Sheikh al-Yaqoubi Elected to the NC—its first non-Brotherhood-aligned religious figure

The Rise of the Sufis

Matthew Barber

by Matthew Barber—This story first appeared on Syria Comment

 

Newly-elected to the Syrian National Coalition, Sheikh Mohammad al-Yaqoubi is moderate, influential, and ready to go to work

 

From the beginning of the uprising, mainstream Syrian Sunni ‘ulema—the traditional scholars who have spoken for Islam for centuries and who most Syrians recognize as the quintessential voices for religious interpretation—have been marginalized in the Syrian opposition, as Islamists of Salafi and Muslim Brotherhood persuasion steamrolled their way to dominance in both the SNC and the National Coalition. But an emerging Sufi current within the Syrian resistance could soon provide an alternative to Muslim Brotherhood hegemony and change the dynamics of the political opposition.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ya’qoubi has just been elected to the National Coalition, the first figure of the Sufi ‘ulema to break through the Islamist exclusivity that has kept them out until now. His appointment will be announced shortly at a National Coalition conference. Along with other Sufi sheikhs, al-Ya’qoubi is heading up efforts to solidify a Sufi bloc of political leadership and nationalist-oriented rebel groups fighting in Syria who give allegiance to the leadership of Sufi ‘ulema. He also supports efforts to train Syrian rebels in Jordan.

Early on in the uprising, the Muslim Brotherhood worked to dominate the political opposition. The SNC primarily consisted of parties loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood. The National Coalition was later created to break this one-sided disparity, but ended up being dominated by others with Muslim Brotherhood connections, as well.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

Sheikh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

While this was the reality of the external opposition, an imbalance also formed on the ground inside Syria, as Islamist rebels received more foreign support and rose to prominence. Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi feels that the U.S. made the mistake of “leaving of the ‘Syrian file’ to the regional powers,” which allowed this trend to intensify as Gulf powers targeted Islamist groups with their aid. Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been primarily involved in arming rebels, but the Saudis recently pulled back their level of support. They have an ambivalent relationship with Islamist movements; on the one hand, they support the proliferation of one of the most extreme and anti-Sufi forms of Islam, Wahhabism, throughout the Muslim world. Simultaneously, they fear Islamist movements such as the MB who pose a political threat to monarchy. As the character of the militarized opposition has evolved increasingly toward Islamism, with a recent climax of Jabhat al-Nusra announcing allegiance to al-Qaida and declaring an Islamic state in Syria, reports suggested that the Saudis decided to cut off support they had been offering.

Declining aid, however, has ironically resulted in the end of much of the support that nationalist-oriented rebels were receiving, and many rebels have complained that the remaining contributions from Qatar are reaching only the Islamist fighters. Continuing trends solidifying Islamist domination of both the political and military oppositions have further weakened the desire of the international community for intervention in Syria, though the fact that several regions are now controlled by al-Qaida-linked groups has prompted some to call for the preparation of a drone strategy for Syria, prompting fears that it will end up looking like another Afghanistan.

Sheikh Muhammad al-Ya’qoubi’s entrance into the political opposition marks a development running counter to the dominant Islamist trend. Al-Ya’qoubi is respected as one of the leading scholars and Sufi clerics in Syria, and has been ranked as the second-most influential Muslim religious figure of the country. The brand of Islam he represents is expressed in a statement of sympathy he issued following the Boston Bombing. He studied in the West and is fluent in English and Swedish.

Traditional ‘ulema like Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi served for centuries as the interpreters of Islamic sources and traditions, but after the fall of the last Islamic empire, the process of modernization that accompanied the rise of the nation state presented a challenge to their role of traditional authority. The erosion of their power was further aggravated by the emergence of Islamist movements like the Muslim Brotherhood who introduced new interpretations of Islamic texts, contrary to the classical traditions that had existed for centuries.

Under the Ba’athists, some of Syria’s ‘ulema became seen as coopted figures who stayed close to the regime and lent it legitimacy. Others however, remained at arm’s length from the regime, and when the uprising began, they asserted their criticism of it, as did Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi. In addition to his widespread recognition among Syria’s majority Sunni Muslims, his credibility is bolstered by being the cleric who issued the first fatwa against Bashar al-Assad, in July of 2011.

After publically criticizing the regime’s violence against demonstrators in two sermons delivered at mosques in April and May 2011, he fled Syria and issued his fatwa against the regime. Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi represents the kind of moderate, traditional Islam that most Syrians are familiar with, the Islam challenged by both the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. Though taking an unambiguous stance against the regime’s violence, injustice, and terror, he also continues to exert his influence encouraging rebels to avoid terrorism through fatwas condemning tactics such as car-bombings, kidnapping, landmines, the killing of prisoners, and violence against non-combatants politically aligned with the regime. Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi has combatted the fatwas of extremist clerics who have called for the targeted sectarian killing of Alawite women and children by issuing his own fatwas prohibiting the killing of civilians of the Alawite minority. He maintains a very clear position defending the rights of all minorities, including those condemned by extremists as heterodox.

Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi also differs with the Islamist agenda to “Islamize” Syria’s laws. The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist groups promote a kind of activism that seeks to implement a greater degree of Islamic law in the state. The growing use of “Islamic law” by Jabhat al-Nusra and other Islamist groups in territory controlled by rebels likely prompted the announcement by Mu’az al-Khatib of an effort to introduce a “code” of Islamic law sanctioned by the opposition that the rebels could implement—an apparent attempt to assuage this desire manifesting in a stampede toward “shari’a” while ensuring that such a law would be relatively moderate. Where does Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi stand on this issue? He thinks Syria’s current family laws are just fine, and are already sufficiently compatible with the shari’a. He also believes that legal reform should not be pursued before a constitutionally-based committee can be formed which would tackle any needed changes, after the regime has fallen and a new Syrian government has been created.

Despite being well-known in Syria and playing an important role in the history of the uprising, Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi and other Sufi ‘ulema like him have been excluded from the political opposition. Desperation following the slow, groaning crisis of the opposition’s ineffectiveness, as well as fears that figures like al-Ya’qoubi may band together and form an alternative opposition have led to his appointment to the National Coalition, following a letter he drafted to Mu’az al-Khatib, signed by 25 Sufi sheikhs and containing an ultimatum about the need for their participation in the political process.

One obvious question is: what level of real influence will the Sheikh have? Does his participation mark the beginning of a trend, or will he merely be the NC’s token member of the ‘ulema?

