Friday, February 20, 2015

DNA 20/02/2015: حلب..نبل والزهراء..والدعم التركي

الواقع العربي- صناعة واستثمار "الإرهاب"


Aleppo ceasefire plan in danger as Assad's troops fail to close off city

Rebels claim they have repelled government offensive and captured scores of soldiers, putting UN-brokered truce in doubt

The Guardian
Rebel fighters

A Syrian regime push to encircle Aleppo in advance of an attempted UN-brokered ceasefire appears to have failed, with opposition groups insisting that supply lines remained open and that scores of troops and militiamen had been killed.
The regime’s offensive has been seen in the opposition-held north as a death knell for the UN deal, negotiated by its special envoy Staffan de Mistura, for a six-week ceasefire in the city.
President Bashar al-Assad’s government endorsed De Mistura’s plan but rebels say his forces’ offensive proves he never intended to negotiate in good faith.
“After all the promises and initiatives from the international community and De Mistura, and before him Lakhdar Brahimi and so on, the revolutionaries no longer have confidence except in the barrel of the gun,” said Saleh al-Adnani, a pro-opposition activist based in Aleppo. 
Syria’s second largest city has long been a key battleground in the war, now entering its fourth year. Both the Syrian regime and Islamic State (Isis) covet control of the historic city, and have repeatedly attempted to cut off rebel supply lines from Turkey to the north. 
The city is a redoubt for conservative Islamist fighters, wedged between the al-Qaida affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, which has a presence in the northern countryside, and Isis to the east. The Syrian rebel group Islamic Front ousted Isis from the area in January last year, losing more than 1,500 members in the process.
The ceasefire would have been the first of a series of “local freezes” that would have halted the immediate fighting, seen as the first step in a possible negotiated settlement to end the crisis. More than 210,000 people have died in the uprising.
The Syrian regime had said it had encircled the “terrorists” in the city after cutting off their remaining supply route to Turkey – a potential disaster for rebel fighters.
The monitoring group said on Thursday that 90 pro-regime fighters had been killed in the offensive, but on Friday morning the rebels claimed that the number was higher. In contrast with the initial, triumphant statements, the Syrian military was silent on the latest battles in Aleppo. But by Friday the rebels appeared to have reversed the advance, taking captive 51 pro-regime fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Videos posted by the Sham Legion, a rebel group involved in the city’s defence, appeared to show dozens of captives taken in the fighting.
Rebels said regime forces have been pushed out from most of the villages in the northern countryside. 
The regime offensive is backed by fighters from the Lebanese group Hezbollah. The various nationalities of the captives highlight the complexity of the conflict, which has drawn thousands of foreign fighters to all sides and alarmed western powers.
But though fighting has often raged around Aleppo, the latest round is significant because of its damage to the latest initiative to end the violence.
Adnani said the opposition in the city would “definitely not” accept De Mistura’s plan after the latest offensive, saying rebels no longer had any confidence “neither in the regime nor in De Mistura”.
And a spokesperson for the Sham Legion said: “The question about De Mistura’s ceasefire plan is unanswerable at the moment because of the ongoing battles in Aleppo Northern Countryside. This means that all the factions don’t trust the regime in this matter.”
But De Mistura’s office said he would continue to pursue the local freezes plan despite the ongoing violence.
“We are aware and are following with immense concern reports on the fighting around the city of Aleppo,” said Juliette Touma, the spokesperson for De Mistura. “If anything, the ongoing fighting in these areas is a stark reminder that a freeze in hostilities is more needed than ever.”
The opposition in the southern front, the other key battlefield in the country, was reticent after the regime offensive, saying Assad could not negotiate in good faith.
No negotiations and no to ceasefire plans with Assad as a party to it,” said Ibrahim Noureddine, a spokesperson for the First Legion, a rebel group with more than 10,000 fighters in southern Syria. “Assad is the one who violates. We tried him in the Damascus countryside, in Sayyed Zaynab, in al-Waer in Homs. Agreements are concluded with the regime and the regime violates them.
We do not believe in De Mistura’s plan, and De Mistura proved his failure.”

صناعة الارهاب - الرسام علاء اللقطة

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Something to Think About

A Short Comment

By Tony Sayegh

Many years ago a theory was put forth by many Arab leaders for dealing with Israel. According to this theory, the Jews in Israel come from so many different countries, they come from different cultures, they do not speak the same language, you have the Ashkenazi Jews and the Sephardi Jews, and all of them have never lived together as a majority.

According to this theory, the only thing holding these Jews together is the external threat (by Arabs) against Israel. Those advocating this theory proposed to have peace with Israel as the way to defeat it. Once the external threat disappears, the Jews in Israel would be at each other's throat, they would leave Israel and that would be Israel's demise.

Fast forward to the present. The largest Arab country (Egypt) not only has a formal peace treaty with Israel, but it now considers Israel as an ally and the Palestinians as the enemy. Trade is flourishing between the two countries. The same goes for Jordan as well as the Palestinian Authority under Abbas.

Normalization with Israel and quiet trade with it is wide-spread among Arab countries. Since 1973, there has not been any wars between the Arab regimes and Israel. After these 42 years that theory had to prove itself. By now we should see Jews in Israel killing other Jews; bombing, burning, throat-cutting, etc. should be destroying Israel from within.

Well, it is clear that the shoe is on the other foot. When the Arabs stopped fighting Israel, they started fighting and killing each other. Look around the entire Middle East: in my lifetime I have not seen comparable death and destruction as I see daily now. Arabs killing Arabs; Muslims killing Muslims; Shia killing Sunnis, etc. All this while Israel is expanding and prospering!

Those claiming to belong to the "Resistance Axis" find Yemen, Iraq, Syria as the logical killing fields, to kill other Arabs and Muslims, while the border with Israel is the quietest it has been for years.

What does all of this say about us as Arabs and Muslims? What does it say about Jews?

I leave it to you to think about it and to come up with the answers.

If you disagree, post a comment.

DNA 19/02/2015: الممانعة.. معركة حلب والدفاع عن الاسلام

Obama's short memory

If it's not religion, what's driving the kind of violent extremism that we're witnessing today?

By Marwan Bishara

US President Barack Obama checked most of the boxes as he spoke about the ways and means to tackle violent extremism during a special conference on the topic in Washington, DC.
He stressed once again that the United States is not at war with Islam. And made clear that violent extremism is not unique to any particular religion, region or culture.
To his credit, Obama did not succumb to the growing pressure by his domestic detractors who demand that he refer to the Islamic or Islamist specificity of today's terrorism.
Instead, the president emphasised how law enforcement should avoid profiling and stigmatising Muslim Americans that are part and parcel of American society.
He expanded on the ideological, economic, political and communitarian solutions to radicalisation. And he underlined why Middle Eastern regimes must forgo sectarian policies that lead to alienation, marginalisation, and ultimately, to extremism.
More justice
Obama then emphasised, rather astutely, the need for more - not less - justice and democracy to treat the root causes of violent extremism.
Obama: US at war with those who have perverted Islam
And yet, the president neglected to mention the most important of all reasons for the present radicalisation in the Muslim world.
Obama said nothing about how proxy and other western wars have created the fertile grounds for the type of extremism that has been evolving and spreading in the Arab and Muslim world.
How the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan coupled with US/Saudi intervention on the side of the mujahideen led to the creation of al-Qaeda. 
Or, how the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, coupled with Iran's interference, prepared the ground for the creation and expansion of ISIL.
Is the president ignorant of these blatant historic developments? Is he in denial? Or is he simply shifting the blame elsewhere?
Paradoxically, it was Obama who opposed the "stupid" Iraq war when he was senator, and worked to pull out US troops when he became president.
So why didn't he elaborate on the effect of war on radicalisation?
Is it because he's been repeating the same failed military policies by ordering air strikes in Iraq and Syria without even the trappings of a comprehensive strategy to create the necessary circumstances for a better outcome?
Islam and war
There is no denial that much of today's violent extremism in the world originates from the Middle East and Muslim world in general. That's a fact.
And that's why the president's "goodwill" defence of Islam against accusation of violent extremism is not convincing unless he goes beyond the generalities of ideology, poverty, injustice and social media.
The question is: Why since its inception 14 centuries ago, the Muslim world did not generate or incubate the kind of violent extremism that we witness today?
If it's not religion, as the president argues, and I concur it is not, what drives it?
The short answer: continuous war, occupation and oppression.
The Middle East makes up for 5 percent of the world occupation but accounts for at least a quarter of its violent conflicts.
The US, along with its NATO allies, have played a major role in much of these wars over the past many decades, directly or otherwise.
Alas, just as violent extremism haunts the region today, so does war waged by the same powers along with their regional clients, both feeding into a vicious cycle of violence and radicalisation.
Marwan Bishara is the senior political analyst at Al Jazeera.

الكل يحارب الارهاب - الرسام عماد حجاج

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

معركة درعا والقنيطرة

سلامة كيلة


ربما يتضّح، الآن، من يقاتل الشعب السوري، حيث تعلن السلطة السورية أن من يقاتل في المعركة الدائرة في درعا حزب الله والحرس الثوري الإيراني، بقيادة قاسم سليماني. وكان حزب الله قد أعلن أنه الذي خاض معركة القصير، ثم شاركت قواته، ومليشيا طائفية عراقية ومليشيات أخرى طائفية من أفغانستان وباكستان واليمن، والحرس الثوري، في كل المعارك، ولم يكن يعلن ذلك، على الرغم من القتلى ونعي الحزب لهم، والفيديوهات التي توضح مشاركتهم وقتل بعضهم. 
الآن، يظهر أن من يخوض الحرب ضد الثورة في سورية إيران وأدواتها الطائفية. كانت قطاعات للجيش من الفرقة الرابعة والحرس الجمهوري تشارك في معارك سابقة، وكان ذلك يشير إلى أن ضعف الوضع العسكري للسلطة، وعدم قدرته على حمايتها وضمان استمرارها. نلمس، الآن، أن الوضع العسكري للسلطة بات أسوأ، حيث باتت قوى خارجية تدافع عن السلطة، وتحاول ضمان استمرارها. إذن، باتت المعركة مع إيران وأدواتها الطائفية، هذا هو مختصر الوضع السوري بعد أربع سنوات من الثورة. 
قاتلت السلطة الشعب بالفرقة الرابعة والحرس الجمهوري والشبيحة والأجهزة الأمنية، منذ بدء الثورة، وحاولت إدخال قطاعات عسكرية أخرى، لكن انعكاس الثورة على الجيش فرض عليها أن تحجز أولئك في معسكرات مغلقة، فتبقى تقاتل بتلك الفرق التي ضمنت ولاءها. لكن توسع الثورة وقوة الصراع استهلك تلك الفرق والشبيحة، فأخذت تعتمد، شيئاً فشيئاً، على قوى خارجية، وهي، الآن، تقرّ بأن من يقاتل الشعب هو إيران وأدواتها الطائفية، وتتهم الجيش بالخيانة، بعد سقوط الفرقة 82 في درعا. 
بات واضحاً أن إيران وأدواتها الطائفية تسيطران على سورية، وأن السلطة واجهة لتلك السيطرة، ومن ثم بات الصراع في سورية يرتبط بالصراع الإقليمي والدولي بشكل مباشر، حيث أصبحت جزءاً من الأوراق التي تفاوض إيران بها في إطار الصراع/ التوافق مع أميركا تحديداً. ويبدو أنها تتقرّب من الحدود مع الدولة الصهيونية، من أجل "زيادة أوراق التفاوض"، وربما كان ذلك سبب الإعلان عن قيادة إيرانية لقوات حزب الله والحرس الثوري التي تحاول استرجاع القنيطرة. لكن هذا الإعلان أوضح أن السلطة باتت محمية بقوات إيرانية، أي أنها انتهت كسلطة قاتلت بقواتها، وأن الشعب السوري بات يواجه قوات إيران وأدواتها الطائفية، والدعم العسكري الروسي. وأن الغطاء الذي تتخذه إيران وأدواتها هو "المسألة الوطنية"، ويبدو أن عجزها عن مواجهة الثورة، منذ بداية سنة 2013 (بعد المساعدات التقنية والمالية في الفترة الأولى من الثورة)، وتعاظم خسائرها يدفعها إلى هذا اللعب بالمسألة الوطنية، على الرغم من أن هدفها، كما أشرت، تعزيز التفاوض مع أميركا. 
وإذا كانت الثورة انطلقت من أجل تغيير النظام، وتحقيق مطالب شعبية، فقد باتت جزءاً من الصراعات الدولية، حيث تتصارع قوى متعددة للحصول على مصالح، أو تثبيت وضع جيو إستراتيجي. هذا ما يجعل إيران تدخل بثقلها في الصراع، تنفيذاً لقول المرشد علي خامنئي إن طهران لا تسمح بسقوط النظام السوري. وربما ترسل قوى أكبر من الحرس الثوري، كلما ضعفت السلطة وعجزت عن حسم الصراع. ومعركة درعا مفصلية من هذه الزاوية، حيث لا بد من أن تقود إلى كسر قوات حزب الله وإيران، وبالتالي، كسر الطموح الإيراني بالحفاظ على السلطة والمساومة على الورقة السورية. 
سمح "الغباء الاستراتيجي" لكل من حزب الله والنظام في إيران بتحقيق التكتيك الأميركي الذي قام على استهلاك قوى هؤلاء في سورية. فهذه القوى تستهلك، حيث تتعرض لخسائر كبيرة، وتستهلك سياسياً لأنهما يظهران قوة احتلال، وقوة دفاع عن نظام مافياوي يرفضه الشعب ويريد تغييره. ربما مصالح السلطة الإيرانية هي ما يؤسس لهذا الغباء، لكنها دولة تريد حفظ مصالحها التي تتحقق بالتصالح مع أميركا.

166 شخصاً ماتوا جوعاً بحصار النظام السوري لمخيم اليرموك

166 وفاة بسبب الجوع ونقص الرعاية بمخيم اليرموك
166 شخصاً ماتوا جوعاً بحصار النظام السوري لمخيم اليرموك
أعلنت منظمة حقوقية دولية، يوم الأربعاء، أن مخيم اليرموك جنوب العاصمة دمشق، شهد وفاة 166 شخصاً جراء تفشي الجوع ونقص الغذاء والرعاية الطبية، منذ محاصرته من قبل قوات النظام السوري في يوليو/تموز 2013، وحتى اليوم، حسبما ذكرت وكالة "الأناضول".
وقالت منظمة "أصدقاء الإنسان الدولية"، من مقرها بفيينا، في تقرير وصفته بـ"المأسوي"، للسكان الفلسطينيين والسوريين المحاصرين في مخيم اليرموك، إن "المخيم شهد منذ بداية حصاره بتاريخ 22 يوليو/تموز2013، وحتى اليوم حدوث 166 حالة وفاة بسبب تفشي الجوع بين الأهالي والنقص الخطير في المواد الغذائية وشتى مستلزمات الرعاية الطبية، بسبب الحصار الظالم من قبل القوات النظامية السورية".
وأضافت المنظمة أن "2651 من اللاجئين الفلسطينيين، قضوا منذ بداية الأزمة في سورية في مارس/آذار 2011، معظمهم على أيدي القوات النظامية، قصفاً وقنصاً وجوعاً وتعذيباً".

وأوضحت أنه "تم اعتقال 818 من الفلسطينيين، قُتل منهم في السجون 293 شخصاً، معظمهم من سكان مخيم اليرموك قضوا جراء عمليات التعذيب الرهيبة"، مشيراً إلى "مقتل آلاف السوريين منذ بدء التظاهرات السلمية والأعمال المسلحة".

اقرأ أيضاً: طائرات النظام السوري ترتكب مجزرة جديدة في حمص
وأشارت إلى أن "السلطات السورية أقدمت على خطوات غير إنسانية بحق السكان في المخيم، حيث قامت في سبتمبر/آيلول الماضي، بقطع إمدادات مياه الشرب عنهم، كما قطعت إمدادات الطاقة والكهرباء عنهم في أبريل/ نسيان 2013، مما أدى إلى تفاقم معاناتهم وعقد مصاعب الحياة التي يواجهونها".
ولفت التقرير إلى "معاناة السكان، حيث يجبر الأهالي على تعبئة المياه من خلال نقاط توزيع تؤمنها الهيئات الإغاثية"، مشيراً إلى أن "المحاصرين يضطرون لاستخدام هذه المياه، رغم أنها غير صالحة للشرب لعدم وجود بديل عنها، الأمر الذي يتسبب بتفشي حالات مرضية".
ولم تفلح جميع التصريحات والمناشدات الدولية، في فك الحصار المفروض من قبل قوات النظام السوري على مخيم اليرموك، أكبر مخيمات اللاجئين الفلسطينيين في البلاد، وفقاً لما ذكرته "الأناضول".
وكانت عدة قوافل إنسانية عن طريق الهلال الأحمر السوري وبعض الجمعيات السورية والفلسطينية، حاولت إدخال مساعدات إنسانية إلى المخيم، إلا أن جميع تلك المحاولات لم تنجح حتى اليوم.
وتمنع قوات النظام السوري عن المخيم منذ أشهر، دخول أي مواد غذائية أو حليب الأطفال، وذلك للضغط على سكانه وإفقاد مسلحي المعارضة الحاضنة الشعبية، وأدى نقص المواد الغذائية في المخيم وبعض المناطق بريف دمشق، التي تسيطر عليها قوات المعارضة، إلى لجوء الأهالي للعيش على الملح والبصل وخبز مصنوع من العدس لأيام عديدة، وذلك في حال توفر تلك المواد، بحسب ما ذكر ناشطون إعلاميون معارضون للنظام السوري.
ويعد مخيم اليرموك بدمشق أكبر تجمع للاجئين الفلسطينيين في سورية، حيث كان يضم قبل فرض الحصار عليه، نحو 500 ألف لاجئ فلسطيني، إضافة إلى سوريين يقطنون هناك، وفق إحصاءات غير رسمية، قبل أن ينزح جزء كبير منهم باتجاه لبنان وباقي المناطق السورية، هرباً من قصف النظام المستمر عليه منذ أشهر.

هيئة علماء العراق: حزب الله شريك بالتطهير الطائفي

حسن نصر الله اعترف الاثنين الماضي بأن حزبه يقاتل في العراق (الجزيرة)
حسن نصر الله اعترف الاثنين الماضي بأن حزبه يقاتل في العراق (الجزيرة)

قالت هيئة علماء المسلمين في العراق إن حديث الأمين العام لحزب الله اللبناني حسن نصر اللهعن مشاركة حزبه في قتال تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية بالعراق، يعد إقرارا بمشاركة حزبه في "حرب المليشيات الدموية" و"ما ترتكبه من تطهير طائفي واستهداف للمدنيين الأبرياء لحساب مشروع إيران التوسعي".
وأضافت الهيئة في بيان لها نشرته اليوم الأربعاء أن "مشاركة حزب الله للمليشيات في جرائمها ضد العراقيين لا تنسجم مع مبدأ المقاومة والممانعة" الذي يرفعه قادة الحزب وإعلامه، و"تمنح الآخرين الحق في تسويغ التدخل في الشأن اللبناني".
ورأت الهيئة أن هذه التصريحات "سترتب على حزب الله مسؤوليات قانونية وتاريخية وأخلاقية"، وأنها تؤكد صحة المعلومات والأنباء "التي كانت تفيد بمشاركة عناصر من هذا الحزب في القتال على أرض العراق منذ سنوات، تخطيطا وتدريبا وفعاليات".
وأكدت أن مشاركة الحزب في القتال الدائر في العراق "كانت ضمن العمليات القتالية التي تقوم بها طهران لحساب مشروعها القومي التوسعي، والدفاع عن مصالحها ليس إلا".
وكان نصر الله أقر أول أمس الاثنين بأن حزبه -الذي يقاتل في سوريا إلى جانب قوات النظام- له أيضا "حضور متواضع" في العراق للقتال ضد تنظيم الدولة الإسلامية.
وقال في كلمة ألقاها عبر شاشة كبيرة بمناسبة تكريم "الشهداء القادة" من حزب الله "من الممكن ألا نكون قد تحدثنا عن العراق سابقا.. لدينا حضور متواضع"، وذلك بسبب "المرحلة الحساسة في العراق".
ودعا نصر الله إلى وضع إستراتيجية وطنية في لبنان لمكافحة "الإرهاب"، معتبرا أن كل ما يقوم به تنظيم الدولة "يخدم إسرائيل"، وقال إن هدف التنظيم الرئيسي هو "مكة والمدينة"، متسائلا "لمصلحة من يعمل هؤلاء؟".

الواقع العربي- تأثير السلطة على الإعلام


ما وراء الخبر- إمكانية الحل الدبلوماسي في ليبيا

DNA 18/02/2015: نصرالله.. "داعش".. وواشنطن

Why the Fight Against ISIS is Failing

Sarah Leah Whitson


Six months and 16,000 airstrikes into the campaign to defeat the Islamic State, with less than 1% of the territory it held in Iraq recovered, an honest accounting leads to only one conclusion: The U.S.-led strategy is failing.
With the effort focused almost exclusively on a military defeat of the armed group, also known as ISIS, neither the Iraqi government nor its anti-ISIS allies – Iran included – have seriously addressed the reforms and accountability for abuses that could earn back the support of Iraq’s Sunni population. The fragmentation of Iraq’s fighting forces into unaccountable sectarian militias responsible for horrific abuses against Iraqi civilians is part of Iraq’s slide into a broken state that no amount of foreign aid and military intervention will be likely to put back together.
Despite the grievances underlying initial Sunni support for ISIS, the anti-ISIS coalition has focused almost exclusively on an airstrikes campaign, with Shi’a militias supported by Iran as the primary boots on the ground.
The stunning takeover by ISIS of a massive swath of Iraqi territory testified to the alienation of Sunni communities. Many Sunnis welcomed ISIS fighters as “liberators” from the sectarian oppression of government forces. But let’s not forget how Iraq got to that point – with the U.S.-led Iraq war that displaced a dictator but resulted in an abusive occupation and destructive civil war, leaving more than a million dead.
The highly sectarian government of Nouri al-Maliki – installed by the U.S. and Iran – amplified the country’s division into warring Sunni and Shi’a camps. Sunni grievances simmered and then exploded under Maliki’s rule, which effectively excluded meaningful political participation by Sunnis and fostered wide-scale abuses against their community. When Sunnis attempted to peacefully protest their marginalization in 2012-13, they met violent assaults by government security forces.
These abuses led to a renewed insurgency that ISIS exploited. Well before ISIS took over Mosul, Iraqi security forces were indiscriminately bombarding Anbar province in their battle with Sunni armed groups. While U.S. officials decried the Syrian government’s use of barrel bombs, they said little about barrel bombs the Iraqi air force was dropping in Fallujah. By early 2014, the conflict had already displaced 500,000 civilians from Sunni areas.
These conditions created fertile ground for ISIS to escalate the conflict, co-opting several Sunni armed groups, and helping to spawn today’s terror crisis.
The Shi’a militias supporting the U.S.-led bombing campaign are armed, funded, salaried, and supported by the Iranians, but also by the Iraqi government, which is in turn armed and funded by Washington. While the U.S. says that its weapons, budgeted at $1.3 billion for 2015, are intended for Iraqi security forces, the reality is that much is ending up in the hands of these militias. 
Rather than insisting that U.S. weapons must not go to militias, Secretary of State John Kerry now has a waiver of Leahy Law requirements for human rights vetting and end-use monitoring, which many believe are not working anyway. The Iranian government, meanwhile, is selling Iraq $10 billion in weapons, much of which also ends up in the hands of the militias it directs.
The problem is that these militias are carrying out abuses that have only further alienated Sunnis and served as a recruiting tool for ISIS: mass executions of Sunni prisoners, revenge killings following coalition airstrikes against Sunni communities for their alleged support of ISIS, and torture, beheadings and abuses of corpses. In January, witnesses described the execution of 72 Sunni civilians by Shi’a militias in the Diyala province.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi rightly talks of the need to demobilize these militias and integrate them into the armed forces, and has called for an investigation into the Diyala massacre. But he and other officials concede that they are weak in the face of corrupt security forces, and rely on the militias. Indeed, commanders of one militia, the Badr Brigade, have been appointed the interior and human rights ministers.
This concedes far too much to the militias, and far too little to the authority of the new government and its backers. Disarming these militias may be unrealistic in the short term, but there is much the government can do now to curb their worst abuses.
The government can punish those responsible for murderous rampages in Sunni communities, and cut off salaries for abusive units. The government can reform the justice system, make good on its promise to release unjustly detained prisoners, and end pervasive torture in Iraq’s detention facilities. It can also join the International Criminal Court, which could deter abuses by all fighting groups. The prime minister can suspend enforcement of the disastrous Anti-Terrorism and de-Ba’athification laws and judicial executions.
These are essential steps to demonstrate to Sunnis that they are better off under the government’s protection. Iraq’s allies should recognize that ground forces and airstrikes alone are not enough and that the current campaign will fail without meaningful moves to end abuses.

Fools confuse religion and criminality

By Rami Khouri


If I read one more article or hear one more speech by a Western politician telling us that we are experiencing a war within Islam between radicals and moderates, or a battle for the future and soul of Islam, I will seek medical options for a long hibernation. This will allow me to wake up in another era, when more sensible analysis is used to understand and roll back the expanding circles of violence that plague many countries.
We suffer stress and danger in the Arab world from political violence, aging tyrants, foreign invasions, local criminal and militia groups, colonial settler expansions, and frayed, hemorrhaging socioeconomic systems. That is why we do not need to add to the confusion thanks to those who find comfort in old-fashioned racism and reductionism (“Islam is this, Islam is that”) that illustrates nothing but their own bewilderment.
Declaring that Islam is at war with itself, or that we are witnessing a battle for the soul and heart of Islam, is vulgar reductionist, essentialist nonsense. But it is a nonsense that is totally understandable in its current context of violent, nationally dislocating events. It is much easier to declare a war within Islam than to do the hard work – and admit the hard truths of shared culpability – to understand accurately the several simultaneous, frightening phenomena we see all around us. Our world has suddenly become tainted by violent young men who kill with abandon across the Middle East. Governments are falling, borders are fraying or dissolving, established criminal groups such as Al-Qaeda are expanding, new extremist militants such as ISIS are holding their ground in Syria-Iraq and are attracting pockets of like-minded fanatics in Egypt, Libya and other lands. Arab, Iranian and Western armies are fighting back, and a handful of troubled individuals in Western countries are carrying out isolated murders, often with some links to Al-Qaeda, ISIS and the like.
Why would some young men born and raised in France, Denmark, Canada, Germany Belgium, the United Kingdom or other impressive societies travel to ISIS lands to fight for what they see as their existential cause, or turn against their own societies? Why do new pockets of extremist criminals spring up regularly in new countries, such as those in Libya who slaughtered Egyptian Christians this week? Why, above all, do some of these killers who brandish the holy book of Muslims mostly kill fellow Muslims in the Arab and Asian regions?
Explaining this as a great battle underway within Islam strikes me as reflecting a combination of racism, ignorance, perplexity and old-fashioned Orientalism. The outcome of this battle, we are told, will shape the Islamic faith and its adherents for centuries to come, maybe until the end of time and the coming of the Mehdi, or messiah. The facility with which some people move from reading the day’s ugly news to eschatological verdicts about 1.4 billion people across the world is striking, laughable and troubling.
Those who recklessly analyze the condition of Islam itself should instead do the harder work of understanding the realities of a handful of killers, or a group of misfits, or a gang of criminals, or pockets of dislocated outcasts, or some desperate youth on the verge of certain death by lifelong marginalization and hopelessness.
Instead, they affirm pompously the contested condition of Islam, of all 1.4 billion Muslims living in hundreds of very different societies, practicing very different social and political values. My own impression, living my whole life among some of those multitudes of Muslims, is that the overwhelming majority of them live in peace and are committed to family values, education and hard work, resembling more the old-fashioned Protestant work ethic than anything else I have witnessed.
The angry young killers and criminal terrorists among them were not among us a generation or two ago. Why and how did they suddenly appear in the last few decades? What caused the most fanatical and brutal among them, like ISIS, to suddenly see the imminent coming of the Mehdi?
These phenomena are not eschatological signs or divine signals. They are sociopolitical mechanical processes that have logical and verifiable causal explanations; they can be analyzed like the knocking of a car engine, the pain of a sore muscle, or the drips of a leaky water fountain. The symptoms of radical Muslim militants who speak in the language of religion are of this world should we dare to trace how our societies and policies allowed young farmers, immigrants, or taxi drivers to be transformed into crazed killers and criminals. These transformations have occurred and continue to occur in Arab or Western jails, in the rubble of bombed-out neighborhoods, or in the prisons of our own societies where these young men absorb the numbing, transformative realities of hopelessness and dehumanization.
Islam is what it has always been, a religion with complexities and with varieties of adherents. The trouble today concerns relatively small groups of extremists and deviant killers who speak of Islam. Only fools would confuse the two.

Experts: Egypt seeks to install a government loyal to it in Benghazi


Libyan political analyst Salah Bakkush has said that the Egyptian bombing of certain positions in the Libyan city of Derna is not new and that it is part of an Egyptian plot to conquer Libya and divide it and then install a puppet government that is loyal to Egypt.
Bakkush discounted the significance of the Egyptian air strikes on Libya and the impact they have had on Libya Dawn or on the internal balance of power.
He said: "There are no obvious military targets for the Egyptian planes inside Libya nor for the international alliance that is being set up. It is likely that the aerial strikes in the east may give Haftar an opportunity to advance across the territory but it will not lead to bringing down the salvation government in Tripoli nor will it change the situation there."
Bakkush also said that there are many reports about the entry of Egyptian armoured vehicles into eastern Libya. He said: "These Egyptian troops may endeavour to occupy Benghazi and may install a government loyal to the coup in Egypt and that may result in effectively partitioning Libya."
As for the anticipated scenario in Libya, Bakkush said: "It is clear to all parties know that the Libyan revolution is coming under a brutal offensive from several internal, regional and international parties. It is also clear that Haftar does not want the Tubruk parliament or the government of Al-Thani. He now insists on a military council and on suspending the constitutional declaration."
He believes that it is clear that the Egyptian government has already decided to bring down the revolution and install a regime loyal to it in the Libyan east so as to resolve its own internal problems.
Repercussions of the intervention in Libya
Algerian security expert Karim Moulai said that the video that was released showing the execution of the Egyptian Copts in Libya is part of a multi-party intelligence scenario aimed at turning public opinion in North Africa against an artificial jelly like enemy with the aim of eradicating what has remained of the symbols of the Arab revolutions in Libya and empower new pro-West political leaders that are loyal in particular to France.
Moulai explained that the operation of the killing of the Egyptian Copts in Libya is full of gaps and question marks. The first point is that this is the first time Egyptian Copts are kidnapped although there are hundreds of Egyptians of various affiliations and denominations in Libya.
The second point, according to Moulai, is that the kidnapping took place more than two months ago in the city of Sirt, and this happened in Sirt alone and nowhere else. Since then, he added, the media was mobilised and the climate set for what became the end, which he described as "dramatic and comic". He said this play was perfected with excellence in order to provide the political and popular cover for gaining international legitimacy in prelude to a military intervention in Libya.
He added that whoever looks closer and with an inspecting eye at the course of events, whether with regard to the date of kidnapping more than two months prior to killing them or with regard to the propagation of the news of their murder last Thursday followed by the release of the video on Sunday, and then the initiation of the Egyptian military move and the bombing of civilian targets in Dirna on Monday, the conclusion is that this is all an endeavour aimed at drawing the ruling authorities in Tripoli toward an open war that will definitely not be equal taking into consideration the tilted balance of power in favour of the internationally supported Egyptian forces.
Moulai believes that the real objectives of what he called the "comic play of the execution of the Egyptian Copts in Libya", were further exposed on Monday when Cairo and Paris signed a military deal according to which Egypt will take delivery of 24 Rafael fighter planes and a war ship worth $5.2 billion to be paid by the United Arab Emirates. He added that this is done with one objective in mind, namely aborting the change in Libya under the banner of fighting terrorism.
He also noted that the bombing of civilian targets by the Egyptian regime in Libya is considered to be a stark breach of its agreement with the Algerian regime.
Moulai did not rule out the possibility that Algeria might intervene in Libya too in order to protect its own interest against any Egyptian expansion into the region and in order to prevent the implementation of a scenario that may marginalise the role of Algeria in the African coastal states as he put it.