Where Does Jabhat al-Nusra End, and the Islamic State of Iraq & ash-Sham Begin?

This is the first half of a two-part examination by Aymenn al-Tamimi of the activities of and relationships between al-Qa’ida-affiliated fighter groups in Syria.

Where Does Jabhat al-Nusra End, and the Islamic State of Iraq & ash-Sham Begin?

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

 

Since April, the al-Qa’ida-aligned jihadist front in the Syrian civil war has been mired in controversy on account of a naming dispute.

It all began when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—the leader of al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) (self-identified as the Islamic State in Iraq, or ISI)—announced that his organization and the Syrian Jabhat al-Nusra (JN), under the leadership of Abu Muhammad al-Jowlani, were one and the same, and were henceforth to merge under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham (ISIS).

Though acknowledging the common roots of JN and AQI, Jowlani rejected this apparently-uninvited declaration of a merger that implied a singular structure of authority. Instead, Jowlani asserted autonomy and separateness for JN from AQI, while reassuring those concerned through an affirmation of allegiance to Aymenn al-Zawahiri.

Zawahiri remained silent on the issue until June, when a purported letter from him was revealed by al-Jazeera in which he declared that JN and AQI were to remain separate, while stressing the importance of cooperation between the two entities. Baghdadi rejected this ruling, implying doubts about its authenticity, and insisted on maintaining the ISIS as a real political entity and as the definition of joint jihadi efforts in Iraq and Syria.

So much then for the controversy as it played out at the leadership level. Less explored, however, is the question of how it has worked out on the ground. In this context, Reuters journalist Mariam Karouny has purported to offer some answers. Broadly, she posits a hostile relationship between those identifying with JN and fighters under the banner of ISIS, with foreign fighters representing the latter as opposed to native Syrians for JN.

She has also cited rebel sources suggesting the possibility of a future open conflict between the ISIS and JN, with the latter working with other battalions against ISIS in a similar manner to Iraq’s Awakening Movement (Sahwa) that took on al-Qa’ida from 2007 onwards.

But how accurate is this picture?

To begin with, my own research has certainly found some truth to the idea of foreign fighters operating under the banner of the ISIS. Notably, an overview of the declared ‘martyrs’ for ISIS shows that they are overwhelmingly of foreign origin, with Saudis and Tunisians disproportionately representing their ranks. More recently, the ISIS claimed that a suicide operation in Hama was the work of an Egyptian fighter from its ranks.1

Furqan media—AQI’s official outlet—also released a video of a French fighter by the name of Abd al-Rahman al-Faransi (“Abd al-Rahman the Frenchman”) who was killed fighting under ISIS’ banner in Syria. To summarize briefly, he recounts that he had converted to Islam three years ago, speaks of the need for jihad in Bilad ash-Sham and restoring the Caliphate, while urging President François Hollande to convert to Islam and stop fighting Muslims. Incidentally, one friend of mine—Arun Kapil—says that the man’s French accent is indicative of his origins in the banlieues populated by immigrants from the Maghreb.

In any case, battalions apparently created specifically for foreign fighters appear now to be mirror fronts of the ISIS. For instance, Abu Omar ash-Shishani—the Chechen fighter who heads Jaysh al-Muhajireen—was appointed commander of northern operations in Syria for the ISIS by Baghdadi.

In this context, it should be noted that Jaysh al-Muhajireen is suspected of being behind the beheadings shown in a video that purported to depict the murder of a Catholic priest, François Murad. The video can be seen here, but caution is highly advised.

beheading in Syria

Armed rebels, possibly Jaysh al-Muhajireen, behead alleged regime sympathizers or collaborators in Syria

The claimed identification was mistaken. In fact, the beheaded victims had merely been accused of working for the regime, but the rumor that the first victim was a priest quickly spread. Though the first beheaded man was not Father Murad, men in the video refer to him as a Christian (and to the second man as “a Muslim, but a dog”), and it is believed by some that he was a priest of a different identity.

Father François Murad was killed, but in a separate incident. He was reportedly shot inside his church, an event that took place earlier.

Francois Murad

Father François Murad

 

In addition to the battalions of foreign jihadists fighting for the ISIS, it is also true that in certain parts of Syria, there is clear evidence that JN and the ISIS are functioning as two separate entities. In the city of Aleppo, both groups issue separate statements with their own insignia. The ISIS in particular is set apart in Aleppo from JN and other rebel groups that have formed Shari’a committees. In the city of Deir ez-Zor, JN and ISIS are similarly separate; furthermore in Deraa, JN has very much retained its own identity, even forming in May an autonomous military council that issued its own statements while JN’s official channel—al-Manarah al-Bayḍā—went offline between April and June.

Nonetheless, separateness does not necessarily translate to hostility. At the theoretical level, one can note that ideologues on jihadi forums are encouraging the idea of friendly competition between JN and ISIS in fighting the Assad regime. That is, to not engage in internecine struggle, but to try to outdo each other in the killing of regime and Hezbollah forces.

In any event, it is apparent that in Aleppo ISIS works militarily, not only with JN but also with rebels under the banner of the ‘Free Army’—such as in the battle for Mannagh Airport. In Deir ez-Zor, responsibility for a suicide attack conducted by one Omar al-Tunisi was claimed as a joint operation between JN and ISIS.

