The Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham Expands Into Rural Northern Syria

In the previous post, Aymenn al-Tamimi discussed developments in the relationship between two primary al-Qa’ida affiliates operating in Syria: Jabhat al-Nusra, and the ISIS. Through his analysis he concluded that in some areas the distinction between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) is blurry, while in other areas the two seem to visibly operate as distinctly separate groups. He also believes that though a “grand ideological clash” between the two groups is not impossible, it is premature to point to one at present. Now, in part two, Aymenn delves into the growth of ISIS power in specific communities and discusses the plausibility of predicted FSA – ISIS confrontation.

 

The Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham Expands Into Rural Northern Syria

Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimiby Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi for Syria Comment


Introduction

In a post for Jihadology a few weeks back, I identified how the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS) was playing an important role in the fighting on the outskirts of the city of Aleppo and in the surrounding countryside. Since that time, it has become apparent that the group has been seeking to expand outwards and to consolidate control over outlying towns in both the Aleppo and Idlib regions, particularly those of strategic importance along or near the border with Turkey.

Azaz

This initiative has already served to foster division. For example, in the town of Azaz, which is in close proximity to the Turkish border, a protest ocurred on July 1 against ISIS’ entry into the town and its attempt to establish headquarters there. Yet on July 5, Azaz saw a counter-rally in favor of ISIS featuring a slogan common for such demonstrations—‘Labbayka ya Allah’ (‘I am at your service, God’)—accompanied by conspicuous numbers of ISIS flags.

It should be noted that this pattern of division—between those members of Syrian society who support ISIS vs. those who do not—is also observed in the city of Aleppo itself, where ISIS supporters have generally held separate rallies from those of other demonstrators. (I have found one notable exception: a rally on June 4 for the then-besieged city of Qusayr in the area of al-Firdus, featuring both ISIS and Free Syrian Army [FSA] flags).

Resentment over the ISIS presence in Azaz grows. One notable outlet for this disapproving sentiment is a youth activist Facebook page called ‘The Youth of Aleppo—Azaz’ which posted the following status: ‘We ask the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham to establish their state from Iraq [meaning ‘in Iraq’?] since the system of prostitution [there] has not yet fallen.’

The group has also circulated an alleged statement from a local council in the town of Tel Abyaḍ in Raqqah Governorate claiming that the ISIS has confiscated internationally-donated generators intended to provide drinking water for the residents of the town.

On the other hand, ISIS is attempting some outreach to the locals of Azaz, offering Qur’an and Sunnah recitation competitions—among other religious activities—for the population during Ramaḍān.

Jarabulus

As for other towns, here is a photo of the ISIS headquarters in the northern border town of Jarabulus. The banner reads: ‘The Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham: Province of Aleppo. Emirate of Jarabulus.’

ISIS headquarters, Jarabulus, Syria

Another photo shows the flag of ISIS flying over Jarabulus:

ISIS flag flies over Jarabulus, Syria

One activist page on Facebook called ‘Jabhat al-Nusra does not represent me’ claims the following to give context to the first photo: ‘Photo from Jarabulus following the seizure of it by al-Qa’ida after battles with the FSA. It is said that ISIS then killed scores of civilians, among them children, during al-Qa’ida’s attempt to occupy the town.’

In a similar vein, on June 15, the Arabic news outlet al-Waie News claimed to cite a local source in Jarabulus on clashes between ISIS and a rebel battalion known as the ‘Family of Jādir,’ which uses the FSA flag.

The source claimed that the clashes started after a member of ISIS was wounded during a round of celebratory gunfire that followed a concord reached between the two groups, giving rise to a renewed violent battle between ISIS and the Family of Jādir for fifteen hours, resulting in ISIS’ seizure of the town, as well as the killing of one ISIS fighter and several from the Family of Jādir.

On 13 June, the leader of the Family of Jādir—Yusuf al-Jādir—released video testimony in which he claimed that ISIS launched an attack on the home of Ahmad al-Jādir and then began shooting at dozens of innocent civilians, resulting in the deaths of several children: among them, Mahmoud Kerkaz, Sheikho Shawish, Ibrahim al-Ahmad, and a young Kurdish girl. He continues by documenting other alleged acts of ISIS aggression in the town.

It thus appears that ISIS seized control of Jarabulus by force. One thing that is important to note from the opposing testimony is the issue of naming. The source for al-Waie News from Jarabulus merely sees ISIS as a new name for Jabhat al-Nusra (JN) in the town, and Yusuf al-Jādir likewise deems the two names interchangeable.

Thus, even if my formulation for the city of Aleppo itself—that ISIS and JN are two separate entities—applies here, the perception of at least some residents of the town nevertheless differs. As in Raqqah, the two may well be interchangeable in Jarabulus.

The concept of interchangeability could make sense here in light of the fact that JN has had an active presence in the northern Turkish border areas in the past (cf. clashes with Farouq Battalions in April on the border in Raqqah Governorate). Certainly, Jarabulus has been known for a JN presence in the past: here is a video of a JN-led rally in Jarabulus from December 14, 2012, featuring the chant of ‘We are Anṣar Allah.’

In this context, one should also note a revealing report from the Damascus Bureau, which actually visited Jarabulus. The reporter, Youssef Shaikho, explains that Jabhat al-Nusra in Jarabulus supported the announcement of ISIS, and most of its fighters in the town are native Syrians, providing a notable exception to the media narrative of ISIS as a group solely composed of foreign fighters.

Further blurring the lines of group-alignment and public sentiment, not all those who, like al-Jādir, use the FSA flag in Jarabulus are necessarily opposed to ISIS’ ideological vision. For example, here is a Facebook activist page from Jarabulus that uses the FSA flag. Yet it has put up a status that laments the loss of the Khilafa (Caliphate) and denounces the UN and its decision-making as a mere front for occupation.

In any event, ISIS is now said to be operating an active Shari’a court in Jarabulus, which has allegedly executed three young men recently on charges of rape and murder. ISIS is also accused of detaining the son of a prominent martyr from the Family of Jādir known as Abu Furāt.

In terms of the reasons behind the Jādir-ISIS clashes, one should be cautious about presenting them as a simple ideological battle. It rather seems to have been a power struggle for control of an important border area. The Kurdish PYD, as the Damascus Bureau notes, also has a small activist presence in Jarabulus, yet it has been left untouched and tolerated by ISIS.

At the same time, ISIS is trying to counter the allegations put out about its conduct in Jarabulus by emphasizing local support in the town for the group, including children.

al-Bab

Another town in rural Aleppo where ISIS is establishing its presence is al-Bab. On July 5, the outlet Saḍa ash-Sham al-Islami put up a set of photos of a meeting for Dawah  held by the ISIS in al-Bab. [Da’wa means “invitation” and often refers to proselytism—the inviting of others to join Islam. In this case, it refers to outreach to Muslims to strengthen their faith.]

Da'wah meeting in al-Bab

In contrast to what appears to have been a more aggressive approach in Jarabulus, ISIS seems to be engaging in an active outreach effort to the population of al-Bab. Thus, the local outlet al-Bab Press reported that ISIS is running school bus services for children who have seen their education disrupted for many months by Assad regime bomb attacks. A local FB page in al-Bab also gave an account last month from an ISIS fighter of clashes between ISIS and Assad regime soldiers aided by Hezbollah fighters in the wider Aleppo area.

Manbij

The town of Manbij offers a case contrasting with that of al-Bab. Recently, Manbij has seen a protest rally against ISIS. The demonstration was sparked by two grievances against ISIS: first, ISIS is accused by some local activists of destroying works of art in Manbij, and second, of kidnapping a local sheikh. Protests continued into Friday of last week, on which day ISIS had been holding a daw’ah meeting in Manbij featuring a number of locals in support of the group, as per the photo below.

ISIS holds dawah meeting in Manbij, Syria

Prior to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s announcement of the formation of ISIS in early April, Manbij had been known for an active JN presence in alliance with Ahrar ash-Sham, who together took on the Farouq Battalions in violent clashes in the town at the beginning of the month, resulting in the expulsion of the Farouq Battalions from Manbij.

The clashes began after Ahrar ash-Sham had arrested a certain Abu Khaldun, a friend of the leader of the Farouq Battalions in Manbij. Ahrar ash-Sham and its allies justified the arrest on the grounds that this man had been one of the leading criminal figures in Manbij and had to be put on trial by the Shari’a committee in Aleppo, while emphasizing that there was no fundamental conflict between them and those under the banner of the FSA.

Following the defeat of the Farouq Battalions, Ahrar ash-Sham held a victory rally in Manbij on 6 April with dozens of supporters and allies, featuring the al-Qa’ida flag and a banner reading ‘The Ummah wants an Islamic Khilafa.’ The person who uploaded the video described it as being held in celebration of the expulsion of ‘gangs of thieves’- a common charge leveled against the Farouq Battalions in the north, which unlike the Ikhwaan-aligned Homs division lack ties to any major Islamist groups.

On a side note, the rally itself should illustrate that those who posit a strict dichotomy between supposedly ‘nationalist’ Salafists in Ahrar ash-Sham as opposed to transnational jihadists are mistaken. This rally in Manbij and Ahrar ash-Sham’s statement on JN’s pledge of allegiance to al-Qa’ida show that concepts of the transnational ummah that supersedes “artificial borders” and the nation-state of Syria are often blurred in Ahrar ash-Sham’s ideological thought.

Of course, one also must not generalize in the opposite direction and portray all of Ahrar ash-Sham as bent on an international Khilafa. Yet whenever non-Islamists protest against groups like ISIS, as a rule Ahrar ash-Sham can be expected to side with the latter (cf. the case of Raqqah which I documented last month).

In the context of Manbij, therefore, one should not be surprised about a blurring of distinction between Ahrar ash-Sham’s support base and what is now known as the ISIS presence. Indeed, it is also apparent that there is another virtual mirror front of ISIS active in Manbij: namely, Ansar al-Khilafa, which is composed of a mix of native Syrians and foreign fighters, though exact proportions are unclear.

Ansar al-Khilafa is most prominent in rural Aleppo and Latakia. In the April rally led by Ahrar ash-Sham, it is likely that there were Ansar al-Khilafa supporters among the crowd. Here is a recent mural put up in Manbij in support of the group:

Ansar al-Khilafa mural in Manbij, Syria

ad-Dana

The final case we come to on the subject of ISIS’ expansion is that of ad-Dana in Idlib, near the border with Turkey. Here, a protest rally is said to have taken place against ISIS (though no video footage of it has emerged so far), sparking violent clashes. Yet it is the only case where we have a mainstream media outlet allowing ISIS to give its full side of the story thanks to an al-Jazeera English report (H/T: @khalidelmousoui) from the town. In the report, ISIS fighters claimed that those denouncing their presence were actually agents of the Assad regime.

However, it appears that this testimony is contradicted in an account given by pro-ISIS activists in Idlib, who denounced the clashes as ‘the work of some of the apostates of the Free Army.’ Meanwhile, a pro-ISIS Twitter user complained at the time of the clashes that the ‘malicious Free Army’ was besieging ISIS and expressed concerns about the beginnings of a ‘Sahwa’ movement against ISIS.

As of now, the al-Jazeera report says that ISIS is the only remaining armed group in the town. This is corroborated by local Idlib activist testimony that there are now no armed clashes in the town and reconciliation initiatives are underway. At the same time, claims that ISIS executed dozens of supporters of those identifying under the banner of the FSA—stemming chiefly from an ad-Dana rebel leader’s testimony were denied.

That said, both the rebel leader whose testimony is given by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the al-Jazeera report corroborate each other on the ISIS fighters as being from outside Syria.

Now in control of the town, ISIS is running a school for the children, and the ISIS presence as reported by al-Jazeera is corroborated by a video that has now emerged of ISIS fighters manning the entrance into ad-Dana.

Conclusion

In short, these various cases illustrate ISIS’ growing power in the north of Syria. ISIS is clearly not a force to be dismissed as marginal without any real support on the ground, even as its presence is undoubtedly sparking backlash in many areas. Above all, these recent developments as regards ISIS’ expansion vindicate to an extent my prediction in March in a guest post for Syria Comment about the emergence and establishment of jihadist strongholds in the north and east of Syria.

In terms of the future, one needs to be skeptical of the narrative being put out by Supreme Military Command (SMC) supporters of a looming, grand-scale FSA effort to take on ISIS in the north of Syria in a fundamental clash of ideologies. Resentment at the ideological level is more to be expected from civilian protestors rather than armed rebels.

One should particularly note my distinction here between SMC supporters and those in general who go by the banner of the FSA. While SMC supporters would like to portray all of those under the banner of FSA as opposed to ISIS, the evidence speaks otherwise, exemplified in this recent statement by an FSA military council in Aleppo denying rumors of clashes between their ‘brothers’ in ISIS and JN.

SMC supporters are likely the source of at least some of the allegations against ISIS, including the recent claim that ISIS is planning to declare a wider northern state after Ramaḍān: plausible in light of ISIS’ expansion in northern Syria but as of now uncorroborated in pro-ISIS circles.

Other rumors likely originating from pro-SMC sources include an alleged statement by JN distancing itself from ISIS (not released through JN’s official channel al-Manārah al-Bayḍā, so therefore suspect) and claims that ISIS killed Abu Furāt of Jarabulus, when his funeral actually took place a few months before ISIS was announced.

In particular, the reports attempting to portray JN in open conflict with ISIS are building on a narrative stemming from a Reuters piece in which JN was portrayed as a group of native Syrians disillusioned with the machinations of the foreign fighters of ISIS, hinting at the possibility of JN teaming up with other rebels to take on ISIS.

The motivation for spreading rumors about ISIS is quite apparent: namely, the SMC’s bid to secure Western arms, which will then be supposedly used to take on what Western nations like the UK perceive to be the number-one threat emanating from Syria.

In any case, the current PR war between SMC supporters and ISIS supporters will continue. Feeling the pressure, the latter have recently announced the formation of a new forum intended to counter purported media disinformation about the group. Thus can the exchange of claims and counter-claims be expected to intensify. Ascertaining the full truth short of getting on the ground will remain elusive.

 

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a student at Brasenose College, Oxford University. His website is http://www.aymennjawad.org. Follow on Twitter at @ajaltamimi

Comments (491)


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2. majedkhaldoun said:

In Syria now, there is currency that is fake, type 1000 lira, printed in Qurdaha,people has to be careful, you will recognize it by the absence of syria map under the letter R

Mr. Tamimi
You said
” which has allegedly executed three young men recently on charges of rape and murder”
what should be the punishment for rape or murder?

in your conclusion you said several members from FSA are co operating with JN or ISIS, since they all has one goal and that is to remove Bashar, what is wrong with cooperation?
انا و اخي علئ ابن عمي, انا و ابن عمي علئ الغريب

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July 18th, 2013, 12:32 pm

 

3. revenire said:

I am happy to see the criminals fighting each other. This is fantastic! Great article Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi – thank you.

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July 18th, 2013, 12:49 pm

 

4. zoo said:

After the Al Nusra, will Ahrar al Sham, funded by Qatar, be declared a terrorist group?

Competition among Islamists

http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21582037-one-islamist-rebel-group-seems-have-overtaken-all-others-competition-among

One Islamist rebel group seems to have overtaken all the others

UNTIL last month the leader of Ahrar al-Sham (the Free Men of Syria), a large Salafist rebel group, went by a nom de guerre. Then on June 8th Hassan Aboud revealed his real name in an interview with Al Jazeera, the Qatari satellite television channel. Days later he attended a Salafist shindig in Cairo. Slowly but surely his group, which may number 10,000-20,000 fighters and leads the Syrian Islamic Front, a coalition of like-minded rebel groups, has become the most powerful outfit battling against President Bashar Assad.
….
Some see the hand of Qatar behind its burgeoning success. “Ahrar al-Sham and its front is clearly positioning itself as an Islamist alternative to the disorganised moderate rebel fighters,” says Charles Lister of Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre in London

Hitherto the most prominent of the extreme Islamist groups has been Jabhat al-Nusra, which may have 7,000 or so fighters. But recently it has been bogged down in a power struggle with al-Qaeda in Iraq, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. After Jabhat al-Nusra’s leaders, led by Abu Muhammad al-Golani, refused to submit to his rule, the group split: a more extreme branch merged with the Iraqi brethren, forming the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. It has recently clashed with other Syrian groups, something Ahrar al-Sham has so far avoided. As Jabhat al-Nusra’s clout has weakened, Ahrar al-Sham’s has grown stronger.

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July 18th, 2013, 1:14 pm

 

5. apple_mini said:

There will be a new store opening soon in the neighborhood where I live in Damascus.

The owner obviously has put some money and efforts for renovation. It is quite a heart-warming scene in a city where sound of explosion is still rolling through the sky.

The reality is people nowadays are feeling more sense of security. Hence more confidence and hope.

Painful economy is still hurting people and posing as a threat. But it is positioning itself with some opportunities. After the situation gets a little stabilized, reconstruction will be put into plan. Many people are eagerly waiting to come back if they feel safe to do so.

The truth is after SAA clears up Homs, the Syrian lira might become stronger against dollar.

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July 18th, 2013, 1:23 pm

 

6. zoo said:

Angry McCain hits at Dempsey over Syria

McCain to hold up Dempsey for renewal as top military officer after clash over Syria


With all due respect, Senator, you’re asking me to agree that we’ve been inactive, and we have not been inactive,” Dempsey replied.

“We have not been inactive,” McCain said, to which Dempsey affirmed.

“This again gives validity to my concern,” McCain said. “Because, obviously, we may have — not been — inactive, but any observer knows that Bashar Assad is prevailing on the battlefield. One hundred thousand people have been killed. Hezbollah is there … And the situation is — much more dire than it was two years ago when you and Admiral Winnefeld came to office. And so, your answer is that we haven’t been inactive.”

McCain then asked the question a third time, prompting Dempsey to testify he’s in favor of building a “moderate opposition” and then supporting it. The question to support that with “kinetic strike” is ultimately up for elected officials to make and not for the senior military leader of the nation, Dempsey said.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/18/tense-exchange-between-dempsey-mccain-at-senate-reconfirmation-hearing/#ixzz2ZQ2Hj9vv

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July 18th, 2013, 1:26 pm

 

7. majedkhaldoun said:

The fight between Sunni groups is nothing compare to the fight between Moslems and the Mazmomeen

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July 18th, 2013, 1:28 pm

 

8. zoo said:

Salafist Islamists group competing to win the hearts and mind of the population they control

Syria’s Nusra Front tries to show it’s a different kind of al Qaida

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/07/17/196938/syrias-nusra-front-tries-to-show.html#.UeglmKB_-CQ#storylink=cpy

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July 18th, 2013, 1:29 pm

 

9. zoo said:

The dark and suspicious personal history of Ahmad al-Jarba, the new SNC ‘president’: Drug trafficking, assassination plots, corruption, proxenetism etc..

Ahmad al-Jarba: Personal History

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/the-syrian-national-coalitions-saudi-makeover

The source maintains that Ahmad al-Jarba’s trek to the highest post in the Coalition was planned from A to Z in the corridors of Saudi intelligence. The man, the source said, has a big rap sheet kept by Qatari, Saudi, and Syrian security services, for acts involving all three countries, and in the past, the three intelligence agencies had even coordinated operations in his pursuit.

