The Death of Zahran Alloush

by Aron Lund, editor of Syria in Crisis

Zahran Alloush

Rebel sources report that a missile hit a gathering of Islam Army leaders in the Eastern Ghouta region today, killing several of them, including Mohammed Zahran Alloush. Some reports also say that an allied rebel faction, Feilaq al-Rahman, had much of its leadership wiped out, and that the strike was carried out by Russia. (The Syrian government claims that its own airforce was behind the attack.)

This is big news and it has the potential to shift the balance of power in the Ghouta, a region of suburbs and agricultural towns into that rings the Syrian capital. It could also impact the Syrian peace process—such as it is—that is slated to begin this January.

First of All, Is It True?

Abu Humam Bouidani, reportedly the new Islam Army leader.

Abu Humam Bouidani, reportedly the new Islam Army leader.

Seems like it. Pro-opposition media is awash with stories about Zahran Alloush’s death and there have been no signs of life, no denials, and no comments from his associates. Major rebel leaders and allies of Zahran Alloush and the Islam Army, including leaders of such major factions like the Mujahedin Army and Ahrar al-Sham, have posted their personal condoleances on social media. The Islam Army’s own media channels are still posting reports on military actions, but they have so far distributed nothing on the alleged attack. The fact that several top-ranking Islam Army figures have been silent since earlier today could mean that some of them, too, may have been killed or wounded in the strike.

About half an hour ago, at 21.40 Syrian time, the online news agency Sada al-Tawhid, which is aligned with the Islam Army, stated on Twitter that Zahran Alloush is dead and has been succeeded by Sheikh Abu Humam Bouidani. In other words, it would seem that Zahran Alloush is in fact dead.

Who Was Zahran Alloush?

Mohammed Zahran Alloush (1971-2015), also known as Abu Abdullah, was a salafi activist from Douma, a town east of Damascus in the Ghouta region. His father, Abdullah Alloush, is a salafi theologian resident in Saudi Arabia.

Alloush was arrested several times before the uprising for his religious and political activism and sent to the  ”Islamist wing” of the Seidnaia prison north of Damascus. There, he formed close connections to many other Syrian Islamists, including people who now run large rebel factions like Ahrar al-Sham. He was released from jail in June 2011 and quickly joined the armed uprising, eventually emerging as the strongman of his home region in the Eastern Ghouta and one of the most powerful rebel leaders in all of Syria.

He was also one of the most controversial ones. His supporters were taken in by his forceful personality and his personal bravery, as a commander who lived with his men in the warzone and visited the frontline. They admired his knack for organization and politics and credited him with the semi-stability that reigned inside the besieged Eastern Ghouta enclave—a bombed out and starved suburban region that resembles nothing so much as a giant version of the Gaza Strip in Palestine. The Ghouta has been under constant pressure since the marginalized Sunni suburbs of Damascus, where hatred against Bashar al-Assad and his government ran strong, began to throw out the police and security servies in 2011 and 2012. Since then, the region has been under siege and functioned as a world of its own. Holding the frontline in Damascus, where Assad has concentrated so much of his army, was no small feat and it was much thanks to Alloush’s men. Coordinating the rebels there and limiting their infighting was no less of an achievement, especially considering the all-out chaos that reigned in other areas of Syria, where conditions were much better. For many supporters of the opposition, defending and stabilizing the Eastern Ghouta despite unceasing war and artillery bombardment, including with nerve gas, was enough to make Zahran Alloush a hero of the Syrian revolution.

Zahran Alloush watches a military parade of Islam Army fighters from a podium in the Eastern Ghouta, in a propaganda tape released by the group.

Zahran Alloush watches a military parade of Islam Army fighters from a podium in the Eastern Ghouta, in a propaganda tape released by the group.

But the methods that Alloush used to bring stability to the Eastern Ghouta were not pretty. He has been accused of stuffing the local administration with cronies and family members to assure that no one could threaten his grip on power, of monopolizing access to the outside world through a system of tunnels, of selling aid and food at inflated prices, and of suppressing dissent with brutal means, including torture and assassination. To his rivals, he was no hero, but power-hungry opportunist or worse: a warlord, a dictator-in-the-making, hell-bent on seizing the presidential palace for himself. Some even acidly compared his methods of governance to those of Bashar al-Assad.

One aspect of this intolerance for dissent was a ferocious manhunt for supporters of the extremist Islamic State. It was long warily tolerated, the way the Islam Army still works with the Nusra Front despite latent tension between the groups. But when the Islamic State began to seriously challenge the system Alloush had constructed in the Eastern Ghouta, in 2014, all hell broke lose. Zahran Alloush’s men drove the Islamic State out of several neighborhoods, in a violent crackdown that made Syrian human rights activists and Alloush’s other Islamist rivals go pale with fright. The purge was mostly successful and it won discrete international applause, though it seems to have been a turf war just as much as it was an ideological conflict and a political conflict.

