Islamic State/Da’esh – The CIA’s use of Predator drones against Islamic militants in the Middle East began shortly after the 9/11 attacks and has increased dramatically during the Obama administration. Only a handful of drone strikes were issued through much of the 2000s, but in 2012 alone, forty-one strikes were aimed at Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), followed by twenty-six in 2013 and twenty-three in 2014, according to the Longwar Journal. Many of these strikes have killed high valued targets including the first major strike in 2002 which killed Ali Qaed Senyan al-Harthi, and five other militants as they rode in a jeep across the desert. Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born cleric who recruited militants across the world to join al-Qaeda in Yemen, was also killed in a drone strike in 2011. As president the number of drone strikes in Yemen increased, AQAP militants began to develop tactics to hide themselves from a drone’s sensors. In a recent AQAP video posted on social media sites, militants describe how fighters can avoid detection by U.S. drones. According to the Washington Times, the video, “Combating Spy Airplanes” shows a step-by-step process for making and using an aluminum-based portable body wrap which it claims will prevent the drone’s infrared cameras from detecting a human’s heat signature. “The aluminum is supposed to act like a heart barrier, keeping the fighter’s body heat from being detected by the drone camera system,” read an analysis by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). A camouflage version of the wrap is said to help hide fighters from the drones during the day. Whether AQAP’s body wrap is actually effective is unclear, but the idea of it shows how militants are studying U.S. military tactics, and then countering them. The homemade AQAP instructional video uses clips from the Pentagon’s official video of the Predator drone. A spokesman for U.S. Central Command, which conducts military operations in Yemen, said “For operational security reasons, we wouldn’t discuss the possible effectiveness or ineffectiveness of specific enemy (tactics, techniques and procedures) nor would we speculate on how they derive their information.” Some military analysts question the gains made by U.S. efforts in Yemen. They claim AQAP is controlling more territory now than before. “Our long drone war against AQAP has been remarkably ineffective,” said Robert Spencer, who heads Jihad Watch. “Awlaki was killed, but AQAP now controls much of Yemen and acts at will there. They are clearly not cowed, not afraid, not on the defensive.” Others believe that the need for terrorists to produce videos promoting tactics for countering drones means that the Predator strikes are effective. “One part of their military strategy is to distribute videos and information to followers online, particularly via Twitter and YouTube, showing that they are actively engaged in countering the impact drones have had on their capabilities,” said Steven Stalinsky, executive director of MEMRI.
Islamic State/Da’esh – The number of training camps operated by jihadists inside Iraq and Syria continues to rise. The Long War Journal has identified more than 100 in the two countries. While not all of these facilities may be currently operational, the proliferation of camps by the Islamic State, the Al Nusrah Front, and other groups poses a regional and global threat. Since the beginning of 2012, a total of 117 camps have been identified as being operational at one point in time. Of those, 85 have been found in Syria, and 32 in Iraq; 11 are used to indoctrinate and train children. Some of the jihadist training facilities may no longer be in operation due to changes in fortunes on the battlefield (lost territory, airstrikes, etc.). At least 16 are thought to be closed and 15 to 22 have been hit in Coalition airstrikes. It is unclear if these camps have been destroyed or if they reopened in the same location or elsewhere. It is also likely that there are training sites that have not been advertised. Information on the camps has been obtained from jihadist videos and images, news accounts, and US military press releases that note airstrikes against the training facilities. Since Feb. 6, The Long War Journal has identified 37 new training camps. Of these, 25 are located in Syria while the other 12 are in Iraq. The Islamic State has operated 57 camps (30 in Iraq, 27 in Syria). The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, has operated 23 camps inside Syria. Allied jihadist groups have run 37 other camps (35 in Syria and two in Iraq); 11 of those camps are run by jihadist groups from the Caucasus, four by Uzbek jihadist groups, two by ethnic Uighurs, and jihadists from Gaza, Morocco, and Kazakhstan each run one camp. In the past, al Qaeda has used its network of training facilities to train fighters to battle in local insurgencies, identify potential recruits for attacks against the West, and support a host of allied jihadist groups. 361 COMMENT: With all the refugees claiming asylum in Europe it would be naive to believe that those undergoing training in the camps are destined for the front line. Also with its fight in Afghanistan and Libya not going particularly well some of those trained may find themselves in those theatres. COMMENT ENDS. (The article is a long piece. For further reading go to: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/06/over-100-jihadist-training-camps-identified-in-iraq-and-syria.php?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LongWarJournalSiteWide+%28The+Long+War+Journal+%28Site-Wide%29%29)
