The Curious Case of Redditor /u/anonymousenojk, a Swede Who Posted About Syria’s Civil War, Then Joined Al Qaeda in Syria

A Swedish redditor, anonymousenojk, has gone to Syria to join the al Qaeda faction Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

Introduction

On January 20th, /u/AlbnSAmin submitted a post to the /r/syriancivilwar subreddit titled /u/anonymousnojk has migrated to Syria.

His submission indicated that /u/anonymousenojk. who had been active on the subreddit for about a month until his ban for violently anti-Shiite language and ad hominem attacks, had gone on jihad to Syria.

Evidently, a Twitter account, @Anonymousenojk which was under the same name as the reddit account, had made contact with ISIS fighters, traveled to Turkey and then migrated across the border to Syria.

On January 15th he contacted a ISIS Tweep:

@Abu_Qaqa_ Akhi please follow me i need to talk to you

Then on January 16th, he celebrated his success in reaching Syria:

Brothers and sisters in deen do dua for me i am in sham alhamdulillah!

This translates to: “Brothers and sisters in way of life (Islam) make supplication for me, I am in Sham (Greater Syria) all thanks and glory are to God.”

His presence on the subreddit was highly controversial at the time. He made no pretense that he was fiercely anti-Assad and a supporter of the opposition and even sported a jihadist flair. His account netted 172 link karma for external submissions and -159 comment karma for his comments.

After mining his submissions to the subreddit, it’s clear he was a Swede. One of his comment linked to his blog at islamicsweden.blogspot.com. While the blog has been deleted, you can view a cached version here.

On the blog he wrote, These shias are supposed to act good because they call themselves muslims, but dont fall for their tricks because they have many and they will decieve you and you wont even know it. There is nothing to prohibit them from lying about what their religion is and they will lie about it to make you convert. If you knew what they teached you would be disguisted by their illogical and immoral teachings.

Involvement in the Subreddit

One of his comment’s from late December stated: I can hardly wait till i see more decompousing communist bodies littering around Til Hamis. The smell must be horrible but it will be good for the crops. Earlier he had written Well who wouldnt kill pro-Assad clerics considering the barrelbombs and the surge of refuges adn the stories they have to tell the Lebanese muslims. Also on the 60% sunni, that is only when you exclude the kurds and turkmen who are mostly sunni. And even then a 60% sunni arab population is on the lower end of the spectrum.

His top post  was a photograph of Syrian rebels having a snowball fight.

His second highest post linked to the Brown Moses blog post: Brown Moses Blog: A Case Of Weapon Misidentification By ‘Jihadists’ And Assad Supporters.

He provided an update when Baghdadi Bridge fell into rebel hands in Adra, and another on the rebel assault on Kindi hospital (which involved Jabhat al Nusra).

In his least popular comment he defended the forced conversion of Druze to Islam: Are you making a statement or a joke? The Druze did what they did according to their own will and were not forced to do anything, in fact in Islam it is impossible to force anyone to convert to Islam. It is clearly stated in Surah Baqara 256; “There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion…” For guys that do everything according to the Quran it would be weird if they went against it.

In another he felt that rebels dying was not a ‘sad’ occurrence, Why is that sad? They only took arms to establish a muslim state or die in combat, both of those options are just as good for us.

In others he linked to videos of SAA war crimes.

Eventually he far surpassed our limits for participation in the subreddit. He was banned. What follows is that conversation:

The account is worth mining for information, which I believe the International Center for the Study of Radicalization will start doing tomorrow.