In addition to having already played an important role throughout the uprising, Sheikh al-Ya’qoubi and other Sufi leaders have been building influence lately, working together for about six months to form an umbrella organization for rebel groups comprised of Sunnis and Sufis aligned with Syria’s mainstream values, rather than Islamist agendas. The organization is called the Movement for Building Civilization. He and his peers have produced a charter document which rebels groups can sign, pledging agreement with a set of foundational principles, including:

  1. Removing the regime while not destroying the state—protecting public institutions;
  2. The rejection of revenge, retaliation, and execution during the uprising, keeping the trials of war criminals for after the collapse of the regime and the establishment of a new government;
  3. After the collapse of the regime, rebel groups should cease to carry arms and their members should return to civilian life or join the national army;
  4. All ethnic and religious communities are to be defended as equal citizens under the law;
  5. No ethnic or religious group is to be held responsible for the crimes of the regime;
  6. A future Syrian government must operate according to a separation of judicial, legislative, and executive powers;
  7. The future government must be a democracy of political multiplicity and the 1950 Constitution should be in effect during the interim period until a new parliament is elected and a new constitution is agreed upon.

Many young sheikhs who joined the Syrian uprising are frustrated with their lack of options regarding conservative political movements to be aligned with. The three main options are Salafis, Hezb al-Tahrir, and Muslim Brotherhood movements, none of which well-represent mainstream Syrian Sunnis who look for the legitimacy of ‘ulema leadership. This concern was a primary motivation for the creation of the Movement for Building Civilization. Al-Ya’qoubi and the sheikhs he works with are in contact with over 200 rebel groups who consult them regarding principles, goals, and methods, but many of these groups are disillusioned with the inability of the Sufi and ‘ulema leadership to offer them any kind of practical monetary support. Lacking funding, groups that would like to follow moderate figures of the ‘ulema will remain vulnerable to recruitment by Islamist forces.

The formation of a Sufi bloc within the opposition could provide an alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood, one that would represent far greater numbers of Syrians. Sheikh Ya’qoubi has stated that he supports a government in which the Muslim Brotherhood can operate, but that he opposes a monopoly of any one faction. He told me in a recent conversation: “We may have to deal with an Ikhwaani prime minister in the future Syria. That is democracy. But the real question is: will the government be of all one color, or will it be inclusive?”

There’s no question about which demographic will win this war: the next power in Syria will be Sunni. And the question goes beyond “how big” a Sunni win will occur. The real question is: which Sunni group’s brand of Islam will define the political paradigm of the new state? The influence of ‘ulema who respect Syria’s diversity, promote a tolerant social sphere, and support an inclusive government structure will be extremely important in the nation’s future, and the international community should be in conversation with them.

 

Addendum: see the following post for an update on how Yaqoubi, though confirmed as a new member of the NC, subsequently had his appointment reversed at an opposition conference in Istanbul.

Comments (454)


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51. revenire said:

Remember, by this time the impotent SNC was to have formed a government in exile with Hitto as the new leader. It never happened.

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May 23rd, 2013, 4:36 pm

 

52. revenire said:

Conflict in Syria was born in the media

Kerry downplays Syria government’s gains

US Willing to Keep Assad to Avoid Regional War

Russian S-300 Deliveries to Syria ‘Destabilizing’ – Kerry
Note he doesn’t mention that illegal arms shipments the Anglo-Americans have sent to Syria – only legal shipments by Russia.

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May 23rd, 2013, 4:45 pm

 

53. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

1. British Any (real) Parliament
2. Running a website does not require moderation, running a blog does.
3.
4. We are reminded of the lousy spam filter every time ANN posts

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May 23rd, 2013, 4:55 pm

 

54. Dawoud said:

ATTN: Akbar Palace

There is a legitimate reason why Palestinians rejected the 1947 partition of Palestine. If you were a Palestinian then, you would have also rejected it! I don’t want to write too long, but please see Aljazeera’s Episode 3 about al-Nakbah. It’s in English and the first 4 minutes of it explain how the U.N. voted for partition, and why Palestinians rejected it.I know that I will not win you to my sides regardless of the strength of argument. Similarly, I am Palestinian and I heard first hand the story of Palestine from my parents, who were children during al-Nakbah, and from my grandparents-who put my parents in a shelter in their backyard in their Jerusalem home to escape the bombardment of the Zionists’ Czech-supplied planes. I passed this history to my children, who are like me American-born. They will pass it to their children, and the story of Palestine and its narrative will never die. Zionists will never ever been able to make Palestinians give up their rights. We are highly-educated and tough people, and our determination could be defeated neither by an Israeli F-16 nor by Zionists’ propaganda machine! For example, when a Palestinian-American, who might have never been to Palestine, travels to India and meets another British Palestinians, who might have never been to Palestine, they not only realize that they have something in common and begin to socially connect, they also tell each other the name of their city in Palestine! It’s really tough for Zionists and Russian colonialists (like Avigdor Lieberman) to overcome this Palestinian national and intellectual determination.

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May 23rd, 2013, 4:58 pm

 

55. revenire said:

The only Arab nation that hasn’t betrayed Palestine is Syria. For decades they’ve kept Palestine and Palestinian rights the forefront of their foreign policy and national stance.

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May 23rd, 2013, 5:01 pm

 

56. Dawoud said:

…Hafez al-Assad massacred the Palestinians in Tal al-Za’atar in Lebanon, his ally Nabih Berri of the Shia Amal Movement imposed a long war criminal siege on the defenseless Palestinians camps in the mid-1980s after the departure of Abu Ammar and his fighters from Beirut following the 1982 Israeli invasion, Bashar killed Palestinians in al-Ramel Refugee camp in Latakia and the Yarmouk camp in Damascus,….

More importantly, I recently watched al-Jazeera’s re-airing of the 2001 interview with the pre-Assad former Syrian President Amin al-Hafez, who basically believed that Hafez al-Assad should have been charged with treason for cowardly withdrawing from al-Quneitara and not defending al-Joulan (Golan) in 1967. ….I can go on and on…..
Finally, go back to the footage from the early days of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. You will see that the Shia residents of Southern Lebanon (who are now Hizbass suporters/members) welcomed the Israeli invaders and threw rice and flowers on them! They didn’t believe in Palestinians and resistance!

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May 23rd, 2013, 5:22 pm

 

57. revenire said:

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May 23rd, 2013, 5:25 pm

 

58. revenire said:

Politics is a bit more complex than that Dave. You can’t deny the support Palestinians have received from Syria with a post on a message forum.

You have a bias toward Assad but you claimed to support Syria before you were brainwashed into believing that Syria harmed its own people (as you stated).

I think you know very well of the Zionist conspiracy against Syria and you know the reasons why too.

For that matter, Iran has done more for Palestine that most Arab nations – especially in recent history.

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May 23rd, 2013, 5:28 pm

 

59. dawoud said:

من ساندنا على الحق, لا نسانده على الباطل, ولا يمكن ان نؤيد نظاما يقتل شعبه

If somebody saves me from a car accident, I am not obligated to help him rob a bank!

If Syria expressed support for the Palestinian cause, which is universally recognized as a legitimate cause, Palestinians are under no obligation to support the immorality of a dictator killing his own people.

