Alt Left: Who's White? A Caucasian Roundup, or Ultra-Pan-Aryanism

Thinking Mouse: I didn’t read the article and now see you disagree with me, but I’ll explain why I think this category is appropriate.
Since I’m largely anti-HBD (though the African non-African dichotomy might have some merit), especially to the traits affecting many types of social capital, I really just see race as the social constructs and their origin. So when people look different, that could have an affect on the perception people have, and it used to in the past.
I think its that you are raised in America with its diversity, and maybe your lack of racism has made you accept more swarthier people as fulfilling the roles of good citizens, and therefore get an pass to the all so important group. In my view, by your criteria for an race, we might as well say that an Frenchman with dark hair and large nostrils/bulgy nose is Chinese cause they don’t look “that different”. Blue eyes and pink nipples are almost unique to Whites, that’s like indispensable right there.

Of course Arabs are White, especially North Africans like Moroccans and Algerians. However, there are Black people in those countries and they don’t count. Most Libyans are White. So are most Tunisians and most Egyptians. There are non-White Egyptians in the South. I had an Egyptian girlfriend once who would be more properly characterized as a light skinned Black woman. Light Egyptians and Moroccans openly identify as White.
Most Saudis and Yemenis are White. The Yemenis we have here are all White and identify as White. All Syrians are White and the ones here also identify as White. Palestinians, Jordanians, Lebanese, Iraqis and Gulf types are mostly White. However there are a few Blacks among these people in Iraq and the Gulf. Prince Bandar is not a White man.
Of course Persians and most Afghans are White. Afghans even identify as White. The ones I know told me they are Aryans, the original Whites. But some Afghans are Asiatics, like the Hazara. Most Pakistanis are White, and some even identify as White. There are some non-Whites down in the South, but all the ones I have met are as White as I am.
Many but not all North Indians are White, especially Punjabis, many of whom are as White as I am. Quite a few Uighurs and Nepalis are White, but many are not. Groups like the Mansi are similar and you have to look at them on an individual basis.
Of course Chechens, Azeris, Georgians, Armenians and the rest of the people of the Caucasus are White. Also Azeris, Armenians and Chechens at least identify as White.
Most Turkmen, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks, etc. and many Siberians from around the Altai are best seen as mixed race. Many Tatars and Bashkirs are also mixed race. All of these groups are so mixed with Asiatics that they can’t really properly be called Whites.
I would look at facial and bone structure. Really all Caucasoids are simply Whites. Look at the face and if the face looks like a White person’s face, no matter the skin color, they are White.

Why Trump Is a Disaster: (((Middle Eastern Foreign Policy)))

Zamfir: I’m surprised you have a strong preference for Democrats over Republicans. To me it seems like a hopeless choice. If you vote Republican you’re voting for one set of evil elite interests, but not explicitly against your biology and cultural heritage; if you vote Republican you’re voting for another set of evil elite interests, and explicitly against your biology and cultural heritage.
Hard to pick between those two! What is the real advantage in voting Democrat in your opinion? (I guess I’d vote for Bernie, but then again I’d vote for Trump for similar reasons… Not that I expect either one would ever do much on anything I care about.)

His foreign policy is literally insane. He’s an ultra-rightwinger. Venezuela. Syria. Iraq. Nicaragua.
Trump resigned form the UN Human Rights Committee.
Trump  jacked up the military budget to the extreme.
((Trump))) hates all the enemies of Israel. (((Trump))) ought to just move to Tel Aviv already. (((Trump)))’s the most pro-Jewish and pro-Israel President we ever had. (((Trump))) has caused serious harm to the Palestinians, and he has uprooted decades of somewhat sane policies in the Holy Land in order to back Israel to the hilt. The reason Israel has been acting so bad lately, cracking down on domestic dissidents, massacring Palestinians demonstrating at the border, is because Trump gave them the green light to do so.
Trump loosened the the ROE in Syria and Iraq and civilian casualties increased by 10 times. Trump’s deliberately murdering civilians by the tens of thousands.
Just the other day, Trump bombed Iraqi forces on the border of Syria, killing many of them. Trump loosened the ROE in Mosul, and he killed 40,000 civilians as a result.
Trump openly states that he wants to steal other countries’ oil.
Trump supports ISIS. The Pentagon is protecting ISIS right now. We train ISIS fighters at a base in Abu Kamal. Every time Syrian troops try to attack ISIS, we bomb them! Trump claims he’s fighting ISIS? LOL! Trump is supporting ISIS. We are allowing ISIS to have a large swath of territory in Syria that covers some oil fields. We have bases over there and we refuse to attack ISIS. Sometimes ISIS patrols even drive right by our forces.
Obviously US forces have been embedded with these groups, including ISIS, for some time now. We coordinate attacks against the Syrian military with ISIS. When Syria attacks ISIS, Trump’s military (the air force of ISIS) rushes in and bombs the Syrian army in support of ISIS! Trump tricked a group of Russian, tribal and Christian militias into thinking an oil field was going to be handed over to them.
When these forces went to occupy the oil field, Trump lied and said they were attacking our allies. Our allies the SDF were nowhere in sight. We had told them to leave the oil field. As soon as this group reached the oil field, we started bombing them. At the same time and apparently coordinated, ISIS attacked these forces. This is where this madman Pompeo chortles about killing hundreds of Russians. Yeah. They murdered those Russians in cold blood along with a lot of anti-ISIS militiamen, including many Christians.
ISIS killed a few Russian officers, including generals, with very precise targeting. They also targeted the Russian embassy with very precisely. They could not have done these things on their own. The only reason they were able to kill those Russian officers and attack the embassy is because we had Special Forces helping ISIS carry out those attacks.
We are using the Kurdish YPG and SDF to occupy a large portion of Syria, including most of its oil. So we are helping the Kurds steal Syria’s oil. We are trying to ruin the Syrian economy by starving it of oil funds.
But when the Turkish military attacked Afrin as part of an invasion of Syria to conquer Syrian land and annex it to Turkey, the US supported them to the hilt. Many brave Kurdish fighters were killed by these invaders. The Turkish military was accompanied by militias they called the Free Syrian Army, but all they were were radical Islamists. Many were ISIS and Al Qaeda who just changed their uniforms to fight alongside the Turks.
The Turks have been supporting ISIS to the hilt for a long time now, and we have not lifted one finger to stop them. At the same time we are helping Kurds steal Syrian land, we are helping Turkey slaughter Kurds in Afrin in Syria and supporting their genocidal war against the Turkish people.
Most of the funding for ISIS and Al Qaeda comes from Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Qatar quite openly supports Al Qaeda. ISIS was a project of Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia from Day One. When the Saudis and UAE invaded Yemen, they airlifted thousands of ISIS and Al Qaeda fighters from Syria to go fight alongside the Gulf invaders.
The Houthis fired a missile at a ship full of ISIS and Al Qaeda militiamen and blew up the ship. Trump lied and said it was a civilian ship and accused the Houthis of endangering shipping in the area. Our ships then fired on the Houthi area that shot at the ship.
When Trump attacked Al Qaeda in a botched mission in Yemen, our military came under very heavy fire. Trump responded by leveling the small village we were attacking and killing almost everyone in it, including women and children. Our forces also deliberately blew up houses that had nothing but women and kids in them. But America was freaking out about one dead Special Forces fighter, who probably deserved it if you ask me.
We are occupying land in Syria which we stole and will never leave. We support Turkey conquering part of Syria and annexing it! Trump has been involved in one fake false flag after another in Syria. Trump has been told that these are false flags, and he bombs Syria anyway. His administration is directly involved in the planning and carrying out of these false flags with the monstrous British and the horrific French.
Trump has an extreme alliance with the Saudis, which has resulted in supporting their awful invasion of Yemen. Trump’s also been assisting the Saudis in funneling guns and weapons to the Al Qaeda type Islamists in Syria as part of an alliance with Saudi Arabia. Qatar, UAE, Jordan, Turkey, the US, Israel, the UK, and France have all been supporting the radical Islamists in Syria, including Al Qaeda and even ISIS. All of those countries had intelligence and military advisors directly embedded in those groups, in particular in Al Qaeda. An Al Qaeda commander told us this in an interview with a German journalist.
Trump has helped the Saudis and UAE literally invade Yemen, where they have been conducting a genocidal campaign against the Yemeni people. Trump sold a huge amount of weapons to the Saudis. Trump attacked Qatar and helped the Saudis to isolate them. Trump accused Qatar of supporting terrorism, which is true, but so are our allies Saudi Arabia, UAE and more broadly Jordan, Turkey, France, the UK and even our own government. Trump did this because Qatar had opened up friendly relations with Iran, which caused Saudi Arabia to almost declare war on Qatar. We attacked Qatar because Trump hates Iran.
All of this is to screw Iran. He dismantled the Iran deal and put sanctions back on them.

The Deep Ties Between the Jews and the House of Saud Go Back Over 75 Years

Weizmann_-_Churchill_-_Boss_of_Bosses
In this comment, Churchill got Prince Ibn Saud to agree to let the British put the House of Saud in power in Saudi Arabia in order that they could control Mecca and Medina and to allow the Saudis to become “the Kings of the Arabs.” In recent, Ibn Saud would agree to let Weitzmann invade, conquer and usurp Palestine’s Arabs to create a Jewish Homeland.
It appears to be dated March 4, 1941, but the deep alliance between the British and the vile House of Saud goes way back before that.
 

CIA, Mossad, MI5 and Many Sunni Intelligence Agencies Are Directly Embedded inside Al Qaeda in Northern Syria

The Saudis, Qataris, Jordanians, Emiratis and Turks all work very closely with Al Qaeda and other Sunni Islamists in Syria. In an Operations Center in Jordan on the border with Syria, all these factions work together. In addition, (((US and UK forces))) have been working closely with Al Qaeda and other rebels for a long time now.
In fact, I have solid proof that all of the above governments have military intelligence personnel actually embedded in Al Qaeda in Northern Syria. That’s right, the CIA, MI5 and Mossad all have personnel actually embedded inside Al Qaeda itself in Northern Syria. This information comes from an interview a German journalist conducted with an Al Qaeda commander in North Syria in his cave.
The (((world media))) eventually went to war against this actual journalist, trying to discredit him, but his news is absolutely correct. There were reports that dozens of (((NATO intelligence agents))) were stuck inside Aleppo at the very end. That’s why the (((US))) went crazy with the wild lying at the very end of the battle. (((We))) were deadly afraid that our CIA guys were going to get captured by Assad’s forces in the fall of the city. Pro-Assad news outlets actually published the names of ~20 (((NATO officers))) who were trapped inside Aleppo with Al Qaeda. About a dozen of them were US (((CIA and MIA))).
 

(((Saudi Arabia)))

Unbelievable.
The Saudis have been very closely allied to the Jews forever now. This is one reason why the royal regime is so hated. Any real democracy in Saudi Arabia would end this stupid alliance once and for all. The Saudis talk a tough game when it comes to the Jews, but at the day when they lie down to sleep at night, there’s Queen Esther in bed with ever prince.
The Saudis are traitors to Islam and mostly to Arabism. It’s just sickening the way they lie down with the Israeli dogs. Now wonder they are covered with fleas when you wake up. Lie down with Israeli dogs, wake up with fleas.
In Syria, Jordan, Qatar, the UAE and Turkish intelligence have been working closely with Mossad agents. In fact, these Muslim intelligence operatives are embedded directly inside Al Qaeda where they work directly with the Mossad, CIA and MI5, all of which have agents embedded directly inside Al Qaeda forces in North Syria.

Thank You, Winston Churchill: The House of Saud and the UK, A Bloody Marriage Begun a Century Ago

White the House of Saud was conquering most of the peninsula for the princes around 1920, British warplanes under Winston Churchill were bombing all of these areas, leveling whole cities and massacring countless civilians. Much of the Hijaz was leveled as this region had always hated and the Najdis now in power as the House. All of the gorgeous architecture was leveled by Saud’s Wahhabi warriors from the Najd because the Wahhabis felt that anything but the most drab architecture was sacrilegious. Hijazis were massacred in huge numbers and piles of bodies lay on the ground.
The Najdis had to impose their will be force as Wahhabism had only been popular in the Najd and was widely disliked everywhere else, especially in the Hejaz where a much more peaceful, tolerant and artistic form of Islam (almost Sufi-like) had long held sway. The Wahhabis conquered that whole peninsula at the point of a sword. Everyone who resisted or imposed them was executed. The  death toll was gruesome. Of course the British helped the whole way, offering needed help to kill more civilians and level more sacreligiously beautiful buildings.
At the same time, Iraqis were in armed rebellion against British colonial rule in Iraq. The charming Churchill responded by bombing them with chemical weapons. Yes, not only Saddam gassed Iraqis. The first man to gas the Arabs was Winston Churchill.
Churchill was a real bastard. He was a mean old coot and a reactionary to boot. He was also depressed most of his fat miserable life. He called it his “black dog.” It descended on him most mornings and lasted most of the day. That sounds like melancholic depression, as that is worse in the mornings. He was also a profoundly racist man. Read some of his statements about Jews and Arabs. Pitiful.
Some hero.

Long Past Time to Destroy the Middle Eastern Plagues in Our Midst

It’s a (((tumorous growth))) at the heart of our very existence as a state. The only things you can do with a tumor are cut it out with a knife, radiate it or poison it. However you do it, you have to kill it one way or another.
While we are at it, it is long past time to excise the Saudi and Gulf cancer in our midst. That’s almost worse than the Israeli one. And this notion that the Sick Man of Europe for many centuries, one of the worst countries on Earth, the resurgent Ottoman Empire formerly known as Turkey, is one of the US’ closest allies is going to drag us down like an anchor of death. You lie down with nations of dogs, you get up with an infestation of political bubonic plague on your shores, replaying the fated landings in Sicily of those deadly ships 3/4 of a millenia ago.
It was 770 years ago, or it was next year. The plague came at night from Genoa, on ships of death, to the shores of Messina. It was dark as the sky above. The people waited but did not know. It was over before they knew what hit them.
The people gathered to the shore that warm October night, cheering as the death ships slowly moved into port. The cheers were stopped dead in their throats when they soon realized that most of the sailors on board the ships were already dead. The rest were deathly ill and could not keep any food down. Worst of all, they were covered with pustulating wounds of oozing sores. The panicked authorities ordered the death ships back to sea, but it was too late.
The sickness came from the South, the Mediterranean. Really it came from the East, where just a few years before it had blasted a trail from China to Palestine.
Their Plague came from East, and so does ours. From the East, where life is cheap, blood is hot. and mercy is scarce and weak with the exile of the Church from its native soil.
Within only seven years, the Dark Night had spread across all of Europe. It would not be before long 20 million humans, fully one third of Europe, lay dead.
The plague-carrying ships of today carry our Middle Eastern allies and their noxious citizenry infected with blackened political death. The dark Middle Eastern buboes and their fellow travelers move slowly inwards to the heartland draped of black robes and carrying scythes. In the Flyover States, the reapers of the Near East are welcomed with cheering crowds. Little to they know that they raise and roar for their very own doom.
Lie down with dogs, wake up with deadly fleas. Famous last words of ‘Murrica.
United States of America 1776-2017. RIP.

We cannot allow our friends in the Middle East and Persian Gulf to play our hand for us, for it is all too often in their interests to have us come fight their wars, which are not necessarily our wars.
The Israeli cancer, in the body of the United States, has spread so much that there are only two outcomes;
1. The patient will eventually become so corrupt that it will die a moral death, or
2. The cancer will be surgically removed. That means all ties to the cancerous state of Israel must be severed.
We are fast approaching the first one and if we want to avoid this outcome, we the people, must rise and demand our gutless representatives to think of America first.
Our leaders need to take care of the Americans first. We must stop our expansionist policies in the world. They need to ask questions of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department, such as; why are we in Africa? what national interests do we have in that far away land. (49 of the 63 countries have American forces present). Why are we in the Middle East? Before the creation of the Zionist state of Israel, Arabs, Jews, and Christians lived in harmony. Since its creation, the British, the French, and now the United States has caused mayhem in those countries. Now, Muslims are fighting Muslims while Israel enjoys the freedom every individual must have.
The Pentagon and the weapons industry have gone amok. The industry makes new weapons and the Pentagon is eager to try them out at the expense of innocent people. The Golden Rule that, “do unto others, what you want them do unto you” has been turned upside down. Now we “do unto others (Muslims) what we don’t want them do unto us.”
If we don’t come to our senses, there is going to be a big payback someday. Mark my words.

We either kill this cancer or it kills us all. Doesn’t seem like much of a choice, does it?

The "Iranian Expansionism" Lie: How the US and UK Have Joined the Gulf Arab War against the Shia: The Cases of Iraq and Yemen

Iraq

Iraq is the latest flash point. This is not a case of Iranian expansionism either. Saddam somewhat repressed the Shia, although millions of Shia were Baath Party members, and most of the army were Shia.
When the US military rolled through the Shia cities of the South during the Gulf War, they expected a warm welcome. It was the other way around. A convoy would be driving down a street in Nasariyah with nary a problem in sight. They got halfway down the street when the whole street opened up on them with automatic weapons and RPG’s. Most of them were hiding on rooftops. These were Shia Baath Party people, Shia Iraqi military veterans and also a lot of Shia who were simply Iraqi nationalists who would rather live with Saddam than be conquered by foreign invaders.
Of course, our criminal, Nazi-like war of aggression against the Iraqi people resulted in the overthrow of Sunni rule. With democracy, obviously a Shia government was elected, as 60% of the population is Iraq is Shia. The US and Israel are now screaming that Iraq is a case of Iranian expansionism. The Hell it is. It’s a case of democracy! The Shia are the majority, so democratic elections of course elected a Shia government. Democracy in action. I guess the US and Israel are opposed to democracy now?
Of course the new Shia government has friendly ties with Iran. The Shia Alawi government of Syria also has close ties with Iran. The Shia Hezbollah in Lebanon has close ties with Iran. None of this is “Iranian expansionism” or “Iran conquering the Arab world.” Instead these are Shia populations in the Arab World who have formed a natural and normal confessional alliance with Shia Iran. Shia are going to ally with Shia. What do you expect them to do?

Yemen

In Yemen, the Shia are 45% of the country. This group is called Zaidis, and they are barely even Shia. They only differ from Yemeni Sunnism on one or two things. While most Zaidis call themselves Shia, some call themselves Sunnis, and others say that they are both Sunni and Shia. So the sect isn’t even pure Shia according to their own members.
A tribal group in the north called Houthis who are mostly Zaidi launched a very popular civil war from the north all the way to the south of the country, eventually overthrowing the government. The US- and Saudi-installed president, a man named Hadi, was airlifted out to Saudi Arabia where he continued to insist that he ran the country. Hadi was very unpopular, and frankly most Yemenis hated him.
The Houthi revolt had the support of the majority of Yemenis. The Yemeni Army was loyal to a former president named Saleh, who was also a Houthi Shia. Most of the Yemeni Army, 70-80%, went over to the side of the Houthis. So the vast majority of the army goes over the side of the armed revolution that overthrows the state, and the revolution is still not legitimate? Well, when is a revolution legitimate then?
The US went along with this folly and insisted that Hadi was still the real president of the country. Well, no he wasn’t. Ever heard of a revolution? When an armed revolution happens and overthrows the government, the new armed group is the new government. I would say they are even under international law. Revolutions have been a legitimate way to overthrow states forever now. Or do we now say that all revolutions are illegitimate? Would that apply to our own revolution then? That would have to be illegitimate too, right, because the US says that armed revolutions cannot install legitimate governments?
The remaining 25% of the Yemeni Army started fighting the Houthis, but they were close to defeat. Suddenly, the Saudis, UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, and Sudan all jumped into the war and attacked Yemen. They invaded Yemen, a sovereign country. That’s a Nazi like war of aggression, illegal under international law. Yet the US and UK gave full support to this invasion.
Since that time, the Saudis have been bombing all over the country. The Saudi and UAE militaries also invaded, but they did not get far. They set up a few garrisons, but they came under constant attack and suffered heavy casualties. The Saudi military is terrible and is not capable of fighting any war. The UAE military is about as bad. The US has been supplying intelligence and command and control facilities to the invaders from the beginning. At least 10,000 Yemenis are dead at the hands of the US and the UK in this sickening war. Whenever the Saudis start running low on bombs, we rush-deliver more bombs to them.
Al Qaeda has a large presence in Yemen, and they quickly waged war against the Houthis and Saleh’s army. The Gulf states have been funneling supplies to Yemeni Al Qaeda ever since the invasion, using them to help overthrow the Shia Houthis. When the war started, Saudi Arabia and the UAE flew 300-400 ISIS and Al Qaeda jihadis from Syria down to Yemen to fight against the Houthi. The UAE and the Saudis continue to run jihadis into Yemen, typically by ship. The Saudis have never launched one attack against the Al Qaeda and ISIS in Yemen, and the US has had a quite but not completely hands-off policy too, as the US and UK are using ISIS and Al Qaeda in Yemen to overthrow the Houthi.
The Houthi takeover had nothing to do with “Iranian expansionism.” That’s a paranoid lie of a fever dream. The Shia are 45% of Yemen. The Houthis have always been very popular in Yemen. In fact, the Shia Houthis ruled Yemen for centuries with no problems whatsoever. Even many Sunni Yemenis say they support the Houthi because they say that the Houthis know how to run the country. The Houthis have some friendly relations with Iran, but it boils down to little more than moral support. US and Israeli charges of the Iranians running weapons to the Houthis appear to be complete lies.

ISIS Attacks Iran, and the "Qatar Shunned by Gulf as Sponsor of Terrorism" Lie

Here.
This is part of ISIS’ endgame – unleashing total civil war in Iran with the goal of conquering the nation. This is one of the principal goals of the organization.
That’s pretty serious. Bottom line is blame the Gulf Arab states for this attack. This is what the Saudis, Bahrainis, UAE and Kuwaitis want. It’s all about “get Iran.” The pitiful and laughable Trump tour of Saudi Arabia recently where he gained the support of the Gulf in the war on terrorism is a joke! The US then signed a deal to sell the malign Saudis billions more in weaponry.
Oh and the deal was the the weaponry from US weapons manufacturers which was said to be made in the US was then shifted over to Saudi Arabia! So the weapons we are selling them won’t even create jobs in the US. Trump exported a huge amount of US jobs! Not a single word this pathological liar of a President says can be trusted.
Then Trump tweeted about how Qatar is failing in the war on terrorism and how the Gulf countries are cutting off ties with Qatar due to Qatar’s ties with terrorism. This is laughable! Yes Qatar has ties to terrorism, but so does Kuwait, Bahrain and especially UAE and Saudi Arabia, two of the worst. So the Gulf nations are forming a “common front against terrorism” against Qatar and the US is going along with this phony, lying charade. Pitiful! And not one US MSM outlet will ever tell you the truth about what is going on over there. Since none will, I will do that right now.
As I said, the other Gulf countries sponsor just as much terrorism as the Qataris. The reason for the “anti-terrorist: shunning of Qatar is because in recent days, Qatar has developed close ties with Iran. Now how this ties in with Qatar’s support of the Al Nusra Front (Al Qaeda in Syria) and their war against the Shia, I have no idea.
 
Another problem is that Qatar is very friendly with the Ikhwan or Muslim Brotherhood. Yes this is a fundamentalist Islamic organization but it is a huge group with vast support across the Arab World. In the last Egyptian elections, the MB won 75% of the vote. That’s how popular they are in Egypt.
Hamas is actually the Palestinian branch of the MB, a fact that they try to keep on the down low because Palestinians are some of the most secular people in the Arab World and the MB has never been very popular there.
The MB has significant support in Jordan where they are seen as a threat to the dictatorship. Much of Parliament is made up of MB people.
The MB is frankly who is running the entire war in Syria against the Assad regime because the MB has always been the major opposition group in the land. The MB simply dissolved into countless jihadi groups which  have proliferated across the land during the civil war, including Al Nusra and ISIS, both of which have MB roots. The MB has also been a significant factor in the civil war in Iraq.
Saddam repressed them to some extent, but after the US conquered Iraq and turned it into a US colony, the MB was legalized and had quite a bit of support.
Al Qaeda itself was created by MB radical preachers exiled from Egypt and Syria who came to Saudi Arabia in the 1980’s on and mingled with the Wahhabis, who were largely quietist at that time. This toxic stew brewed for a long time under it cooked up a dish called Al Qaeda. In that sense, Al Qaeda definitely has MB roots.
Although they share the same beliefs, the MB is very heavily repressed in Saudi Arabia and UAE and I am not sure of its status in Bahrain and Kuwait. The MB is very popular in Saudi Arabia, and the problem is more that the Saudis see them as a threat to Wahhabi power of the Royal Family.  There is a similar problem in UAE.
On the other hand, Qatar has long been friendly to the MB. This is why Hamas for a long time had one of their major headquarters in Qatar. However, with the mess in Egypt with the MB winning elections followed by the military coup by General Sisi, the Gulf states have gotten a lot more worried about the MB.  Recently Hamas was forced to vacate their long held offices in Qatar due to pressure from the other Gulf states. However, Qatar continues to have friendly relations with the MB, so Qatar is now on the enemies’ list of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Jordan and Egypt because they fear and hate the MB.
The MB does have terrorism ties but not in a formal sense. The MB itself renounced armed struggle and is sworn to take power peacefully. However, it is constantly producing radicals who spin out of the organization and take up arms to join the jihadi groups. At that time, they are not formal members of the MB anymore. And former jihadis spin back into the MB on a regular basis. So the MB is not a terrorist organization so much as an incubator for jihadis and terrorists. Hence, the shunning of Qatar for its close relationship with “the terrorist MB” was another one of the laughable, fake and lying  reasons for the shunning. This was reported with a straight face by the “free press” in the US.
They’re lying to you. Every day. All day long. They’re lying to you. Get it in your heads. The US MSM is a formal propaganda system as effective or more so as the propaganda media systems in Communist countries.

The Hell with the Pentagon

As the agency which enforces US foreign policy at gunpoint, the Pentagon has always blown.
First of all, there is no such thing as the Defense Department. When has the Pentagon ever defended the country? Pearl Harbor? They did a fine job there, huh?
Obviously the task of the Pentagon is not to defend the US mainland, which is all it ever ought to do anyway.
Its task is to running around the world starting wars and killing people in other countries. Leaving aside whether that is sometimes a good idea (and I think it is,) what’s so defensive about that?
The real name of the Pentagon is the War Department.That’s what it was always called until World War 2, which the War Department won. After that in a spate of Orwellian frenzy, we named an army of aggression an army of self-defense and comically renamed its branch the Defense Department.
It’s like calling cops peace officers. You see anything peaceful about what a cop does in a typical day? Neither do I?
There was a brief glimmer of hope there in WW2 when we finally starting killing fascists and rightwingers instead of sleeping with them, but the ink was barely dry on the agreements before we were setting up the Gladio fascists, overthrowing Greek elections and slaughtering Greek peasants like ants.
Meanwhile it was scarcely a year after 1945 when the US once again started a torrid love affair with fascism and rightwing dictators like we have always done. We were smooching it up right quick with Europe’s fascists, in this case the former Nazis of Germany (who became the West German elite), Greek killer colonels, Mussolini’s heirs, actual Nazis in Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, Jew-Nazis in Palestine, Franco (who we never stopped sleeping with anyway), Salazar, the malign Mr. Churchill, the true repulsive Dutch royalty and disgusting European colonists the world over, who we showered with guns and bombs to massacre the colonized.
In 1945, a war against fascism, reaction, Nazism and malign colonialism had ended, and for some reason America had fought against these things instead of supporting them as usual.
1946, and we were back in old style again, hiring Nazis by the busload for the CIA, overthrowing democratic governments and putting in genocidal dictatorships, becoming butt buddies with fascist swine everywhere.
So you see we have always pretty much sucked. World War 1 was fought amidst one of the most dishonest propaganda campaigns the world had ever seen, the Korean War was a Godawful mess where we turned North Korea to flaming rubble with the population cowering in caves while slaughtering 3 million North Koreans.
The horrific catastrophe called the Indochinese Wars, such as the Vietnam War, the Secret War in Laos and the Cambodian Massacre, where we genocided 500,000 Cambodians with bombs, driving the whole place crazy and creating the Khmer Rogue.
Panama and Grenada were pitiful jokes, malign, raw, naked imperialism at its worst.
The Gulf War was a brief return to sanity but turkey shoots are sickening.
Of course that followed on with the most evil war in US history, the Nazi-like war on aggression called The War on the Iraqi People (usually called the Iraq War), the Afghan rabbit hole which started out sensibly enough but turned into another Vietnam style Great Big Mess.
I suppose it is ok that we are killing Al Qaeda guys and I give a shout out to our boys over there fighting ISIS or the Taliban and Al Qaeda in South-Central Asia, Somalia and Yemen. Some people need killing.
But I sure don’t feel that way about their superiors, the US officers who fund and direct ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc. out of an Operations Center in Jordan with Jordanian, Israeli (!), Saudi, UAE, and Qatari officers.
And it was very thoughtful of the Pentagon to cover up the Ukrainian Air Force shootdown of the jetliner which we saw on the radar of our ships in Black Sea.
And it was nice of the US to relay the flight path of the Russian jet to the Turks 24 hours in advance so they could shoot down that Russian jet and kill that pilot.
One hand giveth and the other taketh away. For every good thing we do in Syria and Iraq, we do 10 or 20 bad things. Pretty much the story of the Pentagon.
Sure if you fought in WW2 or one of the few other decent wars, you have something to be proud of, and I can even say, “Thank you for your service,” but the main thing is that you signed up for the rightwing army of the rich that is dead set against the people and popular rule everywhere on Earth. Sure, it’s a great army, professional, super-competent and deadly, but it’s generally tasked with doing lousy things. Why anyone would sign up for that reactionary nightmare of an institution is beyond me. America needs to level the Pentagon and put in a true People’s Army instead. Like that would ever happen.

Casteism Compared to Ordinary Discrimination

Jason Y writes:

Certain families are in the USA, not East Indian but regular Americans, are divided into uppity and so, so and poorer groups. The poorer groups might live in a trailer, are more likely to smoke cigarettes and do drugs.
So the question is, “Why criticize India, when people in the USA divide themselves harshly by caste, simply cause those who don’t do illegal drugs, smoke cigarettes, or are involved in a rough culture, cannot mesh well health worshipping Yuppie types? Conflict in inevitable.
Have you ever been around real Yuppies or whatever they’re called? Well, for one thing, they’re incredibly bossy and preachy. They try to parent even other adults like they’re not of sound mind when they are. They’re into overkill on parenting, not even letting kids drink soda or play video games, also controlling all their time so that the kids cannot even breathe. 😆

I haven’t met too many yuppies who were as insular and uppity as those Gujaratis. I mean they will not even talk to a non-Gujarati as far as I can tell. How many yuppies are like that.
There is no casteism in the US. In fact, all racial discrimination is illegal and the US has a department that goes after job discrimination and if your business is big enough, believe me they do go after this. Also housing discrimation is illegal in the US, however, the funds have been gutted for this.
The US is one of the least racist multicultural countries on Earth. Name some other multicultural countries that have less racism than the US. I am waiting.
You cannot compare casteism to much of anything else on the face of the Earth. It is quite different. The only comparison might be the Jim Crow South or Apartheid South Africa or maybe Israel. I want you people on here to tell me about some other countries where any sort of racial or ethnic discrimination is anything close to casteism. I cannot think of any right off the bat. The situation of Koreans and Burakamin in Japan is not good, and the Buraku situation is basically a caste one, but is it anything like caste in India?
PS. You cannot use caste in Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh to compare to caste in India as it is all the same thing.
The Shia are not treated well in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, but is it close to the casteism of India?
Yes there is discrimination against Whites in South Africa, but does the situation of Whites resemble that of Dalits?
There is severe discrimination against Haitians in Dominican Republic, but is it as bad as Indian caste?
There is some pretty serious discrimination against Muslims in Myanmar right now that is on the level of casteism perhaps.
The Pygmies and Albinos are treated horribly in Africa. Perhaps that is on the level of caste in India.
Yes there is discrimination and racism against Indians in Chile, but is it on the level of Indian caste? I think not. There is similar but much worse discrimination against Indians in Peru, but it’s mostly the Whites who do it, and it’s not as bad as Indian caste. Also the new President is an Indian and he doesn’t support this discrimination at all.
I would agree that the slaves in Mauritania and other parts of Africa is a very similar situation to casteism in India. In fact, Dalits may have it better than African slaves.
This whole Indian line of saying that “all nations have caste” is just insane. The Indian caste system goes far beyond whatever sort of racism and discrimination exists in most parts of the world. There’s just no comparison.
I would also like to point out that Jason Y here, a liberal, is running interference for and whitewashing one of the most vicious and evil systems of discrimination on Earth. That’s not very liberal of him.

US Seeks “Safe Havens” in Eastern Syria

From Global Research.
The Americans are getting more and more insane by the day over there in Syria, and it looks like the neocon dream is starting to come true. What is going on here is that the US’s pals, ISIS, Al Qaeda and all of the other groups who more more less share their same philosophy, are starting to get badly beaten on the battlefield. In particular, the situation in Aleppo looks very bad.
That is why John Kerry, Turkey,Saudi Arabia and Qatar just poured weapons into Al Qaeda’s hands and assembled 10-15,000 fighters to flood into Eastern Aleppo. Every day, more and more Al Qaeda type jihadis come in from Turkey.
Not long ago, the Saudis flooded Syria with 3,500 Al Qaeda type jihadis from Turkey. A similar large force of Al Qaeda types is in the Jordanian border where they have been moved from their training camps in Jordan. It is at these camps that US military advisors train Al Qaeda type jihadis for war on Syria.
The weapons come from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the US. The weapons from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are given to them by the US, whereupon they are then flooded into the Syrian battlefield. So ISIS and the Al Qaeda type groups are all using US weaponry. In addition, the CIA runs large quantities of weapons in via Turkey to its favorite jihadists. It doesn’t really matter who the CIA gives the weapons to. The weapons all end up in something that amounts to an arms bazaar inside Syria where they are distributed to any group that has the money to buy them. It is in this way that the CIA supplies Al Qaeda and ISIS with much of their weapons.
So our Al Qaeda pals are getting beaten on the battlefield by Syria, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia. The US is panicking because its Al Qaeda buddies are losing the war. If Aleppo falls to the Syrian regime, the war may be nearly over for the rebels. Nevertheless, it will probably continue on for as long as the US, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar continue to pour men and weaponry into the conflict. They can feed this thing for many years.

US Seeks “Safe Havens” in Eastern Syria

By The New Atlas
Global Research, August 22, 2016
The New Atlas 22 August 2016

Region:
Theme:
In-depth Report:
US-Syria
Tensions amid Syria’s conflict has escalated with warnings by the United States that it would use force against Syrian aircraft operating over their own territory. The US claims to have aircraft operating over Syrian territory and ground forces below, mainly in and around northeastern Syria near the city of Al-Hasakah. 
CNN in its article, “Top US commander warns Russia, Syria,” would report that:

In the most direct public warning to Moscow and Damascus to date, the new US commander of American troops in Iraq and Syria is vowing to defend US special operations forces in northern Syria if regime warplanes and artillery again attack in areas where troops are located.


Unlike Russian and Iranian forces operating in Syria, US forces have not been authorized by Damascus to enter Syrian territory. US operations in Syria violate Syria’s territorial integrity and constitutes as violation of international law.
And while US military and political leaders attempt to portray this most recent confrontation as a matter of US self defense, in reality it is the fulfillment of longstanding US policy papers that have called for the establishment of so-called safe havens and no-fly-zones (NFZ’s) over parts of Syria as an intermediary step toward regime change, the stated objective of the US government in Syria.
In 2012, the following year of the Syrian conflict’s beginning, a Brookings Institution paper titled, “Assessing Options for Regime Change,” would state:

An alternative is for diplomatic efforts to focus first on how to end the violence and how to gain humanitarian access, as is being done under [Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s] leadership. This may lead to the creation of safe-havens and humanitarian corridors, which would have to be backed by limited military power. This would, of course, fall short of U.S. goals for Syria and could preserve Asad in power. From that starting point, however, it is possible that a broad coalition with the appropriate international mandate could add further coercive action to its efforts.

Here, US policymakers are admitting that the use of “humanitarian” concerns is a cynical steppingstone toward more direct military intervention. The unfortunately reality of this strategy, as seen in Libya, is that US “humanitarian wars” end up costing a vastly larger toll in innocent human life than the alleged abuses cited to initiate the war in the first place.
This plan of using humanitarian concerns to incrementally establish a foothold in Syrian territory through safe-havens and NFZ’s would constantly evolve, be updated and revisited throughout the entire duration of the Syrian conflict.
America’s True Intentions in Syria 
More recently, The Brookings Institution’s “Order From Chaos” blog published a post titled, “What to do when containing the Syrian crisis has failed.” Brookings policymakers discuss in it once again the prospects of establishing what would effectively be NFZ’s:

We must also be clever about employing various options for no-fly zones: We cannot shoot down an airplane without knowing if it’s Russian or Syrian, but we can identify those aircraft after the fact and destroy Syrian planes on the ground if they were found to have barrel-bombed a neighborhood, for example. These kinds of operations are complicated, no doubt, and especially with Russian aircraft in the area—but I think we have made a mistake in tying ourselves in knots over the issue, since there are options we can pursue.

Brookings  policymakers also revisit the notion of establishing “safe-havens” claiming:

…we should push the debate about what creating safe havens really means. I don’t think we should start declaring safe havens, but rather try to help them emerge. The Kurds are making gains in Syria’s northeast, for instance, as are some forces on the southern front—so, if the United States, in cooperation with its allies, accelerates and intensifies its involvement on the ground in those areas, safe havens can essentially emerge. An important advantage of this approach is that it doesn’t require putting American credibility on the line, but does help local allies build up and reinforces successes on the ground.

Here, Brookings specifically mentions Syria’s northeast. It should be noted that none of this is being discussed by US policymakers in the context of fighting terrorist organizations like the self-titled Islamic State or listed terrorist organization Jubhat Al-Nusra. Instead, it is clearly within the context of seizing Syrian territory toward the end goal of regime change, with the Islamic State and Al-Nusra merely pretexts for US forces entering and operating within Syrian territory.

Similar attempts to create such safe-havens are in motion in Syria’s south, with British special forces now allegedly operating on the ground to incrementally “accelerate and intensify” Western involvement on the ground.
It is the literal fulfillment of the plans recently laid out by Brookings policymakers.

Displacing US Forces from the Game Board 
With US-supported militants being pushed back in and around Syria’s northern city of Aleppo and prospects of Western-backed militants succeeding elsewhere throughout the country increasingly unlikely, the creation of safe-havens and NFZ’s over parts of Syria directly by Western forces remains a last but desperate option.
Displacing US and British forces on the battlefield with an expansion of forces from among Syria’s allies could finally see these last game pieces in play by the West pushed off the board entirely.
Diplomatic efforts appear to be underway with Syria’s Kurds in particular to encourage them away from what will be a self-destructive geopolitical move made only to Washington’s benefit. Providing alternatives to Western training and support for Kurds and other local forces in the northeast in a genuine fight against the Islamic State and other foreign-backed militant groups operating in Syria could also help eliminate clashes the US may use to cynically escalate the conflict into a direct confrontation with either Syria or Russia (or both).
US strategy in Syria is based on 5 year old plans that even 5 years ago were difficult if not impossible to implement, fraught with risk and even should they succeed, left a long and difficult road ahead of US ambitions in Syria and throughout the region. 5 years later, however, these difficulties and risks have only increased. That the US is still exploring this last and poorest option indicates a bankrupt foreign policy wielded by an increasingly unbalanced world power.
Careful diplomacy and expert strategic maneuvering by Syria and its allies will be required to avert Syria’s conflict from plunging deeper into tragedy, and ironically, may also help the US from tilting over further out of balance.
The New Atlas is a media platform providing geopolitical analysis and op-eds. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
The original source of this article is The New Atlas
Copyright © The New Atlas, The New Atlas, 2016

Lies about Venezuela: The "Socialist" Lie

The Bolivarian government of Venezuela is constantly said to be a communist, Marxist or especially socialist government. In fact, it is none of those things. The country has a capitalist economy. The government has used some Keynesian mechanisms to try to regulate the free market, which is exactly what gets done in many nations all over the world, especially in Europe, the Arab world, Africa, Japan Southeast Asia and Central Asia. The Keynesian model of regulated capitalism is one of the major models utilized on the planet today. So all you commenters screaming about Venezuela – I guess you are Libertarians who are opposed to Keynesian economics, correct?
It is constantly compared to Cuba and the USSR and the command economies that caused so many problems in those places. It is even suggested that the long lines are for “rationed products” just as they were in Cuba and the USSR.
Problems:
Economy: There is no command economy in Venezuela. There is no rationing of anything, much less food. Venezuela cannot be said to have a Communist, Marxist or even socialist economy unless you define socialist as social democracy. Yes, Venezuela is about as socialist as most European countries and so many other nations around the world that in one way or another are social democracies. So when you scream that the Venezuelan system is a “failed socialism,” what you are really saying is that social democracy is a failed system. You are saying “France and Sweden are Communist countries.” The insane conflating of social democracy and Communism makes you a…Libertarian, or better yet, a Republican.
The “socialism” that the media has been screaming about has really just been nothing more then Keynesianism – capital controls and price controls after all are simply Keynesian mechanisms utilized in order to regulate free market capitalism. So when you call Venezuela “failed socialism,” what you are saying is that Keynesianism is a failed system and that radical free market capitalism is the only viable solution. So you are an Ayn Randist. You’re Glenn Beck, Paul Ryan, Ron Paul and Milton Friedman.
There never was any socialism in Venezuela anymore than there is socialism in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait. In fact, the Gulf model was the “socialist” model that the Bolivarians were following. So when you scream and call Venezuela “failed socialism,” you are saying that the Gulf states are Communist countries. You are also saying that the Gulf economic system is “failed socialism.” Those economies look failed to you? Me either.
Nothing new about the Bolivarians. Everything the West has been screaming about has been the case for decades in that country. The oil company was nationalized by the pro-Western parties in 1974. I guess they must have been Communists. Only Commies nationalize oil companies.
For decades before Chavez came in, price controls were regularly used in Venezuela by the pro-Western parties. I assume they were utilized to try to deal with the inflation that has always been a problem down there. In fact, the pro-Western parties in that time even used currency controls. Nations all over the world use currency controls.
Venezuela has always had a serious inflation problem. Sure it is running 150% inflation now, but during the 1980’s before Chavez came in, inflation was averaging ~100%/year or between 50-150%. There’s nothing new there. Venezuela’s always had horrible inflation. Even the social democratic or socialist nature of the Bolivarians is nothing new. in fact, one of the two main opposition pro-Western parties, the AD, is a social democratic party or was the last time I checked. In fact, this leading party of the opposition is actually a member of the Socialist International! So if you want to complain about failed socialism and all that crap, why don’t you start with the opposition?

The US Six Part Plan for Dealing with Syria

Found on the Net:

Washington is locked into its Obama-Kerry fantasy strategy of manipulating all six moving parts to

  1. Get rid of Assad,
  2. Marginalize the Salafists,
  3. Wear down ISIL,
  4. Keep Erdogan at bay,
  5. Placate the Saudis by helping them kill Houthis,
  6. Equip the Israelis on the Netanyahu-Liebovitz illusory march to the Euphrates.

The only variation under consideration is the neo-con one of bombing Assad and daring Putin not to start WW III. Both are pipe-dreams that soon will have to be recognized as such.

This is all exactly correct with the exception of Number 6. They Israelis are not trying to steal any more land that’s not in the West Bank or Gaza. The whole Nile to Euphrates thing is a paranoid notion from the anti-Zionists and Arabs. Yes, there are a few Jews who talk about this, but there is no Israeli government plan to conquer any of the land in question.
That’s a six part Rube Goldberg of a foreign policy contraption. I must say, the whole thing is utterly insane. I can’t believe how crazy my government is, but really, it’s always been just about this nuts and deranged for my entire lifetime.
If Washington’s foreign policy was a human, it would be tried and sentenced to Atascadero as a dangerously mentally ill criminal.
And Americans just go right along.
Shaking my head.

