Posts tagged ‘terrorism’

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.

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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.

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.

July 1, 2015

Gaza: The hijacking of The Marianne by “The Pirates of the Mediterranean”Map of occupied Palestine

by mkleit

London Progressive Journal

Map of occupied Palestine

Map of occupied Palestine

Piracy:” The practice of attacking and robbing ships at sea.” (Oxford English Dictionary)

The “international community” is, it would seem, remarkably selective over piracy.

Concern over Somali pirates was such that foreign navies were sent to protect shipping in international waters. In one incident three alleged pirates were killed and a Somali teenager spirited a way to the US to be tried, whilst eleven others were sent for trial to Kenya.(1)

However, in the early hours of the morning (local time) of 29th June, three Isr aeli Navy ships intercepted and hijacked a Swedish flagged ship, the Marianne av Göteborg on route to Gaza in the State of Palestine (recognized as a State by the United Nations on 30th November 2012 by an overwhelming vote of 138-9, elevating Palestine to Non-Member Observer State – a status bestowed on just one other entity, The Vatican).

The ship was in international waters (approximately one hundred nautical miles off shore) but was boarded, towed by Israeli Navy vessels to Israel’s port of Ashdod. Cameras, computers, mobile phones and belongings h ave been allegedly stolen by those who boarded. It is hoped they will be returned but the track record is not good judging by the lack of return of personal – or any – items, including aid cargo purchased by public donations destined for the people of Gaza, from the numerous previously pirated vessels. The Marianne was carrying a consignment of solar panels for a people whom, for most, a constant electricity supply has become a distant memory

Israel’s territorial waters (in to which the Marianne had no intention of heading) presumably should extend just twelve nautical miles from shore, as laid down in the 1984 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea which directs that :

“Every State has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines determined in accordance with this Convention.” They do not extend one hundred nautical miles.

Israel has stated the Marianne was requested to change course a number of times. Israel has no legal right to demand anything of a vessel in international waters

Marianne av Göteborg flotilla

Marianne av Göteborg flotilla

In a mind numbingly schizophrenic communication to the Marianne, the Israeli government wrote:

“There is no blockade on the Gaza Strip, and you are invited to transfer humanitarian supplies through Israel. ”If there is “no blockade”, it has to be asked, why should humanitarian supplies be sent to Israel and why indulge in multiple warship piracy, towing the ship to a foreign country to which it had never intended to travel?

The communiqué ended in regret that the Marianne’s passengers had not chosen to visit Israel where they would have been “impressed” by the democracy upheld by the Jewish state that affords equality and religious freedoms for all its citizens. So they we re forcibly taken there to experience the “freedoms” from the inside of Givon prison, where all but two are currently being held. It is surely a truly mad world in “the only democracy in the Middle East.”

Perhaps the government scribe was unaware of the latest of innumerable acts far from resembling democracy or equality , targeting, as ever, children:

“While budget allocations for private Christian schools have steadily shrunk, the private yeshivas serving Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish population have received increased allotments, to the point that the state now covers 100 percent of their budgets. The yeshivas do not teach the Ministry of Education’s core curriculum, and their matriculation rate hovers at a dismal 10 percent.” (2)

Further: “State schools that serve Palestinian citizens of Israel are notoriously underfunded, with a recent report finding that the state allots $1,100 per year per Jewish student versus $192 per Arab student in the state system. No surprise, then, that average matriculation rates at state-run Arab high schools are about 27 percent, compared with 95 percent for the leading Christian schools. What’s more, teachers at state schools in the Arab sector must be vetted by Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service. And the schools’ state-mandated curriculum places draconian limitations on teaching Palestinian history and literature.”

However, regarding the Christian schools:

“Last summer, the situation became critical after the ministry set a cap so low on the amount the schools may raise through tuition that they could no longer make up the shortfall caused by the shrinking state budget allocation.

Father Fahim Abdelmasih , the head of the Christian Schools’ Office in Israel, said that six months of negotiating with the Ministry of Education yielded no solution, calling the tuition caps a ‘death sentence’ for Christian schools in Israel.”

So much for equality and religious freedom for all its citizens – and then there is that wall, the segregation roads, the segregation buses, the checkpoints, the travel bans, bombed home repair bans, home demolitions, olive grove arsons, flower, fruit, vegetable export bans – an embargo on all normality.

The passengers of the Marianne currently being “impressed” by Israeli democracy from the inside of Givon Prison are:

Dror Feiler (Sweden) Musician and Composer

Ana Miranda (Spain) Member of the European Parliament

Nadya Kervorkova (Russia) Journalist

Kajsa Ekis Ekman (Sweden) Journalist, Author

Robert Lovelace (Canada) University Professor and retired Algonquin Chief

Joel Opperdoes (Sweden) Crew

Gustave Bergstrom (Sweden)

Herman Reksten (Norway)

Kevin Neish (Canada)

Jonas Karlin (Sweden)

Charlie Andreasson (Sweden)

Ammar Al- Hamdan (Norway) Aljajeera Arabic

Mohammed El Bakkali (Morocco) Aljazeera Arabic

Ohad Hemo (Israel) Channel 2 Israeli TV

Ruwani Perera (New Zealand) Maori TV

Jacob Bryant (New Zealand) Maori TV

Alarmingly , the whereabouts of passengers Dr Moncef Marzouki, former President of Tunisia (2011-2014), and Palestinian politician Bassel Ghattas, a Member of the Israeli Knesset, are unknown at the time of writing.

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, binding for one hundred and fifty four nations and the European Union (not yet ratified by the United States) makes “piracy a universal crime and subjects pirates to arrest and prosecution by any nation. ” However, for all the quoting of its fine words here, surprise, Israel has not signed this important, detailed Convention as it has ignored or violated innumerable UN Resolutions (3), starting from the country’s infancy with Resolution 57 of 18th September 1948, which expressed: “deep shock at the assassination of the UN Mediator in Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte, by Zionist terrorists. ”

Marianne's position before being pirated by israeli navy

Marianne’s position before being pirated by israeli navy

No doubt some of the reasons for disregarding the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea can be found in Part 7:

Article 89: No State may validly purport to subject any part of the high seas to its sovereignty.

