Front Page, By Raymond Ibrahim:
According to Sham Times and other Arabic websites, jihadi social media networks posted the above picture of a child sitting on the ground while surrounded by armed men pointing their rifles at him. The caption appearing with the picture, purportedly posted by a supporter of the Free Syrian Army, is “Our youngest hostage from among the hostile sects of Kessab.”
Kessab is a predominantly Christian Armenian village in Syria near the Turkish border. Earlier it was invaded by jihadis, who terrorized, pillaged churches, and prompted some 2000 residents to flee. Initial reports had stated that about a dozen families remained as hostages.
Since the picture appeared on Arabic social media, many have expressed shock and outrage, condemning the Syrian “rebels,” while others cast doubt on the authenticity of the picture.
Of course, those wondering what the jihadis have to gain from taking such a picture and making it public would do well to remember that these are the same “rebels” who decapitate people and wave their severed and bloodied heads in front of cameras while smiling; these are the same “freedom fighters” who literally eat their victims on camera.
Surely “teasing” an infidel toddler – a subhuman – with their rifles and sharing it with their sadistic comrades via the Internet for a “laugh” should not be too surprising?
At any rate, the fact remains: the “Free Syrian Army,” along with other “rebel” groups operating in Syria, are guilty of countless barbaric crimes against humanity — including against women and children.
These Turks took a pleasure in torturing children, too; cutting the unborn child from the mother’s womb, and tossing babies up in the air and catching them on the points of their bayonets before their mothers’ eyes. Doing it before the mothers’ eyes was what gave zest to the amusement. Here is another scene that I thought very interesting. Imagine a trembling mother with her baby in her arms, a circle of invading Turks around her. They’ve planned a diversion: they pet the baby, laugh to make it laugh. They succeed, the baby laughs. At that moment a Turk points a pistol four inches from the baby’s face. The baby laughs with glee, holds out its little hands to the pistol, and he pulls the trigger in the baby’s face and blows out its brains. Artistic, wasn’t it? By the way, Turks are particularly fond of sweet things, they say.
By Ryan Mauro:
Two Americans were arrested in the past few days as the Syrian civil war attracts Western recruits. One sought to join Hezbollah and the other took the side of an Al-Qaeda affiliate, but both believed they were fulfilling a commandment to wage jihad against the infidel.
Syrian jihadists have a sophisticated network in America, including those favorable to Al-Qaeda-linked groups. One opposition group linked to the Muslim Brotherhood has received over $12 million in U.S. government assistance.
Another Islamist named Sheikh Osama al-Rifai has used the Syrian Sunrise Foundation to raise over $3.6 million in one tour, bringing him to Florida, Illinois, Texas, Indiana, California and Michigan. His fundraising pitch was that any donor qualifies as a “jihadist for Allah.” One event was held at the influential Mosque Foundation that is part of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network.
In January, a terrorism-supporting imam named Sheikh Mohammad Rateb al-Nabulsi came to the U.S. to fundraise for Syrian “rebels” in 11 cities with help from a group called the Syrian American Council. One of the fundraisers was held at the Islamic Center of Passaic County in N.J. Other events took place in Florida, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Virginia.
In the 1980s, Afghanistan acted as the incubator for a generation of terrorists. It was the one spot where aspiring jihadists could go to get everything they needed, especially fighting experience. Other Muslims, innocently hoping to stop oppression, became radicalized on the battlefield.
Syria is modern-day equivalent. The civil war could end tomorrow, but the jihad it intensified will go on.
Read more at Clarion Project
- ‘American’ jihadist in Syria pictured with dangerous ISIS commanders (longwarjournal.org)
By BILL ROGGIO:
The Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, teamed up with a Free Syrian Army unit known as the Liwa al Ummah to overrun a military outpost in Idlib province last week. Free Syrian Army units continue to ally themselves with the Al Nusrah Front on the battlefield despite Al Nusrah’s public affiliation with al Qaeda.
The latest joint operations between the Al Nusrah Front and the Free Syrian Army took place on March 6, when the two groups attacked a Syrian Army outpost in the city of Khan Sheikhun in Idlib province. The Al Nusrah Front announced the joint operation in a statement that was released yesterday; the statement was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
The statement said that “a small group from the mujahideen of the Al Nusrah Front and Liwa al Ummah attacked the Tariq ‘Ajeeb barrier” and overran it, killing six Syrian soldiers and wounding 30 more. The Al Nusrah Front said that a tank was used by the group during the assault.
