Barrel bombs and beheadings

No doubt the use of barrel bombs is a desperate measure as this weapon is indiscriminate due to it being unguided. But barrel bombs are very probably not a weapon of free choice for the Syrian army. Would the Syrian airforce possess precision „hellfire“ missiles or other smart weapons or would it have defensive weapons that deflect heat seeking anti-aircraft missiles barrel bombs would not have become a military necessity.

To claim that the airforce deliberately uses barrel bombs in order to inflict intentional and maximum civilian casualties is nonsense. Up until July 2012 the Syrian airforce almost played no role. Fixed-wing aircraft entered the civil war after the rebels intrusion into Aleppo and even then often at the rate of dropping 1-2 bombs from Czech L-39 trainer jets.

While the Syrian army implicitly is condoning collateral damage in the shape of civilian casualties its primary target for barrel bombs are rebels fighting from and hiding in civilian neighborhoods. Dozens of rebel video clips clearly show them launching rockets and firing mortars from the middle of civilian areas. Anti-aircraft guns have often been stationed in streets running between peoples houses. Army tanks have been hit by IEDs placed on such streets and convoys have been ambushed on alleyways passing through ordinary neighborhoods.
This is not meant to justify civilian casualties and downplay the devastating effects of inaccurate weapons but it is fair to make clear that many of areas subjected to Syrian army attacks have long lost their „civilian innocence“. Also, especially in vast parts of Aleppo city rebels have chased away the rightful civilian owners and taken away their houses, subsequently turning them into sniper and RPG positions.

In conclusion one could argue that the barrel bomb is a military necessity due to the lack of better weapons.
In contrast many of the violent actions of the rebels are neither accidental nor a „military necessity“.
It is not necessary to:
– mass execute captured and handcuffed prisoners of war
– throw down postal workers from rooftops
– behead disarmed opponents (and accompany a sectarian crime with religious slogans)- send suicide bombers to blow up school children (and later call them „Shabiha kids“)
– detonate water and gas pipelines
– blast electricity plants
– misuse mosques as weapons depots and firing places
– blow up and desecrate mosques and churches of minorities
– intentionally target and kill journalists and reporters critical of the „rebellion“ (and celebrate this on social media)

All these acts have been carried out by all rebel factions, not only the notorious ISIS and al-Nusra. Besides the „others“ who are hardly less sectarian have either closely and regularly cooperated with al-Nusra or openly voiced support and sympathy for them. Thus it is a mystery where and who the „moderate“ rebels are supposed to be and how anyone can seriously claim that it is safe to supply them with more and better weapons because they are „reliable“ and won´t cooperate with the Jihadists or pass their weapons over to them.

„Islamic State“ (ISIS) beheads, crucifies and mutilates enemies, but is this allowed in Islam?

The terror group ISIS (which calls itself „islamic State“ now) „proudly“ uploads video clips of it´s fighters beheading captured or killed enemy soldiers. Since this group considers itself Salafi and thus „true Muslims“ (something they claim ALL Shias and many Sunnis are not) one should make a fact-check regarding their actions.

There is no clear reference to the act of beheading in the Quran, however, there is a single verse that protagonists of beheading point to in order to justify this barbaric act:
„If you encounter (in war) those who disbelieve, you may strike the necks. If you take them as captives you may set them free or ransom them, until the war ends. “   47:4

In my opinion „strike the necks“ in battle is not the same as beheading disarmed and subdued prisoners of war in a way that sheep are slaughtered. In times when the major short distance weapon of war were swords striking the neck – as brutal as it appears today – was the most effective way of killing enemies that usually had body armor. At any rate it was not more brutal, painful or inhuman than stabbing into the enemies torso.
Looking at the second sentence of the verse it becomes clear that neither the „believers“ were strictly commanded to kill the enemies nor was any beheading of the prisoners as punishment allowed. The verse explicitly allows for taking captives and even recommends to set them free or ransom them.
ISIS is not fighting against its opponents in close range hand-to-hand combat. Besides, there is no legitimate way to interpret the above verse as approval to behead unarmed and handcuffed prisoners who pose no danger.

Beheading enemies, especially cutting off the heads of dead enemies is an act of mutilation.
What is the position of the Ahadith (prophetic traditions) on this?

(1) Al-Hayyaj ibn Imran reported: A servant boy of Imran had ran away and he vowed by Allah that if he caught him, he would cut off his hand. Then he sent me to ask about that, so I came to Samurah ibn Jundab and I asked him. He said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, encouraged us to give in charity and he forbade us from mutilation.” So I went to Imran ibn Hussein and I asked him. He said, “The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, encouraged us to give in charity and he forbade us from mutilation.”

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 2667

(2)The people of knowledge hate mutilation.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 1408

The „Islamic State“ also applies the punishment of crucification and considers itself to be on the right „islamic“ path, but again this terror group displays sheer ignorance and lack of basic quranic knowledge. Crucification is an evil and inhumane act which the Quran attributes to evil men, to those who „exceed the limits“. Here some quotes:

 
Pharaoh said: I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides and will crucify you altogether!

Surah Al-A’raf 7:124,    Surah Ash-Shu’ara 26:49

Pharaoh said: I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides and I will crucify you to the trunk of a palm tree; then you will know which of us is the most severe and lasting in punishment!

Surah TaHa 20:71

It is obvious that the „caliphate“ and its „caliph“ are walking in the footsteps of the Pharaoh. Their actions do not resemble those of just and God fearing men.

 

Sectarian language and threats seems to exclusively come from radical Sunnis

It is interesting that in Iraq Sunnis and Shias are BOTH accused of sectarian language and threats, but I don´t remember a single powerful or influential Shia leader insult and threat the entire Sunni community. Sure, the Shia leaders use the word Takfiri but this applies only to a small extremely radical portion of the Sunnis. When the (radical) Sunnis, however, speak of the „Rafidha“, again they intentionally target and incriminate ALL Shias.
Even the so called „radical“ or „firebrand“ Shia cleric and leader of the Mahdi army at no time spoke in even a remotely sectarian way as one of the ISIS leaders does here:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/06/13/why-the-new-iraq-war-could-be-more-savage-than-the-last/

„the Lord alone who overpowers the Shia. Praise be the Lord who brings terror to their hearts.”“
„Do not concede territory gained to the Shia unless they walk over your dead bodies to retrieve it. March towards Baghdad. Do not let them [the Shia] breath.”
„The Shia are a disgraced people,” he says, accusing them of being polytheists “who worship the dead and stone.”

Interestingly such radicals, call them Salafi or Wahhabi or whatever, consider themselves to be the real, the authentic muslims and to be perfectly familiar with the religion of Islam, but they commit the grave sin of „takfir“ (calling others „unbelievers“) on entirely erroneous grounds.
The Shia „worship“ the dead just as much as football fans „worship“ Lionel Messi or Ronaldo, namely not at all.

 

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.

Syria: military news and BBC interview

Excellent short interview by Bouthaina Shaaban, Assads advisor:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24828294

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.“
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24856553

„Syrian troops have retaken a key rebel-held town south of Damascus“
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24849809

„Syria troops launch major offensive in Aleppo. Soldiers retake parts of strategic airbase near international airport in northern province.“
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/11/syria-troops-launch-major-offensive-aleppo-201311863542920283.html

„Insurgents Capture a Major Ammunition Depot“
http://eaworldview.com/2013/11/syria-forecast-insurgent-offensive-major-ammunition-depot/

Die (angebliche) „Internationale Gemeinschaft“

Wenn die USA, Israel und ihre üblichen Nato-Verdächtigen (GB, Frankreich und inzwischen leider auch Deutschland) mal wieder auf der Suche nach einem regime change Opfer sind, dann schlägt die Stunde des verdammenden und belastenden Vokabulars, mit dem die Politiker der Weltpolizei und ihrer Co-„Befreier“ samt ihren meist gleichgeschalteten Massenmedien dem auserkorenen Feind zu Leibe rücken.

Während das Zielobjekt der Aggressionspläne der sich selbstherrlich „zivilisiert“ nennenden Neokolonialisten/Invasoren zum „Schurkenstaat“ erklärt wird, bestätigt man sich selbst gerne, indem man sich verbal ins Zentrum einer angeblich „internationalen Gemeinschaft“ begibt, die mit der gleichen selbstlosen und humanistischen Inbrunst das deklarierte Reich des Bösen beseitigen und dessen gepeinigte Bürger erlösen wolle.

Dem Konsumenten solcher Propaganda wird – oft erfolgreich – der Eindruck vermittelt, die breite Mehrheit der Menschheit und Staatengemeinschaft sei quasi demokratisch zu dem Schluss gekommen, das Erreichen des ach so hehren Ziels nötigenfalls mit Militärgewalt zu erzwingen.

So ungern es der Durchschnittsamerikaner und der zentraleuropäische, sich mindestens subtil im rassistischen Herrendenken befindende  „Eurozentrist“ auch sehen, sie sind nicht die „internationale Gemeinschaft“, als die sich ihre Mainstreammedien gerne bezeichnen und preisen.

Ende August findet das 16. Treffen des Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Teheran statt, einem der eingangs erwähnten angeblichen „Schurkenstaaten“.  118 von 192 Staaten der Welt werden teilnehmen, darunter die BRICS Staaten (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). Zum Ärger der führenden Kriegstreiber-, Waffenexport- und Besatzerstaaten der Welt, USA und Israel, wird auch UN-Generalsekretär Ban Ki Moon teilnehmen.
Es gibt also auch offensichtlich diese „andere“ und sehr grosse internationale Gemeinschaft, die keine Probleme hat, ihr Treffen in Teheran abzuhalten.
Die Existenz dieser doch so unterschiedlichen aber grösseren Staatengemeinschaft  sollten sich alle Nachrichtenleser und -hörer vor Augen führen, wenn das nächste Mal die ach so seriösen öffentlich-rechtlichen TV-Sender oder niveauvollen Tageszeitungen von jener „internationalen Gemeinschaft“ sprechen, die jetzt „die Geduld mit dem Diktator verloren“ hat und daraufdrängt, die bis an die Zähne bewaffneten militärischen Kampfhunde von der Leine zu lassen.