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May 23rd, 2013, 5:33 pm

 

60. revenire said:

Also Dave, you will have to provide untainted sources if you want me to watch them. Al Jazeera is a propaganda organ of Qatar. Qatar is arming the foreign jihadi terrorists murdering Syrians. Of course they will argue against Assad.

Hamas (no friend of Syria after their betrayal) thanked Iran for the rockets they used to save Palestinian lives. Everyone knows the rockets the resistance uses come from Syria and Iran. The corrupt gulf dictators sent no weapons to the suffering Palestinians. Syria did.

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May 23rd, 2013, 5:35 pm

 
 

62. revenire said:

Dave you could not provide the proof for your infamous 95% poll because there is no such poll. I don’t trust you.

Syria will be fine. She won’t fall to the Zionist attack. Her army is strong and God is with her.

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May 23rd, 2013, 5:36 pm

 

63. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Southern Lebanon receives dead from Quseir. It seems they were born for Martyrdom.

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Local-News/2013/May-23/218048-southern-suburbs-receive-dead-from-qusair.ashx#axzz2U972wuFa

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May 23rd, 2013, 5:38 pm

 

64. Dawoud said:

Al-Qasir is becoming Syria’s “Stalingrad!” Stalingrad defeated the Nazi siege, and al-Qasir will defeat the fascist bloody Syrian regime’s/Hizbass’ siege!

http://www.almustaqbal.com/storiesv4.aspx?storyid=572250

القصير الصامدة.. “نقطة تحوّل” لمصلحة الثوار

لا يحصل في العادة أن يجد ثوار القصير متسعاً كافياً من الوقت للحديث مطولاً إلى الإعلام. من أمامهم قوات النظام ومن الخلف “حزب الله”، وفوقهم طائرات حربية لا تفوت بيتاً في المدينة إلا ويكون هدفاً لها، ظنّاً من الطيّار أن الثّوار يختبئون بداخله، لكن حقيقة واحدة لن يتمكن إعلام النظام و”حزب الله” ومن والاهما من تكذيبها، وهي أن الثّوار خارج البيوت، في ساحات القتال وسط النيران على خط الجبهة الأول.
أصبح جلياً أن سلاح الجو السوري والجنود المشاة الذين لا يجرؤون على القتال إلا من خلف المدرعات، إضافة إلى الخنجر الذي يطعن سوريا من الظهر متمثلاً بـ”حزب الله” ومقاتليه من “حملة مفاتيح الجنة”، لم تقدر كل تلكَ الجيوش مجتمعة من كسر ثوّار القصير أو التقدم أكثر من المربع الأمني، فجغرافية المنطقة تعطي الثوّار الفضل الأول في ثباتهم، ومن بعد الجغرافية التي ساعدتهم، يقولون ان الجميع يقاتل ولا وقت لأحدٍ فيهم لأي شيء آخر يشغلهم عن المعركة.
في محاولة للتحقق من الإحصائيات التي تتحدث عن خسائر “حزب الله” والنظام، أعطانا الثوّار حصيلة الحزب فقط، وعن سبب التكتم حول خسائر النظام قالوا: ” ليسَ تكتماً، إنما اعتيادٌ على هذه الحقيقة – حقيقة أن النظام يخسر – حيثُ ان كلمة خسارة صارت لازمة بعد أي حديث عن معركة يخوضها النظام، ما يهمنا أن يخرج “حزب الله” مكسوراً
[…]

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May 23rd, 2013, 5:48 pm

 

65. zoo said:

#55 Revenire

Unfortunately the main Palestinians leaders showed that the concept of loyalty and gratitude has no meaning for them.
Once they’ll taste Turkey, Qatar and KSA sponsorship, they’ll realized what they have lost in biting Bashar’s hand and turning against him.

In perspective Iran and Hezbollah have always shown loyalty to the Syrian government who stood by them in moments when the whole international community, the Arabs and the GCC countries were plotting against them.
Iran will never forget that, while all Arab countries were helping Saddam Hossein during the 8 years deadly Iran-Iraq war, Syria is the only arab country that stood by Iran against Saddam Hossein.
During the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon when the Sunnis Arab countries and the international community were wishing Hezbollah would be destroyed, Syria and Iran stood by the Hezbollah and brought them to a victory.
That’s the difference between loyalty and opportunism.
Unfortunately the Palestinians who are now opposing Syria will discover the consequences of their choice by themselves.
No one will forget that when Kuwait was invaded by Iraq, the Palestinians who lived there for years, turned against the Kuwaitis. The consequences is that Palestinians are not welcomed in Kuwait anymore.

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May 23rd, 2013, 6:00 pm

 

66. ann said:

52. revenire

Your links are not working!

Thanks

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May 23rd, 2013, 6:06 pm

 

67. revenire said:

There is an old saying: money talks, ________ walks. Let’s change it to “resistance rockets talk, Israel walks” and thank Syria and Iran for being the ONLY states to send the resistance weapons. All the other Arab states postured and argued with each other. Some even stabbed Palestine in the back.

People on message forums can’t change history by citing pro-Zionist rags like Al Jazeera. How many rockets has Qatar sent to Palestine?

I will tell you: ZERO.

I am not sure what would motivate anyone to smear all the Syrian soldiers who fought Israel? Hatred? Dementia? Jealousy? I don’t understand it.

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May 23rd, 2013, 6:07 pm

 

68. revenire said:

Ann the SC forum has not been working well for me today – lots of errors. Thank you for alerting me.

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May 23rd, 2013, 6:08 pm

 

69. ghufran said:

Why do we need an initiative like Moaz’ when Geneva conference is only weeks away? Some people think that conference will never see the light of the day, others think that this conflict can not be solved peacefully after more than 80,000 syrians died:

نص مبادرة تقدم بها رئيس الائتلاف الوطني السوري معاذ الخطيب للمناقشة في اجتماع المعارضة السورية في اسطنبول تتضمن طرحا للخروج من الأزمة السورية الحالية.

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

مبادرة : ( ومَن أحياها فكأنما أحيا الناس جميعاً )

منعاً لاضمحلال سورية شعباً وأرضاً واقتصاداً وتفكيكِها إنسانياً واجتماعياً نتقدم بهذه المبادرة حقاً لبلدنا وأهلنا علينا، واستجابةً عمليةً لحلٍّ سياسي يضمن انتقالاً سلمياً للسلطة.

هذه المبادرة سوريةُ المنبعِ والهدف، وهي وحدة متكاملة، ومقيدة بجدول زمني واضح، وندعو السلطة في سورية وجميع فصائل الثوار والمعارضة إلى تبنيها مَخرجاً من الكارثة الوطنية في بلدنا، كما ندعو المجتمع الدولي إلى رعايتها وضمان تنفيذها، وَفقَ ما يلي:

1. يعلن رئيس الجمهورية الحالي، وخلال عشرين يوماً من تاريخ صدور المبادرة قَبولَه لانتقال سلمي للسلطة، وتسليمَ صلاحياته كاملة إلى نائبه السيد فاروق الشرع أو رئيس الوزراء الحالي السيد وائل الحلقي.
2. يحلّ رئيس الجمهورية الحالي مجلس الشعب وتُنقل صلاحياته التشريعية إلى الشخص المكلف بصلاحيات رئيس الجمهورية.
3. يعطى رئيس الجمهورية الحالي بعد قبوله الانتقال السلمي للسلطة مدة شهر لإنهاء عملية تسليم كاملِ صلاحياتِه.
4. تستمر الحكومة الحالية بعملها بصفة مؤقتة مدة (مئة يوم) من تاريخ تسلُّم الشخص المكلف صلاحيات رئيس الجمهورية الحالي.
5. يعطى الشخص المكلف كامل الصلاحيات التنفيذية لإدارة سورية، ويُستبعَد من المسؤوليات كل من تشمله لائحة العقوبات الدولية.
6. تقوم الحكومة بصفتها المؤقتة وخلال (المئة يوم) بإعادة هيكلة الأجهزة الأمنية والعسكرية.
7. يُطلَق جميع المعتقلين السياسين من جميع السجون والمعتقلات فور قبول المبادرة، وتحت إشراف دولي، وتُتخَذ كل الإجراءات لعودة المهجرين.
8. تكون جميع الأراضي السورية مفتوحة لجميع أنواع الإغاثة الإنسانية المحلية والدولية.
9. يغادر الرئيس الحالي البلاد، ومعه خمسمئة شخص ممن يختارهم مع عائلاتهم وأطفالهم إلى أي بلد يرغب باستضافتهم.
10. لا تقدم أية ضمانات قانونية للمغادرين لاختصاص الأمر بمجلس نواب شرعي متفَق عليه بين السوريين.
11. يكلِف الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة وسيطاً دولياً للإشراف على المرحلة المؤقتة في سورية، والالتزام بها، ورعاية عملية انتقال السلطات.
12. تلتزم جميع الأطراف بوقف استخدام الأسلحة الثقيلة، وتحت الرقابة الدولية.
13. يعفى عن كل الأشخاص الذين قاموا بأعمال تُعتَبر من الأعمال العسكرية المشروعة في القوانين الدولية زمن الحرب، وبالتالي تُعتبر الأوامر بقتل واستهداف المدنيين، والتعذيب والاغتصاب والاختطاف أعمالاً إجرامية ويخضع مرتكبوها للقوانين الجنائية المحلية والدولية.
14. تشكَّل في كل محافظة لجنةٌ لإدارتها مكونةٌ من خمسة أشخاص يختارهم وجهاءُ المحافظة، وبرعاية دولية، ويكون لهذه اللجنة كامل الصلاحيات لإدارة الشؤون المحلية، وتشمل الصلاحياتِ الإداريةَ والاقتصادية والأمنية والعسكرية، وتتبع مباشرة إلى المكلف بصلاحيات رئيس الجمهورية، أو من يُكلفه.
15. بعد مرور (المئة يوم) وتنفيذِ بنود هذه المباردة، تنتقل جميع صلاحيات الحكم إلى حكومة انتقالية يتم الاتفاق والتفاوض عليها في إطار ضمانات دولية.
16. تتولى الحكومة الانتقالية اللاحقة مهام التحضير والتأسيس لسورية الجديدة.

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May 23rd, 2013, 6:12 pm

 

70. Dawoud said:

Hizbass’ terrorists killed in Syria. Al-Qasir and Syria will be Hizbass’ quagmire, and its end!

حزب الله لا يتورع عن ارسال عناصره للقتال الى جانب النظام في سوريا، ليعودوا جثثاً هامدة، ولا يستطيع إخفاء حصيلة القتلى والجرحى عن الرأي العام اللبناني ، وهكذا يواصل حزب الله، حصاد ما زرعه من وراء انغماسه وتورطه بقتل الشعب السوري.

In addition to Hizbass’ terrorists, the video also shows Iranian and Iraqi terrorists in Syria! The Free Syrian Army has become the number one hunter of terrorists in the world! Good for them! Kill all the Lebanese, Iranian, and Iraqi terrorists!

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May 23rd, 2013, 6:25 pm

 

71. apple_mini said:

I was watching the FOS showtime last night. Everyone appeared so solemn and serious. Their words were doing heavy-lifting about humanity and justice. But we know if the US were not in the super power position, they would have not been there showing off their moral higher ground status. Let alone those GCC and Turkey. Everyone is a laughingstock and hypocrite when they open their mouth talking about human rights and equalities.

US would be nothing if it had no super military power and money. But it is Syrians killing Syrians to serve US national interest.

The US government does not want the Syria war end, but they want to see the regime end. If the regime stays with significant strength which is appearing so, the whole enchilada of US’ schemes, plans, money and efforts would be go down in drain.

That is why the US is back on its wagon to rein the plot by demanding Assad to step down also threatening again arming the rebels if the regime refuses to do so. That is why the opposition back on stage after the Tenanus shot generously given by US. If there are still true Syrians in the opposition, we would ask what they want exactly. Are they really doing anything good for the country or just for themselves? Where is the slightest conscience to contribute peace to the country?

The regime is about to clear the mess in Homs and there is work left around Damascus as well. After the regime consolidates its control on the west, militarily the regime will be ready to face off the rebels no matter how well they are western-armed.

The suffering of the country seems no end.

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May 23rd, 2013, 6:39 pm

 

72. ann said:

Israel is fighting a regional war in Syria – May 23, 2013

http://rt.com/op-edge/israel-fighting-war-syria-693/

The changing internal situation in Syria is putting a new set of plans into motion, which involve Israeli aggression against Syria.

Not only have the US and its allies been trying to militarily buttress the retreating anti-government militias, but now they aim to create a new phase in the conflict where states start asserting leverage against Syria in place of the weakening anti-government forces. In other words, external pressure is being applied to replace the declining internal pressure.

The entry of Israeli troops and the Mossad security service into Syria with repeated Israeli air strikes via illegal use of Lebanese airspace, on the Syrian military research facility in the town of Jamraya clarifies Israel’s role in destabilizing Syria. Israel has also admitted that “intense intelligence activity” is being maintained in Syria by Israeli forces and that it is even thinking of occupying more Syrian territory as a new “buffer zone.” Fox News, which is openly biased in favour of Israel, has released a video of Israeli troops illegally crossing the Syrian border. Reports have also come out of Syria that an Israeli military vehicle was seized during fighting with anti-government forces in the town of Qusair, inside Syrian territory.

EPICENTRE OF A REGIONAL WAR?

The events involving Israel are part of the trend to expand and internationalize the Syrian conflict by creating violent spillovers. In the words of one British newspaper: “If anyone had doubts that Syria’s gruesome [conflict] is already spinning into a wider Middle East conflict, [Israeli attacks in] the past few days should have laid them to rest.”

Turkey and Israel, like the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, are themselves undeniably involved in the fighting as aggressors against Syria. Turkey has conducted reconnaissance work for NATO in Syria, it hosts NATO Patriot missiles aimed at Syria (with the possibility of deployment against Iran and Russia), and openly aids the anti-government forces.

Israel has been the more discreet of the two, but it has sent the Mossad into Syria and built facilities in the Golan Heights to aid the insurgency. Both countries have continuously threatened Syria and pushed for NATO intervention and no-fly zones. All the while, the US has been prodding Ankara and Tel Aviv to continue with the war footing and has even examined selling Turkey natural gas from the US to economically de-link the Turks from Syria’s allies Russia and Iran and the leverage they have over Turkey.

In reality, Syria is merely one front in a broader hegemonic struggle that spans from NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan and Iraq to Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. The Lebanese Republic looks like the next target for destabilization in the broader struggle that Syria is a front in. There are fears that there may be a parliamentary and governmental vacuum in Beirut as a result of the spillover from Syria that could be capitalized to ignite another Lebanese internal conflict. Tensions between the pro-Syrian Hezbollah-led March 8 Alliance and the anti-Syrian Hariri-led March 14 Alliance have been building as a result of the conflict in Syria. Both sides in Lebanon are involved in the Syrian conflict.

Lebanon has been dragged into the conflict, because Syria is being used as an arena for striking and crippling Hezbollah and the March 8 Alliance with the aim of turning Lebanon into a colony controlled by Washington and its allies that will be run by the corrupt Hariri-led March 12 Alliance.

Hezbollah has begun fighting on the Syrian side of the Lebanese-Syrian border whereas the March 12 Alliance began sending weapons and funding to the insurgents from the very start of the upheaval in 2011. After months of lying, the Hariri camp in Lebanon was exposed in November 2012 when evidence was provided that proved Hariri’s Future Party member Okab Sakr was behind weapons shipments destined for the Syrian insurgents in coordination with Turkish and Qatari intelligence officers.

In regards to Hezbollah, its members began fighting on the Syrian side of the border under their own initiative. Then the insurgents in Syria began launching attacks on Shiite Muslim villages on both sides of the Lebanese-Syrian border. The anti-government forces in Syria began doing everything they could to provoke Hezbollah into retaliating, including kidnapping Lebanese travelers and, in 2012, deliberately attacking Shiite Muslim shrines in Syria. After the mosque where Hujr ibn Adi Al-Kindi and his son were buried in Syria was desecrated by the insurgents, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia Muslims were drawn further into the Syrian conflict to protect the Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque.

Not only have sacrosanct buildings revered by Shiite Muslims been targeted, Sunni Muslim leaders have been murdered and Christian churches have also been desecrated in Syria. Christian spiritual leaders have also been targeted. Iranian officials have pointed the finger at the US, Israel, and the Saudis for the desecration of these Syrian holy sites and the targeting of minorities.

While the majority of Syria’s Arab population and Sunni Muslim population support the Syrian government against the insurgents and their foreign backers, there is a real push to draw the Syria conflict along the sectarian lines of Arabs versus non-Arabs and Sunni Muslims versus Alawites and the Shiite Muslim community. Various minority groups have been systematically targeted. The Druze, Maronite Catholic Christians, Melkite Greek Catholic Christians, Greek Orthodox Christians, Armenian Orthodox Christians, Syriac Orthodox Christians, Alawites, and Twelver (Jaffari) Shiite Muslims all have all been targeted as religious minorities. Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, and Turkoman have been targeted as ethnic minorities.

Iraq knows all too well about the nightmare that Syria is facing. Many of the insurgents in Syria are from Iraq and linked to sectors of Al-Anbar’s Awakening Movement (or the Sons of Iraq Movement), which was tied to Al-Qaeda and began to collaborate and receive funding from the United States during the Anglo-American occupation. If these militants succeed in Syria, they will eventually return to Iraq and ignite an insurgency against the federal government in Baghdad too.

On the other hand, the conflict in Syria has been the catalyst for a strengthening Russia position in the Middle East and the forging of new ties between Hezbollah and Moscow. In October 2011, Hezbollah sent a delegation to Russia to discuss the fighting in Syria. It is clear now that Moscow is coordinating with the Iranian-led “Axis of Resistance” or Resistance Bloc that includes Syria, Hezbollah, Michel Aoun, and the Palestinians. After holding discussions about Syria in Tehran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov’s April 26 visit to Beirut, during the absence of a formal Lebanese government, embodies this strategic cooperation. Bogdanov’s trip to Lebanon is important, because it was a clear indicator that Russia has forged direct strategic ties with Hezbollah and recognizes the Resistance Bloc as an extension of its own security sphere.

Like Hezbollah, Iran is also a target of the conflict in Syria. This is one of the reasons that Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary-general of Hezbollah, made a rare visit to Tehran on April 29 (after meeting with Mikhail Bogdanov) to discuss a common front with the Iranians. The same group of countries targeting Syria and Hezbollah are also targeting Iran. It has been reported that “Israel is preparing to agree a defense co-operation deal with Turkey and three Arab states aimed at setting up an early warning system to detect Iranian ballistic missiles.” Uzi Mahnaimi has explained that this “proposal, referred to by the diplomats involved as ‘4+1’, may eventually lead to technicians from Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan working alongside Israelis in joint command-and-control centers.”

Just as Hezbollah has confirmed that it is involved in the fighting in Syria and promised that Syria’s “real friends”—meaning Iran, Russia, China, and the March 8 Alliance in Lebanon—will not let Syria fall into the hands of the US and its allies, Tehran has told Washington and its allies several times that Syria is the Iranian “redline.” Iranian military commanders have said that Syria is an extension of Iran’s own security parameters. What’s more, the Iranians have openly admitted that they are aiding their Syrian allies and willing to provide further training and assistance to Damascus, as well as intervene militarily to help Syria if the US and its allies attack.

[…]

http://rt.com/op-edge/israel-fighting-war-syria-693/

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May 23rd, 2013, 6:46 pm

 

73. SANDRO LOEWE said:

The Revolution has been a success whatever happens next. Nobody ever imagined that a Revolution against the Mafia Police State of Assad could ever take place. And it it ever happened 99.99 % of syrians would have said it could only last 24 to 48 hours before insurgents get bulleted, detained, tortured, killed or sentenced to anonymous life in prison until death.

Instead of being destroyed they have been standing against a whole policial state backed by Russia and Iran f or more than 26 full months.

We, the people of Syria, have become free since the day we stopped fearing the criminal Assad state.

Even if finally the battle is lost the Syrian People will have been free fighting for freedom, dignity and justice. And this is something will be always remebered in history books. All the videos that show how peacefull demonstrations were bulleted by the repression forces will be there forever to explain what really happened.

Meanwhile Assad remnants with the necessary help of external powers like IRAN and RUSSIA fight for keeping power however it be having lost the sense of reality. History has already been written and Assad is the loser.

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May 23rd, 2013, 6:56 pm

 

74. ann said:

68. revenire

I’m also having lots of problems accessing the blog!

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May 23rd, 2013, 6:56 pm

 

75. revenire said:

Sandro it is little different than Hama 1964, or later. This time the West tried harder to install their puppets but the result will be the same: Victory for Assad!

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May 23rd, 2013, 7:02 pm

 

76. Uzair8 said:

Dear Juergen

I believe the Shaykh belongs to the Shadhili Order. However it is possible the Shaykh may have Ijaza from other orders too.

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May 23rd, 2013, 7:03 pm

 

77. revenire said:

Note John Kerry did not mention HIS foreign fighters in Syria:

Syrian Army detains Saudi, Qatari officers caught aiding rebel forces
Special to WorldTribune.com
http://www.worldtribune.com/2013/05/22/syrian-army-detains-saudi-qatari-officers-caught-aiding-rebel-forces/

NICOSIA — The Syrian Army has captured scores of foreign fighters,
including those from Qatar and European Union states.
Arab diplomatic sources said the Army detained Qatari military officers as well as a senior ally of the Saudi intelligence community in the rebel-held town of Qusair. They said the Saudi captured near the Lebanese border was identified as an agent of the Saudi intelligence agency.

Syrian rebels prepare to repel a coordinated attack by government forces in Qusair, Homs province on May 19. /AP/Qusair Lens
“Syria has already informed Qatar of the arrests and demanded an
explanation,” a diplomat said.

The sources said the Qatari officers had directed the flow of weapons and funds to the Sunni revolt in Syria. They said the officers were also mentoring rebel operations, which have included thousands of foreign fighters.

A Lebanese parliamentarian said the Syrian Army also captured military advisers from Belgium, Britain, France and Netherlands in Qusair. Assim Qansou, regarded as a pro-Syrian deputy, said dozens of foreign military officers were arrested and interrogated.

(click link for full story)

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May 23rd, 2013, 7:05 pm

 

78. Uzair8 said:

Denunciation of the Woolwich – London Horrific Murder

By His Eminence Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi

7 hrs ago

As a Muslim leader representing many Muslims around the World, especially the UK, I want to express my denunciation in the strongest terms of the inhumain, barbaric killing on the streets of Woolwich, London.

This reprehensible act is an affront to every basic sense of humanity, let alone to the lof…ty moral ideals of religion. The Name of God, and the religion of Islam can never be used to justify insane acts of terror or cold-blooded murder.

The perpetrators of this cowrdless act do not represent but their own criminal minds and inhumain hearts which are full of hatred.
This is why we urge the British societry not to put any burden of guilt on the Muslim communities which live peacefully amongst them side by side. Muslims in the UK are an integral positive component of the British society and carry but love and peace to Britains and to humanity; as the message of Islam is a message of love, peace and mercy.

Muslims in the West know well their duties in being loyal to the countries where they live and to abide by the laws and to be a source of peace in the societies, as Islam teaches and as we have been preaching. We finally remind Muslims of the Words of God in the Holy Qur’an, “anyone who kills a person it is as though he killed mankind.

https://www.facebook.com/shaykhabulhuda/posts/10151612039452580

**********

Comment by the Shaykh (posted 4hrs ago)from the comment section following the above statement:

Why the Ulema have to denounce such actions?

There are few reasons why we have to speak up at such terrorist attacks:

1- You are right, you did not do it, but remember that the person who did it is a Muslim and claimed to have done for Islam.

2- With the campaigns against Islam in the Western media which usually accompany such attacks, there is a more need for us to encounter it by stating the real position of Islam. Repetition is an important means and tactic to make the presence of the position of Islam available more for the public.

3- It is also important for us personally to speak up and tell our opinion and show our position. Our silence may be misinterpreted, especially when some people are ready to fish in still water and portray us as fanatics.

4- This statement is not an apology but a clarification and sympathy, which is needed and is an obligation.

https://www.facebook.com/shaykhabulhuda/posts/10151612039452580?comment_id=27699836&offset=0&total_comments=26

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May 23rd, 2013, 7:09 pm

 

79. SANDRO LOEWE said:

The West and the East have always tried to install puppets in every corner of the world. In the case of Syria the puppet chosen for 40 years was the House Of Assads. West and East felt confortable with them.

But the people of Syria said ¨Enough is enough¨ and nobody could manage to stop it from rejecting Assad Mafia. Even now Israel and US are still making efforts to fins a solution that let the regime remain by changing simply Assad itself and other names.

Assad is now a political detritus of history. It is not East or West, it is the syrian people and the Arab Friends who really made that change possible.

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May 23rd, 2013, 7:13 pm

 

80. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Boston and London ¨islamist terrorists¨ attacks could have been organized by russian secret services as covered operations through its agents in islamist cellules to add pressure on the West about dangers of supporting Al Nusra and other islamic Sunni organizations in Syria, etc.

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May 23rd, 2013, 7:17 pm

 

81. Uzair8 said:

English translation of a statement from 19th May:

Urgent message from Shaykh Muhammad al-Yaqoubi

El-Quseir, Syria is in Danger

Shaykh Muhammad Al-Yaqoubi

El-Quseir is in danger…El-Quseir seeks help…

The residents of El-Quseir are in constant fear and dread of retaliation from the regime. So support them with duas throughout the day & night, morning & evening, whilst sitting & standing and in every tashahhud and prostration. Support the women, children and elders of El-Quseir with food, drink and medicine. Whoever can treat the wounded; save a child; help an elderly person; plant a smile on the face of a child crying for fear of death; or place tranquillity in the heart of a woman who fears rape then do not delay. Head for El-Quseir O Mujahidin for Jihad. Depart for El-Quseir O doctors to treat the wounded. O traders! Leave for El-Quseir carrying food, drink and medicine. El-Quseir cries out to you! El-Quseir: Once the serene land of Gazelles. Now the regime’s beasts and mercenaries turn to it to prey on the innocent.

We ask Allah Almighty that He aid the Mujahidin in El-Quseir and Homs. The fall of El-Quseir will result in a disastrous situation for Homs and it will increase the pressure on the Mujahidin there. You must make dua and extend your hands to help your brothers there.

{So do not weaken and do not grieve, and you will be superior if you are [true] believers. If a wound should touch you – there has already touched the [opposing] people a wound similar to it. And these days [of varying conditions] We alternate among the people so that Allah may make evident those who believe and [may] take to Himself from among you martyrs – and Allah does not like the wrongdoers} Al-Quran, 3:139-140

http://www.yanabi.com/index.php?/topic/428577-syrias-fsa-are-cannibals/page__view__findpost__p__468362

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May 23rd, 2013, 7:34 pm

 

82. revenire said:

There are very few civilians are left in al-Qusayr so who does Yaqoubi want to save? I will tell you: the terrorists. I know people from the town and they do not support the “revolution” and want the army to clean the city out (as it is doing).

