Norouz and Islam (or religion)

I have heard people debating whether Islam and Norouz are „compatible“.

Here are my thoughts:

First of all, Norouz is a national celebration of all Iranians independent of ethnicity, dialect or religious belief while Islam is one among several religions.
From a rational point of view there is no „either, or…“ to decide about.
You can be atheist, Zoroastrian, Muslim, Bahai..and celebrate Norouz.

In case of Islam, no matter whether you are a practising pious Muslim or a mainstream Musim there is no reason to not celebrate Norouz. This is because Norouz does not violate any islamic principles. It does not hinder anyone from believing in God, prophet Muhammad or the herafter.

Contrary to a wide spread but wrong understanding of piety Islam is not hostile to being happy or celebrating. Islam does not demand from a Muslim to do nothing else than praying or fasting or reading Quran.

Some calls for banning Norouz because it allegedly contradicts Islam are as absurd as banning TV programs or sports because these activities supposedly distract people from performing their „religious duties“.
This is of course complete nonsense. Norouz´ entire duration is 13 days and even during that period anyone can pray or fast or read Quran as much as he likes.

Religious zealots must be cautious not to alienate people against religion by unnecessary and out of perspective radicalism. They are doing a disservice to religion by placing and portraying it as an antipole to everything that people love.
Don´t blame religion. Blame (some) religious people.

The bizarre „terrorist“ policy of the US

The relationship of the US with and her attitude towards the Taliban is marked by irrationality and inconsistencies.

In the 1990s when Iran backed and supported the Afghan „Northern Alliance“ in their fight against the Taliban, the United States took no anti-Taliban position.
While the Taliban took Kabul in 1996 and went on steadily gaining ground against their adversaries American Petroleum companies secretly met Taliban delegations and US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad downplayed the radicalism of the Taliban.
Northern Alliance´ military commander Ahmad Shah Massoud sought American and European support but got none with only Russia, Iran and India funding and arming his faction. The Taliban, however, received massive man power, monetary and weapons support from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, both US allies in the region.

In the aftermath of 9/11 The US invaded Afghanistan and drove the Taliban from power, but the Taliban proved to be resurgent. The central governments power never really extended much outside of Kabul. Many areas remain contested and insecure today. 18 years after their „defeat“ the Taliban manage to overrun bases of Afghan special forces or to launch attacks inside Kabul inflicting huge casualties.

It can be rightfully concluded that the US „war on terror“ conducted in Afghanistan since almost two decades continues to be a huge failure, despite having stationed between 15.000 and 130.000 Nato troops there, in addition to more than 300.000 Afghan army soldiers being trained for many years.

Paradoxically the US has blamed Iran for the ongoing debacle in Afghanistan claiming that Iran has been supporting the Taliban. Needless to say that there is no proof for such claims: No Iranian weapons convoys being sighted going from Iran to Taliban areas, no Iranian cargo planes landing in secret Taliban air bases. Nothing. Plus, the Talibans traditional strongholds are far away from the Iranian border and both on the border to and inside of Pakistan, a US ally.

Interesingly some American officials have blamed Iran for holding talks with the Taliban, but at the same time considering it very natural that the US is doing the same very officially.

This grotesque attitude towards the Taliban and the obvious double standard of condemning others for negotiating with an „evil force“ while considering it normal and justified to do it when it serves US interests is in line with American foreign policy elsewhere:

The US has no problem with Israel openly admitting having supported Al Qaeda elements in Syria (Video minute 2:40 and 3:58) and „defends“ Al Qaeda versus Hizbollah by stating that Al Qaeda has not attacked Israel.

The US is also not much bothered by it´s allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates equipping Al Qaeda elements in Yemen with American weapons. These Al Qaeda elements do not any longer fight the „Arab coalition“ but the Houthi rebels.

The same went on for years in Syria where Saudi Arabia and other US allied GCC countries massively supported Syrian insurgent groups affiliated with Al Qaeda.
Al Qaeda aligned insurgent forces in Syria probably field well over 20.000 fighters, most of them located in the North Western province of Idlib, yet in 4.5 years of military presence in Syria the US airforce hardly ever attacked Al Qaeda. Instead it bombed and killed hundreds of Syrian, Iraqi and even Iranian fighters engaged in fighting Isis in Eastern Syria.

Apparently Al Qaedas sectarianism and terror is only bad when it hits the US, but when Iran, Syria or Russia are affected by Al Qaedas violence the US and it´s partners overtly and/or covertly support Al Qaeda.


