The Arabic word baqiya (“remaining”) is one of the most common adjectives associated with the Islamic State (aka ISIS), dating back to its earliest incarnation that claimed to be a state: namely, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI). Once ISI officially expanded into Syria under the name of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and began seriously controlling and administering territory, the additional claim of “expanding” was soon tagged on to the organisation’s unofficial slogan, thus baqiya wa tatamaddad. Indeed, with the capture of Mosul and other major towns and cities in Iraq and Syria, the claim to be remaining and expanding was not without merit, especially following the declaration of the Caliphate and spread of the Islamic State franchise into multiple other countries throughout the region.
Today, we no longer speak of the Islamic State as expanding, but rather debate whether it will survive as it comes under increasing pressure on the main fronts in Iraq and Syria but also abroad: thus, in Libya, which was often assumed to be the “fallback” option for the Islamic State, the organisation’s affiliates no longer control any towns in the country.
Given that the Islamic State is now contracting, will any of it ultimately remain? Some of the Islamic State’s messaging has been devoted to this very topic, and predictably argues against the idea that loss of territory means the end of the Caliphate project.
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Charges that Islamic State (IS) engages in organ trading — taking body parts from their victims in Iraq and Syria and selling them to traffickers in Turkey — have surfaced again.
The Iranian news network Alalam reported on October 6 that IS has set up a market in Turkey where it sells human organs stolen from innocent people. Alalam also posted a photograph of a person whose organ was taken.
The Iraqi News also reported that IS has kidnapped and sold many children in Syria to Turkish organ traffickers in order to finance its operations.
Turkey’s government-funded news service, Anadolu Agency, reported months ago that ISIS opened a “medical school” in Northern Syria.
Wayne Madsen, an American investigative reporter and a former intelligence analyst at the US National Security Agency (NSA), told Gatestone that IS has been, and is, involved in organ trading. “The Uyghur battalions of ISIS are heavily engaged in this. They are also known to be involved in organ harvesting in China.”
“We… have no reason to doubt them given other similar atrocities that have been documented and other heinous crimes for which ISIL has proudly taken credit,” the U.S. State Department said in response to charges of IS’s organ harvesting. In December, the U.S. government revealed that it had obtained an ISIS document during a raid by Special Forces in Syria. “The apostate’s life and organs do not have to be respected and may be taken with impunity,” the document said.
Anne Speckhard wrote that ISIS is involved in organ smuggling and earns profits from it. “Former prisoner Abo Rida stated that surgeons for IS terror group removed kidneys and corneas from prisoners. He said that they were told that jihadists were more deserving of organs,” she added.
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With the help of organized criminal elements, Islamic State terrorists reportedly are buying legitimate British passports that can evade security detection from security authorities, the Daily Beast reports.
An Italian intelligence investigation into the Camorra mafia discovered an advertisement on the deep web that linked to a Naples firm capable of producing sophisticated biometric passports.
“We are selling original UK Passports made with your info/picture. Also, your info will get entered into the official passport database,” the advertisement reads. “So its (sic) possible to travel with our passports. How do we do it? Trade secret! Information on how to send us your info and picture will be given after purchase! You can even enter the UK/EU with our passports, we can just add a stamp for the country you are in.”
Other investigations also shed light onto the broader ties between terrorists and European criminal organizations, including in the smuggling of weapons and forged documents.
Last year Italian authorities arrested an Iraqi man in Naples for facilitating weapons and document transfers to the Islamic State.
“Naples has been, for many years, a central logistics base for the Middle East,” prosecutor Franco Roberti told the Daily Beast last year, adding that “the Camorra (mafia) is also active in the world of jihadist terrorism that passes through Naples.”
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Before there was the Islamic State, before YouTube videos that seduce Europe’s Muslims to join in the jihad, before Twitter and Tumblr and the many tools of recruitment on the Internet, there was the local mosque.
There still is.
With all the emphasis now on ISIS and its various affiliates, and on the dangers they pose against the West, we have largely forgotten the forces that were radicalizing Muslim youth in Europe long before ISIS came along. Worse, we have failed to notice they still do. And yet these largely Saudi-backed, Salafist institutions – mosques and schools and Islamic community centers – arguably pose the greatest threat to Western culture, both in terms of their potential for inspiring terrorism and the sociopolitical influence they exert.