The Syrian source provided particulars involving Jarba that were mentioned in official Syrian security records, as a fugitive wanted for criminal offenses, including fraud, corruption, and even assassination plots that were not carried out. According to the source, records show that Riyadh handed over “the suspect Ahmad al-Jarba” to Damascus in 2008, on charges of drug trafficking, in accordance with an extradition agreement between Saudi and Syrian security services (which was suspended at the beginning of the Syrian crisis). Jarba was tried and sentenced to a prison term at the time.

It is likely that Bandar bargained with several blocks in the Coalition over instating Jarba as the president of the opposition group in return for delivering game-changing weapons.
The records also reveal another entry involving Jarba, which the Qatari security services undoubtedly also have in their records, as the source said: After the coup staged by the outgoing Emir of Qatar Hamad against his father Khalifa al-Thani, the latter’s foreign minister fled to Syria, where he became a vocal supporter for restoring the previous emir. At the time, according to the records, Emir Hamad’s people asked Ahmad al-Jarba to assassinate the exiled Qatari foreign minister in Syria. Al-Jarba even received payment after accepting to carry out the mission, the source claimed.

However, Jarba chose instead to expose the plot to the deposed Emir Khalifa, for which he also received a financial reward. The issue proved to have huge political consequences, prompting the Syrian state security agency to investigate and ultimately detain Jarba for a total of five months on counts of fraud.

According to another entry in the Syrian security records, Jarba approached the Libyan ambassador in Damascus shortly after Muammar Gaddafi declared himself Africa’s “king of kings,” and persuaded the ambassador to use Jarba’s help in sending Syrian tribal delegations to Libya to pledge allegiance to Gaddafi. Jarba had introduced himself to the Libyan leadership as the chief of the Shammar tribe of the Jazirah region in Syria (Upper Mesopotamia).

In 2004, he was looking for ways to gain access to the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, as one of the elders of the Shammar clan, which has branches from Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, all the way to Saudi Arabia. Before Jarba dropped off the grid in Syria, he was being pursued by the Syrian authorities for running brothels in Damascus and Hasakah.

The Secret Decisions of the Doha Meeting

Recently, Saudi intelligence, under Bandar’s direct supervision, began touting Jarba as the chief of the Syrian branch of the Shammar tribe, presenting him inside the Coalition as their pointman for arms purchases. It is likely that Bandar bargained with several blocks in the Coalition over instating Jarba as the president of the opposition group in return for delivering game-changing weapons.

The information available to the Syrian security services indicates that Jarba’s appointment came following pressure from Saudi Arabia during the most recent meeting held by the countries backing the Syrian opposition in Doha. Secret agreements were reached, including one between Paris and Riyadh over the purchase and delivery of advanced weapons for the benefit of the opposition.

Concerning the claim that Jarba controls groups in Hasakah and Qamishli, it is common knowledge in Upper Mesopotamia that the man has been banished by not only his tribe, but even his close family. His father had distanced himself from his son ever since he was exposed for running brothels, even though Jarba tried at the time to claim that he was only running a company to help young men and women marry. Meanwhile, his brother Zaid is a regime supporter, while his older brother Nawwaf has shunned politics altogether.

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July 18th, 2013, 1:39 pm

 

10. revenire said:

If I am not mistaken Jarba was a common criminal in Syria. Wonder where Obama found this Jarba character? He sounds like he haunts Paris alleys. Sickening.

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July 18th, 2013, 1:58 pm

 

11. majedkhaldoun said:

لا دوافع سياسية وراء اغتيال جمو وزوجته حرّضت شقيقها على قتله

بلغاريا: إشارات واضحة على ضلوع حزب الله في تفجير بورغاسJuly 18, 2013

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July 18th, 2013, 2:33 pm

 

12. mjabali said:

This group exists also in the countryside of Lattakia. Recently the ISIS under a so called Abu Ayman al-Iraqi killed a leader from the FSA (Abu Basir al-Ladhiqani)…

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July 18th, 2013, 2:42 pm

 

13. amal said:

356. Sami said:

I wonder what your SimoHypocrometer thinks

359. Akbar Palace said:

“SimoHypocrometer”

LOL Sami…

======================

Sami,

For a disgraced and fired EX-moderator you should know better not to insult people (SimoHurtta) who are 100 times more knowledgable than you.

Congratulations kid, you made your only friend here happy!

READ:
http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/syria-comment-rules-and-regulations/

L’Chaim

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July 18th, 2013, 3:43 pm

 

14. SimoHurtta said:

356. Sami said:

“I also wonder how/why some Californian/non Syrian/non Muslims can write 33,000 tweets about this conflict.”

One tweet at a time, not very difficult to figure out how Twitter works. Maybe you can google it if you are still having a hard time knowing how one can tweet…

“That is certainly not a hobby, that is a paid work.”

I wonder what your SimoHypocrometer thinks of those that write 30 posts a day on here most of it filled with disinformation and propaganda intent on distracting you from the truth.

Well Sami imagine you write a tweet. If the tweets have some quality it takes at the best 5 minutes to produce one. So in one hour you could write about 10 tweets (+ a 10 minute coffee break). To produce 33 thousand tweets would take in minimum 3,300 hours and if we would want real substance and quality in those tweets the needed time would be over 6,000 hours. Anyway the needed effort to produce such amounts of tweets is equal to hours used for several years in a full time job. Would a Californian,nonSyrian,nonMuslim do it without payment? I seriously doubt it.

Of course the activity “rule” is valid on both sides. If a Syrian government supporter has the opportunity to use a full working day frequently to write comments he/she needs “financing”.

What I still don’t understand is you are babbling on about US crimes as an excuse to cover up soviet crimes? Juxtaposing two crimes beside each other will not challenge the veracity of the first crime. What happened in Laos is criminal as is what happened in Afghanistan with the Soviet invasion.

About what Russian crimes are you babbling? About that 95 percent of WW2 war prisoners in Russia were killed? That is pure propaganda, show us the proof. Surely Soviets made crimes under Stalin, worse than Nazis, but Soviet Union doesn’t exist any more. USA exists and is escalating its violence. Soviet Union went to Afghanistan invited there by the Afghanistan official government. USA went to Afghanistan uninvited. Well the “difference” was not big because the communist government of Afghanistan was not very “democratic”, but then Afghanistan was relative equal among genders. When USA and Saudis interfered not any more…

Btw what are your thoughts about what transpired in Chechnya? Do you have the figures of how much armaments was launched at Grozny to bring peace and prosperity Putin style there?

