Abdallah al-Muhaysini, a Pivotal Figure in the Islamist Insurgency in Syria,” by Waleed Rikab

Abdallah al-Muhaysini, a Pivotal Figure in the Islamist Insurgency in Syria
by Waleed Rikab*
for Syria Comment – 7 October 2015

Abdallah al-Muhaysini came to Syria in 2013 to partake in the uprising against Bashar al-Assad. He presents a unique case of the outsized role a single person can play in the lawless world of the Syrian rebellion.  He has positioned himself at the center of radical jihadist politics, fund raising, and legal opinion.

Al-Muhaysini with a captured Syrian pilot. Jabhat al-Nusra’s flag, which also includes the al-Qaeda insignia, can be seen in the background

Al-Muhaysini hails from the al-Qassim region in Saudi Arabia. Prior to his arrival to Syria, he completed his MA and PhD studies in Islamic Jurisprudence in the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, with a dissertation on “The Treatment of Prisoners of War in Islamic Jurisprudence.” A self-professed Salafi jihadist scholar, al-Muhaysini is often seen on the battlefields of northern Syria together with various Islamist factions, prominent among whom are Ahrar al-Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra (JN), in addition to other factions affiliated with the Jaish al-Fateh coalition. He has set up institutions that provide military and financial aid to jihadist groups, and runs a proselytization (Dawah) center (named “The Jihad’s Callers Center“) in Idlib Province.

Al-Mushaysini holds the title General Judge of Jaish al-Fateh. He is highly revered in the jihadi-Salafi landscape (notwithstanding Islamic State adherents), embracing a leading role in the warfare – most recently in the Jabha al-Nusra takeover, together with the Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) of the Abu al-Dhuhur Air Base and in the Jaish al-Fatah battles for control over al-Fuah this month (September 2015). During clashes in the last year, he was documented delivering inflammatory speeches to the troops and bestowing religious blessing upon suicide bombers before embarking on their missions.

Muhaysani1

Al-Muhaysini gives his blessing to a suicide bomber in al-Fuah

A picture of his activities since arriving to Syria two years ago reveals a person immersed in all aspects of the effort to establish Islamist rule in Syria, currently developed mainly in the Idlib Province, but also spreading to other regions (as demonstrated in the creation of Jaish al-Fateh – Qalamoun and Jaish al-Fateh – the southern region). His main activities are:

  • The highly successful Jahed bi-Malak (wage jihad with your money) enterprise that operates with the declared aim of collecting donations to arm mujahedeen groups in Syria. In May 2015, he claimed that the Idlib campaign needed US$ 5 million that the rebels were able to secure.
  • The aforementioned Jihad’s Callers Center that has been steadily developing in Idlib Province and now boasts branches in many towns and villages.
  • Active participation in all major military campaigns in northern Syria in the last year, such as the takeover of Idlib city and Jisr al-Sughour in March-April 2015, and Wadi al-Dief in December 2014. During the Idlib city campaign, al-Muhaisni was documented surviving a rocket attack. Al-Muhaysini is also involved in the sanctioning and enlisting of recruits for martyrdom operations.

Muhaysani2

Al-Muhaysini with Syrian Army captives at Abu-Dhuhur Air Base

The 56 captives following their execution

A glimpse into the ideology espoused by al-Muhaysini was revealed through his role in the reported summary execution of Syrian Army soldiers and officers following JN’s capture of Abu al-Dhuhur Air Base. Al-Muhaysini gave a speech while standing alongside the blindfolded captives: “These are only some of the prisoners that were captured by the Mujahideen…they claim to be Sunnah. I don’t like to call them Sunnah. They were once Sunnah but became murtadin (apostatized) once they enlisted in the Nusairi (a derogatory term for Alawites) regime…Oh mothers of (Syrian Army) soldiers, either you see your sons like this and then you see them killed, or you force them to desert this army…the battle is between the Sunnah and the Nusairis and Rafida (derogatory term for Shiites) so why would you involve your sons in this carnage?…No doubt, whomsoever sheds blood, his blood shall also be shed.”

Muhaysani3

Al-Muhaysini in TIP footage from Abu al-Dhuhur Air Base

Indeed, validating al-Muhaysini’s words, several days later it was reported that JN had executed 65 soldiers and officers at the air base, with images being circulated on social media of the captives standing on the tarmac before their execution.

Muhaysani4

Photos confirming the mass killings surfaced on social media, but were not officially published by JN. The fact that there was no formal documentation of the aftermath of the mass killing, at odds with the large volume of JN and TIP publications regarding the capture of the air base, may stem from JN media strategy, which tries to distance itself from the negative image of the Islamic State and its affinity for gore. It is also in line with guidelines given by al-Qaeda (AQ) leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, who instructed the group not to alienate the local population. On a separate note, these guidelines also explain the successful cooperation between JN and other Islamist factions, as opposed to the Islamic State.

