Posts tagged ‘ISIL’

November 6, 2016

Islam without Extremists

by mkleit

Once in a while the news are filled about a group of extremist Muslims who slaughter people and commit the most unthinkable crimes under the name of Islam. ISIS is a recent example.

 

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If you ask such people that why they are committing such obvious wrong deeds and still consider it the command of the God, they would answer that they are trusting a Muslim scholar and that they receive the commands of the God through him. Based on this trust they consider the scholar’s commands equivalent to the God’s commands and blindly follow the scholar’s instructions to make the God happy.

But does not this method sound too similar to shirk, the exact opposite of Islam’s primary message, which is not following anybody except the God? How did this happen? How did that origin with the most clear message came to this obvious contradictory point?

 

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In the “Belief vs. Trust” article, we show that similarly to all modern religions, in the current understanding of Islam also believing in God is interpreted as trusting a religious package preached by the local religious scholars.

After analyzing the roots of such interpretation in all religions, the article shows that key element that legitimizes the incorporation of trusting scholars into islamic practice is considering Hadith as a pillar of Islam.

The current Islam which is mixed with Hadith has become so complicated that leaves an ordinary Muslim with no solution but seeking the advice of some Hadith experts (or scholars) about “what Islam says”. This blind obedience creates potential for extremism: if the religious scholar is extremist, the blind followers also apply the extremism in the name of religion.

 

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Then in the “Islam without Hadith” article, we list the pros and cons of existence of Hadith in the current Islamic practice, and show that by eliminating Hadith not only we do not lose any of the core Islamic values but also we are given the chance to rediscover the Simple Islam, the religion which guides us to nothing but reasonable, beautiful deeds. In Simple Islam, which is free from the complexities of Hadith, there is no space for religious scholars to instruct their blind followers to such unbelievable crimes.

In the “Scope” article, we then revisit some of the controversial topics in Quran, such as slavery and women rights, and observe a Quran very different from what the scholars have been preaching for years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Q1: Those are bad scholars. But I am obeying good scholars!
A: Quran warns about blind obedience. Read Section D of Trust article.
Q2: Some extremists claim obeying no scholar and just following Quran!
A: They adopted a particular perverted interpretation of Quran stemmed from Hadith and backed by past scholars. They are essentially obeying those scholar’s viewpoint.
Q3: I read Quran myself. It says “kill the infidels”!
A: Taken out of context! Such verses are about a particular war with the criminals of Mecca. There were refereed to as “Kafir”, which means ungrateful, as they were ungrateful for the gift of the messenger. Quran uses the word “Kafir” sometimes even for Muslims. Mainstream translations offered by scholars however translate “Kafir” as “infidel” causing this confusion.
Q4: Extremists are using perverted Hadiths. There is a huge science of telling which Hadith is reliable. I am obeying good scholars who know this science well!
A: Extremists say the same about you. The bottom line is that both of you blindly obey, and both of you think that your scholar is the right one. Read trust article about blind obedience.
Q5: Why should I trust your article? are you a scholar?
A: Do not trust people. Read their arguments and decide by yourself
Q6: Without Hadith how could we know the details of rituals?
A: Section 4 of the article Islam without Hadith
Q7: Does not Quran itself tell us to follow Hadith?
A: No. Read here.
Q8: Ignoring Hadith is ignoring Muhammad (s.a.a.w.)?
A: No. Read Hadith-less Muhammad.
Q9: Can we understand Quran without Hadith?
A: Yes. Read Quran is understandable without Hadith
Q10: Did not Quran force conversion?
A: No. Islam in Quran means meeting the God with a heart filled with peace. What Muslims did along the history has nothing to do with what Quran describes.

March 28, 2016

The Syrian Army, Hezbollah, Iranians, and Russia drove ISIS out of Palmyra

by mkleit

by Robert Fisk

The Independent

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aerial view of the city of Palmyra

The biggest military defeat that Isis has suffered in more than two years. The recapture of Palmyra, the Roman city of the Empress Zenobia. And we are silent. Yes, folks, the bad guys won, didn’t they? Otherwise, we would all be celebrating, wouldn’t we?

Less than a week after the lost souls of the ‘Islamic Caliphate’ destroyed the lives of more than 30 innocent human beings in Brussels, we should – should we not? – have been clapping our hands at the most crushing military reverse in the history of Isis. But no. As the black masters of execution fled Palmyra this weekend, Messers Obama and Cameron were as silent as the grave to which Isis have dispatched so many of their victims. He who lowered our national flag in honour of the head-chopping king of Arabia (I’m talking about Dave, of course) said not a word.

 

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As my long-dead colleague on the Sunday Express, John Gordon, used to say, makes you sit up a bit, doesn’t it? Here are the Syrian army, backed, of course, by Vladimir Putin’s Russkies, chucking the clowns of Isis out of town, and we daren’t utter a single word to say well done.

When Palmyra fell last year, we predicted the fall of Bashar al-Assad. We ignored, were silent on, the Syrian army’s big question: why, if the Americans hated Isis so much, didn’t they bomb the suicide convoys that broke through the Syrian army’s front lines? Why didn’t they attack Isis?