Elsewhere in Syria, the question of whether JN and ISIS are separate groups is much more ambiguous. For example, in the rebel-held city of Raqqah and the surrounding area, it seems that the names and banners of JN and ISIS are more or less interchangeable among those ideologically aligned with al-Qa’ida.

This was most apparent during a recent round of rallies and counter-rallies in Raqqah, which were sparked when a demonstration was held featuring slogans denouncing JN for detention of rival rebels, though the location has been identified as the headquarters of ISIS in Raqqah.

In response, demonstrators holding ISIS banners, along with supporters of Ahrar ash-Sham, came out, attacking the news channel al-Arabiya for its coverage of the protests in a supposed attempt to demonize JN. More recently, it would appear that harmony between different groups in Raqqah has been restored, with a rally calling for the fall of the regime (held on the first day of Ramadan) featuring ISIS, Ahrar ash-Sham, Kurdish, and FSA flags.

In eastern towns outside of Deir ez-Zor, the distinction between JN and the ISIS has likewise become blurred.

A good case-in-point is the border town of Abu Kamal, featuring Kata’ib Junud al-Haq that identified as being affiliated with JN. By May, the group issued statements identifying itself as part of the ISIS, but on its Facebook page a photo favorable to JN was posted.

The group has since reverted to calling itself a branch of JN, but that does not translate to hostility to those who gather under the banner of the ISIS. Recently the ISIS also claimed a joint operation with JN in an attack on a regime held checkpoint—ash-Shoula—under the banner of Kata’ib Junud al-Haq.

The same problem of blurring applies at the activist level too: one can frequently find jihadis on Twitter, Facebook and forums praising JN and ISIS as if they were one.

In short, the ISIS-JN relationship as it plays out on the ground is far more complex than the tensions at the highest levels of leadership might suggest. It cannot be reduced to simple dichotomies.

If anything, examining this relationship provides a textbook case of the fragmented nature of rebel groups. This should not translate into the wholesale discounting of the possibility of a wider conflict between the ISIS and JN or other rebel factions (in some places it is already happening, as I will show in a subsequent post), but one needs to be cautious of a narrative of a grand ideological clash reminiscent of the Iraq Awakening (Sahwa). Such a narrative is more a case of a few sources telling Western audiences what they think Westerners want to hear.

Even so, the concept of a ‘Sahwa’ movement in Syria is undoubtedly something jihadis worry about, and one sees in their reports a tendency to characterize any prospect of armed clashes with another battalion as a case of the rival group transforming into a ‘Sahwa’ organization dedicated to fighting al-Qa’ida.

As for future prospects for the ISIS in particular, the group is likely to remain a reality on the ground. The foremost problem for those who would prefer an AQI-JN separation is that Zawahiri did not make clear the abrogation of ISIS by means of a video statement, but instead appears to have relied on a letter meant entirely for internal circulation, leaving significant doubts among those in favor of retaining ISIS as to the authenticity of the Zawahiri statement in June. Unless he reaffirms this position by means of a video, ISIS will continue to expand throughout Syria.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi (Twitter: @ajaltamimi) is a student at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He writes a column for Aaron Zelin’s site Jihadology dedicated to tracking the JN-ISIS relationship on the ground: http://jihadology.net/musings-of-an-iraqi-brasenostril-on-jihad/

 

Note

1 The primary limitation to my method of analysis of the composition of the ISIS—namely, by looking at claimed ‘martyrs’ for the group—is that the deaths are self-reported, and sources may have reasons to downplay the presence of fighters from certain backgrounds. This is particularly true of Iraqi fighters, as Aaron Zelin has pointed out.

One might get the impression that the ISIS is solely composed of foreign fighters, but two points should be made. First, I would emphasize that the ISIS cannot be regarded as a group that enjoys no support from Syrians on the ground.

Second, as regards fighters, one notable exception has recently emerged. Namely, the assistant to the ISIS’ amir for northern operations is Syrian—one Abu Muṣ’ab as-Sūrī who even has relatives fighting under the banner of JN. In a recent interview, he made clear that while there is a disagreement at the leadership level over the ISIS/JN affiliation, he does not see a looming conflict between the two groups, and notes that many ‘muhajireen’ also rejected the announcement of the ISIS.

Comments (398)


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351. zoo said:

The Syrian and Egyptian Brotherhoods – different histories, different outlooks

Frederik Deknatel
Jul 20, 2013

Under Mubarak, the Brotherhood knew it couldn’t reasonably hold power, so it was free to advocate democracy while leaving major doctrines and policies vague. But political power changed all that, and exposed their doublespeak. It ran a presidential candidate after pledging it wouldn’t; it deflected criticisms with canards, and refused to admit mistakes.

Until the Syrian Brotherhood run in elections and realise similar political aspirations, the organisation will be held up to their Egyptian counterparts and their penchant for saying one thing while pursuing only narrow group interests
….

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/the-syrian-and-egyptian-brotherhoods-different-histories-different-outlooks#ixzz2ZOwva1X5

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July 18th, 2013, 9:00 am

 

352. Citizen said:

345. ZOO
The official representative of the Kurdish defense forces Ali Bashar Oumari today announced the capture of 13 insurgents in the town of Ras al-Ain in northeastern Syria. There were clashes with the formation of an extremist group “Djabhat-Al-Nusra.”

