Awakening the Sleeping Giant

The brutal Syrian dictator responsible for using chemical weapons upon his own people, including the horrific pictures shown of babies dying a tortuous death as shown by US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, has finally been shown that his actions will not be tolerated. With the Red Chinese Premier sitting at his side. President Donald Trump authorized US forces in the Persian Gulf to attack the Syrian airbase from which the chemical weapons had been launched. He even notified the Russians in advance so that they could protect themselves. But, the message was unmistakably clear::”Your actions in violation of international norms will not be tolerated.” It was also a message to the world community that President of the US will not longer “lead from behind” but if no other nation would respond, he could and would respond.

What’s next? Well, i’m no mind-reader, but one thing I hope would take place is that potential enemies of our country would think twice about what our Commander-in-Chief would do if our interests were threatened by our enemies. Another thing I hope would take place if that Senators Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell would sponsor joint resolution in the Senate which says: ” It is the sense of the Senate that despite our differences on domestic issues we support our President as Commander-in-Chief- to take actions when international norms are violated and our interests and the interests of all freedom-loving nations of the world are threatened.” Thirdly, I would hope that the US House of Representatives would the same. IMO the time has come to show “comity” in our political bodies.,

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27 comments on “Awakening the Sleeping Giant

  1. Amen Brother ! About time someone showed some leadership ! Good Work President Trump !

  2. Raining Tomahawk missiles on a nation with whom war had not been first declared by a formal declaration of Congress may appear trite. Perhaps as trite as trying to determine who told the truth about the use of sarin in the first place? For a leader committed to “extreme vetting” of aliens (which is, of course, a good policy) to have not insisted first on determining the facts of whether it was, in fact, Syria who used sarin or it was another “false flag” operation (not unprecedented in the Mideast) does raise other “trite” questions, as well.

    Nigel Farage, the head of UKIP and even uber-cheerleader Ann Coulter have all expressed grave concerns about the decision.

    And, of course, setting an improved relationship with Russia back over the horizon, right next to tax cuts, does little to foster enthusiasm over a White House whose most intimate power brokers are secretly working with Planned Parenthood and representing the global ambitions of Goldman Sachs, all in direct contradiction of claims made prior to the election last November.

    Day by day, more and more just doesn’t smell right.

  3. The attack did not rain tomahawk missiles on the “nation” but on the military installation from which the Sarin nerve gas attack was launched. This installation is under the control of the Syrian dictator and his army. Secondly, to dispel any ideas to the contrary I’d like to say in my training for airmen of the USAF in nuclear, biological and chemical defense procedures I termed the use of chemical warfare agents: “man’s inhumanity to man” It is brutal, horrific, dehumanizing and disgusting to anyone who has knowledge of any of these agents. We had to equip our students in the chemical warfare defensive garments then in the inventory and let me tell you it was problematical whether they could ever be used to any degree of success in the field. Finally, to imply that our President would summarily act to kill people without extensive and proper intelligence and advice from the his top military leaders is beyond the pale. It is symptomatic of the never-Trump movement and the adult-tantrum disease of which I have spoken previously.

  4. Considering the targets to be gassed had to be selected, the mission authorized , pilots briefed , coordinates, loaded in the aircraft for the bombing run, munitions, in this case sarin gas , had to be removed from a secure facility, loaded on the aircraft and armed , and a sophisticated aircraft flown to the target , bombs released on target , and then returned to their base safely, was an act by some unknown force, especially when they had pictures of the Russians, helping load the munitions on the aircraft, plus I am sure other intelligence, targeting who did the bombing, is the rambling of a village idiot, looking for a place or spot on TV for a minute of ” fame ” !

  5. “Short-sighted” [Who: Assad or Trump?]

