Posted tagged ‘Shiite’

Aleppo’s Fall Signals Rise of Emboldened Radical Shi’ite Axis

December 16, 2016

Aleppo’s Fall Signals Rise of Emboldened Radical Shi’ite Axis, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, December 16, 2016

1918-1

Recent sweeping gains by the pro-Assad alliance in Aleppo signal the rise of an emboldened Iranian-led radical Shi’ite axis. The more this axis gains strength, territory, weapons, and influence, the more likely it is to threaten regional and global security.

Ideologues in Iran have formulated a Shi’ite jihadist vision which holds that the Iranian Islamic revolution must take control of the entire Muslim world. Losing the Assad regime to Sunni rebels, many of them backed by Tehran’s Gulf Arab state archenemies, would have represented a major setback to Iran’s agenda.

This same ideological agenda also calls for the eventual annihilation of Israel, the toppling of Sunni governments, and intimidating the West into complying with Iran’s schemes.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Tehran’s military elites, in the form of the Islamic Republican Guards Corps (IRGC), use the current regional chaos to promote these goals.

In Syria, Iran has mobilized tens of thousands of Shi’ite militia fighters from all over the Middle East, as well as those from Hizballah in Lebanon, and sent them to do battle with Sunni rebel organizations to help save the Assad regime.

As the Shi’ite axis wages a sectarian war against Sunnis moderate groups and jihadists, it mobilizes and arms its proxies, and moves military assets into Syria, gaining a growing influence that can be used for bellicose purposes in the not too distant future.

The conquest of east Aleppo is a victory for the wider, transnational Iranian-led alliance, of which the Damascus regime is but one component. The Assad regime is composed and led by Syria’s minority Alawite population, which makes up just 11 percent of Syrians (Alawites are seen as an offshoot of Shia Islam).

A look at the order of battle assembled in Aleppo reveals that the war in Syria is not a civil conflict by any measure. In addition to Assad regime forces sent to fight Sunni rebels, such as the Fourth Division, Syrian army special forces, and paramilitary units, there is also the Iranian-backed Hizballah, which has transformed itself into a regional Shi’ite ground army, deployed across Syria and Lebanon.

These are joined by Shi’ite Iraqi Kataib Hizballah militia, Afghan Shi’ite militia groups, and Iranian military personnel on the ground in Syria, all of whom receive the assistance of massive Russian air power.

The large scale, indiscriminate airstrikes and shelling in places like Aleppo resulted in mass slaughter and ethnic cleansing of many Sunni civilians, producing the largest humanitarian catastrophe and refugee crisis in the 21st century. Such extreme war crimes will be sure to produce a new generation of radical recruits for ISIS and al-Qaida.

The IRGC’s Quds Force, under the command of Qassem Suleimani, orchestrates the entire ground war effort. Suleimani is very close to the Iranian supreme leader.

The Quds Force uses Syria as a transit zone to traffic advanced weapons from Iranian and Syrian arms factories to the Hizballah storehouses that pepper neighboring Lebanon.

Hizballah has amassed one of the largest surface to surface rocket and missile arsenal in the world, composed of over 100,000 projectiles, all of which are pointed at Israeli cities.

According to international media reports, Israel recently launched two strikes in the one week, targeting attempts to smuggle game-changing weapons to Lebanon.

Syrian dictator Basher Assad owes his survival to Iran and Hizballah, and their military presence in Syria should continue and expand further.

Assad regime and Hizballah representatives boast of this fact in recent statements highlighted by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

“The power-balances will change not only in Syria but in the entire region,” said Hizballah Executive Council Chairman Hashem Safi Al-Din.

“Syria’s steadfastness, and the support from its allies, have shifted the regional and international balance [of power], said Assad political adviser Bouthaina Sha’aban. “The recent developments in the international arena are bringing the countries of the region face to face with a new world.

If it takes western Syria with Russian air support, the Shi’ite axis victors will likely turn their sights on seizing southern Syria, near the Israeli border. To accomplish that, they will need to do battle with an array of Sunni rebels that now control that area (groups that include ISIS-affiliates). If successful, the axis could be tempted to build bases of attack throughout Syria against Israel, a development that would certainly trigger Israeli defensive action, as has reportedly occurred in the past.

