Posted by Joshua on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
Ayman al-Zawahri addresses Syrias, urging Muslims to fight for their Syrian brothers and urging Syrians to fight for freedom and liberation and to take heart in the support of the Muslim Umma against the cancerous and deeply sectarian regime of the Assads. “Wounded Syria is still bleeding day after day, and the butcher (Assad) isn’t deterred and doesn’t stop,” said Zawahri,
al-Qaida’s Plans for Syria: It is worth reading what al-Qaida strategists planned for Syria back in 2006. They believed that Syria would become the battleground after Iraq. Here are a few excerpts from the Quoted Wright article:
Al Qaeda, he writes, also expects the Americans to go after Iran’s principal ally in the region, Syria. The removal of the Assad regime—a longtime goal of jihadis—will allow the country to be infiltrated by Al Qaeda, putting the terrorists within reach, at last, of Israel….
The third stage, “Arising and Standing Up,” will last from 2007 to 2010. Al Qaeda’s focus will be on Syria and Turkey, but it will also begin to directly confront Israel, in order to gain more credibility among the Muslim population.
U.S. officials: Al Qaida behind Syria bombings
By Jonathan S. Landay | McClatchy Newspapers,February 10, 2012
WASHINGTON — The Iraqi branch of al Qaida, seeking to exploit the bloody turmoil in Syria to reassert its potency, carried out two recent bombings in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and likely was behind suicide bombings Friday that killed at least 28 people in the largest city, Aleppo, U.S. officials told McClatchy.
The officials cited U.S. intelligence reports on the incidents, which appear to verify Syrian President Bashar Assad’s charges of al Qaida involvement in the 11-month uprising against his rule. The Syrian opposition has claimed that Assad’s regime, which has responded with massive force against the uprising, staged the bombings to discredit the pro-democracy movement calling for his ouster.
The international terrorist network’s presence in Syria also raises the possibility that Islamic extremists will try to hijack the uprising, which would seriously complicate efforts by the United States and its European and Arab partners to force Assad’s regime from power. On Friday, President Barack Obama repeated his call for Assad to step down, accusing his forces of “outrageous bloodshed.”…
The U.S. officials said that AQI and Zawahiri apparently see Syria’s turmoil as an opportunity to reassert themselves after the battering the core group has taken with the death of bin Laden and the killing and capture of key operatives in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
They “are seeing space, seeing a vacuum, and opportunity to bounce back and they are taking advantage of it,” said the first U.S. official.
The U.S. intelligence reports indicate that the bombings came on the orders of Ayman al Zawahiri, the Egyptian extremist who assumed leadership of al Qaida’s Pakistan-based central command after the May 2011 death of Osama bin Laden. They suggest that Zawahiri still wields considerable influence over the network’s affiliates despite the losses the Pakistan-based core group has suffered from missile-firing CIA drones and other intensified U.S. counterterrorism operations.
Jihadist Opportunities in Syria
By Kamran Bokhari | February 14, 2012
Security Weekly, Strafor
In an eight-minute video clip titled “Onward, Lions of Syria” disseminated on the Internet Feb. 12, al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri expressed al Qaeda’s support for the popular unrest in Syria. In it, al-Zawahiri urged Muslims in Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan to aid the Syrian rebels battling Damascus. The statement comes just days after a McClatchy report quoted unnamed American intelligence officials as saying that the Iraqi node of the global jihadist network carried out two attacks against Syrian intelligence facilities in Damascus, while Iraqi Deputy Interior Minister Adnan al-Assadi said in a recent interview with AFP that Iraqi jihadists were moving fighters and weapons into neighboring Syria.
Al Qaeda’s long-term goal has been to oust Arab governments to facilitate the return of a transnational caliphate. Its tactics have involved mainly terrorism intended to cause U.S. intervention in the region. Al Qaeda has hoped such interventions would in turn incite popular uprisings that would bring down the Arab regimes, opening the way for the jihadists to eventually take power. But the jihadist network’s efforts have failed and they have remained a marginal player in the Arab world. By addressing Syria, al Qaeda hopes to tap into the past year of Arab unrest, a movement in which it played little to no part….
It is by no means inevitable that jihadists will flourish in Syria and use it as a launching pad to undermine regional security. The Syrian state is still very much holding, and rebel forces remain divided and do not appear capable of serious advances against the government….
Al Qaeda’s Zawahiri calls for war to oust Syria’s Assad
By Elizabeth A. Kennedy, Associated Press / February 12, 2012
In a video message, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri called for Muslims to rally for a war to oust Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. …The regime has long blamed terrorists for the 11-month-old revolt, and Zawahiri’s endorsement creates new difficulties for the US, its Western allies and Arab states trying to figure out a way to help force Assad from power….
After Friday’s bombings in Aleppo, Zuheir al-Atasi, a member of the opposition Syrian National Council, accused the government of staging the attacks. “After the heavy explosions, members of the opposition went to the site to film it. There were ambulances but no corpses. We documented that on tape,” he said in Vienna during a gathering of Syrian opposition groups. “When the Syrian National TV arrived they started to bring out corpses. Once again we witnessed a theater play.”…
A video released yesterday on Youtube shows civilians walking beside a tank in a street of Saqba (eastern suburbs of Damascus) earlier in February. That the civilians are unarmed, and that they stand in the middle of the road while soldiers shelter on the sides lead to one obvious conclusion: they are used as human shields. Since such an advanced tank is extremely well protected (it is impenetrable to RPGs), one of the only ways to destroy it is to detonate a massive roadside bomb (as Syrian insurgents did with some success in Homs, Rastan and Zabadani), but in this case it would kill all the hostages.
BEIRUT — The Arab League called Sunday for the creation of a joint Arab-United Nations peacekeeping mission to halt the escalating violence in Syria, as Syrian government forces sustained their assault against protest strongholds in the city of Homs and elsewhere.
Syria ‘categorically’ rejects Arab League decisions
(AFP), 12 February 2012
CAIRO – Syria on Sunday “categorically” rejected the decision by Arab foreign ministers to back the Syrian opposition and call for a joint UN-Arab peacekeeping mission, the Syrian ambassador to Cairo said.
“The Syrian Arab Republic categorically rejects the decisions of the Arab League” which he said “reflects the hysteria of these governments” after failing to get foreign intervention at the UN Security Council, Yusef Ahmed said in a statement…
Bahrain King dismisses opposition as disunited
Kuwait Times – 13 February, 2012
Bahrain’s King Hamad dismissed the country’s opposition movement as disunited and said the threat of Iran had compelled him to call in foreign troops to crush last year’s uprising.
“In a sense there is no ‘opposition’ in Bahrain, as the phrase implies one unified block with the same views,” the king said extracts from an interview with Der Spiegel. “Such a phrase is not in our constitution, unlike say the United Kingdom….
The Arab Peace Plan
CAIRO: Arabs will end their observer mission to Syria and will ask the UN Security Council to send an international peacekeeping force to end the bloodshed there, according to a draft resolution obtained by Reuters on Sunday.
Arab ministers met in Cairo to revive diplomatic efforts after Russia and China vetoed a UN resolution that called for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside. That resolution was based on an Arab peace plan and had Western backing.
The draft resolution also called for tighter implementation of economic sanctions Arabs previously imposed on Syria, halting diplomatic cooperation with Syria and called for providing aid and political support to the Syrian people.
As part of the Arab efforts, Tunisia said it would host the first meeting on Feb. 24 of a “Friends of Syria” contact group made up of Arab and other states and backed by Western powers.
“How long will we stay as onlookers to what is happening to the brotherly Syrian people, and how much longer will we grant the Syrian regime one period after another so it can commit more massacres against its people?” Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal asked ministers at the start of the League session.
“At our meeting today I call for decisive measures, after the failure of the half-solutions,” he said. “The Arab League should … open all channels of communication with the Syrian opposition and give all forms of support to it.”
The draft proposed scrapping the Arab monitoring mission which had been sent to Syria in late December but which was criticised by Syria’s opposition as ineffective from the outset. It also faced internal dissent and logistical problems.
The Sudanese general leading the observers quit on Sunday. “I won’t work one more time in the framework of the Arab League,” General Mohammed al-Dabi, whose appointment had been criticised because of Sudan’s own rights record, told Reuters. “I performed my job with full integrity and transparency but I won’t work here again as the situation is skewed,” he added.
The draft resolution instead called for “the UN Security Council to send an international peacekeeping force to Syria”.
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby told the ministers he was proposing a new joint Arab-UN monitoring team to Syria, an idea he has already proposed to the UN secretary-general. That plan has drawn only lukewarm support from diplomats in New York.
Syrian state media: Gunmen assassinate army general in Damascus
By Associated Press, February 11, 6:10 AM
BEIRUT — Gunmen assassinated an army general in Damascus on Saturday in the first killing of a high ranking military officer in the Syrian capital since the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime began in March, the state-run news agency said.
