[Marxism] Fwd: The Governorate of Homs: the Islamic State’s new fiefdom? | openDemocracy

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 26 05:28:35 MDT 2014

Growing IS popularity among the Sunni population of the Homs region
It would be impossible to list all the “martyr operations” carried out 
by IS jihadists in the Homs region because for a very long period the 
organisation fought in Syria under the cover of Jabhat al-Nusra 
(Caillet, 2014a). However, one that can be identified is that by the 
French national convert Nicolas Bons (Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Firansi), 
who died in a kamikaze attack launched on December 22, 2013, against a 
position held by a Syrian militia in the Shia town of Um ‘Amad near the 
village of Deir al-Ful, which has now become an IS bastion in northern 
Homs. Two months later, in February 2014, Abu al-Qa‘qa al-Tunisi, an IS 
commander, was killed by the Syrian Revolutionary Front in the town of 
Rastan to the west of the IS positions. As in other regions, the 
jihadists were therefore fighting rebels, but the crushing dominance of 
the Syrian regime in Homs limited the scope of these inter-rebel 
clashes, with the principal enemy remaining regime forces, both for the 
jihadists and for all activists in the Syrian revolution.

Before leaving the central part of Homs, which was besieged by the 
Syrian army, ‘Abd al-Basit Sarut, the goalkeeper for the national 
football team nicknamed the “icon of the revolution” by Syrian 
activists, had called on Jabhat al-Nusra and the IS to come to the 
revolutionaries’ assistance. Several days later, despite the fall of 
Homs, Sarut raised the IS flag on a visit to the organisation’s camp, 
which distinguishes him from the other jihadist groups. While one should 
not over-interpret this incident, nevertheless it shows a radicalisation 
of a part of the Syrian revolutionaries, who were feeling abandoned by 
western democracies, the Gulf monarchies and moderate rebel groups. So 
for those who suffered defeat at Baba ‘Amru, the siege of Homs and the 
town’s fall into the hands of the regime, there was the temptation to 
join with those who seemed to embody the growing strength of the Syrian 
insurrection, despite the IS’s radicalism.


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