Britain’s Jihadists Within

70976852_019514832-2-450x325by :

Some of the “freedom fighters” who are at war against the evil tyrant Assad in Syria, the “rebels” whom both U.S. President Obama and British Prime Minister Cameron wanted to help, have now been re-classified as “the biggest threat to Britain’s security” and a “greater threat than al-Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” The British Home Office identifies Syria as “the most significant development in global terrorism.”

More than half of anti-terror investigations by the UK security service MI5 involve “Britons” who went to fight in Syria. Charles Farr, the Home Office’s counter-terrorism chief, and others warned that the Syrian war is stoking the biggest terror threat to the West since September 11, and this problem is predicted to persist for as long as the hostilities will continue.

Syria is much closer to Europe than Afghanistan and Pakistan, making it a particularly easy and dangerous destination for UK Muslims who come back well trained, armed and ready for business: terrorism. And because the security services monitor about half of them, the risk is very high.

Robert Spencer asks some pertinent questions:

Why aren’t they monitoring the rest? And why were these men let back into the country in the first place? Simply because they’re citizens? (Are they even all citizens?)

In the past three years, from the beginning of the conflict, no fewer than 500 Britons have travelled to Syria to fight, many more than the corresponding number for Iraq. According to French President Francois Hollande, they are actually up to 700.

Between 250 and 400 of them are believed to be back with us, although the number may be higher. Apparently, they found life there “too hard,” so they say. But they may have been encouraged to return “home” in order to carry out attacks in the UK.

Hundreds more are still in Syria, and one of them has posted an Internet video urging his coreligionists in Britain to join them and help their Syrian brothers and sisters, saying: “The doors of jihad are still open.” He is a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), a group which wants Syria to become an Islamic state ruled by Sharia law and which is considered too extreme even by Al-Qaeda, that officially disowned it. The first jihadists returning provincial capital to be occupied by ISIS was the city of Raqqa, on whose Christian community it has imposed payment of the jizya and other rules associated with dhimmi status.

These are people who know their Islam, no doubt. They’ve forced even the BBC reporters to become familiar with the triple choice: convert, submit, die.

Read more at Front Page

U.S. State Department Policy Facilitates Al Qaeda in Somalia, Syria

female syrian rebelBY TAREK FATAH:

Just when you thought amateur hour had run its full course at the U.S. State Department, events in Somalia and Syria — two war zones where al-Qaida is a major player — show American ineptness has a lot more to offer.

First, came news the man hand-picked by Secretary of State John Kerry to act as the sole conduit for aid to Syria’s rebels, Gen. Salim Idriss, has been dismissed by the very Supreme Military Council of the Syrian “moderate” opposition he was supposedly heading.

Now, with no leverage on the ground, it appears the U.S. has given a walkover to whoever wins the Iran vs. Saudi Arabia proxy war in Syria.

With an insurgency that’s dominated by Islamist factions, including groups with connections to al-Qaida, even the best outcome will leave Syria in the hands of hostiles.

Further south in Somalia, the government that is supposedly an ally of the West has been accused of smuggling Western-supplied arms meant for the Somali army straight into the hands of the pro al-Qaida army of al-Shabab .

The “UN Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group” last week issued a confidential report accusing the Somalia government of allowing the diversion of weapons meant for its own army into the hands of a leader of the al-Qaida linked Islamist militant group, al-Shabab.

Read more at Clarion Project

McCain Lashes Out at Persecuted Syrian Christians

Syrian child

McCain claims to be motivated by the need to overthrow of Bashar Assad and to establish democracy in Syria, but the fact remains that he is supporting extremists like the Brotherhood and the Syrian Islamist rebels and is hostile to those who are being persecuted by them, like the Syrian Christians.

BY RYAN MAURO:

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) reportedly erupted at a private meeting with Syrian Christians after they complained about Islamist rebel attacks on churches and the Christian minority. The display prompted Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to apologize for McCain’s behavior. This is just the latest episode of McCain going to the bat for Islamists.

The source that reported the confrontation said that McCain “didn’t think the Syrian church leaders should even be allowed in the room.” After furiously leaving the conference room, he returned and would not even look at the Syrian Christian delegation.

Approximately 10% of Syria’s population is Christian and it was a protected minority before the arrival of jihadist groups in Syria. Though some Christians support the rebel cause — atrocities have been committed by both the rebels and the regime against Christians — far more violence is perpetrated by the Islamist rebels. The Christians’ fear for their future has prevented the community from endorsing the rebellion, which has angered Islamist rebels that consider such silence an endorsement of Assad.

McCain is a prominent supporter of U.S. military intervention in Syria on behalf of the rebel forces. While secular rebels do exist, Islamists like Al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and assorted Salafists dominate the opposition forces.

McCain’s support for the rebel cause has led him to downplay the threat from its Islamist components and even to embrace discredited “experts” that share his view. In September, he hired Elizabeth O’Bagy, an expert on Syria that was fired after her lies about her resume were exposed. On Twitter, she stated that not all Islamists are extremists.

