Free Syrian Army & The Muslim Brotherhood
After the conference in Brussels, at least three groups were formed "to support the Syrian revolution."|
The organizations continued to hatch, and a few months after the first conference they were present in opposition bodies that later formed the core of the Syrian National Council (SNC), an umbrella group that ostensibly represented all anti-Assad forces.
According to members of the Syrian National Coalition groups that have served as fronts for the Brotherhood include:
the National Union of Free Syria Students, led by Hassan Darwish; the Levant Ulema League; the Independent Islamic Democratic Current, led by Ghassan Najjar; the Syrian Ulema League, led by Mohammed Farouq Battal; the Civil Society Organizations' Union, a bloc of 40 Brotherhood-affiliated groups; the Syrian Arab Tribal Council, led by Salem Al Moslet and Abdulilah Mulhim; the Revolution Council for Aleppo and Its Countryside, led by Ahmed Ramadan; the Body for Protection of Civilians, led by Natheer Hakim; the National Work Front, led by Ramadan and Obeida Nahas; the Kurdish Work Front, led by Hussain Abdulhadi; the Syrian Revolution Facebook page, which decides the names for Friday's protests; the Hama Revolution Gathering; the National Coalition for Civilian Protection, led by Haitham Rahma; and the Syrian Society for Humanitarian Relief, founded by Hamdi Othman.
Other groups that represent outlets for the Brotherhood but are not themselves represented in political bodies include the Arab Orient Center for Strategic and Civilization Studies, headed by Brotherhood spokesman Zoheir Salem, and the Syrian Human Rights Committee, led by Brotherhood representative and the opposition's ambassador to Britain Walid Saffour. A group representing women and children is also led by a daughter of Mohammed Farouk Tayfour, the deputy leader of Syria's Brotherhood.
Additionally, some Brotherhood-affiliated figures denied they were part of the group and joined the SNC as "independents." These include Nahas, the London-based director of the Levant Center; Louay Safi, a Syrian-American fellow at Georgetown University and former chairman of the Syrian American Council (SAC); and Najib Ghadbian, a political science professor who also works at the SAC.
By the winter of 2011, the Brotherhood had greatly expanded its influence. It was not only strong in the SNC -- it had won supporters within the ranks of military defectors and the Local Coordination Committees inside Syria. Before the September conference, around 100 young activists traveled to Turkey, where the Brotherhood gave them media training and provided them with equipment. When the trainees returned to Syria, according to one of the organizers of the opposition meetings, they formed coordinating committees in dozens of small towns and cities to support the movement.
Brotherhood members met with early defectors from the regime's army. As one military defector told me, the Brotherhood asked for their loyalty, and in return, the group promised to pressure Turkey to create a buffer zone along its border with Syria. The effort was unsuccessful, but the Brotherhood later won the loyalty of Col. Riad al-Asaad, who formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA), replacing the secular-leaning Free Officers Movement. After the formation of the FSA, new brigades began to take religious names, instead of names of national figures or areas.
The Brotherhood's influence within the FSA was known to military defectors at the time -- that was why the first Druze officer to defect from the army, Lt. Khaldoun Sami Zaineddin, took the unusual step of joining the Free Officers Movement in October 2011, rather than the FSA.
The Brotherhood continued to pour time and resources into building its influence within the rebel forces. The fighting factions backed by the movement include the Tawhid Brigade, supported by Brotherhood leaders in Aleppo, mainly Bayanouni and Ramadan; some elements in the powerful Farouq Brigades; the Body for Protection of Civilians, considered the military wing of the Brotherhood, led by Hakim; and Ansar al-Islam, based in Damascus and the surrounding countryside.
The Brotherhood has brigades across the country whose names typically include the word "shield," such as the Euphrates Shield, the Capital Shield, and the Aqsa Mosque Shield. It also coordinates in some areas with hard-line groups like Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar Al-Sham, according to military defectors...
Fatwa: Kill Assad. On August 14, 2012, Safwat Higazi
expressed his hope that the Islamic Caliphate would be restored..."
The Brotherhood benefited from its influence in Turkey, Qatar, and Egypt. Al Jazeera, the Qatari-owned satellite behemoth, has polished the image of anti-regime Islamists in its coverage.
The Brotherhood also carefully selected leaders who can be easily controlled or who have minimal leadership skills. According to a member of the opposition coalition, it supported the appointment of the Syrian National Coalition's leader, Moaz al-Khatib, because it thought he could be easily steered as he was a "good-hearted mosque preacher."
Khatib has proved that the Brotherhood underestimated him by unshackling himself from its control, unilaterally announcing a brave initiative for dialogue with the regime. For his defiance, he has since been subject to fierce attacks from the Brotherhood and its allies....
On March 7, 2014, Saudi Arabia took the extraordinary step of declaring the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization. The move came just two days after the kingdom, together with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, withdrew its ambassador from Qatar because of Qatar’s alleged support of Brotherhood interference in internal politics.
Damascus, SANA – Prime Minister-designate Wael al-Halqi hailed the role which the General Union of Syrian Women has played in deepening awareness among women and developing their capabilities in various areas.
During a meeting with members of the Union’s Executive Office on Wednesday, al-Halqi highlighted the Union’s effective contribution to a variety of social and economic development projects targeting urban and rural areas.
“The Syrian woman has asserted her presence through her persistence to gain knowledge and ascend to high-ranking positions,” said al-Halqi.
He added that the Syrian women face uphill tasks at the current stage, which are mainly represented in resisting and confronting the subversive intellectual and cultural invasion targeting the Syrian society and warding off the threat posed to the new generations by the takfiri wahhabi mentality in light of the ongoing terrorist war raging in the country.
For her part, the Union’s chairperson Majida Qteit expressed keenness to be up to the level of those tasks, in addition to putting all possible efforts to contribute to bolstering national unity and further empowering women.
Earlier, the Union called on the international and women's organizations to support the Syrian women and the Syrian people's right to live in dignity and freedom.
It urged in a statement addressed Friday to the women of the world, that the world celebrates on March 8th to stand up to the governments sending terrorists and weapons to Syria so that the Syrian people can live in dignity and freedom.
If ISIS is to be contained or defeated without using American ground troops, it is necessary to examine the regional forces ready to fight it.
There are of course the Kurds, a small group which can perhaps defend its own region, if that. The biggest potential player is Iran. With its majority Shia population Iran takes a dim view of Sunni jihadism; the Iranian population was pretty much the only one in the Muslim world to display open sympathy with Americans after 9/11. By the standards of the Middle East, Iran is a scientific powerhouse, with a large freedom aspiring middle class, and considerable artistic community. According to published reports, Iranian tanks have reportedly engaged ISIS near the Iranian border—probably with American approval.
The other serious force willing to fight ISIS is Syria, led by Bashar al-Assad. His regime is strongly supported by Syria’s Christians, by Iran, and by Hezbollah, the Sh’ite militia in neighboring Lebanon.
Syria has been caught up in civil war of shocking brutality for the past four years. The largest faction opposing him is ISIS—and American arms distributed to the Syrian “rebels” have often ended up in ISIS hands. By opposing Assad, the United States has in effect been feeding ISIS.
It would seem logical that if ISIS really is a threat—a metastasizing terrorist entity and enemy of America and all civilization—then the United States should patch up its relations with Syria and Iran to deal with it.
That’s the advocacy of some groups favoring a detente with Iran (like the National Iranian-American Council), which views Iran as the most stable state in the region.
But there is a problem: Israel hates Iran, and hates Syria because of Iran. The only Arab military force to give Israel any difficulty in the past 40 years is Hezbollah, armed by and allied with Iran.
No matter how much Israel pretends to dislike Sunni extremism, it hates Iran more, because Iran has scientific, cultural, and political potential to be a major rival to Israel in the Middle East.
So the neoconservatives are arguing that the United States confront ISIS by sending in its own troops (“primarily” special forces, or a contingent of 10-15,000 “for now”) but hoping of course that can be expanded upon later, rather than relying on regional allies.