“Among these prisoners – six Turkish soldiers and Chechen mercenary specialists, as evidenced by the documents they found,” – said Ali Bashar Oumari Lebanese news portal “Al-Ahd.” The Turks, as the representative of the self-defense forces, armed Islamists have provided operational and logistical support to them during an attempted assault on Ras al-Ain, which is 510 km northeast of Damascus and 67 km to the west of the administrative center of Al Hasake. From the Turkish border town of Ceylanpınar, which also resides Kurdish population, it is separated by a few kilometers.

Ras al-Ain is divided into two parts

Since November 2012 the militia of the Democratic Union Party / PUD / – Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party of Turkey – repulsed several attempts Islamists seize Ras al-Ain and set their own rules there. As noted Oumari, the city is divided into two parts. Jihadists keep the areas adjacent to the border and the security checkpoint, there continue shooting, the rest of the city in the hands of the PUD. In Ras al-Ain deployed reinforcements from neighboring Kurdish cities of Tel Tamer and Amu.

According to eyewitnesses, the cause of the next spike battle was Ramadan – the Muslim fasting. In areas under the control of the PUD, no strict rules of Sharia, which are imposed by fundamentalists of the so-called armed opposition in other places. For example, Kurdish women activists PUD fighting in the ranks of the self-defense forces, as a rule, do not wear headscarves, which often provokes a clash between the conflicting parties.

http://www.mignews.ru/aimages/07_13/180713_154320_84514_2.jpg

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July 18th, 2013, 9:01 am

 

353. Alan said:

Syria has need to include Russian contingent of General Gromov , as in Afghanistan.
Taliban for first time claims operational presence in Syria
Special to WorldTribune.com
LONDON — A Taliban operative said specialists in urban warfare and technology have arrived in Syria to join the war against President Bashar Assad.
The operative, Mohammed Amin, said at least 12 specialists were monitoring the war and drafting requirements for Al Qaida-aligned rebels.

http://www.worldtribune.com/2013/07/17/taliban-for-first-time-claims-operational-presence-in-syria/

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July 18th, 2013, 9:33 am

 

354. Alan said:

American,s opinion
I have read so much nonsense about aid, aid, and more aid for these “rebels”. The question is, aid who?

These FSA people, who are they? Where did they come from? Are they a gang of hoodlums building their own little fiefdoms by means of guns, terror, intimidation.

Would the people of USA like the KKK or the some white supremacist gang or Farrakhan’s pseudo Muslim gang (all of them being a.k.a. “REBELS” as they operate out of the normal governmental process) to run around various cities across the country (i.e. USA) terrorizing citizens? Clearly NO.

Assad has held power in Syria for a long time and put in place all the infrastructure to run the country. If the people of the west are truly interested in a proper functioning Syria, they need to ensure that these riots and civil war by these “rebels”, I call them criminals, comes to a swift halt.

After that, point to Assad all the defects in his government and deal with him with economic, trade, and other sanctions in a manner that cripples him and his government. Expelling all of his Ambassadors from every country would be a good start. Travel restrictions on his entourage would be good. His wife is jet setting here and there, STOP that: Madam, you are a persona non grata, please return to Syria.

Giving Arms to these criminals, “rebels”, only makes the life for normal citizens impossible. They cannot get bread without getting shot.

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July 18th, 2013, 10:07 am

 

355. zoo said:

More trouble looming for ‘zero-problem’ Turkey: A Kurdish secular autonomous region at its border

Turkish gov’t says won’t tolerate PYD’s fait accompli in northern Syria

http://www.todayszaman.com/news-321226-turkish-govt-says-wont-tolerate-pyds-fait-accompli-in-northern-syria.html
..
The Turkish General Staff, releasing a written statement on its official website on Thursday, confirmed that Ras al-Ain had fallen under the control of the PYD, which it described as a separatist terrorist organization. Fighting in the town has now stopped. Turkish troops had shot at PYD fighters in Syria in accordance with its rules of engagement after two rocket-propelled grenades fired from Syria struck a border post on the Turkish side of the frontier. The return fire was the second time that the military has answered in kind after several stray bullets from Syria struck the police headquarters and several homes in the adjacent Turkish town of Ceylanpınar on Tuesday. The General Staff said they are watching what happens in northern Syria closely.

Professor Mesut Hakkı Caşın from Yeditepe University told Today’s Zaman that al-Assad left Ras al-Ain to the PYD. He said, “According to UN decisions, Turkey has the right to conduct cross-border ‘hot pursuit’ operations in Syria if terrorist activity near its borders is detected.” He has heard claims that PKK terrorists, who are withdrawing from Turkish lands as part of an ongoing settlement process launched by the Turkish government in 2012 to end its Kurdish problem, are joining PYD forces in northern Syria and believes this is a clear threat to Turkey’s national security.

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July 18th, 2013, 10:28 am

 

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.

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.

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?

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July 18th, 2013, 10:38 am

 

357. Ziad said:

The latetest byproduct of the US gift to humanity DU born yesterday in Fallujah

https://twitter.com/miniestmini/status/357812269020770304/photo/1

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July 18th, 2013, 11:04 am

 

358. Ziad said:

Over 100 trucks loaded with supplies arrived in Aleppo within past 24 hours thanks to the SAA.

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July 18th, 2013, 11:11 am

 

359. Akbar Palace said:

“SimoHypocrometer”

LOL Sami…

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July 18th, 2013, 11:15 am

 

360. Ziad said:

Fouzy Aiman Fawwaz, just 4 years old child, died of viral Hepatitis. There are 100s like him who are dying due to lack of medicines. 500,000 Iraqi children got the same fate thanks to the deeds of the “good guys”.

https://twitter.com/ProSyriana/status/357867494297444352/photo/1

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July 18th, 2013, 11:18 am

 

361. Majed97 said:

Momentum Shifts in Syria, Bolstering Assad’s Position

New York Times
By BEN HUBBARD
Published: July 17, 2013

That momentum has now been reversed.

In recent weeks, rebel groups have been killing one another with increasing ferocity, losing ground on the battlefield and alienating the very citizens they say they want to liberate. At the same time, the United States and other Western powers that have called for Mr. Assad to step down have shown new reluctance to provide the rebels with badly needed weapons.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/18/world/middleeast/momentum-shifts-in-syria-bolstering-assads-position.html?_r=0

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July 18th, 2013, 11:27 am

 

362. Sami said:

“Now that Palestine can SPEAK FOR HERSELF, an independent Palestine is close at hand.”

Which Palestine can SPEAK FOR HERSELF exactly? The one in an open air cage ruled by a bunch of extremists that were the byproduct of the Mossad, or the other one that keeps losing its land to settlements colonies run by a bunch of puppets that dare not fall out of line or risk losing all the taxes Israel is collecting on their behalf?

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July 18th, 2013, 11:28 am

 

363. Sami said:

“500,000 Iraqi children got the same fate thanks to the deeds of the “good guys”

And how many orphaned children are going to grow up filled with hate and anger thanks to your “good guy”?

What transpired in Iraq does not in any capacity coverup your heroes handiwork in Syria, bringing Iraq into the discussion does nothing but attempt to distract from the fact Assad and his hyenas drove the country into the hell we see Syria in today.

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July 18th, 2013, 11:56 am

 

364. Ziad said:

SAMI #358

Are you in procession of all your brain power wanting to replace an admittedly repressive government with head cutters, cannibals, destroyers of churches and Shia mosques stooges of KSA? Or with enforcers of free speech killers, sectarian starvers of Zahra, Nubol & Aleppo, kidnappers for money, killers of prisoners, thieves and thugs, stooges of Israel, US, Qatar & Turkey?

These are the choices. No utopia for Syria.

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July 18th, 2013, 12:12 pm

 

365. revenire said:

Sami when all is said and done not too many will defend cannibals, beheaders, rapists, thieves and other criminals. Few would have the temerity to call them freedom fighters. I’d be ashamed to back such people.

It would be funny if so many were not dead.

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July 18th, 2013, 12:26 pm

 

366. Akbar Palace said:

Which Palestine can SPEAK FOR HERSELF exactly?

Sami,

THe Palestinian Authority speaks for Palestinians in the West Bank and Hamas speaks for Palestinians in Gaza. Both elected leaders.

The one in an open air cage ruled by a bunch of extremists that were the byproduct of the Mossad, or the other one that keeps losing its land to settlements colonies run by a bunch of puppets that dare not fall out of line or risk losing all the taxes Israel is collecting on their behalf?

Hamas is not a “byproduct of the Mossad”. Now you’re slipping into “Arab Conspiracy Central” Something you usually poke fun at. The “puppets” in the WB can be termed however you’d like. Since you’re so smart, tell us what you would do if you were Abbas??

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July 18th, 2013, 12:29 pm

 

367. revenire said:

Idris crying in the New York Times (thanks Majed97 for alerting me to this article):

===

They do not want the fall of this regime; that is why they are not helping,” said Gen. Salim Idris, the head of the Free Syrian Army, a loosely knit umbrella group that has been soliciting aid and that is supposed to funnel it to vetted groups while keeping it from extremists.

General Idris accused the West of delaying with endless meetings, summits and requests for new “guarantees” that extremists would not get arms, and said this left the rebels at a huge disadvantage against Mr. Assad’s forces.

“They have Russia and Iran and Hezbollah,” he said. “But these democratic countries that call for freedom, when you have people seeking freedom from dictatorial, oppressive regimes and need help, they do not give any aid.”

===

Someone should give Idris a box of Kleenex. It is painful to watch a man weeping.

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July 18th, 2013, 12:30 pm

 

368. revenire said:

Of course the Zionists created the “Muslim” extremists in Gaza. It gives them a perfect reason to murder everyone in Gaza.

Zionists love creating a golem to scare everyone with. Abu Nidal was accused of being a Mossad agent.

It would not surprise me if the Mossad was behind most of the suicide bombings in Israel. They used to blow up plenty of civilians. Google the Irgun and read all about Zionist terror. Masada on a grand scale is what best sums up Zionist foreign policy.

Peace scares Zionists. They have giant inferiority complex.

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July 18th, 2013, 12:36 pm

 

369. zoo said:

Is this just another ‘all options are on the table’ spectacular rhetoric to give some hopes to the crumbling and desperate opposition and to threaten the Syria government?
After the failure of the NFZ, the USA is coming up with a military novelty: ‘kinetic strikes’

http://www.canada.com/news/military+officer+says+administration+considering+military+force/8676513/story.html

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, said during congressional testimony that he has provided President Barack Obama with options for the use of force in Syria.