Islamic State/Da’esh – Islamic State jihadists have threatened “a calamity for kuffars” over the fasting month of Ramadan, at the same time releasing a gruesome new video of unorthodox execution methods it was reported on the 23 Jun 15. The chief propagandist for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, released the audio tape of his Ramadan message. In it, he says that Haditha - west of Ramadi - will be the next town in Iraq to fall under ISIL’s sway, and incites more attacks by its followers worldwide. The attacks should be on “kuffars” (infidels), “Crusaders, Shias and Apostates”, he says. "Be keen to conquer in this holy month and to become exposed to martyrdom,” he says. The group is under pressure in north-east Syria, where Kurdish forces have pushed it back to around 30 miles north of its de facto capital, Raqqa, but has expanded elsewhere, including in Ramadi. The group may meanwhile have suffered a propaganda loss. Reports indicated that two of its best-known western jihadists, Khaled Sharrouf and Mohamed Elomar, were killed in an air raid by the US-led anti-ISIL coalition. The men are both Australians, and had posed online with severed heads, shocking their home nation. Even more shocking was a photograph of Sharrouf’s seven-year-old son holding up one of the heads.
Islamic State/Da’esh/Syria – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has beheaded two women and their husbands in eastern Syria's Deir Ezzor province, a monitoring group claimed on the 30 Jun 15. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on the 30 Jun that ISIL beheaded the couples after accusing them of using "magic for medicine". It is not known what non-traditional health remedy the two couples had sought. "It is the first time that the beheading of women, by the use of sword in public, has taken place in Syria," the Observatory's chief, Rami Abdel Rahman said. Independent sources cannot confirm whether the executions represent the first time that women have been beheaded in Syria. Last year, ISIL reportedly beheaded at least three women who were Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Kobane. The more recent beheadings took place in the city of Deir Ezzor and the city of Mayadin. ISIL beheaded the first couple on the 21 Jun 15 and the second couple on the 22 Jun 15. ISIL reportedly covered up both women and beheaded them, with many people watching. The Observatory said during the reporting period that it has documented 3,027 executions carried out by ISIL since the declaration of their 'caliphate', including those of 1,787 civilians, 74 of them children. More than half of those executed were civilians and more than half of the executed civilians were members of the Sunni Shaitat tribe, which revolted against ISIL south of Deir Ezzor city in Aug 14. ISIL reportedly previously beheaded male British and American aid workers, American and Japanese journalists, Kurdish and Syrian soldiers. With regard to women, the Observatory documented in late August in 2014, that ISIL gave its fighters 300 Yazidi women in Syria.
Da’esh – The latest message released by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on completing a year as a self-proclaimed caliphate has urged its supporters to take up arms and carry out acts of terror it was reported on the 27 Jun 15. The fact that the Islamic caliphate's first anniversary fell within the holy month of Ramzan was also used by the outfit to issue a call for stepped up attacks in the Middle East and around the world as jihad is 10 time more obligatory during the holy month. The terror group told its sympathisers that those who die in jihad will be rewarded by Allah 10 times as much as during the rest of the year. 361 COMMENT: For once the retort coming from the IS terrorist group is correct. Attacks in Kobani, Kuwait, France and Tunisia showed this to be true. The end of Ramadan is a long way off so the potential to cause more terror is there. As for the terrorist attacks in the aforementioned countries, there was no strategic value what-so-ever in the attacks. They were planned and executed in the name of terror and that was the only goal of the terrorists. Tunisia will be hit the hardest with its tourism trade. If that was a goal then it will be interesting to see by what impact the attack had on its economy. Odd how the message is delivered on the same day as the attacks! COMMENT ENDS
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – After the death of Nasser Al-Wuhaishi, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula announced Qassem Al-Rimi aka Abu Hurrira Al-Sana'ani, as his successor. Al-Rimi, born in Yemen in 1978, was specially designated as a global terrorist by the U.S. in May 2010 under E.O. 13224, which described him as a senior military commander of Al-Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP). He was involved in the foundation of AQAP in 2007 after his escape from a Yemeni jail along with other senior Al-Qaeda operatives including his predecessor, the slain Nasser Al-Wuhaishi. Furthermore, he is considered to have had an important role in recruiting the current generation of AQAP fighters. Qassem Al-Rimi is wanted in the U.S., which is offering up to $5 million in reward for any information leading to his capture, as well as in Saudi Arabia. As a prominent leader of AQAP, Al-Rimi has been featured in many of its videos and statements, including its English-language magazine Inspire. Rising from the ranks, his leadership is rooted in the previous generation of AQAP leaders, now eliminated, as well as the new generation of militants that he has helped to grow and shape. Since 2009, Al-Rimi has commanded AQAP's military wing, overseeing its insurgency against the Yemeni government, its battles against the Houthis, operations against Saudi Arabia, and more. He has continually denounced the U.S. as the main enemy of the mujahedeen, together with Saudi Arabia and the Yemen army, which AQAP considered pawns of the American conspiracy against the Muslims. The following is an overview of Al-Rimi's public statement and appearances as AQAP's military commander, based on MEMRI reports since 2009:
U.S. As Al-Qaeda's Primary Enemy
In March 2010, Al-Rimi appeared in an AQAP video featuring indicted USS Cole bomber Fahd Al-Quso. He is presented in the video as the chief military commander of AQAP.