Article 90: Every State, whether coastal or land-locked, has the right to sail ships flying its flag on the high seas.

Article 100: All States shall cooperate to the fullest possible extent in the repression of piracy on the high seas or in any other place outside the jurisdiction of any State.

Ironically Somalia was an early signatory to the Convention, signing in 1982, thus can be held accountable. Will accountability ever apply to “the only democracy …” Will the UN, the “international community ” ever demand it?

“The “Pirates of the Mediterranean”, tweeted someone this morning.

What a tragedy that a people who have historically suffered so grievously are being tarred by the actions of a relative few and of the government of Israel, a haven defined by Lord Balfour (2nd November 1917) as : “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people … it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine …”

The “existing non-Jewish community” are either exiled, bombed, restricted, or in an open prison. Those who raise money and sail in solidarity are hijacked, put in a closed prison or, as in the case of the Mavi Marmara, murdered.

When will impunity end?

1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/8003936.stm

2. http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/6/5/israels-funding-policy-on-christian-schools-spurs-controvery.html

3. http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/01/27/rogue-state-israeli-violations-of-u-n-security-council-resolutions/

June 26, 2015

Saudi Arabia Will Fail in Yemen

by mkleit

Asher Orkaby

Asher Orkaby, PhD, is a research fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and is the author of a forthcoming book, The International History of the Yemen Civil War, 1962-68.

National Interest

Neutron bomb on the outskirts of Yemeni capital Sanaa

Neutron bomb on the outskirts of Yemeni capital Sanaa

As the warring Yemeni parties gather for preliminary peace talks in Geneva, Saudi Arabia continues its unrelenting bombing campaign against the tribes of the Houthi movement. For two and a half months, the air forces of the Saudi coalition have targeted military sites, homes and businesses affiliated with the Houthi movement, as well as the palaces and residences of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his political allies. Yet, as the Houthis sit down at the negotiating table this week, their domestic political and strategic position has not been greatly affected by this extensive bombing. Saudi Arabia’s futile air campaign is a further demonstration of the limits of airpower in general, and in South Arabia specifically.

Saudi Arabia did not pioneer the use of airpower to exercise regional power, which originated with the British imperial policy of “air control” in post-WWI Iraq. Winston Churchill, the postwar Secretary of War and Secretary of State for Air championed the use of air force to maintain British control over Iraq while expending the least amount of military force on the ground. Inaccurate intelligence, inadequate navigation equipment and pilot errors led many bombs astray, often hitting the wrong target and with little distinction between civilians and militants. Attacks and patrols by the British Royal Air Force were guided by sparse local intelligence networks and were intended more for the psychological impact of unfamiliar aerial bombardment rather than the ability to achieve a military objective.

This model of British imperial power and control was used in other colonial arenas, including South Yemen, then the British Aden Protectorate. A decade of British aerial patrols and attacks during the 1960s failed to stem the tide of a Yemeni nationalist movement that supplanted British colonial rule in South Yemen. The success of Britain’s air control in Arabia was limited by two main factors. The mountainous terrain of Yemen provided the guerilla opposition with an impervious natural cover from bombs within a cave system that pockmarks the landscape. International media was stacked against the remnants of the British Empire and bombs that found civilian targets were met with a great deal of negative press.

The British Royal Air Force was not the only imperial force in South Arabia trying to use its air force to dominate a tribal opposition. During the 1960s, Egypt transferred nearly a third of its air capabilities to North Yemen in support of the fledgling republic founded in 1962. The tactical success of the Egyptian aerial campaign was similarly hampered by Yemen’s terrain. Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser even went as far as authorizing the use of poison gas against cave shelters, intending to flush the opposition out into the open before coming back around for a second round of high explosive incendiary bombs.

Air superiority was the linchpin of Egypt’s strategic model of maintaining a triangular defensive perimeter around North Yemen’s three main cities of Hodeidah, Sana’a, and Taiz, while forestalling a concerted guerilla offensive from the surrounding rural and mountainous regions. Both Britain and Egypt were under political pressure to limit the number of casualties that would have undoubtedly occurred as a consequences of a more effective large-scale ground operation. Air power in Arabia, however, was limited in its ability to achieve tangible military goals. Rather than subdue domestic opposition, aerial bombardment only fed the flames of propaganda and distrust of a faceless enemy from above. Both Britain and Egypt were forced to make an ignominious withdrawal by the end of 1967, leaving failed states in their wake.

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi Arabia and its coalition of Arab and African countries appears to be taking the same path as the failed imperial policies of the 1960s. The Saudi air campaign was originally met with tepid enthusiasm by members of Yemen’s Southern Movement and supporters of Yemen’s ousted, but still internationally recognized President, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Many Yemenis were alarmed by the speed with which the tribesmen of the Houthi movement took control of the government in Sana’a and extended their military presence southward in pursuit of Hadi and his supporters. Two and a half months later, the Saudi bombing campaign has evolved from a series of tactical strikes to slow the Houthi military assault into a vendetta bombing campaign against Saudi political opponents in Yemen. Many of the airstrikes are targeting civilian houses belonging to Saleh’s family and friends, factories deemed suspicious and civilian transportation hubs and airports across the country, all of which have questionable military value.

Sitting comfortably in his luxury hotel of exile, President Hadi continues to condone Saudi bombings even as a staggering number of his countrymen have become internal refugees and are suffering a humanitarian crisis of serious proportions. Rather than garner additional public support for President Hadi, the Saudi bombing campaign has only increased the skepticism of his remote government and has instead played into the hands of Houthi propagandists. All the while, it does not seem that the military capabilities of the Houthi tribesmen or the segments of the Yemeni army still loyal to Saleh have been greatly diminished.

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Saudi air force destroys mosque in bordering governorate of Saada in Yemen

Not only have the Saudi’s not been able to slow the Houthi advance, but on June 6, Scud missiles launched by Houthi forces hit King Khalid Air Base, Saudi Arabia’s largest air base and the operations center for the current bombing campaign. Although Saudi officials tried to downplay the attack, which was shrouded in secrecy, it soon became known that Saudi Air Force Commander Lieutenant General Muhammad bin Ahmed Al-Shaalan was killed during the attack. This was particularly shocking to the Saudis as the Shaalan family is nationally prominent and connected through marriage and political alliance to the ruling Saud family.

The attack exposed the disturbing unreadiness of Saudi air defense capabilities and the limits of their air force’s ability to affect military and political outcomes in Yemen. Since the beginnings of the bombing campaign in March 2015, Saudi-coalition planes have faced little anti-aircraft fire, hardly a test of the pilots resolve or training. Even though the Houthis lack armed surface-to-air resistance, the recent Scud missile attack reinforced the fact that the Saudi aerial campaign has failed to eliminate the Houthi coalition’s large-scale military capability.

What emerged from the Scud missile debacle was that an American team is operating a Patriot missile defense system in the vicinity of the King Khalid Air Base, which is also the command center for the U.S. drone campaign in the region. It has been reported that several of the fired Scud missiles were intercepted by U.S. Patriot missiles, the first instance where American forces and Houthis exchanged fire, albeit indirectly. Additionally, the U.S. Air Force has been providing Saudi-coalition planes with satellite imagery and intelligence related to Houthi targets. The emergence of these details has reinforced a propaganda line reiterated on the Houthi cable channel al-Masirah that refers to the Saudi coalition as the “Saudi-American coalition.”

Images of Yemeni Scud missile being fired at King Khalid Air Base, Southern KSA

Images of Yemeni Scud missile being fired at King Khalid Air Base, Southern KSA

Despite emerging evidence that the Saudi-coalition’s aerial campaign is not only ineffective but counterproductive to the promotion of a political settlement in Yemen, the bombings continue with no sign of concluding. The relentless pursuit of an aggressive military stance towards the Houthi movement is in part a reflection of Saudi Arabia’s struggle against the ghost of Iranian involvement in South Arabia. There is no Saudi exit strategy in which the bombing can stop, short of a complete Houthi political withdrawal. Otherwise, this war will demonstrate a weakness in Saudi policy towards Iran. This aggressive policy is driven in particular by the new Saudi King Salman’s need to exhibit political and military dominance to quiet his many doubters. The Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, the director of operations in Yemen, feels additional pressure to act decisively in order to prove his resolve as the world’s youngest minister of defense at the age of 30.

Even with all of King Salman’s resolve and Mohammad bin Salman’s machismo, the Saudi aerial campaign will be limited by a difficult propaganda war by the Houthis and the same historic terrain that served as an obstacle to British and Egyptian aerial control of Yemen during the 1960s. Saudi Arabia cannot triumph through force of arms alone as its air force has reached the upper limits of what it can achieve against the Houthis. Continuing a fruitless aerial campaign will only foster increasing anti-Saudi political alliance in Yemen and lead to an ignominious withdrawal reminiscent of British and Egyptian withdrawals of the past.

Yemeni soldier destroys Saudi tank from close range inside Saudi-border military camp

Yemeni soldier destroys Saudi tank from close range inside Saudi-border military camp

Yemeni soldiers hold Yemeni flag from Saudi military outpost in Asseer

Yemeni soldiers hold Yemeni flag from Saudi military outpost in Asseer

Yemeni army firing locally-manufactured Zilzal "earthquake" missile at Saudi military base in the south

Yemeni army firing locally-manufactured Zilzal “earthquake” missile at Saudi military base in the south

Yemeni army firing Grad missiles at Saudi bases in south

Yemeni army firing Grad missiles at Saudi bases in south

Yemeni soldier declaring victory over Saudi soldiers in Jizan area south of KSA

Yemeni soldier declaring victory over Saudi soldiers in Jizan area south of KSA

Yemeni soldier holding a LAW during fights against Saudi soldiers in Jizzan

Yemeni soldier holding a LAW during fights against Saudi soldiers in Jizzan

Yemeni Yirivan missiles being fired at Saudi military bases in Jizzan

Yemeni Yirivan missiles being fired at Saudi military bases in Jizzan

March 20, 2015

Israeli army admits aiding al-Qaeda in Syria

by mkleit

Asa Winstanley

ME Monitor

israeli occupation troops with al Nusra terrorist mercenaries at Syrian Golan Heights (unknown source)

An under-noticed news report last week confirmed previously-held suspicions and strong implications that Israeli troops are aiding the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate.

Speaking to Israeli occupation troops last week, a Wall Street Journal reporter on the ground in Mount Bental (part of the occupied Golan Heights) found that Israeli troops receive wounded al-Qaeda fighters, treat them in Israeli hospitals and send them back to continue fighting against the government in Syria.

The Nusra Front in August overran the Qunaitra crossing, the checkpoint between the Israeli-occupied and Syrian-controlled sectors of the Golan Heights. Israeli invaded that region of south-west Syria in 1967 and has illegally occupied most of the Golan Heights ever since.

As I pointed out in a previous column, the reports of UN peacekeeping forces since Nusra took over the checkpoint were highly suggestive of Israeli contacts and even military aid to the al-Qaeda rebels. But this Wall Street Journal report has confirmed the fact.

“We don’t ask who they are, we don’t do any screening,” the unnamed Israeli military official told the paper of the hospital treatment of al-Qaeda fighters. “Once the treatment is done, we take them back to the border [sic – ceasefire line] and they go on their way [in Syria],” he said.

An unnamed military official also said there is an “understanding” between Israeli forces and al-Qaeda fighters there and that “there is a familiarity of the [al-Qaeda] forces on the ground”.

Popular conspiracy theories have it that al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” (also known as ISIS or ISIL) are Israeli- and/or US-intelligence creations. While there’s no evidence for that, it’s certainly true that the US-UK invasion of Iraq in 2003, and its consciously sectarian occupation regime of the country thereafter, created the conditions in which al-Qaeda in Iraq (later known as ISIS) was formed and thrived. Veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn demonstrates this most convincingly in his essential new book The Rise of Islamic State, which I have previously lauded here.