The Lowdown on the Venezuelan Oil Industry, Pre-Chavez and Post-Chavez

William writes:

I had the impression that the Chavistas had nationalized the Oil industry; I.E. it was essentially a form of revenue for the government, run by the government, etc. Profits went towards social programs, etc. But that does not equate to “full socialism”…

Venezuela nationalized their oil industry long ago, in 1976. However, it was a patronage aspect of the state, and the workers and management of the state oil company grabbed most all of the oil money, leaving little else for anyone else or certainly for state projects.
The state oil company went on strike and shut down production all over the country in an earlier attempt to ruin the economy a few years into Chavez rule. This latest “make the economy scream” project was not the first – there were a few others before which all failed.
Chavez broke the strike by firing all of the striking management and any workers who supported the strike. A lot of the regular workers were kept on. He replaced fired workers with Chavistas, who were all quite qualified. Chavez then turned the state oil company, formerly a vehicle for nothing but patronage and corruption of an upper middle class light skinned elite, into a state oil company the purpose of which was to provide a vehicle for mass wealth redistribution down to the poorer classes via massive government spending projects.
So there’s your Venezuelan socialism: using the state oil company to mass distribute money down to the people in the form of government spending and social spending projects. But this is pretty much what Saudi Arabia, Iran, Libya under Ghaddafi, Russia under Putin, Norway and oil producing countries have done though, so it is bizarre that we flipped out when Chavez did the same thing.
The Chavistas engaged in a lot talk about building socialism, but honestly as a socialist, they never got around to it.
Incidentally, the US-supported strikers caused major damage to the oil industry during this strike via mass sabotage. There was so much equipment destruction that it took years to get the oil industry back online. So another one of their ways to get rid of Chavez was to try to destroy the state oil company through mass sabotage of its equipment. Incidentally, the US government was massively in on the strike and the sabotage.
You can see that the opposition has tried every tactic they can think of, legal and illegal, to take down Chavez. The only difference now is that they seem to have finally succeeded in making the economy scream.
The oil industry management had gotten hugely wealthy off of what amounted to theft from the state oil industry, and after Chavez fired all of them, these formerly well do to people all lost their very lucrative jobs with nothing to replace them with. So this was one very pissed off group of people who are frankly furious that their huge unearned privileges in Venezuelan society had been revoked. Former state oil company employees are one of the major players in the Venezuelan Opposition.

What Caused the Oil Price Crash?

William writes:

I suppose embargoes on the oil (now owned by the government, now a big source of revenue) is what caused this to a large degree?

There are no embargoes on Venezuelan oil. I know this sounds insane, but the US has not embargoed Venezuelan oil, and in fact we buy a tremendous amount of oil from what Washington calls the enemy state of Venezuela.
The oil price collapsed, and this in part caused this horrible problem in Venezuela for a variety of reasons.
Venezuela is not alone. All oil producing states are suffering from the oil price crash, and furthermore all of Latin America is in a bad recession.
Incidentally the oil price crash itself was engineered by John Kerry and Joe Biden along with the Saudi royalty as a project to radically ramp up Saudi oil production in order to crash the world oil price as a way to destroy:

  • Russia – Paybacks for Russia out of US fury over the Ukraine situation.
  • Iran – Mostly a Saudi concern. The Saudis have always considered Iran to be their worst enemy, but the feeling is not mutual. I think the Iranians would just like to get along with Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states.
  • Venezuela – Regime change Venezuela is a long term US project.

I am not sure what we offered the Saudis in return, I think maybe helping them with the Syrian regime change project. Also I think we might have given them a lot of weaponry.
The Saudis had their own reasons for doing this. They not only have huge oil reserves, but at the time, they were sitting on a huge pile of cash reserves in their Treasury. They figured they could ride out the price crash via dipping into cash reserves, which incidentally will be totally depleted in a couple of years.
However, the Saudis had a devious project in mind. Even though the plan was hatched with the Americans, bear in mind that capitalist countries generally have no allies, as the remainder of the paragraph will demonstrate. A major Saudi project was to crash the price of oil and hence ruin the US oil shale or fracking industry, which the Saudis see as serious competition. Fracked oil costs a lot to produce, and the Saudis have some of the lowest production costs in the world. By crashing the oil price, the Saudis could effectively bankrupt the US fracking industry, which is exactly what it happening right  now.
The Saudis are morons though for doing that, as their own economy is getting screwed hard by the oil price crash.

Some Little-Known Truths about Arabs

Lin writes:

To Pranav:
…To me, (Sunni) Islam is basically an Arab/pan-Arab civilizational push, or it’s just a veneer over Arabized power. Let me recollect what I posted here before:
1) Arabic is said to be language of Paradise.
2) Arabs are said to be a superior race.
Superiority of the race of Arabs over non-Arabs
3) Though faggotry is condemned, large % of Arab/Muslims are closet fags as long as the closet is tightly shut and doesn’t embarrass the establishment.
4) The strictest sect of Islam, the Wahhabi Saudis, allied with the British and French kufirs during WW1 to topple the Ottoman Turk Caliphate, treason of the worst kind I must say, yet they consider themselves guardians of Islam. What a farce and shame.
I personally don’t think the Sunni Arabs have much of an economic future (Persians could be an exception that their Shiite Islam is more flexible, like they allowed sex change). I also foresee an Euro/Mediterranean Jihad One, after which the Middle East will be further fragmented…

Most of this is correct.
Sunni Islam is indeed an Arab or Pan-Arab civilizational project, and it is also a thin veneer over Arabized power. In addition, it is a vehicle for Arab supremacy.
1 is correct. They do speak Arabic in Paradise, and the only true Qurans are those written in Arabic, for God transmitted the Quran to Mohammad in Arabic. There are many translations of the Quran into all sorts of languages, but many Muslims consider them to be nearly illegitimate, as the only proper Quran is the one written in Arabic.
2 is also correct. If you go to Islamic sites on the web, you will see articles along the lines that Arabs are a superior to non-Arabs. No doubt all of these sites were written by Arabs, but nevertheless, Islam is a sort of an Arab Supremacist religion.
3 is true, but some Islamic countries tolerate it more than others.
4 is sadly true, and it is quite a blight on the Saudis’ claim to be the ultimate in hardline Islamists. Instead they seem traitors to the umma.

I personally don’t think the Sunni Arabs have much of an economic future (Persians could be an exception that their Shiite Islam is more flexible, like they allowed sex change).

I do not know what to say about this. The Sunni Arabs are definitely sitting on a lake of oil and gas that isn’t going away soon. Some of the Gulf countries have started to branch out away from an oil rentier economy. Dubai is now an international port city, one of the largest on Earth.
About the rest of the Sunni Arab states, I do not know what to say. Iraq, Syria, and Libya appear to be failed states right now, and Yemen is turning into one awful fast. There is some violence in Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and Lebanon, but state structures appear to be largely intact. Palestine is a war zone and increasingly so is the Sinai.
Indeed the Shia do not appear to be going on jihad now or anytime soon. They do not believe in offensive jihad like the Sunnis do, and Shiism is quite a bit more progressive than Sunnism. Like Catholicism with its Pope, Shiism has its clergy. As the Pope and Vatican continue to update Catholicism to keep up with a changing world, the Ayatollahs and clergy in Lebanon and Iran do the same with Islam. The clergy in the latter two lands are surprisingly progressive, but those in Iraq, not so much. I know little about the Houthi Shia in Yemen.
The only people involved in the global jihad right now are radical Sunnis. The Shia, instead of being involved in this project, are victims of it, as global jihadists see the Shia as heretics to be killed on sight if not exterminated altogether. So the Shia, like the Arab Christians, are literally fighting for their lives against global jihad and are much more victimized by it than the Christian West is. Almost all terrorism in the world today is committed by Sunnis. In fact, the Shia are responsible for little terrorism outside of attacks on Israelis outside of Israel. There is some state terrorism being practiced by the Shia Iraqi state against Iraqi Sunnis.

I also foresee an Euro/Mediterranean Jihad One, after which the Middle East will be further fragmented…

I have no idea if this is going to occur, but it seems like it already is at a low to high variable level, right? Surely the Tunisian, Libyan, Egyptian, Palestinian, Lebanese and Syrian parts of the Mediterranean are heating up, and a few are out and out jihad war zones right now. Turkey is increasingly starting to resemble the beginnings of a war zone. Terrorism in Europe is at a fairly low level, but the few attacks have been spectacular and there is a steady drumbeat of low level attacks happening in the background.
Comments along with your own predictions are welcomed.

US Muslims Are Not Bad in and of Themselves

I do not believe that US Muslims are a problem in and of themselves. Sure, some are a problem, but the overwhelming majority seem to be ok. Muslims are like Blacks. Sure some Blacks are criminals and give the group a bad name, but Blacks are not a problem in and of themselves because so many Blacks are living perfectly decently like you, me or anyone else. Saying all US Muslims are evil is like saying all US Blacks are evil – it’s as bunch of stupid racist bull.

We have Yemeni, Pakistani and Palestinian Muslims in this town. These Muslims in my town are causing exactly zero problems. They are not even very radical. I would say that I am far more of an America-hater than any Muslim in my town.

I know each of these Muslims pretty well, but I know the Yemenis better than the others. In fact, a number of them are friends of mine. These Yemenis are not causing any problems at all.

A few of them are out and out patriotards. One graduated from Georgetown University and is in with US government types. At first he wanted to work for the FBI as an Arabic interpreter. He flies back to DC for political conferences sponsored by the State Department.

He is a very strong supporter of US foreign policy. In fact, when he opens his mouth, he sounds like a mixture of Hillary Clinton, Ashton Carter and John Kerry. He buys into all the Deep State propaganda of the corporate media 100%. The guy’s a lost cause. He’s not an America-hater at all. In fact, he’s and out and out neocon patriotard!

I don’t think they hate non-Muslims one bit. I have never heard them say anything against non-Muslims, not one word. They don’t even like to talk bad about Jews. In fact, they worry about me because they think I am an antisemite, and they think antisemitism is uncool. The older man told me that Yemeni Muslims and Yemeni Jews get along in the US quite well, as they put aside whatever differences they might have had in the homeland. He said many Yemeni Muslims work together with Yemeni Jews in New York running stores.

If they hate anyone, it’s Shiites and Iranians, but the old man doesn’t mind the Shia, and he doesn’t care about Iran either. He hates the Saudis worse than anyone else in the region. This opinion is apparently common, as many Yemeni nationalists despite the Saudis since Saudi Arabia has intervened in Yemen over and over and treats Yemen like a colony. The older guy in fact is supporting the Shia Houthis in their war against the Saudi, UAE, Egyptian, Sudanese, Jordanian, US and UK aggressors and invaders.

He told me that the Zaidi Shia of Yemen are just about Sunnis theologically. They only differ in one or two minor ways. In fact the “Shia” Zaidis are themselves diverse as not all of them even identify as Shia! Some “Shia” Zaidis say that they are actually Sunnis, and others say that they are both Sunni and Shia at the same time. They characterize themselves in these odd ways because Zaidism is so close to Sunnism doctrinally.

I have a very hard time understanding why these Muslims in my town are some sort of enemy within. Sure there are radicalized US Muslims, but I’ve never met one myself.

“Problems” and “Solutions”

Discuss Severaid’s quote and my examples given below, agreeing, disagreeing or expanding on the notion.

The chief cause of problems is solutions

– Eric Sevareid

I think this guy is onto something.

Examples:

War on Terror – Solution was all out war on “terrorism” – really just disobedient Muslim states and some international guerrilla/terrorist groups.

The “solution” did not solve the problem at all, and in fact it made it much worse and introduced quite a few new problems.

The “solution” to the “Muslim terrorism problem” did nothing to alleviate the problem, and the problem only expanded massively, in the process destroying much of the secular Muslim world and replacing it with ultra-radical, armed and ultraviolent fundamentalists. Several new failed states were created out of functioning but authoritarian secular regimes.

A wild Sunni-Shia war took off with no end in sight. A new Saudi-Iran conflict expanded to include all of the Sunni world against Iran and some Shia groups.

The policy was incoherent – in places (Palestine, Iraq, Syria, and Libya) secular nationalists were overthrown and replaced with radical fundamentalist regimes (Iraq, Palestine) or failed states teeming with armed fundamentalist actors (Yemen, Somalia, Palestine, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Mali). In other places, fundamentalist regimes were overthrown and secular nationalists were put in (Egypt).

We alternately attacked and supported radical groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. An awful Russia-Turkey conflict took off on the Middle east with the US and NATO siding with Al Qaeda and ISIS supporting Turks. The US attacked and armed fundamentalists to attack Shia Iranian, Hezbollah and Houthi armies waging all out war on Al Qaeda and ISIS. In Yemen we actively attacked the Shia who were fighting Al Qaeda while supporting Al Qaeda and fundamentalist Sunnis with intel and weaponry.

Some Kurds were called terrorists and support was given to those attacking them. Other Kurds were supported in their fight against ISIS. In actuality, all of these Kurd represented the same entity. There really is no difference between the PKK, the YPG and the rulers of the Kurdish region. Meanwhile, Kurds fighting for independence were supported in Iran and Syria and attacked in Turkey though they were all the same entity.

Billions of US dollars and thousands of US lives were wasted for essentially no reason with no results or actually a worsened situation. Russia, one of the most effective actors in the war against Al Qaeda and ISIS, was declared an enemy and attacks on them by our allies were cheered on.

A horrible refugee crisis was created in Europe.

Muslim populations in the West were substantially radicalized.

Instead of ending Islamic terrorism, Islamic terrorist, conventional and guerrilla attacks absolutely exploded in the Middle East and to a lesser extent in Europe, Canada, Australia and the US. It also exploded in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Lebanon, Thailand, the Philippines and of course Syria and Iraq. There was considerable fighting and terrorism in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Morocco and Jordan. The Palestinians ended up much better armed than before and the conflict exploded into all out war on a few occasions.

Terrorism and guerrilla war exploded in Mali, Nigeria, Cameroon, Somalia and Kenya with some new attacks in Niger, Mauritania, Chad and Uganda. Somalia took a turn for the worse as a huge Al Qaeda force set up shop there and the country turned into the worst failed state ever with nothing even resembling a state left and the nation furthermore split off into three separate de facto nations.

The “solution” failed completely and simply ended up creating a whole new set of problems that were vastly worse than the original problem for the which the solution was directed.

Technology: Technology itself could be regarded as a lousy fix to many problems.

“History of US-NATO’s ‘Covert War’ on Syria: Daraa March 2011 Another Islamist Insurrection,” by Tim Anderson

This is an excellent article that lays out what I had always expected, that what everyone believes, that the Syrian Civil War started when “Assad” opened fire on peaceful protests, is a great big fat lie.

Here is what really happened:

In February, a true peaceful reform movement began in Syria. This movement had begun as early as 2005 and involved secular protesters opposing corruption and the Baath Party’s monopoly on power (Wikstrom 2011; Otrakji 2012). This was a legitimate movement.

These protests continued for some time, possibly a month, with little drama. The protesters made some early demands, and Assad quickly tried to appease them by making a number of the changes that they had asked for. But by the time he had made the changes, the protests had been hijacked by Islamists who were not appeased by the changes and insisted that the regime must go (al-Khalidi 2011).

Only one month went by before some teenagers were arrested in Deraa by local authorities for writing the North African-influenced graffiti, “The people want to overthrow the regime.” They were reportedly abused by the local Deraa police. Assad intervened, the governor was fired and the teenagers were released.

There were reports early on that either these or some other teenagers had been tortured to death by “Assad.” Obviously these boys were not tortured to death.  There is a confirmed report of one teenage boy who was indeed tortured to death which was widely blamed on “Assad,” but he was later found to have been killed by the armed opposition.

On March 17-18, violence broke out at protests in Deraa. The Western media says that peaceful protests in Deraa were attacked by government snipers on rooftops who started shooting the peaceful protesters. This is the line that everyone knows about. However, it is completely untrue.

What really happened is laid out below. There were protests in Deraa on these days along with large pro-government protests – the presence of large pro-government protests is another lie that is spread by omission by the Western press – the media says that all early protests were anti-government, however, even from the very start, the large anti-government protests were almost inevitably met by equally large pro-government protests.

Actually, the police at these rallies in Deraa were armed with only riot gear. Army forces were present, but they were not at the rally itself, instead they were on the outskirts of town. At some point during the rally, all Hell broke loose. Unknown snipers began firing from the Al-Omari Mosque. It is important to note that these mysterious snipers opened fire on both protesters and police.

Yes, a number of protesters were indeed killed and injured at these rallies, but quite a few police were also killed an wounded by these very same snipers. It is absolutely not possible that “Assad” would have mysterious snipers open fire on both protesters and police, killing both.

Why would “Assad” open fire on his own police, killing and wounding them? It is senseless. There is an interview with a Syrian police officer who was at that rally on Youtube in which he states that the police had only riot gear and that snipers shot both police and demonstrators. He  states the numb er of killed and wounded among the police.

It was later determined after police raided the al-Omari Mosque that the snipers were Muslim Brotherhood people firing from the roof of the mosque with weapons that had been smuggled in from Saudi Arabia.

In fact, shipments of these arms had been seized at the Iraq-Syrian border by border guards earlier. They had been bought in Baghdad and were on their way to Muslim Brotherhood people in Syria (Reuters 2011). The weapons were paid for by Saudi Arabia. It was these weapons shipments that were later used in the shootings at the demonstrations.

You notice that snipers opened fire on both police and protesters. This exact same thing happened in Ukraine when Maidan people paid snipers to come from Lithuania and open fire on both the Berkut police and the demonstrators.

As soon as the shooting started, other violence ensued. The same day that the mysterious snipers opened fire from the al-Omari Mosque, Baath Party Headquarters and the local police station were burned down (YaLibnan 2011, Queenan 2011). Medical teams came to the site to help injured protesters and police but were fired on by by the MB snipers. Members of an ambulance team and a doctor were killed.

Even several days after these attacks, Assad was trying to calm things down. Assad issued an order that live ammunition should not be used even if security forces themselves were coming under attack.

Funerals for demonstrators followed the killings in Deraa. At every one of these funerals, mysterious snipers opened fire on both police and demonstrators (Maktabi 2011). Once again, why would “Assad” kill and wound his own police officers?

Early reports mostly from the Qatar-owned Al Jazeera stated that it was snipers working for the government who fired on the crowds (Al Jazeera 2011b). However, these reports made no sense, as Syrian police would never shoot at their own people, and anyway, they were only armed with riot gear. The Western press soon picked up on the line that it was “Assad” who was shooting at the protesters and police.

Saudi government officials later confirmed that the Saudi government has sent arms to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood and that Saudi arms had been used by shooters at the al-Omari Mosque (Truth Syria 2012).

Only a week later, the “peaceful protesters” were already heavily armed and were carrying out attacks on the army. An army patrol was ambushed outside Deraa at the beginning of April only two weeks after the Deraa events, and 19 Syrian troops were killed (Narwani 2014). However, Assad ordered this attack covered up because he did not want to inflame tensions even further. For sometime after that, the government refused to comment on deaths of security forces.

The problem with the government cover up of security forces’ deaths was that while this cover up was going on, the Western media was reporting all of the deaths in this early conflict as “protesters” killed by the army (Khalidi 2011). In other words, if armed rebels killed 19 Syrian army troops at an ambush, the entire Western press would report this as “19 peaceful protesters were killed by the Syrian army.”

All through April, 88 Syrian troops were killed all over Syria by armed rebels. The government covered up all of these killings, and every one of these deaths was reported by the Western press as “Syrian troops killing peaceful protesters.”  The Western media blacked out all of these reports and simply refused to acknowledge them.

Reports soon came out, spread by the CIA-linked Human Rights Watch, that Syrian soldiers were being shot by other Syrian troops for refusing to fire on protesters (HRW 2011b). Even the extremely biased Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a one-man operation run by a Syrian exile out of London, said that reports of Syrian forces killing their own for refusing to fire on protesters were false. Nevertheless, the Western media was awash with reports of Syrian troops firing on their own who refused to obey orders to open fire on protesters.

The armed rebels soon set provocateurs loose to destroy and damage Sunni mosques throughout Syria. One jihadist from Tunisia admitted that he had been hired by the rebels to write graffiti on Sunni mosques saying, “There is no God by Bashar” (Eretz Zen 2014). This is a sacrilegious slogan made in an attempt to encourage Sunni soldiers in the Syrian army to defect. This interview can be found on Youtube.

By this time, there was a war on. Quite a few on both sides, both rebels and the Syrian army, were suffering casualties. Every day rebel sources gave a figure for the number killed that day with no explanation. Most of these deaths were of armed rebels and Syrian army forces, but they were all reported by the opposition as “peaceful protesters killed by the Syrian army.” The Western media followed suit and did the same, reporting all casualties of armed fighters on both sides as peaceful civilian protesters.

Since all of the many casualties among the armed groups were reported in the West as peaceful protesters, US officials began making loud demands that Assad step down because supposedly he was the one slaughtering all these peaceful protesters (Shaikh 2011, FOX News 2011).

For the next several months, every time a protest took place, armed Islamists appeared in the crowd and soon opened fire on security forces (Jaber 2011). Security forces would often fire back at the armed elements in the crowd and there would often be killed and wounded on both sides.

A vicious sectarian element was present in the protests from early on. By May, there were already chants of “Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave!” (Blanford 2011). Soon this sectarian chant was heard at every protest.

For the next year, Human Rights Watch (the voice of the CIA) and other liars reported that the vast majority of the casualties were peaceful protesters (Clinton 2011). In fact by early 2012, a good report showed that of 5,000 casualties, 50% were security forces (OHCHR 2012: 2, Narwani 2014).

The lie was spread, spearheaded by Human Rights Watch, the protests had been overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011 (HRW 2011a, HRW 2012), when supposedly so many peaceful protesters had been killed that the protest movement was forced to take up arms to defend itself (Allaf 2012).

A Big Lie had been laid down. Even today, the vast majority of people who know about the Syrian Civil War say that the war started when the Syrian government opened fire on repeatedly on peaceful protesters, killing so many of these unarmed innocents that eventually by September 2011, the peaceful protesters were forced to take up arms as they had no other choice.

