Tag Archives: ISIS

#ISIS explains how it plans to economically survive and thrive

17 Nov

Imagine you are a terrorist group, who wants to have its own state. To have a state, you need to have your own currency, this is especially true if you are at war with literally all of your neighbors. You can’t rely on their currency, doing so would give them leverage over you.

This would be dilemma for any terrorist group, including  ISIS.

But it seems that ISIS has a very well designed plan to meet this challenge. A plan which is explained by its very slick and sophisticated media arm, called Al Hayat TV.

They usually produce recruitment videos, many of which contain scenes of violence or threats.

Not this one.

We know how ISIS wants to survive and thrive militarily. Now we should find out how it plans to survive economically. This is an important area to look into, as ISIS is one of the richest terrorist groups in the world, with an estimated annual turnover of over $2 billion dollars.

Thanks to Kevjn Lim for forwarding me this video.

How easy is it to monitor and catch terrorists before they attack?

14 Nov

If we thought that successfully monitoring and catching all terrorists before they attack is an easy job for any country, especially one like France where human rights laws are important, then we were wrong.

France is not Russia or Saudi Arabia where you can stop anyone anywhere, without a court order (and even they have not been able to stop all terror attacks on their soil). So to catch the terrorists before they strike, you must first monitor them.

Do you know how much resources are needed to monitor just one person for 24 hours?

The answer is at least 18.

According to Dame Stella, the former head of MI5 (UK domestic intel agency):

To keep a constant watch on just one of those people, you would need a team of at least six surveillance operatives, Dame Stella says. But of course they couldn’t work 24 hours a day, so you would need three teams of six.

Thats the number of people who are directly involved. Then you also need a backup team. So the number of people you need keeps rising.

Now lets just imagine you have 2000 people on your watch list. Some are former ISIS people who have returned, some are local jihadis. So how many people in total would you need to keep an eye on them 24 hours a day? According to the BBC, that number would approximately be:

 50,000 full-time spies doing nothing but following suspected terrorists.

Now lets put that into perspective:

Who on earth can do that?

Add to that the challenge of terrorists using a vast array of application which have end to end encryption. For example, according to the Belgians, ISIS has been using Playstation 4 to communicate with its terrorists.  Meanwhile according to a new book, the Mossad recently discovered terrorists using porn sites and ebay to transfer encrypted messages. Now just think how many things ae listed on ebay and how may porn pages there are on the internet.

This is why security agencies have to prioritize, and focus on some targets, because they can’t keep an eye on all of them. And this is why sometimes, some of the criminals slip through the net, like last night in Paris.

Podcast: navigating the #ISIS challenge

28 Sep

Cover of the new book

A new book on ISIS has just been published by William McCants, who is currently a fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy and director of the Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institute.

Called The ISIS Apocalypse: The History, Strategy, and Doomsday Vision of the Islamic State”, the book uses a wide variety of sources, including numerous primary sources in Arabic to describe the meteoric rise of ISIS, which has only been around since 2014! His sources include “secret al-Qaeda and Islamic State letters that few have seen”.

In a recent Podcast, Mr McCants talks about where ISIS came from, what developments inside Al Qaeda inadvertently helped to create organization, and how some of Assad’s own actions, such as emptying out Syria’s jails including numerous Jihadis at the beginning of the uprising in Syria helped Jihadi organizations. Apparently Assad did this in order to create a worst alternative to his regime, as a tool to convince the international community especially the West that he is the best alternative to all the others.

I will be putting Mr McCant’s book on my reading list. It sounds fascinating.

You can listen to the Podcast below. Other podcast guests include David Ignatius of The Washington Post and Ryan Evans who hosted the show.



Al Qaeda vs #ISIS

16 Jun

Abu Qatada is an important authority in Al Qaeda

What if I were to tell you that right now as we speak, Al Qaeda and ISIS are involved in an unprecedented power struggle.

What if I were then to tell you that ISIS is attracting so much money away from Al Qaeda that in the Waziristan region of Pakistan, Al Qaeda:

“was reduced at one point last year to selling its laptops and cars to buy food and pay rent.”

Would you believe me?

How did that happen? How can a relatively new organization such as ISIS beat an established organization such as Al Qaeda in the race to attract money and support from Jihad supporters around the world?

This article from The Guardian explains. Its 10 pages, so make a cup of coffee, print a copy and enjoy one of the most interesting articles on the contemporary world of Jihad.

How ISIS crippled Al Qaeda

Video report: How an Iraqi Shia survived an #ISIS massacre

12 Oct

Meet Ali Hussein Kadhim.

All the soldiers of his unit in the Iraqi army were bound and shot by ISIS soldiers.

Somehow he survived and escaped.

In the New York Times video report below, you will see how.

His survival is an amazing story, so is his escape back to his home in a Shiite area. He had to go through a Sunni area while ISIS forces were looking for him.

It reminded me of escape stories from Nazi soldiers during WWII.

Warning: the video contains disturbing images.

#Iraq army v #ISIS: all hope is lost

6 Oct

Many Iraqi soldiers preffered to escape from ISIS, and in some cases for good reason.

I tried not to come up with such an extreme statement, but quite frankly after listening to the podcast below, I couldn’t put it any other way.

All hope is lost. The Iraqi army does not have a chance in hell of beating ISIS. At least not in the short-term.

The Financial Times Middle East and North Africa correspondent Borzou Daragahi filed this podcast from Iraq. In it, you hear the reason why I think this way.

You hear about Iraqi army commanders punishing their own under-equipped soldiers who were lucky enough to escape ISIS attacks. How instead of debriefing these soldiers and helping them, they literally spat on them. About how Iraqi commanders ignored pleas for air support from their units because they believed they were “exaggerating”. The podcast also talks about how sectarianism plays a role in the Iraqi army and the performance of the soldiers.

In my opinion, you can never win a fight as a national army, when many of your soldiers put their sectarian affiliation before their national identity. As a fighting force, ISIS does not have such a problem. Everyone is Sunni. But the Iraqi army does. And its a serious handicap.

Podcast: Under fire: the Iraqi army vs Isis

Panel video: #Iran PressTV correspondent in #Israel and Meir Javedanfar

10 Sep

As I mentioned two days ago, I took part in a TV panel with the correspondent of the Iranian government owned PressTV station in Israel at the i24news channel studio in Yafo, Tel Aviv.

Below you can watch the panel, where we talked about ISIS, Iran, the Saudis and how Israel should react to the threat posed by ISIS.

Enjoyed meeting and exchanging opinions with Mr Hamad Awidat. And a special thanks to Lucy Aharish for being such a gracious moderator.