Jihadi jumble: Syria’s endless war begins on the Turkish border

The rubble following an airstrike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in Aleppo. Picture: Yasser Ibrahim

The rubble following an airstrike on the rebel-held neighbourhood of al-Kalasa in Aleppo. Picture: Yasser Ibrahim

So where is all this heading? Bassam Haji Mustafa, an ethnic Kurd and a senior member of the Islamist Nour al-Din al-Zenki militia group in Aleppo, in conversation with Inquirer, accurately notes the presence of four “projects” in fragmented Syria today — “the Assad regime and its allies; the (Kurdish-led, US-supported) Syrian Democratic Forces; Islamic State; and the rebellion”.

The Australian, by Jonathan Spyer, August 13, 2016:

The town of Gaziantep is located 30km from Turkey’s border with Syria. Over the past five years it has become an epicentre for the unfinished business of the Syrian civil war.

When the history of this most savage of wars is written, there will be a chapter on these dusty border towns and how they came to form way stations for so much of the traffic travelling to or escaping from the killing zones.

I recently visited Gaziantep and the town of Kilis on the border. My purpose was to try to ascertain the current state of the Syrian rebellion against the Assad regime.

Gaziantep in high summer is shimmering in the heat, its many minarets pouring forth the call to prayer. Syrian refugees gather in the evenings to smoke nargileh (hookah) and talk and argue about where things are heading. Deeper down, outside of unaided vision, the complicated politics and logistics of the Syrian war are playing out all around.

Kilis, a short drive south, is the last stop before the war. It feels more Syrian than Turkish. Arabic is spoken everywhere. The apartment blocks with their stone stairs and peeling paint and the tiny shops make it look like a northern Syrian town. The offices of the rebel groups are to be found among them. The shooting begins 5km to the south.

At the beginning of the Syrian war, Gaziantep’s small international airport was one of the main entry points for jihadis from all over the world looking to cross the border to join the fight against Bashar al-Assad. They would arrive in the town, put up in one if its many shabby hotels and await the call from this or that organisation to take the road to Kilis and then across the border. Now the Turkish authorities, pressured by the West, have cracked down on this particular traffic. The airport attack in Istanbul in June cemented the process whereby Islamic State went from tolerated presence in Turkey to deadly enemy.

Islamic State, in invisible form, is in Gaziantep too. Every so often, its presence becomes manifest. In late December, it murdered Naji Jerf, a prominent journalist and critic of the movement, in downtown Gaziantep. Two more people were killed in a suicide bombing in May. “You should be careful here. Its less normal than it feels,” the receptionist tells me with a smile.

Five years since the start of the uprising against the Assad regime, the world’s attention has largely moved on. The war against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has sidelined the fight against Assad. What remains of the rebellion is boxed up, frustrated and exhausted, deployed in northwest and southwest Syria, or waiting in these towns across the border in Turkey.

“Of course, if we thought logically, we’d never have begun the revolution,” Yasser Ibrahim of Nour al-Din al-Zenki, one of the Islamist rebel militias, tells Inquirer. “We went out bare-chested in front of the regime. We lost a lot — but we’re continuing.”

They surely are. The Syrian rebels have in recent days broken a government siege on rebel-controlled eastern Aleppo. The rebellion’s entry into Syria’s second city in late 2012 represented perhaps its single most significant advance. The government strangle­hold on the city threatened to reverse this. It lasted a week. So the rebellion is far from broken and remains, despite it all, a potent force.

Where all this is heading, however, is far less clear.

Tangled lines of support
The first and most immediately noticeable element of the Syrian rebellion in northwest Syria is its bewildering variety. An enormous number of rebel groups, all with ringing and grandiose names in Arabic but varying greatly in size and orientation, are engaged. Unity has remained elusive.

The networks of foreign support for the rebels — from the US, Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia — are equally confused and confusing. The US maintains a Military Operations Command centre in southern Turkey through which weaponry is supplied to certain vetted rebel militias. There are about 40 such groups. Representatives of Arab and other western countries are also present in the MOC centre.

In a covert operation headed by the CIA, these vetted groups are the beneficiaries of the BGM-71 TOW anti-tank missiles that have exacted a heavy toll on regime armour in Latakia, Idlib and Aleppo provinces. There are additional lines of support from Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia to the powerful Salafi jihadist forces that Washington does not support. ­Finally, there are groups that receive support from the US as well as one or another of these regional players.

