Friday, December 04, 2015

Is The Islamic State Acquiring An Air Force?

by JASmius

This story reminds me of the Ron White bit about female astronauts with PMS where his punchline is, "No, on Earth I wouldn't be concerned about working with female astronauts with PMS; but I would be concerned about working with female astronauts with PMS in space, because in space those psyco-bitches could fly":

Islamic State [jihadist]s in Libya are learning how to fly commercial jets in large simulators imported from abroad, according to reports from Arabic media.

ISIS is reportedly training pilots in the Libyan city Sirte using large and comprehensive flight simulators, Libyan officials told an Arabic daily Wednesday according to Ynetnews. ISIS has an estimated three thousand fighters in Libya and has controlled Sirte for several months.

“The simulator is about as large as a small car, and simulates every facet of flight including air-to-ground communications,” the sources said. A group of ISIS commanders reportedly obtained the simulator in October and have at least one other simulator, which they are using to train fighter pilots.

If ISIS strengthens its hold in Sirte, it could gain direct access to the Mediterranean and southern Europe. [emphases added]

Including, presumably, to bomb it from the air.

Oh, sure, as Jazz Shaw points out, maintaining and operating high-tech machines like modern military aircraft is a wee bit more complex than passing out AK-47s and piling in the back of Toyota pickup trucks.  But remember the magnitude of the resources at ISIS's command, most especially the billions in oil revenue flowing into their coffers from the Iraqi oil fields they captured last year.  One of these flight simulators they're using goes for a reported quarter million dollars, which is chump change to al-Baghdadi's boys.  And the breadth and scope of their recruitment operations means that they may have access to a much higher level of technical knowledge about aviation subject matter than we might suspect.  Then consider that this ISIS flight training center is in Libya, not Syria or Iraq, alone indicating that the Islamic State is a vastly larger, wealthier, and more powerful organization than al Qaeda ever was, and that they don't have to send operatives to infiltrate the U.S. and learn flight skills, but can send them with their pilot status already in hand, and perhaps even in ISIS warplanes to directly bomb U.S. cities.

Hey, there have been reports of their having captured Russian-made Syrian jet fighters, and the closer ISIS gets to finishing off Assad, the closer they get to really having their own air force.

This also, of course, illustrates the ease with which the Islamic State could pull off multiple 9/11 style attacks.  And, just in case they were overcome by nostalgia or wanted to tip their hats to their al Qaeda forebears, aspiring ISIS Islamikazes can still learn everything they need to know in Stateside U.S. flight schools:

More than a decade after 9/11, a new Government Accountability Office report has found significant loopholes that could allow terrorists to learn to fly in U.S. flight schools.

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the TSA created the Alien Flight Student Program, a screening process that requires non-citizens or permanent residents to undergo a “security threat assessment” before being cleared to attend flight school.

The government watchdog found that of the 26,000 foreign nationals who completed flight training in the U.S. between January 2006 and September 2011, “some … had not applied to the AFSP or been vetted by TSA before taking flight training and receiving an FAA airman certificate” and that others “had not been successfully vetted or received permission from TSA to begin flight training.”

Hey, guys, I have a suggestion for you: How about not letting foreign nationals get flight training at U.S. facilities, period?  No more screening that doesn't screen, vetting that doesn't vet, and keep the TSA the hell away from it.  Like, parsecs away.  Or how's this for a compromise?: Don't let Muslims train as pilots at U.S. facilities?  Sound like a plan?

It's things like this that make me wonder why this country still exists, and whether it even deserves to.  It's like Montgomery Scott will say 252 years from now: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

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