UN Warns Yemen on Brink of Civil War

At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council Sunday, special envoy to YeYemen Jamal Benomar said that the country is approaching civil war (Al Arabiya). Mmembers of the UN Security Council pledged unanimous support to the legitimacy of embattled President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. Shia Houthis seized (Al Jazeera) control of the strategic southern city of Taiz Sunday, raising concerns that Aden, where Hadi has taken refuge, may come under attack. The United States evacuated (Reuters) its remaining personnel from Yemen over the weekend amid the deteriorating security situation. Separately, the self-declared Islamic State claimed responsibility (CNN) for the multiple suicide bombing attacks in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a on Friday that left at least 137 people dead and 357 wounded.


'The fear is that the Houthi advance will drive a fresh wave of militarisation and radicalisation in the Sunni-majority Yemeni heartland, acting as a recruiter for jihadis. Western intelligence already considers the local al-Qaida faction—al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (Aqap)—the world’s most potent franchise, a growing threat seeking to exploit regional turmoil to widen its scope,' writes Ghaith Abdul-Ahad in the Guardian.

'The situation is difficult for all Yemenis. Fighting over power has been dragging some parties against one another. However the majority must stand by political legitimacy as it means stability in a country where arms are being stacked up. It also means Arab and international support of development, as well as getting rid of Saleh's regime which the Yemenis revolted against four years ago,' writes Abdulrahman al-Rashed in Asharq al-Awsat.

'Individually, each of Yemen's two overlapping wars—sectarian and political—would be severe enough to cripple the country. Together they might just kill off any lingering hopes of unity,' warns Gregory D. Johnsen at BuzzFeed.

U.S. fears Islamic State is making serious inroads in Libya
| Reuters

Besides Libya,
“Islamic State has also endorsed, or received expressions of loyalty, from other militants around the region, including factions based in Nigeria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.”

U.S. analysts, however, forbidden as they are by Obama Administration policy to examine the beliefs, motives and goals of the jihadis, have no idea why the Islamic State inspires this kind of loyalty.

V.S. NAIPAUL says ISIS is now the Fourth Reich |
Daily Mail Online

A grotesque love of propaganda.
Unspeakable barbarity.
The loathing of Jews - and a hunger for world domination.
In this stunning intervention, literary colossus V.S. NAIPAUL says ISIS is now the Fourth Reich


Islamic State Retaliates in Ramadi

Self-declared Islamic State militants carried out coordinated attacks (Al Jazeera) on government-held areas in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, including seven simultaneous car bombs, that killed at least ten people and wounded thirty others. The attacks come after a week of heavy fighting in a battle for Tikrit between Islamic State militants and Iraqi military and Sunni and Shia militiamen. Anti–Islamic State forces have made advances (Al Arabiya) in Tikrit in recent days. Separately, the Islamic State released (AP) a new video that purports to show the killing of a young Palestinian man accused of spying for Israeli intelligence.


'If there are sectarian reprisals, it will bolster the ranks of ISIL, which has attempted to portray itself as a defender of Sunnis and a resistor of Shia aggression. Reprisals will also dissuade Sunni communities from turning on ISIL. They are already deeply suspicious of the Iraqi state due to unfulfilled promises of opportunity and integration following their uprising against al-Qaeda years earlier,' writes Sharif Nashashibi at Al Jazeera.

'Reports of rising tensions between foreign and local fighters, aggressive and increasingly unsuccessful attempts to recruit local citizens for the front lines, and a growing incidence of guerrilla attacks against Islamic State targets suggest the militants are struggling to sustain their carefully cultivated image as a fearsome fighting force drawing Muslims together under the umbrella of a utopian Islamic state,' writes Liz Sly for the Washington Post.

'Iraq’s ability to triumph over IS is not linked to gaining control of Tikrit, rather it lies in weakening the organization’s military options and neutralizing its ability to transport fighters and reinforcements across different fronts and cities. This requires that the leadership for the war be unified, have consistent goals, prepare strategic plans and take advantage of the available capabilities to defeat IS on more than one front,' writes Mushreq Abbas at Al-Monitor.


Chinese Official Says Xinjiang Residents Joined the Islamic State

A top Communist Party official from the northwestern region of Xinjiang called on regional delegates to join the fight (SCMP) against the self-declared Islamic State during a session of the National People's Congress. Officials from the autonomous region said that they arrested militants with ties to the group upon their return from the Middle East.

Murdered Charlie Hebdo Staff Named ‘International Islamophobe Of The Year’
- Breitbart

Charlie Hebdo has been named 2015 International Islamophobe of the year, despite many of its staff having been killed by Jihadists in January.

The annual ‘award’ was given by Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), a British group that claims to campaign against terrorism.


Best line of the year:
“Staff at Charlie Hebdo were unable to accept the award as many of them had been murdered for mocking Mohammed.”

