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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151. Akbar Palace said:

Get out of Jail Free Card (con’t)


Thanks for the pizza offer, by the time I get it, it will be stale.

But again, why should we believe your POV when you support a regime that never had freedoms? Never had freedom of the press, never had freedom of speech, or free elections.

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May 24th, 2013, 5:04 pm


152. Akbar Palace said:

GOJFC (con’t)


Yes of course! Assad’s little war is sooooooo much different than those dirty Israelis! Streetcars and bananas no less!

Of course the Syrian demonstrators didn’t fire thousands of rockets into population centers. And Israel didn’t kill over 80000 souls!

In case ur wondering, it means “Get out of Jail Free Card”

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May 24th, 2013, 5:16 pm


153. revenire said:

HRW has also shown its anti-Syrian pro-terrorist bias Akbar. I know you have no source that isn’t biased against Syria. And, yes, Israel’s hand is bloody with nearly all the Syrian deaths – all 80 or 100k.

Not a single rocket was fired into civilian population centers. That’s ridiculous.

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May 24th, 2013, 5:20 pm


154. Ameera said:

نيالو الآخد شاميه

متهني بالميّة ميّة بيصحى على قولة ياروحي بيغفى على زند الحنيه.. نيالو الاخد شاميه..

نيالو ما أصفا باله حتى لو داقت احواله ترضى بالمرّ كرماله تدعيله صبح وعشيه نيالو الاخد شاميه..

انضف من فلّه وياسمينه صالونها , ومطبخها زينه, وفنجان القهوه من ايدها يارب تديمو وتزيدها..وفته وكبه وملوخيه. نيالو الاخد شاميه..

امه امها.. اهله اهلها.. بتلقاهم بالاهلا وسهلا َ والليله اللّمه ما احلاها والعشا جاهز عالصينيه والمحلي تسلم دياتها احلا من المحلي حكياتها كنافه بقشطه وألماسيه..نيالو الاخد شاميه..

ولما بهل استقبالها وبيجتمعوا الحلوين قبالها وبترن الضحكه الفضيه على رقصه ستي وغنيه معسل اركيله عجميه نيالو الاخد شاميه.

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May 24th, 2013, 5:21 pm


155. Ameera said:

مين عبود؟ وأولتك بيطلع من خرجو لريفرن يلي ما حدا أدران يسكتو

شو رأيك ببوست البنت الشامية؟ شي بفرفح الألب مو هيك

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May 24th, 2013, 5:29 pm


156. revenire said:

Tara Matt posted the rules and gave all a fair chance to start with a clean slate. Everyone had a chance to read the rules and then each decided whether to abide by them or flaunt them. I decided to respect our hosts and obey the posted rules. After all, it isn’t my forum. It is the forum of Joshua Landis and his captain Matt Barber. I don’t agree with Landis, or Barber (who I asked whether he believes Assad should surrender Syria to cannibals more than once), on political matters but respect this is their forum and I am here as their guest. They are each probably nice men to have a barbecue or a beer with. 🙂

A few perennial violators decided to flaunt our gracious host’s policies and were banned. I suspect several were professional trolls who had no “dog in the race” as far as Syria goes but have no proof so I will say no more on that subject.

I hope we can all leave the personal things – despite the emotion of war – at the door and stick to the politics of the matter. I think we all want peace in Syria but are in conflict as how to achieve that goal.

PS – I must admit that I like the sound of “Revenire’s Comment” and like “Ann’s Comment” even more. 😉

PPS – I hope you have a nice weekend Tara.

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May 24th, 2013, 5:39 pm


157. Tara said:


I am so happy you are here today. I am pretty bored. I am invited later tonight to a 20 year wedding anniversary of an Iranian couple but do not feel like going. Aboud was something else. He is a Homsi. He lived in Homs I think for more than a year after the beginning of the revolution and was a first class debater. Far and beyond… I used to get very worried about him posting anti regime material when he lived there. He moved to KSA afterwards and changed his name to Amjad of Arabia. I also liked True. Aboud was banned by Alex, an ardent regime supporter who runs Creative Syria after he expressed an opinion in regard to the First Lady from Hell. True quit SC in disgust. Aboud and True moved temporarily to The Wall.

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May 24th, 2013, 5:44 pm


158. revenire said:

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May 24th, 2013, 5:52 pm


159. Tara said:

Ameera@ 149

I never heard this poem before… I am impressed with your knowledge. It is funny but I think it is very true.

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May 24th, 2013, 6:01 pm


160. Ghassan Karam said:

Syrian Dictatorship On A Path To Perdition.

