ISIS: Why Does Obama Sit on His Hands?

By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Friday, May 22nd, 2015 @ 7:23PM

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Left: ISIS victory parade in Ramadi –

Is President Obama kept on the dark by his intelligence briefers about ISIS’s rapid advance in Iraq and Syria? Why does he think there is time to now begin training more Iraqi and some Syrian self-declared “opposition” groups? What does he perceive the fall of Ramadi and the capture of Palmyra as a minor setback?

The thousands of new operatives from more ninety countries that are joining ISIS every month receive minimal training, sophisticated American and Russian weapons, machetes, and lots of indoctrination on killing, raping, pillaging, and destroying everything in their path. Every dead ISIS fighter becomes a celebrated martyr with many new volunteers lining up to take his place. ISIS’s territorial expansion in Iraq and Syria and its new base in Libya allow the group to venture into North Africa and beyond.

While there is still a possibility—a terribly bloody possibility—to physically defeat ISIS, it will take a long time and lots of effort and treasure to rebuild any civilized social order and a functioning economy. Then, too, there will be the difficult task of de-radicalizing the population, especially the young. The loss of the ancient religious and cultural monuments that ISIS systematically destroyed is helping these savages to re-write history.

ISIS’s advancement is unlikely to be seriously challenged anytime soon. It will continue to conquer more territory, add many more fighters to its ranks and cause millions of refugees to flee, creating a human crisis of an enormous scale.

There is little to stand in “Caliph” Baghdadi’s way to export terrorism to Europe and the U.S. The large base of already radicalized Muslims in the West is an excellent pool on which to draw for “lone wolf” attacks.  Several such coordinated attacks anywhere in America would be enough to cause serious havoc.

So why does Obama sit on his hands? Is he waiting for Iran to come to the rescue?

The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center’s excellent Global Jihad update reviews the most recent advances of ISIS in:


Abdul Basit Haroun, adviser to the Libyan government’s intelligence service, said that ISIS employed vessels used to smuggle migrants from Libya to European countries as a means for sending ISIS operatives to Europe. According to Haroun, ISIS earns millions of dollars from taking part in the networks that smuggle migrants to Europe, and these funds are used for terrorist activities (, May 17, 2015).

ISIS’s branch in Libya beheaded two opposition operatives belonging to the Hawara Rebel Battalion [Katibat Thuwwar Hawara]. It is a network operating in the area of the village of Hawara, in eastern Sirte. In the ITIC’s assessment, these are power struggles between ISIS and its opponents. In recent weeks, ISIS has been trying to expand its control beyond Sirte, but has encountered resistance from local residents and organizations (Al-Dostour, Egypt, May 15, 2015).


ISIS’s Sanaa province posted a video documenting two ISIS operatives on a motorcycle breaking into the government post office in the Sanaa province and shooting three people to death. The video claims that they were members of the Yemeni government’s general security forces. After the shooting, the shooters flee on their motorcycle (Isdarat al-Dawla al-Islamiyya, May 13, 2015).


On May 14, 2015, Jama’at al-Mourabitin, a Salafist-jihadi terrorist organization operating in the Republic of Mali, West Africa, posted an audiotape. In the tape, a spokesman for the organization, speaking on behalf of the organization, pledges allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In addition, the speaker calls on all jihadi organizations around the world to act the way his organization did and join ISIS and support the Islamic State that it founded (YouTube and Twitter account, May 14, 2015).

Two days later, senior operatives in the organization published a denial in which the organization’s leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, reaffirmed his allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri (Mauritania News Agency, May 16, 2015). These contradictory statements are apparently due to disputes or even a split in the organization, some of whose operatives identify with Al-Qaeda and some with ISIS (SITE website, May 15, 2015).

The United States

Six Americans of Somali descent from Minnesota were detained after planning to go to Syria to fight alongside ISIS. The six were charged with planning to support terrorism. Four of them were detained in Minneapolis and two in San Diego after trying to buy fake passports in order to travel to Mexico and from there to Syria. A man by the name of Abdi Nur, who left the United States and went to Syria in May 2014, played a key role in recruiting the group (AFP, April 20, 2015).


Threats by ISIS to carry out terrorist attacks in London have recently been posted on Twitter. The targets mentioned included key sites such as Covent Garden, Big Ben, the Tower of London and Paddington railway station. MI5 and Scotland Yard are investigating the matter but they do not believe that the threats are authentic, since they originated in Syria and not in Britain. All the accounts that published the threats have been suspended (Daily Telegraph, May 12, 2015).

ISIS also made specific threats against: 


ISIS supporters posted a series of photos on Twitter, including photos from various cities in Europe, with a “zero hour” countdown. One of the posts, for example, which was written in Arabic, says “The Islamic State in Rome, wait for the zero hour.” Another post shows a photo of the cathedral in Milan and the city exhibition center. Most of the photos were taken from train stations throughout Italy (, May 18, 2015).

This is not the first time ISIS operatives have threatened the cities of Europe, and especially Rome, which ISIS perceives as a symbol of the Christian world. For example, on February 20, 2015, an ISIS-affiliated Twitter account published a poster showing the Colosseum in Rome. Alongside the photo it says in Arabic and Italian: “We will not stop fighting until we cry ‘Allah Akbar’ and sound the calls to prayer in Rome as conquerors, Allah willing.” The writer emphasized the word Rome (ISIS-affiliated forum, February 20, 2015)

And Threatened  (Cyber Jihad) hacking Western countries

On May 15, 2015, the owner of an ISIS-affiliated Twitter account published a post claiming that hackers who support ISIS have declared electronic war on the US, Europe, Australia and other countries. He added that “this war has recently intensified” (ISIS-affiliated Twitter account, May 14, 2015).

Categories: ACD/EWI Blog, CyberAttacks, Europe, Hacking, Houthis, Iran, Iraq, ISIS, ISIS/IS, Jihad, Latest News, Obama, Obama Administration, Radicalization, Shiite, U.S., U.S. Foreign Policy, U.S. Policy, UK

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