The Factions of North Latakia

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

Since the beginning of Russian airstrikes in Syria, the north Latakia fighting front has emerged as a key battleground as regime forces- including irregular militias like the Muqawama Suriya and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party’s Nusur al-Zawba’a– and Shi’a militias like the Iraqi Harakat al-Nujaba’ seek to make advances and consolidate the remaining rump state. Contrasting with the Aleppo front but similar to developments in north Hama, the north Latakia front has remained largely at a stalemate, with the two main frontline areas being Jabal al-Akrad and Jabal al-Turkoman. The question then arises of which insurgent factions are operating on this front. In general, these factions are diverse in nature, ranging from Western-backed groups to jihadists. Further, they tend to acknowledge that they do not operate alone but rather cooperate with multiple other groups. This is so despite the fact that the last two major offensives launched by rebel forces in Latakia province- summer 2013 (A’isha Mother of the Believers Battle) and spring 2014 (al-Anfal Battle)- were spearheaded by foreign jihadists, with the area having a reputation as a hangout for muhajireen.

For the purposes of this survey of factions, it is useful first to consider the distinctly local groups, and then contingents of more well-known and widespread rebel and jihadist coalitions and factions that are participating on the Latakia frontlines.

1st Coastal Division

1stCoastalDivision

The 1st Coastal Division, which operates in the Jabal al-Turkoman and Jabal al-Akrad areas, is a declared Free Syrian Army [FSA] faction that was announced on 21 October 2014 as a merger of three rebel groups in Latakia province: Liwa al-‘Adiyat fi al-Sahel al-Souri, the First Brigade in the Mid-West Front, and the Storm Brigade (Liwa al-Asifa). The FSA affiliation of 1st Coastal comes as no surprise. For example, Liwa al-‘Adiyat was previously involved in the Supreme Military Council (SMC)-affiliated conglomeration known as Ahfad al-Rasul, which has since become defunct. The Mid-West Front similarly had links with the SMC, as when SMC leader Salim Idriss toured the Latakia frontline in the summer 2013 offensive. The Storm Brigade was formed in early 2013 as a merger of five local brigades in Latakia province. Sub-formations of these brigades have evidently carried over into 1st Coastal, such as the A’isha Mother of the Believers Battalion that was also the name of a sub-formation of the Storm Brigade.

AishaUmmMumineen1stCoastal
A’isha Mother of the Believers Battalion, previously a sub-formation of the Storm Brigade but now the 1st Coastal as per the merger.

The 1st Coastal formation statement affirmed that “the mission of this division is to bring down the Assad regime, and secure stability and security for the free Syrian people.” Further, the statement called on “all factions operating in the Syrian Sahel [coastal area] to unite for the sake of realizing the near victory.” The 1st Coastal has received TOW missiles, which it notably used to down a helicopter in a separate incident on the same day in late November that the Russian pilots and their aircraft were shot down by Turkey over north Latakia.

Though the leader of the Storm Brigade component- Basil Zemo- was killed in October reportedly in Russian airstrikes, 1st Coastal continues to have a prolific output of videos and other media content advertising its operations. Though the division does not espouse a particular ethnic or sectarian platform, its membership primarily consists of local Arabs. That said, at least one Turkmen contingent appears to exist within 1st Coastal: the Mustafa Battalion, whose leader- Abu Rashad al-Turkomani– was declared to have been killed in the Jabal al-Turkoman area in early October, along with his companion Abu Rabah.

2nd Coastal Division

2ndCoastalDivision

As the group’s emblem suggests, the 2nd Coastal Division is a Syrian Turkmen brigade operating primarily in the Jabal al-Turkoman area. The group’s spokesman, whom this author interviewed, claimed that the brigade has some 2000 fighters and was formed approximately a year ago (some time after 1st Coastal) as a merger of some local brigades. The leader of the brigade is one Bashar Mulla. The group’s spokesman says that constituent groups of 2nd Coastal include the Yaldram Bayazid Brigade, the Sultan Abd al-Hamid Brigade, and the 1st and 4th Murad Brigades.

The claimed figure of 2000 is likely to be an exaggeration though, and the spokesman for another group on the Jabal al-Turkoman front- Katibat Jabal al-Islam- asserted that 2nd Coastal probably has no more than 500 members. The extent of media output and the ethnic minority composition of 2nd Coastal would suggest that the brigade is likely smaller than 1st Coastal. Similar to 1st Coastal, it identifies as part of the FSA, and offered condolences to 1st Coastal under this moniker on the death of Basil Zemo.

10th Brigade

10thBrigade

The 10th Brigade is another declared FSA faction. Like 2nd Coastal, it is based primarily in the Jabal al-Turkoman area, though it also operates in Jabal al-Akrad. According to the media representative for the 10th Brigade, the group’s beginnings ultimately trace back to a union of a number of local Latakia countryside battalions in August 2012. From the beginning these brigades considered themselves FSA.

That said, the brand of the 10th Brigade did not come to public light until the following year, as the 10th Brigade was announced to be a part of the SMC-linked Mid-West Front  in the summer of 2013. Indeed, soon after that declaration, the 10th Brigade was identified as a participant in the offensive push towards Assad’s ancestral village of al-Qardaha, though its role back then could only be described as minor and auxiliary at best.

Moving forward to the present day, the 10th Brigade’s media representative offered a quite realistic view of the nature of operations in an interview with this author: “The 10th Brigade in the Sahel since its establishment and until today has participated in all the defence battles that have occurred in Latakia countryside, just as it answered demands to provide support on all the fronts that the Assad forces tried to assault: and the most important part is ribat [frontline maintenance duty], for as is well known on the ground of reality but not well known in the media, ribat on the frontlines constitutes more than 80% of the military operations that include battles, provisions of assistance and the like, and it constitutes most of the operations, which lead to attrition.” In total, the representative put current ribat operations at six fronts in Jabal al-Turkoman and Jabal al-Akrad.

Despite its FSA identity, the 10th Brigade has also provided training for fighters not necessarily linked to the FSA networks. The most notable case concerns fighters from Homs who later emerged as the Jaysh al-Sunna faction that is part of the Jaysh al-Fatah coalition, which controls the majority of Idlib province. As explained by the 10th Brigade representative: “After the fleeing of the fighters from besieged Homs, we received some of them in the 10th Brigade camp in the Sahel that is considered the largest camp for a military faction…but the revolutionaries who fled from Homs and whom we received did not have any moniker at that time except ‘Revolutionaries of Besieged Homs’, and there was not among them at that time any military activity. But after that they decided to head to the regions of Idlib and we heard as others had heard that they had called themselves Jaysh al-Sunna and had become part of the Jaysh al-Fatah operations room, and we have no connection with them outside of the aim of bringing down the regime of the dictator Bashar al-Assad and building a state guaranteeing a life of dignity and freedom and securing a future for the children of Syria in the most preferable manner possible.”

In keeping with an FSA identity, the 10th Brigade professes rejection of sectarian and ethnic distinction in its language, insisting that its members are of Syrian identity alone.

Farqat Asifat al-Hazm

FarqatAsifatHazmBrigade

Farqat Asifat al-Hazm is a faction whose name translates as the “Determination Storm Division.” Its members are mostly local Arabs from Latakia and Baniyas, the latter having once been a focal point of insurgent unrest in Tartous province until put down through sectarian massacres by regime forces aided by the Muqawama Suriya militia in 2013. Farqat Asifat al-Hazm operates solely in the Jabal al-Turkoman and Jabal al-Akrad areas in Latakia province, and it was established in April 2015. The establishment of the group was announced in a video by one Abd al-Majid Dabis, who summarised the division’s aims as “freedom, security and equality for the Syrian people in all its components.” Abd al-Majid Dabis had been involved with the SMC, also known at the time as the Council of Thirty.  The opposition site all4Syria notes that alongside Abd al-Jayyid in the announcement video appears Hadhifa al-Shughri, who is the leader of a local Latakia province brigade called Farqat Abna’ al-Qadisiya (Sons of Qadisiya Division). Based on this point and the similarities in emblems for the groups (see below for Farqat Abna’ al-Qadisiya emblem), it is likely that the two organizations are closely linked to each other. Interestingly, Farqat Abna’ al-Qadisiya also maintains a da’wa office, which has engaged in activity in the Latakia countryside.

FarqatAbnaQadisiya

FarqatAbnaQadisiyaDawaOffice
Activities of the da’wa office of Farqat Abna’ al-Qadisiya

According to Farqat Asifat al-Hazm’s spokesman, [outside] aid for Farqat Asifat al-Hazm stopped three months ago and the group is hoping that Turkey will provide support. He also emphasized that the brigade’s primary aim above all is the downfall of the regime: “Before the talk of a civil or democratic state, we want to bring about the downfall of the regime and get rid of Russia and the regime on account of their crimes against the people. After the downfall, let the people choose what it wants. We will not interfere with their will.”

Overall, Farqat Asifat al-Hazm appears to be a more minor component of the north Latakia insurgency in comparison with 1st Coastal, 2nd Coastal and the 10th Brigade.

Liwa al-Sultan Abd al-Hamid

LiwaSultanAbdalHameed

Liwa al-Sultan Abd al-Hamid translates as the Sultan Abd al-Hamid Brigade. It will be recalled that the 2nd Coastal claims that a formation with this name is affiliated with it. However, the Sultan Abd al-Hamid Brigade profiled here is claimed by its own media representative to be an independent Syrian Turkmen faction, so to avoid confusion it will hereafter be denoted as Liwa al-Sultan Abd al-Hamid.

Liwa al-Sultan Abd al-Hamid, under the leadership of one Omar Abdullah and operating in Jabal al-Turkoman, first emerged in January 2015 as a merger of three local battalions: Omar al-Mukhtar, Omar ibn Abd al-Aziz, and Othman Ghazi. Omar Abdullah at the time claimed the new formation’s numbers exceeded some 300 fighters- considerably smaller than the numbers 2nd Coastal claims. Ideologically, Liwa al-Sultan Abd al-Hamid seems similar to the other FSA-identifying formations in north Latakia. As the media representative for the group stated to this author: “Our manhaj [program] is that we want to remove oppression from this people. We do not want a Turkmen authority or state, but rather we want to bring down this tyrant and oppressor Bashar.”

OmarMukhtarBrigadevehicles
Vehicles of the Omar al-Mukhtar Battalion of Liwa al-Sultan Abd al-Hamid

OthmanGhaziBattalion
Members of the Othman Ghazi Battalion. Note the Liwa al-Sultan Abd al-Hamid emblem on the vehicle.

Katibat Jabal al-Islam

KatibaJabalIslamLatakia2

Katibat Jabal al-Islam means the “Mount Islam Battalion.” According to the media representative for this group interviewed by the author, Katibat Jabal al-Islam was established in 2012 and is independent. The group operates in the Jabal al-Turkoman area and is primarily Syrian Turkmen in ethnic composition, though it also claims to have Arabs in its ranks as no distinctions are supposedly made on ethnic grounds in accordance with the group’s ideology, which appears to be of jihadist orientation. Indeed, the group’s representative affirmed that the ideological program is the same as that of Syrian al-Qa’ida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and that the group strives to “make God’s law the rule of law in the land.” In this context, it should also be noted that on its Facebook page, Katibat Jabal al-Islam shared the Jaysh al-Fatah statement rejecting “foreign projects” seeking to impose “democracy and secularism” in Syria.

KatibaJabalIslamLatakia

The representative claimed that the group is the largest Syrian Turkmen faction in the area and leads the operations in Jabal al-Turkoman, putting the number of fighters for the group at 300.

Other Rebel Factions

Besides the six distinctly local factions profiled above, there are also a number of more familiar rebel groups that participate in the Latakia fighting. Either they are more widespread as individual factions or they are part of bigger coalitions. The most notable actors here are Ahrar al-Sham, Jaysh al-Islam, Ansar al-Sham and Jaysh al-Mujahideen. Of these groups, Jaysh al-Mujahideen- a rebel coalition native to Aleppo province that was once part of the Shami Front merger but subsequently split off- is arguably the smallest, serving as a very minor auxiliary force in Jabal al-Turkoman. In a somewhat similar vein, Jaysh al-Islam, being primarily based in the Damascus area, has much less influence in the northwest of Syria and seems to serve in a supportive role in the Latakia front through firing of projectiles and rockets at regime positions.

Ahrar al-Sham and Ansar al-Sham- both officially groups of the Islamic Front that has ceased to function as a real political coalition- have more established presences in Latakia province. Besides regularly advertising its operations in Latakia via photos on social media, Ahrar al-Sham was an important participant in both the 2013 and 2014 Latakia offensives, and currently has local affiliates such as Liwa Ahrar al-Jabal al-Wustani, whose commander Ahmad Ali Abu Ayham was announced to have been killed on 28 November in the fighting in the Jabal al-Akrad area.

Ansar al-Sham primarily operates within Latakia province and was previously a part of the Ahrar-led Salafi coalition known as the Syrian Islamic Front in the late 2012-2013 period. Like Ahrar al-Sham, it participated in the 2013 and 2014 Latakia offensives. It is also notable for having jihadist fighters of North Caucasian origin in its ranks and leadership, such as one-time leader Abu Musa al-Shishani, a faction under Abdul-Hakim al-Shishani that subsequently split off from Ansar al-Sham in October 2014 to give rise to Jamaat Jund al-Qawqaz/Ajnad Kavkaz, and Hanif al-Kabardini, the deputy leader of Ansar al-Sham who was recently killed in the Jabal al-Akrad area . According to a source of Ajnad Kavkaz origin, Kabardini was from Russia and was born to a Circassian father and a Russian mother. There are also conflicting claims that he was killed alongside a certain Muslim al-Shishani. Though pro-opposition Enab Baladi’s Latakia correspondent denies that the Muslim al-Shishani of Georgian nationality who leads jihadi faction Junud al-Sham has been killed, this author’s source says that the slain Muslim al-Shishani is another Muslim al-Shishani who was serving as leader of Ansar al-Sham.

Interestingly, Ansar al-Sham has tended to keep quiet in its own media channels about the issue of foreign jihadists in its ranks, but one sign of recent key losses and trouble may be a new statement issued on 7 December by the group’s Shari’i council, entitled “The Syrian Sahel between abandonment and attrition”:

“Indeed what our Syrian Sahel [coastal area] is being exposed to in Jabal al-Akrad and Jabal al-Turkoman from a vicious campaign in which the nations of the earth have gathered against the oppressed from the Muslims requires every Muslim capable of fighting and supporting his brothers to support them and relieve them as far as he can, just as it requires the factions operating on all of the liberated lands to unite their military capabilities and powers and send what goes beyond their needs from weapons and equipment or manpower support in order to be an aid to their brothers in the Syrian Sahel and foil the plot of the plotters.

