Monthly Archives: June 2017

Syrian Kurds will be the biggest losers: America and Russia on the verge of the abyss in Syria

 

Published here:  via 

Key words: Syria, US, Russia, Iran, Kurds, Raqqah

By Elijah J. Magnier: @EjmAlrai

 

The battle between the US’s allies and Russia’s allies is escalating in the North-East of Syria, posing a real danger that the superpowers may slide into a direct confrontation to protect their interests. But Washington will not prevail at the end of the day in Syria and its allies – led by Syria’s Kurds under the flag of the “SDF” (Syrian Democratic Forces) – will pay the heaviest price.

It is clear that Washington hawks believe that they can provoke or belittle Moscow in Syria: the US bombed the Syrian military airport of Shyay’rat where Russian forces were stationed with other Syrian units. Moreover Washington jets bombed on three consecutive occasions Russia’s allies close to the Syrian-Iraqi border crossing in Al-Tanf. And last but not least, in recent days, the US Air Force shot down an Iranian drone and Syrian Su-22 jet whose bombing objectives were the “Islamic State” (ISIS) terrorist group area, while US backed Kurdish forces were advancing on the city limit of of Rusafa in rural Raqqah.

All these hostile US military actions have been carried out unlawfully on Syrian territory and against the Syrian army not against terrorist groups. The US have no legal jurisdiction or international mandate or consensus to attack the Syrian Army on its own soil, particularly when the US aim, in fact, is to support the partition of an independent country rather than to fight terrorism. It is simply related to Washington’s influence and control over that part of Syrian territory needed in north-east Syria for occupation without any legitimate international support and to establish military airports and a base in Bilad al-Sham.

Obviously, Washington pays little attention to Moscow’s possible reaction to US military action against Russian allies in Syria as they advance to reclaim the Syrian territory. But Russia is responding by bombing Washington’s allies in Syria. It is not unlikely that US jets may accidently bomb Russian forces embedded with Syrian groups and Russian jets may bomb US Special Forces embedded with their Kurdish proxies operating in the north of Syria. This is when the situation may get out of control and the prestige of superpower countries may be dented creating an unwanted but almost inevitable reaction; this would drive the Middle East into another destructive dimension that may affect the World.

Russia’s main ally in Syria, Iran, is raising the level of tension in relation to US forces in Bilad al-Sham:

-It has injected thousands of fresh troops to recover the 55.000 sq km Syrian Badiya (Steppe) and managed to defeat the US proxies (Usud al-Sharqiyah) and ISIS in the semi-desert of south-eastern Syria: to date over 25,000 sq.km have been recovered from Suwaida province to the south of al-Tanaf borders.

-Iran pushed forces above the Tanaf (where US forces are established) to close the northeast path to Deir al-Zour, establishing a new demarcation line, and isolating the US in al-Tanaf.

-Iran coordinated with Iraq the advance of the Iraqi security forces on the al-Tanaf from the Iraqi side to block the US forces. Iraqi troops are moving north from al-Tanaf towards al-Qaem to meet the Syrian army and its allies along the borderline.

-Iran launched its “Zulfuqar” (Prophet Mohammed’s cousin, the fourth Caliph and first Shia Imam Ali Bin Abi Taleb’ sword) 700 km mid-range ballistic missiles against ISIS, but also to send multiple domestic (revenge for the double terrorist attack) and international messages to the US and its allies in the Middle East, just 24 hours after the US ban on the Iranian missile program. Tehran pays no attention to American decisions, telling Washington that its decision will not be taken into consideration; that Iran’s arm is long and can hit any target in the Middle East (Israel, Saudi Arabia, US military bases in the Middle East), and that Iran doesn’t feel concerned about all the conventional rules. It is capable of hitting any target whenever it wants and where it wants; Iran launched its missiles from Kurdistan-Iran, the same province from which the ISIS Iranian Kurds who launched their double terrorist attack this month against Iranian institutions.

Also Iran launched its missiles targeting ISIS in the city of Deir Al-Zour (besieged since 30 months with over 100,000 -150,000 civilians) and al-Mayadeen to emphasise the importance of Syria and the City of Deir Al-Zour (the US jets and its allies contributed in breaking the defence line of the Syrian army by striking last year their positions on the Tharda mountains overlooking Deir Al-Zour airport). That particular US bombing which lasted several hours, and killed over 100 soldiers and officer of the Syrian Army in Tharda gave ISIS the upper hand by allowing them to advance into the airport perimeter (the only air supply to the besieged city) and permitting the partition of the city in two parts by ISIS. Iran’s message is clear: it won’t allow the fall of Deir al-Zour and will do everything, with its allies, to break the siege in the coming months.

Following the escalation in Syria, Russia is sending more air defence missiles to Syria. Damascus will not hesitate to bomb US coalition jets, especially since Moscow maintain its forces on the ground and will be in charge of protecting them from any US reaction. Moscow has stopped cooperating with the US in Syria by temporarily suspending the deconfliction line (due to be re-established soon) and issued a clear warning that Russia will consider any target over flying west of the Euphrates river as hostile.

In the midst of all this, Iraqi forces are moving along the border with Syria, telling the US forces that it is cooperating with Damascus and is not concerned by any American project in the region. Baghdad will not accept the presence of any US forces on its territory after defeating ISIS. The US will maintain a training contract with the Iraqi government but will have no influence over the country’s decisions and relationship with its neighbours, including Syria and Iran.

All the forces on the ground – except the Kurds and some remnants of the Syrian opposition forces – will be working against the US forces in Syria, starting from ISIS (as insurgents after the war ends in Syria and Iraq), Al-Qaeda (vowed to hit the US anywhere in the World), Turkey (which refuses the US support for the Kurds autonomy in Syria), Damascus (will strike the Kurds after finishing off ISIS control of territory) and Syria’s allies (Iran, Hezbollah and Iraqi militia in Syria) are waiting for the right opportunity to strike US forces along the lines of what Hezbollah did in Beirut (blowing up the Marines’ headquarters and the US embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in the 80s). Therefore, the US has won many enemies and very few friends, who will find themselves on their own, because Washington will have no alternative but to abandon them sooner or later. It is well known that the US does not have friends; it has business partners and common interests. When the US interests will cease in Syria, the soldiers will have no alternative but to leave the country.

The secular Kurds of Syria have erred in adopting a new policy that was never adopted by the Kurds of Iraq. They declared hostility to Damascus and allied themselves with America and its allies in the region (Wahhabi Salafi Saudi Arabia). The Kurds took an anti-Iranian stance and accepted that their militants would become burning wood to recover the Arab-majority city of Raqqah, sustaining considerable casualties only to fulfil a US plan to establish military bases in north-eastern Syria. Kurds will be the future’s biggest losers: the forces of Damascus and their allies are recovering territories by the Kurds side and advancing in rural Raqqah to prevent the US proxies militants from expanding and occupying oil field west of the Euphrates River.

Kurds will become THE enemy following ISIS’s defeat. For the long years of the Syrian war, Kurds were silent allies and part of Syria. Damascus was ready to discuss a Kurdish Federation when the war ended, as long as it remains part of Syria. Today the Kurds have accepted to become the American proxy forces to fulfil a dream of a federation that was smashed first by Turkey (splitting Rojava in two when occupying the corridor from Jarablus to al-Bab), and today will be also attacked by Damascus.

Syria will never allow a Kurdish federation that offers protection to an occupying force, the US. In fact, the hostility towards Washington’s soldiers is unprecedented in the Levant and Mesopotamia, making of the Kurdish choice of alignment with the US (and Saudi Arabia) an incredibly suicidal naïve strategy. It It is clear, then, that the United States of America will only have enemies in the Levant and will end up losing its temporary Kurdish friends in the region. Russia only, and its allies, who work with determination, consistency and with considerable force in Syria, will prevail.

The “Islamic State” strikes Iran to differentiate itself from al Qaeda- and attracts recruits

Published here:  via

Key words: ISIS, ISIL, Iran, Al-Qaeda, Syria, Iraq

By Elijah J. Magnier: @EjmAlrai

For several years, al-Qaeda has been keen to avoid striking the Islamic Republic of Iran since Osama bin Laden was head of the organisation. The same policy was followed by Bin Laden’s successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, for various reasons. However, “Islamic State” (ISIS) wanted to distinguish itself from al-Qaeda, to reveal its weakness or complicity with Iran and to attract most needed recruits, especially important since this organisation is in real decline in the Middle East (Syria and Iraq). ISIS has now intentionally attacked Iran, taking advantage of the Gulf members’ hostility towards Tehran, and supported by the United States of America who are accusing the Shia Iran of sponsoring Salafi Wahhabi Sunni ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Iran has been able in the last decade to attract al-Qaeda leaders and militants by providing these with a “golden prison”, where al-Qaeda leaders have been given refuge (house arrest and tightly controlled movement) for many years, meeting various objectives: Iran used al-Qaeda members to exchange hostages, preventing al-Qaeda by intimidation from carrying out terrorist attacks against its interests and against Iranian soil. Al-Qaeda Central was forced to concede for fear of Iranian retaliation. Iran has managed to create a balance between its own ideology and that of its fiercest enemy – al-Qaeda- which advocates striking the “Safavid Iranian Shiites” – by providing a safe haven for those who have declared global war on the US, the enemy of Iran.

Moreover, Iran has been able to provide safe refuge to al-Qaeda making it difficult for the US to target al-Qaeda leaders. It is indeed in Iran’s interest that Al Qaeda keep fighting against the “Great Satan”, the United States.

During the rise of ISIS in Syria, its late official spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, reproached and accused Ayman al-Zawahri of instructing ISIS – that was an al-Qaeda franchise in Iraq – to refrain from striking Iran. ISIS aimed to reveal and embarrass al-Qaeda for deviating from the Salafi Jihadi ideology that promotes killing “Rafidah” (Shiites) as a top priority. However, al-Qaeda was characterized by a more strategic approach, favouring the US as its favourite target and not the Shia. In fact, the same Ayman al-Zawahiri wrote to the Jordanian Ahmad Fadhil Nazzal al-Khalayleh (aka Abu Musab al-Zarqawi) reproaching him for fighting against the Iraqi Shia rather than the US occupation forces, by asking him, in his private letter (intercepted by the US), if “ever in the history of Islam anyone managed to exterminate the Shia?” Zawaheri wanted, through the “Islamic State in Iraq,” to win the “hearts and minds” of the Iraqi population.

Luckily Zarqawi rejected the advice and prioritised targeting the Shia first rather than the US troops (otherwise most Iraqis would have supported his cause and ISIS would have spread like wild fire). Zarqawi passed on his hate and destructive policy towards the Shia to his successors and later, through these to the latest Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader who carried on the fight against the Shia in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

Baghdadi did not stop at targeting Shia: despite the destruction of Iraq and Syria infrastructure, most Sunni properties in all the respective countries were destroyed. ISIS brought the war in the Middle East to the every Sunni city: homes and belongings were systematically and totally destroyed in most Sunni strongholds in Iraq.

Al-Baghdadi was not content to wage war and bring chaos to Iraq and Syria only but struck also in Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. His group was responsible for targeting the West, Africa and Asia. His last strike – and not the least – is the attack against the Iranian parliament and the Imam Khomeini shrine. ISIS did indeed succeed in its objective to target the Islamic Republic.

ISIS exploited the powerful anti-Iran hostile atmosphere in that region of the Middle east, especially after the campaign by US President Donald Trump calling above all to collect the largest amount of financial assets from the Gulf countries, which no US President ever managed to collected before ($480bn from Saudi Arabia only). By exploiting the current atmosphere, ISIS finally succeeded in breaching Iran’s security measures (several previous attempts failed, foiled by Iran security measures and intelligence service). So, many terrorist attacks were foiled, not only in Iran but also in many European cities in these last two years.

Will ISIS strike again in Iran? Certainly, the terrorist group will try hitting multiple targets simultaneously and individually in many capitals around the world. ISIS attempts are expected to increase in the near future because it lacks patience and prefers – instead of learning from past mistakes and preparing the ground for future empowerment – to accelerate the strikes and send a message to sympathisers that, despite the loss of territories in Iraq and Syria, ISIS is still able to strike those it considers its enemies. Iran is not expected to respond overtly but through its support to the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Iraq in their fight against Jihadists Salafist Wahhabi and their sponsors.

ISIS is therefore not expected to die easily especially since terrorism does not die, it shrinks, and it seems possible contain it. ISIS, who inspired tens of thousands of supporters around the globe, cannot surrender. The group is still waging a media campaign and calls for offensive against the Middle Eastern countries and the west. It is even expressing strong animosity against the Salafi Sunni Jihadists of al-Qaeda even as it balances on the quasi-final edge in Iraq and Syria. It is obvious that ISIS is looking for other lands to establish itself in after its defeat in Syria and Iraq- that could very well be Afghanistan, Yemen or Africa- so as to renew its strength and prove to the world that… ISIS is here to stay (Baqiyah).

 

The Battles of Deir al-Zor and al-Qaem will mark the end of the Syrian war

 

Reaching the Syrian-Iraqi border close in the US forces in Al-Tanf

Published here:   via

Key words: Syria, US, Russia, Iran, Damascus, Raqqah, Idlib, al-Tanaf, IRGC.

Damascus by Elijah J. Magnier: @EjmAlrai

The Syrian army and its allies reached the Syrian-Iraqi border, 70 km north of the crossing point of Al-Tanf, following a failed attempt by US forces to impose new “rules of engagement” and a “buffer zone” to prevent the Syrian-Iraqi interconnection on both sides of the border. With the arrival of the Syrian forces and their allies north of Al-Tanf, the American forces and their allies – stationed on the Syrian side of the border – were cut off from the north of Syria and were prevented from marking the partition point of Syria. Moreover, the US forces were stopped from reaching the besieged city of Deir Al-Zour, al-Mayadeen and southwest towards ​​al-Bu Kamal. The US and its European and Syrian allies can no longer include the entire east of Syria in their control, as it is happening today in Raqqah and al-Hasaka provinces.

As the Syrian forces moved east of Palmyra towards the Iraqi border, the contact with the so-called ” Shiite crescent” has been established: from Tehran through Baghdad and Damascus to Beirut. In reality, this connection has never been interrupted since the US occupation of Iraq in 2003, a virtual and moral connection rather than a geographical one. It has been a busy commercial road between Iraq, Syria and Lebanon before the increase of insurgency during the US occupation of Iraq since the road Tanaf-Baghdad crosses al-Anbar province, an ISIS (called then al-Qaeda in Iraq and later the Islamic State in Iraq) stronghold. The US forces wished to break this virtual connection but Iran took on the US challenge. In fact, it was the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) who orchestrated, with Russia and Damascus’s approval, the push of forces north of the US forces stationed in al-Tanaf. Moreover, Damascus and Baghdad agreed to close the al-Tanaf crossing from the Iraqi side, rendering the US presence useless by any means. The Iraqi security forces, al-Hashd al-Sha’bi (better known as Popular Mobilisation Units- PMU) are moving on the Iraqi side to meet the Syrian forces (without crossing the border). Their mission –as agreed by Baghdad and Damascus – is to pursue the remnants of the “Islamic State” inside Syrian territory should the battle impose it.

Thus, in the coming days the Syrian forces are expected to push north of the city of Palmyra towards the Arak rich oil field, controlled to-date by ISIS, and from it towards the city of As-Sukhna. On another nearby front, the Syrian Army is advancing south of Maskana to enlarge the Khanasir road (southeast Aleppo) and create a robust front to recover more territories from ISIS while advancing. The ultimate aim would be to reach the city of Deir Al-Zour and the entire area named “the Euphrates buffer”, the ISIS main stronghold in Syria. In fact, all ISIS forces escaping from Iraq and other cities in Syria are meeting in this area where the main battle is expected. Once engaged, this battle is expected to mark the end of the war against ISIS and the beginning of a political negotiation to discuss the fate of the rest of Syria, still occupied by Turkey (north), the USA(northeast) and where al-Qaeda is barricaded in the northern city of Idlib along with other rebels. Of course, it is self evident that the city of Raqqah will fall to the US-Kurds alliance, offering the US President the “Victory” he has been looking for since he set foot in the White House.This must coincide with the advance of the Syrian forces in the Syrian semi-desert (al-Badiyah) and the securing of the provinces of Daraa – Sweida.

The Syrian war is heading towards its final stages, as witnessed by a heated race between Washington and Russia to secure the necessary elements to conclude the war and start serious negotiations in Geneva, where the two sides will be negotiating with territories under each one’s control.

Of course, al-Qaeda remains in Syria. It is based in the city of Idlib and is the strongest military force in a city of more than one million people, especially after the return of a large number of Syrians from Turkey to this northern city. As long as Ahrar al-Sham, the largest Syrian rebel group that includes among its rank foreign fighters, is committed to avoiding infighting, al-Qaeda is governing through its military commander, Abu Muhammad al-Julani, the ex-ISIS commander converted to al-Qaeda. However, co-existence between the Syrians and al-Qaeda will not be easy and may lead to internal conflicts. Damascus, Moscow or Washington may not be concerned with sorting out Idlib internal problems and the task maybe given to Ankara due to its influence (with differing degrees) on all groups present in the city. Turkey with definitely be part of any future peace negotiation since its troops occupy territory and hold the logistic support to Idlib: it controls the only supply line to this northern Syrian city.

The main question remains: What will happen to the several thousands of foreign fighters within Ahrar al-Sham and al-Qaeda? Would they be allowed to settle down as dorment force ready to raise again or they are expected to leave? Foreign fighters came to Syria under the demand of al-Qaeda Leader Ayman al-Zawaheri and to oust President Bashar Assad but not to settle in a new country – the Levant – where they might not be all welcome : just as happened in Bosnia in the 90s when the war ended.

Yes, the war is heading towards its final chapter without necessarily ending the internal struggle and partition of parts of the country. Territories are not expected to be handed to the central government in Damascus without concession. Therefore, Syria may remain for long years divided until an international settlement is reached, allowing Bilad al-Sham to be united as it was before 2011.

 

 

Pourquoi le danger de l’EI persistera même après la libération de la Syrie et de l’Irak.

 

 

 

Publié ici:  via

Version Anglaise:  

Par Elijah J. Magnier : @EjmAlrai

Malgré les opérations militaires en Syrie et en Irak, et le pillage quotidien de vastes territoires sous le contrôle de l’”Etat Islamique” (EI), celui-ci est parvenu à frapper des cibles éloignées dans le monde musulman, en Europe et en Asie. Malgré la perte de terrain, le monde est confronté – et cela va continuer – à une idéologie adoptée et incarnée par une organisation qui est parvenue à attirer des jeunes femmes et des jeunes hommes, à provoquer leur émotion, à s’approprier leur haine et leur colère, et à secouer les frontières géographiques déjà établis. Il y a de nombreuses raisons à cela, mais le monde ne veut pas faire attention à certaines d’entre elles qui sont des alliés essentiels pour répandre cette idéologie dont les conséquences frappent toutes les sociétés sans distinction.

Selon des estimations non officielles, environ 40.000 à 50.000 hommes et femmes ont rejoint les rangs de l’EI, dont 5.000 à 6.000 en provenance d’Europe, plus de 10.000 de la Russie et du Caucase, et des milliers du Maghreb, du Moyen Orient, d’Asie, d’Australie, des Etats-Unis, et même des Maldives. Ceci s’ajoute aux dizaines de milliers de combattants venant d’Irak (son berceau) et de la Syrie (pays d’extension géographique). L’organisation a atteint près de 100.000 combattants pour pouvoir contrôler les vastes territoires de la Syrie et de l’Irak et a livré des dizaines de batailles sur plusieurs fronts pendant 4 années de guerre consécutives.

Ces chiffres représentent un bond sans précédent dans l’histoire contemporaine de la polarisation et du recrutement par une organisation islamique extrémiste qui a une doctrine particulière appelant à un “Etat Islamique allant de l’est à l’ouest ”. Au cours de la guerre d’Afghanistan par exemple, au début des années 1980, très peu d’immigrants ont rejoint les rangs des “Moudjahidines” : pas plus de 250 ou 300 combattants occidentaux de diverses nationalités. Cet accroissement considérable tient à de nombreuses raisons qui n’avaient pas lieu à l’époque des “Arabes Afghans” et des Muhajereen (combattants étrangers rejoignant la guerre sainte – le Djihad) à l’époque de l’occupation soviétique de l’Afghanistan.

A l’évidence, ce qui a largement contribué à la promotion de ce phénomène est Internet qui a permis une communication gratuite et immédiate entre des personnes du monde entier. La seconde raison est la crédulité des médias et l’absence d’implication dans la diffusion des faits sans politisation suffisante des analystes politiques des médias traditionnels. La troisième et la plus importante raison est l’occupation des pays du Moyen Orient (la guerre d’Irak en 2003, les guerres de Libye et de Syrie), l’intervention occidental avec des soldats venant de pays étrangers, et la politique de changement de régime promue par le Président George W. Bush, une politique semblable étant adoptée par le Président américain Donald Trump.

Internet:

Le monde a mis du temps à réagir à la façon dont l’EI (comme al-Qaïda) a exploité les réseaux sociaux et le développement des moyens de communication (Internet et autres moyens) qui permettent de partager des images de son action combattante, ses données et ses idées. Internet est l’outil le plus puissant pour attirer les jeunes et leurs familles, non seulement pour qu’ils rejoignent l’”EI “, mais aussi pour montrer “les injustices et les abus dont souffrent les Musulmans au Moyen Orient en raison des ambitions occidentales visant à occuper les terres et tuer les Musulmans sans avoir à rendre des comptes”. L’EI a aussi appelé au “Réveil mondial de l’Islam et au retour aux règles glorieuses de l’Islam” qui existaient il y a plus de 1400 ans.

L’EI a bénéficié de l’immense expérience des sympathisants qui ont choisi de rejoindre ses rangs. Docteurs, ingénieurs, universitaires et autres issus de tous les horizons de la vie, y compris des experts ayant de grandes compétences en matière de propagande. Ceux-ci servent l’EI et sont parvenus à créer un journal régulier, des radios et des court-métrages dans beaucoup de langues. Ils intègrent dans des jeux électroniques largement diffusés des images de batailles et de tueries de la vraie vie. Une grande quantité de documentation a quotidiennement émané de l’EI par Internet pour répandre ses idées et ses messages dans chaque maison de tous les continents, ce qu’aucun groupe n’était parvenu à faire antérieurement. L’EI a utilisé des “tueries en direct” pour projeter la puissance contre ses faibles ennemis. Le groupe terroriste a été “innovant” dans la façon de tuer pour montrer la toute-puissance du groupe et la capacité qu’il avait d’exercer un droit de vie et de mort sur une grande partie de la population de Mésopotamie et sur Bilad al-Sham. L’EI a répandu l’image d’une “vie magnifique désirée par beaucoup d’êtres humains (beaucoup de femmes et d’esclaves partageant terre, salaires, habitation, bien-être social, sécurité sociale, enseignement, une nouvelle famille et une nouvelle société) et la tranquillité” sous son “Etat” pour s’adresser aux rêves d’une jeunesse intellectuelle et au chômage. Certains ont rejoint le groupe “pour faire quelque chose”, pour “combattre l’injustice”, pour “fuir le harassement domestique”, pour “améliorer leur vie” ou pour contribuer à la renaissance de l’Islam qui a été vraisemblablement maltraité et malmené par l’Occident.

L’EI a réussi à toucher de nombreux supporters dans de nombreux pays sans même y aller, dans le seul but de servir le “Califat” et d’en faire partie. A beaucoup d’entre eux il n’était même pas demandé d’avoir une forte foi Islamique. Beaucoup d’entre eux ne pratiquent même pas et n’en connaissent ni les lois ni les exigences. Beaucoup d’entre eux – en particulier ceux qui ont pu rejoindre l’EI en Irak et en Syrie – ont eu besoin d’une éducation religieuse intensive, comme il a été montré par le groupe dans ses vidéos de propagande. Les jeunes ont été recrutés par leur propre volonté et leur enthousiasme ou sous l’influence d’amis ou de membres de la famille. La vague des “loups solitaires” qui ont attaqué l’Occident ont été recrutés à leur lieu de résidence par Internet bien que beaucoup d’entre eux fussent des « êtres de peu de foi », nés et élevés dans le pays même où ils ont commis leurs actes terroristes.

Malheureusement, quand les services de sécurité ont commencé à prêter attention à la puissance d’Internet et à son danger, il était trop tard pour entreprendre une contre-propagande. Les gouvernements Occidentaux ont largement contribué directement et indirectement au terrorisme en utilisant eux-mêmes Internet pour promouvoir leur propre politique au Moyen Orient, notamment la façon d’ont ils ont géré la guerre en Syrie.

Les médias traditionnels et leur rôle :

La façon dont les médias traditionnels couvrent la guerre d’Irak et surtout de Syrie a eu un rôle dévastateur et une grande influence assez négative dans de nombreuses communautés à travers le monde, surtout sur les personnes qui étaient jusque-là considérées comme des radicaux passifs et qui n’étaient jamais passés à l’acte. La couverture médiatique a encouragé les “loups solitaires” et contribué à fournir de bonnes raisons à des convois entiers pour qu’ils rejoignent l’exode vers le “Califat”. Les médias ont contribué à égarer des jeunes en diffusant de fausses nouvelles ou des nouvelles non vérifiées en rapport avec la guerre en Syrie, méconnaissant leur responsabilité professionnelle. Les nouvelles ont été largement répandues, suivant la “politique des journaux et de la télévision” bien souvent sans refléter la réalité et, dans bien des cas, sans le moindre journaliste sur le terrain. Les informations étaient prises pour acquises bien que provenant de sources activistes, et les rôles étaient inversés : certains journalistes sont devenus des activistes et vice versa.

Le désir de certains pays de chasser le Président syrien Bachar al-Assad et de changer le régime a surpassé le professionnalisme. Certains journalistes sont devenus actifs sur les réseaux sociaux, répandant les informations douteuses et les “dernières nouvelles” concernant les événements de Syrie et d’Irak, alors qu’ils étaient à des milliers de kilomètres de là, sans nécessairement vérifier leurs sources, du moment que cela était conforme à la façon habituelle de raconter les choses. La laideur de la guerre en Syrie et en Irak était étalée comme s’il s’agissait d’un jeu et d’une course : c’était à celui qui aurait le premier accès à l’information et qui pourrait réunir le plus grand nombre de morts sur une photo, blâmant l’Etat syrien. C’était une machine de propagande, indifférente à l’effet qu’elle aurait sur la jeunesse touchée pas l’événement, et cherchant un moyen pour “réagir et faire quelque chose”. L’EI ne pourrait être assez reconnaissant d’avoir tous les médias traditionnels travaillant au service de sa propre propagande. Les sympathisants de l’EI ont utilisé le matériel publié et disponible à son propre avantage : un parfait outil de recrutement, gratuit, puissant, pouvant atteindre le moindre foyer.

Politique étrangère et changement de Système :

Ceci est au cœur du problème qu’analystes et médias passent délibérément sous silence ou cachent quand ils analysent les facteurs qui ont contribué au développement du terrorisme. Ils feignent d’ignorer ce que l’ancien Président américain Barack Obama n’a pas hésité à mentionner en 2003 : “L’EI est la conséquence involontaire de la guerre conduite par les EU en Irak”. Les analystes du terrorisme le mettent sur le compte de l’”Islamophobie”, ils ont analysé le phénomène des “loups solitaires” et étudié les raisons de la migration massive vers l’EI mais ont délibérément ignoré la politique des démocraties et leur prétention à prendre en mains les affaires du Moyen Orient, particulièrement en Irak, en Libye  et en Syrie.

Les spécialistes du terrorisme s’accordent sur le fait qu’il y a évidemment de nombreuses raisons au terrorisme. Mais il est indéniable que “tuer au nom de l’Islam” a commencé après que des centaines de milliers de musulmans aient été tués chez eux. Prétextant démanteler l’arsenal des Armes de Destruction Massive le régime en Irak a été changé, suivi de la Libye où le monde a soudain découvert en 2011 la dictature de Mouammar Kadhafi, et finalement de la Syrie où les dirigeants ont prétendu chasser Assad et ont offert comme alternative les Islamistes radicaux de l’EI et d’al-Qaïda.

