Isis ‘beheads two women in Syria for sorcery’ in first for self-styled caliphate

Jul 2, 2015

by Tom Brooks-Pollock

Two women have become the first to be beheaded by Isis after being accused of witchcraft, sorcery and working with elves by the Islamic extremist group, according to reports emerging from eastern Syria.

The executions, for a supposed breach of sharia law, were carried out on Sunday and Monday respectively, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in Britain, said.

In separate executions, both women were put to death alongside their husbands in Deir ez-Zour province – the first in Deir ez-Zour city on Sunday, the second in Mayadin on Monday – after being accused of using un-Islamic medicine by the extremist group.

The group says that this would be the first time the self-styled caliphate has killed women in this way. Previous executions of women have involved stoning or firing squads, mostly for adultery.


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62 comments on “Isis ‘beheads two women in Syria for sorcery’ in first for self-styled caliphate

  • ” working with elves?!? ”

    Exactly. This could be an Onion story except the writers at the Onion are not this satirically insane.

    One could understand a aggressive reply to Western imperialism, but this insanity is way beyond that.



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  • @OP – The group says that this would be the first time the self-styled caliphate has killed women in this way. Previous executions of women have involved stoning or firing squads, mostly for adultery.

    It may be for ISIS, but it is by no means unique to them!

    http://www.livescience.com/17486-saudi-arabia-witch-beheaded.html
    An accused witch, Amina bint Abdulhalim Nassar, was beheaded in Saudi Arabia earlier this week. She had been convicted of practicing “witchcraft and sorcery,” according to the Saudi Interior Ministry. Such a crime is a capital offense in Saudi Arabia, and so Nassar was sentenced to death. Nassar’s sentence was appealed — and upheld — by the Saudi Supreme Judicial Council.

    Nassar, who claimed to be a healer and mystic, was arrested after authorities reportedly found a variety of occult items in her possession, including herbs, glass bottles of “an unknown liquid used for sorcery,” and a book on witchcraft. According to a police spokesman, Nassar had also falsely promised miracle healings and cures, charging ill clients as much as $800 for her services.

    While we should discourage quacks and charlatans, this seems to be punishment for the “wrong sort of superstition”!



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  • Perhaps we should look upon ISIS and Boko Haram as like an outbreak of a plague that destroys minds.

    Christianity and Islam are like the junk food of ideas. We have been so interested in keeping the peace, we are perhaps too tolerant of them. We are a bit like doctors who refuse to treat delusions of elephants, so long as they are pink, since there just so many cases of pink elephants.



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  • 5
    Miserablegit says:

    Ian not sure how this makes out Isis to be any worse than they already are, their ideology is 1000 years in the past this is par for the course.



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  • You’ve got to remember there’s probably a story behind the story. (They’re not that crazy.)

    For example, a good way to get at someone’s property, eliminate a political rival, or just get rid of someone you hate – accuse them of witchcraft, slip the mullah a tenner, and problem solved.



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  • @OP – Two women have become the first to be beheaded by Isis after being accused of witchcraft, sorcery and working with elves by the Islamic extremist group, according to reports emerging from eastern Syria.

    The problem is not so much “working with elves”, as “living with mental dwarfs”, who reckless and stupid foreign powers, have armed with modern weapons.



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  • I think natural selection explains why ISIS is doing this better than anything else. If religion is viewed as a parasite that can only live in people’s heads, intolerance of “witchcraft” and other religions is one method of eliminating the competition.

    If “success” for a religion is to occupy as many heads as possible, I hypothesize that religions that have the most methods of doing that will be the most successful. Thus the success of Islamic monotheism is easily explained. In this one sense, islam really is monotheism 3.0



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  • 10
    mombird says:

    Remember Torquemada and the Inquisition? That was about 500 years ago. Well it seems factions of Islam are at that stage of their development. It was and is barbaric, cruel, and just nasty business. Christianity has mellowed with age (sort of) and I wonder if we have to wait another 500 years before Islam does. “Religion poisons everything.”



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  • It doesn’t matter, its all about power.

    Anything that gives people with a sense of entitlement power over others will be used to satisfy that feeling. Authoritarianism doesn’t care about what the “rules” are, just that there are rules and that others can be induced to follow them



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  • 13
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hello everyone…. I would like to run a crazy idea by you all, and see what you think??

    ISIS is a crazy phenomena, but it is self destructive, like a virus that kills its host, and will die once the host dies.

    But, what if you (the person reading this) had a responsibility for ISIS, and indirectly (or directly via taxes) support and paid for ISIS??

    You see… I come from Arabia, which ISIS suppose to emerged from, and I can tell you that ISIS makes no sense to 95% of our population. It is utter madness, and goes against humanity, and after all, Arabs are human too.

    What would you say, if I said… ISIS is a tool being used by the US of A and the west to deploy the new Middle East map, and draw new maps replacing the sykes picot maps that were drawn a 100 years ago. After all, that was officially announced by Mrs. Rice over 10 years ago.

    What if each and everyone of the people on this website have given their tacit agreement to have those two Syrian ladies butchered by ISIS (directly or indirectly via voting and paying taxes) to their government.

    Yeah… ISIS is really Wahhabis and Muslim brotherhood, but who is the best allies of those two… Who is the best ally of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the rest of the mad group…

    Who is treating ISIS injured fighters in their hospitals ?? (Israel is, in case you are not aware, who is a US ally.)

    So… what do you say to that??



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  • “Is this a perversion of Qur’anic edicts or interpretation of them?”

    The despicable acts of terror that IS is engaged in throughout the Arab and western wolds is a tactic of conflict absolutely consistent with quoranic recommendations.
    The vague conception that IS is involved in grotesque distortion of the quoran and the hadith for that matter is false, baseless and very dangerous because it can only serve the interest of jihadist agenda by protecting their dreadful ideology.



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  • What if the religion you were brought up to believe was the true and final word of God, turned out to be just another collection of primitive myths, bloodthirsty boasts and immoral teachings. What if your religion turned out to be very inspirational and/or a useful tool for thugs, bigots and control freaks.

    What if more and more groups of your fellow religionists started taking it far too seriously and tried to take their countries back to the middle ages by committing unspeakable violence mainly against their own countrymen, women and children. What if they started killing each other and blowing up the mosques of other sects, slaughtering and enslaving people of other religions, murdering writers and cartoonists, blowing up schools, shooting girls on buses, beheading “witches”, gunning down tourists on the beaches etc etc.

    Rather than face the truth, you might prefer to believe that these crazy fellow religionists were not real Muslims but in fact were all created by evil western imperialists planning to destabilize and then take control of their countries.



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  • A little ironic human beings believing in the madness of Sharia Law killing people who may have practiced a little witchcraft…Give me the witchcraft any day.
    Religion poisons everything.



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  • Hi voiceofarabi, you had your what ifs now let me have mine.
    What if you(not you personally) reform Islam and make it compatible with modern moral standards.
    What if you rewrite the quoran eliminating (violence inciting,hate promoting and antagonizing to non Muslims) verses.Peace with Israel would become a real possibility.Voiceofarabi would you share a house with someone thinks killing you is a good idea?. What if you refrain from the doctrine that the founder of Islam is a role model to follow.

    Arab impulsive reaction to internal predicaments is to blame the west and the classic devil USA,what Arab leaders should be doing is hard thinking to alleviate the misery that plagued them.

    The 95% figure is over inflated.



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  • From a scene description in the 1963 classic Lawrence of Arabia

    one of Lawrence’s earliest scenes is also one of its darkest and best: the appearance of Sherif Ali, played by Omar Sharif in another first-time performance. Ali is a sort of buccaneer on a camel, one who shoots Lawrence’s guide for drinking from his well, then antagonizes the Englishman for believing he can survive in the desert… Lawrence belittles Ali’s territorialism and casual violence, asserting that the Arabs will remain “a little people, a silly people, barbarous and cruel” until they learn to cooperate with those who could help them, including their neighbor tribes.

    Not much has changed since 1963. Arabs have dug themselves into a pit from which they can only cannibalize each other but never escape until they jettison Islam and join the civilized world.



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  • 21
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi mombird and alf1200,

    I checked the definition of conspiracy and got the following:

    verb (used without object), conspired, conspiring.
    1.to agree together, especially secretly, to do something wrong, evil, or illegal:
    They conspired to kill the king. —- to act or work together toward the same result or goal. —verb (used with object), conspired, conspiring. —-to plot (something wrong, evil, or illegal).

    So, my question to you is… are you telling me that the world superpower today never conspired to do anything illegal in the last 100 years?? (just check the news or wikileaks if you are in doubt…) but here is a list of few countries they conspired against… Cuba, The whole of South America… Vietnam, Korea, China, large chunks of Africa, etc etc etc…



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  • 22
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Marktony and Kamel,

    I agree with both of you on religion being part of the problem. In fact I go further by saying all religions are man made and can be very bad for you if the wrong guy controls it. after all, speaking to imaginary friend is called schizophrenia in psychology (which is a form of crazy 🙂 )

    So, I agree with you, Islam needs to be reformed… People are in denial because of what is happening, etc etc…

    However, the point I am making is… There is someone who is driving this behind the scenes. someone is taking advantage of all of this madness to increase power and influence and if few hundred thousands or millions die, who cares.

    And I am saying the USA and the west in general are directly responsible, and it is paid for by individual western paid tax money…

    otherwise, explain this… ISIS is crazy, but were are they getting their money from (salaries, bullets, guns, etc), who sold them those guns and cars ?, who provided them the “communication infrastructure” to enable them to fight (These are not items you walk into a supermarket and purchase), who is airlifting them supplies on the battlefield, who is treating their injured fighters, etc, etc..

    Why are the west supposedly fighting ISIS, yet are supporting and defending Wahhabis ?? if you check above, you will see both organizations are the same…

    and finally for Kamel, More than 95% of Arab community think ISIS is completely mad and makes no sense.. but you are right, there is larger section who think strict Islam is the right choice, but even those fanatics will stop at killing the innocent.



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  • 23
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Melvin, That’s a brilliant quote 🙂 .

    Lawrence of Arabia is one of my favourite movies, and you make a very good point.. However, it is not religion that’s the issue… It is education, which doesn’t mean necessarily going to college and studying to be lawyer or doctor.

    When Arabs where educated, they built an empire that stretched to China, and contributed to the many sciences we all use today. but that unfortunately stopped a 1000 years ago.



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  • 24
    cracker says:

    dear mombird,

    christianity hasn’t “mellowed”.

    it has been forcibly brought to heel in the west thanks to the enlightenment and the invention of the scientific method.

    the lord’s resistance army in uganda is an example of modern unchecked christianity. just as barbaric as their muslim counterparts if not worse.

    signed,
    – current events



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  • 25
    cracker says:

    are you trying to claim that western countries are the places that isis is “getting their money from (salaries, bullets, guns, etc), who sold them those guns and cars ?, who provided them the “communication infrastructure” to enable them to fight (These are not items you walk into a supermarket and purchase), who is airlifting them supplies on the battlefield, who is treating their injured fighters, etc, etc..”?

    if so, you need to back that claim up with some verifiable evidence before you will be taken seriously.

    95% of the arab community may be anti isis, but their governments are not.

    why is it that “the kingdom” won’t lift a finger to fight isis in iraq/syria but have no problem bombing the shit out of yemen?

    could it have anything to do with the fact that isis practices sunni wahhabisim while yemen is controlled by shias at the moment?

    quit infantilizing the islamic world by blaming the west for everything.



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  • 26
    cracker says:

    why did it stop 1000 years ago?

    because a RELIGIOUS scholar named al ghazali wrote a RELIGIOUS book condemning math and science and the RELIGIOUS people of the islamic RELIGION accepted his RELIGIOUS arguments and brought their civilization to a crashing halt.

    trying to claim lack of education, not religion, is the issue, ignores the fact that RELIGION is the reason there is no EDUCATION.



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  • You think the Arabs built an empire, spreading their superior education as far as China? There was no conquest of China by the Arabs and the biggest Muslim influence in China was probably due to the Mongol invasion. The Mongols did make use of military technology gained from their conquered Muslims to help them defeat the Song dynasty. And the Mongols tended to adopt the dominant local religion, which was Buddhism in China. However significant numbers of Muslims from the Mongol empire settled in China.

    I expect there was a net transfer of education and science from China to the Arab Muslims. And that points to a major driver for educational and technological progress – free trade and adoption of new ideas and technology. Western countries have gained tremendously from the adoption of the scientific method and the importance placed on education – and also importantly from reducing the power of the church.

    The so-called Islamic Golden Age was down to this exchange of ideas and knowledge throughout the Islamic empire and in no small part due to the translation and assimilation of Greek scientific heritage. It looks like that was halted by religious opposition, by the idea that too much education, especially in the sciences, could detract from or even contradict Islamic study. Of course they were right about the effect of science education on religious belief and they chose to put religion above all else, including technological progress. Now Muslims may say that some other sect from theirs was responsible, that they were the wrong type of Muslim, they distorted the true message of Islam, they misinterpreted the word of Allah passed via Muhammad and the Koran etc. But unfortunately that’s the nature of religion. It’s all down to interpreting the advice and requirements of a non-existent supernatural being – plenty of scope for mistakes and misuse, and not the best way to run a country.



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  • So, I agree with you, Islam needs to be reformed… People are in denial because of what is happening, etc etc…However, the point I am making is… There is someone who is driving this behind the scenes.

    That assumption sounds like religious thinking. And a denial of what is happening.

    otherwise, explain this… ISIS is crazy, but were are they getting their money from (salaries, bullets, guns, etc), who sold them those guns and cars ?,

    The main income is from the Illegal sale of smuggled oil, although that is interrupted by the US bombing of ISIS oil fields and refineries.

    There is also the theft and illegal sale of antiquities, kidnapping and ransom. And of course general extortion (taxes) and robbery.

    You can say that the US caused huge resentment among particularly the Sunni Muslims with the invasion of Iraq, resulting in the destabilising of the country and the birth of extremist groups like ISIS – and you will get a lot of agreement. But not so much agreement for your assumption that the US has done this deliberately in some sort of conspiracy with Saudi Arabia.



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  • 29
    mombird says:

    cracker, Well I did say “sort of.” And I did quote Hitchens in saying, ‘religion poisons everything.’ That includes all of them! Christianity has mellowed in the west just in my day since I apparently will not be burning in hell now for the things I would be burning in hell for in my past. The CC is now courting people with a new and kinder Pope and a relaxing of some of its more silly dogma.
    Christianity in the west at least is morphing into a giant group hug to some extent, excluding Evangelicals who want god to keep punishing us. That said, of course evil still lurks behind the kinder and gentler face of god. I look at it as one step closer to God/Allah vanishing altogether like the Cheshire Cat.



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  • 30
    mombird says:

    You know voiceofarabi- I’m not going to get sucked into an argument that has nothing to do with the topic presented. Nor will I get de-railed into a no it isn’t, yes it is debate on something that has no bearing on what we are talking about.
    These kind of diversions just keep us from looking at the problem at hand which is religion and its evils, ignorance, and superstition. Now run along voiceofarabi and go play your game with someone else.



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  • Please bear with me mods, I’m going a tad off piste:

    Thanks for the mention of Lawrence of Arabia, Melvin.

    The screenplay for the great David Lean film was co-written by Michael Wilson and Robert Bolt; Bolt was a history lecturer who also wrote A Man for All Seasons; both stories have the underlying theme of menacing blind religious faith and its destructiveness.

    I think it’s interesting that Sherif Ali says “I can both read and write.”; none the less Lawrence finally tells Ali “You are an ignorant man.”.

    Further, the phrase “It is written.” occurs repeatedly; Lawrence responds “Nothing is written, except in here,” gesturing to his head.

    But of course, as with all great dramatic writing, both sides of the story are told, and the colonial powers do not come out of it unscathed.

    A truly wonderful film, and one more “in focus” in every way than any other I know, and arguably more relevant now than when it was made.



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  • 33
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Marktony,

    I agree with almost everything you say above, and I don’t think we have different points of view on the topic of why nations (including Arabs) get educated and followed by crack down from the religion nut jubs. (and by educated, I mean the exchange of cultures you mention above).

    Islam in general (and therefore Arabs) flourished based on cultures from the Greek, Chinese, etc, followed by Islam getting scared and banning all this learning almost a 1000 years ago. so, we are in agreement, religion is the Ayatollah of all Evil. 🙂 .

    However, were we disagree on is… I say, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey and Israel who are financing ISIS, arming them, selling their Oil and art, and finally treating their injured are all the best allies of the US of A. And if USA wants to shut down ISIS tomorrow, it can do this with one phone call to the leaders of those countries…..

    Now to the topic at hand… I am saying those two Syrian ladies that are killed in this story, are killed indirectly using USA and Western world tax money…. as their government directly and indirectly aiding ISIS… All the weapons used by ISIS are made in the US of A 🙂 (and we all know you cannot transfer arms without the exporting countries approval – off course, some weapons you get from the battlefield, but that’s not enough to run a war and invasions).. All the comms devices are made in France 🙂



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  • 34
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi cracker, sure I can back those claims.

    The oil sold by isis is sold via two channels, Turkey and Saudi Arabia which gives them the financing (in fact, you can’t just sell oil in these quantities on the corner of the road). Art and history is sold via turkey and israel, but ends up in London, again, there are published reports if you care about that sort of thing!.

    The guns ISIS gets are smuggled via 3 countries, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, plus some they stole from Iraq. They are Western made weapons and were originally sold to countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar (and Saudi Arabia can’t resell or re gift a single bullet without the approval of the country that sold them the weapons, that’s in the contract.)

    Now to the topic at hand. The real fight is between two sides. USA and the West on one side… Russia, China (generally bricks countries) iran, Syria, on the other side.

    USA wants to be the superpower of the world… Russia and the rest of their group wants to have a world with multi points of power to ensure no one point becomes be to big and dominant. (i.e., going back to status when we had West on one side, and east on another before the fall of soviets).

    The two ladies that were killed in Syria, are collateral damage caused by the tool (called ISIS) the USA and the west is using to fight against side that refused to give in to the USA dominance….. Paid for by western tax money!!!… that’s my point in a nutshell.



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  • I say, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey and Israel who are financing ISIS, arming them, selling their Oil and art, and finally treating their injured are all the best allies of the US of A.

    The best allies of the US? Did you forget to add a smiley face here?

    And if USA wants to shut down ISIS tomorrow, it can do this with one phone call to the leaders of those countries…..

    So Barack just needs to get on the mobile to Salman and tell him to stop supporting those nasty Sunni terrorists? I would add another smiley here.

    All the weapons used by ISIS are made in the US of A 🙂

    I note the smiley here. But for other readers, here is a list of assault rifles used by ISIS. Note, the source is usually stated as “captured from Syrian or Iraqi army”. Also note that the AK47 outnumbers the M16 by about 8 to 1. Are AK47’s being made by Colt these days?

    – off course, some weapons you get from the battlefield, but that’s not enough to run a war and invasions).

    I guess they topped them up by purchasing a few thousand extra AK47’s from Colt. 🙂



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  • The Catholic Church of Iceland, the Pentecostal Church and the Church
    of Iceland’s eastern province opposed the changes. The Catholic Church
    wrote in comments submitted after the bill was proposed: “Should
    freedom of expression go so far as to mean that the identity of a
    person of faith can be freely insulted, then personal freedom – as
    individuals or groups – is undermined.”

    Lol…no surprise there at who the dissenters would be. “Freely insulted” is such a general term. I suppose they see it as being a worse act than persecution towards anti-thiests. What a delightfully colorful world we live in!



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  • religions are man made and can be very bad for you if the wrong guy
    controls it

    You can’t possibly be suggesting there is a right guy for the job! Sounds catholic to me, and we all see how that’s worked out over the centuries. 🙂



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  • Oh, I think he can. Voiceofarabi is also nostalgic for the good old cold war days when the reasonable Soviets and their friends kept the US superpower in check:

    USA wants to be the superpower of the world… Russia and the rest of their group wants to have a world with multi points of power to ensure no one point becomes be to big and dominant. (i.e., going back to status when we had West on one side, and east on another before the fall of soviets).



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  • 40
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    I’m not going to get sucked into an argument that has nothing to do with the topic presented.

    Like! Thanks for the inspiration mombird.



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  • 41
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Marktony,,

    When I mention weapons, I mainly focus on the weapons that make a difference in a war, for example, Armor-piercing Rockets & Anti-tank rockets etc.. and if you read US press releases (this is public knowledge, and they don’t hide that), you will find that USA have supplied this kind of weapon to the AlNussrah amongst other Syrian rebels, who gave/sold them to ISIS. This is all official and documented, I don’t know why you find it offensive… In fact, there is a nice picture of Senator John McCain with AlNussrah..

    ISIS reported on the last offensive two days ago, they used over 700 BGM-71 TOW rockets against Syrian army. Go to the same link you posted above and read about the Tow rocket on wiki…

    I have also noticed that you find smileys offensive, so I will stop using them from now on.



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  • When I mention weapons, I mainly focus on the weapons that make a difference in a war, for example, Armor-piercing Rockets & Anti-tank rockets etc..

    Perhaps you should have been more clear. Have you done any research to find out how many people are killed by hand-held weapons (like assault rifles) vs those weapons you mention?

    and if you read US press releases (this is public knowledge, and they don’t hide that), you will find that USA have supplied this kind of weapon to the AlNussrah amongst other Syrian rebels,

    US supplying anti-tank weapons to Al-Nusra? Unlikely since the US designates Al-Nusra as a terrorist organisation. Please post a link to one of these US press releases. I expect you actually mean that Al-Nusra has captured these or purchased them illegally from rebel groups that the US has actually supplied. Or were these just conspiracy theory web sites?

    This is all official and documented, I don’t know why you find it offensive…

    What is it that you think I find offensive? I’ve not claimed to be offended, just refuted some of your points.

    ISIS reported on the last offensive two days ago, they used over 700 BGM-71 TOW rockets against Syrian army.

    I suggest you don’t give too much weight to info you get from ISIS web sites.

    Go to the same link you posted above and read about the Tow rocket on wiki…

    Yes, it’s on the table “Explosives, anti-tank weapons, and anti-aircraft launchers” but do you have any evidence that they are being sold to ISIS by US rather than ISIS capturing them? And it says that the most commonly used of these is the IED, followed by the Soviet RPG-7.

    I have also noticed that you find smileys offensive, so I will stop using them from now on.

    No, I have no problem with smileys although they can be over-used. Where I mentioned them above, I was just lampooning your post. And I wouldn’t want you to stop using them on my account anyway.



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  • 43
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Marktony,

    If you go to the link you have posted, and then go down the page, and find the TOW rocket and open the page for that rocket, you will see the whole supply chain and as recent as may 2015, it is all according to wiki, but then again, is wiki a conspiracy theory?? (forgive me, I can’t do sarcasm very well… opps)



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  • Hi voiceofarabi

    you seem to over dead into Islamic state warfare equipment origin. American weapons are every where,I mean every where. American war technology market would sell killing machines to any one with a fat wallet and a diminutive count of brain cells.I am not implying that america is directly supplying Islamic State with weapons , all am saying is it isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a revelation that american manufactured weapon systems find it’s way to IS or to any other terrorist group anywhere in the world.



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  • Kamel reminds me that it was the U.S. that armed jihadists to fight against the Russians in Afghanistan in the 80s. The surrogates became the Taliban who would come to power after the Ruskies beat a hasty retreat. The Taliban turned against the U.S and nurtured AL Qaeda. You know the rest. After the successful invasion and occupation of Iraq, the Americans De-Bathified and installed a Shia government which proceeded to disenfranchise the Sunni minority in Baghdad. Oppressed, impoverished by the Shia government, northern Sunnis under ISIS launched a successful counter-offensive in the region. You know the rest. Kamel is right about the irrelevance of ubiquitous weaponry. The key to victory for indigenous partisans is the organization, and numbers of trained battle-hardened fighters dedicated to an insurgency. Maintaining power after military victory will depend on the ongoing support of civilian populations in the localities. Like poor, marginalized and semi-literate populations throughout the developing world, people will acquiesce to a reign of terror out of fear for their lives or settling for the lesser of two (or more) evils.

    The necessary policy for the time being seems one of containment requiring close monitoring of rapidly changing developments, selective foreign aid and military assistance, and surgical military strikes to beat back serious threats to stability or prevent atrocity. The multiple entangled conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan may take a decade or more to burn themselves out. Only when the sectarian-civil wars abate, can the western nations play a significant role in an environment amenable to political solutions.



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  • Before you progress to sarcasm, you need to work on your reading and comprehension. Go back to my previous post where, in response to your claim that the US is supplying the TOW rocket to ISIS and Al-Nusra, I wrote:

    “Yes, it’s on the table “Explosives, anti-tank weapons, and anti-aircraft launchers” but do you have any evidence that they are being sold to ISIS by US rather than ISIS capturing them?”

    I also wrote:

    “I expect you actually mean that Al-Nusra has captured these or purchased them illegally from rebel groups that the US has actually supplied”

    Again, yes I know it’s listed in the link I posted, but just repeating that does not answer my question. I already acknowledged (see above) that the US is supplying weapons to rebel groups they consider to be “moderate”.



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  • Melvin
    Jul 6, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    The necessary policy for the time being seems one of containment requiring close monitoring of rapidly changing developments, selective foreign aid and military assistance, and surgical military strikes to beat back serious threats to stability or prevent atrocity. The multiple entangled conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan may take a decade or more to burn themselves out. Only when the sectarian-civil wars abate, can the western nations play a significant role in an environment amenable to political solutions.

    The problem was that there were already “political solutions” maintaining stability in the areas of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, but various western powers did not like these, so set to undermine them by inciting revolution, arming rebel groups, and intervening with military action, against the the authorities of the previous governments which had been maintaining some stability and some kind of law and order.
    They had plans to destabilise and collapse those governments, but had no plan for any peaceful transition, or even (apart from wishful thinking), what alternatives might arise!

    The USA came to the end of two wars in Iraq, with no plans apart from an oil and power grab by US commercial interests, and had learned nothing from the end of the first war about the need for planning the end to the second!
    Even the US budget for the second Iraq War, was pure fantasy!
    It cost the US $billions and the human cost was was even more appalling!



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  • Though you point out the disruptive meddling of foreign powers in the internal affairs of governments in the region, especially by the United States in recent decades, those fiascos may have run their course, bringing more indigenous sectarian struggles to the fore. We should neither over-estimate current foreign-power “control” over middle eastern states nor underestimate the power of internal revolutionary movements arising from native populations to shape the future of nation states and probably redraw the old geopolitical borders imposed by European imperial interests.

    My phrase “necessary policy” was used mostly in a default sense. No outside power has the resources, the inclination, or a coherent strategy for intervening in the seemingly impenetrable, intractable and endless ethnic-sectarian blood-letting. Western nations should stand back, provide limited tentative support consistent with the best intelligence available for protecting western national interests and security, and otherwise let the people of the region determine their own political arrangements



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  • 52
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Melvin,

    I am sure your intentions are good, but you need more understanding of the region and the local politics. People in the middle east are not blood thirsty and all they wish to do is kill each other (in fact, no people in the world are like that..)

    People engage in wars and conflicts for a reason, and mainly power.

    It was, and I am sure it still is in the western national interest to have middle eastern governments that are allies (servants is better word) to the west, and if that does not happen, then the west engage in changing regimes, which results in bloodshed. (just look at the Ukraine…)

    for example, the new Iraqi government allied itself to Iran, which is an ally to Russia, and therefore, needed to be changed, and hence ISIS (a great tool the west started using since the 80′ against the soviets, and it is still used today. I bet you all the money in the world that ISIS will go against Russia and China next….



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  • 54
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Marktony,

    You Say…..

    Before you progress to sarcasm, you need to work on your reading and comprehension.

    Both my reading and comprehension of the English language is moderate to poor, but then it is my 4th language, and I don’t get to practice a lot..

    I just hope your reading and comprehension of Arabic is better than my English.



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  • 55
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Kamel,

    My point is not the weapons… the point I was making is… ISIS is a tool that is used by warring sides to achieve a land grab and increase influence..

    They claim there are over 70,000 foreign ISIS fighters in Syria and Iraq… they can’t come to Syria or Iraq via the airport… So, how did they get in?? how did their equipment get in?? etc etc etc… (go and look at google map, and see who is allowing those fighters in, and you will see that they are all USA allies (I would call them, servants…)

    Who ever is making it easy for ISIS to operate, is responsible for the death of the two Syrian ladies, and the many hundreds that die everyday. and I am saying USA and the West have a responsibility in this which they share with local warlords and religious people in the middle east in general)



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  • Both my reading and comprehension of the English language is moderate to poor, but then it is my 4th language, and I don’t get to practice a lot..

    Show off.

    I just hope your reading and comprehension of Arabic is better than my English.

    No, it’s non-existent. I did gain a CSE grade 4 in French about 35 years ago but I’ve forgotten most of it.



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  • In support of voiceofarabi, without endorsing his viewpoint:

    Nobody wants to feel they are in some way responsible for the existence and “success” of Daesh (to deny the murderous cult any direct agreement that they are either Islamic or a State). Non Muslims can see Islam as the root cause. Muslims can see US/Western meddling as the root cause. Who is to say they aren’t both part-right-part-wrong. Both are trying to distance themselves from the creation of this monster, and deny the guilt that would come with admitting that they do indeed have a piece of the blame. Muslims for having a “holy book” so readily open to exploitation by a murderous cult, and westerners for the continuing imperial meddling in the oil-rich middle east. I don’t doubt that Daesh is a consequence of both these things. Who are the westerners who join the “jihad”? Murderers yes, but are they the product of the Western World, or of a radical version – some say a corruption, some say the core truth – of Islam.

    Thanks voiceofarabi for describing the other side of this particular coin. Minority voice here, for sure, but please don’t “run along and play with someone else”. You’re needed here, right or wrong, as a counterpoint to the mainstream viewpoint of this site. And, quite clearly, you did prefix your comments with the words “crazy idea”.



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  • Lawrence of Arabia, required viewing for background to this discussion. I saw a re-release of that marvellous movie, big-screen, 70mm print, one day about 25 years ago. And emerged from the cinema to see a newspaper headline about Iraq having just invaded Kuwait. Which struck me as a chilling coincidence, at the time.

    The quote from the movie that lingered with me was something to the effect that “There is no such place as Arabia, that’s an invention of the Western mind”, as the first Pan-Arab Congress or whatever they called it dissolved into yelling and fighting.

    While the view of the whole earth from Apollo 8, Christmas 1968, has shown many of us that we all live on the same small planet, this kind of Big Picture viewpoint does not seem to have percolated down to the fragmented squabbling tribes of the no-such-place, Arabia.



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  • 59
    voiceofarabi says:

    Thanks OHooligan, I really appreciate your open mind and understanding of the other point of view, however unpleasant it may be..

    This gives me confidence that all is not lost yet…



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  • I am sure your intentions are good, but you need more understanding of the region and the local politics. People in the middle east are not blood thirsty and all they wish to do is kill each other (in fact, no people in the world are like that..)

    The ordinary person in Nazi Germany or Imperial japan during WWII were not like that. What happens is that aggressive and oppressive leadership comes to power and initiates reflexive conditioning through the populace under crisis that makes them collectively act like that.

    People in the middle east are bitterly divided into ethic-sectarian groups whose populations are immiserated in poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Ostensibly representing one party, one ethnic group headed by a dictator imposing power through a police state, governments actually work as crony kleptocracies which allocate little resources for public benefit. Restive citizenry and dissenters are terrorized into acquiescence by fear of imprisonment or execution. Loyalty to the regime or to an opposing, potentially rebellious faction, is maintained by conditioning people to fear and hate enemies both internal and external. In Iraq, for example, Saddam Hussein used the Bath party to assure the Sunni minority that the Shiite majority or the Kurds would not threaten its dominance. When the U.S. occupation deposed the Bath regime and installed a Shia government, the Sunnis were driven from military, civil service and lucrative private sector employment. Dispossessed, oppressed and humiliated, they formed ISIS. The rest is history.

    It explains little to recount U.S. involvement in regime change or which countries engage in shifting alliances among Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Russia, the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. Geopolitical forces will always play a role. The countries of the middle east are tangled in civil sectarian ethnic wars which inevitably involve influences, support or opposition, from foreign powers. The intractable blood-feud roots of the violent conflicts in the region are largely integral, internal to the tribal fragmentation along ethnic-sectarian lines which goes back centuries. Ordinary friendly persons who don’t know how to pull the trigger on a gun, still support, if only by acquiescence, the slaughter of the other when the leadership convinces them that the other is out to take from them what little they own: their land, their possessions, their women,…and their lives.



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  • Interesting to see voiceofarabi somewhat vindicated: independent uk site has an article by Robert Fisk which includes reports of ISIS fighters getting medical treatment in Israel.

    No link, I’m sure if you’re interested enough you can all find the article. And dismiss it if Mr Fisk isn’t to your political liking.



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