Our mujahideen brothers, the continuous succession of strikes on these areas and the repeated daily attempts by the regime supported by Russian aircraft are coming down heavily on the battalions and factions present in these areas, and indeed all following what is going on know the extent of attrition that these factions are being exposed to and the extent of material, military and manpower weakness that has caught up with them especially with the continuous succession of these attacks and the falling of frontline maintainers and defenders between the two fires of securing their people and relatives and protecting the frontlines.

Our brothers…be a source of support for your brothers, make preparations and send aid and arms to support your brothers. Otherwise, be prepared to be the next ones to face this regime after it is done with your brothers. We ask God for guidance and steadfastness for us all: indeed He is the best to be implored.

Shari’i Council
Ansar al-Sham.”

Jihadist Factions

As mentioned in the introduction, Latakia province has had a reputation as a hangout for muhajireen. Indeed, a number of well-known jihadist factions with foreign components/leadership set up base in Latakia province, such as Suqur al-Izz, which was led by Saudis and merged with Jabhat al-Nusra last year, and Harakat Sham al-Islam, a Moroccan-led faction that first emerged in 2013 and has remained separate from Jabhat al-Nusra in being affiliated with the Jabhat Ansar al-Din jihadi coalition, despite the clear al-Qa’ida affinities and the merger of that coalition’s leading component- Jaysh al-Muhajireen wa al-Ansar– with Jabhat al-Nusra earlier this year.

Other notable actors have included the North Caucasian-led Junud al-Sham, which has recently been off the radar of social media, Jaysh Muhammad in Bilad al-Sham, whose leader Abu Obeida al-Masri initially headed to Latakia after being forced to withdraw from the Azaz area in summer 2014. However, one must distinguish between using Latakia as a hang-out place as opposed to trying to consolidate one’s influence there in the long-run. For instance, Jaysh Muhammad in Bilad al-Sham seems to have primarily focused on riding the wave of Jaysh al-Fatah-led advances in Idlib province since spring 2015 and building influence among the local populations there. This contrasts with Harakat Sham al-Islam, whose attempts to engage in outreach to local populations in Latakia province have long been apparent.

Overall, based on media output and the testimony of other Latakia groups, the most important jihadist factions operating on the Latakia frontlines at the present time are Jabhat al-Nusra, Harakat Sham al-Islam and the Uyghur-jihadist Turkistan Islamic Party, the last of which has also been involved in heavy fighting in the Sahl al-Ghab plains to the west and can wield influence in Latakia province on the basis of Turkic ethnic solidarity with the Syrian Turkmen. The spokesman for 2nd Coastal had noted the role of Jabhat al-Nusra and Harakat Sham al-Islam in particular but sought to downplay their numbers, while the spokesman for Farqat Asifat al-Hazm pointed to the role of Jabhat al-Nusra and Turkistan Islamic Party in the fighting but attempted to minimise the Jabhat al-Nusra presence and characterize its role as one of occasional auxiliary support.  The Jabal al-Turkoman operations room according to Katibat Jabal al-Islam includes Jabhat al-Nusra and Harakat Sham al-Islam.

From the jihadist propaganda, the Turkistan Islamic Party seems to stand out here recently. On 27 November, one account linked to the group claimed 30 ‘martyrs’ over the past two weeks in the Jabal al-Turkoman area, pointing to deep involvement on the front lines.

DoguTurkistan30shaheed
The Turkistan Islamic Party-linked account claiming 30 ‘martyrs’ over two weeks in Jabal al-Turkoman area (H/T Caleb Weiss).

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Harakat Sham al-Islam in Jabal al-Turkoman. Photo released in late November.

JabhatNusraJabalTurkoman
Jabhat al-Nusra also in Jabal al-Turkoman.

Conclusion

The Latakia frontlines present a myriad of insurgent actors, with no single faction taking the lead across the entire front. In general, the dynamics seem to have shifted from the jihadist-led failed offensives of largely symbolic and diversionary value to a stalemate with constant localized back-and-forth, requiring insurgent groups of all stripes to coordinate their efforts. With the failure of the jihadist-spearheaded offensives, FSA-brand forces in particular also seem to have become better organized and better equipped to play a more serious role in the fighting, balancing out the playing field somewhat.

 

Comments (84)


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51. ALAN said:

Well its a theater of the absurd. We have Saudi Arabia in effect supporting ISIS and these terrorists organizations and now what Saudi Arabia has done is to initiate a 34 country coalition to fight terrorism. In other words, The State sponsors of terrorism are indulging in counterterrorism.
It’s a bit like asking Al Capone to help in going after organized crime.
These are the State sponsors of terrorism.
Everybody knows that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are behind the terrorists and we also know that the US is behind Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
The US is the main architect of this terrorist undertaking.
what is it going to take to actually to bring this terrorism to an end?

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December 15th, 2015, 4:01 pm

 

52. Observer said:

Well do not worry the regime of Althad is doing the universe’s work of combating this universe based terrorism war on Syria.

Larmes de Crocodile sur les enfants de Syrie avec des bombardements a la douzaine et avec du phosphore et des bombes a munitions.

In the meantime the revolutionaries have plastered Damascus with wanted signs of Putin the Syrian blood sucker.

So far there has been no news on Syria from Alalam or Manar today. Just Mayaadeen about a helicopter that landed in Koueris. No news on Marj Alsultan either.

Cheers

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December 15th, 2015, 11:07 pm

 