Speaking about what he termed “kinetic strikes,” Dempsey added that the “issue is under deliberation inside of our agencies of government.” But he declined to provide further details, as members of the Senate Armed Services Committee pressed him for greater clarity on the strategy for ending the war and removing Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.

“The decision on whether to use force is the decision of our elected officials,” Dempsey said. “It would be inappropriate for me to try to influence the decision with me rendering an opinion in public with what type of force we should use.”

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July 18th, 2013, 1:04 pm

 

370. Akbar Palace said:

The All Powerful Zionists Strike Again

Of course the Zionists created the “Muslim” extremists in Gaza.

Reverse,

Besides “creating” Hamas, the Zionists also:

– forced all Gazans to vote for Hamas
– forced Hamas to fire thousands of rockets into Israel
– forced Hamas to throw PA officials off rooftops
– forced Assad to shoot at unarmed demonstrators
– forced Saddam Hussein to kill hundred of thousands of Iraqis and bury them in mass graves
– forced Iran to arm Hezbollah and fire thousands of missiles into Israel
– forced Syrians to rise up against Assad
– forced Hezbollah and Iran to send their military into Syria to prop up the d-p Assad
– forced over a million Syrians to flee their homes and become refugees

and the list goes on.

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July 18th, 2013, 1:14 pm

 

371. 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, 1:19 pm

 

372. don said:

Obomba preparing to invade another Arab country on behalf of his beloved Israel

US preparing for military action in Syria, top US general says

http://rt.com/usa/dempsey-syria-us-assad-268/

Obomba gunboat DEMOCRACY

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July 18th, 2013, 1:22 pm

 

373. Akbar Palace said:

Making Small Corrections in-line with Conspiracy Professionals

Obomba preparing to invade another Arab country

Don,

Get with the program. The ZIONISTS are forcing Obamba to invade another Arab country. I mean, who else? Saudi Arabia? Nahhh…

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July 18th, 2013, 1:25 pm

 

374. revenire said:

Akbar the Zionists also caused the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Haley’s Comet.

It is an undisputed fact the Zionists love extremists. If I am not mistaken, Zionist groups in the US have been caught vandalizing synagogues (painting swastikas etc.) in order to drum up support for their own sick cause.

Then, of course, we have the famous King David Hotel terrorism and the attack on the USS Liberty.

What a sordid history.

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July 18th, 2013, 1:35 pm

 

375. sami said:

AP,

My criticism was actually more aimed at the Palestinians than Israel, because both the PA and Hamas have done an abysmal job in their elected office “speaking on behalf” of Palestinians. And honestly I do not believe that either groups are representative of the Palestinian people and have the right to speak on their behalf nor do they represent the real political potential that I know Palestinians are capable of. Another thing Arab despotic states have more to gain from a weak Palestinian opposition than Israel does, for as long as the Palestinians appear helpless the despots can use them as an excuse to suppress their own people and provide them with the lip service that we see the Syrian opposition getting…

“Hamas is not a “byproduct of the Mossad”. Now you’re slipping into “Arab Conspiracy Central” Something you usually poke fun at.”

How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas

Instead of trying to curb Gaza’s Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html

I guess WSJ and I are slipping into the Arab Conspiracy Central

Since you’re so smart, tell us what you would do if you were Abbas??

Do more to help the Palestinians still in the WB so that they can become at least at equal footing with their Jewish neighbours in terms of education and healthcare. Not to mention push the youth into fields like IT which are a lot more lucrative than picking oranges from orchards. also do more to bridge the gap between the WB and Gaza and instead of having open hostility towards Gaza and more specifically Hamas try to engage the moderate elements there and try to have a unified body that speaks for both Gazans and West Bankers on the international level.

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July 18th, 2013, 2:23 pm

 

376. Sami said:

Ziad,

“Are you in procession of all your brain power wanting to replace an admittedly repressive government with head cutters, cannibals, destroyers of churches and Shia mosques stooges of KSA? Or with enforcers of free speech killers, sectarian starvers of Zahra, Nubol & Aleppo, kidnappers for money, killers of prisoners, thieves and thugs, stooges of Israel, US, Qatar & Turkey?”

No and if you think the choice is between what you describe above and the abomination of a regime you support then not only is your knowledge of what Syrians are capable of is lacking but you lack the proper brain power functions to look beyond the BS narrative either side is trying to feed you and actually witness what the hell is going on.

Btw not only does every adjective you chose above perfectly exemplifies the regime you support it does not even start to paint a clear picture of the sick barbaric atrocities it has committed.

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July 18th, 2013, 2:32 pm

 

377. Uzair8 said:

Couldn’t access SC yesterday and I wanted to post the following.

Hopefully it’s the start of some rebel momentum.

From AJE Syria (17 Jul 2013):

Syria rebels seize parts of Deraa’s Nawa city

Opposition fighters in Syria say they have captured most parts of Nawa city in Deraa province.

Meanwhile, there has been more fighting in Aleppo city, where opposition fighters say they have made gains.

Al Jazeera’s Mohammad Vall reports.

[Video]

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July 18th, 2013, 3:42 pm

 

378. zoo said:

uzair8

The Deraa’s “victories” are popping up every now and then probably to boost the decrepit moral of the armed rebels. After a few days, we hear nothing anymore
No other sources than Al Jazeera fed by the rebels corroborated that game-changer ‘victory’

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July 18th, 2013, 3:57 pm

 

379. zoo said:

Hasn’t Idriss understood yet that the West has dumped the FSA and is now focusing on stopping Al Qaeda in Syria.
Syria’s Assad may cling on, Britain will not arm rebels – sources

(Reuters) – Britain has abandoned plans to arm Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad and believes he might survive in office for years, sources familiar with government thinking say.