FRENCH PM: '10,000 Europeans to wage jihad by year's end'
- The Local

As many as 10,000 Europeans could be waging jihad in Iraq and Syria by the end of this year, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls warned on Sunday, a three-fold increase on current numbers.

For some reason, the steady stream of articles assuring us that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, and the assurances to that effect from Western leaders, have had no effect on the Muslims from the West who are deciding to go fight for the Islamic State.

Now, why is that?

Could it be that the Islamic State is more Islamic than anyone wants to admit?

No — that would be “Islamophobic”.

Pakistani Cleric Laments That No Scholar Of Islam Is Rising To Confront ISIS

In a recent article, Pakistani Islamic scholar Maulana Zahidur Rashidi lamented that the Islamic world has failed to respond to the rise of jihadist groups such as the Islamic State (ISIS).

Without naming ISIS, Rashidi argued that ISIS-like Kharijites rose during the times of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the fourth caliph of Islam, whose caliphate was challenged by rivals, and used the theological principle of apostasy to declare Muslims infidels and kill them.

In the article titled 'No Imam Abu Hanifa is Rising', Maulana Rashidi argued that, much like ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, Kharijite commander Zahhak had called for the killing of all Muslims who had in his opinion become apostates (i.e. left Islam).
Rashidi says that the Islamic jurist of the time, Imam Abu Hanifa, rose to the occasion and successfully challenged Zahhak on the definition of apostasy in Islam, and as a result, Zahhak and his comrades stopped the bloodshed of Muslims in the Iraqi city of Kufa.

As per Rashidi's article, Imam Abu Hanifa told Zahhak that apostates were those who had left their religion and adopted another religion, an argument the Kharijite leader accepted.
However, Rashidi's article is silent on whether a Muslim leaving Islam will or will not be considered an apostate if he/she does not adopt another religion.
Rashidi's article was published by Roznama Islam, an Urdu-language daily.

'The Widespread Bazaar Of Apostasy And Killings That The Kharijites Created... Is An Unhappy Part Of Our Past In The Form Of Several Bitter Chapters Of History'

'Today's Tragedy Is That The Fitna [Mischief] Of Apostasy And Killings Is Taking The Islamic World In Its Flames But There Is No Imam Abu Hanifa To Make The Zahhaks Of The Time Understand It...'

ISIS Kidnaps Catholics in Syria, Threatens to Decapitate Adults and Burn Their Children Alive in Cages

“The Assyrian Human Rights Network, meanwhile, said the captives had been ordered released by a Shariah court after paying an unspecified amount of money levied as a tax on non-Muslims.”

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture – until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.”
— Qur’an 9:29

Iraq and ISIS - Somalia


Iraqi Forces March on Tikrit

Iraqi forces, backed by Sunni and Shia militias, entered (WSJ) the Iraqi city of Tikrit on multiple fronts, pushing their way to the city center, as many of the militants of the self-declared Islamic State retreated from the city, according to security sources. Security sources said Islamic State militants were attempting to repel (AP) security forces with sniper fire and explosives. General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he expected the operation in Tikrit to be successful but expressed concern (Al Arabiya) about the influence of Iran-backed Shia militias at a hearing before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Iraqi officials said that Islamic State militants razed (Al Jazeera) parts of the 2,700-year-old city of Khorsabad, known for its statues of human-headed winged bulls, in the latest attack on Iraq's ancient heritage sites.


'In DEALING with the bitter harvest of the Iraq invasion, any ongoing and future use of force must realistically further a comprehensive political strategy for an inclusive Iraq. Otherwise, Iraq will remain prey to the tyranny, indeed tragedy, of the unintended consequences of military action,' writes Alia Brahimi in Al Jazeera.

'While the Obama administration is pursuing a parallel structure of Sunni trained 'National Guard' force to take on ISIS, neither the Iraqi government nor these tribes who have visited Washington recently promise a fast execution of such plan anytime soon. The U.S. increasingly finds its hands tied in Iraq, blindsided by an Iranian-Iraqi offensive in Tikrit and a lame duck government in Baghdad,' writes Joyce Karam in Al Arabiya.

'In the Islamic State as well as al-Qaeda and AFFILIATES, the U.S. shares a common adversary with its enemies Iran and Syria. At the same time, actions against the Islamic State benefit al-Qaeda and affiliates, and vice versa. It may not be possible to weaken one without strengthening the other. 'Moderate' rebels in Syria have not always stood up well against Islamist or jihadist factions. The only clear conclusion is that no solution is in sight,' writes Martha Crenshaw in the Atlantic.

Al-Shabab Attacks Central Somali Town
Al-Shabab militants attacked (AP) regional Somali government headquarters in the central city of Baidoa on Thursday, killing at least seven, according to Somali police. The militants detonated car bombs at the compound gate before gunmen stormed the buildings.