The popular adage “What is good for the Goose is good for the Gander” is meant to be a populist easy way to restate the Golden Rule which was best expressed by Mathew 7:12 as “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets” is also seen as the foundation of ethical reciprocity. An excellent illustration of this norm is practiced by the young in their first few years of schooling during birthday celebrations: one person cuts the cake while the other chooses which portion to take. If only grownups can keep these lessons alive as they grow up. Maybe some of us try to practice what we preach and attempt to be fair and consistent. Not the Syrian Government and not Bashar Assad though. How can they be just when their total existence from the inception of the regime is based on force, tyranny and illegitimacy? Their constant fear of truth must be the only logical explanation why they pretended to have elections. They forgot though that election proper rests on the intrinsic right to free speech and free expression. Elections are supposed to be a contest between various individuals who have different priorities about how to improve the level of welfare of the public at large. These candidates will explain to their constituents the various plans that they have and then the voters will weigh these programs and determine which they think is best for them. Elections in Syria have been a sham, every single one of them and the reason must be that those who were ruling forcefully and illegitimately did not trust those that they governed.

All dictators are afraid of the truth and that is why they set up these elaborate police systems in order to spread fear among their citizens. Well the Syrian dictatorship is one of the worst. It has lasted for over forty years by setting up what many have called the most cruel Stasi machine outside of the then GDR, East Germany. Actually the Syrian police whose role is to oppress, exploit and scare decent citizens was set up with the help of East Germany. Where is East Germany now? It has bitten the dust and as history teaches us all dictatorships will eventually bite the dust including the Syrian rulers.

The Syrian uprising has been going on for over two years that have resulted in an abnormally high level of destruction, thanks to the selfish Syrian dictatorship that is willing to pay any price to continue its rule of terror. The losses, the real losses are not limited to the destruction of city quarters and infrastructure but have resulted in over 80,000 deaths so far. Even that grotesque price becomes small when compared to the price that the future generation will have to bare. This war is robbing the youth of their future and nothing, absolutely nothing, can be crueler than that.

This monstrous regime is not satisfied to mete out its terror, which has also resulted in about a 1.5 million Syrians seeking refuge in neighbouring countries and at least an equal number of refugees within the country, but has the temerity to use an illegal militia from a neighbouring country in order to launch well coordinated attacks with heavy weapons on a city that had been overrun over a year ago by the opposition. This regime seeks the aid of a well equipped and well trained illegal militia while it is lambasting the opposition for its use of foreign fighters. The double standards do not stop here either. This same Syrian administration has been complaining to whoever would listen about light arms smuggling that has been coming into Syria to help arm the FSA and its supporters level the field against the Assad killing machine but yet this same administration has been smuggling, yes smuggling, sophisticated weapons to arm militant groups in Lebanon. It does not dawn on this administration apparently that if they have the rights to destabilize others then maybe the Syrian people have the right to obtain some arms to protect themselves from the common massacres committed against them by the Syrian forces.

The irony does not stop here either. This same Syrian government was proud to encourage and facilitate the crossing of Jihadists from all across the Moslem world into Iraq but now that some of these jihadists want to cross the border in the opposite direction this activity has become abominable.

As for those that believe the constant refrain that this Syrian reign of terror is justified because it is what is keeping Al Qaeda and other extremists from taking over Syria I have fertile land for sale in the Syrian dessert not to mention bridges in NYC. The Syrian people are asking for a chance to write a new constitution with guarantees their individual right to free expression, multiparty systems and open and free elections. They are entitled to elect whoever they choose. If they so happen to elect an extreme Islamist then so be it. The essence of democracy is to accept the will of the people. If they find out that their choice did not deliver what was promised then they will vote them out of office in the next round, they will not be forced to accept a leadership that passes from father to son. The common Syrian has the right to be heard and she will.

Dictatorships are always on a path to self destruction. There is a limit to how much the public will take. Eventually enough courageous people will ask for their freedom and will shout from rooftops that the emperor has no cloths and that no one can enslave them because they are born free. The truth shall set them free. The Syrian dictatorship is not any different; it has been on its road to perdition for over four decades. That is inevitable.

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May 24th, 2013, 6:31 pm


161. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Assad forcing the Arab League to apologize in front of the Mafia Regime….. Oh no……

What else will Assad ask to justify or to find a reason not to attend the Gevena Summit ?

He knows he has nothing to diallogue in Geneva since he and his arms are forbidden in the meeting rooms.

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May 24th, 2013, 6:40 pm


162. Ziad said:

راتب سهير الأتاسي 10,000 دولار .. بكفّو لعمليات التجميل والحمد لله .. وكل ذلك فداء للوطن ولنساء الوطن مشان ما يقولو عن السوريات بشعات !

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May 24th, 2013, 6:48 pm


163. revenire said:

We Syrians love our president. No foreign conspiracy will succeed.

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May 24th, 2013, 7:00 pm


164. ann said:

The Gravy Train Makes A Stop in Jordan

World Bank to help Jordan with Syrian refugees – 2013-05-24

The World Bank on Thursday (May 23rd) said it will provide the Jordanian government with $150 million to help the kingdom with the cost of hosting at least 500,000 Syrian refugees, The Jordan Times reported.