The sources also told Reuters that a peace conference to try to end the conflict – now in its third year – might not happen until next year if at all.

“Britain is clearly not going to arm the rebels in any way, shape or form,” said one source, pointing to a parliamentary motion passed last week urging prior consultation of lawmakers.

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July 18th, 2013, 4:02 pm

 

380. omen said:

yoohoo, everybody crying crocodile tears over this man…


Army Says Jammo Murder Not Political, Wife to be Reportedly Questioned Soon

Preliminary investigations into the shooting assassination on Wednesday of pro-regime Syrian figure Mohammed Darrar Jammo in south Lebanon have revealed that the crime was not politically motivated, the Lebanese Army Command announced on Thursday.

“Following the murder of Syrian activist Mohammed Darrar Jammo in the Sarafand region on July 17, 2013, the Intelligence Directorate started its investigations and managed to identify and arrest the perpetrators and seize the weapons used to commit the crime,” the Army Command’s Orientation Directorate said in a statement.

“Preliminary investigations revealed that there are no political motives behind the incident and the (intelligence) directorate’s probe is still underway to unveil all the circumstances of the crime,” it added.

In an interview on al-Jadeed television earlier on Thursday, al-Akhbar newspaper journalist Hasan Ollaik said: “The probe has revealed that the murder has nothing to do with politics or with the martyr’s political stances and that familial and social reasons were behind it.”

“The Lebanese security agencies have started their investigations and four people have been arrested, with two of them confessing to plotting and executing the crime and revealing all of its details,” Ollaik added.

He said the arrested suspects are a brother and a nephew of Jammo’s wife, noting that they told interrogators about problems between the Syrian figure and his spouse that pushed him to refrain from visiting Lebanon for six months.

“Syrian authorities have been informed of the details and the wife, which is now in Syria for the funeral, will be interrogated,” Ollaik added.

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July 18th, 2013, 4:08 pm

 

381. omen said:

347. Akbar Palace said: Fix your states and your governments, then come back to kick Israel’s ass. My recommendation. You can’t have your cake and eat it.

when a thief steals your car & cops catch the thief, do the police run a morality test first to see if you are a deserving enough human being, worthy enough of getting his stolen car handed back?

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July 18th, 2013, 4:29 pm

 

382. revenire said:

Omen could you please start using punctuation? I can’t make sense out of your gibberish. Thx.

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July 18th, 2013, 4:39 pm

 

383. omen said:

347. Akbar Palace said: Why should Israel “help topple assad”, when even the arabs and muslims are reluctant to do so.

translation: syrians are expendable. let them be exterminated.

when did you turn into a nazi?

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July 18th, 2013, 4:40 pm

 

384. Citizen said:

Do you want to cause a massive spending money?
Do you want to cause a huge increase in U.S. public debt!
Do you want to weaken the United States of America more?
Do you want to become China and Russia more powerful?
Then Mr. Dempsey follow your colleagues Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz! Entry is very much different from the exit!!! We wish you weighting the mind!

Dempsey says US considering use of force in Syria
The nation’s top military officer told a Senate panel Thursday the Obama administration is deliberating whether to use military power in Syria…..
http://rt.com/usa/dempsey-syria-us-assad-268/#.UehQAgoJKE0.twitter

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July 18th, 2013, 4:51 pm

 

385. omen said:

alan, every interview previous to senate hearing, the man argues it’s a bad idea to intervene.

same people promised to arm rebels. hasn’t happened. why do you believe them now?

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July 18th, 2013, 5:22 pm

 

386. zoo said:

Blinded by his Islamist proselytism and his arrogance, Erdogan continues to make bad calculations on the Arabs. After antagonizing Syria, he is antagonizing Egypt and the GCC.

Erdogan refuses to speak to Egypt’s ElBaradei

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/76801/World/Region/Erdogan-refuses-to-speak-to-Egypts-ElBaradei.aspx

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has refused to speak to Egypt’s new Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei, the latest broadside in a spat that erupted after the military coup in the Arab world’s most populous country.

Erdogan infuriated Egypt’s interim leaders after he voiced support for ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

“How could I speak to you? You were not elected, you were appointed by the orchestrators of a coup,” he said on Wednesday, addressing ElBaradei in remarks carried on CNN-Turk’s website.
..

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July 18th, 2013, 5:37 pm

 

387. 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, 5:47 pm

 

388. Ziad said:

WHO’s Iraq Birth Defect Study Omits Causation

A long-awaited study on congenital birth defects by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Iraq is expected to be very extensive in nature.

According to WHO, 10,800 households were selected as a sample size for the study, which was scheduled to be released early this year but has not yet been made public.

Many scientists and experts have started questioning the time delay in publishing the study, but there is another aspect that is a cause for concern among some health experts.

The report will not examine the link between the prevalence of birth defects and use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions used during the war and occupation in Iraq, according to WHO.

