Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 04, 2014

Syria: Your Moderate Cuddly Homegrown Al-Qaeda - Now Vs. 2.0

Last October we commented on Syria's then new moderate cuddly homegrown al-Qaeda peddled by "western" media. Those were jihdist groups, including al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, which were then fighting against the other al-Qaeda affiliate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria:

There are not many differences between any of the the insurgency groups in Syria. The Syrian insurgency was, from its very beginning, a brutal religiously motivated one that was run out of Sunni mosques and financed with money from the Wahabbi Gulf states. As this insurgency can no longer be sold in "western" media as "peaceful protesters" it is now depicted as somewhat moderate if only compared to the real savages of ISIS Al-Qaeda. But such differentiation makes no sense at all. Hanging baby heads from apple trees is psychopathic no matter what shade of religious extremism is used to justify it.

This weekend saw the start of the "moderate al-Qaeda 2.0" campaign:

An alliance of Islamist and other rebel factions battled fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) across north-western Syria on Saturday in apparently coordinated strikes against the powerful al Qaeda-linked group.

Activists said dozens of fighters had been killed in the clashes, which started on Friday and may have been provoked by increasing resentment against the radical ISIL fighters, many of them foreign jihadis.
Assad's main political opponents in exile, the National Coalition, sought to portray Saturday's clashes as a counter assault by the FSA against ISIL's "authoritarian oppression"

The groups allegedly fighting with ISIS this weekend are mostly other jihadists including from the Islamic Front. Between the various fights Ahrar al-Shams, one of the main elements of the Islamic Front, found time to demonstrate its newly discovered moderation:

Thou shalt not miss the Friday prayer... 'Moderate Rebels' enforce law & order in liberated areas in , .


Posted by b on January 4, 2014 at 17:39 UTC | Permalink


Link to a background analysis of the Volgograd terrorist blast and US involvement

Posted by: curious | Jan 4 2014 17:51 utc | 1

Here we see the moderate al Qaeda fighter, moderately inspired by his moderate fanaticism, moderately scourging his moderately grateful, moderately liberated neighbor with moderate force, spilling only a moderate amount of blood, and leaving only moderate scarring. Leaving all onlookers with a moderate idea of what might happen to them, should they get out of line, even moderately.

There's no such thing as "a little pregnant". And there's no such thing as "moderate al Qaeda". Just like there is no such thing as a "moderate" amount of lies and spin in a Reuters article regarding the imperialist invasion of Syria.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 4 2014 18:09 utc | 2

The Syrian rebel group "Ahrar al-Sham" (fuller name Harakat Ahrar al-Sham Al-Islamiya) has always been at the fundamentalist and extremist end of the Islamist spectrum. Idiot Western commentators in bygone months have talked in earnest about "moderate Islamists", but those idiots were never so idiotic as to include Ahrar al-Sham among the moderate Islamist groups. (Ahrar al-Sham in Sept 2013 and again in Dec 2013 joined an Islamist rebel coalition that includes some less-fundamentalist groups, but it's just a loose coalition, and it'd be a mistake to infer from it that Ahrar al-Sham is less-fundamentalist).

The video linked to by 'b' above shows the Sukri neighborhood of Aleppo city fully controled by men whose clothing bears the emblems and name of Ahrar Al-Sham, and the men are carrying semi-automatic rifles. I remember when the Syrian army was fighting for control in the Sukri neighborhood back in Sept 2012. Today's video for me is another reminder of the failure of the Syrian army to meet the expectations that I had for the Syrian army in Sept 2012. For the Western idiots who thought the moderate Islamists would emerge victorious, the video is another reminder of the failure of the moderate Islamists.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Jan 4 2014 19:46 utc | 3

The present crisis is in Iraq. There has been fighting the last few days in Ramadi and Falluja. Now ISIS claims to have taken Falluja. No doubt the intention is to make an Aleppo.

The fighting started in Ramadi, after the demolition of a protestor camp. No doubt ISIS profited from the diversion of attention to seize Falluja.

I have no idea which way this thing is going to go. Maliki has been beating up the Sunnis. Has it gone so far that they prefer al-Qa'ida? I really don't know.

Posted by: alexno | Jan 4 2014 21:11 utc | 4

german spiegel-online today has an article headlined "Al-Qaida in Syrien und Irak: Neuer Gottesstaat im Nahen Osten" which roughly translates to "aq in syria in iraq: new theocratic state in the middle east".
Note that there's no question mark at the end ;-). I wonder whether this is the start of an "offical" newspeak that should transport the idea that there's in fact a new state in the ME. People get used to everything if they just get to read it for some time, so an article a week for a year about this "new state" might prepare the ground for actually creating one (like e.g. kosovo). Might as well be just an observation and not follow any "redraw the map" agenda/plan. We'll see. Remembering that the scenario to create new borders in the ME, this scenario is a least in the drawer of western strategists.
only in german, apologies

Posted by: peter radiator | Jan 4 2014 21:22 utc | 5

damn. i posted without double-checking. sorry for the all the flaws and errors :-/

Posted by: peter radiator | Jan 4 2014 21:24 utc | 6

Wasn't ISI hailed as heroes here for resisting the occupation? The description this entry is putting about their rule in Fallujah and Allepo sounds a lot like the way Western Media characterized ISI in the buildup to the December 2004 attack on Fallujah. Like the Taliban I mentioned in another thread, the ISI has been lionized in the time when they were fighting occupation troops.

Posted by: Inkan1969 | Jan 4 2014 21:42 utc | 7

Can anyone confirm this... His Highness the Amir expressed condolences for Saudi King for death of Prince Bandar

His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable of condolences for King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia Saturday over the passing away of Prince Bandar bin Mohammad bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.
His Highness the Amir praised Allah the Almighty to betow his blessing on the deceased.
His Highness the Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah sent a cable of condolences for the Saudi Monarch on the death of Prince Bandar.

Posted by: CTuttle | Jan 4 2014 22:59 utc | 8

@ CTuttle: I am reminded of the Saudi princes who died mysterious deaths in the days after 9/11.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 4 2014 23:39 utc | 9

9/11: 3,000 Americans for 3 Saudi princes: Exclusive: Walid Shoebat reports on strange deaths of royals within days of each other.

I had misremembered. The deaths of the three Saudi princes, although within days of one another, occurred in the summer of 2002.

Posted by: lysias | Jan 5 2014 0:03 utc | 10

Walid Shoebat???


Posted by: stfu | Jan 5 2014 0:12 utc | 11

Syria 24 English
Last week a peaceful solution was agreed on in Moadamea, rif-Dimashq we didn`t comment on it until we were 100% sure.

After more than a year of fighting the situation was resolved and here are the highlights of the resolution:

1. Armed groups to give up the heavy arms.
2. Syrian Nationals to surrender and therefore get amnesty if they didn`t commit any crimes.
3. Syrian ex-military deflectors to surrender and they will be allowed to return to their barracks if they wanted, and therefore fight terrorism side by side with the SAA.
4. The army enters the city to make sure the heavy weaponry was all given up and the city is cleared of non-Syrian terrorists.
5. The army leaves the city giving the police and National Defense Force the peace keeping duty, and the NDF is to be consisted with the people lived or were born in that city. Civilians who gave up their arms and didn`t commit any crimes are welcomed in the NDF units protecting the city.
6. The Syrian Arab Republic Flag to be raise inside the city and therefore the city is 100% back to Syrian National Government control.
7. SAA to maintain patrolling the city but not to garrison inside.
8. non-Syrian terrorists are not included in any amnesty offer and they are to be exterminated.
9. After the city is cleared the civilians are welcomed to go back, reconstruction workshops are to enter the city to restore and rebuild according to a plan set by the concerned civilian departments.

During the heavy weaponry surrender the non-Syrian terrorists tried to attack the locations, giving a huge idea how the Syrians are willing to go back to their homeland and the terrorists are the ones taking over, these actions are not going to provoke the agreement and are expected to happen again, and that`s why the SAA is to enter the city and take them out.

Picture from the city as the Syrian nationals were giving up their heavy weaponry and surrendering to the SAA and NDF to benefit from the amnesty.

Syrian Arab Army


Posted by: brian | Jan 5 2014 0:36 utc | 12

Cartoon: #Syria govt soldier phones for help, says don't send ammo just snacks bcos he is watching #FSA fight #ISIS

Posted by: brian | Jan 5 2014 0:45 utc | 13

Joshua Landis ‏@joshua_landis 3 Jan
@NickKristof @syriahr SOHR may be able to give statistics. I imagine most are killed by SAA as it has superior air power and artillery.

Phil Greaves
@joshua_landis Do you enjoy cognitive dissonance? Please explain how "rebels" can possibly have killed less civilians, yet more SAA? Morten ‏@MortenHj 14h
@PhilGreaves01 @awingeddemon @joshua_landis the first confict since ww1 where civilian casualties are LOWER than combatants. Enough said.

Joshua Landis ‏@joshua_landis 13h
@PhilGreaves01 Statistics do seem to be off. But regime soldiers at roadblocks & guardposts are sitting ducks. Videos show many ambushes.

Mohsen ‏@mawali_mohsen 13h
@joshua_landis the trend for SOHR seems: lower rebels casualties, or count them as civilians and inflate regime's losses. Convenient for PR.

Phil Greaves ‏@PhilGreaves01 13h
@joshua_landis Videos show anecdote & nothing more, they are not a reliable conflict analysis tool. You cant mitigate DT's with YouTube.

Phil Greaves ‏@PhilGreaves01 13h
@joshua_landis Point being: even skewed opposition figures cant hide the fact the "rebels" are responsible for the majority of killing.

Posted by: brian | Jan 5 2014 0:49 utc | 14

Ikhras اخرس ‏@ikhras 3 Jan
BREAKING: We reported an account belonging to 1 of 2 Al-Qaeda branches in #Syria to twitter. Its been told to ikhras. @zhoof21 is shut down!
Retweeted by ليث أبو فاضل

Posted by: brian | Jan 5 2014 0:58 utc | 15

Syricide ‏@Syricide 6h
@Brown_Moses is debunked. Suppressing info that counters the narrative he fed to his followers and #MSM
#Syria #fraud

Syricide ‏@Syricide 6h
FYI the quote in red comes from Richard Lloyd rocket warhead expert who has been in consultation with @Brown_Moses

Posted by: brian | Jan 5 2014 0:59 utc | 16

Syria سورية
The nationalities of the five Doctors Without Borders (MSF) employees taken by an unknown group in Syria have been revealed, though few other details of their disappearance have emerged.
Among those abducted were Belgian nationals, Danish, Swedish and Swiss, according to MSF spokesperson Sibylle Berger.

The NGO, which is headquartered in France, said the staffers were snatched from an MSF building in northern Syria without giving further details on Friday.

Berger, who is based in Beirut, said to Agence France Presse that the humanitarian medical group has not had contact with them since Thursday night.

Local MSF chapters from Sweden, Denmark and Belgium confirmed the nationalities to AFP.

Posted by: brian | Jan 5 2014 1:23 utc | 17

"I imagine most are killed by SAA as it has superior air power and artillery." -Josh Landis

Um, respected professors to not try and extrapolate their "imaginings" into "facts", do they?

Unbelievable. What an ass.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 5 2014 1:42 utc | 18

I have no idea which way this thing is going to go. Maliki has been beating up the Sunnis. Has it gone so far that they prefer al-Qa'ida? I really don't know.
Posted by: alexno | Jan 4, 2014 4:11:14 PM | 4

If you're confused you're probably not alone.
Considering that the Syrian Govt and the SAA seem to be largely intact and functional, and it's an acknowledged fact that violent guerilla movements can't be quelled overnight when there are places to which they can escape... and while the guerillas are still active there will be SOME areas they control...

Is it possible that stories of their (apparent) success are few and far between? After all, who is promoting these occasional 'successes' and hoping we'll believe that Obama, Bandar and the BBC's "rebels" are winning when it's patently obvious that the Syrian Govt HAS NOT LOST?

Imo stories like this are Hopey Hokum. the only reason I can think of for this hogwash being promoted every day is to justify support for the fake "rebels" by the Usual Suspects. It was pretty obvious to me that the "rebels" were doomed (eventually) when their half-baked sponsors decided (in their infinite, but routine, par-for-the-course, half-arsed idiocy) not to give their pet "rebels" weaponry which might endanger the West, or Israel, and help them win.

Summary: the Syria SNAFU is the predictable result of Western Imperialism's COWARDLY Safety First approach to everything.
They are military fuckwit/morons. Putin knows it and the Dumbass Yankees and and Saudis know that he knows.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 5 2014 2:01 utc | 19

The most amusing fact about America is that Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden are the only courageous individuals to have emerged from the Cacophony of Cowardice known as the US of A, in decades. And the icing on that cake is that the USG is punishing them and telling anyone who'll listen, to hate and revile them.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 5 2014 3:45 utc | 20

The most radical censorship on Syria is at the Ziad's "Perspective" site - he's not published any of my comment (I support legal Syrian gov of course). AlJazeera, Feb 2011:
Popular president

But even if people dared to challenge the army and the dreaded mukhabarat intelligence service, analysts say the appetite for change of the country's leadership is not that big.

Many Syrians tend to support Bashar al-Assad, the president who came to power in 2000 after the death of his father Hafez, who had ruled the country for 30 years.

"An important factor is that he's popular among young people," Joshua Landis, the director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and author of Syria Comment, says.

"Young people are quite proud of [President al-Assad]. They may not like the system, the regime, they don't like corruption ... but they tend to blame this on the people around him, the 'old guard'"

Joshua Landis, author of Syria Comment

"Unlike Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, who's 83, Bashar al-Assad is young. Young people are quite proud of him. They may not like the regime, they don't like corruption and a lot of things, but they tend to blame this on the people around him, the 'old guard'."

A Syrian student echoes these comments. "The president knows that reform is needed and he is working on it", she says.

"As for me, I don't have anything against our president. The main issues which need to be addressed are freedom of speech and expression as well as human rights. I believe that the president and his wife are working on that. New NGOs have started to emerge.

"Also, many things have changed since Bashar came to power, whether it has to do with road construction, salary raises, etc. Even when it comes to corruption, he is trying hard to stop that and limit the use of 'connections' by the powerful figures in Syria. However, he won't be able to dramatically change the country with the blink of an eye."

Al-Assad's tough stance towards Israel, with which Syria is technically at war, has also contributed to his popularity, both domestically and in the region.

Posted by: ProPeace | Jan 5 2014 3:58 utc | 21

Syria 24 English
‪#‎Tunisia‬ rejects Islam as main law in the country

Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly has rejected Sharia law as the highest legal source for the country. Lawmakers are casting votes for a second day on a new constitution after the ouster of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Article 1 approved by the assembly in charge of devising the new Tunisian constitution, makes Islam Tunisia’s main religion. But lawmakers rejected two amendments, one proposing Islam and the other proposing the Koran as "the principal source of legislation". The voting comes ahead of the January 14 deadline to adopt the new constitution, although some MPs say that the slow pace of discussions will push back that date



Posted by: brian | Jan 5 2014 4:12 utc | 22

Polish nationalists interview Syrian ambassador to Poland (of of the few countries that has never cancelled its diplomatic mission to Syria)
Their interview with Wissam Samia from Syrian Social-National Party

Posted by: ProPeace | Jan 5 2014 4:32 utc | 23

interview Dr. Idris Mayya - Syrian Ambassador in Poland
From the Editor: December 11 there was a meeting of the President of the Falange , Bartosz Bekier, with the head of the Syrian diplomatic mission in Poland, Dr. Idris Mayya. Acting Ambassador Dr. Mayya thanked Phalanx Organization for past support and commitment to the Polish-Syrian, and chairman of the Falange assured of further efforts to be undertaken in order to zoom Poles truth about the true nature of the war in Syria. Bartosz Bekier also stressed the solidarity camp tożsamościowców of the Syrian people and expressed hope for an early end to the conflict. Discussed further joint projects and ventures, the implementation of which is currently under preparation. The Ambassador also gave an exhaustive interview with our editorial team - this whole conversation will be released within the publishing house, and her pieces we publish below.

Mr Ambassador, the agreement on the disarmament of the Syrian chemical arsenal could stop the direct intervention of external forces. Does this mean that the West, Israel and the Saudis have withdrawn from supporting the rebels?

I would like to once again welcome the state at the Embassy of Syria in Poland. I would like to stress that Syria's signing of the agreement on chemical weapons is not accidental, because Syria during his membership of the UN Security Council in 2003, sent a request a complete withdrawal of chemical weapons in the Middle East. The application was rejected due to U.S. opposition. Speaking about the fact that Syria chemical arsenal eliminated due to the direct threat of foreign intervention is not giving a full picture of the situation. This does not change the fact that the signing of the agreement proposed by Russia on chemical weapons was a victory. Consent of Syria in this regard gave her allies, such as Russia and Iran, a strong bargaining chip. I would also like to point out that Syria has ceased to produce such weapons since the 90s of the previous century. Development of other arms of the conventional nature, such as rockets and other weapons in everyday use, made the chemicals lost their significance. Chemical weapons has now become a suicide weapon, no matter who it used to. Syria eliminating its chemical arsenal has not diminished their military capabilities, or the ability to protect its territory. Nothing has changed.

In connection with the second part of the question, so the question of whether Israel and Saudi Arabia further support terrorist groups in Syria, even at the moment these groups receive overwhelming support from those countries, as well as Qatar, Turkey and others that support terrorist weapon and financial assistance. As you have seen, the radical group enter the territory of Syria with the help of interviews of some of the Arab countries and others in the region, but most of all thanks to Saudi Arabia.

Some military experts believe, however, that chemical weapons under the control of Damascus was an important factor in determining the regional balance of power, as well as a tool of deterrence. Israel still controls a large arsenal of non-conventional weapons. Is chemical disarmament Syria will affect the geo-strategic situation in the Middle East?

Once again I would like to assure you that Syria is able to defend itself, even without chemical weapons and nothing in this regard has not changed, no matter to which aggression. We are also able to stop any plans to attack Syria, regardless of what country.

Has anything changed in the politics of Tehran against Syria in connection with the Iranian presidential election?

No changes, of course, was not. The Syrian government enthusiastically welcomed the signing of the agreement 5 +1 in Geneva in the context of the development of the atom in Iran. We believe that these changes will serve to improve the situation in the Middle East. A few days ago, visited Tehran, the High Representative of the Syrian government as well as the Minister of Foreign Affairs, which is evidence of the conduct of good relations between our countries.

Russian support for the Syrian government forces was a regular part of the Russian policy in recent years. Is the solstice of the international situation in relation to disarmament is still an important factor?

Between Russia and Syria there are many contracts that exist since time immemorial, including in the area of ​​military cooperation. These contracts are still valid, and build friendly relations between the two countries.

What is the role of non-state actors in international relations in the Syrian conflict, such as Hezbollah, Kurdish and Christian militias defensive?

Syria has long been excellent, friendly relations with all groups that lead the resistance, such as Hezbollah. These groups are aware of the fact that what is now happening in Syria is a game, calculated on the change in the position of Syria towards the issue of resistance to the neighbor, which is Israel. Groups such as Hezbollah will not allow it to be compromised position of Syria, and its political position, so make us a united front. I would like to ensure that media coverage of the role of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict is manipulated for propaganda, biased and coloring. Hezbollah has conducted primarily near the Lebanese border, as in Al-Quseir, as well as in some places in the suburbs of Damascus, defending places of religious significance, which are located in these areas.

As for the Kurds, who are in Syria, it must be emphasized that the Kurds are part of the Syrian people and, like other minority ethnic groups are guaranteed the same rights as any citizen of Syrian. Like other groups, Kurds defend the places where they live. Took up arms to protect their homes against the attacks of terrorists. Similarly, the act also other minorities, such as Christians who defend Malouli. Fighting for their homes, are also fighting for his story. Other minorities also do so.

Can you confirm reports about the fact that a significant proportion of Islamist militants fighting in Syria comes from Western Europe?

I assure you that such and this number goes into the thousands. Members of terrorist groups recruited from more than eighty countries. They are not only about the Syrian government - they were also published by the United Nations, the European countries and even the United States. In Syria, there are terrorists from fourteen European Union countries. In Europe are growing fears that, after the war, members of these groups and will come back in Europe to do the same thing they do now in Syria.

What is the current situation of the Syrian Christians, who from the beginning of the conflict were targeted rebels?

I would like to emphasize that all citizens of Syria, together with all its religious and national groups, have been harmed by the actions of terrorists. Among them is the Christian minority. In Syria, the division of minorities has never been clear, as can attest anyone who was in Syria before the start of the conflict. Always lived as one nation, as Syrians. He never shared. I assure you that a group of radical, terrorist, Islamist, which operate in Syria, killing not only Christians. They kill Christians and Muslims destroy churches and mosques. They attack all religious groups. In some media, you can follow the news about how Christians were destroyed habitat, among other things, in Maloula. A similar fate befell even the Christian settlements in Damascus, which was shelled by mortars. For the whole of Syria destroyed dozens of churches. As you know, two Christian bishops is still in the hands of terrorists. Bishops were kidnapped Bulos Jazigi and Ioann Ibrahim - is not yet clear, but where they are. Despite all these ordeals, attacks, murders, kidnappings, Christians remain steadfast and are one of the Syrian people, defend their homes and can not be removed terrorists.

How would you describe the role of Polish policy towards the war in Syria and the international disarmament process with chemical weapons?

From the beginning of the war in Syria asked the Polish side and seeks to ensure that the solution to the Syrian problem took place through dialogue, conversation, and not aggression through military means as well as ensure that they do not take part in any attack potentially directed against Syria - seek, therefore, is that the conflict is resolved by peaceful means. Poland continues to lead the same policy, continues to quiet diplomacy, which aims to solve the situation in Syria through dialogue. Polish Foreign Minister had his personal contribution to the conclusion of an agreement on chemical weapons, as reported, among others. Internet portals.

Is there a possibility of the participation of Polish enterprises in the process of rebuilding after the war in Syria?

We want to end the conflict as soon as possible. Those countries whose position endeavored to ensure that as soon as the war ended with a peace, will have their part in the reconstruction of Syria. The Embassy has a list of the most important Polish companies which declare their readiness to work in Syria.

Thank you for the interview.

Posted by: brian | Jan 5 2014 5:00 utc | 24

Re: Syria "rebel" disembowelment and organ eating video.

I thought that video should have led to some scepticism about, and backlash against, the faux legitimacy of Obama's rebels. And I still wonder why it was approved for broadcast by the West's MSM (it was on all Oz TV stations as "news"). And, in the end, it didn't seem to make much difference to (the MSM's version of) public opinion. I thought it was a risky move (for Obama and Bandar) and wonder if there was an ulterior motive, and if so what it might be? My conclusion is as follows:

The Fake War on Terror has fear and hatred at its core; and it doesn't really matter how genuine these fears are, people are shamed (by overt public displays of sincerity from liars like Tony Bliar, Obama, Sarko and Cameron) into going along with the charade. The FWT is also a very profitable venture for the 1% who own shares in the Military-Security Complex - made even more so by the fact that the expenses and overheads are Taxpayer Funded.

The organ eating video gave people a contrived theatrical event to remember and at which to direct some revulsion. It's beyond coincidence that it ALSO helped them to forget that it's the 1% and its lackeys (Obama and the USG) who wanted it to happen. Once people get that inconvenient fact into their heads they'll agree that the 1% are somewhere between 10 & 100 times more Evil and dangerous (to all of Humanty) than any anecdotal organ eater.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 5 2014 5:29 utc | 25

@21 ProPeace
I was in Syria ( Damascus & Latakia) for a week .Asad is very popular in areas i visited.

Posted by: loyal | Jan 5 2014 7:15 utc | 26

I was there last week.

Posted by: loyal | Jan 5 2014 7:16 utc | 27

@ CTuttle, there are plenty of prince Bandar bin something,
sadly it's not the one who're hoping for, this one is bin Mohamed ,79 years old, not our "dear" Bin Sultan...

Posted by: zingaro | Jan 5 2014 11:38 utc | 28

4/5 might no go the way of "balkanization" - the fighting is in the whole of "Greater Syria", might be a unification fight like the US civil war.

I don't see "Maliki beating up Sunnis" - that is a narrative interested parties are trying to push.

There is this according to CNN

Fighting raged Friday between al Qaeda-backed militants and Iraq's security forces for control of two key cities in the embattled Anbar province, even as a deal was in place with Sunni tribesmen to fight alongside Iraqi police against the terror group.

The renewed violence in the Sunni province has raised concern about the stability of the government amid dueling claims by the terror group and security forces over who was in control of Falluja and Ramadi.

At least 80 people were killed, roughly 60 of the casualties were members of al Qaeda, in clashes Friday across the province, a senior interior ministry official told CNN.

Some of the most significant fighting appeared to be in Falluja, where the U.S. military fought one of the bloodiest battles of the Iraq war, with militants planting al Qaeda flags on buildings.

Gunmen calling themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, formerly known as al Qaeda in Iraq, took to a stage before thousands of Sunnis following Friday prayers in Falluja.

"We call you to join us in our fight against the government of Nuri al-Maliki," one of the gunman said through a bullhorn.

More than two-thirds of the people in attendance left once the militant began to speak, according to a journalist working for CNN.

The gunmen ordered journalists not to cover their speech, threatening to kill anyone who attempted to film or record the event, according to the journalist, who is not being identified by CNN out of security concerns.

Fighting also was under way in Ramadi, police officials told CNN, but would not provide a specific number of casualties. In that area, tribal leaders have been calling on their fighters not to cover their faces so they can recognize their own people.

The violence -- pitting Sunni militants against Shiite-dominated forces -- recalls the bloody fighting at the height of the Iraq war that nearly tore the country apart.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf dismissed suggestions that the United States has abandoned Iraq following its withdrawal from the country in 2011.

"Let's be clear who's responsible for the violence. It's the terrorists who were behind it," she told reporters during a briefing in Washington. "That's why we are partnering with the Iraqi government very closely to fight this shared threat. At the end of the day, we can certainly help them fight it, but we also want to help them build their own capability to do so themselves."

The United States is sending weapons, including Hellfire rockets and drones, to aid them in their campaign against terrorism, officials have said.

Harf said a number of American officials on the ground in Iraq and in Washington "remain in touch with all of the different parties in Iraq. "

Meanwhile, after a deal brokered late Thursday, Sunni tribesman began fighting alongside Iraqi security forces in the province on Friday to try to tamp down the violence from Sunni militants.

The deal was comparable to a 2007 U.S. pact that saw Sunnis turn on al Qaeda, siding with American and Iraqi forces to bring about an end to the terrorism.

So the US and Iran are backing Maliki.

AP describes the situation in Syria like this

Beirut (AFP) - Syrian rebels have united to kill and capture dozens of jihadists in a new "revolution" against an Al-Qaeda affiliate they accuse of worse abuses than the hated President Bashar al-Assad, activists said Saturday.

That sounds like a united front with the Syrian Army against Jihadis, no?

Fighters are bound to go where the money and the momentum is. If both is no longer with Jihadis most will leave.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 5 2014 14:12 utc | 29

@24 Thank you for the translation Brian!

Posted by: ProPeace | Jan 5 2014 16:40 utc | 30

@loyal Maybe I did not point it out clearly - the date of that AJ report is crucial: FEBRUARY 2011, just days before the hostilities started on cue from the US warmongers in Cairo.
But the report undermines, contradicts the whole AJ narrative about Syria in the following years.
"They" all are lost among their lies...

Posted by: ProPeace | Jan 5 2014 16:44 utc | 31

Propeace, there is strictly no moderation on SyrPer. Might be that your computer has spam problems? If you post as Anonymous, you just need to write the anti-spam word and it works fine.

About "cannibalism" one should keep in mind that it was pretty common on Roman battlefields to see people eating the heart or liver of their enemies. Raw brains, liver, heart etc. of muttons is commonly available in restaurant. Doesnt change the fact that the guy who decided to become famous for this is mad, no matter what the Time wanted us to believe in the interview they provided afterwards.

In Afghanistan, it is not getting any better. I wonder how to call it? Madness? Self-hatred?

BTW, the French media are all spinning about the role of Hezbollah in Syria as a major actor, justifying the bombings in their district and at the Iran embassy. Of course when it come to Shahata's murder, no connection is provided between Hariri movement and the rebels in Lebanon. Poor French readers, no clue...

Posted by: Mina | Jan 5 2014 17:30 utc | 32

@Somebody (#29)
My personal opinion is that US neither wants for Maliki to establish authority over all of Iraq nor does it want him to lose its power over the Shiite parts of the country. Up until the invasion of Iraq, US was trying to create a balance between Saddam and Iran. In essence they are trying to do the same between AQ and Iran right now.
Rather than having a unified large state whose subservience to USA is under serious doubt, USA prefers very rightly to have many powerless state-lets (in the level of development of middle ages) whose loyalty to USA is under serious doubt. Rather than having a unified strong enemy, it is better to have many small enemies which not only are much weaker than the unified enemy but also fight among each other to death.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 5 2014 18:57 utc | 33

@32 Mina
Re: Canaibolism
It goes back to early period of Islam at the time of Prophet Mohammad.
Hind was mother of Muawiyah ( Enemy of Ali & Shia ) and Grandmother of Yazid( Enemy of Hussein )and she was known as Hind the Cannibal. The bitch ate liver of Prophet's uncle Hamza.
Muawiyah and his clan are hero of Sunni Muslims.Very nasty and murdereor clan just like their current followers Takfiri-Wahhabi murderers in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain... .Check wiki Hind bint Utbah

Posted by: loyal | Jan 5 2014 19:41 utc | 34

@30 Thank google translate!

Posted by: brian | Jan 5 2014 20:49 utc | 35

33) Makes sense. My hunch though is that by blowing up states the end result will be larger entities - not smaller ones. All Middle Eastern identities - historical, religious, language, ethnic are much larger than present borders.

Posted by: somebody | Jan 5 2014 20:51 utc | 36

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Jan 5, 2014 1:57:22 PM | 33

The "risk of unification" theory is a good one and worth exploring.
The demise of Ghaddafi can be directly attributed to FrUKUS' fear that he posed a unification (of Northern Africa) risk to FrUKUS interests. He spent Billions on projects designed to make N Africa less dependent upon West's 'generous' parsimony.
What's Left (gowans wordpress) has numerous archives about him. If you don't mind reading stuff that'll make your blood boil, I recommend it.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 6 2014 1:40 utc | 37

Crikey an austtralian middle of the road news blog has an article on the wikileaks party/HAnds off syria trip to syria

its behind a pay wall currently but doesnt look promising: showing that all the media has lined up to do PR service for war on syria

Posted by: brian | Jan 6 2014 3:06 utc | 38

While refraining from calling public attention to their activities, Al Nusra is now rising in the south. Its fighters have entered into secret, ad hoc and often uneasy alliances with units of the more moderate, western-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA).

“They offer their services and cooperate with us, they are better armed than we are, they have suicide bombers and know how to make car bombs,” an FSA fighter explained.

Many FSA commanders and secular opponents of Mr Al Assad and his regime refused to talk about Al Nusra, saying the group was irrelevant in Deraa, a tribal area with a tradition of moderate Islam. But others admitted that Al Nusra’s role in fighting in southern Syria is far greater than publicly acknowledged.

“The FSA and Al Nusra join together for operations but they have an agreement to let the FSA lead for public reasons, because they don’t want to frighten Jordan or the West,” said an activist who works with opposition groups in Deraa.

Posted by: brian | Jan 6 2014 12:27 utc | 39

Here is another news source on the ever changing alliances in Syria..

"The Syrian Arab Army and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) struck a landmark ceasefire agreement to launch a joint battle against the Al-Nusra Front and other non-Syrian armed rebel groups in Syria, informed sources announced on Monday."(1/6/2014)

Posted by: curious | Jan 6 2014 17:03 utc | 40

@ 38. It would be interesting if it were possible to confirm your suspicions about It used to be strongly anti-establishment and anti corporate corruption. But when founder S Mayne lost his libel case and went broke, he sold Crikey to a pair of publishers who 'weren't short of a quid'. So it's feasible that the new management are following their instincts. It definitely became more muted in its criticism of troglodytes under the new owners. I used to take advantage of their short, free, "suck it and see" subscriptions but the annual subscription was a bit too over-priced for the small qty of exclusive news to be found there.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 7 2014 3:57 utc | 41

a good article that is on target about syria the 'rebels' and perception management

ON TARGET: Getting a handle on Syria’s complicated reality
January 5, 2014 - 7:36pm SCOTT TAYLOR | ON TARGET

It is amazing to see the difference that one year has made in the way in which the Syrian conflict is being portrayed in the western media.

Last Christmas, the cries from those advocating an international intervention were reaching a crescendo and it seemed that the days for embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were numbered.

Since the very beginning of the armed revolt in Syria in March 2011, Assad has been portrayed as an evil dictator by the western press who were, in turn, overly eager to extol the virtues of the freedom seeking Syrian rebels.

In the unsubtle manner of western propaganda, Assad’s government was routinely dubbed a “regime,” while those who took up arms against the state were described in media reports as “armed civilians.”

The word “evil” is, of course, implied when one uses the term “regime,” rather than the more benign sounding “administration” or “government.”

Likewise, while the term “rebel” generates a sympathetic resonance with U.S. audiences in particular, it sounds far more heinous if Assad’s forces are battling “armed civilians.”

The description often used to demonize any action by the Syrian authorities was that they were using “violence against their own people.”

Overlooked in this simplistic, emotion-invoking depiction is the fact the rebels were using violence against Assad’s security forces to demonstrate they were not his people.

Canada’s own foreign affairs minister was one of the first, and loudest, to jump on the “Assad must go” bandwagon. Still high on Canada’s lead role in NATO’s 2011 so-called victory over President Moammar Gadhafi in Libya, John Baird wanted to keep the Arab Spring movement alive in Syria as well.

Early in the conflict, Baird flew to Istanbul for some back-slapping and “atta boys” with the Syrian opposition in exile. However, it was not long after that the true nature of the freedom loving Syrian armed civilians began to come to light.

Those moderates that Baird met in Istanbul have virtually no actual control over the forces fighting to oust Assad in Syria. More alarmingly, it became readily apparent that the most effective rebel force was an organization known as the al-Nusra Front, which is closely linked to al-Qaida.

True to the claims made by poor old Assad since the outset, the majority of those in the ranks of al-Nusra are non-Syrian foreign fighters. They are mujahedeen waging a holy war to reverse Syria’s secular constitution and create an Islamic state under Sharia law.

While this important fact certainly tempered the U.S. desire to pour weapons and military hardware into the anti-Assad rebels, there was still the outstanding issue of chemical weapons.

What a difference a year makes.

Posted by: brian | Jan 7 2014 7:27 utc | 42

@41, the article may be better than i feared, as the author has been to syria and was with the delegation.

here is another he wrote:

Regime Change is About Establishing Sunni Dominance Not Democratic Freedoms
Syrian Australians Demand an End to Foreign Intervention

Around 1500 people, mostly Australians of Syrian descent marched in Sydney on August 5, calling for an end to foreign intervention aimed at destroying the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The Australian media gave the march almost no coverage, unlike well-publicised though much smaller protests against the Syrian government.

It should surprise no one that large numbers of Syrians support the al-Assad government, with its promise of peaceful reform in a direction indicated by the May 2012 parliamentary elections (when, incidentally, the communists won additional seats), rather than the civil war on religious lines now in progress. One does not have to be an al-Assad supporter to suspect that his government’s immediate departure, as demanded by the rebels and their foreign backers, would create a power vacuum, fragment the country and result in far greater bloodshed.

Posted by: brian | Jan 7 2014 7:31 utc | 43

@ 43. I coulda/shoulda ended #41 with wtte that it wouldn't make much sense for Right-wing Cranks to buy a Leftish newsletter (for $1M+) and then reverse its polarity. Apart from anything else it would tend to erode the established and faithful $ub$criber base.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 8 2014 2:41 utc | 44

i was in syria several times for several months 2005, 2006. president assad was popular then.

Posted by: joe anon 1 | Jan 9 2014 18:45 utc | 45

The comments to this entry are closed.