Thursday, 20 August 2015

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Monday, 27 July 2015

Three common problems in the liberated territories in Syria

Despite the importance of liberalization of territories by the revolutionary forces and capturing it from Syrian Government forces and militia, it became clear that this stage do not represent all the revolutionary work, because it must include administrating and securing needs for the liberated territories. 

Idlib after liberation /eldorar.com

Military institution for liberation and Civilian institution for administration

Revolutionary factions are making a great effort combating the Syrian government forces throughout Syria, however the revolutionary fighters who are the primary military force are being sent to new battlefronts leaving the liberated territories. The Revolutionary factions should agree and help establish a shared civil and administrative councils to rule the liberated territories and at the same to defend it. The tasks of these councils is to improve the living conditions for the people and to administrate the liberated territories like recording civil records, operating the civil defence or white hats, operating and monitoring the important facilities like infrastructure, furnaces, energy plants and health services.

Weak Security System

Many of the liberated territories have weak security systems which needs to be improved, Syrian government and Islamic State have installed secret cells working independently to destabilize the liberated territories. Revolutionary factions must work together and clean any new territory from secrets cells which could be very dangerous for security and stability, the secret can carry out assassinations of revolutionary commanders, plant bombs in public facilities like hospitals and military bases and spy for Syrian government and Islamic State.

Monopoly

Despite you find many joint military operation rooms in many revolutionary controlled territories but there is absence of on judicial, civilian and security institutions between the Revolutionary factions. This is due to the rivalry and disagreements between Revolutionary factions instead of working together for the success of the Syrian revolution.

In the liberated territories there are many judicial institution that are run by different revolutionary and non-revolutionary factions like there is Dar al-Qada [House of Judiciary] which is run by Nusra Front, Islamic Judicial institution which is run by Ahrar Sham [Islamic Front] and other revolutionary factions. When there is absence of security institutions that is responsible for following up civil and criminal offenses, sometimes one of the revolutionary faction is forced to run it in order to make justice and stability which puts it in direct clash with other revolutionary factions or civilians.

People queuing to get bread / tamddon.com



Sunday, 19 July 2015

Islamic State

Islamic State (IS) which was formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) but most common name used by people and media is ISIS. It is an jihadi Islamic state in the middle east which is unrecognized by no country and no organization in the world, it proclaim itself as a caliphate and it claims to an have religious authority over all Muslims around the globe and encouraging them to travel to live in their controlled land.

It is designated as a terrorist organization by many Middle Eastern and western governments like USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and United Nation. 

Islamic State follows the same Ideology like Al Qaeda which is the Jihadist Ideology and the seeking to establish an Islamic State or Global Caliphate to rule all over the Muslim world and wants to implement an extreme practice of Sharia law.

IS flag / Wikipedia


History

In October 2004, a group was formed as the “Organization of Monotheism and Jihad” by Abu Musab Al Zarqawi then after few months later of its creation the group swore it’s oath of allegiance to the leader of Al Qaeda Osama bin Laden which changed the group’s name to “Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers”.  Later they increased their operations against US military until it became one of the most powerful insurgency groups in Iraq and began to spread its influence in many areas across Iraq.

In January 2006, Abu Musab Al Zarqawi came out in video announcing the creation of “Mujahideen Shura Council” which also included other small jihadist groups and the new named group is led by Abdullah Rashid Al Baghdadi. After the death of Abu Musab Al Zarqawi in the same month the group elected Abu Hamza Al Muhajir to be the leader of the group then at the end of 2006 the group was re-named as “Islamic State of Iraq” under the leadership of Abu Omar Al Baghdadi.

In April 2010, the American and Iraqi forces in a joint operation killed Abu Omar Al Baghdadi and Abu Hamza Al Muhajir after that they elected Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi to be the new leader of the group.

In March 2011, major protests began in Syria against the regime of Bashar Assad then in the following month violence between demonstrators and Syrian police and Shabiha lead to an armed conflict.

In August 2011, Abu Bakr Baghdadi began sending Syrian and Iraqi fighters from Islamic State of Iraq who are experienced in guerrilla warfare across the border into Syria to establish a Jihadist group inside the country. Led by a Syrian Jihadist known as Abu Muhammad Al Joulani, the group began to recruit Syrian and foreign fighters and establish cells throughout Syria.

In January 2012, the group announced its formation as Nusra Front which rapidly expanded into a capable fighting force with a level of popular support among Syrian opposition supporters and rebel groups in Syria.

In April 2013, Abu Bakr Baghdadi released an audio statement in which he announced that Al-Nusra Front had been created, financed and supported by the Islamic State of Iraq. Then Baghdadi declared that the two groups were merging under the new name “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”. The leader of Nusra Front Abu Muhammad al-Joulani, issued a statement denying the merger and complaining that neither he nor anyone else in Al Nusra's leadership had been consulted about it.

In June 2013, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri addressed to both leaders, in which he ruled against the merger and appointed an emissary to oversee relations between them and put an end to tensions between Nusra Front and Islamic State of Iraq where he also called Abu Bakr Baghdadi to return to Iraq and leave all the Jihadi duties to Nusra front in Syria but in the same month Abu Bakr Baghdadi released an audio message rejecting Zawahiri's ruling and declaring that the merger was going ahead.

In October 2013, Al Qaeda released a statement disbanding Islamic State in Iraq and Syria from its affiliated groups.

In December 2013, Iraqi Sunni tribes rebelled against the Shia led government  in Baghdad because of it's discrimination to the Sunni people which lead to a conflict in Anbar province between Sunni insurgents and Iraqi Security forces backed by Shia Militia, this conflict allowed IS fighters to go in Iraq and expand its influence.

In January 2014, ISIS fighters tortured and killed doctor Hussein Suleiman and they were responsible for killing other Syrian rebel commanders which caused many protest against ISIS but some of the protests were fired by ISIS fighters. Many Syrian rebel groups like FSA, SFR, Islamic Front and Army of Mujahedeen declared war on ISIS and attacked all their positions and bases in Aleppo, Idlib, Damascus Suburbs and Deir Zour.

In February 2014, tensions started to rise between Nusra Front and Islamic State in Iraq and Syria but this tension developed into open war between especially when Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters killed many Nusra commanders like Abu Mohammed Al Ansari and his family in Idilb.

In May 2014, Al Qaeda Leader Ayman Al Zawahiri ordered Nusra Front to stop fighting with ISIS and to concentrate its fighting on the Syrian regime troops but the fighting between Nusra Front and ISIS continued.

In June 2014, ISIS announced the establishment of a Caliphate and Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi was named as its Caliph, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was re-named as “Islamic State” (IS) and called the Muslims around the world to pledge their allegiance to the new caliph.


Finances and Resources

In the beginning Islamic State finance was based on private donations from individuals who live in Iraq and Gulf States but later it developed its activities to gain more income like kidnappings and extortion rackets. All these activities were needed a large amount of money to recruit new members and to conduct attacks.

In 2013 IS fighters captured most of Deir Zour and the villages around it from the north and killed many Syrian rebel fighters then later they captured the oil and gas fields and started to smuggle the oil barrels to Iraq and some were sold to the Syrian regime at a cheap price which is worth around $50 a barrel.  

Oil field / Al Monitor

Islamic State’s greatest financial success was when they captured the Iraqi city of Mosul in June 2014 alongside other Iraqi Sunni insurgents, they looted £240 million from Mosul central bank and other banks in the city they also stole gold bullions from the banks as well. Later they captured five oilfields which provided them with an extra income of £1.8 million per day with much oil barrels been smuggled across the Iraqi border to Iran and Turkey.

They earn up to £5 million a month from extortion to local business, they also make around £40 million out of kidnappings and taking hostages of important individuals or foreigners which is believed to be worth 3 - 25 million on each hostage.

IS pays a good salary to its fighters compared to other professional armies in the region like Iraqi security forces and Syrian Arab Army. A local fighter [Syrian or Iraqi] gets $400 monthly, a foreign fighter gets $800 monthly and a civil administrator will get $200 monthly, they also offer other financial benefits like $100 for a child and $150 monthly for a wife that also includes a car and a house but this is only foreign fighters.  

IS execute Steven Joel Sotloff / Facebook

Before capturing Mosul they had around £515 million then afterwards after capturing Mosul and looting its banks their cash was added up to £1.5 billion, making them the richest Jihadi or terrorist organization in the world.

Strength

The number of IS fighters in Syria are around 30,000 fighters most of them are Syrians from Raqqa and Aleppo who got forced to join or they voluntarily joined them for financial or for ideological reasons, in Iraq they have another 10,000 fighters most of IS fighters are Iraqis most of them are from Al Anbar province. But some estimate the number of IS to be high as 50,000 fighters. 

IS fighters  / JustPaste

The group also have many foreigners who are fighting on his ranks most of them are from Europe, Caucasus, China and Arab countries, most of them enter to Syria from Turkish borders. Most of the fighters have the experience in combat since they were fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and Chechnya.


IS fighters in training / twitter


IS has many different types of weapons and armours most of them are captured from the Iraqi Army and the Syrian Army. Most common weapons they use are AK-47, AKM assault rifles, PK Machine guns, RPG-7 and AT-4 Spigot, including Technical vehicles, T-55 tanks, T-72 tanks and ZU-23-2 Anti-aircraft. Later when they captured Mosul they captured Iraqi Army weapons which are US made weapons like M16 assault rifle, Stinger surface to air missiles, Humvees and M1117 Armored vehicles but they are reports saying that they have few captured UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopters.

IS fighters in parade / Twitter


Leadership

The group is headed and run by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, with a cabinet of advisers and ministers. There are two deputy leaders, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani for Iraq and Abu Ali al-Anbari for Syria, and 12 local governors in Iraq and Syria. Beneath the leaders are councils on finance, leadership, military matters, legal matters—including decisions on executions—foreign fighters' assistance, security, intelligence and media. In addition, a Shura council has the task of ensuring that all decisions made by the governors and councils comply with the group's interpretation of sharia. 

IS leadership / isisstutdygroup 
Propaganda

Internet is used for many reasons like to publicise its actions and to recruit new members through Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. Islamic State fighters use social media to promote their actions online, mass killings, crucification and beheadings are posted as videos and photographs and sometimes having selfies next to their beheaded opponents.  

IS pages in Social media/ ibrabo wordpress


Islamic State are also known for using effective propaganda where they establish their own media production so they could produce CDs, DVDs, posters, magazines and films to spread their propaganda online and all of their materials are published in many languages like Arabic, English, French, Russian and German so they could attract young jihadists especially from the western world.

IS poster / Facebook

They use Islamic verses from Quran and Sunnah of the prophet just to justify their brutal actions and the legitimate authority over people they rule but most of the Islamic references are wrongly used and misinterpreted. Islamic State is also known for producing jihadi chants and songs since its creation in 2004 in Iraq when they are fighting US forces and Iraqi Shia militants.

The IS members are also being encouraged to upload videos onto other sites other than YouTube.  IS appears to have already turned to VKontakte, which is second largest social network site in Europe, which is popular among Russian speakers in Eastern Europe and Russia.


IS Magazine “Dabiq” / twitter 


IS Expansion inside Syria

IS fighters fought intelligently and subtlety also one the tactics which they used is lying, treachery and deception, but the intelligence of IS appears in its military strategy followed by fighting but the strength of this group is not large comparing it to Syrian rebels and Syrian regime. They established a strategy which will help them avoid wastage of resources, losses of men and vehicles and to do that they expanded into Syrian rebel territories and stopped fighting with Syrian Regime for nearly a year.

