Sunday, October 25, 2015

New leader of Druze dignity movement announced

Likewise rumors have been circulating for a while but it was officially announced earlier this week: Sheikh Rafat al-Bal'us (Abu Yusuf) is the successor of his assassinated brother Wahid as leader of the autonomous minded Syrian Druze dignity movement. Sheikh Rafat, who was wounded at the bomb attack in September, is obviously still not in best shape. However, the movement is alive despite the elimination of most of its leadership. Even the formation of a new unit, bayraq al-maqdad, was announced. On the same occasion Fahad, the oldest son of Wahid al-Bal'us, also gave a speech in full combat dress, indicating that he might play a leading role in the future.


Rafat al-Bal'us speech

bayraq al-maqdad insignia 

Druze figure takes up assassinated brother’s mantle, Now

BEIRUT – Rafaat Balaous has taken over the leadership of Suweida’s Druze Sheikhs of Dignity movement, issuing a fiery statement blaming the Bashar al-Assad regime for the assassination of his brother Waheed.
“This cowardly operation that targeted one of the symbols of the homeland was carried out with intelligence agency planning at the highest of levels,” Rafaat Balaous said in reference to the September 4 car bombing that killed Waheed. (...)
Despite the accusations he leveled against the Syrian regime, Rafaat Balaous stressed that the Sheikhs of Dignity movement is independent and not on the side of the opposition.
“We are not [regime] supporters or opposition. We are Arab nationalist patriots. Or rather, we are humanitarians,” the preamble of his statement said.

“We forbid transgressions by us and we forbid transgressions against us. This was the plan of our pious ancestors,” he added.

Balaous also stressed that his movement was “not a secessionist project.”

The Druze figure, who is younger than his slain brother, also touched on the issue of young men from Suweida joining the Syrian army.  
“Signing up with the army is a voluntary action and is not mandatory because the fighting in Syria is between the Syrians themselves,” he said. (...)
Edit: In the meanwhile Aymenn al-Tamimi published a very good analysis at Syria Comment (I'm briefly cited as well). Aymenn clears up some points and additionally translated the statement by Rafat al-Bal'us.

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