Archiv für März 2019

Syria’s Kurds call for international court to try IS jihadists

Syria’s Kurds on Monday called for an international court to be set up in the country to try suspected Islamic State group jihadists following the announced fall of their „caliphate“.

IS imposed its brutal interpretation of Islam on millions living in the proto-state that it declared across a large swathe of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014.

The extremists stand accused of carrying out numerous crimes including mass executions, kidnappings and rape.

„We call on the international community to establish a special international tribunal in northeast Syria to prosecute terrorists,“ the Syria Kurdish administration said.

In this way, „trials can be conducted fairly and in accordance with international law and human rights covenants and charters“, it said in a statement.

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces on Saturday announced the end of the „caliphate“ after defeating IS jihadists in the eastern village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border.

Kurdish-led forces, backed by a US-led coalition, have detained thousands of suspected IS fighters in more than four years battling the jihadists, including around 1,000 foreigners.

While alleged IS fighters are held in jail, women and children suspected of being affiliated to the group are housed in Kurdish-run camps for the displaced.

More than 9,000 foreigners, including over 6,500 children, were held in the main camp of Al-Hol, a Kurdish spokesman said, giving the latest figures from a week ago.

- ‚Not realistic‘ -

The Kurdish administration has repeatedly called for the repatriation of foreign IS suspects, and warned it does not have capacity to detain so many people.

But the home countries of suspected IS members have been reluctant to take them back, due to potential security risks and a likely public backlash.

„The Kurdish administration in northeast Syria has appealed to the international community to shoulder its responsibilities“ with regards to IS suspects, it said Monday.

„But unfortunately there was no response.“

It urged the international community, particularly countries that have nationals detained, to support the establishment of an international tribunal.

A top foreign official for the Kurdish administration said foreign experts could work side by side with local judges.

„They could be foreign judges working with local judges and be experts in crimes committed by terrorist groups,“ Abdel Karim Omar told AFP.

Previous international courts include the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda which tried genocide perpetrators in the African country.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia meanwhile tried those accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in conflicts that tore apart the Balkans in the 1990s.

Joel Hubrecht, a Paris-based expert in transitional justice expert, said setting up an special tribunal to judge IS was a good idea in theory in view of the international dimension of its alleged crimes.

„The idea of an international criminal court is relevant and interesting,“ he told AFP.

„But in northeast Syria it’s not realistic.“

The Syrian Kurdish authorities are not internationally recognised, setting up such a tribunal usually takes time, and ensuring witness protection is tough in a war-torn country, he said.

- Humanitarian crisis -

Despite the declared victory against IS in Baghouz, the jihadists still maintain a presence in the country’s vast desert and have continued to claim deadly attacks in SDF-held territory.

President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have made a territorial comeback against rebels and jihadists with key Russian backing since 2015, but the war is far from over.

The battle to end the „caliphate“ has triggered an exodus of tens of thousands of people — mainly women and children — out of crumbling IS territory, sparked a humanitarian crisis.

The main camp in Al-Hol is now bursting at the seams, housing more than 70,000 people — in a place designed for just 20,000.

„Humanitarian conditions in Hol camp are extremely critical,“ World Food Programme spokeswoman Marwa Awad said Monday.

At least 140 people — overwhelmingly young children — have died on the way to the camp or shortly after arriving, the International Rescue Committee aid group says.

The Kurdish administration on Monday called on the United Nations to improve living conditions at the Al-Hol camp.

It particularly called for more humanitarian assistance, expanding the camp, and better water and sewage networks.

Syria’s war has killed more than 370,000 people and displaced millions since starting in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests.

Apart from fighting IS, the Kurds have largely stayed out of the civil war, instead setting up their own semi-autonomous institutions in the northeast of the country.

YAHOO

Werden IS-Dschihadisten vor internationales Gericht gestellt?

Abdulkarim Omar, der Außenvertreter der Selbstverwaltung von Nord- und Ostsyrien, benennt die möglichen Konsequenzen aus der Verweigerung vieler Herkunftsstaaten, ihre IS-Dschihadisten zurückzunehmen.

Abdulkarim Omar, Sprecher für Außenbeziehungen der Demokratischen Föderation Nord- und Ostsyrien, weist im Gespräch mit ANF auf die internationale Gefahr hin, die von den gefangenen IS-Dschihadisten und ihren Familien ausgeht: „Wenn die internationalen Kräfte diese Gefahr stoppen wollen, dann müssen die Herkunftsländer die IS-Mitglieder mit ausländischer Staatsangehörigkeit zeitnah zurücknehmen. Die IS-Dschihadisten müssen vor Gericht gestellt und verurteilt werden, die Frauen und Kinder müssen neue Bildung erhalten und in ihre Herkunftsgesellschaften reintegriert werden. Gelingt uns das, bewahrt es uns vor großen Gefahren. Schaffen wir es nicht, stellen diese Personen für uns und für sich selbst eine potentielle Bedrohung dar.”

Laut Omar wird als Alternative darüber nachgedacht, in Nordsyrien einen internationalen Gerichtshof einzurichten: „Wenn es einen internationalen Gerichtshof geben sollte, muss dieser auch international anerkannt werden. Die internationale Gemeinschaft muss Gefängnisse einrichten. Die Staaten müssen es auch in ihrer Verantwortung sehen, den täglichen Bedarf dieser Gefangenen zu decken. Eine Verteidigung muss bei diesen Gerichten möglich sein. Es müssen Camps für Frauen von IS-Dschihadisten und Kinder eingerichtet werden. Auch ihr Bedarf muss gedeckt werden und es muss eine Umerziehung in diesen Camps stattfinden. Das alles, was ich hier aufgezählt habe, fällt in den Verantwortungsbereich der internationalen Gemeinschaft.”

VIDEO ( Auf Kurdisch )

Wir sprachen über diese Fragen mit Abdulkarim Omar:

Seit wann ergeben sich IS-Dschihadisten und ihre Ehefrauen den Demokratischen Kräften Syriens (QSD)?

Seit der Befreiung von Kobanê sind sehr viele IS-Dschihadisten von den QSD gefangengenommen worden. Nach den Operationen auf Minbic (Manbidsch), Tabqa, Raqqa und Deir ez-Zor haben sich viele IS-Dschihadisten und ihre Familien den Demokratischen Kräften Syriens (QSD) ergeben oder wurden von ihnen aufgegriffen.

Wie viele IS-Dschihadisten befinden sich bei Ihnen in Haft?

In unseren Gefängnissen befinden sich etwa 800 IS-Mitglieder, die nicht aus Syrien stammen. Aber mit der Befreiung von al-Bagouz steigt ihre Zahl täglich. Natürlich haben wir viel mehr Dschihadisten aus Syrien in Haft. Bei uns befinden sich Islamisten aus 49 Ländern mit ihren Frauen und Kindern.

Es gibt sowohl Familien von syrischen Dschihadisten als auch solche aus dem Ausland. Der größte Teil der Frauen und Kinder sind in Flüchtlingslagern untergebracht. Diese Lager sind für Flüchtlinge eingerichtet worden. Wir behandeln diese Personen wie jeden anderen Flüchtling auch und versorgen sie mit allem, was in unserer Macht steht. Wir versorgen auch die IS-Dschihadisten in unseren Gefängnissen.

Was für eine Lösung sehen Sie für die IS-Dschihadisten und ihre Familien aus Syrien?

Als Demokratische Selbstverwaltung sehen wir uns in der Verantwortung, für die Dschihadisten aus Syrien und ihre Familien zu sorgen. Wir übergeben die Dschihadisten den Volksgerichten. Frauen, die selbst kein Blut an den Händen haben, führen wir zum Beispiel durch ihre Stämme wieder der Gesellschaft zurück. Wir haben ein Bildungszentrum in Hol eingerichtet, um die Kinder neu zu erziehen. Wir erfüllen unsere Pflicht gegenüber den Menschen aus Syrien.

Sie haben gesagt, dass Dschihadisten aus 49 Ländern bei Ihnen gefangen sind. Sie selbst kommen Ihrer Verantwortung für die syrischen Staatsbürger nach. Erfüllen die Herkunftsstaaten der ausländischen Dschihadisten ihre Verantwortung für ihre Staatsbürger?

Leider übernehmen die internationale Gemeinschaft und sogar unsere Partner im Kampf gegen den IS diese Verantwortung nicht. Sie erfüllen ihre Pflichten weder in Bezug auf die Rücknahme der Dschihadisten noch auf die Versorgung der Gefangenen. Auch internationale Hilfsorganisationen kümmern sich nicht um die IS-Familien in den Flüchtlingslagern. Bis jetzt konnten nicht einmal fünf Prozent der gefangenen IS-Dschihadisten oder ihre Familien aus internationalen Hilfen versorgt werden. Es gibt wirklich sehr viele. Wir können diese Last nicht alleine tragen.

Stellen die vielen IS-Gefangenen in Nord- und Ostsyrien kein internationales Sicherheitsproblem dar? Die Region hat ja keinen anerkannten Status und ist von einer türkischen Invasion bedroht.

Die Situation stellt sowohl eine große Last als auch eine große Gefahr dar. So lange sich der IS in unserem Gebiet befindet, ist er für die Völker der Region eine potentielle Bedrohung. Die Anwesenheit dieser ausländischen IS-Mitglieder stellt an sich schon eine Gefahr dar. Dazu haben wir gemeinsam mit der Koalition koordiniert gearbeitet. Der IS hört als Kalifat auf zu existieren. Eines der größten Probleme hier sind die gefangenen IS-Dschihadisten und ihre Ehefrauen und Kinder. Das ist ein internationales Problem. Diese Frauen und Kinder befinden sich auf unserem Territorium, aber sie stellen nicht nur für uns, sondern auch auf internationaler Ebene eine Gefahr dar.

Das Syrienproblem und die Frage unserer Region sind noch ungelöst. Eine politische Stabilität ist nicht gegeben. Unser Gebiet ist von einem Angriff des türkischen Staates und seiner Verbündeten bedroht. Wenn die Türkei hier angreift, hier Krieg oder Chaos ausbricht, stellt das eine ideale Möglichkeit für die IS-Dschihadisten dar, aus den Gefängnissen auszubrechen. Dann werden diese geflohenen Dschihadisten sowohl für uns als auch international zu einer großen Gefahr. Sie gefährden dann auch ihre Herkunftsländer. Es gibt außerdem viele Kinder, die vom IS indoktriniert worden sind. Wenn diese vom IS erzogenen Kinder nicht umerzogen werden und nicht in ihre Herkunftsgesellschaften zurückfinden, werden sie uns mit immer neuen terroristischen Projekten bedrohen. Dies gilt auch für die Frauen.

Aber was ist angesichts dieser Gefahr zu tun?

Als Völker von Rojava und Nordsyrien haben wir einen hohen Preis im Kampf gegen den IS gezahlt. Die von uns festgenommenen IS-Dschihadisten wurden unter großen Opfern gefangen genommen. Aus Gesprächen mit den von uns inhaftierten IS-Mitgliedern haben wir erfahren, dass der IS viele Aktionen in Europa plante und wir diese gestoppt haben. Wir haben damit unsere Pflicht erfüllt. Wenn die internationalen Kräfte etwas gegen diese Gefahr tun wollen, muss in absehbarer Zeit jedes Land seine Staatsangehörigen zurücknehmen.Die IS-Dschihadisten müssen vor Gericht gebracht und verurteilt werden, die Frauen und Kinder müssen neue Bildung erhalten und in ihre Herkunftsgesellschaften reintegriert werden. Wenn wir das schaffen, dann bewahrt das alle vor großen Gefahren. Wenn es nicht gelingt, stellen sie für uns und für sich selbst eine große potentielle Bedrohung dar.

Was unternehmen Sie auf diplomatischer Ebene, um die IS-Dschihadisten in ihre 49 Herkunftsstaaten zurückzuführen?

Wir haben offizielle Dokumente von in Gefangenschaft befindlichen IS-Dschihadisten aus 49 Staaten vorliegen. Wir führen Akten zu den IS-Dschihadisten, wie auch zu den Frauen und Kinder. Auf internationaler Ebene führen wir Gespräche mit den Ländern zur Rückführung der Dschihadisten. Leider erfüllen diese Länder nicht ihre Verantwortung und nehmen ihre Staatsangehörigen nicht zurück.

Wie erklären diese Länder ihr Verhalten?

Die Dschihadisten stellen eine Bedrohung dar. Sie sind gefährlich, daher will sie niemand zurückhaben. Ich wiederhole es noch einmal, dass die IS-Dschihadisten bei uns in Gefangenschaft sind, ist für die Herkunftsländer ein großes Glück. Aber dass sie jetzt alle in einem Land wie unserem, einem Land ohne Status, das unter großem Risiko steht, bleiben sollen, stellt auch für diese Länder eine große Gefahr dar.

Einige Länder haben ihre Staatsbürger zurückgenommen. Können Sie dazu etwas sagen?

Nur einige wenige Staaten haben eine sehr geringe Anzahl von IS-Mitgliedern zurückgenommen. Russland hat wenige Frauen und Kinder zurückgenommen. Indonesien hat eine Großfamilie mit 27 Mitgliedern zurückgeführt. Es handelt sich um eine studierte, gutsituierte Familie. Sie hat geglaubt, nur in einem islamischen Staat leben und ist deswegen zum IS nach Syrien gekommen. Dann weigerten sich die Männer, für den IS zu kämpfen und wurden ins Gefängnis geworfen. Bei erster Gelegenheit sind sie aus dem Gefängnis zu den QSD geflohen. Daraufhin haben wir Kontakt mit ihrem Herkunftsland aufgenommen und sie übergeben. Zwei Frauen und einige Kinder haben wir in den Sudan geschickt. Eine US-amerikanische Frau und ihre Kinder wurden den USA übergeben. Fünf Dschihadisten, elf Frauen und drei Kinder wurden an Kasachstan ausgeliefert.

Das sind natürlich angesichts der Anzahl unserer Gefangenen sehr wenige.

In letzter Zeit wird die Option diskutiert, einen internationalen Gerichtshof auf Ihrem Gebiet zu errichten, da die Länder ihre IS-Dschihadisten nicht zurücknehmen. Was denken Sie dazu?

Für den Fall, dass die Koalition und die internationale Gemeinschaft sich dieser Aufgabe nicht annehmen, müssen wir andere Alternativen suchen. So könnte zum Beispiel eine zwischenstaatliche Konferenz organisiert werden. Dort sollte diskutiert werden, wie wir dieses Problem lösen, und dann könnten wir einen Weg zu einer Lösung einschlagen. Es könnte ein Dialog darüber entstehen, wie Alternativen wie die Einrichtung eines internationalen Gerichtshofs auf den Weg gebracht werden. Es könnte eine Methode entwickelt werden, wie wir gemeinsam eine Lösung dieses Problems erreichen können.

