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    Established by Fathi Ibrahim Bayoud 2005 - Homs

    Detailed list for Saudis wanted for Syrian regime

    | 2017-06-14 02:42:20
    Detailed list for Saudis wanted for Syrian regime


    By Ethar Abdul Haq

    (Zaman Al Wasl) Syrians know by virtue of their engagement with the army, Baath Party and media institutions in their country that Saudi Arabia and the Saudis were always within the al-Assad regime’s target circle. For the head of the regime, Saudi Arabia is the head of the “Arab reactionary-ism” which Syrian school children were forced to swear an oath against it as well as imperialism and Zionism and to promise to counter it and crush it. Any student who tried to evade this oath or recount it in a faint voice was handed a prepared set of charges in the intelligence basements.


    Zaman Al Wasl to publish 5700 arrest warrants for Saudi princes, military personnel, clerics


    Despite all the political and financial aid, and opportunities Riyadh awarded al-Assad, and his regime, Saudi Arabia remained in the political guidance bulletins read to soldiers and officers, in the Baath Party meetings and discussions, and in the al-Assad media reports and news stories, the prisoner of demonic propaganda and hostage to a distorted image. If Saudi Arabia’s image in the minds of western racists was compared to the image propagated by the regime, the racists’ imagining would be a weaker image of Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabians than that formulated and disseminated by the al-Assad regime.



    It is a curious fact that the al-Assad regime has never been willing to change this distorted image of Saudi Arabia, even if it is out of politeness considering how much the al-Assad regime benefited from Riyadh. The most al-Assad, especially Hafez al-Assad did, was increase the level of reverence and hide any visible. These minimal efforts came even during periods of close coordination such as the war to liberate Kuwait and its cake which al-Assad took a massive chunk of.


    -July Speech-


    During Bashar al-Assad’s reign, much of the reverence towards Saudi Arabia collapsed due to ignorance or intention. The shift was apparent in al-Assad’s attitudes, policies and statements which culminated in his speech in 2006 after the July 2006 War when he described Gulf state rulers as “half men.” The description angered the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz greatly, and he responded by tightening the boycott against Bashar which then extended for several years.

    This relatively lengthy introduction was necessary to reaffirm that all that al-Assad, the regime, and its media said about Riyadh after its support for the Syrian people was not the result of that moment or subject to Saudi Arabia’s choice as some might imagine. The antagonism is long standing and extends to the time before al-Assad came to power. Most Syrians were familiar with the details either due to their compulsory military service or through the Baath Party officials’ speeches other than the recorded and published material.

    The regime media played its part by portraying the Gulf states generally and Saudi Arabia especially as areas of extremism and underdevelopment. The regime media worked to portray Gulf citizens, regardless of their social status, educational level, intellectual orientation, and religious practice, as persons limited to these two despicable extremes.

    Al-Assad's long-standing position towards Saudi Arabia and Saudis position them within a single distorted framework. This statement is not descriptive speech as much as a practical conclusion based on facts Zaman al-Wasl will exclusively present drawn from the al-Assad regime’s intelligence archive.

    Zaman al-Wasl has once again delved into the regime’s intelligence archive during this difficult period in Gulf relations. Zaman al-Wasl reaffirms the testimony of our colleague and editor-in-chief about the support Qatar provided to the newspaper for Zaman al-Wasl to obtain 1.7 million records from the al-Assad regime’s oppressive institutions. These documents have so far proved vital uncovering the regime’s face as never before, especially for every Gulf citizen who was- or perhaps still is- enchanted with al-Assad and his regime.

    -Scholars and advocates-


    According to the statistics from al-Assad's intelligence lists, Saudi Arabian citizens are the most listed Arab nationals included in the lists. In total, 5,788 memorandums were issued against people of Saudi nationality. Of these, 52% are arrest warrants which amount to more than 3,000 warrants.



    To put the numbers in perspective, it is sufficient to compare the number of Saudi citizens included on the lists to the number of Egyptians included in the lists. There are only 11,330 memorandums against Egyptian citizens knowing that Egypt has a population three times the population of Saudi Arabia. The low number of Egyptians also comes with the knowledge that Hafez al-Assad opposed the Egyptian regime throughout al-Sadat’s and during Mubarak’s rule. Bashar was also at odds with the Mubarak regime and throughout Morsi’s reign as well.

    In this report, Zaman al-Wasl will present examples of the types of Saudi citizens targeted in al-Assad's intelligence records to offer a clearer perspective to the introduction included above.

    - The regime General Intelligence Department issued a memorandum for Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz in 1971. Sheikh bin Baz requires no introduction as he is considered by a large segment of Muslims as the Imam of Sunnis and the community during his time. There are some who alleviate him to the rank of the renovator of the century. Bin Baz was Saudi Arabia’s first Mufti, and his words and fatwas still resonate today although he died 18 years ago.

    - A memorandum was issued by the General Intelligence Department for Mohammed Amin al-Shanqiti, a scholar. Al-Shanqiti (died in 1974) is considered an encyclopedia for Sharia sciences (Tafsir and Fiqh). He taught major scholars in Saudi Arabia including Sheikh bin Baz, Sheikh Hamoud al-Aqla al-Shouaabi, Sheikh Mohammad Salah al-Othmiyin, Sheikh Salah al-Lahaidan, and Sheikh Bakr Abu Ziad.

    - A memorandum was issued in 2011 and then in 2012 for Saud bin Ibrahim al-Sharim, the Imam and orator of Mecca. Sheikh al-Sharim is a famous and international reader of the Quran. He is a prominent judge and academic in the field of Sharia science and law.

    - A memorandum was issued by the military intelligence in 2005 for Sheikh Saleh bin Mohammed al-Luhaidan one of the most prominent and respected clerics and judges in the Kingdom. He is a member of the Supreme Council of Scholars, the highest religious institution in Saudi Arabia since its establishment 46 years ago, and is one of its oldest and most influential members. Sheikh al-Lahaidan, who is now 85 years old, was until 2009 the head of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, the highest ruling authority in its field.

    - The al-Assad regime intelligence targeted Sheikh Muhammad Mahmoud al-Sawaf, a prominent religious scholar of good reputation since the 1950s. He was an advocacy and engaged in political activity, especially with regard to the Palestinian cause. King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz appointed him as his special adviser and envoy to kings and presidents.

    Sheikh Al-Sawaf actively contributed to establishing the Organization of the Islamic Conference now known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He was chosen as a member of the Muslim World League founding council, a member of the Supreme Council of Mosques and a member of the Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League.

    It is noteworthy that the memorandum for Sheikh al-Sawaf was issued in 1971, in the same year as Sheikh bin Baz, which coincidently is the year Hafez al-Assad came to power.

    - The General Intelligence issued a memorandum for Sheikh Salman bin Fahad al-Awda in 2014. Sheikh al-Awda is a symbol of the Islamic awakening for many and has public activities such as calling for reform in Saudi Arabia at various levels.

    - The al-Assad regime intelligence, Political Security Division, issued a memorandum in 2013 for Sheikh Ayed al-Qarni, a well-known advocate and author whose many lessons, books and lectures attracted many people to his teaching.

    - The Military Intelligence issued a memorandum in 2012 for Sheikh Saad Abdullah al-Brik, a famous proselytizer and academic.

    - The Political Security Division issued a memorandum in 2013 for Sheikh Mohammed Abdulrahman Arifi, a famous Saudi proselytizer who is known for his rhetoric. He has published dozens of lectures and books, and he is followed by millions of persons on social media sites.

    - The al-Assad regime intelligence issued a memorandum in 2011 for Sheikh Awad bin Mohammed Al-Qarni a proselytizer and author of several books the most famous being “Modernity in the Balance of Islam” as well as being a lecturer in Saudi universities.

    -Scholars and advocates-

    According to the statistics from al-Assad's intelligence lists, Saudi Arabian citizens are the most listed Arab nationals included in the lists. In total, 5,788 memorandums were issued against people of Saudi nationality. Of these, 52% are arrest warrants which amount to more than 3,000 warrants.

    To put the numbers in perspective, it is sufficient to compare the number of Saudi citizens included on the lists to the number of Egyptians included in the lists.

    There are only 11,330 memorandums against Egyptian citizens knowing that Egypt has a population three times the population of Saudi Arabia. The low number of Egyptians also comes with the knowledge that Hafez al-Assad opposed the Egyptian regime throughout al-Sadat’s and during Mubarak’s rule. Bashar was also at odds with the Mubarak regime and throughout Morsi’s reign as well.

    In this report, Zaman al-Wasl will present examples of the types of Saudi citizens targeted in al-Assad's intelligence records to offer a clearer perspective to the introduction included above.




    - The regime General Intelligence Department issued a memorandum for Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Baz in 1971. Sheikh bin Baz requires no introduction as he is considered by a large segment of Muslims as the Imam of Sunnis and the community during his time. There are some who alleviate him to the rank of the renovator of the century. Bin Baz was Saudi Arabia’s first Mufti, and his words and fatwas still resonate today although he died 18 years ago.

    - A memorandum was issued by the General Intelligence Department for Mohammed Amin al-Shanqiti, a scholar. Al-Shanqiti (died in 1974) is considered an encyclopedia for Sharia sciences (Tafsir and Fiqh). He taught major scholars in Saudi Arabia including Sheikh bin Baz, Sheikh Hamoud al-Aqla al-Shouaabi, Sheikh Mohammad Salah al-Othmiyin, Sheikh Salah al-Lahaidan, and Sheikh Bakr Abu Ziad.

    - A memorandum was issued in 2011 and then in 2012 for Saud bin Ibrahim al-Sharim, the Imam and orator of Mecca. Sheikh al-Sharim is a famous and international reader of the Quran. He is a prominent judge and academic in the field of Sharia science and law.

    - A memorandum was issued by the military intelligence in 2005 for Sheikh Saleh bin Mohammed al-Luhaidan one of the most prominent and respected clerics and judges in the Kingdom. He is a member of the Supreme Council of Scholars, the highest religious institution in Saudi Arabia since its establishment 46 years ago, and is one of its oldest and most influential members. Sheikh al-Lahaidan, who is now 85 years old, was until 2009 the head of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, the highest ruling authority in its field.

    - The al-Assad regime intelligence targeted Sheikh Muhammad Mahmoud al-Sawaf, a prominent religious scholar of good reputation since the 1950s. He was an advocacy and engaged in political activity, especially with regard to the Palestinian cause. King Faisal bin Abdul Aziz appointed him as his special adviser and envoy to kings and presidents.

    Sheikh Al-Sawaf actively contributed to establishing the Organization of the Islamic Conference now known as the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). He was chosen as a member of the Muslim World League founding council, a member of the Supreme Council of Mosques and a member of the Fiqh Council of the Muslim World League.

    It is noteworthy that the memorandum for Sheikh al-Sawaf was issued in 1971, in the same year as Sheikh bin Baz, which coincidently is the year Hafez al-Assad came to power.

    - The General Intelligence issued a memorandum for Sheikh Salman bin Fahad al-Awda in 2014. Sheikh al-Awda is a symbol of the Islamic awakening for many and has public activities such as calling for reform in Saudi Arabia at various levels.

    - The al-Assad regime intelligence, Political Security Division, issued a memorandum in 2013 for Sheikh Ayed al-Qarni, a well-known advocate and author whose many lessons, books and lectures attracted many people to his teaching.

    - The Military Intelligence issued a memorandum in 2012 for Sheikh Saad Abdullah al-Brik, a famous proselytizer and academic.

    - The Political Security Division issued a memorandum in 2013 for Sheikh Mohammed Abdulrahman Arifi, a famous Saudi proselytizer who is known for his rhetoric. He has published dozens of lectures and books, and he is followed by millions of persons on social media sites.

    - The al-Assad regime intelligence issued a memorandum in 2011 for Sheikh Awad bin Mohammed Al-Qarni a proselytizer and author of several books the most famous being “Modernity in the Balance of Islam” as well as being a lecturer in Saudi universities.


    -Indicators-


    There are sensitive indicators that cannot be overlooked when reviewing the al-Assad regime’s Saudi Arabian file. The first indicator is the dates of memorandums which demonstrate both of the al-Assads’ clear and premeditated enmity towards Islamists and theologians.

    Their actions show that they did not respond to events or circumstances as the memorandums against major scholars such as bin Baz and al-Sawaf were issued at the beginning of Hafez al-Assad’s reign (1970-1971). The memorandums came before Hafez engaged with Islamists and even before bin Baz’s famous letter to Hafez al-Assad in 1980 following the massacres and atrocities he committed against the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Hafez al-Assad came to power through a bloody coup to rule a country that for most of the previous 20 years was beset by turmoil, coups and instability. Syria struggled in a tense and boiling regional atmosphere as all the Arab states were still licking the wounds of their resounding defeat which was called al-Naksa but in reality, was a Nakba or just the start of a series of calamities.

    In this highly complex and sensitive atmosphere, al-Assad's intelligence had enough time and space to draw up memorandums against clerics living outside Syria and not even carrying Syrian nationality.

    The intelligence apparatus’ practices raise surprise and questions about the types of tasks the intelligence services were expected accomplish. Their activities raise questions about Hafez al-Assad’s role or the role he entrusted to himself in targeting and monitoring all these people. The questions can only be explained at the intersection of reality and fiction, and it is at this intersection that a story about Rifat al-Assad, Hafez’s brother, can be told. Rifat was enraged and demanded the arrest of Ibn Taymiyah (13th century Muslims scholar) after he was told of Ibn Taymiyyah's position towards the Alawite sect. He only calmed down after learning that Ibn Taymiyah died hundreds of years ago.

    Thirdly, if it is said that the al-Assad intelligence services included the names of all these Saudi citizens as part of their fight against the Muslim Brotherhood, it becomes necessary to ask about Ibn Baz, al-Haidan and Sharim’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood?

    In addition, the intelligence files reveal that Saudi citizens from different segments of society, religious outlooks, philosophies and positions were targeted. Along with religious symbols and proselytizers are those who do not have religious interests, some who are counted on currents outside the religious framework, and even some known for their criticism of the religious thought and behavior of a majority of Saudis citizens. Yet these figures were also given a place in the al-Assad's intelligence lists.


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