O’Bagy is a strong advocate of supporting the Syrian rebels and worked for one rebel-linked group in the U.S. named the Syrian Emergency Task Force. The group’s executive director, Mouaz Moustafa, “liked” a video on YouTube of the top Hamas leader. His “favorite videos” playlist includes other videos that support Hamas and perpetrators of terrorist attacks. Other outlets found tweets where he said he’d rather be called a member of Al-Qaeda than a supporter of Israel.

Read more at Clarion Project

Also see:

Congress secretly approves U.S. weapons flow to ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels

People stand on a street lined with damaged buildings in the besieged area of Homs January 27, 2014. CREDIT: REUTERS/YAZAN HOMSY

People stand on a street lined with damaged buildings in the besieged area of Homs January 27, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/YAZAN HOMSY

BY MARK HOSENBALL:

(Reuters) - Light arms supplied by the United States are flowing to “moderate” Syrian rebel factions in the south of the country and U.S. funding for months of further deliveries has been approved by Congress, according U.S. and European security officials.

The weapons, most of which are moving to non-Islamist Syrian rebels via Jordan, include a variety of small arms, as well as some more powerful weapons, such as anti-tank rockets.

The deliveries do not include weapons such as shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, known as MANPADs, which could shoot down military or civilian aircraft, the officials said.

The weapons deliveries have been funded by the U.S. Congress, in votes behind closed doors, through the end of government fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30, two officials said.

The apparently steady weapons flow contrasts with the situation last summer, when lethal U.S. aid to the Syrian rebels dried up for a time due to congressional reservations.

Congressional committees held up weapons deliveries for months over fears that U.S. arms would not prove decisive in the rebels’ efforts to oust President Bashar Assad and his government and could well end up in the hands of Islamist militants.

A U.S. official familiar with recent developments said national security officials and members of Congress are more confident that weapons delivered to southern Syria are going to, and remaining in, the hands of moderate rebels rather than militant jihadist factions.

Congress approved funding for weapons deliveries to the Syrian rebels in classified sections of defense appropriations legislation, two sources familiar with the matter said. It was not clear when the funding was approved, but unclassified defense funding passed Congress in late December.

Some additional budget tweaks may be necessary to ensure that all the approved funding is fully available for disbursement during the current fiscal year.

Yet, officials who support providing U.S. arms to the rebels acknowledge that this has not greatly increased U.S. expectations of victory by anti-Assad forces, whether moderate or militant.

“The Syrian war is a stalemate. The rebels lack the organization and weapons to defeat Assad; the regime lacks the loyal manpower to suppress the rebellion. Both sides’ external allies… are ready to supply enough money and arms to fuel the stalemate for the foreseeable future,” said Bruce Riedel, a former senior CIA analyst and sometime foreign policy adviser to President Barack Obama.

Both U.S. and European officials said that “moderate” rebels had recently consolidated their positions in the Syrian south, where they are pushing out elements linked to al-Qaeda. More militant factions remain dominant in the north and east.

Another recent development favorable to more moderate factions is that Kurdish groups that had been providing weapons and other aid financed by donors in the Gulf state of Qatar indiscriminately to both moderate and religious extremist rebel factions had greatly reduced their involvement in the arms traffic, one of the officials said.

A White House spokeswoman had no comment. Other U.S. agencies did not respond to requests for comment.

As for “non-lethal” aid like communications and transportation equipment, the United States hopes to resume deliveries to moderate groups in Syria soon, a U.S. official said on Monday.

The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria in December after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.

“We hope to be able to resume assistance to the SMC shortly, pending security and logistics considerations,” said the official, referring to the Supreme Military Council moderate rebel group. “But we have no announcements at this time,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Non-lethal aid was resumed to civilian groups in that region in late December.

(Additional reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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So, are we to believe there are “moderate jihadists”? —-> The Good and Bad of Ahrar al-Sham –  An al Qaeda–Linked Group Worth Befriending h/t @pspoole

“Are you waging Jihad for the sake of democracy and secularism? You don’t want Allah’s shari’a.”

ISIS vs FSAJihad Watch, by Robert Spencer:

Note how the ISIS jihadist assumes, and takes for granted that the FSA jihadist will know as well, that democracy and secularism are opposed to Sharia, and that jihad is to be waged for the sake of establishing Sharia. These are elementary points taught by all sects of Islam and schools of Islamic jurisprudence; they’re only obscured by Islamic apologists in the West who want to keep non-Muslims ignorant and complacent about what is happening not only in Syria, but in their own countries.

“FSA, ISIS Fighters Exchange Insults over the Two-Way Radio in the Wake of Aleppo Rebel Infighting,” from MEMRI, n.d.:

Following are excerpts from a two-way radio conversation between ISIS and FSA fighters, which was posted on the Internet on January 6, 2014:

Foreign Fighter for Al-Qaeda’s Islamic State in Iraq and Syria [ISIS]: You worship [FSA commander] Khaled Hiyani, you apostate infidels. We’ve declared you to be “apostates,” you heretics.

