Palestinian Music for now

From Vox site with some information that I would dispute – namely that “Officially, there is no internationally recognized line between Israel and Palestine; the borders are considered to be disputed, and have been for decades” VOX there is a border it depends to which official you are referring. In the unanimously supported UN Resolution 242 of 22 Nov 1967 “emphasising the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war..”

states in part and accordance with Article 2 of the Charter of the UN:

1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

 Above, from the wealth of Palestinian hip-hop is the group DAM, whose name is both an acronym for Da Arabian MCs and the Arabic verb for “to last forever.” The group has been around since the late 1990s and are from the Israeli city of Lod, Israeli citizens who are part of the country’s Arab minority. The Arab Israeli experience, typically one of solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and a sense that Arab-Israelis are far from equal in the Jewish state, comes through in their music, which is highly political and deals with themes of disenfranchisement and dispossession in the great tradition of American hip-hop.

Christiane Amanpour interviewed DAM about their music last year. Above is their song “I Don’t Have Freedom,” full English lyrics of which are here, from their 2007 album Dedication. Sample line: “We’ve been like this more than 50 years / Living as prisoners behind the bars of paragraphs /Of agreements that change nothing.”

and this video via RAP NEWS

Published on Apr 24, 2014

“RAP NEWS 24: ISRAEL & PALESTINE [S02:E04]. Decades of failed peace talks have led nowhere; but do not lose hope just yet. Join Robert Foster as he attempts to host the first ever Middle East Peace Raps, using rhyme and reason to bring together Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, and a representative of Hamas. The picture would not be complete however, without a discussion of “America’s last taboo” (as Edward Said once referred to it): the USA’s role as Israel’s best – and only – buddy in the world (Ok, together with Australia). Featuring special cameos from prominent American Jewish scholar, Dr. Norman Finkelstein, and Palestinian rap legends, DAM, this is an episode for the ages. Join us as we bravely (or perhaps stupidly) take on one of the most bitter, divisive and controversial conflicts of our times: Israel & Palestine.

Written & created by Giordano Nanni & Hugo Farrant in a suburban backyard home studio in Melbourne, Australia, on Wurundjeri Land.”

More to come under my Music tag


It is an inspiring few minutes at any time to watch a Haka being performed.

The recent New Zealand basketball team version when they played the USA is priceless. I am always inspired by the sound, vision and passion of a haka, usually I see it against Australia and we’re very used to our south Pacific bro’s ‘dance’ but this one has that extra of coming unexpected. The looks on the USA players say so much, they seem intrigued and in a bewildered wonderment at the chant.

Even though the NZ team lost to USA at this point the USA appeared the real loser.

The Afro-American team members will have mostly lost any African or even Caribbean cultural heritage they have in their backgrounds, subsumed by the modern ‘culture’ of the US.

Even though culturally speaking for the Maori that haka is relatively new, the tribal meaning and connection remains in the performance. The fact that as a nation New Zealand has a treaty (Waitangi) with its indigenous population ensures a respect that garners collaborative approaches in many areas of New Zealand policy. Something sadly also missing in Australian history (see last  link below for Yothu Yindi Video ‘Treaty’)

The US is not united and even though Team USA won the game with panache and basketball superiority, my feelings went out particularly to the Afro-American team members who, for a brief moment seemed to recognise something from their past that they had lost.

Ka mate Ka mate

Ka mate Ka mate                                       It is death It is death
Ka ora Ka ora                                             It is life It is life
Ka mate Ka mate                                       It is death It is death
Ka ora Ka ora                                             It is life It is life
Tenei Te Tangata Puhuruhuru               This is the hairy man
Nana i tiki mai whakawhiti te ra             Caused the sun to shine again for me
Upane Upane                                            Up the ladder Up the ladder
Upane Kaupane                                        Up to the top
Whiti te ra                                                  The sun shines! 

Maori Lyrics translated to English see site here  

and from the All Blacks Rugby website some brief background to the Ka Mate chant (see here ) a section appears below.


The famous haka; Ka Mate Ka Mate, was composed by Ngati Toa Chieftain Te Rauparaha around 1820, with the story of its composition being well known within the oral histories of Ngati Toa and Ngati Tuwharetoa, the two iwi (tribes) most associated with its origins.

During a time of conflict Te Rauparaha was being pursued by warriors of a rival iwi, and was hidden by Te Wharerangi of Tuwharetoa in a kumara (native sweet potato) pit, with Te Wharerangi’s wife Te Rangikoaea being directed to sit on top. Guided by their Tohunga (scholar/priest) the warriors searched for Te Rauparaha and as they drew near he muttered “Ka Mate Ka Mate” (It is death, it is death).

Concealed from the Tohunga by the spiritual powers of both food and the woman above, Te Rauparaha was not discovered, and as the searchers passed overhead he muttered “Ka ora Ka ora” (It is life, it is life). When the warriors finally departed Te Rauparaha was able to climb up out of the kumara pit chanting “Tenei te tangata puhuruhuru nana nei i tiki mai whaka whiti te ra”. There are many interpretations of these words and “tangata puhuruhuru” may be a reference to the hairy man (Te Wharerangi), but Ngati Toa oral tradition holds that Te Rauparaha was giving credit to the spiritual power of Te Rangikoaea as he ascended (Upane, Kaupane) from the darkness of the pit into the light of the sun (Whiti te ra! Hi!)

Then there’s the All Blacks additional Haka, ‘Kapa O Pango’ translated simply as ‘team in black’.

Rather than replace the traditional haka, Ka Mate, Kapa O Pango sits alongside it as a new addition to the All Blacks’ tradition. Kapa O Pango is performed from time to time at the team’s discretion………….. A year in the making, Kapa O Pango was written for the team by Derek Lardelli, an expert in tikanga Maori (Maori culture and customs) of the Ngati Porou iwi. Its words and actions celebrate the land of New Zealand, the silver fern and its warriors in black.

Kapa O Panngo                                      Let me go back to my first gasp of breath
kia whakata hoki au i ahau                  Let my life force return to the earth
hi aue, hi                                                                        

ko aotearoa e ngunguru nei                   It is New Zealand that thunders now
au! au! aue ha!                                           And it is my time! It is my moment!
ko Kapa O e ngunguru nei                      The passion ignites! This defines us as the All Blacks
au! au! aue ha!                                           And it is my time! It is my moment!  
i ahaha                                                        The anticipation explodes!
ka tu te ihiihi                                               Feel the power              
ka tu te wanawana                                     Our dominance rises                   
ki runga i te rangi e tu iho nei, tu iho nei Our supremacy emerges To be placed on high
ponga ra!                                                       Silver fern!
Kapa O Pango!                                             All Blacks!
ponga ra!                                                      Silver fern!               
Kapa O Pango!                                             All Blacks!
aue hi!                                                            aue hi!

RESPECT! to New Zealand for the Treaty

ISRAEL STEALS THE HILLS OF BETHLEHEM (BEIT LAHEM the home of meat) – Their wine will taste like vinegar

“Rabbi Yohanan said: When a person robs his fellow even the value of a perutah [penny], it is as though he had taken his life away from him, as it is said, ‘So are the ways of everyone that is greedy of gain, which takes away the life of the owners thereof‘ (Proverbs 1:19)” (Babylonian Talmud, Bava Kamma 119a). The Torah instructs us not to steal or deal dishonestly (Leviticus 19:35-36).

This is the opening paragraph of the article “Jews and Stealing -The ways we justify theft cannot free us of its corrupting influence.” By Rabbi Michael Strassfeld speaking on ethics and theft on the site myjewishlearning  see original here

I started this post today thinking I would merely repost the Haaretz news article of the 31st August that I was linked to via a tweeter I follow. The article is titled “Israel appropriates massive tract of West Bank land” with the subheading ‘Takeover from five Palestinian villages is biggest West Bank land appropriation in 30 years, says Peace Now; settlers laud Netanyahu, Ya’alon, government.’ see full article here.

Then, as I usually like to I was writing a brief intro to the Haaretz article link I re-read the article’s first paragraph. (By the way if you’re wondering if I am Jewish because of my references on this post the answer would be” I dont think so”, after all who knows with most of us what genes make their home in our pot pouri of human genomes. So read on or not as your preferences and  prejudices incline you to do.)

Todays topic………………

….”Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank yesterday announced the takeover of 988 acres (3,799 dunams) belonging to five Palestinian villages between the Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem. The move clears the way for construction of a new settlement named Gvaot.
The announcement follows the cabinet’s decision last week to take over the land in response to the June kidnapping and killing of three teenage Jewish boys by Hamas militants in the area.”

Noting the potential political significance of the kidnapping/killing connection I also wondered what the English meaning was of the Hebrew word Gvaot, chosen to rename this piece of Palestine. Thinking it must be pretty big deal if it’s worth stealing so much land for.

Gvaot means …..well plenty of articles were thrown up but no meanings so I found myself here…

…a Media Brief from the PLO dated September 2014. This is much more informative about the ‘new settlement’.

I continued to look for a meaning for gvaot……..Translation, a translator I often use gave the translation as Hebrew- gvaot, English- Gvaot. Interesting, it is already a proper noun! How did that happen? And still, what does the word mean?

Thanks Wikipaedia…….. regularly updated by Zionists- (actually updated to include this latest land theft)
“Gvaot is in the westernmost area of the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. It is “named for the hills (gva’ot) from which Balaam spoke” …….As of August 2014, there were 10 families living in Gva’ot.

Gvaot means hills….
Then on the same page under history….
.”In late August 2014, the IDF, under political instructions, announced it was confiscating 1,000 acres, on part of which Gva’ot is built, from its Palestinian proprietors, reportedly as a response to the murder of three Israeli teenagers. The land belongs to the five Palestinian villages of ,Jab’a Surif, Wadi Fukin, Husan and Nahalin. The move was hailed by the Gush Etzion settlements council as an opportunity to built up Gva’ot, an illegal Israeli settlement built on Palestinian land. The United States responded to the announcement by rebuking Israel for taking measures that were ‘counter-productive’ to the two-state solution in peace talks. The expropriation was also condemned by the United Kingdom, United Nations and Palestine Liberation Organization.”

The issue geographically if not politically at this point, relates to the kidnapping of the three Jewish settler teenagers who were apparently abducted from a hitchhiking point in Gush Etzion.

The PLO statement raises settler violence against Palestinians and OCHA supports this claim with OCHA figures stating that the annual rate of settler attacks (2,100 attacks in 8 years) has almost quadrupled between 2006 and 2014. The fact that Palestinian police are forbidden from reacting to acts of violence by Israeli settlers adds to the problem. See here

The PLO statement also names the landgrab for what it is- ILLEGAL and highlights that moves like this from Israel “are emboldened by the culture of impunity granted to Israel by the international community.”
It names 10 Palestinian villages effected (The Haaretz report names 5 in the area of appropriated land, Jaba, Surif, Wadi Fukin, Husan and Nahalin. ) stating in the Western Bethlehem area there are…..

“10 Palestinian villages the largest of these are Al Wallaja, Battir, Husan, Nahhalin and Wadi Fukin, which are home to over 20,000 people. The area is known as the bread basket of Bethlehem (formerly of Jerusalem) and is known for its ancient agricultural terraces, olive groves and irrigation systems. Last June, the Battir Area (including the Makhrour Valley in Beit Jala and Al Khader) was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by the State of Palestine at UNESCO. According to Israeli plans, all this area will be separated from the rest of Bethlehem after the annexation Wall is completed, obstructing Palestinian access to its lands, jobs, hospitals, schools, universities, heritage and religious sites, as well as to commerce

and provides a map of the area showing the 1967 boundary, planned and constructed wall and illegal settlements and other restrictive movement impositions on local Palestinians.

