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John Cantlie Gets a Day Pass From ISIS Jail

ISIS hostage John Cantlie was let of out of ISIS jail to take a road trip to Kobane to make a new video. He also got to shed his orange jumpsuit and wear a nice black shirt.

You can view the video at Daily Motion here. Cantlie is quite animated as he shows off Kobane in the background and explains why the U.S. and its coalition won't succeed in controlling Kobane.

His hair is longer, and while his face appears haggard, his mood is quite upbeat and his delivery is very enthusiastic. He's either gotten quite adept at using a teleprompter, or he's a naturally gifted speaker who doesn't need one. If we didn't know he was a hostage, he could easily be taken for a network news reporter.

What would account for his enthusiasm? Perhaps ISIS rewarded him for his video work with a get out jail free card, rather than just a day pass. I hope so.

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ISIS: The Torture Before the Beheadings

The New York Times has a new article on the torture that preceded the beheadings of the journalists ISIS held captive. I'm going to read it as soon as Homeland is over. Here's a place to discuss it and all ISIS related news.

Update: There is also a new episode of hostage John Cantlie's video series, Lend Me Your Ears. You can watch it here.

“Some of us who tried to escape were waterboarded by our captors, as Muslim prisoners are waterboarded by their American captors.”

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Saddam's Pilots Teach ISIS to Fly

Former pilots for Saddam's air force are reportedly teaching ISIS to fly. Among the aircraft: MI-G fighter planes they got from Syria in battle. The fighter jets have been spotted over Aleppo in Syria.

Islamic State (Isis) is takings its first steps towards building an air force by training pilots to fly captured fighter planes, according to a group monitoring the conflict in Syria.

Isis is using lots of tanks, armoured personnel carriers, artillery and Jeeps taken from the Syrian and Iraqi armies but this is the first report that it has planes in the air.

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U.S. Gives Name to War Against ISIS, ISIS Baits U.S. in Video

The U.S. today announced the name for the war against ISIS. It's called "Operation Resolve."

The operation name applies retroactively to all U.S. military actions conducted against ISIL in Iraq and Syria since airstrikes against ISIL began Aug. 8 in Iraq, officials said.

The name Inherent Resolve is intended to reflect the unwavering resolve and deep commitment of the U.S. and partner nations in the region and around the globe to eliminate the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to Iraq, the region and the wider international community, Centcom officials explained.

100 U.S. military advisors arrived in Anbar today to train Iraqi forces and tribe members.

ISIS has released a new video of three foreign fighters challenging the U.S. to send ground troops, titled "Wait, We Also Are Waiting." SITE has the transcript and a description. Or, you can watch it here.

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Two New Messages From ISIS Hostage John Cantlie

ISIS hostage John Cantlie has a new video message (Episode 3 of "Lend Me Your Ears") available on You Tube here. It's much the same message as prior videos. More interesting is a new written statement by Cantlie addressing media claims that his video messages are scripted or written by ISIS.

Cantlie's new written statement is contained in the final pages of the just released Issue 4 of ISIS's Dabiq Magazine, available here in English. [More...]

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As Kobane Falls to ISIS, No Ground Troops From Turkey

Turkey has the second biggest army in Nato. If it wanted to take out ISIS, it could, without any help from anyone else.

Turkey has not sent ground troops to Syria to fight ISIS, and probably won't enter Syria, unless ISIS attacks its special monument.

The U.S. (hopefully) will continue to reject the the use of ground force against ISIS in Syria.

The end result, according to news headlines, is that it would be a travesty if Kobane falls to ISIS. Perhaps to Turkey, where the Kurds and Turks might return to fighting each other. But not to us. And if it would be a travesty for Turkey and the Kurds, why aren't Turkey and other countries in the region offering ground troops to prevent it?

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Abu Wahib: Dead or Alive?

Abu Wahib, as I've written before, is the most recognizable, telegenic and frightening looking ISIS fighter. He is the military commander for the Anbar province in Iraq. He has falsely been declared dead several times, including within the past year.

Yesterday, there were reports by pro-Kurdish tweeters saying he had been killed in Kobane. Others said he was killed in Ramadi.