    APRIL 7, 2017 BY DEACON ROBERT SPENCER

    There is no question that Assad is a scoundrel. That is not in dispute. The problem with this action is the same as it was when Obama wanted to strike Assad: who benefits? The Assad regime said this strike “can only be described as short-sighted.” Right. The Islamic State (ISIS), although weakened, is still there. The jihad groups that Obama trained and armed are still there. Who benefits from a weakened Assad? ISIS, that wants to destroy the United States and is sending jihadis here to mount attacks. Trump vowed to drain the swamp, but it looks as if the denizens of the swamp, those who proffer the same failed analyses time and time again, have captured his administration.

  6. UK doctor who documented Syria ‘chemical attack’ was considered “committed jihadist” by MI6

    APRIL 7, 2017 BY DEACON ROBERT SPENCER

    Jihadists have every reason for wanting Trump to strike Syria. They are the ones who stand to benefit.

    null

    British doctor who documented Syria ‘chemical attack’ previously held on terror offences,” by Tareq Haddad, International Business Times, April 7, 2017:

    A British doctor who documented a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria was considered a “committed jihadist” by MI6 and was struck off the General Medical Council in 2016.

    Shajul Islam, 31, posted several videos on Twitter in the aftermath of the Tuesday’s (4 April) attack where he appeared to be treating patients in Khan Sheikhoun.

    He appeared on several television networks such as NBC to discuss what he saw, but it has now emerged Islam was previously charged on terror offences in the UK.

    Islam, from Stratford in east London, first travelled to Syria in 2012 and worked in opposition-held areas of the country such as Al Bab, close to the Turkish border.

    But shortly after arriving, he was wanted by MI6 – Britain’s foreign intelligence agency – for his alleged role in the kidnapping of British photojournalist John Cantlie and his Dutch colleague Jeroen Oerlemans.

    Cantlie and Oerlemans were held captive for nine days after they strayed into a jihadist camp in northern Syria where Islam was working.

    Islam maintains he was simply a medic who was not affiliated to any terror groups, but when he returned to the UK in 2013, he was arrested at Heathrow Airport and held in Sussex Police’s specialist counter-terrorism units.

    Islam was charged alongside his younger brother Najul Islam, who had worked in the Department for Work and Pensions before travelling to Syria, and Jubayer Chowdhury.

    All three were held in the high security Belmarsh Prison until they were charged with terrorism offences to appear in Kingston Crown Court.

    At the time, intelligence officials were quoted as saying their questioning would help trace the killer of journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by the Islamic State (Isis).

    However, in November 2013, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) lawyer Mark Dennis announced he was unable to proceed as the witnesses, Cantlie and Oerleman, were unable to attend court.

    “A problem arose for the prosecution which serves to frustrate the trial from the point of view of the prosecution,” Dennis said, according to a BBC report at the time.

    “The two victims in the case are the two prosecution witnesses on which the case rested wholly on their evidence. The prosecution are unable to call either victim for the purposes of the trial listed today.”…

    • I saw that report earlier, Tom. It points out just how dicey the situation is when it comes to whom one should place confidence in in such turbulent matters, especially in what has to be the most deceptive geographical locale outside China and NoKo.

  7. I understand completely what each of you fine gentlemen, who DO know more than I from personal experience in the matter, are saying regarding on-the-ground military considerations.

    I find the decision to have been premature, nevertheless. Bush II at least went through the motions of presenting (unfortunately fraudulent) evidence to justify his run-up to taking out Hussein in 2003. None of that precedent was followed with yesterday’s attack. And an attack on any military installation IS an attack on the nation it represents, last time I looked.

    I am not a NeverTrumper and have heard from friends today who were not only supporters but contributors to the President’s electoral campaign. They were, in some cases, NOT as reserved as I was in comments they passed along to me.

    As well, the President’s most ardent op-ed supporter was Ann Coulter, who has now said what I related. To me, at least, that is a political enormity.

    I also will stand by my personal summary of the state of affairs regarding other political issues since January 20, above.

    My deflated hope does remain that President Trump will make good on what he promised in his campaign (I realize the savagery of his opponents in the media and in the establishment.) But yesterday was, to me, a real setback.