The aid package is expected to take the shape of a program of emergency support to help the Jordanian authorities finance public service expenditures. [nothing for those poor Syrian refugees?!!!]


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May 24th, 2013, 7:45 pm


165. revenire said:

FSA reinforcements arrive in Qusayr?

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May 24th, 2013, 7:48 pm


166. ann said:

Tajiks, Kyrgyz confirmed fighting in Syria – 2013-05-24

DUSHANBE – Tajik and Kyrgyz nationals have been fighting alongside Islamist rebels in Syria, Tajik and Kyrgyz officials have confirmed, according to a May 24 Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) report.

Three Tajiks recently were killed in combat in Syria, Dushanbe said.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyz security personnel this week repatriated two Kyrgyz men who had been fighting alongside Islamist rebels in Syria, Bishkek said.


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May 24th, 2013, 8:13 pm


167. Akbar Palace said:


Aboud was a very interesting fellow and we agreed on many things.


Please don’t tell us how much Syrians love Assad when you have no election to prove it and 80000 are “no shows”.

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May 24th, 2013, 8:14 pm


168. ann said:

Friday Of The 12 Dead Chechen Mercenary Islamist Terrorists

12 Chechen fighters killed in central Syria: activists – 2013-05-25

DAMASCUS, May 24 (Xinhua) — A total of 12 fighters from Chechnya were killed Friday in Syria’s central Hama province, activists said.

The fighters were killed when two rockets landed in the al- Hamra village in the eastern countryside of Hama, the Britain- based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The report spelled no more details.

The Syrian government has long been charging that foreign fighters are joining the battles alongside the opposition rebels, accusing regional countries, such as Turkey, of facilitating the flow of those jihadists into Syria.


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May 24th, 2013, 8:34 pm


169. Juergen said:


Since my days in the army in Bosnia I have a growing disgust for the work of such parts of the government like BND or the state run Verfassungsschutz. Nonevertheless they depend more on human scources than lets say the CIA, but human scources could always have motives as we all know.

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May 24th, 2013, 8:50 pm


171. ann said:

Kerry Complains About Hezbollah Fighters in Syria – Kurt Nimmo – May 22, 2013

Secretary of State says nothing about CIA’s foreign mercenaries, including al-Qaeda

During a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman, Secretary of State John Kerry said Hezbollah is fighting alongside al-Assad’s soldiers in Syria with Iranian support, according to Reuters.

On Tuesday, ahead of Kerry ‘s visit, a senior State Department official said the “Syrian Government is welcoming Iranian help and Hezbollah help.”

The unnamed official also said the U.S. knows Iran and Hezbollah cooperate in a number of countries, “not just in Syria. And so it is not a surprise that Iran would be there with Hezbollah on the ground. We do have consistent reports of Hezbollah fighters on the ground.”

The official also said the United States government has reports “from several of the commanders that Hezbollah fighters are directly engaged in fighting literally on the streets.”

The State Department declarations about Hezbollah fighters and Iranian assistance ignores the fact that the CIA is arming and supporting foreign mercenaries in Syria. In addition to CIA sponsored mercenaries, the presence of British and Qatari troops have been reported in Syria. “There is ample evidence that this armed insurgency is directly supported by the US and NATO. There is also evidence that these armed groups are responsible for killing civilians and carrying out terrorist acts,” Michel Chossudovsky noted last February.

In April, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service Director Viktor Ivanov said around 20,000 foreign mercenaries financed by Afghan drug trafficking are attempting to overthrow the al-Assad regime in Syria.

“Transnational organized crime groups can ensure an inflow of a huge number of criminals and mercenaries from certain countries to any part of the world with proceeds from heroin sales,” Ivanov told the Ria Novosti news service.

Afghanistan’s drug trade “is funding insurgency, international terrorism and wider destabilization,” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in 2011. In 2009, we reported that the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, a suspected kingpin of the country’s booming opium trade, had been on the CIA payroll for years prior to his assassination.

During the CIA’s successful effort to defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the agency institutionalized drug production. “In order to augment their funds, rebel chieftains began to grow poppies, refine opium into heroin, and sell the drug in the U.S. and Europe,” Robert Friedman wrote in the early 1990s.

Ivanov’s statement coincided with remarks by Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich. “Syria’s transformation into a center of attraction for international terrorists is becoming an alarming reality,” he told the Interfax news agency.

“Field reports from the ground inside Syria point towards a difficult and complex situation, with the country teeming with foreign mercenaries, including westerners, with outside forces using Saudi, Turkey and Qatar as proxies to support minority groups and destabilize the status quo,” Russia’s Pravda reported on Tuesday.

Since the beginning of the effort to overthrow al-Assad and install a more complaisant government in Syria, the United States, the UK, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, and Turkey have “sent billions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into Syria along side known-terrorists from Libya, Chechnya, neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq,” writes Tony Cartalucci.

