Syria becomes largest home to al Qaeda

Analysts said the number of al Qaeda fighters in Syria could exceed 12,000 because an estimated 800 to 2,500 affiliated jihadists are on the country’s border with Iraq, the Washington Times reported.

“Syria represents the biggest and best opportunity al Qaeda has had for a very long time to establish a truly concrete presence anywhere in the Muslim world,” said IHS Jane’s Mr. Lister.

As a magnet for foreign jihadists, Syria is harboring a unique danger.

Clinton Watts, senior researcher at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, said foreign fighters form the backbone of al Qaeda’s global network and are the ones who carry out spectacular attacks for the organization such as September’s attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in which at least 61 civilians were killed.

“They’re there for al Qaeda’s big objectives,” Mr. Watts said. “In Syria, right now, there are some operational leaders, probably dozens of them, that are going to be our next big problem. They’re running the show there.”

Syria also stands alone among the places where foreign fighters have joined the jihadist movement over the past decade, including Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Mali, he added.

“There’s only one place it has stuck, and that is Syria,” he said.

“Each of these conflicts in the region generates a new series of networks — funders, suppliers, moneymen — and all of these networks get turned to whatever new conflict that comes up,” Mr. Watts said. “Someday the Syria conflict is going to stop raging, but these networks are going to be there, and the fighters are still going to be there.”

William McCants, a Middle East researcher at the Brookings Institution, said Syria’s strategic location and porous borders make it a particularly attractive safe haven for jihadists.

“Syria is also right next door to Israel, and a cherished dream for jihadis of all stripes is to finally take the battle to Israel,” Mr. McCants said.

Analysts said al Qaeda is operating unfettered in Syria, in part because of the Obama administration’s limited counterterrorism tools: It cannot use drones without violating Syrian airspace, and it cannot deploy special operations forces in the country without joining and escalating the war.

“The reason we’re not intervening in Syria is because we realized after Libya [that] we can’t keep control of everything the way we would like, and it opens up a can of worms,” said Mr. Watts. “We have let this be a safe haven, and that is why they are going there.”

Al Qaeda fighters are bringing heavy weaponry from Syria into Iraq and have become an increasing threat in the past eight months, a senior administration official declared.

“It is a fact now that al Qaeda has a presence in western Iraq, and it has a presence in terms of camps and training facilities and staging areas that the Iraqi forces are unable to target effectively,” the official said.

Al Qaeda forces in Iraq and Syria are so linked that U.S. officials now consider that al Qaeda in Iraq has essentially become one entity with the self-styled ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). Another al Qaeda affiliate is fighting in Syria — Jabhat al-Nusra. 

M.A.

Neutral mediator should call things by their names

It has been crystal clear the US and its allies have been employing the UN and its affiliated bodies in service of the global war against Syria. Moreover, the US and its regional tools have also employed the UN special envoy to Syria Lakhdar al-Brahimi who has been making contradictory statements concerning the solution of the crisis in Syria. This has been clearly manifested during his recent regional tour in preparation for the Geneva Conference. Al-Ibrahimi has made many paradoxical statements, some of which were beyond his capacity as a UN envoy, interfering in Syria’s internal affairs. It seems that he wanted to please some parties at the expense of Syrian people. He speaks different languages when he is inside or outside Syria.

The UN envoy has avoided calling things by their names and spelling out the real stances, opting instead for phrases that reflect selective stands and incomplete information.  He abstained from naming al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra and the other terrorist armed gangs which have been carrying out massacres and sabotage acts against Syrian people for two years and a half, and which are responsible for the suffering of Syrian people and hindering the solution of the crisis. If he wants to be a neutral envoy and an honest broker, al-Ibrahimi has to name things by their names. He didn't even have the courage to name those countries which are supporting these terrorist groups, especially Saudi Arabia and Turkey which have been hosting funding and training armed groups and sending them to Syria to commit savage and brutal massacres against Syrian people.

One of the main illogical and contradictory statements made by al-Ibrahimi is that he tried to make an equation between the government and the armed terrorist groups. Brahimi's attempt to equate the armed terrorist groups with the Syrian state reflects his weak reading of the political and field situation in Syria. The existence of al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra and other al-Qa’eda linked terrorist groups, which represent international terrorism in Syria, make such equation inexplicable, unsound and prejudiced. The Syrian army’s repelling of the armed terrorist groups is a legal act and a national duty that is guaranteed by the international law and the Syrian Constitution. The Syrian army and armed forces are defending the Syrian state, Syrian people and their public and private properties against terrorists who came from various parts to the globe to destroy Syria, create chaos and incite sectarian conflicts in Syria and the Arab region.

