The message appeared in the fourth edition of Azan, an English-language magazine published by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Written by a man claiming to be a Western-born Jihadi operating in Afghanistan or Pakistan, the call to arms appeared along with an homage to the Honda 125 in its Steeds of War feature, crediting the $700 motorbike with helping defeat “crusader” forces.
The magazine, modelled on the better-known Inspire and published by the Taliban in Khurasan (the Afghanistan and Pakistan region), is designed as a recruitment tool for impressionable young Muslims living in the West.
Its cover story, written by Abu Salamah al-Muhajir, offers practical advice for jihadi wannabes, overturning excuses such as wanting to finish college studies or not wanting to leave behind a wife.
“Know that you must eventually separate from your wife; it is as if it has already happened and in Paradise you shall be joined together if Allah Wills,” says the article, which is headlined “To the jihadis in the West”.
“And this is the best place of reunion!”
Magazines like Inspire are credited with radicalising a new generation of home-grown extremists.
More than 300 Britons are fighting with jihadist groups in Syria, according to intelligence sources, raising fresh fears they will return trained in some of the latest terrorist techniques.
The latest issue of Azan says attacks at home are more effective than fighting overseas.
“Every attack that is carried out is remembered year after year with ceremonies and minutes of silence. Imagine if every crusader nation had to remember a past attack every month; it would surely get their citizens to pressurise their governments into changing their foreign policies vis-à-vis their aggressions against the Muslims,” it says.
The article also claims that good Muslims need not worry about their ailing parents or young children if they leave for jihad.
“Indeed, if you fulfil the commands that Allah has obligated upon you, He will look after your children,” it says.
Along with the usual carefully selected quotations from the Prophet Mohammed and Osama bin Laden, the magazine also includes a tribute to the Honda 125 motorbike.
Models — armed with an AK-47 and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher – demonstrate how it is deployed in combat, complete with MP3 player to allow attackers to listen to the Koran on long journeys.
Posted by Women Against Shariah on Friday, December 13, 2013
From The Telegraph:
Posted by Women Against Shariah
Indonesia's president has ordered police to step up security around churches over the Christmas holidays following reports of possible attacks.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono did not name the groups, but it was a clear reference to Islamic extremists. Though major terror groups have largely been crushed following a series of deadly attacks in the early 2000s, small Muslim extremist cells still operate.
"I have received a report from the chief of police of the existence of the elements who plan to disrupt security and order in certain places," the presidential palace quoted Yudhoyono as saying on Thursday before flying to Japan for a regional summit.
The warning comes amid growing concerns of a rise in religious intolerance in the world's largest Muslim population, with the government criticised for not doing enough to protect religious minorities, including Christians, from hardline Islamic groups.
"We will deploy two thirds of our personnel and safety apparatus at churches and other places of worship, shopping centres, tourist and entertainment spots that are frequented by the public (over the Christmas and New Year holidays)," national police chief General Sutarman said.
From Asia News:
Russian police arrested a number of young men belonging to an undefined "non-traditional Islamic group" on suspicion of arson attacks in November against Christian churches in the autonomous republic of Tatarstan, Russian agency Ria Novosti reported, citing local police.
A group of men, aged 22 to 35, allegedly set two Orthodox churches on fire in mid-November using Molotov cocktails, the Interior Ministry said in a statement.
A wooden church in the village of Lenino was completely destroyed, whilst in the second case a guard managed to put out a fire in a church in the town of Chistopol, the ministry said.
Although a predominantly Muslim republic, Tatarstan has never had any major problems with religious coexistence. However, a total of seven churches suffered arson attacks this year. Nothing like it occurred in 2012.
The Attorney General's Office pointed the finger at "unidentified extremists" who now could get up to 20 years in prison.
Muslim religious authorities have also come under attack. Last year, the republic's the most senior Muslim cleric survived an assassination attempt, which the authorities blamed on radical groups from the North Caucasus.
From Jobs and Hire:
The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), a global organization that unites atheists, agnostics, and other religious skeptics, released a study that shows 13 Muslim countries around the world mete out execution of non-believers of Islam, according to a Reuters report.
