Friday, September 12, 2014

Counterterrorism officials concerned

An Imminent Beheading?

By Bill Gertz, September 12, 2014,

Counterterrorism officials are concerned that the Islamic State will behead a British hostage next week, noting consistencies in the terrorist group’s decapitations of two American journalists.

Analysts say the video releases of the beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff took place two weeks apart and both were made public on a Tuesday evening.

If the timing was calculated, officials are concerned that the Islamic State will similarly murder British hostage David Haines on Tuesday.

Mr. Haines, a worker for a French non-governmental organization, was shown at the end of the Sotloff video dressed in an orange jumpsuit. The terrorist who spoke on the video said Mr. Haines would be the group’s next victim.

The videos of the Foley and Sotloff beheadings showed a masked, British-accented jihadist cutting off the American journalists’ heads, sparking global outrage and prompting calls for U.S. intervention against the Islamic State.

The first video was released Aug. 19 on an official Islamic State account on the small-scale social networking service called Diaspora.

The second video was released almost exactly two weeks later on an Islamic State account on the Russian social media service Vkontackte — the new outlet for the al Qaeda offshoot following the shutdown of official accounts on Twitter and Diaspora.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert outlined the Navy’s role in the so-called pivot to Asia this week, stating that the shift to the region has three elements: “forces, capabilities and understanding.”

In a speech Monday to a think tank, Adm. Greenert said there are no plans to end U.S. surveillance flights of China, despite pressure from Beijing to do so.

As part of the shift, the Navy will move its most advanced forces to the region, including two new Aegis-equipped destroyers to Japan, another attack submarine to Guam, and four littoral combat ships to Singapore — a modest increase in firepower that reflects the service’s problems resulting from the Obama administration’s sharp cuts in defense spending.

Enhanced naval capabilities in the Pacific, the four-star admiral said, include better electronic warfare, undersea warfare, advanced anti-aircraft warfare and cyber warfare capacities.

The “understanding” element involves creating closer “relations and exchanges” with allies and partners in Asia and bolstering security assurances, Adm. Greenert said in a speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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