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News of the death of distinguished anti-Assad commander (or ‘terrorist,’ ‘rebel,’ ‘opposition commander,’ etc.) Zahran Alloush has the potential to radically alter the character of the war in Syria.

Considering Alloush and alternative senior members of the leadership of the Salafist militant cluster Jaish al-Islam were killed in an exceedingly major airstrike disbursed by the Syrian air force, there's beyond question getting to be a metamorphosis on the bottom as initiative on the piece of ground, significantly in Southern Syria, shifts still more to the Syrian Arab Army and its allies.

With Alloush out of the image and, supported reports returning from sources within the opposition, important disarray at the topmost echelons of leadership of the hardly cohesive “Islamic Army,” it appears clear that the Syrian government is probably going to maneuver in to modify management of Douma, Ghouta, and alternative rebel-held suburbs of capital of Syria.

However, whereas several international observers lament the loss of this “iron-fisted leader” but a month prior planned peace talks set to require place in late Jan 2016, nearly all analyses of this development have failing (deliberately omitted?) to elucidate simply what the rebel teams below his command were doing in Ghouta and Douma, the character of the continued war at intervals the war between the Syrian military and therefore the factions on top of things of those key suburbs, and therefore the info concerning the key strategic passageway and therefore the events that have taken place there, together with the ill-famed “Douma market attack” of August 2015 (which I debunked here).

By examining the wealth of data concerning Alloush, his ideology, his organization, and their activities within the rebel fastness suburbs of capital of Syria, it becomes clear that the airstrike that ultimately killed him and plenty of of his Salafist comrades did way more than merely kill a pacesetter of a vital rebel cluster.  Rather, this was a monumental, and maybe mortal, blow to a complete phase of the rebel-terrorist coalition fighting against the Syrian government and other people.

Zahran Alloush: Reality vs Perception

In the days since Alloush’s death there are, rather predictably, various articles written concerning the assassination, nearly all of that portray Alloush as one thing of a ‘moderate,’ a person World Health Organization by the sheer force of his temperament and can LED associate armed faction that stood as “defenders of truth revolution” in their steadfast opposition to each Assad and therefore the Muslim State.  One might be forgiven for thinking that Alloush was a national doing his half to defend Syria from the Muslim State and therefore the brutal dictatorTM instead of a vicious Salafist World Health Organization committed multitudinous war crimes against the Syrian individuals, among others.

Take for instance the the big apple Times, writing simply hours when the assassination was announced:

    Mr. Alloush LED the military of Islam, a gaggle that had recently united to participate in an exceedingly political method seeking to finish the five-year-old conflict…Analysts aforementioned the strikes were to keep with long efforts by the Syrian government and its allies to eliminate teams claiming to occupy a middle ground between man. Assad and therefore the Muslim State. The efforts square measure a part of a broader objective to enhance man. Assad’s standing among Western governments, that detest him however conjointly see the Muslim State as associate increasing menace.

Consider the implication of the phrase “groups claiming to occupy a middle ground between man. Assad and therefore the Muslim State.” whereas this can be classic company media faux-objectivity, the fact is that this can be smartly made info designed to validate associated legitimatize an completely discredited notion, particularly that there's a big distinction between the ideology of Alloush’s organization which of the Muslim State (ISIS/ISIL).  Indeed, the NYT here is unsurprisingly bolstering official Washington’s line that the North American country should support “moderate opposition” that, within the subtext of that phrase, is everybody World Health Organization isn't ISIS/ISIL. however real specialists on Syria acknowledge that this can be just political window-dressing, that in reality the distinction between Jaish al-Islam, Ahrar al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra (Al-Qaeda’s official Syrian affiliate), and therefore the Muslim State (ISIS/ISIL) is simply words; these organizations vie for influence and management, however don't actually dissent ideologically.

Joshua Landis, Director of the middle for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and wide considered one in every of the world’s foremost specialists on Syria, suffers no such delusions concerning Alloush.  In December 2013, Landis wrote:

    Zahran Alloush’s rhetoric and info videos give a lot of insight into his view, angle toward Syria’s spiritual minorities, and vision for Syria’s future. The distinction between his ideology which of al-Qa'ida teams isn't profound. Rather, it's one in every of reminder gray. [The video connected within the article] is associate anti-Shiite denunciation and “bring-back-the-Umayyad-Empire” info piece. It shows however sectarian Alloush is. He refers to Shiites, and reduces the Nusayris into this grouping, as “Majous”, or crypto-Iranians…  Here it's associate Muslim term of abuse meant to counsel that Alawites and Iranians not solely have the incorrect faith however conjointly the incorrect ethnicity—they don't seem to be Arabs, however crypto-Iranians…[This] demonstrates however demonized the Alawites square measure within the info of the new Muslim Front.  Zahran necessitate cleansing capital of Syria of all Shiites and Nusayris… On hearing this kind of speak from the leaders of the revolution, Alawites and alternative non-Sunni sects worry that their struggle could be a fight for his or her terribly existence [emphasis added].

    This video and therefore the language of Alloush demonstrates [sic] however troublesome it's to draw a transparent line between the ideology of the Muslim Front which of the al-Qa'ida teams [emphasis added]. They each embrace foreign jihadists and encourage them to return Syria to affix the fight. They each concern the resurrection of associate Muslim Empire and that they each remember to the Golden Age of Islam for the principles upon that the new state are going to be supported. Their political philosophy and blue print for the long run is basically supported the same reading of Muslim history and therefore the Qur’an.

    Some analysts try and draw a transparent line between al-Qa'ida and therefore the Muslim Front, demand that the previous support dynamical Syria’s borders and ask for to ascertain a Caliphate whereas the latter square measure Syrian Nationalists. sadly, this distinction isn't evident in their rhetoric. each idealize Muslim Empire, each reject democracy and embrace what they decision shari’a, each welcome jihadists from the “Islamic Islam Nation,” each fly the pirate flag of Islam instead of the Syrian flag as their predominant emblem. The Muslim Front is dominated by Syrians World Health Organization do have clear parochial interests, whereas ISIS is go past associate Iraqi. Foreigners play a dominate role in its command, however this can be not thus with the Muslim Front. All an equivalent, their ideologies overlap in important ways in which.

Landis, standard as a fierce critic of Bashar al-Assad and therefore the Syrian Government, here removes the mask from Alloush and quickly debunks and completely discredits any tries to manufacture moderation within the figure of Alloush. off from being one in every of the legendary “moderates” that Obama & Co. square measure forever prattling on concerning, Alloush is remarkably a Muhammedan of the primary order, one whose ideology, as Landis properly noted, isn't in the least totally different from that of Al al-Qaeda and ISIS/ISIL.  Indeed, this can be solely more confirmed during this video wherever, as Landis points out, Alloush “goes to some lengths to elucidate that his relationship with Nusra [al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria] is one in every of brotherhood with solely superficial philosophic variations that may be settled with shari’a and discussions. This supports my argument that the philosophic variations between the Front and al-Qa'ida don't seem to be deep.”

Of course, rhetorical prospers aside, the question of actual crimes committed by Alloush and his nisus comrades is vital to look at.  In late 2014 and early 2015, Alloush commanded Jaish al-Islam to fireside rockets indiscriminately onto capital of Syria, a blatant law-breaking. several Syrians were killed in these attacks. it's vital to notice that whereas the pro-rebel media shops would build associate equivalence between such attacks and therefore the ill-famed “barrel bombs” of the Syrian Arab Army, the fact is that these square measure merely not comparable.  The aerial offensives disbursed by Syria’s air force have targeted rebel strongholds with clear military and strategic targets, whereas the Jaish al-Islam rocket attacks were pink-slipped at civilians with none specific targeting. this can be to not say one has got to sanction the SAA’s ways, simply to know the distinction between them and people utilized by the rebels.

Whether one desires to use this to absolve Assad and therefore the Government of blame or not, the unavoidable truth is that bombardment by the military was ne'er indiscriminate. in contrast, the aim of Alloush’s bombardment of capital of Syria was entirely to impose terror on the population of Syria’s capital, and to require revenge for attacks disbursed by the Syrian military.  Charles Lister, a vehemently anti-Assad analyst with the Brookings port Center, noted {in a|during a|in associate exceedingly|in a very} tweet that documented an announcement by Alloush via twitter, that “Jaish al-Islam has begun a huge mortar & Grad rocket attack on central #Damascus, to ‘cleanse the capital.’”  Indeed, the utilization of the word “cleanse” is instructive because it illustrates the angle and beliefs of Alloush because it is practiced on the piece of ground.  His need to ethnically cleanse Syria was ne'er mere rhetoric.  Any manner you slice it, Alloush and Jaish al-Islam committed this act that constitutes a law-breaking.

Interestingly, Alloush’s philosophic and rhetorical brotherhood with the Nusra Front translated into on-the-ground collaboration, significantly at the ill-famed massacre within the capital of Syria community of Adra. whereas pseudo-alternative media propagandists like James Miller at The Interpreter unfeelingly claimed that no massacre occurred at Adra, instead claiming that RT and alternative non-Western media that reportable it were merely spreading misinformation, Miller and his ilk’s tries to hide up what actually happened fell flat.

Award-winning journalist Apostle Cockburn, writing within the kingdom freelance on Feb nine, 2014, painted a chilling portrait of the horrors of the Mhala family et al in Adra.  Cockburn wrote:

    Accounts of what happened to the remainder of the population of Adra square measure confused. I spoke to a number of the five,000 refugees World Health Organization had been allowed to go away by Jabhat al-Nusra and therefore the Muslim Front on thirty December and a few of whom square measure currently squatting in an exceedingly large cement mill. They aforementioned the jihadis had ordered them to their basements and had unbroken them there. the quantity singled out for execution is place at between thirty two and eighty. There square measure accounts of the doctor within the native clinic, a Christian identified regionally as Dr Saint George, being headless. bakeshop staff World Health Organization resisted their machinery being moved out were cooked in their own kitchen appliance. Jabhat al-Nusra and Muslim Front fighters went from house to deal with with a listing of names and none of these moved out then has been [sic] since. This includes the top of the legal department at the knowledge Ministry World Health Organization disappeared together with his partner and girl and whose phone is currently being answered by a person spoken communication he belongs to Jabat al-Nusra.

It is vital to notice the shut collaboration here between Nusra and therefore the Muslim Front, the coalition during which Alloush’s Jaish al-Islam could be a innovation member and plays a central role.   A resident of Adra, the partner of a doctor in city, explained that, “The armed men were non-Syrians. we have a tendency to lived terrible days, before we have a tendency to may escape with solely the garments that we have a tendency to wore…We awoke at dawn with the sound of bullets… we have a tendency to saw men carrying black flags of Jaish al-Islam and Jabhat al-Nusra. a number of them were singing ‘Alawites we've come back to chop off your heads’ song, and this was the song they initial American ginseng at the beginning of the war in Idlib.”

Such crying war crimes and crimes against humanity square measure par for the course for Jaish al-Islam.  In early November 2015, simply weeks before Alloush was finally killed, Jaish al-Islam created international headlines when parading caged civilians through the streets of Ghouta, with cages of ladies being placed atop the organization’s headquarters and alternative key buildings to act as human shields against potential Syrian or Russian airstrikes.

According to the company media’s own darling, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (the one-woman anti-Assad operation go past Rami Abdel Rahman that has become the first supply for a lot of of the western media’s news on Syria), Jaish al-Islam “spread cages over many areas and squares within the japanese Ghouta golf stroke within them regime forces’ officers, troopers and their families.”   Despite the try by SOHR to soft-peddle the law-breaking by characterizing the victims as “regime forces and their families,” the plain barbarity of such associate act isn't lost on any real political observer.  Such actions actually go an extended manner toward repudiation the spurious assertion that Alloush and Jaish al-Islam (or Alloush’s original cluster Liwa al-Islam) square measure something that would be delineate as “moderate.”

Their terrorist credentials square measure more bolstered by the dastard role they compete within the chemical weapons attack, and later tries to derail the activity of the chemical weapons stockpile by the Syrian Government. although one were to dispute the terribly provocative alleged video proof (here, here, and here with wonderful, balanced analysis here) of Alloush’s Liwa al-Islam (his organization before consolidation as Jaish al-Islam) there square measure clear and clear connections between Alloush and therefore the entire chemical weapons adventure story in Syria.

According to military and strategic analyst, and retired general officer, Ali Maqsoud, the Liwa al-Islam forces clothed  in Jobar enclosed “the questionable ‘Chemical Weapons Front’ LED by Zahran Alloush [the supreme leader of Liwaa al-Islam]. That cluster possesses primitive chemical weapons contraband from al-Qa'ida in Asian nation to Jobar, within the locality of Damascus…[they used]rockets [which] were factory-made domestically to hold chemicals. They were launched from a vicinity controlled by Liwaa al-Islam.”

Maqsoud’s analysis was corroborated by a comprehensive report free in Jan 2014 (more than four months when the incident), by former United Nations weapons inspector Richard histrion and academic. Theodore Postol of MIT that effectively debunked the claims of the US Government (along with Human Rights Watch and variety of alternative organizations) that the Syrian military disbursed the attack.  The Lloyd/Postol report showed definitively that North American country intelligence and conclusions relating to the incident were grossly inaccurate. The report, entitled potential Implications of Faulty North American country Technical Intelligence within the capital of Syria agent Attack of August twenty one, 2013, notes that:

    The Syrian jury-rigged chemical munitions that were utilized in the August twenty one agent attack in capital of Syria have a spread of concerning 2km…[The evidence] indicates that these munitions couldn't probably are pink-slipped at East Ghouta from the ‘heart’, or from the japanese edge, of the Syrian Government-controlled space shown within the intelligence map printed by the White House on August thirty, 2013…The United Nations freelance assessment of the vary of the chemical munitions is in actual agreement with our finding.

In alternative words, histrion and Postol confirmed with their findings that the chemical attack of August twenty one, 2013, which just about LED to an instantaneous North American country military intervention, was disbursed from space controlled by Alloush and Liwa al-Islam. this can be more corroborated in Pulitzer lottery winner Jane Seymour Hersh’s ill-famed April 2014 exposé The line and therefore the Rat Line that noted that:

    The yank and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons… Defense intelligence issued a extremely classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing…[which] John Drew on classified intelligence from various agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were trying to get GB precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, seemingly for the anticipated large-scale production effort in Syria.’

Naturally, this should be seen in reference to the currently well established indisputable fact that Alloush is actually associate agent of Saudi Arabia. while not funding and support from Riyadh, Alloush’s organization would ne'er have even gotten off the bottom at the happening of the war in Syria in early 2011. Christof Lehmann of nsnbc wrote in Oct 2013 that:

 many commanders of terrorist group brigades in Syria have explicit  that Zahran Alloush receives his orders directly from Saudi Intelligence. Russian diplomatic sources stated… that individuals of the many totally different political observances have provided info to Russian diplomats.  Statements to the result that Zahran Alloush receives his orders directly from the Saudi Intelligence square measure supported by the actual fact that each Alloush and therefore the Liwa-al-Islam square measure supported by the Saudi Interior Ministry. The cluster was virtually established with Saudi cash when Alloush was free from jail in 2011 [just weeks before the primary unrest in Syria began]. in keeping with law, this truth alone is comfortable to designate Alloush and therefore the Liwa-al-Islam as Saudi mercenaries.

There was a lucid direct line between Riyadh and Ghouta with Alloush and his organization.  That line has currently been for good cut off together with his death and people of alternative key figures of the organization. this may have major implications for the long run of the war in Syria, particularly with the start of a social process returning at the top of Jan 2016, but four weeks from the time of publication.

Part 2 of this text can target the implications of Alloush’s elimination for the long run of this war. however can this major blow for the rebel/terrorist factions impact any negotiations? however can it have an effect on the military scenario on the ground?  The article will arrange to place into a broader narrative the “war within the war” between the Syrian military and therefore the Alloush-led rebel teams within the capital of Syria suburbs.

For now, one issue is certain: this assassination marks a serious turning purpose during this bloody, nearly 5 year recent war.

After a 10-year legal battle, U.S. district decide Alvin Hellerstein dominated last Fri that the U.S. government should unharness over two,000 Torture photos showing the abuse and pattern of individuals detained by the yankee military in Republic of Iraq and Afghanistan throughout the executive.

As reportable by the triumph Photography isn't against the law police answerableness diary, the centralized “is needed to disclose every and every one of the photographs” in response to a Freedom of data Act Request from the ACLU, because the government did not prove that “disclosure would endanger Americans.”

The centralized has tried to suppress these images, even going to this point as ever-changing the FOIA law on the Q.T. with the assistance of Congress in 2009.
The photos area unit crucial to the general public record, they’re the simplest proof of what befell within the military’s detention centers, and their revelation would facilitate the general public higher perceive the implications of a number of the Bush administration’s policies,” aforementioned ACLU deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer. “The administration’s explanation for suppressing the photos is each illegitimate and dangerous. to permit the govt. to suppress any image that may provoke somebody, somewhere, to violence would be to present the govt. sweeping power to suppress proof of its own agents’ misconduct. Giving the govt. that sort of functionary power would have implications so much on the far side this specific context.
The U.S. peace officer has 2 months to come to a decision whether or not to attractiveness, and continue the decade-long fight to bury the frightful truth exposing the inhumanity of the Bush Administration’s reign.

Among the frightful pictures the govt. could also be suppressing is alleged video of kids being sodomized ahead of their mothers at Abu Ghraib. fact-finding journalist Jane Seymour Hersh – UN agency exposed the My Lai massacre throughout the Vietnam War, wherever girls were gang-raped and mutilated – reportable that the U.S. military was sodomizing kids in Republic of Iraq on video back in 2004.