Jabhat al-Nusra’s operation at Abu al-Dhuhur Air Base, the overall success of the Idlib campaign, the co-optation with the TIP and the recent pledge of allegiance by Jaish al-Muhajiroun wal Ansar, are all signs that JN continues to enjoy momentum in Syria. It is able to generate the appeal and success needed to further consolidate its hold over regions in Syria that are all but an unprecedented base of operations for AQ since Afghanistan before the September 11 attacks.

Muhaysani5

Arms training for children at the Jihad’s Callers Center

Al-Muhaysini propagates hardline Salafist concepts through the Dawah initiatives of the Jihad’s Callers Center in areas held by Islamist rebels in northern Syria. This enterprise promotes a militant worldview among residents of Idlib Province, and is expected to provide an inventory of future recruits to Islamist groups, as is already demonstrated in this video, where al-Muhaysini personally trains children on his version of jihad. The maintenance and expansion of these Dawah centers requires substantial funding, apparently provided by al-Muhaysini. Furthermore, an article by Jordanian cleric Eyad Qunibi that appeared in a magazine published by the center titled Jihadi Reflections leaves no doubt as to the goal of the Dawah activities conducted by the center in Syria – to shape a state of affairs in which a Sharia-ruled Syria will be perceived as the only option by the Syrian population, without democratic elections.

Al-Muhaysini’s activities are crucial to ascertain the degree to which Ahrar al-Sham (and Jaish al-Fateh in general) and JN differ in their orientation and plans for Syria. Al-Muhaysini seems to play a crucial role in aiding both, providing financial aid and religious guise to their operations. Furthermore, his presence in both JN and Jaish al-Fateh operations, and his official role in Jaish al-Fateh, are proof of the persisting links between the two fighting forces.

The Jaish al-Fateh push toward the Alawite heartlands on the coast may be one reason why Russia jump into Syria to support its ally. If unchecked, al-Muhaysini will continue to help entrench Islamist groups in Syria and radicalize Sunni rebels. Finally, if al-Muhaysini’s plans to win the hearts and minds of the Syrian population succeed, it will surely complicate U.S. efforts to promote a democratic post-Assad Syria, due to his rejection of democracy in favor of Sharia governance.

* Waleed Rikab heads the Strategic Research Department at Terrogence, a privately-owned counter-terrorism  company.

Comments (145)


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101. ALAN said:

Despite the fact that the armed conflict has claimed the lives of more than 250 thousand people and turned millions of peaceful Syrian citizens into refugees, the White House does not intend to contribute to ending the bloodshed on Syrian soil. Even after the Western press acknowledges that fair elections in Syria even after Washington journalists reported the absence of any “moderate” component of the Islamist hordes of mercenaries who continue to flood the Syrian territory through the Turkish border.
And even after Russia began to strike at militant positions ISIS, causing the first week of their substantial material damage, Washington is trying to prolong the senseless and bloody conflict.
The citizens ‘democratic’ Western states should give his assessment of the actions of the White House, which continues to supply weapons to militants. After recent media reports that NATO aircraft dropped 50 tons of militants of various weapons, trying to return it to its former combat capability.
Such actions should not go without censure from both the international community and from the public.

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October 19th, 2015, 8:48 am

 

102. Ghufran said:

I do not know why Joshua insists that a sectarian partition is a solution or a possibility. Pushing for this scenario is disastrous to all syrians not just minorities plus it can not be done especially in mixed cities like Latakia, Homs and Hama. What might happen in the short term is a pseudo sunni enclave in areas like aljazeera which is largely under militant and terrorist groups rule.
Provinces like Idleb and Aleppo will be contested and Damascus is too important for the regime and its friends to be given to Nusra et al, even Sunnis in most urban areas are unlikely to accept a militant islamist government or semi government regardless of how much they dislike the regime.

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October 19th, 2015, 9:43 pm

 

103. Altair said:

Does anyone know what happened to Faruq al-Shara’?

He seems to have been out of the public eye lately.

This blog covers a lot of faction leaders, but I think it’s important to know what it happening to government figures sometimes.

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October 19th, 2015, 10:21 pm

 

104. Ghufran said:

According to sohr 2/3 of the victims of Russian air raids were armed rebels.
Civilian casualties can be avoided or minimized if rebels stop using populated
areas as bases, the claim that armed gangs care about Syrians is a myth
that only deniers believe, the same rebels regularly shell civilian areas in the
name of fighting regime forces. Do not look for innocence in this war,there is
none.

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October 20th, 2015, 9:45 am

 

105. Observer said:

Once again blaming the victim and calling rebels armed gangs. At least there is clear cut admission that the regime troll is 100% pro regime.

This is exactly the same language Israel used in 2006 to destroy half of Lebanon as it claims that the HA fighters were hiding behind civilians and the same talk that justified the Kana massacre when the UN headquarters was shelled by Israelis killing hundreds.

