2.1.17

What Is Wrong with Syria – Part II?

After the 1960’s, a series of Ba’th party rules comes to power (Amin al-Hafiz, Nureddin al-Atassi, and Ahmad al-Khatib) and introduces a new type of nationalism that skirts the interests of those who want to be part of a pan-Arabic solution with those who want an independent Syria. There is a need by other Arab countries to form a pan-Arabic solution that involves the Palestinians, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, but these Ba’thi leaders gear their intentions toward a Syria that is the center of Arabism. What this means, in actuality, is the emphasis is toward Syria to be independent rather than promote Arabism.

These Ba’thi rulers also begin to develop a sectarian and secular society that is ruled at the top by an Alawi minority. The Alawi’s use sectarian solidarity to establish stability within the country. What is important is that the Alawi’s are considered a heterodoxical faith, or a type of Islamic faith that is at odds with the official position. This is very dangerous for the Ba’thi leaders because their political and social standing is a liability, so they counter their diminished religious ranking by instituting a deep sectarian and secular society. Ba’thi leaders during this period even take a radical approach toward secularism. But beginning in the 1970’s under Hafiz al-Assad, the father of the current Syrian government president, the Ba’th party changes course.

31.10.16

What Is Wrong With Syria - Part I?

France. License: CC BY-SA
Before we start blaming the Syrian government, Russia, or the United States for the problems in Syria, we need to step back to the 1920's. Syria, in the early twentieth century, is a French Mandate, or a territory controlled by France.

The French rules Syria with a focus to support minority distinctiveness and autonomy. Given that Syria is made up of Sunni Arabs (60%), Sunni Kurds (8%), Alawites (11-12%), Druze (3%), Shi'is (2%), Greek Orthodox Christians (5%), Greek Catholics (3%), and Armenians (4%), it is no wonder that the chaos that's seen today is a reflection of the French separatist policies that were implemented. The French purposely maintains and promotes a sectarian difference.

There is no sense of centralized authority or political community even after Syria gaines its independence in 1945 from France. After independence, Syria becomes one of the most destabilized countries in the region until about the 1960's when the Ba'th Party comes to power. The new rulers will introduce new sets of political and social order that will stabilize Syria unlike what we see today.

8.10.16

Origins of Radical Islamic Revival

When the Arabs and the Israelis went to war in 1948 and 1967, the Arabs lost more than their military prowess. The Arabs lost their Arab Nationalism.

Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1900's, Islamic legitimacy transferred from the Ottoman rulers to a pan-Arabic Nationalism that acted similar to a unifying coalition among the Islamic member states.

After the Israeli defeats, the ideal of an Arab Nationalism lost its will and attention was focused toward combating colonialism that affected most of the Arab states. Arabs states also began to develop their own statehoods, and this introduced a new radical Islamic revival.

This radical revival hoped to assist Arabs states in finding solutions to compete against Western competition, but within an Islamic cultural framework.

30.6.16

When Did Islam Change?

The Golden Age of Islam ended during the Mongol invasion in 1258 which forced the Abbasid Caliphate to move to Cairo, Egypt. It was this move that weakened the Islamic Empire and allowed other caliphates to form.

The final blow to Islam came during the Ottoman invasion of 1517 that further weakened the caliphate to a religious authority. The new role of the caliph shares power with a sultan, who is chosen from the slave armies used to protect the kingdom.

29.6.16

What Motivates Islam to Doubt the West

Islam had its Golden Age beginning with the reign of the Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid in the year 786. This period of expansion lasted for five centuries proving that Islam was a serious and established civilization. However, during the last two hundred years, Islamic countries have failed at modernizing at the rates of other countries resulting in colonial attempts to suppress Islamic political and economic growth.

Even Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798 with the pretense of drawing England into a conflict, but disregarding the Muslim country's autonomous status. Given this example and the many Western hegemonic examples it is no wonder that Islamic doubts toward the West continue. A great civilization being reduced to a subservient class is bound to rise up.
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Known Terrorist Groups

Al-Qaida has cooperated with a number of known terrorist groups worldwide including:

  • Armed Islamic Group
  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group
  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt)
  • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
  • Jamaat Islamiyya
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
  • Bayt al-Imam (Jordan)
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir)
  • Asbat al Ansar
  • Hezbollah (Lebanon)
  • Al-Badar
  • Harakat ul Ansar/Mujahadeen
  • Al-Hadith
  • Harakat ul Jihad
  • Jaish Mohammed - JEM
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
  • Laskar e-Toiba - LET
  • Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Philippines)
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Malaysia, Philippines)
  • Al-Ittihad Al Islamiya - AIAI (Somalia)
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
  • Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen)
  • Armed Islamic Group
  • Salafist Group for Call and Combat and the Armed Islamic Group
  • Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Egypt)
  • Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya
  • Jamaat Islamiyya
  • The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group
  • Bayt al-Imam (Jordan)
  • Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Kashmir)
  • Asbat al Ansar
  • Hezbollah (Lebanon)
  • Al-Badar
  • Harakat ul Ansar/Mujahadeen
  • Al-Hadith
  • Harakat ul Jihad
  • Jaish Mohammed - JEM
  • Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam
  • Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan
  • Laskar e-Toiba - LET
  • Moro Islamic Liberation Front (the Philippines)
  • Abu Sayyaf Group (Malaysia, Philippines)
  • Al-Ittihad Al Islamiya - AIAI (Somalia)
  • Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
  • Islamic Army of Aden (Yemen)
  • Jihad and the Internet

    Let’s not fool ourselves. Whatever threat the real Afghanistan poses to U.S. national security, the “Virtual Afghanistan” now poses just as big a threat. The Virtual Afghanistan is the network of hundreds of jihadist Web sites that inspire, train, educate and recruit young Muslims to engage in jihad against America and the West. Whatever surge we do in the real Afghanistan has no chance of being a self-sustaining success, unless there is a parallel surge — by Arab and Muslim political and religious leaders — against those who promote violent jihadism on the ground in Muslim lands and online in the Virtual Afghanistan.

    Thomas L. Friedman
    New York Times
    15 Dec 2009

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