News We Need To Know About ISIS

Watching events unfold is Iraq has been front and center over the past week, and there is nothing to suggest even more unsettling headlines will not be made this week. Once again people turn to newspapers when there is a need to know more than just the first paragraph type of information when the world is facing crisis.   One of the reporters that I have come to rely on for the news that gives context to Iraq is Matt Bradley.

Today a few lines jumped from his article and made for the news we need to know.

By emphasizing practical gains over ideology and placing a premium on battlefield victories rather than lofty principals, Mr. Baghdadi’s ISIS has become one of the most powerful militant Islamist groups, said experts on militant Islamism.

While ISIS shares much of the same ideology and jihadist vocabulary as al Qaeda, it differs on methodology. Whereas al Qaeda, which got its start during the resistance against the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan during the 1980s, behaves as a terrorist organization advancing a global ideology, ISIS in many ways acts like the army of a sovereign nation with defined borders and a semi-legitimate system of governance.

By understanding how ISIS differs in real ways from al Qaeda underscores the seriousness of what needs to be contemplated for options as the west moves forward with some policy ideas.

While there is no doubt that ISIS must be defeated in its goal of establishing some form of a ‘nation’ it also needs mentioning that the region’s Islamic community must not be led to believe that any attack from the West on Sunni groups equates to some bitterness over Islam in general.   It simply does not.  Yet that is the very image that ISIS is stoking and calculating on to play to their advantage.

The dream of a real Islamic state is what separates ISIS from all that came before.  The manner in which they are operating to achieve success is what most concerns me.

What Does Al Qaeda Think Tonight About Osama Bin Laden?


A SENIOR U.S. OFFICIAL e-mails: “”Bin Laden was living in a relatively comfortable place: a compound valued at about $1 million. Many of his foot soldiers are located in some of the remotest regions of Pakistan and live in austere conditions. You’ve got to wonder if they’re rethinking their respect for their dead leader. He obviously wasn’t living as one of them.”

Osama Bin Laden To Be Buried At Sea

This answers the biggest question of the night.

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports:  Now that bin Laden has been killed and his body has been positively identified, what is to be done with his remains?

U.S. officials tell me the last thing they want is for his burial place to become a terrorist shrine.

To avoid that, an informed source tells me, the intention is the bury his body at sea — leaving no definitive location for the final resting place of his body.

A senior administration official tells my colleague Jake Tapper this about the body:  “We are ensuring it is handled in accordance with Islamic practice and tradition. It’s something we take seriously and therefore it’s being handled in an appropriate manner.‬”

Under Islamic tradition, ABC’s Zunaira Zaki reports, the body would be washed by Muslim men and buried as soon as possible, usually by the next prayer (Muslims pray five times a day), although there may be delays under certain circumstances (for autopsies, for example). The body is usually buried in a simple white sheet — whether buried in the ground, or at sea.

Pakistan: First The Flood, Then An Even Bigger Crisis?

This is one mighty serious issue that very well could erupt into a major crisis within a crisis.

The humanitarian and economic disaster caused by the worst floods in Pakistan’s history could spark political unrest that could destabilize the government, dealing a major blow to the Obama administration’s efforts to fight violent Islamic extremism.

The government’s shambling response to floods that have affected one-third of the country has some analysts saying President Asif Ali Zardari could be forced from office, possibly by the military, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half its 63-year history.

Other experts caution the nation could collapse, as hunger and destitution trigger unrest in a populace already seething over massive unemployment, high fuel prices, widespread power outages, corruption and a bloody insurgency by extremists allied with al-Qaida.

The Obama administration stepped up emergency aid this week to $76 million, anxious to counter the influence of Islamic extremist groups that are feeding and housing victims through charitable front organizations in areas the government hasn’t reached.

Some U.S. officials worry those groups could exploit the crisis to recruit new members and bolster their fight to impose hard-line Islamic rule on nuclear-armed Pakistan.

The potential for serious turmoil, these U.S. officials said, will grow after the floods subside. Then the government must deal with the task of rebuilding roads, bridges and other infrastructure and caring for millions of impoverished, mostly rural people who’ve lost their homes, crops and livestock.

The floods have affected 14 million people, of whom at least 1,600 have died and some 3 million have been left homeless. However, the impact will be felt throughout the impoverished country of 180 million.

The World Bank said Friday that an estimated $1 billion worth of crops have been wiped out, raising the specter of food shortages. Damage to irrigation canals, the bank added, will reduce crop yields once the floodwaters are gone.

First Detainee From Guantanamo Bay Prison Transferred To America

As it should be.

The United States transferred the first detainee from the Guantanamo Bay prison on Tuesday to stand trial in a U.S. civilian court in a test case for President Barack Obama’s plans to close the controversial prison for foreign terrorism suspects.

Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a Tanzanian held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba since 2006 accused of involvement in the bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa, arrived in New York escorted by U.S. marshals, the Department of Justice said.

Ghailani faces 286 counts, including charges of conspiring with Osama bin Laden and other members of al Qaeda to kill Americans anywhere in the world, and separate charges of murder for each of the 224 people killed in the bombings in Tanzania and Kenya on August 7, 1998.

He was to be arraigned in a Manhattan court at 4 p.m. EDT.

I strongly agree with the Obama White House on this matter.

The administration view: “The Southern District of New York has a long record of successfully prosecuting terror cases. … In order to close the Guantanamo Bay facility and to strengthen our security, we must break the logjam that has kept the detainees in legal limbo since its construction. For over seven years, we have detained hundreds of people at Guantanamo. … Today represents a significant step forward in bringing swift and certain justice to the detainees at Guantanamo. And it is a first step. Experienced prosecutors continue to review the status of each detainee at Guantanamo, and there will be more indictments and trials in the weeks to come for those who have committed crimes against the United States or conspired to.”