This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Seeking Intelligence on Islamic State

"If we can scoop somebody up alive, with their cellphones and diaries, it really can help speed up the demise of a terrorist group like ISIS."
Dell L. Dailey, chairman, Combating Terrorism Center, United States Military Academy

"When the target is indeed captured alive, then we often can get even more valuable information through interrogations, immediate and continuing over time."
"All of this helps us better understand the enemy network, prioritize new targets, and identify external terrorist plots."
William Wechsler, (former) counterterrorism official, U.S. Defense Department
Iraqi Shiite fighters from the Popular Mobilisation units, fighting alongside Iraqi government forces, display an upside down Islamic State group during a military operation aimed at the centre of Baiji, north of Baghdad on Oct. 19, 2015.

When Navy Seals helicoptered over the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011, they would no doubt have preferred to take bin Laden back with them to the U.S. As matters unfolded, the escapade was complicated by one of the helicopters crashing and the need for swift action. When one of the commandos confronted bin Laden with one of his wives, the reaction was to shoot him before he had the opportunity to defend himself by first shooting his challenger. The commandos had just enough time to scoop up his body, his computer and any documents they could find before hastily departing, to deposit his body at sea.

The worldwide battle with al-Qaeda has long since taken a back seat to an even more virulently violent group, though the successful plot to create an everlasting monument to careful planning resulting in the deaths of airline passengers and crew and American civilians in the World Trade Towers in New York and the Pentagon and those in the Pennsylvania air crash took far more 'casualties' than the combined Islamic State attacks against Western targets has managed, to date. It is, however, the constant, unexpected confrontation by terrorists aligning themselves with ISIS that now focuses the minds of intelligence and security experts in the West.

The more data that can be retrieved and collected and studied to enable the West to counter those explosively violent attacks the more the hope is that effective countermeasures can occur that may result ultimately in smothering the hateful ideology's virulent spread among Muslims both in their countries of birth and those who have migrated to the West, and representing a constant potential threat to the countries that have accepted their presence in the belief they can be integrated to become law-abiding citizens.
American Special Forces have captured a 'significant' ISIS operative in northern Iraq as part of a new mission against the terror group. Pictured, U.S. and Iraqi special forces inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija last year, nine miles west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Islamic State flag hangs on the wall (file image).
American Special Forces captured a 'significant' ISIS operative in northern Iraq as part of a new mission against the terror group. Pictured, U.S. and Iraqi special forces inside a makeshift prison in the town of Huwija last year, nine miles west of the Iraqi city of Kirkuk. The Islamic State flag hangs on the wall

To that ostensible end some countries like Sweden have turned the situation around completely. While most European countries are troubled over the prospective and in some instances already well underway reality of their nationals who had travelled abroad to fight with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant against U.S.-led NATO forces deployed to combat the terrorists' plans of establishing their caliphate in huge stretches of Iraq, Syria and Libya, sending their tentacles into other countries to enlarge their territory, Sweden alone (so far) seeks to welcome them back with generous supports.

Free housing, offers of employment, new protected identities, to shelter the hundreds of ISIS returnees from 'persecution', let alone prosecution, irrespective of their involvement in atrocities in which they revelled, slaughtering innocent people and fighting the forces aligned against them. This is Sweden's 'conscience' of liberalism and consideration proffered to the exponents of the major tenet of jihad as violent as need be on behalf of Islam, the religion of peace.

Whereas American special forces have been busy attempting to capture high-level ISIL chiefs for the purpose of gleaning as much valuable information as possible from them. American commandos intercepted a vehicle in which Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, a close associate of Ab Bakr al-Baghdadi, in southeastern Syria in April. He was responsible for money-raising, spiriting ISIL forces out of Raqqa seen as valuable to ISIS, and planning attacks against the West. Helicopter-borne commandos lost their opportunity to bring him in alive when a firefight ensued.

In the gun battle the terrorist chief was killed. That followed on a similar failed operation in January where another midlevel operative of ISIL meant to be captured alive for the extraction of valuable information on the jihadist group whose exploits have horrified the international community for its penchant of circulating videos of horrific atrocities. But it is the goal of commando raids carried out by the Americans in a ground war against the Islamic State. Where hopes of acquiring cell phones among other items carrying valuable data for future raids might be acquired through these missions.

As far as the American military and intelligence elite is concerned, the impression that the Islamic State is close to defeat is far from reality, given its sophisticated and successful propaganda appeal to prospective future recruits, tempted to join the jihad and knowing they needn't travel to do so, just dedicate themselves to ISIS's goal and achieve their own sensational news coverage by slaughtering innocent people to create the buzz they crave. In the process becoming celebrated martyrs.

Two dozen Delta Force commanders entered Syria via Black Hawk helicopters and V-22 Ospreys from Iraq in 2015 to kill the man U.S. officials described as the "emir of oil and gas" for Islamic State. From Abu Sayyaf's laptops, cellphones and related materials the raid yielded, the U.S. was enabled to gain critical insights into the leadership structure of Islamic State, its financial operations and security measures. Abu Sayyaf's wife, Umm, captured during the operation, became a source for additional information before she was handed over to Iraqi authorities.

That successful raid became the operational template of a new, "specialized expeditionary targeting force" whose commandos' mission reflected an intelligence-gathering surge, complete with drone strikes and raids against external operations planners in Syria and elsewhere.

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