Bay’ah to Baghdadi: Foreign Support for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State (Part 2)

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Introduction

In a post for Jihadology in August 2013, I documented examples of foreign support for what was then the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Signs of such support included anonymous placards and other gestures from ‘Bilad al-Haramain’ (Saudi Arabia), a rally in Somalia for ISIS, support for ISIS in Gaza, an apparent pledge of allegiance from jihadis in the Sinai area to ISIS, along with hints from Lebanon (particularly the Tripoli area) and support from the Ansar al-Shari’a movements in Tunisia and Libya, resulting in disproportionate representation of Tunisians and Libyans in the foreign fighter ranks of ISIS. Over the course of 2013 and into the start of this year, some of these trends solidified: the most notable example being statements of support shown for ISIS in the face of its fight with rebels in Syria put out by the Gaza-Sinai jihadi organizations Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen and Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. Ansar al-Shari’a Tunisia also advertised this year on its official Twitter feed a placard of support shown by an ISIS fighter in Syria.

However, a key shift now in the question of support for Baghdadi and his project is the fact that ISIS has now become the Islamic State (IS): a Caliphate demanding formal allegiance from all Muslims. The declaration at the end of June was of course partly designed to unleash a new wave of support for the group on the domestic and international level: at the former, there has certainly been some success when coupled with IS’ advances on the ground and displays of superior military and financial power. For instance, in Iraq, the jihadi group Jamaat Ansar al-Islam- which has the same end-goal of a Caliphate but has rejected IS’ claim to be a caliphate/state in a dispute going back to IS’ incarnation as the Islamic State of Iraq- has seen its presence significantly eroded in Ninawa province in particular as members have pledged allegiance to IS. The defections have undoubtedly been facilitated by ideological overlap.

On the international level, the Caliphate declaration has not quite proven as galvanising in the face of ongoing competition with al-Qa’ida. Most importantly, it needs to be stressed that having come out in support of what was then ISIS does not translate to being ‘IS-aligned’ now. Below, examples of support for and alignment with what is now IS will be examined by country and region.

Gaza-Sinai

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The main online presence associated with Gaza-Sinai alignment with the Caliphate: “al-Nusra al-Maqdisia” (“Maqdisi Support”).

Above it was noted that both Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and Majlis Shura al-Mujahideen had come out in support of ISIS at the beginning of this year, arguing for the group’s right to ‘self-defence’ in the fighting with other rebels. However, neither group has declared allegiance to IS’ Caliphate, which is so even as Reuters reported contact between Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and IS with the latter providing advice on carrying out operations. The Egyptian press had circulated rumours of a supposed pledge of allegiance to IS by Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, but as I have documented previously, the sourcing was faulty and not going back to any actual source or authority within the group. It would thus seem that Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is trying to have it both ways: showing sympathy for IS while not subsuming itself under the Caliphate. In turn, IS does not seem to mind this position, as the group’s spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani hailed the jihadis in Sinai- without specific mention of any group- for their efforts against the Sisi-led Egyptian government. In addition, it should be noted that Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis’ statements and photos are advertised on pro-IS media, including forums such as al-Platform Media (al-Minbar al-‘Ilami al-Jihadi).

Of more interest is an obscure group called Jamaat Ansar al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Bayt al-Maqdis (‘The Group of Helpers/Supporters of the Islamic State in Bayt al-Maqdis’), whose official outlet is al-Platform Media. Also known as “Ansar al-Khilafa”, the group engages in da’wah activity for IS in Gaza and has sent fighters and specialists to join IS in Syria via Sinai. IS, it should be recalled, has a Gazan contingent known as the Sheikh Abu al-Nur al-Maqdisi Battalion. Thus it would be fair to characterize Jamaat Ansar al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Bayt al-Maqdis as IS’ network in the Gaza-Sinai area. Though the group claims a West Bank coordinator, little evidence has emerged of meaningful activity in the West Bank. In any event, Jamaat Ansar al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Bayt al-Maqdis should be borne in mind amid sensationalist Israeli media coverage that has often mistaken rallies for Hizb-ut-Tahrir (which rejected the IS Caliphate announcement) and simple black flags of jihad as indicating support for IS.

More recently, a statement was put out on jihadi forums with the announcement of a “Jund al-Khilafa bi Ard al-Kenana” (“Soldiers of the Caliphate in Egypt”), declaring a pledge of allegiance to IS. Pointing to the actions of the “dogs of the Rafidites- the agents of the Majus from the filthy Safavids, and the disbelieving Nusayris [Alawites]” against Sunnis in Iraq and al-Sham, and attacking the “dog of the Jews- the disbelieving tyrant of Egypt” Sisi, the purported new group pledged its allegiance to “the commander of the believers, the Caliph of the Muslims- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini (may God protect him).” A threat was also issued to the “enemies of Islam from among the Americans and the Cross-Worshippers,” making clear that their bases and embassies are legitimate targets. But perhaps most notably, affinity was declared with Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis: “We have not found from the ‘ulama of Egypt whom we reckoned sincere anyone who would make clear to the people what was ambiguous and clarify rulings except Jamaat Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis: may God protect them and given them victory…” This illustrates the affinity IS supporters show for the group despite its lack of pledge of allegiance to IS.

Tunisia

Ansar al-Shari’a Tunisia was known for its staunchly pro-ISIS stance last year, as one of its leading members had written a lengthy tract concluding that it was obligatory on members of Jabhat al-Nusra to switch allegiance to ISIS. However, the group has found the notion of IS as the Caliphate more difficult to accept, having shared on an official Facebook page al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb’s [AQIM] rejection of the Caliphate announcement. Despite this rejection, Ansar al-Shari’a Tunisia’s leadership still wants to show appreciation for IS, extending tribute to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in its Eid al-Fitr message this summer, but it should also be noted that this message paid regard to Aymenn al-Zawahiri. This position is ultimately incoherent.

One problem that Ansar al-Shari’a Tunisia may face is a disconnect between its leadership and rank-and-file ground members aligning with IS and then heading off to Iraq-Syria to become fighters for IS. One group dedicated to da’wah work that may be an activist front for Ansar al-Shari’a Tunisia- namely, “Shabab al-Tawhid in Tunisia”- continues to advertise IS material, at least going by social media pages bearing its name.

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A “Shabab al-Tawhid in Tunisia” logo

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A “Shabab al-Tawhid in Tunisia” Facebook page advertising a pro-IS online initiative: “The Islamic State: Emirate of Tunisia: Islamic Kairouan.”

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Similar to the previous photo: “Emirate of Kairouan: Islamic Tunisia.” It should be noted that Kairouan can refer either to a region in central Tunisia or Tunisia as a whole. The region of Kairouan is known as a hotbed of pro-IS sentiment, as will be discussed below.

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Example of “Shabab al-Tawhid in Tunisia” Facebook page advertising IS material.

A more concrete example is the case of a recent statement put out in the name of “Katiba Uqba ibn Nafi“- a joint insurgent project between AQIM and Ansar al-Shari’a Tunisia, as I have mentioned before. The statement- declaring support for IS- was not shared by any official outlets for Ansar al-Shari’a Tunisia, which might serve as a grounds for skepticism as regards its authenticity. What seems equally possible if not more likely is that it is only reflecting a provincial contingent of Katiba Uqba ibn Nafi that has been a source for IS’ Tunisian fighters: namely, the contingent in Kairouan province. This conclusion, which I share with Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, is in my view strengthened by one additional point about the statement: if it were reflecting the whole Katiba Uqba ibn Nafi, then it would have to be a pledge of bay’ah [allegiance] to IS rather than a mere affirmation of nusra lil-dawla al-islamiya [support for the Islamic State] that is essentially a re-statement of already existing pro-IS sentiment in the face of growing international action against IS. Here is my translation of the relevant parts of that statement (parts in italics my own emphasis):

“Kairouan Support for the State of the Islamic Caliphate,

[…]

Before the Ummah of Islam in general and the State of the Islamic Caliphate in particular lies an alliance of the proprietors of global disbelief and the forces of idolatrous tyranny of the Arabs and hypocrites, with their brawl against them [the Ummah etc.] and their coming together to wage war on them and break their courage and the courage of the Muslims…and in response to the command of God and His Messenger (God’s peace and blessings be upon him), the mujahideen brothers in the Katiba Uqba ibn Nafi from the land of Kairouan show support, help and aid for the State of the Islamic Caliphate, and urge it to continue moving forward in breaking the borders and smashing the thrones of the forces of idolatrous tyranny in every place, and we say to our brothers in the Islamic State: ‘Do not be in despair or be sad, for you are supreme if you are believers.’

Oh God, give victory to the Islamic State, raise its banner and unite the ranks of the mujahideen in every place…”

Libya

Like Ansar al-Shari’a Tunisia, many of Ansar al-Shari’a Libya’s rank-and-file members have undoubtedly had IS leanings, translating to a Libyan fighting division within IS: Katiba al-Bittar al-Libi, which played an important role in fighting in eastern Syria both in fending off rebel attacks on IS’ southern Hasakah province stronghold of al-Markadah and pushing into Deir az-Zor province in an ultimately successful bid to capture it. However, other Ansar al-Shari’a members had ties with the Katiba al-Muhajireen in Latakia that joined Jabhat al-Nusra at the end of 2013. In any case, there has been no formal pledge of allegiance to the Caliphate from Ansar al-Shari’a Libya. Of interest though is a statement from the Abu Mohjen al-Ta’ifi Battalion, which describes itself as “Tanzim al-Qa’ida in Libya.” For ‘Sha’aban 1435 AH’ (30 May-28 June 2014), the group issued a statement warning the United States against intervention in Libya, invoking a prior warning from the “amir [commander] of the Ummah” Aymenn al-Zawahiri, reflecting the group’s allegiance. Yet on 4 July 2014, after the Caliphate declaration, the group issued a statement offering “munasara” (‘support’) for IS but not explicitly affirming a pledge of allegiance and still calling itself “Tanzim al-Qa’ida in Libya”:

“From the amir of the Abu Mohjen al-Ta’ifi Battalion to our sheikh- the amir of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham- as-salam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuhu. We heard your recent speech about the Islamic State, so I ask the Almighty to bless your effort…and that the state should spread the spring of the land in its perfection. And I ask Him- the Exalted- to accept your blessed jihad. And thus, we have decided to send 50 mujahideen: among them the doctor, an oil engineer, someone experienced in military tactics, and suicide bombers. Accept this oh our sheikh…oh our beloved in the Islamic State…I ask God- Almighty and Exalted is He- to strengthen you on tawheed and jihad and to establish the Islamic State over the entire Earth and that its light may be accomplished at your hands.”

It would appear that this battalion is like Ansar al-Shari’a Tunisia trying to have it both ways (i.e. showing support for Baghdadi while not formally subsuming itself under the Caliphate): on the one hand the group refers to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as ‘our sheikh’ but uses at the beginning of the statement IS’ prior name ISIS and does not mention the word ‘Caliphate’ once, which is now a fundamental part of the group’s image. There is also no renunciation of the prior reference to Aymenn al-Zawahiri as the ‘amir of the Ummah’.

Maghreb Area

Of note here is a pro-IS break-off from AQIM known as “Jund al-Khilafa fi Ard al-Jaza’ir” (‘The Soldiers of the Caliphate in the land of Algeria’), which released a statement this month affirming a ‘renewal’ of allegiance to the Islamic State, criticising the “corruption” of the “manhaj [program] of al-Qa’ida.” This group, following on also from a pledge of allegiance in the summer by “Katiba al-Huda from the Islamic Maghreb,” is said to be under the leadership of one Khalid Sulayman. Invoking discussion of “the victorious sect,” the statement concluded with a vow to follow Baghdadi’s orders as the caliph, promising to help raise the banner “from China to Andalus” (i.e. accomplishing the more immediate goal of a Caliphate spanning the Muslim world). More recently, Jund al-Khilafa fi Ard al-Jaza’ir has come to public attention for the beheading of a French hostage, as part of a “message from Jund al-Khilafa fi Ard al-Jaza’ir to the dog Francois Hollande.”

In keeping with the alignment with IS, the group in a 22 September media release on the hostage taking cited Abu Muhammad al-Adnani’s speech calling for supporters of IS to ‘defend’ IS and attack citizens of countries participating in the fight against IS, singling out in particular among Westerners the “hateful, filthy French.” In the media release, one of Jund al-Khilafa fi Ard al-Jaza’ir’s members had announced:

“[…] The Almighty has said: ‘Indeed the believers and believing women are helpers of one another’ [Qur’an 9:71], for we are the soldiers of the Caliphate in the land of Algeria in compliance with the orders of our amir- the Caliph of the Muslims- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (may God protect him)- and on the tongue of the official spokesman Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani (may God protect him)- we give a deadline of 24 hours from the issuance of this statement to the Hollande, the president of the criminal French state, to stop its aggression against the Islamic State; if not, the fate of their citizen will be beheading. If you want to preserve his life, you must put out an official statement making clear your aggression against the Islamic State will be ended…”

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It is likely that the name of Jund al-Khilafa has served as the inspiration for the outfit just announced in Egypt using the same name. However, too little suggests that this AQIM break-off in Algeria has fundamentally hurt AQIM.

Somalia

I noted above that there had been some show of support for ISIS in Somalia last year (specifically, note the photos released by the pro-IS ‘al-Sham Media’). Since the Caliphate declaration there has been no indication of pledges of allegiance: on the contrary, the al-Qa’ida affiliate Harakat al-Shabab al-Mujahideen (HSM) reaffirmed its allegiance to Aymenn al-Zawahiri after the death of its leader Mokhtar Abu Zubayr.

However, an interesting statement was issued on 6 May this year by the “Rightly Guided Leadership for Jihad in Somalia” regarding supposedly one-time close relations between HSM under Abu Zubayr and ISIS. It should be noted that this “Rightly Guided Leadership for Jihad in Somalia” consists of al-Qa’ida-aligned critics of Abu Zubayr’s leadership of HSM deriving from the fact that Abu Zubayr had killed one of HSM’s founders Abu Bakr al-Zaila’ie (Ibrahim Haji Juma/Ibrahim al-Afghani) in June 2013 as he had been a long-standing critic of Abu Zubayr:

“Our brothers in God:

It has no longer remained hidden from anyone the truth of what has happened and is happening in Somalia as regards corruptions in the manhaj with killing and eviction for the mujahideen and their leaders just as the mutual affection between Harakat al-Shabab in Somalia under Abu Zubayr’s leadership and the group of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham is not hidden.

And it is well known that Abu Zubayr’s leadership has previously shown through its media foundations, channels and broadcasts a great deal of courting and nearness to jamaat ad-dawla [‘group of the state’- standard AQ terminology now for ISIS and IS] that rebelled against the orders of its leadership in tanzim al-Qa’ida [AQC] and their instructions. The situation came to such a point that the publication and circulation of Sheikh Aymenn al-Zawahiri’s speech and Sheikh Abu Azzam the American’s [Adam Gadahn] speech (may God protect them both) among the ranks of the soldiers of Harakat al-Shabab in Somalia were prevented.

But after the speech of Abu Azzam the American (may God protect him) in which mercy was extended to the leaders of jihad whose blood had been spilled at Abu Zubayr’s hands and he described whosoever killed them as tyrannical, and after many indications emerged that the general leadership in Khorasan had received a picture of the situation and the truth of what happened in Somalia without distortion and concealment and had thus begun to adopt stances critical of Abu Zubayr’s leadership that had deviated from the upright direction and become entangled in the bloodshed of the mujahideen, the leadership of Harakat al-Shabab began to turn over again but this time again against jamaat ad-dawla, for a general notice was issued not to publish anything relating to jamaat ad-dawla, including their nasheeds in their broadcasts, and described them as khawarij…And we announce here that the mujahideen in Somalia coming out openly with the truth are neither with extremism nor the aggressors as the criminal Abu Zubayr circulates: further they will continue coming out openly with the truth before the oppressors despite the wounding of us on account of misfortunes like killing, assassinations and arrests.

Some days ago, Abu Zubayr’s deputy…spoke before a gathering of the Muslims and described jamaat ad-dawla as khawarij, and that they are ‘the movement’ following Sheikh Aymenn (may God protect him) so the attendance said to him: “If dawla are khawarij, then you are like them, for you have killed and sowed corruption just as they have done but more so than they,” so the attendance was very angry.

[…]”

If this statement reflects true developments, compare the apparent prior ISIS-sympathetic position of the HSM leadership of Abu Zubayr with the stance of al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula’s [AQAP] Ma’mun Hatem, who showed sympathy for ISIS even after AQC had disavowed links with ISIS but remained in the fold of AQAP. In any case, this document also says the same HSM leadership eventually did a 180 degrees turn, and to this day the affirmation of loyalty to AQC remains.

Philippines

There have been some indications of support for IS (and its prior incarnation ISIS) from some members of the jihadi group Abu Sayyaf: the most notable case being a bay’ah to IS by a senior Abu Sayyaf leader called Isnilon Hapilon, who emerged with a group of followers in a video pledging allegiance to the ‘Caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This fits in with an earlier release by the pro-IS media outlet al-Bittar Media, which in late June just prior to the announcement of IS had released a video entitled “Filipino Support for the Islamic State (in Iraq and al-Sham): Jamaat Abu Sayyaf,” featuring a speech by a purported member of Abu Sayyaf called Abu Muhammad the Filipino, declaring support for ISIS in the face of efforts against it by the group’s opponents, and so he affirmed that ISIS is in Abu Sayyaf’s prayers for success: “You are our brothers in religion and creed, so it is our obligation to support you.”

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Advertisement for the al-Bittar Media release.

One should also note this video from some members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front offering bay’ah to Baghdadi.

Lebanon

Last year, I noted that the main place to watch for pro-ISIS sentiment in Lebanon was the city of Tripoli. This trend of support- extending into the period since the Caliphate’s announcement- has endured. Online, it is represented by an outlet calling itself “News of Tarabulus [Tripoli] of Sham” (reflecting the fact that Lebanon is considered a part of al-Sham).

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Logo of “News of Tarabulus al-Sham,” which recognizes on its Twitter page the “State of the Islamic Caliphate.”

During this summer, pro-IS sentiment has been reflected in the clashes in Qalamoun (Damascus province) extending into rebel incursions into Arsal in Lebanon. Though some months back, a Jabhat al-Nusra spokesman for the Qalamoun area in an interview with me had tried to downplay ISIS’ presence (contrasting with the earlier public vow to defend ISIS on the grounds of ‘same manhaj’), it is apparent that ISIS/IS and Jabhat al-Nusra in the Qalamoun area have been quite close for some time and work together, translating to cooperation in Arsal as well. Occasionally this closeness has been reflected publicly on social media.

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“The soldiers of Jabhat al-Nusra and the soldiers of the Islamic State side by side in Arsal.”

More recently, in the wake of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes on IS, combined with IS and Jabhat al-Nusra playing on sectarian tensions and local animosity in Arsal against Hezbollah, there was a pro-IS demonstration in Arsal after Friday prayers this week, featuring the slogan: “The people want the Islamic State.”

Conclusion

The examples of support shown for IS above are by no means insignificant but fail to show that ‘IS has eclipsed al-Qa’ida.’ All of al-Qa’ida’s affiliates at the highest level have retained their allegiance to Aymenn al-Zawahiri, and any defections that have occurred from within AQAP, AQIM and HSM have not split the organizations such as to damage them. It is also of interest to note that despite IS’ demand for allegiance that cannot really allow for any in-between stances, some within the global jihadi community are still aiming for an incoherent compromise position of showing support/sympathy for IS and al-Qa’ida. In short, I would say the overall trend is not definitely pointing any way just yet. I do not quite buy the notion that al-Qa’ida needs to carry out a large-scale attack on the West in the near-term to fend off competition for support with IS.

That said, projections into the future need to take account of current developments and possible scenarios. First, it still remains true that the majority of foreign Sunni jihadis who head to the Syria-Iraq arena join IS, primarily because it is easier to join than Jabhat al-Nusra and places emphasis on the Islamic state-building enterprise and its ultimately global scope: how the Arab world jihadis who end up returning to their home countries will affect local jihadi group dynamics needs to be considered. Further, in my view both IS and al-Qa’ida Central are vulnerable to loss of stature if the leader is taken out: IS has invested so heavily in Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s image as a caliph- particularly with the lineage claims- and his accomplishments that it seems doubtful IS has a contingency plan for succession to the Caliphate in the event of his death. Meanwhile, in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area, one can legitimately ask if there is anyone in al-Qa’ida Central to replace Zawahiri in the event of his death.

Comments (39)


1. ALAN said:

The president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned the wait-and-see attitude of the big Western powers in Gaza and Syria.

In reality, the Turkish army is secretly present in the north of Syrian since July 2012. Besides, contrary to the president’s statements at the UN, the Turkish army does not protect Christians and does not fight against terrorism, but entered Syria on March 21st 2014, to take over the Syrian-Armenian city of Kassab, with the Al-Nosra Front (Al-Qaeda) and the Islam Army (pro-Saudi)
http://www.voltairenet.org/article185475.html

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September 27th, 2014, 7:02 pm

 

2. ALAN said:

Is it possible for Syria to continue be silent toward its presence outside the circle of its war on terrorism on its soil as a subject of American style ?
Why this silence on the American military tutelage indefinitely? Where is the decision of the Security Council mandate? Where is the American full schedule of operations ? This situation is deadly, and can not be sustained as well. If the owners of the land are silent, it means they are agree on this case.

