Monday, 20 November 2017

Hezbollah, Syrian Army Liberate Al-Bukamal, ISIL’s Last Bastion in Syria

Syrian army 222
Hezbollah, the Syrian army and their allies managed on Sunday to regain the entire city of Al-Bukamal from ISIL terrorist group, killing 50 militants.
150 other ISIL militants, including the two commanders “Abu Hasan Al-Iraqi” and Saddam al-Jamal, escaped the battlefield in the city through tunnels into the eastern of Euphrates as some of them turned themselves into the US-backed SDF troops.
It’s worth noting that Hezbollah, the Syrian army and their allies had launched an intensive campaign against ISIL terrorists to liberate Al-Bukamal city, which is the takfiri’s last bastion in Syria.
The Syrian army and allies also regained control over villages of Haran and Hardaneh in the northeastern countryside of Hama province from Nusra Terrorists.

MAP UPDATE: SYRIAN TROOPS RESTORING CONTROL OVER AL-BUKAMAL, ADVANCING IN EUPHRATES VALLEY

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Sunday, 19 November 2017

Erdogan accuses US of financing ISIS, breaking promises in Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused Washington of betraying Ankara and providing “a lot of dollars” to the Islamic State terrorists. The allegation comes just days after the US acknowledged that it allowed hundreds of armed ISIS militants to escape the besieged Syrian city of Raqqa.
“That’s the headline. But what did you do? You paid a lot of dollars to [ISIS],” Erdogan said, as cited by AFP.
It’s not the first time Erdogan has called out Washington for enabling terrorists. Last December, the Turkish president caused quite a stir in the media, claiming that Turkey had “confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos,” of the US supporting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS, ISIL) and Kurdish militias, outlawed as terrorist in Turkey.
Erdogan’s comments come just days after the BBC revealed on Monday that the US-backed SDF allowed hundreds of ISIS militants to escape Raqqa with the silent approval of their coalition allies that preferred not to intervene. Truck drivers interviewed by the BBC said they were offered thousands of dollars to secretly transport ISIS fighters and “tons of weapons and ammunition” out of the city. At the time of the exodus, neither SDF, nor the coalition acknowledged their involvement in the deal, reportedly struck by local officials mid-October.
When confronted by the BBC, US-led coalition spokesman Col Ryan Dillon admitted that “a Western officer” was present as the deal was being arranged, but “didn’t take an “active part” in the talks, he told the BBC. While the extent of the US involvement in the deal is up to speculation, Dillon noted that part of the agreement was to allow the coalition to screen the “ISIS-aged males” and civilians. However, only four “foreign fighters” were detained by the SDF from some 3,500 people, 300 of which were identified as “potential ISIS fighters,” Dilon said.
Then on Tuesday,Moscow accused US forces of refusing to carry out airstrikes against ISIS convoys retreating from the eastern Syrian city of Abu-Kamal. The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that it twice asked the US-led coalition to strike the convoys with the US side “categorically refusing” to do so, the ministry said, attaching photos purportedly showing ISIS convoys leaving the city unhindered.
Aside from sparing the ISIS militants, the coalition warplanes have also been hampering the Russian Air Force’s operation in support of the Syrian military, the ministry claimed, noting that in accordance with the prior agreement the coalition aircraft should not have been flying in the area.
This is hardly the first time Moscow has accused Washington of tolerating ISIS’s presence in Syria. In September, Russia’s Defense Ministry has released aerial images allegedly proving that US Army special units provide free passage for the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) through the battle formations of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists.
The Turkish president also slammed Washington for its ongoing support of Kurdish groups fighting in Syria — despite promises that they would be withdrawn from liberated cities.
“It was a big disappointment for us that America has not kept its promises, to a large extent, since the start of the Syrian crisis,” said Erdogan,  claiming that the previous US administration pledged to not let YPG fighters to take Raqqa, Manbij and Deir ez-Zor.
“We don’t want to enter into the same game in Afrin. A problem that we could solve quite easily together as allies is being dragged out by American intransigence,” he added, as cited by AFP.
Disagreements over the status and future of Syria’s Kurds have strained relations between Ankara and Washington. Turkey views the Kurdish YPG militia, which is backed by the US-led coalition, as a terrorist organization.
Washington has stressed that while it’s aware of Turkey’s security concerns, its policy of arming the Kurds is “necessary to ensure a clear victory” in Raqqa.
Ankara claims that the US-backed YPG is not fighting ISIS in Raqqa but instead aiming to capture the city and “engaged in regional cooperation” with the so-called caliphate.
More recently, Erdogan has warned that the Turkish military may intervene to close the“terrorist corridor” in Syria’s Afrin region, which borders Turkey and is currently controlled by Kurdish groups.