“The mujahideen took as spoils a BMP vehicle, 3 RPG launchers, a collection of light weapons, and various ammunition,” the Al Nusrah Front claimed. The two group then proceed to attack “the neighboring Ma’arzafi barrier.”
Heavy fighting has been reported in Khan Sheikhun over the past week as the Al Nusrah Front and Free Syrian Army groups have been attacking Syrian forces in the city [see video above, which shows Free Syrian Army fighters attacking Syrian troops].
The emir of the Al Nusrah Front, which was formed by al Qaeda’s branch in Iraq, publicly reaffirmed his allegiance to al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al Zawahiri, in a statement released in April 2013. The group was added to the US’ list of Specially Designated Global Terrorist groups in December 2012. Several Free Syrian Army groups have openly joined the Al Nusrah Frontover the past year.
The Liwa al Ummah, or Brigade of the Muslim Nation, was formed by Abd al Mahdi al Harati, a deputy of Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the former emir of the al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. Al Harati, who headed a rebel group during the Libyan revolution, led Liwa al Ummah for six months in 2012 before merging with the Free Syrian Army. Liwa al Ummah is estimated to have around 6,000 fighters, and is comprised primarily of Syrians, but also includes a large contingent of Libyans, Sudanese, Palestinians, Egyptians, and Arabs.
Read more at Long War Journal
- U.S. Funded Syrian Relief Flowed Despite Radical Elements (investigativeproject.org)
by Abigail R. Esman
Special to IPT News
March 4, 2014
His hands are barely large enough to reach the trigger, but the 5-year-old boy pulls hard on his AK-47 as his father stands beside him cheering. Elsewhere, a boy of 4 raises a machete, then strikes, beheading an unarmed prisoner.
These are the scenes that are emerging from Syria now, as opposition groups ranging from the Free Syrian Army to the al-Qaida affiliated Al Nusra Front recruit children, boys barely old enough to stand alone, to fight. But unlike most young boys who frequently play “soldier” and “superhero,” pitting the good guys against the bad guys, their weaponry is real. And there aren’t any good guys.
A Human Rights Watch report sounded the alarm as early as 2012, noting the documented deaths of “at least 17 children who fought with the FSA. Many others have been severely injured, and some permanently disabled.” Few listened.
Yet now, videos recently uploaded to the Internet depicting boys on the streets of Syria confirm this and other reports about the rise in child soldiers in the ongoing civil war. In addition, the United Nations Security Council’s “Report on Children and Armed Conflict in the Syrian-Arab Republic,” dated Jan. 27, discloses horrific abuses by President Bashar Assad’s forces, who subject children to unspeakable forms of torture:
Government forces have also been responsible for the arrest, arbitrary detention, ill treatment and torture of children. Armed opposition groups have been responsible for the recruitment of children both in combat and support roles, as well as for conducting military operations, including using terror tactics, in civilian-populated areas, leading to civilian casualties including children.
Torture often is used against children to force confessions from their relatives, studies have found. “Ill treatment and acts tantamount to torture reportedly included beatings with metal cables, whips, and wooden and metal batons; electric shocks, including to the genitals; the ripping out of fingernails and toenails; sexual violence, including rape or threats of rape; mock executions; cigarette burns; sleep deprivation; solitary confinement; and exposure to the torture of relatives,” according to the UN Security Council’s analysis. “Reports indicate that children were also suspended from walls or ceilings by their wrists or other limbs, were forced to put their head, neck, and legs through a tire while being beaten, and were tied to a board and beaten.”
It doesn’t stop there: further evidence also suggests that Syrian armed forces have arrested young children – girls as well as boys – to use as human shields. And none of this includes the sexual violence against girls, perpetrated by male fighters on all sides of the conflict.
It is almost too much to bear, simply reading of these atrocities. Imagine being a child, living them.
The Jordanian government Sunday, Feb. 23 vehemently denied reports that Syrian rebels were undergoing training by American and its own military instructors and being sent back to fight government forces. According to US intelligence sources, those training camps have been turning out 250 rebel fighters per course and some 1,000 trainees all told are already in action on Syria’s battlefields. The Syrian government journal Tishrin has repeatedly warned Jordan that it is “playing with fire.”