A by-product of the uranium enrichment process, DU is prized by the military for its use in ammunition that can punch through walls and armoured tanks. The main problem, experts say, is that DU munitions vaporise on contact, generating dust that is easily inhaled into the lungs.

http://original.antiwar.com/Sudeshna_Chowdhury/2013/07/17/whos-iraq-birth-defect-study-omits-causation/

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July 18th, 2013, 6:27 pm

 

389. SANDRO LOEWE said:

388. Ziad

Very interesting Ziad. I believe the effects of US war on Irak will be very long and painful in terms of genetical disorders and long term pollution.

As it will be the effect of Assad and his powerfull weapons from Iran and Russia. Assads not only transformed Syrian Desert into a nuclear garbage hole but now infect the whole country and their water reserves with uranium.

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July 22nd, 2013, 4:34 pm

 

390. SANDRO LOEWE said:

There are still many brainwashed syrians that still suffer the effects of a decaying corrupt dictatorship educational system. They can easily develop a critical spirit. Only religion can help them do it. This is the great gift of Assad the laic, the half prophet half God of the alawites.

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July 22nd, 2013, 4:38 pm

 

391. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Where is Maher Al Assad hiding, the brave God of the Rats… ?

Anyone saw him after 18th July 2012?

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July 22nd, 2013, 4:39 pm

 

392. SANDRO LOEWE said:

Where is the fuxxxx air intelligence official I had the pleasure to met at the Palestine Branch of Damascus some years ago?

The place were many people dispappeared forever more.

I hope he is buried and well buried underground of the Idlib plains fertilizing the olives.

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July 22nd, 2013, 4:42 pm

 

393. SANDRO LOEWE said:

We are not brave men here. Most brave men died defending their lands and their children and families from the criminal Assad Army. Still some of them remain but if the rebels fail to topple Assad the new population of Syria will receive a genetical influx of cowardness and sadism since most brave men will be gone. The sons and daughters of these brave men will one day topple Assad the GOD DOG and his persian mercenaries.

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July 22nd, 2013, 4:46 pm

 

394. The Iraqi plunge. | Notes On Error said:

[…] troops two years ago and the enhanced capabilities from the recent merger – uncertain as all the details may be – of the Al-Qaida franchises in Iraq and […]

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July 23rd, 2013, 11:48 pm

 

395. Ahkir Nahr said:

Greetings, Salaam to all of the Muslim reading this. In April I was kidnapped by The terrorist group known as “Al-Nusra”. For 2 months I watched and studied their works and interviewed several of their fighters. I came to the actualization they are merely freedom fighters, yet they have a hope for Syria that’s impossible now that western culture has spread throughout the Arab world. What amazed me even more was a woman lead this Militia of guerrilla Commando’s. She was Educated in the West and had several men under her leadership, yet recruited many women between the ages of 15-25. These women had been educated in the west as well.

I’ll never forget the day a deal was made for our release, rumored to be Americans(CIA) in return for weapons(ground to air shoulder missiles, Anti-Tank weaponry, and M2 50cal machine guns, a weapon America has used since WW2). When the day came, we were all blindfolded and left what used to be a Syrian Army base, but was now a run down, bullet riddled figment of history, like I said I was blindfolded. As we arrived at the meeting place, it was only a 7-10 minute ride. Militia members seemed joyful that they would have new toys to their arsenal. What would happen next is only what’s expected out of the CIA.

When pulled up to a large plane still running with what appeared to be a young kid and a 8×8 foot crate of metal containers with the weapons. I guess I was expecting an army or SEAL team 6, not some kid with a bunny on his V-neck t-shirt, but boy was I impressed. Turns out they also negotiated for a prisoner, one of the educated woman that had training in spycraft just like the Mossad or FSB or even the CIA, but arrested in America for espionage.

One of the soldiers yelled, “leave your weapon on the plane and remove your vest”! At first I don’t think the guy understood him but his prisoner quickly deciphered the broken English. As he pushed the crate off the plane he yelled for us and at about 150 meters we were told “Yalla Yalla !!!” Although I speak Arabic many of the other journalist didn’t catch on so fast, and before I turned my head, I heard “Pow!!!” And out of no where this kid pulls out a pistol and kills one guard, ran out of ammo and was chased around an 8x8ft(guesstimate) until he picked up the dead guards AK and shot dead his partner.

It only took me 15 seconds to make it to the plane, but this kid was shooting back at the militia so they wouldn’t shoot us. There were no less than 8 jeeps of fighters on Al-Nusra’s side,yet this kid had those soldiers jumping behind their trucks and running for cover. I won’t say her name, but she was an Israeli journalist who actually tried to photograph the gun battle on the blackest night in the desert. As we all got on the plane this mysterious kid yells, “cover, lay down cover fire!”. He runs in and yells “were special forces here to rescue you but I need you all to lay as flat as possible until we’re in the air”. He told me his name was Muhammad Rahman, than I heard Riccio Melo, honestly I didn’t care. With in seconds we were in the air and within minutes we landed. Golan heights isn’t the most ideal place for a Syrian national like me, but I was thankful and screamed “Humdidilah”. I thought Muhammad was getting off with us but he took right back off. Within minutes you could hear heavy bombing and although all of our equipment was taken by the IDF, Muhammad had an accent like John Wayne the cowboy, but had the skin tone of an Arab man, and the height of a basketball player. From what we heard, they destroyed the guerrilla convoy, their base and arrested their leadership. Everyone but Americans know that if American special forces are caught in Syria, Russia and Iran will get involved. I wonder why “Muhammad” would take on such a mission? I mean he had to be American right?