 

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aerial view of the ancient city of Palmyra

“If the Americans wanted to destroy Isis, why didn’t they bomb them when they saw them?” a Syrian army general asked me, after his soldiers’ defeat  His son had been killed defending Homs. His men had been captured and head-chopped in the Roman ruins. The Syrian official in charge of the Roman ruins (of which we cared so much, remember?) was himself beheaded. Isis even put his spectacles back on top of his decapitated head, for fun. And we were silent then.

 

Putin noticed this, and talked about it, and accurately predicted the retaking of Palmyra. His aircraft attacked Isis – as US planes did not – in advance of the Syrian army’s conquest. I could not help but smile when I read that the US command claimed two air strikes against Isis around Palmyra in the days leading up to its recapture by the regime. That really did tell you all you needed to know about the American “war on terror”. They wanted to destroy Isis, but not that much.

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aerial view of the ancient city of Palmyra

So in the end, it was the Syrian army and its Hizballah chums from Lebanon and the Iranians and the Russians who drove the Isis murderers out of Palmyra, and who may – heavens preserve us from such a success – even storm the Isis Syrian ‘capital’ of Raqqa. I have written many times that the Syrian army will decide the future of Syria. If they grab back Raqqa – and Deir el-Zour, where the Nusrah front destroyed the church of the Armenian genocide and threw the bones of the long-dead 1915 Christian victims into the streets – I promise you we will be silent again.

 

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Syrian soldier holding ISIS flag in the city of Palmyra

Aren’t we supposed to be destroying Isis? Forget it. That’s Putin’s job. And Assad’s. Pray for peace, folks. That’s what it’s about, isn’t it? And Geneva. Where is that, exactly?

March 25, 2016

Stop Wahhabist School to Fight Terrorism

by mkleit
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Young man sitting in front of Brussels’ stock exchange building

 

Terrorist attacks in Europe has caused a two-way incitement between Europeans and Muslims, which is a result that terrorist group ISIL is trying to reach as they’ve said after the Charlie Hebdo attacks on the 7th of January 2015: “compel the Crusaders (Europeans) to actively destroy the garrison themselves… Muslims in the West will quickly find themselves between one of two choices, they either apostatize… or they emigrate to the Islamic State and thereby escape persecution from the Crusader governments and citizens”.

The latest attacks on the Belgian capitol Brussels left 35 dead and 270 injured when suicide bombers hit Zaventem airport and Maalbeek metro station on Tuesday morning. Recent reports from Belgian media showed that people involved in the terrorist attacks are Muslims and of Arab background.

Mostly, Europeans would blame the millions of Muslims in Europe (and a lot of them have done so) for being the cause of religious incitement, and by far that’s sort of right, since there’s a minority of Muslims whose taking a big part of inciting against the “Crusaders”.

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Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia hitting several nations

The Arab – Muslims whom are able to go to Europe and live there (aside of refugees and asylum seekers) can afford the living, where the biggest percentage comes from the GCC countries (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Emirates). And the ideology that all of these countries share (except Oman and partially Kuwait) is Wahhabism or Salafism. This sect is considered to be the most fanatic, extremist, and inciting amongt all Muslim sects – consider them as the KKK or the Nazis of Islam. This ideology is also the root of many terrorist groups, such as Al-Qaeda (Iraq, Syria, Morocco, Egypt, Afghanistan..) ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and Levant/ Syria and Iraq), Boko Haram (Nigeria), al Nusra Front (Jabhat al Nusra/ Syria), Ahrar al Sham (Syria), Jaysh al Islam (Syria), al Shabab(Somalia), Taliban (Afghanistan, Pakistan) etc…

One might think that abolishing ISIL, the most prominent terrorist group would save the world from terrorism, but no! Such an action wouldn’t do anything, because religious fanaticism is not bound by a group, it’s an idea, and ideas don’t die by bombs and bullets; ideas should be fought by ideas.

In their book, Global Terrorism and New Media, Philip Seib and Dana M. Janbek argue that terrorist groups are teaching younger generations (between 10 and 12 years old) their ideology through boot camps and schools that are in their area of control. This strategy elongates the group’s survival for a longer time. They would teach students how to be hate-filled fighters, as well as how much other sects and religious groups are “sinners and blasphemers”, most evidently the crusaders (Euro-Christians) and the Rawafids (Shiites Muslims, the second biggest sect in Islam). And among this, they would teach them that it’s okay to call them blasphemers and punish them for being from a different sect, where punishment varies from flogging to beheading and public execution.

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These schools of thought are not solely found in areas of terrorist groups, but also in countries like Saudi Arabia. And they’re also expanding to European countries – under Saudi funding – such as France, Belgium, Germany, and Britain; since the mentioned countries have close relations with the Gulf state, as well as big Muslim communities.

When Europeans blame Muslims for this problem, they are partially correct, but they’re mistaken when they blame the refugees for causing the damage. Although some of the latter have took part in the battles in Syria, as many pictures show ex-fighters from extremist factions seeking refuge with the influx to Europe. But the problem is inside Europe itself, where it comes from these school and extremists Salafi-Wahhabi communities that are spreading fanaticism. Thus, they serve as a “shelter” and “sanctuary” for extremists coming from the MENA region and Asia, whether these countries are suffering from turmoil like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, or countries that serve as a holder for this thought like Saudi Arabia.

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The only way to protect the EU, is to do what Tunisia has been recently doing by their campaign “tomorrow is better”, where they are re-educating inmates imprisoned for terrorist act by extracting the extremist thought from their heads and planting patriotic and moderate-religious ideology. As for the schools, the government is keeping an eagle’s eye on academic curricula, so that they would not contain topics of incitement and fanaticism.

If such procedures are made, alongside other educational and security ones, not only in  Europe but also in the countries that are being vastly effected by extremist thoughts like Lebanon, Syria, Pakistan, Iraq and others, we would gradually defeat extremist thoughts and potential terrorism, because it’s not fair nor right to blame millions of people for the acts of a few.

February 22, 2016

حلب: ما قبل وبعد

by mkleit

لا أقمنا في مكان وإن طاب ولا يمكن المكان الرحيل
كلما رحبت بنا الروض قلنا حلب قصدنا وأنت السبيل
فيك مرعى جيادنا والمطايا وإليها وجيفنا والذميل – أبو الطيب المتنبي

حلب للوارد جنة عدن وهي للغادرين نار سعير والعظيم العظيم يكبر في عينه منها قدر الصغير الصغير – أبو العلاء المعري

نفيت عنك العلة و الظرف و الأدبا”
و إن خلقت لها إن لم تزر حلبا
لو ألف المجد سفرا عن مفاخره
لراح يكتب في عنوانه حلبا” – الأخطل الصغير

 

Source: Reuters, Getty Images

February 19, 2016

Refugees behind the fence

by mkleit

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Photos Reuters for refugees waiting to cross fences on European borders.

January 26, 2016

The Icey Journey to Seek Refuge

by mkleit

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Refugees from Syria and other war-torn countries have a journey different from that of “the death boats”. The slideshow above shows the journey that refugees take while crossing European borders under harsh weather conditions.

The photos belong to Reuters from the Serbian – Macedonian borders (map below of refugees full route since the wave started).

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Route line that refugees have taken from Turkey to Germany

January 4, 2016

Situation in KSA after the Execution of Sheikh al Nimr

by mkleit

Source: unknown

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The situation is quite tense in KSA and in the region, due to the recent development in the political confrontation between Iran & KSA, due to the execution of the cleric Nimer Baqir Al Nimr, who was executed along with others 47 convicted with terrorism charges.

The Saudi authority announced cuts the diplomatic relationships with Iran and evicts Iranian diplomats from KSA within 48 Hours.

Mutable security implications expected in the short term in various locations, including the KSA eastern province, Bahrain and the Yemeni front.
1.    Armed confrontations between the Saudi police and Shiite militant groups in the eastern province.(with a very likely & possibilities of deterioration in the civil unrest condition in these areas).
2.    Armed confrontations between the Bahraini police and Shiite revolts groups in & around the Shiite villages. (Light firearms and improvised Explosive devises are expected to be used by the militant groups).
3.    Wide confrontations between police forces and protesters will be wetness along the areas& village with high Shiite population.
4.    Intensified confrontation between Saudi forces and Ansar Allah (Al Houthi) rabbles along the Saudi Yemeni borders.
5.    Also IS terrorist organization might get involved to benefit from the security & political tense situation by carrying out sectarian attacks against Shiite community to ignite sectarian conflict in the region.

 

October 11, 2015

How The US Uses (Takfiri) Extremists

by mkleit

Source

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Many doubts, questions, and dilemmas have arisen concerning the contradicting conduct of the West while dealing with extremist movements. The West exploited these movements in Afghanistan during the late 1970’s, opposed them in the Arabian Peninsula in the nineties, and then launched war against them in Afghanistan in 2001, and in Iraq after the invasion of 2003. However, in 2011, the West returned to taking advantage of these extremist groups and we are currently faced with a rather vague Western connection with Isis.

The reason behind the doubts and different points of view is that analyses are based on relatively rigid mental paradigms which fail to proceed in accordance with the flexibility and pragmatic segmentation of the cowboy mentality. On the other hand, the alignment of extremist groups in many instances with the West has induced powers which oppose these groups to accuse them of treacherous conduct.

This is accurate, but it is accomplished through the Western scheme of indirect control of these groups. This indirect control is due to the ideological and strategic disorder which extremist groups suffer from, and the disapproval which those in their infrastructure, supportive environment, and their mustering forces maintain toward any connection with the United States- let alone full alliance with America. This is what the inconstancies in relations from 1979 up until this day indicate.

Another factor which has spurned these doubts is the vehement self-defense which the “takfiris” display when they are accused of having connections with the United States or with any countries which adhere to America or revolve around it.

The examination of the course of this movement leads to a specific model which displays how the relation with Isis is controlled by Western powers with the United States at their head. This model is composed of three aspects:

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1) Commission 2) Steering 3) Restraint

Each one of these aspects forms a set of tools which The US select according to the time and condition they deem as most appropriate. They do not necessarily benefit from all of these aspects in a simultaneous manner.

1) Commission

This policy depends on assessing which geographical area is most suitable for the movement of extremist groups, but under the condition that these movements do not pose a threat on American interests and that they also provide a strategic advantage. This policy is fulfilled according to circumstances and through certain means which are chosen according to time and place. There are five essential means.

