• Don’t #BS the American People About Iraq, Syria, and ISIL

    One cannot credibly argue that the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 contributed to the rise of ISIL without also acknowledging that the U.S. invasion in 2003 did the same. The former without the latter is a political argument, not a policy position.

    The same goes for airstrikes in Syria and arming the Syrian rebels. It’s a reasonable hypothesis that supporting the Free Syrian Army earlier might have blunted ISIL, but that’s a pretty hollow position if one also gives Syrian rebel factions a pass for tolerating and even embracing ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusrah through late 2012 . As a long-time analyst of jihadism in the Middle East, it was clear to me in the summer of 2011 that the Islamic State of Iraq was well-positioned to capitalize on what was then a largely peaceful Syrian protest movement. And it was just as obvious that the group—whose brutality, extremism, and grandiose political aspirations were well-documented long before the Syrian uprising—would later turn on the Syrian rebels whose cause they claimed to champion. The same should have been obvious to the Syrian rebels, their external supporters, and pretty much anyone interested in the Syrian uprising and the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad.

  • Ah, pour inventer une nouvelle théorie du complot, il est de bon ton d’avoir des experts sous la main : la décapitation de Foley, ce n’est pas pour mettre fin aux bombardements américains (comme ISIS le revendique dans sa vidéo), c’est plus subtile (en fait c’est carrément le contraire)… Brutal beheading of James Foley an attempt to provoke ground invasion of Iraq and Syria. Mais alors, ces gens seraient machiavéliquement machiavéliques…

    “What’s happening is they are trying to get Western intervention in Iraq and Syria,” says Clarke Jones, a former national security operative specialising in counterterrorism now with the Australian National University.

    “That would enable them to develop a new and powerful narrative of Western oppression of Muslims that would help them attract a new wave of recruits.”

    Renowned Norwegian terrorism expert Thomas Hegghammer agrees, questioning whether the attack on the Yazidis, raids into Kurdistan and the beheading of Foley could all be a “deliberate provocation strategy”.

    “ISIS seems to be doing everything it can (short of attacks on the West) to draw the US into conflict,” he tweeted.

    Je viens de voir passer pas mal de tweets allant dans le même sens. Franchement, je ne pige pas bien ce qu’on veut démontrer avec ce genre d’élucubrations. ISIS aurait encore besoin d’en faire des tonnes pour faire croire aux Sunnites du monde entier qu’ils sont les victimes humiliées (des chiites, des alaouites, des Iraniens, des Américains, d’Israël… mais surtout des Iraniens…) ? Mais c’est déjà la ligne quasi-officielle de l’Arabie séoudite et du 14 Mars libanais. Pourquoi ISIS aurait encore besoin de le « démontrer » en attirant une intervention américaine ?

  • Conflicts Forum Weekly Comment: ISIS: Back to Pre-Islamic Arab structures

    The Saudi response (as outlined in an opinion-piece by a top Saudi establishment commentator, Abdulrahman Al-Rashed, who heads Al-Arabiya television) is that the ISIS threat needs to be understood properly – since there is a “genuine [Sunni] revolution against a sectarian repugnant rule” in both Syria and Iraq. ISIS tapped into this ‘Sunni anger’ to become “the star at the box office” for Sunnis all over the world … However, “were it not for Assad and Maliki, ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front would not have existed.”  (This Saudi meme is the ‘narrative’ that has almost universally been taken up by the mainstream western media.)

    Saudi Arabia is prepared, Abdulrahman suggests to confront ISIS, but only – and only if  - “a political solution [is] imposed in Syria and Iraq” — a regime change that leads to wider Sunni mobilization. The sectarian policies of Assad and Maliki “triggered this chaos. Therefore, the solution lies in strong central governments in both Baghdad and Damascus with American, Western and regional support.”

    But let us be clear: When Abdulrahman insists that Nouri al-Maliki must be ousted, he is not proposing that another Shi’i simply take his place – as would occur under the present political dispensation in which the Shi’i amount to 60 – 65% of the electorate.  He is calling for the overthrow of the system – with a Sunni (or a Riyadh approved Iyad Alawi) ‘strongman’ placed in power (à la Sisi).  Ditto for Syria.  It is a call for the purging of the Middle East.

  • James Foley : quand la presse unanime accusait le régime syrien

    En avril 2013, on ne sait pas qui détient James Foley. On trouve quelques reprises de cette information : Parents talk about journalist kidnapped in Syria

    The U.S. does not currently have a formal relationship with Syria and there has been no regular or reliable information about Foley, his parents said. Though they have been in touch with federal officials, they said the most they’ve received are rumors of their son’s whereabouts.

    À peine un mois plus tard, début mai 2013, c’est une autre histoire… Sur la base d’une unique source, l’accumulation des articles et des titres donne un effet de certitude imparable (malgré l’usage du conditionnel de précaution, parfois gommé dans les titres).

    – Libération avec AFP : Un journaliste américain aux mains de Bachar al-Assad

    Le journaliste américain James Foley, porté disparu depuis six mois en Syrie, serait détenu par des agents des services du renseignement syrien dans un centre de détention près de Damas, a déclaré vendredi un porte-parole de sa famille à Boston.

    – Nouvel Obs : SYRIE. Un journaliste américain détenu par le régime d’Assad

    – Le Monde : Syrie : les journalistes, victimes du régime et des rebelles

    Le journaliste américain James Foley, porté disparu depuis six mois en Syrie, serait détenu par des agents des services du renseignement dans un centre de détention près de Damas, a déclaré vendredi 3 mai un porte-parole de sa famille à Boston.

    « Nous avons obtenu de multiples rapports indépendants provenant de sources confidentielles très crédibles ayant un accès direct et indirect, qui confirment notre évaluation que Jim est à présent détenu par le gouvernement syrien », a ajouté le PDG et cofondateur du média en ligne GlobalPost, Phil Balboni, qui fait également office de porte-parole de la famille de M. Foley.

    – Le Parisien avec AFP : Syrie : Assad déterminé à rester au pouvoir

    Concernant le sort des journalistes américain James Foley et italien Domenico Quirico du quotidien La Stampa, portés disparus en Syrie, le chef d’Etat a affirmé n’avoir « aucune information » à ce sujet. La famille de James Foley avait affirmé début mai que le reporter serait détenu par des agents des services du renseignement syrien près de Damas.

    Méthode intéressante : ici « Assad » est clairement mis en accusation – et contredit par la toute dernière phrase de l’article – pour l’enlèvement de Foley et Quirico. Aucun des deux n’étant pourtant détenu par le régime…

    – Même article sur Le Point :

    – CNN (CNN Staff) : Missing journalist in Syrian custody, news outlet says

    U.S. journalist missing in Syria for nearly six months is most likely in Syrian government custody, according to the GlobalPost, an online international news outlet, and the man’s brother.

    Gunmen kidnapped James Foley on November 22 and his family has since worked to obtain his release. Foley, a free-lance journalist, contributed stories to the GlobalPost.

    According to a GlobalPost story on Friday, its CEO and president, Philip Balboni, said in a speech marking World Press Freedom Day that the outlet has a “very high degree of confidence” that Foley was “most likely abducted by a pro-regime militia group and turned over to Syrian government forces.”

    “We have obtained multiple independent reports from very credible confidential sources who have both indirect and direct access that confirm our assessment that Jim is now being held by the Syrian government in a prison or detention facility in the Damascus area,” Balboni said.

    – GlobalPost : American journalist likely held by Syrian government

    After a five-month investigation inside Syria and the wider Middle East, GlobalPost and the family of missing American journalist James Foley now believe the Syrian government is holding him in a detention center near Damascus.

    “With a very high degree of confidence, we now believe that Jim was most likely abducted by a pro-regime militia group and subsequently turned over to Syrian government forces,” GlobalPost CEO and President Philip Balboni said during a speech marking World Press Freedom Day.

    (Cette page du GlobalPost est désormais précédée de la mention : “Since the publication of this story further investigations have been conducted on James Foley’s kidnapping, pointing in a different direction.”, avec un lien vers l’annonce de sa décapitation par l’État islamique.)