Sami you are so well “informed” (as usual). The first Chechen war was in 1995 (mainly) and the second started in August 1999. Putin became president in May 2000 at the time when the second war ended. Blaming Putin is a bit over-scaled propaganda making. Let us remember, that Chechnya was and is a part of the state of Russia and has been that for a couple of hundred years. So the wars were internal affairs. Laos as you know (I suppose you know) is not a part of USA.

What happened in Laos and in Chechnya can’t be compared in the massiveness. Russia did not carpet bomb Chechnya with B-52s halve a million times. Grozny is now rebuilt and people seem to be rather OK with the present situation. What has USA done with Laos to compensate what it did? Nothing or very little. USA used against Laos more bombs than were used in total in the whole WW2 and 700,000 killed by USA (without declaring a war). Imagine, that is real “democracy promoting added with women’s rights advocating”.

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July 18th, 2013, 4:04 pm

 

15. SANDRO LOEWE said:

US is the main and essential cause of the total destruction of syrian cities, society and populations. US is the one that could have ended easily the leadership of Assad by a simple covert operation but they did not want Assad to die.

US could have provided weapons to the rebels when they were still basically an army called FSA without jihadists, but the north american bastards in power did not want to help end the crisis.

They say now Syria is a 10 years issue. They have created all the conditions and avoided any solution than lets the syrian issue be a 10 years issue. Never US politics were so dirty as in Syria.

The result will be a Middle East full of revengers with islamic inspiration who will fight til death to revenge the atrocities of US and Russia supported dictatorships.

Shame on the US, and their ignorant populations washing their brains and hearts inside their naif temples while make themselves believe they do not understand how they let criminals kill innocent people. Even for me being a christian what is coming in the middle east is the best lesson for hipocrisy and crime organized from east and west. Never before US politics were so low and unmoral.

Obama go to hell to pray for your schizophrenich God and Prophets.

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July 18th, 2013, 4:43 pm

 

16. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Mohammad Jamo was an ideological criminal and got killed yesterday in Lebanon. RIP.

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July 18th, 2013, 4:46 pm

 

17. revenire said:

Oh Sandro. Always so dramatic. Syria is winning the war. Assad will be reelected. Have some lunch and watch a sitcom maybe? Take your mind off things.

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July 18th, 2013, 5:23 pm

 

18. majedkhaldoun said:

revenir said
Assad will be re elected,
Sure with 99.99%

Jammo was strong supporter of Assad, just like Revenir, he was killed by his wife and her brother, evil people get punished in earth,not only in the after life

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July 18th, 2013, 5:48 pm

 

19. AMEERA said:

شو قصدك ريفنير لازم ينقتل كمان؟

هادا تحريض على القتل و عقوبتو كبيرة بامريكا

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July 18th, 2013, 5:52 pm

 
 

21. Citizen said:

Look! In The Sky…It’s a Drone,It’s a Plane, It’s…World War III On The Horizon
July 18, 2013 Al Qaeda, Attack, Barack Obama, General Dempsey, hamas, Hezbollah, Islam, Kinetic Strike, military, Muslim, Muslims, Syria, Terrorist, More and more air defenses and Super Sonic missiles !! Book your tickets now! Spaces are limited! Do not miss the interesting show !!!! war, WWIII
General Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified today before a committee in the Senate that the Obama Administration is considering using military force in the Syrian civil war, and that the United States military leadership is drawing up plans to carry out such a mission if the order is given. General Dempsey stated during Congressional testimony as well, that, “…I have provided the President with options for the use of force in Syria.”

Dempsey made mention of a “kinetic strike”, which translates into English as an offensive move, using missiles, drones, airstrikes, and even boots on the ground. General Dempsey did not elaborate further other than saying that the decision for the United States to use military force in Syria, “…is a decision for elected U.S. officials to make.”

General Dempsey is up for a vote among the Senate Armed Services Committee for a second term as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, which is the highest military rank/position in the nation, so he is choosing his words carefully. If he is voted in for a second term, count on seeing a military operation against Syria rather quickly. After the necessary CYA verbal maneuvering is done by the Chairman and he gets the nod, the gloves with Syria will most likely come off.

The main concern for most people is three-fold when it comes to military engagement with Syria: 1.) Getting the United States involved in another war that will take years to end in the Middle East, .2) Russia and Iran’s heavy involvement and support of the Syrian regime lead by Bashir al-Assad, and 3.) the fact that Hezbollah, Hamas, and Al-Qaeda will be involved in the fight against US, which could lead to a collapse of the entire Middle East and lead to a power grab that will usher in the third world war.

US are already in position with the infrastructure to act, but they are also surrounded, with Russia on top.

I hope intelligibly written above!

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July 18th, 2013, 6:10 pm

 

22. majedkhaldoun said:

No ameera
but what I am saying, punishment more likely is on earth,that is why people should not follow evil path,always be good

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July 18th, 2013, 6:15 pm

 

23. don said:

While congress is too busy plotting to invade Syria…

Detroit files for largest municipal bankruptcy in US history!

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/07/18/detroit-files-for-largest-municipal-bankruptcy-in-us-history/

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July 18th, 2013, 6:21 pm

 

24. revenire said:

Majed my wife has already tried.

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July 18th, 2013, 6:23 pm

 

25. revenire said:

Gee, at this rate by the time the revolution wins there won’t be any Syrians left.

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July 18th, 2013, 6:24 pm

 

26. Akbar Palace said:

“Detroit files for largest municipal bankruptcy in US history!”

Don,

It’s all relative habibi. Bankrupcy is better than cities bombed to smithereens, 100k murdered, and over 1M refugees.

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July 18th, 2013, 6:31 pm

 

27. revenire said:

Don people in the United States live in a constant state of denial. They still believe their country is the home of the free and land of the brave.

Detroit’s bankruptcy shows how far the US has fallen.

If you search Google they say you can find areas of Detroit that look as bad as war. They say even the rats have fled Detroit (excuse the use of the word “rat” this time Matt).

I feel sickened by it.