Non-extremists were also in danger. The 2013 kidnapping of four well-known secular human rights activists in Douma, an area under strong Islam Army influence, was blamed on Zahran Alloush by their families, who noted that men under his command had previously threatened the activists. Alloush denied responsibility, albeit rather unconvincingly, and he seemed genuinely perplexed that so much attention could be attached to the fate of four individuals, when people were being killed in the Ghouta by their thousands every year. But the affair made him a bête noire of much of the secular opposition, with its powerful networks abroad, and made Western governments shy away from direct dealings with his group even as it sought to moderate its politics and connect to the UN-backed political process.

While Alloush was an unabashedly sectarian Islamist, inspired by Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi establishment, he was also pragmatic enough to maneuver his way through Syrian rebel politics and its shifting alliances. In the past, he threatened non-Sunni Muslim religious groups, referring to Alawites and Shia Muslims as ”filth” that would be cleansed from Syria. He condemned democracy and pronounced himself in favor of a Sunni Islamic theocracy, where sharia law would be applied in the fullest. But in the past year, perhaps under pressure from his foreign supporters, Alloush began to try to polish his image and gain acceptance in the West. His last interview, with a female Christian Syrian reporter working for the U.S. online journal The Daily Beast, was a good example of this. Alloush folded back his fangs and tried to come off as a constructive, responsible centrist, an anti-terrorist ally, and an all-around gentleman. You know, the kind you’d like to see in a coalition government.

What Is the Islam Army?

When Alloush was released from jail in summer 2011, he contacted friends and family in Douma to create an armed rebel faction in Douma, which he dubbed the Islam Brigade (Katibat al-Islam). The group later grew and added more men and more powerful weapons, rebranding itself as the Islam Brigade (Liwa al-Islam). It shot to fame or infamy—depending on which side of the conflict you’re on—in July 2012, when it issued a statement claiming responsibility for killing several top commanders in Assad’s army and intelligence services. The incident, reportedly a bombing of the National Security Office in Damascus, has never been fully explained. To me, it seems likely that foreign intelligence services were involved, perhaps allowing the Islam Brigade to claim credit to boost the group’s credentials. (But this is speculation!)

Whatever happened, the Islam Brigade quickly grew into one of the most powerful factions of the Eastern Ghouta, which gradually freed itself of government control. After initially being one among several groups, the Islam Brigade started elbowing its way to the top, striking deals with other factions or muscling them out of its way, as the situation required. It appears that generous foreign support, reportedly from Saudi Arabia, contributed to the rise of the Islam Brigade. In September 2013, the group renamed itself the Islam Army (Jaish al-Islam). Holdout groups continued to try to challenge Alloush’s growing dominance in the Eastern Ghouta enclave over the following months. Most were eventually forced to negotiate for their share of power in a system thoroughly dominated by Alloush.

In August 2014, the Islam Army spearheaded the creation of the Unified Command in the Eastern Ghouta, which also included the Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union, Feilaq al-Rahman, Ahrar al-Sham, and other groups. Alloush was appointed its leader. However, other rebels guarded their influence and it was not a mere puppet body. For example, control of the Sharia court system in the Eastern Ghouta in fact fell to Khaled Tafour, an Ajnad al-Sham ally, rather than to Samir Kaakeh, who ran religious affairs in the Islam Army. (At the time of writing, it remains uncertain whether Kaakeh survived today’s airstrike.) Conflicts continued to occur, with Ajnad al-Sham and Ahrar al-Sham occasionally at odds with the Islam Army, sometimes trading harsh accusations with Alloush. Some factions remained outside the scope of the alliance entirely—most notably the jihadis of the Nusra Front (al-Qaeda) and the Islamic State.

According to some reports, leaders of Feilaq al-Rahman were also present at the meeting targeted today and killed in the strike, and the Syrian state press has also said local Ahrar al-Sham leaders were among those killed.

What Happens to the Group Now?

The death of Zahran Alloush does not necessarily mean that the Islam Army will fall apart. Another strong leader could emerge, perhaps backed by foreign supporters like Saudi Arabia, or by other rebels in the area, all of whom are presumably anxious to preserve basic stability in the Eastern Ghouta at a difficult moment.

Islam Army logotype

Islam Army logotype

Some rebel factions in Syria collapse quickly when a central leader or founder is lost. Others fade away gradually. For example, the Tawhid Brigade in Aleppo was weakened and split after the death of Abdulqader Saleh in November 2013, and it has now folded into another faction—but it took a while. And Ahrar al-Sham somehow survived the killing of nearly all its leaders in September 2014, relying on strong institutions and foreign support.

But in the case of the Islam Army, it has virtually been synonymous with Zahran Alloush throughout its existence, going back to the days when it was known as the Islam Battalion. Many of the most prominent leaders and representatives of the Islam Army were close friends or relatives of Zahran Alloush himself, such as Mohammed Alloush, who served as the group’s lead negotiator and political chief; he is a cousin of the Islam Army leader. If Zahran Alloush has now been killed, possibly alongside other top leaders, it could amount to a decapitation strike.

Add to that the fact that the Islam Army’s dominance has created so much resentment among other factions over the years, and the situation seems very unstable. It looks likely that the Eastern Ghouta is in for major change in the coming months.

How Does It Affect the Syrian Peace Process?