Voice of Fighter for the Free Syrian Army [FSA]:[Indistinct chatter]

ISIS Foreign Fighter: You don’t know Allah or His Prophet, you creature. You sow corruption upon the land. Allah said: “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and sow corruption upon the land, is that they should be killed, be crucified, or have their hands and feet cut from alternate sides, or be banished from the land. Such shall be their disgrace in this world, and their torment in the Hereafter.”

That’s Qur’an 5:33, the verse right after the only one every non-Muslim politician in the West knows, 5:32, the one that cribs from the Talmud about how killing an innocent person is like killing all of humanity.

You people have sown corruption upon the land. You have killed women, fornicated with women, and raped men, women, and children, yet you dare call yourselves Muslims?! What kind of Islam do you follow?!

Voice of FSA Fighter: [Indistinct chatter] Why did you come here? Go fight Israel, brother.

ISIS Foreign Fighter: Fighting apostates takes precedence over fighting original infidels. Fighting apostates, like you people, who curse Allah and His Messenger, and violate the honor of Muslims, takes precedence over fighting the Jews and the Christians. All imams concur on that.

Voice of FSA Fighter: We fight for the sake of Allah, and you fight for the sake of the taghout, you oppressor, you apostate, you [follower of Abu Bakr] Al-Baghdadi. We are mujahideen, and you are…

Taghout is rebellion against Allah, idolatry.

ISIS Foreign Fighter: For whose sake do you wage Jihad? For Hiyani, ‘Afash, and the National Coalition? Are you waging Jihad for the sake of democracy and secularism? You don’t want Allah’s shari’a, and you fight whoever does. You people are apostate infidels. Fighting you takes precedence over fighting the original infidels.Voice of FSA Fighter: You swine… …you prostitutes, you supporters of Al-Baghdadi… They follow Satan… You follow the accursed Devil. May Allah curse you. We opened our homes to you… [Indistinct chatter]

Why do you… Let’s see you dare come here. Allah be praised.

ISIS Foreign Fighter: Those of you who listen to [Khaled] Al-Hiyani should know that he is no Muslim. He curses Allah and His Messenger. He violates the honor of Muslims. He sows corruption upon the land, and is negligent about his prayers. Due to all the prohibitions that you and he violate, you are not Muslims.

Voice of FSA Fighter: You infidels. You enemies of Allah.

See also:

McCain Claims Syria Won’t Turn Al Qaeda Because of High Literacy Rate

McCain_RazanBy :

Retirement. It can’t come too soon.

Sen. John McCain angrily disputed claims that at least half of Syria’s rebels are Islamic extremists on Tuesday night.

“Not true, not true!” the Arizona Republican said to an audience member during a discussion hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, the Daily Caller reports. “There’s about 70 percent still who are Free Syrian Army.”

Much of the Free Syrian Army consists of people barely distinguishable from Al Qaeda. That is what the study documented. McCain is rigidly sticking to the FSA tag as some kind of certification of moderation while ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

Mr. McCain said it’s a “cop-out” for critics of intervention in Syria to say “we don’t know who they are.”

“The point, I think, that you and others are missing … [is that] Syria is a moderate nation. Syria has the highest literacy rate of any nation in the Middle East. They are not going to submit to a jihadis or al Qaeda group governing them. They will not.”

If there’s any proof that McCain isn’t just wrong, but has become completely incompetent to even discuss the topic, here it is. Studies have repeatedly shown that Jihadists are drawn from the middle and even upper classes.

High literacy rates is not an obstacle to terrorist involvement. It increases the probability of Islamist interests.

Assuming you can even trust the literacy rate coming out of Syria, it’s 79 percent. (If you want a reason to distrust self-reported literacy rates, Russia’s is 99 percent)

Iran’s literacy rate is 77 percent. Is that 2 percent really all the difference between being susceptible to a totalitarian Islamic regime or not?

For that matter, Turkey’s literacy rate is 95 percent (again, unrealistic) and yet it’s governed by an Islamist thug whose backers claim he’s warding of telekinesis attack plots.

Finally there’s Jordan. Jordan is the Muslim country with some of the highest rates of approval for Al Qaeda. In 2006, 61 percent of Jordanians liked Al Qaeda. (Then Al Qaeda in Iraq started bombing them and his approval ratings fell a whole lot.)

Jordan also has a literacy rate of 93.4%.

Finally, if we’re going to look at terror states, let’s hop over to the Palestinian Authority which is supposedly at 92%. 37% poll as supporting Islamic fundamentalism. (36% in Jordan, also known as Palestine 1.0)

Finally Pakistan claims a literacy rate of 79%. That ties Syria.

And we know therefore that Pakistan is a “moderate” nation that could never be taken over by “extremists”. Just ask Senator McCain. Assuming he can read.