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May 23rd, 2013, 7:48 pm

 

83. Tara said:

Syrian

Hi. Watching on Alarabia painful images of children dying or losing limbs from the regime bombardment in Talbiseh and Reef Damascus. Can you please post the link of you have an access to it . The savagery of this regime needs to be persistently exposed.

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May 23rd, 2013, 8:09 pm

 

84. zoo said:

Ghufran

The tempestuous opposition declarations’ only purpose is posturing in the hope that it will dissuade Bashar Al Assad to participate in the conference, thus triggering long-waited US weapon deliveries.
This is a theatrical display of strength before facing the public humiliation of accepting not only that Bashar al Assad has not resigned before the negotiations as the opposition has hammered for 2 years, but that Bashar al Assad may well be in the background of the transition government as well as being a candidate to the 2014 election.
Beggars can’t be choosers.

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May 23rd, 2013, 8:09 pm

 

85. Ghufran said:

The AL is making an almost U-Turn on Syria after ” consulting” with Uncle Sam:
وأوضحت اللجنة أن الدول العربية وتركيا ترحب بحذر بالمقاربات السياسية الاخيرة بقيادة الاتحاد الروسي والولايات المتحدة”، وتؤكد علي دعمها لجهود الممثل المشترك لجامعة الدول العربية والأمم المتحدة.

وحددت اللجنة آفاق الحل السياسي الذي يضع نهاية بأنها تستند إلي المكونات التالية:
(1) الحفاظ علي السلامة الإقليمية والنسيج الاجتماعي لسوريا.
(2) الحفاظ علي هيكل الدولة ومؤسسات الوطنية السورية.
(3) تشكيل حكومة وحدة وطنية لفترة زمنية محددة متفقة عليها تمهيدا لضمان الانتقال السلمي للسلطة.
(4)تتمتع الحكومة الانتقالية بسلطة تنفيذية كاملة بما في ذلك سلطة علي القوات المسلحة والاجهزة الامنية.
(5) تشكيل الحكومة انتقالية خلال فترة زمنية محددة استنادا لتفاهم جميع الاطراف.
(6) تتضمن الهدف النهائي للفترة الانتقالية صياغة واعتماد دستور وخلق توافق بشأن العملية السياسية لتشكيل قاعدة للدولة السورية الجديدة.
(7) لضمان الاستقرار خلال الفترة الانتقالية سيكون هناك حاجة لقوات حفظ سلامة تابعة للامم المتحدة.
(8) قوات الامم المتحدة لحفظ السلام المزمع ارسالها لمناطق النزاع يتم انشائها عن طريق مجلس الامن تاكيدا لاستمرار السلام والامن والامان للمدنيين.
(9)ضمان دخول جميع المساعدات الانسانية الي جميع انحاء سورية.
وأكدت اللجنة ان هذه العناصر تتطلب مدة زمنية واضحة ومحددة.
Notice the absence of two critical names: Assad and the Syrian army.
By keeping the document vague on these two items, since the AL may argue that the SAA is part of the regime, the GCC is trying to give itself some wiggle room.

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May 23rd, 2013, 8:14 pm

 

86. Akbar Palace said:

Going in Circles with Dawoud>/b>

I know that I will not win you to my sides regardless of the strength of argument.

Dawoud,

You will win me over if you tell me where the borders should be between the 2 states: Israel and Palestine.

The rest is a side-show.

I passed this history to my children, who are like me American-born. They will pass it to their children, and the story of Palestine and its narrative will never die.

Dawoud,

Welcome to my world. Jews have a similar outlook. And our whole Torah, religion, and prayers are based on our return to Zion (ya’ani Israel, aka “The Promised Land”).

Free Israel and Palestine from the intolerant

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May 23rd, 2013, 8:30 pm

 

87. Tara said:

An interview with Jabhat al-Nusra
May 23rd 2013, 16:33 by Economist.com | RAQQA PROVINCE

http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2013/05/syrias-fighters-0

How has Jabhat al-Nusra become so powerful?
Advertisement

The reason is the weakening of the other groups. Jabhat al-Nusra gets the advantage because of our ideology. We are not just rebels; we are doing something we believe in. We are not just fighting against tyranny; Bashar Assad is only part of our fight. The other groups are only a reaction to the regime, whereas we are fighting for a vision.

What is that vision?

We are fighting to apply what Allah said to the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. We are fighting so people don’t look to other people but only to Allah. We don’t believe in complete freedom: it is restricted by Allah’s laws. Allah created us and he knows what is best for us.
What future do you see for Syria—or do you even see a Syria in the future?
We want the future that Islam commands. Not a country with borders but an umma [worldwide Islamic community of believers] of all the Muslim people. All Muslims should be united.
Syria has long been known for its sectarian diversity. How do you view the other sects?
The other sects are protected by the Islamic state. Muhammad, peace be upon him, had a Jewish neighbour, for example, and he was always good to him. But the power and authority must be with the believers [Sunnis], not the unbelievers.

What about other Sunnis who are more moderate than you?
We will apply sharia law to them.
What about Alawites?

Allah knows what will happen to them. There is a difference between the basic kuffar [infidels] and those who converted from Islam. If the latter, we must punish them. Alawites are included. Even Sunnis who want democracy are kuffar as are all Shia. It’s not about who is loyal and who isn’t to the regime; it’s about their religion. Sharia says there can be no punishment of the innocent and there must be punishment of the bad; that’s what we follow.

Read more,,,

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May 23rd, 2013, 8:52 pm

 

88. dawoud said:

“Elections” in Iran’s brutal and dictatorial theocracy! Yes, “ignoracne!” A REGIME that supports a murderous dictator, Bashar, and asks its sectarian puppets (e.g., Hizbass) to fight for him is IGNORANT!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22637086

Iran election: Rafsanjani criticises leaders’ ‘ignorance’

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani has accused Iran’s leaders of incompetence and ignorance, an opposition website reports.

Mr Rafsanjani’s comments come two days after he and another candidate were disqualified from next month’s presidential election.

“I don’t think the country could have been run worse,” he was quoted as saying on the Kaleme website.

The Guardian Council approved only eight potential candidates to stand.

They are all considered conservatives. The Guardian Council, a body of theologians and jurists, is loyal to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

“I don’t want to stoop to their propaganda and attacks but ignorance is troubling,” Mr Rafsanjani was quoted as saying in a meeting with supporters.

“They don’t understand what they’re doing.”

Mr Rafsanjani, w
[…]

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May 23rd, 2013, 9:21 pm

 

89. The Hunchbacked Mufti of Homs said:

Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on the incompetence of Iran’s leaders: “They don’t understand what they’re doing.”

Now we know where Bashar got his ideas on crisis management. As they say, monkey see, monkey do…

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May 23rd, 2013, 9:56 pm

 

90. revenire said:

Tara I like the part where the Nusra guy talked about men’s brains being bigger than women’s. These are clearly very enlightened people.