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September 28th, 2014, 4:54 am

 

3. ghufran said:

The opposition to NATO-GCC unilateral move in Syria is growing especially after it has become clear that the ultimate goal is to create a NFZ and give Turkey a free hand in Northern Syria, notice the new statements by Syrian, Russian and Iranian officials on the subject.
KSA did not join the “alliance” to fight ISIS, every Islamist terrorist group in the world had or still has support from KSA, official or non official, but the Saudi sheikhs want to please their masters and protect their thrones and get rid of Assad to pressure Iran especially after losing Yemen and failing to stop Hizbullah from fighting pro KSA islamists in Syria. KSA is determined to pursue this policy even if that means the partition of Syria, prolonging the war and giving Turkey another piece of Syrian territories, the fools in the opposition are playing along, they only care about their salaries and getting visas to visit western countries and Turkey.
Again, Iran-Russia alliance with the Syrian regime will be tested, Turkey and NATO tried to start a war with Syria last year but that was stopped, they are trying again. The Ikhwanji Turkish new PM has sent two bills to the parliament asking for approval of military operations in Syria and Iraq. what Turkey is waiting for is an excuse and a sign that Russia and Iran will remain on the sideline.

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September 28th, 2014, 10:08 am

 
 

5. Syrialover said:

A catch-up thanks and bravo to HOPEFUL and OBSERVER for their posts in the last thread.

And thanks to ANNIE for posting that sane and sharp piece by Maysaloon.

Keep it coming guys – readers here are thirsty for it as an antidote to the trashy propaganda polluting this forum.

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September 28th, 2014, 4:27 pm

 

6. Syrialover said:

Must-read piece on ISIS (apologies if it’s already been posted)

“Isis: a portrait of the menace that is sweeping my homeland”

The rise of Isis is rooted in a mix of politics, a Sunni sense of isolation and a shakeup in Salafist doctrine. Here, an analyst whose Syrian home has seen some of its bloodiest excesses, explains its dramatic surge.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/16/isis-salafi-menace-jihadist-homeland-syria

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September 28th, 2014, 4:32 pm

 

7. Syrialover said:

GHUFRAN writes earnestly:

“..notice the new statements by Syrian, Russian and Iranian officials on the subject”

That’s his sources, end of story!

We’re now getting raw unprocessed propagands from him like raw sewerage.

GHUFRAN and the mixed team posting as “ALAN” read like assistants for the desperate dirt spreader Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, Assad’s media witch.

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September 28th, 2014, 4:35 pm

 

8. Alan said:

Syria lover: don’t mentioned me please when you comment impolitely.

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September 28th, 2014, 5:35 pm

 

9. Alan said:

Syria lover: don’t mentioned me please when you comment impolitely.

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September 28th, 2014, 5:35 pm

 

10. Syrialover said:

Oh come on, ALAN. You take up over half of the forum here, begging for attention and panting for a response.

And don’t pretend you aren’t flattered and thrilled to be mentioned in connection with Dr Bouthaina Shaaban, the ugliest woman in the world both inside and out.

Compared with what COULD (and should) be said about you and the motive behind your posts my comments are very polite.

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September 28th, 2014, 6:03 pm

 

11. Uzair8 said:

Alan

I don’t regard you as an enemy. I was making a point. In fact I was defending you.

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September 28th, 2014, 7:13 pm

 

12. Uzair8 said:

I know SyriaLover has talked about the Jihadi wannabes being FANTASISTS. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf talks about them (ISIS) and how they have nothing to do with Islam. He mentions how they have been described (forewarned about) in Hadith (‘Young’, ‘foolish’,). I recall reading elsewhere one Hadith mentions them as ‘feeble-minded youth’.

The Shaykh talks about how people don’t turn to scholars instead taking religion from young boys who think they know better and sat at the keyboard misguiding others. We find ourselves taking our religion from…from the internet…from boys (ignorants) on the internet!

Worth watching:

The Crisis of ISIS: A Prophetic Prediction | A Friday Sermon by Hamza Yusuf

Delivered on 12 September 2014

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September 28th, 2014, 7:25 pm

 

13. Uzair8 said:

There was another video in which Shaykh Hamza Yusuf talked about ISIS at an event in Malaysia:

Hamza Yusuf speaking about ISIS

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September 28th, 2014, 7:28 pm

 

14. sami said:

It is beyond comprehension how continuously the real revolution and the true patriots that have carried the heaviest burden keep getting ignored. Who cares what sick psychosomatic group in Somalia or Philippines think of IS and Baghdadi!

Honestly when the voices of the moderates was silenced by the regime and you stood silently by while lamenting the GCC and the zionists would it come as a surprise that the voices of the extremists came to replace them?

Mazen Darwish along with Hani Al-Zitani and and Husain Gharir are due to be sentenced by the draconian laws of Assad and his henchmen.

Maybe it ended up in Syria today the worst of the worst nightmares, so do we give up the right to change our reality, and our ambitions for legitimate freedom, dignity and citizenship?

It is our duty to reduce inequality, and introduce more justice to our communities…

Yes, we want freedom, dignity and justice, and we deserve.

But it certainly not freedom of death under torture or slaughter, it is not freedom of death propelled airplane or car bomb… It is freedom of life based on participation.

Mazen Darwish’s words smuggled from Adra prison June 10th 2013

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September 28th, 2014, 7:32 pm

 

15. Uzair8 said:

Assad and Iran just may be getting nervous. If so they may have good reason to do so.

