How „moderate“ is the FSAs „Southern Front“

When confronted with the fact that there is no relevant moderate rebel faction going by the name of „Free Syrian Army“, still some people disagree pointing to the so called „Southern Front“ as a supposed success model of a secular/liberal force fighting against the Syrian government.

The more interesting then to zoom deeper into the Southern Front:

„The simultaneous claims of success indicate that the Southern Front’s fighters likely participated in the battle alongside the jihadists, even though the FSA’s southern alliance has repeatedly rejected cooperation with Al Nusrah.“

„Just days after Al Reis’ [Southern Front commander] public rejection of any cooperation with al Qaeda’s arm in Syria, Ahrar al Sham, Al Nusrah and their allies in the region announced the creation of a southern wing of Jaysh al Fateh (“Army of Conquest”).“

„Some FSA groups rejected cooperation with “Jaysh al Fateh in the South,” but others reportedly joined it. Adding to the battlefield confusion, the Southern Front apparently fought alongside Ahrar al Sham just days before publicly rejecting any collaboration with Al Nusrah (Ahrar’s closest ally in Syria)“

„According to a recent account, FSA groups operating under its umbrella are peeling off and joining Ahrar al Sham.“
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2015/10/al-nusrah-front-free-syrian-army-battle-assad-regime-for-un-hill-in-southern-syria.php

So much about the Southern Front being a reliable „moderate“ rebel faction and so much about it´s leaders credibility when they claim they will not cooperate with Jabhat al Nusra, Al Qaedas Syrian branch.

Another perspective of Syrias civilian casualties

While condemning loss of civilian life in Syrias war, western and arab anti-Assad media has almost never cared to mention and criticize the collectively harmful and often deadly actions taken by the Syrian rebels such as blowing up gas pipelines, disrupting or destroying power plants, blocking water supply or attacking state owned factories and killing their staff as happened with a factory that produces army uniforms.

Sunnis in the Syrian army and government

For more than four years (since the start of the Syrian civil war) we have been hearing the same odd and dishonest mantra again and again:
The Syrian state and army are sectarian…The state hates Sunnis…The rebels are fought because they are Sunnis…The CIVILIANS are deliberately killed, simply because they are Sunnis…THE GOVERNMENT AND ARMY (+ LOYALIST MILITIAS) ARE „ALMOST ENTIRELY“ ALAWITES WHO HATE SUNNIS, etc.

Let´s first debunk the nonsense that the Syrian army, militias and security services are „almost entirely“ Sunni:

„As for General Swaidan’s soldiers, they arrive to salute their commander and are invited to talk to me: a group of conscripts who give their full names and their civilian jobs – one was a tailor, another a carpenter – and cheerfully say they are Sunni Muslims. Assad, of course, is an Alawite, but the general is careful of percentages, saying that 60 to 65 per cent of the 4th Brigade are Sunnis. „There is no sectarianism in this army, not in our brigade, and if you tour the checkpoints around the city, you will find most of the soldiers are Sunnis.“

The rebel forces in Syria, of course, are almost all Sunni Muslims, and that was the general’s point: Syrian Sunnis also fight for the army. And when I did stop at the general’s checkpoints and rather cruelly demanded to know their religion, almost all of them were indeed Sunni, some conscripts, many regular soldiers
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/there-is-no-sectarianism-in-the-army-syrias-war–the-generals-view-9206169.html

Sunnis are the backbone of the Syrian army
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/in-assads-syria-death-notices-litter-the-walls–and-life-goes-on-9836912.html

„There are a lot of senior Sunni officers who are still in the Syrian army and security institutions…the majority of the Syrian army (around 60%) are Sunni.“
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2013/05/syrian-conflict-failed-sectarian-analysis.html#ixzz3d44F14an

„The Syrian army is largely made up of Sunni conscripts, while many willing Sunni volunteers in the paramilitary groups that support regular government forces fight alongside foreign Shia militias, like Hezbollah, against a plethora of rebel groups that are all exclusively Sunni Muslim of varying extremes – both local and foreign.“
http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/syria-why-assad-still-power-544952547

„The perception of the opposition as a rural-based movement led by religiously conservative, poor, and unsophisticated villagers has alienated wide segments of urban Sunnis, who have little in common socially with their co-religionists…Sunnis and, more specifically, Sunni Arabs, continue to make up the majority of the regular army’s rank-and-file membership…Estimates indicate that Sunnis account for between 60 and 65 percent of the regular army…Sunnis continue to be well represented in Syria’s security institutions in various capacities, including leadership and other specialized roles…Sunnis, for example, are well represented in NDF units based in Aleppo and elsewhere…has also bolstered the NDF’s ranks with loyal Sunni Arab tribesmen who act as crucial proxies for the regime to different degrees in provinces as diverse as Al-Raqqah, Al-Hassakah, Dara’a, and Deir al-Zour“
https://www.ctc.usma.edu/?p=35407

And now, let´s take a look at the government itself:

The Vice President, the Prime minister, the Foreign minister, the Defense minister, the Interior minister, the heads of the security services and many more influential and first level functionaries are Sunnis. Even the wives of Bashar al Assad and his brother are Sunni women:
http://www.syrianperspective.com/2015/06/liars-syrper-pulls-the-veil-off-the-alawi-canard-syria-is-ruled-by-sunnis-and-sunnis-only.html

 

 

Syria: Nusra Fronts recent massacres should open some eyes

Recently some western and Gulf Arab circles have been bringing up the idea to „reconsider“ the Nusra Fronts (Jabhat al Nusra) status as terrorist organization. They attempt to sugarcoat Nusra as „moderate Islamists“ who are supposedly the arch enemy of ISIS and therefore sort of „not that bad“.
The argument is totally flawed as the Syrian army is also fighting ISIS in places such as Qalamoun, eastern Homs (Palmyra), Deir al Zour and Hasakah to name some of the battlefronts, not to mention that ISIS is fighting pro Assad factions in the Yarmouk camp of Damascus, where – interestingly – it was al Nusra who let ISIS enter the camp.

To destroy any myths about Nusra being „moderate“ or otherwise „non-terrorist“ I refer to this comprehensive article, but it´s noteworthy to read some very recent news about al Nusra AFTER the Al Jazeera interview with the groups leader al Jolani. The aim of the interview was to advertise for Nusras „rebrandishing“ by allowing al Jolani to portray the group as one that not only has no plans to attack the west but also respects minorities, is non-sectarian, almost liberal one should think…

Here are some stories featuring the Nusra Fronts actions in the last weeks:

„“There was a garrison of 40 of our men in one battle in Idlib province, and 14 were killed in the fighting and the other 26 were captured,” General Ghassan says. “They executed them one by one, going from one man to the next to shoot him in the back of the head so that the others in the row would know what was about to happen to them.“
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/an-army-boot-is-placed-on-the-face-of-the-dead-men-general-ghassan-of-the-syrian-army-on-the-war-against-nusra-10289588.html

the Islamist gunmen picked off the Syrian checkpoints around Jisr al-Shugour, firing at ambulances taking the wounded to hospital, creating panic among civilians who poured into the centre of the town – much as the Muslims of Bosnia had fled for their lives under Serb attacks into the towns of the Drina Valley almost 25 years ago. 

„Some men who showed they were alive were immediately shot.“
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-syria-hospital-siege-thatturned-into-a-massacre-jisr-alshugour-breakout-was-less-of-a-victory-than-damascus-claims-10301084.html

„At least 20 Druze villagers have been shot dead by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front in north-western Syria“
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-33092902

With regards to the killing of the members of the Druze minority, especially this part of the BBC article should draw attention for many reasons:
„Wednesday’s shooting occurred after a Tunisian al-Nusra commander tried to confiscate a house belonging to a Druze man who he claimed was loyal to the Syrian government…the al-Nusra commander accused the Druze of being „kuffar“ (infidels) before ordering the mass shooting.“

This is exactly the point: Nusra harbors key non-Syrian radically sectarian elements, going from the Chechen commander Muslim Shishani to the Saudi Salafi „field ideologue“ Abdullah al Muhaysini.
There have been dozens of cases of similar mass executions of „non-aligned“ civilians, including many Sunnis, by simply declaring them „loyal to the Syrian government“, as if this in itself is a grave crime.
The international media has for years been very receptive and tolerant for Syrian rebel crimes as soon as the victims were defamed as „Shabiha“ or otherwise dehumanized. „Shabiha“, „Assad supporter“, „regime loyalist“, these and other negatively colored terms have been the standard vocabulary of Syrian rebels and their media mouthpieces when it came to justify terrorism and crimes against humanity.

Finally, the following article about Nusra and whether they really deserve reconsideration and „rehabilitation“ is highly recommendable:
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2015/06/rebranding-nusra-front-isil-syria-qaeda-150605062901260.html

Some excerpts:
„The Nusra Front, concluded HRW, was „responsible for systematic and widespread violations including targeting civilians, kidnappings, and executions„.

Like ISIL, the group has „committed systematic rights abuses, including the intentional targeting and abduction of civilians“ with „repeated claims of responsibility for lethal car bombing attacks that have targeted civilians in Syria„.

The Nusra Front, HRW added, has – again, like ISIL – „imposed strict and discriminatory rules on women and girls and they have both actively recruited child soldiers„.

So, a moderate or pragmatic group then? Not by any stretch of the imagination….

This notion that JN [the Nusra Front] isn’t as violent as [ISIL] is wrong; both groups follow the extremism of bin Ladinism, though the former uses a bullet while the latter prefers a blade – or worse“

The Nusra Front wants to be considered „moderate“ but don´t be fooled

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„Al-Qaeda ‚orders Syria’s Al-Nusra Front not to attack West'“
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-32913509

Ah really? But Al Nusra (JN) did this already by destroying the two major western backed factions of CIA „vetted moderate rebels“ going by the names of Syrian Revolutionaries Front and Harakat Hazm:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front%E2%80%93SRF/Hazzm_Movement_conflict

Word has been that Nusra might „dissociate“ from Al Qaeda, but this is actually irrelevant and only window-dressing, just like Nusras attempt to portray itself as the „good islamist jihadis“ fighting the „real“ bad guys of IS.
While Al Nusra and IS have fought eachother on some fronts, on others they have been cooperating, e.g. in Qalamoun and in the Yarmouk camp:
http://www.ibtimes.com/al-qaeda-isis-cooperate-lebanon-thats-just-temporary-tactic-1828258
https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/18134-isis-and-nusra-are-one-in-yarmouk-camphttp://www.weaselzippers.us/219703-bad-news-isis-and-al-nusra-front-team-up-in-syria-seize-sprawling-palestinian-camp-on-assads-doorstep-in-damascus/

Nusra should not be appeased or sugarcoated under any circumstances as the group has committed severe crimes:
– Killing members of pro government media:
The station’s studios were destroyed with explosives. Seven people were killed in the attack on Al-Ikhbariya TV, including four guards and three journalists. Al-Nusra claimed responsibility for the attack and published photos of 11 station employees they kidnapped following the raid… Mohammed al-Saeed, a well-known government TV news presenter, was kidnapped by the group. On 3 August 2012, al-Nusra published a statement saying that al-Saeed had been executed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front#Designation_as_a_terrorist_organisation
– mass executing prisoners of war:
„28 Syrian soldiers were killed as well as five Nusra fighters. Some of the captured soldiers were summarily executed after being called „Assad dogs“. The video of these executions was widely condemned“
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front#Designation_as_a_terrorist_organisation
– kidnapping and executing lebanese soldiers:
https://humanrightsactivists.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/nusra-front-kills-lebanese-soldier-promises-more-if-prisoners-not-released/
– kidnapping nuns
– kidnapping UN peace keepers- beheading people and throwing them into bakery ovens:
„They (the attackers) then headed to the checkpoint located on the edge of the city before moving to the clinic, where they slaughtered one from the medical staff and put his head in the popular market. They then dragged his body in front of townspeople who gathered to see what was happening. Bakery workers who resisted their machinery being taken away were roasted in their own oven. Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic Front fighters went from house to house with a list of names and none of those taken away then has been seen since.“
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/30/shell-shocked-syrian-town-freed-after-savage-massacre/

Here are few of hundreds of video clips of Al Nusras extremely brutal executions including beheadings, not only targetting soldiers but also civilians including women. I warn viewers that these are very graphic scenes, I use to make clear that Al Nusra are sectarian mass murderers:

Jabhat al-Nusra executing and brutally beheading 3 Syrians:
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=6b8_1398446167
Al nusra terrorists executing syrian soldiers
http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=809_1395163651
Jabhat al-Nusra Executed a Woman in Ma’arrat msren in the countryside of Idlib For adultery
http://www.raqqa-sl.com/en/?p=286
https://i2.wp.com/m.clarionproject.org/sites/default/files/Jabhat--al-Nusra-Executes-Woman-for-Adultery-HP.jpg
https://i0.wp.com/d.ibtimes.co.uk/en/full/1412359/jan-have-threatened-execute-lebanese-soldier.jpg
SYRIA EXECUTION VIDEO
https://i1.wp.com/www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/multimedia/dynamic/00299/P30_ALE_1024_299712k.jpg

Truths about the Yarmouk camp that western mainstream media and Arab channels suppress

The twisted and flawed „logic“ of many western and (Gulf) Arab media outlets regarding the Yarmouk camp of Palestinian refugees in Damascus goes as follows:
– The Palestinians in Yarmouk (but also in other camps) hate Assad and support the „revolution“
– Assad and the Syrian government (who for more than 40 years have been hosting the Palestinians) hate the Palestinians because they are (mostly) Sunnis
– The Syrian army is bombing the camp, keeping it under siege and starving the inhabitants
– The inhabitants love and support the Syrian rebels because the latter „defend“ the Palestinians and fight against the „regime“
– Only anti-Assad Palestinian factions in Yarmouk are fighting against ISIS

If someone is interested in a more authentic and less propagandist version of the camps recent story, I refer to following articles:

<<„There is intermittent fighting between Palestinian factions and IS and Al-Nusra Front which are trying to retake positions in the centre of Yarmuk,“ Khaled Abdel Majid, head of the Palestinian Popular Struggle Front which is close to Syria’s regime, told AFP…He said Syrian regime aircraft have bombarded Al-Hajar al-Aswad, which is jihadist-held.>>
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/contents/afp/2015/05/syria-conflict-yarmuk.html

pro-Assad Palestinian militias are fighting a grinding battle to the death against the Islamic State.“
<<“The cease-fire details were in place and ready to be implemented by the end of March 2015 when the terrorists of Daesh and Nusra launched their attack on the camp, scuttling all previous efforts,”>>
„The recent battle against the Islamic State, for instance, saw a number of defections from Hamas-controlled militant group Aknaf Bayt al-Maqdis — previously allied with opposition factions in the camp — to the regime side, after the Islamic State beheaded 10 Aknaf men. But other fighters from the group defected to Nusra and the Islamic State. According to Palestinian sources, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, who is based in Qatar, made several calls to PFLP-GC leader Jibril, as well as Hezbollah and Amal leaders in Lebanon, in order to secure the safety of Aknaf fighters. Now, approximately 160 Aknaf fighters are fighting alongside the regime
<<Unlike Hamas, we are loyal to Syria. Syria was loyal to Palestine.”>>
http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/05/04/inside-the-ruins-of-yarmouk-refugee-camp-syria/

while the civilian population is suffering the lashes of hunger, thirst and dwindling medical supplies, militants inside the camp appear to be largely unaffected by the siege. On the contrary these groups seem to be well-armed, fully weaponized (at least to the extent that enables them to retain full military control over the majority of the camp despite the ongoing siege) and on multiple occasions have even instigated clashes and firefights with the Syrian army.

This begs the question: what prevents these militants from using their own supply routes and active ammunition channels to soften the impact of the regime-imposed siege on the civilian population inside the camp, keeping in mind that areas bordering Yarmouk from its southern entrance are controlled by the “rebels” themselves? ““
https://radioyaran.com/2015/04/11/why-is-the-yarmouk-camp-suffering-the-true-reasons-not-western-propaganda/

Iraks Armee und die „Todesschwadrone“

Man bescheinigt allenorts der irakischen Armee mangelnde Disziplin, Kampfkraft und Organisation.

Dann kommen selbst sunnitische Stammesführer und bitten die schiitischen „Hashd Shaabi“ (Popular Defence) um Hilfe. Was passiert? SPONs Raniah Salloum muss sofort einen Artikel schreiben, indem diese Miliz kollektiv und pauschal als „Todesschwadrone“ diffamiert wird.

Bevor man allzu schnell die schiitischen Milizen als Todesschwadrone in Sippenhaft nimmt und so tut als ob es in Irak alternativ jede Menge „säkulare“ reguläre sunnitische (oder andere schiitische) Milizen mit nennenswerter Präsenz gäbe sollte man mal darüber nachdenken, wie die „berüchtigten“ „Todesschwadrone“ entstanden:
Als Reaktion auf eine nicht abreissende und quasi sofort nach der Entmachtung Saddams in 2003 einsetzende Serie verheerender Anschläge auf schiitische Zivilisten mit tausenden Toten.

Die mediale und „physische“ Hetzjagd gegen Iraks Schiiten hat nichts mit der erst später einsetzenden Repression der Sunniten zu tun und war keineswegs eine „Reaktion“ der Sunniten auf irgendwas.
Wer die Ideologie der Zarqawis und anderer „Gründungsväter“ der IS oder der syrischen Al Nusra kennt weiss, dass diese Jihadisten ihren Hass auf Schiiten (pseudo-)historisch und nicht zeitgeschichtlich begründen.