Finally, al-Qaeda in Iraq has taken over the foreign financed and CIA-supported effort to depose al-Assad. “The most feared and effective rebel group battling President Bashar al-Assad, the Islamist Nusra Front, is being eclipsed by a more radical jihadi force whose aims go far beyond overthrowing the Syrian leader,” Reuters reported last week. “Many Syrians turned a blind eye to the growing presence of foreign and Arab jihadi fighters in its ranks.”

The foreign presence within the ranks of mercenaries in Syria is epitomized by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaeda affiliated group. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has relocated to northern Syria to take control of al-Qaeda forces inside the country.

Secretary of State John Kerry and the U.S. government support al-Qaeda in Syria …


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May 24th, 2013, 9:05 pm


172. dawoud said:

152. TARA

Thanks for your useful information. Funny that there was a time when a commentator was banned on SC for expressing an anti-regime opinion. Things have changed in the last 2 years since I began visiting this Website. No wonder that this site receives a lot of pro-regime commentators/visitors. Last year, one pro-regime commentator was so surprised that Landis called Bashar “dictator!” I take a little a credit for this change and tolerance of us, anti-dictator commentators, because I repeatedly sent emails to Professor Landis and the moderators. Besides, the regime’s atrocities and war crimes have become so obvious that even the most pro-Bashar SC moderators (I don’t know if the moderator whom you mentioned is still here, but his pro-dictator bias and “analyses” were beyond biased/emotional/subjective, and might have qualified him for a position in Bashar’s ministry of [mis]information) couldn’t defend with a straight face!

Today, Aljazeera Arabic’s leading video on al-Qasir featured an old man in the besieged city in front of his destroyed house curing “Hasan,” the leader of the invading/occupying Lebanese Shia terrorist party, Hizbass!

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May 24th, 2013, 9:32 pm


173. revenire said:

Juergen I knew you would dislike the BND message. Oh well. There are winners and losers in war and this one will have its winners and its losers. We will be just. Not to worry.

If you ever get to Lebanon be sure to visit Mleeta. We are very proud of it.

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May 24th, 2013, 9:37 pm


174. ann said:

Syria – TV crew Russian state TV with Syrian troops in Qusayr footage 23/05

WARNING: contains footage of dead Al-Qaeda Islamist Terrorists

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May 24th, 2013, 9:40 pm


175. dawoud said:

Today, Aljazeera Arabic’s leading video on al-Qasir featured an old man in the besieged city in front of his destroyed house curing “Hasan,” the leader of the invading/occupying Lebanese Shia terrorist party, Hizbass!
قال ناشطون إن قوات النظام السوري ومقاتلي حزب الله يصعدان من حملة غير مسبوقة على مدينة القصير بريف حمص، لليوم السادس على التوالي. في المقابل، أفاد ناشطون بأن مسلحي المعارضة حققوا تقدما في قرية الجوسية بالقصير.

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May 24th, 2013, 9:43 pm


176. dawoud said:

165. Juergen

I really appreciate it if you start using the right and well-deserved name to refer to this terrorist Iranina-puppet Lebanese Shia party HIZBASS, Party of the Devil,

حزب الشيطان


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May 24th, 2013, 9:48 pm


177. dawoud said:

I agree with this editorial criticizing the involvement of the Lebanese Shia terrorist party Hizbass in Bashar’s ongoing war crimes in Syria, particularly in al-Qasir.

