Tag Archives: al Qaeda

More Evidence of Israel’s Dirty Role in the Syrian Proxy War

By Steven MacMillan
May 18, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

I563333Video footage surfaced last week showing the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) treating a wounded anti-Assad Syrian rebel, following a UN report at the end of last year which found that the IDF and the Syrian rebels (including ISIS) were in regular contact. The Times of Israel reported on this latest video in an article titled,IDF posts footage of medics saving Syrian rebel in Golan:

“The IDF on Saturday released rare footage of its medics performing a life-saving procedure on one of the most severely wounded Syrian combatants medical personnel have encountered in the Golan Heights… The man, a Syrian rebel who belongs to an unnamed organization fighting against the Assad regime and its allies, received treatment at the border and then inside Israel, and was ultimately able to return to Syria… Since the start of the civil war in 2011, the IDF has treated an estimated 1,600 non-combatants and anti-Assad rebels… Although Israel’s treatment of militants from Syria — many of whom are believed to belong to Islamist organizations such as the al-Qaeda affiliated Nusra Front — may seem bizarre given the animosity these types of groups have expressed for the Jewish state in the past, Israel has approached the issue from a humanitarian point of view.”

The Times of Israel tries to spin Israel’s assistance to the Syrian rebels as purely “from a humanitarian point of view”, in reality however, Israel supports the Syrian opposition for its own geopolitical ends. Weakening the Syrian regime has been a geopolitical objective of the Israeli establishment for decades, with strategic papers dating back to the 1980’s detailing this goal. Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist who had close connections to the Foreign Ministry in Israel, wrote an article in 1982 which was published in a journal of the World Zionist Organisation titled: “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”. In it, Yinon outlines that the “dissolution of Syria and Iraq” are “Israel’s primary” objectives in the region:

“The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target.” (p.11.)

Israel’s strategic desire to weaken both Syria and Iraq was again reiterated in 1996 when a study group led by neocon Richard Perle prepared a policy document for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu titled: ‘A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm’. The document states:

“Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq — an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

More recently, Israeli officials have publically revealed their desire to topple the regime in Damascus and break the alliance between Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. In an interview in 2013, the Israeli Ambassador to the US at the time Michael Oren publically expressed that Israel “always wanted Bashar Assad to go”, adding that“the greatest danger to Israel is the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut.”

Israel has been aiding the Syrian opposition with more than just medical assistance since the start of the Syrian proxy war however, as Tel Aviv has bombed Syrian territory repeatedly in addition to providing anti-Assad forces with arms. In August of last year, Sharif As-Safouri, the commander of the Free Syrian Army’s Al-Haramein Battalion at the time, revealed that he had “entered Israel five times to meet with Israeli officers who later provided him with Soviet anti-tank weapons and light arms”, as The Times of Israel reported.

Tel Aviv has also been accused of creating and facilitating the rise of ISIS itself. The chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, stated that ISIS was created and supported by Israel, Britain and the US in order to achieve these states own objectives. A report that seemed to emerge from Gulf News in 2014 also asserted that the leader of ISIS and the new so-called caliph, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, was trained by the Mossad, although some have questioned the validity of this report. It should also be noted that some news reports assert that Baghdadi was seriously injured or even killed by a US drone strike in April.

There is no question that Israel is playing a prominent role in the attempted destruction of the Syrian state, and is guilty of destroying the lives of millions of people through their support of anti-Assad mercenaries.  Syrians are now the second largest refugee population on the planet according to a UN report (only second to Palestinians), all thanks to the NATO/Israeli/Saudi axis of evil which has funded and supported rebel armies in Syria. 

Steven MacMillan is an independent writer, researcher, geopolitical analyst and editor of  The Analyst Report, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

The US/Saudi Recruited Al Qaeda Terrorists in Yemen

By Stephen Lendman
April 27, 2015
Global Research

 

bombes terrorismeObama’s genocidal war against 25 million Yemenis continues without mercy. US-sponsored cold-blooded murder claims scores of lives daily.

Endless conflict persists – now involving US/Saudi recruited, funded, armed, trained and directed takfiri terrorists.

Islamic State fighters posted a video online announcing their presence – threatening to “cut the throats” of Ansarullah Houthi rebels.

It showed about two dozen heavily armed IS fighters preparing for combat. Their commander planted a black flag in the ground saying “soldiers of the caliphate (have arrived to) to cut the throats” of the Houthis.

“We have come to Yemen, with men hungry for your blood to avenge the Sunnis and take back the land they have occupied,” he said.

He urged Yemeni Sunnis to join in battle against Shia Houthis. The video was posted on Friday – after a so-called Green Brigade claimed responsibility for a central Yemen car bombing killing five Houthi fighters.

Earlier attacks killed scores and injured hundreds in a series of suicide bombings at Shia mosques in Sanaa days before Saudi terror-bombing began.

Senior Houthi official Abdel Monem al-Bashiri said “Saudi Arabia has sent about 5,000 terrorists to Yemen and deployed them in the Death Triangle covering an area between Aden, Sanaa and Hadramawt provincies.”

“Saudi officers are there for coordination between terrorists and pro-Hadi forces.”

Yemeni journalist Sari al-Karim said “(t)he presence of Saudi officers in Yemen takes place for Al Saud’s control over the terrorist operation in” Yemen.

Clashes between Ansarullah fighters and imported terrorists continue. Nearly 3,000 Yemenis have been killed, many thousands more wounded – including hundreds of women and children.

Sputnik News reports “many Russian doctors (and) medical specialists from other countries” continue treating sick and wounded Yemenis despite conflict conditions.

An anonymous Russia embassy source said “(a) lot of medical workers have stayed (in Yemen) including Russians.”

So far, no fatalities in their ranks were reported. Russia’s embassy reported Saudi-led phase two terror-bombing targets Houthi technology and manpower.

“They used to bomb all the arms, food and fuel depots they had information on, as well as military camps, and now they are carrying out strikes only on ‘manpower’ and technology in areas of combat operations in the provinces of Aden, Lahij, Abyan, Taiz, Shabwah, Marib, Saada,” Russia’s embassy said.

Terror-bombing so far failed to diminish Houthi strength. What effect IS terrorists will have remains to be seen.

On Saturday, a UN statement announced Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s appointment as its special envoy for Yemen. He replaced Jamal Benomar. He resigned earlier this month.

Houthi official Mohammed Bahiti said Ansarullah fighters “will carry out a military attack on Saudi Arabia if the airstrikes on Yemen don’t come to an end.”

He called ousted/US-installed illegitimate president Abd Rabbuh mansur Hadi a “traitor.”

“The Yemeni people will not honor Mansur Hadi and (won’t) allow him to return to power,” he added.

He expressed Houthi readiness to participate in UN-brokered peace talks from “the point they were at before Saudi aggression.”

Dozens of daily terror-bombings continue. Naval and air blockades remain in force.

An entire population is being suffocated. Obama bears full responsibility.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other regional allies share it. Protracted US-orchestrated terror war without mercy looks likely.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached atlendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.  His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.  Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs.

Obama admits US drone strike killed two Al Qaeda hostages

By Patrick Martin
April 24, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Barack-Obama-In a remarkably brief appearance before the press Thursday morning at the White House, President Barack Obama announced that a US “counterterrorism” operation in January had killed two men long held as prisoners by Al Qaeda in Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan.

Obama reported that Warren Weinstein, an American university professor working as a contractor for a US government aid program in Pakistan, and Giovani Lo Porto, an Italian humanitarian aid worker helping earthquake victims in that country, had both been killed in a US attack, whose details he did not reveal. Press reports citing unnamed officials said the attack was a drone missile strike directed by the CIA.

Earlier this week, the US government notified the families of Weinstein and Lo Porto and the Italian government of their deaths.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed administration officials, “In February, US spy agencies began to pick up intelligence that Messrs. Weinstein and Lo Porto had been killed, but they didn’t know how. At the time, U.S. officials thought that in addition to a possible drone strike, the hostages could have been killed in a military operation conducted by Pakistani forces.

“To make a determination, US spy agencies pored over CIA drone feeds, intercepted communications and other types of intelligence. A few days ago, US intelligence agencies concluded with a high degree of confidence that the hostages were killed in the January drone strike. They then began the process of notifying relatives of the deceased as well as the Italian government and key congressional committees.”

