US Secretary of State John Kerry tried to turn attention away from President Barack Obama highly-criticized admission Thursday, Aug. 28, “We don’t have a strategy yet” for dealing with Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq” – with an article in the New York Times, calling for a “coalition of nations… to stamp out the disease of the Islamic state group.”
Obama said only that the strategy under preparation won’t be ready before next month.
DEBKAfile’s counter-terrorism sources note that until then, and until Kerry’s coalition of nations comes together and decides what to do, Al Qaeda’s IS’s campaign of bloody atrocities and conquests will remain unchecked. And so will the spread of what the British Prime Minister David Cameron called, in a special news conference Friday, “the poisonous ideology of Islamist extremism.”
Cameron warned that, while there was much talk about the threat to Europe of returning home-grown Islamists, “IS is already here.” The return of at least 500 people from fighting in Syria and Iraq “for Islamic State extremists attempting to establish a caliphate” represented a “greater and deeper threat to our security than we have known before.”
New laws, said the British premier, would make it easier to take passports away from people traveling abroad to join the conflict.
Announcing the elevation of the UK terror threat from “substantial” to “severe,” Cameron cited the example of the British Islamist who took part in the beheading of the American journalist James Foley on Aug. 18.
He also confirmed that Al Qaeda’s Islamic State perpetrated the May 24 attack on the Jewish Museum of Brussels, in which the Israeli couple, Emanuel and Miriam Riva, was murdered – as further evidence that Islamist terror was already loose on the streets of Europe.
He was the first prominent world leader to assign the Brussels attack to Al Qaeda, which Israeli officials have so far avoided doing.
The “severe” threat level was imposed in the UK only twice before: in 2006 after the discovery of liquid bombs aimed at airliners and when, the following year, extremists attempted to bomb Glasgow Airport and London’s West End.
Friday, IS released another indescribable video showing the beheading of a Kurdish soldier among 15 captured Peshmerga in orange boiler suits, who were grouped before a Mosul mosque. It was labeled “2nd Message to America” and threatened to execute the entire group if Iraqi Kurdistan continued to cooperate with the United States.
Just a few hours earlier, footage was shown of the mass execution of 300 Syrian soldiers forced to run through the desert in their underwear. They were said to have been taken prisoner at the Syrian air base of Tabqa.
Those barbaric scenes were flashed across the world by international media.
Less noticed was the video tape released on Thursday, Aug. 28, by Al Qaeda’s Sinai branch, Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis, which showed the beheading of four local citizens and their admission that they had collaborated with Israeli intelligence to identify targets for Egyptian and Israeli air raids. This tape runs 30 minutes.
Egyptian security sources said the four had been abducted Tuesday near the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuwaid.
And not far away, in the Gaza Strip, Hamas last week summarily executed 29 alleged collaborators with Israeli intelligence, three of them women, and seven in a public square.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has characterized Hamas as belonging to the same family of murderous extremists as the Islamic State. Israel did indeed fight a limited, inconclusive war on the Palestinian fundamentalists, but no order has gone out for an operation to rescue the 43 Fiji members of the UN Disengagement Observer Force, who were abducted by the Syrian Al Qaeda Nusra Front just 150 meters from its Golan border.
UNDOF policed the Golan buffer zone for 40 years until it was overrun in the fighting between Syrian insurgents including Islamists and the Syrian army. So far there have been no executions, but the danger to the observers is ever present.
Saturday, Saudi sources reported that Qatar had undertaken to broker their release from Nusra on behalf of the UN. Israel, which spurned Qatar in the role of middleman for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, now finds the emirate, which champions Islamist terrorists in the Middle East, assigned a task in its northern back yard. An IDF rescue operation would have prevented this intervention, as well as delivering a timely, preemptive blow to Al Qaeda fighters sitting on Israel’s borders.
It would also have gone far toward muting the many Israeli critics of their government’s decision to curtail the 50-day Gaza operation by a truce, before Hamas was finished off for good.
Bur after the IDF campaign against Hamas, the Israeli prime minister was ready to line up with Western leaders, who make speeches about the horrors of the Islamist extremists and shore up their defenses, while at the same time avoiding putting their hands in the wasps’ nest and their boots on the ground, for tackling them in their Middle East lairs. “Coalitions” and “allies” are assigned the brunt of this mission.
Hoping against hope to jerk them into action, Saudi King Abdullah Saturday issued a wake-up call. He asked Western foreign ambassadors summoned to his palace in Jeddah to convey an urgent message to their leaders: Terrorism at this time is an evil force that must be fought with wisdom and speed,” said King Abdullah. “And if neglected I’m sure after a month it will arrive in Europe and a month after that in America.”