History of US-NATO’s “Covert War” on Syria: Daraa March 2011

Another Islamist Insurrection

By Prof. Tim Anderson
Global Research, November 29, 2015

 

 The following text is Chapter IV of  Professor Anderson’s forthcoming book entitled The Dirty War on Syria, Global Research Publishers, Montreal, 2016 (forthcoming).
arms-seized-by-Syrian-security
Arms seized by Syrian security forces at al Omari mosque in Daraa, March 2011. The weapons had been provided by the Saudis. Photo: SANA

“The protest movement in Syria was overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011”- Human Rights Watch, March 2012, Washington

“I have seen from the beginning armed protesters in those demonstrations … they were the first to fire on the police. Very often the violence of the security forces comes in response to the brutal violence of the armed insurgents” – the late Father Frans Van der Lugt, January 2012, Homs Syria

“The claim that armed opposition to the government has begun only recently is a complete lie. The killings of soldiers, police and civilians, often in the most brutal circumstances, have been going on virtually since the beginning”. – Professor Jeremy Salt, October 2011, Ankara Turkey

A double story began on the Syrian conflict, at the outset of the armed violence in 2011 in the southern border town of Daraa. The first story comes from independent witnesses in Syria, such as the late Father Frans Van der Lugt in Homs. They say that armed men infiltrated the early political reform demonstrations to shoot at both police and civilians.

This violence came from sectarian Islamists. The second comes from the Islamist groups (‘rebels’) and their western backers. They claim there was ‘indiscriminate’ violence from Syrian security forces to repress political rallies and that the ‘rebels’ grew out of a secular political reform movement.

Careful study of the independent evidence, however, shows that the Washington-backed ‘rebel’ story, while widespread, was part of a strategy to delegitimize the Syrian government, with the aim of fomenting ‘regime change’. To understand this it is necessary to observe that prior to the armed insurrection of March 2011 there were shipments of arms from Saudi Arabia to Islamists at the al Omari mosque. It is also useful to review the earlier Muslim Brotherhood insurrection at Hama in 1982 because of the parallel myths that have grown up around both insurrections.

US intelligence (DIA 1982) and the late British author Patrick Seale (1988) give independent accounts of what happened at Hama. After years of violent sectarian attacks by Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, by mid-1980 President Hafez al Assad had ‘broken the back’ of their sectarian rebellion which aimed to impose a Salafi-Islamic state. One final coup plot was exposed, and the Brotherhood ‘felt pressured into initiating’ an uprising in their stronghold of Hama. Seale describes the start of that violence in this way:

At 2am on the night of 2-3 February 1982 an army unit combing the old city fell into an ambush. Roof top snipers killed perhaps a score of soldiers … [Brotherhood leader] Abu Bakr [Umar Jawwad] gave the order for a general uprising … hundreds of Islamist fighters rose … by the morning some seventy leading Ba’athists had been slaughtered and the triumphant guerrillas declared the city ‘liberated’ (Seale 1988: 332).

However the Army responded with a huge force of about 12,000, and the battle raged for three weeks. It was a foreign-backed civil war with some defections from the army. Seale continues:

As the tide turned slowly in the government’s favour, the guerrillas fell back into the old quarters … after heavy shelling, commandos and party irregulars supported by tanks moved in … many civilians were slaughtered in the prolonged mopping up, whole districts razed (Seale 1988: 333).

Two months later a US intelligence report said: ‘The total casualties for the Hama incident probably number about 2,000. This includes an estimated 300 to 400 members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s elite ‘Secret Apparatus’ (DIA 1982: 7).

Seale recognizes that the Army also suffered heavy losses. At the same time, ‘large numbers died in the hunt for the gunmen … government sympathizers estimating a mere 3,000 and critics as many as 20,000 … a figure of 5,000 to 10,000 could be close to the truth’ He adds:

‘The guerrillas were formidable opponents. They had a fortune in foreign money … [and] no fewer than 15,000 machine guns’ (Seale 1988: 335). Subsequent Muslim Brotherhood accounts have inflated the casualties, reaching up to ‘40,000 civilians’, thus attempting to hide their insurrection and sectarian massacres by claiming that Hafez al Assad had carried out a ‘civilian massacre’ (e.g. Nassar 2014).

The then Syrian President blamed a large scale foreign conspiracy for the Hama insurrection. Seale observes that Hafez was ‘not paranoical’, as many US weapons were captured and foreign backing had come from several US collaborators: King Hussayn of Jordan, Lebanese Christian militias (the Israeli-aligned ‘Guardians of the Cedar’) and Saddam Hussein in Iraq (Seale 1988: 336-337).

The Hama insurrection helps us understand the Daraa violence because, once again in 2011, we saw armed Islamists using rooftop sniping against police and government officials, drawing in the armed forces, only to cry ‘civilian massacre’ when they and their collaborators came under attack from the Army. Although the US, through its allies, played an important part in the Hama insurrection, when it was all over US intelligence dryly observed that: ‘the Syrians are pragmatists who do not want a Muslim Brotherhood government’ (DIA 1982: vii).

In the case of Daraa and in the attacks that moved to Homs and surrounding areas in April 2011, the clearly stated aim was once again to topple the secular or ‘infidel-Alawi’ regime. The front-line US collaborators were Saudi Arabia and Qatar and then Turkey. The head of the Syrian Brotherhood, Muhammad Riyad Al-Shaqfa, issued a statement on 28 March which left no doubt that the group’s aim was sectarian.

The enemy was ‘the secular regime,’ and Brotherhood members ‘have to make sure that the revolution will be pure Islamic, and with that no other sect would have a share of the credit after its success’ (Al-Shaqfa 2011). While playing down the initial role of the Brotherhood, Sheikho confirms that it ‘went on to punch above its actual weight on the ground during the uprising … [due] to Turkish-Qatari support’, and to its general organizational capacity (Sheikho 2013).

By the time there was a ‘Free Syrian Army Supreme Military Council’ in 2012 (more a weapons conduit than any sort of army command), it was said to be two-thirds dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood (Draitser 2012). Other foreign Salafi-Islamist groups quickly joined this ‘Syrian Revolution’. A US intelligence report in August 2012, contrary to Washington’s public statements about ‘moderate rebels’, said:

The Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq, later ISIS] are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria … AQI supported the Syrian Opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media (DIA 2012).

In February 2011 there was popular agitation in Syria to some extent influenced by the events in Egypt and Tunisia. There were anti-government and pro-government demonstrations and a genuine political reform movement which for several years had agitated against corruption and the Ba’ath Party monopoly. A 2005 report referred to ‘an array of reform movements slowly organizing beneath the surface’ (Ghadry 2005), and indeed the ‘many faces’ of a Syrian opposition, much of it non-Islamist, had been agitating since about that same time (Sayyid Rasas 2013).

These political opposition groups deserve attention in another discussion (see Chapter Five). However only one section of that opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Salafists, was linked to the violence that erupted in Daraa. Large anti-government demonstrations began, to be met with huge pro-government demonstrations.

In early March some teenagers in Daraa were arrested for graffiti that had been copied from North Africa ‘the people want to overthrow the regime’. It was reported that they were abused by local police, President Bashar al Assad intervened, the local governor was sacked, and the teenagers were released (Abouzeid 2011).

Yet the Islamist insurrection was underway, taking cover under the street demonstrations.

On 11 March, several days before the violence broke out in Daraa, there were reports that Syrian forces had seized ‘a large shipment of weapons and explosives and night-vision goggles … in a truck coming from Iraq’. The truck was stopped at the southern Tanaf crossing, close to Jordan. The Syrian Government news agency SANA said the weapons were intended ‘for use in actions that affect Syria’s internal security and spread unrest and chaos.’

Pictures showed ‘dozens of grenades and pistols as well as rifles and ammunition belts’. The driver said the weapons had been loaded in Baghdad and he had been paid $5,000 to deliver them to Syria (Reuters 2011). Despite this interception, arms did reach Daraa, a border town of about 150,000 people.

This is where the ‘western-rebel’ and the independent stories diverge, and diverge dramatically. The western media consensus was that protesters burned and trashed government offices, and then ‘provincial security forces opened fire on marchers, killing several’ (Abouzeid 2011). After that, ‘protesters’ staged demonstrations in front of the al-Omari mosque but were in turn attacked.

The Syrian government, on the other hand, said there were unprovoked attacks on security forces, killing police and civilians, along with the burning of government offices. There was foreign corroboration of this account. While its headline blamed security forces for killing ‘protesters’, the British Daily Mail (2011) showed pictures of AK47 rifles and hand grenades that security forces had recovered after storming the al-Omari mosque.

The paper noted reports that ‘an armed gang’ had opened fire on an ambulance, killing ‘a doctor, a paramedic and a policeman’. Media channels in neighboring countries did report on the killing of Syrian police on 17-18 March.

On 21 March a Lebanese news report observed that ‘Seven policemen were killed during clashes between the security forces and protesters in Syria’ (YaLibnan 2011), while an Israel National News report said ‘Seven police officers and at least four demonstrators in Syria have been killed … and the Baath Party Headquarters and courthouse were torched’ (Queenan 2011). These police had been targeted by rooftop snipers.

Even in these circumstances the Government was urging restraint and attempting to respond to the political reform movement. President Assad’s adviser, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban, told a news conference that the President had ordered ‘that live ammunition should not be fired, even if the police, security forces or officers of the state were being killed’.

Assad proposed to address the political demands such as the registration of political parties, removing emergency rules and allowing greater media freedoms (al-Khalidi 2011). None of that seemed to either interest or deter the Islamists.

Several reports, including video reports, observed rooftop snipers firing at crowds and police during funerals of those already killed. It was said to be ‘unclear who was firing at whom’ (Al Jazeera 2011a), as ‘an unknown armed group on rooftops shot at protesters and security forces’ (Maktabi 2011).

Yet Al Jazeera (2011b) owned by the Qatari monarchy, soon strongly suggested that that the snipers were pro-government. ‘President Bashar al Assad has sent thousands of Syrian soldiers and their heavy weaponry into Derra for an operation the regime wants nobody in the word to see’, the Qatari channel said. However the Al Jazeera suggestion that secret pro-government snipers were killing ‘soldiers and protesters alike’ was illogical and out of sequence. The armed forces came to Daraa precisely because police had been shot and killed.

Saudi Arabia, a key US regional ally, had armed and funded extremist Salafist Sunni sects to move against the secular government. Saudi official Anwar Al-Eshki later confirmed to BBC television that his country had sent arms to Daraa and to the al-Omari mosque (Truth Syria 2012). From exile in Saudi Arabia, Salafi Sheikh Adnan Arour called for a holy war against the liberal Alawi Muslims, who were said to dominate the Syrian government: ‘by Allah we shall mince [the Alawites] in meat grinders and feed their flesh to the dogs’ (MEMRITV 2011).

The Salafist aim was a theocratic state or caliphate. The genocidal slogan ‘Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the grave’ became widespread, a fact reported by the North American media as early as May 2011 (e.g. Blanford 2011). Islamists from the FSA Farouq Brigade would soon act on these threats (Crimi 2012). Canadian analyst Michel Chossudovsky (2011) observed: ‘The deployment of armed forces including tanks in Daraa [was] directed against an organized armed insurrection, which has been active in the border city since March 17-18.”

After those first few days in Daraa the killing of Syrian security forces continued but went largely unreported outside Syria. Nevertheless, independent analyst Sharmine Narwani wrote about the scale of this killing in early 2012 and again in mid-2014. An ambush and massacre of soldiers took place near Daraa in late March or early April. An army convoy was stopped by an oil slick on a valley road between Daraa al-Mahata and Daraa al-Balad, and the trucks were machine gunned.

Estimates of soldier deaths from government and opposition sources ranged from 18 to 60. A Daraa resident said these killings were not reported because: ‘At that time, the government did not want to show they are weak and the opposition did not want to show they are armed’. Anti-Syrian Government blogger Nizar Nayouf records this massacre as taking place in the last week of March. Another anti-Government writer, Rami Abdul Rahman (based in England and calling himself the ‘Syrian Observatory of Human Rights’) says:

‘It was on the first of April and about 18 or 19 security forces … were killed’ (Narwani 2014). Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad, himself a resident of Daraa, confirmed that: ‘this incident was hidden by the government … as an attempt not to antagonize or not to raise emotions and to calm things down – not to encourage any attempt to inflame emotions which may lead to escalation of the situation’ (Narwani 2014).

Yet the significance of denying armed anti-Government killings was that in the western media all deaths were reported as (a) victims of the Army and (b) civilians. For well over six months, whenever a body count was mentioned in the international media, it was usually considered acceptable to suggest these were all ‘protesters’ killed by the Syrian Army.

For example, a Reuters report on 24 March said Daraa’s main hospital had received ‘the bodies of at least 37 protesters killed on Wednesday’ (Khalidi 2011). Notice that all the dead had become ‘protesters’ despite earlier reports on the killing of a number of police and health workers.

Another nineteen soldiers were gunned down on 25 April, also near Daraa. Narwani obtained their names and details from Syria’s Defence Ministry and corroborated these details from another document from a non-government source. Throughout April 2011, she calculates that eighty-eight Syrian soldiers were killed ‘by unknown shooters in different areas across Syria’ (Narwani 2014).

She went on to refute claims that the soldiers killed were ‘defectors’ shot by the Syrian army for refusing to fire on civilians. Human Rights Watch, referring to interviews with 50 unnamed ‘activists’, claimed that soldiers killed at this time were all ‘defectors’, murdered by the Army (HRW 2011b).

Yet the funerals of loyal officers shown on the internet at that time were distinct. Even Rami Abdul Rahman (the SOHR), keen to blame the Army for killing civilians, said ‘this game of saying the Army is killing defectors for leaving – I never accepted this’ (Narwani 2014). Nevertheless the highly charged reports were confusing.

The violence spread north with the assistance of Islamist fighters from Lebanon, reaching Baniyas and areas around Homs. On 10 April nine soldiers were shot in a bus ambush in Baniyas. In Homs, on April 17, General Abdo Khodr al-Tallawi was killed with his two sons and a nephew, and Syrian commander Iyad Kamel Harfoush was gunned down near his home.

Two days later, off-duty Colonel Mohammad Abdo Khadour was killed in his car (Narwani 2014). North American commentator Joshua Landis (2011a) reported the death of his wife’s cousin, one of the soldiers in Baniyas. These were not the only deaths but I mention them because most western media channels maintain the fiction to this day that there was no Islamist insurrection and the ‘peaceful protesters’ did not pick up arms until September 2011.

Al Jazeera, the principal Middle East media channel backing the Muslim Brotherhood, blacked out these attacks and also the reinforcement provided by armed foreigners.

Former Al Jazeera journalist Ali Hashem was one of many who resigned from the Qatar-owned station (RT 2012), complaining of deep bias over their presentation of the violence in Syria. Hashem had footage of armed men arriving from Lebanon, but this was censored by his Qatari managers. ‘In a resignation letter I was telling the executive … it was like nothing was happening in Syria.’ He thought the ‘Libyan revolution’ was the turning point for Al Jazeera, marking the end of its standing as a credible media group (Hashem 2012).

Provocateurs were at work. Tunisian jihadist ‘Abu Qusay’ later admitted he had been a prominent ‘Syrian rebel’ charged with ‘destroying and desecrating Sunni mosques’, including by scrawling the graffiti ‘There is no God but Bashar’, a blasphemy to devout Muslims. This was then blamed on the Syrian Army with the aim of creating Sunni defections from the Army. ‘Abu Qusay’ had been interviewed by foreign journalists who did not notice by his accent that he was not Syrian (Eretz Zen 2014).

US Journalist Nir Rosen, whose reports were generally critical of the Syrian Government, also attacked the western consensus over the early violence:

The issue of defectors is a distraction. Armed resistance began long before defections started … Every day the opposition gives a death toll, usually without any explanation … Many of those reported killed are in fact dead opposition fighters but … described in reports as innocent civilians killed by security forces … and every day members of the Syrian Army, security agencies … are also killed by anti-regime fighters (Rosen 2012).

A language and numbers game was being played to delegitimize the Syrian Government (‘The Regime’) and the Syrian Army (‘Assad loyalists’), suggesting they were responsible for all the violence. Just as NATO forces were bombing Libya with the aim of overthrowing the Libyan Government, US officials began to demand that President Assad step down.

The Brookings Institution (Shaikh 2011) claimed the President had ‘lost the legitimacy to remain in power in Syria’. US Senators John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman said it was time ‘to align ourselves unequivocally with the Syrian people in their peaceful demand for a democratic government’ (FOX News 2011). Another ‘regime change’ campaign was out in the open.

In June, US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton dismissed the idea that ‘foreign instigators’ had been at work, saying that ‘the vast majority of casualties have been unarmed civilians’ (Clinton 2011). In fact, as Clinton knew very well, her Saudi Arabian allies had armed extremists from the very beginning. Her casualty assertion was also wrong.

The United Nations (which would later abandon its body count) estimated from several sources that by early 2012, there were more than 5,000 casualties and that deaths in the first year of conflict included 478 police and 2,091 from the military and security forces (OHCHR 2012: 2; Narwani 2014). That is, more than half the casualties in the first year were those of the Syrian security forces.

That independent calculation was not reflected in western media reports. Western groups such as Human Rights Watch along with US columnists (e.g. Allaf 2012) continued to claim even after the early 2012 defeat of the sectarian Farouq-FSA in Homs and well into 2012 that Syrian security forces had been massacring ‘unarmed protesters’, that the Syrian people ‘had no choice’ but to take up arms, and that this ‘protest movement’ had been ‘overwhelmingly peaceful until September 2011’ (HRW 2011a, HRW 2012). The evidence cited above shows that this story was quite false.

In fact, the political reform movement had been driven off the streets by Salafi-Islamist gunmen, over the course of March and April. For years opposition groups had agitated against corruption and the Ba’ath Party monopoly.

However most did not want destruction of what was a socially inclusive if authoritarian state, and most were against both the sectarian violence and the involvement of foreign powers. They backed Syria’s protection of minorities, the relatively high status of women and the country’s free education and health care, while opposing the corrupt networks and the feared political police (Wikstrom 2011; Otrakji 2012).

In June reporter Hala Jaber (2011) observed that about five thousand people turned up for a demonstration at Ma’arrat al-Numan, a small town in northwest Syria, between Aleppo and Hama. She says several ‘protesters’ had been shot the week before, while trying to block the road between Damascus and Aleppo. After some negotiations which reduced the security forces in the town, ‘men with heavy beards in cars and pick-ups with no registration plates’ with ‘rifles and rocket-propelled grenades’ began shooting at the reduced numbers of security forces.

A military helicopter was sent to support the security forces. After this clash ‘four policemen and 12 of their attackers were dead or dying. Another 20 policemen were wounded’. Officers who escaped the fight were hidden by some of the tribal elders who had participated in the original demonstration. When the next ‘demonstration for democracy’ took place, the following Friday, ‘only 350 people turned up’, mostly young men and some bearded militants (Jaber 2011). Five thousand protesters had been reduced to 350 after the open Salafist attacks.

After months of media manipulations disguising the Islamist insurrection, Syrians such as Samer al Akhras, a young man from a Sunni family who used to watch Al Jazeera because he preferred it to state TV became convinced to back the Syrian government. He saw first-hand the fabrication of reports on Al Jazeera and wrote, in late June 2011:

I am a Syrian citizen and I am a human. After 4 months of your fake freedom … You say peaceful demonstration and you shoot our citizen. From today … I am [now] a Sergeant in the Reserve Army. If I catch anyone … in any terrorist organization working on the field in Syria I am gonna shoot you as you are shooting us. This is our land not yours, the slaves of American fake freedom (al Akhras 2011).

References:

Abouzeid, Rania (2011) ‘Syria’s Revolt, how graffiti stirred an uprising’, Time, 22 March.

Al Akhras, Samer (2011) ‘Syrian Citizen’, Facebook, 25 June, online: https://www.facebook.com/notes/sam-al-akhras/syrian-citizen/241770845834062?pnref=story

Al Jazeera (2011a) ‘Nine killed at Syria funeral processions’, 23 April, online: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/04/20114231169587270.html.

Al Jazeera (2011b) ‘Deraa: A city under a dark siege’, 28 April, online: http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2011/04/2011427215943692865.html.

Al-Shaqfa, Muhammad Riyad (2011) ‘Muslim Brotherhood Statement about the so-called ‘Syrian Revolution’’, General supervisor for the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, statement of 28 March, online at: http://truthsyria.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/muslim-brotherhood-statement-about-the-so-called-syrian-revolution/.

Allaf, Rime (2012) ‘This Time, Assad Has Overreached’, NYT, 5 Dec, online: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/02/06/is-assads-time-running-out/this-time-assad-has-overreached.

Blanford, Nicholas (2011) ‘Assad regime may be gaining upper hand in Syria’, Christian Science Monitor, 13 may, online: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2011/0513/Assad-regime-may-be-gaining-upper-hand-in-Syria.

Chossudovsky, Michel (2011) ‘Syria: who is behind the protest movement? Fabricating a pretext for US-NATO ‘Humanitarian Intervention’’, Global Research, 3 May, online: http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-who-is-behind-the-protest-movement-fabricating-a-pretext-for-a-us-nato-humanitarian-intervention/24591.

Clinton, Hilary (2011) ‘There is No Going Back in Syria’, US Department of State, 17 June, online: http://www.state.gov/secretary/20092013clinton/rm/2011/06/166495.htm.

Maktabi, Rima (2011) ‘Reports of funeral, police shootings raise tensions in Syria’, CNN, 5 April, online: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/04/05/syria.unrest/.

Crimi, Frank (2012) ‘Ethnic Cleansing of Syrian Christians’, Frontpagemag, 29 March, online: http://www.frontpagemag.com/2012/frank-crimi/ethnic-cleansing-of-syrian-christians/.

Daily Mail (2011) ‘Nine protesters killed after security forces open fire by Syrian mosque’, 24 March.

DIA (1982) ‘Syria: Muslim Brotherhood Pressure Intensifies’, Defence Intelligence Agency (USA), May, online: https://syria360.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/dia-syria-muslimbrotherhoodpressureintensifies-2.pdf.

DIA (2012) ‘Department of Defence Information Report, Not Finally Evaluated Intelligence, Country: Iraq’, Defence Intelligence Agency, August, 14-L-0552/DIA/297-293, Levant Report, online at: http://levantreport.com/2015/05/19/2012-defense-intelligence-agency-document-west-will-facilitate-rise-of-islamic-state-in-order-to-isolate-the-syrian-regime/.

Draitser, Eric (2012) ‘Unmasking the Muslim Brotherhood: Syria, Egypt and beyond’, Global Research, 12 December, online: http://www.globalresearch.ca/unmasking-the-muslim-brotherhood-syria-egypt-and-beyond/5315406

Eretz Zen (2014) ‘Tunisian Jihadist Admits: We Destroyed & Desecrated Mosques in Syria to Cause Defections in Army’, Youtube interview, 16 March, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ8awN8GLAk

FOX News (2011) ‘Obama Under Pressure to Call for Syrian Leader’s Ouster’, 29 April, online: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/04/29/obama-pressure-syrian-leaders-ouster/.

