“Why the Islamic State Is Losing, and Why It Still Hopes to Win”

I have just published a new paper on the war against the so-called Islamic State over at The Century Foundation, arguing that the group is now clearly losing the war on the ground in Syria and Iraq. But the tide may turn, depending on what happens in the Syrian Civil War, among the rival Kurdish factions in northern Iraq, and with the increasingly tense situation in Baghdad. The introduction is below and you’ll find the full thing here. — Aron Lund

Islamic State FlagThe Sunni extremist group known as Islamic State (IS, also known by an earlier acronym, ISIS) is taking a terrible beating. In the past few days, it has lost territory in both Syria and Iraq. Syrian Kurds have attacked it east of Aleppo and north of Raqqa City, while it is battling Sunni Arab rivals north of Aleppo. The Syrian army of President Bashar al-Assad is pressing into the Raqqa Governorate and taking ground in the deserts east of Palmyra. In Iraq, other Kurdish groups have struck east of Mosul, while an alliance of Shia militias and the Iraqi army is moving into its stronghold in Fallujah. Further afield, the jihadis are being purged from the Libyan city of Sirte.

Islamic State’s self-styled caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is nowhere to be seen or heard as his fighters face attacks on all fronts. According to the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition, the jihadi group has now lost half of the area it controlled in Iraq at its peak in late 2014 and a fifth of its territory in Syria. Revenues from oil and other assets are reportedly down by a third and a U.S. government official recently claimed the coalition has “cut off entirely their revenue that’s coming from the outside.” The coalition also says that the total number of Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria has dropped from a peak of around 31,000 in December 2014 to between 19,000 and 25,000 today, and the influx of foreign jihadis has allegedly been reduced by three-quarters.

Islamic State has not scored a major victory on the battlefield in more than a year, and its ability to govern efficiently is withering. People with their ear to the ground in Islamic State’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqa speak of frail governance and worsening repression, since the group can no longer afford to buy civil peace. If popular discontent continues to grow, a weakening Islamic State could face internal dissent and tribal uprisings.

Still, the decline of Islamic State is certainly not irreversible and its enemies could be in for rough surprises ahead. In some areas, the forces confronting Islamic State are even more dysfunctional than the group itself, held together only by foreign influence and the fact that they face a common enemy. Now, with Islamic State’s influence finally receding, that brittle unity is being tested. Syria has long been torn asunder by civil war and regional rivalries, while Iraq suffers from a worsening political paralysis. Islamic State is weaker than at any point since it conquered Mosul two years ago, but thanks to the chronic disorder among its enemies, it may still be able to regroup and reclaim the initiative.

For more, read the full report.

Comments (104)

ALAN said:

Obama & Co: bow lower in front of the Americas visitors coming from the House of Al Saud, otherwise 1…2..3..
American war eagles: You need to not waste the time, you have to bomb the Russian aircraft in Syria immediately…
Kerry: Front Al-Nousra became trustworthy to receive the keys of Congress and the institutions of governance in the United States. I think they are righteous people for the leadership of your country.

June 17th, 2016, 4:14 pm


eugene said:

Perhaps if the U.S. got out of supplying the enabling states with arms, in fact, got out of the business period, the incentive wouldn’t be there to prolonging said wars.

June 17th, 2016, 5:51 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

Alan : US will not bomb Russia jets , Russian Putin will bow to US demands , he is nothing except a person who seeks to appear strong, there is limitations to what Russia can do in Syria , limitations set by US, Putin is aware of what he s allowed by US , ,in addition, it has been over nine months , what did he accomplished , except prolong Assad sure to end life,

HA is frustrated yesterday they lost 14 soldier and more are wounded , by who? by Assad army, it is O.K. they will go to heaven , hopefully all of them will go to heaven soon

Assad lost 1400 soldier in the last two months due to TAO attacks, it is O.K. they will go to Assad heaven , I am sure Zainab is crying , she would love to have all of HA and Assad soldiers to go to heaven

Russia is panicked, Putin said if things stay the same , Syria will collapse , actually he is worried Russia will collapse , his failure in Syria proved that he was wrong in involving his army in the Syrian crisis, the problem is that a gambler will never quit gambling till he either bankrupt or die

It is clear that once ISIS is defeated ,Syria will be divided

June 17th, 2016, 8:13 pm


Tara said:

Hahaha. Zainab is crying

As HA says : لن نسمح ان تسبى زينب مرتين

And I say Will not allow Zainab to cry twice.

انشالله كلهم بيرتقوا لعندها قشة لفة

The regime is bombarding HA in Aleppo :

شمتان- لا تحاكيني

عقبال الريجيم مايدبر سياره مفخخة لحسونة

بدر الدين ما أحسن منه

June 17th, 2016, 8:39 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Muslims will always and eventually find themselves fighting each other. This is something natural for them and obvious for the rest of us.

June 17th, 2016, 10:11 pm


Passerby said:

A cornered rat is dangerous. Lots of options open if nothing to lose. Not there yet, but if they keep losing, things could go south fast.

June 17th, 2016, 11:41 pm


ALAN said:

2. MAJEDKHALDOUN said: Alan :

/US will not bomb Russia jets/- Why, Is America licking thing that spits?

/Syria will be divided/- What for? what is the reason? In order to form the state of ِAl-nousra? As a step to move toward the fighting phase followed? It is not a solution, right? Libya model? To serve the players and not to serve those, who on them Played. I know that all the neighboring countries of Syria, are afraid about the division of Syria. So you’re talking about an American-Israeli Satanic plan against a lot of countries in the region and thus you are supporting the Plan of Oded Yinon. oh, ZIONIST!

June 18th, 2016, 3:32 am


Majedkhaldoun said:

How young are you?
Can’t you see the reality?
stop your accusations, I am against ISIS as much s I am against Assad, and if you forgot, I said several times get rid of ISIS is half way to get rid of Assad
as for Nusra Front , they do not believe in freedom and democracy, so they are not acceptable to me, I will wait till they declare that they accept freedom and democracy
and about this stupid ,nonsense conspiracy theory, ” American-Israeli Satanic plan “this is crazy theory, only you and your ilks talk about it because you are bankrupt of good ideas, make no sense, to accuse me that I support such plan is the utmost stupidity
I am Arabic Syrian Musslem ,believe first and most in Freedom, and convinced that Assad and his supporters are the criminals of the century he must be eliminated and face court of law , he is a thieve stoll Syrian treasure, his regime is corrupt septic , Syrians deserve Descent president not a criminal to manage Syria

June 18th, 2016, 6:49 am


ALAN said:

اسمع دكتور ماجد
سوريا لم تكن مجالا حيويا للولايات المتحدة الأمريكية و لن تكون الى الأبد. و لن تراعى هناك مصالح دولتك ايها الأمريكي. لا تتستر بأنك سوري ، انت لست الا مواطنا امريكيا مغسول الدماغ. اذا كانت هيلاري و أمثالها تريد المنازلة في سورية فاركبوا الموج.. نحن حلفاء روسيا الى نهاية العالم و مع كل تحالفاتها… باقي التفاصيل ثرثرة …

June 18th, 2016, 7:59 am


Observer said:

Are you dim witter or what? Can’t you read properly?

If you do not understand therefore please ask your dog to read it out loud to you

Oppression invited collaboration and rightly so for to be free of oppression anyone will accept the hand no matter how poisoned to help it.

Blaming the sons and daughters for the acts of the ancestors is neither just nor fair and it is actually criminal as many have done by blaming the entire community of the sins of this or that person in the past. And this is from all sides.

If anyone is guilty of assigning blaming by association it is the very ideology of the partisans of the aggrieved members of the family of the Prophet.

