Will Major Opposition Groups Face Off in Syria?

Will Major Opposition Groups Face Off in Syria?

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 21.02.2017

Will Major Opposition Groups Face Off in Syria?


It didn’t take long for Syrian jihadist groups to react to the first round of the Astana talks on Syria that were held Jan. 23-24 in the capital city of Kazakhstan. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra, a former al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, attacked the Syrian sites of the factions that participated in the talks under the sponsorship of Russia, Turkey and Iran in Astana.

Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, which is classified as a terrorist group by the United Nations and the United States, attacked on Jan. 24 the headquarters of Jaish al-Mujahideen and al-Jabhat al-Shamiya in the governorate of Idlib and the countryside of Aleppo.

Meanwhile, Jaish al-Mujahideen, along with other smaller factions, announced Jan. 26 their full allegiance to the Ahrar al-Sham movement — the biggest armed Syrian faction, classified as moderate by the West, Turkey and the Arab countries.

On Jan. 28, several jihadist groups announced their dissolution and the formation of a new armed group called the Organization for the Liberation of the Levant, commonly referred to as Hayyat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which is a merger between Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, Liwa al-Haqq, Ansar al-Din Front and Jaish al-Sunna.

In its statement, the HTS called all factions to join its ranks for unity and for achieving the goals of the Syrian revolution, mainly the toppling of the regime and the establishment of a Sharia state.

The new group is headed by Hashem al-Sheikh, known as Abu Jaber, former leader of the Ahrar al-Sham movement. Several prominent jihadist clerics, namely Saudi Abdullah al-Muhaysini, announced that they have joined the newly formed jihadist group.

The defection from the movement Sheikh (Abu Jaber) and of the former spokesman of Ahrar al-Sham, Abu Yusuf al-Muhajir, and the announcement of their full allegiance to the HTS came to end the division within the movement between two ideological currents — one close to the Muslim Brotherhood and another that adopts al-Qaeda’s vision. Sheikh (Abu Jaber), who was appointed head of the newly formed group, said in his first statement Feb. 9 that the group is independent and does not serve as an extension to any other organization or former factions. He added that it is rather a merger between different factions and groups to face the “serious turning point” and the challenges at the political, military and civil levels.

Sheikh (Abu Jaber) said the HTS is seeking to “unify the Syrian factions under a single unified command, leading the political and military work of the Syrian revolution in order to achieve its main goal, which is to topple the regime and liberate all Syrian territories, uphold territorial integrity and preserve the Islamic identity of the people.”

He added that military action against the regime is imminent.

Abdullah Suleiman Ali, a Syrian researcher and reporter specializing in jihadist movements, told Al-Monitor, “The formation of the HTS has caused sharp polarization between the armed factions in northern Syria, which almost led to a division between two main groups — the first led by Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, and the other by the Ahrar al-Sham movement”.

The new dispute between the two jihadist groups stresses the deep ideological and political gap between the two after many failed attempts to merge.

Commenting on whether this new formation was the result of the Astana talks, where opposition groups were sorted between moderates and hard-liners, Ali said it is too early to judge. He said that the Astana factions’ joining of the Ahrar al-Sham movement could mean that the factions may adopt the same conditions as Ahrar al-Sham for any political settlement, which could lead to the obstruction or failure of the Geneva talks.

Ali explained that with the formation of the HTS, Ahrar al-Sham could no longer show any flexibility vis-a-vis the political process, which could serve HTS propaganda and thus lead to a wave of defections within Ahrar al-Sham’s ranks.

Muhammad Alloush, a Lebanese researcher and analyst specializing in Islamic movements, told Al-Monitor that the HTS seeks to merge all factions upholding al-Qaeda ideology under one banner and secure as many weapons as possible.

The HTS was formed amid fears on behalf of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham that it would be marginalized from the political scene following regional and international agreements on a political settlement in Syria. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham also feared that “moderate” armed groups would confront it militarily should such agreements be reached. In this context, Alloush said, the HTS is trying to have more military and political influence on the ground in an attempt to curb any agreement resulting from the Astana or Geneva talks, repeating the Islamic State’s scenario in controlling large Syrian areas between 2013 and 2014.