Video Report: U.S. Syrian Jihadist ‘Allies’ Establish Brutally Unjust Aleppo Sharia Courts

An Islamist rebel group in Aleppo called "the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Supporting the Oppressed" reviews applications for aid on Feb. 25. In addition to handing out aid, the Islamist group says it is carrying out civilian administration in parts of Aleppo.

An Islamist rebel group in Aleppo called “the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Supporting the Oppressed” reviews applications for aid on Feb. 25. In addition to handing out aid, the Islamist group says it is carrying out civilian administration in parts of Aleppo.

By Andrew G. Bostom:

N. J. Coulson, the renowned twentieth-century scholar of the Sharia, elaborated how “matters of procedure” under Islamic law were antithetical to Western conceptions of the rule of law. Coulson demonstrated the flimsy nature of Sharia-based “evidentiary proof,” while elucidating, under the Sharia doctrine of siyasa (“government” or “administration”), which grants wide latitude to the ruling elites, how arbitrary threats, beatings, and imprisonments of defendants were permissible to extract “confessions,” particularly from “dubious” suspects.

Particularly harsh treatment is recommended for the individual of reputedly bad character whose guilt is suspected but cannot be proved in orthodox fashion. He [she] should be subjected to rigorous examination, with beating and imprisonment if necessary,

Clearly, Sharia “standards,” which do not even seek evidentiary legal truth, and allow threats, imprisonment, and beatings of defendants to extract “confessions,” while sanctioning explicit, blatant legal discrimination against women and non-Muslims, are intellectually and morally inferior to the antithetical concepts which underpin Western law.

This is the “legal system” being applied now by the Syrian anti-Assad Sharia-supremacist “rebels” in the 2/3 swath of Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, under their control. A TF-1 (the private, national French TV channelvideo report (with English subtitles) filmed by Solomon Kane and Luc Golfin at 5 minutes, 35 seconds through minute 6, demonstrates, explicitly, the application one such barbarous method of “extracting” a confession—beating a man on the souls of his bare feet with a wooden cudgel. Indeed, at just after the 6-minute mark, the head Sharia judge, “Al-Maz” enters the room where the “confession” is being “extracted,” and objects to the scene being filmed, exhorting his colleagues,

Do you want the people in Europe to think [emphasis added] we are barbarians?

Moreover, the documentary filmmakers also capture the good Sharia judge attempting to deny the very brutality their camera’s have in fact just recorded!

It is both morally unconscionable, and a looming geo-strategic disaster for the U.S. to be supporting with armaments, and potentially, missile strikes against the Assad regime, predatory, jihad-promoting “allies” who aggressively seek broad application of such a brutally unjust, Islamic Sharia totalitarian system.

Watch the French TV report below.

http://www.mrctv.org/videos/invading-sunni-muslims-force-sharia-law-occupied-aleppo-syria

Many thanks for Translation to C.B.Sashenka, and subtitling to www.vladtepesblog.com.

 

Expert who traveled with Syrian rebels: So-called ‘moderates’ are Muslim Brotherhood-style Islamists

3ee5ad57ca164480b7c406b86fcd7872-e1378934344562By Jamie Weinstein:

Jonathan Spyer says the moderate rebels in Syria the Obama administration has been touting are really Muslim Brotherhood-types who adhere to an Islamist ideology.

Spyer should know. An academic who lives in Israel and studies the Middle East, he has traveled to and through Syrian rebel-controlled territory, reporting on what he saw for various publications. Asked by The Daily Caller to respond to a much-cited Wall Street Journal article by Elizabeth O’Bagy, which claimed “[m]oderate opposition forces … continue to lead the fight against the Syrian regime,” Spyer said, “I can only speak regarding my own experiences and my own knowledge.”

“Undoubtedly outside of Syria, and in the Syrian opposition structures, there are civilian political activists and leaders who are opposed to al-Qaida and opposed to Islamism,” Spyer explained to TheDC in an email interview. “There are also civilian activists and structures within the country which are opposed to al-Qaida and Islamism. But when one looks at the armed rebel groups, one finds an obvious vast majority there who are adherents of Islamism of one kind or another — stretching from Muslim Brotherhood-type formations all the way across to groups openly aligned with al-Qaida central and with al-Zawahiri.”

“The ‘moderate’ force which we are told about supposedly consists of those rebel brigades aligned with the Supreme Military Command, of Major-General Salim Edriss,” he continued. ”Most of the units aligned with the SMC actually come from a 20-unit strong bloc called the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front. This includes some powerful brigades, such as Liwa al-Islam in the Damascus area, Liwa al Farouq and Liwa al Tawhid. These and the overwhelming majority of the units aligned with the SMC are Islamist formations, who adhere to a Muslim Brotherhood-type outlook.”

Spyer, author of “The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict” and a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya, Israel, said there is no question that the leaders of rebel forces are not “moderates,” at least as would be defined in the West.