SANA said three gunmen opened fire at Brig. Gen. Issa al-Khouli in the morning as he left his home in the Damascus neighborhood of Rukn-Eddine. Al-Khouli was a doctor and the chief of a military hospital in the capital. No one claimed responsibility for the killing.
Ehsani writes: “Egypt stocks largest rise globally in jan 2012. They were up 28 percent. I guess salafists are not so bad for business after all.
Journalist accompanied rebels
The American journalist Clarissa Ward has accompanied a group of rebels in an attack on a checkpoint:
In normal life, they are farmers or ordinary workers – many are young and inexperienced military – as well as Fouad. The 23-year-old mechanic. Now he’s fighting on the front line. “You’re surrounded,” says the rebel leader at the checkpoints. “Come out and join us!” The answer: shots.
Determined to take the post, the rebels pull a hand grenade. Suddenly, the advance is stopped abruptly: Fouad has been hit. They desperately try to get him out of the firing line. The assault fails. Now they are fighting for Fouads life. But when they arrived at the hospital, he is dead – just like many other fighters who are there taken to. “The Arab honor is not there anymore,” said a rebel and does Assad responsible for this. “He’s a dog,” complained one woman. “Assad is nothing more than a dog!”
As night falls, the families come to mourn their fathers, sons and brothers. Then, under cover of darkness, they carry the dead to the grave.
Aleppo bears the brunt in another day of carnage and defiance
By Alastair Beach, Saturday 11 February 2012
At least 28 people were killed when two explosions ripped through state security buildings in Aleppo yesterday, widening Syria’s conflict to a regime stronghold which has so far escaped major unrest.
One of the blasts tore through a street outside the city’s Military Intelligence Directorate. Footage broadcast by state television showed rubble strewn over the road and five corpses lying under blankets to one side of the street.
According to a state TV presenter, who was filmed crying as the footage was beamed back, a number of children playing in a nearby park were killed in the attack. It was not possible to confirm the account.
The second blast hit a police headquarters in another part of the city. State media said at least 175 people were injured in the explosion.
The government blamed the blasts, the first since three similar attacks hit Damascus in December and January, killing dozens, on “terrorists”. Opposition figures, however, accused the Baathist regime of staging the incidents to try to undermine the opposition.
For Iraqis, Aid to Rebels in Syria Repays a Debt
By TIM ARANGO and DURAID ADNAN
FALLUJA, Iraq — Not so long ago, Syrians worked to send weapons and fighters into Iraq to help Sunnis fighting a sectarian conflict; suddenly, it is the other way around.
A belated celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday on the outskirts of this western Iraqi city on Saturday quickly took on the trappings of a rally for Syria’s rebels. Young boys waved the old green, black and white flag Syria adopted in the 1930s after declaring independence from the French. Others collected money to send aid and weapons to the fighters opposing President Bashar al-Assad’s government across the border.
“I wish I could go there with my gun and fight,” said Sheik Hamid al-Hais, a tribal leader interviewed at his compound in Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province.
It is increasingly clear that Syria’s sectarian war is becoming the regional conflict that analysts have long feared. The rush of recent events — including bombings and assassinations in Damascus and Aleppo, and intensifying violence in northern Lebanon coming directly out of the sectarian hostilities in Syria — suggest that the Assad government now also faces antagonists across its borders.
Like Iraq and Afghanistan before it, analysts say, Syria is likely to become the training ground for a new era of international conflict, and jihadists are already signing up. This weekend, Al Qaeda’s ideological leadership and, more troublingly, the more mainstream Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, called for jihadists around the world to fight Mr. Assad’s government.
Nowhere is the cross-border nature of sectarian hostilities more clear than in Iraq’s western desert, where Sunni Arabs are beginning to rally to the cause of the Syrian opposition and, in the process, perhaps strengthen their hand in dealings with an antagonistic Shiite-led national government in Baghdad.
A weapons dealer who operates in Anbar, who said he goes by the alias Ahmed al-Masri, said, “Five months ago I was told that the Syrian brothers are in need of weapons. I started to buy the weapons from the same guys that I previously sold to — the fighters of Anbar and Mosul. I used to bring them from Syria; now it’s the other way around.”
A New Transition Council is to be Established, according to “Syria Politic”. It will call for Jihad
General Mustafa al-Sheikh, the highest ranked military defector who set up a military leadership under the name of the “Higher Military Council,” is part of it. He is trying to push aside Col Asaad of the Free Syrian Army and seems to have gotten the backing of the SNC, or at least some of it.