Walk the dog

June 18th, 2016, 9:08 am


ALAN said:

the Saudis believe that they are in charge of Syria, Iraq and the whole the Arab world and that is a big problem. It’s that feeling that they have the right to interfere and send then their own people into Iraq to fight and blow themselves up in Iraq and Syria, and they are lecturing the world on changing the regime in Syria and they forget about themselves and the fact that they are oppressing their own people and they are killing children in other countries as we have seen from the United Nations’ report.
So, it’s funny to listen to the Saudi foreign minister, he basically wants the American army to work for the Saudi government and blow up their enemies and this is a very complex relationship, and listening to him, you know that he and his country’s government are in trouble.
Jubeir basically wants to escalate the crisis into an all-out war to heavily reinforce the opposition, while they’re supposedly still interested in a political solution. Now the US itself is secretly supporting the same agenda.The US is supporting and working with the Kurds and working with other groups and dancing to prolong war . The United States believes that it can probably take on ISIS and then the Assad regime itself and reorganize Syria in a way that will fit for the agenda of the American foreign policy. The Saudis have pretty much the same agenda. They want to survive. They don’t want the intervention, the presence of Iran in Syria and Lebanon. So, basically we’re talking about allies, two allies, who have a lot of common in the region. Unfortunately or fortunately, I should say, things are not working out as the Saudis would like them to. And this is part of the complexity of this relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US.
If the Saudis’ agenda let’s say is successful and they get the kind of government they would like in Syria and countries like Yemen and even Iraq, how would the Middle East look if those governments mimic Riyadh’s government? we are talking about a country that just bombed blind children a while ago in Yemen, blind children for heaven’s sake. And the United Nations removed them from a black list of the worst offenders against children in the world. SoI hope the world and the Middle East do not look like Saudi Arabia internally or in its foreign policy.

June 18th, 2016, 9:32 am


Ghufran said:

There is no doubt that rebels are in bed with Nusra and so are Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Keeping the Syrian army and its supporters busy at many fronts is what allowed terrorists to occupy villages and towns in Syria, so if the country is partitioned it will be mostly due the actions of rebels and their foreign backers. Towns that are not under regime control only have sunnis and are mostly under Nusra and isis, both do not accept competition, that means in a partitioned Syria you will have Assadstan and Syriastan, both are bad but Syriastan is decisively worse especially for women. Armed rebels rose to protect and free the “Sunnis” but the end result was the opposite, almost all syrian refugees are sunni and most of the destroyed towns in Syria had majority sunni population. I regret using sectarian terms to describe the war and its consequences but the point is that Syrians were lied to and their interests were not served by rebels and their foreign supporters. The posts you see here from rebels supporters are distractions, nobody wants to admit that this revolution was a disaster in every way.

June 18th, 2016, 10:23 am


ALAN said:

Obama administration has been protecting terrorist groups/ groups like Ahrar al-Sham, that are allied with al-Nusra Front which is an affiliate of al-Qaeda. / from the Syrian government, army and the Russian Air Force BECAUSE US are allied with al-Qaeda and they need to be treated as what they are — as terrorist groups.
Indeed, in early June Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov told Moscow’s ‘360 gradusov Podmoskovye’ broadcaster that Washington asked the Kremlin not to target al-Nusra Front, because there were also “moderate Syrian opposition” groups in these territories.
Surprisingly, the aforementioned “opposition groups” have not yet separated from the al-Qaeda affiliate, remaining deaf to the White House’s orders. Lavrov stressed that Russia and the US “have long agreed” on that.
“It is Russia’s unwillingness to conceive that, that has Mr. Kerry evidently threatening to run out of patience and to double down on support of these terrorist groups. And we know that our [the US’] so-called allies, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, have been suggesting this very thing, the so-called Plan B to step up their terrorist campaign in Syria, and to arrange for some sort of partition of the country,”
Following the inking of the Syrian ceasefire agreement by Washington and Moscow, Kerry announced that the Obama administration had a so-called “Plan B” that envisioned the partitioning of Syria as the way to settle the conflict.
Apparently, the current president’s administration is itching to implement the plan before Barack Obama leaves the Oval Office.
Kerry’s Ultimatum to Assad: Why US Plan Means ‘Capitulation to Al-Qaeda’
It is no secret that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are sponsoring Islamist groups like Ahrar ash-Sham and Jaish al-Islam and are interested in Syria’s partition.

June 18th, 2016, 12:50 pm


Passerby said:

This is what drives me up the wall, everyone is either stupid or lying. It’s the Saddam Regime/Zarqawi/Al-Qaeda in Iraq/ISIS/IS. Everyone here is reasonably informed on the subject, yet they lie about who ISIS is.

For instance, Aron (not picking on him, it’s everyone) saying above, “The Sunni extremist group known as Islamic State (IS, also known by an earlier acronym, ISIS)”

It was also known by a wide variety of names every since Saddam Hussein planted Zarqawi in the no-fly zone to torment the Kurds and the UN. Zarqawi he had total control over, like the Saddam Regime has total control over ISIS now.

For instance, later in the full article on the other site, ISIS is saying this, the blatantly obvious to anyone that ever read a newspaper at the time, they they ARE Al-Qaeda in Iraq…

“Were we defeated when we lost the cities in Iraq [in the 2006–2010 period] and were in the desert without any city or land? And would we be defeated and you be victorious if you were to take Mosul or Sirte or Raqqah or even take all the cities and we were to return to our initial condition? Certainly not! True defeat is the loss of willpower and desire to fight.”

Now, I can see how in the US, it’s rather inconvenient to admit they are the ones that killed all our kids, (and huge amounts of Iraqis.) We might be expected to do something about it, if the American People weren’t lied to. But why is everyone else lying about who ISIS is?

June 18th, 2016, 4:30 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

another humiliating moment to Assad, another order from Putin to Assad thru his defense minister, surprised Assad, actually the order came from Obama
Assad must be shaken

June 18th, 2016, 9:34 pm


Uzair8 said:

Just came across the following on a fund raising page for the late MP Jo Cox who was tragically murdered in recent days. Mention of Syrian White Helmets:

In celebration and memory of Jo Cox, we are raising funds to support charities closest to her heart, chosen by her family:

The Royal Voluntary Service, to support volunteers helping combat loneliness in Jo’s constituency, Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire.

HOPE not hate, who seek to challenge and defeat the politics of hate and extremism within local communities across Britain.

The White Helmets: volunteer search and rescue workers in Syria. Unarmed and neutral, these heroes have saved more than 51,000 lives from under the rubble and bring hope to the region.

In her husband Brendan’s words:

“Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people. She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her.”

Let’s come together and give what we can to help create that better world.


June 18th, 2016, 10:30 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

US is concerned about Russian military intension in Syria , Russian SU-24 attacked Rebels fighting ISIS, even after they were warned by US, in Al Tanf area

June 19th, 2016, 12:26 am


mjabali said:


Insulting me means you have nothing to say….no problem…I will repeat it again to you:

The man is telling you that some Sunnis fabricate stories about the Alawites.

That document he brought plays a major part in the collective mind set of most of the Sunnis of Syria. You discredited it….Your inability to appreciate this document is irrelevant. Your dismissal of its important is of course irrelevant.

I said: the majority of the Sunnis believe these fabrications about the Alawites.

I brought you as an example of the Sunni who repeat the fabrications about the Alawites. Didn’t you say that the Alawites helped the Crusades and they are considered traitors because of this. Do not run away from your own words.

If you are one of the sheep in the herd do not be mad at me, be mad at Ibn Taymiyah and Co who brainwashed your brain …….

June 19th, 2016, 1:04 am


ALAN said:

/US is concerned about Russian military intension in Syria/
NATO entered the Syrian territories not only by proxy , but by own Special Forces invaders and thinking to create a new reality, So US with Britain, and France have No room to cry..they will be defeated.

June 19th, 2016, 6:40 am


ALAN said:

The Republicans in Congress: You’ve supported lethal aid to the “”Syrian”” rebels and wanted to give them much more than they got. You’re all complicit in this monstrous policy – and all of you bear moral responsibility for its murderous consequences.
We ask the Lord of the heavens in this Holy Sunday to take revenge from you and your generations. O criminals.

June 19th, 2016, 9:30 am


Passerby said:

Republican congress, Alan? They have nothing to do with it. And not that I want to defend them, but I can only think of a few that say that and they are going to disagree with everything Traitorbama does out of petty spite if nothing else.

The only one that seems to get it is a Republican, granted the enemy of most of the Republican congress, but it’s the candidate for president.

June 19th, 2016, 1:12 pm


Passerby said:

You’d think you’d be thrilled with Donald Trump, Alan. He says he wants to be best buddies with Russia and wants to work with them killing the terrorists in Syria. And he’s not so thrilled with the US relationship with the Saudis and Gulf States.

Yeah, Assad stays, but Duhhh that’s gonna happen anyway. Hello?