This is essentially a revised variant of the policies they advocated after 9/11 — divert Americans away from confronting a threat from Sunni jihadists, while preparing the ground for a subsequent war with a state actor that Israel doesn’t like.
So the neocons will argue against any policy which contemplates detente with Iran or a lessening of tension with Syria, because they recognize that if the United States comes to view Iran as an ally in the fight against ISIS or other Sunni extremists, their goal of an American war with Iran is gone, probably forever....
Syria's Bashar Assad is not the West's partner in the fight against terrorism but an ally of Islamic extremists wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq, French President Francois Hollande warned Thursday.
"Assad cannot be a partner in the fight against terrorism, he is the de facto ally of jihadists," he told a Paris gathering of ambassadors from around the world. (Naharnet, 27-8-2014)
President François Hollande confirmed in a Le Monde interview on August 19 that France has been directly supplying arms to the “rebels” of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in its proxy war to remove the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
France has been arming Syrian Islamist opposition forces since at least the spring of 2013. According to Le Monde, it provided weapons including 12.7-mm machine guns, rocket launchers, body armour and communications equipment...
"The determination of Bashar al-Assad to cling to power [..] are the roots of extremism in Syria. As long as Bashar al-Assad remains in power, there is no prospect of peace and stability in Syria and the region. Only when the Syrian people control its future will there be a prospect of peace and stability in Syria."
Friends of Syria (Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States, 12-1-2014)
In his Le Monde interview, Hollande underlined France’s determination to intervene in Syria, remarking: “We must not relax the support that we have granted to the rebels, who are the only ones participating [in the war] with democratic intentions.”
Hollande turned reality on its head, claiming the growth of the IS in Syria and its sectarian wars was due to the NATO powers’ decision not to go to war with Assad....
The growth of the jihadist forces in Syria is the direct result of the arming and financing by the CIA, France and the Gulf monarchies as proxy forces to overthrow Assad... France has openly stoked the flames of civil war ever since 2012, when Hollande recognised the Syrian National Coalition—on which the FSA sits, together with representatives of various Islamist groups and liberal opponents of Assad—as Syria’s government.
Flashback 2012: Flashback: "Assad doesn’t deserve
to be on this earth" (Laurent Fabius)
Webster Griffin Tarpley (Press TV 17-8-2012): Assad was supposed to be brought down in July, I think July 18th...: terror attacks to decapitate the Syrian armed forces, the shipping in of thousands and thousands of new death squad members from many other countries, an attack on the currency, the television warfare in its entire campaign... That has now failed. The death squads are losing and the Syrian government is still there...
The US, the British, the French and indeed the Israelis are now apoplectic. That’s what you see with [French Foreign Minister Laurent] Fabius. I would call attention to the language he decided when he says ‘the Syrian regime should be smashed fast and that Assad doesn’t deserve to be on this earth’. This is a language we haven’t heard in Europe since the fascist era....
Interview given by M. Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Consulate General of France in New York
Bashar al-Assad is the murderer of his people. He must leave power – the sooner the better. Until now, the actions taken to that end have come up against two obstacles. The first derives from the lack of consensus at the UN Security Council, because of the Russians and Chinese. The second is military: the Syrian army is powerful. No state is ready today to contemplate a ground operation. The risks of regional contagion would be dreadful, particularly in Lebanon.
While the United States is intensifying its push to build an international campaign against Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militants, Britain and Australia are considered as potential candidates, Reuters reported U.S. officials as saying on Wednesday.
Obama administration officials also said that Washington is recruiting partners for potential joint military action against the al-Qaeda breakaway group ISIS.
“We are working with our partners and asking how they might be able to contribute. There are a range of ways to contribute: humanitarian, military, intelligence, diplomatic,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
Francois Hollande warned that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is not the West’s partner in the fight against terrorism but an ally of Islamic extremists wreaking havoc in Syria and Iraq.
“Assad cannot be a partner in the fight against terrorism, he is the de facto ally of jihadists,” he told a Paris gathering of ambassadors from around the world. Instead, Hollande urged for the arming of opposition to defeat ISIS.
It’s unclear how many nations will sign up. Some such as trusted allies Britain and France harbor bitter memories of joining the U.S.-led “coalition of the willing” in the 2003 invasion of Iraq that included troops from 38 nations. The claims of the existence of weapons of mass destruction which spurred the coalition to act were found to be false.
Flashback 2002-2003: Can George W. Bush be trusted
as he further heats up the rhetoric on Iraq?
Two days after a horrific bomb blast in Bali, Indonesia, Bush, appearing at a Republican campaign rally in Michigan, cited the assault as yet another reason for vigorous prosecution of the war on terrorism. But as he rallied the GOP loyalists, he focused less on al Qaeda and more on Saddam Hussein.
Bush maintained that the Iraqi dictator hopes to deploy al Qaeda as his own "forward army" against the West, that "we need to think about Saddam Hussein using al Qaeda to do his dirty work, to not leave fingerprints behind," and that "this is a man who we know has had connections with al Qaeda."
Bush and his administration have offered no proof of any of this. In fact, less than a week before the Michigan event, the CIA had released a letter noting that it had no evidence that Saddam intends to commit terrorism against the United States... (David Corn, The Nation 15-10-2002)
Chirac: Stability is our responsibility
French President Jacques Chirac said in an interview published Wednesday he knew of no relationship between Iraq and Al-Qaeda and warned that a war on Baghdad could provoke terrorists to stage new attacks. The president said that the feeling of injustice shared by many Arabs watching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could widen if Iraq was also brought into the fray.
"Our responsibility is to look after stability in the Middle East. With the Iraqi crisis, it's the whole region that is threatened," he said in the interview. (Teheran Times, 16-10-2002)
Annan Says Iraq Debate Could Strengthen the United Nations
16 October -- Secretary-General Kofi Annan, in a message to the Security Council's open debate on Iraq, said the Iraq crisis is one of the gravest and most serious facing the international community. But he added, "If we handle this properly, we may actually strengthen international cooperation, the rule of law, and the United Nations, enabling it to move forward in a purposeful way, not only in this immediate crisis but in the future as well." (United Nations Secretary General, 16-10-2002)
The SUN: Chirac is a worm
(The Sun) opened a new front in a war of words with France over Iraq. "Chirac Est Un Ver" (Chirac Is A Worm) blared the Sun's special front-page headline in French above a photomontage of an earthworm bearing his head and crawling out of a map of France.
"We think your president, Jacques Chirac, is a disgrace to Europe by constantly threatening to veto military action to enforce the will of the United Nations in Iraq," the Sun said on the front page of the Paris version, written in French. Chirac is resisting US and British pressure for a war on Baghdad. (Hindustan Times, 22-2-2003)
We are being treated like idiots
The concerted attack on France is shameful and degrading. Cabinet ministers yesterday toured TV and radio studios to condemn President Chirac and accuse the French of being responsible for war. This is hypocrisy run riot and double-think of scandalous proportions. You expect it from newspapers with no principles or morality, but we are entitled to something better from Tony Blair's government.
Tony Blair still fails to understand that one reason the British are so opposed to this war and so cynical about the motives for it is that we are being treated like idiots.
We don't want fake dossiers of "evidence". We don't want lies about the dangers we face. We don't want attacks on people and countries who prefer peace to war. We don't want farcical summits whose only aim is to speed the rush to military action. (The Mirror, 17-3-2003)
According to Lenin, the Soviet government rested “directly on force, not limited by anything, not restricted by any laws, nor any absolute rules.”
In the 21st century the US government has echoed Lenin... Laws do not prevent the US from attacking sovereign countries or from conducting military operations within the borders of sovereign countries.
The latest manifestation of Washington’s Leninism is Washington’s announcement that the US government has no plans to coordinate US attacks on ISIS on Syrian territory with the Syrian government. Washington recognizes no limitations on its use of force, and the sovereignty of countries provides no inhibition.
In Washington coercion has supplanted the rule of law...
The government of Washington’s ally, Israel, has also endorsed Leninism and is using the same principle of boundless coercion against the Palestinians.