The exact circumstances in which the two men died are extremely murky. Obama gave few details, and nothing said by him, or by the unnamed officials who briefed the corporate-controlled press, can be believed without corroboration. The only thing that appears definitive is that the two are dead.

Obama said, “As president and commander-in-chief I take full responsibility for all counterterrorism operations, including the one that inadvertently took the lives” of Weinstein and Lo Porto. This “responsibility” comes with no consequences, however, since the Department of Justice has issued a legal finding to justify the CIA and Pentagon launching drone missile strikes against any target selected by the president.

Many of the drone missile attacks are so-called signature strikes, meaning that they are triggered by the observation of certain behavior patterns—groups of men in turbans with guns, for example—rather than the identification of specific individuals. Given the conditions along the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border and in rural Yemen, as well as across a wide swathe of the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa, such a “signature” could be the basis for drone strikes against virtually the entire population.

What this means in practice is that thousands of innocent people have been slaughtered, in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and other countries targeted for US drone strikes. By one recent estimate, one set of drone strikes targeting 41 alleged Al Qaeda leaders—some of whom survived the attacks—killed 1,147 people. The overall death toll from US drone missile strikes was estimated at 4,700 in 2013, and there have been dozens of strikes since then.

If Weinstein and Lo Porto had been Pashtuns or Yemenis, rather than citizens of NATO powers, their deaths would have gone without any acknowledgement in official Washington. It was not so long ago that CIA Director John Brennan, in his previous capacity as White House counterterrorism chief, claimed that drone missile strikes were so surgically precise that not a single civilian had been killed.

Dr. Weinstein’s wife, Elaine, issued a statement that said the family was “devastated” and criticized the attitude of both the Pakistani and American governments. Pakistan had treated the hostage as “more of an annoyance than a priority,” while US government assistance to the family was “inconsistent and disappointing.”

“We hope that my husband’s death and the others who have faced similar tragedies in recent months will finally prompt the US government to take its responsibilities seriously and establish a coordinated and consistent approach to supporting hostages and their families,” she said.

The official US government position is to refuse to negotiate for the release of hostages, a stance that has contributed to the killing of journalists like James Foley in Syria and Luke Somers in Yemen. Many European countries have paid ransoms to obtain the release of their citizens held as prisoners in Mideast war zones.

The White House statement claimed that two Americans who allegedly enlisted in Al Qaeda had been killed during the same period as Weinstein and Lo Porto. Ahmed Farouq, identified by the White House as an Al Qaeda operative in South Asia, was said to have died in the same strike that killed the two hostages. Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam the American, a native of southern California, was said to have died in a separate drone strike, also in January.

The White House gave no details on how US intelligence agencies had determined the two men were dead. According to White House spokesman Josh Earnest, these deaths, too, were “inadvertent,” in that Farouq and Gadahn were not specifically targeted and, because the US government “did not have information indicating their presence at the sites of these operations.” Gadahn, however, was certainly on the White House hit list. He had been indicted for treason and had a price on his head, because of his role as an English-language propagandist for Al Qaeda.

Attorney General Eric Holder argued, in a notorious 2011 speech, that an American citizen deliberately selected by Obama for incineration by drone missile had no legal recourse. The Fifth Amendment of the Bill of Rights, which mandates that no one should “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,” did not mean a judicial process, Holder claimed. Obama’s executive branch meetings to choose targets—dubbed “terror Tuesdays” in White House jargon—satisfied the “due process” clause.

The White House statement said the drone-missile strikes that killed Weinstein, Lo Porto, Marouf and Gadahn were “lawful and conducted consistent with our counterterrorism policies,” but added that the US is “conducting a thorough independent review to understand fully what happened and how we can prevent this type of tragic incident in the future.”

“Independent review,” like “due process,” is a concept perverted out of all recognition in the language of the Obama administration. It does not mean a review by an outside group genuinely independent of the military-intelligence apparatus, but rather an internal review by someone other than the individual agents who fired the missiles.

Israel Moves to Cover-up its Alliance with Al Qaeda in Syria

By Asa Winstanley
Global Research, April 14, 2015
Middle East Monitor

 

israel-nukeSedqi al-Maqet, a Syrian activist who lives in the Israeli-occupied part of Syria known as the Golan Heights was interned after a dawn raid on his home by Israeli secret police at the end of February. Until quite recently, the Israeli media was absolutely banned from mentioning his case at all, even from referring or linking to foreign press reports on the issue. 

Al-Maqet is a Syrian Druze from Majdal Shams known for his media activism and support of the Bashar al-Assad regime. He had published information online (including via his Facebook account) about contacts he said he had witnessed between Israeli armed forces in the Golan and what he termed terrorists active in the Syrian-controlled sector of the Golan.

As I have noted in this column before, Israeli military spokespeople have now admitted to what the reports of UN peace-keeping forces in the Golan have been implying for some time: Israel has an active alliance with the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria.

Although al-Qaeda as a movement has a history of making hostile statements against Israel (and statements of an anti-Semitic nature) it has never been involved in much in the way of military confrontations against the Zionist state. Al-Qaeda has historically had two main focuses: US military and civilian targets, and military and civilian targets within Arab states (often specialising in brutal sectarian attacks against those it considers false Muslims).

Since the Nusra Front took over a key checkpoint in the Golan in the summer, it has not gone unnoticed by Arabs that Nusra has completely avoided attacking Israeli military targets in the region. The Qunaitra crossing stands between the Israeli-occupied and the Syrian-controlled sectors of the Golan – Nusra has held it since August.

UN peacekeepers have observed regular contacts between Nusra forces in the area and the Israeli troops stationed on the other side of the ceasefire line (Israel has illegally occupied part of the Golan since 1967). They also observed cargo of an unknown nature passing between the two sides from the Israelis.

More recently, when an army spokesperson talking to the Wall Street Journal confirmed Israel’s aid to al-Qaeda, it was shown that it also took the form of treating Nusra fighters in Israeli field hospitals near the ceasefire line and then sending them back to fight against the government of Syria. (Some defenders of Israel have claimed this is no different from how it supposedly treats any enemy fighter in its hospitals. But there is a crucial difference: fighters from Hamas or Hizballah captured by Israel would be sent straight to jail after hospital discharge.)

Now, thanks to the extreme risks al-Maqet took, we know a little more about this secret Israeli war in Syria. Its tactical alliance with al-Qaeda in Syria has been exposed, and the Shabak, Israel’ secret police force, is none too happy about it.

Al-Maqet posted a video online, which was later aired on Syrian TV, containing his commentary to camera on what he said he had seen in the Golan: a meeting taking place between the Israeli occupation forces and the terrorists, as he put it.

Although the Israeli media was at first banned by military decree from covering the story, the Hebrew-literate American blogger Richard Silverstein has covered the story in detail. He was the first journalist to report al-Maqet’s arrest. It was likely in part thanks to his work that the gag order was partly lifted (it did little to stop the story getting out onto the internet in any case).

Silverstein has seen a copy of part of the indictment against al-Maqet. Although some of the charges remain secret, most of the ones we know of relate to posting comments and videos to Facebook and YouTube. As Silverstein put it in a detailed summary of the case for Middle East Eye this week: “Al-Maket may be the first individual accused of spying through social media. Along with a description of the content of the posts, the clerks in the Shabak or prosecutor’s office have taken the trouble to compile the number of Likes, Shares and YouTube clicks his posts obtained.”

Al-Maqet was detained without access to a lawyer for ten days, and the military court eventually ruled that he must use a lawyer with a high-level security clearance (in other words he has to use a former Israeli military officer as a lawyer … as his defender in a military court).

The amount of trouble that Israel’s Deep State is going to in order to shut this man up is deeply emblematic of the state’s fundamentally anti-democractic nature. It also shows that, the more press coverage there is of Israel’s alliance with al-Qaeda in Syria (it has been pretty much ignored by mainstream media to date) the more Israel is sensitive to the facts being exposed.

After all, by aiding al-Qaeda in Syria, Israel is by providing material support to a group that it itself defines as a terrorist organization, as do the US and British governments.

Scouring Hebrew media, Silverstein also found last year that Israel established “a Camp Ashraf-style Syrian rebel encampment just inside Israeli[-occupied] territory” in the Golan Heights. Israeli media have even filmed the camp, as video on Silverstein’s blog shows. (Camp Ashraf was the former base of the MEK, an Iraq-based group that was backed by the US and Israel and used as a proxy force in a terrorist war against Iran).

With ISIS, the so-called “Islamic State,” currently battling it out for control of Yarmouk, the Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, this issue has become even more important. The Nusra Front has reportedly put aside some of its differences with ISIS, and allied with the group in Yarmouk, allowing it to take over much of the camp.

Israel. Nusra. ISIS. The capture of Yarmouk. The alliances in the war in Syria grow ever more strange and complicated.

The internment of al-Maqet likely shows that Israel is beginning to get a little worried that the reality of its alliance with al-Qaeda in Syria may eventually start to break through to mainstream media in the west. So far, the media has shown little interest in the story, but that is not guaranteed to hold true.

An associate editor with The Electronic Intifada, Asa Winstanley is an investigative journalist who lives in London.

Rebranding Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat Al Nusra as “Moderates”

By Maram Susl
March 23, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

Al-Nusra-Front-in-SyriaThe CIA backed and armed Syrian rebel group, Hazm brigade disbanded and its members have defected to Al Qaeda linked Jabhat Al Nusra (JAN) and ISIS. Hazm brigade also left behind a warehouse of US provided weapons, including anti-tank TOW missiles, which JAN has seized. With no one left to arm against the Syrian state but JAN, the US State Department has attempted to rebrand JAN as a non-Al Qaeda moderate force. The next step of the plan is to allow US proxy Qatar to openly arm JAN. However, the audacious campaign has so far been an abysmal failure.

Hazm Brigade Provided Plausible Deniability

The latest defection and disbanding was not the first time that the US backed Hazm brigade had handed over US provided weapons to Al Qaeda, the last incident occurring in December of 2014. It was previously asserted that the US administration advertised the ‘moderate’ Hazm brigade in order to maintain plausible deniability whilst knowing the heavy weapons they provide, such as anti-tank missiles, would eventually end up in the hands of Al Qaeda.

Indeed, former-US ambassador Robert Ford recently admitted through his twitter account to Syrian journalist Edward Dark, that the US knew the Syrian rebels they were backing were allied to Al Qaeda. With the announcement that Hazm brigade had disbanded, the State Department has lost their cover to aid al Qaeda whilst maintaining plausible deniability.

Rebranding Al Qaeda

NATO media has acknowledged that JAN is the most powerful group fighting the Syrian state besides ISIS. JAN also have widespread support amongst all other insurgents groups in Syria. Given the level at which the US has committed itself to an anti-ISIS narrative, they have little left to paint as a moderate force but JAN. Though, the US has launched strikes against JAN in one instance, earning the ire of all Syrian insurgent groups who protested “We are all JAN”. Suggestions to train a new insurgent group from scratch have been called unrealistic. Hence NATO media has been running a PR campaign for JAN’s new found moderation.

The New York Times suggested that JAN may ‘cut ties with Al Qaeda in the hope of receiving more military aid”. Reuters reported that if the group were to lose its Al Qaeda ties that Gulf states could provide more support openly.

“Sources in the group have said it was considering severing its ties to al Qaeda, a move that could result in more support from Gulf Arab states hostile to both Assad and Islamic State.”

The word of “more” tentatively suggests the New York Times and Reuters acknowledge that Gulf states have already provided some support to Al Qaeda in the past.

BBC analysis written by Dr. David Roberts, suggested that Qatar funding and arming JAN (Al Nusra Front) may be a good thing. In an article titled “Is Qatar bringing the Nusra Front in from the cold?” he writes,

“Secondly, the Nusra Front has pledged to concentrate its efforts on removing the Bashar al-Assad government, as opposed to attacking the “far enemy” (ie Western states). On this point, the Nusra Front is aligned tightly with Qatar, which also is implacably against the government and fundamentally believes that the situation in Syria will only improve if he is removed.This is why Qatar is hoping to bring the Nusra Front in from the cold. If the state can get the group to eschew its al-Qaeda affiliation and adhere to a broadly moderate Islamist platform, Qatar can officially commence, with Western blessing, the supply of one of the most effective fighting forces in Syria.”

The IBtimes downplayed JAN’s ties to Al Qaeda, stating:

“Though JAN is al Qaeda’s only branch in Syria, the group often downplays its role in al Qaeda Central’s long-term plan to establish an Islamic “emirate” in favour of marketing itself as a Syria-centric opposition group focused on the revolution and overthrowing Assad.”

Finally, In an article headlined “Accepting Al Qaeda,” the Council of Foreign Affairs (CFR) advised that the US must keep ‘Al Qaeda afloat to contain ISIS’’. Unlike other articles, the CFR doesn’t bother to suggest that JAN drop their Al Qaeda affiliations, instead suggesting the US should accept them in spite of their Al Qaeda affiliations. This would be the second time the CFR would recommend the US make friends with Al Qaeda. They had previously labeled the Ahrar Al Sham insurgent group “Al Qaeda worth befriending”. The CFR is considered to be US’s “most influential foreign-policy think tank”. In 2009, Hillary Clinton welcomed the fact that the CFR had set up an outpost down the street from the State Department, saying “I won’t have as far to go to be told what we should be doing.”

A Difficult Task

It was always going to be a difficult task to convince the American people to support a group they have been constantly told was responsible for the death of thousands of US soldiers and civilians. They were reminded by their own government every year to “never forget 9/11” and their young men were sent to die to avenge the incident, now they are being asked to forget just that.

But the task of rebranding JAN has been fraught with other difficulties, the main being that Al Nusra is not co-operating with the US-Qatari plan. In an angry statement, JAN denied US media reports that they were breaking ties with Al Qaeda. The AFP wrote that JAN had rejected “any plan to break away [from Al Qaeda ] and become a more internationally acceptable rebel force.”

But the AFP falls short of explaining how dropping a label would make JAN more internationally acceptable and no longer a ‘terrorist’ organisation. When ISIS shed it’s al Qaeda label, it did not stop ethnically cleansing minorities or beheading Syrian soldiers. Al Qaeda is after all just label, it is practically an imaginary organisation with practically the only men on the ground being the insurgents of JAN. Al Qaeda is more of an ideological affiliation, rather than an affiliation to a real organisation

The very fact that the NATO run media suggests changing JAN’s label would make them moderate, illustrates that the only distinction between the Al Qaeda and those groups NATO media calls moderate, is nothing but a label. They have very little ideological differences and commit equally abhorrent war crimes. Further illustrating this is, the fact that the Hazm brigade fighters found it easy to defect to JAN and ISIS and shows that the ‘moderate’ fighters had little trouble embracing Al Qaeda’s ideology.

Another difficulty is while Jabhat Al Nusra was condemned as a terrorist organisation, NATO run media was allowed to report on their war crimes. It is difficult to run a PR campaign for a group that has claimed responsibility for many car bombings which targeted civilians. It was also widely reported that Jabhat Al Nusra kidnapped UN peace keepers and later taunted them with the heads of murdered Syrian soldiers. Just like ISIS, JAN has been busy destroying Syria’s historical sites, though unlike the case with ISIS it was under-reported across NATO run media.

In 2012, it became increasingly obvious the Syrian state was fighting a sectarian and religiously motivated insurgency that was linked to Al Qaeda. It is possible that the US labeled JAN a terrorist organisation, as it needed a scapegoat to pin all rebel warcrimes on and to with which to set apart other insurgent groups. The policy may have backfired when JAN grew to be the main insurgent group fighting the Syrian state. During this time the US no longer needed JAN to act as the scapegoat as ISIS rose to fill in that role.

Indeed it also required for the US to label at least one insurgent group as a terrorists organisation, in order to pursue a long term objective of fighting a perpetual war “on terror”. However, the time frame of the rise of JAN seems to be inconvenient for the United States. Such a narrative shift was likely meant to occur after the successful over throw of the Syrian government. Creating terror to overthrow a government and then going back in to fight it, has been the template which was applied to Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. But unlike in Iraq and Libya, the Syrian government remains firmly in place. As a result the US has been forced to pursue two conflicting policies and narratives at once, fighting terror and funding terror.