October Syria Poll from /r/syriancivilwar

These are the results of the subreddit’s /r/syriancivilwar October Poll on Syria. 394 users voted in the poll. This is the sixth poll conducted by /r/syriancivilwar. To see past results:

September Poll Results

E. Ghouta Chemical Weapons Poll Results

August Poll Results

July Poll Result

374 persons answered this question. The division of their votes was as follows:

Rebels: 212 votes – 56.68%

Kurdish: 204 – 54.55%

Government: 127 – 33.96%

375 persons answered this question. The division of their votes was as follows:

Kurdish groups: 231 votes –  61.60%

Free Syrian Army: 218 votes – 58.13%

Syrian Arab Army: 127 votes – 33.87%

Moderate Islamist factions: 95 votes – 25.33%

Government militias: 62 votes – 16.53%
Hezbollah: 60 votes – 16%
Radical Islamist factions – 16 votes – 4%
389 users answered this question.
389 users answered. 162 answered no, 159 answered yes, 68 were unsure.
270 users felt the government were responsible (71.81%), 62 users felt the rebels were responsible (16.49%) and 44 users felt a third party was responsible (11.70%).
379 users answered this question. 179 (47.23%) thought it was a government sanctioned attack, 107 (28.23%) thought it was a pro-government party acting independently, (so combined 286 thought it was the government [75.46%], three percentage points higher than the prior question), 57 users felt radical Islamist rebels were responsible (15.04%), 23 users thought a third party (6.07%), 13 users thought it was the FSA (3.43%) and no-one thought it was a moderate Islamist group.

/r/SyrianCivilWar September Political Inclination Poll

Link to subredditFrom September 19th to September 26th, the subreddit /r/syriancivilwar ran its fourth political inclination poll on the Syrian conflict – polls have been conducted since June, 2013. Link to subreddit.

The poll asked its respondents thirteen questions about the Syrian conflict covering general opinions, the chemical weapon’s issue, the Kurdish question and war crimes. With over 600 IP addresses responding, the sample size is our largest yet.

This blog records September’s results. The results for the polls conducted in June, July, August and September are listed at the bottom of the page.

1. Which side do you support in the Syrian Civil War? (Question allowed for multiple answers)

2. Specifically, which side do you support in the Syrian Civil War? (Question allowed for multiple answers) 

3. Do you think there can be a political resolution to the Syrian conflict?

4. Who do you blame for the Syrian protests turning into the Syrian Civil War? (Multiple answers)

5. Which party do you believe was responsible for the August 21st chemical weapon attack?

6. Specifically, which party do you think was responsible for the chemical weapon attack?

7. Do you approve of the proposed Russian deal for Syria to dismantle its CW systems? 

Question 8: Do you think the proposed Russian deal is a viable option? (In that it would result in the total destruction of Syria’s CW stockpile?

Question 9:  If the proposed deal collapses, how likely do you view the possibility of a limited strike on Syria by the US and a small coalition of other states?

Question 10: How likely is the possibility that Syria will be Balkanized (split into numerous states, possibly including, but not limited to: Kurdistan, rebel state and pro-government state)

Question 11:  How likely do you view the possibility of the Kurds creating an independent Kurdistan?

Question 12:  Which party has committed the most heinous war crimes in Syria? (Single answer)

Question 13: Specifically, which party(s) do you think is responsible for the most heinous war crimes in Syria? (Question allowed for multiple answers)

Past polls: 

August 21st Chemical Weapon’s Poll

August Political Inclinations Poll

July Political Inclination Poll

June Political Inclination Poll: 

Results of August 30th Poll on E Ghouta Chemical Weapons Attack

On August 30th /r/syriancivilwar, linked here – http://www.reddit.com/r/syriancivilwar/, ran a poll on the recent chemical weapons attack in East Ghouta. In a little under two days, 522 votes were cast on six questions regarding the attack including whether it occurred, who was responsible and what international responses were supported. The results are listed below.

Anyone that would like access to the full data spread sheet can email r.syriancivilwar@gmail.com. Questions can directed on Twitter @RSyrianCivilWar.

Question 1: Do you believe a chemical attack occurred in Damascus on August 21st? 

Q1

Question 2: Who was responsible for the chemical weapons attack?

Chart_Q2_130903

Question 3: Who do you think was directly responsible for the attack?

(You’ll notice that ‘unsure’ was no longer an option for this question resulting in 32 people skipping the question)

Chart_Q3_130903

Question 4: Do you think there should be a form of international response to the chemical weapons attack? 