June 19th, 2016, 8:43 pm


Observer said:

Dim witted to the nth degree.

Dialogue de sourds. Who gives a hoot about who said what and who did what. The reality is that there is a regime that today is more sectarian than anything Ibn T or any other Mullah could dream of.

It is the here and now and if some blame an entire community for the action of a few it is equally done and even more so by the other sects.

Break the stupid place up and let each have their state and get everyone out of everyone else’s hair.

One last thing whoever collaborated with whomever to escape oppression has done the right thing: freedom is precious and is not free. It is the fault entirely on the oppressor that collaboration occurs.

As for collaboration Richard the Lionhearted offered his sister in marriage to the brother of Saladin and the guy was so much taken by the offer that he was willing to give up Jerusalem for the sake of marrying this beauty. So much so that Saladin exiled him until the negotiations had finished with the Crusaders

That shows you that not only oppression but dim witted Saladin’s brother would have sacrificed the whole lot for a frivolous offer in marriage.

As for collaboration a few Damascenes carried General Gourot into the city in an effort to collaborate with France.

I know of older generation specific people who collaborated with France and England to carry out the Arab revolt and split with Turkey and they were hanged for it and yet we do not call them collaborators we call them patriots and the Marjeh and Martyr squares in Damascus and Beirut are a tribute to them. Yet for the Turks they were collaborators.

The victors write the narratives and it is not always the truth. As for imputing to an entire community a certain set of beliefs it is preposterous without a scientific poll.

On the other hand one could argue that the way the Sunnis think these days is precisely because of Maliki and Sadr and Nasrallah and Bashar and Mamlouk and Kheir Bek and Hassan and all the “sectarian” holders of power and oppression today.

All dogs are equal but some are more equal than others.

I just had my Kool Aid did you have yours

June 19th, 2016, 9:17 pm


Ghufran said:

Turkish security forces have shot and killed eight Syrian civilians, including four women and three children, according to a Syrian monitoring group. Another eight people were wounded in the incident. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that Turkish troops opened fire the civilians, which it characterized as refugees, as they tried to cross into Turkey from the northern countryside of Jisr al-Shughur in Idlib province. The group’s reporting states that some of the injured are in critical condition.
A Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said the reports “do not reflect reality.”
SOHR claims that Turkish forces have killed as many as 60 civilians since the beginning of the year (cnn)

June 20th, 2016, 1:08 am


ALAN said:

Are you trying to obliterate the crime committed by hiding behind the electoral considerations?
We are fed up with your state’s two-headed !!!

June 20th, 2016, 5:08 am


ALAN said:

/US is concerned about Russian military intension in Syria , Russian SU-24 attacked Rebels fighting ISIS, even after they were warned by US, in Al Tanf area/

Get a message from Russia that U.S. and GCC are no longer allowed to partition Syria for any scheme.
Why the U.S. and British to keep this tiny leftover FSA clan camped near al-Tanf and have them covered with a dedicated HIMARS Rocket Artillery right across the Jordanian border. And then for Russia to fly all the way over there to bomb them to bits. This is southern Sunnistan – if the U.S. can’t hold it (with FSA blood), then no Qatari pipeline.

June 20th, 2016, 6:32 am


Majedkhaldoun said:

Muhammad Bin Salaman, seems to get ready to become the next King of KSA, he is young, for a change

June 20th, 2016, 10:39 am


ghufran said:

More than $ 100 billion of Libya’s money is sitting in Western banks, not a single penny was returned to Libya. These are the same people who ousted Qaddafi and destroyed Libya and left it to Al-Aqaeda and islamist thugs.

June 20th, 2016, 12:05 pm


ALAN said:

/More than $ 100 billion of Libya’s money is sitting in Western banks/
That is why they are warmongers! Mother Killery F***ers

June 20th, 2016, 12:29 pm


Ghufran said:

Even after 5 years of war, not a single Syrian had his or her citizenship revoked. Compare that to the thugs in GCC countries who have kicked out thousands of Syrian and Lebsbese residents and revoked the citizenship of dozens of their own citizens because they are Shia !!
يا أمة ضحكت من جهلها الامم

June 20th, 2016, 2:09 pm


mjabali said:


You are really boring….

Come up with something new….all you do is say the same cliches one after the other….

When someone comes and writes something new, you cry, you want the same boring narrative. You do not want to be awakened. Stay asleep ya kharuf.

I tried to help you and point to you how your brain had been programmed…

Realizing you are a sheep in the herd should be a good sobering moment. If you want to sing outside that group, please do so with logic not with repeated boring cliches and اخلاق شوارع

June 20th, 2016, 11:24 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

Putin admitted
Major division in Syrian society

Other news: Russian jets back up when American F 18 roared in the sky over Tanf, then re-strike after American jets landed to refuel !!!, a Ruse? or abandon!, there is no excuse, complaining is not the right response

June 21st, 2016, 8:15 am


ALAN said:

Trolling for War With Russia, by Patrick J. Buchanan

June 21st, 2016, 2:03 pm


Ghufran said:

It is almost certain that Russia does not want Assad to take Aleppo, the Russians want their military campaign to end and they do not want to humiliate the US, they suspect that if Assad wins he will have no incentives to negotiate or leave. Putin wants him to do both, eventually,

June 22nd, 2016, 12:06 am


Majedkhaldoun said:

General Shoigu meeting with Assad , followed the Tehran meeting , both has to be connected, but the meeting with Assad is more important, it indicates that Russia is in command , not Tehran

June 22nd, 2016, 10:10 am


Passerby said:

25. Alan

Well, the notion of defending the rebels at the beginning wasn’t a crime. Wishful thinking perhaps, the US “allies” Turkey and the Gulf States funding the worst of the worst, radicals being more willing to travel to fight, who knows but it didn’t work out. Assad is a tyrant, but relative to what?

And it didn’t turn sour all at once, he slowly slipped into it. His plan is to stall and land the entire thing in the lap of someone else. Then it will be their fault.

You’re sick of America, huh? I spent most of my life mean-mouthing American foreign policy, Alan. All that stuff in Latin America, all that supporting dictators? Military Industrial Complex. In school, I usually sat with the Iranians at lunch, meanmouthing Shah and the Military Industrial Complex. Even though their fathers worked for Shah, and he paid their expenses, they all hated his guts. The constant refrain was all the rows of shiny new state of the art US Weapons lined up out in the desert, useless, traded for the valuable oil. The excuse for stuffing all those weapons down Shah’s throat was that if we didn’t Saddam Hussein, the Soviet Client State would attack Iran.

Well, we graduated, and the Cold War ended and the Military Industrial Complex was cut to a tiny fraction of it’s former size. Turns out the Drug Cartel has more clout than they did. And the dictators and one party states? Everywhere the US had the ability, Free Korea, Japan, Philippines, Latin America, you name it, the US replaced them with democracies, as best it could.

And be damned, as soon as Iran lost US support, Saddam Hussein invaded.

Sometimes I wonder, if my Iranian friends, coughing up blood from Saddam Hussein’s Nerve Gas, still complained about those rows of shiny new state of the art US Weapons lined up out in the desert.

No, as great powers go, the US hasn’t done so bad. Lots of crimes. But it’s the only one that could have easily conquered the world, over 4 years with nukes before Stalin got any. All the other great powers tried and failed and the US wasn’t interested.

Oh, I’m gonna’ get a lot of votes for this one.

June 22nd, 2016, 9:52 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

both military and diplomatic solutions have failed in Syria, the 3rd and 4th options are what is left

June 22nd, 2016, 10:25 pm


Jasmine said:

Passerby said @37
Everywhere the US had the ability, Free Korea, Japan, Philippines, Latin America, you name it, the US replaced them with democracies, as best it could.

That is some false declaration,USA had a big chance to look after its own interest ,only after the collapse of communism,the false flag of democracy and freedom was waved in every occasion when it’s interests were threaten somewhere in this world,coup after coup,numerous military bases were created to keep a full control on its interests,regardless to the misery created to other nations,practically USA political style reflect the cowboys way of life,USA has been at war with some nation or another for the last 200 years,it has brought destruction,created terrorism,when threatened by nationalism or communism ,a war was imminent,USA is a selfish and immoral nation full of mercenaries.
I hope that some form of communism will be back to create some balance and order in this planet.

June 23rd, 2016, 3:55 pm


ALAN said:

It is a CRIME from the very beginning of drawing up the plan of regime change with the help of the Bernard Levi Arab Spring wishful for western ZIO- brain-f****d Tyrants, those same war maniacs, who made the order of bombing Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon, etc. Do you told us: Why George W. Bush the criminal Killer of Iraqis ppl was not sitting in prison untill now? Precancerous America has become a burden not only on the world, But on its people also.
Collapse of the US economy has become an urgent and fragmentation of its structure has become more urgent.
Damn with the tyrants of American backstage

June 23rd, 2016, 4:46 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Yes, Amerika and the Zios are the reason Muslims are killing so many of their own.


It takes a special person to focus on the few thousands Amerika and the Zios have killed and ignore the hundreds of thousands of people the Arabs and Muslims have killed. How do you do that? Is it Wesistace Pro™ theology?

June 23rd, 2016, 8:25 pm


Ghufran said:

In a country with different ethnic and religious groups you need a common law that protects all and you need freedom of choice. Notice how both assad and his enemies are unable to deliver the promise of freedom and equality. Those who rose agsinst assad then went to bed with militant islamists and foreign powers are as guilty as assad and they indeed provided him with an easy moral semi victory by proving that the only viable alternative to his regime was the islamist thugs.
كل ثوره و أنتم بخير

June 25th, 2016, 11:40 am


ALAN said:

The instability and blatant interference by the filth of Western freedoms in the affairs of other countries is usually cause restricting freedoms in those countries as a case of self-defense
the filth of Western freedoms need to leave the Middle East alone, and do not interfere directly or indirectly in its affairs. thats all chemistry. F**k up with that TOXIC FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY.

June 25th, 2016, 2:30 pm


Tara said:

It appears like Ashuraa was invented in 1500s and the tradition of self-flageration and اللطميات كلها اختراع from a warlord who becomes a shah at age 13

ولك يضربوا شيعة لبنان شو انهم حمير .

احيانا الهبل بيستاهلوا اللي بيصير فيهم. عم ينقتلوا شباب بعمر الورد بسبب وأحر حمار اخترع طقوس دينية

ولك شو هالهبل هادا.

From BBC:

The Empire was founded by the Safavids, a Sufi order that goes back to Safi al-Din (1252-1334). Safi al-Din converted to Shi’ism and was a Persian nationalist. The Safavid brotherhood was originally a religious group.

Over the following centuries the brotherhood became stronger, by attracting local warlords and by political marriages. It became a military group as well as a religious one in the 15th century.

Many were attracted by the brotherhood’s allegiance to Ali, and to the ‘hidden Imam’.

In the 15th century the brotherhood became more militarily aggressive, and waged a jihad (Islamic holy war) against parts of what are now modern Turkey and Georgia.

The Safavid Empire dates from the rule of Shah Ismail (ruled 1501-1524).

In 1501, the Safavid Shahs declared independence when the Ottomans outlawed Shi’a Islam in their territory. The Safavid Empire was strengthened by important Shi’a soldiers from the Ottoman army who had fled from persecution.

When the Safavids came to power, Shah Ismail was proclaimed ruler at the age of 14 or 15, and by 1510 Ismail had conquered the whole of Iran.


Religion in the Safavid Empire – the negatives

One of Shah Ismail’s most important decisions was to declare that the state religion would be the form of Islam called Shi’ism, that at the time was completely foreign to Iranian culture.

The Safavids launched a vigorous campaign to convert what was then a predominantly Sunni population by persuasion and by force. The Sunni ulama (a religious council of wise men) either left or were killed.

To promote Shi’ism the Safavids brought in scholars from Shi’ite countries to form a new religious elite. They appointed an official (the Sadr) to co-ordinate this elite – and ensure that it did what the Shah wanted. The religious leaders effectively became a tool of the government.

The Safavids also spent money to promote religion, making grants to shrines and religious schools. And most craftily of all, they used grants of land and money to create a new class of wealthy religious aristocrats who owed everything to the state.

In specifically religious terms the Safavids not only persecuted Sunni Muslims, but Shi’ites with different views, and all other religions. Alien shrines were vandalised, and Sufi mystic groups forbidden.

This was surprising, since the Safavids owed their origins to a Sufi order and to a form of Shi’ism that they now banned. They also reduced the importance of the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca), replacing it with pilgrimage to Shi’ite shrines.

Religion in the Safavid Empire – the positives

The early Safavid empire was effectively a theocracy. Religious and political power were completely intertwined, and encapsulated in the person of the Shah.

The people of the Empire soon embraced the new faith with enthusiasm, celebrating Shi’ite festivals with great piety. The most significant of these was Ashura, when Shia Muslims mark the death of Husayn. Ali was also venerated.

Because Shi’ism was now a state religion, with major educational establishments devoted to it, its philosophy and theology developed greatly during the Safavid Empire.

June 25th, 2016, 6:25 pm


Ghufran said:

Only fools and bigots believe that few bad apples or even many bad apples are enough to condemn the whole crop. Here is a piece from an article written by Manda Zand Ervin:

“In 1979, when the American reporter on the plane to Iran asked Ayatollah Khomeini about his feelings going back to Iran after all these years, Khomeini responded with one word, hichi, nothing. He repeatedly said that Iran is not important, it is only a source and a base to establish his Islamic foundation to spread in the region and the world. The Iranian people have never considered the Shia clergy as one of their own either, for the reason that mullahs have enforced their ideology by denigrating Iranian history and culture. There is no love lost between the two parts of Iran; the regime on one side and the people of Iran on the opposite side”.
The Shah family has Turkish roots and came from Lebanon and many mullahs have strong Lebanese connections, Persians should not be defined by the mullahs or even the Safavids.

June 26th, 2016, 9:27 am


ghufran said:

it looks like Sultan Erdogan has lied to his friends in Hamas by agreeing now to normalize relations with Israel without requiring the latter to lift the embargo around Gaza.

June 26th, 2016, 11:12 am


ALAN said:

Syria now in an urgent need to prepare for a new policy of Washington in the region, the main objective of which will be squeezing Moscow and Tehran of Syria, as well as the comprehensive strengthening of the American positions KSA and GCC allies against Iran in the Persian Gulf. After all, it is clear that the Clinton – is not Obama, SO, SYRIA MUST BE ARMED WITH CAPABILITIES OF 5-TH GENERATION TO THE TEETH
As the saying goes, “procrastination is like the deatht.” It is time to learn to act to pre-empt threats, rather than the elimination of their consequences. Otherwise you can ever lose.

June 26th, 2016, 3:28 pm


ghufran said:

Late confessions from Samira Al-Masalmeh

أخطأنا كمعارضة في عدم انتباهنا للدرجة المناسبة لاستراتيجية النظام وبعدم تمسكنا بانتهاج خطاب واضح وحاسم، خطاب ديموقراطي يتأسس على المواطنة، والحق في الحرية والعدالة والمساواة، في سورية متنوعة ومتعددة وديموقراطية ومدنية (لا دينية ولا طائفية ولا عسكرية). نعم لقد بات هذا الخطاب، الذي وسم الثورة في بداياتها الأولى، شبه غائب، وباتت لدينا خطابات مختلفة، ومتخلفة، لا ترقى إلى التضحيات التي قدمها السوريون من اجل حقهم في العيش بحرية وكرامة.

أيضا، أخطأت المعارضة في تغليبها البعد العسكري على البعد الشعبي في الثورة، وفي غلبة العسكرة على مظاهرها، وعدم اتباعها الكيانات العسكرية لرؤية سياسية واضحة، وفي هذه الفجوة بين الكيانات السياسية والعسكرية، وسكوتها عن الخطابات المتطرفة، ذات الصبغة الدينية والطائفية والتي تساهم مع النظام في صبغ سورية بلون واحد، تعسّفي وإقصائي.

ضمن هذه الأخطاء يمكن الحديث عن علاقات التبعية أو الارتهان لهذه النظام او ذاك، وهو أمر قد يبدو اضطرارياً بسبب الظروف المأسوية لشعبنا، وبسبب ضعف الإمكانيات، لكن هذا الوضع بالذات هو الذي يضع صدقية المعارضة على المحك، وفي نطاق المساءلة في شأن سلامة مواقفها، وصوابية خطاباتها، وخطط عملها. ما أعنيه هنا أن المعارضة يمكن لها أن تعزز مكانتها من خلال ترسيخ صلاتها مع شعبها، وإيجاد هيئات عمل تستطيع من خلالها تعبئة طاقاته، واستمداد الحيوية والفاعلية منه، كما من خلال حرصها على تمثيلها مصالح السوريين، إزاء الدول الصديقة أو الداعمة. وباختصار، نعم هذا ما ينبغي أن تفعله المعارضة لتعزيز مكانتها القيادية، أي أن احترامها ذاتها هو الذي يفرض على الآخرين احترامها، وتوطيد صلاتها مع شعبها هو الذي يمنحها القوة والاستقلالية
I guess you can still reflect even if Malta is destroyed !!

June 26th, 2016, 6:02 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Dear Dr. Josh,

I noticed your little twitter blurb:

“Israeli Intel Chief: We Don’t Want ISIS Defeated in Syria” taken from the anti-Israel Ronpaulinstitute website.

How interesting! And if you don’t think Ron Paul is anti-Israel, just look up in his archives all 12 articles concerning Israel.

Meanwhile, you were Assad’s best American spokes-person for at least a decade as a Professor of Syrian and Middle East studies. Now that’s the pot calling the kettle black if I ever saw one!

The truth of the matter is that Israel’s Intel Chief doesn’t like either ISIS or Assad, however, the major powers would consider the “job done” if Assad remained in power. And for all you Assad lovers, there is no difference between ISIS and the Baathist boy wonder.

June 27th, 2016, 10:58 am


Passerby said:

Yes, Jasmine @#39, as I said, the US supported all kinds of dictators before the end of the Cold War. That’s why I was against the US foreign policy, the dictators. That’s my foreign policy, no dictators whenever possible. I see you disagree, but how have the human race done under dictators compared to democracy?

As for the entire US history of foreign policy, it’s probably better than any other great power. They have all been pretty nasty. They all tried to conquer the world and failed, the US could have done it with ease the 4+ years we had the nuke before Stalin, but we weren’t even slightly interested, we just wanted to make a buck.

June 27th, 2016, 7:54 pm


ALAN said:

/ US supported all kinds of dictators/
Bow down! because you will earn a large amounts of petrodollars, Always bow in front of the demons just because you will earn of them benefits.


June 28th, 2016, 6:19 am


ALAN said:

president for sale. Who pay more? Where are our Saudi and Qatari buyers? we still have a lot of interesting things, bunker-booster bomb-portable air defense, Abrams tanks, and a lot of interesting toys for Pupet theater. Who pay more? we are selling congressmen, selling the Ministry of Defence employees. Who will pay more? all we have for sale.

June 28th, 2016, 7:35 am


Jasmine said:

Passerby @51

USA is obsessed with power and dominance and has been a symbol of corruption and greed,your democratic values were reflected by the way you treated the red Indian in their own territory,I only wish if Columbus didn’t discover America.

June 28th, 2016, 2:03 pm


ALAN said:

Seriously, does anyone with sound minds still believe in Democracy?
Russia’s ISSG representative: Jabhat al-Nusra receives advanced tanks and anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles

June 28th, 2016, 2:10 pm


Akbar Palace said:

USA is obsessed with power and dominance and has been a symbol of corruption and greed,your democratic values were reflected by the way you treated the red Indian in their own territory,I only wish if Columbus didn’t discover America.

Yes Jasmine,

That is why thousands are risking their lives to immigrate to the US, Israel and Europe while nearly everyone is trying to flee the Middle East. Democracy is attractive.

June 28th, 2016, 6:06 pm


Passerby said:

I don’t believe in coincidence. Last week Erdogan re-established relations with Israel, pretty much caved on Gaza. And he crawled on his belly like a reptile to apologize to Russia and make the pilot’s family some of the richest humans on earth.

And today, ISIS bites the hand that feeds it.

Not a coincidence.

Seems the logical conclusion is that the hand is no longer feeding it, and with nothing to lose, ISIS is trying intimidation.

Good luck on publicly humiliating a dictator with a very large army on your border. We’ll see how that works out.

June 28th, 2016, 10:43 pm


Passerby said:

Hi Jasmine,

Well, most of the Indians were killed by the Europeans long before there was an United States.

Yeah, with rare exception, where they deserved it, downright terrible what happened to the Indians. Similar things happened all over the earth, and is happening right now, just about everywhere they exist.

But look what other great (and lesser) powers were doing at the time. Even nastier business.

Like I said, I switched sides when the US stopped supporting dictators and became their worst enemy. I can only defend them compared to other countries before that.

June 28th, 2016, 10:48 pm


Ghufran said:

Those who were killed at Istanbul airport were innocent civilians who paid the price of appeasing islamists. The usa learned that the hard way after Afghanistan. Gray is the king of colors in the Middle East and the islamic world, most things there are not black and white, if you do not like Saddam, Qaddafi and now Assad that is fine, most people did not like them anyway, but before you dispose a thuggish ruler find someone who is better first because worse is not better than bad.
Go ahead and express your admiration for my new golden semi English principle.
ياامة ضحكت من جهلها الامم
Say goodbye to the tourism season in erdogan land, pity the nation..

June 29th, 2016, 12:55 am


Alan said:

When the war against Syria has:
1 high economic and political risks
2 Caught up in conflicts with the key regional actors (Russia and Iran)
3- No real possibility of legitimizing the military campaign against Syria in view of the readiness of Russia and China to veto related initiatives in the UN Security Council
4- Absence of an agreement on the establishment of no-fly zone
5- Military political and economic interests of Russia in Syria
America needs to stay away from Syria.

June 29th, 2016, 6:05 am


Hopeful said:

The US helped the jihadis in Afghanistan, then they turned against it in 9/11. Assad helped the jihadis in Iraq after the US invasion, then they turned against him. Now it is Erdogan’s turn.

June 29th, 2016, 1:29 pm


ALAN said:

The US-enabled war against the Houthi rebels in Yemen, lead by the Saudis, is so morally repellent.
In fact, the war has been going so badly, that the UAE has hired private mercenaries to take some of the heat off the Saudi forces.
The first batch of mercenaries from the private US military firm DynCorp has arrived in the Yemeni city of Aden to replace paid militants from another American company. Under a USD-3-billion contract between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and DynCorp, mercenaries from the company are to be deployed to Yemen, where UAE forces are fighting against the Yemeni army and Popular Committees on Saudi orders, Khabar News Agency quoted an official with Yemeni Defense Ministry as saying. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the first group of the mercenaries recently arrived in the port city of Aden to replace those of Blackwater, a notorious American group now renamed Academi. He added that the new militants included special naval forces, who entered the port of Ras Omran southwest of Aden. DynCorp is a rival of Blackwater, which hires mercenaries and sends them to fight in foreign countries on paid missions. Blackwater had decided to withdraw from Bab-el-Mandeb region after the Yemeni forces inflicted heavy losses on them. The UAE was forced to bring in the new mercenaries from DynCorp for the same reason.
The US government position is to throw out the Houthi rebels, because they, last year, threw out the US puppet, Al-Hadi, for immense corruption; the US wants Al-Hadi back in again, because he is, after all, their thug.
The Saudis haven’t much headway here, well over a year into this conflict.
What was the driving force, propelling the Saudi Government, and the House of Saud to initiate, and continue, this US-enabled war??
Why does Saudi Arabia continue to bomb Yemen back into the Stone Age? The crux of the matter is that Yemen has oil reserves, while Riyadh is steadily running out of the commodity, American political analyst Phil Butler explains. A Saudi banker displays the new one hundred riyal banknote bearing the portrait of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud at a bank in Riyadh, HASSAN AMMAR Out of Money: Saudi Arabia Shot Itself in the Foot by Dropping Oil Prices According to American political analyst and researcher Phil Butler, the US-backed Saudi Arabian war against Yemen is neither about the longstanding sectarian strife between Sunnis and Shiites, nor about the much-discussed military campaign aimed against al-Qaeda in the region. While Western media outlets usually refer to Yemen as a “small” energy producer, the truth of the matter is the country is sitting on substantial oil and gas reserves, which Saudi Arabia and its allies want to control, Butler notes. In addition, Yemen lies at the Bab el-Mandab, a key checkpoint for maritime transit of oil, with 3.4 million barrels of oil passing through it each day. In one of his previous analytical reports for New Eastern Outlook, Phil Butler called attention to the fact that Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth is doomed to falter: “Given the nature of the country’s [Saudi Arabia’s] oil reserves, and almost unlimited production for decades, it’s possible the Saudis could simply be running out of gas,” the American analyst stressed. In this context, it is hardly surprising that Riyadh has recently adopted an assertive and even aggressive foreign policy approach towards its neighbors. “Running out of the last of the nation’s only saleable resource, the Saudi royalty have put their country into a mess, the potential for revolution there being acute, should the people discover the real predicament. This is why we see an ‘all in’ Saudi aggressive stance, on Syria, with Iran, and especially where Yemen is concerned. While Washington think tank evangelists try and play the tensions off as Sunni-Shiite religious friction, new oil reserves are the truth of these matters,” Butler writes.
The US government is, once again, enabling war crimes here, and doesn’t see this as a problem.
OF course, everyone who has signed off on this dirty war has had their conscience surgically removed, from the top levels of government on down.

