravan and make history.”

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August 31, 2014   Posted in: ISIS  Comments Closed

U.S. options against ISIS

STORY HIGHLIGHTS (CNN) — If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must — somehow, some way — go through Syria. But how? And in what way? Those are the big questions now, as President Barack Obama weighs what to do inside the war-ravaged nation where ISIS leaders are based and where the Islamist terror group rose to prominence. Obama ceded Thursday that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for what to do about ISIS inside Syria, with a senior administration official adding that a decision is “a week or so” away. There are certainly options, but none is clear-cut. “There is no such thing as a no-risk strategy,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington. “It’s a matter of taking the right risk and balancing that risk to make the right choice.” Here’s a look at some possibilities, including why and how they could and could not work: 1) Ground forces In other words, go all in.

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August 31, 2014   Posted in: ISIS  Comments Closed

U.S. military strikes ISIS targets

STORY HIGHLIGHTS (CNN) — The United States says it has carried out airstrikes and dropped humanitarian aid in the Iraqi town of Amerli to protect an ethnic minority that one official says faces the threat of an “imminent massacre.” The town of Amerli, which has been besieged by ISIS fighters, is home to many of Iraq’s Shiite Turkmen. To help the trapped people, the United States has carried out humanitarian airdrops, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said late Saturday. Australia, France and the UK also participated in the aid drop. The U.S. military conducted “coordinated airstrikes” against ISIS targets as part of an effort to support the humanitarian operation, Kirby said. Video released by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense was strikingly similar to the scenes of the dire situation faced by the Yazidis, who were trapped on the Sinjar Mountains by ISIS, earlier this month. Dozens of people crowded helicopters, hoping to be rescued. Scores more awaited the arrival life-saving supplies in the scorching summer sun. ISIS fighters have surrounded Amerli, 70 miles north of Baquba, since since mid-June. The town’s fewer than 20,000 residents are without power. “Residents are enduring harsh living conditions with severe food and water shortages, and a complete absence of medical services — and there are fears of a possible imminent massacre,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said last week. ISIS has called the Shiite Turkmen heretics and vowed to push them out.

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What can U.S. do against ISIS?

STORY HIGHLIGHTS (CNN) — If the United States is serious about thoroughly defeating ISIS, it must — somehow, some way — go through Syria. But how? And in what way? Those are the big questions now, as President Barack Obama weighs what to do inside the war-ravaged nation where ISIS leaders are based and where the Islamist terror group rose to prominence. Obama ceded Thursday that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for what to do about ISIS inside Syria, with a senior administration official adding that a decision is “a week or so” away. There are certainly options, but none is clear-cut. “There is no such thing as a no-risk strategy,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington. “It’s a matter of taking the right risk and balancing that risk to make the right choice.” Here’s a look at some possibilities, including why and how they could and could not work: 1) Ground forces In other words, go all in.

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August 31, 2014   Posted in: ISIS  Comments Closed

U.S. airstrikes hit ISIS near besieged town

STORY HIGHLIGHTS (CNN) — The United States says it has carried out airstrikes and dropped humanitarian aid in the Iraqi town of Amerli to protect an ethnic minority that one official says faces the threat of an “imminent massacre.” The town of Amerli, which has been besieged by ISIS fighters, is home to many of Iraq’s Shiite Turkmen. To help the trapped people, the United States has carried out humanitarian airdrops, Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said late Saturday. Australia, France and the UK also participated in the aid drop. The U.S. military conducted “coordinated airstrikes” against ISIS targets as part of an effort to support the humanitarian operation, Kirby said. Video released by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense was strikingly similar to the scenes of the dire situation faced by the Yazidis, who were trapped on the Sinjar Mountains by ISIS, earlier this month. Dozens of people crowded helicopters, hoping to be rescued. Scores more awaited the arrival life-saving supplies in the scorching summer sun. ISIS fighters have surrounded Amerli, 70 miles north of Baquba, since since mid-June. The town’s fewer than 20,000 residents are without power. “Residents are enduring harsh living conditions with severe food and water shortages, and a complete absence of medical services — and there are fears of a possible imminent massacre,” U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said last week. ISIS has called the Shiite Turkmen heretics and vowed to push them out.

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August 31, 2014   Posted in: ISIS  Comments Closed

UK raises terror threat level over ISIS

STORY HIGHLIGHTS London (CNN) — The UK government raised its terror threat level Friday from “substantial” to “severe,” the fourth highest of five levels, in response to events in Iraq and Syria, where ISIS militants have seized a large swath of territory. “That means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent,” Home Secretary Theresa May said. The “root cause” of Britain’s terror threat is “Islamist extremism,” Prime Minister David Cameron said. The execution of American journalist James Foley is clear evidence that ISIS’s fight in Iraq and Syria “is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore,” according to the UK leader. ISIS is unlike other Islamist extremist groups in its primary focus not to find a country that can be its base of operations, but to create its own country. And the group has had ample success in that regard, given the vast reach already of what it calls the Islamic State. While it’s been widely reviled internationally, ISIS has managed to attract some support among Muslims and drawn foreign fighters, like the masked man with an apparent British accent who took part in Foley’s beheading, who some fear could soon carry out attacks back home. Even without specific threats in the West, ISIS’ track record in Syria and Iraq — where it was known to massacre minorities, forcefully institute Sharia law and stage executions and stonings — suggest it may be capable of anything. Cameron said the group poses a “greater and deeper” threat than Britain has ever known. “This is al Qaeda version 6.0,” Ryan Crocker, a former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Syria, told CNN on Friday. “They are like nothing we have ever seen before.” Travel restrictions, an increase in police activity ISIS has been operating for years; now its actions in Iraq are prompting the United States to target its fighters with airstrikes there and to threaten more such strikes in Syria.

Fair Usage Law

August 31, 2014   Posted in: ISIS  Comments Closed

ISIS recruits fighters through powerful online campaign

As many as 3,000 Westerners are fighting alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and other jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq. Terror analysts say those fighters pose the greatest threat to the United States because of their ability to travel freely and blend in. Many are recruited through a powerful online media campaign, CBS News’ Julianna Goldman reports. “I am your brother in Islam here in Syria. We have safety here for your family and children,” said a Western jihadist on video, urging potential ISIS recruits to come join the fight in Syria. It’s all part of a high-tech propaganda machine ISIS has developed to reach out to militants in Europe, Canada and the United States. The terror group now has its own multilingual media arm, Al Hayat, which is behind the creation and distribution of glossy magazines and highly produced slick videos. ISIS even uses drones and GoPros to appeal to the Western eye. A “mujatweet,” a short promotional video, shows a softer side of jihad. In one such video, a Belgian hands out ice cream to excited Syrian children. Elliot Zweig is deputy director of the Middle East Media Research Institute, which has been tracking ISIS on the Web. “You see messages of camaraderie,” Zweig said. “The focus of these are much more on ‘come and join us’, it is not all difficulty and gore and suffering. It is ‘come and join us, join me and we’ll fight the good fight together.'” A celebrity culture has even emerged around some of these ISIS fighters, like the French militant who goes by Guitone and a German rapper who goes by Deso Dogg. “The message is very much, here we are at the beach, here we are eating pizza, the guys, it’s pizza night, almost as an aside it says ‘death to Jews,'” Zweig said.

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