U.S. launches secret drone campaign to hunt Islamic State leaders in Syria

Members of a U.S. Air Force munitions team assemble guided bombs to support the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The base is the regional nerve center for the air war against the militants who have taken over nearly a third of Iraq and Syria. That makes it the main hub for coordinating warplanes from the U.S. and 11 other nations in the coalition carrying out bombing raids.© Adam Schreck/AP Images Members of a U.S. Air Force munitions team assemble guided bombs to support the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at the al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar. The base is the regional nerve center for the air war against the…

CONFRONTING THE ‘CALIPHATE’ | This is part of an occasional series .

The CIA and U.S. Special Operations forces have launched a secret campaign to hunt terrorism suspects in Syria as part of a targeted killing program that is run separately from the broader U.S. military offensive against the Islamic State, U.S. officials said.

The CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are flying armed drones over Syria in a collaboration responsible for several recent strikes against senior Islamic State operatives, the officials said. Among those killed was a British militant thought to be an architect of the terrorist group’s effort to use social media to incite attacks in the United States, the officials said.

The clandestine program represents a significant escalation of the CIA’s involvement in the war in Syria, enlisting the agency’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) against a militant group that many officials believe has eclipsed al-Qaeda as a threat.

Although the CTC has been given an expanded role in identifying and locating senior Islamic State figures, U.S. officials said the strikes are being carried out exclusively by JSOC. The officials said the program is aimed at terrorism suspects deemed “high-value targets.”

“These people are being identified and targeted through a separate effort,” said a senior U.S. official familiar with the operation, referring to the British militant, Junaid Hussain, and others killed in a recent weeks. Spokesmen for the CIA and the U.S. Special Operations Command, which oversees JSOC, declined to comment. Other officials would discuss the program only on the condition of anonymity.

The decision to enlist the CIA and JSOC reflects rising anxiety among U.S. counterterrorism officials about the danger the Islamic State poses, as well as frustration with the failure of conventional strikes to degrade the group’s strength.

Against that backdrop, the Obama administration has turned again to two of its preferred weapons against terrorist groups: the CTC, which pioneered the use of armed drones and led the search for Osama bin Laden, and JSOC, which includes the elite commando unit that carried out the raid that killed the al-Qaeda chief.

The new adversary, however, poses different challenges. Unlike al-Qaeda, the Islamic State has extensive territory, a seemingly endless stream of recruits, and a deep roster of senior operatives, many of whom served in the military of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

[The hidden hand behind the Islamic State militants? Saddam Hussein’s.]

The U.S. move complicates one of President Obama’s remaining counterterrorism policy goals of gradually reversing the CIA’s evolution from spy service to paramilitary force. Last year, Obama signaled his intent to have the agency cede control of drone strikes to the Defense Department and return the spy service’s focus to more traditional categories of espionage.

Instead, Syria is a new front in a spreading campaign of secret operations and drone strikes that encompasses Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and parts of North Africa.

Peter Boogaard, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said that Obama remains committed to increasing the transparency of counterterrorism operations by “turning to the U.S. military to take the lead and to provide information to the public.” But he said the effort will be “carried out in a manner that does not degrade our ability to leverage the full range of counterterrorism capabilities.”

He declined to comment on operations in Syria.

The White House had sought in recent months to revive its plan to shift control of drone operations to the Pentagon, but encountered renewed opposition on Capitol Hill. Leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee responded with a classified letter warning against any effort to reduce the CIA’s role in tracking terrorists.

Senior members of the House intelligence and armed services panels — concerned about preserving their jurisdictions over strikes and the right to be notified — also wrote to express reservations.

Faced with those obstacles, administration officials now see the hybrid approach in Syria as a possible way to salvage at least part of Obama’s plan. The agency will remain deeply involved in “finding and fixing” terrorism targets in collaboration with JSOC but will leave the “finish” to the military, at least in Syria, officials said, using insider terms for the strike sequence.