1) Ensuring geographical domains: Weakening a country’s control in the target region through commotions, political turmoil, political settlement, and national uprising – as was the case in Syria in 2011, and Mosul in 2014.

2) Securing logistical pathways: Ensuring roads for extremists to reach target regions whether these pathways are by land, sea, or air. They also provide visas and even means of transportation in order to reach the area of conflict. They used Egypt, Pakistan, and Yemen as transits during the war on Afghanistan in 1979, and Turkey and Jordan during the war on Syria in 2011

3) Allowing financial aid and armament: Giving approval to their allied powers which wish to support extremist groups with money and weapons whether directly or indirectly (through certain institutions and weapon dealers). Rationing and organizing financial aid is done according to the time which ensures the imposition of a strategic course upon extremist groups.

The United States might also resort to direct weapon provision in some cases of tactical exceptions, such as throwing weapons and equipment from the air to Isis fighters in Kobani more than five times, and presenting this act in the guise of “a mistake”.

4) Transport: Expelling extremists from the countries which are harmed by their presence or from countries which desire to take advantage of them.

5) Facilitating the work of preachers: Allowing extremist preachers to fulfill their activity of spreading extremist ideology and mobilizing “takfiris” in the areas of transference, at departure, and at arrival. Extremist preachers are also allowed to spread their views on satellite TV stations and through different media.

2) Steering

This policy is based upon exerting an effort in media, mobilization, and in the field of action in order to direct the strategic priority of extremist groups toward movement in a certain sphere only, to target a specific enemy, or even to change the strategic and tactical course at a certain stage. All of this is done according to circumstances, requirements, and capacity.

The United States is very active in this domain with the aid of its regional and international allies. It achieves its aim through nine principal means.

1) Specifying the “preferable enemy”: the US have created “stars” among the “takfiri” environment for their own purposes and interests. They shed light on commanders or convenient extremist factions through inserting them on the list of terrorism. They focus on them in the media and select them in a way in which their prominence on the political scene leads to regional and international political achievements. For example, at the beginning of the war on Iraq, Colin Powell proclaimed that the enemy of the United States was al-Zarqawi. The US media machine placed him under the spotlight in a way where he became a prominent figure on the scene, and the conflict considerably shifted to internal Iraqi strife.

This is what Israel did a few months ago when it imposed on Jabhat Nusra to assign certain commanders in charge of control of the positions along the Jolan Heights- under threat of military intervention.

2) Assassinating commanders: Targeting extremist leaders who pose a threat on American or Western national security, or leaders whose regional influence negatively affects the scheme of steering and exploiting. For example, assassinating Osama bin Laden, Ayman Al-‘Awlaqi, and most Qaeda commanders in Yemen.

3) Arabian and International Media: Delivering ideological and provocative concepts which aggravate extremist groups and urge them to head to a certain target region to fight the side which America chooses.

4) Saudi Arabian clerics: The Saudi Arabian religious institution is performing a central role through issuing fatwas which declare jihad in a target region.

5) Security Breaches: Recruiting, sending “Islamized” Western men to fight, the role of Arabian secret services, imprisonment, and attracting a supportive environment which is discontent with the conduct of the extremists. Prisons play a central role in recruiting commanders and prominent figures whether in an explicit or indirect way.

6) Taking command of conflicts: Handling the crisis in the target region in a way which achieves the goals of the United States, and preserving the controllable and exploitable extremist power through suspicious operations and different means of steering.

7) Causing a suitable environment of strife: Creating a setting of conflict in which the mustering forces of the extremist groups are presented as the targets, the oppressed, and the infringed upon – as in the case of Afghanistan and Syria.

8) Dividing the “takfiri” factions: Creating conflicts, tactical clashes in the field of combat, and producing a multiple set of goals and priorities through different means in order to prevent the formation of a unified power- as in the case of the clash between Isis and Jabhat Nusra in Syria.

9) Strategic Theorization: Presenting comprehensive strategic plans which represent the interest of the extremist scheme in the targeted geographical range. The security services infiltrates the Salafist jihadi virtual world and make their own Salafist websites, and in some cases they have the advantage of recruiting few ideologue under the coercion or persuasive instrument in the secret jails, those ideologue are capable of making the paradigm shift when needed.

3) Restraint

Takfiri factions strive to maintain their own agendas – in spite of the great influence of the United States and its agents – in order to preserve their rank among their mustering forces and political authorities. Western powers need to restrain takfiri groups in order to prevent them from crossing strategic or military limits, and they fulfill this through force or control of their incomes.

Regulation is based on six essential means:
1) Direct Confrontation: Carrying out direct military operations to strike at the critical takfiri forces or those which pose a threat, as in the case of Afghanistan in 2001 for example.

2) Limiting financial aid and armament: Monitoring the flow of money and weapons; the amount, type, and timing. They also uphold the limits which prevent the takfiris from becoming a threat while allowing them to act in a way which benefits the United States, as in the case of Syria since 2011.

3) Geographical Restraint: When necessary, the military forces of the United States or its allies fire at the posts where takfiris pose a current or future threat, as the coalition forces did when Isis fighters entered Irbil.

4) Providing a Geographical Substitute: If takfiri groups increase in number or if it becomes hard to control them or their actions, a new battlefield is provided which forms a vent for emotional and military zeal. The most prominent example is allowing Isis forces to engage in fighting in Mosul.