Western regret over not having supported Syrian rebels in 2011 is silly

As early as in 2012 when even official western reporting increasingly conceded that sectarian jihadists had „hijacked“ the Syrian „revolution“ many „experts“ expressed regret over the earlier non-intervention of western military powers in favor of the Syrian rebels.

The implicit argument that before it´s radicalization the „uprising“ deserved western support is flawed in many instances:

1. Despite often repeated but misleading claims about the „revolution“ having been peaceful „at least for 6 months“ (or one year according to others)  it was always disputed whether not major parts of the uprising were armed, violent and sectarian from the very beginning. Contrary to the former romanticization of the insurgency deadly attacks and systematic ambushes on police and army happened from day one.

2. After the Libya experience it was clear that Russia would not accept a UN resolution allowing western states to go for their much desired „regime change“ under the pretext of „responsibility to protect“.

3. There was never a Syrian opposition with a broad popular support base inside of the country. After the experience with Ahmad Chalabi in Iraq probably even western regime change proponents were suspicious of similar claims by Syrian exile opposition members.

4. There was no truly deployable opposition ground force to bank on. The „Free Syrian Army“ never had any command and control structure, cohesion, unified leadership or infrastructure. It was never more than a name, but a disconnected conglomeration of undisciplined local militias. By contrast, in all the year when various rebel factions tore eachother apart and entered coalitions even with Isis and Al Qaeda (Al Nusrah) just to abandon them or be abandoned, fought and disarmed by former allies, the Syrian army and it´s allies never had any internal fighting.

5. Why should external powers intervene in a civil war, bring about the defeat of the stronger side and empower forces that they don´t know and whose actions they probably cannot predict and contain?

It is very likely that despite much rhetoric about supposedly regretting the lack of earlier action on behalf of the Syrian rebels and against the Syrian government, the army leaderships and secret services of the western powers had serious and legitimate concerns about bringing to power sectarian and highly violent radicals.

Dubious source: „Violations Documentation Center“ (VDC)

Many reports about the war in Syria frequently quote the „Violations Documentation Center“ (VDC), however the information released by the VDC must be treated with much skepticism.

Here some reasons why:

„This source is highly partisan. For example they divide fatalities into two overall groups: “Martyrs” and “Regime Fatalities”.

Martyrs” include ISIS fighters and foreign mercenaries killed by the Syrian Army/Militia or even by the U.S. airstrikes around Kobani. See the VDC screenshot photo 1 showing the ISIS “martyr” killed in Kobani. Photo 2 shows a young girl listed as “regime fatality”…There is little or no evidence provided regarding most of the alleged victims. Photographs and video evidence is provided for a small minority of the cases.“

„there are good reasons to believe the VDC is listing dead insurgents as civilians, as well as mislabeling dead government soldiers as FSA fighters.”

One example he cited was the listing of a Jaysh al-Islam militant, ‘Hisham Al-Sheikh Bakri’, killed by the SAA in Douma (infested with Jaysh al-Islam terrorists), in February 2015, which al-Masdar News reported. The VDC also listed ‘Hisham Abd al-Aziz al-Shaikh Bakri’, “however this one is listed as an adult male civilian and not a Jaish Al-Islam fighter,”

If you go to the VDC site and check for adult male civilian deaths it shows (Feb. 16th, 2018) 79.254 deaths, while the total number of civilian deaths is shown as 111.803. So, almost 71% of all civilian deaths are adult males, while we have been hearing that most civilian victims (of course almost all killed by „the regime“) are women, children and elderly…Why is the percentage of adult males so high? Can it be that a sizable portion were NOT civilians?


Syrien: der Anschlag auf den Flüchtlingskonvoi

Bei dem Anschlag auf einen stehenden Konvoi von mehreren Bussen mit überwiegend schiitischen Flüchtlingen aus den Dörfern Fua und Kafraya in Syrien sind über 100 Menschen getötet worden, darunter ca. 70 Kinder.
Allem Anschein nach – hierfür sprechen sowohl Zeugenaussagen als auch mehrere Videos im Netz- wurde die Bombe durch eine sogenannte SVBIED (Suicidal vehicle borne intergrated explosive device) gezündet, eine von einem Selbstmordattentäter gefahrene mobile Sprengfalle.

Trotz der Umstände und der Identität der allermeisten Opfer berichten die Mainstreammedien systematisch irreführend: Die religiöse Zugehörigkeit der Opfer so wie ihre Loyalität wird nicht erwähnt, und es wird so getan als ob die Frage der Urheberschaft für den Terroranschlag nicht geklärt werden könne, weil sich doch keiner dazu bekannt habe.