U.S. officials said there is no plan to impose that template in Pakistan or Yemen, where the agency operates fleets of armed drones largely autonomously. But officials said the cooperation between the CIA and JSOC in Syria is increasingly viewed as a model that could be employed in future conflicts.

The officials said the program accounts for only a handful of strikes, a tiny fraction of the more than 2,450 conducted in Iraq and Syria over the past year. That broader U.S.-led assault has relied on conventional bombs to dislodge the Islamic State from territory it has seized.

The CIA and JSOC program is more narrow in scope, officials said, aimed primarily at leadership figures in the Islamic State as well as operatives suspected of being involved in efforts to build a terrorist network beyond the borders of its declared caliphate. Al-Qaeda militants also are approved targets.

Hussain, the 21-year-old British militant killed last month, was moved toward the top of the target list after being linked to one of two gunmen killed in Garland, Tex., this year after opening fire at a cartoon contest that invited participants to draw pictures of the prophet Muhammad.

Hussain is not known to have been directly involved in the Islamic State’s gruesome beheadings of Western hostages or other violence. The decision to kill him makes clear that even militants involved only in the Islamic State’s media efforts are regarded as legitimate U.S. military targets.

In the past, the Obama administration has stressed that it was not targeting terrorism suspects involved only in propaganda. When Anwar al-Awlaki, an American cleric, was killed in Yemen in 2011, officials emphasized that he had become directly involved in terrorist operations.

A U.S. official said that Hussain “was at the forefront of the effort to inspire and direct attacks, especially through social media, in the United States.” Hussain was tracked in part by monitoring his online activities, according to officials who said that the British government had been consulted on the decision to make him a target.

The strike was among several recent pinpoint attacks distinct from ongoing bombing runs that have inflicted heavy damage but rarely dealt specific blows to the Islamic State leadership ranks.

As part of the Syria buildup, the CIA and JSOC have pulled drone aircraft and personnel from other regions, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the withdrawal of U.S. troops and the reduced pace of the agency’s drone campaign against al-Qaeda have freed up resources. The CIA is flying drones only over Syria, not in Iraq, where the Islamic State also has a significant presence.

All of the strikes in Syria are being carried out under the military’s post-9/11 authority to pursue al-Qaeda, officials said, rather than a presidential directive or “finding” issued to the CIA. The restriction means that armed CIA drones can be fired only if they are operating under JSOC authority.

U.S. officials said that the collaboration between the two has been streamlined in ways that allow them to work side by side on targeting decisions and all but eliminate delays in executing strikes.

The CIA and JSOC continue to have separate drone operations centers, at Langley, Va. and Fort Bragg, N.C., respectively. But each has sent representatives to the other’s facility, officials said, and both can watch each other’s video feeds.

The cooperation is in contrast to the friction and turf battles that have surfaced between the CIA and JSOC in other conflict zones, particularly Yemen, where each operates a fleet of armed drones, relying on separate streams of intelligence and lethal authorities.

JSOC officials were angered by what they perceived as CIA second-guessing after a 2013 strike on a wedding caravan in Yemen killed civilians and led to a long suspension of JSOC’s authority to launch attacks.

The outcome only added to the skepticism among senior lawmakers that the Pentagon was capable of taking over drone operations from the CIA. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, has been the most vocal critic of the idea, saying in 2013 that she has seen the CIA “exercise patience and discretion specifically to prevent collateral damage” and that she “would really have to be convinced that the military would carry it out that well.”

The agency had to confront its own devastating failure earlier this year when a strike in Pakistan killed two Western civilians who had been taken hostage by al-Qaeda. The agency did not realize that U.S. citizen Warren Weinstein and an Italian aid worker were being held at the targeted compound.

The White House attempted to reinvigorate the initiative earlier this summer by dispatching Lisa Monaco, Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, to Capitol Hill in an effort to change lawmakers’ minds. The administration abandoned talk of a “transition” of the program and sought to depict it as an “integration” of CIA and JSOC capabilities, officials said.

But key lawmakers remained unswayed, according to U.S. officials who said that Congress has twice in the past two years inserted language in spending bills to restrict funding for any move to take armed drones away from the CIA.

“Congressional concerns have slowed our ability to make these changes,” a senior administration official said in a statement provided to The Washington Post. The official emphasized that Obama never envisioned ending the CIA’s involvement in tracking terrorists, saying that “the U.S. military and the intelligence community both play unique and indispensable roles.”

U.S. officials said the expanded CIA and JSOC efforts in Syria are part of a broader mobilization involving every major U.S. spy service. The National Security Agency has been tasked with penetrating the communications networks of the Islamic State, a group that has exploited Twitter and other social media platforms to broadcast propaganda and attract recruits.

[In a propaganda war against ISIS, the U.S. tried to play by the enemy’s rules]

Syria remains a “denied” area for the CIA, meaning that it has no established presence in the country. Nor are there any acknowledged U.S. military personnel, although Delta Force operators launched an overnight raid into the country in May, killing an Islamic State leader known as Abu Sayyaf and capturing his wife.

The team also made off with computers and other devices that officials said have provided valuable insight into the Islamic State’s structure, leadership and finances. Using intelligence from that raid and other sources, the CIA and JSOC have compiled a list of targets over the past year, officials said.

The effort came as CIA Director John Brennan announced a major overhaul of the agencyusing the CTC — which surged in size and influence after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — as a model for other parts of the organization. Brennan also appointed a new chief of the center, who is considered easier to get along with than the gaunt, chain-smoking officer he replaced.

Both organizations have access to multiple airstrips in the Middle East that could serve as bases for armed drones.

The CIA has long-standing ties to the Jordanian intelligence service and operates clandestine bases in that country where the agency has trained and armed thousands of fighters sent back into Syria’s civil war.

The U.S. military and European allies operate fighter jets and other aircraft from the Muwaffaq Salti Air Base in Jordan, a highly secured compound that was used earlier this year by a Jordanian pilot who was captured by the Islamic State and burned alive.

The United States also flies drones from bases in Turkey, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, where the al-Udeid Air Base serves as the Middle East headquarters of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

This is part of an occasional series about the rise of the Islamic State militant group, its implications for the Middle East, and efforts by the U.S. government and others to undermine it.

Read more from the series:

In a propaganda war against ISIS, the U.S. tried to play by the enemy’s rules

Why the Islamic State leaves tech companies torn between free speech and security

The hidden hand behind the Islamic State militants? Saddam Hussein’s.

‘Jihadi John’: Islamic State killer is identified as Londoner Mohammed Emwazi

Islamic State appears to be fraying from within

Greg Jaffe contributed to this report.



  Dick Cheney: “Daash” fill the void left by the departure of the US military from Iraq

10:20: 01/09/2015

Khandan – considered Dick Cheney, former US vice-president, said that the organization “Daash” terrorist fill the void left by the departure of the US military from Iraq.

Cheney said in an interview with CNN, the US, he was “referring to recorded history, between 2007 and 2008, President Bush’s brave decision true that Iraq is in good condition and that Barack Obama said at the time.”

He added: “What has happened is precisely their inability to proceed with the withdrawal of the US military as soon as possible, which created a vacuum exploited by organizing Daash.”

And about the extent of the danger posed by al “Daash” terrorist on US national security, Cheney said: “I think that the risk is very large part of this is the ability to recruit new members from the United States and attract the Americans to fight the ranks of the organization in Syria, Iraq and the threat posed by those that They returned to the country after Tliqhm training and their ability to influence other people. “

And about the possibility of a similar attack to attack the 11 September / September, Cheney said: “I think he could see a similar attack but using more sophisticated weapons, whether through chemical or biological weapons or even nuclear.”


Atwani: Abadi powers to sack corrupt people including Mahmood

Date: 01/09/2015 19:55Atwani: Abadi powers to sack corrupt people including Mahmood

Information / special / ..
Former MP stressed the coalition of state law Fri Atwani, Tuesday, that the dismissal of the Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud fall within the powers of the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
He said Atwani told / information / that “can the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi submit a request to the House of Representatives and the Committee of the Supreme judiciary in case generated has the conviction to dismiss Judge Medhat al-Mahmoud,” pointing out that “Mahmoud carry out his functions as head of the Judicial Council by proxy.”
He added that “the powers of the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi allow him to dismiss the corrupt people in the state after the vote on them within the Council of Ministers.”
The Medhat al-Mahmoud reached the legal age at which it carries prevent judicial work, as well as suspicions of corruption swirling around him in a lot of issues, including the issue of Spyker Alshahyrh.anthy / 25

Interior hold weekly meeting to follow up the implementation of the national card project mechanisms

Date: 01/09/2015 23:15Interior hold weekly meeting to follow up the implementation of the national card project mechanisms

Information / BAGHDAD / ..
Interior Minister Mohammed Salem Al Ghabban, Tuesday, “The next stage should see a redoubling of efforts and intensify work to accelerate the pace of progress in the completion stages of the national card, which has become one of the necessities of security and service work project.

According to an Interior Ministry statement received / information /, copy it, that “Ghabban contract, this evening, meeting weekly league in the ministry building to follow the preparations for the completion of the national card project,” which included its minister and adviser to the national card and sexual managers and national card, as well as some specialists in the subject actors chock and supportive.

And accept before the Minister concerned the most important stages in the progress of the project and its consequences the most prominent and conditions of work in it, where they were to discuss the opening of the Directorate conditions in the Diyala Bridge which will see the first stages of work in the card Aloutnah.anthy /


Alloizi calls for demonstrations in front of Parliament to put pressure on the blocks to complete the reform of the judiciary system

By Mohammed Emad 01/09/2015 02:58 | Views: 263

Alloizi calls for demonstrations in front of Parliament to put pressure on the blocks to complete the reform of the judiciary system

Brother – Baghdad

MP for Nineveh province, Abdul Rahman Alloizi “popular movement protesters who demonstrated in front of   the Judicial Council to demonstrate in front of the House of Representatives to put pressure on parliament and leaders of political blocs to complete the reform of the judiciary system through legislation such laws.

Said Alloizi at a news conference in the House of Representatives today and attended by the correspondent for News Agency (et) that “there are calls from popular mass movement to reform the judiciary system and today there is a real opportunity to put pressure on the political powers to legislate main task laws,” adding that “the hopes pinned on this movement to push towards speeding up the legislation of laws that mission. ”

He said the “reform of the judiciary lies in the outstanding laws that complemented through the judiciary system legislation,” explaining that “Iraq has no law of the Federal Supreme Court since 2005 and there are calls to change the head of the Supreme Judicial Council.”

He stressed that “change the Chief Justice Medhat al-Mahmoud is through legislation of the Federal Court Act, which provided according to the latest draft arrived in Parliament that the mandate of the President of the Supreme Judicial Council, the duration is 12 years, only six months have not left them as Mahmood said recently,” pointing out that ”   legislation of the Federal Court Act is the task entrusted to the House of Representatives is not the Supreme Judicial Council. ”

“The separation between the presidency of the Judicial Council of the Federal Court is through legislation, the Supreme Judicial Council   Act, which is still a draft to the Council of Ministers,” “The vote on the President and members of the Court of Cassation is another important vested in Parliament and even today did not vote on the Court of Cassation members who received registered with the House of Representatives but still captive political consensus. ”

He promised that the legislation of the main laws and raise the political pressure exercised by the leaders of the blocks on the judiciary are Alkvelan reform of the judiciary system in Iraq.


Parliamentary Finance: previous governments wasted $ 350 billion and the budget deficit amounted to 53 trillion dinars

History of edits:: 2015/9/1 17:11 • 19 visits readable
Revealed the parliamentary finance committee member Majda al-Tamimi said Tuesday that Alsapfh governments wasted nearly $ 350 billion, adding that “the general budget deficit of 53 trillion dinars.”
Tamimi said in a statement received by the agency all of Iraq [where] that “money wasted during the previous years since 2003 to 2014 of not less than $ 350 billion rate, indicating that it” went inclusion of wind projects in the fake. “
She said that “if it has to take advantage of the accumulated surplus in the previous budgets and employ the money in the right place when we arrived to the current crisis and the policy of austerity and retrenchment in which we live today,” pointing out that “the government will be forced to internal and external borrowing to cover the deficit generating future threats to Iraq “.
She Tamimi that “scheduled in the budget deficit is 23 trillion dinars, but according to the accounts of current data and low oil prices in the global market deficit reached 53 trillion dinars, adding that” more than half of the current year’s budget is the real deficit is not planned. “
Iraqi state and relies on building the annual financial budget by about 90% on imports of the source of oil, and the resulting decline in crude prices since the middle of last year to a significant decline in Iraq’s resources reaching its budget in 2015 about $ 100 billion deficit expected up to 25%, prompting the government to put up Treasury bonds worth $ 6 billion and borrowing from the International Monetary Fund about $ 1.2 billion in an attempt to reduce this deficit with the continued decline Alasar.anthy


(Daash) hides the bodies of its dead of unknown graves in Anbar to avoid the collapse of its elements “morally”

Author: HF, HH
Editor: AT, HH
01/09/2015 16:29
Number of Views: 221

Long-Presse / Anbar

Detection clans Khalidiya spend fighters commander in Anbar province, on Tuesday, that the organization (Daash), is hiding the bodies of its dead in battles cleanse Anbar unknown graves for not exposed in front of the security forces and to ensure that no “moral collapse” the ranks of its elements.

Said Eyal Ayed Al-Muhammadi in an interview with the (long-Presse), “The organization (Daash) terrorist working to hide its dead who are killed during the battles and confrontations within cleansing gray axes battles to ensure that the collapse of their ingredients and the anonymity of the security forces.”

He said Mohammadi, said the “cleansing against al battles (Daash) terrorist in the cities of Anbar, and especially Ramadi happen where violent confrontations”, but he also said, “but (Daash) works to pull the bodies of the elements of the battlefield and not keeping it, but in rare cases, if they were unable to move “.

Mohammadi said that “Cemeteries organization (Daash) are often unknown and unknown in Ramadi, but did not know the names and addresses of those graves, but by the so-called princes and Msoala organization cells.”

The Anbar province has seen heavy fighting and control organization (Daash) on most of the cities of the province including Fallujah and Ramadi and western regions and the loss of hundreds of dead and wounded among the military and police and civilians during confrontations.

Alloizi confirms the possibility of changing the legislation Mahmoud Federal Court Act and calls on demonstrators to “pressure”

President of the Supreme Judicial Council, Medhat al-Mahmoud
Author: HA, HH, MK
Editor: HA, HH
01/09/2015 16:23
Number of Views: 244

Long-Presse / Baghdad

MP for the province of Nineveh, Abdul Rahman Alloizi, on Tuesday, that the reform of the judiciary would be through its own laws “outstanding” legislation, and called on demonstrators to “pressure” on the House of Representatives to complete the reform of the judicial system, while pointing to the possibility of changing the head of the Supreme Judicial Council Medhat al-Mahmoud legislation through the Federal Court Act.

Said Abdul Rahman Alloizi during a press conference held at the parliament building and attended (range Press), he said that “there are calls from popular mass movement for the reform of the judiciary system and today there is a real opportunity to put pressure on the political powers to legislate main task laws.”

Alloizi added that “the reform of the judiciary lies in the outstanding laws that complemented through the judiciary system legislation,” noting that “Iraq has no law of the Federal Supreme Court since 2005”.