A Syrian peace process was recently launched in Vienna by the International Syria Support Group, a coalition including the United States, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other governments. In early December, a meeting in Riyadh created an opposition body to participate in negotiations with Bashar al-Assad’s government. According to the United Nations, which will convene the talks, they are currently planned for Geneva in late January 2016.

Though Zahran Alloush couldn’t attend in person, the Islam Army was the most powerful and the most hardline faction to sign on to the Riyadh talks (after Ahrar al-Sham backed out), despite fierce opposition from al-Qaeda aligned jihadi groups. If the Islam Army has trouble getting its house in order after Zahran Alloush’s death, or is caught up in rivalries with factions seeking to increase their share in the Eastern Ghouta’s war economy, or is weakened, this could have a negative effect on the opposition’s ability to conduct talks in Geneva.

On the other hand, the peace process has plenty of other problems to stumble over—whether or not the Islam Army is on board just adds to a long list of reasons it looks likely to fail.

What Happens in Damascus?

A lot of things are happening in Damascus. Less than two weeks ago, the Syrian Arab Army and its Shia Islamist allies attacked and retook the Marj al-Sultan air base in the southern part of the Eastern Ghouta, threatening the enclave.

Also, just before the news about the airstrike that killed Zahran Alloush, it was revealed that a UN-brokered arrangement will evacuate insurgents from several neighborhoods in southern Damascus, including the Yarmouk refugee camp. These areas have been mercilessly starved by the government over the past few years, and bombed, and bitterly contested both between Palestinian factions, the Syrian government, various Sunni rebel factions, and the rival Islamic State. Now, some 4000 Sunni fighters will be escorted to their respective strongholds in northern Syria and the neighborhoods will revert to some form of government control under a ceasefire arrangement. If the deal is followed through, this marks a major advance for Bashar al-Assad’s government.

With so much up in the air, and rebels threatened on multiple fronts, Zahran Alloush’s death is important. If it leads to instability and infighting among the rebels, or weakens command and control in the Ghouta, we could start to see a shift in the balance of power in the Syrian capital over the coming months.

— Aron Lund is the editor of Syria in Crisis

Comments (87)

Pages: « 1 [2] Show All

51. Hopeful said:

Here are the leaders of the “Syrian institutions” which everyone now wants to make sure are protected in a political solution. What a joke!

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December 29th, 2015, 1:59 pm


52. Tara said:

Hopeful ,


من وين هالنمرة؟

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December 29th, 2015, 7:25 pm


53. Ghufran said:

Without a doubt a lot of what had been said about the regime is true but rebels supporters conveniently ignore the fact that there is no viable and credible body Rebels have created or provided , what we see is a deformed and manufactured opposition financed by the GCC snd directed by turkey and Islamists. Rebels either collaborated with terrorists or provided coverage for them, there is no running from the fact that Rebels are a sectarian force that committed war crimes and is equal to nusra and Isis in its view of minorities.
If the regime wins or is winning it is mostly due to the sacrifices of poor alawsites who were not given any other choice and the action of Rebels who made the wrong choices.

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December 30th, 2015, 2:47 am


54. Observer said:

The regime is non viable either. It is not a choice that people can make for it is non reformable
It is intrinsically evil hateful sectarian exploitative modern slavery version of IS

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December 30th, 2015, 7:36 am


55. Observer said:

Worth reading carefully

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December 30th, 2015, 7:56 am


56. Hopeful said:

#51 Ghufran

You know as well as anyone less that ANY viable visible alternative to the regime was either brutally murdered or put in prison. Viable alternatives, who are not affiliated with the terrorists, will not emerge so long as the regime continues to behave the same was it has behaved. And frankly, we should wish for them to stay hidden. When/if the conditions change, they will emerge and we can hope for a better future.

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December 30th, 2015, 12:03 pm


57. Mina said:

From Jisr al Shughur

Happy new year. Let’s hope for peace at last

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December 30th, 2015, 12:06 pm


58. Jasmine said:

Congratulations to the Syrian army on their recent achievement,they have proved once again that they are trustworthy ,chapeau to every soldier who is fighting for Syria’s existence,they may not be eloquent on TV but they proved that they loved their country better than our virtual soldier who is making fun of them.

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December 30th, 2015, 12:20 pm


59. Ghufran said:

There are 40,000 civilians and few hundred rebels in Madaya near Damascus who have little or no access to daily necessities and can not get out of town because regime forces and hizbullah could not reach an agreement with rebels and Nusra to lift the siege on Fu’aa and K’farya in return of Madaya. A number of people who were caught trying to leave the two towns were beheaded and videotaped. Again and again syrians are being used and abused by fighting forces on the ground with little regard to human rights and basic islamic values. The atrocities committed in Syria by muslims leave no doubt that much of the evil Syria has seen is not imported from the West and is now part an islamic history that will stain the reputation of Muslims for generations to come.