القول أن الثورة جلبت الفوضى والخراب، مثل تحميل المسؤولية عن القمع ليس للنظام القمعي، بل لمن يتمرد عليه ويرفض تقبله كأمر طبيعي، ومثل تحميل المذل المهان مسؤولية تحول الإذلال إلى عنف وعقوبات جماعية، فلو رضي بالذل لما عوقب أهله على رفضه الذل، وكأن مقاومة الشعب العراقي للاحتلال أدت إلى قتل مئات آلاف العراقيين، وليس الاحتلال ذاته، وكالقول أن انتفاضة الفلسطينيين أدت إلى تقطيع اوصال الضفة الغربية بالحواجز، والزج بآلاف الشبان في السجون، وليس الاحتلال الصهيوني، فبموجب هذه المغالطة، لو استكان الشعب الفلسطيني لكان الآن ينعم بالهدوء والأمان في ظل الاحتلال. ويذهب البعض حد الادعاء أن الديمقراطية هي التي خربت سورية. الديمقراطية أساس البلاء. وكأنها حكمت سورية، وكأن من يقصف المدن والقرى ويشرد البشر هو نظام ديمقراطي. أين تكمن المغالطة هنا؟ في كل شيء. قام الشعب على الاستبداد، والاستبداد رد بالعنف واتخذ الخيار الأمني سبيلا، وحتى الحركات المتطرفة التي باتت تتحمل جزءا من المسؤولية نشأت في ظل أنظمة الاستبداد العربية، وليس في ظل الديمقراطية.

ولكن لوم الضحية والدس والتحريض ضد الإحساس بالكرامة، وضد قيم التحرر هي من مكونات الاستبداد، وكذلك العنف الكلامي اللفظي، فما هو إلا الوجه الآخر للعنف الجسدي

This is despicable to say the least. in the meantime there is nothing on the ground that would result in any gains.

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October 20th, 2015, 9:56 am

 

106. ALAN said:

Humanitarian organizations Western origin survive by donors, is not it Gufran? disrespect! uncleanness and corruption.We have own statistics,which we trust.

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October 20th, 2015, 10:02 am

 

107. Ghufran said:

Also according to sohr, Russian raids killed 52 Isis terriorists in 2 weeks, this
effectively means that NATO officials
and opposition media were lying when they said that Isis was hardly targeted by Russia.

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October 20th, 2015, 10:31 am

 

108. ALAN said:

هل هذه الصور قبل و بعد و أثناء القصف و بنك معلومات و أربعة دول ضالعة و أقمار اصطناعية و صواريخ موجهة عالية الدقة هي رعاية جمال و اجترار علف معلب في مكتب صغير في بريطانيا؟
Russian jets strike 60 terrorist targets in Syria in 55 sorties
https://www.rt.com/news/319193-russia-strike-syria-target/

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October 20th, 2015, 1:05 pm

 

109. ALAN said:

Ghufran
the commment №:6 Video @ 2:01

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October 20th, 2015, 1:42 pm

 

110. Juergen said:

Navid Kermani was awarded the Peace price of the German Book Trade. His speech was very strong and has a clear message.

„Beyond the Borders – Jacques Mourad and Love in Syria “

http://www.friedenspreis-des-deutschen-buchhandels.de/1038404/

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October 20th, 2015, 2:08 pm

 

111. Ghufran said:

The SNC wants Kabab not falafel
كيلو : الائتلاف السوري لا يملك سوى ثلاثة آلاف دولار ليطعم 100 شخص ” فلافل ” في اجتماعاته
Where is Qatar ?

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October 20th, 2015, 3:51 pm

 

112. Ghufran said:

After the truce in zabadani cameras spotted nusra flags inside the city.
Again, Khaliji and opposition media lied
on the subject.

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October 20th, 2015, 4:18 pm

 

113. ALAN said:

It is now clear that the recent visit of deputy crown prince and Saudi Arabia’s minister of defence Mohammad bin Salman and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Russia to meet Russia’s President Vladimir Putin led to no consensus on the Syrian conflict. It was reported that both Arabian emissaries stated that they would not allow the destruction of their radical opposition groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, Ahrar ash-Sham and Jaysh al-Islam, therefore they would be providing military aid to these terrorists groups openly, that will include MANPADS that can allegedly pose threat to Russian aircraft operating in Syria. Moreover, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi will continue their efforts in disrupting any reconciliation efforts within Syria as long as Bashar al-Assad stays in power. It was made clear that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates percieve the strengthening military-political alliance between Russia and Iran as a serious threat to their national security, due to the fact that this alliance is capable of seriously changing the balance of powers in the region, especially in the light of extremely low military capabilities of Arabian monarchies.
http://journal-neo.org/2015/10/20/anti-syrian-forces-are-keen-on-saving-islamists-from-defeat/

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October 20th, 2015, 4:45 pm

 

114. Erin said:

it seems that there are two forces here;
The west coalition ( if there is one given Canada is withdrawing her jets off Syria) and the Russian!
both are suppose killing people on the ground, one is suppose to be killing only ISIS and the other is killing the so reported moderate rebels supported by the CIA.
if read more into the fictional story of the latter that the congress has withdrew its funding to the moderate rebels giving couldn’t have much fighter who are moderate than Russia must be hitting the terrorists which by the USA definition are Al-Qaida and its subgroups.
it is clear that the west lying about who Russia is hitting, to call this groups as moderate is same as calling the Taliban freedom fighters in the 80’s.
it was proven that the Taliban were in bed with al-Qaida then and now.
what is cooling to hear that both of them killing more people who don’t need to be around and for that matter don’t need to be on the Syrian soil to begin with.
as far as civilian causalities I think the west need to look in the mirror and see how much it caused civilians causalities in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other countries before blaming the Russians.
it is a joke what is going on in the American media, it thrives on the ignorance of the American people.
I am in for Putin to keep annihilating them as they move and make them meet the virgins and the rivers of wine not soon enough.
USA sells weapons to KSA, Qatar and Russia hits the ammunition Depos.
life long stupid arabs.

