Friday, 30 November 2007

MI5: Al-Qa'eda recruiting UK children for terror

In his first public speech since taking over the security service in the summer, Jonathan Evans said Islamists were "radicalising, indoctrinating and grooming young, vulnerable people to carry out acts of terrorism".

Mr Evans said the threat has yet to reach its peak
Mr Evans said the threat posed by al-Qa'eda had yet to reach its peak despite one successful bomb attack and several thwarted atrocities. He also revealed in a speech in Manchester that al-Qa'eda was using the chaos in Iraq as cover for its overseas forays. While Pakistan remained the base for the "core" leadership which controls its activities, "there is no doubt now that al-Qa'eda in Iraq aspires to promote terrorist attacks outside Iraq," he said.
Mr Evans added: "There is no doubt there is training activity and terrorist planning in East Africa - particularly in Somalia - which is focused on the UK.
"And there is no doubt that the extension of what one might call the 'al-Qa'eda franchise' to other groups in other countries - notably in Algeria - has created a significant upsurge in terrorist violence in these countries."
His warnings will fuel the growing political row over the length of time terror suspects should be detained without charge.
A new terrorism Bill to be announced in the Queen's Speech will propose increasing the time limit from 28 days to as much as 56 days.
Although Mr Evans steered clear of taking sides in any political controversy he outlined the scale of the threat on which ministers will rely to make their case for tougher laws..
"MI5 has now identified around 2,000 individuals who we believe pose a direct threat to national security and public safety because of their support for international terrorism," he said.
"This increase from 1600 in November 2006 is due both to improved coverage of extremist communities and to the continued flow of new recruits to the extremist cause."
He added: "Extremists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in the UK.
"This year, MI5 has seen individuals as young as 15 and 16 implicated in terrorist-related activity.
"The UK needs to protect its children from exploitation by violent extremists."
Mr Evans said the battle of ideologies would be a long one because the extremists worked in historical timescales.
"If the UK only reacts tactically while its enemies plan strategically, then we will struggle to meet this challenge," he said.
"The struggle against violent extremism relies not only on good intelligence and law enforcement, but also on the determination and perseverance of us all to resist extremism and to protect a decent, tolerant and open society."
Mr Evans said the successful and attempted attacks in Britain had not been random plots by disparate groups but co-ordinated and deliberate actions ordered by al-Qa'eda's leadership.
"The majority of these attacks, successful or otherwise, have taken place because al-Qa'eda has a clear determination to mount terrorist attacks against the United Kingdom," he said.
"This remains the case today, and there is no sign of it reducing. So although MI5 and the police are investigating plots, and thwarting them, on a continuing basis, we do not view them in isolation.
"Al-Qa'eda is conducting a deliberate campaign against us. It is the expression of a hostility towards the UK which existed long before September 11 2001.
"It is evident in the wills and letters left behind by actual and would-be bombers."
Ministers say one reason why longer detention is needed to question suspects is the growing complexity of the conspiracies now being uncovered.
Mr Evans said: "We now see different levels of sophistication. Yes, we have seen unsophisticated attempts to kill and injure, but we have also seen complex, logistically effective plots, which require a high degree of expertise and accurate targeting.
"We have to pay equal attention to both the crude and the complex. Because the primitive can be just as deadly as the sophisticated."

Friends of the CIA

Friends of the CIA
By Jim HoaglandSunday, April 7, 2002; Page B07
On a visit to Washington a year ago, Palestinian security chief Jibril Rajoub proudly showed off an armor-plated limousine that he said the Central Intelligence Agency "always provides me when I am here." Last week on the West Bank, Rajoub was running for his life from Israeli troops seeking to eliminate the territory's "terrorist infrastructure."
The CIA helped Rajoub make his way out of his fire-gutted compound in Beitunia and arrange the surrender of dozens of his operatives as Ariel Sharon's siege intensified. The American agents were doing what comes naturally in their profession -- protecting assets, however troublesome those assets may become for others.
Rajoub's plight points up the exposed position into which U.S. intelligence officers -- and U.S. policy -- have been dragged in the new Israeli-Palestinian war. The Palestinian militias that the CIA has been building up under presidential order are the primary recipients of Sharon's wrath and firepower. Sharon intends to conquer, or destroy, what the CIA hath wrought on the West Bank.
The Bush administration now faces an acute dilemma in unraveling the confusion and complexities created by U.S. intelligence taking on responsibilities that are deeply operational and political. Operating under an intelligence "finding" signed by President Clinton, the CIA has helped train and equip Yasser Arafat's security forces.
And the CIA in one form or another became publicly involved in the grooming of Rajoub and other security commanders as potential leaders in the post-Arafat era. Instead of objectively sorting through and analyzing the looming succession struggle for Washington, agents on the ground have horses in the race.
Mixing espionage and political duties is always dangerous. It tends to produce short-term successes (providing intelligence to Saddam Hussein, obtaining funding for the contras) and long-term liabilities for U.S. foreign policy (ditto). CIA Director George Tenet presumably recognized the dangers when he initially resisted this role for his agency. Sharon's assault on the militias shows why Tenet should have stood his ground.
The Israeli prime minister twists the knife in the corpse of a failed U.S. policy that began in late 1998, worked well in 1999 and then died in 2001 when the Palestinian Preventive Security force abandoned meaningful cooperation with the Israelis. When Sharon, or President Bush, speaks of Arafat's failure to "control terrorism," it is this default of the security services and police that they have in mind.
Sharon's message to Rajoub, Mohammed Dahlan, Marwan Barghouti and Arafat's other lieutenants is clear: Take on the suicide bombers and leaders of Hamas or face destruction for being useless, complicit or both. You are the "infrastructure" that must be uprooted.
So far the Palestinians continue to hesitate, presumably out of the same fear or ambition that caused them, as Arafat's intifada intensified, to stop halting would-be suicide bombers and other terrorists or tipping off the Israelis. When Rajoub agreed on Tuesday through the CIA to give up his compound at Beitunia after running out of food and ammunition, he immediately came under attack from Hamas for allowing a half-dozen of its "warriors" to fall into Israeli hands and for being "an American agent."
There is a giant Catch-22 at the heart of the Faustian bargain that Israel, the United States and the Palestinian Authority struck as part of the Wye Plantation accords of 1998. While CIA support brings resources and power to the recipient, the agency's visible embrace can also be used to discredit both a person and a cause in the eyes of many Arabs, not just the killers of Hamas.
U.S. interests can also be compromised by arrangements dominated by the agency's covert skills of finding "assets" that can be bought, manipulated or coerced into doing the agency's bidding. This is hardly the definition of reliable allies who are likely to promote American democratic principles in the political arena.
Ironically, it was Binyamin Netanyahu, then Israel's prime minister, who insisted at the Wye meeting that the CIA deepen its engagement with the Palestinian security forces, which became more heavily armed through the deal. This was to ensure that they carried out the unspoken responsibility Arafat accepted in the 1993 Oslo accords: The Palestinians would eliminate the terrorist threat in the areas the Israelis agreed to leave, without much concern by Washington or Jerusalem over methods.
But means do influence ends. The security arrangements were contaminated by the corruption, authoritarianism and weakness that Arafat and his lieutenants practiced on their own people -- who end up paying a terrible price for the failures of the CIA's friends in their midst.
© 2002 The Washington Post Company, reprinted only for fair use

The Azzam Fatwa

The Azzam Fatwa

If you're an American citizen or one of its allies did you know that you have been sentenced to death? "The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies-civilians and military is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it,"... If you have the stomach for it, here's the full text of the Defence of the Muslim Lands .
BIN LADEN: The Man Who Declared War on America

DEFENSE OF THE MUSLIM LANDS The First Obligation After Iman

The First Obligation After Iman
By Dr. Abdullah Azzam
(May Allah accept him as Shaheed)
English translation work done by
Brothers in Ribatt.

Biography of
Shaheed Abdullah Azzam
Abdullah Yusuf Azzam was born in a village in the North of Palestine named Selat Al
Harithia in Genine District in the year 1941. His father's name was Mustafa Azzam who
died a year after his son was assassinated. His mother was Zakia Saleh who died one year
before the Sheikh was killed. She was buried in Pabi camp.
The Azzam family is a well-known family, one of its members being Sheikh
Abdullah Azzam, distinguished as child, who started making Da'wah at an early age. He
was already showing signs of excellence and was recognized by his teachers while he was
in elementary school. His peers knew him as a pious child. Since he was a small boy he
was known for his determination and serious dispositions. Before he had even come of
age, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood.
Sheikh Abdullah Azzam received his early elementary and secondary school
education in his village, and continued his education at the agricultural Khadorri College
where he obtained a Diploma. Although he was the youngest of his colleagues, he was
the brightest and most astute. After he graduated from Khodori College, he worked as a
teacher in a village named Adder in the South of Jordan. Later he joined Shariah College
in Damascus University where he obtained a B.A. Degree in Shariah in 1966. After the
Jews captured the West Bank in 1967, Sheikh Abdullah Azzam decided to migrate to
Jordan, because he could not live under the Jewish occupation of Palestine. The sacrilege
of the Israeli tanks rolling in the West Bank without any resistance made him more
determined to migrate to learn the skills necessary to fight.
In the late 1960's he joined the Jihad against the Israeli occupation of Palestine
from Jordan. During that time he received a Masters degree in Shariah from the
University of Al Azhar. In 1970 and after the jihad came to a halt, when the PLO was
forced out of Jordan, he assumed a teaching position in the Jordanian University in
Amman. In 1971 he was awarded a scholarship to Al Azhar University in Cairo from
which he obtained a Ph.D. Degree in Ussul al Fiqh in 1973. During his stay in Egypt he
came to know the family of Saeed Qutb.
In 1979, when he was expelled from the university, he moved to Pakistan to be
close to the Afghan Jihad. There, he became aquatinted with the leaders of the Jihad in
Afghanistan. During the early period of his stay in Pakistan, he was appointed as a
teacher in the International Islamic University in Islamabad. Eventually, it was necessary
for him to resign his position in order to devote his full time and energy to the Jihad in
Abdullah Azzam was greatly influenced by the Jihad in Afghanistan and the Jihad
was greatly influenced by him. To it he concentrated his full effort, that he ultimately
became the most prominent figure in the Afghani Jihad aside from the Afghan leaders.
He spared no effort to promote the Afghan cause to the whole world, especially
throughout the Muslim Ummah... He changed the minds of Muslims about Jihad in
Afghanistan and presented the Jihad as an Islamic cause which concerns all Muslims
around the world. Due to his efforts, the Afghani Jihad became universal, in which
Muslims from every part of the world came to fight.
Jihad in Afghanistan had made Abdullah Azzam the main pillar of the Jihad
movement in modern times. By taking part in this Jihad, by promoting it and banishing
the misconceptions which had been planted in the path of Jihad. He became an example
to follow for the next generation that responded to the call of Jihad.
Once he said, "I feel that I am nine years old, seven and a half years in the Afghan
Jihad, one and a half years in Jihad in Palestine and the rest of the years have no value."
On Friday the 24th of November 1989 in Peshawar, Pakistan he was assassinated along
with his two sons Mohammed and Ibrahim, by 20kg of TNT activated by remote control
while he was driving to Friday prayer. His car was blown to fragments in the middle of a
busy street. Pieces his sons were discovered up to a hundred meters away. One of his
son's legs was suspended to an overhanging telephone line. Nevertheless, Allah be
glorified, the Sheikh was found intact, except for an internal hemorrhage, that caused of
his death. Many can attest to the musk that emanated from his body.
His son had asked that he be taken Shaheed along with his father. Sheikh Abdullah
Azzam was buried in Pabi Graveyard of the Shuhada where he joined thousands of
Shuhada (martyrs).

"...But those who are killed in the Way of Allah, He will never let their deeds be
Mohammed: 4.
Note From Your Brothers in Ribatt
There is no Khalifa. After 1300 years of Islamic rule. A glorious empire the world
once feared. A people entrusted with the final revelation of God. The religion destined
for the whole of humanity. Where is it today. The Najasun have duped the dull masses
of Muslims by installing their wooden-headed puppets as false figureheads of states that
remain under their control. Colonialism has taken a new face. They have come from
every horizon to share us amongst them like callers to a feast. There is no greater
humiliation for the people expected to lead humanity to redemption. How will they
recognize the gravity of the situation. Their house is crumbling and their neighbors are
laughing. Again, what will make them realize the gravity of the situation.

"And those who disbelieve are allies to one another, (and) if you (Muslims of
the whole world collectively) do not do so (i.e. become allies, as one united block with
one Khalifa - chief Muslim ruler for the whole Muslim world to make victorious Allah's
religion of Islamic Monotheism), there will be Fitnah ( wars, battles, polytheism, etc.)
and oppression on earth, and a great mischief and corruption ( appearance of
polytheism)." Al Anfal: 73.
"Do you consider the providing of drinking water to the pilgrims and the
maintenance of Al Masjid al Haram (at Mecca) as equal to the worth of those who
believe in Allah and the Last Day, and strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allah?
They are not equal in the Sight of Allah. And Allah guides not those people who are
the Zalimun (polytheists and wrong-doers)." At Tauba: 19
Abdullah Ibn Mubarak (may Allah have mercy on him) sent a letter to Al Fuzail ibn
Ayazz in which he says: "Oh you who offer prayer in the sacred mosque, had you
 Najassun: impurity. Their impurity is spiritual and physical: spiritual, because they don't believe in Allah's Oneness and in
His Prophet Mohammed (saw); and physical, because they lack personal hygiene (filthy or Junuban as regards urine, stools
and sexual discharges).
participated with us in the fields of battle, you would have known that, compared to our
jihad, your worship is the trifling of children. For every tear you have shed upon your
cheek, we have shed in its place blood, on our chests. You are jesting with your worship,
while you worshippers offer your worship, mujahideen offer their blood and person."
All Praise is for Allah. We praise him and seek his assistance. We ask for
his forgiveness and take refuge in him from the evil within ourselves and from the evil of
our deeds. He whom Allah guides will never be diverted yet whomever he sends astray
will never find his way, and I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, alone, he has no
partners, and I bear witness that Mohammed is his servant and messenger. O Lord,
nothing is easy except for what you make easy. And you lighten distress if you wish.
I wrote this Fatwa and its was originally larger than its present size. I showed it to
our Great Respected Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Bazz. I read it to him, he improved upon it
and he said "it is good" and agreed with it. But, he suggested to me to shorten it and to
write an introduction for it with which it should be published. But the sheikh was busy, it
being Hajj season, so he had not the time to review it again.
Then the Sheikh (may Allah protect him) declared in the mosque of Ibn Ladna in
Jeddah and in the large mosque of Riyadh that jihad with your person today is Fard Ayn (
global obligation ). Then I showed this Fatwa, without the six questions at the end, to the
peers of Sheikh Abdullah al Waan, Saeed Hawa, Mohammed Najeeb al Mutyey, Dr.
Hassin Hamid Hissan and Umar Sayaf. I read it to them, they agreed with it and most of
them signed it. Likewise, I read it to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Salah Bin Uthaimin and he
too signed it.
I also read it to Sheikh Abdur Razaq Afiffi, Hasan Ayub and Dr. Ahmad al Assal.
Then I spoke on the topic in a lecture in Minna in the General Guidance Center
during the Hajj season where there were gathered more than one hundred scholars from
the entire Islamic world. I said to them: "Agreed are the Salaf, the Pious Predecessors, all
people of understanding, and the Muhaditheen that in all ages of Islam: "That if a piece
of Muslim land the size of a hand span is infringed upon, then jihad becomes Fard Ayn
(global obligation) on every Muslim male and female, where the child shall march
forward without the permission of its parents and the wife without the permission of the
"I decided in the presence of the Amir of the Mujahideen (Sayyaf) and by my time
of three years spent in the Afghani jihad that, the jihad in Afghanistan needs men. So
whoever has an objection from you O Ulama then let him raise it". And there was not one
objection. On the contrary, Dr. Sheikh Idriss said "Oh my brother! there is no difference
of opinion in this matter".
So finally, I published this Fatwa. Maybe Allah will cause it to be useful for us in
this world and the next, and for all Muslims.
Dr. Abdullah Azzam
Letter from Sheikh Mohammed Najeeb al Mu'ti

All praise be to Allah and may His peace and blessings be upon his messenger,
upon his family, companions and whoever follows him.
Jihad in Allah's cause is to achieve martyrdom, about which Allah has given the
good news of their election with his blessed words " ...and that He may take martyrs
from among you" (Al Imran: 140). It is a progression from one abode to another. From
a problematic, deceptive and unjust life to a life of happiness and pleasure.
On this topic the generous, the mujahid, the courageous, the wise, Dr. Abdullah
Azzam has written calling to Jihad. Explaining and showing the right agenda providing
sufficient evidence from Fiqh, hadith and Tafseer. Revising and discussing with proofs,
causing throat swelling distress in the opposition and a splinter in the eyes of the cowards
and hypocrites. I say on this topic a few words of Da'wah to the path from which there
are no other paths, in this critical moment, to remove the cancer from the Ummah and to
defend the faith. It is the whole point of this life, that it is lived in the path of Allah and
His prophet and His Book. That His Ummah may be raised and honored and perpetuated.
The believer fights jihad for Allah that: if he falls he learns and if he is injured he is
forgiven for his sins, if he is exiled he is a traveler, if he is imprisoned it is time for him
for worship, if he lives he will become a leader, if he dies he is a martyr and for him is
good and more.
And peace be upon the ones who listen to the call and respond (and if your are
called to march forward, march forward.) with the mercy and blessing of Allah.
Mohammed Najeeb al Mu'ti'
Servant of the Sunnah with the most original chain
Author of Takmilatu al Majmua Sharhul Muhathab
Member of the Egyptian Writers Union
Letter from Sheikh Saeed Hawa

After hearing this letter from our Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Azzam, I consider this
Fatwa to be the truth and to it I call the people.
Saeed Hawa
Letter from Sheikh Umar Sayyaf
All praise be to Allah and may his blessings be upon Mohammed, his family,
companions and whoever follows him.
and what follows:
This great Fatwa and its advises in the rules of Jihad and of when Jihad becomes
Fard Ayn was showed to me by my brother in Islam, the Sheikh, the righteous the
truthful, the mujahid, Dr. Abdullah Azzam. I read all of it and saw it to be the correct
view, the truth from which there can be no divergence, and that there is no room for
anyone who has an atom of Iman in his heart but to accept these evidences from the Book
of Allah, the Sunnah of the prophet (saw), and the consensus of the Ulama. I say, it must
be propagated, haste carried out in marching forward and fulfilling this Fard without
hesitation, otherwise one would fall into the description given by Allah: "...But when a
decisive Soorat (explaining an ordering things) is sent down, and fighting (Jihad-holy
war) is mentioned (i.e. ordained) therein, you will see those in whose hearts is a
disease (of hypocrisy) looking at you with a look of one fainting to
death".(Mohammed: 20).
May Allah reward the Sheikh, the servant of Allah for his intention and his
May Allah help us to follow His good pleasure, the truth that jihad now is Fard Ayn
and that there is no excuse for anybody.
Umar Sayyaf
Grand Chair of the Ulama
Sana Yemen.
Letter from Sheikh Abdullah Nassah al Waan

All praise be to the Lord of the Worlds, and may his peace and blessings be upon
Mohammed, upon his family and companions who carried the flag of jihad throughout the
world. And, on those who invite to the truth and on the callers to good until the Last Day.
The Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Azzam, may Allah protect him, showed me what he had
written about the rules of jihad today pertaining to Afghanistan, Palestine and other
countries of the Muslims. I say, and with Allah's help:
Wherever he went he declared this Fatwa, quoting from the Mathhabs and the
predecessors, what is correct and true, that any Islamic country occupied by the
Unbelievers, as decided by the people of understanding, fighting becomes Fard Ayn upon
its people. Consequently, the wife will go forward without the permission of her
husband, and the child without the permission of its parents. Furthermore, jihad will
remain Fard Ayn upon every country close by until sufficient forces are attained to
liberate the Muslim countries from the grip of the Unbelievers. If the Unbelievers are not
beaten back, then, the Fard Ayn of jihad spreads in the shape of a circle. The nearest to
the next in nearness. Until, the jihad has become Fard Ayn upon the whole earth, the
destruction of the enemy and their complete expulsion from the Muslim land. Now in this
time we find many Muslims in all Muslim countries, lazy, ill equipped and idle. So in
truth, for Afghanistan and Palestine as well as other countries of the Muslims, jihad has
today become Fard Ayn on everyone until sufficient manpower and money are collected.
Therefore it is incumbent upon every Muslim today, capable of carrying a weapon,
to march forward to jihad to aid their Muslim brothers in Afghanistan and in every place
in need, even though his or her parents do not permit it, until sufficient forces are attained
and Allah knows best.
Your brother,
Abdullah Nassah al Waan
University of King Fahd Abdul Aziz

Defense of the Muslim Lands
The First Obligation After Iman
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Defense of the Muslim Lands
Jihad Against the Kuffar is of Two Types
Opinions of the Mathhabs
Evidence for the General March and it Justification
Chapter 2: The Ruling of Fighting in Palestine and Afghanistan
To Begin With Afghanistan
Chapter 3: Fard Ayn and Fard Kifaya
Permission For Parents, Husband and Creditor
An Example of Fard Ayn and Fard Kifaya
Permission from Sheikh or Teacher
Jihad With One's Wealth
Chapter 4: Big Questions and Important Questions
Can We Fulfill this Fatwa?
First Question: Can we apply a general march practically in our time?
Second Question: Can we fight while we haven't an Amir?
Third Question: Can we fight in Afghanistan while Leaders are separated?
Fourth Question: Does one fight alone if the rest stay behind?
Fifth Question: Do we fight Alongside Muslims that are under acceptable level of Islamic
Sixth Question: Can we seek help from Kuffar if we are weak?
Revelation of the Order to Fight
Conditions For Making Peace Treaties With Kuffar.
Final Word
Chapter 1
Defense of the Muslim Lands
The First Obligation After Iman
"The first obligation after Iman is the repulsion of the enemy aggressor who
assaults the religion and the worldly affairs" Ibn Taymia

All praise be to Allah, we praise Him, we seek His refuge, and we seek his
forgiveness. We seek refuge in Him from the evil of our own selves and the evil of our
deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides there is none to send him astray and whomsoever Allah
sends astray there is none to guide and I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and
Mohammed is his servant and messenger. May His blessings be upon him, his family and
And what follows;
Allah has chosen this religion to be a mercy for the worlds. He sent the most
blessed of the messengers to be the last prophet for this religion. To bring it victory by
the sword and the spear, after he had clearly expounded it with evidences and arguments.
The Prophet (saw) said in a sahih hadith narrated by Ahmad and Tabarani: "I have been
raised between the hands of the Hour with the sword, until Allah the Exalted is
worshipped alone with no associates. He has provided sustenance from beneath the
shadow of spears and has decreed humiliation and belittlement for those who oppose my
order. And whoever resembles a people, he is of them."
Allah the Exalted, in his wisdom, established the salvation of humanity by this rule
of fighting, for the Exalted said: "...and if Allah did not check one set of people by
means of another, the earth would indeed be full of mischief. But Allah is full of
bounty to the Alamin (mankind, jinns and all that exists)."  Hence, Allah the Almighty
the Majestic has bestowed this judgment as a favor upon mankind, and made it
unambiguous. In other words, the battle between truth and falsehood is for the
reformation of mankind, that the truth may be made dominant and good propagated.
Also, that their practices and places of worship may be safeguarded. Allah the Exalted
said: "...for had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another,
monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is
mentioned much would surely have been pulled down. Verily Allah will help those
who help his (cause). Truly, Allah is All Strong, All Mighty."
This rule of defense or jihad has occupied many pages in the Book of Allah the
Almighty the Majestic, to make clear that the truth must have a power to protect it. For
how many times has truth been defeated because of neglect of its possessors, and how
many falsehoods have been raised by its allies and men willing to sacrifice.
Jihad is built on two main pillars. Patience which reveals bravery of the heart, and
generosity, by which one spends ones wealth and spirit. Yet, the sacrifice of one's person
is the greatest generosity, and in the sahih hadith, reported by Ahmad: "Iman is patience
and generosity". Ibn Taymiya says?? : "The amendment of the children of Adam in their
religion and worldly affairs would be not complete without bravery and generosity. And
Allah has made it clear that whoever turned away from Jihad by the person, that He would
replace them with a people who would perform it. "If you march not forth, He will
punish you with a painful torment and will replace you with another people, and you
cannot harm Him at all, and Allah is able to do all things."
The Prophet (saw) also underlined two of the most evil of faults: miserliness, and
cowardice. These faults lead to the corruption of the soul and deterioration of the society.
In a sahih hadith?? : "the most evil of what is in a man is niggardliness and cowardice".
Narrated by Abu Daud and it is sahih.
Sahih al Jamia al Saghir 2828 by Albani.
Soorat al Baqarah : 251.
Soorat Al Hajj: 40.
Silsilah al Hadith as Sahih 554 by Albani
Majmua al Fatawa 28/157.
Soorat At Tauba: 39
Reported by Abu Daud and Bukhari in "Al Tarikh" see Sahih Al Jamia 3603
There have passed ages when the pious predecessors held fast to this rule of
fighting and became masters of this world and the teachers of mankind. The Exalted said:
"And we made from among them (Children of Israel), leaders, giving guidance under
Our command, when they were patient and used to believe with certainty in Our
Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc..)."
As the Prophet (saw) has stated in a sahih hadith: "the first of this Ummah was
reformed with abstinence and certainty of belief, and the last of this Ummah will be
destroyed by miserliness and longing." Narrated by Ahmad and Tabarani in Al Awsat and
Al Bahiqi.
Unfortunately, there were generations that succeeded the Muslims who neglected
the rules of Allah. They forsook their Lord, so He forsook them. They deserted His rules,
and so they were lost. "Then, there has succeeded them a posterity who have given up
prayers (i.e. made their prayers to be lost, either by not offering them or by not offering
them perfectly, or by not offering them in their proper fixed times, etc.) and have
followed lusts. So they will be thrown in Hell."
They followed their desires and evil of their deeds was made appealing to them. In
a sahih hadith?? : "Allah hates every selfish arrogant, rambling in the marketplaces, a
corpse by night and an ass by day, knowledgeable in worldly affairs yet ignorant of the
after world."
One of the most important lost obligations is the forgotten obligation of fighting.
Because it is absent from the present condition of the Muslims, they have become as
rubbish of the flood waters. Just as the Prophet (saw) said: "it is expected that the nations
will call each other from all horizons, as diners calling each other to feast from a platter of
food in front of them." A person asked the Prophet (saw) would that be because of our
small number that day. The Prophet (saw) said, "no, but you will be rubbish like the
rubbish of flood water. Allah will put Wahn into your hearts and remove the fear from
the hearts of your enemies because of your love for the world and your hate of death". In
another narration it was said: "and what is the Wahn O messenger of Allah? He (saw)
said: "love of the world and the hate for fighting."?? Narrated by Ahmad with a good
chain. Narrated by Abu Daud with the words "hate for death", and it is a sahih hadith.
Soorat as Sajdah: 24.
Sahih al Jamia 3739.
Soorat Maryam: 59.
Sahih al Jamia as Saghir 1874.
Silsilah al Ahadith as Sahih 958
Jihad Against the Kuffar is of Two Types
Offensive Jihad (where the enemy is attacked in his own territory).
Where the Kuffar are not gathering to fight the Muslims. The fighting becomes
Fard Kifaya with the minimum requirement of appointing believers to guard borders, and
the sending of an army at least once a year to terrorize the enemies of Allah. It is a duty
of upon the Imam to assemble and send out an army unit into the land of war once or
twice every year. Moreover, it is the responsibility of the Muslim population to assist
him, and if he does not send an army he is in sin.
And the Ulama have mentioned that this type of jihad is for maintaining the
payment of Jizya. The scholars of the principles of religion have also said: "Jihad is
Da'wah with a force, and is obligatory to perform with all available capabilities, until
there remains only Muslims or people who submit to Islam."
Defensive Jihad
This is expelling the Kuffar from our land, and it is Fard Ayn, a compulsory duty
upon all. It is the most important of the compulsory duties and arises in the following
A) If the Kuffar enter a land of the Muslims.
B) If the rows meet in battle and they begin to approach each other.
C) If the Imam calls a person or a people to march forward then they must march.
 Haashiyat Bin Aabideen 3/238.
 Hashiyat Ash Shouruni and Ibn al Qasim in Tahfa al Mahtaj ala al Minhaj 9/213.
D) If the Kuffar capture and imprison a group of Muslims.
The First Condition: If the Kuffar Enter a Muslim Land.
In this condition the pious predecessors, those who succeeded them, the Ulama of
the four Mathhabs (Maliki, Hanafi, Shaffie and Hanbali), the Muhadditheen, and the
Tafseer commentators, are agreed that in all Islamic ages, Jihad under this condition
becomes Fard Ayn upon the Muslims of the land which the Kuffar have attacked and
upon the Muslims close by, where the children will march forth without the permission of
the parents, the wife without the permission of her husband and the debtor without the
permission of the creditor. And, if the Muslims of this land cannot expel the Kuffar
because of lack of forces, because they slacken, are indolent or simply do not act, then the
Fard Ayn obligation spreads in the shape of a circle from the nearest to the next nearest.
If they too slacken or there is again a shortage of manpower, then it is upon the people
behind them, and on the people behind them, to march forward. This process continues
until it becomes Fard Ayn upon the whole world.
Sheikh Ibn Taymia says on this topic: "About the defensive jihad, which is
repelling an aggressor, is the most tasking type of jihad. As agreed upon by everyone, it
is obligatory to protect the religion and what is sacred. The first obligation after Iman is
the repulsion of the enemy aggressor who assaults the religion and the worldly affairs.
There are no conditional requirements such as supplies or transport, rather he is fought
with all immediate capability. The Ulama, our peers and others have spoken about this."
Ibn Taymia supports his opinion of the absence of the requirement of transport in his
reply to the Judge who said: "If jihad becomes Fard Ayn upon the people of a country,
one of the requirements, in comparison to Hajj, is that one must have supplies and a ride
if the distance is such that one shortens the prayer". Ibn Taymia said: "What the Judge
has said in comparison to Hajj has not been stated before by anybody and is a weak
argument. Jihad is obligatory because it is for the repulsion of the harm of the enemy,
therefore it has priority over Hijr . For Hijr no transport is considered necessary. Of the
jihads some take priority. It is furthered in a sahih hadith narrated by Ebaad Bin Asaamat
that the Prophet (saw) said: "it is upon the Muslim to listen and obey in hardship and
prosperity, in what he likes and dislikes, and even if he is not given his rights".
Therefore, the pillar of the most important of obligations, is the marching forward in
times of hardship as well as prosperity. As has been stated, contrary to Hajj, the
obligation remains present in times of hardship. And this is in offensive jihad. So it is
clear that defensive jihad carries a greater degree of obligation. To defend the sacred
things and the religion from the aggressor is obligatory, as agreed upon by everyone. The
first obligation after Iman is repulsion of the enemy aggressor who assaults the religion
and the worldly affairs". Now we look at the opinions of the four Mathhabs who are all
in agreement on this point.
Opinions of the Mathhabs
Hanafi Fiqh
Ibn Aabidin said : "Jihad becomes Fard Ayn if the enemy attacks one of the
borders of the Muslims, and it becomes Fard Ayn upon those close by. For those who are
far away, it is Fard Kifaya, if their assistance is not required. If they are needed, perhaps
because those nearby the attack cannot resist the enemy, or are indolent and do not fight
jihad, then it becomes Fard Ayn upon those behind them, like the obligation to pray and
fast. There is no room for them to leave it. If they too are unable, then it becomes Fard
Ayn upon those behind them, and so on in the same manner until the jihad becomes Fard
Ayn upon the whole Ummah of Islam from the East to the West".
And the following have like Fatawa: Al Kassani, Ibn Najim and Ibn Hammam.
Maliki Fiqh
In Hashiyat ad Dussuqi it is stated: Jihad becomes Fard Ayn upon a surprise attack
by the enemy. Dussuqi said: "Wherever this happens, jihad immediately becomes Fard
Ayn upon everybody, even women, slaves and children, and they march out even if their
guardians, husbands and creditors forbid them to."
From Al Ikhtiyaraat Al Fuqaha by Ibn Taymia followed by Fatawa Kubra 4/608.
Hashiyat Ibn Aabidin 3/238.
Bida'y as Sanaiy 7/72.
Al Bahr ar Raa'iq by Ibn Najim 5/191.
Fath al Qadir by Ibn Hammam 5/191.
Hashiyat ad Dussuqi 2/174.
Shaffie Fiqh
In the Nihayat al Mahtaj by Ramli: "If they approach one of our lands and the
distance between them and us becomes less than the distance permitting the shortening of
prayers, then the people of that territory must defend it and it becomes Fard Ayn even
upon the people for whom there is usually no jihad; the poor, the children, the slaves, the
debtor and the women."
Hanbali Fiqh
In Al Mughni by Ibn al Qadamah: "Jihad becomes Fard Ayn in three situations:
1) If the two sides meet in battle and they approach each other.
2) If the Kuffar enter a land, jihad becomes Fard Ayn upon its people.
3) If the Imam calls a people to march forward it is obligatory upon them to
march forward."
And Ibn Taymia remarked: "If the enemy enters a Muslim land, there is no doubt
that it is obligatory for the closest and then the next closest to repel him, because the
Muslim lands are like one land. It is obligatory to march to the territory even without the
permission of parents or creditor, and narrations reported by Ahmad are clear on this."
This situation is known as the General March.
Evidence for The General March
and its Justification
Allah the Almighty the Majestic says: "March forth, whether you are light(being
healthy, young and wealthy) or heavy(being ill, old and poor), strive hard with your
wealth and your lives in the cause of Allah. This is better for you if you but knew."
Nihayat al Mahtaj 8/58.
Al Mughni 8/354.
Al Fatawa al Kubra 4/608.
Soorat At Tauba: 41.
In a preceding verse the arrangement of punishment and the replacement by a
people who carry Islam, has been mentioned as a recompense for those who do not march
forward. Allah does not punish except those who leave an obligation or perform
forbidden acts. "If you march not forth, he will punish you with a painful torment
and will replace you by another people, and you cannot harm him at all and Allah is
able to do all things."
Ibn Kathir said: "Allah the Exalted ordered that everybody march forward with the
Messenger of Allah (saw) (the General March) in the expedition of Tabuk to fight the
enemies of Allah, the unbelieving Romans of the People of the Book". Bukhari has
written a chapter in Sahih Bukhari (entitled The Chapter On The Obligation of Marching
Forward and What is Required from Jihad and Intention for It) and quoted this verse". It
was a general call because it became known to the Muslims that the Romans were
gathering on the borders of the Arabian Peninsula and were preparing to invade Medina.
So what is the situation is the Kuffar enter a Muslim country, does not the march forward
become the ultimate priority?. Abu Talha (ra) said about the Exalted's words:"...light or
heavy...": "old and young Allah did not listen to anyone's excuse". And Hasan al Basri
said: "in hardship and in ease."
Ibn Taymia said in Majmua al Fatawa 28/358: "If the enemy intends an attack
upon the Muslims, then repelling him becomes obligatory upon the population under
attack as well as the population not under attack. The Exalted has said: "...But if they
seek your help in religion, it is your duty to help them...". As well, the Prophet (saw)
ordered the assisting of a Muslim in need. Whether or not one is a salaried soldier, and no
matter what his capabilities, it is an obligation upon everybody with their persons and
wealth, little or much, riding or on foot. As it was when the enemy attacked Medina in
the Battle of the Trench, Allah allowed no one to be exempted."
Az Zuhuri said: "Saeed Bin al Mussayb went on a military expedition and he lost
one of his eyes. It was said to him: "you are injured". He replied, "Allah has ordered the
light and the heavy to march forward, therefore if it is not possible for me to fight, I will
make your numbers seem greater by my presence and I can watch over your things".
2 Allah Almighty the Majestic says: "...and fight the Mushrikun (polytheists, pagans,
idolaters, disbelievers in the oneness of Allah) collectively, as they fight against you
Soorat At Tauba: 39
Mukhtasir Ibn Kathir 2/144.
Soorat Al Anfal: 72.
Al Jamia Li Ahkam al Qur'an 8/150.
collectively. But know that Allah is with those who are Al Muttaqun." Ibn Arabi
said: "collectively means besieging them from every side and in all possible
3 Allah Almighty and Majestic says: "And fight them until there is no more Fitnah
(disbelief and polytheism: i.e. worshipping others besides Allah) and the religion
(worship) will all be for Allah alone (in the whole of the world)..."?? The Fitnah means
Shirk as Ibn Abbas and as Siddi said: "When the Kuffar attack and control a country, the
Ummah is endangered in its religion and it becomes susceptible to doubt in its belief.
Fighting then becomes an obligation to protect the religion, lives, 'Ard and wealth."
4 He (saw) has said: "There is no Hijr after the Opening (of Mecca) but there is jihad
and the intention for it. So if you are called to march forth then march forth". Reported
by Bukhari.
It is an obligation to march forth if the Ummah is called to do so, and in the
situation of an enemy attack. The Ummah is called to march forward to protect its
religion. The extent of the obligation is related to the need of the Muslims or demand of
the Imam. As Ibn Hajr has clarified in the explanation of this hadith.
Al Qurtubi said: "Anyone who is aware of the weakness of the Muslims in the face
of their enemy, knows that he can reach them and can assist them, it is also upon him to
march forward."
5 Every religion which Allah has revealed safeguards five essential aspects: the religion,
life, 'Ard, the mind and property.
Consequently, there must be measures to safeguard these five by any means. So,
Islam orders repelling the aggressor.?? The aggressor is one who imposes himself with
violence upon others, seeking their life, their wealth or their 'Ard.
Al Muttaqun: means pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain form all kinds of sins and evil deeds which
he has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which he has ordained).
Soorat At Tauba: 36.
 Jamia Li Ahkam al Qur'an 8/150.
 Soorat Al Anfal: 39.
 Al Qurtubi 2/253.
Fath al Bari 6/30.
 Jamia al Ahkam 8/150.
A-The aggressor against 'Ard.
Even if a Muslim displays aggression against 'Ard, it is obligatory to defend it from
him by the agreement of the Ulama even if this leads to killing him.
Accordingly, the Ulama have stated that it is not permitted for a Muslim woman
to surrender or allow herself to be captured even if she is killed, if she fears for her
B- Repulsion of the aggressor who attacks property and life is obligatory as agreed
upon by majority of the Ulama, and corresponds to the consensus of the Maliki and
Shaffie Mathhabs. Even if this leads to killing a Muslim aggressor. In a sahih hadith:
"Whoever is killed protecting his wealth, he is a martyr. Whoever is killed protecting
his blood, he is a martyr. Whoever is killed protecting his family, he is a martyr".
Hadith sahih narrated by Ahmad, Abu Daud, at Tirmidhi and Nisa'i.
Al Jassas after coming to knowledge of this hadith, said: "We know of no
difference of opinion, that if a man bears his sword to another man to kill him unjustly,
that it is upon the Muslims to kill this aggressor."
In this situation if the aggressor is killed he will be in the Hellfire, even if he was a
Muslim. Whereas, if the defender is killed he will be a martyr. This is the ruling for a
Muslim aggressor, so how will it be if the Kuffar invade a Muslim land, where they would
oppress and assail the religion, 'Ard, lives and property to the point of disappearance. Is it
not the foremost obligation upon the Muslims in this situation to repel this disbelieving
aggressor, whether he be alone or a whole nation!?
6 If the Kuffar use Muslim captives as human shields in front of them in an advance to
occupy a Muslim land, it remains an obligation to fight the Kuffar even if this leads to the
killing of the Muslim captives.
Ibn Taymia said in Majmua al Fatawa 28/537: "If with the Kuffar there are pious
people from the best of mankind and it is not possible to fight these Kuffar except by
killing them, then they are to be killed as well. The leading scholars are in accord that if
the Kuffar use Muslim captives as human shields, and there is fear for the rest of the
Muslims if they are not fought, then it is permitted to shoot them aiming the Kuffar. One
of the sayings of the scholars is that, even if we do not fear for the Muslims in general, it
is permissible to shoot the Muslim captives". And on pg.45 he said: "The Sunnah and
 Women are included in the defenition of the Arabic word "Ard".
 Hashiyat Ibn Abidin 5/383, Zila'i 6/110, Muwahib al Jaleel 6/323, Tafa al Majtaj 4/124, al Inna' 4/290, ar Rawda al Bahi
2/371, al Bahr az Zukhar 6/268 and Taj al Arus Sahih al Jamia al Saghir by Albani 6321.
Ahkam al Qur'an by Jasssas 1/2402.
Ijma agree that if the aggression of a Muslim aggressor cannot be stopped except by
killing him, then he must be killed, even if his transgression is over a fraction of a dinar.
Because, in a sahih hadith: "whoever is killed protecting his wealth, he is a martyr"."
And this is because the protection of the remaining Muslims from Fitnah and Shirk,
and the protection of the religion, 'Ard and wealth are more of a priority than a small
number of Muslims captives in the hands of the Kuffar.
7 The fighting of the renegade Muslim group.
Allah the Exalted has said: "And if two parties or groups among the believers
fall into fighting, then make peace between both, but if one of them rebels against the
other, then fight you (all) against the one that which rebels till it complies with the
command of Allah; then if it complies, then make reconciliation between them justly,
and be equitable. Verily! Allah loves those who are equitable." If Allah had made
it an obligation to fight the renegade Muslim group, to unify the Muslims and protect
their religion, 'Ard and wealth, then, what will the ruling be for fighting the aggressing
Kaffir nation? Does it not take priority?
8 The ruling for the one who wages war.
The Almighty the Majestic says: "The recompense of those who wage war
against Allah and His messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be
killed or crucified or their hands and feet be cut off from the opposite sides, or exiled
from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in
the hereafter."
This is the ruling applied on the one who wages war from among the Muslims. He
spreads distress and corruption in the land and he infringes upon wealth and 'Ard. This is
the ruling which the Messenger of Allah (saw) carried out upon the sick Bedouins who
turned apostate as has been reported in the Sahihs.
What should be the treatment of the Kaffir nation that brings calamity upon the
people, their religion, their wealth and their 'Ard? Is not the first obligation upon the
Muslims to fight them?
These are some of the evidences and reasons that corroborate the ruling on the
General March when the Kuffar enter a Muslim land.
Soorat Al Hujurat: 9.
 Soorat Al Ma'idah: 33.
 See al Fatha al Rabbani .Tarteeb Masnad al Imam Ahmad ash Shaybani by Ahmad Abdur Rahman al Bana1 8/128.
Verily, the repelling of the Kaffir enemy is the most important obligation after
Iman, as said Ibn Taymia: "The first obligation after Iman is the repulsion of the enemy
aggressor who assaults the religion and the worldly affairs".
{ 1<110, 6="'&">!/<%C6"3/4"+ } "And what is wrong with you that you fight not in the Cause of Allah, and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help." An Nisa: 75. Chapter 2 The Ruling of Fighting in Palestine and Afghanistan It has been made clear in the previous chapter that if the Kuffar infringe upon a hand span of Muslim land, jihad becomes Fard Ayn for its people and for those near by. If they fail to repel the Kuffar due to lack of resources or due to indolence, then the Fara'id of jihad spreads to those behind, and carries on spreading in this process, until the jihad is Fard Ayn upon the whole earth from the East to the West. In this condition, no permission is required from the husband for the wife, the parent for the child, the creditor for the debtor. 1- The sin is suspended to the necks of all Muslims as long as any hand span of land that was Islamic is in the hands of the Kuffar. 2- The sin is measured according to one's authority or capabilities. The sin for the Ulama, leaders, and Da'i , who are well known in their communities, is greater than for the ordinary civilian. 3- The sin upon this present generation, for not advancing towards Afghanistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Kashmir, Lebanon, Chad, Eritria etc, is greater than the sin inherited from the loss of the lands which have previously fallen into the possession of the Kuffar. We have to concentrate our efforts on Afghanistan and Palestine now, because they have become our foremost problems. Moreover, our occupying enemies are very deceptive and execute programs to extend their power in these regions. If we were to resolve these dilemma, we would resolve a great deal of complications. Their protection is the protection for the whole area. To Begin With Afghanistan Whoever can, from among the Arabs, fight jihad in Palestine, then he must start there. And, if he is not capable, then he must set out for Afghanistan. For the rest of the Muslims, I believe they should start their jihad in Afghanistan. It is our opinion that we should begin with Afghanistan before Palestine, not because Afghanistan is more important than Palestine, not at all, Palestine is the foremost Islamic problem. It is the heart of the Islamic world, and it is a blessed land but, there are some reasons which make Afghanistan the starting point. 1- The battles in Afghanistan are still raging and have reached a level of intensity, the like of which have not been witnessed in the mountains ranges of Hindu Kush, nor in recent Islamic history. 2- The Islamic flag being raised in Afghanistan is clear: "C5 >;%.; "
and the aim is clear "to make Allah's words uppermost". The second article in the
constitution of Itihad Islamy consisting of Afghani Mujahideen is: "The goal of this
unification is to bring forth an Islamic state in Afghanistan." And in the third
article it states: "Our goal is taken from the words of the Exalted: "...the command
(or the judgment) is for none but Allah..." The rule is solely for the Lord of the
3- The Islamists have been the first to take control of the battles in Afghanistan. Those
who lead the jihad in Afghanistan are the sons of the Islamic movement, the Ulama
and Hafiz of Qur'an. While, in Palestine the leadership has been appropriated by a
variety of people, of them sincere Muslims, communists, nationalists and modernist
Muslims. Together they have hoisted the banner of a secular state.
4- The situation in Afghanistan is still in the hands of the mujahideen. They continue
to refuse help from any Kaffir country, while Palestine depends completely on the
Soviet Union, who withheld their help in Palestine's time of dire need. They were
left to face their predicament by themselves in front of the world conspiracy. The
situation has become a game in the hands of the great powers. Gambling with the
land, the people and the 'Ard of Palestine, pursuing them even into the Arab states,
until their military power is exhausted.
5- There are more than 3000kms of open border in Afghanistan and regions of tribes
not under political influence. This forms a protective shield for mujahideen.
However, in Palestine the situation is entirely different. The borders are closed,
their hands are bound, the eyes of the authorities spy from all sides for anyone who
attempts to infiltrate its borders to kill the Jews.
Shaffie said in Al Umm 4/177: "If there is a situation of different enemies,
one is more threatening and more frightening than the others, the Imam engages the
more frightening and threatening. This is acceptable, even if his home is further
 Soorat Yusuf: 40.
away. The reason being, Insha Allah, in this manner you prove that you are not
afraid, and make an example for the others. This decision is because of necessity,
being that what is permitted in times of necessity is not permitted in other times.
This happened in the time of the Messenger of Allah (saw) when he heard that
Harith Abi Dirar was gathering his forces to fight him. He (saw) attacked him,
though there was an enemy closer to him. Also, when he was informed that Khalid
Bin Abi Sufian Ibn Shuh had gathered a force, he sent Ibn Annis who killed him,
thus engaging him though there were closer enemies.
6- The people of Afghanistan are renowned for their strength and pride. It seems as if
the Glorified and Exalted prepared the mountains and the land there especially for
{ +1' I!

Condi's Road to Damascus

Condi's Road to Damascus by Bret StephensThe Wall Street Journal
Remember Nancy Pelosi's spring break in Damascus? Condoleezza Rice apparently does not. When the House Speaker paid Syrian strongman Bashar Assad a call back in April, President Bush denounced her for sending "mixed signals" that "lead the Assad government to believe they are part of the mainstream of the international community, when in fact they are a state sponsor of terror." Today, said sponsor of terror will take its place at the table Ms. Rice has set for the Middle Eastern conference at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.Only at Foggy Bottom would Syria's last-minute decision to go to Annapolis be considered a diplomatic triumph. The meeting is supposed to inaugurate the resumption of high-level negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, with a view toward finalizing a deal on Palestinian statehood before the administration leaves office. On a deeper plane of geopolitical subtlety, it is supposed to bring Israel and the Arab world together in tacit alliance against Iran.This raises three significant questions. First, how does Syria's presence at Annapolis affect those goals? Next, how does Syria's presence affect U.S. policy toward Syria? And what effect, if any, will all this have on Syria's behavior in the region?Much is being made of the fact that, in accepting the administration's invitation, Syria apparently reversed a previous decision, coordinated with Iran, to boycott the conference. This plays into the view that Syria can be persuaded to abandon its 25-year-old ties to Iran and return to the Arab fold, thereby severing the encircling chain that links Tehran to Damascus to southern Lebanon to the Gaza Strip. High-profile ridicule of the conference by Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who called it "useless") and spokesmen for Hezbollah and Hamas add to the impression that Mr. Assad may be prepared to chart an independent course--all for the modest price of the U.S. agreeing (with Israel's consent) to put the issue of the Golan Heights on the conference's agenda.It really would be something if the Syrian delegation could find their own road to Damascus on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. But that would require something approximating good faith. The Syrians' decision to be represented at Annapolis by their deputy foreign minister--his bosses evidently having more important things to do--is one indication of the lack of it. So is the Assad regime's declaration (via an editorial in state newspaper Teshreen) that their goal at Annapolis is "to foil [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert's plan to force Arab countries to recognize Israel as a Jewish state." And lest the point hadn't been driven home forcefully enough, the Syrian information minister told Al Jazeera that Syria's attendance would have no effect on its relations with Iran or its role as host to the leadership of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.At best, then, Syria will attend Annapolis as a kind of non-malignant observer, lending a gloss of pan-Arab seriousness to the proceedings. At worst, it will be there as a spoiler and unofficial spokesman of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. If it's clever, it will adopt a policy of studied ambivalence, with just enough positive chemistry to induce the administration into believing it might yet be prepared for a real Volte face, provided the U.S. is also prepared to rewrite its Syria policy. Recent attestations by Gen. David Petraeus, that Damascus is finally policing its border with Iraq to slow the infiltration of jihadis, suggest that's just the game they mean to play.What price will the U.S. be asked to pay? Contrary to popular belief, recovering the Golan is neither Syria's single nor primary goal; if anything, the regime derives much of its domestic legitimacy by keeping this grievance alive. What's urgently important to Damascus is that the U.N. tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri be derailed, before the extensive evidence implicating Mr. Assad and his cronies becomes a binding legal verdict. No less important to Mr. Assad is that his grip on Lebanese politics be maintained by the selection of a pliant president to replace his former puppet, Emile Lahoud. Syria would also like to resume normal diplomatic relations with the U.S. (which withdrew its ambassador from Damascus after Hariri's killing), not least by the lifting of economic sanctions imposed by the 2003 Syria Accountability Act.No doubt the Syrians believe the U.S. can deliver on these items: Dictators rarely appreciate the constraints under which democratic governments operate. Yet there is no credible way the U.S. can deliver on the first demand, and only discreditable ways in which it could deliver on the second. The administration may be tempted to re-establish normal diplomatic relations and ease sanctions, which is about as much as it can do. Yet Damascus would view these concessions either as signs of niggardliness or desperation, and hold out for more. Put simply, there is nothing the U.S. can offer Mr. Assad that would seriously tempt him to alter his behavior in ways that could meaningfully advance U.S. interests or the cause of Mideast peace. Yet the fact that Ms. Rice's Syria policy is now a facsimile of Speaker Pelosi's confirms Mr. Assad's long-held view that he has nothing serious to fear from this administration.So look out for more aggressive Syrian misbehavior in Lebanon, including the continued arming of Hezbollah; the paralysis of its political process; the assassination of anti-Syrian parliamentarians and journalists; the insertion of Sunni terrorist cells in Palestinian refugee camps, and the outright seizure of Lebanon's eastern hinterlands. Look out, too, for continued cooperation with North Korea on WMD projects: Despite Israel's September attack on an apparent nuclear facility, the AP reports that North Korean technicians are back in Syria, teaching their Arab pupils how to load chemical warheads on ballistic missiles. And don't hold your breath expecting Syria's good behavior on its Iraqi frontier to last much longer.In the meantime, we have the Annapolis conference, and the one-day photo-op it provides Ms. Rice. In the spirit of giving credit where it's due, the least the Secretary can do is invite the Speaker to the party.

U.S. Seems to Soften Syria Stance By Cam Simpson and Jay Solomon

U.S. Seems to Soften Syria Stance By Cam Simpson and Jay Solomon The Wall Street Journal

Two days after the Bush administration moved to jump-start the Middle East peace process with talks in Annapolis, Md., there are signs that the new diplomatic campaign includes a shift in U.S. strategy: willingness to compromise with Syria, one of its most bitter regional rivals.In strife-torn Lebanon — a nation where U.S., Syrian, Iranian and Israeli interests have collided for more than two decades — Washington's political allies agreed this week to end their opposition to the presidential bid of a candidate viewed as a Syrian favorite.Even if the compromise doesn't break a yearlong deadlock over political control of Lebanon, it does seem to mark an important shift in U.S.-Syrian relations following the decision by Damascus to attend the Annapolis peace conference. It also appears the U.S. is holding out the possibility of even warmer relations with Syria if progress continues. The Bush administration is weighing support for a Russian initiative to hold Syrian-Israeli peace talks in Moscow early next year, a senior U.S. official confirmed yesterday. Before Syria agreed to support the Bush administration's regional peace conference this week, the White House generally adhered to a policy of trying to isolate Damascus through financial sanctions and travel bans. The U.S. accuses Syria of supporting militants operating inside Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories.A senior U.S. official involved in the new Middle East initiative said the Bush administration didn't advise its allies in Lebanon "one way or the other" on their decision this week to compromise. But the official did say that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice went into the Annapolis conference hoping to advance both Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and a compromise on the Lebanese presidency."It would be going too far to say there's a sea change here," the official said of Damascus and Washington, "but there's definitely a different dynamic."Lebanon has emerged as a principal theater through which Washington and its allies are competing for regional influence against Iran, Syria and their militant allies, such as the Lebanese militia and political party Hezbollah.The White House has heralded Lebanon as among its success stories in the Middle East, as a pro-Western alliance of political parties swept to power in 2005 and forced Damascus to end nearly 30 years of military occupation. The Lebanese political bloc, known as the March 14 movement, has promoted Washington's calls for democratization of the Middle East, as well as many of its strategic and economic initiatives.Over the past year, however, Syria's allies, principally Hezbollah, have pushed back and paralyzed Beirut's government in a sometimes violent battle for control over Lebanon's political system. This standoff intensified in recent weeks over the selection of the country's next president, a post that Beirut law requires be held by a Maronite Christian. Hezbollah and its allies have refused to convene a parliamentary vote to endorse March 14's candidates, raising fears of a split government, if not civil war.In recent days, though, March 14 politicians, with Washington's consent, agreed to a compromise candidate for the presidency. Gen. Michel Suleiman, commander of the Lebanese Armed Forces, worked closely with Damascus during its military occupation of Lebanon and is already receiving support from some of Syria's Lebanese political allies.March 14 leaders say the general's selection, while not their first choice, could help stabilize Lebanon, because of his leadership of a Lebanese military increasingly viewed as a unifying force in their country."Michel Suleiman is well-known to the Hezbollah and the Syrians," said Walid Jumblatt, a key leader of March 14. "If the Syrians don't want Suleiman, it means they don't want stability in Lebanon."The concession on the Lebanese president comes amid a broader push by the U.S. and its allies to re-engage Damascus in other ways. American and Israeli strategists view this initiative as aimed at breaking Syria's alliance with Iran, Hezbollah and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which have all increased their influence across the Middle East in recent years. It is also aimed at gaining greater support from Syria in cutting off militants infiltrating into Iraq.U.S. and Israeli officials say they are also considering widening the initiative to directly address Damascus's claims to the disputed Golan Heights. This issue could be brought up at the Russian conference, according to U.S. officials.Syrian officials are already responding positively to this outreach, saying it could potentially herald a stabilizing trend in the Middle East.

This Time, the IDF Favors Syria

This Time, the IDF Favors Syria By Amir Oren
Ehud Olmert is superfluous at Annapolis. And not only superfluous, but detrimental. The substantial gap between the Israeli and Palestinian positions is currently unbridgeable; it is like the "safe passage" between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank - not currently applicable. Diplomatically, there is no marvelous juggling act that only Olmert can perform, because a reasonable and stable deal between nations must be able to stand on its own, independent of the identities of the negotiators. Politically, Olmert's presence at the head of the government harms the chances of obtaining and implementing an agreement. The criminal investigations against him - which are wholesale, as opposed to the retail probes of several of his predecessors - make him "damaged goods," as the Americans say. His motives will always be suspect.But with or without Olmert, Israel cannot improve either its security or its diplomatic situation by storming the Palestinian front. All the alternatives are bad, from tolerating the ongoing Qassam rocket attacks and the strengthening of Hamas to attacking built-up areas of Gaza - which would be even worse, as it would exact a heavy price and leave the Israel Defense Forces there for a long time, with no effective exit. The General Staff will eventually second the Southern Command's recommendation to launch such an operation, but only when forced to do so by a change in the balance among these alternatives, not because it is seeking a pretext or an opportunity.It is not only the Egyptians who are to blame for the sieve that their border with Gaza has become. The Americans share the blame, as they have not exerted their full force to solve the problem. After all, it does not really affect them.AdvertisementOver the past few months, President George W. Bush has invested great effort, as well as $550 million, in the Merida Initiative, named after the Mexican city that hosted this year's summit of leaders of North and Central America. Bush is trying to block the drug smuggling routes into his country. He understands that the battle will be lost if it begins at Mexico's border with California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas; it must be waged, financed and made more efficient, including by cleansing armies and police forces of corruption, far away, in the drugs' countries of origin.In order to block Hamas in the Egyptian part of Rafah or the depths of Sinai, what is needed is a Middle Eastern "Merida Initiative" - even if it is gray, dusty and generally less photogenic than the Bush-Blair-Olmert-Abbas speeches we can expect at Annapolis.Faced with this feeling of constant siege - which one can survive with a mixture of ease and suffocation, but which it is better to break out of, into a different life - the IDF favors accelerating peace talks with Syria. The calculation is simple and practical: Such a move could sever extremist elements in the Palestinian Authority and Lebanon from external support by breaking the chain that leads from Iran via Damascus to Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.Events in the Israeli-Syrian theater in recent months have obligated the IDF, and especially Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, to reconsider the relationships among the permanent and variable elements of the equation.Ashkenazi, who was GOC Northern Command toward the end of Israel's presence in Lebanon, is known to support an agreement with Syria at the specified price, which in his view is steep, but worth paying in exchange for Israel's national security. As chief of staff, Ashkenazi returned to an army that was afraid of sliding, whether deliberately or accidentally, into war with Syria.But another factor was suddenly inserted into the complex web: the necessity of coping with the intelligence, operational and diplomatic challenge of what foreign publications have described as Syria's nuclear ties with North Korea. It was like a sniper faced with a nearby enemy who is holding a hand grenade and sitting on a bomb: The goal is to hit only the grenade, not the man, as he is liable to fall on the bomb and set it off, killing them both. Or in this case, to conduct a pinpoint operation against a specific threat while also containing the larger conflict.After 60 years of fighting, the IDF's top brass does not delude itself that military successes are an end in themselves. Without diplomatic follow-up - "leverage" is the fashionable term - military operations, regardless of whether they succeed or fail, will continue forever. Just as Anwar Sadat leveraged the Yom Kippur War to achieve peace with Jerusalem (and Washington), the General Staff believes that this is an opportune time to leverage the IDF's power to achieve peace with Bashar Assad.

A trans-Atlantic divide exists on Muslim integration

A trans-Atlantic divide exists on Muslim integration By Marcia Pally Commentary by Saturday, December 01, 2007
Compared with the tension that exists in Muslim communities across Europe, America's Muslims are a more contented lot. A recent Pew Forum study found Europe's Muslims to be "markedly less well off than the general population, frustrated with economic opportunities and socially isolated," while most American Muslims say that "their communities are excellent or good places" to live; 71 percent say they can succeed in the United States if they work. Both income and college graduation levels match the national norms; 63 percent of American Muslims report no conflict between religious devotion and living in modern society.
Although 53 percent of American Muslims think that life is more difficult since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, most think that this is the fault of the government, not their neighbors. Indeed, 73 percent said they had never experienced discrimination while living in America. Moreover, 85 percent said suicide bombing is rarely or never justified, and only 1 percent said violence to defend Islam was "often" permissible. In Europe, significantly higher percentages of Muslims believe that suicide bombings are "often" or "sometimes" justified.
"What emerges," according to Amaney Jamal, an adviser to Pew, "is the great success of the Muslim American population in its socioeconomic assimilation." Yet "assimilation" is not what succeeds. "Assimilation" means dissolving into the mainstream, but Muslim-Americans do not, remaining devoutly Muslim in a country overwhelmingly Christian.
America's Muslims do not so much assimilate as participate in economic, political, educational, and social life. This might reflect a self-selection process: Only the most educated Muslims immigrate to America, as poor social services allow only the best-prepared to survive. Yet even middle-class Muslims in the United Kingdom become alienated, and, unlike the Muslim poor in Europe, poor Muslims in America don't express alienation or sympathy with Al-Qaeda.
It can be argued that only those poor eager for the harsh but open possibilities of American life immigrate to the US. Yet this doesn't explain why these poorer immigrants remain religious. Wanting to succeed US-style, they should want to be quick to "assimilate."
Why do US Muslims do well while remaining devout and distinctive-looking? Why can they participate without assimilating? Two factors seem significant: first, relatively porous economic, political and educational arenas that allow immigrants entry to these key areas of American life. Despite the discrimination and poverty that immigrants often suffer initially, barriers to economic and political participation are relatively low. The second factor is America's pluralistic public sphere, an arena not without religion but with many religions, which are visible and active in civil life as the basis for institutions, publications, and symbols that influence values and conduct. The US is not a secular society; it is a religiously pluralistic one with secular legal and political structures.
Indeed, America's secular institutions were designed to support pluralism. They allow people of many creeds to work in them - a workplace of multiple faiths. The prohibition against a state religion together with freedom of conscience preserves the plurality of religion in civil life. This design was crafted not only from enlightened principle but from necessity: America needed to persuade people to cross the ocean and endure the hardships of the frontier and, later, industrialization. Freedom to practice one's religion was an advertisement for America.
The benefit of that accidental generosity was the American deal: Immigrants have to participate in the economic and political fracas of the nation, but without much of a social service safety "net." On the other hand, they can get in.
And they can keep not only their private faith but practice it publicly. Tolerance for other people's religion is the price paid for tolerance of one's own. Prejudice has tended to fall as participation increases. It has been in no one's interest to disturb this live-and let-live pragmatism for very long.
One result of the deal is the paradoxical-sounding "familiarity with difference." Because immigrants participate in America's economic and political arenas, Americans are used to different sorts of people and so distinguish those differences that might damage the country from those that will not. Americans, indeed, are familiar with difference, or at least they tend not to panic. Even after 2001, there were only a few anti-Muslim incidents.
Europe, however, demands greater assimilation and offers a less porous economy and politics. This means less participation and thus less familiarity with difference on the host country's side. On the immigrants' side, there is more resentment against the host, more lassitude about the economy and politics, possible violence or an insistence on maintaining symbolic differences - ironically, in societies less able to accept them precisely because of their discomfort with difference.
This is Europe's headscarf debate in a nutshell. It speaks to none of the barriers to participation or to immigrant responses to them, but demands symbolic assimilation. But such demands are a dead end. To get out of it, greater entry into the economy and politics is needed, but also less demand for quick-fix assimilation. All the religions that descend from Abraham have internal mechanisms for change that allow them to reckon with new circumstances in ways that the confessional community can respect. Both fundamentalism and the demands of assimilation - be like us, now! - pre-empt these.
They should be allowed to work. But Europe demands assimilation before participation in an economy that immigrants can't get into anyway. This, sadly, is a road to the ghetto.

Marcia Pally teaches at New York University. THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with Project Syndicate-Internationale Politik (c) (

Sudanese protesters demand British teacher's head over teddy bear

Sudanese protesters demand British teacher's head over teddy bearCompiled by Daily Star staff Saturday, December 01, 2007
Thousands of Sudanese, many armed with clubs and knives, protested Friday outside the presidential palace in Khartoum, demanding the execution of a British teacher convicted of insulting Islam for allowing her students to name a teddy bear "Mohammad." "Those who insult the Prophet of Islam should be punished with bullets," demonstrators shouted after Gillian Gibbons, 54, was jailed for 15 days.
The demonstrators converged in the center of the Sudanese capital from several mosques the day after a criminal court passed sentence on the woman.
The teacher could have faced a maximum sentence of 40 lashes, six months jail time and a fine.
Earlier, Sheikh Abdel-Jalil Karuri had told a crowd gathered for the Muslim day of prayer at the central Martyrs Mosque that Gibbons "did it with the intention of insulting Islam." The crowd responded with cries of "the army of Islam will prevail."
They burned pictures of Gibbons and called for her execution, chanting "No tolerance: execution," and "Kill her, kill her by firing squad." Most did not believe Gibbons' claims that she didn't mean to insult the Prophet. "It is a premeditated action and this unbeliever thinks that she can fool us?" asked Yassin Mubarak, a young dreadlocked man swathed in green and carrying a sword.
The trial itself took place behind a significant police barrier to avoid such demonstrations which have, as with last year's publication of caricatures of Prophet Mohammad in Denmark, led to violence.
British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said the trial stemmed from an "innocent misunderstanding," as diplomatic contacts continued Friday "in the search for a swift resolution of this issue," the Foreign Office in London said.
British Embassy officials visited Gibbons in prison at an undisclosed location earlier Friday after she began serving her sentence. In response to the demonstrations, Gibbons was moved from the Omdurman women's prison near Khartoum to the secret location, said her chief lawyer Kamal al-Gizouli. The 15-day sentence was to run from Sunday, when she was arrested.
"The consul and the deputy ambassador visited her this morning and she was fine," an embassy spokesman said. "