Ghadry, Farid N. (2005) ‘Syrian Reform: What Lies Beneath’, Middle East Quarterly, Vol 12 No 1, Winter, online: http://www.meforum.org/683/syrian-reform-what-lies-beneath.

Haidar, Ali (2013) interview with this writer, Damascus 28 December. [Ali Haidar was President of the Syrian Social National Party (SSNP), a secular rival to the Ba’ath Party. In 2012 President Bashar al Assad incorporated him into the Syrian government as Minister for Reconciliation.].

Hashem, Ali (2012) ‘Al Jazeera Journalist Explains Resignation over Syria and Bahrain Coverage’, The Real News, 20 March, online: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8106

HRW (2011a) ‘We’ve never seen such horror: crimes against humanity by Syrian Security Forces’, Human Rights Watch, June, online: http://www.hrw.org/reports/2011/06/01/we-ve-never-seen-such-horror-0.

HRW (2011b) Syria: Defectors Describe Orders to Shoot Unarmed Protesters’, Human Rights Watch, Washington, 9 July, online: http://www.hrw.org/news/2011/07/09/syria-defectors-describe-orders-shoot-unarmed-protesters

HRW (2012) ‘Open Letter to the Leaders of the Syrian Opposition, Human Rights Watch, Washington, 20 March, online: http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/open-letter-leaders-syrian-opposition.

Jaber, Hala (2011) ‘Syria caught in crossfire of extremists’, Sunday Times, 26 June, online: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/world_news/Middle_East/article657138.ece.

Khalidi, Suleiman (2011) ‘Thousands chant ‘freedom’ despite Assad reform offer’, Reuters, 24 March, online: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/24/us-syria-idUSTRE72N2MC20110324.

Landis, Joshua (2011a) ‘The Revolution Strikes Home: Yasir Qash`ur, my wife’s cousin, killed in Banyas’, Syria Comment, 11 April, online: http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/the-revolution-strikes-home-yasir-qashur-my-wifes-cousin-killed-in-banyas/.

Landis, Joshua (2011b) ‘Syria’s Opposition Faces an Uncertain Future’, Syria Comment, 26 June, online: http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/syrias-opposition-faces-an-uncertain-future/.

MEMRITV (2011) ‘Syrian Sunni Cleric Threatens: “We Shall Mince [The Alawites] in Meat Grinders”‘, YouTube, 13 July, online: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bwz8i3osHww.

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Who Are Ahrar al-Sham?

Ahrar al-Sham is one of the most powerful rebel groups in Syria. Together with al-Nusra, they now form the main core of the Army of Conquest which the Weste5rn media is selling as a moderate rebels. At the moment, the Army of Conquest is mostly funded by Saudi Arabia.

Many in the US are now agitating for the US to arm Ahrar al-Sham. They are said to be much more moderate than Nusra and they are not ISIS. Ahrar is not moderate at all. In fact, I think they are more radical than Al Qaeda or al-Nusra.

They have some links to Muslim Brotherhood, but ideologically they would be closer in outlook to the Taliban. Long War Journal had a good post showing their thinking and its alignment with Taliban style governance.

Of course all this is neglecting the role Al Qaeda played in its formation. Abu Khalid al Suri, a senior Al Qaeda official in Afghanistan-Pakistan, was dispatched to Syria early on and was one of the founders of Ahrar. Al Suri was killed in a ISIS suicide bombing in Feb. 2014 apparently while working on resolving the disputes between ISIS/Nusra/Ahrar.

The only thing that makes Ahrar appear more moderate than AQ or ISIS is the fact that they local and not interested in international terrorism as the other two are, ISIS in particular.

“The Dirty War on Syria: The Basics,” by Prof. Tim Anderson

The Dirty War on Syria: The Basics

By Prof. Tim Anderson

Global Research, November 23, 2015

dws-abc-1
All you need to know about Syria. Everything here is 100% true.

“France’s Response to Paris Attacks Encourages ISIS’s Caliphate Fantasy,” by Eric Walberg

Eric is a personal friend of mine and he published this on Academia.edu so that usually means anyone can grab it as long as you credit them. Lately, Eric writes for the Iranian media, presumably for money. I believe Kieth Preston is also writing for the Iranians these days.

I am putting this up mostly to provoke discussion.

France’s Response to Paris Attacks Encourages ISIS’s Caliphate Fantasy

Eric Walberg

France’s emotional response to the recent tragedy, devoid of reason and ignoring history, just makes matters worse.

 

The death toll in the November 13 attacks in Paris stands at 127. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani sent a message to his French counterpart Francois Hollande condemning the attacks. “In the name of the Iranian nation, itself a victim of the evil scourge of terrorism, I strongly condemn these inhumane crimes and condole with the bereaved French nation and government.”

In contrast, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu opened his weekly Cabinet meeting by calling on world leaders to condemn terror against … Israel. He began by addressing the killing of two Israelis, ignoring the 81 Palestinians who have died in protests this month. “The time has come for the nations of the world to condemn terrorism against us as much as they condemn terrorism anywhere else in the world.” He pledged Israeli intelligence assistance to France, adding “An attack on any of us needs to be seen as an attack on all of us.”

Translate: France’s tragedy is a wake-up call for solidarity with … Israel.

France’s Colonial Legacy

Until 2012, France was spared serious terrorist attacks, but its enduring colonial mentality continues to stoke anger. Most evident recently was the official defense of anti-Muslim hate literature published by the magazine Charlie Hebdo. Rather than persecuting the Islamophobes, which would have prevented blowback by enraged Muslims, the French insistence on freedom led to an attack in January on the Paris offices of the magazine, killing 12 people and wounding 11 others.

Worse yet, the new Socialist President Hollande pushed ahead with a return to outright colonial invasion, with air strikes and arms to Syrian rebels in opposition to both the Syrian government and ISIS supporters. This confused policy only makes sense if the intent is to dismantle the Syrian state and refashion a Syrian puppet government, harking back to France’s invasion of Syria-Lebanon following WWI in collusion with Britain, when they destroyed the Ottoman state and set up puppet regimes across the Middle East.

France was slow to adjust to post-WWII decolonization, and stubbornly maintained its military presence not only in Vietnam but in the Middle East. Along with Britain, now both humiliated bankrupt powers, it was in no position to enforce its will, and it handed over its colonial possessions to the US either directly or via the new world order institutions. Plus, of course, intrigue where a glimmer of independence appeared, as in Iran in 1953 or Egypt 1956.

Worst of all was the horror France inflicted for more than a century in Algeria. Algeria had to suffer a long, brutal war of liberation in which a million Algerians died before France finally left in 1962. French meddling in Algeria since has only compounded the animosity, especially the support given the military coup in 1992 in which 200,000 Algerians died.

France’s current return to openly colonial policies, first in Afghanistan, then Libya, Mali and now Syria, are guaranteed to have dire consequences. To its credit, France did not support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, but there are now 3,200 French troops there.

France and US Support the Terrorists

France and the US have played a dangerous and foolish hand in their great games of asserting world power, at times using jihadists (1980s in Afghanistan) and at other times attacking them (1990s+ in Afghanistan), sometimes both at the same time (2011+ in Syria).

“Thank God for the Saudis and Prince Bandar,” John McCain told CNN in January 2014. Is McCain not aware that two of the most successful factions fighting Syrian President Assad’s forces are Islamist extremist groups Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS, and that their success is due to the support they have received from Qatar and Saudi Arabia? A senior Qatari official told The Atlantic journalist Steve Clemons that “he can identify al-Nusra commanders by the blocks they control in various Syrian cities. But ISIS is another matter. As one senior Qatari official stated, ‘ISIS has been a Saudi project.’”

France doesn’t have a wild card like McCain, but, like the US, supports Islamic fundamentalists in Syria and elsewhere through its ties with the Saudi and Qatari regimes and its actions in Syria. Even after it became obvious to everyone that the regime change project in Syria has led to an expansion of terrorism, Hollande was still pursuing it.

But then this hypocrisy goes for all the western nations, in the first place Canada, which has been bombing Syrian rebels and, at the same time, just signed a $14.8b arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The largest arms exports contract in Canadian history will be remembered as going to one of the worst human rights violators in the world and a funder of ISIS-related groups in Syria and Iraq.

In fact, Canada’s record on bombing Muslims in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, on restricting burqas and promoting ‘free speech’ defaming Islam, mirrors France, and led to a shooting last year that penetrated the parliament buildings in Ottawa and had Prime Minister Harper cowering in his closet.

Harper’s answer, when he had stopped shaking, was the same as Hollande’s: he insisted that “Canada will not be intimidated” by acts of violence and remained committed to Canada’s efforts “to work with our allies around the world and fight against the terrorist organizations … who bring their savagery to our shores.” He did admit that “we’re all aware and deeply troubled that both attacks were carried out by Canadian citizens, by young men born and raised in this peaceful country,” but, like Hollande today, failed to draw the logical conclusion.

Powder Keg

France has the largest Muslim population in Europe at 4m. Despite its claims of “liberty, equality and brotherhood”, it is considered the most racist country in Europe. French-Algerian communities still live on impoverished housing estates, go to bad schools, and have few opportunities for social advancement.

Discrimination in everything from jobs to housing is routine. There are few French-Algerians in politics, the law, the media or any other profession, though the prisons are full. Hollande refuses to reverse measures like the burqa ban and has highlighted his opposition to halal meat and praying in the street because of a lack of mosques.

Populist rightwing politicians like Nicolas Sarkozy and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen routinely portray alienated migrant communities as France’s enemy within. Le Pen garnered 20% of the popular vote in the first round of May’s presidential elections.

In their communique, the perpetrators of the recent attacks listed France’s crimes as leading a “new crusade” in Syria, as well as defending Charlie Hebdo magazine, and just because of general French decadence and racism. They claimed their targets were well chose ― a football match between ‘crusaders’ France and Germany attended by Hollande, and the Bataclan exhibition where “hundreds of pagans gathered for a concert of prostitution and vice” (the California group Eagles of Death Metal).

“This is for Syria,” were the last words of one of the Paris attackers. But he could have said it was for Mali, or Libya, or Iraq. France is very proactive against Islamists worldwide, especially in the face of what is frequently seen as British and American retreat. Over 10,000 French troops are currently deployed abroad. In addition to Iraq, there are over 5,000 troops in western and central Africa. Last week Hollande announced that France will deploy an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf to assist the fight against ISIS.

As with Osama Bin Laden’s strategy of promoting dramatic terrorist attacks in the West to provoke a crackdown and to radicalize Muslims, the strategy behind the current attacks is to generate a French crackdown to encourage Muslims to follow ISIS’s caliphate fantasy. It has worked all too well so far, and Hollande’s vow to be “ruthless” in his response leads him and France in the wrong direction.

In his address on recent events, Iran’s Leader Imam Khameini acknowledged that “there are voices of criticism in the West about its colonial past. But they only criticize the distant past. Why should the revision of collective conscience apply to the distant past and not to the current problems?”

Originally published here.

“Russian Warplane Down: NATO’s Act of War,” by Tony Cartalucci

Good summary of the latest NATO outrage. Just to give this attack some perspective, the Russian jets were bombing Turkmen fighters that were fighting against the SAA in battles near the Turkish border. So Turkey intervened because Russia was bombing “Turks.” Turks continue to see all speakers of Turkic languages as Turks.

These people are called Pan-Turkicists and they are very common in ultra-nationalist circles in circle which are quite common as Turkey is well described as an ultranationalist country. These Turkmen fighters are basically a proxy force for Turkey that Turkey has adopted as its own little army to fight Assad, and there are a number of Turkmen villages in the area.

It also seems to me that Turkey wants to annex some of Syria’s land as it is a rather expansionist and imperialist state of its own. The Turks never let go of their Ottoman Ear expansionism.  Turkey also seems to want to restore the Ottoman Empire in some form and I get the feeling that Erdogan fancies himself  as the new caliph.

PS. the Russian jet did not violate Turkey’s airspace at all. Or if it did, it’s only because Turkey moved its border! For 2 years now, Turkey has enforced a no-fly zone within 5 miles of its border. If you get within 5 miles of the Turkish border, Turkey says you are now in Turkey.

So Turkey is claiming a strip of land along the Syrian border for itself. It has also settled many speakers of Turkic languages along this border, especially Uighurs. These are the families of many Uighurs who came to fight with ISIS and Al Qaeda type groups. So Turkey is settling an strip 5 miles wide along the border in Syria with its own people! It’s absolutely outrageous.

Furthermore control over this 5 miles wide strip is essential for NATO because this is how NATO is supplying ISIS, Al Qaeda and all of the other groups it is supporting. Once that strip is gone, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, France, the UK and the US have no way to supply their favorite jihadis.

Turkey is playing for keeps here. It’s obvious to me that President Erdogan is nuts in that he is completely reckless and engages in a lot of outrageous, provocative and risky behavior. It is also clear that this man is a megalomaniac. This ain’t over yet. It is clear to me that Russia will retaliate somehow (Putin has no choice but to retaliate) but it remains to be seen how it will go about it.

Russian Warplane Down: NATO’s Act of War

By Tony Cartalucci, Global Research

Despite blatant provocation, Russia must continue toward the finish line.

 

With cameras rolling, Turkey has claimed it has shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 attack aircraft. The New York Times in its article, Turkey Shoots Down Russian Warplane Near Syria Border, reports that:

Turkish fighter jets on patrol near the Syrian border shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday after it violated Turkey’s airspace, a long-feared escalation that could further strain relations between Russia and the West.

The escalation is “long feared” not because the Turkish government actually fears that Russian warplanes crossing their border pose a threat to it or its people, but because Russia has ended NATO’s proxy war, a proxy war spearheaded in part by Turkey itself, amid Russia’s joint military operations with Syria against the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS) and supporting terrorist factions.

In addition to having a camera rolling as the plane went down in flames, terrorists operating in region had allegedly surrounded the dead pilot shortly after the incident according to Reuters.

While Turkey maintains that it was only reacting in self-defense – it was against a nation’s planes that it knew had no intention of attacking its territory – and what looks like instead was Turkey targeting planes operating along reoccurring routes and shooting one down once the pieces were in place to maximize the event politically.

For Russia’s part, it claims its plane had not even entered Turkish territory which would reveal Turkey’s actions as an outright act of war.

Russia Continues Toward the Finish Line 

In recent weeks with Russian air support, Syrian troops have retaken large swaths of territory from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other terrorist fighters. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has even begun approaching the Euphrates River east of Aleppo, which would effectively cut off ISIS from its supply lines leading out of Turkish territory.

From there, Syrian troops would move north, into the very “safe zone” the US and its Turkish partners have long-sought but have so far failed to establish within Syria’s borders. This “safe zone” includes a region of northern Syrian stretching from Jarabulus near the west bank of the Euphrates to Afrin and Ad Dana approximately 90-100 kilometers west.

Once Syrian troops retake this territory, the prospect of the West ever making an incursion into Syria, holding territory, or compromising Syria’s territorial integrity would be lost forever. Western ambitions toward regime change in Damascus would be indefinitely suspended.

The endgame is at hand, and only the most desperate measures can hope to prevent Russia and Syria from finally securing Syria’s borders. Turkey’s provocation is just such a measure.

Russia’s time, place, and method of retaliating against Turkey is something only the Kremlin will know. But Russia’s actions upon the international stage have been so far thoroughly thought out, allowing Moscow to outmaneuver the West at every juncture and in the wake of every Western provocation.

For Turkey’s government – one that has been consistent only in its constant failure regarding its proxy war against its neighbor Syria, who has been caught planning false flag provocations to trigger wider and more direct war in Syria, and whose government is now exposed and widely known to be directly feeding, not fighting ISIS – the prospect of Russian retaliation against it, either directly or indirectly, and in whatever form will leave it increasingly isolated.

Until then, Russia’s best bet is to simply continue winning the war. Taking the Jarabulus-Afrin corridor and fortifying it against NATO incursions while cutting off ISIS and other terrorist factions deeper within Syria would be perhaps the worst of all possible retaliations. With Syria secured, an alternative arc of influence will exist within the Middle East, one that will inevitably work against Saudi and other Persian Gulf regimes’ efforts in Yemen, and in a wider sense, begin the irreversible eviction of Western hegemony from the region.

The West, already being pushed out of Asia by China, will suffer immeasurably as the world dismantles its unipolar international order, region by region.

As in the game of chess, a player often seeks to provoke their opponent into a series of moves. The more emotional their opponent becomes, the easier it is to control the game as it unfolds. Likewise in geopolitics and war, emotions can get one killed, or, be channeled by reason and superior strategic thinking into a plan that satisfies short-term requirements but serves long-term objectives. Russia has proven time and time again that it is capable of striking this balance and now, more than ever, it must prove so again.

 

“Understanding ISIS,” by Muhammad ibn Kateb Al Ashari

This document was available for download on Academia.edu so I assume the author has no plans to make money off of it as he is offering it int the public domain like that. I did a heavy edit on it and I think I made it a lot better. Nice short overview on Wahhabism, Ibn Taymiyyah, Saudi Arabia and ISIS. Good for people who don’t know a lot about the subject and not bad even for those of us who do. Hope you enjoy. We need more pieces like this.

In the name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful

To understand ISIS you must understand Wahhabism

Muhammad ibn Kateb Al Ashari

The dramatic arrival of Da’ish (ISIS) on the stage of Iraq has shocked many in the West. Many have been perplexed and horrified by its violence and evident magnetism for Sunni youth.

To understand ISIS, you need to understand Saudi Arabia. The dominant strand of Saudi identity derives directly from Muhammad ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhab (the founder of Wahhabism) and the use to which his radical, exclusionist puritanism was put by Ibn Saud. The latter was then no more than a minor leader amongst many continually sparring and raiding Bedouin tribes in the baking and desperately poor deserts of the Nejd.

The alliance between Ibn Abdul Wahhab and Al-Saud helped secure Saud’s power grab and instituted Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s monopoly on traditional Islamic scholarship.

Wahhab’s theology was something new. It was a revolution based on Abd al-Wahhab’s Jacobin-like hatred for the putrescence and deviationism that he perceived in his shallow understanding of Islamic sciences – hence his call to purge Islam of all heresies and idolatries.

The American author and journalist Steven Coll described how this austere and censorious disciple of the 14th century scholar Ibn Taymiyyah, Abd al-Wahhab, despised “the decorous, arty, tobacco smoking, hashish imbibing, drum pounding Egyptian and Ottoman nobility who traveled across Arabia to pray at Mecca.”

But the history of Wahhabism is even older than that. If you want to understand Wahhabism, you need to understand that Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab was only the Lenin or Wahhabism, whereas his ideological mentor, the Marx of Wahhabism, existed long before in Ibn Taymiyyah.

Before, I proceed in to Wahhabism, I will touch on Ibn Taymiyyah first.

The controversy surrounding Ibn Taymiyyah is not new or modern. Islamic scholars of his time were divided. Those who first met him often praised him, while others who learned of him through his writings and views scorned him. But he remains more of a despised icon than a revered one, and numerous classical writings show that his influence was short lived until the rise of Wahhabism.

Ibn Taymiyyah’s extreme fatwas have been used by ISIS and Al Qaeda today.

The most important fatwa upon which ISIS bases its holy war or jihad is the “Mardin” fatwa. This fatwa illustrates the extremism which marked all of Ibn Taymiyyah’s fatwas. He was born in Mardin on the border between present-day Syria and Turkey in 1263. When he was 7 years old, the Mongols attacked and overran his town. Ibn Taymiyyah moved to Damascus to live with his grandmother.

Jihadists believe that when he became an Islamic jurist, Ibn Taymiyyah issued a fatwa encouraging the fight against Mardin and its people, although the fatwa has been a source of disagreement among Muslim scholars for a long time. Many hardliners and advocates of Salafist jihadi ideology perceive this fatwa as permission to wage war to impose Sharia even within Islamic countries.

Ibn Taymiyyah had another fatwa on “collateral damage,” which stipulated that the mujahedeen who intended to target infidels were allowed to kill other Muslims who might stand in the way of reaching the mujahedeen’s goal. Al-Qaeda used this fatwa to justify the killing of large numbers of Iraqis with car bombs and improvised explosive devices after the US invasion in 2003.

You can say that Ibn Taymiyyah was misunderstood, but the fact remains that Ibn Taymiyyah has been a much loved and inspirational icon of Wahhabism, and fatwas like these are very disturbing. A lot is at stake here if you accept criticism of ibn Taymiyyah. The whole Salafi theology is based on his views and opinions, so it is common to see people defending him and his fatwas. Even many non-Salafist Sunnis will defend him.

Fast forward 500 years to the deserts of central Saudi Arabia. Here Wahhabism was birthed from Taymiyyah’s seeds.

One of the main tenets of Abd al-Wahhab’s doctrine is the key idea of takfir. Under the takfiri doctrine, Abd al-Wahhab and his followers could deem fellow Muslims infidels should they engage in activities that in any way could be said to encroach on the sovereignty of the absolute Authority in the Wahhabis’ understanding of the religion.

Abd al-Wahhab denounced all Muslims who honored the dead, saints, or angels. He held that such sentiments detracted from the complete subservience one must feel towards God and only God. Wahhabi Islam thus bans any veneration of the pious and prophets, pilgrimages to tombs and even faraway mosques, religious festivals celebrating prophets including celebrating Prophet Muhammad’s birthday and prohibits the use of gravestones when burying the dead.

In traditional Islam, engaging in these acts could be no more than disliked or not recommended, but disbelief or heresy by which the blood of a Muslim and their properties become lawful was not a possibility.

Understanding the Wahhabi movement is essential to understand the wars in the Middle East and the Wahhabi vs Shia conflict and the struggle of traditional mainstream Islamic theology to survive in the face of billions of Petro-Wahhabi dollars of Saudi Arabia.

This conflict is actually about who controls Middle East: Shias or Wahhabis. Sunnis have been the main players in the region for centuries due to numbers but also as a continuation of the message of Prophet and His companions. Sunni scholars have traditionally felt that they remained duty-bound to preserve Islamic orthodoxy in Islamic lands, hence their dominance over the Middle East and Arabia in particular makes sense..