IS achieved this expansion by many malicious methods like sneaking through into the rebel held territory and avoids clashes with strong Syrian rebel groups. Exploit the tolerant psyches of the Syrian rebels and Co-operating with small Syrian rebel groups then betraying them by killing them because they are not fighting under the banner of monotheism.

IS fighters in parade / Orient news

The general strategy followed by the IS to occupy Syria is expanding into Syrian rebel areas and to avoid clash with the Syrian regime troops because this is the easiest and quickest way for them to gain new territories so they could build their Islamic State.

Syrian Rebel groups thought that IS would help them by investing its military force on battling Syrian army troops in the Syrian regime territories but the opposite has happened, IS left fighting the Syrian regime and turned to fight the Syrian rebels instead and capturing their territories.

IS fighters in parade / Orient news


Exploit the chaos that arose in some liberated areas from the Syrian regime, and to act as a saviour by helping the civilians by saving them from criminal gangs, but Syrian rebel factions that failed to provide security to the people and failed to deter criminal gangs of thieves and bandits in some areas because they are busy fighting Syrian regime which is supported by Shiite militia.

IS fighter / All4Syria


IS fighters carry the idea of fighting Apostates and infidels so they fight any opponent that is not following their rule or ideology where either they are from different race or religion. According to ISIS classification of opponents they believe that Syrian rebels or “apostates” is more important than fighting the Syrian regime troops or “infidels” like the IS fighters like to call them because they believe that the Syrian rebels are created by the west to destroy ISIS and their dream of building an Islamic State.

Territories controlled by Islamic State

In 2006 Islamic State of Iraq which was known at that time released a video claiming the authority over many areas in Iraq which was Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Salah Al Din, Nineveh and parts of Babil.

During the Syrian conflict the group entered to Syria in 2013 then announced the formation of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and claimed new areas to its claimed territories which some of them are under Islamic State control and gave them new names like Al Barakah (Hasakah Governorate), Al Kheir (Deir Zour Governorate), Al Badiya (Homs Governorate), Halab (Aleppo Governorate), Damascus (Damascus Governorate), Hama (Hama Governorate), Idlib (Idlib Governorate) and Coast (Latakia Governorate). Raqqah is declared to be the capital of the Islamic State and all those Governorates are called Wilaya which means provinces in Arabic language. Islamic State has also expanded it's influence into Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. 

IS controlled Areas / Daily Mail


IS 24 provinces / justpaste 

IS provinces in Syria and Iraq / twitter 

Islamic State plans to expand its caliphate that would include Asia, Middle East, Caucasus, North Africa, Iberia and Balkans.

IS Caliphate Map / Daily Mail

War crimes

Yazidi Massacre 2014

On 3 August 2014, Islamic State fighters launched an attack on Sinjar which is Kurdish controlled town and its home to the Yazidi minority and IS fighters later captured it from the Kurdish Peshmerga forces. IS fighters later committed a massacre against the Yazidi minorities just because of their faith as they were labelled as devil worshippers by IS fighters since they believed in an ancient religion with some elements from Islam, Christianity and Zoroastrianism.

                                           Displaced Yazidis / AFP


According to official sources IS fighters killed more 600 Yazidis and caused around 50,000 others to flee to nearby mount of Sinjar but IS fighters continued to chase them and also besieged the mount of Sinjar which caused dozens of them to die of starvation and dehydration.

                                               Displaced Yazidis / AP

IS fighters have taken hundreds of Yazidi women some reports say that they captured around 500 women and young girls they were either married off to IS fighters to service them as wives and others were sold as sex slaves in slavery markets in Mosul and Raqqa. Yazidi men who refused to convert to Islam were executed by IS fighters which many of them did refuse and the punishment was death.

                                           Displaced Yazidis / Reuters

On 8 August 2014, USA sent F/A 18 jets and MQ-9 drones to bomb IS targets around the mount of Sinjar most of them were IS convoys and artillery units, while UK and France dropped aid of food and water to the Yazidi people who were on the Sinjar Mountain. After days of US bombings of IS targets and Kurdish Peshmerga forces attacking on the ground they have managed to lift IS siege on the mount of Sinjar allowing thousands of Yazidis to escape, most of them want to northern Syria for refugee which is under Kurdish YPG control and the rest fled to Turkey.

                                                    US Jets / EPA


Massacre of Sheitaat tribe 2014

When Islamic State captured the rebel held area of Deir Zour they started to discriminate its people and tribes, in July 2014 the Sunni Arab tribe of Sheitaat who are around 70,000 members rebelled against the Islamic State rule in the city and killing dozens of their fighters but their rebellion was crushed and by IS and put their rebellion to an end in less than two weeks.

The leader of the Sheitaat tribe, Sheikh Rafaa Aakla Al Raju posted a video on Youtube calling on other tribes to join him in fight over IS fighters and warning them that if IS are finished with his tribe they will go and attack other tribes, but unfortunately other tribes did not join him in his fight against IS fighters.

IS fighters labelled the Sheitaat tribe as apostates and they needed to be punished for their rebellion, so on 18 August ISIS fighters executed 700 men and imprisoning 1,400 others in IS prisons some of the men were executed by IS firing squads and others were beheaded.
Houses that belonged to members who participated in the rebellion were demolished by IS fighters and the properties and belongings of those people were robbed by IS fighters and sent to them to Raqqa to be sold, these stolen belongings were called as spoils of war.

During November 2014, Islamic State has carried out mass killings against the Sunni Arab tribe of Albu Nimr who opposed IS in Anbar province, Iraqi Government refused to send arms to Albu Nimr tribe to fight against IS as they promised to do but they have abandoned them. Albu Nimr is one of the Sunni Arab tribes that are loyal to the Iraqi Government and it has played an important role in fighting against al-Qaeda and its allies in Anbar province since 2007. The death toll among Albu Nimr reached more than 600 and many hundreds were injured.  