    – RadioBDC blog - : World Press Freedom Day Announcement : Jim Foley found in Syria

    According to a private security firm hired by GlobalPost to find Foley, he is being held in a detention facility in the Damascas area. Foley was kidnapped in Syria in November, 2012, just a stone’s throw from the Turkish border, and has been missing for 162 days. Balboni told reporters today that Foley was captured by “pro-government militia” and then handed over to the Assad regime.

    – Investigation Suggests American Journalist Missing in Syria Is ’Likely’ Held by Government -

    James Foley, an American journalist who has been missing in Syria for 162 days, “was most likely abducted by a pro-regime militia group and subsequently turned over to Syrian government forces,” the news site GlobalPost reported on Friday. Before he disappeared, Mr. Foley had contributed reports to GlobalPost and Agence-France Presse as a freelance correspondent.

    The news site said that its conclusion was based on “a five-month investigation inside Syria and the wider Middle East.”

    – The Boston Globe : Kidnapped journalist believed to be alive, in Syrian custody

    Friday afternoon, Balboni said that he and Foley’s family began to receive information that Foley was in the custody of the Syrian government about two months ago. Since that time, Balboni said, more information has given them 85 to 90 percent confidence that Foley remains alive and in a Syrian prison.

    – The Raw Story : Investigation indicates American reporter James Foley being held at facility controlled by Syrian intelligence

    A US journalist missing in war-torn Syria is believed to be held by government intelligence agents at a detention center near Damascus, a spokesman for his family said Friday.

    – Huffington Post : James Foley ’Likely’ Being Held By Syrian Government : GlobalPost

    James Foley, an American journalist who went missing in Syria, is “likely” being held by the Syrian government, according to his family and GlobalPost on Friday.


    “With a very high degree of confidence, we now believe that Jim was most likely abducted by a pro-regime militia group and subsequently turned over to Syrian government forces,” GlobalPost CEO and President Philip Balboni said.

    • Allons allons, patientons encore quelques heures, on va bien nous ressortir une petite théorie du complot !

      Personnellement j’ai déjà quelques contacts Facebook qui pointent prudemment le fait que le montage de la vidéo diffère des précédentes productions de l’EIIL...

    • Utile rappel ("gorafi encore plagié ?) Côté vidéo (ici par exemple, chez nos amis saoudiens qui ne sont pas effarouchés de la publicer, le client est roi :, elle s’ajoute à une longue liste d’ « oeuvres » dont on a moins parlé parce que qu’elles concernaient des bronzés... Il y a de fait un changement stylistique assez notable. Le montage diffère et à mon avis cela tient au fait qu’elle est produite cette fois directement à l’intention du public US (« occidental »), probablement par des gens issus de cette culture (accent anglais du bourreau) et clairement selon cette rhétorique icônique. La mise en scène dans le désert, la tenue orange (« une trouvaille » si le contexte permet de s’exprimer ainsi à froid), l’adresse à Obama, on est dans un duel dans le désert façon Sergio Leone.

  • As-Safir Newspaper - محمد بلوط : تعاون أمني سوري ـ أميركي يتيح ضرب « داعش » في الرقة :: الصفحة الرئيسة

    Le Safir revient sur la toute nouvelle "coopération sécuritaire" entre la Syrie et les USA sur le dos de l’EI (au passage, la Syrie nie qu’il y ait eu des bombardements US sur son sol).

    • Oui mais pas sur la même page :-))

      US, Syria ‘not on the same page’ in fighting IS

      While acknowledging that Syria and the United States shared a common enemy, State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said the two have yet to share common ground.

      “I would strongly disagree with the notion that we are on the same page here in terms of what we’re doing,” Harf said.

      She also stressed that “in Iraq, we have a government that has asked for our help and asked for our support and welcomed us in. That obviously is not the case in Syria.”

      On Monday, Syrian warplanes bombed IS positions in the northern province of Raqa for a second day and warplanes targeted several IS-held positions in Aleppo province.

      “It’s a good thing when ISIS fighters are taken off the battlefield, period,” Harf said, using another acronym by which the group is known.

      But “I’m not going to say that we share anything in common with the Syrian regime,” she added.

      Harf also pegged blame for the militants’ growing presence on “the Assad regime’s own actions that helped lead to the rise of ISIS,” which joined in with some opposition fighters battling the government there.

