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Sunday, 26 July 2015

U.S., Israel on collision course if Iran deal goes through

Netanyahu-stares-down-Obama-ap-640x480AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The Iran deal is President Obama’s most important “legacy” achievement. He sees it as the key to his vision of a “new equilibrium” in the region. In the past, he has “preempted” Israel’s preemptive capacity by leaking Israeli attack plans. He may do worse in future–unless Congress defeats the Iran deal and denies him that mandate.


On his visit to Israel in March 2013, President Barack Obama backed Israel’s right to use force to stop Iran from building a nuclear bomb.

At a joint news conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama said: “…each country has to make its own decisions when it comes to the awesome decision to engage in any kind of military action, and Israel is differently situated than the United States. And I would not expect that the Prime Minister would make a decision about his country’s security and defer that to any other country…”.

Now, in the wake of the Iran deal, the Obama administration is sending dramatically different signals.On the Today show Friday, Secretary of State Kerry said of a pre-emptive Israeli strike on Iran: “That’d be an enormous mistake, a huge mistake with grave consequences for Israel and for the region, and I don’t think it’s necessary.”

Kerry later tried to deflect concerns that the Iran deal requires world powers to secure Iran’s nuclear facilities, downplaying the chance those clauses could be interpreted as requiring the U.S. to defend Iran against Israel.

Yet faced with a choice between defending Israel and defending the Iran deal, it is become clear that under some circumstances, the Obama administration would choose the latter. That is a radically different position from the one Obama took in public just a short time before formal negotiations began.

True, if Israel were to attack Iran preemptively, it would not be the first time it had done so without U.S. backing. President Ronald Reagan condemned Israel’s attack against Iraq in 1981; George W. Bush said “no” to Israel’s 2007 strike against Syria.

But Obama’s new stance suggests something stronger than mere disapproval.

The Iran deal is President Obama’s most important “legacy” achievement. He sees it as the key to his vision of a “new equilibrium” in the region. In the past, he has “preempted” Israel’s preemptive capacity by leaking Israeli attack plans. He may do worse in future–unless Congress defeats the Iran deal and denies him that mandate.

If the deal holds, Israel may soon face the impossible choice of whether to risk America’s new interests for the sake of its own survival.

Israelis applauds Italy PM Renzi's remarks during Israel visit


Israelis applauded Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi for his stirring expressions of support for Israel and the Italian-Israeli relationship during his three-day visit to the Jewish state.

"The security of Israel is the security of Europe," said Renzi at a press conference in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "We stand on the side of a people who fight for the ideals of democracy and prosperity," he said. "There is not a right for Israel to exist. There is a duty for Israel to exist."

On rising anti-Semitism around the world, Renzi was clear in stating that "we are absolutely committed to continue the fight against anti-Semitism because it is really an enemy of peace and a key for terror."

Addressing the Knesset, Israel's Parliament, Renzi was clear that Israel's existence is beyond question. "Recognizing Israel means recognizing reality," said Renzi. "The existence of the State of Israel is not a gesture of the international community after the Holocaust, but a fact that predates any international agreement by hundreds of years."

The Italian premier also criticized the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement: "Whoever boycotts Israel does not realize that he is boycotting himself, betraying the future. Italy will always stand at the forefront of cooperation, never of boycott. It is stupid and futile."

"Prime Minister Renzi's clear-eyed, principled remarks, at this time, are a powerful reaffirmation of Italian-Israeli relations and a model for other nations," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

"When it comes to Israel, there simply cannot be any equivocating. That's a key message conveyed by Italy's Prime Minister," he said.

Ex-chief of Israel's military intelligence Amos Yadlin briefly detained at London airport

Amos Yadlin was part of a delegation from the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, where he is currently the director. 

LONDON (EJP)---The former chief of Israel’s military intelligence Amos Yadlin was briefly detained by British immigration officers at London’s Heathrow airport earlier this week, the Israeli media reported.

The incident occurred when Yadlin landed in the British capital as part of a delegation from the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Israel’s Tel Aviv University, where he is currently the director. He was held along with former Israel Defense Forces chiefs of staff Gabi Ashkenazi and Dan Halutz, former minister Gideon Saar and former head of Israel’s National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror.

Although Yadlin was quickly allowed to enter the country, the reasons for the initial hold-up are still unclear.

“We were part of a INSS delegation for dialogue in the U.K,'' Yadlin told Channel 2 television. 

“Everyone passed through passport control, but they delayed me for ten minutes. They probably had something on their computer they wanted to check,” he said.

Yadlin added that the British officials “did not say or explain anything, and after ten minutes they sent me on my way.” He said he was “detained for a few minutes, asked a few questions, but went on as usual.”

Yadlin has had a long and storied career in Israel’s political and defense establishment. He holds the rank of Major General in the Israeli Air Force, was formerly the IDF’s military attache to Washington, D.C., and has served as the head of IDF Military Intelligence (AMAN).

He was the Zionist Union's candidate to be Defense Minister during the last election

Last month, the British government refused an Israeli request to grant immunity from arrest to former Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz, who arrived in London. However, Mofaz faced no problems upon his arrival.

According to Channel 2, the measures may well be related to war crimes charges filed against Israelis in international tribunals and the International Criminal Court.

Learning to tolerate Judaism in Kazakhstan

Learning to tolerate Judaism in Kazakhstan 

While covering the Fifth Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions in Astana recently, The Jakarta Post visited the Beit Rachel synagogue. Beit Rachel is the largest house of Judaic worship in Central Asia.

Kazakhstani Rabbi chief Yeshaya Cohen expressed his appreciation for the government for its support of the local Jewish community. Such support included facilitating the development of the synagogue, and in the present day, working to strengthen religious tolerance between Muslims and Jews.

B✡B ✿⊹⊱╮

Friday, 24 July 2015

Award-Winning American Jewish Author E.L. Doctorow Dies at 84

American Jewish author E.L. Doctorow via/YouTube

(JNS). Award-winning American Jewish author E.L. Doctorow died Tuesday at age 84 due to complications from lung cancer, his son Richard Doctorow told the New York Times.

Doctorow wrote a dozen novels, three volumes of short fiction, and one stage drama. His most well-known written works were fictional historical novels such as “Ragtime,” “Billy Bathgate,” and “The March.” He also wrote essays and commentary on literature and politics.

“The distinguished characteristic of E. L. Doctorow’s work is its double vision. In each of his books he experiments with the forms of fiction, working for effects that others haven’t already achieved; in each he develops a tone, a structure and a texture that he hasn’t used before. At the same time, he’s a deeply traditional writer, reworking American history, American literary archetypes, even exhausted subliterary genres. It’s an astonishing performance, really,” wrote literary critic Peter S. Prescott in Newsweek in 1984.

On Twitter, President Barack Obama called Doctorow “one of America’s greatest novelists.”

“His books taught me much, and he will be missed,” Obama said, citing “Ragtime” as his favorite Doctorow novel.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Netanyahu's Childhood Letters with Fallen Hero Revealed

Benyamin Netanyahu was always serious as a young man, intense, and a strong debater. Young men like that are usually loners and can’t find other boys their age with compatible qualities or interests.

Yoni (center) with his brothers Benjamin (left) and Ido

In a recent article in Ynet, it was revealed that Netanyahu, who missed his high-school graduation to enlist in the IDF for the ’67 war, had such a friend, but he was tragically killed in the Yom Kippur War, three months after Yoni Netanyahu was killed at Entebbe.

A fascinating glimpse into the psyche of the emerging leader is given by a pack of letters written by his friend, Ariel Barzilay. Netanyahu returned the letters to Barzilay’s mother three years after his death, in 1976, after he found them while searching for letters from his brother, Yoni. He attached a letter to the gift.

“Dear Tova,” Netanyahu wrote. “While searching for Yoni’s letters, I found this letter from Ariel. Clearly now, more than ever, the value of these traces is clear to me – because apart from memories and letters, there is so little left that can be passed on to other, so that they will also know. And it’s important for Roee to get to know Ariel and draw power and inspiration from him, just like it’s important for me that my children will get to know, really know, my brother Yoni. All the best, Bibi.”

The pack of letters sat in her attic for decades, passing to her daughter, Anat Keinan, when she passed away.

Anat explained why she had not revealed the letters earlier.

“It was difficult for us to deal with it. My mother and I would open a box, read a letter and shed a tear. That’s why we also couldn’t deal with commemoration evenings and events. When you see the pictures, you understand what a special group they were. Bibi and Beller and Ariel were attached to each other in the summer. When we marked 30 years since Ariel was killed, Bibi was supposed to come and in the end it was too complicated security-wise, so he called me and we spoke about Ariel a bit.”

“Throughout the years, I said that I don’t want to close this circle. Something in me said that I want to leave this channel open all the time. After the 30th anniversary event in Ariel’s memory, I was all shaken up. I was in a terrible storm of emotions after that evening. I am a teacher and I remember walking to school so I could cry. It was very difficult.”

This year, as part of the Israel Museum’s 50th anniversary celebrations, Anat found a picture of Ariel and his friends from 1965 in one of the museum’s exhibitions. It led her to open up about the pictures.

An old, black-and-white  photo shows a group of friends, including Uzi Beller, now know as Professor Beller, who introduced Netanyahu to his friend, Barzilay.

“Bibi was a friend of mine from elementary school,” says Beller. “He and his family moved to the US, and in the summers he would live in my house and I would take him to the Scouts camp to hang out with the guys. That’s how he met his first wife, and that’s how Ariel got to know him too.”

“Ariel was a very positive person. He had charisma which couldn’t be ignored. It’s true that we were all successful, but there was something very charismatic, serious and responsible about Ariel.”

The group went on to high-school together, but Benyamin Netanyahu moved to Pennsylvania with his family. He stayed in touch, though, through writing letters.

In February 1967, Barzilay wrote to Netanyahu:

 “Memories… memories… remember… a lot to remember. We remember everything. It’s a bit strange and unpleasant to think that this is the last summer we could fool around and make a mess like animals and see ourselves as small children who are allowed to do anything. It’s a bit strange and unpleasant to know that at the end of this year we’ll be entering a harsh and fatal discipline of an army, efforts of a body we are not exactly familiar with. We won’t be allowed to do strange things, because they don’t befit a grownup person. We will have to be like everyone, with long trousers, polished shoes. No, no, it’s just unpleasant.

“To the last word, this was written yesterday, on Friday evening, until my girlfriend arrived and we went to a party. Today it’s Saturday morning. I am starting to study for an exam in analytical engineering. There was a party at Fefferman’s. It was great. I will conclude here. It’s raining outside, it’s February, I must go study. So long, Ariel.”

