Tag Archives: Iraq

So… Is Al-Baghdadi Al-Bagh-dead or not?

Al-Baghdadi

Conflicting reports emerged over the weekend suggesting that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was either killed in a coalition airstrike or injured in a coalition airstrike. Well, which is it?

An Interior Ministry intelligence official confirmed that al-Baghdadi was hit Saturday during a strike on al-Qaim, a border town in the western province of Anbar but the Pentagon did not provide any information on whether al-Baghdadi was wounded. Iraq’s Defense and Interior Ministries both released statements that al-Baghdadi was wounded in the attack led by Iraqi forces, but they did not elaborate on what types of injuries he sustained.

Well, the injuries must have not been very severe because several days after reports surfaced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have been killed or injured in an airstrike, the self-proclaimed leaders of ISIS released a new 17-minute audio statement.

In the recording, released via social media, the speaker says IS fighters will never stop fighting “even if only one soldier remains”.

“God has ordered us to fight,” he said. “For that reason the soldiers of the Islamic State are fighting… they will never leave fighting, even if only one soldier remains.”

Al-Baghdadi criticized President Obama’s decision to increase the number of advisers deploying to Iraq to help security forces battle the Islamic State.

“Here is Obama who has ordered the deployment of 1,500 additional soldiers under the claim that they are advisers because the Crusaders’ airstrikes and constant bombardment —day and night —upon the position of the Islamic State have not prevented its advance, nor weakened its resolve,” he said in the tape, which appears authentic and recent.

Al-Baghdadi also called for attacks against the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Baghdadi urged supporters in Saudi Arabia to take the fight to the rulers of the kingdom, which has joined the U.S.-led coalition in mounting air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria.

So the leader of a terrorist group is commanding his followers to attack a country that is notorious for funding terrorists? Bold strategy, al-Baghdadi. Let’s see if it pays off.

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Bombs Over Baghdad… I mean Syria. And Other News…

Syria Air Strikes

The U.S. war major counter-terrorism operation against ISIS has begun in Syria.

On Monday night, the United States—along with their new buddies Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, launched cruise missiles and precision-guided bombs at ISIS strongholds along Syria’s border with Iraq. The U.S.-led strikes hit the city of Raqqa (ISIS’s self-declared capital of Syria) as well as a number of other villages and cities. In addition to targeting ISIS, the Monday night air strikes took aim at the Khorosan Group, an Al Qaeda cell filled with well-seasoned operatives. Why not kill two birds with one missile? So far the strikes have been a success – if you measure success by dead bodies. At least 70 ISIS militants and 50 other al-Qaeda-linked fighters have been killed in the attacks. BBC News

Chad HomosexualLouisianan gays rejoice, Chadian gays recoil! A judge in Louisiana has ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. State Judge Edward Rubin said the ban violates the due process clause and the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment, as well as the full faith and credit clause of the constitution. In other words, it’s good news for the couple in the case, Angela Costanza and her partner Chasity Brewer, who argued that Louisiana should recognize their marriage, which took place in California. Meanwhile, over in Africa, Chad is poised to become the 37th African country to ban homosexuality. As part of a larger overhaul of the penal code, Chad is expected to pass a new law banning homosexuality with a punishment of up to 20 years in prison. The government ministers, who have already signed on to the bill, say claim the law works to “protect the family and to comply with Chadian society.” On a more positive note, the new penal code also abolishes the death penalty, so at least the newly criminalized homosexuals won’t end up on death row… small win? The Guardian

New Zealand FlagScotland may have voted against separating from the British Empire, but now New Zealand is getting anxious to cut ties with its former colonizer. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said he would hold a referendum on getting rid of the nation’s Union Jack clad flag next year. “I’d like to get on with it, to me I’d like to do it as a 2015 issue,” Key told commercial station Radio Live. “I’m obviously a big supporter of the change, I think there are a lot of strong arguments in favour of the change.” The prime minister wants to ditch the Union Jack in favour of a silver fern against a black background. Critics say this design too closely resembles a pirate’s flag, but Key urged his fellow Kiwis to think of it as New Zealand’s version of the Canadian maple leaf. “I know it was a ferocious debate in Canada, but in the end would any Canadians look back and say they got it wrong with the maple leaf?” he asked. I don’t know… maybe this Canadian. The Guardian

Somali RansomTurns out Somali pirates are more forgiving than ISIS militants… or they’re just more into ransoms. A German-American journalist who was abducted more than two years ago has been freed. Michael Scott Moore was abducted in the Somali city of Galkayo back in January 2012 while researching a book about piracy. A Somali pirate commander told The Associated Press that the journalist had been released after a ransom was paid, but according to Abdi Yusuf, interior minister of the semi-autonomous region of Galmudug in central Somalia where the 45-year-old journalist was abducted, no ransom was paid. Ransom or no ransom (there was totally a ransom), Moore is no doubt happy to be reunited with his family and pirate-free. New York Times

Three BoobsDisappointing Total Recall fans everywhere, the Florida woman who claimed to have had a third breast surgically implanted to scare men away turned out to be a big fat phony. Armed with a handful of disturbing selfies, 21-year-old Jasmine Tridevil (not her real name, obvs) tricked thousands of news organizations into believing she found a plastic surgeon stupid enough to give her a third boob. Tridevil says the surgery cost $20,000 and that included a “nipple” implant. She also revealed: “I got it because I wanted to make myself unattractive to men. Because I don’t want to date anymore.” She sounds smart… “Most guys would think [the extra breast is] weird and gross. But I can still feel pretty because if I wore makeup and cute clothes, I can still, you know… feel pretty,” the 21-year-old (in Courtney Stodden years) continued. But, an investigation by Snopes shows that Tridevil has a history of creating Internet hoaxes and even if she had found a plastic surgeon willing to put his/her license on the line, the procedure would take months to complete and would definitely NOT look Total Recall-esque. Huffington Post

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Current Event Cat of the Day: War on ISIS

Current Event Cat - ISIS Airstrikes

Watch out ISIS, eleven years, thousands of lives, and $1.7 trillion later, we’re going back in! But to a lesser extent…

In his address to the nation, President Obama outlined a multi-phase plan for combating IS (the militants formerly known as ISIS), saying the country would lead a “broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.”

The multi-phase plan can be summed up as follows:

Phase One: Airstrikes galore

Phase Two: Train the Iraqi military (for a while)

Phase Three: Deal with Syria

But the President was quick to stress that the U.S. efforts against Islamic State will not, I repeat NOT, escalate to a full-blown war. While he admitted airstrikes alone would not defeat IS, Obama said, “the boots on the ground have to be Iraqi.”

“I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. While the U.S. will send 475 service members to Iraq, they will “not have a combat mission,” but rather, provide intelligence, training, and equipment.

“We will not be dragged into another ground war,” said Obama. “We cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves.”

Judging from the current state of the Iraqi military, this war will be going on for a while…

Luckily this time around, the U.S has a few allies (and more evidence to support their claim that ISIS is evil than they had to support the theory that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling WMDs). Already, France has agreed to support airstrikes and ten Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, have agreed to rally with the US in tackling the threat posed by the jihadists.

So far the U.S. has conducted more than 150 airstrikes in Iraq in an effort to halt IS’s advances and they aren’t afraid to head into Syria. While the U.S has refrained from seeking the help of Syrian President/Dictator Bashar al-Assad in the fight against Islamic State, Obama made it clear in his speech that the U.S. “will not hesitate” to go into Syria if need be.

“If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven,” Obama said.

As for congressional approval, Obama isn’t too worried. Although the President said he has the “authority to address the threat” posed by ISIS, he “welcomes congressional support to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.” Obama has also asked Congress to allocate $5 billion for counterrorism funding, which may end up being a bigger fight than the one against IS in Iraq.

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Iraq: Back in the News! (Not in a Good Way)

ISIS Mosul Iraq

Eleven years, thousands of lives, and $1.7 trillion later, Iraq is… still a hot mess.

Iraq is quickly spiraling out of government control and into the hands of insurgents who are snatching up cities, robbing banks, and attacking oil refineries left, right, and center.

But who are these insurgents making a mockery of US nation-building? None other than the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al-Qaeda offshoot whose goal is to create a hardline Islamic state crossing over the borders of Syria and Iraq.

The group has already taken control of Iraq’s second city Mosul, and is advancing on the capital, Baghdad. Iraq’s speaker of parliament Osama Nujaifi said the insurgents controlled all key institutions in Mosul, including the airport and prisons.

“Everything is fallen. It’s a crisis,” he admitted. “Having these terrorist groups control a city in the heart of Iraq threatens not only Iraq but the entire region.”

But capturing Mosul wasn’t enough for ISIS, who joins Boko Haram on the short list of groups that even al-Qaeda condemns. Continuing their sweep through Iraq, the Islamic ISIS militants launched an attack on Iraq’s biggest oil refinery north of Baghdad. The Beiji refinery produces roughly a quarter of Iraq’s oil output – and a threat to oil is a big threat indeed. Time to call in the big guns!

Iraq has formally called on the United States to launch air strikes against the militants.

“We have a request from the Iraqi government for air power,” confirmed top US military commander Gen Martin Dempsey.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president would “continue to consult with his national security team in the days to come.”

While President Barack Obama is mulling over what to do about the latest crisis in Iraq, Senate leader Harry Reid has already made it clear that he does not “support in any way” getting American troops involved in the Iraqi “civil war”.

Sigh… it’s times like these when America may begin to doubt trading tyranny for absolute chaos. Where’s Saddam Hussein when you need him? Oh yeah… the execution.

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Suicide Bomb Instructor Accidentally Blows Up His Class

Suicide Bomber Camp

Rule Number 1 of teaching aspiring suicide bombers: train the instructor.

Rule Number 2 of teaching aspiring suicide bombers: don’t give lessons with live explosives.

The commander of an Iraqi militant group accidentally killed himself and 21 members of his unit on Monday after he conducted a demonstration with live explosives at a secluded terrorist training camp north of Baghdad.  The demonstration, as you can imagine, blew their minds.

Another 15 members of the group were injured in the explosion caused by the careless instructor. But to be fair, it is difficult to find decent suicide bomb instructors with proper work experience these days.

bombclass.gif?w=640

The Sunni militants/suicide-bombers-in-training belonged to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, and have been engaged in fighting with the Iraqi government army.  Known for conducting suicide bombings throughout the country, ISIS has been behind the daily attacks on public markets, mosques, funerals and even children’s soccer games.

Needless to say, Iraqi citizens aren’t too upset about the “tragedy”. In fact, they consider it some sweet, sweet karma.

“This is so funny,” local resident Raad Hashim said. “It shows how stupid they are, those dogs and sons of dogs.”

“This is God showing justice,” Hashim continued. “This is God sending a message to the bad people and the criminals in the world, to tell them to stop the injustice and to bring peace. Evil will not win in the end. It’s always life that wins over death.”

Another resident of the area was also pretty psyched:

“I heard this today when my friend rang me in the afternoon to tell me about it. He was so happy as if he was getting married.”

“Which made me happy as well,” the resident said. “I hope that their graves burn and all the rest of them burn as well. I was not happy with the number killed, though: I wanted more of them to die, as I remember my friend who was killed by a suicide bomber in 2007.”

I’m glad they’re happy, but ultimately the joke’s on them; those suicide bomber trainees are now living it up with 72 virgins. Or just dead with random bloodied body parts strewn all over the suicide training camp.

Via: The New York Times

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Al-Qaeda Sets Up a Complaints Department

Al Qaeda Sets Up Complaints Department

Al-Qaeda is on a corporate mission to slowly morph itself into Office Space/The Office/some kind of Dilbert cartoon.

Al-Qaeda has long had a reputation for bureaucracy. Papers rescued from the house where Osama bin Laden was killed revealed the detailed / controlling nature of the organization’s correspondence with its various branches. Al-Qaeda’s Office Space-esque behaviour popped up again last week when it was revealed that the terror network required its member to fill out expense reports. This week, the latest news is that al-Qaeda has set up a complaints department.

The al-Qaeda bureaucracy posted a new notice this week saying:

“Any one who might have a complaint against any element of the Islamic state, whether the Emir or an ordinary soldier, can come and submit their complaint in any headquarters building of the Islamic state. The complaint should be in writing, provide details and give evidence. We promise that we will ensure accountability for anyone committing violations, and they will be sent to the Sharia court of Iraq and al-Sham.”

The Iraqi and Syrian branches of al-Qaeda set up these complaint departments in areas where they hold control. Civilians can put in their various complaints about their newly merged Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, a.k.a. Lebanon and Syria in al Qaeda speak (apparently the militants’ long-term goal is to turn Iraq, Syria and Lebanon into a single Islamist state).

The biggest complaint in the al-Qaeda controlled Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham?

“My wife is a slut”

Via: The Telegraph

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Happy 10-Year War-iversary Iraq!

War-iversary Baghdad Bomb

Today marks the 10-year war-iversary of the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and to celebrate that special occasion, Baghdad has been hit by a series of deadly blasts. So much for a nice card and some flowers.

A series of car and suicide bombings in Baghdad and its surrounding area have killed more than 50 people and injured 200. The coordinated attacks were mainly in Shia areas and targeted markets, restaurants, bus stops, and workers during morning rush hour.

A car bomb exploded in a busy Baghdad market, while another three detonated in the Shiite district of Sadr City and another near the heavily guarded Green Zone. A suicide bomber in a truck attacked a police base in a Shiite town south of the capital.

“I was driving my taxi and suddenly I felt my car rocked. Smoke was all around. I saw two bodies on the ground. People were running and shouting everywhere,” said a taxi driver caught in the middle of the blasts in Baghdad’s Sadr City.

No group has come forward claiming credit for the war-iversary gift but given that Iraq’s wing of al Qaeda has been upping their attacks against Shiite targets in an attempt to weaken the Shia-led government, I think it’s pretty safe to pin it on them.

Today is believed to have been the deadliest day in Iraq since September, when 76 people were killed in a series of attacks. But who knows? Al Qaeda’s local wing may have more war-iversary surprises in store for Iraq. After all, 10 years is a big deal.

Via: Reuters

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Current Event Cat of the Day

Catsplosives

Via: Current Event Cats