Lebanon’s The Daily Star’s writer Michael Young tells us how Assad could meet his end soon. Plausible.

Toward a Syrian endgame?

The anti-ISIS campaign may lead to an Assad exit

Michael Young
Published: 26/09/2014

If Iran and Hezbollah appear worried about the attacks being directed by the United States and its allies against the Islamic State, or ISIS, the reason is simple. They realize that the logical outcome of military operations in Syria is likely to be pressure for a political solution that leads to Bashar al-Assad’s departure.

The connection between the anti-ISIS campaign and the Syrian conflict was made on Thursday at a Friends of Syria foreign ministers’ meeting in New York. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal expressed it succinctly: “For as long as the strife in Syria continues, the growth of extremist groups will continue.”

Applying the same logic as in Iraq, the Americans are also likely to soon conclude that only a more inclusive government in Syria can consolidate the gains made against ISIS. In Iraq, the aim was to bring Sunnis into the political process, in the belief that they are necessary to defeating ISIS, and to do so the Obama administration helped remove Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Why should Syria be any different?

[…]

https://now.mmedia.me/lb/en/commentaryanalysis/564133-toward-a-syrian-endgame

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September 28th, 2014, 7:34 pm

 

16. Sami said:

Vice News five part series on Aleppo today.

Ghosts of Aleppo:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwSnyQYy5SE&list=UUZaT_X_mc0BI-djXOlfhqWQ

Damn Assad and his filth for bringing Syria to this point.

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September 28th, 2014, 7:38 pm

 

17. Syrialover said:

SAMI #14

You put it exactly!

I’ve come to understand that anyone who has that attitude has something invested in the Assad regime.

They are frightened of personal loss. Scratch them hard enough and you will find out what it is.

And when you do you will smell their inner cancer of fear, weakness, hatred, stupidity and lies.

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September 28th, 2014, 8:22 pm

 

18. Syrialover said:

UZAIR8

The Iranian regime is made of rotting straw and the people one day will explode and set it alight. While they have been busy in Damascus and Baghdad, clawing for influence and exporting terror, primitive mismanagement is destroying their own country.

Starting with water. Iran has a shortage of water which could make it unliveable in a few years. Bad planning, incompetence and populist policies mean its rivers are running dry, its groundwater reserves have been destroyed and its dams, lakes and distribution systems are inadequate against drought.

Inside observers say internal political crisis and conflict are looming from a water shortage. But the Iranian “leadership” now lack the resources to do anything about it.

Article: “Iran: Dried out”

EXCERPT:

“Thousands of villages rely on water tankers for supplies, according to local media, while businessmen complain shortages are a daily hazard in factories around Tehran. At least a dozen of the country’s 31 provinces will have to be evacuated over the next 20 years unless the problem is addressed, according to a water official who declined to be named.

“The situation may be even worse than that, says Issa Kalantari, a reform-minded agriculture minister in the 1990s. “Iran, with 7,000 years of history, will not be liveable in 20 years’ time if the rapid and exponential destruction of groundwater resources continues,” he warns, adding that the shortages pose a bigger threat to Iran than its nuclear crisis, Israel or the US.

(Read the full alarming details: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/5a5579c6-0205-11e4-ab5b-00144feab7de.html#ixzz3EaetHNxD)

Comment: What the Iranian regime have helped create in Syria and Iraq is foreshadowing the fate of their own homeland.

Properly managed, Iran could have been a very rich, respected and influential country with an advanced economy. Instead it’s an internally crumbling mess which could explode and fragment sooner than we realise.

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September 28th, 2014, 9:08 pm

 

19. Ghufran said:

As complicated and dizzying the Syrian war is, the simple conclusion has to be that a cease fire is the best initial step towards a solution. The regime is no longer able to control all of syria , and rebels with their backers had 3.5 years to win and/or provide Syrians with a better alternative than the regime, but they failed to win the war or win enough support from Syrians who did not hate the regime enough to give their neck to the rebels and the GCC/Turkish thugs who financed them and armed them to kill other Syrians. Those of you who think a cease fire means another decade or two of Bashar’s rule are wrong, Syria can not be ruled by any Assad unless it gets partitioned. Most Syrians do not want Syria to be divided, and most alawites do not see Assad and his family as eternal leaders, however, keeping this war raging will definitely improve the chances of partition and prolong the suffering of Syrians. I support Moaz efforts to sit down with Iran and the regime and try to reach a cease fire, do not wait for NATO and the GCC to help Syria, this alliance can only help the GCC , turkey and Israel .

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September 28th, 2014, 11:52 pm

 

20. Hopeful said:

#14 Sami,

Thanks for sharing.

To learn from the successful Tunisian experience, a transition period should not be ruled by an Islamist nor a military man, but a human rights activist who understands the important of civil laws and civilian institutions. There are hundreds of them in Assad’s jails.

I hope all will learn from the Tunisian model. It is a shame that no one talks about it. Success and order are not very interesting media topics.

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September 29th, 2014, 12:33 am

 

21. ALAN said:

10. SYRIALOVER
Since a long time and you still write nonsense about me, And behave like you’re in a horses stable.
Again does not try to delude readers, I have not in relation to any Syrian official. Stop airing rumors. Your opinion about the relationship with Dr. Shaaban is ridiculous.
Please tell us: Do you want the whole world to be colored same color as the the stables, is not it?

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September 29th, 2014, 3:35 am

 

22. Observer said:

One thing I disagree about regarding the Michael Young article and it is the assumption that Iran is interested in stability. At this time, with sanctions biting, with nuclear program negotiations, and with the Shia Sunni divide getting worse by the day, the Iranians are just trying to have more cards in their hands. As a mirror image of KSA they are interested in remaining in power. It helps them to create instability, where it hurts them is when their allies become part of the regime and responsible for stability. If in Lebanon or Yemen the pro Iranians were to take full control, they will have to answer to the needs of the populations in water, electricity, education, traffic, jobs etc…. This is why HA will never fire a shot at Israel any longer lest it retaliates with massive bombing one more time and the party of God loses credibility as a responsible political force.
Now, Iran has bitten more than it can chew and is finding itself with too much to handle at any one time. It is stretched thin, if Syria’s regime is defeated it will not be a compromise defeat as Michael Young thinks, and if it is an imposed compromise to guarantee the minorities, it is going to be a postponement of the day of revenge of reckoning with the Alawite sect and its supporters. Those members of the sect that are calling for compromise and are demonstrating now are four years too late.
The revolution was from the rural hinterland and from the previous supporters and rank and file of the Baath party itself and these people will not compromise. These are not urban compromisers.
It is also clear that the strategy of depicting the revolution as MB inspired as the mother of the iPad retard advocated and his inner circle promised a quick end by doing another Hama has backfired big time. Now the discourse is pure Sunni Shia. In Lebanon, the rich are saying that it is better to have HA than to have IS. These were the same people that thought that there will never be an IS in Lebanon because there is no ” supporting background” for it. Well, they were living in Lala land for these people never visited the villages around Tripoli and Akar and the Bekaa valley and never understood the incredibly poor section of Beirut and kept a blind eye to the income inequality of this artificial ugly country.
So, in my opinion it is clear that navigating a narrow path between fighting IS and not supporting the regime and propping up the “moderate” opposition four years late is going to be near impossible. Americans have lost the art of being subtle and have very short attention span. IS is going to grow not shrink and if the Sunnis of the Levant are not going to be also guaranteed that they are not marginalized they will act and think like then “persecuted minority” even if they are numerically a majority. Surely the minorities know that!!!! After all, on this blog we keep reading of their lamentations on how they were mistreated for the last 1400 years and have held a grudge since then. As if the present generation is responsible for its ancestor’s ills and deprivations. That is the extent of hatred that exists in these minorities and this will be the same hatred visited upon them if the Sunnis start to fell “minoritized”

Cheers

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September 29th, 2014, 7:48 am

 

23. ALAN said:

It’s time to open more theaters:
Cancellation Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, United Arab Emirates from the map and erase its presence to include constitutional Peninsula and the Gulf only three states.
1-Ahsa Shia rump state: (includes Kuwait, UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain).
2 rump state (Najd) Sunni.
3 rump state (Hijaz) Sunni.
The operation has already begun! Those are the strategic plans of the United States in the long term. Today it is some such as Robert Wright believe that it has become possible to investigate.

Now we get to bomb Saudi Arabia and Kuwait!

Syria in Last 24 Hours: ISIL Terrorists Fleeing to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait
http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13930706000407

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September 29th, 2014, 2:46 pm

 

24. ALAN said:

The campaign against IS is a front for the criminal agenda of regime change in S I R I A and the R E G I O N. This real, criminal agenda should be exposed and condemned at every opportunity. To consort with this mob is to corrupt international law and morality.
http://www.veteransnewsnow.com/2014/09/29/us-led-coalition-against-isil-front-for-regime-change/
Listening to American and British leaders this week one would think that Barack Obama and David Cameron are knights in shining armor on an epic crusade to defeat global evil.
The campaign against IS is a front for the criminal agenda of regime change in S I R I A and the R E G I O N. This real, criminal agenda should be exposed and condemned at every opportunity. To consort with this mob is to corrupt international law and morality.
Moreover, the international case should be forthrightly made for the arrest and prosecution of the mob’s chief protagonists in Washington and London for their serial crimes against humanity and peace.
http://anbamoscow.com/opinions/20131001/386066346.html

http://youtu.be/aDYwhhW-Gz8?t=1s

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September 29th, 2014, 6:55 pm

 

25. Hopeful said:

Freedom for Abdulaziz Khayyer!

What do you say Alan? Join me on this call? I know Ghufran would.

If only the regime heeded his call two years ago instead of arresting him and throwing him in jail!

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xssl67_syrian-ex-opposition-leader-says-violence-cannot-bring-democracy_news

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September 30th, 2014, 1:27 am

 

26. Hopeful said:

#19 Ghufran

Syria is destroyed because of the decision, on both sides, to militarize the crisis and use violence.

The decision to carry arms, by the rebels and opposition, was made by hundreds if not thousands of Syrians inside and outside Syria, supported by outside regional powers, groups and figures. It would have been impossible to influence the making of that decision in the midst of chaos and various allegiances.

On the other hand, the decision to use violence by the regime, was made by a single man: Bashar Assad. Not only is it easy to assign the blame, but also to understand what it would take to begin to resolve the conflict: get rid of him.

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September 30th, 2014, 1:46 am

 

27. ghufran said:

Few major developments:
1. ISIS is closer to take Ayn Al-arab despite all of those high tech air strikes by NATO.
2. Douma and Jobar are not likely to stay under Islamists control much longer.
3. Turkey is expected to make an aggressive move into the Syrian territories using ISIS advances and an attack on Slaiman Basha Tomb as an excuse, Turkey wants an NFZ in northern Syria.
4. Recent reports after US air strikes on ISIS targets in Syria suggest that those strikes made very little difference, that will be used to justify future military moves including a possible incursion by Turkey which if allowed can lead to a much wider war.

