Tag Archives: Salafi

Post-Aleppo Reset: Syria’s Jihadis to Undergo Yet Another Desperate Iteration…….

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There are now some reports of yet another “RESET” for the Jihadi groups in Syria, post-Aleppo. There are reports on social media of consolidation and reorganization and, more likely, renaming.
These guys keep trying to find a formula that works, so far nothing seems to work for them:

  • Renaming Al Qaeda to Al Nusra did not work.
  • Renaming Al Nusra to Jaish Al Fath (Army of Islamic Conquest) has not worked.
  • A Saudi-sponsored Jaish Al Islam (with reliance on some Western support and training) failed miserably.
  • Earlier the Free Syrian Army (who I saw correctly as the Free Syrian Salafi Army) had several iterations, before it faded somewhere into Turkey.
  • The Syrian National Council, dominated by Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists and some Tribal types changed its name a few time, to no avail. Eventually it petered out.

No matter how hard some Gulf (Saudi and Qatari) media and the gullible Western media tried to paint these groups as representing the will of the Syrian people, it did not work. Even though the Jihadis and their Arab and Western media allies won the war of disinformation, they have lost the battle on the ground. Because that foreign view did not reflect the reality in Syria. Even in foreign exile, most Syrians oddly voted for Assad a couple of years ago. Not necessarily because they liked Assad and his regime. But most likely because they knew first-hand what the rebel Jihadis represented, what kid of Wahhabi future they had in mind for Syria.

Maybe, nay very likely, it was a preference among repressions: they preferred Assad’s secular political repression to the Islamists all-encompassing theocratic political-social-religious-sectarian repression. Very likely that is why.

 Some Earlier posts:

Free Syrian Army, National Syrian Army, Syrian MilitaryCouncil, WTF Army……

Final Iteration of the Free Syrian Army: End of a Wahhabi Shill in Syria………

Free Syrian Salafi Army: Under New Management Again?……

The Sectarian Free Syrian Salafi Army….


M Haider Ghuloum


The Enemy Within? the Extremist Salafi Islamist Opposition Returns to Kuwait Politics……..

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Kuwait has the most free and open elections in all the Gulf GCC states. The others don’t really have any. She will have new parliamentary (National Assembly) elections in the last week of November. Much of the ultra-reactionary Islamic-Tribal alliance that boycotted the last election has given up and decided to run for office. That should be good news, but in this case it is truly bad news for the country, its social cohesion, and sectarian tranquility.

The Kuwaiti political opposition are a mix that is dominated by Salafis, Muslim Brothers, and reactionary tribal seekers of office. These have cleverly dominated the smaller Wahhabi-Liberal and pseudo-academic types who are nominally secular.

Last time the so-called Kuwaiti political opposition mustered a majority in parliament, their first act was to vote to convert the country into a Wahhabi-Salafi theocracy by instituting the Shari’a literally. Apparently their ideal of a democratic civil society. The proposal got a majority of votes: every member of that opposition group voted for it. Only the few urban members and the Shi’a members refused to support it. Luckily, the Emir thought correctly that it was a bad idea and refused to sign it. He vetoed it and saved the country from the ritual of beheading, crucifixion, public flogging, chopping hands, and other such Wahhabi-Salafi pleasures and pastimes that exist in a neighboring country.

Most of the opposition members had claimed they would not run again until the election laws were changed away from the new one-man-one-vote system, and until one of their leaders is released from prison. They made a lot of noise about ‘principles’ and about a ‘democracy’ that most of them never believed. Apparently four years on the outside have cured them. Basically they have surrendered and, in true Salafist fashion, betrayed their imprisoned ally Musallam Al Barrak.

The years of absence of any political influence and tribal pressures have caused most of them to announce they are running for the November 27 elections. That means that they will again apply pressures to move in the Wahhabi-Salafi direction. To interfere in the private social lives of people, and to start another book-burning episode. Some of them are already announcing their intention to try again to make the Shari’a the law of the land.

And to fan the flames of sectarian tensions that they introduced to the country. They will also start hounding the Shi’as and maybe the few Christians. Last time they were in parliament this Salafi-MB-Tribal alliance asked the government to start “monitoring” the Shi’a religious services. Meaning to spy and intimidate the minorities. Some, possibly many, of these members no doubt will get elected, and they will start making the country and society even duller that it is now.