Apart from perpetual war, the rise of Al Qaeda linked groups better suits other long term US objectives. Such groups are more fundamentally opposed to Hezbollah, Iran and Russia. They are also more likely to pursue a policy of ethnic cleansing which would more easily lead to balkanisation. Finally the advantage of a mostly Al Qaeda force is that it is cheaper to run, as they are funded mostly by Gulf states who launder money through donations to pro-Al Qaeda Wahabi mosques. The US may find it easier to convince Qatar to foot the entire bill for the insurgency, arguing that they can’t do so whilst maintaining plausible deniability. It is interesting to note that, some Hazm brigade members believe the US set them up to fail by not providing them enough resources. Perhaps Hazm brigade were always left in a state weaker than JAN so that JAN would be able to loot the TOW missile arsenal, but perhaps JAN killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

One of the biggest hurdles in the plan to allow Qatar to openly fund JAN arises from the fact the the UN Security Council has already condemned and sanctioned both JAN and ISIS, unanimously adopting a Russian-drafted resolution. This effectively makes it illegal to fund JAN under international law. But there have already been accusations of US-ally Qatar sponsoring JAN and Qatar has done little to deny them.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamid II, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that there are groups that the US considered terrorists in Syria which Qatar does not, avoiding naming JAN outright. UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Washington have gone as far as to admit that individuals in Qatar were also bank rolling ISIS, perhaps as a means of blackmailing their Qatari ally in the future. Qatar was able to openly transfer millions to JAN, under the guise of paying ransom for abducted nuns and UN peacekeepers. BBC analyst Dr David Roberts does not question Qatar’s ties to JAN but, referred to the hostage taking as ‘JAN helping Qatar release hostages’.

Whilst Qatar has provided funding to JAN in the past, openly arming JAN would allow Qatar to transfer a lot more money and perhaps heavier weaponry through the US. But without first removing JAN off the UN sanctions list it would be too difficult for the UN to ignore. Though there have been set backs to the US-Qatar open arming plan, they may continue trying in the coming weeks. Regardless, funding for JAN and the insurgency is not going to dry up any time soon, with or without plausible deniability.

Maram Susli also known as “Syrian Girl,” is an activist-journalist and social commentator covering Syria and the wider topic of geopolitics. especially for the online magazineNew Eastern Outlook”.

 

How the U.S. Is Allied with ISIS & Al Qaeda

By Eric Zuesse
March 20, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

isil-usal-media-realityThe United States is allied with Sunni Moslem aristocracies (and therefore with Sunni-headed nations), against Shia Moslem aristocracies (and therefore also against Shia-headed nations). Sunni aristocracies provide the huge ($1 million and larger) financial donations that sustain ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other jihadist armed movements, commonly called “terrorists.” 

Islamic terrorism is virtually entirely a phenomenon of Sunni Islam, and the U.S. is allied with the aristocracies that fund it. 

The only major Shia organization that is even slightly comparable to those Sunni terrorist organizations is Hezbollah, which is based in Lebanon and answers to Shia Iran; but, as wikipedia has noted: 

“The Gulf Cooperation Council,[15] Canada,[16] and Israel[17] have classified Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, though in 2015 an assessment from the U.S. director of National Intelligence removed it from its list of terror threats.[18] The European Union and New Zealand have proscribed Hezbollah’s military wing, but do not list Hezbollah as a whole as a terrorist organization.[19][20] “

The Gulf Cooperation Council, Canada, and Israel, are all, like the Sunni aristocracies are, U.S.-allied, not Russia-allied. They all want Hezbollah to be thought of as if it were like Al Qaeda, etc., so as to be able to hide the U.S. aristocracy’s alliance with the very same aristocrats who are funding global jihad, but they know that it’s just a lie. They know that global jihadism is essentially just a Sunni movement, which has its roots in the U.S.-Saudi alliance backing of the Mujahideen guerillas in Afghanistan during 1979-1989, as part of the West’s war against communism, which war now turns out to have been actually, in the real intent of the U.S. aristocracy, a still-ongoing war against Russia, because America’s NATO military alliance has continued on, long after the U.S.S.R.’s Warsaw Pact military alliance dissolved and ended entirely in 1991. Every single moment of NATO’s continued existence beyond that moment in time has been a clear indication that America’s aristocracy hope actually to conquer Russia — that anti-communism was, for them, just an excuse for their war to conquer the U.S.S.R., a war which is now raging hot again in the very bloody Ukrainian anti-Russian coup and follow-on Ukrainian civil war, and with preparations on both sides for an outright nuclear war between NATO and Russia. Because it’s all based on lies.

Islamic terrorism is allied with the U.S., not with Russia. (Russia experiences it in places like Chechnia.) Sunni extremists were even key U.S.-Saudi tools in weakening Russia and ending the U.S.S.R. This (and especially the Saudi aristocracy’s funding of Al Qaeda) is the reason why the U.S. White House refuses to allow the blocked 28 pages of the U.S. Senate’s Feinstein terrorism/torture report to be made public. The U.S. White House is, and has been at least since 2000, and maybe even before that, controlled by the U.S. aristocracy, no longer by the public. The U.S. Federal Government is, already, a dictatorship — actual rule by the country’s aristocracy or “oligarchs” — no authentic democracy anymore. This is a scientifically proven fact. Democracy in this country is now merely mythological, whatever the case might possibly have been before (when there were unfortunately no rigorous scientific studies yet regarding the question).

Sunni Islam is comprised of the Wahhabi variety and its offshoots, and it is comparable, in the Christian context, to fundamentalist or literalist Christianity, the extremist form of its own faith. That’s what the U.S. has been allied with after 1945.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is negotiationg with Iran about far more than Iran’s nuclear program. Iran is the world’s leading Shiite Muslim nation, just as America’s ally since 1945 Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading Sunni Muslim nation; and there is a global conflict between Shia and Sunni Islam, just as there had been in the past a global conflict between Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christianity. Even within the same religion, history is full of very bloody and lengthy wars between contending sects. It’s rather normal.

Above all: Iran is Shia, and has therefore been allied with Russia, the country that Obama’s Administration (including Kerry) are seeking to destroy. An inevitable part of Kerry’s negotiations with Iran is to turn Iran against Russia; it would be a geostrategic sea-change.

In the Arabic world, the standard variety of Islam is Sunni; and all of the royal families are Sunni, even in Shiite Bahrain, where the Sunni al-Khalifa family basically imprison the public, who are Shia, in their country, and they do it with American military support, so that without the U.S. there would be no Sunni dictatorship in Bahrain, at all. The al-Khalifas pay U.S. ‘news’ media to not cover the barbaric means they employ to subdue their population. The United States is no friend to democracy; it often imposes dictatorship, and Bahrain is the best example of this, because it is so brutal. However, the mirror-image of that on the Russian-allied side is in the Shite-led Sunni-majority nation of Syria. The only difference is that, if the Alawite Shiite dictatorship in Syria gets overthrown, it will be replaced by Sunni terrorists — which would be far worse. But that’s what Obama evidently wants — if he is to be judged by his actions and not by his words.

On Wednesday, March 18th, Iran’s Fars News Agency headlined “Iraqi Commander: Tapped Communications Confirms US Aids to ISIL,” and opened as follows:

A commander of Iraq’s popular forces disclosed that wiretapping of ISIL’s communications has confirmed the reports that the US planes have been airdropping food and arms supplies for the Takfiri terrorists.

“The wiretapped ISIL communications by Iraqi popular forces have revealed that the US planes have been dropping weapons and foodstuff for the Takfiri terrorist group,” Commander of Iraq’s Ali Akbar Battalion told FNA on Wednesday.

He noted that tapping on ISIL disclosed the terrorist group’s regular contacts with the US army, and said, “They exchanged sentences like if they would have a share of the ammunition dropped near (Spiker Military Base) or responses such as ‘you will also receive your share’.”

“The US forces by dropping weapons and ammunition for ISIL, specially in Yassreb, Al-Ramadi and near Spiker Base in Hay al-Qadessiya have provided a lot of help to the ISIL,” he added.

Many similar reports by Iraqi officials and forces have surfaced in the last few months.

In February, an Iraqi provincial official lashed out at the western countries and their regional allies for supporting Takfiri terrorists in Iraq, revealing that the US airplanes still continue to airdrop weapons and foodstuff for the ISIL terrorists.

