Remembering Talal Hamseh, Murdered by Wahabbists in Damascus


Robin Edward Poulton – TRANSCEND Media Service

After bringing his mother back from shopping on April 27th, Talal was parking his car when a Syrian terrorist shot him through the head. This was cold-blooded murder of a kind young man, my daughter’s friend and his mother’s loving son. My Arab-reading friends tell me that this murder has been proudly displayed on the murderers’ website. The murder is a ‘rebel’ trying to overthrow the Syrian regime.

Talal was shot by a terrorist armed by Saudis and Qataris. They are fanatics committed to establishing a radical, Salafist, Wahabbist Empire across Asia and Africa. They fund Al Qaeda in Mali, and Boko Haram in Nigeria, and they want to overthrow the Shia regime in Iraq. These ‘rebels’ do not want freedom: they want power. Do Secretary Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Susan Rice not understand this? Why Western governments so assiduously support the Sunni terrorists in Syria is beyond my understanding. Is Syria their hostage to Saudi oil?

Talal Hamseh worked in the Damascus office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. A gentle young man in his early 30s, Talal helped Christian and other refugees forced to flee Iraq. These are victims of the American invasion of 2003, which polarized Iraq into three parts: Shia ghettos, Sunni ghettos, and the autonomous Kurdish North Iraq. George W. Bush’s adventure in Iraq not only killed 150,000 Iraqis and several thousand American and other NATO troops: it also destroyed the ancient Christian community of Iraq that dates back to the time of St Paul, and forced into exile three million Iraqi Christians as well as Muslim Iraqis living in mixed Sunni-Shia marriages who no longer have anywhere safe to live inside Iraq.

The militant Wahabbist Empire

These are not the unexpected consequences of the Iraq invasion, since they were predicted by plenty of people like me. People teaching about the Arab World in U.S. universities know there is a danger of generalized civil war. The biggest danger to Israel’s survival is not Iranian bluster, but the threat of a radical Sunni Salafist victory. Militant Saudi Arabian imperialism is more dangerous for Israel and the rest of us than present Iranian feelings of insecurity.

If the armed invasion of Syria by Wahabbist terrorists succeeds in bringing down the Bashar al-Assad regime, millions more Christians and Shias and Alawites will be forced into exile: refugees who will flood into Turkey and Europe and America.

I would be the first to agree that Bashar and his family run a police state. How bad is that? Syria is a fairly tolerant police state, although reports of torture are disturbing. The rule in Syria has been that if you keep out of politics, you can go where you like, do what you want, worship whom and how you please. Despotic rule by a minority is less oppressive that the dictatorship of a majority. Experience in Iraq suggests that the ethnic and religious mosaic of this region needs strong regimes. It is a mistake to export our ideology – ‘democracy’ doesn’t even work all that well back home. Peaceful evolution is the best way to manage change, not violent revolution – and especially not armed revolution led by Al Qaeda look-alikes.

Why does the West not declare the armed rebellion in Syria to be a ‘terrorist organization’? For that is exactly what it is! Either American and European leaders are naive about the rebellion in Syria, or they are cynically helping Salafist extremists to destroy the rest of Christ’s Dominion in the Middle East.

Why would we support Sunni Wahabbist terrorists murdering other Muslims, Christians and Alawites? After walking along the Street called Straight in Damascus, I sat in the room where St Paul was baptized in the year 34. I promise you that experience leaves no Christian unmoved.

Western critics of Bashar seldom explain that the Alawites are fighting for their lives. Sunni extremists consider them Apostates, and want them all dead. My daughter’s friend Talal Hamseh, who has just been shot in the head by these people, was neither Christian nor Alawite, nor Jew, nor Assyrian, nor from any other minority: Talal was a Sunni Muslim. Talal was unpolitical, but he was murdered because he supported the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Like 50% of Syria’s citizens, Talal supported Bashar because he detested Bashar’s foreign opponents. He despised the hypocritical Muslim Brotherhood front-men (no women, naturally) who are interviewed every week on BBC and CNN and Al Jazeera – spokesmen for nobody but themselves, who are misrepresented by the Western media as kind and reasonable opposition democrats.

Talal hated the Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorists who murder Syrian citizens and security officials. That is why he was killed. Talal wanted a peaceful and secular Syria.  If there are 9,000 people dead in Syria’s 14-month civil war, some 50% of them are Bashar supporters who have been killed by terrorists – like Tatal. Why did the Syrian regime start firing bullets? The Syrian army is not attacking democrats and peaceful marchers: it is fighting armed urban terrorists who are trying overthrow the Alawites and turn Syria into a nasty, intolerant, despotic, violent, Salafist Theocracy. They want to make secular Syria look like dictatorial Iran, or despotic Saudi Arabia.


Robin Edward Poulton, Ph.D. has taught Terrorism, Middle East and Central Asian studies at the European Peace University and at Virginia Commonwealth University (USA) where he is a affiliate professor at the School of World Studies. He is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace, Development and Environment.


This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 7 May 2012.

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