April 21, 2014

Out: Teen Girls Running Away to Hollywood in Search of Stardom -- In: Teen Girls Run Away to Syria in Search of Martyrdom

AustrianGirlsSyria.JPG

Didn't Guns & Roses have a song about this?

Interpol is searching for two Austrian teenage girls who they believe were tricked into going to Syria to fight for Islamist rebels.

Samra Kesinovic, 16, and Sabina Selimovic, 15, vanished from their homes in Vienna on April 10.

But the first hint their parents received as to where the girls might have gone was a spate of social media posts claiming they had gone to fight a 'holy war'...

n the latest posting they announced plans to marry so that they could become 'holy warriors' and in the messages they say: 'Death is our goal'.

The parents, Bosnian refugees living in Austria say the girls were "tricked" into going to Syria. Presumably by a guy in a limo.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:02 AM | Comments |

April 10, 2014

Red on Red: ISIS & al Nusrah Continue to Kill Each Other in Syria

Popcorn levels now at critically low:

Syria's Al-Qaeda affiliate lost ground to its jihadist rivals around a town on the Iraqi border on Thursday in heavy fighting that left 24 people dead, a monitoring group said.

Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), a cross-border group which has been disowned by Al-Qaeda's leadership, launched a three-pronged assault on positions held by Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front and its allies, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said....

"ISIS are attacking our positions in Albu Kamal, and the battles since yesterday (Wednesday) are in three different areas about 15 kilometres (10 miles) from the centre of the city. The battles are still continuing."

Let's hope they've improved their collective aim and the only ones killed are each other.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:56 AM | Comments |

April 02, 2014

Awesome: Moderate Syrian Rebels "Happy to fight Alongside of al Qaeda" -- Provide Arms

With everything else happening around the world, I tend to forget that there's still a civil war raging in Syria. And our "allies" are fighting alongside al Qaeda. "Happily":

The leader of a Syrian rebel group [Jamal Maarouf} feted as an alternative to the tide of Islamism which dominates most other rebel brigades has said he has no interest in fighting Al Qaeda...

Moreover, Maarouf - who has been forced to flee the front lines in Syria to neighboring Turkey out of fear of assassination by ISIS - says his forces have often fought side-by-side with the Nusra Front (Jabhat al-Nusra), Al Qaeda's official franchise in Syria...

"It’s clear that I’m not fighting against Al Qaeda," Maarouf said. "This is a problem outside of Syria’s border, so it’s not our problem. I don’t have a problem with anyone who fights against the regime inside Syria."

He goes on to say that not only does he fight side by side with al Qaeda, but that:
Perhaps more worryingly for western state, he admits to having "shared" his arms with Islamist fighters at time
Great.

Just. Freaking. Great.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:20 PM | Comments |

March 13, 2014

Brit Rapper Goes to Syria to Become Jihadist, Gets Kidnapped, Robbed by Other Jihadists

This guy is the son of Adel Abdel Bari, one of Osama bin Laden's closest associates, who has been indicted in the US for his role in the al Qaeda bombings of two US embassies in Africa. So, lulz!

A British rapper who joined rebels fighting the Syrian regime has claimed he was kidnapped, tortured and robbed by members of rival Islamic terror groups.

Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, 23, walked out of his family's £1million home in Maida Vale, west London, last year to join militant groups, telling them he was 'leaving everything for the sake of Allah'.

Now Bary - whose music has featured on BBC Radio 1 - has posted on Twitter that he and another Briton were abducted and robbed, with their money, phones and guns stolen by other jihadists.

Unfortunately, it looks like Assad and Hezbollah are going to win this one. Which is sad because every day that this war drags on is another day when one bad guy kills another bad guy -- and often in an extraordinarily hilarious and ironic way.

Also, who said war couldn't be funny?

When the war ends you know what I'll miss the most? The jokes.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:34 AM | Comments |

March 04, 2014

al-Nusra Offensive in Yarmouk Cuts Off UNRWA Food Distribution

You might recall just last week, the unbelievable photo from those awaiting UNRWA aid.

Miami Herald:
The news is bad out of Yarmouk, the strategic Damascus neighborhood that for a brief while seemed to offer proof that humanitarian aid to a civilian population could be carried out in spite of the ongoing Syrian civil war. Turns out optimism was misplaced. The deal between rebels and supporters of Bashar Assad to let aid be distributed appears to have fallen apart.

Feb. 27 – last Thursday -- was the last day food would get handed out, however, despite the optimism of the day before. Here’s how Gunness reported the day’s events: “UNRWA distributed only 75 food parcels and 200 packages of bread in Yarmouk today, after access was granted at 15:30. At 17:00 the UNRWA team was forced to withdraw following sounds of gunfire in the vicinity of the Tabgha School distribution point.”

Every day since apparently there has been fighting in the northern part of the district. The peace agreement apparently has fallen apart. Nusra, according to some reports, has returned to the area, and pro-government forces are apparently fighting to prevent them from re-establishing themselves.

More here from Ma'an news agency which is a Palestinian outlet.
DAMASCUS (AFP) -- Firefights and shelling on Sunday shattered a weeks-old truce at the Yarmouk Palestinian camp in Damascus, but a ceasefire allowed residents to return to another besieged area near Syria's capital.

...Meanwhile some good news emerged with Spanish journalist Marc Marginedas released by Wahhabi militants in Syria after six months in captivity, said his employer El Periodico newspaper.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front and the pro-regime Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command had resumed hostilities in Yarmouk.

That's good news about Marc Marginedas release. He is reported safe in Turkey.

Here is a pic of what are called ISIS troops in Yarmouk.

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Its from an ISIS feed Twitter feed here. A translatable page is here in this Indonesian site.

This particular branch of ISIS seems to be a unit specific to Damascus rather than the al-Qaeda in Iraq ISIS from the more western part of Syria. There were clashes between that group and allied FSA and al-Nusra groups last week.

The regime put out this video of accused Jihadis in Yarmouk as "proof that their blockade of Yarmouk is justified. Although the translated claim is of Hussein Alouti Brigade which is an extremist Shia group out of Yemen.

An extremist Shia group out of Yemen? Well Islam certainly is creative and diverse when it comes to extremist groups, no?

Anyway, other regime tilted info shows more fighting in the area around Yarmouk.

SNAFU.

Update: One analyst commenting on the ISIS feeds confirms that the ISIS presence in Yarmouk is a limited and local splinter group. Their claims of control are stretching it. Yet there is enough activity among all factions of the rebels in Yarmouk to stop the aid flow.

Q: What’s your sense of ISIS’s presence elsewhere in Damascus and Outer Damascus, particularly in Qalamoun?

Damascus province stands out because this is one of the few areas where ISIS is not fighting with other rebels, everyone's really focused on the regime. That's not to say there are no tensions, but there's been a lack of infighting. Again, it's in this range of dozens at most. But they are not fighting with other rebels. [In Qalamoun], it's pretty much that they're all focused on the priority to push back against regime forces. ISIS in Qalamoun does have a bit of history, in that in the past they did have joint fronts with Jabhat a-Nusra and this Saudi muhajireen-led battalion called the Green Battalion, which basically was announced in August and is led by Saudis, though it does have a number of other nationalities, including native Syrians.

It does kind of shatter last week's portrayal of aid distribution where Youmouk is portrayed as containing only helpless unarmed starving Palestinian orphans.

There are fighters of all groups in and around the area.

By Howie at 11:31 AM | Comments |

March 03, 2014

Surenos Gangbangers in .... Syria? (UPDATED)

This is pretty surreal. What the hell are two gang-bangers doing in Syria fighting for Hezbollah? One of the guy says he's Armenian the other guy says he's Surenos which would make him, what, Mexican?

What the hell?

UPDATE: Thanks to Birbal Dhar, here's a video of these guys posted last year which is straight gang banger. Growing up in LA it's hard for me to put Armenians into the category of gang bangers. All the Armenians I've ever known were straight out of the immigrants make good category -- recent immigrants who quickly became middle class.

But looking at some of the symbols these guys are sporting, it's interesting to note that they use Cyrillic script which Armenians don't do (they have their own alphabet which is neither Latin nor Cyrillic) . So I can't help but wonder if there's aren't ties to the Russian mafia here? Now when I lived in Moscow if you asked who the criminals were they would tell you Armenians, Georgians, Chechens, and generally any one from the Caucuses who would generally be described with an adjective meaning "dirty".

Of course that was never my experience, especially growing up in LA but maybe there's this other element out there I just don't know much about. Also, there's some speculation in the comments by Birbal and MtB that they could be jailhouse converts or maybe they just see the Syrian government as more sympathetic to the Armenian minority there?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:06 PM | Comments |

February 26, 2014

1K Words on the Syrian Civil War (Bumped for Pallywood Shenanigans?)

We're actually not too bad at picking these, well some are obvious.

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Syrians waiting for aid at
UNRWA humanitarian distribution, Yarmouk Camp, Damascus. 2014

Here's the original via Nic at CNN.

The tweet is of an incredible image, it is incredible. But so far it appears legit.

Update: We're calling shenanigans on this, you know Hezbollah Green Helmet Guy type of shenanigans.

shenanniganssyria.jpg
It's a faked/composite picture. If you look at the edge of the jacket of the guy centre frame (go to the larger tweeted file) wearing the white baseball cap back to front, you will see the poor cutout work. Also note that people that visually appear to be the same distance from the camera are at different scale.

Thanks to The Realist of Qld

I'm sure there are more, knock yourselves out kids.

syriashenanigans2.jpg

Update: Here is a Yahoo Video on the same story.

Here is a screen grab from that video.

syriashenanigans5.png

Note the upper left of the shot, here is an enlarged version.

syriashenanigansflaghook.png

Now here is the same area in the crowd image. Note the matching area. The artifacts in this section are numerous, the flags are removed, there are outlines around the vertical pole with a dark area underneath. The missing Palestinian flags.

Damascus-v2.flaghook1.jpg
click for larger

You can also see the layering of the crowd in the original image. So why question the image ? One commenter suggests that questioning this image means I must believe there is no crisis among Palestinians in Syria?

Now, by calling this photo "shenanigans" without further commentary, are you saying there's no humanitarian crisis in the Yarmouk camp? Or are you just trying to get your readers to dismiss the problem in the camp?
That's a nice straw man you built there. If I say the pic is "enhanced" then the conclusion is there is no crisis? That's silly, Syria is one big crisis.

We'll spend countless words, posts and news stories on "Were the asses on the SI Swimsuit cover photoshopped?" because it fits the feminist narrative that it damages girls who try to achieve an unachievable false image.

But when it comes to a really serious issue like this, when the image has been presented by the media as authentic, questioning the accuracy of a photo the press describes as "incredible" is wrong?

Incredible indeed. Incredible in the sense that its not very credible.

As for the makers, well its from the Syrian regime so probably Hezbollah. Iran's standard operation. Iran's propaganda wing is in full swing lately, publishing outright lies and half truths.

If we are to make judgments about what to do with Syria then we need accurate information, this is not an accurate representation of reality, its tragedy marketing just the same as marketing the asses of those girls on the SI cover to sell swimsuits.

Its OK to do that, but people need to be skeptical and aware that they are being marketed to. This is presented as "real". If it were it would be pulitzer prize material, but its only semi-real. Truthy if you will.

I for one would prefer a more accurate representation UNRWA aid distribution in Yarmouk. I would also like to question why these Palestinians, after 40 years of being in Syria, are not by now Syrians? Is it because they are mostly Sunni and Assad's regime refused to give them a permanent home and dignity? But I digress.

I'm not going to take an incredible Pallywood doctored image at face value just because the news media presents it as reality. It is a collage, a work of art, a commercial for Palestinian suffering, but not an accurate representation of the crowd at Yarmouk that day.

There was a significant crowd, there is suffering, a crisis. But I guess the real images just weren't quite good enough, they had to come up with something groundbreaking. Something to really catch the eye. So that's what they did.

The shame is that if you read the comments on the Yahoo story, the number of people who just look at it, then go off on an emotional tangent discussing the tragedy, blissfully unaware of the Pallywood nature of the image.

The image is indeed, incredible. It seems beyond reality because it is.

Update: Large high resolution source image here.

Update: Here is some video from the scene from AFP. At 11 seconds you can see the people in the background from the image above. It seems to confirm the presence of the very large crowd in the image. Maybe not to the extent to explain some of the strange artifacts in the pic, especially the tiny woman next to fire jacket guy, But indeed the crowd is pretty surreal.


AFP copy here

Thanks to B'emet Or.

If anyone has more evidence supporting or detracting from the image, I'll run it. Because that's the purpose of this post is to determine for ourselves what this image means.

And also this plate full of crow is delicious.

Updated again: This report says that these people claim that the reason they are in such dire straits is because the Assad regime will not left them leave Yarmouk. The roads are blocked. So they are trapped. Since they are mainly Sunnis the regime may fear that those allowed to leave will join FSA or another rebel group.

There are two videos mentioned in the report appear to be genuine. Other vids with interviews all seem to be tainted with regime views of the rebels, accusing them of being well fed but not helping the Palis. An Iranian slant.

Here is the first.

The article mentions a woman saying, "Open the road and we will leave and find food and water." Its probably this older video although its translated it seems less slanted than other PressTV reports.

More.

By Howie at 04:34 PM | Comments |

February 25, 2014

Mirror Mirror

Radical hard line group of al-Qaeda linked terrorists threaten war with other group hard line group of al-Qaeda linked terrorists.

The leader of the al-Qaeda-affiliated rebel group in Syria has given rival jihadists an ultimatum to accept arbitration by clerics or be expelled.

Abu Mohammed al-Julani of the al-Nusra Front warned the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIS) that it would be driven from Syria and "even from Iraq" if it did not comply within five days.

The threat came after the killing of an al-Qaeda emissary, Abu Khaled al-Suri.

He had reportedly been sent to end the clashes between ISIS and other rebels.

...Abu Khaled al-Suri died along with several members of the hardline Islamist rebel group, Ahrar al-Sham, in a suicide attack on its headquarters in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday.

There was no claim of responsibility, but the Islamic Front, an alliance to which Ahrar al-Sham belongs, said the "fingers of blame" pointed to ISIS.

Its feared the continued Red on Red violence could cause a massive shortage in the western popcorn supply.

Hot butter and salt supplies are for now sufficient, but recent price spikes raised questions on how just how long the west can hold out in the face of such wonderful developments.

Hat Tip: Switched.


By Howie at 11:05 AM | Comments |

February 24, 2014

Why Its Pretty Much OK When Jihadis Kill Assad's Soldiers And Visa Versa

I've spent a lot of time on atrocities committed by various factions of the Syrian rebellion. Beheadings, mass murders, strangling women, murdering wounded. Many are terrorist butchers of the worst sort.

But Assad's forces aren't much, if any, better. I've seen them strike off the fingers of wounded rebels, murder wounded rebels, mass murder, make videos where they murder someone while pretending to be the opposition, stick sticks down wounded rebels throats, abuse corpses, On and on....

But this takes the cake. (Assad's forces torture wounded cat and puppies, no kidding, don't watch it).

Nuke them! Nuke them all!

Its the only way to be sure.

By Howie at 04:01 PM | Comments |

February 18, 2014

Meanwhile in Tafas Syria

*A Mujahideen holds up a dead child and asks America........

....to what? Resurrect all of Syria?

Sigh....

*Its the third video left to right, top of the list, don't watch it, trust me, just don't watch it.

By Howie at 09:00 AM | Comments |

February 13, 2014

More Please! British Boxer Killed Fighting w/ Jihadis in Syria

Sure there's a risk that those going to Syria eventually come home and are better trained to commit acts of terrorism here, but it seems to me that most of those going to Syria aren't going to come home:

An amateur boxer has become the tenth known Briton to have died fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria.

On Thursday police were searching the house where Anil Khalil Raoufi, 20, a mechanical engineering student, lived with his family in a suburb of Manchester.
Officers said they were attempting to establish how "a man from the North West" could have come to be killed in Syria, although they did not confirm his identity.

It is believed that Raoufi was fighting with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), a jihadist group linked to al-Qaeda.

Hell, instead of prosecuting these guys if we discover their intentions why not buy them a one-way ticket?

Update by Howie: He's Dead Jim!

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 07:21 PM | Comments |

February 12, 2014

Chechen Terror Supporters Now Big Fans of John McCain

I don't follow John McCain on my Twitter account, but I do follow the Chechen terror supporters at the Kavkaz Center who, apparently, are big fans of John McCain's stance on Syria.

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These would be the same people who ran the following stories recently:
Caucasus Emirate Mujahideen use prayers against Satanic games in Sochi -- in which a Dagestani terrorist justifies the murder of 6 Russian civilians as tit-for-tat retribution

Mujahideen liberate village in Syria's Hama -- by "mujahideen" they mean terrorists who proceeded to massacre Muslims who weren't the right kind of Muslim

Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan airs Kabul CIA office attack video -- Yes, these people support the Taliban

I'm sure John McCain means well, and who doesn't hate the Assad regime? But when it comes right down to it the fighters on the ground aren't just anti-Assad -- many of them are for replacing Assad with a Taliban like state. And when these guys think you're awesome, maybe it's time to reevaluate your position?

PS - We got hit by snowmaggedon so I'm pretty much out for the rest of the day. I don't know where the other lazy bastards are.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:58 PM | Comments |

February 11, 2014

"American" Jihadi Accuses al Qaeda affiliate of being spies, mean to other group of al Qaeda

This guy calls himself "Abu Muhammad al-Amreki" and he claims to be a former fighter for the al Qaeda affiliatd al-Nusrah Front. In the video he claims to have left al-Nusrah for the no longer al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria after al-Nusrah went into this town and massacred a bunch of people and stole their weapons and what not.

Pop some popcorn before watching. It's real inside baseball and filled with mundane details about the dispute, but at least it's the kind of inside baseball that's red-on-red. Seriously, what could be better than one group of fanatical Islamists turning their guns on another group of fanatical Islamists?

Any guess as to where he's from? He claims to have lived in the US for 10 - 11 years, but from the accent it's clear that he's not from here. Russian, maybe?

H/T: @intelwire

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 06:19 PM | Comments |

February 08, 2014

Red on Red Continues in Syria

I'm snowed in so I won't be able to get to the store to restock the popcorn supply. Alas, today's show will be popcorn free.

Here's a report from the al Qaeda affiliated Jabhat al Nusra on their recent operations against the formerly al Qaeda affiliated Islamic State of Iraq & Syria:

Reports: Jabhat al-Nusra Strikes Back at Islamic State of Iraq in Eastern Syria

Numerous reports indicate that the Islamist faction Jabhat al-Nusra has hit back at the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham in Deir Ez Zor Province in eastery Syria, retaking facilities seizing by ISIS earlier this week.

ISIS had claimed control of a gas plant, several grain stores, and factories.

Jabhat al-Nusra reportedly retook the positions and launched more attacks with the assistance of local tribes, killing/martyred Libyan-born ISIS commander Abu Dujana.

Source: Jabhat al Nusrah.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:30 PM | Comments |

February 03, 2014

Al Qaeda Now Requiring Parking Decals in Syria

So I'm watching this video of former German rapper "Deso Dogg" (now calling himself Abu Talha al-Almani) delivering aid in Syria on behalf of al Qaeda's al Nusrah Front when I noticed that the car he's driving has ... well, just check it out.

desso-dog-al-qaeda-window-sticker2.JPG

I suppose you have to be pretty high on the al Qaeda chain of command to merit a parking sticker.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:54 PM | Comments |

January 29, 2014

Shia Terror Supporters Making Fun of Sunni Terrorists Killing Each Other

The irony here is killing me. And the fact that some guy in Tehran doesn't get the irony? That makes it doubly delicious.

fars-cartoon-makes-fun-of-syrian-jihadists.jpg

Thanks to @BellumLetale

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:54 PM | Comments |

Red on Red in Syria: Hezbollah Terrorists Massacre al Qaeda Terrorists

If this keeps going on, I'm going to have to invest in popcorn futures. I'm putting the video below the fold because it shows a bunch of dead bodies and so consider yourself warned.

The only other caveat is that there's no way to verify any of it. The video is labeled "Hezbollah ambush Jabhat Al-Nusra on Syria/Lebanon Border," but as we've seen in the past, the videos coming out of Syria are often flat out lies. They take a video of a bunch of dead people, and then both sides use the same video to either claim responsibility or claim the other side did it and it was a "massacre".

But still, one can hope, right? Worst case scenario this isn't the result of a Hezbollah assault on al Qaeda, it's the result of an al Qaeda assault on Hezbollah. Or one group of al Qaeda on another group. Or on Syrian regulars.

So basically I'm saying that whoever it is who is dead, they probably deserved it.

Thankst to Golem Bar

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:35 AM | Comments |

January 28, 2014

al Qaeda in Syria Mujahideen at Glory Hole

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Two al Qaeda fighters wait in line for their turn servicing a glory hole at a rest stop in Homs, Syria.

H/T: al Qaeda

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 06:20 PM | Comments |

January 27, 2014

Al Qaeda Unionizes in Syria

Q: How many members of al Qaeda does it take to man a check point?

A: 4. Two to man the check point, and two more to sit on their asses making sure the other two man the check point.

al-qaeda-union.jpg

H/T: al Qaeda

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:42 PM | Comments |

January 24, 2014

Hey, let's support al Qaeda -- but, you know, the more "moderate" al Qaeda"

Wow, this is possibly one of the worst ideas ever. Generally I respect the guys who wrote this ... but supporting one branch of al Qaeda over the other because, you know, one is worse. This is like supporting Stalin over Hitler if they had actually fought over Poland:

First, Ahrar al-Sham and its partners in the Islamic Front, Syria’s largest rebel coalition, are at war with ISIS, which is a far bigger concern for the United States. ISIS has the strongest track record of supporting global jihad, and it has American blood on its hands from its war against U.S. forces in Iraq. ISIS is an indiscriminate killer of Syrian civilians and, finally, it is the primary conduit through which the conflict in Syria is spreading to al-Anbar in Iraq. The Islamic Front, including Ahrar al-Sham, represents the best hope in Syria for defeating ISIS.

Second, designating Ahrar al-Sham as a terrorist group would destroy what little chance the United States has of building relationships with the other militias in the Islamic Front. Those relationships will be important for ensuring that the Front treats Syrian civilians well during the war and after, should Assad ever be toppled. Making a direct enemy of Ahrar al-Sham would also make it extremely difficult for U.S. nongovernmental organizations to move aid through territory controlled by it and the Islamic Front, because U.S. law prohibits working with terrorist organizations.

Finally, Ahrar al-Sham’s leader, Hassan Abboud, has never endorsed bin Laden’s vision of a global jihad. His struggle is limited to Syria. Designating his group as a terrorist organization might backfire by pushing it completely into al Qaeda’s camp. (Indeed, Suri’s statement itself might be indicative of an internal debate about whether to hew closely to Nusra, ISIS’s rival claimant to al Qaeda’s mantle in Syria.)

Wow, I don't know where to start with this. We should ally with militant Islamists because they are: a) less militant than ISIS; b) only want to impose Taliban style law locally; c) would bloody the nose of Iran.

Of those, only "c" is a goal worthy of pursuing. It is in our interests to see a weaker Iran in the region. The fall of Assad would bloody Iran's nose. But if that means that he is replaces by an Islamist government organized along the lines of the Taliban, then that's helpful because?

All of this is based on the false notion that if the US makes friends with these guys then we will be able to influence them in the long run. I call BS. Historical example of BS off the top of my head: arms-for-hostages -- remember when we reached out to "moderates" in Iran? How'd that work out for us.

That's just on the fly, I'm sure we could come up with a dozen examples of US policy backfiring when we supported "moderate" fascists.

The truth is that US national interests are served in an even more unsatisfying way than McCants et al. want to believe. Their argument is that keeping one branch of al Qaeda off the designated terror list is the least bad of a number of bad options. I disagree. The one option they haven't considered is that it is in our interests to prolong the war. To see that it ends in a stalemate. No one likes a stalemate, but Iran vs. al Qaeda vs. al Qaeda is a battle that serves or interests the longer it goes, not the shorter.

Moreover, there is a third actor here that has already driven out both militant Islamists and the Baathist regime from many areas in Syria: the Kurds.

Of all the groups involved in the conflict, the secular Kurds are our strongest ally in the region, the most moderate, and also the most successful at governing territory that has been liberated. If any group in this complex civil war deserves our help it is the Kurds. It is in a free and independent Kurdistan that we should be spending our time and efforts, not in failed colonial states like Syria and Iraq.

Let them kill each other until the last man standing claims to be the new Caliph or the Hidden Imam. More power to 'em.

Thanks to @pspoole

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:05 PM | Comments |

January 23, 2014

Zawahiri: Why can't we all just get along?

Al Qaeda's Rodney King moment has arrived:

The emir of al Qaeda, Ayman al Zawahiri, has released a new audio message addressing the infighting between jihadist groups in Syria.,,,

Zawahiri implores the jihadists to "let go" of their "partisan fanaticism" if it cuts against the "unity of your ranks." The infighting distracts them from fighting their true enemies, including Shiite forces, Russia, and China, all of whom are supposedly colluding with the "Crusader campaign."

Let's hope no one listens to the Z-man. All this hot al Qaeda on al Qaeda fighting is giving me a semi.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:39 AM | Comments |

January 21, 2014

Islamist Child Abuse

They train them young in Syria. This kid is what, maybe four?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:05 PM | Comments |

What, Surely You Jest? PROOF Despotic Arab Regime Systematically Tortures Citizens

I'm shocked! SHOCKED!11!!! There's no way an Middle Eastern dictator would ever stoop to such lows:

A team of internationally renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts has found "direct evidence" of "systematic torture and killing" by the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime, the lawyers on the team say in a new report.

Their report, based on thousands of photographs of dead bodies of alleged detainees killed in Syrian government custody, would stand up in an international criminal tribunal, the group says....

"This is a smoking gun," said David Crane, one of the report's authors. "Any prosecutor would like this kind of evidence -- the photos and the process. This is direct evidence of the regime's killing machine."

Next they'll tell us that al Qaeda does bad things and Palestinians are treated as second class citizens by every Arab country.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:09 PM | Comments |

January 17, 2014

Even More Hot Red on Red on Blue Three Way Action in Syria

Everyone is killing everyone in Syria:

Syrian rebels ousted an Al-Qaeda-linked faction from one of its northwestern bastions on Friday, activists said, a significant blow to the group after two weeks of infighting that has undercut the insurgency against President Bashar Assad.

Rebels from Islamists to relatively secular moderates have been fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) faction in the worst internecine violence to break out since Syria's conflict began in 2011.

In related news, al Qaeda central seems to also be condemning ISIS.

And why does everyone hat ISIS so bad? Well, maybe this is a clue.

People love their booze!

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:40 AM | Comments |

January 11, 2014

Red on Red in Syria Popcorn Status: Keep it Comin'

At this rate, I may just run out of popcorn before the red-on-red violence in Syria stops. Let's hope these guys don't kill so many of each other that they don't have any bullets left for Iran's proxy in the region, Assad:

An al Qaeda affiliate in Syria battled rival rebels across the country's north on Saturday and dozens of bodies piled up in a hospital in an insurgent-held city, a monitoring group said.

A week of infighting between the al Qaeda-linked group, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and other groups including another al Qaeda-affiliated faction has killed hundreds of fighters opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

Ideally this would be one of those Mexican standoffs, but all of them pull the trigger at the same time. Unfortunately it looks more and more like Assad is going to pull this one out of the hat and retain power. So, maybe it's time to rethink supplying arms to the rebels? Just to keep things going awhile longer.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:42 PM | Comments |

January 09, 2014

Fun with Martyrs

At first Abu Zackariah al-Tunisia was all like this:

Abu_Zackaria_from_Tunisis_ISIS.JPG

Then he was all like this:

Abu_Zackaria_from_Tunisis_ISIS-dead.JPG

This red-on-red fighting is just making my day.

The most ironical of the whole thing is that last picture is actually from an al Qaeda video which claims he'd been murdered. The video shows that he had his hands tied behind his back and had been shot in the head execution style.

This would be the same al Qaeda which posted this earlier today.

Pot, meet kettle.

See, when al Qaeda does it it's "justice". But when it happens to one of their own, it's "murder". They seem to have got that right half of the time.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 06:46 PM | Comments |

Good News: AQ Ousted from Aleppo Bad News: 70 Prisoners Found Dead

Is it possible that the more secular elements in the Syrian revolution are finally getting the upper hand on the al Qaeda affiliates? Reports over the past few weeks suggest that the various factions are in a full blown shooting war with each other.

I'm not sure what the long term strategic outcome of this intra-rebellion fighitng is going to be, but I am sure of this one thing: Dead al Qaeda = Good.

But to muddy the waters even more, there are two separate al Qaeda affiliated groups in Syria. The al Nusrah Front and ISIS. Al Nusrah is now fighting with the secular Free Syrian Army against ISIS.

When one al Qaeda affiliated group thinks the other al Qaeda affiliated group has maybe gone a little crazy, then you know things have gotten bad on the ground.

McClatchy:

Syrian rebels on Wednesday ousted the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS] from its last major base in the city of Aleppo, freeing 300 mostly civilian prisoners and dealing an enormous setback to the al Qaida-affiliated group.

Fighters who raised the flags of both the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army and the recently formed Islamic Front over the base found the bodies of 70 people who’d been detained and killed by ISIS at the Aleppo Eye Hospital, which the group had seized and turned into a base, Syrian television journalist Hazem Dakel told McClatchy.

It's not clear why the 70 prisoners were murdered by ISIS, but the account of one of the freed Turkish journalists is tellling. He was blindfolded, shackled, and interoggated for three weeks.

The accused crime? Since his news outlet was Turkish, and every one know the J-O-Os really control Turkey from behind the scene, then Q.E.D -- he was an Israeli spy!

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:10 PM | Comments |

January 07, 2014

Fauxtography: The Syrian Massacre That Wasn't

Since the Syrian opposition is now busy fighting amongst themselves, it would be wise to remind readers that many of the extraordinary claims made against anti-regime forces are .... hard to believe.

Frankly, we are talking about a regime here that has a propaganda machine modeled after the Soviet Union's. So, it should come as no surprise that many of the so-called "attrocities" just never happened.

Check out this article from The Interpretor, which examines the role of Russian state media in propigating the lies of the Assad regime about what would have been the worst single massacre by the opposition -- had it actually occured. This would be the "massacre" of 80 Christians and Alawites in Adra back in December.

The problem? It doesn't appear to have happened.

The only photographic evidecne shows caskets from a month before the alleged massacre.

syria-fauxtography.jpg

So just remember that both sides in this civil war in Syria lie so often that it is probably the best course of action to remain skeptical of all extraordinary claims. You'll know they are lying when their lips move.

Thanks to Zionist Internet Overlord #1

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:44 AM | Comments |

December 19, 2013

Good News! al-Qaeda Torturing Syrians

They are slowly sawing off people heads with knives for being Christian Alawite or just the wrong kind of Muslim, but hey at least they aren't water-boarding.

Amnesty International says that an Al-Qaeda–linked rebel group operating in Syria uses torture, flogging, and summary killings in secret prisons.

In an 18-page report issued on December 19, Amnesty International identified seven detention facilities it says are run by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) in the northern provinces of Aleppo and Al-Raqqa.

Philip Luther, Amnesty International's director for the Middle East and North Africa, says that those abducted by the ISIS "include children as young as eight who are held together with adults."

Amnesty has called on the international community "to take concrete steps to block the flow of arms and other support to [ISIS] and other armed groups implicated in committing war crimes."

Torture and murder its only wrong when the west does it and Allah (the most gracious the most merciful) knows best.

By Howie at 02:27 PM | Comments |

Buy Them All Tickets: UK Jihadi Killed Fighting for al Qaeda in Syria

At this rate of kill off maybe the best policy option is to buy them all tickets to Turkey, greet them at the airport, and then escort them to the Syrian border?

Ifthekar Jaman, 23, died at the weekend in a battlefield clash 2,000 miles from his Hampshire home.

He was one of an estimated 350 British men to have taken up arms with Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria – where they are known as British Kataa’ib, meaning British Brigade.

Speaking a month ago, Jaman declared he was ready to die as a martyr, vowing: ‘I don’t plan to come back. Life is for the hereafter… it’s an eternal paradise so the sacrifice is small.’...

He joined ISIL (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), a notorious group of Al Qaeda extremists waging jihad against the Syrian government.

The last known pictures of him, circulated online at the start of this month, show Jaman and another Briton armed with AK-47 assault rifles and stopping vehicles at a dust-blown checkpoint.

Good riddance.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:12 PM | Comments |

December 18, 2013

Why We're Taking a Second Look at Assad

Eh, it could be worse:

Mere hours later, the engineer and 20 other members of the Syrian opposition -- doctors, city council members and activists -- escaped from Raqqa into Turkey. They weren't fleeing Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, but a new and terrible power that has no face and goes by many names. The official name of this al-Qaida branch, which has broken away from Osama Bin Laden's successors, is the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS). "Daaisch" is the most common abbreviation of the group's name in Syria. "But we call them the Army of Masks," says Basil, the engineer who fled the country, "because their men rarely show their faces. They dress in black, with their faces covered."
In addition to civil rights activist Halaibna, the group's thugs have kidnapped hundreds of others in Raqqa, where Assad's army was driven out back in March. The jihadists seized the chair of the city council, the heads of the civilian opposition, an Italian Jesuit and six European journalists. Anyone who opposes the ISIS fighters, or who is simply considered an unbeliever, disappears.

ISIS maintains four prisons for holding its hostages in this area alone. And Raqqa was only the beginning. In the last four months, the jihadist group, which was still essentially unknown in Syria at the start of this year, has seized control of several cities, as well as strategically important roads, oil fields and granaries.

The article goes on to repeat the party line that it's our fault that al Qaeda is growing so rapidly in Syria because had we just sent arms to the "moderates" then al Qaeda wouldn't be receiving so much support.

And to that I say, bah-humbug!

We actually bombed in Libya, and how'd that work out for us? No, it's not our fault that these people can't get their sh*t together. They've never had it together, and no matter what we do they're never going to get their sh*t together.

Thanks to Lou.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:13 PM | Comments |

When Iranian Terror Supporting Proxies Are Looking Like the Best Alternative

Wow, when Iran's Hezbollah supporting proxy in Syria is looking like the least-worst viable option, you know you're cause is sunk:

Western nations have indicated to the Syrian opposition that peace talks next month may not lead to the removal of President Bashar al-Assad and that his Alawite minority will remain key in any transitional administration, opposition sources said.....

"Our Western friends made it clear in London that Assad cannot be allowed to go now because they think chaos and an Islamist militant takeover would ensue," said one senior member of the Coalition who is close to officials from Saudi Arabia.

Noting the possibility of Assad holding a presidential election when his term formally ends next year, the Coalition member added: "Some do not even seem to mind if he runs again next year, forgetting he gassed his own people."

Lest we forget just how bad the Baathist regime in Syria really is, last night I watched watched the NRA's Life of Duty special Remembering Beirut. The bombing of the US Marine Barracks killed 241 US Servicemen.

Yeah, Assad's regime supports these guys and Hezbollah fighters are actively participating on the war in Syria today. So, if we think that is the best option? I think it's not just the attrocities committed by the al Qaeda types, it's also that the opposition is so divided now that they spend just as much time killing each other as they do Assad's thugs. They keep this up it's not going to matter what a bunch of diplomats at a peace conference say, they're going to lose.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:21 PM | Comments |

December 17, 2013

Syrian Rebels Burning People In Ovens

This is the side the Obama Administration (along with a few RINOs) has chosen to support:

"The situation was terrible - with killing, atrocities, and fear as the background. Unidentified armed men came into town, but it was obvious that they were Jabhat al-Nusra militants," Muhammad Al-Said said.

"The worst crime they committed was that they toasted people in ovens used to bake bread when those people came to buy it. They kidnapped and beat up many," he added.

According to Al-Said, the rebels committed the atrocities so they could place blame on government forces.

But the resident said that Adra citizens are "waiting for Syrian troops to save us from the terrorists, who came from other countries."

"Never again" is becoming "once again" under Islamic aggression. And sadly, the West is doing little, if anything, to address it.

By DMartyr at 11:15 AM | Comments |

Over 8500 Jihadi Moths to Syrian Flame

Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design.

Individuals from Middle Eastern countries continue to represent the majority of foreign fighters (around 70 per cent). We estimate that up to 6,774 non-Syrian Arabs and an additional 523 non-Arabs from the (wider) region have gone to Syria.

The five countries with the largest numbers of foreign fighters in Syria are all part of the Middle East: Jordan is the single biggest contributor (up to 2,089), followed by Saudi Arabia (1,016), Tunisia (970), Lebanon (890), and Libya (556).

It must be noted, however, that the Middle Eastern figures are less reliable than those for Western Europe, as governments are less forthcoming with official estimates and there is less reporting of individual cases.

The detailed breakdown is as follows:

Read the rest.

Once they Jihadists arrive in Syria they are caught in an Iranian meat grinder, why just today Iran claims that two senior al-Nusra front commanders were eliminated.

Two commanders of the Al-Nusra Front, namely Abu Hamzeh and Abu Ahmad Al-Mohajer, have been killed in fierce clashes in the past two days.

Ebrahim al-Mesri nicknamed Abu Zayd, commander of Sarih al-Modahemeh armed group, was killed in Jassem region in Daraa.

Of course whenever al-Nusra is winning it the will of Allah, I wonder what they call it when they lose?
#Syria: Al-Sha'ar #Aleppo this morning, devastated with aerial bombing by the baathist regime.

If this is not a classified as a crime against the people then what is a crime against the people?

How many must be martyred before it is classified as a crime?

How many must be made refugees before it is classified as a crime?

How many must be made homeless before it is classified as a crime?

The rulers of the muslim world have no honour that is clear by their inaction from doing what is required of them as rulers of muslim armies.

The Khilafah is the need of the time upon the method of the Prophet Muhammad SAW.

Oh I see, its a crime when someone else does it.

By Howie at 10:25 AM | Comments |

December 12, 2013

Good News! Western Backed Syrian Rebel Leader Flees Syria

Panorama:

Western-backed Syrian rebel commander fled the country after Islamist militant fighters ran him out of his headquarters, US officials said. Free Syrian Army Gen. Salim Idris flew to the Qatari capital of Doha Sunday after fleeing to Turkey. The Islamists also took over key warehouses holding US military gear for moderate fighters in northern Syria over the weekend, the Voice of Russia said.

"He fled as a result of the Islamic Front taking over his headquarters," a senior US official said.

The story goes on to point out that he was overrun by a radical subset of a moderate Islamists that aren't as radical as al-Nusra or ISIS but still radical enough that Idris decided he liked his head where it was.

Update: Idris issues statement saying just hanging out in Turkey for talks.

By Howie at 09:53 AM | Comments |

December 10, 2013

Bad News: Syrian Government Continues to Win Key Battles

Why is this bad? Because it seems to me that our only real interest in Syria is a stalemate. As long as the Mullah loving terrorists are killing the bin Laden loving terrorists, I'm happy.

To paraphrase Han Solo: Better them than me!

So, maybe it's time to start arming the FSA? Keep the war going and what not before it's too late and Assad's goons get such an upper hand that it's effectively over:

Syria's regime captured from rebel fighters a key town near Lebanon on Monday, as doubts were cast on any breakthrough at a Geneva peace conference slated for next month....

But Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that the army had secured most of Nabak, including all of the western part of the town adjacent to the highway.

Pro-government newspaper Al-Watan said the highway, essential to move troops and weapons and cement regime control from Damascus to the central province of Homs, would reopen soon.

Also, I think we should be selling arms to the Kurds no matter what happens with the other two factions. That way, no matter who wins, we have a reliable ally in the region. I just don't see either side taking back Kurdish territory, even after this thing is over.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:24 AM | Comments |

December 04, 2013

Al Qaeda in Syria Has Mary Kay Party

And they gave out gift bags, how sweet!

al-qaeda-syria-gift-bags.jpg

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:59 PM | Comments |

FSA Fighters Take Nuns Hostage

How's that war in Syria working out for ya?

Opposition fighters abducted 12 nuns from a Christian village overrun by rebels, Syria’s Greek Orthodox patriarch and the head of a convent said Tuesday, adding to fears that hard-line Muslim rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar Assad were increasingly targeting Christians....

The nuns and three other women were seized Monday from the Greek Orthodox Mar Takla convent in the village of Maaloula and taken to the nearby rebel-held town of Yabroud, which also has a large Christian population, said Mother Superior Febronia Nabhan, head of the nearby Saidnaya Convent.

Often times we mix up the Free Syrian Army with the various Islamist groups which are not part of the FSA. So, the FSA gets blamed for a lot of bad things that aren't, in fact, being done by them.

But this time? This time it looks like the FSA, which our government is funneling money to, is really behind the kidnappings:

Loay al-Mikdad, a spokesman for the mainstream rebel Free Syrian Army, denounced the behavior of some groups in Maaloula, but blamed the regime for placing tanks and other military hardware inside the village. Speaking to Al-Arabiya TV, he said rebels went into Maaloula not for sectarian reasons but because of its strategic location.
So, if the secular moderates no longer have any control over the various "moderate" groups fighting under the FSA umbrella, then why should we be giving them money?

As a matter or regional and global strategy, it is in our interests that the Assad regime fall. But as a matter of tactics, it's not clear why falling to this particular group of rebels will actually improve the strategic situation. Sure, Assad's fall will bloody the nose of Iran and a resurgent Russia, but I really don't know if the chaos that ensues will strengthen our global position.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:26 AM | Comments |

November 22, 2013

Obama's Freedom Fighters Free Captured Soldiers Brain From His Skull

I've seen some of those fake videos released by the Assad regime in which a few so called Mujahideen, who don't talk or act quite right, murder someone out in the desert without witnesses. The narrative blaming al-Nusra and terrorist elements fighting in Syria.

Yeah, um, this isn't one of those.


graphic

The terrorists don't hide when they murder people. They do it right up front and in broad daylight.

By Howie at 11:38 AM | Comments |