Alloizi and pointed out that “the change of prime Judicial Council, Medhat al-Mahmoud is through legislation of the Federal Court Act, which provided according to the latest draft arrived in Parliament that the mandate of President of the Supreme Judicial Council, the duration shall be 12 years only six months was left as Mahmood said recently.”

He called Alloizi, the demonstrators to “organize a demonstration in front of the House of Representatives in order to pressure him and the leaders of political blocs to complete the reform of the judiciary system through legislation that the main laws and raise the political pressure exercised by the leaders of the blocks on the judiciary.”

Alloizi explained that “the separation between the presidency of the Council of Justice and the Federal Court is through legislation the law of the Supreme Judicial Council, which is still present drafted by the Council of Ministers,” pointing out that “the vote on the President and members of the Court of Cassation of the mandate of the Parliament.”

The judiciary in Iraq announced on Tuesday (the first of September 2015), receiver power head Judge Medhat al-Mahmoud of the Deputy Chief of the popular crowd Abu Mahdi engineer and head of the Badr Organization, Hadi al-Amiri, while showed that Ameri Eng affirmed their full support for the elimination and its symbols.

The secretary general of the group of the Righteous (Alasaib) Qais al-Khazali, Sunday called on (30 August 2015), Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council, Medhat al-Mahmoud to resign, and while stressing the need for the laws of “important” legislation such as the Union, social security, elections, called for a solution to the election commission and entrust tasks to the Iraqi judiciary.

Dozens of activists on Sunday, in front of the Supreme Judicial Council’s headquarters in central Baghdad to demand the resignation of President of the Council Medhat al-Mahmoud.


Macgork is expected to continue the war on Daash for several years


Since 01/09/2015 17:28 pm (Baghdad time)

Follow-up scales News

He expected US Vice presidential envoy to the international coalition against the terrorist organization Daash Brett Macgork, Tuesday, to take efforts to eradicate Daash several years, based on the difficulty of the war organization in Syria and Iraq.

Said Macgork in remarks to the channel NBC television the US “This is something we have not seen him ever seen before, the size of Daash is 25 thousand fighters come from a hundred countries from all over the world, eliminate them will take years, we must be honest and realistic to talk about how difficult this “.

He added that “immigrants and refugees Iraqis and Syrians crisis, needs to be an international coming together to solve them, and pointed out that Washington is planning to receive more Syrian refugees on its territory” .anthy 29 / d 25


Shell expects to employ approximately 1200 citizen in unexplored oil fields

Economy and Tenders

Since 01/09/2015 17:26 pm (Baghdad time)

Baghdad scales News

I expected Dutch Shell oil company invested in the Majnoon field in southern city of Basra, Tuesday, employ nearly 1200 optical citizen in the fields explored soon, indicating that its staff from Iraq number exceeded two thousand and 500 employees.

The company said it “took a very great interest in the progress of the support of the communities located within the oil fields invested in the vicinity,” pointing to “it after interest in developing its staff at all the technological means relating to oil and gas they are seeking in order to provide job opportunities successful.”

It said that “it is expected that the maximum staff in unexplored fields ranging soon between 1.000- 1.200 employees and can link them to the functions relevant to the project in the peak period,” indicating that “the Majnoon field, the project was able to employ more than the approximate number and a longer period where many of change local employment strategies to suit the country, and the most important of which was the promotion of sub-contractors to hire residents of the nearby areas of the field when the availability of the required skills they have. ”

And local jobs provided by Shell in the province of Basra showed “it was hiring more than 2,850 Iraqi employees Majority any limits 90% of them are from the province of Basra in particular,” pointing to “the adoption of local contractors in the implementation of the work assigned to the company.”

And stated that “since 2011 there exist approximately 52 operational Iraqi company and construction, and this can be increased light of the ongoing explorations figure”, stressing that “with this number of local construction companies have been hiring more than 2,500 different jobs for the inhabitants of the areas surrounding the field with the minimum wage and that up to 750 000 Iraqi dinars a month, “.anthy 29 / d 25