Islamic theologians during ibn Taymiyyah’s time successfully silenced his views, and for centuries he were nearly forgotten until the British used support for Taymiyyah-influenced Wahhabism as a cynical tool against the Ottomans who were at the time more or less representative of traditional Islam. The British succeeded in defeating Ottomans politically 100 years ago, but now, a century later, they now have had to deal with their own Frankenstein monster, the Wahhabi ISIS.

The question is, Will ISIS be used by West as a pretext to launch global war against Islamic countries? If this happens, one of two things may happen. First, we will discover that Wahhabism has very foolishly succeeded yet again in assisting the demise of Islamic lands. If however ISIS succeeds, the demise of Islamic lands and Islam itself as well as West is a highly likely possibility unless a third option is activated – empowering traditional Islam and subduing both Wahhabism and Western imperialism. This third path may be the only way to avoid global annihilation.

France, Zionism and US Imperialism

Julian Hochscritt writes:

The all-Zionist turn in our foreign policy is fairly recent. It harks back to Sarkozy in 2007 bringing France into NATO’s integrated military command. He waged a war to replace the Ivory Coast President by a puppet. Then killed his campaign sponsor Qaddafi and 50,000 of his people. Supported the uprisings in Syria.

Finally, Hollande and Valls, the latter one being particularly Zionist (Freemason, Jewish spouse,
Philosemitism-driven), got closer to the Sunni fundamentalists, like a US puppet. “We”? We know it. But we can’t do much. We are in a quasi-dictatorship. The regime is crumbling. France feels like a People’s Democracy in the 1980’s.

Every media is a a Pravda with journalists vilifying ‘deviants’. Politics are a one-party state (with two factions). The Nomenklatura justifies its power with dogmas it doesn’t apply to itself, namely anti-racism (they’re sending their children to all-White schools, and they’re tied to Israel), anti-sexism (they’re wealthy families and they’re Masons), and anti-pollution (they’re the airports’ hyperclass and they’re calling for more immigrants). And of course, the Euro, the EU, the LGBT, which are codewords for finance worship, US worship, Antichrist worship.

Last time in January, the movement of grief was channeled to crack down even more on free speech: ISIS propaganda relies heavily on the Internet much like the Alt Right, and they know it. Again this time they used the shock wave to finalize our cultural genocide – they managed to get the Charlies and the United Morons think the attacks were caused by an ‘apartheid’ that could only be corrected by a ‘repopulation plan’ where mayors are forced to accept housing schemes. It’s crazy.

Perhaps the third attack will see people disconnecting with the government? For as of now, the 129 corpses are a huge Hollande win.

Julian writes an excellent rundown on the madness that seems to have seized the French. It almost seems that France has turned into another USA, as has the UK recently. Canada started implementing its “Little America” plan under Harper.

One thing I notice is that there is seems to be little difference between the French “Left” and the French “Right” anymore. What on Earth is the differences between Sarkozy and Hollande for God’s sake? I can’t see a thing! Sarkozy is Hollande is Sarkozy is Hollande. Where does one end and the other begin? It’s like a snake eating its tail. On economics? The same. On foreign policy? The same. It’s like the difference between the US Democratic and Republican Parties. There’s really not much there. Just two wings of Deep State Party of the Multinationals and the rich.

We did seem to see a strong pro-Israel turn under Sarky. I noticed that. Apparently he was Jewish?

I am not so sure that France has gone pro-Zionist, but the anti-Iran madness that opposes Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, and the Houthis benefits only Israel. Sure, these entities carry out overseas actions – against Israelis and sometimes Jews! What does that have to do with the US, France or the UK? Can someone please tell me how Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and the Houthis are dangerous to the US or the West? I am still trying to figure this out. When was the last time they attacked us? Lebanon? Saudi Arabia? Iraq? And whose fault was that?

The West’s lunatic anti-Shia jihad that has thrown it into bed with ISIS, Al Qaeda and the endless similar salafi jihadi factions can only be for Israel or for our Sunni allies in the Gulf, Jordan or Turkey. Of course the Gulf states, Jordan and Turkey want to kill all the Shia. We have known that for years now. But why on Earth would the West get in on the Sunni anti-Shia jihad?

The best evidence from Seymour Hersch’s work is that the West is not siding with the Sunni fanatic states’ Shia Holocaust Plan but is instead using them to smash Iran and roll back Iranian influence in the region. But why should Iranian or Shia influence in the region matter to the US? Is the US a Sunni Arab country? Do we want to genocide the Shia because they are heretics and infidels?

No, instead of backing the Sunnis mad exterminationism, we are simply using the Sunni states as a tool to “smash Iran and Iranian influence.” But why should Iran and Iranian influence in the region matter to the West? Unless the Jews have actually succeeded in the multiyear campaign of screaming at us and whispering in the Kings’ ears that Iran is the real enemy, that is.

Have the Israelis convinced the West that the enemies of Israel are the enemies of the West? Or is this Western anti-Shia campaign simply for Israel and for no one else? After 2001, we were tasked with destroying all of Israel’s enemies. We quickly took out Iraq. Then we tried to take out Lebanon and Hezbollah with the March 14 Color Revolution. Then we took out Libya. Now we are trying to take out Syria.

The only enemy of Israel left is Iran. All of the Sunni states surrendered to Israel long ago, and most of them now work hand in hand with the Israelis. The Saudis in particular are very close to Tel Aviv. For a long time, Qatar was a holdout. It even housed the main offices of Hamas. However, they came under extreme pressure from someone (Who? The US?), and they booted Hamas out a while ago.

If the Western anti-Shia and anti-Iran campaign is all about Israel, one wonders if NATO and the West have gone seriously over to the Israelis side in recent years.

Tony Blair set the Brits’ part in motion by invading Iraq.

Since 2007, the French have joined the “get Iran” Coalition.

NATO is spearheading the “Get Iran” campaign. Has NATO gone seriously over to Israel recently? Why don’t they just make Israel a member of NATO? Has NATO always been so strongly in favor of Israel?

Another possibility is that instead of making a strong turn towards Israel, France, the UK, and NATO are simply lining up slavishly behind US foreign policy. This perhaps makes the most sense of all. The British and French have simply tied their ship to America. The British have been American slaves for a very long time. British foreign policy can be summed up for a long time now as supporting the US in every single one of its foreign policy endeavors.

This blind “follow the Yanks” policy goes way back and is related to something called Atlanticism. Atlanticism is a foreign policy doctrine that suggests that the UK (and other northern European countries) and the US have very special and unique ties by history and blood to each other. Hence the foreign policy of the US and Northern Europe should be coordinated as much as possible. In practice this tends to boil down to “Follow the Yank Pied Piper.” Other Atlanticist countries (that I know of) are the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway.

So has France recently become an Atlanticist country? It seems that since 2007, they are as Atlanticist as the UK.

TPP Ignores Global Warming and Allows Murder of Labor Union Organizers

I plan on posting a number of articles abut this catastrophic TPP agreement that sadly looks like it is going to become law. I can’t even begin to tell you how horrific this trade agreement is. In a nutshell, it does away with all governments and makes it so corporations rule the world. Any government that passes any law that limits current or future profits of a corporation could be sued on the grounds that that law was a “trade barrier.” The corporation can sue in a kangaroo court made up of corporate types for damages,and the corporation will always win and the governments will always lose.

Government have had to pay out many millions of dollars to corporations for passing laws that limited their profits under NAFTA. And yes, all laws dealing global warming can also be challenged by this Frankenstein of a bill.

As you can see, it encourages the murder of labor leaders, union members and organizers because killing union members would not be a violation of the Labor Section of the agreement. The parts of the TPP dealing with labor and the environment are written in boilerplate and are entirely voluntary, while the sections that allow corporations to rule our lives in written in very strict legalese.

It’s worse than a catastrophe. It’s an out and out nightmare, and it’s the end of representative government as we know it. All governments will become irrelevant, and in their places, we will all be ruled by corporations. In other words, multinational corporations will become our de facto governments. It is stunning how crazy that is.

All the Republicans are for it.

Of course the Democratic Party is down with this agreement all the way. Obama is pushing it like crazy. There was a brief uprising a few months ago when it looked like the bill might not get through the Congress because so many Democrats were against it. This was followed by maniacal lobbying on the part of corporate lobbyists and an all-out propaganda blitz by the US media, 100% of which (note that we have a “free” press) supported the bill.

The “liberal” New York Times came out very strongly in favor of it and said that Obama’s legacy would ride on whether he could get this bill through or not. In other words, according to the “liberal” New York Times, if Obama could not get the bill through, then that would mean that his Presidency was a failure. So the Times threatened Obama with complete humiliation and damage to his mark in history if he could not get the TPP through.

Note that the entire “liberal” media came out in favor of this monstrosity. Note that “liberal” Obama came out in favor of it. I know some Democratic Party stalwarts who seem to support this nightmare bill. They think that people who oppose it are “extremist nuts.”

These people support anything that Obama does. If Obama is for it, then they support it. He can push the most reactionary stuff you could imagine, and these stalwarts will never oppose Obama or any other Democrat for one second. We really need to get away from this insane partisanship, as it is irrational.

To these folks, everything Republicans do its bad and everything Democrats do is good. Unfortunately, once you take that POV, Democrats are free to act as rightwing as they want to, and their moronic stalwarts will support everything they do because it’s treason to oppose a Democrat.

I will be posting more abuo9t this awful and insane trade agreement in the coming days, but this will be good for a starter.

TPP Ignores Global Warming and Allows Murder of Labor Union Organizers

by Eric Zeusse, from Global Research

U.S. President Barack Obama’s capstone to his Presidency, his proposed megalithic international ‘trade’ treaties, are finally coming into their home-stretch, with the Pacific deal finally being made public on Thursday November 5th.

The final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) proposed treaty would leave each signatory nation liable to be sued by any international corporation that objects to any new regulation, or increase in regulation, regarding climate change, otherwise known as global warming. In no terminology is that phenomenon even so much as just mentioned in the “Environment” chapter.

Regarding labor issues, including slavery, the “Labour” chapter of the TPP contains merely platitudes. (Obama allowed Malaysia into the compact despite its notoriously poor record of non-enforcement of its ban on slavery, because he wants the U.S. to control the Strait of Malacca in order to impede China’s economic and military expansion; it’s part of Obama’s anti-China policy. Almost everything that he does has different motives than the ones his rhetoric claims.)

Throughout, the treaty would place international corporations in ever-increasing control over all regulations regarding workers’ rights, the environment, product safety, and consumer protection. But the environmental and labor sections are particularly blatant insults to the public — a craven homage to the top stockholders in international corporations. The World’s Richest 80 people own the same amount of wealth as the world’s bottom 50%; and Obama represents those and other super-rich and their friends and servants in the lobbying and other associated industries. But he also represents the even richer people who aren’t even on that list, such as King Salman of Saudi Arabia, the world’s richest person. It’s people such as that who will be the real beneficiaries of Obama’s ‘trade’ treaties. The public will be harmed, enormously, wherever these treaties become law.

The full meaning of the terms that are set forth in the TPP agreement won’t be publicly known for at least four years, but the explicit terms that were made public on November 5th, and that will be presented to the 12 participating nations for signing, are entirely consistent with what had been expected on the basis of Wikileaks and other earlier published information.

The 12 participating nations are: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam. Three countries were excluded by U.S. President Obama, because the U.S. doesn’t yet control them and they are instead viewed as being not allied with the main axis of U.S. international power: U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and Israel. Those three outright-excluded countries are Russia, China, and India. (India, of course, has hostile relations with Pakistan, which is Sunni and therefore part of the Saudi-Qatar-Turkey portion of the U.S. international core, basically the Sunni portion of the core. By contrast, Russia and China have been determinedly independent of the U.S., and are therefore treated by President Obama as being hostile nations: he wants instead to isolate them, to choke off their access to markets, as much as possible. This same motivation also factored largely in his coup to take control of Ukraine, through which Russia’s gas passes on its way into the EU, the world’s largest gas-market.)

6 nations that Obama had invited into the TPP were ultimately unwilling to accept Obama’s terms and so were excluded when the final text was published: Colombia, Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, and Indonesia.

The phrases “global warming” and “climate change” don’t appear anywhere in the entire TPP document, nor does “climate” nor “warming” — it’s an area that’s entirely left to international corporations in each one of the separate participating nations to assault as much as they wish in order to gain competitive advantage against all of the other corporations that operate in the given nation: i.e., something for each corporation to sacrifice in order to be able to lower the given company’s costs. That raises its profit-margin. This also means that if any international corporation claims to be subjected in any participating nation, to global-warming regulation or enforcement which poses a barrier or impediment to that corporation’s profits, then that corporation may sue that given nation, and fines might be assessed against that nation (i.e., against its taxpayers) for such regulation or enforcement. National publics are no longer sovereign.

The “Labour” chapter is a string of platitudes, such as, “Article 19.7: Corporate Social Responsibility: Each Party shall endeavor to encourage enterprises to voluntarily adopt corporate social responsibility initiatives on labor issues that have been endorsed or supported by that Party.”

President Obama’s Trade Representative, his longtime personal friend Michael Froman, organized and largely wrote Obama’s proposed trade treaties: TPP for the Pacific, and TTIP and TISA for the Atlantic. Froman told the AFL-CIO and U.S. Senators that when countries such as Colombia systematically murder labor-union organizers, it’s no violation of workers’ rights — nothing that’s of any concern to the U.S. regarding this country’s international trade policies or the enforcement of them. On 22 April 2015, Huffington Post, one of the few U.S. news media to report honestly on these treaties, bannered AFL-CIO’s Trumka: USTR Told Us Murder Isn’t a Violation, and Michael McAuliff reported that, “Defenders of the White House push for sweeping trade deals argue they include tough enforcement of labor standards. But a top union leader scoffed at such claims Tuesday, revealing that [Obama] administration officials have said privately that they don’t consider even the killings of labor organizers to be violations of those pacts.”

In other words: This is, and will be, the low level of the playing-field that U.S. workers will be competing against in TPP etc., just as it is already, in the far-smaller existing NAFTA (which Hillary Clinton had helped to pass in Congress during the early 1990s). (Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama, all campaigned for the Presidency by attacking Republicans for pushing such ‘trade’ deals. Their actions when they gain power, contradict their words. America and virtually the entire world has become rule of a suckered public, by perhaps as many as a thousand psychopathic aristocrats who own the international corporations and ‘news’ media, and who regularly do business with each other though they wall themselves off from the public.

Typically, at their level, it makes no real difference which country their passport is from.) “Trumka said that even after the Obama administration crafted an agreement to tighten labor protections four years ago, some 105 labor organizers have been killed, and more than 1,300 have been threatened with death.” The Obama Administration is ignoring the tightened regulations that it itself had managed to get nominally implemented on paper. “Pressed for details about Trumka’s assertion that murder doesn’t count as a violation of labor rules, Thea Lee, the AFL-CIO deputy chief of staff, told HuffPost that USTR officials said in at least two meetings where she was present that killing and brutalizing organizers would not be considered interfering with labor rights under the terms of the trade measures.”

Furthermore: “’We documented five or six murders of Guatemalan trade unionists that the government had failed to effectively investigate or prosecute,’ Lee said. ‘The USTR told us that the murders of trade unionists or violence against trade unionists was not a violation of the labor chapter.’”

That U.S. Trade Representative, Michael Froman, is the same person Obama has negotiating with foreign governments, and with international corporations, both Obama’s TPP, and his TTIP & TISA.

The most important chapter in the TPP treaty is “Dispute Settlement,” which sets forth the means by which corporations will sue countries for alleged violations of their stockholders ‘rights’ to extract profits from operations of those corporations in the signatory countries. The underlying assumption here is that the rights of international stockholders take precedence over the rights (even over the sovereignty rights) of the citizens of any participating country.

Instead of these suits being judged according to any nation’s laws, they are allowed to be addressed only by means of private arbitration “Panels.” The Dispute Settlement chapter contains “Article 28.9: Composition of Panels.” Section #1 there is simply: “The panel shall comprise three members.” Each of the two Parties will appoint a member; one for the suing corporation, and the other for the sued nation; and both of those members will then jointly select a third member “from the roster established pursuant to Article 28.10.3”; and this third member will automatically “serve as chair.”

Article 28.10.3 says that anyone who possesses “expertise or experience in law, international trade, other matters covered by this Agreement, or the resolution of disputes arising under international trade agreements” may be selected for the roster, so long as the individual meets vague criteria such as that they “be independent of, and not be affiliated with or take instructions from, any Party.” No penalty is laid out for anyone on the roster who lies about any of that. Basically, anyone may become a person on the roster, even non-lawyers may, and even corrupt individuals may, especially because there are no penalties for anyone on the roster, none at all is stated.

Then, “Article 28.19,” section 8: “If a monetary assessment is to be paid to the complaining Party, then it shall be paid in U.S. currency, or in an equivalent amount of the currency of the responding Party or in another currency agreed to by the disputing Parties.”

There is no appeals-process. If a nation gets fined and yet believes that something was wrong with the panel’s decision, there is no recourse. No matter how much a particular decision might happen to have been arrived at in contradiction of that nation’s laws and courts and legal precedents, the panels’ decisions aren’t appealable in any national legal system. Whatever precedents might become established from these panels’ subsequent record of decisions will constitute no part of any nation’s legal system, but instead create an entirely new forming body of case-law in an evolving international government which consists of international corporations and their panelists, and of whatever other panelists are acceptable to those corporate panelists. Voters have no representation, they’re merely sued. Stockholders have representation, they do the suing, of the various nations’ taxpayers, for ‘violating’ the ‘rights’ of stockholders.

The roster of authorized panelists available to be chosen by any corporation’s panelists in conjunction with by any nation’s panelists, is customarily composed of individuals who move back and forth between government and private-sector roles, through a “revolving door,” so that on both ends of that, the ultimate control is with the owners of the controlling blocs of stock in various international corporations. This is the newly evolving world government. It will not block any nation from legislating protections of workers, or of consumers, or of the environment; it will simply hold a power to extract from any participating nation’s taxpayers fines for ‘violating’ the ‘rights’ of stockholders in international corporations. Citizens will increasingly be held under the axe, and the top stockholders in international corporations will be holding it. This isn’t the type of world government that was anticipated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, the founders of the U.N., and by the other early (pre-1954) proponents of world government. But, since 1954, the plans for this anti-democratic form of emerging world government were laid; and, now, those plans are the ones that are being placed into effect.

Thus, on 26 October 2015, the United Nations Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order, the international legal expert Alfred de Zayas, headlined, UN Expert Calls for Abolition of Investor-State Dispute Settlement Arbitrations. That’s the system, otherwise called “ISDS,” which already exists in a few much smaller international-trade treaties, and which is now being introduced on the largest scale ever in TPP and in Obama’s other proposed treaties. The U.N. press release, calling for its “abolition” or explicit outlawing, said:

In his fourth report to the UN General Assembly, Mr. de Zayas focuses on the adverse human rights impacts of free trade and investment agreements and calls for the abolition of Investor-State dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS) that accompanies most of these agreements.

“Over the past twenty-five years bilateral international treaties and free trade agreements with investor-state-dispute-settlement have adversely impacted the international order and undermined fundamental principles of the UN, State sovereignty, democracy and the rule of law. It prompts moral vertigo in the unbiased observer,” he noted.

Far from contributing to human rights and development, ISDS has compromised the State’s regulatory functions and resulted in growing inequality among States and within them,” the expert stated.

Earlier, on 5 May 2015, I headlined, “UN Lawyer Calls TTP & TTIP ‘A Dystopian future in Which Corporations and not Democratically Elected Governments Call the Shots’.” I close now by repeating the opening of that report:

The Obama-proposed international-trade deals, if passed into law, will lead to “a dystopian future in which corporations and not democratically elected governments call the shots,” says Alfred De Zayas, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order.

These two mammoth trade-pacts, one (TTIP) for Atlantic nations, and the other (TTP) for Pacific nations excluding China (since Obama is against China), would transfer regulations of corporations to corporations themselves, and away from democratically elected governments. Regulation of working conditions and of the environment, as well as of product-safety including toxic foods and poisonous air and other consumer issues, would be placed into the hands of panels whose members will be appointed by large international corporations. Their decisions will remove the power of democratically elected governments to control these things. “Red tape” that’s imposed by elected national governments would be eliminated — replaced by the international mega-corporate version.

De Zayas was quoted in Britain’s Guardian on May 4th as saying also that, “The bottom line is that these agreements must be revised, modified or terminated,”because they would vastly harm publics everywhere, even though they would enormously benefit the top executives of corporations by giving them control as a sort of corporate-imposed world government, answerable to the people who control those corporations.

Salafi Jihadism: Part 1

Original here. This essay is very well-done, the best I have ever read on the subject.

This is the first of a two-part post on Salafi jihadism. Part 1 is intended to provide a definition of jihad, a look at the history of Salafism/Wahhabism, their similarities and differences and how they spread in the end of the 20th century.

Also before anyone thinks I’m targeting Salafis for an agenda, I intend to cover jihadism in each segment of Islam. I simply chose to begin with Salafi jihadism due to its greater relevance and attention in the world today.

Definition of Jihad: The Arabic word Jihad is derived from the verb Jahada – meaning to strive or struggle. In Islamic terminology it means to make an effort, to endeavor and to strive for a noble cause. The word is generally used to describe any type of striving in the cause of Allah (God). According to Islamic teachings there are three main types of Jihad as explained below:

i) Jihad-e-Akbar, i.e jihad of the highest order. This is the jihad (struggle) for self-reformation. The struggle is against our own temptations such as greed, lust and other worldly temptations. This type of jihad is obligatory on every Muslim throughout his life.

ii) Jihad-e-Kabir, i.e major jihad. This is the jihad of propagation of the truth, the message of Qur’an. The Qur’an also instructs us to spread this message with wisdom, tolerance and respect to others and their beliefs and prohibits the use of any coercion or force. According to the Qur’an anyone who devotes his time, effort, wealth or knowledge to the cause of righteousness is practicing Jihad-e-Kabir. This is also obligatory on all Muslims.

iii) Jihad-e-Asghar, i.e jihad of the lower order. This is the jihad of a defensive battle. The Qur’an has clearly restricted this type of jihad to certain conditions while forbidding transgression of any sort. The conflict must of a defensive nature for the Muslim community, Muslims must have been prevented from freely practicing their religion and beliefs, and they must have been driven from their homes.

