Al Qaeda Targeting U.S. Infrastructure for Digital 9/11

Terrorists, nation states, criminal groups have capability of causing significant damage
DHS cyber security analysts / AP

ASPEN, Colo.—Al Qaeda, nation states, and criminals are preparing for major cyber attacks against U.S. infrastructure that could be comparable to the devastating September 11 attacks on New York and Washington, a senior Justice Department official said on Thursday.

“We’re in a pre-9/11 moment, in some respects, with cyber,” said John Carlin, assistant attorney general for national security in the Justice Department.

Experts: American Adversaries Work Together Despite Differences

Middle East watchers say U.S. must craft new strategy
Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) try to calm civilians demonstrating against the rebel infighting in Aleppo

American adversaries in the Middle East continue to work together across sectarian and religious divides to harm U.S. interests and security, requiring a more nuanced response from U.S. officials to address the turmoil in the region, experts say.

ISIL Leader Appears in Mosul, Calls for Imposition of Islamic Law

Self-declared ‘Caliph’ Baghdadi mosque appearance said to counter claims he was wounded
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi speaking at the Mosul mosque / AP

The self-declared leader of all Muslims worldwide made a surprise appearance July 4 at a mosque in Mosul—the key trophy of last month’s military incursion into Iraq by his group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Ellison’s Must Read of the Day

Ellison must read

My must read of the day is “I watched all the terrorist beheadings for the U.S. government, and here’s what I learned,” by Aki Peritz, in the Washington Post.

Official Al Qaeda Rebel Unit in Syria Joins ISIL

Merger a sign ultra-violent wing of al Qaeda gaining strength
al Qaeda

In other Iraq developments, the Iraqi government announced that its forces had taken full control over the Bayji oil refinery and that ISIL fighters at the plant had been defeated.

Power Precedes Politics

Column: What liberal internationalists don’t understand
An ISIL image shows the country’s largest oil refinery under ISIL control / AP

The situation on the ground: Iraq in flames. The black flag of al Qaeda over Sunni-majority cities, Shiite militias cleansing Baghdad neighborhoods of other sects and ethnicities, car and suicide bombs exploding daily, the government of Nouri al-Maliki looking insolent and ineffective, the Kurds hinting at independence. Civil war. Iranian meddling. American defeat.

Watch Neera Tanden Take Credit for Obama’s Failed Iraq Strategy

CAP president takes credit for troop withdrawal plan in 2012 donor pitch
CAP President Neera Tanden speaks to the Democracy Alliance

The president of a leading liberal think tank took credit in 2012 for an Obama administration troop withdrawal plan in Iraq that has led to the de facto partition of the country and the near-collapse of its government as al Qaeda terrorists and Shiite militias run rampant.

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, touted its cooperation with the White House on Iraq strategy in a 2012 pitch to members of the left-wing dark money group the Democracy Alliance.

Iran Sponsored ISIL Founder, Sheltered Him from U.S.

Iran’s ties to ISIL are closer, more complicated than U.S. officials believe
ISIL militiamen in Iraq / AP

Iran long provided shelter and protection to the founder and former commander of al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the predecessor to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), which rose to power due in large part to Tehran’s support, according to multiple intelligence reports and outside experts.

AQI leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was given protection by Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGS) and was provided with resources to rebuild the infrastructure that has enabled ISIL to take over much of Western Iraq, according to these reports.