Saturday, 7 March 2015

Tawfiq Hassan
Meet The Syrian Sheikh Battling Islamic State Ideology One Mind At A Time" “ISIS has the dream. They have the Islamic state,” says Sheikh Abu Omar Shishani. “The Syrian people were poor to begin with, and the war made them poorer. ISIS is the strongest in terms of money and weapons so people resort to it because they think they have no choice.”
Since the beginning of the war, rebel fighters have been attracted to the strongest and richest groups. In the last six months, funding for moderate groups has slowed significantly, with private Gulf donors spooked by the uptick of anti-terrorist financing laws. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces, meanwhile, have been bolstered by Iranian, Lebanese Hezbollah and Afghan Shia militias.
For rebels, the thought of joining IS or Al Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra, a strong, secure and well-funded operation, grows more appealing. “It’s bad for us, the Syrians, that the funding pulls us around,” sighs Iyad. “At the beginning of the revolution, when the funding came from the sheikhs, people grew beards. Then when the funding came from the international community, people started to shave and wear suits.” "

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