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October 20th, 2015, 10:31 pm

 

115. Passerby said:

Like I said, Russians look like Americans and Europeans, they have the same sophisticated weapons and technology, but they are much more dangerous. One out of 20 are civilians with the US/Europe, but it’s One out of 3 with the Russians…and no Russians are being killed…

“According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 370 people have been killed by Russian warplanes since September 30. Of that number, 34 percent have been civilians—127 people, including 36 children and 34 women…in June, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights noted that of 3,000 people who had been killed by coalition airstrikes in Syria, 162 were civilians. (At the time, the British-based monitoring organization “re-expressed its strong condemnation” of the United States and its international partners.)
http://www.defenseone.com/threats/2015/10/russian-airstrikes-are-killing-1-syrian-civilian-every-2-combatants/122957/

—-

And this from the NYTimes, they claim it’s been the Saudis etc. that are vetoing any peace. And that they now have no motivation to do so, because time is not on their side in Syria…

“A proposal to freeze the fighting in Aleppo last year, led by the United Nations special envoy, Staffan de Mistura, also faltered: United Nations interlocutors went to the city and found that any initial support for the freeze among rebel groups there was vetoed by the rebels’ foreign donors, according to several diplomats in the region.

As one Western diplomat put it, the rebels were “not calling the shots.”

The Russian decision to help Mr. Assad consolidate his control in pro-government areas had become the “driving force” for any future political solution, said the Western diplomat, who requested anonymity in line with normal protocols.

Before the Russian intervention, the government was increasingly confined to a shrinking, defensible portion of the country. “Now, it will not shrink anymore,” the diplomat added. “The game is over.””
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/21/world/middleeast/russia-makes-an-impact-in-syrian-battle-for-control-of-aleppo.html?_r=0

——-

Dear Moderate Syrian Rebels,

Well, any of you still around, it’s a miracle. They all went after you, the Assad crime syndicate, ISIS, heck, all the radicals. And none of that Gulf States money went to you. Left hanging in the wind.

You now need to relocate near the Turkish border, and stay out of what is about to follow. You have paid your dues, you can hold your head high. You now have the great responsibility of representing the Sunni rebels, in the inevitable peace deal, after Nusra, ISIS, and the others are slaughtered.

Best Wishes, from the bottom of my heart,
Passerby

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October 21st, 2015, 12:40 am

 

116. Hopeful said:

Russia can now put its money where its mouth is. They have been saying all along that the Syrian people should determine who rules Syria. Let’s hear Russia call for internationally-monitored elections in Syria within six months after its military forces secure the country – the way the United States did in Iraq.

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October 21st, 2015, 10:10 am

 

117. ALAN said:

HOPEFUL
You should not jump over stages announced by Russia, where the eradication of terrorism is the first irreducible phase!
Do not try to circumvent or comparison
Then, the elections were in accordance with the Constitution and you are not entitled to ask replicated without an order from the High Court in the state

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October 21st, 2015, 3:34 pm

 

118. Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Partition is the least bad option. And even then, it will be problematic. Because the Sunni part will be unstable and violent (as most states where Sunnis reside, are).

Partition into two parts can be sufficient, one part to be a Sunni statelet, the other part for all minorities. Call it the United States of Syria, or something.

Tartus Hama Homs Damascus – Sunni state; Latakie Aleppo Hasaka – minorities state.

Any other solution is futile. After all that happened, can you imagine a Sunni living in the same neighborhood with an Alawi? Sorry, I can’t.

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October 21st, 2015, 5:04 pm

 

119. Passerby said:

Russia “winning” not possible? That so?…Just grabbed from the featured articles in a google group, but you get the idea…

Russia and Iran consider bank to finance joint projects
RT – ‎13 hours ago‎
“One of the most important issues that have a negative impact on the development of our trade relations [with Iran] is the financial issue.
Russia to provide Iran with $5bn creditPress TV
Russia to modernize Iran’s thermal power plantsMehr News Agency – English Version
Highly Cited:Russian Energy Minister Hopes to Sign Deals With Iran During Official VisitSputnik International
In Depth:Iran, a large important partner for Russia: NovakTehran Times

A week ago I defied anyone to produce anything, from a drop of oil to a banana that the US gets the slightest big cheaper because of the US Military. No one could point one out. Communist China is pumping the oil in Iraq.

I am pointing it out for Russia. They are turning a nice profit.

———-

And no Russians have died. Hezbollah, those Iraqi militias, the Revolutionary Guards, they will be bled white, that’s their contribution, to do the dying. That’s the deal.