On September 20, 1965, Netanyahu wrote a letter to Ariel from the US:

“Hello Barzil! Listen, I returned from school pretty desperate, pondered and idled away for half an hour and then decided it was time to do my homework. I went to my father’s room to get a new pen and found instead of it on the table – a letter from you! In a flash my mood changed and I began screaming ‘hello’ excitedly, kicking the furniture, scratching the walls… Don’t think I’m exaggerating. I haven’t been this satisfied in a long time, and I mean it. In short, I immediately sat down to answer you.

 “The truth is that the situation here, although it is depressing, isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Last week I had pretty serious nightmares, but very quickly, when school began, I no longer have time for these things (tough, my friend). I am starting to see the wheels turn and time passing by. In my leisure time I miss and remember the exact things you mentioned. You are right: It really was my most successful summer. Let’s hope the next one will be even better (by the way, I don’t want you to escape to Rehovot during the vacation, because I want to spend quite a lot of time with you. Even two months. Is that clear?)

“You tell me – I understand from all kinds of sources that you really being tormented in the scientific classes. Miki wrote to me that you have dangerous mind bullies, while you and Buz (Beller) are praising some Romanian-speaking grown creature. If he causes any trouble, we’ll take care of him together during the summer (we can also add Piker to project).”

In a letter dated April 2, 1967, Barzilay asks Netanyahu about his future plans in Israel:

“As for your university, I see that you’re an organized fellow and that you are taking care of your future. If so, I dare ask you what are your plans for the longer term. Do you have plans to stay in the US or just an intermediate station again? You know, I am not attracted by overseas at all. I think that since my future lies in this country, it’s clear that everything it can provide me with is more than enough, and I ask you not to take this lightly, because the level in Israel is not low in any way! (Especially in high school!) By the way, do you know that Israel is first in mathematical studies in the world? And that’s based on tests taken by delegations from several dozen countries, including the US. I should note that the eastern countries were not included, and they are a considerable mathematical force. Well, I’ve had enough of talking about studies. In general, there is almost no news.”

 In the next letter, sent a month and a half later, on May 16, Barzilay tries to emphasize what he said:

 “I’m rushing to answer for two reasons: A) you asked me to; and B) you somewhat angered me, so I am rushing to fill in the void that has been created. An American or British band called The Animals sang a song called, ‘Please, Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.’

 “All that is left for me is to sing it out loud. It’s true that your intellectual way resides permanently in the way I think. I never doubted the fact that in order to create an opinion you must gather information about the sides and opinions, and after becoming proficient, make a ruling!… There is a certain difference between expressing an opinion and an impression. My impression in my current situation is that I am not attracted by overseas. It’s a simple story about my world of senses and not necessarily slander against anything beyond the border. I had no patriotic intention in that, and if you think it’s easy to sit in an armchair in Jerusalem and be a patriot, I hereby inform you that this is the situation, it’s difficult! Because emigration is in fashion, there are voices in favor of it. While they don’t exceed the more patriotic ones, they are heard and are not unusual (and I am convinced that you are personally familiar with the emigration problem). I am ending the problem here, and if you tried to raise an intellectual problem you encountered in my letter, I hope I have convinced you that you failed to understand the data of the problem, and it’s very simple!

 “From patriotism to patriotism, we’re still on the same issue: Today is Independence Day!! The guys and I had a campfire picnic with 35 people, with kebab, hummus, pita bread, and cold, warm and alcoholic drinks. They sang and it was very joyful. By the way, the kebab was made by us and it’s something to be proud of. We prepared it on a charcoal barbecue, on embers. Very romantic. In school it’s starting to get busy and let’s hope it will be okay. In a month and a half it will all be behind us. So long. Yours, Ariel.”

Bibi was a very mature student, but he was completely ‘Americano,'” says Professor Beller. “Before Yoni was killed, he made plans to stay there at major stages. Many people suggested that he stay in American. Good Israelis who move to America and receive offers is not a rare thing. I also lived there and came back. So at the time Bibi had quite a few temptations to stay there.

“He graduated from business administration school. After completing his studies, he worked in a very large business consulting company, the Boston Consulting Group, and changed his last name to Nitay (the name his father sometimes used to sign his articles). It’s no secret that he planned to stay there, but then Yoni was killed and everything changed and he decided to come back.”

Anti-Israel campaigners protest against ladies U19 Lacrosse event

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists have been urged to protest at the event and call for Israel’s team to be excluded.

The Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) has scheduled demonstrations at each of the matches involving Israel. The team is pencilled in to play South Korea today, New Zealand tomorrow, Finland on Saturday and the US on Sunday.

Angus Maclean, of SPSC, said: “For 67 years Israel has defied international law and Palestinians are calling on civil society and grassroots organisations to take a stand against ethnic cleansing and genocide. 

“We will be present at each of the matches to protest and send a clear message that Israel’s involvement in this, and any, international sporting event is unacceptable.”

The Edinburgh Friends of Israel have set up an online petition calling on the Scottish Government, the city council and Lacrosse Scotland to “guarantee the safety of teenage girls representing Israel” at the lacrosse event.

(The petition, )

A statement on the website reads: “Scotland has an enviable reputation for hospitality and celebrating culture. The SPSC has targeted a sporting event to further its extremist campaign of hatred and misinformation. 

“Anyone who believes that political campaigns should not be thrust upon sport, particularly when youngsters are involved, should sign this petition. 