Ali also expects the HTS to attack Syrian army positions, taking advantage of the current low-key approach of Ahrar al-Sham, in order to gain more allegiances under the pretext that it is the only faction fighting against the regime. He said that Abu Mohammed al-Golani, head of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, is well aware that he is wanted internationally and that Russia’s plan to sort between “hard-liners” and “moderates” in Astana is a prelude to the declaration of a fierce war against his organization.

According to Ali, Golani also fears the growing power of the group within his organization that is refusing to disengage from al-Qaeda and that objects to the merger with some of the factions within the HTS because of the lack of a clear ideology and political objectives of such a merger.

Golani was pressured at home and abroad to find a swift solution that would be satisfactory to the cadres within the organization, and to eliminate any international reason to target him by not adhering to the global jihad and not seeking to establish an Islamic state without relinquishing his grip over leadership positions with the HTS. Indeed, Golani kept his position as the general military commander in the HTS secret, Ali said.

The pertinent question, however, is whether the two groups will be dragged into infighting or maintain some kind of military coordination against the Syrian army — especially since several mediation efforts to this effect have yet to yield results.

For his part, Alloush expects the two groups to come face-to-face on the battlefield given the large overlapping areas of power and their attempt to integrate the biggest number of factions in their ranks.

Alloush said the HTS fears that Ahrar al-Sham might become the spearhead of the factions fighting against it should the Syrian opposition decide to kick al-Qaeda and foreign fighters out of the country. Therefore, the HTS is trying to inflame the situation with Ahrar al-Sham, especially through social networking sites, where prominent HTS figures are raising questions about the intentions of Ahrar al-Sham in Syria.

Alloush does not exclude a rapprochement between the Islamic State and the HTS in the future if all other groups unite against the latter.

In the same context, Ali said he does not expect the HTS to be supported regionally, as some regional parties — in light of the new international trends to fight against terrorism — had given up on some of the armed factions in Syria. However, some regional stakeholders might still be banking on turning some “terrorist-classified” groups into “moderate” factions.

According to previous statistics, the number of HTS fighters is expected to reach more than 25,000. They are deployed in Idlib, as well as in the countryside of Aleppo and the northern countryside of Hama.

New Military Alliance to Be Formed in Middle East

New Military Alliance to Be Formed in Middle East

PETER KORZUN | 17.02.2017 | WORLD

New Military Alliance to Be Formed in Middle East

Combining available information to get the whole picture, one can see the situation in the Middle East changing drastically, especially as the US strategy is reviewed and new alliances are formed.

The Trump administration is in talks with Middle East allies about forming a military alliance that would share intelligence with Israel to help counter Iran, according to several Middle Eastern officials.

The planned coalition would include countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain. Egypt and Jordan have longstanding peace treaties with Israel. For the Arab countries involved, the alliance would have a NATO-style mutual-defense component under which an attack on one member would be treated as an attack on all, though details are still being worked out. The US and Israel will cooperate without full-fledged membership. According to the Wall Street Journal, «one Arab diplomat suggested that the notion that the Trump administration might designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group was being floated as an incentive for Egypt to join the alliance».

US President Donald Trump has assured visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Tehran would never be able to build a nuclear weapon.

«The security challenges faced by Israel are enormous, including the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, which I’ve talked a lot about. One of the worst deals I’ve ever seen is the Iran deal», Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with Netanyahu at the White House. Reading the statement between the lines, it becomes evident that the US is ready to go much further than warnings and sanctions to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear capability.

Russian Izvestia daily reported the US plans to substantially increase its military presence in Iraq. The newspaper cited its own sources in the U.S. Republican Party. The plans include a few thousand troops to arrive in Iraq in the coming months. The reinforcement will continue the policy of the Obama administration, which was gradually expanding the military presence in that country.

It was reported on February 16 that the Pentagon was developing proposals for sending an unspecified number of American military personnel into Syria, conventional ground forces which would augment the 500 combat advisers already there coordinating efforts to destroy the Islamic State (IS).

Military Times reports that multiple US Army sources indicated that about two thousand soldiers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team may soon bolster other Army elements already in the region. Currently, about 1,800 paratroopers from the 2nd BCT are in Iraq participating in the US military’s train-and-advise mission. The 82ndAirborne Division is based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Citing an unidentified U.S. defense official, CNN indicated additional deployments could happen within weeks. Today, there are about 5,000 US troops deployed to Iraq and another 500 in Syria.

The White House indicated in January that it could task the military with establishing «safe zones» on Syrian soil. A large number of troops would be needed to defend havens, pitting them against pro-government forces as well as rival rebel groups. Without approval by UN Security Council, few nations will contribute leaving the US alone to shoulder the main burden. Hundreds of aircraft will have to be deployed to carry out the mission.

Deploying substantial forces in the Middle East risks putting the US on a slippery slope to further involvement in the war. Safe zones should not become no-fly zones to impede the operations of Russian and Syrian air forces. If the US decides to continue with the idea, it should it become an issue on the agenda for talks with Russia before any practical steps are taken to implement it.

It’s not Arab states only. Army Gen. John Nicholson, the top US commander in Afghanistan, told lawmakers on February 9 that thousands more American or NATO troops are needed to break the «stalemate» between Afghan forces and the Taliban insurgent group while the IS also remains active in the nation. The general did not specify how many additional troops were needed, but did not rule out the potential for up to 30,000.

The strategy, which relied on special forces teams and intensive operations conducted by drones, may become a thing of the past, with the U.S. returning to large-scale presence.

The terrorist activities of the IS go beyond the scope of a regional problem. There are a few options here for cooperation of the military agencies and special services of Russia and the US ranging from intelligence exchange on IS to exercising influence on the countries affected by the war with the terrorist threat.

Whatever are the plans of Trump’s administration aimed at changing the Middle East strategy, the US cannot go it alone there. It needs allies, partners, and friendly pertinent actors to coordinate activities with. This shows how important it is to speed up bilateral and multilateral discussions.

It all goes to show that Russia and the US should speed up launching regular contacts to exchange opinions on the situation in the Middle East. On February 16, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford met face to face with their Russian counterparts Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Chief of General Staff General Valeriy Gerasimov in Bonn and Baku respectively. Hopefully, the first contacts will spur the process and the parties will be engaged in dialogue concerning major security issues. The volatile situation in the Middle East should be addressed without delay as part of preparations for a possible summit in Slovenia.

The CIA’s Blueprint for Syrian Regime Collapse: New Declassified CIA Memo

Global Research, February 16, 2017
The Libertarian Institute 14 February 2017

A newly declassified CIA document explored multiple scenarios of Syrian regime collapse at a time when Hafez al-Assad’s government was embroiled in a covert “dirty war” with Israel and the West, and in the midst of a diplomatic crisis which marked an unprecedented level of isolation for Syria.

The 24-page formerly classified memo entitled Syria: Scenarios of Dramatic Political Change was produced in July 1986, and had high level distribution within the Reagan administration and to agency directors, including presidential advisers, the National Security Council, and the US ambassador to Syria.

The memo appears in the CIA’s latest CREST release (CIA Records Search Tool) of over 900,000 recently declassified documents.

A “severely restricted” report

The memo’s cover letter, drafted by the CIA’s Director of Global Issues (the report itself was prepared by the division’s Foreign Subversion and Instability Center), introduces the purpose of presenting “a number of possible scenarios that could lead to the ouster of President Assad or other dramatic change in Syria.”

It further curiously warns that, “Because the analysis out of context is susceptible to misunderstanding, external distribution has been severely restricted.” The report’s narrowed distribution list (sent to specific named national security heads, not entire agencies) indicates that it was considered at the highest levels of the Reagan administration.

The coming sectarian war for Syria

The intelligence report’s contents contain some striking passages which seem remarkably consistent with events as they unfolded decades later at the start of the Syrian war in 2011:

Although we judge that fear of reprisals and organizational problems make a second Sunni challenge unlikely, an excessive government reaction to minor outbreaks of Sunni dissidence might trigger large-scale unrest. In most instances the regime would have the resources to crush a Sunni opposition movement, but we believe widespread violence among the populace could stimulate large numbers of Sunni officers and conscripts to desert or munity, setting the stage for civil war. [pg.2]

The “second Sunni challenge” is a reference to the Syrian government’s prior long running war against a Muslim Brotherhood insurgency which culminated in the 1982 Hama Massacre. While downplaying the nationalist and pluralistic composition of the ruling Ba’ath party, the report envisions a renewal and exploitation of sectarian fault lines pitting Syria’s Sunni population against its Alawite leadership:

Sunnis make up 60 percent of the Syrian officer corps but are concentrated in junior officer ranks; enlisted men are predominantly Sunni conscripts. We believe that a renewal of communal violence between Alawis and Sunnis could inspire Sunnis in the military to turn against the regime. [pg.12]

Regime change and the Muslim Brotherhood

The possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood spearheading another future armed insurgency leading to regime change is given extensive focus. While the document’s tone suggests this as a long term future scenario (especially considering the Brotherhood suffered overwhelming defeat and went completely underground in Syria by the mid-1980’s), it is considered one of the top three “most likely” drivers of regime change (the other scenarios include “Succession Power Struggle” and “Military Reverses Spark a Coup”).

The potential for revival of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “militant faction” is introduced in the following:

Although the Muslim Brotherhood’s suppression drastically reduced armed dissidence, we judge a significant potential still exists for another Sunni opposition movement. In part the Brotherhood’s role was to exploit and orchestrate opposition activity by other organized groups… These groups still exist, and under proper leadership they could coalesce into a large movement… …young professionals who formed the base of support for the militant faction of the Muslim Brotherhood; and remnants of the Brotherhood itself who could become leaders in a new Sunni opposition movement… [pp.13-14]

The Brotherhood’s role is seen as escalating the potential for initially small Sunni protest movements to morph into violent sectarian civil war:

Sunni dissidence has been minimal since Assad crushed the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1980s, but deep-seated tensions remain–keeping alive the potential for minor incidents to grow into major flareups of communal violence… Excessive government force in quelling such disturbances might be seen by Sunnis as evidence of a government vendetta against all Sunnis, precipitating even larger protests by other Sunni groups…

Mistaking the new protests as a resurgence of the Muslim Brotherhood, the government would step up its use of force and launch violent attacks on a broad spectrum of Sunni community leaders as well as on those engaged in protests. Regime efforts to restore order would founder if government violence against protestors inspired broad-based communal violence between Alawis and Sunnis. [pp.19-20]

The CIA report describes the final phase of an evolving sectarian war which witnesses the influx of fighters and weapons from neighboring countries. Consistent with a 1983 secret report that called for a US covert operation to utilize then US-allied Iraq as a base of attack on Syria, the 1986 analysis says, “Iraq might supply them with sufficient weapons to launch a civil war”:

A general campaign of Alawi violence against Sunnis might push even moderate Sunnis to join the opposition. Remnants of the Muslim Brotherhood–some returning from exile in Iraq–could provide a core of leadership for the movement. Although the regime has the resources to crush such a venture, we believe brutal attacks on Sunni civilians might prompt large numbers of Sunni officers and conscripts to desert or stage mutinies in support of dissidents, and Iraq might supply them with sufficient weapons to launch a civil war. [pp.20-21]

A Sunni regime serving Western economic interests

While the document is primarily a theoretical exploration projecting scenarios of Syrian regime weakening and collapse (its purpose is analysis and not necessarily policy), the authors admit of its “purposefully provocative” nature (see PREFACE) and closes with a list desired outcomes. One provocative outcome describes a pliant “Sunni regime” serving US economic interests:

In our view, US interests would be best served by a Sunni regime controlled by business-oriented moderates. Business moderates would see a strong need for Western aid and investment to build Syria’s private economy, thus opening the way for stronger ties to Western governments. [pg. 24]

Ironically, the Syrian government would accuse the United States and its allies of covert subversion within Syria after a string of domestic bombings created diplomatic tensions during the mid-1980’s.

Dirty tricks and diplomacy in the 1980’s

According to Patrick Seale’s landmark book, Asad of Syria: The Struggle for the Middle East, 1986 was a year that marked Syria’s greatest isolation among world powers as multiple diplomatic crises and terror events put Syria more and more out in the cold.

The year included “the Hindawi affair”a Syrian intelligence sponsored attempt to hijack and bomb an El Al flight to Tel Avivand may or may not have involved Nezar Hindawi working as a double agent on behalf of Israel. The foiled plot brought down international condemnation on Syria and lives on as one of the more famous and bizarre terror conspiracies in history. Not only were Syria and Israel once again generally on the brink of war in 1986, but a string of “dirty tricks” tactics were being utilized by Syria and its regional enemies to shape diplomatic outcomes primarily in Lebanon and Jordan.

In March and April of 1986 (months prior to the distribution of the CIA memo), a string of still largely unexplained car bombs rocked Damascus and at least 5 towns throughout Syria, leaving over 200 civilians dead in the most significant wave of attacks since the earlier ’79-’82 war with the Muslim Brotherhood (also see BBC News recount the attacks).

Patrick Seale’s book speculates of the bombings that, “It may not have been unconnected that in late 1985 the NSC’s Colonel Oliver North and Amiram Nir, Peres’s counter-terrorism expert, set up a dirty tricks outfit to strike back at the alleged sponsors of Middle East terrorism.”*

Consistency with future WikiLeaks files

The casual reader of Syria: Scenarios of Dramatic Political Change will immediately recognize a strategic thinking on Syria that looks much the same as what is revealed in national security memos produced decades later in the run up to the current war in Syria.

When US cables or intelligence papers talk regime change in Syria they usually strategize in terms of exploiting sectarian fault lines. In a sense, this is the US national security bureaucracy’s fall-back approach to Syria.

One well-known example is contained in a December 2006 State Dept. cable sent from the US embassy in Syria (subsequently released by WikiLeaks). The cable’s stated purpose is to explore Syrian regime vulnerabilities and weaknesses to exploit (in similar fashion to the 1986 CIA memo):

PLAY ON SUNNI FEARS OF IRANIAN INFLUENCE: There are fears in Syria that the Iranians are active in both Shia proselytizing and conversion of, mostly poor, Sunnis. Though often exaggerated, such fears reflect an element of the Sunni community in Syria that is increasingly upset by and focused on the spread of Iranian influence in their country through activities ranging from mosque construction to business.

Another section of the 2006 cable explains precisely the same scenario laid out in the 1986 memo in describing the increased “possibility of a self-defeating over-reaction” on the part of the regime.:

ENCOURAGE RUMORS AND SIGNALS OF EXTERNAL PLOTTING: The regime is intensely sensitive to rumors about coup-plotting and restlessness in the security services and military. Regional allies like Egypt and Saudi Arabia should be encouraged to meet with figures like [former Vice President Abdul Halim] Khaddam and [younger brother of Hafez] Rif’at Asad as a way of sending such signals, with appropriate leaking of the meetings afterwards. This again touches on this insular regime’s paranoia and increases the possibility of a self-defeating over-reaction.

And ironically, Rif’at Asad and Khaddam are both mentioned extensively in the 1986 memo as key players during a speculative future “Succession Power Struggle.” [p.15]

An Islamic State in Damascus?

While the 1986 CIA report makes a case in its concluding paragraph for “a Sunni regime controlled by business-oriented moderates” in Syria, the authors acknowledge that the collapse of the Ba’ath state could actually usher in the worst of all possible outcomes for Washington and the region: “religious zealots” might seek to establish “an Islamic Republic”. The words take on a new and special importance now, after the rise of ISIS:

Although Syria’s secular traditions would make it extremely difficult for religious zealots to establish an Islamic Republic, should they succeed they would likely deepen hostilities with Israel and provide support and sanctuary to terrorists groups. [pg.24]

What continues to unfold in Syria has apparently surpassed even the worst case scenarios of intelligence planners in the 1980’s. Tinkering with regime change has proven itself to be the most dangerous of all games.

*Seale, Patrick. Asad of Syria : the struggle for the Middle East (Berkeley, CA : University of California Press, 1989)p.474.

Yahya Sinwar Elected Hamas’ Gaza Chief

February 13, 2017

Hamas leader Yahia Sinwar attending a rally in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip January 7, 2016.

Yahya Sinwar Elected Hamas’ Gaza Chief

Palestinian resistance movement Hamas elected a member of its armed wing as its new Gaza head Monday, Hamas officials said.

“Yahya Sinwar was elected to head the Hamas political office in the Gaza Strip”, the officials said.

He will succeed Ismail Haniya, who is seen by many observers as the most likely successor to Hamas’s current exiled leader Khaled Meshaal.

In September 2015, Sinwar was added to the US terrorism blacklist alongside two other members of Hamas’s military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

A graduate in Arabic language, he was born in the Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza and founded “Majd,” one of Hamas’s intelligence services.

Arrested by Israeli occupation authorities in 1988 for “terrorist activity,” Sinwar was sentenced to four life sentences before being released in October 2011 under an agreement to exchange more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the release of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured five years earlier.

Hamas has been conducting internal elections for several months.

Source: AFP

«العسكر» على رأس قيادة «حماس» في غزة

مضت حتى الآن مرحلتان مهمتان قبيل انتخابات المكتب السياسي لحركة «حماس» التي تلعب فيها التزكية دوراً مهما. فبعد التجديد لمحمد عرمان في «الهيئة القيادية العليا لأسرى حماس»، أتمت الحركة أمس، انتخاب قيادتها في غزة

 انتخب القيادي والأسير المحرر يحيى السنوار، المحسوب على «كتائب القسام»، الجناح العسكري لـ«حركة المقاومة الإسلامية ــ حماس» وأحد مؤسسيه، رئيساً للمكتب السياسي للحركة في قطاع غزة خلفاً لإسماعيل هنية، الذي تؤكد غالبية التقديرات انتخابه قريباً لرئاسة المكتب السياسي في الخارج، علماً بأنّ هذه الانتخابات الداخلية تجري منذ شهور عدة.

وعلمت «الأخبار» من مصادر في غزة أن خليل الحية انتخب نائباً للسنوار، فيما يشمل المكتب في غزة ضمن تشكيلته المكوّنة من 15 عضواً كلّاً من صلاح البردويل ومروان عيسى وروحي مشتهى وسهيل الهندي وفتحي حماد وياسر حرب ومحمود الزهار وأبو عبيدة الجماصي وإسماعيل برهوم وجواد أبو شمالة وأحمد الكرد وعطا الله أبو السبح وناصر السراج، وثُلث هؤلاء على الأقل من ذوي خلفيات عسكرية أو يتقلدون مناصب ومهمات في «القسام»، فضلاً عن المقربين من الذراع العسكرية.

المصادر نفسها ذكرت أنه جرى اختيار مازن هنية رئيساً لـ«مجلس الشورى في قطاع غزة»، التابع للحركة، فيما جرى التوافق على خالد مشعل رئيساً لـ«مجلس الشورى في الداخل والخارج»، وبذلك يكون مشعل الذي يرأس الحركة فعلياً منذ عام 2004 بعد اغتيال مؤسسها الشيخ أحمد ياسين ثم خليفته عبد العزيز الرنتيسي، على وشك أن يختم 13 عاماً في منصبه. وكان لافتاً أنّ عماد العلمي ونزار عوض الله لم ينجحا في الوصول إلى المكتب السياسي الجديد، علماً بأنّ صعود إسماعيل هنية إلى المكتب السياسي جرى بالتزكية، على اعتبار أنه كان رئيساً للمكتب في غزة في خلال الولاية السابقة، فيما من المقدر أن تعلن نتائج انتخابات المكتب السياسي مطلع نيسان المقبل.

جراء ذلك، تصدّر الإعلام الإسرائيلي والدولي ردود فعل كبيرة حول اختيار شخص السنوار وتداعيات ذلك على توجهات «حماس» في المرحلة المقبلة، خاصة مع الحديث عن نذر اقتراب مواجهة جديدة بين العدو والمقاومة في غزة.

والسنوار اعتقل للمرة الأولى عام 1982 ثم في 1985، إلى أن جاء الاعتقال الأكبر عام 1988، الذي حُكم فيه عليه بالسجن أربعة مؤبدات إلى أن أفرج عنه في «صفقة جلعاد شاليط» عام 2011.

يُشار إلى أن الولايات المتحدة كانت قد أدرجت في أيلول 2015 اسم السنوار على لائحتها السوداء «للإرهابيين الدوليين» إلى جانب قياديين اثنين آخرين من «حماس» هما فتحي حماد وروحي مشتهى، والأخير ومعه السنوار تتهمهما واشنطن بأنهما «يواصلان الدعوة إلى خطف جنود إسرائيليين لمبادلة أسرى فلسطينيين بهما». كذلك يُنسَب إلى السنوار تأسيس وقيادة الجهاز الأمني للحركة، الذي كان يعرف باسم «مجد»، وكان له دور كبير في التنسيق بين المستويين السياسي والعسكري في الحركة في خلال الحرب الأخيرة في غزة.

أيضاً، كانت «حماس» قد عينت السنوار في تموز 2015 مسؤولاً عن «ملف الأسرى الإسرائيليين» لديها وقيادة أي مفاوضات تتعلق بشأنهم مع الاحتلال، وكان اختياره قد جاء بطلب من قيادة القسام لكونه معروفاً بـ«صلابته وشدته»، وفق المصادر في غزة. في المقابل، نقل موقع «المصدر الإسرائيلي» تقديرات جهات استخباراتية إسرائيلية تقول إن السنوار بصفته «نجح في تخطي كلا المسؤولَين الآخرَين في قيادة الجناح، محمد الضيف ومروان عيسى بفضل نفوذه ومكانته… (كما أن) اختياره في منصب رئيس حماس في غزة يعزز التقديرات بأنّ تأثير الجناح العسكري آخذ في الازدياد، ويتفوق على السياسي». ونقل «المصدر» عناوين رئيسية في صحف إسرائيلية منها «معاريف» التي جاء فيها: «يخاف نشطاء حماس من السنوار أيضاً». وذهبت صحيفة «هآرتس» أبعد من ذلك ورصدت بعض ردود فعل الداخلية، قائلة إن «فلسطينيين التقوا السنوار يعتبرونه متطرّفاً حتى بموجب مفاهيم الحركة، وهو يتحدث بمصطلحات مروّعة عن حرب أبدية ضدّ إسرائيل».

أما رئيس «لجنة الخارجية والأمن» في الكنيست الإسرائيلي، آفي ديختر، فقال مساء أمس، إن على «إسرائيل تعزيز قدراتها لتدمير البنية التحتية لحماس بعد تعيين يحيى السنوار رئيساً جديداً للحركة في غزة… من اليوم صار زعيم حماس في غزة هو شيخ القتلة».

إلى ذلك، أعلنت «كتائب القسام» في بيان أمس، أنها «تزفّ المجاهد أحمد البريم (22 عاماً) من خان يونس الذي ارتقى إثر انهيار نفق للمقاومة»، ضمن ما يسمى «شهداء الإعداد».


السنوار مسؤولاً لحماس في غزة

فبراير 14, 2017

فاز يحيى السنوار، أحد مؤسسي الجهاز الأمني لـ«حماس» برئاسة المكتب السياسي للحركة في غزة خلال انتخابات داخلية جرت أمس. ونقلت وكالة «معا» عن مصادر مقربة من «حماس» أن الانتخابات الداخلية لحركة حماس في ساحة غزة قد انتهت، وأفضت إلى انتخاب يحيى السنوار رئيساً للمكتب السياسي للحركة في غزة، وخليل الحية نائباً له، وذلك في إطار الانتخابات الداخلية التي تجريها الحركة بعيداً عن الإعلام والتي يرجّح أن تنتهي بانتخاب اسماعيل هنية رئيساً لمكتبها السياسي خلفاً لخالد مشعل.

ويوصف السنوار «العدوّ الأول» لـ«إسرائيل» في غزة.. بل إن البعض في الكيان الصهيوني يذهب إلى حد اعتباره «الرجل الأقوى في حماس».

واسم السنوار كان يتردّد خلال الفترة الماضية كأحد الأسماء المرشحة لخلافة هنية في غزة أو حتى مشعل في المكتب السياسي. في كل الأحوال فإن انتخابه مسؤولاً للحركة في غزة لا شكّ في أنه يحمل الكثير من الدلالات، خصوصاً ما هو مرتبط بالمواجهة مع الاحتلال الصهيوني. إذ يعدّ السنوار من الشخصيات الرئيسية البعيدة من دائرة الضوء المحسوبة على الجناح العسكري، وإن بدأ يظهر أكثر في العامين الماضيين. وكانت تقارير صحافية تحدثت عن تسجيل الذراع العسكرية للحركة إنجازات في الانتخابات الداخلية التي بدأت نهاية الأسبوع.

بانتخاب السنوار سيترقّب العدو مسار المفاوضات غير المباشرة مع حركة حماس من أجل استعادة جنودها إذ تنظر «تل أبيب» إلى السنوار على أنه من الأكثر تشدّداً في مفاوضات تبادل الأسرى. ويعدّ السنوار الذي يبلغ من العمر 55 عاماً من أوائل الناشطين في كتائب القسام مع بداية الانتفاضة الأولى. ترعرع في مخيم خانيونس للاجئين. اعتقله الاحتلال عام 1989 وحكم عليه بالمؤبد.

أما نائب السنوار خليل الحيّة فهو أكثر ظهوراً إعلامياً ويعدّ من الشخصيات البارزة في الحركة. استشهدت زوجته واثنان من أبنائه خلال العدوان على قطاع غزة عام 2014.

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Support Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” (H.R. 608)Sign the Petition


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What’s Happening in Syria? The Media “Kills the Truth”, “Terrorism” is Described as “Moderate Opposition”: Eva Bartlett

By Eva Bartlett
February 05, 2017
Eva Bartlett

Canadian independent journalist Eva Bartlett is the object of a smear campaign by Canada’s mainstream media.

Listen to what she has to say and then decide who is telling the truth.

The mainstream media denies the existence of terrorists linked to Al Qaeda.

According to mainstream sources, there were no terrorists in Aleppo. 

Al Qaeda and the Islamic State are supported by US-NATO, Saudi Arabia and Israel. They are the state-sponsors of terrorism. We are dealing with a war of aggression. Eva Bartlett provides detailed evidence of  war crimes. (M.Ch, GR Editor)

Montreal Event, January 28, 2017

Saudi, U.S., NATO genocide in Yemen threatens lives of 18 million Yemenis


The United Nation’s aid chief has warned that Yemen is facing the risk of all-out famine this year… Warning, you may find the images in the follwing reports disturbing.


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