Book Review: ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror

ISIS, Inside the Army of TerrorISIS: Inside the Army of Terror
Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan
£5.99, 1169p. (I-Phone Reading).

Reviewed by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi.

The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS, subsequently calling itself just “The Islamic State” since the Caliphate declaration of  29 Jun 2014) across Iraq and Syria will naturally provoke much questioning as to how this phenomenon came to such prominence. Overall, this book ably accomplishes the task in a concise manner, and is a valuable, compelling read for anyone- general reader or specialist- interested in ISIS. While minor errors exist here and there and one might disagree with some of the authors’ analysis in the detail, the book is extremely well-researched, drawing on an array of sources including much original interview testimony, and the overall conclusions that emerge are hard to contest.

The authors begin by tracing the history of the most important forefather of ISIS: Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, including his early years in the Afghanistan-Pakistan (Af-Pak) area in the closing days of the Soviet military presence in Afghanistan, his journey home to Jordan by 1992 and relationship with jihadi intellectual Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi that culminated in his imprisonment, and his subsequent return to Af-Pak in 1999 that first saw signs of tensions between Zarqawi and al-Qa’ida leader Osama bin Laden (OBL), where he nonetheless secured an alliance of convenience and ran a training camp in Herat, Afghanistan.

Following the invasion of Afghanistan, Zarqawi forged another alliance of convenience with Ansar al-Islam in Iraqi Kurdistan, moving there and throughout the region via Iran before his firm establishment on the scene of the Iraq War in 2003 with his Jamaat al-Tawhid wa al-Jihad and subsequent allegiance to OBL as the affiliated al-Qa’ida in Mesopotamia/Iraq. Where appropriate, Weiss and Hassan are keen to draw analogies in Zarqawi’s history and strategy with the present-day approach of ISIS, such as the same genocidal attitudes towards Shi’a designed partly to provoke murderous counter-responses and draw Sunnis further still towards the notion of Zarqawi/ISIS as ‘protector of Sunnis’, so to speak.

Indeed, one cannot really overstate the link between Zarqawi and ISIS, but it might also be worth noting that the tensions between OBL and Zarqawi (despite OBL’s acceptance of Zarqawi’s allegiance) and ISIS’ break from al-Qa’ida do not stop ISIS today from attempting to appropriate OBL as one of their own, as well as the likes of Abdullah Azzam.

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The ISIS-run Osama bin Laden Mosque in Tel Abyad, Raqqa Province. ISIS also runs at least one school and training camp each named after OBL.

Another analogy drawn is the issue of tactical alliances between Zarqawi’s men and Ba’athists and between ISIS and the latter today in the form of the Naqshbandi Army (JRTN). While JRTN and ISIS did cooperate in events such as the fall of Mosul in 2014, a significant difference now as opposed to the years of the Iraq War is the much greater dominance of ISIS, which meant that JRTN was in effect more trying to ride the wave of the ISIS-spearheaded offensives rather than there being a relationship of essential co-dependence between the two groups. This is why ISIS very quickly asserted itself as the dominant power in areas such as Mosul at the expense of the likes of JRTN, able to impose its most draconian measures and establish its ‘diwans’ (government departments) despite JRTN’s objections. Indeed, the concept of “tactical partnering” with JRTN that is mentioned elsewhere is something liable to be overplayed.

A more original contribution deserving great credit is the rightful attention drawn to the jihadist text Idarat al-Tawahhush (“The Management of Savagery”) by Abu Bakr Naji in 2004 and its importance to both Zarqawi’s ilk and ISIS today as a means to justify acts of brutality in the context of jihad.

The authors then trace the local sparks in areas such as al-Qa’im (on the border with Syria in Anbar province) in 2005-6 where Zarqawi’s AQI had overplayed its hand that would help give rise to the coordinated Sunni Sahwa movement in Iraq by 2007 against what had by then become the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), which had emerged after Zarqawi’s death as an official umbrella including the AQI front-group Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in early 2006 that had been created in a bid to give Zarqawi’s outfit a more Iraqi face. At the same time, the problems that had been created by sectarian Shi’a militias and their human rights abuses as well as Iran’s not stopping the flow of al-Qa’ida operatives and funds through Iranian territory are not disregarded.

The authors also correctly identify traces of what would become the formal split between ISIS and al-Qa’ida in the deliberately ambiguous relationship maintained by ISI with al-Qa’ida during the years of Abu Ayyub al-Masri/Abu Hamza al-Muhajir and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi (2006-2010). For al-Masri, who officially subsumed the MSC under Abu Omar al-Baghdadi’s ISI, “was indeed trying to have it both ways: to remain the amir of AQI while also flirting with outright secession from it to command his own independent operation” (p. 291), bolstered by the pretensions to statehood in the name of ISI and its self-declared ministries.