On Feb. 18, Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, quite openly visited injured Syrians at an IDF military field hospital on the Golan. They chatted with wounded rebel soldiers. But on the quiet, our sources report that they took a good look at Quneitra (pop: 10,000), which is located close to Israeli lines on the Syrian side of the enclave.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that a new Syrian rebel command center has been set up there, with the help of the US, Jordan and Israel. The CIA is investing great effort into restoring the combat capabilities of the disbanded Free Syrian Army and incorporating splinter militias likewise opposed to radical Islamist groups in a revived rebel fighting force under the command of Brig.Gen. Abdul-Illah al-Bashir
Based in the tiny Golan town of Quneitra, he has been given the grand title of “Chief of Staff of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army.”
Gen. al-Bashir defected from the Syrian army in 2012. His main qualification for the new job is his membership of the Syrian Bedouin Al Nuaim tribe, which ranges through the Golan and southern Syria. When he defected, he was followed by army officers who are fellow tribesmen.
The rebel force shaping up in Quneitra therefore consists of many indigenous fighters and a large component of local Al Nuaim tribesmen.
It is more likely than not that the new pro-American Syrian rebel force mustered under Israel’s nose is also guaranteed Israeli military insurance against a surprise attack or any hostile attempts to wipe it out. It stands to reason that this function was closely examined during the visit Israeli leaders paid to the Golan last week and is also the subject of intensive talks between Jerusalem and Washington.
But meanwhile Syrian President Bashar Assad is not standing idle.
Exactly a week ago, Saturday night, Feb. 15, the Syrian army ambushed a group of trained Syrian rebels as they crossed in from Jordan. Middle East sources reported that many were killed and others took to their heels and fled.
In the last two days, the Syrian army has moved in for an offensive on the environs of Quneitra to corner the new rebel command center. Two outlying villages, Rasm al-Hour and Rasm al-Sad, fell into the hands of government forces.
Clearly, the US-Israeli-Jordanian effort to establish a rebel-controlled border strip across the Syrian border will not be a cake walk.
Furthermore, a bomb car which exploded Sunday at the town of Atmeh on the Syrian-Iraqi border targeted a rebel-run military field hospital. At least nine people were killed.
This was another message from Damascus – this one picked up in Jerusalem that the field hospital set up on the Golan for injured Syrians is also in the sights of the Syrian army.
The Sept. 5, 2013 assassination attempt on Egyptian Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim is an operation that becomes more interesting the more we learn about it. Ansar Jerusalem celebrated the operation in an Oct. 26, 2013 video featuring the suicide bomber who executed the attack, a former major in the Egyptian army named Walid Badr.
The Cairo Post and Youm7 report that the list of suspects, in addition to Badr, “includes Egyptians and two Palestinians who joined the Free Syrian Army and Al-Nusra Front,” which is al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria. A “judicial source” explains that Egyptian authorities arrested the suspects in recent weeks while “targeting Syrian suspects.” In addition, an unnamed source said the “suspects returned from Syria because the jihad in Egypt became a duty particularly after the toppling of ousted President Mohamed Mursi.”
The ties between the jihad in Syria and the attack have been obvious since Ansar Jerusalem released its video. Badr himself had fought in Syria, after already fighting in Afghanistan and attempting to fight American forces in Iraq. Conspicuously, Ansar Jerusalem did not say which groups Badr fought for in these theaters of war, but obviously al Qaeda’s global network has a significant presence in each of them.
Now Egyptian judicial sources are connecting additional suspects to the Al Nusrah Front, which answers to al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri.
The Cairo Post and Youm7 reports also repeat a claim that has been previously made in the Egyptian press: “According to the National Security investigation, defendant [Muhammad Jamal al Kashef] acknowledged that the bomber was trained for a year and a half in the Sinai.” (At least one previous report said the training took place in Jamal’s camps in Libya.)
Muhammad Jamal, who founded his own al Qaeda network after being released from prison in 2011, was in direct contact with Ayman al Zawahiri in 2011 and 2012. In one of his letters to Zawahiri, Jamal revealed that he had sworn bayat (an oath of allegiance) to Zawahiri. This makes sense because Jamal was a commander in Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ). According to the State Department and the United Nations, Jamal’s network coordinated its operations with, and received assistance from, al Qaeda’s senior leadership, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
Read more at Long War Journal
by John Rossomando
January 29, 2014
It has been implicated in the Millennium bomb plot targeting Los Angeles International Airport. It openly led a campaign to break Israel’s blockade on Gaza – meant to block supplies and weapons from reaching Hamas terrorists. It has also been implicated in a Libyan gunrunning operation aimed at supplying Syrian rebels that allegedly involved an al-Qaida linked figure.
