Al Nusra Threatens Retaliation for U.S. and Allies' Air Strikes

Well, that didn't take long. Jabhat al Nusra, al Qaida's branch in Syria, has been fighting with ISIS for months, refusing to pledge allegiance to the self-declared Caliphate State. But now that the U.S. has targeted it in air strikes, resulting in the loss of its headquarters, a leader or two and some civilians, the gap between the two groups is quickly closing. Nusra spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri published a video statement threatening retaliation against the U.S. and any allies involved in the bombing.

So far, ISIS is not weakened by the strikes. It is fighting hard in Kobane against the Syrian Kurds, who are still trying to flee to Turkey. Turkey's President is now saying Turkey might provide military support to the U.S. led coalition, but it doesn't seem to mean boots on the ground fighting ISIS. [More...]

Rather, it's contemplating sending Kurdish boots to the border where the refugees are crossing. The President said "military aid doesn't always mean bullets." And Turkey's foreign minister wasn't happy with John Kerry's criticism at the U.N. Kerry said Turkey had to do more. The minister said Kerry doesn't get to assign homework to Turkey.

Kerry, "We want to see Turkey in the forefront of the" words: So far Turkey is also a lot of things to be done, who did what? Does anyone put pressure on them? I give homework to Turkey, such an authority there? Syria 'We have repeatedly warned,' This business is getting worse. ' What did you do? If Turkey's own interests require what determines the roadmap. Turkey is not obliged to prove anything.

The airstrikes seem heavily geared towards ISIS, rather than the group the U.S. calls Khorasan (which as every media outlet has now reported, is not a group, but a region, and the fighters from the Khorasan region, which include Afghan Taliban, Pakistani Taliban and Chechens are hard core al Qaida who, once reaching Syria in the spring of 2013, teamed up with AQI/al Nusra. So far, the strikes have killed one leader of the al Qaida group being called Khorasan (anothers death is unconfirmed but seems likely.)

The SITE Intelligence Group reported that an "al Qaeda member who trained under Abu Khalid al Suri and fought in Khorasan (Afghanistan-Pakistan region) before traveling to Syria, confirmed the deaths of senior officials Muhsin al Fadhli (AKA Abu Asma'a al-Kuwaiti) and Abu Yusuf al Turki." Al Qaeda and the Al Nusrah Front have not issued a formal statement announcing al Fadhli's death.

Months ago, Nusra was in a bad spot, low on machinery and other war toys. In 2013, it and ISIS had become enemies. Now the air strikes have given them a common enemy: The U.S. and its allies.

Al Qaida Central and its leader Zawahiri don't seem to be warming to ISIS, so it's not clear that al Nusra and ISIS will kiss and make up, despite predictions by many a rejoinder is on the horizon. But both are now openly threatening the west.

Here's a short video showing a civilian casualty of the airstrikes in Raqqa.

Bottom line: Yesterday we had one enemy that said it would ask people already in the allied countries to go after civilians here. Now there are two groups. While ISIS is stronger, it's hard to see Nusra doing anything except either patching up its differences with ISIS or striking out on its own, with added assistance from al Qaida.

I haven't even gotten to the jailers holding the hostages yet. That will be my next post tomorrow.

Here's a training video with Abu Waheeb (Wahib) in which he does somersaults while holding his large rifle and then gets up perfectly, ready to fire. He does it starting at the four minute mark, for over a minute. He is the number one photogenic guy in ISIS -- and pretty scary looking. He looks like he's in his 40's but he's in his late 20's. He is ISIS' military commander in the Anbar province. He's as contradictory as the rest of ISIS. He doesn't cover his face, even when killing. And there are as many photos of him smiling, talking to a child or holding a bird as there are of him beheading people by the roadside or fighting.

I think the keys to the jail/hostage story will be the head jailer in Aleppo/Dana, Abu Obeida Al Maghribi, a Dutchman (who was from North Africa). More on that here. The hostages guarded by the Belgian jailers have said they worked for him. ISIS reportedly killed him the day after the James Foley video surfaced, because there were rumors he had given information to MI5.

The other person in charge of prisons was ISIS commander, Amru al-Absi (aka al-Athir al-Shami). He supposedly was in charge of kidnappings and security at the jail near Raqqa and the Turkey border crossing. His story (and that of his murdered brother, Faras al Ibsi) is here and here. Since we are still bombing in those areas, I sure hope the U.S. doesn't hit the hostages.

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    Ooof. (none / 0) (#1)
    by lentinel on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 08:11:31 AM EST
    Bottom line: Yesterday we had one enemy that said it would ask people already in the allied countries to go after civilians here. Now there are two groups.

    Another triumph of our hysterical and unimaginative foreign policy.
    Bringing enemies together in a common cause: to make life miserable for us.

    We learned absolutely nothing from 9/11 - or from the bombing in Boston. Our vast military might, our nuclear arsenal - all useless against some driven fanatics with a knife or a pressure cooker.

    You are correct (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 08:17:40 AM EST
    in your own mind... and in the mind of the government.

    The rest of us knew and haven't forgotten that we have the weapons and forces to shut this down IF we use them.


    Bomb bomb bomb (none / 0) (#5)
    by Mordiggian 88 on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 09:15:58 AM EST
    As McCain recommended for Iran?

    What could possibly go wrong?


    Sometimes the critics here (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 11:34:53 AM EST
    remind me of a man who, through no fault of his own, is on a boat that is sinking.

    Rather than manning the pumps they want to stand beside the rail and snark.

    Plainer. It matters not how we got here.

    We are here.

    We are at war with radical muslims whether we want to be or not.

    Our options are these:

    1. Fight, using all our resources, and win.

    2. Fight, using part of our resources, and lose.

    Your pick.

    It matters ENTIRELY ... (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Yman on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 11:59:02 AM EST
    ... "how we got here", particularly when some are advocating more of the same that created this mess - or worse, suggesting we engage in unrestricted warfare to include the killing of children and civilians because they are located near weapons.

    So to defeat the US (1.00 / 1) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 12:27:32 PM EST
    all they need to do is have women and children near their weapons?????

    Got news for you. The days of armies lining up 50 yards apart and shooting at each other is long gone.


    And, (none / 0) (#7)
    by lentinel on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 10:03:21 AM EST
    what weapons might they be?

    Are you serious?? (none / 0) (#11)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 11:29:40 AM EST
    Are you? (none / 0) (#26)
    by lentinel on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 04:48:25 PM EST
    You are telling me that you don't know (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 10:28:16 AM EST
    Fight, using all our resources, and win.



    I am (none / 0) (#33)
    by lentinel on Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 10:59:27 AM EST
    asking you to define what you mean by "all our resources".

    I would also ask you, since you phrased it that way, specifically what you mean by "win".


    So we're driving them together. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Mr Natural on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 11:02:57 AM EST
    Great news for Assad, I'm guessing he's our re-anointed beneficiary of the old standby, realpolitik.

    Interesting article regarding boots on the ground. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Green26 on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 12:41:09 PM EST
    Has some interesting pieces of information in it.

    Washington Post.

    Thank you for the link (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 01:38:28 PM EST
    The only thing I find differing in our lives is that when my husband went into Afghanistan, Obama used contractors to keep his BOG numbers down.  He fudged the books deliberately that time.

    My husband hated contractors, but Obama placed them all under the UCMJ and all in uniform too to clarify they were under full military authority. He was able to make some peace with the contractor reality when they all had to answer to the same authority.

    One of our friends flies Apache for the Iraq embassy though and he is a contractor not to fudge BOG numbers, but because it was the legal work around that the State Department came up with that allowed for them to have the military personnel for protection at the embassy that the embassy needed.

    He had to give up being active duty to do it, but he makes 2.5 times the salary of my spouse.  Not getting to work toward that full military retirement though, he had to give that up too.


    So this is one (none / 0) (#25)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 04:08:19 PM EST
    e.g. of how we support our military...by paying them 2.5 times less than we pay contractors....

    Leadership is actually admitting (none / 0) (#28)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Sep 28, 2014 at 06:13:29 PM EST
    To this new bean counter philosophy of why choose to use more contractors now outside of the legal constraints they help to meet in Iraq.

    Without the retirement incentive though, you have to pay people 2.5 times the salary to get them to risk their lives in the same fashion.  Those keeping the ledgers at the Pentagon say that the cost savings from not having to provide these contractors with the retirement benefits makes it cost effective and needed.  I will give them credit for that much honesty about what they are doing and why at this point.

    It only works on the Pentagon books though, because as these contractors age and have blown that wad of cash like most of them do they are just as likely to end up in the gutter as any other pensionless aging American.  Maybe more so if they have PTSD.

    So the Pentagon shuffled responsibility in old age off their books and have thrown it onto the backs of the American tax payer.  And the American taxpayer gets the double whammy, they must pay big big dollars upfront and dollars again on the backside.

    Contractors don't end up with the public deference either.  I guess the money upfront like that takes away the ability of them to ever be heroes or patriots in their job, the same job active duty is doing.  It's kind of freaky, the politics of perceptions.


    Appreciate all the info (none / 0) (#36)
    by BackFromOhio on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 10:56:18 AM EST
    But I think retirement benefits cost not enough to excuse paying contractors so much more than our soldiers. It irks me that our politicians claim to support the truth and castigate those whom they claim do not, but then pay them very little, deny meaningful benefits when they return -- or ask to return -- sick, especially with mental health issues, and do little to help them with employment when tours of duty are up.  
    Call me old-fashioned, but I still think we should have a draft, so there is a check on unnecessary wars and how we treat our military.  Equally important, I think we should go to war as a nation united or not go.... This does not in any way mean that I don't have the utmost respect for those who serve under our current system. To the contrary, I believe they deserve more support from this nation.

    I would (maybe, albeit very reluctantly) agree (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Zorba on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 03:15:23 PM EST
    with a draft if, and only if, the children of the wealthy and the powerful were not able to evade the draft, as too many of them were able to do during the Viet Nam war era.
    And even so, I would add a huge caveat.  Yes, we do need troops prepared for combat.  But so much of military operations (even combat) has become so complex, requiring so much specialized training, that I'm not sure that drafting people for two years would be enough time to give them the requisite training needed for the complexities of modern warfare.
    So, what are you going to do with all those draftees?  We just don't need the large numbers of 18-20 year olds that would wind up drafted.  
    But I definitely agree that we should pay our military better, and do our utmost to support them, treat them, educate them, help them with employment, etc, when they return.  It is one of our national shames that we do not do all we can for our veterans (or for our troops, for that matter).

    Thought-provoking comments (none / 0) (#39)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Oct 05, 2014 at 01:31:56 PM EST
    I agree with much of what you say and appreciate the issues you raise. Some of your comments assume that paid contractors have more training than our troops -- is this the case for sure?  It seems we have been asking our troops to engage in building support among citizens of the nations to which they are deployed, but they have neither been trained for same nor is this a traditional duty of military troops. I think we have been asking our troops to accomplish the impossible, with little training, back-up or reward, all the while in the context of a foreign policy that seems to have amorphous long-term goals.

    please keep this thread to ISIS (none / 0) (#30)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 03:02:29 AM EST
    and syria and Iraq

    How about the Shah of Iran? (none / 0) (#38)
    by fishcamp on Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 04:00:14 PM EST
    Oh never mind...I promised I wouldn't tell