Category Archives: Salafists

The Jury is Out – Syrian chemical weapons


The latest use of chemical weapons in Syria seems to be worse than the first time. I am very much aware that there are people who believe that the Syrian Opposition forces were responsible for the use of those weapons…. BUT NOT SO FAST…..

If the Oppostion forces used the chemical weapons (which was likely) then my first question has to be: Why did the Assad regime refuse Russia permission to investigate what happened?

I think that this is a legitimate question to be asked given what we known about those Syrian Opposition Forces aka the “rebels”.

Russia has been on the side of Assad since the beginning of the conflict. Iran has been on the side of Assad since the beginning of the conflict. Hezbollah has been supporting the Assad regime, as has Hamas since the beginning of the conflict.

Somebody used chemical weapons and suspicion has gone both ways. If Russia is asking questions and cannot get Assad to cooperate then it is more likely that Assad agreed to the use of those weapons.

I want to remain open-minded with regard to this situation. The reason that I do not really want to proffer an opinion at this point in time is that I have a slight suspicion that the Opposition Forces in Syria could stage an incident of this nature in an effort to change the outcome of the civil war in that country. On the other hand Bashir Assad is getting more and more desperate every time he has a defeat in the battles that have taken place.

We now have to wait until there is some kind of investigation. In the meantime keep an eye out for reactions from Russia because that is going to tell you more than the spin that comes out of the White House these days.

 

Claim/counterclaim – Turkey vs Syria


Last week there was a bombing in Turkey. The Assad administration claim that they are not responsible, but Turkey claims otherwise.

There are some issues that need to be discussed in regard to this development:

1. The bombing could be the beginning of a major offensive in the region. If it is proved that the Assad regime was involved, then this could mean that Turkey has good reason to call in NATO forces. Stand by – let’s see what develops.

2. If it was proved that the rebels were behind the attack, then this could have the impact of shifting sympathy away from them…. it would also open up questions about motivation with regard to the bombing. (my initial reaction was along the lines of perhaps this was done to get international attention and focus).

The link that I have provided indicates that a third source, with links to Assad was responsible for the bombing. According to the Turks, this group is Marxist with links to Assad.

The stand out was the use of the word “Marxist” and links to the Assad regime. This is very possible.  However, if that was the case, perhaps one could start looking for the Soviet connection. Russia is very keen to keep the Assad regime in power.

Egypt – was it Islamists who stormed the Israeli embassy?


The report at News.com.au indicates that the protesters were not members of Muslim Brotherhood. This particular report is without the hype that I have seen elsewhere on the Internet. It gives the facts about what happened, that protesters who had been at Tahrir Square broke away and headed to the Israeli Embassy. They had sledgehammers and they hacked away at the walls that were put in place to secure the building. Roughly 30 of them got inside the building and then distributed papers onto the street. Of concern to me is that these people were chanting: onward to Jerusalem, blah, blah.

According to this report, the cause of this extraordinary activity was an incident near the border of the Gaza strip where some Egyptians had been killed. Likewise some Israelis had been killed. The kicker here is that it looks as if this had nothing to do with Muslim Brotherhood. It seems that the individuals involved are sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

As you are aware Egypt has co-operated with Israel with regard to attempting to keep arms out of the Gaza strip. The incident that took place has not really been explained. There has been no apology over the latest of the rockets that were fired into Israel from the Gaza strip either.

If Muslim Brotherhood has disavowed the protest as well as the action at the Israeli Embassy, then it seems that rather than Islamists at work, this is the handiwork of the LEFT WING communists from Egypt.

As we have noted in the past, it seems that certain Communists within the USA have had more than a passing interest in causing disruption in Egypt. I refer of course to Bernadine Dorhn, William Ayers, and the luvvies from Code Pink. The people who have been attempting to get into the Gaza strip have been the Marxists, not the likes of Muslim Brotherhood.

I find this very curious since CAIR is an offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood, or is it? I am wondering if CAIR is being sponsored by some other party. Members of CAIR have been behind some pretty nasty stuff in the USA, and they are linked to other groups such as the Holy Land Foundation, which was taking money for Palestininian activists in that region.

Perhaps we need to have another look at the activities of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Are they linked to Iran, or putting that another way, is Iran somewhere in the background waiting to pounce if Muslim Brotherhood rises as a political force in Egypt?

Something else on my mind here concerns Mr. Potato Head who has been very quiet lately. As you are aware this is the man who claimed that there were no WMDs in Iraq, which is not true, and he also made false statements about the WMDs in Iran. His wife is an Iranian who is the daughter of a prominent member of the Iranian government. It is obvious that Mr. Potato Head, if he got into power in Iran would push Egypt into some form of alliance with Iran. Mr. Potato Head wanted to be allied to Muslim Brotherhood, but it seems that they are not interested in him. Interesting.

What it looks like here is that Muslim Brotherhood joined in the original protests to oust Muburak, but have always had their own agenda. I think that was clear immediately after Muburak was sent into exile. However, it looks like there was some kind of immediate split between the two groups. Again it was quite obvious. What seems to be happening is that the Marxists want to keep protesting, but the Muslim Brotherhood are happy biding their time. Also, it appears that Muslim Brotherhood is not the same as the Salafists.  Here again we have that split based upom Islamic sectarianism. Muslim Brotherhood seems to be Shia oriented, and the Salafists (Al QAEDA) are Sunni in origin.

I think that demanding Muburak step down was the biggest Foreign Policy of the present USA administration. It was something that was a total botch from the time that the protests began. Egypt is a separate issue from that of Libya, especially when Østupid actually had very limited say on what was happening over there. He had more impact upon Egypt, than on Libya. In fact Østupid was reluctant to make a decision on the no-fly zone and he had to be pushed. (ALSO please note the way that this stupid individual is trying to big note himself on making the decision to go after Bin Laden. He has no shame. He is claiming that his advisors were against it, but from what has been passed on, it was Valerie Jarrett who was against it, and it was Leon Panetta who went ahead with the action, but just watch Østupid as he continues to lie in the hope that people will see him as some kind of hero – he is not anything of the kind).

and the winner is…. envelope please….. al-Zawahri – watch out for those drones


AQ have announced that they have picked a new leader. I guess with the recent thinning of the ranks a number of possible candidates were eliminated from the race :). As expected the Egyptian, a man who is under suspicion for the assassination of Anwar Sadat, and is wanted for other crimes, al-Zawahri has been nominated for the post of leader.

Der Spiegel actually has quite an interesting analysis regarding al-Zawahri taking the reins. Despite the fact that Der Speigel is a left-wing paper, I actually find a lot of their articles and analysis to be quite informative, which is why I tend to not discount their point of view too quickly. Therefore, I think that the article is well worth a read to get some idea of their point of view.

Of interest is the possibility that the various AQ groups could split. This might be very much the case for AQ in Yemen.

The question now will be how al-Qaida’s members and supporters will accept the new “amir.” No one will dispute his leadership, but it is conceivable that the offshoot al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) will maintain a more distant relationship with him than they did with bin Laden. There is a long-standing animosity between al-Qaida’s Egyptian contingent and its members from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. There will not be a mutiny, but perhaps the implementation of directives from headquarters will be less forthcoming than before.

The second question concerns what Zawahiri’s directives will look like. Will he try to reorganize al-Qaida?

In general, Zawahiri follows the same ideology and strategy as Osama bin Laden. But there are some admittedly vague indications that the terrorist network might try out a new strategy. These indications coincide with Zawahiri’s takeover, but they would not likely be based solely on his decision.

It is striking that in both the al-Qaida statement from the general command and in a high-quality propaganda video released some weeks ago, there are calls to non-members to become active participants in the jihadist movement.

In the two-hour video, for example, viewers are presented with dozens of examples of such sole offenders, including from the 19th century. One man, one attack: Up till now, this has not been al-Qaida’s official line. The terror network, whilst welcoming cooperation with volunteers of all kinds, has nevertheless insisted on a kind of terrorist purity: Only where al-Qaida itself was involved, should al-Qaida be mentioned.

The new message, however, could be understood as al-Qaida giving its blessing to individual attackers to carry out terror acts in the network’s name. In general, it is better to make contact with al-Qaida first, the group’s chief ideologist Abu Yahya al-Libi says in the propaganda video — but if that is not possible, would-be terrorists should act on their own initiative. Sole attackers rather than cells: The thinking behind this idea could be that groups are easier to detect.

In the document released on Thursday there is a passage that seems to echo this approach: Al-Qaida extended its hands against all those who are also “working for the victory of Islam” — in al-Qaida speech that means those planning terror attacks. It does not matter whether this is within or outside existing organizations, it adds.

Al-Qaida has also slightly shifted its position in another way: In the beginning, the terror network did not have a coherent message on the popular revolts in Arab countries. It lagged behind, the messages were out of date and sounded desperate, given the absence of any Islamist agitation in key places like Cairo, Tunis and Damascus.

But in the past week, Zawahiri — even before he gained the role of “amir” — released his own video in which he revealed the first attempt at a strategy in the face of the uprisings: Al-Qaida supports the rebellions against the “godless” regimes, but these movements must subsequently be transformed into a holy polity.

There is also an echo of this position in Thursday’s statement: The revolutions are incomplete until Sharia, the Islamic legal system, is introduced.

Some of these comments actually suggest that AQ under al-Zawahri is searching for relevance in the face of the “Arab spring”. Since we do not know much about the make of the protest groups in Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and Yemen in particular, one could argue that AQ is seeking to muscle in on what has begun by the demand for “muslim purity” and of course their usual demand for the setting up of a caliphate. So far, only in Yemen has AQ had some form of success, by taking over a town in the south of Yemen. However, AQ is also making its presence felt in Tunisia. Some also claim that AQ is strongly present in Libya, but that is simply not true, despite the fact that there are elements amongst those doing the actual fighting. 

Also, I note that al-Libi, who is from Libya seems to have risen in the ranks of AQ. I do not know if there is any specific relevance with regard to how AQ views the situation in Libya. Note: the fact that there are no boots on the ground means that AQ is robbed of the opportunity for rhetoric and the stirring up of the ummah to go fight the “baddies”. Also, note that neither the Tripoli regime, nor the Benghazi NTC have received endorsement from AQ. The only countries supporting Tripoli are those that actually get funds from Tripoli to finance their own terrorism against their people (including Jacob Zuma in South Africa – exactly what did Daffy promise Zuma during that meeting?).

The aim needs to be to keep AQ out of the picture in Libya and this will only happen when there is a political settlement, coupled with the departure of Daffy Duck from Tripoli.

With regard to Egypt, the ideology of MB and AQ are not quite the same because their methods vary just a little bit. It seems that MB have from the beginning been intent upon gaining political control without the fighting and bloodshed. They are now in a position to realize their dream. This is thanks to a military junta that favours MB and is working towards MB gaining control. The end result will probably be an alignment with Iran.  (This is a very bad thing). Muslim Brotherhood is a fascist organization.

 

the death of OBL does not change the F grade given to Østupid for his foreign policy failures


Yes, it is true, I am a very harsh critic of the Østupid regime.  There are few amongst them that deserve any accolades. However, I will give special mention to Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, David Petreus and John Brennan for their persistence in going after OBL. They deserve the accolades for the death of OBL, not Østupid.

In the week since it was announced that OBL was dead, there has been so much spin coming out of the White House that it has been enough to make a person go dizzy. The stories have been changing daily, and there has been a lack of consistency about those stories. Even that story about waiting 16 hours before giving the final go ahead sounds like cow dung. It is a story that does not show decisiveness, but instead shows virtual cowardice when it comes to facing the realities of a war situation. It sounds like the truth lies somewhere between the Ulsterman report on the matter, and the cow dung fodder that came out of the press. I have a hard time imagining that the fey pResident could hammer his fist on a table to give the go ahead on something this important, and then head off to parties and playing golf, whilst it is all going down.

The fallout from the action is still very nuclear at the present time. The relationship between the USA and Pakistan is deteriorating rapidly. What is worse, the Pakistanis have released the name of the top CIA agent in Pakistan, which has put his life in danger. This is partly caused by the spin that has come from the White House, as well as the refusal to release the pictures of the body of OBL or of the video that showed him being fed to the sharks.

There should have been a very real psychological advantage in showing those photographs, but the image-obsessed pResident has told the world that he is “afraid” of any ensuing outrage. Well, the fact is the outrage is going to happen anyway, and why should the USA be concerned about the sensibilities of a bunch of very brain deficient individuals who go crazy over the slightest thing?

However, it is not just the handling of finding OBL that keeps that grade as an F, but it is the way in which he has handled other Middle East issues.  For example, when the Iranian regime crushed the protests of the people with bloodshed, Østupid said nothing until prompted by Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy. If it had not been for those two, Østupid would have totally ignored the human rights abuses in Iran. It was the death of Neda that made a difference, but the difference was short lived. The notion of extending a hand has been proved to be fruitless, and on the other hand it has shown to the Iranians that the USA has been weakened by having this man as pResident.

Then there is the attitude over the uprising in Egypt. The strategic concerns for the region were overridden out of some other underlying beliefs that Muslim Brotherhood be allowed to control Egypt… oh what a web we weave!!! Now it seems that the Salafists are on the loose in Egypt and the uprisings that are about to take off again are going to get extremely bloody unless the army is willing to stop the slaughter of the Copts. Muburak at least kept these Salafists (allied to AQ) under control. The demands that the pResident made to Muburak to step down were totally ill-considered.  Tunisia is also troubled, but it is a far more settle nation for the time being.

Since there have been several uprisings, and with brutal crackdowns by the regime in question, this leaves open further accusations of inconsistency in policy. As an example here, look at both Libya and Syria. I do see the differences in that Syria was slower to crack down on the population, and in Syria the situation is becoming more and more bloody. It has been the slow build-up. On the other hand, in Libya, Gadhafi planned his reaction in advance of any protests. At first Østupid made some noises, but only after Sarkozy and Cameron were insisting that action had to be taken. The UN no-fly zone enforcement is justified in Libya because Daffy Duck was bombing his own people, pretending that he was combating AQ elements. I have discussed at length that much of the claims about the involvement of AQ in Libya has been exaggerated, and is mostly coming from regime propaganda. This does not mean that some AQ associated individuals are not present, it just means that the vast majority are not associated with AQ, and that they are fighting for their lives against a wounded bull. That being said, the issue here is the manner in which Østupid stepped back, leaving a gap that had not been filled in the mission to take out Daffy’s means of killing Libyans. The attack on Misrata is outrageous and it needs to be stopped.  It needs strong leadership from the US and instead, the leadership has been totally wimpy. I commend both Sarkozy and Cameron, and I give a special mention to the Turk Erdogan for their efforts in attempting to protect the citizens of Misrata and Zintan.

To these concerns about Libya, I add here that the pResident had plenty of time to go to the Congress before the UN resolution, and to put to Congress the possible actions that would be required. The fact that he was spending his time on vacation, playing golf and giving parties, indicates that he is not serious in being a leader of the world. The fact is that without Congressional approval, the participation of the US in the Libyan action is not illegal, but certainly illicit. 

For these reasons… and counting…. an F grade on foreign policy and international relations is still very appropriate.

A possible renewed struggle


Anyone who thinks that the death of Osama Bin Laden will see the end of the terrorism is dreaming. His death will in fact spark new action amongst a group of people who are fanatics. The dream of the caliphate that Osama bin Laden is not a dead dream. It lives on with his successors. According to this news report:

International law enforcement agency Interpol has called for extra vigilance in the wake of the killing of Osama bin Laden by US special forces.

The United States has issued security warnings to Americans worldwide, and a top Republican lawmaker briefed by the White House on bin Laden’s death said US security agencies were working to prevent any attacks on the United States or its installations overseas.

“This is a key moment because Al Qaeda has to avenge. This is a terrible defeat for them and they have to move as quickly as they can and it’s up to us to stop them,” said congressman Peter King.

Britain has told its embassies to review their security for fear of reprisals following the killing.

Foreign secretary William Hague says there may be parts of Al Qaeda that try to show they are still in business in the coming weeks.

“This is a very serious blow to Al Qaeda but, like any organisation that has suffered a serious blow, they will want to show in some way that they are still able to operate,” he said.

Mr Hague’s French counterpart, Alain Juppe, also warned against “excessive optimism” in the wake of the killing, saying: “Al Qaeda still exists. There are deputies. There are structures.”

Japan says it is also stepping up security at its military facilities to protect itself against any reprisals.

Similar announcements have also been made by India and Malaysia.

Australian security and intelligence agencies have kept the threat level at medium, saying a terrorist attack is feasible and could happen at any time.

Michael Shore, a former senior CIA officer who helped set up the unit responsible for taking Bin Laden down, says Al Qaeda still presents a very real threat.

“The organisation remains very resilient, they’ll come up with another leader to follow Osama bin Laden and the fight will go on… as it will against the Taliban and other groups around the world,” he said

 

Does AQ have a relevant role in the current ME uprisings


The BBC asks the question about the relevance of AQ in the Arab Spring. Actually, I am going to disagree in part with some of the conclusions of the writer of the piece because I think that he has not been able to spot the influence of AQ in a couple of countries, such as in Morocco.  On the other hand, I note that one of his sources is a Libyan who is an ex-AQ operative:

What we are witnessing now is completely against their methods or understanding of how to make change,” argues Noman Benotman, a former Libyan jihadist who knew Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan but now works at the counter-extremist think tank, the Quilliam Foundation.

Although Nato’s military commander talked of “flickers” of al-Qaeda in Libya, European officials say they see no signs of a significant presence for the organisation.

And while some Islamists, often former members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, are involved, they are seen as focused on confronting Colonel Muammar Gaddafi at home and not being subscribers to al-Qaeda’s wider ambitions.

Mr Benotman also says he has seen jihadists whom he knows in Libya change the way they behave and talk in the past two months.

“The way they start to make statements or to understand the conflicts is unbelievable, beyond my imagination. The only explanation I can offer is because they have been affected – whether they like it or not – by the wave of democracy.”

 These are the same points that I have raised about how these Libyans have been behaving. It would seem that they are only serious up to a point, at least for now, whilst they are fighting for their own country, and their own families.  (a bit different than fighting an alleged enemy in another country).

The author only identifies Yemen as having potential for AQ to exploit, but I disagree with him on that score. I would suggest that there is a possibility of AQ exploiting the situation in Syria as well as in Yemen. The reason is that the Salafists are tied to AQ. This is also true with regard to the control that Hamas wields over the Gaza strip, where they are being challenged by Salafists (which might explain the negotions between Hamas and Fatah – the Salafists being a common enemy to both). I think it is probable that the Salafists are behind the trouble in Syria – the Iranian Republican Guard has been in Syria and has been assisting with the bloody crackdown over more recent weeks that has led to a sharply increasing death toll in Syria.

Also, whilst AQ has been caught on the back foot, it would seem that the political aims of MB are coming to fruition in the region. I can see no real difference between the major aims of both groups, but I can see religious differences between them. This means that there is a double threat, from AQ as well as from MB, and perhaps the writer is blind to the influence of Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the inherent dangers of the rise of Iran that would be assisted if Muslim Brotherhood was to seize power in Egypt.

In Bahrain it would seem that the protests have been backed by Iran, and this explains the manner in which the crack down has taken place. Although the crackdown has been brutal it has not been as bad as in Syria or Libya were most of the deaths have occurred. It is hard to tell whether AQ has had a role in Bahrain, probably because those leading the protests have been Shia rather than Sunni. The Salafists and AQ tend to be Sunni.

The strongest evidence of AQ is in Morocco, and also in Germany, where there are sleeper cells.  A few months ago the Germans were on alert for a terrorist attack. Now comes the news that one cell has been busted in relation to that terror alert. There are sleeper cells in various countries, but this does not solve whether or not AQ is behind the Arab spring uprisings, or whether there are other agents of trouble, such as Iran, at work. I think it is a mixture, Iran, Communists, Salafists (AQ), Muslim Brotherhood, and other provocateurs. It is also probable that Russia has had a hand in the uprisings as well.