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December 30th, 2015, 1:02 pm


60. Mina said:

well spotted by MoA on “the so-called Human Rights Watch” schizophrenic position regardind djihadists

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December 30th, 2015, 3:29 pm


61. ALAN said:

Syria, once its territory will be freed from the Islamist terrorists and other radical clerics, will pose a serious threat to the regional ambitions of neighbors….
Given this, the U.S. strategy to force a Russian military “exodus” from Syria seems to have drastically failed. While the intention was to drastically reduce, if not remove altogether, Russia’s military presence in Syria to ultimately exclude it from any future political settlement, the opposite might happen in near future. With Russia all set to intensify its campaign with or without any coalition, the U.S. and its allies seem to have unwittingly fallen a poor prey to what can better be called their folly of judgement.
Foreign planes dropping military aid for Islamic State in Kirkuk

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December 30th, 2015, 4:05 pm


62. ALAN said:

بالنسبة لكبار ضباط الولايات المتحدة :

أولا، يجب دعم الرئيس بشار الأسد لكي ينتصر، ويبقى في السلطة.

ثانيا، يجب العمل مع روسيا ضد داعش.

ثالثا، يجب معاقبة تركيا التي لاتتصرف كحليف، بل كعدو.

رابعا، يجب الكف عن تخيل وجود “متمردين سوريين معتدلين”، والاختباء وراء هذا الوهم، للسماح لوكالة الاستخبارات المركزية (سي.آي.ايه) بدعم الإرهابيين.

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December 30th, 2015, 4:26 pm


63. ghufran said:

Lavrov clear statement that Russia considers Ashrar alsham and jaish alloush as terrorist organizations will put pressure on the US to respond. The US had previously designated one as a terrorist organization but did not do the same with the other.
KSA wants Alloush thugs to be part of
a solution to the Syrian war and Turkey and Qatar do not want ashrar Alsham to be on the terrorist list.

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December 30th, 2015, 4:27 pm


64. omen said:

You know you are in trouble when you have to rely on a gangster like Lavrov to legitimize your position. That’s because ghufran can’t point to anything redeeming about Assad.

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December 30th, 2015, 7:12 pm


65. Jasmine said:

Russia has gained its leader role in the political arena and has to persevere to keep it in the future,China will be in the lead with it ,it is about time that the East will claim some overdue respect from the west,shame has to happen in the Syrian territory and payed by Syrian blood.

As long as Islam is not willing to reform its ideology,the world will continue to suffer.
Here is some excerpt from the Infidel Bloggers Alliance.


1. Is a mind-control and information-control cult founded by an assassin, torturer, pirate, rapist and pedophile called Mohammed. The mind-control and information-control aspects require that all criticism of Islam be silenced and cult members follow its leaders blindly (called “taqlid”). Without taqlid (blind following), the cult would swiftly be exposed and the franchise would come to an end. One million mullahs would lose their monopoly on “the Truth” and their thought-control jobs. Hence, most of what mullahs do is to control and suppress bad news about Islam.

2. Is Mohammed’s personality cult. It has no foundations other than Mohammed’s murderous rantings (in the Koran and Hadiths). The Koran consists of two conflicting parts – Meccan and Medinan (peaceful and violent respectively). The Medinan material supersedes (or ‘abrogates’) the Meccan stuff. Muslims act Medinan, but they quote gentler Meccan verses to the gullible infidels. Muslims say that Allaah has no partners, yet they have made Mohammed into a golden idol they worship as though he were a god, even to the point of saying he is present everywhere on earth through his “noor” (light).. Everything about Mohammed is beyond criticism under threat of decapitation, torture or fire-bombing.

3. Claims to worship the same God as Christians and Jews, but in fact worships Allah – a demonic channelling of the pagan Arabian moon-god through Mohammed’s toxic narcissistic personality disorder. The Death Cult mixes garbled versions of Christian and Jewish scriptures with pagan practices such as moon and meteorite-worship, and cut-throat blood sacrifice of animals and non-believers. Islam is the only religion that institutionalizes beheading, crucifixion, torture, and genocide.

4. Has no rational, philosophical or theological basis, and the whole belief-system is contradicted by science, philosophy, common sense, human decency, and astonishing internal inconsistency.

5. Cannot withstand rational criticism, scientific examination or forensic inquiry. Islam can only spread and maintain itself by ignorance, illiteracy, war, terrorism, and intimidation. Islam has bloody borders and cannot co-exist peacefully with other belief systems. Winston Churchill said that Islam in a man is as dangerous as hydrophobia (rabies) in a dog. Islam demands obedience and blind following, and forbids itself to be tested.

6. Has a superstitious dread of images of pigs, crosses, Buddhas, Saint George (and his flag), teddy bears, and of course Mo-toons.

7. Regards Islamic women as semihuman. Wife-beating, incest and child abuse (including mufa’khathat or ‘thighing’ – the ritual abuse of infants) are encouraged and almost never punished.

8. Regards all unbelievers (Kaffirs, Kuffar, Kufrs, Kafirs) as ritually unclean subhumans to be killed, subjugated, enslaved, exploited, or parasitized. Kafirs are described by the Arabic word ‘najis’ – literally ‘filth’. That’s why Muslim hatred of Kafirs is intrinsic to their religion. A Kafir doesn’t need to do anything to offend a Muslim; his very existence is already enough of an affront. Every Muslim believes a kafir should know his place.