Much of what follows on the U.S.-troop surge and the rolling back of ISI by the Sahwa in coordination with coalition forces is history that has been extensively discussed and need not be reproduced in too much detail, along with the marginalization of the Sahwa movement and Iraq PM Maliki-led crackdowns on Sunni politicians in the face of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq that sparked the Sunni Arab protests in 2013, going right up to the fall of Fallujah at the beginning of 2014. One could argue for some differences in interpretation here. For instance, while it’s certainly true Iran played an important role in bringing together the second Maliki-led government as the authors note, it is questionable whether Ayad Allawi and his Iraqiya-bloc could really have engaged in successful outreach to the other Shi’a political blocs to form a coalition. Further, the coverage of Maliki’s response to the 2013 protests does not mention that he allowed for political concessions to be drafted by deputy premier Saleh al-Mutlaq and to be put to the parliament. The fact these reforms died in the parliament points to a broader failing on the Shi’a political spectrum to address Sunni grievances such as de-Ba’athification.

The book- now at chapter 7- then reverts in chronology to discuss in detail the Assad regime’s extensive collaboration with jihadis during the Iraq War in facilitating the influx of foreign fighters into Iraq via Syria, as well as the regime’s complicity in terrorist attacks aimed at destabilizing the first Maliki government. Chapter 8 discusses key personalities in ISI and its successors under the tenure of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, including a profile of the leader himself. Usefully correcting press reports that suggested Abu Bakr was released from the U.S.-run Camp Bucca prison facility in 2009, the authors rightly note that his time in Camp Bucca was only in 2004, while also citing journalist Wael Essam who points out Baghdadi’s stint in the Salafi group Jaysh al-Mujahideen (which would be in 2005, besides founding his own Jaysh Ahl al-Sunna wa al-Jama’at in 2003) prior to his involvement with ISI.

Other figures profiled include Abu Ayman al-Iraqi and Abu Ali al-Anbari, both former officers in the Saddam regime’s armed forces, and Abu Omar al-Shishani. On the subject of Shishani, some corrections need to be made. He did not first emerge in Syria in 2013 (p. 535) but 2012. Further, Shishani actually pledged allegiance to ISIS in May 2013 and thus became ISIS’ ‘northern’ amir for Syria, which is why his Jaysh al-Muhajireen wa al-Ansar (JMWA) outfit over the summer of 2013- including the fall of Mannagh airbase- was described as affiliated with ISIS. A split occurred in the ranks in late November 2013, whereby some in JMWA would not pledge allegiance to Baghdadi because of a prior oath to the Caucasus Emirate, marked the split whereby Shishani and his loyalists dropped JMWA labels and solely became ISIS, while the remnants continued the JMWA name and banner under a new leader. All that said, the authors are right to point out the way in which Shishani’s persona has been hyped somewhat by sensationalist Western media coverage- something that can be said for coverage of ISIS more generally.

Chapter 9 onwards deals with ISIS and the history of the Syrian civil war, and it is in these parts where the authors’ most original contributions shine, relying on testimony from an array of ISIS members undoubtedly thanks in good part to Hassan’s extensive connections in eastern Syria, much of which is now under ISIS control. The authors draw a particularly nuanced and insightful picture in their various categories of ISIS recruits: for example, one category are those “who already held Islamist or jihadist but had limited themselves to only orbiting takfiri ideology [NB: the practice of declaring other Muslims apostates to be killed]. The final gravitational pull…differed depending on circumstance” (p. 667). Thus some joined because ISIS overran their territories, thus being the only horse to back, others were impressed with ISIS’ resilience and successes against rival rebel groups, while others had disputes with their original group affiliations and found ISIS a better organized, disciplined and capable body.

Contrary to what might be supposed, this tendency to defection was already under way during ISIS’ early months inside Syria, most notably when Islamist groups issued a statement rejecting the opposition-in-exile (the text puts this as September 2014; actually 2013- a simple typo- p. 669). The authors also note in this context of ISIS recruitment how ISIS’ emphasis on global conquest takes a sharp swipe at other Salafi-Jihadi and Islamist brands, including Jabhat al-Nusra (JN: Syria’s al-Qa’ida affiliate), that try to steer clear of the notion. Indeed, in agreement with Weiss and Hassan, it must be noted how little JN has until 2014 talked about notions of establishing the transnational Caliphate, with hints of it generally coming from unofficial footage and testimonies from its foreign fighters. In light of that, the authors’ characterization of JN as having positioned itself somewhat “as a ‘nationalist’ outcropping” (p. 673) makes perfect sense.

Other subtle categories of ISIS recruits noted by the authors range from those supporting ISIS as a political project- such as Arabs in Hasakah province who see ISIS as a bulwark against Kurdish expansionism (a serious dynamic often overlooked)- to opportunists such as Saddam al-Jamal, who originally commanded the local Supreme Military Council affiliate in the town of Albukamal on the border with Iraq before defecting to ISIS.

Weiss and Hassan further document in considerable and revealing detail how ISIS has been able to co-opt tribes in eastern Syria. Everyone by now knows of the Shaitat tribal uprising in Deir az-Zor province against ISIS in August 2014, but less observed is the fact that ISIS got members of the same tribe to put down the rebels by brute force (p. 842). ISIS’ divide-and-rule strategies for individual tribes- together with its ability to act as mediator between other tribes- severely complicate efforts to stir a tribal backlash to roll back ISIS in the heart of its territories.