Christian exodus from Mosul 2014

Thousands of Iraqi Christian families fled from Mosul and villages nearby after Islamic State and other Sunni insurgents captured it, IS gave the Christian families them ultimatum either to pay a special tax, convert to Islam or leave the city those who don't obey will face execution. This is the first time ever Mosul is empty of Christians.

                                           Displaced Christians  / AFP


                                         Displaced Christians / Daily Mail

Iraqi Christians that were forced to flee from their homes are Assyrians, Armenians and Chaldean communities.  Iraq’s largest Christian city was emptied from its Christian native population and they choose to flee from the discrimination of IS fighters most reports suggest that 100,000 Iraqi Christians fled to Kurdistan and to its capital Erbil and to other cities like Dohuk.

                                         Christians fleeing  / Getty Images


Treatment of Civilians and Minorities

Shia mosques and Christian churches have been attacked and destroyed by IS fighters in many places that are under their control and the Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs in Raqqa converted in the IS headquarters.

                              Armenian Catholic Church of the Martyrs / Facebook


IS fighters  took full control of cities and people’s lives like imposing strict Sharia law, thieves have had their hands chopped off, opponents unable to flee have been crucified or beheaded, music has been banned, smoking is forbidden, women wear the full veil (Burqa) and there have been reports of people being stoned to death. Even goats have had their genitals covered up. Residents can see public executions that are done by IS fighters to the local people like crucifying, beheading and shootings.

                                      Crucified Syrian civilian / Facebook

Islamic State formed a battalion called “Al Khansa”, this battalion consists of women that are wives to the IS fighters and it was formed to chase and prosecute the women that are not following the rules that was set by Islamic State, they are also assisted to go and find wives for IS foreign jihadist by forcing Syrian mothers to give up their grownup daughters for IS fighters to marry them and if their parents refuse they will face death. According to Syrian activists most Syrian girls that married IS fighters by force most of them are brutally beaten by their husbands which made some of them to escape and commit suicide.

                                             Khansa Brigade / All4Syria

They also banned the sale of alcohol, they closed down cafes where boys and girls sit together, and they banned theatre, cinema, bright colours on clothes, and forced women to wear Islamic dress.

                                        Syrian civilians in Raqqa/ Facebook

Islamic State made their own educational curriculum for Syrian students in Raqqa, allowing them only to study Islamic related subjects and banning many other subjects like Philosophy and Chemistry claiming that these subjects do not fit in with the laws of god which is not true at all. Discriminating the minorities like Yazidis and Shiites are seen as infidels worth killing by Islamic State fighters.

Proclamation of the Caliphate

On June 29, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) changed its name to the Islamic State (IS) and announced the establishment of a Caliphate, which geographically would include Iraq and Syria, and in theory covers the global Muslim population. They called upon Muslims all over the globe to pledge allegiance to their Caliph Ibrahim Abu Bakr Baghdadi.The establishment of a caliphate has been heavily criticized by Middle Eastern governments and other Islamist groups.

Chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Yusuf Al Qaradawi stated: "The declaration issued by the Islamic State is void under sharia and has dangerous consequences for the Sunnis in Iraq and for the revolt in Syria, only be given by the entire Muslim nation, not by a single group.”

Iraqi Scholars Committee, Khalid Al Mulla stated “ISIS's aim is to control Iraq's economic resources in the northern and western parts of the country and to exploit them to finance terrorist groups all over the world and the caliphate is illegitimate and ill-intentioned.”

                                               IUMS logo / Wikipedia

References:

Al Monitor - Syrian Girls are forced to marry ISIS fighters (English) - [http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/05/syria-girls-marriage-isis-raqqa.html]

Eldorar - ISIS expansion in Syria (Arabic) - [http://eldorar.com/node/40237]

Al Araby - ISIS sell oil to Assad regime (Arabic) - [http://www.alaraby.co.uk/economy/a37d6ef8-86e9-4554-85d4-c6b6be2110a5]





Guardian - ISIS richest terrorist organization in the world (English)- [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/15/iraq-isis-arrest-jihadists-wealth-power]




Eldorar- List of Muslim Associations condemn ISIS (Arabic) -[http://eldorar.com/node/56282]

Aawsat - ISIS salaries (Arabic) – [www.aawsat.com/home/article/170616]   




Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Iran’s Nuclear Deal: Celebrations and Concerns

After 18 days of marathon talks in the Austrian capital Vienna, Iran has reached a deal with P5+1 superpower nations - China, France, Russia, the UK, USA and Germany on its nuclear program which is labelled worldwide as a historic deal after 12-year stand-off over Iran's nuclear program.

The outcome followed a series of staggered deadlines and delays, but the accord was finally announced yesterday by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and the EU's Policy Chief Federica Mogherini via a joint statement.

The accord has yet to be made officially public, but will prevent Iran from producing enough material to make a nuclear weapon for at least ten years, while also imposing new provisions regarding inspections of Iranian facilities. Throughout negotiations, the Iranian politicians at the forefront of the deal have made many - at times conflicting statements on the future of Iran's nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (2nd L), High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini (L), Iranian ambassador to IAEA Ali Akbar Salehi (2nd R) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov (R) Vienna, Austria / Reuters  

 Celebrations

U.S. President Barack Obama has expressed his relief from the White house:

“Today, because America negotiated from a position of strength and principle, we have stopped the spread of nuclear weapons in this region.” He also added, “This deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction. We should seize it.”  Obama responded to all criticisms regarding the nuclear deal and said, 'This deal is not built on trust; it is built on verification'.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini described the deal as a “good deal”,
“This is a very good deal. It cuts off all of Iran’s pathways to a nuke and ensures the necessary inspections & transparency.”

She continued, “Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons. The joint comprehensive plan of action includes Iran’s own long-term plan, with agreed limitations on Iran’s nuclear programme, and will produce the comprehensive lifting of all UN Security Council sanctions as well as multilateral and national sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, who has been leading his country’s delegation in Vienna, described the agreement as a “win-win” solution but not perfect. He said “I believe this is a historic moment,” he said. “We are reaching an agreement that is not perfect for anybody but is what we could accomplish. Today could have been the end of hope, but now we are starting a new chapter of hope.”

