By: Brent Parrish
The rapidly deteriorating situation unfolding in the Middle East right now is bringing together what, at first glance, appears to be some very strange bedfellows.
Let’s take Syria as an example. On one side, we have the secular and Baathist regime of Bashar al-Assad. Iran is actively supporting the Syrian government. Additionally, the Lebanese-based and predominately Shiite Hezbollah terrorist group is also actively fighting side-by-side with the Syrian Assad Army (SAA).
On the other side, we have a number of extremely violent Sunni-dominated terrorist groups like ISIS and the al-Qaeda linked group Juhbat al-Nusra fighting against the Assad regime.
Lately there have been reports that ISIS is so violent that even al-Qaeda split off from the terrorist group. But this is simply not the case. Al-Qaeda has no issue with the extreme brand of violence employed by ISIS. This is a power struggle between al-Qaeda and ISIS. There have been numerous incidents of ISIS and al-Nusra engaging in bloody infighting within Syria. Recently it was reported that ISIS and al-Nursa have joined forces in Syria. Although, according to my sources, the merger only involved a couple of al-Nusra brigades. Nonetheless, this could become a trend as ISIS consolidates its power.
The leader of ISIS, has recently anointed himself the Caliph of the Islamic State (IS)—meaning supreme ruler of the Islamic Caliphate. Al-Qaeda’s number one man, Ayman al-Zawahiri, sees al-Baghdadi as a direct threat to his dominance. This is simply an alpha dog struggle to see who will be “king of the hill”—plain and simple.
The rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq can be described as a Wahabi-based movement.
Wahabism is an austere and severe form of Islam that embraces violent jihad against the “infidel” (dar al-Harb vs. dar al-Islam, Islam vs. the world) and the strict enforcement of Islamic Sharia law.
Qatar has the highest population of Wahabis in the Middle East (46%). The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has the second highest population of Wahabis (44%), with Saudi Arabia following in third place (22%), according to “Demography of Religion in the Gulf” by Mehrdad Izady and the CNN report in the video above.
The United States has close relationships with Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. has a large military base in Qatar.
Qatar acted as an intermediary between the U.S., Taliban and Haqqani crime syndicate during the negotiations to secure the release of alleged U.S. Army deserter Bowe Bergdhal. The five Taliban commanders released from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for Bergdhal were welcomed with open arms in Doha, Qatar.
Both Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been actively funding Sunni terrorist groups in Syria. Furthermore, there are numerous reports Qatar and Saudi Arabia are funding ISIS as well.
Now this where it gets messy.
Saddam’s Hussein’s right-hand man, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri (“king of clubs”), is believed to be organizing the ISIS movement in Iraq, using them as tools to take down al-Maliki’s predominately Shiite government in Iraq.
Bashar al-Assad is a Baathist, as is al-Douri. But the Assad regime is allied with Iran and Hezbollah. Yet al-Douri, a Baathist himself, is allegedly assisting ISIS. Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime was compromised mostly of Sunni Arabs.
My intel sources are telling me the jihadist group Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order (JRTN), also called the Naqshbandi Army, answers directly to the King of Clubs (a.k.a. Izzat al-Douri). The Sufi-dominated JRTN is composed of underground Baathists and Islamist militants.
“[JRTN] is ostensibly a militant Sufi Muslim organisation named for the Naqshbandi Sufi order and the JRTN’s ideology has been described as “a mix of Islamic and pan-Arab nationalistic ideas”, with Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri being described as “the hidden sheikh of the Men of the Naqshbandi.”
Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri is not a character to be taken lightly. According to the same intel sources, al-Douri is a trained scientist and engineer who must be stopped. Should ISIS get their hands on WMD’s and overrun the SCUD missile factory in northeast Syria, the potential consequences are beyond dire. (Think chemical-tipped SCUD missile.) ISIS has already threatened to use nuclear weapons against Israel.
There have allegedly been numerous sightings of the King of Clubs in the region, but no solid intel at this point.
Confused? Welcome to the King of Clubs.