Tag Archives: Sunni Islam

‘We’ve arrived’: ISIS wing in Yemen releases first video, threatens Houthis

Screenshot from youtube video by Vocativ

The Islamic State has declared its official presence in war-torn Yemen as the jihadists posted a video online, threating to “cut the throats” of Shiite Houthi rebels.

Like most Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL) videos, the 9-minute-long clip was professionally shot and edited – with CGs and catchy background music.

It showed around two dozen IS fighters in full military gear training in the desert area, which is claimed to be located near the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

The jihadist carried AK-47s, heavy machine guns and RPGs and then fired from some of their weapons.

After that, the apparent commander of the group stuck the black IS flag into the sand and pronounced that the “soldiers of the Caliphate” have arrived in Yemen to “cut the throats” of the Houthis.

“We have come to Yemen, with men hungry for your blood to avenge the Sunnis and take back the land they have occupied,” the IS commander said in a video, the International Business Times reported.

He then addressed all able-bodied Sunni men in Yemen to join him the battle against the Houthis.

The video was posted online on Friday, a day after a newly-announced division of the IS, the Green Brigade, claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on the Shiite rebels.

On Wednesday, five Houthi militia members were killed in the car bombing in Ibb province in central Yemen.

It became the second attack claimed by the IS in the country after 142 people were killed and another 350 injured in a series of suicide bombings at Shia mosques in Sanaa on March 20.

The Sunni IS and Al-Qaeda, which has traditionally been the dominant jihadist group in Yemen, view the Shiite Houthis as heretics.

READ MORE: Al-Qaeda seizes key military camp in Yemen, snatches tanks and artillery

The Houthi rebels took control of Sanaa in September 2014, forcing Sunni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia and are now fighting for the strategic port city of Aden.

Saudi Arabia and its Sunni Arab allies have been bombing the Shiite rebels since March 25, with over 550 civilians having been killed since the start of the airstrikes, according to UN estimations.

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Maliki rejects calls for emergency government

Nouri al-Maliki , in his weekly address, urged political parties to put aside their differences.

BAGHDAD – Embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Wednesday rejected demands from rival politicians for an emergency national unity government, as al-Qaeda-inspired insurgents gained more ground, assaulting a former U.S. air base and pushing toward one of the country’s largest dams.

In his weekly address to the nation, he described such efforts as a “rebellion” against the constitution. The United States is pressing Iraq to create a more inclusive government, urging Maliki, a Shiite, to reach out to the country’s disaffected Sunni Muslim minority.

With the country’s conflict expanding, Baghdad is locked in a period of intense political maneuvering that could result in Maliki’s loss of the premiership. Given the violence, he is likely to struggle to form a government although his party won the largest share of the vote in April parliamentary elections, analysts said.

Despite his outright rejection of a “national salvation” government demanded by politicians, including the secular Shiite Ayad Allawi, he struck a somewhat conciliatory tone in his speech. He urged political parties to lay aside their differences before the first session of Iraq’s newly elected parliament, expected to take place next week.

“We desperately need a united national stance to defy terrorism,” Maliki said.

His speech, delivered two days after he met with Secretary of State John Kerry, contrasted with his public declarations earlier in the crisis, which have appealed to religious motivations and called for citizens to protect the country’s Shiite Muslim shrines.

Maliki issued the appeal as Sunni Muslim militants attacked one of Iraq’s largest air bases and seized several small oil fields north of the capital, news agencies reported.

In addition, insurgents were advancing on the Haditha Dam and hydroelectric power plant on the Euphrates River about 175 miles northwest of Baghdad.

There were also reports that Iran is stepping up its intervention on behalf of Maliki, secretly supplying military equipment and using drones to conduct aerial surveillance.

In Brussels, where he attended NATO meetings Wednesday, Kerry said the conflict in Iraq has “been widened obviously in the last days with reports of [Iranian Revolutionary Guard] personnel, some people from Iran being engaged in Iraq, perhaps even some Syrian activities therein.”

Kerry told reporters, “That’s one of the reasons why government formation is so urgent, so that the leaders of Iraq can begin to make the decisions necessary to protect Iraq without outside forces moving to fill a vacuum.”

Striking a positive note, Kerry also said that he was not sure what Maliki meant in rejecting a “salvation government” but that the rest of Maliki’s address was in line with what he pledged to do in their meeting.

Shiite militia parade in Baghdade in show of govt’s might as ISIS overruns border town

Volunteers of the newly formed 'Peace Brigades' participate in a parade in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City, Baghdad, in defiance of ISIS

Volunteers of the newly formed ‘Peace Brigades’ participate in a parade in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City, Baghdad, in defiance of ISIS

Thousands of Shiite militia marched through Baghdad, Kirkuk and other Iraqi cities in a show of the government’s force. However, extremists are just winning more ground: the Sunni fighters of ISIS have seized a town on the border with Syria.

Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called on his followers to take part in a military parade on Saturday. Hosts of Shiite Iraqis answered the call, flooding the center of Baghdad and other cities across the country.

Around 50,000 people joined the rally in the country’s capital, some armed with weapons including Kalashnikov assault rifles, shotguns, Dragunov sniper rifles, light machineguns and rocket launchers. They brandished banners with slogans reading “We sacrifice for you, oh Iraq,” “No, no to terrorism,” and “No, no to America.”

As volunteers gathered in Baghdad, Sunni militants led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL) pushed back faltering government forces, seizing control of crucial towns on the Iraq-Syria border. Killing over 30 members of the Iraqi security forces, ISIS fighters attacked the town of al-Qaima and succeeded in taking over the town, which is home to 250,000, and the border crossing to neighboring Syria.

The militant group also made significant gains on the other side of the frontier, bringing them closer to accomplishing their aim of creating an Islamic state straddling national borders.

The border town is located on a strategic supply route, the loss of which would be a significant blow to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. ISIS has capitalized on the ongoing civil war in Syria to gather weapons and thousands of fresh recruits from around the world. Full control of the border zone would mean potential free passage from Syria into Iraq for the militants.

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To counter the swelling ranks of the Sunni militants, Iraq’s government has officially asked the White House to deploy airstrikes in the region. In response, the White House issued a statement, saying there was no purely military solution to Iraq’s problems, and that it would consider a range of options.

As a preliminary measure, the US has deployed 300 additional military personnel to Baghdad to “assess how we can best train, advise and support Iraqi security forces going forward.”

Obama also voiced criticism of Iraq’s leadership, suggesting that Al-Maliki has endangered the country by ignoring the needs of the country’s Sunni population.

“I don’t think that there’s any secret that, right now at least, there is deep division between Sunni, Shia and Kurdish leaders,” Obama said Thursday. In addition, the Wall Street Journal reported that Washington was preparing to consult with the Iranian government over a solution to the crisis in Iraq.

The ISIS-led militants began to show signs of fragmentation on Saturday as fighters from ISIS and the Army of the Men of the Naqshbandiyah (JRTN) turned on each other in Kirkuk. At least 17 people were killed in the ensuing violence.

Breaking News – Iraq formally asks US to launch air strikes against rebels

top US military commander Gen Martin Dempsey

Iraq has formally called on the US to launch air strikes against jihadist militants who have seized several key cities over the past week.

“We have a request from the Iraqi government for air power,” confirmed top US military commander Gen Martin Dempsey in front of US senators.

Earlier the Sunni insurgents launched an attack on Iraq’s biggest oil refinery at Baiji north of Baghdad.

Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki earlier urged Iraqis to unite against the militants.

Government forces are battling to push back ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) and its Sunni Muslim allies in Diyala and Salahuddin provinces, after the militants overran the second city, Mosul, last week.

US President Barack Obama is due to discuss the Iraq crisis with senior Congress members on Wednesday.

Ahead of the meeting Senate leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said he did not “support in any way” getting American troops involved in the Iraqi “civil war”.

But Gen Dempsey told a Senate panel that it was in America’s “national interest to counter [ISIS] wherever we find them”.

In other developments:

Who are the major players in the Iraq crisis?

Nouri al-Maliki

As Iraq edges toward civil war, here’s a look at major players and groups in the crisis.

Insurgents

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is a Sunni jihadist group that has its roots in the al-Qaeda-linked insurgents that formed the backbone of the resistance against U.S. forces in Iraq after the 2003 invasion. It has since expanded operations into Syria, where it is fighting the regime of Bashar Assad, and has broken formal ties with al-Qaeda. It embraces a radical form of Islam and consists of battle-hardened fighters.

Earlier this year, the group ransacked Fallujah and Ramadi, two influential Sunni cities in western Iraq. It has managed to hold much of Fallujah and portions of Ramadi. More recently it seized parts of Mosul and was positioned to edge toward Baghdad.

ISIL is also referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Nouri al-Maliki

The prime minister of Iraq leads a Shiite dominated government that has alienated many of the Sunnis in Iraq over the past several years. Maliki has been criticized for not taking more steps to include rival Sunni leaders in his government.

Shiites are the majority sect in Iraq, but for most of Iraq’s history they were oppressed by the Sunnis, who dominated the government. Saddam Hussein and his key leaders were all Sunnis. Shiite leaders during that time were driven into exile.