June 29th, 2016, 3:45 pm


Jasmine said:

To Passerby

This prayer was written by red Indians to the white man,just to prove that human race is failing with the advance of technology,he is only creating new methods for destruction and the end results is 65 millions refugees world wide,shame on humanity.

Prayer for the White Man
And now, Grandfather, I ask you to bless
the white man.
He needs your wisdom, your guidance.
You see, for so long,
he has tried to destroy my people,
and only feels comfortable
when given power.
Bless them, show them the peace we understand;
teach them humility.
For I fear they will someday destroy themselves
and their children
as they have done so Mother Earth.
I plead, I cry.
After all, they are my brothers……

June 29th, 2016, 5:04 pm


Passerby said:

Hi Jasmine,

Yeah, the story of the Nez Pierce breaks my heart. Hard to think about. Human beings are a mean animal. The average person had no truck with the Nez Pierce, etc. but there’s always someone that can make a buck out of it. Maybe I’m missing it, but non-technological indigenous groups, on valuable land, all over the world, with no exceptions, have been robbed of it. And it’s been going on for thousands of years.

Yeah, technology is a curse. Problem is it builds strong economies and armies and those that didn’t worship it, and I mean that literally, were conquered by those that did. I’m convinced that science is fundamentally evil, and I can do the math, and predict experiments. Contrary to popular opinion, people lived longer, were better fed, healthier, taller, bigger brains, etc. before the invention of farming/slavery. By far the best data we have is from Syria. Tell abu Hureyra is where farming was invented. Thousands of residents, thousands of bones, for thousands of years before and after farming…

“The people there were not living hand to mouth.”

In fact, they lived quite well. An analysis of the human skeletons found at the site, most of which were buried under the floors of the mud-brick houses in which the villagers lived, showed that the average lifespan approached 60, “not much different,” says Moore, “from that of 19th century rural populations in Europe.”

This is surprising, because conditions in Abu Hureyra, particularly as its population swelled past several thousand, seemed tailor-made for epidemics of disease.

…But the village’s good fortune didn’t last. First, the gazelles began to dwindle. “We see an extraordinary change that took place within the span of a human lifetime,” notes the archaeologist.

WWI and WWII were wars of science, and WWIII will dwarf them. If science doesn’t finish us off before we get to WWIII.

June 29th, 2016, 7:19 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

Erdogan main concern is the Kurds, he sees that US is cooperating with the Kurds and supporting them militarily, he sees that they are extending their control way beyond their base population, over areas that are inhabited by Arab and Turks, at the same time US is working against his government , refusing the creation of safe area in northern Syria, and forbidding him from sending his troops to control that area , and Russia would attack his troops if they go into Syria , US will not back him, so he has no choice but to improve relations with Russia, so if he moves into Syria ! Russia would not attack him.
His move was very smart one, and serves Turkish interest, he is very smart man, US can no longer put him in a corner, his maneuver will give him a space to move. At the same time Russia needs Turkey to break the American sanction, and help their economy, so improving relations with Russia would certainly spoil Obama plans to contain Erdogan.,his move will also improve Turkish economy

June 30th, 2016, 4:34 am


Majedkhaldoun said:

The crime in Istanbule, is huge , so far ISIS did not claim responsibility for this crime , the airport has returned to normal function, it is too early to know the facts , but they will come, the plan , that those criminals has executed, would require a lot of trainings, and need intelligences, I suspect some governments involvements

June 30th, 2016, 4:50 am


Hopeful said:

#66 Majedkhaldoun

Well you friend Erdogan just confirmed it was carried out by ISIS’s soldiers from the old Soviet republics. People that Turkey has allowed to pass through to go back and forth to Syria.

Look, I am not one who would ever defend Assad and the Syrian regime. They have been an absolute disaster for Syria and the region. They must go. But Erdogan played a dangerous game that others have played before and got burned by it – including the US, Saddam and Assad himself. The Islamic Jihadi ideology is a very powerful and dangerous one that has appeal among many in the Islamic world. Yes it is perhaps 0.01% vs. the 99.99%, BUT 0.01% of 1.6B people is 160,000 foot soldiers ready for suicide missions that are getting more sophisticated and more impactful every day.

There are two cancers in the region today: totalitarian regimes and radial islam. They must both be defeated for the region to ever have a chance of progressing.

June 30th, 2016, 12:27 pm


Jasmine said:


Syria has five thousands historical sites officially and wherever you dig,a new history will emerge.
Your article is very nice but it is not relevant to the so called American dream stories of success,once Noam Chomsky said that The United States is created on genocide and he is absolutely right.

June 30th, 2016, 12:49 pm


Akbar Palace said:

American Indians: The rest of the Story

The collective geographical area of all reservations is 56,200,000 acres (22,700,000 ha; 87,800 sq mi; 227,000 km2),[1] approximately the size of Idaho. While most reservations are small compared to US states, there are twelve Indian reservations larger than the state of Rhode Island. The largest reservation, the Navajo Nation Reservation, is similar in size to West Virginia. Reservations are unevenly distributed throughout the country; the majority are west of the Mississippi River and occupy lands that were first reserved by treaty or ‘granted’ from the public domain.[6]


About 10 times the number of Syrians have been killed in war than American Indians. And of course, Americans who were killed in the US Civil War still exceeds those killed these past 5 yrs in Syria.

At least American Indians are free.


June 30th, 2016, 2:34 pm


ALAN said:

This 9-minute video, showing Israeli Jewish MPs’ reaction to a speech by Haneen Zoabi yesterday, offers a very revealing insight into how Israel’s tribal democracy works. And it isn’t pretty.


All the exchanges in this video are in Hebrew, but that doesn’t really matter. You don’t need to understand the language to understand what is going on. One Jewish MP, Oren Hazan, of Netanyahu’s Likud party, heckles Zoabi non-stop for more than four minutes, with the Speaker doing nothing more than politely asking him to calm down and refrain from interrupting.

Remember that Palestinians MPs are regularly ejected from the Knesset for far less than this kind of barracking and violation of parliamentary protocol. Notice also that the Knesset TV spends as much time, if not more, focusing on the heckler than Zoabi, implicitly legitimising his anti-democratic behaviour.

But when Zoabi accuses the soldiers of “murder” at about 4.30-min into the video, all hell breaks loose. A dozen or more Jewish MPs rush to the podium and start circling Zoabi like a pack of baying hyenas. By this stage, when Zoabi is being physically threatened by a number of MPs in the parliament chamber, you might think it would be time for some of them to be forcefully ejected, if only to indicate that this subversion of the democratic process will not be tolerated. But not a bit of it. They are treated with kid gloves.

The Knesset guards simply try to block the violent Jewish MPs from reaching the single Palestinian MP in their sights, presumably fearful that were she to be physically assaulted that might make headline news and make Israel look bad.

Paradoxically, the only MP you can see on the film being pushed out of the Knesset chamber is Zoabi’s party leader, Jamal Zahalka, who from the look of things is interceding because he’s worried she is in danger. Hazan was finally removed, though after more than eight minutes of heckling, threats and belligerence.

Another paradox: Zoabi and her fellow party MPs have only recently been allowed to speak in the Knesset again, after the ethics committee (dominated by Jewish MPs) suspended them for several months because of their “unacceptable” political views.