And now it seems that Israel is in a direct alliance with al-Qaeda in Syria. This is a tactical alliance, meant purely to bleed the country and prolong the civil war.

Read the quotes from Israeli officials in recent months about the Nusra Front and you will see a strange sort of soft-peddling of the group, casting them as a kind of “moderate al-Qaeda” if you will.

“Nusra is a unique version of al-Qaeda,” retired Brigadier General Michael Herzog told the Wall Street Journal. “They manage to cooperate with non-Islamist and non-jihadi organizations in one coalition.” Herzog is a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP, the think tank of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the première Israel lobby group in the US) and former chief of staff for Israel’s defence minister. The Nusra Front “are totally focused on the war in Syria and aren’t focused on us,” he claimed. “But when Hezbollah and Iran and others are pushing south, they are very much focused on us.”

Hizballah and Iran, allies of the Bashar al-Assad regime, are aiding the government in Syria and fighting on the ground alongside Syrian army troops against al-Qaeda, the “Islamic State” and other Sunni rebel groups.

Even before Nusra took over the Qunairtra checkpoint in August, reports suggested Israel seemed on rather friendly terms with the al-Qaeda affiliate.

In June, army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told Foreign Policy that the Israeli government has provided medical assistance to more than 1,000 Syrians over the past fourteen months. “We give medical aid to people who are in dire need,” he said in a telephone interview with the magazine, echoing the statement made last week to the Wall Street Journal. “We don’t do any vetting or check where they are from or which group they are fighting for, or whether they are civilians.”

Ehud Yaari, an Israeli fellow at WINEP, admitted that Israeli assistance has benefited fighters: “The wounded are both fighters and civilians but there are not too many civilians left because of the fighting raging there … Close to 900 Syrians have been treated in Israel.”

Foreign Policy reports that, even earlier than June 2014, in March 2013: “Some 400 armed opposition fighters, backed by artillery fire from three tanks, seized a Syrian military outpost atop a hill at Tal al-Garbi, planting four black flags and raising concern that extremist groups are moving into the zone.

“More than two weeks later, opposition fighters captured two other strategically important hilltop military outposts in Tal al-Jabiya and Tal al-Sharqi.

“‘In the afternoon of 24 April, two members of the armed opposition displayed the severed head of a presumed Syrian armed forces officer as they passed’ a UN outpost, according to the [UN] report. By the end of April [2013], UN observers ‘detected the flying of black flags believed to be associated with militant groups scattered throughout the central and southern part of the area of separation, including three Syrian armed forces positions captured by the armed members of the opposition.'”

So Israeli aid to al-Qaeda in Syria may have been ongoing for as long as nearly two years now. But what is sure is that Israeli aid to al-Qaeda in Syria has now been confirmed.

March 9, 2015

Washington and ISIS: the evidence

by mkleit

by Tim Anderson

Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS have been shot down by Iraqi forces have been met with shock and denial in western countries. Few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ with its proxy armies in Syria, but some key myths remain important amongst the significantly more ignorant western audiences.

A central myth is that Washington now arms ‘moderate Syrian rebels’, to both overthrow the Syrian Government and supposedly defeat the ‘extremist rebels’. This claim became more important in 2014, when the rationale of US aggression against Syria shifted from ‘humanitarian intervention’ to a renewal of Bush’s ‘war on terror’.

A distinct controversy is whether the al Qaeda styled groups (especially Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS) have been generated as a sort of organic reaction to the repeated US interventions, or whether they are actually paid agents of Washington.

Certainly, prominent ISIS leaders were held in US prisons. ISIS leader, Ibrahim al-Badri (aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) is said to have been held for between one and two years at Camp Bucca in Iraq. In 2006, as al-Baghdadi and others were released, the Bush administration announced its plan for a ‘New Middle East’, a plan which would employ sectarian violence as part of a process of ‘creative destruction’ in the region.

According to Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article, ‘The Redirection’, the US would make use of ‘moderate Sunni states’, not least the Saudis, to ‘contain’ the Shia gains in Iraq brought about by the 2003 US invasion. These ‘moderate Sunni’ forces would carry out clandestine operations to weaken Iran and Hezbollah, key enemies of Israel. This brought the Saudis and Israel closer, as both fear Iran.

While there have been claims that the ISIS ‘caliph’ al-Baghdadi is a CIA or Mossad trained agent, these have not yet been well backed up. There are certainly grounds for suspicion, but independent evidence is important, in the context of a supposed US ‘war’ against ISIS. So what is the broader evidence on Washington’s covert links with ISIS?

Not least are the admissions by senior US officials that key allies support the extremist group. In September 2014 General Martin Dempsey, head of the US military, told a Congressional hearing ‘I know major Arab allies who fund [ISIS]’. Senator Lindsey Graham, of Armed Services Committee, responded with a justification, ‘They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight [Syrian President] Assad, they were trying to beat Assad’.

The next month, US Vice President Joe Biden went a step further, explaining that Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia ‘were so determined to take down Assad … they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad … [including] al Nusra and al Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world … [and then] this outfit called ISIL’. Biden’s admissions sought to exempt the US from this operation, as though Washington were innocent of sustained operations carried out by its key allies. That is simply not credible.

Washington’s relationship with the Saudis, as a divisive sectarian force in the region, in particular against Arab nationalism, goes back to the 1950s, when Winston Churchill introduced the Saudi King to President Eisenhower. At that time Washington wanted to set up the Saudi King as a rival to President Nasser of Egypt. More recently, British General Jonathan Shaw has acknowledged the contribution of Saudi Arabia’s extremist ideology: ‘This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education. Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money’, Shaw said.

Other evidence undermines western attempts to maintain a distinction between the ‘moderate rebels’, now openly armed and trained by the US, and the extremist groups Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS. While there has indeed been some rivalry (emphasised by the London-based, Muslim Brotherhood-aligned, Syrian Observatory of Human Rights), the absence of real ideological difference is best shown by the cooperation and mergers of groups.

As ISIS came from Iraq in 2013, its Syrian bases have generally remained in the far eastern part of Syria. However Jabhat al Nusra (the official al Qaeda branch in Syria, from which ISIS split) has collaborated with Syrian Islamist groups in western Syria for several years. The genocidal slogan of the Syrian Islamists, ‘Christians to Beirut and Alawis to the Grave’, reported many times in 2011 from the Farouk Brigade, sat well with the al Qaeda groups. Farouk (once the largest ‘Free Syrian Army’ group) indeed killed and ethnically cleansed many Christians and Alawis.

Long term cooperation between these ‘moderate rebels’ and the foreign-led Jabhat al-Nusra has been seen around Daraa in the south, in Homs-Idlib, along the Turkish border and in and around Aleppo. The words Jabhat al Nusra actually mean ‘support front’, that is, support for the Syrian Islamists. Back in December 2012, as Jabhat al Nusra was banned in various countries, 29 of these groups reciprocated the solidarity in their declaration: ‘We are all Jabhat al-Nusra’.

After the collapse of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ groups, cooperation between al Nusra and the newer US and Saudi backed groups (Dawud, the Islamic Front, the Syrian Revolutionary Front and Harakat Hazm) helped draw attention to Israel’s support for al Nusra, around the occupied Golan Heights. Since 2013 there have been many reports of ‘rebel’ fighters, including those from al Nusra, being treated in Israeli hospitals. Prime Minister Netanyahu even publicised his visit to wounded ‘rebels’ in early 2014. That led to a public ‘thank you’ from a Turkey-based ‘rebel’ leader, Mohammed Badie (February 2014).

The UN peacekeeping force based in the occupied Golan has reported its observations of Israel’s Defence Forces ‘interacting with’ al Nusra fighters at the border. At the same time, Israeli arms have been found with the extremist groups, in both Syria and Iraq. In November 2014 members of the Druze minority in the Golan protested against Israel’s hospital support for al Nusra and ISIS fighters. This in turn led to questions by the Israeli media, as to whether ‘Israel does, in fact, hospitalize members of al-Nusra and Daesh [ISIS]’. A military spokesman’s reply was hardly a denial: ‘In the past two years the Israel Defence Forces have been engaged in humanitarian, life-saving aid to wounded Syrians, irrespective of their identity.’

The artificial distinction between ‘rebel’ and ‘extremist’ groups is mocked by multiple reports of large scale defections and transfer of weapons. In July 2014 one thousand armed men in the Dawud Brigade defected to ISIS in Raqqa. In November defections to Jabhat al Nusra from the Syrian Revolutionary Front were reported. In December, Adib Al-Shishakli, representative at the Gulf Cooperation Council of the exile ‘ Syrian National Coalition’, said ‘opposition fighters’ were ‘increasingly joining’ ISIS ‘for financial reasons’. In that same month, ‘rebels’ in the Israel-backed Golan area were reported as defecting to ISIS, which had by this time began to establish a presence in Syria’s far south. Then, in early 2015, three thousand ‘moderate rebels’ from the US-backed ‘Harakat Hazzm’ collapsed into Jabhat al Nusra, taking a large stock of US arms including anti-tank weapons with them.

ISIS already had US weapons by other means, in both Iraq and Syria, as reported in July, September and October 2014. At that time a ‘non aggression pact’ was reported in the southern area of Hajar al-Aswad between ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, as both recognised a common enemy in Syria: ‘the Nussayri regime’, a sectarian way of referring to supposedly apostate Muslims. Some reported ISIS had bought weapons from the ‘rebels’.

In December 2014 there were western media reports of the US covert supply of heavy weapons to ‘Syrian rebels’ from Libya, and of Jabhat al-Nusra getting anti-tank weapons which had been supplied to Harakat Hazm. Video posted by al-Nusra showed these weapons being used to take over the Syrian military bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh, in Idlib province.

With ‘major Arab allies’ backing ISIS and substantial collaboration between US-armed ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, it is not such a logical stretch to suppose that the US and ‘coalition’ flights to ISIS areas (supposedly to ‘degrade’ the extremists) might have become covert supply lines. That is precisely what senior Iraqi sources began saying, in late 2014 and early 2015.

For example, as reported by both Iraqi and Iranian media, Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui said in January that ‘an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin’. Photos were published of ISIS retrieving the weapons. The US admitted the seizure but said this was a ‘mistake’. In February Iraqi MP Hakem al-Zameli said the Iraqi army had shot down two British planes which were carrying weapons to ISIS in al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published of the wrecked planes. ‘We have discovered weapons made in the US, European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIL’s control in Al-Baqdadi region’, al-Zameli said.

The Al-Ahad news website quoted Head of Al-Anbar Provincial Council Khalaf Tarmouz saying that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province. Also in February an Iraqi militia called Al-Hashad Al-Shabi said they had shot down a US Army helicopter carrying weapons for the ISIL in the western parts of Al-Baqdadi region in Al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published. After that, Iraqi counter-terrorism forces were reported as having arrested ‘four foreigners who were employed as military advisors to the ISIL fighters’, three of whom were American and Israeli. So far the western media has avoided these stories altogether; they are very damaging to the broader western narrative.

In Libya, a key US collaborator in the overthrow of the Gaddafi government has announced himself the newly declared head of the ‘Islamic State’ in North Africa. Abdel Hakim Belhaj was held in US prisons for several years, then ‘rendered’ to Gaddafi’s Libya, where he was wanted for terrorist acts. As former head of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, then the Tripoli-based ‘Libyan Dawn’ group, Belhaj has been defended by Washington and praised by US Congressmen John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Some image softening of the al Qaeda groups is underway. Jabhat al-Nusra is reported to be considering cutting ties to al Qaeda, to help sponsor Qatar boost their funding. Washington’s Foreign Affairs magazine even published a survey claiming that ISIS fighters were ‘surprisingly supportive of democracy’. After all the well published massacres that lacks credibility.

The Syrian Army is gradually reclaiming Aleppo, despite the hostile supply lines from Turkey, and southern Syria, in face of support for the sectarian groups from Jordan and Israel. The border with Lebanon is largely under Syrian Army and Hezbollah control. In the east, the Syrian Army and its local allies control most of Hasaka and Deir e-Zour, with a final campaign against Raqqa yet to come. The NATO-GCC attempt to overthrow the Syrian Government has failed.

Yet violent destabilisation persists. Evidence of the covert relationship between Washington and ISIS is substantial and helps explain what Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad calls Washington’s ‘cosmetic war’ on ISIS. The extremist group is a foothold Washington keeps in the region, weakening both Syria and Iraq. Their ‘war’ on ISIS is ineffective. Studies by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgent database show that ISIS attacks and killings in Iraq increased strongly after US air attacks began. The main on the ground fighting has been carried out by the Syrian Army and, more recently, the Iraqi armed forces with Iranian backing.

All this has been reported perversely in the western media. The same channels that celebrate the ISIS killing of Syrian soldiers also claim the Syrian Army is ‘not fighting ISIS’. This alleged ‘unwillingness’ was part of the justification for US bombing inside Syria. While it is certainly the case that Syrian priorities have remained in the heavily populated west, local media reports make it clear that, since at least the beginning of 2014, the Syrian Arab Army has been the major force engaged with ISIS in Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir eZour. A March 2015 Reuters report does concede that the Syrian Army recently killed two ISIS commanders (including Deeb Hedjian al-Otaibi) along with 24 fighters, at Hamadi Omar.

Closer cooperation between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah is anathema to Israel, the Saudis and Washington, yet it is happening. This is not a sectarian divide but rather based on some clear mutual interests, not least putting an end to sectarian (takfiri) terrorism.

It was only logical that, in the Iraqi military’s recent offensive on ISIS-held Tikrit, the Iranian military emerged as Iraq’s main partner. Washington has been sidelined, causing consternation in the US media. General Qasem Suleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force is a leading player in the Tikrit operation.  A decade after Washington’s ‘creative destruction’ plans, designed to reduce Iranian influence in Iraq, an article in Foreign Policy magazine complains that Iran’s influence is ‘at its highest point in almost four centuries’.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-relationship-between-washington-and-isis-the-evidence/5435405

http://www.telesurtv.net/english/bloggers/Washington-and-ISIS-The-Evidence-20150308-0001.html

——

Select references

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya (2006) Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a ‘New Middle East’

http://www.globalresearch.ca/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/3882

Seymour Hersh (2007) The Redirection

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

Al Akhbar (2011) Syria: What Kind of Revolution?

http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/540

The New Yorker (2013) Syrian Opposition Groups Stop Pretending

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/syrian-opposition-groups-stop-pretending

RT (2014) Anyone but US! Biden blames allies for ISIS rise

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11l8nLZNPSY

Iraqi News (2015) American aircraft dropped weapons to ISIS, says MP

http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/american-aircraft-airdropped-weapons-to-isis-says-mp/

Washington Post (2015) Syrian rebel group that got U.S. aid dissolves

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/syrian-fighter-group-that-got-us-missiles-dissolves-after-major-defeat/2015/03/01/286fa934-c048-11e4-a188-8e4971d37a8d_story.html

David Kenner (2015) For God and Country, and Iran, Foreign Policy

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/03/05/for-god-and-country-and-iran/

Reuters (2015) Syrian air strike kills two Islamic State commanders

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/07/us-mideast-crisis-syria-islamicstate-idUSKBN0M30F720150307

February 27, 2015

سقطت مملكة نمرود مجدداً

by mkleit

محمد قليط وفاطمة جلعوط

موقع شاهد

isilfghfg

مرتزقة داعش تحطم تماثيل في متحف الموصل

منذ 900 سنة، تم جمع كتب الفيلسوف العربي ابن رشد وإحراقها أمام عينيه، فبكى أحد تلامذته بينما يشاهد اللهيب يبتلع الأوراق والكتب، فقال له ابن رشد: “الأفكار لديها أجنحة”. وبعض التاريخ لديه أجنحة، وإن تجسد على شكل تماثيل، كثور نركال المجنح الجالس على مدخل مدينة نمرود 800 سنة قبل الميلاد. ذاك الحارس الكهل، الذي أراد الكثيرون سرقته، وبقي أميناً على المدينة على مر القرون، إلى أن أتى الدواعش ليهدموه.

صعق تنظيم داعش الإرهابي العالم بأسره حين هدم تماثيل تاريخية، يعود عمرها لأكثر من 3000 سنة، وحرق أكثر من 8000 كتاب يعود أقدمها إلى القرن الثامن عشر، حيث عدد كبير منها يعود لأشجار عائلية لأكثر من 100 عائلة، بالإضافة إلى كتب سريانية وأداة الإسطرلاب وساعات رملية. وعلل التنظيم فعلته بأنها “إزالة أوثان وأصنام الشرك المحفوظة منذ آلاف السنين”، متجاهلاً واقع أن هذه التماثيل قد مرّ عليها زمن من قبل الرسول الأكرم محمد (ص)، والذي، لسخرية القدر، يحمل التنظيم شعاره وختمه على أعلامه ويتحدث باسم الدين الذي أتى ليهدي به الناس.

