The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Israeli analysts finally waking up to the hellish scene that is encircling Israel, realizing “Resistance Axis” was preferable to IS et al.

From INSS:

“Despite the difficulty in envisioning the final outcome of the campaign in Syria, and under the assumption that Syria will not return to the situation that existed there prior to the outbreak of the civil war, Israel must prepare for the future. It must update the strategic considerations that until now have driven the current policy of non-intervention. This demands proposing a competing approach to the existing conception, which claims that Iran is the main threat, and identifies the Islamic State as a threat that is more severe than the Iranian challenge. A scenario in which the Islamic State extends its control over southern Syria and the Golan Heights will bring Israel face to face with an element that does not operate in accordance with the international standard, i.e., without any rules of the game between states. If the Golan Heights and additional territories held by Assad and his allies fall to the Islamic State, the different types of weapons located in these areas will presumably be seized by the Islamic State. Strategic weapons possessed by the Islamic State will be more dangerous than the same weapons in the hands of Iran and Hizbollah, which are influenced by restraining considerations.”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

July 5, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Turks, Saudis and Qataris knee deep in supporting radical Islamists in Syria… who are also fighting each other

As always – a particularly wise policy from the enlightened three. From Al-Monitor:

“…This suggests that Ghouta may see a new round of fighting, which is only a reflection of the conflict between some regional countries. It is known that Saudi Arabia has established, funded and armed Jaish al-Islam and tried to protect its strength by preventing it from fighting major battles that would weaken it. Jaish al-Islam has thus acquired the reputation as being “the king of tactical withdrawals.” Riyadh wants Alloush and his “army” to be the arm that ensures Riyadh’s dominance in the capital, Damascus, in the event the Syrian regime falls.

In contrast, the Qatari-Turkish axis is seeking to retain tools that it can use around Damascus to disrupt the Saudi plan and ensure its share when the time of sharing the spoils comes. The Qatari-Turkish axis is doing that through Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, which in recent weeks received “pledges of allegiances” from some factions in Ghouta despite the decision by the “unified judiciary” suspending them [Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham] from working in Ghouta after their separation from Rahman Corps…”

Read more:

Written by nickbiddlenoe

July 5, 2015 at 2:25 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Head of Islamic Jihad on imperative of pluralism, jarring when read next to ISIS/Nursah/Saudi-Wahhabi discourse

Jarring indeed to read these statements from the head of Islamic Jihad in Palestine along with those associated with the rise of ISIS, Nusrah… Wahhabi Saudi-ism.

Little wonder that the US and EU are viewing Iran and their allies in increasingly sympathetic terms, no matter the pitfalls of this approach.. for which there are many!

From an interview with Dr. Ramadan Shallah, the secretary-general of Islamic Jihad in Palestine

Can you shed more light on Islamic Jihad’s idea of a nationalist collectivity?

As I mentioned earlier, this idea had been proposed early on by Islamic Jihad. The Islamic movement in all its manifestations was influenced by the concept of “Islamic nationalism,” specifically, Abul Ala Maududi’s negative views of nationalism and Sayyid Qutb’s understanding of the nationality of a Muslim as his creed.** The idea is simple [and it can be summarized as follows]: “I am a Muslim and I am proud of my affiliation with Islam.” However, belonging to a religion or having a religious identification does not preclude the possibility of having other aspects to one’s identity, be they nationalist, transnational, or humanistic. The Prophet Muhammad established a governing charter, or constitution, for Medina called al-Sahifa, which recognized the ethnic and religious pluralism of society—at the time, Medina was comprised of different groups of people who followed diverse religions and were of distinct ethnic backgrounds. But such differences did not hinder the establishment of a political entity based on “citizenship” where people enjoyed rights and obligations in conformity with that document. It is well-known that the Constitution of Medina defined Muslims as “a (religious) community apart from all others,” this being the community of the creed, or ummah, as discussed by Sayyid Qutb, and that this was the first time that Arab society defined itself on the basis of a shared common faith without regard to tribal affiliations. That notwithstanding, other sections of the document refer to Jews as a “community alongside the believers” (that is, Muslims), this being the community of political citizenship. More explicitly, the document specified that “the Jews have their religion and the Muslims have theirs, both themselves and their clients, barring only he who is unjust or sinful.”† The Constitution of Medina is not insignificant in the history of Islam, although Islamist currents had accorded it little importance until recently. Islamists were, and remain, unsympathetic to the idea of establishing a homeland or nation based on geography, as is the case of the modern European nation-state, in contrast with empires based on religion or ethnicity. All that Islamic Jihad is saying is that while geography should not be regarded as the basis of commonality between people in other places, the case of Palestine is different. Precisely because the geography of Palestine has been ravaged and lost, it is neither a matter of positing or denying [geographically-based] affiliations, or indeed of regarding these as antithetical to Islam, but a matter of jihad that is incumbent on an individual when it comes to liberating despoiled land, and especially Palestine, whose status is well-defined in religious doctrine.

It is important to note that Palestinians as a people are homogenous in terms of sects and ethnicity, unlike the population of other countries like Syria, Lebanon, or Iraq. Of course, there are Christians and Muslims in Palestine, but that has never been a problem, either in the history of Palestine or within the Palestinian national movement. The internal conflicts and plurality of stances within the movement are the result of ideological and factional differences and not religious ones. This is why Islamic Jihad has proposed the idea of a nationalist collectivity so that a national movement could be based on the notion of affiliation to the homeland, and removed from ideological or religious considerations. The resistance against Israel and its occupation is the only legitimate struggle, and the one that must be prioritized…”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

June 28, 2015 at 6:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

As-Safir’s exentive report on Hezbolah military positions in South Lebanon a signal of the coming challenge to 1701 regime

Below is a partial translation from the leftist Lebanese daily As-Safir. This particular report May 22 was hit on repeatedly by the Israeli media and the government in its renewed campaign these last few weeks to pave the way for the “Dahiye Doctrine” at some point in the future, if another Hezbollah-Israel war comes to pass.

The argument over the positioning of Hezbollah military assets in and around civilian areas is not actually the main, interesting issue that needs to be looked at with this piece. In fact, using just this piece one would assume that the bulk of Hezbollah’s assets are NOT positioned in civilian populated areas but in the many wilderness areas and mountainous areas. Undoubtedly, some Hezbollah fighters/village guard units and stores and perhaps firing positions are in fact located in civilian populated areas – surely – but this becomes a tough argument for the Israelis to win in front of various publics when the bombing starts since many journalists have pointed out that Israeli military facilities are ALSO sited in and around… civilian populated areas. The IDF HQ is but one example usually cited in this back and forth argument where the moral high-ground is difficult for any of the parties to reach.

For me what was particularly interesting about the report is the way in which Hezbollah is – for the first time in a while if I remember correctly – prepared to flout the 1701 framework by touring journalists through fixed facilities and positions in the area of operations.

This goes way beyond even a one off type attack from 1701 terrain a la January 2015…. this, I think, is but one indication of a major, impending challenge to the whole 1701 regime in the coming period.

HEADLINE:”As-Safir with the resistance men in the homeland of victory; model tunnels, constant readiness, five seconds to rain rockets on Israel.”

The report says that the tunnel visited “lies on a very sensitive and advanced border position,” adding that “anyone visiting the southern border and meeting the resistance men realizes that Hezbollah’s main intention of confronting the Israeli danger has not changed.” It argues: “It is wrong to think that the positioned fighters defy boredom with entertainment or long waits. They reduced several years into months and decades into years, for the war will start one day. Therefore, work on building reinforcements and new tunnels continues around the clock. Digging is manual with primitive tools to avert attention. The dirt that is dug up is filled in bags and taken away to a relatively distant area to be scattered across the fields and covered with tree leaves to absorb with nature. Keeping them in bags could attract the enemy’s attention.”

The report suggests: “The enemy discovered the effectiveness of the tunnels during the July [2006] war, but the method has developed since. The kind of concrete has changed. The method of ventilation and packing of weapons and food has changed. Electricity is available 24 hours a day through underground generators.” It continues to say that “the air in the tunnel is no different than outdoors. Humidity suction devices to protect the steel from rusting are there. So are the ventilation devices and emergency exits on the left and right side.” It adds that the rockets are packaged with anti-humidity substances and vacuumed in nylon material. “The concerned did not forget to leave razor blades next to the packaged rockets to allow the fighter to quickly open them during a moment of war,” according to the report.

Written by nickbiddlenoe

June 28, 2015 at 3:18 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

.@haningdr (Anti-Hezbollah) An-Nahar columnist argues there is more than mere Hizb-Syria-Kuntar “fooling” going on with Druze

An interesting alternative take to Tony Badran’s (always) hardline approach today at NOW to think everything that “helps” hezbollah, iran or Syria is a conspiracy by them, somehow, and doesn’t have important roots in real dynamics on the ground. Translated today by ouráãÇÐÇ-ÊÓÇÚÏ-ÅÓÑÇÆíá-ÌÈåÉ-ÇáäÕÑÉ?id=247815

“…However, the action of the Israeli Druze to support their brothers in Syria sabotaged Israel’s plans, embarrassed Israel, provoked it, and forced it to make a difficult choice: Either to side by a major part of its population, or to proceed with providing support to those parties that the Israeli Druze see as enemies of theirs in order to preserve its security interests. It is not hard to predict Israel’s choice. Indeed, no matter how strong the “blood pact” with the Israeli Druze is, it is not more important than its security interests.”

Written by nickbiddlenoe

June 26, 2015 at 7:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

“It’s Not Sprintime in Tunisia Anymore” – from March 2015 – the security threat will likely grow in Tunisia

Unless the corruption, mis-management and lack of capabilities in the Tunisian Security Sector is directly and forcefully addressed – now and not later – the country will only grow more vulnerable to the likelihood of more and more attacks in the coming period. This is FAR more important than the recent calls for economic aid, IMF band aids etc.

My piece from March after the last attack:

Written by nickbiddlenoe

June 26, 2015 at 3:01 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

New York Times uses the term “Martyred” in describing murder or Pastor in SC

A Path to Pulpit, Politics and Martyrdom

Clementa Pinckney, who was martyred last week in the basement of Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, S.C., often said he was summoned to the pulpit at an early age.

Written by nickbiddlenoe

June 26, 2015 at 2:58 pm

Posted in Uncategorized


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