Monday, September 22, 2014

22-Sep-14: Beheading is just the start

Triumphant ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State activist militants make
their presence felt in Syria's Northern Raqqa province, August 2014
[Image Source]
The chief spokesperson for a sickeningly brutal strand of Sunni Islamist terror, the so-called Islamic State (or Da'esh or ISIL or ISIS) for whom the public beheading of journalists is among their better-known strategies, delivered a speech in the form of an audio recording that was distributed globally yesterday (Sunday), attracting considerable attention. A published version of the full text in English translation is here.

The man doing the talking is identified as Abu Muhammad al Adnani. The audio recording, framed in religious-sounding terms and invoking Islamist concepts, is entitled (in one English-language translation) "Indeed your lord is ever watchful". Its core message is that Moslems ought to take violent action against "disbelievers" by any means necessary.
O America, O allies of America, and O crusaders, know that the matter is more dangerous than you have imagined and greater than you have envisioned. We have warned you that today we are in a new era... If you can kill a disbelieving American or European, especially the spiteful and filthy French or an Australian or a Canadian or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, kill him in any manner or way however it may be. [From a USAtoday report]
Abu Muhammad al Adnani is the speaker's nom de guerre. Reportedly born in a village near Aleppo, Syria, in 1977 as Taha Sobhi Falaha, he was last month declared a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224 [see the State Department's press release here]. That same week, he was also named to the UN's Al-Qaida Sanctions Regime as "a significant tool in combating terrorist activity". Without offering an explanation as to why, the UN's announcement says the arch-terrorist has several additional names: Yaser Khalaf Nazzal Alrawi, Jaber Taha Falah, Abou Khattab, Abou Sadeq Alrawi, Tah al Binchi, Yasser Khalaf Hussein Nazal al-Rawi, Abu Baker al-Khatab, Abu Sadek al-Rawi, Taha al-Banshi, Abu-Mohammad al-Adnani al-Shami, Hajj Ibrahim, as well as the name he received at birth, Taha Sobhi Falaha.

The Islamist threats are directed widely. In Australia, where the government last week carried out the largest-ever crackdown by police and security forces on terrorist elements [see "18-Sep-14: In Australia, massive police raids today seek to prevent beheadings"], the interpretation by the news media is that this is "the most concrete threat yet to Australia by the group's leadership".

A major report in the Sydney Morning Herald today ["Islamic State followers urged to attack Australians by any means possible"] calls it "a chilling exhortation posted online by the militant group's chief spokesman". The following are direct quotes:
  • Over 11 pages, the statement unrestrainedly urges followers towards martyrdom, telling them they are "like predatory warriors" who "face death with bare chests"... "Do not ask for anyone's advice and do not seek anyone's verdict. Kill the disbeliever, whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers."
  • Disturbingly, the statement attributed to al-Adnani also offers itself as a final declaration, telling followers they need no further permission from a Muslim cleric.
  • It calls US President Barack Obama a "mule of the Jews" and Secretary of State John Kerry an "uncircumcised old geezer".
  • The statement threatens not just to beat back any military campaign in Iraq and Syrian but also to go on the offensive, even if it takes generations... "We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted... If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market."
  • "We have warned you that today we are in a new era, an era where the State, its soldiers, and its sons are leaders not slaves. Being killed – according to their account – is a victory. This is where the secret lies..." [and urges] Islamic fighters in various countries who are American allies to take up arms.
ISIL emerged, as did Hamas, from the Moslem Brotherhood, "the world’s first Islamist group dating back to the late 1920s in Egypt". But what's their power base today? Who stands behind the jihadists of Islamic State in 2014? A recent analysis in The Telegraph UK offers this:
Islamic State (ISIL), with its newly conquered territory, oilfields and bank vaults, no longer needs much foreign money. But its extraordinarily swift rise to this point, a place where it threatens the entire region and the West, was substantially paid for by the allies of the West. ISIL’s cash was raised in, or channeled through, Kuwait and Qatar, with the tacit approval and sometimes active support of their governments.
Just last Tuesday, Qatar announced a freshly minted law that purports to regulate charities that are "involved in politics, as well as those that sent money abroad or received foreign financing... amid growing concern in the West over funding received by Islamic State militants" [Reuters, September 16, 2014].

A sense of that "growing concern" came a few days earlier when
German Development Minister Gerd Mueller accused Qatar on Wednesday of financing Islamic State militants... "You have to ask who is arming, who is financing ISIS troops. The keyword there is Qatar..." Qatar has denied that it supports Islamist insurgents in Syria and Iraq. Diplomats and opposition sources say that while Qatar supports relatively moderate rebels also backed by Saudi Arabia and the West, it also has backed more hardline factions seeking to set up a strict Islamic state [meaning ISIL]. In March, David Cohen, the U.S. Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, cited reports of Qatari backing for Islamist fighters in Syria and described this as a “permissive jurisdiction” for donors funding militants. Qatar has also strongly backed Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, outlawed since the Egyptian military overthrew an elected Islamist president in 2013, and has given refuge to many foreign Islamists including from Hamas and the Taliban. [Reuters, August 20, 2014]
The German Minister's charges were quickly "explained" by his own government, who
said German diplomats in the Qatari capital Doha had met with Qatari officials to reassure them that Berlin considers the country a partner and that "if there were misunderstandings then we regret this..." [Associated Press, August 24, 2014]
Lots of questions and uncertainty - but not about the danger. Give credit to the jihadists issuing the threats; they are making quite sure the rest of us suffer from no misunderstandings about the things that make their hearts sing.

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