PLO Map of area as attached to recent Press statement

PLO Map of area as attached to recent Press statement

PLO map legendIsrael’s actions over the years have shown (and this small map of their incursions visually explains) they care not one iota for what the ‘International Community’ thinks of their actions. They now have extensive tentacle networks into the upper echelons and governments of the US and other Western countries. Amidst calls to the UN to investigate Israel’s continued flagrant criminality and in the face of mounting International criticism the Knesset continues to feign deafness. The mediocre response from the UN, with US backing provides a context of ‘silent consent’ for continued violent aggression as witnessed in their outrageous and atrociously disproportionate bombing and invasion of Gaza over the past weeks.

On this current issue there is this US unofficial response…..

The Huffington Post reported from a Reuters report that a US State Department official as saying on 31st August See original article
We have long made clear our opposition to continued settlement activity,” said the State Department official, who declined to be identified. “This announcement, like every other settlement announcement Israel makes, planning step they approve and construction tender they issue, is counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians,” the official said.

and this from Ban Ki Moon in the Jerusalem Post today 2.8.2014

“The Secretary-General is alarmed by yesterday’s announcement by Israeli authorities to declare as so-called ‘state land’ nearly 1,000 acres of land in the Bethlehem area of the West Bank,” the UN chief’s office said in a statement.
“The seizure of such a large swathe of land risks paving the way for further settlement activity, which – as the United Nations has reiterated on many occasions – is illegal under international law and runs totally counter to the pursuit of a two-state solution.” “The Secretary-General calls on Israel to heed the calls of the international community to refrain from settlement activity and abide by its commitments under international law and the Quartet road map.”

It is worth looking more closely at what the Israeli intention is here. It is undertaken as a “military order confiscation”. It is ‘get it while you can’ expansionism when day by day more is taken from Palestine.

The PLO statement provides insight into the Israeli created term, “settlement bloc” which they say refers to…..

“a fixed area unilaterally defined by Israel, representing all the illegal settlements in that area and the land and infrastructure in between. The use of this terminology is deliberate, and is meant to facilitate the colonization of more land and to thwart the emergence of a genuinely independent and contiguous Palestinian state, making a negotiated outcome implausible.”

We continuously witness policy savvy Zionist introductions of ‘infrastructure support’ for illegal settlements and ‘defence rationale’ cover up for premeditated murder and dispossession of Palestinians. These smokescreens should be called for what they are – there is no rationalisation for theft of peoples land livlihood and culture. There is no rationalisation for Israeli aggression. The Bibi Bully has again flagrantly trampled over the rights of the Palestinian people.

Gvaot means ‘hills’

'Gush Etzion water hole' It was easy to understand why the Israelis want this land – it's gorgeous, filled with trees and clear, sparkling pools.

‘Gush Etzion water hole’
It was easy to understand why the Israelis want this land – it’s gorgeous, filled with trees and clear, sparkling pools.

Gush Etzion waterholes. "We stopped at one of these pools and Shaul stripped down to his underwear for an afternoon dip. A couple of guys were playing backgammon and had left their clothes piled up about 40 feet away, along with their automatic weapons. I was pretty shocked to see a few M4s carelessly piled up with the shirts and towels, but Shaul explained the guys were soldiers and therefore required to take their guns with them everywhere."

Gush Etzion waterholes. “We stopped at one of these pools and Shaul stripped down to his underwear for an afternoon dip. A couple of guys were playing backgammon and had left their clothes piled up about 40 feet away, along with their automatic weapons. I was pretty shocked to see a few M4s carelessly piled up with the shirts and towels, but Shaul explained the guys were soldiers and therefore required to take their guns with them everywhere.”

Two photo’s above from post (The post is well worth a read)

This whole thing makes sense to me now.

Some time ago I posted see here on the Australian government’s refusal to use of the term ‘Occupied’ to describe the Palestinian Territories

At the time Wyatt Roy’s (Liberal MP) responses were full of diatribe about hills, rockets, rifles and land swaps for a two state solution. They made little sense to me other than to say he had minimal understanding of the situation and carried the dominant neocon view about Israeli land grabbing. Here is a sample….

Interviewer: There is a very clear line on the map, its the line on the map acknowledged by the UN security Council, the US … the International Court of Justice, and its the 1967 border. Everything across that line is according to them is Israeli ‘Occupied”……… Isn’t that a very clear line?

Wyatt Roy: No, because what I would say that in a negotiated two state solution there is the potential ah for areas er ..beyond that line to be part of Israel  and other parts of that are currently  part of whats considered Israel even in that time period could become part of Palestine. because you might very well see and this is part of the peace process that they were negotiating the idea of land swaps…so if you have a high hill in that part of East Jerusalem where you could potentially shoot a rocket or a rifle, part of  the negotiation process was trading off part of that land for another part of what has and always has been considered part of Israel. So there is the potential for that to not be the case, now whether that eventuates or not is up to politicians in Israel and Palestine to determine and I hope that they can determine that because both states could benefit from a proper two state solution. 

Then the response to a question about if he thought the term -‘Illegal’ was unuseful in describing Israeli settlements in Palestine….

Wyatt Roy: I do think so…. I think that is unuseful…. some of those settlements have been there for a very very long time.. and as I said  in that negotiating process ah part of those settlements may end up as part of Israel and other parts of Israel will end up as part of Palestine because in many cases as I’ve said  their  up on a high hill and you could shoot a rocket or a rifle directly  into your neighbour’s home effectively which might be in another country if we have a two state solution ..So is I do think that that language is often very unhelpful and it doesn’t reflect the reality on the ground, and it doesn’t actually reflect what the negotiation process is between the two sides but as I said this is something that politicians on the other side of the world will have to negotiate it will have to be a political negotiation on where that line on the map will have to be…..

Maybe Wyatt Roy was on the right track with his ‘high hill’ thing and he really understands the Israeli Bloc idea. The untanglement of Israeli activities of land appropriation is made all the more difficult and the real reason, expansion, obfuscated by claims of ‘look at all the infrastructure’, the ‘impossibility of dismantlement’, the inflation of the threat of attack and the ‘need to defend what we have.’

There are already Israeli wineries in the area and perhaps its appropriate to go back to the beginning of this post and to Rabi Michael Strassfield’s post, he takes the road of theft as a “slippery slope” and an old Jewish tale about wine.

…….once you begin to steal you are on a slippery slope. The tradition therefore teaches that there is no justification for stealing, not even to right a wrong. Thus:

“Once, four hundred jars of wine belonging to Rav Huna turned sour. The sages came to visit him and said, ‘Let the master examine his [past] actions.’ He asked them, ‘Am I suspect in your eyes?’ They replied, ‘Is the Holy One suspect of imposing judgment without justice?’ He said to them, ‘If anyone has heard something against me, let him speak up.’ They replied, ‘We have heard that the master does not give his tenant his [lawful share of] vine shoots.’ Rav Huna replied, ‘Does he leave any of them for me? He steals them all!’ They said to him, ‘That is exactly what the proverb says: ‘Even if you steal [what is your own] from a thief, you are also a bit of a thief.’ He said to them, ‘From now on, I pledge myself to give them to him.’ Some say that then and there the vinegar turned back into wine” (Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 5b).

Maybe the Rabbi was speaking metaphorically of Israel’s theft of occuppied Palestinian Territory?

And of course if you believe the Zionist hasbara about how they have improved the land of Palestine……

It wasn’t always like this. One hundred years ago, when my grandfathers came here, Israel (sic) was a land of sand, swamps, barchash flies, malaria, trachoma and typhus. Infant mortality rates were staggering. Almost everyone was poor.”

See what they have done to the backward land of donkeys and backward people! (Quote compliments of Zionist site)

It’s not about Israel’s ‘right to exist’

The hills are alive with the sound of thievery

In the face of this recent Zionist expansion………its about Zionism’s end game, that’s NOT a two State solution.

This end game is really no different to that being purported as the ISIS…ISIL….IS endgame.

It’s not more civilised, not more acceptable.

Taking your time to murder and dispossess a people is no more moral or ethical than doing it quickly,  It could be argued that it’s much worse.

It is a ludicrous, historically unsubstantiated, pseudo religious claim of ‘entitlement’  to excuse colonisation of another’s land whether its for a Jewish State or an Islamist Caliphate.

Smashing dissent to invasion whether invaders are a state Army such as the IDF (defense or attack force?) or a disparate group of ‘true believers’ with black flags and Hummers is not legal or ‘civilised’. A single politically distorted  view based loosely on a religion (Zionism or Islamism) will dominate the lives those who live under those regimes. And the cry “If you don’t like it- CONVERT, LEAVE, OR DIE” rings out across both.

We have seen the results of both their plans.

The Irgun has been viewed as a terrorist organization or organization which carried out terrorist acts.[3][4] In particular the Irgun was branded a terrorist organisation by Britain,[5] the 1946 Zionist Congress[6] and the Jewish Agency.[7] The Irgun believed that any means necessary to establish the Jewish State of Israel, including terrorism, was justifiable.[8] Irgun Flag The Irgun was a political predecessor to Israel's right-wing Herut (or "Freedom") party, which led to today's Likud party. Likud has led or been part of most Israeli governments since 1977.

The Irgun has been viewed as a terrorist organization and was a political predecessor to Israel’s right-wing Herut (or “Freedom”) party, which led to today’s Likud party which is in power under Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership today. Britain, the 1946 Zionist Congress and the Jewish Agency considered them a terrorist group. They believed that any means necessary to establish the Jewish State of Israel including terrorism was justifiable to achieve their ends. The map behind the gun is of Palestine, Israel and Jordan.

Flag of the ISIL group

Why The UN is Waste of Money and an Anachronism


Australia remains the twelfth largest financial contributor to the UN. Although the amount we pay is not available on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website, Wikipaedia see here sites the following costs to our national budget.

“Australia contributed more than US$87 million in the years 2004 to 2006, with a regular budget of US$22.9 million, peacekeeping costs of approximately US$60 million, and over US$4 million contribution to International Tribunals.”  

Below is Resolution 242 of 1967

Just one of the many reasons the UN wastes our time and money on empty words while people die.


See Resolution on this site


Security Council

S/RES/242 (1967)
Resolution 242 (1967)
of 22 November 1967

The Security Council,

Expressing its continuing concern with the grave situation in the Middle East,

Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war and the need to work for a just and lasting peace in which every State in the area can live in security,

Emphasizing further that all Member States in their acceptance of the Charter of the United Nations have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2 of the Charter,

1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

2. Affirms further the necessity

(a) For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

(b) For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

(c) For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarized zones;

3. Requests the Secretary-General to designate a Special Representative to proceed to the Middle East to establish and maintain contacts with the States concerned in order to promote agreement and assist efforts to achieve a peaceful and accepted settlement in accordance with the provisions and principles in this resolution;

4. Requests the Secretary-General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the efforts of the Special Representative as soon as possible.

Adopted unanimously at the 1382nd meeting

What the World needs -KANYINI

Kanyini (A Pitjantjatjara word that roughly translated means interconnectedness; to care for, support, nurture, and protect.

Watch a 53 minute, 2006 documentary film directed by Melanie Hogan and you will learn…….

Suicides, alcohol and petrol addictions, depression and dispossession in Indigenous Australians  because ‘meaning has been taken from their lives. This movie will move you, it will and explain the peoples struggles with and in a modern world and talk of what needs to be done.

Bob Randall,  a special man, an Aboriginal Yankunytjatjara elder and member of ‘the stolen generations’ takes us and talks us through the wisdom of his people.

Bob Randall's 2012  Album Cover TJILPI sourced on his Facebook page.

Bob Randall’s 2012 Album Cover TJILPI sourced on his Facebook page.

An oral culture demands this way of sharing its philosophy.  Bob is an indigenous man who tells non-indigenous people what WE also need to learn and shares his cultural and philosophical perspective on living all life’s interactions.

This film is an epiphenous experience

KANYINI is a must watch…………………

Joining The Dots- Innocents, Sovereignty, Ignorance and Shams -ISIS?

I have been torn between posting quickly and taking time to dig deeper and be more considered. I’ve put my desire to get it as right as I can,  ahead of the quick post. I credit all my sources and give readers a chance to access them. I thank all who have contributed to my posts whether they are aware or not. I remain humble in intent, my reach is still very small and I just needed to try to work through some questions not answered in the mainstream. I have joined some of my dots and I hope it helps join some of yours. No gruesome shots included you may be pleased to know, unless you’re offended by beards!

This post may be hard going and is not for the lazy, or easily disinterested. It also carries what some may call a stamp of ‘conspiracy theories’ but I leave it to you to ponder who is conspiring. I have been mulling over some questions about the variously called ISIS, ISIL and IS or as they apparently wish to be known. Who knows? The title changes depending on the day and who you read.

Arab speakers will know them as ‘Da’ash’ an Arabic acronym with a similar meaning to ISIS however the word ‘State’ in ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham’ (ISIS) has a much stronger meaning – more like ’empire’ but I am told that is not deep or strong enough but will do as much as the words can translate. The area Da’ash espouse to cover and that which they expect to eventually rule, relates loosely to a connected empire of Iraq and the Sham (Syria, Palestine, Israel, parts of Jordan and Lebanon).

IS Fighter Photo from LUBP

LUBP Photo ISIS fighter 2012

LUBP Photo ISIS fighter 2012

Groups with similar intent have been operating in Syria (and Iraq) for some time under various splintered operational names. The opportunity to rid the country of a regime that was secular, under dictatorship and beginning to show cracks was an opportunity that could not be ignored, neither by the groups nor there more contemptible hand washing funders. Similarly the situation in Iraq as in Syria has drawn the current opinions of neocons to be more vociferous again without clear analysis of the reason for their desires to ‘intervene’ more in both countries. Business Insider Australia reported (because war is business of course.)

…..For the last two years, the main criticism on Obama’s policy toward Syria has been that the “United States, rather than read the signals early on and arm the Syrian opposition when it was making substantial gains, allowed a vacuum to form and then fretted when that vacuum was filled by jihadists.”
On Thursday Nadhim Zahawi, a member of U.K. parliament and a Downing Street advisor, echoed that criticism when he said that al-Qaeda-aligned fighters “thrived” in Syria after Britain’s failure to moderately intervene created a “vacuum.”…. see here

The recent announcements of there being no significant border between the two countries of Iraq and Syria and a new ‘Caliphate’ existing across these territories under the Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi appears to have given them reason to push a stronger interventionist agenda. I will take you through some dots that I have (rightly or wrongly) connected,

The UN should be the most obvious place for concerns relating to human rights, global security issues and state sovereignty breaches, so I will start there, despite having so little faith in either its politics or operational arms.


On 15th August 2014 the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted Resolution 2170 (2014) Condemning Gross, Widespread Abuse Of Human Rights by Extremist Groups in Iraq, Syria.
The UNSC called on all member states “to suppress the flow of foreign fighters, financing and other support to Islamist extremist groups in Iraq and Syria” and put six people affiliated to those groups on its terrorist sanctions list. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was not one of the six as he has been listed since 2011.

The resolution “condemned in the strongest terms” what it called “gross, systematic and widespread abuse of human rights by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and Al-Nusra Front.” UNSC named individuals, are now subject to travel restrictions, asset freezes and ‘other measures’.
The Security Council  called on Member States to;

  • prevent fighters from travelling to join the groups,
  • prevent their supply with arms or financial support

The Security Council also;

  • expressed readiness to sanction people who facilitate recruitment and travel of foreign fighters.
  • demanded ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other entities associated with Al-Qaida cease all violence and terrorist acts, and immediately disarm and disband.
  • Raised that their attacks against civilians on the basis of ethnic or religious identity might constitute crimes against humanity.
  • stressed the need to bring perpetrators, including foreign fighters, to justice.
  • directed the sanctions monitoring team to report on the continuing threat posed by ISIL and the Front, and their sources of arms, funding, recruitment and demographics, and to present recommendations within 90 days to further address the threat.

It is notable that following broad member support, Syria’s representative said his country had been fighting such terrorists for the past three years, while others in the region had been supporting those groups.  See UN release here

You may see why I have no faith, what nonsense! Will any such group have any interest in what the UN has to say, let alone alter its behaviour because of it? Especially when Israel, a recognised UN member state since 5th Nov 1949 for example, has continued to ignore resolutions on its activities in Palestine (with US support in preventing many from being made).

The Israeli record on UN resolutions over that same period (the last 50 years) is far worse. With full US support for its actions, it’s flagrantly and with little or no pretense routinely ignored over five dozen UN Resolutions condemning or censuring it for its actions against the Palestinians or other Arab people, deploring it for committing them, or demanding, calling on or urging the Jewish state to end them. Israel never did or intends to up to the present, including the mass slaughter and destruction it’s now inflicting on the people of Lebanon and the Palestinians in their Territories that Israel illegally occupies and attacks whenever it wishes. It does so with impunity using any contrived pretext it can get away with to deny the Palestinians any chance ever for a viable sovereign independent state and to avoid a political solution with them it won’t ever tolerate.

Steven Lendman 2006 “The US and Israel: The hypocracy of UN Security Council Resolutions.”
Global Research article in full here


There is a strong sense of urgency about all this which is always disturbing. It even seems to have been spurred along because a possible expat Brit supposedly fighting IS is said to have beheaded an American journalist missing for 2 years in Syria. Our media has latched on and the rush of ‘what will we do when they all come back home?’ stories makes me feel like someone is ‘springing’ this on us. I can find no realistic explanation for the apparent speed at which this group is said to have exploded across particularly Iraq and ask myself, is it really that fast?

Nor is it clear what the interest is, particularly now, for “jihadists” from around the globe to commit en mass to fight for the development of an Islamist Caliphate in what is ostensibly a desert in a war zone. Are there really that many young Muslim men from outside Iraq and Syria wanting to fight and possibly die and are they really traveling to Syria and Iraq without the knowledge of their governments?

Is this ……..

  • A case of media lack of depth in understanding the real nature of sectarian difference in these two countries? (both with very different histories and approaches despite Ba’ath Party leadership under Saddam in Iraq and Al Assad snr. And jnr. in Syria)
  • An attempt to further fuel differences and further destabilise the region (if so, organised from where?)
  • Influenced by changes instigated by western interference (eg US Invasion of Iraq, Israeli, Saudi and Qatar funded with Turkish, French and Jordanian training and support to so called ‘rebels’)
  • An Islamist religious rebound to the so called western named, ‘Arab Spring’ of ‘democratic political unrest’ and ‘popular’ revolt.
  • All of the above
  • Something else completely?

Syria’s UN representative would likely suggest Syrians have been more than aware of this terrorist threat for at least three years, have bled from it and spoken of it internationally for that same length of time. That they have also been fighting it alone while sections of the Arab communities bouyed by Israeli/US support feigned lack of knowledge, interest or commitment to stem the tide of fighters from their countries while giving the Islamists more than just a hand.

In July 2012 a Pakistani site LUBP (Let us Build Pakistan) posted an article adapted from Shia Rights Watch (SRW)  titled “SOS from Syria: Save the lives of Shia and Sunni Sufi Muslims living near Syeda Zainab’s shrine” see here which identifies the jihadi foreign fighter problem in Syria over 2 years ago. The article reports a similar situation to the recent Yezidi people’s confrontation with ISIL. Iranian Press TV reported the numbers of people around the Syeda Zainabs Shrine in Damascus at the time included about 5,000 Sufi and Shia Muslims. SRW called for UN assistance……
…We call on the United Nations, the United States, and Members of the United Nations Security Council to immediately interfere to stop the imminent massacre of thousands of innocent Shi’a Muslims living around the holy shrine…..

Did the UN listen? It was not in the US interest at all and with Russia (and Iran and China) quietly but determinedly supporting Assad, way too dangerous a move for the US ………… don’t talk now about using humanitarian efforts and cease fires to allow people to leave….. Only when it suits! When the people are like those in Sinjar, close to significant oil fields.

If we accept the Syrian position that despite the internal divisions and unease in Syria much of the ‘revolt was externally driven (and there is plenty of evidenciary support for this now) we still have to ask why sectarian vehemence and violence has grown while we have slept. Or at least ask why we have not been fully informed that it has been around for a long time and not just watching and waiting to opportunistically pounce through the severed head of an American journalist or an 8year old Australian boy playing jihad with his dad. (read the conspiracy reports further into this post on the IS beheading report)

Mainstream media does not like to address the complex.
This situation is particularly complex especially for minds that have difficulty even starting to grapple to understand anything Middle Eastern except perhaps the food. (Even that has to be ‘westernised’ for our palates.)

Let’s try to unravel some issues……………. My list of initial questions.

1. How many expats from around the globe are there in Iraq and Syria?
2. Where are these non Iraqi or Syrian combatants from?
3. What is their proportion of the total number of so called ‘Sunni extremist’ fighters against ‘Bashar Al Assad in Syria and Nuri Al Maliki in Iraq?
4. What attracts them to this commitment?
5. How are they assisted?
6. How strong is their participation in the operation of the so called Caliphate?
7. Where are they based?
8. Who is the Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and where does his authority come from?
(Maybe I should also ask the question supposedly on the lips of all ‘mainstream opposing’ conspiracy theorists, ‘cui bono?’ or ‘who benefits?) For that answer, well, wait and see……

I will return to these 8 questions after I have clarified some terms. (in alphabetical order)

Caliph: literally means ‘successor’

Caliphate: From the term caliph (In Arabic the word pronounced khalifa) and used to delineate areas of control of successive Muslim leaders who followed Mohammed.

“When Muhammed died there was a moment of confusion among his followers. One of their leaders Abu Bakr, proclaimed to the community: Oh men, if you worship Muhammed, Muhammed is dead: if you worship God, God is alive.’ Beneath God there was still a role to be filled: that of arbiter of disputes and maker of decisions in the community. There were three main groups among the followers of Muhammed: the early companions who made the hijra with him, a group linked by intermarriage; the prominent men of Medina who made the compact with him there; and the members of the leading Meccan families, mainly of recent conversion. At a meeting of close associates and leaders, it was one of the first group who was chosen as the Prophet’s successor (khalifa, hence the word caliph) Abu Bakr, a follower of the first hour whose daughter A’isha was wife to the prophet.

A caliph was not a prophet. Leader of the community, but not in any sense a messenger of God, he could not claim to be the spokesman of continuing revelations; but an aura of holiness and divine choice lingered around the person and the office of the early caliphsand they did claim to have some kind of religious authority.”
P22 “A History of the Arab Peoples” Albert Hourani 1991. (A great resource)

Politicized Islam, which strives for the establishment of a religious state with sharia law. In a Syrian context, references to Islamism are generally taken to mean Sunni Islamism. There are many different Islamist schools of thought, but broadly speaking, the modern Sunni Islamist movement in the Arab world is polarized between salafism (see below) and the “Ikhwani” ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is seen as more pragmatic, reformist and politically-minded.
See original article here

Area from southern Turkey to Egypt including Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian territories and Jordan.

Some internet sites, tweets and FB users have commented that the use of the term ISIL is preferred by Obama, they say use of the term extends any currently held areas by the so called Islamic State beyond the small areas it actually holds in the two countries of Syria and Iraq. The Levant is closer to the area Zionists seek to inhabit “from the … the Euphrates. An Iranian news site see here provides updated news on Syrian Government forces advancing on IS (and Al Nusra Front) positions. Making our reports of extensive gains by the IS look seriously flawed.

In modern terms, salafism is a strictly orthodox form of Sunni Islamism, inspired by theologians in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, and sometimes disparagingly known as ”Wahhabism”. Salafis tend to put great stress on ritual and doctrinal aspects of the creed, emphasizing personal piety over social involvement. They are often intolerant of other faiths, including non-Sunni Islamic minorities, and Sufism, and they generally shun nationalism and other non-religious ideologies. The so-called salafi-jihadi trend advocates global
armed struggle (jihad) against the West and most contemporary Muslim rulers. Al-Qaeda is one such salafi-jihadi group, although there are many others. See original article here

Sunni and Shia Islam
Islam is followed by a range of different sects and peoples. The majority are Sunni or Shia, with 85-90% identifying as Sunni. There are predominantly more Shia in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Azerbaijan and, according to some estimates, Yemen. There are also large Shia communities in Afghanistan, India, Kuwait, Lebanon, Pakistan, Qatar, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. see here
Sunni predominate in Syria, Palestine Jordan Lebanon Egypt Libya Nigeria and Indonesia. A map view of the middle East Sunni/Shia predominance appears below original here also see other interactive maps and articles here

Notes: On explaining the Sunni /Shia divergence
I apologise to those of the religion who know so much more than I do. This explanation is to help explain to Christians and other non- Muslims (who may well also know more than I) who could look to the history of one ‘split’ in the Christian ‘church’ and the historical sectarian ‘fighting’ that has occurred since that time as a parallel case of how ‘difference’ and sectarian violence can occur – this is a good way to begin to ‘engage with the Muslim ‘other’ mainstream narrative. The path taken by Protestant religion in England to separate from the Catholic Church under Henry VIII is only one parochial ie English explanation of the rise of differences in the Christian faith between what may be called the sects of Catholicism and Protestantism. This happened in the 16th century. See here
Sunni Islam
Sunni: Follower of the Muslim religion through Mohammed’s successor, Abu Bakr
Islam took a path under Abu Bakr following the death of Mohammed that is followed by Sunni Muslims.

..”Abu Bakr’s leadership of the first Caliphate required him to lead over an extended geographical area where Mohammed had sent emissaries. Tribal alliances came under threat on the Prophet’s death as did Madina’s previous political control. Abu Bakr’s community “affirmed it’s authority by military action (the wars of the ridda); in the process an army was created, and the momentum of action carried it into the frontier regions of the great empires and then, as resistance proved weak into their hearts. By the end of the reign of the second caliph ‘Umar ibn al Khattab (years 634-44) the whole of Arabia part of the Sasanian Empire and the Syrian and Egyptian provinces of the Byzantine Empire had been conquered; the rest of the Sasanian lands were occupied soon afterwards.

In the space of a few years, then, the political frontiers of the Near East had been changed and the centre of political life had moved from the fertile crescent to a small town lying on the edge of the world of high culture and wealth. The change was so sudden and unexpected that it needs explanation. Evidence uncovered by archaeologists indicates that the prosperity and strength of the Mediterranean world were in decline because of Barbarian invasions, failure to maintain terraces and other agricultural works and the shrinking of the urban market. Both plague and long wars; the hold of the Byzantines over Syria had been restored only after the defeat of the Sasanians In 629 and was still tenuous. The Arabs who invaded the two empires were not a tribal horde but an organised force, some of whose members had acquired military skill and experience in the service of the empires or in the fighting after the death of the Prophet. The use of camel transport gave them an advantage in campaigns fought over wide areas; the prospect of land and wealth created a coalition of interest among; and the fervour of conviction gave some of them a different kind of strength.”
Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 22-23, Warner Books Edition, 1991

This happened around the year 640 AD, the year the Romans invaded England, now that’s about 1,375 years ago….. Any one got a case of deja vu?

Shia Islam
Shia, Shi’ite or Shiah: Follower of the Muslim religion through Ali
When the third caliph, ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (644-56)was murdered during unrest in Madina supported by Egyptian soldiers in 656 AD civil war was brought to the community.

The claimant to the succession, ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (656-661) was…a cousin of Muhammad and married to his daughter Fatima. ‘Ali’s alliance grew weaker, and finally he was assassinated in his own city of Kufa. Mu’awiya [the first Umayyad] proclaimed himself caliph and ‘Ali’s elder son, Hasan, acquiesced in it.”
Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples, p. 24-25, Warner Books Edition, 1991

Ali is the leader or Caliph of the fourth caliphate the Islamic path followed by the Shia Muslims of Iran and the majority(60-70%) of Iraqi Muslims.

Additional Notes: As with Protestantism and Catholicism It is not possible to simply separate those who follow one or the other arms of the Christian religion and determine a political leaning. Hamas fighters for example are Sunni, despite Syrian support for Palestinians Hamas is no longer welcome because of its connections to fighters against the Syrian government, notably the Al Nusra Front. Hezbullah is Shia and strong in Syria and parts of Lebanon, they have recently fought alongside the secular Syrian government strongly connected to the Russian Federation. The Muslim Brotherhood in Syria is Sunni and had been outlawed for years. The deaths attributed to Haffaz al Assad the current Syrian President’s father of thousands in Hama in 1982 were primarily because it was a Muslim Brotherhood stronghold opposed to the regime. Many Syrians who are Muslim when asked if they were Sunni or Shia – either didn’t recognise those terms, or didn’t care, it was not really something of much importance before the event of war in their country. The English Middle Eastern journalist Robert Fisk wrote a recent piece on this for the Independent newspaper saying how the fighting in Syria had raised an issue that was never relevant three years ago. The similarity of following Islam and being Muslim was what mattered.

“In some countries, significant shares of Muslims don’t even see the distinction between Sunni and Shia Islam as relevant. A survey of Muslims in 39 countries that we conducted in 2011 and 2012 found, for example, that 74% of Muslims in Kazakhstan and 56% of Muslims in Indonesia identified themselves as neither Sunni nor Shia, but “just a Muslim.” In Iraq, however, only 5% answered “just a Muslim.” see here
It has to be asked if a divisive agenda was stirred in a pot outside these countries. It is clear that violent sectarianism was fueled by Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and US jihadist funding and their adenda entertained us through the western press.

For a brief look explaining differences between Sunni and Shia see here For a discussion on its relevance in the Middle East

Takfiri: a Muslim who accuses another Muslim ( or member of Abrahamic religions) of apostasy.

Now back to my questions:

1. How many expats from around the globe are fighting in Iraq and Syria?

(Maybe I should also ask the question supposedly on the lips of all ‘mainstream opposing’ conspiracy theorists, ‘cui bono?’ or ‘who benefits?) For that answer, well, wait and see……
I located what appears to be the source of a number of brief ‘news’ articles via an article from July 24 2014 in . The article identifies that ‘foreign fighters reportedly make up about 10 percent of the ‘rebels’. Their source for this information is a study titled “Convoy of Martyrs in the Levant” see study here
Propublica explains that the data sample on which the study is based “relies on sources including online obituaries of militants and social networks’…..
More interestingly it was,
“Released last month by Flashpoint Partners, a New York security contracting firm, and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank that tends to align with Israeli views, the report compares the conflict to previous arenas that attracted extremists: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen.” full propublica article here

Part answer to Q1. 10% of the regime total fighting forces in Iraq and Syria are from overseas. (Israeli linked source Flashpoint Partners)
…….the Convoy of Martyrs study concludes. “The mobilization has been stunningly rapid (see, this is the language I was talking of earlier with the situation being made to look “urgent”)— what took six years to build in Iraq at the height of the U.S. occupation may have accumulated inside Syria in less than half that time.” Again stressing the strength of the Islamist forces in speedily winning over areas)……… Militants travel by air or land to Turkey, where smugglers sneak them across the border. There is little interference by authorities in Turkey, a major sponsor of the Syrian rebels. ……….the cause enjoys unique popularity. Many Sunnis and non-Muslims alike regard it as a crusade to overthrow a brutal dictator who uses chemical weapons to slaughter his people. (a think tank throwaway using discredited information on Goutta by FSA- my comment)

Propublica continues, “The Obama administration and European governments support the Syrian opposition and the Supreme Military Command, which encompasses the Free Syrian Army and other relatively moderate groups. The Convoy of Martyrs study describes “Arab Spring-motivated, pro-democratic revolutionary fervor” that pushes foreign volunteers to join the Free Syrian Army, rather than extremist rebel units. “ ( Not all are with IS, just as not all Free Syrian Army were fighting for the same reason. -My comment)

This attempt to separate the ‘extremists’ from the ‘moderates’ is quite ridiculous considering the deliberate bundling together of a range of disparate groups under the banner “Free Syrian Army” in what can only be described as an attempt to engender ‘popular’ support for what was never a united and organised force inside Syria. Its ‘invention’ was to simplify the complex and falsely imbue a sense that this was a united call for ‘freedom’ from another Arab dictator. The Free Syrian Army were foisted on us through our media and on the Syrians by more devious means.

When Bashar Al Assad spoke to the Syrian Parliament in March 2011 in the early days of the fighting and destabilisation of his country, he said:
Syria is facing a great conspiracy whose tentacles extend to some nearby countries and far-away countries, with some inside the country. This conspiracy depends, in its timing not in its form, on what is happening in other Arab countries.
Today, there is a new fashion which they call “revolutions”. We do not call them so because we think this is mostly a popular condition. As far as they are concerned, if something happens in Syria, then it has a cover: there is a revolution there so there is a revolution here: there is reform there, so there is reform here. The tools are the same: the slogans and talking about freedom. Consequently, if there are calls for reform – and I believe we all call for reform – we get along with them without knowing what is really happening. That is why they mixed up, in a very smart manner, three elements. I know that most of the people who are listening to us, and you represent them, know a great deal about these details. Nevertheless, I will discuss them once again in order to harmonize our concepts based on the available information so far. There might be things which will be revealed later. So, they mixed up three elements: sedition, reform, and daily needs. Most of the Syrian people call for reform, and you are all reformers. Most of the Syrian people have unmet needs; and we all discuss, criticize, and have our disagreements because we have not met many of the needs of the Syrian people. But sedition has become part of the issue and started to lead the other two factors and take cover under them. That is why it was easy to mislead many people who demonstrated in the beginning with good intensions. We cannot say that all those who demonstrated are conspirators. This is not true, and we want to be clear and realistic.
The conspirators are few in number, this is natural. Even we, in the government, did not know, like everybody else, and did not understand what was happening until acts of sabotage started to emerge. Things became clearer; for what is the link between reform and sabotage? What is the link between reform and murder? Some satellite T.V. stations actually spoke about attacking certain buildings an hour before they were actually attacked. How did they know that? Do they read the future? This happened more than once. Then, things started to become clearer. They will say that we believe in the conspiracy theory. In fact there is no conspiracy theory. There is a conspiracy.

See full speech here

Islamist fighters were not specifically identified by Al Assad in 2011 but he would have been keenly aware of the Salafi, Muslim Brotherhood History in his country and the Islamists who sought to unseat his secular dictator father. Meanwhile the seeds were being sown by Saudis through their ambassador to the US Bandar Bin Sultan (george Bush’s friend) he US under John McCains ‘watch’, to support Islamist groups prepared to fight against Assads troups.
see here
And now?
Robert Fisk of the Independent recently (27th June 2014) wrote on the US call to arm ‘moderates’
Confusing? You bet. So first steps first. Who are the “moderate” rebels whom Obama wants to train and arm? He doesn’t name them – and he can’t, because the original “moderates” whom America swore to arm (with the help of the CIA, the Brits, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey) were the so-called “Free Syrian Army”, mostly composed of deserters from Assad’s government forces. But the FSA – briefly beloved of John McCain until he discovered a pro-al-Qa’ida fighter sharing a photo-op with him in northern Syria (see McCain photo further into this article)– has decomposed.
Its men have gone home, switched to the bearded Islamists of the Nusrah or Isis – or Isil if we heed the latest acronym – or re-deserted to the government army and taken up arms for Assad again. Some freedom fighters! They weren’t given enough weapons, we are told. Now they’ll get more. And no doubt sell them – as they did the last lot. For it is a sad fact of war that whenever a gun crosses a border, it represents not loyalty but cash. Full article here

“A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 1.57 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today, representing 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion.
While Muslims are found on all five inhabited continents, more than 60% of the global Muslim population is in Asia and about 20% is in the Middle East and North Africa. …..More than 300 million Muslims, or one-fifth of the world’s Muslim population, live in countries where Islam is not the majority religion. These minority Muslim populations are often quite large. India, for example, has the third-largest population of Muslims worldwide. China has more Muslims than Syria, while Russia is home to more Muslims than Jordan and Libya combined.”see here
The propublica site suggests “The total number of the rebel forces – Syrians and foreigners, full-time and occasional fighters – is thought to be in the tens of thousands. Estimates range from above 60,000 to below 100,000, based on interviews with U.S. and European officials and experts. “

AUSTRALIA: 200 (in 2013) 150 (Foreign affairs estimate now)
Sept 2013 see here
“ASIO believes that there are at least 200 Australians who have gone to fight in Syria, more than double the number believed from any other Western country.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says 150 Australians have been or are currently overseas fighting with extremists in Iraq and Syria. see here

BELGIUM: 200 (in 2013) and between 100-300 suspected in 2014 (propublica article)
see here “Notes about Islamic extremism and terrorism written by a self made journalist — who once quit”

and here “Produced by the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center (ESISC), the detailed report explains that at least 5 youngsters have already left Belgium for Syria in the last few weeks alone, having been recruited by Shara4Belgium. This brings the known total of exported-from-Belgium jihadists to some 200 – most of them of North-African origin. “

BRITAIN: 400 -500
“Around 400 Britons are believed to have gone to Syria over the last two years to engage in the foreign-backed militancy to topple the Syrian government.” see here

The 500 Britons who have gone to fight in Syria over the past three years put the Middle-Eastern country in Whitehall’s sights as a much more dangerous place for radicalization than Iraq. An assessment by the MI5 spells out how alluring Syria has become to UK jihadists.
“The nature of the conflict in Syria and the emergence of Al-Nusra Front, which has declared its allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, is leading to the country becoming an increasingly significant potential source of future threats to the UK and UK interests overseas,” see here

see here
Carleton University professor and member of the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society Jez Littlewood said the Syrian conflict had been a “magnet” for western Islamic radicals.
“What’s interesting in the Syrian case is the narrative is it’s going to defend the Muslims against (Syrian president Bashar al Assad’s) regime and it’s in the defence of women and children. An important part of that narrative, which appears to be galvanizing western foreign fighters, is that western democracies have not intervened.” Potential militants were often radicalized in groups, rather than individually, he said.
“Certainly in 2010 the propaganda call … to individuals from western democracies was ‘bring a friend.’ You’re going to a country where the living is hard, you probably don’t speak the language, you certainly won’t be used to what’s expected of you, so having somebody you know there and you can reinforce and support each other, (it) was considered to be more likely that people would stay.”…………….. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) estimates about 30 Canadian nationals are fighting in Syria, with about 100 others connected to radical causes in other Muslim countries.

CHECHENYA: Numbers high but figures not confirmed, Syria reporting 1700 (Also see RUSSIA)

The numbers of Chechens may well include Chechen diaspora already in Syria and Jordan which would explain the discrepancy between Russian and Syrian figures. See here

23.5.2014 Russian-speaking fighters and supporters of the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham say they are not “jihadis” but “Muwahideen” — “believers in the unity of God”. see here

Declaration by Umar Shishani leader of one Chechen led group to Al Baghdadi Video: Umar Shishani Gets His Al Aqsa Brigade To Swear Oath To Baghdadi | From Chechnya To Syria see here


Training young Syrians for the Front see here
We have two training camps. These training camps train a lot of ansars [local Syrians]. There are a lot of young people, 13, 14, 15 and 16. We have been training them for about 6 months, young people who are entering our brigade as ansars. We teach these young people the religion of Allah, the Quran and the Sunnah. They also go to the training camp for preparations and after 6 months they to go the ribat. After they guard the ribat we take them to the front…. Today or tomorrow they’ll graduate and there will be a new generation to take those places.

See here
Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham, Kazakhstan, Syria “Jump On A Plane & Come” – IS Kazakhstan Jamaat Urges Kazakhs To Fight In Syria August 11, 2014 joanna paraszczuk Abu Muaz, a fighter in the Islamic State’s Kazakh jamaat, calls on his fellow countrymen to leave Kazakhstan and come to Syria to wage jihad, saying: “Just jump on a ‘plane or a car and come, no problem”. Abu Muaz goes on to say that Muslims should not live in “infidel countries” and asks, “How long have the Muslims been asleep? Wake up!”

Original here | From Chechnya To Syria

……and on the movements and allegiances of a Chechen fighter……..showing the mobility and length of fighting
A jihadi calling himself Musa Abu Yusuf ash-Shishani has posted an explanation of why he left Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and joined first Umar Shishani’s former jamaat, then helped the Caucasus Emirate (likely from Turkey), then joined the Islamic State in Syria. The piece argues that Chechens in Syria and Turkey cannot use as an excuse for not swearing bay’at to the Islamic State and al-Baghdadi the fact that they have previously sworn an oath to the Caucasus Emirate, a statement aimed primarily at Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar. Musa Abu Yusuf says that Caucasus Emirate Emir Ali Abu Muhammad should only expect Caucasians to swear private, temporary oaths to him and that he should submit to Baghdadi and the Caliphate. He adds that he believes there are few prospects for jihad in the Caucasus outside of joining the Islamic State.

Omar al Shishani Chechen military commander of ISIL AP photo

Omar al Shishani Chechen military commander of ISIL AP photo

DENMARK and SWEDEN : 100 and 200 respectively
see here
Denmark said it estimated more than 100 of its nationals have left for Syria. Sweden has said its biggest security threat comes from around 200 Islamists who could become involved in militant attacks, including young people radicalised after fighting in Syria. A botched suicide bomb attack four years ago in Stockholm and the conviction in 2012 of three Swedes for plotting to kill people at a Danish newspaper after it published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005 have shown the Nordic countries are not immune to attack…..

EGYPT: 489 Dead. (Estimated figures of current live fighters not readily available) see here

“Imagine this: Between 2001 and 2010, we identified 50 jihadists who went from France to Afghanistan,” said a senior French counterterror official …… “Surely there were more, but we identified 50. With Syria, in one year, we have already identified 135. It has been very fast and strong.” ……….it could be twice as many….A senior French official estimated at least 400 Europeans, counterterror ‘officials’ advise precise numbers are difficult. see here

An estimated 2,000 Europeans, including some 320 German citizens, have travelled to Syria to fight alongside Islamist rebels, he said while presenting the German domestic intelligence service’s (BfV) annual report. see here

Danish site report here
The Making of a German Salafiyya
– The Emergence, Development and Missionary Work of Salafi Movements in Germany – Nina Wiedl
During the last twenty years, missionary Salafi movements have emerged and gained followers in many European countries. In Germany, in the early 2000s, a small number of Salafi activists started to establish a nationwide network of mosque associations and Islamic centers, which intensely engages in da?wa (‘call’ or ‘invitation’ to Islam). This network seems to have developed in just a few years into one of the most successful agents in the conversion of Germans to Islam.
Today, Salafism is the fastest-growing Islamic movement in Germany and has some three to four thousand followers, about 0.1 percent of the Muslim population in the country. Questions abound over the strategies, methods and topics of Salafi da ?wa and the reasons for the success of this tendency of Islam in Germany, in the light of the absence of migrants and scholars from Saudi Arabia – the religious center of Salafism – in the country.
We also have to raise the question why many second- and third-generation Muslim immigrants reject the Islamic traditions of their parents and choose instead a ‘de-culturalized’ transnational Salafi identity, and why Salafism appears to have a special appeal for German converts.

The Salafist Jihadi current is not considered to be particularly strong in the Netherlands. Yet never before have this many young Muslims left the country for a jihad theater like the one in Syria. Since September 2001, individual Dutch Muslims have tried and sometimes reached jihad theaters in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Chechnya, Iraq and Somalia. But it was not until fighting broke out in Syria that an entire football team openly left the Netherlands to fight for their religion in a strange, war-torn country. And during the past two years, as many as 200 mainly young Dutch Muslims have traveled to Syria to support the jihad. Most of these jihadis are male, in their early twenties, and of Moroccan descent. Turks, Kurds, Somalis and converts who hold citizenship in the Netherlands are also now fighting in Syria. The Dutch fighters are partly being recruited and partly self-radicalized. After 45 days of initial training in Syria, most of the new fighters join militias associated with al-Qa’ida. They are fighting in the north of Syria especially around Aleppo, Idlib and the Latakia province. And based on their own reporting using social media like Facebook it is clear that some of them have been involved with al-Qa’ida’s executions of prisoners. Full report here

JORDAN: 128 Dead over 2000 said to remain (9 months ago) here
Three years into Syria’s civil war a growing number of Jordanian jihadists are coming home, some disillusioned by infighting within rebel ranks, others seeking a break from a draining and largely inconclusive conflict. Up to a few months ago, Jordanian authorities were more discriminating with returning fighters, sometimes freeing “first-time offenders” who were deemed misguided after expressing regret for their actions.Now, every detained returnee is whisked straight to court, although none have been accused of plotting attacks in Jordan.Charge sheets against defendants highlight Amman’s continued pragmatic recognition of Assad’s rule. Many are accused of committing “acts not authorized by the state that sour relations with legitimate Syrian authorities”, and face jail terms of 2 1/2 to five years after speedy military trials with minimal legal safeguards, according to defense lawyers.

and see here
and see here
……… dozens of Jordanian fighters reportedly continue to flow into the northern neighbour…..The hard-line Jordanian Jihadi Salafist movement claims that a total of 60 Jordanian nationals have been confirmed killed while fighting alongside Islamist militias such as Al Qaeda-linked Jabhat Al Nusra coalition and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Meanwhile, Islamists claim that dozes of Jordanians continue to stream into Syria to take up arms against Bashar Assad regime, pushing their ranks to over 2,000.
According to Mohammed Shalabi, or Abu Sayyef, head of the Jordanian Jihadi Salafist movement, tens of young Jordanians continue to cross into Syria via the country’s northern and southern borders each week in order to join various Islamist militias.
“We have hundreds of true believers who are ready and willing, and thank God are able to cross into Syria and defend their Muslim brothers and sisters,” said Abu Sayyef.

KAZAKHSTAN and UZBEKISTAN: numbers unclear linked to Chechen fighters
“Jump On A Plane & Come” – IS Kazakhstan Jamaat Urges Kazakhs To Fight In Syria | From Chechnya To Syria

LEBANON: 440 reported dead (Estimated figures of current live fighters not readily available)
All figures from 20.11.2013 see Jordan Times here

LIBYA, MOROCCO, ALGERIA, MAURITANIA (Maghreb) No clear figures but fighters include large number of Libyans post downfall of Gaddafi
…..Feb 2012 see here
A number of press reports have documented Maghreb fighters in Syria. El Khabar reported in December that several Maghreb fighters were killed in a recent Syrian air strike on Idlib.
El Khabar cited Al Vourghan Brigade, which fights alongside Jabhat al-Nusra, as saying that an Algerian man with an alias of Abou Khaithama was killed in an air strike launched by Syrian fighter planes, and that at least two more Algerians, eight Moroccans and a large number of Libyans were also killed.
The Algerian newspaper also disclosed the names of a few of the fighters killed alongside al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria. The jihadists reportedly included Algerians, Tunisians, Mauritanians and a large number of Libyans…..

INDONESIA: 150 (‘dozens’)
Intelligence officials estimate about 150 Australians have taken up arms or aided Islamic militants in Syria and Iraq, with reports of a similar number from Indonesia. Indonesian media have also reported some returning militants have set up Islamic State branches in Jakarta, despite a ban on the organisation. 18.8.2014 see here

And in June 2014 a ‘Terrorism Expert’ based in Jakarta was interviewed for the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
…. a Jakarta-based terrorism expert, Sidney Jones from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict, says dozens of Indonesians are known to be fighting in Syria……………Ms Jones says Indonesians attracted to ISIS are more radical than the people who carried out the deadly Bali bombings…………..Ms Jones spoke to Indonesia correspondent George Roberts.

JONES: There’s jubilation in some Indonesian jihadi circles that is evident on many of the extremist websites. There’s been growing support in that community for ISIS over the last six months or so.
ROBERTS: What sort of things are they saying?
JONES: They’re putting every detail of every takeover with photographs and so on, on the site and there has been a progression of Indonesians taking an online oath to al-Baghdadi, the head of ISIS. What that means in real terms, I’m not sure but we’re also seeing more Indonesians actually trying to go to Syria to join up.
ROBERTS: So is this being used as a recruitment tool?
JONES: Well, we don’t know yet because I mean obviously the events in Mosul are so recent. But the excitement about ISIS being the kernel of a return of the Caliphate are palpable. And I think the scary thing in some ways is that ISIS now seems to have more support from the most militant factions of the Indonesian jihadi community, where the less radical ones are supporting the Al Qaeda-linked rival of ISIS called the al-Nusra Front. So the divisions in Syria and Iraq have blown back to Indonesia as well but there’s a lot of fundraising going on for ISIS and the support has moved beyond some of the real hardcore militants to some of the kind of hangers-on. It’s just generated excitement of the kind I haven’t seen before, really haven’t seen in years.
ROBERTS: Why is this conflict in Syria and now potentially in Iraq more attractive to Indonesian jihadists?
JONES: It has to do with the way that Sham, which is the word used in Arabic and in Islam for Greater Syria, is portrayed in descriptions of the judgement day because it will be in Sham where the final battle between good and evil takes place, where Islam will triumph. And that means that Indonesians – or anyone else – who goes to Syria has a chance not just to fight a jihad but to fight the most important battle in Islam.

see article here
ITALY and the TUNISIAN CONNECTION: 16% of all foreign fighters (around 1600?)
Several cases in Italy involved the Tunisian Combatant Group, part of al Qaida’s terrorist coalition. Some Italian cells sent recruits via Syria to join the insurgency in Iraq. Key operatives were arrested by Italian police and then deported to prisons in Tunisia, sometimes after serving time in Italy. After the Tunisian revolution ended in 2011, however, a new government in Tunis released convicted terrorists and allowed them to create a radical Islamic party, Ansar al Sharia. Led by Seifallah Ben Hassine, a founder of the Tunisian Combatant Group and a former ally of Osama bin Laden, according to European and UN counterterror officials and documents. His party has been recruiting and deploying holy warriors to the Syrian front from camps in the south of Tunisia, according to European investigators.

Tunisians account for 16 percent of foreign fighters in Syria, the second-largest group there, according to the data sample in the Convoy of Martyrs Study. (Propublica site)

RUSSIA: 200- 400 Russian Nationals in 2013 (Syria claimed around 1700 Chechens) here   March 2013
At least 200 Russian-speaking Salafi Muslims are fighting against Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, according to an expert at a state-run think tank. Rais Suleimanov, head of the Kazan-based Volga Center for Regional and Ethno-Religious Studies, said he got this number from Russian militants themselves, who he said have “no interest in exaggerating it.” He said the militants come from CIS countries including Ukraine and from different regions of Russia, among them Tatarstan and the volatile North Caucasus, where Russian law enforcement is battling an intractable insurgency of separatist Islamist militants. Other experts cast doubt on the reliability of the figure cited by Suleimanov, saying it was virtually impossible to verify. But they said that given Russia’s staunch support of the Assad regime, it would be natural for militants opposed to the Russian government to help fight a kind of proxy war in Syria…………….According to Suleimanov, the combatants are led by some of the most prominent figures in the Russian radical Islamist movement, including Airat Vakhitov and Daud Khalukhayev. Vakhitov was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2002 after being captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He was later returned to Russia to face criminal conspiracy charges but was released in 2004 due to lack of evidence.

Russia: Is Damascus’ Claim Of “1,700 Chechens” Fighting in Syria Correct?

The Syrian Government claimed this week that around 1,700 people of Chechen origin are fighting in Syria, and that those Russian citizens found to be fighting in Syria will be tried and punished under Syrian law, RIA Novosti reports. …………………On September 20, Sergei Smirnov, the deputy director of Russia’s Federal Security Service (Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosi or FSB) said that there were around 300-400 Russian nationals fighting in Syria.

SAUDI ARABIA: 729 dead (Jordan times 20.11.2013)
1000-2000 including fighters and so called ‘charity/aid workers
Saudi Arabian nationals accounted for the largest number of slain foreign fighters at 729.

Feb 12.2014 see here
“What happened in Syria is really causing problems for us,” said Abdulrahman al-Hadlaq, head of the Interior Ministry’s Ideological Security Directorate, which monitors online radicalism.
He estimated there were between 1000 and 2000 Saudis in Syria, including fighters and people distributing charity to refugees, and said he believed most were in groups aligned with al-Qaeda.

SPAIN: 50 +
see here july 24 2014

In an article by Sebastian Rotella for propublica, we are told of the suicide bombing…

………13 months ago when 33yo Rachid Wahbi a cabdriver from a Spanish slum in Cueta who’s classic Arabic was spoken with a Nth Moroccan accent, killed himself and 130 other people in a suicide attack on the Syrian military Base at al Nairab for al-Qaida’s Syrian branch of the al-Nusrah Front.

Following a recent Spanish police raid on Wahbi’s home town an ‘extremist ring’ was uncovered arrested and charged with sending “ as many as 50 fighters to Syria”
Five ‘holy warriors’ from Spain have died in Syria, three in bombings that killed another 100 people, police say. Last month, Spanish police stormed the hillside ghetto where Wahbi lived in Ceuta, a Spanish territory in North Africa, and arrested a ring of extremists who are charged with sending fighters. Spanish Police advised…..….the accused leader had previously been acquitted of plotting attacks on targets in Spain with a group linked to al-Qaida and a former Guantanamo inmate. “The global jihad has prioritized the Syrian conflict as its principal front,” said a top Spanish intelligence official

1. How many expats from around the globe are fighting in Iraq and Syria?
The total number using the upper limits provided by the sites listed for all the above countries is 9885, excluding the numbers of deceased fighters. If this is about 10% of the total forces fighting against the Iraqi and Syrian Regimes then the total figure from Syria alone would be around 100,000 (note there are no clear figures listed above for numbers of fighters in Iraq)

2. Where are these non Iraqi or Syrian combatants from?
The above list is not definitive but includes areas where combatants have been identified as coming from.

3. What is their proportion of the total number of so called ‘Sunni extremist’ fighters against ‘Bashar Al Assad in Syria and Nuri Al Maliki in Iraq?
According to a recent estimate by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, 11,000 people from 74 countries have travelled to Syria to join the opposition fighters. They make up about 10% of the fighting force. The figure has doubled since last April, with a particularly sharp increase in non-Arab and Western fighters. (Propublica)

4. What attracts them to this commitment?
This is a question for another post. But some answers are embedded in the numbers information above.

5. How are they assisted?
Again information identifies that not all fighters are with IS. There are many operating groups, some have merged and some are showing differences in the outcomes they are seeking so again as with the Free Syrian Army they do not fight as one. The assistance to each will differ and the Foreign governments who have been named as supporters through a range of means are not openly talking about how they are supporting and indeed who they are supporting.

The Global Research report states Senator John McCain had extensive contact with ‘rebels’ now known to be with IS; see report here
The senator travelled to Syria last weekend to meet with rebels fighting in the civil war against President  Bashar al-Assad, becoming the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the country since the conflict started. He has called on the Obama administration to provide weapons to the rebels. (also see Rachel Weiner, McCain responds to Syria photo accusations, Washington Post,  May 30, 2013)

6. How strong is their participation in the operation of the so called Caliphate?
Not all fighters support the current Caliphate and numbers who operate with Al Nusra Front as opposed to IS are not readily available. Interestingly the al Nusra Front have been operating for nearly 2 years in Damascus and were believed responsible for overunning the Al Yarmouk Palestinian Camp in Damascus where most Palestinians previously living in the camp (a city suburb of around 1 million people with over 50% of them Palestinian refugees) have now fled to be double refugees across the globe. The Nous Rats, have since moved out after destroying the lives of tens of thousands.

No source on this I have saved it to my computer some time ago so sincere apologies to the clever person who thought of the title

Aljezira sign and Network logo’s but uncertain source as downloaded some time ago, apologies to clever person who thought of the title.

Voltairenet informs on the Al Nusra Front (or Jabat al Nusra ….created by
…...“Mohammad Farouk Tayfour, Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria, whose political orders allegedly came from the MB office in Istanbul and the military intelligence from NATO. Funding for the Front was initially provided by the State of Qatar and subsequently by that of Saudi Arabia (until its breakup with the Brotherhood). It also received private donations from religious leaders and heads of major Gulf companies. Its current benefactors are the Saudi secret services (since the return of Prince Bandar). At the end of 2012, the Front publicly disclosed its links with Al-Qaeda, resulting in its inclusion in Washington’s list of terrorist organizations, on December 11.
However, France – which oversees the Front militarily with officers of the French Foreign Legion – continues to support it also diplomatically. At the Friends of Syria meeting held in Marrakech, Morocco, on December 12, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated that “all Arabs were up in arms” against the attitude of the United States “because, on the ground the Front was doing a good job.” “It was very clear, and the president of the Coalition [Syrian National] was of the same mind” [1]. The president of the Coalition, Sheikh Moaz al-Khatib (also a Shell lobbyist), asked Washington to reconsider its position. 29 rebel groups signed a petition to oppose the move by the U.S. and to support the Front. In the end, France officially endorsed the U.S. position and took the initiative to have the Front added to the UN list of terrorist organizations.
In fact, there is documented proof that French, U.S., Qatari and Turkish officers were active within the Front after its inclusion in the United Nations list of terrorist organizations.
Turkey provided the Front with logistical support despite the taking of Turkish hostages [2]. In March 2014, the Turkish army took the Syrian-Armenian town of Kassab in a joint operation with the Front [3]. Turkey didn’t sever its ties with with the Front until June 2014, that is to say, after the invasion of Iraq by the IS.
The Front is equipped with modern weapons, including Franco-German manufactured Milan anti-tank missiles and a stock of Manpad missiles. It shifts locations thereby dodging the attacks of the Syrian Arab Army thanks to the satellite imagery it continues to receive from NATO, at least until June of this year.
The Front is currently attempting to eliminate its rivals in two zones, one in the north of the country (in a part of the town of Aleppo), the other in the south (in the countryside surrounding the city of Deraa) with a view to quickly proclaiming the creation of a caliphate.
26.7.2014 article here
[1] “Laurent Fabius prend la défense d’Al-Qaida”, Réseau Voltaire, 13 December 2012.
[2] “Release of Al-Qaeda’s Lebanese hostages in Syria”, Translation Alizée Ville, Voltaire Network, 22.10.13 [3] “Turkey helps foreign mercenaries slip into Syria”, Voltaire Network, 22 March 2014.

However there is a strong suggestion that the IS is gaining numbers from other groups and that despite differences the groups are working as one.

Instead, according to the Islamic Front, the “legitimate” Islamic bodies should be supported in each “liberated” area and the “people of knowledge should be asked to determine what should be handled immediately without any delay.” In other words, neither the Islamic State, nor the Al Nusrah Front, should impose its will on the other jihadist and Islamist groups overseeing territory won from the Assad regime.
This is not the first time that there has been tension between the Islamic Front and Al Nusrah. In May, the Islamic Front and other allied groups released a “revolutionary covenant” that was intended to allay concerns about the role of extremists in the Syrian rebellion. The Al Nusrah Front swiftly rejected the covenant, arguing that it was not sufficiently rooted in religious principles and was too nationalistic in its focus. Despite these disagreements, the Al Nusrah Front and the Islamic Front continue to jointly conduct operations. Read original here:

7. Where are they based?
A question that I was unable to answer for the purpose of this piece. Notably these figures relate to syria and there are a number of hotspots where fighters are identified across the Syrian cities and countryside. With the recent reports that the Syrian government is gradually regaining areas from fighting rebel groups. It may be that they are moving into Iraq to join forces with IS as is noted for a number of previously ‘independent Chechen fighters some of whom have declared allegiance to al Baghdadi.

8. Who is the Caliph Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and where does his authority come from?

Current named Caliph of the Islamic State:
Information is conflicting and charged with conspiracy theories surrounding leader of the ‘Takfiri’ ISIL, ISIS, IS or Da’ash group.

The new IS Caliph is named variously;

[It should be said that in Arab culture it is common to be known by a number of names that are not on your passport. To be known as so and so’s father for example (Abu so-and-so) if you have a boy child or to be known by where you come from as in al Baghdadi (from Baghdad).]

  • Abu Bakr al Badhdadi.- Nom de guerre (war name) of the announced Caliph
  • aka Ibrahim ibn Awwad ibn Ibrahim ibn Ali ibn Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai
  • aka Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Al-Husseini Al-Qurashi
  • aka Amir al Mu’minin
  • aka Caliph Ibrahim
  • aka Abu Dua
  • Abu Omar al Baghdadi (2011)
  • aka Caliph Rolex
  • aka Simon Elliot
  • aka Elliot Shimon

On 25.5.2011 The Huffington Post wrote following a major suicide bombing in Baghdad:
The reported capture of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State of Iraq, could mark a setback to insurgents as they try to intensify attacks after a relative lull. In the past, however, Iraqi officials have reported al-Baghdadi’s arrest or killing, only to acknowledge later that they were wrong. The U.S. military has even said al-Baghdadi could be a fictitious character used to give an Iraqi face to an organization dominated by foreign al-Qaida fighters.
A U.S. military could not confirm the arrest, said a spokesman, 1st Lt. John A. Brimley.
In 2007, Iraq’s government reported that al-Baghdadi had been killed and released photos of what it said was his body. Later, security officials said they had arrested al-Baghdadi. In both cases, the U.S. military said at the time it could not be confirmed _ and the reports turned out not to be true.

See here for more on the Caliphate

ISIS Territory and Newly Announced Caliphate

ISIS Territory and Newly Announced Caliphate

above poster sourced here


ISIS did not cut off James Foley’s head, this is clearly photoshopped: see here
This is a another pretext for war that has no basis in truth.
Also see: Scott Crieghton’s blog here

Al Bahgdadi trained by Mossad see full article here (Grammatical errors in document but section reproduced below)

(Edward)…. “Snowden said the intelligence services of three countries, namely the United States, Britain and the Zionist entity have worked together to create a terrorist organization that is able to attract ALL extremists of the world to a one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest.”
The documents of the American National Security Agency refers to “the recent implementation of an old known as the” hornet’s nest “to protect the Zionist entity PLANbritannique, and creating a religion including Islamic slogans reject any religion or faith. ”
According to documents Snowden, “The only solution for the protection of the” Jewish State “is to create an enemy near its borders, BUT the draw against Islamic states who oppose his presence.”
Leaks revealed that “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took an intensive military training for a whole year in the hands of Mossad, besides COURSES theology and master the art of speech.”

And here:

Simon Elliot aka Al Baghdadi- Mossad Agent

Simon Elliot aka Al Baghdadi- Mossad Agent

Al Baghdadi is really Simon Elliot, or Elliot Shimon, Mossad Agent and Israeli actor.see here

US Senator John McCain photographed with Mohamed Nour and Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi

US Senator John McCain photographed with Mohamed Nour and Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi

US and their level of support is not transparent, but some pollies make grand faux pas’. In a photo seen across several posts from 2013 McCain is photographed with ‘rebels’ – this photo is taken from the Global research article seehere Sept 2013 titled “Senator John McCain, Foreign Relations “Adviser” to Al Qaeda Death Squads in Syria”

Al Baghdadi has no support amongst Muslims see here
Iranian TV site Article by Kevin Barrett Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist, is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.

ISIS operatives killed the three young male settlers to provoke an Israeli attack on Gaza and divert from its own operations. see here

So basically you get the picture?

The Pimpernel Caliph is really of Scottish Jewish heritage (the surname Elliot “is seen by some to derive from the Anglo-Saxon personal name Aelfward or Elewald, meaning “elf ruler.” and the name Simon meaning apparently He (God) has heard. So, God has heard the Elf Ruler)

He has been photographed wearing a Rolex watch, has been ‘invented’ and trained by the Israelis with US assistance to lead a fearsome state (of Elfs?) near Israel’s borders in order for Israel to garner extended support for a Zionist agenda to extend across all Palestine and create their own ‘Levant’ – from the Nile to the Euphrates. It will need a lot more than I have to really give this thorough analysis………but ask the last question, the cui bono one and whew! Not the Syrian people, not the Iraqi people and not us from what I can see, but certainly there look to be a few who have and will benefit from this so called  IS ‘threat’.

I will leave this to the much more worthy investigative journalists and clever ‘conspiracy theories’

We don’t really have the full answers to that  question ‘who benefits’ -cui bono, but the arrows point in a range of directions. Interestingly Roger Cohen for the New York Times (an illustrious rag) wrote a piece called The Captive Arab Mind’ in 2010 where he said of the cui bono believers “What we are dealing with here is the paltry harvest of captive minds. Such minds resort to conspiracy theory because it is the ultimate refuge of the powerless. If you cannot change your own life, it must be that some greater force controls the world.”  Well Peter, I am powerless but that doesn’t mean larger forces than I have not had a big hand in this situation where many innocents have died or been uprooted to a life of a refugee. All for What?

see Cohen’s NYT article here

Believe me it has been a rewarding ride and with all this background information revealed it is no wonder that the final blog I am sharing from Joshua Landis Director: Center for Middle East Studies who suggests there are splinters in the Caliphate…….No doubt about it, and hopefully then no-one will heed the Elf Ruler.

Splinters in the caliphate? Let’s hope so see

The Factions of Raqqa Province


Globalizing Gaza » Jeff Halper, CounterPunch

Another really thought provoking re-post.

This time on Israel’s  “Lawfare” legal campaign to prevent the International Criminal Court from taking cases of their violations of human rights in warfare. We have heard a lot recently about;

  • the lack of concern for civilian lives in Gaza – a violation of the ‘Principle of ‘Distinction’
  • the disproportionality of the Israeli attacks on Gaza – a violation of the Principle of ‘Disproportionality’

Both violations if proven in the court would constitute grave breaches of international law – these are the principles Israel wants to see ‘eliminated’  or ‘significantly watered down’ by creating new terms – “non-legitimate actors” such as “terrorists,” “insurgents” and “non-state actors,” together with the civilian population that supports them – so that anyone resisting state oppression can no longer claim protection. see article below by Jeff Halper

Globalizing Gaza » CounterPunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.


The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) ‘7:30 Report’ posted 14.8.2014 (see full report and 9 minute program video here) released some background information about Khaled Sharrouf, the ‘Australian Jihadist’ photographed in the Northern Syrian town of Raqqa. Sharrouf is believed to be operating with ISIL the jihadist organisation getting a lot of press due to release of social media reports of apparent human rights abuses. Sharrouf was brought to our attention through the media release of photos of him and his three young sons supposedly in Raqqa Syria. The photograph of the son struggling to hold aloft what appeared to be the severed head of a man we are told was a member of the Syrian government forces. John Kerry reportedly said about the photo,  “This image, perhaps even an iconic photograph… is really one of the most disturbing, stomach-turning, grotesque photographs ever displayed,” see here

Other media including the Daily Telegraph and UK Daily Mail tabloids report additional information about this man and his Australian family. The Telegraph apparently also managed to speak with some of his supportive ‘friends’ (Full Telegraph article here and Daily Mail article here

A number of competing narratives and subtext are apparent in this unfolding story of an ‘Australian jihadist’.

1. Mainstream Line: Fear Homegrown Jihadists with a Middle East apprenticeship.

The mainstream media’s first responses to the photos were “Homegrown Jihadi” shock stories that ran conveniently alongside Australian government calls to deal with the return to Australia of ‘radicalised Islamist terrorists’. This ‘problem’ is something also clearly high on the agenda of the US (who actually have more to be concerned about despite the predominance of Australians in the news). Senior pollies in both countries have recently had extensive talks through AUSMIN, the Annual defence talkfest between Australia and the US (more on this in next post). This section from the publicly released ‘Joint Communique’ on the AUSMIN talks addresses the ‘joint concern’ regarding ISIL.

“Australia and the United States condemned in the strongest possible terms the actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and other armed opposition groups in Iraq. They welcomed the nomination of Dr Haider al-Abadi as Prime Minister-designate, and encouraged him to form a new and inclusive Iraqi Government as soon as possible. They called on all Iraqi leaders to work closely together and adopt a unified approach to addressing the country’s challenges. The two countries indicated their deep concern about recent developments in northern Iraq and their commitment to work together and with other partners to undertake humanitarian operations to relieve besieged communities and to combat the threat posed by ISIL.”
Full AUSMIN communique released 12.8.2014 see here

2. Jihadists commit the worst human rights abuses

The addition of Sharrouf’s 3 young boys in the photographs alongside others photos showing supposed results of IS operations in Syria (that could well be considered as ‘crimes against humanity’ if they ever get to the ICC) has we are told fuelled ‘outrage’. Photo’s of Sharrouf that accompany the mainstream articles have apparently been released by the Islamic State (aka ISIL) and by Sharrouf himself, through social media. (Published on his blocked out Twitter account 8.8.2014).. It has also brought out many undiagnosed racist loonies on the net, calling for everything from denying Muslims entry to Australia to the nuclear bombing of Iraq. The blurring of national borders and ‘difference’ in these reports between the two countries of Syria and Iraq eerily echos the Islamic State’s announcement of the Caliphate in Iraq under Al Bagdadi -(more on this later). However it is far from the reality of the circumstances for each country. The Syrian Government is now being accused of ‘collective punishment’ (a term used to describe Israels pounding of Gaza civilians to destroy Hamas operatives, weaponry and tunnels). see here

The International Criminal Court will have a very busy next 20 years investigating and unraveling the disasters that have been supported and fueled by US puppet states across the Middle East. A recent article by Joel Jaeger (22.7.2014) on the reach of the ICC said “The most crucial impediment to the ICC’s global reach is the fact that the United States, Russia and China have not joined the ICC and continue to obstruct its functioning with U.N. Security Council vetoes.”  ……………..Most recently, Russia and China prevented the Security Council from referring the conflict in Syria to the ICC on May 22.”  see here.

Narrative Subtext: Israel does not it is mearly protecting itself

With Netenyahu bleating to the US to please save us from the ICC it is doubtful there will be any prosecution over Gaza human rights violations and ‘collective punishment’ allegations. Clearly the US Russia and China apathy regarding full commitment to the operation of the ICC prevents a fair approach across the globe to prosecutions (currently heavily weighted towards African nations) their attitude a significant obstacle to the ICC’s potential for universal application.

3. Only mad people can perform atrocities

Another narrative followed when more was discovered about Mr Sharrouf’s situation in Australia. He was now announced as thankfully ‘mad’, suffering from schitzophrenia. I say thankfully, because when we have trouble grasping the possible full implications of happenings outside our own history and experience (what we call ‘normal’) we resort to calling the acts and those performing them ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’ as it helps to believe these are not normal people. As we have found with the situation of sexual assaults the people who are most often the perpetrators are quite sane and have no mental health diagnosis. The same no doubt goes for most ‘Islamist Jihadis’ so I say ‘thankfully’ as it fits nicely with our understanding of how people operate. Much harder if Sharrouf has no such history and is merely disaffected youth of struggling immigrant parents victim of Australian racism, poverty, and limited education. That’s our ‘too hard basket’ but the answer to the question ‘how could anyone do such a thing? was easily answered – he’s crazy!

None of these narratives are helpful in addressing anything but,

a) media agendas to sell quick copy and advertising space through sensationalism

b) government agendas to ensure general populace support for aggressive economic/business political agendas in the Middle East (read gas and oil) and religious/race based agendas (read racism) on the home front through instilling fear.


Another, less traveled narrative is rarely taken up by mainstream media.

Young disaffected immigrant populations require more collaborative and supportive community based policy

Successive governments also have difficulty not only because their prime agendas are supportive of US wars (both sides of our parliament have supported our heavy involvement). But also because the situation of war, our place in it and young disaffected immigrant populations, grappling with racism, family allegiances, and deaths at a distance is a complex and difficult one to unravel. It also takes time for societies to engage with these issues and to establish strategies to resolve contributing issues as a community. We want quick fix, governments especially Liberal governments in this country don’t fund peace initiatives when so much of their money goes to war and so called ‘national security’ (the rest is saved by severe cuts to social and community development programs). Additionally the Australian public generally tend to have priority interests when they are not personally effected in their daily lives. However the numbers of International first and second generation Aussies who are Muslim or have extended family in areas effected by war and oppression means we have a chance to be more broadly interested in the world stage.

Clearly, there is a divide between ethnic and religious groups of people in this country (America? Just look to Fergusen Missouri!) the geographical and financial divisions of suburbs show this particularly in our major cities. This can cause those who feel disengaged from society for whatever reason to congregate in groups of like minded people, to radicalise or even attack that society from which they are feeling disenfranchised.

What do the ‘news’ reports tell us about Mr Sharrouf and can we learn anything?

  • former drug addict “addled by drugs in his teenage years”
  • Anglo/australian wife Tara Nettleton fell pregnant with their first child at 17yrs old. She converted to Islam and they have 5 children
  • minor player in Australia’s ‘biggest terrorism plot’ – charged with eight other Sydney men in 2005. Sharrouf was charged with possessing items to be used for a terrorist act – six clocks and 140 batteries he stole from Big W
    Raids at his house uncovered bomb making instructions, two dozen bottles of chemical precursors for explosives and videos of beheadings and executions.
  • Described by Sydney barrister Charles Waterstreet as ‘a class clown’ whose ‘attitude’ was to ‘get a laugh’ “one put it down to dim-wittedness a little bit, but he was really playing the clown. … He would be voted least likely to be holding a head in Iraq if one had to pick it.”
  • Sharrouf’s psychiatrists reported that his mental illness had contributed to his radicalisation.
  • Another treating psychiatrist said in late 2005 he began to hang out with people from the mosque, attended prayers. “This relaxed him. He found that every time he felt paranoid, the thought of God would relax him.”
  • His spiritual leader was a Melbourne sheikh Abdul Nasser Benbrika, who in 2008 was found guilty on the charge of intentionally being the leader and a member of a terrorist organisation and jailed for 15 years.
  • In 2009, Judge Anthony Whealy sentenced Sharrouf to a non-parole period of at least three years and 11 months in gaol. Whealy said “ You have to bear in mind that his crime, although it was a serious crime, was a pretty pathetic crime. Stealing some clocks and batteries and potato chips from a supermarket doesn’t really warrant a long time in gaol”.
  • Described by Anthony Whealy as:
    a pathetic figure, violently mistreated by his father,
    – a school drop out expelled at a very early age for poor behaviour
    – took up drugs and involved in petty criminality
    – mixed with people who introduced him to a very extreme form of radical Islamic religion
    – diagnosed by psychiatrists with chronic schizophrenia, delusional, talking to other people when there were no-one there… a state of mind that persisted for some time likely caused by earlier sustained use of LSD, ecstasy and amphetamines. Symptoms quite severe, unfit to plead…. simply incapable of understanding what the court case would be about.
  • Whelan said “He’s clearly over there playing a role of the master terrorist when he’s anything but, of course…he’s a very sad, pathetic figure. ….a highly unintelligent man who has no perception of himself. He is in fact no threat to us in a real sense because if he were to come back to Australia – and I doubt that he will – he would be arrested…..probably bail refused and there’d be every prospect that he’d…spend many, many years in jail here in Australia. Now, the only danger he represents, I think, is that he is cast as a sort of proselytiser of this radical Islam image and Facebook and Twitter and all that sort of thing carry that message across here to young men who might be in the position he was, young men who are angry, dissatisfied, rebellious, looking for a cause. So he does represent a danger in that sense.
  • Mixed with Comanchero bikies and police say he was “carrying out violent extortions in the construction industry, all the while on a disability pension for his mental illness.”
  • Attended Sydney’s Al Risalah bookstore and prayer centre where owner “a close friend of Sharrouf’s for three years” described him as “a very honourable – a fearless man………just a genuine, genuine normal person, a caring person, a very passionate person. His passion could probably be taken as aggression if you didn’t understand him or where he was coming from…”
  • Another report quotes ‘an old school friend’ as saying “it’s something that he’s always wanted to do ….he was willing to give everything up to do that. He never wants to come back. ..wants nothing to do with Australia….he’s hoping that he is granted that gift from God to die as a martyr.”
  • Removed his children from Rishalla College in Lakemba without paying his fees
  • Left Australia for Syria in December 2013 on his brother’s passport
  • His wife followed him and travelled to Malaysia with their five children and her own mother Karen, to avoid suspicion. Her mother returned home and Middleton is understood to have continued with the three young boys and two additional teenage girls to join Sharrouf in Syria.
  • Omar al-Shishani a Chechyn veteran of Islamic violent jihad, and believed to be the senior military leader of the IS group, described by the Daily Mail as “one of the public faces of IS” is believed to have spoken over the phone to ‘shock Jock’ radio 3AW. He described Sharrouf as ‘a very loveable, good kid,’ ‘He’s a faithful man.’
Omar al Shishani Chechen military commander of ISIL: AP photo

Omar al Shishani Chechen military commander of ISIL: AP photo

If this is what we know of one of our IS recruits in Syria then there will be people who work in the Western Suburbs of Sydney and the Northern suburbs of Melbourne working and living with Middle Eastern Immigrant families and their children who may be relating strongly the story of this man.  His story certainly will not be unique. Tonight the ABC TV channel reported there were estimated to be about 150 men fighting with Islamic forces overseas. They reported the ‘crackdown’ now expected on investigations into people who are receiving welfare benefits and are currently believed to be involved with “terrorist organisations”. (see my previous article here on Australians in IDF in Gaza and occupied Palestinian Territories ignored by our government despite their zealous zionism.)

Mr Sharrouf has a history of serious mental health issues possibly drug induced, he is likely unmedicated as prescribed medication is often believed by people in his situation to be more debilitating than not taking anything. His wife is potentially also suffering with a history of social and familial deprivation as a young mother of five children under seven, married to a man with schizophrenia certainly she has had things tough. But she is likely to be, along with the two other young women Akhawat (sisters) who accompanied her hidden underneath a niqab (face covering) waiting for their husbands to become shaheed (a martyr).

It is clearly time for some positive policy to be drawn up to assist rather than punish young Australians who are also possibly young parents. To assist suburbs where there is a predominance of hardship, and disaffected youth to grow an inclusive community through shared experiences and for educational institutions private and public to increasingly share facilities and time for students. Isolationist policies of certain religiously based schools (I know this occurs in some Christian ‘independent’ schools) could be discouraged through financial disincentives as the schools continue to draw public monetary support. The current Abbott ‘Liberal’ government’s crackdown on welfare where amongst other Draconian policies they will not provide any financial support to the newly unemployed for 6 months places these young Australians at increased risk of chucking their lot into jihad because it looks more promising than life without a future in this ‘Lucky Country’.

Australia ignores ‘homegrown Zionists’ who fight with IDF while targetting ‘homegrown jihadists’

The following article is an edited version of a recent report in the Sydney Morning Herald titled………..
“Two Melburnian school colleagues fighting in Israeli army are injured in Gaza” August 4, 2014 -Nick Toscano, Ben Doherty. see original article here

Palestinians in a tent outside apartments in the town of Beit Lahiya in the Northern Gaza Strip -Reuters

Palestinians in a tent outside apartments in the town of Beit Lahiya in the Northern Gaza Strip -Reuters

 Two Melburnian school colleagues fighting with Hamas army are injured in Gaza

Two former students of an Islamic school in Melbourne have been wounded while fighting for the military wing of Hamas in Gaza.
Mohammed Hassan and Abdul Khamis both 22, are recovering from recent injuries sustained during the conflict between Israel and Hamas that has lasted almost four weeks.
The combat soldiers are former students of King Khalid College in Coburg and are believed to have been a year level apart. Both are reportedly expected to recover.
Mr Hassan , who left Broadmeadows for Gaza last year, was hit by shrapnel from a missile in late July.
A close friend, Ahmed Nasser, said it was extremely distressing to see a photo surface on social media showing Mr Hassan in a hospital bed. “It was very upsetting … very confronting,” he said.
Mr Hassan’s family moved to Melbourne from New Zealand in 2008.
He was involved in the Islamic Youth Centre, where he became a leader for younger students at weekly meetings.
“He moved mid-last year to join the Hamas army,” The Centre’s Melbourne president Ms Mosul said.
“But it really hits home when you see a photo of your friend who has been injured. It throws you about.”
Earlier in July, Mr Khamis, who grew up in Melbourne but moved to Gaza before graduating from College, was reportedly shot in the thigh.
Ms Mosul said that out of the 365 students and leaders in Melbourne’s Islamic Youth program, as many as 10 had joined the Hamas army in the past two years.
“What drives them is a love and passion for Palestine” she said.
There are about 2500 foreign citizens from more than 60 countries enlisted in the Israeli Defence Forces. The US provides the greatest contingent, but there are also large numbers of Russian, Ukrainian and French soldiers.
Sixty-four Israeli army soldiers and three Israeli citizens have died in the conflict. The Palestinian death toll has reached 1822.
Mr Azam, whose 20-year-old brother also left Melbourne to fight in Gaza, said soldiers in the Hamas army were often under heavy fire and went days without being able to contact family.
“I didn’t speak to my brother once for five or six days … it is nerve-wracking,” he said.
“We don’t want there to be a war, but unfortunately the circumstances force it.”
The Israeli embassy in Canberra refused to comment on the number of Australians fighting for the IDF, but it is believed there are in excess of 100 enlisted.
The Department of Foreign Affairs does not keep figures on how many Australian citizens have gone to Israel to fight for its army.


  • My editing of the original article includes replaced names and geographical locations.
  • I have replaced the names of the Jewish, (openly Zionist) Australians with those of imaginary Muslim (openly Islamist) Australians.
  • The photo of recent Israeli bombing in Gaza replaces the photo of the Melbourne Jewish young man with his father that appeared in the original article.
  • An Islamic College name replaces the Jewish College name. King Khalid College has had a recent name change and its place in this report is in no way meant to suggest there is a connection between the College and Hamas nor that any pupils of the College are fighting with any Islamist Army
  • All my inserts appear in italics.
  • Sections appearing in bold type have not been changed from the original.
  • For the purpose of the piece the term ‘the Hamas Army’ replaces ‘the Israeli Army’ but would normally read simply ‘Hamas’.
  • For the purpose of the piece, ‘Islamist’ replaces ‘Zionist’ but ‘Islamist’ Youth Centres are not recognised as operating in Australia, however Islamic Youth Centres do exist so this term is used. I am aware there is a difference between the use of the term ‘Islamic’ and ‘Islamist’, however the term ‘Zionist’ as used in the SMH report does not carry the same resonance in this country as ‘Islamist’ despite the highly political and religious zealot implications of both terms. It should also not be taken that I compare any Zionist Youth organisation’s activities with those of Islamic Youth groups, I merely supplant one religious youth group with another to illustrate my point- that Islamic Australians will be targetted for travelling overseas as potential terrorists and Jewish openly Zionist Australians can readily go to fight in Palestine with the IDF,
  • The fighting of Australian Muslim Palestinians in Gaza is an IMPOSSIBILITY as entry is impossible under the 8 year Israeli blockade.