The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) stated on 22 February that there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that ISIS perpetrated chemical weapons attacks on the town of Marea, close to Aleppo, in 2015. The Investigation and Identification Team (IIT) of the watchdog determined that ISIS militants utilized sulphur mustard in attacks across various parts of the town on 1 September 2015. According to a OPCW report, ISIS units deployed sulphur mustard gas via their artillery munitions on the town of Marea between 9:00 and 12:00 pm.
A new report by the inspectors general of the US State Department, Defense Department, and USAID conducted between 1 October and 31 December 2023 has determined that ISIS poses a minimal threat in Iraq and Syria, raising questions about the Pentagon's insistence on keeping US troops in both nations. “During the quarter, ISIS continued to operate in a survival posture in both Iraq and Syria. The group remained militarily defeated, incapable of mounting large, complex attacks domestically or externally, even as Coalition forces increased their focus on force protection due to attacks by Iran-aligned militia group,” the quarterly report on the so-called Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) determines, noting the group's ”capacity to conduct insurgent activities remained severely degraded."
The Israeli army withdrew the 36th Division from the occupied Gaza Strip on Monday afternoon, leaving behind the 162nd Division in northern Gaza, the 99th Division in central Gaza, and the 98th Division in the southern region of Khan Younis. Hundreds of Israeli soldiers and military vehicles were seen leaving the Gaza Strip. The Israeli military said the 36th Division would be given a short break and go through a training period, confirming that the war on Gaza would carry on. However, the pullout of the division came as Yoav Gallant, the Minister of Defense, said that the “intensive stage” of the war in north Gaza has reached its end.
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced in the early hours of 16 January that multiple ballistic missiles successfully hit positions of the Israeli Mossad in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region (IKR) and the headquarters of the anti-Iran Turkestan Islamic Party in Syria's Idlib governorate. “In response to the recent crimes committed by terrorist groups and the martyrdom of a number of our citizens in Kerman and Rask, the gathering places of leaders and key elements associated with the recent terrorist operations that took place in Iran were bombed. In particular, ISIS was bombed in part of the occupied Syrian territory and destroyed via several ballistic missiles,” the IRGC said in a statement.
ISIS has reportedly claimed credit for an explosion near Kabul's Hamid Karzai International Airport. As of this writing there are around 90 dead including 13 US military personnel, though to read western mainstream media reports you'd think only US troops died and not scores of Afghans as well. This was the deadliest attack in a decade on US troops in Afghanistan, which is odd to think about considering how many people the US military has killed during that time; just between January and July of this year the war killed 1,659 civilians. The way the US war machine has shifted to relying more on highly profitable missiles and bombs and unmanned aircraft to avoid the bad PR of flag-draped bodies flying home on jets is making the murder of foreigners a safer profession than working at a convenience store.
The top US newspaper has been exposed for overseeing another large-scale fake news operation. The main source for the New York Times’ award-winning podcast, Caliphate, has been arrested and charged with lying about joining ISIS. The major media outlet had relied on this man’s fabricated story as the core of its reporting, and said two US government officials had independently confirmed his identity. So far, the Times has not issued any retractions or corrections. But the fake news spread by the American “newspaper of record” has touched off a political scandal in Canada.
Near the end of July, one of the most important recent developments in U.S. foreign policy was quietly disclosed during a U.S. Senate hearing. Not surprisingly, hardly anybody talked about it and most are still completely unaware that it happened. Answering questions from Senator Lindsey Graham, Secretary of State Pompeo confirmed that the State Department had awarded an American company, Delta Crescent Energy, with a contract to begin extracting oil in northeast Syria. The area is nominally controlled by the Kurds, yet their military force, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), was formed under U.S. auspices and relies on an American military presence to secure its territory.
Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) Foreign Relations Committee wrote a letter addressed to the American people and President Donald J. Trump responding to the comparisons made between the Kurdish movement and ISIS amid the genocidal campaign of the Turkish state against the Kurdish people. The letter reads as follows; “To the American people and President Donald J. Trump, We refuse comparisons being made between our movement and the inhumane thugs of ISIS. Our response is as follows: There are more than 40 million Kurds living in the Middle East today. At the end of the First World War, outside powers divided them among four autocratic states: Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, where our movement began.
October has been a tough month for the motley crew of self-styled Syria experts and regime-change diehards who spent years cheering on the so-called “moderate rebels.” First, the “Free Syrian Army” fighters they had long championed were finally and undeniably exposed as the brutal extremists they always were. All it took for the curtain to be pulled back was for President Trump to green-light a Turkish invasion of Syria, and those once-“moderate” CIA-trained contras that had long terrorized civilians in Syrian government territory were revealed to be Turkish-backed mercenaries...
There is something profoundly deceitful in the way the Democratic Party and the corporate media are framing Donald Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria. One does not need to defend Trump’s actions or ignore the dangers posed to the Kurds, at least in the short term, by the departure of US forces from northern Syria to understand that the coverage is being crafted in such a way as to entirely overlook the bigger picture. The problem is neatly illustrated in this line from a report by the Guardian newspaper of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s meeting this week with Trump, who is described as having had a “meltdown”.
Despite the repeated demonstrations of the fact that the United States and other Western nations have armed, supported, and funded terrorists in Syria from the beginning of the crisis in 2011 as well as long before that crisis had taken shape, official pronouncements admitting to funding those terrorists made by Western governments and reported by mainstream media outlets should not be dismissed simply because their actions are now common knowledge. After all, these incidents generally involve much more important revelations than those admitted to by corporate media.
President Donald Trump’s announcement of an imminent withdrawal of US troops from northeastern Syria summoned a predictable paroxysm of outrage from Washington’s foreign policy establishment. Former secretary of state and self-described “hair icon” Hillary Clinton perfectly distilled the bipartisan freakout into a single tweet, accusing Trump of “isolationism” and “playing into Russia and Iran’s hands.” Michelle Flournoy, the DC apparatchik who would have been Hillary’s secretary of defense, slammed the pull-out as “foreign policy malpractice,” while Hillary’s successor at the State Department, John Kerry, threw bits of red meat to the Russiagate-crazed Democratic base by branding Trump’s decision “a Christmas gift to Putin.”
By Marc Pilisuk for TRANSCEND Media Service - Part of ISIS, (sometimes considered to be the whole thing), is an organization that has military power, controls vast territory in Syria and in Iraq and has information access throughout the Middle East and beyond. Its leaders express an ideology regarding the restoration of a caliphate or a religious state. This part of ISIS does command oil revenues and arms. It is an organized jihadist group that controls territory and seeks statehood. Acknowledging the overwhelming military superiority of the US and NATO, the leaders adopt a strategy geared to polarization of adversaries and the zeal of potential sympathizers. As reported in the Guardian, the tactics have been described: Hit soft targets: ‘Diversify and widen the vexation strikes against the “Crusader- Zionist” enemy in every place in the Islamic world, and even outside of it if possible, so as to disperse the efforts of the alliance of the enemy and thus drain it to the greatest extent possible. … Strike when potential victims have their guard down.
By Nauman Sadiq. Looking at the Islamic State’s astounding gains in Syria and Iraq in 2014, a question arises that where does its recruits get all the training and state-of-the-art weapons that are imperative not only for hit-and-run guerrilla warfare but also for capturing and holding large swathes of territory? The Syria experts of foreign policy think tanks also seem to be quite “worried” these days that where do the Islamic State’s jihadists get all the sophisticated weapons and especially those fancy Toyota pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns at the back, colloquially known as “the Technicals” amongst jihadists? According to a revelatory December 2013 news report  from a newspaper affiliated with the UAE government which supports the Syrian opposition: it is clearly mentioned that along with AK-47s, RPGs and other military gear, the Saudi regime also provides machine gun-mounted Toyota pick-up trucks to every batch of five jihadists who have completed their training in the training camps located at the border regions of Jordan.
By Tom Engelhardt for Tom's Dispatch. Here’s a footnote to America’s present wars that’s worth pondering for a few moments. The U.S. Air Force is running out of ordinary bombs, smart bombs, and in some cases missiles. No kidding. The air war over Syria and Iraq that began in August 2014 and is now two-and-a-half years old has eaten through America’s supply of bombs. The usual crew of weapons makers evidently can’t produce such munitions fast enough to keep up, so the U.S. military is, for instance, cutting into its stockpiles of smart bombs in Asia to send some to the Middle East and Africa simply to keep pace with demand -- and, according to recent reports, it may nonetheless be failing to do so. Consider this a longer term problem since, in the era of Donald Trump, the generals are increasingly running their own wars, which, if the daily drumbeat of news about them is accurate, are only ramping up further. Everywhere you look, from Yemen to Iraq, Syria to Somalia, the American military is growing more assertive as civilian casualties rise and constraints of any sort, whether on special operations raids, drone strikes, or the use of the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal, fall away.