Helping a weakened al-Assad regime to consolidate its position in Damascus is not a recipe for sustainable success. The regime can't roll back the Islamic State now -- it is attracting scores of new jihadis every day. Helping al-Assad would multiply the numbers of recruits.
Rather, as in Iraq, Syria needs a new government.
The U.S. had hoped this would be negotiated in Geneva, where an international conference early this year aimed to find a political solution to the Syria conflict, but al-Assad rejected any serious negotiation. His Russian and Iranian allies, estimating that he could survive, and seeing no alternative, made no effort to convince the regime to do otherwise.
Six months later, however, the regime's pillars of support are weaker. There are reports that the regime earlier this month executed three air force pilots who had refused to obey orders. The minority Alawite sect that has backed al-Assad is openly grumbling about heavy losses in an endless war against the moderate rebels and now the ruthless Islamic State.
We need moderate armed opposition leaders in Syria to capitalize on this weariness. We have to boost aid to the moderate armed rebels..
Boosting help to the moderate opposition would compel Russia and Iran to rethink their blank check to al-Assad, especially if there is a better alternative route to contain ISIS.
We should aim to help the Syrian opposition inflict enough pain on the regime so that, despite al-Assad, the regime finally agrees to negotiate a new government...
Robert Stephen Ford (born 1958) is a retired American diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Algeria from 2006 to 2008 and the United States Ambassador to Syria from 2010 to 2014.
Ford played a central role in developing the “extremism threat” scenario including the channeling of military aid to the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels.
Ford was from the outset in the months leading up to the March 2011 insurrection among the key architects involved in the formulation of a US “Terrorist Option” for Syria including the recruitment and training of death squads in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. (Global Research 6-6-2014)
2011: Muslim protest in Hama
Right Web, July 15, 2011
U.S. ambassador to Syria,Robert Ford, was reportedly received with rose petals and olive branches by citizens of HAMA, a hotbed of Syrian resistance where thousands of people were killed when Assad’s father put down an Islamist (Muslim Brotherhood) uprising there in 1982.
The American ambassador Robert Ford, had travelled, with the French ambassador Éric Chevallier to the city of Hama in what Robert Ford said was a gesture of solidarity with local protesters there. Citizens had rallied in the city on 29 July, following Muslim prayers in which a pro-rebel cleric told the congregation "the regime must go".
Hama, an old, well-known nest of Islamists
By Sergei Balmasov, 6 July 2011
Hama is an old, well-known nest of Islamists, who hate secular government. This is a kind of capital for Islamic fundamentalists among the Sunnis in Syria. It was in Hama that bloody coups were attempted in the past — the deadliest of them took place in February 1982.
Events in 1982 were preceded by an attempt on president Hafez al-Assad's life by the Islamists as well as the bloody attack on Islamic students from the local military academy. A real rebellion broke out in the city after months of growing instability. At that time, people were so terrorized by the Muslim Brotherhood that they were afraid to let their children out onto the streets.
However, there was no use of force until the Islamists struck first. The events that took place then in Hama were terrible. A mobile guillotine was fixed onto a truck and driven around the city. The Islamists used it to destroy anyone who somehow displeased them.
Foreign ministers from countries neighbouring Libya met in Cairo on 25 August to discuss the security situation and floundering political process in the troubled country. It was the fourth such meeting since Libya began its slide into anarchy.
The meeting was convened against a backdrop of fierce fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi and heated disputes between the recently elected parliament and the General National Congress (GNC) it was intended to replace.
Foreign ministers of Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Niger, Chad and Sudan attended the meeting, along with the new director of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Arab League envoy to Libya Nasser Al-Qudwa, and representatives of the African Union and European Union.
The participants called for an immediate halt to all military operations in order to support the political process, and for dialogue between political factions that renounce violence with the aim of drafting a new constitution. The ministers underscored the central role Libya’s neighbouring states can play in defusing the situation...
The closing statement of the foreign ministers’ meeting called for a phased reciprocal arrangement in which all militias would lay down their arms.
The statement underscored the need for outside parties to stop supplying militias with weapons....The only arms supplied to Libya should be those requested by the Libyan government and approved by the UN Security Council sanctions committee.
The statement emphasised the need to support the legitimate institutions of the Libyan government, parliament above all, and to rehabilitate the army and police...
The initiative will uphold Libya’s territorial integrity, the principle of non-intervention in Libya’s domestic affairs and the preservation of Libya’s political independence. It will seek a halt to all forms of violence and terrorism in Libya, and to empower the Libyan state so that it can reassert its authority over Libyan soil.
Flashback 2011: Washington and the Civilians of Libya
19. Mar, 2011 by Prof Lawrence Davidson
Whether you believe that the United Nations resolution authorizing extensive intervention in the Libyan civil war is justified or not, and whether you believe that the admittedly eccentric forty two year rule of Muammar Gadhafi over a complex and fractious tribal society has been cruel or not, there is one thing that all objective observers should be able to agree on.
All should agree that the rationale put forth by the United States government for supporting the impending NATO intervention, that this action is to be taken to bring about an immediate end to attacks on civilians, is one of the biggest acts of hypocrisy in a modern era ridden with hypocrisy.
There is, of course, no arguing with the principle put forth. The protection of civilians in times of warfare, a moral good in itself, is a requirement of international law. Yet it is a requirement that is almost always ignored. And no great power has ignored it more than the United States.
In Iraq the civilian death count due to the American invasion may well have approached one million. In Afghanistan, again directly due to the war initiated by U.S. intervention, civilian deaths between 2007 and 2010 are estimated at about 10,000. In Vietnam, United States military intervention managed to reduce the civilian population by about two million.
And then there is United States protection of the Israeli process of ethnic cleansing in Palestine. America’s hypocrisy as Washington consistently does nothting about the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the slow reduction of a million and half Gazans to poverty and malnutrition...
Thus, whenPresident Obama gets up before the TV cameras and tells us that Libyan civilians have to be protected, when UN ambassador Susan Rice tells us that the aim of the UN resolution is to safeguard Libya’s civilian population and bring those who attack civilians, including Gadhafi, before the International Criminal Court, a certain sense of nausea starts to gather in the pit of one’s stomach.
It was Oscar Wilde who once said that "the true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity." I think that politicians learn, some easier than others, to live their lives like this. (Opinionmaker.org 2011)
In the past week, 28 Anbari tribes together rose up against ISIL in the cities of al-Qaim, Haditha, Ramadi, Fallujah and al-Karma, said Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Dulaimi.
"The leaders of those tribes have notified the police and army forces that they will take up arms and take it upon themselves to stand up to ISIL in their cities through individually-planned and -executed efforts," he told Mawtani. "We currently seek to increase co-operation between them and the security forces via a series of agreements."
The "tribal uprising" first began in the city of Ramadi after ISIL members killed a senior tribesman there, he said. Then it spread to other cities, most recently to al-Karma east of Fallujah, he added.
Resistance against ISIL in cities under its control is crucial in weakening the organisation, said Anbar army commander Lt. Gen. Rashid Flaih.
"We are very optimistic about the fact the tribes have taken up arms against ISIL," he told Mawtani. "They are looking to restore their rights from the terrorist group that has killed their sons, flogged others, cut off their hands and carried out sentences the tribes do not find realistic or just."
The army has requested that the tribes provide the security forces with their locations so the air force can distinguish between ISIL fighters and tribesmen as well as provide the tribes with support, he said.
There are some 3,000 tribesmen fighting ISIL in Anbar, Flaih said. "It is a good number which we think could increase since the base of objection and resistance to ISIL is widening in an unexpectedly short timeframe," he said. "It is evident that the tribes are over the phase of fearing ISIL," he added.
The Anbar provincial council is co-ordinating efforts with the army in order to aid the tribes in their fight against ISIL, Anbar council chairman Sabah Karhout said at a Ramadi press conference. Events in al-Karma and other cities indicate that the revolution against ISIL due to the group's brutality and crimes has started, he said.
"We can no longer put up with this handful of criminals who want to slit our necks, grab our money and turn us into slaves at the point of their guns, with which they are quick to kill any person for a reason or for no reason," said Sheikh Hamid al-Fahdawi, chief of the Albu Fahd tribes in Anbar.
"We have decided we had better die fighting than die like sheep, without resistance. [ISIL leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi should know that just as the tribes have never submitted to anybody before, they will not do so with him now. He can ask al-Qaeda, which was here before him."
The tribes are calling on all those who have been misled by al-Qaeda to retract their allegiance to al-Baghdadi and "his gang", the sheikh said.
Anbar governor Ahmed Khalaf al-Dulaimi said the tribes are capable of weakening ISIL, inflicting it with losses and refuting its lies and claims that its enjoys tribal support.
This is an Iraqi spring against ISIL, al-Dulaimi said, adding that it was not the result of any intervention or prior preparation but a spontaneous reaction.
Anbar has been fighting terrorism for a long time. This fight has taken us on a journey of searching and contemplation. We have come to realize that, for us to defeat terrorists, we must first overcome the conflicts and fears within us and open our hearts and minds to others.
We are struggling in this war against the forces of darkness, but we are a people who can see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is thousands of miles away. No matter how dim the light, we hope that it will shine brighter every day.
Iraqis have the right to live in peace. Our young people have the right to enjoy all the wonderful things that life has to offer. And we have a responsibility to give them hope that will empower them to live life to the fullest, to reach out to their counterparts in other nations and to turn away from death and extremism.
We have lost so many brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and friends, of all ages, while fighting this battle. We are proud, and we are fighting because we want to live free, because we want to rid the world of this cancer that has hijacked our religion, because we are concerned that a generation will be brainwashed to glorify death, suicide bombings, beheadings. History will not forgive us if we allow this cancer to spread. It must be stopped.
On February 22nd, John McCain was in Lebanon. He met members of the Future Movement (the party of Saad Hariri) whom he charged to oversee the transfer of arms to Syria... Then, leaving Beirut, he inspected the Syrian border and the selected villages including Ersal, which were used as a basis to back mercenaries in the war to come.
In May 2013, Senator John McCain made his way illegally to near Idleb in Syria via Turkey to meet with leaders of the "armed opposition". His trip was not made public until his return to Washington.
In photographs released at that time, one noticed the presence of Mohammad Nour, a spokesman for the Northern Storm Brigade (of the Al-Nosra Front, that is to say, al-Qaeda in Syria).
Asked about his proximity to al-Qaeda kidnappers, the Senator claimed not to know Mohammad Nour who would have invited himself into this photo. The object of his illegal trip to Syria was to meet the chiefs of staff of the Free Syrian Army.
According to him, the organization was composed "exclusively of Syrians" fighting for "their freedom" against the "Alouite dictatorship” (sic).
Back from the surprise trip, John McCain claimed that all those responsible for the Free Syrian Army were "moderates who can be trusted" (sic).
Libyans show portraits of Al-Aroor (Salafism) & Bin Laden (Al-Qaeda). Adnan Mohammed al-Aroor is a Saudi-based salafi cleric from Hama, Syria. He was seen by some as the non-official face of the anti-government movement in Syria. He favors arming the opposition and a foreign military intervention. (Wikipedia)
Since the start of the uprising, influential radical Islamist ideologues as diverse as al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, exiled Syrian Salafist cleric Sheikh Adnan al-Arour and Lebanon’s Dai al-Islam al-Shahhal have appealed to Muslims to travel to Syria to fight the Ba’athist regime
Al-Qaeda’s Iraq-based affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), and the Algeria-based al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have also interjected themselves into the campaign by publicly declaring their solidarity with the insurgency. (Jamestown Foundation, 13-11-2012)
The situation in Libya is truly alarming. The state has fallen into shambles and chaos roams everywhere. Many people miss the era of the dictator Kaddafi...; law and order reigned and Libya was respected and feared worldwide. Today, everyone pities the country and its people, and parliamentarians are praying for Western countries to come to their rescue.
The picture is grim, the country is back in the Middle Ages, ruled by numerous heavily-armed warlords with different ideologies and approaches to ruling post-Kaddafi Libya, most of which uphold a Salafist form of Islam, in many ways close to Wahhabism. The secularists, though representing a sizeable portion of the population, like in many parts of the MENA region, avoid defying the religious zealots for fear to be considered infidels and, as a result, excommuned.
Realizing that the country is sliding into chaos and falling into the grip of fierce religious extremists, the United States encouraged the retired General Khalifa Haftar to take on the Islamists. With the help of the air force, he launched a battle, which he dubbed karama (dignity), to regain control of the country. But his enterprise, hurriedly-designed and badly-coached, turned into a military disaster, and the Islamists emboldened by their success took control of Tripoli and Benghazi and gave the boot to both the paper government and the national assembly, which was obliged to move to Tobrouk in the east, a city close to Egypt – the anti-Islamist ally.
"Collaborating or dealing with ISIL elements is prohibited because it consolidates the continued project of killing and distorts the image of Islam," the Council of Anbar Scholars and Preachers said in a statement issued following its meeting in Ramadi this week.
The clerics signed a statement to be distributed across Anbar during their meeting. Islam is innocent of ISIL, which must be dealt with as a "force of aggression that occupies our land and should be expelled", the statement said.
The statement, read by council spokesman Sheikh Hatem al-Dulaimi, described co-operation with the Iraqi army as a duty, "to spare bloodshed and to stop the series of crimes that have taken place in the country". "It also helps ward off sectarian strife which that gang tries to ignite in Iraqi society," he said.
ISIL has distorted the image of Islam through its crimes and brutal false beliefs, said council member Sheikh Shaaban al-Obaidi, the imam of Haditha's city mosque. "Our religion is mercy and today ISIL turned it into violence, blood and terror," he told Mawtani, noting that all Muslims must stand up for their faith in the face of these threats.
"The fight against the group and its rejection by Sunnis will serve as a message to the rest of the sects and religions in Iraq" and will help avoid sectarianism, Ramadi mufti Sheikh Hameed Khalil told Mawtani.
All people should boycott and renounce ISIL, and co-operate with the Iraqi security forces in order to expel the group from their cities, he said. Iraqis must contact the security forces with any information they have on ISIL, he said, adding that "he who drags his feet or acts in a cowardly manner has participated in the killing of innocent people".
Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Dulaimi said the clerics' statement marked a turning point in the "war on terror". "Now there is no doubt these terrorist groups do not represent Sunnis or Islam.."
The "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) is conducting a systematic campaign to destroy historical monuments, statues, manuscripts and religious structures in Iraq and Syria in an attempt to obscure Arab identity and impose its extremist views on others, experts told Al-Shorfa.
Since June, when ISIL gained control of Ninawa, it has been destroying relics, religious shrines and tombs, particularly in Mosul and Tal Afar, said Abdullatif Shihab, a historical assets expert and a school history teacher in Baghdad.
"Arabs have a long history in science, literature and all forms of art dating back to before and after Islam to the present day," Al-Azhar University Islamic history professor Hamed al-Zaini told Al-Shorfa.
"Arabs became more open to the world after Islam. They interacted with other nations, particularly in relation to the sciences and the arts, and architecture specifically," he said. "Any attempt to annihilate the historical relics that document these sciences is a crime against the whole of humanity," he said.
"The danger [of what ISIL is doing] and its consequences will not be apparent now, but will begin to emerge gradually over the coming years after the minds of the younger generations are imbued with ISIL's views and teachings instead of the genuine sciences, and the study of historical information [that defines] the authentic Arab identity is prohibited," al-Zaini said.
ISIL starts imposing its ideology by gaining control of educational institutions and curricula, banning books – particularly history, geography, science and religious texts – and imposing other books in their stead, al-Zaini said. These teachings and references "represent the most important part of Arab history and evidence of the greatness of this civilisation", he said.
"However, this terrorist group does not want any trace of history or the past to be left in order to build its own future to suit its whims and expansionist plans."
Generations of Arabs have grown up believing that deeply entrenched ties relating to the reasons for life and the unity of goals — toward liberation and progress to restore national identity — would bring them closer to each other, regardless of the geographical scope and differences of climates and prevailing conditions.
With the beginning of the 20th century, these ties have started to crystallize in the form of a political-ideological principle confirming “Arabism” as a universal identity for Arabs, who have lived for centuries under foreign domination, most notably the Ottoman Empire’s hegemony over the majority of their lands.
In light of the constant struggle against the forces of colonialism and the increasing calls for liberation, independence and resistance to oppression, which lasted for centuries, the national identity has outstripped the religious one...
Arabs had to fight for themselves wars of liberation, to free their lands from the Western colonialism that replaced the Turkish hegemony. Arabism was the strong tie that unified them to achieve the goal of liberation and restore their national identity, despite the Western colonialism that divided their land into geographic "hotbeds" without any basis in history.
Political Islam saw "Arabism" as its sworn enemy. It viciously fought Arabism during its inception. Political Islam fought Arabism instead of rising against Western colonialism — whether the British domination in Egypt and Libya, or the French colonization in Lebanon and Syria. This is not to mention the Maghreb region, including Tunisia, Morocco and then Algeria, which sacrificed millions of martyrs in order to restore their national identity, of which Islam was one of its most important pillars.
Today, once again, political Islam has risen to power by riding on the wave of Arab uprisings. Burdened with the specter of oppression from the past, political Islam came to power, having in mind that Arabism, including nationalism at its core, is seen as a reflection of apostasy. Thus, political Islam has not been reluctant to join hands with the US administration, with a public endorsement from Israel. Political Islam failed to find any reason to be hostile against Israel.
The most remarkable thing is that the Muslim Brotherhood, after coming to power out of nowhere, has adopted the same policy as the Salafists. They have asked for US sponsorship and aid and have been hypocritical when it comes to their true stance toward Wahhabis in Saudi Arabia, who are — theoretically — their ideological opponents, as well as the Qatari Wahhabis. They took advantage of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi and the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, for camouflage and political reasons.
Thus, all factions of political Islam have come together to fight against Arabism... The leaders who raise the banner of Islam seek to evade their national duties, which is to fight the enemies of the nation, which aspire for unity and progress.
What's even more dangerous is that with their slogans and practices today, Islamists threaten the unity of the Arab nation and its aspiration for independence, sovereignty and dignity....
Instead, they are wasting the struggle of generations of mujahedeen, who fought until their last breath for freedom and dignity.
ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) - As Islamic State insurgents threaten the Turkish border from Syria, Turkey is struggling to staunch the flow of foreign jihadists to the militant group, having not so long ago allowed free access to those who would join its neighbor's civil war.
Thousands of foreign fighters from countries including Turkey, Britain, parts of Europe and the United States are believed to have joined the Islamist militants in their self-proclaimed caliphate, carved out of eastern Syria and western Iraq, according to diplomats and Turkish officials.
From Turkey, crossing the 900 km frontier into northern Syria was long relatively straightforward, as the Turkish authorities maintained an open border policy in the early stages of the Syrian uprising to allow refugees out and support to the moderate Syrian opposition in.
That policy now appears to have been a miscalculation and has drawn accusations, strongly denied by the Turkish government, that it has supported militant Islamists, inadvertently or otherwise, in its enthusiasm to help Syrian rebels topple President Bashar al-Assad.
"If Turkey had not opened its border with Syria ... to Islamic State (IS), if so many fighters had not crossed the border into Syria with their guns and equipment, and if this group had not used Turkey as a base, IS could not have amassed its current strength in Syria," wrote columnist Kadri Gursel on Al-Monitor, a news website focused on the Middle East.
One non-Syrian Islamist fighter who joined the Syrian rebel ranks in 2012 said he had crossed the border several times in the early stages of the conflict. "The borders were wide open. We used to get in and out of Turkey very easily. No questions were asked. Arms shipments were smuggled easily into Syria," he told Reuters from outside Syria.
Syria's rebels at the time enjoyed Western backing despite concerns about Islamist militants in their ranks, with Washington providing non-lethal aid and European states including Britain and France pressuring the EU to allow its arms embargo to expire.
Flashback: Salafists Vow to Fight Until
There Is An 'Islamic State in Syria'
By: Tulin Daloglu for Al-Monitor Turkey 16-1-2013
"Rami Youssef" is his revolutionary alias. This young man — aged 18 with dark features and a full, circular beard and shaved mustache in the tradition of the Prophet — has been in Turkey for less than a week. His elder brother said of Rami, "He wants to go back to Aleppo tomorrow and continue fighting."
Speaking to Al-Monitor on Jan. 15 via Skype from his brother's house in Gaziantep, Rami acknowledged that he is from the al-Suddik brigade of the Ahrar al-Sham Battalions (established in late 2011 as a Salafist group)...
"We are an Islamic group, and we want to establish an Islamic country when the [Syrian President Bashar al-]Assad era ends," said Rami.
We will fight until we establish an Islamic state in Syria. Even the 75% of the Free Syrian Army is fighting with this in mind. We don't want it as strict as Saudi Arabia, but we will not let go until we achieve our goal." Rami argues that the fighting in Syria has been sectarian from day one. ... "It’s our jihadist duty.
Moscow, SANA – Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said that terrorism cannot be fought in Iraq while at the same time it is overlooked in Syria, as terrorism should be fought on general bases and without double standards.
In a press conference with Tunisian counterpart Manji Hamidi held in Moscow on Tuesday, Lavrov stressed the need to prevent terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Mali, and other places from reaching their goals and to work on supporting political solutions to crises in these countries.
“Extremists and weapons trading should be fought instead of toppling regimes for political ends like what happened in Libya,” Lavrov said, adding that claiming that some of the extremists are “good” in order to exploit them for personal interests is unjustifiable.
He highlighted that it makes no sense to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist organizaiton in Iraq and at the same time say that there can be no cooperation with the Syrian government to fight this organization in Syria.
Shiite Militias, Baghdad, Iraq 2014
The rapid military advances made in recent months by the Islamic State, the radical jihadist organization that declared a caliphate over territories belonging to Iraq and Syria in June, has yet again prompted US military engagement in Iraq. Pentagon officials have branded the Islamic State as ‘apocalyptic’ and ‘an imminent threat’.
Washington has redeployed some 800 troops to Iraq since June, and the Obama administration has since conducted dozens of airstrikes in support of Kurdish peshmerga fighters and Iraqi Special Forces, who are fighting alongside Shiite militias once at the forefront of armed resistance to the US occupation.
Militias, Aleppo, Syria 2012-2014
Washington is widely expected to expand the scope of its military operation against the Islamic State into Syria, where the Obama administration has supported militias fighting since 2011 to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Muallem, said that his country would be willing to cooperate in fighting the Islamic State... The Obama administration then snubbed Damascus by stating it had no intention to coordinate its actions with the Syrian government. Washington also announced that it planned to ramp up support for ‘moderate’ rebel groups fighting Syrian security forces....
The policy being pursued in Syria – grounded in the strategy that ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ – has not only unnecessarily prolonged the Syrian civil war and intensified the humanitarian calamity facing the region. It is the primary factor that has given rise to the Islamic State and any potential Western military escalation due to follow...
Bashar al-Assad & the Syrian Army
It is a strategic mistake for the Obama administration to press ahead with its campaign of regime change against the government of Bashar al-Assad, who can prove to be a useful ally in the fight against the jihadist militants... Assad clearly commands the majority support of the Syrian public, and his government does not pose a military threat to the US....
By attempting to replace unsavory regimes with more agreeable proxies, the policies of Washington and its allies have worked to fuel radicalism rather than contain it.
Nile Bowie is a columnist with Russia Today (RT) and a research assistant with the International Movement for a Just World (JUST).
Iraq’s prime minister thanked Shiite militias on Monday for helping break a two-month siege by Sunni insurgents on the town of Amirli, a victory speech that showed how the fight against Islamic State extremists is hardening the country’s sectarian divisions.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki omitted mention of the U.S. and Kurdish role in the battle on Sunday. Instead he called the fight “a second Karbala,” drawing a connection to a historic battle that cemented the split between Sunnis and Shiites.
During his speech, he was flanked by Hadi Al Ameri, the minister of transportation and leader of the Badr Corps, a Shiite militia founded in Iran during the 1980s.
An Iraqi army band performs at the main recruiting center during a recruiting drive for men to volunteer for military service in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. Photograph: Karim Kadim/AP
Iraq’s weakened national military has grown increasingly reliant on Shiite militias as well as fighters for the semiautonomous Kurdish region, which is already angling for independence.
From 2005-07 when Iraq teetered on the brink of sectarian civil war, Shiite militias ran death squads that targeted Sunnis. They were accused of ethnic cleansing, driving members of the rival sect out of entire neighborhoods in Baghdad and other cities.
At the same time, Sunnis who formed the backbone of an insurgency blew up Shiite shrines and carried out a campaign of violence against Shiites.
Sunni politicians have voiced loud opposition to Iraq’s reliance on Shiite militias in the past.
“We don’t really have an army. Maliki just created a sectarian army, working with militias,” said Hamid Al Mutlaq, a prominent Sunni politician. “A lot of criminals, killers and bad people were included.”
Even though militia leaders insist they will stop fighting once the Islamic State is defeated, few say they plan to give up their arms or their political influence.
Members of the Islamic State, a violent group of extremists presently terrorizing Iraq and Syria, have released a video threatening President Vladimir Putin and vowing to wage war in Russia's restive North Caucasus.
A video released by Al Arabiya and reportedly filmed in a seized airport in the Syrian province of Raqqa features an Islamic State fighter seated in a military jet, saying:
"This message is for you, Vladimir Putin! These are the aircraft you sent to Bashar [Assad], and we're going to send them to you. Remember that!" "We will with the consent of Allah free Chechnya and all of the Caucasus! The Islamic State is here and will stay here, and it will spread with the grace of Allah!"
Addressing Putin personally, the fighter added: "Your throne has already been shaken, it is under threat and will fall with our arrival [in Russia]. … We're already on our way with the of Allah!"
Russia has provoked condemnation from the Islamic State for seemingly having shielded the Syrian regime through the course of the country's civil war.
Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov took to Instagram on Wednesday to provide the first reaction by a Russian official to the Islamic State's warning, referring to it as a "childish threat."
"These jerks have nothing to do with Islam. They are the blatant enemies of Muslims all over the world. Naive people decided to threaten Chechnya and all of Russia with two aircrafts. They can sit in 2,000 aircraft and still not make it to Russia," Kadyrov wrote.
"I declare, with all responsibility, that whoever gets it into their heads to threaten Russia and speak the name of President Vladimir Putin will be destroyed as soon as he says it," he wrote...
On Tuesday, prior to the video's release, Russia's Foreign Ministry condemned the group's "horrific crimes" in an official statement, calling for China and Western countries to join forces in helping bring an end to the group's reign of terror.
ISIS is not an incomprehensible emanation of Satanic evil, as portrayed by the Obama administration and the American media. It is a product of the policies of the US government over a protracted period of time.
US administrations have sought to build up the most reactionary and backward Islamic fundamentalist forces in the Middle East for many decades.
Throughout the Cold War, Washington mobilized them against secular nationalist leaders viewed either as potential allies of the Soviet Union or as direct threats to the profits and property of American and European corporations.
The CIA financed and mobilized right-wing Iranian Islamists in support of the 1953 coup that ousted the liberal government of Mohammed Mossadegh, which had nationalized the largely British-owned oil industry.
The US cultivated similar forces in Egypt, including the Muslim Brotherhood, to undermine the regime of Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, who nationalized the Suez Canal and sought military aid from the Soviet Union.
In 1977, the CIA backed the coup in Pakistan carried out by Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, who established a martial law regime based on Islamist fundamentalism that lasted until his death in 1988.
The security anchor of American policy in the Persian Gulf region, particularly after the 1979 revolution that overthrew the Shah of Iran, was an alliance with the monarchy in Saudi Arabia, which has long promoted the most reactionary forms of Islamic fundamentalism...
The state of Israel pursued a similar policy, promoting the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in the occupied Palestinian territories as a rival to undermine the (pan-Arab) Palestine Liberation Organization of Yasser Arafat, which it viewed as the main enemy. Out of this effort would emerge Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Islamic fundamentalism became directly linked to terrorist violence through the US campaign of subversion beginning in the late 1970s against the pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan. The CIA, working with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, recruited Islamic fundamentalists from all over the world, trained them in bomb-making and other terror tactics, and funneled them to the battlefield in Afghanistan. Prominent among these was the son of a Saudi construction multi-millionaire, Osama bin Laden...
In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, carried out by a group of predominantly Saudi terrorists, the Bush administration declared its “war on terror” against the former US allies. However, this by no means signified a break with the Islamic fundamentalists, many now operating under the umbrella of Al Qaeda, as later events would show.
There remained a murky connection between US foreign policy and the radical Islamists, most notably in Iraq, Libya and Syria, three countries ruled by secular regimes that had largely suppressed the fundamentalist groups.
Strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) inside Syria could be launched without an invitation from the Syrian government, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday, raising one of the first justifications for foreign military action in Syria without the government’s consent.
Speaking at the start of this week’s NATO summit in Wales, Cameron suggested that under international law, the West does not need an invitation from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to attack ISIS within Syrian borders due to the illegitimacy of his government, according to a report in The Guardian.
Efforts are being made in Congress give to President Barack Obama the formal authority to conduct air strikes in Syria against ISIL. Vice President Joe Biden is now talking, as well, about a concerted and long-term NATO response to the fundamentalist movement, which controls desert territory and some oil resources in eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq.
There are limited grounds for military action in the United Nations Charter and associated treaty instruments to which the US is signatory.
* One is self-defense
So far none of the four parties with claims on governmental authority– the Syrian Baath Party of President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, the Succor Front (Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaeda affiliate), ISIL, or the Free Syrian Army/ Syrian National Council, has attacked outsiders in such a way as to provide for a self-defense clause.
* Another is a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing the international use of force to deal with a threat to world order.
It might be interesting to see if US envoy to the UN, Samantha Powers, could get Russia and China to go along with a narrow UNSC authorization for the use of force against ISIL. Whether the US and NATO like it or not, the likelihood is that an attack in Syria on ISIL by them will benefit the regime of Bashar al-Assad, which is in the best position to pick up the pieces, which is what Russia and China would want. So if Russia and China are smart, they’d go along with a narrow anti-ISIL resolution.
Washington’s unconcern with the post-Axis world order it helped craft via the UN, which forbids unilateral wars of aggression, led to the quagmire in Iraq.
Obama once campaigned on a more lawful and multilateral international policy.
It is important not only that the president receive congressional authorization for a war (that is what it is) in Syria.
Any action should be conducted so as to strengthen, not weaken, international legality.
ISIL is lawless and brutal, and can only be countered by its opposite. Joining it in lawlessness and brutality is to surrender to it, not combat it.
A thousand acres of Palestinian land stolen by the Israeli government – and the world has made the usual excuses.
The Americans found it “counter-productive” to peace, which is probably a bit less forceful than its reaction would be if Mexico were to bite off a 1,000-acre chunk of Texas and decided to build homes there for its illegal immigrants in the US.
But this is “Palestine” (inverted commas more necessary than ever) and Israel has been getting away with theft, albeit not on quite this scale – it is the biggest land heist in 30 years – ever since it signed up to the Oslo agreement in 1993.
This latest land-grab not only reduces “Palestine” but continues the circle of concrete around Jerusalem to cut Palestinians off from both the capital they are supposed to share with Israelis and from Bethlehem.
It was instructive to learn the Israeli-Jewish Etzion council regarded this larceny as punishment for the murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.
“The goal of the murders of those three youths was to sow fear among us, to disrupt our daily lives and to call into doubt our right [sic] to the land,” the Etzion council announced.
“Our response is to strengthen settlement.” This must be the first time that land in “Palestine” has been acquired not through excuses about security or land deeds – or on God’s personal authority – but out of revenge.
We’re back to the same old game. Abbas cannot negotiate with anyone unless he speaks for Hamas as well as the Palestinian Authority. As Israel knows. As America knows. As the EU knows.
But each time Abbas tries to put together a unity government, we all screech that Hamas is a “terrorist” organisation. And Israel says it cannot talk to a “terrorist” organisation which demands the destruction of Israel...
Over the last forty-three years, Israel has created so-called ‘facts on the ground’ in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), in defiance of international law. Since the Madrid/Oslo peace process, successive Israeli governments have continued to colonise Palestinian land at the same time as conducting negotiations.
The extent and scale of Israel’s illegal settlement project across the West Bank, as well as the road network, the Separation Wall, and other ways in which Israel maintains its rule over the OPT, has led some to believe that the creation of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state is impossible.
Perhaps one of the clearest indicators that there is no Palestinian state-in-waiting under Israel’s regime of control is East Jerusalem. Israel has three, inter-related strategic goals for East Jerusalem:
1.To make the claim that Jerusalem is the ‘eternal, undivided Jewish capital’ a physical reality - 2.Increase the Jewish presence/decrease the Palestinian presence (‘the demographic battle’) - 3.Cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank.
Since 1967, Israel has created a number of settlements in the unilaterally expanded city boundaries... The purpose of the settlements, both those close to the Old City, as well as the ‘outer ring’ (or Jerusalem ‘envelope’) has been to make the annexation of East Jerusalem a fait accompli.
As ex-deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Meron Benvenisti commented, the aim of the expropriation of land around Jerusalem just three years into the post-’67 occupation was “to encircle the city with huge dormitory suburbs ‘that would obviate any possibility of the redivision of Jerusalem’”.
Another strategy that has recently come under the spotlight is the targeting of Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem by extremist religious settler movements.
In Sheikh Jarrah, Palestinians are being evicted from their homes in order for religious Jews to move in, a phenomenon described by ex-Tourism Minister – and supporter of the settlers – Benny Elon as “a microcosm of the entire story of Jerusalem”.
Uri Bank, a political activist for the extreme-right Moledet party, described the process and objective in comments made in 2003: “We break up Arab continuity and their claim to East Jerusalem by putting in isolated islands of Jewish presence in areas of Arab population… Our eventual goal is Jewish continuity in all of Jerusalem.”
The Palestinians of East Jerusalem have ‘permanent residency’ status from the Israeli authorities. They are not citizens. In fact, as Attorney Yotam Ben-Hillel put it, Palestinians of East Jerusalem “are treated as if they were immigrants to Israel, despite the fact that it is Israel that came to them in 1967”.
The next time someone tells you that Israel is the ‘only democracy in the Middle East’, ask them why there are over 100,000 children in Jerusalem who were born without citizenship.
A Palestinian ‘resident’ does not need a permit to live and work in Israel, and is also entitled to health insurance and other social rights. However, ‘residents’ do not have the right to vote in national elections, can not automatically pass this status on to their children, and, are liable to having their ‘permanent residency’ revoked – which can happen without appeal or even notification.
For six decades my friends and I have warned our people: if we don’t make peace with the nationalist Arab forces, we shall be faced with Islamic Arab forces. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict will turn into a Jewish-Muslim conflict. The national war will become a religious war.
National conflicts are basically rational. They concern territory. They can usually be solved by compromise. Religious conflicts are irrational. Each side believes in an absolute truth, and automatically considers everybody else as infidels, enemies of the only true God. There can be no compromise between True Believers, who believe that they are fighting for God and get their orders straight from Heaven.
The Zionist movement was created by secularized Jews... Before the creation of the State of Israel, the Zionist enterprise was remarkably free of religious dogmas. Even today, extreme Zionists talk about the “Nation State of the Jewish People”, not of the “Religious State of the Jewish Faith”.
The Arab national movement was always decidedly secular. Some of its most outstanding leaders were Christians. The pan-Arab Baath (“Resurrection”) party, which came to dominate both Syria and Iraq, was founded by Christians.
The great hero of the Arab masses at that time, Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, though formally Muslim, was quite un-religious. Under the leadership of Yasser Arafat the PLO remained a secular body with many Christian ingredients.
So what has happened? How did nationalist movements turn into violent, fanatical religious ones?
In the US, evangelical Christians now play a large role in politics, in close cooperation with the Jewish right-wing establishment. All over the Muslim world, fundamentalist movements are gaining strength. And in Israel, a messianic Jewish fundamentalism is now playing a larger and larger role.
On the eve of the recent war, the commander of the Giv’ati brigade published an order-of-the-day to his officers. It shocked many.
[He] called for a holy fight to fulfill God’s will. Colonel Ofer Winter, who in his youth attended a religious-military school, had this to say to his soldiers on the eve of battle:
“History has chosen us as the spearhead of the fight against the Gazan terrorist enemy, who abuses and curses the God of Israel’s battles…I raise my eyes to heaven and call with you: ‘Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One’. Oh Lord, the God of Israel, make us succeed on our way, as we are going to fight for Israel against an enemy who curses your name!”
If this officer were the only religious fanatic in the army, it would be bad enough. But the army is now full of kippah-wearing officers... The Zionist-religious party and its fanatical rabbis, many of them outspoken fascists, have been working for years to systematically infiltrate the army’s officer corps.
All this leads me to ISIS. With horrible savagery, elevated to a religious symbol, it sets out on its way to conquer the Muslim world.
Does it threaten Israel? Of course it does. If its dynamism holds, it will overthrow the Assad regime and reach the Israeli border, where other Islamic rebels have already shot the first few rounds this week.
With such a menace looming in the north, it seems ridiculous to fight against a miniscule Islamic-patriotic force in Gaza.
There may be very little time left to make peace with the Arab national movement, and especially with the Palestinian people – including both the PLO and Hamas...
Syrians in the Hama province town of Mhardeh told Al-Shorfa they are preparing to defend themselves against fighters from al-Qaeda's branch in Syria, al-Nusra Front (ANF), who in August reached the town's outskirts and began shelling the area.
Residents of the predominantly Christian town said they are taking up arms lest they suffer the same fate as Iraqis in Mosul and Syrians in Maaloula, whose Christian residents were targeted by the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL).
"The situation in the town has been tense since around the beginning of August, when ANF gunmen moved in very close to the town's limit."
"The gunmen have been sniping and shelling the town, which has kept its residents in a constant state of panic..." "They have also targeted the electric power and telecommunication facilities, and a number of residents have been killed and wounded as a result of the daily shelling."
Around 15,000 Syrians live in Mhardeh, which is home to many Byzantine and Romanian ruins and boasts a wealth of cultural and archaeological heritage, Rahhal said, adding that Mhardeh's monastery is one of the most important in the country.
"The town is surrounded by a number of villages and towns that are inhabited by people of all Islamic sects, and relations among all villages have always been good..."
Retired Syrian army colonel Sami Demian, a strategy analyst at Egypt's Centre for Strategic and Regional Studies, said ANF's attempts to seize Mhardeh come in the context of their efforts to "save face" after recent defeats. From a military aspect, the town's location is key, he told Al-Shorfa. By controlling Mhardeh, ANF militants would be able to advance towards Hama and north Homs, he said.
There have been reports -- confirmed by extremist ideologue Saudi Sheikh Abdullah al-Mohaisany -- that ANF chief Abu Mohammed al-Joulani plans to attack Mhardeh, Demian said.
Al-Mohaisany, considered one of the most prominent ideologues of extremist groups fighting in Syria, has repeatedly called to attack Mhardeh...
Saudi jihadi preacher Abdullah al-Mohaisany first traveled to Syria in 2013 to support the “jihad” against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and he quickly made his name by fundraising and propagandizing for hardline Islamist factions on social media.
He worked with all the main Salafi factions in Syria, including the ISIL, the al-Qaeda–aligned Nusra Front, and Ahrar al-Sham, which is part of a larger opposition alliance called the Islamic Front.
When tensions rose between the ISIL and other groups during the summer and autumn, Mohaisany sought to mediate but found his efforts rebuffed by the ISIL. In early January, major infighting erupted between the ISIL and other jihadi rebel groups.
Up until that point, Mohaisany had played his cards close to the chest and kept a friendly tone toward all factions—but now he issued a damning indictment of the ISIL...
He subtly conceded that certain groups in the anti-ISIL camp are not ideologically pure from a Salafi-jihadi perspective... Mohaisany ended his statement by calling on ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to leave Syria and return to Iraq.... He said that those ISIL members who want to stay and fight in Syria should instead join the Nusra Front or Ahrar al-Sham. In that way, they would be able to fight for Islam without causing disputes among the Syrians.
This was in exactly what al-Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had demanded from the ISIL in May 2013, only to be publicly snubbed by Baghdadi. Mohaisany made several glowing references to Zawahiri, even quoting an oblique criticism of the ISIL from one of the al-Qaeda leader’s speeches: “We didn’t come to rule the Levant, but so that God’s law would rule the Levant.” ...
Many rebels have followed Mohaisany’s example in backing the demands of Zawahiri, saying the Nusra Front (Al-Qaeda) should be the main jihadi faction in Syria and the ISIL should return to Iraq.
The ISIL retains significant support among jihadis and has cultivated its own sources of funds and recruits in a younger generation of clerics and fighters. But most senior jihadi leaders are placing their chips with al-Qaeda and the Nusra Front.
Iraq’s outgoing prime minister (Maliki) and speaker of parliament (Osama Al-Nujaifi,) have been offered the posts of vice president, along with Iraqiya bloc leader Iyad Allawi, as Iraqi Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi seeks to announce a new government before a September 10 deadline.
Iraq traditionally has three vice presidents; a Sunni, a Shi’ite and a Kurd. If all three candidates accept, Iraq’s Presidency Council would be missing a Kurdish representative; Allawi and Maliki are Shi’ites while Nujaifi is a Sunni. Iraq’s President, Fuad Massoum, is a Kurd, as is traditional according to the post-Saddam sectarian power-sharing system.
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat Iraqiya bloc MP Maysoon Al-Damluji said: “Allawi has agreed to assume the post of Vice President on the condition that he is given broad powers, particularly within the framework of achieving national reconciliation, the dossier he has been tasked with overseeing.”
“National reconciliation has been one of the major problems facing the country over the past years.., that led Iraq to the situation it is facing today,” she added.
The Iraqiya bloc MP defended Allawi’s conditions in the face of accusations of brinkmanship, maintaining that the moderate Shi’ite figure has a “comprehensive [national reconciliation] project,” and is “accepted by everyone.”
The Iraqiya bloc will also be given two ministerial portfolios by Abadi, however negotiations are ongoing regarding which ministries and ministers will be appointed.
Maysoon Salem Al-Damluji (born 1962) is a liberal Iraqi politician and women's rights campaigner. She was Iraq's Deputy Minister of Culture from June 2004 until March 2006 and is currently a member of the Council of Representatives for the secular Iraqi National List, or "Iraqiya", headed by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Al-Damluji is the president of the Iraqi Independent Women's Group (IIWG). (Wikipedia)
I am very keen to speak about at the moment is the wholesale destruction of our cultural heritage by IS in Northern Iraq.
Cultural knowledge defines who we are and who we can be again. Iraq is not just an Oil field! Other than the terrible human tragedies that are taking place through the actions of IS, our very identity is being stripped away. Ancient monuments and shrines are being completely destroyed. In Mosul the essence of the city is being ‘ cleansed’.
In order to rise again as a strong nation we must have an understanding of where we come from in order to define who we are. If everything is destroyed this will be difficult... ( 'Our End Game – An Iraq that belongs to All of Us', Nina-Iraq, 29-8-2014)
CAIRO, Sept 6 – Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi formed on Saturday an advisory council of scientists and experts to provide technical advice during the implementation of national projects.
"The council includes a selected few of Egypt's scientists and experts who are capable of providing a strategic vision for the state in the future," Sisi said, according to presidential spokesman Ihab Badawi. The president added that the council would provide advisory opinions on projects such as the new Suez Canal development project.
The president added that the council will also contribute to correcting religious speech and upgrading the media's performance as well as improving the quality of education, according to a presidential statement.
The council includes a number of Egyptian scientists in the fields of elementary education, higher education, scientific research, energy, agriculture, geology, information technology, medicine and general health, psychological health and economy.
TEHRAN (FNA)- Having created the “Made-in-the-West” monster of ISIS with substantial input from Persian Gulf Cooperation Council petrodollar cash, Washington says a “core coalition” is now clamoring for war to kill their prodigal offspring. Finding a "renewed purpose and a unifying threat,” the coalition will comprise of the usual suspects: Britain, France, Australia, Canada, Germany, Turkey, Italy, Poland, Denmark and the United States.
aleppo 2010 - 2012 - 2013
US military planners seek to also cobble together a collection of regional states to join the war – almost the same bunch that trained and weaponized “moderate” ISIS monsters, imaginary “Syrian democrats”, and other “good terrorists” to pioneer peaceful democratic dispensations in now ruined Syria.
Ironically, this is also the same “Men in Black” cabal that the coalition sent to Libya in the expectation of installing a democratic regime there. Instead, the coalition, in "Responsibility to Protect" mode, reduced once-stable Libya to a miserable failed state immersed in total anarchy and ravaged by rabid militias in their “Made-in-USA” desert boots, and called it “peace”!
But it’s not all doom and gloom yet: Despite all the vehement talk in Washington, it’s never too late to stop and kill “Caliph Ibrahim”, his mean PR imagery and "off with their heads” special.
The only meaningful resolution to the geo-political turmoil the US is causing is reconciliation with the Muslim world as well as dissociation with terrorist outfits and sectarian demons. Likewise, it must cease seeking to destroy governments, convulse cultures and manipulate Muslim nations through military means and sectarian strife.
Here is the fallacy though: The rise of ISIS, which has nothing to do with Islam, is being “explained” in the West as a natural outcome of Islamic fundamentalism when it could be better described as an intended collusion and predictable consequence of US foreign policy in the Middle East. If not, the “core coalition” can be rest-assured that ISIS cannot be “managed” in its current state, flush with weapons, cash and eager recruits....
The political Islam that the spawn of Washington tries so hard to misrepresent will not go away with relentless bombing campaigns. It is a sense of drift and strategic confusion to assume that political Islam (compassion to fight oppression and aggression) can be bombed away – just like the sectarian/extremist views of ISIS.
If Americans can clear their heads of American innocence, they might realize that in dealing with ISIS they only need to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative...
The fatal flaw in American foreign policy is that political Islam hasn’t been allowed constructive expression and dialogue in the region yet. Such disregard of inconvenient facts is one more powerful reason why the “Men in black” cabal have been able to seize it as a misinterpreted “Jihadist” recruitment tool par excellence to make it heard and felt in their own insane, obscene and “special” ways.
Compassion is not religious business
"Let us never cease to feel compassion for those in want. Let us never tire of helping victims of injustice and oppression. He who puts his faith in the restoration of human dignity cannot be wrong." Poul Hartling, Danish Diplomat & Politician
"If compassion was the motivating factor behind all of our decisions, would our world not be a completely different place?" Sheryl Crow, American Singer/Songwriter
"Compassion is not religious business, it is human business, it is not luxury, it is essential for our own peace and mental stability, it is essential for human survival.” The Dalai Lama
“I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, human liberty as the source of national action, the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas” John F. Kennedy
"True compassion is more than flinging a coin at a beggar; it comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring." Martin Luther King Jr
"The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another." Thomas Merton
"...Why is compassion not part of our established curriculum, an inherent part of our education? Compassion, awe, wonder, curiosity, exaltation, humility - these are the very foundation of any real civilisation, no longer the prerogatives, the preserves of any one church, but belonging to everyone, every child in every school." Yehudi Menuhin
"Until mankind can extend the circle of his compassion to include all living things, he will never, himself, know peace." Albert Schweitzer