Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (another tale mentions Islamic State of Sham or Levant instead of little Syria) is no more. A new state called The Islamic State was born. A nutjob of a Wahhabi cutthroat who calls himself Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi just interrupted the World Cup games to announce that he has become the new Muslim Caliph (Khalifa) of the new state. Thus he preempted the three other potential claimants who aspired to the job: Turkey’s Recip Erdogan, the King of Morocco, the King of Saudi Arabia. Most of the world did not pay immediate attention as they were in a state of shock at the garbage-time penalty the Mexico-Netherlands referee awarded the latter and the Costa Ricans completely frustrated and defeated the Greeks in Brazil.
A leader of the rival Wahhabi gang, Al Nusra Front, a guy named Abu Maria Al Qahtani, pooh-poohed this declaration by the interloper and pretender of ISIS (or ISIL). Apparently he was angling to declare himself the new Caliph, even with the handicap of a name like Abu Maria.
What should we make of all this? To start with it is a clever move, not specifying fixed borders for the state. This Abu Bakr (or even Abu Maria) could be holed up in a cave and it would still be The Islamic State to his fans. He could be in jail awaiting execution and he would still be in The Islamic State.
Some tribal Wahhabi Salafis on the Persian Gulf, the usual suspects who funded and preached for the Syrian Jihadists, have already started a support group for this new Wahhabi state. They call it the “Popular Drive for the Nusra of the Iraqi People”.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“The top US diplomat, who landed in the Red Sea city of Jeddah in the afternoon, also met Saudi King Abdullah a day after hosting urgent talks in Paris with the Saudi, Jordanian and UAE foreign ministers on the widening crisis in Iraq and Syria. King Abdullah has consistently called for greater US military support for the Syrian rebels, whom the Sunni Gulf kingdom has long backed. Following several signals in recent weeks by US President Barack Obama’s administration, the White House said Thursday it intends to “ramp up US support to the moderate Syrian opposition”……….. Ahmad Jarba, leader of the Syrian National Coalition, welcomed the huge US boost to his forces, battling to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “The situation is very grave and there are sectarian leaders ruling the country so we have to have greater efforts on the part of the US and regional powers to address the situation in Iraq,” Jarba said. Kerry said “the moderate opposition in Syria… has the ability to be a very important player in pushing back against (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) ISIL’s presence… not just in Syria, but also in Iraq“………….”
Secretary Kerry’s statement about the role of the Syrian opposition in solving the Iraq crisis makes little sense here. It is like the advice about taking “a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you“. He is bent on going the old route he was warned off for the past year or two. He seems to have just bought some more of the Saudi snake oil about arming and further empowering the Syrian opposition militias.
The Wahhabi opposition in Syria got their start, their money and their ‘seed weapons’, from the same countries Mr. Kerry has been visiting this past week. The sources were on the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. Much of the weapons that got the Jihadists their “booty” in land and property and hostages and death is American and European. Weapons supplied by these same governments to the “Syrian opposition” seeking to “liberate” Syria: in one case for the tender mercies of the Wahhabi doctrine, in the other case for the dubious rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. Arming and funding the Syrian militias will not increase the chances of peace in either Syria or Iraq. It is an invitation, nay a recipe, to keep the Syrian civil war going and to increase the sectarian unrest inside Iraq.
Mr. Jarba is reported to be heading to the door: apparently he will soon be out of the Syrian National Coalition, according to media reports. Either he saw the futility of his position or he is being booted by the Saudi princes who will now have to appoint another man of their choosing to lead the “liberation” of Syria for the Wahhabi cause. Moreover, there are Arab reports that the “general” who heads the allegedly Free Syrian Salafi Army, the man appointed and anointed as the Napoleon of the Syrian-Turkish border, will be officially sacked.
Events are moving fast in this new combined war for Iraq and Syria. The Syrian theater has cooled down somewhat, relatively speaking, with the regime and its allies regaining the momentum. Now the Iraqi theater of this Wahhabi-inspired sectarian civil war is heating up. The Jihadists of ISIS, and now probably al-Nusra Front as well, have moved the front deep into Iraq, in alliance with the remnant Iraqi Baathists who never reconciled to the new electoral system. Things are moving fast now, as this summary shows:
- Earlier there was a Wahhabi split in Syria: ISIS Split from AL Qaeda after giving Al Zawahri the middle finger. But that may not last (logically it should not).
- Al Nusra Front was declared months ago the sole ‘legal’ and authorized halal and kosher al-Qaeda franchise in Syria. Remember only a year or two ago when the ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition and Persian Gulf Wahhabis swore al-Nusra was a moderate democratic liberal movement?
- ISIS sweeps the Syria-Iraq border, creating facts on the ground, for now.
- ISIS along with Wahhabi and Baathist allies sweep northern Iraq, creating new fronts with Iraq’s Shi’a heartland and with the Kurdish region.