On March 2nd, I headlined “Obama Prioritizes Weakening Russia, Over Weakening ISIS,” and linked to a news report from Michael Snyder the day before, titled “Is Barack Obama Actually Trying to Help … ISIS … Take Over Syria?” which concluded in the affirmative, because the air-drops of weapons were specifically into areas that were firmly under the control of ISIS. I placed this into the broader context of Obama’s overriding foreign-policy objective: weakening or even destroying Russia.

So: the U.S. President is not only dropping bombs onto some ISIS positions, but is dropping weapons onto others — so that they can in turn fire weapons to weaken the Shiite Assad in Syria and the Shiite regime in Iraq.

George W. Bush was allied with Sunni aristocracies, and so is Barack Obama. That’s because Sunni aristocracies, like the American aristocracy, aim, above all, to destroy Russia.

The only Russia-friendly Sunni dictator was Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi; and, as Hillary Clinton proudly and joyously said of him after bombing to hell his forces, “We came, we saw, he died.”

On 17 April 2014 in the London Review of Books, Seymour Hersh bannered “The Red Line and the Rat Line,” and he reported that after eliminating Gaddafi, the Obama Administration arranged to transfer from Libya into Syria the Libyan sarin that the Obama Administration claimed Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria had created and fired during 19 March 2013 onto the Syrian village of Khan al-Assal, and which gas-attack Obama was trying to use as a ‘justification’ for bombing Assad’s forces in the Syrian civil war — which a proposal from Russia caused to be canceled.

Although the United States Government pretends to be opposed to terrorism, the United States Government is also the global leader in militarily supporting the aristocracies that fund terrorism; and is, in the final analysis, more of a friend than a foe of terrorist organizations, because Russia is allied with the Shiite side in the Sunni-v.-Shiite conflict, and the U.S. is allied with the Sunni side — the side that sponsors terrorism and that supplies almost all of the actual terrorist fighters.

This explains a lot of the inconsistencies and absurdities in U.S. Government allegations about terrorism and its causes.

The U.S. is a crucial sponsor of terrorism, but only in the shadows, because our aristocracy provide the military muscle that retains in power the Arabic aristocrats who — also in the shadows — actually finance terrorists (and who pay them very well, it seems).

What the U.S. Government alleges in international relations today has just about as much reason to be believed as did the statements by Adolf Hitler’s German Government about international relations during the 1930s and ‘40s; and the U.S. actually has adopted and refined many of that Government’s propaganda-tactics. As a consequence, the predominant view that the American public has of what’s happening in international matters is dangerously false. It will benefit the few at the very top, each one of whom knows personally virtually every other one — and whose lawyers are constantly dealing with each other to negotiate the details — and whose deals are almost always made in private, even deals that determine which politician will be backed and become a government official, and which particular office that he or she will hold. Hiring the top executives, who hire all other people, at the think tanks, and at the ‘news’ media, shapes the way the public sees public affairs, and it also shapes their votes. These things can be arranged — and they are arranged; they are manipulated.

The world’s richest 0.7% own 13.7 times as much as the world’s poorest 68.7%. They spend enough of it buying controlling interests in the significant ’news’ media and endowing tax-free foundations and think tanks, so that the ‘authoritative reality’ will be what they want it to be; and, when the public sees it and believes it, politicians will likeliest win who don’t contradict the aristocratically shaped ‘reality.’

And this is the reason why, at least in the United States, aristocrats control the Government. It’s not mysterious; it’s just secret. It’s the way things actually are, rather than the way they are propagandized to be. The actual government isn’t publicly seen. 

And what are the people at the top actually like? Scientific studies find that successful people tend to be bad. The people at the top tend to be psychopaths. And, of course, psychopaths tend to be very good liars.

So: it all makes sense, when you stop to think about it. But unfortunately, few people do.

———-

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

The US to offer “a significant contribution” to the Middle Eastern crisis

By Viktor Mikhin
March 19, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

S2342342It has been widely reported by the world media that the American Central Intelligence Agency plans on providing training to Syrian rebels right on their own soil. The CIA, together with the security forces of Qatar (who coincidently are funding the training), plan on training the “opposition” to ISIS. John Allen, coordinator for the anti-ISIS coalition (turns out that it is a cushy job with a good salary), demagogically declared that all these actions are being taken in order to “create the diplomatic space that will make possible a political solution to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.”

What can one say about such a statement? Military experts from many countries feel that these steps made by Washington are just another attempt to fight against the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.  Opponents of US intervention in internal conflicts of other countries logically observe that ISIS was also once called a “moderate opposition” and backed by Qatar. They believe that such an initiative is but a smoke screen for Washington and Doha, financing al-Qaeda and one of its main organizations – ISIS, and that the main goal is carrying out one single task: the removal from power of the legitimately elected Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

A retired general draws attention to this statement and other issues. He stated in particular that the Pentagon will only work with so-called “moderate rebels from the Syrian opposition.” He is right at least by calling the opposition “rebels”, or in other words: terrorists, designed to solve Washington’s problems in the Middle East region. He also called for a larger definition of what is meant by “moderate opposition”. How will the CIA experts, having failed miserably more than once because of their lack of know-how, define who are “moderate rebels”. It seems that each rebel will first go to the US on a CIA visa, fill in a multi-page questionnaire and then pass a lie detector test? And maybe they will give a blood sample for analysis which will determine the degree of “moderation” of the visiting rebel and his “dedication to the American-style democracy”? And will those that don’t pass the test just go straight to Guantanamo?

Doesn’t this remind you of anything at all? It is well-known that all of the Saudis terrorists involved in the sad events of 9/11/2001 moved to the United States on visas handed out by the CIA. Now, a pretty impressive group of unknown fighters are arriving on American soil, yet again with the help of American intelligence. One must wonder what the pundits of the CIA are planning and what we should expect from them, which new acts of terrorism? Incidentally, one must also remember that some time ago, the US military delivered the best modern arms to the same “moderate opposition” paid by Qatar. And what happened with these “freedom fighters”? As you well know, once armed the rebels moved straight into the ranks of terrorist organizations such as the “al-Nusra Front” or ISIS, and are now actively fighting on the Syrian and Iraqi territories. And for some reason the US Air Force sometimes bomb them quite unsuccessfully.

Here are just two professional opinions on the matter. The air strikes by the US-led coalition on ISIS are superficial in nature and only do a little damage, said the Syrian Deputy-Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad. The deputy minister stressed that “the most effective way to combat ISIS are ground operations”, conducted by Syria and Iraq. He also stated that the preparation of anti-government forces that is being pursued by the USA, “will prolong the conflict and spread it to other countries.” According to him, Syria has amassed a large mass of information on the militants of terrorist organizations and is ready to share such information with friendly nations.

The measures taken by the West are insufficient to eliminate the long-term threat posed by the terrorist group of ISIS, said the editor of the British magazine Politics First, Marcus Papadopoulos. According to him, Washington and West European countries should above all stop supporting Islamists. “ISIS, al-Qaeda and other actors in the Islamist world would not be able to strengthen their positions if the West did not choose to support certain groups whenever it is suits them in order to achieve geostrategic objectives”, emphasized M. Papadopoulos. “During the war in Afghanistan in the 80s of the twentieth century, the West (led by the USA) supported the Mujahedeen to defeat Russia over there.” According to him, the United States supported the Muslim Bosnians in the Bosnian civil war of the early 90s, paving the way for the Afghan Mujahedeen to arrive and beat the Bosnian Serbs, simultaneously providing support to Washington in the Balkans and effectively depriving Russia from having influence in the region.

Now from Washington come these wasted scenarios from many countries that became victims of the American “democracy” on bayonets. Recruited, trained and armed with very modern weapons, riff-raff that is ready to kill for anyone and anywhere for the right price. And it pays well to organize terrorist attacks in Europe, the USA, to steal or shoot down civilian aircraft. It is no coincidence that many civilian aircrafts have been shot down or disappeared in recent years and for some reason it is always the flashy American justice and omniscient American media that has their mouths watering. What does this mean?

Here it is a case of the number and nationalist character of the rebels, sowing death and terror on Syrian and Iraqi territories where 8 million Arabs live. Lei al-Khatib, a scientific researcher at the Brookings Institution, estimates that ISIS has 80,000 fighters, including about 20,000 foreigners. And the majority of foreigners according to Lei al-Khatib come from the West. Other experts argue that the ISIS leadership inflates the number of its fighters for marketing purposes, as well as for the generous infusions from the Sunni regimes of the Persian Gulf states. But nevertheless, a caliphate now exists, publishing relevant laws and orders in the occupied territory and ostentatiously showing the world the executions of citizens of the Western world. All of these heinous killings with their worldwide display and setting, as many has observed, seem to follow a good quality Hollywood script. Maybe the CIA itself hired a number of Hollywood professionals with high salaries for this purpose? Because as you know, in the role of the executioner that is performed with such talent are the very mercenaries that come from the West. Once again the question arises, did they get there on their own or did someone pay them to go there?

The biggest beneficiary of these events, as was the case in the first half of the twentieth century, is the American military-industrial complex. The United States of America is an unusual country. Other countries with a budget deficit will try to reduce its budget but the US does the opposite. With a huge external debt and a constantly growing budget deficit, they increase again and again their military spending, increasing its military budget to a level that is equal to military expenditures of the rest of the world combined. And in concluding one military campaign seeks to ignite a new military conflict in another part of the world. According to the South China Morning Post, the air war in Iraq and Syria that is now led by the USA, “was a real godsend” for American arms manufacturers.

With the new air campaign in the Middle East, shares of leading military contractors and US military-industrial complex firms (Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and General Dynamics) has risen sharply. The Pentagon promptly signed a contract for nearly a billion dollars for the purchase of Tomahawk missiles and other weapons right after the active phase of the bombing in Iraq and Syria started.

That is why the conflict in the Middle East will continue and blood will flow for a rather long time, turning into hard cash in the vaults of the US military-industrial complex. The rulers of the USA like repeating an ancient maxim: money does not stink. That is why the “freedom fighters” of the past in Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, and now the Ukraine, missiles in hand, were specially imported for training in the United States.

Viktor Mikhin, member correspondent of RANS, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.
First appeared:
http://journal-neo.org/2015/03/19/rus-vesomy-j-vklad-ssha-v-blizhnevostochny-j-krizis/

Breaking the Resistance with Terrorism and Proxy Wars

By Eric Draitser
March 17, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

S8885544332With the situation in the Middle East seemingly spinning out of control, many political observers are left wondering what it all means. The war in Syria has been at the forefront of the news since 2011, and rightly so, as Syria has become the epicenter of a larger regional conflict, particularly with the ascendance of ISIS in the last year.

Undoubtedly, the mainstream acceptance of the ISIS threat has changed the strategic calculus vis-à-vis Syria, as the US prepares to launch yet another open-ended war, ostensibly to defeat it. And, while many in the West are willing to buy the ISIS narrative and pretext for war, they do so with little understanding or recognition of the larger geopolitical contours of this conflict. Essentially, almost everyone ignores the fact that ISIS and Syria-Iraq is only one theater of conflict in the broader regional war being waged by the US-NATO-GCC-Israel axis. Also of vital importance is an understanding of the proxy war against Iran (and all Shia in the region), being fomented by the very same terror and finance networks that have spread the ISIS disease in Syria.

In attempting to unravel the complex web of relations between the terror groups operating throughout the region, important commonalities begin to emerge. Not only are many of these groups directly or tangentially related to each other, their shadowy connections to western intelligence bring into stark relief an intricate mosaic of terror that is part of a broader strategy of sectarianism designed to destroy the “Axis of Resistance” which unites Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah. In so doing, these terror groups and their patrons hope to internationalize the war in Syria, and its destructive consequences.

Terrorism as a Weapon in Syria and Iraq

In order to understand how these seemingly disparate groups fit into the regional destabilization, one must first recognize how they are connected both in terms of ideology and shared relationships. On the one hand you have the well known terror outfits operating in the Syria-Iraq theater of this conflict. These would include the ubiquitous ISIS, along with its Al Qaeda-affiliated ally Jabhat Al-Nusra.

However, often left out of the western narrative is the fact that the so called “moderate rebels,” such as the Al Farouq Brigade and other similar groups affiliated with the “Free Syrian Army,” are also linked through various associations with a number of jihadi organizations in Syria and beyond. These alleged “moderates” have been documented as having committed a number of egregious war crimes including mutilation of their victims, and cross-border indiscriminate shelling. And these are the same “moderates” that the Obama Administration spent the last three years touting as allies, as groups worthy of US weapons, to say nothing of the recent revelations of cooperation with US air power. But of course US cooperation with these extremist elements is only the tip of the iceberg.

A recent UN report further corroborated the allegations that Israeli military and/or Mossad is cooperating with, and likely helping to organize, the Jabhat al-Nusra organization in and around the Golan Heights. Such claims of course dovetail with the reports from Israeli media that militant extremists fighting the Syrian government have been treated in Israeli medical facilities. Naturally, these clandestine activities carried out by Israel should be combined with the overt attacks on Syria carried out by Tel Aviv, including recent airstrikes, which despite the inaction of the UN and international community, undeniably constitute a war crime.

Beyond the US and Israel however, other key regional actors have taken part in the destabilization and war on Syria. Turkey has provided safe haven for terrorists streaming into Syria to wage war against the legally recognized government of President Assad. In cooperation with the CIA and other agencies, Turkey has worked diligently to foment civil war in Syria in hopes of toppling the Assad government, thereby allowing Ankara to elevate itself to a regional hegemon, or so the thinking of Erdogan and Davutoglu goes. Likewise, Jordan has provided training facilities for terrorists under the guidance and tutelage of “instructors” from the US, UK, and France.

But why rehash all these well-documented aspects of the destabilization and war on Syria? Simple. In order to fully grasp the regional dimension and global implications of this conflict, one must place the Syria war in its broader geopolitical context, and understand it as one part of a broader war on the “Axis of Resistance.” For, while Hezbollah and certain Iranian elements have been involved in the fighting and logistical support in Syria, another insidious threat has emerged – a renewed terror war against Iran in its Sistan and Baluchestan province in the east.

Rekindling the Proxy War against Iran

As the world’s attention has been understandably fixed upon the horrors of Syria, Iraq, and Libya, a new theater in the regional conflict has come to the forefront – Iran; specifically, Iran’s eastern Sistan and Baluchestan province, long a hotbed of separatism and anti-Shia terror, where a variety of terror groups have operated with the covert, and often overt, backing of western and Israeli intelligence agencies.

Just in the last year, there have been numerous attacks on Iranian military and non-military targets in the Sistan and Baluchestan region, attacks carried out by a variety of groups. Perhaps the most well known instance occurred in March 2014 when five Iranian border guards were kidnapped – one was later executed – by Jaish al-Adl which, according to the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium is:

an extremist Salafi group that has since its foundation claimed responsibility for a series of operations against Iran’s domestic security forces and Revolutionary Guards operating in Sistan and Balochistan province, including the detonation of mines [link added] against Revolutionary Guards vehicles and convoys, kidnapping of Iranian border guards and attacks against military bases… Jaish al-Adl is also opposed to the Iranian Government’s active support of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which they regard as an attack on Sunni muslims…Jaish ul-Adl executes cross border operations between the border of Iran and Pakistan and is based in the Baluchistan province in Pakistan.

It is important to note the centrality of Iran’s support for Syria and the Syrian Arab Army (and of course Hezbollah) in the ideological framework of a group like Jaish al-Adl. Essentially, this terror group sees their war against the Iranian government as an adjunct of the war against Assad and Syria – a new front in a larger war. Of course, the sectarian aspect should not be diminished as this group, like its many terrorist cousins, makes no distinction between political and religious/sectarian divisions. A war on Iran is a war on Shia, and both are just, both are legitimate.

Similarly, the last 18 months have seen the establishment of yet another terror group known as Ansar al-Furqan – a fusion of the Balochi Harakat Ansar and Pashto Hizb al-Furqan, both of which had been operating along Iran’s eastern border with Pakistan. According to the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium:

They characterize themselves as Mujahideen aginst [sic] the Shia government in Iran and are linked to Katibat al Asad Al ‘Ilamiya; Al-Farooq activists; al Nursra Front (JN), Nosrat Deen Allah, Jaysh Muhammad, Jaysh al ‘Adal; and though it was denied for some time, appears to have at least personal relationships with Jundallah…The stated mission of Ansar al Furqan is ” to topple the Iranian regime…”

Like its terrorist cousin Jaish al-Adl, Ansar al-Furqan has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks against the Iranian Government, including a May 2014 IED attack on a freight train belonging to government forces. While such attacks may not make a major splash in terms of international attention, they undoubtedly send a message heard loud and clear in Tehran: these terrorists and their sponsors will stop at nothing to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Two inescapable facts immediately come to the fore when examining these groups. On the one hand, they are Sunni extremists whose ultimate goal is the destruction of the Iranian state and all vestiges of Shia dominance, political, military or otherwise. On the other hand, these groups see their war against Iran as part and parcel of the terror wars on Syria and Iraq.

And then of course there’s Jundallah, the notorious terror organization lead for decades by the Rigi family. Anyone with even cursory knowledge of the group is undoubtedly aware of its long-standing ties to both US and Israeli intelligence. As Foreign Policy magazine reported in 2012, Israeli Mossad and US CIA operatives essentially competed with one another for control of the Jundallah network for years. This information of course directly links these agencies with the covert war against Iran going back years, to say nothing of the now well-known role of Israeli intelligence in everything from assassinations of Iranian scientists to the use of cyberweapons such as Stuxnet and Flame. These and other attacks by Israel and the US against Iranian interests constitute a major part of the dirty war against Iran – a war in which terror groups figure prominently.

It should be noted that a number of other terror outfits have been used through the decades in the ongoing “low-intensity” war against Iran, including the infamous Mujahideen-e-Khalq, a terrorist group hailed as heroes by the US neocon establishment. Thanks to Wikileaks, it also now documented fact that Israel has long since attempted to use Kurdish groups such as PJAK (Iraqi Kurdish terror group) to wage continued terror war against Iran for the purposes of destabilization of the government. Additionally, there was a decades-long campaign of Arab separatism in Iran’s western Khuzestan region spearheaded by British intelligence. As Dr. Kaveh Farrokh and Mahan Abedin wrote in 2005, “there is a mass of evidence that connects the British secret state to Arab separatism in Iran.”

These and other groups, too numerous to name here, represent a part of the voluminous history of subversion against Iran. But why now? What is the ultimate strategy behind these seemingly disparate geopolitical machinations?

Encircling the Resistance in Order to Break It

To see the obvious strategic gambit by the US-NATO-GCC-Israel axis, one need only look at a map of the major conflicts mentioned above. Syria has been infiltrated by countless terrorist groups that have waged a brutal war against the Syrian government and people. They have used Turkey in the North, Jordan in the South, and to a lesser degree Lebanon and, indirectly, Israel in the West. Working in tandem with the ISIS forces originating in Iraq, Syria has been squeezed from all sides in hopes that military defeat and/or the internal collapse of the Syrian government would be enough to destroy the country.

Naturally, this strategy has necessarily drawn Hezbollah into the war as it is allied with Syria and, for more practical reasons, cannot allow a defeated and broken Syria to come to fruition as Hezbollah would then be cut off from their allies in Iran. And so, Hezbollah and Syria have been forced to fight on no less than two fronts, fighting for the survival of the Resistance in the Levant.

Simultaneously, the regional power Iran has made itself into a central player in the war in Syria, recognizing correctly that the war could prove disastrous to its own security and regional ambitions. However, Tehran cannot simply put all its energy into supporting and defending Syria and Hezbollah as it faces its own terror threat in the East. The groups seeking to topple the Iranian government may not be able to compete militarily with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, but they can certainly create enough destabilization through terrorism to make it more difficult for Tehran to effectively aid in the fight in Syria.

The US-NATO-GCC-Israel alliance has not needed to put its own boots on the ground to achieve its strategic objectives. Instead, it is relying on irregular warfare, proxy terror wars, and small-scale destabilizations to achieve by stealth what it cannot achieve with military might alone.

But it remains paramount for all those interested in peace to make these connections, to understand the broad outlines of this vast covert war taking place. To see a war in Syria in isolation is to misunderstand its very nature. To see ISIS alone as the problem is to completely misread the essence of the conflict. This is a battle for regional hegemony, and in order to attain it, the Empire is employing every tool in the imperial toolkit, with terrorism being one of the most effective.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Washington’s Al Qaeda Ally Now Leading ISIS in Libya

By Eric Draitser
March 9, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

3424234234The revelations that US ally Abdelhakim Belhadj is now leading ISIS in Libya should come as no surprise to those who have followed US policy in that country, and throughout the region. It illustrates for the umpteenth time that Washington has provided aid and comfort to precisely those forces it claims to be fighting around the world.

According to recent reports, Abdelhakim Belhadj has now firmly ensconced himself as the organizational commander of the ISIS presence inside Libya. The information comes from an unnamed US intelligence official who has confirmed that Belhadj is supporting and coordinating the efforts of the ISIS training centers in eastern Libya around the city of Derna, an area long known as a hotbed of jihadi militancy.

While it may not seem to be a major story – Al Qaeda terrorist turns ISIS commander – the reality is that since 2011 the US and its NATO allies have held up Belhadj as a “freedom fighter.” They portrayed him as a man who courageously led his fellow freedom-lovers against the “tyrannical despot” Gaddafi whose security forces at one time captured and imprisoned many members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), including Belhadj.

Belhadj served the US cause in Libya so well that he can be seen receiving accolades from Sen. John McCain who referred to Belhadj and his followers as heroes. He was initially rewarded after the fall of Gaddafi with the post of military commander of Tripoli, though he was forced to give way to a more politically palatable “transitional government” which has since evaporated in that chaotic, war-ravaged country.

Belhadj’s history of terrorist activity includes such “achievements” as collaboration with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq, and of course his convenient servitude to the US-NATO sponsored rampage across Libya that, among other things, caused mass killings of black Libyans and anyone suspected of being part of the Green Resistance (those loyal to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya led by Gaddafi). Although the corporate media tried to make a martyr of Belhadj for his alleged torture via the CIA rendition program, the inescapable fact is that wherever he goes he leaves a violent and bloody wake.

While much of this information is known, what is of paramount importance is placing this news in a proper political context, one that illustrates clearly the fact that the US has been, and continues to be, the major patron of extremist militants from Libya to Syria and beyond, and that all talk of “moderate rebels” is merely rhetoric designed to fool an unthinking public.

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend…Until He Isn’t

There is ample documented evidence of Belhadj’s association with Al Qaeda and his terrorist exploits the world over. Various reports have highlighted his experiences fighting in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and he himself has boasted of killing US troops in Iraq. However, it was in Libya in 2011 where Belhadj became the face of the “rebels” seeking to topple Gaddafi and the legal government of Libya.

As the New York Times reported:

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was formed in 1995 with the goal of ousting Colonel Qaddafi. Driven into the mountains or exile by Libyan security forces, the group’s members were among the first to join the fight against Qaddafi security forces… Officially the fighting group does not exist any longer, but the former members are fighting largely under the leadership of Abu Abdullah Sadik [aka Abdelhakim Belhadj].

So, not only was Belhadj a participant in the US-NATO war on Libya, he was one of its most powerful leaders, heading a battle-hardened jihadist faction that constituted the leading edge of the war against Gaddafi. Nowhere was this more clearly demonstrated than when the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) took the lead in the attack on Gaddafi’s compound at Bab al-Aziziya. In this regard, LIFG was provided intelligence, and likely also tactical support, from US intelligence and the US military.

This new information about Belhadj’s association with the suddenly globally relevant ISIS certainly bolsters the argument that this writer, among many others, has made since 2011 – that the US-NATO war on Libya was waged by terrorist groups overtly and tacitly supported by US intelligence and the US military. Moreover, it dovetails with other information that has surfaced in recent years, information that shines a light on how the US exploited for its own geopolitical purposes one of the most active terrorist hotbeds anywhere in the world.

According to the recent reports, Belhadj is directly involved with supporting the ISIS training centers in Derna. Of course Derna should be well known to anyone who has followed Libya since 2011, because that city, along with Tobruk and Benghazi, were the centers of anti-Gaddafi terrorist recruitment in the early days of the “uprising” all through the fateful year of 2011. But Derna was known long before that as a locus of militant extremism.

In a major 2007 study entitled “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records” conducted by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point, the authors noted that:

Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia… The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qa’ida which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qa’ida on November 3, 2007…The most common cities that the fighters called home were Darnah [Derna], Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with 52 and 51 fighters respectively. Darnah [Derna] with a population just over 80,000 compared to Riyadh’s 4.3 million, has far and away the largest per capita number of fighters in the Sinjar records.

And so, the US military and intelligence community has known for nearly a decade (perhaps longer) that Derna has long been directly or indirectly controlled by jihadis of the LIFG variety, and that that city had acted as a primary recruiting ground for terrorism throughout the region. Naturally, such information is vital if we are to understand the geopolitical and strategic significance of the notion of ISIS training camps associated with the infamous Belhadj on the ground in Derna.

This leads us to three interrelated, and equally important, conclusions. First, Derna is once again going to provide foot soldiers for a terror war to be waged both in Libya, and in the region more broadly, with the obvious target being Syria. Second is the fact that the training sites at Derna will be supported and coordinated by a known US asset. And third, that the US policy of supporting “moderate rebels” is merely a public relations campaign designed to convince average Americans (and those in the West generally) that it is not supporting terrorism, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The Myth of ‘Moderate Rebels’

The news about Belhadj and ISIS must not be seen in a vacuum. Rather, it should be still further proof that the notion of “moderates” being supported by the US is an insult to the intelligence of political observers and the public at large.

For more than three years now, Washington has trumpeted its stated policy of support to so-called moderate rebels in Syria – a policy which has at various times folded such diverse terror groups as the Al Farooq Brigades (of cannibalism fame) and Hazm (“Determination”) into one large “moderate” tent. Unfortunately for US propagandists and assorted warmongers however, these groups along with many others have since voluntarily or forcibly been incorporated into Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS/ISIL.

Recently, there have been many reports of mass defections of formerly Free Syrian Army factions to ISIS, bringing along with them their advanced US-supplied weaponry. Couple that with the “poster boys” for Washington policy, the aforementioned Hazm group, now having become part of Jabhat al Nusra, the Al Qaeda linked group in Syria. Of course these are only a few of the many examples of groups that have become affiliated with either the ISIS or Al Qaeda brand in Syria, including Liwaa Al-Farouq, Liwaa Al-Qusayr, and Liwaa Al-Turkomen to name just a few.

What has become clear is that the US and its allies, in their unending quest for regime change in Syria, have been overtly supporting extremist elements that have now coalesced to form a global terror threat in ISIS, Nusra, and Al Qaeda.

But of course, this is nothing new, as the Belhadj episode in Libya demonstrates unequivocally. The man who was once Al Qaeda, then became a “moderate” and “our man in Tripoli,” has now become the leader of the ISIS threat in Libya. So too have “our friends” become our enemies in Syria. None of this should surprise anyone.

But perhaps John McCain would like to answer some questions about his long-standing connections with Belhadj and the “moderates” in Syria. Would Obama like to explain why his “humanitarian intervention” in Libya has become a humanitarian nightmare for that country, and indeed the whole region? Would the CIA, which has been extensively involved in all of these operations, like to come clean about just who they’ve been supporting and what role they’ve played in fomenting this chaos?

I doubt any such questions will ever be asked by anyone in the corporate media. Just as I doubt any answers will ever be furnished by those in Washington whose decisions have created this catastrophe. So, it is for us outside the corporate propaganda matrix to demand answers, and to never let the establishment suppress our voices…or the truth.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

“Is the UN Funding Terrorism?” The Truth About Zaatari Refugee Camp

By Caleb Maupin
March 7, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

4853c5ca0e0ea9c7873098ac68c880b0700,000 Syrians reside at Zaatari refugee camp within the borders of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. These are Syrians who have fled their homes in the continuing civil war. Since 2011, fighters backed by the United States, France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan have been battling the Syrian government.

Many of the insurgent forces that seek the overthrow of the Syrian government are not Syrian. Many are Jordanians. Others are Turkish, Qatari, Pakistani, or Libyan. Fighters from as far away as Malaysia have been arrested by Syrian officials.

According to the US military’s report, there are over 2,000 factions among the Syrian “opposition.” They include the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), the Al-Nusra Front, as well as groups referring to themselves as “Al-Qaeda in Syria.”

The Model Refugee Camp

Zaatari refugee camp has been propped up as the model project of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

In the lobby of the United Nations Secretariat Building, the Jordanian UN mission sponsored a photo exhibition depicting life in the camp. Associate Professor of Photography Nina Berman of Columbia University described how, with funding from the United Nations, she had taken photographs documenting Zaatari life. The photographs have been blown up to large sizes and now decorate the walls surrounding the camp. According to Berman, Zaatari provides much better services than many other refugee camps.

Ursula Lindsey, a blogger who visited the camp, said it is commonly called “The Hilton” because it is so much better than other camps.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency is currently asking for more money, saying that it doesn’t have enough resources for its many refugee camps in Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey. The UNRWA continues to appeal for more funds to address the refugee crisis. Diplomats from around the world are bemoaning the “underfunding of the UN system” in speeches and appeals for funds. The US-aligned gulf states continue to donate billions of dollars for refugee relief and hold fundraisers for Syrian refugees. Much of the money ends up going to Zaatari.

What is being ignored is something that has been only subtly mentioned in all of the publicity surrounding Zaatari refugee camp. Zaatari isn’t just a camp for displaced Syrians. Zaatari is a base — for recruitment by the armed terrorists who are currently destabilizing Syria.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) is not a group of choir boys. In 2014 a number of FSA factions joined with ISIL. Free Syrian Army leaders openly admit that the group trains alongside Al-Nusra Front and other Al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups. Videos of the atrocities of FSA fighters fill the internet. The Free Syrian Army engages in beheadings, torture, and in some instances cannibalism.

In his article on Zaatari Refugee Camp, David Remnick of the New Yorker interviewed many anti-government insurgents at Zaatari. One of them, Nabegh Srour, was reported to have said he hoped Israel would invade Syria, saying, “Our enemy is Bashar, not Israel.

According to Ursula Lindsey, many of the inhabitants of Zaatari Refugee camp were actually “escorted to the border by the Free Syrian Army.” The Free Syrian Army in coordination with the Jordanian military has set up an intake process at the border. The Jordanian military meets the Syrians who have been “escorted by the Free Syrian Army” at the border, and places them at a screening center, eventually transporting them to Zaatari camp.

The record of the FSA forces the question: Are these Syrians being “escorted to the border” by the Free Syrian Army of their own free will?

Lindsey’s writings on the camp document how the camp is completely controlled by anti-Syrian activists. She writes, “I was not able to understand how the presence of FSA in the camp was tolerated.” She also described how refugees who have served the Syrian Armed Forces are segregated from the larger population of the camp, in order to keep them away from Free Syrian Army members.

A Captive Audience

Lindsey also writes that refugees are not allowed to leave the camp, unless they go through a bureaucratic process. However, a number of refugees – specifically, those who have been recruited to join the Free Syrian Army — are no longer held captive in the camp.

The camp has another problem called “early marriage.” Girls between the age of 14 and 16 are finding their way out of Zaatari by getting married. Jordanian and other men from throughout the region are marrying young Syrian refugees, securing them a way out of the camp.

Remnick’s article also describes how fundraising for the Free Syrian Army goes on in the camp, with products being sold to raise money for the insurgents. His article quotes people who describe the FSA as heavily involved with organized crime and human trafficking.

Reports make no real effort to conceal it. Zaatari refugee camp is controlled by forces sympathetic to the Free Syrian Army, a group of armed terrorists who seek to overthrow the Syrian Arab Republic.

700,000 Syrians are trapped in a camp controlled by these forces. The billions of dollars provided for “refugee relief” are by proxy subsidizing the anti-government forces in Syria, and prolonging a war that has already killed over 200,000 and displaced nearly 3 million.

The Syrian government appears to be very aware of the role played by the refugee camps. They are making a point of providing services within Syria to those who have been displaced by the fighting, in order to prevent people from leaving the country and slipping into UN-funded camps surrounded with barbed wire, where FSA sympathizers appear to be in control.

Caleb Maupin is a political analyst and activist based in New York. He studied political science at Baldwin-Wallace College and was inspired and involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.