“حزب الله” يرشح .. سمّاً

لوهلة، عندما يستمع المرء إلى منظّري “حزب الله”، من قيادات ونواب وإعلاميين، يظن نفسه أمام حزبٍ بات أشبه بأيقونة ترشح زيتاً، كما لو أن أفلاطون فصل “المدينة الفاضلة” كي تحيا بفضل “حزب الله” !.
ما يحق لـ”حزب الله” لا يحق لغيره. كل ما يفعله يرمز إلى قداسة ما، ليته يفعل ما يرمز إلى سيادة ما، سيما وأن مجرد التشكيك به من قبل الشركاء في الوطن، معناه أنهم “كفرة” و”خونة” و”عملاء”، و”خوارج” حتى . فحرب تموز “نصر إلهي” تحقق من حيث “لم يعلم” السيد حسن نصر الله. و7 أيار “يومٌ مجيد”. المتهمون باغتيال الرئيس الشهيد رفيق الحريري “أيقونات مقدسة”. التورط في قتل الشعب السوري “كي لا تسبى السيدة زينب مرتين”، واللائحة تطول.
أستعين بجملتين للنائب محمد رعد، قالهما بالأمس تعليقاً على ما يحدث في طرابلس، لما ينطويان عليه من توصيف دقيق لحال “حزب الله” اليوم. يقول رئيس كتلة “الوفاء للمقاومة”: “هناك ابتذال في استخدام ارواح الناس. هذا الامر مقلق في الحقيقة ويجب على الذين اخرجوا الثعابين من اوكارها ان يتحملوا مسؤولياتهم في اعادة تلك الثعابين الى جحورها”.
كما لو أن المقصود بكلام رعد هو “حزب الله”، بعدما تجاوز “الإبتذال في استخدام أرواح الناس” الحدود اللبنانية إلى داخل الحدود السورية، في القصير وغيرها من المدن السورية، تأكيداً على أن 7 أيار لم يكن صناعة لبنانية وحسب، بل “صناعة أسدية إيرانية”.
ليت الإبتذال لدى “حزب الله” اقتصر على استخدام أرواح الناس، بل تعداها إلى استغلال عقولهم، بتبريرات من هنا، وحجج من هناك، لسقوط القناع عن “مقاومة” هي بالأصل “مقاومة مصادرة”، باتت اليوم أشبه بـ”الثعبان” الذي اُخرجوه من وكره، وراح يلدغ اللبنانيين والسوريين بالسم القاتل، وأصبح لزاماً على قياديي المقاومة أن يتحملوا مسؤولية إعادة هذا “الثعبان” إلى جحره، قبل أن يقتله فائض السم الذي حقنوه إياه، بحيث يبدو عاجزاً عن تصريفه، بحسب مجريات غرق “حزب الله” في الرمال السورية، وسقوطه في امتحان القصير.
ليس ثمة من يفتري على “حزب الله” بقدر ما يفتري هو على نفسه، وعلى اللبنانيين. كل إطلالات أمينه العام السيد حسن نصر الله، بما فيها إطلالة اليوم في “عيد المقاومة والتحرير”، ينطبق عليها المثل القائل :”مادح نفسه يقرئك السلام”. تراه ماذا يقول اليوم، وكل مساحيق التورية لم تعد تنفع، ووعوده الصادقة بالنصر دائماً أمست عرقوبية، مع قوافل قتلى عناصره الوافدة من سوريا، حيث يسقطون على مذبح الدفاع عن نظام الأسد، بأعداد لوحظ للأسف، أنها فاقت، في بضعة أيام، أعداد “الشهداء” الذين سقطوا، على مدى سنوات، على مذبح تحرير الأرض، ضد العدو الإسرائيلي.
أي مقاومة، حتى لو كانت “مصادرة” مثل مقاومة “حزب الله”، تمسي “أوهن من بيت العنكبوت”، مهما تسلمت سلاحاً كاسراً للتوازن، طالما أنها تعتدي على من يقاوم بحق، دفاعاً عن حريته وكرامته وأرضه، وطالما أنها تعاكس المنطق والتاريخ والجغرافيا، بأن طريق تحرير القدس يمر في القصير، وبأن طريق تحرير الجولان يمر في مقام السيدة زينب !.
قد يكون من الضروري أن تصل “قصاصة ورق” إلى السيد نصر الله، من مستشاريه، مكتوبٌ عليها، أن “الرد الصادق” على كل حججه الواهية بالتورط في قتل الشعب السوري، جاء في بضع كلمات لناشطين على مواقع التواصل الإجتماعي، مفادها :”يا ريت مقام السيدة زينب بفلسطين” و”يا ريت في شيعة بفلسطين”، لأنه من الضروري جداً، أن نسمع تعليق السيد نصر الله على هذا الرد، إلا إذا كان سيمسي على قاعدة تبريره “الرد الاستراتيجي” لنظام الأسد على العدوان الاسرائيلي الذي استهدفه مؤخراً.
تراه ماذا يقول على تسميته من قبل ثوار سوريا بـ”دجال المقاومة “، بعدما كان في نظرهم “سيد المقاومة”؟!
لن يسلم نصر الله الجرة في كل “مغامرة” يهرب إليها متكئاً إلى غرور سلاحه إو إلى الإستكبار الإيراني. في النهاية، ثمة ثمنٌ سيدفع، ولطالما دفع “المنتصرون دائماً”، مثلما يصور نصر الله نفسه، أثماناً باهظة، على مر التاريخ، جراء غرورهم وجنونهم، من دون أن يعلموا حتى.
جلّ ما نريده اليوم، أن يعلم “حزب الله” أن ما بعد القصير يختلف عما قبله، بالنسبة لدوره الداخلي ولمقاومته التي أمست “مقاولة بالدماء”، بنظر الكثير من اللبنانيين

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May 24th, 2013, 9:55 pm


178. ann said:

Al-Qusayr-Syria – Entire FSA terrorists brigade sent packing by the Syrian Military – English subtitles – 1 hour ago


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May 24th, 2013, 10:03 pm


179. dawoud said:

So, if Palestine had Shias or Shiites (and it had the Zainab temple), would Hasan the Devil حسن نصر الشيطانof
Hizbass have sent his armed men to “liberate” Palestine? No, he is just following the orders of his Iranian masters and willing only to kill innocent civilians and poorly-armed courageous Syrian freedom fighters. In 2006, he almost apologized to Israel by saying that had he thought Olmert would start an all out war, he (Hasan the Devil) would have not authorized the operation that resulted in the kidnapping of the 2 Israeli soldiers. What a hypocrite and Coward!