- American warplanes reported flying over Iraq again, apparently in a political holding pattern as Mr. Kerry sniffs up and around the Gulf princes and potentates. The Saudi princes no doubt will make a pitch for their own allies inside Iraq.
- Just to further complicate things, and lest they be forgotten by the world, the Israelis decide to bomb inside Syria again. They seem to have some kind of UN mandate to bomb inside any Arab borders with impunity, and why not since everybody else in the world seems to reserve the right to bomb inside any Arab border.
- Syrian warplanes are reported to be bombing inside Iraq now. And who would have thunk it only a few months ago when Mr. Assad was on his way to foreign exile as prognosticated by Saudi and hence American media and leaders.
- Wahhabi terrorists seek to spread the sectarian war by speeding up their activities inside the cities of Lebanon, with several bombings this past week.
- There are reports that the Wahhabi split may have been fixed by events on the Syrian-Iraqi border, that ISIS and al-Nusra may be re-uniting again.
- Regardless, I can fatwa now that this ISIS business will not last. As the Spaniards facing the Fascist onslaught said seven decades ago: No Pasaran! And this time it will be true, they shall not pass, unlike the case of the unfortunate Spaniards who were betrayed by the European democracies.
Stay tuned for more…………
“There’s only one strategy with a decent chance of winning: forge a military and political coalition with the power to stifle the jihadis in both Iraq and Syria. This means partnering with Iran, Russia, and President Assad of Syria. This would be a very tricky arrangement among unfriendly and non-trusting partners, but the overriding point is that they all have common interests. All regard the jihadis as the overwhelming threat, and all would be willing to take tough joint action. And with this fighting arrangement in place, the “partners” could start seriously fixing the underlying political snake pits in Damascus and Baghdad. Now, don’t start firing rockets at me just yet. Hear me out. First, every state, even the United States, works with bad guys, adversaries and enemies whenever the need is great, whenever it suits reality. Don’t forget, Iran helped us protect the western border of Afghanistan for almost the first two years of America’s war effort there. Tehran didn’t like the Taliban and neither did we. The cooperation stopped when President George W. Bush threatened to overthrow the Ayatollah’s regime with his “axis of evil” speech………….”
That foolish “axis of evil” speech is already marked as one of the stupidest creations of the White House in the modern era. A soundbite that the media dutifully propagated. And it came just months after Wahhabi terrorists, all citizens of Arab countries allied with the Bush Administration, committed the worst act of terrorism in the United States history on September 11, 2001. It was as if the Neocons were using Iran and Iraq as a ‘red herring’ to distract from other ‘facts’ leading up to 9/11, facts that now stare us in the face from Syria through Iraq.
In the year of Our Lord 15 Hijri (about 636 AD), the Muslim Arab fighters won a big victory at the Battle of Qadisiyyah in what is today’s Iraq. That opened the door for the spread of Islam to Mesopotamia and Persia and beyond.
In September of 1980, while Iran was in revolutionary turmoil, Saddam Hussein’s army invaded the Iranian province of Khuzistan (a.k.a Arabistan). Saddam made several demands and goals for his invasion, none of which were met at the end of the war. Seeing the dire situation inside Iran, he had expected a quick victory, as did most Arabs and many in the West (even the once-venerable The Economist wrote stupidly in 1980 that Iran might become an Iraqi satrapy). Saddam got the support of all the GCC states of the Persian Gulf, moral support, propaganda support, money support, and weapons. He also got the support of all the Western powers: weapons, intelligence, even some limited military action. As well as supplies of chemical weapons and overlooking his use of WMD against Iraqi Kurds and Iranian soldiers.
Not all Arabs sided with him: Syria, Libya, and Algeria among the Arab states, and a faction of the PLO, did not side with Saddam. The late King Hussein of Jordan, the man who lost Jerusalem and the whole West Bank to the Israeli IDF in one single day, even went to the front and fired some symbolic shots at the Iranians. Iraqi propaganda and Persian Gulf supporters called the war Qadisiyyah of Saddam. In the end Iraq came out of this war a financially broken country. That was when he turned his guns against the Gulf people who had stood by his side. He invaded Kuwait in August 2, 1990 and the rest is history.
Now we have the Wahhabi terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS, ISIL) sweeping across northern Iraq. The same great Gulf GCC tribal sectarian minds that cheered Saddam before 1990 are now cheering ISIS. Many of them are claiming that ISIS is really a nationalist rebirth of the Baath Party, apparently a softer Iraqi Baath Party that can now get along with the absolute tribal rulers of the Gulf. Maybe it is not the same Baath Party that invaded Kuwait and threatened the terrified Saudi princes until the Americans showed up and chased them out. Now they claim they are cheering for the disenfranchised Sunnis of Iraq, the 20% who have not reconciled to losing power.
Diehard sectarians in the Persian Gulf region are coming out of the closet, out in the open; not that they were ever well hidden. From tribal academics to media stars to liberal-Wahhabi-men-and-women-about-town to the clownish chief of the Dubai Police Dhahi Khalfan, they are all in justification mode, using crass sectarian terms. The same crass sectarian terms they used in the 1980s until Saddam’s tanks moved toward the south in 1990.
Now they see this new turmoil in Iraq as a third Battle of Qadisiyyah, or maybe as a second Battle of Karbala, as the Wahhabi invaders in Iraq are hinting at.
It is as if on my Gulf they have not learned any lesson from the past few decades. It is as if delusion is like an heirloom handed down from foolish fathers to foolish sons and daughters in the GCC countries of the Gulf.
There were reports in some Arab media this past weekend that Ahmed Al Jarba will be replaced as head of the Syrian National Coalition, or whatever its latest name is now. A new leaders, the, what, sixth or seventh, in three years? That may call for a change of name as well: throw the jumbled separate words inside a bucket, shake it good, and start pulling out the new name of the opposition…….
But can they run out of eligible Syrian names to lead it? At this rate of change, the laws of probability, the odds, are bound to bring the circle back to, yes, Bashar Al Assad. Once they run out of eligible candidates among the exiles and AWOL Syrian officers. Someday, maybe in a few years, we will read the headline that the Syrian National Coalition (or whatever its name is by then) has selected Bashar Al Assad as its new leader. Then Al Assad will give press conferences and deliver speeches in Istanbul and Riyadh promising to soon liberate Damascus from Bashar Al Assad and his allies. He may even visit Washington and Paris and meet with Senator John McCain and Bernard-Henri Levy and the Iranian Mujahideen Khalq as they declare that “the days of Bashar Al Assad are numbered“.
Syrian media reported that an ecstatic Bashar Al Assad met with an uncharacteristically cheerful Iranian parliamentary delegation that had monitored the Syrian election. The Iranians insisted they did not care who won as long as the election went smoothly and everybody from Al Raqqah through, er, Beirut got to vote. They declared themselves satisfied with the election process. They claimed the elections were as free and fair as they had wished them to be, and the results (Assad won with 88%) were fantastic. “Could not be better”, said one bearded Iranian who insisted they were in Damascus as just impartial observers “to keep the honest, honest”.………
Egyptian media is quoted by my Cairo source claiming that General Al Sisi met with a gaggle of Gulf princes and potentates who had monitored the Egyptian election from the GCC democracy-monitoring headquarters in Riyadh. They declared the voting to have been free, fair, and very democratic, “almost as good as anything we have never seen back home”. One worthy grumbled that it was actually too democratic “if you ask me“, even if not tribal enough. When asked about the results (Sisi won with 97%), they said it was obviously fantastic and ordained by Allah and “why haggle over a lousy 3% discrepancy?”………
One smirking shaikh added his own version of a
Parthian parting shot: “unlike that Great Big Zero election held in Syria“…….
“More recently, however, the mainstream rebels’ allies—chiefly the United States, Britain, France, Qatar and Saudi Arabia—have begun to expand their efforts to help those they consider worthy of support. They have been chuffed by the rebels’ war on ISIS. And they are co-ordinating efforts to help them better. An increasing number of vetted fighters in both the north and south of Syria have been trained in Jordan, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, given money to pay salaries, and supplied with anti-tank weapons, albeit so far in limited quantities. Meanwhile, Gulf donors are said to have cut off funds to some of the more zealous Islamist groups, including the Islamist Front, a coalition dominated by Ahrar al-Sham, a Salafist outfit…………..”
The Economist has been hawkish on Syria, but only on Syria of all the Arab uprisings. It has been pissed (to put it succinctly) by Obama’s reluctance to attack Syria for the past three years. It, like other Western and Arab media and their officials, has been critical of ‘foreign’ intervention in Syria. Not all foreign intervention in frowned upon: only Russian and Iranian and Lebanese intervention. Other sources of intervention: European, Turkish, American, Gulf GCC, Saudi, Qatari, Jordanian, and Al Qaeda intervention on the side of the Jihadists is apparently kosher and halal and seeks democracy and freedom and human rights in Syria. That has been obvious from past experience when the Jihadis took over towns and neighborhoods and immediately started to apply democracy, freedom, the chopping of heads, the kidnapping of nuns and priests, among other blessings of what the rest of Syrians can expect.
“Nano Rebellion is what I can call the Syrian case. So many factions and groups and sub groups and sub-sub factions, all allegedly on one side. Splitting and sprouting and spawning new groups in the swamp that is the ‘Syrian opposition’……….” I, moi, я, ich, ana, ma,n…….
“The existence of Katiba al-Bittar al-Libi as a front group for ISIS perhaps reflects a wider pro-ISIS trend across central North Africa with the Ansar ash-Shari’a movements in Tunisia and Libya. In the former country, Ansar ash-Shari’a takes an official pro-ISIS line that dates back to at least the summer of last year (likely explaining the disproportionate number of Tunisian fighters in ISIS’ ranks). In the video linked to, Ansar ash-Shari’a in Tunisia’s official spokesman hails ISIS for making “the Jews, Rafidites [Shi’a] and Nasara [Christians] cry” in addition to freeing Muslim brothers from their prisons. In a document dated to 26th June 2013 and written by Sheikh Abu Ja’afar al-Hatab, a member of the organization’s Shari’a committee, it is argued that “the bay’ah [pledge of allegiance] of Jabhat al-Nusra is false in every aspect, so whoever pledges bay’ah to Jabhat al-Nusra, his bay’ah is corrupt, and there is no bay’ah to him or on him, and the members of Jabhat al-Nusra must repent to God and switch their bay’ah to the Islamic State of Iraq and ash-Sham.”………….”
Nano Rebellion is what I can call the Syrian case. So many factions and groups and sub groups and sub-sub factions, all allegedly on one side. Splitting and sprouting and spawning new groups in the swamp that is the “Syrian opposition”. New factions and groups and militias split or emerge almost every day.
Syria‘s civil war evolved from early protests in 2011 into a civil war. It probably would not deserve the title of “civil war’ if it were not for the various tough Jihadist groups that entered the country and were joined by some locals. At one stage the so-called ‘more moderate’ rebels groups were so fractured that they became ineffective on the ground. That is why the rest, including the Free Syrian Army and the SNC, came out strongly in support of Jabhat Al-Nusra (Nusra Front) when the United States correctly condemned it as a terrorist group. They knew it was the only effective military force, relatively speaking.
Now that particular advantage of the more extremist Jihadists has dissipated with the breakup of some groups into factions and the emergence of new groups.
Of course in Syria it is all relative: moderates can kidnap and cut throats and hold for ransom as well as the extremists. They can kill civilians of other faiths or sects as eagerly. It is all a matter of degree. The regime can and has inflicted more damage on towns and casualties on civilians only because it has better and heavier weapons (both sides are happy to use whatever they have). Not necessarily because it is more vicious than the rebel militias.
Syrian rebel groups are becoming harder and harder to follow and distinguish. Some of the names are bandied about in the media and there are probably others started in garages that I have never heard of, even as I write this. A few of the names are just anticipations on my part (lol if you must):
Islamic State of Iraq and Ash-Sham (ISIS) –Jabhat al-Nusra – Not Quiet Free Syrian Army – Islamic Army of Syria – Syrian Islamic Council (SIC) – Syrian National Council – Syrian National Coalition- Syrian Opposition Coalition – National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces – Supreme Military Council – Muhajireen Battalions of Syria – Islamic Front – Ajnad al-Sham Islamic Union – Katiba al-Bittar al-Libi – Ansar ash-Shari’a (Supporters of Shari’a) – Ahfad Mohammed (grandchildren of Mohammed) – Kataeb Abdullah Ibn Al-Zubair (Brigades of ABZ) – Kataeb Al Bu Omar (Brigades) – Kataed Al Bu Lail (Brigades)- Jaish Al Q’aQa’a Army – Ahl Al Sunna Wal Jama’a – Jaish Al Qadisiya – Military Council Brigades – Kataeb Al Farooq Brigades – Jund al-Sham – Army of Mujahedeen – Ansar al-Islam – Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan – Junud al-Sham (Chechen group) – Liwa al-Tawhid wal-Jihad – Army of Mujahedeen – Harakat Fajr ash-Sham al-Islamiya (Syrian Dawn Islamic Movement) – Martyrs of Syria Brigades – Northern Storm Brigade – Ahrar Souriya Brigade (Free Syrians) – Liwa al-Haqq (Righteousness Brigade)- Liwa al-Tawhid (Monotheism Brigade) – Suqour al-Sham (Eagles of Syria) – Syrian Islamic Liberation Front – Liwa Fath al-Sham – Yarmouk Martyrs’ Brigade – Jaysh al-Muhajirin wa al-Ansar – Ghuraba Al Sham Free Officers Movement – Furqat Hassaballah (Hassaballah Band) – Serial Polygamy Brigade – Syrian Tea Party – Diwaniyat Sho’ara Al Nabat (Nabati Poets Society)……..
The names of their leaders (often called Emirs) range from:
Abu Qatada, Abu Mus’ab, Abu Shallakh, Abu Lahab, Abu Lam’aa (Al-Assli), Abu Bin Adham, Abu Tibin, Abu Sinatra, Abu Boo Boo, Abu Polygamy, among others………