Jihadists reinforce other rebels during key battle in Aleppo province

Posted February 7, 2016 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Al Nusrah, Aleppo Syria, Iranian proxies, Middle East

Tags: , , ,

Jihadists reinforce other rebels during key battle in Aleppo province, Long War Journal, February 6, 2016

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An Al Nusrah Front convoy streams into Aleppo province in late January.

Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, sent a massive convoy of fighters to the Aleppo province in late January. The jihadists’ redeployment was promoted in a short video posted on Twitter. More than 100 vehicles filled with fighters streamed into the province.

It was a harbinger of the heavy fighting to come.

Bashar al Assad’s regime, backed by Russian airstrikes, Iranian-sponsored Shiite militias and Hezbollah, launched a major offensive in Aleppo earlier this month. The fight for the province is likely the most important battle in Syria since early last year, when the Jaysh al Fateh coalition, led by Al Nusrah and Ahrar al Sham (an al Qaeda-linked jihadist group) swept through the neighboring Idlib province.

If Assad and his allies are successful it will not only allow them to lay siege to the city of Aleppo, parts of which have been controlled by the insurgents since 2012, but also to cut off Idlib. Assad wants to secure the northern part of the province, which borders Turkey and houses vital supply routes for the insurgency.

The Syrian government claims to have made gains in pursuit of this objective in recent days.

The Syrian Army, “in cooperation with” paramilitary groups, “restored security and stability to Rityan and Mair towns in the northern countryside of Aleppo province,” Assad’s propaganda arm, SANA, claimed on Feb. 5.

The purported gains came two days after SANA reported that the Syrian Army and its allies “broke the siege imposed on Nubbul and al-Zahra towns by terrorist organizations.” SANA claimed that “[s]cores of terrorists were killed, most of them from [Al Nusrah Front] during the operations.” Nubbul and al-Zahra are both Shiite-majority towns in the northern part of Aleppo.

There is an ebb and flow to the fighting in Aleppo, as elsewhere, making it difficult to tell if the government’s gains are lasting, or just temporary. For example, although SANA says Rityan has been retaken from the insurgents, Al Nusrah continues to post images from the fighting there.

And although SANA says all of the opposition to the government in Aleppo comes from “terrorist organizations,” the reality is more complex. Jihadist groups such as Al Nusrah are partnering with other rebel organizations, including Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Islamist factions, in an attempt to thwart the Syrian government’s advances.

The opposition in Aleppo

One of the strongest rebel groups in Aleppo is the Nur al-Din al-Zanki Movement. Members of Zanki and Al Nusrah clashed at a checkpoint in late September and early October of last year. Zanki’s “political bureau” then denounced Al Nusrah in tweets that were published in both English and Arabic. However, the infighting did not lead to a permanent rift between the two. Instead, Zanki complied with Al Nusrah’s demands and quickly apologized.

In a statement written in Arabic and released on social media, Zanki said its criticism of Al Nusrah did “not represent the [Zanki] movement’s official position…and we owe [an] exoneration of our brothers from what was attributed to them – accusations, insinuations, and slander [libel] – to God Almighty, and we only think properly of them.”

The “relationship between us and our [Nusrah] brothers is proceeding on even better terms than what it was in the past, and this incident which occurred between us and our [Nusrah] brothers will not deter us from vigorously continuing to strengthen the bond of Islamic brotherhood between us and them, and which obligates us – religiously – to cooperate and combine efforts and fight off the aggressor enemy,” Zanki’s apology continued.

The statement ended with a call for both Zanki and Al Nusrah “to [ensure] that the only judgment in any dispute between us should be based on religious law.”

Zanki is not al Qaeda. But as the skirmish with Al Nusrah demonstrated, Zanki does not want to offend al Qaeda’s men, cooperates with them on the battlefield and believes in a version of “religious law” (sharia) that is at least similar to Al Nusrah’s.

Despite its adherence to an Islamist ideology and alliance with Al Nusrah, Zanki has received American-made TOW missiles, which it has used against both the Assad regime and the Islamic State.

Another Islamist organization in Aleppo is Faylaq al Sham (Sham Legion), which fought as part of the Jaysh al Fateh coalition in Idlib. In early January, however, Faylaq al Sham announced that it was leaving Jaysh al Fateh to concentrate on the fighting in Aleppo. The group subsequently merged with others to form the “North Brigade” in Aleppo.

In late December, Sheikh Umar Huzaifa, a senior Faylaq al Sham official, was one of 38 ideologues who signed a statement proclaiming that jihad is an “individual obligation” for all Muslims “in situations like this.” The statement’s signatories, who belong to the “Association of Scholars in Sham,” portrayed the war in Syria as one pitting a “Crusader-Zionist-Safawi [Shiites and Iranians]” alliance against Sunni Muslims.

The association’s scholars claimed it “is no longer hidden from our Beloved Ummah [community of worldwide Muslims] what has reached the land of Sham with the rushing forward of the entire nations of Kufr [disbelief] against it,” because it “has become manifest in the Crusader-Zionist-Safawi coalition rushing to eliminate the revolution of the people of Sham and their blessed jihad.” The “battle of Sham has become a decisive battle against the nations of Kufr,” the statement continued, as the rebels’ enemies “gather to establish the Rafidhi [rejectionist] Shia to fulfill their drawn up plans for their (Shia) crescent (on the map) and to eliminate” Sunni belief in Syria and elsewhere.

Other signatories on the statement issued by the “Association of Scholars in Sham” included Sheikh Abdallah Muhammad al Muhaysini (an al Qaeda-affiliated cleric and “judge” in Jaysh al Fateh), members of Al Nusrah Front and Ahrar al Sham, Sheikh Sirajuddin Zurayqat (emir of the al Qaeda-linked and Lebanon-based Abdullah Azzam Brigades), as well as a number of other officials.

The battle for Aleppo is a complex, multi-sided affair. The organizations discussed above are just some of those fighting on the ground. The Islamic State, the Kurds, and the Western-backed Syrian Democratic Forces all have a presence.

Another group is Liwa Suqour al Jabal, which has reportedly received assistance from the CIA. Liwa Suqour al Jabal fights in Aleppo and has been targeted in Russian airstrikes.

“The Russian (air) cover continues night and day, there were more than 250 air strikes on this area in one day,” Hassan Haj Ali, the leader of Liwa Suqour al Jabal, told Reuters in an interview. “The regime is now trying to expand the area it has taken control of,” Ali explained. “Now the northern countryside (of Aleppo) is totally encircled, and the humanitarian situation is very difficult.”

The fight for Aleppo may very well shape the course of the war. And as the battle has raged on, jihadists have called for even more reinforcements. Sheikh Muhaysini, a popular jihadist cleric, has repeatedly urged Muslims to join the rebel’s ranks and for the existing insurgent organizations to unite under a common banner.

It remains to be seen if the jihadists, Islamists and other rebels can thwart the Assad regime’s advances.

Russian hands-off warning to US, Saudis, Turks amid crucial Aleppo battle

Posted February 6, 2016 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Aleppo Syria, Assad, Foreign policy, Iran - Syria war, Islamic State, No fly zone, Obama and Syria, Russia - Syrian war, Saudi Arabia, Turkey

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Russian hands-off warning to US, Saudis, Turks amid crucial Aleppo battle, DEBKAfile, February 6, 2016

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The five-year Syrian civil war, faces its most critical moment. Saturday, Feb. 6, a combined force of Syrian army and Hizballah troops and an Iraqi Shiite militia under Iranian officers, were led by Russian air and Spetsnaz (special forces) officers into pressing forward to encircle 35,000 rebels trapped in Aleppo, the country’s largest city. As they tightened the siege, 400,000 Syrian civilians were also trapped and forced to bear heavy Russian air bombardment and savage artillery fire from the ground forces closing in on the city.

Rebel supply routes were cut off Thursday and Friday when Syrian and Hizballah forces captured the Azaz Corridor connecting Aleppo and all of the northern province of Idlib to the Turkish border.

Tens of thousands of refugees fleeing from the beleaguered town are massing at Bab al-Salama, the last Turkish border crossing to be closed against them. This is the largest Syrian refugee exodus since the start of the civil war.

The rebels under siege are painfully short of weaponry for fighting off the massive, combined offensive, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Their only remaining recourse is to surrender or be ground into submission as the conquering force knocks over their positions and takes over street after street.

Once the combined forces fighting with Bashar Assad’s army take Aleppo and northern Syria, the opposition will have suffered its heaviest defeat since the war began. The rebels groups’ capacity to continue fighting the regime will be gravely diminished.

Their desperate plight – and the fresh surge of Syrian refugees in unmanageable numbers – cut short the conference in Geneva for a settlement of the Syrian conflict, before it got underway – and prompted reactions from sponsors of rebel groups.

In Riyadh, Brig, Gen. Ahmed Asiri, adviser to Saudi Defense Minister Muhammed Bin Salman, announced Friday that Saudi Arabia is ready “to participate in any ground operations that the international coalition launches against ISIS.” This offer was taken as a veiled response to the SOS from the rebel stronghold in Aleppo.