Nasrallah: We wouldn’t have snatched soldiers if we thought it would spark war
Hezbollah chief: Wouldn’t have snatched soldiers if had known would spark war; says not heading for second round of war.
By Haaretz Service and Agencies | Aug.27, 2006 | 12:00 AM

Hezbollah would not have abducted two Israel Defense Forces soldiers on July 12 had it known that the action would lead to war in Lebanon, the movement’s secretary general Hassan Nasrallah said in an interview on Lebanon’s NTV Sunday.

“We did not think that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not,” he said.

Nasrallah also said he did not believe there would be a second round of fighting with Israel, and stated that Hezbollah would adhere to the cease-fire despite what he called Israeli provocation.

The interview with the TV station that had supported Hezbollah during the war was held at Nasrallah’s hideout, and according to the female reporter that did the interview, she had been rushed to the location on very short notice.

This was the longest interview Nasrallah had granted since the outbreak of fighting and he took advantage of the opportunity to discuss at length his general outlook on developments in southern Lebanon.

The Hezbollah leader said that the events that followed the abduction of the soldiers were also unexpected, and added that the IDF operation in which a tank entered Lebanon and was destroyed by a mine complicated the situation with the deaths of more Israeli soldiers.

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May 24th, 2013, 10:08 pm


180. ann said:

Massive FSA death in alqusair homs – 2 hours ago

they are really taking a beating i’ve never seen anything like this before

WARNING: contains footage of dead Al-Qaeda Islamist Terrorists

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May 24th, 2013, 10:10 pm


181. ann said:

Syria – Idlib – 3 hours ago

Horrible ending for those who chose to die for fat persian gulf emirs

WARNING: contains footage of dead Al-Qaeda Islamist Terrorists

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May 24th, 2013, 10:22 pm


182. Dawoud said:

Hasan the Devil is an apologistic terrorist, AND a coward attacking Syrian civilians and their lightly-armed defenders!

Free Syria, Free Palestine!

Hezbollah leader apologizes to Lebanon

Michael Totten (who has been living in and blogging from Lebanon) thinks that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, failed to convince a majority of the educated and independent-thinking Lebanese population that Hezbollah really “won” the recent war with Israel. So to save face, Nasrallah recently declared:

“[W]e did not believe, even by one percent, that the captive operation would result in such a wide-scale war, as such a war did not take place in the history of wars. Had we known that the captive operation would result in such a war we would not have carried it out at all.”

Interesting. That doesn’t sound at all like the rhetoric of a victorious leader doing the will of God.

And RedBlueChristian has much more regarding the pyrrhic victory of Hezbollah:

Mona Fayed, a prominent Shiite academic in Beirut, wrote an article also published by An-Nahar last week. She asks: Who is a Shiite in Lebanon today? She provides a sarcastic answer: A Shiite is he who takes his instructions from Iran, terrorizes fellow believers into silence, and leads the nation into catastrophe without consulting anyone.


While the radical Shi’aa Islam preached by Iranian leaders certainly has a stranglehold on southern Lebanon, it is comforting to know that fundamentalism and extremism is abhorrent to many others in the rest of the nation, and that Hezbollah’s $100 bill handouts are seen as an insult rather than as the blessings of Allah.

This is the only way that war in the Middle East can be peaceably averted.

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May 24th, 2013, 10:27 pm


183. Dawoud said:

Free Syria, Free Palestine, Stop Hizbass terrorism in Syria!

Hezbollah leader apologizes to Lebanon

Michael Totten (who has been living in and blogging from Lebanon) thinks that Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, failed to convince a majority of the educated and independent-thinking Lebanese population that Hezbollah really “won” the recent war with Israel. So to save face, Nasrallah recently declared:

“[W]e did not believe, even by one percent, that the captive operation would result in such a wide-scale war, as such a war did not take place in the history of wars. Had we known that the captive operation would result in such a war we would not have carried it out at all.”

Interesting. That doesn’t sound at all like the rhetoric of a victorious leader doing the will of God.

And RedBlueChristian has much more regarding the pyrrhic victory of Hezbollah:

Mona Fayed, a prominent Shiite academic in Beirut, wrote an article also published by An-Nahar last week. She asks: Who is a Shiite in Lebanon today? She provides a sarcastic answer: A Shiite is he who takes his instructions from Iran, terrorizes fellow believers into silence, and leads the nation into catastrophe without consulting anyone.