Other prominent members of this new “Transitional Council” are Shaikh Ibrahim bin Abd al-Aziz al-Z’ubi, the Director General of “The Liberal Syrian Party,” and Ausama Mardini, Director General of “The National Front for Salvation and Change.”
13 فبراير 2012 : خاص ، سيريا بوليتيك
الشيخ الزعبي وأسامة مارديني
علم “سيريا بوليتيك” أنه سيتم الإعلان خلال الأيام القليلة القادمة عن مجلس جديد لبعض أطراف وجهات المعارضة السورية تحت اسم “المجلس الإنتقالي” وأن من أبرز أهداف المجلس “الجهاد”، على حد تعبير المصدر الذي كشف هذه المعلومات.
وقال المصدر “سينضم إلى المجلس العميد المنشق مصطفى الشيخ الذي أسس المجلس العسكري الأعلى، وضباط أخرون منهم الرائد ماهر النعيمي الذي انشق مؤخرا عن الجيش الحر”، وأضاف “سيضم المجلس أيضا إسلاميين ممن يؤمنون بالجهاد ويدعون إليه”، كما قال المصدر.
وكشف المصدر لـ”سيريا بوليتيك” أن من “أبرز من يقف وراء المجلس الشيخ ابراهيم بن عبدالعزيز الزعبي الأمين العام لحزب الأحرار السوري، وأسامة مارديني أمين عام الجبهة الوطنية للإنقاذ والتغيير”، وقال إنهما “وقّعا منذ يومين وثيقة لتأسيس جبهة عمل موحدة تدعو لتحرير سوريا والوقوف في وجه كل أشكال التفاوض مع النظام، ورفض أي جهة معارضة تقبل بالحوار مع النظام، ومشروعية حمل السلاح، والجهاد ضد النظام وحلفائه الفرس (كما جاء حرفيا في البيان المشترك)، ودعم قرارات مجلس التعاون الخليجي”، وفق البيان.
#3315 – Syrian Opposition Cleric Al-‘Ar’our Appeals to Israel for Help in Treating Wounded Syrians
Safa TV (Kuwait) – February 10, 2012
Syria’s Kurds Could Lose Out in Post-Assad Scenario
By Idris Ahmedi | 13 Feb 2012
Although Syria’s Kurds have a long history of opposing the central government in Damascus, they have so far refrained from widespread, proactive participation in the ongoing rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad’s Baathist regime. However, if they continue to limit themselves to being mere spectators to the unfolding drama, they may well find themselves deprived of any long-term political gains in a post-Assad Syria.
Adding to this fear is the Kurds’ unease with Turkey’s influence over the Syrian National Council, the rebels’ Istanbul-based government-in-exile. As long as the Kurdish issue in Turkey is not resolved and decades-old fears on the part of the Turkish political establishment of a pan-Kurdish drive for independence are not ameliorated, Syria’s Kurds cannot look upon Ankara’s role favorably. Absent unequivocal guarantees from Syria’s Sunni elites, the Kurds in Syria appear to have concluded that it would be irrational to back the council wholeheartedly.
It is possible, however, that the Syrian Kurds are making a strategic miscalculation.
Bahrain’s King Says Assad Should Listen to His People
Israel hedges its bets on Syria
…”[Israel] should look at Syria and see Syria as the Achilles heel of Iran. It is a great opportunity, an enormous opportunity, and this is where the strategy of the Israeli government should be,” former Mossad Chief Ephraim Halevy said at the Herzliya conference, the annual confab of Middle East security players and watchers, held in early February…
Trojan horse for the Syrian regime!
By Abdul Rahman al-Rashed – al-Arabiya
Monday, 13 February 2012
… The Arab League was used to prevent the European movement. It was used to conspire against Turkey during the Rabat meeting under the title of the “Arab solution” that aimed at keeping the Turks away. The Turks got angry and said frankly “we will leave you to resolve it”, although they were aware that no country is capable of confronting the Syrian regime except Turkey.
Is Israel being deliberately indecisive on whether or not to support the Syrian opposition?
Save Us from the Liberal Hawks
Syria’s a tragedy. But it’s not our problem.
BY DAVID RIEFF | FEBRUARY 13, 2012
Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of (humanitarian) war. That, at least, is what much of the U.S. policy elite seems to be pushing for these days in Syria. That many of the “permahawks,” like Fouad Ajami, Max Boot, and Elliott Abrams, who championed the George W. Bush administration’s decision to overthrow Saddam Hussein, are now calling for supporting the uprising against Bashar al-Assad’s dictatorship should come as no surprise to anyone….