5) Steering through the Media: Provocations in the media contribute to maintaining military and political zeal to achieve the intended and previously specified goal. Thus, it becomes difficult for the leaders of takfiri factions to turn around on the intermediate range.

6) Assassinating Commanders: This was explained among the aforementioned means of steering. The best example on resorting to this course of action during operations of restraint is the assassination of Al-Zarqawi when the United States became suspicious that he had pledged allegiance to Bin Laden and that he had restored the struggle against America as his main priority.

terrorist Abu Mes'ab al Zarqawi

terrorist Abu Mes’ab al Zarqawi

Exemplification

The usage of these means was fulfilled in different circumstances and course of events. In Afghanistan in 1979, the United States had previously designated the course of events. The National Security Advisor to President Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, had formulated a plan to bring Islamists to Afghanistan, to lure the Soviets, and to trigger a long term exhaustive struggle between them.

The second example was after the eleventh of September when the United States resorted to means of restraint in the face of takfiri groups which had left Afghanistan in search of a range of movement. A clash of interests ensued and resulted in the war on Afghanistan in 2001 and the operation of complete security restraint in Saudi Arabia. Subsequently, the zeal of these takfiri groups was directed toward Iraq in 2003 under the banner of fighting America only to be steered toward internal strife.

After that, the great operation to engage in Syria commenced and it is still continuing. The takfiri factions had envisioned in their consciousness and political cognizance an old enterprise in that country. One of the results of this operation was the emergence of Isis whose military effort has been steered once again toward Iraq- in limited mutual interests which the United States has not allowed to cross their specified sphere. Now, Isis is heading toward targeting Saudi Arabia which induced the international coalition to strike it.

Art of the Possible

The United States, its allies, and its regional adherents have adopted this three dimensional policy. This is due to the deep hostility which Arabian and Islamic nations hold toward America, the inability of the US army to engage in the battlefield for military and economic reasons, and the steady growth of powers which oppose America and Israel. Thus, the need for substitute armies able to accomplish strategic and tactical missions arose.

The second reason is the difficulty in engaging in direct combat with takfiri groups which Bin Laden had been temporarily able to drive toward fighting the far enemy in the late nineties and the new millennium, and the need which arose after September eleventh to return these groups to their favorite ideology of targeting the near enemy and regional foes.

Thirdly, Western powers were most of the time in need for an excuse for military intervention. They were also in need of signing long-term agreements (in security, economics…) with the terrorist takfiris. This is why they enabled the takfiris to be present- in order to justify intervention as in the case of Iraq in 2003.

Fourth is the need of America and Western countries to import the takfiri individuals who are active on their soil and to get rid of them.

Regional allies have other concerns – the most important which is the need to vent the internal pressure which these takfiri movements of revolutionary quality pose, and to solve jurisprudential issues when dealing with takfiri groups which lessen their excommunicative speech against certain regimes when they find a suitable range of movement abroad.

On another level, Arabian and Islamic countries need to get rid of the organizational structures of the takfiris or to weaken them as much as possible through driving them toward areas of conflict and strategic ambushes, as Saudi Arabia did in 2003 when it imported its dilemma with Qaeda to Iraq and got rid of that great predicament. The final motive for countries which are involved in the strategy of indirect control has to do with the regional aspect- they make use of takfiri groups to accomplish political regional goals, as in the case of Syria since 2011.

The nature of the takfiri groups is the reason why they have a tendency to be under this strategy. They are hostile and excommunicate everyone, even one another. Thus, they are prone to be steered in any possible direction. Due to the intellectual and jurisprudential differences among takfiri groups, and the lack of a unified command and strategy, they have a tendency to be infiltrated and to be steered in different directions. They also suffer from great vulnerability in security and this has facilitated the endeavors to recruit agents and secret intelligence infiltration.

They are also faced with a major problem which is financial aid – they lack an independent Islamic country which provides them with the money they need. This is why they depend on countries which exclusively adhere to the United States such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Pakistan. On the other hand, due to the security and political pressure exerted on takfiri groups, they are usually in search of any available outlet- especially since their speech carries very ambitious goals in comparison with their ability and narrow range of movement.

ألعوبة السعودية في سوريا

ألعوبة السعودية في سوريا

Courses of Action and Achievements

The main cases in this strategy are Afghanistan 1979, Iraq 2003, and Syria 2011. These cases have been generally successful in accomplishing their main goal which is transformation as much as possible of the threat which takfiri movements pose into a chance, and to take advantage of their blood-thirsty and destructive nature for the benefit of strategic US enterprises. They were successful in Afghanistan which the Soviets left, and they were successful in kindling sectarian and ethnic turmoil in Iraq in 2003. Currently, the United States has benefitted from these takfiri groups in Syria through destroying a great deal of the infrastructure of that country which is central in the allegiance of resistance. Israel has benefitted in creating an obstructive line on the border of the Jolan Heights which is formed of the Jabhat Nusra forces. In Iraq today, Isis represents a case which we wait to discover its outcomes and strategic courses.

