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British women led by Aqsa Mahmood running sharia police unit for ISIS in Syria

by 1389AD ( 31 Comments › )
Filed under Sharia (Islamic Law), Syria, UK at September 15th, 2014 - 7:43 am

Independent (UK) has the story:

British jihadi Aqsa Mahmood
Aqsa Mahmood

As many as 60 British women have joined an all-female sharia police unit for the Islamic State (Isis), reprimanding those who fall foul of the jihad’s strict rules.

The al-Khansaa brigade is believed to be operating in the Syrian city of Raqqa, which is controlled by Isis militants and works as their Syrian headquarters.

According to the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC), the militia group was established earlier this year to help expose male activists who attempt to disguise themselves in women’s clothing to avoid detention.

A prominent figure in the police force, according to the UK-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR), is Aqsa Mahmood, a privately-educated Glaswegian 20-year-old who fled to Syria last November.

Most of the British women who have travelled to the war torn region to fight, are between the ages of 18 and 24, the Daily Telegraph reports, a further three of whom are believed to have joined the military unit.

The ICSR says it monitors 25 British female jihadists who have left their lives in the UK to support Isis.

The brigade’s women are reportedly paid a monthly salary of 25,000 Syrian Pounds (roughly £100), says TRAC, for duties that are not involved with acts of terror – instead insurgency operations.

They are not the only all-female brigade, either, with another – Umm Al-Rayan – also created around the same time.

Security services believe that it is likely that the women will know the true identity of ‘Jihadi John’, the Isis fighter believed to be the person responsible for the beheading of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.

According to Syria Deeply, the al-Khansaa brigade has also been tasked with cracking down on civilian women who fail to abide by the ultra-strict brand of sharia law implemented by Isis, including that women be fully covered in public and be chaperoned by a male.

An Isis official in Raqqa reportedly said: “We have established the brigade to raise awareness of our religion among women, and to punish women who do not abide by the law.

“There are only women in this brigade, and we have given them their own facilities to prevent the mixture of men and women.”

On Thursday, the parents of Ms Mahmood made an emotional plea for their daughter to return and claimed that she had “betrayed” not only them but their community and “the people of Scotland” when she left to fight.

“Our daughter is brainwashed and deluded and helping those engaged in genocide,” her parents said.

Melanie Smith, a research associate at ICSR, said: “The British women are some of the most zealous in imposing the IS [Islamic State] laws in the region. I believe that’s why at least four of them have been chosen to join the women police force.”

The identities of the other three women are current unknown, however a small contingent of female Britons have flown over to the region to fight in some capacity.

Twin 16-year-old sisters Zahra and Salma Halane left their Manchester home on 26 June to join the conflict – it is believed they married Isis militants, with terrorist chiefs investigating whether the men paid for their travel.

Muslim convert Sally Jones, a mother of two from Kent, is also believed to have fled to Isis from her life in the UK after meeting a computer hacker turned jihadi online and later marrying him.

More here.

The Baathist Ghost in the ISIS Machine

by coldwarrior ( 124 Comments › )
Filed under History, Iraq, Islamic Terrorism, Military, Open thread, Politics, Syria at September 14th, 2014 - 8:12 am

The Baathist are back, or did they ever leave?

Saddam Hussein’s Ghost

ByMichael Weiss

The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) may have recently cut its name in half, but its fortunes have gained by orders of magnitude, judging by recent developments across a stretch of territory that is now more appropriately referred to as “Syraq.” First, the Islamic State’s (IS) self-appointed “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, managed to give a Friday sermon in broad daylight in a major mosque in the city of Mosul, which is home to 2 million people. This is quite the upgrade from Waziristan’s finest cavernous soundstage, and no major transnational jihadist leader – not Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri – has ever dared make so public and conspicuous a showing of himself as this, least of all with American drones swarming overhead. (Adolf Eichmann giving a Nazi rally at the Brandenburg Gate in 1961 might be the equivalent spectacle.)

It is of upmost importance that you read the rest.

 

A Lecture,of 11 Sep 2001

by coldwarrior ( 171 Comments › )
Filed under Academia, History, Islam, saturday lecture series at September 11th, 2014 - 8:00 am

In the fall of 2000, I had completed my  Masters program at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.  My main focus was Economics and the second was International Security. My Ph.D. work on Islamic money flows into terrorist organizations was cut short when my sponsor, General Wesley Posvar died unexpectedly. My funding dried up buy the next summer. No one wanted to name the money guys.

The General  was a singular man, humble, loud, bigger than life; his wife was magnificent as well. I learned of his death in a most impersonal way; It was on my birthday while at my parent’s place up north. I was at a convenience store getting a coffee and a can of skoal wintergreen longcut. I saw it in the papers. I was crushed, my mind went back to the lectures at the Honors College on the top floor of the Cathedral of Learning, we could see for ever from there!  He would hold a Friday Afternoon Lecture at his house for Honors College. The Vets and over 21 were allowed to have some booze with him in the bar in the basement.Be ready to defend your comments!  Dammit…

In the Fall of 2001 I was a lecturer in 20th Century America and in Macro Economics at what was then RMC (it’s now Robert Morris University). I had to attend Ph.D. classes at Pitt, lecture at RMC, and at night drive for UPS. Now that I think about it, my week was 80 hours long. No wonder a divorce happened.

In the syllabi for  my classes was an end of semester week to address Threats To America and The West. Well. that came early. My students were amazed that I had identified the threat in the syllabi. I was at GSPIA on 9/11.

So, early fall is great motorcycling weather. I would show up at RMC on my very red Japanese 900RR in full leather, go into the lounge, change, have a coffee, walk over to class.  That morning, the students got full leathers, and questions.  I wanted answers NOW from these future leaders….one group Congress, one group the Executive, one group the Supreme Court, one group the Military, then questions were fired at them so rapidly that they couldn’t function….then the lecture started for the ‘leaders’.

—–/

This was written on the 900 RR’s tank bag on the dead stop panic drive back from PITT to my house (and in 2 bars as the bike was getting over heated) on 11 Sep 2001. I look at this page once a year or so.

Here is the one page  lecture note

rmc091201

do note. it has no layers. hasn’t been played with in photo shop…n’at.

 

Moderate Islam Is Multiculturalism Misspelled

by lobo91 ( 54 Comments › )
Filed under Guest Post, Islam, Leftist-Islamic Alliance, Multiculturalism, Political Correctness, Progressives at September 7th, 2014 - 8:00 am

Guest Post from Aussie Infidel:

I’ve come across an article that seems to distill a lot of diverse threads into a single all embracing idea. I found it quite insightful clever and profound and I wanted to share it amongst the denizens of The Blogmocracy. I think this article is powerful enough to have an outing with a thread of its own.

Ever wonder how a progressive refuses to condemn some 7th. Century head-chopping clone, when logically the secular left are the first to be slaughtered?
How about explaining how normally rational people, who are progressives, refuse point blank to even engage when evidence is placed in front of them ?
How do nominally rational political and religious elites, both progressive and even conservative, process information that causes them to suffer cognitive dissonance?
Have you even attempted to rationally debate a progressive face to face and have you been shocked by their emergent hatred that seems to come from nowhere ?

You can read the reasons why nominally sane people behave the way they do here:

I have been searching for moderate Islam since September 11 and just like a lost sock in the dryer, it was in the last place I expected it to be.

There is no moderate Islam in the mosques or in Mecca. You won’t find it in the Koran or the Hadiths. If you want to find moderate Islam, browse the newspaper editorials after a terrorist attack or take a course on Islamic religion taught by a Unitarian Sociologist wearing fake native jewelry.

You can’t find a moderate Islam in Saudi Arabia or Iran, but you can find it in countless network news specials, articles and books about the two homelands of their respective brands of Islam.

You won’t find the fabled land of moderate Muslims in the east. You won’t even find it in the west. Like all myths it exists in the imagination of those who tell the stories. You won’t find a moderate Islam in the Koran, but you will find it in countless Western books about Islam.

Moderate Islam isn’t what most Muslims believe. It’s what most liberals believe that Muslims believe.

The new multicultural theology of the West is moderate Islam. Moderate Islam is the perfect religion for a secular age since it isn’t a religion at all.

Without a moderate Islam the Socialist projects of Europe which depend on heavy immigration collapse. America’s War on Terror becomes the endless inescapable slog that the rise of ISIS has once again revealed it to be. Multiculturalism, post-nationalism and Third World Guiltism all implode.

Without moderate Muslims, nationalism returns, borders close and the right wins. That is what they fear.

If there is no moderate Islam, no moderate Mohammed, no moderate Allah, then the Socialist Kingdom of Heaven on Earth has to go in the rubbish bin. The grand coalitions in which LGBT activists and Islamists scream at Jews over Gaza aren’t the future; they’re the Weimar Republic on wheels.

The true moderate Muslims are secular liberals of loosely Christian and Jewish persuasion who have invented and believe in a moderate Islam that doesn’t exist outside of their own heads. This secular Islam, which values all life, is dedicated to social justice and universal tolerance, is a counterpart of their own bastardized religions. And they are too afraid to wake up and realize that it doesn’t exist.

When American and European leaders insist that Islam has nothing to do with the latest Islamic atrocity, they are not referencing a religion practiced by Muslims, but an imaginary religion that they imagine Muslims must practice because the alternative is the end of everything that they believe in.

Their moderate Islam is light on the details, beyond standing for social justice, fighting Global Warming and supporting gay rights, because it is really multiculturalism wearing a fake beard. When a Western leader claims that the latest batch of Islamic terrorists don’t speak for Islam, he isn’t defending Muslims, he’s defending multiculturalism. He assumes that Muslims believe in multiculturalism because he does.

Moderate Islam is just multiculturalism misspelled. Its existence is a firm article of faith for those who believe in multiculturalism.

The moderate Muslim is an invention of the liberal academic, the secular theologian, the vapid politician and his shrill idiot cousin, the political activist. Like the money in the budgets that underpin their plans and the scientific evidence for Global Warming, he does not exist.

And it is not necessary that he should exist. It is only necessary that we have faith in his existence.

The degraded lefty descendants of Christians and Jews wait for a moderate Muslim messiah who will reconcile the impossibilities of their multicultural society by healing the conflicts between Islam and the West. Until then they find it necessary to believe, not in a divinity, but in the moderate Muslim.

Read it all

Want To Know What Causes Islamophobia? Islam Causes Islamophobia!

by Flyovercountry ( 142 Comments › )
Filed under Al Qaeda, Fascism, Islam, Islamists, Leftist-Islamic Alliance at September 5th, 2014 - 10:00 am

As a public service announcement, and because I haven’t done it in a year, I’d just like to remind everyone that when you see this bumper sticker on an automobile,

Get your camera out and contemplate asking the vehicle’s driver for an autograph. You’re in the presence of museum grade stupidity.

Now, on to my point.

Click here.
Click here.
Click here.
Click here.
Click here.
Click here.
Click here.
Click here.
Click here.

While the Muslims who make up ISIS establish their Islamic Caliphate in Syria and Iraq, further promising to fly their flag one day on the top of the White House Flag Pole, we have debates about whether or not we should be doing something as egregiously bigoted as linking Islam to the acts of terror performed by Muslims establishing an Islamic Caliphate. As Yazidi Christians are slaughtered whole sale, heads placed on pikes for that extra special home decor touch that no Islamic home is complete without, our national leaders promise to prosecute the guilty to the fullest extent of the same law that meant so much to them in the first place, that they felt emboldened to the point of openly placing heads on pikes. I do not think words can describe the depth of naivete it takes to treat our ongoing war with Islamic Supremacists as though it were an ongoing law enforcement effort. They are not impressed with the horde of prosecuting attorneys and FBI criminologists that have teemed their shores and taken up the task of gathering evidence for acts that they’ve openly bragged about on youtube videos.

As I’ve said repeatedly, six of the seven groups above are perfectly capable, and indeed compassionately willing to, “COEXIST,” with one another. The first group on that iconic display of weapons grade idiocy however is not. In fact, they have a religious belief, practiced with a fevered pedantic bloodlust, that they are bound by a duty to their deity to convert, enslave, or kill the other 6 groups called out on that graphic. The logical gymnastics used to morally equate the picketers standing too close to Abortion Clinics with the savagery of those blowing up school buses filled with seven year old children would be worthy of song, were it not so infuriating. Clearly, we need another Obama speech delivered from Cairo or the Brandenburg Gate in order to combat this evil. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, he’ll be sure to tell us all how much angrier than we are he is, and how he’ll get to the bottom of how such evil has been allowed to flourish, against his express edicts to the contrary, in those places where he’s personally created a power vacuum.

Many of my fellow conservatives have been having a field day in calling out our President for being completely disengaged. I say, be careful what you wish for, it just may come true. Personally, I like my Obama disengaged. I want him playing golf, and personally hope he gets in at least 18 holes each and every one of his days left in office. He’ll do less damage that way. I’d love for example, for the Pentagon to be allowed to establish rules of engagement for our military without the input from the Obama Administration, too busy partying it up like rock stars to get involved with such matters of limited import. I’d love to see an economy be given a chance to flex its own recuperative muscles, unfettered by a President too busy playing Basketball with NBA stars to put his pen and cell phone to work, creating more regulation via executive order.

When he’s not vacationing, Barack Obama says things like this in his speeches.

The world must not belong to those who slander the Prophet Mohamed. The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet Mohamed.

Somehow, I haven’t noticed any of the classic signs of that Muslim fist unclenching yet. I see no evidence that the Jihadis around the globe took those well spoken words proclaiming kumbayah my lord as their signal to lay down their well honed intention to kill the rest of us. In fact, things seem to have gotten worse. It’s almost as if they saw how completely inept and weak our Chief Executive was, and decided to accelerate their holy war designed to drench the world in infidel blood. But that couldn’t be, we’re armed to the teeth with COEXIST bumper stickers and clever hash tag campaigns.

I learned two things yesterday that I never, in one Million years would have been able to guess. One, Barack Obama is angrier than I am at the brutal beheading of an American Journalist being posted to youtube by this latest group of misunderstood social workers practicing that variety of Jihad that isn’t an inner struggle to conquer the evil that lives within all of us. Two, he’s going to get to the bottom of it all. Hence the exhaustive investigation to confirm that which we’ve been told via endless youtube videos from those peace loving guys in no way connected to Islam, who do their brutal deeds while shouting Allahu Akhbar.

I saw a video the other day of Bernie Sanders holding a town hall meeting in his home state. A woman in the audience screamed out that Hamas was a social service organization. I’d be willing to bet One Million Dollars that she has a COEXIST bumper sticker on her car.

Cross Posted from Musings of Mad Conservative.

Gen. Jack Keane: ISIS “most significant threat”; how to combat it effectively

by 1389AD ( 2 Comments › )
Filed under Iraq, Islamic Supremacism, Jihad, Special Report, Syria at September 4th, 2014 - 11:26 am

Daily Caller: General: ISIS Is The Most Significant Threat To Middle East I’ve Ever Seen [VIDEO]

Former Army Vice Chief of Staff General Jack Keane told Fox News Tuesday night that the terrorist group ISIS is “the most significant threat to the Middle East that I have ever observed.”

“On the same weekend, they launched a new offensive in Iraq, collapsed a Peshmerga, a much-acclaimed military force that’s part of Kurdistan. Also they took two oil fields, and now threatens the Mosul Dam. They did this on one weekend in two different countries simultaneously. Anybody looking at that knows that this is an organization of consequence, and it must be dealt with,” General Keane said.

The Fox News military analyst provided several solutions to dealing with the Islamic army.

“The way you deal with them is you kill them, and that is the only way that they understand, is force. You have to apply force to deal with it,” Keane told Fox News host Shannon Bream.

He continued: “We need a strategy to deal with it. We have none, and the fact is, the strategy should not just be the killing aspect of it.”

The Army general believes the finances of the terrorist group should be targeted.

“We know what banks they’re using. We actually know the names of their seven portfolio managers. We should target the barks and target the managers. We should separate the groups that are supporting them politically,” said Keane.

The Obama administration knows that “militarily, there’s obviously much that we can do, and we’re sitting on our hands,” says the general.

“If we maintained a residual force, we could have buttressed the Iraqi military. We could have restrained Maliki and we could have made it possible for these people [terrorists] to not come back after we spent all of the blood and treasure pushing them out of Iraq,” National Review editor Rich Lowry told Fox News Channel on Tuesday.

Virginia Rep. Frank Wolf has been sounding the alarm about the attacks on Christians in Iraq. He recently told WMAL Radio in DC that Christians are “worse than persecuted, it is now officially genocide.”

[...]

Much more here, including video.

OJ Simpson…Converting to Islam?

by Macker ( 42 Comments › )
Filed under Crime, Islam, Koran, NFL, Sports at September 3rd, 2014 - 8:00 pm

When I saw this little article in my Facebook feed I thought What! The! Frak! And then I read the byline: the Esteemed Publication called the National Enquirer…a once-ridiculed rag which, over time, became more credible than the so-called Main Stream Media.
After all, Enquiring Minds DO Want To Know!

After nearly six years behind bars, disgraced football great O.J. Simpson now wants to become a Muslim!
The National ENQUIRER has learned Simpson became interested in Islam through fellow inmates, and his current “cellie,” Smoke, put him in touch with retired pro boxer Mike Tyson, a devout Muslim.
“O.J. and Mike have been communicating the past couple of months,” said a source. “Mike has been encouraging him to study the faith and read the Koran.”
Simpson, 67, has been locked up in Nevada’s Lovelock Correction Center since December 2008 on an armed robbery and kidnapping conviction.
Sources say the Heisman Trophy winner turned to religion when his appeal for a new trial was denied late last year by a Nevada judge, leaving him disillusioned and bitter.
“O.J. really thought that he was going to be successful in a bid for a new trial and eventually be released from prison,” added the insider.
“But now he’s not eligible for parole until late 2017, which has angered him.”
Meanwhile, the former football star’s fascination with Islam is a startling about-face.
As The ENQUIRER exclusively reported in October 2013, Simpson was planning to become a TV evangelist and launch a worldwide crusade called “Holy Safari.”
Simpson’s manager Norman Pardo told The ENQUIRER that Simpson found God in prison and had been ministering to fellow inmates.
He reportedly even converted a white supremacist to Christianity.
“O.J. is very religious now, and he’s been counseling other inmates with Bible studies for months,” Pardo said at the time.
“When I talk to him on the phone, all he wants to discuss is religion. He’s obsessed!”
Simpson was spurred on by watching televangelist Frederick Price, whose faith ministry broadcasts reach more than 15 million followers weekly.
But sources scoffed at Simpson’s plan, pointing out that many people still believe he murdered his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman in 1994, and would be unlikely to join his flock.
Now insiders say that Simpson has turned to Islam instead!
While he studies the Koran and occasionally wears the traditional Kufi prayer cap, sources divulged that Simpson had a tough time observing the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which requires all Muslims to fast.
During the fast, devout Muslims are forbidden to eat or drink 
between sunrise and sunset.
Muslim prisoners at Lovelock kept their meals, which are delivered to their cells in Styrofoam containers, and ate them after sunset, said one insider.
“But O.J. didn’t quite make it through the entire fasting process,” added the insider. “
He cheated during the day, and bought snacks from the prison canteen. But he’s really serious about converting to Islam.
“O.J. even made himself a prayer rug for his prison cell. He prays on occasion but not on a regular basis.
“He really likes the idea that upon converting to Islam, all of his previous sins are forgiven. O.J. has a lot to be forgiven for.”

Yep, he sure does…which makes his MURDER of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman an Honor Killing! I’m sure his fellow Mohammedans will welcome him with open arms. OJ’s going to have to get used to praying five times a day toward Mecca and having a bump on his forehead to boot. Not to mention Ramalamadingdong. It also remains to be seen whether OJ will develop an affinity for sheep, goats, and donkeys.

/RAAAAACIST!

Friday Night Osombie Review OOT

by Macker ( 42 Comments › )
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Entertainment, Islam, Military, Movies, OOT, September 11, Taliban at August 29th, 2014 - 10:00 pm

I admit it…I’m a sucker for Zombie flicks! Ever since its release two years ago I’ve been wanting for the price to come down to the El Cheapo bin at Walmart. Well it did…but it’s over at Amazon.com of course!
The movie I’m referring to is the Indie film Osombie. Yes that’s right, Osama bin Laden is a Zombie. Here’s the rundown.
Dusty is a yoga instructor whose brother, Derek, disappeared somewhere in Afghanistan. She goes there to try and find him, and in so doing, joins up with a NATO Special Forces unit which hunts down Zombie Insurgents right from the get-go.
In the opening six-minute segment shown last October, Osama had the stuff to make them, and had been doing so when he was killed by the Navy SEALS. He emerged from the Arabian Sea and found his way back to his favorite hell-hole, and began to make more and more Zombies…many of them willing to die and come back to torment the living…all in the name of Jihad, you understand.
As in other Zombie Apocalypse films, The US Government is to blame for distributing a once-”harmless” chemical compound to other, much more nefarious characters, who then proceed to mix other chemicals into the “Godsmack”, turning it into a Zombie-making substance. References are made to “Bill Bonaparte,” “both George Bonapartes” and “Barack Bonaparte,” (which has a nice ring to it!) so you get the idea.

Lots of Head Shots, lots of biting uninfected characters, and in one fun scene, the kitana-wielding Tomboy slices, dices and chops in two one Zombie head in a great mid-air maneuver! It kinda made the ending somewhat anti-climatic. But no matter. Osombie is a fun, popcorn-munching weekend matinee. NOT RATED. I give it 3 stars out of 5.
Finally, this movie inspired me to tweet the following meme:

And with all that said…yes, it’s another edition of The Overnight Open Thread!

How Hamas uses deadly force to rig foreign press coverage in their favor

by 1389AD ( 159 Comments › )
Filed under Censorship, Gaza, Hamas, Palestinians at August 21st, 2014 - 7:00 pm

(h/t: Gramfan)

CAMERA asks: Why Almost No Photos or Videos of Hamas?
(h/t: Blazing Cat Fur)

Here’s why:

Andrew Bolt: Foreign Press Association (finally) attacks Hamas for threatening journalists in Gaza

Finally a belated admission from the Foreign Press Association of the way Hamas terrorists manipulated a largely cowed foreign media:

The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.

The international media are not advocacy organisations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground.

In several cases, foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories or information they have reported through their news media or by means of social media.

We are also aware that Hamas is trying to put in place a “vetting” procedure that would, in effect, allow for the blacklisting of specific journalists. Such a procedure is vehemently opposed by the FPA.

Why have almost none of the journalists embedded in Hamas territory said this much in their reports?

It worked:

A foreign correspondent, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Yedioth Aharonoth’s Daniel Batini (August 7, 2014) that “First, Hamas said its spokesmen could only be interviewed in the courtyard of the Al-Shifa’a Hospital in Gaza City. That meant there were long lines of correspondents waiting for interviews, and as a result they watched the bleeding wounded arriving at the hospital for treatment. That [system] created exactly the impression Hamas wanted, of an immediate emergency situation and a human and humanitarian catastrophe.Second, Hamas never allowed foreign correspondents access to military sites attacked by Israel, whether they were bases, rocket launching sites or other targets. The organization’s dead and wounded operatives were not photographed and therefore, from a media point of view, they do not exist. All that serves Hamas’ objective of representing all the casualties as civilians. Third, it was obvious that Hamas was firing rockets from civilian areas, but Hamas operatives forbid camera teams from filming them, because they did not want to reveal the tactic or the locations of the launch sites.”

More here.

More from Andrew Bolt:

 

The Islamic State is bleeding Hezbollah

by Rodan ( 1 Comment › )
Filed under Al Qaeda, Headlines, Hezballah, Islam, Islamists, Syria at August 19th, 2014 - 8:31 am

Hezbollah has lowered its fighting age to 16. They are running low on the amount of Lebanese Shia men 18 and that can join their ranks. The Islamic State’s guerrilla war in the Qalamoun Mountains is bleeding Hezbollah.

Lebanon’s militant Shiite Hezbollah organization has begun sending fighters as young as 16 to the battlefields of Syria, an indication that the Shiite army is being stretched between fighting Sunni jihadis in Syria and a desire to keep a cutting edge in reserve for a possible future showdown with Israel.

Until now, Hezbollah had required fighters to be at least 18 years of age. The lowering of the age restriction could indicate that the Iran-backed party is feeling hard pressed as its cadres fight from Aleppo in north Syria to Deraa Province in the south, as well as dispatching advisers and trainers to the new battlegrounds of Iraq.

[....]

Hezbollah had spearheaded a campaign between last November and early April to drive rebels from Qalamoun. But the renewed fighting sucked Hezbollah back into the area, and fighting has spilled across the border into Lebanon, where Hezbollah is battling a few thousand determined Syrian and Lebanese Sunni fighters drawn from an array of factions, including IS and Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.

Hezbollah’s adversaries have put up a stiff fight in the mountains east of the Shiite villages of Nahle and Younine, the Sunni town of Arsal, a bedrock of support for the Syrian rebels, and the Christian village of Ras Baalbek.

[....]

Hezbollah generally does not disclose details of its fighting in Syria, but some of the mourners at the funeral provided an account of the battle, offering a rare insight into the intense fighting experienced by the cadres.

The 40-strong Haret Hreik unit was deployed onto a hill east of Nahle after another Hezbollah squad had seized it from Syrian militants. However, the Syrian militants used the rugged terrain to approach the Hezbollah men and launch a counterattack at close range. The Haret Hreik unit belatedly realized that they were ill-prepared. They had deployed with insufficient ammunition and the batteries on their walkie-talkies died so they could not call for back-up. And they didn’t have a single pair of binoculars to look for snipers.

The fighting raged for five hours against a Sunni force estimated at 250 fighters. One of the Hezbollah men, a grizzled veteran of Lebanon’s 1975-1990 civil war, said it was the most intense combat he had ever experienced.

“They were only 10 meters from us, yelling ‘we are coming to kill you, O Rafideen’,” said the Hezbollah veteran, using a slur for Shiites popular with Sunni jihadis. He requested anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Hezbollah has an into a more ruthless enemy.