FSA Commander’s Assassination Underscores Jihadist Momentum in Syria

Al-Qaida-linked Rebels Desecrate Churches in Syrian Town

 

Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham presides at Palm Sunday service in Damascus in this April 1, 2012, file photo. (Catholic News Service photo/Reuters)

Melkite Catholic Patriarch Gregoire III Laham presides at Palm Sunday service in Damascus in this April 1, 2012, file photo. (Catholic News Service photo/Reuters)

IPT, by John Rossomando:

The Myth of the Moderate Syrian Rebels

raqqaBy :

The moderate Syrian rebels, like the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy, are a myth; an imaginary character used to tell soothing stories to children. Unfortunately the storytellers think that we’re the children.

The Syrian Civil War is a religious war. It’s not a war over democracy or freedom. It’s a conflict between two totalitarian systems, one loosely based on a mixture of Islam and Socialism, and the other more rigidly based on Islam. Both are brutal and merciless to anyone who doesn’t belong. Both have their death squads and extensive corruption on the inside.

Both are evil.

It’s also an ethnic conflict being played out between Iran and the Arab world. And it even has elements of Ottoman revivalism on the Turkish side of the border where its Islamist rulers dream of reclaiming an empire.

None of that is a recipe for moderation. There are no moderates in a religious war. There are no moderates in an ethnic conflict. There are no moderates among those who would start such a war or those who intend to finish it.

Neither side is seeking freedom. Both are seeking absolute supremacy.

The Syrian opposition that we hear about on the evening news and in the columns of newspapers is an elaborate Potemkin village masterminded by the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey and Qatar to convince Americans and Europeans that the rebels have a governmental structure and are ready to take power.

The Syrian National Council (full abbreviation SNCORF) is a bunch of names and letters peopled by ambitious men. It commands less of Syria than it does of Washington and Brussels. If it tried to give anyone an order in Aleppo, there would be laughter. But it keeps getting away with giving orders in D.C.

The Holy Roman Empire was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire and the Free Syrian Army is neither free, nor Syrian, nor an army. It’s a grab bag of guerrilla fighters, many of them foreign Islamists, who expect to receive American weapons and money and are occasionally willing to play along with the pretense that there is some kind of united army of national liberation for America to aid.

The political structures built up in Turkey and Qatar are fictional. The official leaders lead nothing. General Salim Idris commands nothing. All the organizations with Syria in their name are good for little except fooling Westerners into giving them weapons to funnel to the various rebel brigades, in exchange for promises of future influence and business deals, and plotting to take over the country afterward.

The only commanders who matter are the ones on the ground. And not only are they Islamists, but they are also far less housebroken than Idris. They’re the sort that casually kill prisoners and eat their lungs. They wouldn’t make a very convincing case for democracy and freedom in Washington, D.C.

The actual fighters have few allegiances except to wealth and religion. Some fight for pay, others fight for Jihad. Many for both. None resemble the mythical brigades of free officers fighting for a secular Syria that some senators still believe in.

Even the brigades and their names are smoke on a battlefield. Fighters move from one brigade to another. Brigades move from one association and alliance to another.

The boundaries between the Free Syrian Army and the Al-Nusra Front are not hard and fast. Some Islamist brigades play on both teams. Identifications are a matter of convenience. The vast majority of fighters, whatever associations they may have, are fighting to impose a Sunni Islamist system on Syria.

Read more at Front Page

 

Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood: what is the difference?

08-02-12_h-1By Mark Durie:

For western lay people, it can be hard to distinguish one radical Muslim from another.  What is the difference between Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood?  Are they really all that different?  And why do Western governments seem to favour and even partner with Brotherhood-backed groups, but denigrate Salafis?


The 2011 People’s Assembly elections in Egypt focused the world’s attention on the Salafis when they proved to be the ‘dark horse’ of that poll, winning 25% of the seats.  This, together with the Muslim Brotherhood’s 47%, gave Islamists  almost three quarters of the seats in the Assembly. How do these two powerful Islamic groups compare?

Today the Brotherhood and Salafis also figure prominently in reports from Syria.  Both brands of Islamists field rebel forces in Syria, and Brotherhood leaders dominate the Syrian National Council, which has been recognized by the Arab League and some UN states as the legitimate representative of Syria.

Often the past Western politicians have made the mistake of dismissing the Salafis as marginal extremists, while being all too willing to lap up the Brotherhood’s propaganda about their democratic credentials.  A good example was David Cameron’s statement in Parliament this past weekconcerning the Syrian National Council, as he sought to downplay any suggestion  that the conflict in Syria had a religious basis:

“When I see the official Syrian opposition I do not see purely a religious grouping; I see a group of people who have declared that they are in favour of democracy, human rights and a future for minorities, including Christians, in Syria. That is the fact of the matter.”

As troubling as Cameron’s ignorance about Brotherhood ideology appears to be, even more disturbing is his intent to forward military support to rebel groups, at the very time that a report has come from Syrian refugees of genocidal measures being enacted by Islamist rebels against the Syrian Christian minority.

This past week evidence has also emerged that among the insurgents who attacked the American Embassy in Benghazi in September 2012 were Egyptians, captured on video saying that ‘Dr Morsi sent us’.  Yet Dr Morsi, the Brotherhood President of Egypt, is claimed by the US as an ally, and Brotherhood operatives have had long-standing high-level access to and support from the US Government.

Read more

 

Players Begin Savage Moves for Post-Assad Power Grab


syrian supporters of MB
By: Clare Lopez:

“Intelligence Preparation of the Environment (IPE)” is a military term for analyzing the operational environment, including the adversary and his potential courses of action. The corollary to the IPE process is taking action to help shape that environment in ways advantageous for one’s own side and detrimental for the enemy. Such action may be military, but also includes intelligence and psychological operations.

This is what’s going on in Syria right now. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is going to fall and the only question left is, “How soon?” The forces that will savage one another to succeed him in power in Damascus are beginning to make moves that are calculated to improve their position in the immediate post-Assad period.

Key players are being either removed from the chess board or strategically placed on it. For example, on March 19, 2013, the Turkey-based Syrian National Council (SNC) elected Ghassan Hitto, a senior member of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood, as head of an interim opposition government for Syria. Hitto was profiled in an extensive report by the Global Muslim Brotherhood Daily Report (GMBDR) later the same day.

*********

This is deeply troubling on a number of counts: First, that the U.S. is not taking the lead to selectively support those elements of the SFA that do not seek another Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Islamic regime in the Middle East; and second, that the U.S. is actively supporting elements of the Syrian opposition that have made no secret of their intent to install another sharia-compliant Islamic regime in Damascus once Assad is gone.

Read more at Radicalislam.org

Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at RadicalIslam.org and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez served for 20 years as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
This article may not be republished without expressed written permission from RadicalIslam.org

Why Is America Midwiving a Muslim Brotherhood-Ruled Syria?

By Andrew Bostom

Following significant military successes and diplomatic gains by Syria’s anti-Bashar Assad Sunni Muslim insurgency over recent weeks, Moscow, a key Assad regime ally, announced Tuesday 12/18/12 its preparations for an evacuation of Russian citizens living in Syria.

While the Assad regime’s ruling Alawite minority sect retained a firm hold on their indigenous base in the coastal Syrian provinces, the predominantly Sunni Muslim Syrian rebels have seized the northern and eastern border zones, near Turkey and Iraq, respectively, and dominate wide swathes of rural Syria. The continued rebel assault is even advancing on Assad’s seat of power, Damascus, near the western frontier of Lebanon, having just seized the pro-Assad Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk, on the southern edge of the Syrian capital.

By Wednesday, the rebels had reportedly captured at least six towns in the central Hama governorate (Latamneh, Helfaya, Kfar Naboudah, Hasraya, Tibat al-Imn, and Kfar Zita), with skirmishes erupting in the city of Hama itself. As of Friday, the Sunni insurgents were besieging Morek, an Alawite stronghold in Hama governorate, a province which contains dozens of Alawite and Christian villages among Sunni towns, igniting fears of increased sectarian violence.

During an interview with Barbara Walters on December 11, President Obama announced the U.S. would formally recognize the recently established Syrian National Coalition of Revolution and Opposition Forces (SNCROF), an umbrella group seeking to depose Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Mr. Obama extolled the SNCROF for its inclusiveness, allegedly being open to various ethnic and religious groups, and bonds to local councils participating in the fight against Assad’s security forces.  He opined:

At this point we have a well-organized-enough coalition — opposition coalition that is representative — that we can recognize them as the legitimate representative of Syrian people.

SNCROF

Independent analysts sympathetic to the anti-Assad forces, have concluded that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood remains the dominant force in SNCROF, as it had been in the earlier Syrian National Council opposition front. London-based Syrian journalist Malik Al-Abdeh noted:

The Muslim Brotherhood seems to be in the dominant position … However, the West feels compelled now to legitimize the Syrian opposition in whatever guise it may take, simply because of the fast pace of events on the ground in Syria.

Andrew Tabler, cofounder and former editor-in-chief of Syria Today, maintained: “The [Muslim Brotherhood-dominated] SNC [Syrian National Council] is still a major player.” Tabler also expressed this ominous concern:

And that’s just the civil end. The armed groups within the country are not included in this coalition directly. How is that going to work?

Apropos to Tabler’s worry and concurrent with President Obama’s recognition of SNCROF on December 11, the U.S. State Department designated the Syrian jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra a terrorist organization, amending the 2004 designation of al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq (AQISI), and declaring there was “sufficient factual basis” to conclude AQISI, under the guise of Jabhat al-Nusra, was operating in Syria. Justifying the designation, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland stated the group had claimed responsibility for almost 600 attacks in several cities during the past year, including homicide bombings, which had caused the deaths of “numerous innocent Syrians.” She added:

[Al Nusra] has sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by AQI [i.e., AQISI, Al-Qaeda affiliate Islamic State of Iraq] to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes.

Public Syrian denunciations of the State Department’s formal labeling of Jabhat al-Nusra as a terrorist group were swift and often fierce, running the gamut from the Syrian opposition website Sooryoon.net, and the mass vox populi demonstrations of anti-Assad Syrian civilian populations,  to the SNCROF leadership itself (including comments by SNCROF’s anti-Western, antisemitic, titular leader, Sheikh Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib).

Anticipating the State Department’s 12/11/12 designation of Jabhat al-Nusra as terrorists, Sooryoon.net had posted articles (on December 6 and 7, 2012) which recognized Jabhat Al-Nusra’s efforts in damaging Assad’s regime, while objecting to the motives of the (then) looming U.S. action. Sooryoon.net claimed the U.S. sought to blunt the burgeoning support and gratitude Jabhat Al-Nusra has garnered among the Syrians. Moreover, regarding Jabhat Al-Nusra’s avowed goal of establishing a strictly Sharia-compliant Islamic state following removal of the Assad regime, the Syrian opposition website insisted there was “nothing wrong” with this openly proclaimed aspiration, acknowledging it was shared by multitudes of Syrians, especially members of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Sooryoon.net also warned the SNC/SNCROF leadership not to accept Jabhat Al-Nusra’s terrorist designation, while urging vigorous opposition to the U.S. action, and encouraging FSA leaders and members, and all Syrians, to declare their solidarity with Jabhat Al-Nusra. By December 11, Sooryoon.net cautioned the U.S. against intensifying its hostility toward Jabhat Al-Nusra, adding such measures would be counterproductive at any rate, and would swell the jihadist group’s popularity among the Syrian Muslim masses. The website further chastised the U.S. for allegedly missing opportunities to be effectively involved in Syria, and even forewarning that any direct U.S. commitment now would transform the country into an American graveyard.