On the long term, this strategy has been successful in shifting the military effort of takfiri groups away from directly targeting the West. In Afghanistan, the enemy was the Soviet Union, and in the period after that the targeting of American interests commenced up until the eleventh of September. Steering and indirect control were successful in Iraq in making American interests a secondary priority for takfiri groups in opposition to the priority of targeting other regional powers. As for Syria, American interests became completely distant from takfiri attacks, and Isis has almost fully eliminated attempts to target American interests. The main concern has become the geographical region- to establish the state of Isis, expand it, and to preserve its lands.

The profound and structural results show that America has been able to prevent takfiris from being active in regions where they pose threats on American interests. As a result of wide American domination, takfiri groups have not been able to move in an effective way which has influential political results anymore. They are only able to do so when there is no opposition to US interests which means where the US are at an advantage due to their presence. Thus, these takfiri groups – in an objective way- have become a part of the American scheme. With time they have avoided all regions vital to the United States and are active in less crucial areas.

July 31, 2015

Ottoman Hustler

by mkleit
Turkish president Recip-Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish president Recip-Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish president Recip-Tayyip Erdogan has understood the economic and geopolitical importance of the Iranian nuclear deal. Iran will have now more power in the Middle East to support its affiliates, especially Syria, which would diminish Erdogan’s hopes in toppling Bashar al-Assad’s regime. This would explain the policy-change Erdogan took towards ISIL, by supporting the US-led coalition against the terrorist group, and in return, US would support Turkey in toppling the Syrian regime and support his plan to create a buffer zone in Northern Syria.

Map of Middle East with Kurdistan

Map of Middle East with Kurdistan

The Turkish government has done its best to practice madness in politics and military in the past few weeks, and sometimes, schizophrenia. First, it has a dream to topple neighboring Syria’s regime, thus it supported armed opposition divisions, as well as radical brigades like Ahrar al-Sham and others. Then, it logistically aided ISIL, whom are anti-regime and anti-opposition and are looking for build their own state. And finally, bombing sites for Kurdish brigades, whom have their own dream of an independent Kurdistan. A dream that Turkey has always fought to stop, politically and militarily.

It’s not a surprise why the Turkish government would raid several PKK sites in Syria and Iraq, but it’s strange that this would happen after a terrorist attacks targeting a pro-Kurdish rally in Suruc, southern Turkey, on July 23rd, killing 32 persons and wounding 100 others. The Turkish government later on held ISIL responsibility of the attack. But wait a minute! Turkish government accuses ISIL yet it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq? Yes.

Erdogan’s has succeeded in making use of the terrorist attack by launching air-strikes on the Kurds and ISIL at the same, with the Kurds suffering the most of it. In the end, Turkey wouldn’t go too far in bombing ISIL, the group that Turkey itself trained and opened routes in and out of Syria and Iraq, as well as opening a market for ISIL-connected oil smugglers coming from oil-rich areas of Deir al-Zour and Raqqa in Eastern and Northern Syria.

Kurdish fighters heading for Kobane in Northern Syria to fight ISIL

Kurdish fighters heading for Kobane in Northern Syria to fight ISIL

He also used the “humanitarian crisis” to support his claims during a press conference at one of Turkey’s airports before heading to China on the 28th of July, when saying that creating a buffer zone in Northern Syria “would help a million and 700 thousand refugees go back” and then adding “no peace process with those who endanger Turkish unity”, meaning the creation of an independent Kurdistan which would take part of Turkish lands. But the Turkish government, headed by Erdogan’s right-hand man, Ahmet Davutoğlu, is resuming talks with Turkish political parties, including the Kurds, to create the new government, which just adds to dichotomy.

But there’s a reason for this new rhetoric, since war a sign to escape the loss in the recent parliamentary elections and the upcoming government, as well as winning people’s support, by manufacturing fear and insecurity. Thus the war on the Kurds would make the latter think twice before forming Kurdistan, as well as joining Kurdish areas in northern Syria after it was dismantled by ISIL militants.

Erdogan making the ISIS beast a friendly pet

Erdogan making the ISIS beast a friendly pet

Although over six ISIL-related attacks occurred in Turkey and threats of more to come, as German intelligence warned Turkish governments of attacks targeting metro stations and malls in Istanbul; Turkey has not placed ISIL on its terrorist list yet.

Nonetheless, ISIL was able to succeed in one thing – if it was ever intentional; it loosened the Kurdish forces’ pressure on northern Syria by shifting the latter’s fights gradually towards the Syrian – Iraqi – Turkish joint borders, as well as letting Turkey focus on bombing Kurdish military sites in Iraq and Syria – as if Turkey never wanted that to happen.

While the Kurds have also made use of the ISIL attacks by forming their own local security forces in Kurdish cities in Southern and Eastern Turkey. Soon enough, roadblocks, identity checks, questioning of passengers, and prevention of state security from entering those areas will soon be evident in the aforementioned cities.

Through all this, the “war on terror” rhetoric that Erdogan has been waving recently, seems to be another PR campaign for his political party, in addition to a pretext to start a war on the Kurds, and possibly the Syrian army. But his newly-made war may turn into a war of three fronts: ISIL, Kurds, and Syrian army, which Erdogan wouldn’t be sure he could handle, knowing that the first two are inside Turkey already.

Published also on: Teleghraph

July 20, 2015

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

by mkleit

Independent

How far is Saudi Arabia complicit in the Isis takeover of much of northern Iraq, and is it stoking an escalating Sunni-Shia conflict across the Islamic world? Some time before 9/11, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, once the powerful Saudi ambassador in Washington and head of Saudi intelligence until a few months ago, had a revealing and ominous conversation with the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Prince Bandar told him: “The time is not far off in the Middle East, Richard, when it will be literally ‘God help the Shia’. More than a billion Sunnis have simply had enough of them.”

The fatal moment predicted by Prince Bandar may now have come for many Shia, with Saudi Arabia playing an important role in bringing it about by supporting the anti-Shia jihad in Iraq and Syria. Since the capture of Mosul by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) on 10 June, Shia women and children have been killed in villages south of Kirkuk, and Shia air force cadets machine-gunned and buried in mass graves near Tikrit.

In Mosul, Shia shrines and mosques have been blown up, and in the nearby Shia Turkoman city of Tal Afar 4,000 houses have been taken over by Isis fighters as “spoils of war”. Simply to be identified as Shia or a related sect, such as the Alawites, in Sunni rebel-held parts of Iraq and Syria today, has become as dangerous as being a Jew was in Nazi-controlled parts of Europe in 1940.

There is no doubt about the accuracy of the quote by Prince Bandar, secretary-general of the Saudi National Security Council from 2005 and head of General Intelligence between 2012 and 2014, the crucial two years when al-Qa’ida-type jihadis took over the Sunni-armed opposition in Iraq and Syria. Speaking at the Royal United Services Institute last week, Dearlove, who headed MI6 from 1999 to 2004, emphasised the significance of Prince Bandar’s words, saying that they constituted “a chilling comment that I remember very well indeed”.

He does not doubt that substantial and sustained funding from private donors in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to which the authorities may have turned a blind eye, has played a central role in the Isis surge into Sunni areas of Iraq. He said: “Such things simply do not happen spontaneously.” This sounds realistic since the tribal and communal leadership in Sunni majority provinces is much beholden to Saudi and Gulf paymasters, and would be unlikely to cooperate with Isis without their consent.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan

Prince Bandar bin Sultan

Dearlove’s explosive revelation about the prediction of a day of reckoning for the Shia by Prince Bandar, and the former head of MI6’s view that Saudi Arabia is involved in the Isis-led Sunni rebellion, has attracted surprisingly little attention. Coverage of Dearlove’s speech focused instead on his main theme that the threat from Isis to the West is being exaggerated because, unlike Bin Laden’s al-Qa’ida, it is absorbed in a new conflict that “is essentially Muslim on Muslim”. Unfortunately, Christians in areas captured by Isis are finding this is not true, as their churches are desecrated and they are forced to flee. A difference between al-Qa’ida and Isis is that the latter is much better organised; if it does attack Western targets the results are likely to be devastating.

The forecast by Prince Bandar, who was at the heart of Saudi security policy for more than three decades, that the 100 million Shia in the Middle East face disaster at the hands of the Sunni majority, will convince many Shia that they are the victims of a Saudi-led campaign to crush them. “The Shia in general are getting very frightened after what happened in northern Iraq,” said an Iraqi commentator, who did not want his name published. Shia see the threat as not only military but stemming from the expanded influence over mainstream Sunni Islam of Wahhabism, the puritanical and intolerant version of Islam espoused by Saudi Arabia that condemns Shia and other Islamic sects as non-Muslim apostates and polytheists.

Dearlove says that he has no inside knowledge obtained since he retired as head of MI6 10 years ago to become Master of Pembroke College in Cambridge. But, drawing on past experience, he sees Saudi strategic thinking as being shaped by two deep-seated beliefs or attitudes. First, they are convinced that there “can be no legitimate or admissible challenge to the Islamic purity of their Wahhabi credentials as guardians of Islam’s holiest shrines”. But, perhaps more significantly given the deepening Sunni-Shia confrontation, the Saudi belief that they possess a monopoly of Islamic truth leads them to be “deeply attracted towards any militancy which can effectively challenge Shia-dom”.

Western governments traditionally play down the connection between Saudi Arabia and its Wahhabist faith, on the one hand, and jihadism, whether of the variety espoused by Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’ida or by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Isis. There is nothing conspiratorial or secret about these links: 15 out of 19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, as was Bin Laden and most of the private donors who funded the operation.

Sir Richard Dearlove

Sir Richard Dearlove

But there has always been a second theme to Saudi policy towards al-Qa’ida type jihadis, contradicting Prince Bandar’s approach and seeing jihadis as a mortal threat to the Kingdom. Dearlove illustrates this attitude by relating how, soon after 9/11, he visited the Saudi capital Riyadh with Tony Blair.

He remembers the then head of Saudi General Intelligence “literally shouting at me across his office: ‘9/11 is a mere pinprick on the West. In the medium term, it is nothing more than a series of personal tragedies. What these terrorists want is to destroy the House of Saud and remake the Middle East.'” In the event, Saudi Arabia adopted both policies, encouraging the jihadis as a useful tool of Saudi anti-Shia influence abroad but suppressing them at home as a threat to the status quo. It is this dual policy that has fallen apart over the last year.