تعود أولى بدايات الاستيطان البشرية إلى دمشق السورية فضلاً عن جارتها عراق البابلية، فالإنسان القديم بدأ مع اكتشاف النار، فصنع أدواته وزرع أراضيه لتسهيل طريقة حياته في العيش. وهذا إن دل على شيء، فيدل على طبيعة البشر في ميولهم للتطور، حيث أقاموا صروحاً عديدة ما زالت ماثلة أمامنا حتى يومنا هذا، فقد ترك الإنسان من بعده آثاراً كثيرة تحكي لنا تاريخ تلك الأمم والشعوب من خلال رسالات على نقوش حجرية وغيرها من الرسومات فوق جدران الكهوف والصخور وتماثيل بأشكال عديدة وفي مراحل عصور مختلفة.داعش تحرق آلاف الكتب التاريخية في متحف الموصل

فالحضارة السائدة والمعاصرة حالياً هي نتاج تراكمات لحضارات وثقافات الشعوب القديمة، ما جعل علماء آثار والحضارات، وحتى أنظمة، يتسابقون للكشف عن السجلات الزمنية لحقب الأرض وتاريخها والبحث عن الحضارات فوق الأرض وتحتها. وليس من الغريب أن تجد الكثير من تلك الآثار في متاحف تركيا والدول الأجنبية لما تتعرض له من سرقة من قبل داعش وغيرها من لصوص الحضارة، فالجيشان الأميركي والبريطاني سرقا سنة 2003 أكثر من 11 ألف قطعة أثرية إبان احتلالهم للعراق.

الصنم وثن حين يُعبد، لا حين يرمز لحضارة عريقة تُعرّف الغريب الى تاريخ هذه المنطقة. من إدلب إلى حلب وتدمر، وصولاً إلى سامراء والموصل، لم يتوانَ تنظيم داعش عن سرقة وتدمير حضارة المنطقة في الأراضي التي يحتلها. كما أنه يقوم ببيع هذه الآثار لتمويل إرهابه، بالاضافة إلى بيع النفط العراقي والسوري المسروق، وأثاث المنازل، وفي بعض الحالات الأعضاء البشرية. والأمر ليس بجديد في كسب المال عبر سرقة وبيع الآثار العراقية والسورية التابعة لحضارات عريقة جداً، وذلك في السوق السوداء التركية على وجه التحديد، وأيضاً، في بعض الحالات، الصهيونية.

ما قام به داعش البارحة هو شبيه بما قام به هولاكو  خان المغولي حين احتل بغداد وأتلف كل الكتب الموجودة في “بيت الحكمة”، وذلك في سبيل إتلاف تاريخ المناطق التي يحتلها لكي تصبح “مغولية” بحتة، الأمر الذي يتطابق مع ما يقوم به الكيان الصهيوني في فلسطين المحتلة عبر تغيير أسماء مناطق عربية إلى العبرية، ونسبة كل تاريخها إلى اليهود الغربيين. وبربط تحليلي بسيط، يتوضح أن التنظيم الإرهابي يسعى لمحو تاريخ المنطقة ونسبة كل ما عليها إليه، وقد بدأ بذلك منذ إعلان “ولاياته” كالرقة ونينوى وغيرهم، بالإضافة إلى جعل كل المؤسسات الموجودة فيها له، وتغيير أسماء وخلع تاريخ المنطقة تمهيداً لجعلها حصراً له، أو “لغيره” من أصحاب التفكير والأهداف التوسعية والإرهابية، والذين بدأوا تلك الأعمال في فلسطين المحتلة سنة 1948.

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تمثال ثور نركال الآشوري يتم تدميره من قبل مرتزقة داعش

January 15, 2015

12 > 2000: المسلمون هم الضحية

by mkleit

الملثمين الذين هاجموا مبنى مجلة تشارلي إيبدو

كان مسلمو العالم الضحية الأكبر بعد الهجوم الذي استهدف مقر المجلة الفرنسية الساخرة “تشارلي إيبدو” والتي أضحت بين ليلة وضحاها أشهر مجلة في العالم, وأجبرت كل من لم يسمع بها على أن يهرع للبحث عن أي معلومة تعرفّه عن هذه المجلة الساخرة بعد مقتل عدد من صحفييها ورساميها من قِبل ملثمين. وبالرغم من أن الحكومة الفرنسية لم توجه الاتهام إلى أي جهة, فقد خرجت مصادر صحافية قائلة إن المسلحين اللذين هاجما المجلة الساخرة يتبعان لتنظيم “القاعدة في الجزيرة العربية”. وتوالت الإدانات عالمياً، حيث كان أولها من وزير خارجية الولايات المتحدة الأميركية جون كيري بعد نحو ساعة من حدوث الهجوم الإرهابي، وتلاه رئيس الوزراء البريطاني دايفيد كاميرون وغيره من قادات العالم.

وبعيداً عن أحداث باريس الدموية، وفي قرية لا برج إيفل فيها ولا وسائل إعلامية مهتمة بها, هاجم التنظيم الإرهابي “بوكو حرام” النيجيري قرية باغا (Baga) وقرى صغرى محيطة بها, بعد أن قاموا بحرق المنازل وقتل كل من حاول الوصول إليها. وقدّرت الضحايا البشرية بنحو ألفي شخص، جلّهم من النساء والأطفال وكبار السن ممن لم تسنح لهم الفرصة بالفرار كغيرهم من الفارين الذين وصل عددهم إلى نحو 7500.

لم تجد باغا أقل أنواع الدعم ولو “معنوياً” كما وجدته باريس، حيث احتشد أكثر من ثلاثة ملايين بين زعماء ومشاهير وغيرهم من المواطنين الفرنسيين في مسيرة واحدة سارت في شوارع باريس الأنيقة, ضمن حراسة أمنية مشددة لا خوف عليهم فيها من الغازات المسيلة للدموع أو الرصاص المطاطي كما هو الحال مع مواطني العالم الثالث في كل مرة يخرجون فيها مطالبين بحقوقهم الدنيا أدنى في الحياة. ولربما في عالم السياسة العدد 12 يفوق العدد 2000، وبالأخص حين تحصل المقارنة ما بين قتيل أوروبي وآخر أفريقي، فيلعب لون البشرة دوراً بارزاً في تحديد طبيعة الإدانة والقرار الدولي الذي يليها. بالإضافة إلى أن فرنسا تُعتبر دولة عظمى من بين دول العالم الأول، ولديها تاريخ حافل في تحديد مصير شعوب عديدة، من بينها لبنان وسوريا. بينما نيجيريا تُعد من أفقر دول العالم بحسب المنتدى الاقتصادي العالمي، فهي رغم غناها النفطي، إلاّ أن اللعنة قد صبّت عليها كون بشرة سكانها سوداء، وهذا ما أعطى الضوء الأخضر للتنظيم الإرهابي أن يجزر بمسلميها ومسيحييها على حدٍ سواء.