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July 18th, 2013, 6:35 pm

 

28. don said:

It’s good to know where Samantha’s priorities lie

Obama’s UN Envoy Nominee Samantha Power Pledges to Defend Israel

Power said she will “work tirelessly to defend” Israel in an organization where many countries don’t recognize it, and to lobby for the Jewish state to have a rotating seat on the Security Council for the first time.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-17/obama-s-un-envoy-pick-samantha-power-pledges-to-defend-israel.html

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July 18th, 2013, 6:47 pm

 

29. don said:

Politically motivated or not, the BBC celebrates the assassination anyway

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-23352878

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July 18th, 2013, 7:07 pm

 

30. majedkhaldoun said:

There is talk that US will stage sudden attack on Syria,without warning,to get rid of Assad

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July 18th, 2013, 7:14 pm

 

31. Akbar Palace said:

Reverse,

Yes Americans live in denial. And you live with them.  I’ll pay for a one way ticket for your relocation to the Syrian Utopia. Just say when.

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July 18th, 2013, 7:36 pm

 

32. sami said:

“For a disgraced and fired EX-moderator you should know better not to insult people (SimoHurtta)”

Disgraced and fired you say? Hmmmmm….

1. JOSHUA LANDIS said:

SC’s moderator has resigned. He got tired. Didn’t appreciate being attacked, and is opening a restaurant. All good reasons. I thank him and wish him luck. He was a great help to us all. Moderating in the midst of a war is not easy. In a few days I will be leaving on a trip and then vacation in Vermont for three weeks, so SC will go on vacation with me.

Best to all SCers and thanks for their patience over the next month. Joshua

http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/the-us-sees-russia-as-the-weak-link-in-support-for-assad-but-is-it/?cp=1

As for the alleged insult how exactly is questioning someones personal hypocrisy meter an insult?

If anything reading your pathetic and juvenile post filled with worthless accusations not substantiated with anything factual is an insult to anyone who bothered reading you posts intelligence. Furthermore it is very telling how pathetically low someone such as yourself can be when they write under numerous names (Hello DON and ANN) and throws these worthless accusations that I was fired and disgraced when it cannot be further from the truth.

lastly you are not my kin, do NOT call me your son, and If I was your son I would disown you.

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July 18th, 2013, 8:42 pm

 

33. don said:

Stealing Lebanon’s Oil and Gas

Israel’s Deepest Well Targets 1.5 Billion Barrels of Oil

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-07-17/israel-s-deepest-well-targets-1-5-billion-barrels-of-oil.html

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July 18th, 2013, 9:00 pm

 
 

35. zoo said:

A Wake Up Call for the Syrian Brotherhood
Sami Moubayed

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sami-moubayed/a-wake-up-call-for-the-sy_b_3603449.html


In Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood’s real powerbase today lies strictly in the Idlib countryside, specifically Jabal al-Zawiya, where they still command a sizable community of loyalists. Their influence in the conservative city of Hama, the city to suffer most from their 1982 adventure, had long vanished. Hama today is no longer a “Brotherhood stronghold.” The secular opposition leader Fidaa Hourani, who treated the wounded at her field hospital in early 2011, was more popular in Hama than the entire Brotherhood leadership combined. She was a secular, and not only that, the daughter of Akram al-Hourani, the father of socialism in modern Syria, who had combated the Brotherhood during the golden years of Syrian democracy, back in the ’50s.

Hama notables grumbled when recalling how while their sons were being led to the gallows in 1982, Brotherhood leaders had packed their bags and left to safe exile, leaving the city to sort out its own mess. They blamed the Brotherhood for dragging Syria into an ill-planned confrontation, which led to the killing of anywhere between 15,000-30,000 civilians, without calculating what the regime’s response would be. The Brotherhood knew that popular sentiment in Hama, although anti-regime, was nevertheless not pro-Brotherhood in 2011-2012. They also realized that if the Syrians went to the polls, unlike Egypt, the Brotherhood would never win a landslide victory. Syrian Christians, who constitute 10 percent of the population, would never vote for them, nor would Alawites (12 percent), Druze (3 percent), Kurds (15 percent), and Bedouin tribes (10 percent). Even among the country’s 75 percent Sunnis, not everybody is in favor of a theocracy, certainly not after how they performed in Egypt.
….
The Muslim Brotherhood is now fighting a battle on several fronts: with Egyptian officers in Cairo, with Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, with Mohammad Abbas in Palestine, and with Saudi Arabia in the Arab and Muslim World. This is more than they can chew. If they don’t try to extinguish fires, they will collapse. Both the Egyptian and Syrian Brothers have to put down their guns, sink into self-reflection, study their mistakes, and eventually re-invent themselves after the Egyptian fiasco.

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July 18th, 2013, 9:39 pm

 

36. Sami said:

Simo,

Whatever Omen chooses to do on his/her time is his/her business and not mine and neither it is yours. Unless you work for some intelligence agency and building a file on people here….

“About that 95 percent of WW2 war prisoners in Russia were killed?”

That was not my argument, and you bringing in someone else’s argument and trying to paint as mine is telling of how limited your knowledge on the subject is. I was arguing how juxtaposing to crimes beside each other in order to excuse one of them is an amoral and shallow argument.

“Well the “difference” was not big because the communist government of Afghanistan was not very “democratic”, but then Afghanistan was relative equal among genders.”

If by equal you mean equally suppressed by a foreign entity that was seen as an occupation force by the majority of the Afghans then you are correct…

“Putin became president in May 2000 at the time when the second war ended.”

Who was PM of Russia in 1999? Is his name perhaps Vladimir Putin? Who made a name for himself as a ” law-and-order image and his unrelenting approach to the renewed crisis in the North Caucasus, which started when the Islamic International Brigade based in Chechnya invaded a neighboring region starting the War in Dagestan, soon combined to raise Putin’s popularity and allowed him to overtake all rivals.”?

Your lack of knowledge on this subject is quickly exposing you as the amateur you are.

“Grozny is now rebuilt and people seem to be rather OK with the present situation.”

This would be an extremely laughable statement were it not at the expense of those living without their family members as a direct result of Russian hegemony in the Caucus. What’s next you telling us how much Makhachkala is a tourist destination while disregarding the fact their own Football Club trains and lives many miles away in Moscow for safety reasons and only go to Makhachkala by plane on game days and are escorted by armed guards to their games?

