Monthly Archives: November 2012

Birth of the Muslim Brotherhood

Hassan al-Banna (left), حسن البنا and Saïd Ramadan (right), سعيد رمضان

Al-Banna was born in the small village of Mahmudiya, Egypt, in 1906.
[Biographical info here, ikhwanwiki arabic here, translated here].

He co-founded the Muslim Youth Association in 1927, restored the newspaper Al-Manar created by Rashid Rida and Muhammad Abduh, as well as the weekly al-Shehab, a magazine founded by Imam Abdul Hamid Ben Badis [more info here], and then launched the Muslim Brotherhood in March 1928.

In the 1932, al-Banna moved to Cairo. At the time, Egypt was still under British colonial rule, and it was modernizing quickly, going through wrenching economic and social changes: Cairo was industrializing, the peasants were moving to cities, traditions were breaking up, and cultural habits were in flux. Banna was appalled by this combination of colonialist oppression and rapid cultural change. He began to organize and do some writing of his own, attacking the British but also especially the “immorality” that had arisen in Cairo, the capital. Al-Banna emphasized the universality of islam (شمولية الإسلام) and the importance of fighting all manifestations of moral decay and of alienation in society (مظاهر الانحلال الخلقي، وجميع مظاهر الاغتراب في المجتمع). The way of islam should be the way of life for all (ضرورة تطبيقه كمنهج حياة،). Al-Banna’s answer was islam, and the leader of the Brotherhood required complete submission to islam (الولاء الكامل للإسلام).

It is the nature of islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.
— Al-Banna

Al-Banna talked of islam less as a religion than as a political project. What made al-Banna uniquely successful was that he was an islamic populist and political activist. Grassroots-oriented, members of the Muslim Brotherhood did not aspire to become intellectuals like the old community of muslim scholars; they spoke in simple sentences, and they usually adopted Western dress and modern rhetoric. There is no division between state and islam, Al-Banna said. In one tract, he wrote: “If someone should say to you ‘This is politics, not religion!’ say: ‘This is islam and we do not recognize such a division.” In another he said, “Oh Brother, tell me: if Islam is something other than politics, culture, economy, law, and society, then what is it? Is it only acts of prostration, devoid of a pulsating heart?”

Al-Banna’s method to win members was to identify a practical problem in a community and then solve it. The Brotherhood would help build a new clinic or school or mosque or develop a local industry. This would convince folks that al-Banna’s movement was solution-oriented and its members sincere. New members were recruited directly in mosques, but also in coffee shops and the market.

Al-Banna casted the islamic (المشروع الإسلامي) project of the Muslim Brotherhood as twofold:
a) to resist Western colonialism (الاستعمار) in its attempt to conquer the peoples of muslim faith (الشعوب المسلمة), and
b) to implement Islamic law (Sharia, الشريعة) in the affairs of life (شؤون الحياة).

Said Ramadan first saw Banna speak at an outdoor revival-style meeting in 1940. After each such gathering, Banna would ask people to come up on the stage — almost like a pledge to the movement. After about five meetings, the fourteen-year-old Ramadan, not much over five feet tall but powerfully built from wrestling, finally decided to go forward.

“What took you so long?” Banna said. The sheikh had known all along that his future protege was in the crowd. He had just been waiting for him to take the first step.

It was a story that Ramadan liked to tell his friends and acolytes. Banna, he felt, was often misunderstood as purely a political figure. The man had a deeply spiritual, mystic side as well and, as Ramadan tells it, he slept in a graveyard once a month to remind him of his ultimate fate.

Ian Johnson

By the advent of World War II the Muslim Brotherhood had grown enormously, attracting huge numbers of students, civil servants, urban labourers, and others elements of the egyptian landscape. It then spread rapidly throughout Sudan, Syria, Palestine, Lebanon, and North Africa.

“We want to raise the banner of Islam in Andalusia and Seville, the Balkans, and the coasts of Italy and the Mediterranean islands, they are all Islamic colonies to be returned to the bosom of Islam”(نحن نريدرفع راية الإسلام في الأندلس وأشبيلية والبلقان، وسواحل إيطاليا، وجزر البحر المتوسط، فكلها مستعمرات إسلامية يجب إعادتها إلى حضن الإسلام), — Al-Banna

Members of the Brotherhood built up Western-style organizations such as political parties, youth groups, women’s groups, and paramilitary wings. The Muslim Brotherhood became an alternative, non-state organization able to provide what the government could not, and this allowed the Brotherhood to appeal to the muslim world’s rising middle class. They vocalized the anger of the poor but drew their leadership from the educated classes.

(source) [See here about the organizational hierarchy of the muslim brotherhood]


Gamal al-Banna, the younger brother of the Muslim Brotherhood’s founder


The Muslim Brotherhood was established as a secret society.

Mahmoud Sabbagh (محمود الصباغ), an active member of the organization, wrote about the pledge of allegiance the members must make : “The brother will then be reminded that as long as he is a believer, he will be determined for jihad for allah, to work in the ranks of the Mujahideen. We take a pledge to jihad in the way of allah until islam is victorious or we perish without victory but with a commitment to secrecy and obedience.”

See Leadership and Allegiance in the Society of the Muslim Brothers by Lella Landau-Tasseron for more details on the secret organization

When he was president of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, himself an ex-member of the Muslim Brotherhood, denounced the organization, and pointed to this practice of the pledge of allegiance as its most dangerous dimension:
Addat on the Muslim Brotherhood
Image 1181
Image 1182

As the Brotherhood grew, it focused against two causes. One was anti-colonialism, another was anti-semitism. The Muslim Brotherhood was at the forefront of a rising anti-Semitism in Egypt. In 1937 and 1938 the Brotherhood attacked shops owned by Jews as well as other targets in Cairo. Even if Banna could not accept the Nazi idea that the Germans were a master race, Nazi agents still supported him, since anti-Semitism formed a key part of his political activity. This activity crystallized in the Brotherhood’s close association with Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.

The Brotherhood developped a paramilitary arm responsible for assassinations and terrorist attacks, secret formations of Fedayeen, prepared for jihad (جهده لإنشاء تشكيلات سريّة من الفدائيين، وإعدادها للجهاد). By the 1930s, the Brotherhood received significant funds from a German journalist affiliated with the Nazi legation in Cairo to establish the Brotherhood’s para-military “Special Apparatus.”

In the late 1940s, Al-Banna led brigades of the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1948 Palestine War to fight against the birth of the Israeli State under the slogan “to die for allah is our loftiest aspiration.” Several units of volunteers in Palestine belonged to the Brotherhood.