“I spent some time with the Tawhid Brigade in Aleppo city at the height of the fighting there,” Spyer said. ” I interviewed one of the leaders of the brigade. I’ve been in the Middle East for a long time and have worked on these issues for a long time. This was an Islamist fighting force, adhering to an Islamist ideology. So even those forces nominally aligned with western supported bodies are themselves overwhelmingly Islamist in outlook (there may be a very small and marginal number of forces who are ostensibly secular, but these are of no military significance). It’s my contention that the real power in the rebellion lies not in the external structures, but among the commanders of the major fighting groups. These men are Islamists.”

Spyer said he initially supported a quick strike by the U.S. after the regime of Bashar al-Assad most recently gassed its own people, but now believes the Obama administration’s handling of the situation has made America look “indecisive.”

“I did support a rapid response following the use by the regime of chemical weapons on a large scale on August 21,” Spyer explained. “I don’t think it was necessary to begin a huge political process and to telegraph intentions, and it doesn’t surprise me that that whole great mountain has now given birth to the mouse of no action at all. Israel’s actions over the last year in Syria offer I think an object lesson in how to enforce red lines. Go in quickly and forcefully, deliver the lesson, achieve the objective and get out — with the proviso that the action can be repeated if deemed necessary. That didn’t happen in this case with the U.S., and I think instead the administration came across as vacillating and indecisive — and glad to take the fig leaf that the Russian president provided for it.”

Asked to evaluate how President Obama’s Middle East policies are viewed in the region compared to those of former President George W. Bush’s, Spyer said, “All the indications are that the U.S. is no more popular in the Middle East today than it was in the last year of the Bush administration.”

“The difference, I would say, is that while Bush was hated by America’s enemies in the region, they also regarded him at least to some degree as a serious customer who understood the way power is wielded and knew how to reward friends and punish enemies. This isn’t the case with Obama,” he said.

Spyer earned a Ph.D. in international relations from the London School of Economics. He also served in the Israel Defense Forces and worked for the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office from 1996 to 2000.

Read more at The Daily Caller including the TheDC’s full interview with Spyer on his time in Syria, the make-up of the so-called “moderate” rebels, the fate of Jordan and much more.

Also See Daniel Greenfield’s posts, NBC News Admits “Free Syrian Army” is a Myth and The Myth of the Moderate Syrian Rebels

Al Qaeda and the threat in Syria

 

THOMAS JOSCELYN

THOMAS JOSCELYN

Long War Journal, By THOMAS JOSCELYN:

Editor’s note: Below is Thomas Joscelyn’s testimony to the House Committee on Homeland Security, on al Qaeda in Syria and the threat it poses to the US. Al Qaeda affiliates and allied jihadist groups dominate the insurgency in the heart of the Middle East.

Chairman McCaul, Ranking Member Thompson and members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me here today to discuss the potential threats to the U.S. emanating out of Syria. Obviously, the situation inside Syria is grim, with a despicable tyrant on one side and a rebellion compromised by al Qaeda and like-minded extremists on the other. In between these two poles are the people who originally rose up against tyranny in search of a better life. As we’ve seen time and again in this long war, Muslims embroiled in violence in faraway lands are often the first line of defense against an ideology and an organization that pose a direct threat to the West. There are many Syrian families who deserve the free world’s support today, beyond the prospect of limited airstrikes.

We should have no illusions about the nature of the Syrian war. What we are witnessing right now is a conflict that will have ramifications for our security in the West. The fighting in Syria and the terrorist campaign in Iraq are deeply linked, feeding off of one another in a way that increases the violence in both countries and potentially throughout the region. American interests outside of Syria have already been threatened by the war. We saw this late last year when al Qaeda repurposed a cell of Jordanian citizens who had fought in Syria for an attack inside their home country. They reportedly had the U.S. Embassy in their crosshairs and were planning a complex assault that involved other targets as well.

In my testimony today, I focus on the threat posed by al Qaeda and allied groups inside Syria, recognizing that al Qaeda did not start the Syrian rebellion. Moreover, there are many groups fighting on the side of the rebellion, making any clear-eyed analysis difficult. However, we can distill a number of observations.

Al Qaeda and its extremist allies have grown much stronger since late 2011. Al Qaeda does not control the entire rebellion, which is made up of a complex set of actors and alliances. However, al Qaeda and its allies dominate a large portion of northern Syria and play a key role in the fighting throughout the rest of the country. These same al Qaeda-affiliated forces have fought alongside Free Syrian Army brigades. There is no clear geographic dividing line between the most extreme fighters and other rebels. For example, al Qaeda’s affiliates played a key role in the fighting in Latakia, an Assad stronghold on the coast, in early August. And within the past week we saw al Qaeda-affiliated fighters lead an attack in Malula, a Christian village not far from Damascus. These are just two examples chosen from many.

Al Qaeda has made the fight for Syria a strategic priority. Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s emir, has repeatedly called on jihadists to concentrate their efforts on the fight against the Assad regime. But al Qaeda desires much more than Assad’s defeat. Al Qaeda wants to control territory and rule over others. This is consistent with al Qaeda’s desire to establish an Islamic Emirate in the heart of the Levant. In his book, Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner, Zawahiri discussed at length the importance of creating such a state. Al Qaeda and associated groups have consistently pursued this goal in jihadist hotspots around the globe and this is especially true in Syria today.