Al-Qaeda, ISIS, and their ilk on one side, the worst of the worst. Every dead end loser, every sicko turned on by human heads on sticks, the distilled essence of frenzied Sunni violence…

…Hezbollah, those bloodthirsty fiend Iraqi militias, the goons of the Revolutionary Guards, and of course, the Assad crime syndicate, on the other side…

Al-Qaeda/ISIS is going to lose, but they will go down hard, gonna be a lot less Hezbollah and Iraqi militia members, and young Alawite men in 6 months. Iranians too.

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October 21st, 2015, 11:17 pm

 

120. Passerby said:

Hi Amir,

As I understand it, before the Assads/Alawites seized power, there were Alawite/Christian towns and Sunni/Christian towns, but there were virtually no Alawite/Sunni towns. Not being able to live in the same neighborhood is the norm, that only occurred under the freak event of Alawite rule.

And stepping back and looking at the big picture, a minimum requirement for peace, assuming one side isn’t going to be exterminated/subjugated, is everyone that won’t accept a deal, that will keep fighting regardless, has to be eliminated. Be nice to get rid of all evil people at the same time, but it’s not a minimum requirement for peace.

And there’s the difficult job of eliminating the dead enders that won’t accept peace, such as ISIS, for instance. Who will accept the casualties. We have a volunteer.

Are Hezbollah and Iran going to make out like a bandit? No, they are going to suffer terribly, and gain some mortal enemies.

I really think the only partition that gives hope of a happy outcome is Eastern Syria, essentially what ISIS controls, becomes part of Iraq. All those Sunnis, including refugees have someplace to go, if they can’t tolerate Assad rule. And in the wild hope, that either Iraq or Syria will be democracies, it eliminates one ethnic group having a majority on both countries, actually giving democracy a chance. Yeah, I know, but even if not democracy, it helps. The new smaller Syria, Alawites wouldn’t have to worry about persecution if they didn’t hold power, at least based on demographics. I’m sure Assad would be happy to lose Eastern Syria, he handed it over to ISIS. And despite the threat to Shiite absolute rule in Iraq, countries have this strange desire to get larger, and never seem to turn it down.

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October 22nd, 2015, 1:16 am

 

121. Majedkhaldoun said:

Assad visit to Moscow, is certain to raise many questions, what did Putin tell Assad, ,why Assad was alone, , what prompted this sudden visit?
I do not expect changes in Russia position, but it seems that Putin from now on is directing Assad decisions , not Iran,
This meeting is a preparation to the coming meeting that includes US, KSA, Turkey and Russia,
Iran will not be there, any decision Russia agrees to, in this meeting most likely Assad will have to follow and respect
I think Assad sold Syria to Putin

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October 22nd, 2015, 7:42 am

 

122. Passerby said:

Putin not winning? His popularity is now at 90%, an all time record. And the same poll shows the Russian people expect their economic condition to get worse in the next year. The sanctions mean nothing, the women and children killed mean nothing, even if Russian soldiers get killed, that won’t matter, the only thing that matters for his popularity in Russia, is winning. Militarily.
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/vladimir-putins-approval-rating-hits-all-time-high-boosted-syria-n449071

And looks like Iran is giving Russia 25 Billion dollars to upgrade their energy system. 25 Billion dollars of Russian jobs for engineers. And that’s just that one deal. Russia is giving them 5 billion in credit, so they can ignore the world banking system. A real shot in the arm for the Russian economy, and it’s not oil money, it’s paychecks to Russian engineers money. And in this case, yeah, the weapons they will be buying will dwarf that.

—–

And immediately after the Assad visit, we have the US, Russia, Saudis and Turkey meeting. Now, what’s the chance that’s a coincidence? Is a deal afoot? Lots of fine details in Assad leaving, like yeah he leaves, but not much anyone else, a fig leaf for the Saudis and Turks in their defeat.

As for Russia winning, what if they drove the Saudis/Turkey to the peace table, what if there’s a deal because of his actions. Vladimir Putin the peacemaker. And all those Iranian/Iraqi/Syrian contracts and jobs for Russian engineers.

Talk about winning.

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October 22nd, 2015, 12:03 pm

 

123. Passerby said:

Yep, that’s the plan for peace, to end the slaughter. A fig leaf. Assad will leave in 6 months or a year or whatever but another Assad etc. can get the job. A rigged election or whatever. He’s a figurehead anyway. Something like that. That’s the big problem? Assad leaving? Only if both sides don’t want to cut a deal. Lots of ways to weasel it if they do.

And darned suspicious how Iran saying today that they won’t back Assad, personally, forever. They may not be in that meeting today, but they seem to be on the same page.

And then they get down to the serious business of destroying ISIS and anyone else that won’t accept the deal. Got unlimited boots on the ground with Iran, got the Russian close air support, something ISIS hasn’t faced, in Iraq or Syria, but are about to. Heck, even got the US ineffective, no-spotter plinking.

If true, Putin should win the Nobel Peace Prize.