The final chapter (ch. 14) deals at great length with ISIS’ running as a supposed state, with much new information to contribute. For instance, the “separation of powers” where those with various specialties affiliated with ISIS (whether a cleric, military commander, those in public services) do not know precisely what the others do or know, helping to protect against infiltration (pp. 865-6). The authors do not gloss over ISIS’ harsher aspects of governance such as torture of detainees but in the case of the town of Manbij in Aleppo province- currently controlled by ISIS- it is clear there has been much local sympathy for ISIS as its rule stamped out lawlessness and corruption. This is one big advantage ISIS has in competing with other rebel groups: in offering a single-party model of governance in the context of years of ongoing civil war that will, inter alia, promptly answer complaints from a local about another person, apply its laws to its own members, disarm local communities etc., ISIS can bring a sense of order that Syrian rebel groups can’t. Indeed, as the ISIS Ajnad Media nasheed “The Shari’a of Our Lord” puts it, ISIS’ rule can indeed bring a “life of security and peace.”

In the realm of public services and economics too, ISIS’ public advertisement of itself- at least in Syria- has not been wholly divorced from reality, such as in forcing municipality personnel to work in contrast to prior groups that allowed them to receive salaries from the state while doing nothing (p. 952), while also introducing price controls on commodities such as oil by-products (p.954).

The book’s epilogue offers a number of spot-on conclusions. First, one must be wary of Iran and the Assad regime’s presentation of themselves as the solution to the ISIS phenomenon, as their own repressive approaches towards the original Syrian uprising especially have helped contribute to the problem. Iran in particular, with its ongoing strategy of cultivating sectarian proxy militias in Syria and Iraq that employ brute force, can only be seen as aggravating the situation, even as notions of cooperation with Iran amid the context of striking a grand bargain over the nuclear deal become ever more prevalent. Second, the ISIS split from al-Qa’ida, far from being a case of a ‘let them fight each other and engage in jihadi blood-letting’ bonus, actually presents a threat to the West as the two brands may look to compete as to who can pull off the better attack on Western soil.

Finally, when all is considered in the analysis, recent reported local gains against ISIS, such as in pushing the group out of the city of Kobani, or scoring hits with killing prominent members or destroying convoys in coalition airstrikes on ISIS, do not change the fact that ISIS has been ruling for quite some time the heartland of its territories and most important strongholds, from Manbij and al-Bab in Aleppo province to Mosul and Tel Afar in Ninawa province, without any significant local rivals to challenge its power. There is no extensive ground force analogous to the U.S. troop presence at the height of the Iraq War to help coordinate local Sunni forces to ‘roll back’ ISIS this time around.

ISIS has a well-known official slogan: baqiya wa tatamaddad (‘remaining and expanding’). ISIS may not be tatamaddad so much these days, but it is certainly baqiya now and for the foreseeable future.

Comments (20)


1. scrier said:

Not seeing anything on NATO’s role in the arming, funding or training of these death squads. Or the GCC’s pivotal contribution to the work of this Taliban-type model to remake the Greater Middle East.
And of course, the primary silent architect of the entire scam- discussed HERE in 2007, 2008 onwards- by military and politicos from Israel, namely Herzliyah…
Or maybe its all in the book’s footnotes?

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February 3rd, 2015, 3:33 pm

 

2. ghufran said:

The mere existence of ISIS, Nusra and similar islamist terrorist organizations and the support they received and continue to receive from some Muslims including ex baathists tells a lot about how miserable the state of affairs has become for Islam and most Muslim states today. Even when Isis burns a prisoner alive we still find muslims trying to defend or justify that horrible crime, others simply blamed their favorite enemy for the crime (Majous, Shia, Bashar,etc) in a typical ostrich attitude.
There has never been a better time to repeat what I have known for years:
يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الامم

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February 3rd, 2015, 4:54 pm

 

3. Alan said:

I am sick of all that huge quantity of fake and false flags. If Jordan or turkey need to go ahead they can play with fire directly without ISIS-western dirty plays.

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February 3rd, 2015, 5:42 pm

 

4. mick said:

Typical neocon Western view of history.

1. Iran “didn’t do enough to stop al Qaeda”

2. Syria “Assad regime’s extensive collaboration with jihadis during the Iraq War”

So while Saudi and GCC states were funding the entire Wahabi Sunni extremists, as they continue to do, it gets no mention.

Turkey giving free reign to the same actors gets no mention.

So while we bounce between active/passive regime change in Syria and Iran, we expect them to destroy their nations for our inability to confront Saudi Arabia and their support for these groups.

Our Treasury Dept has no problem going after Shi’ites and ‘Alawites. After 9/11, we still ignore the Sunni extremists and their funding. Neocons couldn’t wait to use it as an excuse to attack Saddam. Now ISIS is a Bashar/Iran problem. Again, an entire tome on ISIS without a serious discussion of the funding, media, social networking that sustains ISIS.