53. ALAN said:

Good piece from Pepe Escobar
You Want War? Russia is Ready for War
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article43747.htm
Syria is leading all the assumptions to collapse like a house of cards. So no wonder in a Beltway under no visible chain of command – the Obama administration barely qualifies as lame duck – angst is the norm.
Russian intel has certainly played all possible scenarios involving a NATO Turkish army on the Turkish-Syrian border as well as the possibility of Ankara closing the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles for the Russian “Syria Express”. Erdogan may not be foolish enough to offer Russia yet another casus belli. But Moscow is taking no chances.
Russia has placed ships and submarines capable of launching nuclear missiles in case Turkey under the cover of NATO decides to strike out against the Russian position. President Putin has been clear; Russia will use nuclear weapons if necessary if conventional forces are threatened.
If Ankara opts for a suicide mission of knocking out yet another Su-24, or Su-34, Russia will simply clear the airspace all across the border via the S-400s. If Ankara under the cover of NATO responds by launching the Turkish Army on Russian positions, Russia will use nuclear missiles, drawing NATO into war not only in Syria but potentially also in Europe. And this would include using nuclear missiles to keep Russian strategic use of the Bosphorus open.
That’s how we can draw a parallel of Syria today as the equivalent of Sarajevo 1914.
Since mid-2014 the Pentagon has run all manner of war games – as many as 16 times, under different scenarios – pitting NATO against Russia. All scenarios were favorable to NATO. All simulations yielded the same victor: Russia.
And that’s why Erdogan’s erratic behavior actually terrifies quite a few real players from Washington to Brussels.
Let Me Take You on a Missile Cruise
The Pentagon is very much aware of the tremendous heavy metal Russia may unleash if provoked to the limit by someone like Erdogan. Let’s roll out an abridged list.
Russia can use the mighty SS-18 – which NATO codenames “Satan”; each “Satan” carries 10 warheads, with a yield of 750 to 1000 kilotons each, enough to destroy an area the size of New York state.
The Topol M ICBM is the world’s fastest missile at 21 Mach (16,000 miles an hour); against it, there’s no defense. Launched from Moscow, it hits New York City in 18 minutes, and L.A. in 22.8 minutes.
Russian submarines – as well as Chinese submarines – are able to launch offshore the US, striking coastal targets within a minute. Chinese submarines have surfaced next to US aircraft carriers undetected, and Russian submarines can do the same.
The S-500 anti-missile system is capable of sealing Russia off from ICBMs and cruise missiles. (Moscow will only admit on the record that the S-500s will be rolled out in 2016; but the fact the S-400s will soon be delivered to China implies the S-500s may be already operational.)
The S-500 makes the Patriot missile look like a V-2 from WWII.
Here, a former adviser to the US Chief of Naval Operations essentially goes on the record saying the whole US missile defense apparatus is worthless.
Russia has a supersonic bomber fleet of Tupolev Tu-160s; they can take off from airbases deep in the heart of Russia, fly over the North Pole, launch nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from safe distances over the Atlantic, and return home to watch the whole thing on TV.
Russia can cripple virtually every forward NATO base with tactical – or battlefield – small-yield nuclear weapons. It’s not by accident that Russia over the past few months tested NATO response times in multiple occasions.
The Iskander missile travels at seven times the speed of sound with a range of 400 km. It’s deadly to airfields, logistics points and other stationary infrastructure along a broad war theatre, for instance in southern Turkey.
NATO would need to knock out all these Iskanders. But then they would need to face the S-400s – or, worse, S-500s — which Russia can layer in defense zones in nearly every conceivable theater of war. Positioning the S-400s in Kaliningrad, for instance, would cripple all NATO air operations deep inside Europe.
And presiding over military decisions, Russia privileges the use of Reflexive Control (RC). This is a tactic that aims to convey selected information to the enemy that forces him into making self-defeating decisions; a sort of virus influencing and controlling his decision-making process. Russia uses RC tactically, strategically and geopolitically. A young Vladimir Putin learned all there is to know about RC at the 401st KGB School and further on in his career as a KGB/FSB officer.
All right, Erdogan and NATO; do you still wanna go to war?

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December 16th, 2015, 5:43 pm

 

54. jo6pac said:

53. ALAN

I was just coming back to post that;) Pepe nails

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December 17th, 2015, 5:44 pm

 

55. SANDRO LOEWE said:

ALAN,

The PEPE GARBAGER article in your post #53 is so miserable and useless that I could not complete the reading. Please try to post better contents. Apreciate.

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December 18th, 2015, 4:29 am

 

56. ALAN said:

44. SIMOHURTTA
After Soros played an important role in the destruction of Libya and has taken a considerable number of attempts to put an end to Syria manage funds began to spread in the Middle East propaganda articles and videos that depicted Germany as the most hospitable country in the whole world.
At the same time, Soros even went to Europe to provide its “recommendations” to place the refugees. He demanded that the European Union took up to a million refugees a year, refusing to explain what caused such a figure.
Moreover, according to the oligarch, European states too good balance of the debt, but because Europe should thoroughly get into debt in order to take the maximum number of refugees.
The Middle East and other wars today are the product of the foreign policy doctrine set out in 1992 by then Defense Assistant Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, the infamous Wolfowitz Doctrine that justifies “preemptive” war, free from any oversight from the UN Security Council, against any nation or group of nations which threaten US “Sole Superpower” domination. George Soros, the hedge fund speculator turned self-proclaimed philanthropist, and his tax-exempt foundations, are an integral part of that pre-emptive war machine. Now Soros lectures the EU countries, above all Germany, on how they should receive the human fallout from the wars he and his cronies in the US State Department have created. That’s real Chutzpah, or perhaps it is really hubris.
After such manipulations Europe, can be easily added to the list of conditional unfriendly associations, and all thanks to the vigilant efforts of the American “benefactors.”

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December 18th, 2015, 3:05 pm

 

57. Atassi said:

The man who married Putin’s daughter and then made a fortune (Reuters)

17 December 2015 14:54 EST

Reuters

By Jack Stubbs, Andrey Kuzmin, Stephen Grey and Roman Anin

IGORA, Russia, Dec 17 (Reuters) – The wedding party dominated a ski resort nestled in the hills about an hour’s drive north of St. Petersburg. No expense was spared and everyone was sworn to secrecy. The happy couple rode in a traditional Russian sleigh drawn by three white horses, said one of the workers who described the scene to Reuters.

The bride wore a long pearl-tinted wedding dress, the groom wore a dark overcoat, said another person who attended. The newlyweds were Katerina, younger daughter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Kirill Shamalov, son of an old friend of Putin.

Their wedding celebrations took place in February 2013, at Igora, a small ski resort that combines beauty and discretion, five people who were there told Reuters. Set amid woodland with a picturesque lake, the resort is co-owned by the family of Yuri Kovalchuk, another old friend of Putin, and a Cyprus company with undisclosed shareholders.

One person who attended the event said staff were told the bride and groom were named Kirill and Katerina, and that guests wore white scarves embroidered with the letters “K&K” in red thread. When shown a photograph of a woman known as Katerina Tikhonova, the source identified her as the bride. Tikhonova is Putin’s younger daughter, as Reuters confirmed in November.

“Guards were behind every corner, (they) didn’t let anyone close to the celebration,” said a staff member at the resort, which has a luxurious spa complex. “But we knew it was Kirill and Katerina – Putin’s daughter – celebrating marriage.”

At the time of the wedding, Kirill – a tall, dark-haired man with rimless glasses – was a rising star of Russian business, but still only 31. His fortunes began to skyrocket soon after his wedding to the president’s daughter, a competitive acrobatic dancer who is now helping to oversee a $1.7 billion expansion of Moscow State University.

Within 18 months, Kirill acquired a large chunk of shares in a major Russian oil and petrochemical processor called Sibur – a stake now worth an estimated $2.85 billion, based on the value of recent share deals. He also quit his job as a business manager and set up a company to run his personal investments.

How did such a young businessman go so far, so fast? A Reuters examination of Shamalov’s career shows that in the summer of 2013, months after he married Putin’s daughter, Kirill opened discussions about buying shares in Sibur from one of the president’s wealthiest friends.

A year later, he was able to borrow more than $1 billion, judging by the published accounts of his investment company. The loan came from a bank headed by another longtime associate of Putin, and where Shamalov’s brother holds a senior position. The money was used to make an investment in Sibur that within months proved highly profitable for Kirill.

Asked about his business deals and the wedding, Kirill Shamalov and Sibur declined to comment.

The trajectory of Kirill’s fortunes sheds new light on how people close to Putin have taken commanding positions in key companies – and how such opportunities are now being extended to a new generation. Like the wedding, much of this transfer of riches has occurred away from public scrutiny.

Vladimir Milov, a former Russian deputy energy minister and now an opposition campaigner, said Putin’s friends had acquired major assets with the help of lenders with links to the state, such as Gazprombank.

“It’s extremely non-transparent, so it is hard to get to and judge the specifics of the loan agreements,” Milov said. “They consider Gazprombank their pocket bank.”

He added: “They are looking to pass on their power and privileges to a new generation.”

Asked about the wedding celebrations and business deals, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian president, said: “Putin’s daughters are not involved in politics or business. The businessman, Shamalov, is well known. As far as we are aware, all his activities are in line with the laws of the Russian Federation. For many years he has been in the management of the company Sibur, and along with other senior managers is a shareholder. His career and business are not within the sphere of interest of the Kremlin. We do not give comments on the private lives of Putin’s close relatives.”

THE BROTHERS SHAMALOV

When Kirill Shamalov was growing up in the 1990s, his father, Nikolai, was a co-founder with Putin and others of a development of dachas known as The Ozero (Lake) Cooperative, about 100 km (60 miles) north of St. Petersburg. Various members of the Ozero development went on to prominence in Putin’s Russia.

Nikolai Shamalov became a shareholder in a small lender called Bank Rossiya, which over the past 15 years has grown to be one of Russia’s most influential banks. Kovalchuk, the co-owner of the Igora ski resort, is the largest Bank Rossiya shareholder.

After Russia seized control of Crimea in 2014, the United States sanctioned Bank Rossiya, describing it as the personal bank of the Russian elite. The European Union sanctioned Kovalchuk and Nikolai Shamalov for their close links to Putin. The U.S. Treasury also sanctioned Kovalchuk as a member of Putin’s inner circle.

Nikolai Shamalov has two sons: Yury, born in 1970, and Kirill, born in 1982. Both have prospered during the Putin years.

After studying naval engineering and foreign trade at university, Yury Shamalov worked, according to his official corporate biography, as a staffer on the foreign economic relations committee of the St. Petersburg city council. Putin ran the committee.

On the eve of 2000, Putin became president and began to stamp his authority on Russia’s economy. One company he paid particular attention to was the gas giant Gazprom, which he brought back under state control. Among Gazprom’s assets were Sibur, the petrochemical company, and a lender called Gazprombank.

Both Yury and Kirill Shamalov went on to take important roles in these and other institutions as Putin consolidated his power.

THE BANK

In August 2003, according to his corporate biography, Yury became president of Gazfond, a huge investment fund that controls the assets of Gazprom’s pensioners. Led by Yury, Gazfond later acquired control of Gazprom’s banking subsidiary, Gazprombank. Yury went on to become one of the bank’s deputy chairmen.

Gazfond had effectively bought a state asset and turned it into a private bank controlled by people with long-standing links to Putin.

Kirill Shamalov, meanwhile, was also making rapid progress. In 2002, he was appointed Gazprom’s “Chief Legal Counsel for foreign economic activity,” according to a biography on Sibur’s website. He was just 20 and had not yet graduated from his law studies at St. Petersburg State University.

Three years later, after completing his law degree, Shamalov became “Chief Legal Counsel” at Gazprombank, then still a subsidiary of Gazprom. Then, in June 2008, Kirill joined Sibur as vice-president for business administration.

It was a notably small world. Kirill’s brother Yury was already both a director of Sibur and a deputy chairman of Gazprombank. Chairman of the bank was Alexei Miller, who in the 1990s had worked with Putin in St. Petersburg. When Putin became president, he had trusted Miller enough to put him in charge of Gazprom.

In addition, Gazfond, where Yury Shamalov was chairman, exerted strong influence at both Sibur and Gazprombank. And the same month that Kirill joined Sibur, according to financial declarations, Gazfond, through its control of Gazprombank, became the ultimate owner of Sibur.

Gazprombank declined to comment, and Gazfond did not respond to questions.

TIMCHENKO CONNECTION

On top of their family links, the brothers Shamalov have deep connections to other members of the Putin elite who reshaped Russia’s economy in the 2000s and made personal fortunes doing so. One is Gennady Timchenko, who became a shareholder in Bank Rossiya along with Nikolai Shamalov.

Timchenko has known Putin for more than 20 years. In the 1990s, he began oil trading from St. Petersburg, when Putin was a rising politician there, and went on to co-found Gunvor, a company that grew to be one of the largest traders of Russian oil. Last year, the U.S. government alleged that Putin had a personal stake in Gunvor, though it offered no evidence of this. Gunvor denied the allegation.

Timchenko was an important contact for Kirill Shamalov, because the oil-trading magnate later became a large shareholder in Sibur.

In 2010, Gazprombank and Yuri Shamalov’s Gazfond held a combined 95 percent stake in Sibur. That year, they made a deal to sell Sibur to a company owned by Timchenko and one of his business partners, an energy entrepreneur named Leonid Mikhelson. The deal was complex, but Gazprombank smoothed the way by lending money to Mikhelson and Timchenko to fund at least half the purchase.

Mikhelson ended up owning 57.2 percent of Sibur and Timchenko 37.3 percent. Five managers and former managers owned the remaining 5.5 percent. Those managers included Kirill Shamalov. By 2014, according to Sibur’s declarations, Kirill had extended his personal stake to 4.3 percent of Sibur.

KIRILL’S COUP

Once Mikhelson and Timchenko had taken control of Sibur, the only way for anyone to obtain a major stake in the company was for one of them to agree to sell some shares. Fortunately for Kirill Shamalov, Putin’s friend Timchenko was willing to sell to him.

Timchenko and the president’s new son-in-law began discussions in the summer of 2013, according to an interview Kirill gave to the Russian newspaper Kommersant in August this year. The start of those talks was a few months after Kirill had celebrated his marriage to Putin’s daughter.

In March 2014, Kirill stepped down from his management role at Sibur. But he kept his shareholding and stayed on as member of the board of directors. Four months later, on Aug. 1, he registered a new company called Yauza 12 that is wholly owned by him.

The following month, Yauza 12 bought 17 percent of Sibur from Timchenko. That took Kirill’s stake in the petrochemical company to 21.3 percent. Putin’s son-in-law was now the second largest shareholder in Russia’s leading gas and petrochemicals processor.

Earlier this year, a spokesman for Timchenko told Reuters that his sale to Kirill Shamalov took place after negotiations with several potential buyers and was at a market price. The spokesman said the sale reflected a policy of Timchenko’s holding company, Volga Group, of diversifying its assets.

This month, a spokesman for Volga Group told Reuters: “All transactions which were conducted by Mr Timchenko’s structures with shares of Sibur – the acquisition of shares in the company, the sale of part of the share structure to K. Shamalov – had a market character and took place based on the market valuation of the company.”

How could the then-32-year-old Kirill afford such a purchase? A Reuters examination of Yauza 12 accounts filed at the end of 2014 shows that the company had borrowed 78.9 billion roubles (about $1.3 billion at the time). The source of this money was the bank where his brother is a deputy chairman. The financing came “from Gazprombank secured on assets belonging to me,” Kirill told Kommersant.

Yury Shamalov did not respond to requests for comment.

The terms of the loan are not known, but Kirill’s company appears to have borrowed the money cheaply. Interest paid after he took the loan, according to the Yauza 12 accounts, amounted to 343 million roubles to the end of 2014. That equates to an annual interest rate of about 1.3 percent if the loan began when Yauza 12 bought the Sibur shares, a Moscow-based credit analyst said. The analyst added that because the loan’s maturity date is unknown, it is unclear whether that interest rate differs from the market rate or not.

Kirill Shamalov and Gazprombank declined to respond to Reuters questions about the loan.

Using the borrowed $1.3 billion, Kirill was able to buy the 17 percent stake in Sibur. He and his spokesman declined to specify how much he paid, other than saying it was a market price.

Three independent analysts told Reuters in October this year that Kirill’s total holding of 21.3 percent was worth at least $2 billion. That may have been conservative. On Dec. 11, the Chinese petroleum company Sinopec agreed to pay $1.34 billion for only 10 percent of the company.

