General Mood: “Two Versions” of the Houla Massacre

Posted by John Rosenthal

A report from Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), which attributes the Houla massacre to anti-Assad rebel forces, has given rise to controversy. Critics have accused the FAZ and other sources, which have likewise reported this alternative version, of disseminating regime “propaganda.” If, however, the alternative version is indeed regime propaganda, then it would appear that the UN [...]

The Houla Massacre Redux

Posted by John Rosenthal

In a post on National Review Online, Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi and Phillip Smyth maintain that claims that Syrian rebels were responsible for the Houla massacre are the stuff of “outlandish conspiracy websites.” But a closer look at their argumentation reveals that they are the ones that have to resort to conspiracy theorizing. See my reply at [...]

Report: Syrian Rebels Responsible for Houla Massacre

Posted by John Rosenthal

It was, in the words of U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, the “tipping point” in the Syria conflict: a savage massacre of over 90 people, predominantly women and children, for which the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad was immediately blamed by virtually the entirety of the Western media. Within days of the first reports of [...]

Al-Qaeda Ladies Choir Struts Its Stuff in Rebel Syria

Posted by John Rosenthal

Back in mid-February, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper warned that al-Qaeda had “infiltrated” the Syrian opposition. At roughly the same time, videos began emerging on the internet that clearly revealed just what an understatement – to put it mildly – Clapper’s observation represented. The videos show Syrian rebel brigades proudly posing with the al-Qaeda [...]

In Syria, America Allies with the Muslim Brotherhood

Posted by John Rosenthal

While the Obama administration’s burgeoning contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt continue to cause controversy, the administration’s policy of growing cooperation with the Syrian opposition continues to enjoy almost unanimous support. This is remarkable, since by virtue of that policy the administration is openly allied with none other than the Muslim Brotherhood: openly, that [...]

Syria, the Media and Jihad: An Interview with Frédéric Pichon

Posted by John Rosenthal

The French Syria specialist Frédéric Pichon accuses the Western media of irresponsibility in its treatment of the Syria crisis: of being ignorant about the region and its history, neglecting to verify sources, blithely parroting activist talking points–in short, of “refusing to deal with the reality.” See my new interview with him on Breitbart.com here.

Salafist Suspected in Belgian Mosque Attack

Posted by John Rosenthal

Last night, a Shia mosque in Brussels was the target of an arson attack. The 46-year-old imam of the mosque died of asphyxiation during the fire. While the wire services have reported the attack, most of the reports have ignored a salient detail: according to eyewitnesses, the perpetrator was a Salafist who shouted slogans regarding [...]

Al-Qaeda and Caliphate Flags in Rebel Syria

Posted by John Rosenthal

The Obama administration has conceded al-Qaeda’s involvement in the Syrian rebellion, suggesting last month that the terror group had “infiltrated” the opposition to Bashar al-Assad. But video evidence emerging out of Syria suggests that “infiltration” is not the word. At least three such videos depict anti-Assad forces or demonstrators with al-Qaeda’s black flag. Numerous other [...]

Syria: The Salafist Who Launched the Rebellion?

Posted by John Rosenthal

Earlier this month, the French daily Libération published an interview with Sheikh Louay al-Zouabi, a self-avowed Salafist imam from Daraa, Syria, who claims to have issued a fatwa that sparked the uprising against the rule of Bashar al-Assad. A radical fundamentalist current in Islam, Salafism advocates the emulation of the Salaf: the earliest generations of [...]

Libyan Rebel Commander: I Was on the Mavi Marmara

Posted by John Rosenthal

According to the Spanish daily ABC, a Libyan rebel commander who played a key role in overthrowing the rule of Muammar Qaddafi previously participated in the May 2010 attempt to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza aboard the Turkish-owned vessel the Mavi Marmara. The operation famously culminated in a deadly clash between Israel Defense Force [...]