“We need to show that campaigns based upon hatred and vilification have no place in events hoping to strengthen international goodwill and develop lasting friendships.”

Last summer an Israeli Fringe show, The City, a “hip hop fable” part-funded by the Israeli government, was cancelled following disruptions by demonstrators over the situation in Gaza.

A spokesman for Police Scotland said: “We are aware of a planned demonstration due to take place at Peffermill. 

“Officers have been liaising with the relevant agencies and individuals to ensure the event passes without incident.”

Tournament organisers are aware of the planned demo but declined to comment, while the city council confirmed it was aware of potential powderkeg protests.

The Israeli Embassy in London said it knew of the SPSC’s plans but had no further comment to make.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Guarantee the safety of teenage girls representing Israel playing in an international lacrosse tournament in Edinburgh following threats from the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

What more reason do you need to sign the petition? If you and your Granny haven’t yet signed, please do so now!:

Guarantee the safety of teenage girls representing Israel playing in an international lacrosse tournament in Edinburgh following threats from the Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

SPSC Press release:
For Immediate Release
22 July 2015
Human rights campaigners are planning protests at Israel’s participationin the FIL Rathbones Women’s 2015 U19 Lacrosse World Championship that starts tomorrow in Edinburgh at the Peffermill sports centre.
Campaigners are responding to the Palestinian call for a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel in support of Palestinian rights.   Israel has continued to violate international law, while enforcing the siege of the Gaza strip, in July 2014 the Israeli armed forces launched 'Operation Protective Edge' against the people of Gaza.  During seven weeks of sustained onslaught, over 2,200 Gazans were killed.  Israeli forces targeted every level of Gazan infrastructure destroying hospitals, schools, utility sources and many homes.
Only a year later, protestors argue that it should not be business as usual and called for Israel’s Lacrosse team to be excluded from the Championships taking place in Scotland.
Since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel’s colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies.  All forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine.
On 16 July 2014 four young Palestinian boys were killed as they played football on the beach in Gaza.  Despite eye witness accounts of international journalists the investigation into the murder of these children at play has been closed with no further action to be taken. 
Palestinian civil society calls for a campaign of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights. The aim of the campaign is to isolate and exclude Israel, with no 'business as usual' or sporting and cultural exchanges until it brings an end to its apartheid regime.
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign has called for demonstrations at each of the matches involving Israel - Thursday 23rd JULY Israel vs Korea, Friday 24th JULY Israel vs Nz, Saturday 25th JULYIsrael v Finland and Sunday 26th JULYIsrael v USA.
Angus Maclean, of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, explained the reasons behind the demonstrations. “For 67 years Israel has defied international law and Palestinians are calling on civil society and grassroots organisations to take a stand against ethnic cleansing and genocide. We will be present at each of the matches to protest and send a clear message that Israel’s involvement in this, and any, international sporting event is unacceptable."
Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Monday, 20 July 2015

Syria - French Jihadist arrested in Turkey, came back in France with his wife

His name Sofiane, 19 years old, below it's his propaganda message published in February 2015, it's after the Charlie Hebdo's attacks, he also encourages others to do the Jihad or make attacks in France.

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March 28, 2015, he contacted a French journalist to tell that life in Syria was not as he had hoped, he needed to talk, he left ar-Raqqah with his wife (pregnant) with the help of a Syrian, in a truck.( ar-Raqqah which is squared by the ISIS police that is supposed to stop the deserter / traitors). and noted that nearly 150 foreign fighters have already been executed by ISIS since September for these reasons (add this 'spying')

his wife who is in France now and.. FREE, (because yes, all Jihadists women who returned from Syria, are not considered as terrorists but as victims), she said that these articles of the press wrote by the kuffar are false. (she really said this)

the photo here it's in his villa, center of ar-Raqqah, took by a French journalist during a brief interview by webcam in march 2015, there are only Francophone in this villa (a few French, Luxembourgers and a majority of Belgians)

he is now in the prison of Fresnes in a program where there is above 30 "ex-Jihadists" awaiting judgment

"Des geôles de l'Etat islamique à ma cellule de Fresnes" : le parcours de Sofiane, un jihadiste français

jeune homme de 20 ans est revenu en France après un séjour au sein du groupe terroriste en Syrie. Incarcéré depuis trois mois, il a raconté son périple, avant son arrestation, à Romain Boutilly, journaliste à "Complément d'enquête". 

Le jeune Français Sofiane* a passé près d'un an dans les rangs du groupe Etat islamique avant de rentrer et d'être incarcéré en France en mai 2015.
Le jeune Français Sofiane* a passé près d'un an dans les rangs du groupe Etat islamique avant de rentrer et d'être incarcéré en France en mai 2015. (DR)

Il y a un an, Sofiane* rejoignait la Syrie et le groupe Etat islamique pour "accomplir son jihad". Depuis mai, il est incarcéré à Fresnes (Val-de-Marne) et fait partie de ces Français revenus dans l'Hexagone, souvent de leur plein gré. Avant son retour et son interpellation, ce jeune homme s'est confié, pendant plusieurs semaines à partir de la mi-février, au journaliste de "Complément d'enquête" Romain Boutilly. Il lui a raconté son retour clandestin, ses désillusions, sa chute dans le radicalisme... "Allô, c'est moi. Ça y est, on a réussi à passer côté turc. On a mis trois heures pour faire cette traversée. Les militaires nous avaient repérés. C'était chaud, on a failli se faire tirer dessus." Ce samedi, fin mars 2015, il est presque 22 heures quand mon téléphone sonne. A l'autre bout du fil, via Skype, la voix euphorique de Sofiane, 19 ans. Voilà des semaines qu'il y pensait. Ce matin, il l’a fait, il a fui le califat de l’autoproclamé Etat islamique (EI).

Après une nuit blanche passée à refaire "son plan dans sa tête", il se lève à 6 heures avec sa femme Assia. Il emporte quelques affaires et laisse son arme, en prenant soin de ne pas réveiller ses frères de combat, qui dorment dans la pièce d'à côté. Le jeune couple prend la route. Direction le nord de la Syrie. Huit heures de trajet depuis Raqqa, jusqu’à la frontière turque, qu'ils traversent clandestinement. Jusqu'à arriver dans la ville d’Urfa.

"Ne vous arrêtez pas, sinon les frères vont vous repérer"

"Ça fait deux semaines que je prépare mon coup, j'ai repéré un vieux commerçant syrien, qui traverse la frontière tous les samedis avec son camion de marchandises. Il nous a laissés monter à l'arrière. Je lui ai donné des sous et il nous a conduits sur un petit chemin tranquille, près d'une forêt. A un moment, il a crié : 'Allez-y, allez-y, c'est maintenant, courez vite, sur 200 m. Ne vous arrêtez pas sinon les frères vont vous repérer et vous arrêter'."

Au moment de sa traversée, cela fait plusieurs semaines que nous communiquons. Sitôt la frontière passée, il m’appelle et parle à voix basse. Il craint qu’un policier turc ne le démasque. Il se dit inquiet pour sa femme, enceinte de sept mois. Elle est tombée plusieurs fois durant sa fuite. Le déserteur sait qu'ils ont eu de la chance, ni leurs sacs chargés de vêtements, ni sa barbe fournie et son kamis n'ont attiré l'attention de la police militaire de l'EI, postée à chaque barrage autour de Raqqa.

Depuis que cette nouvelle brigade de combattants est chargée de traquer les "traîtres", les fuyards qui délaissent le front ne sont pas moins nombreux, même s'ils risquent la décapitation. Près de 150 combattants étrangers auraient déjà été exécutés par les jihadistes depuis septembre.

On sait que notre tête est mise à prix. C'est le risque. Même ici en Turquie, ils peuvent nous retrouver. Alors on fait gaffe, on va vite bouger.


"On est prêts à rentrer et à tout péter"

Tout commence un mois plus tôt, mi-février, lorsque je "rencontre" Sofiane pour la première fois dans le cadre d'un reportage sur des combattants belges. Après plusieurs déménagements en Syrie puis en Irak, au gré des combats et des prises de guerre, Sofiane échoue dans "une villa de luxe" du centre de Raqqa. Il vit alors en compagnie d'un groupe de dix combattants francophones. Des Luxembourgeois, quelques Français, et plusieurs Belges, avec qui j'ai rendez-vous pour une interview via Skype.

Sur mon écran, en arrière-plan, apparaît Sofiane, au milieu des autres jihadistes encagoulés et armés. Il prend la parole : "Ecoute-moi bien. On n’a pas peur, on est prêts à rentrer et tout péter ! Ici, on est entraînés pour passer entre les mailles des filets des mecs des renseignements. On les connaît, on sait comment ils raisonnent. Moi, si je rentre, c'est impossible que je me fasse choper." Le jeune homme se montre menaçant. Ce jour-là, devant la webcam, il donne l'image du jihadiste fanatique et exalté, délivrant des messages de propagande barbares, bien calibrés pour les médias. Sur sa page Facebook, il cite abondamment les sourates du Coran, invite ses amis à le rejoindre et s’affiche visage découvert, armes à la main.

Première rencontre entre Sofiane*, en compagnie de ses frères d'armes de l'Etat islamique.
Première rencontre entre Sofiane*, en compagnie de ses frères d'armes de l'Etat islamique. (DR)

La surprise vient quelques jours plus tard. Cette fois, c'est lui qui prend contact. Le début de longues discussions, toutes enregistrées. Et ce soir-là, le ton change : "L'autre jour, j'ai menti. C'était pour jouer la comédie devant la caméra. Devant les autres, je ne peux pas en parler, ça craint. Mais en fait, je veux rentrer, j'en ai marre. Dis-moi, toi qui es journaliste, je risque quoi si je me rends à l'ambassade de France en Turquie ?"  Une volte-face à peine crédible après ses menaces de l’autre jour. Sofiane me confie être en "pleine déprime", celle d'un jihadiste déçu par son expérience.

"C'était loin d'être un abruti, mon fils"

Un an plus tôt, rien ne semble le prédestiner à rejoindre les rangs du groupe Etat islamique. Bachelier de 18 ans, il vit près d’Orléans (Loiret) et mène une vie sans histoire. Dans son HLM d'un quartier populaire, ce jeune homme, issu d'une famille marocaine, se décrit comme un "mec normal" avec une "vie stable". Il est le benjamin d’une famille unie et attentionnée. Son quotidien est rythmé par les parties de foot, la boxe thaï en club, les soirées avec sa bande de copains. Une vie "pleine de vices de mécréant, genre alcool, filles, joints". Sa mère, Tarika, parle d’un enfant ambitieux et très mûr : "A l'école, il était très apprécié par ses professeurs, il avait les félicitations presque à chaque trimestre. Il voulait devenir dirigeant d'entreprise. C'était loin d'être un abruti, mon fils." 

Au printemps 2014, Sofiane obtient son bac professionnel et s’inscrit dans une formation pour devenir vendeur. Mais un événement va bouleverser son destin. "J'ai commencé à cogiter, six mois plus tôt, au moment où j'ai perdu mon meilleur ami dans un accident de voiture. Là, ça été moche. J'ai vrillé. Une amie à moi commençait à être à fond dans la religion, je pense que ça m'a un peu influencé", analyse-t-il. En quête de spiritualité et de repères, il s'isole et se fait sa propre éducation religieuse, sur internet, grâce à "cheikh YouTube". Il visionne des heures de vidéos de propagande, souvent seul, sur son smartphone. "Quand je voyais les Syriens qui appelaient à l'aide dans les ruines, j’étais choqué. J'ai commencé à me sentir coupable de rester les bras croisés." L'engrenage est enclenché.

"Maman, désolé, je t'ai menti : je pars en Turquie..."

Début juin, il quitte son CDI de vendeur à temps partiel dans un magasin de prêt-à-porter et touche son solde de tout compte. Plusieurs centaines d’euros avec lesquels il se paie un séjour d'une semaine en Angleterre avec des amis. Mais Sofiane ne rentre pas chez lui au terme de cette escapade. Sa mère s'inquiète."Je n'avais plus de nouvelles, on l'attendait à la maison. Je l'ai appelé, et là, j'ai entendu un bruit d'avion et une hôtesse de l'air qui faisait des annonces. Quand je lui ai demandé ce qu'il faisait, il m'a répondu : 'Maman, désolé, je t'ai menti : je pars en Turquie... Ne m'en voulez pas'." 

Tarika comprend immédiatement. Elle pense alors que Sofiane suit l'exemple de son frère, Youssef, 22 ans, enrôlé par l'EI quatre mois plus tôt et avec qui il correspond via Facebook. Et se rassure en expliquant ce départ soudain par une envie d’aventure, sur un coup de tête. Sofiane, lui, me cachera toujours l’existence de son frère durant nos discussions. Avant de partir, il a laissé une lettre d’adieu à ses parents : "Youssef, c'est comme ma moitié, maman. Sans lui, je n'arrive plus à être bien ici."  Son voyage ? Départ de Paris fin juin, puis la Turquie via Istanbul et Gaziantep. Avant la Syrie. Sofiane y trouve un passeur qui lui fait traverser la frontière pour un peu moins de 1 000 euros.

Shopping, films et parties de foot avec des petits Syriens

De sa vie sur place, le jeune homme livre une version édulcorée, présentable. Conscient qu'un jour, son récit sera, peut-être, lu par un juge ou des policiers. Qu'a-t-il fait durant ces huit mois ? A l'entendre, les candidats au jihad se font une fausse idée de la vie sur place. "Il ne faut pas s'imaginer qu'on marche tout le temps sur des ruines, au milieu des têtes coupées et des tirs... Tout ça, c'est de la communication pour les médias, m'explique-t-il au départ. Ce n'est pas la guerre partout. Moi, le soir, je fais du shopping sur les marchés, je vais voir des films, je joue au foot avec des petits Syriens, on rigole bien. Souvent, on loue des voitures avec des frères pour aller se balader le long de l'Euphrate. On a visité toute la Syrie et l'Irak. C'est magnifique."

Lors de son séjour en Syrie et en Irak avec le groupe Etat islamique, Sofiane* est parti à la découverte de ces deux pays.
Lors de son séjour en Syrie et en Irak avec le groupe Etat islamique, Sofiane* est parti à la découverte de ces deux pays. (DR)

Pourtant, au fil du temps, l'apprenti terroriste me fait aussi part de ses nombreuses désillusions. Lui qui n’a jamais fréquenté la mosquée, lu le Coran, ni fait le ramadan, imaginait trouver un cadre idéal pour devenir un pieux musulman. Sur place, il déchante : "En Syrie ou en Irak, aucun imam, aucune école coranique ne t'accueille quand tu arrives. En fait, dans les villes, près des zones de combat, rien n'est prévu pour les gars comme moi qui débutent dans la religion. Ce n'est pas leur priorité."  Une réalité bien loin de la "vie rêvée au Shâm", telle que l’EI la présente dans ses clips de propagande.

"Ce qui m'a saoulé, ce sont les injustices du quotidien"

Dans cette zone de guerre où personne ne l'attend, son ignorance religieuse et son inexpérience militaire ne font pas de lui une recrue de premier choix. Il le sait et le vit mal. "Ce qui m'a saoulé, ce sont les injustices du quotidien. Par exemple, quand tu cherches un appartement, on te met sur une liste d'attente. Et un émir local qui a plusieurs femmes, qui est connu, va directement obtenir une grande maison ! Alors qu'un jeune Français comme moi, qui a pourtant tout quitté dans son pays, on le fait dormir dans des trucs dégueulasses", explique Sofiane. 

Un quotidien précaire où il lui arrive de côtoyer la mort. Il me raconte ainsi que, durant l'hiver 2014, deux obus de la coalition sont tombés à 5 mètres de lui, en pleine nuit, alors qu'il dormait dans une mosquée avec plusieurs frères d'armes. Tous ont été tués. Lui, dit-il, s'en est tiré avec de graves blessures au dos et le sentiment que mourir en martyr n'était peut-être plus son objectif. D’ailleurs, il affirme n’avoir jamais voulu combattre. Plus étonnant, il m'explique même n’avoir jamais été appelé à le faire : "A la base, je ne suis pas venu pour ça. Je n'ai même pas fait la formation militaire. Je ne suis pas le seul, nous sommes nombreux à ne pas aller au combat. Si je n’y suis pas allé, c’est surtout parce que ma femme était enceinte, et je voulais rester 24 heures sur 24 avec elle. Je ne voulais pas qu’elle se retrouve toute seule là-bas." 

Suspecté d'être un espion par ses supérieurs

Dans chaque ville où il passe, l'EI multiplie les exactions : décapitations, exécutions publiques, châtiments corporels... Une violence omniprésente que Sofiane ne cautionne pas toujours. "La charia, je veux bien. Couper la main aux voleurs ou décapiter les traîtres, ok. Mais quand ils ont brûlé vif le pilote jordanien dans une cage, avec plein de caméras qui filmaient, là, pour être honnête, ça m'a choqué, s'indigne-t-il. J’étais mal à l'aise. J’ai regardé dans le Coran, le feu, c'est censé être un châtiment divin, ordonné par Dieu uniquement." 

Durant son séjour en Syrie, Sofiane* affirme n'avoir pas pris part aux combats. Il était chargé de surveiller des bâtiments officiels réquisitionnés par l'organisation terroriste.
Durant son séjour en Syrie, Sofiane* affirme n'avoir pas pris part aux combats. Il était chargé de surveiller des bâtiments officiels réquisitionnés par l'organisation terroriste. (DR)

Ces états d’âmes lui valent des railleries, et même des suspicions. Des soupçons alimentés également par son comportement désinvolte et extraverti. A Raqqa, le jeune Français a gardé son look de gamin des quartiers. Bonnet sur la tête, baskets flashy, veste en cuir, il ne fait pas dans la discrétion. Tous les soirs, il téléphone dans la rue, à voix haute, à ses amis et sa famille restés en France, pour leur raconter son quotidien en détail. Sans se méfier du regard suspicieux de certains de ses frères d'armes, et bientôt de ses supérieurs, qui le prennent pour un espion.

Selon ses déclarations, Sofiane aurait été arrêté, interrogé et même battu à plusieurs reprises par la police secrète de l'EI. Après deux mois d'enfermement en fin d'année, il est enfin relâché. Mais son calvaire n'est pas terminé. Sa solde est fortement diminuée et on lui confie désormais le "sale boulot". Du matin au soir, par 40°C, il doit surveiller des bâtiments officiels réquisitionnés par l'organisation terroriste. Pour arrondir les fins de mois, il fait dans le trafic d'armes, de quoi "manger pendant deux mois".

Le tournant des attentats de Paris

Déconsidéré, humilié, Sofiane s'ennuie et fait part de sa déprime à ses proches. C'est par eux que j'apprendrai plus tard un épisode déterminant, confirmé par d'autres combattants sur place. En début d'année, alors que Sofiane semble avoir perdu contact avec son frère, une autre fratrie plonge la France dans l'horreur. Le 7 janvier, les frères Kouachi lancent un assaut meurtrier sur Charlie HebdoDeux jours plus tard, Amedy Coulibaly effectue une prise d'otages sanglante à l'Hyper Cacher de la porte de Vincennes. Bilan : 17 morts.

Le 15 janvier, Sofiane aurait été forcé d'apparaître à visage découvert dans une vidéo de propagande, en pleine rue, "pour prouver mon engagement", assure-t-il. Veste en cuir, kalachnikov à la main, il se félicite des attentats de Paris et menace la France de futures opérations terroristes. "Il était mal, déprimé. Ils lui ont dit : 'Toi, t'es pas comme ton frère, tu es venu ici pour nous espionner'. Moi, j'avais peur qu'ils le tuent, mon fils. Lui, il semblait confiant. Il a joué le jeu pour les rassurer", se remémore sa mère, l'une des rares personnes à qui Sofiane a raconté cette histoire.

Dans une vidéo de propagande du groupe Etat islamique publiée le 15 janvier 2015, Sofiane* se réjouit des attentats qui ont touché Paris.
Dans une vidéo de propagande du groupe Etat islamique publiée le 15 janvier 2015, Sofiane* se réjouit des attentats qui ont touché Paris. (DR)

"Après ça, il continuait à nous parler, depuis des cybercafés souvent, mais on sentait qu'il était surveillé. Il disait qu'on lui avait pris son passeport pour l'empêcher de s'échapper. Il a commencé à évoquer son retour", poursuit Tarika. Entre-temps, Sofiane suit les consignes de son organisation. Sur internet, il séduit puis demande en mariage une Française, attirée elle aussi par l'islam radical et la "hijra vers la terre du prophète". A 26 ans, Assia est fraîchement diplômée de l'enseignement supérieur. Elle quitte tout pour le rejoindre et tombe rapidement enceinte. Sofiane me raconte qu'ensemble, ils vont au cinéma, font du shopping, louent des voitures à plusieurs couples et visitent l'immense califat.Ils postent régulièrement des photos de leurs virées sur Facebook, comme de simples touristes en vacances au Moyen-Orient.

Interpellé après s'être rendu au consulat de France 

Jusqu'à ce samedi 28 mars, quand Sofiane et sa femme décident de déserter. Ce serait la première fois qu'un couple de Français fuit l'EI. Après leur traversée, nous convenons de nous rencontrer, mardi 31 mars, à Istanbul, sur la grande place de Sultanahmet. Le jihadiste a besoin de parler. Il sait qu'en France, la prison l'attend. Durant ces quelques jours, qu'il imagine paisibles, il a même prévu un programme de détente : "Aller au hammam, faire du shopping, dîner dans des bons restos". Un copain doit venir de France pour profiter avec lui de ses derniers jours de liberté.

Mercredi 1er avril, Sofiane se rase et met du gel dans ses cheveux pour "se fondre dans la masse". Il m'envoie une dernière photo de lui, son billet de bus entre les dents. Le cliché est censé me prouver qu'il est bien en Turquie. Seul, il quitte son hôtel et prend le bus, direction le consulat français. Avant de me rencontrer, il tient à y passer pour connaître la procédure pour rentrer dans l'Hexagone. A la réception, on lui aurait conseillé de revenir le lendemain, prétextant "un jour férié en France".

La paternité depuis la prison

Je ne rencontrerai jamais Sofiane. Entre-temps, la police turque, probablement prévenue par le consulat, les a interpellés, lui et sa femme, dans leur hôtel. Transférés dans un centre de rétention pour clandestins, en périphérie de la capitale turque, ils y passeront plusieurs semaines, avant d'être rapatriés en France. A Roissy, les policiers français de la DGSI les attendent. Presque un an jour pour jour après son départ pour la Syrie, Sofiane est incarcéré à Fresnes, dans l'unité pilote lancée en octobre 2014, qui réunit 30 détenus impliqués dans les filières jihadistes.

En attendant son jugement, Sofiane raconte à sa mère qu'il s'occupe à la bibliothèque et cherche une formation professionnelle. Sa femme, elle, a été laissée libre. Le 20 juillet, Sofiane devrait devenir papa d'une petite fille. Il fêtera ses 20 ans en prison.

* Tous les prénoms ont été changés

Iranian regime's terrorism

Terrorism may be a belief or a kind of approaching the intended goals. Some may disguise their devil activities as religion or god’s will. Ayatollah Khalkhali a
deceased judge of the Iranian regime issued random execution sentences saying,
“If anybody of those executed is innocent, he would go to heaven”. In fact,
terrorism is an indispensable part of fundamentalism. Unable to find a
scientific approach to the difficulties of our time, the Ayatollahs who have brought back punishments of the Middle Ages, turn to suppression and terrorism. Apparently that is not all.
Mullahs in the Iranian regime have made a huge wealth by plunder of Iran’seconomy and Iran’s natural resources. Obviously they do not intend to lose it.
Suppression and terrorism is one way of achieving this.

An article in the July 7th edition of the Arab-language daily newspaper, al-Quds al-Arabi, revealed unimaginable digits of the wealth of the family members of Iran’s
supreme leader Ali Khamenei.

The over $3 billion wealth of Mojtaba, Khamenei’s second son, is stored in banks in the
UAE, Syria and Venezuela, and some others in African countries. The amount of
his wealth in gold and diamonds is estimated at $300 million. $1 billion of
this wealth has been obtained from special taxes on oil sales; $1 for each
barrel sold to China and India, and $5 to $15 for each barrel from Iran’s
general oil sales. 
The wealth of Khamenei’s other sons and daughters is estimated at billions, most of which being held in banks in the UK, Syria and Venezuela.Khamenei’s son has also taken over a vast amount of land near the city of Mashhad, north east of Iran and turned them into his own private property. A former mayor of Tehran has given him as a gift in thousands of hectares in the best areas of Tehran. In the city of Mashhad, he further owns the largest shopping malls and the largest building projects, along with a private plane and helicopter for urgent trips, and a caravan of new Mercedes-Benz vehicles and horses.

“Khamenei’s third son, Massoud, has more than $400 million dollars in French and English banks and another $100 million in Tehran banks.” The newspaper wrote. Together with his brother, Meitham, Massoud also owns the sales of the French company Renault in Iran. Meitham receives $125 from the sale of each vehicle that his brothersells in Iran. The wealth of Boshra, Khamenei’s daughter is estimated at around
$100 million.Hoda Khamenei’s smallest child pays a lot of attention to fashion and jewelry. She has a women’s salon in her home. Her wealth is estimated at being equal to
her sister, Boshra, at $100 million.

The newspaper goes on,”Khamenei’s uncle Hassan is the contractor of Iran’s state-run TV stations and responsible for purchasing all the cameras and electric equipment. He is the representative of Sony in all of Iran, and he purchases a total of $50 to $60
million of equipment and appliances each year. The company sells an estimate of
$600 million each year to the Iranian regime, and 7% of this is owned by this uncle
of Khamenei.”

Earlier in April Reuters estimated Khamenei’s wealth as over $95 billion, which is 30
times more than the wealth of the former Shah of Iran.

The exposure by this Arabic newspaper is just a tip of iceberg of theft and extortion going on by the Iranian regime. The more this regime holds the grip of power, the
more Iranians go under the poverty line, the more Iranians are executed, and
the more resistance members are tortured and murdered by this regime.