The same pattern repeats itself in Iraq, where Iran-backed militias are moving in on Mosul, and could later be used to threaten Iraq’s Sunnis, and in Yemen, where Iranian-armed Houthi rebels control large swaths of the country, and are currently at war with a Saudi-led military coalition. The Houthis also threaten international oil shipping lanes and have fired on the U.S. Navy using Iranian-smuggled missiles.

In this way, the fundamentalist Iranian coalition gains a growing foothold.

Iran’s ballistic missile program, which is developing long-range strike capabilities that could place Europe in range, and its temporarily dormant nuclear program, represents investments that would make the Shi’ite axis more powerful than any Sunni Islamist camp.

Defense officials in Israel and in pragmatic Sunni states will watch for the danger that Iran will use its presence, proxies, and bases in Syria and Iraq to wage a Shi’ite jihad that extends well beyond the battlegrounds there.

The Iranian coalition can also lure armed Sunni groups into its orbit as well, as it has done in the past with the Palestinian Hamas terrorist regime in Gaza.

While the Israeli defense establishment has no desire to be dragged into Syria’s conflict, Jerusalem has indicated that it would act to remove any Iranian-Hizballah base it detects in Syria that is designed to launch attacks on Israel, and would not tolerate the trafficking of advanced weapons to Hizballah.

Few events illustrate more clearly how an ascendant Shi’ite jihadist axis is redrawing the map of the region than a recent military parade held by Hizballah in the western Syrian town of Al-Qusayr, which it conquered from the rebels in 2013.

According to an assessment by the Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, that parade featured Soviet-made tanks, American armored personnel carriers, artillery guns, anti-aircraft guns, and powerful truck-mounted rocket launchers with an estimated range of between 90 to 180 kilometers. “It is clear that state-owned capabilities, some of them advanced, were delivered to Hizballah, which is a terrorist organization,” the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said in its report.

Hizballah, like the Assad regime and armed groups in Iraq and Yemen, is a component of an international axis whose battles against ISIS have managed to dupe some decision makers into believing that they are stabilizing forces. In actuality, the Shi’ite jihadists are as radical as their Sunni jihadist counterparts – albeit more tactically prudent – and are far better armed and better organized.

IRGC commander killed on eve of Aleppo battle

October 28, 2016

IRGC commander killed on eve of Aleppo battle, Long War Journal, , October 28, 2016

While employing foreign fighters minimizes domestic political backlash in Iran, it also serves a long-term strategic objective to develop capable Shiite proxies. A retired IRGC commander who has deployed to Syria recently claimed the formation of a “Shiite liberation army,” and IRGC commanders have openly discussed a global Basij paramilitary taking shape in the laboratory of Syria, with talks of laying the groundwork for the apocalypse and the Mahdi’s arrival in more intimate quarters. The IRGC, however, has not hesitated to inject regular Iranian soldiers and mid-ranked officers during major offensives and whenever the situation has demanded it, such as the offensive in southern Aleppo in October 2015 and the assault north of Aleppo in February 2016.

********************

The Jaysh al Fath and Fath Halab coalitions and their allies launched an anticipated major offensive today west of Aleppo in another bid to break the siege of rebel-held eastern Aleppo, according to Reuters. In early September forces allied with the Syrian government backed by Russian air power repelled the opposition’s first attempt to break the siege following a month-long battle. Pro-regime forces attempted to build upon their momentum and launched major offensives in late September to tighten their grip on Aleppo. They have made slow but steady gains on the city blocks of eastern Aleppo, and have attempted to push their gains in western and southwestern Aleppo to prevent the opposition from breaking the siege again.

The pro-government coalition includes the Syrian Arab Army (SAA), the Shiite expeditionary forces led by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraqi Harakat al Nujaba, Afghan Fatemiyoun Division and the Pakistani Zeynabiyoun. Furthermore, the Palestinian Quds Brigade, which has effectively become Russia’s proxy, has made gains in the northern Aleppo sector alongside the SAA.

The Russian defense minister has reportedly asked President Vladimir Putin to resume airstrikes today in Aleppo following a 10-day hiatus, citing an upsurge in opposition activities, but Putin has said that airstrikes are unnecessary for now, according to Reuters citing Interfax News Agency. The IRGC provides intelligence to Russia for airstrikes in Syria.

