Supported by no evidence „The Telegraph“ revives the Assad-ISIL cooperation myth

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11455602/Oil-middleman-between-Syria-and-Isil-is-new-target-for-EU-sanctions.html
Below some ridiculous and hollow claims that anyone can easily refute:

„the rise of the jihadist movement [ISIL] has served Mr Assad’s interests by allowing him to pose as an essential bulwark against Islamist terrorism.“
Wrong: Before and parallel to ISIL there were and are jihadist movement that are hardly less sectarian and radical: The Nusra Front, The Islamic Front…
https://radioyaran.com/2014/09/11/the-vetted-moderate-rebels-of-the-free-syrian-army-who-and-where-are-they/

„Isil fighters captured the oilfields of eastern Syria in 2013. Since then, the regime is believed to have funded the jihadists by purchasing oil from Isil.“
Ah…so, the author and his sources do not KNOW anything, they just speculate.

„the regime is understood to be running some oil and gas installations jointly with the terrorist movement.“
Really? Then, why is the „regime“ vehemently fighting ISIL at the Jadal gas fields in eastern Homs province? And more important: Why is ISIL attacking it´s „customer“ and „oil and gas provider“ if they are maintaining a „joint venture“?

„Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary…added: „…yet another indication that Assad’s ‚war‘ on Isil is a sham and that he supports them financially.““
The Syrian Army suffered some of its highest casualties in major battles against ISIL:

a) at the Tabqa military airport in Raqqa province
For months Tabqa was besieged and under continuous attacks by ISIL:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Al-Tabqa_air_base
In addition to the hundreds of soldiers killed in battle, another 200 army soldiers were taken captive and executed:
„Following the capture of Tabqa air base a number of images and videos have been posted online showing around 200+ men, reportedly captured soldiers, being marched out into the desert and executed.“
https://bellingcat.checkdesk.org/en/story/60

b) at the Jadal or „Al Shaer“ gas fields:
„The victorious Islamic State summarily executed an estimated 300 captured regime soldiers and civilian employees“
http://syriadirect.org/main/30-reports/1719-prelude-to-a-massacre-the-downfall-of-a-raqqa

c) at the Division 17 and Brigade 93 in Raqqa province:
„Hundreds of Syrian army soldiers scattered to the safety of nearby villages still opposed to the Islamic State, or fled to the Syrian army’s 93rd Brigade, roughly 45km northwest of Division 17. An estimated 50 caught inside Division 17 were quickly killed, their heads removed and rammed on metal pikes lining the streets and parks of A-Raqqa city. More than 85 Syrian army soldiers died during the Islamic State’s final operation to capture Division 17“
http://syriadirect.org/main/30-reports/1719-prelude-to-a-massacre-the-downfall-of-a-raqqa

d) at Regiment 121 in al Hasakah province:
„in Al-Hasakah province, the Islamic State commander Umar Al-Shishani led a near simultaneous assault against Regiment 121..The Islamic State claims to have killed more than 100 soldiers at Regiment 121“
http://syriadirect.org/main/30-reports/1719-prelude-to-a-massacre-the-downfall-of-a-raqqa

As a matter of fact and for many months the Syrian Army has deployed two of its most experienced commanders to fight ISIL: In Eastern Homs it was until recently Colonel Suhayl al Hassan, the commander of the special forces unit „The Tiger forces“. During the most crucial operations he was assisted by another special forces unit called the „Desert Falcons“.
In Deir al Zour the government forces are led by nobody less than Major General Issam Zhahreddine.
Despite the above mentioned setbacks the Syrian Army has inflicted heavy losses on ISIL, among them:
„On 28 August, Syrian fighter jets launched a precise attack on an IS HQ in the city of Mohasan, during a meeting between military leaders and sharia judges. The attack resulted in the death of most leaders inside (numbering six), while others were wounded.[20][50] Another airstrike occurred the same day against an IS camp near Baath Dam, killing and wounding dozens of insurgents“
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Eastern_Syria_offensive

And just today the following was reported:
„In Hama province, meanwhile, government forces conducted air strikes on an IS convoy, killing 26 jihadists, including a senior local commander, the Syrian Observatory for Human rights said.“
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/contents/afp/2015/03/syria-conflict-is-assyrian.html

So, the only „sham“ and the true shame, Mr. Hammond, is your alarming lack of knowledge with regards to an army that – contrary to yours, the UKs – is fighting the real war on terror, while paying a high price in human blood.

 

Sunni misconceptions about Shia muslims

The root cause of anti-Shia violence perpetrated by militantly sectarian and mostly Wahhabi/Salafi minded elements within the Sunni muslims is the existence of major misconceptions regarding Shia muslims. This goes as far as considering Shias „non-muslims“ (Kuffar) or worse „apostates“ (Murtadeen).

Hateful incitements against the Shias have been „explained“ by takfiri ideologues using a wide array of mostly unsustainable religious pseudo-arguments in order to justify and „legitimize“ the killing of Shia muslims.
Thus it is time to identify and refute these deadly misconceptions.

Since (the mostly Wahhabi/Salafi minded) radical islamists among Sunni muslims seriously think there is solid religious „legitimization“ for anti-Shia violence which absolves them of any guilt and even justifies sectarianism, it is time to identify, address and refute misconceptions about Shia muslims.

The misconceptions:

1. There is a „Shia Quran“ which is different than the „Quran“
Truth: Of course there is no such seperate and different Quran. The Quran sold and read in Tehran is the same as in Riyadh.

2. The Shia believe that Imam Ali (ibn Abi Taleb, cousin and son-in-law of Prophet Mohammad) is „God“
Truth: No Shia Imam or scholarly person has ever claimed this and this is also totally inconsistent with the „Shahada“ formula that every practising Shia uses: „La ilaha illa Allah wa-Muhammad rasul Allah. There is no god but God and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah. “

3. The Shia believe that archangel Gabriel (Jibr´eel) „mistakingly“ gave prophethood to Prophet Mohammad instead to Imam Ali
Truth: Same as with misconception 2

4. The Shia do not pray 5 times a day and a total of 17 Rakaat
Truth: „In Shia mosques, whether in Iran or the USA, all five daily prayers are performed. Shia do combine noon and afternoon and evening and night, but Shia scholars recommend performing them separately.“
http://www.ezsoftech.com/akram/shiasunniunity.asp

5. The Shia do not pray voluntary „Sunnah“ prayers (in addition to the obligatory „Fard“ prayers)
Truth: Beside the fact that the „Sunnah“ prayers are voluntary and thus NOT compulsitory, „Shias do perform non-obligatory prayers, 36 cycles per day in total, but call it Nawafil and not Sunnah.“ For details, see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salat

6. Lying and deception is allowed for the Shia because they make use of „Taqiyyah“ (Dissimulation)
Truth: Shias are of course not allowed to lie or deceive or give wrong testimony. „al-Taqiyyah literally refers to the practice of hiding one’s faith when one’s life is in danger from others who may wish to harm them for what they believe…Muslims should employ the practise of Taqiyyah in matters of life and death. In reality the Shia have found themselves in that very situation on numerous occasions throughout Islamic history.

The practice is legitimised during times of danger by the Holy Qur’an in Surah 16: Ayah 106:

 “Whoever renounces faith in Allah after {affirming} his faith—barring someone who is compelled while his heart is at rest in faith—but those who open up their breasts to unfaith, upon such shall be Allah’s wrath, and there is a great punishment for them.”

This verse was revealed in relation to the Prophet’s (s.a.w) companion ‘Ammar b. Yasir, after he was forced to use renounce his faith in order to save his life from the Qurayshi pagans who were torturing and killing Muslims for refusing to outwardly profess disbelief.“
http://shiastudies.org/article/taqiyyah
Though Sunni muslims do not use the word „Taqiyyah“, the concept as such is not unknown: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taqiya#Sunni_Islam_view

7. Shias are „polytheists“ because they worship others than Allah
Truth: No, of course Shias only worship Allah. They have been accused of „shirk“ because of prostrating on a piece of earth (clay) during the prayer. This has nothing to do with polytheism (by „worshipping stones“) as Sunni Sheikh Ahmed Deedat explains here very well:

“An example is that the Shia brothers when they make salat, they have a piece of clay (turbah) that they do sajjdah on. And he( Sunni cleric) says, “see what they are doing here. This is shirk. They are worshipping a piece of clay.”
I said why don’t you ask them why they place their foreheads on a piece of clay and learn the logic behind this. I asked them. Why do you carry this clay tablet everywhere you go in your pocket? They said “we are supposed to do sujood on Allah’s earth with our foreheads touching the earth. We say “subhanna rabia Allah” three times with our foreheads touching the earth.” So the Shia want to actually touch the earth with their foreheads and not a manmade carpet. They want to be true to the expression of praying with the forehead actually touching Allah’s earth. You see they don’t worship the clay tablet as many wrongly think. And this is always something that we Sunnis are always making fun of and mock the Shia.”“  https://revivinghope.wordpress.com/tag/shia-sunni-unity/

At times, Shias visiting shrines have been wrongfully accused of „worshipping“ the (graves of the) dead.
„Touching or kissing the shrines of the Prophet and the imams does not imply shirk, nor does it associate that particular person with Allah, because Allah has the ultimate sovereignty in this universe, and Muslims submit to, worship, and seek help only from Him. Visiting the shrines is merely a gesture of respect.“

The Noble Qur’an teaches that when Prophet Yaqub cried over the separation of his son, Yusuf he lost his eye sight. Years later, Yusuf sent his shirt with one of his brothers and told him to put it on the face of his father so that he would regain his sight. The Qur’an says:

„Go with this shirt of mine and cast it over the face of my father. He will become seeing. And bring to me all your family. And when the caravan departed (Egypt), their father (who was in Palestine) said, “I do indeed sense the smell of Yusuf, if only you think me not sane.” They (his family) said, “Certainly you are in your old error.” Then when the bearer of glad tidings arrived, he cast it (the shirt of Yusuf) over his face, and he became seeing. He said, “Did I not say to you that I know from Allah that which you know not?”[Quran, 12:93]

Today, in most countries, both Muslim and non-Muslim, the flag of a nation is so sacred that soldiers, even civilians kiss it and put it on their faces. Does that mean they are worshipping a piece of cloth?
http://allaboutshias.com/shias-view-on-grave-worship/

8. Self-flaggelation is part of Shia ideology
Truth: No, it is not part of the ideology and even less a core belief of Shiism. Unfortuntaly it is still practised by many thousands of Shias but it should be noted that the broad majority of Shia does not commit it:
„Fatwa by the supreme leader of Iran – The Shia majority Iran and many Shiite clerics have denounced self-flagellation as un-Islamic and have issued a fatwa banning self-flagellation. The fatwa has led to many Muslims denouncing self-flagellation and have instead organized blood donation camps. Some have ignored the fatwa…With many Shiite clerics denouncing the act of self-flagellation, the act of self-flagellation is more of an Asian phenomenon now more particularly India & Bangladesh.“
http://thelogicalindian.com/story-feed/opinion/this-blood-soaked-islamic-ritual-needs-to-be-banned-completely/

Also: „Suffering and cutting the body with knives or chains was banned by Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran and by Hezbollah in Lebanon.[62] Khamenei issued a fatwa on 14 June 1994 banning this practice. He considered it irreligious and not suitable for good Muslims.“
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Twelver_Shia_Islam#Mourning_Husayn_and_self-flagellation_during_Ashura

9. Shias hate or insult the Prophets companions (Sahaba)
Truth: While, it is unfortunately true that some Shia indeed (have) insult(ed) some of the Sahaba, it is unfair and incorrect to accuse the Shia collectively of doing this. This shameful „habit“ is also nothing that is part of the general upbringing or education of an average Shia.
More interestingly, it should be noted that Ayatollah Khamenei from Iran strictly forbids insulting the Sahaba:
http://www.sunniandshia.com/unity-between-shia-and-sunni-on-imam-khameneis-fatwa/
Also: „Shia consider the first three caliphs as great companions and good Muslim administrators, but not spiritual leaders (imams). Imam Jafar Sadiq, whose mother and grand mother came from the line of Abu Bakr, said of Abu Bakr, “He gave me birth twice.” Ayisha is respected by Shias as the „Mother of Believers,” as Ali respected her when he sent her back from Basra to Madinah after the Battle of the Camel. If some Shia do slander the three caliphs and Ayisha, they do it out of ignorance and should ask God’s forgiveness.“
http://www.islamicity.org/2237/sunni-misconceptions-about-shias/

„Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani’s fatwa in October 2013, when he strictly forbade attacking Sunni sanctities, stating, “These are condemnable acts, and they violate the Shiite imams’ orders.”…Several Shiite authorities cooperated with Tayeb’s latest request and issued several fatwas and statements forbidding insulting Sunnis.“
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2015/01/iran-iraq-fatwa-sunni-shiite-insults.html#

10. Shias practice temporary marriages (Mutah) 
„Temporary marriage (Mutah) was allowed during the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and he himself practiced it. Ibn Zubayr was born out of a temporary marriage. Later on Caliph Umar prohibited it due to social reasons as the Islamic world was rapidly expanding. Shias discourage Mutah but do not consider it prohibited. “
http://www.al-islam.org/muta-temporary-marriage-in-islamic-law-sachiko-murata/legitimacy-muta

 

Instead of pointing at alleged or real differences the focus should be put on highlighting the common ground:

„Shia and Sunni have many things in common. They both believe in One God (Allah), follow the same Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) as the last Prophet, offer five daily prescribed prayers, perform the prescribed fast in the month of Ramadan, go to Makkah for the Hajj pilgrimage, read the same book of Allah, Holy Qur’an, and pay the poor-due (Zakat).“
http://www.ezsoftech.com/akram/shiasunniunity.asp
In addition, both Shias and Sunnis share the most important holidays: Eid al adha and eid al fitr

 

 

 

Qatar- The „world bank“ of Jihadi terrorism in Syria (and elsewhere)

It is silly that western mainstream media simply quotes the Qatari Emirs denial of his country being a sponsor of Salafi/Takfiri terrorists. Contrary to pro-Russian or at least „not pro-american“ countries Qatar (and likewise Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait..) has a lobby. After all „Qatar is the richest country in the world per capita – and has made significant investments“ into various western countries and corporations.

The following article and the embedded video clip shed more light on Qatars role in devastating Syria (and earlier Libya) through arming and funding radical Islamists:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/qatar/11171847/How-Qatar-funds-extremists-across-the-Middle-East.html

The article explicitly mentions Ahrar al Sham. Some western and (Gulf) arab media have attempted to portray Ahrar al Sham as a kind of „acceptable“ – though not explicitly „moderate“ – rebel faction. The focus of such coverage has been to emphasize Ahrar al Shams fighting against IS(IS).  Simultaneously the same sources try to either  downplay Ahrars connection to and regular cooperation with Al Qaedas Syrian branch, the Salafi Al Nusra Front or to create the impression that Al Nusra is the arch enemy of IS(IS) and thus „automatically“ good or worthy of support.
Hence, it may be necessary to once again make absolutely clear that Al Nusra are radically sectarian takfiri Jihadists and 100% non-moderate.
„Islamist rebels decapitated prisoners around the United Nations bases near where Irish troops were serving in Syria, a UN report seen by the Sunday Independent reveals.“
The article makes clear that the beheaders were Al Nusra fighters:
http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/news/alqaeda-rebels-dangled-victims-heads-to-goad-un-30638839.html

It is very embarassing for Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey as the main funders, trainers, weapons providers and facilitators of the Syrian insurgent factions as well as for the US administration that continues to stick to the myth of „moderate“ rebels that the Nusra Front increasingly and openly voices sympathy and support for IS (with which it cooperates already in Lebanon during kidnapping and beheading „joint ventures“):
http://edition.cnn.com/2014/10/06/world/meast/isis-al-nusra-syria/index.html?hpt=imi_r1

More complications for the „standing“ and reliability of the insurgents arise from the Nusra being a major factor on almost all of Syrias frontlines and cooperating with all relevant rebel factions, among them the „Islamic Front“ (where the Ahrar are the biggest single group), the „Syrian revolutionaries front“ and the „Southern Front“.

For more details on Syrias different rebel factions and the radical islamist ties of all of them, see
https://radioyaran.com/2014/09/11/the-vetted-moderate-rebels-of-the-free-syrian-army-who-and-where-are-they/

ISIS, Maliki and the Sunnis

Two popular mistakes should be identified and avoided:

1. It is not merely ISIS against the Iraqi army. ISIS is the spearhead and the combat wise most experienced and effective single group of a variety of Sunni militias that are fighting the Iraqi armed forces. Not all of these 7 or 8 groups are radical islamists and sectarian. Many are tribal fighters disaffected with the central government which they accuse of having sidelined, oppressed and marginalized Sunnis for years. Others are former Baathists, thus more or less secular minded or nationalists, among them the Naqshbandy army.

2. Though it is true that especially the Maliki government is highly corrupt and has acted in sectarian ways, this is not merely because Malikis regime is backed by Iran or simply hates Sunnis. While ISIS as the name of a specific organization only exists since  a couple of years, the hatred ideology of takfiri salafism in post-Saddam Iraq is not that new. As early as in 2003 systematic and wide scale deadly attacks against Shia police, army recruits and especially ordinary civilians began to occur at least on a weekly basis. Suicide bombers and car bombs killed hundreds of Shia every month, targeting them in mosques, at market places, in Cafes and restaurants and even at funerals. Many Shia clerics were assassinated few months after the US invasion in 2003, e.g. Ayatollah Hakim:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Baqir_al-Hakim#Assassination

Not all but many instances of power abuse at the hands of Shia militias and Iraqi armed forces were a reaction to the relentless and high casualty bombings of Shia areas. Neither Iran nor the Iraqi Shia clergy brought sectarianism to Iraq. It was the „achievement“ – and not an incidental one – of Wahhabi/Salafi ideologues from the GCC countries awash in money and relying on arabic mass media in shape of several satellite channels broadcasting anti-Shia and anti-Iranian hate mongering all around the clock.

It is wrong to declare Sunni opposition to the Iraqi regime as „terrorism“ and not every Sunni insurgent fighting the Iraqi army is a takfiri. The Sunni opposition is legitimate but it suffers from being associated with ISIS and similar minded sectarian jihadists.

 

Is „ISIS“ the Taliban of this decade?

It might be a coincident that the „Islamic State of Iraq and Syria“ (ISIS) attacked and took over Iraqs second biggest city Mosul – http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-27778112 – just as the Pakistani Taliban attacked the airport of Karachi, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-27777449

There is more than one parallel between both groups/organizations if one knows the story of the Taliban.

Back in the mid 90s, apart from a very short while when Afghan people thought that the new „students“ movement would bring peace, security and even freedom for their country, disillusion dawned upon the broad majority of Afghans of all ethnicities.
The Talibans adherence to a hitherto unknown extreme understanding of the islamic law, their total lack of familiarity with Afghan history and customs, their unlimited intolerance and hostility towards religious and ethnic minorities alienated and intimidated the population, especially outside of the so called Pushtun belt.
It can be highly recommended to read Ahmed Rashids book about the Taliban movement:
http://www.amazon.com/Taliban-Militant-Fundamentalism-Central-Second/dp/0300163681/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402425017&sr=1-1&keywords=ahmed+rashid+taliban

The Taliban were not interested in gaining anyone’s sympathy, nor where they seriously interested in coalitions, power sharing or any kind of compromise. While they were clearly sectarian (means anti-Shia/anti-Iran) their biggest enemy was the mainly Sunni „Northern Alliance“, led by Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. They massacred thousands of Shia civilians but also Sunni Uzbek POWs, just as they poisoned the wells and destroyed the livestock of the mostly Sunni Tajik inhabitants of the Shamali plain.
They simply did  not care about anyone.

ISIS appear to be similar. While the majority of their ruthlessly killed victims are Shias (the majority civilians) they do not hesitate to suicide bomb Sunni clan chiefs, „Sahwa“ militias and civilians.
The Taliban fielded thousands of Pakistanis and hundreds of Arabs, Chechens, Uzbeks, Uighurs and others. ISIS fighters also consist of North African and Gulf Arabs, Pakistanis, Chechens and even European Salafis.
Just as the Taliban shocked the world in the 90s, ISIS does very much the same in recent years. They by far exceed the extremism of other islamist organization, among them even such that themselves are militant Salafis. As a consequence ISIS succesfully and simultaneously fights completely different forces: The predominantly Shia army of Iraq, the mostly Sunni extremist rebels in Syria, the Kurdish militias in North Eastern Syria and at times the Syrian Arab Army.

Both the Taliban and ISIS have their ideological roots and a major portion of their financial backing in Saudi Arabia and to a smaller extent in other Wahhabi dominated Arab countries in the Persian Gulf. The official line of the Saudi government is to declare and regard ISIS an enemy, but the government is at best unable and at worst unwilling to prevent „private donors“ from funding the salaries, the training, the arming and the logistics of ISIS:
https://100wordz.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/al-qaeda-in-syria-and-the-private-donors-from-the-gulf-monarchies/
It was the same with the Taliban. It were the Saudis who bankrolled their offensives by supplying hundreds of gun-mounted Datsun pickup trucks over and over again, while Pakistani Madrassas – often funded by Saudis and preaching Wahhabism – provided the man power.

While the Saudi approach might appear irrational at first sight, it is indeed very rational at least in the short and midterm run:
1. The takfiri Jihadis are identified
2. They are kept away from Saudi Arabia (and the Gulf) by being constantly involved in „Jihad“ from Libya over Syria to Iraq
3. They are inflicting heavy damage and casualties on Shias and their allies

As a side effect but definitely all but incidentally Israel and the US are (at least in secret) very happy that Syria, Hezbollah and also Iran are bleeding and getting damage.

Still, it is puzzling how a seemingly small militia without airpower and heavy weapons has been able to humiliate Iraqs at least 500.000 men strong armed forces.

The „moderate“ FSAs cooperation with Al Qaeda in Syria

Not only has the allegedly moderate, non-sectarian, pro-western and Israeli tolerated FSA been using the lethal combat efficiency of the Al Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front (JN), but they have also sold advanced anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons to the even more radical Salafi Al Qaeda branch Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISUS/ISIL):

„He didn’t want to be filmed. But he told us: if we wanted to cut the supply lines it is easier for us to take the warehouses of the FSA. Anyhow we are buying weapons from the FSA. we bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti tank weapons. We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA. For us, the infidels are those who cooperate with the West to fight Islam. “
http://blogs.aljazeera.com/blog/middle-east/meeting-al-qaeda-syria

As usual Obama, Kerry and co. ignore or play down such embarrassing facts when they openly speak about funding and facilitating (through Saudi Arabia) the further arming of the FSA.

 

Congress Secretly Approves Arms for Syria Rebels

After all the embarassing and shocking revelations about the Syrian rebels, after the broad majority of the rebels either openly declare themselves as part of Al Qaeda or strongly sympathize and ideologically identify with Al Qaeda, the US has begun resupplying the rebels with arms.
How can an honest government officially endorse peace talks but at the same time arm a warring faction that is opposed to peace talks and will certainly feel emboldened and encouraged to fight on after getting further arms?
To justify this appalling decision the US has once again resumed reinvigorating the myth of the „moderate rebels“, no matter how ridiculous and incredible such claims have become in the mean time:

„One close observer of the  opposition, who recently returned from travelling in the rebel-held areas of northern Syria, says that “you could go an awful long way talking to these jihadi groups before you met any fighters who did not thoroughly approve of 9/11 as a well-deserved blow against the US”.“
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/01/27/return-to-damascus/

http://news.antiwar.com/2014/01/27/officials-congress-secretly-approves-arms-for-syria-rebels/