The Freethought Report 2013 covered all 193 U.N. member states and asked the expertise of lawyers and human rights experts to look into statutes, court records and media accounts to verify the situation of atheists and non-believers.
The study found that atheists and free thinkers are always subjected to discrimination and the worst that could happen to them is execution.
"This report shows that the overwhelming majority of countries fail to respect the rights of atheists and freethinkers although they have signed U.N agreements to treat all citizens equally," Sonja Eggerickx, IHEU President, told Reuters.
IHEU's study this year is more comprehensive. It brought to the fore a full list of countries where execution, usually public beheading, takes place. The study includes Afghanistan, Iran, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The list of countries in the study is higher compared to seven out of 60 countries surveyed last year. The study showed that the offenses that warranted public execution are blasphemy and apostasy, or when a believer renounces the faith or switches to another religion.
The study also showed that "there are laws that deny atheists' right to exist, revoke their citizenship, restrict their right to marry, obstruct their access to public education, prevent them working for the state...."
The study asserted that when a person criticizes religious faith in these countries, his action is frequently treated as a felony that can be equated to blasphemy, which is punishable by death.
IHEU also pointed out that a more systematic oppression of atheists and non-believers take place in the European Union. In countries like Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Malta and Poland, any person can be discriminated against and might face jail sentences up to three years if the person publicly expresses his non-belief.
Posted by Women Against Shariah on Thursday, December 12, 2013
From Jihad Watch:
Yahya Hassan: racist?
This shows the absurdity of classifying criticism of jihad terror and Islamic supremacism as "racism": Yahya Hassan and Mohamed Suleban are likely of the same race, or at any rate both would be considered "non-white" in today's political culture. It also illustrates the deep insecurity and inability to face criticism that is shared by Islamic supremacists everywhere.
"Danish rap poet Yahya Hassan faces racism charge for knocking Muslims," by Liz Bury for the Guardian, December 12 (thanks to Twostellas):
A young Danish Palestinian rapper and poet, whose debut collection criticising the Danish Muslim immigrant community provoked death threats and a physical assault, appeared in court this week to see his attacker sentenced to five months in prison.
But 18-year-old Yahya Hassan still faces a charge of racism in a second case brought in the same week by a local politician, who claimed that non-Muslims who spoke and wrote as he did would be open to prosecution.Nonsense. If he were criticizing non-Muslim Danish culture or Christianity, he'd be celebrated everywhere, and no one would dream of bringing a "racism" charge against him.
Hassan burst onto the scene with an interview in Politiken newspaper in October entitled "I F***ing Hate My Parents' Generation".
His collection, titled Yahya Hassan, has sold 80,000 copies since October and is expected to have topped 100,000 by Christmas, according to publisher Gyldendal. He has won fans among the Danish middle-class for his work, which slams what he sees as hypocrisy among the immigrant Muslim community in Denmark, and accuses them of a raft of negative behaviours, including bad parenting and social security fraud.
His poetry has tapped into a rumbling public debate about Islam in Denmark, which erupted in 2005 when the daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten published a depiction of the prophet Muhammad with a bomb as his turban. The paper later apologised for publishing the cartoons, saying that they had caused "serious misunderstandings". The country has a strong pro-free speech lobby, which is open to hijacking by racists.
Hassan was brought up in the deprived area of Gellerup in Aarhus, with a disciplinarian father. He is vociferous in his criticism of his parents' generation of Muslims, and slams the attitudes of his peer group. He has been subject to death threats, and was assaulted in November at Copenhagen Central Station, by 24-year-old Isaac Meyer, also of Palestinian descent, who has previously served a jail term for his part in a failed terrorist plot.
The racism charge was brought this week by local politician Mohamed Suleban, who told Politiken newspaper: "He says that everybody in the ghettos like Vollsmose and Gellerup steal, don't pay taxes and cheat themselves to pensions. Those are highly generalising statements and they offend me and many other people."