I’m still waiting for someone to be serious about ISIS/ISIL/IS/DA’SH in the West.

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February 3rd, 2015, 11:05 pm

 

5. ALAN said:

US Officials Blow the Whistle on Secret CIA, Mossad Operation in Syria
Detonating a car bomb in a civilian-populated area and denying any involvement in the attack is called terrorism when our enemies do it.
But what if the terror attack is backed by Israel and the United States?
Speaking only under the condition of anonymity, 5 former U.S. intelligence officials told The Washington Post that the Central Intelligence Agency tracked Imad Mughniyah for at least a year before killing him in a joint operation with the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service.
http://www.activistpost.com/2015/02/us-officials-blow-whistle-on-secret-cia.html
The extraordinarily close cooperation between the CIA and the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service suggests that secret assassination operations by these intelligence agencies, a tactic to be a ‘TERRORIST ACT’, are probably not uncommon.

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February 4th, 2015, 2:08 pm

 

6. Uzair8 said:

CNN: Jordan Pilot Martyrdom | Sh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi | 04-02-15

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February 4th, 2015, 9:14 pm

 

7. ALAN said:

Did Jordan Train The ISIS Fighters Who Burned Their Pilot Alive?
http://21stcenturywire.com/2015/02/04/did-jordan-train-the-isis-fighters-who-burned-their-pilot-alive/
The people of Jordan are angry.
Frankenstein’s monster, ISIS, has gotten completely out of control. If the people of Jordan can put these pieces of the ISIS puzzle together in a similar way as to what has been presented here, the Jordanian government may very well be in store for a huge political backlash.
While Washington and London are free to carry on spouting their rhetoric and ‘condemning’ the murders, their client states are feeling strong geopolitical ramifications. Could it be time for the likes of Jordan to reassess their relationship with the West?
How much longer do they wish to be used and abused?

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February 5th, 2015, 3:25 am

 
 

9. Observer said:

This was from Juan Cole today. Sorry for the length of the post but worth reading and watching. As long as we continue to have double standards the recruitment into this ideology will continue. No one went ballistic when another Moaz namely Moaz Khatib was tortured to death by the regime and his genitals cut a mere 13 years old.

Is ISIL’s ‘Shock and Awe’ more Awe-ful because One Victim?
By Juan Cole | Feb. 5, 2015 |
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By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) –
The Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) burning of a captured Jordanian pilot alive produced justified revulsion globally, resulting in the terrorist organization being termed “barbarous” and similar epithets. Why did it behave this way? Because it wants to terrify its opponents into submission and underline that it is too crazy to be messed with. In short, it was a form of ‘shock and awe.’ It was all the more horrible for being inflicted on a single, known individual with a premeditated and inexorable viciousness, and for being carefully filmed and shared on the internet (successfully tempting Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News into rebroadcasting it).
“Shock and Awe” was the slogan pushed by the Bush administration for its massive bombing campaign against Iraq in March-April of 2003. It conducted 29,200 air strikes in the course of the initial invasion. Many of those missions were flown against what turned out to be empty Baath government facilities in hopes of killing high government officials (mostly that did not happen). But you can’t drop 500-pound bombs on a densely populated city without killing innocent bystanders. Likely the first two months of US bombing left at the very least 2,760 civilians dead.*
A study based on the conservative “Iraq Body Count” found that in Iraq, “46 per cent of the victims of US air strikes whose gender could be determined were female and 39 per cent were children.”
But the slaughter from the air was great not only among civilians but among military personnel, many of whom had no opportunity to surrender or run away (when US ground forces approaching the capital were surprised to come upon elements of a Republican Guard tank division they thought had been destroyed, the Iraqi tank personnel exited their vehicles and decamped en masse; those discovered by A-10 tank killers or Apache helicopters were not afforded that opportunity).
Speaking of burning people alive, one technique the US used was the BLU-82B, a 15,000 pound bomb detonated near the ground with a blast radius of about 5000 feet, but leaving no crater. It was intended to intimidate by burning up large numbers of infantrymen or armored personnel. (It is sometimes misidentified as a fuel-air bomb or ‘daisy cutter’ but is much more powerful than the latter). It was retired in 2008 in favor of something even more destructive.
In the 2003 invasion, The Guardian reported,
“The 1st Marine Expeditionary Force crossed the Tigris at the town of Kut, reporting only occasional fire from the Baghdad infantry division of the Republican Guard, which had suffered days of intense bombardment, including two massive 15,000lb “daisy-cutter” fuel-air bombs. Gen Brooks said the Baghdad division, which originally had up to 12,000 troops, had been “destroyed”.
I think a lot of the ‘destroyed’ troops were burned up alive.
The purpose of the bombing was to terrify Iraqis into submitting. That is, it was a form of state terrorism. Iraq had not attacked the US. There was no casus belli or legitimate legal grounds for war. The UN Security Council, despite wooing and arm-twisting by Bush officials, declined to authorize the use of force. It was an illegal act of unadulterated aggression with no obvious provocation that led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, the wounding of millions, and rendered four million of the 25 million Iraqis homeless over time (many of these remain displaced to this day; some have thrown in with Daesh as a result).
The US shock and awe campaign failed to shock or awe. The Iraqi military turned guerrilla and harried US troops for 8 1/2 years, then many of the ex-Baath officers and trained soldiers deserted secular nationalism, turned to al-Qaeda-type ideologies, formed Daesh and took over western and northern Iraq and eastern Syria.
The ex-Baath officers learned from seeing their colleagues and troops burned up by the Bush fireworks. According to that doctrine, you want to shock the enemy with your brutality and destructiveness, and awe him into submission by your crazed irrationality. But the Daesh commanders also took the lesson that dropping 15,000 pound bombs in the dead of the night away from cameras isn’t very effective, since the populace is insulated from the horror. Burning up even one captured enemy pilot alive on video, in contrast, would be broadcast by the internet and by Rupert Murdoch to the whole world, and a few thousand thugs could arrange for themselves to take on global importance and appear truly menacing to Jordan and even to the city of Rome (so they claim). All this publicity and fear accomplished not with billions in military spending but a smartphone camera, a single captive, and a few psychopaths with matches.
Now that is Shock and Awe. Shocking in its fierce savagery, awing in its wanton inhumanity. But we shouldn’t forget that that was also what Bush was going for in 2003 when he inadvertently started the process of creating Daesh as a backlash to his own monumental ruthlessness.
———————
* Iraq Body Count gives 24,865 civilian casualties during the first two years of the Iraq War, attributing 37% of these to the US and estimating that 30% of civilian deaths occurred from the beginning of the war until May 1, 2003. Iraq Body Count statistics were gathered passively from Western newspaper reports and personally I think that they are underestimates.
—-
Related video:
Baghdad: Mar 21,2003