Another drawback that appeared in al-Ibrahimi’s recent statements is his talk about the humanitarian situation. In his capacity as a UN envoy, Brahimi's job has nothing to do with the humanitarian assistance file. The Syrian government is doing its best to deliver humanitarian aid to every citizen that needs it in light of the current crisis and this issue is a prime concern for Syria.

 The Syrian government is dispatching humanitarian aid convoys, organized by the UN, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent Organization (SARC), the International Red Cross and all humanitarian governmental organizations and NGOs, to the trapped civilians, especially in hotspots, according to mechanisms that ensures that relief aid reach those in need.

 It is clear that raising such an issue was at the request of some certain outside party to deviate him from his own mission. Brahimi was acting outside his powers when he discussed the humanitarian situation in Syria during. When he was appointed a UN envoy he was not charged with this issue.

If he wants to make success in his mission, al-Ibrahimi should not exceed his powers and job as a UN envoy and this requests him to be a neutral, even-handed and true mediator who calls things by their names.

K.Q.

Explicit and implicit attitude towards Geneva Conference

It has been unanimously agreed that the sole way to solve the crisis in Syria is through a comprehensive dialogue conducted among the Syrians themselves. To achieve this goal, the international community has agreed to hold Geneva conference by the end of November.  The international community's mission is to create favourable foreign conditions for the Syrian internal dialogue. All countries should contribute to convincing the concerned parties in Syria to sit at the dialogue table. This conference should be a platform for the Syrians to hold talks on their future in a democratic way without any foreign interference or imposed foreign decisions.

Unfortunately, many international sides are providing financial support and weapons to the armed groups in Syria, including chemical weapons. There is a clear contradiction in the explicit and implicit policies of some influential states, especially the US and its allies. Overtly, the US claimed that it supported the political solution to the crisis in Syria through convening the Geneva Conference, but covertly, the US, its allies and regional and Arab tools are the main factors that hinder the settlement of the crisis in Syria through encouraging terrorist acts and offering unlimited support for the armed terrorist groups to press ahead with their criminal acts against Syrian people and their public and private properties and to perpetuate the suffering of the Syrian people and prolong the crisis so that the US and its allies can implement their agenda in the region which aims at weakening the resistance against occupation and achieve colonialist and political interests. The foreign guardians of the armed groups are the ones interested in foiling the international conference on Syria due to be held in Geneva. About 19 factions of the armed groups fighting in Syria, which are unable to work without foreign support, have rejected Geneva 2 conference and their backers want to foil the conference.

 The success of the conference is connected to drying out all sources of terrorism and break off the road in front of the states which support the gunmen. The success of any political solution is connected with stopping support for the terrorist groups and exerting pressure on their sponsoring states that are facilitating the entry of terrorists and mercenaries into the Syrian land and providing them with money, arms and various forms of logistic support. Halting support to the armed terrorist groups is the most important step to create favourable conditions for dialogue and setting up clear mechanisms to achieve the desired goals.

The Syrian people are the only side entitled to draw Syria's future and any solution or agreement in this regard must have the approval of the Syrians and reflect their desires away from any foreign interference or diktat.

K.Q.

Palestinian detainees suffer from brutal treatment inside Zionist jails

 Many political analysts have unanimously agreed that the so-called Arab Spring has constituted a golden opportunity for Israel to perpetuate its occupation of the Arab territories and press ahead with its racist aggressive policies against the Arab people under occupation who are subjected to gross violations of their basic rights on daily basis.

One aspect of the Israeli aggressive practices against the Arab people under occupation is clearly manifested through the blatant violations of the rights of Arab detainees in Israeli jails. Arab people inside the Israeli Jails are suffering from harsh treatment and negligence of their health conditions. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has expressed concern over the deteriorating health conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails several times during the past two years. The international body made several statements denouncing the Israeli flagrant violations of the prisoners’ rights, especially with regard to various kinds of physical and psychological torture to which inmates are subjected to by the occupation authorities daily. The ICRC held the Israeli occupation authorities responsible for deteriorating health condition of Arab prisoners inside Israeli jails.

One of the many aggressive measures taken against the Arabs under occupation is the notorious administrative detention which is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to jail Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time. Israel is still holding 5,100 Palestinian detainees, many of them without charge or trial, including 250 children and 14 women, in 17 prisons.  Palestinian prisoners have been subject to human rights violations such as torture during interrogations by Israeli prison authorities. About 1,400 prisoners were in a tough health condition, including 18 held at an Israeli hospital suffering from various disabilities, types of paralysis, heart diseases, and cancer which they developed because of the barbarous treatment and inhuman torment of the occupation forces.

Many demonstrations have been staged in the occupied Arab territories protesting against brutal practices inside the occupation jails and demanding the release of the detainees. Israeli troops have recently clashed with Palestinian youngsters outside Israel's Ofer prison located near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. The clashes occurred as the Tel Aviv regime released about two dozen Palestinian prisoners it held for over two decades. 

Despite the brutal Israeli practices against the Palestinian prisoners, the Palestinian authority agreed to resume negotiations with the Israel which wants the talks as a political cover for perpetuating its occupation of the Arab territories and pressing ahead with their racist policies. The Israelis were buying time, spending money, buying off members of the Congress. They now have over 500 members of America’s Congress who have signed a letter totally supporting Israel, opposing the talks. The Zionist occupation authorities are buying time, and in another sense Israel is hoping to create enough publicity showing itself as a peace advocate.

The Palestinian authority should make a wise decision and pull out from the negotiations, because it has nothing to gain in entering negotiations now and stop all kinds of contacts with the Zionists.

K.Q.

The solution to the problems of the Arab World

The Arab Nation is in disarray. Some Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia and Qatar are attacking and killing their brothers and sisters in Syria instead of tackling the real enemy of the region, Zionism,  and liberating Palestine and the occupied Golan. Instead of reaching out a hand to Syria, the heart of the resistance, the Saudi and Qatari rulers are cooperating openly with the Zionists.

Moreover, it was a shameful exhibition how the Arab League, impotent since its creation, was taken over in a Saudi and Qatari led coup and robbed the proud of the Arab Nation, Syria, from its seat.

This all while the Arab Nation could have been a real world-power, politically, economically and militarily.

Remember the glorious days of Gamal Abdel Nasser? Or the victory of 1973? What do these golden days have in common? What made this epoch an highlight for the Arab world? One word... Pan-Arabism.

Why is Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and their Western allies so hostile against the Syrian Nation? Why do they pursue in such a radical way the destruction of Syria and the enslavement of the Syrian people?  At all cost.

The answer lies in the historical role of Syria within the Arab Nation as seen by the Ba'ath Arab Socialist party. Let's have a closer look into some aspects of this historical role and why Syria has always been at the heart of Arab unity, solidarity and independence.

Pan-Arabism

Pan-Arabism is the ideology mirroring the idea of unification of the countries of the Arab world, asserting that the Arabs constitute a single nation, and strongly opposes Western political involvement in the Arab world.

Its central idea is that the peoples of the Arab World constitute one nation bound together by common linguistic, cultural, religious, and historical heritage.

One of the primary goals of Arab nationalism is the end of Western influence in the Arab World and the removal of those Arab governments considered to be dependent upon Western power.

The question of Palestine and opposition to Zionism became a rallying point for Arab nationalism.

 

Arab nationalists generally reject religion as a main element in political identity, and promote the unity of Arabs regardless of sectarian identity.

Arab socialism

Arab socialism is a political ideology based on combining Pan-Arabism and socialism.

Arab socialism fights imperialism and struggles for social justice. In this context we interpret socialism as "the sharing of the resources of the country by its citizens."

Ba'athism ("renaissance" or "resurrection")

The current Syrian government is led by the Baʼath Arab Socialist Party which continues to be loyal to the Pan-Arabism ideology and is organized in several other Arab countries.

Ba'athism promotes the development and creation of a unified Arab state through the leadership of a vanguard party over a progressive revolutionary government.

Socialism was and in a certain way still is a major element in Ba'athist thought.

A Ba'athist society seeks the rebirth of Arab culture, values and society as well as social progress.

The renaissance of the Arab Nation and Arab society would transform the Arab world politically, economically, intellectually and morally.

Ba'athism is a secular ideology. According to Ba'athist ideology, all religions are equal.

Conclusion : Why is Saudi Arabia and Qatar pursuing the total destruction of Syria?

Saudi Arabia and Qatar are ideologically antagonists to the modern secular Syrian state and society. Both Saudi Arabia and Qatar are feudal states with absolute political control and economic wealth in the hands of a royal family ; the house of Saud in Saudi Arabia and the house of Al Thani in Qatar. It is worth mentioning that Saudi Arabia even does not have a constitution as the absolute power is in the hand of the Saud family.

As said before, the renaissance of the Arab Nation and Arab society would transform the Arab world politically, economically, intellectually and morally.

A modern Pan-Arab Nation would be independent where social justice rules, finishes Western interference and removes those Arab governments considered to be dependent upon Western power.

In this light, a renaissance of the Arab world would mean by definition the dismissal of feudal regimes as Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

It is therefore that the destruction of Syria is a priority for the house of Saud and Al Thani because it is a matter of life and death to preserve their own survival.

 Kris Janssen

Belgium