Novelist Liz Jensen, who lives in Denmark, said: "Denmark is obsessed with him. He's a bright, angry young man, talented and very charismatic. He deserves attention because his poetry, born of rap, is raw and urgent and has huge flair. Its observational qualities, along with its mix of Danish street-slang and sophisticated word-play has real literary merit. But would he get so much coverage if he weren't criticizing the Muslim ghetto community he comes from? I suspect not."
She added: "Most of the people who come to his readings aren't his target audience. They are white middle-aged Danes. He's providing music for their ears. And many of those who laud him in the media aren't typical poetry-lovers: they're right-wing populists and those he calls "freedom-of-expression junkies". He is providing music for their ears, too. In the midst of all these he has really kept his integrity. He's the kid from the ghetto, giving the world the finger."
Hassan'a collection, written entirely in capital letters, is not yet available in English, but a translated excerpt from LONG POEM, published by the Wall Street Journal, provides a flavour of his work:
"You don't want pork meat,
may Allah praise you for your eating habits,
you want Friday prayer till the next Friday prayer,
you want Ramadan till the next Ramadan,
and between the Friday prayers and the Ramadans,
you want to carry a knife in your pocket,
you want to go and ask people if they have a problem,
although the only problem is you."
Posted by Women Against Shariah
Syria's moderate rebel commander out? The Islamic front is taking over aid warehouses from 'moderate' rebels, according to new reports.
From the Wall Street Journal:
From the Wall Street Journal:
Editor's Note (3:30 p.m. ET, Dec. 12): The U.S. has changed its account that a rebel commander fled his headquarters in northern Syria during an Islamist takeover, saying it has since learned that the commander was in Turkey throughout the incursion. What follows is the original story, based on information provided by U.S. officials Tuesday.Read it all here.
Islamist fighters ran the top Western-backed rebel commander in Syria out of his headquarters, and he fled the country, U.S. officials said Wednesday.
The Islamists also took over key warehouses holding U.S. military gear for moderate fighters in northern Syria over the weekend. The takeover and flight of Gen. Salim Idris of the Free Syrian Army shocked the U.S., which along with Britain immediately froze delivery of nonlethal military aid to rebels in northern Syria.
The turn of events was the strongest sign yet that the U.S.-allied FSA is collapsing under the pressure of Islamist domination of the rebel side of the war. It also weakened the Obama administration's hand as it struggles to organize a peace conference next month bringing together rebels and the regime.
The Islamic Front is a recently formed alliance of the largest Islamist rebel groups that excludes the two main al Qaeda-linked rebel groups—the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham—and is considered the more moderate faction among Islamist rebel groups.
Gen. Idris flew to the Qatari capital of Doha on Sunday after fleeing to Turkey, U.S. officials said Wednesday. "He fled as a result of the Islamic Front taking over his headquarters," a senior U.S. official said.
An Islamic Front spokesman also said Gen. Idris had fled to Turkey....
Posted by Women Against Shariah
From the AP via Yahoo! News:
In his first statement since the United States designated Boko Haram a terrorist network last month, Abubakar Shekau swore at the U.S., calling it a prostitute nation of infidels and liars. The U.S. government in July posted a reward of $7 million for information leading to Shekau's arrest.
He claims the U.S. cannot hurt his movement, citing the Sept. 2011 terrorist attacks as evidence.
"If you had the capability, you would have done it in your own country. Where were you when your World Trade Center was bombed, including your Pentagon, when you were confronted on your own turf?" he asks.
The authenticity of the video could not be independently verified. However, the video was distributed through the same channels the group has used before.
Eyes glaring with anger, Shekau is seen gesticulating wildly in the video as he vows: "By Allah, we will never stop. Don't think we will stop in Maiduguri. Tomorrow you will see us in America itself."
A Nigerian unrelated to Boko Haram, Umar Farouk, sewed a bomb into his underwear to try to blow up a U.S. airliner heading from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009. He is serving a life sentence.
Farouk, like Boko Haram, has spoken out against the massive corruption in oil-rich Nigeria that allows many politicians and businessmen to live in opulence while the majority of Nigerians struggle to put food on the table. The mainly Muslim northeast has the worst rates for poverty, literacy and health care. Nigeria's 160 million people are almost equally divided between Christians and Muslims.