Posted in Bush,Featured,Iraq,Iraq War,Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,Jordan,Richard Bruce Cheney,Syria,Uncategorized,War Crimes | No Responses | Print |

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February 5th, 2015, 7:29 am

 

10. Akbar Palace said:

Observer,

Juan Cole is a supporter of all types of “resistance” movements and his legacy in life is trying to make a moral equivalency between all parties, organizations, states and thugs who target civilians.

Excuse me, but he’s a smelly piece of khara.

Iraqi Body Count, is an anti-Bush, anti-American website. The deaths listed were caused mainly from muslim insurgents and thugs, but IBC doesn’t distinguish that. They place all the blame on the US because we “started” the war. Saddam’s mass graves don’t
count, of course.

Iraq Body Count (IBC) records the violent civilian deaths that have resulted from the 2003 military intervention in Iraq. Its public database includes deaths caused by US-led coalition forces and paramilitary or criminal attacks by others.*

https://www.iraqbodycount.org/about/

Try to find a tally of those deaths caused by a.) “US-led coalition” and b.) “others”. You won’t find it. Naturally, because IBC has an agenda. And Saddam Hussein’s body count is ignored.

The war to conduct regime change in Iraq was sanctioned by the UNSC, and every war has civilian deaths, or maybe Juan Cole knows of a justified war that DOESN’T have civilian deaths.

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February 5th, 2015, 12:52 pm

 

11. mjabali said:

Sheikh Observaaar is posting the words of Sheikh Cole trying throw a smoke screen…

The Islamic State had issued what is the RULE to burn Kuffar. The name of the document is Hukm Harq al-Kafer wa-al-Murtad. حكم حرق الكافر والمرتد

The Islamic State stated in this document who in the Muslim Luminary List had burned people….people like Khaled Ibn al-Walid (This guy burned and killed thousands according to Muslims, his nick name is Sayf al-Lah al-Maslul, meaning Allah’s drawn sword…go figure)…

Observaaaaar claims he is a secular and here he is AGAIN defending an ugly side of a violent religion.

The Islamic State burned the captured Jordanian pilot within its own tradition of burning and killing.They quoted Ibn Taymiyah ….the godfather of burning and looting..They have a long tradition…

Blaming America and what they did has nothing to do with why the Islamic State burned the Captured First Lt. Mu’adh al-Kassasebeh in this inhumane manner.

Also, the Islamic State would have never been the monster it is now without the funding and help of many regional and international players….

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February 5th, 2015, 1:22 pm

 

12. Observer said:

I am sorry that it seems that responders have a prejudiced view of myself and therefore post without understanding the message:

The message is as follows and for those that cannot understand it they can have someone read it to them aloud:
1. When France goes viral against anti Semitism and does so correctly in view of the collaboration of Vichy with Nazi Germany while at the same time does not denounce the more than 150 attacks on Muslim businesses and places of worship it sends a message of double standards that is the fuel with which the extremists recruit.
2. When we condemn rightly the brutality of the extremists and call the 500 000 children who died in Iraq “collateral damage” or worse ” it was worth a la Madeleine Albright it serves the cause of those that continue to point out to how the West is “at war with Islam”.
3. When a red line is crossed when the regime uses chemical weapons and then we wiggle out of our declared commitment to punish those that commit war crimes and in the same year or a year later allow Israel to bomb Gaza to the stone age it serves the recruiters of the extremist ideology that want it to be a war of religions and civilizations.
4. When no one points out to the barbaric depravity of the regime and how it made the conflict into a sectarian one to hold the entire population hostage and yet we claim wanting to support moderate rebels to “defeat ISIS first” it bespeaks of cynical cruel and callous disregard for our supposed “values”/

Don’t you understand that
1. OBL has won: he entangled the US in endless unwinnable wars
2. The conflict’s terms are now being set by the most fanatics of all the protagonists
3. The Sunni Shia divide is now well established and deep and anchored in the minds of the people living on the ground.
4. The absence of a counter ideology and counter strategy will allow the initiative to remain in the hands of the extremists on both sides
5. The concept of ” if I do not lose therefore I win” is now considered a propaganda coup of all those that claim to carry the mantle of David against Goliath.
6. The dehumanization of the other is now the prevalent mode of thinking on both official and unofficial levels in the ME and Bahrain withdrawing citizenship on the one hand and forced conversions on the other hand are actually clear cut manifestations of complete exclusion of the other in all its aspects.
Juan Cole makes a point that was made by the extremists: no one bothered to be offended when “daisy cutter” or “bunker busters” or high flammable bombs were dropped or when the water treatment plants were destroyed or the electricity plants were bombed.

No one objected when Menahim Begin called the Palestinians insects and when Sharon presided over the Phalanges from entering Sabra and Chatilla in 1982 and no one called the Christian Phalanges militia as being part of a violent murderous religion or when Andres Berevick in Oslo killed socialist youth in the name of his pure Christian based exclusivist ideology of hate.

I do not agree with Juan Cole regarding putting all the blame on Bush. I merely point out that the double talk the double standards are recruiting tools of the extremists.
I also point out that what goes around comes around: the regime in Syria has used the state of emergency and the state security courts in exactly the same way that the IS has used its warped ideology of Ibn Taymyieh or Wahabbi clerics to create a Kafkaesque circular world of oppression and brutality. THEY ARE MIRROR IMAGES OF EACH OTHER.

IS are pupils of the dungeons and state security prisons of the regimes of the ME including Syria and KSA.

My only point is that double standards lead to increased recruitment of fanatics. Exclusionary ideology of the other leads to dehumanization and to holocausts.

Kabbish, comprende,

WE SHOULD GET OUT OF THE ENTIRE ME AND LET THEM DUKE IT OUT. WE SHOULD STOP SUPPORTING YEMEN KSA UAE KUWAIT IRAQ BAHRAIN OMAN SYRIA LEBANON ISRAEL JORDAN EGYPT LIBYA TUNISIA ALGERIA AND MOROCCO AND BRING OUR TROOPS HOME. Spending 100 billion a year to bring Afghanistan from the 13th to the 14th century is not my idea of good money spent.

Today the regime barreled bombed Aleppo and Douma and used SS missiles and the rebels used rockets to pound Damascus at random. Why should we be involved? we do not have a dog in this fight.

Last week Israel and HA duked it out. Let them continue. who cares.

The responses to my post are exactly why we have to disengage from this region. I get the Israeli who wants the US to espouse its discourse and the regimist wanting the US to engage with a clan and mafia family.

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February 5th, 2015, 3:37 pm

 

13. Observer said:

No comment Mjabali watch it and see how Al Azhar is a mirror image of IS and how regimes are the source of this abomination in reverese

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February 5th, 2015, 3:53 pm

 

14. Observer said:

Again no comment

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February 5th, 2015, 4:10 pm

 

15. AKbar Palace said:

1. When France goes viral against anti Semitism and does so correctly in view of the collaboration of Vichy with Nazi Germany while at the same time does not denounce the more than 150 attacks on Muslim businesses and places of worship it sends a message of double standards that is the fuel with which the extremists recruit.

Observer,

What are these “attacks”? I’d like to know. You’re comparing the DEATH and assassination of at least 12 people, some singled out because they were jewish. How many muslims were killed in these 150 attacks? Were these attacks spray painted words on a mosque (for example)? Jews experience these forms of anti-semitism all the time. I would like to compare VIOLENT acts of murder; apples-to-apples.

2. When we condemn rightly the brutality of the extremists and call the 500 000 children who died in Iraq “collateral damage” or worse ” it was worth a la Madeleine Albright it serves the cause of those that continue to point out to how the West is “at war with Islam”.

Blame Saddam Hussein. Why is it arabs/muslims find it so easy to point fingers at everyone except their self-appointed leaders? Food and medicine were never part of the embargo and only the Iraqi government prevented their own people from these necessities.

3. When a red line is crossed when the regime uses chemical weapons and then we wiggle out of our declared commitment to punish those that commit war crimes and in the same year or a year later allow Israel to bomb Gaza to the stone age it serves the recruiters of the extremist ideology that want it to be a war of religions and civilizations.

