Beheading for a ‘Free’ Syria

Majid Rafizadeh, an Iranian-American political scientist and scholar, is president of the International American Council and serves on the board of the Harvard International Review at Harvard University. Rafizadeh is also a senior fellow at the Nonviolence International Organization based in Washington, DC and is a member of the Gulf project at Columbia University. He can be reached at rafizadeh@fas.harvard.edu. Follow Rafizadeh at @majidrafizadeh.


Picture 4“Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar.” This chant, meaning “God is great” in Arabic, is repeatedly heard in this barbaric and savage video clip (below). Amidst a crowd of men standing on a small hill, while women and children watch behind, are three kneeling men – supposedly supporters of Assad’s regime – who are beheaded by a large knife. In the background, someone exclaims, “This is the punishment of the Shabiha.” Sabiha, a militia group, has been unleashed by Assad’s regime as a tool for cracking down and suppressing his opposition.  After the gruesome beheading, in which one of the detached heads falls to the side, another rebel yells, “Place the head of that dog straight.” In Middle Eastern Muslim culture, calling someone a dog is considered a grave insult. The beheading by the Islamists, who appear to be imported from another country and are supposedly connected to the Jabhat Al-Nusra front, is a reference to Islamic Sharia law.

Warning: Graphic Content

This recently released video is just one among a plentitude of other videos that draws attention to two significant phenomena. First, the jihadist, Islamist, and Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups have gained substantial control and dominance in various cities in Syria, including Idlib, Aleppo, Homs, and suburbs within Damascus. Secondly, through the operations conducted by the jihadists, Islamists as well as Assad’s regime, the conflict in Syria has increasingly taken sectarian elements; people – particularly minorities – are being slaughtered based solely on their religion. In one video released earlier, a rebel fighter is shown cutting out and biting into the heart of a dead soldier. The leader of these rebels is Khaled Al Hamad, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Sakkar. Sakar, who is from the Baba Amro district in Homs, is a former senior figure in the Al Farouq Brigade. In this graphic video, Sakar exclaims, with bloody organ in hand, “I swear to God, soldiers of Bashar [referring to the Alawite minority], you dogs – we will eat your heart and livers! God is great! Oh my heroes of Baba Amr, you slaughter the Alawites and take their hearts out to eat them.”

Recently, the Obama administration – after the Syrian conflict entered its third year and long after critical world powers have taken decisive action – has decided to make a policy decision to arm the Syrian rebels. For the last three years, the Obama administration has preferred to use the “wait and see” policy in Syria: avoiding taking robust geopolitical and strategic action against Assad’s regime, avoiding taking a leadership role, and leaving the destiny of Syria to be determined by Russian, Iranian and Hezbollah leaders. Currently, the liberals have been projecting the Obama administration’s current strategy to arm the rebels as a tactically successful policy achievement.

First of all, it is crucial to point out that although the Obama administration has made one of the most significant strategic, geopolitical, and security policy gaffes in the last decade by not taking leadership when the popular uprisings first erupted in Syria, the current and delayed policy decision to arm the rebels will in fact fuel more severe repercussions to U.S. national interest in the Middle East and beyond. Undoubtedly, Syria is the closest military and strategic ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as a sworn enemy of Israel. If the Obama administration had taken a more robust course of action earlier, when the peaceful uprisings first started, the United States would have been capable of achieving a vital strategic and geopolitical breakthrough by revising Assad’s brutal regime and completely isolating Iran in the region. This would have accumulated further pressure on Iran by shifting the balance of power in the region, eventually leading to the regime’s collapse.

The delayed decision to arm the rebels will result in a more severe backlash against U.S. national and security interests. The reason is that currently the jihadists, Islamists and Al-Qaeda-linked groups are the most dominant, aggressive, and successful forces among the rebel forces throughout Syria. These groups are sworn to turn Syria, Lebanon and Iraq into an uncompromisingly Islamic state, ruled by Islamic and Sharia law. In addition, there is no command-and-control system between other rebel groups. As a result, arming the rebels equates to directly or indirectly financing and arming these terrorist groups who are implementing atrocious practices like beheading and mass execution and other inhumane behaviors.

Although liberals argue that the U.S. will send arms to the “good” rebels, it is nearly impossible to distinguish the “good” rebels from the barbaric ones anymore. It is unrealistic to insure that arms and weapons will fall into the hand of the peaceful revolutionaries; in fact, they are more likely to fall into the hands of the same Islamist and Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups who are slaughtering, beheading, and mass-executing people and pushing for a Sharia-law based Islamist state. These are the severe repercussions of not taking leadership in Syria, adopting a “wait and see” policy, and being among one of the last countries to make a decision on such a strategically and geopolitically critical issue.

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  • Mors

    wow…so powerful

  • Rachel Levy

    And the antiIsraeli activists could care less about this or the many other horrific atrocities occurring regularly in Syria,or Iraq. The real atrocity to them is Jews building homes in Jerusalem. The most Holy City in all of Judaism..

    • defcon 4

      I believe the tomb of Abraham was recently desecrated or destroyed by islamofascists in Syria, this despite the fact islam is an “Abrahamic” faith.

      • Nancy

        Even though Islam says that Abraham, Moses, Jesus .. are the same as
        Mohammad because they are prophets of book, they really believe other
        prophets are secondary to Muhammad..

    • Nancy

      Even though Islam says that Abraham, Moses, Jesus .. are the same as Mohammad because they are prophets of book, they really believe other prophets are secondary to Muhammad…

    • john

      Why dont they just shoot them if they want to kill? They have guns on their shoulders… why separating the head with knife…So why they are asking for arms?

      • Boots

        The method (beheading, eating organs) is about fear. They are sending a
        message to their enemies. The reason all of our wars in the Middle
        East end in failure is we are fighting barbarians while we use western
        ethics. I’m not saying we should operate with their moral standards but we do need to understand who our enemy is. There are no good guys in this conflict and I think Allah should let them sort it out and we should save our money.

      • mcbee555

        It’s ritual coming from the culture. It trivializes the victim. The more inhumane, the more it’s done. It’s how they are.
        Apparently, Syrian government troops aren’t doing such things, it the Rebel side.

      • defcon 4

        Why? Because the most holy and revered man in all islam, MuhamMAD, beheaded all the Jewish men who surrendered to him in Saudi Arabia (while enslaving all the women, girls and young boys). Look up the Battle of the Trench.

    • stewball

      Do any of these anti-Israel people know how many wounded Syrians Israel has taken in over the border to Israeli hodpitals? They come because they know they will be taken in and cared for and not killed.

  • American1969

    The Religion of Peace.

  • Gary Dickson

    I have previously mentioned this in other forums. The reason why Obama did not ask for Congressional approval to intervene in Syria is because he wants Assad to fall.

    This may sound a bit bizarre – and tell me if it is – but Obama is working with his very close friend, Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey, to establish a new Ottoman Empire – a caliphate – extending from Morocco all the way along North Africa to Egypt, around to Syria and then perhaps east toward Iraq, Iran, and the “*stans”.

    The book of Daniel in chapter 7 mentions three kings being deposed by another king. Let’s see now.

    Two stubborn kings have fallen already: Gaddafi and Mubarak, both replaced with Islamic regimes that are in line with Erdogan’s style of Islam. The third stubborn king to go could be Assad.

    If Assad falls and is replaced by a regime friendly to Erdogan’s style of Islam, Israel will be almost completely surrounded by regimes more hostile to it than ever before, with Jordan being the exception.

    The interesting part is that Russia and China are supporting Assad, something with which Erdogan and Obama need to both be very careful. As it is, Putin and Xi (of China) see Obama as a buffoon and the U.S. as a paper tiger. With China holding a good portion of America’s debt, China has the U.S. by the short-and-curlies. From what I understand, Russia is working with Syria for some significant oil and gas resources in northern Syria. So Assad still has some significant support. If that support ever evaporates, Assad will fall like a house of cards.

    • OfficialPro

      to carry that Daniel thing forward, the feet of clay very well could be Assad, and the Mountain could be Islam…

  • southwood

    IF better days come to this earth soon by the grace of God then those who aided and abetted these types of atrocities will give an account, God willing, and, if found guilty, face execution. Yes, that would include President Obama.

  • Mors

    And why the Islamists win in face of these all state powers..

  • cecil91

    Leave them alone. The more they kill each other off, the better. And if they should get dumb enough to attack the US in any significant way, then let massive retaliation be the response.

    • WhiteHunter

      I’m afraid there will never be “massive retaliation,” no matter what they do to us, even here on our own streets; there never is. There hasn’t been any in Britain since the beheading of Lee Rigby on a London street in broad daylight to shouts of ‘allah akbar!’ just like in this horrifying video. The only thing we hear from our own government after such an atrocity is stern warnings that ‘there’d better not be any backlash!’ — even though there’s never been any ‘backlash’ here in the civilized world.

      Sometimes ‘backlash’ and a campaign of fiery pogroms against the monsters and their bloodsoaked, cutthroat ‘religion of peace and tolerance’ might be exactly what’s needed. Let THEM fear US and what WE might do to THEM, for a change. And no, I don’t mean the innocent, hardworking Paki in the all-night convenience store — he’s not the problem. I mean those who hate us and make no secret of their obsessive determination to kill us — in their sermons, their FB postings, their rallies, and their sneering hate for everything enlightened, tolerant, free, and generous that our culture values.

      We’ve already seen how much good groveling apologies for the West’s imaginary ‘crimes’ of a thousand years ago, the promiscuous welcome extended to savages from the mohammedan world, the White House’s open door to known terrorists for ‘dialogue,’ and a ‘reset’ button extended to our sworn enemies has done.

  • 1Indioviejo1

    The barn door has been open for quite a while. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are in a civilizational clash which will get much worse. Obama in his evil way has managed to Help Iran and arm Al-Qaeda at the same time. An unintended consequence of his ignorance. I think we need to accept this war of extermination and prepare to win it or perish. This nation needs new leadership throughout the ranks of the anointed.

  • BCW

    The Strategy of Islam to Infiltrate and Dominate a Host Population

    - They seek out nations that have basic social freedoms or areas that our depressed or void of law

    - They immigrate to these areas using the laws of freedom or take
    advantage of those in depressed areas by offering the basic essentials
    of life

    - Once they have merged in the host country, Islam demands respect for its customs by the host population

    - They immediately begin to import their own laws into the host population

    - They use the “minority” radicals to spread fear among the host population and enforce Islam’s code

    - They begin to populate large numbers of Muslims through immigration and birth in the host nation

    - They do a show of force through large gatherings when outnumbered by the host population and center themselves in urban areas

    - When outnumbered, they will appear as the victim. When they obtain the majority, they become the aggressor

    - Once they gain the majority, they strike down the host population or
    drive them out by use of the “minority” radicals and seize what were the
    host population properties

    - Once Muslims move into an area, they spread into the social fabric
    through the establishment of mosques, by the economic through stores in
    every part of the city to bring Muslims into areas once dominated by
    only the host population, the use the political sphere to get Muslims
    elected into local, then state, then federal offices by sheer numbers in
    order to take over the entire social, economic, and political host
    through the protection of what is defined as a religion.

    It more commonly fits the definition of a virus: a small infectious
    agent that can replicate only inside the living cells of organisms. Most
    viruses are too small to be seen directly with a light microscope.
    Viruses infect all types of organisms…

    Babylon’s Covert War – Now availble on Amazon

    • Mally

      Agree… How to stop them though? did you see how they struggle to cut the head…

    • cathy

      cathy • 7 minutes ago

      Could it be that many of the12 million illegal immigrants who are about to granted a path to citizenship are followers of Islam who entered the country via the Mexican border?

      LTC Allen West on Illegal Immigration
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • DOYOULOVEAMERICA

    Right wing death squads could take care to these animals……LOL…..

  • Crazycatkid

    I don’t see that the USA had any side to chose in this additional war. The USA is under attack by Islam. We need to limit immigration, take back our culture, stop preferences for Muslim “faith” and criticism of Christianity. It’s so easy. Only an Islamist (the next big bad censored word) would not simply state that. But, thanks anyway for your article.

  • Richard McCabe

    Josef Stalin once said that one death is a tragedy but a million is a statistic. What is killing most civilians in Syria is artillery and air power that is indiscriminately (and sometimes by order) being directed against apartment complexes, villages, bakeries and other facilities. What we really need to do as a first priority is to establish the means to bring the war criminals on either side to justice.

    • Sam

      wrong

  • Mally

    This video is new and it seems it will be shown in next UN conference

  • Gee

    We should wait for a few years and let Allah sort them out

  • Nancy

    Why the women and children are watching? I have never seen such video…
    Is it true that they are going to show it in UN?

    • WhiteHunter

      Because this is their version of prime time “reality show” entertainment–”Fun for the whole family!” I doubt it’ll be screened at the U.N., but it’ll probably be the featured film at CAIR’s Summer 2013 Halal Carnival and Cookout at the Ground Zero Mosque.
      The other big attraction at the event will be “Throw the Rock at the Adulteress,” a real-life stoning “game” where you get to throw rocks at the head of a rape victim buried up to her neck for $1 per throw (instead of our “dunking stool” where the clown drops off his seat and into the water if you hit the steel plate with a ball).

      • john

        Like your comment…

  • john

    Why dont they just shoot them? They have guns on their shoulders… why separating the head with knife…
    So why they are asking for arms?

  • mcbee555

    I never thought I’d be choosing one Muslim group over another, but plainly, Assad’s side are not the Muslim extreme fanatics that the “rebel” forces are.
    The “rebel” side is driven by Saudi influence and Obama displays his unique inability to tell the good guys from the bad. Assad is a tough man to deal with, the fact that Israel is his neighbor hasn’t been palatable to him. However, in assessing his rule over Syria, the Druze and Christian minorities have been protected by his regime, and that policy has to come from the top.
    The Rebel side, composed of those against Shia Islam, are the real extremists.
    They’ve been gunning down or murdering by any other means, all Christians and Druze in their path, plus any Syrian of the Shia-Islam ideology.
    These are the people backed by USA, France, and UK to name the major supporters of Sunni-Syrian-Rebel movement.
    Russia and Iran back the Assad government, who so far happen to be more civil than the opposition. The indictment that Saran gas has been used on a 100-150 of the 100,000 casualties has been weakly substantiated, and who used it, if used, is still a question.
    What is not a question is that Assad, who was supposedly ‘so evil” turns out to be moderate compared to who’s trying to overthrow his government. And, Obama supports those seeking to overthrow. It’s a rerun of Egypt, which also was a fiasco.

    • defcon 4

      I’ve met some Syrian Jews who described their life under the elder Assad as well as his son as persecution and his ENTIRE family left Syria because of it.

      • mcbee555

        Still, Assad is the lesser of the evils and that’s sad to state. Obviously, Jews know where they really stand with Islam, their only alternative to remain on Arab land is subservience and that translates to persecution. It’s the very reason why Israel knows it must remain a Jewish state. It doesn’t persecute non-Jews there, but as small as it is, it’s still the homeland for Jews who want to be there.

      • stewball

        Those that were able to at least.

    • Barbara Bergan

      Oh he can tell the good guys from the bad guys, he just identifies with the bad. one and the same…

  • John W

    It’s always exciting to see live Neanderthals.

  • http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/ SLIMJIM

    This makes me sick to the stomach…I can’t watch it. Why does Obama have to get us entangle with this mess?

  • Texas Patriot

    Shame on Obama for tarnishing the name of America.

    • mcbee555

      It’s also inconceivable to associate Obama to any of those true patriots mentioned. They loved the idea of America and fought for it in every way they could. Obviously, Obama’s intention when he mentioned “transforming” was to undermine everything that America stands for.
      How the Democrats can relate it to “winning” while their country’s roots are be undermined is beyond my comprehension.

  • Arf

    I didn’t watch the video clip. I did not want to. But I noticed the children in the scene — one looks quite young. I guess this is a normal everyday event for them. This is a VERY sick culture.

  • g..man

    Coming here…..

  • bj affordable

    ‘the U.S. will send arms to the “good” rebels, it is nearly impossible to distinguish the “good” rebels from the barbaric ones anymore’.

    You can’t tell the cops from the robbers, which is what Islam and their Bolshevist useful idiots like.

  • Palichamp

    Whatever negative repercussions befalls Israel, it justly deserves, as it is Israel’s plan, “A STRATEGY FOR ISRAEL IN THE 1980s” that is the reason for the power vacuum they’ve created that is being filled by hardcore extremists.

    http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/article0005345.html