Tuesday, September 09, 2014

09-Sep-14: If terrorist savagery has a West Point, it's probably in Syria

Among the aspiring jihad-minded killers - European women
[Image Source: Deutsche Welle]
The impact of thousands of blood-lusting Islamists getting unparalleled hands-on experience in the killing fields of Syria is only starting to be guessed at.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, a Jordanian prince who took up his new role yesterday (Monday) as the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, called Syria "a slaughterhouse" in his maiden speech. It's not hard to agree with him. But as we usually do, we are also thinking about the inevitable consequences for people living far from Syria.
Over 12,000 foreign fighters said to be in Syria | Associated Press | September 9, 2014 | More than 12,000 foreigners from 74 countries have gone to fight with rebels in Syria, 60 to 70 percent from other Middle Eastern countries and about 20 to 25 percent from Western nations, a leading expert on terrorism said Monday.
Prof. Peter Neumann, who directs the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London, said the Syrian conflict has sparked the most significant mobilization of foreign fighters since the 1980s war in Afghanistan against the Soviet occupation, where up to 20,000 foreigners participated over the course of a decade. With over 12,000 foreigners taking up arms in Syria in just three years, he said, “that conflict is well on track to becoming the most significant mobilization of foreign fighters that has ever taken place in living memory”...
Prof. Neumann's analysis goes on to suggest the origins of at least some of those foreigners (alphabetically) - though his data don't come close to explaining the "12,000 foreigners" figure:
Belgium: 300 ▪ Denmark: 50-100 ▪ France: About 700 ▪ Germany: 400 ▪ Jordan: About 1,500 ▪ Morocco: About 1,500 ▪ Norway: 50-100 ▪ Saudi Arabia: Its government estimates between 1,200 and 2,500 ▪ Sweden: 50-100 ▪ Tunisia: "Up to 3,000" ▪ UK: "More than 500" ▪ United States: 100
He makes these additional observations:
  • "In some European countries, which he didn’t identify, between 10 percent and 20 percent of those going to Syria to join the Islamic State group are women
  • A key motivator: "Building the caliphate that the Islamic State group has declared."
  • Yet another motivator: "The Islamic State group’s highly publicized beheadings of two American journalists" which have caused “more and more foreign fighters [to get] talking about fighting against the West and fighting against America."
And the overwhelmingly-Arab-on-Arab impact of all this energy and motivation? According to the latest data relating to the month of August 2014 alone [Source: Syrian Observatory for Human Rights]
  • 2,015 civilians "including 281 children and 138 women"
  • 1,448 "Rebels and Islamist fighters"
  • 1,351 "Non-Syrian fighters from IS, al Nusra Front, Jund al aqsa and al Muhajereen wal Ansra Army"
  • 1,405 "Regular regime soldiers and officers"
  • 23 "Hezbollah"
and on and on. (The same report goes on to explain why what it calls "the real number" is actually larger by about a thousand dead people.)

The Syrian child mentioned in the paragraph
on the left [Image Source]. Why does his
face have to be obscured digitally? Understanding
that is key to comprehending
the profound ugliness of Arab hostility to
everything constructive done for ordinary Arabs
Israel's central role in this carnage is summed up by a little-noticed Tazpit News Agency report published yesterday:
A 12-year-old Syrian boy arrived over the weekend to an Israeli hospital with injuries to his arms, leg, and eyes sustained from a mortar attack on his home near Damascus. The boy was led on a donkey by his brother up the slopes of Mt. Hermon to an IDF base on the mountain, from where Israeli forces evacuated him to Ziv Medical Center in the northern town of Safed. A spokesman for the hospital told Tazpit News Agency that the boy is the latest of 358 injured Syrians to be treated there in the last year and a half, most of them victims of the Syrian civil war... The hospital “does not ask questions” about the origin of the patients, telling Tazpit that [they take] “everyone who comes.”
“We don’t check where they’re from,” he added. “We are a hospital. If someone comes in an ambulance to us for treatment, we take them.” The hospital reported that the 12-year-old boy is currently blind, and that there was a small chance of saving one of his eyes. He arrived with serious injuries to both arms, his right hand having been amputated in a hospital in southeastern Lebanon, where the boy said that he was taken by his family for initial treatment. The boy explained that after the amputation they were prevented from returning to their Damascus-area home by the fighting, so he was sent toward the Israeli border with his brother, where he led the blind boy on a donkey to the safety of the IDF post...
The hundreds of Syrians treated at the hospital since the outbreak of the war include some 50 children and 30 women. The remainder have been adult males, at least some of which have been injured in the combat. A number of other Syrian medical refugees have been treated in hospitals in the northern Israeli cities of Nahariya, Tveria and Haifa, as well as in a field hospital in the Golan Heights run by the IDF... The patients are treated no differently than any others, with the exception of an IDF guard that the government often stations in the patients’ rooms for their protection. [And there's more about Ziv and the Syrian boy here.]
In the US, the policy makers are girding their loins. From a Wall Street Journal op ed ["Islamic State Is Getting Stronger, and It's Targeting America"] published yesterday:
Secretary of State John Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday that an international coalition is forming to confront the terrorists of the Islamic State. President Obama plans to address the nation Wednesday night, as he said over the weekend, to get "the American people to understand the nature of the threat and how we're going to deal with it." His strategy is expected to involve an emphasis on a U.S.-led coalition and a reliance on airstrikes in a campaign that could take years, not months. Less clear is whether the president will commit to strikes inside Syria and substantially expanded special-forces deployments to Iraq and as soon as possible to Syria. We will not win unless he does. There is no time left to argue, dither and wonder what should be done about those who are butchering Americans— and anyone else they care to—across a growing portion of the Middle East. The enemy has no such doubts. They are not going away. They are getting stronger. The war, ladies and gentlemen, is truly on. We're just not a meaningful part of it yet.
But plenty of other victims certainly are. In the week that we remember 9/11, let's take a moment to reflect on how all that accumulated education in the dark barbaric arts of terror acquired in Syria by people with non-Syrian passports is looking for - and certain to find - other venues and outlets. Whatever attention this is getting, it's not enough.

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