That valuation implies that Kirill’s overall 21.3 percent holding in Sibur is now worth $2.85 billion.

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December 18th, 2015, 3:12 pm

 

58. Majedkhaldoun said:

Resolution 2244 has no power, if there would be a mechanism to enforce it, then it has a chance to succeed,
negotiations to form a government with full executive power, means Assad has to go
Hope is high , and the probability of failure is high too

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December 18th, 2015, 7:48 pm

 

59. Passerby said:

UN Endorses Peace Process for Syria; No Mention of Assad
New York Times – ‎55 minutes ago‎

…”Within a month or so, two months, decisions are going to have to start to be made about the devolution of some power” and the creation of a transitional body agreed to by Syria’s government and opposition with full executive power, Kerry said.

But the resolution makes no mention of the most contentious issue, the future role of Syrian President Bashar Assad…

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/12/19/world/middleeast/ap-un-united-nations-syria-talks.html?_r=0

Ok, the plan for now is to just ignore Assad. Got it. The talk was a success, they agreed to talk in a month or two.

Not too late to be constructive, guys. Some clever thinking out of the box way to approach the Assad thing that will work. An election is the pat answer, with some vague method of doing it that Assad’s butchers and the Saudi terrorists will both tolerate it. But one gets the impression neither believes in fair elections. They show zero interest. After all, even half-wit Kerry would have thought of that.

Not a winning idea, an example. For instance, the deal is that everyone gets to vote, EXCEPT those under ISIS or Nusra rule. Maybe that gives the edge to Assad, if not finagle the refugee part where it gives the edge to Assad. Then it’s on the Sunnis, including the problem children, Turkey and the Gulf States, to get rid of ISIS/Nusra, which is what the world wants, that Sunni army leading the way. Let Sunni willingness to fight ISIS decide it. No more Sunni excuses about getting rid of ISIS first or they will continue to support it.

And first thing I’d do is find out if the Assads and the Iraqi government was ok with annexing the ISIS parts of Syria onto Iraq, eliminating sectarian majorities in both countries. For those of us that haven’t totally given up on there ever being an Arab democracy.

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December 19th, 2015, 1:29 am

 

60. Observer said:

The UNSC has become the Arab League: the meet like the muscles of the pelvic floor to produce a bowel movement.

This resolution is a beginning process of putting lipstick on a pig will see if it evolves into anything.

The main issue is the ceasefire and what to do about those that break it: are we going to see Russian planes bombing HA militia if they break the ceasefire? or US ones bombing Iranian troops? Or both bombing NUsra?

I am not worried about the departure of Athad; he will go no doubt. I am worried about the Aalwite community: what will happen when the lights fade from Syria? As they sided with the regime there will be retribution and as usual the innocents will suffer; the criminals will be in Minsk.

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December 19th, 2015, 7:58 am

 

61. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Assad II will leave Syria no way. The alawite communituy will continue to control Syria under Assad III.

We all knwo the problem is not Assad in itself but the security mafia that controls the country and the Iran Master of The Mountains that design all movements.

But for Russia and US getting Assad ousted is the perfect way to hide that Syria will remain under same hands.

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December 19th, 2015, 12:52 pm

 

62. Passerby said:

Putin: ‘If necessary, we will use’ advanced military capability in Syria

…”I would like to note that these are by far not all of our capabilities. We have, by far, not used everything of what we already have. We have additional capabilities. If necessary, we will use them, too.”…

http://www.cnn.com/2015/12/19/middleeast/syria-russia-violence/

Think he’s bluffing? He wouldn’t dare? Did he dare to use Thermobaric Bombs to drive Basayev and his Al-Qaeda goons out of Grozny into the minefield, when he needed to? Did he dare to gas the terrorists in the Moscow theater despite it killing some of the hostages, when he needed to? Did he shoot all the sleeping terrorists in the head, one by one?

He’s going to win. It might get ugly, but he’s going to win. That’s why the SaddamRegime/Zarqawi/Al-Qaeda in Iraq/ISIS/IS/Daesh is acting up. A cornered rat. A large rabid rat with billions of dollars and all the resources of a state.

Anyone that has a remote clue, and cares in the slightest about the Syrian people and people of the world, would cut a deal that eliminates ISIS as fast as possible.

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December 19th, 2015, 10:42 pm

 

63. Erin said:

too bad Putin won’t drop a nuke in the middle of Saudi Arabia, that will do the perfect job to get rid of the source and supplier of the terrorists and the effect of the bomb will spread to annihilate ISIS as well. as everyone says and know that the source of the radical Whabbism is Saudi Arabia and its follower like turkey, Egypt, Pakistan.
in the last 20-30 years of terrorist events, we have not had one Syrian or Iraqi national performing any terrorist act, all terrorists event were sponsored, supplied of human from KSA, north Africa, Egypt, Libya etc.
why the west invaded Iraq and destroyed Syria is beyond the understanding of any 6th grade school kid.
It is funny that Trump is calling it as it is but Obama won’t admit that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are the source of radicals Islam and the perpetrator of Jihad against the west.
KSA wants to build 200 Mosque in Germany but won’t take 200 refugees from syria.
I think the western people are so dumb and dump not to understand the real enemy.
GO TRUMP and a Nuke will be sent to destroy KSA sooner or latter.

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December 19th, 2015, 11:51 pm

 

64. ALAN said:

Whatever epithets Western propaganda is not awarded, Bashar al-Assad remains the legally elected president of Syria.
Western propagandists can not rationalize how a man whom the West is trying to overthrow the crook for four years, and that has a lot of enemies in the Arab world would be able to stay in power if he did not enjoy mass support of the Syrian people.
What Western advocates do not want to admit it, it is the fact that in 2014 in Syria have been legitimate presidential elections, in which Assad gained 88% of votes. This was officially confirmed by international observers.
Who should be called “butchers” – so it is the leaders of the Western world, who are directly responsible for the suffering of millions of people in the Middle East.
Lost in the incessant demonization of the latest bogeyman of the mainstream media however, are the crimes of Western leaders. Comparative to the plethora of imperial butchers in the Western world, who still manage to escape prosecution for their crimes, the Syrian President really is an angel.
But this “bulwark of democracy” such popular support is not even dreamed of.

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December 20th, 2015, 6:05 am

 

65. SANDRO LOEWE said:

ALAN,

Bashar Al Assad is legally a criminal because he is the dictator son of a dicator who controlled a dictatorship that broke all the democratic rules in Syria. Go to hell you and you legal Assad.

Assad is the capo of the mafia. Legally he is just a criminal.

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December 20th, 2015, 8:12 am

 

66. Tara said:

Samir Quntar was assassinated by an Israeli missile in Jaramana, near Damascus. What was he doing in Our Jaramana? Resisting Israel by killing and aiding in killing Syrians?

The killer shall be killed

And عقبال عند حسونة

And I condemn Israel violation of Syrian airspace . But we have a Batta not an Erdogan

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December 20th, 2015, 8:41 am

 

67. ALAN said:

SANDRO LOEWE
/Go to hell you and your legal Assad/
88% of Syrians should go to hell, right?
Even if we relaxed the figure to 51 percent, i.e about eight and a half million Syrian should go to hell, according to your point of view
Do you want to show the proper ideals as an opponent Dear?
We ashamed to that world, which is considered everyone like you as a moderate opponent.