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July 18th, 2013, 9:41 pm

 

37. Ghufran said:

Why is the attack on Sami and making up stories about his ” disgraceful” exit?
If every anti regime Syrian had the same mind set as Sami we would not have had a war like the one in Syria today.
Defending Baathist records is something but ignoring the diseases 43 years oppression and corruption brought to Syria is unethical at least.
Putin , an ex KGB chief, is few steps ahead of Baathists with his treatment of political dissidents:
KIROV, Russia | Thu Jul 18, 2013 8:05pm EDT
(Reuters) – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years in jail for theft on Thursday, an unexpectedly tough punishment which supporters said proved President Vladimir Putin was a dictator ruling by repression.
Assad’s favorite charge against potential political leaders:
محاولة قلب النظام بالقوه و نشر أكاذيب تضعف الوحده الوطنيه و تصيب الوطن بالوهن

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July 18th, 2013, 9:41 pm

 

38. zoo said:

Comics Series on Western Muslim Volunteering for Nusra Coalition

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July 18th, 2013, 9:42 pm

 

39. zoo said:

No weapons, but the UK offer special gifts to grudging Idriss to protect the FSA from ‘chemical weapons’

Syria: FSA accuses British PM of betraying opposition
http://www.aawsat.net/2013/07/article55310075
….
British Foreign Secretary William Hague yesterday announced that “”We plan to equip the moderate armed opposition with 5,000 escape hoods, nerve-agent pre-treatment tablets (NAPs) and chemical-weapons detector paper.”

“The gift will be offered to the Supreme Military Council of the Syrian National Coalition, which the UK recognises as the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people,” he added in a written statement to parliament.

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July 18th, 2013, 9:50 pm

 

40. don said:

AIPAC & OFAC Ratchet-Up US Sanctions Targeting Syria and Iran’s Civilian Populations

http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/TPV3/Voices.php/2013/07/14/aipac-aamp-ofac-ratchet-up-us-sanctions-

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July 18th, 2013, 10:20 pm

 

41. Ghufran said:

Obama considering military power in Syria, top general tells Senate
Chairman of joint chiefs Martin Dempsey tells armed services committee that he has provided Obama with options for use of force
( Dempsey gave a vague assessment of how the USA can change the situation on the ground to help rebels, I still think the USA will not get directly involved in the war )

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July 18th, 2013, 10:35 pm

 

42. Akbar Palace said:

Don,

Thanks for “thepeoplesvoice” article:

Our Mission at thepeoplesvoice.org

October 20th, 2008thepeoplesvoice.org features news, information, and opinion about issues which affect our* freedoms, the environment, and the quality of life. Now more than ever ‘we the people’ need to be aware of the issues, and the actions of our leaders.

*but know one else’s

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July 18th, 2013, 10:48 pm

 
 

44. Ziad said:

Thank you for drawing my attention to thepeoplesvoice.org. My first impression is that it is an excellent, informative, and trustworthy website that exposes Zionists’ intrigues and machinations.

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July 18th, 2013, 11:17 pm

 

45. Ziad said:

بعد انقطاع الوحي 14 قرنا، جبريل ينزل في إدلب على أحد قادة”الجيش الحر” ويصطحبه إلى عرش الله

أعلن …” محمد السنساوي”(الصورة) أن جبريل هبط عليه واصطحبه إلى “سدرة المنتهى” لمقابلة الله. وحين وصل هناك، أدخله الله إلى حيث عرشه وأبقى جبريلا في الخارج، ثم خاطبه قائلا ” يا محمد السنساوي، ابن أحمد، أنا وملائكتي ورسلي وعبادي من الصالحين نضع أملنا بك لتخليص الناس في الأرض من الظلم”!

http://www.syriatruth.org/الأخبار/أحداثالسـاعة/tabid/93/Article/10135/14.aspx

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July 18th, 2013, 11:38 pm

 

46. ghufran said:

From comment section in eilaf:
محمد الخفاجي – GMT 14:57 2013 الأربعاء 17 يوليوتدعي بأن عصابــة الأســد قمعيه فاسده مرتشيه مجرمه قاتله لنذهب معك بأدعائاتك،نظام الأسد الفاسد المرتشي كما تسميه حافظ على الليره السوريه ثابته لمدة 20 سنه على الأقل ولم تنهار ،الأسد وتحت حكمه هو ونظامه التعليـــم والصحــه والعلاج مجاني ،نعم ليس بمستوى دول العالم المتقدم لكن بمستوى مقبول جدا، لم يتلاعب بأقتصاد البلد وأغلب التجاره والأعمال بقيت بيد تجار حلب وتجار الشام السنه -عوائل تمتهن التجاره أب عن جد – قد تدخل وأستفاد بعض أفراد الأسد أو النظام هنا وهناك لكن ليس بالشكل الطاغي أو المدمر،رغيف العيش بقي رخيصا 15 ليره للشده وبمتناول الجميع فقيركم وغنيكم وأسعار الخضار أقل من كل دول الجوار وسعر الوقود مدعوم بقوه، بلد ربما الوحيد على الأقل عربيا ماعدا مشايخ البترول ليست لديه ديون خارجيه تقصم الظهر،بلد مستقر نعم بقبظه أمنيه لكن تستطيع العائله السوريه ببناتها ونسائها وأطفالها أن تبقى تتمتع خارج بيتها الى 12 ليلا أو أكثر بدون خوف أو رعب أو مضايقه شعب غير متفرقه فسنته وشيعته وعلوييه ودروزه وكرده ومسيحييه وتركمانه متدينيين على شرط بدون تشدد وعلمانيين يعيشون سواسيه تقريبا ولم يعرف التفرقه فمفتي سوريا سنيا ولم يجلب علويا ليصبح مفتيا، فحتى الأسد عندما يصلي يصلي على الطريقه السنيه بتكتف اليدين بينما يصلي الشيعه بمدها ومساجد السنه في كل حاره وشارع ولم يغلقها أو يحاربها أذا لم تتدخل بالحكم ، سفر لخارج سوريا لغرض السياحه أو العمل مفتوح بدون مضايقات،نظام لم يجازف بحروب أكبر من قدراته-تعيبون عليه عدم تحرير الجولان-فهو يعلم حجم الماكنه العسكريه الأسرائيليه وقدرتها التدميريه فأذا حاول محاربتها لوحده،أغلب العرب متحالف مع أسرائيل أو على الأقل ليس عدو، فأنه غير قادر على أيذاء أسرائيل بل هي ومن خلفها راعيتها أمريكا ستدمر سوريا وتخربها،أملنا بكم أنتم من سيحارب أسرائيل بسلاح حمــد وتحررون الجولان وبعدها تتوجهون لأعادة لواء الأسكندرونه من تركيا، لكن النظام لم يسالم أسرائيل بل لعب معها على قدر حجمه وأمكانياته ودعم كل تنظيم أو حركه ضد أسرائيل ليس كلاميا بل بالسلاح والمال والتدريب والمأوى وتوفير الحمايه والأستقبال،وبسببها حصل على كره الغرب وأمريكا وحلفائها بالمنطقه،فلعب بأدوات أمنيه مخابراتيه بدون تخريب سوريا،وأصبحت سوريا لاعبا أقليميا مهما في المنطقه وله حساباته وأوراقه، نعم كانت للأسد والنظام حساسيه تجاه النشاط السياسي الذي يقترب من كرسي الحكم وهو ليس متفردا فنحن أبناء الشرق الأوسط وليس سويسرا أو السويد وهو أي الأسد لايختلف بتعامله مع من يقترب من الكرسي حاله حال أمير قطر،خلع أبيه ليصعد للكرسي، أو أردوغان الذي يذيق الأكراد المعارضيين حمم قذائف مدافعه وطائراته،ولايختلف عن ملك الأردن أن تقرب أحدهم لعرشه ،وحتى أن كان النظام قاسيا فمن متابعتكم أنتم ثوار حمد وأردوغان وآكلي الأكباد لم تكونوا أحسن منه وأرحم ،بل ربما نقول وبدون تردد أنكم أسوء منه بمرات وأقسى بأضعاف ولذلك أغلب السوريين يؤيدون بشار ليس حبا به بل خوفا منكم وكرها لأفعالكم وحذرا من تحالفاتكم وممن يمولكم ويدهمكم –
See more at: http://www.elaph.com/Web/opinion/2013/7/824428.html?entry=opinion#sthash.FeyrNf8B.dpuf