Iraq’s armed forces

Organized, trained and, to some extent, equipped by the United States, the Iraqi military was a competent force when the United States pulled all its forces out in 2011.

But over the past several years Maliki has been accused of appointing political cronies to key leadership positions and the military has ceased to conduct regular training. Sunnis have said the army is little more than another Shiite militia and have little confidence in its ability to protect them. Many units simply collapsed when insurgents attacked Mosul and other cities in Iraq.

Shiite militias

During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, Shiite militias, some of which were backed by Iran, grew to become powerful forces. Among the strongest such militias is the Mahdi Army, a group loyal to anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Shiite militias at various times attacked U.S. forces and also participated in sectarian warfare in Iraq between Sunnis and Shiites, which peaked in 2006. Most of the insurgent gains were in Sunni or mixed areas. Shiite militias will likely try to protect Shiite neighborhoods if insurgents attempt to move into Baghdad.

عزام الأمريكي يدعو لموجة هجمات عالمية ردا على اعتقال أبوأنس

دبي، الإمارات العربية المتحدة (CNN) —

نشرت مواقع إلكترونية على صلة تنظيم القاعدة رسالة صوتية للعنصر الأمريكي في التنظيم، آدم غدن، المعروف بلقب “عزام الأمريكي”، خصصها لانتقاد عملية اعتقال قوات أمريكية لـ”أبو أنس الليبي” قائلا إن الهدف منها هو “صرف الأنظار” عن أزمات واشنطن، ودعا إلى موجة عالمية من الهجمات على المصالح الغربية

وقال غدن، في الرسالة التي تزيد مدتها عن 17 دقيقة، ولا يمكن لـCNN تأكيد صحتها بشكل مستقل، إن عملية “اختطاف” الليبي جرت على يد من وصفها بـ”العصابة المسلحة التابعة للدولة الأمريكية المارقة بتواطؤ مع حفنة من الخونة والمرتزقة” مضيفا: “إنها حلقة جديدة من الغطرسة الصليبية التي لا تحترم الحدود ولا القانون، بل تعتبر العالم بأسره مسرحا لها لتفعل ما شاءت”

وتابع غدن بالقول إن أمريكا تعرف بأن “أبوأنس الليبي” لم يكن “عضوا ناشطا في القاعدة،” كما أضاف أن التهم الموجهة إليه بضرب السفارتين الأمريكيتين في نيروبي ودار السلام “في صحتها نظر كبير،” خاصة وأن القيادي الراحل في تنظيم القاعدة، فاضل هارون، أحد المشرفين على العملية، لم يذكره من في مذكراته

ولم يستبعد غدن أن تكون واشنطن قد خلطت بينه وبين “أبوجهاد النوبي” الذي شارك بالفعل في التحضير للعملية، وكان يلقب أيضا بـ”أبي أنس” قبل مقتله, وتابع بالقول: “لقد وصلت الرسالة وهي تقول إن (الرئيس الأمريكي باراك) أوباما وعصابته قاموا بهذا العمل لصرف النظر عن حالة أمريكا المزرية وإخفاقاتها المتكررة وانزلاقها المتسارع نحو الهاوية بعد أن واجهت أزمات خطيرة على جميع الأصعدة السياسية والدبلوماسية والاقتصادية”

ولفت غدن إلى أن العملية تزامنت مع احتجاجات لموظفي الدولة الأمريكية بعد توقفهم عن العمل خلال أزمة رفع سقف الدين، كما جاءت في أعقاب إلغاء رحلات أوباما إلى آسيا وتراجعه عن توجيه ضربة عسكرية إلى سوريا وقال: “اختطاف الشيخ أبي أنس لن يثنيا عن مواصلة جهادنا ضد أمريكا وحلفها الصليبي الصهيوني بل سيزيد إصرارنا وعزمنا على ضرب هذا الحلف الفاجر حتى نحرر أسرانا من سجونه”

وتوجه غدن إلى الليبيين والمسلمين عامة بالقول: “لا تتركوا هذا العمل الجبان يمر دون عقاب، علموا الصليبيين أن أرض الإسلام لا مكان فيها لقواعدهم وعلموها أن بلادنا واحدة وإذا أسر مسلم في المغرب وجب على أهل المشرق إنقاذه وتخليصه.. أعيدوا لنا أمجاد نيروبي ودار السلام وعدن ونيويورك وواشنطن وفورت هود وبنغازي وبوسطن، اضطربوا مصالح الصليبيين واليهود في كل مكان في بلادنا وبلادهم فحربنا معهم لا تعرف حدودا” على حد قوله

عزام الأمريكي يدعو لموجة هجمات عالمية ردا على اعتقال أبوأنس – CNNArabic.com.