Chart_Q4_130903

Question 5: Who do you support in the Syrian civil war?

Chart_Q5_130903

Question 6: Specifically, who do you support in the Syrian civil war? 

Chart_Q6_130903

Fact Check: George Galloway Lied About His Previous Comments on Iranian TV in the House of Commons Debate, August 29th

George Galloway in Houses of Parliament Debate on Syrian Intervention, August 29th, 2013 – Motion I

At 6:02 the relevant section pertaining to this article commences, but you should watch the rest, he’s a skilled orator and performer.

At 6:02, a MP stands to ask the Honorable Speaker about comments made by George Galloway on “Iranian television”. The questioner asks: “I’m very grateful for the Honorable Member for giving way to me. Mr. Speaker I think you’d be very interested to know that I’ve had several constituents email me about comments made by the Honorable Member of Bradford-West on Iranian TV. In which, my constituent claims that ‘the Honorable Member said that Israel supplied the chemical for the attacks in Syria. I would find that very hard to believe that the Honorable Member said that so would he like to take this opportunity to refute that or provide the evidence to satisfy my constituent.”

Galloway: “Well, just shows the unreliability of relying upon ‘incoherent’ letters whether they come in the post or in emails. For I said no such thing. But the Syrian rebels definitely had Sarin gas because they were caught with it by the Turkish government as was referred to…”

Here is a video of George Galloway on Iranian Press TV

Galloway: “If there’s been any use of nerve gas, it’s the rebels that used it. If there has been a use of chemical weapons, it was Al Qaeda that the chemical weapons. Who gave Al Qaeda the chemical weapons? Here’s my theory: Israel gave them the chemical weapons.”

What to conclude?

Well it appears that the questioner’s constituent was correct and George Galloway had made these remarks on Iranian TV. According to Iranian.com Galloway made these comments to Iranian TV earlier this week: article. Also covered by the Jewish Press: George Galloway Reveals: Israel Behind Chemical Attack.

Results of /r/syriancivilwar’s August Poll; 448 votes were cast

The following data details /r/syriancivilwar’s August poll of political inclinations towards the Syrian crisis. Here is a link to our site: http://www.reddit.com/r/syriancivilwar/

The poll was conducted on Survey Monkey for one week from 8/15/13 to 8/22/13. 448 users cast their votes; 13.09% of the total. As Survey Monkey only permits one vote per IP address, it is a stronger form of internet polling.

It should be noted that the /r/syriancivilwar subreddit is an online forum for all perspectives, views and biases. As long as you contribute in a civilized manner and abstain from offensive or bigoted language, you will find an online community that truly searches to answer some of the more complicated questions surrounding the Syrian crisis.

My girlfriend is running the stat analysis, yes she’s smarter than I am, and once I have that completed I’ll link to it in a separate article. We’re looking at interesting phenomenon like if you support x side, how likely do you think chemical weapons use is? Or if you support US intervention, how do you feel about Russian intervention?

Below are the graphs and data tables of all votes cast.

1. Who do you support in the Syrian Civil War?

Specific Data on Votes for Question 1:

2. Can there be a political solution to the conflict? 

Specific Data on Votes for Question 2:

3. Who, if anyone, should the US arm? 

Specific Data for Question 3:

4. Should Western nations implement a NFZ over Syria? 

Specific Data for Question 4:

5. Who do you blame for the Syrian protests eventually turning into the Syrian civil war? 

Specific Data for Question 5:

6. What were the main causes of the protest?

Specific Data for Question 6:

7. When Assad didn’t cede to the protestor’s demands of his resignation, what do you think the US/ EU should have done?

Specific Data for Question 7:

8. When the syrian civil war became a reality, what do you think Russia and Iran should have done?

Specific Data for Question 8:

9. How strong a possibility is it that Syria will be Balkanized?

Specific Data for Question 9:

10. If the opposition is victorious, what outcome do you expect for Syria?

Specific Data for Question 10:

11. Do you believe that chemical weapons have been used in Syria?

Specific Data for Question 11:

12. If you believe that chemical weapons have been used, who do you believe used them?

Specific Data for Question 12:

13. Do you believe the use of chemical weapons is a legitimate reason for foreign powers to intervene in Syria?

Specific Data for Question 13:

Islam Brigade claims to shoot down SAF helicopter over Eastern Ghouta with captured OSA system

In a video uploaded to a the official channel of the rebel group, the Islam Brigade, who are based around Damascus, Syria, the group claims to have shot down a SAF helicopter over Eastern Ghouta. The group appears to be using a captured OSA (mobile surface-to-air missile) system as the video shows the interior of a OSA control, then cuts to the missile, then cuts back to the interior, then cuts back to a missile exploding. If this video is confirmed, it’ll be the second successful take-down of a SAF aircraft in the last week; a significant victory for the rebels.

This is the video:

The description of the video roughly translates to:

“The banner of Islam for the second time to drop the helicopter air defense system “Alawsa”. And kill all of the following officers:

1 – Pilot Colonel Ahmed Issa

2 – submitted Jamal Ibrahim pilot

3 – First Assistant mechanical Issam Suleiman

Glory be to God, His Prophet and the believers”

It’s difficult to confirm, but the Islam Brigade did capture an OSA system in December 2012. Here’s the video:

Here’s a description of the OSA – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9K33_Osa

The group are a member of SILF and are based around Damascus.

Countries with Nationals Fighting Inside Syria (52)

Infographic

For a long time we have heard accusations of the number of foreign fighters fighting inside Syria. I took the time to compile an info-graphic showing the country of origin of foreign fighters inside Syria. I based this on reports from major news outlets such as NYTimes, Bloomberg, BBC and Reuters. As well as from a major report from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and Flashpoint titled ‘Convoy of Martyrs in the Levant’ – https://flashpoint-intel.com/upload/syria_martyrs/2013-06-02_Convoy_of_Martyrs_Report.pdf. I also referred to Wikipedia pages and the Daily Beast.

The full list of countries is:

United Kingdom
Russia
France
Netherlands
Germany
Iran
Lebanon
United States
Jordan
Turkey
Iraq
Jordan
Saudi Arabia
Israel
Australia
Libya
Algeria
Egypt
Yemen
Pakistan
Palestine
Canada
Afghanistan
Qatar
Kuwait
Tunisia
Ireland
Morocco
Uzbekistan
Bahrain
Azerbaijan
Bulgaria
Chechnya
Denmark
Dagestan
Kosovo
Somalia
Indonesia
Belgium
Sierra Leone
Spain
Albania
Sweden
China
Tajikstan
Sudan
Poland

Islamic State of Iraq and Levant hit al-Hamadiyah base, an SAA base in Idlib, with VBIED; activists claim SAA soldiers killed and an assault consisting of ‘many battalions’ underway

In the early morning in Syria, August 14th, videos and pictures began to emerge from an assault on al-Hamadiyah army base, Idlib province. Map of the base can be seen here. Jihadists related Twitter accounts, such as Jabhat al Nusra, claim that the base was hit with a VBIED, This video claims to show the aftermath of the bombing. Another video, the second link, shows the detonation of the VBIED; it should be noted that the latter video makes it appear as if there were two bombings. Another activist account uploaded this picture of the bombing.

The text uploaded with the video roughly translates to:

‘May the praise of god be with the blasting of Ma’arrat Numan in Idlib countryside. One of the suicide bombers of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria bombed the camp and other battalions have stormed the camp of sheep with guns, weapons and munitions. May the praise of God be to Allah’.

The text cites the name of the bomber as, Abu Hamza al-Masri. The text also stated that two ‘martyrs’,  Abu Yusuf German and Abu Hazim, were killed in the assault.

An ISIS related Twitter account claimed that fifty regime soldiers were killed in the assault. An activist account claimed that tanks and artillery were taken. Another activist account uploaded this picture of the bombing.

Transcript of /u/youcefhd’s Ask Me Anything on Reddit’s Syrian Civil War Sub.

Tags

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On Friday, June 29th /u/youcefhd’s took time from the Old Center of Damascus to make the following AMA at Reddit’s Syrian Civil War sub. What follows is an edited transcript, with the questions and answers sorted into several subject areas.

Disclaimer: Responses have been edited for grammar and spelling.

Description of Self:

This is (my) personal experience. I live in Damascus, Syria. Two cousins of mine were killed by extremists. Two were abducted for months for ransom (possibly raped). A friend of mine died as (a) volunteer in the Red Crescent, another one possibly died under torture of government soldiers. A friend of mine is fighting in Homs with the Free Syrian Army. I’m a Shia minority and considered an infidel by most opposition groups. I witnessed an explosion that killed 40 people just outside the university gate.

Opinions of Conflict

Q: There seems to be no good side?

A: We have a saying here: ‘two choices and the sweetest one is very bitter’.

Q: Is it clear-cut to you that there is a right and wrong side of this conflict?

A: If you go back to the root of the problem and want to play the blame game, then it’s all the government’s fault. Not right now. Both parties have committed enough atrocities to earn them a place in Hell.

 Q: Who do you support in this conflict?

A: On the ground I now don’t support (n)either party. The explanation I have is simple: the FSA and NUSRA wants to kill me and my family. The SSA is killing other people families. I refuse to be part of it. Politically I’m completely lost

Q: Do you see more support for SAA then FSA? Or who is getting the most support in Damascus and Syria?

A: At the beginning of the conflict Sunnis saw the FSA as angels and the SSA as demons. The opposite can be said about Alawites and Christians. Now most people realize that both parties are rogue and merciless and are fed up with the never ending conflict. but you can still see people that blindly support the FSA or the SAA and deny all their crimes

Q: As a Shia, do you fear for your future in Syria when the commander of FSA said he will wipe you out, Link:http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e13_1369088363#comment_page=3[1]

A: Yes, It’s my biggest concern and a situation I don’t wish for anyone. It was painful when we discussed as a family the fact that some Nusra insurgents might come banging at the door. My mother suggested that, since we’re in the first floor, jumping out the balcony

-                    Follow-up Q:  As a Shia myself, why don’t you support SAA. If it was not for them you would be dead now, so I don’t see it.

-                    Follow-up A: I won’t support someone because “without them I’d be dead” As there are innocent people who would be alive today if it was without SSA. that’s what I believe Shia is about: refusing injustice even if it means you die.

Q: You said one of you friends was torture by government soldiers, do you know why and what happened?

A: Many friends of mine were falsely prisoned and tortured by the government. One of them is Christian and his name is Mario spent 3 months in prison and was forced to confess under torture that he’s a Salafi. But that specific friend I was talking about was prisoned by the government and his body was found later somewhere in the countryside with torture marks.

Q: Would you join the SAA if it meant saving your family from a potential massacre?

A: Will I join the SAA is something I think of everyday but I can’t find an answer. But I currently think not. Especially as a Shia I was brought up to never compromise and to never fight for some who’s unjust even if it costs me my family’s life and mine. I hope I’ll have the same opinion if I get in that situation

Q: Do you think it’s getting better of worse after Qusair?

A: I didn’t participate in any of the protests but many of my friends did. I participated in a government rally in April 2011. They fooled me at that time and I thought that no government is stupid enough to do the atrocities they were accused of, especially in Syria were many people loved the president prior to the revolution. Regarding the new advances of the government in Qusair. I think it’s hugely overrated. Qusair is important but this is definitely not the turning point of the war. Without Hizbollah’s help they couldn’t have done it and I doubt Hizbullah will spread it’s troops all over Syria. But for the moment the momentum is on the government side. But I saw the momentum shift many times and the new arms the US sent to the rebels will balance things back.

Opinions of Global Actors:

Q: What do you think of Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s role in this conflict?

A: They’re the worst. Their motives are purely sectarian and that’s it. They really don’t care about lives of other people than Sunnis.

Q: What’s your opinion on The US supplying arms to the rebels?

A: That’s utter b*llshit if they supplied weapons two years ago I would understand. The FSA could have won the war easily if they did. But their intention is clear now. They don’t want anyone to win they just want the war to go on for years.

Opinions on Media:

Q: Do you think the various media outlets are doing a good job reporting the situation?

A: The media, especially Al Jazeera, had the biggest part in the revolution here. They constantly broadcasted news with an obvious aim against the government. I honestly blame the Al Jazeera almost as much as the government for what happened. Social media had an equally important role, especially Facebook, which is very popular here. News, false news, propaganda and gore scenes circulate on a daily basis into every household. One would think that social media would be a better platform for broadcasting neutral news but in reality I saw it do more damage than good.

Personal

Q: How was the Syrian government before the war?

A: I loved Syria before the war. We had one of the lowest crime rate(s) in the world in 2009. Mainly because the police are so brutal that no one will risk being a criminal. We were one of the top ten exotic destinations in tourism in 2010 (I think that was decided by CNN) we had a rouge government with many officials stealing public money. No political freedom what so ever. But we lived side by side with no differentiation between religions contrary to all the Middle East, which was the best thing. The prices of food were so low that I was very happy with the 20$ that my dad gave every month. And as college student it was more that enough

Q: How are people surviving financially?

A: The financial side started to take effect when the price of the dollar doubled from 100 to 200 liras in six months and really getting harder by the moment as many expect the currency to soon collapse and think it’s a miracle it made it so far. For young men like me, there almost 0 percent chance to get a job. People only employ someone who has to support a family, which I find good.

Q: If you could leave Syria, would you?

A: I want to leave as soon as possible. But I sure hope I can comeback someday and spend the rest of my life back here

Q: After the beginning of the protests the government introduced reforms to the voting system. Do you believe that those changes will make Syria more democratic? Or do you think Assad just agreed on reforms because of his bad situation?

A: I agree with you and I think it’s one of the mistakes of the opposition that they refused to take part in any elections at that certain times (perhaps they were pushed to ). They could have demanded UN supervision and it would have solved everything. Now I think things are more complicated and the terrorists won’t leave easily. But I certainly hope democratic elections in 2014 will happen. It would be the key to the solution.

Q: Do you like tea?

A: Tea is my addiction. I really love Tea that much. :D

Hopes:

Q: What would you like to happen to Syria (realistically speaking), would you like a certain side to win?

A: I would like for the president to agree to step down but in organized way that won’t give the extremists any influence over the government. I’d like the silent majority that is peaceful and loving to speak out and organize them selves in a political movements that would heal the wounds

Q: What outcomes do you prefer?

A: I would prefer the rebels winning as fast as possible. With good leaders that would negotiate and maintain peace with government supporting regions. But if it’s all up to me. I have a weird answer. I am a engineer and I don’t believe that letting people choose is necessarily the best answer especially in the Middle East .So in a dream world I would assign a council of 4 people chosen under scientific personality and IQ tests to unsure they’re selfless, giving smart negotiators and true universal citizens. They would be our dictators and would guide us through this dark age. That’s weird I know :)

Miscellaneous:

Q: Do you think Sunni and Shia will ever live in true harmony?

A: The current events in Egypt and Lebanon say that the hate is growing in the region. If harmony ever to be accomplished you’d have to be some kind of a dictator and you would need to shut down TV channel that sell sectarian hate to the people. Arrest the clerks that are hateful to others and rearrange the religious education system that is almost always hateful in both Sunni and Shia mosques. Even then you’d need a generation or two to stop it but of course you can always divert the hate into other things if you have strong enough propaganda.

 

This link will take you to the original AMA: http://www.reddit.com/r/syriancivilwar/comments/1h9yrw/iam_a_syrian_citizen_living_in_syria_ask_me/

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