The United States is offering big pay outs to anyone who has "information" on key ISIS leaders. "The U.S. Department of State's Rewards for Justice Program is offering rewards for information on four key leaders of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Secretary of State has authorized rewards of up to $7 million for information on ‘Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli; up to $5 million each for information on Abu Mohammed al-Adnani and Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili; and up to $3 million for information on Tariq Bin-al-Tahar Bin al Falih al-‘Awni al-Harzi," reads a press release from the State Department.
"Established in 2004 as 'al-Qaida in Iraq' and later known as the 'Islamic State of Iraq,' ISIL has recruited thousands of followers from across the globe to fight in Iraq and Syria, where ISIL members continue to commit gross, systematic human rights abuses, including mass executions, persecution of individuals and entire communities on the basis of their identity, killing and maiming of children, rape, and numerous other atrocities.
"In April 2013, ISIL’s current leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Du’a, publicly declared that the Islamic State of Iraq was operating under the moniker of ISIL. ISIL has since asserted publicly that it is the true inheritor of Usama bin Ladin’s legacy."
The State Department provides more details on the wanted terrorists:
‘Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli is a senior ISIL official who rejoined ISIL following his release from prison in early 2012. He traveled to Syria where he has worked with an ISIL network. He originally joined al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI) in 2004 and served as AQI leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s deputy and as AQI emir of Mosul, Iraq. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated al-Qaduli as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist pursuant to Executive Order 13224 on May 14, 2014.
Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, whose birth name is Taha Sobhi Falaha, is a senior leader of and official spokesman for ISIL. He is the main conduit for the dissemination of ISIL messages, including its declaration of ISIL’s creation of an Islamic caliphate. In public statements, al-Adnani has repeatedly called for attacks against Westerners and has vowed “defeat” for the United States. The U.S. Department of State designated al-Adnani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on August 18, 2014.
Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili has served as a senior ISIL commander and Shura Council member. Batirashvili has overseen an ISIL prison facility in al-Tabqa where ISIL possibly held foreign hostages, has worked closely with ISIL’s financial section, and has managed ISIL operations in the Manbij area of Syria. In May 2013, he was appointed ISIL’s northern commander of operations in Syria’s Aleppo, al-Raqqah, Latakia, and northern Idlib provinces. The U.S. Department of the Treasury designated Batirashvili as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on September 24, 2014.
Tariq Bin-al-Tahar Bin al Falih al-‘Awni al-Harzi was one of the first terrorists to join ISIL and has served as an ISIL official operating in Syria. He has helped to raise funds from Gulf-based donors for ISIL and has recruited and facilitated the travel of ISIL fighters. He was named ISIL’s leader for the border region between Syria and Turkey. As of late 2013, al-Harzi was chief of ISIL’s suicide bombers, overseeing ISIL’s suicide bomber facilitation pipeline. Al-Harzi also has procured and shipped weapons from Libya and Syria for ISIL operations in Iraq. On September 24, 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury designated al-Harzi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.
If found, "contact the Rewards for Justice office via the website, e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), phone (1-800-877-3927), or mail (Rewards for Justice, Washington, D.C., 20520-0303, USA). All information will be kept strictly confidential."
Kuwait City Here in Kuwait, as in the rest of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, there is a sense that the Middle East is changing. In the Gulf media, there seems to be a consensus in support of Operation Decisive Storm, the Saudi-led military campaign launched to beat Houthi insurgents and reinstall Yemen's government under President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi. Almost everyone wants to see Iran and its allies, like the Houthis, cut to size, and almost everyone is excited to see Arab governments flex their military muscles. Even those who are questioning the campaign couch the debate not in terms of regional political doctrines like Arab nationalism or Islamism, but rather in terms of national sovereignty and constitutionality.
When the revolt in Syria began in 2011, many policy analysts and former officials argued that the downfall of the Assad regime would be a major setback to Iran. I was one of them, and the claim was not complicated: Syria was Iran’s only Arab ally, provided its only ports on the Mediterranean, was a land bridge to Hezbollah in Lebanon that allowed Iran an easy means of arming Hezbollah, and via Hezbollah gave Iran a border with Israel. The fall of Assad would deny Iran all these assets and all these possibilities.
Last week, outgoing chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces Benny Gantz told an American audience that it’s important the international community defeat both camps of regional extremists. The way Gantz sees it, on one side there are Sunni radicals, like the Islamic State, al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Nusra Front, an al Qaeda affiliate. On the Shiite side are Iran and the Revolutionary Guards expeditionary unit, the Quds Force, as well as Hezbollah and Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militias.
In last night's State of the Union, President Obama reiterated his call upon Congress to pass a new "AUMF" -- or Authorization for Use of Military Force -- against ISIS, rather than continuing to wage war pursuant to the original 2001 AUMF against al
Pentagon press secretary Rear Admiral John Kirby, when asked Tuesday about the number of Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS) fighters killed in ongoing coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria, gave a rather colorful response: "[W]e don't have the ability to -
The U.S. bombed three Islamic State controlled buildings in Syria, according to video recently released by U.S. Central Command. Here's the video, titled "Airstrike against three ISIL buildings, Dec. 21, near Aleppo, Syria":
"A video of an airstrike supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. The video depicts impacts occurring Dec. 21 against three ISIL buildings near Aleppo, Syria," says the video's description, as posted on YouTube.