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War on Guns

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Why Obama Is Wrong on Morsi

Obama, as well as main-stream journalists, academics, politicians and diplomats argue that the contemporary Muslim Brotherhood is no longer attached to the vision of the Caliphate. They say the Brotherhood is being transformed by the experience of democracy and of actual governance. It will internalize the culture of democracy, they assure us…


Every Brotherhood leader is reaffirming the Brotherhood’s mission, which is the islamize everything — from the individual, the family, to the society, the government and even the whole world.

Brotherhood supreme guide Mohammed Badie

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The Muslim Brotherhood is close to achieving the “ultimate goal” set by the group’s founder Hassan al-Banna in 1928, which is the establishment of a “just and reasonable regime.”

The project begins with the creation of a sound government and ends with the establishment of a just Islamic caliphate, said Mohamed Badie, the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt on Thursday, in his weekly message on the group’s official website.

Omar Halawa Thu, 29/12/2011

The Brotherhood is not becoming “moderate.” Sure, the Brothers established a political party — the Freedom and Justice Party — and took part of an electoral process. But that’s only part of dawah — conquest by means of “good” work. That innovation is entirely secondary now that the Brotherhood has taken control of Egypt, that it is infiltrating the state apparatus, the police and the army with its own men. The Brotherhood is now discarding “democracy” and “reform” in order to implement the unity of obedience to its leadership. It was only using “democracy” to achieve totalitarian control of Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood has been guided from its very beginning by the goal of a Caliphate that seeks unity in obedience to its Supreme Guide.

The Muslim Brothers will do in Egypt exactly what the “Muslim Devotees” did in Iran: establish an islamic Republic.

The regime of the ayatollahs in Iran grew out of a secret society called the Devotees of Islam (فدائیان اسلام), a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate whose founder and leader in the 1950s, Sayyid Navab Safavi, was a close associate of Ruhollah Mostafavi Musavi Khomeini.

Khomeini, Navab Safavi and the flag of the Devotees, فدائیان اسلام

That goal of totalitarian control by way of the Caliphate was expressed by the Brotherhood’s founder, Hassan al Banna, in a famous formula:

The genius of al-Banna has been his method, how carefully he organized the secret Society of the Muslim Brothers into various sub-groups, and the discipline exercised by the Supreme Guide and its Bureau of Guidance.

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

Its disciplined, hierarchical organization enabled the Brotherhood to pursue the Caliphate productively through many years (since 1928), including extended periods when it was subject to oppression.

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

The mission of the Caliphate and the hierarchical organization of the Brotherhood were derived from the “prophet” muhammad, his companions and a few subsequent caliphs. Following this model, al-Banna had his organization adhered to the guidance of Umar, the second caliph, who had said “there is no islam without a Society of Brothers, no Society without an Imam, and no Imam without complete obedience.”

Umar went on to become the organizer of the greatest of the early islamic conquests, and of a Caliphate that had endured for a 1000 years…

Al-Banna followed that model when he crafted the Muslim Brotherhood. So Egypt will turn out exactly like Iran.

I really wonder if Obama is a useful idiot or a “brother.”

Is Huma Abedin Working for the Coming Caliphate?

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The basic condition for Sharia is an islamic state, or Caliphate. This condition is mostly absent in the West, and is even lacking throughout the wider Muslim world, except in places like Saudi Arabia, Iran, provinces of Afghanistan and Pakistan. A Caliphate has not ruled in the Muslim world since at least the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate in 1924.

The project of the Muslim Brotherhood is to reinstate a Caliphate.

Al-Qaradawi: The President of the Global Muslim Brotherhood

Al-Qaradawi is the undisputed leader of the Global Muslim Brotherhood, the movement’s uber-authority. Based in Qatar, his ultimate, avowed goal is to have the islamic law (Sharia) enforced world-wide. Al-Qaradawi is fully committed to “the spread of Islam until it conquers the entire world.”

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“The Muslim Brotherhood is a global movement whose members cooperate with each other throughout the world, based on the same worldview — the spread of islam, until it rules the world.”
— Mohammed Akef, Former Supreme Guide, International Muslim Brotherhood

Within the West, there are two separate and conflicting strains of islam: that of the Salafists, and that of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Salafists adhere to a political theology that views muslims in the West as migrants in enemy territory, a realm they speak of as Dar al-Kufr (House of the Heathen) or Dar Al-Harb (House of War) — as opposed to Dar al-Islam. Some Western-based Salafist groups openly espouse violent jihad to actualize the Caliphate, whereas others, such as Hizb ut-Tahrir, concentrate on non-violent activities, believing that violent jihad should be postponed until the day when their demographic numbers will be sufficient enough for a full-spectrum offensive against the infidels.

House of Saud

The religion [of Islam] was destined to rule both races of the globe, mankind and demons.
— King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz al Saud

In contrast to the Salafists, there is indeed a doctrine — known as Wasatiya — that emphasizes the use of ijtihâd, or discernment, in Sharia matters — independent of what is literally prescribed in islamic scripture. This doctrine, first formulated by al-Alalwani, does not differentiate between Dar al-Kufr and Dar al-Islam.

Alalwani and the Muslim Brotherhood

Taha Jabir al-Alalwani, the founder and former chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, is among the most influential muslim preachers in the United States.
FCNA -- logo
“Commitment to the Koranic concept of Geography: The land belongs to Allah, his religion is Islam, and every country is already in the House of Islam — now in the present time — since they will be in the House of Islam by force in the near future. The whole of humanity is a Muslim Nation (Ummah): it is either ‘the religion of the nation’ which has embraced this religion [Islam], or a ‘proselyte nation’ which we are obliged to conquer.”
— Alalwani, The Jurisprudence of Muslim Minority Affairs. No. 7, quoted here

Alalwani is the precursor of Muslim Minority Affairs, thought of as a doctrine for muslims confined to circumstances where sharia can’t be implemented. The use of this doctrine requires an understanding of social sciences, he said, especially sociology, demographics, economics, political science and international relations — since the fundamental predicate of this doctrine is that the whole earth is a muslim land, and the whole of humanity a muslim nation.

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That doctrine produces a muslim jurisprudence that is allowing its muslim adherents to adopt a pragmatic approach to the task of spreading islam in the Western world. It is revaluating the islamic perception of the West as a Land of War, to conceive it rather as a realm for islamic proselytizing, for dawah.

ultimate goal: sharia everywhere

In islamic states, there is hardly any debate on the application of the hudud punishments prescribed in Sharia — including stoning for adulterers and apostates, and for thieves, the amputation of the guilty hand — since those punishments are explicitly sanctioned in the Koran and the Sunna.

But if all muslim scholars agree that the hudud punishments are commanded by islamic scripture and cannot be abandonned, Alalwani has concluded that the hudud penalties are only to be applied in the context of an islamic state. The enforcement of these punishments is a duty upon muslim leaders, he says, not upon individuals. No muslim individual is allowed to carry out the hudud punishment without the permission of the local muslim leader. But where there is no such a muslim leader in command, the enforcement of hudud punishments has to be postponed and upheld.

Those Sharia punishments are not to be abandoned, rejected or cancelled, — only to be postponed or upheld due to special circumstances, such as muslims living as minorities in non-islamic states. The doctrine of Wasatiya calls for the suspension of practices or for establishing exemptions with regard to a literal application of Sharia in the West.

Known in Arabic as fiqh alaqaliyyat, the muslim minorities’ jurisprudence was developped among fuqahā (scholars of Sharia and its jurisprudence). Its oldest precedent was set by the second caliph, Umar ibn Al-Khattāb, who suspended the application of the hadud penalty for thievery in a time of famine, while a state of emergency was declared.

The use of ijtihâd in minority jurisprudence can allow muslims to postpone the application of the hudud punishments, — in order to focus instead on enforcing hudud through dawah.

Salafists rail against what they perceive to be Wasatiya’s “compromise” with the West, asserting the use of ijtihâd takes too many liberties in the application of Sharia, and erodes the unity and authenticity of the Muslim Nation. Qaradawi, the leading clering on Wasatiya along with Alalwani, has personally drawn the ire of Salafists worldwide, including Zarqawi and Zarawihi, the leader of al-Qaeda.

The Wasatiya movement is rooted in the thought of Hassan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, and his teachings on the “wholesomeness of Islam,” which hold that Sharia must dominate every realm of human activity and thought.

As part of their dawah effort, Qaradawi and others Wasatiya-Sharia scholars, have built-up (often with the money of Saudi financial-backers) a vast network of institutions in the West: think tanks, media outfits, educational centers, and Sharia councils.

In 2004, Qaradawi presided over the inaugural meeting of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) in Dublin, Ireland.

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Qaradawi now presides over the IUMS, which was founded to be the world’s leading Sharia authority.

One of the IUMS’s principle missions is to provide a central location for the strategic coordination of efforts worldwide to islamize the West through television, the Internet, publishing houses and other media outlets. The purpose of this endeavor, Qaradawi has said, is the conquest of the West not by “the sword or armies, but by preaching and ideology.”

Qaradawi has also said that short of full conquest, a more realistic goal would be the establishment of autonomous islamic communities within the West (such as the self-enclosed islamic ghettoes of France, the Netherlands, Great Britain and elsewhere in Europe), operating not in accordance with Western law, but under Sharia.

Created by Qaradawi. Launched on June 24, 1997. It ranks #14 on Alexa.

The website (IOL), a key component in the massive internet, television, and publishing empire presided over by al-Qaradawi, provides a live and archived “Fatwa Bank” wherein islamic scholars offer guidance to Muslim Minorities in the West on what is permitted (halal) and what is forbidden (haram). Most of the participating scholars are members of two largest Western-based Sharia councils — the Fiqh (Islamic Law) Council of North America (FCNA), established in 1988, and
the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), which was co-founded in 1997 by Qaradawi, who presently serves as president.

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Both the FCNA and the ECFR follow the doctrine of minority jurisprudence that was formulated originally by Alalwani and popularized later by Qaradawi, who began by publishing this manifesto for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Muzammil Siddiqi, chairman of the FCNA and member of the Muslim Brotherhood

Fiqh al-aqaliyyat is not simply a jurisprudence designed to help muslim minorities adapt to life in non-islamic states. It also seeks to provide a systematic way of organizing and defining islam in the West that accords with the Muslim Broterhood’s project of transforming Western lands into Islamic ones.

In an article in the UK-based Saudi paper “al-Saraq al-Awsat” from the 18th of January 2000, Al-Alalwani mentioned a meeting with Saudi King Fahd in the 1980s.
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He spoke then of a new legal doctrine which would assist in spreading islam and bring about the “Settling-down of Islam after the Settlement of Muslims in the West” (Tawtin al-Islam ba’ad Istitan al-Muslimin fi al-Gharb). In that essay, al-Alalwani states two duties that warrant the initiative.

Coats of arms: House of Saud and Muslim Brotherhood

Coats of arms: House of Saud (left) and Muslim Brotherhood (right)

The first duty is to help the Muslim Brothers as they proselytize and expand Islam’s realm in the West. This dawah aims both at securing new converts and at instilling among muslim minorities a sense of political and cultural obligation to the Muslim Nation. It entails building institutions such as mosques, schools of Arabic, political organizations, and educational and cultural centers.
The second duty mentioned by al-Alwani is to protect the muslim minorities in the West from deviating from Sharia. What qualifies as deviation is for the jurists of the Internation Union of Muslim Clerics, the Fiqh Council of North America and the European Council for Fatwa and Research — all controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood — to determine.

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We know that King Fahad bin Abdul Aziz al Saud adopted Wassatiyya as his own personnal brand of Islam because Whalid Shoebat found a fascinating document, a “Saudi Manifesto,” commissioned by the late King, entitled “Efforts of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques [Mecca and Medina], King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz, In Support of Muslim Minorities.”

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According to this Manifesto (page 6 & page 23), Saudi Arabia sponsored the Muslim Minority Affairs Institute, under the umbrella of the Muslim World League (MWL), the International Islamic Council for Dawa’a and Relief (IICDR) and the World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY), among other Saudi-backed organizations.


WAMY was created in 1965, during the Hajj, through the collaboration of Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood, under the leadership of Said Ramadan, Ahmad Bahefzallah (the Abedin’s immediate boss), and financiers like Abdullah Omar Naseef.
[See “The establishment of the World Assembly of Muslim Youth by Dr. Salih Mahdi al-Samarrai, President of the Islamic Center of Japan: here in Arabic, and here in English via Google-Translate.

“الدكتور سعيد رمضان رئيس المركز الإسلامي في جنيف حيث كان في حينه ذا علاقات قوية بالمنظمات الشبابية والطلابية في العالم.”
Dr. Said Ramadan, head of the Islamic Center in Geneva where he was at the time an effective organizer of islamic youth and student associations in the world.]

The primary goal of WAMY was to give muslim youth access to the islam advocated by the Saudis. By focusing on muslim youth, the group was trying to ensure that it played a role in shaping the habits of future generations of Muslims. Like the Muslim World League, the Assembly partnered with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Walid Shoebat also cites an Arabic Dictionary on Media Icons showing the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs hierarchy, supervisors and parent organizations, as it is described in the Saudi Manifesto:

Sayed Z. Abedin is a specialist on Muslim Minority Affairs issues…

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Sayed Zaynul Abedin, the father of Huma Abedin, and Saleha Mahmood Abedin, her mother, are indeed specialists on Muslim Minority Affairs issues.

In the early 1970’s, Sayed Z. Abedin went to Saudi Arabia for one year as a visiting professor. He was welcomed by King Abdulaziz University, which provided him the means to create a scholarly program regarding Muslim Minorities. Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef, the Dean of King Abdulaziz University then envisioned the creation of an academic entity called the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA).

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On the Nasseef and the Muslim Minority Affairs, see here.

The IMMA would be under the management of Ahmad Abdul Qadir Bahafzallah, who was the General Trustee for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). Professor Sayed Z. Abedin was encouraged to supervise the Muslim Minority Affairs and served as IMMA’s chief editor.
(p. 218, as translated by Walid Shoebat here)

The House of Saud believes in a Wahhabist plan set by the revivalist movement instigated by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792) from Najd, Saudi Arabia.

Allah destined this region [Saudi Arabia] for an historic roll. So He commissioned the two Imams — Muhammad bin Saud and Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab. But the times have passed on
Imam Muhammad bin Saud by the emergence of the reformer — Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab. So the two Imams cooperated together to judge by what Allah brought forth, to fight against heresy and to bring Muslims back to puritan Islam.
— Saudi Manifesto, p. 8.

The Saudi Manifesto elaborates the need for a jurisprudence of muslim minorities, يوسف القرضاوي ـ في فقه الأقليات المسلمة, especially in Chapter II, “The Muslim Minority in the World: Understanding The Purpose of Muslim Minority.”

The document details how the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will catapult Islam’s
global dominance through the Muslim Minority Affairs by shifting the demographic scale to favor Muslims.

“The Muslim societies in all continents of the world exist in either ‘Muslim Nation’ or ‘Muslim Minorities’.
The assessment to determine what differentiates the a ‘Muslim Nation’ from ‘Muslim minorities’ is done based on a number of measures. First, the numbers scale, which is, if a nation has Muslims who exceed half the population and its Constitution states that Islam is its offcial religion or that Islamic Sharia is its source of law, this state is then considered an ‘Muslim Nation’.”

The Saudi Manifesto notices that “the number of Muslims has risen greatly in the last years,” “they became 1.3 billion Muslims.” “From these we have (900) million already in Muslim nations. The remaining 400 million live as communities and as Muslim Minorities.” It maps out, with statistics and demographic analysis, every nation on the face of the earth with Muslim minorities exist.

The Muslim Minority Affairs program, says the Manifesto, could organize “Muslim Minority activism” to advance the goal of dominance through the building of mosques, schools and islamic centers where muslim minorities exist (pp. 8-13, 17) in order to “establish a global Sharia in our modern times” (p. 9-10). The program also aims to “prevent the ‘hurdle’ Muslims encounter from ‘assimilation and melting’ into non-Muslim societies” (p. 24).

So Sayed Abedin was the chief editor of the Journal of the Muslim Minority Affairs Institute, whose overt objective is to steer migrant muslims into transforming non-muslim nations into islamic ones. The project goes like this:
— Recruit muslims that live in countries where muslims are still in minorities. Then help them establishing associations, educational programs and mosques in order to stop muslim assimilation to non-muslim cultures.
— Develop a global strategy and tactics able to shift the demographic scale in favour of muslims.
— Implement Sharia gradually, as the muslims become a more important demographic force.
— Work so that the actual non-muslim nations become finally ruled by the Sharia as understood by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Soon after the IMMA started, Naseef became the Secretary General of the Râbitat al-‘Alam al-Islâmî AKA the Muslim World League (MWL), based in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. [Yet Nasseef remained active in the IMMA for decades; he continued to be listed on the masthead as a member of the “advisory editorial board” at the IMMA’s journal until 2003.]


The MWL was established in 1962. Saïd Ramadan was one of the founders of the MWL. It was established under a decision issued by the World Muslim Congress, which was held in Mecca on 18 May 1962, and financed by Saudi crown prince (later king) Faisal bin Abdul Azizas.
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Crown Prince Faisal employed many exiled members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the new organization and elsewhere in the Saudi bureaucracy and teaching system.
In the early 1970s, the Muslim World League followed the Arab migration into Europe. This marked the beginning of a period of intense growth: the League eventually opened offices in cities across Europe and North America, including Copenhagen, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Vienna, New York and Washington, D.C.
The Muslim World League frequently partnered with a network of islamic organizations in non-muslim lands to create a local islamic infrastructure. Much of this work involved funding the construction of mosques and funding the operations of islamic centers. To further its goals, the League often teamed up with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Originally based in Geneva, the MWL moved to Mecca after the Organization of the Islamic Conference was founded in 1969, with its headquarters in the Saudi city of Jeddah.
Under the auspices of the MWL League, Naseef founded the Rabita Trust in 1988, which is now formally designated as a foreign terrorist organization under American law due to its financial support of al-Qaeda. Naseef selected Wael Hamza Jalaidan to direct the Rabita Trust, a close associate of Osama bin Laden, who helped establish al-Qaeda’s network.
According to Osama bin Laden himself, the Muslim World League was one of al-Qaeda’s three top funding sources, along with the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation and the International Islamic Relief Organization — two Saudi-backed organizations spawned by the MWL.
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Sayed Abedin also served as a counsellor to the Muslim World League.

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Huma Abedin, now deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, worked with her parents for the Institute of Minority Affairs as assistant editor from 1996 to 2008.

His wife Saleha Mahmood Abedin is also an academic and worked for the Journal of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA) from its inception. She took the journal over after Sayed Z. Abedin died in 1993, and she remains its editor to this day.
Journal of the IMMA

Their son, Hassan Abedin, another academic, is an associate editor at the Journal. He was also fellow at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies in the United Kingdom when the Oxford Center’s board members included Abdullah Omar Naseef and Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi.

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Saleha Mahmood Abedin is also the chairwoman of the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child (IICWC).

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Saleha Mahmood Abedin is a champion of Sharia law. She published and edited a book by Fatima Umar Naseef, Women in Islam: A Discourse in Rights and Obligations in 1999 which includes 22 citations to works by Sayyid Qutb.
woman in islam

Sayyid Qutb is a founding member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qutb became the Brotherhood’s leading theorist after the founder‘s assassination in 1949 — until he was executed himself by the Egyptian government in 1966.
Qutb held that anyone, even a Muslim, who didn’t followed the Muslim Brotherhood’s views was an apostate and thus could be killed.

Saleha Mahmood Abedin founded the Muslim Sisterhood, whose goal is to gain and acquire a unified perception in every nation of the world regarding the role of women under Sharia.
muslim sisterhood's founder Abedin

The goals of the Muslim Sisterhood are listed here and here.

The Abedins’ IMMA has been commissioned by the same entity that produced the Saudi Manifesto, whose goal is to serve Saudi Arabia’s interest by spreading islam and enforcing Sharia world-wide.

The Abedins’ Journal for Muslim Minority Affairs confirms here that their program stems from the same sources:

“Fiqh al-Aqalliyyat”—the jurisprudence of Muslim minorities—is a legal doctrine introduced in the 1990s by Taha Jabir Al-Alwani and Yusuf Al-Qaradawi which asserts that Muslim minorities, especially those residing in the West, deserve a special new legal discipline to address their unique religious needs that differ from those of Muslims residing in Islamic countries.

Snipers of Syria. New Video from the Freemen of Syria Battalions

Many jihadist groups in Syria produce YouTube videos in order to get funds from abroad.
Armed groups with higher media profiles, those that produce the most sensational snippets of video, the ones with the most YouTube hits, receive the largest funds from abroad. The videos serve as advertisements to solicit funding and weapons.
Hit, film it, in order to get more support!

Israel Killed a Top Hamas Military Commander


Arrested by the Free Syrian Army

Syrian ‘Rebels’ Marching for the Caliphate

al-Nusra Front training in Syria

Logo of Shamikh al Islam, the leading pro-al-Qaeda forum.
Shamikh al Islam network is recognised by online al-Qaeda supporters as the authoritative jihadi web site. Most material on the forum is produced by al Qaeda affiliates and bears the label of the al Fajr Media Centre, the online outfit responsible for distributing al Qaeda material.
Al Nusra and other armed groups not integrated within the FSA (such as the Freemen Battalions) portray themselves as the Sunni community’s defender against the “Alawite enemy” and its ‘Shiite agents’. It routinely uses the word “‘Nuṣayrī’ (Arabic: نصيريون‎)” instead of ‘Alawīyyah’ (Arabic: علوية‎) in order to highlight the creed’s divorce from orthodox Islam. ‘Nuṣayrī’ refers to the faith’s founder, a student of the eleventh Shiite Imam, whereas ‘Alawīyyah’ refers to ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib’, considered by Sunnis to be fourth and final of the Rashidun, “rightly-guided” Caliph.
The mouth of allah
Al-Qaeda recruiting in Syria for al-Nusra. While the Assad regime is watching from a helicopter.

Emerging Weapons Pipeline from Jordan

Jordan is “allowing some light arms to flow across the border,” according to Syrian rebels and an Arab official familiar quoted by the Wall Street Journal.

Several shipments of arms—including assault rifles, Russian-designed antitank missiles and ammunition—have been delivered to the border in Jordanian military trucks and then taken into Syria by rebel brigades, according to Syrian rebel fighters. Dozens of other shipments have been smuggled to Syria with the covert support of Jordanian border officials, these people say. Saudi Arabia and Qatar pay for these arms and transport them to Jordan, say rebel fighters based along the Syria-Jordan border and a person involved in arms procurement for the rebels.

Jordan is now playing a role in opposition military and intelligence matters, sources quoted by the WSJ say.
In June, Jordan’s capital served as the initial debriefing location for Brig. General Manaf Tlass, a general and personal friend of President Assad who defected in June 2012 that month. In August, Syrian prime minister Riad Hijab defected to Jordan.

Jordanian intelligence officials routinely host meetings with these Free Syrian Army leaders, helping facilitate their movement back and forth from Syria and discussing military strategy, people familiar with the meetings say. Jordan also allows American intelligence officials to question and cultivate contacts with defected Syrian military officials, these people add.

The Syrian groups receiving arms from the Jordanian border are now connected to the military councils that have been vetted by Washington and others, say people involved in the transaction.

Some of the light weapons said to be entering Syria through Jordan are destined for the southern Syrian border town of Dera’a […]. Most of the arms, though, were pushed north to the suburbs of Damascus, 60 miles north, in possible preparation for a push on the capital, according to rebel leaders.

Dera’a remains one of the last supply routes to rebels in the capital, with pathways from the Turkish border and around Homs too risky, rebel fighters say. They say regime forces have increased their presence in Dera’a in recent weeks, and many are hesitant to openly discuss the opening up of a new supply route they view as crucial.

“They know that the fall of Damascus goes through Dera’a,” said one rebel fighter […].