Two known al Qaeda affiliates operate inside Syria: Jabhat al Nusrah [Al Nusrah Front] and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (or Levant). The leaders of both groups have sworn an oath of loyalty (bayat) to Ayman al Zawahiri and al Qaeda’s senior leadership. The heads of these two affiliates openly bickered over the chain-of-command in early April 2013. This forced Zawahiri to intervene, but the head of the ISIS initially rejected Zawahiri’s decision to have the two remain independently-operated franchises. It appears that some sort of compromise has been brokered, however, as the two al Qaeda affiliates fight alongside one another against their common enemies, including Kurdish forces in the north.

Al Qaeda is not just a terrorist organization. Al Qaeda’s leaders are political revolutionaries seeking to acquire power for themselves and their ideology in several countries. They have a plan for Syria. Al Qaeda’s affiliates inside Syria are not just fighting Assad’s forces, or committing various other acts of terror. They are seeking to inculcate their ideology within the Syrian population. Many Syrians have no love for al Qaeda’s ideology, or its harsh brand of sharia law. But al Qaeda knows this and has adjusted its tactics accordingly. Jabhat al Nusrah and the ISIS are providing local governance in the areas they control, and are seeking to win hearts and minds by making various social services available to the population. This is a continuation of a trend that we’ve seen elsewhere, beginning in Yemen, where al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula launched Ansar al Sharia as its political face. Ansar al Sharia does more than fight al Qaeda’s enemies. It has provided food, electricity, medical care, and various other necessities to Yemenis. Al Qaeda’s affiliates in Syria have copied this strategy in Syria, and are increasing their popular support in some areas (especially in the north and east) in this manner. This model is being implemented in Raqqah, Aleppo, Deir al Zor.

Syria has become the central front in the global jihad. Other al Qaeda-linked groups have joined the fight in Syria, thereby strengthening al Qaeda’s hand. Groups including the Pakistani Taliban (Tekrik-e Taliban) and the Muhajireen (Migrants) Brigade are fighting in Syria. The first group sent fighters and trainers from South Asia to Syria, while the second is comprised of Chechens and other foreign fighters. Indeed, several thousand foreign fighters from around the globe have joined the fight. Countries throughout North Africa and the Middle East have supplied a large number of jihadist recruits. In addition, a significant number of Europeans have traveled to Syria for jihad.

Some of the more powerful Syrian rebel groups are closely allied with al Qaeda’s affiliates. Ahrar al Sham and its coalition of like-minded groups, the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), fight alongside al Qaeda’s fighters regularly. Brigades belonging to another Islamist coalition, the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front (SILF), have coordinated their operations with al Qaeda’s affiliates and Ahrar al Sham in key battles as well. For example, fighters from Nusrah, the SIF, and the SILF overran the Taftanaz Airbase in January. The collective strength of these groups is easily in the tens of thousands of fighters nationwide.

As the 9/11 Commission recognized, there is a direct connection between terrorism “over there” and the terrorist threat to Americans “over here.” Most of al Qaeda’s assets are devoted to acquiring power in North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. However, some portion of their assets is always devoted to terrorist plots against the West. Before the 9/11 attacks, most al Qaeda recruits were trained to fight alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan or as part of insurgencies elsewhere. Only a small number of al Qaeda members were selected to take part in international operations. Since 9/11, al Qaeda has greatly expanded its overall footprint by directing or supporting various insurgencies. This increases al Qaeda’s potential recruits, with a small percentage of them being repurposed for operations against the West. We have seen this in Yemen, for example, where al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula simultaneously increased its capacity to wage an insurgency against the government, while also increasing its ability to launch attacks on the U.S. homeland. Al Qaeda’s Iraqi affiliate, which spawned the Al Nusrah Front, has dedicated a small part of its resources to attacking the West as well. The Department of Homeland of Security announced in 2004 that al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was ordered by Osama bin Laden to assemble a cell capable of attacking the U.S. In 2007, failed attacks in London and Glasgow were tied back to AQI. It should be noted that during this same time-period AQI was mainly focused on winning territory, not attacking the West.

Al Qaeda has talent inside Syria today, including top operatives who currently pose a threat to the West. According to credible press reports, a top al Qaeda terrorist named Mustafa Setmariam Nasar (a.k.a. Abu Musab al Suri) was freed from prison in the wake of the rebellion. Nasar has been tied to al Qaeda’s terrorist plotting inside Europe, including the networks that executed the 2004 Madrid train bombings and the 2005 attacks in London. Nasar played a prominent role in al Qaeda’s operations prior to being detained in 2005 and transferred to Syrian custody. Nasar is a widely influential jihadist thinker and a key advocate of small-scale terrorist attacks inside the West. He was reportedly freed by the Assad regime in the wake of the current rebellion. One of Nasar’s closest colleagues, known as Abu Khalid al Suri, was appointed by Zawahiri to a key position within the region. We should wonder what happened to Mohammed Zammar, an al Qaeda recruiter who helped convince the 9/11 Hamburg cell to travel to Afghanistan for training. Zammar was once imprisoned by the Assad regime and may very well be free today. In addition to this “old school” talent, al Qaeda has been recruiting Westerners who could be used in attacks against their home countries or elsewhere in the West. In recent months, European officials have openly worried about this possibility.