9. Possesses an ethical system that applies only to Muslims. Allah endorses rape, pillage, extortion, torture and enslavement of non-Muslims. Morality does not extend beyond the global gang (ummah). There is no Golden Rule anywhere in Islam. Muslim ethics are, thus, similar to the ethics of the Mafia. (Murdering a non-Moslem is not a capital offence, but only a misdemeanour.) Because of Sharia law, rape is almost impossible to prove. And an infidel cannot testify against a Muslim.

10. Has followers who are motivated by hatred, greed and lust. There is no love, mercy or compassion. Allah is vindictive, unpredictable, capricious and devious – Allah is The Best of Schemers.

11. Is the only religion NOT founded upon The Golden Rule. Morality is based on Mohammed’s example. If Mohammed did it, then it is approved for all Muslims. Hence the encouragement of rape, pillage, enslavement, subjugation and murder of non-believers and the institutionalised pedophilia (child marriage at any age) prevalent throughout Muslim society- justified by Mohammed’s activities with Ayesha, his child sex-slave.

12. Defines all human relations by paradigm of dominance vs. submission. Muslims have schizoid inferiority/superiority complexes. (A well-balanced Muslim is one with a chip on each shoulder). They respect strength but despise compromise as weakness. Appeasement invites more aggression. The only political system which has been strong enough to subjugate Islam is Stalinism.

13. Establishes and legitimizes polygamy, which ensures alpha-males get extra women, leading to a shortage of women for the betas. For sexual relief, beta-males must either masturbate (a sin that puts a Muslim in hell), or form dog-packs and rape or capture kafir women as booty in a razzia, or else self-immolate in the presence of infidels so they may collect 72 mythical virgins in Allah’s playboy-mansion-in-the-sky. (Islam’s harebrained paradise is sophomoric, absurd and ludicrous. It appeals to youthful warriors under the age of 25!) Young Muslim beta-males are often encouraged by their relatives to become suicide bombers because of their belief that such murdering ‘martyrs’ will be able to intercede with Allah and take 70 of their relatives to paradise with them! Family benefits from suicide-murders!

14. Encourages lying and the deception of infidels (taqiyya). This may take many forms, including outright lies, feigned moderation, and condemnation of terrorist attacks to the Kaffir while rejoicing over the same with fellow Muslims. Muslims often tend to regard themselves as victims of some group of Kafirs so they can harbor grudges against them and against Kafirs in general. Allah is The Best of Schemers.

Individual Muslims may appear law-abiding and reasonable, but they are part of a totalitarian movement, and must be considered potential killers blindly obeying their leaders who can flip in an instant (SJS -’Sudden Jihad Syndrome’).

15. Forbids befriending kafirs except for purposes of deceit or where conversion of the kafir may be possible.

16. Purports to have a ‘holy book’, the Koran, that is Allah’s final word, and cannot be changed or challenged. To do so is punishable by death. Consequently, the Death Cult can never change or be reformed. The instructions to murder and rape infidels are just as valid now as the day they were written. Rape was traditionally used as a means of ethnic cleansing.

Since Islam cannot be modernised, the Muslims are attempting to Islamise modernity. This requires spreading Islam in the West and simultaneously preventing any criticism of the cult by intimidation and PC legislation to curtail freedom of expression.

17. Regards treaties and agreements with Kaffirs as meaningless, and are made to be broken (Hudna). The word of a Muslim to a Kafir counts for nothing in the eyes of Allah. “Allah leads astray whom he pleases”.

18. Divides the world between Dar-al-Islam (the Islamic Realm) and Dar-al-Harb (the domain of war, the Kufr lands). Muslims living in Dar-al-Harb must work to disrupt their host nations until these can be brought into Dar-al-Islam.

19. Encourages Muslims to parasitize their host nations. In fact, Muslims have no obligation to their host nations. Any free nation is considered “the Enemy” (The Great Satan is USA). Welfare fraud, identity theft, forgery etc. are endemic in Western Muslim populations, and serious crime against Kaffirs is regarded as normal and justified. Extortion rackets against Kafirs are mandated by the Koran (’jizya’ is the Arabic term for ‘protection money’ payable by Jews and Christians to Muslims under threat of death).

20. Is a complete system, including a culture, which Muslims regard as superior to other cultures (despite all evidence to the contrary…where are the operas, the ballets, the oratorios, the inspiring novels and films?) Jihadist attacks on their host nations aren’t just against its religion and economy, but are aimed at its very cultural identity. Muslims are therefore required to destroy the symbols of non-Muslim culture…’Jahiliya’ (sometimes spelled ‘Jahiliyya’)-. In the East, this has included destruction of Hindu temples and Christian churches and replacement with mosques, and destruction of Buddhist artwork, temples, and universities and replacement with heaps of rubble. This process of cultural replacement is now beginning in the West. In addition, the rape of kafir women by Muslim men is a way of proving to host nations that their women are all whores and don’t deserve to be respected. The old “blaming the victim” ploy. The Muslim headscarf is a means of segregating girls from the culture of the host country. 

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December 30th, 2015, 10:36 pm


66. Hopeful said:

Alan, it is incredible to me that you are celebrating Russia’s military intervention in Syria. All this talk from you and your president about sovereignty, etc., was just for public consumption. Your president could only survive without asking a superpower to intervene militarily on his behalf to bomb and kill his domestic enemies. When some opposition figures early on asked for American military support to fight Assad, they were all labeled “traitors of the nation.” The hypocracy is astounding!