In Washington, State Department circles, in a briefing to US media, said the time had come to establish a no-fly security zone in northern Syria. They said: “Once a zone were established we do not believe Russia would challenge the stronger US and NATO forces, particularly if they were operating mainly from Turkey.”

The next day, Friday, Moscow came back with a sharp response: Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said: “Russian air defense systems enable early detection of threats to Russian aircraft flying combat missions over Syria and provide adequate measures to ensure flight safety.”

This was a reminder of the sophisticated air defense S-400 and S-300 missile systems Russia installed at its Syrian air base after the Turkish air force downed a Russian warplane in November.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem put it more crudely: “Any foreign troops entering Syria would return home in wooden coffins.”

He advised armed opposition groups fighting the government offensive in the area to lay down their weapons because, he said, “government advances signal that the five-year-old Syria war is nearing its end.”

Saturday, US Secretary of State John Kerry urged Russia to implement a ceasefire in Syria, saying its bombing campaign was killing women and children in large numbers and “has to stop.” He told reporters on his return from a trip to Europe: “Russia has indicated to me very directly they are prepared to do a ceasefire,” adding “The Iranians confirmed in London just a day and a half ago they will support a ceasefire now.”

DEBKAfile’s military sources have seen no sign of any ceasefire or even a slowdown in the Russian-led Syrian-Iranian Aleppo offensive.

Live from Dresden and Europe : Pegida calls for the right to defend all European nations + Update

Posted February 6, 2016 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

All over Europa are demonstrations today , I will post updates as more info comes available.

As much possible in English

There  will be anti Pegida demonstrations as suspected .

Supporters of the Pegida” (PEGIDA) will be back in Dresden today to demonstrate. There will also be held in many other European cities demonstrations by anti-Islam and antirefugee movements. Everywhere at demonstrations expected. European protests following the signing of the so-called “Prague Declaration“, an agreement between antiIslamic groups in Europe in late January 2016 was drawn up at a meeting in Prague. The coalition called “Fortress Europearose during the meeting and required the groups committed to oppose the political Islam”, reject their European central government, the right to defend all European nations and their sovereignty and their borders guard.

Live Amsterdam .

https://www.rtvnh.nl/nieuws/179317/live-anti-pegida-demonstratie-in-centrum-amsterdam

 

War zone Amsterdam

Our capital today was the scene of two demonstrations: one of Pegida and one of the leftwing that started a counter-demonstration. By the Mayor of Amsterdam conveniently organized within 500 meters of each other.

PEGIDA Protesters Defy Ban, Clash with Police in Calais

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/02/06/pegida-protesters-defy-ban-clash-with-police-in-calais/

PICTURES: PEGIDA UK Hold First March in Birmingham

http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/02/06/pegida-uk-marches-in-complete-silence-through-birmingham/

Reclaim Australia Rally drowns out counter protesters

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/reclaim-australia-rally-drowns-out-counter-protesters-20160206-gmnezn.html

Italy

France

Police repeatedly instructed demonstrators to disperse, before deploying tear gas. As the crowd broke up, several protesters tangled with police, and about 10 were taken into custody. Among those arrested was General Christian Piquemal, the former commander of the French Foreign Legion, who had planned to address the rally.

Lot more here .

https://www.rt.com/news/331586-pegida-anti-migrant-demonstrations-europe/

 

 

 

 

 

 

US calls for immediate halt to Russian airstrikes in Syria

Posted February 6, 2016 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

US calls for immediate halt to Russian airstrikes in Syria

WASHINGTON – Anadolu Agency

February/06/2016

Source: US calls for immediate halt to Russian airstrikes in Syria – INTERNATIONAL

AA photo

AA photo

Russian airstrikes in Syria should be halted, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Feb. 5, adding that humanitarian access talks are ongoing.

“Russia is using what are called free-fall bombs – dumb bombs,” he told reporters at the State Department. “They are not precision bombs, and there are civilians, including women and children, being killed in large numbers as a consequence.”

“This has to stop,” he said.

The latest effort to bring Syria’s warring parties to the negotiating table was suspended earlier this week without any meaningful progress on ending the war, or improving humanitarian access in the country.

But Kerry insisted that cease-fire talks are underway to provide humanitarian access to the country’s besieged areas.

He said the coming days would determine “whether or not people are serious, or people are not serious.”

The Syrian government’s recent advances near the northern city of Aleppo could worsen the country’s already dire humanitarian crisis, the White House said.

“Our principal concern about Aleppo right now is there’s the possibility that government forces backed by the Russians would encircle that city and essentially lay siege to that city,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

“That would obviously exacerbate a terrible humanitarian situation there.”

Backed by allied militias including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and supported by Russian airstrikes, Syrian government forces have made a number of advances on rebel-held towns near Aleppo, most recently taking cities to the north – cutting rebel supply lines to Turkey.

Noting the potential detrimental effects of the offensive for a potential political transition, Earnest said, “the more confident the Assad regime gets in terms of their hold on power, the less of an incentive they have to engage constructively in the political process.”

Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, has long been a key battleground. Rebel fighters launched an offensive on the northern city in 2012, and it has since been contested by the government, various rebel groups, Kurdish forces and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

A Syrian government siege of the city could potentially leave tens of thousands of civilians without basic necessities.

While he wouldn’t rule out humanitarian aid drops for civilians, Earnest said that the U.S. is focused “on trying to get the kind of cease-fire that would allow aid organizations to provide that relief and that assistance on the ground.”

“You can move a lot more through a convoy of trucks than you can through pallets that are dropped out of a military transport aircraft,” he said.

Thousands of civilians have already fled Aleppo fearing coming conflict.

 

Trump’s Ban on Muslims: The Discussion the Media Won’t Have

Posted February 6, 2016 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

Trump’s Ban on Muslims: The Discussion the Media Won’t Have

by Salim Mansur

February 6, 2016 at 5:00 am

Source: Trump’s Ban on Muslims: The Discussion the Media Won’t Have

  • Trumps call to ban the entry of Muslims to the U.S. seemed to indicate that it should be temporary, until the American leadership has figured out what in the complex reality of the Muslim world – religious, political, economic, cultural, and so on– contributes to turning a significant portion of Muslims into jihadi operatives at war with the United States.
  • Despite numerous terrorist attacks carried out by extremist Muslims inside the United States, Americans have not turned against their Muslim neighbors; on the contrary, Americans and Europeans in general have continued to be accommodating, tolerant, even protective, of Muslims in their midst, in keeping with their secular and liberal democratic values.
  • Americans have watched the unabated spread of terrorism and warfare in the name of Islam; the intensity of hatred in Muslim countries directed towards the United States; the attacks on Americans by extremist Muslims, and the betrayals by Muslim countries that have been receiving American assistance, such as Pakistan.
  • The elite in Muslim-majority states is mostly, if not entirely, responsible for the wretched state of affairs that has left those states at the bottom of the list of countries when measured in terms of economic development, human rights, gender equality, education, freedom and democracy.
  • For the elite in third world societies, a getaway to America has meant a readily available exit to avoid being held accountable for their misdeeds.
  • Herein lies the irony of a Trump’s proposed ban: it would greatly affect the Muslim elite and, consequently, compel them to begin taking responsibility for how they have mismanaged their societies and impoverished their people.

On December 7, 2015, U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign released a press statement calling “for a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our representatives can figure out what is going on.” He was publicly saying what an increasing number of Americans over the years have apparently begun to think about Muslims and Islam in terms of the “clear and present” danger to their security and their country.

A press release explained the reason for the ban:

“Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims (sic) of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.”

A few days after the San Bernardino massacre carried out by jihadists Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik (left), Donald Trump (right) called for “a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our representatives can figure out what is going on.” (Trump photo by Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons)

Immediately there was a chorus of denunciation of Trump by his political opponents — both Democrats and Republicans — as well as the White House. Support for Trump among Republican primary voters, however, spiked upwards.

A few days before Trump made his call for banning Muslims, the Former Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair, described the extent to which ISIS, or Daesh, unless defeated, poses a serious security threat to the West. ISIS-controlled territory in Iraq and Syria is now as large as the United Kingdom; its influence reaches far beyond, into North and sub-Saharan Africa, Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and even Southeast Asia.

Blair stated — after the ritual statement, that

“Islam, as practiced and understood by the large majority of believers, is a peaceful and honourable faith. … a large majority of Muslims completely reject Daesh-like Jihadism and the terrorism which comes with it”:

“However, in many Muslim countries large numbers also believe that the CIA or Jews were behind 9/11. Clerics who proclaim that non-believers and apostates must be killed or call for Jihad against Jews have twitter followings running into millions.”

Despite the reality that Blair described, there still remains much reluctance among politicians in the West to speak frankly about the deep-seated problems of the Muslim world, especially in North Africa and the Middle East. These problems have made violence endemic, and the living conditions of most people in terror-affected regions unbearable. This politically correct reluctance to hold the Muslims who commit violence accountable for the threats they pose to others, has become, over time, untenable.

Superficially, political correctness seems like a kind-hearted civility towards others and empathy with the less fortunate. At a deeper level, however it represents a self-serving uneasiness at possibly being thought judgmental or branded as bigot. At the very deepest level, it is an insult: it infantilizes a vast group of people, as one assumed they were mentally or emotionally incompetent, incapable of take responsibility for their own lives by themselves. In politics, just as self-serving, the reluctance to speak up doubtless springs from the fear of not snagging every possible vote.

Since 9/11, Americans have grown increasingly curious about Muslims and Islam. They seem to have wanted to learn about the culture, politics and history of the Muslim world.

The same cannot be said about Muslims. They do not seem to want to acquire a deeper understanding about America and the West.

There also seems to be a disconnect between Americans in general, and the reflexively politically correct establishment, along with the mainstream media. As Americans watched, President Obama and his administration have engaged in euphemisms to speak about Muslim terrorists or Islamic extremism. Instead, they are referred to as “man-caused disasters” or “workplace violence,” while the “global war on terror” was replaced by “overseas contingency operations.”

The coddling of Muslims and Islam, the fear of giving offense that might fuel more Muslim violence, became the hallmark of the Obama Administration. Even as the situation in the Middle East and the surrounding region radically worsened, the Obama Administration adopted a policy of appeasing Muslims instead of challenging or confronting them.

Trump not only exploited this disconnect to his advantage, but also indicated his intention to reassess America’s relationship with the Muslim world. An examination of the West’s partnership with the Middle East is much needed. “It is where,” in Blair’s words, “the heart of Islam beats.”

ii.

It is important to note that Trump’s call is not directed at Islam, but at Muslims — a subtle yet important distinction that got obscured in the controversy on the subject. The ban is, after all, conditional — until the American people and their government have figured out what in the complex reality of the Muslim world — religious, political, economic and cultural — contributes to turning a significant portion of Muslims into jihadi operatives at war against the United States (especially those from the Middle East, North Africa and Southwest Asia).

In making the distinction between Muslims and Islam — the people, not the religion — Trump avoided getting into the weeds of theological debates on Islam. Islam, to many of its critics, is seen as the source of the problem: less of as a religion and more of as a totalitarian ideology.

It is doubtful, however, if such debates have any meaning for the roughly 1.7 billion Muslims, whose numbers are steadily increasing, in terms of undermining their belief in Islam. Such debates mocking what they hold sacred only mock what they hold sacred, and provoke that segment of the Muslim population readily given to rage and violence.

However, a message is being sent: that unless many Muslims can change demonstrably to accept and abide by the social and political norms of American democracy, they may be excluded from entering the United States as immigrants.

This message goes beyond the immediate concerns about vetting for security purposes the Syrian refugees fleeing the devastations of the civil war in their countries: It raises the stakes for Muslims wishing to emigrate to the United States.

This view, if you think about it, is not outrageous. It is, and should be, the right of a nation to insist on the sovereignty of its borders, and to decide who may or may not enter the country. Indeed, in accordance with the existing U.S. laws, the President is constitutionally empowered under Title 8 (Aliens and Nationality) of the U.S. Code, section 1182, to decide who is inadmissible into the country. It is likely, however, that eventually the higher courts may have to decide.

In the meantime, the Muslim world has been put on notice that immigrating to the United States it may no longer be “business as usual” for everyone. Rather, the statement should probably be seen as a warning that the time might have come for Muslims and their governments to examine their share of responsibility in the making of such a ban on Muslims entering America.

iii.

The threats from, and the carnage brought about by, extremist Muslims bent upon pushing their global Jihad continue, more or less unchecked. While the emergence of ISIS has destabilized the Middle East and the surrounding region, the specter of radical Islam now hangs ominously over Europe. Tony Blair also said:

“The impact of terrorism is never simply about the tragedy of lives lost. It is the sense of instability, insecurity and fear that comes in its wake…And in the case of nations like ours, with our proud and noble traditions of tolerance and liberty, it makes those very strengths seem like weaknesses in the face of an onslaught that cares nothing for our values and hates our way of life.”

Since the attacks of 9/11/2001, Americans have watched how Western democracies have been overly sensitive in not smearing or profiling all Muslims in countering the violence and terror of the extremist Muslims in their midst. Americans accepted with little protest the extent to which their open and free lifestyle was altered due to security concerns after those attacks. Since then, despite terrorist attacks carried out by extremist Muslims inside the United States, Americans did not turn against their Muslim neighbors. On the contrary, Americans and Europeans, in keeping with their secular and liberal democratic values, have continued to be incredibly accommodating, tolerant, and even protective of the Muslims in their midst.