In a video from October 2011, Al-Rimi responded to the criticisms expressed against Al-Qaeda for not supporting Arab revolutions. He stated that the mujahideen are not in favor of replacing one tyrant with another, namely with a non-Islamic system like democracy, socialism, etc. He further adds in the same video that AQAP is facing three enemies: The Yemeni government, the Saudis, and the U.S., explaining that direct U.S. intervention in Yemen is grounds for declaring jihad on the U.S. He stated that America's involvement in Yemen has caused nothing but the death of many Muslims, leading to a rise in AQAP's popularity.
In a video from June 2012, Al-Rimi reiterated AQAP's view that the struggle in Yemen is not a local one but rather an all-out war against the U.S. He states: "We are fighting an American campaign and American plans. This is a Crusader war waged by Obama against us Muslims as part of his election propaganda, and it will end in [his] failure and our victory, with Allah's help..."
Threats To The U.S. And The West
In March 2011, the fifth issue of Inspire, AQAP's English-language magazine, featured an interview with Al-Rimi. In the interview, Al-Rimi criticized President Obama and defended Al-Qaeda against Obama's accusation that terrorists had killed more Muslims than non-Muslims. He called on Muslims living in the West to carry out attacks there in retaliation for U.S. bombings in Waziristan and Israel's bombings against the Palestinians. Addressing the Muslims in the West, he stated: " If you go kill a group of Jews or Christians after hearing that a pilotless drone killed a group of Muslims in Waziristan, and another person kills another group of them after hearing [of] the killing of his brothers and sisters in Palestine by the Israelis and so on;... [If you carry out] an operation in their midst after each operation they commit against your Muslim brothers and sisters... [it] would stop the striking, killing, occupation, humiliation, and disgrace of our holy places that America and the West perpetrates."
Bahrain/Saudi Arabia – Bahrain police said on the 18 Jun 15 that they had seized explosives and bomb making materials planned for use in attacks in Bahrain and neighbouring Gulf Arab ally Saudi Arabia. In a statement, police chief Major-General Tariq al-Hasan said the techniques used in the manufacture of the explosives bore “clear similarities” to methods used by what it called proxy groups of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC). Bahrain often accuses Iran of seeking to subvert the Gulf Arab island monarchy. Iran denies interfering in Bahrain, although it acknowledges it does support opposition groups seeking greater political and economic rights for Bahrain’s Shi’ite Muslim community. Hasan said the seized items, including powerful explosive C4, commercial detonators, advanced circuitry, chemicals and mobile phones, “represent a significant escalation in attempts to smuggle explosives material into Bahrain”. The 6 Jun 15 seizure in the Dar Kulaib district was made possible by information arising from the capture in May of a vehicle containing similar explosives as it was being driven across the causeway that links Bahrain to Saudi Arabia, he said. Hasan added that the 6 Jun operation and previous such seizures “point to an emerging trend. The professionalism with which these seized materials are assembled and concealed is a clear indication of international support and sponsorship.” “Of greater concern, however, is the fact that these sophisticated bomb-making materials were destined for Saudi Arabia, a sign that extremists are increasingly using Bahrain’s borders as a launch pad for terrorists seeking to carry out attacks elsewhere in the region.” Bahrain has reported a growing number of attacks using home-made explosives, some of them deadly, in the past two years. 361 COMMENT: Although it is no secret that the Iranians are supporters of the Shia community in Bahrain there are two other points to consider here. The first is that the bombing maybe being planned because of the Saudi stance on Yemen. This will be an attempt to escalate terrorism in the country in order to place pressure on the Saudi government involved in the coalition fighting in Yemen. The second point of interest is the mention of chemicals. There is no elaboration on the type that was found. In all probability it was chlorine which has been used a number of times throughout the Middle East. If the terrorist weapon was to be an explosive device coupled with a chemical then this was going to be a significant device and aimed at a high value target to gain huge propaganda and place pressure on the government. Unfortunately we will not find out much more through open source material. COMMENT ENDS