Jasmine, logic tells me that the Infidel Blogger Alliance is completely wrong. No bad religion would be able to attract 2B followers. No bad religion would be able to build a ruling empire for hundreds of years. No bad religion would be able to contribute to science and civilization what Islamic scholars contributed. No bad religion leader (or cult leader for that matter) would be able to inspire and motivate his followers, against all odds, to a better place. This is complete nonsense.

Now, does Islam today need major reforms, absolutely! Christianity, as practiced today, is very different from how it was practiced in the dark ages, but it took a revolution and a lot of blood to get here. People do not slam Jesus just because of the horrific practices of the church and priests, or even for the horrific passages in the bible. Mind you though, Christianity practices were easier to reform because the authority was centralized, and all you needed to do is revolt against that authority. Islam is a more complicated story.

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December 31st, 2015, 12:40 am


67. Observer said:

Well done Jasmine; let us include the cult of Ali that you failed to mention and the theocracy that was founded in 79. That country is a good example of your description of this horrendous religion. 🙂

Now propose your solution: there are 1.2 billion who call themselves Muslim. What are you going to do about them?

Remember that dehumanizing the other is the first step to persecution and nothing helps a religion or a cult better than a persecution.

One more thing: it is cleat that if the regime and its allies were winning we would not have had Jasmine ranting about this cultist religion of evil.

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December 31st, 2015, 7:27 am


68. Jasmine said:

Islam can be reformed easily,once is not politicised and abused for expansion and ego inflating.
The theocracy which was founded in 79 should be reformed too,it is part of Islam.
I thought you were atheist,why you are so upset?
You are so obsessed with regime change like the rest,even if this is going to have Syria disintegrated into unknown shape.
Happy New year.

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December 31st, 2015, 8:57 am


69. Sami said:

Whatever your leaning or thoughts about Ahrar and Jaish Islam, to declare them as terrorists and exclude them from the talks will only prolong the war.

The more people you need to fight, the longer this war will go on. It’s as simple as that.

It seems the Russians and Iranians want a continuation of this war. Or at least until they think they have the upper hand.

Lastly, Russians categorizing Jaish Islam as terrorists because they bomb Damascus as hypocritical at best. Their bombing campaigns have levelled more of Syria than the opposition, not to mention the Assadist Army hand in the destruction of Syria. Will Russia ban itself and the Assad regime from talks if we use the same logic?

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December 31st, 2015, 10:45 am


70. ALAN said:

Why the Pope lied about “Last Christmas”?
Francis announced to the crowd in Rome that this Christmas could be the last for mankind. Who really controls the Vatican today?
In his gloomy speech Pope said that the current chaotic state of the world marks the beginning of the “end times”, and that this time next year, the world will be unrecognizable.
Pontiff developed his views this weekend telling the crowd, “while the world is starving, burning, and descends into chaos, we must understand that this year’s Christmas celebration for those who have decided to celebrate it may be their last Christmas.”
In fact, the Pope not only once again proclaimed the beginning of a global war, but Catholics have – not to celebrate Christmas.
Thus, the former Cardinal Bergoglio misleading Catholics – as it did in the past, co-sponsored the rabbis issuing joint opus titled “Above the Sky.” Apart from the fact that the Christmas of the Lord can not be the “last” Orthodox is not worth listening to “heretic of the first rank” and Jesuit – which effectively rewrote the Gospel, removing Judaic guilt for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, thus justifying sodomitskie “marriages” and kissing with perverts .
In addition, please note that a heretic Judaic Francis replaced the previous Pope Benedict XVI – as a result of the operation developed netrotskistom Cass Sunstein – ideological curated by Obama ZOGa.
As a result, “Institute for the Works of Religion” (better known as the “Vatican Bank”) chaired by the Financial Intelligence Department of the US Treasury Juan Zarate. Earlier it Zarate said that “as soon as an alternative to the dollar as soon as changing the rules of the game.”
To believe the words of the head of the Vatican heretics can not – because “where your treasure is, there your heart. There’s a host you, to you and to serve. ”
Global Judeo-Satanists really prepare and carry out provocations and mass slaughter, but Christians know that the “kingdom of the Antichrist” is coming kingdom of God.

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December 31st, 2015, 11:35 am


71. Tara said:


I did not understand a thing from 68 4 paragraph and on

But have you noticed that most Christians of Syria are so hateful to the rest of the population . I thought they should be grateful as they always lived better and more prosperous . But no, lots of them are so full of hate.

Those who hate do not deserve celebrating Christmas . It is not for them . I do not know why they deceive themselves?! May be it makes them feel better ?!