But there is no tidy distinction between US-supported and non-US-supported groups, as one might expect. There is a continuum. The groups have the same hierarchy of enemies (Assad at the top, then Islamic State). And they co-operate at ground level. Weaponry finds its way into the hands of the strongest.

The guns and assistance provided by the US and the regional backers have been sufficient to prevent the rebellion from facing defeat at the hands of Assad. But since the Russian intervention, which began in September last year, an outright rebel military victory appears beyond reach.

In the meantime, people on the ground are dying. “The MOC supports us, but the world isn’t seeing the shelling of the schools and children and public buildings by the Russian planes,” says Ezadin al-Salem of the Jabhat al-Shamiya rebel alliance as we sit in his office in Gaziantep.

The rebels, in all their multifarious and confusing variety, are at present locked into two grinding wars of attrition — against Assad and against Islamic State — with no apparent light at the end of the tunnel.

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Jonathan Spyer is a journalist, author and Middle East analyst. Based in Jerusalem, he is director of the Rubin Centre for Research in International Affairs and a fellow at the Middle East Forum

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Our ISIS problem is also our Saudi Arabia problem

saudi_isil_terrorism

William Murray calls for North Korea-like sanctions on U.S. ‘ally’

WND by William Murray, March 8, 2016:

ISIL, or ISIS, now calling itself the Islamic State, is part of a continuing Sunni Muslim problem. Here is some real history to counter current media perceptions paid for by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.

Ask the media or any Democratic or Republican senator, and they will tell you that Shiite Muslims (or Shia) are the greatest threat faced by Western civilization today. Besides Sen. John McCain, current presidential candidates Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have referred to the Shiite threat in virtually every stump speech, often citing the “Shia Crescent” that runs from Iran through Iraq and Syria and ending in Lebanon. Rubio constantly refers to “our Sunni allies such as Saudi Arabia” and has suggested the creation of a Sunni state in Syria. Apparently, the senator is, as is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, unaware that there is already a Sunni state in northern Syria, and it is run by the Islamic State, otherwise known as ISIS or ISIL.

The Sunni Islamic State does have a competitor in Syria, al-Nusra, which is part of al-Qaida and also a Sunni terror organization. The Army of Islam operating in Syria is also a Sunni terror organization supported by Saudi Arabia and Turkey. During battles between al-Nusra and the Islamic State, American-led coalition aircraft have supported Sunni al-Nusra, which is al-Qaida. Which Sunni group to back in the Syrian civil war is always a question for the White House.

In 2015 most of the 17,000 civilians killed in Iraq died at the hands of Sunni terrorists. That is 10 times the number killed in the Sunni terror attack on 9/11. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were conducted by al-Qaida, a Sunni terror organization. The first terror attack on the Trade Center in 1993 was financed by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a Sunni cleric also associated with the Sunni terror group al-Qaida.

The 9/11 attack was planned by al-Qaida from Afghanistan, which at the time was controlled by the Taliban, a Sunni Muslim group dedicated to the elimination of Shiites and Christians.

Sunni groups, many funded by interests inside Saudi Arabia and Qatar, declared responsibility for the 2004 Madrid train bombings killing 191 and wounding over 1,800. A Sunni group took responsibility for the 2005 London bus bombings killing 52 and wounding 700. Sunni terror groups were responsible for the massacre of 334 people including 186 children during the 2004 attack on a school in Beslan, Russia, and also the Moscow theater attack in 2002. The various Paris attacks, including the 2015 Charlie Hebdo magazine and Jewish deli attacks over three days and a later attack in November on a theater and restaurants that killed 130, were conducted by the Islamic State, a Sunni Muslim organizations.

The Fort Hood terror attack in 2009 killing 13 plus an unborn child was conducted by Maj. Nidal Hasan, a Sunni Muslim connected to a “vetted” Sunni imam, Anwar al-Awlaki, who was allowed to speak at the Pentagon and Congress. Al-Awlaki and his son, both U.S. citizens, were killed by a drone strike though a death warrant issued by President Obama to shut him up lest he embarrass those at the Pentagon who had “vetted” him. He had been the imam at the Virginia mosque attended by some of the 9/11 hijackers.

There have been numerous “minor” terror attacks against Western targets, such as the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings that killed “only” three and wounded 264. The bombers were brothers from a family of Sunni Muslims who had immigrated legally to the United States from Chechnya, Russia. Other “small” attacks by Sunni Muslims in the United States include the following: A Sunni Muslim convert killed one at a Little Rock military recruiting center in 2009, and four Marines were killed by a Sunni Muslim immigrant in Chattanooga in 2015. Other attacks such as against a 2002 El Al ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport have been downplayed as only three died.

Most recently in the United States was the 2015 San Bernardino massacre, which was carried out by a Sunni Muslim couple connected to Saudi Sunni extremists and influenced by the Islamic State. A total of 14 were killed and 22 wounded.

In Asia the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 mostly Australian tourists was orchestrated Jemaah Islamiyah, a Sunni Muslim organization seeking Shariah law in that nation. Sunni groups have bombed numerous churches in the Philippians, and Thailand suffers almost daily deaths by Sunni Muslim separatist organizations that want a breakaway state under Shariah law. China suffers numerous attacks from Sunni groups every year.

The most noted attack in India by Sunni Muslims from Pakistan was in 2008 when 10 members of Lashkar -e-Taiba, conducted 12 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks over four days, killing 164 people and wounding 308. A landmark hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace, was nearly completely destroyed.

The mass beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya that outraged the press in the United States for a few days in 2015 were conducted by a Sunni terror group. All of the slaughter in this Hillary Clinton established “democracy” is being conducted by three Sunni Muslim factions.

Back to the “Shia threat” alluded to by Hillary Clinton, McCain, Cruz and Rubio as well as Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. The last large scale Shia attack against the West was in 1983 against a military target in Lebanon at the U.S. military barracks, killing 299 American and French servicemen.

I have left Israel out of this analysis because it faces a Sunni threat from the south in Gaza and a Shia threat to the north. In line with the theology of the two groups, Sunni-oriented Hamas normally attacks civilian targets while Shia Hezbollah usually attacks military targets.

With this history, why does the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, as well as both liberal and conservative members of Congress and virtually all presidential candidates, say the greatest threat is from Shia Muslims?

The simple answer is that Saudi Arabia is Sunni Muslim, and most of the financing for Sunni extremist groups has come from Saudi Arabia, which is “our ally.” The initial funding for the revolt in Syria, which handed us the Islamic State problem, came from Saudi Arabia. Over $2 billion in arms were moved into Syria from Turkey and prepositioned before the initial Sunni uprising that to this day Obama and McCain insist was a secular revolt.

Some contend that only private elements within Saudi Arabia supported ISIS and never the Saudi government. Although Saudi Arabia may not directly support or fund ISIS, Saudi Arabia gives legitimacy to ISIS extremist ideology. Saudi textbooks are used in the ISIS-controlled schools in Syria and Iraq.

If we want to cut off the real head of the snake, the Islamic ideology that threatens the world through al-Qaida and the Islamic State today, we must shut down the educational funding source – and that is Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia runs a close second to North Korea on human rights abuses and should be treated to the same sanctions and boycotts. All Saudi-printed literature and all funding of mosques and schools in the United States and Europe should be banned at once.

To stop ISIS, which is actually the second generation of al-Qaida, we must dig out the root which is Saudi Arabia.

Note: The preceding were William J. Murray’s prepared remarks for The Awakening, Orlando, Florida, March 5, 2016.

Reshuffling the Deck in the Middle East

A man shuffling a deck of cardsCSP, By Kyle Shideler:

The New York Times wrote on Friday offering a brief glimpse at an underreported front in inter-Islam civil war currently spreading across the Middle East:

Yemen’s Shiite rebels on Friday overran an al-Qaida stronghold after days of battling the militants for the city in the country’s central heartland, a Yemeni official and a tribal leader said. The capture of the city of Radda, in the in the province of Bayda, came with the help of a Yemeni army commander, the two said. The Shiite rebels known as Houthis have been fighting both al-Qaida militants and Sunni tribes over the past few days. The rebels, who in September gained control of the capital, Sanaa, earlier this week overran a key Yemeni port city on the Red Sea.

The action, mirrored similar instances in the past when units in Yemen’s army suspected of links with former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a Houthi ally, facilitated stunning rebel advances from their home base in northern Saada province. The army commander who helped the Houthis in Radda is said to be a loyalist of the ousted Saleh, who was deposed after the country’s 2011 uprising. Saleh and his party have joined ranks with the Houthis against a common enemy — the Islamist Islah party and its allied tribe of Al-Ahmar, traditional power brokers in Yemen.

Also Friday, fierce clashes erupted in Ibb province, nearly 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of Sanaa between the Houthis and tribesmen allied with the Islah party, leaving eight dead, according to other security officials in the province.

The Islah Party is Yemen’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s co-founder is Abdul_Majeed al-Zindani, who is a specially designated global terrorist, and an original spiritual mentor of Osama Bin Laden.

President Obama referred to Yemen and Somalia as models of success to be emulated in Syria. And while my CSP colleague Nik Hanlon handedly covered the problems with the Somalia comparison, Yemen is indeed an apt model for comparison, although not in the way meant by the President. In Yemen the struggle is between Shia militia fighters- backed by Iran and on behalf of a President who was ousted in Western -championed Arab Spring- are advancing against the joint forces of Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. The same is true in Syria, where Muslim Brotherhood-linked fighters, such as the Islamic Front, fight side by side with Al Qaeda-linked Ahrar Al-Sham and AQ’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat al Nusra against Iranian IRGC and Shia Militias on behalf of Bashar Assad.

As in Yemen and Syria, so too in Libya, although instead of Iranian-linked Shia, the “counterrevolution” in Libya is led by a former general of Qaddafi’s, Khalifa Haftar, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt in a fight against Al Qaeda’s affiliate Ansar al-Sharia-Libya, and the Muslim Brotherhood-backed militias. The same U.A.E air force that was trumpeted as a partner in the air strikes against ISIS,  conducted air strikes against the Libyan rebels with whom the U.S. had partnered against Qaddafi. But then, in this conflict ironies abound, as when Saudi Arabia bombs the “barbaric” ISIS in airstrikes launched in part following the beheading of Americans, while engaging in a rash of beheadings of their own.

Analysts who examine the current situation as a series of national struggles in separate countries have missed the boat entirely. Everywhere across the region, scores are being settled, and battle lines being drawn and redrawn. What is at stake is not just who will be the next leader of Syria, or Libya, or Yemen. It’s who will be represented as the leader(s) of Islam. Will they be Sunni or Shia? Does ISIS represent a Kharijite deviation as the Muslim Brotherhood accuses, or are the Ikhwan a Murji’ah deviation as ISIS concludes? Do they both represent a takfiri deviation, as the governments Saudi, Egypt and U.A.E and their state-sponsored clerics declare or are these same governments the apostate regimes that ISIS/AQ/MB claim them to be?

These are deeply profound doctrinal questions which are being hashed and rehashed in online screeds over the intricacies of Shariah law, but which will ultimately be settled with violence, just as they have been historically settled for hundreds of years.

For our purposes,  we should realize that the internecine conflict currently being waged does not mean that any of these forces are ultimately pro-Western or allies to be trusted. The same governments which are fighting ISIS paid for the mosques, staffed by Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated imams, at which the current group of ISIS fighters with Western passports were educated and indoctrinated. The Syrian rebels- including Muslim Brothers, that are fighting Assad and ISIS were also providing security for an Al Qaeda cell- The so-called Khorasan Group- whose purpose was a mass casualty attack on U.S. or allied soil. The Shia militias fighting ISIS on the outskirts of Baghdad were the ones using Iranian-manufactured Explosively Formed Penetrators (EFPs) to kill hundreds of Americans. The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leading the defense of Baghdad against ISIS also taught Al Qaeda how to use truck bombs to carry out the U.S. embassy attacks.

And on and on.

The reshuffling of the deck will continue in the Middle East for the time being, and it’s important to track the players, and understand their doctrinal differences and the basis for their conflict. But that is not the same as imagining that one of them represents a trump card for the West to play.

Saudis Must Stop Exporting Extremism

1534157424 (1)ISIS Atrocities Started With Saudi Support for Salafi Hate

New York Times, By

ALONG with a billion Muslims across the globe, I turn to Mecca in Saudi Arabia every day to say my prayers. But when I visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the resting place of the Prophet Muhammad, I am forced to leave overwhelmed with anguish at the power of extremism running amok in Islam’s birthplace. Non-Muslims are forbidden to enter this part of the kingdom, so there is no international scrutiny of the ideas and practices that affect the 13 million Muslims who visit each year.

Last week, Saudi Arabia donated $100 million to the United Nations to fund a counterterrorism agency. This was a welcome contribution, but last year, Saudi Arabia rejected a rotating seat on the United Nations Security Council. This half-in, half-out posture of the Saudi kingdom is a reflection of its inner paralysis in dealing with Sunni Islamist radicalism: It wants to stop violence, but will not address the Salafism that helps justify it.

Let’s be clear: Al Qaeda, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram, the Shabab and others are all violent Sunni Salafi groupings. For five decades, Saudi Arabia has been the official sponsor of Sunni Salafism across the globe.

Most Sunni Muslims around the world, approximately 90 percent of the Muslim population, are not Salafis. Salafism is seen as too rigid, too literalist, too detached from mainstream Islam. While Shiite and other denominations account for 10 percent of the total, Salafi adherents and other fundamentalists represent 3 percent of the world’s Muslims.

Unlike a majority of Sunnis, Salafis are evangelicals who wish to convert Muslims and others to their “purer” form of Islam — unpolluted, as they see it, by modernity. In this effort, they have been lavishly supported by the Saudi government, which has appointed emissaries to its embassies in Muslim countries who proselytize for Salafism. The kingdom also grants compliant imams V.I.P. access for the annual hajj, and bankrolls ultraconservative Islamic organizations like the Muslim World League and World Assembly of Muslim Youth.

After 9/11, under American pressure, much of this global financial support dried up, but the bastion of Salafism remains strong in the kingdom, enforcing the hard-line application of outdated Shariah punishments long abandoned by a majority of Muslims. Just since Aug. 4, 19 people have been beheaded in Saudi Arabia, nearly half for nonviolent crimes.

M_Id_364974_beheadingWe are rightly outraged at the beheading of James Foley by Islamist militants, and by ISIS’ other atrocities, but we overlook the public executions by beheading permitted by Saudi Arabia. By licensing such barbarity, the kingdom normalizes and indirectly encourages such punishments elsewhere. When the country that does so is the birthplace of Islam, that message resonates.

I lived in Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city, Jidda, in 2005. That year, in an effort to open closed Saudi Salafi minds, King Abdullah supported dialogue with people of other religions. In my mosque, the cleric used his Friday Prayer sermon to prohibit such dialogue on grounds that it put Islam on a par with “false religions.” It was a slippery slope to freedom, democracy and gender equality, he argued — corrupt practices of the infidel West.

This tension between the king and Salafi clerics is at the heart of Saudi Arabia’s inability to reform. The king is a modernizer, but he and his advisers do not wish to disturb the 270-year-old tribal pact between the House of Saud and the founder of Wahhabism (an austere form of Islam close to Salafism). That 1744 desert treaty must now be nullified.

The influence that clerics wield is unrivaled. Even Saudis’ Twitter heroes are religious figures: An extremist cleric like Muhammad al-Arifi, who was banned last year from the European Union for advocating wife-beating and hatred of Jews, commands a following of 9. 4 million. The kingdom is also patrolled by a religious police force that enforces the veil for women, prohibits young lovers from meeting and ensures that shops do not display “indecent” magazine covers. In the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the religious police beat women with sticks if they stray into male-only areas, or if their dress is considered immodest by Salafi standards. This is not an Islam that the Prophet Muhammad would recognize.

Salafi intolerance has led to the destruction of Islamic heritage in Mecca and Medina. If ISIS is detonating shrines, it learned to do so from the precedent set in 1925 by the House of Saud with the Wahhabi-inspired demolition of 1,400-year-old tombs in the Jannat Al Baqi cemetery in Medina. In the last two years, violent Salafis have carried out similar sectarian vandalism, blowing up shrines from Libya to Pakistan, from Mali to Iraq. Fighters from Hezbollah have even entered Syria to protect holy sites.

Textbooks in Saudi Arabia’s schools and universities teach this brand of Islam. The University of Medina recruits students from around the world, trains them in the bigotry of Salafism and sends them to Muslim communities in places like the Balkans, Africa, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Egypt, where these Saudi-trained hard-liners work to eradicate the local, harmonious forms of Islam.

What is religious extremism but this aim to apply Shariah as state law? This is exactly what ISIS (Islamic State) is attempting do with its caliphate. Unless we challenge this un-Islamic, impractical and flawed concept of trying to govern by a rigid interpretation of Shariah, no amount of work by a United Nations agency can unravel Islamist terrorism.

Saudi Arabia created the monster that is Salafi terrorism. It cannot now outsource the slaying of this beast to the United Nations. It must address the theological and ideological roots of extremism at home, starting in Mecca and Medina. Reforming the home of Islam would be a giant step toward winning against extremism in this global battle of ideas.

New Sunni Insurgency in Iraq

20140125_map503BY :

Largely ignored by the global media, Iraq today stands on the brink of a renewed Sunni insurgency.  The emergent insurgency in Iraq is following the same sectarian pattern as the civil war in Syria and the growing violence in Lebanon. It also involves many of the same local and regional players.

The rising violence in Iraq is not, however, simply the result of a spillover from the Syrian war. It derives also from internal Iraqi dynamics. But these are themselves in significant ways comparable to the Syrian and Lebanese situations.

Over 9000 people were killed in fighting in Iraq in 2013.  This is not yet up to the levels of violence just prior to the surge, in the very worst days of the insurgency against U.S. forces and the sectarian bloodletting that accompanied it.  But it’s the highest since 2007.  This year, more than 2000 people have already lost their lives as a result of political violence in Iraq.

As of today, a coalition of Sunni insurgent groups control the city of Fallujah in Iraq’s Anbar province west of Baghdad.  The city of Ramadi  remains partially in insurgent hands, though its southern districts have been re-conquered by government forces in recent days.

Nor is the violence confined to Anbar province.  Rather, car bombings have become a near daily occurrence in Baghdad, and insurgent activity against Iraqi security forces and non-Sunni civilians is taking place in Nineveh, Mosul, Kirkuk and elsewhere in areas of high Sunni Arab population.

So who are these insurgents, and why have events in Iraq reached this crisis point?

As in Syria, a myriad of insurgent groups have emerged. But there are two main forces. These are ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and the Naqshbandi Army.

ISIS emerged in Iraq in 2004, and for a time constituted the official franchise of al-Qaeda in the country.  Under the leadership of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed by U.S. forces in 2005,  it became renowned for its brutal methods.

ISIS experienced a resurgence during the Syrian civil war, and today it controls much of Raqqa province in eastern Syria, including Raqqa city.

In February, 2014, ISIS was “expelled” from al-Qaeda because of its insanely brutal methods in northern Syria, which have included, for example, execution of civilians for smoking, and for swearing.

This movement is now an active force on the insurgent council that now governs Falluja.  Its fighters also rove freely in the vast deserts of western Anbar, making the desert highways unsafe for travelers and government forces.

Read more at Gloria Center

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Muslim anti-Semitism is only decades old, Obama claims

2014-01-17T162147Z_1_CBREA0G19GH00_RTROPTP_4_USA-EDUCATION-e1390000075233The Quran’s words created and maintain Islamic anti-Semitism, which is so ubiquitous that even sects of Sunni and Shia Muslims who are trying to kill each other agree that Jews are to blame for their fighting –  Andrew Bostom

By Neil Munro:

Experts are scoffing at President Barack Obama’s apparent belief that widespread Muslim hatred of Jews is only decades old.

“Obama reveals that he has no idea, or doesn’t want to give the impression that he has any idea, about the reality of Islamic anti-Semitism,” said Robert Spencer, the author of many books on Islamic ideas and director of Jihad Watch.

“Anti-Semitism is hard-wired into Islam,” from its origins before 700, said Andrew Bostom, author of three books about Islam, including “The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism,” which lists centuries of anti-Semitic hatred, murders, pogroms and apartheid-like discrimination.

Intellectuals, politicians and diplomats are loath to admit the centrality of anti-Semitism in Islamic beliefs, because it fuels conflict with Israel and the West and it can’t be fixed by Westerners, Bostom said. ”You’re dealing with an intractable situation, and people hate intractable situations,” he said, adding “diplomats are the worst.”

In an interview with The New Yorker magazine, Obama described the Muslim hatred of Israel as byproduct of recent fights, not as a consequence of Islam’s doctrinal objection to any Jewish government.

“With respect to Israel, the interests of Israel in stability and security are actually very closely aligned with the interests of the Sunni states,” Obama said.

The “Sunni states” are nations populated by Arabs who believe in the mainstream Sunni version of Islam. In contrast, Iran advocates the Shia version of Islam, which is endorsed by roughly 10 percent of Muslims.

“What’s preventing them from entering into even an informal alliance [against Shia-run Iran] with at least normalized diplomatic relations is not that their interests are profoundly in conflict but the Palestinian issue, as well as a long history of anti-Semitism that’s developed over the course of decades there, and anti-Arab sentiment that’s increased inside of Israel based on seeing [Jewish] buses being blown up,” Obama said.

“If you can start unwinding some of that, that creates a new equilibrium,” he said.

“The Palestinian issue,” is the refusal by Muslims to recognize the right of Jews to have a Jewish government in the historically Jewish homeland around Jerusalem.

However, the refusal to recognize Israel is entwined with Islamic anti-Semitism, which Obama claimed “has developed over the course of decades there.”

Obama’s “course of decades” comment “ignores the numerous anti-Semitic teachings of the Quran and other Islamic texts — most notably the Quran’s designation of the Jews as the worst enemies of the believers,” Spencer said.

For example, Spencer cited the fifth chapter of the Quran, which declares that “If [Jews] believed in Allah and the Prophet and that which is revealed unto him, they would not choose them for their friends. But many of them are of evil conduct. Thou wilt find the most vehement of mankind in hostility to those who believe (to be) the Jews and the idolaters.”

Read more at Daily Caller

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Andrew Bostom makes the case that Islamic anti-Semitism and the ideological motivation for jihad began with the Quran:

I was privileged to join Clare Lopez, Mark Langfan, and Dr. Walid Phares for this panel presentation jointly sponsored by The Endowment for Middle East Truth and the Center for Security Policy

Using photos, text, and clips, the video depicts how jihadism, and canonical Islamic antisemitism motivate the relentless effort to destroy the State of Israel from a shared Sunni-Shiite perspective. Featured, prominently, is an end of times messianic theme re-activated with fervor in Islam, for at least a century now, since the advent of the modern Zionist movement. Uniquely Shiite “infidel impurity” (so-called “najis”) regulations and their impact are also explored in the context of centuries of Iranian Shiite theocratic rule.

These motifs are illustrated, from the Sunni perspective by:

  • The founder of the Palestinian Arab Muslim jihadist movement, ex-Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin el-Husseini, via his 1937 proclamation seeking to galvanize the global Muslim umma (or community) for a jihad to annihilate Palestinian Jewry, a decade before modern Israel came into existence. El-Husseini’s proclamation, which some deemed a “fatwa,” hinged upon Koran 5:82, which declares that the Jew’s harbor inveterate hatred toward Muslims, and the apocalyptic canonical tradition of Islam’s prophet Muhammad that maintains the messianic age will be ushered in by the annihilation of the Jews.
  • A repetition of this end of times canonical tradition of Jew-annihilation, 75 years later, by the current Palestinian Authority Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein, during a January 9, 2012 sermon
  • A May 10, 2013 sermon at Sunni Islam’s Vatican equivalent, Al-Azhar University, and its mosque, by Muhammad Al-Mahdi, a senior scholar and head of the Sharia Association at  Al-Azhar, invoking both Koran 5:82 and the same end of times canonical tradition of Jew-annihilation
  • An October 25, 2013 interview by Sunni Islam’s Papal equivalent, Al-Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb, also invoking Koran 5:82

Doctrinal Shiite jihadism, and Islamic antisemitism in Iran, including the unique (and dehumanizing) impurity regulations, since the nation became a Shiite theocracy during the Safavid era (i.e., at the beginning of the 16thcentury), were characterized next, past as prologue to our era, and the current Rouhani Presidency. This material—the remainder and bulk of the presentation—includes:

  • A concise formulation of jihad by the jurist al-Amili (d. 1621)
  • Description of the “najis” impurity regulations by the Ayatollah Khomeini of his era, al-Majisi (d. 1699), from Majlisi’s treatise,“Lightning Bolts Against the Jews” 
  • The chronic, ugly consequences of those regulations over centuries for Jews, in particular, captured by the first hand account of French observer Claude Anet, from 1905
  • Ayatollah Khomeini’s statements on jihad, Jews and Jew-annihilation, martyrdom, and takiya, i.e., sacralized Islamic dissimulation, 1942-1989
  • Statements sanctioning Israel’s destruction by alleged “moderate” Iranian Presidents Khatami, Rafsanjani, and Rouhani
  • The disturbing views on “infidel impurity” and Jew-annihilation by much ballyhooed “Green Movement” inspiration, the late Ayatollah Ali Montazeri
  • A clear and forthright encapsulation of the Iranian regimes’ ideology vis a vis Israel—again riveting on Koran 5:82, and Islamic messianism—by current Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s representative in the Iranian Martyr Foundation, Mohammad Hassan Rahimian
  • The poignant, experientially wise observations of Iranian Jewish exile, Farideh Goldin, born (1953) and raised in the Shiraz Iran Jewish ghetto

 

How the Arab Spring Unleashed Al Qaeda

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The Arab Spring did to the Middle East what WWI did to Russia and Eastern Europe. Al Qaeda, like the Bolsheviks, plans to pick up the pieces. The new Soviet Union may be an Islamic state that stretches across the Middle East while the Salafi preachers and thugs terrorizing Europe play the role of Communist infiltrators in the West. And another world war may be here before we even know it.

