Syria's Choice: Murderous Secular Regime or Islamic Fundamentalists
As Syrian dictator Bashar Assad continues to slaughter his people, there are growing indications that the Islamists are increasing their efforts to replace his regime.
What started as a secular Facebook revolution against the Assad regime is now beginning to look more like a jihad [holy war] led by Muslim fundamentalists.
The Muslim Brotherhood is clearly seeking to hijack the anti-Assad protests, in both the political and military fields.
In the past few months, there have been many signs of a "return to Islam" in Syrian society. Large banners urging women to wear the hijab have appeared in Damascus and other main cities and many restaurants and hotels have stopped serving alcohol in keeping with Islamic law. This is in addition to the fact that many of the daily anti-Assad demonstrations are being launched from mosques, especially after Friday prayers.
The Muslim Brotherhood is by no means a "moderate" organization. Its motto leaves no room for questions about its true intentions: "Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad [holy war] is our way. Dying for the sake of Allah is our highest hope." Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Sheikh Yusef al-Qaradawi, has come out in favor of suicide bombings, which he cslled "evidence of God's justice;" the death penalty for homosexuals; the beating of women; a genocidal a hatred of Jews: "O Allah, do not spare a single one of them….kill them down to the very last one," as he put on al-Jazeera on January 9, 2009 [www.MEMRI.org]; and, as he said on April 14, 2004, boycotts of America and Israel: "Our duty is to make them as weak as we can."
According to reports in the Arab media, Islamic fundamentalist groups have been smuggling weapons into Syria from Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan.
Most of these weapons have fallen into the hands of Muslim fundamentalists, who are now waging a guerrilla warfare against Assad's security forces, the reports say.
Syria's fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood organization, which was banned by the Syrian dictator's father, Hafez Assad, decades ago, has come back to life thanks to the uprising that was initially launched by secular forces.
"We have a desire to coordinate the position of the opposition," declared Zuhair Salim, a spokesman for Syria's Muslim Brotherhood. "We are supporters and not creators."
As has been the case in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Libya, Syria's Islamists did not show their faces in public at the beginning of the anti-Assad uprising. Instead, they preferred to wait in the shadows to see where the uprising was headed.
Muslim Brotherhood officials have already found their place in the main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, which was formed in Istanbul last September with support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and the US State Department.
Although the Muslim Brotherhood has not joined the council officially, it has many representatives there.
Out of the 19 members of the council's general secretariat, four belong to the Muslim Brotherhood and six are "independent" Islamists.
The participation of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Syrian National Council is seen in the context of the Islamists' hitherto successful bid to hijack the Arab Spring.
What is disturbing is that while the US and many European governments have endorsed the Islamist-dominated opposition council, they have also turned their backs on secular groups that are opposed to the creation of a Sharia state in Damascus.
Last week Assad hinted at the possibility that his country could fall into the hands of Islamists when he warned that Syria would become "another Afghanistan" if the West intervened in favor of his enemies.
For many Syrians, the only choice today is between a murderous secular regime led by Assad and Muslim fundamentalists seeking to turn their country into an Islamic state. Assad's brutal crackdown on his opponents, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 3,000 Syrians, as well as his failure to implement major political reforms, is driving more people into the open arms of the Islamists.
The recent victory of the Islamists in the Tunisian elections is serving as a catalyst for the Muslim Brotherhood to double its efforts to replace the Assad regime.
Comment on this item
by Bassam Tawil
What is sad is that the Gazans have not yet been able to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas.
The world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel that threatens the Arab and Muslim world and the major cities of Europe.
The Western world also seems not to understand that it has to incapacitate or totally neutralize the countries funding terrorism, such as Iran, Qatar and Turkey, for whom the Palestinian problem is only a pretext on the way to destroying the Western world as we know it and replacing it with only Islam.
by Burak Bekdil
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said: "All Israelis are legitimate targets." What would the Palestinian death toll have been if Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman declared all Palestinians as legitimate targets?
Underdog-nation romanticism tells us Israel should not respond when under rocket attack because it is capable of intercepting the rockets.
That there are fewer Israeli casualties does not mean Hamas does not want to kill; it just means, for the moment, Hamas cannot kill.
by Soeren Kern
Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group's five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.
"The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist." — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.
"Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria." — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.
"We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions." — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
What Khaled Mashaal forgot to mention was that Hamas and the Islamic State do have at least one thing in common: they both carry out extrajudicial executions as a means of terrorizing and intimidating those who stand in their way or who dare to challenge their terrorism.
According to Hamas's logic, all members of the Palestinian Authority government are "traitors" who should be dragged to public squares to be shot by firing squads. According to the same logic, Mahmoud Abbas himself should be executed for maintaining security coordination with and talking to Israelis.
As for the two executed women, the sources said that their only fault was that they had been observed asking too many questions about Palestinians who were killed in airstrikes.
by Stephen Blank and Peter Huessy
It now appears that the plan was for these terrorists to shoot down a Russian passenger flight over the Ukraine in order to create a casus belli [cause for war].
Putin repeatedly claims that Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons as a "de-escalatory measure" even against non-nuclear states.
The evidence that this war was preplanned is overwhelming. The planning for this Ukrainian operation started in 2006, when Putin offered to "guarantee Crimea's territory."
The forces fighting in Kiev consist not mainly of "separatists" or rebels, but of trained Russian army, intelligence and paramilitary officers, as well as Russian and some Ukrainian "volunteers" recruited by Moscow.
Putin would incite disturbances in Crimea, then graciously offer to take over Crimea to solve the problems.
For the Russians, and particularly for Putin, Ukraine can have no future other than as a Russian colony. This is indeed a phased invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. did not accept Russian aggression before; it should not accept it now.