I doubt very much that any of these Jewish MPs, even though they have threatened and tried to physically harm another MP, one from the wrong tribe, will suffer any consequences at all for their behaviour.

Zoabi said in her speech: “I stood here six years ago, some of you remember the hatred and hostility toward me, and look where we got to. Apologies to the families of those who were called terrorists. The nine that were killed, it turns out that their families need to be compensated. I demand an apology to all the political activists who were on the Marmara and an apology to MK Haneen Zoabi, who you’ve incited against for six years. I demand compensation and I will donate it to the next flotilla. As long as there’s a siege, more flotillas need to be organized.”

In addition to the violent reception from MPs visible on film, there was widespread incitement from other MPs. Michael Oren, who a while back was Israel’s ambassador to the US, sounded like Avigdor Lieberman as he said Zoabi’s speech proved she was not loyal and should be permanently stripped of her parliamentary status, under a soon-to-be-passed Suspension Law.

In true colonial style, the government’s chief whip, David Bitan, was reported to have told Palestinian voters in Israel after Zoabi’s speech: “We need to make sure she doesn’t stay in the Knesset. We’ve had enough of this and she doesn’t even represent you properly.”

June 30th, 2016, 3:52 pm


Akbar Palace said:


Before lecturing us on Israel’s vibrant democracy, why don’t you give us a lesson on Arab democracies?

The double-standard is out in full force tonight….

June 30th, 2016, 5:49 pm


Badr said:

“There are two cancers in the region today: totalitarian regimes and radial islam.”

The seemingly intractable problem is how to conquer the cancer without having the body (the state) dead.

July 1st, 2016, 2:21 am


Majedkhaldoun said:

Obama strategy in Syria has much less about Israel as most people here say, we are not going to blame Israel for impotent Obama
As for one comment above , in addition that his ideology is unethical and his rational is twisted , he does not accept to respect others opinion , he does not believe in respecting dignity and freedom of opinion , so he thinks democracy is another form of dictatorship , , he does not believe in democracy, or his intelligence is lacking , so he does not understand what democracy is , he wants to kill his enemies, all of them ,I need to remind him , people hope for better not for worse,

July 1st, 2016, 8:05 am


Alan said:

Drifter Asghar Palace
Arabs are not brag about their democracy, such as Israelis. So you have to provide the Question to its titles as BiBi and his counterparts.
/he wants to kill his enemies, all of them/
I am happy man, and I have no enemies at all. You are trying to personifying the opinion. I pity you.

July 1st, 2016, 9:49 am


Alan said:

Let us remember the Dutch-Jewish author, lawyer, teacher, university docent, zionist and eventually anti-zionist Jacob Israel de Haan who emigrated in the beginning of the 20th century to Palestine to work there on a better society. He wrote when he had observed the way society was developing for a considerable time : “The Jewish people may have been a people without a homeland, but Palestine never was a country without a people.” Unfortunately Jacob was assassinated by Haganah member Avraham Tehomi June Dutch yesterday] 1924 in Jerusalem Jaffa Street. The murdered was approved of by Yitzhak Ben-Zwi, later to become the second president of Israel. You can find Jacob’s grave on Olive Mountain.

July 1st, 2016, 10:06 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

I want to see a rude and provocateur MP like Mrs Zoabi giving a speech like this in the Russian Dume, and not being dragged immediately to the FSB interrogation room.

July 1st, 2016, 5:25 pm


Akbar Palace said:

In any Arab country, she’d have her head chopped off or at a minimum, left to rot in jail.

July 1st, 2016, 8:28 pm


Tara said:

Akbar@ 77

But in the US and in Europe , she wouldn’t have her head chopped and / or rot in jail. To the contrary, those who threatened her would face consequences .

You can’t have your cake and eat it too. You can’t claim Israel is democracy then compare its “democratic process” to Russia or to Arab dictators .

The fact of thr matter , Israel is democracy only to the Jews and apartheid to the Arabs. Why can’t you just admit ?

July 1st, 2016, 10:05 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

Obama strategy to contain Erdogan is going to fail as the Turkish Russian relations are improving fast, Russia is not likely to attack the Turkmen in northern Latakia , and Russia is not allowing Assad and HA to take over Aleppo.
The improving relations between Turkey and Russia is bound to anger Obama, Putin must not be happy that the Kurds are working with the US,
Iran is not happy that Russia is changing its strategy, nor Assad is happy too, there are different equations now , we have to get used to

July 2nd, 2016, 12:02 am


Syrialover said:

The Arab world:

ugly, ugly, ugly

More than 60,000 Syrians fleeing ISIS and Russian bombing are trapped in the blazing desert without shelter on the border with Jordan.

They are now being denied all access to water and food as the Jordanian authorities block delivery from aid agencies after an ISIS suicide bombing on the border.

A enormous,shocking catastrophe is unfolding.

Jordan won’t budge, despite massive pleading and condemnation from international human rights organizations and aid agencies desperate to get aid to the trapped Syrians.

Security issues, the Jordanians insist and refuse to take advice or assistance on it.

This is Jordan – a country which has always depended on massive foreign aid for its existence, lately more than ever. And which is now attracting even more outside aid and investment plans because of the Syrians situation.

Read this and be disgusted. Especially at the smart-ass comment at the end by the “King” of Jordan.

Trying to show he’s as tough as Assad and ISIS?

“Syrians Stranded at Jordan’s Border Struggled to Survive. Then the Water Stopped.”


July 2nd, 2016, 2:41 am


Amir in Tel Aviv said:

Tara #78,

The “apartheid” (I don’t agree but if you insist so be it) is actually protecting Arabs from killing one another. They have to be thankful, because we see what “freedom” in Arabia means. The freedom to kill, slaughter, enslave, deprive and oppress.

If Israel is not in the West Bank, Islamic State will be. Is this the liberation from “apartheid” that you wish your Arab brothers and sisters there?

July 2nd, 2016, 8:49 am


ALAN said:

Sometimes you are hiding behind the Russian Duma and sometimes behind the Arab prison and another times behind the Arabs meaning of freedom
Will not succeed in hiding behind the fiction! LOOK to your nakedness. It’s blatant.

July 2nd, 2016, 11:10 am


ALAN said:

The force is the language that is understood and respected by all the world. So Syria must be armed even the scalp and whenever be faster, it will be better.

July 2nd, 2016, 12:06 pm


Tara said:


You can’t convince any none Israeli that Israel is a beacon of democracy by comparing it to the Arab or Russian state of affair and standard. It is like proclaiming alqaeda to be a beacon of civility compared to Isis . The comparison should be made to the known western standards, not less, not more. Your argument is not valid .

July 2nd, 2016, 12:25 pm


Amir in Tel Aviv said:


It all started with that annoying bitch Kenesset member Hanin Zoabi. I know this is sexist, but she deserves it. She is a member in the most extreme party ‘Balad’, which is clearly calling for the destruction of Israel. The founder of this party, Azmi Bishara, was directing the rockets of Hizballah during the 2006 Tamuz war, and fled Israel.

Can you imagine any other parliament in a western democratic country that allow a party who call for the destruction of that country?

So I say that Israel is a beacon of democracy. Israel is exceptional. No other western democracy would allow this ideology and behavior to exist in its house of representatives.

Here’s a video of that bitch calling Israeli policemen “traitors” and spitting on them. Would you tolerate this in Amrica?

Here’s a video of her shouting and cursing Israeli policemen who are Arab. It is in Arabic so you can understand the obscenity

July 2nd, 2016, 4:02 pm


Akbar Palace said:


Amir is right. There is no congressperson (House of Representatives or Senate) that calls for the destruction of the United States.

What Hanan Zoabi does, actually, is show how Israel is MORE of a democracy than typical western nations. She does a good job, and the IDF protects her every day.


Arabs in Israel come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are very pro-Israel and fight in he IDF, and some are wesistance pros. Because Israel is a democracy, everyone can say what they want and not be afraid of going to jail. Nice idea, right?

Just don’t aide and abet the enemy. Then you’ve crossed the line.