By Daniel Greenfield:

Open up a national newspaper and flip to the stories about the Middle East. The daily toll of bombings and shootings, starving refugees and demolished cities have little resemblance to the cheerful stories about the transformation of the Middle East that were running during the boom days of the Arab Spring.

There isn’t much mention of the Arab Spring anymore. The same media outlets that were predicting that the Middle East was about to turn into Europe have fallen silent. They are eager to forget their own lies.

But it was the Arab Spring that unleashed this horror. The Arab Spring was not an outburst of popular democratic sentiment. It was a power struggle of a clearly sectarian nature. It was the rise of Sunni Islam under the black and white Salafist flags.

Obama and his people favored takeovers by “moderate” Salafi groups that appeared to accept Western ideas such as democracy and modernization. The “moderate” Salafis however worked closely with their “immoderate” Salafi cousins playing a game of Good Salafi and Bad Salafi with America.

The “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt opened the door for Al Qaeda in the Sinai. Its Syrian branch, along with other “moderate” Salafist militias in the Free Syrian Army, fought alongside the Al-Nusra Front which was then Al Qaeda in Syria.

The takeovers led to civil war in Egypt and Syria and escalated a sectarian regional conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. The biggest beneficiary of the Arab Spring was Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Al Qaeda in Iraq had defined itself by the killing of Shiites. Its murder of Americans took second place to its fanatical hatred of Shiites. Its killing sprees had alienated other Muslims at a time when America was seen as the central enemy. But the Arab Spring had made the Islamic terrorist group relevant again.

Iraq’s government tilted toward its Shiite roots as the Arab Spring split the region down the middle creating no room for middle ground. Peace in Iraq had depended on locking Al Qaeda out with a political alliance between Sunnis and Shiites. Bush had made that alliance temporarily work. Obama, who had repeatedly denounced the Iraq Surge, washed his hands of it as quickly as he could.

The Arab Spring helped kill what was left of that alliance as Sunni-Shiite civil wars moved the arc of history in the direction that had been carved out by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi during the Iraq War. Al Qaeda in Iraq was no longer seen as a bunch of homicidal lunatics. They had become visionaries.

The media had chosen to wipe Al Qaeda in Iraq out of the headlines after Obama’s victory. The withdrawal cemented the silence.

When Obama claimed that he needed to fight Al Qaeda in Afghanistan where it was hardly a presence, instead of in Iraq where it was still a menace; they didn’t ask many questions. Buried in the news stories were reports that Obama knew that Al Qaeda had ceased to be a major player in Afghanistan.

If Obama had been a Republican, there is no doubt that those stories would have turned into a major issue and the issue into a narrative about a president who lied about a war.

But Obama was a Democrat and those stories and the stories about Al Qaeda in Iraq escalating its attacks remained no more than background noise. Iraq was yesterday’s news. Tomorrow’s news was the Cairo speech and the Arab Spring. Terrorism was over. The tyrants were falling. A new wave of change was coming. And the region would never be the same.

Change did indeed come.

The Arab Spring split the region more sharply than ever across Shiite and Sunni lines. Syria became the fault line in the bloody end of the Arab Spring. And Al Qaeda made its biggest power play yet.

Mali showed that Afghanistan was yesterday’s news. Al Qaeda franchises no longer needed to rely on a Taliban to carve out a territory for their training camps. They could become their own Taliban and seize an entire country.

It took the French to stop them in Mali after the disastrous Libyan War; the most destructive effort at implementing the Arab Spring. But the question is who will stop Al Qaeda in Syria?

The various branches of Al Qaeda and their allies may win in Syria. And Syria is not Afghanistan. It has huge stockpiles of advanced weapons, dwarfing the Gaddafi stockpiles that have already caused a great deal of damage, not to mention the chemical and biological weapons that it will likely hold on to despite the brokered disarmament deal. Syria even had an infant nuclear program.

Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now envisions a vast territory under its rule. It is surging in Syria and Iraq and has reached into Lebanon to strike at Hezbollah. There is little to mourn about Sunni and Shiite terrorist groups killing each other, but it would be wishful thinking to imagine that a vastly expanded Al Qaeda with access to advanced weaponry and cities full of manpower will not eventually direct that weaponry at the United States.

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