More countries are turning to Israel for help in the fight against the global surge of Islamic terror.
For the first time in several years, when Secretary of State John Kerry arrives in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office this week, it won’t be to push the two-state solution or to project calm over the Iran nuclear deal. There’s a different, bigger concern on American and Western minds: what to do about Da’esh, an Arabic acronym that stands for
al-Dula al-Islamia fi al-Araq wa-al-Sham,
the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant (ISIS).
News reports this weekend suggest two disheartening things about the ability of the West to correctly appraise the capacity and the success of ISIS:
- US reports about the astonishing spread of ISIS in Iraq have been diminished or deleted, because they conflicted with the overall narrative of an independent Iraq that was ready to carry its own weight.
- The flood of millions of migrants into Europe has created an intelligence void, making it impossible for the West to assess the scope of the ISIS threat on European soil.
At this point, the only Western intelligence service which is in possession of vast, current, reliable information on ISIS is in Israel.
And Israel is just as worried as anyone else.
“The ISIS activity is getting close to Israel,” a senior Israeli official told the Israeli NRG new site following the events of recent weeks.
“The organization posted a video in Hebrew, then in the span of two weeks it brought down a plane in the Sinai, detonated suicide bombers in Beirut and carried out the attack in Paris.
It shows its abilities and its aspirations.”
In addition, the Israeli source cited the proliferation of ISIS cells which are now being discovered in Israel’s Arab sector, which indicate the strategic intent of the Islamic caliphate to harm Israel.
“The situation is very dangerous,” said the senior official.
The official added that Israel maintains close cooperation with intelligence agencies in Europe to assist them in the early detection of foreign fighters — European passport holders who have participated in the fighting in Syria or Iraq and returned to the continent to establish terrorist cells.
He noted, however, that the waves of refugees that flooded Europe through its open borders created enormous challenges to intelligence services.
He explained that when it was only a few hundreds of known foreign fighters who entered and left through recognized border crossings, it was possible to keep track of their movements and follow their activities.
But the flood of millions of refugees who come in using unconventional and unsupervised means have created an intelligence void which intelligence agencies are struggling to fill.
The second problem is that even when there is intelligence information, the freedom of movement between EU members and the vast distances make it very difficult to thwart an attack that is already underway.
“We learned this lesson on our own flesh in the second Intifada, that in order to stop an ongoing attack, the alert has to reach the soldier at the checkpoint,” the official told NRG.
“Because if the perpetrator has passed the checkpoint, we would never get to him. The Europeans have no checkpoints and certainly no soldiers, so even when there is specific information it is not sufficient to stop the attack in time.”
Obama Administration Alters Reports on ISIS.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Saturday that “when Islamic State fighters overran a string of Iraqi cities last year, analysts at United States Central Command wrote classified assessments for military intelligence officials and policy makers that documented the humiliating retreat of the Iraqi Army. But before the assessments were final, former intelligence officials said, the analysts’ superiors made significant changes.”
And “in the revised documents, the Iraqi Army had not retreated at all. The soldiers had simply ‘redeployed.’”
The Pentagon inspector general is now conducting an inquiry into those editorial changes, which masked the magnitude of the American military’s failures in training Iraqi troops and in beating back ISIS.
Those supervisors were “particularly eager to paint a more optimistic picture of America’s role in the conflict than was warranted.”
So that, in a very real way, the combination of the US military desire to keep up the fiction of a well trained Iraqi army defending itself, together with the European fiction of maintaining open borders even as hordes of unknown people were coming in from the world’s most explosive region, may have led to the Paris attacks of November 13.
Frank Wuco, a retired naval intelligence officer and United States Central Command (CENTCOM) analyst, is highly critical of those editorial changes in intelligence reports.
“You’re never ever to report information that supports a certain political thesis or political line. It defies the professional together,” he said in a radio interview this weekend.
US Air Force Col. Pat Ryder commented on the upcoming Congressional investigation of these apparent failures:
“Gen. Austin and Central Command are taking these allegations very seriously. … Austin counts on the more than 1,200 exceptional intelligence professionals who support CENTCOM’s mission to provide him and the command with unvarnished intelligence and key insights into the myriad issues we face every day.”
ISIS attacks around globe claim 800 lives in 2015.
ISIS has significantly and dramatically expanded its reach of global terror and over 800 people have been killed in ISIS attacks in 2015 alone.