A high-ranking former IRGC commander was killed in Syria on Oct. 26 during an “advisory mission” in Aleppo. according to Iranian media. He was buried in Mashhad, Iran, today along with two Afghan Fatemiyoun Division combatants killed in Syria this past week. The IRGC Qods Force deputy commander Brigadier General Esmail Gha’ani, who delivered remarks at the deceased commander’s funeral, said “the blood of martyrs strengthen the foundation of the Islamic Republic system.”

Qolam-Reza Samai was a retired commander with the rank of Brigadier General or Brigadier General Second Class who had volunteered to fight Syria, and will be buried in his home province of Khorasan. A veteran of the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988), Samai held several command posts in artillery, intelligence, and operations capacities in several provincial Ground Forces units.

The IRGC has tapped into its retired and active duty Ground Forces, and special forces officer corps to augment the efforts led by the Qods Force in Syria and Iraq. The deployment pattern of Ground Forces commanders depends on the mission need and crisis at hand. For example, there was a surge of commanders in Iraq following the incursion of the Islamic State in mid-2014, and most were called back when the IRGC-backed Shiite militias were able to better manage the situation.

The IRGC Ground Forces have been present in Syria since as early as 2011. Their numbers have increased as the war deteriorated, peaking in Oct. 2015 as Iran deployed significant numbers of its regular forces in coordination with Russia’s military intervention, before spiking again in Feb. 2016 during a major offensive north of Aleppo. More than a dozen senior Guard commanders were killed in Syriaduring the past year, with the overwhelming majority in Aleppo. Fatalities and causalities of high-ranking officers have continued as the Guard has reduced regular Iranian forces since May and has relied more on Shiite proxies. Contrary to the insistence of the IRGC, commanders are engaged in more than just advising: they design and lead operations for the Iranian-led Shiite expeditionary forces.

The high fatality rate of Iranian commanders is explained by the tactically risk-tolerant and egalitarian culture of the Guard, which values martyrdom in battle as the highest honor and takes pride in fighting on the frontline. Whereas the IRGC is tactically risk-tolerant, it is strategically risk-averse and prefers to limit Iranian exposure, as discussed in depth by Ali Alfoneh and Michael Eisenstadt in The Washington Institute. 

While employing foreign fighters minimizes domestic political backlash in Iran, it also serves a long-term strategic objective to develop capable Shiite proxies. A retired IRGC commander who has deployed to Syria recently claimed the formation of a “Shiite liberation army,” and IRGC commanders have openly discussed a global Basij paramilitary taking shape in the laboratory of Syria, with talks of laying the groundwork for the apocalypse and the Mahdi’s arrival in more intimate quarters. The IRGC, however, has not hesitated to inject regular Iranian soldiers and mid-ranked officers during major offensives and whenever the situation has demanded it, such as the offensive in southern Aleppo in October 2015 and the assault north of Aleppo in February 2016.

Global Assembly of Islamic Awakening aims at rooting out Takfiri thought

October 22, 2016

Global Assembly of Islamic Awakening aims at rooting out Takfiri thought, AhlulBayt News, October 21, 2016

(The split between Shiite – Sunni Muslims began centuries ago due to disputes about who was Mohamud’s legitimate successor . A Takfiri 

is a Muslim who accuses another Muslim (or an adherent of another Abrahamic faith) of apostasy.[1] The accusation itself is called takfir, derived from the word kafir (unbeliever), and is described as when “one who is, or claims to be, a Muslim is declared impure.”[2]Accusing other Muslims of being takfiris has become a sectarian slur, particularly since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011

Significant healing of the rift between Shiites and Sunnis seems unlikely anytime soon, but were it to happen it probably would not be advantageous for non-Muslims. — DM)

Velayati, also a top advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on international affairs, made the remarks during a joint press conference held in Baghdad on Thursday after he met with Head of the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq Ammar Hakim.

Velayati travelled to Iraq on Wednesday to participate in the 9th meeting of the supreme council of the Global Assembly of Islamic Awakening.

He told reporters at the conference that the fact that most of the participants in the meeting are from some 22 Sunni Muslim countries and a few of them are from Shia countries has indicated the unity and solidarity among all Muslim nations.

He also stressed that Iran would continue its support for Iraq as the latter is an ‘oppressed country which was occupied by the US and liberated later with the help of God and is now being ruled completely based on democracy.’

Meanwhile, Hakim told reporters that the Assembly meeting is being held in Baghdad while Mosul liberation operation is underway in north of the country.

He noted that the Daesh (ISIS) terrorists are not only considered a threat for Iraq but for the entire world.

Hakim noted that the Assembly meeting aims at briefing the Shiite and Sunni Muslims and scholars on the latest developments in the Islamic world.

Shi’ite Lebanese Journalist: I Renounce The Shi’ite Sect; Hizbullah Is ‘Immoral, Murderous’

May 2, 2016

Shi’ite Lebanese Journalist: I Renounce The Shi’ite Sect; Hizbullah Is ‘Immoral, Murderous’ MEMRI, May 2, 2016

(Please see also, Iran’s army chief takes command in Syria. — DM)

In response to the massive attack of the Syrian regime and its allies on the city of Aleppo in the last few days, in which over 200 people have already been killed, Shi’ite Lebanese journalist Hannan Al-Sabbar penned a scathing article in which she renounced Hizbullah as well as the Shi’ite sect that follows it blindly. Al-Sabbar, who is known for her criticism of Hizbullah, especially since it joined the war in Syria, wrote on the news website newlebanon.info that Hizbullah was an “immoral and murderous” organization that was deviating from God’s path and from the path of the fathers of the Shi’a. She compared the events in Aleppo to the battle of Karbala in 680 CE, between the supporters of the Prophet’s grandson, Hussein bin ‘Ali, and the supporters of the first Umayyad caliph, Yazid I, which is a seminal event in the history of Shi’ite Islam.

The following are excerpts from her article: 

27840Aftermath of airstrike in Aleppo (image: al-Arabiya.net, April 26, 2016)

“I am a Shi’ite from South [Lebanon, the stronghold] of the resistance [i.e., Hizbullah], and I used to be proud of this. [In the past] I never thought that the resistance was wrong or would ever be wrong, and I staunchly defended the beliefs of my society and my surroundings. I did not know that a day [would come] when I would renounce [my] society, my blind sect and the party [Hizbullah,] which I have condemned since it became involved in the Syrian crisis.

“Today I asked myself: where is the conscience of the ‘resistance’ when it comes to the children [of Aleppo]? How can we be the party of God [Hizbullah] when we do not obey God’s directives? Every morning, I went over the reports [from Aleppo], trying to find even one piece of proof that Assad has the right to do what he is doing – but I found only words filled with sadness and grief over loved ones killed in the airstrikes. I found only the tears of an old man calling on Muhammad’s nation to help him, and a young man who insists on his honor and declares, ‘we stay here. This is our land, not the Russians’ or the Americans.’

“This loyalty to the land, despite the crisis these residents of Aleppo are experiencing, filled me with embarrassment and caused me to wonder what was the source of this loyalty to a city that is nearly in ruins… [At that point] I finally decided to revolt and take off the false mantle of Shi’ism, for my Zainab[1] would not allow the women of Aleppo to become the Zainabs of this age, and my Imams, ‘Ali and Hussein,[2] would not want the children of Aleppo to become the ‘Abdallah al-Radhi’ of this age.[3]

“If [the battle of] Karbala is being waged all over again by those who hide behind a mantle of piety, then [Hizbullah] is immoral and murderous and I cannot but say: Aleppo, I feel shame towards you and I hereby renounce the Shi’a and the party [Hizbullah] that supports the one who is destroying you.'”

Endnotes:

[1] The granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad and daughter of ‘Ali, who was taken hostage in the battle of Karbala.

[2] ‘Ali bin abi Talib, the fourth caliph, and his son Hussein, who was killed in the battle of Karbala.

[3] ‘Abdallah, the son of Hussein and the grandson of ‘Ali, was killed in the battle of Karbala when he was only six months old.

Iran May Execute 30 Sunni Clerics for ‘Endangering Security’

May 1, 2016

Iran May Execute 30 Sunni Clerics for ‘Endangering Security’, Clarion Project, May 1, 2016

Shahram-Ahmadi-IPOne of the most prominent preachers, Shahram Ahmadi, was arrested seven years ago. (Photo: Facebook)

A campaign called Defense of Political Prisoners in Iran has published a list that includes the name of 30 Sunni preachers that Iran has threatened to execute.