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December 20th, 2015, 8:53 am

 

68. Sami said:

Not even in his wildest wet dream can he achieve 51% let alone 88%

All this hoopla about Russian power. It seems a lot of their “sophisticated” missiles miss their targets these days…

Btw can one menhebakji please show me the “moderate” forces that are fighting for Assad?

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December 20th, 2015, 11:45 am

 

69. ALAN said:

SAMI
Are you also support the /Holocaust/ claimed by Sandro?

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December 20th, 2015, 12:00 pm

 

70. Sami said:

By refuting your false claims does not mean I support a holocaust.

Only in the narrow mind of an Assad supporter would that be true.

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December 20th, 2015, 12:38 pm

 

71. Ghufran said:

Erdogan the proud ikhwanji swallowed his pride,again, and complied with Obama’s order to withdraw invading Turkish troops from Iraq despite multiple official declarations that those troops will not be pulled out. Erdogan’s dream of a buffer zone in north Latakia and a security zone north of Aleppo is also being challenged with realities on the ground. The mercy bullet will be the resurgence of a Kurdish enclave at Turkey’s borders with Syria.
Turkey has 12.5 million alevis ( numbers range from 10-15 million) who can become a major headache for the Erdogan Islamist party, that prompted erdogan’ right hand to declare that the alevi issue will be a priority for his party, most alevis do not believe that, just ask the Kurds about what ikhwanji promises mean !!
A unsc resolution on Syria, a first of its kind, was not welcomed by fighting parties especially the opposition (because it did not mention assad), U.S. and EU politicians press statements about assad after the resolution was adopted is seen as a pacifier and not real milk by an infantile and hungry coalition of islamists and their foreign backers in the GCC and Turkey.
Assad has to go for a new page to be opened but his departure should be decided by syrians using a UN monitired political process. Foreigners have no right to appoint or remove a syrian government regardless of how bad or good that government is. Any attempt for debaathification or delawization of Syria will be seen as a decision to keep the war going and destroy whatever is left of Syria. You do not have to like Baathists, I do not, or alawites to accept their rights as syrian citizens, the calls to install a ” majority” government and remove the regime with ” all of its tools and symbols” is simply a fascist movement sponsored by the GCC and Turkey using islamists who did nothing to end the war or deliver the promised freedom and democracy.
You can not make chicken soup out of chicken poop. Syria is too important to let one party or one faction dominates it, idiots on both sides should have learned that by now but you can not fix stupid !!

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December 20th, 2015, 12:54 pm

 

72. SimoHurtta said:

Sandro Löwe because you seem to be the leading “Syrian” expert here on the subject, define who is a legal leader of some country and why is he/she legal? Who is the legal leader of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Yemen, North Korea, USA, Vatican, Israel-Palestine and Finland? Who decides? If American, Turkish and Saudi Arabian regimes define and select who is the legal leaders of Syria why can not Syrian regime (and others) choose the legal leaders for USA?

If the only definition for legal leaders is a real honest election then there are real problems especially for USA, because of most of the leaders of its allies are illegal. Especially in their Sunni camp. Assad certainly is closer to a legal leader, using the election criteria, than the leaders of Saudi Arabia. Even a one person election is better than no elections at all. If we use the amount of dead in arranged violence (wars, organized destabilization, coups etc) criteria, then no US president for the past hundred years has been legal. Even during Obama’s rule USA has caused the death of tens if not hundreds of thousands around the world. So S. Löwe who is legal and why is it so?

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December 20th, 2015, 12:58 pm

 

73. Ghufran said:

More than half of the rebel fighters in Syria who are opposing President Bashar al-Assad are sympathetic to Islamic State views, a leading thinktank has claimed.
The Centre on Religion and Geopolitics said efforts to wipe out Isis in Syria and Iraq would not end the global threat from jihadi groups because extremist views were common among Syrian fighters of all stripes.
At least 15 militias, numbering 65,000 fighters, could fill any vacuum resulting from a defeat of Isis in Syria and Iraq by a coalition led by the US, a report by the thinktank found.
About 60% of fighters in rebel factions in Syria identified with a religious and political ideology similar to that of the terror group, it added.
The thinktank, run by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, said: “The west risks making a strategic failure by focusing only on IS. Defeating it militarily will not end global jihadism. We cannot bomb an ideology, but our war is ideological.”
The report comes after the United Nations agreed a resolution endorsing the start of “urgent” formal negotiations between Assad’s regime and moderate opposition groups early next month.
But the centre warned the radical groups, including al-Qaida affiliate al-Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham, could benefit if they went “unchallenged”.
It added: “If Isis is defeated, there are at least 65,000 fighters belonging to other Salafi-jihadi groups ready to take its place.
“The greatest danger to the international community are the groups that share the ideology of Isis, but are being ignored in the battle to defeat the group.
“While military efforts against Isis are necessary, policy makers must recognise that its defeat will not end the threat of Salafi-jihadism unless it is accompanied by an intellectual and theological defeat of the pernicious ideology that drives it.”

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December 20th, 2015, 1:25 pm

 

74. ALAN said:

/By refuting your false claims does not mean I support a holocaust./

The reality stronger than your will Sami! You need to be rational.

Bashar al-Assad: The Democratically Elected President of Syria
Author: Steven MacMillan
http://journal-neo.org/2015/12/20/bashar-al-assad-the-democratically-elected-president-of-syria/

Come down to the ground

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December 20th, 2015, 1:32 pm

 

75. ALAN said:

71. SIMOHURTTA
Thank you for your bright contribution.

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December 20th, 2015, 3:06 pm

 

76. Ghufran said:

The assassination of Samir Qantar (who spent most of his life in Israeli prisons) near Damascus is a reminder that Russia’s S300 or 400 are not there to protect Syria’s airspace from Israel. Qantar was a Druze accused of murder by Israel, he was close to Hamas and an ally of hizbullah and Assad and worked against Israel and pro israel islamist militias in syria’s southern region. His killing was welcomed by Israel, rebels and many in the opposition, you do the math.

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December 20th, 2015, 3:23 pm

 

77. Sami said:

A sham election does not legitimize your rule. A last name should not be the sole reason to rule a republic nor is Inheriting a presidency.

Also, Simo your argument is bankrupt. Obama has not killed 100s of thousands of innocent Americans. Had he done so, he would not be president.

KSA is monarchy. A total monarchy. They don’t pretend to be a republic when they pass the throne from one son to another.

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December 20th, 2015, 3:48 pm

 

78. SimoHurtta said:

76 Sami

Assad as a ruler has not been different or more cruel compared to those all leading the Sunni states around the region. Sure Syria has not been a democracy or even an example of good ruling. But name one single state in the region where the system has been even close to perfect. It is laughable to portray Assad as some kind Hitler + Stalin power two. Only Omen and Sandro the Syrian Löwe believe in such fiction. If Assad had been a loyal and obedient slave of the “lords”, given Golan to Israel and done what Americans/Saudis/Turks want, he could have ruled even with much harsher discipline for decades without western “complains”. Syria’s problem was not lack of democracy or obvious poor civil rights, its problem was not obeying and choosing the wrong geopolitical allies.

Surely Obama like all US presidents is responsible for the illegal wars, organized destabilization efforts, coups, training secret police and assassination teams, drone killings etc arranged during his terms. It would be absurd only to hold those like Assad responsible, but not Israeli and US leaders for what is and was done by their soldiers and vassals. Same rules, same consequences, that is fair isn’t it.