Iran – Iran rejected on the 20 Jun 15 US claims that it was a sponsor of global terror attacks, saying instead it is a victim of terrorism. On the 19 Jun 15 the US State Department said the Islamic Republic "continued to sponsor global terror" attacks last year and supplied arms to the Syrian regime even though it was engaged in talks to rein in its nuclear programme. But Iranian foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said those accusations were "worthless." "For three decades, Iran has been the great victim of terrorism and considers international cooperation to combat terrorism a priority," she said, without elaborating. US counterterrorism envoy Tina Kaidanow, unveiling the 2014 Country Reports on Terrorism, said "Iran continued to sponsor terrorist groups around the world," adding that Washington remained very concerned by the activities of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard "and its proxies." And she stressed that "we have sanctions in place against Iran specifically related to the terrorism issue. That's not going to change."
Iraq – Diyala provincial officials have recently expressed concern about deteriorating security and fears of an ISIS re-emergence in the province. In Najaf, despite initial fears, a car that broke through security barriers at the Imam Ali Shrine was reported not to have been an SVBIED. However, the incident nonetheless highlights security deficiencies at a major Shi'a shrine and a principal ISIS target, a successful attack on which would likely cause a severe sectarian backlash. Reported on the 17 Jun 15.
Iraqi premier Haider al-Abadi has “retired” the army’s chief of staff, the most senior officer removed since jihadists overran large parts of the country last year, a government spokesman said on the 29 Jun 15. General Babaker Zebari “has been retired” on Abadi’s orders, Saad al-Hadithi said without providing further details. Abadi has sacked dozens of army and police officers in an effort to restructure and improve security forces that performed disastrously when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadist group launched an offensive in Jun 14, overrunning major areas north and west of Baghdad. But it is unclear if Zebari was removed as part of that effort, or for other reasons. The Iraqi military suffers from both poor training -- which the U.S. military says it largely abandoned after the 2011 withdrawal of American forces -- and lacking leadership. Zebari repeatedly said before the withdrawal that it would be better if American forces stayed, as it would take years for the Iraqi army to be fully ready. “If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the U.S. army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020,” Zebari said in 2010.
Israel/Syria – Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, has issued a veiled threat to intervene directly in Syria's civil war for the first time, after Syrian rebels surrounded a village occupied by the Druze minority close to the border it was reported on the 18 Jun 15. Monitors from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the village of Khadr was now surrounded by rebels, who had taken a hilltop immediately to the north. Druze leaders in Israel and the Golan Heights warned that they might storm the frontier to save their relatives, fearing a sectarian massacre. Mr Netanyahu said he had given "instructions to do what is necessary" to help Syria's Druze. Jerusalem also warned Syrian rebel groups operating in southern Syria not to attack and to stay away from Khadr. Local media reports said the government was considering establishing a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border for refugees - a move that would be an unprecedented step given decades in which the frontier has been a "frozen zone". The crisis over the Druze intensified on night of the 16 Jun 15, as fighting between Jabhat al-Nusra - al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate - Syrian rebels and the Syrian army intensified in southern Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra have insisted they are not intent on killing Druze, a sect that hard-line jihadists consider to be heretical or apostate from true Islam. They even apologised for killing 20 Druze in a village in northern Syria in a dispute over property. However, Druze in the occupied Golan, seized from Syria during the 1967 Six Days' War, have watched the collapse of authority over the border as the Syrian army has suffered a series of defeat with alarm. On the 16 Jun, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) temporarily declared an area in the northern Golan Heights a closed military zone. The move was done "in