Wir haben bereits früher über die Presse und Öffentlichkeit dazu aufgerufen, die eigenen Staatsbürger zurückzunehmen. Trump hatte über Twitter die Länder der europäischen Union dazu aufgerufen, ihre Staatsangehörigen zurückzuführen. Aber alle Länder in Europa haben sich demgegenüber ablehnend verhalten. In den europäischen Ländern kam es zu Erklärungen, dass man die Staatsbürger nicht zurücknehmen werde. Wenn eine Rückführung nicht stattfinden kann, muss eine Alternative geschaffen werden. Wir müssen gemeinsam darüber nachdenken, wie dieses Problem gelöst werden kann.

Gibt es zur Frage eines internationalen Gerichtshofes eine offizielle Entscheidung bei Ihnen?

Wir diskutieren über Alternativen, aber wir haben noch keine offizielle Entscheidung getroffen. Unsere Gespräche dazu dauern immer noch an. Wir wissen jedoch, dass das Ergebnis davon abhängig ist, inwiefern der IS als gemeinsames Problem angesehen wird und es ein gemeinsames Vorgehen gibt. Im Rahmen von Dialogprozessen müssen die Meinungen aller betroffenen Parteien berücksichtigt und auf dieser Grundlage muss eine gemeinsame Lösung entwickelt werden.

Was wären Ihre Kriterien für ein solches internationales Gericht?

Wenn es einen internationalen Gerichtshof geben sollte, muss dieser auch international anerkannt werden. Die internationale Gemeinschaft muss außerdem Gefängnisse einrichten. Die Staaten müssen es auch in ihrer Verantwortung sehen, den täglichen Bedarf der IS-Gefangenen zu decken. Eine Verteidigung muss bei diesen Gerichten möglich sein. Es müssen Camps für Frauen und Kinder der Dschihadisten eingerichtet werden. Auch ihr Bedarf muss gedeckt werden und es muss eine Umerziehung in diesen Camps stattfinden. Das alles, was ich hier aufgezählt habe, fällt in den Verantwortungsbereich der internationalen Gemeinschaft. Es handelt sich dabei um eine schwere Last, die wir nicht alleine tragen können.

ANF

American magazine: Turkey is safe haven for money, gold of Daesh

A report by The Atlantic Monthly on the vaguely secret ways of transferring money says that some of these funds are held in cash by individuals in Turkey, while some of them have also been invested in gold

The writer David Kenar said: If you’re looking to transfer money here, there’s a chance you will be directed to Abu Shawkat. He works out of a small office in a working-class suburb of the Lebanese capital, but won’t give you its exact location. Instead, he’ll direct you to a nearby alleyway.

The writer said Abu Shawkat—not his real name—is part of the hawala system, which is often used to transfer cash between places where the banking system has broken down or is too expensive for some to access.

According to the magazine thus, cash can travel across borders without any inquiry into who is sending or receiving it, or its purpose.

The group remains a financial powerhouse: It still has access to hundreds of millions of dollars, according to experts’ estimates, and can rely on a battle-tested playbook to keep money flowing into its coffers. That continued wealth has real risks, threatening to help it retain the allegiance of a committed core of loyalists and wreak havoc through terrorist attacks for years to come.

The writer said that the Islamic State’s financial strength offers a window into the broader challenge facing the United States and other governments….

The writer added that in its effort to squeeze the group financially, Washington has been forced to rely on a fundamentally different strategy than it employed in its military campaign: The main weapons at its disposal are not air strikes and artillery barrages, but subtler tools, such as sanctioning Islamic State–linked businesses, denying them access to the international financial system, and quietly cooperating with governments across the globe. Successes will be less visible, the campaign against the group will likely take years, and there is no guarantee of victory.

The end of the Islamic State’s days of holding and governing territory represents a double-edged sword for officials looking to starve it of resources. On the one hand, its dramatic losses have made it far more difficult for the group to rely on two major sources of revenue: the exploitation of oil fields in Iraq and Syria, and the taxation of citizens living under its rule. These methods played a key role in allowing the Islamic State to raise roughly $1 million a day, a senior Iraqi security official, who declined to be identified discussing intelligence issues, told me, transforming the group into the world’s richest terrorist organization.

On the other hand, the Islamic State’s loss of territory has freed it from the costs associated with trying to build its self-declared “caliphate,” allowing it to focus exclusively on terrorist activity. A U.S. Treasury Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the group is operating increasingly like its insurgent predecessor, al-Qaeda in Iraq, and no longer requires the same resources it did when it governed territory. Oil still brings in revenue too: While the Islamic State no longer controls individual fields, the Treasury official added that a key source of the group’s income is the extortion of oil-supply lines across the region.

The Islamic State is also still sitting on the massive windfall that it built up during the height of its power. “What we know is that they accumulated large amounts of cash and other assets,” said Howard Shatz, a senior economist at the Rand Corporation and co-author of several studies on the Islamic State’s finances. “We don’t know where it all went.”

The senior Iraqi security official told me that the bulk of the Islamic State’s assets had been transferred to Turkey, though the Treasury Department has sanctioned its money-services businesses in Syria and Iraq, which have connections as far away as the Caribbean. Some of these funds are reportedly held in cash by individuals in Turkey, while a portion has also been invested in gold. There is precedent for Ankara turning a blind eye toward the terrorist organization’s activity on its soil: The group used to make millions of dollars by selling smuggled oil to Turkish buyers. The October raid in Erbil also targeted the financial network built up by Fawaz Muhammad Jubayr al-Rawi, an Islamic State leader who the Treasury Department claims owned and operated Syria-based money-services businesses that exchanged money with Turkey. The Turkish government has consistently denied providing safe harbor to either Islamic State individuals or the group’s assets.

The war-ravaged states of Syria and Iraq also provide the Islamic State with ample opportunities to revive the tactics that financed its predecessor organization. From 2008 to 2012, when al-Qaeda in Iraq was driven underground, it operated much like a mafia: It skimmed construction contracts, particularly in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul; stole goods and resold them; and kidnapped members of wealthy families for ransom. Despite its straitened circumstances, the group was recording monthly revenues of nearly $1 million just in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, in late 2008 and early 2009.

Today it has even more factors working in its favor. The destruction of areas of northern Iraq once controlled by the Islamic State has necessitated a massive reconstruction effort. At a conference last year, countries pledged $30 billion to rebuild the area, a figure that is still well below what the Iraqi government said it needs. Perversely, such a massive injection of funds provides the Islamic State with even more opportunity to benefit from corruption. Declassified documents show that senior Iraqi, Kurdish, and Turkish politicians had dealings with al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2009; oversight of how funds are spent is likely even worse now, given the magnitude of the task. Second, the Islamic State kept meticulous records about the approximately 7 million to 8 million people living under its rule during the height of its power. If it retained control of those records, it could use them to extort Iraqis and Syrians.

“If you lived in ISIS territory, they know where you live, they know much money you make, and they know what your business is,” Shatz told me. “They can go to a businessman and say, ‘You must be very proud of your son. It would be a pity to see something happen to him.’”

Like any smart multinational conglomerate, the Islamic State has diversified its streams of revenue. Even if the United States and its allies manage to cut off, for example, the group’s kidnap-for-ransom business, it can turn to those commercial enterprises and extortion rackets.

