A close media aide to Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, has defected and given us some startling news. He was the head of the campaign of the present president in Iran. He was working as a journalist in Switzerland and was fed up with only being able to report what he was told to write. He was on a British TV channel to tell what is really happening in the negotiations.
He has told us that the US negotiating team are mainly there to speak on Iran’s behalf with the other members of the 5+1 countries and convince them of a deal. Amir Hossein Motaghi is telling us that the American negotiators are really batting for the Iranian team and not the American team. They are trying to get the other negotiators to accept this as a good de4al.
Fox News reports that Iran has confirmed this defection.
Now to our subject for the day.
Today we are going to shine the spotlight on ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. We are going to see who they are and take a look at their leader, Al-Baghdadi, and how did he get to the position where he is today. We will also look at the Saudi connection, what does the Saudi government have to do with ISIS.
Once we look at the who and why we are going to look at the capabilities of this terrorist organization. We will look at their finances, the weapons that they have. We will look at what we should fear about this group.
We will look at the uniqueness of this organization. There are some things that are unique to them that you won’t find with the other Muslim terrorist groups.
We are also going to look at ISIS in America. What do we have to look forward to here in our own country.
Who Is This Group?
To answer this question we must understand the civil war in Syria. To understand this civil war we must first understand the difference between a Shi’ite Muslim and a Sunni Muslim.
Syria is one of three Shi’ite nations. There are not many Shi’ites in the world. They make up about 10% of the world’s Muslim population. Sunni Muslims are, by far, the largest group of Muslims in the world. Most of the Shi’ite Muslims live in Iran, Lebanon, and Syria.
A few years ago a civil war started in Syria. The people felt oppressed by their dictator and rose up to overthrow him. This has been in the news for the last four or five years. The Sunni nations around Syria saw this as an opportunity to overthrow a Shi’ite nation and make Syria a Sunni nation.
In the beginning of this civil war it was Shi’ite against Shi’ite. It is now Shi’ite against Sunni as the Sunnis try to take over the country. One of the branches of Al-Qaeda had a split. This was the beginning of ISIS. This organization is growing at a phenomenal rate. We will see that their capabilities are amazing. What they have accomplished in such short time is also amazing. ISIS is a Sunni organization.
We need to understand the difference between the Sunnis and the Shi’ites if we are to understand what is happening in the Middle East. The difference between the two groups has to do with succession. The difference goes back to the death of Muhammad. It has to do with who will be the caliph or successor of Muhammad. The best way for us to understand “caliph” is to think of it as an emperor or a king. The caliph is the supreme leader of all of Islam. His word will be law and he will control everything.
When Muhammad died the next leader was Abu Bakr, the best friend of Muhammad. It was quite clear that Muhammad had great trust in him and it was a natural flow of leadership. Abu Bakr was not a blood relative of Muhammad. The Sunni Muslims say that the caliph does not have to be related to Muhammad while the Shi’ites believe that the caliph must be a blood relative of the Prophet. This is the major difference between these two Muslim groups.
The third caliph was Uthman and he was assassinated by the Shi’ites in order to put in a caliph who was from Muhammad’s blood line. They installed Ali, a cousin and a son-in-law of Muhammad. About two years later Ali was assassinated by the Sunni Muslims. The Sunnis and the Shi’ites have been fighting over this for 1400 years.
The Sunnis have been fighting the Shi’ites in Syria but they weren’t getting anywhere. Since the Americans had left Iraq there was a great opportunity to obtain weapons and to rob and pillage that area and amass great wealth. There new leader, Al-Baghdadi, led them to stop fighting in Syria because they were not able to defeat Assad. He realized that they needed more resources, wealth and weapons, and they were available in Iraq. As a result they now have mass amounts of weapons and wealth. Their success in Iraq has captured the attention of Muslim youths around the world.
Who Is Al-Baghdadi?
To begin with Al-Baghdadi is not his given name. It is a name that he has chosen for himself. His real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri. He comes from a group of Muslim scholars. His friends would describe him as a polite man, a shy man, somewhat unimpressive, but certainly a religious scholar. They say that he eschewed violence and that he was known for his soccer playing.
He studied in the University of Baghdad in Iraq. He obtained both a Masters and a PHD at this university. For many years he lived in a small apartment attached to a mosque in a small town called Tobchi. One of his friends said that when the Americans came to remove Saddam Husein he didn’t show any hostility toward them.
The catalyst that started to change things was in 2004. In 2004 he got into an argument with his landlord who owned the mosque and the apartment in which he lived. His landlord was trying to force him to join a Salafi political organization. He refused to do so and it resulted in his being thrown out of his apartment. From that time on we see different man.
Another classmate said that at that time he formed an Islamic militia. This militia later joined Al-Qaeda. This was the beginning of his jihadist activities.
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