As reported by Al Arabiya, the preachers are part of a larger group of 200 Sunni political prisoners including other preachers and students of religious science that have been accused of endangered national security and preaching against the regime. Most of the prisoners are Iranian Kurds.

The 30 who have been threatened with execution are being held in the Rajai Shahrprison in Karaj, the fourth largest city in Iran.

One of the most prominent preachers, Shahram Ahmadi, was arrested seven years ago for the crimes of taking part in political and religious classes and selling books with religious content. He was arrested with his brother Chamid who was executed in March 2015 at the age of 17.

Chamid, together with five other inmates who were also executed, was accused of taking part in the assassination of a Sunni cleric who was close the regime. Amnesty International as well as other human rights groups say that the five were involved in peaceful, religious activities that included organizing classes of religious studies in the Sunni mosques in the Kurdish regions of Iran.

Relatives of those executed say that no charges were brought against the five for the first four years after their arrests. The group was also never brought to a court during that time.

Some of the preachers said they had been severely tortured during an entire year of interrogations and kept in solitary confinement in an Iranian intelligence facility in the city of Sanandaj in the center of the Kurdish province.

According to the report, prisoners spoke of brutal methods of torture inflicted upon them through letters sent to international human rights organizations and the UN representative for human rights in Iran.

The torture included electric shocks to the genitals, being hanged upside down and beatings with red-hot wires. They were also not allowed to drink for a number of days, forced to shave their beards and taunted by claims that their families would be tortured as well.

Sunni activists said that most of the arrests were made because of the demands by the preachers that the regime stop oppressing and discriminating against Sunnis. Activists say that the regime prevents Sunnis from practicing their religion and rituals freely. For example, last July, after the municipality of Iran, supported by the security forces, destroyed the only place of Sunni worship in Tehran, Sunnis have been prevented from building a mosque in the capital city.

The destruction set off angry responses by the country’s Sunni population.

Iraq Parliament Collapses, Lawmakers Flee Baghdad

May 1, 2016

Iraq Parliament Collapses, Lawmakers Flee Baghdad, Voice of AmericaSharon Behn, May 1, 2016

Baghdad parliament flees

Baghdad teeters on the edge of political chaos Sunday.

The city is in a state of emergency, protesters are occupying parts of the once-secure International Zone (IZ), lawmakers have run away and the military is on high alert.

By Sunday morning, protesters led by Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr continued to crowd the streets in front of the country’s now-empty parliament and gather in what is known as the zone’s “Celebration Square.”

Lawmakers fled Saturday after protestors stormed into the parliament.

About 60 lawmakers, mostly from the minority Kurdish and Sunni parties, flew out of the capital for Irbil and Suleymania, in the northern autonomous Kurdish region.

“It was dangerous for all of us,” one parliament official told VOA, speaking on condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation. Some lawmakers were beaten, he said.

Baghdad 1A handout image released by the press office of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on May 1, 2016, shows him (L) looking at the damage after protesters stormed the Iraqi parliament building in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone area.

The official said thousands of protesters were still in the so-called International Zone Sunday, parked outside the major government buildings.

WATCH: Related video of protesters in the International Zone (Video at the link — DM)

Normally only those with special badges are allowed into the secured area, which is also home to many foreign embassies and the United Nations.

“It is dangerous,” the parliament official said. “At any time, the protesters could attack any embassy, any institution they want, or abuse anybody passing by.

“It seems al-Sadr wants to keep them inside the IZ so he can force the government to do what he wants,” the official said.

Political unrest

The parliament takeover was the culmination of weeks of political wrangling and increasing instability, and came just days after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Baghdad.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the visit was a good indication of U.S. continued support for Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s efforts to unify Iraq and confront the Islamic State (IS) group.

Baghdad 2Supporters of Shi’ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr walk over the blast walls surrounding Baghdad’s highly fortified Green Zone, April 30, 2016. Dozens of protesters climbed over the blast walls and could be seen storming the parliament building.

But the visit was not enough to stave off the deepening political crisis.

Sadr has been demanding a new government of technocrats.

