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Why Jihadi John's 'Assassination' Is Nowhere Near as Important as You Think
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The assassination of Mohammed Emwazi by a US drone is a symbolic success for the US and Britain in a war that is full of symbols. The ritual

murders of journalists and aid workers carried out by Emwazi were themselves intended to symbolise the ruthlessness and determination of

Islamic State (Isis) and create fear among its enemies.

But his death, if confirmed, will not significantly weaken Isis which remains in command of a powerful army and state machine ruling an area

the size of Great Britain. Unfortunately, it is a movement never likely to be short of executioners and in whose ideology martyrdom for the

faith is its central feature.

Nevertheless, part of the appeal of Isis in the eyes of its followers is that it does not fail, that it wins divinely-inspired victories

against the odds, such as capturing Mosul last year when a few thousand of its fighters defeated 20,000 Iraqi troops. Episodes like the killing

of Emwazi show Isis as vulnerable and that its security can be penetrated by intelligence agencies. David Cameron exaggerated on 13 November

when he said that it was “a strike at the heart of Isis”, though Isis will be worried that informers in Raqqa should be so well-informed.

State-sponsored assassinations by drone and special operations forces on the ground have a long history of failure stretching back to the

Vietnam War. They depend on the assumption that the organisation targeted has a finite number of leaders who cannot be replaced if eliminated.

But the outcome of assassination campaigns has invariably been disappointing, if not counter-effective. A US study of 200 cases in Iraq between

June and October in 2007 when a local insurgent leader was assassinated or captured showed that the number of IED attacks on US troops did not

go down, but increased by 40 per cent. The dead leaders were being rapidly replaced by more violent and effective insurgents.

President Obama’s administration has much favoured the use of drones as a central element in its “War on Terror”, notably in Yemen, where

drones have been used since 2002. The target has been Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) which has lost many of its leaders, but this has

not prevented it expanding rapidly over the last year and playing an increasingly important role in the Yemeni civil war. In recent weeks it

has been leading the struggle for control of Taiz, one of the largest cities in Yemen.

The assassination of a single individual in a guerrilla organisation like Isis or AQAP is very difficult if the person is careful about their

security. There is also the problem that drones, air strikes or killings by ground forces will eliminate an indeterminate number of innocent

villagers, wedding parties or local gatherings. The temptation is then for those who carried out the attack to go on insisting that the

casualties all came from a “terrorist” group, but the claim has frequently been shown to be false.

Isis is coming under greater pressure from many sides, the killing of Emwazi being only one of them. It briefly cut but has now lost control of

the only road into the government-held part of Aleppo after a counter-attack by the Syrian Army supported by Russian aircraft. The same forces

have broken Isis’s long siege of the Syrian army base at Kweiris east of Aleppo and it is becoming less likely that Isis will be able to

advance west to cut the main M-5 highway north of Damascus. In northern Syria, the Kurds have been pressing Isis back and could advance on

Raqqa or south from Hasaka City. In Iraq, Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by heavy US air strikes have finally captured Sinjar City which Isis

seized last year. Cumulatively, these are serious territorial losses, but Isis is a guerrilla movement that does not necessarily fight for

fixed positons and its retreats do not mean that it is anywhere near defeat.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Assassinations, ISIS 
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  1. Rehmat says:

    These days ‘jihadi johns’ yelling “Allah Akbar” while shooting or beheading are in great demand. It seems these “jihadis” have fallen in love with France, home to Europe’s largest Jewish population. They killed a dozen people at Charlie’s Place and Jewish grocery store in January this year. On Friday they killed 100 people watching a pro-Holocaust performance.

    Last year, American Jewish author, public speaker and feminist activist Naomi Wolf came under Organized Jewry’s knife for not believing in the beheading videos released by the US-Israel created ISIS.

    “It takes five people to stage an event like this – two to be ‘parents’,- two to pose for the camera, one in ninja outfit and one to contact the media that doesn’t bother checking who ANY of these four other people are …,” Wolf wrote on her Facebook page.

    Even after personal insults on the Facebook and the media, Naomi Wolf refused to do ‘teshuva’ for making the above anti-Semite statement.

    British Zionist-controlled media has labeled Naomi Wolf “crackpot” for claiming that September 18 Scottish referendum was rigged during her speech in Glasgow on October 12, 2014.

    • Replies: @Jonathan Revusky
  2. Randal says:

    It’s a celebrity “victory” for the shallow celebrity-worshipping society that the US sphere has become. Empty except for the momentary buzz of triumph amongst the sentimental and the easily manipulated in the US sphere. Unfortunately promptly overwhelmed by events in Paris.

    The latter will have substantial impacts, I suspect, the former not.

  3. @Rehmat

    Yes, actors (even rather bad actors) like Jihadi John are in demand.

    Also left gatekeeper journalists who pretend that these fake events are real, like this Patrick Cockburn, are also in demand.

  4. Talha says:

    I remember these same reports coming out of Afghanistan for years telling us how much territory the Taliban were losing.
    Then, years later, came the reports – hidden in the back pages – that they were regaining control of towns slowly and methodically and without fanfare.
    We never learn…

    • Replies: @Rehmat
  5. Rehmat says:

    Taliban still control nearly 80% of Afghan land. The invasion of Afghanistan was planned in December 2000, ahead of 9/11. The purpose was to exploit Caspian Sea oil and re-generate poppy supply which was almost eliminated by those fanatic Taliban Islamists.

    Under Reza Shah dynasty, Iran played the transit role for opium produced in Afghanistan, India and some part of Iran and Turkey. The drug smugglers were under the protection of Shah’s Mossad-CIA trained special force, SWAK. In early 1980s, Imam Khomeini banned the cultivation of poppy and drug in Iran. Later-on USSR occupied Afghanistan and the conbined result was that drug barrons, working for the Jewish-controlled world drug empire – had to shift their capital and infrastructure to Israel and Afghanistan’s Helmand Province – which is currently controlled by British troops – has made them the best protection drug-money can buy – with an impressive 57% of the total annual opium production countrywide. But it was not the only reason why Washington needed to replace religious leadership of Mullah Omar with a pro-US secularist ruler in Kabul. The openly touted Caspian Sea oil exploitation was also to benefit Israel to a great extent. Alexander Machkevitch, born and raised in Kyrgyzstan. He is a very close friend of country’s dictator Nursultan Nazarbyev and member of many Jewish lobby groups working for Israel’s interests in Central Asia and Africa. He owns the lion-share of oil industry in the country. Machkevitch is reported to be worth US$5 billion – making him the richest Israeli-citizen outside Israel – ignoring the fact that Bernard Madoff stashed most of his US$50 billion loot in Israeli banks.

  6. Vendetta says:

    In fewer words: it’s not that hard for them to find another psychopath with a butcher knife.

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