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October 22nd, 2015, 12:47 pm

 

124. ALAN said:

Russian Aviation Destroys 72 ISIL Targets in Syria
Terrorist targets have been destroyed in the Syrian provinces of Hama, Idlib, Latakia, Aleppo, Damascus, and Deir ez-Zor.
https://youtu.be/flTxIlywVqA

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October 22nd, 2015, 4:37 pm

 

125. Hopeful said:

#122 Passerby

A declaration that Assad is leaving will make a compromise very possible. He is a symbol of division for Syrians. He is despised by neighbors. He is hated in the west. A deal can be cut if him leaving is on the table. I am optimistic.

Another thing that would happen is that all the mafia bosses who supported him will scramble to leave Syria, fearing for their future. Good riddance.

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October 23rd, 2015, 3:04 am

 

126. Mina said:

You get an idea of the debate carreer vs freedom of speech in the country hosting this site when you realize that there has been no post since the beginning of the Russian air campaign. Some wounds never heal, uh?

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October 23rd, 2015, 4:39 am

 
 

128. ALAN said:

4 att. Pentagon spokesman Steve Warren
well open your ears, especially at 1:25 minutes
https://youtu.be/IV8M9NN4i5E

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October 23rd, 2015, 1:30 pm

 

129. Passerby said:

Hi Hopeful!,

The Deal looks a lot like what you have been advocating all along. A “fair” election, with international supervision, in a year or whatever, and the way they are going to weasel the Assad has to go thing is have some others admitted into the government in the meantime. The deal is done, the war is over, (other than mopping up the terrorists), it’s down to the fine points of the transitional government.

How about that!

Russia pushing Assad on Syrian power-sharing plan, advisers say
Ilya Arkhipov and Henry Meyer, Bloomberg

MOSCOW – Russia is pushing Syrian President Bashar Assad to accept a limited power-sharing plan that would give his opponents some role in a transitional administration while ensuring internationally-recognized elections can take place next year, advisers to the government in Moscow say…Assad, 50, has every right to stay on and seek re-election, the government advisers said…

Putin said on Thursday he had secured the agreement of Assad for Russia to work together with armed rebel groups that are ready to fight Islamic State. The Russian president told participants at the Valdai discussion club in Sochi that the Free Syrian Army, which is backed by the United States, fits this description.

“Of course the Syrian leadership must establish working contacts with those opposition forces which are ready for dialog,” Putin said. “As far as I understood from the meeting with President Assad the day before yesterday, he is ready for such dialog.”…

Kerry, in a concession to Russia, said after the Vienna talks that Iran might be invited to join the Syria negotiations eventually. He said that differences remain over how a transition could work…
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-wp-blm-syria-russia-2f25dc66-79ad-11e5-a5e2-40d6b2ad18dd-20151023-story.html

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October 23rd, 2015, 9:08 pm

 

130. Majedkhadoun said:

Assad is a dictator, he will never agree to share power with his enemies, also the free syrian army is much more in number than the Alawis, to share power means to lose power
Free election if is truly fair means Assad will lose power,Syrian refugees must have the right to vote, the Assad written constitution must be annulled before the election, because it deprives refugees from voting

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October 23rd, 2015, 10:08 pm

 

131. Badr said:

In response to the talk about a deal:

Putin’s Russian Roulette Diplomacy in Syria

By Yezid Sayigh
Carnegie Middle East Center

“In theory, by raising the stakes in Syria the Russian deployment could trigger a deal. But this is unlikely.”

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October 24th, 2015, 2:23 pm

 

132. ALAN said:

Denying the enemy the resources they need to maintain their fighting capacity is the key to victory. The Russians, Syrians, Kurds, and Iranians are strangling NATO’s proxies at their very source and instinctively, NATO has raised its hands in the form of a “buffer zone” to defend them and relieve the pressure – thus revealing the true nature of this regional conflict and the central role the West has played in creating and perpetuating ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other extremists currently ravaging Syria and beyond.
whether the US concedes defeat, or escalates dangerously toward war with Russia to save a policy that has not only utterly failed, but has already been exposed to the world as a criminal conspiracy.

https://youtu.be/u7Q8X60KQ9Q

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October 24th, 2015, 8:09 pm

 

133. Passerby said:

Well, since everyone considered it impossible a couple months ago, “unlikely” looks pretty good. And I suspect the odds are better than that. With Russian air power, special forces aiming it, technology, and “you don’t mess with a superpower” cover, and Iran ready to commit unlimited manpower, the game is over and everyone knows it.

In chess, they used to have all these gambits, you’d sacrifice a pawn for a strong attack. But they came up a strategy that put an end to it. Instead of keeping the pawn, at the right moment, you give it back, with a better game. That’s what International Grandmaster Putin did to bail out “Red Line” Obama. Gave him a way out, that gave Russia everything they wanted. Gave back the pawn with a better game. That’s what he’s doing now.

——–

Oh no, Assad won’t share power, that’s just a fig-leaf for the losers. Someone will have some power, but not really, and there will be an election later, with some unspecified rules and enforcement of the rules.

But look on the bright side, other than being seen as loyal to a friend, it’s in everyone’s interest to have the entire Assad crime syndicate retire on the Rivera or have an unfortunate accident, as long as there’s another strong man replacement. And Russia repeatedly, and Iran a couple days ago, said their support for the Assads isn’t indefinite. And unlike all other boots on the ground, Russia isn’t in a blood feud.

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October 24th, 2015, 8:30 pm

 

134. Sami said:

In Canada, we just went through an election. An election where the pendulum swung hard from one side to the other. To witness the peaceful change of government is inspiring. A government change that was decided by Canadians,

I, for one, hope to use that same right and vote for the government and leader of my choosing in Syria. A right all Syrians deserve.

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October 24th, 2015, 9:02 pm

 

135. Passerby said:

ISIS/Al-Qaeda and their ilk aren’t going to be in on any deal. They still have to be eliminated. It’s just that the Gulf States/Turkey/USA etc. won’t be helping them or any of their allies. No more TOW missiles. In trade, if there are any rebels that can pass as even remotely moderate or reformed, willing to play ball, (and not be immediately exterminated by ISIS/Al-Qaeda/Etc.), they will, in effect, get to rule the Sunni parts of Syria. They will have rose petals in their path.

Lots of reasons to play ball with Russia. So, Turkey doesn’t play ball? What’s to stop Russia from giving close air support to the Syrian Kurds? Erdogan won’t permit them to attack ISIS? Can’t expand their perimeter? That so? Gonna’ go into a foreign country and shoot down a Russian airplane? You’re on your own, pal. The Kurds would be thrilled to cut a deal where they expand their border and get protection from the Turks. And at some point, the issue will be raised, if Turkey can support terrorists in Syria, why can’t Syria support terrorists in Turkey? Because Syria is weak, in the jaws of a revolution? What if it isn’t? Complete humiliating defeat for Turkey. Better to play ball, get rid of the refugees, and wear your fig leaf proudly.

The Gulf States? Well, they don’t do refugees, so they don’t care about that. And ISIS/Al-Qaeda are a bit pushy, but basically have it right on the religion stuff. And the Shiites… Well, they are going to lose regardless, best to cut the best deal possible for the Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq. Pakistan has spit in their face again, first Yemen and now supporting Russia. Egypt and Jordan supporting Russia too. And may not enter their calculations, but the United States of America and it’s “allies” in the Gulf, supporting Al-Qaeda that knocked down the Twin Towers, in an election year, with Russia eagerly pointing that out, and it being a fact, is a wee bit iffy.

And the US and Europe and Israel are thrilled to see it come to an end. They actually care about human suffering, at least on occasion. As for the remaining house by house, block by block, mile by mile, death match between ISIS/Al-Qaeda/Etc. and Hezbolla/IraqiMilitias/Revolutionary Guards on the ground, as the Russians pound them from the air? So be it.

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October 24th, 2015, 10:52 pm

 

136. ALAN said:

133. SAMI

The Western world is discarding its failed leaders, their ideology and the whole system they are held to represent, rightly or wrongly. There are now far more overtly protest-based parties in the parliaments of NATO countries, trying to achieve fundamental, systemic changes in the orientation of their countries in response to popular concern, than any living voter has seen.

Now a nation as important as Canada has a government which has been elected on the same basis, with tradition rather than mere protest behind it. This gives it the moral authority to get things done. Justin Trudeau probably can’t believe his luck. If he follows the aspirations of his people, which he seems to know very well, to their natural conclusion the rest of the world may not be able to believe its luck either.

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October 25th, 2015, 5:07 am

 

137. Passerby said:

It seemed like Vietnam would never end, but it did…

Saudis see some progress toward political solution in Syria

Oct 25 (Reuters) – Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said on Sunday after talks with his counterpart in Cairo that wider international talks to find a political solution to the conflict in Syria had yielded some progress although further consultations were needed.

Differences seem to be increasing between Saudi Arabia’s position on Syria and that of Egypt, a close ally. Unlike Saudi Arabia, which backs some Syrian rebel groups, Egypt has welcomed Russian air strikes in Syria against insurgents.

Moscow says Syrian president Bashar al-Assad must be part of any political transition and that the Syrian people will decide who rules them.

Washington has said it could tolerate Assad during a short transition period, but that he would then have to then exit the political stage.

In a flurry of diplomatic activity around the Syria crisis, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Riyadh on Saturday and the two countries agreed to boost support for Syria’s moderate opposition while seeking a political resolution to the four-year-old conflict.

At a news conference in Cairo with Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry, Jubeir said: “I believe that there has been some progress and positions have moved closer on finding a solution to the Syrian crisis, but I cannot say that we have reached an agreement. We still need more consultations…to reach this point.”…

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/25/mideast-crisis-syria-saudi-idUSL8N12P0HT20151025

[Well… We can’t expect the Saudis to set much store by the election solution, the penalty for advocating democracy there is death and public display of the body…]

Saudi court upholds death sentence for Shi’ite cleric

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has rejected an appeal against the death sentence passed this year on Shi’ite Muslim cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr who had called for pro-democracy demonstrations and whose arrest in 2012 spurred protests in which three died….