Abadi, who had also promised reform, had been unable to deliver any real change as political parties, unwilling to let go of their political power, blocked the majority of his list of candidates.

The prime minister on Sunday walked through the ransacked parliament building, and called on Interior Minister Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban to bring the attackers “to justice.”

Unrest growing

But even as political blocs have fought to maintain their positions and all the trappings of power, the anger in the Iraqi street has been growing for the past year over the lack of basic services, security, and the vast government corruption and political patronage.

Sadr, a firebrand cleric sometimes described as a Shi’ite nationalist, has managed to capitalize on that anger and frustration.

“Al-Sadr has the power of the people. One speech and he can deliver thousands of people to do what he wants. It is the power of the populace,” the parliament official said. “Al-Sadr is capable of running and leading the anger within each Iraqi person.”

Baghdad 3Supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr raise the Iraqi flag outside parliament in Baghdad’s Green Zone, April 30, 2016.

One high-ranking Iraqi military official, also speaking to VOA on condition of anonymity, said that Sadr had many young Iraqis, including Sunnis and Christians, on his side.

The Institute for the Study of War describes Sadr’s power grab as a de facto political coup.

But the military official said Prime Minister Abadi was still in control of the Iraqi military and running the country.

Rival Shi’ite powers

Yet, the military official warned that powerful rival Shi’ite powers in Baghdad were not comfortable with Sadr’s attempted power grab. He said members of the notorious Badr Brigade militia, which is strongly allied with Iran, were beginning to converge on the capital’s center.

The possibility for intra-Shi’ite violence in Baghdad is high, and Baghdad residents said they are unsure of what will happen next.

There is also concern that IS could take advantage of the turmoil to ramp up its attacks. Iraqi security forces closed off all entrances to the city Saturday.

Resident Mahdi Makhmour, who lives outside the IZ, said the city streets were empty Sunday morning and many roads were still blocked, partly because of the start of a three-day Shi’ite religious celebration in the capital.

‘Next Time in Jerusalem’: Islamic State Supporters Celebrate Baghdad Deadly Suicide Bombings

March 2, 2016

EXCLUSIVE – ‘Next Time in Jerusalem’: Islamic State Supporters Celebrate Deadly Baghdad Suicide Bombings

by Aaron Klein and Ali Waked

1 Mar 2016

Source: ‘Next Time in Jerusalem’: Islamic State Supporters Celebrate Baghdad Deadly Suicide Bombings

AFP

TEL AVIV – Internal messages obtained by Breitbart Jerusalem show Islamic State supporters celebrated the deadly suicide attacks carried out by the organization’s operatives in a Shi’ite part of Baghdad on Sunday, rejoicing in the death and injury of “more than 100 infidels.”

The string of suicide attacks in the Iraqi capital’s Abu Ghraib and al-Sadr districts left at least 70 people dead and many more wounded.

IS released a somewhat laconic statement claiming responsibility, but its supporters were jubilant in messages exchanged in a private encrypted chat utilized by IS and its supporters, vowing that the next such operation would be in Jerusalem.

حفيد“Allah is great, my brothers, our jihadi fighters surprised the enemy infidels at the gates of Baghdad,” wrote Abu Jaafar Albagdadi, a high-profile IS operative. “We hurt them and the American officers who fled in panic from our fighters. Today in Baghdad, tomorrow in Jerusalem and Palestine with Allah’s help.”

جعفر 11“Our Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made it clear, and repeated the words of our [military] commander Abu Mohammed al-Adnani: Today in Baghdad, tomorrow in Jerusalem,” wrote Eladnani the Grandson, an Iraqi IS member. “Look at Iran and the Jews’ cronies bearing a humiliating defeat. Tomorrow, with Allah’s help, we’ll be in Palestine. Allah promised it and it will happen.”

بكرIn the closed chat group, which utilizes the encrypted Telegram messaging service, top IS operative Abu Bakr Almuhager added: “My brothers, we’ve made a vow to Allah that the Jews will not take pleasure in occupying the holy land of Palestine. … Our brothers hit the infidels in the safety of their quarters in Baghdad, despite the ongoing war against us, and chased away the American officers. Our next meeting will be in Palestine, or Washington, or wherever, until the sacred caliphate rules the world.”