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May 24th, 2013, 10:29 pm


184. revenire said:

Ann thanks for those important video lessons. This is the fate of those who would take up arms against the Syrian Arab Army.

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May 24th, 2013, 10:36 pm


185. Dawoud said:

Hizbass terrorist killed! Good Riddance!

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May 24th, 2013, 10:39 pm


186. Dawoud said:

A Video shows recent Hizbass terrorists killed in al-Qasir by the Syrians defending their city from Hizbass’ occupying terrorists:

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May 24th, 2013, 10:41 pm


187. Ameera said:

طبعا حبيبتي تارا روحي و انبسطي وهزي هالخصر وانسي هالحياة المئرفة وازا في كوكتيل اشربي و انسي ليش لأ. شو بدي إلك البنات الايرانيات المؤصات حلوين كتير يعني هيك بتحسي ادمهم اكابرية ومكياج عيونن مرتب وصدور متل البدور يعني متل حلم اي صبية مو هيك و شبابن لزيزين بس بحطو كتير جل على شعرن.

ايه حبيبتي دورت بالهيستوري على عبود و على ترو والله الظاهر انو كانو مشبحين ومو مخليين حدا من جماعة النظام يفتح تمو بنوب خصوصا هالمسكين سوريا نو كندهار وجاد و سريان كوماندو. لك على فكرة وين راحو الصبايا شيلا و زنوبيا و اوف زا وول؟ ليش تركوكي لحالك مع هالضباع؟

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May 24th, 2013, 10:45 pm


188. revenire said:

Ha ha ha.

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May 24th, 2013, 10:47 pm


189. ann said:

Friday Of Liberated Jdaidat al Fadhel

victory march.. by the people of newly liberated town from Al-Qaeda Islamist terrorists – 5 hours ago

The town is called Jdaidat al Fadhel, Damascus Suburbs..

they need electric and water services to come back on line as soon as possible.. they seem really happy to see the Syrian army in their town

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May 24th, 2013, 10:57 pm


190. Dawoud said:

Good way to say Good Night: Free Syria Song, “We Don’t Want al-Assad’s Rule, We Want Freedom!”

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May 24th, 2013, 11:02 pm


191. Dawoud said:

Good way to say Good Night: Free Syria Song, “Salute Syria and its Revoutionaries”

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May 24th, 2013, 11:04 pm


192. revenire said:

Those people look thrilled to see the SAA. Wow.

Assad is a hero!

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May 24th, 2013, 11:22 pm


193. ann said:

Syria – Recent Daraya battle scenes by ANNA News – 11 hours ago

No one screaming ALLAHU AKBAR. Just brave Syrian soldiers doing their best to eradicate Al-Qaeda Islamist Terrorists.

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May 25th, 2013, 12:03 am


194. Tara said:


مافي ولا واحدة حلوة بيناتهن

ما بعرف بس صاير خلقي ضيق شوي وما بيعجبني العجب. بقلبي زعل كتير علي عم بيصير وعالناس اللي ماتت وعل الأطفال اللي تيتموا

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May 25th, 2013, 12:07 am


195. ann said:

Syria opposition talks face collapse – 25 May 2013

ISTANBUL – Syrian opposition talks aimed at presenting a coherent front at an international peace conference to end the civil war faced the prospect of collapse after President Bashar al-Assad’s foes failed to cut an internal deal, opposition sources said on Friday.

The failure of the Syrian National Coalition to alter its Islamist-dominated membership as demanded by its international backers and replace a leadership undermined by power struggles is playing into the hands of Assad, whose forces are attacking a key town as his ally Russia said he would send representatives to the conference, coalition insiders said.

After two days of meetings in Istanbul, senior coalition players were in discussions late into the night after veteran liberal opposition figure Michel Kilo rejected a deal by Syrian businessman Mustafa al-Sabbagh, who is the coalition’s secretary-general, to admit some members of Kilo’s bloc to the coalition, the sources said.

Kilo has said that his group wants significant representation in the opposition coalition before it will join.

“There is a last-minute attempt to revive a kitchen-room deal. The coalition risks undermining itself to the point that its backers may have to look quickly for an alternative with enough credibility on the ground to go to Geneva,” a senior opposition source at the talks said.

While the opposition remained wracked by differences, a major assault by Assad’s forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies on a Sunni town held by rebels near the border with Lebanon over the past week was shaping into a pivotal battle.

“It is ironic that Lebanon’s civil strife is playing itself out in Syria. The opposition remains without coherence and the regime is intent on taking back anything it promises with violence,” said one diplomat.

Washington and Moscow have been compelled to revive diplomacy by developments in recent months, which include the rise of al Qaeda-linked fighters among rebels and reports of atrocities and accusations that chemical weapons are being used.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet privately in Paris on Monday to discuss their efforts to bring Syria’s warring parties together, U.S. and Russian officials said.

Russia said the Syrian government had agreed in principle to attend the planned peace conference, which could take part in Geneva in the coming weeks.