*******

Conclusion

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her subordinate State Department advisers and minions have recklessly eschewed Wafa Sultan’s June 2005 wise, experience-based tocsin of looming calamity. The Clinton State Department also apparently never learned, or chose to ignore, the frank, unchanged truths conveyed in the State Department’s own December, 1947 assessment of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. Ms. Clinton’s likely replacement as Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry, judging from his own uninformed statements about the parent Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, will not change America’s delusive and dangerous empowerment of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood as “policy.” Tragically, America seems hell bent on midwiving a post-Assad Muslim Botherhood-ruled Syria.

Read more at PJ Media

Andrew G.  Bostom is the author of The  Legacy of Jihad (Prometheus, 2005) and The  Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism ”  (Prometheus, November, 2008)

You can contact Dr. Bostom at info[@]andrewbostom.org

Fast and Furious II: Syria Edition

By Daniel Greenfield

Last week the New York Times reported that the CIA was helping direct guns, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank weapons bought by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and smuggled into Syria by the Muslim Brotherhood. The article makes mention of keeping the weapons out of the hands of Al-Qaeda, but there is no mention of keeping it out of the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.

There is every reason to think that the Obama Administration would not have any problem with arming the Muslim Brotherhood. Officials from the National Security Council have met with Muslim Brotherhood officials and the Syrian National Council, which has Washington’s blessing, is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood’s revolution in Egypt had a secular façade in the form of Mohammed El-Baradei, which it needed only long enough to gain Western support, before taking power directly. The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, which dominates the SNC more heavily than the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood dominated the opposition to Mubarak, has its own “moderate” patsy in the form of Abdulbaset Sieda.

Burhan Ghalioun, the last SNC patsy, whose presence was supposed to demonstrate that the Syrian National Council was a moderate group, is gone. Abdulbaset Sieda’s role is to imply that the SNC has Kurdish backing, which it does not, because it is a creature of the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey, which is in the business of repressing Kurds. The Brotherhood even went so far as to block the election of a Christian SNC leader, because it was unwilling to allow a non-Muslim to rule over Muslims; even for the sake of its long term goals.

The weapons and intelligence pipeline being routed through the Brotherhood is only half the story. The other half involves the true purpose of those weapons. Officially the weapons are needed to fight Assad, unofficially they are meant to give the Brotherhood military parity with the Free Syrian Army, which has done the bulk of the fighting, and has remained outside the SNC.

There is a major gap between the Free Syrian Army, which conducts the actual rebellion, and the SNC, which claims to be the true provisional government of the rebel groups. The Muslim Brotherhood isn’t in this to overthrow Assad just to hand over power to a group of army officers. The Brotherhood’s chief foes have been Middle-Eastern regimes run by groups of army officers who took power. The Brotherhood and its backers in the Obama Administration are determined not to allow another secularist officer like Husni al-Za’im to undo all their plans for Syria.

While the administration and its media mouthpieces praise the “Brave Syrian people” fighting against Assad, they are determined not to allow the soldiers and officers doing the fighting to determine the post-Assad future of Syria. Instead the game plan calls for a provisional SNC government followed by another “Democratic election” that will allow the Brotherhood to reap all the benefits of the rebellion.

A Time Magazine article has already described Free Syrian Army units facing pressure to take orders from Muslim Brotherhood leaders in exchange for weapons. But the weapons are just part of the picture. The biggest asset that the United States has to offer is the intelligence gained from electronic eavesdropping and satellite surveillance. By providing that intelligence to the right militias, the Obama Administration can pick winners and losers, it can even help the Brotherhood dispose of rival militias by providing intelligence on the movements of the Free Syrian Army to the SNC.

As bad as Fast and Furious was, helping arm a genocidal terrorist group like the Muslim Brotherhood is worse than helping arm Mexican drug cartels. And anti-tank weapons and rocket-propelled grenades weren’t being sent by express delivery to the cartels, the way that they are being directed to the Muslim Brotherhood.

It’s readily apparent that those who smuggle the weapons also decide who gets to use them. The United States provided aid to the Mujahedeen through the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency. That proved to be a fatal mistake. This time around there isn’t even a serious presumption that the weapons are being routed to anyone other than the terrorists.

Read more at Front Page