Bombing Gaza was not a war crime. And the Gazan elected government (Hamas) is begging for more war. I guess it bothers you more than it bothers Hamas.

1. OBL has won: he entangled the US in endless unwinnable wars

And it will continue until arabs and muslims learn to govern themselves.

2. The conflict’s terms are now being set by the most fanatics of all the protagonists

True

3. The Sunni Shia divide is now well established and deep and anchored in the minds of the people living on the ground.

Who do we blame for that?

4. The absence of a counter ideology and counter strategy will allow the initiative to remain in the hands of the extremists on both sides

This is because arab and muslim moderates are not the majority or they are unwilling to confront their own people, or both.

Juan Cole makes a point that was made by the extremists: no one bothered to be offended when “daisy cutter” or “bunker busters” or high flammable bombs were dropped or when the water treatment plants were destroyed or the electricity plants were bombed.

Juan Cole can only blame the West. That’s his point. And whatever the arabs and muslims do to themselves is the West fault, especially Israel.

No one objected when Menahim Begin called the Palestinians insects and when Sharon presided over the Phalanges from entering Sabra and Chatilla in 1982 and no one called the Christian Phalanges militia as being part of a violent murderous religion or when Andres Berevick in Oslo killed socialist youth in the name of his pure Christian based exclusivist ideology of hate.

Because it happens so infrequently. Arab leaders can be quoted daily insulting everyone, especially in terms of anti-semitism. Again, the instances you mentioned above are aberaations. Sabra and Chatilla occurred while Christians were being slaughtered by Lebanese muslims. Sharon went on trial! He won his libel case against Time. What happened in Sabra and Chatilla is occurring weekly inthe ME by muslims.

I do not agree with Juan Cole regarding putting all the blame on Bush.

You’re being unfair! q;o)

I merely point out that the double talk the double standards are recruiting tools of the extremists.

There are no double standards, muslims have been killing orders of magnitude more muslims than the US, Israel and the West for decades.

My only point is that double standards lead to increased recruitment of fanatics. Exclusionary ideology of the other leads to dehumanization and to holocausts.

Recruitment of fanatics will always be easy when this region produces intolerant thugs instead of peaceful statesmen. Intolerant Islamic clerics are continuously aired in the arab media. In the West, they wouldn’t be allowed in the media. There will always be the ideology of resistance, revenge and resentment that the arab and muslim clerics feed on.

Kabbish, comprende

I sure do.

WE SHOULD GET OUT OF THE ENTIRE ME AND LET THEM DUKE IT OUT.

Perhaps. Until they reach our shores and our skyscrapers. The current stalemate reminds me of the Iran-Iraq war. Two totalitarian regimes killing each other off. A very peaceful time in US history.

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February 5th, 2015, 4:48 pm

 

16. Observer said:

Double standards of course are the basis of the division of the ME since Sykes Picot with the “chosen people” having the right to statehood while the indigenous population is denied that right. And please do not come back in telling me about how less brutal Israeli rule is compared to Arab regimes.

As a US citizen I am ashamed that my taxes go to support an apartheid regime governed by war criminals.

I cannot debate with someone who has dehumanized the other; as for murder go tell the Algerians of how many France’s civilizational mission killed or how many Vietnamese the US has killed or how many Afghans the Soviets have killed and how many Armenians the Turks have killed and how many Kenyans the British have killed and how many Indian women had their thumbs cut off by the Brits to destroy the local sewing industry or how many Indonesians the Dutch have starved and drowned of how many Arabs the regimes of the ME have killed and how many cluster bombs Israel has left in South Lebanon or how many Jews the Germans have killed or how many Ukrainians Stalin has killed or how many Cambodians Pol Pot has killed or how many Mao has starved of how many women the Japanese have raped or how many indigenous people the Spaniards have killed or starved to death. Go watch the pictures of Brits tying up rebels to the mouth of their cannons. And yes I know that now we have these fanatics with their perverse view of a world order killing in the name of Islam and in the name of God. These are no less fanatic than all other ideologies that dehumanize the other. As for the Crusades and as for the communists and as for extreme nationalists that justify the extermination of the other. Go watch the Burmese burn Muslims alive or the Chinese persecute Tibetans. Of watch the videos that of regime troops burning people alive.

I am not a believer but I do fully espouse the message of jesus for it is one of pure love and forgiveness and one day a Hindu came to Ghandi confessing that he killed a Muslim child and Ghandi told him to go adopt an orphan child and raise him/her as a Muslim as a minimum act of repentance. These are my heroes not your Bibi or Begin or Sharon. Shame on them and on their memory. Sharon was on trial but at the ICC or at the Lebanese court. What about the killing of innocents at Kana when they took refuse at the UN headquarters. What about the endless vetoes that the US keeps pronouncing to protect an apartheid state. It does not matter that the 150 acts of aggression on Muslims were not lethal. As for the Jews the acts did not start with killings and concentration camps it started with dehumanization campaign and guild by association then the ideology went to brain wash an entire generation to commit the unthinkable.