The situation is far from hopeless. The United States has already made a dentin the Islamic State’s finances by targeting its oil network, and the group may find that its meticulous records can be used against it: Once captured, those records could provide a detailed overview of its personnel and sources of revenue. But there are no silver bullets.

Abu Shawkat’s market advantage is that he can send money to places where formal institutions have crumbled. The Islamic State’s business model relies on similar factors, only on a much grander scale. It aims to exploit state breakdown as a way to fund its main product: political violence. That violence then weakens the state further, creating more financial opportunities for the terrorist organization.

The military victory against the Islamic State is cause for celebration, but it also allows the group to fall back on an economic strategy that has served it well for years. Don’t expect it to go out of business anytime soon.

ANHA

Deutschland und der IS

Es sind unsere Terroristen

Deutschland sträubt sich gegen die Rückkehr seiner eigenen Staatsbürger, die zu IS-Terroristen wurden. Dabei hat die Bundesrepublik den Terror und die Terroristen einst exportiert. Und dies geschah wissentlich, sagt der Islamwissenschaftler Fabian Goldmann.

Wann haben Sie sich eigentlich zuletzt von deutschen Terroristen distanziert? Zum Beispiel von Robert B.? Der Ex-Bundeswehrsoldat aus Solingen hat mutmaßlich bei einem Selbstmordattentat Anfang 2014 50 Menschen mit in den Tod gerissen.

Oder von Yannik N.? Der junge Freiburger steuerte wahrscheinlich im Jahr 2015 einen mit anderthalb Tonnen Sprengstoff beladenen LKW in eine Menschenmenge und nahm so Dutzenden Personen das Leben.

Oder von Yamin A.?. Im Sommer 2015 tauchte im Netz ein Video auf, das zeigte, wie der ehemalige Telekom-Azubi aus Königswinter zwei gefesselten Soldaten in den Kopf schoss.
Oder, oder, oder…

Deutsche Täter, aber kaum deutsche Opfer

Hauptsache nicht bei uns! Dies scheint auch dieser Tage wieder die Maxime zu sein, wenn Politiker und Öffentlichkeit über den Umgang mit deutschen Terroristen diskutieren. Von potenziellen Bedrohungen und Anschlagsgefahren in Deutschland liest man dann. Vom ganz realen Terror, den Deutsche in den vergangenen Jahren über die Menschen in Syrien und Irak gebracht haben, hört man hingegen kaum. Ein Terror, der kaum deutsche Opfer aber umso mehr deutsche Täter kannte.

1.050 – das ist laut Bundesinnenministerium die Anzahl der Dschihadisten, die in den letzten Jahren die Bundesrepublik in Richtung Nahost verlassen hat. Es fällt schwer, sich umgekehrtes Szenario überhaupt auszumalen. Was wäre wohl los, hätte es nur ein Bruchteil arabischer Terroristen geschafft, bei uns Anschläge zu begehen? Europas „Muslim Bann“? Überwachungsstaat auf NSA-Niveau?

Die CSU stünde womöglich am linken Ende des politischen Spektrums, und auf Twitter würde Trump deutsche Migrationspolitiker zur Mäßigung aufrufen. Der deutsche Terror in Nahost kommt hingegen seit Jahren ganz ohne Sondersendungen, politische Debatten und Distanzierungsforderungen aus.

Deutsche Kämpfer waren nicht nur willenloses Kanonenfutter

An fehlendem Wissen liegt das nicht. Von ganzen Einheiten des IS, in denen kein einziger Kämpfer Arabisch spreche, berichten syrische, irakische und kurdische Soldaten schon seit Jahren. Von Aleppo über Raqqa bis Mossul haben Aktivisten und Politiker immer wieder darauf hingewiesen, dass viele der schlimmsten Mörder in den Reihen des IS Europäer sind. Interessiert hat das hier kaum jemand.

Dabei dienten Deutsche dem Islamischen Staats nicht nur als willenloses Kanonenfutter, wie es oft dargestellt wird. Viele haben seinen Terror mitgeprägt. Wie Martin L., der derzeit in kurdischer Haft sitzt. Der Schweißer aus Sachsen-Anhalt soll sich vom Folterknecht bis zum Geheimdienstler mit Kontakten bis in die Führungsspitze der Terrororganisation hochgearbeitet haben.

Oder Reda S., Der Prediger aus Berlin-Charlottenburg soll dem IS in Mossul als Bildungsminister gedient haben. Oder der Berliner Ex-Rapper Denis Cuspert, der zu den wichtigsten Personen in der IS-Medienorganisation Al-Hayat gehörte. Oder, oder, oder…

Behörden wussten gut Bescheid

Natürlich entstand der Islamische Staat nicht in deutschen Fußgängerzonen. Zur deutschen Verantwortung gehört aber auch, dass Politiker und Behörden lange wegschauten, solang nur die Täter, aber nicht die Opfer Deutsche waren. Behörden wissen und wussten erschreckend gut Bescheid über die Radikalisierung deutscher Islamisten. Ein Großteil der späteren IS-Kämpfer war polizeibekannt, stand auf Gefährderlisten oder hatte wegen islamistischer Straftaten bereits Haftstrafen verbüßt. An der Ausreise gehindert wurden sie oftmals dennoch nicht. Die Gefahr, die von deutschen Terroristen ausgeht, interessierte Politik und Öffentlichkeit erst dann wieder, als ihre Einreise drohte.

Deutschlandradio

Offenen Brief

Wir fordern die Weltgemeinschaft auf ein internationales Gericht in Rojava ( Nordsyrien ) einzurichten, um die Gefangenen IS-Terroristen zu verurteilen.

efendisizler.blogsport.de

Der hässliche Deutsche

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The ISIS Ambassador to Turkey

In the complicated relationship between the government of Turkey and ISIS, it’s unclear how much of the relationship was direct and formal, as opposed to support coming from private individuals and entities in Turkey, or in response to the vast amounts of money ISIS had to spend on a network it deployed inside Turkey to receive and funnel foreign fighters, weapons, and medical supplies into its huge state apparatus. In any case, it’s clear that every state needs diplomats to negotiate political deals with the countries near its borders. ISIS, it seems, was no exception to this rule, as ICSVE researchers learned in a February 2019 five-hour interview with an ISIS emir, Abu Mansour al Maghrebi, who claims he essentially served as the ISIS ambassador to Turkey.

“My job in Raqqa was dealing with the international cases,” Abu Mansour al Maghrebi recalls of his three years serving ISIS. “My issue [duties] was our [Islamic State’s] relationship with Turkish intelligence. Actually, this started when I was working at the borders,” he explains, harking back to the first job he undertook for ISIS before becoming an ISIS emir and, seemingly, their ambassador to Turkey.

Abu Mansour, an electrical engineer from Morocco, came to Syria in 2013. Like many foreign fighters we interviewed, he stated he came hoping to unshackle Muslims from dictatorial regimes and build an Islamic Caliphate ruled by Islamic ideals. He traveled from Casablanca, Morocco, to Istanbul, Turkey, and through the southern border of Turkey into Syria. His first stop was Idlib, Syria, just as hostilities between al Nusra and ISIS had begun. Abu Mansour ended up on the ISIS side of that rift and was assigned by ISIS the job of an intake official on the Syrian side of the Turkish border. His job was to receive the steady flow of foreign fighters streaming into ISIS via Turkey – many who shared his same dream.

“My job was to direct operatives to receive the foreign fighters in Turkey,” Abu Mansour explains, referring to the network of ISIS-paid people who facilitated foreign fighter travel from Istanbul to the Turkish border towns of Gaziantep, Antakya, Sanliurfa, etc. “Most of them were paid by Dawlah [ISIS],” Abu Mansour explains, but differentiates them from ISIS members, due to their non-ideological motivations. “Most of those working on the Turkish side, their goal is money,” he said. Although when asked about ISIS networks inside Turkey, he also admits, “Many in Turkey believe and give their bayat [oath of allegiance] to Dawlah. There are ISIS guys living in Turkey, individuals and groups, but no armed groups inside Turkey.”

In addressing the foreign fighters, Abu Mansour explains: “[They came from] different places, from North Africa mostly. The numbers of Europeans was not a big number, 4,000 total.”

“Tunis 13,000, 4,000 from Morocco. There were less fighters from Libya because they had a front there [in Libya], fighting less than 1,000. I’m just talking about up to 2015,” he adds. Not surprisingly, his figures confirm data collected on the origins and numbers of foreign fighters who joined ISIS – that the most came from Tunisia. It was interesting how he can rattle off the numbers.

“So, you were more than a simple clerk working in the ISIS reception center registering new recruits?” I ask, suspecting he was much more important than that, given his grip on ISIS statistics.

“[My job was] guarding the borders between Syria and Turkey and to receive the fighters,” Abu Mansour explains, smiling at being recognized as more powerful than he was originally conveying. “I oversaw reception at Tal Abyad, Aleppo, Idlib, all their borders,” he answers.

It’s clear he was in charge, so I ask him, “So, you were an ISIS emir?”

“Yes,” he admits, seemingly happy to be “caught out” and recognized for who he really was. “At the beginning I was registering people, then I became the supervisor. I was the emir.”

The ISIS Foreign Fighters

We discuss the women who came into Syria via Turkey. “The single females, they go directly to Raqqa to the centers for singles. Married women go to their husbands,” he explains. He states that those wives [couples] stay in the ISIS female guesthouses: “Since they are family, they are offered a place to live until their husbands finish trainings.” He is referring to the ISIS military and weapons training and the ISIS “obligatory shariah training” in which new male recruits are taught the ISIS takfir ideology, an ideology that justifies use of violence against those considered heretics or unbelievers, including against fellow Muslims.

Abu Mansour explains the format and nature of intake forms that were filled out at the ISIS reception area. “It was a form about experience, countries you visited, etc. I don’t remember it very well, but it was very detailed,” he explains. He further continues, “There were several people who came with higher education. We wrote his discipline, his studies, his languages. These things were recorded on my forms.” According to Abu Mansour, job placements occurred after another intake took place inside the training camps. “At those places, there were very trusted people running the ISIS offices of recruiting, so if you say you’re an engineer, they put you to that kind of job. It was an office of human resources management,” he states, adding, “but of course different, because in ours we also had, ‘I want to be a martyr.’”

Martyrs and Those Returning to Become Sleeper Cells

Asked to explain what happens to those who came saying they wanted to “martyr” themselves, he answers, “There are specific centers interested in these things.

Before 2014 and 2015, a high number of them were willing to martyr themselves.” Abu Mansour explains that those who came to die for the Islamic Caliphate were more plentiful in the beginning. “Approximately 5,000 came to be martyrs. I didn’t send them to the center,” he states, referring to where the would-be suicide cadres were isolated and encouraged on their death missions. He further continues, “I only record him and send them to the training camp. Then there is a center in Raqqa. There is a central management who control who is assigned where. That was not my job.”

According to Abu Mansour, the numbers of would-be “martyrs” went down as the Caliphate was in fact established. “It started to go down as Raqqa stabilized. [Then,] most came simply to live. It was a small ratio of those who came to martyr themselves.” Adhering to his uncanny ability to remember exact recruiting figures, he explains, “Before 2014, 50 percent came to martyr themselves. Then it went under 20 percent.”

“During 2014 and 2015, we had approximately 35,000 [foreign fighters who] entered,” Abu Mansour recounts. “After that I don’t know, but the numbers declined each year,” he continues. His numbers match those of experts who estimate at least 40,000 foreign fighters went to Syria, most ending up in ISIS.

Concerning those who were invited by the ISIS emni to train and return to their home countries to attack, as was revealed by Harry Sarfo, an ISIS returnee incarcerated in Germany, and an ISIS smuggler speaking to ICSVE in February, who detailed some of those operations, Abu Mansour explains, “We are the point of reception. It was not our job to ask if they will return to attack. That was Raqqa’s job.”

Although he confirms that it did happen. “There were some who invited others to go back home and attack, but it was not our job; we were reception,” Abu Mansour repeats. “It exists, but not all the people who returned home [are sleeper cells]. Many simply quit the job. Many people didn’t like the situation and left,” he clarifies, putting some myth to the statements made by some that a large portion of the ISIS returnees in Europe may be part of sleeper cells. “There was a central management in Aleppo and in Raqqa,” Abu Mansour states, adding, “I turned the passports to them. They were archived.”

Becoming an ISIS Ambassador

“I went to Raqqa after the coalition assault against the border,” Abu Mansour recalls. “Eastern Syria got stability in Raqqa, etc.” This was in 2015 and 2016. When we ask Abu Mansour if injured ISIS fighters were allowed to cross the border and receive medical care in Turkey, things suddenly take another twist, as we realize that Abu Mansour was not only an emir, but an ISIS diplomat.

“There were some agreements and understandings between the Turkish intelligence and ISIS emni about the border gates, for the people who got injured,” Abu Mansour continues. “I had direct meeting with the MIT [the Turkish National Intelligence Organization], many meetings with them.”

When we ask who exactly in the Turkish government was meeting ISIS members, he states, “There were teams. Some represent the Turkish intel, some represent the Turkish Army. There were teams from 3-5 different groups. Most meetings were in Turkey in military posts or their offices. It depended on the issue. Sometimes we meet each week. It depends on what was going on. Most of the meetings were close to the borders, some in Ankara, some in Gaziantep.”

When he mentions meeting Turkish government officials in Ankara, the capital of Turkey, we suddenly upgrade him in our minds to an ISIS ambassador, which is indeed how he was functioning. “I passed the borders and they let me pass. [At the border,] the Turks always sent me a car and I’m protected. A team of two to three people from our side were with me. I was in charge of our team most of the time.”

Abu Mansour, it seems, was meeting high-level officials in all the security branches of the government, negotiating deals. “The subject of common benefits is a big subject,” Abu Mansour states, adding, “It’s a new thing when you create a state and separate it from the outside world. The negotiations were not easy. It took a long time. Sometimes it was hard.”

“I am not the big guy you are talking about,” says Abu Mansour, demurring at the idea that he was an ambassador of sorts. He stated ambassador is not a term they would have used in the Islamic State. Yet, as he continues, we learn that his “diplomatic” reach on behalf of ISIS extended even to the president of Turkey himself. “I was about to meet him but I did not. One of his intelligence officers said Erdogan wants to see you privately but it didn’t happen.”

Abu Mansour explains, “I got my orders from the representative of the Majlis al Shura, from Mohamed Hodoud, an Iraqi. The individuals of the [ISIS] shura have the highest authority; they create a negotiation committee, and delegates.” In regard to Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, Abu Mansour admits, “I saw him for a short while,” which is more than most ISIS members can say of the elusive leader who hid himself from almost everyone we have managed to interview (n=141 ISIS cadres).

