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SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from Mythology

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  • Cort Greene
    *Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982 #Lebanon *
    Message 1 of 10 , Sep 17, 2013
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      Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982 #Lebanon


      http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/

      SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from Mythology

      Posted by tahriricn

      By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICNED-AR204_obagy_D_20130830164816

      One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory of Syria’s revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The danger that the increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and the region should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings exist about the nature and dominance of such groups which this article attempts to address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we able to move forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the threat of counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding of who is working for the original goals of the revolution so that they can be given the solidarity they deserve.

      Al Qaeda ideology
      Al Qaeda or militant Jihadi groups[1] have an internationalist perspective and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a strict interpretation of Sharia law. The ideology of Al Qaeda groups is closely related to Salafi/Wahabi ideology (the totalitarian political doctrine which is practiced in Saudi Arabia). Whilst Salafism is an extremely repressive, puritanical ideology which follows a literal interpretation of the Quran, it is important to note that not all Salafists believe in violent means to establish their goals and that some Salafists are prepared to work within a democratic system. By contrast, militant Jihadi groups reject the concept of democracy holding that their interpretation of Islam is mandated by God. They believe that it is a religious duty to defend the Muslim community against enemies of Islam and are prepared to die as martyrs for that cause. They regard anyone who does not subscribe to their ideology (including liberal Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims) as heretics/Kafir. Some, known as Takfiris, believe that they have the right to kill heretics. Al Qaeda affiliated groups in the region include Egyptian Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, Jund Ansar Allah in Palestine, Fatah Al Islam in Lebanon and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco. [2]These groups do not have a broad popular support base, primarily due to their use of terrorist means targeting civilians in countries in which they operate and their following of an interpretation of Islam which is alien to almost everyone.

      Mainstream political Islam
      It is important not to confuse militant Jihadis with mainstream political Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the Muslim Brotherhood is undoubtably conservative and reactionary, they have broad based popular support across the Middle East and North Africa and have won democratic elections in Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt. They gained prominence during the Islamic revival of the 1970s, as a direct response to western imperialism. They work to reinstate Islamic laws and believe in the concept of Islamic unity and the return of the caliphate abolished by Ataturk in 1924 although they primarily struggle on the national level. They advocate that political Islam is compatible with the establishment of a modern, democratic, multi-party state that respects human rights, including the rights of religious minorities.[3] Pursuing social justice and particularly reducing the gap between rich and poor has been a key tenet of their ideology and to this end they established a vast network of social services which gained them the support of the urban and rural poor.[4] Although they have been known to use violent means to achieve their goals, the Muslim Brotherhood officially rejects the use of violence.[5]

      The experience of countries that have been governed by the Muslim Brotherhood show a wide gap between their rhetoric and reality. Highly authoritarian and repressive regimes have been established where they have come to power. Yet we should not regard the Muslim Brotherhood as a violent terrorist organization or overlook the support the organization has amongst broad sections of a religiously conservative population. Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to militant-Jihadi groups. The Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the Syrian National Coalition (the bourgeois opposition in exile which is backed by the West, Gulf States and Turkey and influenced by foreign agendas). The Syrian National Coalition also includes secular and leftist opposition groups (including Christian and Kurdish parties), the Free Syrian Army, grass-roots opposition groups and independents. It advocates establishing a civil, democratic Syria.[6]

      Between the ‘moderate’ political Islamists and Al Qaeda there exists a broad spectrum of other Salafist groups which subscribe to puritanical versions of Islam some of which are militant. They include Al Nour party in Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jaysh al Islam in Palestine, and Ansar Al Islam and Ahrar Al Sham in Syria. Further, although the overwhelming majority of people in the region are Muslim, many are also secularists, including the vast majority of Syria’s grassroots civil opposition. Socialist and anti-authoritarian/anarchist currents also exist within Islam with roots that can be traced back to the ninth century.[7]

      Al Qaeda groups in Syria
      The two Al Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are Jabhat Al Nusra (Al Nusra Front – JAN) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). Both can be traced back to groups established to fight against the American occupation of Iraq and grew in strength due to the sponsorship of the Syrian government. This is important to note because whilst the origins of Al Qaeda globally go back to Afghanistan, where they were supported by the CIA to fight against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, this is not the experience of Al Qaeda groups operating in Syria or Iraq today which fight against US imperialism, Zionism and all western influence.

      Some of JAN’s members are Syrians that returned from fighting in Iraq when the uprising broke out in 2011, but many foreigners also joined their ranks. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed that JAN was its branch in Syria. However, JAN’s leader, Abu Mohammed Al Golani, has rejected this claim whilst simultaneously pledging allegiance to Al Qaeda globally. ISIS is a part of the Al Qaeda network and the majority of its members are foreigners. Whilst exact numbers are not known it is estimated that together JAN and ISIS have around10,000 members, less than 10 per cent of estimated armed opposition fighters.[8] Both aim to overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad, establish and Islamic caliphate and a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are opposed to Western intervention and are opposed to the US and Israel.

      The numbers of JAN and ISIS are relatively small, yet they have a disproportionate strength compared to other armed opposition groups. They have battle-experience from Iraq and have received a lot of military support from Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which aim to destabilize Syria through sectarian conflict in order to prevent a popular revolution from succeeding. By contrast other armed groups are still mainly dependent on light weapons and what they can seize from Syrian army bases they have captured. JAN and ISIS are concentrated in the north of the country, along the Turkish border in Aleppo and Idlib governorates, in Al Raqqa governorate, and in the east in Deir Al Zour governorate along the border with Iraq. They have attempted to set up Islamic emirates in areas under their control, established Sharia courts and placed restrictions on the rights of women and minorities.

      Both groups have been responsible for carrying out attacks against civilians, including suicide bombings, the arrest of opposition activists, the torture and extrajudicial killing of Syrian army soldiers they have captured, and sectarian killings. Most recently they have been responsible for atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population, causing over 20,000 Kurds to flee to Iraq in August. The extremism and violence practiced by such groups is an increasing trend and major cause for concern. Yet, it must be borne in mind that the overwhelming majority of the estimated 120,000 deaths and vast majority of cases of torture and brutality in Syria over the past 2.5 years have been carried out by the Syrian regime.[9]

      Al Qaeda affiliated groups have the potential to cause chaos and violence in Syria and the region for many years to come. However, their ability to impose their vision on a future Syria is grossly over-estimated. They are small in number, they do not have a popular support base, and the majority of their ranks are foreigners. After 10 years of causing turmoil in Iraq, including the massacre of thousands of civilians, they did not manage to win the support of the local population or create an Islamic state. According to a Syrian rebel from a secular brigade in Salamiyah; “Al Qaida is the one thing that will unite Syrian people after the revolution, because all of the Syrians will want them out – those who are now with the regime and those who are against the regime. Nobody likes these people … After the regime falls there will have to be a new military formation to confront these radical movements.”[10]

      Relationship of militant Jihadi groups to the Free Syrian Army (FSA)
      The Free Syrian Army is the main, and by far the largest, armed opposition group in Syria.  It’s leadership is linked to the SNC. The FSA is comprised of officers and soldiers that have defected from the regime as well as anti-regime elements of the civilian population. It is committed to the overthrow of Assad and the establishment of a  plural, civil, democratic Syria. The FSA is comprised of many battalions. The leader of the FSA, Salmin Idriss has stated he is committed to secularism, yet some battalions are Islamist (mainly Muslim Brotherhood affiliated), some are secular and some are comprised of Christians, Kurds and Alawites. There are even women only brigades.

      Whilst serious human rights abuses have been carried out by elements of the FSA, these appear to be mainly isolated incidents rather than wide-spread and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian areas. Human Rights Watch has noted that “many of the antigovernment groups reported to be carrying out abuses do not appear to belong to an organized command structure or to be following Syrian National Council orders”.[11] When such incidents have come to light the SNC and FSA have condemned them and called for the arrest and prosecution of those responsible, something that has never been seen from the Assad regime.[12] The FSA is generally held in high regard by the civilian population and seen as protector and defender of the people.[13]

      ISIS and JAN operate outside of the FSA chain of command and reject the leadership of the SNC. Yet, due to their advanced military capacity and military successes against the Assad regime, some FSA battalions have cooperated with them. The majority refuse to do so, and as militant Jihadi groups have grown in strength and carried out increasing attacks on civilians, particularly sectarian violence, the FSA leadership has sought to distance themselves and condemned their actions.[14] The FSA has also been engaged in fierce battles with JAN and ISIS (as was seen recently in Bustan Al Qasr) and militant Jihadi groups have expelled FSA battalions from some areas under their control and even assassinated FSA leaders.[15] It is also interesting to note, that increasingly JAN and ISIS have refused to fight against the government on front lines and instead focused on consolidating their power in areas under their control.[16] This is a clear testimony that they are not working for the goals of the revolution but rather to further their own extremist religious agenda.

      There are other battalions that operate outside of the FSA chain of command and are openly critical of the SNC and FSA leadership abroad.[17] These include both secularists and Islamists. One of the largest Islamist coalitions is The Syrian Islamic Front, comprised mainly of Salafist battalions such as Ahrar Al Sham. Their aim is to establish an Islamic state governed by Sharia Law although they are Syrian nationalists and not working for a global caliphate or linked to Al Qaeda.[18] They reject western notions of democracy.[19]

      Syrian government strategy towards militant Jihadis
      When the peaceful popular uprising began in Syria in early 2011, the Syrian government falsely claimed it was fighting Sunni Islamic militant terrorists. This was an attempt to discredit the legitimate demands of the Syrian people for freedom, social justice and dignity and justify its terrifying crackdown. As we have seen, to some extent it was to turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The government sent Shabiha (armed Alawite militias) to arrest and shoot protesters and terrorize the civilian population, thereby introducing sectarianism into the uprising, despite minority groups such as Alawite, Christians and Kurds playing an active role in the opposition. In the first five months alone, when protests were still peaceful, the UN estimates that hundreds of people were killed.[20] Many more were imprisoned and brutally tortured. Assad also released a large number of militant Jihadi prisoners from jail in the early days of the revolution.[21] The Assad regime has made deals with Jabhat Al Nusra, such as paying them 150 million Syrian Lira [$1.15 million] monthly to keep oil flowing through two major pipelines in Banias and Latakia.[22] It is also clear that the vast majority of attacks carried out by the regime have not been on JAN or ISIS strongholds but rather in areas where secular or ‘moderate’ Islamist brigades are concentrated such as Homs, Deraa and FSA controlled parts of Aleppo. All these factors point to a concerted strategy by the Syrian regime to allow the uprising to be taken over by Islamic extremism and sectarianism which would allow the regime to gain more popular support.

      Opposition to militant-Jihadism in Syria
      Whilst the focus of this article has been armed groups operating in Syria, it is important to note that the grass roots civilian resistance in Syria remains dynamic and strong and stands against both the Assad regime and counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups (and is often highly critical of the SNC leadership in exile). The overwhelming majority of the civil resistance movements are secular, none-affiliated to traditional political ideologies and motivated by desires for freedom, social justice and dignity. Major grass roots opposition groupings such as the Local Coordination Committees have released statements condemning the actions of JAN and ISIS and have stressed that they are committed to a “civil, democratic and pluralist state” that respects the rights of all citizens regardless of religious or ethnic identity.[23]

      There have been increasing protests against JAN and ISIS particularly in areas where they are dominant, rejecting their authoritarian practices and condemning their sectarian ideology and abuses.[24] For example, in Al Raqqa, the first provincial capital to be liberated from the regime, militant Jihadi groups took over the civilian local council. Where they tried to put up the black Jihadi flag, local activists pulled it down and replaced it with the revolutionary flag. ISIS also tried to impose fasting on the population during the month of Ramadan and have arrested many civilians from the city. The people of Al Raqqa have been holding continuous protests against ISIS and the Islamic court they established, calling on them to leave.[25] Likewise protesters in Idlib and Aleppo have held demonstrations against the Sharia Committee and extremist/Takfiri killings.[26] As sectarianism has increased, there have been protests calling for national unity in which different religious and ethnic groups have participated.[27] On 1 August in Aleppo a joint protest was held by Arabs and Kurds in which hundreds took part, condemning recent atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population by militant Jihadi groups.[28]

      Civil society organizations such as Nabd have been established to promote co-existence and an end to sectarianism.[29] Likewise, non-violent organizations such as the Freedom Days coalition, which comprises a large number of groups, promote peaceful struggle and coexistence across ethnic and religious lines.[30] In recent days a campaign called Goodbye Da3esh has been established to oppose the wide-spread arrests of civilians, including opposition activists, carried out by ISIS.[31]

      Such initiatives and struggles need to be highlighted and supported. It is too easy to adopt the simplistic binary narrative promoted by states and blanket thinkers that the choice the Syrian people face is between a secular fascist dictatorship or Al Qaeda. As Spanish revolutionaries in the 1930s fought on two fronts against both the fascists and the communists, Syrian revolutionaries have to fight against both the Assad regime and counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups. It is clear that militant Jihadism is gaining a foothold in Syria and that as the struggle continues without resolution they will continue to grow in strength. The answer is not to support a regime that holds responsibility for creating this problem in the first place. The answer is to stand in solidarity with those who struggle against it, in the hope that their voices will not be lost for ever.

      Endnotes:

      1 I emphasis the word militant because the concept of Jihad is often misunderstood. Jihad is a religious duty for Muslims and means “struggle”. This can be interpreted as a struggle against oppression or the internal struggles of ones own personal life. In the contemporary use Jihad(i) refers to those who find it a religious obligation to defend Muslim land against the Kafir (non believer).

      2 For some reports on militant Jihadi groups in the region see, International Crisis Group, Radical Islam in Gaza, (2011),http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx, Institute for the Study of War, Jihad in Syria, (2012),http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Jihad-In-Syria-17SEPT.pdf, Omayma Abdel-Latif, ‘Cedar Jihadis’[Lebanon] Al Ahram,http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/895/re2.htm

      3 For the pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (2012) see:http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm

      4 For an excellent introduction to the Islamic revival (from an Arab feminist perspective) see: Leila Ahmed, A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, (2011)

      5 See ‘A Declaration to the People’ (2011) http://asharqalarabi.org.uk/english/at-3.htm & ‘The pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ (2012)http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm

      6 See ‘Syrian Coalition Principles’, http://www.etilaf.org/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=35&Itemid=584

      7 See for example, Mohammed Jean Veneuse, Anarca Islam, (2009) http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/anarca-islam/ and David Baker, Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists, (2011) http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/ninth-century-muslim-anarchists/

      8 See Aljazeera ‘Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion’,http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/07/20137188552345899.html. Whilst these figures vary according to reports from usually from 6,000-10,000, Syrian grass-roots opposition groups repeatedly affirm that militant Jihadi groups have a small presence amongst opposition armed groups. For example see ‘Our Revolution: A popular revolution for freedom, equality and social justice and against every kind of absolutism’, (August 2013) http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/our-revolution-a-popular-revolution-for-freedom-equality-and-social-justice-and-against-every-kind-of-absolutism/

      9 See for example: Amnesty International, ‘Annual Report 2013: Syria’ (2013) http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2013  Human Rights Watch ‘Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack’, (September 2013)http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/10/syria-government-likely-culprit-chemical-attack and The Revolting Syrian ‘Does this not outrage you?’http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/50495350134/does-this-not-outrage-you [WARNING: the videos in the last link are extremely graphic]

      10  Cited in Syria Deeply, ‘The State of a Secular Rebel Fighting Force’, (September 2013)http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/state-secular-rebel-fighting-force/#.UjF5pmQ-u2p

      11  Human Rights Watch, ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups Committing Abuses’, (March 2012)http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses

      12 See for example: ‘Statement by the General Staff of the Free Syrian Army’ (May 2013)https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=482097828528873&set=a.458923474179642.1073741828.458106567594666&type=1 and ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/

      13 This is evident in chants of support for the FSA seen at weekly protests across Syria and also based on my own discussion with Syrian refugees in camps across Lebanon and Jordan.

      14 ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/

      15 Martin Chulov, ‘Free Syrian Army clashes with jihadists in wake of commander’s assassination’, (July 2013) http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/14/free-syrian-army-jihadists-clashes-aleppo &  Syria Freedom Forever, ‘Syria: the Kurdish question, the Islamists and the FSA’, (July 2013) http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/syria-the-kurdish-question-the-islamists-and-the-fsa/

      16 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘You can jail a revolutionary but you can’t jail the revolution’, (August 2013) http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/you-can-jail-revolutionaries-but-you-cannot-kill-the-revolution-the-syrian-people-will-not-kneel/

      17 For an overview of Syria’s armed opposition see:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_civil_war

      18 See the Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front (2013)http://abujamajem.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/the-charter-of-the-syrian-islamic-front/

      19 Aron Lund, ‘Syria’s Salafi Insurgents: The Rise of the Syrian Islamic Front’, (2012) http://www.ui.se/eng/upl/files/86861.pdf

      20 United Nations, ‘Syria: Security Council condemns rights abuses and use of force against civilians’, (August 2011) http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=39229&cr1=#.UjHzH2Q-u2p

      21 ‘Bashar released Al Qaeda prisoners to cover his crimes’, Al Ahram, (March 2013)http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/66953/World/Region/Bashar-released-AlQaeda-prisoners-to-cover-his-cri.aspx & Misbah Al Ali, ‘Rival Islamists loom large over Syria’, The Daily Star (March 2013) http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Mar-19/210649-rival-islamists-loom-large-over-syria.ashx#axzz2egSa7ZD9

      22 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Syria or elsewhere, there are no pure revolutions, just revolutions,’ http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/syriaor-elsewhere-there-are-no-pure-revolutions-just-revolutions/ also Yasser Munif ‘The revolution and the war’,http://socialistworker.org/2013/09/11/the-revolution-and-the-war. The conversion is based on exchange rate of 11 September 2013.

      23 LCC statement (April 2013)http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/condemnation-of-zawahris-statements-regarding-his-intervention-in-the-internal-affairs-of-syria/

      24 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular struggles in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/ and Bassam Haddad, ‘The Growing Challenge to the Syrian regime and the Syrian Uprising’, Jadaliyya, (June 2013)http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/12556/the-growing-challenge-to-the-syrian-regime-and-the

      25 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hOsyH7zasw&sns=em

      26 For example see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8edfgXT61A (Idlib) andhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5WqJ6Y2eQ8 (Aleppo)

      27 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaDFddXsJ3w (English subtitles)

      28 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular struggles in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/

      29 See their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabd-Gathering-for-Syrian-Civil-Youth/361274777254185

      30 See their facebook page here: https://en-gb.facebook.com/Freedom.Days.Syria

      31 See their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/goodbyeda3esh

    • scotpeden
      Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or organization) working for? And why does this sound like I m reading something on the PNAC site?
      Message 2 of 10 , Sep 17, 2013
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        Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or organization)
        working for?

        And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?

        Scott

        "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
        Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
        militant-Jihadi groups"


        > *Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982
        > #Lebanon<http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Lebanon>
        > *
        >
        >
        > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
        >
        > ← SYRIA/PALESTINE: Palestinians and the Syrian Revolution: Lessons from
        > the
        > fight against
        > fascism<http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syriapalestine-palestinians-and-the-syrian-revolution-lessons-from-the-fight-against-fascism/>
        > →<http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/uk-anti-fascist-network-statement-on-saturday-7th-september-edl-demonstration/>
        > SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from Mythology
        >
        > SEP
        > 12<http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/>
        >
        > Posted by tahriricn <http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/author/tahriricn/>
        >
        > By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN[image:
        > ED-AR204_obagy_D_20130830164816]<http://tahriricn.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ed-ar204_obagy_d_20130830164816.jpg>
        >
        > One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory of Syria’s
        > revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The danger that
        > the
        > increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and the region
        > should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings exist about
        > the nature and dominance of such groups which this article attempts to
        > address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we able to move
        > forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the threat of
        > counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding of who is
        > working for the original goals of the revolution so that they can be given
        > the solidarity they deserve.
        >
        > *Al Qaeda ideology*
        > Al Qaeda or militant Jihadi groups[1] have an internationalist perspective
        > and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a strict
        > interpretation of Sharia law. The ideology of Al Qaeda groups is closely
        > related to Salafi/Wahabi ideology (the totalitarian political doctrine
        > which is practiced in Saudi Arabia). Whilst Salafism is an extremely
        > repressive, puritanical ideology which follows a literal interpretation of
        > the Quran, it is important to note that not all Salafists believe in
        > violent means to establish their goals and that some Salafists are
        > prepared
        > to work within a democratic system. By contrast, militant Jihadi groups
        > reject the concept of democracy holding that their interpretation of Islam
        > is mandated by God. They believe that it is a religious duty to defend the
        > Muslim community against enemies of Islam and are prepared to die as
        > martyrs for that cause. They regard anyone who does not subscribe to their
        > ideology (including liberal Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims) as
        > heretics/Kafir. Some, known as Takfiris, believe that they have the right
        > to kill heretics. Al Qaeda affiliated groups in the region include
        > Egyptian
        > Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and Saudi
        > Arabia,
        > Jund Ansar Allah in Palestine, Fatah Al Islam in Lebanon and Al Qaeda in
        > the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco. [2]These groups do not have a
        > broad popular support base, primarily due to their use of terrorist means
        > targeting civilians in countries in which they operate and their following
        > of an interpretation of Islam which is alien to almost everyone.
        >
        > *Mainstream political Islam*
        > It is important not to confuse militant Jihadis with mainstream political
        > Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the Muslim
        > Brotherhood is undoubtably conservative and reactionary, they have broad
        > based popular support across the Middle East and North Africa and have won
        > democratic elections in Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt. They gained
        > prominence during the Islamic revival of the 1970s, as a direct response
        > to
        > western imperialism. They work to reinstate Islamic laws and believe in
        > the
        > concept of Islamic unity and the return of the caliphate abolished by
        > Ataturk in 1924 although they primarily struggle on the national level.
        > They advocate that political Islam is compatible with the establishment of
        > a modern, democratic, multi-party state that respects human rights,
        > including the rights of religious minorities.[3] Pursuing social justice
        > and particularly reducing the gap between rich and poor has been a key
        > tenet of their ideology and to this end they established a vast network of
        > social services which gained them the support of the urban and rural
        > poor.[4] Although they have been known to use violent means to achieve
        > their goals, the Muslim Brotherhood officially rejects the use of
        > violence.[5]
        >
        > The experience of countries that have been governed by the Muslim
        > Brotherhood show a wide gap between their rhetoric and reality. Highly
        > authoritarian and repressive regimes have been established where they have
        > come to power. Yet we should not regard the Muslim Brotherhood as a
        > violent
        > terrorist organization or overlook the support the organization has
        > amongst
        > broad sections of a religiously conservative population. Therefore
        > strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim Brotherhood should
        > be
        > fundamentally different from our approach to militant-Jihadi groups. The
        > Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the Syrian National Coalition (the
        > bourgeois opposition in exile which is backed by the West, Gulf States and
        > Turkey and influenced by foreign agendas). The Syrian National Coalition
        > also includes secular and leftist opposition groups (including Christian
        > and Kurdish parties), the Free Syrian Army, grass-roots opposition groups
        > and independents. It advocates establishing a civil, democratic Syria.[6]
        >
        > Between the ‘moderate’ political Islamists and Al Qaeda there exists a
        > broad spectrum of other Salafist groups which subscribe to puritanical
        > versions of Islam some of which are militant. They include Al Nour party
        > in
        > Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jaysh al Islam in Palestine, and Ansar Al Islam
        > and Ahrar Al Sham in Syria. Further, although the overwhelming majority of
        > people in the region are Muslim, many are also secularists, including the
        > vast majority of Syria’s grassroots civil opposition. Socialist and
        > anti-authoritarian/anarchist currents also exist within Islam with roots
        > that can be traced back to the ninth century.[7]
        >
        > *Al Qaeda groups in Syria*
        > The two Al Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are Jabhat Al Nusra
        > (Al Nusra Front – JAN) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).
        > Both
        > can be traced back to groups established to fight against the American
        > occupation of Iraq and grew in strength due to the sponsorship of the
        > Syrian government. This is important to note because whilst the origins of
        > Al Qaeda globally go back to Afghanistan, where they were supported by the
        > CIA to fight against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, this is not the
        > experience of Al Qaeda groups operating in Syria or Iraq today which fight
        > against US imperialism, Zionism and all western influence.
        >
        > Some of JAN’s members are Syrians that returned from fighting in Iraq
        > when
        > the uprising broke out in 2011, but many foreigners also joined their
        > ranks. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed that
        > JAN was its branch in Syria. However, JAN’s leader, Abu Mohammed Al
        > Golani,
        > has rejected this claim whilst simultaneously pledging allegiance to Al
        > Qaeda globally. ISIS is a part of the Al Qaeda network and the majority of
        > its members are foreigners. Whilst exact numbers are not known it is
        > estimated that together JAN and ISIS have around10,000 members, less than
        > 10 per cent of estimated armed opposition fighters.[8] Both aim to
        > overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad, establish and Islamic
        > caliphate and a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are opposed to
        > Western intervention and are opposed to the US and Israel.
        >
        > The numbers of JAN and ISIS are relatively small, yet they have a
        > disproportionate strength compared to other armed opposition groups. They
        > have battle-experience from Iraq and have received a lot of military
        > support from Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which
        > aim
        > to destabilize Syria through sectarian conflict in order to prevent a
        > popular revolution from succeeding. By contrast other armed groups are
        > still mainly dependent on light weapons and what they can seize from
        > Syrian
        > army bases they have captured. JAN and ISIS are concentrated in the north
        > of the country, along the Turkish border in Aleppo and Idlib governorates,
        > in Al Raqqa governorate, and in the east in Deir Al Zour governorate along
        > the border with Iraq. They have attempted to set up Islamic emirates in
        > areas under their control, established Sharia courts and placed
        > restrictions on the rights of women and minorities.
        >
        > Both groups have been responsible for carrying out attacks against
        > civilians, including suicide bombings, the arrest of opposition activists,
        > the torture and extrajudicial killing of Syrian army soldiers they have
        > captured, and sectarian killings. Most recently they have been responsible
        > for atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population, causing over
        > 20,000 Kurds to flee to Iraq in August. The extremism and violence
        > practiced by such groups is an increasing trend and major cause for
        > concern. Yet, it must be borne in mind that the overwhelming majority of
        > the estimated 120,000 deaths and vast majority of cases of torture and
        > brutality in Syria over the past 2.5 years have been carried out by the
        > Syrian regime.[9]
        >
        > Al Qaeda affiliated groups have the potential to cause chaos and violence
        > in Syria and the region for many years to come. However, their ability to
        > impose their vision on a future Syria is grossly over-estimated. They are
        > small in number, they do not have a popular support base, and the majority
        > of their ranks are foreigners. After 10 years of causing turmoil in Iraq,
        > including the massacre of thousands of civilians, they did not manage to
        > win the support of the local population or create an Islamic state.
        > According to a Syrian rebel from a secular brigade in Salamiyah; “Al
        > Qaida
        > is the one thing that will unite Syrian people after the revolution,
        > because all of the Syrians will want them out – those who are now with
        > the
        > regime and those who are against the regime. Nobody likes these people …
        > After the regime falls there will have to be a new military formation to
        > confront these radical movements.”[10]
        >
        > *Relationship of militant Jihadi groups to the Free Syrian Army (FSA)*
        > The Free Syrian Army is the main, and by far the largest, armed opposition
        > group in Syria. It’s leadership is linked to the SNC. The FSA is
        > comprised
        > of officers and soldiers that have defected from the regime as well as
        > anti-regime elements of the civilian population. It is committed to the
        > overthrow of Assad and the establishment of a plural, civil, democratic
        > Syria. The FSA is comprised of many battalions. The leader of the FSA,
        > Salmin Idriss has stated he is committed to secularism, yet some
        > battalions
        > are Islamist (mainly Muslim Brotherhood affiliated), some are secular and
        > some are comprised of Christians, Kurds and Alawites. There are even women
        > only brigades.
        >
        > Whilst serious human rights abuses have been carried out by elements of
        > the
        > FSA, these appear to be mainly isolated incidents rather than wide-spread
        > and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian areas. Human Rights Watch
        > has noted that “many of the antigovernment groups reported to be
        > carrying
        > out abuses do not appear to belong to an organized command structure or to
        > be following Syrian National Council orders”.[11] When such incidents
        > have
        > come to light the SNC and FSA have condemned them and called for the
        > arrest
        > and prosecution of those responsible, something that has never been seen
        > from the Assad regime.[12] The FSA is generally held in high regard by the
        > civilian population and seen as protector and defender of the people.[13]
        >
        > ISIS and JAN operate outside of the FSA chain of command and reject the
        > leadership of the SNC. Yet, due to their advanced military capacity and
        > military successes against the Assad regime, some FSA battalions have
        > cooperated with them. The majority refuse to do so, and as militant Jihadi
        > groups have grown in strength and carried out increasing attacks on
        > civilians, particularly sectarian violence, the FSA leadership has sought
        > to distance themselves and condemned their actions.[14] The FSA has also
        > been engaged in fierce battles with JAN and ISIS (as was seen recently in
        > Bustan Al Qasr) and militant Jihadi groups have expelled FSA battalions
        > from some areas under their control and even assassinated FSA leaders.[15]
        > It is also interesting to note, that increasingly JAN and ISIS have
        > refused
        > to fight against the government on front lines and instead focused on
        > consolidating their power in areas under their control.[16] This is a
        > clear
        > testimony that they are not working for the goals of the revolution but
        > rather to further their own extremist religious agenda.
        >
        > There are other battalions that operate outside of the FSA chain of
        > command
        > and are openly critical of the SNC and FSA leadership abroad.[17] These
        > include both secularists and Islamists. One of the largest Islamist
        > coalitions is The Syrian Islamic Front, comprised mainly of Salafist
        > battalions such as Ahrar Al Sham. Their aim is to establish an Islamic
        > state governed by Sharia Law although they are Syrian nationalists and not
        > working for a global caliphate or linked to Al Qaeda.[18] They reject
        > western notions of democracy.[19]
        >
        > *Syrian government strategy towards militant Jihadis*
        > When the peaceful popular uprising began in Syria in early 2011, the
        > Syrian
        > government falsely claimed it was fighting Sunni Islamic militant
        > terrorists. This was an attempt to discredit the legitimate demands of the
        > Syrian people for freedom, social justice and dignity and justify its
        > terrifying crackdown. As we have seen, to some extent it was to turn into
        > a
        > self-fulfilling prophecy. The government sent Shabiha (armed Alawite
        > militias) to arrest and shoot protesters and terrorize the civilian
        > population, thereby introducing sectarianism into the uprising, despite
        > minority groups such as Alawite, Christians and Kurds playing an active
        > role in the opposition. In the first five months alone, when protests were
        > still peaceful, the UN estimates that hundreds of people were killed.[20]
        > Many more were imprisoned and brutally tortured. Assad also released a
        > large number of militant Jihadi prisoners from jail in the early days of
        > the revolution.[21] The Assad regime has made deals with Jabhat Al Nusra,
        > such as paying them 150 million Syrian Lira [$1.15 million] monthly to
        > keep
        > oil flowing through two major pipelines in Banias and Latakia.[22] It is
        > also clear that the vast majority of attacks carried out by the regime
        > have
        > not been on JAN or ISIS strongholds but rather in areas where secular or
        > ‘moderate’ Islamist brigades are concentrated such as Homs, Deraa and
        > FSA
        > controlled parts of Aleppo. All these factors point to a concerted
        > strategy
        > by the Syrian regime to allow the uprising to be taken over by Islamic
        > extremism and sectarianism which would allow the regime to gain more
        > popular support.
        >
        > *Opposition to militant-Jihadism in Syria*
        > Whilst the focus of this article has been armed groups operating in Syria,
        > it is important to note that the grass roots civilian resistance in Syria
        > remains dynamic and strong and stands against both the Assad regime and
        > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups (and is often highly critical
        > of the SNC leadership in exile). The overwhelming majority of the civil
        > resistance movements are secular, none-affiliated to traditional political
        > ideologies and motivated by desires for freedom, social justice and
        > dignity. Major grass roots opposition groupings such as the Local
        > Coordination Committees have released statements condemning the actions of
        > JAN and ISIS and have stressed that they are committed to a “civil,
        > democratic and pluralist state” that respects the rights of all citizens
        > regardless of religious or ethnic identity.[23]
        >
        > There have been increasing protests against JAN and ISIS particularly in
        > areas where they are dominant, rejecting their authoritarian practices and
        > condemning their sectarian ideology and abuses.[24] For example, in Al
        > Raqqa, the first provincial capital to be liberated from the regime,
        > militant Jihadi groups took over the civilian local council. Where they
        > tried to put up the black Jihadi flag, local activists pulled it down and
        > replaced it with the revolutionary flag. ISIS also tried to impose fasting
        > on the population during the month of Ramadan and have arrested many
        > civilians from the city. The people of Al Raqqa have been holding
        > continuous protests against ISIS and the Islamic court they established,
        > calling on them to leave.[25] Likewise protesters in Idlib and Aleppo have
        > held demonstrations against the Sharia Committee and extremist/Takfiri
        > killings.[26] As sectarianism has increased, there have been protests
        > calling for national unity in which different religious and ethnic groups
        > have participated.[27] On 1 August in Aleppo a joint protest was held by
        > Arabs and Kurds in which hundreds took part, condemning recent atrocities
        > carried out against the Kurdish population by militant Jihadi groups.[28]
        >
        > Civil society organizations such as Nabd have been established to promote
        > co-existence and an end to sectarianism.[29] Likewise, non-violent
        > organizations such as the Freedom Days coalition, which comprises a large
        > number of groups, promote peaceful struggle and coexistence across ethnic
        > and religious lines.[30] In recent days a campaign called Goodbye Da3esh
        > has been established to oppose the wide-spread arrests of civilians,
        > including opposition activists, carried out by ISIS.[31]
        >
        > Such initiatives and struggles need to be highlighted and supported. It is
        > too easy to adopt the simplistic binary narrative promoted by states and
        > blanket thinkers that the choice the Syrian people face is between a
        > secular fascist dictatorship or Al Qaeda. As Spanish revolutionaries in
        > the
        > 1930s fought on two fronts against both the fascists and the communists,
        > Syrian revolutionaries have to fight against both the Assad regime and
        > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups. It is clear that militant
        > Jihadism is gaining a foothold in Syria and that as the struggle continues
        > without resolution they will continue to grow in strength. The answer is
        > not to support a regime that holds responsibility for creating this
        > problem
        > in the first place. The answer is to stand in solidarity with those who
        > struggle against it, in the hope that their voices will not be lost for
        > ever.
        >
        > *Endnotes:*
        >
        > 1 I emphasis the word militant because the concept of Jihad is often
        > misunderstood. Jihad is a religious duty for Muslims and means
        > “struggle”.
        > This can be interpreted as a struggle against oppression or the internal
        > struggles of ones own personal life. In the contemporary use Jihad(i)
        > refers to those who find it a religious obligation to defend Muslim land
        > against the Kafir (non believer).
        >
        > 2 For some reports on militant Jihadi groups in the region see,
        > International Crisis Group, Radical Islam in Gaza, (2011),
        > http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx,
        > <http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx,%C2%A0>Institute
        > for the Study of War, Jihad in Syria, (2012),
        > http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Jihad-In-Syria-17SEPT.pdf,
        > Omayma Abdel-Latif, ‘Cedar Jihadis’[Lebanon] Al Ahram,
        > http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/895/re2.htm
        >
        > 3 For the pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (2012) see:
        > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
        >
        > 4 For an excellent introduction to the Islamic revival (from an Arab
        > feminist perspective) see: Leila Ahmed, A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s
        > Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, (2011)
        >
        > 5 See ‘A Declaration to the People’ (2011)
        > http://asharqalarabi.org.uk/english/at-3.htm & ‘The pledge and charter
        > of
        > the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ (2012)
        > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
        >
        > 6 See ‘Syrian Coalition Principles’,
        > http://www.etilaf.org/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=35&Itemid=584
        >
        > 7 See for example, Mohammed Jean Veneuse, Anarca Islam, (2009)
        > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/anarca-islam/ and David Baker,
        > Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists, (2011)
        > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/ninth-century-muslim-anarchists/
        >
        > 8 See Aljazeera ‘Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion’,
        > http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/07/20137188552345899.html.
        > Whilst these figures vary according to reports from usually from
        > 6,000-10,000, Syrian grass-roots opposition groups repeatedly affirm that
        > militant Jihadi groups have a small presence amongst opposition armed
        > groups. For example see ‘Our Revolution: A popular revolution for
        > freedom,
        > equality and social justice and against every kind of absolutism’,
        > (August
        > 2013)
        > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/our-revolution-a-popular-revolution-for-freedom-equality-and-social-justice-and-against-every-kind-of-absolutism/
        >
        > 9 See for example: Amnesty International, ‘Annual Report 2013: Syria’
        > (2013) http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2013 Human Rights
        > Watch ‘Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack’,
        > (September
        > 2013)
        > http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/10/syria-government-likely-culprit-chemical-attack
        > and
        > The Revolting Syrian ‘Does this not outrage you?’
        > http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/50495350134/does-this-not-outrage-you
        > [WARNING:
        > the videos in the last link are extremely graphic]
        >
        > 10 Cited in Syria Deeply, ‘The State of a Secular Rebel Fighting
        > Force’,
        > (September 2013)
        > http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/state-secular-rebel-fighting-force/#.UjF5pmQ-u2p
        >
        > 11 Human Rights Watch, ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups Committing
        > Abuses’,
        > (March 2012)
        > http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses
        >
        > 12 See for example: ‘Statement by the General Staff of the Free Syrian
        > Army’ (May 2013)
        > https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=482097828528873&set=a.458923474179642.1073741828.458106567594666&type=1
        > and
        > ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
        > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
        >
        > 13 This is evident in chants of support for the FSA seen at weekly
        > protests
        > across Syria and also based on my own discussion with Syrian refugees in
        > camps across Lebanon and Jordan.
        >
        > 14 ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
        > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
        >
        > 15 Martin Chulov, ‘Free Syrian Army clashes with jihadists in wake of
        > commander’s assassination’, (July 2013)
        > http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/14/free-syrian-army-jihadists-clashes-aleppo
        > &
        > Syria Freedom Forever, ‘Syria: the Kurdish question, the Islamists and
        > the
        > FSA’, (July 2013)
        > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/syria-the-kurdish-question-the-islamists-and-the-fsa/
        >
        > 16 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘You can jail a revolutionary but you can’t
        > jail
        > the revolution’, (August 2013)
        > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/you-can-jail-revolutionaries-but-you-cannot-kill-the-revolution-the-syrian-people-will-not-kneel/
        >
        > 17 For an overview of Syria’s armed opposition see:
        > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_civil_war
        >
        > 18 See the Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front (2013)
        > http://abujamajem.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/the-charter-of-the-syrian-islamic-front/
        >
        > 19 Aron Lund, ‘Syria’s Salafi Insurgents: The Rise of the Syrian
        > Islamic
        > Front’, (2012) http://www.ui.se/eng/upl/files/86861.pdf
        >
        > 20 United Nations, ‘Syria: Security Council condemns rights abuses and
        > use
        > of force against civilians’, (August 2011)
        > http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=39229&cr1=#.UjHzH2Q-u2p
        >
        > 21 ‘Bashar released Al Qaeda prisoners to cover his crimes’, Al Ahram,
        > (March 2013)
        > http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/66953/World/Region/Bashar-released-AlQaeda-prisoners-to-cover-his-cri.aspx
        > &
        > Misbah Al Ali, ‘Rival Islamists loom large over Syria’, The Daily Star
        > (March 2013)
        > http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Mar-19/210649-rival-islamists-loom-large-over-syria.ashx#axzz2egSa7ZD9
        >
        > 22 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Syria or elsewhere, there are no pure
        > revolutions, just revolutions,’
        > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/syriaor-elsewhere-there-are-no-pure-revolutions-just-revolutions/
        > also
        > Yasser Munif ‘The revolution and the war’,
        > http://socialistworker.org/2013/09/11/the-revolution-and-the-war. The
        > conversion is based on exchange rate of 11 September 2013.
        >
        > 23 LCC statement (April 2013)
        > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/condemnation-of-zawahris-statements-regarding-his-intervention-in-the-internal-affairs-of-syria/
        >
        > 24 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
        > struggles
        > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
        > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
        > and
        > Bassam Haddad, ‘The Growing Challenge to the Syrian regime and the
        > Syrian
        > Uprising’, Jadaliyya, (June 2013)
        > http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/12556/the-growing-challenge-to-the-syrian-regime-and-the
        >
        > 25 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hOsyH7zasw&sns=em
        >
        > 26 For example see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8edfgXT61A (Idlib) and
        > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5WqJ6Y2eQ8 (Aleppo)
        >
        > 27 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaDFddXsJ3w (English
        > subtitles)
        >
        > 28 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
        > struggles
        > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
        > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
        >
        > 29 See their facebook page here:
        > https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabd-Gathering-for-Syrian-Civil-Youth/361274777254185
        >
        > 30 See their facebook page here:
        > https://en-gb.facebook.com/Freedom.Days.Syria
        >
        > 31 See their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/goodbyeda3esh
        >
      • Cort Greene
        *Oh Scot* * * *Your ignorance is showing or is it that the pole from the caber toss hit you in the head too many times at the Highland games... [?]* * * *Rojo
        Message 3 of 10 , Sep 17, 2013
        • 0 Attachment
          *Oh Scot*
          *
          *
          *Your ignorance is showing or is it that the pole from the caber toss hit
          you in the head too many times at the Highland games... [?]*
          *
          *
          *Rojo Rojito*
          *
          *
          *Cort*



          On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:

          > Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or organization)
          > working for?
          >
          > And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
          >
          > Scott
          >
          > "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
          > Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
          > militant-Jihadi groups"
          >
          >
          > > *Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982
          > > #Lebanon<http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Lebanon>
          > > *
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
          > >
          > > ← SYRIA/PALESTINE: Palestinians and the Syrian Revolution: Lessons from
          > > the
          > > fight against
          > > fascism<
          > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syriapalestine-palestinians-and-the-syrian-revolution-lessons-from-the-fight-against-fascism/
          > >
          > > →<
          > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/uk-anti-fascist-network-statement-on-saturday-7th-september-edl-demonstration/
          > >
          > > SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from Mythology
          > >
          > > SEP
          > > 12<
          > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
          > >
          > >
          > > Posted by tahriricn <http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/author/tahriricn/>
          > >
          > > By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN[image:
          > > ED-AR204_obagy_D_20130830164816]<
          > http://tahriricn.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ed-ar204_obagy_d_20130830164816.jpg
          > >
          > >
          > > One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory of Syria’s
          > > revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The danger that
          > > the
          > > increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and the region
          > > should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings exist about
          > > the nature and dominance of such groups which this article attempts to
          > > address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we able to move
          > > forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the threat of
          > > counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding of who is
          > > working for the original goals of the revolution so that they can be
          > given
          > > the solidarity they deserve.
          > >
          > > *Al Qaeda ideology*
          > > Al Qaeda or militant Jihadi groups[1] have an internationalist
          > perspective
          > > and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a strict
          > > interpretation of Sharia law. The ideology of Al Qaeda groups is closely
          > > related to Salafi/Wahabi ideology (the totalitarian political doctrine
          > > which is practiced in Saudi Arabia). Whilst Salafism is an extremely
          > > repressive, puritanical ideology which follows a literal interpretation
          > of
          > > the Quran, it is important to note that not all Salafists believe in
          > > violent means to establish their goals and that some Salafists are
          > > prepared
          > > to work within a democratic system. By contrast, militant Jihadi groups
          > > reject the concept of democracy holding that their interpretation of
          > Islam
          > > is mandated by God. They believe that it is a religious duty to defend
          > the
          > > Muslim community against enemies of Islam and are prepared to die as
          > > martyrs for that cause. They regard anyone who does not subscribe to
          > their
          > > ideology (including liberal Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims) as
          > > heretics/Kafir. Some, known as Takfiris, believe that they have the right
          > > to kill heretics. Al Qaeda affiliated groups in the region include
          > > Egyptian
          > > Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and Saudi
          > > Arabia,
          > > Jund Ansar Allah in Palestine, Fatah Al Islam in Lebanon and Al Qaeda in
          > > the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco. [2]These groups do not have a
          > > broad popular support base, primarily due to their use of terrorist means
          > > targeting civilians in countries in which they operate and their
          > following
          > > of an interpretation of Islam which is alien to almost everyone.
          > >
          > > *Mainstream political Islam*
          > > It is important not to confuse militant Jihadis with mainstream political
          > > Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the Muslim
          > > Brotherhood is undoubtably conservative and reactionary, they have broad
          > > based popular support across the Middle East and North Africa and have
          > won
          > > democratic elections in Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt. They gained
          > > prominence during the Islamic revival of the 1970s, as a direct response
          > > to
          > > western imperialism. They work to reinstate Islamic laws and believe in
          > > the
          > > concept of Islamic unity and the return of the caliphate abolished by
          > > Ataturk in 1924 although they primarily struggle on the national level.
          > > They advocate that political Islam is compatible with the establishment
          > of
          > > a modern, democratic, multi-party state that respects human rights,
          > > including the rights of religious minorities.[3] Pursuing social justice
          > > and particularly reducing the gap between rich and poor has been a key
          > > tenet of their ideology and to this end they established a vast network
          > of
          > > social services which gained them the support of the urban and rural
          > > poor.[4] Although they have been known to use violent means to achieve
          > > their goals, the Muslim Brotherhood officially rejects the use of
          > > violence.[5]
          > >
          > > The experience of countries that have been governed by the Muslim
          > > Brotherhood show a wide gap between their rhetoric and reality. Highly
          > > authoritarian and repressive regimes have been established where they
          > have
          > > come to power. Yet we should not regard the Muslim Brotherhood as a
          > > violent
          > > terrorist organization or overlook the support the organization has
          > > amongst
          > > broad sections of a religiously conservative population. Therefore
          > > strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim Brotherhood should
          > > be
          > > fundamentally different from our approach to militant-Jihadi groups. The
          > > Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the Syrian National Coalition (the
          > > bourgeois opposition in exile which is backed by the West, Gulf States
          > and
          > > Turkey and influenced by foreign agendas). The Syrian National Coalition
          > > also includes secular and leftist opposition groups (including Christian
          > > and Kurdish parties), the Free Syrian Army, grass-roots opposition groups
          > > and independents. It advocates establishing a civil, democratic Syria.[6]
          > >
          > > Between the ‘moderate’ political Islamists and Al Qaeda there exists a
          > > broad spectrum of other Salafist groups which subscribe to puritanical
          > > versions of Islam some of which are militant. They include Al Nour party
          > > in
          > > Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jaysh al Islam in Palestine, and Ansar Al Islam
          > > and Ahrar Al Sham in Syria. Further, although the overwhelming majority
          > of
          > > people in the region are Muslim, many are also secularists, including the
          > > vast majority of Syria’s grassroots civil opposition. Socialist and
          > > anti-authoritarian/anarchist currents also exist within Islam with roots
          > > that can be traced back to the ninth century.[7]
          > >
          > > *Al Qaeda groups in Syria*
          > > The two Al Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are Jabhat Al Nusra
          > > (Al Nusra Front – JAN) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS).
          > > Both
          > > can be traced back to groups established to fight against the American
          > > occupation of Iraq and grew in strength due to the sponsorship of the
          > > Syrian government. This is important to note because whilst the origins
          > of
          > > Al Qaeda globally go back to Afghanistan, where they were supported by
          > the
          > > CIA to fight against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, this is not the
          > > experience of Al Qaeda groups operating in Syria or Iraq today which
          > fight
          > > against US imperialism, Zionism and all western influence.
          > >
          > > Some of JAN’s members are Syrians that returned from fighting in Iraq
          > > when
          > > the uprising broke out in 2011, but many foreigners also joined their
          > > ranks. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed that
          > > JAN was its branch in Syria. However, JAN’s leader, Abu Mohammed Al
          > > Golani,
          > > has rejected this claim whilst simultaneously pledging allegiance to Al
          > > Qaeda globally. ISIS is a part of the Al Qaeda network and the majority
          > of
          > > its members are foreigners. Whilst exact numbers are not known it is
          > > estimated that together JAN and ISIS have around10,000 members, less than
          > > 10 per cent of estimated armed opposition fighters.[8] Both aim to
          > > overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad, establish and Islamic
          > > caliphate and a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are opposed to
          > > Western intervention and are opposed to the US and Israel.
          > >
          > > The numbers of JAN and ISIS are relatively small, yet they have a
          > > disproportionate strength compared to other armed opposition groups. They
          > > have battle-experience from Iraq and have received a lot of military
          > > support from Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which
          > > aim
          > > to destabilize Syria through sectarian conflict in order to prevent a
          > > popular revolution from succeeding. By contrast other armed groups are
          > > still mainly dependent on light weapons and what they can seize from
          > > Syrian
          > > army bases they have captured. JAN and ISIS are concentrated in the north
          > > of the country, along the Turkish border in Aleppo and Idlib
          > governorates,
          > > in Al Raqqa governorate, and in the east in Deir Al Zour governorate
          > along
          > > the border with Iraq. They have attempted to set up Islamic emirates in
          > > areas under their control, established Sharia courts and placed
          > > restrictions on the rights of women and minorities.
          > >
          > > Both groups have been responsible for carrying out attacks against
          > > civilians, including suicide bombings, the arrest of opposition
          > activists,
          > > the torture and extrajudicial killing of Syrian army soldiers they have
          > > captured, and sectarian killings. Most recently they have been
          > responsible
          > > for atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population, causing over
          > > 20,000 Kurds to flee to Iraq in August. The extremism and violence
          > > practiced by such groups is an increasing trend and major cause for
          > > concern. Yet, it must be borne in mind that the overwhelming majority of
          > > the estimated 120,000 deaths and vast majority of cases of torture and
          > > brutality in Syria over the past 2.5 years have been carried out by the
          > > Syrian regime.[9]
          > >
          > > Al Qaeda affiliated groups have the potential to cause chaos and violence
          > > in Syria and the region for many years to come. However, their ability to
          > > impose their vision on a future Syria is grossly over-estimated. They are
          > > small in number, they do not have a popular support base, and the
          > majority
          > > of their ranks are foreigners. After 10 years of causing turmoil in Iraq,
          > > including the massacre of thousands of civilians, they did not manage to
          > > win the support of the local population or create an Islamic state.
          > > According to a Syrian rebel from a secular brigade in Salamiyah; “Al
          > > Qaida
          > > is the one thing that will unite Syrian people after the revolution,
          > > because all of the Syrians will want them out – those who are now with
          > > the
          > > regime and those who are against the regime. Nobody likes these people …
          > > After the regime falls there will have to be a new military formation to
          > > confront these radical movements.”[10]
          > >
          > > *Relationship of militant Jihadi groups to the Free Syrian Army (FSA)*
          > > The Free Syrian Army is the main, and by far the largest, armed
          > opposition
          > > group in Syria. It’s leadership is linked to the SNC. The FSA is
          > > comprised
          > > of officers and soldiers that have defected from the regime as well as
          > > anti-regime elements of the civilian population. It is committed to the
          > > overthrow of Assad and the establishment of a plural, civil, democratic
          > > Syria. The FSA is comprised of many battalions. The leader of the FSA,
          > > Salmin Idriss has stated he is committed to secularism, yet some
          > > battalions
          > > are Islamist (mainly Muslim Brotherhood affiliated), some are secular and
          > > some are comprised of Christians, Kurds and Alawites. There are even
          > women
          > > only brigades.
          > >
          > > Whilst serious human rights abuses have been carried out by elements of
          > > the
          > > FSA, these appear to be mainly isolated incidents rather than wide-spread
          > > and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian areas. Human Rights
          > Watch
          > > has noted that “many of the antigovernment groups reported to be
          > > carrying
          > > out abuses do not appear to belong to an organized command structure or
          > to
          > > be following Syrian National Council orders”.[11] When such incidents
          > > have
          > > come to light the SNC and FSA have condemned them and called for the
          > > arrest
          > > and prosecution of those responsible, something that has never been seen
          > > from the Assad regime.[12] The FSA is generally held in high regard by
          > the
          > > civilian population and seen as protector and defender of the people.[13]
          > >
          > > ISIS and JAN operate outside of the FSA chain of command and reject the
          > > leadership of the SNC. Yet, due to their advanced military capacity and
          > > military successes against the Assad regime, some FSA battalions have
          > > cooperated with them. The majority refuse to do so, and as militant
          > Jihadi
          > > groups have grown in strength and carried out increasing attacks on
          > > civilians, particularly sectarian violence, the FSA leadership has sought
          > > to distance themselves and condemned their actions.[14] The FSA has also
          > > been engaged in fierce battles with JAN and ISIS (as was seen recently in
          > > Bustan Al Qasr) and militant Jihadi groups have expelled FSA battalions
          > > from some areas under their control and even assassinated FSA
          > leaders.[15]
          > > It is also interesting to note, that increasingly JAN and ISIS have
          > > refused
          > > to fight against the government on front lines and instead focused on
          > > consolidating their power in areas under their control.[16] This is a
          > > clear
          > > testimony that they are not working for the goals of the revolution but
          > > rather to further their own extremist religious agenda.
          > >
          > > There are other battalions that operate outside of the FSA chain of
          > > command
          > > and are openly critical of the SNC and FSA leadership abroad.[17] These
          > > include both secularists and Islamists. One of the largest Islamist
          > > coalitions is The Syrian Islamic Front, comprised mainly of Salafist
          > > battalions such as Ahrar Al Sham. Their aim is to establish an Islamic
          > > state governed by Sharia Law although they are Syrian nationalists and
          > not
          > > working for a global caliphate or linked to Al Qaeda.[18] They reject
          > > western notions of democracy.[19]
          > >
          > > *Syrian government strategy towards militant Jihadis*
          > > When the peaceful popular uprising began in Syria in early 2011, the
          > > Syrian
          > > government falsely claimed it was fighting Sunni Islamic militant
          > > terrorists. This was an attempt to discredit the legitimate demands of
          > the
          > > Syrian people for freedom, social justice and dignity and justify its
          > > terrifying crackdown. As we have seen, to some extent it was to turn into
          > > a
          > > self-fulfilling prophecy. The government sent Shabiha (armed Alawite
          > > militias) to arrest and shoot protesters and terrorize the civilian
          > > population, thereby introducing sectarianism into the uprising, despite
          > > minority groups such as Alawite, Christians and Kurds playing an active
          > > role in the opposition. In the first five months alone, when protests
          > were
          > > still peaceful, the UN estimates that hundreds of people were killed.[20]
          > > Many more were imprisoned and brutally tortured. Assad also released a
          > > large number of militant Jihadi prisoners from jail in the early days of
          > > the revolution.[21] The Assad regime has made deals with Jabhat Al Nusra,
          > > such as paying them 150 million Syrian Lira [$1.15 million] monthly to
          > > keep
          > > oil flowing through two major pipelines in Banias and Latakia.[22] It is
          > > also clear that the vast majority of attacks carried out by the regime
          > > have
          > > not been on JAN or ISIS strongholds but rather in areas where secular or
          > > ‘moderate’ Islamist brigades are concentrated such as Homs, Deraa and
          > > FSA
          > > controlled parts of Aleppo. All these factors point to a concerted
          > > strategy
          > > by the Syrian regime to allow the uprising to be taken over by Islamic
          > > extremism and sectarianism which would allow the regime to gain more
          > > popular support.
          > >
          > > *Opposition to militant-Jihadism in Syria*
          > > Whilst the focus of this article has been armed groups operating in
          > Syria,
          > > it is important to note that the grass roots civilian resistance in Syria
          > > remains dynamic and strong and stands against both the Assad regime and
          > > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups (and is often highly
          > critical
          > > of the SNC leadership in exile). The overwhelming majority of the civil
          > > resistance movements are secular, none-affiliated to traditional
          > political
          > > ideologies and motivated by desires for freedom, social justice and
          > > dignity. Major grass roots opposition groupings such as the Local
          > > Coordination Committees have released statements condemning the actions
          > of
          > > JAN and ISIS and have stressed that they are committed to a “civil,
          > > democratic and pluralist state” that respects the rights of all citizens
          > > regardless of religious or ethnic identity.[23]
          > >
          > > There have been increasing protests against JAN and ISIS particularly in
          > > areas where they are dominant, rejecting their authoritarian practices
          > and
          > > condemning their sectarian ideology and abuses.[24] For example, in Al
          > > Raqqa, the first provincial capital to be liberated from the regime,
          > > militant Jihadi groups took over the civilian local council. Where they
          > > tried to put up the black Jihadi flag, local activists pulled it down and
          > > replaced it with the revolutionary flag. ISIS also tried to impose
          > fasting
          > > on the population during the month of Ramadan and have arrested many
          > > civilians from the city. The people of Al Raqqa have been holding
          > > continuous protests against ISIS and the Islamic court they established,
          > > calling on them to leave.[25] Likewise protesters in Idlib and Aleppo
          > have
          > > held demonstrations against the Sharia Committee and extremist/Takfiri
          > > killings.[26] As sectarianism has increased, there have been protests
          > > calling for national unity in which different religious and ethnic groups
          > > have participated.[27] On 1 August in Aleppo a joint protest was held by
          > > Arabs and Kurds in which hundreds took part, condemning recent atrocities
          > > carried out against the Kurdish population by militant Jihadi groups.[28]
          > >
          > > Civil society organizations such as Nabd have been established to promote
          > > co-existence and an end to sectarianism.[29] Likewise, non-violent
          > > organizations such as the Freedom Days coalition, which comprises a large
          > > number of groups, promote peaceful struggle and coexistence across ethnic
          > > and religious lines.[30] In recent days a campaign called Goodbye Da3esh
          > > has been established to oppose the wide-spread arrests of civilians,
          > > including opposition activists, carried out by ISIS.[31]
          > >
          > > Such initiatives and struggles need to be highlighted and supported. It
          > is
          > > too easy to adopt the simplistic binary narrative promoted by states and
          > > blanket thinkers that the choice the Syrian people face is between a
          > > secular fascist dictatorship or Al Qaeda. As Spanish revolutionaries in
          > > the
          > > 1930s fought on two fronts against both the fascists and the communists,
          > > Syrian revolutionaries have to fight against both the Assad regime and
          > > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups. It is clear that militant
          > > Jihadism is gaining a foothold in Syria and that as the struggle
          > continues
          > > without resolution they will continue to grow in strength. The answer is
          > > not to support a regime that holds responsibility for creating this
          > > problem
          > > in the first place. The answer is to stand in solidarity with those who
          > > struggle against it, in the hope that their voices will not be lost for
          > > ever.
          > >
          > > *Endnotes:*
          > >
          > > 1 I emphasis the word militant because the concept of Jihad is often
          > > misunderstood. Jihad is a religious duty for Muslims and means
          > > “struggle”.
          > > This can be interpreted as a struggle against oppression or the internal
          > > struggles of ones own personal life. In the contemporary use Jihad(i)
          > > refers to those who find it a religious obligation to defend Muslim land
          > > against the Kafir (non believer).
          > >
          > > 2 For some reports on militant Jihadi groups in the region see,
          > > International Crisis Group, Radical Islam in Gaza, (2011),
          > >
          > http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx
          > ,
          > > <
          > http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx,%C2%A0
          > >Institute
          > > for the Study of War, Jihad in Syria, (2012),
          > >
          > http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Jihad-In-Syria-17SEPT.pdf
          > ,
          > > Omayma Abdel-Latif, ‘Cedar Jihadis’[Lebanon] Al Ahram,
          > > http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/895/re2.htm
          > >
          > > 3 For the pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (2012) see:
          > > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
          > >
          > > 4 For an excellent introduction to the Islamic revival (from an Arab
          > > feminist perspective) see: Leila Ahmed, A Quiet Revolution: The Veil’s
          > > Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, (2011)
          > >
          > > 5 See ‘A Declaration to the People’ (2011)
          > > http://asharqalarabi.org.uk/english/at-3.htm & ‘The pledge and charter
          > > of
          > > the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ (2012)
          > > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
          > >
          > > 6 See ‘Syrian Coalition Principles’,
          > >
          > http://www.etilaf.org/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=35&Itemid=584
          > >
          > > 7 See for example, Mohammed Jean Veneuse, Anarca Islam, (2009)
          > > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/anarca-islam/ and David Baker,
          > > Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists, (2011)
          > >
          > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/ninth-century-muslim-anarchists/
          > >
          > > 8 See Aljazeera ‘Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion’,
          > >
          > http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/07/20137188552345899.html
          > .
          > > Whilst these figures vary according to reports from usually from
          > > 6,000-10,000, Syrian grass-roots opposition groups repeatedly affirm that
          > > militant Jihadi groups have a small presence amongst opposition armed
          > > groups. For example see ‘Our Revolution: A popular revolution for
          > > freedom,
          > > equality and social justice and against every kind of absolutism’,
          > > (August
          > > 2013)
          > >
          > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/our-revolution-a-popular-revolution-for-freedom-equality-and-social-justice-and-against-every-kind-of-absolutism/
          > >
          > > 9 See for example: Amnesty International, ‘Annual Report 2013: Syria’
          > > (2013) http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2013 Human Rights
          > > Watch ‘Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack’,
          > > (September
          > > 2013)
          > >
          > http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/10/syria-government-likely-culprit-chemical-attack
          > > and
          > > The Revolting Syrian ‘Does this not outrage you?’
          > >
          > http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/50495350134/does-this-not-outrage-you
          > > [WARNING:
          > > the videos in the last link are extremely graphic]
          > >
          > > 10 Cited in Syria Deeply, ‘The State of a Secular Rebel Fighting
          > > Force’,
          > > (September 2013)
          > >
          > http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/state-secular-rebel-fighting-force/#.UjF5pmQ-u2p
          > >
          > > 11 Human Rights Watch, ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups Committing
          > > Abuses’,
          > > (March 2012)
          > >
          > http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses
          > >
          > > 12 See for example: ‘Statement by the General Staff of the Free Syrian
          > > Army’ (May 2013)
          > >
          > https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=482097828528873&set=a.458923474179642.1073741828.458106567594666&type=1
          > > and
          > > ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
          > >
          > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
          > >
          > > 13 This is evident in chants of support for the FSA seen at weekly
          > > protests
          > > across Syria and also based on my own discussion with Syrian refugees in
          > > camps across Lebanon and Jordan.
          > >
          > > 14 ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
          > >
          > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
          > >
          > > 15 Martin Chulov, ‘Free Syrian Army clashes with jihadists in wake of
          > > commander’s assassination’, (July 2013)
          > >
          > http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/14/free-syrian-army-jihadists-clashes-aleppo
          > > &
          > > Syria Freedom Forever, ‘Syria: the Kurdish question, the Islamists and
          > > the
          > > FSA’, (July 2013)
          > >
          > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/syria-the-kurdish-question-the-islamists-and-the-fsa/
          > >
          > > 16 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘You can jail a revolutionary but you can’t
          > > jail
          > > the revolution’, (August 2013)
          > >
          > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/you-can-jail-revolutionaries-but-you-cannot-kill-the-revolution-the-syrian-people-will-not-kneel/
          > >
          > > 17 For an overview of Syria’s armed opposition see:
          > >
          > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_civil_war
          > >
          > > 18 See the Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front (2013)
          > >
          > http://abujamajem.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/the-charter-of-the-syrian-islamic-front/
          > >
          > > 19 Aron Lund, ‘Syria’s Salafi Insurgents: The Rise of the Syrian
          > > Islamic
          > > Front’, (2012) http://www.ui.se/eng/upl/files/86861.pdf
          > >
          > > 20 United Nations, ‘Syria: Security Council condemns rights abuses and
          > > use
          > > of force against civilians’, (August 2011)
          > > http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=39229&cr1=#.UjHzH2Q-u2p
          > >
          > > 21 ‘Bashar released Al Qaeda prisoners to cover his crimes’, Al Ahram,
          > > (March 2013)
          > >
          > http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/66953/World/Region/Bashar-released-AlQaeda-prisoners-to-cover-his-cri.aspx
          > > &
          > > Misbah Al Ali, ‘Rival Islamists loom large over Syria’, The Daily Star
          > > (March 2013)
          > >
          > http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Mar-19/210649-rival-islamists-loom-large-over-syria.ashx#axzz2egSa7ZD9
          > >
          > > 22 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Syria or elsewhere, there are no pure
          > > revolutions, just revolutions,’
          > >
          > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/syriaor-elsewhere-there-are-no-pure-revolutions-just-revolutions/
          > > also
          > > Yasser Munif ‘The revolution and the war’,
          > > http://socialistworker.org/2013/09/11/the-revolution-and-the-war. The
          > > conversion is based on exchange rate of 11 September 2013.
          > >
          > > 23 LCC statement (April 2013)
          > >
          > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/condemnation-of-zawahris-statements-regarding-his-intervention-in-the-internal-affairs-of-syria/
          > >
          > > 24 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
          > > struggles
          > > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
          > >
          > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
          > > and
          > > Bassam Haddad, ‘The Growing Challenge to the Syrian regime and the
          > > Syrian
          > > Uprising’, Jadaliyya, (June 2013)
          > >
          > http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/12556/the-growing-challenge-to-the-syrian-regime-and-the
          > >
          > > 25 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hOsyH7zasw&sns=em
          > >
          > > 26 For example see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8edfgXT61A (Idlib)
          > and
          > > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5WqJ6Y2eQ8 (Aleppo)
          > >
          > > 27 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaDFddXsJ3w (English
          > > subtitles)
          > >
          > > 28 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
          > > struggles
          > > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
          > >
          > http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
          > >
          > > 29 See their facebook page here:
          > >
          > https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabd-Gathering-for-Syrian-Civil-Youth/361274777254185
          > >
          > > 30 See their facebook page here:
          > > https://en-gb.facebook.com/Freedom.Days.Syria
          > >
          > > 31 See their facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/goodbyeda3esh
          > >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • scotpeden
          Educators do not use ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments. Only those supporting agendas and using the little back book of disinformation rely on those
          Message 4 of 10 , Sep 17, 2013
          • 0 Attachment
            Educators do not use ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments. Only those
            supporting agendas and using the little back book of disinformation rely
            on those tactics to distract people from the questions at hand, which was
            in this instance, seriosuly, it reads like it came right off a PNAC funded
            site;
            ***
            Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or organization)
            working for?

            And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
            ***

            I dare say this ID your using is the same as another I that sues the same
            tactics, partial because of your refusal to duplicate simple things like
            spelling of my name, or that you never read further then you can create an
            ad hominem attack for response to.

            Seriously, I thought you and your Marxist people were not on the side of
            the Imperialists. You send stuff that appears to be from Anarchists, that
            also do naught but support the Imperialists desires.

            Seriously, this is something I must take the opportunity to point out to
            others, especially on a list that is suppose to be for alternate media
            instead of shadowy propaganda wearing the cloak of the International
            Corporate Oppositionists.

            It's what your articles support, You on the other hand have never taken
            the opportunities presented to discuss anything, you just revert to
            personal attacks.

            Scott

            "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
            Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
            militant-Jihadi groups"


            Scott

            > *Oh Scot*
            > *
            > *
            > *Your ignorance is showing or is it that the pole from the caber toss hit
            > you in the head too many times at the Highland games... [?]*
            > *
            > *
            > *Rojo Rojito*
            > *
            > *
            > *Cort*
            >
            >
            >
            > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
            >
            >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
            >> organization)
            >> working for?
            >>
            >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
            >>
            >> Scott
            >>
            >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
            >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
            >> militant-Jihadi groups"
            >>
            >>
            >> > *Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982
            >> > #Lebanon<http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Lebanon>
            >> > *
            >> >
            >> >
            >> >
            >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
            >> >
            >> > ← SYRIA/PALESTINE: Palestinians and the Syrian Revolution: Lessons
            >> from
            >> > the
            >> > fight against
            >> > fascism<
            >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syriapalestine-palestinians-and-the-syrian-revolution-lessons-from-the-fight-against-fascism/
            >> >
            >> > →<
            >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/uk-anti-fascist-network-statement-on-saturday-7th-september-edl-demonstration/
            >> >
            >> > SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from Mythology
            >> >
            >> > SEP
            >> > 12<
            >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > Posted by tahriricn <http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/author/tahriricn/>
            >> >
            >> > By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN[image:
            >> > ED-AR204_obagy_D_20130830164816]<
            >> http://tahriricn.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ed-ar204_obagy_d_20130830164816.jpg
            >> >
            >> >
            >> > One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory of
            >> Syria’s
            >> > revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The danger
            >> that
            >> > the
            >> > increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and the region
            >> > should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings exist
            >> about
            >> > the nature and dominance of such groups which this article attempts to
            >> > address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we able to
            >> move
            >> > forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the threat of
            >> > counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding of who is
            >> > working for the original goals of the revolution so that they can be
            >> given
            >> > the solidarity they deserve.
            >> >
            >> > *Al Qaeda ideology*
            >> > Al Qaeda or militant Jihadi groups[1] have an internationalist
            >> perspective
            >> > and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a strict
            >> > interpretation of Sharia law. The ideology of Al Qaeda groups is
            >> closely
            >> > related to Salafi/Wahabi ideology (the totalitarian political doctrine
            >> > which is practiced in Saudi Arabia). Whilst Salafism is an extremely
            >> > repressive, puritanical ideology which follows a literal
            >> interpretation
            >> of
            >> > the Quran, it is important to note that not all Salafists believe in
            >> > violent means to establish their goals and that some Salafists are
            >> > prepared
            >> > to work within a democratic system. By contrast, militant Jihadi
            >> groups
            >> > reject the concept of democracy holding that their interpretation of
            >> Islam
            >> > is mandated by God. They believe that it is a religious duty to defend
            >> the
            >> > Muslim community against enemies of Islam and are prepared to die as
            >> > martyrs for that cause. They regard anyone who does not subscribe to
            >> their
            >> > ideology (including liberal Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims) as
            >> > heretics/Kafir. Some, known as Takfiris, believe that they have the
            >> right
            >> > to kill heretics. Al Qaeda affiliated groups in the region include
            >> > Egyptian
            >> > Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and Saudi
            >> > Arabia,
            >> > Jund Ansar Allah in Palestine, Fatah Al Islam in Lebanon and Al Qaeda
            >> in
            >> > the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco. [2]These groups do not
            >> have a
            >> > broad popular support base, primarily due to their use of terrorist
            >> means
            >> > targeting civilians in countries in which they operate and their
            >> following
            >> > of an interpretation of Islam which is alien to almost everyone.
            >> >
            >> > *Mainstream political Islam*
            >> > It is important not to confuse militant Jihadis with mainstream
            >> political
            >> > Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the Muslim
            >> > Brotherhood is undoubtably conservative and reactionary, they have
            >> broad
            >> > based popular support across the Middle East and North Africa and have
            >> won
            >> > democratic elections in Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt. They gained
            >> > prominence during the Islamic revival of the 1970s, as a direct
            >> response
            >> > to
            >> > western imperialism. They work to reinstate Islamic laws and believe
            >> in
            >> > the
            >> > concept of Islamic unity and the return of the caliphate abolished by
            >> > Ataturk in 1924 although they primarily struggle on the national
            >> level.
            >> > They advocate that political Islam is compatible with the
            >> establishment
            >> of
            >> > a modern, democratic, multi-party state that respects human rights,
            >> > including the rights of religious minorities.[3] Pursuing social
            >> justice
            >> > and particularly reducing the gap between rich and poor has been a key
            >> > tenet of their ideology and to this end they established a vast
            >> network
            >> of
            >> > social services which gained them the support of the urban and rural
            >> > poor.[4] Although they have been known to use violent means to achieve
            >> > their goals, the Muslim Brotherhood officially rejects the use of
            >> > violence.[5]
            >> >
            >> > The experience of countries that have been governed by the Muslim
            >> > Brotherhood show a wide gap between their rhetoric and reality. Highly
            >> > authoritarian and repressive regimes have been established where they
            >> have
            >> > come to power. Yet we should not regard the Muslim Brotherhood as a
            >> > violent
            >> > terrorist organization or overlook the support the organization has
            >> > amongst
            >> > broad sections of a religiously conservative population. Therefore
            >> > strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim Brotherhood
            >> should
            >> > be
            >> > fundamentally different from our approach to militant-Jihadi groups.
            >> The
            >> > Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the Syrian National Coalition (the
            >> > bourgeois opposition in exile which is backed by the West, Gulf States
            >> and
            >> > Turkey and influenced by foreign agendas). The Syrian National
            >> Coalition
            >> > also includes secular and leftist opposition groups (including
            >> Christian
            >> > and Kurdish parties), the Free Syrian Army, grass-roots opposition
            >> groups
            >> > and independents. It advocates establishing a civil, democratic
            >> Syria.[6]
            >> >
            >> > Between the ‘moderate’ political Islamists and Al Qaeda there
            >> exists a
            >> > broad spectrum of other Salafist groups which subscribe to puritanical
            >> > versions of Islam some of which are militant. They include Al Nour
            >> party
            >> > in
            >> > Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jaysh al Islam in Palestine, and Ansar Al
            >> Islam
            >> > and Ahrar Al Sham in Syria. Further, although the overwhelming
            >> majority
            >> of
            >> > people in the region are Muslim, many are also secularists, including
            >> the
            >> > vast majority of Syria’s grassroots civil opposition. Socialist and
            >> > anti-authoritarian/anarchist currents also exist within Islam with
            >> roots
            >> > that can be traced back to the ninth century.[7]
            >> >
            >> > *Al Qaeda groups in Syria*
            >> > The two Al Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are Jabhat Al
            >> Nusra
            >> > (Al Nusra Front – JAN) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham
            >> (ISIS).
            >> > Both
            >> > can be traced back to groups established to fight against the American
            >> > occupation of Iraq and grew in strength due to the sponsorship of the
            >> > Syrian government. This is important to note because whilst the
            >> origins
            >> of
            >> > Al Qaeda globally go back to Afghanistan, where they were supported by
            >> the
            >> > CIA to fight against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, this is not the
            >> > experience of Al Qaeda groups operating in Syria or Iraq today which
            >> fight
            >> > against US imperialism, Zionism and all western influence.
            >> >
            >> > Some of JAN’s members are Syrians that returned from fighting in
            >> Iraq
            >> > when
            >> > the uprising broke out in 2011, but many foreigners also joined their
            >> > ranks. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed
            >> that
            >> > JAN was its branch in Syria. However, JAN’s leader, Abu Mohammed Al
            >> > Golani,
            >> > has rejected this claim whilst simultaneously pledging allegiance to
            >> Al
            >> > Qaeda globally. ISIS is a part of the Al Qaeda network and the
            >> majority
            >> of
            >> > its members are foreigners. Whilst exact numbers are not known it is
            >> > estimated that together JAN and ISIS have around10,000 members, less
            >> than
            >> > 10 per cent of estimated armed opposition fighters.[8] Both aim to
            >> > overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad, establish and Islamic
            >> > caliphate and a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are opposed to
            >> > Western intervention and are opposed to the US and Israel.
            >> >
            >> > The numbers of JAN and ISIS are relatively small, yet they have a
            >> > disproportionate strength compared to other armed opposition groups.
            >> They
            >> > have battle-experience from Iraq and have received a lot of military
            >> > support from Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar,
            >> which
            >> > aim
            >> > to destabilize Syria through sectarian conflict in order to prevent a
            >> > popular revolution from succeeding. By contrast other armed groups are
            >> > still mainly dependent on light weapons and what they can seize from
            >> > Syrian
            >> > army bases they have captured. JAN and ISIS are concentrated in the
            >> north
            >> > of the country, along the Turkish border in Aleppo and Idlib
            >> governorates,
            >> > in Al Raqqa governorate, and in the east in Deir Al Zour governorate
            >> along
            >> > the border with Iraq. They have attempted to set up Islamic emirates
            >> in
            >> > areas under their control, established Sharia courts and placed
            >> > restrictions on the rights of women and minorities.
            >> >
            >> > Both groups have been responsible for carrying out attacks against
            >> > civilians, including suicide bombings, the arrest of opposition
            >> activists,
            >> > the torture and extrajudicial killing of Syrian army soldiers they
            >> have
            >> > captured, and sectarian killings. Most recently they have been
            >> responsible
            >> > for atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population, causing
            >> over
            >> > 20,000 Kurds to flee to Iraq in August. The extremism and violence
            >> > practiced by such groups is an increasing trend and major cause for
            >> > concern. Yet, it must be borne in mind that the overwhelming majority
            >> of
            >> > the estimated 120,000 deaths and vast majority of cases of torture and
            >> > brutality in Syria over the past 2.5 years have been carried out by
            >> the
            >> > Syrian regime.[9]
            >> >
            >> > Al Qaeda affiliated groups have the potential to cause chaos and
            >> violence
            >> > in Syria and the region for many years to come. However, their ability
            >> to
            >> > impose their vision on a future Syria is grossly over-estimated. They
            >> are
            >> > small in number, they do not have a popular support base, and the
            >> majority
            >> > of their ranks are foreigners. After 10 years of causing turmoil in
            >> Iraq,
            >> > including the massacre of thousands of civilians, they did not manage
            >> to
            >> > win the support of the local population or create an Islamic state.
            >> > According to a Syrian rebel from a secular brigade in Salamiyah; “Al
            >> > Qaida
            >> > is the one thing that will unite Syrian people after the revolution,
            >> > because all of the Syrians will want them out – those who are now
            >> with
            >> > the
            >> > regime and those who are against the regime. Nobody likes these people
            >> …
            >> > After the regime falls there will have to be a new military formation
            >> to
            >> > confront these radical movements.”[10]
            >> >
            >> > *Relationship of militant Jihadi groups to the Free Syrian Army (FSA)*
            >> > The Free Syrian Army is the main, and by far the largest, armed
            >> opposition
            >> > group in Syria. It’s leadership is linked to the SNC. The FSA is
            >> > comprised
            >> > of officers and soldiers that have defected from the regime as well as
            >> > anti-regime elements of the civilian population. It is committed to
            >> the
            >> > overthrow of Assad and the establishment of a plural, civil,
            >> democratic
            >> > Syria. The FSA is comprised of many battalions. The leader of the FSA,
            >> > Salmin Idriss has stated he is committed to secularism, yet some
            >> > battalions
            >> > are Islamist (mainly Muslim Brotherhood affiliated), some are secular
            >> and
            >> > some are comprised of Christians, Kurds and Alawites. There are even
            >> women
            >> > only brigades.
            >> >
            >> > Whilst serious human rights abuses have been carried out by elements
            >> of
            >> > the
            >> > FSA, these appear to be mainly isolated incidents rather than
            >> wide-spread
            >> > and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian areas. Human Rights
            >> Watch
            >> > has noted that “many of the antigovernment groups reported to be
            >> > carrying
            >> > out abuses do not appear to belong to an organized command structure
            >> or
            >> to
            >> > be following Syrian National Council orders”.[11] When such
            >> incidents
            >> > have
            >> > come to light the SNC and FSA have condemned them and called for the
            >> > arrest
            >> > and prosecution of those responsible, something that has never been
            >> seen
            >> > from the Assad regime.[12] The FSA is generally held in high regard by
            >> the
            >> > civilian population and seen as protector and defender of the
            >> people.[13]
            >> >
            >> > ISIS and JAN operate outside of the FSA chain of command and reject
            >> the
            >> > leadership of the SNC. Yet, due to their advanced military capacity
            >> and
            >> > military successes against the Assad regime, some FSA battalions have
            >> > cooperated with them. The majority refuse to do so, and as militant
            >> Jihadi
            >> > groups have grown in strength and carried out increasing attacks on
            >> > civilians, particularly sectarian violence, the FSA leadership has
            >> sought
            >> > to distance themselves and condemned their actions.[14] The FSA has
            >> also
            >> > been engaged in fierce battles with JAN and ISIS (as was seen recently
            >> in
            >> > Bustan Al Qasr) and militant Jihadi groups have expelled FSA
            >> battalions
            >> > from some areas under their control and even assassinated FSA
            >> leaders.[15]
            >> > It is also interesting to note, that increasingly JAN and ISIS have
            >> > refused
            >> > to fight against the government on front lines and instead focused on
            >> > consolidating their power in areas under their control.[16] This is a
            >> > clear
            >> > testimony that they are not working for the goals of the revolution
            >> but
            >> > rather to further their own extremist religious agenda.
            >> >
            >> > There are other battalions that operate outside of the FSA chain of
            >> > command
            >> > and are openly critical of the SNC and FSA leadership abroad.[17]
            >> These
            >> > include both secularists and Islamists. One of the largest Islamist
            >> > coalitions is The Syrian Islamic Front, comprised mainly of Salafist
            >> > battalions such as Ahrar Al Sham. Their aim is to establish an Islamic
            >> > state governed by Sharia Law although they are Syrian nationalists and
            >> not
            >> > working for a global caliphate or linked to Al Qaeda.[18] They reject
            >> > western notions of democracy.[19]
            >> >
            >> > *Syrian government strategy towards militant Jihadis*
            >> > When the peaceful popular uprising began in Syria in early 2011, the
            >> > Syrian
            >> > government falsely claimed it was fighting Sunni Islamic militant
            >> > terrorists. This was an attempt to discredit the legitimate demands of
            >> the
            >> > Syrian people for freedom, social justice and dignity and justify its
            >> > terrifying crackdown. As we have seen, to some extent it was to turn
            >> into
            >> > a
            >> > self-fulfilling prophecy. The government sent Shabiha (armed Alawite
            >> > militias) to arrest and shoot protesters and terrorize the civilian
            >> > population, thereby introducing sectarianism into the uprising,
            >> despite
            >> > minority groups such as Alawite, Christians and Kurds playing an
            >> active
            >> > role in the opposition. In the first five months alone, when protests
            >> were
            >> > still peaceful, the UN estimates that hundreds of people were
            >> killed.[20]
            >> > Many more were imprisoned and brutally tortured. Assad also released a
            >> > large number of militant Jihadi prisoners from jail in the early days
            >> of
            >> > the revolution.[21] The Assad regime has made deals with Jabhat Al
            >> Nusra,
            >> > such as paying them 150 million Syrian Lira [$1.15 million] monthly to
            >> > keep
            >> > oil flowing through two major pipelines in Banias and Latakia.[22] It
            >> is
            >> > also clear that the vast majority of attacks carried out by the regime
            >> > have
            >> > not been on JAN or ISIS strongholds but rather in areas where secular
            >> or
            >> > ‘moderate’ Islamist brigades are concentrated such as Homs, Deraa
            >> and
            >> > FSA
            >> > controlled parts of Aleppo. All these factors point to a concerted
            >> > strategy
            >> > by the Syrian regime to allow the uprising to be taken over by Islamic
            >> > extremism and sectarianism which would allow the regime to gain more
            >> > popular support.
            >> >
            >> > *Opposition to militant-Jihadism in Syria*
            >> > Whilst the focus of this article has been armed groups operating in
            >> Syria,
            >> > it is important to note that the grass roots civilian resistance in
            >> Syria
            >> > remains dynamic and strong and stands against both the Assad regime
            >> and
            >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups (and is often highly
            >> critical
            >> > of the SNC leadership in exile). The overwhelming majority of the
            >> civil
            >> > resistance movements are secular, none-affiliated to traditional
            >> political
            >> > ideologies and motivated by desires for freedom, social justice and
            >> > dignity. Major grass roots opposition groupings such as the Local
            >> > Coordination Committees have released statements condemning the
            >> actions
            >> of
            >> > JAN and ISIS and have stressed that they are committed to a “civil,
            >> > democratic and pluralist state” that respects the rights of all
            >> citizens
            >> > regardless of religious or ethnic identity.[23]
            >> >
            >> > There have been increasing protests against JAN and ISIS particularly
            >> in
            >> > areas where they are dominant, rejecting their authoritarian practices
            >> and
            >> > condemning their sectarian ideology and abuses.[24] For example, in Al
            >> > Raqqa, the first provincial capital to be liberated from the regime,
            >> > militant Jihadi groups took over the civilian local council. Where
            >> they
            >> > tried to put up the black Jihadi flag, local activists pulled it down
            >> and
            >> > replaced it with the revolutionary flag. ISIS also tried to impose
            >> fasting
            >> > on the population during the month of Ramadan and have arrested many
            >> > civilians from the city. The people of Al Raqqa have been holding
            >> > continuous protests against ISIS and the Islamic court they
            >> established,
            >> > calling on them to leave.[25] Likewise protesters in Idlib and Aleppo
            >> have
            >> > held demonstrations against the Sharia Committee and extremist/Takfiri
            >> > killings.[26] As sectarianism has increased, there have been protests
            >> > calling for national unity in which different religious and ethnic
            >> groups
            >> > have participated.[27] On 1 August in Aleppo a joint protest was held
            >> by
            >> > Arabs and Kurds in which hundreds took part, condemning recent
            >> atrocities
            >> > carried out against the Kurdish population by militant Jihadi
            >> groups.[28]
            >> >
            >> > Civil society organizations such as Nabd have been established to
            >> promote
            >> > co-existence and an end to sectarianism.[29] Likewise, non-violent
            >> > organizations such as the Freedom Days coalition, which comprises a
            >> large
            >> > number of groups, promote peaceful struggle and coexistence across
            >> ethnic
            >> > and religious lines.[30] In recent days a campaign called Goodbye
            >> Da3esh
            >> > has been established to oppose the wide-spread arrests of civilians,
            >> > including opposition activists, carried out by ISIS.[31]
            >> >
            >> > Such initiatives and struggles need to be highlighted and supported.
            >> It
            >> is
            >> > too easy to adopt the simplistic binary narrative promoted by states
            >> and
            >> > blanket thinkers that the choice the Syrian people face is between a
            >> > secular fascist dictatorship or Al Qaeda. As Spanish revolutionaries
            >> in
            >> > the
            >> > 1930s fought on two fronts against both the fascists and the
            >> communists,
            >> > Syrian revolutionaries have to fight against both the Assad regime and
            >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups. It is clear that
            >> militant
            >> > Jihadism is gaining a foothold in Syria and that as the struggle
            >> continues
            >> > without resolution they will continue to grow in strength. The answer
            >> is
            >> > not to support a regime that holds responsibility for creating this
            >> > problem
            >> > in the first place. The answer is to stand in solidarity with those
            >> who
            >> > struggle against it, in the hope that their voices will not be lost
            >> for
            >> > ever.
            >> >
            >> > *Endnotes:*
            >> >
            >> > 1 I emphasis the word militant because the concept of Jihad is often
            >> > misunderstood. Jihad is a religious duty for Muslims and means
            >> > “struggle”.
            >> > This can be interpreted as a struggle against oppression or the
            >> internal
            >> > struggles of ones own personal life. In the contemporary use Jihad(i)
            >> > refers to those who find it a religious obligation to defend Muslim
            >> land
            >> > against the Kafir (non believer).
            >> >
            >> > 2 For some reports on militant Jihadi groups in the region see,
            >> > International Crisis Group, Radical Islam in Gaza, (2011),
            >> >
            >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx
            >> ,
            >> > <
            >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx,%C2%A0
            >> >Institute
            >> > for the Study of War, Jihad in Syria, (2012),
            >> >
            >> http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Jihad-In-Syria-17SEPT.pdf
            >> ,
            >> > Omayma Abdel-Latif, ‘Cedar Jihadis’[Lebanon] Al Ahram,
            >> > http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/895/re2.htm
            >> >
            >> > 3 For the pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (2012)
            >> see:
            >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
            >> >
            >> > 4 For an excellent introduction to the Islamic revival (from an Arab
            >> > feminist perspective) see: Leila Ahmed, A Quiet Revolution: The
            >> Veil’s
            >> > Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, (2011)
            >> >
            >> > 5 See ‘A Declaration to the People’ (2011)
            >> > http://asharqalarabi.org.uk/english/at-3.htm & ‘The pledge and
            >> charter
            >> > of
            >> > the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ (2012)
            >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
            >> >
            >> > 6 See ‘Syrian Coalition Principles’,
            >> >
            >> http://www.etilaf.org/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=35&Itemid=584
            >> >
            >> > 7 See for example, Mohammed Jean Veneuse, Anarca Islam, (2009)
            >> > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/anarca-islam/ and David
            >> Baker,
            >> > Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists, (2011)
            >> >
            >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/ninth-century-muslim-anarchists/
            >> >
            >> > 8 See Aljazeera ‘Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion’,
            >> >
            >> http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/07/20137188552345899.html
            >> .
            >> > Whilst these figures vary according to reports from usually from
            >> > 6,000-10,000, Syrian grass-roots opposition groups repeatedly affirm
            >> that
            >> > militant Jihadi groups have a small presence amongst opposition armed
            >> > groups. For example see ‘Our Revolution: A popular revolution for
            >> > freedom,
            >> > equality and social justice and against every kind of absolutism’,
            >> > (August
            >> > 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/our-revolution-a-popular-revolution-for-freedom-equality-and-social-justice-and-against-every-kind-of-absolutism/
            >> >
            >> > 9 See for example: Amnesty International, ‘Annual Report 2013:
            >> Syria’
            >> > (2013) http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2013 Human
            >> Rights
            >> > Watch ‘Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack’,
            >> > (September
            >> > 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/10/syria-government-likely-culprit-chemical-attack
            >> > and
            >> > The Revolting Syrian ‘Does this not outrage you?’
            >> >
            >> http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/50495350134/does-this-not-outrage-you
            >> > [WARNING:
            >> > the videos in the last link are extremely graphic]
            >> >
            >> > 10 Cited in Syria Deeply, ‘The State of a Secular Rebel Fighting
            >> > Force’,
            >> > (September 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/state-secular-rebel-fighting-force/#.UjF5pmQ-u2p
            >> >
            >> > 11 Human Rights Watch, ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups Committing
            >> > Abuses’,
            >> > (March 2012)
            >> >
            >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses
            >> >
            >> > 12 See for example: ‘Statement by the General Staff of the Free
            >> Syrian
            >> > Army’ (May 2013)
            >> >
            >> https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=482097828528873&set=a.458923474179642.1073741828.458106567594666&type=1
            >> > and
            >> > ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
            >> >
            >> > 13 This is evident in chants of support for the FSA seen at weekly
            >> > protests
            >> > across Syria and also based on my own discussion with Syrian refugees
            >> in
            >> > camps across Lebanon and Jordan.
            >> >
            >> > 14 ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
            >> >
            >> > 15 Martin Chulov, ‘Free Syrian Army clashes with jihadists in wake
            >> of
            >> > commander’s assassination’, (July 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/14/free-syrian-army-jihadists-clashes-aleppo
            >> > &
            >> > Syria Freedom Forever, ‘Syria: the Kurdish question, the Islamists
            >> and
            >> > the
            >> > FSA’, (July 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/syria-the-kurdish-question-the-islamists-and-the-fsa/
            >> >
            >> > 16 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘You can jail a revolutionary but you
            >> can’t
            >> > jail
            >> > the revolution’, (August 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/you-can-jail-revolutionaries-but-you-cannot-kill-the-revolution-the-syrian-people-will-not-kneel/
            >> >
            >> > 17 For an overview of Syria’s armed opposition see:
            >> >
            >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_civil_war
            >> >
            >> > 18 See the Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front (2013)
            >> >
            >> http://abujamajem.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/the-charter-of-the-syrian-islamic-front/
            >> >
            >> > 19 Aron Lund, ‘Syria’s Salafi Insurgents: The Rise of the Syrian
            >> > Islamic
            >> > Front’, (2012) http://www.ui.se/eng/upl/files/86861.pdf
            >> >
            >> > 20 United Nations, ‘Syria: Security Council condemns rights abuses
            >> and
            >> > use
            >> > of force against civilians’, (August 2011)
            >> > http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=39229&cr1=#.UjHzH2Q-u2p
            >> >
            >> > 21 ‘Bashar released Al Qaeda prisoners to cover his crimes’, Al
            >> Ahram,
            >> > (March 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/66953/World/Region/Bashar-released-AlQaeda-prisoners-to-cover-his-cri.aspx
            >> > &
            >> > Misbah Al Ali, ‘Rival Islamists loom large over Syria’, The Daily
            >> Star
            >> > (March 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Mar-19/210649-rival-islamists-loom-large-over-syria.ashx#axzz2egSa7ZD9
            >> >
            >> > 22 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Syria or elsewhere, there are no pure
            >> > revolutions, just revolutions,’
            >> >
            >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/syriaor-elsewhere-there-are-no-pure-revolutions-just-revolutions/
            >> > also
            >> > Yasser Munif ‘The revolution and the war’,
            >> > http://socialistworker.org/2013/09/11/the-revolution-and-the-war. The
            >> > conversion is based on exchange rate of 11 September 2013.
            >> >
            >> > 23 LCC statement (April 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/condemnation-of-zawahris-statements-regarding-his-intervention-in-the-internal-affairs-of-syria/
            >> >
            >> > 24 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
            >> > struggles
            >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
            >> >
            >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
            >> > and
            >> > Bassam Haddad, ‘The Growing Challenge to the Syrian regime and the
            >> > Syrian
            >> > Uprising’, Jadaliyya, (June 2013)
            >> >
            >> http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/12556/the-growing-challenge-to-the-syrian-regime-and-the
            >> >
            >> > 25 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hOsyH7zasw&sns=em
            >> >
            >> > 26 For example see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8edfgXT61A (Idlib)
            >> and
            >> > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5WqJ6Y2eQ8 (Aleppo)
            >> >
            >> > 27 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaDFddXsJ3w
            >> (English
            >> > subtitles)
            >> >
            >> > 28 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
            >> > struggles
            >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
            >> >
            >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
            >> >
            >> > 29 See their facebook page here:
            >> >
            >> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabd-Gathering-for-Syrian-Civil-Youth/361274777254185
            >> >
            >> > 30 See their facebook page here:
            >> > https://en-gb.facebook.com/Freedom.Days.Syria
            >> >
            >> > 31 See their facebook page here:
            >> https://www.facebook.com/goodbyeda3esh
            >> >
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >>
            >
          • Cort Greene
            *And Scot, I know about the PNAC and wrote a little note on them in 2004...Stop inferring I am one of them...Dumb ass Scot *
            Message 5 of 10 , Sep 17, 2013
            • 0 Attachment
              And Scot, I know about the PNAC and wrote a little note on them in 2004...Stop inferring  I am one of them...Dumb ass Scot 





              Venezuela: The Coup Makers- The Invisible U.S. Hands 

              By Cort Greene 

              April 20, 2004 


              With rumors of a new coup swirling through Venezuela daily, some with merit, others just the wishful thinking of the fractured but still dangerous "opposition", it is useful to review just who the real puppet masters behind the last coup were, and the possibility and the reasons that they will try another one. 

              Removing President Chavez and destroying the Bolivarian Revolutionary Process has been a primary concern of the U.S. government since 1998. Why else would it dedicate such resources to this effort? So far they have spent over 4 million dollars in known covert funds, and the actual figure is probably twice that amount if we take in account that there are over 500 U.S. corporations in Venezuela, some of which are CIA fronts. Dick Cheney's pals at Halliburton have 21 offices in Venezuela. 

              These folks have a vested interest in bringing about a change of government – i.e. trampling on the democratic will of the majority of Venezuelans if it will bring them higher profits and greater access to the region's natural resources. 

              With the quagmire in Iraq, gaining control over the Venezuelan petroleum industry is of particular importance, due to the prospect of an energy crisis and the economic problems that will ensue from it. 

              This could be a catalyst for a greater worldwide crisis than is taking place now, and could be the greatest seen since the 1930s. 

              President Chavez and Bolivarian Revolution are a threat because they provide an example that goes not only against the imperialist plan of the Free Trade Agreement of the America's, but shows the potential for a revival of the working class struggle and socialism across the entire region. 

              The usual suspects for another coup attempt in Venezuela include U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela Charles Shapiro (whom it is alleged played a part in the spilling of the blood of the working class in Chile and Venezuela). And of course there is the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, and a myriad of other organizations. 

              But there is another, more insidious, and less heard of group that has binds together all these other groups and officials together - the "Project for the New American Century" – which played a leading role in developing the US invasion of Iraq. PNAC's board of directors is a "who's who" of government and business, which has representatives in Venezuela either directly or through inter-locking boards of directors. 

              The stated goals of this right-wing think-tank are a bold foreign policy, the need to increase defense spending, and to challenge regimes hostile to the vital interests and values of American capitalism. 

              Some PNAC members include: 

              · Donald Rumsfeld 

              · Paul Wolfowitz 

              · Frank Gaffney 

              · Dan Quayle 

              · Gary Bauer 

              · Elliott Abrams 

              · Steve Forbes 

              · Zalmay Khalilzad 

              · Paula Dobrainsky, Under Secretary for Global affairs 

              · Jeb Bush 

              · William Bennett 

              · Vice President Dick Cheney 

              These are just some of the puppet masters who will do anything to ensure the continued U.S. dominance of Latin America and the world. If they had their way, they would do to Venezuela what they did to Iraq. 

              But they have fallen into more than a bit of trouble in Iraq, and already the world working class is rallying to the defense of the Venezuelan revolution. We must step up the pressure and end the imperialist predations of the U.S. ruling class once and for all! 

              No to U.S. intervention in Venezuela! 

              Defend the Venezuelan Revolution! 

              Forward to Socialism! 


              On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 3:40 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
              Educators do not use ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments. Only those
              supporting agendas and using the little back book of disinformation rely
              on those tactics to distract people from the questions at hand, which was
              in this instance, seriosuly, it reads like it came right off a PNAC funded
              site;
              ***
              Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or organization)
              working for?

              And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
              ***

              I dare say this ID your using is the same as another I that sues the same
              tactics, partial because of your refusal to duplicate simple things like
              spelling of my name, or that you never read further then you can create an
              ad hominem attack for response to.

              Seriously, I thought you and your Marxist people were not on the side of
              the Imperialists. You send stuff that appears to be from Anarchists, that
              also do naught but support the Imperialists desires.

              Seriously, this is something I must take the opportunity to point out to
              others, especially on a list that is suppose to be for alternate media
              instead of shadowy propaganda wearing the cloak of the International
              Corporate Oppositionists.

              It's what your articles support, You on the other hand have never taken
              the opportunities presented to discuss anything, you just revert to
              personal attacks.

              Scott

              "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
              Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
              militant-Jihadi groups"


              Scott

              > *Oh Scot*
              > *
              > *
              > *Your ignorance is showing or is it that the pole from the caber toss hit
              > you in the head too many times at the Highland games... [?]*
              > *
              > *
              > *Rojo Rojito*
              > *
              > *
              > *Cort*
              >
              >
              >
              > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
              >
              >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
              >> organization)
              >> working for?
              >>
              >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
              >>
              >> Scott
              >>
              >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
              >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
              >> militant-Jihadi groups"
              >>
              >>
              >> > *Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982
              >> > #Lebanon<http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Lebanon>
              >> > *
              >> >
              >> >
              >> >
              >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
              >> >
              >> > ← SYRIA/PALESTINE: Palestinians and the Syrian Revolution: Lessons
              >> from
              >> > the
              >> > fight against
              >> > fascism<
              >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syriapalestine-palestinians-and-the-syrian-revolution-lessons-from-the-fight-against-fascism/
              >> >
              >> > →<
              >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/uk-anti-fascist-network-statement-on-saturday-7th-september-edl-demonstration/
              >> >
              >> > SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from Mythology
              >> >
              >> > SEP
              >> > 12<
              >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
              >> >
              >> >
              >> > Posted by tahriricn <http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/author/tahriricn/>
              >> >
              >> > By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN[image:
              >> > ED-AR204_obagy_D_20130830164816]<
              >> http://tahriricn.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ed-ar204_obagy_d_20130830164816.jpg
              >> >
              >> >
              >> > One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory of
              >> Syria’s
              >> > revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The danger
              >> that
              >> > the
              >> > increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and the region
              >> > should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings exist
              >> about
              >> > the nature and dominance of such groups which this article attempts to
              >> > address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we able to
              >> move
              >> > forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the threat of
              >> > counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding of who is
              >> > working for the original goals of the revolution so that they can be
              >> given
              >> > the solidarity they deserve.
              >> >
              >> > *Al Qaeda ideology*
              >> > Al Qaeda or militant Jihadi groups[1] have an internationalist
              >> perspective
              >> > and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a strict
              >> > interpretation of Sharia law. The ideology of Al Qaeda groups is
              >> closely
              >> > related to Salafi/Wahabi ideology (the totalitarian political doctrine
              >> > which is practiced in Saudi Arabia). Whilst Salafism is an extremely
              >> > repressive, puritanical ideology which follows a literal
              >> interpretation
              >> of
              >> > the Quran, it is important to note that not all Salafists believe in
              >> > violent means to establish their goals and that some Salafists are
              >> > prepared
              >> > to work within a democratic system. By contrast, militant Jihadi
              >> groups
              >> > reject the concept of democracy holding that their interpretation of
              >> Islam
              >> > is mandated by God. They believe that it is a religious duty to defend
              >> the
              >> > Muslim community against enemies of Islam and are prepared to die as
              >> > martyrs for that cause. They regard anyone who does not subscribe to
              >> their
              >> > ideology (including liberal Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims) as
              >> > heretics/Kafir. Some, known as Takfiris, believe that they have the
              >> right
              >> > to kill heretics. Al Qaeda affiliated groups in the region include
              >> > Egyptian
              >> > Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and Saudi
              >> > Arabia,
              >> > Jund Ansar Allah in Palestine, Fatah Al Islam in Lebanon and Al Qaeda
              >> in
              >> > the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco. [2]These groups do not
              >> have a
              >> > broad popular support base, primarily due to their use of terrorist
              >> means
              >> > targeting civilians in countries in which they operate and their
              >> following
              >> > of an interpretation of Islam which is alien to almost everyone.
              >> >
              >> > *Mainstream political Islam*
              >> > It is important not to confuse militant Jihadis with mainstream
              >> political
              >> > Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the Muslim
              >> > Brotherhood is undoubtably conservative and reactionary, they have
              >> broad
              >> > based popular support across the Middle East and North Africa and have
              >> won
              >> > democratic elections in Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt. They gained
              >> > prominence during the Islamic revival of the 1970s, as a direct
              >> response
              >> > to
              >> > western imperialism. They work to reinstate Islamic laws and believe
              >> in
              >> > the
              >> > concept of Islamic unity and the return of the caliphate abolished by
              >> > Ataturk in 1924 although they primarily struggle on the national
              >> level.
              >> > They advocate that political Islam is compatible with the
              >> establishment
              >> of
              >> > a modern, democratic, multi-party state that respects human rights,
              >> > including the rights of religious minorities.[3] Pursuing social
              >> justice
              >> > and particularly reducing the gap between rich and poor has been a key
              >> > tenet of their ideology and to this end they established a vast
              >> network
              >> of
              >> > social services which gained them the support of the urban and rural
              >> > poor.[4] Although they have been known to use violent means to achieve
              >> > their goals, the Muslim Brotherhood officially rejects the use of
              >> > violence.[5]
              >> >
              >> > The experience of countries that have been governed by the Muslim
              >> > Brotherhood show a wide gap between their rhetoric and reality. Highly
              >> > authoritarian and repressive regimes have been established where they
              >> have
              >> > come to power. Yet we should not regard the Muslim Brotherhood as a
              >> > violent
              >> > terrorist organization or overlook the support the organization has
              >> > amongst
              >> > broad sections of a religiously conservative population. Therefore
              >> > strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim Brotherhood
              >> should
              >> > be
              >> > fundamentally different from our approach to militant-Jihadi groups.
              >> The
              >> > Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the Syrian National Coalition (the
              >> > bourgeois opposition in exile which is backed by the West, Gulf States
              >> and
              >> > Turkey and influenced by foreign agendas). The Syrian National
              >> Coalition
              >> > also includes secular and leftist opposition groups (including
              >> Christian
              >> > and Kurdish parties), the Free Syrian Army, grass-roots opposition
              >> groups
              >> > and independents. It advocates establishing a civil, democratic
              >> Syria.[6]
              >> >
              >> > Between the ‘moderate’ political Islamists and Al Qaeda there
              >> exists a
              >> > broad spectrum of other Salafist groups which subscribe to puritanical
              >> > versions of Islam some of which are militant. They include Al Nour
              >> party
              >> > in
              >> > Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jaysh al Islam in Palestine, and Ansar Al
              >> Islam
              >> > and Ahrar Al Sham in Syria. Further, although the overwhelming
              >> majority
              >> of
              >> > people in the region are Muslim, many are also secularists, including
              >> the
              >> > vast majority of Syria’s grassroots civil opposition. Socialist and
              >> > anti-authoritarian/anarchist currents also exist within Islam with
              >> roots
              >> > that can be traced back to the ninth century.[7]
              >> >
              >> > *Al Qaeda groups in Syria*
              >> > The two Al Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are Jabhat Al
              >> Nusra
              >> > (Al Nusra Front – JAN) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham
              >> (ISIS).
              >> > Both
              >> > can be traced back to groups established to fight against the American
              >> > occupation of Iraq and grew in strength due to the sponsorship of the
              >> > Syrian government. This is important to note because whilst the
              >> origins
              >> of
              >> > Al Qaeda globally go back to Afghanistan, where they were supported by
              >> the
              >> > CIA to fight against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, this is not the
              >> > experience of Al Qaeda groups operating in Syria or Iraq today which
              >> fight
              >> > against US imperialism, Zionism and all western influence.
              >> >
              >> > Some of JAN’s members are Syrians that returned from fighting in
              >> Iraq
              >> > when
              >> > the uprising broke out in 2011, but many foreigners also joined their
              >> > ranks. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed
              >> that
              >> > JAN was its branch in Syria. However, JAN’s leader, Abu Mohammed Al
              >> > Golani,
              >> > has rejected this claim whilst simultaneously pledging allegiance to
              >> Al
              >> > Qaeda globally. ISIS is a part of the Al Qaeda network and the
              >> majority
              >> of
              >> > its members are foreigners. Whilst exact numbers are not known it is
              >> > estimated that together JAN and ISIS have around10,000 members, less
              >> than
              >> > 10 per cent of estimated armed opposition fighters.[8] Both aim to
              >> > overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad, establish and Islamic
              >> > caliphate and a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are opposed to
              >> > Western intervention and are opposed to the US and Israel.
              >> >
              >> > The numbers of JAN and ISIS are relatively small, yet they have a
              >> > disproportionate strength compared to other armed opposition groups.
              >> They
              >> > have battle-experience from Iraq and have received a lot of military
              >> > support from Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar,
              >> which
              >> > aim
              >> > to destabilize Syria through sectarian conflict in order to prevent a
              >> > popular revolution from succeeding. By contrast other armed groups are
              >> > still mainly dependent on light weapons and what they can seize from
              >> > Syrian
              >> > army bases they have captured. JAN and ISIS are concentrated in the
              >> north
              >> > of the country, along the Turkish border in Aleppo and Idlib
              >> governorates,
              >> > in Al Raqqa governorate, and in the east in Deir Al Zour governorate
              >> along
              >> > the border with Iraq. They have attempted to set up Islamic emirates
              >> in
              >> > areas under their control, established Sharia courts and placed
              >> > restrictions on the rights of women and minorities.
              >> >
              >> > Both groups have been responsible for carrying out attacks against
              >> > civilians, including suicide bombings, the arrest of opposition
              >> activists,
              >> > the torture and extrajudicial killing of Syrian army soldiers they
              >> have
              >> > captured, and sectarian killings. Most recently they have been
              >> responsible
              >> > for atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population, causing
              >> over
              >> > 20,000 Kurds to flee to Iraq in August. The extremism and violence
              >> > practiced by such groups is an increasing trend and major cause for
              >> > concern. Yet, it must be borne in mind that the overwhelming majority
              >> of
              >> > the estimated 120,000 deaths and vast majority of cases of torture and
              >> > brutality in Syria over the past 2.5 years have been carried out by
              >> the
              >> > Syrian regime.[9]
              >> >
              >> > Al Qaeda affiliated groups have the potential to cause chaos and
              >> violence
              >> > in Syria and the region for many years to come. However, their ability
              >> to
              >> > impose their vision on a future Syria is grossly over-estimated. They
              >> are
              >> > small in number, they do not have a popular support base, and the
              >> majority
              >> > of their ranks are foreigners. After 10 years of causing turmoil in
              >> Iraq,
              >> > including the massacre of thousands of civilians, they did not manage
              >> to
              >> > win the support of the local population or create an Islamic state.
              >> > According to a Syrian rebel from a secular brigade in Salamiyah; “Al
              >> > Qaida
              >> > is the one thing that will unite Syrian people after the revolution,
              >> > because all of the Syrians will want them out – those who are now
              >> with
              >> > the
              >> > regime and those who are against the regime. Nobody likes these people
              >> …
              >> > After the regime falls there will have to be a new military formation
              >> to
              >> > confront these radical movements.”[10]
              >> >
              >> > *Relationship of militant Jihadi groups to the Free Syrian Army (FSA)*
              >> > The Free Syrian Army is the main, and by far the largest, armed
              >> opposition
              >> > group in Syria.  It’s leadership is linked to the SNC. The FSA is
              >> > comprised
              >> > of officers and soldiers that have defected from the regime as well as
              >> > anti-regime elements of the civilian population. It is committed to
              >> the
              >> > overthrow of Assad and the establishment of a  plural, civil,
              >> democratic
              >> > Syria. The FSA is comprised of many battalions. The leader of the FSA,
              >> > Salmin Idriss has stated he is committed to secularism, yet some
              >> > battalions
              >> > are Islamist (mainly Muslim Brotherhood affiliated), some are secular
              >> and
              >> > some are comprised of Christians, Kurds and Alawites. There are even
              >> women
              >> > only brigades.
              >> >
              >> > Whilst serious human rights abuses have been carried out by elements
              >> of
              >> > the
              >> > FSA, these appear to be mainly isolated incidents rather than
              >> wide-spread
              >> > and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian areas. Human Rights
              >> Watch
              >> > has noted that “many of the antigovernment groups reported to be
              >> > carrying
              >> > out abuses do not appear to belong to an organized command structure
              >> or
              >> to
              >> > be following Syrian National Council orders”.[11] When such
              >> incidents
              >> > have
              >> > come to light the SNC and FSA have condemned them and called for the
              >> > arrest
              >> > and prosecution of those responsible, something that has never been
              >> seen
              >> > from the Assad regime.[12] The FSA is generally held in high regard by
              >> the
              >> > civilian population and seen as protector and defender of the
              >> people.[13]
              >> >
              >> > ISIS and JAN operate outside of the FSA chain of command and reject
              >> the
              >> > leadership of the SNC. Yet, due to their advanced military capacity
              >> and
              >> > military successes against the Assad regime, some FSA battalions have
              >> > cooperated with them. The majority refuse to do so, and as militant
              >> Jihadi
              >> > groups have grown in strength and carried out increasing attacks on
              >> > civilians, particularly sectarian violence, the FSA leadership has
              >> sought
              >> > to distance themselves and condemned their actions.[14] The FSA has
              >> also
              >> > been engaged in fierce battles with JAN and ISIS (as was seen recently
              >> in
              >> > Bustan Al Qasr) and militant Jihadi groups have expelled FSA
              >> battalions
              >> > from some areas under their control and even assassinated FSA
              >> leaders.[15]
              >> > It is also interesting to note, that increasingly JAN and ISIS have
              >> > refused
              >> > to fight against the government on front lines and instead focused on
              >> > consolidating their power in areas under their control.[16] This is a
              >> > clear
              >> > testimony that they are not working for the goals of the revolution
              >> but
              >> > rather to further their own extremist religious agenda.
              >> >
              >> > There are other battalions that operate outside of the FSA chain of
              >> > command
              >> > and are openly critical of the SNC and FSA leadership abroad.[17]
              >> These
              >> > include both secularists and Islamists. One of the largest Islamist
              >> > coalitions is The Syrian Islamic Front, comprised mainly of Salafist
              >> > battalions such as Ahrar Al Sham. Their aim is to establish an Islamic
              >> > state governed by Sharia Law although they are Syrian nationalists and
              >> not
              >> > working for a global caliphate or linked to Al Qaeda.[18] They reject
              >> > western notions of democracy.[19]
              >> >
              >> > *Syrian government strategy towards militant Jihadis*
              >> > When the peaceful popular uprising began in Syria in early 2011, the
              >> > Syrian
              >> > government falsely claimed it was fighting Sunni Islamic militant
              >> > terrorists. This was an attempt to discredit the legitimate demands of
              >> the
              >> > Syrian people for freedom, social justice and dignity and justify its
              >> > terrifying crackdown. As we have seen, to some extent it was to turn
              >> into
              >> > a
              >> > self-fulfilling prophecy. The government sent Shabiha (armed Alawite
              >> > militias) to arrest and shoot protesters and terrorize the civilian
              >> > population, thereby introducing sectarianism into the uprising,
              >> despite
              >> > minority groups such as Alawite, Christians and Kurds playing an
              >> active
              >> > role in the opposition. In the first five months alone, when protests
              >> were
              >> > still peaceful, the UN estimates that hundreds of people were
              >> killed.[20]
              >> > Many more were imprisoned and brutally tortured. Assad also released a
              >> > large number of militant Jihadi prisoners from jail in the early days
              >> of
              >> > the revolution.[21] The Assad regime has made deals with Jabhat Al
              >> Nusra,
              >> > such as paying them 150 million Syrian Lira [$1.15 million] monthly to
              >> > keep
              >> > oil flowing through two major pipelines in Banias and Latakia.[22] It
              >> is
              >> > also clear that the vast majority of attacks carried out by the regime
              >> > have
              >> > not been on JAN or ISIS strongholds but rather in areas where secular
              >> or
              >> > ‘moderate’ Islamist brigades are concentrated such as Homs, Deraa
              >> and
              >> > FSA
              >> > controlled parts of Aleppo. All these factors point to a concerted
              >> > strategy
              >> > by the Syrian regime to allow the uprising to be taken over by Islamic
              >> > extremism and sectarianism which would allow the regime to gain more
              >> > popular support.
              >> >
              >> > *Opposition to militant-Jihadism in Syria*
              >> > Whilst the focus of this article has been armed groups operating in
              >> Syria,
              >> > it is important to note that the grass roots civilian resistance in
              >> Syria
              >> > remains dynamic and strong and stands against both the Assad regime
              >> and
              >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups (and is often highly
              >> critical
              >> > of the SNC leadership in exile). The overwhelming majority of the
              >> civil
              >> > resistance movements are secular, none-affiliated to traditional
              >> political
              >> > ideologies and motivated by desires for freedom, social justice and
              >> > dignity. Major grass roots opposition groupings such as the Local
              >> > Coordination Committees have released statements condemning the
              >> actions
              >> of
              >> > JAN and ISIS and have stressed that they are committed to a “civil,
              >> > democratic and pluralist state” that respects the rights of all
              >> citizens
              >> > regardless of religious or ethnic identity.[23]
              >> >
              >> > There have been increasing protests against JAN and ISIS particularly
              >> in
              >> > areas where they are dominant, rejecting their authoritarian practices
              >> and
              >> > condemning their sectarian ideology and abuses.[24] For example, in Al
              >> > Raqqa, the first provincial capital to be liberated from the regime,
              >> > militant Jihadi groups took over the civilian local council. Where
              >> they
              >> > tried to put up the black Jihadi flag, local activists pulled it down
              >> and
              >> > replaced it with the revolutionary flag. ISIS also tried to impose
              >> fasting
              >> > on the population during the month of Ramadan and have arrested many
              >> > civilians from the city. The people of Al Raqqa have been holding
              >> > continuous protests against ISIS and the Islamic court they
              >> established,
              >> > calling on them to leave.[25] Likewise protesters in Idlib and Aleppo
              >> have
              >> > held demonstrations against the Sharia Committee and extremist/Takfiri
              >> > killings.[26] As sectarianism has increased, there have been protests
              >> > calling for national unity in which different religious and ethnic
              >> groups
              >> > have participated.[27] On 1 August in Aleppo a joint protest was held
              >> by
              >> > Arabs and Kurds in which hundreds took part, condemning recent
              >> atrocities
              >> > carried out against the Kurdish population by militant Jihadi
              >> groups.[28]
              >> >
              >> > Civil society organizations such as Nabd have been established to
              >> promote
              >> > co-existence and an end to sectarianism.[29] Likewise, non-violent
              >> > organizations such as the Freedom Days coalition, which comprises a
              >> large
              >> > number of groups, promote peaceful struggle and coexistence across
              >> ethnic
              >> > and religious lines.[30] In recent days a campaign called Goodbye
              >> Da3esh
              >> > has been established to oppose the wide-spread arrests of civilians,
              >> > including opposition activists, carried out by ISIS.[31]
              >> >
              >> > Such initiatives and struggles need to be highlighted and supported.
              >> It
              >> is
              >> > too easy to adopt the simplistic binary narrative promoted by states
              >> and
              >> > blanket thinkers that the choice the Syrian people face is between a
              >> > secular fascist dictatorship or Al Qaeda. As Spanish revolutionaries
              >> in
              >> > the
              >> > 1930s fought on two fronts against both the fascists and the
              >> communists,
              >> > Syrian revolutionaries have to fight against both the Assad regime and
              >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups. It is clear that
              >> militant
              >> > Jihadism is gaining a foothold in Syria and that as the struggle
              >> continues
              >> > without resolution they will continue to grow in strength. The answer
              >> is
              >> > not to support a regime that holds responsibility for creating this
              >> > problem
              >> > in the first place. The answer is to stand in solidarity with those
              >> who
              >> > struggle against it, in the hope that their voices will not be lost
              >> for
              >> > ever.
              >> >
              >> > *Endnotes:*
              >> >
              >> > 1 I emphasis the word militant because the concept of Jihad is often
              >> > misunderstood. Jihad is a religious duty for Muslims and means
              >> > “struggle”.
              >> > This can be interpreted as a struggle against oppression or the
              >> internal
              >> > struggles of ones own personal life. In the contemporary use Jihad(i)
              >> > refers to those who find it a religious obligation to defend Muslim
              >> land
              >> > against the Kafir (non believer).
              >> >
              >> > 2 For some reports on militant Jihadi groups in the region see,
              >> > International Crisis Group, Radical Islam in Gaza, (2011),
              >> >
              >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx
              >> ,
              >> > <
              >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx,%C2%A0
              >> >Institute
              >> > for the Study of War, Jihad in Syria, (2012),
              >> >
              >> http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Jihad-In-Syria-17SEPT.pdf
              >> ,
              >> > Omayma Abdel-Latif, ‘Cedar Jihadis’[Lebanon] Al Ahram,
              >> > http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/895/re2.htm
              >> >
              >> > 3 For the pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (2012)
              >> see:
              >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
              >> >
              >> > 4 For an excellent introduction to the Islamic revival (from an Arab
              >> > feminist perspective) see: Leila Ahmed, A Quiet Revolution: The
              >> Veil’s
              >> > Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, (2011)
              >> >
              >> > 5 See ‘A Declaration to the People’ (2011)
              >> > http://asharqalarabi.org.uk/english/at-3.htm & ‘The pledge and
              >> charter
              >> > of
              >> > the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ (2012)
              >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
              >> >
              >> > 6 See ‘Syrian Coalition Principles’,
              >> >
              >> http://www.etilaf.org/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=35&Itemid=584
              >> >
              >> > 7 See for example, Mohammed Jean Veneuse, Anarca Islam, (2009)
              >> > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/anarca-islam/ and David
              >> Baker,
              >> > Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists, (2011)
              >> >
              >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/ninth-century-muslim-anarchists/
              >> >
              >> > 8 See Aljazeera ‘Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion’,
              >> >
              >> http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/07/20137188552345899.html
              >> .
              >> > Whilst these figures vary according to reports from usually from
              >> > 6,000-10,000, Syrian grass-roots opposition groups repeatedly affirm
              >> that
              >> > militant Jihadi groups have a small presence amongst opposition armed
              >> > groups. For example see ‘Our Revolution: A popular revolution for
              >> > freedom,
              >> > equality and social justice and against every kind of absolutism’,
              >> > (August
              >> > 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/our-revolution-a-popular-revolution-for-freedom-equality-and-social-justice-and-against-every-kind-of-absolutism/
              >> >
              >> > 9 See for example: Amnesty International, ‘Annual Report 2013:
              >> Syria’
              >> > (2013) http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2013  Human
              >> Rights
              >> > Watch ‘Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack’,
              >> > (September
              >> > 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/10/syria-government-likely-culprit-chemical-attack
              >> > and
              >> > The Revolting Syrian ‘Does this not outrage you?’
              >> >
              >> http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/50495350134/does-this-not-outrage-you
              >> > [WARNING:
              >> > the videos in the last link are extremely graphic]
              >> >
              >> > 10  Cited in Syria Deeply, ‘The State of a Secular Rebel Fighting
              >> > Force’,
              >> > (September 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/state-secular-rebel-fighting-force/#.UjF5pmQ-u2p
              >> >
              >> > 11  Human Rights Watch, ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups Committing
              >> > Abuses’,
              >> > (March 2012)
              >> >
              >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses
              >> >
              >> > 12 See for example: ‘Statement by the General Staff of the Free
              >> Syrian
              >> > Army’ (May 2013)
              >> >
              >> https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=482097828528873&set=a.458923474179642.1073741828.458106567594666&type=1
              >> > and
              >> > ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
              >> >
              >> > 13 This is evident in chants of support for the FSA seen at weekly
              >> > protests
              >> > across Syria and also based on my own discussion with Syrian refugees
              >> in
              >> > camps across Lebanon and Jordan.
              >> >
              >> > 14 ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
              >> >
              >> > 15 Martin Chulov, ‘Free Syrian Army clashes with jihadists in wake
              >> of
              >> > commander’s assassination’, (July 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/14/free-syrian-army-jihadists-clashes-aleppo
              >> > &
              >> > Syria Freedom Forever, ‘Syria: the Kurdish question, the Islamists
              >> and
              >> > the
              >> > FSA’, (July 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/syria-the-kurdish-question-the-islamists-and-the-fsa/
              >> >
              >> > 16 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘You can jail a revolutionary but you
              >> can’t
              >> > jail
              >> > the revolution’, (August 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/you-can-jail-revolutionaries-but-you-cannot-kill-the-revolution-the-syrian-people-will-not-kneel/
              >> >
              >> > 17 For an overview of Syria’s armed opposition see:
              >> >
              >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_civil_war
              >> >
              >> > 18 See the Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front (2013)
              >> >
              >> http://abujamajem.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/the-charter-of-the-syrian-islamic-front/
              >> >
              >> > 19 Aron Lund, ‘Syria’s Salafi Insurgents: The Rise of the Syrian
              >> > Islamic
              >> > Front’, (2012) http://www.ui.se/eng/upl/files/86861.pdf
              >> >
              >> > 20 United Nations, ‘Syria: Security Council condemns rights abuses
              >> and
              >> > use
              >> > of force against civilians’, (August 2011)
              >> > http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=39229&cr1=#.UjHzH2Q-u2p
              >> >
              >> > 21 ‘Bashar released Al Qaeda prisoners to cover his crimes’, Al
              >> Ahram,
              >> > (March 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/66953/World/Region/Bashar-released-AlQaeda-prisoners-to-cover-his-cri.aspx
              >> > &
              >> > Misbah Al Ali, ‘Rival Islamists loom large over Syria’, The Daily
              >> Star
              >> > (March 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Mar-19/210649-rival-islamists-loom-large-over-syria.ashx#axzz2egSa7ZD9
              >> >
              >> > 22 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Syria or elsewhere, there are no pure
              >> > revolutions, just revolutions,’
              >> >
              >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/syriaor-elsewhere-there-are-no-pure-revolutions-just-revolutions/
              >> > also
              >> > Yasser Munif ‘The revolution and the war’,
              >> > http://socialistworker.org/2013/09/11/the-revolution-and-the-war. The
              >> > conversion is based on exchange rate of 11 September 2013.
              >> >
              >> > 23 LCC statement (April 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/condemnation-of-zawahris-statements-regarding-his-intervention-in-the-internal-affairs-of-syria/
              >> >
              >> > 24 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
              >> > struggles
              >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
              >> >
              >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
              >> > and
              >> > Bassam Haddad, ‘The Growing Challenge to the Syrian regime and the
              >> > Syrian
              >> > Uprising’, Jadaliyya, (June 2013)
              >> >
              >> http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/12556/the-growing-challenge-to-the-syrian-regime-and-the
              >> >
              >> > 25 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hOsyH7zasw&sns=em
              >> >
              >> > 26 For example see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8edfgXT61A (Idlib)
              >> and
              >> > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5WqJ6Y2eQ8 (Aleppo)
              >> >
              >> > 27 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaDFddXsJ3w
              >> (English
              >> > subtitles)
              >> >
              >> > 28 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
              >> > struggles
              >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
              >> >
              >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
              >> >
              >> > 29 See their facebook page here:
              >> >
              >> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabd-Gathering-for-Syrian-Civil-Youth/361274777254185
              >> >
              >> > 30 See their facebook page here:
              >> > https://en-gb.facebook.com/Freedom.Days.Syria
              >> >
              >> > 31 See their facebook page here:
              >> https://www.facebook.com/goodbyeda3esh
              >> >
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >





            • scotpeden
              So your saying that your writing a Shrooms as a Ghost writers name? I was discussing the article, not issuing an ad hominem comment (unless you are Shrroms? It
              Message 6 of 10 , Sep 17, 2013
              • 0 Attachment
                So your saying that your writing a Shrooms as a Ghost writers name? I was
                discussing the article, not issuing an ad hominem comment (unless you are
                Shrroms? It appears this might be another of your names), when you respond
                with a personal attack. Of course, those who read my initial post would
                understand that as I took a direct quote of Shrooms and that was the
                mention to PNAC about it.

                You decline to discuss any of the issues, you simply ask that people
                repeat what you are repeating.

                You keep selling, and enemy of Assad is a friend of ours, and have never
                stated in the whole Syria Assad series of posts since the gas attacks
                started, nearly immediately after Obama started saying if gas was used
                he'd have to do something, that the USA, the Saud's or Israel aren't as
                likely to do the same thing.

                Your posts, that is the stuff you send out, you've declined to make
                personal statements that aren't ad hominem, defend using terrorists as
                any method to remove Assad, and yet historically speaking, everyone that
                has been freed by US Sponsored terrorism either via proxy or directly,
                have suffered 100 to thousands of time worse.

                You, writing as Shrooms, (apparent from your reply as you took the PNAC
                comment as personal) are advocating controlling what happens in the Middle
                East. the only people shoe agenda that is are the International Bankers,
                the Corporatists, and the Western Imperialists that are the economic and
                violent enforcers of the International bankers and Cortporationists.

                By the way, if your purposeful misspelling my name, that is assuming you
                have read as far as my personal signature at the end of everyone of my
                posts, is in an attempt to get me to reply as emotionally as you are, it
                isn't working. Your research once again shows nothing in common with what
                your stating personally about me, and your misspelling of my name.

                Scott

                > *And Scot, I know about the PNAC and wrote a little note on them in
                > 2004...Stop inferring I am one of them...Dumb ass Scot *
                >
                >
                >
                > http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org/news/2004/04/13810.php
                >
                >
                > Venezuela: The Coup Makers- The Invisible U.S. Hands
                >
                > By Cort Greene
                >
                > April 20, 2004
                >
                >
                > With rumors of a new coup swirling through Venezuela daily, some with
                > merit, others just the wishful thinking of the fractured but still
                > dangerous "opposition", it is useful to review just who the real puppet
                > masters behind the last coup were, and the possibility and the reasons
                > that
                > they will try another one.
                >
                > Removing President Chavez and destroying the Bolivarian Revolutionary
                > Process has been a primary concern of the U.S. government since 1998. Why
                > else would it dedicate such resources to this effort? So far they have
                > spent over 4 million dollars in known covert funds, and the actual figure
                > is probably twice that amount if we take in account that there are over
                > 500
                > U.S. corporations in Venezuela, some of which are CIA fronts. Dick
                > Cheney's
                > pals at Halliburton have 21 offices in Venezuela.
                >
                > These folks have a vested interest in bringing about a change of
                > government
                > – i.e. trampling on the democratic will of the majority of Venezuelans
                > if
                > it will bring them higher profits and greater access to the region's
                > natural resources.
                >
                > With the quagmire in Iraq, gaining control over the Venezuelan petroleum
                > industry is of particular importance, due to the prospect of an energy
                > crisis and the economic problems that will ensue from it.
                >
                > This could be a catalyst for a greater worldwide crisis than is taking
                > place now, and could be the greatest seen since the 1930s.
                >
                > President Chavez and Bolivarian Revolution are a threat because they
                > provide an example that goes not only against the imperialist plan of the
                > Free Trade Agreement of the America's, but shows the potential for a
                > revival of the working class struggle and socialism across the entire
                > region.
                >
                > The usual suspects for another coup attempt in Venezuela include U.S.
                > Ambassador to Venezuela Charles Shapiro (whom it is alleged played a part
                > in the spilling of the blood of the working class in Chile and Venezuela).
                > And of course there is the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, and
                > a
                > myriad of other organizations.
                >
                > But there is another, more insidious, and less heard of group that has
                > binds together all these other groups and officials together - the
                > "Project
                > for the New American Century" – which played a leading role in
                > developing
                > the US invasion of Iraq. PNAC's board of directors is a "who's who" of
                > government and business, which has representatives in Venezuela either
                > directly or through inter-locking boards of directors.
                >
                > The stated goals of this right-wing think-tank are a bold foreign policy,
                > the need to increase defense spending, and to challenge regimes hostile to
                > the vital interests and values of American capitalism.
                >
                > Some PNAC members include:
                >
                > · Donald Rumsfeld
                >
                > · Paul Wolfowitz
                >
                > · Frank Gaffney
                >
                > · Dan Quayle
                >
                > · Gary Bauer
                >
                > · Elliott Abrams
                >
                > · Steve Forbes
                >
                > · Zalmay Khalilzad
                >
                > · Paula Dobrainsky, Under Secretary for Global affairs
                >
                > · Jeb Bush
                >
                > · William Bennett
                >
                > · Vice President Dick Cheney
                >
                > These are just some of the puppet masters who will do anything to ensure
                > the continued U.S. dominance of Latin America and the world. If they had
                > their way, they would do to Venezuela what they did to Iraq.
                >
                > But they have fallen into more than a bit of trouble in Iraq, and already
                > the world working class is rallying to the defense of the Venezuelan
                > revolution. We must step up the pressure and end the imperialist
                > predations
                > of the U.S. ruling class once and for all!
                >
                > No to U.S. intervention in Venezuela!
                >
                > Defend the Venezuelan Revolution!
                >
                > Forward to Socialism!
                >
                >
                > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 3:40 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                >
                >> Educators do not use ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments. Only
                >> those
                >> supporting agendas and using the little back book of disinformation rely
                >> on those tactics to distract people from the questions at hand, which
                >> was
                >> in this instance, seriosuly, it reads like it came right off a PNAC
                >> funded
                >> site;
                >> ***
                >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
                >> organization)
                >> working for?
                >>
                >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
                >> ***
                >>
                >> I dare say this ID your using is the same as another I that sues the
                >> same
                >> tactics, partial because of your refusal to duplicate simple things like
                >> spelling of my name, or that you never read further then you can create
                >> an
                >> ad hominem attack for response to.
                >>
                >> Seriously, I thought you and your Marxist people were not on the side of
                >> the Imperialists. You send stuff that appears to be from Anarchists,
                >> that
                >> also do naught but support the Imperialists desires.
                >>
                >> Seriously, this is something I must take the opportunity to point out to
                >> others, especially on a list that is suppose to be for alternate media
                >> instead of shadowy propaganda wearing the cloak of the International
                >> Corporate Oppositionists.
                >>
                >> It's what your articles support, You on the other hand have never taken
                >> the opportunities presented to discuss anything, you just revert to
                >> personal attacks.
                >>
                >> Scott
                >>
                >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
                >> militant-Jihadi groups"
                >>
                >>
                >> Scott
                >>
                >> > *Oh Scot*
                >> > *
                >> > *
                >> > *Your ignorance is showing or is it that the pole from the caber toss
                >> hit
                >> > you in the head too many times at the Highland games... [?]*
                >> > *
                >> > *
                >> > *Rojo Rojito*
                >> > *
                >> > *
                >> > *Cort*
                >> >
                >> >
                >> >
                >> > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                >> >
                >> >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
                >> >> organization)
                >> >> working for?
                >> >>
                >> >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
                >> >>
                >> >> Scott
                >> >>
                >> >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                >> >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
                >> >> militant-Jihadi groups"
                >> >>
                >> >>
                >> >> > *Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982
                >> >> > #Lebanon<http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Lebanon>
                >> >> > *
                >> >> >
                >> >> >
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > ← SYRIA/PALESTINE: Palestinians and the Syrian Revolution:
                >> Lessons
                >> >> from
                >> >> > the
                >> >> > fight against
                >> >> > fascism<
                >> >>
                >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syriapalestine-palestinians-and-the-syrian-revolution-lessons-from-the-fight-against-fascism/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > →<
                >> >>
                >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/uk-anti-fascist-network-statement-on-saturday-7th-september-edl-demonstration/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from
                >> Mythology
                >> >> >
                >> >> > SEP
                >> >> > 12<
                >> >>
                >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
                >> >> >
                >> >> >
                >> >> > Posted by tahriricn
                >> <http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/author/tahriricn/
                >> >
                >> >> >
                >> >> > By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN[image:
                >> >> > ED-AR204_obagy_D_20130830164816]<
                >> >>
                >> http://tahriricn.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ed-ar204_obagy_d_20130830164816.jpg
                >> >> >
                >> >> >
                >> >> > One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory of
                >> >> Syria’s
                >> >> > revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The danger
                >> >> that
                >> >> > the
                >> >> > increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and the
                >> region
                >> >> > should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings exist
                >> >> about
                >> >> > the nature and dominance of such groups which this article attempts
                >> to
                >> >> > address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we able to
                >> >> move
                >> >> > forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the threat
                >> of
                >> >> > counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding of who
                >> is
                >> >> > working for the original goals of the revolution so that they can
                >> be
                >> >> given
                >> >> > the solidarity they deserve.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > *Al Qaeda ideology*
                >> >> > Al Qaeda or militant Jihadi groups[1] have an internationalist
                >> >> perspective
                >> >> > and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a strict
                >> >> > interpretation of Sharia law. The ideology of Al Qaeda groups is
                >> >> closely
                >> >> > related to Salafi/Wahabi ideology (the totalitarian political
                >> doctrine
                >> >> > which is practiced in Saudi Arabia). Whilst Salafism is an
                >> extremely
                >> >> > repressive, puritanical ideology which follows a literal
                >> >> interpretation
                >> >> of
                >> >> > the Quran, it is important to note that not all Salafists believe
                >> in
                >> >> > violent means to establish their goals and that some Salafists are
                >> >> > prepared
                >> >> > to work within a democratic system. By contrast, militant Jihadi
                >> >> groups
                >> >> > reject the concept of democracy holding that their interpretation
                >> of
                >> >> Islam
                >> >> > is mandated by God. They believe that it is a religious duty to
                >> defend
                >> >> the
                >> >> > Muslim community against enemies of Islam and are prepared to die
                >> as
                >> >> > martyrs for that cause. They regard anyone who does not subscribe
                >> to
                >> >> their
                >> >> > ideology (including liberal Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims) as
                >> >> > heretics/Kafir. Some, known as Takfiris, believe that they have the
                >> >> right
                >> >> > to kill heretics. Al Qaeda affiliated groups in the region include
                >> >> > Egyptian
                >> >> > Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and Saudi
                >> >> > Arabia,
                >> >> > Jund Ansar Allah in Palestine, Fatah Al Islam in Lebanon and Al
                >> Qaeda
                >> >> in
                >> >> > the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco. [2]These groups do not
                >> >> have a
                >> >> > broad popular support base, primarily due to their use of terrorist
                >> >> means
                >> >> > targeting civilians in countries in which they operate and their
                >> >> following
                >> >> > of an interpretation of Islam which is alien to almost everyone.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > *Mainstream political Islam*
                >> >> > It is important not to confuse militant Jihadis with mainstream
                >> >> political
                >> >> > Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the Muslim
                >> >> > Brotherhood is undoubtably conservative and reactionary, they have
                >> >> broad
                >> >> > based popular support across the Middle East and North Africa and
                >> have
                >> >> won
                >> >> > democratic elections in Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt. They gained
                >> >> > prominence during the Islamic revival of the 1970s, as a direct
                >> >> response
                >> >> > to
                >> >> > western imperialism. They work to reinstate Islamic laws and
                >> believe
                >> >> in
                >> >> > the
                >> >> > concept of Islamic unity and the return of the caliphate abolished
                >> by
                >> >> > Ataturk in 1924 although they primarily struggle on the national
                >> >> level.
                >> >> > They advocate that political Islam is compatible with the
                >> >> establishment
                >> >> of
                >> >> > a modern, democratic, multi-party state that respects human rights,
                >> >> > including the rights of religious minorities.[3] Pursuing social
                >> >> justice
                >> >> > and particularly reducing the gap between rich and poor has been a
                >> key
                >> >> > tenet of their ideology and to this end they established a vast
                >> >> network
                >> >> of
                >> >> > social services which gained them the support of the urban and
                >> rural
                >> >> > poor.[4] Although they have been known to use violent means to
                >> achieve
                >> >> > their goals, the Muslim Brotherhood officially rejects the use of
                >> >> > violence.[5]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > The experience of countries that have been governed by the Muslim
                >> >> > Brotherhood show a wide gap between their rhetoric and reality.
                >> Highly
                >> >> > authoritarian and repressive regimes have been established where
                >> they
                >> >> have
                >> >> > come to power. Yet we should not regard the Muslim Brotherhood as a
                >> >> > violent
                >> >> > terrorist organization or overlook the support the organization has
                >> >> > amongst
                >> >> > broad sections of a religiously conservative population. Therefore
                >> >> > strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim Brotherhood
                >> >> should
                >> >> > be
                >> >> > fundamentally different from our approach to militant-Jihadi
                >> groups.
                >> >> The
                >> >> > Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the Syrian National Coalition
                >> (the
                >> >> > bourgeois opposition in exile which is backed by the West, Gulf
                >> States
                >> >> and
                >> >> > Turkey and influenced by foreign agendas). The Syrian National
                >> >> Coalition
                >> >> > also includes secular and leftist opposition groups (including
                >> >> Christian
                >> >> > and Kurdish parties), the Free Syrian Army, grass-roots opposition
                >> >> groups
                >> >> > and independents. It advocates establishing a civil, democratic
                >> >> Syria.[6]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > Between the ‘moderate’ political Islamists and Al Qaeda there
                >> >> exists a
                >> >> > broad spectrum of other Salafist groups which subscribe to
                >> puritanical
                >> >> > versions of Islam some of which are militant. They include Al Nour
                >> >> party
                >> >> > in
                >> >> > Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jaysh al Islam in Palestine, and Ansar Al
                >> >> Islam
                >> >> > and Ahrar Al Sham in Syria. Further, although the overwhelming
                >> >> majority
                >> >> of
                >> >> > people in the region are Muslim, many are also secularists,
                >> including
                >> >> the
                >> >> > vast majority of Syria’s grassroots civil opposition. Socialist
                >> and
                >> >> > anti-authoritarian/anarchist currents also exist within Islam with
                >> >> roots
                >> >> > that can be traced back to the ninth century.[7]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > *Al Qaeda groups in Syria*
                >> >> > The two Al Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are Jabhat Al
                >> >> Nusra
                >> >> > (Al Nusra Front – JAN) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham
                >> >> (ISIS).
                >> >> > Both
                >> >> > can be traced back to groups established to fight against the
                >> American
                >> >> > occupation of Iraq and grew in strength due to the sponsorship of
                >> the
                >> >> > Syrian government. This is important to note because whilst the
                >> >> origins
                >> >> of
                >> >> > Al Qaeda globally go back to Afghanistan, where they were supported
                >> by
                >> >> the
                >> >> > CIA to fight against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, this is not
                >> the
                >> >> > experience of Al Qaeda groups operating in Syria or Iraq today
                >> which
                >> >> fight
                >> >> > against US imperialism, Zionism and all western influence.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > Some of JAN’s members are Syrians that returned from fighting in
                >> >> Iraq
                >> >> > when
                >> >> > the uprising broke out in 2011, but many foreigners also joined
                >> their
                >> >> > ranks. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed
                >> >> that
                >> >> > JAN was its branch in Syria. However, JAN’s leader, Abu Mohammed
                >> Al
                >> >> > Golani,
                >> >> > has rejected this claim whilst simultaneously pledging allegiance
                >> to
                >> >> Al
                >> >> > Qaeda globally. ISIS is a part of the Al Qaeda network and the
                >> >> majority
                >> >> of
                >> >> > its members are foreigners. Whilst exact numbers are not known it
                >> is
                >> >> > estimated that together JAN and ISIS have around10,000 members,
                >> less
                >> >> than
                >> >> > 10 per cent of estimated armed opposition fighters.[8] Both aim to
                >> >> > overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad, establish and Islamic
                >> >> > caliphate and a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are opposed
                >> to
                >> >> > Western intervention and are opposed to the US and Israel.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > The numbers of JAN and ISIS are relatively small, yet they have a
                >> >> > disproportionate strength compared to other armed opposition
                >> groups.
                >> >> They
                >> >> > have battle-experience from Iraq and have received a lot of
                >> military
                >> >> > support from Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar,
                >> >> which
                >> >> > aim
                >> >> > to destabilize Syria through sectarian conflict in order to prevent
                >> a
                >> >> > popular revolution from succeeding. By contrast other armed groups
                >> are
                >> >> > still mainly dependent on light weapons and what they can seize
                >> from
                >> >> > Syrian
                >> >> > army bases they have captured. JAN and ISIS are concentrated in the
                >> >> north
                >> >> > of the country, along the Turkish border in Aleppo and Idlib
                >> >> governorates,
                >> >> > in Al Raqqa governorate, and in the east in Deir Al Zour
                >> governorate
                >> >> along
                >> >> > the border with Iraq. They have attempted to set up Islamic
                >> emirates
                >> >> in
                >> >> > areas under their control, established Sharia courts and placed
                >> >> > restrictions on the rights of women and minorities.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > Both groups have been responsible for carrying out attacks against
                >> >> > civilians, including suicide bombings, the arrest of opposition
                >> >> activists,
                >> >> > the torture and extrajudicial killing of Syrian army soldiers they
                >> >> have
                >> >> > captured, and sectarian killings. Most recently they have been
                >> >> responsible
                >> >> > for atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population, causing
                >> >> over
                >> >> > 20,000 Kurds to flee to Iraq in August. The extremism and violence
                >> >> > practiced by such groups is an increasing trend and major cause for
                >> >> > concern. Yet, it must be borne in mind that the overwhelming
                >> majority
                >> >> of
                >> >> > the estimated 120,000 deaths and vast majority of cases of torture
                >> and
                >> >> > brutality in Syria over the past 2.5 years have been carried out by
                >> >> the
                >> >> > Syrian regime.[9]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > Al Qaeda affiliated groups have the potential to cause chaos and
                >> >> violence
                >> >> > in Syria and the region for many years to come. However, their
                >> ability
                >> >> to
                >> >> > impose their vision on a future Syria is grossly over-estimated.
                >> They
                >> >> are
                >> >> > small in number, they do not have a popular support base, and the
                >> >> majority
                >> >> > of their ranks are foreigners. After 10 years of causing turmoil in
                >> >> Iraq,
                >> >> > including the massacre of thousands of civilians, they did not
                >> manage
                >> >> to
                >> >> > win the support of the local population or create an Islamic state.
                >> >> > According to a Syrian rebel from a secular brigade in Salamiyah;
                >> “Al
                >> >> > Qaida
                >> >> > is the one thing that will unite Syrian people after the
                >> revolution,
                >> >> > because all of the Syrians will want them out – those who are now
                >> >> with
                >> >> > the
                >> >> > regime and those who are against the regime. Nobody likes these
                >> people
                >> >> …
                >> >> > After the regime falls there will have to be a new military
                >> formation
                >> >> to
                >> >> > confront these radical movements.”[10]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > *Relationship of militant Jihadi groups to the Free Syrian Army
                >> (FSA)*
                >> >> > The Free Syrian Army is the main, and by far the largest, armed
                >> >> opposition
                >> >> > group in Syria. It’s leadership is linked to the SNC. The FSA is
                >> >> > comprised
                >> >> > of officers and soldiers that have defected from the regime as well
                >> as
                >> >> > anti-regime elements of the civilian population. It is committed to
                >> >> the
                >> >> > overthrow of Assad and the establishment of a plural, civil,
                >> >> democratic
                >> >> > Syria. The FSA is comprised of many battalions. The leader of the
                >> FSA,
                >> >> > Salmin Idriss has stated he is committed to secularism, yet some
                >> >> > battalions
                >> >> > are Islamist (mainly Muslim Brotherhood affiliated), some are
                >> secular
                >> >> and
                >> >> > some are comprised of Christians, Kurds and Alawites. There are
                >> even
                >> >> women
                >> >> > only brigades.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > Whilst serious human rights abuses have been carried out by
                >> elements
                >> >> of
                >> >> > the
                >> >> > FSA, these appear to be mainly isolated incidents rather than
                >> >> wide-spread
                >> >> > and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian areas. Human
                >> Rights
                >> >> Watch
                >> >> > has noted that “many of the antigovernment groups reported to be
                >> >> > carrying
                >> >> > out abuses do not appear to belong to an organized command
                >> structure
                >> >> or
                >> >> to
                >> >> > be following Syrian National Council orders”.[11] When such
                >> >> incidents
                >> >> > have
                >> >> > come to light the SNC and FSA have condemned them and called for
                >> the
                >> >> > arrest
                >> >> > and prosecution of those responsible, something that has never been
                >> >> seen
                >> >> > from the Assad regime.[12] The FSA is generally held in high regard
                >> by
                >> >> the
                >> >> > civilian population and seen as protector and defender of the
                >> >> people.[13]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > ISIS and JAN operate outside of the FSA chain of command and reject
                >> >> the
                >> >> > leadership of the SNC. Yet, due to their advanced military capacity
                >> >> and
                >> >> > military successes against the Assad regime, some FSA battalions
                >> have
                >> >> > cooperated with them. The majority refuse to do so, and as militant
                >> >> Jihadi
                >> >> > groups have grown in strength and carried out increasing attacks on
                >> >> > civilians, particularly sectarian violence, the FSA leadership has
                >> >> sought
                >> >> > to distance themselves and condemned their actions.[14] The FSA has
                >> >> also
                >> >> > been engaged in fierce battles with JAN and ISIS (as was seen
                >> recently
                >> >> in
                >> >> > Bustan Al Qasr) and militant Jihadi groups have expelled FSA
                >> >> battalions
                >> >> > from some areas under their control and even assassinated FSA
                >> >> leaders.[15]
                >> >> > It is also interesting to note, that increasingly JAN and ISIS have
                >> >> > refused
                >> >> > to fight against the government on front lines and instead focused
                >> on
                >> >> > consolidating their power in areas under their control.[16] This is
                >> a
                >> >> > clear
                >> >> > testimony that they are not working for the goals of the revolution
                >> >> but
                >> >> > rather to further their own extremist religious agenda.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > There are other battalions that operate outside of the FSA chain of
                >> >> > command
                >> >> > and are openly critical of the SNC and FSA leadership abroad.[17]
                >> >> These
                >> >> > include both secularists and Islamists. One of the largest Islamist
                >> >> > coalitions is The Syrian Islamic Front, comprised mainly of
                >> Salafist
                >> >> > battalions such as Ahrar Al Sham. Their aim is to establish an
                >> Islamic
                >> >> > state governed by Sharia Law although they are Syrian nationalists
                >> and
                >> >> not
                >> >> > working for a global caliphate or linked to Al Qaeda.[18] They
                >> reject
                >> >> > western notions of democracy.[19]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > *Syrian government strategy towards militant Jihadis*
                >> >> > When the peaceful popular uprising began in Syria in early 2011,
                >> the
                >> >> > Syrian
                >> >> > government falsely claimed it was fighting Sunni Islamic militant
                >> >> > terrorists. This was an attempt to discredit the legitimate demands
                >> of
                >> >> the
                >> >> > Syrian people for freedom, social justice and dignity and justify
                >> its
                >> >> > terrifying crackdown. As we have seen, to some extent it was to
                >> turn
                >> >> into
                >> >> > a
                >> >> > self-fulfilling prophecy. The government sent Shabiha (armed
                >> Alawite
                >> >> > militias) to arrest and shoot protesters and terrorize the civilian
                >> >> > population, thereby introducing sectarianism into the uprising,
                >> >> despite
                >> >> > minority groups such as Alawite, Christians and Kurds playing an
                >> >> active
                >> >> > role in the opposition. In the first five months alone, when
                >> protests
                >> >> were
                >> >> > still peaceful, the UN estimates that hundreds of people were
                >> >> killed.[20]
                >> >> > Many more were imprisoned and brutally tortured. Assad also
                >> released a
                >> >> > large number of militant Jihadi prisoners from jail in the early
                >> days
                >> >> of
                >> >> > the revolution.[21] The Assad regime has made deals with Jabhat Al
                >> >> Nusra,
                >> >> > such as paying them 150 million Syrian Lira [$1.15 million] monthly
                >> to
                >> >> > keep
                >> >> > oil flowing through two major pipelines in Banias and Latakia.[22]
                >> It
                >> >> is
                >> >> > also clear that the vast majority of attacks carried out by the
                >> regime
                >> >> > have
                >> >> > not been on JAN or ISIS strongholds but rather in areas where
                >> secular
                >> >> or
                >> >> > ‘moderate’ Islamist brigades are concentrated such as Homs,
                >> Deraa
                >> >> and
                >> >> > FSA
                >> >> > controlled parts of Aleppo. All these factors point to a concerted
                >> >> > strategy
                >> >> > by the Syrian regime to allow the uprising to be taken over by
                >> Islamic
                >> >> > extremism and sectarianism which would allow the regime to gain
                >> more
                >> >> > popular support.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > *Opposition to militant-Jihadism in Syria*
                >> >> > Whilst the focus of this article has been armed groups operating in
                >> >> Syria,
                >> >> > it is important to note that the grass roots civilian resistance in
                >> >> Syria
                >> >> > remains dynamic and strong and stands against both the Assad regime
                >> >> and
                >> >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups (and is often highly
                >> >> critical
                >> >> > of the SNC leadership in exile). The overwhelming majority of the
                >> >> civil
                >> >> > resistance movements are secular, none-affiliated to traditional
                >> >> political
                >> >> > ideologies and motivated by desires for freedom, social justice and
                >> >> > dignity. Major grass roots opposition groupings such as the Local
                >> >> > Coordination Committees have released statements condemning the
                >> >> actions
                >> >> of
                >> >> > JAN and ISIS and have stressed that they are committed to a
                >> “civil,
                >> >> > democratic and pluralist state” that respects the rights of all
                >> >> citizens
                >> >> > regardless of religious or ethnic identity.[23]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > There have been increasing protests against JAN and ISIS
                >> particularly
                >> >> in
                >> >> > areas where they are dominant, rejecting their authoritarian
                >> practices
                >> >> and
                >> >> > condemning their sectarian ideology and abuses.[24] For example, in
                >> Al
                >> >> > Raqqa, the first provincial capital to be liberated from the
                >> regime,
                >> >> > militant Jihadi groups took over the civilian local council. Where
                >> >> they
                >> >> > tried to put up the black Jihadi flag, local activists pulled it
                >> down
                >> >> and
                >> >> > replaced it with the revolutionary flag. ISIS also tried to impose
                >> >> fasting
                >> >> > on the population during the month of Ramadan and have arrested
                >> many
                >> >> > civilians from the city. The people of Al Raqqa have been holding
                >> >> > continuous protests against ISIS and the Islamic court they
                >> >> established,
                >> >> > calling on them to leave.[25] Likewise protesters in Idlib and
                >> Aleppo
                >> >> have
                >> >> > held demonstrations against the Sharia Committee and
                >> extremist/Takfiri
                >> >> > killings.[26] As sectarianism has increased, there have been
                >> protests
                >> >> > calling for national unity in which different religious and ethnic
                >> >> groups
                >> >> > have participated.[27] On 1 August in Aleppo a joint protest was
                >> held
                >> >> by
                >> >> > Arabs and Kurds in which hundreds took part, condemning recent
                >> >> atrocities
                >> >> > carried out against the Kurdish population by militant Jihadi
                >> >> groups.[28]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > Civil society organizations such as Nabd have been established to
                >> >> promote
                >> >> > co-existence and an end to sectarianism.[29] Likewise, non-violent
                >> >> > organizations such as the Freedom Days coalition, which comprises a
                >> >> large
                >> >> > number of groups, promote peaceful struggle and coexistence across
                >> >> ethnic
                >> >> > and religious lines.[30] In recent days a campaign called Goodbye
                >> >> Da3esh
                >> >> > has been established to oppose the wide-spread arrests of
                >> civilians,
                >> >> > including opposition activists, carried out by ISIS.[31]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > Such initiatives and struggles need to be highlighted and
                >> supported.
                >> >> It
                >> >> is
                >> >> > too easy to adopt the simplistic binary narrative promoted by
                >> states
                >> >> and
                >> >> > blanket thinkers that the choice the Syrian people face is between
                >> a
                >> >> > secular fascist dictatorship or Al Qaeda. As Spanish
                >> revolutionaries
                >> >> in
                >> >> > the
                >> >> > 1930s fought on two fronts against both the fascists and the
                >> >> communists,
                >> >> > Syrian revolutionaries have to fight against both the Assad regime
                >> and
                >> >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups. It is clear that
                >> >> militant
                >> >> > Jihadism is gaining a foothold in Syria and that as the struggle
                >> >> continues
                >> >> > without resolution they will continue to grow in strength. The
                >> answer
                >> >> is
                >> >> > not to support a regime that holds responsibility for creating this
                >> >> > problem
                >> >> > in the first place. The answer is to stand in solidarity with those
                >> >> who
                >> >> > struggle against it, in the hope that their voices will not be lost
                >> >> for
                >> >> > ever.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > *Endnotes:*
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 1 I emphasis the word militant because the concept of Jihad is
                >> often
                >> >> > misunderstood. Jihad is a religious duty for Muslims and means
                >> >> > “struggle”.
                >> >> > This can be interpreted as a struggle against oppression or the
                >> >> internal
                >> >> > struggles of ones own personal life. In the contemporary use
                >> Jihad(i)
                >> >> > refers to those who find it a religious obligation to defend Muslim
                >> >> land
                >> >> > against the Kafir (non believer).
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 2 For some reports on militant Jihadi groups in the region see,
                >> >> > International Crisis Group, Radical Islam in Gaza, (2011),
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx
                >> >> ,
                >> >> > <
                >> >>
                >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx,%C2%A0
                >> >> >Institute
                >> >> > for the Study of War, Jihad in Syria, (2012),
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Jihad-In-Syria-17SEPT.pdf
                >> >> ,
                >> >> > Omayma Abdel-Latif, ‘Cedar Jihadis’[Lebanon] Al Ahram,
                >> >> > http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/895/re2.htm
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 3 For the pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
                >> (2012)
                >> >> see:
                >> >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 4 For an excellent introduction to the Islamic revival (from an
                >> Arab
                >> >> > feminist perspective) see: Leila Ahmed, A Quiet Revolution: The
                >> >> Veil’s
                >> >> > Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, (2011)
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 5 See ‘A Declaration to the People’ (2011)
                >> >> > http://asharqalarabi.org.uk/english/at-3.htm & ‘The pledge and
                >> >> charter
                >> >> > of
                >> >> > the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ (2012)
                >> >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 6 See ‘Syrian Coalition Principles’,
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://www.etilaf.org/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=35&Itemid=584
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 7 See for example, Mohammed Jean Veneuse, Anarca Islam, (2009)
                >> >> > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/anarca-islam/ and David
                >> >> Baker,
                >> >> > Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists, (2011)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/ninth-century-muslim-anarchists/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 8 See Aljazeera ‘Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion’,
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/07/20137188552345899.html
                >> >> .
                >> >> > Whilst these figures vary according to reports from usually from
                >> >> > 6,000-10,000, Syrian grass-roots opposition groups repeatedly
                >> affirm
                >> >> that
                >> >> > militant Jihadi groups have a small presence amongst opposition
                >> armed
                >> >> > groups. For example see ‘Our Revolution: A popular revolution for
                >> >> > freedom,
                >> >> > equality and social justice and against every kind of
                >> absolutism’,
                >> >> > (August
                >> >> > 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/our-revolution-a-popular-revolution-for-freedom-equality-and-social-justice-and-against-every-kind-of-absolutism/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 9 See for example: Amnesty International, ‘Annual Report 2013:
                >> >> Syria’
                >> >> > (2013) http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2013 Human
                >> >> Rights
                >> >> > Watch ‘Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack’,
                >> >> > (September
                >> >> > 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/10/syria-government-likely-culprit-chemical-attack
                >> >> > and
                >> >> > The Revolting Syrian ‘Does this not outrage you?’
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/50495350134/does-this-not-outrage-you
                >> >> > [WARNING:
                >> >> > the videos in the last link are extremely graphic]
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 10 Cited in Syria Deeply, ‘The State of a Secular Rebel Fighting
                >> >> > Force’,
                >> >> > (September 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/state-secular-rebel-fighting-force/#.UjF5pmQ-u2p
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 11 Human Rights Watch, ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups
                >> Committing
                >> >> > Abuses’,
                >> >> > (March 2012)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 12 See for example: ‘Statement by the General Staff of the Free
                >> >> Syrian
                >> >> > Army’ (May 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=482097828528873&set=a.458923474179642.1073741828.458106567594666&type=1
                >> >> > and
                >> >> > ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 13 This is evident in chants of support for the FSA seen at weekly
                >> >> > protests
                >> >> > across Syria and also based on my own discussion with Syrian
                >> refugees
                >> >> in
                >> >> > camps across Lebanon and Jordan.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 14 ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 15 Martin Chulov, ‘Free Syrian Army clashes with jihadists in
                >> wake
                >> >> of
                >> >> > commander’s assassination’, (July 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/14/free-syrian-army-jihadists-clashes-aleppo
                >> >> > &
                >> >> > Syria Freedom Forever, ‘Syria: the Kurdish question, the
                >> Islamists
                >> >> and
                >> >> > the
                >> >> > FSA’, (July 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/syria-the-kurdish-question-the-islamists-and-the-fsa/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 16 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘You can jail a revolutionary but you
                >> >> can’t
                >> >> > jail
                >> >> > the revolution’, (August 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/you-can-jail-revolutionaries-but-you-cannot-kill-the-revolution-the-syrian-people-will-not-kneel/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 17 For an overview of Syria’s armed opposition see:
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_civil_war
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 18 See the Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front (2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://abujamajem.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/the-charter-of-the-syrian-islamic-front/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 19 Aron Lund, ‘Syria’s Salafi Insurgents: The Rise of the
                >> Syrian
                >> >> > Islamic
                >> >> > Front’, (2012) http://www.ui.se/eng/upl/files/86861.pdf
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 20 United Nations, ‘Syria: Security Council condemns rights
                >> abuses
                >> >> and
                >> >> > use
                >> >> > of force against civilians’, (August 2011)
                >> >> > http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=39229&cr1=#.UjHzH2Q-u2p
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 21 ‘Bashar released Al Qaeda prisoners to cover his crimes’, Al
                >> >> Ahram,
                >> >> > (March 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/66953/World/Region/Bashar-released-AlQaeda-prisoners-to-cover-his-cri.aspx
                >> >> > &
                >> >> > Misbah Al Ali, ‘Rival Islamists loom large over Syria’, The
                >> Daily
                >> >> Star
                >> >> > (March 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Mar-19/210649-rival-islamists-loom-large-over-syria.ashx#axzz2egSa7ZD9
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 22 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Syria or elsewhere, there are no pure
                >> >> > revolutions, just revolutions,’
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/syriaor-elsewhere-there-are-no-pure-revolutions-just-revolutions/
                >> >> > also
                >> >> > Yasser Munif ‘The revolution and the war’,
                >> >> > http://socialistworker.org/2013/09/11/the-revolution-and-the-war.
                >> The
                >> >> > conversion is based on exchange rate of 11 September 2013.
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 23 LCC statement (April 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/condemnation-of-zawahris-statements-regarding-his-intervention-in-the-internal-affairs-of-syria/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 24 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
                >> >> > struggles
                >> >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
                >> >> > and
                >> >> > Bassam Haddad, ‘The Growing Challenge to the Syrian regime and
                >> the
                >> >> > Syrian
                >> >> > Uprising’, Jadaliyya, (June 2013)
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/12556/the-growing-challenge-to-the-syrian-regime-and-the
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 25 For example see:
                >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hOsyH7zasw&sns=em
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 26 For example see:
                >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8edfgXT61A(Idlib)
                >> >> and
                >> >> > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5WqJ6Y2eQ8 (Aleppo)
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 27 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaDFddXsJ3w
                >> >> (English
                >> >> > subtitles)
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 28 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
                >> >> > struggles
                >> >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 29 See their facebook page here:
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabd-Gathering-for-Syrian-Civil-Youth/361274777254185
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 30 See their facebook page here:
                >> >> > https://en-gb.facebook.com/Freedom.Days.Syria
                >> >> >
                >> >> > 31 See their facebook page here:
                >> >> https://www.facebook.com/goodbyeda3esh
                >> >> >
                >> >>
                >> >>
                >> >>
                >> >>
                >> >>
                >> >
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >>
                >
              • Cort Greene
                Fuck off Scot The writer and the website speaks for itself. You fucking dumb ass... Cort ... Fuck off Scot  The writer and the website speaks for itself. You
                Message 7 of 10 , Sep 17, 2013
                • 0 Attachment
                  Fuck off Scot 

                  The writer and the website speaks for itself.

                  You fucking dumb ass...

                  Cort


                  On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 5:27 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                  So your saying that your writing a Shrooms as a Ghost writers name? I was
                  discussing the article, not issuing an ad hominem comment (unless you are
                  Shrroms? It appears this might be another of your names), when you respond
                  with a personal attack. Of course, those who read my initial post would
                  understand that as I took a direct quote of Shrooms and that was the
                  mention to PNAC about it.

                  You decline to discuss any of the issues, you simply ask that people
                  repeat what you are repeating.

                  You keep selling, and enemy of Assad is a friend of ours, and have never
                  stated in the whole Syria Assad series of posts since the gas attacks
                  started, nearly immediately after Obama started saying if gas was used
                  he'd have to do something, that the USA, the Saud's or Israel aren't as
                  likely to do the same thing.

                  Your posts, that is the stuff you send out, you've declined to make
                  personal statements that aren't ad hominem,  defend using terrorists as
                  any method to remove Assad, and yet historically speaking, everyone that
                  has been freed by US Sponsored terrorism either via proxy or directly,
                  have suffered 100 to thousands of time worse.

                  You, writing as Shrooms, (apparent from your reply as you took the PNAC
                  comment as personal) are advocating controlling what happens in the Middle
                  East. the only people shoe agenda that is are the International Bankers,
                  the Corporatists, and the Western Imperialists that are the economic and
                  violent enforcers of the International bankers and Cortporationists.

                  By the way, if your purposeful misspelling my name, that is assuming you
                  have read as far as my personal signature at the end of everyone of my
                  posts, is in an attempt to get me to reply as emotionally as you are, it
                  isn't working. Your research once again shows nothing in common with what
                  your stating personally about me, and your misspelling of my name.

                  Scott

                  > *And Scot, I know about the PNAC and wrote a little note on them in
                  > 2004...Stop inferring  I am one of them...Dumb ass Scot *
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org/news/2004/04/13810.php
                  >
                  >
                  > Venezuela: The Coup Makers- The Invisible U.S. Hands
                  >
                  > By Cort Greene
                  >
                  > April 20, 2004
                  >
                  >
                  > With rumors of a new coup swirling through Venezuela daily, some with
                  > merit, others just the wishful thinking of the fractured but still
                  > dangerous "opposition", it is useful to review just who the real puppet
                  > masters behind the last coup were, and the possibility and the reasons
                  > that
                  > they will try another one.
                  >
                  > Removing President Chavez and destroying the Bolivarian Revolutionary
                  > Process has been a primary concern of the U.S. government since 1998. Why
                  > else would it dedicate such resources to this effort? So far they have
                  > spent over 4 million dollars in known covert funds, and the actual figure
                  > is probably twice that amount if we take in account that there are over
                  > 500
                  > U.S. corporations in Venezuela, some of which are CIA fronts. Dick
                  > Cheney's
                  > pals at Halliburton have 21 offices in Venezuela.
                  >
                  > These folks have a vested interest in bringing about a change of
                  > government
                  > – i.e. trampling on the democratic will of the majority of Venezuelans
                  > if
                  > it will bring them higher profits and greater access to the region's
                  > natural resources.
                  >
                  > With the quagmire in Iraq, gaining control over the Venezuelan petroleum
                  > industry is of particular importance, due to the prospect of an energy
                  > crisis and the economic problems that will ensue from it.
                  >
                  > This could be a catalyst for a greater worldwide crisis than is taking
                  > place now, and could be the greatest seen since the 1930s.
                  >
                  > President Chavez and Bolivarian Revolution are a threat because they
                  > provide an example that goes not only against the imperialist plan of the
                  > Free Trade Agreement of the America's, but shows the potential for a
                  > revival of the working class struggle and socialism across the entire
                  > region.
                  >
                  > The usual suspects for another coup attempt in Venezuela include U.S.
                  > Ambassador to Venezuela Charles Shapiro (whom it is alleged played a part
                  > in the spilling of the blood of the working class in Chile and Venezuela).
                  > And of course there is the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, and
                  > a
                  > myriad of other organizations.
                  >
                  > But there is another, more insidious, and less heard of group that has
                  > binds together all these other groups and officials together - the
                  > "Project
                  > for the New American Century" – which played a leading role in
                  > developing
                  > the US invasion of Iraq. PNAC's board of directors is a "who's who" of
                  > government and business, which has representatives in Venezuela either
                  > directly or through inter-locking boards of directors.
                  >
                  > The stated goals of this right-wing think-tank are a bold foreign policy,
                  > the need to increase defense spending, and to challenge regimes hostile to
                  > the vital interests and values of American capitalism.
                  >
                  > Some PNAC members include:
                  >
                  > · Donald Rumsfeld
                  >
                  > · Paul Wolfowitz
                  >
                  > · Frank Gaffney
                  >
                  > · Dan Quayle
                  >
                  > · Gary Bauer
                  >
                  > · Elliott Abrams
                  >
                  > · Steve Forbes
                  >
                  > · Zalmay Khalilzad
                  >
                  > · Paula Dobrainsky, Under Secretary for Global affairs
                  >
                  > · Jeb Bush
                  >
                  > · William Bennett
                  >
                  > · Vice President Dick Cheney
                  >
                  > These are just some of the puppet masters who will do anything to ensure
                  > the continued U.S. dominance of Latin America and the world. If they had
                  > their way, they would do to Venezuela what they did to Iraq.
                  >
                  > But they have fallen into more than a bit of trouble in Iraq, and already
                  > the world working class is rallying to the defense of the Venezuelan
                  > revolution. We must step up the pressure and end the imperialist
                  > predations
                  > of the U.S. ruling class once and for all!
                  >
                  > No to U.S. intervention in Venezuela!
                  >
                  > Defend the Venezuelan Revolution!
                  >
                  > Forward to Socialism!
                  >
                  >
                  > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 3:40 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >> Educators do not use ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments. Only
                  >> those
                  >> supporting agendas and using the little back book of disinformation rely
                  >> on those tactics to distract people from the questions at hand, which
                  >> was
                  >> in this instance, seriosuly, it reads like it came right off a PNAC
                  >> funded
                  >> site;
                  >> ***
                  >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
                  >> organization)
                  >> working for?
                  >>
                  >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
                  >> ***
                  >>
                  >> I dare say this ID your using is the same as another I that sues the
                  >> same
                  >> tactics, partial because of your refusal to duplicate simple things like
                  >> spelling of my name, or that you never read further then you can create
                  >> an
                  >> ad hominem attack for response to.
                  >>
                  >> Seriously, I thought you and your Marxist people were not on the side of
                  >> the Imperialists. You send stuff that appears to be from Anarchists,
                  >> that
                  >> also do naught but support the Imperialists desires.
                  >>
                  >> Seriously, this is something I must take the opportunity to point out to
                  >> others, especially on a list that is suppose to be for alternate media
                  >> instead of shadowy propaganda wearing the cloak of the International
                  >> Corporate Oppositionists.
                  >>
                  >> It's what your articles support, You on the other hand have never taken
                  >> the opportunities presented to discuss anything, you just revert to
                  >> personal attacks.
                  >>
                  >> Scott
                  >>
                  >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                  >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
                  >> militant-Jihadi groups"
                  >>
                  >>
                  >> Scott
                  >>
                  >> > *Oh Scot*
                  >> > *
                  >> > *
                  >> > *Your ignorance is showing or is it that the pole from the caber toss
                  >> hit
                  >> > you in the head too many times at the Highland games... [?]*
                  >> > *
                  >> > *
                  >> > *Rojo Rojito*
                  >> > *
                  >> > *
                  >> > *Cort*
                  >> >
                  >> >
                  >> >
                  >> > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                  >> >
                  >> >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
                  >> >> organization)
                  >> >> working for?
                  >> >>
                  >> >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
                  >> >>
                  >> >> Scott
                  >> >>
                  >> >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                  >> >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
                  >> >> militant-Jihadi groups"
                  >> >>
                  >> >>
                  >> >> > *Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982
                  >> >> > #Lebanon<http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Lebanon>
                  >> >> > *
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > ← SYRIA/PALESTINE: Palestinians and the Syrian Revolution:
                  >> Lessons
                  >> >> from
                  >> >> > the
                  >> >> > fight against
                  >> >> > fascism<
                  >> >>
                  >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syriapalestine-palestinians-and-the-syrian-revolution-lessons-from-the-fight-against-fascism/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > →<
                  >> >>
                  >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/uk-anti-fascist-network-statement-on-saturday-7th-september-edl-demonstration/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from
                  >> Mythology
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > SEP
                  >> >> > 12<
                  >> >>
                  >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > Posted by tahriricn
                  >> <http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/author/tahriricn/
                  >> >
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN[image:
                  >> >> > ED-AR204_obagy_D_20130830164816]<
                  >> >>
                  >> http://tahriricn.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ed-ar204_obagy_d_20130830164816.jpg
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory of
                  >> >> Syria’s
                  >> >> > revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The danger
                  >> >> that
                  >> >> > the
                  >> >> > increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and the
                  >> region
                  >> >> > should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings exist
                  >> >> about
                  >> >> > the nature and dominance of such groups which this article attempts
                  >> to
                  >> >> > address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we able to
                  >> >> move
                  >> >> > forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the threat
                  >> of
                  >> >> > counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding of who
                  >> is
                  >> >> > working for the original goals of the revolution so that they can
                  >> be
                  >> >> given
                  >> >> > the solidarity they deserve.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > *Al Qaeda ideology*
                  >> >> > Al Qaeda or militant Jihadi groups[1] have an internationalist
                  >> >> perspective
                  >> >> > and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a strict
                  >> >> > interpretation of Sharia law. The ideology of Al Qaeda groups is
                  >> >> closely
                  >> >> > related to Salafi/Wahabi ideology (the totalitarian political
                  >> doctrine
                  >> >> > which is practiced in Saudi Arabia). Whilst Salafism is an
                  >> extremely
                  >> >> > repressive, puritanical ideology which follows a literal
                  >> >> interpretation
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > the Quran, it is important to note that not all Salafists believe
                  >> in
                  >> >> > violent means to establish their goals and that some Salafists are
                  >> >> > prepared
                  >> >> > to work within a democratic system. By contrast, militant Jihadi
                  >> >> groups
                  >> >> > reject the concept of democracy holding that their interpretation
                  >> of
                  >> >> Islam
                  >> >> > is mandated by God. They believe that it is a religious duty to
                  >> defend
                  >> >> the
                  >> >> > Muslim community against enemies of Islam and are prepared to die
                  >> as
                  >> >> > martyrs for that cause. They regard anyone who does not subscribe
                  >> to
                  >> >> their
                  >> >> > ideology (including liberal Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims) as
                  >> >> > heretics/Kafir. Some, known as Takfiris, believe that they have the
                  >> >> right
                  >> >> > to kill heretics. Al Qaeda affiliated groups in the region include
                  >> >> > Egyptian
                  >> >> > Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and Saudi
                  >> >> > Arabia,
                  >> >> > Jund Ansar Allah in Palestine, Fatah Al Islam in Lebanon and Al
                  >> Qaeda
                  >> >> in
                  >> >> > the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco. [2]These groups do not
                  >> >> have a
                  >> >> > broad popular support base, primarily due to their use of terrorist
                  >> >> means
                  >> >> > targeting civilians in countries in which they operate and their
                  >> >> following
                  >> >> > of an interpretation of Islam which is alien to almost everyone.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > *Mainstream political Islam*
                  >> >> > It is important not to confuse militant Jihadis with mainstream
                  >> >> political
                  >> >> > Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the Muslim
                  >> >> > Brotherhood is undoubtably conservative and reactionary, they have
                  >> >> broad
                  >> >> > based popular support across the Middle East and North Africa and
                  >> have
                  >> >> won
                  >> >> > democratic elections in Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt. They gained
                  >> >> > prominence during the Islamic revival of the 1970s, as a direct
                  >> >> response
                  >> >> > to
                  >> >> > western imperialism. They work to reinstate Islamic laws and
                  >> believe
                  >> >> in
                  >> >> > the
                  >> >> > concept of Islamic unity and the return of the caliphate abolished
                  >> by
                  >> >> > Ataturk in 1924 although they primarily struggle on the national
                  >> >> level.
                  >> >> > They advocate that political Islam is compatible with the
                  >> >> establishment
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > a modern, democratic, multi-party state that respects human rights,
                  >> >> > including the rights of religious minorities.[3] Pursuing social
                  >> >> justice
                  >> >> > and particularly reducing the gap between rich and poor has been a
                  >> key
                  >> >> > tenet of their ideology and to this end they established a vast
                  >> >> network
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > social services which gained them the support of the urban and
                  >> rural
                  >> >> > poor.[4] Although they have been known to use violent means to
                  >> achieve
                  >> >> > their goals, the Muslim Brotherhood officially rejects the use of
                  >> >> > violence.[5]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > The experience of countries that have been governed by the Muslim
                  >> >> > Brotherhood show a wide gap between their rhetoric and reality.
                  >> Highly
                  >> >> > authoritarian and repressive regimes have been established where
                  >> they
                  >> >> have
                  >> >> > come to power. Yet we should not regard the Muslim Brotherhood as a
                  >> >> > violent
                  >> >> > terrorist organization or overlook the support the organization has
                  >> >> > amongst
                  >> >> > broad sections of a religiously conservative population. Therefore
                  >> >> > strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim Brotherhood
                  >> >> should
                  >> >> > be
                  >> >> > fundamentally different from our approach to militant-Jihadi
                  >> groups.
                  >> >> The
                  >> >> > Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the Syrian National Coalition
                  >> (the
                  >> >> > bourgeois opposition in exile which is backed by the West, Gulf
                  >> States
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > Turkey and influenced by foreign agendas). The Syrian National
                  >> >> Coalition
                  >> >> > also includes secular and leftist opposition groups (including
                  >> >> Christian
                  >> >> > and Kurdish parties), the Free Syrian Army, grass-roots opposition
                  >> >> groups
                  >> >> > and independents. It advocates establishing a civil, democratic
                  >> >> Syria.[6]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > Between the ‘moderate’ political Islamists and Al Qaeda there
                  >> >> exists a
                  >> >> > broad spectrum of other Salafist groups which subscribe to
                  >> puritanical
                  >> >> > versions of Islam some of which are militant. They include Al Nour
                  >> >> party
                  >> >> > in
                  >> >> > Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jaysh al Islam in Palestine, and Ansar Al
                  >> >> Islam
                  >> >> > and Ahrar Al Sham in Syria. Further, although the overwhelming
                  >> >> majority
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > people in the region are Muslim, many are also secularists,
                  >> including
                  >> >> the
                  >> >> > vast majority of Syria’s grassroots civil opposition. Socialist
                  >> and
                  >> >> > anti-authoritarian/anarchist currents also exist within Islam with
                  >> >> roots
                  >> >> > that can be traced back to the ninth century.[7]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > *Al Qaeda groups in Syria*
                  >> >> > The two Al Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are Jabhat Al
                  >> >> Nusra
                  >> >> > (Al Nusra Front – JAN) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham
                  >> >> (ISIS).
                  >> >> > Both
                  >> >> > can be traced back to groups established to fight against the
                  >> American
                  >> >> > occupation of Iraq and grew in strength due to the sponsorship of
                  >> the
                  >> >> > Syrian government. This is important to note because whilst the
                  >> >> origins
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > Al Qaeda globally go back to Afghanistan, where they were supported
                  >> by
                  >> >> the
                  >> >> > CIA to fight against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, this is not
                  >> the
                  >> >> > experience of Al Qaeda groups operating in Syria or Iraq today
                  >> which
                  >> >> fight
                  >> >> > against US imperialism, Zionism and all western influence.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > Some of JAN’s members are Syrians that returned from fighting in
                  >> >> Iraq
                  >> >> > when
                  >> >> > the uprising broke out in 2011, but many foreigners also joined
                  >> their
                  >> >> > ranks. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq claimed
                  >> >> that
                  >> >> > JAN was its branch in Syria. However, JAN’s leader, Abu Mohammed
                  >> Al
                  >> >> > Golani,
                  >> >> > has rejected this claim whilst simultaneously pledging allegiance
                  >> to
                  >> >> Al
                  >> >> > Qaeda globally. ISIS is a part of the Al Qaeda network and the
                  >> >> majority
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > its members are foreigners. Whilst exact numbers are not known it
                  >> is
                  >> >> > estimated that together JAN and ISIS have around10,000 members,
                  >> less
                  >> >> than
                  >> >> > 10 per cent of estimated armed opposition fighters.[8] Both aim to
                  >> >> > overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad, establish and Islamic
                  >> >> > caliphate and a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are opposed
                  >> to
                  >> >> > Western intervention and are opposed to the US and Israel.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > The numbers of JAN and ISIS are relatively small, yet they have a
                  >> >> > disproportionate strength compared to other armed opposition
                  >> groups.
                  >> >> They
                  >> >> > have battle-experience from Iraq and have received a lot of
                  >> military
                  >> >> > support from Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and Qatar,
                  >> >> which
                  >> >> > aim
                  >> >> > to destabilize Syria through sectarian conflict in order to prevent
                  >> a
                  >> >> > popular revolution from succeeding. By contrast other armed groups
                  >> are
                  >> >> > still mainly dependent on light weapons and what they can seize
                  >> from
                  >> >> > Syrian
                  >> >> > army bases they have captured. JAN and ISIS are concentrated in the
                  >> >> north
                  >> >> > of the country, along the Turkish border in Aleppo and Idlib
                  >> >> governorates,
                  >> >> > in Al Raqqa governorate, and in the east in Deir Al Zour
                  >> governorate
                  >> >> along
                  >> >> > the border with Iraq. They have attempted to set up Islamic
                  >> emirates
                  >> >> in
                  >> >> > areas under their control, established Sharia courts and placed
                  >> >> > restrictions on the rights of women and minorities.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > Both groups have been responsible for carrying out attacks against
                  >> >> > civilians, including suicide bombings, the arrest of opposition
                  >> >> activists,
                  >> >> > the torture and extrajudicial killing of Syrian army soldiers they
                  >> >> have
                  >> >> > captured, and sectarian killings. Most recently they have been
                  >> >> responsible
                  >> >> > for atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population, causing
                  >> >> over
                  >> >> > 20,000 Kurds to flee to Iraq in August. The extremism and violence
                  >> >> > practiced by such groups is an increasing trend and major cause for
                  >> >> > concern. Yet, it must be borne in mind that the overwhelming
                  >> majority
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > the estimated 120,000 deaths and vast majority of cases of torture
                  >> and
                  >> >> > brutality in Syria over the past 2.5 years have been carried out by
                  >> >> the
                  >> >> > Syrian regime.[9]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > Al Qaeda affiliated groups have the potential to cause chaos and
                  >> >> violence
                  >> >> > in Syria and the region for many years to come. However, their
                  >> ability
                  >> >> to
                  >> >> > impose their vision on a future Syria is grossly over-estimated.
                  >> They
                  >> >> are
                  >> >> > small in number, they do not have a popular support base, and the
                  >> >> majority
                  >> >> > of their ranks are foreigners. After 10 years of causing turmoil in
                  >> >> Iraq,
                  >> >> > including the massacre of thousands of civilians, they did not
                  >> manage
                  >> >> to
                  >> >> > win the support of the local population or create an Islamic state.
                  >> >> > According to a Syrian rebel from a secular brigade in Salamiyah;
                  >> “Al
                  >> >> > Qaida
                  >> >> > is the one thing that will unite Syrian people after the
                  >> revolution,
                  >> >> > because all of the Syrians will want them out – those who are now
                  >> >> with
                  >> >> > the
                  >> >> > regime and those who are against the regime. Nobody likes these
                  >> people
                  >> >> …
                  >> >> > After the regime falls there will have to be a new military
                  >> formation
                  >> >> to
                  >> >> > confront these radical movements.”[10]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > *Relationship of militant Jihadi groups to the Free Syrian Army
                  >> (FSA)*
                  >> >> > The Free Syrian Army is the main, and by far the largest, armed
                  >> >> opposition
                  >> >> > group in Syria.  It’s leadership is linked to the SNC. The FSA is
                  >> >> > comprised
                  >> >> > of officers and soldiers that have defected from the regime as well
                  >> as
                  >> >> > anti-regime elements of the civilian population. It is committed to
                  >> >> the
                  >> >> > overthrow of Assad and the establishment of a  plural, civil,
                  >> >> democratic
                  >> >> > Syria. The FSA is comprised of many battalions. The leader of the
                  >> FSA,
                  >> >> > Salmin Idriss has stated he is committed to secularism, yet some
                  >> >> > battalions
                  >> >> > are Islamist (mainly Muslim Brotherhood affiliated), some are
                  >> secular
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > some are comprised of Christians, Kurds and Alawites. There are
                  >> even
                  >> >> women
                  >> >> > only brigades.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > Whilst serious human rights abuses have been carried out by
                  >> elements
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > the
                  >> >> > FSA, these appear to be mainly isolated incidents rather than
                  >> >> wide-spread
                  >> >> > and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian areas. Human
                  >> Rights
                  >> >> Watch
                  >> >> > has noted that “many of the antigovernment groups reported to be
                  >> >> > carrying
                  >> >> > out abuses do not appear to belong to an organized command
                  >> structure
                  >> >> or
                  >> >> to
                  >> >> > be following Syrian National Council orders”.[11] When such
                  >> >> incidents
                  >> >> > have
                  >> >> > come to light the SNC and FSA have condemned them and called for
                  >> the
                  >> >> > arrest
                  >> >> > and prosecution of those responsible, something that has never been
                  >> >> seen
                  >> >> > from the Assad regime.[12] The FSA is generally held in high regard
                  >> by
                  >> >> the
                  >> >> > civilian population and seen as protector and defender of the
                  >> >> people.[13]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > ISIS and JAN operate outside of the FSA chain of command and reject
                  >> >> the
                  >> >> > leadership of the SNC. Yet, due to their advanced military capacity
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > military successes against the Assad regime, some FSA battalions
                  >> have
                  >> >> > cooperated with them. The majority refuse to do so, and as militant
                  >> >> Jihadi
                  >> >> > groups have grown in strength and carried out increasing attacks on
                  >> >> > civilians, particularly sectarian violence, the FSA leadership has
                  >> >> sought
                  >> >> > to distance themselves and condemned their actions.[14] The FSA has
                  >> >> also
                  >> >> > been engaged in fierce battles with JAN and ISIS (as was seen
                  >> recently
                  >> >> in
                  >> >> > Bustan Al Qasr) and militant Jihadi groups have expelled FSA
                  >> >> battalions
                  >> >> > from some areas under their control and even assassinated FSA
                  >> >> leaders.[15]
                  >> >> > It is also interesting to note, that increasingly JAN and ISIS have
                  >> >> > refused
                  >> >> > to fight against the government on front lines and instead focused
                  >> on
                  >> >> > consolidating their power in areas under their control.[16] This is
                  >> a
                  >> >> > clear
                  >> >> > testimony that they are not working for the goals of the revolution
                  >> >> but
                  >> >> > rather to further their own extremist religious agenda.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > There are other battalions that operate outside of the FSA chain of
                  >> >> > command
                  >> >> > and are openly critical of the SNC and FSA leadership abroad.[17]
                  >> >> These
                  >> >> > include both secularists and Islamists. One of the largest Islamist
                  >> >> > coalitions is The Syrian Islamic Front, comprised mainly of
                  >> Salafist
                  >> >> > battalions such as Ahrar Al Sham. Their aim is to establish an
                  >> Islamic
                  >> >> > state governed by Sharia Law although they are Syrian nationalists
                  >> and
                  >> >> not
                  >> >> > working for a global caliphate or linked to Al Qaeda.[18] They
                  >> reject
                  >> >> > western notions of democracy.[19]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > *Syrian government strategy towards militant Jihadis*
                  >> >> > When the peaceful popular uprising began in Syria in early 2011,
                  >> the
                  >> >> > Syrian
                  >> >> > government falsely claimed it was fighting Sunni Islamic militant
                  >> >> > terrorists. This was an attempt to discredit the legitimate demands
                  >> of
                  >> >> the
                  >> >> > Syrian people for freedom, social justice and dignity and justify
                  >> its
                  >> >> > terrifying crackdown. As we have seen, to some extent it was to
                  >> turn
                  >> >> into
                  >> >> > a
                  >> >> > self-fulfilling prophecy. The government sent Shabiha (armed
                  >> Alawite
                  >> >> > militias) to arrest and shoot protesters and terrorize the civilian
                  >> >> > population, thereby introducing sectarianism into the uprising,
                  >> >> despite
                  >> >> > minority groups such as Alawite, Christians and Kurds playing an
                  >> >> active
                  >> >> > role in the opposition. In the first five months alone, when
                  >> protests
                  >> >> were
                  >> >> > still peaceful, the UN estimates that hundreds of people were
                  >> >> killed.[20]
                  >> >> > Many more were imprisoned and brutally tortured. Assad also
                  >> released a
                  >> >> > large number of militant Jihadi prisoners from jail in the early
                  >> days
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > the revolution.[21] The Assad regime has made deals with Jabhat Al
                  >> >> Nusra,
                  >> >> > such as paying them 150 million Syrian Lira [$1.15 million] monthly
                  >> to
                  >> >> > keep
                  >> >> > oil flowing through two major pipelines in Banias and Latakia.[22]
                  >> It
                  >> >> is
                  >> >> > also clear that the vast majority of attacks carried out by the
                  >> regime
                  >> >> > have
                  >> >> > not been on JAN or ISIS strongholds but rather in areas where
                  >> secular
                  >> >> or
                  >> >> > ‘moderate’ Islamist brigades are concentrated such as Homs,
                  >> Deraa
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > FSA
                  >> >> > controlled parts of Aleppo. All these factors point to a concerted
                  >> >> > strategy
                  >> >> > by the Syrian regime to allow the uprising to be taken over by
                  >> Islamic
                  >> >> > extremism and sectarianism which would allow the regime to gain
                  >> more
                  >> >> > popular support.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > *Opposition to militant-Jihadism in Syria*
                  >> >> > Whilst the focus of this article has been armed groups operating in
                  >> >> Syria,
                  >> >> > it is important to note that the grass roots civilian resistance in
                  >> >> Syria
                  >> >> > remains dynamic and strong and stands against both the Assad regime
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups (and is often highly
                  >> >> critical
                  >> >> > of the SNC leadership in exile). The overwhelming majority of the
                  >> >> civil
                  >> >> > resistance movements are secular, none-affiliated to traditional
                  >> >> political
                  >> >> > ideologies and motivated by desires for freedom, social justice and
                  >> >> > dignity. Major grass roots opposition groupings such as the Local
                  >> >> > Coordination Committees have released statements condemning the
                  >> >> actions
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > JAN and ISIS and have stressed that they are committed to a
                  >> “civil,
                  >> >> > democratic and pluralist state” that respects the rights of all
                  >> >> citizens
                  >> >> > regardless of religious or ethnic identity.[23]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > There have been increasing protests against JAN and ISIS
                  >> particularly
                  >> >> in
                  >> >> > areas where they are dominant, rejecting their authoritarian
                  >> practices
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > condemning their sectarian ideology and abuses.[24] For example, in
                  >> Al
                  >> >> > Raqqa, the first provincial capital to be liberated from the
                  >> regime,
                  >> >> > militant Jihadi groups took over the civilian local council. Where
                  >> >> they
                  >> >> > tried to put up the black Jihadi flag, local activists pulled it
                  >> down
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > replaced it with the revolutionary flag. ISIS also tried to impose
                  >> >> fasting
                  >> >> > on the population during the month of Ramadan and have arrested
                  >> many
                  >> >> > civilians from the city. The people of Al Raqqa have been holding
                  >> >> > continuous protests against ISIS and the Islamic court they
                  >> >> established,
                  >> >> > calling on them to leave.[25] Likewise protesters in Idlib and
                  >> Aleppo
                  >> >> have
                  >> >> > held demonstrations against the Sharia Committee and
                  >> extremist/Takfiri
                  >> >> > killings.[26] As sectarianism has increased, there have been
                  >> protests
                  >> >> > calling for national unity in which different religious and ethnic
                  >> >> groups
                  >> >> > have participated.[27] On 1 August in Aleppo a joint protest was
                  >> held
                  >> >> by
                  >> >> > Arabs and Kurds in which hundreds took part, condemning recent
                  >> >> atrocities
                  >> >> > carried out against the Kurdish population by militant Jihadi
                  >> >> groups.[28]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > Civil society organizations such as Nabd have been established to
                  >> >> promote
                  >> >> > co-existence and an end to sectarianism.[29] Likewise, non-violent
                  >> >> > organizations such as the Freedom Days coalition, which comprises a
                  >> >> large
                  >> >> > number of groups, promote peaceful struggle and coexistence across
                  >> >> ethnic
                  >> >> > and religious lines.[30] In recent days a campaign called Goodbye
                  >> >> Da3esh
                  >> >> > has been established to oppose the wide-spread arrests of
                  >> civilians,
                  >> >> > including opposition activists, carried out by ISIS.[31]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > Such initiatives and struggles need to be highlighted and
                  >> supported.
                  >> >> It
                  >> >> is
                  >> >> > too easy to adopt the simplistic binary narrative promoted by
                  >> states
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > blanket thinkers that the choice the Syrian people face is between
                  >> a
                  >> >> > secular fascist dictatorship or Al Qaeda. As Spanish
                  >> revolutionaries
                  >> >> in
                  >> >> > the
                  >> >> > 1930s fought on two fronts against both the fascists and the
                  >> >> communists,
                  >> >> > Syrian revolutionaries have to fight against both the Assad regime
                  >> and
                  >> >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups. It is clear that
                  >> >> militant
                  >> >> > Jihadism is gaining a foothold in Syria and that as the struggle
                  >> >> continues
                  >> >> > without resolution they will continue to grow in strength. The
                  >> answer
                  >> >> is
                  >> >> > not to support a regime that holds responsibility for creating this
                  >> >> > problem
                  >> >> > in the first place. The answer is to stand in solidarity with those
                  >> >> who
                  >> >> > struggle against it, in the hope that their voices will not be lost
                  >> >> for
                  >> >> > ever.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > *Endnotes:*
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 1 I emphasis the word militant because the concept of Jihad is
                  >> often
                  >> >> > misunderstood. Jihad is a religious duty for Muslims and means
                  >> >> > “struggle”.
                  >> >> > This can be interpreted as a struggle against oppression or the
                  >> >> internal
                  >> >> > struggles of ones own personal life. In the contemporary use
                  >> Jihad(i)
                  >> >> > refers to those who find it a religious obligation to defend Muslim
                  >> >> land
                  >> >> > against the Kafir (non believer).
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 2 For some reports on militant Jihadi groups in the region see,
                  >> >> > International Crisis Group, Radical Islam in Gaza, (2011),
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx
                  >> >> ,
                  >> >> > <
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx,%C2%A0
                  >> >> >Institute
                  >> >> > for the Study of War, Jihad in Syria, (2012),
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Jihad-In-Syria-17SEPT.pdf
                  >> >> ,
                  >> >> > Omayma Abdel-Latif, ‘Cedar Jihadis’[Lebanon] Al Ahram,
                  >> >> > http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/895/re2.htm
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 3 For the pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
                  >> (2012)
                  >> >> see:
                  >> >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 4 For an excellent introduction to the Islamic revival (from an
                  >> Arab
                  >> >> > feminist perspective) see: Leila Ahmed, A Quiet Revolution: The
                  >> >> Veil’s
                  >> >> > Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, (2011)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 5 See ‘A Declaration to the People’ (2011)
                  >> >> > http://asharqalarabi.org.uk/english/at-3.htm & ‘The pledge and
                  >> >> charter
                  >> >> > of
                  >> >> > the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ (2012)
                  >> >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 6 See ‘Syrian Coalition Principles’,
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.etilaf.org/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=35&Itemid=584
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 7 See for example, Mohammed Jean Veneuse, Anarca Islam, (2009)
                  >> >> > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/anarca-islam/ and David
                  >> >> Baker,
                  >> >> > Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists, (2011)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/ninth-century-muslim-anarchists/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 8 See Aljazeera ‘Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion’,
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/07/20137188552345899.html
                  >> >> .
                  >> >> > Whilst these figures vary according to reports from usually from
                  >> >> > 6,000-10,000, Syrian grass-roots opposition groups repeatedly
                  >> affirm
                  >> >> that
                  >> >> > militant Jihadi groups have a small presence amongst opposition
                  >> armed
                  >> >> > groups. For example see ‘Our Revolution: A popular revolution for
                  >> >> > freedom,
                  >> >> > equality and social justice and against every kind of
                  >> absolutism’,
                  >> >> > (August
                  >> >> > 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/our-revolution-a-popular-revolution-for-freedom-equality-and-social-justice-and-against-every-kind-of-absolutism/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 9 See for example: Amnesty International, ‘Annual Report 2013:
                  >> >> Syria’
                  >> >> > (2013) http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2013  Human
                  >> >> Rights
                  >> >> > Watch ‘Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack’,
                  >> >> > (September
                  >> >> > 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/10/syria-government-likely-culprit-chemical-attack
                  >> >> > and
                  >> >> > The Revolting Syrian ‘Does this not outrage you?’
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/50495350134/does-this-not-outrage-you
                  >> >> > [WARNING:
                  >> >> > the videos in the last link are extremely graphic]
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 10  Cited in Syria Deeply, ‘The State of a Secular Rebel Fighting
                  >> >> > Force’,
                  >> >> > (September 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/state-secular-rebel-fighting-force/#.UjF5pmQ-u2p
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 11  Human Rights Watch, ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups
                  >> Committing
                  >> >> > Abuses’,
                  >> >> > (March 2012)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 12 See for example: ‘Statement by the General Staff of the Free
                  >> >> Syrian
                  >> >> > Army’ (May 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=482097828528873&set=a.458923474179642.1073741828.458106567594666&type=1
                  >> >> > and
                  >> >> > ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 13 This is evident in chants of support for the FSA seen at weekly
                  >> >> > protests
                  >> >> > across Syria and also based on my own discussion with Syrian
                  >> refugees
                  >> >> in
                  >> >> > camps across Lebanon and Jordan.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 14 ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 15 Martin Chulov, ‘Free Syrian Army clashes with jihadists in
                  >> wake
                  >> >> of
                  >> >> > commander’s assassination’, (July 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/14/free-syrian-army-jihadists-clashes-aleppo
                  >> >> > &
                  >> >> > Syria Freedom Forever, ‘Syria: the Kurdish question, the
                  >> Islamists
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > the
                  >> >> > FSA’, (July 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/syria-the-kurdish-question-the-islamists-and-the-fsa/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 16 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘You can jail a revolutionary but you
                  >> >> can’t
                  >> >> > jail
                  >> >> > the revolution’, (August 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/you-can-jail-revolutionaries-but-you-cannot-kill-the-revolution-the-syrian-people-will-not-kneel/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 17 For an overview of Syria’s armed opposition see:
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_civil_war
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 18 See the Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front (2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://abujamajem.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/the-charter-of-the-syrian-islamic-front/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 19 Aron Lund, ‘Syria’s Salafi Insurgents: The Rise of the
                  >> Syrian
                  >> >> > Islamic
                  >> >> > Front’, (2012) http://www.ui.se/eng/upl/files/86861.pdf
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 20 United Nations, ‘Syria: Security Council condemns rights
                  >> abuses
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > use
                  >> >> > of force against civilians’, (August 2011)
                  >> >> > http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=39229&cr1=#.UjHzH2Q-u2p
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 21 ‘Bashar released Al Qaeda prisoners to cover his crimes’, Al
                  >> >> Ahram,
                  >> >> > (March 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/66953/World/Region/Bashar-released-AlQaeda-prisoners-to-cover-his-cri.aspx
                  >> >> > &
                  >> >> > Misbah Al Ali, ‘Rival Islamists loom large over Syria’, The
                  >> Daily
                  >> >> Star
                  >> >> > (March 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Mar-19/210649-rival-islamists-loom-large-over-syria.ashx#axzz2egSa7ZD9
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 22 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Syria or elsewhere, there are no pure
                  >> >> > revolutions, just revolutions,’
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/syriaor-elsewhere-there-are-no-pure-revolutions-just-revolutions/
                  >> >> > also
                  >> >> > Yasser Munif ‘The revolution and the war’,
                  >> >> > http://socialistworker.org/2013/09/11/the-revolution-and-the-war.
                  >> The
                  >> >> > conversion is based on exchange rate of 11 September 2013.
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 23 LCC statement (April 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/condemnation-of-zawahris-statements-regarding-his-intervention-in-the-internal-affairs-of-syria/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 24 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
                  >> >> > struggles
                  >> >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
                  >> >> > and
                  >> >> > Bassam Haddad, ‘The Growing Challenge to the Syrian regime and
                  >> the
                  >> >> > Syrian
                  >> >> > Uprising’, Jadaliyya, (June 2013)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/12556/the-growing-challenge-to-the-syrian-regime-and-the
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 25 For example see:
                  >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hOsyH7zasw&sns=em
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 26 For example see:
                  >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8edfgXT61A(Idlib)
                  >> >> and
                  >> >> > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5WqJ6Y2eQ8 (Aleppo)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 27 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaDFddXsJ3w
                  >> >> (English
                  >> >> > subtitles)
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 28 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the popular
                  >> >> > struggles
                  >> >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it exists!’
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 29 See their facebook page here:
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabd-Gathering-for-Syrian-Civil-Youth/361274777254185
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 30 See their facebook page here:
                  >> >> > https://en-gb.facebook.com/Freedom.Days.Syria
                  >> >> >
                  >> >> > 31 See their facebook page here:
                  >> >> https://www.facebook.com/goodbyeda3esh
                  >> >> >
                  >> >>
                  >> >>
                  >> >>
                  >> >>
                  >> >>
                  >> >
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >>
                  >





                • scotpeden
                  Yes, the writer is supportive of Foreign intervention by the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel. I ve been trying to point that out, to have a discussion on this from
                  Message 8 of 10 , Sep 17, 2013
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Yes, the writer is supportive of Foreign intervention by the US, Saudi
                    Arabia and Israel.

                    I've been trying to point that out, to have a discussion on this from your
                    initial posts about Assad and Regime change in Syria and who should be
                    responsible for this, who it is that is being co-opted so that subversive
                    murderous terrorists influences by the three mentioned can be normalized
                    as being necessary.

                    Through all of your reply's being ad hominem attacks and or altering what
                    I wrote and straw man attacks for that, I can only assume a few things.

                    A) You send articles.

                    B) You cannot (or refuse to) discuss the content of any of your posts.

                    C) You support Authoritarians whether they've said they are, or you have
                    appointed them in your mind as such, and like the good Corporate Party and
                    the bad Corporate Party, the only choices are between your Authoritarian
                    stance and the opposition.

                    D) Authoritarians will not tolerate discussion, they are authorities, all
                    questioners and knowledge seekers must be discredited and attacked, and
                    this is your manner of dealing with any discussion.

                    Thank you for this opportunity for a free and open discussion.

                    Scott

                    > Fuck off Scot
                    >
                    > The writer and the website speaks for itself.
                    >
                    > You fucking dumb ass...
                    >
                    > Cort
                    >
                    >
                    > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 5:27 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >> So your saying that your writing a Shrooms as a Ghost writers name? I
                    >> was
                    >> discussing the article, not issuing an ad hominem comment (unless you
                    >> are
                    >> Shrroms? It appears this might be another of your names), when you
                    >> respond
                    >> with a personal attack. Of course, those who read my initial post would
                    >> understand that as I took a direct quote of Shrooms and that was the
                    >> mention to PNAC about it.
                    >>
                    >> You decline to discuss any of the issues, you simply ask that people
                    >> repeat what you are repeating.
                    >>
                    >> You keep selling, and enemy of Assad is a friend of ours, and have never
                    >> stated in the whole Syria Assad series of posts since the gas attacks
                    >> started, nearly immediately after Obama started saying if gas was used
                    >> he'd have to do something, that the USA, the Saud's or Israel aren't as
                    >> likely to do the same thing.
                    >>
                    >> Your posts, that is the stuff you send out, you've declined to make
                    >> personal statements that aren't ad hominem, defend using terrorists as
                    >> any method to remove Assad, and yet historically speaking, everyone that
                    >> has been freed by US Sponsored terrorism either via proxy or directly,
                    >> have suffered 100 to thousands of time worse.
                    >>
                    >> You, writing as Shrooms, (apparent from your reply as you took the PNAC
                    >> comment as personal) are advocating controlling what happens in the
                    >> Middle
                    >> East. the only people shoe agenda that is are the International Bankers,
                    >> the Corporatists, and the Western Imperialists that are the economic and
                    >> violent enforcers of the International bankers and Cortporationists.
                    >>
                    >> By the way, if your purposeful misspelling my name, that is assuming you
                    >> have read as far as my personal signature at the end of everyone of my
                    >> posts, is in an attempt to get me to reply as emotionally as you are, it
                    >> isn't working. Your research once again shows nothing in common with
                    >> what
                    >> your stating personally about me, and your misspelling of my name.
                    >>
                    >> Scott
                    >>
                    >> > *And Scot, I know about the PNAC and wrote a little note on them in
                    >> > 2004...Stop inferring I am one of them...Dumb ass Scot *
                    >> >
                    >> >
                    >> >
                    >> > http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org/news/2004/04/13810.php
                    >> >
                    >> >
                    >> > Venezuela: The Coup Makers- The Invisible U.S. Hands
                    >> >
                    >> > By Cort Greene
                    >> >
                    >> > April 20, 2004
                    >> >
                    >> >
                    >> > With rumors of a new coup swirling through Venezuela daily, some with
                    >> > merit, others just the wishful thinking of the fractured but still
                    >> > dangerous "opposition", it is useful to review just who the real
                    >> puppet
                    >> > masters behind the last coup were, and the possibility and the reasons
                    >> > that
                    >> > they will try another one.
                    >> >
                    >> > Removing President Chavez and destroying the Bolivarian Revolutionary
                    >> > Process has been a primary concern of the U.S. government since 1998.
                    >> Why
                    >> > else would it dedicate such resources to this effort? So far they have
                    >> > spent over 4 million dollars in known covert funds, and the actual
                    >> figure
                    >> > is probably twice that amount if we take in account that there are
                    >> over
                    >> > 500
                    >> > U.S. corporations in Venezuela, some of which are CIA fronts. Dick
                    >> > Cheney's
                    >> > pals at Halliburton have 21 offices in Venezuela.
                    >> >
                    >> > These folks have a vested interest in bringing about a change of
                    >> > government
                    >> > – i.e. trampling on the democratic will of the majority of
                    >> Venezuelans
                    >> > if
                    >> > it will bring them higher profits and greater access to the region's
                    >> > natural resources.
                    >> >
                    >> > With the quagmire in Iraq, gaining control over the Venezuelan
                    >> petroleum
                    >> > industry is of particular importance, due to the prospect of an energy
                    >> > crisis and the economic problems that will ensue from it.
                    >> >
                    >> > This could be a catalyst for a greater worldwide crisis than is taking
                    >> > place now, and could be the greatest seen since the 1930s.
                    >> >
                    >> > President Chavez and Bolivarian Revolution are a threat because they
                    >> > provide an example that goes not only against the imperialist plan of
                    >> the
                    >> > Free Trade Agreement of the America's, but shows the potential for a
                    >> > revival of the working class struggle and socialism across the entire
                    >> > region.
                    >> >
                    >> > The usual suspects for another coup attempt in Venezuela include U.S.
                    >> > Ambassador to Venezuela Charles Shapiro (whom it is alleged played a
                    >> part
                    >> > in the spilling of the blood of the working class in Chile and
                    >> Venezuela).
                    >> > And of course there is the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy,
                    >> and
                    >> > a
                    >> > myriad of other organizations.
                    >> >
                    >> > But there is another, more insidious, and less heard of group that has
                    >> > binds together all these other groups and officials together - the
                    >> > "Project
                    >> > for the New American Century" – which played a leading role in
                    >> > developing
                    >> > the US invasion of Iraq. PNAC's board of directors is a "who's who" of
                    >> > government and business, which has representatives in Venezuela either
                    >> > directly or through inter-locking boards of directors.
                    >> >
                    >> > The stated goals of this right-wing think-tank are a bold foreign
                    >> policy,
                    >> > the need to increase defense spending, and to challenge regimes
                    >> hostile
                    >> to
                    >> > the vital interests and values of American capitalism.
                    >> >
                    >> > Some PNAC members include:
                    >> >
                    >> > · Donald Rumsfeld
                    >> >
                    >> > · Paul Wolfowitz
                    >> >
                    >> > · Frank Gaffney
                    >> >
                    >> > · Dan Quayle
                    >> >
                    >> > · Gary Bauer
                    >> >
                    >> > · Elliott Abrams
                    >> >
                    >> > · Steve Forbes
                    >> >
                    >> > · Zalmay Khalilzad
                    >> >
                    >> > · Paula Dobrainsky, Under Secretary for Global affairs
                    >> >
                    >> > · Jeb Bush
                    >> >
                    >> > · William Bennett
                    >> >
                    >> > · Vice President Dick Cheney
                    >> >
                    >> > These are just some of the puppet masters who will do anything to
                    >> ensure
                    >> > the continued U.S. dominance of Latin America and the world. If they
                    >> had
                    >> > their way, they would do to Venezuela what they did to Iraq.
                    >> >
                    >> > But they have fallen into more than a bit of trouble in Iraq, and
                    >> already
                    >> > the world working class is rallying to the defense of the Venezuelan
                    >> > revolution. We must step up the pressure and end the imperialist
                    >> > predations
                    >> > of the U.S. ruling class once and for all!
                    >> >
                    >> > No to U.S. intervention in Venezuela!
                    >> >
                    >> > Defend the Venezuelan Revolution!
                    >> >
                    >> > Forward to Socialism!
                    >> >
                    >> >
                    >> > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 3:40 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                    >> >
                    >> >> Educators do not use ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments. Only
                    >> >> those
                    >> >> supporting agendas and using the little back book of disinformation
                    >> rely
                    >> >> on those tactics to distract people from the questions at hand, which
                    >> >> was
                    >> >> in this instance, seriosuly, it reads like it came right off a PNAC
                    >> >> funded
                    >> >> site;
                    >> >> ***
                    >> >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
                    >> >> organization)
                    >> >> working for?
                    >> >>
                    >> >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
                    >> >> ***
                    >> >>
                    >> >> I dare say this ID your using is the same as another I that sues the
                    >> >> same
                    >> >> tactics, partial because of your refusal to duplicate simple things
                    >> like
                    >> >> spelling of my name, or that you never read further then you can
                    >> create
                    >> >> an
                    >> >> ad hominem attack for response to.
                    >> >>
                    >> >> Seriously, I thought you and your Marxist people were not on the side
                    >> of
                    >> >> the Imperialists. You send stuff that appears to be from Anarchists,
                    >> >> that
                    >> >> also do naught but support the Imperialists desires.
                    >> >>
                    >> >> Seriously, this is something I must take the opportunity to point out
                    >> to
                    >> >> others, especially on a list that is suppose to be for alternate
                    >> media
                    >> >> instead of shadowy propaganda wearing the cloak of the International
                    >> >> Corporate Oppositionists.
                    >> >>
                    >> >> It's what your articles support, You on the other hand have never
                    >> taken
                    >> >> the opportunities presented to discuss anything, you just revert to
                    >> >> personal attacks.
                    >> >>
                    >> >> Scott
                    >> >>
                    >> >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                    >> >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
                    >> >> militant-Jihadi groups"
                    >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> >> Scott
                    >> >>
                    >> >> > *Oh Scot*
                    >> >> > *
                    >> >> > *
                    >> >> > *Your ignorance is showing or is it that the pole from the caber
                    >> toss
                    >> >> hit
                    >> >> > you in the head too many times at the Highland games... [?]*
                    >> >> > *
                    >> >> > *
                    >> >> > *Rojo Rojito*
                    >> >> > *
                    >> >> > *
                    >> >> > *Cort*
                    >> >> >
                    >> >> >
                    >> >> >
                    >> >> > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                    >> >> >
                    >> >> >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
                    >> >> >> organization)
                    >> >> >> working for?
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >> >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC
                    >> site?
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >> >> Scott
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >> >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                    >> >> >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
                    >> >> >> militant-Jihadi groups"
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >> >> > *Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982
                    >> >> >> > #Lebanon<http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Lebanon>
                    >> >> >> > *
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > ← SYRIA/PALESTINE: Palestinians and the Syrian Revolution:
                    >> >> Lessons
                    >> >> >> from
                    >> >> >> > the
                    >> >> >> > fight against
                    >> >> >> > fascism<
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syriapalestine-palestinians-and-the-syrian-revolution-lessons-from-the-fight-against-fascism/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > →<
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/uk-anti-fascist-network-statement-on-saturday-7th-september-edl-demonstration/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from
                    >> >> Mythology
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > SEP
                    >> >> >> > 12<
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > Posted by tahriricn
                    >> >> <http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/author/tahriricn/
                    >> >> >
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN[image:
                    >> >> >> > ED-AR204_obagy_D_20130830164816]<
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://tahriricn.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ed-ar204_obagy_d_20130830164816.jpg
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory of
                    >> >> >> Syria’s
                    >> >> >> > revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The
                    >> danger
                    >> >> >> that
                    >> >> >> > the
                    >> >> >> > increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and the
                    >> >> region
                    >> >> >> > should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings
                    >> exist
                    >> >> >> about
                    >> >> >> > the nature and dominance of such groups which this article
                    >> attempts
                    >> >> to
                    >> >> >> > address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we able
                    >> to
                    >> >> >> move
                    >> >> >> > forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the
                    >> threat
                    >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding of
                    >> who
                    >> >> is
                    >> >> >> > working for the original goals of the revolution so that they
                    >> can
                    >> >> be
                    >> >> >> given
                    >> >> >> > the solidarity they deserve.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > *Al Qaeda ideology*
                    >> >> >> > Al Qaeda or militant Jihadi groups[1] have an internationalist
                    >> >> >> perspective
                    >> >> >> > and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a
                    >> strict
                    >> >> >> > interpretation of Sharia law. The ideology of Al Qaeda groups is
                    >> >> >> closely
                    >> >> >> > related to Salafi/Wahabi ideology (the totalitarian political
                    >> >> doctrine
                    >> >> >> > which is practiced in Saudi Arabia). Whilst Salafism is an
                    >> >> extremely
                    >> >> >> > repressive, puritanical ideology which follows a literal
                    >> >> >> interpretation
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > the Quran, it is important to note that not all Salafists
                    >> believe
                    >> >> in
                    >> >> >> > violent means to establish their goals and that some Salafists
                    >> are
                    >> >> >> > prepared
                    >> >> >> > to work within a democratic system. By contrast, militant Jihadi
                    >> >> >> groups
                    >> >> >> > reject the concept of democracy holding that their
                    >> interpretation
                    >> >> of
                    >> >> >> Islam
                    >> >> >> > is mandated by God. They believe that it is a religious duty to
                    >> >> defend
                    >> >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > Muslim community against enemies of Islam and are prepared to
                    >> die
                    >> >> as
                    >> >> >> > martyrs for that cause. They regard anyone who does not
                    >> subscribe
                    >> >> to
                    >> >> >> their
                    >> >> >> > ideology (including liberal Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims) as
                    >> >> >> > heretics/Kafir. Some, known as Takfiris, believe that they have
                    >> the
                    >> >> >> right
                    >> >> >> > to kill heretics. Al Qaeda affiliated groups in the region
                    >> include
                    >> >> >> > Egyptian
                    >> >> >> > Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and
                    >> Saudi
                    >> >> >> > Arabia,
                    >> >> >> > Jund Ansar Allah in Palestine, Fatah Al Islam in Lebanon and Al
                    >> >> Qaeda
                    >> >> >> in
                    >> >> >> > the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco. [2]These groups do
                    >> not
                    >> >> >> have a
                    >> >> >> > broad popular support base, primarily due to their use of
                    >> terrorist
                    >> >> >> means
                    >> >> >> > targeting civilians in countries in which they operate and their
                    >> >> >> following
                    >> >> >> > of an interpretation of Islam which is alien to almost everyone.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > *Mainstream political Islam*
                    >> >> >> > It is important not to confuse militant Jihadis with mainstream
                    >> >> >> political
                    >> >> >> > Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the
                    >> Muslim
                    >> >> >> > Brotherhood is undoubtably conservative and reactionary, they
                    >> have
                    >> >> >> broad
                    >> >> >> > based popular support across the Middle East and North Africa
                    >> and
                    >> >> have
                    >> >> >> won
                    >> >> >> > democratic elections in Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt. They
                    >> gained
                    >> >> >> > prominence during the Islamic revival of the 1970s, as a direct
                    >> >> >> response
                    >> >> >> > to
                    >> >> >> > western imperialism. They work to reinstate Islamic laws and
                    >> >> believe
                    >> >> >> in
                    >> >> >> > the
                    >> >> >> > concept of Islamic unity and the return of the caliphate
                    >> abolished
                    >> >> by
                    >> >> >> > Ataturk in 1924 although they primarily struggle on the national
                    >> >> >> level.
                    >> >> >> > They advocate that political Islam is compatible with the
                    >> >> >> establishment
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > a modern, democratic, multi-party state that respects human
                    >> rights,
                    >> >> >> > including the rights of religious minorities.[3] Pursuing social
                    >> >> >> justice
                    >> >> >> > and particularly reducing the gap between rich and poor has been
                    >> a
                    >> >> key
                    >> >> >> > tenet of their ideology and to this end they established a vast
                    >> >> >> network
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > social services which gained them the support of the urban and
                    >> >> rural
                    >> >> >> > poor.[4] Although they have been known to use violent means to
                    >> >> achieve
                    >> >> >> > their goals, the Muslim Brotherhood officially rejects the use
                    >> of
                    >> >> >> > violence.[5]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > The experience of countries that have been governed by the
                    >> Muslim
                    >> >> >> > Brotherhood show a wide gap between their rhetoric and reality.
                    >> >> Highly
                    >> >> >> > authoritarian and repressive regimes have been established where
                    >> >> they
                    >> >> >> have
                    >> >> >> > come to power. Yet we should not regard the Muslim Brotherhood
                    >> as a
                    >> >> >> > violent
                    >> >> >> > terrorist organization or overlook the support the organization
                    >> has
                    >> >> >> > amongst
                    >> >> >> > broad sections of a religiously conservative population.
                    >> Therefore
                    >> >> >> > strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                    >> Brotherhood
                    >> >> >> should
                    >> >> >> > be
                    >> >> >> > fundamentally different from our approach to militant-Jihadi
                    >> >> groups.
                    >> >> >> The
                    >> >> >> > Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the Syrian National Coalition
                    >> >> (the
                    >> >> >> > bourgeois opposition in exile which is backed by the West, Gulf
                    >> >> States
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > Turkey and influenced by foreign agendas). The Syrian National
                    >> >> >> Coalition
                    >> >> >> > also includes secular and leftist opposition groups (including
                    >> >> >> Christian
                    >> >> >> > and Kurdish parties), the Free Syrian Army, grass-roots
                    >> opposition
                    >> >> >> groups
                    >> >> >> > and independents. It advocates establishing a civil, democratic
                    >> >> >> Syria.[6]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > Between the ‘moderate’ political Islamists and Al Qaeda
                    >> there
                    >> >> >> exists a
                    >> >> >> > broad spectrum of other Salafist groups which subscribe to
                    >> >> puritanical
                    >> >> >> > versions of Islam some of which are militant. They include Al
                    >> Nour
                    >> >> >> party
                    >> >> >> > in
                    >> >> >> > Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jaysh al Islam in Palestine, and Ansar
                    >> Al
                    >> >> >> Islam
                    >> >> >> > and Ahrar Al Sham in Syria. Further, although the overwhelming
                    >> >> >> majority
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > people in the region are Muslim, many are also secularists,
                    >> >> including
                    >> >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > vast majority of Syria’s grassroots civil opposition.
                    >> Socialist
                    >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > anti-authoritarian/anarchist currents also exist within Islam
                    >> with
                    >> >> >> roots
                    >> >> >> > that can be traced back to the ninth century.[7]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > *Al Qaeda groups in Syria*
                    >> >> >> > The two Al Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are Jabhat
                    >> Al
                    >> >> >> Nusra
                    >> >> >> > (Al Nusra Front – JAN) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham
                    >> >> >> (ISIS).
                    >> >> >> > Both
                    >> >> >> > can be traced back to groups established to fight against the
                    >> >> American
                    >> >> >> > occupation of Iraq and grew in strength due to the sponsorship
                    >> of
                    >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > Syrian government. This is important to note because whilst the
                    >> >> >> origins
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > Al Qaeda globally go back to Afghanistan, where they were
                    >> supported
                    >> >> by
                    >> >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > CIA to fight against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, this is not
                    >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > experience of Al Qaeda groups operating in Syria or Iraq today
                    >> >> which
                    >> >> >> fight
                    >> >> >> > against US imperialism, Zionism and all western influence.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > Some of JAN’s members are Syrians that returned from fighting
                    >> in
                    >> >> >> Iraq
                    >> >> >> > when
                    >> >> >> > the uprising broke out in 2011, but many foreigners also joined
                    >> >> their
                    >> >> >> > ranks. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq
                    >> claimed
                    >> >> >> that
                    >> >> >> > JAN was its branch in Syria. However, JAN’s leader, Abu
                    >> Mohammed
                    >> >> Al
                    >> >> >> > Golani,
                    >> >> >> > has rejected this claim whilst simultaneously pledging
                    >> allegiance
                    >> >> to
                    >> >> >> Al
                    >> >> >> > Qaeda globally. ISIS is a part of the Al Qaeda network and the
                    >> >> >> majority
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > its members are foreigners. Whilst exact numbers are not known
                    >> it
                    >> >> is
                    >> >> >> > estimated that together JAN and ISIS have around10,000 members,
                    >> >> less
                    >> >> >> than
                    >> >> >> > 10 per cent of estimated armed opposition fighters.[8] Both aim
                    >> to
                    >> >> >> > overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad, establish and
                    >> Islamic
                    >> >> >> > caliphate and a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are
                    >> opposed
                    >> >> to
                    >> >> >> > Western intervention and are opposed to the US and Israel.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > The numbers of JAN and ISIS are relatively small, yet they have
                    >> a
                    >> >> >> > disproportionate strength compared to other armed opposition
                    >> >> groups.
                    >> >> >> They
                    >> >> >> > have battle-experience from Iraq and have received a lot of
                    >> >> military
                    >> >> >> > support from Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and
                    >> Qatar,
                    >> >> >> which
                    >> >> >> > aim
                    >> >> >> > to destabilize Syria through sectarian conflict in order to
                    >> prevent
                    >> >> a
                    >> >> >> > popular revolution from succeeding. By contrast other armed
                    >> groups
                    >> >> are
                    >> >> >> > still mainly dependent on light weapons and what they can seize
                    >> >> from
                    >> >> >> > Syrian
                    >> >> >> > army bases they have captured. JAN and ISIS are concentrated in
                    >> the
                    >> >> >> north
                    >> >> >> > of the country, along the Turkish border in Aleppo and Idlib
                    >> >> >> governorates,
                    >> >> >> > in Al Raqqa governorate, and in the east in Deir Al Zour
                    >> >> governorate
                    >> >> >> along
                    >> >> >> > the border with Iraq. They have attempted to set up Islamic
                    >> >> emirates
                    >> >> >> in
                    >> >> >> > areas under their control, established Sharia courts and placed
                    >> >> >> > restrictions on the rights of women and minorities.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > Both groups have been responsible for carrying out attacks
                    >> against
                    >> >> >> > civilians, including suicide bombings, the arrest of opposition
                    >> >> >> activists,
                    >> >> >> > the torture and extrajudicial killing of Syrian army soldiers
                    >> they
                    >> >> >> have
                    >> >> >> > captured, and sectarian killings. Most recently they have been
                    >> >> >> responsible
                    >> >> >> > for atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population,
                    >> causing
                    >> >> >> over
                    >> >> >> > 20,000 Kurds to flee to Iraq in August. The extremism and
                    >> violence
                    >> >> >> > practiced by such groups is an increasing trend and major cause
                    >> for
                    >> >> >> > concern. Yet, it must be borne in mind that the overwhelming
                    >> >> majority
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > the estimated 120,000 deaths and vast majority of cases of
                    >> torture
                    >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > brutality in Syria over the past 2.5 years have been carried out
                    >> by
                    >> >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > Syrian regime.[9]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > Al Qaeda affiliated groups have the potential to cause chaos and
                    >> >> >> violence
                    >> >> >> > in Syria and the region for many years to come. However, their
                    >> >> ability
                    >> >> >> to
                    >> >> >> > impose their vision on a future Syria is grossly over-estimated.
                    >> >> They
                    >> >> >> are
                    >> >> >> > small in number, they do not have a popular support base, and
                    >> the
                    >> >> >> majority
                    >> >> >> > of their ranks are foreigners. After 10 years of causing turmoil
                    >> in
                    >> >> >> Iraq,
                    >> >> >> > including the massacre of thousands of civilians, they did not
                    >> >> manage
                    >> >> >> to
                    >> >> >> > win the support of the local population or create an Islamic
                    >> state.
                    >> >> >> > According to a Syrian rebel from a secular brigade in Salamiyah;
                    >> >> “Al
                    >> >> >> > Qaida
                    >> >> >> > is the one thing that will unite Syrian people after the
                    >> >> revolution,
                    >> >> >> > because all of the Syrians will want them out – those who are
                    >> now
                    >> >> >> with
                    >> >> >> > the
                    >> >> >> > regime and those who are against the regime. Nobody likes these
                    >> >> people
                    >> >> >> …
                    >> >> >> > After the regime falls there will have to be a new military
                    >> >> formation
                    >> >> >> to
                    >> >> >> > confront these radical movements.”[10]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > *Relationship of militant Jihadi groups to the Free Syrian Army
                    >> >> (FSA)*
                    >> >> >> > The Free Syrian Army is the main, and by far the largest, armed
                    >> >> >> opposition
                    >> >> >> > group in Syria. It’s leadership is linked to the SNC. The FSA
                    >> is
                    >> >> >> > comprised
                    >> >> >> > of officers and soldiers that have defected from the regime as
                    >> well
                    >> >> as
                    >> >> >> > anti-regime elements of the civilian population. It is committed
                    >> to
                    >> >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > overthrow of Assad and the establishment of a plural, civil,
                    >> >> >> democratic
                    >> >> >> > Syria. The FSA is comprised of many battalions. The leader of
                    >> the
                    >> >> FSA,
                    >> >> >> > Salmin Idriss has stated he is committed to secularism, yet some
                    >> >> >> > battalions
                    >> >> >> > are Islamist (mainly Muslim Brotherhood affiliated), some are
                    >> >> secular
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > some are comprised of Christians, Kurds and Alawites. There are
                    >> >> even
                    >> >> >> women
                    >> >> >> > only brigades.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > Whilst serious human rights abuses have been carried out by
                    >> >> elements
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > the
                    >> >> >> > FSA, these appear to be mainly isolated incidents rather than
                    >> >> >> wide-spread
                    >> >> >> > and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian areas. Human
                    >> >> Rights
                    >> >> >> Watch
                    >> >> >> > has noted that “many of the antigovernment groups reported to
                    >> be
                    >> >> >> > carrying
                    >> >> >> > out abuses do not appear to belong to an organized command
                    >> >> structure
                    >> >> >> or
                    >> >> >> to
                    >> >> >> > be following Syrian National Council orders”.[11] When such
                    >> >> >> incidents
                    >> >> >> > have
                    >> >> >> > come to light the SNC and FSA have condemned them and called for
                    >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > arrest
                    >> >> >> > and prosecution of those responsible, something that has never
                    >> been
                    >> >> >> seen
                    >> >> >> > from the Assad regime.[12] The FSA is generally held in high
                    >> regard
                    >> >> by
                    >> >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > civilian population and seen as protector and defender of the
                    >> >> >> people.[13]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > ISIS and JAN operate outside of the FSA chain of command and
                    >> reject
                    >> >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > leadership of the SNC. Yet, due to their advanced military
                    >> capacity
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > military successes against the Assad regime, some FSA battalions
                    >> >> have
                    >> >> >> > cooperated with them. The majority refuse to do so, and as
                    >> militant
                    >> >> >> Jihadi
                    >> >> >> > groups have grown in strength and carried out increasing attacks
                    >> on
                    >> >> >> > civilians, particularly sectarian violence, the FSA leadership
                    >> has
                    >> >> >> sought
                    >> >> >> > to distance themselves and condemned their actions.[14] The FSA
                    >> has
                    >> >> >> also
                    >> >> >> > been engaged in fierce battles with JAN and ISIS (as was seen
                    >> >> recently
                    >> >> >> in
                    >> >> >> > Bustan Al Qasr) and militant Jihadi groups have expelled FSA
                    >> >> >> battalions
                    >> >> >> > from some areas under their control and even assassinated FSA
                    >> >> >> leaders.[15]
                    >> >> >> > It is also interesting to note, that increasingly JAN and ISIS
                    >> have
                    >> >> >> > refused
                    >> >> >> > to fight against the government on front lines and instead
                    >> focused
                    >> >> on
                    >> >> >> > consolidating their power in areas under their control.[16] This
                    >> is
                    >> >> a
                    >> >> >> > clear
                    >> >> >> > testimony that they are not working for the goals of the
                    >> revolution
                    >> >> >> but
                    >> >> >> > rather to further their own extremist religious agenda.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > There are other battalions that operate outside of the FSA chain
                    >> of
                    >> >> >> > command
                    >> >> >> > and are openly critical of the SNC and FSA leadership
                    >> abroad.[17]
                    >> >> >> These
                    >> >> >> > include both secularists and Islamists. One of the largest
                    >> Islamist
                    >> >> >> > coalitions is The Syrian Islamic Front, comprised mainly of
                    >> >> Salafist
                    >> >> >> > battalions such as Ahrar Al Sham. Their aim is to establish an
                    >> >> Islamic
                    >> >> >> > state governed by Sharia Law although they are Syrian
                    >> nationalists
                    >> >> and
                    >> >> >> not
                    >> >> >> > working for a global caliphate or linked to Al Qaeda.[18] They
                    >> >> reject
                    >> >> >> > western notions of democracy.[19]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > *Syrian government strategy towards militant Jihadis*
                    >> >> >> > When the peaceful popular uprising began in Syria in early 2011,
                    >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > Syrian
                    >> >> >> > government falsely claimed it was fighting Sunni Islamic
                    >> militant
                    >> >> >> > terrorists. This was an attempt to discredit the legitimate
                    >> demands
                    >> >> of
                    >> >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > Syrian people for freedom, social justice and dignity and
                    >> justify
                    >> >> its
                    >> >> >> > terrifying crackdown. As we have seen, to some extent it was to
                    >> >> turn
                    >> >> >> into
                    >> >> >> > a
                    >> >> >> > self-fulfilling prophecy. The government sent Shabiha (armed
                    >> >> Alawite
                    >> >> >> > militias) to arrest and shoot protesters and terrorize the
                    >> civilian
                    >> >> >> > population, thereby introducing sectarianism into the uprising,
                    >> >> >> despite
                    >> >> >> > minority groups such as Alawite, Christians and Kurds playing an
                    >> >> >> active
                    >> >> >> > role in the opposition. In the first five months alone, when
                    >> >> protests
                    >> >> >> were
                    >> >> >> > still peaceful, the UN estimates that hundreds of people were
                    >> >> >> killed.[20]
                    >> >> >> > Many more were imprisoned and brutally tortured. Assad also
                    >> >> released a
                    >> >> >> > large number of militant Jihadi prisoners from jail in the early
                    >> >> days
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > the revolution.[21] The Assad regime has made deals with Jabhat
                    >> Al
                    >> >> >> Nusra,
                    >> >> >> > such as paying them 150 million Syrian Lira [$1.15 million]
                    >> monthly
                    >> >> to
                    >> >> >> > keep
                    >> >> >> > oil flowing through two major pipelines in Banias and
                    >> Latakia.[22]
                    >> >> It
                    >> >> >> is
                    >> >> >> > also clear that the vast majority of attacks carried out by the
                    >> >> regime
                    >> >> >> > have
                    >> >> >> > not been on JAN or ISIS strongholds but rather in areas where
                    >> >> secular
                    >> >> >> or
                    >> >> >> > ‘moderate’ Islamist brigades are concentrated such as Homs,
                    >> >> Deraa
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > FSA
                    >> >> >> > controlled parts of Aleppo. All these factors point to a
                    >> concerted
                    >> >> >> > strategy
                    >> >> >> > by the Syrian regime to allow the uprising to be taken over by
                    >> >> Islamic
                    >> >> >> > extremism and sectarianism which would allow the regime to gain
                    >> >> more
                    >> >> >> > popular support.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > *Opposition to militant-Jihadism in Syria*
                    >> >> >> > Whilst the focus of this article has been armed groups operating
                    >> in
                    >> >> >> Syria,
                    >> >> >> > it is important to note that the grass roots civilian resistance
                    >> in
                    >> >> >> Syria
                    >> >> >> > remains dynamic and strong and stands against both the Assad
                    >> regime
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups (and is often
                    >> highly
                    >> >> >> critical
                    >> >> >> > of the SNC leadership in exile). The overwhelming majority of
                    >> the
                    >> >> >> civil
                    >> >> >> > resistance movements are secular, none-affiliated to traditional
                    >> >> >> political
                    >> >> >> > ideologies and motivated by desires for freedom, social justice
                    >> and
                    >> >> >> > dignity. Major grass roots opposition groupings such as the
                    >> Local
                    >> >> >> > Coordination Committees have released statements condemning the
                    >> >> >> actions
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > JAN and ISIS and have stressed that they are committed to a
                    >> >> “civil,
                    >> >> >> > democratic and pluralist state” that respects the rights of
                    >> all
                    >> >> >> citizens
                    >> >> >> > regardless of religious or ethnic identity.[23]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > There have been increasing protests against JAN and ISIS
                    >> >> particularly
                    >> >> >> in
                    >> >> >> > areas where they are dominant, rejecting their authoritarian
                    >> >> practices
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > condemning their sectarian ideology and abuses.[24] For example,
                    >> in
                    >> >> Al
                    >> >> >> > Raqqa, the first provincial capital to be liberated from the
                    >> >> regime,
                    >> >> >> > militant Jihadi groups took over the civilian local council.
                    >> Where
                    >> >> >> they
                    >> >> >> > tried to put up the black Jihadi flag, local activists pulled it
                    >> >> down
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > replaced it with the revolutionary flag. ISIS also tried to
                    >> impose
                    >> >> >> fasting
                    >> >> >> > on the population during the month of Ramadan and have arrested
                    >> >> many
                    >> >> >> > civilians from the city. The people of Al Raqqa have been
                    >> holding
                    >> >> >> > continuous protests against ISIS and the Islamic court they
                    >> >> >> established,
                    >> >> >> > calling on them to leave.[25] Likewise protesters in Idlib and
                    >> >> Aleppo
                    >> >> >> have
                    >> >> >> > held demonstrations against the Sharia Committee and
                    >> >> extremist/Takfiri
                    >> >> >> > killings.[26] As sectarianism has increased, there have been
                    >> >> protests
                    >> >> >> > calling for national unity in which different religious and
                    >> ethnic
                    >> >> >> groups
                    >> >> >> > have participated.[27] On 1 August in Aleppo a joint protest was
                    >> >> held
                    >> >> >> by
                    >> >> >> > Arabs and Kurds in which hundreds took part, condemning recent
                    >> >> >> atrocities
                    >> >> >> > carried out against the Kurdish population by militant Jihadi
                    >> >> >> groups.[28]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > Civil society organizations such as Nabd have been established
                    >> to
                    >> >> >> promote
                    >> >> >> > co-existence and an end to sectarianism.[29] Likewise,
                    >> non-violent
                    >> >> >> > organizations such as the Freedom Days coalition, which
                    >> comprises a
                    >> >> >> large
                    >> >> >> > number of groups, promote peaceful struggle and coexistence
                    >> across
                    >> >> >> ethnic
                    >> >> >> > and religious lines.[30] In recent days a campaign called
                    >> Goodbye
                    >> >> >> Da3esh
                    >> >> >> > has been established to oppose the wide-spread arrests of
                    >> >> civilians,
                    >> >> >> > including opposition activists, carried out by ISIS.[31]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > Such initiatives and struggles need to be highlighted and
                    >> >> supported.
                    >> >> >> It
                    >> >> >> is
                    >> >> >> > too easy to adopt the simplistic binary narrative promoted by
                    >> >> states
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > blanket thinkers that the choice the Syrian people face is
                    >> between
                    >> >> a
                    >> >> >> > secular fascist dictatorship or Al Qaeda. As Spanish
                    >> >> revolutionaries
                    >> >> >> in
                    >> >> >> > the
                    >> >> >> > 1930s fought on two fronts against both the fascists and the
                    >> >> >> communists,
                    >> >> >> > Syrian revolutionaries have to fight against both the Assad
                    >> regime
                    >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups. It is clear that
                    >> >> >> militant
                    >> >> >> > Jihadism is gaining a foothold in Syria and that as the struggle
                    >> >> >> continues
                    >> >> >> > without resolution they will continue to grow in strength. The
                    >> >> answer
                    >> >> >> is
                    >> >> >> > not to support a regime that holds responsibility for creating
                    >> this
                    >> >> >> > problem
                    >> >> >> > in the first place. The answer is to stand in solidarity with
                    >> those
                    >> >> >> who
                    >> >> >> > struggle against it, in the hope that their voices will not be
                    >> lost
                    >> >> >> for
                    >> >> >> > ever.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > *Endnotes:*
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 1 I emphasis the word militant because the concept of Jihad is
                    >> >> often
                    >> >> >> > misunderstood. Jihad is a religious duty for Muslims and means
                    >> >> >> > “struggle”.
                    >> >> >> > This can be interpreted as a struggle against oppression or the
                    >> >> >> internal
                    >> >> >> > struggles of ones own personal life. In the contemporary use
                    >> >> Jihad(i)
                    >> >> >> > refers to those who find it a religious obligation to defend
                    >> Muslim
                    >> >> >> land
                    >> >> >> > against the Kafir (non believer).
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 2 For some reports on militant Jihadi groups in the region see,
                    >> >> >> > International Crisis Group, Radical Islam in Gaza, (2011),
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx
                    >> >> >> ,
                    >> >> >> > <
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx,%C2%A0
                    >> >> >> >Institute
                    >> >> >> > for the Study of War, Jihad in Syria, (2012),
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Jihad-In-Syria-17SEPT.pdf
                    >> >> >> ,
                    >> >> >> > Omayma Abdel-Latif, ‘Cedar Jihadis’[Lebanon] Al Ahram,
                    >> >> >> > http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/895/re2.htm
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 3 For the pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
                    >> >> (2012)
                    >> >> >> see:
                    >> >> >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 4 For an excellent introduction to the Islamic revival (from an
                    >> >> Arab
                    >> >> >> > feminist perspective) see: Leila Ahmed, A Quiet Revolution: The
                    >> >> >> Veil’s
                    >> >> >> > Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, (2011)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 5 See ‘A Declaration to the People’ (2011)
                    >> >> >> > http://asharqalarabi.org.uk/english/at-3.htm & ‘The pledge and
                    >> >> >> charter
                    >> >> >> > of
                    >> >> >> > the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ (2012)
                    >> >> >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 6 See ‘Syrian Coalition Principles’,
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.etilaf.org/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=35&Itemid=584
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 7 See for example, Mohammed Jean Veneuse, Anarca Islam, (2009)
                    >> >> >> > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/anarca-islam/ and
                    >> David
                    >> >> >> Baker,
                    >> >> >> > Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists, (2011)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/ninth-century-muslim-anarchists/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 8 See Aljazeera ‘Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion’,
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/07/20137188552345899.html
                    >> >> >> .
                    >> >> >> > Whilst these figures vary according to reports from usually from
                    >> >> >> > 6,000-10,000, Syrian grass-roots opposition groups repeatedly
                    >> >> affirm
                    >> >> >> that
                    >> >> >> > militant Jihadi groups have a small presence amongst opposition
                    >> >> armed
                    >> >> >> > groups. For example see ‘Our Revolution: A popular revolution
                    >> for
                    >> >> >> > freedom,
                    >> >> >> > equality and social justice and against every kind of
                    >> >> absolutism’,
                    >> >> >> > (August
                    >> >> >> > 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/our-revolution-a-popular-revolution-for-freedom-equality-and-social-justice-and-against-every-kind-of-absolutism/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 9 See for example: Amnesty International, ‘Annual Report 2013:
                    >> >> >> Syria’
                    >> >> >> > (2013) http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2013 Human
                    >> >> >> Rights
                    >> >> >> > Watch ‘Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack’,
                    >> >> >> > (September
                    >> >> >> > 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/10/syria-government-likely-culprit-chemical-attack
                    >> >> >> > and
                    >> >> >> > The Revolting Syrian ‘Does this not outrage you?’
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/50495350134/does-this-not-outrage-you
                    >> >> >> > [WARNING:
                    >> >> >> > the videos in the last link are extremely graphic]
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 10 Cited in Syria Deeply, ‘The State of a Secular Rebel
                    >> Fighting
                    >> >> >> > Force’,
                    >> >> >> > (September 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/state-secular-rebel-fighting-force/#.UjF5pmQ-u2p
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 11 Human Rights Watch, ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups
                    >> >> Committing
                    >> >> >> > Abuses’,
                    >> >> >> > (March 2012)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 12 See for example: ‘Statement by the General Staff of the
                    >> Free
                    >> >> >> Syrian
                    >> >> >> > Army’ (May 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=482097828528873&set=a.458923474179642.1073741828.458106567594666&type=1
                    >> >> >> > and
                    >> >> >> > ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 13 This is evident in chants of support for the FSA seen at
                    >> weekly
                    >> >> >> > protests
                    >> >> >> > across Syria and also based on my own discussion with Syrian
                    >> >> refugees
                    >> >> >> in
                    >> >> >> > camps across Lebanon and Jordan.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 14 ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July
                    >> 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 15 Martin Chulov, ‘Free Syrian Army clashes with jihadists in
                    >> >> wake
                    >> >> >> of
                    >> >> >> > commander’s assassination’, (July 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/14/free-syrian-army-jihadists-clashes-aleppo
                    >> >> >> > &
                    >> >> >> > Syria Freedom Forever, ‘Syria: the Kurdish question, the
                    >> >> Islamists
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > the
                    >> >> >> > FSA’, (July 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/syria-the-kurdish-question-the-islamists-and-the-fsa/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 16 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘You can jail a revolutionary but
                    >> you
                    >> >> >> can’t
                    >> >> >> > jail
                    >> >> >> > the revolution’, (August 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/you-can-jail-revolutionaries-but-you-cannot-kill-the-revolution-the-syrian-people-will-not-kneel/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 17 For an overview of Syria’s armed opposition see:
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_civil_war
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 18 See the Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front (2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://abujamajem.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/the-charter-of-the-syrian-islamic-front/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 19 Aron Lund, ‘Syria’s Salafi Insurgents: The Rise of the
                    >> >> Syrian
                    >> >> >> > Islamic
                    >> >> >> > Front’, (2012) http://www.ui.se/eng/upl/files/86861.pdf
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 20 United Nations, ‘Syria: Security Council condemns rights
                    >> >> abuses
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > use
                    >> >> >> > of force against civilians’, (August 2011)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=39229&cr1=#.UjHzH2Q-u2p
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 21 ‘Bashar released Al Qaeda prisoners to cover his crimes’,
                    >> Al
                    >> >> >> Ahram,
                    >> >> >> > (March 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/66953/World/Region/Bashar-released-AlQaeda-prisoners-to-cover-his-cri.aspx
                    >> >> >> > &
                    >> >> >> > Misbah Al Ali, ‘Rival Islamists loom large over Syria’, The
                    >> >> Daily
                    >> >> >> Star
                    >> >> >> > (March 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Mar-19/210649-rival-islamists-loom-large-over-syria.ashx#axzz2egSa7ZD9
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 22 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Syria or elsewhere, there are no
                    >> pure
                    >> >> >> > revolutions, just revolutions,’
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/syriaor-elsewhere-there-are-no-pure-revolutions-just-revolutions/
                    >> >> >> > also
                    >> >> >> > Yasser Munif ‘The revolution and the war’,
                    >> >> >> > http://socialistworker.org/2013/09/11/the-revolution-and-the-war.
                    >> >> The
                    >> >> >> > conversion is based on exchange rate of 11 September 2013.
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 23 LCC statement (April 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/condemnation-of-zawahris-statements-regarding-his-intervention-in-the-internal-affairs-of-syria/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 24 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the
                    >> popular
                    >> >> >> > struggles
                    >> >> >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it
                    >> exists!’
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
                    >> >> >> > and
                    >> >> >> > Bassam Haddad, ‘The Growing Challenge to the Syrian regime and
                    >> >> the
                    >> >> >> > Syrian
                    >> >> >> > Uprising’, Jadaliyya, (June 2013)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/12556/the-growing-challenge-to-the-syrian-regime-and-the
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 25 For example see:
                    >> >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hOsyH7zasw&sns=em
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 26 For example see:
                    >> >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8edfgXT61A(Idlib)
                    >> >> >> and
                    >> >> >> > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5WqJ6Y2eQ8 (Aleppo)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 27 For example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaDFddXsJ3w
                    >> >> >> (English
                    >> >> >> > subtitles)
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 28 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the
                    >> popular
                    >> >> >> > struggles
                    >> >> >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it
                    >> exists!’
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 29 See their facebook page here:
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabd-Gathering-for-Syrian-Civil-Youth/361274777254185
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 30 See their facebook page here:
                    >> >> >> > https://en-gb.facebook.com/Freedom.Days.Syria
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >> > 31 See their facebook page here:
                    >> >> >> https://www.facebook.com/goodbyeda3esh
                    >> >> >> >
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >> >>
                    >> >> >
                    >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> >>
                    >> >
                    >>
                    >>
                    >>
                    >>
                    >>
                    >
                  • Cort Greene
                    You are mistaken in your analysis about the writer and the site but what can we expect from a fucking dumb ass... Cort ... You are mistaken in your analysis
                    Message 9 of 10 , Sep 17, 2013
                    • 0 Attachment
                      You are mistaken in your analysis about the writer and the site but what can we expect from a fucking dumb ass...

                      Cort


                      On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 5:56 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                      Yes, the writer is supportive of Foreign intervention by the US, Saudi
                      Arabia and Israel.

                      I've been trying to point that out, to have a discussion on this from your
                      initial posts about Assad and Regime change in Syria and who should be
                      responsible for this, who it is that is being co-opted so that subversive
                      murderous terrorists influences by the three mentioned can be normalized
                      as being necessary.

                      Through all of your reply's being ad hominem attacks and or altering what
                      I wrote and straw man attacks for that, I can only assume a few things.

                      A) You send articles.

                      B) You cannot (or refuse to) discuss the content of any of your posts.

                      C) You support Authoritarians whether they've said they are, or you have
                      appointed them in your mind as such, and like the good Corporate Party and
                      the bad Corporate Party, the only choices are between your Authoritarian
                      stance and the opposition.

                      D) Authoritarians will not tolerate discussion, they are authorities, all
                      questioners and knowledge seekers must be discredited and attacked, and
                      this is your manner of dealing with any discussion.

                      Thank you for this opportunity for a free and open discussion.

                      Scott

                      > Fuck off Scot
                      >
                      > The writer and the website speaks for itself.
                      >
                      > You fucking dumb ass...
                      >
                      > Cort
                      >
                      >
                      > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 5:27 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                      >
                      >> So your saying that your writing a Shrooms as a Ghost writers name? I
                      >> was
                      >> discussing the article, not issuing an ad hominem comment (unless you
                      >> are
                      >> Shrroms? It appears this might be another of your names), when you
                      >> respond
                      >> with a personal attack. Of course, those who read my initial post would
                      >> understand that as I took a direct quote of Shrooms and that was the
                      >> mention to PNAC about it.
                      >>
                      >> You decline to discuss any of the issues, you simply ask that people
                      >> repeat what you are repeating.
                      >>
                      >> You keep selling, and enemy of Assad is a friend of ours, and have never
                      >> stated in the whole Syria Assad series of posts since the gas attacks
                      >> started, nearly immediately after Obama started saying if gas was used
                      >> he'd have to do something, that the USA, the Saud's or Israel aren't as
                      >> likely to do the same thing.
                      >>
                      >> Your posts, that is the stuff you send out, you've declined to make
                      >> personal statements that aren't ad hominem,  defend using terrorists as
                      >> any method to remove Assad, and yet historically speaking, everyone that
                      >> has been freed by US Sponsored terrorism either via proxy or directly,
                      >> have suffered 100 to thousands of time worse.
                      >>
                      >> You, writing as Shrooms, (apparent from your reply as you took the PNAC
                      >> comment as personal) are advocating controlling what happens in the
                      >> Middle
                      >> East. the only people shoe agenda that is are the International Bankers,
                      >> the Corporatists, and the Western Imperialists that are the economic and
                      >> violent enforcers of the International bankers and Cortporationists.
                      >>
                      >> By the way, if your purposeful misspelling my name, that is assuming you
                      >> have read as far as my personal signature at the end of everyone of my
                      >> posts, is in an attempt to get me to reply as emotionally as you are, it
                      >> isn't working. Your research once again shows nothing in common with
                      >> what
                      >> your stating personally about me, and your misspelling of my name.
                      >>
                      >> Scott
                      >>
                      >> > *And Scot, I know about the PNAC and wrote a little note on them in
                      >> > 2004...Stop inferring  I am one of them...Dumb ass Scot *
                      >> >
                      >> >
                      >> >
                      >> > http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org/news/2004/04/13810.php
                      >> >
                      >> >
                      >> > Venezuela: The Coup Makers- The Invisible U.S. Hands
                      >> >
                      >> > By Cort Greene
                      >> >
                      >> > April 20, 2004
                      >> >
                      >> >
                      >> > With rumors of a new coup swirling through Venezuela daily, some with
                      >> > merit, others just the wishful thinking of the fractured but still
                      >> > dangerous "opposition", it is useful to review just who the real
                      >> puppet
                      >> > masters behind the last coup were, and the possibility and the reasons
                      >> > that
                      >> > they will try another one.
                      >> >
                      >> > Removing President Chavez and destroying the Bolivarian Revolutionary
                      >> > Process has been a primary concern of the U.S. government since 1998.
                      >> Why
                      >> > else would it dedicate such resources to this effort? So far they have
                      >> > spent over 4 million dollars in known covert funds, and the actual
                      >> figure
                      >> > is probably twice that amount if we take in account that there are
                      >> over
                      >> > 500
                      >> > U.S. corporations in Venezuela, some of which are CIA fronts. Dick
                      >> > Cheney's
                      >> > pals at Halliburton have 21 offices in Venezuela.
                      >> >
                      >> > These folks have a vested interest in bringing about a change of
                      >> > government
                      >> > – i.e. trampling on the democratic will of the majority of
                      >> Venezuelans
                      >> > if
                      >> > it will bring them higher profits and greater access to the region's
                      >> > natural resources.
                      >> >
                      >> > With the quagmire in Iraq, gaining control over the Venezuelan
                      >> petroleum
                      >> > industry is of particular importance, due to the prospect of an energy
                      >> > crisis and the economic problems that will ensue from it.
                      >> >
                      >> > This could be a catalyst for a greater worldwide crisis than is taking
                      >> > place now, and could be the greatest seen since the 1930s.
                      >> >
                      >> > President Chavez and Bolivarian Revolution are a threat because they
                      >> > provide an example that goes not only against the imperialist plan of
                      >> the
                      >> > Free Trade Agreement of the America's, but shows the potential for a
                      >> > revival of the working class struggle and socialism across the entire
                      >> > region.
                      >> >
                      >> > The usual suspects for another coup attempt in Venezuela include U.S.
                      >> > Ambassador to Venezuela Charles Shapiro (whom it is alleged played a
                      >> part
                      >> > in the spilling of the blood of the working class in Chile and
                      >> Venezuela).
                      >> > And of course there is the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy,
                      >> and
                      >> > a
                      >> > myriad of other organizations.
                      >> >
                      >> > But there is another, more insidious, and less heard of group that has
                      >> > binds together all these other groups and officials together - the
                      >> > "Project
                      >> > for the New American Century" – which played a leading role in
                      >> > developing
                      >> > the US invasion of Iraq. PNAC's board of directors is a "who's who" of
                      >> > government and business, which has representatives in Venezuela either
                      >> > directly or through inter-locking boards of directors.
                      >> >
                      >> > The stated goals of this right-wing think-tank are a bold foreign
                      >> policy,
                      >> > the need to increase defense spending, and to challenge regimes
                      >> hostile
                      >> to
                      >> > the vital interests and values of American capitalism.
                      >> >
                      >> > Some PNAC members include:
                      >> >
                      >> > · Donald Rumsfeld
                      >> >
                      >> > · Paul Wolfowitz
                      >> >
                      >> > · Frank Gaffney
                      >> >
                      >> > · Dan Quayle
                      >> >
                      >> > · Gary Bauer
                      >> >
                      >> > · Elliott Abrams
                      >> >
                      >> > · Steve Forbes
                      >> >
                      >> > · Zalmay Khalilzad
                      >> >
                      >> > · Paula Dobrainsky, Under Secretary for Global affairs
                      >> >
                      >> > · Jeb Bush
                      >> >
                      >> > · William Bennett
                      >> >
                      >> > · Vice President Dick Cheney
                      >> >
                      >> > These are just some of the puppet masters who will do anything to
                      >> ensure
                      >> > the continued U.S. dominance of Latin America and the world. If they
                      >> had
                      >> > their way, they would do to Venezuela what they did to Iraq.
                      >> >
                      >> > But they have fallen into more than a bit of trouble in Iraq, and
                      >> already
                      >> > the world working class is rallying to the defense of the Venezuelan
                      >> > revolution. We must step up the pressure and end the imperialist
                      >> > predations
                      >> > of the U.S. ruling class once and for all!
                      >> >
                      >> > No to U.S. intervention in Venezuela!
                      >> >
                      >> > Defend the Venezuelan Revolution!
                      >> >
                      >> > Forward to Socialism!
                      >> >
                      >> >
                      >> > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 3:40 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                      >> >
                      >> >> Educators do not use ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments. Only
                      >> >> those
                      >> >> supporting agendas and using the little back book of disinformation
                      >> rely
                      >> >> on those tactics to distract people from the questions at hand, which
                      >> >> was
                      >> >> in this instance, seriosuly, it reads like it came right off a PNAC
                      >> >> funded
                      >> >> site;
                      >> >> ***
                      >> >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
                      >> >> organization)
                      >> >> working for?
                      >> >>
                      >> >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC site?
                      >> >> ***
                      >> >>
                      >> >> I dare say this ID your using is the same as another I that sues the
                      >> >> same
                      >> >> tactics, partial because of your refusal to duplicate simple things
                      >> like
                      >> >> spelling of my name, or that you never read further then you can
                      >> create
                      >> >> an
                      >> >> ad hominem attack for response to.
                      >> >>
                      >> >> Seriously, I thought you and your Marxist people were not on the side
                      >> of
                      >> >> the Imperialists. You send stuff that appears to be from Anarchists,
                      >> >> that
                      >> >> also do naught but support the Imperialists desires.
                      >> >>
                      >> >> Seriously, this is something I must take the opportunity to point out
                      >> to
                      >> >> others, especially on a list that is suppose to be for alternate
                      >> media
                      >> >> instead of shadowy propaganda wearing the cloak of the International
                      >> >> Corporate Oppositionists.
                      >> >>
                      >> >> It's what your articles support, You on the other hand have never
                      >> taken
                      >> >> the opportunities presented to discuss anything, you just revert to
                      >> >> personal attacks.
                      >> >>
                      >> >> Scott
                      >> >>
                      >> >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                      >> >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
                      >> >> militant-Jihadi groups"
                      >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> >> Scott
                      >> >>
                      >> >> > *Oh Scot*
                      >> >> > *
                      >> >> > *
                      >> >> > *Your ignorance is showing or is it that the pole from the caber
                      >> toss
                      >> >> hit
                      >> >> > you in the head too many times at the Highland games... [?]*
                      >> >> > *
                      >> >> > *
                      >> >> > *Rojo Rojito*
                      >> >> > *
                      >> >> > *
                      >> >> > *Cort*
                      >> >> >
                      >> >> >
                      >> >> >
                      >> >> > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                      >> >> >
                      >> >> >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
                      >> >> >> organization)
                      >> >> >> working for?
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >> >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC
                      >> site?
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >> >> Scott
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >> >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                      >> >> >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
                      >> >> >> militant-Jihadi groups"
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >> >> > *Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982
                      >> >> >> > #Lebanon<http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Lebanon>
                      >> >> >> > *
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > ← SYRIA/PALESTINE: Palestinians and the Syrian Revolution:
                      >> >> Lessons
                      >> >> >> from
                      >> >> >> > the
                      >> >> >> > fight against
                      >> >> >> > fascism<
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syriapalestine-palestinians-and-the-syrian-revolution-lessons-from-the-fight-against-fascism/
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > →<
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/uk-anti-fascist-network-statement-on-saturday-7th-september-edl-demonstration/
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from
                      >> >> Mythology
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > SEP
                      >> >> >> > 12<
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > Posted by tahriricn
                      >> >> <http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/author/tahriricn/
                      >> >> >
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN[image:
                      >> >> >> > ED-AR204_obagy_D_20130830164816]<
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://tahriricn.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ed-ar204_obagy_d_20130830164816.jpg
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory of
                      >> >> >> Syria’s
                      >> >> >> > revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The
                      >> danger
                      >> >> >> that
                      >> >> >> > the
                      >> >> >> > increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and the
                      >> >> region
                      >> >> >> > should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings
                      >> exist
                      >> >> >> about
                      >> >> >> > the nature and dominance of such groups which this article
                      >> attempts
                      >> >> to
                      >> >> >> > address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we able
                      >> to
                      >> >> >> move
                      >> >> >> > forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the
                      >> threat
                      >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding of
                      >> who
                      >> >> is
                      >> >> >> > working for the original goals of the revolution so that they
                      >> can
                      >> >> be
                      >> >> >> given
                      >> >> >> > the solidarity they deserve.
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > *Al Qaeda ideology*
                      >> >> >> > Al Qaeda or militant Jihadi groups[1] have an internationalist
                      >> >> >> perspective
                      >> >> >> > and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a
                      >> strict
                      >> >> >> > interpretation of Sharia law. The ideology of Al Qaeda groups is
                      >> >> >> closely
                      >> >> >> > related to Salafi/Wahabi ideology (the totalitarian political
                      >> >> doctrine
                      >> >> >> > which is practiced in Saudi Arabia). Whilst Salafism is an
                      >> >> extremely
                      >> >> >> > repressive, puritanical ideology which follows a literal
                      >> >> >> interpretation
                      >> >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > the Quran, it is important to note that not all Salafists
                      >> believe
                      >> >> in
                      >> >> >> > violent means to establish their goals and that some Salafists
                      >> are
                      >> >> >> > prepared
                      >> >> >> > to work within a democratic system. By contrast, militant Jihadi
                      >> >> >> groups
                      >> >> >> > reject the concept of democracy holding that their
                      >> interpretation
                      >> >> of
                      >> >> >> Islam
                      >> >> >> > is mandated by God. They believe that it is a religious duty to
                      >> >> defend
                      >> >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > Muslim community against enemies of Islam and are prepared to
                      >> die
                      >> >> as
                      >> >> >> > martyrs for that cause. They regard anyone who does not
                      >> subscribe
                      >> >> to
                      >> >> >> their
                      >> >> >> > ideology (including liberal Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims) as
                      >> >> >> > heretics/Kafir. Some, known as Takfiris, believe that they have
                      >> the
                      >> >> >> right
                      >> >> >> > to kill heretics. Al Qaeda affiliated groups in the region
                      >> include
                      >> >> >> > Egyptian
                      >> >> >> > Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and
                      >> Saudi
                      >> >> >> > Arabia,
                      >> >> >> > Jund Ansar Allah in Palestine, Fatah Al Islam in Lebanon and Al
                      >> >> Qaeda
                      >> >> >> in
                      >> >> >> > the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco. [2]These groups do
                      >> not
                      >> >> >> have a
                      >> >> >> > broad popular support base, primarily due to their use of
                      >> terrorist
                      >> >> >> means
                      >> >> >> > targeting civilians in countries in which they operate and their
                      >> >> >> following
                      >> >> >> > of an interpretation of Islam which is alien to almost everyone.
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > *Mainstream political Islam*
                      >> >> >> > It is important not to confuse militant Jihadis with mainstream
                      >> >> >> political
                      >> >> >> > Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the
                      >> Muslim
                      >> >> >> > Brotherhood is undoubtably conservative and reactionary, they
                      >> have
                      >> >> >> broad
                      >> >> >> > based popular support across the Middle East and North Africa
                      >> and
                      >> >> have
                      >> >> >> won
                      >> >> >> > democratic elections in Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt. They
                      >> gained
                      >> >> >> > prominence during the Islamic revival of the 1970s, as a direct
                      >> >> >> response
                      >> >> >> > to
                      >> >> >> > western imperialism. They work to reinstate Islamic laws and
                      >> >> believe
                      >> >> >> in
                      >> >> >> > the
                      >> >> >> > concept of Islamic unity and the return of the caliphate
                      >> abolished
                      >> >> by
                      >> >> >> > Ataturk in 1924 although they primarily struggle on the national
                      >> >> >> level.
                      >> >> >> > They advocate that political Islam is compatible with the
                      >> >> >> establishment
                      >> >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > a modern, democratic, multi-party state that respects human
                      >> rights,
                      >> >> >> > including the rights of religious minorities.[3] Pursuing social
                      >> >> >> justice
                      >> >> >> > and particularly reducing the gap between rich and poor has been
                      >> a
                      >> >> key
                      >> >> >> > tenet of their ideology and to this end they established a vast
                      >> >> >> network
                      >> >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > social services which gained them the support of the urban and
                      >> >> rural
                      >> >> >> > poor.[4] Although they have been known to use violent means to
                      >> >> achieve
                      >> >> >> > their goals, the Muslim Brotherhood officially rejects the use
                      >> of
                      >> >> >> > violence.[5]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > The experience of countries that have been governed by the
                      >> Muslim
                      >> >> >> > Brotherhood show a wide gap between their rhetoric and reality.
                      >> >> Highly
                      >> >> >> > authoritarian and repressive regimes have been established where
                      >> >> they
                      >> >> >> have
                      >> >> >> > come to power. Yet we should not regard the Muslim Brotherhood
                      >> as a
                      >> >> >> > violent
                      >> >> >> > terrorist organization or overlook the support the organization
                      >> has
                      >> >> >> > amongst
                      >> >> >> > broad sections of a religiously conservative population.
                      >> Therefore
                      >> >> >> > strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                      >> Brotherhood
                      >> >> >> should
                      >> >> >> > be
                      >> >> >> > fundamentally different from our approach to militant-Jihadi
                      >> >> groups.
                      >> >> >> The
                      >> >> >> > Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the Syrian National Coalition
                      >> >> (the
                      >> >> >> > bourgeois opposition in exile which is backed by the West, Gulf
                      >> >> States
                      >> >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > Turkey and influenced by foreign agendas). The Syrian National
                      >> >> >> Coalition
                      >> >> >> > also includes secular and leftist opposition groups (including
                      >> >> >> Christian
                      >> >> >> > and Kurdish parties), the Free Syrian Army, grass-roots
                      >> opposition
                      >> >> >> groups
                      >> >> >> > and independents. It advocates establishing a civil, democratic
                      >> >> >> Syria.[6]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > Between the ‘moderate’ political Islamists and Al Qaeda
                      >> there
                      >> >> >> exists a
                      >> >> >> > broad spectrum of other Salafist groups which subscribe to
                      >> >> puritanical
                      >> >> >> > versions of Islam some of which are militant. They include Al
                      >> Nour
                      >> >> >> party
                      >> >> >> > in
                      >> >> >> > Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jaysh al Islam in Palestine, and Ansar
                      >> Al
                      >> >> >> Islam
                      >> >> >> > and Ahrar Al Sham in Syria. Further, although the overwhelming
                      >> >> >> majority
                      >> >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > people in the region are Muslim, many are also secularists,
                      >> >> including
                      >> >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > vast majority of Syria’s grassroots civil opposition.
                      >> Socialist
                      >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > anti-authoritarian/anarchist currents also exist within Islam
                      >> with
                      >> >> >> roots
                      >> >> >> > that can be traced back to the ninth century.[7]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > *Al Qaeda groups in Syria*
                      >> >> >> > The two Al Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are Jabhat
                      >> Al
                      >> >> >> Nusra
                      >> >> >> > (Al Nusra Front – JAN) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham
                      >> >> >> (ISIS).
                      >> >> >> > Both
                      >> >> >> > can be traced back to groups established to fight against the
                      >> >> American
                      >> >> >> > occupation of Iraq and grew in strength due to the sponsorship
                      >> of
                      >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > Syrian government. This is important to note because whilst the
                      >> >> >> origins
                      >> >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > Al Qaeda globally go back to Afghanistan, where they were
                      >> supported
                      >> >> by
                      >> >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > CIA to fight against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, this is not
                      >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > experience of Al Qaeda groups operating in Syria or Iraq today
                      >> >> which
                      >> >> >> fight
                      >> >> >> > against US imperialism, Zionism and all western influence.
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > Some of JAN’s members are Syrians that returned from fighting
                      >> in
                      >> >> >> Iraq
                      >> >> >> > when
                      >> >> >> > the uprising broke out in 2011, but many foreigners also joined
                      >> >> their
                      >> >> >> > ranks. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq
                      >> claimed
                      >> >> >> that
                      >> >> >> > JAN was its branch in Syria. However, JAN’s leader, Abu
                      >> Mohammed
                      >> >> Al
                      >> >> >> > Golani,
                      >> >> >> > has rejected this claim whilst simultaneously pledging
                      >> allegiance
                      >> >> to
                      >> >> >> Al
                      >> >> >> > Qaeda globally. ISIS is a part of the Al Qaeda network and the
                      >> >> >> majority
                      >> >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > its members are foreigners. Whilst exact numbers are not known
                      >> it
                      >> >> is
                      >> >> >> > estimated that together JAN and ISIS have around10,000 members,
                      >> >> less
                      >> >> >> than
                      >> >> >> > 10 per cent of estimated armed opposition fighters.[8] Both aim
                      >> to
                      >> >> >> > overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad, establish and
                      >> Islamic
                      >> >> >> > caliphate and a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are
                      >> opposed
                      >> >> to
                      >> >> >> > Western intervention and are opposed to the US and Israel.
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > The numbers of JAN and ISIS are relatively small, yet they have
                      >> a
                      >> >> >> > disproportionate strength compared to other armed opposition
                      >> >> groups.
                      >> >> >> They
                      >> >> >> > have battle-experience from Iraq and have received a lot of
                      >> >> military
                      >> >> >> > support from Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and
                      >> Qatar,
                      >> >> >> which
                      >> >> >> > aim
                      >> >> >> > to destabilize Syria through sectarian conflict in order to
                      >> prevent
                      >> >> a
                      >> >> >> > popular revolution from succeeding. By contrast other armed
                      >> groups
                      >> >> are
                      >> >> >> > still mainly dependent on light weapons and what they can seize
                      >> >> from
                      >> >> >> > Syrian
                      >> >> >> > army bases they have captured. JAN and ISIS are concentrated in
                      >> the
                      >> >> >> north
                      >> >> >> > of the country, along the Turkish border in Aleppo and Idlib
                      >> >> >> governorates,
                      >> >> >> > in Al Raqqa governorate, and in the east in Deir Al Zour
                      >> >> governorate
                      >> >> >> along
                      >> >> >> > the border with Iraq. They have attempted to set up Islamic
                      >> >> emirates
                      >> >> >> in
                      >> >> >> > areas under their control, established Sharia courts and placed
                      >> >> >> > restrictions on the rights of women and minorities.
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > Both groups have been responsible for carrying out attacks
                      >> against
                      >> >> >> > civilians, including suicide bombings, the arrest of opposition
                      >> >> >> activists,
                      >> >> >> > the torture and extrajudicial killing of Syrian army soldiers
                      >> they
                      >> >> >> have
                      >> >> >> > captured, and sectarian killings. Most recently they have been
                      >> >> >> responsible
                      >> >> >> > for atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population,
                      >> causing
                      >> >> >> over
                      >> >> >> > 20,000 Kurds to flee to Iraq in August. The extremism and
                      >> violence
                      >> >> >> > practiced by such groups is an increasing trend and major cause
                      >> for
                      >> >> >> > concern. Yet, it must be borne in mind that the overwhelming
                      >> >> majority
                      >> >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > the estimated 120,000 deaths and vast majority of cases of
                      >> torture
                      >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > brutality in Syria over the past 2.5 years have been carried out
                      >> by
                      >> >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > Syrian regime.[9]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > Al Qaeda affiliated groups have the potential to cause chaos and
                      >> >> >> violence
                      >> >> >> > in Syria and the region for many years to come. However, their
                      >> >> ability
                      >> >> >> to
                      >> >> >> > impose their vision on a future Syria is grossly over-estimated.
                      >> >> They
                      >> >> >> are
                      >> >> >> > small in number, they do not have a popular support base, and
                      >> the
                      >> >> >> majority
                      >> >> >> > of their ranks are foreigners. After 10 years of causing turmoil
                      >> in
                      >> >> >> Iraq,
                      >> >> >> > including the massacre of thousands of civilians, they did not
                      >> >> manage
                      >> >> >> to
                      >> >> >> > win the support of the local population or create an Islamic
                      >> state.
                      >> >> >> > According to a Syrian rebel from a secular brigade in Salamiyah;
                      >> >> “Al
                      >> >> >> > Qaida
                      >> >> >> > is the one thing that will unite Syrian people after the
                      >> >> revolution,
                      >> >> >> > because all of the Syrians will want them out – those who are
                      >> now
                      >> >> >> with
                      >> >> >> > the
                      >> >> >> > regime and those who are against the regime. Nobody likes these
                      >> >> people
                      >> >> >> …
                      >> >> >> > After the regime falls there will have to be a new military
                      >> >> formation
                      >> >> >> to
                      >> >> >> > confront these radical movements.”[10]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > *Relationship of militant Jihadi groups to the Free Syrian Army
                      >> >> (FSA)*
                      >> >> >> > The Free Syrian Army is the main, and by far the largest, armed
                      >> >> >> opposition
                      >> >> >> > group in Syria.  It’s leadership is linked to the SNC. The FSA
                      >> is
                      >> >> >> > comprised
                      >> >> >> > of officers and soldiers that have defected from the regime as
                      >> well
                      >> >> as
                      >> >> >> > anti-regime elements of the civilian population. It is committed
                      >> to
                      >> >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > overthrow of Assad and the establishment of a  plural, civil,
                      >> >> >> democratic
                      >> >> >> > Syria. The FSA is comprised of many battalions. The leader of
                      >> the
                      >> >> FSA,
                      >> >> >> > Salmin Idriss has stated he is committed to secularism, yet some
                      >> >> >> > battalions
                      >> >> >> > are Islamist (mainly Muslim Brotherhood affiliated), some are
                      >> >> secular
                      >> >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > some are comprised of Christians, Kurds and Alawites. There are
                      >> >> even
                      >> >> >> women
                      >> >> >> > only brigades.
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > Whilst serious human rights abuses have been carried out by
                      >> >> elements
                      >> >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > the
                      >> >> >> > FSA, these appear to be mainly isolated incidents rather than
                      >> >> >> wide-spread
                      >> >> >> > and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian areas. Human
                      >> >> Rights
                      >> >> >> Watch
                      >> >> >> > has noted that “many of the antigovernment groups reported to
                      >> be
                      >> >> >> > carrying
                      >> >> >> > out abuses do not appear to belong to an organized command
                      >> >> structure
                      >> >> >> or
                      >> >> >> to
                      >> >> >> > be following Syrian National Council orders”.[11] When such
                      >> >> >> incidents
                      >> >> >> > have
                      >> >> >> > come to light the SNC and FSA have condemned them and called for
                      >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > arrest
                      >> >> >> > and prosecution of those responsible, something that has never
                      >> been
                      >> >> >> seen
                      >> >> >> > from the Assad regime.[12] The FSA is generally held in high
                      >> regard
                      >> >> by
                      >> >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > civilian population and seen as protector and defender of the
                      >> >> >> people.[13]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > ISIS and JAN operate outside of the FSA chain of command and
                      >> reject
                      >> >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > leadership of the SNC. Yet, due to their advanced military
                      >> capacity
                      >> >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > military successes against the Assad regime, some FSA battalions
                      >> >> have
                      >> >> >> > cooperated with them. The majority refuse to do so, and as
                      >> militant
                      >> >> >> Jihadi
                      >> >> >> > groups have grown in strength and carried out increasing attacks
                      >> on
                      >> >> >> > civilians, particularly sectarian violence, the FSA leadership
                      >> has
                      >> >> >> sought
                      >> >> >> > to distance themselves and condemned their actions.[14] The FSA
                      >> has
                      >> >> >> also
                      >> >> >> > been engaged in fierce battles with JAN and ISIS (as was seen
                      >> >> recently
                      >> >> >> in
                      >> >> >> > Bustan Al Qasr) and militant Jihadi groups have expelled FSA
                      >> >> >> battalions
                      >> >> >> > from some areas under their control and even assassinated FSA
                      >> >> >> leaders.[15]
                      >> >> >> > It is also interesting to note, that increasingly JAN and ISIS
                      >> have
                      >> >> >> > refused
                      >> >> >> > to fight against the government on front lines and instead
                      >> focused
                      >> >> on
                      >> >> >> > consolidating their power in areas under their control.[16] This
                      >> is
                      >> >> a
                      >> >> >> > clear
                      >> >> >> > testimony that they are not working for the goals of the
                      >> revolution
                      >> >> >> but
                      >> >> >> > rather to further their own extremist religious agenda.
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > There are other battalions that operate outside of the FSA chain
                      >> of
                      >> >> >> > command
                      >> >> >> > and are openly critical of the SNC and FSA leadership
                      >> abroad.[17]
                      >> >> >> These
                      >> >> >> > include both secularists and Islamists. One of the largest
                      >> Islamist
                      >> >> >> > coalitions is The Syrian Islamic Front, comprised mainly of
                      >> >> Salafist
                      >> >> >> > battalions such as Ahrar Al Sham. Their aim is to establish an
                      >> >> Islamic
                      >> >> >> > state governed by Sharia Law although they are Syrian
                      >> nationalists
                      >> >> and
                      >> >> >> not
                      >> >> >> > working for a global caliphate or linked to Al Qaeda.[18] They
                      >> >> reject
                      >> >> >> > western notions of democracy.[19]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > *Syrian government strategy towards militant Jihadis*
                      >> >> >> > When the peaceful popular uprising began in Syria in early 2011,
                      >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > Syrian
                      >> >> >> > government falsely claimed it was fighting Sunni Islamic
                      >> militant
                      >> >> >> > terrorists. This was an attempt to discredit the legitimate
                      >> demands
                      >> >> of
                      >> >> >> the
                      >> >> >> > Syrian people for freedom, social justice and dignity and
                      >> justify
                      >> >> its
                      >> >> >> > terrifying crackdown. As we have seen, to some extent it was to
                      >> >> turn
                      >> >> >> into
                      >> >> >> > a
                      >> >> >> > self-fulfilling prophecy. The government sent Shabiha (armed
                      >> >> Alawite
                      >> >> >> > militias) to arrest and shoot protesters and terrorize the
                      >> civilian
                      >> >> >> > population, thereby introducing sectarianism into the uprising,
                      >> >> >> despite
                      >> >> >> > minority groups such as Alawite, Christians and Kurds playing an
                      >> >> >> active
                      >> >> >> > role in the opposition. In the first five months alone, when
                      >> >> protests
                      >> >> >> were
                      >> >> >> > still peaceful, the UN estimates that hundreds of people were
                      >> >> >> killed.[20]
                      >> >> >> > Many more were imprisoned and brutally tortured. Assad also
                      >> >> released a
                      >> >> >> > large number of militant Jihadi prisoners from jail in the early
                      >> >> days
                      >> >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > the revolution.[21] The Assad regime has made deals with Jabhat
                      >> Al
                      >> >> >> Nusra,
                      >> >> >> > such as paying them 150 million Syrian Lira [$1.15 million]
                      >> monthly
                      >> >> to
                      >> >> >> > keep
                      >> >> >> > oil flowing through two major pipelines in Banias and
                      >> Latakia.[22]
                      >> >> It
                      >> >> >> is
                      >> >> >> > also clear that the vast majority of attacks carried out by the
                      >> >> regime
                      >> >> >> > have
                      >> >> >> > not been on JAN or ISIS strongholds but rather in areas where
                      >> >> secular
                      >> >> >> or
                      >> >> >> > ‘moderate’ Islamist brigades are concentrated such as Homs,
                      >> >> Deraa
                      >> >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > FSA
                      >> >> >> > controlled parts of Aleppo. All these factors point to a
                      >> concerted
                      >> >> >> > strategy
                      >> >> >> > by the Syrian regime to allow the uprising to be taken over by
                      >> >> Islamic
                      >> >> >> > extremism and sectarianism which would allow the regime to gain
                      >> >> more
                      >> >> >> > popular support.
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > *Opposition to militant-Jihadism in Syria*
                      >> >> >> > Whilst the focus of this article has been armed groups operating
                      >> in
                      >> >> >> Syria,
                      >> >> >> > it is important to note that the grass roots civilian resistance
                      >> in
                      >> >> >> Syria
                      >> >> >> > remains dynamic and strong and stands against both the Assad
                      >> regime
                      >> >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups (and is often
                      >> highly
                      >> >> >> critical
                      >> >> >> > of the SNC leadership in exile). The overwhelming majority of
                      >> the
                      >> >> >> civil
                      >> >> >> > resistance movements are secular, none-affiliated to traditional
                      >> >> >> political
                      >> >> >> > ideologies and motivated by desires for freedom, social justice
                      >> and
                      >> >> >> > dignity. Major grass roots opposition groupings such as the
                      >> Local
                      >> >> >> > Coordination Committees have released statements condemning the
                      >> >> >> actions
                      >> >> >> of
                      >> >> >> > JAN and ISIS and have stressed that they are committed to a
                      >> >> “civil,
                      >> >> >> > democratic and pluralist state” that respects the rights of
                      >> all
                      >> >> >> citizens
                      >> >> >> > regardless of religious or ethnic identity.[23]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > There have been increasing protests against JAN and ISIS
                      >> >> particularly
                      >> >> >> in
                      >> >> >> > areas where they are dominant, rejecting their authoritarian
                      >> >> practices
                      >> >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > condemning their sectarian ideology and abuses.[24] For example,
                      >> in
                      >> >> Al
                      >> >> >> > Raqqa, the first provincial capital to be liberated from the
                      >> >> regime,
                      >> >> >> > militant Jihadi groups took over the civilian local council.
                      >> Where
                      >> >> >> they
                      >> >> >> > tried to put up the black Jihadi flag, local activists pulled it
                      >> >> down
                      >> >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > replaced it with the revolutionary flag. ISIS also tried to
                      >> impose
                      >> >> >> fasting
                      >> >> >> > on the population during the month of Ramadan and have arrested
                      >> >> many
                      >> >> >> > civilians from the city. The people of Al Raqqa have been
                      >> holding
                      >> >> >> > continuous protests against ISIS and the Islamic court they
                      >> >> >> established,
                      >> >> >> > calling on them to leave.[25] Likewise protesters in Idlib and
                      >> >> Aleppo
                      >> >> >> have
                      >> >> >> > held demonstrations against the Sharia Committee and
                      >> >> extremist/Takfiri
                      >> >> >> > killings.[26] As sectarianism has increased, there have been
                      >> >> protests
                      >> >> >> > calling for national unity in which different religious and
                      >> ethnic
                      >> >> >> groups
                      >> >> >> > have participated.[27] On 1 August in Aleppo a joint protest was
                      >> >> held
                      >> >> >> by
                      >> >> >> > Arabs and Kurds in which hundreds took part, condemning recent
                      >> >> >> atrocities
                      >> >> >> > carried out against the Kurdish population by militant Jihadi
                      >> >> >> groups.[28]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > Civil society organizations such as Nabd have been established
                      >> to
                      >> >> >> promote
                      >> >> >> > co-existence and an end to sectarianism.[29] Likewise,
                      >> non-violent
                      >> >> >> > organizations such as the Freedom Days coalition, which
                      >> comprises a
                      >> >> >> large
                      >> >> >> > number of groups, promote peaceful struggle and coexistence
                      >> across
                      >> >> >> ethnic
                      >> >> >> > and religious lines.[30] In recent days a campaign called
                      >> Goodbye
                      >> >> >> Da3esh
                      >> >> >> > has been established to oppose the wide-spread arrests of
                      >> >> civilians,
                      >> >> >> > including opposition activists, carried out by ISIS.[31]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > Such initiatives and struggles need to be highlighted and
                      >> >> supported.
                      >> >> >> It
                      >> >> >> is
                      >> >> >> > too easy to adopt the simplistic binary narrative promoted by
                      >> >> states
                      >> >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > blanket thinkers that the choice the Syrian people face is
                      >> between
                      >> >> a
                      >> >> >> > secular fascist dictatorship or Al Qaeda. As Spanish
                      >> >> revolutionaries
                      >> >> >> in
                      >> >> >> > the
                      >> >> >> > 1930s fought on two fronts against both the fascists and the
                      >> >> >> communists,
                      >> >> >> > Syrian revolutionaries have to fight against both the Assad
                      >> regime
                      >> >> and
                      >> >> >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups. It is clear that
                      >> >> >> militant
                      >> >> >> > Jihadism is gaining a foothold in Syria and that as the struggle
                      >> >> >> continues
                      >> >> >> > without resolution they will continue to grow in strength. The
                      >> >> answer
                      >> >> >> is
                      >> >> >> > not to support a regime that holds responsibility for creating
                      >> this
                      >> >> >> > problem
                      >> >> >> > in the first place. The answer is to stand in solidarity with
                      >> those
                      >> >> >> who
                      >> >> >> > struggle against it, in the hope that their voices will not be
                      >> lost
                      >> >> >> for
                      >> >> >> > ever.
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > *Endnotes:*
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 1 I emphasis the word militant because the concept of Jihad is
                      >> >> often
                      >> >> >> > misunderstood. Jihad is a religious duty for Muslims and means
                      >> >> >> > “struggle”.
                      >> >> >> > This can be interpreted as a struggle against oppression or the
                      >> >> >> internal
                      >> >> >> > struggles of ones own personal life. In the contemporary use
                      >> >> Jihad(i)
                      >> >> >> > refers to those who find it a religious obligation to defend
                      >> Muslim
                      >> >> >> land
                      >> >> >> > against the Kafir (non believer).
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 2 For some reports on militant Jihadi groups in the region see,
                      >> >> >> > International Crisis Group, Radical Islam in Gaza, (2011),
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx
                      >> >> >> ,
                      >> >> >> > <
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx,%C2%A0
                      >> >> >> >Institute
                      >> >> >> > for the Study of War, Jihad in Syria, (2012),
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Jihad-In-Syria-17SEPT.pdf
                      >> >> >> ,
                      >> >> >> > Omayma Abdel-Latif, ‘Cedar Jihadis’[Lebanon] Al Ahram,
                      >> >> >> > http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/895/re2.htm
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 3 For the pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
                      >> >> (2012)
                      >> >> >> see:
                      >> >> >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 4 For an excellent introduction to the Islamic revival (from an
                      >> >> Arab
                      >> >> >> > feminist perspective) see: Leila Ahmed, A Quiet Revolution: The
                      >> >> >> Veil’s
                      >> >> >> > Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, (2011)
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 5 See ‘A Declaration to the People’ (2011)
                      >> >> >> > http://asharqalarabi.org.uk/english/at-3.htm & ‘The pledge and
                      >> >> >> charter
                      >> >> >> > of
                      >> >> >> > the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ (2012)
                      >> >> >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 6 See ‘Syrian Coalition Principles’,
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://www.etilaf.org/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=35&Itemid=584
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 7 See for example, Mohammed Jean Veneuse, Anarca Islam, (2009)
                      >> >> >> > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/anarca-islam/ and
                      >> David
                      >> >> >> Baker,
                      >> >> >> > Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists, (2011)
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/ninth-century-muslim-anarchists/
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 8 See Aljazeera ‘Interactive: Mapping Syria’s rebellion’,
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/07/20137188552345899.html
                      >> >> >> .
                      >> >> >> > Whilst these figures vary according to reports from usually from
                      >> >> >> > 6,000-10,000, Syrian grass-roots opposition groups repeatedly
                      >> >> affirm
                      >> >> >> that
                      >> >> >> > militant Jihadi groups have a small presence amongst opposition
                      >> >> armed
                      >> >> >> > groups. For example see ‘Our Revolution: A popular revolution
                      >> for
                      >> >> >> > freedom,
                      >> >> >> > equality and social justice and against every kind of
                      >> >> absolutism’,
                      >> >> >> > (August
                      >> >> >> > 2013)
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/our-revolution-a-popular-revolution-for-freedom-equality-and-social-justice-and-against-every-kind-of-absolutism/
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 9 See for example: Amnesty International, ‘Annual Report 2013:
                      >> >> >> Syria’
                      >> >> >> > (2013) http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2013  Human
                      >> >> >> Rights
                      >> >> >> > Watch ‘Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical Attack’,
                      >> >> >> > (September
                      >> >> >> > 2013)
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/10/syria-government-likely-culprit-chemical-attack
                      >> >> >> > and
                      >> >> >> > The Revolting Syrian ‘Does this not outrage you?’
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/50495350134/does-this-not-outrage-you
                      >> >> >> > [WARNING:
                      >> >> >> > the videos in the last link are extremely graphic]
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 10  Cited in Syria Deeply, ‘The State of a Secular Rebel
                      >> Fighting
                      >> >> >> > Force’,
                      >> >> >> > (September 2013)
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/state-secular-rebel-fighting-force/#.UjF5pmQ-u2p
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 11  Human Rights Watch, ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups
                      >> >> Committing
                      >> >> >> > Abuses’,
                      >> >> >> > (March 2012)
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >> > 12 See for example: ‘Statement by the General Staff of the
                      >> Free
                      >> >> >> Syrian
                      >> >> >> > Army’ (May 2013)
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >> https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=482097828528873&set=a.458923474179642.1073741828.458106567594666&type=1
                      >> >> >> > and
                      >> >> >> > ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July 2013)
                      >> >> >> >
                      >> >> >>
                      >> >>
                      >>
                    • scotpeden
                      You are mistaken in that supporting western intervention (you do read the articles you send don t you?) you can t even state what you think is wrong, you
                      Message 10 of 10 , Sep 17, 2013
                      • 0 Attachment
                        You are mistaken in that supporting western intervention (you do read the
                        articles you send don't you?) you can't even state what you think is
                        wrong, you simply issue personal attacks.

                        So that brings me to finally stating, since you obviously don't read all
                        of my
                        posts before responding ad hominem, do you read all of the posts from the
                        Marxist site you forward from constantly?

                        What it winds up looking like on my end reading your posts, your only
                        responsible to forward their agenda, not understand anything apparently.

                        You've taken a good score of opportunities to discuss and make even more
                        transparent what is going on in Syria and squandered it on personal
                        attacks.

                        It simply looks like you do not want the articles you forward along from
                        your Marxist groups, to be discussed. If I missed something, if anything
                        was misunderstood, you have had a hundred opportunities in the last 6
                        weeks or so, to have a discussion instead of personal attacks.

                        Scott


                        > You are mistaken in your analysis about the writer and the site but what
                        > can we expect from a fucking dumb ass...
                        >
                        > Cort
                        >
                        >
                        > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 5:56 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >> Yes, the writer is supportive of Foreign intervention by the US, Saudi
                        >> Arabia and Israel.
                        >>
                        >> I've been trying to point that out, to have a discussion on this from
                        >> your
                        >> initial posts about Assad and Regime change in Syria and who should be
                        >> responsible for this, who it is that is being co-opted so that
                        >> subversive
                        >> murderous terrorists influences by the three mentioned can be normalized
                        >> as being necessary.
                        >>
                        >> Through all of your reply's being ad hominem attacks and or altering
                        >> what
                        >> I wrote and straw man attacks for that, I can only assume a few things.
                        >>
                        >> A) You send articles.
                        >>
                        >> B) You cannot (or refuse to) discuss the content of any of your posts.
                        >>
                        >> C) You support Authoritarians whether they've said they are, or you have
                        >> appointed them in your mind as such, and like the good Corporate Party
                        >> and
                        >> the bad Corporate Party, the only choices are between your Authoritarian
                        >> stance and the opposition.
                        >>
                        >> D) Authoritarians will not tolerate discussion, they are authorities,
                        >> all
                        >> questioners and knowledge seekers must be discredited and attacked, and
                        >> this is your manner of dealing with any discussion.
                        >>
                        >> Thank you for this opportunity for a free and open discussion.
                        >>
                        >> Scott
                        >>
                        >> > Fuck off Scot
                        >> >
                        >> > The writer and the website speaks for itself.
                        >> >
                        >> > You fucking dumb ass...
                        >> >
                        >> > Cort
                        >> >
                        >> >
                        >> > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 5:27 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                        >> >
                        >> >> So your saying that your writing a Shrooms as a Ghost writers name? I
                        >> >> was
                        >> >> discussing the article, not issuing an ad hominem comment (unless you
                        >> >> are
                        >> >> Shrroms? It appears this might be another of your names), when you
                        >> >> respond
                        >> >> with a personal attack. Of course, those who read my initial post
                        >> would
                        >> >> understand that as I took a direct quote of Shrooms and that was the
                        >> >> mention to PNAC about it.
                        >> >>
                        >> >> You decline to discuss any of the issues, you simply ask that people
                        >> >> repeat what you are repeating.
                        >> >>
                        >> >> You keep selling, and enemy of Assad is a friend of ours, and have
                        >> never
                        >> >> stated in the whole Syria Assad series of posts since the gas attacks
                        >> >> started, nearly immediately after Obama started saying if gas was
                        >> used
                        >> >> he'd have to do something, that the USA, the Saud's or Israel aren't
                        >> as
                        >> >> likely to do the same thing.
                        >> >>
                        >> >> Your posts, that is the stuff you send out, you've declined to make
                        >> >> personal statements that aren't ad hominem, defend using terrorists
                        >> as
                        >> >> any method to remove Assad, and yet historically speaking, everyone
                        >> that
                        >> >> has been freed by US Sponsored terrorism either via proxy or
                        >> directly,
                        >> >> have suffered 100 to thousands of time worse.
                        >> >>
                        >> >> You, writing as Shrooms, (apparent from your reply as you took the
                        >> PNAC
                        >> >> comment as personal) are advocating controlling what happens in the
                        >> >> Middle
                        >> >> East. the only people shoe agenda that is are the International
                        >> Bankers,
                        >> >> the Corporatists, and the Western Imperialists that are the economic
                        >> and
                        >> >> violent enforcers of the International bankers and Cortporationists.
                        >> >>
                        >> >> By the way, if your purposeful misspelling my name, that is assuming
                        >> you
                        >> >> have read as far as my personal signature at the end of everyone of
                        >> my
                        >> >> posts, is in an attempt to get me to reply as emotionally as you are,
                        >> it
                        >> >> isn't working. Your research once again shows nothing in common with
                        >> >> what
                        >> >> your stating personally about me, and your misspelling of my name.
                        >> >>
                        >> >> Scott
                        >> >>
                        >> >> > *And Scot, I know about the PNAC and wrote a little note on them in
                        >> >> > 2004...Stop inferring I am one of them...Dumb ass Scot *
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > http://pittsburgh.indymedia.org/news/2004/04/13810.php
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > Venezuela: The Coup Makers- The Invisible U.S. Hands
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > By Cort Greene
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > April 20, 2004
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > With rumors of a new coup swirling through Venezuela daily, some
                        >> with
                        >> >> > merit, others just the wishful thinking of the fractured but still
                        >> >> > dangerous "opposition", it is useful to review just who the real
                        >> >> puppet
                        >> >> > masters behind the last coup were, and the possibility and the
                        >> reasons
                        >> >> > that
                        >> >> > they will try another one.
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > Removing President Chavez and destroying the Bolivarian
                        >> Revolutionary
                        >> >> > Process has been a primary concern of the U.S. government since
                        >> 1998.
                        >> >> Why
                        >> >> > else would it dedicate such resources to this effort? So far they
                        >> have
                        >> >> > spent over 4 million dollars in known covert funds, and the actual
                        >> >> figure
                        >> >> > is probably twice that amount if we take in account that there are
                        >> >> over
                        >> >> > 500
                        >> >> > U.S. corporations in Venezuela, some of which are CIA fronts. Dick
                        >> >> > Cheney's
                        >> >> > pals at Halliburton have 21 offices in Venezuela.
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > These folks have a vested interest in bringing about a change of
                        >> >> > government
                        >> >> > – i.e. trampling on the democratic will of the majority of
                        >> >> Venezuelans
                        >> >> > if
                        >> >> > it will bring them higher profits and greater access to the
                        >> region's
                        >> >> > natural resources.
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > With the quagmire in Iraq, gaining control over the Venezuelan
                        >> >> petroleum
                        >> >> > industry is of particular importance, due to the prospect of an
                        >> energy
                        >> >> > crisis and the economic problems that will ensue from it.
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > This could be a catalyst for a greater worldwide crisis than is
                        >> taking
                        >> >> > place now, and could be the greatest seen since the 1930s.
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > President Chavez and Bolivarian Revolution are a threat because
                        >> they
                        >> >> > provide an example that goes not only against the imperialist plan
                        >> of
                        >> >> the
                        >> >> > Free Trade Agreement of the America's, but shows the potential for
                        >> a
                        >> >> > revival of the working class struggle and socialism across the
                        >> entire
                        >> >> > region.
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > The usual suspects for another coup attempt in Venezuela include
                        >> U.S.
                        >> >> > Ambassador to Venezuela Charles Shapiro (whom it is alleged played
                        >> a
                        >> >> part
                        >> >> > in the spilling of the blood of the working class in Chile and
                        >> >> Venezuela).
                        >> >> > And of course there is the CIA, the National Endowment for
                        >> Democracy,
                        >> >> and
                        >> >> > a
                        >> >> > myriad of other organizations.
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > But there is another, more insidious, and less heard of group that
                        >> has
                        >> >> > binds together all these other groups and officials together - the
                        >> >> > "Project
                        >> >> > for the New American Century" – which played a leading role in
                        >> >> > developing
                        >> >> > the US invasion of Iraq. PNAC's board of directors is a "who's who"
                        >> of
                        >> >> > government and business, which has representatives in Venezuela
                        >> either
                        >> >> > directly or through inter-locking boards of directors.
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > The stated goals of this right-wing think-tank are a bold foreign
                        >> >> policy,
                        >> >> > the need to increase defense spending, and to challenge regimes
                        >> >> hostile
                        >> >> to
                        >> >> > the vital interests and values of American capitalism.
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > Some PNAC members include:
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Donald Rumsfeld
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Paul Wolfowitz
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Frank Gaffney
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Dan Quayle
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Gary Bauer
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Elliott Abrams
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Steve Forbes
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Zalmay Khalilzad
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Paula Dobrainsky, Under Secretary for Global affairs
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Jeb Bush
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · William Bennett
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > · Vice President Dick Cheney
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > These are just some of the puppet masters who will do anything to
                        >> >> ensure
                        >> >> > the continued U.S. dominance of Latin America and the world. If
                        >> they
                        >> >> had
                        >> >> > their way, they would do to Venezuela what they did to Iraq.
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > But they have fallen into more than a bit of trouble in Iraq, and
                        >> >> already
                        >> >> > the world working class is rallying to the defense of the
                        >> Venezuelan
                        >> >> > revolution. We must step up the pressure and end the imperialist
                        >> >> > predations
                        >> >> > of the U.S. ruling class once and for all!
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > No to U.S. intervention in Venezuela!
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > Defend the Venezuelan Revolution!
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > Forward to Socialism!
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 3:40 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                        >> >> >
                        >> >> >> Educators do not use ad hominem attacks and strawman arguments.
                        >> Only
                        >> >> >> those
                        >> >> >> supporting agendas and using the little back book of
                        >> disinformation
                        >> >> rely
                        >> >> >> on those tactics to distract people from the questions at hand,
                        >> which
                        >> >> >> was
                        >> >> >> in this instance, seriosuly, it reads like it came right off a
                        >> PNAC
                        >> >> >> funded
                        >> >> >> site;
                        >> >> >> ***
                        >> >> >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
                        >> >> >> organization)
                        >> >> >> working for?
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC
                        >> site?
                        >> >> >> ***
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> I dare say this ID your using is the same as another I that sues
                        >> the
                        >> >> >> same
                        >> >> >> tactics, partial because of your refusal to duplicate simple
                        >> things
                        >> >> like
                        >> >> >> spelling of my name, or that you never read further then you can
                        >> >> create
                        >> >> >> an
                        >> >> >> ad hominem attack for response to.
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> Seriously, I thought you and your Marxist people were not on the
                        >> side
                        >> >> of
                        >> >> >> the Imperialists. You send stuff that appears to be from
                        >> Anarchists,
                        >> >> >> that
                        >> >> >> also do naught but support the Imperialists desires.
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> Seriously, this is something I must take the opportunity to point
                        >> out
                        >> >> to
                        >> >> >> others, especially on a list that is suppose to be for alternate
                        >> >> media
                        >> >> >> instead of shadowy propaganda wearing the cloak of the
                        >> International
                        >> >> >> Corporate Oppositionists.
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> It's what your articles support, You on the other hand have never
                        >> >> taken
                        >> >> >> the opportunities presented to discuss anything, you just revert
                        >> to
                        >> >> >> personal attacks.
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> Scott
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                        >> >> >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach to
                        >> >> >> militant-Jihadi groups"
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> Scott
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> > *Oh Scot*
                        >> >> >> > *
                        >> >> >> > *
                        >> >> >> > *Your ignorance is showing or is it that the pole from the caber
                        >> >> toss
                        >> >> >> hit
                        >> >> >> > you in the head too many times at the Highland games... [?]*
                        >> >> >> > *
                        >> >> >> > *
                        >> >> >> > *Rojo Rojito*
                        >> >> >> > *
                        >> >> >> > *
                        >> >> >> > *Cort*
                        >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> > On Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:56 PM, <scotpeden@...> wrote:
                        >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> Who, pray tell, is Shrooms, much less who is this person (or
                        >> >> >> >> organization)
                        >> >> >> >> working for?
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> >> And why does this sound like I'm reading something on the PNAC
                        >> >> site?
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> >> Scott
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> >> "Therefore strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the
                        >> Muslim
                        >> >> >> >> Brotherhood should be fundamentally different from our approach
                        >> to
                        >> >> >> >> militant-Jihadi groups"
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> >> > *Remembering Sabra and Shatila massacre 16-18 September 1982
                        >> >> >> >> > #Lebanon<http://twitter.com/search?q=%23Lebanon>
                        >> >> >> >> > *
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > ← SYRIA/PALESTINE: Palestinians and the Syrian Revolution:
                        >> >> >> Lessons
                        >> >> >> >> from
                        >> >> >> >> > the
                        >> >> >> >> > fight against
                        >> >> >> >> > fascism<
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syriapalestine-palestinians-and-the-syrian-revolution-lessons-from-the-fight-against-fascism/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > →<
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/uk-anti-fascist-network-statement-on-saturday-7th-september-edl-demonstration/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > SYRIA: The Rise of Al Qaeda in Syria: Separating Fact from
                        >> >> >> Mythology
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > SEP
                        >> >> >> >> > 12<
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/09/12/syria-the-rise-of-al-qaeda-in-syria-separating-fact-from-mythology/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > Posted by tahriricn
                        >> >> >> <http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/author/tahriricn/
                        >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > By Leila Shrooms for Tahrir-ICN[image:
                        >> >> >> >> > ED-AR204_obagy_D_20130830164816]<
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://tahriricn.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/ed-ar204_obagy_d_20130830164816.jpg
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > One of the most worrying developments during the trajectory
                        >> of
                        >> >> >> >> Syria’s
                        >> >> >> >> > revolution has been the rise of militant Jihadi groups. The
                        >> >> danger
                        >> >> >> >> that
                        >> >> >> >> > the
                        >> >> >> >> > increasing strength of such groups poses to both Syria and
                        >> the
                        >> >> >> region
                        >> >> >> >> > should not be underestimated. Yet a lot of misunderstandings
                        >> >> exist
                        >> >> >> >> about
                        >> >> >> >> > the nature and dominance of such groups which this article
                        >> >> attempts
                        >> >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> > address. Only when fact is separated from mythology are we
                        >> able
                        >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> move
                        >> >> >> >> > forward collectively towards a strategy that addresses the
                        >> >> threat
                        >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > counter-revolutionary forces and have a better understanding
                        >> of
                        >> >> who
                        >> >> >> is
                        >> >> >> >> > working for the original goals of the revolution so that they
                        >> >> can
                        >> >> >> be
                        >> >> >> >> given
                        >> >> >> >> > the solidarity they deserve.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > *Al Qaeda ideology*
                        >> >> >> >> > Al Qaeda or militant Jihadi groups[1] have an
                        >> internationalist
                        >> >> >> >> perspective
                        >> >> >> >> > and want to establish a global Islamic caliphate based on a
                        >> >> strict
                        >> >> >> >> > interpretation of Sharia law. The ideology of Al Qaeda groups
                        >> is
                        >> >> >> >> closely
                        >> >> >> >> > related to Salafi/Wahabi ideology (the totalitarian political
                        >> >> >> doctrine
                        >> >> >> >> > which is practiced in Saudi Arabia). Whilst Salafism is an
                        >> >> >> extremely
                        >> >> >> >> > repressive, puritanical ideology which follows a literal
                        >> >> >> >> interpretation
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > the Quran, it is important to note that not all Salafists
                        >> >> believe
                        >> >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> > violent means to establish their goals and that some
                        >> Salafists
                        >> >> are
                        >> >> >> >> > prepared
                        >> >> >> >> > to work within a democratic system. By contrast, militant
                        >> Jihadi
                        >> >> >> >> groups
                        >> >> >> >> > reject the concept of democracy holding that their
                        >> >> interpretation
                        >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> Islam
                        >> >> >> >> > is mandated by God. They believe that it is a religious duty
                        >> to
                        >> >> >> defend
                        >> >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > Muslim community against enemies of Islam and are prepared to
                        >> >> die
                        >> >> >> as
                        >> >> >> >> > martyrs for that cause. They regard anyone who does not
                        >> >> subscribe
                        >> >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> their
                        >> >> >> >> > ideology (including liberal Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims)
                        >> as
                        >> >> >> >> > heretics/Kafir. Some, known as Takfiris, believe that they
                        >> have
                        >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> right
                        >> >> >> >> > to kill heretics. Al Qaeda affiliated groups in the region
                        >> >> include
                        >> >> >> >> > Egyptian
                        >> >> >> >> > Islamic Jihad, Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and
                        >> >> Saudi
                        >> >> >> >> > Arabia,
                        >> >> >> >> > Jund Ansar Allah in Palestine, Fatah Al Islam in Lebanon and
                        >> Al
                        >> >> >> Qaeda
                        >> >> >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> > the Islamic Maghreb in Algeria and Morocco. [2]These groups
                        >> do
                        >> >> not
                        >> >> >> >> have a
                        >> >> >> >> > broad popular support base, primarily due to their use of
                        >> >> terrorist
                        >> >> >> >> means
                        >> >> >> >> > targeting civilians in countries in which they operate and
                        >> their
                        >> >> >> >> following
                        >> >> >> >> > of an interpretation of Islam which is alien to almost
                        >> everyone.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > *Mainstream political Islam*
                        >> >> >> >> > It is important not to confuse militant Jihadis with
                        >> mainstream
                        >> >> >> >> political
                        >> >> >> >> > Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. Whilst the
                        >> >> Muslim
                        >> >> >> >> > Brotherhood is undoubtably conservative and reactionary, they
                        >> >> have
                        >> >> >> >> broad
                        >> >> >> >> > based popular support across the Middle East and North Africa
                        >> >> and
                        >> >> >> have
                        >> >> >> >> won
                        >> >> >> >> > democratic elections in Palestine, Tunisia and Egypt. They
                        >> >> gained
                        >> >> >> >> > prominence during the Islamic revival of the 1970s, as a
                        >> direct
                        >> >> >> >> response
                        >> >> >> >> > to
                        >> >> >> >> > western imperialism. They work to reinstate Islamic laws and
                        >> >> >> believe
                        >> >> >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> > the
                        >> >> >> >> > concept of Islamic unity and the return of the caliphate
                        >> >> abolished
                        >> >> >> by
                        >> >> >> >> > Ataturk in 1924 although they primarily struggle on the
                        >> national
                        >> >> >> >> level.
                        >> >> >> >> > They advocate that political Islam is compatible with the
                        >> >> >> >> establishment
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > a modern, democratic, multi-party state that respects human
                        >> >> rights,
                        >> >> >> >> > including the rights of religious minorities.[3] Pursuing
                        >> social
                        >> >> >> >> justice
                        >> >> >> >> > and particularly reducing the gap between rich and poor has
                        >> been
                        >> >> a
                        >> >> >> key
                        >> >> >> >> > tenet of their ideology and to this end they established a
                        >> vast
                        >> >> >> >> network
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > social services which gained them the support of the urban
                        >> and
                        >> >> >> rural
                        >> >> >> >> > poor.[4] Although they have been known to use violent means
                        >> to
                        >> >> >> achieve
                        >> >> >> >> > their goals, the Muslim Brotherhood officially rejects the
                        >> use
                        >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > violence.[5]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > The experience of countries that have been governed by the
                        >> >> Muslim
                        >> >> >> >> > Brotherhood show a wide gap between their rhetoric and
                        >> reality.
                        >> >> >> Highly
                        >> >> >> >> > authoritarian and repressive regimes have been established
                        >> where
                        >> >> >> they
                        >> >> >> >> have
                        >> >> >> >> > come to power. Yet we should not regard the Muslim
                        >> Brotherhood
                        >> >> as a
                        >> >> >> >> > violent
                        >> >> >> >> > terrorist organization or overlook the support the
                        >> organization
                        >> >> has
                        >> >> >> >> > amongst
                        >> >> >> >> > broad sections of a religiously conservative population.
                        >> >> Therefore
                        >> >> >> >> > strategies for dealing with, and opposing, the Muslim
                        >> >> Brotherhood
                        >> >> >> >> should
                        >> >> >> >> > be
                        >> >> >> >> > fundamentally different from our approach to militant-Jihadi
                        >> >> >> groups.
                        >> >> >> >> The
                        >> >> >> >> > Muslim Brotherhood is prominent in the Syrian National
                        >> Coalition
                        >> >> >> (the
                        >> >> >> >> > bourgeois opposition in exile which is backed by the West,
                        >> Gulf
                        >> >> >> States
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > Turkey and influenced by foreign agendas). The Syrian
                        >> National
                        >> >> >> >> Coalition
                        >> >> >> >> > also includes secular and leftist opposition groups
                        >> (including
                        >> >> >> >> Christian
                        >> >> >> >> > and Kurdish parties), the Free Syrian Army, grass-roots
                        >> >> opposition
                        >> >> >> >> groups
                        >> >> >> >> > and independents. It advocates establishing a civil,
                        >> democratic
                        >> >> >> >> Syria.[6]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > Between the ‘moderate’ political Islamists and Al Qaeda
                        >> >> there
                        >> >> >> >> exists a
                        >> >> >> >> > broad spectrum of other Salafist groups which subscribe to
                        >> >> >> puritanical
                        >> >> >> >> > versions of Islam some of which are militant. They include Al
                        >> >> Nour
                        >> >> >> >> party
                        >> >> >> >> > in
                        >> >> >> >> > Egypt, Islamic Jihad and Jaysh al Islam in Palestine, and
                        >> Ansar
                        >> >> Al
                        >> >> >> >> Islam
                        >> >> >> >> > and Ahrar Al Sham in Syria. Further, although the
                        >> overwhelming
                        >> >> >> >> majority
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > people in the region are Muslim, many are also secularists,
                        >> >> >> including
                        >> >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > vast majority of Syria’s grassroots civil opposition.
                        >> >> Socialist
                        >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > anti-authoritarian/anarchist currents also exist within Islam
                        >> >> with
                        >> >> >> >> roots
                        >> >> >> >> > that can be traced back to the ninth century.[7]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > *Al Qaeda groups in Syria*
                        >> >> >> >> > The two Al Qaeda affiliated groups operating in Syria are
                        >> Jabhat
                        >> >> Al
                        >> >> >> >> Nusra
                        >> >> >> >> > (Al Nusra Front – JAN) and the Islamic State of Iraq and
                        >> Sham
                        >> >> >> >> (ISIS).
                        >> >> >> >> > Both
                        >> >> >> >> > can be traced back to groups established to fight against the
                        >> >> >> American
                        >> >> >> >> > occupation of Iraq and grew in strength due to the
                        >> sponsorship
                        >> >> of
                        >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > Syrian government. This is important to note because whilst
                        >> the
                        >> >> >> >> origins
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > Al Qaeda globally go back to Afghanistan, where they were
                        >> >> supported
                        >> >> >> by
                        >> >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > CIA to fight against the Soviets in the 70s and 80s, this is
                        >> not
                        >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > experience of Al Qaeda groups operating in Syria or Iraq
                        >> today
                        >> >> >> which
                        >> >> >> >> fight
                        >> >> >> >> > against US imperialism, Zionism and all western influence.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > Some of JAN’s members are Syrians that returned from
                        >> fighting
                        >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> Iraq
                        >> >> >> >> > when
                        >> >> >> >> > the uprising broke out in 2011, but many foreigners also
                        >> joined
                        >> >> >> their
                        >> >> >> >> > ranks. Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq
                        >> >> claimed
                        >> >> >> >> that
                        >> >> >> >> > JAN was its branch in Syria. However, JAN’s leader, Abu
                        >> >> Mohammed
                        >> >> >> Al
                        >> >> >> >> > Golani,
                        >> >> >> >> > has rejected this claim whilst simultaneously pledging
                        >> >> allegiance
                        >> >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> Al
                        >> >> >> >> > Qaeda globally. ISIS is a part of the Al Qaeda network and
                        >> the
                        >> >> >> >> majority
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > its members are foreigners. Whilst exact numbers are not
                        >> known
                        >> >> it
                        >> >> >> is
                        >> >> >> >> > estimated that together JAN and ISIS have around10,000
                        >> members,
                        >> >> >> less
                        >> >> >> >> than
                        >> >> >> >> > 10 per cent of estimated armed opposition fighters.[8] Both
                        >> aim
                        >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> > overthrow the government of Bashar Al Assad, establish and
                        >> >> Islamic
                        >> >> >> >> > caliphate and a strict interpretation of Islamic law, are
                        >> >> opposed
                        >> >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> > Western intervention and are opposed to the US and Israel.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > The numbers of JAN and ISIS are relatively small, yet they
                        >> have
                        >> >> a
                        >> >> >> >> > disproportionate strength compared to other armed opposition
                        >> >> >> groups.
                        >> >> >> >> They
                        >> >> >> >> > have battle-experience from Iraq and have received a lot of
                        >> >> >> military
                        >> >> >> >> > support from Gulf countries, particularly Saudi Arabia and
                        >> >> Qatar,
                        >> >> >> >> which
                        >> >> >> >> > aim
                        >> >> >> >> > to destabilize Syria through sectarian conflict in order to
                        >> >> prevent
                        >> >> >> a
                        >> >> >> >> > popular revolution from succeeding. By contrast other armed
                        >> >> groups
                        >> >> >> are
                        >> >> >> >> > still mainly dependent on light weapons and what they can
                        >> seize
                        >> >> >> from
                        >> >> >> >> > Syrian
                        >> >> >> >> > army bases they have captured. JAN and ISIS are concentrated
                        >> in
                        >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> north
                        >> >> >> >> > of the country, along the Turkish border in Aleppo and Idlib
                        >> >> >> >> governorates,
                        >> >> >> >> > in Al Raqqa governorate, and in the east in Deir Al Zour
                        >> >> >> governorate
                        >> >> >> >> along
                        >> >> >> >> > the border with Iraq. They have attempted to set up Islamic
                        >> >> >> emirates
                        >> >> >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> > areas under their control, established Sharia courts and
                        >> placed
                        >> >> >> >> > restrictions on the rights of women and minorities.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > Both groups have been responsible for carrying out attacks
                        >> >> against
                        >> >> >> >> > civilians, including suicide bombings, the arrest of
                        >> opposition
                        >> >> >> >> activists,
                        >> >> >> >> > the torture and extrajudicial killing of Syrian army soldiers
                        >> >> they
                        >> >> >> >> have
                        >> >> >> >> > captured, and sectarian killings. Most recently they have
                        >> been
                        >> >> >> >> responsible
                        >> >> >> >> > for atrocities carried out against the Kurdish population,
                        >> >> causing
                        >> >> >> >> over
                        >> >> >> >> > 20,000 Kurds to flee to Iraq in August. The extremism and
                        >> >> violence
                        >> >> >> >> > practiced by such groups is an increasing trend and major
                        >> cause
                        >> >> for
                        >> >> >> >> > concern. Yet, it must be borne in mind that the overwhelming
                        >> >> >> majority
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > the estimated 120,000 deaths and vast majority of cases of
                        >> >> torture
                        >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > brutality in Syria over the past 2.5 years have been carried
                        >> out
                        >> >> by
                        >> >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > Syrian regime.[9]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > Al Qaeda affiliated groups have the potential to cause chaos
                        >> and
                        >> >> >> >> violence
                        >> >> >> >> > in Syria and the region for many years to come. However,
                        >> their
                        >> >> >> ability
                        >> >> >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> > impose their vision on a future Syria is grossly
                        >> over-estimated.
                        >> >> >> They
                        >> >> >> >> are
                        >> >> >> >> > small in number, they do not have a popular support base, and
                        >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> majority
                        >> >> >> >> > of their ranks are foreigners. After 10 years of causing
                        >> turmoil
                        >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> Iraq,
                        >> >> >> >> > including the massacre of thousands of civilians, they did
                        >> not
                        >> >> >> manage
                        >> >> >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> > win the support of the local population or create an Islamic
                        >> >> state.
                        >> >> >> >> > According to a Syrian rebel from a secular brigade in
                        >> Salamiyah;
                        >> >> >> “Al
                        >> >> >> >> > Qaida
                        >> >> >> >> > is the one thing that will unite Syrian people after the
                        >> >> >> revolution,
                        >> >> >> >> > because all of the Syrians will want them out – those who
                        >> are
                        >> >> now
                        >> >> >> >> with
                        >> >> >> >> > the
                        >> >> >> >> > regime and those who are against the regime. Nobody likes
                        >> these
                        >> >> >> people
                        >> >> >> >> …
                        >> >> >> >> > After the regime falls there will have to be a new military
                        >> >> >> formation
                        >> >> >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> > confront these radical movements.”[10]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > *Relationship of militant Jihadi groups to the Free Syrian
                        >> Army
                        >> >> >> (FSA)*
                        >> >> >> >> > The Free Syrian Army is the main, and by far the largest,
                        >> armed
                        >> >> >> >> opposition
                        >> >> >> >> > group in Syria. It’s leadership is linked to the SNC. The
                        >> FSA
                        >> >> is
                        >> >> >> >> > comprised
                        >> >> >> >> > of officers and soldiers that have defected from the regime
                        >> as
                        >> >> well
                        >> >> >> as
                        >> >> >> >> > anti-regime elements of the civilian population. It is
                        >> committed
                        >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > overthrow of Assad and the establishment of a plural, civil,
                        >> >> >> >> democratic
                        >> >> >> >> > Syria. The FSA is comprised of many battalions. The leader of
                        >> >> the
                        >> >> >> FSA,
                        >> >> >> >> > Salmin Idriss has stated he is committed to secularism, yet
                        >> some
                        >> >> >> >> > battalions
                        >> >> >> >> > are Islamist (mainly Muslim Brotherhood affiliated), some are
                        >> >> >> secular
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > some are comprised of Christians, Kurds and Alawites. There
                        >> are
                        >> >> >> even
                        >> >> >> >> women
                        >> >> >> >> > only brigades.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > Whilst serious human rights abuses have been carried out by
                        >> >> >> elements
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > the
                        >> >> >> >> > FSA, these appear to be mainly isolated incidents rather than
                        >> >> >> >> wide-spread
                        >> >> >> >> > and systematic attacks on civilians and civilian areas. Human
                        >> >> >> Rights
                        >> >> >> >> Watch
                        >> >> >> >> > has noted that “many of the antigovernment groups reported
                        >> to
                        >> >> be
                        >> >> >> >> > carrying
                        >> >> >> >> > out abuses do not appear to belong to an organized command
                        >> >> >> structure
                        >> >> >> >> or
                        >> >> >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> > be following Syrian National Council orders”.[11] When such
                        >> >> >> >> incidents
                        >> >> >> >> > have
                        >> >> >> >> > come to light the SNC and FSA have condemned them and called
                        >> for
                        >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > arrest
                        >> >> >> >> > and prosecution of those responsible, something that has
                        >> never
                        >> >> been
                        >> >> >> >> seen
                        >> >> >> >> > from the Assad regime.[12] The FSA is generally held in high
                        >> >> regard
                        >> >> >> by
                        >> >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > civilian population and seen as protector and defender of the
                        >> >> >> >> people.[13]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > ISIS and JAN operate outside of the FSA chain of command and
                        >> >> reject
                        >> >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > leadership of the SNC. Yet, due to their advanced military
                        >> >> capacity
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > military successes against the Assad regime, some FSA
                        >> battalions
                        >> >> >> have
                        >> >> >> >> > cooperated with them. The majority refuse to do so, and as
                        >> >> militant
                        >> >> >> >> Jihadi
                        >> >> >> >> > groups have grown in strength and carried out increasing
                        >> attacks
                        >> >> on
                        >> >> >> >> > civilians, particularly sectarian violence, the FSA
                        >> leadership
                        >> >> has
                        >> >> >> >> sought
                        >> >> >> >> > to distance themselves and condemned their actions.[14] The
                        >> FSA
                        >> >> has
                        >> >> >> >> also
                        >> >> >> >> > been engaged in fierce battles with JAN and ISIS (as was seen
                        >> >> >> recently
                        >> >> >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> > Bustan Al Qasr) and militant Jihadi groups have expelled FSA
                        >> >> >> >> battalions
                        >> >> >> >> > from some areas under their control and even assassinated FSA
                        >> >> >> >> leaders.[15]
                        >> >> >> >> > It is also interesting to note, that increasingly JAN and
                        >> ISIS
                        >> >> have
                        >> >> >> >> > refused
                        >> >> >> >> > to fight against the government on front lines and instead
                        >> >> focused
                        >> >> >> on
                        >> >> >> >> > consolidating their power in areas under their control.[16]
                        >> This
                        >> >> is
                        >> >> >> a
                        >> >> >> >> > clear
                        >> >> >> >> > testimony that they are not working for the goals of the
                        >> >> revolution
                        >> >> >> >> but
                        >> >> >> >> > rather to further their own extremist religious agenda.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > There are other battalions that operate outside of the FSA
                        >> chain
                        >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > command
                        >> >> >> >> > and are openly critical of the SNC and FSA leadership
                        >> >> abroad.[17]
                        >> >> >> >> These
                        >> >> >> >> > include both secularists and Islamists. One of the largest
                        >> >> Islamist
                        >> >> >> >> > coalitions is The Syrian Islamic Front, comprised mainly of
                        >> >> >> Salafist
                        >> >> >> >> > battalions such as Ahrar Al Sham. Their aim is to establish
                        >> an
                        >> >> >> Islamic
                        >> >> >> >> > state governed by Sharia Law although they are Syrian
                        >> >> nationalists
                        >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> not
                        >> >> >> >> > working for a global caliphate or linked to Al Qaeda.[18]
                        >> They
                        >> >> >> reject
                        >> >> >> >> > western notions of democracy.[19]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > *Syrian government strategy towards militant Jihadis*
                        >> >> >> >> > When the peaceful popular uprising began in Syria in early
                        >> 2011,
                        >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > Syrian
                        >> >> >> >> > government falsely claimed it was fighting Sunni Islamic
                        >> >> militant
                        >> >> >> >> > terrorists. This was an attempt to discredit the legitimate
                        >> >> demands
                        >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > Syrian people for freedom, social justice and dignity and
                        >> >> justify
                        >> >> >> its
                        >> >> >> >> > terrifying crackdown. As we have seen, to some extent it was
                        >> to
                        >> >> >> turn
                        >> >> >> >> into
                        >> >> >> >> > a
                        >> >> >> >> > self-fulfilling prophecy. The government sent Shabiha (armed
                        >> >> >> Alawite
                        >> >> >> >> > militias) to arrest and shoot protesters and terrorize the
                        >> >> civilian
                        >> >> >> >> > population, thereby introducing sectarianism into the
                        >> uprising,
                        >> >> >> >> despite
                        >> >> >> >> > minority groups such as Alawite, Christians and Kurds playing
                        >> an
                        >> >> >> >> active
                        >> >> >> >> > role in the opposition. In the first five months alone, when
                        >> >> >> protests
                        >> >> >> >> were
                        >> >> >> >> > still peaceful, the UN estimates that hundreds of people were
                        >> >> >> >> killed.[20]
                        >> >> >> >> > Many more were imprisoned and brutally tortured. Assad also
                        >> >> >> released a
                        >> >> >> >> > large number of militant Jihadi prisoners from jail in the
                        >> early
                        >> >> >> days
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > the revolution.[21] The Assad regime has made deals with
                        >> Jabhat
                        >> >> Al
                        >> >> >> >> Nusra,
                        >> >> >> >> > such as paying them 150 million Syrian Lira [$1.15 million]
                        >> >> monthly
                        >> >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> > keep
                        >> >> >> >> > oil flowing through two major pipelines in Banias and
                        >> >> Latakia.[22]
                        >> >> >> It
                        >> >> >> >> is
                        >> >> >> >> > also clear that the vast majority of attacks carried out by
                        >> the
                        >> >> >> regime
                        >> >> >> >> > have
                        >> >> >> >> > not been on JAN or ISIS strongholds but rather in areas where
                        >> >> >> secular
                        >> >> >> >> or
                        >> >> >> >> > ‘moderate’ Islamist brigades are concentrated such as
                        >> Homs,
                        >> >> >> Deraa
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > FSA
                        >> >> >> >> > controlled parts of Aleppo. All these factors point to a
                        >> >> concerted
                        >> >> >> >> > strategy
                        >> >> >> >> > by the Syrian regime to allow the uprising to be taken over
                        >> by
                        >> >> >> Islamic
                        >> >> >> >> > extremism and sectarianism which would allow the regime to
                        >> gain
                        >> >> >> more
                        >> >> >> >> > popular support.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > *Opposition to militant-Jihadism in Syria*
                        >> >> >> >> > Whilst the focus of this article has been armed groups
                        >> operating
                        >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> Syria,
                        >> >> >> >> > it is important to note that the grass roots civilian
                        >> resistance
                        >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> Syria
                        >> >> >> >> > remains dynamic and strong and stands against both the Assad
                        >> >> regime
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups (and is often
                        >> >> highly
                        >> >> >> >> critical
                        >> >> >> >> > of the SNC leadership in exile). The overwhelming majority of
                        >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> civil
                        >> >> >> >> > resistance movements are secular, none-affiliated to
                        >> traditional
                        >> >> >> >> political
                        >> >> >> >> > ideologies and motivated by desires for freedom, social
                        >> justice
                        >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > dignity. Major grass roots opposition groupings such as the
                        >> >> Local
                        >> >> >> >> > Coordination Committees have released statements condemning
                        >> the
                        >> >> >> >> actions
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > JAN and ISIS and have stressed that they are committed to a
                        >> >> >> “civil,
                        >> >> >> >> > democratic and pluralist state” that respects the rights of
                        >> >> all
                        >> >> >> >> citizens
                        >> >> >> >> > regardless of religious or ethnic identity.[23]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > There have been increasing protests against JAN and ISIS
                        >> >> >> particularly
                        >> >> >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> > areas where they are dominant, rejecting their authoritarian
                        >> >> >> practices
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > condemning their sectarian ideology and abuses.[24] For
                        >> example,
                        >> >> in
                        >> >> >> Al
                        >> >> >> >> > Raqqa, the first provincial capital to be liberated from the
                        >> >> >> regime,
                        >> >> >> >> > militant Jihadi groups took over the civilian local council.
                        >> >> Where
                        >> >> >> >> they
                        >> >> >> >> > tried to put up the black Jihadi flag, local activists pulled
                        >> it
                        >> >> >> down
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > replaced it with the revolutionary flag. ISIS also tried to
                        >> >> impose
                        >> >> >> >> fasting
                        >> >> >> >> > on the population during the month of Ramadan and have
                        >> arrested
                        >> >> >> many
                        >> >> >> >> > civilians from the city. The people of Al Raqqa have been
                        >> >> holding
                        >> >> >> >> > continuous protests against ISIS and the Islamic court they
                        >> >> >> >> established,
                        >> >> >> >> > calling on them to leave.[25] Likewise protesters in Idlib
                        >> and
                        >> >> >> Aleppo
                        >> >> >> >> have
                        >> >> >> >> > held demonstrations against the Sharia Committee and
                        >> >> >> extremist/Takfiri
                        >> >> >> >> > killings.[26] As sectarianism has increased, there have been
                        >> >> >> protests
                        >> >> >> >> > calling for national unity in which different religious and
                        >> >> ethnic
                        >> >> >> >> groups
                        >> >> >> >> > have participated.[27] On 1 August in Aleppo a joint protest
                        >> was
                        >> >> >> held
                        >> >> >> >> by
                        >> >> >> >> > Arabs and Kurds in which hundreds took part, condemning
                        >> recent
                        >> >> >> >> atrocities
                        >> >> >> >> > carried out against the Kurdish population by militant Jihadi
                        >> >> >> >> groups.[28]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > Civil society organizations such as Nabd have been
                        >> established
                        >> >> to
                        >> >> >> >> promote
                        >> >> >> >> > co-existence and an end to sectarianism.[29] Likewise,
                        >> >> non-violent
                        >> >> >> >> > organizations such as the Freedom Days coalition, which
                        >> >> comprises a
                        >> >> >> >> large
                        >> >> >> >> > number of groups, promote peaceful struggle and coexistence
                        >> >> across
                        >> >> >> >> ethnic
                        >> >> >> >> > and religious lines.[30] In recent days a campaign called
                        >> >> Goodbye
                        >> >> >> >> Da3esh
                        >> >> >> >> > has been established to oppose the wide-spread arrests of
                        >> >> >> civilians,
                        >> >> >> >> > including opposition activists, carried out by ISIS.[31]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > Such initiatives and struggles need to be highlighted and
                        >> >> >> supported.
                        >> >> >> >> It
                        >> >> >> >> is
                        >> >> >> >> > too easy to adopt the simplistic binary narrative promoted by
                        >> >> >> states
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > blanket thinkers that the choice the Syrian people face is
                        >> >> between
                        >> >> >> a
                        >> >> >> >> > secular fascist dictatorship or Al Qaeda. As Spanish
                        >> >> >> revolutionaries
                        >> >> >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> > the
                        >> >> >> >> > 1930s fought on two fronts against both the fascists and the
                        >> >> >> >> communists,
                        >> >> >> >> > Syrian revolutionaries have to fight against both the Assad
                        >> >> regime
                        >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > counter-revolutionary militant Jihadi groups. It is clear
                        >> that
                        >> >> >> >> militant
                        >> >> >> >> > Jihadism is gaining a foothold in Syria and that as the
                        >> struggle
                        >> >> >> >> continues
                        >> >> >> >> > without resolution they will continue to grow in strength.
                        >> The
                        >> >> >> answer
                        >> >> >> >> is
                        >> >> >> >> > not to support a regime that holds responsibility for
                        >> creating
                        >> >> this
                        >> >> >> >> > problem
                        >> >> >> >> > in the first place. The answer is to stand in solidarity with
                        >> >> those
                        >> >> >> >> who
                        >> >> >> >> > struggle against it, in the hope that their voices will not
                        >> be
                        >> >> lost
                        >> >> >> >> for
                        >> >> >> >> > ever.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > *Endnotes:*
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 1 I emphasis the word militant because the concept of Jihad
                        >> is
                        >> >> >> often
                        >> >> >> >> > misunderstood. Jihad is a religious duty for Muslims and
                        >> means
                        >> >> >> >> > “struggle”.
                        >> >> >> >> > This can be interpreted as a struggle against oppression or
                        >> the
                        >> >> >> >> internal
                        >> >> >> >> > struggles of ones own personal life. In the contemporary use
                        >> >> >> Jihad(i)
                        >> >> >> >> > refers to those who find it a religious obligation to defend
                        >> >> Muslim
                        >> >> >> >> land
                        >> >> >> >> > against the Kafir (non believer).
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 2 For some reports on militant Jihadi groups in the region
                        >> see,
                        >> >> >> >> > International Crisis Group, Radical Islam in Gaza, (2011),
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx
                        >> >> >> >> ,
                        >> >> >> >> > <
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.crisisgroup.org/~/media/Files/Middle%20East%20North%20Africa/Israel%20Palestine/104%20Radical%20Islam%20in%20Gaza.ashx,%C2%A0
                        >> >> >> >> >Institute
                        >> >> >> >> > for the Study of War, Jihad in Syria, (2012),
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/Jihad-In-Syria-17SEPT.pdf
                        >> >> >> >> ,
                        >> >> >> >> > Omayma Abdel-Latif, ‘Cedar Jihadis’[Lebanon] Al Ahram,
                        >> >> >> >> > http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/895/re2.htm
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 3 For the pledge and charter of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood
                        >> >> >> (2012)
                        >> >> >> >> see:
                        >> >> >> >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 4 For an excellent introduction to the Islamic revival (from
                        >> an
                        >> >> >> Arab
                        >> >> >> >> > feminist perspective) see: Leila Ahmed, A Quiet Revolution:
                        >> The
                        >> >> >> >> Veil’s
                        >> >> >> >> > Resurgence, from the Middle East to America, (2011)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 5 See ‘A Declaration to the People’ (2011)
                        >> >> >> >> > http://asharqalarabi.org.uk/english/at-3.htm & ‘The pledge
                        >> and
                        >> >> >> >> charter
                        >> >> >> >> > of
                        >> >> >> >> > the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’ (2012)
                        >> >> >> >> > http://www.memri.org/report/en/print6250.htm
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 6 See ‘Syrian Coalition Principles’,
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.etilaf.org/en/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&layout=item&id=35&Itemid=584
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 7 See for example, Mohammed Jean Veneuse, Anarca Islam,
                        >> (2009)
                        >> >> >> >> > http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/anarca-islam/ and
                        >> >> David
                        >> >> >> >> Baker,
                        >> >> >> >> > Ninth-Century Muslim Anarchists, (2011)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://tahriricn.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/ninth-century-muslim-anarchists/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 8 See Aljazeera ‘Interactive: Mapping Syria’s
                        >> rebellion’,
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2013/07/20137188552345899.html
                        >> >> >> >> .
                        >> >> >> >> > Whilst these figures vary according to reports from usually
                        >> from
                        >> >> >> >> > 6,000-10,000, Syrian grass-roots opposition groups repeatedly
                        >> >> >> affirm
                        >> >> >> >> that
                        >> >> >> >> > militant Jihadi groups have a small presence amongst
                        >> opposition
                        >> >> >> armed
                        >> >> >> >> > groups. For example see ‘Our Revolution: A popular
                        >> revolution
                        >> >> for
                        >> >> >> >> > freedom,
                        >> >> >> >> > equality and social justice and against every kind of
                        >> >> >> absolutism’,
                        >> >> >> >> > (August
                        >> >> >> >> > 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/04/our-revolution-a-popular-revolution-for-freedom-equality-and-social-justice-and-against-every-kind-of-absolutism/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 9 See for example: Amnesty International, ‘Annual Report
                        >> 2013:
                        >> >> >> >> Syria’
                        >> >> >> >> > (2013) http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/syria/report-2013
                        >> Human
                        >> >> >> >> Rights
                        >> >> >> >> > Watch ‘Syria: Government Likely Culprit in Chemical
                        >> Attack’,
                        >> >> >> >> > (September
                        >> >> >> >> > 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/10/syria-government-likely-culprit-chemical-attack
                        >> >> >> >> > and
                        >> >> >> >> > The Revolting Syrian ‘Does this not outrage you?’
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.therevoltingsyrian.com/post/50495350134/does-this-not-outrage-you
                        >> >> >> >> > [WARNING:
                        >> >> >> >> > the videos in the last link are extremely graphic]
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 10 Cited in Syria Deeply, ‘The State of a Secular Rebel
                        >> >> Fighting
                        >> >> >> >> > Force’,
                        >> >> >> >> > (September 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://beta.syriadeeply.org/2013/09/state-secular-rebel-fighting-force/#.UjF5pmQ-u2p
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 11 Human Rights Watch, ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups
                        >> >> >> Committing
                        >> >> >> >> > Abuses’,
                        >> >> >> >> > (March 2012)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 12 See for example: ‘Statement by the General Staff of the
                        >> >> Free
                        >> >> >> >> Syrian
                        >> >> >> >> > Army’ (May 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=482097828528873&set=a.458923474179642.1073741828.458106567594666&type=1
                        >> >> >> >> > and
                        >> >> >> >> > ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July
                        >> 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 13 This is evident in chants of support for the FSA seen at
                        >> >> weekly
                        >> >> >> >> > protests
                        >> >> >> >> > across Syria and also based on my own discussion with Syrian
                        >> >> >> refugees
                        >> >> >> >> in
                        >> >> >> >> > camps across Lebanon and Jordan.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 14 ‘Joint Statement from the FSA and Kurdish Front’ (July
                        >> >> 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/translation-of-the-joint-statement-from-the-fsa-and-the-kurdish-front/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 15 Martin Chulov, ‘Free Syrian Army clashes with jihadists
                        >> in
                        >> >> >> wake
                        >> >> >> >> of
                        >> >> >> >> > commander’s assassination’, (July 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jul/14/free-syrian-army-jihadists-clashes-aleppo
                        >> >> >> >> > &
                        >> >> >> >> > Syria Freedom Forever, ‘Syria: the Kurdish question, the
                        >> >> >> Islamists
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > the
                        >> >> >> >> > FSA’, (July 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/syria-the-kurdish-question-the-islamists-and-the-fsa/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 16 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘You can jail a revolutionary
                        >> but
                        >> >> you
                        >> >> >> >> can’t
                        >> >> >> >> > jail
                        >> >> >> >> > the revolution’, (August 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/you-can-jail-revolutionaries-but-you-cannot-kill-the-revolution-the-syrian-people-will-not-kneel/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 17 For an overview of Syria’s armed opposition see:
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_armed_groups_in_the_Syrian_civil_war
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 18 See the Charter of the Syrian Islamic Front (2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://abujamajem.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/the-charter-of-the-syrian-islamic-front/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 19 Aron Lund, ‘Syria’s Salafi Insurgents: The Rise of the
                        >> >> >> Syrian
                        >> >> >> >> > Islamic
                        >> >> >> >> > Front’, (2012) http://www.ui.se/eng/upl/files/86861.pdf
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 20 United Nations, ‘Syria: Security Council condemns rights
                        >> >> >> abuses
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > use
                        >> >> >> >> > of force against civilians’, (August 2011)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsid=39229&cr1=#.UjHzH2Q-u2p
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 21 ‘Bashar released Al Qaeda prisoners to cover his
                        >> crimes’,
                        >> >> Al
                        >> >> >> >> Ahram,
                        >> >> >> >> > (March 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/66953/World/Region/Bashar-released-AlQaeda-prisoners-to-cover-his-cri.aspx
                        >> >> >> >> > &
                        >> >> >> >> > Misbah Al Ali, ‘Rival Islamists loom large over Syria’,
                        >> The
                        >> >> >> Daily
                        >> >> >> >> Star
                        >> >> >> >> > (March 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2013/Mar-19/210649-rival-islamists-loom-large-over-syria.ashx#axzz2egSa7ZD9
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 22 Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Syria or elsewhere, there are
                        >> no
                        >> >> pure
                        >> >> >> >> > revolutions, just revolutions,’
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/syriaor-elsewhere-there-are-no-pure-revolutions-just-revolutions/
                        >> >> >> >> > also
                        >> >> >> >> > Yasser Munif ‘The revolution and the war’,
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> http://socialistworker.org/2013/09/11/the-revolution-and-the-war.
                        >> >> >> The
                        >> >> >> >> > conversion is based on exchange rate of 11 September 2013.
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 23 LCC statement (April 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/condemnation-of-zawahris-statements-regarding-his-intervention-in-the-internal-affairs-of-syria/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 24 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the
                        >> >> popular
                        >> >> >> >> > struggles
                        >> >> >> >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it
                        >> >> exists!’
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
                        >> >> >> >> > and
                        >> >> >> >> > Bassam Haddad, ‘The Growing Challenge to the Syrian regime
                        >> and
                        >> >> >> the
                        >> >> >> >> > Syrian
                        >> >> >> >> > Uprising’, Jadaliyya, (June 2013)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/12556/the-growing-challenge-to-the-syrian-regime-and-the
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 25 For example see:
                        >> >> >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9hOsyH7zasw&sns=em
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 26 For example see:
                        >> >> >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8edfgXT61A(Idlib)
                        >> >> >> >> and
                        >> >> >> >> > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5WqJ6Y2eQ8 (Aleppo)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 27 For example see:
                        >> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RaDFddXsJ3w
                        >> >> >> >> (English
                        >> >> >> >> > subtitles)
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 28 See, Syrian Freedom Forever, ‘Self Organization of the
                        >> >> popular
                        >> >> >> >> > struggles
                        >> >> >> >> > in Syria against the regime and Islamist groups? Yes, it
                        >> >> exists!’
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> http://syriafreedomforever.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/self-organization-of-the-popular-struggles-in-syria-against-the-regime-and-islamist-groups-yes-it-exists/
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 29 See their facebook page here:
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nabd-Gathering-for-Syrian-Civil-Youth/361274777254185
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 30 See their facebook page here:
                        >> >> >> >> > https://en-gb.facebook.com/Freedom.Days.Syria
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >> > 31 See their facebook page here:
                        >> >> >> >> https://www.facebook.com/goodbyeda3esh
                        >> >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> >>
                        >> >> >> >
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >>
                        >> >> >
                        >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> >>
                        >> >
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >>
                        >
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