The Islamic State (ISIS) terror group has dramatically expanded its theater of operations from its hub in Syria and Iraq, executing or inspiring a series of attacks across three continents that claimed more than 800 lives this year.
The mayhem created by those attacks — including the downing of a Russian airliner and a killing spree in the heart of Paris — attracts the kind of attention that the terror group thrives on.
ISIS, which has recently lost territory to US-backed forces in Syria and Iraq, seeks to boost its credentials with spectacular acts of violence that attract recruits.
The scope of recent attacks and number of those killed and wounded demonstrate a level of sophistication and a determination that has shocked even closer observers of ISIS.
The attacks reveal the extent to which the group is willing to go to surpass al-Qaida and prove itself the most dominant jihadi movement on the planet.
The attacks also demonstrate ISIS ability to deliver multiple and coordinated blows to an array of forces aligned against it.
Last month’s downing of the Russian plane, for instance, targeted both Russia and Egypt, whose governments have been fighting the group.
On Wednesday, the ISIS announced it has executed Norwegian and Chinese captives, reflecting its intention to continue kidnapping and killing hostages inside its “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, while at the same time pursuing mass murder abroad.
Thousands of people have been killed by ISIS in Syria in and Iraq this year in mass executions, bombings and other attacks.
A Global Map of Terror
This is a timeline of ISIS’ attacks outside Syria and Iraq this year:
November 13: At least 132 people are murdered in Paris with over 350 wounded, most at a concert hall, but some at trendy restaurants and several near a national stadium. ISIS claims the attack, the worst in the history of Paris, calling it retaliation for France’s role in U.S.-led airstrikes against IS in both Iraq and Syria.
November 12: Twin powerful suicide bombings tear through a crowded Shiite neighborhood of Beirut, killing 43 people and wounding more than 200 others. ISIS claims responsibility for the attack.
October 31: A bomb downs a Russian airliner 23 minutes after it takes off from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh bound for the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
The plane crashes in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, home to a potent ISIS affiliate, killing all 224 people on board, most of them Russian tourists. ISIS claims responsibility for the attack.
October 10: Two suicide bombings kill at least 100 people at a peace rally in Ankara, Turkey.
The attack was not claimed by ISIS but the Turkish prosecutor investigating the attack said it was carried out by a local ISIS cell.
October 6: Suicide car bombings targeting exiled Yemeni officials and the Saudi and Emirati troops backing their efforts to retake the country kill at least 15 people in the port city of Aden.
A new ISIS affiliate claimed responsibility for the assault, which officials earlier blamed on Yemen’s Shiite rebels.
August 6: A suicide bomber attacks a mosque inside a police compound in western Saudi Arabia, killing 15 people in the deadliest attack on the kingdom’s security forces in years.
Eleven of the dead belonged to an elite counterterrorism unit whose tasks include protecting the hajj pilgrimage. ISIS claims responsibility for the attack.
June 26: Gunman kills 38 tourists, mostly Britons, in the coastal resort of Sousse, Tunisia, while a bomb rips through one of Kuwait’s oldest Shiite mosques during Friday prayers, killing 27 people.
It was the first major terror attack in Kuwait in more than two decades and was claimed by ISIS.
In a third attack that same day, a truck driver once known for radical Islamic ties crashes into a US-owned chemical warehouse in southern France and hangs his employer’s severed head on a factory gate, along with banners with Arabic inscriptions.
May 29: A suicide bomber disguised as a woman blows himself up in the parking lot of the only Shiite mosque in the Saudi port city of Dammam, killing four people.
ISIS claims responsibility for the attack.
May 22: A suicide bomber strikes a Shiite mosque in eastern Saudi Arabia as worshippers commemorate the birth of a revered saint, killing 21 people and wounding dozens more.
The attack happened in the eastern Qatif region, the heartland of Saudi Arabia’s Shiite Muslim minority.
It was the deadliest terror assault in the kingdom in more than a decade and was claimed by ISIS.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani blames the Islamic State group for a suicide bombing in the country that kills at least 35 people and wounds 125.
March 20: An emerging ISIS affiliate in Yemen claims a series of suicide bombings that kill 137 people and wound 345.
March 18: Gunmen open fire on foreign tourists at Tunisia’s National Bardo Museum, killing 22 people in the country’s worst attack on civilians in 13 years. The Islamic State group later claimed responsibility for the Bardo attack.