Category Archives: Terrorism

Just Who Are the Terrorists? Playing the Field in the Middle East……..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

“Syria: Israel coordinated attack with Islamist militants, giving air support to Nusra assault on Quneitra…… The Syrian army claimed that the Israeli airstrikes coincided with an attack by Islamist militants on the same positions. The Syrian army said it seemed the two attacks were coordinated and that the attack by Israeli military helicopters supported the Nusra Front’s assault on a Quneitra suburb………”  Haaretz (a very lonely Israeli newspaper)

Middle East wars used to be simple clear-cut affairs (with one particular side persistently led by simpletons). Arabs against Israelis. Iraqis against Iranians. Americans against Iraqi Baathists. Saudis against Yemenis.
Now things have become confused and confusing: various parties and regimes and groups two-time or three-time each other. Everybody plays the field now.

Now we have Al Nusra, the local franchise of Al Qaeda reportedly getting some cover from Israeli forces (Arab media and pro-Syrian media have been noting that for months now). Yes, that same Al Qaeda, the one that attacked the USA and killed about 3,000 Americans, to start with (most of the perpetrators were Saudis terrorists). The same Wahhabis that perpetrated the Boston attack, San Bernardino, and Orlando, as well as Paris, Nice, London, Brussels. And the daily attacks in Iraq, Pakistan, and the bombings in Kuwait and Tehran. And more. The same Wahhabis whose clerics have often claimed that Jews are “descendants of apes and pigs“.

Mr. Trump, of course, has a different view of history. He stood in the capital of Wahhabism and pointed his greedy fat finger across the Persian Gulf and declared that the mullahs on Iran are responsible for terrorism in the world.

Like I said, anything is possible in the Middle East these days. Just look at the predicament of Qatar and the GCC.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Post-Mosul Future of MENA Wars: Our Week of Escalated Bombings in Islamistan….

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

Recent events of this past week point to the possible future of political developments in the Middle East and North Africa:

  • In Turkey, we saw Yet another huge terrorist bombing in the largest historic city of the country. More fallout from Mr. Erdogan’s Syrian and Iraqi adventures. Another terrorist bombing in Istanbul: at least 39 dead, many more wounded.
  • In Egypt, the terror campaign has dramatically escalated, and well beyond the Sinai Peninsula. First a group of security officers were bombed yesterday. Then today, Sunday, a new first: the largest Church of the country, the Orthodox Coptic headquarters of their Pope was bombed, killing more than 25, wounding more. A serious and dangerous escalation in a country on the brink of confessional and sectarian breakdown. Just imagine a Syria or an Iraq with three times the population.
  • In Yemen, a terrorist bombing attack in Aden reportedly killed at least 50. Reportedly the “victims” mostly soldiers and security of the deposed Hadi regime.
  • In Syria and Iraq the killing just goes on. Daily bombings of civilian targets in Iraqi towns continue. Mostly Shi’a targets, but not exclusively so (twin bombings in mostly-Sunni Fallujah today). Thus feeding the Salafist Wahhabi goal of fanning sectarian flames.

Further away from the MENA region: More killings in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Pakistan.

This seems like a harbinger of an escalation of acts of terrorism well beyond Iraq and Syria and Sinai. Now almost any Muslim country is a target. Possibly an indication of a strategic shift among Jihadis from holding territory back to more spectacular violent acts of terrorism. A sign of a post-Mosul and post-Raqqa strategy of the Jihadis?
Very likly….
Cheers

M Haider Ghuloum

 

ISIS Travel Agency: Almost Fourth of July, How Safe Are Your Airports?……..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

The terrorist attack at Istanbul airport yesterday underlines a new dynamic in the wars in Iraq and Syria against the Salafi menace that is DAESH (or ISIS or ISIL).
For years the Turkish government of Erdogan was an accomplice in the creation and growth of ISIS. It allowed the free flow of money, weapons, and Jihadis from the Persian Gulf states and other Arab countries and Western Europe into Syria. Turkey was the main path, the cooperative chief conduit, what I called the Erdogan Trail, into Syria. There have also been credible reports of cooperation in facilitating the flow of ISIS petroleum and weapons across Turkey. Other reports stressed the close ties between ISIS and elements of Turkish intelligence.