The Islamic State’s Usefulness for Turkey

We ask if this was a funding relationship. “There was no changing money between us,” Abu Mansour answers, and agrees it was a coordinating function – diplomacy where “both sides benefit.” The benefit to Turkey, according to Abu Mansour, was that “we are in the border area and Turkey wants to control its borders – to control Northern Syria. Actually they had ambitions not only for controlling the Kurds. They wanted all the north, from Kessab (the most northern point of Syria) to Mosul.”

“This is the Islamists’ ideology of Erdogan,” Abu Mansour explains, adding, “They wanted all of the north of Syria. That is what the Turkish side said [they wanted], to control the north of Syria, because they have their real ambitions. Actually, we talked about what Erdogan said in public [versus what he really desired.] This part of Syria is part of the Ottoman states. Before the agreement following the Second World War, Aleppo and Mosul were part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The agreement Sykes Picot [in which they lost these regions] was signed for one hundred years. In our meetings, we talked about re-establishing the Ottoman Empire. This was the vision of Turkey.”

Abu Mansour makes it clear that what he was told in his meetings with Turks was put forward as President Erdogan’s vision, but that it was not necessarily shared by all: “I cannot say that this is the vision of the whole Turkish government. Many are against interfering to bring this project to reality. They say we will try to defeat the PKK and Kurds. We are afraid of the union between Kurds and that they may make a Kurdish state, but they also expanded to Aleppo,” he adds regarding Turkish aspirations inside Syria.

Abu Mansour continues, “Since they are a NATO state they cannot make NATO angry against them. So, they cannot deal directly with the situation, but they want to destroy the Kurdish ummah, so they deal with the situation [via ISIS] and get benefits from the Islamic State.”

On the side of ISIS, he explains, “It’s a big benefit to Dawlah, as they could protect our back. Approximately 300 km of our border is with them. Turkey is considered a road for us for medications, food – so many things enter in the name of aid. The gates were open.”

However, on the subject of getting arms from Turkey, Abu Mansour clears the Turks of any guilt, stating, “No one can accuse the Turkish government that they gave us weapons, because we got weapons from different sources. Actually, we didn’t need to get weapons from Turkey,” he explains, noting that the Free Syrian Army soldiers would trade their weapons for a pack of cigarettes. “Anti-government Syrian people provided us with weapons; many mafias and groups traded weapons to us.”

“In Syria the oil was enough to pay for the weapons and everything needed,” Abu Mansour continues. “[Our oil revenues] were more than $14 million per month and half of this oil money is more than enough to pay for everything needed for our weapons expenditures.” When I remark on the huge amount of $7 million per month for weapons, Abu Mansour states, “It’s actually a small amount. Turkey sometimes opened an operation in which the management for one battle is $10 million.” When pressed for more figures on the total ISIS budget, Abu Mansour says he’s been in captivity for 1.5 years and doesn’t remember the total ISIS budget anymore. Yet it sounds like he once knew it well and in detail.

Negotiating for Crossing the Turkish Borders

“We negotiated to send our fighters to the hospitals [in Turkey]. There was facilitation – they didn’t look at the passports of those coming for treatment. It was always an open gate. If we had an ambulance we could cross without question. We could cross [into Turkey] at many places. They don’t ask about official identities. We just have to let them know.”

When asked to explain exactly how this occurs, Abu Mansour explains, “When the person gets injured, there is hospital in Syria, and this hospital sends him in a car to the border. There were ambulances on the Turkish side waiting for this person. There were doctors who disliked Bashar. They treated our guys. The MIT was made aware of every critical situation and they sent the ambulances to the border. There were also hospitals close to the border. Those who received critical care were treated there and they [the MIT] sent the others all over Turkey depending on their needs. There were very interested doctors, Syrian and Turkish, who wanted to help. So, if there were not facilities to serve them on the border, they would be sent further into Turkey for this.”

We ask who paid the medical bills. “Dawlah [ISIS] paid for the treatments, but some Turkish public hospitals took these fighters for free. It was not only for our fighters but also for the victims of bombings. I don’t know how many were treated in Turkey, but it was routine,” Abu Mansour explains, adding that it was not his area, so he doesn’t have the figures on that. “I just know this agreement to open the gates for our wounded and that there were ambulances sent for them. It was a ‘state-to-state’ agreement regarding our wounded. I negotiated these agreements. For the wounded, medical and other supplies to pass, and I negotiated about water also, the Euphrates.”

Negotiating for Water

The water issue was crucial for ISIS, actually, allowing them to have water for farming and to generate electricity through dams. “Actually, we [Syria] had an agreement with Turkey for 400 cubic meters per second [of water] into Syria. After the revolution, they started to decrease the quantity of water to 150 cubic meters per second. After our negotiations [in 2014] it returned to 400. We needed it for electrical power and as a vital source of living. Even water we cannot keep it, it passes to Iraq also,” he explains. “But the importance of water [cannot be understated]. We don’t need to generate electricity through the dams. We could have another source [i.e. petrol], but we need water for farming. There are three dams. The biggest is Tabqa dam. Actually, at 150 cubic meters, we could generate some electricity, but if the level of the lake reached 5 meters it would not work.”

“It took a long time to negotiate,” Abu Mansour explains. When asked what ISIS gave in return for water, he answers, “There is the most important benefit – their country will be safe and stable.” We ask if he means that ISIS agreed not to attack inside Turkey.

“In negotiations I could not say I would attack Turkey. This is the language of gangs, but I would say we will try to keep Turkey from the field battle, we will not see Turkey as an enemy. They understood what we are talking about. We said many times, ‘You are not our enemy and not our friend.’”

Abu Mansour explains that ISIS dealt both with Turkey and Assad’s regime to manage the Tabqa dam as well as other resources under their control. “At the end when Raqqa was encircled, the coalition forces tried to control the rooms for the dam. There was no control. All the gates were closed and the level of water rose. Rumors were that it would burst, but this was not technically true.” To fix the issue ISIS sent for Assad’s engineers to try to manually open the gates. “About these engineers, this is a company that belongs to the Assad regime. When he tried to fix the gate and open it manually, he was hit by the coalition forces. He died in Raqqa.”

Oil Sales

Regarding the sale of ISIS oil, Abu Mansour admits, “Most of the Syrian oil was going to Turkey, and just small amounts went to the Bashar regime.” Abu Mansour claims he did not need to negotiate these sales directly with the Turkish government officials as “this happened spontaneously.”

“There are many traders to do that and Turkey was the only market in which to send oil. Their traders paid for the oil that went into Turkey,” he explains making clear that although Erdogan’s son is believed to have been enriched by ISIS oil, that the deals occurred via middle men. “Oil that went to the Syrian government – some went by pipes, some by trucks. Oil sent by Dawlah [ISIS] to Turkey was arranged by traders from Turkey who came to take the oil with our permissions. Traders came from the Syrian side also.”

Negotiating for the Release of Turkish Diplomats, Soldiers and Citizens

When asked about the negotiations for the release of the Turkish diplomats and workers after ISIS took Mosul, Abu Mansour explains, “The negotiation happened in Syria. Actually, [ISIS] entry in Mosul was not a surprise takeover in one day. It took many days, but I think the Turkish government told their consul not to leave Mosul. Many Turkish truck drivers were also in Mosul at that time. They were not in danger, but there was a negotiation to release them. Islamic State made demands as well. It took time.”