We shall see soon enough how the post-Thanksgiving turkeys turn out. Certainly no better than the same turkeys looked last time around…..

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum


Arabs and the Nusra Front: Marketing Their Own Cutthroats in Syria…….

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More than a year ago I posted here that Al Qaeda may be brought in from the cold by some Arab regimes. With the goal of using it in Syria and Iraq. Here is a link to NUSRA FRONT: ARE THE PRINCES BRINGING AL QAEDA BACK IN FROM THE COLD?…... A month later I posted another rant about NEW WAHHABI INTERNATIONAL: AL QAEDA AS THE NEW GREAT HOPE OF JIHADIS IN SYRIA…… 

There were several others posted here:



All that was then. Now we probably see a culmination of the moves made by some Arab potentates and Persian Gulf Salafis. Salafi activists on the Gulf, especially in my hometown, have been trying for years to bring Al-Qaeda and the Wahhabi royal princes together. Al Qaeda has remained faithful to the Bin Laden line of no compromise: after all it doesn’t have much more than that these days.

In the past few weeks many opinions and social media comments by Gulf Salafis have urged Al Nusra, the Al Qaeda franchise in Syria, to break from the mother group. Gulf Salafis are nothing if not unfaithful and treacherous partners and allies, in addition to being a reliable fifth column for the wishes of the absolute tribal princes. They have been willing to flush their mother Al Qaeda organization, now headed by the hapless Egyptian Al Zawahiri, down the Salafist toilet. They see the big prize as being Syria. Besides, Al Nusra cutthroats have long been the most effective of the Syrian Jihadis (outside of ISIS). Tempting the West to support them might be do-able, by the mere fact that they are not-ISIS.

It seems that Jabhat Al Nusra, Front of Islamist Support, has listened to its Gulf Salafi brothers’ call and will join forces with the Arab princes in order to defeat Bashar Al Assad and establish their own Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus. A tall order if the battle trends of the past two years continue. It is now finally “breaking up’ with Al Qaeda headquarters, wherever that be, likely in preparation of fellow Wahhabis, the Saudis and Qataris, trying to sell its virtues to the Western allies.

The leader of Al Nusra, this Al Julani (meaning Man from Golan although he may not be from there) possibly aspires to declare himself the new Caliph of Wahhabism, even as the Iraqi ISIS-Baathist Caliph of Raqqa and Mosul moves closer to losing his realm.
Al Nusra now seems the last remaining (no so) White Hope of the absolute undemocratic Arab tribal monarchs and the Gulf Salafis to liberate Syria for the joys of Salafi fundamentalism. Perhaps that also applies to a few deluded politicians in the West.

(Turkey’s Mr. Erdogan seems too busy these days in internal matters to dabble as much in internal Syrian affairs. He has his own version of repression to impose).


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Political Psychology: This Irrational Urge to Punch Erdogan, Slap Salafis…….

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KuwaitCox2 Hiking

Strange. These days, whenever I see Turkish leader Caliph Recip Erdogan, I get this unreasonable but overwhelming desire to punch him in the face. Actually in the mouth and nose area specifically.
Why do you suppose I feel like punching him in the face? Odd: I am a cheerful and peaceful and un-punching-in-face type of person. With one exception. I have always been that way, until now. Could it be because he reminds me of someone who did not get punched in the face until it was too late, some 75 years ago in Germany?

(That is mostly the case: although actually there are a few people, all male and mostly from my Persian Gulf region, whom I sometimes get the strong urge to slap in the face. But they tend to be Gulf Salafis and a slap to the face is not the same as a punch, is it? Besides, I imagine many rational people feel like slapping a Salafi as soon as he opens his mouth)

All a new phenomenon of recent time, so unlike me: I always get along with others, except for rude people. Maybe it has to do with all the “stuff” back in the Middle East. But I’ll sort it out. One way or another, probably without having to go to Turkey.

Cheers (if possible)

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Gulf of Confusion: from Religious Police to a Commission for Entertainment……

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KuwaitCox2 Me1 (2)

Saudi Commission for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice has been notorious for restricting all kinds of freedoms. Especially the freedom to have fun, be it innocent or not. I have taken to calling it Propagation of Vice.
Now there is a new Saudi “commission”: the Commission for Entertainment ( in the least entertaining city in the least entertaining country in the whole wide world). Allegedly the idea of the young influential son of King Salman. This could have been inspired by a step taken months ago by the UAE government to improve the state of ‘happiness’, so long as it does not involve the freedom of expression. The Saudi opposition (in exile of course) claim that the UAE potentates have a lot of influence over the new Saudi Deputy Crown Prince (MBS).

The UAE established a Ministry of Happiness. Sounds like a good idea to me. It sounds like something that defies irony, perhaps something from North Korea. But it is the thought, the intention that counts, and it seems to be good.

Could the Society for Islamic Heritage Revival back home, the intolerant Salafi group designated a terrorist supporter by UN, change its name to Society for Revival of Islamic Joy and Tolerance? Could the local Muslim Brotherhood become a Brotherhood of Joy?

Or maybe the Wahhabis are softening, becoming gentler. Maybe they want to keep up with the mullahs next door in Iran who permit street music, as this photo of urban entertainment in Iran shows:


Don’t get me wrong. I believe these are all steps in the right direction. Long overdue, but better late than never.

Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

Saudi Rainbow Opposition: Reactions to Regional Turmoil and ISIS………

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Saudi Arabia has several different kinds, actually strains, of opposition to the Al Saud rule and policies. It is a diverse rainbow of opposing opposition groups. There are three main strains:

  • There are relatively liberal human rights advocates among the educated city folks, but they are mostly heavily monitored and repressed. These are focused on the domestic issues of freedom and corruption and advocating for a civic society. Often they are thrown in prison on trumped up charges, as many ACPRAHR leaders are.
  • There are the marginalized restive Shi’as in their native homeland of the Eastern Province who have been restless and in an uprising mood for years.
  • Then there is a more interesting but growing animal, the relatively recent Wahhabi opposition. A Wahhabi opposition to a Wahhabi theocratic monarchy. Needless to say, these latter are groups that were born of the domestic and foreign efforts of the Saudi system itself.

This last one is a bit odd, since the Salafis, like the rest of the Saudi political and religious establishment, believe in obeying the Wahhabi ruler no matter what. In that they rely on an old Hadith, or a quote that alleges to quote the Prophet Mohammed about obedience to a ‘Muslim’ ruler. By their doctrine they can justify it only by insisting that a particular ruler is “not Muslim”, which these days means “not Wahhabi enough”. Of course they believe that anyone who i not a Wahhabi/Salafi is not a Muslim: that is how they justify blowing up Iraqi and Syrian civilians and beheading them and enslaving their women as sex concubines.

Needless to say much of this last Wahhabi opposition supports the more extremist groups like Al-Qaeda, AQAP, and especially the Caliphate of ISIS and Al-Nusra Front and their ilk in recent years. They focus exclusively on aiding these Jihadist groups from Yemen to Syria and Iraq and beyond. Yet like some other tribal/Salafi opposition movements on the Persian Gulf these latter are violently against the continuing Bahrain protests and are happy to have the Al Saud help crush them. These groups are also very active on the Internet social media. Some of their top “activists” have followers in the millions. They seem to have three main complaints:

  1.  the Al Saud are not following the true Salafi line of Islam. That is the only way a Salafi can justify disobedience;
  2. the Al Saud are too nice to the local Shi’as (as well as to those in Iran and Iraq and the Houthis in Yemen);
  3. the Al Saud are plotting with all of the above as well as with Al Assad of Syria against the true faithful of the ISIS Caliphate and Al Qaeda. Occasionally they throw in Israel and the United States, probably just to cover all their bases. This line in support of ISIS is also taken by other such Gulf groups, including much of the Kuwait opposition which also, oddly, rejects any local criticism of the Al Saud even as they blast the local ruling family.