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Joe Biden and his Apology to Turkey

Thanksgiving comes early for perennial gaffer Joe Biden. He has now apologized to the President of Turkey for his recent remarks that Turkey facilitated the growth of ISIS. Biden, speaking at an event, said:

"President Erdogan told me, he's an old friend, said, 'You were right. We let too many people through.' Now they are trying to seal their border,"

Turkish President Erdogan said Biden misquoted him and demanded an apology. Biden dutifully coughed one up. [More...]

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The Kurdish Base Guards in Kobane: Were They Drunk?

On October 1 and 2, 2014, ISIS attacked the Kurds at the south border entrance to Kobane, also called Ain al Arab. There are several buildings manned by Kurdish guards who fled. The empty station is littered with liquor bottles. (None of the following videos contain graphic images or dead bodies.)

The attack by ISIS is in this video. The fighters appear to be Chechen, and for a few seconds, starting at 1 min 04 sec in, I think you can see ISIS military commander Omar al Shishani, as he talks into a radio and barks commands, which the others then repeat and relay to the other fighters.[More...]

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New Khorasan "Wolf Unit" Details Emerge

Jean Moussa, a reporter with Arabic Al Aan TV, got a crew inside the the bombed out buildings at Al Reef Muhandeseen Aleppo, which the U.S. says were the headquarters for the Khorasan Group. Killed in the blasts were 50 Jabhat al Nusrah fighters, including Jabhat al Nusra's chief sniper, trainer and al Qaida veteran, Abu Yousuf al Turki, who the U.S. says was a leader of the Khorasan Group.

Moussa's crew found a document in the rubble with the names of 14 fighters, 13 of whom were with the "Wolf Unit" of Jabhat al Nusra. [More...]

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Views on ISIS From the Middle East

I'm always interested in how countries halfway around the world say they would address a problem here. I'm not talking about legal problems since laws in other countries vary too much, but in hands-on tackling of a problem that affects society. Like ISIS.

Here's three articles I recommend, all from the same paper in the Middle East. Two are op-ed's and one is an editorial.

The bottom line for all three is that military force cannot solve the problem of ISIS. They come up with other suggestions, which read like something I might have written. If the answer is so obvious to them (and me), why is our Government so obtuse? War is usually never the answer. Links to the articles belos: [More...]

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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...]

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New Additions to the Designated Terror List

Yesterday, the U.S. added additional suspected terrorists and groups on its designated terror list. More than one are connected to kidnappings and beheadings.

Among the new names I recognize: Amru al-Absi

As of mid-July 2014, Amru al-Absi was selected as ISIL’s provincial leader for Homs, Syria, in the Aleppo region. As a principal leader of ISIL in Syria, he has been in charge of kidnappings.

I wrote about him here, but check the source articles I relied on, here and here. [More...]

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New Video Message From Hostage John Cantlie

Here's the latest video message from ISIS hostage John Cantlie. Watch now, because You Tube keeps taking it down. He quotes a lot of U.S. officials and argues Obama was caught off guard and the air strikes won't succeed.

He says Iran is running Iraq, and the appointment of "a new puppet" in Iraq is an important piece of the puzzle of America's Gulf War III.

He points out the pre-911 Afghans are already back in control of large parts of Afhanistan. He says not since Vietnam, have we witnessed such a potential mess in the making. [More...]

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US Airstrikes on ISIS in Raqqa

Update: Here's a You Tube video of civilians being pulled out of the rubble (you can't see faces.) Multiple reports on Twitter say ISIS was not around, the strikes hit a Jabhat al Nusra headquarters in Kafrdiyan, and a munitions factory near near Sarmada. There are also reports of dead JaN militants in Aleppo. The communications tower was hit so there aren't any tweets coming from official ISIS sources yet. ISIS has been anticipating the strikes in Raqqa for days and moving their heavy equipment elsewhere. A lot of fighters also went to fight the Kurds in Kobane. They aren't stupid, so I'm taking the news reports of massive ISIS casualties with more than a grain of salt. There are also reports and a photo of a plane being shot down, but it does not seem not to be a U.S. plane. No confirmation yet.

Original Post

The U.S. and partners launched airstrikes in Raqqa, Syria tonight, where ISIS has its headquarters. The photo above is a shot from them. There are reports civilians were killed. Power just came back on after a 2 hour outage. [More...]

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