July 2nd, 2016, 6:10 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

“Israel is a beacon of democracy , ”
Tell that to the naive or stupid people ,
If you are serious about what you say , then you ought to see a doctor
Democracy does not exist except if there is freedom, , democracy does not exist unless there is justice, Palestinians they do not feel free , nor they are receiving justice, in Israel , they feel free in US or England much much more
If you do not respect other people ideas then you do not believe in democracy, it is not democracy to kick over five million Palestinians out of their country and forbid them to return, and then you call that democracy , people call that absurd and nonsense, let all Palestinians return to their country , participate in voting , then say we have democracy

July 2nd, 2016, 6:32 pm


Syrialover said:

That’s right. Go on and on … an on… about Israel while 60,000 Syrians are trapped without food and water in the desert.

At the whim of Jordan on “security grounds”.

It sounds too like the collective punishment and extreme overreaction attitudes of Israel for my comfort.

Ref #80

July 2nd, 2016, 7:11 pm


Akbar Palace said:


No matter how horribly Arabs and Muslims treat each other, Israel will always be the monster. Just ask MK Haneen Zoabi.

Looking forward to the day when Arabs and Muslims can make peace with us.

July 2nd, 2016, 8:40 pm


Tara said:


Trump eluded in one of his speeches that Obama sympathies with terrorists or has proor knowledge of Orlando bombing. To my knowledge, Donald is still running for presidency. This is the standard a democracy is being judged on.

Locking Gazan in a big open prison just because Israel can do so is not democratic for what I know .

July 2nd, 2016, 9:37 pm


Tara said:


To answer your question. Syrians under Assad the father and Assad the son were treated much worse than Arabs in Israel . And Israel is not the monster , Iran is .

July 2nd, 2016, 9:41 pm


Majedkhaldoun said:

Lavrov and Kerry met again discussing the Syrian crisis
They have been meeting for five years , numerous time, yet the two have come up with nothing, absolutely nothing, they both talking about political solution, but what is going on is military fight , not political solution , there is only one conclusion, politicians are graduates from mental institutions

The rebels are back again in northern Latakia, HA also is considering leaving Aleppo, so Putin failed , Obama failed, there will be time they both realize things are not going to get better , and the conflict is not going to end , until Assad leaves

July 2nd, 2016, 10:14 pm


Akbar Palace said:

Hi Tara,

Yes. I understand you and I agree. The first thing we can do to stop the Iranians is to stop the PR war against the Zios so we can work together to stop Iran, Hezbollah, Assad, ISIS, al-Queda, the Taliban, Hamas and few hundred other terrorist organizations.

Not that there aren’t dangerous Sunnis, but for G-d’s sake, how many dead people do we need before we reasonable people stand up and take charge??

July 2nd, 2016, 11:26 pm


Ghufran said:

Rebels may be tactically at odds with Nusra (and isis) in some areas but they are strategic allies of the terrorists, the rebels attack syrian soldiers and keep them busy at point A so Nusra and isis can attack point B. The decision to abandon north latakia was a political one not a military one and it may cost the regime dearly. Sending troops to Raqqa for example allowed islamists to regroup in north latakia and invade ten villages, so now many alive Syrian soldiers have to die to take them back !! We said that before, the fight in aljazeera is an international war now, the priority should be to protect the areas that contain over 12 million Syrians from all sects. Assad and some of his foreign backers seem to be more concerned about winning a race against the U.S. than preserving what can be preserved. There is a great deal of anger among those who support the army as they see the political gymnastics take the lead instead of a common sense strategy. At some point a choice has to be made between winnable and unwinnable regions that are less important now, it is obvious where the beef is, if Russians are interested in aljazeera to counter US influence they can send russian soldiers there the same way they did to save eastern Germany !!

July 3rd, 2016, 1:19 am


Ghufran said:

75% of Syrians believe a political solution stands the best chance of ending the crisis – while 25% say that military action is the way forward – according to a new poll. 60% of Syrians feel that the influence of Isis in the country has decreased over the last six months. Independent polling by ORB International across all of Syria’s 14 governorates showed 59% of Sunni Muslims and 68% of Alawites and Shia Muslims felt they could be reconciled in the future.

July 3rd, 2016, 1:42 am


Syrialover said:


Unfortunately, there’s a bottom line about Israel.

Israel has done the damage. The deliberate destruction, all the dirty deeds and defiance it needed to remove and control the Palestinian people.

Done! The evidence is there, impossible to deny or undo.

And it’s been entrenched with the “rewriting of the foundation myths of the country”. Continuing today – see link to book review below.

I just wish to hell the Israelis had behaved differently and not given fuel for so long to the Assads, the Saudis and Iranians to create distracting propaganda for their own appalling use.

Did Israel have to be that way?



Now, can we get back to Syria?

July 3rd, 2016, 6:41 am


Syrialover said:

I have little time for conspiracy theories, but there’s one that’s hard to dismiss.

How many times did we see stories suggesting that Putin was facilitating the departure of ISIS recruits from Russia to the Middle East?

And why are holy warriors from Russia not giving grief back home to Putin, the airbombing Muslim killer?

Instead, they are in Turkey, in gangs busy plotting to suicide bomb the airport and other civilian targets.

(I note Putin is also being accused of sending agent provocateurs to stir up trouble in Europe.)

Until Russian ISIS recruits start making their mark back home in Putin’s territory, my suspicions continue.

July 3rd, 2016, 7:06 am


Akbar Palace said:

I just wish to hell the Israelis had behaved differently…

There is nothing Israel could have done “differently” short of committing national suicide. Get real.

Stop blaming Israel for arab and Muslim violence. Make peace with Israel; there are much bigger fish to fry.

July 3rd, 2016, 8:19 am


Syrialover said:


I hope you read the link in #97.

Israel moved itself into a “do or die” situation mentally with the Palestinian issue and has behaved to ensure it.

Its imagined option of “national suicide” has been hard won and deeply embedded by those leaders responsible for grinding the Palestinians down.

I did NOT blame Israel for Arab or Muslim violence. But I blame it again and again for its “should know better” conduct.

July 3rd, 2016, 9:02 am


Tara said:


Iran mullahs are hiding behind Shiism to recruit the faithful to kill and mayhem and destabilize almost every other Arab country. Iran also uses anti Zionism propaganda to give their effort an emotional and heroic charge that there final goal is the destruction of the powerful evil historical enemy , the Jews . Their dream is indeed from Nile to Euphrates and some more. I do not believe this is the Zionist dream anymore . They brainwash Shias across the universe in Afghanistan , Pakistan , Uzbek and every other Stan to liberate Jerusalem through defending some dead people tombs and create tombs as they go. There are no dead people tombs in Aleppo or idleb etc etc. Israel wants peace within its territory . Iran has emperislistic dream and every day, Iran is inching towards achieving it and Obama unfortunately made all possible.

Arab needs to cut their loss, get into mutual understanding with Israel in regard to a palestian state and unite effort with the Jews to stop the real monster in this world .: the Persian empire.

And this one to Amir, Islam needs to be reinterpretEd so it ceases to become a milieu for infestation of Sunnis made into Isis and Qaeda etc etc. It really needs an overhaul in its teaching and interpretation of Quraan and destroying of all prior ancient interpretation books as well as the madrasa system. The organized religion of Islam needs a revolution otherwise Arabs and Muslims will remain under civilized . Muslim needs to understand the difference between religion and faith in my opinion and get rid of everything that is nonsensical including the 72 women awaiting them in heaven to have sex when they die in Jihad, etc etc

July 3rd, 2016, 10:13 am


Akbar Palace said:

Guys, my response is on the newest thread so I don’t have to scroll so much!

Now we’re discussing Christian, Pro-Assad mulitias. Zzz.

July 3rd, 2016, 10:37 am


ALAN said:

The jewish scholar explains why Zionism and Judaism are not necessarily the same thing and why he believes that Israel as a state is not legitimate

“Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves … politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves… The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country.”– David Ben Gurion, quoted on pp 91-2 of Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle.
“Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours…Everything we don’t grab will go to them.”– Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, Nov. 15, 1998.

ٍSo it all started far from being in the hall of the Knesset.Who are calling for the removal of Israel are Jewish believers primarily.

July 3rd, 2016, 1:42 pm


ALAN said:

Simohurtta What’s going on there
Putin Warns Finland Against Joining NATO, Says Moscow Would Shift Troops.
“If Finland enters NATO, that means that Finnish soldiers become part of the military infrastructure of NATO, which will in an instant find itself on the borders of Russia”

July 3rd, 2016, 5:02 pm


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