And now, six of its offices were raided Jan. 14 by Turkish authorities in connection with an investigation of al-Qaida.
The Turkey-based IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation has been designated as a terrorist group by U.S. allies Israel, Germany and the Netherlands.
But three years after a super-majority of U.S. senators asked the Obama administration to designate IHH, nothing has happened. The letter, signed by 87 senators from both parties, came weeks after IHH organized a flotilla in conjunction with the group Viva Palestina, headed by British parliamentarian George Galloway, tried to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza in support of Hamas.
The flotilla ended in violence when the ship ignored orders to turn away from the blockaded area. Ship passengers then attacked Israeli commandos with gunfire, knives and clubs. The Israelis noted that they were prepared for a fight. Nine IHH activists were killed.
The flotilla stemmed from the “Istanbul declaration” issued in February 2009 under the title of “Gaza victory” that the “Islamic nation” should aid Hamas in its jihad against Israel with “money, clothing, food, medicine, weapons and other essentials so that they are able to live and perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty.” This jihad should continue until “the liberation of all Palestine” is achieved.
The declaration also said that Muslims should fight the blockade of Gaza in every way possible.
In the latest investigation, Turkish authorities accuse IHH of recruiting terrorists to fight alongside the al-Qaida brigades in Syria; evacuating the wounded terrorists in ambulances while simultaneously transporting new ones to the battlefield; and smuggling arms under the guise of providing aid.
The Turkish army stopped a truck purportedly owned by the charity on Jan. 1 under suspicion it was carrying weapons into Syria.
The 2010 Senate letter to President Obama expressed deep concern “about the IHH’s role in this incident and have additional questions about Turkey and any connections to Hamas. The IHH is a member of a group of Muslim charities, the Union of Good, which was designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a terrorist organization. The Union of Good was created by, and strongly supports Hamas, which has been designated as a foreign terrorist organization by the US State Department. We recommend that your administration consider whether the IHH should be put on the list of foreign terrorist organizations, after an examination by the intelligence community, the State Department, and the Treasury Department.”
A year later, five senators who signed the original letter sent the president a follow-up urging “your formal designation of IHH without delay.” They pointed to a February 2009 Hamas rally in which they said IHH’s leadership aimed to “overthrow governments and replace them with Islamist dictatorships.” They also noted that Hamas’s political leader Khaled Meshaal praised IHH head Bülent Yildirim for his support during a January 2009 meeting the two had in Damascus.
No reply was ever received, said Donelle Harder, press secretary to Sen. James Inhofe, who was among the senators who signed the letter.
Other efforts met with similar silence.
by Majid Rafizadeh:
Thanks to the Obama administration’s uninformed and flimsy foreign policy decisions, the year 2013 has distinctively been a blessing for the independent Islamist parties and fundamentalist Islamic governments throughout the Middle East and the world. Although it is somewhat difficult to predict what will happen in 2014 regarding the Islamists movements and prominent challenges within that (along with Iran’s nuclear ambitions), several issues can be projected based on the trends and polices carried out in 2013.
Firstly, the foreign and domestic policies carried out by the Obama administration have led to several key trends. In 2013, Islamists and fundamentalists affiliated with Al-Qaeda and other Islamists parties have gained an unprecedented level of power, organization, and coordination, particularly across the Middle East and Africa. In Syria, for example, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has emerged as among the most powerful jihadi groups. This particular Islamist group, which seeks to rule Syria and the Levant just as the Taliban did in Afghanistan (along with fighting against infidels), has become more centralized through obtaining a unified command-and-control structure, ideologically and politically.
Reportedly, this Islamist party— which has been behind thousands of beheadings, in many cases proudly beheading people and showing it on videos— is advocating for the systematic genocide of Shi’ite Muslims or others who are “damaging Mohammed’s legacy” in perpetrating their beliefs. Currently, ISIL is the most powerful oppositional group in Syria, even overshadowing the Free Syrian Army and other rebels. It is argued that many of the arms sent to the Free Syrian Army were actually obtained by several Islamist groups, including ISIL. In late 2013, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights labeled the Al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams as “the strongest group in Northern Syria.”