Americans have also watched the broadening spread of terrorism and warfare in the name of Islam; the intensity of hatred in Muslim countries directed towards the United States; the attacks on American missions; the kidnapping and murder of American citizens by extremist Muslims, and the double-dealing and betrayal by Muslim countries receiving American assistance, such as Pakistan.

They have watched the physical destruction in the Middle East of Christian communities among the oldest in the world; the massacre of Yezidis and other minorities in Syria and Iraq, and of the attacks on Coptic Christians of Egypt whose presence in the Nile valley pre-dates the arrival of Arabs as Muslims in the seventh century, C.E.

Americans have watched the unremitting violence of Palestinians against Jews in Israel, and have heard – and keep hearing — the bile of anti-Semitic racism flood forth from the mouths of political leaders, such as former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, from mosque pulpits across the Muslim world, from sanctimonious Europeans and from the viciously bigoted United Nations.

All the while, Americans have waited to hear Muslims in their midst — safe and secure from the savagery across the Middle East and North Africa — step forward in credible numbers to condemn the perpetrators of such horrific violence. Often they are happy to denounce “violence,” but almost never by naming names. The failure to do so raises suspicions — not surprisingly — that maybe most Muslims are in favor of such actions.

Meaningful condemnations, to be taken seriously by non-Muslims, could then become the prelude to repudiating those interpretations of Islam that provide for the incitement and justification of violence through jihad.

If Americans, and others in the West, heard Muslims in America more or less unanimously denounce jihadi violence and repudiate the interpretations of Islam that call for warfare against non-Muslims as infidels, this would be doubly reassuring. There would be the promise that American Muslims – secure in their new world home and secure in their faith protected in America – have the confidence, like Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to call for reforming Islam, as well as reconciling their belief with modern science and democracy. Americans could see that that Muslims in America are loyal Americans, pledged to defend, protect, and abide by the American constitution.

Instead, organizations claiming to represent American Muslims, such as the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and many local imams or religious leaders in mosques across America, continually appear in media defending Muslims as victims of anti-Islamic bigotry or explaining away Muslim violence and terror as misguided and nothing to do with the “true” teachings of Islam – when neither could be farther from the truth.

Moreover, these organizations are publicly committed to the demand that the American government and courts allow Muslims in America to live in accordance with the code of Islamic laws, Sharia. Again, Americans have not heard from a sufficient numbers Muslims who reject such divisive and regressive demands pushed by CAIR or ISNA in their name.

CAIR, ISNA, and other similar Muslim organizations — either based in mosques, or organized with the support of mosques and offshore money from oil-rich Middle Eastern countries — have their origin in the ideology and politics of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), founded in Egypt in the 1920s by Hassan al-Banna. His theological innovation was to turn the idea of jihad, or holy war, against non-believers into the organizing principle of his movement. Jihad would reconstitute post-colonial Muslim societies, such as Egypt, on the basis of Sharia and re-establish the institution of the Caliphate abolished by Mustafa Kemal [Ataturk] of Turkey when the Ottoman Empire was dismantled after World War I.

In recent months, beginning with Egypt under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Arab member-states of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) — led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and supported by Saudi Arabia — declared the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization in collusion with ISIS. This conclusion apparently has not registered with CAIR and ISNA in America. There has been no sign of American Muslims stepping forth in appreciably large numbers to denounce the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization and dissociate themselves from the Muslim Brotherhood and all Muslim organizations with links to it.

Americans, driven by their own, have learned since 9/11 that although all Muslims are not terrorists, most terrorists in the news turn out to be Muslims. They have also observed that there is a sufficiently large segment of Muslims sympathetic to whichever cause these terrorists espouse in their attempts to justify their violence. Americans have similarly learned that while Islam is a world religion with a rich and complex history, there is also an aspect in Islam — although it is not unique to Islam that sanctions violence against non-believers — both as a defensive measure and to spread Islam beyond its traditional frontiers.

When Trump announced that he would ban Muslims entering America until the representatives of American people have figured out why Muslims hate America, he was speaking for a large number of Americans, even perhaps a majority.

The failing of Muslims in America to take a clear stand against terrorism; and against the parts of Islamic theology that incites and justifies violence against non-believers in Islam. Sadly, Jew-hatred and anti-Christian bigotry have become the signature of Muslim extremists, and have contributed to the rising suspicion among Americans that many Muslims are disloyal to America after making it their home.

iv.