Al Qaeda’s affiliates are seeking possession of chemical and biological weapons in Syria. On May 30, the Turkish press reported that an al Nusrah Front cell had been arrested and was found to be in possession of about two kilos of sarin gas. The following day, June 1, Iraqi officials announced that they had broken up an al Qaeda cell that was seeking to launch sarin nerve gas attacks in Iraq, Europe and possibly North America. If the Iraqi government’s claims are accurate, then we already have evidence that al Qaeda’s affiliates in Iraq and Syria intend to use chemical weapons in an attack the West. I encourage the Homeland Security Committee to investigate these claims and ascertain for itself the extent of al Qaeda’s efforts in this regard.

 

Chairman McCaul Questions Witnesses at Hearing on Syria:

 

More on the hearing here: 

Crisis in Syria: Implications for Homeland Security


 

Truth leaking out? Nerve gas points to rebels

130907syriarebels-340x170By F. Michael Maloof:

Former U.S. intelligence analysts claim current intelligence analysts have told them Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not responsible for the Aug. 21 poison gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria, which killed 1,429 people, of whom more than 400 where children.

They claim the “growing body of evidence” reveals the incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters.

“The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war,” one former U.S. intelligence analysts said.

The analysts referred to a meeting a week before the Aug. 21 incident in which opposition military commanders ordered preparations for an “imminent escalation” due to a “war-changing development” that would be followed by the “U.S.-led bombing of Syria.”

In addition, the former U.S. analysts said that Israel welcomed limited U.S. military action but not so much that it would strengthen rebel groups, which are “increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.”

In an open memorandum to U.S. President Barack Obama, who is contemplating a strike on Syria’s military in response to this incident, members of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, or VIPS, said that even British officials are aware that it wasn’t al-Assad who committed the atrocity.

The British Parliament recently voted not to engage British military forces, even though British Prime Minister David Cameron sought such an endorsement in support of the Obama administration.

Following the vote, Cameron said there would be no British participation in any military action against the Syrian government.

The veteran former U.S. intelligence analysts who remain in contact with current U.S. intelligence officials said they believe Obama wasn’t informed in order to preserve “plausible denial.”

Formed in January 2003, VIPS is a group of current and former U.S. intelligence community officials. Members include analysts from CIA, the State Department’s Intelligence Bureau, or INR, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Those signing the memorandum were Thomas Drake, former senior executive of the National Security Agency; Philip Giraldi, retired Central Intelligence Agency officer; Matthew Hoh, former Marine Corps captain with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan; Larry Johnson, retired CIA and State Department official; W. Patrick Lang, former senior executive and Defense Intelligence Officer; David MacMichael, who was on the National Intelligence Council; and Ray McGovern, former U.S. Army infantry intelligence office and CIA analyst.

Other signers of the memo were Elizabeth Murray, former deputy national intelligence officer; Todd Pierce, former U.S. Army judge advocate; Sam Provance, former sergeant, U.S. Army in Iraq; Coleen Rowley, former Division Council and FBI special agent; and Ann Write, retired U.S. Army colonel and foreign service officer.

The memorandum, with a subject line titled “Is Syria a Trap?” pointed out that the weight of the Obama’s evidence is reminiscent of intelligence used by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in a Feb. 5, 2003, speech before the United Nations, in which he “peddled fraudulent intelligence” – according to the memo – to support the March 18, 2003, U.S. military attack on Iraq for its weapons of mass destruction.

“Then, also, we chose to give President (George W.) Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised,” the analysts said.

“Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on Aug. 21 in a suburb of Damascus,” the analysts said, suggesting that they maintain contact with current U.S. intelligence community analysts. “They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal.”

In an apparent direct attack on CIA Director John Brennan, the former high-ranking analysts said that he was “perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps even you,” referring to Obama.

“We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years, and, sadly, we find what our former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe,” the memo said.

“Sadder still,” it said, “this goes in spades for those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has admitted he gave ‘clearly erroneous’ sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA eavesdropping on Americans.”

In claiming that the Aug. 21 chemical weapons incident was a provocation of the Syrian opposition, the former U.S. analysts said that the growing body of evidence came mostly from sources affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters.

They said that these reports revealed that canisters containing chemical agents were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened.

“We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area,” the analysts said. “In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.

Read more at WND

Related articles:

 

Turkey funneling arms & jihadis into Syria

syrian-fighters-army-loyal.siThe Right Scoop:

Prime Minister Erdogan is letting the flow of arms and jihad fighters travel into Syria unchecked; this is the same man that Obama has described, among all other world leaders, as having the closest relationship too. Erdogan is also the person the President apparently calls for parenting advice. Here we learn how jihadis from all over the world, even places like the US and Canada, meet in Turkey on their way to join terrorist groups fighting in Syria.

 

 

John McCain and ‘Allahu Akbar’

john_mccain_syria_visitBy Robert Spencer:

Tuesday morning, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) got a bit hot under the collar when Brian Kilmeade of Fox News noted that the Syrian rebels whom Barack Obama and McCain want to aid militarily were shouting “Allahu akbar! Allahu akbar!” as rockets hit Syrian government offices. McCain’s response to Kilmeade demonstrated not only his ignorance of Islam, but his abysmal misjudgment of what is happening in Syria. And on the basis of that ignorance, he is aiding Obama’s rush to yet another war.

“I have a problem,” Kilmeade said, “helping those people screaming that after a hit.” That incensed McCain, who shot back: “Would you have a problem with an American or Christians saying ‘thank God? Thank God?’ That’s what they’re saying. Come on! Of course they’re Muslims, but they’re moderates and I guarantee you they are moderates.”

Wrong on all counts. In the first place, it does not mean “thank God,” as McCain seems to have affirmed when he said, “That’s what they’re saying.” Allahu akbar means “Allah is greater” – not, as it is often translated, “God is great.” The significance of this is enormous, as it is essentially a proclamation of superiority and supremacism. Allah is greater – than any of the gods of the infidels, and Islam is superior to all other religions.

Al-Islam.org states this obliquely: “Allahu akbar implies that God is superior to all tangible and intangible, temporal and celestial beings.” This may seem to be an innocuous theological statement until one recalls that Islam has always had a political aspect, and Islamic jihadists always shout “Allahu akbar” when attacking infidels. It is a declaration of the superiority of their god and their way of life over those of their victims. 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta also stated that it was meant to make the infidels afraid. He wrote instructions to jihadists that were found in his baggage: “Shout, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ because this strikes fear in the hearts of the non-believers.”

In equating this war cry, which we recently saw Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members shouting as they destroyed a church and tore off its cross, with “thank God,” McCain was manifesting the moral equivalence that is not only fashionable these days, but required for acceptance into polite society. Only wretched “Islamophobes” don’t accept the mainstream media and government dogma that Christianity is just as likely as Islam to incite its adherents to violence. That there aren’t any Christians anywhere shouting “thank God” as they fire rockets at anyone doesn’t deter McCain from making this equivalence. Religious dogmas, and that’s what the idea that Christianity and Islam are equally violent is, are not subject to the same standards of evidentiary proof as are more mundane realities.

And he guarantees that the Syrian rebels are moderates? This is the John McCain who, according to Lebanon’s Daily Star, “was unwittingly photographed with a known affiliate of the rebel group responsible for the kidnapping of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims one year ago, during a brief and highly publicized visit inside Syria” in May.

Read more at PJ Media

 

 

U.S. Aid to Syrian Rebels: Last Chance or Too Late?

By Ryan Mauro:

The aid is an attempt to build up the moderates as an alternative to the Islamists but critics question if it is too late for that.

Fighters from Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadi opposition group in Syria funded by Qatar. (Photo:© Reuters)

Fighters from Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadi opposition group in Syria funded by Qatar. (Photo:© Reuters)

After a White House announcement that it will provide military help to the Syrian rebels, the CIA will soon be delivering small arms to the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syria Army (FSA) through Turkey and Jordan. The FSA is the only one of the 12 rebel groupsthat is not Islamist (excluding one group that is an offshoot of a Kurdish terrorist group).

Is this the last chance to build up a third alternative to Assad and the Islamist rebels or is it too late?

The provision of anti-aircraft missiles has been ruled out, while the decision on anti-tank missiles has yet to be made. The strongest political force within the opposition is the Muslim Brotherhood and the strongest fighting force is the 7-10,000-strong Jabhat al-Nusra, an Al-Qaeda affiliate. Al-Nusra members have already said they willattack the West later, so the worry about arms falling into their hands is completely reasonable.

The CIA says that the Syrian rebels are more clearly divided along ideological lines now and the leadership has coalesced in recent months. Deputy National Security Advisor Benjamin Rhodes confidently said the U.S. is able to deliver arms into moderate hands because, “We have relationships today that we didn’t have six months ago.” This is a positive development, but as the Clarion Project has pointed out, “All of the rebel groups cooperate on some level and weapons are constantly captured, sold or lost in a chaotic war zone.”

According to the Washington Post, Idris and the FSA leadership “favor the creation of a democratic government, although the network includes avowedly Islamist groups.” One such group is the Syrian Liberation Front, but the Post reassures us that they are “moderate” and “pragmatic” Islamists.

Read more at The Clarion Project