Their plane crashed and the last time I saw him he was bleeding badly but was providing aid to us and helping triage those who were in medical need. I approached him once more and I was surprised he remembered my name. I asked him, “please allow me to interview you” he replied sure, but before I could find a pen, I saw him waiving at my from the backseat of some fighter jet.

So I’m posting this and I’ve been posting on blogs. If you read this Muhammad, reach out to me, let me show the world America is not what non-western society thinks it is. 19 lives were saved that day and Muhammad I will blog everyday until I hear from you.

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August 21st, 2013, 5:04 am

 

396. Bay’ah to Baghdadi: Foreign Support for Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham | Chainsoff's Blog said:

[…] video releases, even as it is becomes clear that ISIS’ jihad in Syria is being promoted (e.g. theinterview with the martyred French convert and another with an elderly mujahid for the […]

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August 23rd, 2013, 12:53 am

 

397. What Will It Take To End the Suffering in Syria? (Guest Voice) | The Moderate Voice said:

[…] the Iraq War, if these Syrian extremist groups are anything like their Iraqi counterparts – and they are – it’s also not so clear that a drop in the state-sponsored arms support and aid they receive […]

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September 24th, 2013, 12:22 am

 

398. Victor said:

AANPAK JIHADISTEN!

Slappe hap beleid brengt ons naar de ondergang.

Timmermans vrienden uit Qatar en Saudi Arabie staan achter de Jihadisten en zijn ze van plan om Wahabisme, salafisme, Al-Nusra en ISIS en HAMAS ook binnen Nederland te promoten. Al-Nusra en ISIS werden sinds 2011 door de Brusselse bendes gesteund. Onder de naam, ” oppositie van Syrie steunen”, hebben VS en EU, Jihadstrijders versterkt. zie ook 45 miljoen Euro van Nederland die in de zakken van de terroristen is verdwenen..

Qatar en Saudi Arabië zijn de veroorzakers van huidige situatie in het midden-Oosten. Qatar heeft veel gas te koop en wilde een pijpleiding door de ISIS gebied te leggen naar Turkije. Dictators van Qatar en Saudi Arabie, de beste vrienden van PVDA en D66 betalen ISIS Jihadisten. De huidige ellende in deze regio komt door de bemoeienis van dit soort Sharia landen! Als die verrotte regimes van de sjeiks daar verdwijnen, dan keert de rust vanzelf terug. Hun oliedollars wenden zij nu aan om anderen uit te moorden.

Het mohammedanisme wordt wel eens aangeduid als agressie op zoek naar een aanleiding.
Al die clubs als Al-Nusra, Al Qaida, ISIS enzovoorts worden door de moslimlanden gesteund, bewapend en betaald…
De oorlog gaat niet om mensen, maar om geld/macht. salafisten willen meer controle in het midden-oosten…De Moslim landen beginnen significante fondsen naar Turkije en Marokko te sluizen en ontwikkelen instellingen om hun eigen propaganda te verspreiden, inclusief het opzetten van Koranscholen en liefdadige organisaties. Zij halen ook Turken en Marokkanen voor training naar midden-oosten, om zo een nieuwe generatie radicale predikers te scheppen die geschoold waren in een rigide interpretatie van de islam. Dezen worden officieel als imams bekrachtigd in Turkije en Marokko en vervolgens door herkomstlanden naar Europa en Azië gestuurd om de islam te verspreiden.
Stop massaal met het betalen van roofbelastingen tbv het Islamisme en het overnemen van het land door de Brusselse bureaucraten en de jihadisten.

Brusselse Moslim vrienden negeren het wereldwijde islamitische geweld, dat islam een uiterst gewelddadige oorlogsdoctrine is die stelt dat uitkeringen dat ze krijgen, de belastingen zijn die andersgelovigen aan hen moeten betalen. Stop belasting betaling aan deze Jihadisten. Ze moeten hun islamscholen en moskeeën in herkomstland stichten, niet hier…

Gesubsidieerde mensen worden nog agressiever, en denken dat het vanzelfsprekend is dat ze gepamperd worden. Hun leven wordt leeg en zinloos, daardoor vallen ze ten prooi aan gevaarlijke ideologieën.

Maar bovenal: er komen er steeds meer van, want volgens de wetten van de natuur betekent meer te gemakkelijk toegankelijk voedsel, meer nakomelingen. Dus nog meer Moslims in Nederland…Nergens gaat zoveel subsidie heen als naar de zogenaamde Moslimgemeenschappen en zie wat het resultaat is verloedering, criminaliteit en dit is in een sneller dan snel tempo toegenomen nadat Jihadisten de intrek in deze wijken namen.

De explosieve groei van het aantal mensen in het gesubsidieerde gebieden (en dichterbij huis, de gesubsidieerde gelukszoekers) is hiervoor tekenend. En iedereen weet hoe goed het ze gaat. En wat voor problemen het voor de subsidieverstrekkers oplevert.
Het wordt tijd dat er eens een paar miljoen tegenaan gegooid gaat worden om bekeerlingen te deprogrammeren en uit de stront te halen. zwakkelingen moet worden uitgelegd dat de islam is bedoeld om domme mensen voor de gek te houden en tot slaaf te maken.

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June 24th, 2014, 5:13 am

 

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