دول أفريقيا هي من أكثر الدول التي تعاني من العنصرية الدولية والأزمات المتتالية على كافة الأصعدة الاجتماعية والاقتصادية والسياسية. فهي ليست جميعها سيدة قرارها (باستثناء بعض الدول الشمالية)، ولطالما كانت الدول هذه حقول تجارب “طبية” على الكثير من الأمراض، بالإضافة إلى استعباد شعوبها من قبل الدول الأخرى ولا سيما تلك التي ترفع شعارات الحرية والديقراطية، فليس من المستغرب أن ينبذ العالم المجزرة التي هي أشبه بالإبادة الجماعية، ويذهب مسرعاً للتضامن مع الصحافيين والرسامين في باريس من خلال جميع أشكال الدعم, وعن طريق وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية عبر هاشتاغ دشنه رواد موقع تويتر وأسموه #CharlieHebdo ليلقى رواجاً حتى في العالم العربي، إذ فاق عدد التغريدات 55 ألف تغريدة خلال 24 ساعة. واستعمل الهاشتاغ في مرحلة أولية لمتابعة الحدث أولا بأول ولنشر آخر المستجدات ليتحول في مرحلة لاحقة إلى وسيلة للتعبير عن آراء رواد موقع تويتر إزاء ما حدث. وظهر هاشتاغ آخر تحت شعار #KillAllMuslims، كرد فعل على الهجوم “الإرهابي” في باريس، والذي استقبله العديد بالرفض وطغى الاستنكار عليه، وغرد مسلمون ومتضامنون معهم تحت شعار “Je Suis Muslim” أي “أنا مسلم” و #RespectForMuslimsتعبيراً عن رفضهم لإدانة الإسلام والتضامن مع جميع المسلمين حول العالم وخاصة في أوروبا، ولمواجهة العنصرية ضدهم التي تؤججها تلك الهجمات تحت شعار الإسلام. وبين مؤيد ومعارض لما وقع، كان الملفت للنظر تاريخ مجلة “إيبدو” التي لم تتوانَ عن السخرية يوماً من كافة الأديان (باستثناء اليهودية)، حيث كلف التعليق على انتقاد الديانة اليهودية الكاتب السابق للمجلة “موريس سينيه” عمله، وذلك في عام 2009 بتهمة “المعاداة للسامية”، وتمت محاكمته بتهم الكراهية، بحسب جريدة تيليغراف البريطانية.

امرأة تجول في منطقة باغا المحروقة من قِبل التنظيم الإرهابي بوكو حرام في نيجيريا

يولد الإرهاب والتطرف الفكري من الفقر وسوء التعليم بشكل أساسي، وفي بعض الأحيان من التهميش الاجتماعي أو الإيهام بالمظلومية، وهذا ما يحصل اليوم في نيجيريا، من قبل التنظيم الإرهابي بوكو حرام، الموالي لتنظيم القاعدة، والذي يسيطر على أجزاء من نيجيريا، ويفتك “بالأخضر واليابس” من بشر وخيرات الأرض السمراء. وقد حذر رئيس أساقفة نيجيريا، المطران إغناطيوس كايغاما، من خطر هذا التنظيم، و”أن الإرهاب قد يتوسع ليخرج الى أبعد من حدود نيجيريا ويصل إلى دول الجوار وأوروبا”. وهنا يأتي دور المجتمع الدولي ممن يدرك تمام الادراك خطر الإرهاب وما قد ينتج عنه إذا ما تم القضاء عليه قبل أن يخرج خارج سيطرة الدولة الواحدة وينتشر كانتشار النار في الهشيم، فهل من يسمع لتحذيرات المطران “كايغاما”، أم أنه سينتظر غداً لتلقّي الصدمة في عقر داره كما حصل في باريس وأنقرة ونيويورك؟ والجدير بالذكر حول التنظيم الإرهابي الآخر، “داعش”، أن الولايات المتحدة لم تعمد لمحاربته “عملياً” إلا بعد أن اقترب في العراق وسوريا من آبار النفط في الإقليم الكردستاني، الذي تسيطر عليه الشركات الأميركية والبريطانية.

وبيد أن المشكلة لا تكمن في “النفاق” السياسي على المستوى الدولي، بل أيضاً في سوء التغطية من قبل الإعلام العالمي للمجزرة النيجيرية، فالإعلام أخذ منحى ذا طابع عنصري في تغطيته لأخبار الموت والقتل المستمر في دول “العالم الثالث”، وتحولت دول أفريقيا والعالم العربي بمجازرها وحروبها التي تسفك يومياً دماء المئات من أبنائها، في “الوسائل الإعلامية” لتصبح من العناوين الثانوية، ولتعاد صياغة الخبر يومياً مع تغيّر في عدد الضحايا وتصل في نهاية المطاف إلى نحو الملل، وذلك ما أدى إلى “تقبّل الجمهور عبر تمليلهم” بحسب ما قال الفيلسوف والكاتب الفرنسي جان جاك روسو. فكان من الملحوظ مرور خبر وجود مقبرة جماعية في الموصل تحتوي على 120 جثة مرور الكرام، وذلك بعد بضع ساعات من حدوث هجوم باريس. وإلى حد الآن، يتم استغلال الوضع الباريسي كما تم استغلاله عام 2001 عقب أحداث 11 أيلول، وذلك عبر الهجوم على الإسلام بالتحديد، وإلصاق تهمة الإرهاب به.

وبالتأكيد على أنه لا شيء ينبغي أن يبرر هكذا عمل، لكن هذا لا يتعارض مع التذكير بأن الإساءة إلى أي عقيدة دينية أو أي نبي من أنبياء الله هي أمر مرفوض تماماً، وهي إساءة تحرض بعض الناس على الثأر لدينهم أو نبيهم كما حصل في باريس.

نُشر على موقع شاهد نيوز

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