Dass islamistische Rebellen – unklar welcher Fraktion – dahinterstecken ist jedoch mehr als eindeutig, wie man an folgenden Fakten bzw. Gegenfragen erkennen kann:
1. Die Opfer sind überwiegend Schiiten. Sie gelten speziell bei den salafistischen Rebellengruppen (Al Nusra Front bzw. inzwischen Hayat Tahrir al Sham, Ahrar al Sham oder Jaish al Islam) als Ungläubige bzw. Apostaten oder Häretiker.
2. Die Opfer sind loyal zur Regierung von Präsident Assad. Sie wurden seit Jahren in der von mehrheitlich islamistischen Rebellen kontrollierten Provinz Idlib belagert, ausgehungert und beschossen.
3. Autobomben so wie speziell SVBIEDs sind das häufigste und tödlichste Mittel der Rebellen. Die syrische Armee und ihre Verbündeten haben noch nie SVBIEDs eingesetzt.
4. Der Anschlag ereignete sich im von Rebellen kontrollierten Bezirk Rashideen westlich von Aleppo. Dort befinden sich weder Soldaten noch Milizionäre, die der Regierung angehören.
5. Bereits in Dezember hatten radikale Rebellen Busse, die für den Abtransport von Menschen aus den oben genannten Dörfern herbeigeschickt worden waren in Brand gesteckt und mindestens einen Fahrer getötet. Die Rebellen liessen sich triumphierend dabei filmen und sagten, dies sei Rache für Ostaleppo.
6. Auch jetzt gibt es Islamistenvideos in welchen Gewalt gegen die Schiiten aus Fua und Kafraya angekündigt wurde.

Jene dreisten Medien, die in ihrer schamlosen Verdrehung von Tatsachen versuchen, die Tat der Regierung Assad in die Schuhe zu schieben, sollen sich überlegen, wie sie überlegt und berichtet hätten, wenn eine „Fassbombe“ einen Konvoi von Sunniten aus der von Regierungstruppen belagerten Stadt Zabadani getroffen hätte:
Man hätte sofort und ohne jeden Zweifel „Assad“ beschuldigt, weil doch die Faktenlage „klar“ sei:
– Die Opfer waren Assad-Gegner
– Sie wurden im Assadgebiet getötet, wo Rebellen doch von aussen gar nicht Zugang hätten
– Die benutzte Waffe sei doch Assad-typisch

Eine weitere Unverschämtheit der Berichterstattung besteht darin, dass fast jeder Artikel 2-3 Rebellen- oder rebennahe Quellen zitiert und lediglich einmal Quellen, die loyal zur syrischen Regierung sind.
Es gibt auch keine 7 jährigen Banas oder andere perfekt in English twitternden Aktivisten, die zumindest neutral sind und von Ort und Stelle berichten.
Interessanterweise hat kein Medium Interesse gezeigt, die Überlebenden zu interviewen und hinsichtlich des Tathergangs und ihres Verdachts bezüglich Täterschaft zu befragen.

Informationszeitalter vs. Propaganda

Davon abgesehen, dass „Propaganda“ in aller Regel subjektiv ist und je nach Blickwinkel des Betrachters unterschiedlich als solche erkannt und abwertend bezeichnet wird ist „Propaganda“ genau so wie „Fake news“ oder „Verschwörungstheorie“ keiner Seite eines Konflikts vorbehalten.

Andere Frage: Leben wir tatsächlich im Informationszeitalter oder der Illusion eines solchen?
Man beachte zum Beispiel die Berichterstattung der Medien einerseits und den Aktionismus der Politiker andererseits rund um den mutmasslichen Giftgasangriff in Syrien: Nichts ist wirklich bewiesen, aber nahezu sämtliche Medien wiederholen in bequemer und unkritischer Gleichschaltung die offizielle Linie, vorgegeben durch die stets weltpolizeilich und mit fadenscheiniger Moral agierenden USA.
Es liegen zuhauf Informationen vor, die nachvollziehbare Zweifel an der „Assad war´s“-Theorie hegen:
1. Motiv
2. Sarin, „ein Nervengas“ oder Chlor?
3. Warum wurden „falsche Symptome“ berichtet?
4. Glaubwürdigkeit der Quellen
5. Warum wird die Version Russlands und der syrischen Regierung ausgeschlossen?
6. „Auffälligkeiten“ bei den „Beweisvideos“ (Opfer, die man von früheren Videos kennt; Helfer, die völlig schwachsinnig agieren)

Heute fordern die G7 Staaten von Russland, dass das Land die Unterstützung von Präsident Assad einstellt. Was das bedeutet und was nach Assad kommt ist erst einmal egal. Es ist die gleiche gefährliche Mentalität und Naivität, mit der man einst sagte „Hauptsache Saddam ist weg“, oder „Hauptsache Ghaddafi ist weg“.

Es mangelt nicht an „alternativen“ Informationen, aber die Mehrheit der „renommierten Medien“ zieht es vor, Desinformation, Übertreibungen, Mutmassungen, Halbwahrheiten mit Vehemenz zu verbreiten, um Fakten zu schaffen, die keine sind, Wahrheiten zu konstruieren, die auf Täuschung und bewusst ignorierten Fehlern fussen.


Radioyarans Top articles of this week (13/2017)

The Beneficiaries of Conflict With Russia

Iran in the crosshairs as Syrian war winds down

Air strikes are the only way to defeat Isis? Then tell the truth about the loss of civilian life


Why Hillary is completely wrong on Syria

According to this superb article by Patrick Cockburn, we are to expect new or increased american military intervention in the Middle East, particularly in Syria:

„…a report by the Centre for a New American Security (CNAS) in Washington that recommends that the destruction of Isis should no longer be the overriding objective of the US in Syria, but that equal priority should be given to taking military action against President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Army.“

This apparently requires „A new pro-US armed opposition would be built up to fight Assad, Isis, al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda clones“.

Now take a closer look:
The Syrian Army (and allies), Isis, Al-Nusra and her Al Qaeda sisters such as Ahrar al Sham and co. have a combined man power of around 200.000 men. The loyalist factions posses both airforce and air defense. All parties together in total field thousands of tanks, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, artillery pieces and other short and mid range explosive weapons. Most important than all of this: All of the parties have 5 years of experience in irregular warfare, mastering the use of tunnels and tunnel bombs, DIY weapons, IEDs etc.
And now, a hitherto non-existent new army is going to rise in their midst and fight them all. No matter how much support the US airforce and even any special ground forces were to contribute this adventure is doomed to fail.
If you doubt this, I may refer to Afghanistan:
There the Americans/Nato had a major well-armed and -trained ally (15-20k men of the Northern Alliance), heavy ground presence (tens of thousands of Nato soldiers), an Afghan president representing the ethnic majority of the country (Pushtuns), no relevant sectarian element (broad majority of Afghans are Sunnis; Shia Hazaras very small group that was never in power), an enemy with little history of holding power (Taliban were in power just since 5 years when the Americans attacked in 2011).
15 years later the Afghan army built by Nato is hardly capable to defend against the Taliban without the help of the US airforce. The government has never regained full control of remote areas of the country and of the Pushtun heartland. The Taliban regularly stage attacks in the middle of Kabul inflicting casualties in Afghan and international troops.

Hillary and her „think tanks“ won´t care about all this. Instead she will elaborate that Syria is not Afghanistan, that the situation and the conditions are „totally different“…



Revealing western lies about Syrias „moderate rebels“ and other lies against Russia

This is another excellent article by Patrick Cockburn proving that Russia indeed is hitting ISIS:

There are, however, some further remarks of interest:
„Prominent among those congratulating President Erdogan is the Army of Conquest (Jaysh al Fateh), which captured much of Idlib province earlier in the year and 90 per cent of whose fighters reportedly come from al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham.“
=> So, the most successful non-IS rebel faction consists to 90% of Al Qaeda affiliates and yet you hear western media and politicians seriously complaining that Russia – when targeting the „army of conquest“ – is attacking the „moderate rebels“?

And these „moderates“ do not even try to hide their true color and malicious intentions:
„Mr Gurcan cites a well-informed Turkish authority saying many of these Syrian opposition “groups are trying to sign non-hostility pacts with Isis” – pacts that say they will not fight Isis unless attacked by them. Governments pretending to distinguish between “moderate opposition” and Isis in Syria should keep this in mind.“

In another instance western media launched a smear campaign against Russia distributing and repeating unverified rebel claims accusing Russia of systematically and frequently bombing hospitals.
This is the truth:
Medecins Sans Frontieres and the Red Cross both denied these bombings:

The third highly interesting recent case of misinformation was when western media (Reuters) changed news which could prove negative for the „reputation“ of western backed rebels and as a side effect could refute earlier claims like „Only the Syrian Army could have used chemical weapons“:

Just look, how „rebels“ was changed to „fighters“ within a day by the same news outlet.

Clear indications that Syria is NOT using chlorine as a weapon

One of the reasons cited about why the Syrian army allegedly used Sarin in August 2013 in the eastern Ghouta area near Damascus was the baseless claim that the rebels were on the verge of victory and Sarin was the only way to stop them. This claim is not based on facts but wishful thinking with a clearly pro-rebel bias.
None of the reporters covering news of that battle front in the time of the attacks seriously claimed the rebels were close to any serious military breakthrough. On the contrary, the consensus was that the Syrian army had the upper hand.

This along with the fact that it was the Syrian government that had invited the chemical weapons instructors makes it highly unlikely that the Syrian army would resort to a single and relatively small scale chemical weapons attack in the very moment of the presence of international experts.

Now, let´s take a look at the allegations of the use of chlorine as a weapon by the Syrian army.
Even taking the claims of rebels in Idlib at face value, the question remains what military purpose single barrel bombs – allegedly filled with chlorine – are supposed to achieve. Does the Syrian army get a military edge, a clear battlefield advantage, by dropping a couple of such bombs on isolated targets? The chlorine attacks – if they really occured – have killed very few people and among those even fewer rebel fighters, so why should the Syrian army use a weapon which is media-politically a great own goal and military totally useless?
Thus there is valid reason for scepticism regarding chlorine attack accusations.
Below are some good articles focusing on such accusations and more or less refuting them:

„According to its report, in May 2014, an OPCW team tried to investigate at the site of alleged chlorine gas attacks. The Syrian government gave the OPCW team passage to the rebel controlled area but the convoy was attacked by a rebel faction. None of the team members was injured but that stopped their on-site investigation. Instead, the OPCW worked with the well-funded opposition-supporting Violations Documentation Center to arrange interviews with numerous people from three villages. The interviews were conducted outside Syria, probably in Turkey. They gathered photographs, videos and other evidence and expressed “high confidence that chlorine had been used as a weapon in Syria” in three villages. They did not ascribe responsibility…The interviews with villagers were done with OPCW “working closely” with the partisan “Violations Documentation Center.” How did OPCW verify the integrity of the witnesses?“

This is a very good question. The VDC is 100% pro-rebel and totally biased. For instance, the VDC reports on the casualties of the Syrian war. Apart from the fact that it calls all non-government casualties „martyrs“ while calling government casualties „regime fatalities“, the organization makes the doubtful claim that adult-males make up 73% of civilian casualties:
This makes no sense as there is no reason why the portion of adult men among civilian casualties should be so high.
This proves that the VDC is no neutral source and all but reliable.

This article examines (and exposes) the main sources:
“ Syria Civil Defence was funded and created by UK and USA. Initial training was provided in Turkey by former British military officer and current contractor based in Dubai. In the past year Syria Civil Defence has been rebranded as “White Helmets” by “The Syria Campaign” which itself is the creation of corporate PR firm. Syrian Civil Defence (aka White Helmets) is heavily into social media and actively campaigning for a No Fly Zone.“

Next, the article analyzes some of the „evidence“:
„Video of the three dead children is tragic but it’s questionable how they actually died. Scenes from the medical clinic indicate illness but not the cause. Scenes showing the “proof” of a “barrel bomb” containing “chlorine cylinders” is highly dubious. Some of the scenes are almost comical with one person in full hazmat gear, another with mask and another casually with hands in pocket and no mask at all. Then we have someone talking to camera with a bulldozer and some scrap metal on the ground. Then there is the figure holding what they report as a container with a “red liquid”“

Finally, it proves that the Al Nusra front has access to chlorine since 2012:
„the major chlorine gas producing factory in northern Syria was over-run and seized by Nusra rebels/terrorists in late 2012…The factory owner reported there were about 400 steel cylinders of chlorine gas, one Ton each, captured by Nusra/Al Qaeda along with the factory.“

3. The well-known bipartisan blogger „AngryArab“ cites a western middle east journalist rightfully casting doubt on the chlorine use allegations:

4. This article analyzes the „evidence“ from the only alleged chlorine gas attack that resulted in more than one death, the attack from March 16th, 2015:
The summary of the articles findings includes the following: „Clinical signs point away from chlorine, and from aerial delivery and towards a locally-administered drug overdose.“
The article is worthy of reading in full as it shakes the foundation of the accusations and refutes the so called evidence.

In conclusion I would like to quote the second of the four sources above with the most important question: cui bono?
the Syrian government has nothing to gain and everything to lose by using chlorine gas. Especially after the UN Security Council made a specific resolution regarding use of this industrial gas, why would they arouse world ire and hostility against themselves by using this weapon? Why would they do that when they have conventional explosive weapons which are more deadly? On the other hand, the ones to benefit from such an accusation against the Assad government are the armed opposition and other proponents of a No Fly Zone in northern Syria.“

Further, with regards to Human Rights Watch´s (HRW) war mongering, I recommend these articles: