web analytics
April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’

Syrian Christians Caught between Rock and Hard Place

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Caught between the larger Sunni-Shi’a battles for supremacy in Syria, Christians are forced to contemplate an uncertain future as Western powers debate action against the government of Bashar al-Assad.

Syrian Christians are faced with a difficult situation due to the Syrian civil war. Many Christians support Assad out of fear that if he is overthrown and replaced by Islamists, they will face greater persecution, especially from al-Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslim rebel groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra, who have attacked Christians. At the same time, Assad and his government are supported by Iran and its Lebanese terror proxy, Hezbollah, and have used chemical weapons against the Syrian people.

Christian villagers in Wadi al-Nassara (Valley of Christians) in western Syria, home to around 50,000 Christians, have formed “popular defense committees” with the blessing of the Syrian government, according to AFP.

These “popular defense committees” are militias armed and trained by the Syrian government to supplement the Syrian army and protect their own neighborhoods or villages from attacks by rebels. Many of these militias are comprised of Syrian minority groups such as the Christians, Druze and Alawites.

Christian leaders in Syria have faced growing danger from rebels. In April, two Syrian bishops, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji, were kidnapped at gunpoint at a rebel checkpoint near Aleppo. Their whereabouts are still unknown. In early July, a video posted on LiveLeak.com apparently showed Syrian Catholic priest Father Francois Murad being beheaded by the Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels, Jabhat al-Nusra, in front of a cheering crowd. While there are conflicting reports over whether Murad was depicted in the video, the Vatican has confirmed that Murad, along with two others, were taken from a monastery in northern Syria and killed. In late July, an al-Qaeda linked group abducted Italian Jesuit Priest Paolo Dall’Oglio.

The Next Bloodbath : Lebanon

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

During the past two years we have become accustomed to the seemingly endless bloodbath in Syria, which has become a boxing ring for the many forces that are tearing it apart, while tearing its citizens apart in the process as well. But now the flames of the Arab Spring are threatening its western neighbor, Lebanon, the most democratic Arab or Muslim state in the modern Middle East. The Lebanese political system, which is built on a delicate balance among many sects and political bodies, has been directly influenced in the past two years by the events in Syria, because several Lebanese bodies are deeply involved in the Syrian tragedy.

Many have written about Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria, and one may assume that this involvement – together with the terror attack in Burgas, Bulgaria – was the basis for the EU’s decision to declare the military arm of Hezbollah as a terror organization. Hezbollah is the target of harsh criticism these days, both by Sunni groups that identify with the rebels against Asad in Syria, and by the Shi’ites who fear that the Syrian Sunnis will bring its revenge to Lebanon. However, Nasrallah does not listen to his opposition and continues to carry out Teheran’s instructions to help Asad survive at any price, even at the price of the lives of hundreds of Hezbollah fighters.

The Sunnis do their part too, by trying to attack Hezbollah in it’s own domain, in Lebanon. To date we have seen missile strikes on Dahiya, the southern suburb of Beirut, which is the Hezbollah stronghold, as well as a car bomb that exploded there in mid-June. Supporters of Syria are also targets of Hezbollah’s opposition: In the beginning of the week of July 21, a Syrian journalist of Kurdish extraction named Mohammed Dhirar Jammu, a supporter of the Asad regime, was murdered in the Lebanese city of Sarafand.

But lately reports have begun to appear in the Arabic media that a new Sunni front, the Lebanese branch of the Syrian group Jabhat al-Nusra, is steadily strengthening and consolidating in Lebanon. Jabhat al-Nusra, which also has branches in Iraq, is part of the global system of al-Qaeda-inspired organizations that translate into practical terms the teachings of bin Laden, which are based on the ideology of his mentor, Palestinian Sheikh Abdullah Azzam.

First of all, the full, official name of the organization is “Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahal al-Sham” – “The Defensive Front for the People of Greater Syria.” The term “Greater Syria” expresses the organization’s rejection of the division of the modern Middle East into modern states – Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Israel – because they were founded by Christian-European colonialism in order to serve its own interests. The “al-Sham” region includes West Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the Land of Israel, which the Arabs call “Filastin”. Therefore, Israel must keep a watchful eye on this organization because it is theoretically possible that the Muslims in Israel will want to open branches of the organization in Israel as well. And this actually almost happened, but then was blocked when Sheikh Nazem Abu Islim of Nazareth was arrested, tried and imprisoned.

Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon

The Christian writer Luna Khuri describes the structure of the Lebanese branch of Jabhat al-Nusra in the Elaph Internet site. The head of the organization is Muhammad al-Rish from Tripoli, whose brother, Samer abd al-Rahim al-Rish, was one of the leaders of the Jund al-Sham organization (Greater Syrian Army) and was killed last month in the battle of the Crusader fortress Krak des Chevaliers, near Homs. Muhammad al-Rish’s immediate task is to defend the budding development of Jabhat al-Nusra in Lebanon from attacks by the Lebanese military, which are carried out against it by instructions from Hassan Nasrallah.

In mid-June of this year, the Lebanese army eliminated the Sunni Salafi sheikh, Ahmad al-Asir in Sidon, and captured a truck full of military equipment near the town of Arsal, in Lebanon’s  Bekaa Valley. This town is apparently the logistical center of the Jabhat al-Nusra organization in Lebanon, because of its location on the border of Syria and Lebanon. Its local commander in the town was Khaled Hunayd, who was killed by agents of Lebanese military intelligence. The present commander took a lesson from this event, so he now operates incognito, heading a group that includes approximately 200 fighters under the spiritual leadership of Sheikh Mustapha al-Hujairi – called Abu Takia (the turbaned one), who issued a fatwa – a religious legal ruling – that allows killing soldiers of the Lebanese army.

Catholic Priest Murdered by Syrian Rebels, Possibly Beheaded

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Although there are conflicting reports about which act of brutality killed a Syrian Roman Catholic priest late last month – whether, as initial reports, including from Catholic Online claimed, he was beheaded by Syrian rebels, or as has been reported more recently, the priest was shot to death by Syrian rebels who attacked his church, there is no doubt that Father François Murad was killed on June 23 by Syrian rebels at a church in Ghassaniya, northern Syria.

The Custody of the Holy Land, a Franciscan order which is the official custodian of religious sites in the Middle East, issued a statement two days after Father Murad’s death, saying Islamists shot him.

“Islamists attacked the monastery, ransacking it and destroying everything,” it said. “When Father François tried to resist, defending the nuns, rebels shot him.”

Father Francois had started the construction of a monastery dedicated to St. Simon Stylites in the village of Gassanieh after entering the priesthood, but that monastary was bombed during this Syran civil war.  After the bombing, Fr. Murad moved to the convent of the Custody for safety reasons and to give support to the few remaining Catholics in the area.

According to various sources, the Vatican confirmed that Father Murad had been murdered, and initially also stated that he had been beheaded.

The confusion was caused, in part, because there is a video of Syrian rebels beheading two men on June 23, and Father Murad was also murdered on June 23.

Everyone agrees that both the murderers in the video shown beheading two Syrians, and the people who murdered Father Murad were members of the al-Qaeda linked terrorist group Jabhat al-Nusra, a Sunni terrorist organization that operates primarily in Iraq and Syria.

The video of the beheadings is posted at Catholic Online. This reporter has not viewed it, but by all indications it provides a clear and graphic view of the acts of beheading.  It also shows fellow terrorists watching the murders and chanting praise to Allah.

When the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department was asked at the daily press briefing on Tuesday, July 2, about the possible beheading of Father Murad by Syrian rebels, Jen Psaki said she had not yet seen the video (using an unfortunate phrase, she said she’d “be happy to take a close look at it”).  Psaki reminded journalists that the U.S. has consistently been scrupulous about making sure that all U.S. military aid goes through the Syrian opposition’s Supreme Military Council, to make sure the aid is going to moderate members of the opposition forces and not to terrorist-linked groups, such as Jabhat al-Nusra.

While most at this point are in agreement that Father Murad was not beheaded, it is believed that one of the people shown being decapitated on the video is a different cleric whose name is not yet known.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/catholic-priest-murdered-by-syrian-rebels-perhaps-beheaded/2013/07/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: