|"European" Islamists at War|
(Baghdad) The Islamists of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) march forward. In Christian areas in Mosul they have interrupted the electricity and water supply, as the news agency Aina reports. The access to the water for inhabited places like the Assyrian settlements Bartella and Qaraqosh they control and require payments. One liter of water costs six dollars. The price goes up almost daily. It's unaffordable for many residents. A new preliminary form of the poll tax, which Christians have to pay to the Islamist "caliphate". It's a form to break any resistance.
Are Saddam's chemical weapons still in Iraq?
According to the Wall Street Journal, the jihadists have also taken Al Muthanna, where Saddam Hussein was producing chemical weapons and have occupied it. According to American security sources, however, the Islamists were not in a position to deploy the complicated weapons. The only people who would be harmed by the chemical weapons operated by Islamists, would be themselves," says the Wall Street Journal, quoting an American officer. Even more than this naive assumption, the question arises as to why, just 45 kilometers away from Baghdad in Al Muthanna, there are chemical weapons are stored.
Thousands of Islamists from Europe to fight in the Middle East
There are not only Iraqis in the ranks of the ISIS, but Syrians, Saudis, Chechens, Afghans, Pakistanis, Yemenis, Somalis, Tunisians, Egyptians, Algerians are fighting as well. Among them are also "European" units. Europol estimates the number of fighters at 2,300 that have set out from Europe to fight in the Middle East for the ISIS jihad. How much are from Germany or Austria, and Switzerland, no one knows exactly. According to Europol, the United Kingdom is the country from which most jihadists have set out.
And if the ISIS-fighters return to Europe?
According Lahoor Talabani, head of the anti-terrorist unit of the autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq, to start, there are at least 450 British citizens who have joined the ISIS. The task force associated with Al-Qaida controls today, says Talabani, a contiguous area with an east-west distance of at least 500 kilometers. An area in which the border between Iraq and Syria is no longer important because it extends over both countries. After the conquest of Fallujah in January and now Mosul and Tikrit also, the ISIS has pushed up to within a few miles of Baghdad.
For Talabani fighters from Europe are a problem not only for Iraq but for Europe as well, because ISIS leader, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi "if they survive their current engagement, they can be used for an attack against England." The situation will deteriorate rapidly if the West doesn't do anything. "Talabani hopes for air support from the West, as requested by Iraq's Prime Minister Al Maliki. However, U.S. President Obama seems unenthusiastic, to again return to the land that had been conquered in 2003. Obama had made the campaign promise to leave Iraq and that had helped him win the 2008 presidential election.
From Stone Age The Taliban Have Long Been Digitized
Meanwhile, the time in which the Islamists sent messages with videotapes is long in the past. Today they skillfully use the limitless possibilities of communication on the Internet. There are no more video messages from Afghan caves. Instead, the Islamists have their own websites, using the latest technological standards and publishing their texts, messages and photos on Facebook. From the "Stone Age-Taliban," as it was called disparagingly still around 2000, they have become a "digitized Taliban". Their global loudspeaker is the Internet.
They have no problems to post on Twitter and Facebook about their actions. The enemy may read along. However, they are aimed at mobilizing influence in the Islamic world. The Internet offers the possibility to simultaneously use information and disinformation. Syria's president has accused all rebels of being terrorists. But the West has supported the rebels and claimed a part is democratic. This offers the Islamists enormous leeway to present themselves as anti-Assad-front and as "good" rebels.