Shekau's video includes footage said to be of a brazen Dec. 2 attack on an air force base outside Maiduguri, capital of Borno state, showing night shots of blazing buildings as explosions blasted, victims could be heard screaming.
Hundreds of extremists in all-terrain vehicles and on motorcycles led by a stolen armored personnel carrier also stormed and destroyed artillery barracks two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the base.
It was unclear how such a large convoy could move undetected at night in an area under curfew. The bold attack at the heart of the military operation against the insurgents confirmed doubts about military claims to have driven insurgents out of all northeast urban centers, and raised questions about the effectiveness of a 7-month-old state of emergency.
Posted by Women Against Shariah
From Jihad Watch:
"U.S., Britain suspend aid to north Syria after Islamists seize weapons store," by Dasha Afanasieva and Humeyra Pamuk for Reuters, December 11 (thanks to Creeping Sharia):
(Reuters) - The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria after Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in the wrong hands.Idris has fled the country, but who cares about such details?
The rebel Free Syrian Army fighting President Bashar al-Assad said the U.S. and British moves were rushed and mistaken. "We hope our friends will rethink and wait for a few days when things will be clearer," FSA spokesman Louay Meqdad said.
In Washington, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the United States was concerned about reports that Islamic Front forces had seized the buildings belonging to the Syrian Military Council, which is nominally in charge of the FSA.
"As a result of the situation ... the United States has suspended all further deliveries of non-lethal assistance into northern Syria," Earnest said, adding that humanitarian aid was not affected by the move.
The suspension underlines a crisis for the FSA leadership, which needs international backing to reinforce its credibility and to stop its fighters joining al Qaeda-backed Islamist militants who now dominate the war with Assad.
Fighters from the Islamic Front, which groups six major rebel brigades and which said last week it had quit the FSA, seized the headquarters of the Syrian Military Council and weapons warehouses at the Bab al-Hawa crossing on Syria's northwestern border with Turkey.
A U.S. official said FSA leader General Salim Idriss had fled into Turkey during the takeover of the warehouses, which contained trucks, food, medical packs and communication equipment including laptops and radios....
"This is absolutely not the beginning of the U.S. washing its hands. We will remain engaged in the humanitarian effort. We will remain engaged in the diplomatic effort," the official said, adding: "This doesn't represent a change in policy in our support for the moderate opposition."
He said the administration was looking for other ways to see how the support can be provided to ensure it does not fall into the hands of "extremists"....
"I ... want to underline that our support to the opposition remains undiminished," the British embassy spokesman said.
"We have been long-standing and strong supporters of General Idriss and the SMC. That remains the case. It is important that the SMC remains united in the face of attacks from the regime and from extremist groups....
Posted by Women Against Shariah
From Jihad Watch:
Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2).
In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but "the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour 'provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.'" And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that "Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values."
In light of all this, until authorities get the courage to tell the truth about honor killing, there will be many more such murders.
"Palestinians see worrisome trend in 'honour' killings rise," by Noah Browning for Reuters, December 11 (thanks to Twostellas):
AQQABA, West Bank, Dec 11 (Reuters) - A silvery green olive grove set in the red soil of a Palestinian village is a crime scene - testament to a practice so sensitive that it is spoken of only in whispers.
One night in late November, Rasha Abu Ara, a 32-year-old mother of five, was beaten to death and strung from a gnarled tree branch as a gruesome badge of "family honour" restored.
The woman's alleged sin was adultery, and her killer was either her own brother or husband, security sources told Reuters. Both are behind bars while an investigation continues.
Her murder brought to 27 the number of women slain in similar circumstances in Palestinian-run areas this year, according to rights groups - more than twice last year's victims.
The rise has led Palestinians to question hidebound laws they say are lax on killers, as well as a reluctance to name and shame in the media and society, which may contribute to a feeling of impunity among perpetrators.
"It feels like something that belongs to another time," said one young man in Aqqaba who refused to give his name, the first hints of a beard on his chin. "But, it's standard."