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/25/us-saudi-execution-idUSKCN0SJ0LS20151025

Not a lot to gain from peace, but it’s not Sunni vs. Shiite, it’s Saudi vs. Shiite. Pakistan, Egypt, even Jordan has spit in their face. The rest of Sunni Islam other than the other Gulf States could care less about Syria. Still got the US and Europe following orders, for the moment, but they are weak and indecisive.

That fig leaf is looking pretty good, trying it on for size.

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October 25th, 2015, 12:37 pm

 

138. ALAN said:

/The zionist Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia Adel al-Jubeir has said that Russia’s current fight against ISIS in Syria is “dangerous” and has criticised their mission as fuelling the crisis rather than helping it./

sounds pretty much like an inbred goat herder…مااع مااااع

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October 25th, 2015, 4:49 pm

 

139. Uzair8 said:

Heard this interview a night ago on BBC Radio 5 Live.
Former US Ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker talks to 5 Live.

25/10/2015
Have we reached a pivotal moment in the Syrian crisis, as Russia suggests it will increase its engagement?

5-6 min long:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06k9w5q

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October 26th, 2015, 12:40 pm

 

140. Uzair8 said:

Heard this interview on (radio) BBC World Service last night/early hours. Interview with Kremlin spokesman Peskov.

BBC Hardtalk – Dmitry Peskov

Stephen Sackur speaks to the spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov. Depending on who you believe, Russia’s military intervention in Syria is a boost for the forces of legitimacy in the face of terrorism, or a foolish gamble which will further destabilise Syria and backfire on the Kremlin. Does Russia’s desire to shore up the Assad regime risk a dangerous new confrontation with the United States?

23 min long:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p035qssh

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October 26th, 2015, 12:46 pm

 

141. Uzair8 said:

VoA article. It is claimed Russian intervention has provoked youth refugees to return and fight resulting in a surge in rebel recruitment.

Rebel Defiance, Relief as Assad Forces Get Bogged Down

October 26, 2015

[…]

“The solution is simple. It is not complicated. Assad, his inner circle, the security apparatus and all the intelligence agencies, all have to go,”

[…]

Two factors have been crucial for the rebels confronting the Russian-backed offensives that Iranian commanders helped plan: TOW anti-tank missiles and a surge in rebel recruitment.

[…]

voanews.com/A/3022856.html

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October 26th, 2015, 12:53 pm

 

142. ALAN said:

/or a foolish gamble /
/and backfire on the Kremlin/
/risk a dangerous new confrontation with the United States/
/“The solution is simple. It is not complicated. Assad, his inner circle, the security apparatus and all the intelligence agencies, all have to go,”/

Before the Russian military intervention in Syria, the world was witness to the seriousness and effrontery NATO creep toward the Russian border.
The danger lies in the ugly face of London and Washington when surround Russia and China from all directions by means of destruction.

“The solution is simple. It is not complicated. Should stand in the face of all criminal plans prepared by Britain and America”

“Two factors have been crucial for Russian alliance? confronting the Anglo-Zio-Saudi backed offenses that their commanders helped plan: Transfer events to the enemies squares“

Thank you, your comments were very constructive.

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October 26th, 2015, 2:24 pm

 

143. Steven Hunt said:

Syrian Hamster.

Wow, I don’t even know him, yet he seems so harmless and cuddly.

So, I guess your complaint is that people became too embarrassed to support the Saudi funded, Al Queda linked jihadist mercenaries.

Yet even a losing team still finds some stalwarts in the bleachers.

Go Queada!

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November 10th, 2015, 4:00 pm

 

144. Poul said:

97. Uzair8

Status at the moment regarding the government offensives.

The Ghab Plains looks like a stop at least for now. The Russian air force may have concentrated their efforts around Aleppo. Rebel counter-attack at Morek so overall not much changing

The Al-Rastan pocket looks little changed.

Aleppo appears to be the big effort. IS couldn’t stop the army and their supply lines to Turkey are easily cut only about 25 km in length between Lake Jaboul and Lake Assad.

South of Aleppo we have seen the effects of attrition. The rebels seems to have lost the ability to defend effectively and the pro-government forces push forward with ease. Have they run out of TOWs or is it a man power problem..?

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November 13th, 2015, 2:48 pm

 

145. Nickolas from Athens said:

Take a look at this video.You’ll se mr. Abdullah al Muhaysini in an interview , in which he insists that whoever from Turkey can cross the syrian borders without a passport.Kerry said yesterday that Nusra is still to be terrorist group but the truth is US put these jidad pigs on the table of negotiations. Negotiations can be runned among humans and not among evil beast-killer-insticts. That’s the mistake America does. For these reasons, US and ΝΑΤΟ memberes,in total, should keep a critical eye on Turkey’s behavior. Unfortunately , Kurds an heroic and historic nation has not his own state even if we live in 21th century. Kurds are deeply Democrats but instead of islamic groups in Syria they have not as backup the Saudi Sheik ”friends of America” …

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August 26th, 2016, 7:18 pm

 

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