Another requirement for the declaration of this type of jihad is the existence of an Islamic State and a Muslim leader to declare it; without this condition, Muslims are allowed to defend themselves in case of being attacked or persecuted but not to declare and prosecute an official jihad. Once a jihad has been declared, the Muslim army is bound by a set of regulations to observe while on campaign, some of which are listed here.[1][2]

It is critical to understand that the aim of jihad is not the conversion of non-Muslim populations. Most scholars agree upon the concept of jihad being a defensive measure; some modern Islamic revivalists such as Sayyid Qutb and Abdullah Azzam argued for the use of jihad as an offensive measure but for the expansion of Muslim territory and Islamic ideals rather than the religious conversion of the local peoples, forced or otherwise, to Islam. As a result, jihad is similar to the Christian concept of a crusade but differs in this critical matter among others. However, jihad is a hotly debated topic in jurisprudence, and a look at the opinions of various scholars can be found here.[3]

History of Salafism/Wahhabism: Salafism is a conservative, orthodox movement within Sunni Islam that seeks to return the practice of Islam to its fundamentals. As such, it emphasizes emulation of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the Salaf as Saliheen (Pious Predecessors) which comprise the first three generations of Muslims (Companions, Successors and Successors of the Successors), and it rejects any rituals or beliefs not practiced by them; as a result, they are against any innovations, or bidah.

In legal jurisprudence, Salafis are divided among those that remain faithful to the four Sunni maddhabs (schools of law) and those that reject them in favour of ijtihad (independent legal judgement).

In terms of politics, Salafis are generally divided into three categories.

The largest category consists of the quietists, those who believe in remaining indifferent to politics and repression in favour of being closer to God.

The next largest category is the activists, that comprises those who participate in politics to advocate for Islamist agendas and religious legislation.

The smallest category by far is the jihadists, which are the most well known category worldwide but are a tiny minority.

The central tenets of Salafism have existed since the earlier days of Islam, with scholars such as Ibn Taymiyyah referring to and emphasizing adherence to the model of the Salaf. However, Salafism did not spread widely until the 18th century when Muhammad Abdul Wahhab started preaching in the Najd area of Arabia. Abdul Wahhab believed that the practices of the society around him, including venerating the tombs of the Companions, or making invocations to holy men, were similar to the practices during the pre-Islamic Jahiliya (Age of Ignorance).

Thus, he wished to return to a more puritan and conservative form of Islam free of any supposed innovations or bidah and similar to how he believed Islam was practiced in its earliest days. He also believed that those who professed themselves to be Muslim but participated in bidah were beyond the pale of Islam. He began preaching in the town of Unayna, but his actions and ideals were unpopular with the nobility of the era, with Abdul Wahhab being expelled from his town due to pressure applied by a powerful chief, Sulaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr.

However, he managed to find refuge with the ruler of the town of Diriyah, Muhammad ibn Saud. In 1744, they formed a pact whereby ibn Saud would protect and propagate the doctrines espoused by Abdul Wahhab by military action, while the latter would religiously legitimize the former’s military conquests and allow the imposition of Islamic taxation, which would net the Al Sauds more income than at the current rates.

Hence began a period of conquest over multiple generations that expanded the Al Sauds’ holdings to much of Arabia, created the First Saudi State and the propagation of Abdul Wahhab’s teachings, pejoratively termed Wahhabism by its critics, outside of Najd. This is also where Abdul Wahhab broke with traditional Salafist thinking; unlike traditional Salafists, Abdul Wahhab was willing to use force and coercion to spread his teachings and was willing to participate in politics and political agreements to achieve that goal.

Scholars are disputed over the degree of brutality sanctioned by Abdul Wahhab, but it is clear that in successive generations, the Wahhabis have become more and more radical, ultimately adopting ibn Taymiyyah’s ideas of takfir (excommunication); this allowed them to brand Muslims living in violation of Islamic law to be non-Muslims and thus justified their fighting against other Muslims. They also adopted a ‘convert or die’ approach to their enemies.

This increasing ruthlessness was the cause of the Al Saud’s downfall. In 1802, the Wahhabis attacked Karbala, slaughtering much of the population and desecrating the shrine of Imam Hussain, and launched a similar assault on Taif in 1803, slaughtering the male population and enslaving women and children.

Ultimately, the Ottoman Empire, which controlled Arabia at the time, had enough and dispatched an army in 1818 that destroyed the First Saudi State, killing the Al Saud ruler, razing Diriyah and doing their best to stamp out both the House of Saud and the Wahhabi movement. However, the remoteness of the Najd prevented either from happening, and a Second Saudi State resulted in that region; consequently, by the end of the 19th century, most of the townspeople in the area were Wahhabis.

Many of the new members were former Bedouins who abandoned nomadic life for settlements on the insistence of Wahhabi religious scholars who declared that a nomadic lifestyle was incompatible with Islam. The newly settled Bedouins served well as soldiers for the Wahhabi religious leaders.

Although alive, Wahhabism remained mostly confined to the Najd till the end of the First World War. During the war, the reigning head of the Al Saud family, Abdulaziz ibn Saud, aided the Allies by revolting against the Ottomans. Although his campaign to rule Arabia had begun in 1901, he was unable to assert his authority over Hijaz until 1923, when the British removed their support for the Sharifs of Makkah.

In 1927, Abdulaziz signed a treaty with the British, who recognized his independence from the former Ottoman territories in exchange for letting go of Transjordan, Iraq, Kuwait and other British protectorates. However, Abdulaziz faced an internal rebellion among his troops. During his campaigns, he made use of the Ikhwan, a militia of radical Wahhabi Bedouin warriors. When he signed the treaty with the British, the Ikhwan refused to obey and raided Transjordan.

Unwilling to risk British ire, Abdulaziz fought the Ikhwan and defeated them in 1929 with British support. The survivors of the Ikhwan were then organized in various militias which would later form the core of the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Although defeated, the Ikhwan left their mark on Arabian society by uprooting the old cultural norms and supplanting them with radical Wahhabi ideology as part of their campaign on behalf of the Al Sauds.

In addition, Wahhabi ideology spread to the cities of Makkah and Madinah and gained control of the religious apparatus in the land. Although the Wahhabi religious establishment was given much latitude with respect to religious observance and teaching, in many cases Abdulaziz overruled the ulema, allowing the driving of automobiles and the attendance of Shia pilgrims at the annual Hajj. In addition, most of Abdulaziz’s consolidation of power and dealings with Western powers kept him at odds with the ulema.

Although Salafism/Wahhabism inspired offshoots such as the Ahl-e-Hadith and Deoband movements in South Asia, the reach of these two ideologies was quite low during most of the 20th century. Even within Saudi Arabia, the implementation of Islamic law was relatively relaxed compared to today.

This changed in 1979, when two things happened. First the Iranian Revolution occurred, toppling the Shah there and sending shockwaves through the monarchies in the region. Second, the Grand Mosque in Makkah was taken over by Islamic extremists who called for the stricter implementation of Islamic doctrines and the fall of the Al Saud family.

In the aftermath of these events, the Saudi government became stricter in religious matters. Due to the huge increase in oil income since the 1973 oil crisis, the government had lavished funding on religious literature, scholarships and hundreds of new Islamic schools, universities and mosques. In order to counter any threat of an Iranian-style revolution by the Shia population of the country and to satisfy disgruntled conservative clerics, this funding was further increased.

The beginning of the Afghan War provided an opportunity to export troublesome clerics to Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries. This achieved two aims; first, it allowed the Sauds to embed a Wahhabi religious establishment of their choice, and secondly, the export of Wahhabi ideology served as a bulwark against the revolutionary doctrines that Iran was beginning to propagate in the Middle East. Since the Afghan War attracted volunteers from all over the Muslim world, almost all of whom spent time in the Saudi-sponsored religious schools, the spread of Salafism was assured.[4]

Due to the financial support that Salafism/Wahhabism enjoys from the Gulf, it has received attention and commands influence disproportionate to its size. There are roughly 50 million Salafists in the world, a tiny fraction of the total Muslim population.[5] Yet, Salafi scholars such as Zakir Naik from India are some of the most recognizable in the Muslim world, having instant name recognition even amongst many non-Salafis.

The Salafi movement is described as the fastest growing Islamic movement in the world, according to a report by the BND, the German domestic intelligence service.[6] This is especially true for regions such as Europe and North America, which have no native Islamic traditions of their own and thus are more susceptible to supplanting than historically Muslim areas.

Although Salafis have historically been peaceful and apolitical, believing in using persuasion rather than force, modern Salafism is often considered indistinguishable from Wahhabism and in many cases, conflict has arisen when Salafis have tried to propagate their doctrines. For instance in Pakistan, there is much animosity between followers of the Deoband movement, inspired by Salafism, and the Barelvi movement, inspired by the Sufi traditions of the subcontinent.

Moreover, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, more and more Salafists are becoming part of the activist category, joining politics to propagate their beliefs. One example of such a movement is the Nour Party in Egypt, which gained a quarter of the seats in the 2011-12 elections.

In normal circumstances, one might consider the engagement of conservative Islamists in democratic politics to be a positive sign; however, the failure of the Arab Spring to bring meaningful change to the lives of people in most of the affected countries has disillusioned many democratic Salafis, many of whom have shifted to the jihadist category of Salafism, thinking military action to be the last feasible route.[7]

Sources:

1 http://islamicfaq.org/jihad/

2 http://www.islamhelpline.net/node/441

3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jihad#Current_usage

4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism

5 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_movement#cite_note-123

6 http://www.aina.org/news/20120416150547.htm

7 http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21656189-islams-most-conservative-adherents-are-finding-politics-hard-it-beats

Slavery in the Muslim World: The Tradition Is Not Yet Dead

From here.

Bottom line is, yes, slavery has been present in the Islamic World from Day One. In fact, one can make a case that slavery was an inherent and even emblematic aspect of Islam since its inception. It only left the Muslim World due to pressure from the West when the West emancipated its own slaves in the late 1800’s. Officially, most of the Muslim World dumped theirs. Yet the practice continued. Saudi Arabia only outlawed slavery in 1962. An advertisement for a castrated Black slave for sale recently appeared in a Saudi publication. Mauritania only outlawed slavery a few years ago, and the ban is hardly enforced.

As societies collapsed, the peculiar institution experienced a recrudescence. Libyan ports now export many slaves destined for Europe. Syrian teenage girls in Jordanian refugee camps are trafficked to brothels in Amman and sold to visiting Gulf men for $140-175 for a “temporary marriage.” In Northern Nigeria, even before Boko Haram kidnapped scores of teenage Christian girls, Muslim men had been importing concubine slave girls from the north to serve as “fifth wives.” The abuse and rape of female domestics in the Gulf who are little more than slaves of their owners has been documented for years.

Worst of all is the migrant labor scam that the Gulf states have been running for decades involving workers from South Asia, especially Pakistan and India,  and Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines. For all intents and purposes, work which is tied to contracts with the employer is little more than slavery, let’s face it. Gulf employers of these men have referred to them as slaves. They are housed in the most miserable conditions in a very wealthy country and worked to exhaustion and sometimes to death in ferocious heat with little protection or rest. A number of deaths have occurred to poor working conditions. Some poor countries to the east have forbidden their workers from going to the Gulf to work. There has been a bit of a crackdown, but it was mostly fake. Kuwait gave its “slaves” rights recently, but the Emir has not yet signed the bill. Qatar is worried about its reputation as the Olympics are coming soon, but its response instead of cleaning up its act has been to cover the whole mess up and beat up and detain the protesters. Any progress elsewhere in the Gulf has been frozen in recent years. Instead we get the predictable fake backlash whereby the Gulf states say that critics of their Slave System are “Islamophobes.”

The progress for serious progressive change for alleviating remaining vestiges of slavery in the Arab World seem dim at the moment as the region undergoes a retrenchment, a backlash and a hardening of reaction.

The link between Islam and slavery goes back from the start, so ISIS is not doing anything new. The fact that the formal Muslim states of the world continue to refuse to clean up their mess is most discouraging, but it too may be blamed on tradition.

“Spoils of war,” snaps Dabiq, the English-language journal of Islamic State (IS). The reference is to thousands of Yazidi women the group forced into sex slavery after taking their mountain, Sinjar, in August last year. Far from being a perversion, it claims that forced concubinage is a religious practice sanctified by the Koran.

In a chapter called Women, the Koran sanctions the marriage of up to four wives, or “those that your right hands possess”. Literalists, like those behind the Dabiq article, have interpreted these words as meaning “captured in battle”.

Its purported female author, Umm Sumayyah, celebrated the revival of Islam’s slave-markets and even proffered the hope that Michelle Obama, the wife of America’s president, might soon be sold there. “I and those with me at home prostrated to Allah in gratitude on the day the first slave-girl entered our home,” she wrote. Sympathizers have done the same, most notably the allied Nigerian militant group, Boko Haram, which last year kidnapped an entire girls’ school in Chibok.

Religious preachers have responded with a chorus of protests. “The re-introduction of slavery is forbidden in Islam. It was abolished by universal consensus,” declared an open letter sent by 140 Muslim scholars to IS’s “caliph”, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, earlier this year. “You have taken women as concubines and thus revived…corruption and lewdness on the earth.”

But while IS’s embrace of outright slavery has been singled out for censure, religious and political leaders have been more circumspect about other “slave-like” conditions prevalent across the region. IS’s targeting of an entire sect for kidnapping, killing and sex trafficking, and its bragging, are exceptional; forced labor for sexual and other forms of exploitation is not.

From Morocco, where thousands of children work as petites bonnes, or maids, to the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan where girls are forced into prostitution, to the unsanctioned rape and abuse of domestics in the Gulf, aid workers say servitude is rife.

Scholars are sharply divided over how much cultural mores are to blame. Apologists say that, in a concession to the age, the Prophet Muhammad tolerated slavery, but—according to a prominent American theologian trained in Salafi seminaries, Yasir Qadhi—he did so grudgingly and advocated abolition.

Repeatedly in the Koran the Prophet calls for the manumission of slaves and release of captives, seeking to alleviate the slave systems run by the Greeks, Romans, Byzantines and Jewish Himyarite kings of Yemen. He freed one slave, a chief’s daughter, by marrying her, and chose Bilal, another slave he had freed, to recite the first call to prayer after his conquest of Mecca. His message was liberation from worldly oppression, says Mr Qadhi  – enslavement to God, not man.

Other scholars insist, however, that IS’s treatment of Yazidis adheres to Islamic tradition. “They are in full compliance with Koranic understanding in its early stages,” says Professor Ehud Toledano, a leading authority on Islamic slavery at Tel Aviv University. Moreover, “what the Prophet has permitted, Muslims cannot forbid.”

The Prophet’s calls to release slaves only spurred a search for fresh stock as the new empire spread, driven by commerce, from sub-Saharan Africa to the Persian Gulf.

To quash a black revolt in the salt mines of southern Iraq, the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad conscripted Turkish slaves into their army. Within a few generations these formed a power base, and from 1250 to 1517 an entire slave caste, the Mamluks (Arabic for “chattel”), ruled Egypt.

A path to power

Their successors, the Ottoman Turks, perfected the system. After conquering south-eastern Europe in the late 14th century, they imposed the devshirme, or tribute, enslaving the children of the rural poor, on the basis that they were more pagan than Christian, and therefore not subject to the protections Islam gave to People of the Book. Far from resisting this, many parents were happy to deliver their offspring into the white slave elite that ran the empire.

Under this system, enslaved boys climbed the ranks of the army and civil service. Girls entered the harem as concubines to bear sultans. All anticipated, and often earned, power and wealth. Unlike the feudal system of Christian Europe, this one was meritocratic and generated a diverse gene pool. Mehmet II, perhaps the greatest of the Ottoman sultans, who ruled in the 15th century, had the fair skin of his mother, a slave girl from the empire’s north-western reaches.

All this ended because of abolition in the West. After severing the trans-Atlantic slave trade in the 19th century, Western abolitionists turned on the Islamic world’s, and within decades had brought down a system that had administered not just the Ottoman empire but the Sherifian empire of Morocco, the Sultanate of Oman with its colonies on the Swahili-speaking coast and West Africa’s Sokoto Caliphate.

With Western encouragement, Serb and Greek rebels sloughed off devshirme. Fearful of French ambitions, the mufti of Tunis wooed the British by closing his slave-markets in 1846. A few years later, the sultan in Istanbul followed suit.

Some tried to resist, including Morocco’s sultan and the cotton merchants of Egypt, who had imported African slaves to make up the shortages left by the ravages of America’s civil war. But colonial pressure proved unstoppable. Under Britain’s consul-general, Evelyn Baring, Earl of Cromer, Egypt’s legislative assembly dutifully abolished slavery at the end of the 19th century. The Ottoman register for 1906 still lists 194 eunuchs and 500 women in the imperial harem, but two years later they were gone.

For almost a century the Middle East, on paper at least, was free of slaves. “Human beings are born free, and no one has the right to enslave, humiliate, oppress or exploit them,” proclaimed the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam in 1990. Early jihadist groups followed the trend, characterizing themselves as liberation movements and, as such, rejecting slavery.

But though slavery per se may be condemned, observers point to the persistence of servitude. The Global Slavery Index (GSI), whose estimates are computed by an Australian NGO working with Hull University, claims that of 14 states with over 1% of the population enslaved, more than half are Muslim. Prime offenders range from the region’s poorest state, Mauritania, to its richest per head, Qatar.

The criteria and data used by GSI have been criticized, but evidence supports the thrust of its findings. Many Arab states took far longer to criminalize slavery than to ban it. Mauritania, the world’s leading enslaver, did not do so until 2007. Where bans exist, they are rarely enforced. The year after Qatar abolished slavery in 1952, the emir took his slaves to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

Government inspections and prosecutions are rarities. “The security chiefs, the judges and the lawyers all belong to the class that historically owned slaves,” says Sarah Mathewson of London-based Anti-Slavery International. “They are part of the problem.”

No labor practice has drawn more international criticism than the kafala system, which ties migrant workers to their employers. This is not slavery as IS imposes it; migrants come voluntarily, drawn by the huge wealth gap between their own countries and the Gulf. But the system “facilitates slavery”, says Nicholas McGeehan, who reports for Human Rights Watch on conditions in the desert camps where most such workers live.

The Gulf’s 2.4m domestic servants are even more vulnerable. Most do not enjoy the least protection under labor laws. Housed and, in some cases, locked in under their employer’s roof, they are prey to sexual exploitation.

Irons and red-hot bars

Again, these workers have come voluntarily; but disquieting echoes persist. Many Gulf nationals can be heard referring to their domestics as malikat (slaves). Since several Asian governments have suspended or banned their female nationals from domestic work in the Gulf out of concern for their welfare, recruitment agencies are turning to parts of Africa, such as Uganda, which once exported female slaves. Some domestic servants are abused with irons and red-hot bars: resonant, says Mr McGeehan, of slave-branding in the past.

Elsewhere in the region, the collapse of law and order provides further cover for a comeback of old practices. Syrian refugee camps in Jordan provide a supply of girls for both the capital’s brothels and for Gulf men trawling websites, which offer short-term marriages for brokerage fees of $140-270 each. Trafficking has soared in Libya’s Mediterranean ports, which under the Ottomans exported sub-Saharan labor to Europe. Long before Boko Haram kidnapped girls, Anti-Slavery International had warned that Nigerian businessmen were buying “fifth wives”—concubines alongside the four wives permitted by Islam—from neighboring Niger.

Gulf states insist they are dealing with the problem. In June Kuwait’s parliament granted domestic servants labor rights, the first Gulf state to do so. It is also the only Gulf state to have opened a refuge for female migrants. Qatar, fearful that reported abuses might upset its hosting of the World Cup in 2022, has promised to improve migrant housing.

And earlier this year Mauritania’s government ordered preachers at Friday prayers to publicize a fatwa by the country’s leading clerics declaring: “Slavery has no legal foundation in sharia law.” Observers fear, though, that this is window-dressing. And Kuwait’s emir has yet to ratify the new labour-rights law.

Rather than stop the abuse, Gulf officials prefer to round on their critics, accusing them of Islamophobia just as their forebears did. Oman and Saudi Arabia have long been closed to Western human-rights groups investigating the treatment of migrants. Now the UAE and Qatar, under pressure after a wave of fatalities among workers building venues for the 2022 World Cup, are keeping them out, too.

Internal protests are even riskier. Over the past two years hundreds of migrant laborers building Abu Dhabi’s Guggenheim and Louvre Museums have been detained, roughed up and deported, says Human Rights Watch, after strikes over unpaid wages. Aminetou Mint Moctar, a rare Mauritanian Arab on the board of SOS Esclaves, a local association campaigning for the rights of haratin, or descendants of black slaves, has received death threats.

Is it too much to hope that the Islamic clerics denouncing slavery might also condemn other instances of forced and abusive labor? Activists and Gulf migrants are doubtful. Even migrants’ own embassies can be strangely mute, not wanting criticism to curb the vital flow of remittances. When Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, visited the UAE this week, his nationals there complained that migrant rights were last on his list. Western governments generally have other priorities. One is simply to defeat IS, whose extreme revival of slavery owes at least something to the region’s persistent and pervasive tolerance of servitude.

List of Syrian Rebel Groups

Based on my notes. There are no moderate rebels. The Free Syrian Army are no more than 10% of the rebels and I don’t think that most Syrians like them all that much. As far as I can tell, all FSA fronts are now under the control of Al Nusra, or Al Qaeda. The rebels are pretty much Al Qaeda, Ahrar al Sham and ISIS and other jihadists of similar ilk, and really there is not much else. Everyone else who are not radical jihadists are working alongside of them or under their command. Even pro-rebel commentators like Charles Lister state that the vast majority of Syrian rebel groups have been working closely with Al Qaeda since 2012. Even at the start of the civil war when protests were mainly peaceful, Christians were soon targeted. In Idlib, Christian women were ordered to wear the hijab and to stop wearing jeans. There were sporadic assassinations of local Christian businessmen.

9th Brigade, Ninth Brigade – Part of Jaysh al-Tahrir. Allied with Al-Nusra.

30th Division – FSA group mostly destroyed by Al-Nusra. Supported by US.

101st Division – FSA group operating in Idlib around Atma. Under attack by Al-Nusra.

Ahfad Omar Brigade – FSA group in Deraa. Under attack by Nusra.

