Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 11, 2012

The Channel 4 Report On The Farouq Brigade

The French journalist Mani embedded with the insurgents of the insurgent Farouq brigade near Talbiseh in Syria. The British Channel 4 has his video report which is quite interesting. It reveals that the brigade has large support from the outside.

Some of the fighters obviously had sniper training (1:15) and are teaching their comrades in that trade. They use M-16 automatic rifles with scopes.

Two different anti-aircraft guns are shown. A ZU-23-2 twin 23 mm gun mounted on a blue truck. As the truck lacks the weight to give the gun some stability its only possible use is in a "spray and pray" mode. A white truck is mounted with a ZPU-1 14.5mm machine gun. This is stability wise a more effective arrangement. As the continuous shooting for the camera shows there seems to be no lack of ammunition for these guns (3:00).

The fighters themselves explain that they see the conflict as a sectarian one. For them it is not about the Syrian army or about Assad but, as they say, about fighting Shia and Alawite (3:50).

For planing the insurgents use fresh high-resolution satellite imagery color printed on large glossy paper sheets. (5:00). But for lack of coordination with other brigades a planed attack on a Syrian army checkpoint was called off.

Two pickups are shown with mounted SPG-9 73mm recoilless guns (6:10). These are seemingly new and again there is no lack of ammunition for these.

Next comes an interesting weapons. At 6:40 the insurgents are loading a brand new Chinese QLZ-89 35mm automatic grenade launcher in the "light" bipod version but with the large "heavy" 15 rounds magazine. This launcher is a rarther rare item and a relative new Chinese development. It is a serious weapon for light infantry with a good range and lots of fire power.  It is very unlikely to be available from your friendly Lebanese next-door AK-47 and RPG dealer.

The insurgents are show as they are handling bricks of money, allegedly $110,000, for ammunition and other supplies (7:05).

The members of the Farouq brigade seem to be mostly Salafists. At 7:50 one of them laments that this is the reason they allegedly get no support from the "free world". He is asking why the "freedom" construct does not include his freedom to be Salafist.

Well, it does. But "freedom" is not about your freedom. It is about the freedom of everyone else to be what s/he wants to be. Is that the understanding Salafists have? This is just as "democracy" is not about the rule of the majority but about the protection of the minorities. Islamists seem to have a problem with such this inherent inclusiveness of these concepts. Sectarianism and freedom ain't compatible.

At 8:40 a fighter who was caught by a tank round while sniping at the Syrian army and has lost a leg and several other wounds is getting patched up. He is conscious, has a drip-bag and as he shows no pain must be under effective medication.

The insurgents have been at least partially trained. They do have quite modern and new weapons and no lack of ammunition. Their weapons are very unlikely to have been bought from the black market as the report claims. The recoilless guns and grenade launchers and their ammunitions are definitely not usual black market items. There must be some serious state sponsor behind the delivery of these. Likewise with the current satellite photos, the large amounts of money and the medical and communication equipment.

The fighters declare themselves to be Salafists and see themselves in a sectarian war against people of other believes.

The CIA is supposed to be in south Turkey to control the flow of weapons and to make sure that what gets through only goes to agreeable groups. Does the CIA think that the sectarian Salafist Farouk brigade is agreeable to western values or does it lack the control it is supposed to have?

Posted by b on September 11, 2012 at 12:24 UTC | Permalink


This UN International Court of Human Rights Case would get interesting should support of foreign countries and individuals get included.

I guess they lost control of the message. All those videos. It is getting very obvious the US is an ally of Al Queida - again.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2012 14:29 utc | 1

The CIA would like this group; it delivers the correct message (and in English).

First, about the Al-Farouq Brigade
-Omar Farouq was a top lieutenant to Osama bin Laden and senior operative in Southeast Asia, where he set up training camps for al Qaeda-affiliated terror groups and plotted to attack embassies after the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks. The Al Farouq Brigade is one of the most active battalion units of the Free Syria Army. The Al Farouq Brigade's commander is Abdul-Razzaq Tlass, who is the nephew of the former Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass.

NYTimes: In late June, the Farouq Brigade disseminated a video online in which several commanders said that there were Qaeda fighters in Syria and that there would be no room for them. Each commander stood surrounded by fighters holding rifles, and the video had its own English-language translation. At the end, a young man delivered an appeal in fluent English for the Western powers to intervene in the war to topple Mr. Assad. “We want democracy and freedom,” he said. “It is the people’s revolution; it is not an Islamic revolution. We have doctors and engineers among us, and we are seeking a secular democratic country.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 11 2012 15:06 utc | 2

Well, they were a bit careless about the name they chose ...

There is this Iraqui Al Farouq Brigade also

Terrorist Organization Profile:
al-Faruq Brigades
Mothertongue Name: n/a
Aliases: Jihadist al-Faruq Brigades, Media Commission for the Mujahidin in Iraq
Bases of Operation: Iraq
Date Formed: November 29, 2003
Strength: Unknown number of members
Classifications: Nationalist/Separatist, Religious
Financial Sources: Unknown
Founding Philosophy: The al-Faruq Brigades are a Jihadist terrorist group fighting coalition forces in Iraq. Their self-proclaimed goal is to "Cleanse Baghdad, the City of Peace, of the invaders, by the grace of God, on a day when the Believers will rejoice at God's triumph." They believe that their "Jihad in Iraq is a jihad of victory or martyrdom." Although their name only became prominent publicly after the phase of major combat in Iraq and the defeat of Saddam Hussein's regime, the group has claimed that it also fought alongside the Iraqi Army near Baghdad in May 2003.
Current Goals: Although they have been definitively linked only to the November 2003 attack on a group of Spanish soldiers, the group has boasted of involvement in a number of other attacks, mainly on American soldiers. On a number of Jihadist websites and through a publication called the Free Arab Voice, the al-Faruq Brigades have claimed that they have begun to manufacture a number of different kinds of rockets, including a "dirty warhead" with red mercury. Although the Ansar al-Sunnah group has been held responsible, the al-Faruq brigades have claimed that they used these rockets in the December 2004 attack on an American base at al-Ghizlani, near Mosul in northern Iraq.

The group has not claimed responsibility for any terrorist act in Iraq since December 2004; however, there have been no reports about the capture of any group members. They are presumed to still be active.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2012 16:05 utc | 3

the name is simply religious by the way - nothing to do with Al Queida - but a companion of the Prophet, but sure, to give a military "revolutionary" brigade a religious name is a programme.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 11 2012 16:17 utc | 4

More willing pawns in the alCIAda and Zionist divide and conquer campaign.
Madness,sheer madness,on the Sunni part,as the Zionists hate all sects of Islam equally.

Posted by: dahoit | Sep 11 2012 16:33 utc | 5

Report on the exploding World arms industry by Amnesty, Oxfam and iansa. PDF. body, 20+ pp. (2006-7), with propositions for control.

P.A.P. blog has a round up of figures / charts detailing sums, movement, etc. in the arms trade, from different sources (several from the Economist):

*see particularly sales to developing nations (Economist)

Another round up, from Global Issues:

The 5 UN Security Council permanent members are generally the largest arms dealers (though others such as Germany often feature quite high - higher than China for example)...

Think of Greece, for ex. which was enjoined, or forced, to maintain military spending, buying from Germany and France, while cutting health care, which has now completely broken down. The idea that GR needs military materiel to defend itself, at present, from Turkey, is absurd.

I need say no more imho.

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 11 2012 16:56 utc | 6

@ Dahoit

Agree. No mention by these sectarianists of Hezbollah, Shia fighters who have died by the thousand to liberate Sunni's in Palestine. The Al Farouq Brigade wants a fight, maybe they should work their way South to Israel and support a real revolutionary movement in need of assistance... but I suppose if they joined a real revolutionary movement, they would not get their paychecks from Saudi Arabia (those were some large bricks of cash in the video).

Reminded of Castro starting the Cuban Revolution with 82 guys and 15,000 dollars in cash and succeeding. These guys cannot win despite spending all the money Saudi Arabia has to offer and all the weapons the CIA has to offer and all the satiellite imagery the french have to offer. In fact I don't know of any revolution in history that was given so much support and was such a failure. It's an achievement in its own right.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Sep 11 2012 17:34 utc | 7

b writes: At 7:50 one of them laments that this is the reason they allegedly get no support from the "free world". He is asking why the "freedom" construct does not include his freedom to be Salafist.

They are bad as fundamental Christians. Criticize them for some stupid, intolerant policy (e.g. pushing creationism in public schools, homophobic policies, anti-choice, whatever) we will frequently hear that we are violating their freedom of speech! I guess the mental rigidity required to be a fundamentalist of whatever stripe leaves the victim incapable of the self analysis needed to reveal internal contradictions.

Posted by: ToivoS | Sep 11 2012 22:06 utc | 8

#7 and you wouldn't anyway due to HAMAS being anti Assad and essentially an adjunct of The Muslim Brotherhood, wholly owned proxies of MI6 since God only knows. FATAH is of course a comprador regime so you can just scratch them off. How the nominal leadership of Gazans can not be fully supportive of Syria is beyond me, but they also were constructed partially by Israeli intelligence as a non secular counter force to PLO, and PFLP. It confounds me how Jihadi insurgencies are so sincere in their wars against any regime not in favor of Western/Zionist interests. The privates are sincere, sectarian, if not too bright. The generals are completely cynical. Im baffled by any antizionist who is wishy washy on Syria because if Assad falls this is the end game. There will be final transfer, Golan, Sheba, all disputed territories will be annexed. Jerusalem will be ethnically cleansed, Hizbollah will be isolated, Lebanon will be reinvaded and all fuck will break loose for Eretz Yisrael.

Posted by: demize! | Sep 12 2012 4:49 utc | 9

That should read "not in the favor of"

Posted by: demize! | Sep 12 2012 4:50 utc | 10

Car bombs by refugee shelter in #Aleppo;many killed (video news) … #Syria

Posted by: brian | Sep 12 2012 8:23 utc | 11

Now Robert Mood warns against supporting rebels. As I have been trying to say for a while, supporting the rebel revolutionaries is undemocratic and unethical, and only prolong a bloody conflict where the outcome anyway will be the survival of the government. This is what we should extract from the Robert Mood statement, that the Syrian government is superior in military power, and that the outcome is a given.

Posted by: Alexander | Sep 12 2012 9:05 utc | 13

Alexander @ 13

Mood's statements will fall on deaf ears..He's the same guy who a few months ago said Syria's government will gone in weeks...It's NATO kooks getting scared of the very monster they created..

Posted by: Zico | Sep 12 2012 14:28 utc | 14

Friday 27. july Robert Mood said:
"Sooner or later, the regime will fall," Robert Mood, the Norwegian general, said on Friday. "The spiral of violence, the lack of proportion in the regime's reactions, its incapacity to protect the civilian population, mean that the regime's days are numbered, but will it fall in a week or in a year? That is a question I do not dare answer."

That's not exactly what you attributed to him, Zico. Anyway, he must have realized by now that Assad isn't leaving until he's voted out in a regular election. Which means at least two years.

Posted by: Alexander | Sep 12 2012 15:40 utc | 15

My thanks to 'b' for link to the UK Channel4 video and for the info about the rebels' hardware. Another copy of the Channel4 video is viewable at Youtube at

I have response to what 'b' said above about Salafis.

The Syrian government for decades has been harsh and intolerant towards Salafis. I'm unsure about whether that was the right or the wrong government policy. In any case it's a fact the Salafi minority in Syria has been subjected to suppressions including the banning of Salafi religious and theology books. (In recent years the Salafi religious books are easily avilable on the Internet, making the government's ban ineffective but still politically significant).

It should be no surprise to anyone that the Salifis took to arms when the opportunity presented itself this past year. The Salifis have violent proclivities and that's the key reason why they were aggressively suppressed by government policy. But, on the other hand, the aggressive suppression and demonizing leaves the Salafis without good hope of political progress through civil pathways, and keeps them seeing the path of violence as legitimate and beneficial.

Bashar Assad said on 29 Aug 2012: "Solving the crisis is not only through the elimination of terrorism, or through force, we have to use all possible means including tolerance." Bashar Assad said on 10 Jan 2012: "Tolerance builds nations and achieves the flourishing future."

I agree with Bashar, and I think it implies more respect and tolerance for the Salafis in particular.

As an instance of the problem I'm talking about here, Syria's representative at the UN, Al-Jaafari, said on 21 Apr 2012 that there are no minorities in Syria, rather only Syrians who are proud of their cultural and religious diversity and don't want Wahabi and Salafi extremism to sneak among them. (Ref). To appriciate what's wrong with that, imagine Hilary Clinton saying there are no minorities in America, rather only Americans who are proud of their cultural and religious diversity and don't want Christian fundamentalist extremism to sneak among them. It would be disrespectful and intolerant towards the Christian fundamentalists, and US politicians like Hilary Clinton do not say such things, even though they disagree politically and morally with the Christian fundamentalists.

The Salafis are only a minority in Syria; they don't pose a political threat of taking over the rule of the country in democratic elections. More respect and toleration for them would do the rest no harm.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 12 2012 19:05 utc | 16

Pat Lang differentiates Salafis, for whatever that's worth (regarding Egypt).

Mursi and the MB are riding a tiger in Egypt and throughout the Muslim world. They were elected to create a Salafist (larger sense) sharia law state.

I did note the AQ headbands in the video, with "There is no god but Allah and Mohammad is his messenger." (If I'm correct?)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 12 2012 19:42 utc | 17

Parviziyi you are right, I can tolerate people who tolerate me. Do you think Salafis can tolerate the Syrian state?

From an European point of view religious / private control of state institutions - like schools - in the US is against the personal right of children to be informed and to chose for themselves. School curricula are tightly state controlled including religious lessions. Home schooling by parents is illegal in Germany. There is a right in Germany to chose (or leave) a religion from age 14 onwards. Not everything is recognized as religion e.g. scientology is considered a cult by most countries.

Next problem - religious legislation. There is no such thing in Europe or the US though obviously the ethics of a society are formed by their religious beliefs and therefore part of legislation. However - Sharia law - do you think Christians or Atheists should accept that? Do you think medieval corporal law should be applied in modern times? I know the US has capital punishment, Europe thinks it is inhuman. Never mind you can't reverse it when you make a mistake.

Switching religions, leaving a religion - that is a personal right in Europe and in the US - how is that handled in Islamic countries - that is a problem not just for salafis.

Being free to marry whom you want .... and so on and so on.

Basically European - and US - legislation is about individual rights, not about the rights of religious groups. Rights have to be applicable to everyone, independent of gender or belief or ethnic background ...

Do you think Salafis could follow their beliefs and tolerate peoples freedom to decide for themselves (eg. their daughters freedom)?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 12 2012 19:54 utc | 18

@ 'somebody' #18: You say "I can tolerate people who tolerate me". I say we should also tolerate people who don't or wouldn't tolerate us. Provided it's in a situation where they don't have the power to implement what they'd like to do.

As an example from history, under British (also Irish) law in the 18th century up until about 1780, Roman Catholicism was outlawed and persecuted in various ways. It was said, and probably quite correctly, if the Catholics got power they'd have persecuted Protestantism; and it was said correctly that the Catholics upheld a foreign power, the Pope, as superior to the laws and sovereignty of Britain. But in the 18th century there was no real possibility of Catholics taking power in Britain or subverting British laws and sovereignty. Hence the suppression of Catholicism was a persecution without being a necessary act to defend Protestantism.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 13 2012 1:51 utc | 19

Here's another example from history to add to my comment at #19 and #16 about political toleration for Salafis in Syria. In year 1888 the Catholic Church under Pope Leo XIII, in a decree called the Libertas encyclical, decreed the following principle:

"The fundamental doctrine of rationalism is the supremacy of the human reason, which, refusing due submission to the divine and eternal reason, proclaims its own independence.... A doctrine of such character is most hurtful both to individuals and to the State.... It follows that it is quite unlawful to demand, to defend, or to grant, unconditional [or promiscuous] freedom of thought, speech, writing, or religion."
The 1888 papal decree also stated:
[paragraph 27, abridged] "The divine teaching of the Church brings the sure guidance of shining light. Therefore, there is no reason why science should feel aggrieved at having to bear the restraint of laws by which, in the judgment of the Church, human teaching has to be controlled."

In 1864 Pope Pius IX in the "Syllabus of Errors" decree said the same sort of stuff. Despite those obnoxious Catholic doctrines, the political society of liberals and Protestants of the West maintained a policy of respect and toleration for Catholicism at the time. Clearly in hindsight that was the right policy.

In Syria today the same respect and toleration should be extended to the Salafis. When the Salafis commit acts of violence it should be vigorously suppressed as violence, but not suppressed as Salafi'ism. Attempting to suppress Salafi'ism, as such, makes the Salafis more violent.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 13 2012 15:10 utc | 20

Parviziyi, maybe we mean different things, when we say tolerance. I agree that Salafis have human rights like everybody else, and the Syrian regime has been violating these human rights (as has the US, UK, Egypt, Libya and others to their eternal shame).

I disagree to let any religious group in my country oppress others within a community, even if I do not live in that area, and even if it is their community.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 13 2012 16:51 utc | 21

#17 thats The Shahada one of the pillars of Islam. Its not necessarily an Al Qeada as tandard, though many jihadi and Salifist groups incorporate it. A lot of national flags have it SaudI flag is that on a green field.

Posted by: demize! | Sep 13 2012 18:25 utc | 22

left wing Pulse media attacks Robert Fisk and make some remarkable claims:
such as:

'This account closely resembles the regime’s tale about the Houla massacre in May 2012, whereby the victims of Houla were also said to be regime supporters killed because they were relatives of a member of parliament. It is known today that this is pure invention, and that the massacre – as confirmed by the United Nations human-rights inquiry – was carried out by the regime’s armed forces and shabbiha (armed gangs). Is it possible that this embedded journalist’s source about the new massacre is the same “temple of truth” who had revealed facts of the governmental enquiry committee on the Houla massacre?

As in Houla, the story that the massacre victims were somehow related to regime or government members is false'

Contrast with a man who actually went to Houla:

Pulse was also a left wing supporter of the war on Libya.One of Pulses members is Tariq Ali

Posted by: brian | Sep 14 2012 13:15 utc | 23

SAMANDAG, Turkey — When the first families of Syrian war refugees straggled into the seaside city a few months ago, the locals offered a wary welcome.

Last week, they kicked them all out.

This ancient pilgrimage town in southern Turkey is populated by the Alawi, adherents of a heterodox offshoot of Shia Islam, who share their faith with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian leader has filled the upper ranks of his military, security services and feared Shabiha militia with his fellow Alawites.

Although Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has thrown his support behind the Syrian rebels in their armed uprising against Assad, the Turkish street is revealing itself to be more divided about what is happening in Syria and along its borders.

Many Turks are proud their government is giving a hand to those in need, but the main opposition leaders are warning that the country is being dragged into a sectarian conflict. The business community is also rattled.

Here in the Hatay Province, where Turkey's small Alawite population is centered, critics of the government's role in the 18-month conflict next door are especially vocal.

"We are sure there are foreign fighters here, all the extremists and all the terrorists," said Ali Yeral, a prominent religious leader of the Alawite sect in the southern Turkish city of Antakya. "They spend the day drinking tea, and at night they cross the border to kill our relatives" in Syria.

Yeral and other Alawite activists repeat stories, impossible to verify and likely not even true, that nevertheless illustrate the level of animosity they feel about the 120,000 Syrians living in refugee camps and rented apartments in Turkey.

"We have heard them say after they get finished with the government of Assad, they will come for us and cut our heads off," Yeral said. "They are Libyans, Saudis, Syrians. They are all terrorists. And they say to our girls, 'I will have you in my bed and your father's villa will be mine.' "

Posted by: brian | Sep 15 2012 3:22 utc | 24

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