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 distortive and misleading western narrative of the „ISIS crisis“

Major parts of the western media are serving their audience „facts“ which are non or at best half-truths when it comes to the current crisis in Iraq involving ISIS and the Iraqi armed forces.
Here some corrections:
1. ISIS is no real representative of the Iraqi and/or Sunni community. As a matter of fact they have not only massacred many thousands of Shia civilians (but also police and soldiers) in Iraq, they have also killed in total thousands of Sunni arab fighters in Syria and hundreds of Sunnis in Iraq including members of the „Sahwa“, tribal chiefs, politicians and ordinary civilians.
2. For some of the reasons given above ISIS is not waging a „holy war“ against the Shias whom they consider „infidels“ but against the Iraqi state.
3. The Iraqi government and armed forces are definitely Shia dominated and there has been systematic and wide scale discrimination against Sunnis, but it is totally untrue that Sunnis are prohibited from being part of the government or army and police. This is nonsense. The Iraqi system is despite all of it´s corruption and power abuse still definitely less sectarian than the Bahraini government where the Shia majority is totally absent in the security forces.
4. The volunteers who want to fight against ISIS are not entirely Shias and when Shia cleric Sistani urged Iraqis to resist ISIS he did not single out the Shia by explicitly calling on them.
5. Much is said about Maliki and his devastating political mistakes, mainly his marginalization but the violence of the more radical militant elements of Iraqs Sunni community is not merely a reaction to Malikis policies. Deadly large scale attacks on Shia mosques, pilgrims, funeral processions, markets, Cafes…started as early as 2003 short after Saddams loss of power. There were high casualty suicide and car bombings against Shia civilians as well as their religious notables by the hands of Zarqawi and his followers even long before the official start of the 2006/7 civil war.
A good book about those events is this one:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Occupation-War-Resistance-Iraq/dp/184467164X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1402684132&sr=8-1&keywords=cockburn+occupation

Did Bashar forget to „wipe Homs from the map“?

Back in early 2012 Nicolas Sarkozy was pressing for military intervention in Syria to prevent Bashar al Assad from massacring the people of Homs like Ghaddafi wanted to massacre the people of Benghazi. The following article is reminiscent of Sarkozys „warning“ back then:

„Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, said Sarkozy, “wants to wipe Homs from the map like Qaddafi wanted to wipe Benghazi from the map.”“
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/paul-pillar/wiping-out-6832
This was obviously quite a bizarre analogy referring to something (wiping off Benghazi) that actually never happened.

2 years after the allegedly imminent massacre of civilians or as Sarkozy said the wiping off the map of Homs, the Syrian Army drove out the rebels and retook control of the „capital of the revolution“, but interestingly two things occured of which one actually DID NOT happen despite predictions to the contrary:
1. The government forces did NOT massacre the people
2. Instead of fleeing to the „safety“ of „liberated“ rebel-held areas many of Homs´ inhabitants who had fled the city earlier started returning to Homs

Now a flashback to the original siege of Baba Amr in 2011/12:

The entire western news coverage of the siege of Homs´ Baba Amr district was deceptive and polemic serving merely the purpose of demonizing one side of the conflict.
Baseless claims were made to the effect that the Syrian Army was besieging and indiscriminately shelling entire Homs, Syrias 3rd biggest city. BBC ran a report quoting a rebel (or pro-rebel civilian) that in entire Homs only two bakeries were intact.
Taking a look at this map it becomes clear that Baba Amr is a peripheral district of Homs and putting it under siege is by far not tantamount to besieging entire Homs:
https://i2.wp.com/news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/58789000/gif/_58789122_syria_homs_624_v6.gif

 

Syrian rebel massacre in Lattakia and the „moderate“ FSAs involvement

„Rebel forces in Syria killed as many as 190 civilians and seized more than 200 hostages…Human Rights Watch says.“

Now, will „the West“ admit that its „moderate“ allies and business partners from the rich Gulf monarchies are supporting terrorism?
„HRW says Islamist rebel groups – which include foreign fighters – are financed by individuals in Kuwait and the Gulf.“

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24486627

This is the highlight:

„None are affiliated to the Western-backed Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, though SMC chief Gen Salim Idris did say at the time that fighters under his command participated in the assault.“

More evidence that FSA chief and John McCains friend Salim Idris was involved:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/12/general-salim-idriss-syria_n_3743245.html

Why it is not unlikely that the rebels could have used chemical weapons

Here a couple of reasons:
1. There is no single rebel entity with a top down commando structure and a clear political agenda. With hundreds of „battalions“ and „brigades“ operating all around the country none can rule out that the other could have used chemical weapons
2. Rebel units mostly composed of Jihadis and/or foreign militants do not feel much affinity with ordinary Syrians. It might be that for them the end (removing Assad and establishing an islamist state) justifies the means (massacring pro- but also anti-regime civilians and blaming it on the government)
3. Why should a massacre with chemical weapons be „too barbaric“ to have been carried out by the rebels? After all these are the same people, who:
– have executed disarmed soldiers and pro-regime civilians (at times presenting the throat-cut bodies of victims as civilians killed by the „Shabiha“ while they had filmed the same people in another video as captured „Shabiha“ of Assad!)
– have killed state workers and bombed factories, railways, gas and oil pipelines, water supply infrastructure, power plants, etc.- have kidnapped people
– have tortured and beheaded civilian and military captives or kidnapping victims
– have cannibalized dead enemies
– shot children for being „blasphemous“
– fired at civilian airliners
– bombed and burned mosques, captured it on video and proudly celebrated it
– committed sectarian massacres on many occasions
– used poisonous gas against army soldiers (killing 16 of them) in Khan al Assal
– dehumanize their opponents by declaring them infidels and apostates whose blood can be spilled lawfully