Any ban on Muslims entering America would hurt most severely the upper fifth segment of Muslims in their countries. This segment of the Muslim population forms the elite, and this elite is mostly, if not entirely, responsible for the wretched state of affairs that has left the Muslim majority states languishing at the bottom of the list of countries terms of economic development, human rights, gender equality, education, freedom, democracy, or any other criterion.

Immigrating to America became for Muslims belonging to the elite segment of their societies the pathway to escape the anger and frustration of the people as their living conditions worsened. In third world societies, a get-away to America has meant for the elite a readily available exit to avoid being held accountable for their misdeeds.

Herein lies the irony of a U.S. ban: those it would affect most are the Muslim elite, and it would consequently compel them to begin taking responsibility for how they have mismanaged their societies and impoverished their people.

A U.S. ban would set the precedent for other Western democracies to follow, and thereby instill a positive external pressure for the reform from inside Islam and Muslim societies, and greatly assist the efforts of the many Muslims working to reform Islam.

Positive changes in repressive societies could take place the same way as after the signing of the human rights section of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Helsinki Accords provided indispensable support from the outside to human rights activists as well as to dissidents inside the communist states of Eastern Europe.

Eventually the pressure on the Soviet Union and its East European allies to abide by the human rights section of the Accords they had signed dramatically accelerated the end of the Cold War, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union. “Rarely,” Henry Kissinger wrote in Years of Renewal, “has a diplomatic process so illuminated the limitations of human foresight.”

Until now, there has been no coordinated effort by Western democracies to put pressure on Muslim countries to abide by the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to which they, as member-states of the United Nations, are signatories. Instead, Western democracies have continued to accommodate Muslim states even as their governments failed to abide by the UDHR, violated human rights of their people, made war, engaged in genocide, and raised and armed terrorists who spread terror by attacking non-Muslim states.

In his final State of the Union address to the American people on January 12, 2016, President Barack Obama spoke about how his administration is engaged in containing, degrading, and defeating “terrorist networks.” What he did not mention were the repeated atrocities committed by Muslim terrorists within the United States, the most recent of which, under his watch, being the massacre in San Bernardino. He did not express the outrage most Americans must have felt watching the attacks on Christian communities of the Middle East, the killing of Christians and minorities by ISIS, the destruction of churches, ancient sites, and works of art from pre-Islamic times in the region. He also did not acknowledge the revulsion Americans must have felt seeing videos of people drowned or burned alive, or having their throats slit by ISIS. These atrocities do not even include ISIS buying and selling kidnapped women and children from minority communities as sex slaves – and all (accurately) in the name of unreformed Islam.

Instead, President Obama said:

“[W]e need to reject any politics – any politics – that targets people because of race or religion. Let me just say this. This is not a matter of political correctness. This is a matter of understanding just what it is that makes us strong…When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn’t make us safer. That’s not telling it like it is. It’s just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world.”

Obama was engaged in coddling Muslims in the mistaken belief that displaying respect for, and muting criticism of, their faith and them would help to repair the broken friendship between America and the world of Muslims. This was the same message Obama had taken to Cairo, Egypt, soon after his inauguration in 2009, seemingly trying to demonstrate through public diplomacy his own understanding of Islam that his presidency would write a new and better chapter of American-Muslim relations.

But this promise of healing America’s relationship with the Muslim world now, in the eighth and final year of Obama’s term as president, has not materialized. For this failure, Americans cannot be faulted. On the contrary, Americans have watched the situation within the Middle East and the surrounding region dramatically worsen, and the malady of failed Muslim states, with the problems Muslim refugees brought with them to Europe, be exported to the West.

This is why Americans in general – unlike their own elite in politics, business, the media or academia – have not been outraged by calls to ban Muslims from entering the United States. Trump has expressed publicly what many Americans might privately be thinking would be a circumspect thing to do — as Trump stated, until Americans have figured out what makes many Muslims hate America with such an intensity that they turn to violence and murder.

Until then, a ban on immigration might at last compel Muslims to examine their own ills and start working to remedy them. This certainly — both for Muslims and non-Muslims –could be only for the good.

Salim Mansur is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute. He teaches in the department of political science at Western University in London, Ontario. He is the author of Islam’s Predicament: Perspectives of a Dissident Muslim and Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism.