  8. Jihadis cheer Trump’s missile strike on Syria

    APRIL 7, 2017 BY DEACON ROBERT SPENCER 12

    Trump is acting as the Islamic State’s air force. And the Islamic State is delighted.

    null

    Radical Islamists Cheer Trump Administration’s Missile Strike,” by Alex Pfeiffer, Daily Caller, April 7, 2017:

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. John McCain cheered the Trump administration’s decision Thursday to strike the Assad regime, as did Syrian rebel groups which seek to impose Sharia law.

    Agence France-Presse (AFP) quoted a “key figure” in the Army of Islam, or Jaysh al-Islam, as saying, “Hitting one airbase is not enough, there are 26 airbases that target civilians.” The AFP article just identified Jaysh al-Islam as a rebel group and didn’t point out that the organization seeks to replace the Assad regime with a government ruled by Sharia law.

    MSNBC also reported that the rebels Ahrar al-Sham “welcome US intervention through surgical strikes that would deter regime capabilities to kill civilians.” The U.S. considers Ahrar al-Sham one of the most effective rebel groups in Syria, according to a report from Stanford University. The group also worked with ISIS until 2014, is sympathetic with Al-Qaeda, and seeks to create an Islamic state in Syria.

    A video from 2015 purportedly shows members of al-Sham flogging men for keeping their shops open during prayer hours.

    Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard responded to Trump’s strike on Syria by saying that the action will help Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie said that the attack on the Assad regime will “make the situation better for ISIS.”…

  9. Somehow this thread has gone from an action taken in response to the brutal actions of a Syrian dictator to what the ISIS militants want to see happen in Syria. That won’t work; we all despise the actions of ISIS and I suspect God will deal with them in the end. But one thing cannot be denied; Trump responded appropriately to a heinous attack by a madman. If Obama had acted appropriately in 2013, we might not even have to talk about this incredibly vicious attack by an absolute madman on the most vulnerable human beings of all.

  10. I really do not care what Bloggers, Bishops or no nothings say. It had to be either the Russians or Assad’s forces This from Breightbart and the AP.

    www.breitbart.com/national-security/2017/04/07/pentagon-russia-may-have-directly-participated-in-syrian-chemical-weapons-attack/

    A stunning update on Friday afternoon from the Associated Press said the Pentagon is investigating possible Russian participation in the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons attack.
    These officials also supported the dire suspicion that nearby hospitals were attacked to cover up evidence of the WMD deployment:

    The officials say Russia has failed to control the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons.
    They say a drone belonging either to Russia or Syria was seen hovering over the site of the chemical weapons attack Tuesday after it happened. The drone returned late in the day as citizens were going to a nearby hospital for treatment. Shortly afterward, officials say the hospital was bombed.
    The officials say they believe the hospital attack may have been an effort to cover up evidence of the attack.
    The officials weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity. They say they’re still reviewing evidence.
    According to CNN, the Pentagon is particularly interested in whether a Russian warplane actually conducted the bombing run on the Khan Sheikhoun hospital where victims were receiving treatment within hours of the attack, “with the aim of destroying evidence.”
    Such an inquiry will not, of course, sit well with Russia, which is currently demanding a U.N. Security Council investigation of American aggression.
    There have been conflicting reports about whether any Russian personnel or aircraft, particularly helicopters, were present at the Sharyat airbase. Videos can be found online purporting to show Russian helicopters at the base as recently as February, but Fox News quotes Pentagon briefers stating “no Russian aircraft were at the Sharyat airfield” when the missiles struck.
    However, the Fox News report also quotes U.S. officials who said “between 12 and 100 Russian military personnel” were present at the base, complete with their own barracks, which the U.S. “took pains” to avoid blowing up. If the chemical weapons attack on Idlib province was indeed conducted from the base, it would be very difficult for the Russians to argue they were unaware a war crime was in progress under their noses.

    This is from Stratfor a private intelligence service.