Concerns about Salafist groups and their unwavering impact in Europe have reemerged of late, the result of numerous investigations into ties between European mosques and terror financing organizations. Added to this is a growing unrest within the European Muslim community as it struggles with its own identity and future. In the process, counterterrorism experts and government officials have increasingly been forced to acknowledge that “bombing the hell out of ISIS,” as the U.S. president-elect has sworn to do, won’t be enough to solve the problem.
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In a new video purportedly released by the Islamic State titled “The Cross Shield,” 2 soldiers with the Turkish Army are burned to death in the Aleppo countryside. The video was released on ISIS terrorist channels on December 22. Aleppo was recently retaken by the Syrian government with the help of Russia and Turkey.
The Syrian government recently retook the eastern portion of the city that had been held by Syrian rebels, not including ISIS. According to the BBC, “The Syrian government is waiting for the Aleppo evacuations to be completed before troops move into the rebel enclave and take full control of the city.”
However, ISIS is still fighting Assad forces, his allies, and Turkey in the region. Al-Masdar News reports that yesterday three Turkish Army soldiers were killed and another ten others were wounded in a surprise attack claimed by the Islamic State.
ISIS controls the Syrian city of Al-Bab, which it uses as a command point for raids on eastern Aleppo, a mere 15-minute drive away. Turkey is currently trying to take Al-Bab, with Reuters reporting that “Turkish air strikes on Wednesday destroyed 67 Islamic State targets” in the city.
The new ISIS video centers on Turkish airstrikes and civilians in Al-Bab allegedly killed by them.
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AFDI Unveils Shocking New Video Showing New Yorkers Consider ISIS in the U.S. “Fake News”
NEW YORK, December 20: The human rights advocacy group the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) today unveiled a shocking new video, filmed in Grand Central Station, showing that in the city most targeted by Islamic jihadis, most New Yorkers have no idea of the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat.
AFDI President Pamela Geller noted: “It wasn’t just 9/11: New York City has been targeted by jihadis numerous times. The NYPD is on heightened alert for the Christmas season because of the all-too-real possibility that ISIS or other jihadis will carry out a major jihad terror attack during the holiday season. But in Grand Central Station, crowded with holiday shoppers, people were more worried about ‘fake news’ than about the Islamic jihad threat.”
“New Yorkers were asked which they believed to be “fake news,” ISIS or Russian election hacking. Their responses are astonishing. Most of them dismissed the ISIS threat as exaggerated or nonexistent — even as jihad attacks and threats against New York have been ongoing and increasing in frequency. And this is why we do the work we do. AFDI works to increase awareness of the grave threat that we face.”
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Each time in recent history that Turkey’s pro-Sunni neo-Ottomans opted for assertive foreign policy in this turbulent part of the world, there were more casualties and no happy ending for any state- or non-state actor, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey. As multiple asymmetrical wars in the triangle of Turkey, Syria and Iraq turn more violent and complex, with the U.S.-led international campaign fighting jihadists — while Iran and Russia try to win proxy wars — Turkey keeps raising the stakes with the risky nonsensical wish to revive its imperial past. Erdogan looks determined to fight any war in the hope that all will end with Turkish-Sunni dominance in the region. He is wrong.
In his recent speeches Erdogan often revisited a long-forgotten Arabic phrase that is so dear to every Turk’s heart and mind: Misak-i Milli (“National Contract”).
On February 12, 1920, the last Ottoman parliament proclaimed a set of decisions which Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of modern Turkey, adopted as “the main principle of our independence.” Misak-i Milli, among other principles, set modern Turkey’s borders; it was a guideline to determine where the borders of the Turkish Republic would start and end. It would be used as the basis for the new Turkish Republic’s claims in the Treaty of Lausanne.
According to Misak-i Milli, “the future of the territories inhabited by an Arab majority at the time of the signing of the Armistice of Mudros shall be determined by a referendum.” On the other hand, the territories which were not occupied at that time and inhabited by a Turkish majority are the homeland of the Turkish nation. The status of Kars, Ardahan (Turkish provinces since then) and Batumi (a province in the Republic of Georgia) may be determined by a referendum. The status of Western Thrace (in Greece) will be determined by the votes of its inhabitants. Misak-i Milli also claimed that the former Ottoman province of Mosul should be a Turkish province. Instead, Mosul was first left to British control, then became an Iraqi province. Mosul is now Iraq’s second largest city, but tenuously under the control of the Islamic State (ISIS).
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