order to prevent gatherings near the border, which would interfere with IDF activities, and was not related to the fighting in Syria", an IDF spokesman said in a statement to the British newspaper The Telegraph. The closure, which lasted for several hours, came amid concerns that the Druze in Israel and the Golan Heights may congregate and even attempt to breach the border into Syria in order to save their brethren. There are also Druze in Israel itself. A Druze former MP, Salah Tarif, told Israel's Walla News website: "We are 'at the ready’, so that if there is something that will require our intervention, we will not hesitate to do it." Mr Tarif added that many Druze would cross the border into Syria “without hesitation”. Similar sentiments were heard in demonstrations taking place in the northern town of Majdal Shams earlier - the closest Israeli-controlled town to Khadr. “With our blood, with our soul, we will defend Suwayda, our Syria”, crowds of Druze chanted. Hassan Safadi, a vet based in Majdal Shams, told The Telegraph that a major battle between the residents of Khadr and Jabhat al-Nusra forces took place the previous evening, but that the Druze had succeeded in defending themselves on Tuesday evening, suffering only one casualty. 361 COMMENT: If Israel attacks the group that is attacking the Druze then this will be a game changer. Many of the Syrian rebels will be killed and the groups will see this as an all-out declaration against them. In all probability the rebel groups will shift focus onto Israel where many terrorist or rebels will want to go and fight. Israel will defend itself, no question, but the big question is what would the American government do in order to assist its allies? And what the other Arab nations would do to assist. COMMENT ENDS.
Kurdistan/Iraq – Turkey has warned the United States and Western powers of red lines when it comes to the Kurds and their military advances against Islamic extremists in northern Syria, including a firm position the Kurds must not threaten the territorial integrity of Syria by seeking their own autonomous Kurdish State it was reported on the 22 Jun 15. There should also be no demographic changes or population shifts on the Syrian side of the border as a result of Kurdish military offensives against Islamic State (IS) militants, also known as ISIL, according to a policy document reportedly approved by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The document was drafted during two high-level security meetings at Turkey's foreign ministry, after Kurdish fighters captured the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad from the Islamic State last week. "No one can act in their own interest just because they are fighting ISIL.... The demographic structure of the region cannot be changed through a fait accompli," states one section of the document leaked to Turkey's Hurriyet newspaper. The military gains by fighters from the Kurdish YPG, or People's Protection Units, which are dominated by Syria's Democratic Union Party (PYD), are increasingly alarming President Erdogan. The PYD is an offshoot of Turkey's own outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has pursued a campaign for Kurdish self-rule since 1984. Peace talks between Ankara and the PKK have stalled. Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against the IS, the Kurds have united two cantons along the border, establishing a contiguous Kurdish region stretching from Kobani in the west to Hasakah province in the east. The Turks fear the United States is giving a green light to the Kurds' post-civil war ambitions. And some analysts agree. The backing of Kurdish advances with airstrikes "signaled U.S. support for some form of contiguous Kurdish autonomous region in northern Syria, despite continuing Turkish reservations regarding the expansion of YPG's influence on its southern border," argue Christopher Kozak and Genevieve Casagrande, analysts with the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-backed think tank. According to the Turkish policy document, Ankara's alarm has been communicated to Washington, NATO and the U.N. Security Council. "The United States has recognized Turkey's claim and conveyed it to the PYD administration at the highest level," the document notes. But it remains unclear whether the Obama administration at a later stage will support Syrian Kurdish calls for a separate autonomous state or whether it is focused only on the fight against IS. Last year, when the United States dropped supplies to Kurdish fighters battling to defend the border town of Kobani, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he understood Ankara's concerns about the PYD's ties to the PKK. He appeared to indicate U.S. support for the Syrian Kurds was temporary in nature. "It would be irresponsible of us, as well morally very difficult, to turn your back on a community fighting ISIL, as hard as it is," he said. 361 COMMENT: Kurdistan originally was in a large portion of South-East Turkey, North- East Syria and North-East Iraq including Mosul, Irbil, Sulaymaniyah and Kirkuk to just north of Baghdad. Most of the Western edge of the border with Iran and Iraq including the Iranian cities of Mababad and Bakhtaran. In the 16th centaury, Kurdistan was split between Safavid and the Ottoman empires but most stayed within the Ottoman sphere of influence until after World War One when most of the Middle East was carved up in the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Prior to that Turkey subsumed Kurdistan into its empire until the region failed to exist with Kirkuk and Mosul being the last cities to lose its identity. After the 2003 Iraq war and the first free Iraqi elections the Kurds gave their support but only if they were allowed an autonomous region, which they achieved during the January 2005 Iraqi free elections. Since the recent Syrian civil war the Kurds have fought well to keep the Islamic State (IS) out of its region and to some extent push the terrorist group back. Ideas of becoming an independent country have been floated for some months in 2014 and 2015. Turkey is afraid of allowing the Kurds to retrieve any or part of its original homeland as it would or could stand a possibility of losing up to a third of its land surface. Along with the passive goals of the Kurdish government the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) terrorist group has waged a terrorist campaign until the capture of Abdullah Ocalan its leader in 1999 when he managed to calm both sides. Tensions between the two sides have risen for some time since with the threat of the PKK returning to terrorism. Kurdistan is a rich region with its own oil supplies something any of the four countries can ill afford to lose. COMMENT ENDS
Kuwait – The death toll from a suicide attack on a Shia Mosque during Friday prayers in the Kuwaiti capital has risen to at least 27 with 227 people injured, the interior ministry said on the 26 Jun 15. The blast hit the Imam Sadiq Mosque in a busy area to the east of Kuwait City. An Islamic State- (IS) affiliated group said it was behind the attack. This is the first attack on a Shia mosque to take place in the small Gulf state. A Kuwaiti MP said the mosque was packed with some 2,000 people when there was a loud explosion. "It was obvious from the suicide bomber's body that he was young. He walked into the prayer hall during sujood [kneeling in prayer], he looked... in his 20s. Most of the victim’s were men and boys attending Friday prayers. An IS affiliate calling itself the Najd Province - the same group that claimed a pair of bombing attacks on Shia mosques in Saudi Arabia in recent weeks - said it was behind the attack. A spokesman for Islamic State this week urged the militant group's followers to step up attacks during the Islamic month of Ramadan.
Saudi Arabia/Yemen – Saudi police reporting a sharp rise in arms seizures including explosives, especially along the Yemen border in far south. Also they have detected what they believe are AQAP terrorists journeying between Yemen and Iraq. They appear to stay in Iraq for six to eight months or more, then travel back to the Yemen, specifically to Hadramaunt. It appears to be a well-worn route, so measure are being put in place to stop it, hopefully detain a few. Some ex-Saudi police officers are particularly worried about a rumors currently circulating, on AQAP planned attacks on ARAMCO oil infrastructure. Previous attacks on the refining operations were an abject failure. But rumors suggest that they have changed tactics, pipelines and pumping stations may be targeted. They think that AQAP definitely has something in the pipeline, but just how far their plans are advanced - is pure guess work. Evidence from Kenya police, they have killed a Yemeni Asif Qadari who they believe is an AQAP operative. He was killed fighting alongside al Shabaab in NE Kenya. It is further proof that the Yemeni diaspora in East Africa is involved to a degree with AQAP and al Shabaab. Al Shabaab is continuing to target Christian pastoral tribesmen in an effort to get a Christian/Muslim war going. Yemen - rumours of ground to air missiles are for sale in Sanaa, continue to circulate. Difficult to know if true, before the Houthi seizure of Sanaa - ground to ground missiles were openly for sale in the arms souk. It is very probable some General has sold them to the souk arms dealers, they would sell their mothers given a chance.