Saudi sympathy for anti-Shia “militancy” is identified in leaked US official documents. The then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote in December 2009 in a cable released by Wikileaks that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan] and other terrorist groups.” She said that, in so far as Saudi Arabia did act against al-Qa’ida, it was as a domestic threat and not because of its activities abroad. This policy may now be changing with the dismissal of Prince Bandar as head of intelligence this year. But the change is very recent, still ambivalent and may be too late: it was only last week that a Saudi prince said he would no longer fund a satellite television station notorious for its anti-Shia bias based in Egypt.

The Sunni Ahmed al-Rifai shrine near Tal Afar is bulldozed

The Sunni Ahmed al-Rifai shrine near Tal Afar is bulldozed

The problem for the Saudis is that their attempts since Bandar lost his job to create an anti-Maliki and anti-Assad Sunni constituency which is simultaneously against al-Qa’ida and its clones have failed.

By seeking to weaken Maliki and Assad in the interest of a more moderate Sunni faction, Saudi Arabia and its allies are in practice playing into the hands of Isis which is swiftly gaining full control of the Sunni opposition in Syria and Iraq. In Mosul, as happened previously in its Syrian capital Raqqa, potential critics and opponents are disarmed, forced to swear allegiance to the new caliphate and killed if they resist.

The West may have to pay a price for its alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf monarchies, which have always found Sunni jihadism more attractive than democracy. A striking example of double standards by the western powers was the Saudi-backed suppression of peaceful democratic protests by the Shia majority in Bahrain in March 2011. Some 1,500 Saudi troops were sent across the causeway to the island kingdom as the demonstrations were ended with great brutality and Shia mosques and shrines were destroyed.

An alibi used by the US and Britain is that the Sunni al-Khalifa royal family in Bahrain is pursuing dialogue and reform. But this excuse looked thin last week as Bahrain expelled a top US diplomat, the assistant secretary of state for human rights Tom Malinowksi, for meeting leaders of the main Shia opposition party al-Wifaq. Mr Malinowski tweeted that the Bahrain government’s action was “not about me but about undermining dialogue”.

Iraqi leader al-Maliki

Iraqi leader al-Maliki

Western powers and their regional allies have largely escaped criticism for their role in reigniting the war in Iraq. Publicly and privately, they have blamed the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for persecuting and marginalising the Sunni minority, so provoking them into supporting the Isis-led revolt. There is much truth in this, but it is by no means the whole story. Maliki did enough to enrage the Sunni, partly because he wanted to frighten Shia voters into supporting him in the 30 April election by claiming to be the Shia community’s protector against Sunni counter-revolution.

But for all his gargantuan mistakes, Maliki’s failings are not the reason why the Iraqi state is disintegrating. What destabilised Iraq from 2011 on was the revolt of the Sunni in Syria and the takeover of that revolt by jihadis, who were often sponsored by donors in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates. Again and again Iraqi politicians warned that by not seeking to close down the civil war in Syria, Western leaders were making it inevitable that the conflict in Iraq would restart. “I guess they just didn’t believe us and were fixated on getting rid of [President Bashar al-] Assad,” said an Iraqi leader in Baghdad last week.

Of course, US and British politicians and diplomats would argue that they were in no position to bring an end to the Syrian conflict. But this is misleading. By insisting that peace negotiations must be about the departure of Assad from power, something that was never going to happen since Assad held most of the cities in the country and his troops were advancing, the US and Britain made sure the war would continue.

The chief beneficiary is Isis which over the last two weeks has been mopping up the last opposition to its rule in eastern Syria. The Kurds in the north and the official al-Qa’ida representative, Jabhat al-Nusra, are faltering under the impact of Isis forces high in morale and using tanks and artillery captured from the Iraqi army. It is also, without the rest of the world taking notice, taking over many of the Syrian oil wells that it did not already control.

The Shia Al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque in Mosul explodes

The Shia Al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque in Mosul explodes

Saudi Arabia has created a Frankenstein’s monster over which it is rapidly losing control. The same is true of its allies such as Turkey which has been a vital back-base for Isis and Jabhat al-Nusra by keeping the 510-mile-long Turkish-Syrian border open. As Kurdish-held border crossings fall to Isis, Turkey will find it has a new neighbour of extraordinary violence, and one deeply ungrateful for past favours from the Turkish intelligence service.

As for Saudi Arabia, it may come to regret its support for the Sunni revolts in Syria and Iraq as jihadi social media begins to speak of the House of Saud as its next target. It is the unnamed head of Saudi General Intelligence quoted by Dearlove after 9/11 who is turning out to have analysed the potential threat to Saudi Arabia correctly and not Prince Bandar, which may explain why the latter was sacked earlier this year.

Nor is this the only point on which Prince Bandar was dangerously mistaken. The rise of Isis is bad news for the Shia of Iraq but it is worse news for the Sunni whose leadership has been ceded to a pathologically bloodthirsty and intolerant movement, a sort of Islamic Khmer Rouge, which has no aim but war without end.

The Sunni caliphate rules a large, impoverished and isolated area from which people are fleeing. Several million Sunni in and around Baghdad are vulnerable to attack and 255 Sunni prisoners have already been massacred. In the long term, Isis cannot win, but its mix of fanaticism and good organisation makes it difficult to dislodge.

“God help the Shia,” said Prince Bandar, but, partly thanks to him, the shattered Sunni communities of Iraq and Syria may need divine help even more than the Shia.

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