“We didn’t ask ransom for the consul employees, we asked for our prisoners. MIT knows their names.” For the consul employees, “approximately 500 prisoners were released from Turkey, and they came back to Dawlah,” Abu Mansour explains.

In regard to the soldiers guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah that Turkish soldiers had permission to guard inside Syria, which was taken by ISIS in 2014, Abu Mansour states, “It wasn’t liberation of their soldiers. They had 45 guards that they changed every 6 months. They changed at the time of FSA [being defeated]. Turkey made it look like they got liberated [when ISIS took over] but it was really just the change of guards. [Likewise,] at that time we didn’t want to open problems with Turkey. It would have been an obstacle to our work, so we gave them back.”


Turkey’s Double Game with the West

According to Abu Mansour, in 2014 Turkey was trying to play a double game with the West: to allow foreign fighters into Syria but make it appear as though they were taking measures to prevent it. “Turkey wanted to make it easy for foreign fighters to cross the borders,” Abu Mansour explains. “They just want to control, they need to be known, and how they enter, so they ask me to tell who has entered and where. Actually, the Turkish side said, ‘You should reduce, change the way you do it, the way you cross. For example, don’t come with a group to enter because it’s clear that a bunch of people entered. Enter only specific gates. Come without any weapons. Don’t come with long beards. Your entry from north to south should be hidden as much as possible.’”

“For example, the EU guys were very distinguished with their beards so they should come at night and cross, and they should not come in groups as before, to hide it. For Europeans, it depends on the person. If he can mix with Syrians he can come without being noticed – the Arabs, they can enter normally.” We didn’t ask Abu Mansour if the European Arabs were given fake Syrian passports to enter, but we did learn from other ISIS members we have interviewed that fake Syrian passports were provided by ISIS operatives to Europeans and others while still in Istanbul. Likely, these are the persons Abu Mansour is saying could enter normally through the border gates as they could easily pass for legitimate entries from Syria into Turkey by appearance and documentation.

“[In 2014,] they opened some legal gates under the eye of Turkish intel that our people went in and out through,” Abu Mansour explains. “But, entry into Syria was easier than return to Turkey. Turkey controlled the movements.”

For those who could not pass as Syrians legally crossing into Syria, Abu Mansour explains that they used “specific ways provided by smugglers” and that “of course Dawlah pays them.” He also notes that when smugglers worked for years, “of course they are recruited to [Turkish] security services, too.” Yet these persons were never completely trusted by ISIS as they were in it for the money only. “The smuggler is like a trader, a guy with a taxi – you pay him, but you don’t trust him. He isn’t necessarily loyal, [he has] maybe some sympathy to the Syrian side.”

An ISIS Ambassador in Ankara

“Our negotiations took place one time in Syria, second time in Turkey and so on, [back and forth],” Abu Mansour explains, and most often “near the borders, close to the official gates.” However, in 2016, Abu Mansour was asked to present himself in Ankara and stay for a few weeks. “They asked us to stay for a while in Turkey, perhaps to meet with President Erdogan. At this time in 2016, before the military assault on Manbij between June to September 2016 (May to August 2016), Turkey was trying to withdraw from the Islamic State. I went to stay in Ankara.”

Suddenly terrified at the idea that we could have been at the same hotel in Ankara during one of my many visits there, I ask him with horror filling my voice where he stayed. “There was a private guest hotel, an intelligence guest house. I think I was in the specific place of their headquarters office, or maybe it’s a crisis cell. I stayed one week.” Still fixated on the chance that I could have unknowingly crossed paths with an ISIS emissary in Turkey, I ask if he went out on the town during the days or at night. “They do not refuse if I ask to go out. I was under their protection. They also suggested if I want to take one week for rest here that I could.” Indeed, we could have crossed paths…

Negotiating a Buffer Zone

“There were ups and downs with Turkey,” Abu Mansour states. Likewise, there were factions inside ISIS that didn’t agree with one another. “After the Manbij events there were many changes and there was always internal conflict in the Islamic State. Turkey asked us many times for a separate area between Turkey and Syria for a safe zone. They wanted 10 km for Syrians to live but under control of Turkey.”

It’s interesting to note that even ISIS was considered a danger to the Turks, as they now claim the Syrian Kurds are. “Turkey wanted us to move 10 km back from the borders so the danger from Turkey is removed. They wanted it to be under control of Turkey and no aviation above it. This was for an area 60 km long and 10 km wide.”

ISIS Attacks in Turkey

We ask him how things went wrong with Turkey – that ISIS began attacking at the airport and at the Reina nightclub and on the streets in Ankara and Istanbul. “The operation of bombing in Turkey was not political. I was in Turkey and they thought I have a link with these things. I was in Gaziantep when the [Istanbul] airport was attacked,” he replied. “When those things happened, they thought it was something prepared from the political side of the Islamic State, but that’s not logical. We are there and attacking them?”

“It was directed from Raqqa,” Abu Mansour explains. “The ISIS external emni ordered it. And I think that there were Turkish MIT guys inside the external emni. I suspected that the striking at the airport was not for the benefit of IS, but Turkish groups of IS who wanted to strike Turkey, or they were affected by other agencies that don’t want a relationship between Dawlah and Turkey. It makes no sense, otherwise, because most of our people came through that airport. These orders for these attacks in Turkey were from those MIT guys inside Dawlah but not from our political side. They didn’t want to destroy Erdogan, just change his road in the matter of the Syrian issue. They wanted him to use his army to attack Syria, and to attack Dawlah. The airport attack makes a good excuse for him to come into Syria.”

“It’s not a conspiracy theory,” Abu Mansour insists, telling us that when he was imprisoned in YPG prisons, before being moved to Iraq, he heard “that the Turkish government, after they were in Raqqa, took 40 persons out that were part of Turkish security agencies.”

While what he heard could be true, it doesn’t mean that these Turkish intel actors were working with ISIS. They may have been Turkish intel planted inside the organization to keep tabs on it. Yet, Abu Mansour insists that Turkey, and President Erdogan with his “Islamists’ aspirations” was working hand in glove with ISIS and reminds us, “If you go back to Erdogan’s history, in 83 to 87, he was a fighter in Afghanistan. This stuck with him.”

Dashed Dreams of an Islamic State

Abu Mansour’s journey started in Morocco when he was a young man and where he first watched the 9/11 events from afar and suddenly began to feel that if he wasn’t with them, as U.S. President Bush stated, he was against them – that Muslims in the world needed to unite and resist dictators and world powers, like the U.S.-led coalition that invaded foreign countries. “After I heard George Bush say it’s you are with us or against us – when I heard that [and saw his invasion of Iraq] I searched for who stands up for the Muslims.”

Abu Mansour began following the actions of leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, and learning militant jihadi teachings over the Internet. “The invasion of Iraq affected deeply in the heart of Muslims more than Afghanistan,” he explains. “We start to build ourselves at that time. We know that we are fighting very smart people and we have to prepare very well. Those groups who chose the resistance [in Morocco] would start and then they were captured, which made me to be very alert, and very patient to chose when to resist.”

Abu Mansour waited until 2013, when he became convinced that the time was right and an Islamic State could be created in Syria, at which time he was already fully committed to come and help bring it to fruition. “We were searching for the identity of Muslims, to protect Muslims and to be freed to do our Islamic duties. There was no desire to fight, no tendency to kill or revenge, just to free ourselves from dictators. I use the weapon to prevent harm by others and all that is taken by force should be regained by force,” he explains. “All these government regimes, we were forced to follow, we didn’t chose them.” Indeed.

Now imprisoned, he has had time to reflect on whether or not the dream of a just and good Islamic State is even possible and if ISIS had any chance of bringing it to reality.

“Today I feel really tired,” he confesses. “It’s not like you see it. Most were not educated people in IS. Most have some reasons for joining, how they collect them to make this state, who collects them, the matter is really strange,” he reflects, sadness filling his eyes. “While we came to save Muslims from the authoritarian control of the Syrian regime and to build these things [the ISIS dream,] we were shocked and we fell into the same that they were in. There are many people in authority in the Islamic State that are dictatorial. Sometimes I feel like we were used like a paper burned and discarded. We tried to remove Assad and replaced with worse than Assad.”

“The practices used against the Syrian people, it was very violent. The people under the authority of IS, they don’t care about the education system. They just wanted to extract the oil, etc. They didn’t give thought to the poor people, to enhance their life levels, to be taken care of. Likewise, under Bashar, the Ba’ath Party regime has a very violent security agency, but ISIS built worse than this – the emni security system. Also, they divided the people into fighter and non-fighters, and the fighters were not punished like they punished the others,” he said.

“In Raqqa there were bodies on the roads in different places, actually when you pass through the squares and roads you see hanging bodies. There were hangings, torture with electricity… They are not good people. They try to take benefit from their places. Each one has a desire to control.”

“My search was not for power, or getting authority or ruling,” Abu Mansour claims, and he may be speaking honestly. Once representing ISIS as an ambassador, representing a short-lived, but powerful state, he is now powerless, sitting in an Iraqi prison, facing a death sentence – his dreams dashed completely.

Special thanks to the Iraq Counter Terrorism Services, ICSVE’s partner in Iraq, supporting ICSVE’s research on behalf of our Breaking the ISIS Brand Counter Narrative Project.

Homeland Security Today

Anarchist Struggle Fighter Falls Martyr on the Frontlines in Rojava

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On Monday, March 18, anarchist Lorenzo Orsetti fell martyr in Baghouz, the last territorial stronghold in Deir Ezzor. He fought as a member of Tekoşîna Anarşîst (Anarchist Struggle) and was a companion of Tikko. Orignally from Florence, Italy, he fought in Rojava for a year and a half, including in defense of the Turkish invasion of Afrin.

His message to those who continue to struggle: “Ciao,

If you read this message, it is a sign that I am not in this world anymore. Bah, don’t be so sad, I’m doing well; I have no regrets, I died doing what I thought was the right thing, defending the weak, and being loyal to my ideals of justice, equality, and freedom. So, in spite of my premature departure, my life has been a success, and I am almost sure that I went with a smile on my lips. I could not have asked for better. I wish you the very best, and I hope that you too one day (if you have not already done so) decide to give your life for others. Because it is only like this that the world can be changed. Only by overcoming the individualism and selfishness in each one of us, can the difference be made.

These are difficult times, I know, but don’t fall into resignation, don’t abandon hope; never! Not for one moment.

Even if everything seems lost, and the bad things that afflict humans and the earth seem unbearable, keep on finding strength and inspire it in your comrades. It is exactly in those darkest moments that your light helps.

And always remember: ‘Every thunderstorm begins with a single drop’. Try to be this drop.

I love you all, and I hope that you treasure these words. Serkeftin!

Orso, Tekoşer, Lorenzo.”

From Tekoşîna Anarşîst: “Today our comrade Heval Tekoşer Piling fell şehid in battle in Baghouz. He was a great friend to all of us and an incredibly brave soldier. Many of us had the pleasure of fighting by his side. From Afrin to Deir Ezzor, he was always the last to leave. Şehid namirin!”


AMW

German ISIS members in YPG custody in limbo

Following the call US President Donald Trump made, the discussion on the future of German citizen ISIS members in YPG custody has heated up. Some politicians demand the ISIS members be stripped of their citizenship.

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Despite ongoing calls by the Rojava Kurdistan administration, the German state has been unbothered by their citizens who joined ISIS and were captured alive in YPG operations in northern Syria. According to official numbers from German authorities, 1050 individuals joined ISIS from Germany. Most of them were killed in conflicts, some returned to Germany and some were captured by YPG forces and the Iraqi army.

There were 200 German citizens in YPG custody, most of them women and children with 40 adult German citizen ISIS members who had committed crimes. The disinterest by the federal German government continued until US President Donald Trump posted on Twitter last weekend and said, “The United States is asking Britain, France, Germany and other European allies to take back over 800 ISIS fighters that we captured in Syria and put them on trial.”

Up to now, the Berlin administration had posed excuses like, “We don‘t have official representation in Syria, so we don‘t have complete information on German citizens in the region.” Following Trump’s pressure, the issue has become a priority for the federal government led by Angela Merkel.

GERMAN LAWYERS: “NO GUANTANAMO AND NO THE HAGUE”

Some commentators in mainstream German media say some politicians and experts are calling for the construction of a prison for ISIS members like the US did in Guantanamo for Al Qaeda, or for the ISIS members to be put on trial in an international war crimes tribunal in the Hague.

But lawyers say both versions go against the German constitution. Former Minister of Defense and criminal justice judge Professor Rupert Scholz said, “Our laws will never allow for something like Guantanamo. We cannot issue an arrest warrant for a criminal without them facing a judge. Germany is faced with a very tough mission, and the country must take back its citizens.”

Expert on the constitution Professor Ulrich Battis said Germany’s laws prevent the country’s citizens to be tried in the international criminal court in the Hague. Prof. Battis said a war tribunal can be set up in the Hague if there is no way to set up court in a country, and added: “Such a court should be set up in Germany, not in the Hague.”

STRIPPING CITIZENSHIP

Baden-Wurttemberg Minister of Interior Thomas Strobl joined the discussion and called for the ISIS members to be stripped of German citizenship. The Christian Democrat politician Strobl spoke to Bild and said, “According to our laws, any person who joins a foreign army should be stripped of their citizenship. This law should be utilized for individuals who joined the terrorist organization ISIS.”

But experts say stripping individuals of their right to citizenship is not easy. Criminal justice judge Prof. Rupert Scholz said the law applies only for dual citizens and pointed out that although ISIS claimed to declare a state, it doesn‘t have the actual status of a state in the international arena.

Minister of Interior Horst Seehofer said the repatriation of ISIS members should be conditional. Seehofer spoke to Suddeutschen Zeitung and said, “Before they get on a plane, all their criminal files must be inspected where 5hey are and then they should be admitted.” The minister proposed a strict effort for those with serious crimes to not disappear in Germany, and added: “I do not want to admit dangerous individuals who may risk our security.”

Similar discussions continue in other European countries. Government officials in Denmark and the UK openly announced that they won‘t repatriate their citizens who joined ISIS. France, Indonesia, Russia, Morocco and the Sudan have appealed to the Rojava administration to take back their citizens who were captured alive by the YPG.

Special units in the YPG have captured over 2.800 ISIS members in operations in Northern Syria to date. These individuals are held in prisons in Rojava Kurdistan, and over 800 of them are foreign fighters who hold citizenships in 46 countries in total, most of which are Western states.

ANF




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