Beheading ordinary people, taking videos (such as the reported beheading of a young Christian girl in this widespread video, or others as seen in this video), targeting non-Muslims (primarily Christians), raping women, and kidnapping non-Muslims have become daily practice in several Muslim countries, carried out by either independent Islamist groups or by those who have recently gained control of the sovereignty of the state.
According to an Amnesty International report this week, Islamist militants are perpetrating “a shocking catalogue of abuses” conducted in secret jails, including torture, flogging, and killings after summary trials. Amnesty International added that, “Those abducted and detained by ISIL include children as young as eight who are held together with adults in the same cruel and inhuman conditions.” Despite all the atrocities and brutalities committed by the ISIL and other Isalmist groups, recent reports from various credible news outlets including Reuters indicate that the Obama administration has attempted to reach out to these Islamist groups, with the Islamists rejecting the administration’s overtures. Do these attempts empower and embolden these Islamist groups to further carry out their atrocities and barbarity?
Read more at Front Page
IPT, by John Rossomando:
The killing of a top Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander over the weekend by al-Qaida linked jihadists underscores the declining fortunes of the Western-backed faction.
Jihadists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) executed FSA Secretary General Ammar al-Wawi after he entered Syria from Turkey. Al-Wawi had been an intelligence officer with the Syrian army and an important liaison between the FSA and the Western press.
Al-Wawi’s execution follows the seizure of warehouses containing non-lethal aid from the West by forces loyal to the newly-formed Islamic Front last week. The Front is a coalition of seven Islamist militias, many of which have al-Qaida ties. Its fighters also seized the headquarters of FSA Chief of Staff Salim Idris in northern Syria. Idris fled to Qatar as a result.
The seizure led the United States and the United Kingdom to cutoff the non-lethal aid it had promised to the FSA.
At least two of the Islamic Front’s leaders were members of the FSA’s military council while simultaneously fighting alongside Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria’s other al-Qaida linked faction. The rise of the jihadists has already prompted some FSA commanders to defect and join them.
Saddam al-Jamal, the FSA’s top commander for the eastern region of Syria, announced his defection to the ISIL on Dec. 1. Jihadists previously tried assassinating him in late September. He charged in his defection video that the FSA was controlled by foreign intelligence agencies such as those of the Saudis, Qataris, French, Americans and British.
These developments have taken a toll on Idris’s credibility with the Syrian National Council, which nominally oversees the FSA.
“Salim Idris has failed to make an institution,” Asa’ad Mustafa, the SNC’s defense minister told The Telegraph. “I don’t think everything can continue in the same way.”
Jabhat al-Nusra and the ISIL have been gaining strength as a direct result of this and other defections from the FSA, which renamed itself the Syrian Rebel Front (SRF) last week.
A September study by IHS Jane’s found that nearly half of the 100,000 rebel fighters seeking to oust dictator Bashar al-Assad were either jihadists or hardline Islamists who have a similar worldview. An estimated 10,000 fighters belong to Jabhat al-Nusra, and another30-35,000 fighters belonged to hardline Islamist factions.
By contrast the Western-backed Free Syrian Army has an estimated 45,000 fighters under its command.
These events could have an effect on the planned Geneva II peace talks that are scheduled for next month because the jihadists have rejected peace talks and the FSA cum SRF’s credibility has been severely damaged.
Syrian rebel leader was bin Laden’s courier, now Zawahiri’s representative (longwarjournal.org)
The Free Syrian Army had one purpose. To fool America. Now the con is over.
In the deserts of the Middle East, political mirages appear easily and disappear just as easily. There are countries and armies that exist only on paper. And there are invisible tribal nations that have no flag and never appear on a map, but that have their own militias and govern themselves.
The Middle East as it exists neatly laid out in the pages of the New York Times or the Washington Post has little relationship to the messy realities of a region with few clean borders, only messy collections of tribes, families, ethnic groups and quarreling variations of Islam clinging to a few miles of dusty land, a handful of olive groves, some oil wells and their children and machine guns.
Out in Syria, the mirage of the Free Syrian Army, its camps full of soldiers defecting from the military to form a secular liberation force, has dissipated, vanishing into the sand. And all it took to knock down the Potemkin villages of the FSA that never existed was an attack on the only part of the Free Syrian Army that did exist—its warehouses full of American and European military aid.
The Free Syrian Army never existed. What did exist was neither free, nor Syrian, nor an army. The FSA was sold as an army of Syrian soldiers who had banded together under defecting officers to fight against the Assad government. The real FSA mostly consisted of Islamic brigades, indistinguishable for the most part from the other Salafist brigades in the war. Some of these brigades were affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood whose local allies, Turkey and Qatar, were the war’s biggest backers.
Perhaps even the war’s inventors.
And yet even this FSA, the one that was later being described as a collection of “moderate” Islamic militias, was just as much of an illusion. Like the attempt to draw lines around tribal encampments and call the whole thing a country, the Free Syrian Army was really a collection of militias with little in the way of an organizing structure except a willingness to identify casually with the FSA in the hopes of scoring some loot from those warehouses of American aid … and the promised American air support.
The units in the Free Syrian Army were not monogamous. They operated with the Al Nusra Front, one of the Al Qaeda groups in Syria, and any of the wannabe Caliphs and Emirs of the other Islamist militias. Their commanders and their men were out for themselves, switching team alliances as easily as reality show contestants, but with much bloodier results.
Read more at Front Page
- Thousands of Foreigners Have Fought in Syria (freebeacon.com)
As Foreign Funding for Free Syria Army Dries Up, Saudi and UAE Funding for Al Qaeda Affiliates Grows (shariahfinancewatch.org)
- Popular Saudi cleric endorses Islamic Front, calls for cooperation with al Qaeda (longwarjournal.com)
Mass murder in the Middle East is funded by our friends the Saudis (.independent.co.uk) H/T Money Jihad
by John Rossomando and Ravi Kumar:
A Syrian Sunni sheik who raised at least $3.6 million during a U.S. fundraising tour last April has blessed a new coalition of Syrian jihadist groups aiming to replace the Assad regime with an Islamic state.
Sheik Osama al-Rifai, who raised the money for the Franklin, Mich.-based Syrian Sunrise Foundation, endorsed the creation of the Islamic Front in a Nov. 22 YouTube video. The front represents a merger of seven jihadist groups fighting Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Many of them have ties to al-Qaida.
“The unification of these great Islamist and jihadist groups is not a normal piece of news, but is a great event that brings the happiness and thrill to every Muslim, not only in Syria but in the whole Islamic world,” al-Rifai said in remarks translated by the Investigative Project on Terrorism. “I congratulate this brilliant news; I congratulate the brothers who formed it. I cannot say that we bless this group because it is they who should be blessed by them.”
Al-Rifai visited mosques and Islamic community centers in cities across America. He spoke at fundraising dinners on Sunrise Foundation’s behalf in Tampa, Miami, the Chicago area, Dallas, Crown Point, Ind., Los Angeles, a Detroit suburb called Novi and Meadowlands, N.J.
In Dallas, he said that anyone who works to raise awareness about what is happening in Syria was “a jihadist for Allah.”
“Those who are subjecting themselves to martyrdom for the sake of god and who defend themselves and their families, not only them who are performing the jihad, but every single Muslim, Arab, and Syrian who has sympathy toward what happens in Syria,” Al-Rifai said. “Every single one of you who give any kind of effort to help his brothers in Syria is a jihadist for Allah, every single one of you who spread the word to raise the awareness among the others about what’s happening in Syria is a jihadist for Allah.
“I would love to address my brothers who are in charge of the organizations here like Shaam Relief, and Syrian Sunrise Foundation, you must be very aware that you are too performing jihad just like your brothers in Syria.”
Calls seeking comment from the Investigative Project to the Syrian Sunrise Foundation and its President Ahmad Alabas were not returned.
The United States and United Kingdom suspended all non-lethal aid to rebels in northern Syria Wednesday, after the Islamic Front took over bases that had belonged to the western-backed Free Syrian Army. Officials fear the existing supplies could fall into the jihadists’ hands. That assistance could include items such as radios, body armor, transportation and night-vision goggles.
The Syrian Sunrise Foundation’s Facebook page states that al-Rifai helped raise $1.5 million in Tampa, $280,000 in Miami, $320,000 in Indiana, and $1.5 million in the Detroit area.
He spoke April 5 at the Mosque Foundation in Bridgeview, Ill. Two mosque leaders, Kifa Mustapha and Jamal Said, were implicated in a previous terror-support investigation. Said appears on a telephone list for the “Palestine Committee,” a Muslim Brotherhood umbrella group charged with supporting Hamas politically and financially. Mustapha was a paid fundraiser for one of the committee’s branches, raising more than $300,000 for the Holy Land Foundation. Five foundation officials were convicted in 2008 of providing material support for Hamas.
The Syrian Sunrise Foundation likely brought al-Rifai to the U.S. due to his reputation inside Syria as the head of a movement with a large charitable operation.
Its website says that it aims “to send aid to families, orphans, and widows affected by the conflict.” The group claims to have a “well-established humanitarian network of hundreds of workers” and denies having any sort of “any political, religious, or any other agenda.”
In June, al-Rifai participated in a conference in Cairo in June that supported overthrowing Assad.
The conference was also attended by radical Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi and former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. The conference closed with a statement by an Egyptian cleric, Sheikh Mohamed Hassan, saying, “We’re obliged to jihad in order to assist our brothers in Syria, with fighters, funding and arms.”
And al-Rifai made vicious anti-Semitic statements in a 2010 speech, blaming Jews as “absolute evil” for corrupting society.
Read more at IPT
- U.S. Suspends Nonlethal Aid to Syrian Rebels in North (nytimes.com)
- Britain and US suspend non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels (telegraph.co.uk)
- Recent Syrian Victories Bring Al-Qaeda One Step Closer to Goal (counterjihadreport.com)
- Islamic Front brigade launches joint raid with al Qaeda’s Syrian branches (longwarjournal.org)
The Islamic Front in Syria, as well as other jihadi groups, are working towards establishing an emirate in Syria and the Levant.
BY CLARE LOPEZ:
During the night of December 5-6, 2013, the Islamic Front (IF), a newly-formed alliance of some 45,000 or so fighters in Syria, overran the moderate, U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army forces of the FSA’s Supreme Military Command under General Selim Idriss.
The IF fighters took control of the Bab al-Hawa border crossing from Syria into Turkey as well as a large stockpile of weapons stored in warehouses there.
The victory marked an important step in the stated direction of the IF, which, according to its charter published in late November, is committed to the formation of an Islamic emirate in the land of Al-Sham (Syria and the Levant) ruled by Islamic (sharia) law.
Many may not remember, or perhaps overlooked, a revealing interview that took place in 2005. Somehow, the Jordanian journalist Fouad Hussein was able to score that interview with Al-Qaeda’s military commander in Iran, the Egyptian Seif al-Adl.
Hussein was writing a book about the Jordanian Al-Qaeda (AQ) operative, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed by U.S. forces in Iraq in 2006. His discussions with Al-Adl, however, formed what must be one of the most fascinating sections of the book, Al-Zarqawi – Al-Qaeda’s Second Generation.
From his discussions with Al-Adl and other interviews, Hussein was able to construct a timeline of events that forms Al-Qaeda’s strategic blueprint. The timeline spans the 20 years between 2000 and 2020 and describes the “Seven Phases” that Hussein’s Al-Qaeda interview subjects are following en route to the eventual restoration of the Islamic Caliphate, their key objective.
Without going through each one, suffice here to highlight Phases Three through Five, because something just happened that moves Al-Qaeda and Islam one more step closer to establishment of an emirate in the land of Al-Sham (Syria and the Levant).
The Third Phase, which spanned the years from 2007-2010, was described as the “Arising and Standing Up” time. During these years, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Israel were to be the focus of attacks by the forces of Islam.
The Fourth Phase, from 2010-2013, was identified as the time when “hated Arab governments” would be brought down. Given the strong correlation of this timeline with actual events as they unfolded in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region, it is useful to correlate AQ activity with another series of key pronouncements that were closely aligned with these events.
In July 2010, Al-Qaeda published the first issue of its slick English-language online magazine called “Inspire.” This is the one that exhorted, “O Muslims rise up in defense of your Messenger.” TheMuslim Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Muhammad Badi’ responded just months later, in late September 2010, with a call to action for the “Muslim nation” and a declaration of jihad against the U.S., Israel and “Arab and Muslim regimes” that “are disregarding Allah’s commandment to wage jihad for His sake…”
Two of the elements that were needed for the Islamic uprising of 2011 were now on board. The third element fell into place in January 2011 with a fatwa from Al-Azhar that declared “Offensive Jihad is Permissible.”
Read more at Clarion Project
- Islamic Front fighters take over Free Syrian Army bases near Turkish border (longwarjournal.org)
- 4 battalions from Qatar-backed Islamist brigade defect to wage ‘armed jihadist struggle’ (longwarjournal.org)
- Syrian surprise: Al-Qaeda branch kills rebel leaders; invades oil field (examiner.com)
- US Plays Dangerous Islamist Roulette in Syria (counterjihadreport.com)
By Jerry Gordon:
Below the fold in today’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) was a mind numbing article about the Obama Administration caving in to support an Islamic Front opposition group in another desperate move In the volatile Middle East, “U.S., Allies Reach Out to Syria’s Islamist Rebels”. The motivation is to unite Saudi and Emirate funding to support a fundamentalist militia, Jaysh al-Islam (Islamic Front) as a Plan B against the two principal Al Qaeda affiliates, the Al Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). These Al Qaeda affiliates have effectively vanquished the so-called secular opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the country’s North and East adjoining Iraq. The al Qaeda affiliates have been bolstered by foreign fighters from Iraq, Chechnya in Southern Russia and an increasing number of Jihadis from EU countries.
These seemingly desperate efforts are directed at presenting a unified opposition Syrian National Council (SNC)at an UN-sponsored round of alleged peace discussions in Geneva in late January 2014. The SNC is backed by the London 11, the nations in a loose coalition opposing the Assad regime. Assad is backed by Iran and its proxy Hezbollah with support from Russia. The Assad military, supplied by Russian weapons and endless flow of arms from Iran, has scored some successes despite acknowledging the Chemical Weapons disaster in the Damascus suburbs in August 2013. The Assad regime has advanced in certain areas, while the Al Qaeda affiliates have taken control of swaths of the embattled country now in its 33 month of civil war with over 120,000 dead. The objective of the al Qaeda Affiliates is to create mini-Caliphates ruled under Sharia. The fundamentalist Islamic Front is headed by Syrian Zahran Alloush, whose resume indicates that there may be little difference between his form of fundamentalism and that of the Al Qaeda affiliates.
The only ethnic group that has shown pluck and strength in clearing out the Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria has been the Kurds in the country’s Northeast. The Kurds have achieved virtual autonomy in their ancestral homeland, Rojava , abutting both Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurds have control over the commercial breadbasket of Syria and its oil reserves. Not unlike their Kurdish cousins in adjacent Iraq, the Kurds in Syria have discussed the possibility of having oil flow through Turkish pipelines to the Mediterranean.
Tensions have risen dramatically regarding Syria without any substantive resolution of objectives by SNC and the London 11 including the US, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates. The US and Saudi Arabia partnering in establishment of an Islamic Front composed of fundamentalist fighters adds a degree of risk that the Geneva talks with the Assad Regime may break down or be cancelled. That raises the likely prospect that internecine bloodshed will continue in Syria. The US is now caught up in a dangerous form of Islamist roulette by siding with fundamentalist opposition in Syria to fight against al Qaeda Affiliates both groups supporting Sharia. This could result in the disintegration of Syria into a failed state divided into warring ethno religious enclaves. Thus fueling massive refugee outflows, causing more problems for adjacent countries like Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Israel.
Read more at New English Review
- The West Has Totally Changed Its Strategy In Syria (businessinsider.com)
A Syrian opposition group with Muslim Brotherhood links says it has delivered over $12 million in U.S. government aid to Syrian rebels. The Clarion Project wrote about the Islamist links of the Syrian Support Group and how it declined to answer our questions n June.
“To date, SSG [Syrian Support Group] has delivered more than $12 million in U.S. Government and financial aid to select moderate units of the Free Syrian Army under the command of the Supreme Military Council,” the group’s November 15 newsletter states.
The Washington D.C.-based group’s website states that it has delivered over $10 million in non-lethal aid to the Free Syria Army from the U.S. government. The SSG is essentially the U.S. government’s liaison to the Syrian rebels because it is the only U.S. organization licensed to provide such aid.
As the Clarion Project reported in July, the chairman of the SSG is Mazen Asbahi. He resigned as President Obama’s Muslim outreach director in 2008 when information about his links to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood surfaced. He also “likes” numerous Islamists on Facebook.
The SSG Vice Chairman is Majd Abbar and he is linked to the Qatar Foundation. The organization is intimately connected with the Qatari government and the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader, SheikhYousef al-Qaradawi.
The SSG directs its support to the Supreme Military Council led by General Salim Idris. Though this body is held up as the “moderate” rebel force, it includes many Islamists.
Read more at Clarion Project