Banna with Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem (source)


In 1948, al-Banna called for kings (الملوك) and rulers (الحكام) to implement Islamic law in the affairs of life, and preached for an islamic state (بالدولة الإسلامي) in the form of an islamic caliphate (الإسلامية في صورة الخلافة). “If the governments do not implement Sharia, then all Muslims are sinners (إذا لم تقم الحكومة الإسلامية فإن جميع المسلمين آثمون),” he said.

By the end of the 1940s, the Muslim Brotherhood had become a threat to the central authorities of Egypt. The New York Times described it in 1948 as “the largest terrorist organization in Egypt,” and reported it was involved in “a series of bombings, political assassinations and attempted assassinations”.

New York Times:

The following list of outrages was attributed to the terrorist organization: the explosion outside the house of [former Prime Minister]Mustapha El Nahas, president of the WAFD, early in the year; the attempted bombing of the Sudan Agency; bombing of department stores of Ades, Ben Zion, Gettegno, the Delta Land Company and the Société Orientale de Publicité and the most recent tommy-gun attempt on the life of Nahas Pasha.

On May 14, 1948, following the invasion of Palestine by Egypt and the proclamation of a state of siege, Prime Minister of Egypt Nokrashy was appointed Military Governor of Egypt. On December 9, 1948, Nokrashy ordered “the dissolution of the Moslem Brotherhood,” confiscating and liquidating all the Brotherhood’s premises, including “several farm and manufacturing cooperatives and a group of medical dispensaries.”

The Egyptian Ministry of Interior, reports the NYT,”accused the Brotherhood of ‘aiming at seizing power and overthrowing established order in the country‘. He charged the Brotherhood with being responsible for a six months’ series of bombings, assassinations and riots” and “proclaimed a ‘state of emergency throughout Egypt‘ just before midnight as the police moved to surround the Brotherhood headquarters and post guards at all of its branches, estimated to number about 300.”

Brotherhood members were forbidden to continue any form of political activity.

Soon after, Prime Minister Nokrashy was assassinated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Egyptian government had al-Banna assassinated the following day.

Mayor Mahmoud Abdul Majeed was involved in the plot against Banna (source)

Encyclopedia Britannica “estimated that at its height in the late 1940s [the Muslim Brotherhood] may have had some 500,000 members.”


In the next part, we will see how Saïd Ramadan revived the Muslim Brotherhood from abroad.

Said Ramadan joined the Muslim Brotherhood when he was 14. After graduating from Cairo University, he became al-Banna’s personal secretary. A year later, Ramadan was named editor of the Muslim Brotherhood weekly, Al Shihab, and he married al-Banna’s daughter.
Ramadan will become the Muslim Brotherhood’s international organizer, from Pakistan to Switzlerland, Palestine and the United-States.

Image 1026
Said Ramadan worked in close cooperation with Amin al-Husseini, Mufti of Jerusalem.
Image 1028


Birth of Hamas

Hamas traces its roots back to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Sheikh Hasan Ahmed Abdel Rahman Muhammed al-Banna launched the Muslim Brotherhood in March 1928.
The motto of the Muslim Brotherhood, which al-Banna supplied, is:
Islam is the solution, the Koran is our Constitution, Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our Leader, Jihad is our way, dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

Said Ramadan was born in 1926 in Shibin al-Kawm, a village in the Nile delta. He encountered al-Banna and joined the Muslim Brotherhood when he was 14. After graduating from Cairo University, he became al-Banna’s personal secretary. A year later, Ramadan was named editor of the Muslim Brotherhood weekly, Al Shihab, and he married al-Banna’s daughter.

Ramadan became al-Banna’s ambassador, amassing a network of international contacts. In 1945, he traveled to Jerusalem. Over the following years, Ramadan will spend most of his time shuttling between Jerusalem, Amman, Damascus, and Beirut to build various Muslim Brotherhood factions.

At the time, Palestine was still a British-controlled territory, a poor desert region inhabited by warring Arab and Jewish populations. Traveling to mosques and university campuses, and focusing on Muslim youth, Ramadan preached jihad and helped with the creation of paramilitary groups. By 1947, there were 25 branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, with between 12,000 and 20,000 members. In 1948, Ramadan helped the Muslim Brotherhood send jihadists into battle with the Jewish armed forces that were estabmilitarylishing the state of Israel. Compared to the armies of Egypt and Syria, the Brotherhood’s forces were insignificant, but the symbolic gesture would enhance the Muslim Brotherhood’s prestige for decades to come.

After the establishment of the Israeli State in 1948, Said Ramadan kept recruiting followers in Palestinian refugee camps in Gaza and elsewhere, seeking to “liberate” Palestine from the occupation of the Jewish people.

Another organization aiming to free Palestine from “Zionist” control emerged in the 1950’s: Fatah. The anti-Israeli guerrilla movement was NOT a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Fatah was the backbone of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was established at an Arab Conference in 1964 as the official representative of the Palestinian people. In 1974, Arab states declared the PLO the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people.
The PLO was responsible for hijackings, bombings and other attacks against Israel.

Both Fatah and the PLO were primarily centered in the Gaza strip.

Gaza was then ruled by Egypt.

In 1967, Gamal Abdel Nasser, the president of Egypt, was defeated by Israel in the Six-Day War.

With this war, Israel took control of both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, bringing nearly one million Arabs under its control.

This defeat provided Fatah and the Muslim Brotherhood with a big opportunity ; it was a turning point for Palestinian aspirations. In light of Israel’s demonstrated military superiority, it became clear that neither organization could defeat Israel with conventional forces. Future armed struggle with Israel would have to rely more on popular support and guerrilla tactics and terrorism.

Fatah and the PLO differed from the Muslim Brotherhood in one important way. They changed their goal of the outright destruction of the Israeli state — in order to establish of secular state in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood never diverged from its objective of destroying Israel as a state. By 1974, the PLO began to push for the establishment of a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza.

In Gaza, Israel hunted down members of Fatah and of the PLO, but it dropped the harsh restrictions imposed on jihadists by previous Egyptian rulers.

The Muslim Brotherhood, led in Gaza by Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin, was thus able to spread its message openly.

Sheikh Yassin

In addition to launching various charity projects, Sheikh Yassin raised money to reprint the writings of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian member of the Muslim Brotherhood advocating global jihad.

Sayyid Qutb was executed by President Nasser.

Sheikh Yassin formed in 1973 al-Mujamma’ al-Islami (the Islamic Center), a Muslim Brotherhood front helping to set up a network of schools, clinics, kindergartens and a library. The organization was officially recognized by Israel as a charity and then as an association in 1979.
Israel also endorsed the establishment of the Islamic University of Gaza in 1978.

When Israel first encountered Islamists in Gaza in the 1970s and ’80s, they seemed focused on studying the Quran, not on confrontation with Israel. The Israeli government officially recognized a precursor to Hamas called Mujama Al-Islamiya, registering the group as a charity. It allowed Mujama members to set up an Islamic university and build mosques, clubs and schools.
— Andrew Higgins, How Israel Helped to Spawn Hamas

The Wall Street Journal quoted Israeli Brigadier General Yitzhak Segev saying “our main enemy [in Gaza] was Fatah,” and the cleric “was still 100% peaceful” towards Israel.

Indeed, Sheikh Yassin and Israel shared in Fatah a common enemy.

After a failed attempt in Gaza to oust Fathi Arafat (Yasser Arafat’s brother) from the leadership of the Palestinian Red Crescent, Mujamma stormed the Red Crescent building. Then the islamic movement tried to burn down his house.

The Muslim Brotherhood front also attacked shops selling liquor, as well as cinemas.

In 1984, the Israeli military received a tip-off, raided a mosque and found a cache of weapons. Sheikh Yassin was jailed. He told Israeli interrogators the weapons were for use against Fatah, not Israel. The cleric was released after a year and continued to expand Mujamma’s reach across Gaza.

In December of 1987, several Palestinian Arabs were killed or wounded in a traffic accident involving an Israeli driver. It triggered a series of riots and ultra-violent confrontations that became known as the First Intifada. The accident happened in the Jabalya refugee camp and the riots quickly spread from there throughout Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It lasted until 1993.

Jabalya is the largest refugee camp in Palestine

Down the path trudged three Palestinian women dressed in long black robes and beating two dozen sheep with canes. It was a scene straight from the Bible or Koran, the shepherdesses and their flock walking past mud huts framed in palm trees and cactus plants. It easily could have been 1888, or 1288, or 1088 BC. Nothing much had really changed since the days of Isaac and Ishmael — not the stones and certainly not the passion; only the car and the fancy rifle were new.
— Thomas Friedman, From Beirut to Jerusalem

On the 8th of December 1987, an Israeli semi-trailer truck driver turned onto the crowded main road leading into Jabaliya and ended up hitting several vehicles, killing four Palestinians and wounding seven others. Rumors spread throughout the Jaliya camp that the Israeli man had purposefully swerved into the oncoming lane of traffic to avenge the recent murder of a Jewish shopper. Was he the slain man’s brother? His cousin perhaps? Anyway, Palestinians did not think this was an accident. The following day, a group of Palestinian kids threw rocks at a truck full of Israeli soldiers, who in turn chased them around the camp on foot. When they returned to the vehicle, it was surrounded by an angry Palestinian mob. Two burning bottles were thrown at the vehicle, and the Israeli officer in charge shot his weapon twice at a seventeen year old Palestinian, killing him on the spot.
A riot involving as many as 30,000 Palestinians broke out in Gaza that evening when the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) tried to take the body back for an autopsy. Israeli checkpoint soldiers were overrun by the rioters. Here‘s Thomas Friedman describing the pains:

Armed with bottles, rakes, stones, and tree limbs, [they] devoured the army’s tear-gas grenades and rubber bullets, which seemed only to nourish their rage. Israeli soldiers said they heard shouts of “Itbach al-yahud” – murder the Jews. By the next day, Thursday, December 10, 1987, the nearby town of Khan Yunis joined in the demonstrations, then the Balata and Kalandia refugee camps in the West Bank, then small Palestinian villages and city neighborhoods: there were more confrontations with Israeli troops, more casualties, and more burning tires smudging the skies of the West Bank and Gaza for days on end. Before anyone knew it, virtually all the Palestinians under Israeli occupation were engaged in a spontaneous primal scream that would be heard around the world.

It was during this turmoil that Sheikh Yassin and six other Mujamma militants launched Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement).

Hamas’s charter, released a year later, declares “Allah is its goal, the Prophet is the model, the Koran its constitution, jihad its path, and death for the sake of Allah its most sublime belief.”
Hamas’ Chart, Article Two: “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Moslem Brotherhood in Palestine.”

In 1989, Hamas carried out its first overt attack on Israel, abducting and killing two soldiers. Israel arrested Sheikh Yassin and sentenced him to life. It later rounded up more than 400 suspected Hamas jihadists, and deported them to Lebanon, where they hooked up with Hezbollah.

The “military” wing of Hamas, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades

Many of the deportees later returned to Gaza.

Hamas built up its arsenal and escalated its attacks, while maintaining and expanding the network that underpinned its support in Gaza.

Meanwhile, Hamas’s foe, Fatah, started negotiating a two-state settlement. When Hamas accused Fatah of treachery, the accusation found increasing resonance in Gaza, as Israel kept developing settlements on occupied Palestinian land, particularly the West Bank, which was dotted with Israeli military checkpoints and a growing number of Israeli settlers.

Unable to uproot a now entrenched Hamas that had replaced Fatah as its foe, Israel started targeting Hamas leaders.

Khaled Mashal is now viewed as the leader of Hamas

In 1997, Israel’s Mossad spy agency tried to poison Khaled Mashal, as retaliation to the 1997 Mahane Yehuda Market Bombings.Two Mossad agents carrying fake Canadian passports entered Jordan, where Mashal was living. As Mashal walked into his office, one of the agents came up from behind and held a device to Mashal’s left ear that transmitted a poison. But Mashal’s chauffeur saw what was happening. A security guard began to chase the Mossad agents and boarded a passing car to pursue them. With the help of a policeman, he managed to overpower them and place them under arrest. Mashal was given the antidote. But to get the Israeli agents out of a Jordanian jail, Israel had to agree to release Sheikh Yassin. The cleric then set off on a tour of the Islamic world to raise gold and guns. He returned to Gaza to a hero’s welcome.

Sheikh Yassin, the day he was released from jail in 1997.

When Hamas turned to suicide bombings in 1994, Israel cracked down the jihadists with ferocious force. But each military assault seem to have increased Hamas’s appeal to Palestinians.

Hamas kept perpetrating numerous suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. At first in order to sabotage the Oslo Accords and peace process, and then as part of the Second Intifada (2000-2004).

When Israel assassinated Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2004, and then Sheikh Ahmed Rantissi, it forces the Hamas leadership to go underground or abroad.

In 2004, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was killed by an Israeli air strike.

Hamas ultimately trounced Fatah and the PLO in the 2006 Palestinian legislative election.

In June of 2006, Hamas captured an Israeli soldier by tunneling across the border between Gaza and Israel.
In February of 2007, Hamas, Fatah and other factions entered a unity government with Hamas in a deal brokered by Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Hamas then formed the Executive Force, a combination of police force and political force to be used against opponents.
In June of 2007, Hamas ousted Fatah forces from Gaza in a bloody coup, throwing Fatah members off the roofs of buildings after shooting them in the knees. The Muslim Brotherhood front then took control of Gaza.

And because Gaza had been totally evacuated by Israel in the unilateral disengagement plan of 2005, Hamas became able to rule over Gaza as a de facto state government. And to use Gaza as a base for launching rocket attacks against Israel.

Egypt and Gaza

Recently, Hamas lost its traditional political ally, the Assad regime, and relations with a principal weapons supplier, Iran, has soured.

Khaled Meshaal has openly backed his Sunni brethren in their jihad against the Assad regime. And Hamas is increasing coordination with Egypt. Those two new developments are putting Hamas at odds with Iran and Hezbollah, which have been critical financiers and weapons suppliers in the past.

The question for Hamas now is how well its new partners — the Turkey of Erdoğan, the Qatar of Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and the Egypt of Mohamed Morsi — will fare, and whether their assets — regional political weight, material resources and international legitimacy — will prove more useful than those possessed by the Assad regime, Iran and Hezbollah.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Gaza and Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt

Hamas is now trying to ally with Cairo, Doha and Ankara ever more closely and to set itself clearly as the more active and relevant Palestinian party, more relevant than Fatah.

Its goal is probably to normalise economic conditions in the Gaza Strip, open up the Rafah crossing with Egypt and solidify relations with the Egyptian hinterland.

Regarding the longer-term Israel’s strategy toward the Palestinian movement: could the conflict result in an outcome in which Egypt, Israel and Hamas reached an understanding normalising the economic situation in Gaza and solidifying its links to Egypt — while providing security assurances to Israel?

If such a deal could link Gaza ever more tightly to Egypt, it could also entrench the division between Gaza and the West Bank, and thus marginalize further Fatah.

By achieving a de facto deal with Hamas, Israel woud signal its preference for dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood front rather than with President Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah.

The central Palestinian address increasingly could be viewed as Gaza, and the central Palestinian player as Hamas.

Abbas is probably the most significant political casualty of the last weeks. He seems doomed either way: should he forego the U.N. General Assembly to seek an upgrade in status, he would be discredited; Or should he go to the U.N. General Assembly, then Israel will retaliate in ways that could only further damage the Palestinian National Authority’s economic situation, thereby accelerating the very process that is weakening Abbas and strengthening Hamas.

Could this be viewed as the last chapter of ex-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s unilateral disengagement plan? — with the Israeli government closing Israel’s borders with Gaza forever and re-opening Rafah? That would de facto make Gaza part of Egypt, wouldn’t it? And since Hamas belongs to the Brotherhood, Morsi and Hamas have shared interests in Sunni islamic rule…

Former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Major General Giora Eiland: Israel should end Gaza blockade and recognize Hamas’ government in return for cessation of rocket fire (source)

The eventual reintegration of Gaza into Egypt is probably what former head of the National Security Council Giora Eiland had in mind when he urged Israel to treat Gaza as a Hamas-dominated state, lifting the sea blockade in exchange for a long-term ceasefire. Eiland argued that such an agreement should be accompanied by Egyptian guarantees – maintaining the peace and preventing the entry of weapons to Gaza – and should allow European Union member states to send dinghies to Gaza’s port, in order to ensure that Hamas has something to lose were it to breach the ceasefire.

The re-integration of Gaza into Egypt also cohere with Ehud Yaari’s speculation: “How to End the War in Gaza: What an Egypt-Brokered Cease-Fire Should Look Like.”

Avigdor Lieberman, the current Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, also came out in support of
completing the Gaza disengagement,” as early as 2010.

Sunni Awakening in Lebanon

Syria’s Civil War is leaking out of its borders into Lebanon. The two countries share a porous border and very close communal ties. Cross-border ties between Lebanese and Syrians have deep roots, and with the Syrian revolution unfolding, solidarity took on a political and paramilitary character.

The Sunni-Shiite faultline in Lebanon is being projected onto the Syrian civil war. As tensions between Sunnis and Shiites rise in Syria, so too do they mount in Lebanon.
Sunni militants in Lebanon view their jihad against the Shiite movement as a mirror image of the Syrian rebels’ fight against the Alawite-dominated regime of Assad. They see the Lebanon’s Shiite movement of Hezbullah and the Assad regime as both enemies of the Sunnis.

In 1970, Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite, took power in Syria. Some Shiites recognize Alawites as fellow Shiites, some do not.

Hezbollah ("Party of Allah") is a Shiite jihadist group and political party based in Lebanon

The Assad regime has a history of lashing out when it feels under siege, coupled with a tradition of violent interference in Lebanese affairs to destabilise its neighbor.

Border areas have been caught in the Syrian revolution, with weapons smuggling, refugee flows and attacks against Lebanese villages along the frontier coming from Sunnis or Shiites, depending on the villagers’ allegiances.

Source: UN agency report, "Revised Syria Regional Response Plan"

The stream of refugees (most of them living with Lebanese host families or finding sanctuary in public spaces and mosallahs) has had political and military consequences as Lebanese Sunnis, bearing witness to the increasing brutality of the Assad regime, step up their involvement.

In the early stages of the Syrian Civil War, which began in March 2011, Sunni support for the Syrian opposition only consisted of fiery speeches and sermons, of public demonstrations against the Assad regime, and of modest smuggling of light weapons. But as the conflict hardened, logistical assistance also was extended to Syrians seeking refuge in Lebanon. Over time, the influx of refugees and dissidents into north Lebanon changed the nature of the border areas’ involvement.

Source: UN agency report, "Revised Syria Regional Response Plan"

Clashes among Sunnis and Shiites have been on the rise in Lebanon, with the risk of cascading violence turning into a Lebanese-on-Lebanese struggle by the knock-on effects of sectarian conflict. Often in Lebanon, communal belongings coincide with religious ones. When a Sunnni or a Shiite is killed or kidnapped, the whole community won’t rest until it takes revenge. Mutual retaliation between Lebanese Sunnis and Shiites could easily become a vicious and unending circle of violence.
Heightened insecurity is leading many armed groups to take matters into their own hands, with tit-for-tat kidnappings and killings, and with the erection of roadblocks that impede critical transportation routes.

Each Lebanon’s faction -- either Sunni or Shiite -- wagers on success by one Syrian side or the other, waiting to translate the ensuing regional balance of power into a domestic one.

The Shiite movement Hezbollah can not contemplate a future with a Sunni-dominated Syrian regime. The Assad regime constitutes Hezbollah’s immediate strategic depth as well as the bridge connecting it to Iran. The relationship between the two allies became organic and even personal, between Bashar Assad and Hassan Nasrallah.

After Syria’s 2005 military withdrawal from Lebanon, Hezbollah’s political independence rose. An asymmetrical relationship grew into a strategic partnership.
On a strategic level, Hezbollah has been engaged in a common struggle against the March 14 Alliance, Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and France – which they believe are intent on defeating the Assad regime and Iran.

The March 14 Alliance is a coalition whose elements are united by their anti-Assad-regime stance.

Hezbollah doubted that the Arab uprisings -- from Egypt to Barhain -- would spread in Syria because the Assad regime was considered to be in tune with Arab sentiment about the U.S., Israel and the Palestinians.

"I personally believe that Syrian President Assad believes and is serious and determined about reform…. I know that he is ready to undertake very serious reforms but calmly, with care and responsibility. This factor influences our stance …. In Bahrain the regime was closed. Mubarak was closed. Qadhafi was closed. Zein Al Abideen Bin Ali was closed. In Syria the regime is not closed. On the contrary, he is saying: I am ready and I believe in reforms and I am serious and I want to carry them out …. The fall of the regime is an Israeli-US interest, aiming at getting Syria to sign any peace deal with Israel. … As a resistance movement against Israel, we are required to adopt a responsible stance that is committed to the security and stability of Syria as a government and people."
-- Sayyed Nasrallah, May 25th, 2011

Hezbollah also views any threat to the Assad regime as a threat directed at its principal ally, Iran. The Assad regime has been Iran’s closest strategic partner for the past three decades, its bridgehead to the Levant, and a country without which Tehran’s ability to supply Hezbollah would be severely diminished.

In June 2006, Iranian defence minister Najjar stated that Iran "considers Syria's security its own security, and we consider our defense capabilities to be those of Syria."

If Hezbollah has tied its fate to the Assad regime, it also has to safeguard its posture in Lebanon -- not only at present, but also in anticipation of a regime change in Damascus. That is why it has acquiesced in policies that went against the interests of the Assad regime, while providing that same regime with practical support on the ground, such as lending snipers to Assad forces and killing Syrian protesters. United-States officials assert that Damascus, Hezbollah and Iran are in close military cooperation, even forming an elite militia.

Conversely, the Sunni-dominated Future Movement (Tayyar Al-Mustaqbal) of Lebanon and its Sunni partners see no alternative to the Assad regime’s demise, however long it will take and no matter the costs.

The Future Movement is now led by Saudi-Lebanese Saad-eddine Rafiq Al-Hariri

Lebanese Sunnis view the Syrian civil war as an opportunity to seek revenge against the Assad regime, as well as a chance to challenge Hezbollah’s hegemony in Lebanon.


Hezbollah continues to enjoy a lopsided military advantage in Lebanon over Sunnis, forcing them to think twice before challenging it. But confrontation would not serve the Shiite organisation, for it would attract further domestic and regional condemnation and isolation.

Sunnis are feeling gradually more emboldened, eager for revenge, while Shiites are feeling more and more exposed, fearful of their growing regional isolation.

"The emergence of Sunni power will change the balance of power in Lebanon"
-- Paul Salem (the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon)

The Syrian uprising is helping Sunni jihadists in both Lebanon and Syria bolster their standing and mutual ties that had been debilitated in the 1980s. Solidarity with their embattled brethren has led Sunnis to turn regions of Lebanon into sanctuaries and transit points for the supply of weapons to Syrian rebel forces and for staging ground for attacks by those Syrian rebels. This has been the case in northern Lebanon, notably the border regions of Tripoli and Akkar.

Arms smuggling into Syria began as a commercial affair, but has expanded with the Future Movement using Turkey as the hub for supporting armed opposition groups. The price of weapons rose as a result of mounting demand.

Source: The Daily Star

The price of weapons rose also as pro-Assad Lebanese authorities intercepted several large arms shipments.

In April 2012, Lebanese authorities intercepted a cargo ship, the Sierra-Leone-registered Lutfallah II (لطف الله ٢), in Lebanese waters. The ship was carrying three containers of heavy and light weapons destined for the rebels in Syria, according to BBC, 29 April 2012.

After the entry of the ship Lutfallah II into Lebanese waters and its discovery on April 28, two other warehouses full of imported weapons ("heavy machine guns, shells, rockets, rocket launchers and other explosives") for the Syrian opposition were uncovered on the coast of Tripoli.

The ship is reported to have begun its voyage from Libya, stopped off in Alexandria in Egypt, and finally headed for the port of Tripoli in northern Lebanon, before it was intercepted.

Many ships have been reported leaving the Misurata port in Libya and heading towards Tripoli in Lebanon, using Egyptian ports for “transit.”

Russia Today reports Franklin Lamb saying "There is an eyewitness, Hassan Diab, who saw the ship Lutfallah II, carrying a Sierra Leone flag, being loaded in Benghazi, Libya. We know that Qatar and Saudi Arabia control five warehouses in the area of Benghazi. So the great suspicion is that the intercepted arms are from those left over from the Libya campaign."
"The boat went from Tripoli to Turkey, back down to Egypt and then to Libya, then to Tripoli, Lebanon. It was seized on the way there," Mr. Lamb said.

The news service Akhbar wrote that "informed Egyptian sources" reported that an Egyptian port police saw the Lutfallah II transiting through Alexandria.

The owner of the ship is named Mohammed Khafaji (محمد خفاجي), a resident of Damietta, Egypt, who works for KHAFAJI MARITIME Co., "one of the leading shipping companies in Middle East", privately established in 1999, which provides "world-wide shipping, Managing, and Chartering services."

Ten years ago, Mohammed Khafaji bought the German-built Lutfallah II, whose load is 3,900 tons, from Denmark. He then bought another five ships five years ago. He is suspected of human trafficking, of transporting his human cargo from Egypt to Greece, from where the trafficked persons would make their way into Europe through networks of commercial mafias.
As for Khafaji’s involvement in using his ship for arms smuggling, sources indicated to the Ahbar News Service that a voyage from the port of Alexandria to Tripoli normally costs around US$20,000.
The ship was only carrying three containers and the regular price per container is between US$1,500 and US$2,000. This means that the total market price he would have received for the trip to Tripoli would amount to no more than US$6,000.
Information about the ship was apparently obtained by an official Lebanese security agency while the weapons were being packed in Libya.
The manifest says that each of the three containers on board were carrying 31 tons, which is beyond the capacity of the containers.
Even more peculiar is that the ship’s number does not appear in the insurance documents, contrary to maritime transport regulations.

The owner of the shipping company, Motaweh Omar Rima, was in Saudi Arabia when he was contacted by a group of Syrian rebels asking him to support the “Syrian revolution.”
It came through a Lebanese person who said that the plan was to unload the shipment and transport it to pre-arranged locations in Akkar, from which it will be taken to Syria.

Sunni Lebanese jihadists coordinated with Syrian fighters to carry not only weapons, but also injured fighters into Lebanon in order to provide them with medical treatment. They established mobile clinics, offering treatment to the injured and arranging special transportation of the severely wounded to hospitals.

The black flag of Sunni islam, "There is no god but allah, muhammad is allah's messenger"

The Sunnis in the north of Lebanon harbour deep resentment towards the conduct of the Assad regime over the past decades and feel solidarity with their Syrian brethren. This anger and hostility has a longstanding history. In the early 1980s, the violent crackdown of the Assad regime against the Muslim Brotherhood pushed many Syrian Sunnis into northern Lebanon, where they were received and sheltered.

Between 1982 and 1985, Tripoli witnessed intense fighting pitting Sunni jihadi groups such as Al-Tawhid against the Syrian Army before the latter assumed control of the city.
During the Lebanese Civil War (1975-1990), Syrian security services and their Lebanese allies – including many Alawites – detained, tortured, killed and otherwise persecuted a lot of Lebanese Sunni jihadists.
In the course of the Assad regime’ post-war tutelage of Lebanon (1990-2005), Hezbollah’s ongoing empowerment coupled with the sidelining of Rafic Hariri, a Sunni leader, solidified the Sunnis' belief in their marginalisation.

Former Lebanese prime minister Rafic Baha El Deen Al-Hariri led the Future Movement. The billionaire tycoon reclaimed Beirut's architectural heritage from the shattered cityscape of a civil war and made it his mission to restore Lebanon's mercantile leadership.

Al-Hariri was assassinated in February 2005.

"Shortly after the blast, the Director of Al-Jazeera TV in Beirut received a telephone call from a man who stated that the Nasra and Jihad Group in Greater Syria claimed responsibility for the assassination of Mr. Hariri." (Source)

A Lebanese police officer and U.N. investigators unearthed extensive circumstantial evidence implicating Hezbollah, according to an investigation by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

The U.N. International Independent Investigation Commission's report, based on examination of Lebanese phone records, suggested Hezbollah officials communicated with the owners of cell phones used to coordinate the detonation that killed Hariri and 22 others as they traveled through Beirut in an armed convoy (according to Lebanese and U.N. phone analysis obtained by CBC and shared with The Washington Post).

Nasrallah claimed Israel killed Hariri. But in October 2005, U.N. prosecutor Detlev Mehlis issued a report saying that al-Hariri's assassination "could not have been taken without the approval of top-ranked Syrian security officials and could not have been further organized without the collusion of their counterparts in the Lebanese security forces."

The CBC's reporting also uncovered an internal U.N. document indicating Wissam al-Hassan was considered as a potential suspect.

Al-Hassan oversaw security for Hariri at the time of the assassination but claimed he had taken the day off to take an examination at a university...

Al-Hassan was the head of the Information Unit of the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (I.S.F.) at the time.

An internal U.N. memo dated March 10, 2008, said Hassan's "alibi is weak and inconsistent" and recommended that he be "investigated quietly."

Jamil Al Sayyed, the former head of the General Directorate of General Security, was also, apparently, involved in the assassination of Rafic Hariri.

Eventually, al-Hassan's intelligence unit, relying on telecommunications analysis, uncovered the network that monitored Rafik Hariri just before his death. The Information Unit's findings were incorporated into the U.N. investigation and lead to the indictment of four individuals connected with Hezbollah.

This episode added to a sense of vulnerability among Lebanese Sunnis.

The perceived loss of Iraq to both Shiite rule and Iranian influence further fuelled the sense that Sunnis are being threatened by a "Shia Crescent."

Meanwhile, the socio-economic decline of the northern Lebanon -- neglected by Beirut and largely cut off from its Syrian hinterland given bitter relations with Damascus -- exacerbated Sunni feelings of abandonment.

But now -- as Sunni jihadists in northern Lebanon shelter and protect Syrians who crossed the border, -- they reactivate ties that had been debilitated in the 1980s, thereby breaking with their sense of isolation and reconnecting with their communal, Sunni identity. Sunni jihadists in the north of Lebanon champion the Syrian uprising as their own cause, considering themselves the pioneers of resistance against the Assad regime.

The financial aid destined to the Syrian revolution contributes to a broader Sunni mobilisation, with jihadist Sunni Lebanese joining Syrian rebels in establishing networks of wealthy donors. An active fundraising network progressively emerged, with money coming chiefly from Gulf Arab states and individuals as well as from wealthy Syrian expatriates and Islamic charitable organisations. Lebanese militants and NGOs play an intermediary role between donors and recipients, among them combatants. Ever since Saudi Arabia and Qatar decided to back the Free Syrian Army, Sunni jihadists have been receiving more funds for Syrian fighters.

Sunni jihadists in Lebanon are joining a broader, region-wide sentiment of Sunni rebirth in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and elsewhere. Buoyed by both the Syrian revolution and these regional trends, Lebanon’s Sunnis have not hesitated to confront their own authorities.

When, on 14 May 2012, members of Directorate General of the General Security – a Lebanese intelligence agency whose head has close ties to Hezbollah – arrested Lebanese Sunni Shadi Mawlawi, local jihadists rose up in various Tripoli neighbourhoods.

Violent clashes broke out between Jabal Mohsen and Bab Tebbaneh, Tripoli’s Alawite and Sunni strongholds respectively. It took Mawlawi’s release a week later to restore calm.

Shadi Mawlawi carrying the black flag of Sunni islam after his release.

Likewise, the 20 May 2012 killing at an army checkpoint in Akkar of Sheikh Ahmad Abdel Wahed, a Sunni cleric – another backer of the Syrian uprising – prompted a show of Sunni force.

Sheikh Ahmad Abdel Wahed

Sunni gunmen attending the funeral of Sheikh Ahmad Abdel Wahed. (Source)

In the wake of these incidents, Sunni armed groups called for the Lebanese Army’s withdrawal from the whole Akkar District. Several Sunni leaders went as far as to encourage Sunni soldiers to defect from the Lebanese armed forces, which is viewed as sympathetic to Hezbollah and the Assad regime.

And as news of Wissam al-Hassan’s assassination spread on 19 October, armed groups and masked men carrying the black flag of Sunni islam took to the streets of Tripoli, where gunmen forced the closure of shops, Akkar and other areas, including Beirut.

Major General Wissam Adnan al-Hassan was seen as a leading Sunni figure in Lebanon.

On October 19, a car exploded in the heart of Beirut’s Christian district. It destroyed cars, shattered shop windows, caused significant damage to surrounding buildings, killed Wissam al-Hassan and two others, and wounded over a hundred.

In addition to his leading role in the Lebanese intelligence apparatus, al-Hassan was close to Lebanon’s anti-Assad March 14 Alliance and had strong ties with the family of Rafik Hariri. After all, Saad Hariri kept him within his inner circle despite the continued whispering about his whereabouts during the 2005 assassination of his father, and despite the fact that he was deeply distrusted by many of Saad Hariri’s allies, not only for his shadowy dealings in the U.N. investigation, but also for his role in the government’s crackdown on Fatah al-Islam. Leaked cables revealed that al-Hassan played the role of intermediary between Saad Hariri and Hezbollah, brokering a deal that allowed the Shiite movement to maintain its fiber-optics network in exchange for political concessions. Under Hassan’s leadership, the I.S.F. also helped roll up a vast network of Israeli spies in Lebanon, cooperating with Hezbollah to uncover a string of informants. And in 2010, Hassan was invited to Damascus as part of a campaign by the Syrian and Saudi governments to improve relations between the Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon. Despite this ambiguous role of middleman between Sunnis and Shiites, Saad Hariri elevated al-Hassan to higher positions of power.

The assassination of al-Hassan weakens the Lebanese security services at a critical time.

[T]he unit that al-Hassan headed had been particularly effective in the last few months, arresting former information minister Michel Samaha -- one of Assad’s closest Lebanese associates -- who was caught red-handed attempting to smuggle explosives from Syria into Lebanon. The unit was also instrumental in the investigation into the assassination of Rafik Hariri as well as cases exposing Israeli spy networks in Lebanon.

-- Paul Salem, "Lebanon’s Fragile Peace Will Hold Despite Blow"

Michel Samaha on the left

Before his death, in August, the I.S.F. moved to arrest Michel Samaha. Hassan accused Samaha of smuggling explosives into Lebanon in order to carry out assassinations and drag the country into sectarian strife.

There was something surreal about the Samaha arrest: A high-profile political figure had been caught by a Lebanese police unit with evidence so compelling — reportedly even extensive video and audio footage and witness testimony — that none of Samaha’s pro-Syrian allies came to his defense. The highly public nature of the scandal and the brazen use of the media to air details of the alleged plot seemed to suggest defiance on Hassan’s part in the face of a weakened Syrian regime.

Hariri said shortly after the explosion that killed Hassan, “We have always thought Bashar al-Assad has killed Rafik Hariri, and today he has also killed Wissam al-Hassan.

Hariri may be right, but the question of who killed Hassan seems less important than why he was killed at all, and why now.

-- Elias Muhanna

The assassination of al-Hassan inflamed the Sunnis of the March 14 Alliance. It was immediately followed by a great outpouring of grief and anger. Protesters and mourners condemned the bombing and called on the government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati to step down. There was considerable unrest throughout Lebanon for a few days.

The current goal of Lebanese Sunni jihadists is to turn the north of Lebanon into a de facto Sunni enclave, a Sunni bastion where their domination would go unchecked and where they would feel free to develop military capabilities in the service of an incipient Sunni Caliphate.

Efforts to boost their military capacity are intended to produce parity with Hezbollah so as to deter any Shiite foray in the north. Sunni jihadists are now challenging the Lebanese Army’s position in the north in order to curtail its ability to constrain them and to curb efforts aimed at boosting the Syrian revolution. They want the Army to turn a blind eye on the arms and fighters that are being smuggled into Syria as well as on Syrian and Lebanese jihadists’ activities.

Ann Barnhardt is Going to Rome to Face Down Caesar-Obama

What is freedom? Freedom is to be alive in Jesus Christ. Freedom isn’t keeping your money or your house or your car or your shit. Freedom isn’t going hither and yon whenever you please. Freedom isn’t earthly liberty. Earthly liberty is a mere derivative of authentic freedom, which is Jesus Christ Himself.

Reject Christ, and you’re already a slave, and thus earthly liberty will be impossible. That’s why this is happening. This nation has rejected Christ and thus the earthly liberty that WAS a derivative of a Christian culture is now rapidly evanescing. This nation has embraced evil, and with evil inevitably comes chains.

Day by day, link by link, this nation is forging its own chains, and it is so far gone that even the Christians are happily embracing the chains, ridiculing and desperately trying to convince those few who refuse to be chained that the only way to be free is to bow down and put on the chains too.

Well, to hell with that shit, I say.

Ann Barnhardt

Ann says the Obama régime FORCES each American citizen to choose between Caesar and Christ. It forces this choice upon the people since ObamaCare mandates that all citizens, employers and institutions pay for abortion, sterilization and contraception.

“We can CONSENT,” says Ann, “to pay taxes in a spirit of truth, justice, solidarity and freedom, but only if those four specific ends are served by our taxes.”

But subsidizing ObamaCare with our taxes is a sin.

Do we have to pay taxes? Do we have a choice? Are we going to be held to account for subsidizing abortion?
What if paying taxes puts you in violation of the First Commandment (I AM the LORD thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before me.)?

“Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s” is NOT a release from the First Commandment.
— Ann Barnhardt

Don’t you think that, by forcing you to break God’s Law in order to follow the laws of the state, the Obama régime forces you to choose between Caesar and Christ? Or is this a false dichotomy?

— Ann Barnhardt

If you agree that the Obama Régime is utterly lawless, why would you still consent to pay taxes? Why would you continue subsidizing it? Is it that you feel you owe Caesar something?

Ann is putting her money where her mouth is. She declared a tax strike. And on October 27, the IRS confiscated her bank account.

Yesterday, Ann talked about her tax strike with BigFurHat.

And today, she responded to a few comments of the iOwnTheWorld thread:

part 2, Part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6.

“We have the chance to walk straight back into Rome at the side of Our Lord, face Caesar and show the world how Christians stand and face evil, and bend our knee ONLY to Our Crucified Lord.

And then … watch what happens.

I know where I’m going. I’m going to Rome to face down Caesar Obama and be crucified with Our Lord who already has and will have the Final Victory. If you should meet Our Lord as you are exiting Rome, will you turn around, take up your cross and go with Him, or will you lower your eyes and pretend not to see Him?

Where are YOU going?
Quo Vadis?”

Ann Barnhardt

If He is what He claimed to be, a Savior, a Redeemer, then we have a virile Christ and a leader worth following in these terrible times; One Who will step into the breach of death, crushing sin, gloom and despair; a leader to Whom we can make totalitarian sacrifice without losing, but gaining freedom, and Whom we can love even unto death. We need a Christ today Who will make cords and drive the buyers and sellers from our new temples; Who will blast the unfruitful fig-trees; Who will talk of crosses and sacrifices and Whose voice will be like the voice of the raging sea. But He will not allow us to pick and choose among His words, discarding the hard ones, and accepting the ones that please our fancy. We need a Christ Who will restore moral indignation, Who will make us hate evil with a passionate intensity, and love goodness to a point where we can drink death like water.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen “Life of Christ”, AD 1958

Ann Barnhardt: “The Economy Is Going To Implode”

The Coming American Collapse and Civil War

Matt Bracken: “When The Music Stops – How America’s Cities May Explode In Violence

Matt Bracken believes that the Second American Civil War will begin with the rejection of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Foodstamps cards. He pictures many, many U.S. cities in the thrall of riots greater than those experienced in Los Angeles in 1965 (Watts) and in 1992 (Rodney King), in New York during the 1977 blackout looting and the 1991 Crown Heights riot.

In the ex-SEAL’s scenario, the initial riots begin across urban areas with a lot of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients. As soon as those welfare recipients learn that their EBT cards no longer function, they will be angry and they will fear to go hungry. This combination of anger and fear will lead to flash-mobs looting local supermarkets, shops and restaurants.

The ransacked supermarkets, convenience stores, ATMs and gas stations will not be restocked due to the security situation. Any truck loaded with food or gasoline would be subject to attack unless protected by security forces. But since powerful security forces will not be available soon enough, resupply will not take place immediately in the affected areas. These delays in the physical delivery of food will lead to more riots.
The “food riots” will become a grass-roots movement born out of sheer hunger. And cell phone technology will provide all the organization a flash mob needs to grow into a huge gathering.

The flash mobs will next move to the borders of their urban enclaves, to concentrate on major intersections and highway interchanges where suburbans commute. People making a living will still be using those roads to get to their job.

The clashes between the urban mobs and the suburban commuters will resemble the intersection of Florence and Normandie during the Rodney King riots in 1992, except that with texting and Twitter, there will be hundreds of thugs within minutes instead of a few dozen, terrorizing intersections.

Rioters will throw into an intersection obstacles such as shopping carts and trash cans. Drivers will have to pause. Traffic will be forced into gridlock for blocks in all directions. The mobs, armed with everything from knives, clubs, pistols to AK-47s, will then swarm the lines of trapped cars. Drivers and passengers will be pulled from their vehicles to be beaten, robbed, raped and killed.
Some of the commuters’ deaths will be captured on traffic web cameras and cell phones. Horrible scenes will be shown on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter.

Ordinary police patrol cars in small numbers will not venture anywhere near such roiling masses of angry rioters, not even to perform rescues. And SWAT teams and riot squads won’t be in position nearly in time. To gear up for a single flash-mob major-street-intersection riot, city police departments will require at least an hour, and several hours to mount a response sufficient to quell the disturbance, mop up lingering rioters, restore security, and bring medical attention to the living and get medical examiners to the dead. And each jurisdiction will face a multitude of such scenes.
By the time police officers are suited in riot gear, armed and geared up to sweep the targeted intersection, it will be virtually empty of rioters. The police will be fighting flash mobs that materialize, cause mayhem, and evaporate in minutes. This rapid cycle time is an obvious lesson taken from riots by French Muslims in their own enclaves and bordering areas.

The American flash mob riot will exist inside the law enforcement loop. The rioters will have a much, much quicker reaction time than the police, immediately spreading word of every police preparation by text-messaging and Tweets, even in advance of the police movement.

As soon as an awareness of law enforcement impotence is spread by television and social media, the situation spirals out of control. When the mobs will have recognized that their street riots cannot be stopped by the police, they will grow fearsome. The violence will spread to unaffected cities.
In the absence of any viable security arrangements, supermarkets and other stores will not be restocked, leaving the rioters even more hungry and angry than before. And the increasing rage born of worsening hunger will refuel the escalating spiral of violence.

Vehicle traffic by suburban commuters through adjoining areas will virtually halt, wrecking what is left of the local economy. Businesses will not open because employees won’t be able to travel to work. Businesses in urban areas will all be looted. Enclaves of affluent suburbanites within or near the urban zones will suffer repeated attacks, until their inhabitants flee.

Rioters will hold critical infrastructure corridors through their areas. Highways, railroad tracks, pipe and power lines will all be under threat, or may be cut. Even airports will be affected, since many of them have been absorbed into urban areas. Aircrafts will come under sporadic fire while taking off and landing.

In the absence of new targets blundering into their areas, and still out of food, the rioters will begin to forage beyond their neighborhoods, into suburban borderlands. Supermarkets and other stores will be robbed in gang attacks. Carjackings and home invasions will proliferate wildly.

Mixed-ethnic areas will suffer the worst violence, will become chaotic killing zones, with no effective help coming from the police. The number and ferocity of home invasions will skyrocket. Individual homes and apartment buildings located in open grid-pattern neighborhoods with outside access from many directions will be almost impossible to defend against. The home invasions will continue.

This will lead to a total loss of confidence in the government’s ability to provide security across all social lines, all neighborhoods. Stray bullets striking pedestrians or penetrating houses and cars will take a high toll, even in areas previously considered to be safe.

New Coalition for the Establishment of an Islamic State

We are the representatives of the fighting formations in Aleppo and we declare our rejection of the conspiratorial project, the so-called national alliance. We have unanimously agreed to urgently establish an Islamic state.”
“We agreed on establishing an Islamic state in Syria and rejecting foreign projects, including coalitions and councils imposed on us inside [the country].”

Ahrar Al-Sham [The Freemen of Syria Battallions], Liwa Al-Tawhid and Al-Nusra [al-Qaeda in Syria] issued a joint statement rejecting the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and affirming the establishment of an Islamic State.

But the FSA downplayed the statement.

Col. Malek al-Kurdi, the FSA deputy commander, talked to the Daily Star:

“We are trying, along with many battalions, to achieve the unity of arms against the regime of Bashar Assad. We do not support any talk of formation of [Islamic] emirates … the people will decide the type of regime [that should be established if the Assad government falls].”

“We support the National Coalition […]”

UPDATE: Al-Jazeera reports that the salafists retract their previous rejection of the Syrian National Coalition!

Opposition commanders in the Syrian city of Aleppo have voiced their support to the Syrian National Coalition, a day after a video emerged showing fighters from at least 14 brigades announcing their rejection of the opposition bloc.

“We call on [the Coalition] to increase the representation of the revolutionary forces and to activate their role in the coalition’s offices and apparatus,” Tuesday’s statement, read by Abdel Qader Saleh, the head the Liwaa al-Tawhid Brigade, said.

Al-Nusra did not retract though…