As the war in Syria turned against the Jihadis in 2013-2014, Mr. Erdogan seemed to have doubled down on his support for the Jihadis. Airport cameras regularly filmed and showed on TV Jihadis and their Arab and European comfort women (concubines) flowing through Istanbul airport on their way to the killing fields of Syria. Persian Gulf media, tightly controlled by Saudi and Qatari money and ownership, downplayed the ISIS ties with Turkey, focusing instead on a disintegrating and virtually non-existent Free Syrian Army. Allegedly a secular army of liberation that was under control of both Arab Salafis and Arab princes and potentates.

Now Turkey has been subjected to several terrorist attacks (unfortunately I once called it Erdogan’s chickens coming home to roost). Mr. Erdogan has now reportedly succumbed to American pressure to distance his country from the terrorists. Given that they are not winning anymore. Now his country is paying the price that others have been paying: from London to Paris and Brussels to Baghdad and Kuwait and the Shi’a towns of Eastern Saudi Arabia. But I suspect he would rather have ISIS than the newly empowered Kurds as neighbors.

ISIS is on the ropes in the Levant. It lost Fallujah last week to the Iraqis, and the mourning screams of Salafis could be heard all across the social media. It had lost Tikrit and Ramadi before that to the Iraqis and their allies. Even some Western media fell last week for the Jihadi propaganda about ‘massive ethnic abuse’ by militias. That being a highly sectarian-divided Iraq, a recent phenomenon, there probably were some isolated cases of ethnic abuse. But the Salafi cries of mourning were not about the victims: they were/are about the defeat of ISIS. For believers and opportunists alike the true Wahhabi paradise on Earth.

Mosul will probably be next. The “capital” of Raqqa is also close to being threatened by a combination of Syrian and allied forces and Kurdish forces. I predicted two weeks ago here that by the end of 2017 ISIS will lose Mosul and Raqqa. Almost a fatwa, I claimed: My Fatwa (humble but almost certainly accurate) on the violent gruesome brief reign of the Wahhabis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria“.

ISIS is being squeezed in both Iraq and Syria, and strong pressure on U.S. allies to cooperate has helped. ISIS/DAESH oil revenues have been reduced significantly, and pressure is being seriously applied to cut off the flow of Persian Gulf Salafi money. That is why they are hitting at any soft target they can, not just their usual favorite targets: the Shi’as and Westerners. That is also why they are expanding into Egypt, Yemen, and North Africa.

Remember the old American TV message: it is eleven o’clock, do you know where your children are?
America needs a new message this week and next: It is almost Fourth of July, do you know how safe your airports are?


Cheers


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Raqqa as Berlin: Is the Myth of Islamic Caliphate about to Crash Down?…..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking


Al Raqqa in Syria is not exactly Berlin circa 1945. That was when the Soviet (Russian) armies were about to enter Berlin, while Dwight Eisenhower’s forces were speeding to join them. It was almost like a race, which the Russians won.

Al Raqqa is the chosen temporary capital of ISIS (DAESH), pending the capture of Damascus or Baghdad. But Al Raqqa faces a similar situation that Berlin faced in early 1945. At least two armies are racing towards it. The most substantial one is the alliance that supports the Syrian regime (Syrian Army, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, etc). Then there is an alliance that is armed and supported by the United States, dominated by Syrian Kurds in the north.

Then there are the Iraqi military and their Iranian and local militia allies moving steadily if slowly towards Mosul. If Mosul falls, the Iraqis could find themselves tempted to join the race towards Al Raqqa as well.

