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US News When ISIS Rises Again

15:55  22 november  2019
15:55  22 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

U.S. Resumes Large-Scale Operations Against ISIS in Northern Syria

  U.S. Resumes Large-Scale Operations Against ISIS in Northern Syria United States troops have resumed large-scale counterterrorism missions against the Islamic State in northern Syria, military officials say, nearly two months after President Trump’s abrupt order to withdraw American troops opened the way for a bloody Turkish cross-border offensive. The new operations show that despite Mr. Trump’s earlier demand for a complete withdrawal of all American forces from Syria, the president still has some 500 troops in the country, many of them in combat, for the foreseeable future.“Over the next days and weeks, the pace will pick back up against remnants of ISIS,” Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr.

Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not represent the views of MSN or Microsoft. It was the summer of 2014 when most Americans took notice of the Islamic State, but the group had been around in different forms for about a decade.

When ISIS rises again . The group’s future may depend in part on who is actually leading the organization, said Blazakis, now a professor at Middlebury Yet ISIS ’s territorial decline has at least had meaningful short-term effects abroad. As Travers noted, both Europe and the United States have.

a close up of a wire fence: An Islamic State flag hangs amid electric wires on a street near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon. © Ali Hashisho / Reuters An Islamic State flag hangs amid electric wires on a street near the port-city of Sidon, southern Lebanon.

It was the summer of 2014 when most Americans took notice of the Islamic State, but the group had been around in different forms for about a decade. Many of its fighters were the same people who’d fought U.S. troops under the name of al-Qaeda in Iraq, until a massive U.S. military effort suppressed them. Then the American people and their government decided that the war was done.

What came next was a renewed militant group with even greater international ambitions, as ISIS captured territory across Iraq and Syria and declared it a caliphate. Now, with the U.S. government once again trying to wind down a war following the so-called caliphate’s collapse, the question is whether ISIS can repeat its history of survival, and what it might morph into next.

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The weekly Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS /ISIL) newspaper Al-Naba portrayed Soleimani’s death as an act of god in support of its cause, and Muslims in Thread: In the editorial of its weekly paper #AlNaba, # ISIS welcomes the death of #Soleimani in a US drone strike, but is careful not to openly credit the

ISIS will "claim victory" when US forces leave, therefore they can never leave. It was only in mid-November, when the YPG was back in the fight, that the SDF was able to roll back IS gains, the report said, describing the YPG “paramount to stability and efforts to defeat ISIS .”

In the past year, its leader has died and it has lost the last of its territory, which at its peak was roughly the size of Britain. Much like after the Iraq War, though, both ISIS and the conditions that fostered it remain—and in some ways, the environment is even more promising for its survival now. ISIS may be weaker, but it retains thousands of members across Iraq and Syria. The Obama administration’s management of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq had its own problems, but Trump’s abrupt and unilateral decision to pull U.S. troops from northeastern Syria has been a picture of chaos. U.S. efforts to rebuild and provide humanitarian relief and security in former ISIS strongholds in the country are in jeopardy, as is the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which served as America’s main partner. In Iraq, many areas have not been adequately rebuilt, and the country’s political and economic morass has spurred weeks of demonstrations, to which the government has responded with brutal crackdowns. An entire generation across both Iraq and Syria has been traumatized by extremism and war, and tens of thousands of suspected ISIS members and their families languish in the limbo of poorly resourced camps in Syria. The international community has made little effort to help the masses of children whom ISIS made a concerted effort to radicalize.

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The most diehard Isis members were preparing for what increasingly looked like being their last stand, a long and ignominious way from where it all began when its Some holdouts who surrendered during the dying days of Baghuz had bought the new message. “The Islamic state will rise again ,” screamed

Reports indicate that ISIS forces have survived numerous attempted clearings in areas near Kirkuk, Iraq, she said. Similar intelligence shows warning signs similar to the rise of the organization beginning in 2011 of local population extortion and fake security checkpoints.

A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter walks past destroyed vehicles in the final IS encampment in March. © Getty A Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter walks past destroyed vehicles in the final IS encampment in March. So what’s next? Aaron Zelin, a veteran researcher of jihadist groups, told us that another ISIS surge and land grab is unlikely in the near term. Instead, ISIS will probably retain its core in Iraq especially, but in Syria as well—as Zelin noted, the group is comfortable underground in its territory and has survived this way before—with connections to supporters and affiliates around the globe. From there, it can bide its time, pursuing a long-term vision that its leaders have called a “generational strategy,” Zelin said. “They see this as a battle of attrition, and that eventually they’re going to wear everyone out. They’re not rigid in their thinking, and they’re willing to evolve.”

The raid that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took place over a weekend. Defense Secretary Mark Esper hailed his death as a “major victory in the enduring defeat ISIS mission”; Trump declared that the world was a “much safer place” as a result.

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When President Trump withdrew U.S. forces from northern Syria, enabling Turkey to invade, many observers were outraged that in doing so he It’s important to remember how the Islamic State rose and fell. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which went through a series of names before proclaiming itself the Islamic

When Isis Rises , I create and so this montage includes works inspired by femininity dating back to 1985. Most were originally rendered in pen & ink and

But when U.S. officials returned to work on Monday, there did not appear to be any consensus on what would come next for ISIS following Baghdadi’s death.

Gallery: How the US can take on terrorism threats in Syria and Iraq (Business Insider)

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi wearing a hat

One U.S. government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue, told us that views of ISIS’s future fell broadly into two camps. Some saw an organization in chaos and ripe for succession struggles, with its leader killed, thousands of its fighters imprisoned, and its communications hampered by the constant fear of U.S. surveillance or spies. Others argued that although Baghdadi was dead, ISIS had a succession plan in place and a bureaucracy still functioning well enough to implement it. Jason Blazakis, who worked on counterterrorism at the State Department for more than a decade and remains in touch with U.S. officials, confirmed these two general competing views within government.

The first view suggests a grim future for ISIS. Maybe its fighters could still hide out across Iraq and Syria, and maybe some adherents could still stage attacks and assassinations. But the difficulty of coordinating actions among cells in  Damaged buildings in Raqqa, Syria, the last IS stronghold. © AP Damaged buildings in Raqqa, Syria, the last IS stronghold. the face of continuing military pressure would mean that they could never again mass forces as they did when they entered Mosul, Iraq in 2014; moreover, if they did, they would make themselves a target—one that the international community would not ignore this time. Otherwise, though, they might operate more like a dangerous criminal movement—capable of murders, robbery, and extortion, but something that local security forces could deal with.

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When political leaders have announced the defeat of terrorist groups in the past, a certain degree of skepticism often would have been warranted. It’s perhaps too early to tell if the same lesson applies to the most recent group to be declared dead: the Islamic State, which according to a tweet by President

The calculus changed when Isis started beheading westerners and posting atrocities online, and the Gulf states are now backing other groups in the Syrian war, such as the Nusra Front.

This is perhaps one example of ISIS’s weakness: Fewer than 200 suspected ISIS prisoners in northeastern Syria managed to escape in the chaos that followed Turkey’s incursion into the area this fall. Despite Baghdadi’s call, before he died, for mass prison breaks, ISIS has been unable to take full advantage of the moment; most of the roughly 10,000 suspected members held in northeastern Syria remain behind bars. “They clearly don’t have the capability,” the U.S. official said. “This isn’t even hard. This isn’t hijacking a plane.”

Gallery: How the elite raid on al-Baghdadi went down (Business Insider)

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi holding a gun:     Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who led ISIS to kill and enslave    thousands and to seize a territory of Iraq and Syria the size of    Great Britain, was killed in an early-morning raid in Sunday,        Informants within Syria found one of Baghdadi's top aides at    a market in Idlib and followed him to the house where Baghdadi    was staying.        Army Rangers and Delta Force operators flew on eight    helicopters from Iraq to the compound, where they were met with    small arms fire upon landing.         The mission was complete and Baghdadi dead by 7:15 PM Eastern    Time Saturday.              Visit Business      Insider's home page for more stories.               Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, was killed in a US    operation in Syria early Sunday morning local time.       Working with informants close to Baghdadi, US, Iraqi, Turkish,    and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) intelligence were able to    discover where Baghdadi, who held large parts of Iraq and Syria    under his brutal control from 2014 to 2019, was hiding out.      The operation to capture or kill Baghdadi was named for an    American aid worker, Kayla Mueller, who was captured by ISIS in    Syria and later killed.       Under al-Baghdadi, ISISkilled and enslaved thousands and took    over a swathe of land the size of Great Britain in     Iraq and Syria.       Details of the operation continue to emerge. Baghdadi is said to    have detonated a suicide vest as he hid in a tunnel in his    compound, killing himself and three of his children near Idlib,    Syria.       Read on to learn more about what we know of the raid that killed    Baghdadi.

Others, in and out of government, have argued the threat is much greater and the U.S. victory much more tenuous and fleeting—especially since the Turkish incursion into Syria. The Pentagon inspector general released a report this week saying that the group could use the space created by the U.S. drawdown in Syria to reconstitute and plot attacks against the West. Russell Travers, the acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said recently that ISIS had been preparing for years for the end of its territorial caliphate, and the potential loss of its leader. “They’ve lost a lot of leaders,” he told a congressional committee this fall. “This is a bureaucracy that’s pretty good at doing succession planning.” ISIS cells in Iraq and Syria are exploiting chaos in both countries and keeping up what Travers called “a diminished but steady rate” of attacks. He assessed the group’s current strength at 14,000 members in Iraq and Syria, mostly Iraq, “which for us suggests that there is a great fertile ground for a long-term insurgency.” Since the Turkish incursion, ISIS has claimed responsibility for attacks such as a car bombing in the Kurdish city of Qamishli and the assassination of a priest.  

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President Donald Trump holds an executive memorandum on defeating IS. © Getty President Donald Trump holds an executive memorandum on defeating IS. The group’s future may depend in part on who is actually leading the organization, said Blazakis, now a professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Baghdadi’s successor, identified by the ISIS media arm as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, may be the wanted terrorist also known as Hajji Abdallah, Blazakis said—a man with a $5 million reward on his head who was part of al-Qaeda in Iraq and may have even met Baghdadi as a prisoner of U.S. forces in Iraq. He is a religious scholar with operational experience—somebody, in Blazakis’s words, “who has showed that he can stay alive for a long time.”

Such a leader could help reconstitute the organization into a perhaps diminished version of its former self, both in its core territories and in commanding loyalty across 20-odd affiliated groups, each with membership ranging from a handful of people to thousands, as Travers said in his testimony. Finally, loyalists or returned foreign fighters in Western countries could carry out attacks. The United States, which supplied a smaller number of ISIS recruits than many European countries, would be more likely to face internet-inspired attacks, as it has in previous years, as opposed to the plots that plagued Europe, like those in Paris and Brussels.

Yet ISIS’s territorial decline has at least had meaningful short-term effects abroad. As Travers noted, both Europe and the United States have seen a marked decline in ISIS-inspired attacks in recent years—a fact he attributed to the gradual loss of the so-called caliphate. So far, Kurdish-led forces are still keeping thousands of suspected ISIS fighters off the battlefield.

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Women walk past rubble of damaged buildings in Raqqa, Syria, the last IS stronghold. © Reuters Women walk past rubble of damaged buildings in Raqqa, Syria, the last IS stronghold. The risk is that, with its erratic commitment to the counter-ISIS mission, the United States may not be able to keep it that way. The Kurdish-led forces have said they can’t hold ISIS prisoners indefinitely, and they are in any case almost dependent on the support of the U.S.-led coalition, according to the Pentagon inspector general report. Even as Trump vows to keep U.S. troops in Syria to secure oil fields, the future of that support remains in doubt.

Robert Ford, the last American ambassador to Syria and a former deputy ambassador to Iraq, who is now a fellow at the Middle East Institute and Yale, outlined what he thinks realistic success against ISIS would look like: “The point is to get the countries out there to the point where they can deal with these problems on their own.”

The Trump administration had the chance to make a serious attempt at leaving behind enough stability in Syria and Iraq to enable a lasting defeat of ISIS, but instead it lost interest once the military part of the struggle was mostly done. In cities like Mosul, and Raqqa, in Syria, Ford noted, America has left “a moonscape of destruction and doesn’t want to pay for reconstruction.” While Iraqi security forces are currently being rebuilt by the U.S., they must try to bring order to a country that, as Ford puts it, is still “flat on its back.”

And the Islamic State has a key advantage: It fully intends to stay. Trump has repeatedly emphasized his desire to get out of the region altogether; meanwhile, ISIS has its sights on the next generation. Zelin noted that 20,000 children under 5 are languishing in the camps in Syria, and that ISIS made an attempt to co-opt children. And some ISIS members escaped from Iraq and Syria as the group was losing its territory, intent on spreading its violent vision. “This isn’t just about fighting. This is a societal project,” Zelin said. “It’s something like a jihadi manifest destiny.”

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Fine Gael candidate says some asylum seekers need to be 'deprogrammed' of potential ISIS links .
A Fine Gael by-election candidate has got herself in hot water over comments about the need for some asylum seekers coming to Ireland to be "deprogrammed." Verona Murphy, a candidate in the Wexford by-election on November 29 said some of these people "carry angst" and may have been "infiltrated by ISIS". Verona Murphy, a candidate in the Wexford by-election on November 29 said some of these people "carry angst" and may have been "infiltrated by ISIS".

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