U.S. Chief Of Staff Criticizes Obama’s Iraq Policy As Islamic State Prepares To Seize Another Important Iraqi City

While Islamic State is preparing to launch a new assault on another major city in the Anbar Province in Iraq, U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Ray Odierno took the unusual step of criticizing his own Commander in Chief in the White House

In an interview with FOX News, Odierno said the United States could have prevented the rise of Islamic State.

The Chief of Staff, who will retire in a few weeks, indicated that the full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq had been a mistake.

If we had stayed a little more engaged, I think maybe it (rise of ISIS) might have been prevented. I’ve always believed the United States played the role of honest broker between all the groups and when we pulled ourselves out, we lost that role.

Odierno said he was frustrated to watch the rise of Islamic State and reminded his interviewer of the relatively good situation in Iraq from 2007 until 2010.

I go back to the work we did in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010 and we got it to a place that was really good. Violence was low, the economy was growing, politics looked like it was heading in the right direction.

Odierno had tried to convince the Obama administration in 2009 that 30,000-35,000 troops should remain in Iraq after the end of 2011 when the U.S. forces were scheduled to withdraw from Iraq, but to no avail.

The General indicated that the Obama administration had sidelined him on all issues related to Iraq after the U.S. army pulled out of the country.

“All my work was given to (Joint Chiefs) Chairman (Martin) Dempsey,” the general said, later adding: “I never talked directly to the president about it at that time, but I talked to the secretary of defense and I’m sure he relayed all of my thoughts.”

The White House also didn’t consult the Chief of Staff when Islamic State started to seize large swaths of territory in Iraq in 2014, Fox News noted.

General Odierno was the mastermind behind the surge in Iraq and has spent more than four years in the country.

He not only criticized the administration’s Iraq policies but also indicated he was against the decision to reduce the standing army from 570,000 troops in 2010 to near 490,000 in 2015.

“In my mind, we don’t have the ability to deter. The reason we have a military is to deter conflict and prevent wars. And if people believe we are not big enough to respond, they miscalculate,” said Gen. Odierno.

Meanwhile, in Iraq, Islamic State is preparing for an assault on the strategically important city of Haditha in east Anbar, the province that is already largely under ISIS control.

The Washington Post and the British paper The Independent reported that Islamic State had warned local Sunni leaders that its fighters could enter the city “at any moment.”

The city is under intense pressure after Islamic State launched an offensive early July. The organization used 37 suicide car bombs during that attack, but local Sunni tribes and the Iraqi army were able to repel the assault. The combined Iraqi forces in Haditha have resisted Islamic State for 18 months, but now they do not seem able to hold out much longer.

The city is largely cut off from the outside world, since Islamic State seized supply routes and started to lay siege to Haditha.

Conquest of the city would be a major feat for Islamic State because of the nearby Haditha dam, which is Iraq’s second largest producer of hydro-electric power. Islamic State wants the dam to boost electricity supply to the areas under its control.

Reporters who visited the city recently describe an extremely difficult humanitarian situation in the city. Food is running low, and prices of basic foodstuff have skyrocketed. Doctors have fled the city, and there is a severe shortage of medicines.

“In April and May, the price of a 50-kilogram sack of flour reached 1 million dinars, or about $840. That’s the equivalent of about $38 for a five-pound bag, around 50 times what it costs in Baghdad and roughly 10 times the price in the United States,” the Washington Post reported.

Recently, prices have dropped somewhat after the arrival of a couple of aid convoys in the city.

“The U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqi military have provided critical assistance because of the town’s strategic dam and its vicinity to Ayn al-Asad, where more than 300 U.S. Marines are based on a training mission.

“The dam is so important that the U.S. government expanded its air campaign against the Islamic State in September to prevent it from falling into the militants’ hands. Until then, the airstrikes in Iraq had been limited to areas near Sinjar mountain and the Kurdish region in the north,” The Washington Post reported.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

ISIS Releases New Horrific Execution Video Despite Ban By Its Leader

Image for representational purposes only.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reportedly issued a ban on the release of videos with footage and pictures of beheadings.

Several Arab media, citing an Islamic State media source, reported on Friday that Baghdadi banned the videos because it could hurt the feelings of  Muslims and children “who may find these scenes grotesque,” the ISIS source was quoted as saying.

The news about the ban came after ISIS published two new horrific videos with footage of beheadings. In one of the videos, a young boy is seen using a big knife to decapitate the head of a Syrian officer. The boy then calmly takes the head and places it on the body of the officer.

Baghdadi issued the order a couple of weeks ago in a letter to ISIS offices in Iraq and Syria. He called upon ISIS members not to include scenes of the actual execution in the videos, but to limit the footage to the preparation of the murders.

The Kurdish news site ARA News reported that not all ISIS members accepted the decision. The site says that the scenes are meant to intimidate the Western enemies of Islamic State and not Muslims.

ARA News quoted the Syrian politician and lawyer Ferid Hisso, who said “that the radical group doesn’t really care about their victims or the public, and that banning the broadcasting of such videos ‘won’t eliminate the IS-led horrors that have been seen by people around the world over the past couple of years.’”

“Instead of banning the release of such videos, Baghdadi should have rather banned the crimes behind the scenes. But he has already justified the barbarism of his followers, and his decision makes no sense,” Hisso told ARA News.

In related news, the Islamic State branch Wilayat Sinai released dramatic footage of the attack on an Egyptian navy vessel near the coast of Gaza last Thursday. The video shows the launch of a Kornet anti-tank missile that hits the vessel amidships.

The Egyptian army had said that the ship caught fire after a confrontation between the Egyptian army and Wilayat Sinai terrorists. The army claimed there were no casualties, but Islamic State in Sinai reported that all sailors on the ship were killed in the attack. The footage released by Wilayat Sinai seems to support the ISIS version of the event.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Here Is A Special Delivery These ISIS Terrorists Did Not Order

A video was released by the Iraqi military last week of what is reported to be an airstrike against an ISIS training camp in their nation.

As reported by Western Journalism, some of the fiercest fighting in Iraq against ISIS has been in the Anbar province. It is the largest province and borders Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Syria.

ISIS controls two provincial capitals of Iraq–Ramadi in Anbar and Mosul in Nineveh province in Northern Iraq. It also holds the city of Falluja, 35 miles west of Baghdad.

Iraqi forces–with the help of U.S. airstrikes–pushed ISIS from Tikrit, north of the capital city, in April.

Image Credit: Washington Post

Image Credit: Washington Post

Reuters reports that hours after the announcement of the launch of a major offensive to take back Anbar province, “Iraq’s Defense Ministry announced the arrival of four F-16 fighter jets from the United States to Balad air base north of Baghdad. They are part of 36 F-16s purchased by the Iraqi government.” Delivery of the jets had been delayed due to security concerns raised by ISIS operations in Iraq.

Iraqi forces are reportedly pushing towards both Falluja and Ramadi. Ramadi was the most high-profile defeat of the Iraqi government in recent months; but the main focus is expected to be on Falluja, which fell under ISIS control 18 months ago.

Falluja saw some of the most hard-fought battles following the 2003 U.S. invasion of the nation. It has also been a center of Sunni hostility to the Shi’ite-led government in Baghdad.

h/t: IJReview

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Danish Diplomats: Obama Lied About Threat of Islamic State

A couple of months after Islamic State began to conquer large areas in Iraq and Syria, an assistant reporter working for the Japanese paper Asahi Shimbun met with diplomats of the Danish embassy in Damascus.

They told the assistant reporter (who told Western Journalism she prefers to stay anonymous) that the CIA had repeatedly warned the Obama administration and Western governments that ISIS was the biggest threat to world peace since Hitler’s Nazi regime. The diplomats said they used to receive CIA cables with warnings about Islamic State’s activities.

The conversation between the diplomats and the Asahi reporter took place in Copenhagen months after President Obama had called Islamic State a ‘junior varsity’ team and later blamed the U.S. intelligence services for underestimating the threat of ISIS.

Today, Obama and other world leaders still have trouble recognizing the true character of ISIS and even want us to refrain from using the name ‘Islamic State’ for ISIS. Only last week, UK Prime Minister David Cameron tried to convince the media in the United Kingdom not to use the name ‘Islamic State’ anymore.

The BBC has now started to call ISIS “the entity that calls itself the Islamic State.” Israeli media use to call Islamic State ‘Daesh,’ which is the Arabic acronym for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria/Levant.

Middle East expert Dr. Mordechai Kedar thinks that politicians, media personalities, academicians, and experts who refuse to use the name Islamic State ”have a visceral and psychological opposition to recognizing this organization as a state, even though the area it controls as of today is 15 times the size of Israel.”

Kedar wrote in an op-ed for Israel National News that “denial is of no use, however, and laundering a name will not change reality, because what looks like a state, sounds like a state and functions like a state – is a state, even if we dislike it intensely. Denying Islamic State’s existence is like much of the Arab world’s denial of Israel’s existence for over 67 years and their use of the insulting name ‘The Zionist Entity’ for the Jewish State.”

I hereby call upon the world to open its eyes, admit the reality that has been forced on the Middle East and understand that Islamic State intends to stay and has no plans to evaporate. Islamic State is part of the Middle East reality and the world must relate to it as a state. In case anyone is wondering. Let me state clearly that I have not turned into a public relations lackey of Caliph Abu Bakr el-Baghdadi.

On the contrary, I call on the world to regard his state exactly as it did Nazi Germany, because that is the only way the world can overcome the psychological barrier that allows it to live in denial. It must wake up, look reality straight in the eye, prepare for war and destroy Islamic State. For as long as the world relates to that entity as an organization, gang, group, or something with unintelligible initials, there is a feeling that it can be overcome if the West bombs here and there, eliminates someone here and there – and there is no greater error than that kind of thinking.

He then continued to explain that ISIS is not an organization anymore but indeed a state:

A state is a political entity that is in control of territory, has governmental institutions and the ability to carry out its policies, enact laws and enforce them on the population living in that territory.  It must be able to defend its lands and interests by means of armed forces, maintain an administrative and economic system that allows its citizens to lead their daily lives. All of these characteristics can be found in Islamic State….

It is important to note that Islamic State has removed the words “Iraq and Syria” from its name. It sees itself as ruler of the entire world, erasing the borders set by colonialists. Islamist doctrine holds that Allah created a single world, and that no one has the right to carve it into states and countries. Allah gave the world Islamic Sharia, the heavenly and perfect legal system that is the most suitable for Mankind, and no human being has the right to enact other, man-made laws.

Kedar warned that if the world continues to live in a state of denial about the true character and the aspirations of Islamic State, the consequences will be dire.

He is convinced the time has come for a massive military effort to destroy the Islamic State:

The world must open its eyes, awaken and begin to plan the way it is going to have to deal with Islamic  State, before that state deals with the world. Bombing from the air will not eliminate Islamic State, the only way that will work is boots on the ground – armies that will send Islamic State fighters where they belong. It is either them or us, and anyone who hopes that Iran will do the work for him will be bitterly disappointed: Despite the hatred and aversion that lies between the Sunni Islamic state and Shiite Iran, both wish to see Islam’s hegemony over the entire globe. Iran will not do anything significant against Islamic State so as not to help the haughty and heretic nations of the West.

Islamic State is growing by leaps and bounds, more and more organizations are joining it and more and more people are adopting its ideas. This state did not exist a year and a half ago, but it has metamorphosed into the latest thing in international politics. It is a serious threat to Western civilization and if the West does not begin serious military action, the danger will turn into an existential one. The longer the West waits to respond, the harder, longer and dearer the war –and  yes, it is going to be a real war – against Islamic State will be.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

ISIS Creates Army Of Child Suicide Bombers, Uses Booby-Trapped Baby In Training Mission

Stories about horrific atrocities committed by the Islamic State and other Jihadist groups keep coming out of the Middle East.

Iraqi News reported on Sunday that the head of the security committee in Diyala’s provincial council, Sadiq al-Husseini, had said that Islamic State booby-trapped and ignited a baby by remote control near Sharqat in Anbar Province in Iraq.

“The available information indicates that ISIS brought a baby, the son of a civilian was executed a few weeks ago under the charges of killing ISIS militants, in one of the training camps near Sharqat northern Salahuddin,” al-Husseini told Iraqi News. “The organization has booby-trapped and blew up the child in front of dozens of ISIS militants by a remote,” he added.

The detonating of the baby was part of a training program to learn about booby-trapping mechanisms.

In the town of Heet, 31 miles from Ramadi–the city that was captured by ISIS in May–the organization burnt five women alive recently. The women refused to give their children to the Jihadist organization and were torched together with their sons by ISIS, a local Sunni tribal leader reported.

As was reported by Western Journalism last week, burning victims alive, like the Jordanian pilot in January, has become common practice in the Islamic State and is rooted in verses taken from the Hadith (Bukhari 11:626).

The mothers in Heet apparently wanted to prevent their children from being turned into ’martyrs’ by Islamic State.

Thousands of children have been recruited by ISIS since the group established the caliphate in Syria and Iraq. They are brainwashed to believe that it is their holy duty to execute suicide missions or to take part in mass executions.

Just last week, Islamic State sent a 14-year old boy on a suicide mission. The child, Mar Hadid Al-Muhammadi, drove a truck filled with explosives into a Kurdish checkpoint near the city of Hasakah in Syria. Fifty Kurdish fighters were killed in the explosion. ISIS posted pictures of the boy on social media that were taken moments before he went on his suicide mission.

ISIS also used children to execute Syrian government soldiers in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra at the beginning of July. In a video published by Islamic State after the massacre, children are shown with their victims moments before the executions in the Roman amphitheatre in Palmyra.

The soldiers are lined up on their knees on the stage of the theatre, and behind each soldier stands a child executioner with a handgun. Many of them appear to be just 12 or 13 years old. A crowd of ISIS terrorists and male citizens of Palmyra is watching as they wait for the massacre. An ISIS leader gives a speech in front of a giant ISIS flag, after which the children shoot the soldiers in the head.

Islamic State has used the famous Roman amphitheater for executions ever since it seized Palmyra, but this marked the first time children were used to carry out the executions.

ISIS kidnapped 500 children in July alone. The Daily Star in England reported that ISIS is training the children in special camps dubbed “The cubs of the Caliphate,” where it prepares them to become martyrs. Security experts fear that Islamic State is training them to become suicide bombers and that they will be used in a wave of attacks on Western targets and tourist sites in Arab countries. The experts warn that the children probably will be drugged before embarking on their suicide missions.

It is estimated that ISIS recruiting sergeants are signing up around 300 children a month to join in weapons training and bomb-making at their Osama bin Laden camp near Raqqa.

Families desperate for food are prepared to “sell” their children to the terror group, said Prof Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi, of Israel’s Herzliya University.

ISIS provide the children with clothing, housing and meals in exchange for their allegiance on the battlefield.

Among these and other shocking stories about children in Iraq and Syria stands out a report by Christian Today.

On Sunday, this English media organization published a remarkable story of the 11-year old Christian Iraqi girl, Maryam Behnam, who fled with her family from ISIS-held territory in Iraq.

She told a CBN reporter that “despite all the transgressions committed by ISIS, including the brutal killing and abduction of thousands of people, she has forgiven the Jihadists.”

Marayam, who is now living in a small Christian community in the city of Erbil in Kurdistan, told CBN that she won’t do anything to ISIS members–“I will only ask God to forgive them.”

“In the Bible Jesus said to us: ‘Don’t be afraid, I am with you.’ And also, he said forgive others no matter (how much) they are hating you. You have to forgive them,” the girl said.

When she grows up, she wants to join Doctors Without Borders, according to Christian Today.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth