EHSANI2 Profile picture
Sep 9, 2018 16 tweets 8 min read
In order to truly understand the dynamic inside the #Syrian Armed Opposition, one must start to look into the ever closer marriage between the the Moslem Brotherhood and Nusra / al-Qaeda. Both have been joined at the hip through the sponsorship & support of #Qatar #Turkey ==>
2-Moslem Brotherhood (MB) lost its original military wing during the battle with the Syrian State in the 80’s. Best to think of Nusra/HTS/al-Qaeda in #Syria today as the new military wing of the M Brotherhood. One is the brain, the other represents arms & legs of the same body
3-The coordination between MB & Nusra/HTS/al-Qaeda has afforded the latter the chance to transform itself from non-state actor that had been hiding in the mountains of Afghanistan to an outfit with clear lines of communications to regional capitals that are supporting the MB
4-As one reads through Opposition accounts, it’s clear that #Saudi /#Qatar schism has had its effects on the landscape in #Syria . Jeish al-Islam which moved to Idlib from Ghouta from example is now fighting against dominance of MB/Nusra/HTS/al-Qaeda
5-Supporters of Jeish al Islam & their Sharia Sheikh (Samir Kaake) for example are seen here attacking media star Mousa al Omar for working with MB/Nusra/HTS/al-Qaeda & accusing him@of buying new home in #London for > 1 Million
6-For their part, so-called non al-Qaeda groups led by sheikhs like Samir Kaake of Douma are keeping themselves busy holding seminars to teach the reciting & memorizing of the Quran in places like al-Bab in northern #Aleppo
7-What is stunning about the current landscape in #Syria is how Western capitals are now crafting their policies on the notion that so long as one is not ISIS/al-Qaeda, one must consider all other remaining groups as legitimate/acceptable/kosher to do business with
8-Truth is that over the last 7 years, all and every armed group experienced constantly shifting alliances and partnerships. Jeish-Islam that once partnered with Nusra in Ghouta now fights against them over resources and money. Same goes for zangi and almost all others
9-Only the Syrian State knew from day one that it was fighting a single Umbrella with constantly moving parts underneath it. Every single group was after the same thing - Topple the State & become the new rulers of #Syria and start governing the country through true words of God
10-When the final history of the Syrian war will be written, it may well become obvious to all how the Moslem Brotherhood, that had been in a self-induced coma since the 1980’s saw its historic chance to wake up from the dead as the events in #Tunisia unfolded
11-Ever since early days of Daraa, Moslem Brotherhood (term is meant to broadly describe ideology that unites various groups & individuals) was going to do all & everything it can to wrest power from what they considered as Baathists/heretics/Alawis/Iran-supporting/non-believers
12-Of course there was non-Islamist resistance to Damascus that aspired for more democracy, human rights, political participation & less corruption. No doubt also that the State had long resisted such calls. Whether self-serving or not, Damascus knew this group had no chance v MB
13-The Idea that the day after the toppling of Assad & the State, “Syrians for more freedom & democracy” would somehow defeat and climb ahead of the “Syrian for ruling through Sharia & the words of God” is both not credible and perhaps even outright foolish. Why? ==>
14-Say what you want about them but MB/Nusra/HTS/al-Qaeda/Ahrar/Zangi/Jeish-Islam & others have sacrificed their blood. They own the guns. They have monopoly over interpreting the holy book. And what do the other Syrians have to offer? Secularism, freedom & democracy?

Really?
15-Think Tankers, #Syria Observers & Policy Makers (sorry here I go again), have been caught in typical case of group-think, wishful thinking & fear of losing their jobs if they dared go off script. They all wanted to believe that Syrians for freedom & democracy may/will prevail
16-Those who dared think differently than charted course have been branded Assadists

Here is a new definition of an Assadist:

Those who think that there has been near zero thought put into “The Day After” the toppling of the Syrian State. Think #Tutsis #Hutus Not #Milk #Honey

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More from @EHSANI22

Sep 18, 2018
Thread on status of Syrian Opposition post the "demilitarized zone" agreement in #Idlib . Thus far, most commentary has regarded the deal as a win for the Opp since risk of imminent strike on the province has been avoided. But is this deal really a positive for opp? Answer: No=>
2-Let's step back first. This is an Opp that was formed with goal of toppling the State (diplomatic language of Geneva process called it political transition). Nothing short of above was acceptable to this opp. As of yesterday, mere avoidance of strikes is now seen as a win
3-Let's not also forget that from early days of Geneva's political transition talks, the only political activity left now is an attempt to establish constitutional committee. All else has been shelved. Now that we established the general status of the opp, let's discuss this deal
Read 7 tweets
Sep 17, 2018
Thread listing Preliminary observations on the announcement of the “Demilitarized Zone” in #Idlib today: What does it mean for Turkey, Russia, Damascus and the armed groups? What is the likely risk/reward calculus for each party? What should we expect going forward? ===>
2– Let’s recap what we seem to know first: A zone 9-12 miles long would be established by Oct. 15. It would contain no heavy weapons or extreme elements of the insurgency (al-Qaeda-linked militants). It would be be patrolled by Turkish and Russian forces
3-First critical point to note is whether this deal will end up securing the highway that passes through Idlib and links the north and south of the country under Govt control together. This was of course one of the strategic aims of Damascus from any #Idlib operation
Read 12 tweets
Sep 17, 2018
For the record, while everyone seems to believe that the number of civilians in #Idlib is close to 3 million, a Damascus source who has been very prescient in the past believes that the actual number may not exceed 1 million.
2-To suggest that 3 Million civilians live in #Idlib is to suggest:

A-That pre-war housing stock & other infrastructure was able to accommodate double the pre-war population

B-Moreover, safe to assume both housing & infrastructure now nowhere near pre-war conditions/capacity
3-In effect, for #Idlib to host 3 Million now compared to 1.2-1.5 pre-war is to assume either a building boom (not war) or construction of massive camps that would host such massive numbers. Yet to see credible images of such camps or investments in the housing stock
Read 6 tweets
Sep 11, 2018
Erdogan in an op-ed in @WSJ :

“Moderate rebels played a key role in Turkey’s fight against terrorists in Northern #Syria; their assistance and guidance will be crucial in Idlib as well”
2-Erdogan: “Preventing the assault on #Idlib need not set back counter-terrorism efforts. Turkey has succeeded in fighting terrorist groups, including ISIS and the PKK, without harming or displacing civilians”

Notice how he doesn’t include Nusra /al-Qaeda in above group
3- Erdogan: “Turkey’s ability to maintain order in Northern #Syria is proof that a responsible approach to counter-terrorism can win hearts and minds”
Read 7 tweets
Sep 7, 2018
1-Set below is a short thread summarizing some of exchange w this Tajik Muhajir (Foreign Fighter)

Q: How did you come to Bilad al-Sham [Syria]?
A: I heard the Muslims in al-Sham were oppressed. I made hijra [migration] to help them.

SO ALAWIS (THE OPPRESSORS?) ARE NOT MUSLIMS?
Q: All the factions in Syria are oppressors?
A: God knows best. They love money.
Q: So you thought there were jihad and defending Islam, but it's not like that on the ground?
A: Yes. Most of them declare takfir on whoever they like.

PERFECT WINDOW INTO THE FUTURE, THANK YOU
Q: Currently you are not with any faction?
A: No. They are all liars. They say what they do not do.
Q: There are people who say that jihad must continue in Syria. What do you say to these people?
A: If there are no honest factions. With whom [do you wage] jihad?

LIARS? NO WAY
Read 4 tweets
Sep 4, 2018
Nearly every #Idlib insurgent was allowed in, supported, financed & armed to help topple Assad which was thought to be a sure bet. Idea was that these men would then hand the keys to those with the brains & suits who would fly in from abroad & run the country happily thereafter
2-With the above sure bet now largely a pipe dream, what we are witnessing is revisionist rewriting of how we got here & what this is really about. Those who supported, financed, facilitated and armed these men are suddenly out of the conversation.
3-The Syrian State that was the direct target of domestic / regional / international attempt to topple it is now being asked to refrain from reclaiming full sovereignty over its territory while al-Qaeda & hard core foreign fighters run the territory. The rest you hear is fiction
Read 4 tweets

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