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July 18th, 2013, 11:59 pm

 

47. revenire said:

Ahmad al-Jarba: Personal History

The source maintains that Ahmad al-Jarba’s trek to the highest post in the Coalition was planned from A to Z in the corridors of Saudi intelligence. The man, the source said, has a big rap sheet kept by Qatari, Saudi, and Syrian security services, for acts involving all three countries, and in the past, the three intelligence agencies had even coordinated operations in his pursuit.

The Syrian source provided particulars involving Jarba that were mentioned in official Syrian security records, as a fugitive wanted for criminal offenses, including fraud, corruption, and even assassination plots that were not carried out. According to the source, records show that Riyadh handed over “the suspect Ahmad al-Jarba” to Damascus in 2008, on charges of drug trafficking, in accordance with an extradition agreement between Saudi and Syrian security services (which was suspended at the beginning of the Syrian crisis). Jarba was tried and sentenced to a prison term at the time.

It is likely that Bandar bargained with several blocks in the Coalition over instating Jarba as the president of the opposition group in return for delivering game-changing weapons. The records also reveal another entry involving Jarba, which the Qatari security services undoubtedly also have in their records, as the source said: After the coup staged by the outgoing Emir of Qatar Hamad against his father Khalifa al-Thani, the latter’s foreign minister fled to Syria, where he became a vocal supporter for restoring the previous emir. At the time, according to the records, Emir Hamad’s people asked Ahmad al-Jarba to assassinate the exiled Qatari foreign minister in Syria. Al-Jarba even received payment after accepting to carry out the mission, the source claimed.
However, Jarba chose instead to expose the plot to the deposed Emir Khalifa, for which he also received a financial reward. The issue proved to have huge political consequences, prompting the Syrian state security agency to investigate and ultimately detain Jarba for a total of five months on counts of fraud.

According to another entry in the Syrian security records, Jarba approached the Libyan ambassador in Damascus shortly after Muammar Gaddafi declared himself Africa’s “king of kings,” and persuaded the ambassador to use Jarba’s help in sending Syrian tribal delegations to Libya to pledge allegiance to Gaddafi. Jarba had introduced himself to the Libyan leadership as the chief of the Shammar tribe of the Jazirah region in Syria (Upper Mesopotamia).

In 2004, he was looking for ways to gain access to the late Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, as one of the elders of the Shammar clan, which has branches from Syria, Jordan, and Iraq, all the way to Saudi Arabia. Before Jarba dropped off the grid in Syria, he was being pursued by the Syrian authorities for running brothels in Damascus and Hasakah.

http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/the-syrian-national-coalitions-saudi-makeover

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July 19th, 2013, 12:44 am

 

48. majedkhaldoun said:

US will not arm the rebels with advanced weapons,,and would never allow the rebels to control chemical weapons, any US involvement means direct US troops and the most likely place to enter Syria is from the south,Jordan, US prefer to shrink Assad control to limit him to the coastal area, but will not allow him to have control over area adjacent to HA

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July 19th, 2013, 12:55 am

 

49. Ziad said:

GHUFRAN #46

In my opinion this is a very accurate assessment of the Assad’s government. Not perfect, and with a lot defects, particularly when it comes to the Mukhabarat and corruption, yet compared with other Arab and ME countries it comes out shining, particularly when it comes to social welfare, security, stability and foreign policy.

You never fail to end your comments by some thing damning about the Syrian government. What is your take on M. Alkhafagi comment?

In Bashar’s early years, I hated him very much, as he promised reforms and failed to deliver, and particularly when he imprisoned and convicted the members of the Damascus spring. Now when I see the ease with which the opposition individuals can be bought with Gulf money, sit and conspire with Western nations against their own country, and even give assurances of non belligerence to Israel on Israeli TV. I come to the conclusion that may be the Syrian government knew something about those personalities I did not know.

I also ask myself, what would be the punishment in the US for some one who accepts money and weapons from the enemies, provide them with intelligence and openly ask the enemy to attack the US?

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July 19th, 2013, 12:58 am

 

50. ghufran said:

Ziad,
The uprising was inevitable, what made it bloody was the regime harsh response, its refusal to compromise and of course the interference of outside forces which allowed Syria to become a haven for jihadists and thugs.
I think replacing Assad Sr with Assad Jr was a big mistake and keeping security forces and the army as a private militia to protect the regime is a disgrace.
Syria needed reform desperately, what Syrians got instead was a war that divided people, impoverished the population, increased hate and despair and killed any real chance of a national revival, at least in the short-term.
Things got so bad that even level-headed and moderate Syrians are seriously thinking that Syria needs to be divided in a way or the other, I believe we will see that materializes in the next few months-years. In my case, what I want first and foremost is a stop to the blood shed and an opportunity for Syrians to live in peace and dignity. I could not care less who is president but I know that Assad departure will help to start the healing process, I also realize that there are some alawites (few)who do not want Assad to stay and Sunnis (a sizable minority) who still support him, that in a strange way provides some hope that Syrians may one day put their country before their sectarian loyalty.

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July 19th, 2013, 1:15 am

 

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