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Friday, September 09, 2005 

Syrian police kill militants near Iraq border

Another battle has taken place. This time in Hasaka, in North Eastern Syria near the border with Iraq.

The miltants were hiding out in the Khashman district of Hasaka. Khashman is a poor, run-down suburb on the outskirts of the city.

'Another Attack!'

There have been a rash of supposed Syrian victories over militants since the start of the year. This from a country with a security apparatus so firm that it would always deny dissent or the existence of rebels in its territory.

So there have been suspicions that these attacks have been timed to coincide with the new American pressure on Syria.

Were the Syrian authorities were inventing battles to show the US that they were on the same side in the 'War on Terror'. It also gives belligerents in the Bush Administration a taste of what's to come if they overthrow Bashar's government: the dreaded boogeyman of the Al-Qaida-affiliated Muslim Brotherhood, which Syria has kept down for 20 years. But most importantly it shows that Syria is dealing with militants in its territory before they can cross the border into Iraq.

So it is no surprise that the announcements of the Syrian attacks on militants have come straight from the government - the state-controlled Syrian Arab News Agency.

But today's attack marks a change. The announcement came from Human Rights Groups in Hasaka. And the government hasn't yet confirmed it. Human Rights Groups have been scathing of the government in recent years - for imprisioning activists and closing down independent publications.

Pan-Arab Islamist group

Today's attack is said to be on 'Jund Ash-Sham', one militant was killed and three have been arrested. A member of the security forces was also injured. The Jund Ash-Sham group has been plaguing Syria in recent months. They were planning to attack Damascus, and have been blamed for other terrorist outrages across the Arab world.

The Muslim Brotherhood is NOT Al-Qaeda affiliated-it is incorrect to say this, in my opinion!

There are 2 kinds of so-called 'Salafis' in this day and age. It is important to appreciate this to understand what is going on!

1. The 'MODERNISTS' which include Hizb ut Tahrir, Ikhwanul Musimeen, Jamaat Al Islami (of Pakistan) and various splinter groups and offshoots all across the world! Leading figures of this branch of Salafism include Hassan al Banna, Syed Qutb, Abul ala Mawdudi, Taqiuddin Nabahani, Muhammad Abduh, Rashid Rida, Jamaluddin Afghani etc. These people's broad aim is to create a unified 'Islamic state' from Senegal to Indonesia and Tatarstan to the islands of Comoros!

2. The 'EXTREMISTS' i.e. the Najdis/Wahhabis founded by Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab in central Arabia/Najd in the 18th century as a 'religious revivlaist' movement to 'purge Islam of kufr, shirk & bid'ah' and other 'alien and heretical practises that have crept in'. They have a very puritanical and literalistic (in Arabic zahiri) understanding of Islam. They take the opinions of certain Muslim scholars such as Imam Ibn Taymiyyah and his student Imam Ibn ul Qayyim Jawziyya and also others such as Imam Ibn Hazm and think that this THE OPINION that everybody should follow without any question. Unfortunately the 3 Imams mentioned hold opinions on a lot of things that are isolated and controversial and are not agreed to by the vast majority of Muslim scholars both in their own times and even today. The leading proponents of this branch of Salafism are the Saudi scholars such as Shaykh Bin Baz, Shaykh al Albani, Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen etc. and of course the Saudi petrodollars which is mainly responsible for this brand of extreme literalism and intolerance spreading all across the world! They also think that the vast majority of Muslims, both Sunni and Shia are not true Muslims!

The 2 branches of 'Salafism' tend to regard each other with distrust because they are competing with each other fro the 'hearts and minds' of Muslims everywhere! Interestingly enough when Jamal Abdul Nasser was president of Egypt and of Arab nationalism & socialism the Saudis used their petrodollars to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt against the 'secular and atheist' Nasser!

To conclude the VAST MAJORITY of Sunni Muslims in the world do NOT follow the 2 brands of 'Salafism' outlined above and follow the classical and traditional mainstream understanding and interpretation of Islam. The opponents call this MAJORITY Sunni branch various labels such as 'Sufis', 'Asharis' etc.

Al-Qaeda is a weird mixture of BOTH of the modernist and extremist 'Salafi' brand of Islam as outlined above. To say that it is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood ONLY is an oversimpification and overgeneralization in my opinion!

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  • Written by sasa
  • From Damascus, Syria
  • From Damascus to London via Beirut. Based in and out of the central Damascene hamlet of Saroujah. News and feelings from the streets every day. I'm talking rubbish? Leave a comment. Welcome to the information democracy. See below for info about this site.
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