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Obama's Latest War Authorization Letter and ISIS Update

President Obama has written Congress explaining his decision to conduct airstrikes on Amerli:

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

As I reported on August 8 and 17, 2014, U.S. Armed Forces have conducted targeted airstrikes in Iraq for the limited purposes of stopping the advance on Erbil by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), supporting civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar, and supporting operations by Iraqi forces to recapture the Mosul Dam. U.S. Armed Forces have also provided humanitarian assistance to the civilians trapped on Mount Sinjar.

On August 28, 2014, I further authorized U.S. Armed Forces to conduct targeted airstrikes in support of an operation to deliver humanitarian assistance to civilians in the town of Amirli, Iraq, which is surrounded and besieged by ISIL. Pursuant to this authorization, on August 30, 2014, U.S. military forces commenced targeted airstrike operations in the vicinity of Amirli, Iraq. These additional operations will be limited in their scope and duration as necessary to address this emerging humanitarian crisis and protect the civilians trapped in Amirli.

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Pentagon Says Cost of Current Iraqi Operations is $7.5 Mil a Day

Via Reuters, we have been spending $7.5 million a day in Iraq since mid-June. That's a total to date of about $532 million.

U.S. military operations against Islamic State in Iraq have cost an average of $7.5 million per day since they began in mid-June, the Pentagon said on Friday, a figure that means the department has spent more than $500 million on the conflict.

Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, told a briefing the expense of U.S. operations against Islamic State in Iraq had varied since U.S. forces became involved on June 16 but on average "it's costing us about $7.5 million per day."

Reuters says according to analysts, the U.S. has been spending $1.3 billion per week on Afghanistan.

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ISIS Explains Killing of Foley and al-Sheitaat Tribe Members

ISIS has released the third edition of its Dabiq Magazine. This issue addresses the killing of journalist James Foley and the al-Sheitaat tribe members. You can read it here.

On the tribe members:

These clans were left armed after they agreed to submit to the rule of the Sharī’ah with the condition they hand over all heavy weaponry. They then betrayed their covenant by rebelling against the Islamic State. They ambushed Islamic State soldiers, and then tortured, amputated, and executed prisoners taken from the ambushes. All these crimes were carried out in opposition to the enforcement of the Sharī’ah.

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ISIS: Frogmarch, Killings and Beheadings of Soldiers

Yesterday, ISIS posted photos of captured Syrian soldiers being forced to march across the desert in their underwear, presumably to their deaths. A video (non-violent) is here. Today Reuters reports ISIS released another video showing they were all killed.

Also today, ISIS issued another "blood message" to the U.S. warning it about helping the Kurds. In the video, now gone from You Tube but available elswhere (no links please) it shows a bunch of captured Kurdish soldiers in orange jumpsuits (likely to mimic Guantanamo.) One soldier is then beheaded on camera, while a warning to the U.S. is made about helping the Kurds. This took place in Mosul, in front of the Rahman Mosque.

ISIS also posted a video of it beheading a Lebanese soldier.

CENTCOM announces today it has struck a tank, a humvee, 4 armed vehicles, a construction vehicle and damaged a checkpoint.

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Identifying James Foley's Executioners


(Random photo of unnamed fighter from Tumbler page of Dutch fighter ChechClear.)

British authorities have not named the person standing beside James Foley in the ISIS execution video. They have said they are close to identifying him and refused to give names. On Meet the Press yesterday:

I think we are close. I've been in touch, obviously, in the last day or two with my colleagues at home. We're not yet in a position to say exactly who this is, but there is some very sophisticated voice identification technology and other measures that we have got which should allow us to be very clear about who this person is before very long.

The Sunday Times (UK) reported government officials have told them that security forces say a major suspect is former British rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary. Fox news says an unnamed "western intelligence source" has confirmed Bary is the primary suspect. All other media reports seem to be quoting the Sunday Times.

Some news reports say Bary's voice matches up with that of the killer in the video. Other news sources quote different experts who say the voices don't match. [More....]

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James Foley Killing: Knife Switch?

On James Foley, I think it's odd that the knife in the ISIS guy's hands in the execution video doesn't match the one on the ground next to Foley's body after he is killed. And we don't see the ISIS guy actually cutting Foley. Also, Foley doesn't flinch when he puts the knife up to his neck. Could the ISIS guy speaking in the video not be the actual killer, just playing the part for the cameras? They could easily have stopped the tape, and had the real ISIS executioner step in and do the killing. Are authorities searching for one person when they should be looking for two people?

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ISIS' Final Email to James Foley Family: Filled With Threats to America

Here is the final email ISIS sent to the family of journalist James Wright Foley, who was executed this week. As for the reasons for disclosing it:

The Foley family has agreed to release the email from Foley’s captors. GlobalPost has chosen to publish it in full in the interest of transparency and to fully tell Jim's story. We believe the text offers insight into the motivations and tactics of the Islamic State.

The full text of the email is below: [More...]

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U.S. Failed ISIS Raid Took Place in Ukayrishah, Raqqa

The U.S failed attack on July 4 took place at Uribase near Raqqa, at a training facility named the Usama bin Laden camp. ISIS supporters and reporters tweeted it at the time, and a few articles were written about it.

Paradoxy13 :

According to al-Quds soldiers with US & Jordanian insignia dropped from a stealth helo stormed an ISIS training camp in Ukayrishah, #Raqqa

Kjetil Stormark:

BREAKING: Military raid against ISIL camp outside Raqqa in Syria early Friday morning. ISIL claims US involvement.

Cedric LaBrousse

@Paradoxy13 @AuraSalix This is prison where most important prisoners are said to be as Father Paolo and former Raqqa Revol' Council head.

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U.S. Made Rescue Attempt of ISIS Prisoners in Syria

The Defense Department today announced it made a rescue attempt of Americans held by Syria. It was unsuccessful because there were no hostages at the location. Ground "components" were used. Apparently the attempt was made earlier this summer, not today, and commando forces were used. From the press release:

Statement from Pentagon Press Secretary RADM John Kirby on Attempted Rescue Operation

The United States attempted a rescue operation recently to free a number of American hostages held in Syria by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). This operation involved air and ground components and was focused on a particular captor network within ISIL. Unfortunately, the mission was not successful because the hostages were not present at the targeted location.

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Obama and Kerry Address Beheading of James Foley

President Obama today addressed the beheading of reporter James Wright Foley.

“The United States of America will continue to do what we must do to protect our people. “We will be vigilant and we will be relentless. When people harm Americans, anywhere, we do what’s necessary to see that justice is done.”

Here is John Kerry's statement.

And make no mistake: we will continue to confront ISIL wherever it tries to spread its despicable hatred. The world must know that the United States of America will never back down in the face of such evil. ISIL and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed, and those responsible for this heinous, vicious atrocity will be held accountable.

The Defense Department says it conducted 14 strikes today.

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Pentagon Insists Mosul Dam Strikes Aren't Mission Creep

Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby insists the airstrikes on Mosul Dam were not "mission creep."

“Mission creep refers to the growth or expansion of the goals and objectives of a military operation -- that the goals and objectives change, morph into something bigger than they were at the outset,” he explained.

“... Nothing has changed about the missions that we're conducting inside Iraq. ... Airstrikes are authorized under two mission areas -- humanitarian assistance and the protection of U.S. personnel and facilities,” the admiral said.
The airstrikes in and around Mosul Dam fit into both of those categories, he said.

How do the strikes fit into those categories? He acknowledges ISIS' intent "was not clear" and then says:

If that dam was to blow or they were to open and flood the gates, that it could have an effect as far south as Baghdad.”

My posts to the contrary are here and here.

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ISIS Response to U.S. Aiding Kurds at Mosul Dam

Last night, ISIS posted a response to the U.S. airstrikes that helped the Kurds re-establish control over the Mosul dam. You can read the English translation here.

First, ISIS recounts its recent successes. Then, it says, as a result of their successes, the Kurds appealed to "the Black of Washington" to save them from the imminent loss of their capital, Irbil.

So the dog of the Romans thrusted his air force into a new dilemma; and entered into a military pact with the agents of yesterday, the Kurds, to commit the same stupidity that he has not awakened to, even until now!

And it seems that this submissive fool forgot or pretended to forget the quagmire of Iraq years ago, in which tens of thousands of crusaders were annihilated and tens of thousands of them were injured with permanent disabilities, not to mention the material losses and financial crises that nearly wiped the United States off the map; and it will disappear by the Permission of the One, the Only, soon at the hands of the Knights of the Khilafah.

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Iraq Issues Statement Objecting to U.S. Airstrikes and Arming Kurds

Apparently, not all is copacetic between the Iraqi Armed Forces and the United States. In President Obama's August 8 letter to Congress advising he had authorized air strikes in Iraq, he wrote:

These actions are being undertaken in coordination with the Iraqi government.

Iraqi news reports that on Sunday, the Office of the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces in Iraq issued a statement of protest, both as to the air strikes and supplying military equipment to the Kurds.

Baghdad (AIN) –The office of the Commanding General of the Iraqi Armed Forces announced that "The Iraqi Government did not give permission for any military plane to violate the Iraqi space," in a sign to the US airstrikes targeting the shelters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant near Erbil and Mosul.

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Mission Creep to Mission Leap

The U.S. continued air strikes against ISIS today in its effort to help the Kurds retake the Mosul Dam. According to CENTCOM, on August 15th the U.S. was just using "remotely piloted aircraft." Yesterday, when the strikes began near Irbil and the Mosul dam, CENTCOM said the strikes consisted of "a mix of fighter and remotely piloted aircraft."

Today, according to CENTCOM, the U.S. has now added bombers and attack aircraft:

U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq Sunday, using a mix of fighter, bomber, attack and remotely piloted aircraft to successfully conduct airstrikes near the Mosul Dam.

Obama today sent a new letter to Congress authorizing the enhanced attacks. [More...]

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Mission Creep in Iraq? U.S. Air Strikes Against ISIS at Mosul Dam

CENTCOM confirms 9 strikes against ISIS near the Mosul Dam. This is far beyond the limits Obama set. There are no U.S. personnel or interests in needing protection in Mosul or Erbil. ISIS hasn't threatened U.S. interests. Baghdad, where the Embassy has ,personnel is and our interests lie, is 100 miles away. This is a bait and switch, as we all suspected it would be.

Obama authorized air strikes to save the Yazidis. He said further strikes would be allowed to protect American interests and personnel.

Beginning last night at 6 pm, U.S. warplanes struck ISIS in Mosul, in an effort to help the Kurds retake the Mosul Dam. The Kurds have reportedly retaken the East side of the dam.

"Kurdish peshmerga, with US air support, have seized control of the eastern side of the dam" complex, Major General Abdelrahman Korini told AFP, saying several jihadists had been killed.

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