Ahrar al-Sham – Jihadists founded by Islamists released from Assad’s prisons who hailed from the Ghab Plains. Their main champion was Qatar, they are more radical than Nusra and maintain limited operational ties with ISIS. Qatar has recently backed off of its support for this group due to pressure from the US. This group is basically Al Qaeda. They are very close to Al-Nusra and some are now defecting to Nusra. Turkey is now boosting them more than Al Qaeda – this is Turkey’s favorite group in the conflict now. This is now the second largest rebel force in Syria after ISIS. Part of the Southern Front. Their religious leader is Abdallah al-Muhaysini, who has strong ties with Al Qaeda.

Like Nusra, they are currently undergoing a re-branding designed to supposedly lessen their extremism and make them more palatable to the West. Whether this change of tune is genuine or not is uncertain but dubious. The softened stance is promoted by the political wing and is based more on pragmatism than anything else. The military and spiritual wings still espouse salafi-jihadism. Political line is strongly influenced by Abdulaziz al-Tareifi, a salafi scholar in Saudi Arabia.

Ajnad Sham – Islamists, Under Nusra command. Form the Jund al-Malahim alliance with Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.

Al-Farooq Brigades – Work with Al Nusra.

Al-Fateh Brigade – One of the oldest FSA groups, joined Ahrar al-Sham in Nov. 2015.

Al-Hamza Division – Takfiri jihadis operating in Deraa around Sheikh Sa’ad. Pronounces takfir on other rebels. Part of the Southern Front.

Al-Sanadid – Part of Democratic Forces of Syria.

Al-Wasta Division – Part of the FSA.

Alwiyat al-Furqan (Al-Furqan Brigades) – Jihadists. Islamist group active in Quneitra. It is headed by Majid al-Khatib, one of the youngest leaders of rebel war.

Army of the North – New group operating around Aleppo formed in February 2016. Made up of Division 13, Suqour al Jabal, Northern Division and Jaysh al Nasr. Armed by the CIA. Allied with Ahrar al-Sham.

Brigades of the Angel of Death – Involved in fighting ISIS around Deir az-Zour.

Burkan al-Furat (Euphrates Volcano) – A coalition of groups in Raqqa led by the YPG. The Arab groups are mostly Liwa Thuwar al-Raqqa and Kata’ib Shams al-Shamal along with some other groups. This group mostly focuses on fighting ISIS and taking territory from them.

Dawn of Freedom Brigades – Operates in Raqqa. Kata’ib Shams al-Shamal is part of this grouping.

Fajr al-Islam – Aleppo based. Both founders were killed in 2014. Closely associated with Ahrar al-Sham. Jihadis.

Fajr al-Sham – Operates SE of Aleppo around Khanasser. Allied with ISIS.

Fath Army – Coalition fighting in Fall 2015 in the Ghab Plains. Ahrar al-Sham is one of the principal factions of this group.

Faylaq al-Rahman (Legions of al Rahhman) – Jihadists. Active in Ghouta and the Qalamoun area. Working with the Army of Islam. Its name is derived from one of the 99 names of God in Islamic tradition. Several TOW missiles delivered to this group by the US ended up in the hands of DAESH. Its heavily Islamist logo helps explain why.

Faylaq al-Sham (Legions of the Levant) – Supposedly relative moderates, but they are under Nusra command.

First Battalion, First Regiment – FSA faction. Leader resigned in Fall 2015 after the group took heavy losses.

First Legion – Part of the Southern Front in Deraa. Under attack by ISIS.

Forqat 13 (13th Division) – FSA group operating around Abtin near Aleppo. Fights alongside Ahrar Al-Sham and the Army of Mujaheddin. Currently fighting against ISIS. Now part of the Army of the North.

Forqat 46 (46th Division) – Part of Jaysh al-Tahrir. Armed by the CIA. Allied with Al-Nusra.

Forqat 312 (312th Division) – Part of Jaysh al-Tahrir. Allied with Al-Nusra.

Forqat al-Awwal As-Sahli (First Coastal Division) – Jihadists. Active in the eastern part of the region of Idlib in the north of the region of Latakia and Hama in the region. Past member of the “Brigades of Descendants of the Prophet”. Formally a branch of the Free Syrian Army, under Nusra command.

Forqat Fajr al-Islam – Jihadists. Active Group in the Daraa region. It is led by Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed Hassan Salama.

Forqat Fajr al-Tawhid – Jihadists active in southern Syria. Includes several rebel groups including the “Brigade of the Banner of Islam.”

Forqat Salah al-Din (Saladdin Division) – Jihadists. Named after the great adversary of the Crusaders.

Free Syrian Army – First of all, the FSA does not even exist. It existed in some form until 2012 when it disbanded. There is no leadership structure or chain of command. Nevertheless, a number of the groups that were formerly a part of the FSA continue to exist and give themselves the FSA moniker. Most of these units, which are mostly in Homs, Aleppo and Southern Syria, are under the control of Turkish intelligence.

Really the FSA is nothing more than a brand name and nothing else. Not moderates. Are known to have beheaded captured regime soldiers since 2012. They continue to behead regime soldiers to this day – recently an SAA colonel was beheaded in Kfar Nabudah. Also many of the biggest massacres of regime civilians were done by the FSA.

Fursan al-Haqq Brigade – FSA group operating in Idlib near Jabal al-Zawiya. Currently under heavy attack by the SAA.

Haqq al-Muqatila Front – FSA front mostly destroyed by Al-Nusra attacks. Has bases in Turkey.

Harakat al-Muthanna al-IslamiyaAl-Muthana – Jihadists mostly operating in Deraa around Sheikh Sa’ad. Has engaged in attacks on Liwa Shuhada’ al-Yarmouk in Deraa. Works with Al-Nusra. Part of the Southern Front. This group has recently gone over to ISIS and is fighting alongside ISIS.

Harakat al-Nour al-Din Zenki – Jihadists. Named after a sultan of the region, a contemporary of Saladin and another great fighter against the Crusaders. One of the most powerful rebel groups in the region of Aleppo. In the past it was a member of the Islamist “Al Tawhid Brigade” and the “Army of Holy Warriors” and collaborated with “Islamic Front of Aleppo”. Supported by Saudi Arabia.

Hazzm Movement – FSA group that joined Jaysh al-Thuwar and now fights alongside the YPG.

Horreya Brigade – Part of Thawar al-Suriya in Deraa. Mostly destroyed by Nusra attacks.

Imam Bukhari Jamaat – Uzbek jihadists who have pledged allegiance to a Taliban commander. Currently fighting in the Al Ghab Plain.

Islamic Caucasus Emirate (ICE) – Chechen jihadists based in the Caucasus. Some of them are fighting in Syria.

Islamic Front, Army of Islam, Jaish al-Islam – Radical Islamists. Ahrar al-Sham is a major part of the Islamic Front. They have threatened to kill all of the Alawites and Shia in Syria. Now being heavily supported by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. In the south they are receiving huge supp;lies of heavy weapons from the Military Operations Command (MOC).

Islamic State (Islamic State in the Levant, Islamic State in Syria, ISIL, ISIS) – The most radical takfiri group in Syria. Controls a large part of Raqqa, Deir al-Zour and Aleppo. Fights with most other rebel groups. Both a Western coalition and the Russia/Hezbollah/Shia brigades and the SAA all fight against this group. Jaysh al-Khilafa Division is part of ISIS.

Jabhat al-Akrad – FSA group that joined Jaysh al-Thuwar. Now fights alongside the YPG.

Jabhat al-Ansar al-Islam (Partisans of Islam Front): Jihadists. Islamist brigade active in Quneitra and Daraa. This is the most radical Islamist group has been voluntarily equipped by the USA with TOW missiles; this group is also a member of the Council of Syrian Revolutionary Command.

Jabhat Al-Nusra (Al Nusra Front) – Formerly part of FSA – split away. This unit is filled with Saudi mercenaries and there are also a number of Saudi special forces operating in it. Also operates in Turkey. Abdallah al-Muhaysini is their spiritual leader. Al Nusra was involved in mass executions of captured Syrian soldiers at Abu al-Dhuhur Air Base.

Jabhat al-Sham (Levant Front) – Active in Hama. Not to be confused with the much larger Jabhat al-Shamiya.

Jabhat al-Shamiya, Jabhat al-Shamiayyah, Jabhat al-Sham (Levant Front) – FSA rebel coalition supported by the CIA operating in Northeast Aleppo around Azaz. Controls the city along with al-Nusra. Was formerly under attack by Nusra; is now allied with them.  Tajammu’ Suqoor al-Ghab is a member. Jaysh al Thuwar (remnants of Jaysh al Mujahideen) has now joined this group. Now a member of Jaysh al-Tahrir. At war with ISIS. Attacked by ISIS for not adhering to sharia and establishing ties with the West.

Jabhat Al-Thawar Suriya (Thawar Suriya Front) – FSA group operating in Deraa. Mostly destroyed by Nusra attacks, a few remain.

Jarabulus Brigade – FSA group with the goal of liberating Jarabulus from ISIS.

Jaysh al-Mujahideen, Jaysh al-Mujahideen wal Ansar, Jaysh al-Muhajiroun wal Ansar or JMWA (Army of Holy Warriors, Army of the Companions of the Prophet) – Jihadists. Coalition of Islamist groups in Aleppo area. Recently joined Al Nusra. Other remnants joined Jaysh al-Sham. 2,000 fighters. The group is composed of diverse nationalities. The Chechen rebel news agency Kavkaz Center says they are mujaheddin from the Caucasus Emirate, Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea and other CIS countries. Many veterans from other conflicts. Syrian rebels refer to them as “Turkish brothers.” One JMA battalion was composed of jihadists from western countries, including the US, the UK and Germany. Receives arms and training from the CIA.

Jaysh al-Fateh (Army of Conquest) – Al Qaeda led coalition. Saudi Arabia and Turkey focusing their efforts on support for this group in 2015. The two groups that form the core of this group are Al Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham. Abdallah al-Muhaysini, radical jihadist with close ties to Al Qaeda, is the General Judge or spiritual leader of this group. Apparently wants an Islamic state.

This group is described as openly sectarian. It kidnaps priests and throws Christians out of their homes. After the capture of Idlib, the group executed two Christians for selling alcohol, and then would not let them be buried. Syrian Christians regard this group as the enemy. In Idlib, Christians were taken before the group’s emir who carried a large sword, who said they were infidels and ordered them to convert or die. When the group conquered Idlib, when they first entered town, people were shocked. There were so many foreign fighters among them and they also had a number of child fighters. People were stunned. They had lists of government supporters to be killed. They searched these people out and executed them. When 90% of Idlib’s population left, the group looted the homes of those who left.

Juan Cole describes this group as radical salafis who are spearheaded by Al Nusra.

Jaysh al-Jihad (Army of Jihad) – Operates in Quneitra. Now part of ISIS. Probably the same thing as Saraya al-Jihad.

Jaysh al-Khilafa Division (Army of the Caliphate) – A special force of ISIS that has been set up to defend Raqqa.

Jaysh al-Nasr – Grouping of FSA fronts in Homs. Now part of the Northern Front. Armed by the CIA.

Jaysh Al-Sham (Army of the Levant) – An offshoot of Ahrar al-Sham. Supposedly this is a more moderate faction that left Ahrar. Operates between Azaz and Jarabulus. Mohammed Ayman Aboul-Tout, alias Aboul-Abbas al-Shami is the brains behind this group. A former member of the Fighting Vanguard, an Islamist group that fought Assad’s father in 1979-1982 and based its philosophy of Sayyid Qutb (Al Qaedism or takfirism). This shows that the brains behind this group is an ultra-radical Salafist.

Jaysh Al-Tahrir (Liberation Army) – Formed February 2016. Made up of Jabhat al-Sham, Saraya al-Haq Unit 314, the Ninth Brigade, Forqat 46 and Forqat 312.

Jaysh al-Tawhid (Army of Tawhid) – Islamists, probably jihadists. – Part of Free Syrian Army trained by CIA. In Al-Lataminah. Based on the name, they are surely jihadists. Former members of jihadists Islamic Front.

Jaysh Al-Thuwar (Revolutionary Army) – Formed from seven FSA groups – Jabhat al-Akrad, Hazzm Movement, Syria Revolutionaries Front, the Northern Sun Battalion and three smaller groups – all from different areas. Ideology unknown. Fighting against ISIS and Al Qaeda currently. Now fighting alongside the Kurdish YPG with Russian air support. Later joined the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Jihad in the Path of God Brigade – Part of Euphrates Volcano. Fighting to liberate areas from ISIS.

Jund al-Aqsa – Al Qaeda front. This is an extremely radical split from Nusra. They are huge in Idlib Province and also operate in SE Aleppo Province. They have been described as psychopathic ISIS sympathizers. They were members of Jaysh al-Fatah, but they left in protest over the group’s decision to fight ISIS.

Jund al-Malahim: Islamists. Alliance between Ahrar al-Sham, Nusra and Ajnad al-Sham.

Jund al-Sham – Led by a Chechen, cooperates with Nusra foreign fighter branches.

Kata’ib Shams al-Shamal – Part of the Dawn of Freedom Brigades. One of the main factions making up the Arab part of Euphrates Volcano. The membership of Liwa al-Tawheed has mostly joined this group. They mostly fight ISIS. Their goal is to recapture Jarabulus and Manjib in Raqqa.

Katiba al-Risala – Part of the Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade, operates in he village of al-Sheikh Hassan in the north Raqqa countryside.

Katibat al-Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ) – Uzbek Al Qaeda branch, Aleppo and Idlib Provinces.

Katiba Suqur al-Jazira – Raqaa Revolutionaries Brigade branch operating in the countryside of West Raqaa.

Katiba Usud al-Tawheed – Raqaa Revolutionaries Brigade faction operating in the city of Raqaa.

Liwa al-Adiyat – Claimed responsibility for the stabbing of a SAA general and pilot behind enemy lines.

Liwa Ahfad al-Rasul – Part of the Raqaa Liberation Front. US-backed, went into serious decline in 2013, later evicted from Raqaa by ISIS. Has worked with ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, Liwa Thuwar al-Raqqa, and Liwa al-Muntasir bi-Allah. Fights in Raqaa and also in Latakia around al-Qardaha where they fought alongside ISIS.

Liwa al-Fatah – Formerly associated with the Shami Front, now part of Ahrar al-Sham.

Liwa al-Fursan al-Haq – Allied with Nusra. Part of the FSA Raqqa Revolutionaries Brigade.

Liwa al-Islam – Works closely with Saudi Arabia. Thought to be behind the chemical attack in Ghouta.

Liwa ‘al-Jabal Suqour, Suqour al-Jabal, Sukur al-Jabal (Falcons of the Mountain Brigade) – Active in Idlib and Aleppo. Created and funded by Qatar. Formerly involved with the “Brigades of Descendants of the Prophet.” Jihadists, but part of the FSA. Now part of the Army of the North. Armed by the CIA.

Liwa al-Jihad fi Sabil Allah – In Raqaa. Fights ISIS, headquartered in Kobani. Aligned with Syrian exiles.

Liwa ‘al-Moataz Billah (Moataz Billah Brigade) – Jihadists. This was one of the first groups of the Free Syrian Army trained in Daraa. It participated in the coalition of rebel groups called “Southern Front” and also collaborated with the rebel coalition called Gharfat Amaliyat Usood al-Harb. In May 2015, his boss was still Col. Khalid al-Nabulsi. Initially armed by the USA, it seems that they have reviewed their position as this former client has now been bombed by US and coalition war planes.

Liwa al-Muntasir bi-Allah – Part of the Raqaa Liberation Front and the Revolutionary Military Council in Raqaa. Has fought with ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar al-Sham, Liwa Thuwar al-Raqqa, and Liwa Thuwar al-Raqqa.

Liwa al-Nasir Salah al-Din – Operates in Raqaa. Involved in a dispute with Ahrar al-Sham where they arrested each others’ members. Part of the group has joined ISIS.

Liwa Al-Sultan (Al-Sultan Brigade) – FSA brigade operating in Abteen in the Aleppo suburbs.

Liwa Al-Sultan Al-Murad, Furqa Al-Sultan Murad, Liwa ‘Sultan Murad, Sultan Murat Tugayı (Sultan Murad Brigades, Al Murad Sultan Brigades) – FSA faction operating in the southern countryside of Aleppo. Made up of fighters from Turkmenistan. This group has close relations with the Turkish security services and receives arms and training from the CIA. Turkish officers participate in their attacks. Supposedly jihadists. Carries out attacks against Jaysh al-Thuwar (FSA groups fighting alongside the YPG with Russian air support) for being “atheists and allying with the Kurds. Known to execute POW’s.

Liwa al-Tawheed (Tawhid Brigade) – Apparently different from Liwa ‘al-Tawhid Junou. This group operates in north-eastern Aleppo province around Manbij. This group has mostly joined Kata’ib Shams al-Shamal in Raqqa.

Liwa ‘al-Tawhid Junou (Tawhid Brigade of the South) – Jihadists. Created in the Daraa region. Its name comes from the concept of the oneness of God (tawhid) of the Islamic tradition.

Liwa Amana’ al-Raqqa – Nationalist brigade that helped conquer Raqaa. Subsequently members were arrested by ISIS.

Liwa Ansar al-Sunna (Ansar al-Sunna Brigade) – Jaysh al-Sham faction operating north and east of Aleppo around the towns of Retyan and Jam’iyat Zahra.

Liwa Isar al-Shamal – Part of the Raqaa Liberation Front and the Revolutionary Military Council.

Liwa Rayat al-Nasr – Former Raqaa Liberation Front group in Raqaa, now part of Ahrar al-Sham jihadis.

Liwa Martyr Abu Abdullah al-Hamawi (Martyr Abu Abdullah al-Hamawi Brigade) – Jaysh al-Sham faction in Kafran Boudeh. Al-Hamawi was Ahrar al-Sham’s first leader.

Liwa Shuhada al-Islam (Martyrs of Islam Brigade) – Jihadists in Daraya.

Liwa Shuhada’ al-Yarmouk (Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade) – Jihadists operating mostly in Deraa around Sheikh Sa’ad, Shaykh al-Maskin, Atman, Kharbat Ghazala, Nawa and Tel al-Jumu’. Formerly an FSA group which worked with Al-Nusra. Former member of the Southern Front. Supported by Saudi Arabia and the US. This entire unit has pledged allegiance to the ISIS, taking with them the US missiles that had been generously given to them. Pronounces takfir on other rebels – takfiris.

Liwa Sukur Al Ahab (Sukur Al Ahab Brigades) – In the Qalamoun Mountains. Under Al Nusra command.

Liwa Thuwwar al-Raqqa (Raqqa Revolutionaries’ Brigade) – FSA group with the goal of liberating Raqqa from ISIS, but mostly focuses on fighting the SAA. Has sleeper cells and informants inside Raqqa. Includes Kata’ib al-Jihad fi Sabil Allah, Al-Nasir Salah al-Din, Al-Haq, Shuhada’ al-Raqqa, Saraya al-Furat, Katiba al-Risala, Katiba Suqur al-Jazira, Katiba Usud al-Tawheed and Ahrar al-Furat. Part of Raqaa Liberation Front and Revolutionary Military Council.

Has worked with ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, Liwa Ahfad al-Rasul and Liwa al-Muntasir bi-Allah. Put an ISIS flag on one of its videos. Uses ISIS-type language in its broadcasts. Pledged allegiance to Al-Nusra in September 2013 but then broke away from them 7 months later. Presently allied with the YPG and operating out of Kobani. As of October 2015, the mainly recruit from Arab tribes in northern Raqaa. They control the area from Ain Issa south to Tel Abyad. Has a big presence in Turkey. Despite all of their alliances with Islamists, they still say that they want a civil democratic state.

Northern Division – Operate around Aleppo. Receives arms and training from the CIA. Now part of the Army of the North.

Northern Sun Battalion – FSA group that joined Jaysh al-Thuwar and now fights alongside the YPG.

Omar al-Mukhtar Battalion – Yarmouk Martyr’s Brigade faction operating in Nawa, Deraa Province.

Quwat al-Qawqaz – Operates around Khanasser in SE Aleppo Province. Allied with ISIS.

Raqaa Liberation Front – Coalition of rebels in Raqaa. Consists of Raqaa Revolutionaries Brigade, Ahfad al-Rasul, Liwa al-Muntasir bi-Allah, Liwa Isar al-Shamal, Liwa Thuwar al-Raqqa, and Liwa Rayat al-Nasr.

Revolutionary Military Council – Coalition of nationalist groups in Raqaa.

Revolution Leadership Council, Southern Region – Coalition of 50 southern factions in Deraa. Mostly nationalists.

Saraya al-Haq Unit 314 (Saraya al-Haq Division 314) – Part of Jaysh al-Tahrir. Allied with Al-Nusra.

Saraya al-Jihad – Jihadists in Quneitra. Work with Al-Nusra.

Southern Front Coalition – Possibly an FSA group in southern Syria near the Israeli border, under Nusra command. However, in reality this is not part of the FSA at all and instead it is a grouping of tribal fighters from around the Jordan/Syria border area who simply fight to defend their own region. 700 of them recently surrendered to the SAA in Daraa. Liwa Shuhada’ al-Yarmouk was a former member.

Syrian Revolutionaries Front – Operates in Deraa around Sheikh Sa’ad. Attacks other rebel groups and pronounces takfir on them. Takfiri jihadis. However, more moderate members of this group split off to form an FSA group that joined Jaysh al-Thuwar which fights alongside the Kurds

Tahrir al-Sham – FSA group linked to Al Qaeda. Cooperates closely with Al-Nusra and Ahrar Al-Sham

Tajammu al-Aaza or Tajammu al-Izza – CIA trained. Ideology unknown. In Talbiseh and Kafr Taboudeh. May be beheaders.

Tajammu Alwiyat al-Omari (Brigades al Omari) – Jihadists. Its name comes from the mosque of the same name in Daraa (where it is active) which was an important symbol for the opposition in the first days of major events in 2011. This group was founded and is funded by Saudi Arabia. Its first leader, former Captain Qais al-Qahtaneh, was murdered by another rebel for personal reasons – this demonstrates once again the sense of democratic debate among these groups!

Tajamu Soqour al-Ghab – FSA faction near Homs in north and northwest Homs Province. Armed by the CIA. Under attack by Al Nusra. Has bases in Turkey. Currently under heavy SAA attack in north and northwest Homs Province. Now part of Jabhat al-Shamiya.

Turkistan Islamic Party – Uighur Al Qaeda faction. Works closely with Al-Nusra and in fact has now been co-opted by Nusra. Also works with ISIS. Fights around Khanasser in SE Aleppo.