A week after the crime, Aqqaba mayor Jamal Abu Ara, who is a member of the victim's extended family, and his brothers sat in their village home, smoking cigarettes and choosing their words carefully.
"This act has no religion - it comes from closed, tribal thinking left over from an age of ignorance. People here are walking around in a haze; they want to know who did it and why. Of course, it's the first time it's happened here," he said.
His brother added: "Islam requires you have four witnesses to prove the act of adultery. "It's not right what happened. Especially since if it were a man, some would just say 'boys will be boys'," he said....
"Honour killing" is a social menace that occurs throughout the Middle East, though precise figures are often elusive. In neighbouring Jordan, for example, a Cambridge University survey of attitudes among young people published in June found that a third of respondents agreed with the practice. The researchers attributed the result to low levels of education and "patriarchal and traditional world views, emphasis placed on female virtue and a more general belief that violence against others is morally justified."
The study estimated an average of 15 to 20 such killings occur every year in Jordan, with a population of around 6.3 million, compared to around 4 million in Palestinian lands....
But Soraida Hussein, whose rights group Muntada tallied this year's killings, said the practice also has deep roots. "There is no balance in power relations between the genders. There is a patriarchal mentality...as always, the force and pressure in society is transferred from the strong to the weak," she said....
The passing of stricter laws on violence against women is hamstrung by the absence of a Palestinian parliament, which has not met since President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party and the Islamist Hamas group fought a brief, bloody civil war in 2007.
Abbas has used his executive power to amend or cancel parts of the penal law, but has not yet changed all legislation which applies a separate status to domestic violence and has been used to justify killings and lighten prison sentences.
Palestinian Minister of Women's Affairs Rabiha Diab saved much of her blame for violence toward women for Israel: "The Israeli occupation is the one practising the utmost violence ... it's the main thing keeping us from advancing....
Spreading awareness on the issue can open campaigners and journalists to criticism and even threats, which may partly explain its scant airing in public, however.
Press bulletins occasionally note the discovery of a woman's body in what are called "hazy circumstances" - a common euphemism for honour killings.
Names are concealed and the news is rarely followed up on. "When you touch such stories, you're up against a social taboo," said Palestinian journalist Naela Khalil, whose work focuses on women's issues. "Here, the family is stronger than even the security forces. I might criticise Mahmoud Abbas more easily than a father or a brother who killed a woman. Doing this may mean a struggle with a whole family or village," she said.
Posted by Women Against Shariah on Wednesday, December 11, 2013
In Iraq's western desert near the Syrian border, in a landscape of sand and rock, a signpost announces that you are entering al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
A short video of the sign was broadcast on jihadi websites last month and reflects a long-held goal of al Qaeda fighters to establish an Islamic emirate.
ISIL insurgents have increased attacks on strategic targets in parts of western Iraq in the past three months in a bid to make their putative state a reality, security officials and analysts say.
"Al Qaeda believes these areas do not have strong security and social ties to the central government so it would be easy to separate them from Iraq," independent analyst Hashim al-Habobi said. "This is the goal of all these attacks."
Al Qaeda fighters seized control of most of Iraq's Sunni Muslim areas after the 2003 U.S. invasion. American troops and local allies finally beat them back in heavy fighting during the "surge" of 2006-07, but today the fighters once again aim to control towns and cities and realize their dream of a state ruled according to strict medieval Sunni Islamic practice.
After years of plotting underground and on the Internet, they have joined forces with powerful groups fighting in neighboring Syria against President Bashar al-Assad, and aim to establish a Caliphate that would transcend modern state borders.
"They want to establish their own state on the ground. It is not enough to have a state in the virtual world anymore," said a senior federal police officer who has attended interrogations of al Qaeda detainees in Baghdad.
He said that late last month the army uncovered an ISIL plot to seize border towns near Syria in western Anbar province and Anbar's main cities of Ramadi and Falluja. The plan was thwarted by a raid on a camp in Anbar's desert just two days before it was to have taken place, he added.
Fighters had planned to attack police stations, an army operations center for four provinces in western and northern Iraq as well as government buildings in Ramadi and western towns, the officer said.
The attack would have involved suicide bombers on foot and in vehicles as well as rockets, like an attack in July that freed hundreds of prisoners from Abu Ghraib jail, the boldest insurgent operation in Iraq in more than five years.
Habobi, the analyst, said ISIL views Anbar and nearby Mosul city as the core of a wider area that could be wrested from control of the Shi'ite-led Baghdad government and serve as a haven to move freely in and out of Syria.
The rise of ISIL and its allies in neighboring Syria has already transformed that conflict and forced a rethink among Western countries backing rebels against Assad.
The United States and Britain suspended assistance into northern Syria on Wednesday after Islamists seized headquarters and warehouses there from Western-backed rebels.
ISIL, which announced its formation earlier this year out of pre-existing groups, operates on both sides of the frontier, though it is not clear how closely Syrian and Iraqi wings coordinate their activities.
In Iraq it has claimed responsibility for mass bombing campaigns that have killed thousands of civilians this year, by far Iraq's worst violence since the U.S. surge.
In Syria, ISIL is led by foreigners hardened by guerrilla warfare in Iraq, Chechnya and Libya and has seized expanses of land in rebel-held areas. In some places it has tried to implement a rigid Islamist social agenda.
Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has estimated the total number of ISIL fighters at 12,000, a figure that appeared to cover both Syria and Iraq.
"This is toxic, and the day will come, God forbid, when they will have another Islamic Emirate outside control," he told a security conference in Bahrain this week.
VIRTUAL STATE NOT ENOUGH
In Iraq the group is mainly based in the natural valleys and caves in western and northern parts of the country's vast desert, which is an expansion of the Syrian desert.
Since September, ISIL has bombed four bridges on routes linking the Iraqi border towns of Rawaa, Aana, Haditha and Rutba to the Anbar capital Ramadi, 100 km (60 miles) west of Baghdad.
This was to stop security services from sending back-up forces when ISIL attacked security headquarters and troops in the border towns, security officials said.
The Western Sunni province of Anbar occupies a third of Iraq's territory and borders Syria, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Its cities and towns, strung along the vast stretch of the Euphrates river as it spills out of Syria, are populated by Sunni Muslims, many of whom resent the dominance of Shi'ites in the government in Baghdad.
Thousands took to the streets in anti-government protests late last year, and there have been smaller gatherings since.
When al Qaeda fighters last controlled Anbar before the U.S. surge, much of the population turned against them because of their harsh methods of justice and disregard for local tribal leaders. But there are signs they are again gaining support.
A video posted on jihadi websites earlier this month shows dozens of masked ISIL members holding machine guns in a military-style parade in a residential area near the highway in Anbar. There is a small group of observers cheering and waving.
The parade took place in late November near a square in the city of Ramadi where protesters regularly gather, witnesses and security officials in Anbar told Reuters by telephone. The crowd welcomed the masked men, they said.
Anbar authorities have installed curfews several times in the past two months because of intelligence reports warning of possible attacks on government buildings and troops.
"The intelligence we have been getting shows that the militants are seeking to control the province again," said Falih al-Essawi, deputy head of Anbar's provincial council.
In late October, in what appeared to be a coordinated assault, suicide bombers and other attackers targeted security headquarters and checkpoints in Anbar, killing at least 16 members of the security forces and wounding 35.
Two days earlier, bombers driving cars packed with explosives attacked sites in the border town of Rawa.
ISIL claimed responsibility for both assaults.
NORTH AND SOUTH JAZEERA
The group has set up two desert areas that it refers to as "wilayah", a type of governed area; one is called the State of North al-Jazeera, outside the northern city of Mosul, and the other the State of South al-Jazeera, in the Anbar desert.
The areas include camps, training centers, command headquarters and stocks of weapons, security officials say.
ISIL fighters control villages, oases, grazing areas and valleys in these areas, while the Iraqi army is based in military barracks scattered across the desert, security officials and residents said.
"Establishing a geographical area comprising natural resources such as oil and gas and totally dominated by Sunnis is a priority for the ISIL in this stage," said a retired senior military officer who was responsible for making plans to combat al Qaeda.