Syria – On the 17 Jun 15 it was reported that in the last few weeks, Syrian military units have begun to build what military analysts describe as “Maginot Line” east of Damascus in a last-ditch effort to defend the capital from the forces of the Southern Front, which threaten the capital from the south, and from Islamic State, which threatens the city from the east. The Southern Front is a coalition of several rebel groups which includes U.S.-vetted moderate rebels who receive U.S. training (in bases in Jordan) and military gear, but also the Islamist Nusra Front, which is affiliated with al-Qaeda. The line consists of small military outposts, earthen berms, and approach roads. It is being built about fifty miles east of the Damascus International Airport, located east of the capital. Military analysts say there are two reasons for the regime’s new strategy. First, the Syrian military is in advanced stages of disintegration (two weeks ago, General Yair Golan, Israel’s deputy chief of staff, said that the Syrian army, “for all practical purposes, has ceased to exist”). Since the beginning of the year, better-coordinated and better-equipped moderate Syrian rebels in the south and north — and the militants of Islamic State in the east — have inflicted heavy losses on the Syrian military and its Hezbollah supporters, capturing large military bases, airfields, and strategic roads. ISIS controls about 50 percent of the territory of Syria (but only about 20 percent of the population, since the ISIS-controlled area is largely an empty desert in east Syria). More immediately threatening for Assad are developments in the north, which threaten the Alawites, and in the south — which threaten the Druze and Damascus. In the north, moderate rebel coalition, called Jish al-Fatah, which includes eight moderate rebel forces, now controls Idlib Province on the edge of the Alawite region in north-west Syria. The suburbs of Latakia, one of the two large cities in the Alawite region (the other is Tartus) are now within the rebels’ artillery range.
Syria/Turkey – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group has killed more than 100 civilians in a 24-hour rampage through the Kurdish town of Kobane in what a monitor group described as one of the group's "worst massacres" in Syria on the 26 Jun 15. Women and children were among the slain civilians whose bodies were found in their homes and in the streets. According to medical sources and Kobane residents, 120 civilians were executed by ISIL in their homes or killed by the group's rockets or snipers. When they entered the town, the jihadists took up positions in buildings at the southeast and southwest entrances, firing at everything that moved. Turkish officials said more than 150 people were being treated in hospitals after crossing the border. An explosion occurred in Kobane on the 27 Jun 15. The cause of the explosion at the time was not immediately clear. An unknown number of ISIL fighters were said to be holed up in at least four positions in Kobane - Mishta Nur hospital, a secondary school and two buildings near Rashad mosque - on the 26 Jun 15. Kurdish officials said they were also holding at least 50 civilian hostages, using them as human shields. The attack started in the town, known as Ayn al-Arab on the 25 Jun 15 and was widely seen as vengeance for a series of defeats inflicted on ISIL by Kurdish militia in recent weeks. Early on the 25 Jun 15 at approximately 0500 hrs numerous ISIL fighters wearing uniforms of the YPG and the Syrian Free Army managed to enter the town. They used suicide car bombers before fighters began randomly shooting at people. "ISIL's intention may not be to capture Kobane but to send a message that it can't be defeated." In an audio recording a few days ago, ISIL's spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani said: "We may lose some battles but we won't be defeated." The group has suffered a string of defeats at the hands of the Kurds in north-eastern Syria - the most recent was in Tal Abyad, a strategic border town that ISIL used as a trade and smuggling route for foreign fighters and supplies
Yemen – A Yemeni armed group linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks targeting mosques and the headquarters of the country's dominant Houthi group in Sanaa it was reported on the 18 Jun 15. Dozens of people were reportedly dead and injured inthe coordinated attacks on at least three mosques and the political bureau of the Ansarullah movement of the Houthis in the Yemeni capital. The group said the attacks were in "revenge" against Shia Houthis who have overrun Sanaa, and much of the Sunni majority country in the past one year. A security official stated that mosques belonging to the members of Zaidi sect of Shia Islam were the target. The attacks have occurred as Muslims around the world prepared for the start of the holy month of Ramadan. The bombings took place as peace talks in Geneva aimed at halting the fighting in Yemen, were extended until at least the 19 Jun 15. UN special envoy for Yemen, Mauritanian diplomat Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, met the rebel delegation in a Geneva hotel after talks early in the day with the exiled government delegation. There are claims that both delegations are unhappy with the lack of progress during the talks. The Houthis are waiting for an answer from the UN envoy, about the make up of their delegation to be able to start the talks. Houthi rebels and their allies, troops faithful to ousted President Ali Abdallah Saleh, favour a truce but are refusing to withdraw as demanded by the government-in-exile headed by Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is backed by Saudi Arabia. The Houthis say they cannot leave areas they have captured because they think al-Qaeda will take them. The group demanded some guarantees - not by international monitors but by the Yemeni military. Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassin repeated the exiled government's stand that a rebel pullout was non-negotiable. "We are demanding their retreat from all the provinces to conclude a ceasefire or truce in keeping with Resolution 226 of the Security Council," he said.
A coalition led by Saudi Arabia has been carrying out air strikes in the impoverished country since March 26, after the Houthis took over the government forcing President Hadi to flee the country.