According to Asher Berman, — who is running a blog “focused on ground-level information about the Syrian rebels,” — the civilian opposition to Assad had to maintain anonymity and stay underground, even as its members were organizing Local Coordination Committees and provincial Revolutionary Committees, in order to coordinate the importation of commodities such as food and fuel, to establish and help in the running of schools and hospitals, to publicize atrocities committed by the Assad regime, to organize local elections, and finally, to begin reestablishing some form of governance in the “liberated” regions. But now — as the Assad regime “contracts,” — the civilian opposition leadership is beginning to emerge from the underground.
The Idlib Revolutionary Council, for instance, recently held elections, brought a new leadership, publicized the names of the election winners, and even posted their pictures on Facebook.
The Syrian “rebels,” (which are the armed jihadists working with the “civil” opposition to replace the regime of Bachar el Assad with an islamic Republic), are also emerging from the shadows. They are in fact ACTIVELY using social media to self-promote, to raise money, and even to direct attacks and exchange tactics. Asher Berman tells us that the so-called rebels use the social media to boost their influence, their financing and their combat capabilities — with Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. Oh, and doing so, they are developping international networks of communications and fundraisings…
Kuwaiti sheikhs Hajaj al-Ajmi (left) and Irshid al-Hajri (right) are raising funds for Syrian jihadists. They helped finance Mahdi al-Harati (middle), the leader of Liwa al-Ummah
Two Kuwaitis founded a commission called the Haia al-Shaabiya l-Daam al-Shaab al-Suri (The Popular Commission to Support the Syrian People), to raise money for Syrian militants.
Logo of the “Popular Commission to Support the Syrian People,” as featured on its Twitter account
The Coat of Arms of the Free Syrian Army (FSA)
Hajaj al-Ajmi uses Twitter to target potential donors in Saudi Arabia, where the Saudi regime has shut down private networks actively raising funds money for the Syrian rebels.
This crackdown by the Saudi regime of private involvement with the Syrian rebels has left a large pool of potential donors, suggests Asher Berman. Al-Ajmi’s Commission is thus actively tapping into this very pool of money — in order to send, privately, funds to Syrian rebel groups. In addition to Saudi moneymen, the Commission is also reaching Kuwaitis. This Youtube video, for instance, features prominent Kuwaitis appealing for donations.
Al-Ajmi’s Twitter account has 134 676 followers.
Rebel groups receiving money from Al-Ajmi’s Commission often confirm to donors proper reception. The jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham (Free Men of Greater Syria) tweeted a *thank you* to both sheikhs.
In this YouTube video, Ibrahim Ayoub, the leader of the Hamza Battalion, also thanked al-Ajmi’s Commission for sending $10,000.
UMMAH Brigage (Liwaa al-Ummah, or Banner of the Ummah)
The Umma Brigade promoted on YouTube “their establishment of a civilian hospital in southern Idlib with medical supplies donated from Libya,” writes Asher Berman.
Farouq Brigade’s leader Abdul Razzaq Tlass is also using YouTube.
On the August 14th, 2012, the Tawhid Brigade and the Shuhada Idlib Brigade car-bombed a checkpoint in Idlib. “The YouTube video of the attack,” writes Asher Berman, “produced by the Tawhid Brigade’s media team, featured only Tawhid’s symbol. A post on Shuhada Idlib’s Facebook page dated August 18th, accused the Tawhid Brigade’s media office of an ‘injustice,’ asserting that is was also their right to be proud of their accomplishments.”
_______________________________________________________END-NOTES and useful links
Logo of Local Coordination Committees of the Syrian opposition (Wikipedia page here)
“Separate groups have coalesced around two prominent women, Razan Zeitouneh and Suheir al-Atassi. A third group has tried to organize the Kurdish minority, which mainly lives in the east.”
— Shadid, Anthony and Hwaida Saad, “Coalition of Factions From the Streets Fuels a New Opposition in Syria,” The New York Times (2011-06-30), archived here
Regarding the Saudi regime cracking on aid to the Syrian ‘rebels’:
Here is Frederic Wehreys, a senior associate in the Middle East Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace:
The Saudi regime shut down al-Lajnah al-Ulama l-Nusra Suriyah, which Asher Berman translates as “The Committee of Clerics to Support Syria,” while Frederic Wehrey translates it as “Ulema Committee to Support Syria.” The group is on FaceBook here anyway.
Jihadis videos here.