The Saudis and their putative Turkish allies have been reduced to repeated futile threats by Adel al Jubeir, the Saudi Foreign Minister, that Al Assad must go. Al Jubeir adds: by peaceful or by military means. He must be waiting for Hillary Clinton to save his bosses nuts from the Syria fire.

This is how it stands now. Mosul and Al Raqqa might well fall this year. At the latest they will fall no later than 2017.


My Fatwa (humble but almost certainly accurate) on the violent gruesome brief reign of the Wahhabis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( or the Levant).


Cheers
M Haider Ghuloum

Do They Really Hate “US”? Rudyard Kipling and Misplaced American Phobia……..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

Go send your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need

To wait in heavy harness
On fluttered folk and wild—

Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half devil and half child

Take up the White Man’s burden
In patience to abide
To veil the threat of terror      Rudyard Kipling (on America)

CNN network has been pushing a documentary show with a totally silly but sensational attention-grabbing title Why Do They Hate Us. Complete with a couple of the usual well-worn “Islamic” or “terror” experts from the Indian Sub-Continent.

I saw only parts of the show (or program). It gives the impression that Americans are agonizing over Islamic terrorism, which is real, and over why they are not loved over there. I got some news for all Americans: it is true that many of the Salafi Wahhabi Muslims hate Americans (and Europeans as well); but not nearly as much as they hate other Muslims of different sects.

Almost on any single day, the Muslim victims (Shi’a and Sunni) of terror bombings in Baghdad exceed the total the number of Americans killed by “terrorism” since after September 11; that is fifteen years of American agony and Islamic phobia. The same goes for most European countries. Last June, a Saudi ISIS agent blew himself up inside a crowded Muslim Shi’a mosque in Kuwait City. The total dead were 27, plus hundreds wounded and crippled. That is probably more than the number of Americans killed by Muslim terrorists in the USA since September 11, 2001.

If you could read Arabic, a beautiful one of the most expressive of languages, you’d know that most of the vitriol and hatred is usually directed at Shi’a Muslims, and maybe Alawites and other Muslim minorities. Not at Americans. Most of the exhortation in Arabic Wahhabi social media is to kill Shi’as or the Magi (Persians). Or Arabs of another faith. Most of the complaints about America are mainly that this country is helping “the enemy” or the “other” with bombing terrorist hideouts.

It is true that many in “allied” countries, especially Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, and surprisingly many in Egypt, either hate or dislike some vague identity called “America”. But that is the product of Wahhabi ideology, a once-small Islamic sect that has spread from Central Saudi Arabia and across Asia, Africa, and Europe. Fed with oil money and Salafi clerics from the Arab world and South Asia.

Across the Arab and Muslim worlds there is a kind of love-hate attitude toward America. A large part of the people wish to evolve civil societies where institutions rule rather than entitled dictators or clerics or a handful of tribal families. That is an American ideal, at least that was the American trajectory for a long time, although this has become debatable now.

And the fact is, many Arabs also seek (some even yearn) to be recognized by the West (America) as moving toward some local version of that ideal, be it real or illusory. I know, I know, some Arabs would complain that this is pandering to the “white man”.

But facts are what they are: facts.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Conflicting Plans for Syria: Hezbollah Plan A, Saudi Plan B, and American Plan C…..

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking


Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah gave a public speech today. That was in the aftermath of the death of yet another senior Hezbollah military leader in Syria: Mustafa Badreddine who was suspected of anti-American violence in Beirut bombings and also convicted of terrorism in Kuwait in the early 1980s (before Hezbollah was established).

Nasrallah asserted that his group will remain in Syria until the Jihadi “Takfiri” terrorists are defeated. He added that there is no evidence of an Israeli involvement in the assassination. He also noted that even the Israelis know that he always says what he means and does what he says. Oddly hinting that the Israeli “enemy” knows the truth and tells it publicly, unlike some “Arabs”, meaning the Saudis & Qataris. (I have to agree with him on that point).


