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ISIS/1: MISSILES OVER ITALY

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For the time being, at least, it is being considered 'wishful thinking', but the plan that ISIS is circulating online in a programmatic document (titled “The Islamic State 2015) has the intelligence services worried because it contains “new and more serious specific threats against Italy.” And, as Italy’s Interior Minister, Angelino Alfano has already said, “no signal of danger must be underestimated.”

The text of the Islamists – an enhanced and “more sophisticated" update of a first sort of e-book released last year - is 100 pages long and is mostly written in imperfect English, although it is believed the authors are “Western citizens” who joined Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. There is not a doubt that it was commissioned by ISIS leaders.

The e-book, "clearly propaganda", contains instructions on how to reach battle grounds in Syria and Iraq. It was presumably conceived mainly “to recruit new fighters for the so-called Islamic State” and “to counter efforts to block (recruitment of ) foreign fighters that are bound to take place, also through a new narrative.”

In the final pages, an attack against Europe is foreshadowed, once “the Persian Iranians” (a reference to the Shiites) have been defeated. “The tyrants in the Islamic Maghreb will be defeated by 2020” and “the Tunisian, Libyan, (and other) mujahedin will take possession of the weapons of those dictators,” of their bases, and of their long-range missiles.

“Ansar al Sharia and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb will begin to launch missiles towards the heart of Europe, as revenge for what their brothers had to suffer in Syria,” in what is called Malhama, the Great War.

The document – which includes a hand-made illustration made from a modified Google map - predicts an attack coming from three fronts that will see Europe “encircled” and “captured” by the “Global Islamic Caliphate”: “from the West (Spain), from the center (Italy, Rome) and from the east (Turkey, Costantinopole/Istanbul), “as explained in the map's caption.

The document also makes a technical consideration, about the M-75s “that are used today by some jihadist groups (for example, by Hamas)”: “we see they can cover a distance of 170 kilometers.” “If Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb launched missiles from the Tunisian coast towards Italy, they could reach it.” Rome is once again the target, and the city’s name, as well as that of our country, is circled in red.

In the conflict envisaged in the ISIS’ document, the time will come for a ground invasion of Italy “to support Europe’s oppressed Muslims (who will be subjected to torture because they will be considered ‘enemies from within’).

As for Spain: “some rudimental Grads could even be launched from the Moroccan city of Rabat” to “free Andalusia.” “The only reason Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb can’t do that now” is because of its limited presence in the area and because it is hard to transport the missiles to that location.

In ISIS’ vision, the battle will encompass the whole of the Middle East and Europe to the point where – and here the interpretations of some hadiths come into play – “the birds won't be able to survive, probably because of the missiles that will be launched throughout the skies of the Muslim and European world.”

This scenario of war might appear unrealistic, but it is preceded by exact and factual considerations that make it less imaginary.

“We know Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in the Sinai (now part of the Islamic State) smuggled missiles with Hamas in Palestine a few years ago. So they have the channels to obtain other missiles and have them delivered to other Islamist armed groups. We also know that Ansar al Sharia, in Bengasi, Libya, took some missiles” from Ghaddafi’s arsenal. “Tunisia is right next to Libya, and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb is present there. When the border between Libya and Tunisia will have collapsed, missiles can be shared.”

The document also mentions Libya’s stock of 9K52 Luna-M missiles, even using their NATO code-name (FROG-7). And it notes: “there is no doubt that the Iranians and the Saudis have more advanced missiles,” that the Islamic State hopes to get a hold of. Riyadh is taking things seriously, apparently, also because clashes with ISIS divisions on the border with Iraq have already begun. In the past few weeks – on the request of the Saudi authorities – construction of a wall about 1,000 kilometers long has begun along the border.

February 9, 2015