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After all Russia’s, Iran’s, Hezbollah’s & Syrian Govt’s efforts, the USA allows ISIS terrorists to escape into the desert

Lorry driver Abu Fawzi thought it was going to be just another job.
He drives an 18-wheeler across some of the most dangerous territory in northern Syria. Bombed-out bridges, deep desert sand, even government forces and so-called Islamic State fighters don’t stand in the way of a delivery.
But this time, his load was to be human cargo. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters opposed to IS, wanted him to lead a convoy that would take hundreds of families displaced by fighting from the town of Tabqa on the Euphrates river to a camp further north.
The job would take six hours, maximum – or at least that’s what he was told.
But when he and his fellow drivers assembled their convoy early on 12 October, they realised they had been lied to.
Instead, it would take three days of hard driving, carrying a deadly cargo – hundreds of IS fighters, their families and tonnes of weapons and ammunition.
Abu Fawzi and dozens of other drivers were promised thousands of dollars for the task but it had to remain secret.
The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa – de facto capital of their self-declared caliphate – had been arranged by local officials. It came after four months of fighting that left the city obliterated and almost devoid of people. It would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. The lives of the Arab, Kurdish and other fighters opposing IS would be spared.
But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part.
Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world – one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond?
Great pains were taken to hide it from the world. But the BBC has spoken to dozens of people who were either on the convoy, or observed it, and to the men who negotiated the deal.

Out of the city


In a greasy yard in Tabqa, underneath a date palm, three boys are busy at work rebuilding a lorry engine. They are covered in motor oil. Their hair, black and oily, stands on end.
Near them is a group of drivers. Abu Fawzi is at the centre, conspicuous in his bright red jacket. It matches the colour of his beloved 18-wheeler. He’s clearly the leader, quick to offer tea and cigarettes. At first he says he doesn’t want to speak but soon changes his mind.
He and the rest of the drivers are angry. It’s weeks since they risked their lives for a journey that ruined engines and broke axles but still they haven’t been paid. It was a journey to hell and back, he says.
One of the drivers maps out the route of the convoy
One of the drivers maps out the route of the convoy
“We were scared from the moment we entered Raqqa,” he says. “We were supposed to go in with the SDF, but we went alone. As soon as we entered, we saw IS fighters with their weapons and suicide belts on. They booby-trapped our trucks. If something were to go wrong in the deal, they would bomb the entire convoy. Even their children and women had suicide belts on.”
The Kurdish-led SDF cleared Raqqa of media. Islamic State’s escape from its base would not be televised.
Publicly, the SDF said that only a few dozen fighters had been able to leave, all of them locals.
But one lorry driver tells us that isn’t true.
We took out around 4,000 people including women and children – our vehicle and their vehicles combined. When we entered Raqqa, we thought there were 200 people to collect. In my vehicle alone, I took 112 people.”
Another driver says the convoy was six to seven kilometres long. It included almost 50 trucks, 13 buses and more than 100 of the Islamic State group’s own vehicles. IS fighters, their faces covered, sat defiantly on top of some of the vehicles.
Footage secretly filmed and passed to us shows lorries towing trailers crammed with armed men. Despite an agreement to take only personal weapons, IS fighters took everything they could carry. Ten trucks were loaded with weapons and ammunition.
The drivers point to a white truck being worked on in the corner of the yard. “Its axle was broken because of the weight of the ammo,” says Abu Fawzi.
This wasn’t so much an evacuation – it was the exodus of so-called Islamic State.
The SDF didn’t want the retreat from Raqqa to look like an escape to victory. No flags or banners would be allowed to be flown from the convoy as it left the city, the deal stipulated.
It was also understood that no foreigners would be allowed to leave Raqqa alive.
Back in May, US Defence Secretary James Mattis described the fight against IS as a war of “annihilation”.“Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive the fight to return home to north Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We are not going to allow them to do so,” he said on US television.
But foreign fighters – those not from Syria and Iraq – were also able to join the convoy, according to the drivers. One explains:
There was a huge number of foreigners. France, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi, China, Tunisia, Egypt…”
Other drivers chipped in with the names of different nationalities.
In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal. Some 250 IS fighters were allowed to leave Raqqa, with 3,500 of their family members.
“We didn’t want anyone to leave,” says Col Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the Western coalition against IS.
“But this goes to the heart of our strategy, ‘by, with and through’ local leaders on the ground. It comes down to Syrians – they are the ones fighting and dying, they get to make the decisions regarding operations,” he says.
While a Western officer was present for the negotiations, they didn’t take an “active part” in the discussions. Col Dillon maintains, though, that only four foreign fighters left and they are now in SDF custody.
IS family members prepare to leave
IS family members prepare to leave
As it left the city, the convoy would pass through the well-irrigated cotton and wheat fields north of Raqqa. Small villages gave way to desert. The convoy left the main road and took to tracks across the desert. The trucks found it hard going, but it was much harder for the men behind the wheel.
A friend of Abu Fawzi’s rolls up the sleeve of his tunic. Underneath, there are burns on his skin. “Look what they did here,” he says.
According to Abu Fawzi, there were three or four foreigners with each driver. They would beat him and call him names, such as “infidel”, or “pig”.
They might have been helping the fighters escape, but the Arab drivers were abused the entire route, they say. And threatened.
“They said, ‘Let us know when you rebuild Raqqa – we will come back,’” says Abu Fawzi. “They were defiant and didn’t care. They accused us of kicking them out of Raqqa.”
A female foreign fighter threatened him with her AK-47.

Into the desert


Shopkeeper Mahmoud doesn’t get intimidated by much.
It was about four in the afternoon when an SDF convoy drove through his town, Shanine, and everyone was told to go indoors.
“We were here and an SDF vehicle stopped by to say there was a truce agreement between them and IS,” he says. “They wanted us to clear the area.”
He is no fan of IS, but he couldn’t miss a business opportunity – even if some of the 4,000 surprise customers driving through his village were armed to the teeth.
Mahmoud's shop
Mahmoud’s shop
A small bridge in the village created a bottleneck so the IS fighters got out and went shopping. After months of fighting and taking cover in bunkers, they were pale and hungry. They filed into his shop and, he says, they cleared his shelves.
“A one-eyed Tunisian fighter told me to fear God,” he says. “In a very calm voice, he asked why I had shaved. He said they would come back and enforce Sharia once again. I told him we have no problem with Sharia laws. We’re all Muslims.”
Instant noodles, biscuits and snacks – they bought everything they could get their hands on.
They left their weapons outside the shop. The only trouble he had was when three of the fighters spied some cigarettes – contraband in their eyes – and tore up the boxes.
“They didn’t appropriate anything, nothing at all,” he says.
“Only three of them went rogue. Other IS fighters even chastised them.”
He says IS paid for what they took.
“They hoovered up the shop. I got overwhelmed by their numbers. Many asked me for prices, but I couldn’t answer them because I was busy serving other people. So they left money for me on my desk without me asking.”
Despite the abuse they suffered, the lorry drivers agreed – when it came to money, IS settled its bills.
IS may have been homicidal psychopaths, but they’re always correct with the money.”
Says Abu Fawzi with a smile.
North of the village, it’s a different landscape. A lonely tractor ploughs a field, sending a plume of dust and sand into the air that can be seen for miles. There are fewer villages, and it’s here that the convoy sought to disappear.
In Muhanad’s tiny village, people fled as the convoy approached, fearing for their homes – and their lives.
But suddenly, the vehicles turned right, leaving the main road for a desert track.
“Two Humvees were leading the convoy ahead,” says Muhanad. “They were organising it and wouldn’t let anyone pass them.”
As the convoy disappeared into the haze of the desert, Muhanad felt no immediate relief. Almost everyone we spoke to says IS threatened to return, its fighters running a finger across their throats as they passed by.
“We’ve been living in terror for the past four or five years,” says Muhanad.
It will take us a while to rid ourselves of that psychological fear. We feel that they may be coming back for us, or will send sleeper agents. We’re still not sure that they’ve gone for good.”
Along the route, many people we spoke to said they heard coalition aircraft, sometimes drones, following the convoy.
From the cab of his truck, Abu Fawzi watched as a coalition warplane flew overhead, dropping illumination flares, which lit up the convoy and the road ahead.
When the last of the convoy were about to cross, a US jet flew very low and deployed flares to light up the area. IS fighters shat their pants.”
The coalition now confirms that while it did not have its personnel on the ground, it monitored the convoy from the air.
Past the last SDF checkpoint, inside IS territory – a village between Markada and Al-Souwar – Abu Fawzi reached his destination. His lorry was full of ammunition and IS fighters wanted it hidden.
When he finally made it back to safety, he was asked by the SDF where he’d dumped the goods.
“We showed them the location on the map and he marked it so uncle Trump can bomb it later,” he says.
Raqqa’s freedom was bought with blood, sacrifice and compromise. The deal freed its trapped civilians and ended the fight for the city. No SDF forces would have to die storming the last IS hideout.
But IS didn’t stay put for long. Freed from Raqqa, where they were surrounded, some of the group’s most-wanted members have now spread far and wide across Syria and beyond.


The Smugglers

The men who cut fences, climb walls and run through the tunnels out of Syria are reporting a big increase in people fleeing. The collapse of the caliphate is good for business.
“In the past couple of weeks, we’ve had lots of families leaving Raqqa and wanting to leave for Turkey. This week alone, I personally oversaw the smuggling of 20 families,” says Imad, a smuggler on the Turkish-Syrian border.
“Most were foreign but there were Syrians as well.”
He now charges $600 (£460) per person and a minimum of $1,500 for a family.
In this business, clients don’t take kindly to inquiries. But Imad says he’s had “French, Europeans, Chechens, Uzbek”.
“Some were talking in French, others in English, others in some foreign language,” he says.
Walid, another smuggler on a different stretch of the Turkish border, tells the same story.
“We had an influx of families over the past few weeks,” he says. “There were some large families crossing. Our job is to smuggle them through. We’ve had a lot of foreign families using our services.”
As Turkey has increased border security, the work has become more difficult.
In some areas we’re using ladders, in others we cross through a river, in other areas we’re using a steep mountainous trail. It’s a miserable situation.”
However, Walid says it’s a different situation for senior IS figures.
“Those highly placed foreigners have their own networks of smugglers. It’s usually the same people who organised their access to Syria. They co-ordinate with one another.”

Smuggling didn’t work out for everyone. Abu Musab Huthaifa was one of Raqqa’s most notorious figures. The IS intelligence chief was on the convoy out of the city on 12 October.
But now he is behind bars, and his story reflects the final days of the crumbling caliphate.
Islamic State never negotiates. Uncompromising, murderous – this is an enemy that plays by a different set of rules.
At least that’s how the myth goes.
Abu Mus’ab
Abu Mus’ab
But in Raqqa, it behaved no differently from any other losing side. Cornered, exhausted and fearful for their families, IS fighters were bombed to the negotiating table on 10 October.
“Air strikes put pressure on us for almost 10 hours. They killed about 500 or 600 people, fighters and families,” says Abu Musab Huthaifa.
Footage of the coalition air strike that hit one neighbourhood of Raqqa on 11 October shows a human catastrophe behind enemy lines. Amid the screams of the women and children, there is chaos among the IS fighters. The bombs appear especially powerful, especially effective. Activists claim that a building housing 35 women and children was destroyed. It was enough to break their resistance.
Contains distressing material
“After 10 hours, negotiations kicked off again. Those who initially rejected the truce changed their minds. And thus we left Raqqa,” says Abu Musab.
There had been three previous attempts to negotiate a peace deal. A team of four, including local Raqqa officials, now led the talks. One brave soul would cross the front lines on his motorbike relaying messages.
“We were only to leave with our personal weapons and leave all heavy weapons behind. But we didn’t have heavy weapons anyway,” Abu Musab says.
Now in jail on the Turkish-Syrian border, he has revealed details of what happened to the convoy when it made it safely to IS territory.
He says the convoy went to the countryside of eastern Syria, not far from the border with Iraq.
Thousands escaped, he says.
Abu Musab’s own attempted escape serves as a warning to the West of the threat from those freed from Raqqa.
How could one of the most notorious of IS chiefs escape through enemy territory and almost evade capture?
“I remained with a group which had set its mind on making its way to Turkey,” Abu Musab says.
Islamic State members were wanted by everyone else outside the group’s shrinking area of control; that meant this small gathering had to pass through swathes of hostile territory.
“We hired a smuggler to navigate us out of SDF-controlled areas,” Abu Musab says.
At first it went well. But smugglers are an unreliable lot. “He abandoned us midway. We were left to fend for ourselves in the midst of SDF areas. From then on, we disbanded and it was every man for himself,” says Abu Musab.
He might have made it to safety if only he’d paid the right person or maybe taken a different route.
The other path is to Idlib, to the west of Raqqa. Countless IS fighters and their families have found a haven there. Foreigners, too, also make it out – including Britons, other Europeans and Central Asians. The costs range from $4,000 (£3,000) per fighter to $20,000 for a large family.


French fighter

Abu Basir al-Faransy, a young Frenchman, left before the going got really tough in Raqqa. He’s now in Idlib, where he says he wants to stay.
The fighting in Raqqa was intense, even back then, he says.
“We were front-line fighters, waging war almost constantly [against the Kurds], living a hard life. We didn’t know Raqqa was about to be besieged.”
Disillusioned, weary of the constant fighting and fearing for his life, Abu Basir decided to leave for the safety of Idlib. He now lives in the city.
He was part of an almost exclusively French group within IS, and before he left some of his fellow fighters were given a new mission.
There are some French brothers from our group who left for France to carry out attacks in what would be called a ‘day of reckoning.’”
Much is hidden beneath the rubble of Raqqa and the lies around this deal might easily have stayed buried there too.
The numbers leaving were much higher than local tribal elders admitted. At first the coalition refused to admit the extent of the deal.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, somewhat improbably, continue to maintain that no deal was done.
And this may not even have been about freeing civilian hostages. As far as the coalition is concerned, there was no transfer of hostages from IS to coalition or SDF hands.
And despite coalition denials, dozens of foreign fighters, according to eyewitnesses, joined the exodus.
The deal to free IS was about maintaining good relations between the Kurds leading the fight and the Arab communities who surround them.
It was also about minimising casualties. IS was well dug in at the city’s hospital and stadium. Any effort to dislodge it head-on would have been bloody and prolonged.
The war against IS has a twin purpose: first to destroy the so-called caliphate by retaking territory and second, to prevent terror attacks in the world beyond Syria and Iraq.
Raqqa was effectively IS’s capital but it was also a cage – fighters were trapped there.
The deal to save Raqqa may have been worth it.
But it has also meant battle-hardened militants have spread across Syria and further afield – and many of them aren’t done fighting yet.
All names of the people featured in the report have been changed.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Hezbollah, Syrian Army Liberate Al-Bukamal, ISIL’s Last Bastion in Syria

Syrian army 222
Hezbollah, the Syrian army and their allies managed on Sunday to regain the entire city of Al-Bukamal from ISIL terrorist group, killing 50 militants.
150 other ISIL militants, including the two commanders “Abu Hasan Al-Iraqi” and Saddam al-Jamal, escaped the battlefield in the city through tunnels into the eastern of Euphrates as some of them turned themselves into the US-backed SDF troops.
It’s worth noting that Hezbollah, the Syrian army and their allies had launched an intensive campaign against ISIL terrorists to liberate Al-Bukamal city, which is the takfiri’s last bastion in Syria.
The Syrian army and allies also regained control over villages of Haran and Hardaneh in the northeastern countryside of Hama province from Nusra Terrorists.

MAP UPDATE: SYRIAN TROOPS RESTORING CONTROL OVER AL-BUKAMAL, ADVANCING IN EUPHRATES VALLEY


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The USA refuses to comply with International Law in Syria

US won’t be constrained by UN Security Council in Syria: Haley

Press TV – November 18, 2017
US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council at the United Nations headquarters in New York on November 17, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a meeting of the UN Security Council at the United Nations headquarters in New York on November 17, 2017. (Photo by Reuters)
The United States does not consider itself constrained by the UN Security Council and may seek “justice” in Syria on its own terms, says the US representative to the UN, Nikki Haley.
Haley said on Friday that with or without unity of the council, Washington “will continue to fight for justice and accountability in Syria.”
She made the remarks after Russia vetoed a UN resolution that sought to extend the mandate of the international investigation into chemical weapons use in Syria.
The mandate for the US-drafted resolution, known as Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), expired on Friday. This was the third time in a month Russia vetoed attempts at the UN to extend the inquiry.
The council’s permanent member, Russia agreed to the creation of the investigation two years ago, but it has consistently questioned its work and conclusions. It has repeatedly cited flaws in the work on instigators.
Russia’s UN ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Friday that the investigation could only be extended if “fundamental flaws in its work” were fixed. He said that for the past two year the investigators had “rubber-stamped baseless accusations against Syria.”
They accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of using chemical weapons against his own people. Syria, however, has repeatedly denied the allegations.
Haley further said that Russia in recent weeks, has been trying “to delay, to distract and ultimately to defeat the effort to secure accountability for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.”
“Russia is wasting our time,” she argued.
Her remarks provoked an angry response from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who accused her of having engaged in a “fake diplomacy.”
“It seems we are witnessing a new phenomenon in international relations, as now, apart from fake news, there is also fake diplomacy,” Lavrov said.
The US has long history of taking actions in Middle Eastern countries with no mandate from the United Nations. Back in August 2014, Washington along with some of its allies launched a campaign of airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh positions inside Iraq.
The coalition expanded its campaign to Syria in 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis claimed on Monday that “the UN said that … basically we can go after ISIS (Daesh). And we’re there to take them out.”
Lavrov, however, rejected his remarks on Thursday, saying the US presence in Syria “is illegitimate because it does not rely either on the decision of the UN Security Council or on the invitation of the legitimate government.” He said that there was no Security Council resolution that allowed US troops on the Syrian territory.
The us airstrikes have on many occasions–both in Iraq and Syria– resulted in civilian casualties and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Saudi Opposer Maan Al-Jarba: Partition is Inevitable

jarba
This interview was conducted a week ago, before the latest Saudi developments in Saudi Arabia.
He is one of the political opponents of the Saudi regime’s policies, and he belongs to the “Shammar” tribe that extends from Saudi Arabia to reach Kuwait and Qatar, and is based in Iraq and Syria. The tribe also ruled “Najd” for almost a century before Abdul Aziz bin Saud robbed it to restore his predecessors’ rule backed by the Englishmen who failed to seduce “Shammar”. Al-Jarba is one of those who have strong connections due to the affinity with prominent figures in the kingdom’s authorities such as former Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, and former Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, granting him a sort of immunity to express his views.
“Maan al-Jarba’s” name has been emerging lately, dressed with the costume of the Arab island, yet with another speech: he emerged from Damascus where he decided to settle amid the sludge of the political crisis in 2014, for no reason; but to be honest with the stances that reflect his beliefs that defending Syria is defending the Arab resistance feature that is wanted to be changed. The (militants’) bombs at the time were targeting the neighborhood where he resides. One of them hit the same building. He, however, didn’t decide to leave Syria until things started to settle down, when the victory of the Syrian Army and its allies started to be tangible.
Before that time, at the end of 2011 when he was still in Saudi Arabia, a website affiliated with him had been closed for the stances that it showed revealed a sort of supporting resistance. He was offered to have a weekly column in the Saudi Okaz newspaper. He warned of sectarian strife, drawing attention to the dangers of the scheme of partition that was infiltrating from Iraq. At every point he showed support for the choices of resistance, until he was forced to stop writing in 2013 without being held “accountable.”
Two days after leaving the Saudi lands forever in 2014, Maan al-Jarba appeared in a televised interview speaking of ISIL and its Wahhabi reference. From inside a studio in Riyadh, he saluted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and then Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki for supporting the resistant Syria. Saudi authorities closed the studio from where al-Jarba appeared, and since then the counter war against him has started.
From the Lebanese capital, Beirut, Mr. Maan al-Jarba had an exclusive interview with the al-Manar website. He tackled the Saudi inside, clarified the scene talking of the religious formation of the Saudi society and the role of tribes, exposing the possible future outcomes amid an escalating political struggle going on inside, and imminent foreign schemes of partition.
Wahhabism Doesn’t Belong to Sunnah
The Saudi society is composed of 85% of the Sunnis and 15% of Ismaili and Twelver Shia. Al-Jarba says that “Wahhabism doesn’t belong to Sunnah at all, recalling that it is only 300 years old.”
“Wahhabism is a status that is differentiated from other Islamic sects and groups,” al-Jarba noted, rejecting the logic of Takfirism it provides.
According to the Saudi opposer, the Arab island’s families were Sufi Ash’ari Maturidi before Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab appeared in the 17th century, and they still conserve some of their privacies.
“In the Hijaz areas, for example, besides embracing the Sufi Ash’ari Maturidi doctrine, most of houses there belong to the Hanafi and Shafe’i doctrines, like in the Medina. While the Ismailis weigh in south of the kingdom, the Shafe’i doctrine is the most spread there. Twelver Shias are based in the eastern areas mainly in al-Qatif and al-Ahsaa,” he explained.
“Most of the Saudi families are Sufi and Ash’ari, but the official doctrine is Wahhabi and is imposed on them and taught in the educative curriculum,” al-Jarba sums up this point.
The Al Sheikh Family… the Family of Cheques
“Despite some families’ attempts to preserve their regional privacy, the pattern of the detective state imposed inside the kingdom, and its huge financial power, in addition to the international cover and foreign benefiting, here I name the United States, allowed this religious pattern to spread. Wahhabism has served the American goals in the Afghan war against the Soviet Union, and in Iraq and Syria. It devoted the religious institution inside the kingdom to grant rulers a legitimate cover, a paid one, so that Saudis themselves name the Al Sheikh family the family of cheques, in reference to the money they receive,” al-Jarba added.
Despite the religious power, the relationship between the religious institution and the Saudi inside is under control, as long as no armed appearance against the state was detected by non “Wahhabis”. This reflects the containment the state is intending to use sometimes against some “political” targets, just like what happened in Awamiyah recently.
Yemen, Awamiyah and Qatar… for Compensation
Al-Jarba believes that those incidents are related to Saudi dire efforts to create a victory through which it can prove to the Americans that it is still strong and reliable in playing functional roles in the region. “It is worth mentioning that the setbacks in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria were not compensated by the Kingdom in Yemen, they were rather worsened. Targeting Qatar was also for compensation, it however proved being useless, then they hadn’t any choice but to use their force inside the country and attack Awamiyah.”
Al-Jarba went on to say that “the Saudi media exposed the targeting of Awamiyah as a conquer, and they used words that described it as an operation to liberate al-Qatif from Shias, who are shown by Saudi media as intruders, noting that the al-Mosawara neighborhood existed 400 years ago, which means it is a 100 years older than the first Saudi state. This means that the people of Awamiyah are inveterate and deep-rooted in the region more than the Al Saud’s “inveteracy” and authority there…”
“The fade and sterile “victory” in Awamiyah was used under the official media system’s efforts to boost up the “Iranophobia” and “Shiaphobia.” At some point, we have to confess that they have succeeded in devoting this phobia, the barrier that has been worked on to frighten the peoples from resistance.”
Palestine Is In the Sentiment
Unlike the coldness the ruling system shows towards the Palestinian cause, al-Jarba stresses that the Saudi people sympathize with Palestine beyond imagination.
He considers that “The axis of resistance defends Palestine. Despite this phobia, things are going better everyday thanks to the uncovering of Saudi relations with ‘Israel’ that appeared to the surface, as well as the Saudi efforts to secularize the state and try to use the Emirati model in Saudi Arabia, which awakened people. The state that considered Iran and the Shia in general as a Satan under the titles of religion and defending the country of the Two Holy Mosques, appeared today having reconciliation with ‘Israel’ and allowing mixed celebrations and dances, exposing the real danger to religion and the country of the Two Holy Mosques.”
Normalization is the Saudi Fall
“The flagrant fall of the Saudi regime will happen with normalizing ties with ‘Israel’,” al-Jarba predicts.
“Relationship with ‘Israel’ exceeds a very sensitive redline for those who boast belonging to the country of the Two Holy Mosques. They have a decisive stance against the occupiers of the ‘Muslims’ First Qiblah”, and those committing crimes against the Muslims of Palestine, Lebanon and elsewhere. To these limits in particular, the Saudi regime loses its legitimacy. What would then oppress the Saudi people? Are they the Fatwas that prohibit opposing the ruler unless he commits the bold blasphemy? The bold blasphemy for the Saudi people is the waiver of Palestine. Can the authority preachers justify this waiver?”
In the era of major internal transformations, half of the kingdom’s preachers are in prison. According to al-Jarba, it is not about the stance from Qatar, the issue is deeper and greater.
“Mainly, nothing indicates that they have been detained due to the crisis with Qatar, those are just popular analyses. The crisis with Qatar was just an excuse because they know that they are against the leadership and against secularization, and even against normalization with ‘Israel’… would they tell people that they have detained them because they are against secularizing the state? The best excuse is to purport that it is because of Qatar, which would allow them to silence any voice that would object their new policies, starting with mixed dances to public normalization and others.”
Saudis against Normalization
Maan al-Jarba stresses that the Saudi state is a “perfectly detective state”. However, social media networks became an important scale that is measured through the public opinion’s tendencies. A while ago, ‘Israeli’ media leaked some news about the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to the occupied territories. Saudi official institutions shut up and the Saudi-funded media didn’t say a word.
“Only Twitter was on fire with the “Saudis against normalization” campaign that ranked the first trend in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. Hence, there was a need to form an anti electronic army to promote the official campaign under the title of countering terrorism. However, in front of Palestine, the army cannot endure those opposing the betrayal of the Palestinian cause, in front of Palestine, everybody fails,” al-Jarba stressed.
Breaking the Silence
He further considered that there are three factors that would break the Saudi silence:
1.    The ruling family’s struggle, which exists and is escalating. It will give the people a chance to take to the streets. Those who are leaking the palace’s news to “Mujtahidd” are members of the ruling family. It is also said that the number of imprisoned princes are five until now, including Mohammad bin Nayef and Abdul Aziz bin Fahd who were put under house arrest. The news of the inner conflict have been known and publicized.
2.    Taking off the religious cover and moving towards secularization, in which people would find the direct cause to take to the streets, especially that the Saudi curriculum provides and teaches since 80 years that secularization in blasphemy, and obeying the ruler is a duty unless he commits the bold blasphemy. According to Saudi curricula, disobeying the atheist ruler is allowed, and is even considered a fight in the path of Allah, therefore, the religious factor which the state used as a pillar to immune the ruler will fall as the state heads towards secularization.
3.    Pulling the international cover off Saudi Arabia, this is neither difficult nor impossible in the meantime. The Americans need the oil and the money. The US President was clear on this level. In case of any internal chaos and struggle, the Americans won’t leave their interests for any alliances; they would rather have other alliances with any alternative.
Partition is the Inevitable Project
The Saudi opposer assured that the US knows nobody above its interests. Amid the new colonial scheme, the US is working to divide Saudi Arabia into four countries. “Partition is on the table, and it is serious. The map is available at the US Ministry of Defense’s (War) website. Saudi Arabia will be divided into four countries. In the United States itself, there are some wings that support partition and others that oppose it. But everybody wants to play with us.”
The four regions are:
•    The Great Jordan: It is composed of Tabouk, Yunbu’ and al-Hejaz, it would be added to Jordan to be the alternative home for Palestinians, in which the crisis that bans the occupation entity from announcing its Jewish state will be solved.
•    The Eastern area: It is composed of al-Qatif, al-Ahsaa and al-Dammam, the oil-rich areas that are close to Kuwait and Bahrain, allowing the Americans to enter easily and control oil there. Eastern province sources have previously noted that the Americans have suggested partition, but they have refused.
•    Najd: The central areas where the Al Saud’s rule would be limited
•    The South: The areas of Assir, Najran and Jizan that were Yemeni areas rented by Saudi Arabia for 99 years, and that period ended in the era of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who “waivered” in favor of Saudi Arabia.
Al-Jarba considers that the Americans have much benefited from their Iraq experience. They will not deploy their troops to any Arab country unless they would appear as the hero and the savior. This would happen in Saudi Arabia in case the struggle between the ruling family’s princes escalated and turned into confrontation. It will grant the Americans and opportunity to be with more numbers inside Saudi Arabia. On the other side, al-Jarba stressed that the partition scheme is inevitable, and that in 2017 we witness the centenary of Sykes-Picot agreement that divided the Arab region between France and Britain, and that the new centenary is the new division.
Tribes, the Time Bomb
Besides religion, the tribes play a major role in implementing or lacking domestic settlement inside the kingdom, al-Jarba noted.
He further noted the following:
“In 1902, Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saudi returned to Riyadh after he was a refugee in the English-protected Kuwait, to assume power at a time when the northern Arab Island was controlled by the leadership of “Shammar” tribe, and entirely belonging to the Ottoman Empire. “Shammar” was offered to cooperate with the Englishmen but they refused and got engaged in the World War I besides the Ottoman Empire as an Islamic state against the Englishmen…
The Englishmen provided Ibn Saudi with weapons, and they considered that his control of Najd and al-Hejaz will revoke the Ottomans’ religious legitimacy. When the Ottoman state was defeated in the World War I, Abdul Aziz entered the regions and formed the emirate of Najd, he then besieged Ha’el for a whole year during which his army used to hear the calls for prayers from inside the area wondering that “they are Muslims” while others say it is “Prudence”. Ibn Saud’s army killed children inside the mosques. And when they entered al-Hejaz they killed people inside the mosque”
The Saudi oppose uncovered that under the name of religion, Abdul Aziz mobilized tribes that were known at the time as the “brothers of he who obeyed Allah” for his wars against the other emirates.
“When he reached the English-drawn borders, he used English drones to strike the tribes that were looking forward to continue their resistance and restore the entire Islamic world! Until then, Al Saud eye tribes with worry, they respect the position and notability of the tribes, they marry from them and know that the tribes are a time bomb that would decide any domestic conflict that would erupt in the kingdom.
The Worrying Princes
Today, eyes are on the tribes as the struggle escalates between the princes themselves. Mut’ab bin Abdullah, for example, is the most worrying figures to Mohammad bin Salman. He owns a national guard that reaches 150 thousand fighters from the tribes that married from his family, and which are now getting prepared to fight with him until the last soldiers. The national guard on the level of numbers and equipments is a major power that weighs as much as the Saudi Army does.”
Besides Mut’ab, stand Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz, the brother of current Saudi King, and the sons of Nayef, Fahd and Sultan.
Al-Jarba says that “their discontent with the crown prince’s policies has been heard all across the royal palace. There are many letters that were sent to the king demanding to stop the non-qualified prince from reaching the throne,” the last of which was the armed attack against the Palace of Peace in Jeddah.
“The latest attack indicated that the princes’ letters are very serious, which caused Mohammad bin Salman at the time to disappear,” which was detailed in a previous report for al-Manar website.
The Magic Turns on the Magician
Briefly, the Saudi opposer views Saudi Arabia as a country living on the top of a volcano that would erupt anytime. All the factors inside the kingdom are worrying: the princes’ struggle, Mohammad bin Salman’s craving to rule, and the new tendency towards secularization as well as the tribal role amid all of that.
The escalating struggle won’t end but with “partition” in case the keys to deal with everything were handed to the Americans, al-Jarba warns. He further noted that the kingdom won’t be afar from what is taking place in the entire region. The schemes to divide and partition conducted by Saudi Arabia would definitely turn against it. Then, the magic will turn on the magician…
Translated by website team
Source: Al-Manar Website

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