These are Wahhabi ‘activists’ on the social media, although I believe the more prominent ones are doing it from the safety of Western capitals. None of them, as far as I know, has offered to relocate in Raqqa (Syria) or Mosul (Iraq). Mostly the more prominent among them comment openly under their own names. One of the most popular of them goes under the nom de plume of Mujtahidd (various meanings in Arabic: hard working, originator of ideas, interpreter of Shari’a, etc). He is not shy to comment freely, but is too ‘shy’ to write under his own name, which some might think makes him a bit less “hammam” than he claims to be in his brief Twitter bio. But he claims to have access to insider information deep within the Saudi power structure, sort of like those Hollywood gossip columnists of a bygone pre-Internet era.

Good news for the Al Saud: these various ‘opposition’ groups seem like young children, playing around each other rather than with each other. Studiously avoiding crossing paths. Ideological, tribal, and sectarian factors keep them separate and that keeps the Al Saud happy. This division of the opposition is certain to continue. 


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Gulf SDGT: New Sanctions on Some Al Qaeda Moneybags………

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August 6, 2014: “The U.S. Department of the Treasury today imposed sanctions on three key terrorist financiers under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224. Two of the individuals designated today, Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi and Hajjaj Fahd Hajjaj Muhammad Sahib al-‘Ajmi, are Kuwait-based and support the Syria-based, al-Qaida-linked terrorist organization Al Nusrah Front (ANF); one individual, ‘Abd al-Rahman Khalaf ‘Ubayd Juday’ al-‘Anizi, is a financier and facilitator of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), previously known as al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI). Each has been designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT). ANF and ISIL continue to receive donations from private citizens located predominantly in the Arabian Peninsula to fund their operations. Today’s actions target individuals who play key roles in the external financing and facilitation of terrorists in Syria and Iraq, including particularly dangerous foreign fighters……… said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen……………”

June 13, 2008: “The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated the Kuwait-based Revival of Islamic Heritage Society (RIHS) for providing financial and material support to al Qaida and al Qaida affiliates, including Lashkar e-Tayyiba, Jemaah Islamiyah, and Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya. RIHS has also provided financial support for acts of terrorism. The RIHS offices in Afghanistan (RIHS-Afghanistan) and Pakistan (RIHS-Pakistan) were designated by the U.S. Government and the United Nations 1267 Committee in January 2002 based on evidence of their support for al Qaida. At that time, there was no evidence that the Kuwait-based RIHS headquarters (RIHS-HQ) knew that RIHS-Afghanistan and RIHS-Pakistan were financing al Qaida………………”

In other words: not only funding and encouraging sectarian takfiri volunteers to massacre civilian citizens of Iraq (and Syria and Lebanon), but also ally with remnants of Saddam Hussein’s Baath henchmen.


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Biblical Monuments, Islamic Monuments………

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“Soon afterward the minions of the self-appointed caliph of the freshly self-declared Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, paid a visit to the Mosul Museum. It has been closed for years for restoration, ever since it was looted along with many of Iraq’s other institutions in the wake of the culturally oblivious American-led invasion of 2003. But the Mosul Museum was on the verge of reopening, at last, and the full collection had been stored there……… … Soon after al-Bagdhadi’s men arrived in Mosul, they told the museum staff that the ancient statues were “against Islam.” But then they left the building. The collections remained unmolested for several days, and the initial reports that the statues had been smashed appear to have been erroneous. The photographs of shattered sculptures that circulated on the Web actually came from Syria, according to local officials in Mosul. But the caliphate’s gauleiters issued a city charter and declared in its Article 13 that “false idols” would have to be destroyed. For this strain of Sunni Muslim jihadists, any representation of the human form (with the apparent exception of their own propaganda videos), any shrine that might lend itself to idolatry, and any place of worship dedicated to the faith of supposedly heretical Shia Muslims must be obliterated…………..”

Before ISIS (ISIL) the other Wahhabi power, Saudi Arabia, had started to dismantle the premier monuments of early Islamic history in its birthplace of Mecca and Madinah. Excerpts from relevant previous posts:

“I have written earlier posts on this topic, how a combination, an alliance of royal greed and Wahhabi dogma has destroyed, is still destroying the priceless historical monuments of early Islam. It is downright criminal what the Al Saudi princes and their merchant allies and retainers are doing. Properties closest to the Kaaba are the priciest, and that is where monuments of early Islam were located. Ergo, these monuments were doomed once the Saudi princes set their eyes on that prime land, within walking distance to the Holy Mosques”.

“It is not only the Wahhabi dogma against any historic sites, nay against history. It is also greed: properties in Mecca that are near the Kaaba are valuable. The tear them down to build expensive 5-star or 7-star hotels and apartments and shopping centers. Greed combines with Salafi dogma to doom the ancient monuments of early Islam. Homes and mosques of the Prophet and some of his early followers have been destroyed and built over with new ‘properties.


Mohammed Haider Ghuloum

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Part 2: Kuwait Opposition Issues: Self-Inflicted Wounds and a Vendetta…….


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As I noted in my last posting (Part 1) the Kuwaiti opposition has long avoided dealing with its
main problem: it is only a partial opposition. 
So far it has failed to move away from its tribal and Islamist genesis (no pun intended). It has failed to convince
large identifiable and distinct segments of society to join it.
 It needs to clean house to become a truly broad representative national movement. Its leaders also face several problems of their own making and not related to regime policies:

  • They are heavily lead by tribal and Islamist men whose electoral success is based mainly on a couple of large tribes. That is how most of them win elections: cross-tribal voting is rare. The shift last year to “one-man-one-vote” reduced that effect.
  • They are an extremely reactionary group, which is natural given the tribal, sectarian, and Islamist hue of the bloc. When they gained a majority in the Assembly in 2012 some of their members immediately joined the Saudi Mufti in calling for the destruction of all churches in the Gulf GCC states. They all prepared and voted for and passed a blasphemy law: to make “blasphemy” punishable by death. Presumably “blasphemy” according to the definition of the Wahhabi Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood who control the ‘movement’ (it was fortunately vetoed by the Emir). 
  • They have consistently shown a strong aversion to criticizing the (much) more repressive Saudi and Bahrain regimes. They are against those who would call for the same thing they want for Kuwait: accountability and elected governments in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. That is partly sectarian and partly related to tribal (and possibly some business) connections across the border. They strongly supported the Saudi quasi-invasion of Bahrain to crush the popular uprising.
  • Many of their tribal and Islamist leaders are heavily and proactively sectarian. Their Salafi (and some Muslim Brother) members, a dominant majority of the bloc, called in 2012 when they controlled the Assembly for restrictions of worship on the country’s Shi’a Muslims. That call specifically included stationing government spies inside all Shi’a religious services (no sense of irony here).
  • Their leadership seems fixated on the former prime minister, who has been out of office for two years. However, the alleged documents (partly) shown at last night’s gathering concerned transactions purportedly by the former prime minister. It comes across almost like a personal vendetta between the some of the opposition leaders and the ex-PM. 

UAE: Suspicious New Emirates Opposition go Deeply Wahhabi and Sectarian……


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A “suspicious” new UAE opposition group now calls itself Emirates Freedom Movement (its Twitter ID is @Emirate_Freedom). In Arabic the group are: حركة احرار الامارات . It is not clear how large it is, since locals will be wary (actually fearful) to follow it on the Internet. Most likely it is a small group for now since Wahhabi Salafism has not been popular in the UAE.

It has just issued its manifesto, which is NOT fully very freedom loving or reforming. On the contrary it is extreme Wahhabi Salafi. Some good early goals listed by this group include: release all “reformist” political prisoners, justice, distribution of oil wealth equally….. 

Then the true character of this “opposition” group shows up as they seek to repress and ban “others” with the following demands: 

  • Expulsion of all “enemies of Islam” from UAE. Probably meaning here expelling non-Muslims (Christians, Hindus, Budhists, etc) who are a large majority of UAE residents. The term “enemies of Islam” here seems to mean “enemies of Salafism”. It goes beyond that to take an extreme Wahhabi meaning with their next demand:
  • End all Safawi (Safavi) practices in UAE. Safawi is a favorite Wahhabi Salafi derogatory term for Shi’as (and it is often used by some Muslim Brotherhood types as well). Even the clownish Chief of Dubai Police (Dhahi Khalfan) has used this term in his personal tweets in the past. This means that like all Salafis, and like many Wahhabi liberals from the Persian-American Gulf to North Africa, they are demanding that Shi’a religion practices be banned.
P.S.: Could this group be a plant by the rulers to confuse matters and taint the ‘opposition’? It could, it could.


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