A chaque étape, des soldats américains ont été impliqués, au sol et dans les airs, participant aux changements de régime, bâtissant des bases militaires et occupant toujours plus de terrain, mais laissant derrière eux un terreau fertile pour que les organisations terroristes prolifèrent, comme l’EI et al-Qaïda. Aujourd’hui encore les EU et l’Europe n’ont rien appris de l’histoire et veulent encore occuper le terrain : il y a quatre nouvelles bases militaires en Syrie et on se prépare à faire racine dans le Bilad al-Sham sous prétexte d’occuper le terrain libéré de l’EI. Mais l’EI ne sera pas totalement annihilé et ces nouvelles forces d’occupation seront confrontées à une insurrection encore plus forte et plus aguerrie : et l’histoire se répétera.

En l’absence de justice et grâce aux guerres, l’idéologie de l’EI semble cohérente et puissante, capable de recruter et de se restaurer. Ces organisations radicales sont faites de gens intelligents et éduqués qui peuvent s’adapter à la rudesse et aux mesures de sécurité prises à l’encontre de leurs méthodes et développer d’autres méthodes pour maintenir le conflit tant que les politiques occidentales continueront à vouloir changer les régimes et à vouloir intervenir outre-mer.

Au Moyen Orient il y a chaque jour une attaque semblable à celles de Manchester, de l’Iran ou de la France, et d’autres terroristes attaquent dans le monde entier. Chaque jour il y a des douzaines de morts en Irak et en Syrie. L’EI a fait la prévue de sa capacité de planifier et de réaliser, recrutant le plus grand nombre d’attaquants suicides de l’histoire de l’humanité, tous prêts à se faire sauter pour leur cause. Si nous prenons la dernière attaque terroriste en Iran, l’EI était directement derrière les attaquants qui ont pu étudier minutieusement les faiblesses de la sécurité, pénétrer dans le parlement et diffuser une vidéo en direct sur A’maq, l’agence de diffusion de l’EI, alors que l’attaque terroriste était en cours.

L’EI est tout à fait capable de planifier, coordonner et synchroniser des attaques, comme au Bataclan et à Bruxelles. Les loups solitaires sont capables eux aussi de planifier et déclencher des attaques terroristes massives et de faire un grand nombre de victimes comme à Nice et Manchester. Le but est de causer la terreur, un grand nombre de victimes et une large audience.

Tant que les EU ne reconsidèreront pas leur politique étrangère et maintiendront, comme beaucoup d’analystes du terrorisme, la tête dans le sable, cherchant à ignorer les vraies implications de l’expansion du terrorisme, l’EI frappera et frappera encore. Si le groupe terroriste a su attirer des dizaines de milliers de gens en si peu de temps et les faire adhérer physiquement et intellectuellement à leur cause, la nouvelle version de l’EI – après sa défaite en Syrie et en Irak – risque d’être encore plus agressive et plus dangereuse pour nos sociétés. Il est temps de se réveiller et d’apprendre de l’histoire passée et être conscient du pouvoir de la vengeance.

 

Traduit par: Prof. Olivier du Lac.

The danger of ISIS will remain even after the liberation of Syria and Iraq: why?

 

Pubished here:  via

Key words: Terrorism, ISIS, Internet, US, Middle East.

By Elijah J. Magnier: @EjmAlrai

Despite the ongoing military operations in Syria and Iraq, which daily engage vast territories under the control of the “Islamic State” (ISIS), the latter has been able to hit distant targets in the Islamic world, in Europe and in Asia. Despite the loss of territories, the world is facing – and will continue so to do – an ideology adopted and incarnated by an organisation that has succeeded in attracting young men and women, provoked their emotion, brought out their hate and anger, and shaken the stability of established geographical boundaries. Many are the reasons, but the world does not want to pay attention to particular ones because they make it an accomplice in the spread of this ideology and its consequences, capable of hitting all societies regardless of any differences.

According to unofficial estimates, 40,000 to 50,000 men and women joined the ranks of ISIS, including some 5,000 to 6,000 from Europe, more than 10,000 from Russia, the Caucasus and thousands from the Maghreb, the Middle East, Asia, Australia, the United States and even the Maldives. This is in addition to the tens of thousands of fighters who have joined it from Iraq (the cradle country) and Syria (the country of geographical extension). The organisation reached around 100,000 fighters, being able to control vast territories in both Syria and Iraq, and has sustained dozens of battles on several fronts for four consecutive years of continuous war.

These numbers are an unprecedented leap in the contemporary history of polarisation and recruitment to an extremist Islamic organisation that holds a certain doctrine and calls for an “Islamic State from east to west”. In the Afghanistan war, for example, in the early 1980s, very few immigrants joined the ranks of the “Mujahideen”: no more than 250 to 300 western fighters of different nationalities. However, this enormous increase is due to many reasons that were not available to the days of “Arab Afghans” and Muhajereen ( Foreign fighters joining the holy war – Jihad) during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

The obvious initial reason that contributed to the promotion of this phenomenon is Internet which allowed free and immediate communication between peoples across the globe. The second reason is the credulity of the media and the lack of commitment to the channelling of facts without politicisation rampant among the mainstream media and analysts. The third and most important reason concerns the occupation of Middle Eastern countries (the 2003 Iraq war, the Libya war and the Syrian war), the Western intervention with soldiers on foreign soil and the policy of regime change followed by President George W. Bush, and whose similar policy is today adopted by the current US President Donald Trump.

Internet:

The world woke up very late to react against the way ISIS (as well as al-Qaeda) exploited social media and the evolution of the development of the communication (internet and all attached facilities)to share images of its combat in action, its data and ideas. The Internet is the most powerful tool used to attract young people and families, not only to join the “Islamic State”, but also to exposed “the injustice and abuse Muslims suffer in the Middle East due to the West ambition to occupy land and kill Muslims with no accountability”. ISIS also called for an “Islamic uprising worldwide and the return of the glorious rule of Islam”that took place more than 1400 years ago.

ISIS benefited from immeasurable experiences of sympathisers who chose to join the ranks; doctors, engineers, university degree holders and many from all walks of life, including experts with large competence in propaganda. Those served ISIS and managed to create a regular magazine, radios and short films in many languages. They integrate the widespread electronic games with pictures of battles and killing in real life. An abundance of informative materials emanates daily from ISIS through the Internet to deliver ideas and messages to every home and continent no group ever had access to before. ISIS used “live Killing” to project the power over his weak enemies”. The terrorist group was “innovative” in different ways of killing to show the all-powerfulness of the group and its capability to have life and death control over large numbers of the population in Mesopotamia and Bilad al-Sham. ISIS projected an image of “a beautiful life desired by many beings (many wives and slaves, sharing spoils of war, salary, housing, social wellbeing, social security, teaching, sharing a new family and society) and tranquillity” under its “state” to address the dreams of intellectual and unemployed youth. Those joined the group “to do something”, to “fight injustice”, to “escape domestic harassment”, to “improve their lives” or to contribute to the Islamic renaissance, apparently mistreated and abused by the West.

ISIS was able to reach a large number of supporters in many countries without stepping in, all to serve “the state of the Caliphate” and be part of it. Many of these were not necessarily asked to be the holders of a robust Islamic faith. A large number of these did not adhere to Islamic practice and do not know its rules and requirements. Many of these – especially those who managed to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria – needed intensive religious courses as the group showed in many of its propaganda videos. Youths were recruited by their will and enthusiasm or influenced by friends or family members. The “Lone wolves” that attacked the west were recruited in their places of residence through the Internet even if most of them were not strong believers and were born and raised in the same country where they have committed terrorist acts.

Unfortunately, it was too late when the security services finally paid enough attention to the power of Internet and its danger to begin the process of counter-propaganda and control. Governments in the west largely contributed to the direct and indirect support of terrorism by using Internet to promote their own policies towards the Middle East, mainly in their approach towards the war in Syria and the way this war was handled.

Main stream media and its role:

The way mainstream media is handling the war in Iraq and above all the war in Syria has had a devastating role and negative influence on various communities around the globe, mainly those previously considered as passive radicals but who never went into action. The media coverage has encouraged “lone wolves” and contributed to providing valid reasons for large convoys who joined in the exodus to “Caliphate land”. The media have helped mislead young people by adopting unverified and fake news related to the war in Syria, and in so doing, disregarded their responsibility towards the profession. News was widely shared, following the “newspaper/television’s policy”, without necessarily reflecting reality and, in many cases, in the absence of the journalists on the ground. Information was taken for granted from activists’ sources and roles were inverted: journalists became activists and vice versa.

The desire of many countries to remove the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and change the regime overwhelmed professionalism. Journalists became active on social media, spreading their fake news and “breaking news” about events in Syria and Iraq while they were thousands of miles away, without necessarily verifying their sources, as long as it fitted the globally agreed narrative. The ugliness of the war in Syria and Iraq was exposed as it was a kind of game and race: who shares the information first and who can gather the largest number of killed in one photo, attributing the blame to the Syrian state. It was a machine of propaganda, careless about the effect of their doing on the mind of the youths sitting at home and being affected by the event, wanting to “react and do something”. ISIS could not be more grateful than to have the entire main stream media working under the service of its own propaganda. ISIS sympathisers used available publishing material to its own benefit and narrative: a perfect recruitment tool, free of charge, powerful, reaching every single home.

Foreign Policy and System Change:

This is at the heart of the problem that analysts, media and experts deliberately pass or even conceal when analysing factors contributing to the growth of terrorism. These ignore what former US President Barack Obama did not hesitate to acknowledge that “ISIS is the unintended consequences of the US-led war on Iraq” in 2003. Terrorist analysts relied on “Islamophobia”, analysed the “lone wolf” phenomenon and studied the reasons behind the massive migration to ISIS but deliberately disregarded Liberal democracy leaders’ policy and decisions in handling Middle East issues, particularly Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

Obviously, the reasons behind terrorism are many as those agreed by scholars specialised in terrorism studies. But the fact remains that the “killing in the name of Islam” took place after the killing of hundreds of thousands of Muslims in their homes. Under the excuse of dismantling the arsenal of weapons of Mass Destruction the regime in Iraq was changed, followed by Libya where the world suddenly discovered in 2011 the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi, to end up in Syria where leaders promoted the removal of Assad and offered as an alternative the radical Islam of ISIS and al-Qaeda.

In all places, US soldiers were part of the events, on the ground or in the sky participating in regime changes, building military bases and occupying more territories but leaving behind a fertile ground for terrorist organisation to proliferate and grow, like ISIS and al-Qaeda. Still today the US and Europe have not learned from history and still want to occupy territory: they set up four new military bases in Syria and are prepared to plant roots in Bilad al-Sham under the excuse of recovering ISIS-occupied areas. But ISIS will not be totally annihilated and these new occupying forces will face stronger and more experienced insurgency: history will repeat itself.

In the absence of justice and a climate of flourishing wars, ISIS ideology seems coherent and powerful, capable of recruiting and reviving itself. These radical organisations are composed of intelligent and educated people who can adapt to harshness and security measures taken against their methods to develop other, counter methods to keep conflicts going as long as Western policies insist on promoting regime changes through overseas intervention.

Every day in the Middle East there is an attack such as the attack on Manchester, Iran, France and other terrorist attacks around the world. Every day dozens are killed in Iraq and Syria. ISIS has demonstrated an ability to plan and execute, recruiting the largest number of suicide attackers in the history of mankind, all ready to blow themselves up for their cause. If we take the last terrorist attack in Iran, ISIS was directly behind the attackers who were able to carefully examine the security weaknesses, break into the parliament and broadcast live video while the terrorist attack was on-going through A’maq, the ISIS broadcasting agency.

ISIS is very capable of planning, coordinating and synchronising attacks, like the Bataclan and in Brussels. Lone wolves are also capable of planning and triggering massive terror attacks with large numbers of victims as in Nice and Manchester. The aim is to cause terror, large numbers of casualties and a wider audience.

If the US will not reconsider its foreign policy and keeps, along with many terrorism analysts, its head in the sand, ignoring the real implications of the expansion of terrorism, ISIS will strike again and again. If the terrorist group was able to attract tens of thousands of people in such a short time and attract them physically and intellectually to its cause, the new version of ISIS – after its defeat in Syria and Iraq – may be more aggressive and dangerous to societies. It is time to wake up and learn from past history and the power of revenge.

ISIS dropping as fast as it grew in 2014: The US begins to attack ISIS in Raqqah whilst Iraqi forces advance behind the American lines

 

 

 

Key words: Iraq, Syria, US, Rusia, ISIS, Kurds, Raqqah

Published here:  v

Baghdad by Elijah J. Magnier:  

The United States gave the green light to its allies in the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF – Kurds) to start the “Warth of Euphrates” attack on the city of Raqqah, one of the main strongholds of the “Islamic State” group (ISIS), to break into the city from three axes: the east (al-Mashalab), the north-east (division 17 army base) and the west (ash Sabahiyyah).

The south of Raqqah (along the Euphrates River) was left open so that ISIS could escape from the city to another destination: maybe towards Deir al-Zour, al-Mayadeen or towards the Syrian army and its allied positions in rural Palmyra (Tadmur). Meeting less resistance is always considered a positive outcome for any attacking force, so it will be in recovering Raqqah if ISIS decides to leave the city and put up only a symbolic fight. This scenario is a déjà-vu in many cities where ISIS was defeated in Syria, but not in Iraq. In any case, the countdown to the existence of ISIS in Syria and the end of the occupation of vast territories that almost exceed the area of Britain (in 2014-2015) is ticking away.

The Kurdish forces, along with some of the Arab clans operating under its command, will gain control of al-Raqqah sooner or later. And the Kurds will find themselves in direct contact with the Syrian Arab Army and its allies who have advanced south of the city of Maskana and entered the administrative boundaries of the city. The US forces in Syria are in contact with Russia’s allies in more than one location on the Syrian map.

This is where the collaboration between Syria and Iraq is expressed : Iraq Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that Baghdad will not stop waging war against ISIS until the entire Iraqi territory is liberated and that its forces will be deployed on the entire border between Syria and Iraq. This will put the Iraqi forces behind the US-British-French forces and their Syrian opposition allies on the border crossing of al-Tanaf, occupied by the US forces and their allies. Across the Iraqi borders, these forces are already facing the Syrian army and its allies, 50 kilometres from the Al-Tanaf crossing (positioned at few kilometres from Al-Zaza junction).

This means that the US and their European allies will not be able to keep this border point of al-Tanaf for very long, especially when the Iraqi security forces of the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) reach the same crossing on the Iraqi side (two kilometres of no-man-land separate both countries). The US forces and their allies will have only one option: withdraw their forces. To date, the US aircraft struck the Syrian forces and their allies twice (unwilling to leave the area facing al-Tanaf) and failed to intimidate these. The game of power between Russia and its allies and US and its allies will remain for the months to come until clear demarcation lines are agreed and established, putting an end to the US-Russia friction in Syria through their proxies.

On the other hand, ISIS is going through the most difficult stage of existence since it has occupied big part of Iraq and Syria in 2014 and 2015. Its forces are retreating as quickly as the Iraqi forces retreated in 2014 when ISIS was at its glorious moment and when the so-called “caliphate” was declared. However, the US forces have not occupied the border point in Al-Tanf for without purpose: it is pressing the Syrian forces to go towards the other border crossing, Al-Qaim, to keep a commercial corridor between Iraq and Syria. That represents a real challenge for Damascus.

Al-Qaem is an extension of al-Bu Kamal, al Mayadeen and Deir al-Zour, an area on the Iraqi-Syrian borders where ISIS forces exist in a large number. Fighting these forces will force the Syrian army and its allies to engage in the fiercest battle expected in the six years of the war, because it will be the last war of ISIS and the end of the terrorist organisation’s control of territory in Bilad al-Sham.

For this reason, the US forces refrained form closing the south of Raqqah, endangering Deir Al-Zour because the city is an obligatory passage to ISIS militants when pulling out of Raqqah. ISIS is expected to defend its last stronghold in al-Mayadeen, Deir Al-Zour and al-Bu Kamal particularly because it will be attacked by Shia forces, a branch of Islam ISIS believes it is a priority to exterminate, more than the US or any other foreign force.

There is no doubt that all the parties involved in Syria are trying to regain the largest territory possible currently under ISIS control. The terrorist group – despite its spectacular killing, terrorist attacks overseas committed by its sympathisers or supporters, and the occupation of broad territories in Syria and Iraq – is the weakest force. The direct war against ISIS was left by both the US and Russia until the cessation of hostilities agreement was implemented between Russia, Iran, Turkey and Syria. In fact the Syrian rebels and al-Qaeda were the biggest threat in the Levant war equation.

Today ISIS is hitting the ground as fast as it reached the sky in 2014. Nevertheless, like all terrorist ideologies, it will not disappear from the Middle East. ISIS will rather keep an underground presence to continue its terrorist attacks and insurgency. Terrorism cannot be eliminated; it can be contained and prevented from growing and benefitting from finance, as long as regional and international players agree on this strategy and implement this course of action. Otherwise, the return of ISIS cannot be ruled out.