Nasrallah also said that the Saudis are leading and arming and financing the Jihadist campaign in Syria from Jordan, with some cooperation from Qatar and Turkey. That the Saudis are sabotaging a political solution.

It is still not clear to me how the general Shi’a population of Lebanon now feel about the Syrian involvement. Clearly if there is any opposition it is limited and muted, although some Arab and Western media tend to magnify it. The Jihadi terrorists themselves may have helped solidify support for Syrian involvement by destroying historical shrines and monuments of all faiths, a favorite Wahhabi pastime. Many Shi’a would be willing to fight and die for the Shrine of Zainab in Damascus (as they would for Karbala). That is Plan A of one side.


For his part, Saudi foreign minister Adel Al Jubeir repeated that “it is time for Plan B” in Syria. Nothing new there, just the same mantra. Someone once called him the Saudi version of Baghdad Bob.


My guess for this Saudi Plan B?
The Saudis and Qataris and Turks are waiting for a hawkish American president to take over next year. Maybe even someone who will allow supplying the Jihadists with anti-aircraft missiles (as in Afghanistan in the 1980s). That is not likely to happen: the Syrian regime and its Russian and other allies are creating facts on the ground.

Besides, there is also a well-known popular American plan, I call it Plan C. Plan C has been devised by the American people. The American public largely does not care who rules in Syria, as long as it is not a Wahhabi-type regime like ISIS or Al Nusra or Jaish Al Fath or………. never mind, I should quit typing now while I am ahead.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

United States of Paranoia? Italian Mathematician Terrorist Armed with a Hessian Matrix…….

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“A math equation landed an Ivy League professor on an American Airlines flight in questioning Thursday under suspicion of being a terrorist. Guido Menzio, an economist at the University of Pennsylvania, was working on a differential equation while waiting for the Syracuse-bound plane to take off from Philadelphia, the Washington Post reported. He had to present the findings of a working paper at Queen’s University. But a passenger somehow mistook the equation for Arabic or some sort of Islamic code for a terrorist attack……….”

Things are beginning to get out of hand in this election year in the land of Milk and Honey, Fruits and Nuts. Any know-nothing xenophobe (who probably can’t even spell the word) can now point a finger at a fellow flight passenger and cause a lot of inconvenience and maybe some misery.

Guido Menzio is not even a Muslim or an Arab or a Pakistani. He is obviously an Italian or an Italian-American. So , because of his Mediterranean dark looks, and because he was solving some mathematics equations, probably some of the calculus problems we all did in college, he was suspected of terrorism. They thought the mathematical equations were some dangerous foreign language, like Arabic. He was profiled. Good thing he wasn’t writing music.

Moral of the story? There probably is none,  just that some people can’t tell a Hessian Matrix from a proverbial hole in the ground.
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

America is Blackmailed Again by Former Allies (and Its Own Leaders)……

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” Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage……………..“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg…….”

This will probably become a hot election issue. Obama supports the Saudi position, so reportedly does House Speaker Paul Ryan. Hillary Clinton is practically clinging to the Obama coattails to win the nomination and the election. This may be handing the Republicans a new issue to beat the Democrats with. Maybe.
The New York Daily News already festooned its cover today with a photo of the wayward “allies” and a huge headline: ROYAL SCUM. No doubt Barack Obama and both Clintons cringed at that picture.
RoyalScum

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

The March of Violent Fundamentalism in Southeast Asia………..

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“Islam in Malaysia, and Southeast Asia, is taking a more conservative turn. The Muslim faith, brought here by Arab traders hundreds of years ago, has coexisted for generations with Malay customs such as shamanism, other forms of traditional medicine and the country’s sizable Buddhist, Christian and Hindu communities. But more recently, conservative Wahhabi doctrines, often spread by Saudi-financed imams, are redefining the way Islam is practiced and, for some, eroding the tolerance for which the country has been known………. Politicians, meanwhile, are now competing with each other to show off their Islamist credentials. The opposition Pan-Islamic Party strict adherence to Shariah has helped build its support in rural areas. And a government investment fund—under the control of the Muslim-oriented ruling party…………”

In the West they/you talk of Islam and Muslims as if they/we are a monolithic thing. They/we are not. When they say Muslim and terrorism in the same sentence in the West they mean Wahhabi, a small but expanding puritan sect of Sunni Islam. These are the ones engaged in worldwide terrorism as represented by Al Qaeda, AQAP, and ISIS (DAESH).

But there is an even more violent campaign of terror among Muslims, a sectarian war, most of it committed by Al Qaeda and ISIS and their ilk against all Shi’a Muslims and against many Sunni Muslims as well. It now spans the globe.

For years Malaysia has banned the practices of Shi’ism, even as the regime and its clerics moved deeper into the realm of Wahhabi intolerance. Local Shi’as have to practice their rites in secret, otherwise they risk persecution and prosecution. As the article says, the Saudi Wahhabis have been spreading their intolerant sect for decades, by sending Imams and establishing and financing schools. Stoning of women and public flogging is more common now in Malaysia and a few other places than it ever was in the past.

The same applies to Indonesia, which also persecutes its non-Wahhabi Islamic minorities. But that has been the trend through all Sunni Islam: a Wahhabi-ization of the mainstream. Egypt is now quasi-Wahhabi, and that includes Al-Azhar. The trend toward Wahhabi-ization and intolerance among Muslims and toward other muslims, in both Arab and South Asian countries, has accelerated in the past decade. It is now sweeping North and West Africa. Even among European Muslims it is very common, much more common than you think.

Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Mystery of Oman and the Never-Ending Arab and GCC Wars……

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Every Arab country is engaged in some kind of war these days.
In fact every Middle East country, including Iran, Turkey, and Israel are involved in some kind of warfare. Look at the map, and name one country that is not fighting either its neighbors or its own people (civil war)  or somebody else. We can’t blame it all on Iran or Israel or the West, can we?

For example ISIS/DAESH is a purely Arab creation, although now it has Chechens, Uzbeks, Bosnians, etc, etc. There are no Iranians or Israelis in North Africa, none that have been caught and blamed.
Saudi Arabia and its allies are fighting directly in Yemen (there are no Israeli or Iranian or Lebanese forces in Yemen). They are fighting indirectly in Syria. There are wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Sinai, Libya, Tunisia, North Africa, East Africa. You name it, it is involved in some war. Even Jordan is involved in Yemen, Syria, and possibly other places.

I can think of one Arab state that is NOT involved in any war, I think. At least not yet. It is Oman, right at the southern tip of the Persian Gulf. For some odd reason Oman is not involved in any regional war. And it never claims to be threatened by anyone, at least by anyone that is not Arab. Unlike Bahrain, Oman does not claim to discover weekly plots by Iranian agents nor by Hezbollah, nor does it ever feel that its national security is threatened by anyone. At least not by anyone outside the GCC.

In fairness the UAE and Qatar also never seem to uncover any such plots either. Not since the Qataris uncovered a Saudi plot to overthrow their regime in 1998. The same is mostly true for Kuwait, where the most serious current security threat seems to come from Wahhabi Jihadists. Kuwait has recently convicted one network of Iranian espionage agents and plotters, a mix of Iranians and locals. But it has also uncovered several Wahhabi terrorist cells (the country had two lethal bombings of Shi’a mosques by ISIS sympathizers last year). Bahrain of course claims to uncover such plots on an almost weekly basis (grain of salt alert).

Odd, no, about Oman? Can it be that they are wiser than their neighbors? Is it their historic focus on the sea and beyond, away from the rest of the Arab world and its troubles? You figure it out…….
Cheers
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
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