U.S. launches heaviest bombardment yet against ISIS in defence of besieged Kurdish town of Kobani


Originally posted on National Post | News:

NORTHERN IRAQ and WASHINGTON — The U.S. air force launched its heaviest bombardment yet in support of Kurdish forces in northern Syria as they began a fightback against jihadists around the embattled town of Kobani.

The Kurds reclaimed a hill west of the town, taking down an Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) flag visible from the Turkish border which had become a symbol of the advances made by the terror group in recent weeks.

They were helped by 21 air strikes over two days, the U.S. military said. “Indications are that air strikes have slowed” ISIS advances, a statement said.

“However, the security situation on the ground there remains fluid, with ISIL attempting to gain territory and Kurdish militia continuing to hold out,” said the statement, using another acronym for the terror group.

“We certainly do not want the town to fall,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “At…

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‘Blood of Jihad': ISIS training video promises recruits they will leave Iraq’s battlefields as ‘martyrs’


Originally posted on National Post | News:

A slick promotional video has been released showing Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham recruits at a so-called desert “graduation ceremony.”

The three-minute film, called “Blood of Jihad,” shows the terror group’s latest members doing kung-fu style martial arts routines and learning how to strip down Kalashnikov machineguns.

Apparently shot in Nineveh province, northern Iraq, it features about 100 young men being trained in the ways of insurgent warfare.

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It is the latest promotional video produced by ISIS, which has been at pains to burnish its global image in the minds of disenchanted Muslims.

Last week another jihadi film was released, produced in a training camp in Kirkuk.

The group has even published an online propaganda magazine called “Dabiq” – named after a key site in Muslim apocalypse theology where the “final hour” of humanity will occur.

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Introducing the latest ISIS video, an on-screen narrator wearing a baseball cap…

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Iraq urges U.S. to send ground troops as ISIS jihadists close in on Baghdad


Originally posted on National Post | News:

Iraqi officials issued a desperate plea Saturday night for America to provide ground troops, as heavily armed ISIS jihadists came within striking distance of Baghdad.

[np_storybar title="Conrad Black: Fixing the Middle East, for now and forever" link="http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/10/11/conrad-black-fixing-the-middle-east-for-now-and-forever/"]

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign Minister John Baird are certainly correct to support Canada’s traditional allies in attacking the Islamic State (IS). It is such an unspeakably odious organization that it is beyond normal political discourse and as many as possible of its active adherents should be killed or otherwise eliminated as quickly as possible. Further, anything that seems to reactivate the Western Alliance, the most successful in world history, is a good thing. It has recently fallen to a somnolent condition even less fearsome than the former “coalition of the willing,” i.e. we’ll do it if we’re threatened ourselves but otherwise we’ll just be happy with a U.S guaranty of our…

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Vladimir Putin orders 17,600 Russian troops to leave posts near Ukrainian border


Originally posted on National Post | News:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered thousands of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border to return to their usual bases, according to his spokesman.

Dmitry Peskov told Russian news outlets late Saturday in Sochi that Putin had ordered approximately 17,600 troops to return home from Rostov, a southern region that borders east Ukraine, where pro-Russian insurgents have been battling government troops since April.

The Kremlin has said that troops stationed in Rostov were participating in drills, but Ukraine and the West have repeatedly accused Russia of fueling the insurgency with arms, expertise, and fighters, and have slapped Moscow with sanctions in response to its moves in the region.

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Previous Russian claims of troop withdrawals have been countered by NATO. In March, Russia announced a troop withdrawal of only one battalion – a unit of about 500 – while NATO insisted that tens of thousands remained near the border.

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