======

Shouldn’t men also cover up to avoid women looking at other people’s husbands?

Our women ask the same question. Some men can’t control themselves and the woman is the source. It’s easier to prevent abuse. The men’s role is to go out and work. Man’s brain is bigger than the woman’s—that’s scientifically proven. Men’s brains have different areas for speaking and thinking, but women’s don’t which is why women they say what they think.

http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2013/05/syrias-fighters-0

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May 23rd, 2013, 10:33 pm

 

91. revenire said:

Dave aw, c’mon … Iranian elections are probably cleaner than those in the USA. You know? Money runs the game in the States.

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May 23rd, 2013, 10:37 pm

 

92. Dawoud said:

Hamid Dabashi on the flawed Iranian presidential elections of 2009 and the repression of peaceful protesters

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May 23rd, 2013, 11:23 pm

 

93. dawoud said:

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2009/956/op5.htm

Left is wrong on Iran

Who are and who promoted these leftist intellectuals who question the social uprising of the people in Iran, asks Hamid Dabashi*

When a political groundswell like the Iranian presidential election of June 2009 and its aftermath happen, the excitement and drama of the moment expose not just our highest hopes but also our deepest fault lines, most troubling moral flaws, and the dangerous political precipice we face.

Over the decades I have learned not to expect much from what passes for “the left” in North America and/or Western Europe when it comes to the politics of what their colonial ancestry has called “the Middle East”. But I do expect much more when it comes to our own progressive intellectuals — Arabs, Muslims, South Asians, Africans and Latin Americans. This is not a racial bifurcation, but a regional typology along the colonial divide.

By and large this expectation is apt and more often than not met. The best case in point is the comparison between what Azmi Bishara has offered about the recent uprising in Iran and what Slavoj Zizek felt obligated to write. Whereas Bishara’s piece (with aspects of which I have had reason to disagree) is predicated on a detailed awareness of the Iranian scene, accumulated over the last 30 years of the Islamic Republic and even before, Zizek’s (the conclusion of which I completely disagree with) is entirely spontaneous and impressionistic, predicated on as much knowledge about Iran as I have about the mineral composition of the planet Jupiter.

The examples can be multiplied by many, when we add to what Azmi Bishara has written pieces by Mustafa El-Labbad and Galal Nassar, for example, and compare them to the confounded blindness of Paul Craig Roberts, Anthony DiMaggio, Michael Veiluva, James Petras, Jeremy Hammond, Eric Margolis, and many others. While people closest to the Iranian scene write from a position of critical intimacy, and with a healthy dose of disagreement, those farthest from it write with an almost unanimous exposure of their constitutional ignorance, not having the foggiest idea what has happened in that country over the last 30 years, let alone the last 200 years, and then having the barefaced chutzpah to pontificate one thing or another — or worse, to take more than 70 million human beings as stooges of the CIA and puppets of the Saudis.

Let me begin by stating categorically that in principle I share the fundamental political premise of the left, its weariness of US imperial machination, of major North American and Western European media (but by no means all of them) by and large missing the point on what is happening around the globe, or even worse seeing things from the vantage point of their governmental cues, which they scarcely question. It has been but a few months since we have come out of the nightmare of the Bush presidency, or the combined chicaneries of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and John Ashcroft, or of the continued calamities of the “war on terror”. Iran is still under the threat of a military strike by Israel, or at least more severe economic sanctions, similar to those that are responsible for the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis during the Clinton administration. Iraq and Afghanistan are burning, Gaza is in utter desolation, Northern Pakistan is in deep humanitarian crisis, and Israel is stealing more Palestinian lands every day. With all his promises and pomp and ceremonies, President Obama is yet to show in any significant and tangible way his change of course in the region from that of the previous administration.

The US Congress, prompted by AIPAC (the American Israel Political Affairs Committee), pro-war vigilantes lurking in the halls of power in Washington DC, and Israeli warlords and their propaganda machinery in the US, are all excited about the events in Iran and are doing their damnedest to turn them to their advantage. The left, indeed, has reason to worry. But having principled positions on geopolitics is one thing, being blind and deaf to a massive social movement is something entirely different, as being impervious to the flagrant charlatanism of an upstart demagogue like Ahmadinejad. The sign and the task of a progressive and agile intelligence is to hold on to core principles and seek to incorporate mass social uprising into its modus operandi. My concern here is not with that retrograde strand in the North American or Western European left that is siding with Ahmadinejad and against the masses of millions of Iranians daring the draconian security apparatus of the Islamic Republic. They are a lost cause, and frankly no one could care less what they think of the world. What does concern me is when an Arab intellectual like Asad AbuKhalil opts to go public with his assessment of this movement — and what he says so vertiginously smacks of recalcitrant fanaticism, steadfastly insisting on a belligerent ignorance.

On his website, “Angry Arab”, Asad AbuKhalil finally has categorically stated that he is “now more convinced than
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May 23rd, 2013, 11:31 pm

 

94. sf94123 said:

Muhammad al-Yaqoubi looks like a Rabbi more than a Sheikh. As for SANDRO LOEWE, he/she reminds me of Hytham Khoury’s delusional analysis on this blog a year ago. Keep it up Dr. MB.

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May 23rd, 2013, 11:43 pm

 

95. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

While the majority of Syria’s Arab population and Sunni Muslim population support the Syrian government against the insurgents and their foreign backers,

This was extracted from one of the trashcans (the source of this trash is of course rt) dumped above. Anyone still needs a definition of vulgarity?

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May 24th, 2013, 12:08 am

 

96. revenire said:

Hamster if the overwhelming majority of the Syrian population didn’t support the government the government would have been overthrown long ago.

This is just a simple fact.

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May 24th, 2013, 12:15 am

 

97. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

not content with conveying trash, the conveyor belt seems to enjoy internalizing it… anyone still needs an explanation of impudence?

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May 24th, 2013, 12:27 am

 

98. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

Iranian elections are probably cleaner than those in the USA. You know? Money runs the game in the States.

1. Non Sequitur
2. Overgeneralization
3. Red Herring
4. False Analogy

Four classical logical fallacies in one sentence. Regime propaganda at its best.

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May 24th, 2013, 12:42 am

 

99. SYRIAN HAMSTER said:

if the overwhelming majority of the Syrian population didn’t support the government the government would have been overthrown long ago.

This is just a simple fact.

1. Argument from Consequences
2. Big Lie Technique
3. Either-Or Reasoning
4. Essentializing

Then
5. Reductionism

And (5.5) a weak attempt at Transfer fallacy

A deep well of logical fallacies.

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May 24th, 2013, 1:20 am

 

100. Mina said:

why is the media so reluctant to explain that since the 2 London murderes are from Nigeria, their act certainly has to do with the bombing of the Boko Haram strongholds in Nigeria last week?

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May 24th, 2013, 2:20 am

 

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