    Syria: Pentagon Investigating Russian Participation In Chemical Attack
    April 7, 2017 | 17:00 GMT
    The U.S. Department of Defense is looking into whether Russia was involved in the April 5 chemical weapons attack on rebel-held territory in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province, senior U.S. military officials said April 7, AP reported. Participation in the use of chemical weapons would jeopardize Moscow’s goal of being accepted as a viable partner by the United States and others in the campaign against violent extremist organizations in Syria. 
    A U.S. defense official also told Fox News that Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich RFS-494 had crossed through the Bosporus on April 7 and is now in the eastern Mediterranean. Russian officials said, however, that the frigate was heading for the Syrian port of Tartus as part of a routine trip, TASS reported. Fox also reported that one of the U.S. destroyers that launched the strike on Syria headed for an undisclosed destination to rearm. 
    In the wake of a limited U.S. strike on Syria, in which two U.S. Navy destroyers fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat air base in western Homs on April 6, the Kremlin reportedly pulled a 2015 agreement with Washington designed to avoid military collisions in Syrian airspace. Later, however, U.S. military officials said Russia had agreed to maintain the deconfliction hotline on Syria meant to contain midair collisions, AP reported. 
    Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov spoke April 7 before the U.N. Security Council, which is trying to find a diplomatic solution to the ongoing situation. Safronkov told reporters that the council had reached a deadlock and said that the “negative consequences” of the action would rest on the shoulders of the United States. Tension between the United States and Russia is once again on the rise. 

  11. Just exactly what is an “honest UN investigation,” Patrick? The bishops offerred no factual evidence to support their conclusion. I’ll side with our military and intelligence leaders before I’ll wait for “an honest UN investigation.”.

    • Colonel, I could not agree more re. the UN, an utterly satanic organization since its origin and only made worse with the absurdities offered it by silly political men who happened to be popes since the 1960s.

      My point was that Assad is recognized as a protector of Christians by Syrians, and not without justification.

      And the bishops’ concern that if Assad is driven out, Christians will be exterminated is hardly news or controversial.

  12. Stratfor Analysis
    www.stratfor.com/analysis/us-strikes-syrian-air-base

    Syria: Pentagon Investigating Russian Participation In Chemical Attack
    April 7, 2017 | 17:00 GMT
    The U.S. Department of Defense is looking into whether Russia was involved in the April 5 chemical weapons attack on rebel-held territory in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province, senior U.S. military officials said April 7, AP reported. Participation in the use of chemical weapons would jeopardize Moscow’s goal of being accepted as a viable partner by the United States and others in the campaign against violent extremist organizations in Syria. 
    A U.S. defense official also told Fox News that Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich RFS-494 had crossed through the Bosporus on April 7 and is now in the eastern Mediterranean. Russian officials said, however, that the frigate was heading for the Syrian port of Tartus as part of a routine trip, TASS reported. Fox also reported that one of the U.S. destroyers that launched the strike on Syria headed for an undisclosed destination to rearm. 
    In the wake of a limited U.S. strike on Syria, in which two U.S. Navy destroyers fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat air base in western Homs on April 6, the Kremlin reportedly pulled a 2015 agreement with Washington designed to avoid military collisions in Syrian airspace. Later, however, U.S. military officials said Russia had agreed to maintain the deconfliction hotline on Syria meant to contain midair collisions, AP reported. 
    Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vladimir Safronkov spoke April 7 before the U.N. Security Council, which is trying to find a diplomatic solution to the ongoing situation. Safronkov told reporters that the council had reached a deadlock and said that the “negative consequences” of the action would rest on the shoulders of the United States. Tension between the United States and Russia is once again on the rise. 

  13. Update Stratfor:

    www.stratfor.com/snapshots/syria-us-strike-syrian-battlefield-grows-more-complex

    Syria: With a U.S. Strike, the Syrian Battlefield Grows More Complex
    April 7, 2017 | 14:30 GMT Print Text Size

    (Stratfor)
    Tension between the United States and Russia is once again on the rise. In the wake of a limited U.S. strike on Syria, in which two U.S. Navy destroyers fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Shayrat air base in western Homs on April 6, the Kremlin pulled a 2015 agreement with Washington designed to avoid military collisions in Syrian airspace. The attack will raise the stakes of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s approaching visit to Moscow on April 11-12.
    Since 2013, Russia has been trying to use the Syrian civil war as leverage in its negotiations with the United States on other issues, but so far its strategy hasn’t yielded many results. Though Washington notified Moscow prior to the attack in order to avoid drawing the Russians into the clash, the Kremlin will use the heightened risk of U.S.-Russia entanglements on the battlefield to try to bring the White House back to the negotiating table. Nevertheless, the current geopolitical climate is hardly conducive to a bargain between the two. In fact, at least in the short term, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has an incentive to adopt a harder stance toward Russia in hopes of deflecting the political pressure stemming from an ongoing probe into the Trump team’s ties to Moscow.
    The added danger of clashing with Russia won’t halt U.S. operations in Syria, but it will certainly complicate them. Washington is gearing up to launch an offensive on the Islamic State’s stronghold in Raqqa, a mission that could get sidetracked if Russian aircraft fly over the area. U.S. aircraft would have to take steps to avoid them, whether by changing course or aborting the mission. At worst, the Russians could also drop bombs near U.S. targets, forcing Washington to respond by shooting down Russian aircraft — triggering a much larger flare-up between the two powers. Moscow could try to escalate conflicts elsewhere as well, including in eastern Ukraine, to try to improve its bargaining position with Washington. But this tactic may also run the risk of further souring the prospects of negotiation.
    In the meantime, Turkey — whose forces have been boxed in by the United States and Russia in northern Syria — will take the opportunity to try to pull Washington deeper into the fight against Damascus. To that end, Ankara will push its proposals for the establishment of a no-fly zone and the expansion of existing safe zones in the country. All the while, Israel will be watching closely to see whether Russia boosts Syria’s air defenses, a move that would complicate Israeli operations against Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in Syria.
    Of course, the Trump administration’s quick and decisive action in Syria was also designed to send a message to observers beyond the Middle East. As the threat of North Korean nuclearization grows, the move was meant to give Beijing and Pyongyang pause. The White House has already threatened to take unilateral action against North Korea, and the recent attack in Syria gives a glimpse of just how it intends to build up a credible military threat to Pyongyang.

  14. Stratfor is a premier intelligence service , staffed by ex, DIA, CIA, etc professionals. Subsciption only so links may not work.

    www.stratfor.com/image/examining-us-missile-strikes-syria

    Examining the U.S. Missile Strikes in Syria
    Media Center, Image April 7, 2017 | 18:30 GMT Print Text Size
    Click to Enlarge
    Washington launched 59 precision-guided missiles April 6 at loyalist-controlled Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs city, Syria. The base housed the two squadrons of Syria’s Su-22 ground attack aircraft that were believe to have taken part in an April 4 chemical weapons attack on rebel-held territory in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province. That attack resulted in the deaths of at least 88 civilians and brought harsh condemnation from U.S. President Donald Trump.
    In weighing his initial options to respond, the U.S. president was presented with the choice of a punitive strike to deter further action or a significant attempt to degrade the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal and its delivery methods. Former President Barack Obama faced a similar array of choices following the 2013 Eastern Ghouta chemical weapons attack. The entry of Russia into the Syrian conflict in 2015, however, altered the strategic picture for a U.S. strike in Syria and limited Trump’s options.
    The Trump administration’s ultimate decision to strike only one air base signals that the attack is merely a warning and not intended to be the opening salvo in a major intervention. In order to prevent Russian casualties, Washington reportedly communicated with Moscow in advance of the strike. Since 2013, Russia has been trying to use the Syrian civil war as leverage in its negotiations with the United States on other issues. The Kremlin will now try to use the heightened risk of U.S.-Russia entanglements on the battlefield to try to coax Washington to resume talks. Nevertheless, the current geopolitical climate is hardly conducive to a bargain between the two.
    Already, signs of increasing tension between the United States and Russia have surfaced. The U.S. Department of Defense announced April 7 that it is looking into Russian involvement in the Khan Shaykhun bombing. And there has been a back and forth over the deconfliction channel between Washington and Moscow meant to prevent confrontations on the Syrian battlefield.
    Washington is gearing up to launch an offensive on the Islamic State’s stronghold in Raqqa, a mission that could get sidetracked if Russian aircraft fly over the area. U.S. aircraft would have to take steps to avoid them, whether by changing course or aborting their missions.

  15. Stratfor Update:
    www.stratfor.com/situation-report/russia-defense-ministry-suspends-deconfliction-efforts-us

    Russia: Defense Ministry Suspends Deconfliction Efforts With U.S.
    Situation Reports April 7, 2017 | 18:06 GMT Print Text Size
    The Russian Defense Ministry is suspending its deconfliction efforts to avoid aerial confrontation with the United States in Syria starting April 8 following U.S. airstrikes, Sputnik reported April 7. Russia has reportedly sent a note to the U.S. defense atache in Moscow, informing the U.S. government of the suspension. Though Washington notified Moscow prior to the strikes in order to avoid drawing the Russians into the clash, the Kremlin will use the heightened risk of U.S.-Russia entanglements on the battlefield to try to bring the White House back to the negotiating table on possible joint efforts in Syria, as well as on other issues such as the broader Russia-U.S. relationship and sanctions against Russia.  

  16. Here is a look at Terrorism in another part of the world. No cruise missiles, bombs etc., fell on these poor souls. They just want to kill , because that is what they do.

    www.stratfor.com/analysis/indonesias-sputtering-jihadist-movement-motors

    Indonesia’s Sputtering Jihadist Movement Motors On
    Analysis April 7, 2017 | 09:15 GMT Print Text Size

    Since an attack in Jakarta in January 2016, jihadist violence in Indonesia has been sporadic, lacking the sophistication of previous attacks in the country. But jihadist fighters returning from abroad may change that equation. (ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)
    Forecast
    The jihadist groups currently active in Indonesia have yet to prove their capabilities, but that could change in the coming years.
    More advanced bombmaking techniques and the weakness of deradicalization programs in Indonesia’s prisons could breathe new life into the jihadist movement.
    Though the country’s conservative Islamist groups are not as extreme as its jihadists, they will continue to jeopardize Indonesia’s security by creating an environment conducive to radicalization.
    Analysis
    Governments around the world are grappling with the threat of jihadist violence. And though Indonesia is no stranger to this struggle, its domestic jihadist movement pales in comparison with those in the Middle East or even elsewhere in Southeast Asia. Wahhabism, the hard-line, conservative strain of Islam that underpins extremist groups such as al Qaeda and the Islamic State, hasn’t caught on in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country, home to more than 250 million people. In fact, Indonesia has contributed only a few hundred fighters to the Islamic State’s efforts in Iraq and Syria — fewer than Russia or France.
    Nevertheless, the island nation has suffered its share of terrorist attacks over the years. Jemaah Islamiyah, a militant group with ties to al Qaeda, staged several devastating attacks across Indonesia throughout the 2000s, including a 2004 bombing at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. A splinter faction carried out similarly deadly strikes on the capital’s Ritz and Marriott hotels in 2009. But in the years that followed, the groups declined. Then, in January 2016, an attack outside the Sarinah shopping mall in Jakarta marked the beginning of a new chapter in Indonesia’s decadeslong struggle with jihadist terrorism. Although subsequent attacks in the country have failed, and the jihadist threat there is still low, the tide could soon turn.
    A Tough Attack to Follow
    Since the January 2016 attack in Jakarta, jihadists in Indonesia have made several attempts to stage similar assaults. But each incident has made the modest Sarinah mall attack, which killed four people, look like a spectacular success by comparison. A suicide attack in July 2016 on a police station in Solo, for instance, injured a single police officer and killed only the bomber. A month later, a would-be assailant slashed a priest with a knife during a church service in Medan after the bomb concealed in his backpack failed to detonate. Churchgoers restrained the man, however, and no one was killed. In October 2016, another attacker likewise resorted to charging police officers with a knife when his homemade pipe bombs failed to detonate at an intersection just outside Jakarta. The following month, a man on a motorbike lobbed a Molotov cocktail at a church in Samarinda. A young girl in the congregation later died from her injuries — the sole victim fatality in the spate of attacks.
    Aspiring terrorists in Indonesia haven’t fared much better this year. In February, an assailant managed to detonate a pressure cooker bomb inside a government building in Bandung, setting fire to the structure. The building was empty at the time of the attack, though, and responding security forces eventually shot and killed the perpetrator.

    Beyond these simple and poorly executed attacks, authorities in Indonesia have thwarted several plots since early 2016 that revealed more ambition and, in some cases, more sophistication. Some of these plans, such as an over-the-top scheme to fire missiles over the Malacca Strait at targets in Singapore, were intended more as a publicity stunt than as a viable attack plan. But others were deadly serious. In November 2016, for example, police discovered that an agriculture student in West Java was manufacturing military-grade explosives in his home, supposedly for use in an attack on the Myanmar Embassy in Jakarta. Authorities also uncovered and stopped a plot to conduct a suicide bombing on Jakarta’s Presidential Palace during the changing of the guard a month later. Still, as the rash of failed attacks in Indonesia attests, jihadists in the country, much like grassroots extremists around the world, are struggling to cultivate the tradecraft necessary to match their intent.
    A Splintered Movement
    Just a decade ago, by contrast, Indonesia was dealing with a far more formidable jihadist movement. Jemaah Islamiyah had established a robust network in the country, enabling it to carry out large attacks on hard targets such as the Australian Embassy. Its attacks on soft targets exhibited much better planning and execution than the current generation of Indonesian jihadists has mustered.
    Since Jemaah Islamiyah’s main bombmaker, Noordin Top, and emir, Abu Bakar Bashir, split off to form their own groups, however, Indonesia’s jihadist landscape has grown increasingly fractured and disorganized. A few months after conducting the Ritz and Marriott bombings in 2009, Top was killed. In 2013, turmoil erupted in Bashir’s Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid group after the leader pledged allegiance to the Islamic State from prison. The move brought the al Qaeda-Islamic State rivalry to Indonesia, where it continues to fester.
    What remained of Jemaah Islamiyah after the schisms went on to become Mujahidin Indonesia Timur. The group, based on the island of Sulawesi, managed to seize and hold territory in the remote jungles outside the town of Poso. It reached the pinnacle of its prominence in 2012-13, conducting numerous attacks on security forces and government targets in the area, and gained some notoriety as the first Indonesian jihadist group to take up the Islamic State banner. But it never had more than a few dozen members and dissolved altogether in 2016 after Indonesian security forces killed its leader and deputies.
    Some of its members went on to join the latest iteration of Indonesia’s jihadist movement, Jemaah Ansharut Daulah, a group apparently formed from the remnants of various defunct organizations. That group has ties to the Islamic State and reportedly takes instruction from Bahrun Naim, an Indonesian commander in Syria whom Indonesian authorities have linked to the Sarinah mall assault, the Medan church bombing and the plot on the presidential palace. The assailant behind the Bandung government building bombing in February was reportedly a member as well. So far, however, the group has yet to demonstrate that it is capable of the kinds of large-scale, sophisticated attacks that Jemaah Islamiyah and its successors coordinated in the first decade of the 21st century.
    The Threat Evolves
    But that could change. The homemade high explosives discovered during the investigation into the Myanmar Embassy plot in November indicate that Indonesian jihadists may be improving their bombmaking techniques. And as more Indonesians return from the battlefields in Syria and Iraq, they could begin coordinating attacks at home. Though returning fighters have so far been processed through the judicial system and imprisoned, that won’t necessarily stop them from plotting attacks. In fact, the prison system could actually intensify the problem. Indonesian police have expressed concern recently that deradicalization programs in the country’s prisons are ineffective. The combination of violent criminals and ideologues in prisons, moreover, could produce dangerous results as the groups rub off on each other — particularly once battle-hardened jihadists are introduced to the mix.
    The rise of Islamist civil society groups is another cause for concern in Indonesia. Over the past few months, hard-line Islamist groups have staged mass protests against Jakarta’s governor in the run-up to local elections, drawing upward of 200,000 demonstrators. The Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), an ultraconservative Islamist group that for years has made violent efforts to enforce Sharia, is at the forefront of the movement. Along with the recent protests, the FPI conducts extrajudicial raids on bars, casinos, Christian churches and Muslim minority groups to promote their brand of hard-line Islam. Its leader has been arrested on several occasions for inciting violence, although the FPI has tried to distance itself from terrorist groups. On the more extreme end of the spectrum is the Betawi Brotherhood Forum. The group, more of a criminal gang than a religious organization, is only loosely affiliated with Islamist causes, but its members have participated in attacks on security guards and Jakarta city officials in the past two years.
    Neither organization has been officially labeled as a terrorist group. But together, they have been responsible for more acts of violence than Indonesia’s transnational jihadist groups. Like the nationalist movements currently sweeping the West, the FPI is pushing moderate political forces toward more conservative positions. The group has tempered its extremism to advance its nationalist agenda in the political system, thereby giving the ideology it espouses an air of legitimacy. Furthermore, the FPI shares some ideas with Indonesia’s radical jihadist groups. Both frequently target Christian and other minority religious populations, for instance. And Naim, the prominent jihadist leader, has also taken aim at Jakarta’s Christian governor, albeit more literally; in 2015 security forces foiled his plot to assassinate the politician.
    Islamist groups such as the FPI diverge from jihadist groups in their interests, priorities and tactics. Even so, they create an environment that encourages individuals to become more radical and to develop networks with likeminded people. Although these groups are unlikely to stage the next jihadist attack in Indonesia, their involvement in communal violence, harassment and intimidation is equally damaging to the country’s security environment.
     

  17. Nikki Haley Tells U.N. More U.S. Military Action in Syria Possible

    By Geller Report Staff – on April 7, 2017

    U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told a tense United Nations assembly on Friday that America would indeed take more action in Syria, if necessary.

    “The United States took a very measured step last night,” she said, referring to President Donald Trump’s ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airbase. “We are prepared to do more, but we hope that will not be necessary.”

  18. Trump Secretary of State Tillerson: “The first priority is the defeat of ISIS”

    APRIL 9, 2017 BY DEACON ROBERT SPENCER

    Odd, then, to bomb forces that are fighting against the Islamic State.

  19. Trump National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster said the U.S. wants to defeat the Islamic State and remove Syrian President Bashar Assad in his first televised interview:

    The only way to achieve that is “a la Iraq” – that is, a US invasion and occupation of Syria – with possible confrontation (in one form or another; i.e., military and/or more economic sanctions) with Assad’s allies, Iran and Russia (with the latter not only in the Middle East but also in Ukraine and the Baltic States) as well as possible confrontations with the North in Korea and China in the South China Sea, and also the perennial war in Afghanistan. Does the US have enough military resources to cover those bases?

    • I’ve got a list of folks I’d like to take out. Maybe we should have a national poll to decide who all we magnanimous Americans will take out. On top of that, we can decide who becomes interim poobah, e.g., McCain gets Syria, Paul Ryan, oh … send him to Venezuela, Kushner gets North Korea, …

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