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December 31st, 2015, 1:30 pm


72. Observer said:

I am not upset one bit Jasmine I actually think that you have pointed out many elements of the discourse of fanatics use to justify their position
It applies equally to Zionists Shia Burmese Budhhists White Supremacists and the list goes on including the previous centuries of colonial vivisection of most of the world ( just read what the Dutch did in Indonesia )
The problem is that 20 point rant will lead to dehumanizing and persecution and a blow back
How about discussing the fact that Western foreign policy in the Muslim world is directly responsible for this blowback and that the attacks suffered lately are but a prelude to a war of civilization that the extremists desperately want for they think that the Muskim world can survive the loss of 500 million people but the West cannot survive the loss of 200 thousand
Also it does help to point out that the Islam you describe in my opinion is Zionized for it assumes a superiority that also dehumanizes the other and excludes non believers like me fit for the slaughterhouse
Also the Wahhabis agree with you that Mohammad had become an idol and would like to destroy it whereas we should discuss him as a hitorical figure with good and bad success and failure
The issue is that early Islam faced hostility and armed struggle was accepted to defend the early faith now that it is established these measures are not needed and the greatest threat is actually politicized Islam like the Mullahs do to their ends
Every time Islam is perceived to be threatened these verses are used to violent ends
If we attack the doctrine we fall into the Jihadi trap of pitting the world against the religion and it leads to a spiral of violence
So what would you do with those 1.2-2 Billion
Michael Scheuer wrote two books on our folly of falling into the Juhadist trap read them

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December 31st, 2015, 4:40 pm


73. Passerby said:

Yeah, it’s no just what to do about Alawite rule and Assad in particular, it’s who is a terrorist and who isn’t.

Seems ISIS and Nusra are automatically terrorists and who else is up for grabs.

For trying to pin it down, how about the definition that terrorists are those that deliberately hunt down women and children, (first, you can’t expect it to be one sided forever).

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December 31st, 2015, 5:31 pm


74. Jasmine said:

You asked me twice what would you do with 1.2-2 billion?
The answer is the so called mullahs have to revise and reform the book again,no one is asking them to become atheist,they can worship their man as long as no one else is hurt and pushed out.
Christianity went through messy period,why haven’t they learned from the church past experience.

I wouldn’t blame the west for our status now,if we knew how to reform our religion we would never give them the chance to be manipulated ,and let them use our resources and ignite religious war.

Some religious wars in the history of Europe lasted 100 years,if we read a bit of history,may be we would have learned from them not to fall in the same trap again.

Those 20 points have a lot of truth in them,reform is needed urgently.

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December 31st, 2015, 6:01 pm


75. ALAN said:

Three cheers for President Putin, now, I’m sure that the Syrians will be very grateful
Thanks Mr. Putin for a job well done. May He who oversees Humanity reward you accordingly.
A grateful Westerner.
Please, under no circumstances overlook the machinations the US has in store for you now and your fellow country men.
Happy New Year and Best Wishes to you, Russia and Syria.

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December 31st, 2015, 9:32 pm


79. ALAN said:

Having said that NATO is a threat to the security of the Russian Federation , Putin then stated without any equivocation that the US is a direct threat to Russia’s national security. The gravity and import of this statement is underlined by the fact that unlike Obama, Kerry and their gang, Putin does not make hasty statements that he later contradicts or attempts to massage into an allegedly different interpretations.
Putin names United States among threats in new Russian security strategy
A new appraisal names the United States as one of the threats to Russia’s national security for the first time, a sign of how relations with the west have deteriorated in recent years.
The document, “About the Strategy of National Security of Russian Federation”, was signed by President Vladimir Putin on New Year’s Eve. It replaces a 2009 version, endorsed by then- President Dmitry Medvedev, the current prime minister, which mentioned neither the United States not NATO.
It says Russia has managed to heighten its role in solving global problems and international conflicts. That heightened role has caused a reaction by the West, it says.
“The strengthening of Russia happens against the background of new threats to the national security, which has complex and interrelated nature,” the document says.
Conducting an independent policy, “both international and domestic” has caused “counteraction from the USA and its allies, which are striving to retain their dominance in global affairs.”

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January 2nd, 2016, 9:53 am


81. ALAN said:

Could China Deploy Troops to Syria?
On Thursday, commenting on China’s new counterterrorism law, and specifically its provision allowing the People’s Liberation Army to participate in anti-terrorism operations overseas, Defense Ministry spokesman Yang Yujin emphasized that China has a “proactive” attitude when it comes to international cooperation against terrorism.
Chinese forces were ever deployed abroad for the purposes of fighting terrorism, it would be in full respect of international norms, including countries’ sovereignty.
“Going forward, whether or not to send the military and People’s Armed Police overseas to fight terrorism, will be arranged in accordance with a unified national plan,”
After the law was passed, speculation quickly emerged suggesting that China could deploy its armed forces to Syria to combat jihadist militants, including radicals from the al-Qaeda-backed East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which operates in the western Chinese province Xinjiang. It was earlier reported that militants from this organization had gone to Syria to fight alongside jihadists there, and that some have returned home to carry out attacks in western China.

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January 2nd, 2016, 5:30 pm


82. Tara said:

“”Iran’s regime has no shame as it rants on human rights matters, even after it executed hundreds of Iranians last year without a clear legal basis,” said Saudi statement

And I most definitely agree.