Syrian President Bashar Assad praised Iran deal and labelled it as a “historic achievement”,
"In the name of the Syrian people, I congratulate you and the people of Iran on this historic achievement," He added that it provided "clear recognition on the part of world powers of the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear programme, while preserving the national rights of your people and confirming the sovereignty of the Islamic Republic of Iran."

"We are confident Iran will continue, and with greater momentum, to support the peoples' just causes and to work towards establishing peace and stability in the region and the world," Assad said.

President Bashar Assad said he expected Iran to increase its backing of "just causes" throughout the region.  Iran is the main backer of the weakening Assad regime in Syria. Even under US and EU heavy sanctions, Tehran was able to supply Syria with about 60,000 barrels of oil per day. This allowed Syria to continue fighting against both Syrian revolutionaries and Jihadists.

Syrian Minister of Finance and Economy in the Syrian interim government, Ibrahim Miro, he said “The friends of Assad's regime do not need bureaucracy to provide support to him, and they gave him billions of dollars, and the Iranian regime has given more than $15 billion since the Syrian uprising started in 2011.”  Without forgetting the aid from Russia which is worth around $1.5 billion Russia and these funds are supplemented by $500 million in fuel, $400 million in flour and other millions are in weapons and other economic sectors.
Iran has also been one of the main suppliers of manpower into the Syrian war.

Tehran reportedly sent tens of thousands of Shiite fighters from all countries that have significant number of Shiite populations like Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, to fight for Assad regime that is weakening. 

Concerns

For Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, did not welcome the deal, he said “When willing to make a deal at any cost, this is the result. From early reports, we can see that the deal is a historic mistake.”

Netanyahu said the deal threatens the security of Israel and of the entire world. “Prime Minister Netanyahu stressed that an examination of the agreement raises two major dangers," the Prime Minister's Office said. "The agreement will allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons either after adhering to the agreement for 10-15 years, or by violating it beforehand. In addition, [the deal] will pump billions of dollars to the Iranian terror and war machine, which threatens Israel and the entire world."

Israel's prime minister has risked all, including his relationship with the United States, the Israeli prime minister should accept it as a fait accompli and try to repair his relationship with President Obama, which is more tense and troubled than any between an Israeli and American leader in more than 30 years.

Israel, Saudi Arabia and the other states who feel threatened by the terms of the new deal have been resigned for months to the idea that the US-led world powers were determined to have an agreement and were prepared to offer major concessions to get one. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who sees Iran as a mortal enemy, has already said that the agreement shows the dangers of being ready to do a deal at any price, and Arab states of the Gulf, who see Iran as a dangerous and aggressive neighbor, will also feel that a much, much harder bargain could have been struck.  

The Agreed Deal

The agreed deal includes a set of parameters for a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme. They require Iran to carry out a set of tasks intended to extend its breakout time, the period it would take to produce enough fissile material for a warhead, to a year. The tasks include:

Removal of the core of the heavy water reactor at Arak, rendering it inoperable.

Agreement to the application of the additional protocol, a regime of enhanced inspections carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Cutting Iran’s installed centrifuges from about 19,000 to just over 6,000, of which slightly more than 5,000 would be used for enrichment. The remaining 13,000 would be disabled and put under IAEA seal.

Reduction of Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium (LEU) from more than eight tonnes to just 300 kg, either by dilution or export.

Cooperation with an IAEA investigation into evidence of past work on nuclear weaponisation, specifically the granting of access for inspectors to suspect sites and people.

Accept that sanctions would be rapidly restored by United States if the deal was violated.

United States and other world powers will help to teach Iran how to thwart and detect threats to its nuclear program, according to the parameters of a deal reached recently to rein in Iran’s contested nuclear program. Under the terms of a deal that provides Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief, Iran and global powers will cooperate to help teach Iran how to manage its nuclear infrastructure, which will largely remain intact under the deal. Also teaching Iran how to protect its nuclear infrastructure, world powers pledge in the agreement to help Iran construct next-generation centrifuges the machines that enrich uranium at its once secret nuclear site in Fordow.

The conventional arms embargo will last another five years, and restrictions on ballistic missile technology will last eight years. Under a complicated arrangement, a violation could lead to the automatic “snap-back” of sanctions within 65 days, if a dispute-resolution process failed. Iran and the P5+1 is have reached to an agreement, sanctions relief will affect the economy of Iran positively in four ways:

They will unfreeze billions of dollars in Iranian assets which is estimated to be $100 - $150 billion in Iranian foreign exchange reserves are being held in escrow in banks overseas, primarily oil revenues that U.S. sanctions block from being repatriated to Iran. 

The removal of sanctions against exports of Iranian oil which is currently at about 1.4 million barrels per day, will increase oil revenues but with a delay of a few months at least.

Allow foreign firms to invest in Iran’s oil and gas, automobiles, hotels and other sectors.

Iran will restore its ability to trade with the rest of the world and use the global banking system, especially the interbank system of payments known as SWIFT.


Impact on the region:

There are fears that the nuclear agreement could spark a regional arms race in the region, Saudi Arabia would not sit idly by it, Saudi Arabia's proposed nuclear power program has stalled in recent years over arguments over how extensive it should be and which government agency should control it, but Riyadh has still signed atomic cooperation deals with several countries.

Riyadh is considering a nuclear weapons program is even taken seriously is evidence of how far its relationship with the United States has changed in recent years after disagreements over crisis in Egypt and Syrian war following the Arab Spring that sparked in 2011.
Although it still regards Washington as a close ally, Saudi Arabia no longer believes it can count on the United States to defend it, and its allies, against what it sees as Iranian expansionism in Arab countries since the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003 to knock down Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

As the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran continues to intensify and Iran nuclear negotiations agreed, many reports are talking about Saudi Arabia wanting its own nuclear weapon as the country grows increasingly wary of Iran's potential threat.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said after the announcement after six world power leaders reached a nuclear deal with Iran that Israel was not guaranteed by it and signalled he remained ready to order military action. This is not the first time that Israel threatens to attack Iran because of its nuclear program.  

While Obama believes the agreement could moderate Iran and bring it closer to the international community, while others feel the opposite is true. Iran would use the wealth it gains from oil and trade and since sanctions are lifted now they can support its Shiite proxies, Syrian regime, Hezbollah, Houthis and Iraqi Shiite militia, and further destabilize the region.

Iran has been able to support the Assad regime, while also supporting other proxies in Yemen and Iraq, while under sanctions. Now that sanctions are to be lifted with a nuclear agreement, Tehran will have substantially more room to increase its influence throughout the Middle East. Iran got only $100 billion and used 90% to help its economy, while the remaining $10 billion would have a potentially big impact in countries like Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

References:

BBC, Iran nuclear talks: 'Historic' agreement struck (English), [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-33518524]

The Guardian, Bulk of Iran sanctions to be lifted upon fufilment of Lausanne conditions (English), [http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/03/bulk-of-iran-sanctions-to-be-lifted-upon-fufilment-of-lausanne-conditions]

Newsweek, Saudi Arabia Keeps Hinting It Would Go Nuclear if Iran Does (English), [http://www.newsweek.com/saudi-arabia-keeps-hinting-it-would-go-nuclear-if-iran-does-319131]

Al Arabiya, Syria’s Assad praises Iran deal as ‘Great victory’ (English), [http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2015/07/14/Syria-s-Assad-praises-Iran-deal-as-Great-victory-.html]

Free Beacon, U.S. Will Teach Iran to Thwart Nuke Threats (English), [http://freebeacon.com/national-security/u-s-will-teach-iran-to-thwart-nuke-threats/]

Haaretz, Nuclear deal will allow Iran to continue interfering in Syria (English), [http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.665989


Saturday, 11 July 2015

Why is Operation Southern Storm failing?

On 25 June, Syrian Revolutionaries of the FSA’s Southern Front and Jihadists from Army of the Conquest – Southern Sector including other Syrian Islamist groups launched an Operation to capture the city of Daraa and surrounding towns from Syrian government forces, the Operation is led by FSA Southern Front.  

After weeks of intensive fighting between the Syrian Opposition and Syrian regime in Daraa, Syrian Opposition have failed to pass the regime’s well protected city and to make any military success so far that could be part of the plan to liberate the city but the fight is still going.

Operation Southern Storm logo / Twitter


There are many reasons for the opposition’s failure to capture the city so far despite the heavy fighting:

Internal disagreements – Internal disagreements between some Syrian revolutionary and Syrian Jihadist factions, important moderate revolutionary factions like Yarmouk Army, First Army and other FSA groups issued statement refusing to co-operate with Nusra Front or any other Jihadist groups that have similar ideology, this kind of disagreements have affected the progress of this operation. Many experts suggest that Jordan and the West countries have ordered FSA groups to reject any co-operation with Nusra Front otherwise they will not support them military.

Misjudgement – Misjudgement is one of the reasons for failing of the Operation Southern Storm, the leaders of the Opposition factions underestimated the power of the Syrian government forces inside the city and expected them to fall easily like what happened in Idlib province earlier this year despite months of planning and preparation for this Operation.

MOC's negative role - MOC refused to support the Operation because of the participation of Army of Conquests which consist of Jihadist groups like Nusra Front [al-Qaeda linked group] and other Islamist groups, MOC plays an important role in the south were it supports FSA’s Southern Front military.

MOC [Military Operation Co-operation] it’s a military operation room that’s was created in 2013 by Friends of Syria countries like USA, UK, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The objective of this military operation room is to train the Syrian revolutionaries and to support them constantly in their fronts. This operation room is headquartered in Amman, Jordan.  

The Opposition factions are able to liberate the city since they are well trained and experienced now, the liberation of Daraa will marks an important victory and a strategic shift by the well-organized FSA’s Southern Front in the south of the country. Syrian Government forces have shelled the revolutionary’s positions with missiles and dropped barrel bombs in order to slow their advance down. If Daraa is liberated the revolutionaries would advance towards the capital Damascus, just 100 km to the north.

FSA fighters preparing for the Operation / Al Jazeera


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Shiite militias in Syria

It is known that the Syrian Armed Forces or Assad’s Army has lost its military capabilities in the last two years and most of the military bases and Airports have been captured by Syrian rebel forces, many of their tanks, armoured vehicles and aircraft are either destroyed or captured by Syrian rebel fighters which is a big loss to the Syrian Armed Forces. Most of his sectarian elite forces like 4th Armoured Division, Republican Guard, Intelligence security forces are among the heavy casualties of the Army that they are either dead, wounded, captured or escaped.

To recover his military loses he needed to recruit Shia fighters from abroad to cover up the loses of his army and to have a strong assistance to his troops, some reports suggest that the numbers of foreign Shia fighters are around 40,000 they came from around the world, but these fighters are mostly recruited from Lebanon and Iraq with other few recruits from Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. They are being motivated religiously and politically to come to Syria to defend the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad and the Shia holy sites in Syria, all of the Shia foreign fighters are supported by Iran and Iranian Revolutionary Guards who pays and trains them regularly in Syria.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards officer Mohammad Eskandari who was recently captured and executed by Nusra Front fighters has stated from Iran that Iran has being supportive of the Syrian Regime military by sending weapons and Shia fighters where he says that Iranian Revolutionary Guards has formed and trained 42 Brigades and 138 Battalions to face the “enemies” in Syria and to defend the Assad Regime.

Many Shia fighters use religious slogans such as Ya li Tharati Hussein which means “revenge for Hussein,” and Zaynab la Tusba Marratayn which means “Zaynab, you will not be held captive twice,” showing the belief that the current conflict is simultaneously a defence of Shiite holy sites and an attempt at taking revenge on the Syrians and the Sunnis for their role in the massacre at Karbala, which took place around 1,400 years ago.

Recruitment

Iran has completed the sectarian recruitment for the Shiites around the world to fight in Syria for the Assad Regime, the new recruited militia fighters underwent a fast and intensive military training course, to confined the weapons that have been supplied in the training camps under supervision of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard and with the participation of Syrian officers from the Syrian elite forces.

Sometimes those fighters are need to go to Iran where they will have to enrol on a 45 day training course in order to specialize in using weapons like AK-47, RPG-7, Dragonov Snipers and RPK machine guns after the completion of the course they will be sent to join a brigade in Syria.

The training camps are many also they are located in different countries like in Syria they have the Yarfour training camps in Rural Damascus, Sayyidah Zaynab training camp in Damascus and Zahra training camp in Aleppo. In Lebanon they train inside Hezbollah training camps in southern Lebanon and in Iraq they train in Iraqi military training camps in Baghdad in addition to Iranian revolutionary guard training camps in Iran, all of these training camps are being used to prepare the Shiite fighters militarily before sending them to Syria

Entry to Syria

They enter to Syria either from border gates or from international airports and off course under direct supervision from the Syrian intelligence service. Some of them go in groups and some as individuals but all enters to Syria as a pilgrim or a visitor to the Shia holy places to cover themselves from the media and the people.

Assad regime pays the salaries

Assad regime ensures the providing of supplies to its soldiers and foreign fighters, including the paying the salaries for most of them and the rest of them are being paid by Iranian and Iraqi Government. Salary range is between $500 - $2,500 depending on the front they are fighting in and the power of the militia they belong to. Not only do those militia fighters get their salaries from the Assad regime in order for them to get extra money they get involved in looting and armed robbery in public including raiding on civilian houses and stopping them in military checkpoints in order to bribe them to go through, under the pretext of dealing with so called terrorists.

Major General Qassem Suleimani leads the operations on the ground

The presence of these militia fighters are heavily located in various Syrian territories, and that are moving from one place to another as ordered, they are unorganized and they work without cooperation from other militias but they all get orders from one military operation room led by Major General Qassem Suleimani and his Iranian officers with the assistance from the Syrian officers from the Syrian army and intelligence services.

Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps




Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard or sometimes called as Iranian Hezbollah it was formed in 1979 when Khomeini established the Islamic republic of Iran. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini is the Founder of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which was used to protect the Revolution, defend the Islamic republic of Iran and to assist the ruling clerics in the daily enforcement of the new government's Islamic codes and morality in the Iranian society.


Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard participated alongside the Syrian Assad regime in the suppression of the Syrian Revolution in 2011 from the start by sending its military commanders and did not delay sending its members to fight alongside the ranks of the Syrian Assad regime plus providing training and forming brigades made up of foreign Shia fighters to help the Syrian Armed Forces fighting the rebels across Syria. There are around 1,500-3,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guard Offices are active in all across Syria, their primary duty is to gather intelligence and manage the logistics for the Syrian regime and assisting to train local soldiers and managing supply routes of arms and money to neighbouring country Lebanon.

                                      Iranian Revolutionary Guards/AP             

                               Iranian Revolutionary Guard Offices in Syria / Facebook

                               Iranian Revolutionary Guard Offices in Syria/Facebook

                               Iranian Revolutionary Guard Offices in Syria/Facebook

                               Iranian Revolutionary Guard Offices in Syria/Facebook


Iranian Quds Force

Quds Force “Jerusalem Force” is a Special forces unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, this well trained and equipped Iranian force is led by Major General Qassem Suleimani personally. The responsibility of this force is to ensure the safety of Bashar Assad and his family and it accompanies him wherever he stays and goes, they wear civilian clothes and equipped with small fire arms and they are around 1,200 soldiers of this unit in Syria.


Hezbollah



Hezbollah “Party of God” is a Shia militant group and political party in Lebanon and it was formed when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. Now Hezbollah is led by Hassan Nasrallah who sent more than 8,000 fighters to Syria to defend Assad regime and to combat the rebel fighters there, most of Hezbollah fighters are Lebanses Shiites from the south of Lebanon. They are accused of committing many massacres against Syrian civilians throughout Syria, the core strength of Hezbollah lies on its military leaders of this militia and the geographical location where Lebanon is close to Syria which made them support the their fighters in Syria regularly with aids and weapons.

                                          Hezbollah Fighters / Lebanon24 

Hezbollah Fighters / Facebook 

Hezbollah Fighters / Facebook 

Hezbollah Fighters / Facebook 


Liwa Abu Fadl Al Abbas


   
Liwa Abu Fadl Al Abbas “Abu Fadl Al Abbas Brigade” is a Syrian Shia militant group that was formed in 2012 to protect the shrine of sayyidah zaynab which is located in Damascus. It’s one of the first and largest Shiite militant groups in Syria most of its fighters are Shiites Iraqis, Syrians (from Nubul and Zahra) and Lebanese they all joined that brigade under the pretext of defending the shrine of Sayyidah Zaynab which is a holy Shiite site located in Damascus, Its role is largely defensive rather than offensive they engaged in battle by collaborating with Syrian Army. The Brigade is consisting of 10,000 fighters (7,000 Iraqis) is led by the Iraqi Abu Hajer and the Syrian Abu Ajeeb.

     Al Abbas Brigade fighters in Damascus / Reuters 

      Al Abbas Brigade fighters in Damascus / Eldorar

          Al Abbas Brigade fighters in Damascus / Facebook

          Al Abbas Brigade fighters in Damascus / Al Arabiya



Liwa Dhu Al Fiqar


   
Liwa Dhu Al Fiqar “Dhu Al Fiqar Brigade” is an Iraqi Shia militant group that was formed in 2013 and the reason for its creation was because a split had happened between Liwa Abu Fadl Al Abbas Fighters over finances and leadership which erupted into clashes between each other. So many Iraqi fighters led by the Iraqi Abu Shahed Al Jabouri has left Liwa Abu Fadl Al Abbas and formed a new brigade under the name of Liwa Dhu Al Fiqar which has involved in many battles in Damascus and in around its suburbs, the brigade has around 1,000 fighters. 

                                          Liwa Dhul Fiqar Fighters / Eldorar

                                        Liwa Dhul Fiqar Fighters / Al Arabiya

                                        Liwa Dhul Fiqar Fighters / Facebook  



Liwa Fatemiyoun



Liwa Fatemiyoun [Arabic: Fatemiyoun Brigade] are an Afghan Shiite militia that was formed in 2014 by Iranian IRGC to fight against the Syrian revolutionaries. They have participated in many battles in Daraa, Idlib and Aleppo provinces alongside Syrian Arab Army and other pro-Syrian regime militia against Syrian revolutionaries. Since they have always been the deployed in the frontlines the group has been taking heavy casualties, the Iranian press reported that Liwa Fatemiyoun has lost around 900 fighters which is considered a lot to a small group. Liwa Fatemiyoun have around 3,500 fighters and they are led by Alireza Tavassoli also been observed and commanded by Iranian Officers. The Afghan Shiite fighters are Persian speaking from Iran, it’s the Hazara refugee population which is around half million Hazaras living in poor economic conditions. They were recruited by Iranian IRGC after promising them a salary of $500 monthly and Iranian residency papers. 

Liwa Fatimiyoun fighters / Facebook




Kata'ib Hezbollah (Harakat Nujabaa)



Kata'ib Hezbollah “Hezbollah Brigades” is an Iraqi Shia militant group that was formed in 2003 before the US invasion on Iraq to combat US forces. Kata’ib Hezbollah follows the Lebanese Hezbollah in terms of ideology, systematically and militarily but it is an Independent militant group. The group was founded by a radical Shiite cleric Watheq Al Battat who he is committed to the Wilayat Al Faqih “Islamic Shia Jurist” and the Marja “Religious following” of Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei. Kata’ib Hezbollah has sent three brigades to Syria which is Al Hamd, Hassan Mujtaba and Ammar Ibn Yasser under the leadership of Sheikh Akram al-Kaabi and his fighters which is estimated to be around 1,500 fighters.

Kata'ib Hezbollah / Al Ansaar

Kata'ib Hezbollah fighters / Facebook

Kata'ib Hezbollah fighters / Facebook


Haidar al-Karar Brigades (Asa'ib Ahl Al Haq)  



Haidar al-Karar Brigades is an Iraqi Shia militant group that is led by Haj Mahdi in Syria, it includes in its ranks the most skilled snipers between all Shiite militant groups in Syria and they are mostly active around Aleppo also they are estimated to be around 800 fighters.  

                                    Haidar al-Karar Brigade fighters / Facebook

                                   Haidar al-Karar Brigade fighters / Facebook

                                   Haidar al-Karar Brigade fighters / Facebook




Liwa Saada



Liwa Saada “Saada Brigade” is a Yemeni Shia militant group that belong to the Houthis, they are well trained and experienced fighters since they had many battles with the Yamani Army and the Salafi tribes in Yemen. They are active around Damascus and its suburbs with number of 750 fighters. They engage in battle with the Syrian Army and Liwa Abu Fadl Al Abbas forces.

Houthi fighters / Orient news


Badr Organization



Badr Organization is an Iraqi Shia militant group and a political party, its militant group consists of Iraqi and Iranian Shiites that are trained to do Assassinations, Kidnapping and street battles. This militant group is only active in Damascus and its suburbs where they run hospitals so that they can treat other Shia fighters from different brigades, this group has around 1,500 fighters.

Badr fighters / Al Gharibiya news



                                                  Badr fighters / Al Arabiya


Sarriya Al Talia Al Khurasani



Sarriya Al Talia Al Khurasani “The Vanguard of Khurasani Unit” is an Iraqi Shia militant group it was created by the Iranian Quds force, the objective of this unit is to protect Damascus international airport and this group has around 600 fighters and its led by Sayed Ali Al Yasseri.

                               Sarriya Al Talia Al Khurasani fighters / Facebook

                                Sarriya Al Talia Al Khurasani fighters / Facebook


Faylak Wa’ad Al Sadiq



Faylak Wa’ad Al Sadiq “The Truthful Promise Crops” is an Iraqi Shia militant group that consists of Iraqi and Syrian Shia fighters from Idlib, this militia is operated in Aleppo especially near to the Syrian Intelligence headquarters and Aleppo central prison it supports the Syrian armed forces in the most of its battles their numbers is estimated to be around 1,000 fighters.  

Faylak Wa’ad Al Sadiq fighters / Al Mustaqbal


Liwa Assadu Allahi Ghaleb



Liwa Assadu Allahi Ghaleb “God’s victorious lion brigade” it’s an Iraqi Shia militia that consists of Iraqi SWAT members, They are well trained and equipped and they are led by Abu Fatima Al Mousawi and their number is estimated to be around 500 fighters.

                                  Liwa Assadu Allahi Ghaleb fighters / Facebook

                                  Liwa Assadu Allahi Ghaleb fighters / Facebook

                               Liwa Assadu Allahi Ghaleb fighters / Facebook 


References:

Washington institute, Iran's Afghan Shiite Fighters in Syria (English) – [http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/irans-afghan-shiite-fighters-in-syria]

Washington Institute, Iran's foreign legion (English):

Guardian, Shia volunteers in Syria (English):

Guardian, Controlled by Iran, Deadly militia in Syria (English):

Al Monitor, Shiite foreign fighters in Syria (English):

Al Monitor, Iraqi Shiites join Syrian war (English):

Telegraph, Iran boosts support to Syria (English):

Al Arabiya, Hezbollah sends more fighters to Syria (English):