Turkish military launches large air campaign on PKK targets in northern Iraq

Posted February 6, 2016 by joopklepzeiker
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,

Turkish military launches large air campaign on PKK targets in northern Iraq Uğur Ergan

– ANKARA

February/06/2016

Source: Turkish military launches large air campaign on PKK targets in northern Iraq – CRIME

The Turkish military has launched a wide-scale air campaign on the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in northern Iraq.

The operation which started on Feb. 3 continued on Feb. 4, military sources have told Hürriyet.

Unmanned areal vehicles, fuel feed planes and AWACS surveillance jets accompanied Turkish Air Force F-4E and F-16 jets during strikes on the PKK targets in the neighboring country, the sources said.

Some 40 jets that took of for bases in Diyarbakır, Malatya, Bandırma, Ankara-Akıncı and Merzifon his some 100 targets on the Kandil Mountain, known as ground for the PKK headquarters, on Feb. 3 before they bombed four other points else than Kandil the next day, they said.

Some 50 targets, including a group of PKK members who were in a meeting, were hit on the second day of the operation.

The same sources said PKK targets in Turkey’s Hakkari in the southeast were also hit on Feb. 4.

 

Hezbollah tries to shift attention to the West Bank

Posted February 5, 2016 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Hezbollah, Iranian proxies, Israel, West Bank

Tags: , , ,

Hezbollah tries to shift attention to the West Bank, Long War Journal, February 5, 2016

Hezbolla Gaza

Israeli security forces announced last week their dismantling of a five-man terror cell from the West Bank city of Tulkarem, jihadists who were recruited by Hezbollah’s secretive Unit 133. The men were instructed to gather intelligence information on Israel Defense Forces (IDF) training facilities for attacks and prepare a bomb for use in a suicide operation against civilians. The foiled plot was Hezbollah’s latest attempt to stir up Israeli-Palestinian violence, exploiting the conflict to improve its tarnished image while bogging down Israeli forces in a battlefield far from its home base.

Hezbollah established Unit 133 in the early 2000s, to focus its operations on Israeli targets both domestically and across the Middle East and Europe. Unit 133 relies primarily on human intelligence activity, luring recruits with money. Due to the nature and purpose of the Unit’s activities, it does not exclusively draw on Shia Muslims for recruitment. Recruits are given broad security and military training, charged with recruiting new assets as well as intelligence collection, target acquisition, surveillance, reconnaissance, managing sources and establishing cover stories.

For its operations within Israel, the unit was tasked with recruiting intelligence assets and terror operatives from among Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel’s Arab citizens. To accomplish that, it turned to Lebanese drug dealers who work with Israeli-Arab smugglers.

Unit 133 has been linked to previous attempts, some unsuccessful, to carry out attacks within Israel. In April 2012, for example, it tried to smuggle 24 C-4 explosive devices, M-16 rifles and other weapons past Israel’s border with Lebanon through Israeli-Arab smugglers. The goal was to have one of the Unit’s cells within Israel use the materials to carry out a mass-casualty attack, but the attempt was foiled by Israel’s Shin Bet security services before they reached their intended recipients. Last summer, Israeli security forces arrested Hezbollah operative Hassan Khalil Hizrana dual Lebanese-Swedish citizen, at Ben-Gurion Airport. Hizran was to report on the airport’s security procedures, recruit Israeli Arabs with ties to Israeli civilians or military personnel, and gather intelligence on military targets.

This newest cell, taken down last week, was put together and funded by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah’s son, Jawad. He instructed the men to recruit more Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, providing them with $5,000 to acquire the necessary weapons and materials for the intended attacks.

Israeli security officials said the cell hoped to reignite the months-long wave of Palestinian violence that has waned in recent weeks. Hezbollah likely hoped the attacks would be the catalyst for turning the violence into a real Intifada, or uprising, on par with the bloody Al-Aqsa Intifada of the early 2000s. Beyond simply killing Israelis, Hezbollah has much to gain from such a heightened level of violence.

For one, full-blown violence would refocus the ire of Sunni Arabs (particularly the wealthy Gulf states) on what they insist is the “central cause” of the Arabs – Palestine – and away from Hezbollah and its Iranian masters. Sparking another Intifada would also improve Hezbollah’s image on the Arab street, allaying some of the anger directed at it over its involvement in the Syrian civil war. It would allow Hezbollah to portray itself as primarily fighting Israel, while – unlike during the 2006 war – keeping the fight away from Lebanese soil.

Finally, if Israel were once again plagued with frequent Palestinian suicide bombings and large-scale attacks as in the early 2000s,  the IDF would become bogged down again in counter-terror operations in the West Bank, severely reducing its ability to act against Hezbollah – either in Lebanon or Syria.


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