Iran: hands off the Arab middle east . Iranian people : enough with the mullah’s theocracy . Revolt against the fat turbin in chief . He is lying to you you know . He is not divine. He goes to the toilet you know. And so was Ali And Zainab and the twelvers the hidden ones who was last seen in Harasta

and prophet Muhammad too for that matter

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January 2nd, 2016, 7:22 pm


83. Passerby said:

Christianity wasn’t reformed the thugs running it were overpowered by businessmen. It wasn’t the scientists, it was the businessmen.

Islam at the time of Muhammad and through the Crusades, was certainly more tolerant and enlightened than the Christians.

So, why is it so intolerant and unenlightened now? What happened? Why is it frozen in place?

A possible answer is that Muhammad was a lot more violent than Jesus. Jesus never mentions cutting throats of captives for instance. Granted Muhammad was preaching against torturing them, like the Christians for instance, not saying it was a swell idea.

No, I think it’s the Ottoman Empire. The Sick Old Man of Europe. It froze everything in place. Much of the Middle East didn’t rule themselves for centuries. (Probably explains the endemic conspiracy theories about anyone in power.) That has to be debilitating. Who else was ruled by others for centuries in that time frame? And of course, after WWI, all of a sudden the Ottomans weren’t there anymore. When self-rule happened, to the extent it did, it was the worst of the worst, because they hadn’t done it for centuries. Assads and Hussein’s, and the Bigoted Beverly Hillbillies of the Gulf, etc.

All these little religions, that survived all these centuries, being wiped out. Even the Sabian-Mandaeans, also given special exemption like the Christians and Jews. And Saddam Hussein decimated them, and the few that remain, are still severely persecuted. Even in Iran, they are persecuted. The few that survive now are in foreign countries away from the running water that is the foundation of their religion. Not just the Ottoman Empire freezing everything in place for centuries, the shock of removing it and people that hadn’t governed themselves for centuries.

How do you reform it? Well for starters, using radicals in Cold War like games should come to a screeching halt. Step one is to get the US and Russia on the same page. A unified US/Russia is a formidable thing across the board. Makes solving the problem a lot easier, and it doesn’t require action on the part of Muslims.

Step two is for the US and Russia, etc. to have a little talk with the Gulf States and Iran. Especially the Gulf States, because the radicals they support are far more obnoxious and pure evil. Yeah, we have to eliminate ISIS immediately, remove their money and use orders of magnitude more force. But it’s a long term problem, it was a problem before ISIS and it will be a problem after we wipe them from the face of the earth, hopefully when mercy is still an option.

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January 2nd, 2016, 8:19 pm


84. Ghufran said:

Isis is showing in Al-Tal near Damascus
where a truce has survived for a long time. Money and Wahhabi religious conviction are helping Isis recruit new people even in areas that are not directly involved in violence. Support for isis is not likely to go away any time soon. Look for Saudi Arabia, it is the capital of jihadi ideology and is ready
(or not) to face a new wave of protest and security problems. No country requires a regime change more than Saudi Arabia, a trusted ally of Israel
and the mother of evil in the region.
Syria and Egypt not Iran and Saudi Arabia are the flag holders of moderate Islam but the two countries need peace and stability to stand up to Saudi money and iran’s ambitions.
Iran is now recruiting alawites in religious schools that require
girls to wear hijab.

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January 2nd, 2016, 11:31 pm


85. Observer said:

This is the regime that we are told is reformable
He took off the skin of his behind and put it on his face

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January 3rd, 2016, 12:24 am


86. ALAN said:

Jaysh al-Islam is a stalwart ally of US State Department-listed terrorist organization al-Nusra, though one would never suspect as much reading weepy Western eulogies over the terrorist organization leader’s death. The commander of terrorist organization and Al Qaeda affiliate Jaysh al-Islam (the Army of Islam), “Sheikh” Zahran Alloush, was killed in a Syrian airstrike this week in the suburbs of Damascus.

In a surreal, coordinated propaganda campaign, the Western media sidestepped Alloush’s praise of and coordination with US State Department-listed foreign terrorist organization Jabhat al-Nusra, previously known as Al Qaeda in Iraq – and indeed, the very terrorist organization that the so-called “Islamic State” (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh) itself sprung up from.
Ironically, despite knowing the various affiliations “rebel groups” in Syria have with Al Qaeda, O’Bagy herself, along with the so-called Institute for the Study of War – an arms industry-funded think tank – have attempted to perpetuate Western support of these “rebel groups,” which in turn have perpetuated the deadly conflict raging in Syria. The profitable war, and the US dominated MENA region that would form as a result of its successful execution, helps explain why the West is so interested in portraying terrorists as “moderates,” and going as far as mourning the death of a terrorist leader who openly worked with and praised Al Qaeda.

It is clear that regime change in Syria will not help end terrorism or undermine terrorist organizations like the Islamic State or Jaysh al-Islam, but only help them. Damascus and its allies in Moscow and Tehran, demonstrably prove they are the only forces consistently fighting and defeating terrorism in Syria. The only other conceivable way to interpret the West’s continued insistence that only through regime change will terrorism end in Syria is to understand the West itself is sponsoring this very terrorism as a pretext for regime change. Such sponsorship, and thus the terrorism resulting, will only “end” once the West achieves its goals.

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January 3rd, 2016, 7:16 am


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