Foreign fighters in Syria and the Saudis dubious role

Nobody should believe the new western nonsense that the Saudi backed „Islamic Front“ is different to and an opponent of the syrian Al Qaeda affiliates ISIS and Jabhat al Nusra. The foreign Jihadis flocking to Syria to wage a sectarian „Jihad“ are not merely contained to these two organizations:

„Throughout the Syrian civil war, one of the major concerns of Western powers in particular has been the inflow of Sunni foreign fighters, who come from the wider Arab world, Western Europe, and as far afield as Kazakhstan and Indonesia…According to a recent estimate by Aaron Zelin of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, there could be up to 11,000 of these fighters…there are the two groups Suqour al-Izz and Harakat Sham al-Islam. The former, founded at the beginning of this year, is led by Saudi foreign fighters; the latter, established in the summer, is led by Moroccan foreign fighters…The Green Battalion is based in the Qalamoun area of Damascus province and was founded in the summer by Saudi fighters …Jamaat Jund ash-Sham was founded last year by Lebanese fighters in western Homs governorate…“

Regarding the shameful and dubious role of the Saudis and their interventionist terrorism:

Syria: It is insane that „The West“ still considers supporting Islamists

Does anyone remember when the US State department declared the Al Nusra Front (aka Jabhat al Nusra) a terrorist organization? And does anyone remember that back then Moaz al Khatib, the former leader of the „moderate“ Syrian National Council (SNC), the political arm of the also „moderate“ FSA regretted that decision?

Dozens of the brigades, battalions and militias of the – yes „moderate“ – FSA openly objected and declared the Nusra as their „brothers“.
See here:
and here:

The blatant and provocative solidarity of the supposedly moderates with Al Qaedas Syrian Branch (Nusra) did not discourage the US, UK, France or Turkey from stopping support for the „freedom fighters“. Nor did these countries put any pressure on Qatar and Saudi Arabia to not „recruit“ Jihadists from various countries to go and wage „Jihad“ in Syria.
See here:
and here:

Finally it became more and more clear that there are no or hardly any militarily relevant moderates left over among the insurgents:

In the mean time the once hyped and romanticized FSA is finished:

In 2013 another rebel group appeared the Syrian battlefields: The Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) is an extension of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and thus – in addition to the Nusra – Al Qaedas second „star“ in Syria.
Some remnants of the FSA along with other radical and often non-Syrian Islamists who did not want to be associated directly with Al Qaeda in order to qualify for the continued (and increased) receipt of Saudi money and weapons – among them the Ahrar al Sham and the „Army of Islam“ – founded the „Islamic Front“, which is supposed to have 45000-60000 fighters:

After losing „their“ good guys (FSA) in Syria and having declared the two Al Qaeda affiliates (Nusra and ISIS) the new „bad guys“ (next to Assad of course) the West, especially the US are seriously considering to somehow lend a dubious kind of legitimization and support worthiness to the Islamic Front:

Trying to view the Islamic Front as the new „moderates“ in order to justify their support borders on insanity, especially since the Front has just recently been involved in massacring pro-regime civilians in Adra side by side with the Nusra Front:

By now, 2.5 years after the start of the „revolution“ it should be crystal clear that the major backers of the insurgents are not even slightly interested in human rights, social freedoms, „reforms“ or the establishment of democratic structures in a secular state.

Saudi authorities ‚trying to silence activists‘

„critics have been given travel bans, had their employment terminated, been subjected to smear campaigns, and detained and prosecuted.“

Oh, I thought there is no opposition in Saudi Arabia and nothing people could object, too…(irony!)

The Saudis however, in contrast to the Syrians, won´t be lectured by the US, UK or France. Nor will they be subjected to isolation or any sanctions. Why should any of the mentioned „human rights strongholds“ punish a country that is a major weapons customer, worlds number one petroleum supplier and an arch enemy of Iran???

It´s not human rights violations that matter to the „civilized world“ but rather WHO is behind them.

Syrias pain…

What can one say about Syrias plight?

I am more and more abandoning the idea that there is a good side in this conflict. None of the fighting parties deserves to be labeled „good“ and this applies to most of the backing countries as well.
On the one hand there is the government that puts a siege on entire neighborhoods and suburbs in order to have the rebels starve, fully knowing that there are many trapped civilians as well who simply live there and have no place to go. Lacking precision weapons the governments airforce drops barrel bombs on rebel held areas certainly hitting some fighters but fully taking into account that women and children are killed as well and usually in higher numbers.
Then you have the rebels who abuse civilian areas as places from which to ambush bypassing army soldiers or launching rockets in raw direction of government held areas simply claiming that they are targetting the „Shabbiha“. Shabbiha has become an all-violence-legitimizing defamation claim in the rebel vocabulary used on a daily basis to justify the execution – often as beheading – of any „suspect“ individual. To qualify as „suspect“ it is often enough to be identified as Alawite, Christian, Druze, Kurd, Shia or allegedly pro-government Sunni.

All parties constantly claim to be reacting to the other sides earlier (and supposedly „worse“) violence. All claim that the adversary is hated by the majority of the people and only existing due to external (foreign) help.

I am still in favor of the government side. While the government is undemocratic, corrupt and oppressive (just as it´s Gulf monarchy adversaries Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait) are, the government is neither religiously fundamentalist nor ethnically supremacist. It has many faults but it is definitely not sectarian. Both the regime and the army field so many high ranking Sunnis that it is totally inconceivable that the secular Baath party system categorically hates Sunnis and suppresses them on religious grounds. How should an army commanded to a high degree by Sunni Generals and listing 60%+ Sunnis openly declare and carry out a fight against other Sunnis and explicitly for the minority Alawites? This is nonsense and the entire allegations of sectarianism were from the beginning meant to incite Sunni sentiment all around the arab world and among Arabs living in Europe. The strategy worked and by now many Arab Sunnis have been radicalized and are flocking into Syria to wage „Jihad“.
One has to wonder how many of them ever considered going to Gaza or Lebanon or US occupied Iraq and Afghanistan to wage Jihad there…

The governments manner of warfare is indiscriminate. Entire city parts all over Syria have been levelled and turned to ruins by often „blind“ tank fire, artillery shells and aerial attacks. The insurgents cared for the ordinary people no more than the regime. Hardly any of the widely destroyed towns and villages was severely damaged before the rebels poured into those places, IEDed the roads and built sniper firing points and RPG shooting vantage grounds.

In the Salafi mindset of most Jihadists, especially those originating from outside Syria, the utter destruction of the country and it´s gradual „Afghanization“ is not a price too high if the end result would be the eradiction of the „infidels“ or „apostates“ and the subsequent establishment of an „islamic state“.

The Saudis, Qataris, Turks, Jordanians but also the Americans, the British and the French do not care for the Syrians and for the well-being of the Millions of the refugees and the displaced and trapped civilians. If they did as they claim they would have stopped the Wahhabi arab states from recruiting, paying, training and smuggling sectarian Salafi fighters to Syria. They would have put pressure on the „opposition“ to negotiate with the Syrian regime instead of setting preconditions that were only meant to sabotage any negotiations.

(Actually obvious) truths you should know about the Syrian „rebellion“

„The responsibility of the „Friends of Syria“, both Arab and non-Arab, for the militarization and the ensuing humanitarian crisis, was highlighted by the US former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call on Syrian rebels last July for them not to disarm. It is also seen in the Turkish, Saudi and Qatari opposition to a political solution through the upcoming Geneva-2 conference on January 22.“

„The militarization of legitimate peaceful protests has created the largest humanitarian crisis in the world and it is worsened by the military tactics the insurgents use.
These tactics include mortar shelling of densely populated areas under government control, targeting public services infrastructure, dismantling and stealing public and private factories, and interrupting or cutting transportation and traffic- as well as extrajudicial killings and public beheadings.
There has also been suicide bombings in city centers, the targeting and besieging of minorities, destruction and desecration of religious and historic relics and flooding Syria with tens of thousands of foreign mercenary fighters obsessed by bizarre interpretations of Islam.“

„However, the insurgency bears the main responsibility, mainly during the „defensive“ interval, for the civilian plight; waves of refugees and displaced people came out from the areas under their control to find refuge either in government held cities or across the nearest borders with neighboring states.“

„Rebel infiltration into countryside towns and villages was the main reason for more than two million internally displaced civilians who left their homes as soon as they could out of fear either of the rebels themselves and their practices or the inevitable government retaliation. They were taken care of by the government in government shelters.“


Why Iran is supporting Syria

Some notes on the Iranian support for the syrian regime:
1. First of all, Iran does not support Assad as a person. Iran supports the Syrian regime which is and has been a decade long ally of Iran in the region.
2. Irans motives are neither (a) “expansion of Shiism” nor (b) “suppression of Sunnis”
Had it been (a), Iran would forcefully (try to) “shiitize” the non-Shia parts of Iran.
Had it been (b) Iran would not have supported Sunni Palestinians, Sunni Bosnians or the Sunni majority “Northern Alliance” in Afghanistan. Plus, Iran in the 80s accepted millions of overwhelmingly Sunni afghan refugees while itself being at war with an arab country that was strongly supported by wahhabi Sunni states Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Reflecting on these FACTS anyone should be able to dump all the nonsensical trash regarding Irans alleged plan to “exterminate Sunnis” (as Yusuf al Qaradawi ridculously claimed)
3. Irans support for Syria is a defensive action. Iran did not out of the sudden send material and later men to Syria to fight an offensive war for territorial expansion or ideological export. Irans actions are an attempt to save a regime that is Iran friendly and that has a frontier with Israel but – contrary to Jordan – has not signed a peace with Israel.

To counter the constant Israeli threats Iran needs Syria as a transit land for weapons deliveries to the Hezbollah.
Now, Hezbollah is neither willing nor capable to seriously attack Israel or “liberate” Israeli territory. Instead Hezbollah has 2 roles:
a) defend the mostly Shiite southern Lebanon from getting an Israeli buffer zone again (where Palestinians could be exiled or mass deported)
b) be Irans “Joker” in case Israel attacks Iran. It is a totally different issue whether Israel has to take into account at least medium damage and casualties resulting from Hezbollah counter attacks or whether Iran has no militia on Israels doorstep to retaliate for Iran that itself lacks a common border with Israel and the necessary long range aircraft to reach that country.

(b) also applies to Syria and even on a much broader scale. Syrias military, militias etc. have by far more man power and better weaponry than Hezbollah. Syria offers much more territorial depth for Iran to deploy parts of it airforce there to bridge the distance to Israel.
Even though technically inferior to the Israeli airforce a medium size fleet along with missile defence systems around and in front of it starting from syrian soil towards Israel would leave Israel less time to react.
Iran could also place ground forces and short range artillery in the Golan area to accompany possible aerial attacks with ground attacks.
All this would not be enough to defeat Israel but it would be enough deterrence to let Israel think twice before attacking Iran for no valid reason.

So, these are the reasons why Israel and the US and at least indirectly UK and France are so keen on regime change in Syria. They know exactly that Assads removal would severely weaken Hezbollah.
Saudi Arabia and Qatars motivations for regime change are clearly the following:
– weaken Iran
– denounce and weaken Hezbollah, a Shia movement that enjoyed popularity and support among many non-Wahhabi Sunnis
– Secure further american support in case they have to encounter their own “arab springs”

Being awash in money and lacking military man power the Gulf arab countries run a huge defamation campaign against Iran and it´s arab allies by inventing the legend of an alleged large scale campaign to marginalize, suppress and kill Sunnis simply because the are Sunnis, as though Assad, Hezbollah and Iran were leading a religious war, an inner-islamic crusade against the majority of Sunnis who outnumber the Shia 15:1.
That this is pure trashtalk is obvious to anyone who is able to think without religious fervor, but some arab audience, especially in poor, socially neglected rural areas with unemployed youth suffering from low or no education proves to be receptive for such propaganda.

Killing Shias and the Quran

Quran 5:32
“…whosoever killeth a human being… it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind…”

Now, judge for yourself to which category those belong who have been killing the Shia in Iraq:

Defying political Islam vs. „apostasy“

People are naive if they think that opposing political Islam amounts to „disbelief“ or „apostasy“.
Almost everywhere rulers attributed to themselves by referring to the islamic character of their rule calamity befell their subjects. It is stupid and ridiculous to think that muslim people must be ruled by an islamic government. Religion should be a matter of free and private decision and not externally controlled and enforced by people who claim to „know better“.

On the one hand small children are put into Quran schools, thus implying that religion does not require a minimum age (or level of maturity), but on the other hand it is claimed that adult muslims do not know by themselves how to live a correctly pious life.

One of the recent examples of political Islam is Raqqa in Syria:

Syria: military news and BBC interview

Excellent short interview by Bouthaina Shaaban, Assads advisor:

Western and arab media is interested in exaggerating the role of Iranian ground forces in Syria, but what about this?
„The number of British Islamists who have gone to Syria to fight in the war there is in the „low hundreds“, a senior UK intelligence official says.“

„Syrian troops have retaken a key rebel-held town south of Damascus“

„Syria troops launch major offensive in Aleppo. Soldiers retake parts of strategic airbase near international airport in northern province.“

„Insurgents Capture a Major Ammunition Depot“

Israels bombing of Latakia is for torpedoing Rouhani

„Israeli aircraft have carried out a strike near the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, a US official says.“

There is close to zero logic and military necessity in attacking defensive weapons of a neighboring country that is already stuck in a vicious and devastating civil war. The unprovoked attack on a country with which Israel is (at least officially) not at war does not become any more meaningful or legitimate even if we accept Israels claim that the destroyed weapons were supposed to be transferred to the lebanese Hezbollah.
Why is Israel so much concerned about the possible boost of the defensive capabilities of a militia in another neighboring country which has not violated a ceasefire that began 7 years ago?

Needles to object to Israels apparently unlimited „carte blanche“ to attack souvereign countries with impunity. This was the fifth or sixth such attack on Syria which Israel itself did not officially admit and which did not subject Israel to any criticism by the international mainstream media or by more or less unconditionally supportive western states. This is a disgraceful manifestation of blatant double standard. Just imagine Iran would attack a military airbase in Croatia to destroy weapons that were (allegedly or really) about to be shipped to Syrian rebels. Or Syria would attack a military convoy on the Turkish side of the border claiming it were carrying weapons for rebel fighters in Northern Syria. Nato would have declared war on Syria and each and every media outlet would have torn Assad apart.

The real motivation and purpose for Israels renewed attack on Syria is two-fold:
a) Provoke Syria to make the „mistake“ to retaliate, thus giving Israel and probably also Obama the pretext to unleash massive air raids on Syrian army positions and weaponry in order to help the rebels win a fight that they would not win otherwise in the short and mid term.
b) and this is much more important and relevant: „bomb“ Rouhani, his charm offensive and any perspective of US-Iranian rapprochment. Humiliating Syria and Assad once again is meant to provoke Iranian hardliners to undermine and defame Rouhanis peace initiative. Rouhani would be portrayed as a traitor and weak if he and Iran would ignore continuous unjustified attacks on Irans most important arab ally by the US´ most important anti-Iranian ally Israel.

The attack and also it´s time of occurrence – on the day the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said all Syria’s declared equipment for making chemical weapons had been destroyed – is no coincidence. Israel is the true and most active systematic „destabilizer“ of the Middle East and currently Israels number one priority is to achieve Rouhanis failure.