Humans are still barbarians and even a democracy like the one in the US is capable of atrocities and war crimes because in the world arena there is no overarching justice system to hold powers accountable. The UN is a private club of world powers who agree to continue diving up the world but without going to war over it, only using locals to do the killing. That is how the US can get away with an illegal and criminal war that broke all the rules established by the Nuremberg tribunal that clearly established that a war of aggression is the ultimate war crime for it permits all other crimes.

As this country has become an empire looking after its interests it has lost its compass of values and its anchor of the principles of the enlightenment and the pursuit of empire is killing the Republic and any further pursuit will end with an autocratic country.

As autocrats with nuclear weapons gain power, there will be no limit to their use of all forces to pursue power for its own sake and already we have a glimpse of such a pursuit with the power grab of Putin who will not hesitate to use nuclear power to achieve his aims.

Let me say that if Israel thinks that it is safe with its nuclear arsenal it is clearly delusional. These fanatics would welcome being nuked for in their calculations a nuclear use by Israel is exactly what they are looking for for they calculate that a loss of up to 500 million is worth the price of annihilating Israel.

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February 5th, 2015, 9:43 pm

 

17. Akbar Palace said:

Observer,

So your response to the complete mess in the ME is a diatribe against Zionism? How original.

Zionism isn’t killing your people; YOUR people are killing your people. Are you REALLY observing Observer, or is your head in the sand?

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February 6th, 2015, 6:49 am

 

18. Akbar Palace said:

I am not a believer but I do fully espouse the message of jesus for it is one of pure love and forgiveness…

Observer,

Then why do you hate Israel so much? Most christians are quite pro-Israel…

http://www.lightbeaconministries.com/

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February 6th, 2015, 7:39 am

 

19. ghufran said:

Zahran Aloush, again, shelled Damascus randomly and killed a number of civilians knowing very well that the Syrian army will respond and that is exactly what it did but the response this time may be different after it became clear that the public is fed up with the situation and the inability of the Syrian government to stop the shelling, it also became evident that Alloush and his financiers in the GCC and Turkey are not about to stop shelling Damascus or negotiate a cease fire. Alloush is rumored to be injured and Douma is paying the price for his stupidity and brutality, this business of occupying towns and using civilian areas as launching pads for attacks against the army and civilians outside rebels territories brought nothing but death and misery to Syrians who live under the mercy of terrorists and thugs like Alloush and his friends. Rebels lost a lot of support in Damascus and that is a factor in the military escalation Ghouta is witnessing today.

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February 6th, 2015, 3:30 pm

 

20. ALAN said:

حاول الملك الجديد سلمان أن يقيل أولا كل المؤيدين السابقين لسلفه, ماضيا في مسعاه إلى حد إقالة الأمير متعب, وكذلك الأمين العام للقصر بعد ساعتين فقط من وفاة الملك عبد الله. ثم تراجع عن قراراته بعد تلقيه التعازي من ولي أمره, رئيس الولايات المتحدة.

في نهاية المطاف, تبين أن الأمير متعب هو الناجي الوحيد من الحقبة السابقة, في حين تم طرد الأمير بندر.

كان الأمير بندر, هو من يصون داعش بمساعدة سي.آي.ايه, وذلك للضغط على الملك عبد الله لمصلحة عشيرة السديري.

قد يكون طلب اقصائه من قبل الرئيس أوباما الآن, ايذان بنهاية هيمنة السعودية على الارهاب العالمي.

هذه المرة ستصيب :

عام 2010, تم نفي الأمير بندر عقب محاولته تنظيم انقلاب, لكنه أعيد بفضل الحرب على سورية.

عام 2012, كان ضحية هجوم انتقاما لاغتيال أعضاء مجلس الأمن القومي السوري, لكنه عاد إلى العمل بعد عام منهكا ومهووسا.

عام 2014, طلب جون كيري من جديد طرده, لكنه سرعان ما عاد إلى واجهة الأحداث بسبب الأزمة في مصر.

لكنه هذه المرة ضحية تخلي عشيرته عنه, الأمر الذي لن يترك له أي أمل في العودة.

تطورات في واشنطن والرياض تجعلنا نستنتج عقلانيا أن الولايات المتحدة سوف تركز جهودها خلال الشهور المقبلة على ابعاد داعش عن منطقة نفوذها في بلاد الشام, بغية زجها ضد روسيا والصين.

أما المملكة السعودية, فيتعين عليها محاولة انقاذ نفوذها لدى جيرانها في البحرين واليمن, مع تقديم المساعدة للخاسر الأكبر من الحرب على سورية, الرئيس أردوغان الذي أخذت الولايات المتحدة قرارا باسقاطه.

مرة أخرى, سورية أقدم حضارة انسانية, تصمد حية في وجه كل من أرادوا تدميرها.
http://www.voltairenet.org/article186649.html

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February 6th, 2015, 4:25 pm

 

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