Already before the last Iraq war peace researchers estimated, that USA had caused directly and in directly the killing/early death of over 15 million people after WW2. To that you can add those hundreds of thousands killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The arms and training USA gives with hundreds of millions dollars to those religious militias create a big share of the thousands of killed. Are you so naive, that you believe it is done because of DEMOCRACY. Only a complete nut believes, that those tens of thousands religious Sunni extremists collected around the world are there fighting for secular democracy to Syria. Come-on. Are the over 100 Finnish citizens there in the ranks of ISIS fighting with US weapons doing it for Syrian democracy or because they hate Assad? If not why are they there? Could Obama, Erdogan and The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (King Salman) finally tell us their reasons. Well they will not …

What if foreigners had invested billions to Egyptian militia’s and civil wars when the troubles and rebellions for change/democracy there started some years ago? In the style it is done in Syria. Instead of investing in the “Free Egyptian Army” they = USA, Saudis etc invested in the Egyptian Army and a new (their) general. 🙂

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December 20th, 2015, 5:56 pm

 

79. Observer said:

That is the ultimate in intelligence insulting: there are free and democratic elections in a multiparty system with free press and independent judiciary and representative parliament in Syria and its president is elected democratically based on a constitution that separates powers and has checks and balances.
Whoever compares Syria to either a modern state or even to the early days of Syria after independence needs to have his/her head examined and may require inpatient psychiatric care for extreme narcissism and self glorification.
The regime is worse than a mafia gang: it is barbaric and illegitimate and based on pure hatred and sectarianism. But wait: Kuntar is dead and Manar says that Israel is “worried” about the HA response and AlAlam says that this is provocation to Putin and the response will be ” seismic” and apparently he was organizing resistance in the Golan that is why he was killed. The same resistance that has been bothering Israel for the last 45 years right?

Go have a head CT scan to determine how this boot licking glorification has resulted in a complete frontal lobotomy.

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December 20th, 2015, 6:22 pm

 

80. ALAN said:

I do not understand those , who rejoice when someone dies!
are you mentioned the death of Syrian innocent people in the brutal aggression? mey be your hatred caused blindness.

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December 20th, 2015, 6:57 pm

 

81. Akbar Palace said:

Tara, Observer,

Good points. Ghufran, I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over Kuntar. These wesistance pros don’t do very much to help arabs live freely or safely.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samir_Kuntar

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December 20th, 2015, 7:12 pm

 

82. Ghufran said:

It looks like south Aleppo province is about to fall in the hands of the Syrian army and its supporters, the area was mostly controlled by Nusra (syrian Alqaeda).
M’haisni one of nusra’s chief terrorists ( saudi as you might have guessed) issued a desperate call for ” Jihad” to stop the inevitable fall of south Aleppo:
وردت إلى المرصد السوري لحقوق الإنسان نسخة من شريط مصور يظهر فيها رئيس “مركز دعاة الجهاد” والقيادي في جبهة النصرة (تنظيم القاعدة في بلاد الشام) الدكتور عبد الله المحيسيني، بعد إصابته واثنين من مرافقيه جراء قصف طائرات حربية يعتقد أنها روسية على مناطق في ريف حلب الجنوبي، حيث وجه المحيسيني رسالة إلى فصائل جند الأقصى والحزب الإسلامية التركستاني، قال فيها “”إلى الأخوة الأبطال في جند الأقصى، وإلى الشيخ ابراهيم بن محمد التركستاني، أبطال تركستان، الله الله مؤازرة إخوانكم بالريف الجنوبي، والله لن نرضى للرافضة بأن يلعن صحابة النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم في مساجد السنة، يا أبطال التركستان، يا أبطال جند الأقصى، الله الله لا تخذلوا إخوانكم في هذه المعركة العظيمة.””
وتابع المحيسني برسالة وجهها إلى قائد جبهة النصرة (تنظيم القاعدة في بلاد الشام) أبو محمد الجولاني وقادة آخرين، قال فيها “”وإلى الشيخ الحبيب أبو محمد الجولاني حفظه الله، وإلى الشيخ الحبيب أبو يحيى حفظه الله، وإلى بقية القادة الأبطال، الله الله في هذا الشعب، الله الله في هذه الدماء التي تسيل كل يوم، أسألكم بالله، أستحلفكم بالله، اجمعوا كلمة المسلمين، عجلوا بإعلان حكومة من داخل أرض الشام، حكومة من بين الدماء، عجلوا بإعلان التوحد، قبل أن تذهب الساحة، ولكم علينا أن نقاتل بإذن الله تحت راياتكم حتى نلقى الله سبحانه وتعالى مقبلين غير مدبرين””.
If syrian troops take control of the area they will move north and try to surround islamist militias and force a negotiated settlement for Aleppo as a whole. Erdogan is sure to do something in an attempt to stop his allies from losing this critical battle.
It is possible that the U.S. has decided to watch and let new borders be drawn where Nusra and isis are pushed to well defined areas which will help politicians and military leaders in the West and Russia implement what they see as a potential settlement for the Syrian war.

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December 20th, 2015, 7:37 pm

 

83. Tara said:

Let us be clear! Quntar worked against Israel by smashing the skull of 4 yo toddler. A big achievement of the resistance. Isn’t it?

Please…… The toddler did not even know she was israeli.

Damn a resistance that cheer the killing of babies. And damn the menhebak that cheered the barrel bombing of Syrians in their homes that once separated the head of another toddler who also did not know that she was a sunni

And Alan , damn those who are cheering Putin Nuc-ing Syria.

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December 20th, 2015, 7:46 pm

 

84. SimoHurtta said:

79. Observer said:

That is the ultimate in intelligence insulting: there are free and democratic elections in a multiparty system with free press and independent judiciary and representative parliament in Syria and its president is elected democratically based on a constitution that separates powers and has checks and balances.
Whoever compares Syria to either a modern state or even to the early days of Syria after independence needs to have his/her head examined and may require inpatient psychiatric care for extreme narcissism and self glorification.

Well any observer who claims, that Syria has been ruled some how differently than other Arab states have been, needs his head examined. How has Syria been different compared to for example Egypt? Syria has had serious human rights problems, secret police, brutally crashed rebellions, unbelievable corruption etc. SO HAVE ALL OTHER ARAB SUNNI STATES ENJOYED OF THESE SAME SYMPTOMS, so in that respect Syria has not been worse. There are no modern states in Middle East which are even close to what Observer describes. Israel is a caricature of democracy which its religious apartheid and segregation, Turkey gave a short while a bit of hope of development – not anymore.

Surely “we” can repeat like parrots this constant flow of “constitution, democratic secular elections to Syria at once”, “Assad is a corrupt Mafia dog”, “Assad created ISIS” etc liturgy, the problem is not saying or writing that 10,000 times. The real problem is describing how Syria will achieve, that by USA promised and by Saudi Arabia supported democracy nirvana. In the same way Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan did achieve it? Or how now Yemen is lead towards it?

The simple fact is that a democratic order and society can only be “installed” in a society which has a relative good civil order/safety and functioning executive branch + a prepared mental basis with real political movements. If in Syria would now be only one or two strong domestic opposition political movements with armies fighting against the present regime, one could even believe in that “Assad must go – then there is democracy (secular Sunni style naturally 🙂 )”. The problem is that there are no 1-2 strong democratic political movements with armies leading the fight in the war. There are 1000 rival militias and most of their members do not have any idea what democracy means. If the present regime is destroyed, those 1000 militias will begin round two and after that there is no need for democracy because there will be so little left.

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December 21st, 2015, 6:10 am

 

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