sunset from behind the wire

sunset from behind the wire

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

News from the Caliphate

In this Blog Post - Information that you won't get from the mainstream media:
  • Evidence suggests that US and coalition bombing efforts are not degrading ISIL to any meaningful degree as ISIL forces continue to march on Baghdad.
  • ISIL is threatening Turkey as it expands like a cancer in Northern Syria.
  • Islam is misunderstood in the West.
There are a number of American progressives who lack a basic understanding of Islam. Islam is not a faith of moral relativism. Presuming that it is, will only lead you to grief. The fundamental mistake one finds in the presumption that Islam is relative is that it places Muslims on a higher pedestal of authority than Islam itself (even though Muslims are by definition “one’s who submit” to Islam, which is “submission” to Allah’s laws). Islam is based on the law, or Sharia — “the way” prescribed by Allah and his prophet. And Sharia most certainly does call for any number of things — subjugation of women and religious minorities, war on “infidels” and the enslavement of their women and children, bans on free speech and apostasy.

In short, Sunni Islam, which approximately 90% of all Muslims follow, is far from heterogeneous. It has only four recognized schools of jurisprudence, and these agree over the basics, with only minor differences over detail. Even in the other 10% of Islamic sects, most of which are Shia or Shia offshoots, one finds that when it comes to intolerant aspects, they too are in agreement. For example, while all Islamic schools of law prescribe the death penalty for leaving Islam, some argue that female apostates should “only” be imprisoned and beaten until they embrace Islam again.

Moving on to ISIL. The chairman of the Al-Anbar Governorate Council told the press recently that "we have accurate intelligence confirming that 3,000 elements from the terrorist DA'ISH [(Arabic acronym for ISIL, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) organization have arrived in Al-Anbar coming from Mosul and Syria. This has led to a security setback in the governorate."

If accurate, it would suggest the threat to Baghdad from the west is large and growing. It also would suggest the Coalition air campaign has not degraded ISIL's ability to shift large numbers of fighters. Finally, it might indicate an undetected force buildup for an offensive against Baghdad, but that is only a hypothesis at this point.

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant raised their flag atop a four-story building on the outskirts of Kobani. Syrian Kurdish defenders said they still held the city and would defend it until death. They said flags were raised on a single building and a hill outside the city. The US is bombing the area around Kobani that they believe to be held by ISIL, but you never know when you're bombing at random with nobody on the ground. You could be bombing Kurds or Caliphate troops. I doubt that the Commander-in-Chief cares much one way or the other. He's off doing fund raisers.

Turkey reportedly assembled its tank unit into line of attack 6 miles north of Kobani, but made no move to defend the town. The government in Ankara announced that NATO succeeded in developing a plan to defend Turkey's border should the fighting spill over into Turkey.

Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz today said that NATO had done this at Turkey's request, adding: 'If there is an attack, NATO's joint defense mechanism will be activated.

This town was significant mostly because of its location near one of the border crossing sites along the Syrian border with Turkey. For ISIL, initially, it was one of multiple obstacles the Syrian Kurds posed to impede the consolidation of the northern border of the caliphate.

However, with the onset of the Coalition air campaign, the town has assumed strategic significance as a test of strength between the Coalition and ISIL. The Kurdish fighters supposedly are among the assorted ground contingents for whom the Coalition is providing air support, according to official US statements. Thus, Kobani is the test case.

An ISIL conquest of the town will result in brutal reprisals, not just because it is ISIL's practice. Brutal killings would be aimed at embarrassing and humiliating the Coalition for failing to protect the forces it said it was depending on to do the ground fighting. Kobani's loss would undermine the morale and confidence of the other ground contingents. It is no longer a tactical or even an operational contest. ISIL's determination to seize the town demonstrates its appreciation of the stakes.