  • A Review of Asher Kaufman. Contested Frontiers in the Syria-Lebanon-Israel Region: Cartography, Sovereignty, and Conflict. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013. xv + 281 pp. $65.00 (cloth), ISBN 978-1-4214-1167-5.

    Reviewed by James R. Stocker (Trinity Washington University)

    Atop a hill in Lebanon’s Iqlim al-Tuffah, a few miles north of the town of Nabatiyah, lies the Tourist Landmark of the Resistance, a Hizbullah-organized open-air museum that commemorates the Islamic resistance to Israel’s occupation. Visitors are shown a variety of exhibits, including a large pit called “The Abyss” containing remnants of Israeli tanks and weapons, and an underground cave hollowed out by the fighters for use as a bunker and command and control center. When this reviewer visited in late May 2014, a tour guide was on hand to provide commentary and answer questions. When asked why Hizbullah still retained its arms after Israel withdrew from Lebanon in 2000, he insisted that Israel had not yet completely withdrawn; it remained in the Shebaa Farms and seven other Lebanese villages. Once they do withdraw, he continued, the “Resistance” would have no reason to keep its arms. A tour guide is hardly an organizational spokesperson, but these comments underscore the continuing relevance of border disputes in the Lebanese-Israeli-Syrian imbroglio—the arena that between 1973 and 2006 arguably saw the heaviest fighting in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

    To understand the background of such claims, readers are advised to consult Asher Kaufman’s new book about the history of what he refers to as the “tri-border region,” approximately 100 km2 of rugged terrain at the intersections of contemporary Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. This region, a comparative backwater until the middle of the twentieth century, is largely mountainous, containing the Levant’s second highest peak, Mt. Hermon, as well as sources of the Hasbani and Jordan Rivers, and the rich farmland of the Huleh Valley. Previous works such as Frederic C. Hof’s Galilee Divided (1985) have examined the Lebanese-Israeli border dispute, and this book does not detract from their value; still, no other author has done more to look at the tri-border region itself. Indeed, part of the book’s content has been published in three journal articles in the Middle East Journal and one in the International Journal of Middle East Studies.[1] This work brings these insights and more into one volume.

    #Liban #Israël #Syrie #Shebaa #frontière

  • Iraq and Syria’s Poetic Borders - The New Yorker

    There are few places, in fact, endowed with as much cosmological and political significance as Iraq or Syria in the medieval Arabic literary and intellectual tradition. Even as they came under the sway of different rulers and were pulled apart into benighted principalities or swallowed up by vast global empires, the territories retained their elemental status as core geographical components of the sublunary world.

    Sans doute déjà référencé, mais pour archives personnelles.

    #QifaNabki #Irak #syrie

  • Isis : a portrait of the menace that is sweeping my homeland – Hassan Hassan

    But its critics have responded. Mohammed Habash, a cleric from Syria, places blame for the rise of Isis on mosque imams, saying: “We did not speak about the caliphate as a political system that is fallible. No, we spoke about it as a sacred symbol of unity … Isis did not arrive from Mars; it is a natural product of our retrograde discourse.” A Saudi commentator, Ibrahim al-Shaalan, tweeted that Isis is “but an epitome of what we’ve studied in our school curriculum. If the curriculum is sound, then Isis is right, and if it is wrong, then who bears responsibility?”

    Plus intéressant à mon avis, son article pour le National la semaine dernière (il reprend plusieurs citations dans les deux articles) : Now a caliphate has been declared, the debate begins

    Examples of weak responses by Islamists include an argument put forward by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB) for the rejection of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi’s claim to acaliphate as “void”.

    The SMB said his caliphate was illegitimate because he had never shown his face in public – one of the main conditions for a legitimate imam in Islam is that he is known. The embarrassing argument was refuted after the video of Mr Al Baghdadi’s Friday sermon in one of Mosul’s largest and oldest mosques was released.

    A similar petty argument had been made by the Syrian Salafi cleric Adnan Al Arour, who said that he would pledge allegiance to Al Baghdadi had the latter shown his face in a video. These statements indicate how, in terms of ideology, Islamists and jihadists share more in common than either wishes to admit. One Jordanian Islamist told me through Twitter: “Islamic movements, even though they call for a caliphate and dream of it, believe it should be restored by them [and not by other Islamists].”

    This Jordanian Islamist wrote on Twitter: “Frankly, ISIL is the product of certain religious legacies shunned by Islamists due to either ignorance, shame, fanaticism, blind loyalty or opportunism.”

    Noter que l’article insiste sur le fait que les Frères syriens refusaient ISIS au motif qu’il est interdit de prêter allégeance à quelqu’un qu’on ne connaît pas, et non pour des raisons plus fondamentales. Mais maintenant que Baghdadi est apparu en vidéo… (cette nécessité religieuse de Baghdadi d’apparaître en vidéo pour que les gens puissent lui prêter allégeance a été rappelée par Nashrallah dans son interview au Akhbar)

  • Would arming Syria’s rebels have stopped the Islamic State?

    The murkiness of the “terrorist group” line in this context is apparent in these changing alliances and conflicts. For instance, the United States recently designated two key Kuwaiti Islamists as terror financiers, accusing them of channeling funds to Jubhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. But both were better known as backers of Ahrar al-Sham, a large Salafist organization that then worked within the Saudi-backed Islamic Front. And as recently as June, when they were allegedly funding the Islamic State and al-Nusra, one of them was holding events with FSA commander Riad al-Assad. These complexities, so deeply familiar to everyone who studies the conflict, deeply undermine the assumptions underlying plans resting on identifying and supporting “moderate rebels.”

  • Importante intervention télévisée de Nasrallah hier soir pour l’anniversaire de la victoire de 2006 : Nasrallah : ISIS is a « real existential danger » to the whole region

    “Lebanese and all people of the region must put all differences aside,” he said. “I call on every Lebanese, Palestinian, Iraqi, Syrian and any Gulf national to leave sectarian intolerance behind and think that this phenomenon is not a threat against Shias only. No one should regard this battle as a sectarian one, it is a takfiri war against anyone who opposed it.”

    Nasrallah challenged the idea that Hezbollah retreating from Syria would make Lebanon less likely to be targeted by ISIS.

    “Critics say Hezbollah needs to leave Syria, but do you really think this will stop ISIS?” He asked. “Others suggested Lebanon disassociate itself from the Syrian conflict, but do you really think this will protect Lebanon?”

    Nasrallah pointed out that other Lebanese political parties have not disassociated from the Syrian conflict, but weren’t as harshly criticized for it as Hezbollah. He also derided the idea of placing UNIFIL troops along the border with Syria, saying “UNIFIL can’t even protect itself.”

    Nasrallah called for unified regional action to counter ISIS.

    (La retranscription fait malheureusement l’économie des petites remarques humoristiques de son intervention, qui sont pourtant d’une terrible efficacité.)

  • Hezbollah leader claims battles would have reached Beirut if party had not intervened in Syria | Al Akhbar English

    f Hezbollah had not fought in Qusayr and in Qalamoun, the last battle would not have been confined to Ersal alone. The Bekaa would have been “finished,” and they [the extremists] would have reached Mount Lebanon, Akkar, and the coast, and the battle would have been in Beirut and the South. This much is certain. Offering martyrs to save all these lives, dignity, and properties is a logical, religious, moral, patriotic, and humanitarian duty.

  • An afternoon on Syrian displacement, and protection in Europe

    There are currently more than 2.8 million registered refugees from Syria. Ninety-six percent of these refugees are hosted by neighbouring countries – Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt. With the exception of Germany and a few other limited initiatives, the primary aim of the European response has been to contain the crisis in the Syrian region and to reinforce Europe’s borders.

    #Syrie #réfugiés #asile #migration #Europe #témoignage

  • Lire absolument, Nasrallah sur la Syrie : Hezbollah leader claims battles would have reached Beirut if party had not intervened in Syria. Tout est important, mais je note que Nasrallah, à nouveau, prend soin de réfuter explicitement le discours confessionnel y compris (ou surtout) quand à la nature de la Résistance libanaise.

    From the outset, they opted for sectarian agitation in the Iraqi, Syrian, and Lebanese issues. They insist that the Resistance in Lebanon is Shia. We tell them this is a national Lebanese resistance [movement] for all Lebanese. It just happened that Shia live on the borders with the enemy entity, which is why they are the ones fighting, yet they insist we are a Shia and Iranian resistance, and so on. Those who want to continue using this characterization let them do whatever they want. But for us, we were keen from the beginning on stressing that our presence in Syria was not on a sectarian basis, and that we had helped resistance in Iraq on non-sectarian grounds as well. We have helped Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Palestinian factions, which happen to be Sunni. It has always attempted to cover up our contribution in Palestine to project upon us a sectarian motive. We say: Where we can defend Palestine, the Resistance Axis, and the people, where we can be present and where we can help, then we will do so. If Hezbollah has the will to defend its people and the cause of its nation, and is willing to do so, then this is not a crime or a sin. The question should be directed to the others: Why do you not shoulder your responsibilities and why do you not defend?

  • How Money Warps U.S. Foreign Policy

    ... why do most commentators think (...) hawkishness is politically wise? Because over the last year or so—as a result of the conflict in Ukraine and the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq—elite opinion has grown more hawkish even though public opinion at large hasn’t. When it comes to foreign policy, in fact, the key divide is no longer between Democrats and Republicans. It’s between the elites of both parties and their rank and file. When asked about arming Syria’s rebels, an Iran deal that allows some uranium enrichment, and whether America should do more or less in the world, both Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly take the more dovish view. On each question, the partisan divide is five percentage points or less.

    The real gap emerges when you compare ordinary Americans to elites. According to Pew, for instance, rank-and-file Republicans are 34 percentage points more likely to want America to do less overseas. Rank-and-file Democrats are 31 points more likely to want America to do less. Members of the prestigious, bipartisan Council on Foreign Relations, by contrast, are 20 points more likely to say America should do more.


    As on so many issues, politicians’ need to raise vast sums from the super-rich makes them ultra-responsive to one, distinct sliver of the population and less responsive to everyone else. The way campaign finance warps the political debate over financial regulation is well known. What we’re witnessing this year is a case study in the way it warps the foreign-policy debate as well.


    ... the elite consensus is stronger than ever, and in the run-up to 2016, that consensus—more than public opinion—is driving the presidential debate. No wonder Americans are cynical.

    #argent #politique « #élite »

  • Locals attack Syria refugees in southern Turkey

    The Turkish authorities were moving hundreds of Syrian refugees Thursday from the southern city of Gaziantep to camps, after three nights of violent protests by locals angered by their presence, reports said.

    Tensions between Turkish residents and Syrian refugees in Gaziantep have flared in recent days since the murder of a Turkish landlord allegedly stabbed to death by his Syrian tenant.

    Some 50 Turkish residents in Gaziantep have been arrested over the violent protests, which started on Monday night and have seen anti-riot police fire tear gas to quell the unrest, NTV television said.

    About a dozen Syrian refugees were wounded in the violence. Four Syrian refugees have now been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the murder of the Turkish landlord.

    The authorities were moving 2,000 Syrians from 400 families on buses out of the city to nearby refugee camps, the Milliyet and Radikal newspapers reported in their online editions.

    L’un n’excuse pas l’autre, mais à ne pas perdre de vue quand on tombe sur un de ces innombrables articles qui traitent des réfugiés syrien au Liban sous l’angle confessionnel.

  • Escape From Syria: On the Road With the Refugees Walking to #Europe

    In a grim government compound 40 km from Vienna, five young Syrian men are huddled together examining the screen of a battered mobile phone. Beside them is a rickety plastic chair with a glass of sweet, amber-coloured tea perched on top, a vestige of Arab domesticity. This day is like any other: the young men pore over family photographs and talk incessantly of home as they wait for the residence permits that will allow them to start their lives here in Austria.

    #Syrie #réfugiés #asile #migration #marche #Vienna #Autriche #route_migratoire

  • Lebanon’s Inevitable Entanglement in Regional Conflict-Carnegie Middle East Center

    With Hezbollah clearly an enemy, ISIS moved its fighters into Qalamoun, an area on the Syrian-Lebanese border overlooking Syrian territories that is of strategic importance to Hezbollah. Arsal, at the foot of the Qalamoun mountain range, is key for both ISIS and Hezbollah. For ISIS, Arsal, a Sunni-majority town harboring sympathizers with the Syrian revolution and 100,000 Syrian refugees, is considered a base for fighters to regroup and go back to the conflict in Syria. For Hezbollah, Arsal is the last safe haven for Syrian rebels in Qalamoun; Hezbollah has secured all other access points to the mountain range where the rebels can take refuge. The Lebanese Armed Forces, unwilling to become entangled in a fight with the Syrian rebels and under continuous pressure from Hezbollah, had installed checkpoints around Arsal, preventing any armed groups from going outside the town and disregarding their flow back and forth across the border.

    • Il faut que le gars se mette à jour : ce sont les vieilles théories du complot du 14 Mars libanais :

      Initially, the Assad regime, and by extension Hezbollah, did not fight ISIS as the extremist group started to take over Syrian territory. It disregarded—even encouraged—the Islamic State’s expansion because the group was operating in areas controlled by the opposition. ISIS scattered the Syrian opposition; pushed back its most effective armed group, the Nusra Front; ousted a moderate Islamic armed group, Ahfad al-Rasoul, from the town of Raqqa; and crushed the Northern Storm brigade (in the town of Azaz). Syrian opposition groups, more poorly equipped and trained than the Islamic State, couldn’t match ISIS fighters. The rise of the Islamic State was also a golden opportunity for the Assad regime to justify its struggle against the Syrian opposition, as the regime presented ISIS to the international community as a proof that the regime is struggling with terrorists.

      et le plus beau :

      Hezbollah calculated that pushing ISIS fighters into Arsal would trap them in an open a clash with other Syrian rebel groups in the town—notably the Nusra Front and the remainder of an amalgam of fighters who had fled or lost battles in Syria (such as battles for the towns of Quseir, Yabroud, Raqqa, and Azaz). ISIS could potentially be hurt without the need for Hezbollah to engage with the group. Such a confrontation would naturally drag the Lebanese army into the fight because, taking place in Lebanon, the fight would present a direct threat to Lebanese stability.

      A Lebanese army takeover of Arsal would benefit Hezbollah, and the Assad regime as well, in its bid to control the Qalamoun area. From a military perspective, it would cut an essential supply line for any Syrian rebel group operating on the border. It would guarantee the safety of Hezbollah’s fighters by preventing Syrian rebels from accessing the border. And there is also the issue of a grant Saudi Arabia gave the Lebanese army in spring 2014 to purchase advanced weaponry—weapons that would help the army counter Hezbollah’s advanced arsenal. Engaged in the fight against the insurgents, the Lebanese army would use up that support without posing a potential serious threat to Hezbollah’s military supremacy in Lebanon.

      C’est un version un peu plus élaborée de la théorie du complot déjà servie l’année dernière au sujet d’Arsal :
      Il faut admirer le fait que cette théorie est exprimée en deux paragraphes intégralement écrits au conditionnel (could, would, would, could…).

  • Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah: I supported Argentina in the World Cup and I am reading about takfiris | Al Akhbar English

    n an exclusive six-hour-long interview with Ibrahim al-Amin, Wafic Qanso, Hassan Ileik, and Maha Zureikat from Al-Akhbar, Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah took the time to discuss issues ranging from Syria, the recent Gaza war, the 2006 war with Israel, domestic Lebanese issues, and his own personal habits.

    Al-Akhbar is publishing the interview as a multi-part series over the next two days. In this particular section, the interview focused on his personal habits and tastes.

  • البندقية: خالد ملص منقّباً عن سوريا في السماء | الأخبار

    Le Syrien Ahmed Khaled à la biennale de Venise. Faute de pouvoir pratiquer son métier d’architecte dans son pays, il a imaginé une installation délocalisée, utilisant les fonds “artistiques” pour le financement d’un puits dans une région tenue par les rebelles.
    Son travail propose aussi une réflexion sur les dimensions militaires de la maîtrise des airs (premier aéroplane ottoman à Damas, bombardement de damas par les Français, cosmonaute syrien (qui fera défection en 2012) et bombardement par barrils...

    La citation ci-dessous est tirée du site ( : esthétique et intéressant) mis en place pour “l’expo”.

    I propose an architectural subversion: channeling Venice-related funds/publicity to the building of a ‘displaced pavilion’ in Syria (the Well), representations of which will be exhibited in Venice. As the Biennale is the premier architectural event of the world, visited by scholars, professionals, and students, this is a unique opportunity for direct dissemination of radical space-making practices. Furthermore, the exhibition in Venice will be the setting for multiple events (film screenings and workshops) to critically examine the contemporary condition in Syria and the omnipresent yet rarely addressed role of aerial observation and bombardment in the production of modern space. The sky represents the power-ful attempts to produce territory from above, whilst the Well is this power inverted and resisted, challengingly glaring upwards; capable of raising hopes from the very depth of the earth to the surfaces of inhabitation, oblivious to violent attempts to destroy it from above

  • ISIS: Global Islamic Caliphate or Islamic Mini-State in Iraq?-
    Yezid Sayigh
    OP-ED JULY 24, 2014
    Carnegie Middle East Center

    In announcing the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the areas of Iraq and Syria it controls on June 30 and calling on Muslims everywhere to vow allegiance to its self-styled caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) displayed global ambitions. Whether these are real or not, many outsiders assume that its appeal extends far beyond the borders of Iraq. But in fact ISIS is following a well-worn path for taking power and consolidating it in the limited geographical space of a single nation-state where its true social base lies. 

    This constrains ISIS’s hope of gaining significantly broader strategic depth, and belies its claims of representing a universal Muslim community, let alone of exercising meaningful authority over them. Despite the spectacular drama of its swift advances in Iraq in June, reality is more pragmatic: ISIS advanced in its own “natural” habitat, whose outer boundaries it has already reached. Iraq is where ISIS survived after the defeat of the Sunni insurgency in 2006-2008 and subsequently revived, and where the fate of its Islamic state will be decided. 

    Yezid Sayigh

    More from this author...
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    Media Call: Crisis in Iraq
    Syria’s Very Local Regional Conflict

  • Arsal: The battle that begins a long war - Jean Aziz

    For their part, the Lebanese authorities accepted this agreement, wagering that the scales would tip against IS in the regional battle against that group, which is taking place from northwestern Iraq to Syria and the hillsides of Arsal. In addition, the Lebanese authorities themselves trust that Hezbollah fighters will continue to advance in the hillsides east of Arsal and besiege the fighters in their new positions. The end of summer and the arrival of the deadly frost in the hills, some of which reach 2,500 meters (8,202 feet) above sea level, will aid Hezbollah in their siege.

    Therefore, it seems that the Arsal agreement was the result of IS’ confidence in its possession of 39 captured Lebanese soldiers, and the Lebanese authorities’ bet on the siege by “General Frost” against the militants after more than 40 days. Taken together, these two wagers result in a single conclusion: The battle that took place in the first week of August in Arsal was nothing but the first round of a longer war.

  • Bosnian Suicide Bomber Killed in Iraq

    #Emrah_Fojnica is otherwise known to the general public in Bosnia and Herzegovina since he was charged together with Mevlid Jasarevic for the attack at the American Embassy in Sarajevo on October 28, 2011. Emrah was later acquitted and after a very short time, he went to Syria where he joined Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL).

    #Irak #mercenaire #Bosnie #martyr #ISIL #Etat_islamique

  • As-Safir Newspaper - Abdullah Suleiman Ali: New alliance could signal end of Islamic Front :: English

    A new phase of sorting and restructuring has started among Syria’s jihadist groups. If the headline of the preceding phase was the divorce between Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State (IS), then the headline for this phase will be yet another divorce — this time between Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham. This will mark the end of the alliance known as the Islamic Front after it lost its regional cover to continue.

    Jaysh al-Islam, led by Zahran Alloush, is taking steady steps to complete the split with Ahrar al-Sham, after the two allied under the umbrella of the Islamic Front in response to a Saudi demand. Through this alliance, Riyadh wanted to stand in the way of the Geneva peace talks and prevent it from being used as a platform to declare a “war on terrorism” as per the request of the Syrian and Russian delegations.