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May 25th, 2013, 12:33 am


196. Dawoud said:

The pro-dictator/Hizbass commentator, who posted a preposterous conspiracy theory video for the crazy Glen Beck claiming a Saudi connection to the Boston terrorist bombing, should read this article:

Saudi man investigated after Boston Marathon speaks out

By Caitlin Dewey, Published: May 24, 2013 at 3:52 pm

The “easy-going, good humored” Saudi Arabian student who briefly became an object of intense suspicion after the Boston bombings broke two months of silence this week, telling The Islamic Monthly that media attention since the attacks “double injured” him.

Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi’s interview, which is worth hearing in full, sheds more light on the messy investigative aftermath of the attacks, which saw several men — many of African and Middle Eastern descent — wrongly accused in the media and on the Internet.

Alharbi, a Saudi Arabian student who won a full scholarship to study English in Boston, was injured in the blast and questioned immediately on his arrival in the hospital. He told TIM that more than 20 FBI agents and Boston police officers surrounded him, demanding his name, address and Facebook password even as nurses tried to stop his bleeding.

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May 25th, 2013, 12:44 am


197. The Hunchbacked Mufti of Homs said:


“We Syrians love our president”

And we hope to kiss a pig…

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May 25th, 2013, 1:02 am


198. ghufran said:

قال إمام جامع الزيتونة الأعظم في تونس الشيخ حسين العبيدي إن “ما يحدث في المنطقة العربية منذ سنتين هو سايكس بيكو جديد لتفتيت المنطقة العربية بمشرقها ومغربها”.
وفي حوار مع صحيفة “التونسية” المحلية نشر الجمعة أوضح الشيخ العبيدي أن “الجهاد في الإسلام لا يكون ضد المسلمين الآمنين في بيوتهم، والجهاد الحقيقي يكون في فلسطين”، مضيفاً “بناء على ذلك فالجهاد في سورية المسلمة والدولة ذات السيادة ليس من الدين في شيء وكل من ذهب إلى سورية لقتال السوريين المسلمين الآمنين في وطنهم بكل مكوناتهم يكون ارتكب جرم الانتحار وخسر دنياه وآخرته ومصيره جهنم وبئس المصير لأنه يقتل نفسه، وقتل النفس في الإسلام حرام”.
وتساءل الشيخ العبيدي “تحت راية من يجاهد هؤلاء؟” مؤكداً أنهم أكبر خطر على الإسلام لأنهم سيخربون الأمة الإسلامية.
الشيخ العبيدي توجه بالحديث للشباب التونسي “المغرر بهم” قائلاً “أنتم تجاهدون لأغراض سياسية استعمارية لا دينية، أنتم مغرر بكم لو جاهدتم في بناء وطنكم وطاعة والديكم لكان أفضل لكم عند الله في الدنيا والآخرة”، مؤكداً على أن العنف والإرهاب حرام في الإسلام وهذا لا جدال فيه.
وحذر العبيدي من المؤامرة التي تستهدف العرب جميعاً، مؤكداً أن “العدو مشترك وهو نفس العدو الذي حاربناه منذ قرون، إنه الإستعمار القديم المتجدد فالناتو فاتح فمه كي يبلعنا ونحن نتلهى بالنظر واحدنا في عيني الآخر فكل ما يحدث وما حدث هو تنفيذ لأجندات استعمارية معادية للعرب”.
وحول انتقال تونسيات إلى سورية للمشاركة فيما يسمى “جهاد النكاح” قال إمام جامع الزيتونة إن هذا ليس جهاداً وهو محرم شرعاً، مؤكداً أن الجهاد هو لنصرة دين الله لا نصرة المتعة وهذا لا يجوز بتاتاً في الإسلام”.
Sheikh Hussein Al-Ubaidi Imam of Al-Zaytouna-Tunisia speaks out against foreign jihadists in Syria

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May 25th, 2013, 1:06 am


199. Ameera said:

والله فهمانة وبعرف انو ألبك من الحمض لاوي بس الله يرضا عليكي لا تخلي الهم و الغم يركبك وحطي ببالك انو شو ما صار هو من عند الله بعدي اسمو مشان هيك غسلي وجك بآيات الرحمن و حاولي تبكي شوي
اديش حابة افتحلك تلفون ونعد لبكره الصبح احنا عم نحكي الي لألك

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May 25th, 2013, 2:30 am


200. Juergen said:

The SNC has published an booklet for the opposition forces, trough animated videos they try to spread the knowledge of international standards when it comes to warfare. Their campaign: Fighter not killer aims for officers serving in the FSA. They encourage the forces to obay these rules, even when the Assad forces break them everyday.

There are twelve videos in which they highlight what is not allowed in warfare.( with english subtitles)

This is their brochure:

the videos:

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May 25th, 2013, 2:35 am


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