Reader links for May 27 – 2015

This post has all its contents in the comments. For the newest freshest videos and news stories of interest to the Counter-Jihad and the Geopolitics of Islam, please click comments and add to, or read what is posted there.

Some will be integrated into the day’s posts and others not. But this way we can keep a great news flow going without interfering with the conversations about the issues under the various essays and news items in the posts that will be presented throughout the day.

Thank you all for your informative and important contributions.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

24 Replies to “Reader links for May 27 – 2015”

  1. Why is she (this sheikha) dressed like Janeway from Star Trek Voyager? Maybe she thinks this way it will be easier for her to sell those lunar lunacy induced fantasies to the gullible ones?

    Muslims ‘dehumanised’ warns Qatar’s Sheikha Moza (BBC, May 26, 2015)

    “A senior member of the Qatar royal family has warned that Muslims are being “dehumanised” by the coverage of violent extremism in the Middle East.

    “Why do Muslim lives seem to matter less than the lives of others?” asked Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in a speech at Oxford University on Tuesday.

    The division between east and west was creating a “fear and suspicion of all things Islamic”, she said.

    Sheikha Moza also warned against “violent repression” in the Arab world.

    Widely seen as one of the most influential women in the Middle East, Sheikha Moza warned an audience at Oxford University of the dangers of negative stereotypes in the West.

    And the failure of progressive politics in the Middle East was fuelling “distorted and perverted” interpretations of Islam, she added.

    Speaking at the opening of the Middle East Centre at St Antony’s College, Sheikha Moza warned that while there was an “intellectual curiosity” in the West about Islamic culture, individual “real, living Muslims” faced growing distrust.

    She described this as being “Muslim-phobia”, as distinct from claims of “Islamophobia”.

    And she questioned whether globalisation was really achieving more “pluralistic” societies.

    “A Muslim is first and foremost identified as a Muslim, rather than simply a human being.

    “Whether they are Pakistani, Malaysian, Senegalese, or even British born, their multiple identities are levelled under a constructed monolith of Islam,” she said.

    This collective identity was seen as something “fearful and unknowable”, said Sheikha Moza, mother of the current Emir of Qatar and wife of the previous ruler.

    The consequence was “double standards” in the reaction to the casualties of conflict, said Sheikha Moza, a senior political figure in the oil and gas-rich Gulf state.

    “Only silence follows when innocent Yemeni and Pakistani children and civilians,” are killed by drones, she said.

    She challenged the increasing use of the word “medieval” to describe the actions of radicals in the Middle East.

    “Global media, both western and Arab, often claim that Islam does not believe in freedom of expression and is stuck in medieval times,” said Sheikha Moza.

    But she said it was a failure of “our collective responsibility” not to admit that the violence of groups such as the so-called Islamic State were the result of our own modern era.

    “Isis is as modern as Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. They are all products of our age.”

    But she also challenged the political culture in Muslim countries that had produced radical militants whose version of Islam is “nothing more than a violent political slogan”.

    The wave of upheavals of the Arab Spring had “planted the seeds of freedom”, but she said these ideals had been “crushed underfoot” and such “dreams might find another, more aggressive channel of expression”.

    “This is the price we are paying today for our lack of courage when it mattered. Every act has a consequence but so does every inaction.

    “Activism can quickly change to militancy when there is no recourse to democratic change.”

    She argued that such a failure to dismantle violent autocracies in the Middle East could be a reason why Muslims have “lost confidence” in being able to apply positive, peaceful Islamic traditions.

    The Gulf state has itself faced criticism over the working and living conditions of migrant workers on construction projects for the 2022 World Cup.

    Sheikha Moza told her audience that young Muslims needed to be able find a “new modernity” showing their religion as a “rich, living moral tradition”.”

  2. Libya PM ‘escapes assassination attempt’ in Tobruk (BBC, May 26, 2015)

    “Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni says he has survived an assassination attempt by gunmen who attacked his car in the city of Tobruk.

    “Thank God, we managed to escape,” Mr al-Thinni told TV news channel al-Arabiya after bullets hit his car as it left a parliament session in the city.

    A government spokesman said the prime minister escaped unharmed but one of his bodyguards was wounded….”

  3. Yemen conflict: Rebels ‘driven out of southern city’ (BBC, May 26, 2015)

    “Militiamen allied to Yemen’s exiled government are reported to have driven Houthi rebels out of a southern city.

    Southern separatist fighters and Sunni tribesmen had regained control of Dhalea following heavy fighting on Monday, officials and residents said.

    It is the first major advance by the Houthis’ opponents since Saudi-led coalition air strikes began in March.

    Overnight, seven members of the same family were said to have been killed in an air strike in a northern village.

    Residents of al-Mohssam, which is close to the border with Saudi Arabia, told the Reuters news agency that two children were among those who died.

    Cross-border clashes were also reported after medics said one person was killed by suspected Houthi shellfire that targeted the Saudi city of Najran on Monday….”

  4. Australia Warns Children of Foreign Fighters Risk Charges (abcnews, May 26, 2015)

    “An Australian boy who was photographed holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier could reportedly return to Australia with his mother and siblings, prompting the prime minister to warn Wednesday that children as well as adults who break terrorism laws face prosecution.

    Sydney-born convicted terrorist Khaled Sharrouf horrified the world last year by posting on his Twitter account from Syria a photograph of his 7-year-old son clutching the severed head…..

    Australia used controversial new counterterrorism laws in December to make even visiting the Islamic Statement movement’s stronghold of al-Raqqa province in Syria a criminal offense punishable by 10 years in prison.

    Australia has cancelled the passports of scores of suspected terrorists, preventing would-be jihadis from leaving the country and stranding foreign fighters overseas.

    Australia also plans to pass a law soon to give the government the power to strip citizenship from dual nationals who are suspected terrorists even if they are not convicted of a crime.

    But Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said Wednesday that children of terrorists would be treated as a special case. The children could become wards of the state if their mother was imprisoned….”

    • Australia terrorist’s children could be taken into care (BBC, May 27, 2015)

      “Australians fighting overseas with terror groups could have their children removed from their care, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has said.

      His comments came after news emerged that the wife of one Australian Islamic State (IS) militant wanted to return home with their children.

      But Mr Dutton said such decisions would be made on a case-by-case basis.

      Proposals announced on Tuesday could see some Australians lose citizenship for supporting terror groups….”

  5. Group: Hamas Tortured, Killed Palestinians in 2014 Gaza War (abcnews, May 26, 2015)

    “A leading international watchdog on Wednesday accused the militant Hamas group of abducting, torturing and killing Palestinians during the war in the Gaza Strip last year, saying some of the actions amount to war crimes.

    Amnesty International detailed the abuses in a report entitled “Strangling Necks’: Abduction, torture and summary killings of Palestinians by Hamas forces during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict.”

    According to the London-based human rights group, some 23 Palestinians were shot and killed and dozens more were arrested and tortured by Hamas, which rules Gaza. The Palestinians targeted were either political rivals of Hamas, including members of the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, or people the militant group had accused of cooperating with Israel, Amnesty said….”

  6. 4 Taliban Militants Die in Attack in Afghan Capital (abcnews, May 26, 2015)

    “An all-night siege in an upscale neighborhood of Afghanistan’s capital ended in the early hours of Wednesday morning with the deaths of four heavily armed Taliban attackers, though no civilians or security personnel were injured or killed, an Afghan official said.

    Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Ayub Salangi said that weapons had been seized, including a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, three automatic rifles and a hand grenade.

    Using his official Twitter account, Salangi said there were “no civilian or military casualties.”

    Kabul’s police chief Gen. Abdul Rahman Rahimi, speaking to reporters outside the guesthouse that was the target of the six-hour assault, said: “Before reaching their target all four attackers were killed.”

    The siege ended after 5 a.m. in a sustained barrage of automatic weapons fire and a series of huge explosions that resounded across the Wazir Akbar Khan district of downtown Kabul, home to many embassies and foreign firms.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in tweets on a recognized Twitter account. They referred to the target as “belonging to the occupiers,” reiterating the insurgents’ message that foreign installations are specific targets in the Afghan capital.

    The attack came amid intensified fighting across many parts of Afghanistan since the insurgents launched their annual warm weather offensive a month ago. A Taliban attack on a guesthouse in another part of the capital earlier this month left 14 people dead, including nine foreigners….”

  7. Islamic State Suicide Attacks in Iraq’s Anbar Kill 17 Troops (abcnews, May 27, 2015)

    “Islamic State extremists unleashed a wave of suicide attacks targeting the Iraqi army in western Anbar province, killing at least 17 troops in a major blow to government efforts to dislodge the militants from the sprawling Sunni heartland, an Iraqi military spokesman said Wednesday.

    The attacks came just hours after the Iraqi government on Tuesday announced the start of a wide-scale operation to recapture areas under the control of the IS group in Anbar.

    Brig. Gen Saad Maan Ibrahim, the spokesman for the Joint Military Command, told The Associated Press the attacks took place outside the Islamic State-held city of Fallujah late Tuesday night.

    The militants struck near a water control station and a lock system on a canal between Lake Tharthar and the Euphrates River where army forces have been deployed for the Anbar offensive, he said.

    Ibrahim added that the Islamic State extremists used a sandstorm that engulfed most of Iraq on Tuesday night to launch the deadly wave of bombings. He said it was not clear how many suicide attackers were involved in the bombings but they hit the military from multiple directions….”

  8. Syria conflict: IS ‘driven from Assyrian villages’ (BBC, May 27, 2015)

    “Islamic State fighters have been driven out of Assyrian Christian villages in Syria that they seized in February, activists say. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Kurdish fighters had retaken the villages along the Khabur river in north-eastern Syria. But some reports say Syrian government forces drove the IS fighters out.

    Also on Wednesday it was reported that two of the hostages seized from the villages by IS had been freed. The two elderly women arrived in the provincial capital of Hassakeh on Tuesday, activists said. About 200 people from the villages are thought to still be in IS captivity.

    The villages were cleared of IS fighters earlier this week but many residents have not returned for fear of any remaining IS fighters and booby traps, according to Afram Yakoub, chairman of the Assyrian Federation of Sweden. Mr Yakoub said IS’s retreat was largely due to an air campaign by Syrian government forces….”

  9. Pakistan detains Axact chief Shoaib Sheikh over ‘fake degrees’ (BBC, May 27, 2015)

    “Pakistani investigators have detained the head of a global internet technology firm suspected of an alleged multi-million dollar fraud selling fake university degrees online.

    Axact’s CEO Shoaib Sheikh and his deputy, Waqas Atiq, were taken into custody after a raid at their Karachi offices on Tuesday night.

    Officials said hundreds of thousands of blank degree forms, student cards and authentication documents were found.

    Axact has called the claims “baseless”.

    The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) chief for Sindh province, Shahid Hayat, told media the agency had enough evidence to proceed against Mr Sheikh on charges of fraud, forgery, money laundering and violation of electronic transactions law.

    Mr Sheikh was taken into custody 10 days after the International New York Times published allegations that the software firm based in Karachi was running a worldwide degree scam….”

  10. Impressive array of authors:
    A Policy to Defeat Both ISIL and Iran

    There are two main external threats to the Middle East state system. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIS or the Islamic State, embodies the most direct threat, particularly with its declaration of a caliphate designed to replace existing states. The Islamic Republic of Iran also constitutes a threat, perhaps not as blatant in its assault but no less real. It uses its militia proxies to undermine states and deny them authority throughout their territory, a process that has already given Tehran leverage over four Arab capitals — Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa.

  11. CANADA – RCMP set to release rest of Zehaf-Bibeau video, report into Ottawa shootings

    OTTAWA – After initially withholding the footage for operational reasons, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson says the national police force is set to release the unseen 18 seconds of video recorded by Parliament Hill shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau.

    Paulson announced during the Senate national security and defence hearing Monday that the force is on the verge of releasing a full report on events both inside and outside Parliament Hill during the October 22, 2014 shooting.

    He said the report would be released either this week or early next along with the final 18 seconds of video, 13 seconds from the beginning and five from the end.

    In cellphone video screened before a Parliamentary committee in March, Zehaf-Bibeau says his imminent attack is retaliation for Canada’s military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Paulson confirmed some elements of the final report will be redacted for security reasons. He told reporters that elements of this report may be “at odds” with media reports of that day.

    “The bulk of the report will be released,” he said.

    The shooting began at the Canadian National War Memorial when Zehaf-Bibeau fatally shot Cpl. Nathan Cirillo while he was on sentry duty before heading to Parliament Hill where he was killed inside during a shootout with Parliamentary security personnel.

    videos on the page :

    REBEL MEDIA -Zehaf-Bibeau named names of accomplices: Report

    The unseen 18 seconds of video from Parliament Hill terrorist Michael Zehaf-Bibeau named his accomplices according to a report from QMI Agency, the French language newswire of Quebecor.

    “A confidential source who knows the contents of the missing 18 seconds segment said Zehaf-Bibeau cited the names of people who would have either helped plan the attack, or would have supported in his approach.”

    If true the revelation would explain why the 18 seconds was not released earlier as police continued their investigation.

    The RCMP has not confirmed the report but has said the remainder of the video would be released in coming weeks.

    In the 55 seconds that have been released so far, Zehaf-Bibeau is clear that he carried out his attack motivated by his Islamic faith and opposition to Canada’s foreign policy in Afghanistan and the fight against ISIS.

  12. CANADA – MONTREAL Father says teen arrested at Montreal airport was ‘poisoned’ by Islamic State

    The RCMP on Tuesday conducted Montreal-area raids believed to be linked to a radicalization investigation.

    MONTREAL The father of a Montreal girl targeted in one of several police terror raids conducted Tuesday said his daughter was an “innocent victim” whose mind has been poisoned by radical religious teachings over the last three years.

    The man told the Toronto Star that the fate of 19-year-old Maha Zibara — arrested May 15 at the Montreal airport while allegedly bound for the ranks of a Syrian terror group such as the Islamic State — is the responsibility of Muslim preacher Adil Charkaoui, a former terror suspect, or those in his entourage at the Assahaba Islamic Community Centre.

    “They are responsible,” said Maha’s father, Jad Zibara. “They are manipulating young people who are 16, 17, 18, 19. They are putting dark ideas in their head.”

    “I don’t know if he is at that point of sending people to Syria or in Iraq, but what I know is that the teachings he gives are extremist and radical.”

    Reached by telephone Tuesday evening, Charkaoui said he did not know and had never met Zibara.

    “At the community centre there is a separation between the men and the women. I don’t see the women. I don’t meet them,” he said.

    Charkaoui was detained and later subjected to restrictive conditions under a federal security certificate that was sought in 2003 because of never-proved suspicions that Charkaoui was an Al Qaeda sleeper agent. The case against him was dropped when Ottawa was unwilling to reveal the sources of its allegations against him.

    He has never been charged with a crime, is now a Canadian citizen, and is suing the federal government over his ordeal.

    The RCMP conducted Montreal-area raids Tuesday that are believed to be linked to a radicalization investigation.

    Uniformed Mounties were spotted by TV cameras removing boxes and computer equipment in St-Léonard, in east-end Montreal, where Maha Zibara lives.

    Charkaoui is a lightning rod in Quebec, orchestrating protests against what he says is rampant Islamophobia while facing a barrage of accusations that he has played a role in radicalizing some of the 21 young Quebecers who have either fled Canada or been arrested by the RCMP since the start of the year.

    “There is a lot of ignorance and malice. When we have both of them together it becomes toxic,” Charkaoui said. “It’s as if everything that happens related to radicalization in this country is because of a single person.”

    There are, in fact, other similarities between the most recent group and the other clusters of terror cases that have arisen since a group of seven young men and women first fled in January for Turkey, crystallizing fears of radicalization in Montreal’s Muslim community.

    Like five of the first bunch and like a young couple who were formally charged in April with terrorism offences, including possession of explosive materials, Maha Zibara was a student at Collège de Maisonneuve, a junior college in Quebec’s CÉGEP system.

    It was approaching the end of the school year when she announced that she would be leaving her family home in St-Léonard for an Italian wedding getaway.

    Instead, at around midnight on May 15, the junior college student was among 10 young people rounded up by the RCMP. In a statement a few days later, the Mounties said they had taken away passports from all 10 because they believed their true intentions were to join the ranks of foreign terror groups.

    “Maha said she was leaving for Italy to have a wedding,” her father said. “I don’t know if she knew the other young people but at a minimum she knew one young person named Aymane, a Moroccan. She wanted to get married to him.”

    Zibara fantasized extensively on a Facebook page that she created earlier this year about getting married, posting a lengthy six-point explanation of the religious benefits of marriage as recently as Monday. She also posted other items that are the staple of any Western teenager’s social media account: pictures of food, jokes for friends and even an April 14 post critical of ISIS, the banned terror group also known as the Islamic State.

    But Zibara’s father said he had intervened with his daughter several times, asking her to remove items from her social media feeds that featured a more strident religious tone.

    They were messages he said that he personally did not agree with and that he said coincided with the girl’s regular attendance at the Assahaba mosque, which began nearly three years ago.

    “I asked her many times to take them down because it didn’t represent the love of Islam, it didn’t represent the real Islam. Islam is a religion of mercy. It’s not a religion of violence,” he said.

    Charkaoui said the criticism is misplaced, that all his sermons and religious courses are public and transparent.

    “I was the victim of the security certificates,” he said. “Believe me. We take extra care. If there is the least bit of radical speech, we would deal with it, but there isn’t.”

    But there are 10 families struggling to understand the allegations that have been made against their young sons and daughters as well as the likelihood they could be facing further legal consequences in the days to come.

    “I can’t believe that Maha would leave for Turkey to go to Syria,” said Zibara. “I still can’t believe it.”

    Adil Charkaoui: The angriest man in Montreal

    ‘Merchant of hate.’ ‘Charlatan.’ Leading Muslim voice? How former terror suspect Adil Charkaoui has become a go-to spokesman for his people

    Sept. 14, 2013, was a good day for Adil Charkaoui. The Moroccan-born teacher and imam, who spent 21 months in jail and several years under virtual house arrest on charges of terrorism, was leading a veritable human chain through the streets of downtown Montreal. The crowd, stretching 11 city blocks, was loud, boisterous and entirely peaceful—there were no arrests—despite the palpable anger in the air.

    The Parti Québécois government was on the eve of introducing its so-called charter of Quebec values, which would have outlawed members of Quebec’s public service from the wearing of “conspicuous” religious symbols. […]

    on this page :

  13. In Arizona, Bikers Plan Armed Protest Outside of Mosque

    On Friday, May 29, 2015, a group of bikers in Arizona plan to host an anti-Muslim demonstration outside of the Islamic Community Center in Phoenix. Dubbed as “Freedom of Speech Rally Round 2,” a reference to American blogger Pamela Geller’s deadly “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas earlier this month, the event, organized on Facebook, is described as a “response to the recent attack in Texas where 2 armed terrorist, [sic] with ties to ISIS, attempted Jihad.”

    Prior to gathering outside of the mosque, the motorcyclists say they’ll meet in a nearby Denny’s parking lot, where they’ll have a “Muhammad cartoon contest.” They plan to take the images of Islam’s prophet to the Islamic Community Center at 6:15 that evening — a time when the Muslim community is expected to gather inside.

    The rally’s organizer, Jon Ritzheimer, has called on the group to “to utilize there [sic] second amendment right at this event just incase our first amendment comes under the much anticipated attack.” He warns on the event’s Facebook page that the mosque is “a known place that the 2 terrorist [sic] frequented.” The would-be ambushers of Pamela Geller’s event in Garland are said to have worshiped there.

    As of Wednesday morning, 128 people had signed up to attend the Phoenix rally.

    There are a few important points about this event that are worth noting, briefly.

    First, this rally shows how seemingly fringe figures like Pamela Geller have (even unintentionally) inspired copycat demonstrations across the country. Geller and company don’t tote weapons, but biker gangs who sympathize with her views often do. Ahead of a Muslim event in Garland, Texas back in January, some motorcyclists showed up with long guns. In 2011, fundamentalist Christian pastor Terry Jones planned a protest outside of a Dearborn mosque, indicating that he and his supporters would be armed. Ultimately, authorities prevented the gathering. Though the bikers at these events did not fire their weapons, the possibility of violence increases when armed demonstrators swarm a group of people they dislike. For Ritzheimer and his fellow bikers, Islam is a religion that inspires violence among its followers. Muslims are a dangerous threat. At this latest protest in Phoenix, Geller’s supporters are taking what — in their minds — is the logical next step: possibly resorting to violence.

    Next, this event is yet another reminder of the degree to which “free speech” demonstrations are often veneers for deep-seated animus. The point that the Phoenix bikers are making with this event is less about free speech than it is about expressing their hatred of Islam directly to Muslims. This is evidenced by the obscene comments on the group’s page, the vulgar t-shirts that the group will sell (and wear) ahead of their gathering, and the fact that the organizers have chosen to intentionally antagonize Muslims at their mosque by arriving en masse, insulting their religion to their faces , intimidating them with their weapons, and expecting that they quietly embrace all of this in the name of the First Amendment.

    Lastly, it highlights the degree to which Islamophobia runs rampant on the Internet, and how social media has become a breeding ground for groups like this who, in addition to fomenting their views online, use the virtual space to plan and organize actual events. This is central to the effectiveness of groups like Geller’s, who time and again have nurtured online bases and issued calls to action. In 2010, the hue and cry in the streets of Manhattan over the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” was Geller’s work, and in the past five years dozens of bloggers and web-goers have translated armchair enthusiasm about issues related to Islam into on-the-ground activism against Muslim groups.

    The FBI is currently investigating threatening letters that were sent to the mosque, and an entourage of armed people gathered outside of it on Friday evening will only make matters worse.

  14. Compare what you find on Google. You can embrace sharing cultures or get offended by someone else embracing your culture for their own personal reasons. “Being offended” is an intransitive feeling and not something that another person’s actions render you into a state of.

  15. AL JAZEERA -Chief of Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate pledges no attacks on the West

    Al-Qaeda’s Syria affiliate would not use Syria as a launching pad for attacks on the West, its chief said in a wide-ranging televised interview late Wednesday.

    Without showing his face, Abu Mohamed al-Jolani said his group, Al-Nusra Front, would protect Syrian minorities that renounced the regime.

    The interview was Jolani’s second with Qatari-owned Al-Jazeera TV since a similar appearance in 2013. The interviewer, Ahmad Mansur, said it was broadcast “from liberated lands in Syria.”

    All that could be seen of Jolani was a black shawl, a plaid shirt, and gesturing hands. .... and his nose

    “The instructions that we have are not to use al-Sham as a base to launch attacks on the West or Europe, so as not to muddy the current war,” Jolani said.

    “Our mission in Syria is the downfall of the regime, its symbols, and its allies, like Hezbollah,” Jolani said, referring to the powerful Shiite movement fighting alongside the Bashar al-Assad regime.

    But if the United States kept attacking them, he said, “all options are open. Anyone has the right to self-defence.”

    Jolani also denied the existence of the “Khorasan group,” which the US had said was an offshoot of Al-Qaeda that was plotting attacks against the US.

    Nevertheless, he lambasted the US for its air raids against Al-Nusra in Syria and accused it of coordinating with the Assad regime on the use of air space.

    “America is propping up the regime,” Jolani charged, leaning forward in an ornate golden-crusted chair.

    – ‘We will protect them’ –

    Al-Nusra and its extremist rival the Islamic State group have been designated as terrorist organisations by the US since the end of 2012.

    Since September, a US-led international coalition has been raiding jihadist positions in Syria, although most strikes have targeted IS.

    In recent months, Al-Nusra has led a rebel coalition in a series of key victories in Syria’s northwest Idlib, including the provincial capital and a large military base.

    The gains have opened the road for a potential jihadist advance on Latakia and Tartus, coastal provinces that are home to Syrian minorities including Christians and Alawites, the offshoot of Shiite Islam to which the Assad clan belongs.

    Extremist groups in Syria, including Al-Nusra and IS, have been accused of targeting these minority communities.

    But Al-Nusra’s chief seemed to try to play down those fears, saying his group “only fights those who fight us.”

    “If the Alawites leave their religion and leave Bashar al-Assad, we will protect them,” Jolani said.

    He said Christians living under the rule of Al-Nusra were living in peace, and that in a future state ruled by Islamic law, the financially capable would pay “jizya,” or tax reserved for non-Muslims.

    – ‘Gateway to Damascus’ –

    Jolani promised defeat for Lebanese movement Hezbollah, which has significantly bolstered the Assad regime, in the mountainous border region between Syria and Lebanon.

    “Hezbollah knew the ugliness of the Syrian regime. It knew its fate was directly linked to Bashar’s fate,” Jolani warned.

    “Qalamun will be an important gateway for Damascus when the battle for the capital begins,” he added.

    “As soon as Bashar is defeated, it will be the end for Hezbollah.”

    Much like his interview in 2013, the Nusra chief said the end of the Assad regime was near.

    “I assure you, the fall of Bashar is not far away,” he said. “I do not want to project much optimism, but there are very positive signs.”

    He rejected a political end to the conflict, saying that any political agreement “reached in the halls of Washington… would cost the blood of the Syrian people.”

    Jolani also firmly denied receiving any state funding, saying that Nusra was financed by its own “businesses activities” and contributions from individual donors.

    Wednesday’s interview was the first in a two-part series, to be continued next week.
    original in Arabic :

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