(hopeful, the opposition and the rebels were never interested in a real unity government, read the garbage that came from rebel leaders and people like Rudwan Ziadeh about their vision of how a new Syrian army and government should look like and you will understand why those rebels lost support. Assad was a problem since 2000 and he is a major problem today but the lack of a credible and decent NATIONAL opposition is a disaster)

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September 30th, 2014, 10:22 pm

 

28. Hopeful said:

# Ghufran

If we wait till there is a decent national opposition, by this standard or that, we will never have a chance to begin to solve the problem. On the other hand, if Assad steps down, nominates a figure or a group that is acceptable by the regime and many reasonable voices within the opposition (whom the Syrian people in rebel areas respect), and this person/groups leads a transitional period where the goal is to unify the country, eradicate terrorists, and dismantle the security apparatus which is the symbol of oppression and indignity for millions of Syrians, then we may have a chance. Look next door to the Iraqi model, where did Haidar Abbadi come from? Had anyone heard of him just a few months ago?

Syria needs fresh voices and new faces now more than ever.

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October 1st, 2014, 12:27 am

 

29. ALAN said:

Are Russia and China not knowing about the intentions of the United States in the destabilization their stability?
I think that, apparently they will drag the United States into perdition.

/‘This is really dangerous,” said Al Marie. “I really don’t know what’s the strategic plan for these airstrikes, how they are doing it. I can’t believe it, our friends are doing this big thing in our country and here we are, their friends, and they won’t coordinate with us.”/
http://patriotrising.com/2014/09/30/exclusive-americas-allies-almost-bombed-syrian-airstrikes/

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October 1st, 2014, 3:48 am

 

30. Mina said:

Hopeful,

Your name says it all. I loved the “eradicate the terrorists and dismantle the security apparatus”. Life seems just better in lalaland.

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October 1st, 2014, 5:04 am

 

31. Hopeful said:

Thanks Mina. I take that as a compliment!

In fact, I think a transitional national unity government should have the slogan: “No to Assad, no to terrorism, and no to Mukhabarat”. I bet 95% of Syrians would rally behind that vision.

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October 1st, 2014, 5:50 am

 

32. ALAN said:

Secret Plan by Putin, Obama to Strike ISIS

Obama seeks Putin’s help while McCain & Co. push for all-out ground war.

http://americanfreepress.net/?p=19872

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October 1st, 2014, 1:13 pm

 

33. ghufran said:

“Moderate” rebels detonated two bombs(one by a suicide bomber) at an elementary school in Homs killing 41 children, this is another reminder about the nature of rebels (aka as moderate terrorists):
محافظة حمص – المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان:: ارتفع إلى 45 بينهم 41 طفلاً، غالبيتهم الساحقة دون سن الـ 12، عدد الشهداء الذين قضوا إثر انفجار سيارة، وتفجير رجل لنفسه أمام مدرسة عكرمة المخزومي بحي عكرمة الذي يقطنه مواطنون من الطائفة العلوية، في مدينة حمص، كما قتل 3 عناصر من الأمن الجنائي، أحدهم ضابط، ممن حضروا إلى المنطقة بعد حصول الانفجار الأول، وعدد الخسائر البشرية مرشح للارتفاع، بسبب وجود جرحى في حالات خطرة، ولوجود مفقودين، وأشلاء لم يتم التعرف عليها حتى الآن.

you can not make chicken soup out of chicken poop

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October 1st, 2014, 6:20 pm

 

34. Hopeful said:

#33 Ghufran

I do not know what kind of sick minds would commit such a heinous crime. These people are worse than animals.

Reading through the social media posts, comments, etc., I know that the majority of the opposition is 100% against such crimes, and that is the only thing that keeps me “hopeful”.

However, the opposition is obviously divided. I read many posts from people whose hearts have clearly been clouded by revenge, hatred, and sectarian feelings.

But, I would take that any day over the “unity” of the regime’s supporters, who are always unified behind turning a blind eye to (if not cheering for) the murders and massacres the regime is committing every day against children all over the country.

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October 2nd, 2014, 3:02 am

 

35. Syrialover said:

GHUFRAN knows, and he knows it for sure, with more authority than anyone else, that it was moderate rebels responsible for the Homs school bombing.

And how does he know?

Dr Buthaina Shaaban, Assad’s propaganda witch TOLD him.

So there! He’s done his job.

There are reasons why GHUFRAN refuses to give sources or references for what he posts, cuts and pastes.

Because he gets statements like that out of smelly trash cans.

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October 2nd, 2014, 3:23 pm

 

36. Syrialover said:

HOPEFUL

Great comments, thanks.

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October 2nd, 2014, 3:26 pm

 

37. ALAN said:

Obama is intent on putting the Muslim Brotherhood in charge of all governments in the Middle East. He is himself, a radical Muslim who is working toward radical Muslim world domination. There is no other explanation for all of his actions while he has been in power. “Power” as he has absolutely no consideration for laws under the United States Constitution, and continues to try to be a dictator.
Americans need to regain their own Liberty, first restoring a constitutional republic and curtailing the despotic Feral Gov. in DC.

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October 2nd, 2014, 4:00 pm

 

38. Syrialover said:

ALAN you are laughing your head off as you post these hoax comments (#37).

It’s sick the way you make a joke of the situation in Syria.

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October 2nd, 2014, 5:22 pm

 
 

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